“Done” and Mastery

I’m thinking about what a “Master” really is and of what “mastery” itself is composed.

Here are some of the links-to-links (just thought patterns, not actual hyper-links):

* HH Penor Rinpoche
* Steve Jobs
* PhDs
* Purpose-driven
* Dan Pink
* Alistair Cockburn
* Shu Ha Ri

By the way, I just moved HH Penor Rinpoche to the top out of respect.

Why do we respect Masters? Because Masters have *done* something. This is not “done” in the sense of software, in the way Ken Schwaber or someone from that thread might describe, exactly. Although I suspect some of the mechanisms for “Done” have commonality. This is “Done” in the sense of an accomplishment that has several key qualities. To conceptualize about those qualities for a minute, it seems they have these characteristics:

* Inner realization that can be recognized by others who outwardly observe the one who has realized.
* This realization not necessarily coming easily, but through practice.
* Realization must be based on experience and feedback loops.
* Time spent with that which is realized.
* Honing that which is realized through practice and through teaching.
* Must be peer-reviewed.
* Practice not necessarily being composed of just repeating the same thing again and again, but rather through trying and making mistakes.
* What is realized must be “important” – meaning – inform the evolutionary paths of beings in some way.

Let’s test these, in a minute, but first, to look at “mastery” in and of itself.

In the Himalayan Buddhist world, to go down the path of mastery (or to achieve enlightenment, which is the expression of that mastery) there’s the notion that you must have the authentic lineage that stretches back to the original master, such as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni, whom we refer to as “The Buddha.”

But did the Buddha have a master at the point at which he achieved enlightenment? Actually, before he began the meditation that lead to his realization, Buddha had followed aestheticism and teachings from masters of a variety of spiritual approaches. None of those lead him to enlightenment. The event that pushed him onto the path of enlightenment was when an innocent village girl saw him in his emaciated, ascetic state, and offered him food. She felt compassion for him and it was that act of compassion that in part created the conditions and causes for the Buddha to sit under the Bodhi tree and to abandon the, can we say, dead end of asceticism.

Now any of my friends from the Buddhist world, please peer-review me and correct me. ** And note that this does not mean I doubt the realization of any of the authentic masters I myself have come into contact with. The point is, at the end of the day we, ourselves, have to become enlightened. There are no saviors. So rather than doubting Masters, we rather cease to see the Master as someone who can “enlighten us.” We have to enlighten us.

Because of this, if I am a student, then I care about lineage because it is kind of the footnotes in a paper written by a scientist. The lineage is the reference point, the confirmation if I’m seeking to learn that I’m connecting with something that’s not a dead end, so I don’t end up spending time on something like Aestheticism which may end up leading me to a goal which does not enlighten me.

The risk seems to be that you could close off your mind to other inputs in the fractal, to cease Divergent Thinking. There’s a chance you could become lost in your projections and just fall unconsciously into fractal upon fractal, dogmatically insisting that reality is this way or that and that your thinking is not to be tested because *you know* – the Master told you so. This I actually see as a very big risk.

So back to testing these assumptions.

Inner realization that can be recognized by others who outwardly observe the one who has realized

Could it be that a Master might not be recognizable? Beings already do not recognize enlightenment, so therefore it is probably they will not recognize a Master.

This realization not necessarily coming easily, but through practice.

There are stories of beings whose minds were so ripened that when they but practiced one mantra they achieved enlightenment. Only thing is, the cause and condition was created in previous lifetimes. We could say “Hey – but there might just be someone with that propensity! They were born with a superior tendency, born genius, whatever!” However, I’d argue back that the being actually was subject to the causes and conditions that lead to such a circumstance and, even if you do not believe in actual reincarnation, you can see that such a thread, such links-to-links, might stretch back to *other* lives upon lives.

Realization must be based on experience and feedback loops.

The Buddha himself had feedback loops and experiences under the Bodhi Tree. Mara tried every possible way to test the Buddha’s realization.

Gonna be a little lazy and combine the rest:

* Time spent with that which is realized.
* Honing that which is realized through practice and through teaching.
* Must be peer-reviewed.
* Practice not necessarily being composed of just repeating the same thing again and again, but rather through trying and making mistakes.
* What is realized must be “important” – meaning – inform the evolutionary paths of beings in some way.

After achieving mastery, I believe the Master must teach. Teaching becomes the practice and the way the mastery can grow. Why? Because when you teach, you are reviewed. You may only be reviewed by your students, instead of by other masters. But you are reviewed. And then – why can’t students actually become peers in an odd way? When you make mistakes and you become aware of it via having students, then you can continue.

What I’ve just concluded, my “aha” from this thread, is that in fact Mastery itself may be a fractal, not an end point.

Then the question becomes – but do I therefore doubt my Buddhist Masters? The answer is “No way!” because they’ve gone farther into the fractal than I have – or maybe – they’ve had more View of seeing it is a fractal than I have. I just can’t think that they’ll save me.

Does this bring the Refuge Vow into doubt? In this vow you might recite “I rely on you; I have no other hope or refuge apart from you.” I would say not because that “you” is really the enlightened nature, the mind that is turned inwardly, seeing its own true nature. This is one reason why His Holiness the Dalai Lama prostrates to the Dharma chair before he sits in it. He is prostrating to all the causes and conditions that lead him to sit in this chair and teach us. He is recognizing the fractal. He is reminding himself of the earth, the ground, in the same way as the Buddha touched the ground when Mara tried so hard to distract him. He is respecting the Master who has *done* something.

[Edit 2/26 to correct the awesome slip of mispelling “ascetic” “aesthetic.”  LOL. 🙂

**
A friend did remind me the view expressed above is the Hinayana perspective; from a Mahayana perspective the Buddha was working on enlightenment for lifetime after lifetime, through incalculable aeons, but couldn’t just run around saying how to do; he had to show us. Vajrayana believes you can enlighten very quickly, potentially in the span of a single life. Also the Buddha was already on the path; the event with the girl just caused a refinement.]

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3 Responses to ““Done” and Mastery”

  1. SEMAT, Mastery, and Human Factors « Twingle Says:

    […] “Peer” reviewed.  Who gets to be a “peer?”  Who is an expert?  I say in another thread that it is a Master and someone who has “done” something. People who have shown the […]

  2. Tweets that mention “Done” and Mastery « Twingle -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kees klomp, kees klomp. kees klomp said: matery is the new currency. very inspiring post by @magwep "Done" and Mastery http://wp.me/pa2ew-r […]

  3. No One Wants To Know What You Think: The Trouble With Blogs #himc « Says:

    […] Jeffries is someone who has gotten to “Done” on something in his life.  So you can “know who he is” and care about what he […]

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