Michael Sky

Rising contributor








What is this groups opinion on actualism / actual freedom? On the site he makes grand claims about how it’s superior to enlightenment. But Daniel Ingram said when he practiced it, it developed him in a different direction than his meditative path.

Dean Paradiso

I revisited it not long ago, and came to the conclusion that the enquiry itself can be useful up to a point and as a nice pointer to return back to direct experiencing. I used it myself at different times. But like any pointer that gets repeated often, it loses its magic after a while. However it’s an incomplete path in itself and needs other ingredients that are missing. They dismiss meditation for instance or ethics. The website is a mess and the ideas expressed on it are purely opinions and some downright ridiculous.

2h2 hours ago



Tommy McNally

Rising contributor

A few of us here have experience with Actual Freedom, and also with Richard and his original AF Trust people like Vineeto, etc..

There are some useful techniques and some of Richard's writings - some which was verifiably plagiarized and reframed from other authors, including Buddhadharma teachers - are pretty good in describing some of the territory beyond what Daniel Ingram describes as 4th Path.

However, AF is an incomplete path. It lacks bodhicitta, amongst other important aspects, and their claims of being "happy and harmless" not only do not appear to be true based on the observed behaviors of its progenitor and friends; but their method of eradicating "affective feeling" (which also appears to be bullshit) encourages repression, denial of emotions and, in at least one case I know of personally, led to psychological issues that required psychotherapy to resolve.

Soh has a good article on Actual Freedom on the AtR site.

If you're curious about it, then by all means explore and experiment; but keep in mind that the allegedly affective emotion-free founder has been seen, in person by several people, in various states of distress, anger and other, quite clearly still active and functioning emotions.

The HAIETMOBA technique can be useful, but ultimately it's just a way to incline attention back towards your immediate sensate experience. The mental posture involved only goes so far and lacks the depth to truly penetrate the skandha of feeling, or to disentangle our mistaken identification with it.

In short, it's not remotely superior, or even equal to Buddhadharma. Yes, it can be a fun and potentially useful developmental trajectory to explore, but it ain't ending suffering for all sentient beings.

Edited to add: Daniel Ingram's criteria for 4th Path, and his descriptions of his current experience, don't align with Arahatship. It's a complex topic, and one I'm not remotely capable of addressing, but I'd suggest taking the MCTB 4-Path model as a useful adaptation by Daniel, rather than as an actual representation of the classical 4-Path model of the Tripitika. I say all of this as someone who has been friends with Daniel for probaby 15+ years, and who has spent time with him in person. I love the guy, but the claims of Arahatship were misguided and caused many, including me, massive confusion over the years.

Hope this helps.

2h2 hours ago



Nafis Rahman


Top contributor

There are prior threads in the group that discuss Actual Freedom along with its founder, Richard Maynard:
He has realized anatta and experiences total exertion, but ends up reifying external reality due not having insight into emptiness and dependent origination. He is still very far from realizing traditional Arhatship/Buddhahood.
Regarding Daniel Ingram, since he skipped I AM, he lacked sufficient luminosity/vividness which is why he felt that he was entering a new phase of development when he practiced Actual Freedom (in reality he was simply realizing anatta stanza 2). MCBT 4th path/’Arhatship’ is only anatta realization, and is equivalent to Pali Canon Stream-Entry/ATR Stage 5. This article by Myriad Objects goes into further detail:

2h2 hours ago


Soh Wei Yu


All-star contributor

You asked at the right place.

In addition to Nafis’s links which you should read and I think Tommy is quite right in his post, I wrote a 100+ page document commenting what’s good and what is wrong about actual freedom richard’s understanding (particularly his misinterpretation of buddhism) here:

I appreciate his teachings (albeit its flaws).

By the way AF Richard died two weeks ago.

I shared on whatsapp: “Af richard died two weeks ago:

Vineeto revealed that richard suffered intense anxiety and was on all kinds of psychotic medications for the first 3-4 years after his “actual freedom”

He wrote this three years after actual freedom

“Dr. Wright has tried me on clonazepan (Rivortril) and a reduced dosage of trifluorperazine (Stelazine), but the side effects of the clonazepan (Rivortril)—(I felt like a walking Zombie)—have proved too much so I am currently taking an increased dose of trifluorperazine (Stelazine) (15 mg.) and diazepam (Valium) (10 mg.) and benztropine (Cogentin) (4 mg.).

The medication makes life barely tolerable, it does not take the symptoms away, it only reduces their severity.

To this day I feel like an alien in a strange and eerie world. I suffer from Depersonalisation and Derealisation—I experience everything as being unreal—and I have nightmares of being back in the Army again and back in Vietnam (strangely enough the nightmares have expanded to include all of South-Eastern Asia). I find anxiety to be too mild a word as I experience life in a state of abject fear.

I have no social life nor friends. My wife (Mrs. Irene [redacted]; pron. ee-ray-nuh) is my only companion. She used to be a registered nursing Sister and is well equipped to be with me in my distress.””

John Tan: “Poor fellow

So don't over claimed”

Soh: “Ya he said he became suicidal (in 1993) which was after attaining actual freedom

But the website also said by 1997 or something he became ok”

Yin ling: “Sounds like very bad anxiety or PTSD”

Soh: “Yeah

Some of his descriptions i could relate during my energy imbalance period

I think its a mix of that and ptsd”

Yin ling: “Ya ptsd sometimes very hard to treat one, veterans especially”

Actual Freedom and Buddhism


Actual Freedom and Buddhism

Actual Freedom and Buddhism

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