I listened to the first few minutes (up to 9 minutes) of this Guru Viking podcast where meditation/mindfulness and neuroscientists discuss some called "enlightenment button".
In the beginning Dr Jay Sanguinetti defines enlightenment button as, "neurotechnologies that make mindfulness faster... that could be a device that you put on your head and push a button..."
I like that some people make these efforts trying to come up with technological inventions that would enable deeper meditation or mindfulness practice but at the same I would like to point out that this button has already been invented long ago, and there are practitioners, though a minority, who keep pushing this button in their daily practices. I have talked and written a great deal of this over the years but I'll repeat the key points.
All buddhist meditation, as well as secular mindfulness methods are based on using and developing mindful attention to calm down the mind and its many movements. This is the basic view in the vast majority of all meditation methods in the whole world.
The immediate difficulty and great challenge with this approach is that it is very demanding and difficult to pursue for the simple fact that you have the endlessly restless self-based mind that you try to tame by cultivation of mindfulness. To my delight, Shinzen Young goes further to discuss nondualistic experience, that is, awakening or enlightenment, in relation to this but I see obvious problems in this equation.
It is possible to experience calmness and tame the mind with typical mindfulness exercises but it takes lots of time and effort to do it. When I say lots, it means hundreds or thousands of hours. To have that much time for practice is possible only to very few so this isn't a reliable way for most people who have limited time for practice. The reason why this is so is because these methods are derived from monastic traditions. Monastics don't have much else to do with their time than sit in meditation. Anyone who has ever given a try to the these practices, know how difficult and consequentially time consuming they are.
However, there are different types of practices and paradigms that come from a long tradition of lay practitioners and work in very different way. These practices are now just beginning to arrive to popular awareness. I'm talking about dynamic practices that are types of concentration exercises but are not quietive. These practices are thousand times easier than quietive mindfulness practices. They are also easy and quick to learn, and to apply.
I have taught Dynamic Concentration both as a buddhist teacher as well as a secular mindfulness teacher for years now. I have also founded a mindfulness method, Master Mindfulness, that teaches this in secular non-religious setting. See: https://mastermindfulness.fi/mindfulness-2-0/
From my book, What's Next? On Post-Awakening Practice, p 22:
"Being concentrated means that ones attention is concentrated, focused one-pointedly on a single object of focus. This object of focus can be the movement of the breath on some particular location in the body, such as the lower belly or the bridge of the nose, it can be a mantra consisting of a single syllable or many syllables, a visualisation and so on.
Concentration practices are commonly taught with low intensity. For example, when mindfulness of the movement of the breath (p. anapanasati, skt. prana apana smriti) is taught, the student is instructed to keep his attention gently on the breath and return the attention back to the object when distracted. In a similar way, when mantras are recited, they are always recited with gentle concentration, never with high intensity, with stronger or even explosive focus. This light or gentle focus can be compared to a volume knob of a stereo system. In this example light focus is analoguous to low level which produces low but still audible volume of music. This would equal perhaps 5-10% of the total volume output. However, the volume knob can be turned higher. It goes up to 30%, 60%, 90% and with each level we hear a corresponding change in the volume. Turning the volume high has an immediate effect...
Dynamic focus greatly changes the effect of the concentration practice. With light focus, as in commonly known shamatha, with constant distractions it takes time to calm the monkey mind. Whether an exercise of light focus ever cuts through the layers of the subconscious and substrate minds is rightly questionable. It takes years of long hours of daily training to build the muscle of concentration to get the benefits of shamatha meditation (tib. shine)...
Concentration can be momentarily heigthened, like turning the volume knob high suddenly to create a short (0.3-2 seconds) explosion-like, momentary peak. This creates a quick punch of sorts, like an explosion that can be controlled. This punch hits through all of samsaric mind and reveals the natural state in a very short period of time. We are discussing an exercise that indirectly has been used in Buddhism and many other yoga and dharma teachings for centuries through meditation, recitation, religious art and yogic exercise and yet very few schools have realised the immense value of dynamic concentration to give it a central place in their teachings...
Dynamic concentration can be adapted to fit the view and practices of any yogic approach. It can be adapted and practiced by secular buddhists, mahayana buddhists of all schools such as Zen or Pure Land, tantrics of all sorts and those who prioritise the recognition of nature of mind, namely Zen, Mahamudra and Dzogchen. It is very easy for anyone to test whether dynamic concentration really works. All you need is a few minutes of time and a comfortable place to try it.”
For a more thorough introduction to Dynamic Concentration, I recommend reading my above book (free on the website). If you wish to go directly into practice, we have many recordings on Pemako Buddhism YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1djVj0O7r4&list=PLqTm9fV9DGhtYrtz_kro465trHll4fBP8
I am glad to see that Young, Fasano and Sanguinetti also discuss awakening and enlightenment in their discussion about mindfulness because most prominent figures in the secular mindfulness scene, don't. Young discusses ”kensho”, which is a Japanese word for recognition of one's untarnished nature, in the podcast. It is here that we enter a bit more serious field of discussion that still is foreign to the larger mindfulness crowd.
However, even Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of MBSR, has stated:
“ MBSR is really meant to be from the non-dual perspective, but grounded in real people and real life.”
(Source: Husgafvel, 2019, p.302)
It is wonderful that nondualism is finally being brought and discussed in the context of mindfulness but then, like in sutric buddhism, which is where the foundation fo secular mindfulness is, has the same dilemma: how can we make this work faster and more efficiently? In the history of buddhism of 2500 years most branches of sutrayana, namely various schools of theravada and mahayana buddhism, have had exactly the same problem that to this day remain unsolved. It is precisely these schools of thought and practice that have spread throughout the world within the last 100 years.
I stated above, there are basic problems in the paradigm in quietive
methods that are absent in dynamic methods. And this is the
"enlightenment button" that has already been invented.
- Guru Viking, ep 94: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVrXHm2Y5wE
- Master Mindfulness: https://mastermindfulness.fi/mindfulness-2-0/
- Master Mindfulness at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mastermindfulness.fi
- Dynamic Concentration at Pemako Buddhism YouTube: