Final Post to the Dharma Underground Journal

18 April 2018: Context

What follows was my last journal post to my Dharma Underground journal, although I later posted to discussions in the DhU until October, when I was banned a second time. As soon as I posted what follows, within moments Daniel was in my journal space replying to it at some length right there in my journal, after having said many times to me that he reads no one’s journal.. The rest of the Underground slept while these posts were made. I went to Skype IM after he wrote some harsh things to me, and I told Daniel we should both remove our written argument from the DhO. He agreed. We both deleted what we had posted. I still have a copy, somewhere, of what he wrote, however.

I was about to go on my first retreat, a Mahamudra retreat with my new teacher, which is where I attained MCTB 4th path. Before I left, I pleaded with Daniel to have a mere 2-minute call with me just to agree on some logistics for resolving our argument so we could finish the book on my return. Instead, the problems escalated. We fought by email, and he would not call me from his beach vacation place. He later told me he had turned off his phone to go for a swim and nap.

At his ignoring my request for a short call, I felt hurt, betrayed, and furious. I issued an ultimatum. It was ignored. I delivered on that ultimatum by telling him by email in strong language to leave me alone and that I was not going to work on MCTB2. 

At 8 p.m., 3 hours after the deadline for the ultimatum, he texted a bit to me about how it can be a good thing to go into retreat with a sense of breaking with the past. 

I went on retreat with my new teacher, thinking my concentration would be ruined. It was not ruined. I practiced well, even though I sometimes cried in the bathroom and texted Daniel that we had to resolve all this and finish the book. He finally texted back only that he had already found a new editor.

We very slowly became cautiously friendly again until October, when he reacted with rage at my sending him a tantric meditation I learned from my new teacher.  I was then banned a second time from the Dharma Underground and Dharma Overground, for life.  I retain an email from moderator Claudiu, which states that I had broken no DhO posting rule but Daniel was “concerned” about one of my (completely appropriate) posts. This was right after Daniel had gone into a rage over my emailed tantric instructions. I was banned because of Ingram’s politics. There was no love lost in separating from the DhO, which I had never enjoyed in the least. But being banned from DhO included being banned from the small DhU group I had revived. After I was locked out, that DhU group died away. I retained my friendships and my journals in my own virtual space.

2:11 a.m.: Disgust (ñ8)  Reobservation (ñ10)

This was a very hard sit, 39 minutes that felt almost torturous. I quickly gave up on trying to do a concentration practice. I leaned toward insight. Disgust tends to hit me harder than Fear, Misery, and even Reobservation. Emotionally, it is as if embarrassment and paranoia reduces to the hatred of a lowly cornered rat.

I’m tired, sleepy, and trying to change my sleep schedule, so that made it really hard for me to stay with the feelings at the level of sensation, but I did my best. Although I felt like I was “getting nowhere” and should just quit, I remembered Daniel’s writing once, “Good. There is nowhere to go,” and “There is no way that practice isn’t doing something, even though it may not seem like it at the time.”

So I did the time. Many physically painful sensations would tear through my body, and then the next moment I would notice that they weren’t really there at all. Then they would flare again. Very strange. I tried to investigate how and why these sensations arose, but I was stymied.

Seven of Wands, Reversed

This card is right on. It indicates feelings of exhaustion, hesitation, embarrassment, loss of reputation, and malicious talk of me behind my back. Mainly, in the present situation, I think it mainly stands for embarrassment, overreaching, self-doubt, and anger at myself for not taking a big step backward sooner. This too shall pass.

2:16 a.m.: ñ11.j4 (High Mastery), Then ñ11.j4.j4 (High Equanimity), and Then ñ15 (The No-Self–Suffering Door to Fruition)

Indeed, I now know why the Three of Swords (Reversed) mysteriously and ominously arose the other night. It is a confusing, turbulent time for me. Key efforts at a human connection have failed. Meantime, I have blossomed anyway. It never was about this other person. It was all a dream, an unreality that I stoked and subtended constantly to give myself something, someone else, to believe in, someone of magically brilliant capacity and kindness too exalted to stoop.

And then there is the reality: The way his kindness is only from a safe “pragmatic” distance, the way I’m verbally contextualized as a burden, a pest even. The way I’ve been called polarizing at the very moments when I’ve been most brave, most true, most touched into the greater good as our collaborative goal. The way in this so-called community I’ve continually been sacrificed as a scapegoat in a politics that I never bargained for, did not create, and do not welcome in my life.

I have hundreds of friends better and truer than this, a goodly number of them intimate. There is in this world sweet, straightforward people who are naturally with me when I’m with them, and even when I’m not. None of this continual struggle, complexity, and emotional unavailability to sort issues. None of the talking down, down, down, to me, as if I were stupid, nothing, a gnat, an insect, even less.

The questions I patiently ask over and over and over and over and over again, for months, never receiving an answer on behalf of this so-called community of people who deserve answers that make at least some semblance of sense. Just self-contradiction here or refusal to engage. And excuses and excuses and excuses.

The only answer I receive, repeatedly, is that everyone is dispensable, including me. I’ve even been told that my leaving is not a “threat,” as if my being kind to myself is only force for threatening him. That is not a compassionate answer from someone who gives a damn whether other people awaken. No one who is true to even his own model of enlightenment would say and do such things to me.

It is one thing to be gravely mistaken and humanly flawed; it is quite a worse and unenlightened thing to never ever admit publicly or even privately to having made mistakes. It is quite another thing to contradict everything you’ve stood for so vehemently as the truth, to violate that supposed truth with subsequent actions and words, never resolving anything for the “audience,” as he calls us.

For just one instance among many, there is an injunction in MCTB that people follow a tradition that is “time-tested” and “proven to get results.” Is Actual Freedom either of those? No. Yet the utterer of those words engaged in something not time-tested at all, stating that he was mistaken about being done in 2003, was in fact not satisfied with his attainment, which he has elsewhere claimed is so satisfying that it satisfies instantly even his question whether it exists.

So which is it, Daniel?

Why was that injunction tossed aside by its own utterer? Why, years later, will he still not answer this question as all the high-level practitioners leave his site, distance themselves from him, and contact me with doubts as to his attainments precisely on the terms I’m presenting here. And his only response to me is that his “audience” comes and goes for reasons that are “random.” This is a man who will not own up, be honest, be transparent, be emotionally and spiritually present. This is a man who is protecting himself, a self, an emphatic self, not a self seen through, not a self burned through with compassion and wisdom.

The way I have repeatedly been chastised or publicly sacrificed by this person for being somehow at fault, not merely inadequate, but faulty at the very moments I was at my most openhearted. Those who love me, and whom I love, understand exactly what I’m doing and am about: They commune, abide, and are at ease with me. They are honest, forthcoming, transparent, pure. They don’t sacrifice me, use me, put me down, set me aside, accuse me, threaten me, and refuse all explanation why things have to be this way between us.

My true friends don’t refuse to call or Skype with me unless it is recorded for political and self-defensive purposes. They don’t call me names and accuse me of lying and foul motives. They reciprocate, naturally, without a single reservation or self-guarding fear. I don’t need this fake version of that. I don’t need a merely virtual sangha strangled with ugly politics, ridiculously attainment-feuding secularized leaders, and self-guarding, self-guarding, self-guarding defensiveness and retreat from human intimacy.

Something is now deeply turning in me, and it has been for a while. The ocean within has drawn undertow, has turned slowly, and now pauses at the quiet peak before it rushes thunderously to a shore.

I have never been cherished here and never will be. Here I will only be tolerated when not devalued, then rebuked, and then thrown under the bus and hung out to dry on the DhO, a sacrificial example made of a woman with so little self-respect that she continues to permit being thus used.

There will be no heart connection. Without that, there is nothing of value here pragmatic or otherwise. I will give, and give, and give, and give, and there will be nothing there to give to, no one there to give to, but just a glittering straw man in a mirage of a vajra throne. All my invention, my fabrication, my misdirected, rejected, rebuked, set aside, deferred, condemned love and kindness.

So it returns to me, where it belongs.

Anger can be righteous, said Shargrol, can sometimes be the only way back to adequate love for who I am, for this precious life, for purity, for this brief ecstasy of feeling truly alive.

After our last quarrel, which ruined my 51st birthday, though that is nothing to my disrupting his current beach vacation, I felt something was permanently ruined. I was right. And so something is done. I worked like crazy on MCTB2 to try to finish Part II before my retreat. He didn’t even bother to inform me [as required by our written agreement], meantime, that he was taking off for vacation. This is the same  discourtesy he exercised months ago. A doctor’s time is most valuable; an editor’s emphatically is not. He has all the privileges, and I have no right to complain.

I sat on my pillows and blanket tonight. I lighted the white vanilla-peppermint candle that is still weeping white wax out of the eye I carved into it during a ritual I performed to resolve to see the entrances and exits Daniel can see. I cried. For a full 20 minutes, sobbed. Daniel is wrong if he truly believes that crying like that in Equanimity is not meditation. It surely is.

Something happened, something was surrendered, something cut anchor lines, and I floated. Everything floated, everything was rocking into everything else. Everything was flashing in and out of everything else like quanta, ephemeral. Then it all merged and lifted. Forms were barely there. I was barely there, although I was gazing at the pure bright whiteness of the flame and the oozing, weeping vanilla-peppermint wax. Something let go completely. “I have been doing this for eons,” I said. “I have been doing this for eons, and I can stop now.” There is nothing forthcoming, nothing that is not already here, already in and through me, already pure, already known beyond understanding, already reciprocated.

I was staring, and I was what was stared at. There was a clockwise spin, a cessation, and bliss as if I were spirited out on sparkling silver wings.

“No heart connection will be reciprocated,” I said.

“Truly,” he replied.

I need for this statement issued to me so many months ago to sink in deeply, to the point where I earnestly and completely choose the higher path, believing it, to the point where I take the step to leave. “Too busy” is an excuse. “Pragmatism” is an excuse.

“You don’t know who you are dealing with. I don’t want to hurt you. Please help me not to do that.”

Are these the words of an enlightened being to an aspirant practitioner, a friend in the dharma, a member of his sangha, someone who has tried to help and has helped?

Who in this relationship has the lowest threshold for feeling threatened and in return threatens? Is this person enlightened to even his own published standards? Can he even stand this question? Will he ever fucking answer? No, he won’t. I know that now. And so I have my answer, and I’m looking henceforth at a bifurcated path.

Eric M W’s Response

I hope this situation is resolved in a way that is beneficial for all involved.

I am thankful for all your work on MCTB2. You’ve dealt with a lot of stuff along the way and still kept at it.

I hope you are well.



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.