Ingram, et al - "Hard Core Dharma" & claims of attainment

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Ben
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Post by Ben » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:11 am

An excellent post, Mr Billings!
Again you are articulating things I have been thinking about, particularly in regards to the experiences of self-proclaimed ariyans and jhanaists (for want of a better term). I think there is a danger of believing one's experience is what one would like it to be rather than truely examining it, and its characteristics for what it actually is.

I think what you have said aout any experience being something to be observed and let go of, cannot be said enough. Everything should be let go of!Buddhaghosa detailed the ten imperfections of insight (Vism XX, 105), and yet, these imperfections of insight occur to those whose insight is "tender". Those who are actually on the path yet have not attained ariyanship. "For imperfections of insight do not arise either in a noble disciple who has reached penetration [of the truths] or in persons erring in virtue, neglectful of their meditation subject and idlers. They arise only in a clansman who keeps to the right course, devotes himself continuously [to his meditation subject] and is a beginner of insight."

As you know, the Brahmajala Sutta indicates that one's own meditative experiences can be a source for wrong view. And what a profound source of wrong view it can be. Especially given the proclivity of some Buddhists in the west who view the suttas via the prism of their own meditative experiences which is taken as some ultimate arbiter of truth. Move over blind-belief, the blind certainty of one's own believed attainment is particularly pernicious and the view associated with it difficult to remove. Many meditators would be better served by examining their experiences and their view with the same laser-like equanimous observation that they attend to their regular meditation object. And if they did that they would be less enamoured with the rise and fall of dhammas and be moving closer towards the goal.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Sanghamitta
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Post by Sanghamitta » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:30 am

We need another emoticon saying your posting saying that a posting is good, is another good posting. :smile:

I just think that anyone who says they are, probably aren't.

There is a well known Bhikkhu currently resident in The UK who is widely regarded as being an Arahant, But not the slightest of hints ever come from him about that, and he will have no such talk around him. Quite the reverse.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Ben
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Post by Ben » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:12 am

Hi Valerie
My own teacher has a saying:
A branch of a tree that bears fruit comes down because of the weight of the fruit. Similarly a person who develops paññā (wisdom) becomes more humble.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

yuuki
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Post by yuuki » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Ingram is telling us a lot here. One thing he is telling us is that he disregards the Pali sutta tradition, which characterizes the arahant as one who is morally transformed. Moral transformation is something that part of the practice leading up to awakening as it is a result of the awakening. He is also telling us that the basis of his “awakening” is not vipassana; rather, it is jhana, of which he claims to be a master.
I agree with the main thrust of your post, that moral transformation seems to be a part of arahantship. Although I am a new Buddhist, and I have only limited experience with the suttas.

However in his book Mr. Ingram's clearly divides practice along the three trainings, morality, concentration and insight. A big part of his book is based on the separation of concerns of the three trainings: morality that cares about coping with the world, concentration that provides deep fulfillment in altered states of consciousness, and insight that provides relief from the fundamental suffering in the world that comes from ignorance about anicca-anatta-dukkha.

He says many, many times in his book that insight training is the only training that has anything to do with ultimate liberation, although the other trainings play a part in enabling insight training. I don't see him as a "jhanaist", he is just a guy who claims mastery in the jhanas.

This isn't a damning of vipassana. I really don't know anything about vipassana other than some basic reading I've done. Just on a conceptual level, it seems that vipassana practices (as I've read about them so far) would lead to a non-dual awakening, and this seems to be what has happened with Mr. Ingram.

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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Post by Sanghamitta » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:50 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Valerie
My own teacher has a saying:
A branch of a tree that bears fruit comes down because of the weight of the fruit. Similarly a person who develops paññā (wisdom) becomes more humble.
metta

Ben
Always something to bear in mind Ben...something I need to remind myself of on a regular basis :) .

Metta,
Valerie.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Daniel M. Ingram

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:16 pm

yuuki wrote:it seems that vipassana practices (as I've read about them so far) would lead to a non-dual awakening, and this seems to be what has happened with Mr. Ingram.
You are reading someone who is running vipassana through a non-dual mill. And by Ingram's own admission, he dismisses the suttas as a basis for practice, which is not something the vipassana traditions such as the Mahasi Saydaw tradition does.
I don't see him as a "jhanaist", he is just a guy who claims mastery in the jhanas.
Mastery of the jhanas. Well, if he sees awakening as being non-dual and the arahant is characterized as in the above list of his, then that strongly suggests that jhana experience, cultivated or spontaneous, are the basis for his non-dual awakening.

There are plenty of others who have worked with vipassana that would be better to study than Ingram.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Sekha
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Daniel Ingram

Post by Sekha » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:57 am

They guy who claims on the web he is an arahant: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/about.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

After reading passages from his book, it seems to me he tries to be to Theravada buddhism what Castaneda was to Mexican shamanism.

What do you think?
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Dan74
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:23 am

There has been a thread on him already. Some people like him and some don't. I am not a fan because what he understands to be arahatship to me appears very different to what the Buddha taught. In particular the eradication of defilements, he claims to be a misunderstanding, I believe. I think he's also been on E-Sangha to defend his position. Something smacks of a big self there, but I may be wrong.
_/|\_

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Sekha
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by Sekha » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:29 pm

is that thread still readable?

his book is downloadable here by the way: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/Master ... ersion.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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RayfieldNeel
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by RayfieldNeel » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:27 pm

I've read his book, and have lurked at the forum. (http://www.dharmaoverground.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)
He does manage to be a controversial figure; he does indeed consider himself to be an arhant, and others who have followed in his footsteps at the site will overtly claim their attainments to 1st Path, 2nd Path, etc. He is also somewhat critical of the trappings of the religion..he spends some time in his book spelling out what he finds to be wrong with modern Buddhism.

On the positive side, he does give implicit instructions to folks who may want to know more about the specifics of samatha and vipassana practice, and he seems genuinely read to help when people ask.

As with most things, I take what is helpful, and try not to become attached to the rest. :tongue:

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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:16 pm

We've had various threads on this subject:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 43&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 43&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As I said here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 266#p47734" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
mikenz66 wrote:... as far as I can tell, Daniel's advice agrees with the advice of my (Mahasi style) teachers, and my experience with that sort of practise. So, actually, nothing particularly radical, but very direct.
I'm not particularly interested or concerned about discussing who is or isn't at any particular stage. However, Daniel's advice and maps are basically what you can read in the Visuddhimagga or Mahasi Sayadaw's books such as The Progress of Insight http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; or U Pandita's books or talks by Joseph Goldstein or Steve Armstrong. Where he differs from those teachers I take him less seriously.

Basically all teachers I pay much attention to (such as the above) state, at least by implication, that they have experienced at least some of the steps in the maps that they talk about.

Metta
Mike

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tiltbillings
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:26 pm

Above the above listed threads that deal with Ingram, this one

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3266" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

probably is the best of the bunch, plus this one

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=843" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Sekha
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by Sekha » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:25 am

There must be something wrong with the search engine on this forum. It did not find anything with the keyword 'ingram'.

And actually there are many threads about him already. :roll:
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:53 am

Dukkhanirodha wrote:There must be something wrong with the search engine on this forum. It did not find anything with the keyword 'ingram'.

And actually there are many threads about him already. :roll:
I tend to distrust forum search engines. Most of them don't seem to work as advertised.

I just use Google to search anything. E.g.

Code: Select all

site:http://dhammawheel.com ingram
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ah ... =firefox-a" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta
Mike

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Daniel Ingram

Post by jcsuperstar » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:57 am

i played around on his web board for a bit, not posting or joining but just reading, and never really came away with anything. i was hoping someone there had some insights or tricks in meditation i hadnt been formally taught or just stumbled across on my own. but didnt. but who knows if its different for others, i mean not everyone reads the same books or has had the same teachers.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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