I have been listening to some of the talks of Rodney Smith of Seattle Insight. In his talk on self uncertainty, he asserts that the goal of insight meditation is not progression and your meditation will eventually defeat you without going to any revelation. You'll not 'improve' though insight meditation or have any epiphany. it is simply to give us a mirror, to use it see what is there in your form of mind and body, and realize the formless from that. Whether it's perceptually good or evil. To see it and to not try to change any of it. Moreover, to especially focus on the parts that we don't like, and accept those completely without wanting to change them. This is the liberation that the Bhudda spoke of. The byproduct of that will be improvement of moral discipline and character (precepts, 8-fold path), but is not part of the process of arriving at Nibbana, but a result of having seen. He says, when the Bhudda famously touched the ground for witness as shown in statues, this means to say that there is nothing else, except right here right now. No trying, no progression, past present or future. All ascetic striving had failed for the Bhudda, and then he realized that night under the tree, that nothing is required, only attainment through letting go and unconditional acceptance of what is, as it is. That this is the only goal of meditation, no jhanas, no esoteric insight, just seeing in the mirror. Your mind and form, and accepting what you see there without judgement.
I contrast this with the Pali Canon, where we see the jhanas, the noble 8 fold path, various levels like stream enterer,non returner, liberated with and without taints, and the entire complicated and mesmerizing process for arriving there as explained in the suttas. But Smith would suggest, we are already there and are too process/goal oriented to stop and see what's already there. It seems Smith mixes zen and Therevada teachings. I'm not sure what to think of it, except don't think,
In my personal experience, my development has been just this, letting go of many things without caring, and accepting many things in me that I could never accept before. It's liberation, but not complete. Somehow after spending so much time studying suttas with the paths through Jhana and insight, and its varying levels of attainment, I still feel like there must be more to it, more transcending. So...
Does anyone have experience following the path as suggested by Rodney Smith? Comments?