Depersonalization Disorder induced by meditation

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dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do

ok, assuming i am not yet universally kill-filed on this ng,
here is yet another semi-serious inflammatory troll my daemon thought up:

reading the following description about Dissociative Identity Disorder,
it strikes me how, on the surface, it sounds like the logical
conclusion of meditation on the Buddhist teaching of Anatta or
no-self (not that i believe this myself, it just strikes me how
one could conclude this):

quoting>>>>>>>>>>
http://www.nami.org/helpline/whatdiss.htm

Depersonalization disorder is marked by a feeling of detachment or distance
from one's own experience, body, or self. These feelings of depersonalization
are recurrent. Of the dissociative disorders, depersonalization is one most
easily identified with by the general public; one can easily relate to
feeling as though they are in a dream, or being "spaced out." Feeling out of
control of one's actions and movements is something that people describe when
intoxicated. An individual with depersonalization disorder has this
experience so frequently and so severely that it interrupts his or her
functioning and experience. A person's experience with depersonalization can
be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or
distorted. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I have read where the occasional naive meditator precipitates a kind
of disturbing disorientation phase similar to this, prior
to their actual conviction about the truth of Anatta, and then
goes to seek help from western psychotherapists ... i wonder
sometimes if the anti-cultist movement will eventually
stigmatize all meditators as engaging in self-induced
mental illness and seizure disorders as more of these episodes
are publicized and the inevitable 'victims' parade forth on Oprah
with their lurid tales of job-loss and broken families - all a result
of a 'harmless' weekend vipassana retreat?

Do retreat centers have
liability insurance yet for this sort of thing?

-----
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bh...@svn.net

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do

One of the really nice things about being an accomplished
Buddhist, is that you don't need one single thing from this
world to validate yourself.

:)



In reference to:

> Depersonalization Disorder induced by meditation
> From: dw...@my-dejanews.com
> Reply to: dw...@my-dejanews.com
> Date: Tue, 07 Jul 1998 00:29:16 GMT
> Organization: Deja News - The Leader in Internet Discussion
> Newsgroups:
> talk.religion.buddhism
> Followup to: newsgroup(s)


dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do

In article <6nrvot$sl4$1...@news.ncal.verio.com>,

bh...@svn.net wrote:
>
>
> One of the really nice things about being an accomplished
> Buddhist, is that you don't need one single thing from this
> world to validate yourself.
> :)

ok, but what do you think, does this description of Depersonalization
describe your own experience as a 'Bhava' being? (which, if i
understand it, means an aggregate without self continually coming into being?)

Is the only difference between an accomplished Buddhist and a
Depersonalization Disorder sufferer that the Buddhist is
'used to it' and has a theoretical context to understand it,
whereas the 'Disorder'ed' still suffer from the delusion of self,
and are therefore under the delusion that they need therapy?


quoting>>>>>>>>>>
http://www.nami.org/helpline/whatdiss.htm

Depersonalization disorder is marked by a feeling of detachment or distance
from one's own experience, body, or self. These feelings of depersonalization
are recurrent. Of the dissociative disorders, depersonalization is one most
easily identified with by the general public; one can easily relate to
feeling as though they are in a dream, or being "spaced out." Feeling out of
control of one's actions and movements is something that people describe when
intoxicated. An individual with depersonalization disorder has this
experience so frequently and so severely that it interrupts his or her
functioning and experience. A person's experience with depersonalization can
be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or
distorted. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

ole k.

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do
. . . .Feeling out of control of one's actions and movements is

something that people describe when intoxicated. An individual with
depersonalization disorder has this experience so frequently and so
severely that it interrupts his or her functioning and experience. . . .

ifak, a practicing buddhist will not (should not) be out of control of
one's actions and movements, or what? isn't it quite the opposite, one
should be totally present and aware of one's actions and movements?

best wishes,
Ole K.

tony lacina

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do
well i've heard that meditation can be detrimental to some people with
certain "disorders", serious ones i presume, does anyone know about
this?

Thiele Everett

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do
dw...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

: quoting>>>>>>>>>>
: http://www.nami.org/helpline/whatdiss.htm


[Comparing this to descriptions of meditation experiences]

: Depersonalization disorder is marked by a feeling of detachment or distance


: from one's own experience, body, or self. These feelings of depersonalization
: are recurrent. Of the dissociative disorders, depersonalization is one most
: easily identified with by the general public; one can easily relate to

: feeling as though they are in a dream, or being "spaced out." Feeling out of


: control of one's actions and movements is something that people describe when
: intoxicated. An individual with depersonalization disorder has this
: experience so frequently and so severely that it interrupts his or her

: functioning and experience. A person's experience with depersonalization can


: be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or
: distorted. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I asked this same question of a fellow retreatant who is also
a psychotherapist. His suggestion was very simple and elegant.
He said he thought people suffering from the above illness would suffer
anxiety about it, whereas if a meditator would have such an
experience and not be afraid, or just 'ride out' any arisen
fear (i.e. be afraid, but not fear the fear) then it wouldn't
be an illness, but merely one of the zillions of altered states
of awareness which can come about during and after meditation.

So if it makes you calmer, happier and clearer, why let a
_superficial_ resemblance to a state of mental illness stop
you?


--Rett


Henrik Clausen

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do
On Tue, 07 Jul 1998 00:29:16 GMT, dw...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>ok, assuming i am not yet universally kill-filed on this ng,
>here is yet another semi-serious inflammatory troll my daemon thought up:
>
>reading the following description about Dissociative Identity Disorder,
>it strikes me how, on the surface, it sounds like the logical
>conclusion of meditation on the Buddhist teaching of Anatta or
>no-self (not that i believe this myself, it just strikes me how
>one could conclude this):

[Snippage]

>A person's experience with depersonalization can
>be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or
>distorted. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Not bad, actually :-)

Let me suggest a scenario:

Once you think of the world as a dream, a lot of fun things can be
done. Miracles might happen. Things are not personal, so no re to be
hurt too much. Doing good things gives a good feeling and long-term
good results. Compassion with the rest of beings here who take things
_very_ seriously leads to 100% engagement in the 'dream'. And there's
no reason to worry about this being a dream anyway, just do loads of
useful things :-)

>I wonder


>sometimes if the anti-cultist movement will eventually
>stigmatize all meditators as engaging in self-induced

>mental illness [..]

Eh, not with the buddhists I know personally...

>Do retreat centers have
>liability insurance yet for this sort of thing?

Dreams don't need insurances :-)


-Henrik

Richard P. Hayes

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do
tony lacina wrote in message
<35a1d52d...@news.mci2000.com>...

>well i've heard that meditation can be detrimental to some
people with
>certain "disorders", serious ones i presume, does anyone know
about
>this?


I have only anecdotal evidence based on personal encounters and
discussions with other meditation instructors who have had
similar experiences. People with such disorders as schizophrenia
can become terribly disoriented through meditation. Some people
who are prone to bipolar manic-depression should probably avoid
meditation. One tragic case I heard of was a person given to
obsessive perfectionism. He went to a Zen retreat, expecting to
attain enlightenment. He didn't, and he committed suicide. I have
heard of two other suicides involving people who had unrealistic
expectations of what meditation could do for their afflictions.

Ever since the time of the Buddha it has been very well known
that certain people should avoid certain kinds of meditation, for
they can induce psychotic episodes in unbalanced minds. There is
a very dramatic case recorded in the Vinaya. The Buddha told a
bunch of monks to meditate on the disgusting natures of their
bodies, so that they could break their attachment to bodily
vanity. (Perhaps they were narcissistic fitness freaks who kept
eating bean sprouts and going to the gym, I don't know.) Then the
Buddha went away on a solitary retreat, which he very frequently
did, because he didn't much like having to deal with the childish
behaviour of his followers. When he came back from his solitary,
he found that all the monks had committed suicide. They had
become so disgusted with their bodies that they decided to end
their lives. Some of the suicidal monks had been afraid to commit
suicide, so they asked a fellow monk to cut their throats with
his razor. He did so, and then he began to think "If people are
better off without their bodies, then it would be a great favour
to everyone if I liberated them from their bodies." He reportedly
dispatched about sixty people into premature death, apparently
thinking he was doing them all a boon.

When the Buddha heard of this tragic suicide and killing spree,
he realised that he had to be very cautious about which kinds of
meditation practice to prescribe to different kinds of people. It
is reported that after this event, he began teaching mindfulness
of breathing and cultivation of friendship (mettaa-bhaavanaa) as
two exercises that everyone can do, without bringing
psychological imbalance to themselves. Later on, a simple but
effective psychological typology evolved whereby a meditation
teacher would make a careful assessment of a person's mentality
and then prescribe certain meditative exercises that would help
them bring out the most positive aspects of their type while
reducing the most negative aspects.

It is not only meditative exercises, but even living
arrangements, type of food, clothing and so on that a good
meditative instructor will recommend. For example, for someone
who is given to anger and depression, it is recommended that they
live in colourful and cheerful surroundings with lots of light,
flowers, pleasant incense and so forth. Surrounding them with a
pleasant environment gives them less to complain about. (They
should also stay away from news groups.) But for a person who is
given to attachment to pleasures of the senses, it is recommended
that they live in very plain surroundings devoid of anything that
might distract their senses. People who are given to a great deal
of thinking and talking usually are not very sensitive to their
surroundings, so they can live anywhere. But they should be
directed away from meditative exercises that involve
verbalisation and towards those that help me shut down the
tendency to try to understand everything they encounter, form
theories about it, and talk about it. This is to help break them
of the dependency on views.

I suppose if a meditation teacher is a real hack who just goes by
the books and has no real sense of other people and no mental and
emotional flexibility, then he or she might lead some people who
are susceptible to Depersonalisation Disorder or other
dysfunctional states into more diseased states. There is a saying
in therapeutic circles that a good therapist can help somebody by
using any theoretical framework, but a poor therapist cannot help
anybody no matter which framework is used.

In my experience, the same is true of good meditation teachers.
They can teach from the viewpoint of any school of Buddhism, or
indeed from any religious tradition, and benefit those they
teach. Indeed, this is one of the marks of a bodhisattva,
according to the perfection of wisdom literature. The
bodhisattva, knowing that all doctrines are provisional and
heuristic, is not fixated on any one doctrine or text or method
but can easily move from one to another in accordance with the
past conditioning and current needs of the person being dealt
with.

Richard Hayes
http://www.mcgill.ca/religion

Richard P. Hayes

nieprzeczytany,
7 lip 1998, 03:00:0007.07.1998
do

Peter Jones

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
In article <6ntgtj$c...@sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>, "Richard P. Hayes"
<rha...@wilson.lan.mcgill.ca> writes

Does it actually say this in the texts or are you being mischievous?

> me

>them
me?


>of the dependency on views.

Is this what is know as a Freudian slip?


>
>I suppose if a meditation teacher is a real hack who just goes by
>the books and has no real sense of other people and no mental and
>emotional flexibility, then he or she might lead some people who
>are susceptible to Depersonalisation Disorder or other
>dysfunctional states into more diseased states. There is a saying
>in therapeutic circles that a good therapist can help somebody by
>using any theoretical framework, but a poor therapist cannot help
>anybody no matter which framework is used.
>
>In my experience, the same is true of good meditation teachers.
>They can teach from the viewpoint of any school of Buddhism, or
>indeed from any religious tradition, and benefit those they
>teach. Indeed, this is one of the marks of a bodhisattva,
>according to the perfection of wisdom literature. The
>bodhisattva, knowing that all doctrines are provisional and
>heuristic, is not fixated on any one doctrine or text or method
>but can easily move from one to another in accordance with the
>past conditioning and current needs of the person being dealt
>with.
>
>Richard Hayes
>http://www.mcgill.ca/religion
>
>

Don't give up.
-- --
Peter Jones

Don't just do something, sit there.

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
In article <35a1e14...@news.inet.tele.dk>,

hcla...@post4.tele.dk wrote:
>
> >A person's experience with depersonalization can
> >be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or
> >distorted. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>
> Not bad, actually :-)
>
> Let me suggest a scenario:
>
> Once you think of the world as a dream, a lot of fun things can be
> done. Miracles might happen.

Indeed! Otherwise known as Synchronicity. Dont get me started :)

> Things are not personal, so no re to be
> hurt too much. Doing good things gives a good feeling and long-term
> good results. Compassion with the rest of beings here who take things
> _very_ seriously leads to 100% engagement in the 'dream'. And there's
> no reason to worry about this being a dream anyway, just do loads of
> useful things :-)

yes, so it doesnt become a nightmare!

>
> >I wonder
> >sometimes if the anti-cultist movement will eventually
> >stigmatize all meditators as engaging in self-induced
> >mental illness [..]
>
> Eh, not with the buddhists I know personally...

yes, i am thinking such Buddhist practices as Mettaa as prof. Hayes
has described, are designed to safeguard against this.
Which perhaps argues slightly against the 'formless' kinds of meditation?

> >Do retreat centers have
> >liability insurance yet for this sort of thing?
>
> Dreams don't need insurances :-)
>
> -Henrik
>

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
In article <6nsph7$e10$1...@oden.abc.se>,

m9...@abc.se (Thiele Everett) wrote:
> dw...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> : quoting>>>>>>>>>>
> : http://www.nami.org/helpline/whatdiss.htm
>
> [Comparing this to descriptions of meditation experiences]
>
> : Depersonalization disorder is marked by a feeling of detachment or distance
> : from one's own experience, body, or self. These feelings of
depersonalization
> : are recurrent. Of the dissociative disorders, depersonalization is one most
> : easily identified with by the general public; one can easily relate to
> : feeling as though they are in a dream, or being "spaced out." Feeling out of
> : control of one's actions and movements is something that people describe
when
> : intoxicated. An individual with depersonalization disorder has this
> : experience so frequently and so severely that it interrupts his or her
> : functioning and experience. A person's experience with depersonalization can

> : be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or
> : distorted. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>
> I asked this same question of a fellow retreatant who is also
> a psychotherapist. His suggestion was very simple and elegant.
> He said he thought people suffering from the above illness would suffer
> anxiety about it, whereas if a meditator would have such an
> experience and not be afraid, or just 'ride out' any arisen
> fear (i.e. be afraid, but not fear the fear) then it wouldn't
> be an illness, but merely one of the zillions of altered states
> of awareness which can come about during and after meditation.

interesting, this is what i was thinking. that if you are prepared
beforehand with the teachings, then anxiety would be lessened, and it
would not be perceived as a 'disorder' and one would have less of a
risk of getting 'stuck' there and so could let it go ...
Zen might call it a 'makyo' (bedeviling illusion) experience maybe?

here is an account someone posted of their own experience of
Depersonalisation induced by Syddha meditation, apparently without much
guidance from a teacher, or without focusing on the Mettaa method,
plus they were predisposed by having temporal lobe epilepsy.
it is pretty tragic, but useful as a warning perhaps.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1756/kunpsych.txt

>
> So if it makes you calmer, happier and clearer, why let a
> _superficial_ resemblance to a state of mental illness stop
> you?
>
> --Rett
>
>

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
"Richard P. Hayes" <rha...@wilson.lan.mcgill.ca> wrote:
>
> Ever since the time of the Buddha it has been very well known
> that certain people should avoid certain kinds of meditation, for
> they can induce psychotic episodes in unbalanced minds. There is
> a very dramatic case recorded in the Vinaya.

this is very interesting! why it has not been even mentioned in all
the western popularizations of buddhism makes me wonder. Even
Kornfield's 'Path With Heart', the only popularization that i know
of that even touches on it, tends to dismiss the risk, if i remember
right (which i probably dont).

I once discussed meditation with a Vietnamese friend, an emigree to the U.S.
from the boat-people crisis, asking him about monks and so on in Vietnam,
and he told me how some monks go crazy, and how it is not a safe thing to do.
This was apparently the popular understanding of his culture, as he had never
studied it himself, and was just repeating to me stories he had heard.

Then i read in Alexandra David-Neel's 'Magic and Mystery in Tibet' around
pg 110 i think, the story of a Lama advising her that 'you must be willing
to risk madness and death if you follow the short path'.

Then i just recently read in Asvaghosa's Buddhacarita (Life of Buddha)
how one of Mara's weapons was the 'dart' of madness.

There are many other cautionary tales, such as of zen master Hakuin,
and Nietzsche ...

my own conclusion is along the lines already described by prof. Hayes
that the Mettaa kinds of meditation are the safest. In Hinduism it would
be Bhakti-Yoga, and in Christianity it would be contemplating the Love
of Jesus.

> ...


> In my experience, the same is true of good meditation teachers.
> They can teach from the viewpoint of any school of Buddhism, or
> indeed from any religious tradition, and benefit those they
> teach. Indeed, this is one of the marks of a bodhisattva,
> according to the perfection of wisdom literature. The
> bodhisattva, knowing that all doctrines are provisional and
> heuristic, is not fixated on any one doctrine or text or method
> but can easily move from one to another in accordance with the
> past conditioning and current needs of the person being dealt
> with.
>
> Richard Hayes

thanks for such an informative and un-pompous post!

Steve

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
dw...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> "Richard P. Hayes" <rha...@wilson.lan.mcgill.ca> wrote:
> >
> > Ever since the time of the Buddha it has been very well known
> > that certain people should avoid certain kinds of meditation, for
> > they can induce psychotic episodes in unbalanced minds. There is
> > a very dramatic case recorded in the Vinaya.
>
> this is very interesting! why it has not been even mentioned in all
> the western popularizations of buddhism makes me wonder.


I volunteered once in the kitchen at a retreat center in Massachusetts.
The teachers there had plenty of stories of people becomming paranoid
and/or hallucinating. However, they all cleared up once the mediatators
lef the retreat and relaxed.

Steve

----------------------------------------------------------
The current population of the Earth is 5.9 billion people.
If current birth and death rates continue, the Earth's
population will double in 40 years.

The Zero Population Growth Page:
http://www.zpg.org/popframe.htm
-----------------------------------------------------------

Richard P. Hayes

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
>>Then the
>>Buddha went away on a solitary retreat, which he very
frequently
>>did, because he didn't much like having to deal with the
childish
>>behaviour of his followers.
>
>Does it actually say this in the texts or are you being
mischievous?


It says this in several texts. It is stated in the Vinaya in
places, and it there is a famous episode about in in the Udaana.
If you have your translation handy, see the episode concerning
the old bull elephant.

>Is this what is know as a Freudian slip?


No. I don't make Freudian slips. I'm a Jungian. I make archetypal
allusions and mythic syncronicities.

More seriously, the passage in which I put "me" in place of
"them" was with reference to discursive types who tend to
verbalise a lot. That is not the type I fit. I actually think
very little and am not much given to talking or reading, but I do
write quite a bit. Despite my tendency to write, my prevailing
tendency is not on the delusion/discursiveness side but the
hatred/discrimination side. As a young man I was ferociously and
savagely angry nearly all the time. As an old man I am mellow and
very patient with people but still savagely alert to small (and
even trivial) errors in reasoning and small inaccuracies (both my
own and those of others). This is exactly the pattern that
Buddhaghosa describes. As careless thinking (ayoniso
manasaikaara) is replaced by principled (yoniso) thinking, then
greed types gradually turn into faith types, hate types into
discriminating intelligence types and delusion types into
discursive types. (Contrary to what some might think, the
discursive type is seen as quite positive.)

>Don't give up.


I've only just begun.

>Don't just do something, sit there.

Are you of the "If you don't have haemorrhoids yet, you're not
really a Buddhist" school?

Richard

kapt...@ibm.net

nieprzeczytany,
8 lip 1998, 03:00:0008.07.1998
do
For anyone interested in further reading on the "psychosis" and mystic
states I recommend the chapter entitled "Schizophrenia - The Inward
Journey" In Joseph Campbell's MYTHS TO LIVE BY.

Trevor Rhodes

nieprzeczytany,
9 lip 1998, 03:00:0009.07.1998
do

Richard P. Hayes wrote in message <6o0mkg$p...@sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>...

>Buddhaghosa describes. As careless thinking (ayoniso


I'm careless.

>manasaikaara) is replaced by principled (yoniso) thinking, then

I'm principled.

>greed types gradually turn into faith types, hate types into


I feel greed quite often.

>discriminating intelligence types and delusion types into

I have a delusion that I'm intelligently discriminating.

>discursive types. (Contrary to what some might think, the

Not often discursive though. I'm certainly contrary.

>discursive type is seen as quite positive.)

Oh, yeah, I'm sure I'm positive about everything I've said. I think.


So, what will happen to me considering the above? Told you I was a
fruitcake. :^)

>>Don't just do something, sit there.
>

>Are you of the "If you don't have haemorrhoids yet, you're not
>really a Buddhist" school?


I had haemorrhoids before I became a buddhist. An omen?

---
Trevor Rhodes
Refrain from evil. Do good. Purify the mind.
ta...@ideal.net.au icq# 12728740

Punnadhammo

nieprzeczytany,
9 lip 1998, 03:00:0009.07.1998
do
To throw in a few observations and opinions;

1 - Any definition of sanity or insanity is bound to be relative and
culturally determined. If the western psychiatric establishment were ever
to meet a real arahat, they would probably call a conference and define a
new disorder. For a Buddhist, the only definition of sanity that works is
freedom from suffering.

2 - The Buddhist teaching is for "those with little dust in their eyes." I
have seen cases of people very seriously disturbed (ie schizophrenic) who
were not helped by meditation, on the contrary it induces something like
catatonia.

3 - There are transitional states in the contemplative career that seem
like madness. Example; what are called the Ten Corruptions of Insight. If
one doesn't have correct guidance at this stage one can go seriously
astray. Either the yogi panics and feels he/she is "losing it" or they
become delusional and believe they are enlightened or receiving divine
transmissions etc.

4 - Even before this stage is reached, there is a phenomenon common to
beginners taking up intensive practise. That is when awareness first
reveals the mess that has always been there the meditator is frightened and
convinced he is going crazy. Wrong, he is going sane and has to have
perserverance and courage to get through it.

--
Punnadhammo Bhikkhu
Arrow River Community Center
http://www.foxnet.net/~arcc/home.html

Marlinspike

nieprzeczytany,
9 lip 1998, 03:00:0009.07.1998
do

Richard P. Hayes wrote in message <6ntgtj$c...@sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>...

|tony lacina wrote in message
|<35a1d52d...@news.mci2000.com>...
|
|>well i've heard that meditation can be detrimental to some
|people with
|>certain "disorders", serious ones i presume, does anyone know
|about
|>this?
|
|
|I have only anecdotal evidence based on personal encounters and
|discussions with other meditation instructors who have had
|similar experiences. People with such disorders as schizophrenia
|can become terribly disoriented through meditation. Some people
|who are prone to bipolar manic-depression should probably avoid
|meditation.

This is very interesting, because I read where Hakuin was thought to have had
bipolar disorder. And there is some writings that talk about his "meditation
sickness" he went to several "meditation masters" and eventually, it would seem
that he overcame it.

On the other hand, I have worked for a few years with a couple of Therapists
teaching some of their people meditation. We've used several meditation
techniques. In most cases it has appeared to be helpful. In one case, the person
went right off the wall--that was a case of bipolar. There are many techniques
and some can bring up subconscious (blocked) memories very quickly. Perhaps too
quickly! Anyway I would be interested if you have more info on the bipolar
dynamic.

Another thing, I read an article a few years ago where Mantra and Object
meditation was sometimes harmful. TM and some others were studied. Shikantaza
was not and I don't believe Vippassana was either. I'm quite certain neither
were Tibetan methods.

|One tragic case I heard of was a person given to
|obsessive perfectionism. He went to a Zen retreat, expecting to
|attain enlightenment. He didn't, and he committed suicide. I have
|heard of two other suicides involving people who had unrealistic
|expectations of what meditation could do for their afflictions.


I haven't seen anything near this extreme, but I have seen people who I
questioned were a little too obsessive about seeking satori/enlightenment. I may
be too relaxed, on the other hand. Somewhere along the way I just quit caring
about some major "complete" event. There are times when things just seem too
blend rather nicely, like an unprovoked smile.

|Ever since the time of the Buddha it has been very well known
|that certain people should avoid certain kinds of meditation, for
|they can induce psychotic episodes in unbalanced minds. There is
|a very dramatic case recorded in the Vinaya. The Buddha told a
|bunch of monks to meditate on the disgusting natures of their
|bodies, so that they could break their attachment to bodily
|vanity. (Perhaps they were narcissistic fitness freaks who kept
|eating bean sprouts and going to the gym, I don't know.) Then the
|Buddha went away on a solitary retreat, which he very frequently
|did, because he didn't much like having to deal with the childish
|behaviour of his followers. When he came back from his solitary,
|he found that all the monks had committed suicide. They had
|become so disgusted with their bodies that they decided to end
|their lives. Some of the suicidal monks had been afraid to commit
|suicide, so they asked a fellow monk to cut their throats with
|his razor. He did so, and then he began to think "If people are
|better off without their bodies, then it would be a great favour
|to everyone if I liberated them from their bodies." He reportedly
|dispatched about sixty people into premature death, apparently
|thinking he was doing them all a boon.


That's some scary shit, Richard! Makes me glad some people can't get through
this damn screen :)

There are the Masks in India as well, heh!


|When the Buddha heard of this tragic suicide and killing spree,
|he realised that he had to be very cautious about which kinds of
|meditation practice to prescribe to different kinds of people. It
|is reported that after this event, he began teaching mindfulness
|of breathing and cultivation of friendship (mettaa-bhaavanaa) as
|two exercises that everyone can do, without bringing
|psychological imbalance to themselves. Later on, a simple but
|effective psychological typology evolved whereby a meditation
|teacher would make a careful assessment of a person's mentality
|and then prescribe certain meditative exercises that would help
|them bring out the most positive aspects of their type while
|reducing the most negative aspects.


Good idea, but there are always risks, aren't there?

|It is not only meditative exercises, but even living
|arrangements, type of food, clothing and so on that a good
|meditative instructor will recommend. For example, for someone
|who is given to anger and depression, it is recommended that they
|live in colourful and cheerful surroundings with lots of light,
|flowers, pleasant incense and so forth. Surrounding them with a
|pleasant environment gives them less to complain about. (They
|should also stay away from news groups.)

Uh oh!


Say! Stan told me you had switched to the OSFA side, so I figured I better get
back over here and make sure things don't get out of hand. Jeez! You can't leave
you guys alone two seconds or you become democrats.

Problem is, I just came from a Spanish Catholic funeral yesterday, and now I'm
all confused, and to make matters worse Foot sends me this tape by Shinzen Young
who (damn him) is bringing "new information" (Don't you just hate new
information--it invariably screws with my serenity) to my attention.

I JUST WANT SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN THAT DOESN'T MOVE!

Is that too much to ask?

David (aka. Brer Rabbit)

|Richard Hayes
|http://www.mcgill.ca/religion
|
|

Richard P. Hayes

nieprzeczytany,
9 lip 1998, 03:00:0009.07.1998
do
Punnadhammo wrote:

>1 - Any definition of sanity or insanity is bound to be relative
and
>culturally determined. If the western psychiatric establishment
were ever
>to meet a real arahat, they would probably call a conference and
define a
>new disorder. For a Buddhist, the only definition of sanity that
works is
>freedom from suffering.


It is quite true that any definition (including the Buddhist) is
relative and culturally determined. Psychiatry and psychoanalysis
are not only specific to Westerners but to a specific class of
Westerners, namely, the relatively well-educated upper middle
class. That notwithstanding, I doubt very seriously that any
psychiatrist or psychoanalyst would be in the least inclined to
see an arahant as having a disorder. On the contrary, most of the
descriptions of the conduct of arahants sound remarkably similar
to descriptions of psychologically well-integrated people who
have found a harmonious balance in their intellectual, emotional
and intuitive faculties.

For all the differences that people claim to be able to see
between East and West, ancient and modern, I have been struck
many times at the remarkable similarity in ancient Greek texts,
medieval Christian and Jewish texts, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
texts, Confucian and Taoist texts and modern psychological
literature when it comes to describing the conduct and mentality
of the ideal human being.

Richard Hayes


Peter Jones

nieprzeczytany,
9 lip 1998, 03:00:0009.07.1998
do
In article <6o0mkg$p...@sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>, "Richard P. Hayes"
<rha...@wilson.lan.mcgill.ca> writes
<snip>

>>Don't just do something, sit there.
>
>Are you of the "If you don't have haemorrhoids yet, you're not
>really a Buddhist" school?
>
Go on, pile it on.
-- --
Peter Jones

Peter Jones

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do
In article <arcc-ya02408000R...@news.foxnet.net>,
Punnadhammo <arcc@NOSPAM_foxnet.net> writes

>To throw in a few observations and opinions;
>

<snip>

>3 - There are transitional states in the contemplative career that seem
>like madness. Example; what are called the Ten Corruptions of Insight.

Could you expand on these or give references please?


-- --
Peter Jones

Punnadhammo

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do
In article <6o3phi$a...@sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>, "Richard P. Hayes"
<rha...@wilson.lan.mcgill.ca> wrote:

I doubt very seriously that any
> psychiatrist or psychoanalyst would be in the least inclined to
> see an arahant as having a disorder. On the contrary, most of the
> descriptions of the conduct of arahants sound remarkably similar
> to descriptions of psychologically well-integrated people who
> have found a harmonious balance in their intellectual, emotional
> and intuitive faculties.

I'm not so sure. What would they make of someone with no material ambition,
no interest in sex, perfectly contented with the simplicity of rag robes
etc?

Punnadhammo

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do
In article <sxm00DA9...@comity.demon.co.uk>, Peter Jones
<Pe...@comity.demon.co.uk> wrote:

See Mahasi Sayadaw, Practical Insight Meditation (BPS) pp.27 ff
Progress of Insight (BPS) pp 15 ff

These are (briefly)

1- a brilliant light
2- strong mindfulness (misperceived as all that can be known is known)
3- strong insight knowledge, again misperceived as complete
4- faith, often manifesting as the wish to teach others
5- rapture
6- tranquillity
7- happiness
8- energy
9- equanimity
10- attachment to the bliss of meditation

Notice that many of these are in themselves wholesome mental factors, but
they become corruptions due to the attachment and misperception of them as
the true end of the path.

These experiences vary from yogi to yogi. In some cases they are passed
through quickly and easily. In other cases they can be so intense as to be
overwhelming and if clung to can easily lead to dangerous delusions.

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do

> Punnadhammo <arcc@NOSPAM_foxnet.net> writes
>
> <snip>

agreed on the relativity of sanity, and the criterion of
relieving suffering, good point!

> >3 - There are transitional states in the contemplative career that seem
> >like madness. Example; what are called the Ten Corruptions of Insight.
>
> Could you expand on these or give references please?

yes, is something like 'Kundalini' included here?
Is this [ten corruptions] where the Zen concept of 'Makyo' comes from?
(I always wondered if 'Makyo' derives from any canonical texts.)

FWIW - I believe the Western psychiatric industry has already
established categories for people like Swamis and Shamans, if not Arahants.
e.g. the DSM-IV categories of 'Dissociative Identity Disorder'.
Because such 'awakening' experiences do occur spontaneously,
and if the victim is unprepared and seeks help from a psychiatrist,
the psychiatrist will most likely pick one of those categories.
Medication does 'work', apparently :(

-D'wib

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do
"Marlinspike" <ah...@pequod.com> wrote:
>
> This is very interesting, because I read where Hakuin was thought to have had
> bipolar disorder. And there is some writings that talk about his "meditation
> sickness" he went to several "meditation masters" and eventually, it would
seem
> that he overcame it.

yes, this was pretty clearly a kundalini awakening, imho. He was one of those
'intense' seekers who would meditate without sleep for days. (dont try this
at home, kids) He found a Taoist hermit (so the legend goes) who showed him
a kind of 'energy balancing' yoga like Chi Kung. Took 3 years of yoga
(without meditation) to stabilize. Not bad, considering it took about 12
years for Gopi Krishna, whose own kundalini experience occurred after 15
years of meditation. (ref: 'The Tiger's Cave', by Yampolsky for Hakuin
anecdotes, also: 'The Secret of the Golden Flower' for Taoist yoga
technique)

The kundalini phenomenon is incidentally closely related to
the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder syndrome, (and the Shamanic crisis syndrome
among others) in so far as they both involve
the endocrine system, and both can be induced by intense stress (it is a kind
of survival mechanism, amplifying the fight-or-flight response).
See the book 'Achilles in Vietnam' for some accounts
of PTSD that sound almost indistinguishable from kundalini.

BTW, someone could easily get a Nobel prize in medicine with a teensy bit of
research in this area: pick up a few homeless Masts off the street,
(they are inevitably homeless, a-la Cronenberg movie 'Scanners')
fire up your LN-cooled SQUID brain analyzer, do a little blood-level
hormone monitoring, write it up, and presto! Nobel Prize!

Thus fulfilling the prophecy of Adi Da: "Scientific Proof for the
Existence of God will Soon be Announced by the White House."

(Assumes researcher is immune to contact shaktipat, though, which
would likely occur prior to completion of research and render them
incapable of writing up the results. This is a built in protection
mechanism of sorts. I am writing a novel based on this plot idea ... heh)

The Kundalini experience is the common denominator in all
the esoteric traditions, imho, from witchcraft on down.
It was kept esoteric for two reasons: because of the danger
involved to the practitioner, and to protect them from persecution.

IMHO, this is also why zen aspirants were beaten and driven away from
temples when they sought admittance - because they had to be shown to be
willing to sacrifice their bodies if this transformation occurred.

> There are the Masks in India as well, heh!

you mean Masts? yes, see 'The Wayfarers' about Avatar Meher Baba's
work with Masts. Baba's 'work' is one of the most AMAZING stories in the
ENTIRE history of religion, imho of course. A second most
amazing story is that Nietzsche became a Mast! but that is another story ...
perhaps for another century :) ...

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do
In article <arcc-ya02408000R...@news.foxnet.net>,

arcc@NOSPAM_foxnet.net (Punnadhammo) wrote:
> In article <6o3phi$a...@sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>, "Richard P. Hayes"
> <rha...@wilson.lan.mcgill.ca> wrote:
>
> I doubt very seriously that any
> > psychiatrist or psychoanalyst would be in the least inclined to
> > see an arahant as having a disorder. On the contrary, most of the
> > descriptions of the conduct of arahants sound remarkably similar
> > to descriptions of psychologically well-integrated people who
> > have found a harmonious balance in their intellectual, emotional
> > and intuitive faculties.
>
> I'm not so sure. What would they make of someone with no material ambition,
> no interest in sex, perfectly contented with the simplicity of rag robes
> etc?

heh, and who beg for food, and who spend long periods apparently catatonic,
and who believe they dont really exist as an ego, and that everything
is a dream?

let me see ... is it thorazine, lithium, or ECT that is indicated?


> --
> Punnadhammo Bhikkhu
> Arrow River Community Center
> http://www.foxnet.net/~arcc/home.html

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----

dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
10 lip 1998, 03:00:0010.07.1998
do

> Punnadhammo Bhikkhu
> Arrow River Community Center
> http://www.foxnet.net/~arcc/home.html

hey, i hadnt checked your website in a long while - the Letters from Mara
section is pretty good!

everybody should check out this 'Letters from Mara' section on
Punnadhammo's website, if you have ever read CS Lewis' incredibly witty
'Screwtape Letters' you will really appreciate this Buddhist version!

Thiele Everett

nieprzeczytany,
11 lip 1998, 03:00:0011.07.1998
do
dw...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
: In article <arcc-ya02408000R...@news.foxnet.net>,
: arcc@NOSPAM_foxnet.net (Punnadhammo) wrote:

[on what arahants might be like, and how psychiatrists might classify
one]

: >
: > I'm not so sure. What would they make of someone with no material ambition,


: > no interest in sex, perfectly contented with the simplicity of rag robes
: > etc?

: heh, and who beg for food, and who spend long periods apparently catatonic,
: and who believe they dont really exist as an ego, and that everything
: is a dream?

And who are clean, perfectly able to take care of themselves, happy
and content, and can explain to the therapist in clear language
why they think, feel and live like they do.(my 'picture' of the arahant
anyway. Pls correct me if its wrong)

: let me see ... is it thorazine, lithium, or ECT that is indicated?

none of the above.

--Rett


Richard P. Hayes

nieprzeczytany,
11 lip 1998, 03:00:0011.07.1998
do
In reaction to my suggestion that modern psychotherapists would

not disagnose an arahant as mentally ill, Punnadhammo wrote:


> I'm not so sure. What would they make of someone with no
material ambition,
> no interest in sex, perfectly contented with the simplicity of
rag robes
> etc?


If a psychotherapist were a real hack (and some are) who could
not probe beyond superficialities such as those, then he might
figure the arahant was socially maladjusted. Most
psychotherapists that I have read and talked to, however, make it
very clear that being adjusted to the norms of a neurotic society
is to be a neurotic individual. The goal of therapy, therefore,
is not to make the client like everyone else, but to be help the
client be fully and completely who he or she is. It would take
very little time for a discerning analyst to spot that an arahant
is contented, concerned about the welfare of others but not
obsessively so, alert to his surroundings and fully in touch with
his own mind. By all the psychological literature that I know
about, this is a picture of health, and I am confident it would
be seen as such by most professional analysts.

Richard Hayes

Marlinspike

nieprzeczytany,
11 lip 1998, 03:00:0011.07.1998
do

rokt...@hotmail.com wrote in message <6o7m9v$ms5$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...
|In article <6o5hp2$kpm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
| dw...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
|>
|> > Punnadhammo <arcc@NOSPAM_foxnet.net> writes

|> >
| FWIW - I believe the Western psychiatric industry has already
|> established categories for people like Swamis and Shamans, if not Arahants.
|> e.g. the DSM-IV categories of 'Dissociative Identity Disorder'.
|> Because such 'awakening' experiences do occur spontaneously,
|> and if the victim is unprepared and seeks help from a psychiatrist,
|> the psychiatrist will most likely pick one of those categories.
|> Medication does 'work', apparently :(
|>
|
|Come on now.
|
|The DSM categories are simply billing codes for insurance companies.
|Ya gotta have at least one to get paid.


There is far too much truth in this!

Catch 44: We don't have a billing code for "healthy!"

Richard P. Hayes

nieprzeczytany,
11 lip 1998, 03:00:0011.07.1998
do
>If a psychotherapist were a real hack (and some are) who could
>not probe beyond superficialities such as those, then he might
>figure the arahant was socially maladjusted.

After sending this, I remembered being at a paper presented by
Jeffrey Masson in about 1975 or 1976, at about the same time he
published his book _Oceanic Feeling_. In both the paper and the
book, Dr Masson "psychoanalysed" Gotama the Buddha and came up
with all kinds of ways in which the "patient" was obviously
neurotic, perhaps even dangerously psychotic.

What I most remember about the paper was that the audience had
about 100 psychotherapists in it. As soon as he had finished, the
auditorium became an uproar. One psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
after another stood up and denounced the paper as
unprofessional, carelessly thought out and superficial. It was
pointed out that it is impossible to psychoanalyse anyone without
interacting with them for quite some time. In other words, it is
impossible to diagnose anyone by reading about them in a book. To
try to do so may be an entertaining parlour game, but it is no
more than that. Other psychotherapists said that Dr Masson's
parade of superficial clichés was a disgrace to the profession.
The book _Oceanic Feeling_ was also thoroughly panned. One
reviewer said it was so bad that he felt ashamed to be in the
same profession as its author.

I knew Jeff Masson in those days and was curious about what
struck me as his obsessive need to debunk religious teachers of
the past, the present and the future. Not a swami or guru or lama
or Zen master was immune from being "diagnosed" by this man, who
had a PhD in Sanskrit from Harvard and was a licensed practising
Freudian psychoanalyst. At first I thought he was just being
civic-minded, and trying to protect students from the many
pseudo-spiritual charlatans who came out of the woodwork in the
heyday of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's popularity. But Masson did not
stop at exposing the people who decided overnight that they were
gurus now. He went after everyone: the Buddha, Nagarjuna,
Vasubandhu, Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva -- all the spiritual stars
in the history of India's spiritual firmament. (Eventually,
Masson tired of shooting down gurus and turned his guns on Freud
himself. Having committed academic suicide as a Sanskrit scholar,
he committed professional suicide as a psychoanalyst. He
eventually described himself as completely unemployable in two
professions.)

Masson's apparent obsession to expose every spiritual teacher as
a charlatan did not become clear to me until many years later,
when I read his autobiographical book _My Father's Guru_. In that
book, Masson describes his childhood in the home of a very
wealthy jewel merchant with a big house, servants and a resident
spiritual master. The spiritual master was a rather mysterious
figure who showed up for periods of time and lived with the
Masson family. He had the family convinced that little Jeffrey
had been sent to earth as a messenger of God and that he would
reveal wisdom that would save the world. Little Jeff started
learning Sanskrit at the age of four, was doing yoga at about the
same age, and was being escorted off to India to meet with all
the great yogis and swamis of the day. The Masson family guru
told Jeff that his spiritual gifts would blossom, making him one
of the greatest spiritual teachers in history -- but only if Jeff
never became sexually involved with women. According to the book,
Jeff became sexually involved with one of the household servants
at the age of 13. Sex, he discovered, was even more fun than
Sanskrit and yoga. And with this there began a long series of
disillusionments in the self-proclaimed ascended master who told
him he was a boy-god (so long as he kept his wick dry), and with
a set of parents flaky enough to believe in a guru of this
calibre. It is not hard to see why this combination of events
would make an adolescent boy rather confused about a whole range
of issues: parental authority, spiritual authority and sexuality.
Some of that confusion may have been dispelled by the
introspective exercise of writing the book about this father's
guru -- I don't know. The book had a cathartic feel to it, so
perhaps his need to debunk every guru in the universe has
subsided somewhat, but I really don't know.

What I do know is that many professional psychotherapists are
deeply critical of Freud's later work, when he retired from
analysis and began to debunk religion and characterise it as a
manifestation of collective neurosis. It would be a grave mistake
to read what Freud wrote some sixty years ago and to assume that
most therapists today would share his views about religiosity. I
think the sad trajectory of Masson's psychoanalytic career, which
ended with his being denounced by most of his colleagues (and not
only for his own denunciation of Freud) shows that.

There is really very little evidence, that I am aware of, of
psychoanalysts being hostile to religious values. There is much
evidence to the contrary. I just finished reading some of
Marie-Louise von Franz's fascinating essays on the potential of
psychoanalysis as a spiritual path. I think they might help
provide a healthy counterbalance to the tired old cliché
caricature, not uncommon among religious people, of the crackpot
psychiatrist coming to the conclusion that Mary Magdelene washed
Jesus's feet because she was suffering from a foot fetish or that
the Buddha left his family when his son was born because of
unresolved conflicts with his own father. The time of
psychotherapists being generally suspicious of religion is pretty
well past, and perhaps the time has come for religious
practitioners to stop being suspicious of psychotherapists, and
to stop characterising them as being people who are perhaps
well-meaning but whose knowledge of the human psyche is limited,
constricted, narrow and ineffectual when compared to traditional
religious views of the psyche.

Richard Hayes

Bill Leonard

nieprzeczytany,
11 lip 1998, 03:00:0011.07.1998
do

Richard P. Hayes wrote:

> In reaction to my suggestion that modern psychotherapists would
> not disagnose an arahant as mentally ill, Punnadhammo wrote:
>
> > I'm not so sure. What would they make of someone with no
> material ambition,
> > no interest in sex, perfectly contented with the simplicity of
> rag robes
> > etc?
>

> If a psychotherapist were a real hack (and some are) who could
> not probe beyond superficialities such as those, then he might

> figure the arahant was socially maladjusted. Most
> psychotherapists that I have read and talked to, however, make it
> very clear that being adjusted to the norms of a neurotic society
> is to be a neurotic individual. The goal of therapy, therefore,
> is not to make the client like everyone else, but to be help the
> client be fully and completely who he or she is. It would take
> very little time for a discerning analyst to spot that an arahant
> is contented, concerned about the welfare of others but not
> obsessively so, alert to his surroundings and fully in touch with
> his own mind. By all the psychological literature that I know
> about, this is a picture of health, and I am confident it would
> be seen as such by most professional analysts.

My experience has been the same. Your description of how a competent
psychologist would react are consistent with the psychologist that I go
to. My experience has also shown me that there are many
therapists/psychologists who fall far short of the competency mark.

Bill Leonard

>


dw...@my-dejanews.com

nieprzeczytany,
17 lip 1998, 03:00:0017.07.1998
do
footnote to this dead thread:

Just browsed the book 'Are You Getting Enlightened or Going Crazy?'
by an MD psychotherapist devotee of Sai Baba.

describes one interesting case of a schizophrenic taking up meditation and
being able to stay medication-free for 10 years before a relapse caused
medication to be resumed. So here is one, at least, case where
meditation apparently 'worked' for one schizophrenic.
granted, this would not be common, i would imagine.

anyway, author also reminds us of the interesting scientific fact
discovered in the 60's and yet to be fully assimilated into the
psychiatric paradigm, afaik, that LSD apparently has no effect whatsoever on
accomplished yogis. i always thought this was a definite scientific
clue that was pretty much ignored.

oh well ... over and out, good bye to this thread,
fare thee well among the usenet bardo planes!

(no jokes about brigitte please :)

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