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BOOK JOURNEY
put book cover here Mastering the Core teachings of the Buddha

Daniel Ingram


05/03/13

Disengaging again

03/03/13

Re-engaging

03/03/10

Disengaging

02/03/10

My path

26/02/10

Non-attachment overcomes dukkha

25/01/10

No separation forever?

21/01/10

About Enlightenment

07/01/10

Strange mental formations

06/01/10

Impermanence in Daily Life

23/12/09

Trusting the Path

22/12/09

Experiences

22/12/09

Teacher

22/12/09

Reflections on reluctant

21/12/09

Working with the map - measure and validation

20/12/09

Engaging with Dharma Dan


Engaging with Dharma Dan

I came across Daniel Ingram through the Buddhist Geeks podcasts:-

Buddhist Geeks Podcasts

He created a reaction in me, sometimes complete agreement, elsewise he appeared arrogant. But he was challenging, and there were a number of issues that I engaged with this challenge; that is why this bookblog is called "Engaging with Dhamma Dan".

I started with the podcasts but found that Daniel had written a book (free) called "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha". It was an eBook, and I printed it had it copied and take it to the beach. The main engagement is with this book which can be found at:-

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha

His frontpage is Daniel Ingram's homepage.

He also runs a forum at :- The Dharma Overground

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Working with the map - measure and validation
I don't know what the map is as yet but this is what I am really interested in. It is clear that Dhamma Dan perceives various stages on the Path, and he has clearly defined such as a map. Whilst I am sceptical that one can be exact in defining such stages, I want to work on this. I want to measure what I have done against his stages thus achieving some validation. IN some ways what makes me want to do this most of all was his first experience. I might include a clip from his Buddhist Geeks podcast but basically he described a dream of a witch screaming out bright white light, and it felt like his consciousness exploding - this was his first A & P event - seeing the light. Does this compare with my experiences of meditation when younger, when writing? If not then what was happening then? DD calls this samatha jhana, I don't know the meaning of the terminology. By reading his book I hope to be able to reflect on what was my experience and correlate.

DD entitles himself an Arahat, I have no reason to disbelieve him. But in truth I have no reason to believe him either. Where do other people slot in in these terminologies - his map? People such as Thay, Tan Ajaan, DD, Ajaan M, Phra P, and of course myself to a much lesser degree. And how important is it to measure in this way? If you look at eSangha the answer feels as if it is a delusion. People boasting of whether they have achieved this or that, arguing about minutiae etc, you can see why I am attracted to DhammaTrots.

There is one factor in this measurement that is definitely so important, and that is for those who are not following the Path of meditation, what Tan Ajaan refers to as some kind of Path of Nature. I am thinking specifically of the Creative. Those that are truly creative must have done something on a Path of some sorts, and these experiences are valid. I feel it is important to somehow measure these. Artists might say they are on the Path but that would be a Creative Path in their minds. Yet all Paths lead to the same enlightenment so if the artists particular experiences are valid (ie not delusional personal bullshit), then those experiences must measure up somewhere on the DD map.

This is important because it then includes others in the process of Pathfinding. We have artists finding Paths, Buddhists finding Paths, people studying A Course in Miracles, theosophists, and so on. All these people searching, Pathfinding, swimming against the tide of reactions within society, and yet there is a common bond of unity amongst these people, and that bond is the True Path, a Path that is beyond a particular dogma. So I suppose that what this aspect of my journey, Engaging DD, is a removal of dogma in search of the True Path. That is a good thing to do. Approval!!!

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Reflections on reluctant
Reluctant - no - however far I have gone it has always been with joy. Joy is the reward for going there. The nearest to reluctant I can say is that I have had no choice. The Path has just bulldozed my life. From the moment that I hit bottom with the drink I have followed the Path as far as I have perceived it. OK that's waffle. Coming out of hitting bottom I floundered helplessly trying one thing and then another, yoga, meditation, creativity, a failed trip around the world. Over these early years until I started teacher training, I was looking. But I was looking with a deep knowledge - wisdom - that I was on the Path.

Or rather I was in or around the Path. There would be times I would stray especially with regards to the drink. And term-time my Path and teaching were inseparable. In the end I retired early because the distance between my studies and teaching became wider and wider, as well as the profiteering and careerism.

My Path was teaching but I need to be real about this. How much was teaching a compromise? None, no that is clear. The compromise has been within teaching rather than my Path not being a teacher. How much did I not follow my Path and get stuck in a rut of teaching and pretend that only teaching was my Path? In other words could I have been more Pathy whilst teaching. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Teaching gave my Path stability. The Path didn't have to look any more. After years of being buried in my upbringing, coasting through academia, hitting bottom, and then floundering my Path found an outlet with meaning - teaching. That was real. At times during teaching I got involved in Nature conversations, and during the long holidays I got into a non-teaching aspect of my Path far more eg writing. There was Brighton where I got into heavy politics. That was not meditation, that was not enlightenment but it was learning - no doubt.

So this Path was there but it was not the Path as enlightenment, enlightenment has never been the agenda. It has only been learning about life and teaching. Teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin but then the teaching became relatively static. My learning in teaching was increasing marginally, and the need to learn more forced the retirement - along with the economic wherewithal.

I automatically said that joy came when I followed the Path. That is what I have always said but how true is it? I need to try and trace back.

I hit bottom with the drink. I had wasted university not applying myself and using a natural mathematical gift to coast through school. Whilst I have always said this and it is true, my level of mathematical attainment is only marginally lower than its ability. I have a postgrad diploma in stats, maybe my level was M.Sc - so marginal. OK I got a II(2) which would have been a II(1) elsewhere except for the manipulations of Prof Davies who downgraded to make his department look better. I might even have been borderline 1, but I was never maths or stats Ph D. My maths ability was good for who I was - a teacher of maths. I needed an ability in maths to know exactly what I was teaching so that I could focus on the job - teaching. So Nana despite your concerns - she apparently cried when I told her I would do enough to get by in school when I was 13. Whatever intelligence you saw in me it was not about mathematical success.

However there is no doubt that my learning has never gone as it should do. I have those repeated lucid dreams about returning to university, recent ones to improve maths, other times Aber, but those lucid dreams are not about actual university they are about learning. They are about my need to get back to learning - and I am doing that now.

I keep thinking about the Ardennes. Let me put the Ardennes in a timeframe. At 21 I left uni. For 18m months I got drunk whilst working in London and in computing. And then that fateful but needed move to Sevenoaks that sank me into drunken oblivion, and I hit bottom. After getting some kind of sanity back with my parents - an extended Christmas, maybe 3 weeks - I went back to London. I remember some vague notion that I could work in some small trendy firm and fit in. Instead I got a lower level computing job, and ate crow. I got discipline, something I never had had in my life. At uni I never worked and then coming to the finals I worked hard because that was the practice at Carpenter - 8 hours studying a day for nearly 3 months - 3 hours in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and 2 in the evening. But that was a discipline for the exams. It wasn't discipline, it was a potential for discipline. When I started work I had none, and had occasional flirtations with working but not often. In fact I worked hardest when my leg was broke because I couldn't walk around chatting. So at eaton's I got work discipline, something I sorely needed, it was the first work experience where I hadn't been a spoilt brat.

This brings me back a little to the "genius" that Nana spoke of. I am thinking that she was relating to some kind of spark. At Scicon I passed the interview inadvertently because I gave a spark of statistical knowledge that wasn't bookwork and the interviewer picked up on it. I unintentionally rode that spark at Scicon occasionally showing it again. What was that spark? I was not a stats genius, and was never meant to be. But I did have some understanding of stats beyond the books. The spark was the potential for wisdom, that was what Nana had seen although she didn't know it.

During the pre-teaching recovery period I became an arty-farty and there discussed the isomorphisms of maths. They thought I was a maths genius as well, but they were not mathematicians. What had happened is that the years of learning maths had gelled into an understanding of the isomorphic nature of maths, and it was this pattern that was the underpinning of my maths understanding enabling me to teach it. Remember I only taught up to A level, beyond that I was not able.

I went through a period of understanding reason that eventually culminated in my lapping up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I was always criticised for logic and being too black and white - no acceptance of grey. Thankfully that has gone but it did need to be bashed out of me.

But I am giving a time context and have jumped ahead. Whilst the job was giving me some discipline I was learning more serious things. I was living in my dingy Chiswick attic. All I can remember about it was that it was dingy, cooking on a landing and stooping. But I did start yoga and meditation there, in fact it was yoga and meditation that gave me the discipline in the job. I seem to recall drink interfering a little, and the next day being hard because there was no yoga and meditation. That must have been the first time that I got up early to do them, yes it was. But the clearer recognition was of the night. This was the first time that I remember the night as an experience - no lights - kind of like small gently vibrating cellular creatures in the air in the room filling it with presence. Chiswick was the first time that ever happened, it was far from the last.

This yoga and meditation opened the door to my compassion, something that shamefully had been buried by my father and then the booze at university. I volunteered to take Mongol kids out on Saturday morning. I can't remember much about it except the face of this Mongol kid but they were all kind of needy kids. I can't even really remember enjoying it, but a feeling of right comes back to me. It led me to working with kids, and I started working as a houseparent in Manor Park.

I get the feeling I was a bit of a tosspot there. The place was a shambles run by a couple that all the staff hated, and there was unity in opposition - not the only time I remember that in an institution. I think Martin had little time for us professionally although he did rent me a room so I couldn't have been that bad. Whilst living there I think I grew on him but professionally I am sure I was lacking. I was working as a temp and changed jobs to Ealing, and there the place was more professional. I was useless to begin with and remember being seriously ragged by the adolescent boys until I smacked the leader. That was a turning point. I voiced the words of a bleeding heart liberal, and the Deputy Superintendent gave me a scathing reference because of this. However the House leader saw in me more and the reference was withdrawn and I was given a full-time job much to the amazement of the temp agency who were going to take me off their books because of the scathing reference.

However this is job path, and not exactly Path as yet. Outside of work was Wendy. Wendy was a charismatic figure. She was 12 years older than me and had all kinds of wisdom dripping out of her. She was experienced and wise although I always thought of her as an agent of chaos. She introduced me to the Elephant Arts Centre, and this was significant because these people were creative. They were connected to Path, only for them it was Soul - their artistic Soul. It was a home for my Path that hadn't found itself yet.

And for the first time I found that I had a gift for writing. I became a hot for writing about Martin Smoothchatter, a composite that had come out of my computing days of suits and chat-ups and falsehood. These people who were rejecting society because they were trying to live their art loved the disparaging of Martin Smoothchatter, and I loved the attention. I can remember hours of late night chats in a Tooting flat talking till dawn. Sadly I can't remember what we talked of but my being a writer came from this time. And I wrote Morphon which I still have - only typed, maybe I will put it online one day.

I like my sci-fi stories so I am no judge as they go nowhere except on my website, and I liked Morphon. But so did the Arts Centre.

But I have got ahead of myself again as Morphon came after the Ardennes while I was at the Arts Centre during Ealing. But before that was the Ardennes, and that holiday in Belgium was a real learning experience; it was the time the Path really began to find itself. Up till then I was floundering.

I had met Linda and Phil and through Phil his brother Yvand. On his holiday in London I related to Yvand and he offered me the chance to stay in a cottage in Belgium. In these days of global travel and gap years a writer going to live in a cottage in Belgium is not really getting away from it all. But it was. Yvand was a nice man but I had related to the holiday persona and not the working Yvand. We soon parted company. I suspect I "dark nighted" him for not being the man I had related to. He introduced me to some Brussels people and took me down to the Ardennes. I am so grateful to him.

Who was I at this stage? Remember I am floundering. I have hit bottom and have begun to taste the Path with a little yoga and meditation, and have contacted creativity both in myself but more in others. And I have had real night experiences. These night experiences are integral to me and my Path, they were my Path telling me I was on it. I was lapping up all kinds of books. I was into Jung and Cooper and Bruno Bettelheim. For the first time I saw my family name as Sanity, and knew that who I was bordered sanity, especially born out when I read ZMM. Investigating the meaning of sanity was what I was reading.

But the Ardennes was so important because of Castaneda. Yvand had taken me to farm friends in the Ardennes. Remember I was being touted as some potential writer. But I wasn't. What was I? I was floundering. Maybe this spark in me could write Martin Smoothchatter and Morphon, and maybe they were good but I was no writer. It was just that writing was the first time I had made a real connection with good people. I was working with kids but the real me was a writer; that was the image I had of myself. But that image was what was being fed me as I had no idea who I was.

Please remember I have no recollection of what I was talking about at that time, but I have every reason to believe it was reasonable. But because I didn't know who I was I don't recall it. The Ardennes gave me a sense of the real me. I was reading Castaneda, Journey to Uxtlan, and was seeking accord to every aspect of it. Crows were giving me signs and all that, wonderful artistic indulgence if I was an artist. But I wasn't.

I was staying in this farmhouse, I didn't know the area and I walked into the forest to get lost. I don't know how long I walked - hours?. I started on paths and then intentionally walked where there were no paths. And after a while I turned and headed back to the farmhouse. I had no idea where I was but I was just trusting in myself that I would get back to the farmhouse. After again walking for a long time I came across a road and followed it and got back to the farmhouse just before dark. I later found out that if I had kept walking in the direction I was following - ignoring the road, I would have got back to the farmhouse quicker. I had trusted myself and got back, this was real no matter what Gerry Intrepid might say.

For the rest of that Summer maybe 4 weeks I lived in the cottage in Baissy-Thy about 50 km from Brussels. I had little money, ate little, walked around the fields near the cottage, occasional trips to Brussels where I had befriended Roy and Sylvie, with trips to the British Council library. It was here that I started what my writing really does for me, what I am doing here, writing as an outlet for thinking and clearing my head. Writing as expression. I would take an idea from a British Council library book - only source of books in English, and just write about it. And I wrote and dug deeper and had night experiences and wrote and dug deeper having more night experiences. And then I was short of money, time to move on, I suspect I "dark-nighted" Yvand by not thanking him. He was not real, why should I have? Then an interesting few days in Paris where I pretended I was a writer again - living life getting experience, and it was then that I started working at Ealing.

I now realise Ealing was a good year for discipline. Apart from learning the ropes by smacking Sydney I learnt about what doing good really was, I got discipline. Unfortunately I also got drunk a lot, and was failingly fixated on women. But I was becoming someone.

Yoga and meditation were not now a part of my life but I do remember talking to Shirley about meditation. She was more serious about it, at least she said she was, and she was stunning and black and into music so she was a Goddess to me at that time. The Creative Spark had now gone as the Elephant centre had been closed, and there was no-one giving me accolades as a writer. But legitimate caring - compassion - was beginning to take over.

After a year at Ealing I was going to travel the world. I left in June/July and reached Saint Valery en-Caux, a small fishing village then - with a youth hostel. I had travelled with Maura but my shyness prevented anything happening even though it was the thing I wanted most at the time. And one day I walked down from the Youth Hostel, and came back and my money was gone. At the time I thought someone had nicked it but in truth I had probably dropped it in town. The Youth Hostel guy leant me the money to get back to London, I hope I repaid him but I can't be sure I did - did I dark-night him by blaming him for my money going? I decided to become a teacher, and got back just inm time to enrol and get a grant.

That year I was me. I was drunk, I was exploring and I was in my element teaching. I was slightly mature - 25, and was a character. I chased women all over the place, and just did things to fill my life and have experience. I was still in London so had previous friends and new friends who were becoming teachers. This time I enjoyed the lectures, was involved in academia because I wanted to be a teacher. I cannot remember many night experiences but they were there, but I do remember an incident. Well I don't but I can describe it. I was drunk and went back to my flat for a late night discussion with a friend. I don't remember much discussion, and presumed I just fell asleep and he left. Not so. He had stayed until two in the morning in which I had knocked him back with stuff I had said but I remember none - I was in some kind of drunken waking sleep.

I started work in Brixton where Path and teaching were then one. The first two or three years were just teaching - stressful teaching. Another year or two passed, then there was my sober year. I became a theosophist and became sober, or vice versa. I got involved spiritually in London.

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Teacher
Connecting with Dhamma Dan has brought a surprising revelation, I am a teacher - that is my spark. That is the Nana spark. Yesterday's blog kept reverting back to the process that made me a teacher, and meditation today was about being a teacher. All the wonderful rhetoric about institutional bullshit has got nothing to do with it, it's a red herring - I am a teacher. And whilst I have retired from teaching that does not stop me. I was forced out of the institution because of the bullshit - what I have taken to calling careerism and profiteering, but that does not force me out of teaching. My degree was in maths but I have an M Ed. The gatekeeper didn't want me to do a Ph D but that doesn't stop me from recognising that education is what I am about.

My journey has brought me back to education thanks to Dhamma Dan confronting me. Being a teacher is the real reason why I didn't go to Mahachula. I thought it was Trat and the lifestyle but it was not. There appears to be no respect for education. There I go again using appears out of respect for the institution of monks but the truth is there is not enough respect for education, and there needs to be a kick up the backside. Why wasn't my evaluation used as a basis for learning? Because the respect for education was not deep enough. The respect for Buddhism was there but not the respect for education. But Buddhism is not an end it is a religion. What people do is life. Buddhism is a process of learning to enable that end-result - improve what people do in life by helping them understand what life is about.

This brings me to Dhamma Dan again. Is he talking about this or is he talking about learning meditation? Is he talking about the Buddhism institution as if the learning of Buddhism is the purpose in life? Or is he talking about awareness? What is awareness but awareness of who you are? Not awareness of dhamma. Not awareness of the institutional bollocks, but awareness of who we are. Where does bright shining lights come in when determining an awareness of who we are? That is the issue.

Was Mother Teresa enlightened? Now let me make a few assumptions I have no knowledge to make - let me describe a Mother TeresaBZ. She lived completely in the service of others, and this was her Path from the word go. Maybe she never needed to meditate, or maybe her meditation took her to service. Ergo she was enlightened. What does that mean for next time? That is a question the Buddha says not to ask as the answer is beyond us. But for me here enlightenment is just about being exactly who she was to perfection. No jhanas. No seeing of light. Mother TeresaBZ was enlightened because she did exactly who she was meant to do.

What does that do to DD's maps? Don't the maps refute what he was trying to do because he is creating failure. Here is the map to follow, if you don't get to the end .... you have failed. What if this time you were never meant to get to the end? What if you can attain the perfection of Mother TeresaBZ yet by a DD map you are nowhere. Is this failure?

This brings me to where people are on the map. Isn't it self-defeating? It is seeing everything in terms of enlightenment, but is that the true purpose in life? Isn't it about awareness of who we are, what we do in life? To emphasise the map moves us away from that, it creates neurosis. It diverts our attention from who we are to attainment on a map. The premise is that we can all attain enlightenment in this life, and that is our purpose. Is that the premise of Mother TeresaBZ?

In a sense this blog-entry negates any need to interact with DD. However the interaction has brought me back to teaching. My retirement was not about disgorging teaching in Matriellez and leaving it so that I can follow my True Path. Teaching is my True Path so I have to determine what Matriellez must do next.

But I will continue engaging with DD for a while. How do these experiences relate to teaching? They relate to Path so I need to make those connections. Why do I write and have these experiences writing? Why didn't I have them when I was marking books? Joke!

More to come!

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Experiences
It is time to consider the occurrence and meaning of these experiences. I also want to place them in a context based on the fact that now I meditate daily (almost), these experiences have gone yet I feel much better. Being on the Path does create issues but they are better issues to have than not being on the Path, perhaps I need to examine this statement as well.

So the experiences started in the dingy Chiswick attic. Now I recollect looking forward to these things at some stage but in truth I can't say more than that. I have always considered them a reward or a carrot, a reward for getting back on the Path and a carrot to continue what I was doing in order to get onto or get back to the Path. Let me categorically state there has never been a huge bright white light with a feeling of consciousness letting go, yet from what I surmise so far in the map game I am beyond that stage.

The most substantive of these experiences was when writing Kirramura 18 years later but I don't want to jump there yet. God this is hard as I have lived with them all my life, trying to recall such regular experiences 35 years later is so difficult. Maybe my mind is not clear and fresh (7.00 pm) but why would I remember with clarity an experience that was repeatable and often repeated.

Ok, let's leave Chiswick. It was dingy and a beginning but my mind was definitely not clear then. However meditation and writing were beginning, the experiences came with them, and they were rewarding. After Chiswick I started in Manor Park, and I was living in. I cannot recall the writing of Morphon, only how it was received - the accolades of the arties. Nor can I recall experiences at the assessment centre, and the next recollection was at Martin's; the vibes of the poor screwed up kids must have affected the experience. But I wasn't that sound at the centre or at Martin's, this was before Belgium. I can remember walking from the Elephant to Manor Park - maybe 8 miles just to waste time. I was still floundering. The accolades of the friends and the experiences were my meaning then, my Path was reaching out to both.

In the cottage in Belgium the experiences were regular. At this point I must note the time of day, it was late evening or night. I cannot ever recall such experiences during the day. These experiences in the cottage were cementing the connection with the Path as my mind began to explore itself. And the process of exploration was writing, read, let the idea connect from the reading, and write until what the idea spawned had been used up. Drink was in my life but drunkenness was not an issue. At Manor Park I can remember regularly buying starving artists a drink just so I could have company whilst drinking, But I wasn't drunk as I would repair to Tooting for all night talking. In Belgium there was no money. But drinking started in Ealing, and in Ealing I have no recollection of experience or writing. After Ealing there was the ill-fated round the world trip that led to me starting teaching. In my PGCE year I can recall during holidays being stuck in front of the fire and feeling something, but there is no string recollection.

I sought what was real, the equivalent of the writing me - the me I had developed in the cottage, in others. Then full-time teaching started and all experiences disappeared for maybe 5 or 6 years. My friendship with the accolades disappeared although I clung to the writing image at every opportunity actively seeking the company of the artistic as companions especially female - with little success. It was as if I saw the writing me as more meaningful than the compassionate care-giver.

The first years of teaching were 100% full-on, and I developed the "need to drink because of stress" justification. This real writing me was there but it was clearly secondary, the teaching had taken over. But apart from the drink it was not missed. Then I gave up drinking and became active in theosophy as a result - I expect. Now this was a spiritual year but I was not writing. I was active in yoga, Tai Chi and meditation, and my mind was clearer. However I became more demanding at work, and one boss asked for the drinker back. I was "dark-nighting" in the sense that because I was spiritual I had the right to expect commitment from others. This was an awake year although I cannot recall experiences - probably because I was meditating.

But the sober year ended, and I was back on the booze. No event triggered this, just not enough desire to stay off it. But the spiritual and writing side moved to the Summer hols, and one of those Summer hols I write Lidors - I estimate I was 33. I was at Valley Road then, and can recall experiences but not when. I cannot recall writing Lidors. I do recall the start of Lidors. I met Wendy in a pub. She had a guy with her and he asked me why sci-fi and I gave a bland answer, and that spawned the book. I suppose it was some kind of trigger that I hadn't been writing. I really cannot recall anything about Lidors except who Vernice was.

Around about the sober year holidays began to be important - eventually to be my only source of spiritual alignment. Walking had always been important. I had been walking with the school, but it was only when I returned to Sale towards the end of my parents' life that I realised how much walking in Sale I did as a teenager. Emotionally our family was intentionally repressed, expression of emotion was something my father couldn't cope with, and to survive we were all forced to comply with nil emotional expression. I suppose I took to walking to escape this, and would walk around Sale for hours on end literally. I suppose it calmed my mind although as a teenager I never felt calm or under control. I used to run cross-country so maybe that drained all the emotion in me as well.

So whilst teaching in London I started taking walking holidays. I had learnt how to walk through Castaneda so walking became centring, and cleared my mind. I would walk in Devon and Cornwall for three years, then ventured abroad as a holiday but often walking - Andorra, Algarve, Corfu, Corsica. I can recall centring experiences on these holidays as the Path realigned. It would take the form of the presence. In Corfu I found a room and can remember desperate evenings to begin with that then centred and led to some writing. But the writing wasn't important on the holidays, it was the centring - mainly with the walking. Writing was left for the Summer breaks where I managed to keep off the booze mostly, and would have a Summer of something - I remember two Summers being Doris Lessing. I can't remember the other Summers but I suspect one was Lidors.

At this stage the booze and teaching had virtually killed the creativity although it surfaced with Lidors. Spirituality developed over the Summer holidays with occasional experiences. In truth after the sober spiritual year I started on women as well, and that went off and on for a few years where the dick had too much rule. And it was the dick that got me succoured into what I thought was love, but was passion and pain. And this hell took me to Brighton. And for two years I was overwhelmed with the mega-stress that this relationship meant. Eventually I said I was going on holiday for a week in France, and by the end of that week my spirit which I knew was suffering gained enough strength to leave the hell I was being dragged into. I should have used ghetto instead of hell!! That indelibly altered me. Passion was controlled after leading me into the hell. And financially a crisis was brewing after becoming over-extended with a house and booze masquerading as daily expenses.

Spirituality turned into politics - to develop a spiritual world people must have the financial freedom to choose a spiritual Path, and I chased my tail for 5 years in Brighton learning about the left. After buying a flat finance hit me and I had to leave the country, but first was Kirramura. This was writing and experience at its height. My final Summer in the UK became the writing of the book. I can remember a pattern. I would be waiting all day for the time to go to bed. I would lie flat on the bed with my head on the pillow expectantly waiting. The presence would start to creep in and fill the room. I would be almost poleaxed flat on the bed as the presence filled the room. My agitated mind would stop and feel a stillness that was invigorating. I would try to stay in the presence but gradually it would disappear and I would begin writing. I would not know where the story was going, that is not to say the writing was automatic as I was conscious as the story flowed from me. But it had no plan, and I was excited by what I had written enjoying the development of the story. I expect the story came as I had lost the booze for three years.

Kirramura was finished that Summer, and that Xmas I left for Africa. Now Botswana was mind-numbingly hedonistic, thank God I was not drinking as I am sure I would have died from Aids. Even sober I was extremely lucky. The mind-numbing led me to an M Ed, a tremendous expression of my education, and a mid-life review. It is around the mid-90s that the computer began recording. Now the M Ed was my writing in an academic context but it was done in an overtly creative way. And idyllic. I would go to Shashe Dam and sit under the reeds with a book to study. Once studied it was clear what I was going to write, and when home I would start writing; on occasions I would rush home to write. This led to the M Ed.

And when the M Ed was mostly out of the way, I seem to recall it taking a couple of years to finalise - cross i's and dot t's. In that time I started the mid-life review which was finally polished up at Harnham two or three years later. In this review meditation would sometimes occur and experiences started again - that is when I wasn't Thandied. Chakra meditation was

important. The contemplative time at Shashe dam was more or less completely responsible, what idyllic days. That led to my becoming Buddhist.

After the gatekeepers kept me out of a Ph D, this mid-life review took me to my conversion at Wat Phra Keau. Inasmuch as there could be a presence in front of the Emerald Buddha with all those people there was. I was so still, and just sat there knowing I was a Buddhist.

A couple of Summers later and I was at Harnham. I only rushed in, stayed one night, and I woke up to a presence. The guest monk asked me if my stay had been meaningful, and I remember saying something about the night as if he would comprehend; it appeared he didn't. And that was the last of the presences as I started meditating o a daily basis soon after that. Then I was more stable and slowly rather than stunningly sporadically I moved towards the realisation that the institution of careerism and profiteering was distancing me from my Path. And the holiday centring was not enough. With the financial wherewithal I retired and began the journey leading me to now.

What did those experiences mean? They are about the Path - no doubt. As the Path emerged from emotional repression the experiences were a "reward" - enjoyable, it was as if real life was being sucked into me, my aura? Whenever I went into myself to learn with focus, I was rewarded by this presence. Initially this going into myself whilst occurring sporadically was not part of any activity, it would happen as I was going to bed and would have no recognisable trigger. But that changed and became associated with writing. And finally they have stopped because with meditation I am formally connecting to my Path on a daily basis. I feel the power of these experiences increases with the distance from the Path. The first initial experience of breakdown was the Path forcing the way through, it did not have a presence. The initial nature of the presences in Chiswick was still Path breaking through, but with so many obstacles still in the way it could not be powerful. The greatest power of the Kirramura writing was because I had spent so long at a distance from my Path that power was needed.

And then finally there is the lack of experience as an indicator that I am close to Path whilst I am meditating.

Writing itself is an expression of Path. Path is pushing through and forces the writing. In insight meditation the writing follows the insight and puts meat on the bones of a concept that might not make absolute sense off stool. Writing is a tool of the Path externalising, and unifies with teaching to express education. My novels are educational, and not pure story-telling; the message is so important. The novels are not works of art but works of allegory. The plot hopefully indicates the wisdom that zandtao-consciousness creates, the zandtao that is given access to the Unity that creates. Writing when retired had no buzz, no presence, it was just done as part of life. There was no need for presence as life was closer to Path, but Path still gave a story with a line that was mostly new, some planning had started in meditation.

What about the writing in the probate holiday?

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Trusting the Path
I trust the Path. After the breakdown and floundering around I came to teaching. As I got into teaching there was a moment, a feeling of power in which I knew I was a teacher. Within reason this allowed me just to go into the classroom, and rely on this teaching innateness to deal with situations by simply reacting and rationalising afterwards. At the beginning in Dick Sheppard this was fine as the watch-your-back dickheads hadn't taken over UK teaching then, and meant that you teach with an armour of paper rather than teaching by ability. It was getting near to that when I left to teach abroad, and the armour of paper is part of the institutional bollocks I have previously referred to.

But having the freedom to rely on being a teacher was a great release. Intuitively reacting to situations knowing that in the end they would be fine allowed me to go near the knuckle although in truth there were occasions I went too far. Of course now in the UK I would probably lose my job. Teaching abroad was much more about actual teaching rather than the precarious balance between teaching and child care that was UK teaching. Also when older I had gained more experience and so needing the Path's assurance was not a pre-requisite. But the Path gradually taught me that it was time to get out despite still enjoying the classroom, the careerism and profiteering interfered too much as the paper warriors left the UK and began destroying teaching elsewhere.

At the same time as the institutional bollocks in teaching began to interfere in the classroom, I had begun daily meditation (almost). Whilst the meditation removed the need for experiences sadly, it made me feel better all round. And of course I trust the meditation as the way of the Path's expression.

This engagement with Dhamma Dan is an interesting phase as it is effectively questioning my interaction with Buddhism, and in doing so has brought me back to teaching. I am a teacher, and I have to develop Matriellez, a Teacher of Nature. Firstly however I must finish the second book of Apocalopus, then start a serious book on educational theory.

What this engagement has already done is brought me to questioning Buddhism as a Path. That has never been for me but it was clearly something that was suffering especially in the hellhole of Lekki. I needed to spend time learning more of Buddhism, its psychology and my interaction with it. But for me Buddhism is not a goal, and I am guessing neither is enlightenment but I will now more of that with the engagement. My Path is not that - or at least not yet. It is time to write a proper education book, and maybe start writing education articles - bringing the two parts of my Path together. The creative writing opens up avenues of learning that somehow I block off, and gives me access to some learning I never knew I had. But it is not something I want to do on a daily basis as is evidenced by my sporadic attitude to zandtao. zandtao is interesting but it is not full-time. I want to make Matriellez much more important, especially as it has been more than 3 years since I stepped foot in a classroom.

In trusting the Path I want to review the Mahachula incident. At that time I was getting sucked into Buddhism. I wanted more contact with Buddhist people and was offered the possibility of the teaching. At that time I had forgotten the importance of teaching, and went up. I was attracted by the potential for contact at the institution, and at the same time the potential for contact in Bangkok. I was willing to compromise all to teach there when I went up. However when I got back to Trat, I felt less and less sure until eventually I turned it down. But I did not turn it down for teaching reasons because I had forgotten the importance of teaching. Now that I am a teacher again, I realise that it would have been a disaster - fighting with monks. Yet the Path found a way to tell me not to do it as the Path knew that at the time I was not ready to recognise that I am still a teacher. I trust the Path.

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Impermanence in Daily Life
I had met anicca before but had assigned it to some grander overview, reading Dhamma Dan has brought it down to daily life giving me disturbing problems. The pages of concern are pp16-26. I read it first time reaching 43 and it gave me some disturbance, but that was before I had copied the eBook and decided to engage. But the real disturbance started with the beach reading, and I hadn't read the whole section.

The first 4 blogentries in this engagement have been about describing the unusual, the experiences, this engagement is empowering the expression of those experiences. Because blogs weren't currency at the time, I did not record them - although memory has given them an imprecise value. Now I want to detail the experiences and so value them.

For the first time in a long time I have been having experiences. I have associated their demise with meditation. Because I am meditating there is no need to have the buzz of the experiences. But maybe there is more to it than that, maybe the way I have been meditating has not challenged the mind, thus bringing the experiences to the fore. I do say maybe - no understanding here yet,

Back to the beach. When I was reading these pages - not all of them, I felt an impending. Obvious question, an impending what? And that is difficult to answer. I can remember looking at the lines of the page, and there was slight movement, a sliding to the side. Not at all huge, but recallable. That night I had a disturbed night, I did not feel like sleeping at all. It was past five before I went to sleep. Sadly I did not engage the disturbance allowing diversions to fill the time. This is the bad habit of tv and stuff that I like, and whilst they are comfortable at the moment hopefully they will eventually go. At 5.30 I got some sleep, but waking in the morning I began thinking of impermanence. In truth just the thinking of it caused a stabilising of the disturbance. Even a day later I can't properly recall, I should have blogged yesterday - take note!! At the end I was more stable, had had some form of disturbance including the appearance of yellow, felt a grounding, was tired and not sure ready for daily life and the afternoon lesson.

The evening passed with the bad habit - Dollhouse. Then when I went to bed intentionally early to seek experience. And I got one - not earth-shattering but there. It was more like the grounding, a stability. Then the night was disturbed, and I was thirsty. At 4.00 am I read the dreaded pages again. It was disturbing. It feels like I gained insights but I can't write about them. That doesn't negate the feeling, it merely says my understanding isn't there. I was watching waves in my mind as I sought understanding of the source of thoughts. I realised that my mind had structure, I had created a structure of mind, and that structure needed to go. I can remember in meditation having those bogus discussions without words. This was the mannerisms of the discussion, the tones of the phrase, the apparent mannerism of the phrase, the style with which I make a point, and yet the words used were either unformed or gibberish. This is a structure, the way I discuss. I can hear it now, in the same way I can hear it if I watch my M Ed video. It is a structure. It is part of a structure of mind and mental processes that I have. These are selves to remove.

This morning looking in the mind I saw the yellow. It disappeared but the mind did expand slightly. Then there was the waves, and then the kind of pondering, a slow pondering, as if point-making without words, but the mind was slow. It stopped and I decided to blog. It is clear that my descriptions are lacking, I am not able to describe the experiences fully. I cannot leave time, and must put finger to keyboard more quickly to consolidate. Maybe I will even understand what is going on eventually. Ha Ha!

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Strange mental formations
I am now enjoying going to bed early and coming to terms with impermanence. This is a good sign for getting rid of what I like. Last night however I just fell asleep. I woke in the middle of the night, and then woke just after 6 with a vivid dream.

Somehow I had accumulated a number of students DVD/video projects, I was not in any way official. These projects all had names on and had to be got to tutors if the students were to be accredited. I found the tutor of one of the students, and he reasonably said that the project needed to be tidied up, and other projects must be got to tutors. I went to the student union to ask them to connect the names to the tutors, and they said if I cared about the students I should get the projects to the tutors - forget contacting the students.

At this point I was half-awake but I couldn't let go of this dream. I even at one stage told myself this was not real but I kept coming back to it. I then focused on sensation and consciousness and consciousness making a decision. And this gave me a lightness of being. Forget formations, forget processes, detach from processes - they are habits. Accountability, responsibility are all habits, contents of consciousness, all these must not be held to. If there is only sensation, consciousness following the sensation, and if a process is needed consciousness will decide and bring the process in accordingly - none of instinctive professional formations by habit.

At this point I fell asleep again. I had just curled a shot past the post having taken the ball off Darren Fletcher, apologising for the miss. And then the house was being cleaned, and I was vacuuming under a rattan mat. First there was only a little dust, but then more leaves. The mat was replaced and there was sweeping, and then Roman soldiers passed the house. At first there were only a few but they were spread over a distance and kept coming and coming. They didn't attack the house but the house was not there. I couldn't let go of the Romans.

There was still sensation, consciousness and a decision concerning process but the lightness of being was not there. I was tired, and am yawning writing this yet I was in bed nearly 10 hours!!

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About Enlightenment
Enlightenment is so difficult to talk about. Firstly if I do a Dhamma Dan, then people will say I am arrogant. Secondly if I want to talk about enlightenment how can I if I am not enlightened. Maybe if I was enlightened then what I would say would be completely different.

Except for meditation. Meditation provides a balance and tells you the truth wherever you are.

So what is meditation telling me? I am not enlightened but I am on the Path. What is the best human measure of the Path? Happiness, are you happy? Then you are on the Path.

Am I alone? Yes. I live alone. I rarely talk with people about Nature, and learning about Nature. But am I happy? Yes. Could I be happier? I don't know. There are issues such as giving back from teaching, there is the writing for my website of one. But I am happy.

Am I angry with society? I have been. Of course what people do to each other saddens me. I cannot do anything about it although I do what I can. I have done a bit, and at the moment I am happy with that. So what about dark night? If you are in dark night surely you are not happy, I certainly wasn't. I was happy because I was on the Path, but I was not balanced. I did not have control of my anger, and vented that anger on society .... and father. When I was less angry, the wrongs of my father and society did not matter. The anger is within.

Is this anger energy, energy that is not under control? Energy has something to do with it. And the feeling of anger as dark night is maybe an expression of this energy. In my case the anger was always there, and there are three questions. What was the source of the anger? And what triggered the anger into being anger? And how much did energy have to do with being angry? On examining anger now I have released anger from experience, parents, relationships, job etc., there is still anger left.

There is no doubt that being on the Path when young (in my early 20s) was an energising experience, and coping with that energy was an issue. I can remember feeling vital and this developed into needing a drink to quell it at DS. I did have a year without the booze and cannot remember the energy issues so maybe that was a booze rationalisation, whether it was or not it felt real. In my 30s the energy was less of an issue, maybe the booze had destroyed it, but the anger was everpresent. Whatever there was a continual need for balance.

This brings me back to the Path and enlightenment. The Path leads to enlightenment, but when? DD raises the notion of everyone reaching enlightenment, but can everyone do this? Maybe not, but everyone can be balanced on their Path and happy. Pushing meditation to achieve enlightenment is not balanced, and implying that this is what everyone should be doing is equally erroneous. Teaching meditation only has risks. If meditation is not taught as part of balance on the Path, then it can lead to desires related to enlightenment, and desiring enlightenment, when not appropriate, is not balanced. Attaching to such desires is equally a problem, a spiritual attachment.

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No separation forever?
This morning was a validation of the half-dazed meditations I get involved in early morning. I don't know what led me into this, but I had a dark pressing-in feeling in my head. Slowly this feeling disappeared, and I began to experience being outside, being with unity attached to my body. My body became smaller in size until I felt the body was a small carbuncle-like presence attached to this unity of awareness. I have perceived this image before along with meditations on unity but have never experienced it in this way. I did see a bright light, and I kind of wanted the bright light treatment but luckily I turned away from desiring this rapture and was able to reside in this being, reside in this inversion where the awareness that mushroomed out of the body was where I resided and the body itself was an appendage. I drifted off to sleep again, but woke up residing in the same place.

I felt this residing was residing in unity - no separation, but it was not accompanied my any rapturous accolades. I was residing in the same area I was when writing but without the presence. The unity I have felt in meditation but previously in meditation I have withdrawn back into the body, now I feel I am not, that there is just being in the mushroom that doesn't end.

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Non-attachment overcomes dukkha
Well this is just dogma, but of course dogma has its basis in the experience of the Buddha. The other day I had a migraine - not a bad one thankfully. The next morning I woke up to realise that it was dukkha, not suffering from a headache but suffering from attachment. I had begun working with the 4 brahma-viharas again, but upekkha wasn't very strong. Yet it was obviously there. At the same time DD was talking about the three characteristics being present in all things, and the two together combined in my understanding of the migraine. The result was a recognition that I was too attached. My focus on upekkha increased and produced results - a release.

This was maybe 4 days ago, and the feeling of non-attachment producing results has been with me every morning, anger attached in the liver, fear attached in the kidneys, and stress in my GERD. Slowly I have been releasing these. Dreams have played a part as my dreams have pointed to my stress. The usual of teaching dreams was there, but this morning I awoke with a weird dream about my father. I was arguing with him about something he was causing, and then I awoke and realised that it was not my father I was arguing with but an image of my father. This image was not arguing using words of my father but my words, he was an image that I had created. I had created this image in me and was arguing with it. I began to release the image, let it go. There was relief in the GERD, and I felt general release mostly from the Gerd, but also anger from the liver - knowing where the anger is helps release it, Simon!! But the pain in my left side was also my father, and I began releasing that pain and as the release moved up my body it reached my left temple - it was a place of migraine. I knew my father had given me headaches but .... It was a good release. I then began to think about fear and my love for my mother and I felt the fear in my upper back round my cervical spondylosis. Of course it would be there because my mother had the same.

This is more ammunition for my consideration of Kamma. Should we accept that we cannot know about Kamma or can we say that certain things are carried forward in Kamma, namely anger fear and delusion? I am not saying only these yet these are carried forward. And they help form our link with who our parents are. I had anger issues and there is no doubt in my mind that my father was there to be the object of my anger. My anger is still strong enough that I keep wanting to write legitimate (so string that I have used this plausible ruse), but I can let go of the anger. I had to have anger for him, I could let my anger go. And when I did let it go in that holiday from Botswana I developed a relationship with my mother which was love. And I did conclude that deep love (that now exhibits itself as the 4 brahma-viharas) is something to develop so that Billnext's mother and father are based in love and not fear and anger. Deep love can produce a good home next time round.

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My path
This is a reflection of my Path in the light of mindfulness and concentration. After reading DD on jhanas I had begun to feel that my journey was off-beat, but then I read "Mindfulness in plain English", and this put the balance of concentration and mindfulness clearly in context. Right mindfulness is part of the 8-fold Path, and right concentration is needed to attain right mindfulness. The training in jhanas is training in concentration, and mindfulness as detached awareness is the purpose of meditation. Without concentration mindfulness is apparently difficult. This is what, I think, Ven Gunaratana Mahathera says in "mindfulness in plain English":-

The book is here

On my journey I have not spent time developing jhanas, and in meditation have been more interested in issues of emptiness, unity, the 4 Brahma-Viharas and occasionally touching the three characteristics. For me meditation would be a process of clearing the mind - a mindfulness process, and then consideration of the above as an object depending on what came up. This could then lead to the mind wandering from issue to issue although overall the journey was in a positive direction. One measure of the correct following of Path would be insights, achieving an insight would be an endorsement that I would be on the Path.

Sleep and dreaming have always contributed to my Path. In early years when meditation was sporadic experiences and whilst going to bed, as described in this blog entry, often gave me rapture especially when writing, progress on the Path came in a haphazard manner with the raptures being examples of highs and there being many lows. That sporadic process was stabilised by daily meditation, but often sleep, dreaming and early morning dozing were an integral part of this recent Path. Mental cleaning has been a regular feature early morning, especially addressing the issue of anger and releasing it as well as health examination. However recently the sporadic Path has returned with a vengeance concerning the issues of detaching and non-attaching, and immediately connecting that with mindfulness. The middle of the night would be characterised by some form of detaching and cleansing, all positive, and then waking late I would be drowsy.

I am happy to say this is mindfulness developing - ratified by meditation, but there has to be the question "Why isn't this happening in meditation itself?" And more where is my mindfulness, in daily life means when participating in life not in some half-awakened state - however beneficial that is.

What is my mindfulness?

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Disengaging
I feel as if I want to disengage from Dharma Dan at the moment. Whilst the challenge of his position has been helpful, I now find myself repeatedly returning to the same argument - mixed ability. The Path is mixed ability, and his stance creates the same issues as schools used to be. Before Thatcher consolidated the exam factory rationale, education at least paid lip-service to mixed ability - in truth they were only concerned with exam success. The consequence in schools was that the majority of students were marginalised and considered failures because they didn't pass the exams. Yet education should be primarily about working with people where they are at and trying to help them improve themselves - mixed ability. Surely the Path is the same - find where people are at and help them improve themselves. In some ways one could describe Dharma Dan in this way, as he has attempted descriptions of the Path, but he doesn't leave it there. Throughout there is an imperative that arahantship is the target - parallel with the exams, thus undervaluing the improvement people make in their strides on the Path.

There is a Path that the Buddha described:- the 8-fold Path of the 4 Noble Truths. How are these described? Right. The Buddha did not say that you must attain a set of criteria, he described it as right. Whilst what might be described as completely right would be Nibbana, the approach is to follow a Path with 8 "folds". What is right changes as one progresses, but the rightness depends on the individual and where they are at - individually. As with any mixed ability approach this leaves the matter open to complacency, but within the Path there is an anti-complacency measure - right mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the key to Dharma Dan's challenge. What is right as mindfulness at the time is the key to the Path because mindfulness has this ability to detach from complacency. And at the same time it does not have the inherent suffering in DD's approach with its emphasis on "exams" - arahantship. Whilst it seems perfectly acceptable for me that arahantship can be achieved and that this is a good message, that is completely different to arahantship should be achieved. It might well be that this is not the implication of DD, or it might well be that DD states that he is only interested in those who wish to attain arahantship, either way I am excluded at the moment. I suspect his position is more like "I want to include all people and they can achieve arahantship", expressed in this way there is an obvious contradiction for me, and that is the mixed ability of people on the Path. I feel his approach addresses more the issue that "I want to include all people who can achieve arahantship", a much more tautological position.

But for more people the Path is as the Buddha described - the 8-fold Path, with its inbuilt individuality of appropriate rightness. This leads me to the Kamma question I have recently considered:- What are the aspects of our consciousness such as anger that are used to form Billnext? (See this blog entry) I postulate the 8-fold Path as being the criteria of Billnext. In a way this goes without saying if one looks clearly at consciousness. Consciousness is part of samsara, and therefore the 8-fold Path is part of samsara. So why should following the 8-fold Path finish at death? So what should we do in this life to improve Billnext - follow the 8-fold Path.

Whilst this is clear it does leave some unanswered questions. I have no doubts that fear and anger contribute to Billnext - and love as well. This time round Bill clearly had love issues to address with the mixed attitude of his parents. Also fear was strong on the agenda with the fear, distrust and insecurity within the home. And yet this manifested as anger in Bill. In the blog entry, love was a solution, and deep love has become part of meditation with the 4 Brahma-Viharas. But how does love, anger and fear relate to the 8-fold Path?

The 4 Noble Truths relate to desire, and implicit with the non-mixed ability approach of DD is desire - the desire to achieve arahantship. And this fits in with Phra P who discussed the need for the desire for spiritual attainment, even using sophistry with the word "aspiration". For me that doesn't now feel right. Implicit within the 4 Noble Truths is compassion, freedom from suffering. This does not feel like a desire but something to do, to be detached to be free from suffering, and to achieve this would be the position of non-attachment. And to be completely non-attached is to detach oneself from previous attachments. Where I am at now is to continue developing mindfulness, to continue with the process of detachment, and consider how I can work on the 8-fold Path to help Billnext. The word for this might be skilful.

Postcript 2/3/13 With my recent unsettling by Ajaan Buddhadasa, in meditation I began thinking about Dharma Dan. Rereading this disengagement makes me think that it is time to re-engage although my current focus must be on the Buddhadasa blog. I still don't like the absolutism of arahantship but there has been a big change with regards to reincarnation. I now see reincarnation as a mental construct, this means there is no "BillNext" and what is done now is what matters. Having a "BillNext" was a get-out clause and no matter how much sophistry I placed around that construct the fact is that it allows me not to face issues now-now. I might be right in thinking that I cannot attain arahantship in this lifetime but at the moment I see that as some kind of failure. That is such an emotionally-charged statement full of judgement, the very reason I disengaged with Dharma Dan. There is much to address.

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Re-engaging
I decided today that I would study Dharma Dan - Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. The book has moved so I am going to store it as well, I hope Dan doesn't mind and a simple request will remove my link. I am not sure the reasons for my decision are the best as my atta is fighting hard. Tan Ajaan has sent my atta fighting for survival but I find Tan Ajaan is also quite close to the teachings. Whilst I attack dogmabolloxia, I shamefully do not know enough of the dogma and as such I am unable to interpret the dogma. This of course is laziness - shamefully I must admit that, but the proliferation of dogmabolloxism is so tedious. Defintiely a weakness on my part, but I do have an avenue to progress - Dharma Dan, and maybe when my atta is not struggling so much I will have the clarity to look at Tan Ajaan more.

The struggle that atta is putting up is constant dialogues, I must resist that. Study in the NOW, focus on the texts, in meditation focus on stillness - on anatta. But it is hard!

[p8] "If you can have fun in healthy ways, have fun! Itís not just for breakfast anymore. Also, success is highly recommended for obvious reasons. Pick a flexible vision of success in the ordinary sense for yourself and go for it! Play to win. This is your life, so make it a great one. There is no reason not to try, so long as you can do so in a kind and compassionate way." This sounds very good in theory but how can you have success in the world whilst being compassionate? This is typical of the lack of depth of thinking about 1%, society and politics. However if you look at success outside of society's materialistic drives, then success can be achieved and happiness - something that cannot be achieved by the 1% and those apologists for 1% society. I hope I don't harp on this with this book as well!!

But I want to be very positive about this book, he starts with sila. His words, the first training of Buddhism is sila, then he says that the meditation adds to the sila, and that it is the final training as well - not sure what that means. But Buddhism is sila.

[p9] "to get anywhere in meditation you need to be able to really steady the mind and be present." This is what atta is messing up for me. My meditation has always allowed too much wandering and now that atta is under threat I do not have the concentration to cope with atta's agonies - hopefully death throes. Perseverance, however, is the answer.

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Disengaging again
[p17] The gold standard for reality when doing insight practices is the sensations that make up your reality in that instant.

[p18] I will use this dangerous phrase "the mind" often, or even worse "our mind," but think to yourself when you read it, "He's just using conventional language, but really there are just utterly transient mental sensations. Truly, there is no stable entity called "the mind",

[p19] Given that you know sensations are vibrating, pulsing in and out of reality, and that, for the sake of practice, every sensation is followed directly by a mental impression, you now know exactly what you are looking for.

At the beach I noted these quotes. I also remember a meditation exercise in which you press the two index fingers at once, then you separate the sensations so that you realise that you are not pressing both at once but that the pressing is consecutive instances. I haven't done this and I have no reason to refute it but this morning in meditation I began thinking why. The following might be unfair as I haven't finsihed the book, but he begins with morality but then focuses on meditation and concentration especially emphasising what might be considered as meditation tricks above. This smacks of glamour. With the description of himself as an arahat on his cover there could be arrogance, he notes possible arriogance in his foreword. I need to be more certain of where I am going if I am going to see through these issues. I have learnt to take care, so I am disengaging until I am better equipped.

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