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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Meditative Experiences and Elitism

The Buddha had a very good bullshit detector. His process for detecting malarkey was straight forward; when presented with a teaching, he would practice it with great gusto as well as intensity and see where it took him. If he liked the results he would persist. If he did not like the results he would discontinue the practice. But what has that to do with the pursuit of the meditative experiences or Jhanas?

The Buddha concludes the Satipatthana Sutta by promising that if his teachings are applied one could master the eight-fold path in as little as seven years, or seven quarters, or seven months, or seven fortnights, or seven weeks, or even seven days. If we apply a set of instructions every twelve hours, for seven consecutive days we should receive some results. They may be negative, the may be positive, but either way they will be results and they could indicate our next course of action.

How strong is your bullshit detector? About five centuries elapsed between the Buddha’s assassination and the recording of his so-called-teachings. With such an enormous margin of error it is of little surprise that some teachings attributed to the Buddha contradict each other and (at times) sound more Hindu than Buddhist. The utter simplicity of the Buddha’s teachings are an affront to those hungry for prestige and steeped in elitism. It is therefore of little surprise that over the last twenty-five centuries stuff could have insidiously crept in, as dangerous as black mold.

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