Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:01 am

Hi Peter, Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
PeterB wrote:May all those struggling with pernicious addictions find the warm hearted support that they need.

It is what it really comes down to, far more than any technique, the human element of com-passion, sym-pathy, em-pathy, or in Pali, anu-kampati, to move with.

I agree. Sadhu. I've experienced much compassion, sympathy, and empathy in SMART Recovery, psychotherapy, Buddhist groups where I've publicly committed to the precepts, and other groups I've participated in that have helped me in recovery. However, Tilt, are you saying anu-kampati is not a technique?
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:16 am

Hi m0rl0ck,
m0rl0ck wrote:How long has smart recovery been in existence? Where does the money from that "donate" link go?

The first question was answered earlier in this thread, as the second. Regarding the second question:
Just click on the "donate" link from this page: SMART Recovery
If that's not satisfying enough, try this.
SMART Recovery Anual Report
And while SMART Recovery is a legal non-profit, AA is an incorporated business, meaning that financial profit is one of their purposes. This has been the case since its inception.
From this Twelve Things That Alcoholics Anonymous Doesn't Want You to Know
Over ten billion dollars per year is spent promoting AA: 12 step treatment programs were invented by AA members for the purpose of promoting AA to a captive audience. The world's first 12 step treatment program was created in Ohio in 1940 through the collaboration of AA co-fonder Dr. Bob Smith and a Catholic nun named Sister Ignatia at St Thomas Hospital (Darrah, 2001). Shortly thereafter several AA members got together in Minnesota to found Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota (McElrath, 1987). Ninety-five percent of hospitals and treatment centers in the US use the 12 steps not because the 12 steps are effective at treating drinking problems, but rather because AA has been highly effective at doing PR to promote AA. AA member Marty Mann founded the National Council on Alcoholism in 1944 for the sole purpose of doing PR for AA; she was eventually fronted millions of dollars by AA member Brinkley Smithers for this purpose (Peele 1997). According to Stanton Peele [Diseasing of America: How we allowed recovery zealots and the treatment industry to convince us we are out of control. Peele, S. (1989, 1995]. Lexington, MA/San Francisco: Lexington Books/Jossey-Bass.) over ten billion dollars a year alone is spent on 12 step treatment programs in the US. Twelve step treatment programs don't cure drunks but they do promote AA. This is not to mention the money spent by the National Council on Alcoholism and the fact that every TV show you see these days has an AA character in it. This is clearly a program of "promotion, not attraction."

See also:
Documents concerning AA Web Site Inc.
Orange Papers
The William Griffith Wilson (Bill W.) Estate & Lois Burnham Wilson Estate
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:23 am

danieLion wrote:However, Tilt, are you saying amu-kampati is not a technique?
I would say that it is not dependent upon technique, or a technique.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:27 am

Hi m0rl0ck, chownah,
chownah wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:
Definition of Alcoholism -- published by the Journal of the American Medical Association
"Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial ."


http://step12.com/alcoholics-definition.html

Thats what i mean when i use the term.

So if we should discuss something related to alcoholism we should be very careful in mutually understanding which definition we are to use in the discussion.....otherwise it is pretty much inevitable that we will be talking past each other.
chownah

I'm glad you brought this up. As the excerpt I posted earlier in this thread from the Gary Greenburg's The Noble Lie: When Scientists Give the Right Answers for the Wrong Reasons demonstrates, if alcoholism is a disease, it's unlike no other disease. It does not conform to pathological progression. I prefer to call it or addiction a disorder, as long as it's not correlated with the un-scientific DSM. The disease notion of addiction has been challenged on several fronts.
Alcoholism: a disease of speculation
Addiction: A Disorder of Choice
Alcoholics Anonymous and the Disease Concept of Alcoholism
Diseasing of America: How we allowed recovery zealots and the treatment industry to convince us we are out of control. Peele, S. (1989, 1995). Lexington, MA/San Francisco: Lexington Books/Jossey-Bass.
Sociological Aspects of the Disease Model of Alcoholism
The Rebirth of the Disease Concept of Alcoholism in the 20th Century
See also:
E. Morton Jellinek
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:36 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:However, Tilt, are you saying anu-kampati is not a technique?
I would say that it is not dependent upon technique, or a technique.

I understand it literally means "cry out with the suffering of another." If that's the case, it's not a technique any more than any emotional experience is a technique. However, working with the brahmvihara is a technique in the sense that it is a practice, and it is a practice that utilizes empathy, sympathy and compassion. What is your understanding of the relationship of the brahmavihara to anu-kampati?
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:47 am

Hi PeterB,
PeterB wrote:...The interventions will be as effective as the relationship is viable.
This is the difference between any critique and actual daily experience.

This appears to me to be another false dichotomy and another case of All-Or-Nothing Thinking and overgeneralizing (cf. David D. Burns' cognitive distortions) and inflexible, rigid irrationality (cf. Albert Ellis' irrational beliefs). The first hint is your use of the word "any," which highlights the falsity of the distinction: critiquing vs. experiencing. Critiquing involves not only a basis in experience but is itself a form of experiencing. Futhermoer, the qualifier "actual" betrays yet another likely false dichotomy: non-actual vs. actual.
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:50 am

danieLion wrote:Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:However, Tilt, are you saying anu-kampati is not a technique?
I would say that it is not dependent upon technique, or a technique.

I understand it literally means "cry out with the suffering of another."
it literaly meansto move, not unlike the root meanings of sympathy, and compassion.

If that's the case, it's not a technique any more than any emotional experience is a technique. However, working with the brahmvihara is a technique in the sense that it is a practice, and it is a practice that utilizes empathy, sympathy and compassion. What is your understanding of the relationship of the brahmavihara to anu-kampati?
The brahmaviharas are nice and serve a purpose, not unlike the precept, in that they are indicators of what awakened behavior and feelings are like. Compassion/anukampā is less an emotional tone/feeling and more a response mediated by insight/vipassana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:55 am

Hi m0rl0ck,
m0rl0ck wrote:With my alcoholism the cost benefit analysis was simple, stop drinking and live, continue and die.

Which is, nonetheless, still a cost-benefit analysis. It's also one of the most important cost-benefit analyses, and, I think, a motivating factor behind the Buddha recommending meditation and contemplation of death to some.
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:56 am

Thanks for elaborating, Tilt. I'll reflect on that.
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:02 am

danieLion wrote:However, Tilt, are you saying anu-kampati is not a technique?
Tiltbillings wrote:I would say that it is not dependent upon technique, or a technique.

danieLion wrote:I understand it literally means "cry out with the suffering of another."
Tiltbillings wrote:it literaly meansto move, not unlike the root meanings of sympathy, and compassion.

If that's the case, there is a technique-like (pratice) implication of anukampa via the compassion (karuna) and sympathy (mudita) components of the brahmavihara, no?
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby PeterB » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:12 am

danieLion wrote:Hi PeterB,
PeterB wrote:...The interventions will be as effective as the relationship is viable.
This is the difference between any critique and actual daily experience.

This appears to me to be another false dichotomy and another case of All-Or-Nothing Thinking and overgeneralizing (cf. David D. Burns' cognitive distortions) and inflexible, rigid irrationality (cf. Albert Ellis' irrational beliefs). The first hint is your use of the word "any," which highlights the falsity of the distinction: critiquing vs. experiencing. Critiquing involves not only a basis in experience but is itself a form of experiencing. Futhermoer, the qualifier "actual" betrays yet another likely false dichotomy: non-actual vs. actual.
Kindly,
dL

I am sure you are right.
Many blessings.

:anjali:
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:14 am

danieLion wrote:
danieLion wrote:However, Tilt, are you saying anu-kampati is not a technique?
Tiltbillings wrote:I would say that it is not dependent upon technique, or a technique.

danieLion wrote:I understand it literally means "cry out with the suffering of another."
Tiltbillings wrote:it literaly meansto move, not unlike the root meanings of sympathy, and compassion.

If that's the case, there is a technique-like (pratice) implication of anukampa via the compassion (karuna) and sympathy (mudita) components of the brahmavihara, no?
The brahmaviharas can have several very useful functions within one's practice, but they are not necessary. The sort of compassion I am talking about is not some sort of warm fuzzy or heart wrenching emotion in response to photos of staving children in dusty countries. It is, rather, a response to a situation, and ideally from a Buddhist perspective is comes from a place of insight, and is not necessarily an emotion.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:33 am

Very nicely put, Tilt. Thanks.-dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby mirco » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:39 am



Dear tiltbillings,

tiltbillings wrote:The brahmaviharas can have several very useful functions within one's practice, but they are not necessary.

maybe not for you. Proclaiming it generally for every being seems shortsighted to me.





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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby Aloka » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:46 am

mirco wrote:Dear tiltbillings,

tiltbillings wrote:The brahmaviharas can have several very useful functions within one's practice, but they are not necessary.


maybe not for you. Proclaiming it generally for every being seems shortsighted to me.


Hi mirco,

How is that statement actually "proclaiming it generally for every being?" It didn't seem that way to me when I looked at it.

With kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:22 am

mirco wrote:Dear tiltbillings,

tiltbillings wrote:The brahmaviharas can have several very useful functions within one's practice, but they are not necessary.

maybe not for you. Proclaiming it generally for every being seems shortsighted to me.
Did the Buddha teach them as necessary for everyone? The Brahmavihara practice is a tool for cultivating concentration. The brahmaviharas can soften one's "heart," help make one more open, but one also needs to pay attention to what comes up during the practice and after. The practice, in its broader context, is not just about getting warm, fuzzy feeling feelings of love and compassion and such. As I said, it can be a useful practice, but I am wondering what you think is short-sighted in my stating that the brahmavihara practice is not necessary.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby mirco » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:48 pm

Dear tiltbillings


tiltbillings wrote:The practice, in its broader context, is not just about getting warm, fuzzy feeling feelings of love and compassion and such.

Sure it ain't. I didn't say so.


tiltbillings wrote:The Brahmavihara practice is a tool for cultivating concentration. [...] but one also needs to pay attention to what comes up during the practice and after.

That is for any object of meditation.


tiltbillings wrote:The brahmaviharas can soften one's "heart," help make one more open,

Don't mix it up here. That is another process. Although I do not exactly know what do you mean with 'soften' and 'open', I say, an open and soft heart is to be gained independently from the object of meditation.


tiltbillings wrote:As I said, it can be a useful practice, but I am wondering what you think is short-sighted in my stating that the brahmavihara practice is not necessary.

To me it seemed you say brahmavivāras practice ain't necessary for no one, as if tere are no differences in kamma & character etc.


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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:24 pm

mirco wrote:. . . ain't . . .
The "ain't" is really cute here. In other words, you cannot provide any statement where the Buddha says it is necessary for everyone. The point is simple enough. If brahmaviharas is a practice one wants to use for whatever reason, use it. It can be, if done correctly, very efficacious; however, it is not the only way that anukampa is cultivated or arises. The Buddha, however, did not teach in the suttas that I have seen or that anyone has shown that the brahmaviharas are a necessary practice. Obviously, it is one of many practices taught by the Buddha. As Aloka suggested, you simply misread what I wrote.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:37 pm

Actually DL i think that the reason most treatment centers use a 12 step centric approach is just that it works. I dont think they would put their reputation on something that didnt.
You know i looked for a smart recovery meeting in this area to go check it out and there arent any near by.

The only things i have learned from this thread is that dl has an irrational dislike of AA despite evidence that it saves lives, including testamonials in the thread itself and that DL disagrees with the accepted medical definition of alcoholism.

AA probably saved my life and i know others who feel the same way.
So dl let me ask you this, if there are no smart recovery meetings nearby, and someone who needs help reads this thread and because of your opinions, decides not to go to AA and ends up dead or harmed (when they otherwise might have been helped) , how would you feel?
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby onaquest » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:52 pm

Well, been around the rooms (12 step) since 1986, so been to a meeting or two, and picked up a couple of things that apply here:
1. The 12 steps aren't for those that need them, they are for those that want them.
2. "If you want what we have and are willing to make the effort to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps....."
both items pretty specificly imply that for 12 steps to work, one must want the result, and are willing to practice the principles. If both elements aren't in place, then a 12 step meeting might as well be an infomercial, however, with both elements, the 12 step process has helped millions recover for decades, and I personally find the practice quite easily coexistant with my Buddhist practice.
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