In this episode, we continue our dialogue with Shingon teacher Hokai Sobol. We begin our conversation by dropping a difficult question on Hokai, asking him how the Vajrayana traditions (both the Japanese and Tibetan) can maintain relevance in our post-modern and rapidly changing world. He suggests that we must develop a "Vajrayana in Plain English," one that is germane to the particularities of this time and space. And as the 1st generation of Buddhist teachers and leaders near retirement-age, now is the only time that we have to do so. Listen in to hear his take on making the Vajrayana not only more relevant, but on it becoming a pioneering force and cultural leader in today’s world. This includes the way that Buddhist teachings, practice, & even creative expressions are presented. It includes nothing less than a bold transformation of the tradition. This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Japanese Shingon: The True Word School.
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Philosopher and long-time Buddhist practitioner, Ken Wilber, continues his discussion of the meditative terrain and of his spiritual philosophy in general. He finishes off his discussion of the meditative maps with an exploration of what it actual takes–both in terms of time and effort–to master these various stages of consciousness. He also explains the difference between what he is now calling “horizontal enlightenment” (which is basically everything we’ve explored up to this point) and “vertical enlightenment” which encompasses other areas of human development that can’t been developed while on the cushion.
In this episode we have a round-table discussion, with members from the NYC-based Interdependence Project, on issues surrounding 21st century dharma in the West. Both Buddhist Geeks and the Interdependence Project tend to attract younger practitioners in their 20s & 30s. So, in this dialogue, where the oldest of us is 31, we take on some interesting questions about how Dharma is changing in the West, what challenges we face in the future, the economics of dharma, and the implications of a generation who are so interconnected with technology and culture. Listen in to hear a genuine conversation between young practitioners who are trying to find their way as Buddhist practitioners in the 21st century.
Philosopher and long-time Buddhist practitioner, Ken Wilber, shares with us a 10,000 foot view of the terrain of meditative experience. He describes several of the most common Buddhist maps and their progression, including the one presented in the Visuddhimagga (one of the most prevalent in the Theravada tradition), the 10 ox herding pictures in the Zen tradition, and the Anuttara Tantra from the Tibetan tradition.
He also gives an overview of the very difficult stages of practice called the Dark Nights. These are periods where after being plunged into a whole new experience of reality we have it stripped from us and feel like we have lost what was once discovered. Another meaning of the dark night has to do with dis-identifying with previous levels of consciousness, and the difficult journey of releasing our grasping and addiction to these lower levels.