Jared Janes. and I discuss our project, Evolving Ground. We are creating a community for contemporary Vajrayana practitioners, free from Tibetan cultural norms. Topics include: the failure of Tibetan Buddhism to adapt to Western culture, the importance of the worldview in practice and creating an alternate language for meditators.
We discuss how Vajrayana styles of meditation differ from more commonplace methods of mindfulness and concentration. We use my commentary and series of journal posts on Culadasa's The Mind Illuminated, to explore two contrasting systems. The podcast functions as an introduction to Vajrayana practice for curious meditators. We also discuss different approaches to understanding the Vajrayana mindset: adapting the principles and function of systems, like an engineer, or finding the space in physical combat, like a martial artist.
If you prefer reading to listening, there is a full transcript of our conversation here.
Meditation is often taught as detachment from emotions to achieve equanimity. Buddhist Tantra provides a different framework of reference, one of passionate engagement. To apply this framework, one learns to notice one's personal, habitual dualism, the tendency to reduce contextual complexity to abstract, polarized preferences. In this session we discuss how to do that and how taking a different stance changes the attitude to meditation.
I recorded my husband David Chapman, talking about the intellectual history of some interactions between Buddhism and cognitive science. This was prompted by a blog discussion of doubts about modern meditation systems. He covers the strange, interwoven lineages of post-WWII cybernetics, Buddhism in the West, its influence on cognitivism and how the 1973 CIA-backed coup against president of Chile, Salvador Allende, may have played a part in shaping the lineage of computers and cognition.