I wonder if you will discuss something with me - something that seems almost "politically incorrect" to criticize in Western Buddhism. It's so amorphous that it is hard for me to even pin down a quote that illustrates well the view that I am examining.
To attempt to sum it up, I have been encountering a lot of teachings from highly respected monks that, to me, seem to be opposed to, or divergent from, the original teachings of the Buddha, despite mass acceptance of them as true Dhamma.
I want to believe that these monks are teaching authentic Dhamma in some roundabout way, but it's so confusing; from my perspective, the senior Western monks can't seem to agree on the fundamental point of how to meditate. It fills me with doubt and sucks away my confidence that the Dhamma can even be practiced in the modern era.
These teachings seem to share a common characteristic: "acceptance of the way things are" as the primary element of Buddhist meditation. I'm sure there are far better examples, but here is a quote from a certain senior Thai forest monk:
Teachings of this nature generally seem to evasively wiggle around the canonical descriptions of right effort and the Buddha's continual insistence that unwholesome mind-states are not to be tolerated, to be annihilated, wiped out of existence, etc. Instead, they insist that awareness and acceptance of these mind states is the right effort to be made. Another important characteristic is that they all seem to strongly downplay the wholesome side of right effort, that is, the effort to increase wholesome states of mind and actively bring them into existence....this mind doesn't give us a chance to allow an experience to come to us so that we can learn from it...
So we make the effort to develop the patience and determination to just be with these difficult states of mind.
...We recognize the impatience, we watch it, and eventually it falls away. We do the same with restlessness and all of the other hindrances. We sense these things when they're coming up, but we're just with them, rather than willfully repressing them. We breathe with them and accept them. We accept them again and again.
As far as I see it:
On the one hand, you could argue that this technique seems to be an application of the perception of non-self to the unwholesome states of mind.
On the other hand, it seems to be a very heedless teaching with respect to the real danger of unwholesome states; that they are not to be "accepted" but removed as quickly as possible, because they are causing bad kamma and habituating the mind to further unwholesome states.
I wonder if anyone else has noticed that there seems to be a real discrepancy here.
But I am aware that this issue is very subtle. My knowledge is limited so I will put this question out to the public.
Where is this idea coming from? Why are they teaching this way? Is this interpretation of Right Effort reasonable? Does it have any scriptural authority? Or is it all just wrong view?
I am anxious to hear some alternative views on this.