With a certain amount of reluctance, I must concede that my new favorite website is steve pavlina dot-com.
I will grant that there is a certain saccharine edge to his stuff that is slightly unpalatable to me, but I will chalk that up to a slightly different demographic, and a higher quotient of punk rock in my dna. In any event, I find him extremely useful and I am essentially in agreement with most everything he says.
When it comes down to something like resolving to become an arahat in 30 days, it helps to be able to hunker down with a powerfully goal oriented motivational-type guy. The article of his I’ve been reading lately and the one relevant to our current discussion, concerns his technique of time management and spelling out exactly what you want in exquisite detail.
Hence, I will spell out exactly what I mean by becoming an arahat and make it clear how that’s going to happen.
In my 3 part augoeides finale, I made it clear my understanding of enlightenment, and the buddhist path in general, was composed of three synergistic parts:
-Morality training; which is more or less what we occultist, reality hacker, counter culture types would call metaprogramming, in the RAW, john lilly tradition. It consists of changing how you talk, think and act.
-Concentration training; which is reducing the fragmentary tendencies of the mind and developing the ability to manipulate mental energy.
-Insight training; which is developing understanding of basic sensate reality and rooting out pockets of delusional interpretation.
Now, enlightenment, in the most rudimentary sense, can be thought of as cultivating fundamental insight to the utmost and using the other two as supporting structures. This seems to be a popular view, at least among those who will even talk about being able to actually ‘be’ enlightened at all, which are not very numerous. I can say with a certain amount of conviction that I’ve done that. But I have come to be convinced that implicit in the teachings of the buddha, is the assumption that a fully realized arahat has mastered all of these in a synergistic way.
Thus, my precise goals for the rest of this month ( now 20 days ) are three fold…
1. My gold standard for morality training is eliminating all fear and anxiety. This would be the peak of metaprogramming skill for me. I imagine others would differ, based on their personality, but for me, fearlessness is the cornerstone. Everything else would be an afterthought.
2. Concentration wise, the gold standard is easy. This is the 8th samatha jhanna. Also known as the base of neither perception nor non-perception. I will settle for being to sustain this, seated, for a hour. I could make it even harder and go for something called nirhodha sammadhi , which is quite possibly the hardest meditative achievement going, but no one I know of says you can do that predictably in a month.
3. Lastly, the gold standard for insight is pretty straight up: eradication of fundamental ignorance and perfect knowledge, moment to moment, of the three characteristics of suffering, not-self, and impermanence.
There is a certain power in recognizing something as being nearly impossible, accepting the magnitude of all it’s difficulties, and choosing to do it anyway. In many ways, anything else is not really a choice at all. Only exploring the world in the bucket.
Throw aside your buckets!