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Vinay Gupta @leashless
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I've come to the conclusion that the total destruction of sophisticated Asian ideas in the form of yoga, meditation and tantra by westernisation efforts and market capitalism just will not stand. I'm not sure what to do about this insight yet. People are really harming themselves
Let me say this very clearly: the last stages of the approach towards enlightenment are lethally dangerous. People go mad, people die, people break in ways which ruin the remainder of their lives and stay just subclinical. Even with skilled instructors, this stuff is COMMONPLACE.
There are a couple of decent plateaux where a person can do so much "spiritual stuff" and stop. But you need skilled teachers to spot those plateaux, and stick logs in the gears that would propel people into the next dangerous bit. Water seeks the ocean, the mind seeks its origin
But there are times, and prices to be paid. People who are heavily on the spiritual path in their 20s in India are guided towards renunciation and a monastic life in many cases, because doing work and family life while on that path is horrific for all parties in many cases.
Here, there's this "we can have it all in one life" myth: spiritual and financial and personal life success all at the same time, with no trade offs - a sort of LEAN IN philosophy. Yeah, let me tell you: not if you're going for enlightenment. It'll rip your life off your bones.
Maybe you recover afterwards, maybe you wind up living in a lighthouse staring at the world like the cosmic mystery play it really is. People are assemblages of atoms, garbage bags of negative entropy. They all die really soon. Do you want to see this every waking moment each day
What you have is a folk tradition, mostly Tibetan Buddhist propaganda and marketing in the 1960s when they desperately needed money and political asylum. They told you all this stuff was cool: it's not. It's horrifically hard, dangerous, and of uncertain benefit for most people.
My advice to everybody doing meditation or anything vaguely similar: do *the least you can* and still get some benefits, or (if you want to see it through) be prepared to dedicate 5 to 8 years to it full time, and lose almost everyone in your life and most of your material assets
That's the sort of strain which real attainment requires in these traditions. This, for example en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaih%C5%8… does not exist because lesser medicine cured all the patients. You are not going to get a slick, cooperative enlightenment tradition in the west: not happening.
To make it work you'd need a Western institution which could support students through most of a ten or fifteen year practice, and put them to work in a direct confrontation with the ills of the world as workers to pay their way and harden them enough to survive being enlightened.
People will sabotage their own enlightenment to protect themselves from the crushing moral responsibility which lands on most shoulders after attainment. Being a monk protects from this, a bit, but for nearly everybody else it hits head on: you *can* help, so you *must* help.
It's taken me *years* to let go enough of that responsibility to be a truly effective actor inside of market capitalism: to put up the boundaries, and embrace the materialism and egotism enough to get a handle on capitalist reality. Any enlightenment tradition has to handle this.
So I don't have any good ideas about how to do this. Even if I laid out a syllabus and somehow found the time to teach, where are the *students* going to find the time to learn? The *economics* just aren't there: how are the meditators to pay their way for. say, 10 years of work?
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