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RICK: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve had about 580 of these now. And if this happens to be new to you, and you’d like to check out some of the previous ones, go to bat gap comm bat gap and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see them organized in several different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of Beth gap. com. My guest today is Dr. Daniel Brown. Dan has been a clinical and forensic psychologist for almost 50 years, he has been Harvard Medical School for almost 40 years. He has been a student of translator for and meditation master in the Indo Tibetan and bond meditation tradition for almost 50 years. He has the only western neuroscience study identifying the brain changes in the shift from ordinary mind to awakened mind. And as usual, I’ve listened to many hours of Dan’s other talks and interviews over the past week. And I think we’re going to have an interesting conversation. Dan wanted to say something in the beginning. He told me he has Parkinson’s and it makes his face a little bit immobile. So he wanted people to know that so it didn’t freak him out or something. You want to elaborate on that? Any Dan? No,
DANIEL: you just heard about a facial expression, and therefore it affects my expression today. So it’s not a zombie apocalypse movie.
RICK: Okay, we’ll just assume that it’s Buddhist serenity. Okay.
DANIEL: The mind still works. Good.
RICK: Good. So then, yeah, as I was listening to your various interviews and talks, you mentioned a particular Buddha attainment in the Buddhist tradition in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, where a master will kind of acquire the ability to function in multiple bodies at the same time, on different levels and administering to people in different dimensions or something, it kind of reminded me of you in a way, because of the interesting mix of professions that, you know, any one of which would have been, you know, full time occupation for most people, but you’ve have lived in several different worlds simultaneously. So maybe we should start about, you know, tell us a bit more about your background and the kind of diversity of things you’ve been doing.
DANIEL: Well, I’ve been a clinical psychologist for almost 15 years. And I ran for 27 years while continuing education programs. So I offer training for almost every clinical diagnosis there was, I actually spent the day we in the library for almost 40 years reading the outcomes literature, and keeping update on that literature. So So for almost any clinical diagnosis, I can tell you what the best treatments are, and how to go about it. Then I’m working in forensic context, mostly on cases around trauma or abuse. A lot of child abuse cases in the courts still do that. I did almost 200 Food abuse cases,
RICK: praised abuse cases. Yeah. Catholic Church
DANIEL: is about we have unlimited funds to take me out as an expert to certain frivolous pride and pissing off the church that much. mission for the, in Australia for two years, to nearly Archbishop for the cover up. implications there.
RICK: I remember hearing that on the news. So you were involved in that?
DANIEL: Yeah, it was involved in most of the cases that are in the movie spotlight.
RICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. That was a great movie. Has there been anything like that in the Buddhist world? Or? And if not, how is it that what is it about the way the Buddhists conduct themselves that
DANIEL: the Buddhists are just as vulnerable of sexual misconduct around the issue of environment as mysticism,
RICK: so it’s just about as common over there?
DANIEL: Well, I think what happens is you have a monastic tradition where people have celebrated and they come to the west for the first time and they have no preparation for dealing with relationships and sexuality, right? A lot of them lose it.
RICK: And how about in the East I mean, the monasteries have young people in them and older monks and so on, is there a similar kind of problem?
DANIEL: It’s less frequent, thanks to the little problem.
RICK: Is there something about the Buddhist training and ethics or some such thing? Or the Buddha? The techniques for managing energies and attachments in the body? That makes him a little bit less susceptible?
DANIEL: No, I think it’s his troubles in both east and west.
RICK: So it’s kind of universal. Okay.
DANIEL: My question was, I really respected him because he at the age of 80, had a relationship for 10 years with a woman who was in late 70s. And I said, Why are you doing this? And he says, well, it’s not time to be a monk. He said, I have to learn about why these relationships are so important while he was Westerners.
RICK: And was he open about it? Or was he a Claddagh? Stein?
DANIEL: No, he was open about it. Okay, good. They need to learn about relationships and why we’re so important. There is an attachment for Westerners.
RICK: Yeah. And he was in a woman was in her 70s. He wasn’t like going after 20 year olds or something. So
DANIEL: they had their relationship together. She covered the weekend spent a weekend.
RICK: That’s great. I was just out of curiosity, if if you had been financially self sufficient, would you have done all the psychology work and the legal stuff? Or would you have just focused on Buddhism?
DANIEL: No, I’d like to do different things. So I want to focus on my passion for clinical psychology and forensic psychology as much as it is for Buddhism.
RICK: And I do feel that Western psychology and Buddhism are each lacking something which the other possesses and could actually complement one another through a closer relationship maybe.
DANIEL: Yes, I think that’s true, particularly around the, in the Abbe Dharma, which is a theory of mind in Buddhism. They say that the techniques to work with negative techniques negative states of mind, the techniques work with positive states of mind complement each other, but not reducible to each other. So in the West, we focus about your negative states, psychodynamic tradition, focus on conflict into Saiga conflict, the developmental tradition, focus on developmental deficits, current behavior, affiliation, focus on maladaptive thinking, negative behaviors. Now that behavior is focused almost entirely on negative states in the West. In psychotherapy tradition, now we have enough 10 years 15 years of positive psychology, we certainly would, we’re seeing the positive states are important than mental health.
RICK: Yeah, I think so. I mean, Maslow talked a lot about positive states, then then the hierarchy of needs and so on.
DANIEL: Yes. Now we’re seeing positive states is very important. In Buddhism is a stage where you get to you eradicate all negative states, it’s called the exhaustion of all negative states. Technically, it’s called Diamond Doctor exhaustion. And since those negative states master positive states, you get a flourishing of depending on how you can add five positive qualities in welcoming force at once. It’s called Sanghi. In Tibetan replication, Yvonne negative states and to actually modify the states. I think that has profound implications in mental health and was studying the nursery to do that at the moment. We have about 31 subjects who can do that is a stable, stable way.
RICK: Who can manifest the positive states
DANIEL: manifested participation and no negative states anymore? Hmm.
RICK: And providing stable, why’d you say?
DANIEL: We will? Yeah, right, in a stable way. So what we’re doing is looking at Sungei in the laboratory, nurse, bring what happens in the brain. For net net state.
RICK: So manifesting the positive states, does that mean that they don’t get angry, they don’t get jealous, they don’t get, you know, various negative emotions, a tendency to
DANIEL: get angry will still come up and immediately races itself disappears.
RICK: Uh huh. Kind of like a lion on air land and water or something.
DANIEL: Running on water. Right. Right. So they don’t they don’t register it. They don’t react to it. Yeah.
RICK: Some people I mean, people have funny ideas about what enlightenment is, and I hope you and I can talk about that a lot today. But you know, I’ve had people argue with me, well, you know, you could be an enlightened drunk drunkard or you could be an enlightened bank robber. Yes. They don’t correlate it with ethics and with with, you know, with emotional maturity and stuff like that. They just think it’s some kind of, I don’t know, this embodied realization that doesn’t trickle into your whole relative structure. Would you like to comment on that?
DANIEL: Yes, it’s wrong. I agree. First realization is, is the conduct of your life. William James, the great American psychology This was one test when he wrote his book on the varieties of mystical experience. How do you test the authenticity of a mystical experience? And he said, by the fruits you shall know them by which you shall know them sounds like Jesus. The only way the only way to test it and realization is to conduct.
RICK: Yeah, I have. I’ve been studying with Swami syrupy Ananda lately. He’s the head of the Vedanta society Center in New York. And one of his favorite phrases is that you can have morality without enlightenment, but you can’t have enlightenment without morality.
DANIEL: That’s true. Yeah. I would agree with that. Yeah.
RICK: So let’s drill down on this a little bit more. I think I tend to not want to use the word enlightenment because it has this sort of static superlative connotation. I kind of feel like people are always they always have the potential for further growth. But if I were to use it, I would say that it’s a holistic development where you know all the various, like Ken Wilber talk of lines of development, where all the various lines have, have flourished and have been fully developed in coordination with one another. Would you agree with that? Would you like to elaborate on it?
DANIEL: What enlightenment means something very specific in Buddhism means the three four volumes of enlightenment, that always right here, there’s an engineering, limitless ocean of brilliantly alert, lucid, awakened awareness love. It’s called the Dharmakaya, the monument of all of all the teachings. In that vast, limitless spaciousness, the world that you perceive as sacred, is no profane world anymore. No secular world. Everything is in every one of deities within the mandala. So you only live in a second world, you don’t see anything sacred, anything other than a sacred world. That’s the symbol because it’s always right here, it’s not Butterfield’s art in some place without your flight after you see them to hear or is always right here, all the time. So you live in that sacredness all the time. And then that plants, the seed of aspiration, who breaks your heart, and most people don’t see that. And then that the heartbreak intensifies, that you want so much for people to see that. The intensity, causes that aspiration to split into 1000s and 1000s of emanation bodies, you want to clients, while helping people along the path. And then we need all three of those in one successively first, first, the Dharmakaya limitless expanse, then the sacredness of the world is higher. And then when you get to you know, and emanation bodies, the mnemonic is, then you get all three at once, while doing simultaneously, you never leave that state again. It used to come in by virtue of or
RICK: for use use the heart suture many times in the talks I’ve been listening to watch it tell us that just so people, it’s a good point here.
DANIEL: Well, the thing that the first realization is about awakening. The second realization is a purification of all negative states in the flourishing positive states. The third and final realization is stable enlightenment tuition enlightenment is called. It starts with awakening. And usually we say that the seeds for awakening are always here. When you don’t recognize it. It’s like the sun is always shining. We don’t recognize the sun until the clouds clear away. When the clouds clear away, we say the sun just came out. Is that true? No, the sun’s out was shining day and night all the time. But from our perspective, we will see that the clouds so The Heart Sutra is about the clouds for clouds which the chant in the hospital goes like this got a got a parallel got day apparently some that day booties for her got a got a paragon de Paris, I’m glad to able the spa day day pair of about a pair of Sam got a bodhisattva his word literally means Gone. Gone. Got a got a gone way beyond on a way, way beyond Ooh, what a realization. So what it means is that we get caught up in our everyday life and thought conceptual side. We live in conceptual thought most of the time. But if you calm the mind to concentration to any you have long periods Time was no total aberration. And then you realize you’re operating more you’re offering, not thought, you’re operating out of the field of awareness, rather not a thought. So you learn to operate out of the field of awareness without debate that our basis of operation is the first thing. They need to learn that you caught up in a sense of self all day long, I get caught up in Dan, this to him becomes a central organizing principle in my life. To refer to emptiness itself, I go beyond that. And he said, Don’t get rid of Dan, Dan becomes part of the field, but I step out of that caught up and then this, I don’t make them like up a basic operation, instead, I see that I’m operating out of the field of awareness cleaned up within a second thought they were gonna be on self representation to the field of awareness is my basis of operation, then they get caught up in time, things seem to come and go in the field of awareness. If you look at the entirety of that field, the field doesn’t change at all, it’s timeless and changeless. They can step out of that field of awareness, the convention of time, go beyond it to awareness, it’s timeless, changeless. And boundless is huge time and space to change that, what we call simultaneous mind, it’s limitless. Ocean like awareness. It’s definitely timeless and changes in non dual. That becomes the foundation, there’s the third, and that that’s a much bigger change. When I’ve written out on that bigger field of awareness, and everyone’s contained in this interconnected within that field, and we all influence each other when I appreciate that direct is a realization, then I’ve moved on to simultaneous mind, which is the foundation of my own Buddhism is the third necessary God the third cloud, the time and space. The fourth cloud is a localization of consciousness in the operations of information processing system. It’s like a video code that you have to figure out my information processing sitting set up so that I don’t realize this unbounded wholeness is always the word here. Because I get caught up in posh realizing. Every time we conceptualize about something, if we conceptualize about this, it’s not about that. I can’t realize that I can’t think my way into into awakening because it’s me becoming the unbound homeless, and making it my basis of operation. So as soon as I conceptualize about this, I miss it. As soon as they focus in my mind on something, and pay attention to something, focus on this, I’m not focusing on that. So I can’t realize them by the wholeness by paying attention in any way, or engaging any meditation strategy. But if I set up a, what we call automatic emptiness, so everything that arises every residual tendency to conceptualize it immediately MD upon arising, is usually can tend to strategize about meditation is immediately after you find the rising, I can move beyond all I can realize, remember, wholeness is always right here. Then there’s one final thing it tells you to localize consciousness,
DANIEL: in that sometime in worship a certain view with the right instructions, I can move beyond the localization and tendency of the mind towards something, it makes something particular I can move beyond on there to become the unbounded wholeness. Then I realize awakened awareness right here, that’s all the time. So it starts with a practice called ocean away is where you have beyond time and space, the view, then you stabilize that is what’s called a natural state. And then you have automatic emptiness so you can clear clear away all the residual conceptualization and all the things we’re doing. And then you set up a certain view where you take the bondholders, the or the witness towards the button holders that hold at every moment by moment. In this shift your base of operation out of the ordinary mind to awaken mine. We did a study on that and was dreadful when he was a US medical school. And what we found was it were three meditation conditions, motion and waves, and stabilization of the natural state. And the adoption of the particular view called Lionsgate is the shift from ordinary mind to awaken mind. And then fourth was stable awakening. In the first three meditation conditions, were the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, which is the center of deep concentration, focus on one thing and tune everything else out. So we interpreted that as holding the view but what the unusual finding was that we had gamma activity and other subjects in that study, which means that the intuition of the cortex what’s happening is in all the cells and firing and seeing synchronistically online So, awake means awake for that part of the brain. That was we interpreted that as holding view very intensely in very stable. Once they learn to do that, then the fourth stage, he shifted to awakened awareness and they activate an area the parietal system which is usually associated with shifting from a more localized awareness to a more global awareness. They had game or activity for all subjects. So it means away from that part of the brain. They shifted to, or localized consciousness to the becoming the unbounded wholeness, this ocean light, boundless, limitless, lucidly awakened awareness love. And that’s what we found when awakening consistently what’s the text say? The news you will find a gamma gamma activity in that area, that region of interest. We got an all subjects so wait means awake, but not for the whole brain. The area of global awareness is limit, boundless lucidly, knowing brilliantly awareness and waking awareness love. That’s when you open up. Now we’re trying to do a study on Sangay. Also with Jadoo, he’s now at Brown University. He’s responsible for the Fetzer Foundation, we have identified 31 subjects who have completely purified all negative states, if they manifest in all the flourishing for the positive states, and they live in perceive a sacred world all the time now. And I think that what we’re going to see is activation of the game or activity and maybe our prefrontal cortex, which is the positivity center of the brain and the social connections into the brain. Anyway, I think we’re gonna find out working hypotheses are a fun game or activity in that area to play.
RICK: I have about six points written down from what you’ve just said, things I want to go into more deeply with you. Um, first of all this, you know, this emphasis on trying to correlate subjective states with brain activity, I think is fascinating. Because obviously, you know, brain activity changes significantly whenever our subjective experiences change significantly, in waking, dreaming, and sleeping are obvious examples, brain activity is different. And you would think it should be that enlightenment being as radically different a state of experience as it’s purported to be, would be correlated with a radically different style of brain functioning. And it’ll be interesting to see as time goes on, how carefully defined that can become and you know, how how identifiable it can be, such that we could even eventually expect to find some kind of neuro physiological you know, test for higher states of consciousness of
DANIEL: enlightenment, we have two subjects for stabled for enlightenment, two subjects of unstable path enlightenment. And we’re going to bring them into the lab and see what the brain is doing. So, but the trouble is, the pandemic is shut lab down. So we’re waiting to the for the lab to open up beyond the pandemic. So would you like research findings because of that? Well,
RICK: it’ll happen. Another point I wanted that you mentioned, I wanted to dig into a little deeper as you know, seeing the world as sacred. I have an understanding in my, from my orientation of what that means, and and, you know, some degree of experience of it all I’m sure it can be much more profound. But what do you maybe you could elaborate on what you mean by it, and what the subjective experience of someone who sees the world as sacred would be as compared to people’s or ordinary experience.
DANIEL: Okay, I have to introduce a little background here. But in, in the Tibetan theory of mind, there are 16 systems, we have five in the West. Visual perception, auditory perception, smells, taste by sensations, those are the five senses. In the theory of mind, and Tibet, their six end systems is what’s called the issue the mind procedure, the mind consciousness. And we use conceptualization to interpret sense data. So if I hold up my calendar here, I see color form with the eyes. But if I integrate that with the mind consciousness, I see your calendar. It has lots of written things on it. The difference is that we ordinarily use conceptualization to interpret sense experience. And that’s called true in Tibetan diluted perception. It’s just wrong. We don’t see Master seeing the sacredness of the world, if I purify all karmic memory traces, the outcome of that is I purify that my perception. So I don’t see it through conceptualization anymore. Just see it to the, to this pure sense systems. And therefore I start seeing the world as more and more sacred.
RICK: But just not going to know what to calendar because you couldn’t function if you couldn’t identify the, you know, mundane function of things right.
DANIEL: Now, you start seeing the world as more and more sacred. So afterwards, it’s purely sacred.
RICK: Can you have both, it’s like, you know, you’re seeing the sacred quality of the calendar. But you also, if someone says, you know,
DANIEL: very advanced ages, you know, you know, the centralization doesn’t dilute perception anymore. And you can still operate simultaneously out of the calendar perception, and the sacred perception simultaneously.
RICK: You’d have to do to function. I mean, you know, police pulls you over and says license and registration, you say, sorry, it’s all sacred, I can’t sit out on the windows in trouble.
DANIEL: That’s true, but shameless sense of self. In the older Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, the sense of self was one of the three realizations was anata, no self. And if you look at Burmese mindfulness, there are four studies that showed that the medial prefrontal cortex, which is sense of self, in my case, Danis, the felt sense of Danis was offline, in that kind of practices is the first level of Buddhism. But Mahayana Buddhism, it doesn’t go offline, it recedes into the field, and you become the field. So you have this ocean, like timeless, boundless awareness. And Dan is still a part of our field. It’s like a wave in the ocean, but you operate under being an unbounded wholeness. So we call that shifting your basis of Operation Sugarland, Tibetan, are we operating out of where you’re coming from? So you can you can operate out of the field itself and become that field. But if you’re more advanced age student, become that field in a way that you can also become data at the same time. There’s no contradiction.
RICK: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I’ve had conversations with people who insist that they’ve lost their sense of self altogether. And I don’t know how they would function, you know, but it’s like, you know, the waves can say, Yeah, I realize I’m an ocean, but I’m also a wave, and there’s no conflict be internal, being both.
DANIEL: Now, once you open up the stable perception is no conflict anymore. You can have the sense of self come and go, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t interfere with your perception of the sacred world. Yeah, there’s always right here.
RICK: So would you say the sense of self is like a faculty the way, you know, seeing as a faculty and and it doesn’t necessarily include your universal nature, if you’re properly realized?
DANIEL: Well, for most of us, it becomes a central organizing principle of daily life. So it’s useful. Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s a reality. So we don’t get rid of it in that sense. But you don’t you’re not. You’re not blind to it. You’re not caught up in it.
RICK: Right. So it’s not overshadowing. Okay. I can’t even read some my own scribbles here. Alright. So one of the conditions for enlightenment that you itemize them a few minutes ago was this development of multiple bodies simultaneously serving in different functions in different dimensions? So would you say that I mean, can you give us an example like, if the Dalai Lama, for instance, is supposed to be enlightened? Is he somehow we see his obvious body but is he subjectively experiencing himself having other bodies that are doing things in other?
DANIEL: Well, he’s an emanation of Chen racing, he’s brutal compassion architecture. So he is a vocht Ashura in this lifetime. He’s the embodiment of compassion, right? That the Buddha of compassion.
RICK: So the thing in terms of other bodies, so are you saying that loca Tetra if that was the right name?
DANIEL: Pardon Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit in January, as you can Tibetan
RICK: Avalokitesvara so you just saying that the Dalai Lama is one of Avalokiteshvara has many emanations that are functioning simultaneously.
DANIEL: He said, He’s Avalokitesvara, he is Katusha. If you are fully enlightened, you can live in waken Dharmakaya space forever. And then you can intend yourself to take a certain form in a certain plane of reality to teach or to manifest certain teachings so he’s intended to manifest himself as Avalokitesvara. Okay, necessary for this given time in history. So that’s what he does.
RICK: And so he is he is he doing other simultaneously and other bodies or is it more like one body at a time you do different things? Probably. Okay. You never talked to him about that.
DANIEL: never talked about that. No, already. Just curious. Talk about attainments very much for not to getting into spiritual pride. They don’t talk about attainments,
RICK: right? Yeah, they don’t want to toot their horn.
DANIEL: We just did this once years ago, we did a study on the speed of the mind with a teacher to go. In the Dalai Lama supply. This is best meditators for that. We couldn’t ask them about attainment, say or imply a certain state, and they would do it for a good national board.
RICK: Yeah. Yeah, speaking of speed of the mind, I don’t want to get us off track because I still have a few catch up points from what we’ve discussed so far. But I heard you tell a story about a baseball player who trained himself by having tennis balls fire that across the plate at 150 miles an hour, which obviously couldn’t hit, but it made him a much better baseball player, when softball went hard balls were pitched at normal, you know, 95 mile an hour speeds, what’s the teaching in that?
DANIEL: Teaching is that we confuse three things in ordinary consciousness. You confuse thinking, and paying attention and intention of awareness. See, the mall is thinking. But if you learn to separate them out, thinking is slow thinking takes about 500 milliseconds to about 3,303,000 milliseconds, which is mean, three seconds to a half. A second thing here is paying attention is about 400 milliseconds. Or somewhere between three and four seconds, you can get paying attention down to two or three seconds. Anything less than 200 milliseconds is the intention of awareness. So Tony wind, trained himself to start he started his batting cage, he would have tennis balls to come in and 200 miles an hour. He couldn’t hit them. But he could, if he trained himself to operate none of the thinking, not only paying attention, but just just feel the operator of the field of awareness, he could still see the position or the barking in space, very high speeds. But if he’s not very thinking, we wouldn’t hit the ball, you can see it. So he trained himself to operate on that field of awareness. And he hit for the second highest batting average, other than Ted Williams, or his career, he trained himself to operate out of awareness.
RICK: Did he have an actual Buddhist orientation? Or did he just kind of get onto this trick to get
DANIEL: onto it by lobbing in tennis balls and 150 200 miles an hour?
RICK: Interesting. And so how long does it take a fastball to get to the plate from the pitchers hand or embody seconds?
DANIEL: How many 400 millisecond 400.
RICK: And you said thought is about 500 or so
DANIEL: far is about 500. So if you think you can’t see the professor can do it. Right. If you’re paying attention, you can still see it. Right? Exactly
RICK: as fast as 200 milliseconds. He said,
DANIEL: Put a few upward lightning speed of awareness, you want to see it every time. So that’s what he trained himself to do.
RICK: Interesting. Okay. Back to the sense of self. I’ve had some people say to me, well, reincarnation couldn’t be a thing, because ultimately there is no person. And reincarnation implies that there is some kind of person or entity or subtle body or something which would reincarnate. But the talk in Buddhism, as I’ve heard it, and most recently from you, seems to imply that there is some kind of sense of self and you and I were just talking about that it’s not ultimately what you are, but it’s a it’s a function, relative function. And, you know, and therefore, there could be reincarnation and it’s actually like you said, the Dalai Lama is the emanation of the loca, tetra. So, there’s some kind of, you know, essence or entity of Avalokiteshvara that is now embodied in the Dalai Lama and that survived long after of the Kadesh was physical body on Earth died. So, it seems to me that in Buddhism, as I understand it, which is obviously a very limited understanding, you know, there are these other dimensions there is there is some kind of personal agglomeration that we would call an entity or itself and it carries on over the, you know, over time, is all of that on track, or am I getting that only partially right?
DANIEL: So what’s called an indestructible essence, which is a store of all the current memory traces over the lifetimes and then There’s a unique signature like a, like a fingerprint, written uniquely for you. It doesn’t include sense of self, in my case, Dan this, but the storehouse of all the current memory traces goes from lifetime to lifetime. Unless you purify that, to the practice of sangha, and then you don’t have any more than you become upon dying, you become fully enlightened Buddha and his existence in a sense of Dharmakaya space, you can attend to emanate and inform if you want to, in other words, you get voluntary control over the dying process in the reincarnation process, to these practices.
RICK: So if you’re highly enlightened Buddha,
DANIEL: you can come back any way you want, in a clean reality internet anytime you want, anytime in history you want.
RICK: And so you don’t just drop into the ocean, like a, like a drop of water does cease to exist in any way, shape, or form. There’s some kind of what did you call it? indestructible, indestructible essence, which is going to remain and could take another role in later on, like you just said,
DANIEL: everybody is born with enlightened intention, Kung Fu, in Tibet. So you can intend them in any form you want. Any way you want. Any number of copies of yourself you want.
RICK: Does everybody have this enlightened, this indestructible essence?
DANIEL: Yes, okay. Everybody has enlightened attention, but they don’t realize it.
RICK: So the average person is pretty much compelled to take a birth according to their karma. But you’re saying that enlightened person gets to pick and choose. To have that freedom
DANIEL: is a process by which you look at the view of the limitless expanse. And you have uninterrupted uninterrupted liveliness of what arises within the expanse. And you do both of those views simultaneously, the expanse and the uninterrupted liveliness of what occurs in the expanse, and you look at it in such a way that you don’t engage anything that comes up with just pure awareness. Mental engagement is what causes current memory traces deform. So if you hold this view in advance, stated practice in the right way, then whatever comes up is released because you don’t engage it. So it becomes an automatic process, we releasing every common memory trace, unfortunately, the mind to get into a rapid cycle of releasing all karmic memory traces, it takes about seven years to do that. And then the end result of that is no negative states left, you’ve exhausted all the negative karmic memory traces. And because they masked the positive states, you get a flourishing of 85 positive qualities that the buddha mind that he was talking about earlier that we’re studying in neuroscience, now. So in that movie on our current memory called call calming influences, you’ve got to be on it at that point.
RICK: So I presume, I mean, I know that you we just discussed that Buddhists don’t like to proclaim anything about themselves. But you’ve been at this for 50 years. So perhaps we can, we can infer that anything you’re talking about here, you’re talking about from your own personal experience.
DANIEL: Yes. And we do the neurocircuitry come up with like, we don’t know our city journals, I come up with the ideas from my own experience. And I tell them what regions of interest to look at.
RICK: And so the, the light person’s body, it’s the relative structure is still influenced by karmic memory traces, correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re no longer gripped by it or overshadowed by Is that right or wrong?
DANIEL: It No, you actually exhaustive, exhaustive in its time is at some point, there’s no no coming back trace anymore, just to flourishing positive states. Okay.
RICK: But like, let’s say in your own case, you mentioned that you, you mentioned you have Parkinson’s, and that’s
DANIEL: then when you die, you become a fully enlightened Buddha.
RICK: So let’s say if you have a disease or an accident, or something like that, and yet you’re an enlightened being, and you’ve worked on all your karmic memory traces, what is causing that disease or that accident?
DANIEL: Some point you’re moving on even disease.
RICK: Your subjective experience is beyond that, but on the body level, you still in the body is going through it, right.
DANIEL: You can purify all that residual substantiality of the body so that you know, disease influences.
RICK: So theoretically, with your Parkinson’s, you could somehow purify that out and move beyond it. Is that what you’re saying?
DANIEL: If I did that practice enough. We do that. Yes. Uh huh.
RICK: Well, that’s interesting. What, what’s the success rate of that practice? And are there examples of people having done that?
DANIEL: don’t know the success rate of that we haven’t studied that in Western psychology. But there’s a
RICK: specific practice that you know of that you could do.
DANIEL: In a fire practice with the central channels, preserves. It removes residual substantiality of the physical body. There is another practice called non joke, which is balancing the elements in the body. And you by balancing the elements in the body, you make it the body healthy. So you don’t need sick anymore.
RICK: That’s great. Is it hard to do? I mean, it’s something that can be taught to people in the clinical setting. If, if our if our culture understood that kind of thing.
DANIEL: I’ve done the non joke enough to learn how to do it, but I haven’t mastered it yet.
RICK: So it is kind of hard to do if you haven’t mastered it.
DANIEL: Well, it takes some time to learn these things. There’s so many other things. No more important. things first.
RICK: Yeah, sure.
DANIEL: So much time in the day.
RICK: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Again, I had a question here from somebody put my glasses on so I can read it. Oh, yeah. This kind of relates to what we were just saying. I think this is from a fella named Lennon in Santa Barbara, who asks, could you talk about your experiences with the rainbow body phenomenon that occurs with Tibetan meditation apps, and how to fix the seeming lack of rainbow body with Western meditation apps, despite many devoted practitioners? In other words, I think he’s saying, How come we’re not seeing examples of it, despite all these dedicated Western practitioners.
DANIEL: We have a book coming out remember, body actually translates all those texts.
RICK: And maybe you should define it because maybe not everybody knows what that
DANIEL: is. Rainbow body means that as you’re dying, you enter into meditation while you’re dying. And you clean up the substantiality, the residual substantiality of the physical body. And there’s two versions of that as a track show version of that which result in means thoroughly cutting through practice. In that sense, the body doesn’t completely disappear. It has a certain subtle particular nature to it. But it appears to others as if the bone disappears. And then there’s a bypassing practice to do practice. There’s two versions of that which you click up all the substantiality of the body right down to the body becoming light. So after two or three days in this practice, all that’s left is a light body, so the physical body disappears. So like the resurrection is by disappears and change it changes the rainbow light and the rainbow light holders in the space above where the body physical body was. All that’s left is the hair and nails, the inanimate parts of the body, but the physical body is completely transformed into rainbow light. And then it disappears after a number of days or weeks. It disappears into the atmosphere. So the highest achievement of his use, you’re going to have to use all the substantial residual substantiality of the physical body that’s called Rainbow boy.
RICK: Have you ever witnessed that happening?
DANIEL: When my teacher died, he appeared as a rainbow above his village I’ve seen the show live there.
RICK: And what happened to his physical body? Was it just cream edited or something
DANIEL: got cremated it turned into relics Hmm Yeah, the thing you’re getting behind relics Yeah, there
RICK: was this exhibit came around it came to my town and I went and saw it and there were all these all these glass cases with all these little things in and they look like resin or something like that little bits and pieces
DANIEL: also per millimeter in size. Yeah. Brightly colored. And they have an influence on physical reality. So the two that you talked about there were studied. And they they influence the influence decay rate of radioactive material. They can activate enzymes in a test tube. They have a real effect on physical reality still. And we’re we got delayed by the pandemic but there’s only there’s many tracing was my main teacher died a year and a half ago. And he gave me his relics and we’re studying them in the laboratory and we’re trying to find out whether they what they’re made of whether the made of something on the periodic table or whether the medicine donor under a substance it’s we don’t know. All we need to analyze their relics now. And these
RICK: relics shown up in the ashes of cremated bodies are
DANIEL: up in the ashes of cremated bodies,
RICK: okay? And you just don’t see I’m an ordinary cremations right. Now you’ll see no new
DANIEL: creations Yeah.
RICK: Ah, interesting.
DANIEL: That’s called Rainbow body or either is a manifestation of the body is fuel light. seen by others, or the manifestation of relics. Whenever for less capacity people who are needing to their face the master leave something behind for them.
RICK: Yeah, so you mentioned the pandemic several times. And obviously that has a lot of ramifications and influences. But um, you so you’re, you’re still doing some online retreats despite the pandemic?
DANIEL: Yes. We treated in London and we couldn’t do because we couldn’t travel there. So we had to do it online. How’d that work out? Worked out? Well. Good. We did a level two course. Online for a weekend we did a level one beginning course, online through a week, just we just finished.
RICK: I have a hard time doing things like that, because there was so much going on around here. You know, I mean, compared to getting away and
DANIEL: well, we have morning and afternoon classes for week, two intensive course.
RICK: I heard you say an interesting thing. Actually, this would be kind of fun to get into you. You’re a little bit I’m not too enthusiastic about Silent retreats. And I heard you give a riff where you were talking about sort of the how the seven deadly sins and maybe an eighth one kind of tend to bubble up during silent retreats. You want to talk about that?
DANIEL: Sure. It was a lens put together by Johannes calcium. In the early Christian Desert Fathers movement, it lasted for 50 ad to about 250 ad 200 years. And it was a time when the Desert Fathers were people were going, leaving the church in going and study with the Desert Fathers. So the church was threatened by that. So they decided to send out Lucy display deist study, study with the Desert Fathers with the sole purpose to debunk them. He lived with him for two years, he wrote for something that was like A Course in Miracles. It’s all about people flying through the air. And the church was terribly embarrassed by that. So they suppress the publication of his book. You mean,
RICK: he witnessed people flying through the air and wrote about it is
DANIEL: horrible. It’s all about miracles, raising people to do things like that.
RICK: So he was supposed to debunk them, but he ended up boosting a lot more
DANIEL: then, and then they burn the second Bishop whose name is Johannes, Cassie and Circassian for sure. And he lived two years. Thank you. And he didn’t debunk them all. So he wrote two books. One is called the institute’s. And in the institute’s he said that, if you did these practices, like the prayer of quiet, you became Jesus. So the church was terribly threatened by that theology. And they redacted his book, they actually rewrote the ending conclusion of his book for him. Instead, he didn’t become the Jesus if he would change. So they preserve the historical figure that way. But he also wrote a second book, which is about the seven deadly sins, right? It descends into how you count them. And he said that he started to times of extreme social and sensory isolation was actually harmful to the meditation he was critical of the Desert Fathers in there. So the first was gluttony. You understand that if you go camping for the weekend, what are you spending to go camping with taking kids camping for the weekend you spend the entire time preparing food and cooking food and cleaning up after them preparing for organic cooking food in your bed. Well, Sir version that you turn on the lights in the theater and you reach for the popcorn. So if you if you if you seriously shift your the busyness of a sensory overload of everyday life, in terms of drastically reducing your sensory output, and it plays out about food, Mister for a deadly sin. The second is what he calls last. We used to see that when we did outcome studies we did as a psychologist I did 10 years of outcome studies on to me is mindfulness. In 19, late 1970s and 1980s, we did that research. When IMS Insight Meditation Society was first popular was three months retreats. So we got the first day and we get a captive audience and we test do some outcome measure and three months later when he came out of the retreat. So he studied those subjects for 10 years. All sorts of different studies, cooperation between two high speed information processing with a T scope, to lots of different things, different personality questionnaires like that. And what we found was that there are a lot of them. It’s extremely isolation for Not talking for three months was difficult. And so there was a thing called the passion of romance, which is equivalent to Cassie has lost in the third weekend retreat and you’re isolating yourself, you’re not talking to anybody. You have all these fantasies about the love of your life and sitting three pillars away. And it goes on and on like that is spin on these fantasies because you lonely interferes with the meditation. The third is anger. If you keep isolating yourself, you get pissed off and depressed. And the forces agitation of mind descriptors drowsiness in mind. And says the next one is no selfless, selflessness and pride. And you start if you really continue to honor meditation, the problem who’s doing the meditation comes up, whether it’s Dan in my case, or whether it’s awareness during the meditation. So that was a what was the seven deadly sins. And then there’s an eighth one that’s reserved just for people who have spiritually advanced and he call it spiritual pride. And the further along you get the practice, the more that’s a problem, rather than less of a problem. I like that system. So what he did is he identified Cassie and identified the problems of extreme socialization, social, sexual, instructional and sensory isolation. And in how that interferes with meditation. We don’t do silent retreats, we have people talking the breaks and and we put the emphasis on doing emptiness practice in everyday life. So we take it off the pillow right from the bat. So we don’t emphasize extremes of socializing. I did. As a psychologist, I did research on sensory isolation early in my career. So we knew the negative effects of that you just mental the perceptual system that doesn’t do anything useful except you stabilize you.
RICK: Yeah, I can vouch for that. I mean, I was on some long courses six months at a time, and sometimes it went fine. Even though we had like, you know, you take a walk after lunch and talk with your friends and all that stuff. But other times, I fell prey to quite a few of those different you know, things that you just itemized your mind just gets into a state you know, where the when there’s Yeah.
DANIEL: They seem glamorous to do silent retreat for months and months. It actually has negative side effects.
RICK: You hear about these cave, yogi’s, they get locked in a cave, and you know, food is handed through a little slot in the door and all that stuff. I think, you know, I don’t know if anybody contemporary has ever done that successfully. But the vast majority, I think, would just go stark raving mad if they tried to
DANIEL: hire a llama with Mahmoud Allama to study with it spent 40 years in isolation in this cave.
RICK: Wow. Sure you can. And he turned out
DANIEL: when he came out of the age of 87, he had cancer. And he went to the Dalai Lama and said, I see here I have cancer now sort of teaching. Dalai Lama said you need to stay around. I need to be 100 years old teach into your 100. So he did
RICK: this. So worked for him. works for him. Yeah. There is a quote that I’ve used a lot of times, and I was told that it can’t comes from Tibetan Buddhism. And if it does, you will have heard it and if it doesn’t, you can correct me. But um, it’s something like, Don’t mistake, understanding for realization, don’t mistake realization for liberation. Have you heard that one?
DANIEL: Not in that form. Okay. We haven’t we have another one in the band tradition, like a lot solidly posted on back to you. It’s not enough to hear the teachings you have to listen to them. It’s not enough to listen to the teachings you have to intellectually understand them. It’s not enough to intellectually understand them. You have to put them into meditation practice. It’s not enough to put them into meditation practice here. Have the realizations that are part of the practice. It’s not enough to have realizations, you have to have signs of progress that you’re integrating those into divine stream, have to have integration of meditation experiences in the mind stream, you have to have the realizations appropriate for that level of practice. It’s not enough to have realizations, you have to put them into practice. integrate them into your mind stream in a stable way. It’s not enough to integrate them in a mature and stable way. You have to put them into practice in your conduct in how you treat people. That is a good one my favorite passages about it he goes from from hearing teachings to listening to the teachings, the intellectual understanding, to put into meditation practice, to getting signs of progress in the meditation to help the meditation experiences the full range of motion patient experiences, to have the realization to integrate a realization stably in the live stream and translate it into conduct in terms of how you benefit our beings. That’s a good trajectory of what you’re talking about. Yeah, it’s
RICK: great. It’s more kind of, you know, more detailed version of that quote that I was using. And the reason I was using it is that when I first started doing this interview show, I would run into people who, you know, kind of what they call the Neo Advaita crowd, where apparently they had read a lot of books, read a bunch of Ramana, Maharshi books and gone to some sad songs and had latched on to it, too far as I could tell, had latched on to an intellectual understanding of of non duality and so on. But I really got the feeling it wasn’t in their bones, you know, it wasn’t an actual realization. And so I’d have these little debates with them sometimes like
DANIEL: about awakening and not have it. Yeah, and the more sexualized about awakening, the further away you get from it.
RICK: And yet you can beat you can convince yourself that you have it.
DANIEL: We call that narcissism in the west. It leads to self importance. If you learn one thing in spiritual practice, the main lesson is self importance isn’t terribly important. Yeah.
RICK: Are there some acid test kind of litmus test, earmarks of spiritual progress, that ones that people should sort of look out for, for instance, I’ve heard you talk about maintaining unbounded awareness or vastness during sleep. Now, that’s hard to fake, you know? And when you consider that to be a necessary criterion of a certain level of awakening, or enlightenment, and are there others in addition to that,
DANIEL: for every level of practice, there are what are called Talk signs of progress. And in the text, it describes in great detail, what are signs of progress, how do you look for, and that tells you that you’re on the right track. But it’s also true that if you master instead of stiff stability at a certain level of practice and realizations, then there are certain consequences to that, which are usually manifest in terms of one’s conduct. But also in terms of that one, understanding the practice, we call it realizations that talk. So is there signs of progress you look for? And then there are consequences that you look for? Both true?
RICK: And is there also an emphasis in the tradition of the teacher kind of verifying or not verifying any really zation that a student claims to have had?
DANIEL: Yes, the first thing is if you have a taste of awakening, it should move your heart. So it’s usually accompanied by compassion, gratitude, or some version of loving heart kindness. Secondly, if you have a taste of awakening is October were used to teach me who died last year. He was an emanation of parmesan Baba. He says that, if you have a realization is purely conceptual, it will fall apart in difficult circumstances. But if you if your realization deepens and difficult life circumstances, then it’s probably genuine. In the third test, and the only true test for realization is conduct. So you live realizing how you deal with other people how you treat other people. That’s the only true test of realization. In my opinion,
RICK: that’s good. Well, like that Swami Sarbananda, quote that I gave earlier, I mean, there are some people who conduct themselves very well in the world and are very kind and compassionate, and generous, and so on and so forth, who aren’t necessarily realized. But what I think what you’re saying is that if you are realized, then that kind of behavior is
DANIEL: necessarily that
RICK: way. Right? Right. Yeah. Okay, a question just came in from Barbara in Portugal. And this relates to what I was just saying about witnessing sleep. She said, Would it be possible to ask Dan about thoughts on witnessing. So maybe there’s a number of different implications of that term, and we could talk about it for a few minutes
DANIEL: in Tibet, and it’s called Chasing, or we call it metacognitive awareness. So for example, in in concentration training you in neuroscience terms, you train the ACC, the anterior cingulate cortex. That’s the center of the brain that’s active in when you focus on one thing and tune everything else out and sustain that concentration, sustain that focus in a stable way. But there was a study done in Richard Davis’s lab where he looked at beginning and advanced concentrators Post beginning and advanced concentrators activated the ACC. With only the advanced concentrators activated and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is here. Right as dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is is metacognitive awareness, the left doesn’t Alfian metacognitive thinking. So you can think about your state of mind improvement, we can just be purely aware of your state of mind and improver. Of course, the superior made a mode of knowing is pure awareness of your state of mind, and metacognitive awareness. So the ones who get the best practice, by practice are the ones who trained the metacognition online, so that they don’t just know they are always improving the meditation and looking at bad habits and correcting for the bad habits and looking for the best meditation and improving. So they’re always growing and changing in the meditation in a good way. And the difference is whether you put metacognition online, and
RICK: I might need a little bit more elaboration to fully understand that myself. But in terms of
DANIEL: hardware state of mind, you know, it’s a good quality meditation in our proven, you know, when when, identify the bad habits and not get caught up in the habits of mind.
RICK: Because you’re not gripped by them, you’re sort of there’s a witnessing or a detachment from them. Is that right? Or work
DANIEL: with a teacher who tells you what to look for. So you can put your metacognition online along with what your teacher is telling you, and you’re always improving meditation and making you better, rather than getting into bad habits, as somebody did outcome studies on Western meditators for 10 years. So a lot of sloppy meditators out there. People get into bad habits and don’t even know they’re getting bad habits.
RICK: Yeah, I heard you talking about mindfulness that which is so popular these days, and how it’s not very well supervised. And, you know, maybe you could elaborate on that
DANIEL: doesn’t train concentration very well. Translate kind of ordinary awareness of continuous presence. But one could argue that ordinary awareness actually precludes awakening. Because you can’t, you can’t do tell it you can’t, you can choose the difference between ordinary awareness and awakened awareness. So all that work of being mindful actually makes it harder to awaken.
RICK: And I suppose if that’s true, then there aren’t really any. We’re not hearing about any examples of mindfulness practitioners awakening in the sense that you would define awakening
DANIEL: in the way it’s taught in the West is not emphasized that weakening isn’t emphasized.
RICK: So that’s not even why they’re getting into it. They just want to be more peaceful or
DANIEL: whatever people are more continuously aware of present. Training, ordinary awareness, no, not awakened awareness. So if you train ordinary awareness, it makes it harder to recognize the difference between awakened awareness and ordinary awareness.
RICK: elaborate a little bit on that difference.
DANIEL: You have to recognize the difference between ordinary awareness awakened awareness there’s a number of adjectives in Tibetan talk about that. Now our awakened awareness is intense. Tompa awakened awareness is sacred. Craigie, awakened awareness has sheer awakeness to it. So awake, truly awakened awareness has sparkling immediacy, fully awakened awareness is soft and gentle. As long as you don’t make these things you’re looking for, you can use them as guidelines to recognize the difference between awakened awareness and ordinary awareness.
RICK: And would it be true to say that awakened awareness is not if it’s genuine, and if it’s stable, then it’s not something you have to hang on to through some force of will or something, it’s just kind of your default mode of functioning, it’s a natural continuum. And quality, as you just mentioned, was your
DANIEL: pathway to awakening it changes everything, emotion, heart, yeah. But then it’s unstable, so it doesn’t last. So then you have to set up the view, to the shift your ordinary mind, from ordinary mind to awakened mind frequently for longer duration, and more and more immediately. And you do that until you have it almost all the time on the pillow. Then you take it off the pillow and you have to shift our mind to wake in line on the pillow, you get up and you walk around in nature. You mix it into, into daily activities, eventually you mix it into when you’re conversing with people, and eventually mixing and doing your thinking. So you mix into all the activities and you haven’t know all the time they know, off together on film feel it’s not no different, you have it all the time. Then you mix it into deep sleep and dreams. Now me all the time 24/7
RICK: So having it mixed into all those different, you know, increasingly challenging forms of activity. Is that really a willful process at every stage of the way or is it kind of a natural stabilization that occurs central process to intentional process, okay,
DANIEL: not one unintentional, what’s the difference? When it comes from sense of self, then trying to make something happen in the intention of awareness comes from the field of awareness
RICK: dog incident here okay, dogs are gone, you can continue to finish. Okay, good. So let’s dig into that a little bit. So
RICK: when I hear a concentration, what comes to my mind is a sort of a, an effort, you know, it’s like, I mean, I’ve actually heard descriptions of meditation, where you’re advised to just sort of clench your teeth and just, you know, not allow thoughts to arise, whatever, and that that’s not something I would want to undertake and never have. But there’s also sort of a much subtler ways of perhaps interpreting that word. There’s a verse in the Vedas someplace, which says, Be easy to us with gentle effort. And, you know, gentle effort, I suppose, could be thought of as a form of concentration, where you’re not just sort of sitting there daydreaming, but you’re, there’s an intention to, you know, keep the awareness where you want to keep it. So can you elaborate a bit about what you actually mean by concentration and how sure effortful or effortless it is,
DANIEL: the goal of concentration is in Tibet in relation to Anwar to make the mind serviceable. It means that whatever you improve focus on the mind stays on that for as long as you want to stay on it with no interference, and it just does whatever you accomplish. So the nine states, the United States of concentration. So when you concentrate, you focus on one thing, and you tune everything else out. It first it takes effort, how much ever? Well, there are two tools you use are three tools. The first tool is steering the mind center. So if I’m focusing on the rising and falling of the breath, for example, either I’m focusing on the rising and falling of the breath, and I’m turning the mind towards the rising and falling of the breath is a concentration object, or it’s chasing after something else, chasing after sense experience with thought. So I keep turning the mind away from this cylinder, sensory experience and distracting thought back to the concentration objects so it stays longer and longer on that object. That’s the first tool. The second tool is called timber, which we treasure is intensifying. But it doesn’t mean just doesn’t mean like that. It means more intimately engaging the object so that you notice of a subtle detail that would otherwise go unnoticed. So when my kids were young, I took them once to Yosemite, understanding the nature field in a way across the field. I said, Look, there’s a bear. And they looked and they looked at it. Oh, yeah. Whenever they were doing that, I said, Look, there’s a bear that’s intensifying. Look more closely. So the subtle detail that it wouldn’t otherwise notice, it became they became intimately engaged with all that subtle detail. So it’s not so much putting in more effort. It’s, it’s looking in a way that you pick up the subtlety wouldn’t otherwise notice inquiry, they engage in detail. That’s what, that’s what that’s the key to deep concentration, kind of
RICK: a fine tuning.
DANIEL: But then there’s a certain point where your concentration gets automatic. Using a car analogy, it becomes concentration cruise control. With all the variability in the concentration drops off, and it stays in a steady state. And every moment is saying you stay concentrated in its enforcement, nice, orderly way. And then eventually, whatever the mind is focused on, it stays on. So that’s when thought elaboration drops off mostly. So they have long periods of time, there’s no thinking going on. So that you back your way into seeing it while you’re operating on it isn’t thought anymore. You’ve calmed down, nothing you’re operating out of the field of awareness. You’re operating out of the intention of that awareness. And that’s when you get the first sense of what it means to have a mind that serviceable whatever the minds awareness intends, it does just that with no interference in would lightning speed in your mind up without the intention of awareness. Why is it important for us, then you can go on to see how the mind constructs experience. If I went to, we teach in Australia view and I love the Outback review centers last year, we were on the tarmac way to go to Australia and they turn the plane around cancelled in March two because the pandemic put if I went to look at the rock art, and I went by myself and I held up The torch in the cave in the torch was flickering, I wouldn’t see is very much a detail. But if I went with a stable torch, I’d see the entire wall illuminated and all the rock art is the only thing about it. So concentration stabilizes their point of view. So we can hold the view we can say the view is the meditation, the viewers the meditation, I learned to take a certain perspective and open up what it means to go beyond thought what it means to go beyond sense itself, what it means to go beyond ordinary intervention of time, what it means to go beyond localization of consciousness, like The Heart Sutra, and I ended up with awakened awareness that way. So concentration is the tool that gets me started on stuff. But it gets if you get to concentrate long enough, it gets easy, it’s not a hard work. Whatever the mind intends, it just does that. That’s what we call making the mind serviceable. We’re making the mind client, it’s changing in Tibetan.
RICK: I was once taught that it’s natural for the mind to wander, because it’s looking for greater happiness, but it doesn’t generally find happiness in the places most people’s minds look. And so the wandering is kind of incessant, and, you know, in and continuous, but that if the mind could be allowed to begin to turn within, then it begins to find sort of genuine happiness that exists deep within Ananda you know, and, and it will do so it will go in that direction effortlessly, if it has the opportunity to do so that you agree with any of that, or
DANIEL: I agree with that, except the wandering mind is somebody needs to be trained. They say the mind is like a wild elephant in one’s chases after sense experience and thought most of the time. So you have to train it out of chasing after those distractions to discipline the mind in training. So once you have the full strengths in the intelligent, intelligent my working for you rather than against you.
RICK: Right, but you could try chaining the elephant to a tree, or you could just provide a big pile of elephant food. And then without even restrain the elephant will stay with the food. That’s
DANIEL: what a concentration is usually say they tie the rope of concentration onto a certain object. And every time I want to some of that you pull it back, pull it back or steer it in a car analogy, in the cumulative effect of steering it many, many times over is it stays on the object for longer periods of time and stays completely on the rotation continuously on the object. In the consequences that start elaboration starts to wind down and eventually stops. So that’s how it concentration works.
RICK: So concentration doesn’t use the elephant food approach. It rather uses the tie it up and Portero approach.
DANIEL: Taylor Yeah, okay.
RICK: All righty, there’s a couple of questions that came in.
DANIEL: And when you go onto the inside practices, the view is the meditations is a whole series of views you take for every level of practice, you have to hold them in a stable way. If you don’t have concentration background, you follow the view easily, it’s not stable. So it gives you that stability like when you’re holding the torch and you can see the entire wall and rock on the cave. Concentration is the light that allows you to see it in a stable way. By holding the view stable. Yeah.
RICK: A question came in from Dan in London he Dan asks, Could you please ask Dan Brown to expand a little on the process of releasing memory traces and mental concepts from the mind.
DANIEL: When you have awakening you have your base of operation becomes this limitless boundless ocean of awareness. That’s just the first view we call the view of the expanse. After you have that stably, the mind shift from the ground aspect of awakening to the appearance aspect of awakening. So the view becomes became more interested naturally and what arises within that expanse. So everything that arises is one called the liveliness of awakened awareness, or thought is lively, awakened awareness. All emotions are lively, awakened awareness. So it’s slides are stands by sensations that are like the awakened awareness. So it’s a continuous, uninterrupted flow of lively awakened awareness. you master that view. Thirdly, you master both you simultaneously to limitless expanse, and the uninterrupted liveliness or whatever it is in an expanse. It’s the third view you take in the four fewers to do that without reading it mentally engaging anything, you know, be there in pure awareness, without moving towards it to make more of it without moving less to me unless you just let it be there in the shoe. That expanse, the no reactivity, no, no going towards it, no going away from it. And if you don’t mentally engage it, that’s what causes COVID memory traces. If you said that That was a stable view.
RICK: One impression I’ve gotten from listening to you, you know, over the past week, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
DANIEL: She said that that was a stable view, it starts an automatic process of Dharmakaya release. So whatever arises in the field, if you don’t make any gauge at every moment, by moment by moment, it disappears. And it takes about seven years to reduce it release all common memory traces from the storehouse. You can accelerate that process by doing Inner Fire practice with the central channel. And by doing the bypassing revisions, practice and get the whole thing down to about two years. That’s the maximum time it takes to do this. And then you have what we call Sangay, the complete purification of negative states and the flourishing of our positive states, depending on how you count about 8085 positive qualities that come out at once. That’s what we’re now studying in the laboratory neuroscience. Sunday,
RICK: they probably come out incrementally, right? Not Not all the sudden darkness to full noon, brightness, but just sort of a gradual. Yeah, exactly. One impression that I’ve that I get in listening to all this and listening to over the past week, is that they’re in this tradition, these traditions that you are expert in, there are so many different practices. I mean, it kind of sounds complicated to my simple mind, you know, it’s like, how would you possibly keep them all straight know what to do and master them all? And is it is it simpler than I’ve kind of gotten?
DANIEL: No, there are many practices in there, but some are more important than others. About six years ago, I was working with like my teacher level, memory tracing was the lineage of the Father bond teachings, the indigenous soldier and teachings. Then he got on a text of Sharjah repertories work. And it’s said in 17 volumes are collected works, he be put to pull out two volumes and said, these are all the secret Cavan hermitage Yogi texts, the most advanced practices. He says, I have a favorite ask you all these practices that very few people can do anymore, and they’re all die out in this generation alone. I want you to translate them and put them in a form that you can teach for Westerners. Would you do that wherever they do say no, I don’t feel like it. So I cut down my, my teaching and my clinical. I suspended my clinical teachings for three years in service, especially in patients for three years, or four years old. And we will promise eight books and translations to preserve love and suffering. There’s all in one book. It’s called the surprising three, four volumes of enlightenment. And that contains 11 texts. And the most advanced kvt came in here because you’ll be teaching so you preserve them in the West. Some of those we now teach like the unifier practice and bypass invasions practice, we now teach them in balancing the elements practice that I talked about earlier. So we’re trying to we’re trying to preserve all these in the West. So we continue.
RICK: And so do we need so many practices, There must be hundreds of them all together, because there are so
DANIEL: many. But some are more important than others. So in the limited time we have left in this lifetime, I made choices about what best best to preserve.
RICK: So how numerous are the most important ones? So we’re talking about a dozen or Andrea percent done? Less than a dozen. Okay, so it’s not fun, manageable for the average person they could find among those dozen, something that would be appropriate for them at their stage of? Yeah, okay. Good. Here’s a question. Incidentally, as we talk along, if there’s anything that comes to your mind that I’m not asking, you want to just say it just started on it. But here’s a question that comes from Michael in Oregon. He’s saying how effective or important our traditional Tibetan if I can pronounce this, not Khandro? How’s it pronounced?
DANIEL: Not all too many practices.
RICK: Okay. How effective or important are these? For Western students? What do you recommend for a Western student who wishes to be more committed to dharma practice but cannot afford the typical cost of Western Dharma retreats and or programs? The two questions there really.
DANIEL: So there’s two questions. The first question is about doing 100,000 preliminary practices, it takes about two or three years. I don’t favor that. With my with my teachers, I worked on a different arrangement. And what we did is for every beginning course, there’s no requirements for the level one course. But if anything beyond that, Go to level two or level three courses in level one courses we have, there is a specific eligibility requirements. And then we do those instead of the lindo. So for the level two, they have to have a certain kind of cut skill and concentration, You can retake Mahamudra concentration and concentration if you don’t have a good background of concentration or deteriorates rather rapidly when you move on without restriction. So each course has a certain eligibility requirements for the three a course, which stabilizes awakening, it’s all the teaching of stabilizing awakening, you have to have a taste of awakening. So the courses are not something you just sign up for, you have to have a relationship with the teacher in our tradition. And the teachers call is by who’s eligible for certain course. So by working on these very careful eligibility requirements for all levels of courses, the Tibetans were satisfied that they’ll teach with me, even though we don’t do a traditional 100,000 mirrors. The some of those are more flexible, like what I’m talking about, I teach within his all his memory treating is the llamas in the bond tradition I teach with me, they accepted our eligibility requirements, which is someone who has engaged
RICK: so anyway, I’m sorry, when you say 100,000 practices, did you mean, actually 100,000 different practices or some practice you would do 100,000 times? Or 1000 times? Okay, repetition of things. Seven different things you have to do 100,000 times. Okay, good. Three to three years. Yeah. But I recommend that anyway.
DANIEL: No, we’ve we’ve made exceptions to that. Some Tibetans won’t teach with us because of that, and some Tibetans are more flexible, agree that we’ve done a good job with that in terms of requirements. Worse there is. So that’s what we’ve done.
RICK: Yeah, I guess that raises the question about accusations of watering things down for the Westerners, you know, versus distilling the most practical, effective teachings in this tradition so that people actually get some benefit from it.
DANIEL: They’re both, they both use legitimate. That’s well said.
RICK: Okay, so then his second question was Michael from Oregon, where you’re meant for Western student who wishes to be more committed, but cannot afford the typical cost of Dharma retreats.
DANIEL: We offer scholarships to people who take our retreats. Or they have to fill out a rather rigorous financial aid statement about what to actually doing with your life. We’re not in favor of people taking vacation from life, we want them to have meaningful livelihood to track this down, because that doesn’t lead anywhere useful. On the other hand, if they legitimately working on the dollar, and they have some concerns with finances, we’ll help them with a
RICK: good. And since we’re on this topic, before I forget your website is Dr. Daniel P. brown.com. I’m showing it on the screen right now. But is this let’s see this this have to do with your Oh, this is more? Okay. That’s my clinical. Yeah, what website would they want to go to find out more about your actual retreats and things are pointing out way.org pointing outward that or? Okay, I’ll link to that on on your page on bat gap that they
DANIEL: want to learn the psychological stuff that we have made available, which is a question equivalent preliminary practices. Is one call attachment. project.org. Another one’s called Mind only.org.
RICK: Yeah, sure.
DANIEL: That’s all emotional growth stuff. Yeah,
RICK: I found that quite fascinating. Even though some of the things I listened to were conversations you had with other psychologists. And some of it was over my head. But um, it’s, it’s interesting. And it’s, I was impressed with the depth of Western psychology at its best. You know, I felt like it wow, if that’s something I had gotten into, you know,
DANIEL: I’ve tried to take the best of the Western tradition and psychotherapy and translate into simple visualizations. Anyone can do it as Westerners do instead. Yeah. That’s put on these websites.
RICK: Yeah, we’ll talk about that a little bit more before we finish. Let me just Okay, I think that’s all the questions that came in so far.
RICK: So here’s another kind of quote that I heard that I often use and you can tell me whether it’s authentic or not, but it’s supposedly from Padma Sun bhava. who supposedly said, although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour. If you heard that one. Yes. Does that sound authentic? And we could elaborate a little bit on what he’s actually saying they’re
DANIEL: saying about being mindful of your calm conduct matters. Interview and is fascinated the experience we talked about earlier, when you have awakened awareness, and you live in that expanse all the time, and that’s your baseline of operation. That’s when you need to focus more carefully on your conduct. And live a life that’s exemplary.
RICK: Right. So you don’t get a pass just because your awareness is vast. That doesn’t mean you’re gonna be on autopilot, you know, perfect in your behavior, you have also have to continue to be vigilant, right?
DANIEL: Exactly. Yeah. And those who rationalize that away are the ones that get in trouble.
RICK: Did they do? Yeah, I mean, I’ve heard people say, Well, you know, doesn’t matter what I do, because I’m enlightened. And, you know, therefore don’t judge me. It’s, you know, you’re not capable of judging someone so enlightened as I,
DANIEL: I kind of think that that’s a statement that comes entirely from self self important. Yeah. Learned is nothing enlightened about that statement.
RICK: Yeah, I actually helped to found an organization called them sociation, for spiritual integrity, because there have just been so many train wrecks in the contemporary spiritual communities of teachers getting, you know, in trouble for the way they’re behaving. It really confuses a lot of students, you know, because they think, Well, geez, this guy is supposed to be so enlightened, you know? And, and sometimes the students will think, Well, maybe I’m wrong, and judging him, you know, because who am I to say, because he’s supposed to be in this great state. And I think that’s, they should have more confidence in their common sense and call a spade a spade.
DANIEL: In the early 1980s, the Dalai Lama asked me about this. And I should set up something like what we’re doing. And as a psychologist in licensing boards, you know, we review your clients come in, every committee reviews the complaints, and actually evaluates the evidence and makes a decision about them. He said, That’s a good idea. So we set it up. He did set it up. Yeah, we set it up. Oh, cool. Does it exist today? still exists? Yes.
RICK: I’d like to know more about that. I’ll email you later. Or you can even say something about it. Now. There’s a website or something.
DANIEL: If a complaint comes in a teacher, he he’ll he’ll you send it to his office, and he’ll investigate it.
RICK: But this is just in the Buddhist world that the Dalai Lama would have jurisdiction over Tibet. And one way I see Yeah, yeah, we were trying to set up something a little bit more universal. But, you know, we weren’t presuming to have any kind of authority or anything, we wouldn’t really want to given our limited resources. But, you know, the hope was to just kind of create greater awareness in general spiritual community of what is or is not appropriate.
DANIEL: Well, I’ve respected work has the same spirit. Yeah.
RICK: One question. I have a friend named Dana Sawyer, who actually is good friends with a Tibetan lama that you may know, I forget his name. But then, and I have had this ongoing conversation about whether whether there’s some universal ultimate reality, which is what it is, regardless of whether or not people understand or experience it, or to the to what to whatever extent they experience it, versus sort of alternate, ultimate realities, which doesn’t make sense to me, where different paths in tradition will lead to different realizations, like different mountains, as opposed to different paths going up the same mountain, you have any thoughts on that? Both are
DANIEL: true, really. same, but different word my teachers always said same, but different. So the configuration of enlightenment in Buddhism is different from that and say, the Yoga Sutras. But it’s ultimately it’s all the same, relatively in terms of how you experience it and how you frame it, is we can’t get beyond perspectivism. There’s periods of certain slightly different symptoms, and those differences are important. Well,
RICK: let me ask it this way. As I understand it, enlightenment is not a thing where, you know, the individual is now perceiving some reality and you still have this you know, observer observed process of observation set up, rather, it’s that the the reality has kind of woken up to itself through the instrumentality of an individual mind body system. And if that is the case, but that it seems to me that, that if Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed or whatever, they all got into room to a room together and had a chat. They would concur. Oh, yeah, we’re all experiencing the same thing, just different languages and different, you know, ways of explaining it.
DANIEL: Well, actually, it’s, there are some differences in terms of how we experienced it. For example, if you express He says, all middle path that’s different from viewing his great self in like the Brahman in Hinduism. You experience it differently. But ultimately it’s all the same. But we can’t get beyond descriptions in perspectivism. Seemed, it seemed a little different in how we experienced it. Yeah. So that’s the way I look at it.
RICK: And so the past you have been on my color, the nature of your experience, when you reach the culmination, the termination of that path is that you’re saying?
DANIEL: Yes. So for example, another important difference is whether the path is unfolding in an impersonal way. But still brilliantly awake, whether the path is more relational based, like a god.
RICK: Another way I’ve heard it explained is that different people have different constitutions. And so some, some people might experience you know, the absolute as vastness and others more as bliss and, you know, just different qualities according to their proclivity or their, you know, their constitutional makeup.
DANIEL: Greater the capacity, we say, capacity. Yeah, that’s true. But ultimately, there is an ultimate reality that goes beyond all those differences in experience, right. And that’s all the same. Same, but different prostitue. Yeah.
RICK: And obviously, another distinction is some people are more devotional and some more intellectual and some more just sort of activity oriented. And so so they’re all going to tap into, I’m sorry,
DANIEL: capacity. Right, right. It’s more to do with the students rather than the nature of ultimate reality. Yeah.
RICK: Although I imagine given that everything we’ve just said, despite the different flavors of realization of the ultimate reality, you if you had a whole group of people who had aligned with that, who had tapped into that, they’d get along, and they wouldn’t be killing each other over doctrinal differences or anything.
DANIEL: Well, Tibetans are notorious for debating their traditions and not getting along. It’s only 200 years ago that they sober we were moving non sectarian movement came up with junk on Toronto. And what he did was he did something very unusual. He did a thing called a dumb duck. So which is 12 volumes. And in the 12 volumes, he, according to the level of practice, he did, he selected the best meditations across traditions and set in small Assad has never been done before. So there’s a joke about the Tibetans into Seoul, competitive fiercely competitive, they would accuse each other years ago without the Dharma. You know, the reason why they survived is because they had the teachings. But it’s only recently that during the movement happened, we call non sectarian movement. I’m strongly we may, so we take the best practices for every level of practice, according to the whole tradition.
RICK: It’s great. Yeah, I mean, in Indian traditions, there’s plenty of debate. Also, Shanker used to go around debating people who had different views and tradition was actually if you lost the debate, you had to become the other guys disciple. If they do that, the baton thing.
DANIEL: Yeah, this is a great debate tradition.
RICK: Actually, the other night, I was asked Swami Sarbananda, about this thing of the six systems of Indian philosophy, which most modern scholars often regard as being competitive with one another and contradictory. And he said, No, actually, they’re complimentary, they just pertain to different levels of spiritual development in different sort of facets of understanding of things. So I wonder if, you know, you mentioned perspectives, different perspectives. Yeah. Which is like, you know, the blind men feeling the elephant thing. They’re everybody’s perspective is true. It’s just not the all inclusive totality of the of the thing.
DANIEL: That’s what I’m saying about same a different before. Yeah.
RICK: So these Tibetans fighting with one another, over their different perspectives, I wonder if perhaps they were not fully enlightened people and therefore, they had that narrowness that characterizes Western Christian sects, for instance, where each one thinks it’s the best.
DANIEL: We have to remember that Tibetan tradition is totally monastic. In all honesty, the monastics are not the best meditators. They have a comfortable lifestyle. They do a lot of prayers during the day. They don’t, don’t spend most of the time meditating. The real tradition, the living tradition, is the cave in Hermitage, yogi’s the ones who’s gone long retreats. Those are the ones that preserve the more advanced teachings have always been key to heritage tradition. So the one is dying now. So they’re learning there are many monks but don’t assume that simply as a monk, their advanced and advanced Yogi’s, but most of them aren’t, most of them are sort of mid level Yogi’s.
RICK: I know you’ve done a lot of work and are doing a lot of work still, to help preserve these traditions that are dying out. And you know, perhaps you could talk about that a little bit. I didn’t really mention at the beginning, but you, you, I don’t know to what extent you’ve mastered these languages. But you have studied Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan very, very deeply. And I think you’re quite fluent in at least Tibetan, maybe Pali also.
DANIEL: To speak Tibetan, this has been spoken language is different from the classical written language. So I can translate text well, but I can’t speak it, and maybe you don’t hear it enough. Uh huh.
RICK: Sure. But anyway, you’re, you’re working to preserve a lot of these teachings that are in danger of dying.
DANIEL: As we have eight books of two teachings. In the last four years to preserve these teachings,
RICK: to many you can do all this, um, you’ve only written 114 books or something. 2323 books? And Kelly, you’ve done so many things in your life I want. You know, when I, I mean, obviously, you’re smart guy. But somehow, when I have been thinking about that, I’ve been thinking, you know, I bet you he would attribute that to great degree to his actual spiritual practice. It’s made him more productive.
DANIEL: Yes, the concentration trading law. Yeah. I don’t waste time I just get it done. Like learning?
RICK: Yeah, they say that the average person if if they’re working on something, and an email comes in or something, it takes like 20 minutes to get back to, you know, the focus that they had. And obviously, interruptions often come in more frequently than every 20 minutes to people, some people just bouncing around all day long, from one thing to another.
DANIEL: There’s never an interruption to continuous work and awareness of everything.
RICK: Do you find that I that in more trying circumstances, such as let’s say the chaos of travel or something like that. It’s not only not compromised, but is actually perhaps enhanced because the contrast is clear between the the awakened awareness and the chaos of of Logan Airport or something.
DANIEL: That means I have to put more than intention to practice better at those times. It comes down to intention.
RICK: So in other words, you ramp up your intention a little bit if you’re in a chaotic circumstance. Yes. Okay. All takes? Yeah. Here’s a question that came in from a mom in Missouri, is non doing a practice or a state of being? If it’s a practice, how effective is it? And how do you do it when faced in a situation where you need to make a decision
DANIEL: not doing a precursor to work. It’s called Murder. It’s called non word meditation meditation in Zotero. It’s called the great state of non doing. And the way you do that is by having automatic emptiness in terms of residual attentive sounds, do anything to focus attention on something or change something around, engage in some meditation strategy and immediately as revises, its empty upon arising. Automatic emptiness becomes a clearing agent for all types of doing, you can’t do anything to get to not doing.
RICK: Yeah, that would be a contradiction in terms.
DANIEL: So what if you have a stone, give us a clearing agent for all types of doing in for residual conceptualization in that setting a natural state of the mind, which is the precursor to awakening?
RICK: Yeah, that that brings me back to what we talked about earlier in terms of concentration versus effortlessness. If I’ve always thought of concentration as a sort of introduction of effort, which it is actually, and it seems counterproductive if the whole point is to settle into a silent state. It’s kind of like if you had a pan of water and it had ripples in it. You try to stop the ripples by pushing on the ripples, you just create more ripples.
DANIEL: No concentration days, a lot of work at the beginning was intensify. As I said earlier, yeah. And by concentrating you eventually stop all the sudden elaboration from happening, you prevent mind wandering from happening in the mind stays focused in the scope of service. Well, once you make it serviceable, you can separate that from the concentration training itself. And you hold the view. It has a certain view that you take a certain perspective. The view is the meditation and you learned all of you In an absolutely stable way. So for example, you hold the view of emptiness, arising every moment by moment by moment. So you have automatic emptiness that clears away residuals, conceptual thought that clears away all types of doing. And it sets up the mind in the natural state so that you can try us over more ordinary mind to awaken mind. But original question there was about doing everyday life, it’s not about that it’s about in deep concentration, deep practice, you focus on non doing the state establish a state of not doing Yeah, so awareness doesn’t something you can make happen. It happens to itself, it shows itself to itself by itself, if you set up the right conditions, or in this program for awakening, we all have to see different lighting intention and path wants to show itself to itself just set up to get underway. So the pith instructions that give you all the secret instructions for how to set up the mind the right way. So you can shift in order in my awakened mind, need to get out from the teacher. In the right state of mind, you need to get the instructions in the right way so that instead of the great meditation of non meditation, but a great state of non doing, then you can set up review in the right way to cross over from the ordinary mind to awaken mind. That’s how this works. It doesn’t have any to do about daily life, it doesn’t mean doing anything and daily life. You don’t conduct as in matters of daily life off the tiller. Question originally was about doing everyday life. Yeah.
RICK: So you and I are talking right now? And are you doing anything to hold the view or maintain any sort of state of awareness or anything? Or is it just kind of natural, spontaneous condition after all of your decades of practice, and you don’t really have to sort of attend to it, it just, it’s built, it
DANIEL: requires his intention to hold it? Yeah. Like setting is to understand intention,
RICK: set it and let it go.
DANIEL: Let it go, right.
RICK: And do you actually have to continue to reset that intention? Like every day, when you get up in the morning or something? Or after a while? Does it just become second nature?
DANIEL: Not much.
RICK: Pretty much you couldn’t go away if you wanted it to probably at this point. I mean, even terms of the neurophysiology, it must be that after all these years of practice, your whole brain structure has changed. And you’re not just getting that’s just not going to go away. Like just like
DANIEL: dropping in. Learn connect neck and neck connectivity. So you learn certain pathways, and they open up automatically.
RICK: Yeah. And they found that like, certain areas of the brain get thicker and stuff than frontal cortex, whatever, and meditators. So this stuff, you know, it gets seems let me get get stabilized by virtue of a deep transformation of our nervous system.
DANIEL: That’s correct. Starts with no increase, no connectivity, and then it changes the brain structure is sending down new pathways.
RICK: Yeah, I’ve interviewed Rick Hansen, a couple of times, he talks a lot about neuroplasticity. I lifted this paragraph from one of your websites, and maybe you want to talk about it a little bit. It’s pointing out the great way combines a strong grounding in the Western scientific study of the current contemplative experience integrated with the ancient Indian and Tibetan spiritual traditions, and the wisdom of their direct transmission, transmission lineages. This provides Westerners of all levels with simple, profound and clear access to the deepest spiritual traditions. Have we covered that adequately? Or is there something more you want to say about that? No. Okay, and that’s, that’s just
DANIEL: stop. Okay, I’ll tell you a story about that. Okay. I taught with concentration with den moloto and his lamas. He’s added a number monitoring done to the dilemmas monastery, we talked together 15 years. And I was once visiting the Dalai Lama, and he said, stick around to somebody want you to meet. He said, He knows how to teach Westerners are only 84, wandering masters. He sat down with me and he said, Take a meditation posture. I’m gonna show you something. For the next six hours, he went through the details of all eight stages of verifier practice using the central channel. And then he said, I want you to promise not to teach this and not to practice it on your own. He said, Why are you showing me this? He said, I’m showing you a style of teaching and I want to do other things this way. So I never anything quite like it. So he started teaching. This one about 20 hour style. We started in the If every level of practice is an overview of what you’re going to accomplish, you’re given detailed explanation of that, then it’s not all meditations and guided, we walk you through it step by step is what are called Peace instructions, which are direct, immediate instructions for how to take a certain view. And then immediately after you talk about it, so you don’t write bad habits, so we can keep you on track with mobile taking. So you know, we of course, you can walk people to the very beginning of practice up to a taste of awakening, in which students are motivated, you’ll get to know one way, but one of the three people will get a taste of awakening within the week.
RICK: So this is something you talk with that guy for a while, but then he died. And now you teach it as part of your retreats and all? Yes,
DANIEL: it’s true. But are very traditional roles in psychotherapy in the West, which is strongly relational, based in the data, never realized that there’s really no relational base way of teaching you. So you’re used to teaching relationship, to give the instructions and explain in great detail and to keep people on track. So they don’t make mistakes with the practice and develop bad habits. So that’s what’s unique about this pointing out style. gift to the west, he thought it was something that Westerners could use in work Westerners,
RICK: and a taste of awakening would be what?
DANIEL: Shifting to the boundless, unbounded wholeness of truly an illusion, awakened awareness love.
RICK: For how long, even a glimpse or
DANIEL: glimpse of that changes everything in your life? Yeah.
RICK: So about a third of the people get that within a week. Yeah. Okay, good. It’s great, including on your online programs, not just the in person ones, pre pandemic?
DANIEL: Well, we’re trying to do, we’re trying to do zoom courses now. And we found the statistics about the same.
RICK: That’s great. I betcha a lot of people will be doing things online, even when the pandemic is gone. You know, just because they’ve discovered that it’s, you know, could be just as good and doesn’t involve all the Travel and Expense and stuff. That’s true. Yeah. Okay, we’re getting close to the end of our time. Now, you know, it’s been about four. And when, when we’re recording this, it’s been about two or three days, since there was an attempted coup in Washington, DC. And it was fueled in large part by the fact that large numbers of people have fallen into conspiracy theory thinking, and have lost the ability to discriminate, in my opinion, between reliable sources of information and unreliable ones, and have shown themselves to be extremely impressionable. So anybody can say just about anything on YouTube, or somewhere on the internet, and then a personal video that makes sense to me. And it sort of builds a worldview that gets, in my opinion, farther and farther detached from reality, and obviously has now lethal consequences. So I’ve been a bit fascinated with this whole topic this year, because it’s been growing and growing. And I did an interview a few weeks ago with three guys who do a podcast called can spirituality, which is a play on words that can spiritual conspiracy theories have kind of infiltrated of spiritual communities and people and large numbers of people have bought into them and have ended up getting quite far right wing in their political orientation and dismissing any kind of mainstream media information that, you know. And so I don’t know, I’m just you’ve obviously been observing this too. And with your whole background in Tibetan Buddhism, I wonder if you have any observations about what’s been going on and any advice for people?
DANIEL: Well, it’s the same kind of thing we see in cults. I’ve done a lot of work with exit counseling people in cults, in those certainly an expert witness for them in court. A number of occasions, is a forensic psychologist. So we know a lot about how people who need extreme ideas and get caught up in those ideas. Ultimately, it’s leadership that’s responsible for creating that stuff. So I hope Trump responsible for his inciting the violence.
RICK: And of course, he’s had a fertile field in terms of many people who are susceptible to doctrine ation
DANIEL: that that’s true, but he’s still a leader, and he has certain responsibilities code of conduct as a leader and he’s I agree, I agree. He’s not done that.
RICK: Yeah. And, you know, since there is a high incidence of people who’ve been on spiritual paths, falling into falling, being susceptible to this kind of indoctrination, is there anything you would advise that people could do as part of a spiritual practice in order to To strengthen their their powers of discernment or discrimination or separating truth from falsehood,
DANIEL: don’t isolate themselves to certain group get a diversity of opinions. That’s what prevents people from getting caught up in calls. When they get an outside opinion is different from what they caught up. Most important thing.
RICK: Yeah. I actually, I interviewed Dan Harris of ABC News. Few years ago, he wrote a book called 10%, happier about his meditation practice. And, and all I actually emailed him recently and said, Why don’t you set up on television debates between, you know, a prominent conspiracy theorist or, and a, you know, a doctor or someone else who is qualified to, you know, parry with this person debate with this person. And, you know, let them express their conspiracy views, if you want to call us that derogatory term, but then let the other guy, you know, respond to it. And he kind of say, I don’t know. So, so, so far, I haven’t seen that happening. But it would be interesting, because otherwise, like, like you say, people silo themselves, they isolate themselves within a certain group. And that that Netflix movie that what was it called the social dilemma, explains how this is actually monetized by, by Facebook and so on. And they get the polarities, the extremity, the, you know, become more and more extreme, and the society becomes more and more fragmented.
DANIEL: Yes. I think it happens that way. One of the fields are working with a psychologist is an expert in suggestibility effects. So we watch how people develop these limiting beliefs, and then they get caught up in completely. That’s what happens in cults. Yeah.
RICK: So your primary recommendation is just to mix it up a bit to expose yourself to other viewpoints and so on.
DANIEL: Yes, yes. Yeah. And that’s what happens in exit counseling from calls. And actually counselors sits there and talks about the inconsistencies with their belief systems, and generally points them out when they start to see that God contradictions in these procedures.
RICK: And it works both ways. I mean, you know, I’ve actually spent time reading the website of the flat earth people, just to kind of say, what makes them tick, you know, I’m not afraid to look at their what they’re saying. But it’s very easy to debunk this kind of stuff, because there’s so much evidence to the contrary. So, you know,
DANIEL: with social media, we’ve created a culture by which you don’t evaluate evidence anymore. As a forensic psychologist, I’m trained to evaluate evidence. Yeah, we don’t want anymore. The general culture just accepts everything at face value. In social media made that worse.
RICK: Does that concern you about where we’re going as a society?
DANIEL: It does concern me a lot. Yeah. But the country split, right, in half, we have the people who are extreme views, and the other half of people are saying, I know. I don’t middle.
RICK: I know, the reason I’m laughing is that I’ve had people who have what you and I would call extreme views, use that very same wording. To characterize my perspective, you know, it’s just so ironic that I really, there are some efforts actually by people to get together, you know, liberals and conservatives and so on in the same room and have them discuss hot button issues and try to see each other’s point of view. And, you know, kind of,
DANIEL: we have to recreate dialogue, bipartisan dialogue. Yeah. So people learn diversity of views. without doing any more people live in their own world. And they get more and more isolated. That’s where the danger comes.
RICK: Yeah, well, maybe in light of this week’s events, there’ll be a renewed effort to, to get that going, you know, because obviously, we’ve seen value. We haven’t seen how bad it can get, we could probably get a lot worse, but we’ve sort of had gotten a taste of what it can be like when there’s this kind of fragmentation.
DANIEL: Well, Biden has a history of being strongly bipartisan. So I hope for that. Yeah. We can return to the hope so.
RICK: Well, I don’t know if we want to end on this note, but um, is there anything else that you’d like to say before we wrap it up?
DANIEL: Yeah, I teach a course at Harvard Medical School on on leadership and performance Excellent. In what we’re trying to do is talk about realize leaders. Trump is not involved at all as a Realized leader is the is the negative opposite of that. He’s limited in this person, a human being, should never be put in a position of power. Because you think you need to show and can’t handle it?
RICK: Yeah, I’ve seen situations where like, various groups of psychologists have put full page ads in the New York Times or something describing, you know, his condition, diagnose from afar, obviously, but
DANIEL: not going to do they’re dishing it and is limited as a human being. shown it over and you need to read psychology for that common sense will tell you that.
RICK: Well, we’re all limited, but we’re not all running for president. I don’t think I’d do a very good job at it.
RICK: Well, maybe we’ll learn from this too, you know, you know, my wife keeps saying there should be some kind of test before you get to run for president some psychological tests on the educational aptitude test or something.
DANIEL: all comes down to what might be leadership, we have evolved leaders, best leaders in our history. Religious leaders like to go back to that and myself.
RICK: Can you name a few realized leaders who have been realized leaders
DANIEL: throughout history Ashoka? Oh, yes. It’s gonna resemble that. The ones that are responsible for ancient Greece,
RICK: right, King Jonica, as it was said, in ancient India,
DANIEL: yeah. Just examples. Modern leaders sculpture. Interesting. He loved his vision. Will you agree with or not? He lived his vision of the first Perestroika. Yeah, yeah. That put him one level you envision and we want to say going back there. He cost himself his job in the process, but he didn’t. He leaves out his leadership role.
RICK: Well, okay. Let’s hope that we, within our lifetimes, see more enlightened leadership, rising, you know, to guide us, it seems to me that the leaders we elect depend to a great degree upon the collective consciousness of the people. And yet it can really lurch back and forth quite a bit between administrations. So perhaps each, you know, each for eight years, we just kind of a different faction of collective consciousness gets to express itself. So I think ultimately, even you could put Jesus Christ in the Oval Office. And if there’s still a lot of crazy people, I mean, I’ve heard you talk. We haven’t gotten onto this, but I’ve heard you talk about how severely traumatized so many people are, and you’ve worked a lot with that. If we have a traumatized populace, deeply attached and blind, you know, spiritually blind populace, you could, you know, put the most enlightened leader in the world up there. And I wonder how much he could accomplish.
DANIEL: Thomas Jefferson, say, teaching population thinking,
RICK: there you go. Yeah. Which is why it’s important for education to be a priority. And yet certain politicians always seem to want to undercut it, which is concerning.
DANIEL: It’s true. Requires dialogue with each other. Yeah. To get exposed and appreciate diversity.
RICK: Are you optimistic? I mean, I have some, I have some friends who say, Well, we’re all there’s going to be a nuclear war or climate change is going to get so bad that everybody’s gonna die. And I keep
DANIEL: appreciate the effects of suggestibility. I participated in the think tank and three days in us. It’s even as Boston in the early 1990s, in the head of this critical thinking. They had all their campaign managers for the great presidential elections in the first 20 years, previous 20 years. And the Republicans presented their research findings, they found that if they put a certain spin on things, and they did say things, they talked about their can they would make the world safe, internationally, make the economy safe and make the streets safe, domestically, economically, internationally, and the other candidate was evoke fear, instability, international instability, domestic instability and economic instability. If you send out that message, it doesn’t have to be accurate, that you can capture some of you up to 12% of vote. That’s usually enough to win. The Republic Republicans presented their invention and it was working. And the Democrats were clueless about and say, Well, why would you want to do that dodging the issues, man Join me. In Republicans were saying no, I’m as you win that you know what you won. And they couldn’t talk with each other for three days. And now we’ve made that international. I bring in Russia and Ukraine, people like that. We can sway an election. It’s all about sound bites. I think the general problem is be educated in terms of what the influence of the suggestive influence can be, is why now it’s done intentionally other people. And we need to be aware of that. Because it has a negative effect on everybody. And it does weigh elections over Trump came from his popularity came from reality TV. Yeah. So we are bound by suggestive influence. Politically, we need to educate people more about the effects of the negative effects of that, and how well valuable to preserve our democracy that’s, in my opinion, is a psychologist. suggestibility effects. And the same thing about causes same thing I’m just not suggesting, not looking at the evidence, and evaluating the critic. Maybe everyone’s just accepting everything. Talk about sound bites.
RICK: And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s insidious, too, if that’s the right word, it’s, it’s, you know, you incrementally shift into deeper and deeper loop delusion, or shift out of it into greater and greater clarity. You don’t shift from deep delusion to perfect clarity in a heartbeat. So you really have to keep steering the course of your life in the right direction, if you are serious about
DANIEL: that requires some sort of metacognitive awareness of what you’re thinking. What you’re doing now requires dialogue with other people who have diversity, to expose their environment, variety and points of view, and you learn to respect them, rather than polarize them.
RICK: Yeah, very good. I try to facilitate that kind of stuff myself. I have a friend and a friend who is very much, you know, COVID is a hoax. Vaccines are terrible, this kind of thing. And then I have this other friend who makes YouTube videos. He’s a, he’s a molecular biologist makes YouTube videos debunking all these kinds of ideas. And I am trying to arrange a conversation between the two of them, which they might record online. But just like I said, that thing I proposed to Dan Harris, and actually, they I think they just agreed to it. So that that kind of stuff I think is is needed more and more so that you just don’t live in your own little vacuum bubble.
DANIEL: It’s true. Yeah.
RICK: Already, I’ve taken enough of your time, but I’ve, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation, Dan. And I’ve really enjoyed the past week, because we’ve had some snow here. So I’ve been out cross country skiing and listening to you every day. You know, on my iPad. So it’s I really admire the life you’ve been living on everything you’ve accomplished. It’s it’s tremendous. And, you know, good, good, good going. You’re really done a lot with your life and are continuing to do a lot. So I’ll set up a page on on bat gap calm for this interview. And we’ll link to everything that you want me to, I think I’ll email you because I think that that last thing you said about signing up for retreats, what was that one called?
DANIEL: putting weight on?
RICK: Pointing out the way.org? Okay, I’ll make sure to link to that pointing out way, way way.org I’ll make sure to link to that one too. So obviously people can, can get in touch and participate in what you have to offer.
DANIEL: Thank you for doing this. I really appreciate your kindness.
RICK: Oh, it’s It’s my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you, Dan. I really appreciate your kindness and and the time you’ve you’ve given us today. So for those who have been listening or watching, obviously, you know, this is an ongoing series. And if you’d like to see which guests are scheduled, go to the upcoming interviews page on bat gap calm and you’ll see what we have planned. But I’ve been doing this for 11 years now and totally enjoy it and I don’t see any end in sight. I hope to keep doing it as long as I can. So thanks for listening or watching and we’ll see the next one. Thanks again so much, Dan. Bye bye