Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009

“In February of 2009, I invited several people to my house in Alabama, aka Hurricane Ranch, for a long weekend of discussion, sharing, and practice. Included in this group were several members of the Dharma Overground, as well as some older dharma buddies. Fortunately, while we were having tons of great dharma discussions we recorded one of them and it is available here for download. In this discussion we covered several different topics, but the main theme of the talk was ‘Getting it Done versus Doing It.’ Participating in this conversation were Hokai Sobol, Kenneth Folk, Vince Horn, Tarin Greco, and myself.” –Daniel Ingram

DI = Daniel Ingram
HS = Hokai Sobol
KF = Kenneth Folk
TG = Tarin Greco
VH = Vince Horn

HS: Getting it done or simply doing it. You know?

DI: What do you mean when you say that? Getting it done versus doing it?

HS: You know, doing it is what most Buddhists do.

DI: Huh.

HS: They’re doing it.

DI: Yeah.

HS: But they’re not getting it done.

DI: Right.

HS: Right? You know, you can’t say they’re not doing it.

DI: Right.

HS: Because they’re doing it.

DI: Yeah. They’re doing something.

HS: They’re doing something … [laughter] … and some of it is good.

DI: Yeah.

HS: And some of it is not good. And some of it is, like, empty.

DI: Yeah.

HS: Lacking substance. Kind of going through the motions, you know?

DI: Yeah.

HS: But what are the essential points of, through which doing it becomes getting it done?

DI: You mean finishing the damn thing. Really finishing it?

HS: Not necessarily finishing it. You know, getting it going.

DI: Yeah.

VH: Escape velocity.

HS: Yeah.

DI: Yeah. That’s it. It could be Arising & Passing Away. It could be Stream-Entry. It could be Arhat. It could be Siddha. It could be whatever.

HS: Whatever.

DI: Yeah. Sure. But a really crankin’ thing. Yeah. It would be interesting to even hear what the Shingon take on that was, because I’m guessing we would say different things given that quest. Because even Shingon—

HS: We have a—well, we should start this.

VH: We started.

HS: We started. Well then… [rings bell] … [laughter] … This is Round One!

KF: I had something to say about this. [laughter] Okay, I have something to say about this. From a very mechanistic point of view of settin’ em up and knockin’ em down …

HS: Alright … alright …

KF: Alright. Settin’ em up and knockin’ em down. There are two things that have to be done. You have to access a finite number of strata of mind and penetrate each of those strata of mind. And the way I know how to do this is via the vipassana technique. So you have to – you can think of this thinking of a chakra model, chakras being these nexes of energy. So you put the mind at the level of one of these nexes of energy, and you deconstruct it by finding what about that experience when the mind is aligned at that frequency—what changes? And if you can see the change, you’ve knocked it down, and you will very naturally go on to the next strata of mind, which you can see through. And if you do this enough times—settin’ em up and knockin’ em down—the thing is done.

DI: Which would be the progressive, essentially a progressive, work-based, stage-based, model-based—

KF: Exactly. The developmental model.

DI: The developmental model. Right. As opposed to the whatever. Which is interesting to hear you dub the developmental model. You know what I mean.

KF: It’s very easy to talk about the developmental model.

DI: That’s a plain fact. Yes.

KF: I could talk about realization, but there wouldn’t really be very much to say about it. So for the time being, let’s talk about the developmental model.

DI: Yeah, or, what I would say, go through the ñanas, which are essentially part of the jhanas. Seeing the three characteristics, which would be one way. But the Shingon way is going to look entirely different, right? Essentially you’re going to do whatever sets of practices—right? You would do a specific set of things probably in a specific order without expecting much results and just do those until you could either see or visualize or perceive or achieve whatever the instruction was. And then at some point, essentially, by doing that, something would finally pop. Is that right? I mean, essentially it’s going to be something like that, right?

HS: I don’t know. What you’re presenting is more like a koan, right?

DI: Meaning?

HS: Like pumping the koan.

DI: Even if you were doing something more esoteric, taking some letter or visualizing it at some chakra, and then adding something to it and doing it … to some degree of mastery where you actually have that experience as described. Isn’t that…

HS: Whatever the detail of the actual technique, the basic idea in Shingon is to take what you do—meaning some physical action or non-action—

DI: Mahamudra.

HS: Physical. Just mudra. That’s what you do. And then taking what you say and taking what you mean—

DI: Which would be mantra and view or visualization…

HS: —Or visualization. So that would be like mudra, mantra, and visualization, meaning what you do, what you say, and what you mean should be aligned.—

DI: Right.

HS: —To a degree where it becomes impossible to discern one from the other. Alright? That’s the definition of concentration in Shingon.

DI: Interesting.

HS: That’s the basic definition of concentration.

DI: That sounds like a good, solid standard.

HS: That’s concentration. So basically you have certain—it’s not about the position of your fingers. It’s about the felt thing. So it’s not—if you take the fist, it’s not about doing the fist, it’s about feeling the fistness in the fist. That, those sensations, and saying for example “ah”, that voice and thinking for example “this” for example – those three should be done and attended to as one and fused to a point of non-discernment.

DI: Which is essentially 4th jhana from my point of view. That’s 4th jhana. You get 4th jhana, those are aligned in one field as a coherent entity.

HS: As one. As one.

DI: Yeah.

HS: You can still analyze, but you don’t fall into that temptation.

DI: Right. Sure.

HS: You stay before analyzing them. And that’s the starting point. From there you go into a receptive mode. Okay? And the actual instruction is to receive these three activities as if they were done by a larger entity. Okay. Which traditionally is called the Buddha, which Japanese understand as everything. So it’s an action of everything which you are receiving through the only medium you have to receive—that’s your body, your voice, and your mind. But once you are in a state of concentration, you go into the mode of grace.

VH: Would you say that’s the shift between samatha and vipassana?

HS: Uhh, that’s the edge between samatha and vipassana. The grace is the edge. You have less samatha, but it’s not yet vipassana. There is a mid-period between the two. So first you have—we talk about three powers: the virtue of my own effort, the grace of the Buddha’s, and the power of the universe or reality. The power of reality is the vipassana mode. Reality itself.

DI: Yeah. Obviously.

HS: So first you put in the effort to develop the concentration, which is the unity of the three. Then you go into the receptive mode. You let go of the effort. Of course you continue, but you let go of the idea of the meditator. You allow the grace—

DI: You allow the field to do what it does.

HS: —And then the third dimension comes into being. And that’s the reality itself starts to show up.

DI: Right.

HS: As you fuse the effort and receptivity—

DI: Ahhh, there you go. Now those are becoming two of the same things, so that once subject is becoming part of the field—

HS: First you push, then you come back by receiving, and then you fuse those two.

DI: That’s very good.

HS: And then you stop. Sort of. And that’s when the thing becomes clear. That’s when what was the background becomes the foreground.

DI: Sure.

HS: What is always the background of whatever happens in your personal experience suddenly becomes the foreground of your experience.

DI: Yeah.

KF: Okay. By background, this is the knowing mind?

HS: Actually, I’ve never said this before, I realize now.

KF: So background is the aspect of knowing?

HS: Yeah. Yeah. We would define it as gñāna which in Pali is ñana. Yeah. We would define it as wisdom, as primordial wisdom.

KF: It sounds like what I call the No Dog.

HS: Yeah?

KF: Yeah. Which I also think of as the trans-jhanic state. So if you put that in the foreground, and knowing knows itself—so one good thing to say about this is “it knows itself”, it’s not Hokai that knows it—

HS: No.

KF: —But something else could be going on in the background—

HS: Because Hokai is known through that, simultaneously.

KF: —And this knowing has no stake in what happens or does not happen to Hokai. Hokai could live or die, but this knowing has no stake in that.

HS: Exactly.

KF: And that’s the No Dog. It has no dog in this fight.

HS: Yeah.

DI: That’s interesting.

KF: And at that point—so this is now the foreground. So what’s going on in the background is whatever is going on. In other words, at that point, you might choose to notice the conversation going around you, or you might choose to notice what’s naturally, what your body and mind are naturally doing in the background.

HS: Yeah, but in the context of Shingon practice, a setting is provided—

KF: Yes.

HS: —as the foreground.

DI: A specific setting.

HS: A very specific setting which is intentionally constructed in a way to provide the vehicle for the No Dog.

DI: And almost a pre-programming, it sounds like.

HS: Sort of.

DI: Because there is pre-programming

HS: It’s structured in such a way to provide a ready-made situation which enables you to bring the background again into the foreground and to merge the two.

DI: Yeah. So that’s when it’s trying to sync. Now, do they ever talk about three characteristics, or it’s just a practice, and you never emphasize impermanence, or no-self, or—

HS: Three characteristics are presented in Japanese as netsu which means fire.

DI: Huh.

HS: Like the experience of … I think the Indians say tapas?

DI: Mm hm. Heat.

HS: Heat. So three characteristics are presented in the context of heat.

DI: Like energy.

HS: No, like intensity.

DI: Oh.

HS: Like when practice generates intensity, that’s when the three characteristics show up. Naturally. They become self-apparent in a way. The obstacles drop. That’s the measure of heat.

VH: Which seems to line up with how being in the three characteristics actually feels, heat being—

HS: Like burning away.

VH: I mean, that’s more of the ñana, the third and fourth—

TG: That’s the definition of jhana. Not just absorption but also burning. Burning away. It comes from India. Where he’s talking about vipassana jhana here.

HS: Like burning the defilements?

TG: Burning the hindrances.

HS: Burning the hindrances. Yeah.

TG: The “hindrances”, in quotation marks, gone. Perception of three characteristics, right there.

HS: Clear.

TG: Of its own accord.

HS: Of its own accord.

VH: I’m just gonna say, in the Shambala practice, which is the Trongyam Trungpa thing, they had a really weird vipassana practice. You just kind of contemplate, you just say to yourself after each samatha, “impermanence” And that’s pretty much it. You don’t really do anything. It’s not an active thing. You kind of just drop in a thought about impermanence.

DI: Maybe they do some serious samatha. If you’re got your samatha stuff really together—

HS: Just a gentle push in this direction—

DI: And if you can really get the right direction and let go of the samatha. Because the problem is, you can be in the trap, because the samatha is so nice, the spaciousness of mind is so good, or the bliss or the quietness or the whatever cool jhanic quality you’ve just contemplated is so good, that you get people stuck there and they won’t let go of it. But if you could somehow convince these people with the very concentrated mind to just let the thing ring or let go of it and turn toward wisdom or whatever, I mean, that is traditional instructions. It’s not like that can’t be powerful. You know, because if you really get your 4th jhana trip together, you can go where you want. Know what I mean? The mind will go where you want it to go if you really want to go there. It is wieldy and made malleable. The vipassana people always think of that as the high stakes way to play the game. You’re building up something that’s very impressive but very hard to let go of. Know what I mean? So vipassana always looks at the way more samatha-y traditions and goes [sharp air intake] yeah but. And then the down side of that is friggin’ busting it out in harsh vibrations and just hard technique without all the props and comfort and early perks of samatha is HARD. So in terms of a more dry technique—

KF: Dry technique meaning…?

DI: Like straight noting practice, straight three characteristics. Or even if you get into real heavy sort of what I might call jhanic states but they’re vipassana so they’re really edgy and vibratory usually until you get to 4th. Because 3rd is so hard, and 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are so hard…

KF: Okay. So “dry” because you don’t have the juice, you don’t have the lubrication of—

DI: —the sweet stuff—

KF: —the lubrication of the concentrated state which frankly makes it much more pleasant.

DI: Well even if you’re concentrated, I mean, you can be concentrated on harsh vibrations with astounding precision and yet still have it suck. You know what I mean? Because even though it’s ridiculously concentrated [makes vibration sounds]

KF: Khanika-samadhi. Momentary concentration.

HS: Yeah.

DI: Right.

KF: Okay, so, khanika-samadhi is to be concentrated on those changing phenomena. For example, you could be concentrating on a vibration—

DI: Right.

KF: —as it changes, and you can be very one-pointed on that, but this is not samatha. So you’re not getting the benefit of the juice.

DI: Right.

KF: So it’s interesting that, as you say, high-stakes practice is using jhana as a vehicle and then first accessing via the samatha technique and then seeing through it via the vipassana technique—you could as easily say that the dry technique is a high-stakes practice.

DI: Because people run. Because it’s too hard, too easy, too disconcerting. Yeah. That’s the paradox. And there’s always this debate. The Theravada world is constantly debating this. If you see the Sri Lankans versus the Burmese, the Sri Lankans are all about jhana first: mastering the jhanas and then going on to vipassana. And then, you know, you end up with all these people who are really good jhana masters, and they just kinda space out, or they just cultivate colors, and they can’t let go of it, or they do, whatever, but they’ve got impressive jhana skills, but they can’t land insight, because they’re too attached to that. It’s too nice, it’s too cool, it’s too fun. They can’t shake, because then that violates or disrupts or does something to their nice jhana trip.

KF: We keep returning to this thing that there are two things necessary: you have to access the stratum of mind—

HS: Okay.

KF: —or the frequency—

HS: Okay.

KF: —and you have to penetrate it.

HS: Right.

KF: If either of those things isn’t present, then no progress is made on the vertical access of this linear model we’re looking to make progress through insight levels. Both of these things have to be present. You can err in either direction. You can do vipassana very well, but if you don’t access the strata of mind, it does you no good. You make no progress.

DI: You get edgy.

KF: And, you can access the strata of mind, but if you don’t penetrate them, nothing happens. These things have to be in balance.

DI: So you’re essentially going samatha first from the Theravada model point of view. It’s essentially something like samatha first and then allowing that to ring to see true nature of that state without the holding tight to the objects. Something like that. Is that about… no … is that fair?

HS: Yeah. Though it’s never—

DI: It’s not presented that way.

HS: —It’s never presented apart.

KF: The technique you’re doing, Hokai, the Shingon technique ensures the object will be penetrated. Is that correct?

HS: Yes.

KF: Aha. Just make it clear: what aspect of this practice ensures that this penetration of the object occurs?

HS: This is a tricky question.

DI: [laughs] It’s a great question.

HS: Not a trick question, a tricky question, because you have to be careful. Once you set the proper conditions for realizing a certain concentrative state, which is defined as bringing the three together as one—

DI: —which I would term 4th jhana—

HS: —Right. Once that happens, you are invited to … so, you are one with that state then. That’s the definition of a jhanic state. You are not observing it.

KF: Good.

HS: You are it.

KF: This is samatha. Okay.

HS: That’s the distinction. You are it. You are then encouraged to be observed in that state. It is not said by what. That’s the grace moment. You invite another observing point there.

DI: Mmm. That’s heavy.

HS: You invite another observing point. The way this is done, specifically, is a devotional shift. Not devotional in an emotional sense, but devotional in a perspectival sense. Once you feel you are completely aligned … and how do you know you’re aligned? There is no comment to what you are doing. Because you either comment your speech with your body, or you comment your body and your speech with your mind, or you comment your mind and your body with your speech. Right? That’s what we do anyway. So, once there’s no comment, and the three things are going on, and there’s no commenting between them, they are aligned, then you are encouraged or reminded specifically, because if you follow certain Saddana texts, you come to a point where the text reminds you to include a vaster observer—

DI: Nice.

HS: —on the achieved state.

DI: That’s good.

HS: So that ensures somehow letting go of the state with which you are one while remaining immersed in it, continuing this alignment, maintaining the alignment, but inviting a vaster observer to observe the prevailing state. So that would be a shift from samatha, but not yet vipassana. And then—

DI: Yeah, that’s almost like adding formless realms or something. Infinite consciousness.

HS: And then you are invited to give up the distinction between the state which you are and the observer observing it … And that would be vipassana.

DI: Yeah.

HS: Because you are neither the state nor the separate observer remaining which can observe the state. And that would be penetrating the state.

KF: And can you give an example of what the object looks like at that point? In other words, is the object, does it appear solid, or is it a vibratory phenomenon at that point?

DI: Or 3-D luminous, or all-encompassing, or…

HS: The total object, or the field of experience, reveals three features or three characteristics. These three characteristics are: one, the object is spacious, meaning unimpeding—

KF: Unimpeded?

HS: —Not unimpeded, unimpeding. Anything arising does not impede or impose on anything else arising. So everything is spacious. The second characteristic coincides with luminous, because everything is aware.

DI: 4th jhana.

HS: Where it is. Everything is aware. And the third characteristic is, there are waves between these first two. There are waves between spaciousness of everything arising and awareness of everything arising.

DI: That’s beautiful.

KF: And these waves are perceived as waves?

HS: These waves are perceived as resonance between space and awareness.

DI: Which I would call “formations”. That would be my technical word for that level of seeing things.

HS: The total perception of these three would be that space, which is often equated with emptiness, and awareness, which is often equated with wisdom recognizing emptiness, are not fixed. This is going beyond emptiness first and then going beyond perception of emptiness. That’s why you have to perceive the wave-like nature of both.

KF: And is this related to the traditional teaching of impermanence?

HS: Yes. It is the more profound meaning of impermanence.

DI: It’s the 4th jhana meaning. Because at that point, it’s the same thing when I was talking about feeling the vibrations of this, this, and that as the sort of awareness and form trying to synchronize, and feeling those waves, you know, coming through. It’s very heavy no-self characteristic and impermanence characteristic. It doesn’t have suffering in there, but in the 4th jhana, that high level, if you’ve really got that strong, there’s really not that much suffering, so that might always be like … it would almost be a little trickier. So it’s really got the two characteristics—

HS: —On a barely, on a religious level, a person would sit down and go through the motions of the ritual and repeat to himself, I am doing these things with a sense of gratitude, with a sense of devotion, with a sense of determination, and the Buddhas are witnessing my sincere effort, and the grace of their kind gaze shines upon my feeble attempts—

DI: [laughs]

HS: —to realize awareness. Therefore, having done that, and having been seen doing that, reality dawns upon me. Everything IS just as it is. Something like that would be pronounced.

DI: That’s nice.

HS: Again and again and again. As I said, encouraging you to first put the effort, bring your actions together, enter a state of stable concentration, renounce remaining in that state, and allowing that state to be observed from an unfirm vantage point, slightly expanding. Is that the movement? I think that’s how it feels. Slightly expanding from the state. And then letting the expansion and the previous state simply drop. Stopping it. You would call it penetrating the state. Stopping the conservationist movement of maintaining the state, and yet not destroying it, not messing it up.

KF: But you’re seeing through the apparent solidity of it.

HS: Yes, yes. Renouncing the solidity.

VH: I have a question.

HS: Please.

VH: I’m wondering how this relates to what you were describing—

TG: Is this the entrance, then, to fruition?

HS: Well, that’s it!

DI: If you could do that that way, you would be teetering on the brink of stream-entry. [all talking at once] It’s really high equanimity by the time he’s talking about that kind of stuff.

VH: So given that, my question is, in that practice, they’re going straight there in the jhanic sense, and then they’re switching to vipassana and bypassing the more vibratory qualities of the earlier jhanas by having gone through them in a samatha way.

KF: What you’re describing, as I understand it—

HS: You are doing it with whatever jhanic degree you have. You are not—

VH: So you don’t just keep doing the samatha until it’s—

HS: No, no.

VH: Every time you sit, you go through those phases.

HS: For someone, a weak jhanic state will probably be sufficient. For someone else, a stronger, harder jhanic state will be necessary.

KF: So what he’s describing is the integrated package of both accessing and penetrating the object at any stratum of mind, and as he does that, the meditator will continue to progress through the strata of mind until they’re all penetrated. And it’s important to note that this is a finite process. It’s not infinite regress. There are a finite number of strata of mind. When they’re all accessed and all penetrated, this physio-energetic process as I think of it has been completed. It creates a circuit. It closes a circuit. And when a circuit is closed, it can’t be any more closed than closed. That part of your development is done. So the development up the vertical access, up through the ñanas, has been completed. Now, there is an infinite amount of development yet to be done on the horizontal access. Which is to say that—

HS: —Mastering, mastering—

KF: —that any stratum of mind, there is infinite possibility of exploration and mastery. So to say that someone has completed the physio-energetic process isn’t to say that they are perfected human beings or that they’re done. It’s to say they have a very good platform to continue their further work.

DI: Which is interesting, and it almost makes me wonder if you couldn’t have something sort of in between, like what I may call a more top-down or start-to-finish in one sit hinted-at vipassana approach. Or a jhana approach, even if they couldn’t do it. Let’s say you have them focus their attention and notice in a narrow way and then notice that and then notice thoughts being thoughts and then notice—and then just tune into those aspects of mind, even if they sucked at it, and then notice 3rd jhana aspects, things around them, you know what I mean, and build it up, and have them do that every sit, and then notice 4th jhana, and then have them tune into boundless space, even if they couldn’t do it, and then boundless consciousness, or whatever, notice those flux, and then notice mind vanish and then reappear, even in a ritualized way, even if they couldn’t do the thing. It almost makes me want to try. It would be interesting to try a top-down, like, start to finish in one sit, even if you can’t do it, vipassana for jhana 16 ñana kind of way of looking at it which would be kind of the same thing where you would have them pay attention to each of those aspects you know from that model point of view during every hour sit or every time you did it. It sounds like you do, where you have them start out, begin, and assume they were already there at the high level powering and you’re invited too at the end of the—you know what I mean? It’s a completely different way of looking at the thing that I never even thought of, because we mucked it out and the natural progression happens and you rise and the natural way it’s not like you’re even asked to attempt to look at things from a 4th jhana 11th ñana high equanimity point of view until you’re there. You know we deal with each stage and this is how to get to the next one kind of. You know what I mean? As you go, it’s very… You know what I mean?

KF: Theoretically what you say makes sense, but it sounds like in practice, it still takes years to achieve that level of mastery. You can imagine the highest level all you want to, and 20 years later you will probably actually manifest the highest level.

HS: Well traditionally it was conceived that it should be done in 100 days.

DI :That’s about right.

HS: Once one has laid out the basic groundwork, one has learned the techniques, one has acquired the necessary conceptual knowledges, one has acquired a view: intense work is ideally done in 100 days.

DI: How many hours a day, under what kind of conditions?

HS: From 10-16 hours/day.

DI: That’s about right.

HS: In complete isolation.

DI: Oh, interesting. Now do you meet with a teacher at all, or are you just doing it?

HS: You’re just doing it. Everything you need to know has been done, and the teacher is the textbook itself.

DI: Oh, so there’s a manual.

HS: There is a ritual manual. You keep referring to it. And the wording is really, really pointed.

DI: Nice. So it’s well worked out.

KF: How much time would you be expected to spend laying the groundwork?

HS: Several years, at least.

DI: Several years of an hour a day or something?

HS: Yeah. Five or six years if you’re talented, probably ten years if you’re thick.

DI: Huh.

KF: Which would be considered very fast from a vipassana point of view or a samatha point of view. So if somebody could go 10 years, start to finish, that would be exceptionally fast in our tradition, in the Burmese-Mahasi tradition.

DI: Are you talking stream-entry or—

KF: I’m talking arhatship.

DI: To arhatship, that’s cookin’. Yeah.

HS: I’m talking about an ideal scenario which obviously doesn’t work most of the time because of a variety of reasons.

DI: Life.

HS: Life and religion. Religion being the main obstacle.

DI: Even in Shingon you mean the religion.

HS: The Ferrari and the Armani approach to everything. The silk and the brocade.

DI: The scene.

VH: Kind of similar, I heard one of the Zen teachers I was taking a class with in Nairopa say something like, to get, it should take 4-5 years of intensive practice to get kensho-satori stream-entry. And then maybe 10 years after that to finish it up. And I thought that was interesting.

HS: It’s a similar time-frame. Well basically it’s doable.

DI and KF: Yeah.

HS: The idea remains, it’s doable.

KF: That’s really important. And really that’s what we’re trying to do here and normalize this, and say this isn’t some crazy—

HS: It’s not a myth.

KF: And it’s not a particularly big deal. It’s something doable for very ordinary people who are interested and willing to apply themselves. And maybe the reason it doesn’t happen more often is because practitioners don’t have access to someone who will look them in the eye and say, this is possible, and I know that in my own experience. Because to have someone who will look you in the eye and say that is so powerful and so empowering.

HS: Yeah. That’s the shattering thing. That’s the break in the shell of the egg. Someone has to come from the outside, right? You know the thing with the eggs, when the little chicks, the first one that gets out, the strongest one goes breaking the other eggs, because the other ones are not strong enough to break. But once the egg is broken from the outside, the weak chicks can come out.

DI: Yeah. Like I remember, I was on the road with Ken, he was this, you know, rocker dude, you know, who lived in my house with me, and was smart and a good guy and all these things, but not some unusual, immortal superstar, you know. And when he did it, I was like, oh. “Kenneth.” I apologize. My error. [laughs] And when he had done this, it was like, god, like, he’s smart, but he’s not, like, an immortal being. It was profound.

VH: He wasn’t yet.

DI: He wasn’t yet! [laughter] That’s funny. But what’s weird is, you know, like, what’s sort of strange, though, is like, because that’s better than when I think, like, when you meet someone who’s already done it, and you meet them in the context of having already done it, it makes it weird. You know what I mean? It’s hard to think of them as a normal person. Whereas I met you when you were just some hairsprayed rocker dude, you know, and it was a little, like, you know, who was living in my house at my same level essentially, so that was really normalized.

KF: It’s really hard to project a lot of nonsense or hero-worship on to somebody you—

DI: You’ve been on the road with.

KF: Just another guy.

DI: [laughs] Yeah.

KF: And that works both ways. It’s really hard not to project your mythical nonsense on someone that was introduced as—

HS: Who has it already done.

KF: Yes.

DI: That’s a real problem.

KF: Whatever. Grand High Mucky Muck


DI: Right. You know what I mean? [laughter] Yeah, it’s true.

VH: It makes sense. It wasn’t so true for me when I picked up Daniel’s work, because he was so clearly advertising that he was a Mucky Muck. [laughter] You were like, “I am a Mucky Muck!”

DI: Yeah.

VH: “And I just happened to figure this stuff out.”

DI: Actually, I just happened to follow instructions. I mean, I did what nobody else did. Like, why is it that all these psychologized, adult children at IMS—you know, which is what they are— you know, these highly regressed, whiny, sad, pathetic, scared, you know, creepy little people—why the hell have they not done it? They just didn’t bother to follow the friggin’ instructions. You know, for an hour they didn’t, much less a day or two or a week or two. You know what I mean? It’s true. You know, I remember when I was at MBMC, you know, the instructions were noting. You know, they were very simple. They said, you know, you note it like this, and you do that. And I remember, yeah, I was noting it, but I was thinking, and I was philosophizing, I was being a typical intellectual, psychologized Westerner. And then I remember I was sitting outside the room, and these little Malaysian peasants, who had gotten there about the same time I did, you know, she couldn’t have been more than 20, a little simple peasant who was describing her meditation practice or whatever and I was like, wait a second, she is clearly—

HS: Noting it.

DI: She is seeing stuff I clearly am not. And the teacher was like, “That woman! She sees cause and effect! ‘Cause she is noting!”


HS: She’s not just noting; she’s noticing!

DI: Yeah. She’s noticing, yeah, right, exactly. And I had been LAPPED! You know, nothing like that to rattle some arrogant, competitive urge. She’s following instructions, so maybe I should follow instructions. God, it’s so crazy, it just might work. You know, it was really profound to have this little experience. To have it normalized. You know, wait, she’s actually seeing stages. I mean, she’s actually achieving something.

KF: So the people on these retreats actually aren’t doing the insight practice. They’re not succeeding to the extent that they’re not doing the practice. I want to tell a Daniel story.

HS: It’s not that they’re doing it and it’s not working. They’re not doing it.

DI: Right.

HS: It’s not that they’re not doing it properly. They’re not doing it.

DI: Yeah.

KF: One of my favorite stories that Daniel tells is, he was on retreat, and they were having their group interview, and people were doing … the Western practitioners were doing what they often do, which is talk about their job and their boyfriend and their girlfriend—

DI: And their back pain.

KF: —Everything other than the phenomena they’re ostensibly there to observe. So this goes on for some time, and Daniel shouts out, “THE BREATH?? DID ANYONE NOTICE THE BREATH??”

DI: [laughter]

Unknown: In your interview?

DI: Yeah.

KF: And of course they all looked around, and there’s a little bit of a moment of recognition, and then they immediately went back to talking about—

DI: Yeah.

KF: —boyfriend and their back pain.

DI: It’s exasperating.

HS: Now remind us what Mullah said.

KF: This is a Mullah Nasreddin story, the famous Sufi wiseman-fool teaching figure. The Mullah goes to the marketplace one morning, and he says to the crowd assembled there, “Do you know what I’ve come here to tell you?” And they say, “No.” And he says, “Well, there’s no point in my telling you that,” and he goes home. The next day he comes back, and he says, “Do you know what I’ve come here to tell you?” and they think, well, yesterday we said no, but we really want to hear what he says to say, so we’ll tell him something else, and they said, “Yes.” And he says, “Well if you know, there’s no point in my telling you!”, and he went home. Third day he came back, and he said, “Do you know what I’ve come here to tell you?” and some of them were very clever and they said, “Half of us know, and half of us don’t know.” And the Mullah said, “Let those of you who know tell those of you who do not know.” [laughter] And he went home.

VH: But you know, it’s interesting…

HS: This is great.

VH: There is the Western, psychologized person. There’s a strand in Western culture of scientists and science, and they definitely know how to follow instructions.

DI: Until they go on retreat! I saw people with PhD’s. And these people know how to hoop-jump with the best of them. I mean, if you have a fucking PhD … you know what I mean?

VH: Except recently I talked to Joseph Goldstein, and I asked about this scientist retreat, and he said something interesting. He said, it was really weird, these scientists, because I gave them the instructions, and then they actually went and did it.

DI: [laughter] It was so strange! It had been 20 years, and no one had done it before! That’s the creepiest thing! Mind-boggling! If you’ve ever been to IMS—and I don’t mean to rag on the place, I got a lot out of sitting at IMS—but, I mean, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

VH: And some people go and do the practice, and it’s clear. A lot of others don’t.

DI: It’s 3-5 out of 100.

VH: Unless it’s a longer retreat, like the three-month retreat.

DI: Yeah, the three month, you’ve got more, yeah, obviously. But even there, you’re talking about a 100 day retreat, right? In the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition, where we come from, they assume, in a three-month retreat, in Burma, about 50% stream-enterers.

HS: Yeah. That’s the recipe. That’s 100 days.

DI: Yeah. 50% will get it. Which is, you know…

HS: You should get fruition in those 100 days.

DI: Yeah. And at IMS, they assume maybe, barely 10% if they’re lucky. Which is way better than it was when they were doing some other things. But anyway.

KF: And when you say stream-entry, is that talking about enlightenment? What does that mean?

DI: Yeah. So when I say “stream-entry”, meaning first stage of enlightenment, at least. Having cracked the thing, having entered the thing.

KF: The first of how many stages?

DI: Well, it depends on how you want to count them.

KF: In the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition.

DI: It would be four and then Buddhahood if you want, but they don’t assume that, so four.

HS: Stream-entry guarantees that the person knows the difference between doing it and getting it done.

DI: Yes.

VH: Going back to the original question.

HS: From that point on…

DI: Yeah. From that point on, they sort of know, and they sort of don’t. Because there are still a few big shifts. I mean, stream-entry is good, because now people cycle. Progress will continue now in a way it did not before. They are in the stream of the thing, and if they wish to continue—and perhaps even if they don’t—cycles and new insights will show up for them, even if they don’t even practice. They can walk away from the thing, but something is going to keep happening. Because they’ve thrown the ON switch. Now they’re on the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt may move at different speeds or whatever, but they are on the ride. You know what I mean? They’re in. They’ve started the engine in a way that it was not before. But there are still a few big shifts that they may not necessarily understand well. So the next big shift is how to leave the familiar territory of the strata or layers of mind they’ve understood the true nature of and get to the next stratum of mind which we’d call getting to second path, which is essentially learning to do a new cycle. And then the next hurdle, which may not be particularly obvious necessarily—I mean, the big shift is really to third path. I mean, that’s a big shift, because to Anagami, from a vipassana/Theravada point of view—because by that point, particularly if you know the maps and models, then you know your cycles, you know your pattern you go through, you know fruition, you know all these things, but still applying it—something they obviously emphasize more in Shingon it sounds like, when you describe that this is, you know, universe nature or this is just it, or this is luminous and aware, self-aware, or sensations-where-they-are-ness, which is the big shift at Anagami, which is different even from walking around understanding really pragmatically as somebody who’s first or second path. They don’t really see they much really when they’re walking around in that same way, and they may not know that that’s the next thing to look for, the broad, inclusive even I’d call it mind evenness of it’s not evenness but you know what I’m talking about.

KF: Question: So third path is a completely different animal than either first or second path.

DI: In a number of ways it is. I mean, yes, more cycles will sort of get you there, but in terms of really understanding it, it is really worth having a more Dzogchen-like—I mean, one of the flaws of Theravada is that it doesn’t really give a Dzogchen-like point of view and emphasis like it should. Because they sort of assume the same instructions will get you all the way, which they kind of will, but it’s not quite the same.

HS: So are you saying that each path has its own logic of answering the question, “What does getting it done mean?”

DI: Yes, it does, definitely. Yes. They are different. So for a stream-enterer, doing it—

HS: It’s like a dialectic.

DI: —Yes. It is. It’s very much. But for a stream-enterer, the focus of their practice, generally, at least in Theravada, is fruitions, completed/getting through cycles, getting through the Reobservation or Dark Night part of a cycle with relative ease, getting their hit, coming out, maybe mastering some formless jhanas, doing some samatha practice or something. You know, that’s the life of a stream-enterer. It’s pretty linear/circular in a pretty defined circle. It’s pretty straightforward. Whereas second path, there’s all these sort of fractals, and there’s complexity, and they’re kind of in their old territory versus new territory, there’s levels of mind showing up that they don’t understand that well, they may cross an extra Arising & Passing Away, and they can’t get a fruition, they feel confused and out of place, am I enlightened, I don’t know what I’m doing, or how do I get back, or how do I go forward. So it’s not like they can’t have difficulties. So but getting it done for them is getting the next path, going through the cycle again, learning how to get a fruition. Whereas for an Anagami, getting it done is beginning to see this is it in real time. You know, the sensations of this hand are just the sensations of this hand, and the cycles in terms of getting a fruition or thinking of the cycles as something that will get it done begins to fade. That it’s about the cycles or completing more cycles or somehow that begins to fade and they realize more and more, no, I have to see it here, I have to see it now. This space, this mind in all circumstances, in all phases of the practice, has to be it, or else what have I got? What the hell good is that? Second path starts to look not that great from the point of view of, wait a second, walking around, I better, my baseline, you know, regardless of what’s happening, better be at the level of where I think my understanding should be. You know what I mean? Like, often it isn’t for some people at second path. And realizing that this is it, sort of inhabiting this reality-ness, in a broad, more inclusive way, is obviously, that’s what Getting It Done or doing it is more like. And then, yeah...

KF: So let’s look at this difference between the first two paths and third path in the mechanical way. What are the mechanics of it? We talked about moving through these nexes of energy. This is the chakra model. In the first two paths, this is a very linear process. You could say you’re moving upward through the chakras, if you’re looking at your own body. You’re accessing and penetrating these chakras.

HS: Pushing through.

KF: Yes. And all of the sub-chakras that are involved here. At third path, something fundamentally different has to happen. Now, the third eye chakra - from the level of the third eye chakra - the entire package of nexes of energy that have been penetrated so far, must be integrated from that level. So it’s a very big job. Every nexus of energy has to tie to every other nexus of energy. This has to happen yet again in order to complete the circuit at the 4th path level. All of those nexes of energy have to be integrated from the level of the crown chakra. At that point, the energy flows freely through the body, comes out the top of the head, curves back around, comes to rest at the heart chakra.

HS: At the heart center.

KF: Yes, at the heart center. Completing the circuit permanently. And that’s what’s calling the Arhat. So contrary to myth, Arhat is not a perfect person, a sanitized being who will never have a negative emotion. It’s someone who has simply completed that circuit. The behavioral implications of that … are a question that would deserve another one of these sessions. [laughter] But generally speaking, whatever we heard would happen is wrong. Who knows what would happen? The fundamental characteristic, I would say, of the Arhat: he knows he’s done. He’s off this ride, this pull that has been torturing this person for, lo, these many years goes away. This is why, traditionally speaking, the Arhats walk up to the Buddha on the day of their enlightenment, and they say, “Done is what needed to be done.”

HS: The search is over.

KF: The search is over! There’s no more becoming in this or any future life. Because that’s what it feels like! You know you’re off of that ride, and what a relief.

DI: Yeah. I mean, from a sort of cynical point of view, I talk about this as Insight Disease. You catch Insight Disease essentially when you cross the Arising & Passing Away. I mean, that’s when you’re really inoculated with the virus. You know what I mean? And when you get stream-entry, you’re really screwed. Know what I mean? The only thing that cures that and really cures that in that particular way and that particular disease is doing THAT. So from the end point of view, getting Arhatship or Siddha or whatever—THAT is what cures the Insight Disease that started all those many years ago when some poor sonuvabitch crossed the Arising & Passing Away. You know, second vipassana jhana, the point of no return.

HS: Not knowing what he’s getting into.

DI: Exactly. This poor idiot. This poor, unsuspecting...

HS: Moron.

DI: Yeah, moron.

KF: And it’s such a joke, because he doesn’t know what he wants. He thinks that he wants to become a sanitized being, but what he really wants and what he’s really going to find out—

HS: It’s what he’s after.

KF: —What he really is going to find out on the day that he finds it out is that what he wanted was to be done with it.

DI: Yeah.

KF: He wanted to be rid of Insight Disease.

DI: Yeah.

KF: And that can happen. And that is a very realistic goal.

HS: Amen. Yeah.

DI: Yeah. So doing it and getting it done, from that point of view, is finally seeing through the last knot of perception. The last subtle distortion of dualistic misinterpretation or missynchronization of thought processes. I mean, I really think of it like a missynchronization. It’s almost like something is out of phase in a habitual way. It just keeps it slightly out of the purview of comprehending awareness. Like, it’s like a phase issue.

HS: One half of experience keeps self-referencing.

DI: Yes. Yeah. But it’s shifting. I mean, the problem is, it’s so unbelievably malleable. It can shift to an astounding range of patterns. But yeah, it’s almost like there’s a missynchronization of the thing. Something is running slightly out of phase in a slightly jarring way that yet is very compelling until you finally are able to just see things in a complete and penetrating way.

VH: So just to bring up a question around that, which is that you were talking about the Anagami at third path needing to see that they’re not gonna find this in the cycles.

DI: Which is not entirely true. Because it’s not like more cycles don’t help. Somehow they do. Going up and down those cycles do do something. But in the end, they do actually become tired of that. Because those don’t stop doing for them what they did before and become so frustrating at least from the, you know, it’s sort of a Theravada insight of, I don’t know if the Shingon people quite experience it, but to have cycled so many times and yet still feel as though there’s something to do, to have gone up and down those territories so many times and go, what the frak, why in the world do I—

VH: What the fractal?

DI: What the fractal, exactly. Seriously, it’s like that. And, you know, so that last thing, to finally go, no, I need something that is not bound up in these cycles. I need something that is not bound up in anything. I need something that is as fundamental, the simplest thing as you call it, and yet, you know, the most fundamental thing, I have to be able to understand that in a way that is there regardless of essentially what’s happening. It’s something that was always true. If you see what I mean.

KF: So at that point—

DI: That’s getting it done. From that level.

KF: So at the point of Anagami or third path, it’s possible to be the eye of the hurricane, where all of this tail-chasing nonsense is going on around. That isn’t you. All of these cycles that are going on around are not you. That’s the hurricane. And somehow there’s this perspective from the eye.

VH: And what’s striking me now, perhaps because I have to deal with this territory—

DI: Right.

VH: I can’t help but think of it in terms of cycles. Maybe it’s my geeky nature. Maybe, as you’ve pointed out, it’s part of the, it’s basically—

DI: That’s part of the phase. So that second to third path transition territory, and even somewhat at, particularly early-to-mid-third path, it is really hard to not think in terms of cycles, because that’s what worked before.

KF: That’s your reality.

DI: That’s also your reality, and that’s where you are. And that’s what worked. It worked before, so why won’t it work some more? It’s not like it’s that hard to cycle. You know how to cycle. That’s comfortable. You can figure out how to shift from old territory to new territory. You can do all that. So that’s what you know. And that’s what’s worked. So it only makes sense from that point of view to keep doing it and continue to do it more.

VH: Yes. And I can’t help but notice that the description of the first cycle and the experience of the first cycle seems to hint at—it’s like a microscopic description of the whole path.

DI: Yes.

VH: And somehow there’s something profound in that, in that the same lessons get learned again at larger levels.

DI: Yes. And wider and wider.

KF: But it’s not an exact match, and it would be misleading to think too much about that.

DI: That’s true.

KF: That pattern is apparent. But I don’t know what the implications are. I wouldn’t...

VH: I guess for me the implication right now is that, because I’ve seen and gone through these patterns on so many levels, I can trust if the larger thing is an impersonal pattern, that I can trust the process. I guess that’s kind of the significance I put in. This process is trustworthy, and I can give myself to it, and it will take care of itself.

KF: You’re on to it. Because in the third path, what is necessary is to let it happen. It’s not so much about doing it as it is about allowing it in the third jhana and the third path.

DI: Because there’s this weird connection between the jhanas and the paths. There’s no question. Because you could only be the eye of the hurricane if there was a hurricane. And that’s the third jhana problem.

KF: The third vipassana jhana.

DI: Third vipassana jhana or the dark night stage. Where there’s this chaotic stuff around, the periphery, you know, which is the width, it’s similar to the, you’ve got the periphery, which is what’s so interesting about third path. You’ve sort of got the periphery, but it hasn’t hit all the way through to the center yet.

KF: You’re a donut.

DI: Yeah, you’re a donut.

VH: Yeah, and here’s the question, because in the third vipassana jhana, it’s like, you have to kind of intentionally expand and the tension and try to hold the complexity of it, and I feel that way with perceiving emptiness. It’s kind of a similar thing. It takes attention to try to tune in to this quality of reality.

DI: Right.

VH: And that’s why it feels funky. Because it’s like, why does it take attention to see this? And in my, like, somehow, am I attention?

DI: Right.

VH: Like, what’s happening such that, like, this field of attention narrows and expands, and who’s doing that, and why does it feel like something has to happen before I can see this?

DI: Except what’s interesting is that the more the center point patterns, the subject patterns, which are not subject patterns but seem to be subject patterns, that are through the core, through the back of your head, through the side of your neck, through your eye sensations, through the sensations of intention, through the memories, through consciousness echoes, the little mental impressions of things—the more these central patterns get seen as they are, the more the emptiness of this is obvious. That’s the paradox. So people think, oh, I’ll look at this, and I’ll see emptiness. It’s not that that’s wrong, but emptiness becomes more obvious the more—

VH: So you’re saying the head is more like the center of the donut?

DI: Right. The head is the center of the donut, and you have to see through the center. You have to see all the sensations in the center the same way you see the periphery. And so that’s the trick. Because the central pattern, these core patterns—expectation, anticipation, mapping, wondering, doubting, fearing, gaming the system, all the stuff that was a hard thing to crack in High Equanimity, you know, to get from High Equanimity to stream-entry—it’s similar to that, except it’s even slightly more … more. Still, that basic concept of seeing these central patterns through the back, through the spine, through the neck, through the head, through this, what appears to be this observing, doing, central apparatus, you know, literally you can almost take it on at that kind of cave, stupid level and get something out of it. I’m not saying it’s the whole thing, but it’s not bad advice. Because the more you see that as being empty, the more the emptiness of this is obvious, because when this happens and when that happens, and that’s seen in the same way, all of a sudden the playing field is level, and it’s not a question of empty or not empty, it’s just is-ness. Do you see what I mean?

KF: You seem to be suggesting that when you’re the donut, through an act of will, you’d be able to see the center of the donut. I don’t think that’s what you’re suggesting, and I don’t think that’s a productive approach. If you can’t see it, you can’t see it. So straining to find it isn’t going to accomplish anything. Trusting in the process, on the other hand, is going to be the whole game. You have a tremendous amount of momentum, and it could be argued that all that’s needed at that point is to concentrate. Because you’re essentially a master of vipassana if you’ve gotten that far. You’re going to do vipassana at whatever level of mind you can access. Since we know there are two things necessary—we have to access the stratum of mind, and you have to penetrate it—if you’re not penetrating it at that high level, you’re probably not accessing it. So you could make the argument that what you really need to do is to concentrate your behind off. You might want to concentrate on samatha practice, kasina practice where you stare at a disc and become very concentrated and trust that you will penetrate that object. I don’t know this, because we don’t have a large enough sample size. We don’t have the data. But it’s not credible to me that a person working toward third path could get lost in jhana. I can’t believe that you could access jhana without penetrating it.

VH: Third path or fourth path?

KF: Working toward third path. Either way.

TG: Is there a topic here? I walked in in the middle of this. Is there a … topic?

HS: Yeah. We started by framing the whole thing, what could be the difference between doing it and getting it done. That was the initial ground question. Because obviously many people are doing, but not many are getting it done, you know? So what would be the crucial point or the vital point of, which makes the distinction…

TG: I’ve got a couple points.

HS: Sincerely doing it and actually getting it done. Just to brief you: as we were going along, we found out after exploring several explanations of getting it done, there are actually four logics of answering this question, also known as four paths. And at each path is an answer to this question in a slightly different but significantly different way. And that’s where we were returning, to the third path, the Anagami, and having some specific sub-questions and going into the details.

TG: I actually want to add a couple points in there, in reverse order.

HS: Sure.

TG: The most recent one, Vince, is that, while sitting in that chair a couple hours ago, I got my first taste of intentionally entering the formless jhanas. And it was reproducible. I came out of them and did them again in order, and when I was laying in bed just now, I did them again. So yeah, Kenneth was telling me afterward about the factors of mastery of them. I haven’t quite been working on that yet. I’m just working on going in and coming out. I just want to agree with these guys over here that there’s no risk of getting lost in them.

VH: Yeah, my concern is not risk of getting lost.

DI: Kenneth, Vince and I had a conversation recently where he said, yeah, he was going to play with that on his next retreat or something.

KF: For the sake of the recording: you’re talking about doing pure samatha practice. Maybe a kasina object.

VH: Whatever object seems useful.

DI: Because you were going to talk to Jack.

VH: Yeah, I was gonna say, Jack, I want to mess around with samatha on this retreat. I think it would be useful.

HS: “I want to pump up that skill.”

VH: And he’s suggested it before.

HS: Sure. It’s a useful skill.

VH: Yeah, so, it seems valuable. I messed with samatha quite a bit prior to stream-entry, and part of the reason was because I was in the dark night, and it was so unpleasant.

KF: You wanted the juice.

VH: Yeah. And I could drop into the fourth jhana, just hang out there. And I was kinda spacing out though, tired. But it was still much more pleasant than the crazy, wacky, vibratory—

KF: But there’s nothing wrong with having a pleasant experience while you’re doing this process. There is some bizarre semblance of Protestant guilt within Burmese/Mahasi vipassana, where they seem to be encouraging us to feel guilty about having a good time while you do it. And that really has nothing to do with it. Whether you have a good time or a bad time, if you access the stratum of mind and penetrate, you’ve done the job. So you may as well have the lubrication of jhana while you’re doing it.

VH: That makes sense.

TG: Okay, so, point number two. Going in reverse order. Seeing the sensations that make up the central core processes and how you can’t really see the blind middle of the donut. Yeah. I don’t know, man. My experience—which is bare—shows me that it doesn’t really matter what I do, as long as I’m doing something. I’m gonna get from the donut to clear-all-around.

VH: Yeah. I’m talking about it … I think I’m talking about it at a different …

TG: [inaudible]

VH: Well that’s what I’m saying. They’re microcosm and macrocosm.

DI: He’s talking about Anagami and then Arhat.

VH: Yeah.

DI: It’s related to the jhanas, but there are some differences. I mean, it’s not, because, from a stream-enterer point of view, it looks very linear. It looks relatively linear. It does get more complicated. And it’s simple from a certain point of view, but it does get more complex. These fractals get vast. The subtleties and the strata of mind get subtle and complicated. It is an organic process. It does take time to unfold. And there are a lot of layers. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t a lot of layers. And so, you know, again, it’s not like there’s necessarily a perfect correlation between how to get from, you know, third vipassana jhana to fourth vipassana jhana in stream-entry terms, versus how to get to Anagami and then to Arhatship in, you know, big path terms. Because there are correlations, but it is more complicated than that when you’re going through it, because there is, again and again and again and again, lots of different things—

HS: Comparing to this level of things becoming quite complex. The founder of the Shingon school in Japan, Kukai, wrote, the world of yoga is immeasurable and vast, done with all the images, done with all achievements, let emptiness be your true home. I think that refers to the simplicity of the next stage. But how do you get there actually?

DI: You mean Arhatship.

HS: Yeah. How do you really get there? That’s not Arhatship. That’s the path of Arhatship.

DI: How do you get that’s what you’re looking for?

HS: No no. How do you get done with the vast, fractal nature of the Anagami stage.

DI: Eventually … well, I can give you some theory. Theory number one is that the fractal is not infinite.

HS: Okay.

DI: Okay, so even if you assume fractal, and you assume that it gets more complex as you get there, and there are more stages, and strata, and subtle things—

HS: But you could complexify forever.

DI: No. Okay, so the limited fractal theory says that, eventually, the fractal will end, and you will see it. Eventually the fractal ends. The process will complete itself. Which is the limited—there are only so many strata of mind you can see. There are only so many cycles you can go through, and eventually you will see the last set of patterns that are causing subject-object duality delusion that are confusing the mind in that way, that are being misinterpreted in that way. Eventually, you will see all the levels. How many cycles exactly to do that, it’s not easy to map. Because from the mapping, cyclical, progressive, you know, ñana/jhana, how many paths, how many sub-cycles, how many sub-sub-cycles—it’s a mess. So I can’t give you a number. But I can definitely say there is a limited fractal theory. It’s complicated, but it’s not infinite. So that’s the first thing. You know what I mean? There are only so many strata. If you see the strata, you will see the thing. You know what I mean? So then the next sort of core point that is more basic than the limited fractal model, which is still pretty complicated, would be, you just have to see sensate reality clearly enough, and that is just a question of seeing reality clearly enough. And that sounds stupid, but that is it. You know, and that’s sort of a basic standard which is an easy standard, because it means, if you’re not seeing reality clearly enough, then you simply know you have to see it more clearly. Because from that point of view, you have a clear standard, your task, and that actually is just a question of dedicating oneself to that task. Which is sort of, when we went back to motivation, it can be done, and then it can be done by following instructions … guidelines. The Anagami has a simple task. They simply have to see it clearly enough to get the flip. And then if they’re not seeing it clearly enough, they need to see it more completely and more conclusively and more as it actually is. But you know, it’s sort of moronically stupid, but it’s practical, because it, you know …

KF: Daniel, I’d like to tie in what you just said, the second theory, which can be seen as a method—tie that in with something Hokai said earlier. It had to do with, in my words, knowing “it knows itself”, what I call the No Dog. Consciousness takes consciousness as objects. And I think of one of the ten labors of Hercules, where he was, his task was to clean the muck from the Aegean Stables. So the horses were depositing the muck in the stables faster than he could shovel it.

HS: In enormous quantities.

DI: I’ve been corrected on this, by the way. It turns out it was cows, not horses, Someone got picky about this, by the way. But never mind.


DI: Apparently it was cows.


KF: Because cows deposit more muck—

DI: Right.

KF: —than horses. And even being Hercules, the strongest man, he couldn’t get it out fast enough. So he went about it in a different way. He diverted a stream through the stables, and the muck was continuously cleaned out, even as fast as the cows could dump it. So rather than think of this—we’ve been talking about this linear model: settin’ em up and knockin’ em down. Every single stratum and sub-stratum of mind in this very complex, linear model, had to be accessed and penetrated. There are too many. We can’t do that. So we have to divert the stream through the stable. Consciousness takes consciousness as object, and this thing takes care of it. I think you used those very words. This thing takes care of itself. And this is very explicit in what Hokai described earlier.

DI: But it’s not like the basic meditation skills of samatha and vipassana, of accessing layers and perceiving them clearly, don’t still apply. You know. They still apply. Which, if you’re not seeing it clearly enough, you just simply need to up the stakes. What’s most interesting, to me, about the notion of the dharma was that I could fearlessly pour my strength into the thing, and the worst thing that was going to happen, as long as I was looking at things as they were, or doing something very skillful—the worst thing that was going to happen was that it was gonna work. You know? What’s interesting is, I’m not quite sure, somewhere in that process between MBMC and talking to you in the desert, Kenneth, I was essentially given license to just go for it. Which is an interesting point of view. To just, like you were talking about, you have to have all your intention, Tarin. I remember, you were talking about, you have to have all your goal and intention stuff lined up on that. You know what I mean? And know that that’s okay and that’s what it takes. Know what I mean? When your goal and intention stuff lines up on that as target, that’s powerful. As we all know here, that’s powerful. And when you feel like, yeah, it’s okay, reality can take it if I look at it really hard, or if I really do the practice clearly, or if I really fine-tune the thing, we all have more power than we think we do. We can all access more insight and concentration and understanding power than we think we have. A lot more. You know what I mean? So in terms of doing it or getting it done, one of those big things is that sense of, not only can I do this, but it’s okay for me to do this, and I am fully justified in mobilizing the force of my mind on that task to follow all that instruction—yeah! I think that makes a big difference between doing it and getting it done, is that sort of galvanized, balls-to-the-wall—ARRRG!


HS: The mobilization.

DI: Yeah. Of resources.

HS: The mobilization.

KF: Yeah.

DI: You wanted to say something…

TG: And this ties into my third point, in reverse order, which is that, despite my own map fascination and cycle fascination, I’ve never been fully convinced that what I was looking for would be found in the cycles at any point, and I’m much less convinced by that now. In fact, what I was looking for before I knew anything about the maps or cycles is much closer to what I’m looking for now. And that has a lot more to do with what Kenneth is calling No Dog and with his metaphor of clearing out the stables than any sense of linear progression. And while I have a personal appreciation of the kind of power that finishing the path can bring, or going through whatever training vipassana/samatha—my interest is not really in developing that at this point. It’s in regardless of what path I am or am not on, is just doing what it seems needs to be directly in immediately as in now done on the insight front.

KF: Yes. And, Tarin, I think, again, we don’t have enough data to come to definitive conclusions, but I think it’s reasonable to believe, based on what I’ve seen, and based on what I’ve read from other people who had done this, that, at any point after the first Arising & Passing Away, which is the first opening, the first spiritual opening—at any point after that, if you can access the No Dog, if consciousness can take itself as object, or as they say in Dzogchen, “turn the light around,” that this light of awareness that is always looking out at phenomena, whatever they may be, even if it’s the changing phenomena of mind and body, that light’s looking out. When that light turns around and takes itself as object, the gig is up. There’s no more foolin’. There aren’t two things. It sees it, consciousness sees itself, takes itself as object, and as J. Krishnamurti said, the observer and the observed are one. Now, this is not the simplest thing. This is the second to the simplest thing. But that’s okay. This is, as Ramana [Maharshi] said, the stick that stirs the fire and is eventually consumed by it—you can’t go wrong with this practice. Once the light of awareness turns around and takes itself as object, that’s all you have to do. You can do just that, and the rest of it takes care of itself.

TS: On the insight front, this is the obvious thing.

KF: It’s never too early to do that.

TS: Yeah. Agreed.

VH: Is that agreed? I dunno. I’ve heard some contention around this point, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

DI: It’s hard to fault the directness of that pointing. ‘Cause it’s very direct, and direct is good. I like direct. The counterargument would be that you’re talking to some people who, for better or for worse, did go through the linear progression, did understand that, having gone through the linear progression, and can talk about it because they went through the linear progression. So the question is: Is it just that we thought we were supposed to go through a linear progression, we were looking for linear things, we didn’t have a more immediate practice or focus, we weren’t really quite trained in that way, in that specific way, it’s not that it wasn’t said, but it wasn’t emphasized or put in quite that way, and consequently we sort of wandered all over the place and did all these things and went through all these fancy stages and then by the way we got something we could have done long before, or is it, again, we have a limited data set, as Kenneth well points out? Is it that certain strata of mind only come into being in that way once you’ve done the work? You know, and can you short-circuit the thing and go straight to that and really go straight to that in the way we’re talking about it in that full-on way without having gone through the other stuff? Or, would the attempt to short circuit it also bring up the other stuff, perhaps with a slightly different feel or perhaps personal understanding of what was going on?

KF: That last point I think is particularly relevant, because I suspect that’s the case. I suspect that if you divert the stream through the stables, this other thing does happen. That all the strata of mind are accessed and penetrated even if you’re not consciously aware that’s going on.

TG: I think that’s a possibility. I think I came looking for stream-entry because I thought I needed the power. I just needed the horsepower.

DI: You also needed to get out of the first dark night.

TG: Yeah.

DI: I mean, duh. [laughs] It’s important. It helps.

TG: The first dark night faded somewhat after my last retreat, prior to this last one, to the point where I was more-or-less okay if I never got out.

KF: That’s the Equanimity ñana.

DI: That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t slide back.

TG: Yeah, yeah. But … my friend Jill, for example, is pretty okay even if she never gets out, and that’s a constant thing. She’s worn down that hill enough.

DI: Yeah, there ya go.

TG: I wanted to get out of the dark night, but I also had my eye set on better things. I wanted the horsepower. I had a sense, and from reading your book, your description of how your concentration just really went up—

DI: Which is true.

TG: —Which is true. Whether it’s the process, like whether it’s the sub-stratum change/mechanical process that completing the cycle—whether it’s that that frees up the power, or whether it’s that sense of license you were talking about—

DI: No, it switched on things that were not switched on before. I really think so.

TG: But here’s the thing. For me, that license didn’t fully come until after I finished this retreat. So, you know, it could be argued that finishing the retreat is what switched the license on. Regardless—

DI: That’s what I’d say.

KF: For the purposes of the tape, “finishing the retreat” is Tarin’s euphemism for having attained first path.

DI: Stream-entry, yeah.

VH: Which, going back to the escape velocity, that’s how I always defined escape velocity.

DI: Yeah.

VH: As stream-entry.

DI: Yeah.

VH: And the way you always—Daniel—described it to me in that the thing is going to do itself at that point.

DI: Yeah.

HS: I was just thinking that, coming back to the metaphor of an ordinary, conditioned, confused state being a state in which more than 90% of resources of awareness and noticing and recognizing and remembering are being allocated to ignore what’s happening.

DI: Yeah.

HS: We could say that with each cycle, 25% can never be allocated again to ignoring.

DI: Bill’s model. That’s exactly what Bill said.

KF: Bill Hamilton, my mentor and—

HS: So we could say that, with two cycles, 50% is gone. The balance is dropped on the—

VH: Which is sometimes why I call the second path what you’re calling—

HS: Yeah.

VH: —Anagami.

HS: With the second path—if we would stretch it linearly, I’m sure it doesn’t work that way in every case.

KF: Well, it’s simplistic but it’s a nice—

HS: —It’s a nice picture, you know? With the second path, and with the second fruition, you’re into the 51%.

DI: Yeah.

HS: Sort of.

DI: Yeah, although Anagami is a big shift. Anagami is a BIG shift. To really be seeing it and walking around in it with that—yeah, you think you’re it, and you think you’re not it, and yeah there’s that subtle center stuff, that’s a big one. I could—

[Daniel and Kenneth talking at same time]

HS: Are you talking about transcending Anagami?

DI: No. How would we allocate the percentages? Stream-entry is maybe like, I dunno, 10-15%. It’s way better than 0%. But it’s like, you know, maybe it’s, and I would say second path is not a huge amount more, you know, 10% or something, maybe 15%, I dunno, something more. I mean, I didn’t notice a big difference walking around. I didn’t notice, I mean, some changes, some things got dropped , my mind wasn’t doing certain things, some things were perceived, yeah, there were some changes, but it wasn’t like … When I really saw Anagami, and I really saw Anagami well, that was a HUGE shift. You know, that got me another 60%. And when I got to really late Anagami, where I kept thinking I saw it, you know, I was 95% there. I was close.

VH: So Anagami territory really takes up a pretty large—

DI: It takes up a big swath. I think Kenneth would agree. I think it’s a big step, at least in the Theravada model.

KF: It’s a quantum leap—

DI: It is.

KF: —from second path.

DI: It’s a whole different order.

TG: How much consciousness taking itself were you doing?

DI: Well, it depends what you mean by “consciousness”. So if by “consciousness” you mean phenomena.

KF: Or consciousness taking itself as object.

DI: Yeah. So was I doing that? Well, it depends what you mean. I did an extremely systematic look through the center. I did an extremely systematic—because I had this basic assumption, you know, it’s very sorta of a Theravada, ñana, cave stupid, simple approach, you know, but that was my model, so that’s what I had to work with, where I just decided to go and debunk every pattern of sensation there was and become fluent in seeing it as it was in terms of three characteristics, in terms of, but one of those important characteristics is emptiness or no-self, that it’s, you know, in the seeing is just the seen, and that was one of those phrases that I really liked, in the seeing just the seen, in the hearing just the heard, in the thinking just the thought, not something separate. That was just the thing. I mean, that was one of my core phrases I kept going back to and going that is deep and profound. That is glorious. I have to learn how to see that. And I really took as a conscious study, like, an application of energy, the intention, memory, and I would take those things systematically during my years as an Anagami in medical school, you know, when I would practice, I would just take those things on and just look through the center and look through the center and look at the patterns that seem to be subject, look at the patterns that seem to be awareness, looked at the patterns that seemed to be me, which is sort of a very low-brow, Theravada-y kinda way of turning consciousness to itself.

TG: When you have the high enough concentration, it’s the same thing.

DI: YES! Right. So on that last retreat, when I went for perfect, 360, inclusive concentration, because when you turn consciousness to itself, there are two ways to think about that. You can think about sort of not-existent subject or light of awareness or something, you can think about some of what I’ll call an abstracted center point, or a pure center point, or a nothingness center point, which is almost like what Hokai was talking about, or an infinitely small center point in the center of the chest that is the flipside of boundless space. There’s two ways to think of subject turning to itself, if you’ll allow me to perhaps slightly alter your metaphor or instruction and I apologize if I’m doing so, Kenneth. But you can think of it in two ways. You can think of, if this is awareness, in the same way that all this is awareness, in the same way that head is awareness, eyes are awareness, thought is awareness, consciousness is awareness, consciousness turning to itself, light of awareness turning to itself—if this is the light in the same way that this is the light, then taking on all phenomena as object evenly and completely is the same as consciousness turning to itself at that level. And that was the level I was interested in. So you could say, yes, if you take universe as the same as manifest awareness, simply as the same.

HS: Very good.

DI: If you take that as the same, then that’s the same thing, but, you know, I was trying to debunk the localization of consciousness in a point or an area or a center or a something in a very strategic, very focused way by allowing no sensation to arise that wasn’t perceived as it was, on its own terms, in a complete way. And so that’s the level of perfection of awareness and concentration that simultaneous access of strata and penetration fused to the point of, I kept remembering Bill Hamilton’s obsession with Trongyam Trungpa’s vadra samadhi, you know, the diamond-like samadhi that cuts to the truth of things. I remember he used to be obsessed by that at the end, you know, some of the last times I talked to him, you know, we would talk about vadra samadhi, and I was like, okay, let’s see how close I can get. You know, so, from that point of view, yes, I took on, I turned attention to consciousness itself, but I wasn’t turning it to, I wasn’t conceiving it as small, I was conceiving it as the universe.

KF: I have to completely endorse that.

DI: Yeah.

KF: That makes perfect sense to me. Although that’s not the practice that I do now, as it happens, that is the practice I was doing in 2004 when I was walking under the pepper tree in New Mexico and completed the circuit.

DI: Yeah.

KF: And completed the circuit for the final time. That’s the practice I was doing.

TG: To me that’s the same one. It just happens to be which one happens to be more appropriate at this very moment. Whether it’s, you know, seeing, like, who is this that is asking? Who is this that is knowing? Or it’s going through each and every sensation that comes up, whether out there or in here, whether periphery or core.

DI: It’s the same, sure. Those are the same.

TG: It’s a different sort of beginning. It’s a different emphasis. It’s a different way of turning. But I don’t have a particular prejudice for or against one or the other. Because I recognize them both to be doing the same thing.

DI: I was essentially going for a technique-less technique. I mean, I wasn’t looking for three characteristics. Go ahead.

HS: It seems that the key is the totality of one’s application.

All: Yes.

DI: I was going for total application. 100% application.

HS: For example, in the Shingon approach, we would approach awareness by giving it a symbolic form. We would visualize a deity who is the embodiment of awareness. Alright? So you are watching, and you are being watched. Of course, the visualized deity is your own awareness. So basically your awareness is watching your awareness. And that’s the first stage, corresponding roughly to samatha. Okay? Once you stabilize the visualized form, you can dissolve it. And what do you do next? Every sound you hear is the voice of the deity, the manifestation of your awareness. Every form you see is the body of the deity, a gesture of the deity, a manifestation of your awareness. Every thought that comes along is the thinking of the deity—

DI: Totality. Perfect.

HS: —the manifestation of your awareness, which again guides you into paying attention to everything.

DI: It’s the same thing.

HS: As if you were paying attention to your own awareness.

DI: Right. Just with a Vajrayana twist.

HS: Yeah.

KF: So to say it again, the common denominator between these various things we’ve described is the totality.

HS: The totality of application.

KF: Shortly before, I was just talking about walking under the pepper tree in New Mexico. Several days before this, I had been reading a book about Bankei, the Japanese Zen master, and I was very struck by something I read there. He advised his students to—I believe he said “dwell in Buddha mind”. He said, try dwelling in Buddha mind for thirty days. “I believe you will find after thirty days that you can scarcely live without it.”

DI: [laughs]

VH: That’s kind of like…

HS: It’s like eating at McDonald’s for thirty days.

DI: That’s hilarious! Super Size Me! Super Buddha Me!

KF: It really struck me! And I thought, you know, I’m pretty sure I know what he means by dwelling in Buddha mind. So I did that, and on about the fifth day, that whole thing unraveled. This problem I had … you called it …

DI: Insight Disease.

KF: Insight Disease. It went away that day and has not returned. This is now 2009.

HS: Coming back to how the Japanese understand Buddha, to mean everything, it’s the Everything Mind.

KF: Yes.

TG: Though I’m pretty sure I understand what that means, I heavily endorse this. Heavily. Heavily. That’s how I got path, for example. That sort of license to just go with what you know and just go with it.

HS: To go for it.

TG: Just go for it. That’s why I wanna sort of talk away from the cycle model a little bit. Because, you know, I’m a lowly stream-enterer. You know. Okay? I know what I’m going for. I don’t have to do more paths in order to get this done. If the paths happen along the way, they happen. If they don’t, then we’ve got new data.

KF: Very nice. I support it.

DI: Just to clarify, when say “get this done”, I assume you’re talking about Richard’s Actual Freedom model.

TG: No. I’m talking about your Insight Disease.

DI: Oh. You mean to be done with Insight Disease.

TG: Yeah.

DI: Yeah. To be done with Insight Disease, yeah, I mean, you know, there’s definitely lots of ways to conceptualize and thus frame one’s practice and thus direct one’s attention and intention, which is powerful. I mean, to simply be done and to think of oneself as being done now and manifesting being done now does have a, if that’s what you’re talking about, or to manifest the doneness of this simply now does, if you’re conceiving of something like that, does have a beautifully aesthetically pleasing and philosophically pleasing immediacy to it. The only question that might arise would be (a) is that going to be done by ignoring such things as those strata of mind that may not be penetrated giving some validity to the many strata of mind model? And (b) would it be done at the level of delusional sort of scripting oneself into being done for the sake of being done and assuming you’re done because you feel I should be done now and this is it kind of model and thus settling for the chips and salsa rather than eating the big burrito. You know.

KF: Daniel, I would suggest that it would be a moot point. If the Dharma Disease, if the Insight Disease goes away, it goes away. And how you conceive of that is really irrelevant.

TG: Yeah. Agreed. With regard to penetrating the sub-strata, I think any approach that we’ve mentioned so far does its job of doing that, whether you’re looking at, you know, the foreground, or you’re asking “Who am I?” which sort of—

DI: That’s a good traditional question.

TG: —uproots the background.

VH: That’s got a no-self—

DI: It’s no-self.

VH: —inquiry that’s straight to the point.

TG: And regarding the Actual Freedom stuff, yeah, I’ll do that along the way, or I’ll do that afterwards. I dunno. That, essentially, that’s not the insight problem. That’s taking care of, you know, this body and that body and everybody. If you want to put it in Buddhist terms, that’s sila.

KF: Yes. It’s karma-sila. I feel like we’re gonna have to wrap this pretty soon, because I’m getting very tired, but there’s one thing I’d like to touch upon before we close. We’ve talked about license. And earlier, Tarin and I talked about permission. Giving yourself permission to be enlightened wouldn’t be possible to overestimate how important that is.

DI: Or even to concentrate. Or even to engage energy.

KF: Right. I agree. But I really wanna go, take this all the way to the end. At some point, in order to be done with the Insight Disease, you’re gonna have to say, I give myself permission to be with this! The lack of permission can hold you up for decades, I believe. And it might be a nice idea to reflect on. For anyone infected with this pernicious disease, to consciously reflect upon this. Have I suffered enough? Have I suffered enough? Have I done enough work? Have I gained the credibility of all my peers? And then ask yourself: Do I care? Or do I really want to be done? If I really want to be done, I’m going to have to give myself permission. And it might not happen in one step. Most people are going to reflect upon this for some time.

HS: That would be a process.

KF: And they’re going to realize, no, I have not given myself permission.

HS: “I don’t know how to do it. I have to learn this.”

TG: Yeah. Agreed. This is very important. It’s been part of my process. I mean, not consciously. I didn’t know that’s what I wasn’t doing. Not giving myself permission. But once you do, you go, oh! I wasn’t doing that.

DI: Yeah. Like you were a completely different practitioner on this retreat versus the last one. Really. I mean, because you hit this one saying, “I’m going to do it. I know how to do it.” That’s what you said. Which is very different from the previous one, which was, “Oh Daniel! Tell me how to do this.” You know what I mean? Which was really different. And it is a different level. Where, you know, I was like, okay, go up to your room, I’ll see you every few days, maybe I’ll say something, you know. You were definitely a whole different animal in terms of your confidence and your sense of applying your own power and the hilarious, “I’m not going to be the only unenlightened guy at this party! I’m gonna friggin’ get stream-entry before these dudes show up!”

VH: It reminds me of that story of Ananda who—

DI: —Yeah! The only—

TG: I was ready to fly into that room.

VH: That’s cool.

DI: Seriously.

VH: You should have these gatherings more often while people are here meditating.

DI: That way you’re not the only unenlightened shmuck in the room. No, seriously. When you said that, that was funny as hell, because that’s my, “I’m on page 37, now I need to get to page 38...”

VH: It’s like the 20 year old peasant at MBMC.

DI: Right! It’s the same kind of thing. Like, ah, damn!

VH: Competitive enlightenment.

DI: Well, I mean, it’s not crazy. That’s not crazy, because that is motivating. And motivation is critical. I really think that one of the big problems with psychologized, Western dharma, is they don’t feel comfortable with their dark emotions, period. They think they shouldn’t have them and they should work through them, and thus, they can’t utilize that power. You know what I mean? I mean, truth be told, I ran on anger! And just sort of a viciousness. Really about 70% of the time.

HS: And a touch of ambition.

DI: And ambition! And some narcissism. And delusions of grandeur. And reckless abandon to the process. And a sort of a weird that I really had come to the conclusion that somehow, no matter what damage I did to myself in this process was going to be okay. Which is sort of ambitious and cruel. I mean, that I could hurt myself and I’d be fine, which gave me a tolerance for my own pain. I mean, that’s weird, but it’s true. You know what I mean? Like, you know, I mean, I was, for some reason, had no problems. Fear. I was terrified of residency. Literally my last retreat, when I finally got Arhatship, because I remember my dad, this is powerful stuff, I remember my dad going through residency, and just being exhausted, and he’s the nicest guy in the world, and then he was an asshole! ‘Cause he was just so friggin’ tired. I was scared of my dad when I was young, and he is an incredibly nice guy. Everybody who meets my dad goes, “God, what a nice guy he is!” Yeah, except when he’s working himself to death. You know, and so from a childhood fear, I had this real fear of residency. You know, and I came out of medical school an Anagami, and I had this three-week retreat that I had managed to get the time for at MBMC, and I was like, “I better fuckin’ do it!” Because that’s what I was going to go after, to go through residency like this. I better have, literally, like… [indecipherable] … Well, I mean, that I’m moaning and groaning about being an Anagami in residency is obviously funny, but it says something. You know what I’m talkin’ about. [laughing]

VH: I have the same thought. Like, I better get this done before I have kids!

DI: Yeah! Seriously. It’s true! I mean, that’s good! That fear is good! That is brilliant shit! Really, I was like, I got three weeks. This better fuckin’ POP! Or else I’m SCREWED! You know? I gotta bring everything I can to bear in terms of basic sanity and clarity to something that I know really sucks! It’s just really screwed up. Any sort of socio-health whatever point of view. You know, and that helped. You know, so I mean, I was able to bring fear, anger, and all that crazy shit to my motivation, and that made a huge difference. Which again would be, if we’re talking about doing it versus getting it done, that kind of stuff helps. Anyway.

VH: Yeah. I just wanted to mention one thing that Kenneth told me as a kind of move toward wrapping up and … I think we’ve been doing it anyway. Just, when I left a six-week retreat and talked to Kenneth, and we were talking about all these friends that were practicing at the time, he’s like, yeah, thanks so much for talking to me, explaining kind of some of the stuff. And he said, yeah, enlightenment is a team sport. And that’s what you told me. And that’s really stayed with me in terms of the sangha element you mentioned. It’s a team sport both in terms of this kind of friendly competition and fear sometimes.

DI: Not always so friendly.

VH: And unfriendly. But also the support. There’s the challenge, but then there’s also the support. And there’s this kind of conversation, which I see is really wanting to make that challenge and support transparent and clear, say, hey, this is how it really is for people when they’re talking about this stuff.

KF: In the Pali scriptures, the Buddha said, “Associate with the wise, and avoid association with wicked people.” I don’t know what wicked people are, but if associating with the wise means hang out with people who are enlightened, that’s very good advice. That’s very good advice.

HS: Thank you.

DI: Thank you.

[bell rings]
Fitter Stoke, modified 10 Years ago at 11/27/12 11:12 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 11/27/12 11:12 AM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
I think this is an important resource for a lot of reasons. Could we pin this or add to the wiki?
Tarver , modified 10 Years ago at 12/2/12 8:25 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/2/12 8:25 PM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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Nice! ( Vince might say.)
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 1/10/13 10:55 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/10/13 10:55 PM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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Just giving this a bump to second the idea of pinning it. It's probably the best resource around for 3rd and 4th path.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 1:36 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 1:36 AM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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Glad you liked it.

Thanks for transcribing it.

Here it is:
Fitter Stoke, modified 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 11:23 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 11:23 AM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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Daniel M. Ingram:
Glad you liked it.

Thanks for transcribing it.

Here it is:

During that period when I had access to edit the wiki - but right before I notified you of it via e-mail emoticon - I added it here.
J C, modified 9 Years ago at 1/21/14 3:30 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/21/14 3:30 AM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:

Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009

“In February of 2009, I invited several people to my house in Alabama, aka Hurricane Ranch, for a long weekend of discussion, sharing, and practice. Included in this group were several members of the Dharma Overground, as well as some older dharma buddies. Fortunately, while we were having tons of great dharma discussions we recorded one of them and it is available here for download. In this discussion we covered several different topics, but the main theme of the talk was ‘Getting it Done versus Doing It.’ Participating in this conversation were Hokai Sobol, Kenneth Folk, Vince Horn, Tarin Greco, and myself.” –Daniel Ingram

DI = Daniel Ingram
HS = Hokai Sobol
KF = Kenneth Folk
TG = Tarin Greco
VH = Vince Horn

KF: And when you say stream-entry, is that talking about enlightenment? What does that mean?

DI: Yeah. So when I say “stream-entry”, meaning first stage of enlightenment, at least. Having cracked the thing, having entered the thing.

KF: The first of how many stages?

DI: Well, it depends on how you want to count them.

KF: In the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition.

DI: It would be four and then Buddhahood if you want, but they don’t assume that, so four.

Ok, I am a little confused. How did Kenneth Folk not know what stream entry was and how many stages there were in the Mahasi tradition in 2009? Hadn't he been training in that tradition for years prior?
Drew Miller, modified 9 Years ago at 1/21/14 1:32 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/21/14 1:32 PM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

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I suspect he may have been asking the question for the benefit of others. Facilitating a discussion. This is just speculation though.
J C, modified 9 Years ago at 1/22/14 5:46 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/22/14 5:46 PM

RE: Hurricane Ranch Discussion, February 2009 (Transcript)

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Drew Miller:
I suspect he may have been asking the question for the benefit of others. Facilitating a discussion. This is just speculation though.

That makes sense; I guess that's what it has to be. But you'd think he'd say "For our listeners, stream entry means..." or "Daniel, explain for our listeners..."