Son’s Entrance on the Path
My 21-year-old son and I met with the local little Bön sangha this morning and practiced the Nine Breathings of Purification and Tsa Lung. After we ate potluck with the others, he and I went alone to a local cafe, where I gave him some high-level theoretical materials I wrote up, as well as a concentration practice and other marching orders for the week.
Teaching and Writing
Thus begins my teaching my beloved son Buddhist view and meditation practice. He is a philosophy major at University and took to the theory like a swan to still water, comparing some points to Marx and Hegel. He asked intelligent questions about the dangers of nihilism and the role of renunciation, which tells me that I need to think about addressing those topics earlier than I first thought. He also said he felt the effects of the energetic practices this morning and wishes to return.
My meeting with him weekly to teach him is a win-win for us: I organize him into and guide his practice, and his questions and “test subject” reports back to me help me with the writing and revision of the new Pragmatic Dharma meditation manual I’m now drafting for all the others out there like him. He found the tables I had prepared over the past three weeks engaging and clear, and we talked much longer than I expected about just the Three Trainings.
We also talked about the differences between how Buddhist practice is being mapped on-the-fly in the West from the ways it is traditionally mapped in the far different cultures of the East. Specifically, we discussed the fact that in the traditional settings in the East, people will engage morality practice, devotional practice, and prostration practice for many years before having access to the higher teachings, if ever, whereas here in the West people tend to jump right into the endgame and then need to circle back around to clean up the so-called preliminaries.
If he establishes daily practice as a habit, my intuition is that he will progress rapidly, like his mom, because we both are predominantly flighty air energy, which is associated with fast attainment progress, although longer efforts to stabilize the attainments. When I told him that most people combat dullness and sleepiness at first, he said, “I won’t; I’ll have to contend with agitation and excess energy.” Like mother, like son.
Dreaming of Vincent’s Insight Stages
When I returned home, I took a delicious nap. But I had a weird dream in which I was nervously trying to match up each of Vincent Van Gogh’s 39 self-portraits with the specific insight stage (ñana) represented by each. I was looking at each portrait to determine whether the artist were depressed or manic in it and as he was painting it. I was also pointing to each of the five colors of the Buddha Families, energies, and wisdoms.
A Word about My Current Formal Practice
My nightly formal practice continues, but I’ve not been writing about it here for several reasons. One reason is that I’m exploring some practices whose methods and results I’m unsure of as yet. The main reason, however, is that I’m not gaining new territory currently through meditation. I could write, “Oh, I had another delicious jhana-a-thon,” but that would serve little purpose for my readers.
In my own view, this journal is nowhere near as interesting as its prequel, Dharma by Dark Night, for the latter was composed during my most intense acceleration of awakening. Most practitioners will therefore gain better hints and inspiration from that journal than from this one, this one being increasingly one concerned with dreams, visions, energetic cleanup, rituals, and signs – the very individualized magickal playground that can be explored after correcting misperception, fundamental suffering. Which brings me to my final reason for backing off recording formal practice here: I need to finish transferring the most interesting parts of that prequel journal to its online home here (Dharma by Dark Night).