As Buddhism transitions to the West, we see that it is doing so in a couple different ways. Some forms look more like their original Asian roots, while others are secular and non-Religious in their presentation. Zen teacher Norman Fischer, an early 2nd generation teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, calls the more traditional forms part of "Plan A" and the more secular forms, "Plan B." In this interview we discuss with Norman the importance of Plan B approaches, like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. We also discuss his personal experience teaching Plan B at places like Google. Finally, we explore how the livelihood of trained and competent meditation teachers may relay heavily on Plan B approaches. This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2 (airing next week).
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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.