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TOPIC: Percent of people in the awakening process?

Percent of people in the awakening process? 22 Apr 2012 14:03 #6470

I want to encourage direct, short posts with your answer to the questions. For a definition of "in the awakening process", I am sorta defining it for myself as someone that has had an A&P event (in the technical maps), or has some insight into the dark night (materiality isn't a refuge we can depend on), or is someone you look at and say "better to finish!"

1. What percent of meditators are in the awakening process?
2. What percent of non-meditators are in the awakening process?

I'm going to say 30-50% and 15-25% respectively.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 22 Apr 2012 14:12 #6471

I really have no idea so these are just pure guesswork:

1. 15-25%
2. 5-10%
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 22 Apr 2012 14:19 #6472

How could you have any idea without doing some kind of survey? My sample (people I know who meditate) is highly skewed, as it consists of people in my network (friends, friends of friends, students of theirs, forum participants, etc.) A slightly more useful survey pool would be the people who regularly attend a large sangha and therefore have some level of practice, but a vary wide range of stages (including beginners who are interested but aren't "in the process" yet). But I don't regularly attend such...

One guess could be based on this: at a large traditional sangha I used to attend in the US, there were about 30 people who attended the weekly service/dinner. Of those, about eight also participated in the retreats, priest training or other more specialized training, which would hint at at least some level of engagement with the process.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 22 Apr 2012 14:21 #6473

sorry that wasn't short :D
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 22 Apr 2012 14:26 #6474

My guess is that all of us here have skewed perceptions of this, just because of who we hang out with online. And, my second guess is that anyone from the practical or hard core dharma movement will tend to over-estimate the percentages ;-)

My third guess is that survey would be next to useless.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 22 Apr 2012 14:28 #6475

And I have to ask -- why this?
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 13:24 #6476

As others have said, I cannot see how anyone could know this with any useful precision. However, I would hazard a guess that group 2 would be << 1%.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 14:40 #6477


As others have said, I cannot see how anyone could know this with any useful precision. However, I would hazard a guess that group 2 would be << 1%.

-tomo

Ona, you cheated, no percents!
Tomo, how about Group 1?

The more I talk to people and the more I hear about their "most spiritual" experience, it sounds a lot like A&P and their life afterwards has at least a shadow of Dark Night, if not a full blown one. Most of these folks had these experience initiated by dreams or drug use or trauma/surgery or huge loss or intense devotional practice, but it sure sounds like A&P to me. So my guesses are basically saying that about 1 in 3 people in dharma circles have had that experience, about 1 in 7 in the general population. I think if anything, I'm underestimating, hence the range. Now I think that for most people, the lack of practice and other distracting habits/entertainment basically keeps concentration low so there isn't a full blown case of the stages of insight. But if they are ready and they go on a retreat or get access to a good teacher... then their progress takes off.

The reason I ask is I think provides some context for the side conversation in the "Practical Hua-Tou" thread. If only 1% of the general population is "in the process of awakening" then you can teach them mindfullness meditation and not have to worry about setting them down the path of awakening via the Dark Night. But if 1 in 7 or 1 in 4 are poised to be accelerated down that path, then full disclosure and ensuring that teaching will be available for the whole process is important, if not manditory.

Okay, so I showed my cards! :)
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 15:52 #6478

I see. Interesting. Yes, it is not uncommon to find people with no spiritual practice (or interest in such things) who have had an A&P event. That's a good point. I can think of a few cases where such happened either during drug use or due to emotional overload/trauma. (For example one person I know said when she was at the bedside of a dying friend, she had the strangest experience that "the whole universe was just unconditional love, we were not separate beings, but all one soul, manifesting in all of us, as pure love".) That kind of thing. With no context, such experiences may or may not lead the person into some kind of practice. They may just push it aside and carry on. They may even never talk about it, thinking it is too weird or personal to mention - so it could be quite hard to find out the numbers.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 18:16 #6479

I don't consider having an A&P event being "on the path." The A&P is very, very common among many who don't (and may never) adopt a formal practice of any sort. I'm not sure where that idea comes from - Ingram, maybe? In my experience it is only at the point of having a stream entry experience that one gets put on the dharma practice conveyor belt. At least, that's how I recall it.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 18:32 #6480

Interesting. That's a useful distinction, and I'd agree 100% that that first shift known as "stream entry" or "1st path" in some circles IS the moment at which one is on the ride.

But mystical/unitive experiences are a significant event in terms of practice, too, such as:

-having such an event in the context of practice tends to be the first real sense that "wow, something big is happening, I am changing".

-in some traditions the first experience of feeling the deity/guru/inner teacher appear to you in such a mystical experience is very significant as a marker of motivation and commitment. It may be referred to as a spiritual initiation or may take place in the context of ritual initiation. This was true in Santeria, true in Western Magick, and true for a friend of mine in a Hindu guru yoga tradition.

Perhaps in the ride analogy, mystical experience in the context of practice is often the moment when people really begin to believe (non-intellectually, but via direct experience) there is a ride to get on. They see the train (or the guru, or the angel, or Jesus, or whatever). ? :D
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 18:49 #6481

Maybe A&P is 'stumbling across the path'-- and whether you follow it further, or wander on across on your way elsewhere is up to you?
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 19:48 #6482

That's how I see it, Kate.
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Percent of people in the awakening process? 23 Apr 2012 21:32 #6483

Me too. I think the A&P creates the "the seeker", which can create a lot of suffering unfortunately.
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