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Interesting Link

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  • Ben
    An interesting link regarding a study of meditation, specifically Samatha (Shamatha):
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 2, 2010
      An interesting link regarding a study of meditation, specifically Samatha (Shamatha):
      http://www.fetzer.org/research/research-detail/?type=project&resource_id=2191
      I've only just begun to peruse this site, but it seems to be quite an interesting organization, devoted to "[advancing] love and forgiveness as powerful forces that can transform the human condition".

      With metta,
      Ben.
    • Marcello Spinella
      I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Kenneth Folk. The transcript is available
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 15, 2010
        I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Kenneth Folk. The transcript is available here:
        http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/02/bg-157-unifying-developmental-enlightenment-and-timeless-realization/

        In the interview he mentions that he was at third path (i.e. anagami or non-returner), he still experienced significant depression and anxiety, to the point of requiring medication:

        "Ok, so that was a bit of a digression. Now, we go back to, I’m claiming that I had attained Third Path. So, now, we’re talking about the mid-90’s through the early 2000’s, and I was really depressed during this time. So I had access to all kinds of remarkable mind states, all these jhanas, and yet, my life was in a shambles, my brain chemistry was scrambled. I was taking Prozac and whatever antidepressants seemed to work best. I tried several. I was taking an anti-anxiety drug at night, in a very low dose, but I couldn’t sleep at night. So, here I am, you’d think that, according to all of the legends about what an Anagami is, a Third Path practitioner, I should have been really together, and I wasn’t."

        I'm not calling into question Folk's sincerity or the accuracy of his perception of being an anagami. But I'm just having trouble reconciling it. I would think that even a stream enterer would not experience anxiety or depression, or that if they did that it would feel it, but not exaggerate it into suffering.

        Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

        Marcello



        ***********************************************************************************

        "I have just three things to teach:
        simplicity, patience, compassion."
              --Lao Tzu



        ***********************************************************************************

        Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello
      • Culadasa
        Hello Marcello, It seems that no one else is going to say anything, so I will. There is either something very wrong with the way Kenneth Folk defines Third
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 21, 2010
          Hello Marcello,

          It seems that no one else is going to say anything, so I will.

          There is either something very wrong with the way Kenneth Folk defines Third Path, or else there is something very odd about the way he defines depression and the purposes for which he uses Prozac and other antidepressants. It seems to me that for anyone who accepts the statement in this interview as valid and accurate, the Path is stripped of much of its value and meaning. The Buddha summed up his own bottom line by saying, repeatedly, that what he taught was suffering and the end of suffering. I would challenge anyone, as an academic exercise, to reconcile the statements in that interview with the descriptions of the four Paths and the nature of suffering that are to be found in the Suttas. Depression partakes of the very essence of mental suffering. It is suffering imposed by the mind on itself, suffering that is created by the mind's resistance to what is and craving for what is not, suffering that is rooted in the mind's attachment to its own self concept.

          As for my own experience, I have a family history of bi-polar disorder, was diagnosed as bi-polar myself, suffered from severe depression for many years, and was treated with anti-depressants, amongst other things. As a direct result of my practice, I have not used these or any other psychoactive medications for many, many years. (I currently do use antibiotics.) Nor have I suffered from depression in that time.

          Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening. On the other hand, I suspect that even if my mindfulness failed me completely, I would still not go into real depression. My mind just doesn't work that way anymore.  Although this sort of thing still occurs from time to time, it is quite infrequent and short lived. In sharp contrast to my earlier life, these occasional biochemical imbalances most definitely do not create suffering or in the least disturb my inner peace, happiness and contentment.

          I hope these comments will be reassuring and of benefit to you. There is no need to redefine the stages of Enlightenment or fruits of the practice to make them more accessible, and doing so leads to an incalculable loss to everyone.

          culadasa



          From: Marcello Spinella <marcellospinella@...>
          To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wed, December 15, 2010 12:01:04 PM
          Subject: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?

           

          I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Kenneth Folk. The transcript is available here:
          http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/02/bg-157-unifying-developmental-enlightenment-and-timeless-realization/

          In the interview he mentions that he was at third path (i.e. anagami or non-returner), he still experienced significant depression and anxiety, to the point of requiring medication:

          "Ok, so that was a bit of a digression. Now, we go back to, I’m claiming that I had attained Third Path. So, now, we’re talking about the mid-90’s through the early 2000’s, and I was really depressed during this time. So I had access to all kinds of remarkable mind states, all these jhanas, and yet, my life was in a shambles, my brain chemistry was scrambled. I was taking Prozac and whatever antidepressants seemed to work best. I tried several. I was taking an anti-anxiety drug at night, in a very low dose, but I couldn’t sleep at night. So, here I am, you’d think that, according to all of the legends about what an Anagami is, a Third Path practitioner, I should have been really together, and I wasn’t."

          I'm not calling into question Folk's sincerity or the accuracy of his perception of being an anagami. But I'm just having trouble reconciling it. I would think that even a stream enterer would not experience anxiety or depression, or that if they did that it would feel it, but not exaggerate it into suffering.

          Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

          Marcello



          ***********************************************************************************

          "I have just three things to teach:
          simplicity, patience, compassion."
                --Lao Tzu



          ***********************************************************************************

          Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello

        • Marcello Spinella
          Thanks Culadasa. It just didn t jibe from what I know about awakening and depression. I could understand if a person, from sotapanna on, would feel the
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 21, 2010
            Thanks Culadasa. It just didn't jibe from what I know about awakening and depression. I could understand if a person, from sotapanna on, would feel the preliminary aspects of anxiety and/or depression, like vedana or a pattern of thinking. But these conditions aren't just a single event, but an ongoing process, a chronic pattern of resisting those experiences, grasping, rumination, and papañca. If clinging and papañca are stopped or even radically reduced in an awakened person, I would anticipate that it would radically reduce if not eliminate depression and anxiety. So "infrequent and short lived" symptoms, as you put it, is more along the lines of what I would anticipate. Even with bipolar disorder, prolonged stress is known to trigger episodes of mania, so the reduced stress of stream-entry onward would be expected to trigger less episodes. 

            Thanks for clearing that up.

            Marcello

            P.S. It's a good thing there's no precept against antibiotics.


            ***********************************************************************************

            "I have just three things to teach:
            simplicity, patience, compassion."
                  --Lao Tzu



            ***********************************************************************************

            Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello





            To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
            From: culadasa@...
            Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 10:03:50 -0800
            Subject: Re: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?

             

            Hello Marcello,

            It seems that no one else is going to say anything, so I will.

            There is either something very wrong with the way Kenneth Folk defines Third Path, or else there is something very odd about the way he defines depression and the purposes for which he uses Prozac and other antidepressants. It seems to me that for anyone who accepts the statement in this interview as valid and accurate, the Path is stripped of much of its value and meaning. The Buddha summed up his own bottom line by saying, repeatedly, that what he taught was suffering and the end of suffering. I would challenge anyone, as an academic exercise, to reconcile the statements in that interview with the descriptions of the four Paths and the nature of suffering that are to be found in the Suttas. Depression partakes of the very essence of mental suffering. It is suffering imposed by the mind on itself, suffering that is created by the mind's resistance to what is and craving for what is not, suffering that is rooted in the mind's attachment to its own self concept.

            As for my own experience, I have a family history of bi-polar disorder, was diagnosed as bi-polar myself, suffered from severe depression for many years, and was treated with anti-depressants, amongst other things. As a direct result of my practice, I have not used these or any other psychoactive medications for many, many years. (I currently do use antibiotics.) Nor have I suffered from depression in that time.

            Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening. On the other hand, I suspect that even if my mindfulness failed me completely, I would still not go into real depression. My mind just doesn't work that way anymore.  Although this sort of thing still occurs from time to time, it is quite infrequent and short lived. In sharp contrast to my earlier life, these occasional biochemical imbalances most definitely do not create suffering or in the least disturb my inner peace, happiness and contentment.

            I hope these comments will be reassuring and of benefit to you. There is no need to redefine the stages of Enlightenment or fruits of the practice to make them more accessible, and doing so leads to an incalculable loss to everyone.

            culadasa



            From: Marcello Spinella <marcellospinella@...>
            To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Wed, December 15, 2010 12:01:04 PM
            Subject: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?

             

            I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Kenneth Folk. The transcript is available here:
            http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/02/bg-157-unifying-developmental-enlightenment-and-timeless-realization/

            In the interview he mentions that he was at third path (i.e. anagami or non-returner), he still experienced significant depression and anxiety, to the point of requiring medication:

            "Ok, so that was a bit of a digression. Now, we go back to, I’m claiming that I had attained Third Path. So, now, we’re talking about the mid-90’s through the early 2000’s, and I was really depressed during this time. So I had access to all kinds of remarkable mind states, all these jhanas, and yet, my life was in a shambles, my brain chemistry was scrambled. I was taking Prozac and whatever antidepressants seemed to work best. I tried several. I was taking an anti-anxiety drug at night, in a very low dose, but I couldn’t sleep at night. So, here I am, you’d think that, according to all of the legends about what an Anagami is, a Third Path practitioner, I should have been really together, and I wasn’t."

            I'm not calling into question Folk's sincerity or the accuracy of his perception of being an anagami. But I'm just having trouble reconciling it. I would think that even a stream enterer would not experience anxiety or depression, or that if they did that it would feel it, but not exaggerate it into suffering.

            Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

            Marcello



            ***********************************************************************************

            "I have just three things to teach:
            simplicity, patience, compassion."
                  --Lao Tzu



            ***********************************************************************************

            Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello


          • bingo_ridley
            Very clear, very honest, very helpful.
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 22, 2010
              Very clear, very honest, very helpful.

              --- In jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com, Culadasa <culadasa@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hello Marcello,
              >
              > It seems that no one else is going to say anything, so I will.
              >
              > There is either something very wrong with the way Kenneth Folk defines Third
              > Path, or else there is something very odd about the way he defines depression
              > and the purposes for which he uses Prozac and other antidepressants. It seems
              > to me that for anyone who accepts the statement in this interview as valid and
              > accurate, the Path is stripped of much of its value and meaning. The Buddha
              > summed up his own bottom line by saying, repeatedly, that what he taught was
              > suffering and the end of suffering. I would challenge anyone, as an academic
              > exercise, to reconcile the statements in that interview with the descriptions
              > of the four Paths and the nature of suffering that are to be found in the
              > Suttas. Depression partakes of the very essence of mental suffering. It is
              > suffering imposed by the mind on itself, suffering that is created by the
              > mind's resistance to what is and craving for what is not, suffering that is
              > rooted in the mind's attachment to its own self concept.
              >
              > As for my own experience, I have a family history of bi-polar disorder, was
              > diagnosed as bi-polar myself, suffered from severe depression for many years,
              > and was treated with anti-depressants, amongst other things. As a direct result
              > of my practice, I have not used these or any other psychoactive medications
              > for many, many years. (I currently do use antibiotics.) Nor have I suffered
              > from depression in that time.
              >
              >
              > Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain
              > that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their
              > presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional
              > reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those
              > unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying
              > things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I
              > experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and
              > impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening. On the other hand, I suspect
              > that even if my mindfulness failed me completely, I would still not go into
              > real depression. My mind just doesn't work that way anymore. Although this
              > sort of thing still occurs from time to time, it is quite infrequent and short
              > lived. In sharp contrast to my earlier life, these occasional biochemical
              > imbalances most definitely do not create suffering or in the least disturb my
              > inner peace, happiness and contentment.
              >
              > I hope these comments will be reassuring and of benefit to you. There is no need
              > to redefine the stages of Enlightenment or fruits of the practice to make them
              > more accessible, and doing so leads to an incalculable loss to everyone.
              >
              >
              > culadasa
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              > From: Marcello Spinella <marcellospinella@...>
              > To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Wed, December 15, 2010 12:01:04 PM
              > Subject: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?
              >
              >
              > I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Kenneth Folk. The
              > transcript is available
              > here:http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/02/bg-157-unifying-developmental-enlightenment-and-timeless-realization/
              >
              >
              > In the interview he mentions that he was at third path (i.e. anagami or
              > non-returner), he still experienced significant depression and anxiety, to the
              > point of requiring medication:
              >
              > "Ok, so that was a bit of a digression. Now, we go back to, I’m claiming that I
              > had attained Third Path. So, now, we’re talking about the mid-90’s through the
              > early 2000’s, and I was really depressed during this time. So I had access to
              > all kinds of remarkable mind states, all these jhanas, and yet, my life was in a
              > shambles, my brain chemistry was scrambled. I was taking Prozac and whatever
              > antidepressants seemed to work best. I tried several. I was taking an
              > anti-anxiety drug at night, in a very low dose, but I couldn’t sleep at night.
              > So, here I am, you’d think that, according to all of the legends about what an
              > Anagami is, a Third Path practitioner, I should have been really together, and I
              > wasn’t."
              >
              >
              > I'm not calling into question Folk's sincerity or the accuracy of his perception
              > of being an anagami. But I'm just having trouble reconciling it. I would think
              > that even a stream enterer would not experience anxiety or depression, or that
              > if they did that it would feel it, but not exaggerate it into suffering.
              >
              > Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
              >
              > Marcello
              >
              >
              >
              > ***********************************************************************************
              >
              >
              > "I have just three things to teach:
              > simplicity, patience, compassion."
              > --Lao Tzu
              >
              >
              > ***********************************************************************************
              >
              >
              > Website: http://snurl.com/marcello
              >
            • Marcello Spinella
              Culadasa wrote: Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 22, 2010
                Culadasa wrote:

                Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening.

                Out of curiosity, when these imbalances start to arise, do you notice:

                1. Any difference in: the ease of going into jhana, or the quality of experience while in jhana.

                2. Does going into jhana attenuate the onset of these imbalances at all?

                Thanks,
                Marcello

                ***********************************************************************************

                "I have just three things to teach:
                simplicity, patience, compassion."
                      --Lao Tzu



                ***********************************************************************************

                Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello




              • Culadasa
                Hello Marcello, At those times there is more reluctance to practice, more apathy, more psychological resistance to going deep. If the mind is not particularly
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 23, 2010
                  Hello Marcello,

                  At those times there is more reluctance to practice, more apathy, more psychological resistance to going deep. If the mind is not particularly agitated by other factors, once those initial resistances have been overcome it doesn't seem to make much difference to the quality of practice, including jhana. I have found that jhana practice seems to wash the mind clean of all of that 'stuff'. It also intensifies mindful awareness and produces an objectivity, clarity and tranquility. This makes dealing with altered affect, repetitive thoughts, and changes in mental energy similar to dealing with the symptoms of a cold or managing a sprained ankle -- its just there, you know it will pass, and so you just need to be mindfully aware of it and take it into account in whatever else you happen to try to do.

                  On the other hand, there have been a few occasions where the physiological imbalance has been triggered by fatigue and lack of sleep combined with a period of emotionally intense and challenging life circumstances. Then there was also a lot of agitation that had to be dealt with first. This is your classical synergy between endogenous cycles and external events that would typically mutually reinforce each other until the brain spins out to an extreme. These were times when it was difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve access to the deep jhanas, and so it seemed more appropriate to just watch the mind until a good state of Access concentration is reached and sit with that, or else to practice the lighter Ayya Khema/Leigh Brasington type of jhana until there is some joy and serenity. Ever since I learned about the light jhanas, I have used them with students and sometimes myself to help achieve the unification of mind and 'effortlessness' required for access to the deep jhanas.

                  As for your second question, the imbalances certainly are drastically attenuated compared to the past. I believe that sitting in samatha and jhana at the time is an important factor in that attenuation, but the mind as a whole functions very differently than it did in the past as well. Since I have never tried stopping meditating long enough to find out about the specific contribution of meditation practice, it is difficult to say one way or the other with objective certainty.

                  Culadasa

                  From: Marcello Spinella <marcellospinella@...>
                  To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Wed, December 22, 2010 8:51:14 PM
                  Subject: RE: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?

                   

                  Culadasa wrote:


                  Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening.

                  Out of curiosity, when these imbalances start to arise, do you notice:

                  1. Any difference in: the ease of going into jhana, or the quality of experience while in jhana.

                  2. Does going into jhana attenuate the onset of these imbalances at all?

                  Thanks,
                  Marcello

                  ***********************************************************************************

                  "I have just three things to teach:
                  simplicity, patience, compassion."
                        --Lao Tzu



                  ***********************************************************************************

                  Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello





                • Marcello Spinella
                  What I meant by the second question was whether doing jhana practice around the time when you feel the precursors of depression coming on helps attenuate the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 23, 2010
                    What I meant by the second question was whether doing jhana practice around the time when you feel the precursors of depression coming on helps attenuate the those symptoms, which you seem to have addressed when you wrote, "I have found that jhana practice seems to wash the mind clean of all of that 'stuff'."

                    Thanks again!

                    Marcello


                    ***********************************************************************************

                    "I have just three things to teach:
                    simplicity, patience, compassion."
                          --Lao Tzu



                    ***********************************************************************************

                    Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello





                    To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
                    From: culadasa@...
                    Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 11:36:53 -0800
                    Subject: Re: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?

                     

                    Hello Marcello,

                    At those times there is more reluctance to practice, more apathy, more psychological resistance to going deep. If the mind is not particularly agitated by other factors, once those initial resistances have been overcome it doesn't seem to make much difference to the quality of practice, including jhana. I have found that jhana practice seems to wash the mind clean of all of that 'stuff'. It also intensifies mindful awareness and produces an objectivity, clarity and tranquility. This makes dealing with altered affect, repetitive thoughts, and changes in mental energy similar to dealing with the symptoms of a cold or managing a sprained ankle -- its just there, you know it will pass, and so you just need to be mindfully aware of it and take it into account in whatever else you happen to try to do.

                    On the other hand, there have been a few occasions where the physiological imbalance has been triggered by fatigue and lack of sleep combined with a period of emotionally intense and challenging life circumstances. Then there was also a lot of agitation that had to be dealt with first. This is your classical synergy between endogenous cycles and external events that would typically mutually reinforce each other until the brain spins out to an extreme. These were times when it was difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve access to the deep jhanas, and so it seemed more appropriate to just watch the mind until a good state of Access concentration is reached and sit with that, or else to practice the lighter Ayya Khema/Leigh Brasington type of jhana until there is some joy and serenity. Ever since I learned about the light jhanas, I have used them with students and sometimes myself to help achieve the unification of mind and 'effortlessness' required for access to the deep jhanas.

                    As for your second question, the imbalances certainly are drastically attenuated compared to the past. I believe that sitting in samatha and jhana at the time is an important factor in that attenuation, but the mind as a whole functions very differently than it did in the past as well. Since I have never tried stopping meditating long enough to find out about the specific contribution of meditation practice, it is difficult to say one way or the other with objective certainty.

                    Culadasa

                    From: Marcello Spinella <marcellospinella@...>
                    To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Wed, December 22, 2010 8:51:14 PM
                    Subject: RE: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?

                     
                    Culadasa wrote:

                    Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening.

                    Out of curiosity, when these imbalances start to arise, do you notice:

                    1. Any difference in: the ease of going into jhana, or the quality of experience while in jhana.

                    2. Does going into jhana attenuate the onset of these imbalances at all?

                    Thanks,
                    Marcello

                    ***********************************************************************************

                    "I have just three things to teach:
                    simplicity, patience, compassion."
                          --Lao Tzu



                    ***********************************************************************************

                    Website:  http://snurl.com/marcello






                  • bingo_ridley
                    People who meditate and follow a certain train of thought can develop a bubble. They ride that bubble to the top. The bubble says: I ve attained this or
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 23, 2010
                      People who meditate and follow a certain train of thought can develop a bubble. They ride that bubble to the top. The bubble says: "I've attained this or that." The secret emotion that fills the bubble is the approval and accolades imagined to be forthcoming. If the individual is skillful verbally and persuasive, they can take others for a ride on the bubble. Eventually the bubble bursts and people can get hurt.

                      The person that has actually achieved anything (divested oneself of the unnecessary, rather than achievement, would be a better way of putting it) are unaware of their progress -- or rather, they are aware, but only dimly -- self-measuring is not the fullness of what their heart is embracing. Counting one's steps forward is a very immature "stage." It is, frankly, small-minded. It is not what is important. Such individuals are barely out of the gate, and yet to them, their own steps seem huge. What is actually a tiny step feels to them, in their subjectivity, like a vast leap across the ocean, and the world needs to hear about it ... then they decide bravely to tell the world they are an Arhat, or whatever.

                      The entire game is an involution of ego, it is not even spiritual progress. My dog's attention on his dog responsibilities are a far superior demonstration of true meditation than this sort of self-serving calculation. My dog is more honest, and sweeter. My mother, who never meditated, has a purer heart.

                      People who are a little uncertain need to be very careful about being impressed by others who are good with words, unless they don't mind being hurt, which is the consequence of following this sort of individual. I suggest following Buddha's last sermon's to heed one's own light, especially when reading self-referential statements written by anyone. If one must have a teacher, give preference to teachers that focus on the path, not their own personal narrative.

                      People like this, they are able to take a concept like "Be Simple" and turn it into a 200 page book that has the subtext of how smart and evolved they are. That's fun for tourists and amateurs, but not if you take your life, meditation, and joy seriously! I say, give them the boot -- I don't care who publishes them or says they are great, my feeling heart, direct seeing, and common-sense mind are my teachers!



                      --- In jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com, "bingo_ridley" <deep4d@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Very clear, very honest, very helpful.
                      >
                      > --- In jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com, Culadasa <culadasa@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Hello Marcello,
                      > >
                      > > It seems that no one else is going to say anything, so I will.
                      > >
                      > > There is either something very wrong with the way Kenneth Folk defines Third
                      > > Path, or else there is something very odd about the way he defines depression
                      > > and the purposes for which he uses Prozac and other antidepressants. It seems
                      > > to me that for anyone who accepts the statement in this interview as valid and
                      > > accurate, the Path is stripped of much of its value and meaning. The Buddha
                      > > summed up his own bottom line by saying, repeatedly, that what he taught was
                      > > suffering and the end of suffering. I would challenge anyone, as an academic
                      > > exercise, to reconcile the statements in that interview with the descriptions
                      > > of the four Paths and the nature of suffering that are to be found in the
                      > > Suttas. Depression partakes of the very essence of mental suffering. It is
                      > > suffering imposed by the mind on itself, suffering that is created by the
                      > > mind's resistance to what is and craving for what is not, suffering that is
                      > > rooted in the mind's attachment to its own self concept.
                      > >
                      > > As for my own experience, I have a family history of bi-polar disorder, was
                      > > diagnosed as bi-polar myself, suffered from severe depression for many years,
                      > > and was treated with anti-depressants, amongst other things. As a direct result
                      > > of my practice, I have not used these or any other psychoactive medications
                      > > for many, many years. (I currently do use antibiotics.) Nor have I suffered
                      > > from depression in that time.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Occasionally I become aware of those same biochemical imbalances in my brain
                      > > that in the past would have manifested as depression. Mindfulness reveals their
                      > > presence and the influence they tend to have on thought processes and emotional
                      > > reactions. Through mindful awareness I can easily recognize and set aside those
                      > > unwholesome thoughts and emotions. This usually spares my doing or saying
                      > > things that are hurtful to others, but I do have lapses of mindfulness where I
                      > > experience feelings of being discouraged or unmotivated, and can get grumpy and
                      > > impatient before I 'wake up' to what is happening. On the other hand, I suspect
                      > > that even if my mindfulness failed me completely, I would still not go into
                      > > real depression. My mind just doesn't work that way anymore. Although this
                      > > sort of thing still occurs from time to time, it is quite infrequent and short
                      > > lived. In sharp contrast to my earlier life, these occasional biochemical
                      > > imbalances most definitely do not create suffering or in the least disturb my
                      > > inner peace, happiness and contentment.
                      > >
                      > > I hope these comments will be reassuring and of benefit to you. There is no need
                      > > to redefine the stages of Enlightenment or fruits of the practice to make them
                      > > more accessible, and doing so leads to an incalculable loss to everyone.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > culadasa
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > ________________________________
                      > > From: Marcello Spinella <marcellospinella@>
                      > > To: jhana_insight@yahoogroups.com
                      > > Sent: Wed, December 15, 2010 12:01:04 PM
                      > > Subject: [jhana_insight] Depression and anxiety in an anagami?
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > I was listening to a Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Kenneth Folk. The
                      > > transcript is available
                      > > here:http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/02/bg-157-unifying-developmental-enlightenment-and-timeless-realization/
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > In the interview he mentions that he was at third path (i.e. anagami or
                      > > non-returner), he still experienced significant depression and anxiety, to the
                      > > point of requiring medication:
                      > >
                      > > "Ok, so that was a bit of a digression. Now, we go back to, I’m claiming that I
                      > > had attained Third Path. So, now, we’re talking about the mid-90’s through the
                      > > early 2000’s, and I was really depressed during this time. So I had access to
                      > > all kinds of remarkable mind states, all these jhanas, and yet, my life was in a
                      > > shambles, my brain chemistry was scrambled. I was taking Prozac and whatever
                      > > antidepressants seemed to work best. I tried several. I was taking an
                      > > anti-anxiety drug at night, in a very low dose, but I couldn’t sleep at night.
                      > > So, here I am, you’d think that, according to all of the legends about what an
                      > > Anagami is, a Third Path practitioner, I should have been really together, and I
                      > > wasn’t."
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > I'm not calling into question Folk's sincerity or the accuracy of his perception
                      > > of being an anagami. But I'm just having trouble reconciling it. I would think
                      > > that even a stream enterer would not experience anxiety or depression, or that
                      > > if they did that it would feel it, but not exaggerate it into suffering.
                      > >
                      > > Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
                      > >
                      > > Marcello
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > ***********************************************************************************
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > "I have just three things to teach:
                      > > simplicity, patience, compassion."
                      > > --Lao Tzu
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > ***********************************************************************************
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Website: http://snurl.com/marcello
                      > >
                      >
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