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Posts posted by Consilience

  1. 4 hours ago, LfcCharlie4 said:

    Honestly, 99% of people here could do with good old Buddhism fundamentals 

    A lot of this place is endless mental masturbation, and lack of real world applications 

    I'd even go down a level and say a lot should go back to to the basics of Self-Help and life 

    'Just had my 26th DMT trip of the week, realized I'm the Egyptian God but can someone lend me £100 for rent and food this month please???' 

    A lot of it has become a pissing contest imo


  2. 2 minutes ago, Thought Art said:

    @Consilience They are “Beyond” the classic and traditional non-dual schools because he is using radically different, more potent and direct methods. 


    Beyond implies above, implies hierarchy. These states are tangental, not beyond. Furthermore, they are wildly less direct if you understand what the goal of traditional spirituality is. The consequences of these indirect, potent methods are wildly misunderstood on this forum. 

    2 minutes ago, Thought Art said:

    All those old systems (especially Buddhism even when compared to Toasim which is much more open) don’t have experiential lineages if what these altered states of psychedelics reveal. 

    All the psychedelics reveal is the infinite nature of mind. Im not saying this doesn’t have intrinsic value, or provide a certain unique wisdom as one travels. Similar to how when one travels the world there is a wisdom. 

    Lineages recognize the infinity of mind, but recognize there is a Truth beyond the infinite nature of mind that recontextualizes ALL states. Such that any additional, new state whether higher or lower shares the same fundamental essence. This is the true gem of spirituality, finding a peace, recognizing the truth regardless of one’s state. This is what liberates and this is what gives the highest understanding. 

    This path of is like saying the goal is to keep having more and more realistic dreams, rather than waking up and getting out of bed.

    2 minutes ago, Thought Art said:

    They are different, and for a practical, grounded, human spirituality there’s lots to be gained from meditation, Buddhist scriptures etc. But there is an infinite world BEYOND all that traditional stuff. 

    Of course. And what is the real value of exploring infinity other than to satisfy one’s own curiosity, or truly, to end one’s suffering of the dissatisfaction of the sober state. Buddhism recognizes there is an infinity of mind, and states of consciousness. If you read the texts you’d know this. What Buddhism recognizes is that these states are not the ultimate truth, nor do they resolve any of the existential conundrums of man.

    If you want to explore them, great! Explore. There is value there, in the relative world. But when you start shitting on the path to truth and fooling yourself into thinking this exploration is “higher” than enlightenment, you’re fucked and much worse, leading others astray. 

  3. 26 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

    But the flippant and arrogant manner in which you dismiss states of consciousness is precisely the stench of Buddhism. Your attitude proves my points for me. This is not an attitude with which consciousness can be fully understood because the only way to fully understand consciousness is to experience its furthest extents without judgment.

    The exact same criticism and rationality applies to your understanding of traditional spirituality.

  4. Just now, Leo Gura said:

    Exactly why I rejected Buddhism.

    You demonstrate pure denial and arrogance masquearding as wisdom and humility.

    You have no idea what consciousness is capable of. Because you've been brainwashed with Buddhist ideas of what is proper and valid.

    Nothing about your experience is invalid. The actuality and ontological implications of your experience aren‘t invalid either. The metaphysical ranking you’re giving them though, the importance you’re giving them, is a distraction and based on what you’re saying, false. This falshood is not to say they’re invalid or not real. The meaning is false. Thinking this is anything other than more mind and somehow higher than God or beyond God is false. 

    Chasing these altered states will only lead to misery when you understand impermanence and the ruthless, relentless torrent of rebirth and as much as you’d love to distract yourself from, suffering. This Leo character is a fraction, a fiction, a pure fantasy to Truth. Know what you really are, and a dancing alien mouse or burning alive in full lotus can’t touch you. The work or lack thereof you do in this life has real consequences my friend. Tread carefully.

  5. 1 hour ago, Carl-Richard said:

    I don't think so.


    That means you misunderstood what the work is about. What is the teaching doing in your mind and not your body? You didn't master riding the bike, only read a lot about biking. It's about implicit learning, inarticulate wisdom, integration.


    Watching this spiral out of control has been such a teaching. 

    If anyone thinks they understand Buddhism without thousands of hours of meditation, really 10,000+ minimum, they’re completely deluded. Trying to understand Buddhism without traveling into the subtlety of the sober mind is going fail. Hence the steaming pile of shit we see unfolding with Alien consciousness and Earth consciousness. Which btw, are super cool and have profound implications for the nature of consciousness and reality, but nothing to do with Enlightenment other than they obscure the deepest truth when clung to like Leo is doing. The clinging, that is the stench, that is the hubris and self deception in action, that is the Devil. 

    Buddhism is not the truth, it is a path to the truth and not only path. There is Advaita, Christianity, Sufism, etc. Truth transcends all of it and a real Buddhist understands this. However, Buddhism teaches more than a path to the Absolute, so there is more. Many Buddhists do get lost in the weeds, and many turn Buddhism into the goal, not recognizing the goal is beyond Buddhism. But this has nothing to do with Buddhism, only the seeker’s misunderstanding or in this case, the skeptics.

    Once one crosses the shore, there is no need to carry the boat on one’s back. 

  6. 54 minutes ago, ardacigin said:

    @Consilience Great stuff man! Have you worked with Peter Ralston? How would you describe his style and what did you learn from him?

    Thank you! I have but more Brendan Lea, his apprentice. During a 2 week contemplation intensive Peter would facilitate for us for around 40 minutes after an hour of q&a, after a 30 minute lecture. Most times Brendan was facilitating. 

    Peter is extremely laid back, but utterly clear, conscious and enlightened. He seems to purposefully hold back his transmission, however there were a few moments during the CI where he let loose and the depth of his enlightenment was utterly obvious. Most times though he acts very normal. 

    Soryu on the other hand seems way more “on” most times. He is in a teacher role and seems to let his own transmission do some of the teaching. Merely by watching how Soryu is moving through space is a teaching. It’s similar with Ralston, but just toned way down down. Soryu can seem to actively transmit more than Ralston, Ralston seems to purposefully hold back. I will say though, Soryu used to transmit way more but has recently toned it down because of negative feedback he‘s received with being too extreme. 

    If you’re wanting to explore the direct path, the sudden enlightenment path, I would highly recommend working with Brendan in Texas at one of the Cheng Hsin contemplation intensives. I did the 2 week CI before going to MAPLE and it served as a very important foundation for my work there. Had a legitimate awakening into what I am which then continued to flower, clarify, and solidify at MAPLE. 

  7. 10 minutes ago, Carl-Richard said:

    Meditate 1hr (whatever technique) every day in one sitting, no excuses. Never try to shut your brain off while doing daily activities.

    This + annual retreats. 

    @mw711 Then you’ll get to the point where even if there is mental activity, the mental activity is seen as no mind. No mind states should be recontextualizing states that have mental activity, such that one sees the peace of no mind is the undercurrent of all thinking. There is a truth that permeates across all, and that truth is real happiness, and that truth/peace has nothing to do with whether there are thoughts or no thoughts. 

  8. 5 hours ago, Batman said:

    There is no shtick. In psychedelic awakening you are forced to awaken because the substance hinders the mind or opens the senses in a way that disrupts the mind. Because of the psychedelic ability to affect the mind profoundly and rapidly, the awakening is usually deep and intense, usually accompanied by crazy emotional/energetic release. 

    The problem with psychedelic awakenings is many fold. One, it is only temporary, due to the effect of the substance on the mind. When mind goes back online, consciousness tends to fall back into identification with it. This way, even though it was clear in the trip that no solid or real identity exist anywhere in consciousness, the dream of being a separate self in a world with other objects continues. Second, if the conditions of the trip weren't adequate to fit the tripper (set, settings, dose), the psychedelic induced awakening can be too much for the mind or the body. The tripper might find himself confused, in horror, or just unable to grasp what has happened to him. The trip might even damage the "process" of awakening or transformation. Three, there might be an attachment to psychedelic awakenings, which may cause the practitioner to seek more psychedelic awakenings rather than the recognition of the identity mechanisms that causes seeking and repeated behavior. 

    Psychedelic awakenings should be regarded and considered as serious science of the mind, for all that it implies. This is not to say that psychedelic awakenings are not conducive to enlightenment or transformation. They are probably the best way to divert the regular seeking mind from seeking material objectives to a spiritual "journey", and show us that things are not as solid or identity based as we think. They can also be very useful under the proper conditions to elicit insights on the mind, emotion, body, flow, connection with others, and much more. And they are freaking amazingly powerful just to explore Consciousness.

    But when it comes to a fixed realization, shattering the illusion of identities or separation, a fixed shift in what consciousness take itself to be, they fall short. This is where spiritual practice comes in, a thorn to take out another thorn. Of course, the same egoic identity traps that hide in seeking psychedelic states/awakenings also lies in spiritual practice, if the identification process latches also to it. 

    So all and all, psychedelics are amazing, and in fact I see them as very direct and intense gurus for initiating the "path". But going back again and again to visit them is no different than going back to an ashram to visit the guru. It is ok if you just want to have fun with your guru, enjoy his company and sit with him. But if you are going back and back again expecting him to wake you up, it is just feeding the seeking mind. People can attend satsang or even meditate for years and not wake up, because they are just satisfying the mind. So it is important to see if this comes from a psychological fixation on some activity or just innocence, honest, play, curiosity, love. It is a matter of clearly seeing what is the motive for what we are doing.


    What a phenomenal write up. Love the guru analogy. 

  9. 8 hours ago, Breakingthewall said:

    high quality as usual. Bit dark about the enlightenment. inspiring that of serving humanity leading others to awaken. the noblest task.  For my part, I would never join anything, i have the feeling of that strength the ego. but I respect those who do.  

    Dark in what way? 

    8 hours ago, Breakingthewall said:

    a point about the ideology of that group: save the planet from human greed. too green right? everything is as it should be. also you with your intention to wake up the world are as you have to be. in your speech it follows that something is wrong and must be corrected. Yes, it looks that many things are really wrong, but this is ego

    It is very green yes. And yes everything is as it should be from the Absolute pov, including wanting to create peace on the planet. From the relative truth, things do matter. If things did not, we wouldn't be working towards survival day in and day out. No being's actions are based from the Absolute. Everyone lives as though things do matter; we all are trying to maximize happiness, whether that's earning money and chasing sex, or seeking deeper and deeper states of consciousness, we're all working towards living the good life, the life well lived. So from the relative pov, things do matter. 

    As one awakens, one also begins to see the depth of how meaningful life, the relative, really is. Things REALLY matter, and this understanding is informed by a growing compassion and wisdom as a result of practice. What must be corrected? Suffering. Is suffering a problem that must be corrected? No. As long as these two observations are at odds with each other, there won't be wisdom. When the mind sees through this paradox, integrates the paradox, there is wisdom.

    This has been my experience with contemplative practice. 

    8 hours ago, Breakingthewall said:

    And there is one thing I would like to emphasize: meditation. without meditation there is no spiritual path imo. you can have many realizations, be an avid consumer of realizations. But what do you get with that if you're still a human full of compulsion? need more? spirituality goes far beyond realizations. It's about cleaning your energy body, about flowing. you have to meditate. several hours a day. if not, you are a masturbator monkey 

    Pretty much agree with this, although the wording is a bit confusing haha. 

  10. 13 hours ago, Gidiot said:

    Hope it works out for you bro, it’s all love and I respect your path and callling, I tend to trend towards surrender than effort and so that’s what I try to embody but I think effort and practice works too. Good luck 

    Beautiful. It's funny because even though effort is a big part of this body & mind's activity, I don't see effort as distinct from surrender, truly. The one efforting is no one at all :D

    Thank you for the encouragement man, seriously. 

  11. 14 hours ago, Pateedm said:

    Wow, amazing post man!

    I would say, speak your mind on here, a lot of people on the forum would benefit from hearing your perspectives, even if Leo is close minded to them. 

    I'm a newbie on the "manual" path still and it's great to be able to have people on the forum who have fully committed to a more grounded path to balance the massive bias towards psychedelics here. (I do love psychedelics though haha).


    Thank you! Very happy it resonated. And definitely, I love psychedelics too. Truly medicine and tools for enormous exploration. 

  12. 4 hours ago, thepixelmonk said:

    Thanks for writing this up! I've been thinking I may want to participate in something similar at some point in my life but really have no idea how to distinguish what the best organizations are for this type of thing. MAPLE seems like it has an interesting focus to it.

    Thank you for the comment! 

    As I mentioned, I can't speak for other organizations, but most importantly, trust your gut, have a strong sense of independence and inner strength before joining such communities, and never have any fantasies about it not ending. Even though I'm about to go off for further training and work, I hold very closely the fact that such arrangements are impermanent. But equally, in order for such arrangements to work, there has to be a level of openness and willingness to experience whatever the experience will be. 

  13. 4 hours ago, Bazooka Jesus said:

    Amazing. What a report.

    Can't say that I don't envy you for having the opportunity to be part of such a community... I hope I'll have it too one day; if not in this life, then hopefully in another.

    I wish you all the best on your further path, my friend.

    Appreciate it, thank you. :)

    If it's something that's deeply calling you, I would say find a way to make it happen. Be strategic, but be open to finding such places. As the world collectively moves more into stage green, more and more of these kinds of communities are arising. Definitely be mindful of Leo's teachings on cult psychology, but also hold what I've shared about letting a collective mind into your own as a training opportunity, or as a way to cultivate wisdom. 

    And thank you friend. I wish you all the best on your path as well, in this life and beyond. 

  14. 4 hours ago, aurum said:

    @Consilience I’m highly skeptical of such organizations.

    They say on their website that their main motivation is for “the powerful to be awakened and the awakened to be powerful”. But is this itself actually a good idea?

    First let me say thank you for such a thorough comment. These are all great considerations. 

    When taking a Buddhist definition of awakening, we could say the degree to which one has freed themselves from suffering is the degree to which they are awake. Not saying this is the only definition, but it is a definition with lineage behind it. With this definition in mind, we could reframe the question by asking is it a good idea for those in power to be freed from suffering, or at least, significantly freer than what is in the current political system? I would say yes. Why? Because the conditions of mind associated with suffering are qualities of mind such as greed, hatred, and ignorance. 

    Modern political leaders making large, sweeping decisions over thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of lives are making these decision through a mind that is utterly and incomprehensibly caught in a web of these defilements, or kleshas to use more Buddhist framing. When one directly observes in their own mind how these defilements manifest as unwholesome, unwise, foolish, and harmful action, speech, and thinking, one clearly see how the purification of these qualities manifest as wholesome, wise, and compassionate action, speech, and thinking. 

    So yes, I believe that a mind that is less caught by these defilements would serve the world more effectively than a mind caught in these defilements. Why? Because I've directly observed my own mind and the consequences of not having taken responsibility for these unwholesome qualities. 

    The most powerful compassion cannot manifest while one clings to self. And the most harmonious, peaceful, and effective political decisions cannot arise without powerful compassion.  

    4 hours ago, aurum said:

    People do not need awakened leaders per say. What people need is leaders who are a bit more conscious than them. Leaders who are too awakened are less practical and may actually cause backlash due to the gap in consciousness between leader and followers.

    I don't necessarily disagree; too much too soon is doomed to fail. However, when you look at the numerous existential challenges facing the planet, it becomes very clear that the pace of human development in the domains of wisdom and compassion are way way way too slow to address the developing crises. While it may seem impractical that awakened leaders may cause backlash due to the gap in consciousness, the damage of not having conscious political leaders is literally destroying the planet and generating numerous other technological risks. 

    The current challenge of threat demands exponential growth; the current level of threat is unfolding exponentially. 

    4 hours ago, aurum said:

    Awakening also does not guarantee high political IQ. In a sense, I’d rather have a stage Green politician who is not awake but who has deeply devoted themselves to studying politics and the current issues than someone who is “awakened” and spent all their time contemplating existential questions. It seems like the goal of this program is achieve both, which is admirable and something I also strive for. But it is quite a lot to expect from one person. Specialization can be useful at times.

    Absolutely. I don't think anyone at MAPLE has a fantasy that everyone can be everything. I don't know the details but there are specialization programs in development.

    There's no reason the politician and sage cannot work symbiotically, each mastering their own domain. 

    4 hours ago, aurum said:

    Furthermore, if you take an awakened being and place them into a corrupt system, they themselves may become corrupt out of necessity of surviving in that system. So it’s not as simple as raising the consciousness of leaders.

    Equally, if you place an awakened being into a corrupt system, the system itself may become more purified out of necessity of the interdependent nature of mind and reality. 

    While it's not as simple as raising the consciousness of leaders, this is, at a very big picture level, what is necessary for the further development of the human species. It must happen one way or another and has been the natural progress over the course of human history. 

    4 hours ago, aurum said:

    None of these critiques mean MAPLE doesn’t have value or that we shouldn’t develop more conscious leadership. I would consider visiting just to have my own first-hand experience and decide for myself what I thought. But I have become more skeptical of naive Utopianism, which I sometimes see a lot of. 

    MAPLE doesn't feel like it's promoting a naive Utopianism. It feels very much in the weeds, embracing the mud of the world, accepting and starting with the fact that the world is incredibly messy. 

    Overall, yes visiting would be best. I honestly don't know whether the organization can have a meaningful impact, or have an impact that doesn't end of creating more harm than good. There are many more ways things could go wrong than right with MAPLE. At the very least, I personally believe in the premise it starts with, that the existential risks we're collectively facing are, at their root, a symptom of the human mind. Therefore, in some capacity, the human mind is where the work must be done to create peace on the planet. 

  15. Intro

    I’ve felt deeply called to share what I learned between January 2022 & present with the community. As I mentioned in this post awhile back, I recently went to train in a contemporary, quasi monastery for 6 months called “Monastic Academy for the Preservation of Life on Earth” or just MAPLE. I had the good fortune of working remotely, keeping my software job while simultaneously committing to the morning and evening schedule, as well as accumulating 40 days of formal retreat time while there. 

    I have felt resistance to sharing due to what I perceive as a general closed mindedness many have on the forum regarding what is possible with formal meditation practice so why bother sharing if I’m just going to be told how unawake I am by others, or how I’m playing spiritual games? However, I also believe in and feel it is one the highest quality sources of information regarding philosophy, psychology, personal development, and despite the many disagreements I’ve had with the community, spirituality. Because I selfishly want to see this community prosper well into the future, I felt called to share my experiences in hopes that I may stoke the fire in some by showing what is possible by throwing oneself in.  

    I should mention a few things though – 

    1) MAPLE is not formally a monastery; it is a monastic container/training space. We followed a daily monastic schedule, but none of the residents nor myself took full ordination vows. 

    2) The community is explicitly Buddhist. However, the head teacher has a healthy integration of other spiritual traditions and furthermore, spends about 2 months per year training with Native Americans in Earth based spirituality. Even though Buddhism was the primary focus, I felt incredibly supported exploring other traditions, discussing psychedelics, and using language such as God, The Absolute, Infinity, Consciousness, The Self, etc. 

    3) The focus of the community is to address the many existential risks facing the planet through a combination of rigorous contemplative training aimed at classical Buddhist enlightenment and providing psychological tools needed for effectively changing society from the ground up. Specifically, how are the many modern, existential challenges a function of the modern human mind and how must the mind change in order to effectively, and appropriately respond to such challenges? Challenges such as the rapid development of artificial intelligence, gene editing, new forms of surveillance capitalism, supply chain and food supply degradation, aging and failing economic structures, and global ecological collapse through man made climate change. (This is not an exhaustive list.) Again, how are these external forces a symptom of the human mind and how must the human mind transform in order to effectively confront, and resolve these risks? This is some of what MAPLE attempts to provide an answer for.  

    Modern thinkers such as John Vervaeke, Zach Stein, and most recently Daniel Schmachtenberger have visited and are in the process of potentially collaborating with MAPLE. So while there is a specific spiritual emphasis, remaining rooted in the world to help face these crises is a huge focus of the container.

    I will structure this in a similar fashion to my past trip reports with themes. I hope this is both an interesting and helpful read. I would also highly recommend in person retreats at MAPLE, or visiting through the various programs. Since the beginning, I felt particularly geared to train at MAPLE because of my background study of 

    Happy to answer any questions related to MAPLE, my practice, or anything related to this post in the reply section.


    Meditation Gainz

    The Value of Spiritual Community

    Soryu Forall – Finding My Teacher

    Is MAPLE a Cult? 

    Catching the Ox 

    Bodhicitta as the Embodiment of God’s Love

    Returning to the Mountain


    Meditation Gainz

    Between silent sitting, chanting, and silent meals, I was practicing anywhere from 3 to 4 hours per day on non-retreat days. During retreats, I practiced between 10 – 14 hours per day. One of the immediate appeals of MAPLE was the intensity of the container; it often felt like a combination of Theravada Buddhism and Renzai Zen where practice was the most important focus. One of the criticisms MAPLE has received in the past was that the training was too intense. By the time I had gotten to MAPLE, the container was more docile, having responded to the feedback by softening the intensity (much to my disappointment).

    Of course when practicing at this intensity day in and day out, there is bound to be some kind of effect on the mind whether positive or negative. In full transparency, it was both for me, but a huge net positive. Enormous psychological material gets brought up with this rigor of practice and because of how little free time I had, I often felt incredibly ‘pressurized’ with very little time to catch my breath. Yet what seemed to occur were moments of rapid processing of the psychological material wherein the challenge would spontaneously drop and be replaced with enormous amounts of equanimity, happiness, ease, and peace. Overall, I experienced more of the positive flavors of emotion than the negative, but the relentlessness of the container facilitated what felt like a non-stop churning of the subconscious bullshit, shadows, attachments into the surface for purification.

    As a result of this purification, the states I was able to begin regularly achieving during formal practice and have been able to maintain since leaving MAPLE can only be described as psychedelic in quality. Meditation dropping into what feels like a microdose is the standard now while at other times it does feel like a 75 - 100ug LSD trip. The value of so easily achieving these states is difficult to communicate. The plausibility of this possibility is difficult to sell. Overall, my meditation practice feels like its growth curve has begun accelerating in a non-linear fashion where the effort required to achieve these states is minimal. The majority of the effort revolves around just showing up to practice, and because of the habituation of so much practice, even this is not hard. 

    Perhaps it’s karma, perhaps it’s genetic, perhaps it’s due to my past, aggressive use of psychedelics, or perhaps it’s the nature of intensive meditation. I believe it is a combination, but primarily the result of intensive, persistent meditation both before, during, and now after MAPLE. There are others in the community that had practices just as deep as mine and some deeper and therefore, I bias towards believing these results are due to the intensity of the training rather than something special or unique about me. 


    The Value of Spiritual Community

    Leo has often criticized spiritual communities as a distraction, just another form of playing social games and bullshitting ourselves. This is a paraphrase, but my interpretation of Leo’s stance. Whether this is an accurate assessment of Leo’s stance or not, this was partially my framework coming in, a framework that created a sense of suspicion and skepticism about MAPLE. For the first month, I found myself internally at odds with my lack of independence, as though the lone wolf archetype that I had come to hold so dearly was slowly starving. It was very painful and showed up in many ways in many moments.

    As time went on, as I spent more time socializing, living in community, and meditating my ass off, something strange began happening. I realized because of the integrity of MAPLE and because of the integrity of the individual community members, I was pushing myself harder than I had ever previously pushed myself alone. So many ways I distracted myself with internet usage, video games, smoking weed, watching Netflix, etc., where not only unavailable, but the craving for their usage was gone as well. The social pressure of living in a community of individuals who were devoting their lives to something greater than individual interests and selves was inspiring, forming a sort of collective accountability and momentum. 

    I cannot speak for every spiritual community. I cannot speak for every ashram or monastery. But due to my own direct experience, I can speak about MAPLE and hold an open mind that there is a genuine power and advantage to training in a community setting. (I speak more on this below.)

    Though I am glad Leo’s content fostered a deep sense of independence and personal authority, as this served me many times even while at MAPLE and certainly as I’ve come back into normal society, I am glad to have surrendered myself in some way into a collective mind and space. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and it turns out, sometimes the greater whole can reach back and serve the parts. 


    Soryu Forall – Finding My Teacher

    There’s the cliché saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” And this was exactly, utterly, and profoundly my experience meeting Soryu Forall. This man is like the Bodhisattva version of Peter Ralston in his prime; he’s kind of like a Dharma football coach. Soryu speaks with a compassionate ferocity and unusual clarity. The man walks with unquestionable integrity and is routinely open to feedback from the community despite holding a position of power and authority. There were multiple instances where we had one on one communications where I was questioning decisions he made or topics he discussed and he would legitimately listen without getting defensive, holding hidden agendas,  or gaslighting as so many guru figures are known for. I never once felt any kind of pressure from him other than to work hard practicing and face the truth. Yet beyond his intense personality and relational openness, Soryu’s life purpose is to help preserve life on the planet in the face of the myriad of existential risks, and it is this life purpose which told me I’d found my teacher. 

    Story time - 

    A few years ago my main focus in spirituality was exploring consciousness, primarily using psychedelics as taught by Leo. However, as a result of these deep explorations, I discovered an unexpected pain that could only be held as some kind of collective wound rather than anything having to do with my personal psychology. It was as though I encountered the crying out of the planet itself. As a result of these medicines, I was continuously running into both a deep, species level collective pain and even greater, a planetary pain as a result of human activity. The work of Christopher Bache comes to mind as a written example of what I felt like I was running into (Christopher’s work helped contextualize my experiences as I was having them before I’d ever read LSD and The Mind of The Universe; discovering his work was extremely validating as well as clarifying.) It was as though psychedelics completely cracked open my personal psychology, and spirit, catapulting me into this enormous pain and suffering the planet was experiencing as a result of human activity. I was left very broken on multiple occasions and confused on a number of my most recent journeys. At least this was the case until my first meditation retreat. 

    On this first retreat, I directly experienced how the purification of my mind that was occurring as a direct result of meditation was purifying my personal mind of the very qualities psychedelics had shown me to be responsible for the catastrophic destruction and tragic proliferation of suffering on the planet. Greed, hatred, ignorance, anger, envy, pride, good ol’ selfish egotism, etc. – Mindfulness purifies these qualities of mind. These qualities of mind are deeply ingrained in modern humanity and become increasingly worse as one moves up power structures, mainly governments, corporations, and those with massive amounts of wealth. Because of this retreat experience, I realized I encountered the root cause to all of these concerns and therefore, at last had the power to take responsibility for these. 

    So how does this relate to Soryu? 

    Soryu was the first spiritual teacher I’ve met that not only recognizes this relationship between meditation practice and purifying the qualities of mind responsible for destroying the planet, he has been the only teacher I’ve met with the integrity to take responsibility in some way for this relationship. While most teachers and teachings are oriented around personal liberation and self-centered enlightenment, Soryu has shown that there is an alternative path within spirituality, that one can awaken while simultaneously deepening a compassion and effectiveness to serve the world. In this way, awakening becomes a vehicle for compassionate work in the world, and compassionate work in the world becomes a vehicle for awakening. And this embodiment of the intersection between the contemplative path and existential risk was the very intersection shown to me by my use of psychedelics and my first retreat.

    Soryu was and is an embodiment of an energetic archetype I felt within myself, to some extent. Obviously we’re different beings and obviously our most self-actualized forms will not be identical, but in many regards, he has served as an embodied example of what is possible to become on this path if one’s life purpose is centered around addressing existential risk through a contemplative, spiritual framework. Similar to how discovering Christopher Bache’s work was enormously validating for my psychedelic explorations, discovering Soryu and MAPLE has been enormously validating for my experiences with meditation. 


    Is MAPLE a Cult? 

    I felt called to address this because of the obvious reputation communal, spiritual communities have. It was a concern my family and some friends had as well before I arrived and given how horrible many spiritual communities have turned out in the past, it feels warranted addressing this topic. 

    In many ways yes MAPLE could be defined as a cult. There is a dress code, we follow a formal schedule, there is limited free time, and in some regards, there is a central power figure in a leadership position (Soryu) that directs the momentum of the space. However, this framing is incredibly more nuanced than a black or white yes or no. While there were cult-like qualities living at MAPLE, what are the advantages and what are the feedback systems MAPLE has created which prevent unhealthy power and relationship dynamics from forming? Why would I have stayed in the community for 6 months if I felt it was cult-ish? 

    When following a strict schedule that forces one to meditate, eat healthy, exercise, follow a consistent sleep schedule, and ask existentially challenging questions, all within the space of an incredibly nourishing community, it turns out this is one of the healthiest ways a human can live. Shocking, I know. While there are advantages to taking personal responsibility for forming these daily habits, the fact of the matter is most seekers and self-actualizers fail at this because of a myriad of societal and internal stumbling blocks. Until our minds have become deeply purified in the contemplative sense, we are very susceptible to environmental conditioning. Because of the state of our modern society, this environmental conditioning is almost always negative. Furthermore, because our minds have not been sufficiently purified and are enmeshed in toxic environments, most minds are not trustworthy enough to stay committed to behaviors aligned with their highest values and ideals. 

    By spending dedicated amounts of time intentionally surrendering one’s authority to an external training environment, this can circumvent one’s environmentally conditioned bias towards self-sabotage. If this training environment is healthy and focused on deep introspection, the integrity of the training space can be ingrained, absorbed, and then intrinsically grow out of the personal psychology. One can adopt the training space’s mind, so to speak. Rather than constantly flailing around on one’s own in cycles of success and failure, legitimate long-term momentum can begin building and therefore, real reprogramming can start taking place in the subconscious mind, a reprogramming that biases towards these healthy habits and has the integrity to follow one’s highest ideals and values. This was my experience at MAPLE.

    Of course, all of this is contingent upon the environment being trust-worthy, self-reflective, and having the necessary feedback mechanisms to remain healthy. This brings us to the second point. 

    From every angle I looked and despite enormous skepticism, from what I can tell MAPLE is a trustworthy environment, has a trustworthy community, and has a trustworthy head teacher. Integrity and personal responsibility are routinely emphasized. Public apologies for fuck ups and taking ownership over one’s own mind are the standard. It is continually emphasized to not hand one’s authority over to Soryu and that his role as a head teacher is ultimately only there to help support one’s own awakening process. At every level of leadership, any other level of authority whether from a random retreat goer, or a new resident/apprentice, everyone is welcome to give feedback. This environment of continual, open, and encouraged feedback helps eliminate blind spots in the community, as different levels of perspective and views are allowed to emerge and be held by the collective. It felt very much like a psychological, strange loop, where every level could contact and communicate with every other level. 

    I believe the heavy emphasis on spiritual practice and Buddhist ethics are part of what made this possible. If a community weren’t centered around these types of values and relational feedback mechanisms, the risk of dangerous cult formation seems high. Instead, there was continuous collective reflection and feedback, helping shape and mold power structures and dynamics at every level. It felt like a community boarding on SD stage yellow.

    So back to question – is MAPLE a cult? I said in many ways it could fit this definition, yes. And yet it is no more a cult than the United States of America, any other country, and no more a cult than the social dynamics that occur as one lives in community with roommates, family members, or even alone. The environment and the social elements of one’s environment will always play a role in shaping one’s psychology. Our minds are not separate and independence is an illusion; existence/form is 100% conditioned at every level. In this way, it is almost impossible to escape being shaped by cult psychology from one’s environment save for the most highly developed sages. 

    Does one live in a trustworthy environment? Can one create a trustworthy environment? Can one trust their own mind to judge and create a trustworthy environment? 

    Overall, the structure served a deep purpose and has had a rooted impact as I’ve come back into the world. 


    Catching the Ox

    It turns out all the great sages and mystics of the past and present are correct – the self is not an object, it is not a perception, and certainly not a state of consciousness. Self-realization is not to be found in a psychedelic trip, nor in any comparison of ‘this state vs. that state,’ even when comparing a state of self-realization to a state of non-self-realization. Self-realization is not found in a monastery. God is not it. Emptiness is not it. The self is not it. Non-self is not it. Formlessness is not it. Form is not it. And yet to say there is no recognition, no enlightenment, nor God is not it. There is truth, there is the realization of truth, and there is the realization of truth’s uncompromising permanence and necessity of permeating realization vs non-realization. It really is nothing whatsoever and yet permeates all possible states of mind, perception, consciousness, or whatever other word used. It is reliable, it is a source of happiness, and it is that which creates all conditioned existence through form. Everything, including God realized states of consciousness and unconscious states of consciousness, arises out of, and passes back into it and yet themselves are it. Enlightenment is an absolute paradox. Only a mind capable of holding paradoxical thought will find this description understandable, or helpful, yet this form of thought is very much accessible if one commits to serious practice.

    The intensity of MAPLE’s training schedule and the intensity of the interviews with Soryu helped facilitate an undoubted encounter with reality that has only continued flowering. In the 10 ox herding model of Zen, I feel confident I have encountered Stage 4 out of the 10. The next step is “taming the ox,” or in other words, letting this realization pierce so completely and totally that all waking, dreaming, and dreamless states abide in the knowledge of self, the knowledge of emptiness, the knowledge of reality. I could also say the next step is further exploring what it actually means to catch the ox. Stage 4 seems to have enormous depth. 


    Practice will involve the continued purification of mind from mental defilements and cultivation of mind with wholesome states like concentration, equanimity, and clarity, which facilitate the dynamic creation of actualized self-activity. As one comes to know one’s true nature, the relative mind structure begins to reflect and mirror the truth through embodied existence; the truth transforms the mind as the mind clarifies what is true and not true. Right action, speech, and thought spontaneously arise from the flow of life, all in achord with one’s highest ideals and values. To truly self-actualize, one must have the desire for the truth, both the truth of one’s true nature which gives rise to enlightenment and the desire for the truth of one’s authentic desires which give rise to self-actualization. 


    Bodhicitta as the Embodiment of God’s Love

    One of the most important Buddhist concepts I learned while at MAPLE was Bodhicitta, which can be defined as the aspiration for awakening for the benefit of all beings. It is a stance towards awakening that seeks to serve the awakening of all beings, rather than merely the awakening of oneself. Yet of course this is a paradox, as who else is there to awaken but you? What other being is there to awaken other than you? Yet there is suffering, there is unhappiness, there is ignorance of truth across a myriad of endless beings; one need only walk outside to observe this fact. Furthermore, one need only look at their life to see the role various teachers and the condition’s of one’s environment played in their own awakening process. What is the intelligence, compassion, and love that worked behind the scenes to facilitate this personal awakening for you? It was the love of God. It was Self-Love. It was a love and compassion so pure that it could only have originated from that which is totally without self. Can one step into the humility needed to encounter just how profound and significant it was to be born a human, to be born in a world where there are legitimate teachers teaching the way, and to be born with the conditions to even learn about and open up to the possibility of enlightenment? What ARE those conditions? Why do they occur? How is it possible we could have discovered any of this? Love.

    When vowing to remain in cyclical existence for the sake of all being’s the Bodhisattva through this cultivation and absolute Bodhicitta, vows to remain, to help serve until every last moment of consciousness, every last manifestation of form, is awakened, completely and utterly. The goal is asinine, insane, utterly grandiose, and of course, pure paradox. It is a goal only accessible through understanding of the nature of self and God, whether one uses those words or not. Moreover, it is a goal too overwhelming for a self to take on and too paradoxical for a self to make sense of. When one encounters the compassion of a Bodhisattva, awakens to a glimpse of what a being of this caliber is like, it necessarily cracks the heart wide open, revealing something so far beyond what normal human emotion or mind can comprehend.

    I consider Soryu Forall to be a partial embodiment of this Bodhisattva archetype.He has served as a legitimate sign post to work towards this Archetype, to actually allow the life force of the awakened mind and heart to serve something other than the illusion of self, and instead, serve reality itself. I have no illusions that he doesn’t have further work to do, but I would be foolish to not recognize the enormous depth of his awakening and honor the significance of meeting a being who's taken on these vows in the flesh, working to embody these vows with integrity and authenticity. It’s easier to see the consequences of such vows, integrity, and authenticity when one has a living example. 

    During my time at MAPLE, I lay ordained, taking these vows as well, but in truth, the vows themselves emerged on their own without any part of the personal psychology wanting or feeling good about it. In fact, it felt more like a remembering of promises I’d made long ago rather than some new, profound stance towards how I want to live my life, in this life and beyond. 


    Returning to the Mountain 

    I have plans of returning to MAPLE later this fall to become a full time resident. There is a powerful calling to take responsibility for humanity's existential predicament and it seems karma predisposes me towards wanting to help through addressing the root cause - the mind. I feel a deep responsibility to awaken both because I consider Truth to be one of the highest values in life, but also because I feel a responsibility towards mankind. How could I see this relationship between the internal and external so clearly and not do something about it?

    For a number of other personal reasons, my experiences with psychedelics, and now primarily meditation, the work I want to do in the world involves helping teach this practice. I want to teach this path as a means to create peace on the planet and to foster a new humanity capable of creating harmony with itself and all of life. If humanity cannot scale a collective wisdom and love with its rapidly developing power, the planet will not last. I consider psychedelics a necessary component to this collective transformation, as without some kind of exponential waking up, humanity will not respond in time. Yet humanity also needs teachers, and leaders capable of showing the way in the grounded, natural state. For now, I am called to train and work with this community as a way to help facilitate this collective peace and harmony.

    Final words 

    I really think MAPLE would be a great spot for many in the community to visit. Its emphasis on awakening yet awakening within the context of how one may serve the world fits the ethos of Leo’s work on Life Purpose, from my point of view. Having studied Leo’s work so thoroughly before coming to MAPLE was a massive advantage. Evening studying the work and sitting with Peter Ralston was a massive advantage as well. It feels like MAPLE is a bit of an underground spiritual community right now, but is a perfect fit for those who are into Leo, Peter, or Shinzen. It’s here to support serious truth seekers, sages, self-actualizers, but most importantly, those who have an aspiration to serve the world during these troubling times by taking responsibility for one’s mind. Therefore, if one has goals of serving the world and particularly within domains related to existential risk, yet also seeks the truth, I would recommend checking it out. Plus since I’ll be there for the next little bit, it would be cool to meet some other’s from the forum. 

    This is all for now.

    With deep mettā. 

  16. Mostly because there is enormous depth to what can be achieved on this path that isn’t found by intellectually grasping the teachings. Just so happens what is achieved is a direct function of what is let go of. Most people, most likely including yourself, are still tightly clinging to a myriad of unconscious thoughts, beliefs, and orienting contexts that frame your sense of reality. Some may even be conscious. Spirituality is about letting go of all of this, and allowing right speech, action, and thought to arise out of this letting go of clinging and by extension, purification of craving, and by extension, extinction of ignorance around the nature of reality, moment by moment. Be careful assuming you understand. True understanding is not found in the mind, but in one’s direct ordinary experience, manifesting as the behaviors one engages in. 

  17. @BlessedLion Any reactivity I felt from Leo’s comment is my responsibility. I have no issues and took no offense. Nor did I feel Leo seriously meant anything by it.

    Kinda like when a Zen monk whacks someone with the proverbial stick. If the student takes it personally, that’s where their work is.  

    Loving teachers don’t always show up in how the ego mind projects. 

  18. 11 minutes ago, Breakingthewall said:

    The ideal would be to meditate for 40 years and also do psychedelics systematically, don't you think? it is difficult to understand the rejection of psychedelics by almost all teachers. and much more without having tried them

    I used to agree with this sentiment. Meditation + psychedelics are the way to go. And I think for beginner practitioners I do still generally agree with this stance. But the last handful of trips I've done have pretty noticeably disrupted momentum with meditation. They've created these microscopic fluctuations in the quality of my attention and created what could be described as small yet detectable rips in my energy body, energy just doesn't flow as harmoniously a week post trip compared to what I'm leading into the trip with. Because of all of the retreats I've done, my sensitivity to the energy body and mind are way way way higher than when I first began using psychedelics, which is probably why I'm able to see these disruptions now vs. then.

    However, because of the highly deconstructive nature of psychedelic experiences, I still think they are incredibly useful for most beginners and because of the immense power they have for working through healing, emotional blockages and even energy blockages, I still think they are incredibly useful. In fact, I personally think mainstream psychedelic usage will be a necessity for humanity to confront the growing number of existential threats facing the planet. Collectively, we need something more powerful than meditation to snap us out of our delusion. 

    That all being said, for advanced meditation practitioners who have experienced God many times, who have faced death many times on psychedelics, the work becomes about rewiring the default state of mind to merge with the absolute nature of God's mind. Meditation does this, particularly when one has the vast understanding from prior psychedelic usage, a kind of energetic vision of where the path leads. But ultimately the rewiring process takes place at supra-subtle levels of mind that simply cannot be accessed via psychedelics due to their overwhelming power and intensity, as well as their transitory quality. The microcosmic changes meditation produces simply are not produced from psychedelics, but these changes are required to transform the meditator's mind into again, the mind of God. 

    Because this process of slowly transforming the mind is so delicate, subtle, and demands an extremely advanced attentional clarity, I am not convinced regular psychedelic usage makes sense for advanced practitioners. Occasional usage I think would have benefit. Perhaps once every 4 - 12 months. Psychedelics are also useful litmus tests for how strong one's practice is. If you can't remain clear while reality is crumbling around you, is your practice really that strong? However again, because the process of rewiring the mind from the unconscious to the conscious is so delicate, subtle, and demands an extremely advanced attentional clarity all of which frequent or even infrequent use of psychedelics can disrupt, I am not convinced regular psychedelic usage makes sense for advanced practitioners. This is most likely why teachers are against their usage. 

    The consequences of psychedelics on the energy body and ability for the mind to access subtle aspects of itself while in the sober state is not very well understood in the west. All of this being said, I am still a proponent of their use, especially for noobies, especially in the context of healing, and even more so in the context of existential risk.