I recently took a foray into what would be called "hardcore dharma", it's an interesting movement that IMO has produced results.
However the following post that I make is not in support, neither is it against, neither is it a segregating post, but merely a critique of the movement.
I make the following points:
[*]The hardcore dharma movement places too much emphasis on experience as a validator, as opposed to faith and gradual practice.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement renders the path "goal-less" and useless.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement establishes bizarre and incorrect criterion for Awakening.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement demoralizes and secularizes the path.
[*]The adherents of the hardcore dharma movement are method and technique obsessed.
Point No. 1)
The hardcore dharma movement places too much value on bizarre meditative experiences, the implicit assumption in all hardcore dharma diagonistics in that all experiences inherently "mean" something, and that most experiences imply some sort of "attainment". For example, if someone were to post:
"Hey I just saw a bright light during meditation, what does it mean?"
The classical hardcore dharma response would be: it means you've crossed the A&P (a term referring to partial enlightenment in the movement). Furthermore the movement gives too much credence to weird experiences which simply have no place in this dhamma-vinaya, e.g:
Hallucinations, ecstasies, kundalini phenomena, suicidal depression, hearing voices, raptures, strange bodily phenomena, orgasmic and sexual feelings. They view these experiences as positive indicators of progress.
Point No. 2)
The hardcore dharma movement believes the path does not truly eliminate suffering at it's classic "final" attainment, AKA MCTB Fourth Path. This was originally considered to be the equivalent of the Buddha's Arahatship, though they later abandoned this belief. Nevertheless, for the adherents that believe that the path does not truly eliminate all suffering, then it would be proper to point out that their endeavors have no goal or purpose.
This is simply because the Buddha's entire purpose of his teaching was to eliminate suffering. Whereas they claim that "enlightenment" does no such thing.
Hence two disparate situations.
Point No. 3)
The hardcore dharma movement place too much value on the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga. They have created and synthesized a brand new teaching of nanas and jhanas, that actually is found nowhere in the Canon and ACTUALLY nowhere found in the Commentaries or Visuddhimagga either.
The primary function of the nanas of the Comy and the Visuddhimagga were attainments of SPIRITUAL INSIGHT, not attainments of BIZARRE EXPERIENCE.
But they fail to realize this because they have not studied the source material of this doctrine.
Point No. 4)
The hardcore dharma movement eliminates the moral component of the path and favors discursive thought and labeling. This entirely eliminates the need to eliminate greed, hatred and delusion as well as unskillful actions.
This renders the path easier, and more interesting for people who do not wish to improve as individuals.
Point No. 5)
The hardcore dharma movement is method obsessed. They are obsessed with technique and prefer technique and practice over all sensible evaluation. Their primary obsession is the noting technique of U Narada.
The Buddha however, never gave step by step instructions for anything, because it was supposed to be our common sense and conscience that guided us to practice in this path. However it is ironic that instead of evaluating themselves inwardly, on where they would need to change, they instead decided to turn to techniques.
I do NOT condemn, or wish to separate "more dhamma oriented" Buddhists from "hardcore" Buddhists. As far as I'm concerned this would be incredibly unskillful, and the fact of the matter is, is that we're all adherents of this teaching and all human beings.
Furthermore I actually have tremendous respect for "hardcore" Buddhists and actually do believe them to be attaining the fruits of the teaching.
This is just me venting.