Archives for posts with tag: Buddhist geeks

Buddhist Geeks recently posted a great interview with Buddhist teacher Reggie Ray. In the interview Reggie describes the two veils that separate us from our awakened nature. The first veil is the veil of emotional defilements (negative emotions like anger, desire, jealousy, etc.). The second veil is characterized by ignorance, that is, not recognizing the true nature of reality. Here’s what Reggie had to say concerning the second veil:

But there’s a much deeper level that is really really critical. And this level is generally not addressed in modern Buddhism. And this deeper level is what’s called, it’s the obscuration to being able to see, if we want to put it this way. And what it is is, it’s these patterns that we acquire probably before we learn to speak as babies. They are emotional predispositions. They are emotional assumptions about what reality is that are entirely unconscious. And you know some of us feel that life is basically just a lot of hard work. Some of us feel incredibly lonely.  Some of us feel fundamentally resentful and angry, but these are all unconscious attitudes. And we actually think that’s the way reality is. And that gets between us and actually what we’re looking for.

Reggie goes beyond any description of ignorance I’ve encountered in my studies of Buddhism. It sounds to me like he’s recognizing the psychological element of spiritual practice and the need to work with psychological blocks on the way to awakening. In Hakomi we call those “emotional assumptions” core beliefs. Core beliefs are the way we make meaning of our experience. They are unconscious beliefs or assumptions about the world and about ourselves. Often core beliefs can be limiting (example: I am not good enough, or the world is not a safe place) and Hakomi aims to make those conscious and to help people find new ways of being in the world, to be free from those limiting beliefs.

Reggie describes how he works with this material as a spiritual teacher:

… this is what we need to work on together. We need to take a look at your life. We need to work together. I need to look at you and see where you get stuck. We need to work on this. Simply handing people practices and giving them [inaudible], it’s just not good enough. It’s not going to do it. Trungpa Rinpoche said, and my experience really bears it out, the relationship between the teacher and student, there’s only one other relationship in life that that’s intimate, and that is the one with a beloved partner if you happen to have that kind of relationship. It’s the only other one that even comes close.

This sounds a lot like the relationship and the work one might do with a therapist: take a look at your life, see where you get stuck, etc. This part of the interview really helped cement my belief that spiritual practice and psychotherapy are not separate but, in fact, are intimately intertwined with each other.

Listen to both parts of the interview on Buddhist Geeks.

Here are some of my highlights from the recent Buddhist Geeks conference in Boulder, CO. Al posted a fuller description of the event and some photos on his blog.

Ken McLeod offered a way to look at technology and innovation drawn from Marshal McLuhan. Each new technology, he said, enhances some skills or capacity; makes obsolete something that’s existing (although it may not completely disappear); retrieves something from the past and brings about its own negation. It’s interesting to apply this way of thinking to innovations in the contemplative field:

MBSR reduced meditation to something that is trainable in 6 weeks and made it available to many people. It obsoletes meditation teachers (one no longer needs 20 years of meditation practice to be a teacher). Retrieves a sense of personal path. The negation is that everything becomes highly specialized, loses the original sense of wholeness.

Innovation was a running theme throughout the conference, coming up in multiple connotations. At some point I speculated, based on Julie Melton‘s description of innovation at IDEO, that awakening may be an attitude of constant innovation. A couple of points regarding the possible dark side of innovation:

  • How do we know that we aren’t losing the heart of the dharma? Living in a way that is compatible with the two wings of Dharma: wisdom and love.
  • The dharma is in a constant process of evolution. In fact, we are each constantly engaged in a process of translating the dharma into our own experience.
  • A question that is still unanswered: What does a system that supports and encourages innovation yet maintains authenticity and commitment to values look like?

Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True, spoke about selling the dharma. Tami speaks from years of experience running a prosperous business that is dedicated to inspiring spiritual awakening in the world. Here are some rough notes from her talk:

Separating the religious and profane – common theme in religious history but is there really a separation? How can we bring those worlds together in a way that is helpful, positive?
Answer: Commerce moved by a spirit of service.

Charging money in the open brings the relationship with money and dependency on donors out of the shadow. NOTE: this is likely why it feels uncomfortable.

Sustainable sounds like being just above water. Prosperity creates a fountain and a flow of possibilities.

Regarding access: we can charge and make the teachings widely available at the same time. The two models can coexist. Example: the entire conference was live-streamed for no charge.

Transparency is important. There’s nothing hidden about how we use the money.

An organization that is about making money is not gonna be loved by people. Businesses that are about service feel different to the customer – they organize around service not around money. Lovemarks v trademarks.