This week, Adam Engle, the business mastermind behind the Mind and Life Institute, joins us to discuss both the evolution of the project as well as its larger impact. The first Mind and Life Dialogue was held in Dharamsala, India in 1987 with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Since then, Adam says, it has done more than any other organization to help "legitimatize the scientific study of meditation." Listen in to hear more about how they’ve gone about creating an active collaboration between scientists and contemplatives, and what kind of fruit that collaboration has borne.
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.