A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:09 pm

I recently took a foray into what would be called "hardcore dharma", it's an interesting movement that IMO has produced results.

However the following post that I make is not in support, neither is it against, neither is it a segregating post, but merely a critique of the movement.

I make the following points:

[*]The hardcore dharma movement places too much emphasis on experience as a validator, as opposed to faith and gradual practice.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement renders the path "goal-less" and useless.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement establishes bizarre and incorrect criterion for Awakening.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement demoralizes and secularizes the path.
[*]The adherents of the hardcore dharma movement are method and technique obsessed.

Point No. 1)

The hardcore dharma movement places too much value on bizarre meditative experiences, the implicit assumption in all hardcore dharma diagonistics in that all experiences inherently "mean" something, and that most experiences imply some sort of "attainment". For example, if someone were to post:

"Hey I just saw a bright light during meditation, what does it mean?"

The classical hardcore dharma response would be: it means you've crossed the A&P (a term referring to partial enlightenment in the movement). Furthermore the movement gives too much credence to weird experiences which simply have no place in this dhamma-vinaya, e.g:

Hallucinations, ecstasies, kundalini phenomena, suicidal depression, hearing voices, raptures, strange bodily phenomena, orgasmic and sexual feelings. They view these experiences as positive indicators of progress.

Point No. 2)

The hardcore dharma movement believes the path does not truly eliminate suffering at it's classic "final" attainment, AKA MCTB Fourth Path. This was originally considered to be the equivalent of the Buddha's Arahatship, though they later abandoned this belief. Nevertheless, for the adherents that believe that the path does not truly eliminate all suffering, then it would be proper to point out that their endeavors have no goal or purpose.

This is simply because the Buddha's entire purpose of his teaching was to eliminate suffering. Whereas they claim that "enlightenment" does no such thing.

Hence two disparate situations.

Point No. 3)

The hardcore dharma movement place too much value on the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga. They have created and synthesized a brand new teaching of nanas and jhanas, that actually is found nowhere in the Canon and ACTUALLY nowhere found in the Commentaries or Visuddhimagga either.

The primary function of the nanas of the Comy and the Visuddhimagga were attainments of SPIRITUAL INSIGHT, not attainments of BIZARRE EXPERIENCE.

But they fail to realize this because they have not studied the source material of this doctrine.

Point No. 4)

The hardcore dharma movement eliminates the moral component of the path and favors discursive thought and labeling. This entirely eliminates the need to eliminate greed, hatred and delusion as well as unskillful actions.

This renders the path easier, and more interesting for people who do not wish to improve as individuals.

Point No. 5)

The hardcore dharma movement is method obsessed. They are obsessed with technique and prefer technique and practice over all sensible evaluation. Their primary obsession is the noting technique of U Narada.

The Buddha however, never gave step by step instructions for anything, because it was supposed to be our common sense and conscience that guided us to practice in this path. However it is ironic that instead of evaluating themselves inwardly, on where they would need to change, they instead decided to turn to techniques.

---

Note:

I do NOT condemn, or wish to separate "more dhamma oriented" Buddhists from "hardcore" Buddhists. As far as I'm concerned this would be incredibly unskillful, and the fact of the matter is, is that we're all adherents of this teaching and all human beings.

Furthermore I actually have tremendous respect for "hardcore" Buddhists and actually do believe them to be attaining the fruits of the teaching.

This is just me venting.

Go figure.

;-)
taintless
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:37 pm

Hello Taintless,

taintless wrote:The hardcore dharma movement believes the path does not truly eliminate suffering at it's classic "final" attainment, AKA MCTB Fourth Path. This was originally considered to be the equivalent of the Buddha's Arahatship, though they later abandoned this belief...This is simply because the Buddha's entire purpose of his teaching was to eliminate suffering. Whereas they claim that "enlightenment" does no such thing.


There is POV that Buddha taught to stop potentially limitless amount of future rebirths so that without birth there would not be future aging, illness, pain and more death. So 99.9999% of potential or actual Dukkha would cease in that way.

We cannot experience even 1% of dukkha in one life compared with trillions of life.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2906
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:42 pm

Interesting, I never considered that perspective before.

Nevertheless my point is primarily that:

If their path renders no visible, beneficial results or fruits that are IMMEDIATELY visible. Then there really is no point to practicing their path. If their path merely eliminates the POSSIBILITY of "future births" but does nothing to eliminate suffering in the HERE, AND, NOW. Then their path is useless.

IMHO.
taintless
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:59 pm

When it talks about Arhants:
"And how is a monk an arahant? His evil, unskillful qualities that are defiled, that lead to further becoming, create trouble, ripen in stress, and lead to future birth, aging, & death have gone far away.[14] This is how a monk is an arahant." MN39

It sounds like the trouble and dukkha that it talks about relates to dukkha of future lives which Arahants do not have.


There are hints that even Buddha has some uncomfortable mental states:

example: Buddha didn't want to teach the Dhamma because:

"And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.'" - MN26

Then, while the Lord was in solitude and seclusion, this thought arose in his mind: "Formerly I was living hemmed in by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis... and I was living in discomfort and not at ease. But now I live not hemmed in by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis... in comfort and at ease." Ud4.5

So apparently even the Buddha could experience discomfort and unease.

Also,
Sometime later, Devadatta went to the Buddha and suggested that the leadership of the Order should be handed over to him in view of the Buddha's approaching old age. The Buddha scorned the suggestion, saying, "Not even to Sāriputta or Moggallāna would I hand over the Order, and would I then to thee, vile one, to be vomited like spittle?" (Vin.ii.188. This incident is referred to in the Abhayarājakumāra Sutta, M.i.393).
http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... adatta.htm


It does sounds like Buddha was angry at Devadatta.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2906
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:08 pm

Right, but right now we're not speculating about the mental well-being of Arahats or the Buddha.

How exactly does this relate to the discussion?
taintless
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:09 pm

taintless wrote:Right, but right now we're not speculating about the mental well-being of Arahats or the Buddha.

How exactly does this relate to the discussion?



It relates to point #2. Maybe we, or I, have unrealistic expectation of what it means to be Awakened and how much dukkha immediately ceases.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2906
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:19 pm

Perhaps you're right then. Interesting.

But then it is difficult to explain this vagga:

37. 1. 1.
(1) Nibbànaü Ý Extinction

1. At one time venerable Sàriputta was living in the hamlet Nàlagà.

2. Then the wandering ascetic Jambukhàdana approached venerable Sàriputta, exchanged friendly greetings and sat on a side.

3. ßSitting on a side the wandering ascetic Jambukhàdana said to venerable Sàriputta: ßFriend Sàriputta, it is said `extinction', what is extinction?û

ßFriend, the destruction of greed, hate and delusion is extinction.û

4. ßFriend, is there a path and method for the realization of extinction?û

ßFriend, there is a path and method to realize extinction.û

5. ßFriend, what is the path and method to realize extinction?û

ßFriend, it is this same Noble Eightfold Path, for the realization of extinction, such as right view, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right establishment of mindfulness and concentration.û

6. ßFriend, the path and method is excellent for the realization of extinction. It is suitable that I should be diligent.û

37. 1. 2.
(2) Arahattaü Ý Perfection

1. At one time venerable Sàriputta was living in the hamlet Nàlagà.

2. Then the wandering ascetic Jambukhàdana approached venerable Sàriputta, exchanged friendly greetings and sat on a side.

3. ßSitting on a side the wandering ascetic Jambukhàdana said to venerable Sàriputta: ßFriend Sàriputta, it is said `perfection', what is perfection?û

ßFriend, the destruction of greed, hate and delusion is perfectionû

4. ßFriend, is there a path and method to realize perfection?û

ßFriend, there is a path and method to realize perfectionû

5. ßFriend, what is the path and method for the realization of perfection?û

ßFriend, it is this same Noble Eightfold Path, for the realization of perfection, such as right view, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right establishment of mindfulness and right concentration.û

6. ßFriend, the path and method is excellent for the realization of extinction. It is suitable that I should be diligent.û


http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/3Samyutta-Nikaya/Samyutta4/37-Jambukhadaka-Samyutta/01-Jambukhadakasamyuttam-e.html

Arahatship is defined as the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion.
taintless
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:36 pm

Alex123 wrote:So apparently even the Buddha could experience discomfort and unease.


And yet some suttas talk about the "here and now" cessation of suffering - so how does one reconcile this apparent contradiction? Is it about being "disjoined" from these feelings?
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2844
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:28 pm

porpoise wrote:
Alex123 wrote:So apparently even the Buddha could experience discomfort and unease.


And yet some suttas talk about the "here and now" cessation of suffering - so how does one reconcile this apparent contradiction? Is it about being "disjoined" from these feelings?


Pretty much, yes - it's the ol' simile of two darts, the physical affliction and the mental affliction. The latter can be trained away, which removes the teeth of the former.

Unpleasant feeling due to contact either causes dukkha due to avijja (confusion and bewilderment about what's what), or does not cause dukkha due to yathabutananadassana (knowing and seeing what's what). It's unpleasant, sure, but it's as problematic as something being green instead of blue.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4243
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:31 pm

Some light reading on the topic for your edification: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5569
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19763
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:34 pm

taintless wrote:Arahatship is defined as the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion.


Arahants still experience pleasure and pain, but they have stopped the clinging to pleasure and aversion for pain that trigger greed, hate, and delusion. If the Hardcore Dhamma Movement is simply making that point, you may have to reconsider Point #2. However, if they are saying that there will always be some clinging/aversion leading to greed, hate, delusion, and the resultant dukkha, then your Point #2 may still be valid.

What is this Hardcore Dhamma Movement? Do they have a website or a central spokesperson?

I just saw Tilt's post. I will have to read that thread for more info.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
Buckwheat
 
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby manas » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:38 pm

EDIT: Interesting how before meditating, I felt like expressing a view on this topic, but after meditating, I feel like a better option is not to say anything about it at all. So I've taken down that previous post I wrote.

In peace. :anjali:
Last edited by manas on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2145
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Feathers » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:58 pm

What is the Hardcore Dharma Movement? I've never heard the phrase before and a quick google wasn't terribly helpful. :?:
Feathers
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:14 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Alex123 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:59 pm

porpoise wrote:
Alex123 wrote:So apparently even the Buddha could experience discomfort and unease.


And yet some suttas talk about the "here and now" cessation of suffering - so how does one reconcile this apparent contradiction? Is it about being "disjoined" from these feelings?


First of all, not all dukkha ceases. Even the Buddha felt "severe illness, and sharp and deadly pains." DN16. Dukkha of aging, illness, death, change - still remains.

As for being dis-joined from feeling. What does it mean? That feelings do not affect one at all? Then why would arahant prefer one feeling or another?

daverupa wrote:Unpleasant feeling due to contact either causes dukkha due to avijja (confusion and bewilderment about what's what), or does not cause dukkha due to yathabutananadassana (knowing and seeing what's what). It's unpleasant, sure, but it's as problematic as something being green instead of blue.


As I've written above the Buddha appeared to still experience some sort of connection to pleasant and unpleasant mental states. But the Buddha didn't have avijja.
"dust to dust...."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2906
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby lojong1 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:36 pm

I don't see how the criticisms of the OP could be based on Daniel Ingram's book. Is there a separate movement for Unusually Hardcore Dharma?
lojong1
 
Posts: 580
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:47 pm

Searching it in on the interwebs renders a few recurrent names.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4243
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:07 pm

taintless wrote:I recently took a foray into what would be called "hardcore dharma", it's an interesting movement that IMO has produced results.

However the following post that I make is not in support, neither is it against, neither is it a segregating post, but merely a critique of the movement.

I make the following points:

[*]The hardcore dharma movement places too much emphasis on experience as a validator, as opposed to faith and gradual practice.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement renders the path "goal-less" and useless.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement establishes bizarre and incorrect criterion for Awakening.
[*]The hardcore dharma movement demoralizes and secularizes the path.
[*]The adherents of the hardcore dharma movement are method and technique obsessed.

Point No. 1)

The hardcore dharma movement places too much value on bizarre meditative experiences, the implicit assumption in all hardcore dharma diagonistics in that all experiences inherently "mean" something, and that most experiences imply some sort of "attainment". For example, if someone were to post:

"Hey I just saw a bright light during meditation, what does it mean?"

The classical hardcore dharma response would be: it means you've crossed the A&P (a term referring to partial enlightenment in the movement). Furthermore the movement gives too much credence to weird experiences which simply have no place in this dhamma-vinaya, e.g:

Hallucinations, ecstasies, kundalini phenomena, suicidal depression, hearing voices, raptures, strange bodily phenomena, orgasmic and sexual feelings. They view these experiences as positive indicators of progress.

Point No. 2)

The hardcore dharma movement believes the path does not truly eliminate suffering at it's classic "final" attainment, AKA MCTB Fourth Path. This was originally considered to be the equivalent of the Buddha's Arahatship, though they later abandoned this belief. Nevertheless, for the adherents that believe that the path does not truly eliminate all suffering, then it would be proper to point out that their endeavors have no goal or purpose.

This is simply because the Buddha's entire purpose of his teaching was to eliminate suffering. Whereas they claim that "enlightenment" does no such thing.

Hence two disparate situations.

Point No. 3)

The hardcore dharma movement place too much value on the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga. They have created and synthesized a brand new teaching of nanas and jhanas, that actually is found nowhere in the Canon and ACTUALLY nowhere found in the Commentaries or Visuddhimagga either.

The primary function of the nanas of the Comy and the Visuddhimagga were attainments of SPIRITUAL INSIGHT, not attainments of BIZARRE EXPERIENCE.

But they fail to realize this because they have not studied the source material of this doctrine.

Point No. 4)

The hardcore dharma movement eliminates the moral component of the path and favors discursive thought and labeling. This entirely eliminates the need to eliminate greed, hatred and delusion as well as unskillful actions.

This renders the path easier, and more interesting for people who do not wish to improve as individuals.

Point No. 5)

The hardcore dharma movement is method obsessed. They are obsessed with technique and prefer technique and practice over all sensible evaluation. Their primary obsession is the noting technique of U Narada.

The Buddha however, never gave step by step instructions for anything, because it was supposed to be our common sense and conscience that guided us to practice in this path. However it is ironic that instead of evaluating themselves inwardly, on where they would need to change, they instead decided to turn to techniques.

---

Note:

I do NOT condemn, or wish to separate "more dhamma oriented" Buddhists from "hardcore" Buddhists. As far as I'm concerned this would be incredibly unskillful, and the fact of the matter is, is that we're all adherents of this teaching and all human beings.

Furthermore I actually have tremendous respect for "hardcore" Buddhists and actually do believe them to be attaining the fruits of the teaching.

This is just me venting.

Go figure.

;-)


1 is not a bad thing.

2 and 3 might be based on an incorrect understandind of the arahat's mind, as the current direction of the discussion is ilustrating.

4 I don't have an opinion based on the dharma overground community.

5 Almost everybody is technique obsessed.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
User avatar
Modus.Ponens
 
Posts: 2045
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Funchal, Portugal

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby taintless » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:20 am

Well this is really interesting, as far as I see there are two issues:

1) The possibility that we and/or I have misunderstood what the state of an Arahat is.

AND

2) Whether or not these criticisms can really be levied against the Hardcore Dharma movement adherents.

Number 2 is possible for me because I spent a large amount of time following the community at the Dharma Overground, and I noticed that kind of behavior that I mention. Number 1 however means something different, if it is truly the case that we and/or I are misinterpreting what it means to be an Arahat, then the rest of the criticisms may be pointless. Not invalid but pointless, merely because they really are making progress along the path.
taintless
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Nyana » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:48 am

Alex123 wrote:It does sounds like Buddha was angry at Devadatta.

Do you not think it's possible to rebuke, reprove, reprimand, censure, criticize, or admonish someone without being angry?
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: A Critique of the Hardcore Dharma Movement.

Postby Maitri » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:05 am

Point No. 4)

The hardcore dharma movement eliminates the moral component of the path and favors discursive thought and labeling. This entirely eliminates the need to eliminate greed, hatred and delusion as well as unskillful actions.

This renders the path easier, and more interesting for people who do not wish to improve as individuals.


While I agree with you on this point, don't you think that this the case with most of Western Secular Buddhism? There is often little to no discussion of following sila in relation to ending suffering; meditation is touted as the only path for this. It seems that adjustment of one's moral behavior is rarely mentioned for fear of offending people.
May all beings be well, happy, calm, and at ease.
User avatar
Maitri
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:43 am
Location: United States of America

Next

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests