Reversed Siddhartha

What is Pragmatic Dharma?

In case you didn’t notice it, there’s a dedicated subsection with various Pragmatic Dharma texts on the main page of this website.


What about the “mushroom culture”?

Here’s a short story shared by Kenneth Folk via his twitter account:

…..In fact, Bill (editor’s note: Hamilton) was himself an unabashed mushroomer, and not only withheld information but advocated doing so. (thread)

When I returned from the IMS 3-month retreat in 1991, Bill told me where he thought I was on the Progress of Insight map. But his policy was to only share mapping information after the fact. In other words, he wouldn’t talk with me about stages I hadn’t yet attained.

When I complained that the IMS teachers hadn’t even been willing to discuss the stages I’d already been through, Bill quipped that they’d treated me like a mushroom, keeping me in the dark and feeding me shit.

While Bill was more forthcoming with information than mainstream American Theravada Buddhist teachers, he was by no means a freedom of information crusader. But to me the presumption, paternalism, and ineffective pedagogy that result from mushrooming were infuriating.

“Mushroom” became my personal shorthand for the culture of secrecy I detested. I raged about it to anyone who would listen, including Daniel Ingram. Daniel hadn’t yet shown much interest in Buddhist meditation, but we were friends and talked often, so he got to hear the rant.

Several years later, when Daniel started sitting retreats, he too got the mushroom treatment, and was as pissed off about it as I was. As he developed his own teaching, he took up the anti-mushroom banner and pushed it further still, going so far as to publicly claim attainments.

Reading Daniel’s book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, one could be forgiven for believing the mushroom critique came from Bill, but it didn’t happen that way. No worries, though, I’m still here to set the historical record straight.


Are there any Pragmatic Dharma books to read?

The most famous Pragmatic Dharma book is “Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha” by Daniel Ingram. Another very popular book is “The Mind Illuminated” by Culadasa.

This website has also an e-book section, dedicated to Pragmatic Dharma. There, among others you will find:


What about the “Progress of Insight” Map?

My other website, MVMR, has a dedicated subsection, where I have collected almost everything I have found about this map:

To be continued..