tiistai 30. kesäkuuta 2020

Subtle Ignorance in Zen Buddhism

>>I saw you post about how many Zen folks sit in a very cursory level of Shamatha and call it a day. I thought it was hilarious. There are ALOT of unqualified Zen teachers out there for sure.




--I trained in rinzai zen where there is great emphasis on shamatha/samadhi. Then when a rinzai student has a meeting with roshi, the roshi shouts or hits the student with a stick and bang, it breaks the samadhi... to make the natural state appear, and this makes the student have kensho, proper recognition of the natural state. In dzogchen, they figured out that you don't need to develop samadhi by countless hours of concentration practice. You can just shout syllables yourself and have the same benefit. This means that by shouting or what we call Dynamic Concentration in Pemako Sangha, anyone can have instant release of the samsaric body and instant access to their buddhanature. This is why I do not teach shamatha at all because why would you want to put your time in something that is not it?

But yeah most zen groups I've seen over the past 20 years, just cultivate shamatha and a lot of them confuse that for the natural state or as they say shikantaza, or how I like to call it buddha nature sitting. They waste their time for years and years, even decades and think that that's it. Sometimes they might get lucky and have a glimpse or even a shift but then it doesn't ring their bells to make them question their views and methods. They think that that's how it is supposed to be, that you sit for ten thousand hours, have a moment of kensho, then you sit another ten thousand and have a kensho and so on... It is incredible waste of time. Again, this is something that dzogchen masters such as Longchenpa have made clear for centuries, that one should not confuse shamatha or samadhi with rigpa or the natural state. According to masters, this actually creates a karma that is very detrimental to real dharma practice. I actually have story about this but will save it for later. This is not what dharma professionals do.

Yes, there are many zen teachers with papers in order, all right. Unfortunately, most suffer of these basic problems and since they have so much faith for their tradition, I don't see it will change any time soon. The greatest masters like Hakuin or Linchi make it perfectly clear that kensho is the way and that there is no other way. Ugi sent me a message yesterday and said, "Not of lineage holders, not of Lamas, not of Tibetans, but of liberated beings." I think that there are very few people who really wish to know themselves fully, wish to become buddhas, because so many practitioners are so attached to the external paraphernalia of traditions. It is an awful trap to be in... Anyway, having said that, this problem of subtle ignorance is very very common at all places.

-Kim Katami

Pemako Buddhism, 

tiistai 16. kesäkuuta 2020

Chris’s Guidance to Awakening, by Lama Karl Eikrem

Chris’s Guidance to Awakening


*This guidance took place over a period of 7 days*


Chris: Hello Lama Karl,

I am writing to inquire about guidance to awakening.

I first heard about the 2PF on Reddit about a year ago via the r/streamentry subreddit. I have been practicing meditation on and off since I was 16 (almost 20 years, now), but more seriously over the past few years. I have some experience in Vipassana, Zen, and Vajrayana traditions and have practiced with a few sanghas but have never formally had a teacher.

Recently I became more interested in the 2PF. I am about half way through reading the Awake! book and have been practicing the 2PF for 30 minutes a day for the last 10 days. I have had some interesting experiences so far and am eager to deepen the practice. I have also listened to Kim's guided meditation on Insight Timer and watched a number of the testimonial videos that are on YouTube.

Please let me know what I will need to do in order to undertake guidance at this time, if such is available.

Thank you.

Karl: Hi Chris,

Good to hear from you. I’d be happy to help you out. It is good that you have many years of practice under your belt, it should make things easier.

We usually recommend people familiarise themselves with the 2pf for about two weeks before starting, but I’m happy to start straight away.
Shall we?

Chris: I just completed my morning meditation (30 minutes). This is day 12 of practicing with the 2PF for me, though only 1 session per day up till now. If you are interested, I kept a journal of my experiences so far, which I can send to you, or provide a summary.
Today (as in the past couple of days) I have had a harder time bringing up clear physical sensations in the I-based mode. I am trying to affirm 'I, I, I' quite strongly and with some emotion of frustration or vexation. I have to keep my voice low because I live in a large apartment complex, however, so sometimes it is more like a stage whisper. Currently, the 'I' feels like it is located in or behind the face, especially the eyes and cheeks. It appears to be centered right in between my eyebrows. In fact, over the past couple of days, I have had less and less physical sensations in response to the affirmations. Between the eyebrows, there is a mild feeling of pressure and sometimes tingling. Instead of a tight ball of energy, it feels wispy and diffuse. These sensations are subtle and therefore more difficult to follow. Sometimes I feel a bit of frustration that I am having a hard time with the technique or that more isn't happening. I feel the frustration or impatience in my chest and stomach, but then if I ask myself, "Who is feeling frustrated," it comes back to the point between the eyes.

Karl: Very good. Most people end up between the eyebrows, and it is totally normal that the sensations vary in intensity. The fact that it is getting weaker or more subtle is because you have been peeling the layers off it, just like peeling an onion. Ground yourself properly in the clarity of the I-less mode, so that your sensitivity to the change between the two modes increases. Forget about "more things happening" just work with what it taking place each moment. Everything sounds normal from your description, so there is no need to worry. One last point is that you don't have to say the affirmations out loud. All that matters is that you mean it when you say it. Another trick can be to remember specific memories that trigger the I-sensation strongly. 


Chris: During the I-less mode, I can mostly relax the body, and I have been trying to let my mind just melt into the parts of the body as they relax. I'm not totally sure that I understand the instructions for the I-less mode, or that I am doing it right. I do feel generally relaxed and spacious, but I am not sure I am reaching a true I-less state, because when I ask myself, "Where am I?" the attention will zoom right back to being behind the face. Does that make sense?

Karl: Also normal. Forget about reaching the "true I-less state" and just marinate in the relaxation and spaciousness. Another word for spaciousness is knowingness. Knowingness refers to the fact there there is absolutely no effort involved in feeling the natural sensations of the body. There is no doing there, there is just automatic, spacious knowing. And this knowing is completely natural and ordinary, no fireworks at all. So let go of the "trying" and just marinate in the natural relaxation. And don't bring up the "I", in the middle of the relaxation as that will bring you to the second mode. Take your time, several minutes.  
Chris: In my daily life, I have been feeling pretty good, overall. I am working full-time from home (due to the coronavirus) and just moved into a new apartment, so I have a lot of things on my to-do list, and certainly some stress. But I feel pretty resilient, and have very positive interactions with others. I do notice the 'I' coming up in my daily life, although perhaps more object-I than subject-I. For example, if I get a stressful email at work, I can watch the wave of anxiety rise and fall in my stomach. Or sometimes in work meetings, I notice myself wanting others to perceive me in a positive way.

Karl: Stressful can be good as it gives us an opportunity to study the "I". If anxiety etc comes up, simply trace it back to the root, the subject, what grasps or hangs onto the sensations.  

Chris: Last night I had a strange little experience. I woke up either in a dream (a moment of lucidity) or just after a dream. When I noticed I was conscious, I looked for the 'I' and, for a moment, there was nothing there. I fell back asleep soon after this. This morning, things seem to be normal.

Karl: Sounds like a glimpse to me. Very normal but a good sign indeed. Keep on going!

Chris: Thank you for your feedback. I am doing the 2PF twice per day now for 30 minutes each time. Last night was my first evening session, and I found myself feeling a bit sleepy. I wonder if it would be better for me to do my second meditation right after work/before dinner, rather than before bed? I also wondered if it would be better for me not to drink during the guidance? Normally I have a beer with dinner, and I just want to make sure that will not interfere with my meditation in the evening.

Karl: It doesn't really matter when you practice as long as you stick to the two daily sittings. If you find that you are too tired in the evening, feel free to experiment with a different schedule. As for drinking a beer or two, I don't see that it would be much of a problem in general, but again you have to see if it affects your ability to process. 

Chris: In last night's meditation, I again had only subtle sensations, mostly centred between the eyebrows. I tried your suggestion of bringing up memories related to the self. I ended up bringing up a bunch of memories in rapid succession, including many of the things in my life that were most painful to the 'I.' This intensified the sensations somewhat, but not as much as I expected. Occasionally I still have feelings of tightness around the solar plexus--almost like a band of pressure that goes around my torso, but mostly it is all centred between the eyebrows. 
Karl: Alright. As long as there is something that arises that can be studied, it is not a problem that it is more subtle. Also, if other sensations in the body are stronger than behind the eyes after affirmation, do check them out. Always go to the strongest sensation, regardless of where it is. 

Chris: In the I-less mode, I have been able to notice that there is no self required for sensory perception. As you said, awareness is already effortlessly aware of body sensations, sounds, objects in the visual field, and so on. The self is extra. 
Karl: Very good. You are clearly getting an experience of it. Keep marinating. 

Chris: I also noticed this as I took a walk after work yesterday. For several minutes, I was able to sink into this sense of not needing to do anything or think anything... just kind of allowing life to flow through me. There was a sense of peace, but still on a relative level. My thinking mind was kind of sputtering like an engine low on gas. Also, a few times during the day, I noticed myself thinking about something (my typical inner narrative) while my body was effortlessly executing some task without needing to think about it--like making a cup of tea. It made me realize that all that thinking and narrative is so unnecessary. 

Karl: Good. 

Chris: This morning's meditation was about the same, except with less sleepiness and more clarity. I am trying to really study the sensations between the eyebrows, though without trying to force anything. 
Karl: You are doing great. Just keep grounding yourself in the effortless clarity of the first mode, before bringing that clarity to whatever sensations arise after the affirmation. 

Chris: I am trying to take your advice and really ground myself in the I-less mode before applying myself to the affirmations. I think up till now, I have leaned a little more toward the I-based mode because of my eagerness to study the I and to "finish the job." But I realize the modes are equally important.
Karl: Yes, exactly. It is very common to focus too much on either one, but if you focus too much on the I-based mode you will not have clarity and get lost in identification with what arises. If one focuses too much on the I-less one will not able to weed out the root of the problem. Always both modes. 

Chris: But I realize the modes are equally important. In any case, I'm still not 100% sure I'm doing the I-less mode correctly. When I release a tension in the body, I seem to feel some warmth or vibration, rather than an empty space. I have just been letting my mind feel that, and continuing to move through the body. Sometimes once I've gone through several spots in the body, I do feel a kind of space open up--as if I'm sitting in the middle of a big, dark cavern. It is a generally peaceful and spacious feeling. 
Karl: Spaciousness or openness are just metaphors that specifically convey the lack of contraction, lack of self-hood. We are not necessarily talking about a big empty space (i.e. 3-dimensional space) etc. The warmth and vibration that you describe are perfectly valid descriptions of the I-less mode. Sometimes we can have "deeper" experiences as you describe, but just keep doing what you do without expecting anything. Do the sensations you experience when letting go feel more natural than the tensions? Freer? Check. 

Chris: When I go into the I-based mode, the affirmations are still bringing up quite subtle responses. I'm paying attention to all the body sensations that come up--not just between the eyes. But that is still where I feel it most strongly. The area of the sensations is quite small, about the size of an American quarter-dollar coin. If I had to describe the shape, it feels like a couple of strands of energy that are tied together--like a knot that has already been loosened somewhat--and turning and twisting around in space. The feeling is one of tingling or energy, sometimes a mild pressure. I have been feeling the same sensation come up a few times, walking around in my daily life. It grows stronger the more attention I pay to it.

Karl: If the sensations between the eyes are the strongest after doing the affirmation, then zoom into it and study it as closely as possible. Really get on the inside of it.. Does it have a centre?

Chris: A few times in my sitting meditations, I have noticed my mind wandering a bit. Much less than in other types of meditation I've practiced, but it is still there. Any tips on how to deal with this? I've tried Kim's advice of saying "Ha, ha!" or "Ho, ho!" sharply, and that seems to work at least temporarily.
Karl: The shouting of "Ha's" and "Ho's" is what I usually recommend if the wandering hinders the process. If a few reps don't do the trick, then you can try shouting it rythmically for longer. Like 30 seconds or so. That usually does it. Only use it to cut through to the first mode, though, not when studying the "I". 

Chris: I do notice that my narrative self is still quite active--always telling the story of what I'm doing, what I'm going to do next and so on. It even tries to co-opt awakening, like "Now I'm doing the guidance with Karl... I wonder if the process will work... If I do get awakened, it will be interesting to try the Rainbow Body Yoga, that sounds enjoyable..." and other such stuff. 

Karl: Nevermind, leave it be. Thoughts aren't really a problem when processing the 2PF, unless of course it's buzzing to the point where there is no focus.

Chris: Sorry for the length of my emails--if you have any feedback on how to make my reporting most effective (as well as my meditation), please let me know. Thank you again for your time.

Karl: As long as you are on point, which you are, the longer emails are no problem. Try out the things mentioned above and let me know how it goes. You don't have anything to worry about with regards to how the process is unfolding. Go on!

Chris: Thanks for your advice about the I-less mode, I feel less worried now that I am doing it wrong. I am relaxing the body and mind, and it certainly feels freer and more spacious than the I-based mode. In the I-based mode, when I do the affirmations, the sensations that come up are still centred between the eyes. It is mostly a feeling of pressure, now. On the other hand, I also sometimes feel like "I" am in the space behind the eyes. Is there a distinction between these two phenomena?

Karl: Good to hear about the I-less mode. The I-less mode is the true nature of sensations, of being, so it is hard to "do" it wrong if you simply stop doing so much and relax with what is… As for the "I" behind the eyes, whenever it feels that way, you should investigate it. Try this technique (similar to what you describe that you do in everyday life) when sitting as well.. Like this: 

Recognise the feeling of "me" looking out from behind the eyes. Usually when we look at some object there is a clear direction from behind the eyes and outwards. Notice this clerly. Then trace back along the opposite direction, all the way back to the "root" of seeing, the perceived "seer" in the space behind the eyes. Is there anybody in there? Anything solid? Let me know how it goes. 

Chris: Last night's meditation I was a little tired, but sinking into the I-less mode felt a bit more natural. As I relaxed into the body, there were times when the body felt very large, like it was taking up all the space in my awareness. That was interesting. 

Karl: Sounds good, keep relaxing into it without expectations. 

Chris: This morning, I had a little more trouble with monkey mind; thoughts coming up unrelated to the meditation. I dealt with these with a few 'ha's and 'ho's. Very little sensation coming up in response to the affirmations, so it was hard to investigate. Sometimes when this happens I've been asking, "Who is it that's frustrated?" and that brings me back to the feeling of 'I.' 

Karl: It seems to be a pattern that after very clear experiences like the ones you describe from the night before, the mind will get stirred and become more unruly. Nothing to worry about, just keep cutting through. 

Chris: I have tried the technique of looking behind the eyes, and it's interesting... again, there is just kind of the visual field (or darkness, if I have my eyes closed) and hearing. It feels like there is just a sense of 'presence' back there, but the presence still feels kind of centered in my head. There are very few thoughts when I put my attention there, but it seems to take effort... after a few seconds the seeing process goes back to normal. Maybe I am crossing my eyes a bit too when I do this? It's hard to describe.

Karl: Right. Did you try it with eyes open? I think this technique is easier if you have them open rather than closed. The idea is to see whether there is really something solid there looking out onto the «world» from behind the eyes. I know the feeling of crossing your eyes, but that is not necessary. You trace the direction of seeing back and look at «seer» with you attention rather than your physical eyes. 

Chris: Yes, I have tried this multiple times with my eyes open now... I cannot find anything solid. There is just seeing, hearing, and also a nebulous cloud of physical body sensations. If I repeat I, I, I, while paying attention to this space, it is just a sound. There is a feeling of presence, or of looking from a certain perspective--maybe the sense of self that remains to me is just an optical illusion caused by the position of the eyes in the head/on the body? Or the aggregation of seeing, hearing, and feeling so that it seems like it's all happening in one place? But that is already too theoretical.

My two most recent sits, last night and this morning, I have felt quite sleepy. In the I-less mode, I can sink into the body sensations and being in the moment. I noticed that when the body is aware of itself, hearing feels effortless, too, and I am just kind of letting the moment happen. The I-based mode is not so clear. Sometimes there are mild physical sensations (between the eyes), sometimes there is almost nothing, so that repeating 'I' feels like just making a sound with my mouth and throat, kind of a futile gesture and a little funny or ridiculous.

Karl: Could you take another picture of your face and send it along with the "before" picture so I can have a look at where we are at? Your comment that the "I" is just a sound makes me wonder if awakening might have happened. Is there anything that "sticks" so to speak when doing affirmations? 

Chris: Here you go.

*Photos not published in accordance with the wishes of the participant*

Karl:  I suggest that you take a break from the 2PF and relax for a few days. Notice how you feel in general, meeting other people, doing everyday activities. I’ll message you in a few days to see how you’re doing. OK?

Chris: That sounds like a good idea.
This morning, in my meditation, there was almost nothing that came up in response to the affirmations- it feels like the meaning of the words I, me, and mine has worn out and there is a vague sense that I can't tell who they are referring to. But I wonder if it's just from repeating them so many times, as in Titchener's repetition? When I asked, "Where am I?" and felt into it, there was some pulsing and tingling at the point between the eyes. But it feels more like 'I' am behind that, in the space of the head and the whole body, as a kind of field of sensation. When I look into that though, there is nothing really solid there, no 'self' that I can find, at least as far as I can tell.

However, off of the meditation cushion, I seem to feel normal. I will take a break from the 2PF and let you know how the weekend goes.

Karl: Sorry it took me a while longer than planned to get back to you. How are you doing? How did you feel not doing the 2PF? And have you tried the method again since taking a break? 

Chris: No problem. Thanks for writing back. I've had two weekend days and three workdays to explore and evaluate. Something does feel different. Ever since Friday (at least)... it's difficult to describe, but it feels like the pressure is off. There is a kind of ease. I don't have the pressure to be or do anything in particular. I do still have plenty of thoughts, including self-oriented thoughts, but they don't have the same pull for me--they feel like just a habit playing itself out. I have even had feelings of anxiety in my body (on Monday, we went back to the office after 2.5 months working from home) but they don't bother me as much as usual. Meeting and interacting with people feels quite easy.

I had not meditated since Friday. This morning I did sit for 30 minutes, but not with the 2PF, just sitting and doing nothing. I did notice some energetic activity around my ajna/third eye point during the sit.

Throughout this time, I have had a lot of thoughts like, "Wow, is this really it? Has something really changed? I can't quite put my finger on it." It seems possible that awakening has taken place. At the same time, I do not want to call the game prematurely if I haven't quite got it or if there is still more work to be done with the 2PF. My experience seems similar to some of the stories in the Awake! book, but also lacking some of the fireworks or romance of some of the other stories. Anyway, the truth is more important to me than clinging to any particular state or stage. I am grateful to you for the guidance so far and curious to hear what you think.

Karl: Good. Try the 2PF and let me know how it goes.

Chris: I have tried the 2PF again the last two mornings. In response to the affirmations, there either seems to be no response or some minor energetic activity around the ajna chakra. There is no real sense of tension, discomfort, or stuckness that I can discern. Should I keep practicing the 2PF or leave it alone, at this point?

My everyday life continues to feel oddly problem-free. There is a sense of lightness. However, I do notice that my verbal mind is chattering away as much as before (though the thoughts don't have the same kind of emotional pull, perhaps).

Karl: Yes. It was already evident from your photos that awakening had taken place, though as a policy I don't verify awakening unless the person recognises it themselves. Your description is classic in that it is not something "new" but just something dropping away. That's it. That is awakening. 

As for the remaining existential confusion, in Pemako Buddhism we divide the "selfing mechanism", the identification with passing forms, into three parts: (1) the subject self; the "I", (2) object selves; self-based thoughts, emotions and feelings, and (3) substrate conciousnes; sublte states of dullness of mind. As you have awakened to the truth of the emptiness of the first of these, the path forward will be focused on realisation the empty nature of the rest

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Chris: That is great news! Haha.

Karl: Yes, it is indeed good news.

Chris: Thank you. I truly appreciate your help in my awakening process. The change feels subtle but significant. I feel like a thorn has been removed from my foot--but one that's been there my whole life.

Karl: You are very welcome. It is wonderful to be in a position able to help other people with this problem of problems. Besides, you were very easy to work with as you did most of the job yourself. Cheers!

*

Relevant links:
Guidance to Awakening, offered by Pemako Buddhist teachers

*

Pemako Buddhism, www.pemakobuddhism.com

maanantai 15. kesäkuuta 2020

As a pragmatic Vajrayana practitioner I'm really impressed by... Written by Ugi Muller

As a pragmatic Vajrayana practitioner I'm really impressed by...

by Ugi Muller

As a pragmatic Vajrayana practictioner I'm not really impressed by ...

... traditions.
... titles.
... the "argument" that age automatically makes credibility.
... geographical origins.
... number of years "spent" in retreat.
... glorified secrecy.
... hierarchy.
... personal worship.
... scholastic elitism.
... non-innovation

As a pragmatic Vajrayana practitioner I'm really impressed by ...

... sticking to what really works.
... the courage to question old ways.
... discussing real attainments.
... transparency regarding fruits of practice.
... emphasis on the universal core of the Dharma.
... innovative new practices.
... real experiental accounts.
... critical self-evaluation.
... teachings from personal experience.
... the use of a fresh and experiental language.
... real accessibility of teachers.
... practitioners and teachers meeting at eye level.
... open-mindedness.

Deep bow to all past and present masters as well as the pioneers of pragmatic Dharma!

-Ugi Muller, teacher in training

Pemako Buddhism, www.pemakobuddhism.com

 *


perjantai 5. kesäkuuta 2020

Why awaken? How does awakening make Dzogchen & Mahamudra practice easier? by Ugi Muller

Why awaken? How does awakening make Dzogchen Atiyoga & Mahamudra practice easier?


By Ugi Muller

Imagine that you are in a big garden full of all kinds of plants, trees and animals. To many of these plants and animals you have a fearful and hostile attitude. You want to keep them away from you. On the other hand, many of these plants you like a lot and want to keep them close, even possess them. Now you heard of the Buddha’s nondual teachings and want to attain Buddhahood in this life time. You know that this entails one job only: looking directly at every plant, every animal and everything in the garden to see their true nature.

That’s a very challenging job. It means that you have to face all the plants and animals you always wanted to keep away from. And it means to let go of all your beloved ideas about the plants and animals you like. You’ll have to completely drop every point of reference and orientation you’ve ever had.

That’s the gardener’s Dzogchen Atiyoga and Mahamudra practice. Very challenging, it’s asking all of you.

Now as if this wasn’t challenging enough, there’s another obstacle you’re confronted with. You are bound to a strong pole in the middle of the garden by rubber bands. Wherever you try to go, it always immediately pulls you back to that pole. As if it is magnetic. This is actually so normal for you that you take it as a law of nature like the gravity that keeps your feet to the ground.

Without any awareness of your attachment to the pole you just don’t get far with your practice. Whenever you try to walk up to and look into the nature of a plant or animal, the rubber bands draw you back to the pole, making it very hard to even get a proper look at what’s there to be looked at. It makes this already challenging task of direct looking a 100 times more strenuous. You spend 95% of your practice time struggling against the rubber bands and maybe just 5% directly looking. And you don’t even know that it’s happening!

Now fortunately you see someone walking through the garden and he lets you know that you’re tied to a pole. You look down your body and for the first time you see it. “What the duck, all this time I’ve spent being tied to this pole and strained my ass doing anything, thinking that life is just this hard.” You see that being tied to this pole is not necessary or natural at all! And within no time you remove all the rubber bands from your body. You can’t believe that you actually thought being tied to this pole was part of your being.

Now you are able to walk freely through the garden and follow through with your challenging practice of looking at the true nature of all the plants and animals, the ones feared aswell as the ones hoped for. Finally, you are able to give a 100% of your focus to the practice itself and not to the struggle to even get there.

So what does this garden story have to do with awakening and Dzogchen/Mahamudra? Awakening is realising that there is a pole in your mind that you thought yourself attached to. And letting go of it. This pole is the subject consciousness, the more or less constant energetic impression of being a personal self which is located behind your eyes. It’s a strict filter that frames all our sense consciousnesses in a dualistic and personal way. It renders all experience around a poor me and makes pretty much a huge anxious drag out of everything.

Not seeing this subject self at work makes Dzogchen/Mahamudra practices extremely and especially unnecessarily difficult. Being awakened to this subject’s non-existence on the other hand makes an effective and fast Dzogchen/Mahamudra practice possible. You just can get to the task directly without the drag of personal drama. And it’s much more fun this way …

If that sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend to you to look into the Two-Part Formula of Pemako Buddhism. It’s a proven and very quick way to achieve awakening and to spare you years, decades or even life times of unnecessary struggle.

You can find the Two-Part Formula in this free ebook together with many real people’s accounts of awakening and losing their pole:

https://www.pemakobuddhism.com/114
May all beings be free!
Ugi, teacher in training

keskiviikko 27. toukokuuta 2020

My Experience of Garab Dorje's Three Vital Points by Ugi Muller

My Experience of Garab Dorje's
Three Vital Points

by Ugi Muller


My experience and understanding of a fruitful teacher-student relationship displayed in regards to Garab Dorje's three vital points:

Point 1: »Introducing directly the face of rigpa itself.«

This is the part of the teacher (besides the necessary readiness of the student). The main job of the teacher is to introduce the student to the experiental recognition of the nature of mind. All the teacher does, is either a preparation for this (if individually necessary) or the actual pointing-out in whatever most effective way he knows of at the time.

As I see it, a lot of teachers today are either unable or unwilling to really follow up on their job. To not bullshit around, for the sake of tradition or whatever, but to really provide what they're here to provide: pointing out the nature of mind. To do whatever they can do to make that happen with students who are ready for it.

Pointing-out instructions or direct transmissions are regarded as something very rare and special by so many students and teachers. Of course they are. But in Vajrayana, this rarity IS the daily business - or should be. Buddhahood in this life-time. It's the goal, not a myth. And you train exactly in that, not in whorshipping it …

Garab Dorje


Point 2: »Deciding upon one thing and one thing only.«

This is the part of the student. The teacher cannot take this decision for the student. Not even Guru Rinpoche can. The student has to trust the introduction he received to decide on it again and again and again (practice). In good and in bad times. This way he gains certainty. The teacher cannot provide certainty until the student is ready to decide to be certain.

Of course, the precondition is the fullfillment of point Nr. 1. However, there are so many students who believe that the teacher has all the answers and power, and that they should ask him/her about everything. They don't really start putting things into practice because they don't dare to decide that they can do it. This move is entirely up to the student.

Trusting the liberating authority of the teacher only works if you recognise your own authority. They have to come together. Or else, it's just worship and cultish followership. The student has to acknowledge and fullfill his part of the "deal". The teacher is not here to be worshiped or to be put on a pedestal. He/she is here to help you switch the light on. He can show you where the switch is but you have to pull it.

Point 3: »Confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.«

That's the actual practice that blasts all samsaric clinging. It starts to happen when point 1 and 2 are achieved. Of course, one still may have questions about certain obstacles or aspects of the practice and here the teacher is the one to turn to. However, only when an actual teacher-student relationship has been established. The teacher points to the way again and the student decides to follow up on that, trusting the teacher by trusting himself (and vice versa).

Looking at the state of modern day Vajrayana, I've been immeasurably fortunate to have found Pemako and to be able to experience the fruits of such an actual teacher-student relationship. Deep bow to Kim Rinpoche, Guru Padmasambhava and the Pemako Sangha.

I don't claim absolute truth with this little elaboration of mine here but I trust that it might be useful or interesting for some :)

May all beings be free!
 
-Ugi Muller, practitioner of Pemako Buddhism
5/2020

perjantai 15. toukokuuta 2020

Spiritual Carnivores - Buddhist Ex-Vegetarians Describe Their Experiences With Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Diets

Spiritual Carnivores

Buddhist Ex-Vegetarians Describe Their Experiences
With Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Diets


Kim's Account


I was a vegetarian for 15 years, until the age of 40. I became a vegetarian after being introduced to buddhism and yogic practice because it seemed like that was one of the things I was supposed to do. Back then it made sense to me that eating meat means killing animals which directly breaks the basic buddhist precept of nonharming. Now, I see that this kind of thinking is onesided but for several years vegetarian, or to be exact, dairy-egg-vegetarian diet worked fine for me. On the other hand, these years were ”easy” for me as I didn't have a lot of responsibilities.

I always ate a balanced diet of vegetarian food. However, for a period of 7-8 years at the end of my 15 years as a vegetarian, my life got really hard and stressful. I was badly burnt out for 3½ years, we had two children with my ex-wife, I had to work overtime every day and I was the one who had to earn enough money to pay the bills. During this time, which also coincided with metabolical change that comes around the age of 30, I had to eat big heaps of vegetarian food to meet the demand of energy but already an hour later, I was hungry. Veg food just didn't have the nutrition and energy my body needed so I was hungry most of the time. I was also going to the toilet 2-5 times a day. It just came through without providing sustaining energy. I got so much carbohydrates from grains (bread and pasta) that I gained a lot of weight. At the end of my vegetarian days (in 2019), I weighed 115 kilograms which is way too much for someone my height (173 cm).

By 2019 I was completely fed up having to eat so big portions while being hungry all the time, while getting fatter and fatter. I had taken iron supplements for 2-3 months that helped a bit but made not big enough difference. It was at this point when my good friend Lama Karl, who himself had suffered of constant tiredness and hungryness, told me that his problems stopped by eating meat. I was also aware of Dr Jordan Peterson's and his daughter's amazing accounts in favour of carnivore diet.

I started eating meat in July 2019. From my first burger, my energy levels went up to make me feel normal. I felt very natural, grounded, clear minded and well, and was surprised when I didn't need to eat but a third of the meal size I did before. I didn't feel constantly hungry anymore and I could, if necessary, stretch the interval between meals up to 7-8 hours. That was revolutionary! Meat was precisely what my body had needed for many years but my unquestioned religious ideas kept me from even considering eating meat.

I admit that in the beginning eating meat was a bit like the second challenge of Fear Factor where the contestants compete on eating gross things. But then I developed appreciation about the fact that a being, such as a lamb, pig or a cow had given their lives for me to get proper nutrition. I didn't (and don't) take that lightly.

Ever since my first meal of meat I have prayed for the animal or animals that have given their bodies. I always ask Buddha Amitabha's blessings for them and all production animals around the world. Everytime I do that I perceive that blessings reach these spirits and change their presence and future. Because I am a practicing tantric yogi, eating their meat is a great blessing that directly affects them. When it gets personal, me eating their flesh, the outcome of the prayer becomes much more powerful than if I just prayed for any or all animals without personal connection.

I believe it is for these both reasons, 1. proper nutrition for a layman with work and many responsibilities and 2. directly helping animals who are on the lower spokes of the realms of existence according to buddhist theory, that tantrics of history have typically eaten meat. Like some other things in buddhism, I think that vegetarian diet is something that the monastic establishment pushed into buddhism and by doing so made an idealistic disservice for those, who require more energy than monastics do.

Writing this, I am 41 years old. I eat meat on all meals and have never felt better. To finish my account I would like to share simple instructions about how to pray for the dead animals.

  • If you make your meal yourself, you can chant a mantra of your choosing for the animal while preparing the meal.

  • When you have the plate in front of you, look at the meat and try to sense a connection with the animal spirit who inhabited the meat before. Then in your mind or aloud, chant the mantra of Amitabha Buddha at least three times,
    Namo Amitabha, Namo Amitabha, Namo Amitabha”

  • You can do more than three but three repetitions is enough and gets the job done. Chanting of the mantra brings in or reveals Amitabha Buddha in your mind. This energy is then automatically projected through the meat into the animal spirit, and because of this, if you have the sensitivity, you can directly see or sense how Buddha Amitabha's blessing changes the whole karmic destiny of the animal. Now you have done a dharmic deed that greatly helps the animals and blessed your food.

Thank you for reading. May all beings be free,

Kim Rinpoche, 15.5.2020


Rorik's Account


My good friend Kim Katami has asked me to write a little piece about my journey to an ancestral diet . . . eating meat. I’ve never met Kim in person, but I have a strong feeling of kinship with him; we are very similar people, and I admire his work in presenting a practical Dharma system for Westerners.

Like Kim, I was a vegetarian for the better part of 15 years because of spiritual motivations, and the guidance of many great teachers, and most recently was a vegan for 3 years. Being a vegan simply destroyed me. You could say that the 3 years of veganism quickly finished off what few reserves I had left from the slow starvation of vegetarianism. I didn’t know it at the time, but 100% plant-based diets are worse than total deprivation of nutrients for people of my genetic heritage; I know this because I have found fasting to be very healing. I bought into all the happy feel-good propaganda of the Vegan SJWs and their Marxist vision of a world without suffering, where every animal is worshipped and divine, and humans are the monsters.

As a vegetarian I noticed that I tired more easily, and that I was always tired to some degree; low in energy, and placid in mind; the sort of placidness that tends to mental laziness rather than alert vigilance. This developed into chronic fatigue after some years. The first 6 – 8 months of 100% plant-based diet was relatively good; I got some positive results with weight loss, and a temporary boost of energy, but a year later the weight began to come back, the energy levels plummeted, and I began to have other problems such as sleep apnea and fibromyalgia, with high levels of joint and muscle pain. I also felt very smug in my new peak of ethical behaviour; oddly enough, I did not then draw a connection between my diet, and the flood of new health problems coming to me, or the constant mental fog.

Let’s be clear about mental fog . . . it is a physical condition caused by systemic inflammation and the deprivations of fatty acids, contributed heavily to by a gut-biome that is very unhealthy. It is also known as depression. Vegans have one thing in common across the world: more than half of long-term vegans have clinical depression and anxiety.

Some will question whether I did veganism properly. The answer to that is that I have a couple years of university level nutritional education, and that I have eaten what is commonly understood to be an almost ideal diet for most of my life. As far as veganism goes, I did everything right; I took supplements, ate nutrient dense foods, stayed away from the vegan faux-meat/cheese products, and took in plenty of greens, and whole vegetables in large variety. I had an ideal vegan diet, and had great discipline in maintaining it. None of this protected me from the consequences of veganism.

Earlier in my life, in periods that I was not fully vegetarian (but held it as the ideal to be attained) I noticed that whenever I consumed a large medium-rare steak, that for the next few days I would have more energy and zest for life. At the time I simply did not understand why this would be so. For me, my departure from veganism coincided with my discovery of the Marxist takeover of animal rights groups and the major Vegan movements. When I saw through all their propaganda and coercion, along with all the collusion and corruption coming from big Agra, I was fairly furious. It was then that I began to examine the facts about environmentalism and a traditional farming model. I quickly realized that almost nothing cited by the prominent voices of environmentalism and a plant-based diet were true. Sure, big factory farming meat production is horrendous and not as healthy as it could be, but even at that . . . meat from these sources is still far healthier for you than eating an Impossible Burger/Beyond Meat, or any of the other highly processed manufactured protein meat-imitations. I made a decision to put animal-based foods back into my diet. At this point a lot of things started to get better slowly. But then I began to pay attention to various voices talking about the ancestral diet, and why one simply cannot go against thousands of years of specific regional evolution.

Our ancestors ate specific foods that worked for their region and weather patterns for tens of thousands of years, and one person coming from a genetic stream is not going to change that in just 50 years of their life. One is literally trying to swim up a water fall, if you will. I would go so far to say that if you have a significant amount of genetic heritage from Northern Europe or Asia, you simply cannot be healthy without meat. During one of my elimination diets, used to determine food reactions, I found that I could handle butter, and cheese from Europe (but not North American cheese). This was odd. Why no cheese or milk from North America? (I can get into that later if anyone wants to know.) I found out that I could not tolerate any processed vegetable oils. I discovered that bread, pasta, or anything produced from wheat was completely intolerable. I found out that all processed sugar is slow suicide; and in the end I discovered that virtually any packaged (frozen, canned, in a box, or pre-prepared) food was uneatable. This brought me to an anti-inflammatory diet, composed of just whole, fresh prepared food from a limited list of options. At this point I was feeling much better, and I knew I was on to something great. Then I discovered that the more meat I ate, and the less vegetables, the better I felt . . . more energy, better mood, sharper mind, more strength, etc. Here is where I began to seriously listen to proponents of the ancestral diet, those who advocated for a keto-genic diet, and the carnivore advocates. I have adopted most of their guidelines. Now I eat mostly meat (beef, lamb, some pork, foul, and fatty fish) with some fermented vegetables and small amounts of well-cooked greens. During periods of several days when I eat nothing but meat I notice a big difference. Why is this true? I have no doubt that it is because this is the way my ancestors ate for eons of time. Humans were never plant-based eaters.

Humans evolved into what we are because they began to eat large amounts of animal fat; our brains evolved to have higher functions, and developed greater size and capacity because of heavy protein and fat intake. Humans are naturally carnivores, who in some scenarios developed the capacity to ingest limited amounts of plants as a survival strategy (for when wild game was scarce). For most of us Europeans and Asians, we have a surprising amount of Neanderthal genes, along with some Denisovan, and Homo Heidelbergensus genes (otherwise called “an unknown species”). All of these ancient ancestors were exclusively carnivores. One does not go against nature and win. Genetic science and paleo-anthropology trumps ideas held to be sacred. There may be people in the world who can be on 100% plant-based diet for many years and appear to do well, but most of us cannot. Vegans say you can survive on a plant-based diet, and that may be true for a period of time, but you cannot thrive on it. This does not even figure in all the chronic health problems that arise from nutrient deprivation, or the major diseases that can precipitate from inflammation and a glucose burning metabolism. Human metabolism is naturally a fat-burning metabolism, but we have developed the ability to shift to glucose burning, for survival during times of scarcity. Even at that, being in glucose burning metabolism is less than ideal, and is not conducive to exuberant vitality and long-term health.

Today, with the modern industrialised diet, systemic inflammation has become the root of all modern diseases. Some call it the S.A.D. (standard American diet) but the truth is that this is endemic to all modern industrialised nations. Most packaged foods have enormous amounts of refined sugar, unhealthy salt, and ridiculous amounts of processed vegetable oils. This appeals to human instinct because we are genetically programmed to go after nutrient rich food, with high fat and salt. Salt was often scarce in ancient diets, so much so that salt was as valuable a precious metals. Fruits, berries, and honey were seasonal treats, so sweet foods were coveted. This hunger for fat, salt, and sweet is the formula for all junk food; only now food is being produced using refined sugar and highly processed vegetable oil. Both are highly inflammatory to the body and generate disease. Now here is the conundrum: if you eliminate all processed foods, and eat only whole fresh foods that are seasonal and regional, what do you have left to eat that will build health, and heal illnesses? The answer is meat, and butter fat. Meat heals; butter and fat heals. Our bodies and especially our brains and nervous system craves high quality fat. Meat and animal fat is the only super-food there is. This presents a dilemma for someone who believes that abstaining from meat is required to live an ethical life in harmony with standard Dharma teachings, to attain enlightenment.

How did I reconcile the spiritual dimension of food, with the fact that my body requires animal fat? My reasoning may not satisfy the rigour of some people’s expectations or demands. I can only honestly present how I understand and approach it. First, it is a given for me that science trumps religious claims (yes, veganism is a religious cult). The facts of genetics and paleoanthropology are clear that up till the dawn of specialised agriculture (9,000 years ago) and the early appearance of cities, humans were dominantly carnivore; especially the human races who lived closer to the Arctic Circle, i.e. my ancestors. The genetic group that my body hails from were Mammoth hunters, and then moved on to auroch herd predation. Just at the beginning of the end of the Ice Age some of them moved north, and over the next 8,000 to 10,000 years became the people that we are now. This is where my genetic heritage comes from . . . from hundreds of thousands of years of eating mostly meat, probably with seasonal berries, some herbs and small amounts of non-cultivated fruit, some honey occasionally, and . . . 8 to 9 months every year with preserved and fresh meat during the long cold winters.

This is the body I was born with; it requires meat to be healthy and vital. A plant-based diet has proven to me that it does not work. It produces fatigue, low energy, joint and soft-tissue pain, low mood, and depression with anxiety. Proper meat intake healed those problems. As long as I eat plenty of fatty meat and offal (nose to tail), fatty fish, eggs and lots of butter, I have energy, I don’t get tired, depression fades away, and I have the mental clarity and sense of well-being to function as a normal human being. My meat based diet has also healed other serious chronic diseases that I’m not specifying, but could talk about later. My noetic practices (meditation) are richly benefitted, as I don’t automatically descend into a lethargic state of mind that I have to fight to rise above. The mental clarity and quality of awareness shining through my synapses now is brilliant!

From a Dharma point of view, is it immoral or unethical for a tiger to eat only meat? No. A tiger is designed to eat the deer and gazelles. I was designed to also eat like a tiger. The wolf is the same. Interestingly, by categorisation humans fit the definition of a cursorial predator; with our eyes set forward (like wolves and large cats), and our capacity to run prey down – our ancestors used to hunt just like wolves, running the animals in large circles, tag teaming them until the prey was exhausted and then taking the game. Our so-called closest cousins by genetics, the chimpanzees and bonobos also hunt, and require meat, and they hunt in teams just like we used to.

I recognise that my body is a part of Samsara, that it is an integral aspect of the endless cycle of relativity, that has arisen through dependent origination, and that its nature is not changeable to a more ideal standard set by beliefs. It is what it is. I also recognise that the samsaric nature of suffering is not effected by anything that we do, no matter how ethical or pure we think it may be. We can only eradicate the sources of suffering in ourselves, and act with the hope that we can aid other suffering intelligent beings who have made themselves receptive to our aspirations.

Being a part of the cycle of nature, I understand that the animal’s body is given to me for sustenance, because that is its purpose. Its death is not in vain, or meaningless, or even a tragedy, but fulfils its own dharma, or reason for being. If we understand the cycle of life and nature, accept it as it is, if we honour and value the animals we eat, if we give thanks for their lives, appreciate the depth of the cycle of nature, and pray for their liberation, there is no moral or ethical issue at all. The sin/error is in being mindless consumers devoid of any thoughts about the ethical, and with no regard to optimising our bodily health. People who follow the ancestral diet contribute positively to the health and balance of the planet’s ecology, and diversity of species in ecosystems. Ruminates prevent soil-erosion, contribute to diversity of species in their ecosystem, and restore land to health – they even effect weather patterns positively.

For all the SJW types out there who will be outraged by what I have said, there are only a few solutions that will work to heal the earth from the devastation of the industrial revolution, and mass consumerism: 1) encouraging grass-fed, free-range ruminates for food; 2) a massive campaign to plant trees of all differing species across the earth, and planting industrial hemp in the arid regions; 3) and the intelligent and compassionate decision to bring human populations down to manageable levels, to live in perfect harmony with our ecosphere – not by systematically destroying ourselves with an unnatural diet of just plants.

The irony of veganism is that it is only highly privileged first-world people who can meet their ideal of an animal free diet, and most of them do it by filling their guts with faux foods made with intensive industrial processes (anything but natural). Their primary sources of food such a beans, rice, and soy products are derived from industrial agricultural operations that are highly destructive to the environment. They fill their stomachs with exotic fruit and vegetables that do not grow where they live, but have to be transported by aeroplane. The greatest destruction is from the sugar and oil industries. But the person who eats close to the land, produces his own food, and raises his own beef, pork, lamb, and foul is actually helping to regenerate the environment. I think at this point that the most ethical and positive thing we can do for the world is to embrace our true biological nature and requirements, and to eat what our bodies are meant to eat, and insist that our food comes from grass-fed ethically farmed sources.

Finally, years ago, I remember one Buddhist teacher saying in response to a question about eating meat, that these animals we eat, came into the world with this purpose, and that they fulfil their dharma by giving their lives for us, and thus move toward liberation. I agree. There is no ethical problem at all . . . unless we fail to appreciate this, and offer thanks and gratitude. The stories about high Lamas and Rinpoches having a special fondness for double-cheese burgers, and washing them down with vodka comes to mind. Many of them publically teach the necessity of a vegetarian life for serious practitioners, but in private life they don’t believe it at all. It’s no wonder . . . Tibetans for tens of thousands of years have depended on a diet composed mostly of yak meat and butter. There’s not much that can grow in Tibet besides a few herbs and animals. One cannot go against nature and win. Even Guru Rinpoche had no compunction about eating meat, drinking wine, and . . . a few other practices we “moral” people consider as vices. Did this negatively affect his outstanding achievement, and the attaining of the Rainbow Body? No. Case closed.


Matt's Account


Matt: I'm half-Finnish and was vegetarian for ~2.5 years total due to my Buddhist practice. I no longer wanted to eat factory-farmed animals, which are raised in conditions of extreme cruelty, or even any living thing that had been killed for meat. I was careful to get enough protein and other nutrients. During my vegetarian phases, I generally gained weight, felt bloated & slightly nauseous, and was never completely full or satiated no matter how much or what types of vegetables I ate. These symptoms would disappear as soon as I ate meat. I have greater mental clarity when eating meat as well. I finally came to the conclusion that I’m constitutionally best suited to an omnivorous diet. It was easier to accept this knowing that the Dalai Lama is apparently the same way--he had health problems that only abated when he stopped practicing vegetarianism. I primarily eat meat and vegetables with no starches and few carbohydrates in general. I also incorporate long periods of fasting (with appropriate electrolyte supplementation). This diet has produced the best mental and physical health for me overall.


Lucy's Account


I'm glad this has been raised. I don't think all vegetarians suffer from low energy. Some people are suited to it but I wasn't.   My daughter and her partner are vegans and persuaded me that eating meat was unethical. I also went off the texture of meat and felt giving it up was the right decision at the time.  

I only did it for a year and got severe anaemia. I lived on iron tablets and extra spinach and kale, all the while having mad cravings for red meat, usually steak. I even dreamt about eating red meat, steak pies covered in gravy, or oxtail stews where the meat falls of the bone.  Much to my disgust, at the time.

I had brain fog and just limped through that year. I was tired all the time and put it down to age. On my days off I could sleep in and still nap again in the afternoon then sleep through the night. I thought my days of high energy levels were over. I went to stay with Lama Karl at the sangha house in Birmingham.  The smell of pork chops grilling made me salivate and cravings for meat were at an all time high.  I'm certain my body knew what it was lacking, just as it did when I was pregnant.  I would crave certain food types that my body required and reject others.

Once I made the decision to eat meat again, a few weeks later, my energy levels rose really quickly. I wasn't tired all the time. Consequently my skin improved. I no longer had dark shadows around my eyes.  The ideal diet for me includes meat, fish, vegetables and full fat dairy. My digestive system is at it's best then. 

Carbohydrates also have a negative impact on my body, although I still eat them.  I try to listen to my body though. I was sick for a year.


Karl's Account


By Lama Karl Eikrem: I have been interested in spirituality, meditation and yoga for about a decade. For most of that time I have also believed that there was something “unspiritual” about the practice of eating meat. Looking at the spiritual scene with its widespread focus on plant-based diets and black and white interpretations of the principle of non-harm, this isn’t very shocking. Thus for the past decade I have periodically avoided eating meat, and during the periods I have eaten meat for various reasons, the idea that it was “bad” somehow kept lingering in the back of my mind ultimately directing me back to the kingdom of plants.
In fact, the idea seemed so to me so integral to spiritual practice that I would probably never have questioned its validity if it hadn’t been for the fact I am a long time sufferer of various chronic health problems. These problems include digestive issues, more specifically IBS, as well as systemic inflammation of the body manifesting most notably as an array of skin problems. 
 
I have always believed these problems to be related to diet somehow, and therefore I have experimented with many different ways of eating throughout the years. Diets I have experimented with range from high-meat/low carb, such as the Paleo diet, to fruit-based raw veganism. Because of this experimentation with a wide selection of diets, I have gained a pretty good picture of what works for my body and not. Nevertheless, I must admit that despite my personal knowledge, the ideology of the “spiritual” plant-based diets skewed my thinking for years, leading me to go back to diets I knew were not optimal for me. 
 
In fact, it was quite early on in my experimentation that I realised the benefit of a high meat diet. Regardless, it took me years and years of going back and forth between eating meat and not eating meat until I simply had had enough and started trusting my own experience. 
 
I remember driving back from the Pemako Buddhist Spring Retreat of 2019, dealing with severe bloating and stomach pain, as well as badly inflamed skin, having eating the high-carb vegetarian diet that was the standard for our retreats back then (ironically I was the cook!). It was then, in the midst of my physical pain, that my teacher casually mentioned something about tantric practitioners always having eaten meat. 
 
Now, a few weeks prior to this I had come across a particular diet called The Gut and Psychology Diet (GAPS), which had seemed promising in dealing with my particular ailments. The only problem was of course that it was highly meat-based, including very little plant foods at all. Nevertheless, when I heard my teachers comment something clicked in my mind and I said to myself: “Fuck it! I am done with this veggie bullshit!” 
 
So when I got back I started the diet. Now, the GAPS diet is an elimination type diet where you eliminate all foods but bone broth, meat and maybe one or two vegetables for up to a week. Then over a longer period you introduce more and more foods like eggs, fermented dairy, some veggies and fruits until you have a relatively normal diet that is high in nutrient dense ingredients that are supposed to be healing for the gut. 
 
The reason I mention that is that during the first few weeks of primarily eating bone broth soups with meat and a perhaps a carrot or squash, I saw major improvements. This was especially the case with my digestion but also to a certain degree regarding the skin problems. However, interestingly enough, as soon as I started introducing more plant foods into my diet my problems started flaring up again. It was then that I started wondering whether perhaps plant foods were a major contributor to my worsening health. 
 
Subsequently, I went full carnivore, eating a diet consisting only of meat, fish and eggs, salt and water. What happened after I made the switch was way beyond my expectations. Not only did my IBS completely go away within a week, but my skin healed fully as well. No more itchy eczema on the face, no more dandruff, no more weird red dots on my forehead. 
 
Furthermore, after a few more weeks a whole array of problems that I didn’t even know I had started lifting. My frequent headaches, my bad breath, flaky skin on hands and feet, the body odour, all went away within a month. Even my mood swings balanced out and my energy levels improved. When working out I felt like I had an extra gear that I hadn’t previously been aware of and my body’s ability to deal with lactic acid build-up improved greatly. In short I felt great for the 4-5 months were I strictly ate animal products only. 
 
Importantly, I saw absolutely no adverse effects on my meditation practice from eating meat. On the contrary, the positive effects it had on my body and mind actually made me better able to practice due to having more energy and a clearer mind. 
 
Unfortunately, because I travel a lot and because I am not the most disciplined person in the world, I eventually started cheating here and there, eating “normal food” at restaurants etc. This would always lead me into a spiral of eating more and more carbohydrates as they are highly addictive by nature. Interestingly, what happened whenever I did this was that my symptoms come back right away. On the bright side, as long as I eat enough meat, it doesn’t get as bad as it used to be, but nevertheless, the carbohydrates and plants in general seem to affect me very negatively and I always start healing again when eating animal foods only. 
 
In short, over the past year it has become obvious to me that “spiritual” vegetarianism/veganism is little more than ideology. Unexamined beliefs passed on from one person to another, spreading like a virus. And while I have nothing against people who eat in this way or that way, I believe it is highly problematic when certain diets are presented as being more in accordance with spirituality than others. To me, such notions are nothing but religious fundamentalism and, as such, quite contrary to authentic spirituality. Thank you.