Online Forum Comments
These are comments of mine from online Buddhist forums. My intent here is not to disparage other dharmas. My intent is to provide clarity to what an awakened human being actually taught as preserved in the second book of the Pali Canon, the Sutta Pitaka. For a complete understanding of this sutta within the context intended by an awakened human being, please read the suttas linked inline and at the end of this article. ([x])
Everything the Buddha taught was taught in the context of Dependent Origination and the ongoing stress, suffering, and distraction that results from ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
Awakening, Satori, and Continued Ignorance
Originating Article: Performing The Ritual of Life
Mr Braziers take on the ever-changing often contradictory Zen dharmas clearly shows the significant differences and confusion introduced and attached to a pure, simple, easily understood and integrated Dhamma of an awakened human being.
The may underlying fabricated views describing the adapted teachings on what constitutes “satori, kensho” or simply awakening by the Suzukis, Kapleau, oidhidharama, Dogen, etc. show the confusion within even a single modern Buddhist “religion” and the compulsive need to fit these contradictory views into a believable, useful and effective “dharma.”
A key underlying factor of the Buddha’s Dhamma is to recognize and abandon all fabricated views views, views fabricated out of ignorance of Four Noble Truths, that can only result in the speculative “dharmas” professed here.
This is not to say that Zen and other modern “Buddhist” appellations are illegitimate in themselves. That many people engage in these practices legitimizes them but certainly does not establish any as a teaching that is founded from an awakened Human Being. Modern Buddhism has developed into a thicket of contradictory and confusing fabrcited views taken on faith as “reality” when, in fact, they are simply strategies employed to continue to ignore the initial ignorance of Four Noble Truths. The defining characteristic of a Buddha’s Dhamma is the simple and direct way the Eightfold Path recociles All fabricated views of self into a realistic and profound undertsnading of what a constitutes a human being in relation to the world and the stress and suffering that follows this iniital ignirance.
The Buddha’s entire Dhamma resolves on this one subject: The relationship between a self rooted in fabricated views of itself in relation to worldly people, events, views, and ideas. The stress and suffering that follow and the clear, unambiguous, and direct path to liberation from all fabricated views endemic in modern Buddhism is developed through the only Path an awakened human being ever taught, an Eightfold Path.
This understanding of self in realtion to theworld is the meaning of true Vipassana. Rather than a modern hybrid meditation method, true and useful insight into the Three Marks of Existence – Self, The Impermanent World, and Stress and Suffering – is the sole purpose of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
I have included links below to sutras actually taught by an awakened human being for those interested in learning what a Buddha actually Taught.
Analysis Of Four Noble Truths – The Sacca Vibhanga Sutta https://becoming-buddha.com/analysis-of-four-noble-truths-the-sacca-vibhanga-sutta/
Nothing Magical - Jhana And Refined Mindfulness
Originating Article: I Like It . . . but Is It Meditation?
Mr. Evans is correct that useful meditation “depends on how one defines meditation.” An awakened human being defined meditation not by “just sitting” or “noticing the magic.” The Buddha taught meditation for one purpose: to increase concentration.
To understand the reason Siddartha Gotama taught Jhana meditation, and no other infinitely re-imagined adapted meditation method requires knowledge of what the Buddha formed the foundation of what he understood upon his awakening.
Siddartha awakens to the profound understanding that it is ignorance of Four Noble Truths that, through twelve observable mental and physical conditions, all manner of stress and suffering is -self-created.
As described in the Paticca Samuppada Sutta, the primary sutta on Dependent Origination, it is a mind distract by this initial ignorance that is continually distracted by fabricated and magical views and continually grasping-after “magical” objects, events, views, and ideas that are in no way magical but are entirely ordinary and impermanent aspects of human life.
This self-imposed and self-referential process of continually craving after and clinging to fabricated experiences and fabricated “dharmas” is only encouraged in modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement and the compulsion to personalize an awakened human being’s Dhamma that continues grasping-after fabricated views and the ever-changing “focus” described here.
The Buddha taught Jhana, which means concentration, for the sole purpose of increasing concentration. It is from a well-contested mind that the wise Dhamma practitioner is able to develop the refined mindfulness necessary to be mindful of the eight factors of the Eightfold Path. It is through the Eightfold Path that one is able to integrate the Buddha’s Path as the framework and guidance for Dhamma practice.
Jhana meditation is the simple and direct practice an awakened human being used and taught that ends craving after and clinging to fabricated notions that otherwise become integrated into a personalized hybrid “dharma practice.”
A Dhamma practice guided by a Buddha’s Dhamma develops profound and useful vipassana, profound and useful introspective insight into the Three marks Of Human Existence and a calm, non-grasping-after quality of mind.
I have provided links below to actual sutta’s taught by the human Buddha for those interested in what an awakened human being actually taught.
Karma And The Buddha's Dhamma
Originating Article: Family Dharma: Karma and the Tonka Truck
I have provided links below to actual sutta’s taught by the human Buddha for those interested in what an awakened human being actually taught.
Ms. Roth has written a heartfelt and sincere example of karma “manifesting” in her family’s life. Her understanding and the resulting application of her understanding are not founded in the Buddha’s direct teachings as preserved in the second book of the Pali Canon, the Sutta Pitaka. Ms. Roth’s ultimate abstract application of her fabricated understanding is typical of modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement.
Modern Buddhism has consistently presented Karma (and Rebirth) in a way to “fit” and support the fabricated adaptations, accommodations, and embellishments required to continue to ignore the Buddha’s teaching on Dependent Origination. In the Paticcasamuppada Sutta.
The Paticca-Samuppada Sutta describes precisely, simply, and directly describes what the Buddha actually awakened to: From ignorance of Four Noble Truths, all manner of greed, aversion, delusion, and ongoing craving-for and clinging-to these originating ignorant views. The very cause of fabricated views arising from ignorance of Four Noble Truths is the initiating declaration in the Paticca-Samuppada Sutta: “From ignorance as a REQUISITE CONDITION comes fabrications.
For those who find the nearly endless contradictions in modern “Buddhism” resulting in widespread confusion and frustration about an awakened human beings Dhamma, it due to institutionally encouraged continued ignorance of Dependent Origination that conveniently allows for the confused modern “drams” in general and the confusing presentation of Karma by Ms. Roth.
It cannot be found in any of the authentic and direct teachings of the human Buddha that he referred to karma “the light of the world.” This statement itself contradicts and distracts from the Buddha’s teaching on Karma.
In the Bhava Sutta, the Buddha clearly teaches Karma and the cause of karma: “In this way, karma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of human beings rooted in ignorance and bound by craving is established in wrong view. Established in wrong view, renewed becoming (further ignorant) is produced.”
Despite Ms. Roth’s presentation, karma is not “the light of the world.” Karma is the field that “is born” from the “seed of consciousness” not the seed of a misunderstood application of the second factor of the Eightfold Path, Right Intention. Seen in the context of the Buddha’s Dhamma, Right Intention is the intention to recognize and abandon ignorance of Four Noble Truths and so abandon craving after (the moisture or sustenance of karma) and clinging to (marinating fabrications) fabricated views of reality – most importantly fabricated views of what a true and authentic Dhamma is.
Ms. Roth is correct that karma can be accurately translated to mean “action.” The Buddha’s teaching on karma develops the understanding that karma is not a vague universal system of behavior modification based on an arbitrarily applied system of reward and punishment – a common and necessary belief of most modern religions rooted in the very ignorance of Four Noble Truths, the very same primary issue taught in the Buddha’s Dhamma.
Karma does mean action but in the proper context an understanding of karma shows that it is through the direct experience of one’s actions in life-as-life-unfolds arising from refined mindfulness that will demine the direction of one’s Dhamma practcie: it is by acting mindfully moment-by-moment framed by the Eightfold Ptah that brings profound understanding and release from all fabricated views otherwise encouraged by dharmas that distract from this key teaching.
The sad results of seeing karma in this commonly fabricated manner as a system of universal reward and punishment results in compulsively fabricating this abstract view into a common worldly consequence.
Ms. Roth in a very subtle but fabricated manner applies blame to her children leaving a toy unattended in the children’s own backyard and needing to apply “karmic blame” on children innocent of anything save for being children. In this way, Ms. Roth is inadvertently fabricating in her children the same reactive mind that continues the results of ignorance, continues true Karma. Her children are now conditioned to blame themselves for arbitrary and completely impersonal behavior that can only result in their lifetime of self-identification with impermanent phenomena and resulting self-blame and self-loathing, the precise problem resolved in the Buddha’s Dhamma. Ms. Roth’s loving and compassionate attempt at teaching her children “the law of karma” resulted in harm due to he own ignorance of Four Noble Truths. This is the important “karmic lesson here. Like most beings rooted ignorance of Four Noble Truths, these children will now be hyper-focused not on seeing reality but finding where they are to blame for ordinary occurrences of life.
When a mind id fee of placing fabricated lame (or fabricated praise) on ordinary and impersonal events, free of ignorance of Four Noble Truths and the Origination that all manner of confusion and delusion is Dependent on, then three is no compulsive need to find blame for ordinary lief events. (Capitalisation intended)
In this way, children and adults can clearly see what their responsibility is in any situation, recognizing and abandoning ignorance of Four Noble Truths, and can clearly see the impersonal events of life arising and passing away without the need for fabricated “karmic lessons” that only inflict pain and self-judgment on innocent minds.
These children could more successfully be taught the importance of cleaning up after themselves not by applying an abstract and corrupted view of karma as a means of blaming them and teaching children a hurtful and fabricated view but by singly and directly pointing out that their dog was hurt simply as a consequence of living with ordinary worldly conditions. A clear undertsnding of the Buddha’s Dhamma shows that compulsively finding blame to explain the stress and suffering that is inherent in human life obscures the reality of Four Noble Truths present in each moment of human life.
A clear understanding of the Buddha’s teaching on the Three Marks Of Existence would have developed in Ms. Roth the understanding that as a consequence of having a human life, difficult and disappointing situations – Dukkha – occur and there is no need to hurt others by applying blame where there is none. Looked at clearly Ms. Roth continued the experience of stress and suffering of her and her children by continuing to cling to a fabricated view of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
A clear understanding of ignorance, fabrciations, and corrupted wrong intention woyld then be recognaiced and abandoned.
The impersonal Tonka truck is no more resonsible than these confused children. Reacting from a troubled mind seeking to place “karmic balme” on the children only continued her own misinformed actions that only continued craving, aversion, and continued deluded thinking. Rooted in a misunderstanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma, craving rooted in this ignorance, craving to teach her children this same fabricated dharma, resulted in her using her own reaction rooted in her aversion to the buddha’s Dhamma to instill conditioned avesion TOWARDS THEMSELVES by now believing that thier completely impersonal actions resulted in harm to their dog.
This is what is ignored by misapplying karma as a magical system of reward and punishment, Understanding that Karma and Rebirth clearly is a key to awakening while developing the understanding that it is mindful actions developed through the Eightfold Path in life-as-life-unfolds t that relates to the Buddha’s teachings not clinging to the fabricated belief that the world is an ever-vigilant and hostile system of behavior modification.
Understanding Karma and Rebirth reveal a most compassionate human being’s way of teaching that if what is held in mind is the ereinfed mindfulness of the Eightfold Path than one moment-by-moment action will result if freedom from all fabricated views and all stress and suffering we might otherwise suffer on others from one’s own ignorance.
Krama, as the Buddha teaches Krama is to remain mindful of “acting tom awakened.”
“In this way, karma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of human beings rooted in ignorance and bound by craving is established in wrong view. Established in wrong view, renewed becoming (further ignorant) is produced.”
Early Western Fabricated And Reimagined Dharmas
Originating Article: Negative Capability: Kerouac’s Buddhist Ethic
This is an interesting description of two early western “Buddhist practitioners” and the complicated dharma they created for themselves that has some of the popular catch-phrases of modern Buddhism but very little resemblance to what an awakened human being actually taught. Despite the intriguing title there is nothing “ethical” in creating reimagined and fabricated “dharmas” that do not clearly state that what these two men practiced was fabricated and reimagined having little to do with the Buddha’s actual Dhamma. Of course, in order to know this the Buddha’s Dhamma would have to be developed, not fabricated and reimagined.
Mr. Ginsburg’s reflections on the foundation of Mr. Kerouac’s form of Buddhism rooted in mysticism and New Age spirituality are obviously grassing-after fabrications that the Buddha taught specifically to avoid. The explanation of the Eightfold Path is misleading and lacking context and his understanding of Three Marks of Existence shows the same fabricated bias towards yet another “re-imagined dharma” so popular in the sixties and even more popular today and relying even more on an individual’s confused imagination for the “re-imagining” process.
The Buddha taught a timeless path which is continually relevant and effective – but only if what an awakened human being actually taught is develoopewd. Below are links to Suttas that preserve the Buddha’s teachings. The Buddha’s Dhamma brings vipassana, true introspective insight into Three Marks Of Existence through and authentic Eightfold Path:
Fabricated And Reimagined Dharmas
Originating Article: A Buddhist Brexit
Mr. Batchelor’s early books on secular Buddhism were an inspiration to me and directed my study away from the adapted, accommodated, embellished, or simply personalized and individualized “dharmas” prevalent in modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement.
Now, Mr. Batchelor and his wife Marine have concluded after many years of clinging their views to modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement that they should be the ones to “reimagine” their form of Buddhism yet again. Of course they can continue to adapt, accommodate, embellish, or, as is apparent with their recent books and online course, create yet another reimagination of an awakened human beings Dhamma to fit their own views of what they would like Buddhism to be and the narrow issues they insist “Buddhism” must address. Of course the issues they pick are common issues, common during the Buddha’s lifetime and utterly common today.
The world did not change on June 24, 2016. It is not only in the last few years, or even the last few generations that human beings are experiencing the results of continued ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
Despite Mr. and Mrs. Batchelor’s insistence that things are so radically different now and that we all should follow them into the good fight, the popular fight, and into a new and reimagined modern “dharma” shows only a continued ignorance of what an awakened human being actually taught.
Despite Mr. Batchelor’s brilliant mind and immense knowledge of modern Buddhism, his life-long associations with corrupted dharmas seem to have inspired him and Martine even further away from the Buddha’s Dhamma.
What they profess as reimagined Buddhism is rooted in the very problem the Buddha identified as the underlying problem for all human greed, aversion, and ongoing deluded thinking.
The Buddha identified these Three Defilements of the mind to stress the importance of abandoning them as the most significant aspect of authentic Dhamma practice. He taught this for the very reason so that sincere practitioners do not maintain their own fabricated views into their Dhamma practice and legitimize another novel hybrid practice, no matter how fabricated and self-indulgent this new dharma may be. No matter how fabrciuted this new dharma is it is always claimed that it is somehow related to what the Buddha actually taught.
This can only occur to a mind(s) that continues greed, aversion and deluded thinking by grasping-after (greed) fabricated ideas (aversion to the Buddha’s Dhamma) and insisting that what is conjured up should still be called Buddhism (deluded thinking).
The opening statement that “the world did change on June 24, 2016” is in any manner significant and should warrant dismissing an awakened human beings Dhamma in favor of a dharma fabricated by reaction to current events.
Mr. Batchelor has gone so far as to insist that the Four Noble Truths should be dismissed in favor of his and Martine’s reimagination. When deciding to follow a “reimagined Buddhism, keep in mind that at the root of this reimagination lies a fertile imagination.
The Buddha teaches a clear and direct path to dispassionately and peacefully live in the world without reacting, without losing our mind. The “awakened” Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha shows that from Right View, the first factor of the Eightfold Path is a well-concentrated mind that:
- Understands stress and suffering.
- Understands the origination of stress and suffering.
- Understands the cessation of stress and suffering.
- Understands the path for developing the cessation of stress and suffering – The Noble Eightfold Path
Mr. And Mrs. Batchelor’s reimagined four truths:
- Embrace Life
- Let Go
The Batchelor’s reimagination of Four Niobe Truths are a reaction to craving for a a modern dharma that reconciles their own conflicted and confused views into a new “reimagined dharma” that was imagined from conveniently fabricated views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths – the very issue the Buddha’s Dhamma resolves.
All of the grasping-after ever more novel “dharmas” to fit the ever-changing but continually common “issues’ of humanity can only occur when the Buddha’s Dhamma has been adapted, accommodated, and/or embellished, to fit the fabricated views of personalized and individualized “dharmas.”
The Buddha’s authentic Dhamma addressees directly the underlying issue that all human conflict, internal and external, is dependent on for origination. Rather than waking up one morning and losing a mind over a news report, understanding stress and suffering as the Buddha teaches understanding develops a calm and peaceful mind no matter what is occurring in current events.
In this way the Buddha’s Dhamma is a truly “Timeless Path.” The Buddha’s Dhamma will alway address the underlying cause of human suffering while avoiding reactive speculation and continued fabrication of reality.
One way to tell if a modern “dharma” has any resemblance to what an wakened human being actually taught is the focus of the particular dharma.
If the reimagined dharma insists that one must react to common wordily events with craving for the people and events of life be different than what is occurring, this dharma is rooted in a fabricated misunderstanding of what the Buddha actually taught. This is one of the three mental defilements.
If the reimagined dharma insists that one must react to common wordily events with aversion, or hatred at the people and events of life, this dharma is rooted in a fabricated misunderstanding of what the Buddha actually taught. This is one of the three mental defilements.
As stated earlier, greed, aversion, and ongoing deluded thinking arise form ignorance of the authentic Four Noble Truths. Ongoing deluded thinking is one of the three mental defilements.
It is obvious that Mr. and Mrs. Batchelor have certainly reimagined Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement even further. This is to be expected by anyone who wants a reimagined “dharma. They will reimagine yet another fabricated dharma. Lacking Right Intention, craving determines the new reimagined dharma.
Reimagining baseball to now require striking chess pieces with a pogo-stick may be what one with an affinity for chess pieces and pogo-sticks seems reasonable. A great many people may take up the “reimagined” game, but the game can no longer realistically be called baseball. Right Speech and basic ethics dictate that a “reimagined dharma” can no longer be called Buddhism.
Confused human beings have been doing just this for 2,600 years. The Batchelor’s certainly can reimagine modern Buddhism yet again. This forum is a testament to an ever-evolving Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement that continues to ignore a Buddha’s Dhamma. The craving for their own modern dharma and the aversion to the Buddha’s Dhamma is apparent.
The problem never addressed and continually ignored in here and in Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement lies at the heart of an awakened human beings Dhamma: recognizing and abandoning ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
This continued ignorance could be abandoned by modern teaches by being honest about their own dismissal or outright ignorance of what an awakened human being taught and cease clinging their views onto a Dhamma that they have dismissed. This is Right Speech and respect for an awakened human being and the effort he spent forty-five years teaching, and the remarkable efforts to preserve his Dhamma despite the continual craving for “rmieagination.” This would also be a great benefit to those who have no understanding that the Buddha’s Dhamma continues to be available in its pure and effective form.
The Batchelor’s reimagined “dharma” is a direct result of “reimagining” everything the Buddha taught beginning with Dependent Origination and continuing with ignorance of Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Right Meditation, and true and useful vipassana. I have included links below to the Buddha’s actual teachings for those interested.
Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas
The Buddha's Vipassana
Originating Article: Tricycle, Finding Sense in Sensation, S. N. Goenka
This article by Mr. Goenka portrays the foundations and current practice of the modern Vipassana or Insight movement accurately. The authoritative voice that Mr. Goenka speaks with is unfortunate and misleading as he fails to acknowledge, as do most modern Buddhist teachers, the actual genesis of their particular dharma.
The modern Insight movement was founded by a man named Sayagyi U Ba Khin who taught S.A. Goenka. Mr. Kim had his own understanding of Buddhism. Like most of the ever-evolving, constantly adapting modern ‘lineages” influenced by conditioned beliefs, culture, and associations, and desired outcomes, what Mr. Goenka is teaching contradicts an awakened human beings Dhamma as preserved in the second book of the Pali Canon, the Sutta Pitaka.
This does not mean that Mr. Goenka’s form of Buddhism is not helpful, just that it is not what a Buddha actually taught. This distinction is more important today than it ever was.
As has been shown in the Nagara Sutta, the Buddha “awakened” to the profound understanding that the common human problem of the underlying unsatisfactory nature of life is rooted in ignorance. 
In the ancient language of the Pali Canon, this unsatisfactory experience is known as Dukkha. The origination of Dukkha is explained in the Buddha’s teaching of Dependent Origination. [2,3]
Dependent Origination shows that it is ignorance of Four Noble Truths, through twelve observable causative links, that all manner of confusion, delusion, and suffering, in a word, Dukkha, arises.
Dependent Origination is the Buddha’s teaching on how personal phenomena arises within the environment of anicca, impermanence. The entirety of the Dhamma is to bring an understanding of Four Noble Truths. It is within the context of Four Noble Truths that understanding of Dependent Origination develops. 
Understanding Dependent Origination brings Vipassana, introspective insight into the relationship between the Five Clinging-Aggregates and the impermanent phenomenal world. [5,6]
The Buddha teaches what is fit for attention while maintaining the context of The Four Noble Truths:
•Understanding the Origination of Stress.
•Understanding the Cessation of Stress.
•Understanding the path leading to the cessation of Stress.
“As one attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts and practices.”
In the Paticca-Samuppada-Vibhanga Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya 12.2, clear;y and directly teaches what he awakened to and the purpose of Vipassana in his Bahama:
The Buddha was at Savatthi, at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. There he addressed those assembled: “Friends, I will describe in detail Dependent Origination. Listen carefully. And what is Dependent Origination?
•From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
•From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
•From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form.
•From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes the six-sense-base.
•From the six-sense-base as a requisite condition comes contact.
•From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
•From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
•From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging and maintaining.
•From clinging and maintaining as a requisite condition comes becoming.
•From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
•From birth as a requisite condition comes aging, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress and despair.”
As seen here in the proper context, chasing after insight within impermanent physical sensations can only continue ignorance of Four Noble Truths. Using the meditation method the Buddha taught within the framework and guidance the Eightfold Path directly develops useful and effective Vipassana, useful and effective introspective insight. 
Due to commentary length limitations, this forum does not allow for a thorough rebuttal to these misrepresentations. I have included links to full suttas that explain the meaning of Vipassana, introspective insight, in the context an awakened human being intended as framed by the Buddha’s actual and teachings. [8,9,10]
For Further Study
- Nagara Sutta – The Buddha Describes His Awakening
- Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
- The Personal Experience Of Ignorance – Dukkha Sutta
- Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
- Vipassana – Introspective Insight
- Five Clinging-Aggregates
- Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas
- Pail Canon
- Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views
- Right Mindfulness And Authentic Dhamma
Karma - Acting To Awaken
Originating Article: What’s in a Word? Karma
This article by Mr. Olendzki shows clearly the problem with modern Buddhism and the need to create abstract notions of what “Buddhist practice” should be based on incomplete or ignored direct teachings of an awakened human being. There is nothing here in theory or practice of what the Buddha actually taught. Perhaps nothing shows this lack of understanding than Mr. Olendzki concluding statement: “Your fate is in your own hands – GOOD LUCK.”
For anyone who has actually studied and developed the Buddha’s Dhamma, this last statement is bizarre and extremely cruel. Can anyone imagine the Buddha concluding a teaching on anything Dhamma-Related with“Your fate is in your own hands – GOOD LUCK?”
To equate karma as a struggle between a bad wolf and a good wolf is the essence of ignorance of the Buddha’s Dhamma. The implication is that one should only feed the good wolf ignores the central theme of the Buddha’s Dhamma – resolution of ignorant views of self: (.Nothing Personal – A Buddha’s Analysis Of Self )
Common to modern Buddhism and the “dharmas” often presented here, there is no reference here to any direct teaching on Karma as the Buddha teaches this simple and core subject.
All the confusion prevalent in modern Buddhism could be immediately resolved by simply maintaining fidelity to what the Founder actually taught. Included here in my response are links to actual suttas, suttas preserved in the second book of the Pali Canon: (Pail Canon)
In the Bava Sutta Siddartha Gotama teaches: “In this way karma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of human beings rooted in ignorance and bound by craving is established in wrong view. Established in wrong view, renewed becoming is produced.”
Contrast these words of an awakened human being with Mr. Olendzki’s understanding: “Every action is conditioned by an interdependent set of previous actions, and every action provokes a subsequent cascade of resulting actions.”
As shown in the Buddha’s teaching on Dependent Origination, Right View is not being en-tranced into believing in interdependence, interconnectedness, or inter-being. The Buddha taught to see all things independently of other phenomena rather than cling to fabricated beliefs of non-duality: (Dependent Origination, Anatta, And The Myth Of Non-Duality)
Karma is neither a punishment or a “gift.” As the Buddha teaches karma. Karma is the present-moment-unfolding (the field) of past intentional ACTIONS (consciousness) moderated or impacted by present mindfulness. If craving (moisture/sustenance) is what is held in mind, particularly craving for continued fabricated wrong views as shown byMr. Olendzki then current ACTIONS will bring continued ignorance.
If what is held in mind is framed by Right View developed through the Eightfold Path then whatever is arising in the present moment is simply experienced as unwavering calm. This is the cessation of karma and the establishment of profound understanding. (Culmination Of The Path )
The confusion here, common to modern Buddhism, is established in the very condition – ignorance of Four Noble Truths – the Buddha’s actual Dhamma develops understanding and true cessation of stress and suffering that can only continue through continued ignorance: Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
It is due to the compulsive need to adapt- accommodate, and embellish the teachings of an awakened human being that has resulted in modern “dharmas” that have very little resemblance to what an awakened human being actually taught. This has resulted in modern dharmas that, as the Buddha predicted, are nothing more that a “thicket of (contradictory) views.” (Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views)
Resolving Karma and Rebirth does not depend on wished-for good luck but on actual Dhamma: (Karma And Rebirth)
The Buddha taught Jhana Meditation for the sole purpose of increasing concentration that can then support the refined mindfulness necessary to hold in mind the Eightfold Path as reference for life as life unfolds: “ (Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas)
Th e Buddha taught that his Eightfold Path is the direct path to resolving ignorant views of Four Noble Truths that brings skillful and useful VIpassana – introspective insight – into the relationship between wrong views of self clinging tenaciously to impermanent phenomena, including impermanent fabricated ideas appearing as authentic dhamma that can only result in further ignorance, the essence of stress and suffering: (Vipassana – Introspective Insight)
Please note the my intention is not to disparage Mr.. Olendzki or any other teacher or practitioner. My intention is to show that there continues to be a useful, skillful, accessible, and highly effective Dhamma that is free of fabrications, adaptations, accommodations, and embellishments that have made a simple and direct path to understanding and true peace into a “thicket of views.”
A Human Buddha
Note: I have included links below to full Suttas for those interested in further study of the human Buddha and his Dhamma. ([x])
This article was originally written as a comment to a Tricycle magazine article. Here is a link: The Human Deity?
I mean no disrespect to the author of the Tricycle article, Mr. Spellmeyer. I do not know Mr. Spellmeyer. This is my response to his Tricycle article posted in a public forum. I mention his name to maintain the context of this article and as an example of modern Buddhist teachers that develop elaborate strategies and practices never taught by the Buddha to fabricate a “dharma” that allows for disregard of the Buddha’s actual teachings. To me, there is nothing more tragic than professing to know what “Buddhism” is while insisting that the Buddha’s direct teachings must be ignored as they cannot be known – false – or are irrelevant to modern problems – also false.
I use the word “Dhamma” referring to the teachings of an awakened human being and the word “dharma” referring to later developed “Buddhist” doctrines.
The depth of understanding and the profound wisdom developed from direct engagement with an awakened human being’s Dhamma is intentionally ignored by Mr. Spellmeyer.
The suttas, when read completely and in the proper context, reveal a human Buddha who awakened through his own efforts. Upon his awakening, he spent the next forty-five years of his life teaching anyone interested and willing to focus on his Dhamma alone to do the same.
At the age of 29 this human being left behind comfortable and familiar though fabricated views, and wealth, luxury, and power, seeking understanding of the human condition. After six years of arduous investigation and study, he came to the profound understanding that it is ignorance of Four NobleTruths that is the underlying condition that all manner of confusion, deluded thinking, and ongoing stress and suffering originate in and are dependent on.
As such, Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths alone define the purpose and scope of His Dhamma. The necessary context for skillful understanding and application of the Buddha’s Dhamma can only be established through fidelity to Four Noble Truths and the Paticca Samuppada Sutta, the primary sutta on Dependent Origination. [1,2]
Insisting on a dogmatic ever-evolving doctrine that the Buddha was a magical, mystical, supernatural god-like being completely negates his Dhamma and the possibility that ordinary human beings could develop understanding in their present lifetime.
The modern hierarchical divide between those who are “master” Buddhists and the sorry lot of the rest of us still foolishly believing Siddartha was a mere mortal is firmly established and promoted by Mr. Spellmeyer’s authoritative presentation of what he believes Buddhism should be.
By fabricating a supernatural Buddha to be worshiped, many modern “masters” develops widespreadcan now control what “ordinary” people practice and consider as “authentic Buddhism.” A supernatural Buddha requires supernatural dharmas and “advanced masters.” The Dhamma of an impossibly human being must be ignored for “advanced” Buddhist to promote continued ignorance.
(Fabrication means corrupted or perverted and in this sense fabricated views arising from ignorance of Four Noble Truths.) 
This human being was born Siddartha Gotama. Upon his awakening he was known as Buddha – a name he never attributed to himself.
Dependent Origination is (often intentionally) misunderstood and misapplied to fit fabricated views. Dependent Origination does not promote a doctrine of interdependence, (a completely different word) interconnectedness, or inter-being as stated in this article. (See below and )
In the Nagara Sutta, Siddartha Gotama describes his awakening and the process he went through of recognizing and abandoning the mental feedback loop of ongoing thinking stuck in ignorant fabricated views. 
This struggle within himself provided Siddartha insight into the problem of ignorance as the defining condition for all manner of confusion, deluded thinking, and ongoing distracting and unsatisfactory life experiences. He realized that a mind rooted in ignorance of reality – of Four Noble Truths – will compulsively create endless strategies to continue ignorance. 
Siddartha now understood that it is the nature of a mind stuck in ignorance to continue to ignore ignorance. This results in constant self-identification with a fabricated story. The fabricated story then becomes a substitute for the Buddha’s Dhamma and, through misguided “teachers” preaching fabricated “dharmas” develops widespread and pervasive communal justification for dismissing his Dhamma.
The primary purpose of the Eightfold Path is to provide the framework and guidance to recognize and abandon this fundamental ignorance. 
Dharmas that dismiss the Eightfold Path do so to conveniently avoid addressing this fundamental understanding and ultimate abandonment of ignorance.
Creating fabricated doctrines of interdependence, interconnectedness, and inter-being become very useful and comfortable for collectively conditioned mind-states to continue avoiding ignorance.
It is these conditioned mind-states the Buddha is referring to as “hard to see, not easily realized, abstruse, subtle, deep, going against the flow.” 
Siddartha saw the stress of continued self-identification with these ignorant views and rejected the teachings of two prominent “spiritual” teachers as they promoted continuing ignorant views through grasping after and clinging to magical and mystical “dharmas” just as is proposed by Mr. Spellmeyer. 
This awakened human being’s teaching on this understanding provides the essential foundational context for everything he would teach during his forty-five-year teaching career. Adapting, accommodating, embellishing, or ignoring the Buddha’s Dhamma only furthers ignorance of his Dhamma.
In order to understand, evaluate and integrate the Buddha’s Dhamma properly, and realistically, Dependent Origination must be understood as it was originally taught.
What the Buddha struggled with post his awakening, (conveniently viewed quite differently by Mr. Spellmeyer) was that as a human being he did struggle with the decision to teach what he knew. He considered carefully and mindfully how to pierce the veil of ignorance common to all human beings.
Now awakened, Siddartha understood the subtle but powerful strategies a mind rooted in ignorance will develop and cling to in order to continue ignorance, including ignoring and so dismissing his Dhamma.
The most common strategy then and continuing to today, is to simply conclude that since the authentic teachings of this awakened human being cannot be reconciled with current (fabricated) views of what Buddhism should be, then the teachings themselves must be fabricated and should be ignored. A mind rooted in ignorance will fabricate subtle (“hard to see”) and powerful (“hard to realize”) strategies that ignore anything that challenges ignorance.
Notice below the initiating sequence of Dependent Origination shows that ignorance is the requisite condition for developing fabricated views of self and the world.
Perhaps the most adapted, accommodated and embellished teaching of the Buddha is his teaching on Dependent Origination. When seen in the proper context of fabricated views requiring ignorance to continue, the fabrication of views justifying ignoring the Buddha’s Dhamma become apparent.
The Twelve Links Of Dependent Origination:
- From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. (When this is that is – when ignorance of Four Noble Truths is present fabricated views follow)
- From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. (Consciousness here is referring to ongoing thinking rooted in ignorance)
- From consciousness as a requisite condition comes Name-And-Form. (A mind rooted in ignorance creates fabricated self-referential views – clinging “me” and “I” to form)
- From Name-And-Form as a requisite condition comes the Six Sense Base. (The six-sense-base are the five physical senses and consciousness – ongoing thinking rooted in ignorance)
- From the Six Sense Base as a requisite condition comes contact. (A mind rooted in ignorance will interpret its experience through contact with the six senses resulting in perceptions and resulting experience based on ignorance rather than reality.)
- From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. (Ignorant perceptions protecting a clinging view of self creates reactions – a disturbed mind that now grasps after relief including relief in fabricated “dharmas.”)
- From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. (A “self” now established in fabrication craves for more self-establishment in every thought, word, and idea that arise.)
- From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging and maintaining. (Name and form, Anastta, Self-referential views, compel this troubled mind to cling to ignorant views and now protect and defend these fabricated views of “self.”)
- From clinging and maintaining as a requisite condition comes becoming. (By clinging to fabricated views one can only become further distracted and confused.) 
- From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. (Now the experience of confusion, deluded thinking, and ongoing unsatisfactory experiences become manifest and unavoidable.) 
- From birth as the requisite condition comes sickness, aging, death, sorrow, regret, pain, distress, and despair. Such is the origination of the entire mass of confusion, deluded thinking, and suffering. (From ignorance of Four Noble Truths confusion, deluded thinking and continued unsatisfactory experiences – suffering – occurs.)
Again, notice there is nothing in this sutta that remotely suggests adopting or accommodating a doctrine of interdependence, interconnectedness, inter-being, or any doctrine that would continue ignorance and the suffering of continual self-identification with impermanent objects, events, views, and ideas.
The common doctrine of Zen and most modern Buddhist “dharmas” of “perceiving oneself as all things” can only be established as a “dharma” by intentionally ignoring or misapplying Dependent Origination.
The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta is the very first teaching ever presented by the Buddha. It occurred a few weeks after Siddhartha Gotama awakened and gained full human maturity – complete understanding of the human life experience. 
For a few weeks after his awakening, Siddhartha carefully considered if it was possible to teach others his profound understanding of the nature of suffering (Dukkha) arising due to wrong views of self (Anatta) within an impermanent, ever-changing environment (Anicca). 
Rather than adapt, accommodate, or embellish his Dhamma to fit ignorant views, he carefully, compassionately, and courageously considered how he could effectively teach his Dhamma. This shows a real human with the wisdom, courage, and true compassion considering carefully how to present what he now understood to others whose mind are rooted in ignorance.
Rather than depict this as an aspect of Awakened Right View, Mr. Spellmeyer denigrates the Buddha’s concern because he would prefer what his view (Mr. Spellmeyer’s) expects of a supernatural Buddha: “elation, bliss, or unity with all things.” This is a typical escapist view adopted by most modern religions including Modern Buddhism. 
The Buddha taught that suffering occurs due to ignorance of Four Noble Truths. He further taught that craving and clinging are rooted in this specific ignorance. He taught that emptying oneself of ignorance is possible. He taught one path – an Eightfold path – as the path for recognizing and abandoning ignorance in all its many manifestations.
A truly wise and compassionate human being would be deeply concerned when realizing the suffering of humanity at the profound level of Siddartha. Rather than elation, bliss, or the ongoing distraction of believing he was united with all things, he carefully considered if he could help other’s to end their own suffering by becoming Rightly Self-Awakened through developing profound wisdom and understanding of suffering.
The purpose of the Buddha’s Dhamma and specifically the Eightfold Path is so others could avoid or abandon the common human strategy for dealing with stress and disappointment of escaping to speculative, magical, and mystical, realms complete with a savior or two and establishing “dharmas” that support continued ignorance. 
As described in the Paticca-Samuppada Sutta, the primary sutta on Dependent Origination, the condition that human confusion, deluded thinking, and suffering is dependent on arise from ignorance of Four Noble Truths. As shown and taught in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the Eightfold Path is the middle-way that avoids extreme fabricated views that would continue wrong views rooted in ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. The Eightfold Path is the path developed by the human Buddha for Dhamma practitioners that, when developed, brings wisdom and awakening. 
It is the self-identification with fabricated views that maintain ignorance and ongoing suffering – clinging or joining with suffering – that obscures impermanence through the continuation of self-referential unsatisfactory experiences.
The Buddha taught each factor of the Eightfold Path to develop the concentration supporting the refined mindfulness necessary for recognizing and abandoning all wrong views rooted in ignorance.
As Mr. Spellmeyer concludes, the preserved teachings of the Buddha “seems real only because it’s collectively shared and individually internalized. “
The Buddha’s Dhamma only “seems” legitimate because a large number of people believe in it!?
This particular conclusion and this entire article is the result of this common strategy. The more “Buddhists” that can be convinced that the Buddha’s Dhamma is archaic and unfounded the more “Buddhists” can be convinced to follow dharmas that fabricate imaginary characters residing in imaginary realms convenient for continued distraction through continued self-establishment: “
The Lotus Sutra insists that both the so-called Buddha of history and the cosmic Vairocana, one of the celestial Buddhas, are constructions of our own minds, only visible to each of us in our individual ways. “ In other words, the Buddha’s Dhamma must be dismissed because it cannot be easily reconciled with individual views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths – precisely what the Buddha teaches must be recognized as continued I-making and abandoned.
The “logic” of insisting this is a justifiable and reasonable “practice” is established in a lack of understanding that comes by maintaining the self-referential mental feedback look described by the human Siddartha prior to his self-awakening. 
Mr. Spellmeyer uses quotes from the Lotus Sutra and other Zen teachers but fails to mention the genesis of these sutras and other sutras that Modern Buddhism is based. Their only connection to the human Siddartha Gotama is a magical, mystical, imaginary fable that a superhuman Buddha taught these sutras while in imaginary supernatural disincarnate form. 
What would be responsible and Right Speech for Mr. Spellmeyer would be to simply state that he does not rely on the Buddha’s teachings as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka and instead relies on later-developed dharma teachings whose only connection to any “Buddha” is an imaginary, magical, supernatural connection and so is unfounded.
What is now “justifiably” ignored is an awakened human being’s Dhamma in favor of ever-changing “dharmas” that are gleefully embraced simply because they legitimize current conditioned views. 
Of course, a human Buddha is unacceptable if entire lineages are established by a superhuman, magical, god-like Buddha.
What is also overlooked and easily dismissed in this article is Siddartha’s arduous search simply because Siddartha, as a human being, “looks like one of us.” This was the same argument the Mahasangikas made at the second Buddhist council to justify their own compulsive desire to adapt and accommodate the Buddha’s Dhamma to maintain ignorance and fit their own magical and mystical views. 
The remarkable story of the way that monks and nuns from the original sangha diligently worked to preserve these teachings in an authentic and accessible volume is also conveniently ignored and dismissed here. 
Mr. Spellmeyer’s position that the Suttas should be ignored simply because they are impossible to reconcile with his conditioned view, and the prevailing modern view, is the common strategy of most contemporary Buddhists to continue to ignore ignorance of Four Noble Truths. Unfortunately, this strategy continues its effectiveness as it directly appeals to like minds grasping after strategies and practices that allow for maintaining ignorance (of Four Noble Truths.)
Mr. Spellmeyer is very convincing in his call to dismiss the Buddha’s original teachings in favor of his modern view. He fails to notice that the argument he uses to dismiss the Buddha’s Dhamma is precisely the “logic” he has used to selectively choose and mischaracterize a small section of a sutta to support his view. He states “Using the Pali suttas, we can create a biography of the Buddha that aligns with our conventional thinking, but only by reading them quite selectively.“ This is a very smug but convenient and complete dismissal of the only preserved teachings of an awakened human being.
His selection from the Ayacana Sutta leaves out a concluding statement by the Buddha: “going against the flow— those delighting in passion, cloaked in the mass of ignorance won’t see.”
Mr. Spellmeyer further denigrates the Buddha’s Dhamma by pointing out that there were typical community difficulties as if this is further justification to dismiss the belief that Siddartha was a mere mortal: “this Buddha makes mistakes and changes his mind.” Yes, Siddartha lived in a real world, just like ours, with real problems while always maintaining a calm and peaceful mindfully engaged with the reality of human life from a position of profound wisdom. Mr. Spellmeyer also conveniently ignores the profound quality of wisdom and calm developed by Siddartha Gotama’s direct Right Effort. What more could anyone want except a path to do the same?
The confusing and circular logic in this article is hard to miss and equally hard to follow. Either the Suttas are fabricated, or they aren’t. If one believes they are fabricated, then it is furthering fabrication to use the fabrications to support a view of current reality. Whew!
Referring to this quality of a confused mind to continue fabricating, the Buddha taught: “Why is the fabrication aggregate called ‘fabrication’? Because it fabricates. It fabricates what is experienced as form, feelings, perceptions, consciousness. It fabricates fabrications.” The reference here is to the Five Clinging-Aggregates, an awakened human being’s description of the personal experience of suffering arising from a confused mind ignorant of Four Noble Truths. 
Mr. Spellmeyer could avoid teaching others to ignore an awakened human beings Dhamma by clearly stating that he prefers these later teachings because they fit the views of his teachers and they fit his view of what Buddhism should be. In this way,an awakened human beings he would at least leave open the possibility that the efforts of the human Buddha, and the monks, nuns, and teachers that worked so diligently to establish and continue an awakened human beings Dhamma, would not be dismissed and further ignored.
The conclusions of a mind rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths are always self-reflective and self-protective. In other words, a deluded mind will attempt to establish its “self” in every thought, word, and idea that arises, including its view of “dharma practice.” In the Dhatu-Vibhanga Sutta, the Buddha teaches that a person is made up of six impersonal and ordinary properties. 
The Buddha teaches this to show the foolishness of continually attempting to establish a “self” in all things impermanent. Dismissing this key teaching, Mr. Spellmeyer quotes a misguided Dogen that we should “perceive oneself as all things.” What is this if not continued I-making by clinging to fabricated views?
Again, promoting a confusing modern doctrine that establishes a “self” in all things requires dismissing a Dhamma that teaches to recognize and abandon all views that continue self-identification and magical establishments.
Let me conclude my comments by way of explaining why so many continue to compulsively grasp after views that support ignoring the Buddha’s Dhamma. As stated earlier the Buddha awakened to the profound understanding that it is ignorance of Four Noble Truths that, through twelve observable causative links, results in all manner of confusion, contradiction, and delusion.
The Buddha consistently taught that he was an ordinary human being that through his own extraordinary Right Efforts became Rightly Self-Awakened. 
He taught a practical, accessible, easily integrated and developed Dhamma and that any human being could achieve human awakening through wholehearted integration of the Eightfold Path. The Buddha’s Dhamma does not rely on questionable and unfounded “lineages” or any magical or mystical practices. It does not rely on speculative beliefs. Developing an understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma only requires refined mindfulness – knowing what the Buddha taught and knowing what he did not teach. Essential to whole-hearted engagement with the Buddha’s Dhamma is the profound understanding that an ordinary human being awakened and then taught others to do the same. 
As has been seen in this article, dismissing the Buddha’s Dhamma to justify an imaginary, supernatural, magical Buddha is a required fabrication necessary to allow for the contradictory doctrines presented here.
Dismissing the Buddha’s teachings began during the Buddha’s lifetime and will continue long into the future as long as confused human beings create ever-changing fabricated dharmas.
Self-identifying with and protecting views rooted ignorance of Four Noble Truths is indeed “hard to see, not easily realized, abstruse, subtle, deep.” It is for this reason the Buddha taught an Eightfold Path that provides the framework and guidance necessary to recognize and abandon fabricated views rooted in ignorance.
Of course, a mind, or a teacher, determined to continue ignorance must seek out and legitimize other “dharmas” while insisting that a human being who actually awakened is a fable or, at best, an insignificant part of the “story.”
Fortunately, the Suttas maintaining Siddartha’s Dhamma are still accessible. A few teachers still teach what the Buddha taught. Those modern Buddhist practitioners that are not so convinced that their adapted view is a “Right View” can still follow an awakened human being who urged others to “come and see for your self.” 
Wholehearted engagement with the Buddha’s Dhamma is perhaps more difficult today. Authoritative voices such as Mr. Spellmeyer are the prevailing voice of modern Buddhism. The Buddha provided clear direction for this common problem. As the Siddartha Gotama taught in the Kalama Sutta: “Do not go by reports, or legends, or traditions, or scripture, or conjecture, or inference, or analogies, or common agreement, or unexamined loyalty. When you know from your own experience that the qualities taught are skillful, shameless, unambiguous, and direct these teachings should be developed. When these teachings are praised by the wise, they should be developed. When these teachings lead to unbinding and calm they should be developed.” 
I spent the first twenty years of my “Buddhist practice” studying with many of the modern “masters” of most Mahayana traditions, always becoming more confused and frustrated with the confusing rituals and contradictory “dharmas.” It was not until I discovered and thoroughly developed the Buddha’s direct teachings that I was able to refine my mindfulness and develop a calm and peaceful mind.
Modern Buddhism is, in fact, always evolving to fit ever-changing views of what “Buddhism” should be. Most today insist that “Buddhism” should always “evolve.” This is a very useful and necessary strategy that allows for continual adaptation, accommodation, embellishment, and ignorance of an awakened human beings Dhamma. In fact, it is precisely this strategy that has legitimized later-developed practices such as those presented here. It is the basic compulsion of a mind rooted ignorance of Four Noble Truths to insist that these later-developed practices are the authentic teachings of the Buddha while hoping to continue an awakened human being’s preserved Dhamma is a fairy tale.
The Four Noble Truths, as taught by an awakened human being, are timeless and always effective in recognizing and abandoning all self-referential views. The problem is that the “evolutionary” conclusions arrived by those choosing to directly ignore the Buddha’s Dhamma continued to be rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths and are as confused and contradictory as they have always been.
Finally, I mean no disrespect to Mr. Spellmeyer. The issue here is that when speaking with authority on Buddhism and arguing that the Buddha’s own teachings as an awakened human being should be ignored in favor of adapted, accommodated, and embellished forms of Buddhist practice that evolved well after his passing only serves to discredit the Buddha’s Dhamma and distract people from the most effective teachings ever taught to end ignorance and develop a calm and peaceful mind. 
Right Speech, the third factor of the Buddha’s Eightfold Path, would bring this clearly to mind. Of course, substituting fabricated views and “dharmas” that promote ignoring the Eightfold Path won’t. 
- Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
- Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
- Vipallasa Sutta – Fabrications
- Nagara Sutta – The Buddha Describes His Awakening
- Teaching An Authentic Dhamma
- Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
- The Noble Search For The Noble Path
- Becoming Explained
- Three Marks Of Existence – Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha
- Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views
- Pail Canon
- Released From Affliction
- Nothing Personal – A Buddha’s Analysis Of Self
- Ehipassiko – Come And See For Yourself
- Kalama Sutta
- True Refuge – The Ratana Sutta
Evaluate Your Meditation
Originating Article: Evaluate Your Meditation
My response to Mr. Fronsdal’s article includes links to relevant suttas from the Buddha’s instructions on meditation and how to properly evaluate meditation. It is not my intention to denigrate Mr. Fronsdal’s form of Buddhism or anyone else’s. My intention is to describe the significant differences between what has developed into modern Buddhism and the direct teachings of the Buddha as preserved in the second book of the Pali Canon, the Sutta Pitaka. These differences are consistent ignored while these contradictory practices are presented as having been taught by an awakened human being.
The second book of the Pali Canon, the Sutta Pitaka, contains the only extant authentic teachings from the historical Buddha. Ignoring these teachings ignores the Buddha’s Dhamma. (Pail Canon https://becoming-buddha.com/pali-canon-buddha-taught/)
My intention is to explain the significant differences between what the Buddha actually taught and what has developed into a modern “Buddhism By Common Agreement” – a type of Buddhism that is nearly always “authenticated” by the conditioned views of what Buddhism should be rather than what and Awakened human being actually taught. It is often encouraged by many noted teachers to pick and choose practices and philosophies from all “Buddhist” sources and lineages and label this hybrid practice “Buddhism.” (Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views https://becoming-buddha.com/modern-buddhism-a-thicket-of-views/)
The results of the need to create a one-size-fits-all modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement is that the direct teachings of the Buddha are nearly universally ignored and hardly ever practiced. For anyone that understands the scope, purpose, and intent of Siddartha Gotama’s teachings this is truly tragic. Of course, in order to know what the Buddha taught one must actually study and develop what he taught. The convenient argument to continue to cling to ignorance of the Buddha’s Dhamma as the Buddha’s Dhamma can’t be known or that the Buddha taught in an infinite number of speculative, imaginary, non-physical realms is clearly seen as intentional avoidance of an awakened human being’s Dhamma. (Right Mindfulness And Authentic Dhamma https://becoming-buddha.com/right-mindfulness-and-authentic-dhamma/)
This has resulted in “Buddhist” practice that ignores developing an understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma in favor of an impossible to develop dharma based on abstract notions as portrayed by Mr. Fronsdal, and many others.
Today, the Buddha’s own Dhamma has been adapted, accommodated, embellished, or simply ignored. This has occurred in order to legitimize practices that the Buddha never taught. That this confusion and the many contradictions have occurred is understandable, particularly from a skillful understanding of Dependent Origination. The Buddha’s teachings on Dependent Origination clearly show that from ignorance of Four Noble Truths a fabricated view of self in relation to the world occurs resulting in a confused and unstable mind prone to stress and suffering. (Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta https://becoming-buddha.com/dependent-origination-the-paticca-samuppada-vibhanga-sutta/)
The unfortunate result of this confusion and deluded thinking is then encouraged in these many modern “Buddhist” practices that continue to ignore the Buddha’s Dhamma.
Mr. Fronsdal’s article on evaluating a modern “Buddhist” meditation practice and the unstructured “insight” sought shows how confusing a once simple and extremely effective practice has become.
The Buddha taught one simple meditation practice for a single purpose: to develop and continually deepen concentration – samadhi. The Buddha taught a meditation method that, today may be called “Shamatha-Vipassana” meditation, though he likely never used this exact term. (Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas https://becoming-buddha.com/right-meditation-samadhi-jhana/)
Shamatha means “calm” and vipassana means” insight.” Despite modern movements that hope to separate shamatha and vipassana as distinct practices, the Buddha consistently cautioned against doing just what has developed. The license taken to constantly “modernize” and embellish a simple practice results in the elaborate and distracting modern practices that, when looked at clearly are no longer mediation methods that develop a calm mind that deepen concentration supporting the refined mindfulness necessary to integrate the Eightfold Path and gain true and useful insight that the Buddha taught – insight into Three Marks Of Existence. (Vipassana – Introspective Insight https://becoming-buddha.com/vipassana-introspective-insight/)
True vipassana – introspective insight into these Three Marks Of Existence is the purpose of the Buddha’sDhamma.
Using mediation for analysis or contemplation is not the purpose of the meditation practice taught by the Buddha. Using meditation for analysis and contemplation is not a concentration practice.
Right Meditation is one factor of the Eightfold Path. No mention is made here of the path the Buddha taught to provide the framework and guidance to properly evaluate meditation and utilize meditation as the Buddha intended – to deepen concentration that can then support the refined mindfulness necessary to integrate the Eightfold Path that then can support profound insight into the Marks Of Existence and an unwavering calm and peaceful mind. (Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta https://becoming-buddha.com/magga-vibhanga-sutta-analysis-of-the-path/)
This simple meditation method is clearly explained in the beginning section of the Satipatthana Sutta, a sutta on how to establish Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Very briefly, the foundation of concentration supporting refined mindfulness begins with being mindful of the breath-in-the-body and then recognizing and abandoning distractions caused by craving for and clinging to feelings and thoughts arising and passing away. (Satipatthana Sutta – Four Foundations of Mindfulness https://becoming-buddha.com/the-four-foundations-of-mindfulness/)
What is lost in Mr. Fonsdal’s form of “Buddhist” meditation is just this. There is no direct intention to deepen Jhana, to deepen concentration, only instantly seeking “insight” through evaluation, contemplation, and further distraction into “what is happening to me.” This is the essence of continuing fabricated views of self and only contributes to continued ignorance of the Buddha’s dhamma.
What a proper mediation method develops is the Fourth Foundation Of Mindfulness – being at peace with whatever is arising and passing away, being at peace with an ever-changing and unpredictable world while developing a calm and conflict-free quality of mind – unwavering calm – no matter what is arising and passing away.
The modern compulsive need to substitute analysis, constant evaluation, grasping after impermanent, superfluous, incidental, and arbitrary “insight” for the concentration practice the Buddha taught has resulted in many Buddhist meditators practicing diligently a meditation practice never taught by an awakened human being.
Many will disagree with what I am saying here and that is to be expected. I am writing this to those that are not clinging to an adapted Buddhist practice and to encourage those seeking understanding of an awakened human being’s Dhamma to break free of their conditioned vies of what Buddhism is, or want it to be, and study the simple and direct Dhamma taught by an awakened human being. The Buddha’s Dhamma continues to be extant and as relevant today as it was 2,600 years ago. I have provided links below for those interested.
Should Science Validate The Dhamma?
Originating Article: Overrlaspping Worlds, B.. Alan Wallace, Tricycle, August 22, 2019
I have included links to actual suttas for those unattested. ([X[)
The compulsion that began during the Buddha’s lifetime to find ever-new ways to “practice Buddhism” has resulted in a modern grasping-after-any-novel-idea, Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement that is constantly adapting, accommodating, and embellishing a Buddha’s Dhamma. 
The Buddha taught a Dhamma so that those interested could find liberation within the Dhamma. It is the experience of developing the Dhamma as originally taught that brings liberation, not grasping after scientific validation of one’s own experience.
The Buddha taught a complete Eightfold Path that is diminished when adaptations, accommodations, and embellishments are attached to the Dhamma. The distracting notion that what the Buddha actually taught should be verified or could be somehow enhanced by “scientific facts” rather than a direct experience of individual development of understanding directly contradicts a Buddha’s Dhamma. 
The Buddha teaches a Dhamma that directly addresses individual ignorance of Four Noble Truths and the fabricated and magical views that form the basis for ongoing confusion, deleted thinking, and ongoing suffering that arises from this initial ignorance. [3,4]
To say that “If scientific research illuminates errors in Buddhist doctrine, Buddhists should be grateful for such assistance in their own pursuit of truth” shows the compulsive eagerness of even scholars such as Mr. Wallace to constantly adapt an already adapted modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement.
This need to adapt a Dhamma that develops profound Right View can only continue ignorance by constantly encouraging ever new and novel “dharmas.”
Scientists, even those that have some understanding of Buddhism are charged with explaining the physical world. The Buddha taught a way of living conflict-free with an unwavering calm and peaceful mind despite the ever-changing conditions of the world and the ever-changing “scientific facts” attached to the world.
The Buddha’s Dhamma develops profound vipassana, profound introspective insight into the clinging relationship between ignorant views of self in relation to the physical world. 
He did this not to further ignore ignorance by clinging his Dhamma to the ever-changing “scientific facts” of his time, but to present a timeless and truly liberating Dhamma that never relies on impermanent worldly conditions to be useful and highly effective. This is a basic understanding that can only be developed with Direct inquiry, study, and practice of an awakened human beings Dhamma. [6,7]
Science has brought many great accomplishments and quite a few devastating “discoveries” such as how to weaponize nuclear energy or laser-siting for guns, to name just two of a nearly endless list. These two extremes of the results of scientific discoveries can be easily understood when one understands developed Right View. “Scientific discoveries,” no matter how grand or mundane can only be another aspect of impermanent worldly conditions rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
By its very model of investigation of impermanent phenomena, science can never explain the cause and the devastating results of ignorance of Four Noble Truths. It is simply not the focus of science to validate an
a wakened human being’s Dhamma and it is certainly foolish to consider ignoring the Buddha’s Dhamma by clinging one’s views to ever-changing scientific abstractions.
Originating Article: Exploring What Is
This article by Mr. Penick accurately describes the adaptions, accommodations, and embellishments that have resulted in a modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement that has little of the Buddha’s actual purpose or original skillful structure. (Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views
Rather than teach “everything in our experience, pleasant and unpleasant, as our own” the Buddha’s Dhamma teaches to not take anything that arises in an impermanent world as personal. (Vipassana – Introspective Insight
Mr. Penick’s characterization of the Buddha’s discovery of an Eightfold Path is typical of modern Buddhists who obscure and diminish theBuddha’s Dhamma by siting snippets of suttas to fit their view of what Buddhism shield be, rather than what an awakened human being taught: “The eightfold path is not, from the Buddha’s point of view, his personal invention or method” conveniently obscures the truth of the most remarkable human understanding ever: ““Friends, before my awakening, when I was only an unawakened Bodhisatta, (Sanskrit: Bodhisattva) I came to the realization of the difficulties of the world. The world is born, it ages, it dies, it falls away and returns, but there is no understanding of ending the stress and suffering of aging and death. When will the world understand the cessation of the stress and suffering from aging and death? … “This is the cessation of the entire mass of stress. Vision arose, understanding arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illuminating insight arose within me with regard to things never known before.” Siddartha Gotama, a human being, discovered his Dhamma through his own Right Efforts by avoiding the compulsive need to alter a “dharma” to fit wrong views. (Nagara Sutta – The Buddha Describes His Awakening
The Eightfold Path is not eight separate paths as Mr. Penick declares. The Eightfold Path is a cohesive, simple, and direct path that brings profound understanding of the nature of ignorance of Four Noble Truths and the cessation of clinging a personal self to impermanent objects, events, views, and ideas as promoted here. ( Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
Finally, continuing to praise a deeply disturbed and deluded human being who could never overcome his own incredible selfishness and gave birth to a worldwide “Buddhist” cult that continues to cover-up sexual and drug abuse by it’s most senior teachers only shows the power of ignorance continuing to obscure reality from those who claim to know a path to reality. Trungpa had no “Crazy Wisdom.” He had no wisdom or understanding at all of what an awakened human being actually taught or he would not have left the horrible “legacy” that is his own version of a corrupted “Buddhist Lineage.”
It's Nothing Magical
Originating Article: Losing Our Bodies, Losing Our Minds
I have provided links to actual suttas, actual teachings of an awakened human being, to provide a useful resource based on these teachings. Much of the confusion prevalent in modern Buddhism would be avoided by stating clearly that what is being presented is based on the Buddha’s Dhamma or later-developed adaptations. This forum would be a good place to begin noticing the Buddha’s actual Dhamma as a clear and balancing contrast to fabricated “dharmas.”
This is a most unfortunate article that presents Mr. Smirthers adapted view as something an awakened human being taught. Mr. Smithers begin by stating “We were once self-luminous beings who fed on joy, lived in a state of bliss, were made of attention, and could go wherever we wished. But according to the Buddhist story of creation in the Mahavastu, one of us ate a mouthful of the “essence of earth,” and other beings, seeing his pleasure, followed suit. So began our descent.”
Human being’s “descent’ is rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths as taught By the Buddha. (Analysis Of Four Noble Truths – The Sacca Vibhanga Sutta https://becoming-buddha.com/analysis-of-four-noble-truths-the-sacca-vibhanga-sutta/)
Serious readers should note that the Mahavastu is a magical doctrinal text produced centuries (at least) after the Buddha passed. It was fabricated to provide legitimacy to the contradictory “dharma” the Mahasangikas craved that allowed for a magical, mystical, esoteric “dharma” that supports the fabricated beliefs this sect hoped to establish as a popular counter to the Buddha’s practical human-based Dhamma. (Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views https://becoming-buddha.com/modern-buddhism-a-thicket-of-views/)
Here is a sutta that shows clearly what a Buddha taught as “self”: (Nothing Personal – A Buddha’s Analysis Of Self https://becoming-buddha.com/analysis-of-the-properties-dhatu-vibhanga-sutta/)
To further confuse an already confused view, Mr. Smithers again relies on the same fabricated text to mischaracterize the central them of the Buddha’s Dhamma – Dukkha: “According to the Mahavastu, violence and suffering arise from our appetites, our desire, our greed to feed the impulses of pleasure that have their source in the heavy bodies that cover up our original nature. We live in bodies of desire. “
The Buddha taught in Dependent origination the causative condition of stress and suffering -m ignorance of Four Noble Truths: Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta https://becoming-buddha.com/dependent-origination-the-paticca-samuppada-vibhanga-sutta/
The Buddha teaches that a Dhamma that devious useful Vipassana, useful introspective insight into the true nature of a human being stressed and distracted by their own individual confused views clinging to fabrications, precisely what Mr. Smith is teaching here to ignore. This can only further the initiating condition the Buddha’s Dhamma teaches to recognize and abandon through the Eightfold Path. (Vipassana – Introspective Insight https://becoming-buddha.com/vipassana-introspective-insight/)
This article does accurately describe the magical cobbled-together Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement so prevalent today that began with the license taken by the Mahasangikas over two thousand years ago.
The Buddha’s Dhamma continues to be available for those interested in actually practicing an awakened human being’s Dhamma. This does take a measure of courage, concentration, and refined mindfulness – all qualities that are developed through a Buddha’s Dhamma: (Right Mindfulness And Authentic Dhamma https://becoming-buddha.com/right-mindfulness-and-authentic-dhamma/)
Human beings do not live in bodies of light that are sustained by “joy.” If this notion was true, why then did the Buddha and the entire original sangha seek alms – physical nourishment – if they were already sustained by joy? Because he studied and rejected the common speculative, contrived, magical, mystical, and fabricated dharmas of his time: (The Noble Search For The Noble Path . https://becoming-buddha.com/the-buddhas-noble-search-for-the-noble-path-ariyapariyesana-sutta/)
What he realized was the cruelty of maintaining fabricated “dharmas” that only continue ignorance of Four Noble Truths and so only continue grassing-after fabricated views. (Becoming Explained https://becoming-buddha.com/becoming-explained-the-loka-bhava-and-mula-suttas/)
There is no need to have to lose your mind or your body to awakened. If you do lose either by speculated and magical beliefs rooted in craving, no human awakening is possible.
The Buddha taught a simple and direct Dhamma that any human being could develop with only one caveat: one must actually learn and practice his Dhamma.
For All Who Reside In The Dhamma
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.
Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.
I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
Becoming-Buddha.com and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.