Dishonesty in MCTB2 about Actual Freedom and Recantation of Arahatship: To Daniel

1 April 2018

This note that I appended to Daniel’s editorial “to do” list on 17 July 2015 was the communication whose reply began the fight that ended my role on MCTB2, which culminated in total destruction of that version and ended my relationship with Daniel. There was protracted raw ugliness involved in those endings, including my banishment from the DhU. Even so, after the late July blowup, we started becoming cautiously friendly again until October 2015, when he unaccountably became furious with me for sharing with him the tantric practice instructions now publicly posted here on my site for everyone’s benefit:

In October 2015 I was banished again after sending this practice to him. Daniel withdrew my agreed-to option of writing an editor’s preface to MCTB2. He also withdrew promised editorial cover credit, which had already been added to the front cover design. Eventually he denied me even a nod on the Acknowledgments page. We had completed 350 pages of work that I had given up nearly all of my free time for almost a year to complete.

After conflict ensued, I offered many concessions so as to simply finish up the little work we had left. Daniel was, as my attorney later stated, unwilling to compromise. I had filed for joint copyright of the work on the basis of coauthorship. That copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and valid. 

Daniel sent two lawyers after me, as recounted in my Dharma by Daylight journal. The first emailed wild, rambling threats to me, including threats to make me look “mentally incompetent” in front of a jury. Daniel was copied on the emails conveying these and other over-the-top empty scare tactics. He apparently endorsed, in fact authorized, these attacks.

The second lawyer drew up and sent me a bizarrely on-and-on emotional draft settlement agreement that offered me $10,000 to cancel my valid copyright and suppress the truth about my having any role on the book whatsoever or any relationship with Daniel. I declined this hush money, which, by the way, was less than a third of what my rate was for editorial work at the time. Because of the validity of my copyright, Daniel had to begin all over again with his original manuscript. He was unwilling to make a simple acknowledgment on his Acknowledgments page that I had done the work I did. This was all I asked for in exchange for copyright, and he refused. He sought to remove my name and take full credit for what was in truth a substantive collaboration.

I wrote this plea you see below to Daniel below back in July 2015 because a friend from the DhO had pointed me to audio Daniel had long ago posted to his Integrated Daniel site. You will notice my reference in this plea to that audio, in which Daniel states that his claim of “finishing” his path to enlightenment in 2003 was wrong. In that audio, he also states that “there is one more thing to finish,” and then apologizes to everyone for MCTB1.

In his cognitively dissonant written reply to my plea, Daniel says to me that he leaves the (damning) audios and videos posted on his site when he could just have taken them down. Well, note that after our legal scuffling, he did take the one in question down. This whitewashing history portends to me that he is maintaining in the forthcoming MCTB2 what I saw in the last draft of it. What is that? It is that he holds his four Actual Freedom comrades out as a dark cautionary tale of what happens when you try to get rid of your emotions. It is also that he conveniently excludes all mention that he himself joined them in the emotion-neutralizing goal and exercise. Finally, it is also that he conveniently omits mention that in 2012 he recanted his being finished with his path to the extent that he even apologized to the public for MCTB1. 

Daniel’s reply to my plea below was a masterwork of cognitive dissonance and gaslighting. It answered to none of the point about his suppressing the truth from MCTB2. Instead, he avoided answer to that, reconstructing the problem as my being, with regard to Actual Freedom, in a “box” that I find “comfortable” and “sacrosanct.” In essence, instead of answering my plea for truth in MCTB2, he constructed me as narrow-minded and sectarian about Actual Freedom. Even if that had been the case, it was far beside the point of my plea, a red herring—and more personally, gaslighting. 

His reply, which I still have in my files and reread today, says he found the AF experiments fun and fruitful. If so, then why did he whitewash from draft MCTB2 that he ever even participated in them, presenting instead there the old narrative of arahatship attainment in 2003? Why does he make his four old friends into a cautionary tale against things like Actual Freedom? And why has he now, after years of leaving them up and pointing to that fact as a defense of his truth-telling, taken down the damning audios upon the advent of MCTB2 publication? We are all waiting to see what is and isn’t whitewashed in the forthcoming MCTB2. It is to be hoped, although far from expected, that Daniel will come clean about the whole path he has truly followed.

17 July 2015

Many in these communities discuss and debate “being done,” with the vast majority eventually concluding that there is no such thing as being done with “practice,” whatever that means. Even you say in your draft that continuing insight practice is a good idea, which is a statement that puzzles me if you are truly done.

Bill tells me that tantra is where one goes after fourth path is attained—this is to work on the emotional/psychological axis, which, imho, is what you should have done rather than messing around with that stupid AF stuff and going on record as renouncing MCTB1’s rejection of the limited-emotions models. Tantra would not have necessitated that recantation. It could have empowered you to be vulnerable with your emotions and not reactive against them. Someone who has seen through to the true nature of all sensations does not exclude those sensations that make up “emotions,” doesn’t try to get rid of them. If I realize the true nature of the sensations that make up a visual object, does that mean I should then go blind? No. Nor should seeing the true nature of emotions entail their eradication. How Tarin could be so foolish as to think otherwise is mind-boggling; how you could follow his lead is even more so.

For one claiming arahatship, you seem to have a fair amount of work to do on emotions/psychology; therefore, coming completely and publicly clean about this matter can only restore people’s faith in you, which is very tarnished in both your own community and in Kenneth’s, whether you realize that fact or not. I’m not saying this in anger, Daniel, at all. I’m saying this as a friend who cares about you—not Daniel the arahat, Daniel the Overlord, Daniel the author, Daniel the meditation master, Daniel the teacher, but Daniel the still vulnerable and fallible human being.

Where is all this coming from and why now? Well, certain people in the communities brought forth to me the audios made by you and Tarin, a series of old posts from the AF controversy, and Kenneth’s audio denouncing you for lack of compassion evidenced by your trying to rid yourself of affect (I didn’t find Kenneth’s particular take that [theoretically] convincing, for the record). This is all very, very complex ancient history to you, I know. But you have made yourself a public figure. You’ve been out with everything up to a certain point, and that means, as you told Jim, you get to see what comes back at you, and this is it—what I’m telling you about the harm that is ongoing because of what you said and did under the apparent influence of Tarin.

You even believed for a long time that Tarin et al., had attained Actual Freedom. You recanted, publicly, “being done” in 2003. You apologized for MCTB1. I listened to all the audios, and they are damning and embarrassing. If you blip past all this in your book and elsewhere entirely, this wound will fester and none of this will ever be healed in these communities, no one will trust you ever again, no one will believe you are enlightened, and therefore few will heed you and learn. This much has been said to me by people long members of the DhO—very longtime members.

For the record, not a single person I’ve listened to or talked to buys that your “relative modifications” a few years ago were not ultimate insight attainments. I myself don’t buy that those changes weren’t insight-driven. Your explanations are merely puzzling. Call a small attainment a “modification”—makes no difference, for a small attainment is still an attainment, and one concerning specifically perception (the field distortion, the veil, time pressure). You were practicing intense mindfulness [rather than the more properly Actual Freedom exercises], and you got new insight attainments that removed distortions in perception.

Luckily you utterly failed to get rid of your emotions, failed to repress them, so actualism was shown to be a complete failure, which it is, in both theory and results. How one could make the logical-thinking error that “seeing through” emotions would equal eradicating them frankly stuns and bewilders me. Your latest comment in the DhU space was to the effect that when the ultimate and the relative converge, then the relative is the point; this statement mirrors what the mahamudra texts say.

There are not two Daniels: a relative one who needs to get rid of emotions, and an ultimate one who has seen through to the true nature of them and doesn’t in that way seek. In your so-called relative reality, there ought to be shining through the wisdom of the ultimate—this does not mean neutralization of emotion but quite the contrary. It should mean ability to feel and use passion fearlessly; it should translate into loss of self-guarding and ability to have human intimacy.

So were you mistaken when you followed Tarin’s lead? Will you at least acknowledge that? Did you finish up some work in the perceptual field, no matter how small? Will you at least acknowledge that? Your reputation as the brashly honest and utterly honorable Daniel we all were drawn to via MCTB1 depends on these acknowledgements, or some explanations that make sense.

The difference enlightenment should make to the emotions is considerable. I say that from experience, not theory. And that difference is not eradication but willingness to feel, ability to stay with that vulnerability of being emotionally present through all, including embarrassment (not run from it). In short, enlightenment should bring not the limitation of emotions, but the enrichment of the full range of them—minus reactivity. Reactivity is the act of guarding a self from vulnerability. A Daniel who has fully seen through the “self” shouldn’t guard himself as intensely from intimacy as you do, shouldn’t fear people, shouldn’t marshal forth the defense mechanisms and cover-ups that you so intensely do often enough, shouldn’t retreat, shouldn’t threaten, shouldn’t vanish.

I do not doubt that you are the most realized and wise person whom I’ve had the good fortune to meet and get to know. And that is why it does pain me that you cannot talk about any of this, cannot come clean. My awakening is transforming my emotions and psychology directly—meaning that insight into the Three Characteristics is. August lopped off my phobias, and my family is amazed how much less reactive I am just generally, naturally. In fact, these effects are so pronounced that my husband now wants to meditate, something that stunned me. No, this is not from Morality Training. It is from insight, and very logically so. When I’m driving on the Interstate and the conceptual thoughts that used to cause physiological fear response to arise—well, they get nowhere, because I see through those sensations. Because I’m okay with feeling afraid, I’m not afraid. I trust reality rather than stand in opposition to it, guarding myself, bracing for impact.

So you have a blind spot, one you and your models completely overlook but everyone else sees and knows. We are just trying to understand how what you said and did during the AF era fits in with everything else, your path.

I’m nobody. I’m just a newcomer and your editor. You may dismiss what I’m saying as old hat. You may truly believe you have nothing more forthcoming on this front. You may truly believe that you are not only as enlightened as you can be, but as enlightened as anyone can be. You may truly believe that emotions can and should be compartmentalized off as a special set of sensations that insight can’t and doesn’t have to touch or see through till they are just happening and not reactively defended against. You can do all that, or continue to, but you would be wrong.

And you are my friend—you have no choice in that matter, either. In my heart you are my friend and you are the teacher that led, is leading, me into awakening. You may think that I don’t even know you, but you would be wrong about that too. You may not know me, but I know you. I’ve dwelled nightly in the textures and cadences of your words and mind intimately for a year. That has changed and is changing my life. I wouldn’t write all this if I didn’t feel intense gratitude that you exist and do what you do for so many.