Culadasa (John Yates)

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Culadasa (John Yates)

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Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.) is the director of Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha in Tucson, Arizona and author of The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Using Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science (Dharma Treasure Press, October 6, 2015). A meditation master with over four decades of experience in the Tibetan and Theravadin Buddhist traditions, Culadasa was ordained as an Upasaka (dedicated lay-practitioner) in 1976 and received ordination in the International Order of Buddhist ministers in Rosemead, California in December 2009.
His principle teachers were Upasaka Kema Ananda and the Venerable Jotidhamma Bhikkhu, both trained in the Theravadin and Tibetan Karma Kagyu traditions with lineage to the Venerable Ananda Bodhi (later recogni
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Culadasa (John Yates) The pros of a map-based practice are that you always know where you are. This means you also know how to practice in ways that most efficiently and ef…moreThe pros of a map-based practice are that you always know where you are. This means you also know how to practice in ways that most efficiently and effectively overcome obstacles to achieving the final goal. In mapless meditation, as in a mapless journey, you can end up spending a lot of time going in circles that lead nowhere, and wandering up blind alleys. Good maps are invaluable aids to mental training, and realizing ultimate truth.

The cons of map-based practice are that we can easily become attached to making progress, which then leads to frustration, disappointment and impatience, or else to arrogance and self-delusion. Good maps warn against these as obstacles, and include instructions for how to deal with them when they arise.

I would definitely recommend using The Mind Illuminated as a supplement to traditions that don’t use maps. As we discuss in the Introduction, all meditators face the same problems, regardless of the method or tradition they follow. All human minds work more or less the same, and are subject to the same tendencies. Although The Mind Illuminated is structured around a particular method, it is explicitly intended to be adaptable and applicable to any meditation method. (less)
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“When the mindfulness of a samurai swordsman fails, he loses his life. When we lose mindfulness in daily life, something similar happens. We become so entangled in our own thoughts and emotions that we lose contact with the bigger picture.”
Upasaka Culadasa, The Magic of Mindfulness: Seeing Things as They Really Are

“The unification of mind in śamatha is temporary and conditioned. However, the unification around Insight is far more profound, and it’s permanent. When temporary unification around a shared intention fades, each sub-mind operates as a separate entity, constrained by and at the mercy of the mind-system as a whole. Therefore, individual sub-minds strive to preserve their autonomy and, as much as possible, direct the resources of the mind-system toward their individual goals. Yet after Insight, the various sub-minds become unified around a shared Insight into impermanence, emptiness, suffering, no-Self, and interconnectedness. From this flow a corresponding set of shared values: harmlessness, compassion, and loving-kindness. Now each sub-mind operates as an independent part of a much greater whole, working for the good of that whole. This allows each sub-mind to do its job effectively, without running into fundamental conflicts with other sub-minds.

When enough of the mind-system has undergone this transformation, we’re able to function as an individual person while simultaneously perceiving ourselves as part of an indivisible and inconceivably greater whole.”
Culadasa (John Yates), The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science

“In other words, for your personal reality to be created purposefully, rather than haphazardly, you must understand your mind. But the kind of understanding required isn’t just intellectual, which is ineffective by itself. Like a naturalist studying an organism in its habitat, we need to develop an intuitive understanding of our mind. This only comes from direct observation and experience. For life to become a consciously created work of art and beauty, we must first realize our innate capacity to become a more fully conscious being. Then, through appropriately directed conscious activity, we can develop an intuitive understanding of the true nature of reality. It’s only through this kind of Insight that you can accomplish the highest purpose of meditative practice: Awakening. This should be the goal of your practice. When life is lived in a fully conscious way, with wisdom, we can eventually overcome all harmful emotions and behavior. We won’t experience greed, even in the face of lack. Nor will we have ill will, even when confronted by aggression and hostility. When our speech and action comes from a place of wisdom and compassion, they will always produce better results than when driven by greed and anger. All this is possible because true happiness comes from within, which means we can always find joy, in both good times and bad. Although pain and pleasure are an inevitable part of human life, suffering and happiness are entirely optional. The choice is ours. A fully Awake, fully conscious human being has the love, compassion, and energy to make change for the better whenever it’s possible, the equanimity to accept what can’t be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. Therefore, make the aim of your meditation the cultivation of a mind capable of this type of Awakening.”
John Yates, The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness

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