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October 01, 2014

Dont Believe the Hype


Neuroscientist Catherine Kerr is concerned about how mindfulness meditation
research is being portrayed in the media.
Health Interview MBSR Meditation Mindfulness neuroscience Science Tricycle
Science Health

Last May, an article about mindfulness on a popular mainstream news website finally
spurred neuroscientist and meditation researcher Catherine Kerr to act. The article
cited 20 benefits of meditation, from reducing loneliness to increasing grey matter
to helping sleep, and painted a picture of meditation as a kind of golden elixir for
modern life. Kerr posted the article on her Facebook page. It is not like any of this is
grossly inaccurate, she wrote in her post. It is just that the studies are too cherrypicked and too positive.

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Family Medicine at Brown University, Kerr


directs translational neuroscience for Browns Contemplative Studies Initiative and
leads a mindfulness research program at Providences Miriam Hospital. She takes no
issue with the value of mindfulness practice; Kerr has personally reaped enormous
benefit from Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in a two-decade-long
battle with cancer, and as a researcher she has studied the beneficial effects MBSR
has had on others. But as a scientist committed to facts, she was worried. I think we
are all going to need to take responsibility and do something so that the coverage
looks slightly more balanced, she wrote to her Facebook friends who are scientists,
clinicians, philosophers, and contemplatives in the meditation research community.
Otherwise, when the inevitable negative studies come, this whole wave will come
crashing down on us.
Within three days, Kerrs Facebook thread grew to over 100 comments. Kerr founded
a Facebook group and moved the discussion there. Today, Mindfulness and Skillful
Action: A Research Discussion Group is an important rallying point for over 400
prominent academic, scientific, and clinical meditation researchers as well as leaders
from the Buddhist community. (The group is now closed to new members.) This
Facebook community has been tracking two rapidly diverging discourses: the
evolving scientific, scholarly, and clinical consensus and the popular press coverage

about that consensus. As the gap between the two widens to what Kerr fears will
soon reach a crisis point, group members are asking themselves and each other
what ethical obligations they have to intervene in the popular discourse around
meditation. Together they are strategizing about how to tone down the hype to
accord with the facts while not, as Kerr commented in one post, throwing the baby
out with the bathwater.
Tricycle spoke with Kerr in Providence, Rhode Island to understand the significance
of this emerging meta-discoursethe conversation about the conversation about
meditation.
Linda Heuman, Contributing Editor

In a recent article in U.S. News, you were quoted as saying: Mindfulness is a


science that is just beginning. And theres a lot of media hype around that. What
kind of hype? The Huffington Post is the worst offender. The message they deliver
becomes a ubiquitous, circulating meme that people put up on their Facebook pages
and that becomes true through repetition alone. The Huffington Post features
mindfulness a lot and tends to represent only the positive findings (and in the most
positive light imaginable) rather than offering a balanced reading of the science. They
use that approach to justify the idea that every person who has any mental abilities
should be doing mindfulness meditation. I dont think the science supports that. The
Huffington Post has really done mindfulness a disservice by framing it in that way.
How does hyping mindfulness do it a disservice? One of the negative consequences
if this wave of hype continues could be that the backlash will be too strong. People
will lose faith and revert to the other side: mindfulness has no value.
What are some of the popular myths or narratives about mindfulness that scientists
would like to correct? Scientists are, for the most part, circumspect about making
claims for cures attributed to mindfulness. The science doesnt support that.
Scientists know from looking at meditation trials that not every person benefits from
mindfulness therapies, but this is something non-scientists seem to have difficulty
with. Individuals should not make clinically based decisions based only on
neuroscientific studies because the sample sizes are too small; if you are making an
evidence-based decision, it should be from a full picture of the evidence that includes
clinical trial data. The clinical trial data on mindfulness for depression, for example, is
not a slam-dunk. The results are really not better than those for antidepressants. In

general, mindfulness is not orders of magnitude stronger than other things that
people are doing right now to help manage stress and mood disorders. So you have
to look at mindfulness in the context of a range of options. Unlike other therapies,
mindfulness can be self-led at a certain pointit becomes a practice rather than a
therapeutic modality in the same way that exercise is a training or practice. But
mindfulness doesnt work for everything and is not suitable for everyone.
Another popular narrative about MBSR is that its derived from a two-and-a-halfmillennia-old practice. It is very hard to evaluate or falsify that statement or even to
figure out what it means. I think it gets assigned way too much weight.
Could you give an example of a scientific result that was oversold by the media? I
was the second author in Sara Lazars 2005 paper Meditation experience is
associated with increased cortical thickness. It is a lovely paper, but its findings were
preliminary.
Was this the study that had everyone saying that meditation changes your brain?
Yes. It is cited over 800 times in scientific literature. Sara is still interviewed
constantly about this study. And scientists know that its a nonrandomized crosssectional study, which means that the measures are only taken at one time point. So
if there is a difference in brain thickness, we dont know if the cause is practice or
lifestyle, or if people with thicker brains are simply attracted to mindfulness. To see
that something is causing something else, we need to see change over time thats
controlled. And we dont see that in the paper. But the typical headline in the popular
press was Mindfulness Makes Your Brain Grow.
We also didnt claim that there was a directly measured behavioral benefit in having a
thicker brain. (There are actually some conditions where its not good to have a
thicker brain!) We were really clear about the significance of our findings in our
paper, but because the brain is such a fetish and because the idea of growing your
brain was so attractive, many media portrayals missed the subtlety entirely.
Sara Lazars finding has since been replicated. I wasnt totally sure about the results
until they were replicated.
So even though the measures were only taken at one point, because it has been
replicated the results are still significant? Yes, it has been replicated many times in
different ways. Its very exciting for a scientist to have your findings replicated.
Theres a really significant replication crisis right now in psychological science
especially in social psychology. Many findings that were thought to be canonical

which were in the psychology textbooks and which everyone just thought were true
are not replicable. We cant generate those effects. Its not necessarily the case that
the first study was bad, but the gold standard of science is replication.
Theres a broader replication crisis in medicine. There is a very famous article about
this by John P. A. Ionnidis called Why Most Published Research Studies Findings
are False. In the same vein, a report published in Nature reviewed preclinical cancer
studies and found that over 80 percent of the findings reported in top journals were
nonreplicable. That means we cant trust them. Theyre likely not true!
Both scientists and scientific laypeople have a lot of trouble with these reports.
Why do you think that is so? We want certainty; we do not like the indeterminacy of
not really understanding what is going on. Yet somebody who has a clear scientific
understanding knows that the evidence base is always mixedit is not a 100percent, only-positive thing. Mixed into the weave of the science are negative
findings and poorly designed studies. The problem is not isolated to mindfulness.
So how should scientific laypeople interpret the research on meditation? Its fair to
say that there are some clues from brain science that meditation might help enhance
brain function. That is an evidence-based statement. The mistake is investing 100percent certainty in a result and not holding a probabilistic view of scientific truth or
risk and benefit. When people are making decisions for their own well-being, they
need to be able to hold that uncertainty in mind. And they need to understand that
the scientific context in which they are making their decisions could be different five
years from now. Personally, I dont really make decisions about what to practice
based on these small-sample-size studies reported in the media. Many mindfulness
scientists are very puzzled by people making decisions based on these small
neuroscientific studies.
What kind of evidence would it be appropriate to consider in evaluating mindfulness
as a therapeutic remedy? Consideration of the concrete experience of doing these
practices should be much more central in the discussion. This is what it feels like to
follow your breath for twenty minutes. How do you like it? What did it make you feel
like later in the day? Those seem like the real questions, not What would happen if I
threw you in a scanner?
There are many claimants for attention and funding from the National Insitutes of
Health (NIH) and insurance companies. I think its fair to ask for some objective
evidence before you decide to reimburse on something, to have preliminary scientific

data before the NIH bestows a million-dollar grant. That type of demand has its
place. The problem is when the volume is turned up too high, when there is an
overestimation of what the evidence might really mean. This problem of
overestimation is ubiquitous. It is true in statin literature; it true in hormone
replacement therapy literature. We thought there were really strong benefits, and
they turned out to not be theresometimes these therapies were even harmful.
Do you think that the researchers themselves are in part responsible for the media
hype? The approach in mindfulness science is pretty much aligned with how
scientists generally communicate, where, especially in early-stage work, one of your
responsibilities is to generate enthusiasm. To get things going, get collaborators, and
garner NIH interest, you need to be a little entrepreneurial. There is a real art to
expressing something as a theory you want to test and getting people excited about it
while making sure that they understand this theory hasnt been proven yet.
Researchers have to strike a tricky balance between expressing genuine enthusiasm
and cautioning about limitations.
But a lot of times I will clearly say, I am stating a very exciting hypothesis. When I
lay out how the hypothesis might work, listeners grab onto that hypothesis story as
though it is trueeven though Ive said, It hasnt been proven yet. People dont
really know how to hear a story that a scientist is telling as a hypothesis. They dont
know how to gauge that. The hypothesis somehow registers as already proven.
Do researchers benefit from the hype? Do they leverage itintentionally or
unintentionally? You can read media coverage of scientists encounters at public
forums and probably find examples where they are making a story a little stronger
than the evidence suggests. Mindfulness didnt invent the problem. It is a big problem
in science communication across the board. That is how things work in these TEDstyle forum talksit is not about skepticism or careful thinking; it is about who can tell
the most dramatic story.
It is very hard for the public to remember a complex story. Part of our job as
communicators is to strip the story down. The tricky thing is to determine when we
cross a line to become manipulative and not true to the underlying science.
The NIH takes an interest in therapies that are popular and available, so publicity can
translate into more NIH funding. Other scientists start to get interested, and that
recruits more scientists into the field. It makes our studies seem more interesting and
significant because they relate to a phenomenon that people are interested in. So we
do benefit. But I dont think that is the main thing that has been driving the hype.

You have called on scholars of contemplative studies to take the lead in starting a
critical dialogue about mindfulness. What would that look like? Some important
questions to ask are why people want to believe that mindfulness is good in every
circumstance, that there are no negative side effects, and that its derived in a pure
way from a 2500-year-old practice. Why do contemplative practices, especially Asian
contemplative practices, seem to elicit this type of positive response? Those are the
really interesting cultural questions about the present moment.
What would be your contribution be? Im very interested in patient narrativesclinical
narratives. When I read critiques of mindfulness closely, I see they often dont
address the experiences of people who do the practice. Left out of consideration in
current critiques of mindfulness is peoples sincere desire to be happy and to suffer
less.
In my brain science course, I bring in examples of what a scientific abstract says and
also a news article that reports on it. They are very disconnected from one another.
People want ways to reduce suffering and stress and they have grabbed onto
mindfulness like a life jacket. I find that very moving, and I want to take it seriously.
There is a flavor of desperation around some of this hope. Im sensitized to this from
over ten years of research I did on the placebo effect at Harvard Medical School with
Ted Kaptchuk, a leader in the field. When people seek help in a medical-therapeutic
context, they are often quite desperate for relief.
What is the placebo effect, and does it relate to the healing power of mindfulness?
The placebo effect is usually defined, somewhat tortuously, as the sum of the
nonspecific effects that are not hypothesized to be the direct mechanism of
treatment. For example, having a face-to-face conversation is not hypothesized as
what makes psychotherapy workyou could have a face-to-face conversation with
anybody. But for some reason, if you go every week to therapy, you are going to get
better. But you could talk about the weather! When we perform these rituals with a
desire to get better, we often do. We now know that a lot of the positive therapeutic
benefit from psychotherapy and from various pain drugs may come from that initial
context; it often has nothing to do with the specific treatment that is being offered. It is
really just about the person approaching a situation with a sense of hope and being
met by something that seems to hold out that hope.
MBSR has tapped into that in a really deep way. What happens to an individual in the
course of the eight-week MBSR course is based on this initial motivation to get

better. Much of the benefit he or she receives from MBSR likely comes from that.
Participants have complex relationships around their hopes of getting better. There is
something very profound about thatsomething very human.
My sense of this isnt only grounded in my knowledge of mindfulness science and my
earlier work on the science of the placebo; I live this. I have had an underlying cancer
for 18 years. Qigong and mindfulness have been very helpful to me in managing the
side effects of my illness and psychological fluctuations. They may have even helped
me manage my immune system. But what is in the foreground for me is that every
morning I get up and have a sincere desire to be better.
If someone is aware that the placebo effect may be an important part of why a
particular treatment works, will the treatment still work for that person? As someone
who is an expert on the placebo effect, can it still affect you? Why wouldnt it? You
cant imagine you are healing. If you are healing, you are healing!
Ted Kaptchuk did a great study on placebos without deception. He recruited people
with irritable bowel syndrome and told them: We have a treatment here that weve
already studied. It appears to really help people. It is called the placebo. So Im
going to hand you some pills that have no physiological benefit. But based on our
data, we think this will help you. And there was a pretty robust response.
Even though people knew it was a placebo? So you dont need to be under the
illusion that you are taking an actual drug? You need something that you are actively
doing for yourself. You need to take a pill; you need to get touchedsomething
needs to happen. There needs to be a ritual where there is a transaction of some
sort.
The placebo effect is a kind of category mistake. It is what gets left over when you
throw out the effects of the specific treatment. But the minute that you make the
placebo a veritable mechanism, it stops being the placebo effect. It is paradoxical in
that way. It has been studied, and it is tractable. It seems like the dynamics of ritual
are very important.
Are you saying that if there are two people who are both ill and really want to get
better, the one who takes any kind of action has a better chance of recovery? Yes.
What is interesting about mindfulness is the way it works with that desire and the
simple fact of taking action by doing your homework every day. It enrolls you in a
process of which you are very self-aware.

Do you think there is a risk that mindfulness hype preys on that hope people have by
giving them a false promise of cure? Ive heard reports of people who have
abandoned chemotherapy to do mindfulness. I dont know if that has really
happened. Certainly there are people who go off their antidepressants or lithium and
think that mindfulness is going to manage their serious depression or bipolar
disorder. Thats a concern we have with the current hype around mindfulness. People
might see it as being more active than it really is. It doesnt resolve those situations.
If mindfulness doesnt actually resolve conditions like depression, how does it help? I
did a qualitative study of participants in an MBSR course and I found that they
appear follow a trajectory. People show up and they really want relief. They have a lot
of different conditions. They are seeking help. They think that maybe this course is
going to take away their problems. And the teacher on the first day says thats not
what this class is about. This class is about learning how to be present to your own
inner life, including distress and suffering that you may have been avoiding. By
weeks four and five, people really get it. Theyve been sitting and their suffering has
not gone away, and theres this profound experience people have in which they
realize that maybe just wiping away the suffering is not what this is about. Then
people have a lot of generalized distress, and they go through it and end up on the
other side. They realize, I can face that!
When promoters of mindfulness only focus on its effects on brain mechanismsand
I say this as a brain scientistthey are missing a big part of the story. Similarly, when
Buddhist critics of mindfulness attack secularized mindfulness because they are
worried it is corrupting the dharma, they too are missing something important. Both
are blind to this experiential dimension of what it is like for people in pain to take an
MBSR course: you have this very complex process of wanting relief, discovering that
this isnt going to take your problems away, and then facing into your problems in a
new way. That process is about learning how to tolerate the uncertainty that is our
existential problem. Were not sure if we are right; we dont know how things are
going to turn out. Living with that uncertainty is really deep! And MBSR and its
variants help people with that. I worry that our tendency to parse the world into
competing abstractionsscientific reductionism on the one hand or dharma purism
on the othermay cause us to miss this hard-to-see qualitative shift that may be the
true source of the power of mindfulness.
Do you consider yourself part of the mindfulness backlash? I am a cautious
member of the backlash, but I am also aware that the backlash can crystalize into
ideological rhetoric. People who think of mindfulness as training their brains are
taking refuge in an idea that has not been proven; they are either unaware of or

unable to process the problem of scientific uncertainty. Similarly, people who are
concerned that McMindfulness could be watering down the dharma could also be
viewed as ideological and intolerant of the uncertainty that comes with something
new. Insistence on surefire answers, whether in science or about a received notion of
the dharma, can be an avoidance of the existential problem of uncertainty.
Do you think that there is no place for critics who are saying we should exercise
caution about whether we consider this a new form of Buddhism? These are
important questions for dharma teachers, but Im not sure of their social significance
beyond committed dharma teachers and students. Viewed in terms of the amount of
suffering that is being met by MBSR, the question of whether or not MBSR is
Buddhism doesnt really matter.
There are, however, significant questions about how the increasing popularity of
secular meditation programs might affect Western Buddhism. How would you
recommend Buddhists meaningfully discuss these issues? It is important for
mindfulness critics to be curious about the experiences of people who take these
secular mindfulness programs. The questions people need to be asking are not
these abstract ones: Is it scientific? Is it true dharma? The question to ask is:
What does it feel like? If you go straight to brain circuits or straight to ideology, you
are missing that fundamental questionand that curiosity.
Linda Heuman, a Tricycle contributing editor, is a freelance journalist based in
Providence, Rhode Island.
With support from the John Templeton Foundation, Tricycles Buddhism and
Modernity project is initiating a conversation between Buddhists and leading thinkers
across the humanities and social sciences. Tricycle is exploring how perspectives
drawn from research on the nature of religion, culture, science, and secularism can
shed light on unexamined assumptions shaping the transmission of Buddhism to
modernity. This project offers Western Buddhists new ways of thinking about their
spiritual experiences by demonstrating how reason can be used as a tool to open up
rather than shut downaccess to traditional faith.
Image: Christiana Care/Flickr
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Reply by Kate Kobey on October 12, 2014, 11:34 am


Phenomenology was/is/will always be before science. Gautama Buddha was not the
first, only the most recognized. And Ms. Kerr and her associates will bleed this and
other practices dry before they will ever step foot in Heaven/Nirvana. Was it not
Christ who said, "...it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God..." Science can try to identify
elements of truth, but can never be truth.
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Reply by Rubens Maciel on October 6, 2014, 3:10 pm
This article is a good warning to curb the desire of many of idealization. However, I
think Mindfulness is a technical and philosophical knowledge that turn on fast food.
Thus, this simplification, good for consumption, greatly reduced physical and
philosophical reach. Meditation practices are much broader and varied with goals
that go well beyond reducing stress and turn to the present. Moreover, I observe, that
there is huge difference between starters in relation to their ability to understand and
realize what is proposed. In literature and the teachers teach us much more than the
MBSR programs. The more you practice, the new states are realized, physically and
emotionally, and this encourages you to go forward. at increasingly deeper levels.
For some serious scholars, meditators who are considered true practitioners are
those who have practiced for approximately 10,000 hours. Finally, I leave my
testimony, that many positive changes have occurred with my general health,
assessed by laboratories, which are the fruit of meditation practice.
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Reply by Lshreve on October 5, 2014, 10:46 am
The conversation about the conversation, the popular press, etc. I'm already a
Mindfulness addict. I even named my blog Mindful Dying. Yet, there is a bit of sorrow
that in the popularizing of the practice it has become separated from it's Buddhist
foundation. As the article says, people want relief and they want certainty. Buddhism,
however, is loud about accepting un-certainty. In many ways this feels like the
Positive Mental Attitude wave of the 'Think and Grow Rich' genre. Instead of relating
to Mindfulness practice as one way along the path, it may be being bought as a
panacea.
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Reply by myers_lloyd on October 4, 2014, 10:03 pm

Secular mindfulness - I guess I wish it well as a "tool" -has for its object and intention
a self-improvement project: I will get more energy, more wellness, a more positive
mind frame, and so on.
And this has exactly what to do with Buddhist training, pivotal to which is the freedom
from bondage of the "I" hoping for more energy, more wellness, a more positive mind
frame, and so on?
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Reply by deannies on October 4, 2014, 2:38 pm
I found the person interviewed to be very narrowly focused on only science. NOT
everything can be proven in science and in fact the Dalai Lama says the two should
co-exist peacefully. if someone can tell me how the spark of life starts cells
multiplying I'd love to know (or maybe not.) [I'd also like to know how the energy from
a body just "disappears" or is there more to it? Energy doesn't just disappear. Has to
go somewhere.]
Mindfullness practice can help anyone. I really believe that. It can't cure cancer
probably and it can't cure severe depression or chemical imbalances but it does help
relieve some of the anxiety associated with any disease. It is a healthy practice for all
to adopt.
Anyone with any type of critical thinking knows that meditation is not the key to every
single thing becoming wonderful or great. Of course the greatest abuser of the
negative hype is Deepak Chopra. He's all about the money it seems. In meeting him
you get the creepiest feeling that he loves money more than the messages.
Last, I found the immediate attack upon Huffington Post to be childish. I fear Kerr
may be in the faux noise corner or at best fails to understand almost all media today
is entertainment, not news. It's designed to sell, not particularly inform one.
This woman needs to go live in the real world, get out of her ivory tower of science,
and see how the ordinary person lives and copes. Her attachment to science is
probably not all that healthy. Sounds like she is an academic who went through
school, to school, and now teaches. Ugh.
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Reply by Wu Shin on October 4, 2014, 12:07 pm
I am thinking any American, or Westerner who is sincerely trying out Buddhism and
meditation, or Koan, or whatever ought to have a critical eye toward the
popularization of the corporate and popular 'mindfulness.'
I have read that historically Buddhism and new cultures it has come to take a few

centuries for the synthesis and both come out with some change, small or large. So,
if that is so, we have a long time to go to see how this integration of East and West
will play out. Corporate American has latched on to 'mindfulness' as the new silver
bullet to 'improve' its workers (so they can be more productive), after all we can't
starve the peasants to death, who will do the work.
It's ironic, because if a lot of people who start out with the new American Mindfulness
craze are actually successful at it, and perhaps begin to explore the Buddhist
foundational teachings, the whole capitalist current structure, which is based on
greed, the war machine, domination of others, would collapse as people would see
through it as not a reality, but simply a shared mental nightmare. It would great to live
two hundred years, in a safe place, to watch this all unfold, provided our destruction
of the environment doesn't end us all.
But, if humans were to go extinct, that would be the greatest demonstration all of
Buddhist teaching, mostly of impermanence, and cause and effect. Don't attach to a
'self?' OK, don't attach to a human spies or this earth.
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Reply by donmccormick2 on October 4, 2014, 11:35 am
This is a welcome article. I'm mostly familiar with the literature on mindfulness in
organizations since that's been my research area and when I read articles that claim
things like--mindfulness practice increases cash flow for entrepreneurs (this is an
actual claim from a real piece from Forbes.com)--I find that I need to do a lot of
practice myself to maintain equanimity with the feelings that arise. There are far too
many claims like this in the field of mindfulness and business. Thank you for writing
this.
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Reply by jackelope65 on October 4, 2014, 11:04 am
I am a physician and recall after 4 years of medical school feeling like an infant in the
practice of medicine. After my first four years of practice in meditation, I had a similar
feeling, but after many more years of practice and by trying to remain mindful
throughout the day, I now sit an hour a day and am able to recognize the changes to
which my wife of 46 years also concurs, during which time I have had to deal with 2
cancers, 6 spine surgeries, and a brain infection with 2 brain surgeries and months of
antibiotics. I have severe nerve pain and it has not resolved; I am still sad about
having to retire; however, after facing those and many more changes in many hours

of silent meditation, I am more able to cope and enjoy my life. Similar to the
longitudinal studies required to evaluate effects of lifestyle changes on health over
many years, research on the effects of meditation on well being will have to be very
specific, with reasonable controls, and well defined measures, over at least 5 years
with continued followup. My hunch is that 5-10 minutes of meditation per day will not
suffice, thousands of hours of practice will be required, and that it will not be effective
for all people. I think that scientists studying the effects of meditation/mindfulness
have to remain cautious, like Dr Kerr, so that meditation does not become another
unwelcome fad. All meditation practices and lifestyle changes require dedication over
a lifetime. Thank you Dr Kerr for your valuable and sobering input.
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Reply by melcher on October 4, 2014, 10:49 am
Both meditation and science when beneficial are approached as disciplined practice.
A most exciting aspect in the confluence of these two disciplines is that one doesn't
contradict the other. As Doctor Kerr points out numerous times in the interview the
benefits of mindfulness are experiential, expressed most concisely in the the phrase
"How do I feel." Science is a discipline based on observations made and 'replicated'
outside of purely subjective experience. Both approaches are valuable when
confronting an environment that threatens to pull us into states of personal obsession
on the one hand and waves of cultural mass deception on the other. Both may be
fueled by hypothesis (this is likely to produce results) but are made effectual through
PRACTICE. Both may benefit from a healthy dose of skepticism. Great faith, great
doubt.
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Reply by michaelmessmer on October 4, 2014, 9:25 am
Thank you for such a thought provoking article about the pitfalls of what people
expect to attain from mindfulness practice. The idea that just sitting for 20 minutes a
day will cure all your ills is just a point of view and easily used as a way of grasping.
Fortunately as the article points out, coming to the other side, of this view we find
that while our suffering has not gone away, we can deal with the experience from a
new point of view.
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Reply by gradymcg on October 4, 2014, 6:26 am
An excellent piece! In my view Catherine Kerr is acting with the sense of inquiry

encouraged by the Buddha. She has found a "middle way" in talking about
mindfulness.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 3, 2014, 2:51 pm
Meditation may have been effective once upon a time but people and times have
changed dramatically in the 2,500 years since it was first utilized in Buddhism.
People today require more powerful tools with which to change their karma.
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Reply by Rocket on October 10, 2014, 11:11 am
I can attest meditation techniques work like magic still today, unless my brain is
different, and it isn't. I did my homework before meditating.
Dominic, its not working for you thus not for anyone? Hmmm.
We moderns need "preliminary practices" first, ie psychotherapy or the equivalent to
quiet the extreme agitation, mental instability, wrong thinking (materialism, etc etc)
that makes deep quiescence impossible.
Your average Tibetan adolescent centuries ago spends summers gazing at yaks
grazing on a high plateau, not multitasking, the new iPhone, worrying about a
"career", aquireing gobs of money.
My experience: if a westerner is free of extreme mental instabilities by luck or from
working at it, thus capable to go into samadhi, the ancient techniques are the direct
route to that state. This view is based on solid experience.
Quality of instruction is a huge issue. Cannot learn deep quiescence from a teacher
is isn't saturated with it. That is a second prohibitive factor.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 10, 2014, 12:35 pm
Depends on what you mean by "working", Rocket. What do you believe meditation
does for you?
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Reply by Rocket on October 10, 2014, 10:30 pm


Guess what Dominic. some folks actually do go into deeper states like Samadhi,
Vipassana and substrate consciousness.
Imagine having twice the brain cells you ever had, every cell focussed flawlessly
wherever your attention is placed, all other content goes dormant, super super high
rez clarity with pristine queescence, equanimity. If you are not foccussed on any
specific thing the space of the mind feels like a colossal, empty crystal clear empty
open space, occupying the entire sky. All other contect, residue of personal history,
concerns of every day life and futiore goes dormant.
Most meditation "teachers" I've been around are frankly clueless , riding a wave of
peoples correct instincts that meditation is the road to fulfillment, Even if they do
have depth experience themselves they are up against the reality few westerners are
capable from excessive mental agitation, instability.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 11, 2014, 10:22 am
Thank you for sharing what you believe meditation does for you, Rocket.
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Reply by Rocket on October 11, 2014, 10:58 am
Dominic apparently it has not done much for you if you are trying to negate instead of
display awareness of something more positive.
The emotions are pretty much always the big obstacle. No offense intended.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 11, 2014, 12:22 pm
Thanks for sharing your opinion on what you believe, Rocket.
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Reply by Rocket on October 11, 2014, 12:45 pm
I'm coming from direct experience not what I believe, read in a book somewhere.

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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 11, 2014, 2:39 pm
And what is your "direct experience" composed of, Rocket?
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 5, 2014, 7:32 am
who told u this?
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Reply by Rocket on October 10, 2014, 11:12 am
SD... our learned friend, who needs folks telling us what is or is not so?
Best to come from experience. No need for equivocation that way.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 7, 2014, 6:06 am
I've been practicing and studying Nichiren Buddhism as a member of Soka Gakkai
International since 1973. Personal experiences of transforming one's karma "tells"
one much.
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 8, 2014, 8:11 pm
Dear Dominic, The question I was asking was more specific. You seem to have
implied that meditation is not needed. I wondered where you picked up this
perspective - specifically - where did you read or hear this? Oh, I get it now! You
chant? I would think that chanting can be a kind of meditation. The 'Hare Krishna'
movement think of it this way. You can bet your bottom dollar that the historical
Buddha gave an enormous amount of meditation instruction. Have you ever had the
thought - in passing - that you may benefit from the Buddha's teachings as more
commonly understood? Have you ever tried anything other than chanting? If so, what
happened? xxoo
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 8, 2014, 10:19 pm

The main difference between chanting and meditation is that meditation, by default,
is centered on only the mind, and therefore cannot express the much deeper element
of life itself, or Buddhahood (the highest condition of our lives).
Nichiren Buddhism teaches that the Buddhahood inside us far transcends the power
of our minds. It is the power of life itself that we tap to transform our entire lives, and
thus change our karma.
I used to meditate, but when it came to dealing with the 24/7 realities of my life and
karma, meditation was no more effective than the temporary high of marijuana, LSD
or a couple glasses of bourbon.
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 9, 2014, 6:55 am
I hear what you are saying. There is a difference here in our use of words. It all
depends on what we mean when we use the word 'meditation'. It can mean different
things to us - in the course of a life time. I think I understand the way you are using
the word 'meditation' here! In the Theravada this usage seems not unlike 'bhavana' which means something like development. Meditation may be developmental up to a
point. However, this orientation can turn around 180 degrees.
A Buddha does not practice anything. One who sees the Buddha sees the Dharma.
One who sees the Dharma sees the Buddha. I believe that this is what you are
intimating. The liberating Dharma finds expression in our lives when there is no
interference and no resistance. No expectations and no agenda. When there is a
spontaneous loving awareness without attachment the Buddha is not far away. The
Dharma is apparent here and now - not a matter of time! As you put it: "Buddhahood
inside us far transcends the power of our minds." This insight is not unique to
Nichiren teachings.
I guess the obvious question that arises here is: how do you tell the difference
between mere abstraction and insight? In India - as the saying goes - you can find
God on every street corner! There is a popular teaching in India that we are all God
and the world is our 'lila' (play). The universe is just a pastime - an amusement park.
How do we tell the difference between this rather vacuous belief system and
liberating insight? Or, are you saying that they are the same thing?
Simply believing that I am a fully awakened Buddha because I read it somewhere or someone told me as much - resembles having a bourbon or two. A warm and
fuzzy feeling signifying nothing! Liberating insight is nothing like this - not even close.
I read in a sutra that we are all awakened beings so we can forget about all this silly

meditation stuff! This is Buddha Dharma for yuppies and the beat generation! We
should all avoid bourbon Buddhism if we can help it. We don't just sit on our hands
and do nothing - this is not the Buddha's teachings. The most cursory survey of what
the Buddha taught - the 'Four Noble Truths' for instance - should make this obvious.
xxoo
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 9, 2014, 3:37 pm
Not only use of words, but translations of words. Samadhi is intense concentration of
the mind, the goal being a state of calm. The closest word to it in English is
meditation. But then that's it. The same holds true for karma, which is action, or
human behavior. Both words in time came to mean many things to various people,
some being far from their original intent.
The bottom line is what Shakyamuni originally set out to do after his enlightenment,
which was to help all people bring forth the same life-condition he was able to
manifest, i.e. Buddhahood.
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 10, 2014, 8:49 pm
Dear Dominic, as we both have said - in this thread - there are multiple meanings of
the words we are using. There is one idea in circulation that Samadhi is: as you say;
"intense concentration of the mind, the goal being a state of calm". So, yes - we are
on the same page - if this is what Samadhi is, it has little to do with the Dharma.
Some people prefer a Bourbon! If this is what Samadhi is all about then it has its
value but so does a good massage. However, this is miles away from what Samadhi
actually is - its ultimate use and value.
The Buddha focused a great deal on Samadhi teachings. The nature and place of
Samadhi in the Buddha's teachings is everywhere in evidence in the sutta's. This is
no mystery and the Buddha made every effort to make sure it was properly
understood. Its really just a matter of picking up the 'Majjhima Nikaya' or an
equivalent Chinese 'Agama' and taking a look.
If a mitra has little interest in the early strata of the teaching - for a variety of reasons
- they will not have understood the nature and place of Samadhi as found in 'these'
teachings of the historical Buddha - this is self-evident. I am not talking about
Theravada Buddhism here. As you know, the sutta's are one thing and the
understanding of the sutta's can vary a lot according to the practice lineage etc. Its

the same with the Mahayana, I guess its just something about the journey.
The Buddha likened his discovery to finding an overgrown path in a forest that lead to
a beautiful city. If you are at a point on the path where you have come upon a
'natural' clearing - with a lovely pond in the middle. A place where rare, shy, and
unusual animals come to drink. You may be seeing things that are unique to that
beautiful place. In contrast to this, if I am surrounded by beautiful old-growth forest,
stinging plants and, singing birds, I will report differently, on what I have come upon.
The beautiful city of Nirvana may be something else again!
What you are saying may be up the track from me. There is no way of telling. We can
only do what feels natural and enjoy this journey into endless discovery, wonder, and
joy. With deep gratitude to those who bring light to our path! xxoo
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 10, 2014, 8:54 pm
Dharma is another term that's been difficult for Western philosophers to relate to. The
closest is "law" or "principle" (of life or the universe).
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 12, 2014, 10:11 am
We take refuge in the Dharma: the 'teachings' of the 'Buddha' (Awakened One). As
Buddhists we don't take refuge in a Dharma that is some kind of cosmic 'principle'.
The idea of a cosmic law is vague. The Buddha's teachings are not! The principle
that our thoughts, words, and deeds have 'consequences' is something we can all
understand - and act on. The cosmic - or life - principle/law sounds great. However,
what does it actually mean? We start where we are and we move one step at a time.
We don't want to put the cart before the horse. Sooner or later there is the discovery
that we are nobodies going nowhere! The Buddha is emptiness in motion.
Many of the Buddha's key insights into the problems that arise in Dharma inquiry
have been given short shrift in later developments of the teaching.
We have this beautiful word 'Dharma'. For some it appears one way - similar to the
'Tao'. For others, it's about a path of practice taught by the Buddha. These are very
different vantage points! The former - it is claimed - is a viewpoint from within the
beautiful city of Nirvana. The other is concerned with the nitty-gritty of the Buddha's
eightfold path (of practice).

In the Buddha Dharma, the nature of 'faith' (confidence) is a very important area of
inquiry. The Buddha gave many teachings on skilful and not so skilful forms of faith.
We need confidence in the Dharma in order to practice it. We don't require
confidence in the Dharma in the form of an abstract "law" or "principle" (of life or the
universe). That would be an exercise in philosophy. 'Siddhatta Gotama' was a
'Buddha' (Awakened One). Buddha's are rare in the world! Philosophers are a dime a
dozen!
It is true that we can 'believe' in an abstract Dharma. We can have faith in the
'principle' of life or the universe. We can believe in a God as well! However, that
would imply a 'blind' faith. Unless you have realized this principle or met God - and
shook his hand! If not, that would be a faith in what somebody had said - about
something we actually know nothing about - directly. We may have the impression with this kind of faith - that we have actually understood something. In fact, we have
just understood something that has been said in a teaching - that is all.
Those who are interested in 'finding out' for themselves - the nature of the Dharma need to reject this kind of faith/belief/confidence. The Buddha's teachings are as
clear as a bell on this. He gave teachings that dealt with the differences between
faith, inference, and realization. The Buddha left no stone unturned! There were and still are - many faith traditions. I am not criticizing faith traditions. We can
understand many things just through confidence in th Buddha's teachings - and the
teachings of other great beings. There was then - and there still is - many who rely
heavily on inference as the main source of their world view. The Buddha clearly
pointed out the place and limitations of faith and inference.
He had to much compassion and the 'sure realization' that if he withheld anything
regarding the path of practice, those who had taken refuge in him would not have the
understanding they needed to realize the Dharma.
There may well have been many teachers in the later development of Buddhism who
had indirect contact with the early strata of the teachings. Clearly, many forms of
Buddhism based on the Mahayana and Vajrayana had/have their own teachings as a
focus of interest. This creative ferment in the development of Buddhism has given
rise to many teachings and practises that resemble the historical Buddha's teachings
- on the surface.
If many of the later reformers had access to the the Agama's or Sutta's as an
important part of their Dharma study background. An access to these teachings that

was not mediated through Mahayana doctrine. They may have benefited from the
profound insights of the historical Buddha - directly. It may have helped them to
understand more fully the roots of their own tradition. It may have helped them to
understand the influence that other traditions have had on the development of the
teaching. Both, in its indigenous development on the sub-continent and beyond.
To believe that this is 'neither here nor there' is not unlike saying that the Buddha and
his teachings are mostly irrelevant? I am constantly reading comments in these
threads that 'say as much'. Comments like: what applied in the ancient world is no
longer applicable! How very odd it is to read such things regarding the Buddha and
his teachings. Particularly, in a forum like this!
The Mahayana teachings seem to suggest that 'mostly' all we require - by way of
Dharma study - is what other teachers have offered in the later developments in
Buddhism. The Buddha was not given the right of reply with regard to this ideological
standpoint - its a bit late for that. Why not attempt to understand the Buddha on his
own terms? Through getting as close as we possibly can to the earliest form of the
Buddha's teachings - we can access. In times gone by this was more difficult. We
can do it 'now' through tapping a few keys on a 'P.C.' - its that simple.
The later Buddhist teachers/interpolators may have had an understanding of the
flesh and blood 'Bhagavan' - and the Dharma - that was filtered through religious,
philosophical, and cultural accretions that were far removed from the origins of the
teaching. They had good reasons for seeing the Dharma the way they did. Given
their geographical and socio-cultural isolation and insularity. The same state of
affairs no longer exists in the modern world. We can now explore beyond our tribal
allegiances. xxoo
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 12, 2014, 7:09 pm
That our thoughts, words, and deeds have 'consequences' is precisely the Law I'm
referring to: the dharma of cause and effect.
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 13, 2014, 6:26 am
Well said! How we relate to 'inner and outer' cause and effect is where awakening
happens. Its not the kind of experiential compost that appears on the path that
matters. The Buddha is free in any situation.

I now understand what you actually mean. It is worthwhile to look at things in a bit
more detail. In the early teachings we find a pared-down explanation of phenomena.
For instance the Buddha declares in the sutta's: "Kamma is intention." The result of
kamma is 'vipaka' i.e the ripening or maturation of kamma. As such, we find a far
simpler understanding of kamma in the sutta's than in many later teachings.
If there are underlying tendencies that give rise to wholesome intentions, this will find
expression on some level. In thought, word, or deed! This 'in turn' reifies the
underlying tendency which then gives rise to the same kinds of intentions - a
feedback loop. The expression of kindness in daily life will reinforce an underlying
tendency. If we are naturally inclined to be kind now in the future we may find it
easier to view things with kindly eyes!
Intentions that find expression in thought, word, and deed, may lead to definite
outcomes in the future. The intention to do something in the immediate or long term
future may well come to pass - all things being equal. However, in the early strata of
the teachings there is no suggestion that kamma is the sole determinant of what
happens in our lives. There is more than one kind of cause and effect in operation.
I may intend to go to India to do a retreat in 'Bodh Gaya'. However on the way there I
hear about a retreat happening in 'Sarnath'. The intent to meditate in India still
happens but not in the place I intended. Cause and effect in the flow of events has its
own momentum. This is one of many instances where the historical Buddha's
teachings accord with 'common sense' where many later versions of the teaching
tend to elaborate in ways that make things more complicated or mysterious than they
need to be. We may develop a taste for vagueness. It has its place in mystical poetry
that is full of evocative allusions. Better to just say what you mean as clearly as you
can.
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Reply by Rocket on October 10, 2014, 9:22 am
Dominic, how's your samadhi? If you are going to tell us about it, you have been
there, right?
If not, and it seems not, comments would seem to be just another head trip, based
on assumptions.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 10, 2014, 12:34 pm


My samadhi's fine, thank you. How's yours? Helps to be mindful that focusing your
mind is not black magic.
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Reply by dewhiteside on October 4, 2014, 10:59 am
I'm curious what you have in mind as "more powerful tools" than meditation.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 7, 2014, 6:07 am
Are you familiar with chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?
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Reply by alalaho on October 8, 2014, 2:00 pm
The Buddha gave many different methods to the path of liberation and to achieve
complete enlightenment, dependent on the aptitudes of sentient beings. While
mantra recitation is one method, to dismiss meditation as dated and ineffective, I
believe is a grave mistake.
People and times have changed. But there is still suffering, delusion. People are still
suffering because of deluded mind. There are many verses in the sutras and
shastras which point directly to meditation. And describe it as a, if not the most,
powerful tool. Why? Because it is getting to the heart of the matter. Mind.
Mind is what produces the illusion of karma, pure, inpure, good, bad, etc. The
method of mantra is a means of accomplishing. But if we do not realize the
accomplishment, the realization of true reality as suchness, through meditative
concentration, the union of stability and analytical insight, we are only creating more
karma by the delusion of purifying it.
Don't get me wrong, I myself recite many mantras and have used in purification
practices. But if we fail to also apply the instructions for meditation and the wisdom of
knowing what is the nature of methods, we will continue in cyclic existence,
regardless of once upon a time. What is the nature of "once upon a time'?
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 8, 2014, 10:11 pm


Nichiren Daishonin wrote: A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate
darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like
a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of
reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should
you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
This expresses the main difference between chanting and meditation. Meditation
may have some value for many people but by default it is centered on only the mind,
and therefore cannot express the much deeper element of life itself, or Buddhahood
(the highest condition of our lives).
Nichiren Buddhism teaches that the Buddhahood inside us far transcends the power
of our minds. It is the power of life itself that we tap into to transform our entire lives,
or change our karma.
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 10, 2014, 9:15 am
Dear Dominic, You cited above the teacher 'Nichiren Daishonin'. In the quote there is
encouragement to: Arouse deep faith..." The Buddha also taught that faith can be a
vehicle for awakening. He said the kind of faith required needs to be very very
powerful. Not what we are generally familiar with. I also got the impression that it was
not about how long someone had kept their faith. It was really about how much faith
they had in the Buddha that set the faith-follower free. I get the impression from what
you have said about your own journey in the Dharma. That you have benefited a lot
from this approach. I am only guessing here! This is something that brings me joy as
well - to hear of your joy and blessings. Your Dharma friend, sangha dassa xo
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 10, 2014, 8:59 pm
Faith is another word with lots of baggage. As a Buddhist I equate it with confidence
(in the Law, or Dharma).
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 11, 2014, 8:24 am
Bingo! Faith means confidence not blind faith. Faith is very powerful but not churchy
faith or, something superficial. Faith as a vehicle for awakening in the Buddha
Dharma is a very rich area of inquiry. Then we have this incredibly rich word

'Dharma'. For some it appears one way - similar to the 'Tao'. For others, it is about a
path of practice taught by the Buddha. These are very different vantage points. The
former - it is claimed - is a viewpoint from within the beautiful city of Nirvana. The
other is concerned with the nitty-gritty of the Buddha's eightfold path (of practice).
xxoo
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 11, 2014, 10:30 am
In Buddhism, faith equals daily life. The Law is none other than your life itself. It's
how you go about the business-as-usual of taking care of yourself, of how you
interact with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbours.
Are people around you happy and encouraged when you walk into the room? Then
the Buddha has made its appearance.
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Reply by mosephine on October 9, 2014, 10:17 am
In my experience, meditation is not "centered on only the mind". My mind is not
separate from my body or the world, but fully engaged with all of life, even and
especially during meditation.
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Reply by Dominic Gomez on October 9, 2014, 3:40 pm
That "mind is not separate from body or the world" is non-dualism. Two sides of the
same coin, that coin being your life itself.
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Reply by Rocket on October 10, 2014, 9:16 am
I've heard the Dalai Lama say Buddhist practice is about "mastering the emotions".
My experience agrees with that. That is from an event, there is a video with HHDL,
Allan Wallace the the american neuroscience community In Oct 2005.
After all, its our emotions that "invade" and make us unable to control our own minds,
to go into deep relaxation and absolute mental focus at will. Monkey mind. That locks
us out of deeper states ie Samadhi.
Culturally we are not good with mastering emotions. We are materially, mentally (ie

head trip) oriented thus locked out of deeper states.


Here is the link.
http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2010/10/13/dalai_lama_visi/
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 9, 2014, 6:48 am
Its interesting the different ways we see the teachings that comes directly out of our
practice backgrounds. In the early strata of the teachings there seems to be little
emphasis on this idea of different teachings for different aptitudes. In these early
teachings the Buddha is consistent in what he wished to communicate. All of these
early teachings have a clear relationship to each other. These so-called super
profound insights that have arisen in Buddhist teachings long after the Buddha's
passing are nothing but belief systems - centred on the notion of specialness.
There is nothing special about later Buddhism that comes close to the wisdom of the
historical Buddha. The Buddha made it clear that we should not accept teachings on
the basis of faith alone. That is why the Buddha taught meditative inquiry. So we
don't need to rely on the sayings of this or that teacher - including the Buddha. There
is one Dharma that liberates. It is the same for all of us.
We may have different degrees of insight into the Dharma. But the teachings of the
Buddha are not something designed for different kinds of human beings. Special
teachings for the cognoscenti and another variety for the Dharmically challenged! It is
difficult to understand how any one could come to believe such a notion if it had not
been served up with their first contact with the Dharma. It is a Buddhist heritage that
is imbibed like mother's milk! The Buddha's teachings are meant for human beings in
general - for everyone.
If we don't recognise the unity of the teachings - not lower, middling, and higher
teachings - we may be able to look down on others who do not see things from the
'maha' (greater) vantage point. On the pretext that we have some special capacity for
deep insight that our fellow Mitra's do not possess. There is nothing special about
stating that we are all Buddha's. Anyone can take this on-board as an article of faith
and be none the wiser!
Sure, we have different degrees of intelligence. However, we can be as thick as two
short planks and be wise. We can be very clever and totally misguided.

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Reply by alalaho on October 9, 2014, 5:09 pm
One only need to ask a schoolteacher to learn about the different skills they need to
teach to the different needs of people. In the same way, the Buddha taught as
needed. Perhaps you see little emphasis regarding this in the early teachings. But if
we look closer, we see that there were different instructions for working with the
different defilements. We don't need to look back in time to see that there are people
with stronger desire, anger, pride, jealousy, and so on. It's not a matter of special or
non-special. Primordial wisdom is beyond extremes.
"Special teachings for the cognoscenti and another variety for the Dharmically
challenged! It is difficult to understand how any one could come to believe such a
notion.."
Do you believe you could present the teachings of karma to the many beings
involved in terrible acts going on in the Syrian war and get an immediate positive
result?
It is not that one is dumber than another. We all have the potential for awakening.
This was also emphasized by the historical Buddha.
"All of these early teachings have a clear relationship to each other. These so-called
super profound insights that have arisen in Buddhist teachings long after the
Buddha's passing are nothing but belief systems - centered on the notion of
specialness."
These early teachings also arose after his passing. About 400 yrs afterwards. Good
to remember.
Nothing special
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Reply by sangha dassa on October 10, 2014, 10:41 am
We learn many useful and useless things. Liberating insight is not learned.
Teachings can point but they are not the real deal. Waking up is not the result of the
acquisition of special knowledge. Knowledge can be learned. We wake up not
because we get something we did not have before. We wake up through release

from 'tanha' (thirst). When craving ceases release is! Nothing is gained. Freedom
simply 'is' in the absence of thirst. In the absence of thirst the Buddha's joy is right
here. It is nowhere else. Awakening has nothing to do with aptitude.
"Only when the mind is still, tranquil, not expecting or grasping or resisting a single
thing, is it possible to see what is true. It is the truth that liberates, not your effort to
be free." - Jiddu Krishnamurti
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Reply by Beccafahey on October 3, 2014, 1:30 pm
Quote from article:
"They think that maybe this course is going to take away their problems. And the
teacher on the first day says thats not what this class is about. This class is about
learning how to be present to your own inner life, including distress and suffering that
you may have been avoiding."
If that is what happens wonderful, but from my small view of middle class, Midwest
America I've come across many people who say they have learned mindfulness
meditation from their therapist but what they describe they have learned is nothing
more than relaxation techniques.
MBSR - its in the name, mindfulness based STRESS REDUCTION sounds to me
like grasping in things being other then they are right from the start in the title. In my
opinion it is set up to implode, too often used as just another pill without the pill.
I could be completely wrong but I worry that there is too much skimming off the top
while looking for a quick fix. It just feels to me that MBSR is missing right view,
without right view it can only go so far.
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Reply by alalaho on October 3, 2014, 12:41 pm
This is a wonderful post. I was wondering when it would manifest. : )
Meditating for some time now, personally, I have found it to be the most essential
practice for well-being of body and mind. But I have been concerned about all the
mainstream media attention it has received of late. Not because I doubt its benefits,
but because as the title of the article puts very well, "Don't believe the hype."
One needs to put it into practice, and experience the results for themselves. To

package it as the cure-all like some carpetbagger from the old west merely dilutes
the immense benefits of mindfulness practice. It seems to be reinforcing the state of
mind that one is cultivating to abandon, hope and fear. Expectations.
What I enjoy the most about science is that one can see, through observation and
analysis, (mindfulness, insight) that their is nothing fixed. Static. Science concludes
with a plausibility as it gets close to the nitty-gritty, because everything is in constant
flux. In dependence.
So for the benefit of all sentient beings, my wishes that these practices continue to
benefit all who have the good conditions and a favorable state of mind, to enjoy all
the benefits it has been labeled to produce.