--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "curtisdeltablues" <curtisdeltablues@...> 
wrote:
>
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "sparaig" <LEnglish5@> wrote:
> 
> > > So, even if one practices and "masters" jhana techniques, one really 
> > > isn't doing anything spiritually good. You can see signs of this in the 
> > > entire world-wide Buddhist culture that celebrates people burning 
> > > themselves alive as a good thing.>
> 
> I am very interested in the research that distinguishes the different brain 
> states in different meditation practices, and enjoyed your post up to here.  
> But this seems like a very anti-intellectual statement bordering on 
> fanaticism induced, credibility destroying, stupidity.

Perhaps less so if one goes on to read the next paragraph:

> > Afterall, since they are without a "self," it's not wrong
> > for them to do violence to a specific living thing: their
> > own physical body.

One would also have need to recall that in the previous
paragraph Lawson wrote:

> > At the same time, these techniques have suppressed the
> > self-centers of the brain, leading to a loss of sense
> > of self, also a very unnatural situation.

In this context, the statement you disparage appears to
me to be part of a plausible logical progression, connecting
the neurophysiological results of a practice with the
belief system associated with that practice and an
undesirable behavioral outcome thereof.

No doubt there are good arguments against such a progression,
but simply dismissing it as "fanatical" and "stupid" doesn't
seem to add anything to our understanding.



 
> Reading this reminds me that the chances that we are actually get to the 
> bottom of what is a serious question is slim.
> 
> I propose that neither side KNOWS, and should approach the research with a 
> tad more appropriate humility. It would be interesting to know what effects 
> each have without the assumption that one or the other exists on an apriori 
> high ground of "spirituality" and its interpretive value judgements.   
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> > All of the samatha practices that have been studied, start out as simple 
> > relaxation techniques, producing some level of coherent alpha, just as TM 
> > does. However, over time, practitioners start to show more and more gamma 
> > EEG -the signature of paying attention to specific objects of attention- 
> > both during and outside of meditation.
> > 
> > As well, virtually all meditation techniques other than TM, tend to 
> > compartmentalize the brain during practice, as well as suppressing the 
> > specific portions of the brain thought to be responsible for our "sense of 
> > self" -this last is proposed by some researchers, in positive tones no 
> > less, as the reason why long-term meditators (non-TM) become "selfless."
> > 
> > The irony is that all eyes-closed techniques tend to activate the same 
> > general regions of the brain. Scientists call this set of regions the 
> > "default mode network" (DMN)and the current theory is that it is the style 
> > of functioning of the brain, especially specific parts of the brain, that 
> > activates during introspection, while the outward attention suppresses the 
> > DMN and activates the parts of the brain having to do with paying attention 
> > to things.
> > 
> > The default way in which the DMN activates whenever you close your eyes 
> > involves increasing alpha EEG and alpha coherence.  This goes right along 
> > with MMY's claim that any and all thoughts have a tendency to settle down 
> > towards silence when let on their own. TM, according to MMY, takes 
> > advantage of this natural tendency and merely enhances what naturally goes 
> > on anyway.
> > 
> > On the other hand, other techniques, regardless of how they are described 
> > (effortless, effortless concentration, full-concentration, etc), over the 
> > years start to produce the situation where the normal activity of the DMN 
> > involves increased gamma EEG, which is a very unnatural situation. At the 
> > same time, these techniques have suppressed the self-centers of the brain, 
> > leading to a loss of sense of self, also a very unnatural situation.
> > 
> > So, even if one practices and "masters" jhana techniques, one really isn't 
> > doing anything spiritually good. You can see signs of this in the entire 
> > world-wide Buddhist culture that celebrates people burning themselves alive 
> > as a good thing.
> > 
> > Afterall, since they are without a "self," it's not wrong for them to do 
> > violence to a specific living thing: their own physical body.


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