Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 27, 2011 03:24PM

In this case though, since modern dictionaries are regularly updated to reflect modern usage (they tend to emphasise the current generally accepted modern usage, and meditation these days in the west is inextricably linked with 'spiritual' ie 'godly', pursuits) a thesaurus is more useful:


Thesaurus: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

1. meditation - continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature; "the habit of meditation is the basis for all real knowledge"
speculation, musing, reflection, rumination, thoughtfulness, contemplation, reflexion - a calm, lengthy, intent consideration

2. meditation - (religion) contemplation of spiritual matters (usually on religious or philosophical subjects)
musing, reflection, rumination, thoughtfulness, contemplation, reflexion - a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
faith, religion, religious belief - a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his morality"

I would discard the last, religious belief, since buddhism rejects the idea of a supernatural power that controls human destiny.
For a lot of western 'buddhists', however, who are culturally bound to the christian notion of an omnipotent god, they import that notion into their practice, something that I find bizarre in the extreme.
Why such a radical change of belief systems if you are going to continue with the primary tenet of belief of the discarded system?

Thats like a roman catholic priest just changing his robes from a black soutane to a saffron rag and claiming to have converted. Only the outer garb has changed, not the foundations of his thought and worldview.
Bound to be a source of complete confusion from the start.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/27/2011 03:32PM by Stoic.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 27, 2011 04:21PM

Here's a meditation on 'looking for god'.

If you can't find the omnipotent (dictionary) god (dictionary) in the worldview (dictionary) in which you were raised, whatever makes you think that the onmipotent (dictionary) god (dictionary) can be found somewhere else?

Do you see the logical contradiction inherent in the 'looking'?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/27/2011 04:21PM by Stoic.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 27, 2011 05:53PM

An improvement on the above would be to substitute the word 'omniscient' (dictionary) for the word 'omnipotent' (dictionary).

Do you see the logical contradiction?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/27/2011 05:55PM by Stoic.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: grainne uaile ()
Date: July 28, 2011 01:01AM

I think a lot of people who become Buddhist still believe in a God but not in the Biblical God, and so Christian religions are not for them, at least that is why I gave Buddhism a try, but it didn't work for me either.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 28, 2011 01:37AM

Between you and me, the western concept of buddhism as it is currently widely accepted now, didn't work for me either, although I never 'joined.'
I was taught by an Asian man, layperson, who was a 'cradle buddhist' in the way that I was once a 'cradle catholic' and I don't remember him ever using the term 'spiritual'---and I knew better than to use that term with him. He never 'pulled his punches' and 'took no prisoners.'

His teaching was entirely pragmatic and grounded in the everyday. Just as well really, as I was prone to a lot of mythmaking and airy fairy nonsense.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 28, 2011 03:21AM

I should just add that for anyone happy in their belief system and with their god, please disregard my particular view on this. It is personal and idiosyncratic. I represent no-one and no tradition except myself.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: July 29, 2011 02:05AM

Lorin Roche's website features interesting insights regarding the dangers of meditation.


An excerpt from his site:

The denial doesn't always work – often you just get people who are dead inside, and kind of drift around chanting and pretending to be spiritual. But sometimes there is a good match of inner and outer, and the denial serves to redirect the life force of the individual into the blossoming of special gifts. This is similar to what people do when they cultivate roses – they prune away at the bush so that there will be just a few big flowers, so that the rose bush will have no choice but to put all its vitality into a few big flowers, instead of many small ones.
I've always said that the celibate life is only for a few gifted people. Even the Dalai Lama says only 10% are suited to it. So why are there thousands, even tens of thousands of monks in some countries? Why not face reality, allow a selection process, dispense with the tradition of giving children away to monasteries, and have the monastic tradition represent a sort of elite corps of people who take the vows seriously, and genuinely find spiritual inspiration in that way of life? Others who would devote themselves to religious studies can attend monasteries converted into secular institutes. That would do away with the pretense of robed people pretending to be disciplined while jumping over the monastery walls at night to be with prostitutes, or worse, raping women in temples or in public.

RE: using trance techniques against students: Paramahansa Yogananda was keen to learn standard hypnosis, to increase his power and his following. And the Tibetan tradition is the inheritor of shamanic techniques, which include good, old-fashioned hypnosis. Anyone who is in a Tibetan or Hindu group should not allow the guru to look you directly in the eye, that's how the hypnosis starts.

RE: ''people who are dead inside, and kind of drift around chanting..." This is the goal of what Tibetan lamas call "destroying the ego". They have specific techniques (which the more honest lamas admit are abusive, but one prominent lama said in an interview, "If there's no ego left, then there's nothing there to experience abuse"--how convenient for the abusers!) to achieve that. Often they do this ego-destroying routine on students without prior discussion, without the student knowing what is being done. That should be illegal. What if a psychiatrist did that to his patients who came to him for ordinary counseling? His license would be revoked, eventually. Unfortunately, there's no licensing board for gurus. No accountability.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: grainne uaile ()
Date: July 29, 2011 02:42AM

I went from Baptist to Jehovah's Witness, to Self Realization Fellowship, to the Vedanta Society, and then to Zen Buddhism which was so boring, but the lunches were good being that they were Vietnamese, and my DH and I moved to the Bible Belt, and I found a Tibetan Teacher in Texas who claimed there were no dangers in meditating, and I wanted to show him Dr. Singer's work, and he said, OH, she was proved a fraud in court and was only seeing TM and Hari Krishna people in her practice. TM gives the wrong mantras. I liked him and wanted to believe him, but I knew better. The Hari Krishna's don't meditate and I had a thesis that I have on my blog by a psychologist titled, Meditation-Related Psychosis from the Buddhist Perspective, but he didn't want to read it. Then I looked up Dr. Margaret Singer's court cases, and they have nothing to do with her findings on dangers of meditation. Sometimes I think I leave my senses behind me because I want to believe in a teacher, but then I saw the tantric sex emblem or painting on his website, and began doing research, and two weeks later I was calling him a liar because he said that he didn't teach tantric sex, and yet I found that his own teacher did and had read the Kalachakra Tantra that he teaches. Part of me still wants to blast away at him, telling him that he lied about the dangers of meditation, he teacher teaches tantric sex, and on and on. I am sick of teachers. I still believe in some Hinduism, the Vedas, but perhaps not all. But I will never go the guru route again due to the corruption. And I would suggest to anyone who does to read the Guru Papers, Masks of Authoritarian Power. Some excerpts on our my blog: But this is just my angry mind getting off the subject. Sorry, still it shows how a teacher can lie about the dangers of meditation.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 29, 2011 03:03AM

In the old texts one is advised to spend 12 years seeking a suitable teacher. I think that wise, not because they are so hard to find but because you need the experience of life, of your own needs, some confidence in your own judgement and a real commitment to do this stuff.

I personally think that there is a bit of derangement in the wanting to pursue this course--and I include myself in that.

After 12 years of flailing around, one at least will have aquired a good idea of what one doesn't want in a teacher and can discard all those who display those traits.
When you consider that you are placing your precious mind in the hands of another you need to be very picky indeed.
You need to be sure that the person knows what he is doing and has the student's interests at heart--and be prepared to walk the minute it appears otherwise.

In Asia, unless you are training as a monk, people do not generally undertake this stuff until they have achieved other goals in life, had a career or family etc. It isn't seen as the cure-all it is often touted as here. It is more like a college course that allows you to find some answers for yourself to some of the more abstruse questions in life.

There are dangers in meditation, a good teacher should be able to judge what the student can cope with and be just as picky about who he chooses to teach. Its an intimate relationship, in the same way that therapy is an intimate relationship, so anyone going for mass appeal is a no-no.

People lie and if they can benefit financially they are happy to lie. That's the way the world is, no perfect people, no matter what they would have you believe.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2011 03:07AM by Stoic.

Re: Dangers of Meditation
Posted by: grainne uaile ()
Date: July 29, 2011 04:23AM

I think it is very hard to learn about a teacher beforehand. I remember doing research into the organizations that I was to join, in Hinduism and Buddhism, and I was fooled due to the lies that teachers engage in and how the disciples tend to believe them, which makes it hard to find the truth. Better to have no teachers and just read books.

What I have learned about the Dangers of Meditation is that even a good teacher can't help them. I remember reading Mary Garden's article on Can Meditation Be Bad for You? that she allowed me to post, and she was at a meditation retreat where a man jumped off a roof (cliff?) and killed himself after the long retreat, and the teacher said that it was just his karma. I read Karma Cola, a book by an Indian woman written in a humorous manner, who said that in the 60s hippies came to India to learn from gurus, and when they went nuts they put them in a padded cell and then on a plane back to their own country, and whether she is joking or not, it does happen. People learn to meditate who have no mental problems and maybe the first time they meditate they find that they have a serious problem now and end up in therapy. But this doesn't happen too often. Often a teacher just doesn't know what to do and sometimes even the teachers are crazy from their own meditation. But it isn't just those who have emotional problems who get into trouble. Dr. Singer found that there were many who had no history of their own or in their family, who were now seeking help.

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