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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Date: August 04, 2011 05:16AM

Corboy, I have found that most people don't want to question things; they want to follow along with whatever is the hot new thing (not that meditation or yoga are "new"). People in the west are stressed and using more anti-depressants than ever, so they're eager for solutions that could help them cope. On the surface it makes sense to try something like meditation as a "safer" alternative to pills. The mainstream media isn't exactly questioning meditation or the possible dangers. If anything, editors are filling their pages with articles on celebrities who om out or "how to" pieces because it sells their publications.

Right now meditation and yoga are big money making fads and the "experts" are coming up with all kinds of reasons why they're good for everyone. Plus eastern philosophy in general, The Dalai Lama and Eat Pray Love are being welcomed with great enthusiasm. The Dalai Lama is usually photographed with a big old smile on his face; who wouldn't want some of that serenity he seems to have?

I remember when I first got into yoga many years ago there was very little info available; it was seen as some weirdo thing that nonconformists did. Even now while there are lots of meditation books and DVDs available, there's a lot of info that's not being made public. Who talks about eating disorders amongst yoga teachers or that meditation isn't a one-size fits all cure for everything?

By the way, thanks for the tips. No wonder I've been craving watermelon lately. I actually have a cucumber in the fridge and am now feeling more motivated to use it tonight.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Questions_2 ()
Date: August 04, 2011 06:26AM

Oh grumble...

I made a pdf of some discussions on the subject from Facebook, before the group, "Women and the Forest Sangha" was deleted by the group moderators, and only the first page of any discussion saved.

I do have this:

From, Public Letter to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, a Facebook discussion in the Group, "Women & the Forest Sangha", by a member of the public, in reference to a mainstream Buddhist organization: []

"To me these orthodox practices have been a dangerous game- This is of course not special to Buddhism. Mass hypnotic suggestions exist in other religions like islam and to some extent in Christianity. But Buddhism being a systematic mind training system it has caused the practitioners ( especially if one is at it for 20-30 years without questioning) to be destroyed and fragmented. This destruction is often confused with the seeing through of the nonexistent illusionary self. Both men and women have become victims - although the men have amassed material advantages in this ruthless game and their survival as life forms will continue at the expense of women. In the midst of it all, the external peace and calm is a game the egoic mind has learned to play very well. It is such a grand delusion."

I have seen a close follower of Thanissaro's convince themselves of just about anything - usually suppressing their desires / feelings - through what seems closer to NLP, "reframing" than mindfulness. Then again, after reading Becker's book (which I mentioned in my previous post) I've been wondering how closely akin Buddhist mindfulness practice is with Thought Reform period. They're bloody close, and that means that teachers of mindfulness have to be closely scrutinized to prevent people becoming so repressed vs aware they don't know what their authentic feelings are. That end result sounds familiar, right? It's the usual goal of a cult leader: once a person is sufficiently confused and repressed, they can more easily be led / better manipulated. Especially if you throw in some meditation altered states, right?

I find Thanissaro's translations from Pali to be misleading, and his dhamma talks demonstrating an intolerance that I would describe as un-Buddhist. When listening to the audio of Ajaan Geoff (same person)'s talks, I do not appreciate the...way...he he does...seems like...pacing - I can't recall the word that's used in NLP, but it's meant to induce a trance state.

Of course, AG / Thanissaro may just be naturally "skilled" at being manipulative as many of those kind of people are; he didn't necessarily study LGAT's...

Incidentally, when I studied NLP in my teens - as I look back - why did I get into Buddhism? Because, "Zen was the purest form of NLP"...yea, I'd forgotten about that...

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 04, 2011 08:28AM

Wow. Who said Zen was the purest form of NLP

Ive never listened to any of Thanassaro's tapes so have no idea. The manner in which a person speaks should never be a distraction from the material.

I heard some lectures by the DL and what annoyed me was his giggling. He's been around Westerners long enough to know how to clean up his act. When an authority figure constantly giggles and scratches, I find it insulting and an affectation. Seems a way to keep people off balance.

And no, I am not a shill for the Peoples Republic of China, either. The DL is a head of state in exile and was a king before driven from home. So he's combining two roles that are best kept separate--power politics and spirituality.

The Maharishi M Yogi habitually giggled and played cute, too. Yuck.

Shri Shri Ravi Shankar keeps people waiting for him to show up and acts cute, too.

Keeping people waiting is an insult and a classic domineering power trip. Indians have been aware of this for years and find it hilarious to see Western pale faces adoringly waiting like peasants for the guru to show up, thinking that enduring this insult is a means to spirituality, when it means we, the ones making these people rich, are being conned to eat shit and believe its sugar.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Questions_2 ()
Date: August 04, 2011 08:35AM

Hi Corboy,

The person who taught me NLP said, "Zen is pure NLP". He was a direct student of Bandler's.

Here's an example of what I'm seeing in Thanissaro's work: Normalcy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I will point out at the beginning of his treatise, Thanissaro explains how various naturally occurring trance states are undesirable - trance in general is undesirable. It's considered an intoxicant, right? (one of the five vows Buddhists take is, "No Intoxicants")

But then, "We tend to think of the stages of jhana as very strong trance states, but actually they’re the mind in a state of genuine normalcy where it’s very perceptive, very clearly perceiving things as they are, as they come as they go, able to see distinctions. That’s what we’re working on, trying to keep the mind in a state of normalcy, as with all the elements of the path. The qualities of the path are things we’ve already experienced, things we’ve already tasted. It’s simply that we haven’t seen the strength they can develop if they’re made continuous, if they’re made all-around. This state of centered, clear normalcy in the mind, if you could really maintain it, would build up a lot of strength."

So Normalcy = a particular type of Trance that Thanissaro is privy to and if you study with him you will learn?

Then into the confusion technique.

Followed with, "So keep this in mind. We’re trying to work on a state of normalcy. This is how the practice of the precepts shades into the practice of concentration. And then it shades into discernment, because you see the normal way of the mind. It’s normally been creating suffering, but you can see a deeper state of normalcy, a state of true well-being that’s very, very subtle, which comes when you’re not creating suffering anymore. So you’ve got to see the normal habits of the mind that have been creating suffering before you can undo them, let go of them. Only then can you uncover normalcy in the deeper sense.
So what we are doing is something very normal. What’s unusual about it is that we’re trying to maintain this state of normalcy as consistently as we can throughout the day. That’s really extraordinary. It’s the consistency that makes it special."

Sounds like NLP to me...

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 04, 2011 03:47PM

You need to make some distinctions, Questions_2.

The proper study of zen is not equivalent to NLP. A well-trained mind has no problem with making distinctions, which it does by asking questions and then investigating to come to a provisional conclusion.

Zen is a mind-training system, and the main thing trained is 'attention'. You need to pay attention in order to start making distinctions. A well-trained attention makes ever more nuanced and accurate distinctions.

You could also call this 'efficient thinking,' or making the best use of what you've got.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Questions_2 ()
Date: August 04, 2011 06:37PM

Hey Stoic,

Speaking of making distinctions, I was not saying that the proper study of Zen is equivalent to NLP. 

I said that amongst a number of NLP practitioners, they consider Zen a high-level version of NLP. 

I mention it, as it could partly account for the infiltration of NLP techniques into Buddhism. 

That said, I stand by what I said with respect to "mind training" - it's a close relation to thought reform techniques (self-hypnosis) and one would be best served to consider this before engaging in / if one is practicing it.



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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 04, 2011 07:27PM

Any zen teacher who is not doing primarily 'attention training' is teaching something else, not zen.
You need a good, working critical faculty of your own to make this distinction.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 04, 2011 09:09PM

Let's try to keep this discussion open to various viewpoints.

It can be a beneficial and educational exchange for everyone.

The topic should stay focused though on meditation, not Zen.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 04, 2011 09:24PM

I was knocked for a loop by a non Buddhist who used covert NLP. The guy had his audience all thrilled and excited at Lecture #1.

Years later I went to lecture #2 and this same guy had most in the audience nodding off. I went in there suspecting he was using trance induction and had in the meantime, read what The Anticult had written about methods of conversational trance induction.

Despite my vigilence, and determination to study his technique, I was, within 10 minutes nodding off and clawing at my eyelids to stay awake. I left the room after 20 minutes.

(Note to readers: You can do a search of this valuable material from The Anticult by putting "nested loops" and "anchoring" and "erickson" and "ericksonian" successively into the key words slot and put in "all dates")

What enabled me to leave the room was remembering something that is part of Zen and also part of all legitimate lineages of Buddhism.

The precepts. Ethics.

The one that enabled me to realize that it was time for me to leave that lecture was that I had vowed to abstain from intoxicants and understood that trance induction is an intoxicant.

So whatever type of meditation is being advertised, always ask the teacher, 'What is your system of ethics?'

If the person says meditation has nothing to do with morality or is all about realizing some special state of mind that is beyond or trascends 'conventional morality' or 'dualism' and that a concern about ethics is an impediment to meditation--get outa there.

And if there is a system of ethics, everyone should be accountable and no exceptions should be made for powerholders.

Nor should there be some secret doctrine hidden from beginners that after a certain point, one can ignore ethics.

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Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 04, 2011 09:27PM

Ok, meditation is a mind-training system. It is a close relation to thought reform techniques.
However, 'close relation' is not a synonym for 'equivalent'.

I don't know Thanissaro Bhikku or his work either, but what he has written there sounds clear as a bell to me, makes perfect sense.

Perhaps the confusion stems from your trying to square what Thanissaro is explaining in simple terms with the things that you think you already know from NLP via the acknowledged trickster Bandler?

...........a little learning long being acknowledged as being a dangerous thing in itself, here in the west, hence the axiom:


'A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.'

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/04/2011 09:41PM by Stoic.

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