Vincent Horn

Vincent Horn


82 comments posted · 64 followers · following 0

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - #Hashtag Meditation · 1 reply · +1 points

Michael, I've found by being willing to note the underlying emotional / thought sensations that arise with the impulse to post to twitter, there is actually a lot more letting go that happens. And rather than it being about inviting others to "ride along with your leapfrog mind" (whatever that means) it's an invitation for greater transparency in a social context.

Seems like you're mostly opposed to the idea of the practice, rather than the actual practice itself. Perhaps you could try it for a little bit and then see what you actually find, rather than share critiques based on your (untested) ideas about it?

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - #Hashtag Meditation · 0 replies · +1 points

Hi Kevin,

Noting is from the Mahasi tradition, and it does have the weakness of sometimes leading to a reinforcement of a sense of a watcher or observer. That said, having practiced and taught the technique for many years, I've found this is a weakness that can be overcome by noticing (and noting) all the micro-sensations that appear to be making up the sense of a watcher or observer. So in that sense it isn't a weakness if one actually understands the point of the technique and has learned it well enough to deconstruct the process of sensations that makes up a sense of watcher.

This weakness can also be overcome by other techniques, such as inquiry into the sense of subject "ex. Who am I?") or choiceless awareness. But really, it's a technique, and like all techniques it has strengths and weaknesses. I agree with your points about the possible weaknesses, but I also know they can be overcome, especially working with someone who knows the techniques well. And there are no techniques that I've found which don't both reveal and conceal something about the nature of this 1st person experience. So the whole project of trying to find some practice which the Buddha taught, and there being a technique which is somehow superior, strikes me as a futile exercise. It's the same exercise that Mahasi Sayadaw went through in developing (or rationalizing) the technique he developed, and I imagine he probably knew the Suttas and Pali 100 times better than you or I, so why would you want to play that game, aside from benefits of being able to feel superior? :-)

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - #Hashtag Meditation · 0 replies · +1 points

What I mean by mental categorization is focusing on the conceptualization of experience more than the experience itself. When I learned vipassana (using the mental noting method) I was recommended to place a small percentage of my attention on the mental note (or label) and a much higher percentage on the experience that I was noticing. I hope that makes sense. :)

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 1 reply · +3 points

Glenn, I've also known many of these people, who you say are full of shit, for years as well. I've known them not just in their public roles, but also in their private ones. I've known them as human beings and I've seen their warts of heard their farts. I've been disappointed and angered by them, but I've stayed in relationship and seen them change, just as I have changed.

Frankly, I think you're assessment is cynical and completely off base with what it's like to be in relationship with real people. It sounds more like the wailing of a disappointed and disillusioned child than it does the reflections of a man who has spent 40 years in a field which is not unlike any other field of human endeavor--it's full of real people (delusions and all) trying to figure shit out, live a wise and meaningful life, and do it together. Glenn, "those people" are not any more full of shit than you or I are.

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 0 replies · 0 points

Quite frankly, I don't try to justify it at all, because I don't take a fundamentalist view of Buddhism, and it's therefore not a problem for me that I charge for my time and expertise. I don't look to literal interpretations of scripture or text to determine how I put into practice or understand what is essentially a living wisdom tradition. Instead, I look to what works, both for myself and for others. What I've found works, thus far, is to charge on a sliding scale for my time. And of all the folks I've worked with, not a single one has had a problem with it. In fact, many appreciate that it's clear and straight forward--they know the requirements for working with me, what's expected of them (materially and otherwise) and it's all done above board.

Those that have a problem with me earning a living from teaching, who typically have more fundamentalist views, are filtered out and that works great for me! I'd much rather work with folks who are up for letting go of cherished ideas and ideals rather than celebrating rigidity and fixed ways of looking at the world. And for those that have an aesthetic distaste for the model I use, and have good reasons for that, no problem. There are many other teachers using alternative models and it's easy enough to find them (though not always so easy to spend quality time with them in my experience).

I completely trust the flourishing of wisdom (or dharma) in the world. And I also know that this wisdom is a living expression of how WE understand life, not something that was captured in writing 2000 years ago that we can now simply memorize, repeat, and follow without questioning or skepticism (in much the same way scientists question the "truths" that have come before them).

Finally, look around at other religions and individuals who do it the way you're recommending (fundamentalist, literalist interpretations of their traditions). Does it look like they're doing all that well in serving their deeper missions? It seems to me that they're fixed ideas and models aren't able to adapt to the rapid flux and change of the modern contexts they exist within. And whose fault is that?

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 0 replies · +2 points

@Glenn : Alright, last comment here as well. So yeah, thanks for the back and forth.... I'm starting to enjoy it, so thanks for riding through that initial take-off turbulence. I receive so much public criticism these days, that my initial response is usually "FUCK THIS". But then, I typically come around. :)

So yeah, I didn't try to slink off because of your unmindful speech, nor did I characterize it that way (I said I didn't see how your initial comment was respectful). All the rest is shit your adding on my friend. One of the biggest challenges, I imagine, with being a non-Buddhist is taking that which you're setting yourself up against too seriously. I see you projecting a lot of stuff onto me that doesn't seem accurate (like the "Nice Buddhist" thing). I've never, not once, by anyone that knows me for more than 10 minutes, been called nice. I've railed out for years on fake niceness. Believe me, if anything the people around me have repeatedly called me out on being a know-it-all asshole (sound familiar?). ;-)

As for your comment about the people I interview being "without exception" x-buddhist trolls (which is without exception complete and utter crap)... Again, I understand your points of criticism, but as I've talked to these people, one interesting thing I've found, is that my assumptions about many of these individuals are constantly off the mark. And the only way I've discovered this is because I've stayed IN the conversation, not wimping out (for long) and backing off to some supposed safe distance where I can be critical without really having to be in relationship to the thing I'm criticizing. That's why I don't call this "NOT" Buddhist Geeks (though that would be a pretty dope name) It takes a lot of courage indeed, to disagree with something, but not slink off. That's why I'm still here doing my thing broheim. :)

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 0 replies · +1 points

Also, I see many of the ideological positions that you're pointing out as "X-Buddhistm". I see them often, and I explore them here on Buddhist Geeks often. David Chapman and I had a great conversation about Nice Buddhism. -

That said, part of what practice has made clear for me is that there are reactive patterns of mind that arise, and when acted out of tend to cause harm. It doesn't mean I think these should go away, or that I try to make them go away, or think people shouldn't be human (that someone should be above being a dick). But I do see that there are many cases where people refuse to break free from patterns of mind and identity that are basically internal prisons. As they rot in those internal prisons they lash out at the people around them, causing others to contract back into unhelpful identities, and the pattern continues. All that's fine, on one level, but it doesn't make things any easier or more heart-breaking.

I've met many folks, who with certain situations and topics, just don't seem to get sucked into that vortex of confusion, delusion, and aggression so easily. Whatever work they've done (at least on those areas), they've been able to deactivate, to a large degree, those kind of responses. Assuming it isn't complete dissociation (which is usually pretty easy to identify IME) that's pretty fucking cool, and also really helpful. I tend to think of that as a kind of wisdom.

I've seen a lot of wisdom in what you're calling "X-Buddhist" communities, and a lot of delusion, maybe in equal parts. I've done my best to sort through it, without rejecting either side. I've gone through a lot of rebellion and frustration, and I've disowned some of my mentors for periods of time (usually coming back around later on). I'm still working through it. And all of that seems like a normal part of this process of being human. How is what you're doing not also part of this same dance? How is it that you seem to have it figured out, and us poor X-Buddhists (whoever the hell they are) are just sitting around protecting the status quo?

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 0 replies · +1 points

"...I typically tell them to fuck off."

Why did you delete that last part, Vince?

Because I realized I wasn't quite ready to tell you to fuck off. ;-)

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 0 replies · 0 points

HI Glenn,

And how does the experience of finding certain dialogues unhelpful when they are based on certain patterns of tones / language / emotions not also a deeply human response and "sufficient as they are"? Do you see the ridiculous double-standard contradiction you're using here? You're setting yourself up as the superior Not-X-Buddhists and then bashing the "status quo", which in my experience isn't nearly as simple and straight-forward (or one category and the other) as your language indicates.

My experience of Sounds True is simple. It's a mixed bag, and not one I entirely understand. It's a mixed bag in that I see some material that seems to breed narcissism and new age beliefs that are basically unhelpful (like "I create my own reality" thinking) and also there are some major heavy hitter bad asses who do incredibly good programs there ("Mahamudra in the Modern World" and the "Science of Enlightenment" are two of my favorites right now). As for not completely understanding it, it's difficult to really put myself into the mind of an older woman, their main audience. I dont' quite know what makes people like my grandmother click, but I do know that she's not a mindless idiot, and that there are some very deep and real qualities about folks like her (she's a prototypical Sounds True member) that constantly surprise me, and reveal how arrogant I actually am about the people and things I don't understand.

As for why more people aren't responding, there are probably a few likely explanations that have nothing to do with the people who listen to Buddhist Geeks being morons or not caring. One likelihood is that this is an older post. The other is that the vast majority of folks who listen to our podcast do so through iTunes. It isn't required that they come here to listen to the show, and so only a small minority do. Another pretty big reason, I'm guessing, is that people have gotten tired of comment threads and the kind of dialogues they generate. I've seen interest in these threads, and in blogs themselves, decrease dramatically over the last few years. And for good reason.

11 years ago @ Buddhist Geeks : Disco... - Selling the Dharma · 0 replies · -2 points

HI Glenn,

Very simply, I haven't responded to your comments (and likely won't) because I don't engage in dialogues unless the other party shows some modicum of respect (even if we disagree) and I respect them in turn. In this case, as I mentioned before, I don't see that that is present. I mostly see you having mischaracterized me, my views, and my work, again and again without really being curious about whether or not the ideas you've lumped together actually hold up to reality-testing. Case in point, you started the conversation with a hyperbolic attack, saying about Buddhist Geeks that 'what you sell is an incoherent concoction of "spiritual" snake oil.' You can call that direct if you like, but that just stinks of an immature rationalization to be a dick to me. As a result of this initial comment, and your follow-ups, the respect I had for you and your work is pretty much gone.

For me this has nothing to do with being a nice Buddhist or with contemplative values. It has everything to do with what I've found works as a human being in relationship with other human beings. I listen very ardently, and engage fully, with the criticisms of folks who I respect and admire. From those I don't...