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Nibbana / NS
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Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/12/12 4:04 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Ross A. K. 2/12/12 3:33 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/12/12 4:18 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Change A. 2/12/12 11:39 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/13/12 5:40 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Change A. 2/13/12 5:45 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/13/12 5:49 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Change A. 2/13/12 6:23 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/13/12 6:27 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Change A. 2/13/12 8:25 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/13/12 7:02 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/13/12 2:07 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/13/12 7:56 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS An Eternal Now 2/17/12 1:14 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 2:31 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 2:46 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/17/12 4:31 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 6:16 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/17/12 6:18 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 10:51 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS James Yen 2/17/12 11:43 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/18/12 12:27 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 5:06 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 5:03 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS An Eternal Now 2/17/12 11:08 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 10:55 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS An Eternal Now 2/17/12 11:04 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 11:11 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS (D Z) Dhru Val 2/13/12 3:08 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Steph S 2/13/12 4:28 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/13/12 4:53 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS josh r s 2/13/12 5:41 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/14/12 12:16 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/14/12 5:15 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/16/12 3:03 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Nikolai . 2/16/12 3:20 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Nikolai . 2/16/12 4:01 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/16/12 5:52 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Nikolai . 2/17/12 2:37 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Nikolai . 2/16/12 10:12 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/17/12 4:33 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/17/12 5:34 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 2:25 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Jeff Grove 2/21/12 5:19 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/17/12 5:19 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Nikolai . 2/17/12 5:40 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS An Eternal Now 2/17/12 12:39 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS katy steger 2/16/12 10:58 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/16/12 5:40 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/16/12 5:51 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 10:11 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/18/12 12:07 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 12:15 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 12:25 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/18/12 12:27 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 12:50 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 1:08 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Tommy M 2/18/12 3:19 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS Daniel M. Ingram 2/18/12 1:30 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 2:35 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 2:49 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 2/18/12 3:02 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS josh r s 2/18/12 7:11 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS John White 2/19/12 12:30 PM
RE: Nibbana / NS katy steger 2/20/12 9:55 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 3/13/12 6:51 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS Don Loristo 3/13/12 7:14 AM
RE: Nibbana / NS End in Sight 8/17/12 11:53 AM
Nibbana / NS
2/12/12 4:04 PM
Bernadette Roberts, What is Self?:
After communion one morning the body seemingly began to inhale (though it did not come from the outside) what I can only describe as a type of odorless anesthetic (reminiscent of ether) that instantly spread from the lungs to the entire body. It was as if every atom of cell of the body had given way or was disclosed as a kind of elemental gas or "divine air." While there is no possible description for this divine air, it would not be entirely improper (based on the experience alone) to affirm that "God is a gas." It was as if every cell or element of which the body was composed "WAS" this "divine air," and that every element of the body dwelled in this indescribably divine and glorious state of existence. It was as if the body had dissolved into this "divine air," or better put, that the true body (Eternal Form or Christ's mystical body) dwelled eternally in this glorious divine estate. A few seconds into this phenomenon of the body dissolving into "divine air," there was instant recognition of the ascension experience. No mind, intellect or self is needed for this recognition; all that is needed is a physical body. We might compare this knowing to the mysterious "wisdom of the body" that we take so lightly throughout our lives, a wisdom beyond all self or consciousness. This condition, however, is incompatible with continued sensory existence or bodily functioning. Like an anesthetic, it closes down the senses; at one point the air became so heavy and condensed that continued breathing was all but impossible. If , at this moment, the air had not thinned, there would be no body remaining to give this account.

As for a description of this "divine air" no word enters the mind; it simply puts an end to the mind. About all that can be said is that if we put together man's loftiest experiences of ecstasy, bliss, love and all things ineffable, they fall as short of the divine condition as the size of an ant falls short of that of an elephant. Consciousness' most lofty heavenly experiences of the divine are but a palest shadow of the ultimate divine condition or "heaven." While I do not like calling this heavenly estate a "condition," I do so to differentiate it from a passing state of stage as well as from "experience," which is always and everywhere a temporary non-eternal phenomenon. The final estate has no description because it never reaches the mind---"eye hath not seen nor the ear heard, nor has it ever entered into the mind of man." Heaven or "the kingdom of God is not of this world."


This seems like a better candidate for nibbana or NS (in the Pali suttas) than do the experience or non-experience that occurs at the apex of the progress of insight, and the experience or non-experience that MCTB calls NS. (The relationship between nibbana and NS is unclear to me.)

I have described a state that I have aligned with NS in the suttas, but it is certainly not this (or if it is this, conscious knowledge concerning it is completely blocked off to me). I am more willing to entertain the possibility that what I described is something entirely different, perhaps sudden 8th jhana (full absorption) mistaken for something without perception, perhaps something else.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu repeats the claim that NS is accessible only to anagamis, and gives an argument he bases in the suttas. (Whether that is true or false, I didn't follow his logic. And as far as I know there is no explicit claim either way in the suttas.) The Visuddhimagga also makes the same claim. I am not an anagami (according to the suttas) and so would not be able to access NS according to this position; I have never knowingly accessed anything like what Bernadette Roberts describes; to my knowledge no one here claims to have either; however, I have accessed what MCTB calls NS (complete with narcotic aftereffects) with relative ease.

I have no particular claim I want to make, but I found the subject (as well as the excerpt from Roberts) to be interesting and so I posted about it.

(Edited for accuracy of Roberts' excerpt.)
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/12/12 3:33 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I recall a sutta or two refering to NS, saying that a person could not have reached stream entry but once the NS happens they are either unbound right there or if there is any clinging remaining then non - return (?). If I find the sutta I'll post it here emoticon
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/12/12 4:18 PM as a reply to Ross A. K..
Thanks, I'll look forward to it.

Here is some more by Roberts, where she sounds like she's channeling some of the Pali gloom:

Having to leave the divine condition and come back to the sensory or resurrected state can only be described as GOD-AWFUL; it is as inhuman predicament, even an inhuman feat. This is more, however, than just a return to a a previous state; it was a waking up to a sensory terrain and human condition that, compared to the divine condition, could only be described as "hell." (...) In contrast to the divine, the human condition is so terrible and devastating that even the worst of descriptions could never do it justice. I am not referring here to sin, evil or suffering, but rather to bare human existence itself---and the whole natural world included. What we usually think is so beautiful in this world is actually monstrous and unbearable to look at, but only in contrast to the divine.

(...)

No one can understand this particular view of the world and the human condition unless he has first known the ultimate divine estate (heaven) and then returned (or originally come out of it as in the case of the incarnate Christ) to this world's condition. Those who believe man can have both heaven and this world at the same time are very much mistaken; such a notion is a total underestimation of God's utter transcendence, as well as heaven or man's final estate. Compared to the divine estate there is no beauty or happiness in this world; thus man cannot afford to have a glimpse or taste of the final estate and still expect to find this world acceptable. The ultimate estate is not of this world; it is not even compatible with it---which is why there is death. For this reason it is good that man does not see the reality of the divine beyond consciousness, for if he did he could not endure this world. What man does knot know, he does not miss, and what he does not know is how utterly transcendent the divine really is.


Cf. "dukkha" as a mark of existence (and the idea that only the unconditioned, nibbana, is not marked by it).
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/12/12 11:39 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Bernadette Roberts, What is Self?:
It was as if every cell or element of which the body was composed "WAS" this "divine air," .................We might compare this knowing to the mysterious "wisdom of the body" that we take so lightly throughout our lives, a wisdom beyond all self or consciousness. This condition, however, is incompatible with continued sensory existence or bodily functioning. Like an anesthetic, it closes down the senses; at one point the air became so heavy and condensed that continued breathing was all but impossible. If, at this moment, the air had not thinned, there would be no body remaining to give this account.

......................The final estate has no description because it never reaches the mind---"eye hath not seen nor the ear heard, nor has it ever entered into the mind of man." Heaven or "the kingdom of God is not of this world."


The first paragraph is a description of union of body and mind as it happened. Mind is referred to as 'air which did not come from outside'. It spreads from the lungs to the entire body.

"It was as if every atom of cell of the body had given way". This is a description of all physical tension gone away as a result.

Second paragraph is a description of direct perception that happened as a result of that union of body and mind. "eye hath not seen nor the ear heard, nor has it ever entered into the mind of man."

Her inability to describe it is because she doesn't understand the workings of instincts. "Heaven or "the kingdom of God is not of this world."
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 2:07 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
high as a kite to serious crash...

familiar pattern...

BR is well known to be quite the heavy cat, so I do not want to underestimate her experience, but that seriously makes me think A&P to Dark Night, realizing that going cross tradition by a brief bit of writing by someone I don't know makes for woefully inaccurate guesses.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 5:40 AM as a reply to Change A..
EDITED: I understand Roberts to be describing something apart from the senses, apart from "experience" (whatever that means), apart from and incompatible with the world (whatever that means), utterly transcendent, not describable in relation to any normal experience, which makes me think nibbana or NS.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html:
Where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing:
There the stars do not shine,
the sun is not visible,
the moon does not appear,
darkness is not found.
And when a sage, a brahman through sagacity,
has known [this] for himself,
then from form & formless,
from bliss & pain,
he is freed.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.01.than.html:
There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished, unevolving, without support (mental object). This, just this, is the end of stress.


Keep in mind that Roberts claimed that her experience was senses-only, free of feelings, free of inner space, etc. in the "resurrected state" (prior to what she calls "ascension", and the state to which she apparently returned in some way after that, which she likens to the "incarnation [of christ]").
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 5:45 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
EDITED: I understand Roberts to be describing something apart from the senses......

Keep in mind that Roberts claimed that her experience was senses-only, ................


???
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 5:49 AM as a reply to Change A..
In the "resurrected" state, she claims her experience was senses-only; during the "ascension" she claims her experience (or non-experience, whatever) was inaccessible to eye, ear, mind (etc.) and apart from the world; after the "ascension" she describes a return to the senses-only state, albeit modified in some way.

Her writings are really interesting and worth reading if what I've quoted so far appeals to you in some way.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 6:23 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
In the "resurrected" state, she claims her experience was senses-only; during the "ascension" she claims her experience (or non-experience, whatever) was inaccessible to eye, ear, mind (etc.) and apart from the world; after the "ascension" she describes a return to the senses-only state, albeit modified in some way.

Her writings are really interesting and worth reading if what I've quoted so far appeals to you in some way.


Are all the states described in the passage that you quoted in your first post?

I don't have much interest in mystical/spiritual/metaphysical as my current experience is nothing like that. My approach has more to do with what the body can experience rather than what states the mind can produce. I'm interested in mind in as far as it can cause the body to tense up. I've had some interesting experiences using deity visualization method of Vajrayana to find out what causes the body to contract and how to remedy that.

Edit: For me, no contraction, knots etc. in the body = no suffering. I don't want to depend upon any mystical/spiritual/metaphysical crutches for myself to arrive at no suffering. I consider all of that to be irrational.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 7:02 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
As an aside, I find parallels to other mystical traditions, although Roberts claims (as I understand it) that only Pali Buddhism describes / maps her realization, even though she offers that people in many traditions may have had her realization without describing / mapping it. (EDIT: To be clearer, she obviously thinks that the traditional story of the life of Christ is a map that describes her realization, sequentially, but doesn't think that contemplative-produced maps go far enough, apart from what is recorded of the Buddha in Pali.)

Roberts:
It was as if every cell or element of which the body was composed "WAS" this "divine air," and that every element of the body dwelled in this indescribably divine and glorious state of existence. It was as if the body had dissolved into this "divine air," or better put, that the true body (Eternal Form or Christ's mystical body) dwelled eternally in this glorious divine estate. (...) The ultimate estate is not of this world; it is not even compatible with it...what man does not know, he does not miss, and what he does not know is how utterly transcendent the divine really is.


Bhagavad Gita:
By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation. As the mighty wind, blowing everywhere, always rests in ethereal space, know that in the same manner all beings rest in Me.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 6:27 AM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
End in Sight:
In the "resurrected" state, she claims her experience was senses-only; during the "ascension" she claims her experience (or non-experience, whatever) was inaccessible to eye, ear, mind (etc.) and apart from the world; after the "ascension" she describes a return to the senses-only state, albeit modified in some way.

Her writings are really interesting and worth reading if what I've quoted so far appeals to you in some way.


Are all the states described in the passage that you quoted in your first post?


The "resurrected state" was how things were for her before and after the divine air / "ascension" thing. She describes the resurrected state elsewhere as being senses-only, no feelings, no inner space, etc. and makes some interesting and fairly explicit claims about the relationship between inner experience and 'self'.

I don't have much interest in mystical/spiritual/metaphysical as my current experience is nothing like that. My approach has more to do with what the body can experience rather than what states the mind can produce. I'm interested in mind in as far as it can cause the body to tense up. I've had some interesting experiences using deity visualization method of Vajrayana to find out what causes the body to contract and how to remedy that.

Edit: For me, no contraction, knots etc. in the body = no suffering.


On a practical level I agree (one will attain whatever based on sequentially dealing with whatever is prominent in experience), but there is also some value in hearing about other people's attainments, especially when they are different / far away, but preceded by attainments you understand better.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 8:25 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
On a practical level I agree (one will attain whatever based on sequentially dealing with whatever is prominent in experience), but there is also some value in hearing about other people's attainments, especially when they are different / far away, but preceded by attainments you understand better.


Yes, I agree with what you have to say. I have had mystical/spiritual states and I'm past those. So I do try to understand the place from where other people's attainments come from but don't delve in too much.

I consider all mystical/spiritual/metaphysical states as a sort of dissociation which can be used to better understand the processes which cause suffering as a means to an end. But if such states are permanent, then it means that there is limited understanding or the method doesn't work properly.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 7:56 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
David Chadwick, Psychoactivism (in Zig Zag Zen):
When the pill washed down my throat I foresaw my ego was about to die and gave in immediately. As the LSD started to come on strong, my friends played, at my prior request, the Beatles' perfectly appropriate "Turn Off Your Mind, Relax, and Float Downstream," and then there was only the sound of the gentle waves of Lake Worth outside the screened porch as I lay on a cot and I did float downstream, leave my friends, the bed, the waves, myself, and the universe as I had known it, and passed through progressive visions each more ecstatic, powerful, and subtle than the prior. The deeper I went, the more familiar and wonderful it was. I felt I was going to my eternal home.

...I died, it seemed, as completely as one can die (even though my body of course was quite alive) and found myself at one with all that is, beyond space and time, birth and death. I was bathed in transcendent yet immanent love - it was always changing - and then, the dualism even of this oneness gave way and mind opened to the experience of the clear light of which, later, I could really say nothing but that that experience seemed to be the crowning glory of all that is and isn't. I felt that I had experienced what a Hindu text described as greater than if 10,000 suns were to explode in the sky. None of these experiences can be remembered any more than the Pacific Ocean can fit into a thimble, but I came back saying that the clear light was pure, unborn, ecstatic - things like that. On that evening I emerged from the clear light into a calmer, perfect, absolute, vast clarity with no sense of identity or physicality in it, a state not characterized by any mundane attributes such as existence, experience, or anything.


Regarding the "clear light"...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.049.than.html:
"'Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around,

has not been experienced through the earthness of earth ... the liquidity of liquid ... the fieriness of fire ... the windiness of wind ... the allness of the all.'


And

None of these experiences can be remembered any more than the Pacific Ocean can fit into a thimble,


reminiscent of Roberts' ant-to-elephant comparison.

My general impression at this point is that the contemplative path may go deeper than any of us (certainly including myself) yet understand, and I personally am finding it valuable (in a very down-to-earth practical sense) to abandon any map of or preconception of how the path unfolds, apart from the 10-fetters map, which does not describe the details of the path, but just some salient landmarks along it concerning what will not be experienced at those points. This consideration is especially useful in preventing any premature declarations of arahantship / liberation / whatever.

I am finding this to be fairly useful to keep in mind (and it is related to Aman's point):

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.031.than.html:
Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

"And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 3:08 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
BR is well known to be quite the heavy cat, so I do not want to underestimate her experience, but that seriously makes me think A&P to Dark Night


Robert's talks about a stage of pure sensory awareness that precedes this ascension phase that EIS posted. The pure sensory stuff should sound pretty familiar to people on DhO.

It is fairly clear that Bernedette Roberts isn't talking about AP and Dark Night, but something way, way, past that.

What isn't clear to me, is that this is a state worth pursuing. It is a temporary thing and coming out of it sucks. Here is what she has to say about it...

What is self:

Anything I can say about this return or adjustmentis but a shadow ofits reality; let me just say that it was so difficult and terrible that, in comparison, the void of voids was easy going.Having to leave the divine condition and come back to the sensory or resurrected state can only be described as GOD-AWFUL; it is an inhuman predicament, even an inhuman feat...

..,I am not referring here to sin, evil or suffering, but rather to bare human existence itself—and the wholenatural world included. What we usually think is so beautiful in this world is actually monstrous and unbearable to look at, but only in contrast to the divine.
]

So although she describes the pure sensory state as being great, in comparison to what came before, in comparison to this non-sensory ascension experience, the pure sensory state is God-Awful.

She says the only thing she looks forward to now is Euchrist (death).

Roberts frames this within the Trinitarian worldview, to emphasize the sacrifice that Jesus made by leaving the divine to be born a human.

As someone who rejects the divinity of Jesus and believes these things to be neurologically based rather than a personal taste of the divine, the experience seem rather terrible.

Why would anyone choose to go after this temporary high followed by a long 6-9 month readjustment, after which life becomes unbearable ? It is possible that maybe my current level of understanding just isn't comprehensive enough for this to make sense.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 4:28 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:

Why would anyone choose to go after this temporary high followed by a long 6-9 month readjustment, after which life becomes unbearable ? It is possible that maybe my current level of understanding just isn't comprehensive enough for this to make sense.


perhaps as a practice to abandon anything even remotely lingering that pertains to a fear/denial of death*? as this is largely considered the most primal fear for any human being, getting past this is possibly the final thing one needs to do in order to complete the process of surrender (and from what writings of hers i have read, it seems ultimate surrender/transcendence is her primary concern).

*edit: i say fear/denial of death here because i'm not sure how to term what factors remain to be explored as it pertains to bernadette roberts' system/experience. similar to what you said, what she experiences and has left to do considering death is probably far beyond how i understand what would need to be eliminated - i.e. fear, denial, etc... but i do think having it gone to the point of death being welcomed is maybe a sign that the only remaining surrender might in fact be the event of death itself, and so might just be a waiting game at this point. getting pretty esoteric and speculative here - neither life nor death actually applies, which would mean abandonment of the duality of life and death.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 4:53 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
What isn't clear to me, is that this is a state worth pursuing. It is a temporary thing and coming out of it sucks.


A good point.

My thoughts: maybe it wouldn't be a temporary thing (at full enlightenment), maybe the pure sensory state really is as bad as Roberts says (in which case not being able to see that through this comparison is just preserving ignorance rather than a way to preserve something good about one's life).

About the former thought, maybe arahantship really is some extraordinarily high attainment, just like everyone traditionally says. An anagami having Roberts' experience (or non-experience) might well think: "life is terrible, only nibbana is exempt from that, I look forward to the day that the burden of life will be lifted!" An arahant, presumably, would agree with the first two points, and yet be indifferent:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thag/thag.14.01.than.html:

I don't delight in death,
don't delight in living.
I await my time
like a worker his wage.
I don't delight in death,
don't delight in living.
I await my time
mindful, alert.


About the latter thought...I, personally, would want to see these things for myself so as to decide for myself which the case is, and I suspect that idea isn't wholly alien to many here (including, perhaps, you).

EDIT: I suspect it's also possible that Roberts is a gloomy person. It's certainly possible that many people could have her experiences (equally pleasant or unpleasant in every way) and yet view them and judge them differently based on their peculiar character traits. So a less gloomy person might say "well, this is still good, but there's something beyond this that's indescribably better..."
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/13/12 5:41 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Confused...

This is more believable as the real Nibbana than any black-out or lack of experience. You'd think it would have been easy enough for the Buddha to say nibbana=blackout if that's what it actually was.

It is interesting though, the question of whether it would be worth it to get this real-deal nibbana only for it to slip away... (assuming no rebirth) The only experience i can compare this to is having a state without attention wave and coming out of it to notice that emotions were very painful, i mentioned on my practice thread that although i could tell they weren't intense, and there wasn't even affective aversion going on to the emotions themselves, they still hurt alot. I did get used to it after a bit, and now I am experiencing doubtlessly way more affective pain than I was then, but somehow I don't "mind' as much as i did then. Though the minding wasn't affective. Which is really confusing in itself.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/14/12 12:16 AM as a reply to josh r s.
I have split off my reply as it contained a number of new and somewhat unrelated and off topic points that I felt were also very important.

My Reply and Rant about Loose Use of Terms
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/14/12 5:15 PM as a reply to josh r s.
josh r s:
This is more believable as the real Nibbana than any black-out or lack of experience. You'd think it would have been easy enough for the Buddha to say nibbana=blackout if that's what it actually was.


I'm inclined to agree.

It's possible that what appears normally to be "no experience" is actually a kind of experience, but it takes a bunch of meditation and development (which I haven't done) to see why, and actual "no experience" is something else entirely.

A neuroscientist describes having a stroke:
http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/After-the-Stroke-Dr-Jill-Bolte-Taylors-Metamorphosis/4:

"In the ambulance I curled up into a little fetal ball," she recalls in the quiet of her sunroom. "We went whooshing across town, and I felt my spirit surrender, the last energy deflate. I'd done what I had to do." Her voice, level till now, starts to crack. For the first time telling the story, she's crying.

When she woke, she was surprised to be alive. She'd been in an oceanic place with no boundaries. "The absence of experience is bliss. It was peaceful and beautiful there. I was with God," she believes.

***"I could see that my spirit was huge. I didn't see how I would be able to squeeze myself back into this tiny little body." Describing this state, she sounds like a mystic. "All details of my life and language were gone. Language is a kind of code, and things were no longer reduced to coding. I was looking at the big picture and could see how everything is related. Everything is in motion, connected in a dance of grace. The brain is what imposes boundaries, and boundaries convey a perception of separation, but that's a delusion. Everything is one."


(The asterisked part appears to be describing her state after she regained consciousness, whereas her prior description appears to be describing what she takes to be no-experience, so I separated them. While I could be misunderstanding her, I wouldn't know how to reconcile her description of various experiences being no-experience in that case.)

For comparison...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.034.than.html:
I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."

When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Sariputta, "But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"

"Just that is the pleasure here, my friend: where there is nothing felt. There are these five strings of sensuality...whatever pleasure or joy arises in dependence on these five strings of sensuality, that is sensual pleasure.

"Now there is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality, that is an affliction for him. Just as pain arises as an affliction in a healthy person for his affliction, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset the monk is an affliction for him. Now, the Blessed One has said that whatever is an affliction is stress. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought, that is an affliction for him...

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with rapture, that is an affliction for him...

[the same up to the dimension of neither-perception-nor-nonperception; each jhana factor is subsequently considered to be an affliction and abandoned]

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling. And, having seen [that] with discernment, his mental fermentations are completely ended. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant."


Other suttas describe the cessation of perception & feeling as free of bodily, verbal, and mental fabrication, so this appears to be explicitly stating that the absence of all materiality-mentality is pleasant, and that this can be understood by analogy to the way that higher jhanas are more pleasant than lower jhanas, and 1st jhana is more pleasant than non-jhanic experience.

On the other hand, I have not heard anyone describe fruition or MCTB NS as "pleasant", even though the aftereffects (which are merely aftereffects) may be pleasant. Indeed, I suspect the typical description would be "there is nothing there, so it could not be pleasant". And yet Pali Buddhism insists that nibbana (and this includes parinibbana) is pleasant.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 3:03 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
again, and this is getting so repetative as to be tedious

Nibbana is used two ways depending on context
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 3:20 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
again, and this is getting so repetative as to be tedious

Nibbana is used two ways depending on context


Here is an interesting take.



I'm happy to join this discussion.

I'd just like to make one point clear. We are discussing the magga-phala event, not Stream Entry. I bring this up because Stream Entry identifies a permanent change in a person. I have been finding that some people undergo that permanent change without having had a memorable magga-phala experience. Perhaps they've had it but don't remember it, but they can't even point to any particular day or week when the change happened, when they became different from what they once were. Furthermore, I have encountered people who describe what sounds like magga-phala, and who have had a teacher verify it as such, but who fail to manifest the characteristics of a Stream Entrant as described in the Suttas and commentaries.

Then, with regard to the so-called magga-phala event, which may or may not always herald Stream Entry:

1. My experience agrees with what Thanissaro says in that the mind is free of intention during the experience. But I also agree with other sources that it is a cessation of all mental formations, not just the volitional formations called intention.

2. Although designated separately in the classical formulation of the khandas, I find perceptions to be a kind of mental formation as well, and there is no perception as part of that experience. I'll get to what happens in place of perception in a moment.

These two taken together mean that the "discriminating mind", mano-vijnana, which is responsible for every of karma-producing and karma-resultant mental formation, either temporarily suspends its function, or at least it ceases to project any content into consciousness.

3. Sensation, which is actually rupa, not vedana, definitely ceases. This means that the other five "sensory minds" either suspend their functions, or else cease to project content into consciousness.

4. The vedana - feelings of pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral - are a different kind of mental function. Physical vedana arise in the sensory minds in association with sense percepts - the mental representations formed in response to raw sensory input. Mental vedana arise in the discriminating mind in association with mental formations, including perceptions. Both mental and physical vedana are absent in magga and phala. The non-experience of vedana is either because there are no vedana because the sensory and discriminating minds have suspended all function, or the sensory and discriminating minds cease to project vedana into consciousness when they cease to project everything else.

5. Consciousness does not cease during magga-phala. Some methods of practice that put all the emphasis on tracking objects of consciousness lead to reports of "gaps" in consciousness, but practices that emphasize the mind observing itself do not. But the object of consciousness in magga-phala appears to be the simple fact of consciousness itself, which makes it into "consciousness without an object" - something more-or-less inconceivable to the ordinary mind, but shockingly real to the mind in magga-phala. This is the meaning of "consciousness taking the Void as its object." Consciousness has no other object but itself.

When magga-phala takes the form of a "pure consciousness experience" or a "consciousness without an object" that can be recalled afterwards, there is an apparent "perception" associated with it. But this perception is an after-the-fact mental formation derived from the imprint left on the mind by the experience. On the other hand, I think in the Mahasi practice consciousness is often in a "latent" state during magga-phala, in that it produces no imprint in the mind that can be recalled afterwards, and therefore no after-the-fact "perception" is generated. But the only way for the magga-phala experience to reprogram the mind's deep intuitive view of reality so that someone becomes a Stream Entrant is for there to be some kind of "consciousness" that conveys this profound experience to those deep unconscious parts of the mind. In the end, the main difference between these two kinds of magga-phala is just whether or not it leaves an imprint in the mind that can be processed afterwards. Based on first hand experience with both kinds, this is the best explanation I have been able to come up with. I do conjecture that there may be one other difference - the "pure consciousness experience" is more effective in bringing about the permanent reprogramming of the mind than is the "gap" experience. I don't know if this connection to efficacy is causal or synchronic, but either way it seems to be related to the mode of practice preceding the magga-phala.

The nature of the nirodha is puzzling. I agree, that on the surface, the description of nirodha as the "cessation of feeling (vedana) and perception (sanna)" makes it sound like magga-phala, especially where there is no "perception". But keep in mind that the perception, when it is present, is an after-the-fact phenomenon resulting from an imprint left behind by the magga-phala experience. That actually makes both kinds of magga-phala sound like nirodha, since there is neither feeling nor perception in the experience itself. But the texts assure us this is absolutely not the case.

So lets take another look at it. Nirodha is also described as "nibbana without remainder", as distinguished from every other instance of nibbana, which, of course, magga and phala are examples of. This seems to be telling us that nirodha is different from any other form of nibbana (except parinibbana, of course) in some important way. I am inclined to see that as somehow being related to whether or not the sensory and discriminating minds completely cease to function, or just cease to project content into consciousness.

If all magga and phala are nibbana of a sort where sensations, feelings, perceptions, thoughts and every other sort mental formations cease to enter consciousness, but continue at some unconscious level to some degree or another, that would fit the description of a nibbana with remainder. That kind of nibbana is certainly an "extinguishing" of craving, of mental formations, and of suffering. And it is certainly enough to provide the mind with some dramatically different data upon which to base its intuitive worldview in the future. Therefore it is enough to account for the irreversible changes of Path attainment.

On the other hand, if nirodha is nibbana in which all mental function is suspended completely, that would explain why it is called "without remainder". The complete cessation of sensory mind function would explain why the yogi in nirodha is impossible to arouse. It would, indeed, resemble the nibbana following the death of the body in every way except that the body is not actually dead. And it could, perhaps, also help us to understand why this nirodha is said to be only achievable by arhats and anagamis. This last, by the way, is a also a very strong argument against equating any other experience with nirodha samapati.

In joy,
Culadasa
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jhana_insight/message/2978
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 4:01 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Another interesting take on 'path' and 'fruition' by Ayya Khema.

"The path moment doesn't have any thinking or feeling in it. It is not comparable to the meditative absorptions (jhana). Although it is based upon them because only the concentrated mind can enter into a path moment, it does not have the same qualities. the meditative absorptions have — in their initial stages — the ingredients of rapture, happiness and peacefulness. Later on, the mind experiences expansion, nothingness and a change of perception. The path moment does not contain any of these states of mind."

"It has a quality of non-being. This is such a relief and changes one's world view so totally that it is quite understandable that the Buddha made such a distinction between a worldling and a Noble One. While the meditative absorptions bring with them a feeling of oneness, of unity, the path moment does not even contain that. The moment of fruition, subsequent to the path moment, is the understood experience and results in a turned-around vision of existence."

"The new understanding recognizes every thought, every feeling as stress (dukkha). The most elevated thought, the most sublime feeling still has this quality. Only when there is nothing, is there no stress. There is nothing internal or external that contains the quality of total satisfactoriness. Because of such an inner vision, the passion for wanting anything is discarded. All has been seen for what it really is and nothing can give the happiness that arises through the practice of the path and its results."

"The Nibbanic element cannot be truly described as bliss, because bliss has a connotation of exhilaration. We use the word "bliss" for the meditative absorption, where it includes a sense of excitement. The Nibbanic element does not recognize bliss because all that arises is seen as stress. "The bliss of Nibbana" may give one the impression that one may find perfect happiness, but the opposite is true. One finds that there is nothing and therefore no more unhappiness, only peace.
To look for path and fruit will not bring them about, because only moment to moment awareness can do so. This awareness will eventually culminate in real concentration where one can let go of thinking and be totally absorbed. We can drop the meditation subject at that time. We need not push it aside, it falls away of its own accord, and absorption in awareness occurs. If there has to be an ambition in one's life, this is the only worthwhile one. All others will not bring fulfillment."

"The initial fruit moment needs to be re-lived, one has to resurrect it over and over again, until the second path moment can arise. It's like repeating what one knows and not forgetting so that one can build upon it."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khema/allofus.html#ch12
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 5:40 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
again, and this is getting so repetative as to be tedious

Nibbana is used two ways depending on context


Perhaps it will be less tedious to you if I say, explicitly, that this is merely one theory of things, is not stated anywhere in the suttas that I know of, and rings fairly hollow to me when applied to certain passages in the suttas.

To the extent that this theory is based on what you have confirmed in your own experience, but your experience (up to the point at which you took a snapshot of it and produced MCTB ) has not yet you to the end of craving as defined by the suttas, nor did it convince you (at the time of writing MCTB ) that such a thing was even possible, whereas other practices based on other people's experiences have led them in that direction and convinced them that such a thing is possible, you can surely appreciate why skepticism regarding your take on nibbana is reasonable, whether or not you turn out to be right in the end.

For sake of specificity regarding what the suttas say about craving in relation to what MCTB says:

MCTB:
The Second Noble Truth is that the cause of suffering is desire, also rendered as craving or attachment. We want things to be other than they are because we perceive the world through the odd logic of the process of ego, through the illusion of the split of the perceiver and the perceived. We might say, “Of course we want things to be great and not unpleasant! What do you expect?” The problem isn't actually quite in the desire for things to be good and not be bad in the way that we might think; it is, in fact, just a bit subtler than that. (...)

“Craving,” “attachment,” and “desire” are some of the most dangerous words that can be used to describe something that is actually much more fundamental than these seem to indicate. The Buddha did talk about these conventional forms of suffering, but he also talked about the fundamental suffering that comes from some deep longing for a refuge that involves a separate or permanent self. We imagine that such a self will be a refuge, and so we desire such a self, we try to make certain sensations into such a self, we cling to the fundamental notion that such a self can exist as a stable entity and that this will somehow help. The side effects of this manifest in all sorts of addictions to mind states and emotions that are not helpful, but these are side effects and not the root that cause of suffering that the Buddha was pointing to.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.22.0.than.html:
"And what is the noble truth of the origination of stress? The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

"And where does this craving, when arising, arise? And where, when dwelling, does it dwell? Whatever seems endearing and agreeable in terms of the world: that is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.

"And what seems endearing and agreeable in terms of the world? The eye seems endearing and agreeable in terms of the world. That is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.

"The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The intellect...

"Forms... Sounds... Smells... Tastes... Tactile sensations... Ideas...

"Eye-consciousness... Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness...

"Eye-contact... Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact...

"Feeling born of eye-contact... Feeling born of ear-contact... Feeling born of nose-contact... Feeling born of tongue-contact... Feeling born of body-contact... Feeling born of intellect-contact...

"Perception of forms... Perception of sounds... Perception of smells... Perception of tastes... Perception of tactile sensations... Perception of ideas...

"Intention for forms... Intention for sounds... Intention for smells... Intention for tastes... Intention for tactile sensations... Intention for ideas...

"Craving for forms... Craving for sounds... Craving for smells... Craving for tastes... Craving for tactile sensations... Craving for ideas...

"Thought directed at forms... Thought directed at sounds... Thought directed at smells... Thought directed at tastes... Thought directed at tactile sensations... Thought directed at ideas...

"Evaluation of forms... Evaluation of sounds... Evaluation of smells... Evaluation of tastes... Evaluation of tactile sensations... Evaluation of ideas seems endearing and agreeable in terms of the world. That is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.

"This is called the noble truth of the origination of stress.


Specifically, I would highlight that "craving that makes for further becoming" is not the same as "craving for becoming", the latter being something like what MCTB is trying to get at. Craving for sensuality (the most familiar kind, which, on my reading of that MCTB passage, MCTB regards as a "side effect" and not the root of suffering, and so not what the second noble truth is about) makes for further becoming, but it is not craving for becoming. (Something similar goes for "craving for non-becoming".)

Perhaps you disagree with my take on this, which is fine; but I guarantee that any argument you may give for why your reading of the suttas in MCTB is correct and mine isn't is at best reasonable and certainly not definitive.

If you still find all this terribly tedious, why not leave the thread to those who don't? You've stated your position clearly, and no one will take absence of a further response from you for a tacit admission of agreement with what others with different views are saying.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 5:52 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Culadasa:

5. Consciousness does not cease during magga-phala. Some methods of practice that put all the emphasis on tracking objects of consciousness lead to reports of "gaps" in consciousness, but practices that emphasize the mind observing itself do not. But the object of consciousness in magga-phala appears to be the simple fact of consciousness itself, which makes it into "consciousness without an object" - something more-or-less inconceivable to the ordinary mind, but shockingly real to the mind in magga-phala. This is the meaning of "consciousness taking the Void as its object." Consciousness has no other object but itself.


Nick, do you have any personal experience concerning this to share?

I have thought about it, but am not sure what I personally think.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 5:51 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/wheel090.html:
Once the Venerable Anuruddha went to see the Venerable Sariputta. When they had exchanged courteous greetings he sat down and said to the Venerable Sariputta: "Friend Sariputta, with the divine eye that is purified, transcending human ken, I can see the thousandfold world-system. Firm is my energy, unremitting; my mindfulness is alert and unconfused; the body is tranquil and unperturbed; my mind is concentrated and one-pointed. And yet my mind is not freed from cankers, not freed from clinging."

"Friend Anuruddha," said the Venerable Sariputta, "that you think thus of your divine eye, this is conceit in you. That you think thus of your firm energy, your alert mindfulness, your unperturbed body and your concentrated mind, this is restlessness in you. That you think of your mind not being freed from the cankers, this is worrying in you. It will be good, indeed, if the Venerable Anuruddha, abandoning these three states of mind and paying no attention to them, will direct the mind to the Deathless Element."

And the Venerable Anuruddha later on gave up these three states of mind, paid no attention to them and directed his mind to the Deathless Element. And the Venerable Anuruddha, living then alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, with determined mind, before long reached in this very life, understanding and experiencing it by himself, that highest goal of the Holy Life, for the sake of which noble sons go forth entirely from home into homelessness. And he knew: "Exhausted is rebirth, lived is the holy life, the work is done, nothing further remains after this." Thus the Venerable Anuruddha became one of the Arahats.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 10:58 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai and Culadasa,


Thank you. I am just getting back to this thread now and find your write up is quite useful to me. I appreciate the detail of magga and phala and nirodh.

So, I don't know when the experience I had may repeat itself (noted in Sensateness thread): it happened of its own accord. Just before the experience a form of anticipation arose anticipating single-point concentration. That form of anticipation is easily seen by me to be me, so I just let the form go (the release is as fine an effort as the fine-ness of a mild concept 'anticipation' starting to form).

When I came out of the experience, I wondered how I knew it happened. I have also wondered if the brevity I associate with the experience relates to the speed of exit, not the duration of experience (I had no clock, but know that in total I sat around 20 minutes versus the time I had originally planned (an hour-long sit immediately preceded the "event-sit" and allowed the mind to evacuate many usual thoughts). The exit felt like a "long second", like being pulled through a thick moment, the first edge of which there was awareness that sight was being re-animated with consciousness (and that edge of the moment is the one that was aware of a deadness in the sight expression just before and a complete blandness to the vision field, zilch in mental field, despite there being landscape forms it was also like there was no distinction.) The middle of that suspended exit moment was a kind of a visual micro-jolt and then a conceptual "guh" (like "wow" without the self-composure of "wow"), then words "emptiness" and "great silence" and the pain of knowing my own ignorance, and then first stanzas of the dhammapada.

Behavioural changes are an excellent metric; I am glad to read that these should happen.

How long do advanced practitioners stay in this state? [edit: I have limited concentration skill -- though metta and sukkha are getting pervasive (arising without will) in the last week just going out and about in daily stuff - and wonder if this state is something yogis actually stabilize? And why? glimpse is plenty; having no knowledge of anything (including duration), how would more time in be useful?]
Ayya Khema
If there has to be an ambition in one's life, this is the only worthwhile one. All others will not bring fulfillment."

"The initial fruit moment needs to be re-lived, one has to resurrect it over and over again, until the second path moment can arise. It's like repeating what one knows and not forgetting so that one can build upon it."
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 2:37 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nikolai .:
Culadasa:

5. Consciousness does not cease during magga-phala. Some methods of practice that put all the emphasis on tracking objects of consciousness lead to reports of "gaps" in consciousness, but practices that emphasize the mind observing itself do not. But the object of consciousness in magga-phala appears to be the simple fact of consciousness itself, which makes it into "consciousness without an object" - something more-or-less inconceivable to the ordinary mind, but shockingly real to the mind in magga-phala. This is the meaning of "consciousness taking the Void as its object." Consciousness has no other object but itself.


Nick, do you have any personal experience concerning this to share?

I have thought about it, but am not sure what I personally think.


Hi End,

I speculate that yes, I have experienced it but who knows.

This old thread at KFD where Chelek (chuck) and Triplethink (nathan) talk about getting path without the 'gap' fruition and something a bit different and 'conscious' might be of interest.

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4402183/Mahasi+and+Chah?offset=0&maxResults=20



The Chah path as I have known it:
The path focuses on freedom from suffering, not on attainments. Nevertheless, I did experience the 4 paths, but in a way different from the Mahasi tradition descriptions. Each path was a big event that occurred only once. I cannot call them up like you do your fruitions. Each path was like an opening or shift that conveys experiential information. This information is not intellectual knowledge and it is life-changing. The nature of this 'information' is what the 10 fetters model is describing. Stream entry is known as the first taste of the deathless or the direct perception of emptiness - it is not experienced as anything like a blip.

The tendency from the Mahasi side may be to describe these things as A&P's but in what I am describing there is no sense of an observer as something distinct from what is experienced. It is more of an all inclusive knowingness that transcends time and space. I don't find any language from the Mahasi tradition that seems to describe these experiences.

3rd Path:
Like going over a cliff. The ego collapses. Not a temporary experience but rather a single permanent shift in my experience. The sense of ego is directly related to our clinging to form (body, thoughts, perceptions, etc) as a sense of self. When the form fetters are cut - this is the same as the ego collapsing - they are two ways of speaking about the same thing. What is left at this point, in the 10 fetters model, are the higher (formless) fetters. This still leaves one with a sense of 'I am' - but not in relation to any perceivable form. So descriptions are like 'I am this emptiness' or 'I am one with God' (pick your tradition).

4th Path:
The formless self identity collapses. Something like 3rd, it is another big shift. But the nature of the shift is quite different and quite unexpected. Some qualities are immediately evident:
- the world of 'things' simply disappears in a flash - not to return - leaving a sort of panoramic experience.
- there is vastness, no sense of self whatsoever.
- there is a natural sort of surreal beauty to phenomena - particularly of nature but even fire hydrants, cars, etc.

Other qualities arise over time:
- personal will collapses: this is what I believe is behind the view that arahats can't work.
- there is a strong desire or pull towards stillness and solitude. The desire to escape into the wilderness is very strong.
- those annoying, irritating vibrations start showing up. They come in waves. The above mentioned qualities are also present - giving a strange sense of 'this is really irritating' and 'I don't want to go back to the way things were before' being present simultaneously. While at the same time both observations are immediately seen through as just thoughts passing through.

How do we explain my experience? Or that of Bernadette Roberts?, Adyashanti?
There may indeed be much overlap in qualities between the two approaches. I suspect that the further we go, the more they converge.

Ambiguous illusions:

From Wikipedia: "Cognitive illusions are assumed to arise by interaction with assumptions about the world, leading to "unconscious inferences". Cognitive illusions are commonly divided into ambiguous illusions, distorting illusions, paradox illusions, or fiction illusions.

1. Ambiguous illusions are pictures or objects that elicit a perceptual 'switch' between the alternative interpretations. The Necker cube is a well known example; another instance is the Rubin vase."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubin_vase

Could the two very different awakening experiences be a form of ambiguous illusion?

What if the path has this quality? There would need to be some kind of equivalent to figure and ground as seen in the Rubin Vase example. If there were, then once you have extensively trained to see things one way it may be difficult to see the other perspective. For example, if you see a vase and I see the silhouette of two faces then you will insist that I just don't get it yet and need to try harder or look more carefully. But the more I concentrate on the two faces, I will not see the vase. For that, it takes a different approach.

Mind/Temporal vs Body/Spatial

Mind/Temporal:
The intense noting practice of the Mahasi tradition focuses on strong concentration watching moment to moment - trying to 'break it' as Daniel has put it. Rather than look at or investigate ones experience you are trained to quickly note whatever is there. I am calling this a Mind or Temporal approach. The result being: seeing the nanas, fruitions, and other elements that this approach defines. A person awakening through this approach will naturally assume that these qualities that they see accurately define awakening and if someone else does not see them then they will assume that that person just doesn't have sufficient concentration yet or is not yet awakened.

Body/Spatial:
The open spacious approach of Ajahn Chah (for example)- which is also shared by some other schools, trains one to let go, relax, rest in basic awareness - I am calling this a Body or Spatial approach. Awareness is attentive yet broad, diffused, and relaxed - the body often used as a method of grounding. You don't just watch your experience, you become deeply involved with it - seeing how you can relax and let go and seeing how this process (the ability to change your experience) works.

A comparison:
Let's say you are in meditation and you get lost in a thought. In noting practice I am guessing that you would simply note 'thinking' and move on to note the next phenomena. In the body approach, you drop the thinking, relax around it (which may involve consciously relaxing parts of the body), perhaps smiling or attending tension in the face and head, and then go back to the object (attending, for example, an open spacious awareness of body energy) or simply open awareness, or attending to the sensations of peace, happiness, etc.

Different Focus = Different Experience:

I am convinced that these two approaches (Mahasi and Chah) lead to not only different definitions of awakening but also to very different experiences of stream-entry and the paths in general.

One way this difference is expressed is that paths are seen as attainments - something I did - in the Mind/Temporal approach (which is natural as one is actually trying to 'do' something) where as in the Body/Spatial approach the experience is as something dropping, collapsing, or falling away (because that is the essence of this practice - to let go).

Another way of looking at this is that we tend to describe where we are at in this process in terms of where we have been. Something like describing a journey by describing what you see out the back window. The language we use comes from the tradition that we have come through.

Reality is the suchness which allow both the vase and the faces their relative existence. So at some point we need to drop both - and from the beginning I think it would help if we can appreciate both - even if we choose to just work with one.

About time:
My experience of the paths unfolded over 14 years. I believe Daniel and Kenneth's are somewhere in that range. Bernadette Roberts - I think about 25 years, Adyashanti - I think about 15 or so.

Next, I will start looking at Actual Freedom. This isn't a hit piece on AF but an effort to place it in its proper context - as I see it. If you haven't been through the irritating vibrations then you may not agree with me. Which is why I need to first build this foundation.

-Chuck
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/16/12 10:12 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
And triplethink's take is indeed interesting (from the thread at KFD linked above):

This is very similar to what I have encountered although it is is very clear for me that I am moving through the four formed and then the four formless jhana. From 8th jhana, where, in my case, consciousness is so subtle and attenuated that it is barely there and nothing else is perceptible, it is simply the falling away of that last shred of consciousness. With the cessation or nibbana that then arises, there is that nibbana, it exists, it isn't just a blip out or a blank spot, but it isn't consciousness at all. With the slightest inclination to apply consciousness it is like being 'spit out' again and consciousness once more arises but there is definately no consciousness or anything else explicable in that nibbana/cessation. So it is very paradoxical, very inexplicable, as it clearly is a reality but there is nothing whatsoever of an experiencer or and experience of 'something'.

But there is an unparalleled bliss-like aspect to it that is completely unique. Next to it Jhana, orgasm, whatever conditional pleasure or rapture or peace or whatever is just crap, garbage. And a quality of freedom that is completely inclusive, that is directly related to the complete absence of absolutely everything that one could possibly identify with in any way. So the best I can do, for myself even, to describe it in relation to consciousness is that this 'unconditional phenomena' that is apparent in the complete absence of all conditional phenomena 'knows itself'. A way of describing it which most buddhists and philosophers I have discussed this with have had various problems with. But to be completely accurate, it is honestly just impossible to describe in any imaginable terms. So there is that, as far as I know, in the absence of any other phenomena, and knowing that it is there, all the time, everywhere, kind of behind the veil of conditional phenomena just seems to continually undermine any potential for conscious identifications to ever get any kind of purchase in conditions again. This extends all the way out into the most external kinds of phenomena and all the way in through the body, the senses, the feelings, the thoughts and consciousness. All of that phenomena, for all its compelling realness, just comes across as completely insubstantial and clearly, continually arising and falling away. It just looses all its capacity to engage the consciousness. Conversely, the completely consistent and completely at ease nature of that unconditional phenomena 'behind the scenes' seems like the only reality in the universe worth merging with. Given the options of the fleeting conditions or the incomparable peace, it's just no contest. And then, it's like over time, even that deepest kind of inclination to polarities just looses it's grip and the whole works, conditional and unconditional, has no hold any more.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 4:33 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I have some resonance with this last part by TripleThink, as the sense of a refined and unconditioned realm or aspect beyond everything and yet of part of everything is what I think of as the Anagami Dream, hinted at by many things, supported by nothing actually, and the final realization that conditioned and unconditioned is all the same or none of it calling anymore is very much teetering on arahat territory.

It is true that there are many that don't notice the gap, but there are gaps, and if there was a shift from one way of being to another, there had to be a gap, as this is a gappy universe, and it is true that plenty of people with Fruition don't know what it is and can't reproduce it, or if they do don't recognize it, but this is not the fault of theory, just a limitation of the practitioner. The results are largely the same, but they miss out on one very important thing, and that is being able to see what conformity knowledge is, as that is when you really see the senses as they are, pristine, clear, perfectly known, flawless, and repeating that does something really, really good to the brain.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 5:19 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
I speculate that yes, I have experienced it but who knows.


Recently, or during your original ascent through the "pragmatic dharma paths"?

This old thread at KFD where Chelek (chuck) and Triplethink (nathan) talk about getting path without the 'gap' fruition and something a bit different and 'conscious' might be of interest.


Thanks for the link! As a side-note, I liked this quote by Ajahn Chah in it:

Ajahn Chah: "This mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful... really peaceful! Just like a leaf which is still as long as no wind blows. If a wind comes up the leaf flutters. The fluttering is due to the wind—the “fluttering” is due to those sense impressions; the mind follows them. If it doesn’t follow them, it doesn’t “flutter.” If we know fully the true nature of sense impressions we will be unmoved.


Flutter...flicker...
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 5:34 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Oh, yes, EIS, even though you poo poo the Abhidhamma, still, from the point of view of theory and a discussion of the meaning of technical Buddhist terms, perhaps this will be interesting to you:

Go here:

Abhidhamma explanation

which is a long chapter

and search on the page for:

A Javana thought-process then runs as follows

and read. As you will see, they explicitly equate Fruition and Nibbana, so my views, which you consider so erroneous, are actually quite standard, not that you can't adopt your own views, but then the question becomes how those views help, which is a reasonable question, and I am not saying that your views might not help you more than my views would help you, as how could I know?, but still, to read your stuff, you would think I am just making this stuff up, when I am not.

Daniel
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 5:40 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nikolai .:
I speculate that yes, I have experienced it but who knows.


Recently, or during your original ascent through the "pragmatic dharma paths"?


Most recently. Not the original ascent, although there was one occurence right before the 1st 'cessation' or gap. But I'm not sure. The recent occurence that left quite a bit of residual on the floor was unique in that it wasn't a gap that did the damage. It matched more so Ayya khema's description of 'path'.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 12:39 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
This is in accord with my understanding:

...

Nibbāna is a negation. It means extinguishment. With the fruition of each of the four paths one knows the termination of the fetters which are eliminated by that path. This termination is nibbāna appropriate to that path. The Paṭisambhidāmagga:

How is it that the discernment of the termination of continuance in one who is fully aware is gnosis of full extinguishment (parinibbāna ñāṇa)?

Through the stream-entry path he terminates identity view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi), doubt (vicikicchā), and mistaken adherence to rules and duty (sīlabbataparāmāsa).... This discernment of the termination of continuance in one who is fully aware is gnosis of full extinguishment....

He causes the cessation of identity view, doubt, and mistaken adherence to rules and duty through the stream-entry path.


And so on for the fetters which are terminated on the remaining three paths. The once-returner path terminates the gross fetters of desire for sensual pleasure (kāmacchanda) and aversion (vyāpāda/byāpāda). The non-returner path terminates the secondary fetters of desire for sensual pleasure (kāmacchanda) and aversion (vyāpāda/byāpāda). The arahant path terminates the fetters of passion for form [existence] (rūparāga), passion for formless [existence] (arūparāga), conceit (māna), restlessness (uddhacca), and ignorance (avijjā).

All the best,

Geoff

...

Firstly, nibbāna isn't a "state." Secondly, nibbāna is the cessation of passion, aggression, and delusion. For a learner it is the cessation of the fetters extinguished on each path. The waking states where "suddenly all sensations and six senses stop functioning" are (1) mundane perceptionless samādhis, and (2) cessation of apperception and feeling. Neither of these are supramundane and neither of these are synonymous with experiencing nibbāna.

All the best,

Geoff

...

The suttas define and describe the goal in sufficient terms. The difficulty in this discussion relates to whether one accepts what the canon states about the fruition of the path, or alternatively, accepts much later commentarial interpretations of the "path-moment" and "fruition-moment" as re-interpreted by a few 20th century Burmese monks. Without sufficient common ground for discussion there isn't much possibility of meaningful dialogue.

...

I don't have a "stance." I follow the dhamma expounded in the canon. SN 43 Asaṅkhata Saṃyutta (1-44 combined & abridged):

And what, monks, is the not-fabricated (asaṅkhata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-fabricated.

And what, monks, is the not-inclined (anata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-inclined.

And what, monks, is the outflowless (anāsava)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the outflowless.

And what, monks, is the truth (sacca)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the truth.

And what, monks, is the farther shore (pāra)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the farther shore.

And what, monks, is the subtle (nipuṇa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the subtle.

And what, monks, is the very hard to see (sududdasa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the very hard to see.

And what, monks, is the unaging (ajajjara)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the unaging.

And what, monks, is the stable (dhuva)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the stable.

And what, monks, is the undisintegrating (apalokita)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the undisintegrating.

And what, monks, is the non-indicative (anidassana)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the non-indicative.

And what, monks, is the unproliferated (nippapañca)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the unproliferated.

And what, monks, is the peaceful (santa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the peaceful.

And what, monks, is the death-free (amata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the death-free.

And what, monks, is the sublime (paṇīta)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the sublime.

And what, monks, is the auspicious (siva)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the auspicious.

And what, monks, is the secure (khema)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the secure.

And what, monks, is the elimination of craving (taṇhākkhaya)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the elimination of craving.

And what, monks, is the wonderful (acchariya)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the wonderful.

And what, monks, is the amazing (abbhuta)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the amazing.

And what, monks, is the calamity-free (anītika)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the calamity-free.

And what, monks, is the dhamma free of calamity (anītikadhamma)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the dhamma free of calamity.

And what, monks, is extinguishment (nibbāna)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called extinguishment.

And what, monks, is the unafflicted (abyāpajjha)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the unafflicted.

And what, monks, is dispassion (virāga)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called dispassion.

And what, monks, is purity (suddhi)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called purity.

And what, monks, is freedom (mutti)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called freedom.

And what, monks, is the unadhesive (anālaya)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the unadhesive.

And what, monks, is the island (dīpa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the island.

And what, monks, is the cave (leṇa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the cave.

And what, monks, is the shelter (tāṇa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the shelter.

And what, monks, is the refuge (saraṇa)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the refuge.

And what, monks, is the destination (parāyana)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the destination.


The Abhidhamma Vibhaṅga 184:

What, there, is the not-fabricated component (asaṅkhatā dhātu)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-fabricated component.


The Paṭisambhidāmagga:

How is it that the discernment of the termination of continuance in one who is fully aware is gnosis of full extinguishment (parinibbāna ñāṇa)?

Through the stream-entry path he terminates identity view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi), doubt (vicikicchā), and mistaken adherence to rules and duty (sīlabbataparāmāsa).... This discernment of the termination of continuance in one who is fully aware is gnosis of full extinguishment....

He causes the cessation of identity view, doubt, and mistaken adherence to rules and duty through the stream-entry path.


And so on for the fetters which are terminated on the remaining three paths. These gnoses of full extinguishment (parinibbāna ñāṇa-s) are also called gnoses of the bliss of liberation (vimuttisukha ñāṇa-s). The Paṭisambhidāmagga:

With the stream-entry path, gnosis of the bliss of liberation arises due to the abandoning and cutting off of:

(1) identity view,
(2) doubt,
(3) mistaken adherence to rules and duty,
(4) the underlying tendency of view,
(5) the underlying tendency of doubt.

With the once-returner path, gnosis of the bliss of liberation arises due to the abandoning and cutting off of:

(6) the gross fetter of passion for sensual pleasure,
(7) the gross fetter of aversion,
(8) the gross underlying tendency of passion for sensual pleasure,
(9) the gross underlying tendency of aversion.

With the non-returner path, gnosis of the bliss of liberation arises due to the abandoning and cutting off of:

(10) the secondary fetter of passion for sensual pleasure,
(11) the secondary fetter of aversion,
(12) the secondary underlying tendency of passion for sensual pleasure,
(13) the secondary underlying tendency of aversion.

With the arahant path, gnosis of the bliss of liberation arises due to the abandoning and cutting off of:

(14) passion for form [existence],
(15) passion for formless [existence],
(16) conceit,
(17) restlessness,
(18) ignorance,
(19) the underlying tendency of conceit,
(20) the underlying tendency of passion for existence,
(21) the underlying tendency of ignorance.


rowyourboat wrote:the (non) experience of the unconditioned which this thread is about.


The gnosis of the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion is known. It's called the gnosis of nibbāna (nibbāna ñāṇa), the gnosis of elimination (khayeñāṇa), the gnosis and vision of liberation (vimuttiñāṇadassana), and so on.

All the best,

Geoff


- a similar thread of discussion at http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=6950

(very interesting discussions, I took my time to read through them and Geoff's writings are by far most agreeable to me)
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 1:14 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:


Regarding the "clear light"...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.049.than.html:
"'Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around,

has not been experienced through the earthness of earth ... the liquidity of liquid ... the fieriness of fire ... the windiness of wind ... the allness of the all.'

Sujato’s Blog

Nibbana is not viññāṇa. Really, it just isn’t.

p.s. yes, I have direct insight into clear light, but do not see it as Nibbana. Clear light is the luminous essence of mind - realizing this directly is like what I call the 'I AM realization'. The key to liberation lies in realizing the three characteristics of mind.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 2:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Oh, yes, EIS, even though you poo poo the Abhidhamma, still, from the point of view of theory and a discussion of the meaning of technical Buddhist terms, perhaps this will be interesting to you:

Go here:

Abhidhamma explanation

which is a long chapter

and search on the page for:

A Javana thought-process then runs as follows

and read. As you will see, they explicitly equate Fruition and Nibbana, so my views, which you consider so erroneous, are actually quite standard, not that you can't adopt your own views, but then the question becomes how those views help, which is a reasonable question, and I am not saying that your views might not help you more than my views would help you, as how could I know?, but still, to read your stuff, you would think I am just making this stuff up, when I am not.


I don't think you're making this stuff up; I just don't buy it.

At the link you offered, it is stated that these fruition moments destroy or weaken the fetters that are peculiar to the attained path. And yet, fruition (as described in MCTB ) does not seem to do that...which could mean that the relation between nibbana and the destruction / weaking of the fetters is mythological, that the Abhidhammic understanding of nibbana is wrong, that fruition in MCTB is not fruition in the Abhidhamma, some combination, something else entirely...

As I have the belief that the fetters can be destroyed, I would need at least to see a link between nibbana (however understood) and the destruction / weakening of fetters to truly buy a particular theory about nibbana, with the fetters and their destruction understood in a moderately orthodox way at minimum.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 2:31 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
p.s. yes, I have direct insight into clear light, but do not see it as Nibbana. Clear light is the luminous essence of mind - realizing this directly is like what I call the 'I AM realization'. The key to liberation lies in realizing the three characteristics of mind.


Consciousness without surface is stated to be apart from "the All", and "the All" includes mind, and it is stated that nothing can be described apart from "the All" (so the "the luminous essence of mind", insofar as it is conditioned and describable, which you seem to think it is as you note the need to see the 3Cs in it, must be described as part of "the All"):

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.023.than.html:
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."


(Note that what is beyond the All is said to be beyond range (of description), not impossible or a contradictory idea.)

Further, if I am not mistaken, previously you have said that 'I AM' is a non-conceptual thought (specifically, "PCE in non-conceptual thought"); that falls under "ideas", which falls under the All, so the case against 'I AM' as consciousness without surface (if that is clear light) seems settled to me.

Anyhow (and this is a general issue I have with comparing descriptions of experiences), "clear light" in this thread originally came up in context of a description of a high-dose LSD experience:

David Chadwick:
...I died, it seemed, as completely as one can die (even though my body of course was quite alive) and found myself at one with all that is, beyond space and time, birth and death. I was bathed in transcendent yet immanent love - it was always changing - and then, the dualism even of this oneness gave way and mind opened to the experience of the clear light of which, later, I could really say nothing but that that experience seemed to be the crowning glory of all that is and isn't. I felt that I had experienced what a Hindu text described as greater than if 10,000 suns were to explode in the sky. None of these experiences can be remembered any more than the Pacific Ocean can fit into a thimble, but I came back saying that the clear light was pure, unborn, ecstatic - things like that.


I am fairly certain that this does not occur very frequently for people at the beginning of the spiritual path (as your 'I AM' realization does):

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html:
It was about 20 years back and it all started with the question of “Before birth, who am I”. I do not know why but this question seems to capture my entire being. I can spend days and nights just sitting focusing, pondering over this question; till one day, everything seemed to come to a complete standstill, not even a single thread of thought arise. There is merely nothing and completely void, only this pure sense of existence. This mere sense of I, this Presence, what is it? It is not the body, not thought as there is no thought, nothing at all, just Existence itself. There is no need for anyone to authenticate this understanding.


Greater than 10,000 suns exploding in the sky? The crowning glory of all that is and isn't? I think I will remain unconvinced concerning that in relation to 'I AM'.

Regarding nibbana as the end of defilements: yes, that is what the suttas say. And yet...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.106.than.html:
"There is the case, Ananda, where a disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'Sensuality here & now; sensuality in lives to come; sensual perceptions here & now; sensual perceptions in lives to come; forms here & now; forms in lives to come; form-perceptions here & now; form-perceptions in lives to come; perceptions of the imperturbable; perceptions of the dimension of nothingness; perceptions of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception: that is an identity, to the extent that there is an identity. This is deathless: the liberation of the mind through lack of clinging/sustenance.'


I confess I don't know how to interpret that, although I think it isn't a straightforward thing (to one not so-liberated). Knowing what the end of defilements is, seems tricky, and whatever it is, an understanding of it will have to agree with all the various things the suttas say concerning it (unless one rejects some of those things for other reasons).
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 2:46 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
About the "clear light" and high doses of LSD, Kenneth said:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/01/bg-156-ordinary-people-can-get-enlightened/:
One night, having exhausted all of the cocaine in the house, and feeling depressed, I then took 4 hits of LSD, and while I'm neither advocating nor taking any kind of a moral stance on drugs this is what happened to me. So, I took the LSD...

(...)

Next thing that happened, I found myself being drawn up through some kind of a tube toward the sky, kind of maybe a glass tube would describe this, and it was a long glass tube. So, I'm going up and up and it's going on and on, but it's fascinating. I'm riveted by this experience. And there were some kind of little semi-disembodied beings on the other side of this glass tube, trying to get my attention, keeping pace with me as I am being sucked up toward the sky, and apparently trying to communicate with me. And I remember thinking, “Well, this was kind of a challenge. I've got to find a way to communicate with these beings, but we don't have a language in common. And so how can I communicate with them?” And it seemed to me it was kind of a quest or a challenge. I should find some common ground with these things, so I could communicate. Well, it didn't happen. I wasn't able to come up with any common ground. Eventually I outpaced them and they just disappeared.

So I am being sucked up ever faster, this is accelerating. And I was able to see that there was an end to this thing, and the end of it was white light, or this blinding perfect light beyond imagining. And just about the time I first glimpsed it, because I was going so fast, I was pulled into it and merged with it. And this was by far, far and away, the most extraordinary experience of my life. Because now I was one with this kind of cosmic consciousness. And it was a literally mind-blowing experience. I was thinking this must be what people are talking about when they say "God". But it wasn't God as I had understood. It wasn't this kind of simplistic notion of this big guy up in the sky that is like me only big and powerful. It was everything. And in that moment of merger with this cosmic consciousness, or Godhead, would be a way to describe this. It was as though I knew everything. Or everything that needed to be known was known, and yet there was no reason to ask, because it was all there.

This felt really good, and I thought, "All right, everything up until now, my entire life, has been a dream. And now I am awake. Now this is real." And almost immediately I realized that it wasn't going to last. I was getting kicked out of the garden. Later I wrote in my journal, "As I lay naked beneath God's crushing foot, I asked him to throw me a bone. Nobody's gonna believe this." At that time, I'd never even heard anybody talk about anything like this. So I thought nobody will believe this. So, isn't there something I can take back with me? It wasn't clear whether there was or not. Nonetheless, I was kicked out of the garden, and found myself lying on my back on my bed. With my minds completely blown.

Now, as it happened, my cocaine addiction vanished in that moment. I just never had any inclination to use it again and I suppose you could say that was the bone. I was thrown a bone, and that was it. My life changed completely in that moment and it set me on a quest to try and understand what had happened to me and to try and get it back, because the glow of it in some sense is, I suppose, never wore off, because I knew that there was this reality beyond my ordinary little self, but that was not accessible to me at that time. And so, I began to read.


Not sure exactly how this ties into anything, but I thought it might be interesting to bring up here.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 4:31 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
He is sure that was his A&P. I know him very well and we have talked about that one for about 20 years, and he has always had the same impression that I know of.

@ End in Sight: given the wide range of quality and the huge amount of material in the Pali Canon and commentaries, that and the ordinary constraints of reality, which are clearly debated, any view we take ends up contradicting and being contradicted by something else, so we must chose the combination of explanations of what and why and edit and be selective or we come to irresolvable problems. We obviously have both chosen to select differently, and that is fine, but we have to realize that the filters and preconceptions will likely have some impact on our practice, and again I can't be sure that my set of filters and preferences for interpretations and what I consider verifiable quality and what I consider mythic garbage will necessarily be of any benefit to you, so on a few of these points we will have to agree to disagree, but one thing we can definitely agree on, I hope is the following:

Clearly, and without any doubt, the word Nibbana is used differently in the Abhidhamma than it is in the Suttas, as there is no way to resolve those that has both with exactly the same meaning, so you can prefer the Suttic meaning, whatever, just realize when conversing with others that you will still often have to do what I said, which is to realize that the meaning of the term even in this modern day will be contextual, as there are those, such as myself, who know the Abhidhammic meaning also and may use that, though I really prefer to say Fruition when I mean Fruition, as that is unambiguous, and to say other things when I am talking about high levels of realization, generally preferring to avoid the term Nibbana, as it is too ambiguous, so even if you personally choose to always use the term Nibbana to mean, say, the end of the 10 Fetter Model without any other possible meaning, or whatever, not everyone else is going to use the term that way, just as you must realize that if you talk to a Tibetan about Vipassana, they will try to put an h in it and it will mean something completely different to them, etc.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 6:16 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
He is sure that was his A&P. I know him very well and we have talked about that one for about 20 years, and he has always had the same impression that I know of.


Thanks for the clarification. I always (since I read it originally) thought it was an interesting story; knowing how people get into spirituality has some kind of weird appeal to me.

Not questioning his judgment, but just throwing this out there: there were things that happened to me that I retrospectively diagnosed as A&P, but later revised my diagnosis to "broadly PCE-related experience". (I used A&P as a catchall for awesome things that happened in the long-gone past, because that was the only vaguely suitable map-related term I had available for awhile, and because old memories are easily distorted in this sort of case.) Retrospective diagnosis can be difficult.

Clearly, and without any doubt, the word Nibbana is used differently in the Abhidhamma than it is in the Suttas, as there is no way to resolve those that has both with exactly the same meaning, so you can prefer the Suttic meaning, whatever, just realize when conversing with others that you will still often have to do what I said, which is to realize that the meaning of the term even in this modern day will be contextual, as there are those, such as myself, who know the Abhidhammic meaning also and may use that, though I really prefer to say Fruition when I mean Fruition, as that is unambiguous, and to say other things when I am talking about high levels of realization, generally preferring to avoid the term Nibbana, as it is too ambiguous, so even if you personally choose to always use the term Nibbana to mean, say, the end of the 10 Fetter Model without any other possible meaning, or whatever, not everyone else is going to use the term that way, just as you must realize that if you talk to a Tibetan about Vipassana, they will try to put an h in it and it will mean something completely different to them, etc.


Agreed about this.

Maybe a better way to approach the questions that are of interest to me, in light of the need to be clearer and less ambiguous, and for the issue not to be resolvable or unresolvable purely on a semantic or terminological basis, is:

1) Is there an unconditioned (= unborn, undying, etc.) dhamma?
2) If so, is it experienced (or whatever) only at the end of the path, or at other times as well?
3) If at other times, does it herald the cessation or weakening of fetters (however that is understood)?

As for the answers to the above questions, I don't expect some kind of consensus at this point, but I do think there is value to having them out in the open and available for consideration (publicly or privately) by those who care to consider them.

As for what the purpose of quoting all these different people is, I would say, it is something like...contemplative experience is very broad, lots of stuff that can be interpreted as "A&P" or "powers" or random meaningless coincidental stuff or whatever can also be interpreted in other ways, Bernadette Roberts' account being (to my mind) a prime example, and I think there is value in taking an expensive view of what may or may not be the case if you plan to hit the meditation cushion hard (or however you like to practice), and also to take note of what the suttas may be trying to express (if you practice in a Pali Buddhist-influenced vein).
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 6:18 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Unconditioned:

Two things are classified as unconditioned:

Fruition, regardless of whatever else you call it or how you think it fits into anything, and the Abhidhamma, regardless of whether you like it, uses the word Nibbana that way.

The direct realization of "in the seeing, just the seen" as that, by definition is unconditioned, meaning, not artificially taken to be anything it is not, and you can call that what you like, but the term Nibbana is often used in that context.

Thus, from this very technical, in the context of the specific texts in question meaning, the answer to the second question is as follows:

Fruition, when it occurs at the entrance to Stream entry and the other paths, as well as during Review phases, is classified as unconditioned.

In whatever you wish to call that direct perceptual understanding that sensations are directly and only what they are, that is also an unconditioned experience.

As regards the weakening of the fetters, here we should discuss what it meant by those, perhaps, which will probably be a very long and complicated conversation but probably worth it, and clearly both experiences do weaken what I think of as the fetters, and so we should define those terms in a way that also realizes the ambiguities and attempts clear definitions of concepts over arguments for our proprietary final meaning of some ancient and at times ambiguous terms.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 11:08 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
David Chadwick, Psychoactivism (in Zig Zag Zen):
When the pill washed down my throat I foresaw my ego was about to die and gave in immediately. As the LSD started to come on strong, my friends played, at my prior request, the Beatles' perfectly appropriate "Turn Off Your Mind, Relax, and Float Downstream," and then there was only the sound of the gentle waves of Lake Worth outside the screened porch as I lay on a cot and I did float downstream, leave my friends, the bed, the waves, myself, and the universe as I had known it, and passed through progressive visions each more ecstatic, powerful, and subtle than the prior. The deeper I went, the more familiar and wonderful it was. I felt I was going to my eternal home.

...I died, it seemed, as completely as one can die (even though my body of course was quite alive) and found myself at one with all that is, beyond space and time, birth and death. I was bathed in transcendent yet immanent love - it was always changing - and then, the dualism even of this oneness gave way and mind opened to the experience of the clear light of which, later, I could really say nothing but that that experience seemed to be the crowning glory of all that is and isn't. I felt that I had experienced what a Hindu text described as greater than if 10,000 suns were to explode in the sky. None of these experiences can be remembered any more than the Pacific Ocean can fit into a thimble, but I came back saying that the clear light was pure, unborn, ecstatic - things like that. On that evening I emerged from the clear light into a calmer, perfect, absolute, vast clarity with no sense of identity or physicality in it, a state not characterized by any mundane attributes such as existence, experience, or anything.


Regarding the "clear light"...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.049.than.html:
"'Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around,

has not been experienced through the earthness of earth ... the liquidity of liquid ... the fieriness of fire ... the windiness of wind ... the allness of the all.'


And

None of these experiences can be remembered any more than the Pacific Ocean can fit into a thimble,


reminiscent of Roberts' ant-to-elephant comparison.

My general impression at this point is that the contemplative path may go deeper than any of us (certainly including myself) yet understand, and I personally am finding it valuable (in a very down-to-earth practical sense) to abandon any map of or preconception of how the path unfolds, apart from the 10-fetters map, which does not describe the details of the path, but just some salient landmarks along it concerning what will not be experienced at those points. This consideration is especially useful in preventing any premature declarations of arahantship / liberation / whatever.

I am finding this to be fairly useful to keep in mind (and it is related to Aman's point):

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.031.than.html:
Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

"And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.
I have posed a question to Ven Sujato and await for his reply.

But here is what I found in another of his post regarding a non-manifesting consciousness not partaking in the allness:

http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/nibbana-is-still-not-vinna%E1%B9%87a/

"The only other time in the Suttas that the ‘non-manifest consciousness’ is mentioned is in MN 49 Brahmanimantanika. There, according to Analayo, the Sri Lankan, Thai, and English editions of the Pali attribute the phrase to Brahma, not the Buddha, while only the Burmese attributes it to the Buddha. (The commentary attributes it to the Buddha and says it refers to Nibbana; Burmese texts are notorious for incorporating ‘corrected’ readings from the commentary.) In the Chinese version it has nothing to do with Nibbana, but is part of Brahma’s claim to omniscience."

Also as Dhammawheel's Geoff (Ñāṇa) commented, Thanissaro's views on this matter is not shared by the old 'Indian Buddhist authors'.

In the endnotes to MN 49 he also asserts that nibbāna is a form of consciousness:

Some have objected to the equation of this consciousness with nibbana, on the grounds that nibbana is no where else in the Canon described as a form of consciousness. Thus they have proposed that consciousness without surface be regarded as an arahant's consciousness of nibbana in meditative experience, and not nibbana itself.



No Indian Buddhist author -- whether Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, Mādhyamaka, or Yogācāra -- ever made this assertion that nibbāna is a type of consciousness. And in the Introduction to his translation of the same sutta he also asserts that this consciousness is not known by means of any of the six senses at all:

The Buddha describes his awakened knowledge in a variety of ways ... by describing an awakened consciousness that is not known by means of any of the six senses at all.... Some of these assertions — in particular, the assertion of a consciousness not mediated by any of the six senses — are extremely important dhamma lessons....



And in the endnotes to MN 38 he asserts that this consciousness is not included in the consciousness aggregate:

The Buddha, knowing that there are two types of consciousness — the consciousness aggregate (viññāṇakkhandha), which is experienced in conjunction with the six sense media, and consciousness without surface (viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ), which is experienced independently of the six sense media....



Again, no Indian Buddhist author -- whether Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, Mādhyamaka, or Yogācāra -- ever made any of these assertions. So apparently we are to believe that Ṭhānissaro has re-discovered the correct understanding of nibbāna as a form of consciousness which can only be experienced independently of the six sense media, that somehow eluded all of the best and brightest minds of Buddhist India!

His interpretation of nibbāna is very novel. It's also nonsense.

...

The bottom line is that his theory on nibbāna isn't even Buddhist. At best, it's mildly amusing. It certainly doesn't offer a credible alternative or pose a credible challenge to the standard path structures contained in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and the Vibhaṅga, etc. So there's really no need to get too involved in criticizing it.



Greater than a thousand suns? Yes - in fact incomparable by such analogies, it is intensely luminous, present, doubtless. Glorious? Yes. It does seem ultimate.

A website I often quote because it seems to describe the four different aspects of I AM so well also says the same:

http://www.innerfrontier.org/Practices/JacobsLadder.htm

In its fullness, all separateness, all the ten thousand things merge into that Primordial Sacred Sun. That light is part of our nature, the source of wisdom. We become the light, basking in unimaginable joy.


Also I wrote somewhere else:

There is nothing wrong with 'I AM' at all. It is that you need to realize that all manifestations are primordially pure and without self.

I AM is actually just a manifestation - it is not a ground, a subtratum, a source, a true self.

What is pointed to as 'I AM' is actually just a non-conceptual thought - felt as luminous, vivid, presence-existence, but only in the mind-realm. It is only one out of eighteen dhatus (six sense organs, six sense objects, six sense consciousness) .

When consciousness experiences the pure sense of “I AM”, overwhelmed by the transcendental thoughtless moment of Beingness, consciousness clings to that experience as its purest identity. By doing so, it subtly creates a ‘watcher’ and fails to see that the ‘Pure Sense of Existence’ is nothing but an aspect of pure consciousness relating to the thought realm. This in turn serves as the karmic condition that prevents the experience of pure consciousness that arises from other sense-objects. Extending it to the other senses, there is hearing without a hearer and seeing without a seer -- the experience of Pure Sound-Consciousness is radically different from Pure Sight-Consciousness. Sincerely, if we are able to give up ‘I’ and replaces it with “Emptiness Nature”, Consciousness is experienced as non-local. No one state is purer than the other. All is just One Taste, the manifold of Presence.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 10:51 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Two things are classified as unconditioned:


"Unconditioned" is a term that has a particular preexisting meaning, not a term that has been created as a way for certain experiences to be classified apart from that preexisting meaning.

Dictionary.com says

1. not subject to conditions; absolute.


A fairly reasonable (I think) take on what that means is: "unborn, undying" (outside of the causal order)

Here is a relevant sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.than.html:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.


Here are fairly strict criteria for what counts as fabricated / unfabricated:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.047.than.html:
"Monks, these three are fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated. Which three? Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible, alteration (literally, other-ness) while staying is discernible.

"These are three fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated.

"Now these three are unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated. Which three? No arising is discernible, no passing away is discernible, no alteration while staying is discernible.

"These are three unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated."


"In the seeing, just the seen..." is conditioned in a way (the seeing is inside the causal order, arises, passes away), but the suttas indicate that such a realization is unconditioned in a way (because, presumably, the no-craving state that allows for it is unconditioned). Making sense of what that means is another thing.

The direct realization of "in the seeing, just the seen" as that, by definition is unconditioned, meaning, not artificially taken to be anything it is not, and you can call that what you like, but the term Nibbana is often used in that context.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.121.than.html:
"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of wilderness are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of earth are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of wilderness. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of earth. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


It appears that lots of things will unintendedly count as "unconditioned" according to the definition you're using.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 10:55 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Greater than a thousand suns? Yes - in fact incomparable by such analogies, it is intensely luminous, present, doubtless. Glorious? Yes. It does seem ultimate.


David Chadwick must have been a silly guy to take so much LSD, when he could have simply worked with a koan for a while and gotten the same effect. emoticon
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 11:04 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
An Eternal Now:
Greater than a thousand suns? Yes - in fact incomparable by such analogies, it is intensely luminous, present, doubtless. Glorious? Yes. It does seem ultimate.


David Chadwick must have been a silly guy to take so much LSD, when he could have simply worked with a koan for a while and gotten the same effect. emoticon
Yes.

Actually one of the early things I discussed with Thusness in 2004 or 2005 is his views on LSD. He thinks that LSD may lead to an intense experience of I AM but that it is not necessary and certainly will not lead to realization of further insights (like anatta).

2007:

(1:08 PM) Thusness: hmm...don't think i want to write about LSD in a forum.
(1:09 PM) AEN: o haha how come
(1:09 PM) Thusness: the reason is that it might mislead one into seeking altered state of consciousness by taking psychoactive drugs.
(1:09 PM) AEN: oic..
(1:10 PM) Thusness: even if I said we shouldn't, but some might not be able to resist the temptation and opt for a try.
(1:10 PM) Thusness: this is dangerous.
(1:10 PM) AEN: icic..
(1:11 PM) Thusness: jhana is a form of samadhi.
(1:11 PM) AEN: but actually these kind of psychedelics can lead to a state of witnessing?
(1:11 PM) AEN: oic
(1:11 PM) Thusness: yes.
(1:11 PM) Thusness: it is an altered state of consciousness
(1:11 PM) Thusness: i would say similar to astral plane
(1:12 PM) Thusness: not so much enlightenment.
(1:12 PM) Thusness: but very similar form of experience.
(1:12 PM) AEN: oic..
(1:12 PM) Thusness: as in the phase of "I AMness".
(1:12 PM) Thusness: the insight is restricted to that level.
(1:12 PM) AEN: icic..
(1:12 PM) Thusness: not the form of buddhist enlightenment
(1:12 PM) Thusness: but very intense.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 11:11 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Each person can decide for themselves how reasonable they think such a view is, based on whatever experience or testimony or knowledge they have accessible to them.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/17/12 11:43 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Dear Lord, do you people actually not know what unconditioned means?

If not, I'll tell you. The word unconditioned refers to things that exist not dependent on conditions.

For example: A tree leaf exists dependent on the condition of a tree, which existed dependent on the conditions of water, soil and sunlight.

An unconditioned thing exists not dependent on any conditions.

Fruition by definition, thus is not unconditioned, as it arose dependent on previous conditions, such as the meditator's effort etc.

Also by the way when you see the word formations, they're probably referring to things that arise and pass, that's what they mean by formation, they form at some point.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 12:27 AM as a reply to James Yen.
Quoting from The Buddhist Dictionary, ven. Nyanatiloka, page 25:

"Theravada Buddhism recognizes only Nibbana as an unconditioned element (asankhata-dhatu: s Dhs. 1084)."

So, yes, I do know what unconditioned means in this context.

We are not actually debating views so much as standard doctrine at this point, the standard technical definitions of certain aspects of classical Buddhist theory, so, while we could view this as something open to any random interpretation, actually this stuff here is so stock it is hard to imagine why we are having this particular conversation except to educate people on basic technical Buddhist theory, which clearly there is a need for, and it is really highlighting the point that people just don't even know their basics.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 5:06 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Quoting from The Buddhist Dictionary, ven. Nyanatiloka, page 25:

"Theravada Buddhism recognizes only Nibbana as an unconditioned element (asankhata-dhatu: s Dhs. 1084)."

So, yes, I do know what unconditioned means in this context.

We are not actually debating views so much as standard doctrine at this point, the standard technical definitions of certain aspects of classical Buddhist theory,


I'm fairly confused about why you're saying this.

Is fruition, in your opinion, outside the causal order? (Clearly the attainment of fruition is not, but what about the [non-]experience?) Does it point to a permanent, unborn, undying dimension?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.01.than.html:
There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished, unevolving, without support (mental object). This, just this, is the end of stress.


That seems like a good start for analyzing what fruition is and how it fits or doesn't fit into the doctrine.

Of course Theravada Buddhism recognizes nibbana as unconditioned. But "nibbana" is a term that we seem to be having terminological and semantic difficulties with, so if we drop that, we can talk about what in particular may or may not be unconditioned, and examine the justification for assertions concerning that.

so, while we could view this as something open to any random interpretation, actually this stuff here is so stock it is hard to imagine why we are having this particular conversation except to educate people on basic technical Buddhist theory, which clearly there is a need for, and it is really highlighting the point that people just don't even know their basics.


If you take as a starting assumption "EIS has good reason for raising these issues apart from ignorance about basic technical Buddhist theory", I bet you can figure out where I'm coming from a bit better. emoticon
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 5:03 AM as a reply to James Yen.
James Yen:
Fruition by definition, thus is not unconditioned, as it arose dependent on previous conditions, such as the meditator's effort etc.


The attainment of something may be conditioned, but the thing that is attained may not be.

The suttas are fairly clear that nibbana is attained by the meditator's effort.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 10:11 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Regarding the view that fruition (as described in MCTB ) is total non-experience and akin to being fully anaesthetized, this link describes evidence for the preservation of certain brain / cognitive functions during general anaesthesia: http://www.institute-shot.com/anesthesia_and_surgery.htm#Is%20there%20unconscious%20processing%20during

It is possible that fruition and the anaesthetized state are forms of very subtle experience, and not non-experience, which could explain why there is this apparent contradiction between the assertions of various people concerning non-experience (i.e. that it is blissful or peaceful vs. it is nothing whatsoever), and why waking up from surgery is not regarded as losing or exiting some mystical attainment.

I find it reasonable to suspect that a person attaining MCTB fruition is not experiencing complete metabolic inactivity in their brain (and not just with metabolic activity remaining in regions associated with continued respiration / etc.), which would indicate the possibility that some subtle form of experience remains.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 12:07 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Very simply, if you are experiencing something during Fruition, you have attained to something else.

That may be the clearest, by far most likely (as the effect is so common) and most straightforward explanation of why this is getting so convoluted, as we are talking about two different things.

You likely have attained to some deep jhanic thing, which would seem by your descriptions to be your forte. Throughout the ages those have fooled people into them thinking they were Fruitions when they were not, and this issue comes up again and again and has for millennia.

To call it "MCTB Fruition" again seems to imply I made it up and completely misses the point. You forget or perhaps do not know where all this comes from and don't realize how well established and well-tested these things are.

This is not a question of brain activity on an EEG, which is an indirect measure of things and very crude. We are talking about direct comprehension of reality and insight for one's self, not coarse and imprecise proxies, and when one attains to a Fruition, one knows the whole thing was completely gone, including any subtle experience, and when one does this a few thousand times the conclusion is exactly the same.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 12:15 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Very simply, if you are experiencing something during Fruition, you have attained to something else.

That may be the clearest, by far most likely (as the effect is so common) and most straightforward explanation of why this is getting so convoluted, as we are talking about two different things.


I am merely speculating here, not talking about my own experience.

It's generally a good thing to ask about this sort of thing before jumping to a conclusion such as this.

You likely have attained to some deep jhanic thing, which would seem by your descriptions to be your forte.


If you only knew about my poor attention / concentration...

To call it "MCTB Fruition" again seems to imply I made it up and completely misses the point.


No, it labels a phenomenon and its sequelae very precisely.

If I called it "Abhidhamma fruition" (or even "Burmese Theravada fruition") I would be asserting that it severs fetters, since that is what is claimed about fruition elsewhere.

Whether "MCTB fruition" is the same as or different than what is being talked about in traditions that explicitly tie it to the severence of fetters, whether the severance of fetters from fruition is mythological or not, I have no idea about, and don't care to speculate about.

May I suggest that our discussions would be more productive if you assumed I had some reasonable practical motive for doing things such as appending the label "MCTB" to meditative phenomena, rather than a nefarious or bizarre motive?

This is not a question of brain activity on an EEG, which is an indirect measure of things and very crude.


I brought up no such thing. (The link I offered talks about EEG stuff, but also talks about non-EEG stuff like priming, which to me is much more to-the-point.)

We are talking about direct comprehension of reality and insight for one's self, not coarse and imprecise proxies, and one attains to a Fruition, one knows the whole thing was completely gone, including any subtle experience, and when one does this a few thousand times the conclusion is exactly the same.


How about in the case of general anaesthesia, if you have undergone it?

If you have undergone it and can report no experience, how would you reconcile it with the link I offered, which indicates the possibility that "useful" brain functioning of some sort continues in that state?
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 12:25 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Dan, as a general point, we would both likely find this discussion more productive if you stopped assuming that I am asking for clarification about basic doctrinal points, asking to be educated about basic meditative phenomena, not listening to your clarifications and attempts at teaching and simply repeating my requests, or (in a different direction) trying to imply that MCTB is based on nothing besides your vivid imagination, etc.

If nothing else, not assuming these things is likely to make the discussion go faster.

If you can't not assume these things, I would ask you to think about why you're even participating in this discussion.

EDIT: In sum...if you try to interface with what I've written, taking it at face value rather than reading things between the lines that may or may not actually be there and tailoring your response to the things you find between the lines, it would be appreciated.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 12:27 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
The brain does a lot of things, but plenty of them do not require consciousness, and consciousness and experience goes long before they go, as I see all the time in the emergency department.

There is a body breathing, responds to pain not at all, bright lights in the eyes cause pupillary response but no eye movement whatsoever and no return to consciousness, etc.

We give someone propofol and do some really, really painful thing to their body, such a relocate their hip or shoulder or reset a bone, things producing profound stimuli, and yet they don't move at all, breathing stays slow, heart rate may increase a bit, blood pressure goes up somewhat, indicating some brain function somewhere way below consciousness, but on waking they ask when we are going to do the procedure, having not even remembered being put to sleep, much less the passage of time or what happened.

As to my own experience with anesthesia, also reality, time, experience, etc were all absolutely gone, but it produced no insight or changes in the fundamental way I perceive and comprehend reality, as did Fruition. That you equate anesthesia and Fruition again indicates that you likely have no experience with Fruition, as they are so utterly different in their effects, and those effects are the whole point.

Fruition radically transformed my brain when it happened: meditative abilities radically improved at that moment and were permanently different from then on, comprehension of fundamental dharma points was radically improved from then on, suffering was reduced, though not so much as some later paths did, and so, while whatever you did may not have changed anything or reduced suffering or cut any "fetters" however we define them, when I attained to what I attained to, it very much did. Suddenly I cycled easily through the stages of insight. Suddenly Fruitions happened again and again. Suddenly I comprehended many extremely subtle workings of the mind, and the descriptions of mind moments and impulsions in the Abhidhamma, which again you seem to find incomprehensible, were suddenly directly obvious like it is obvious that I am typing now.

Again, by far the most straightforward explanation of why you suspect experience during Fruition and why you say that Fruition didn't change anything fundamentally about suffering is that you have attained to something else. Given that common things are common, and this is a really common occurrence, again, this is by far the most likely explanation.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 12:50 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
The brain does a lot of things, but plenty of them do not require consciousness, and consciousness and experience goes long before they go, as I see all the time in the emergency department.

There is a body breathing, responds to pain not at all, bright lights in the eyes cause pupillary response but no eye movement whatsoever and no return to consciousness, etc.

We give someone propofol and do some really, really painful thing to their body, such a relocate their hip or shoulder or reset a bone, things producing profound stimuli, and yet they don't move at all, breathing stays slow, heart rate may increase a bit, blood pressure goes up somewhat, indicating some brain function somewhere way below consciousness, but on waking they ask when we are going to do the procedure, having not even remembered being put to sleep, much less the passage of time or what happened.


You could probably do some weird things to a person in (maximally absorbed) jhana without their offering any explicit recollection of any of it (and perhaps showing few autonomic reactions), and yet jhana certainly involves consciousness.

Anyway, what does any of that have to do with the priming stuff mentioned in the link, which seems to depend on the functioning of cognitive processes at some level?

As to my own experience with anesthesia, also reality, time, experience, etc were all absolutely gone, but it produced no insight or changes in the fundamental way I perceive and comprehend reality, as did Fruition.


See above re: cognitive processes during general anaesthesia. It is possible that that indicates an ultra-subtle level of experience which would not likely be discernible to a normal human being (due to the effects of anaesthesia interfering with explicit memory).

The same could well be true of MCTB fruition.

That you equate anesthesia and Fruition again indicates that you likely have no experience with Fruition, as they are so utterly different in their effects, and those effects are the whole point.


Well, among other things, it could also be that I have no experience with general anaesthesia...

Why do you assume ignorance on my part concerning fruition, when assuming ignorance on my part concerning general anaesthesia is at least as warranted?

(EDIT: Further, as I have brought up the issue in relation to Buddhist doctrine of whether the absence of experience is pleasant or is nothing, your claim that "the effects [of the purported absence of experience] are the whole point" is fairly rash and unfounded in this context.)

Suddenly I comprehended many extremely subtle workings of the mind, and the descriptions of mind moments and impulsions in the Abhidhamma, which again you seem to find incomprehensible, were suddenly directly obvious like it is obvious that I am typing now.


You know, I asked you some specific questions about what you can discern and how you do it regarding Abhidhammic stuff, which you ignored, which makes a discussion about what you can discern vs. what I can discern basically impossible.

Again, by far the most straightforward explanation of why you suspect experience during Fruition and why you say that Fruition didn't change anything fundamentally about suffering is that you have attained to something else. Given that common things are common, and this is a really common occurrence, again, this is by far the most likely explanation.


After I corrected you for making assumptions, this is ridiculous.

Why don't you ask:

"EIS, do you report experience during what you consider to be fruition?"
"EIS, do you report cycling through the progress of insight after the first time you consider yourself to have attained fruition?"
"EIS, did your meditative / concentrative abilities suddenly and radically increase after the first time you consider yourself to have attained fruition?"

(EDIT: About whether fruition fundamentally changed anything about suffering, as I have been talking about the fetters in this discussion rather than a "fundamental change in suffering" [which is not clearly-defined, and which there are no hints in the suttas or elsewhere for how to clearly define it], I should ask you, are you engaging with me in this discussion, or are you engaging with an imaginary person whose claims are of your own devising?

It appears to me that the latter is the case, so I have to ask again: why?)
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 1:08 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
To spell things out very clearly, since communication does not seem to be going well, the purpose of my speculation regarding fruition, anaesthesia, and experience is something like this:

1a) Bernadette Roberts reports a non-experience that she describes as being apart from mind and the senses as some kind of transcendent reality, ecstatic, etc.

1b) The suttas talk about the unconditioned as apart from the aggregates, and say that (as a matter of reasoning) it can be known to be better than any sensual pleasure and any jhana,

1c) Random people say things such as "the absence of experience is bliss", etc.

2) Fruition in MCTB is never described in this way (as blissful, as a transcendent reality, etc.), as far as I can ever remember hearing, by those who attain it. It is only described as an absence of experience.

3) General anaesthesia is also described as an absence of experience, not some mystical state.

4) In general anaesthesia, there are some indications that the brain is still functioning, still doing cognitive things, etc. and this is testable in fairly basic ways (e.g. priming experiments), despite the reported lack of experience, which implies that there could be some kind of subtle experience happening.

5) If there is subtle experience happening during general anaesthesia, it is fairly reasonable to question whether there is subtle experience happening during fruition. General anaesthesia is probably profoundly more "powerful" in terms of disabling brain function than simply hitting fruition after equanimity (which can be done without impressive concentration).

6) It is possible that there is some residual thing in general anaesthesia and in fruition which is standing in the way of whatever Bernadette Roberts, etc. are talking about.

7) If so, fruition is most likely not what the suttas call nibbana (on any understanding of nibbana), which explains the discrepancy between one thing that appears as a gap with no further significance and another thing that is said to be the entire purpose of spiritual life.

Dan, if you want to talk about these things, that's fine. If you want to speculate about my attainments, and you think there is actually some practical value in doing so, then start a new thread for that topic, and ask the questions that you would need to ask in order to speculate in a reasonable, reality-based way, and I will be happy to inform you about my experiences.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 1:30 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I did explicitly send you the link to the Abhidhamma stuff: see a post above.

As to the rest, it feels like I am talking to someone who can't comprehend the most simple and obvious points, such as Nibbana clearly and unambiguously and explicitly having two different meaning depending on context.

As to people describing some transcendent bliss as some temporary attainment, very likely they describe what they felt: lots of bliss of a profound nature. Why you would be certain this is either Fruition or Nibbana (when in BR's case it didn't last and lead to dark stuff) is beyond me.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 2:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I did explicitly send you the link to the Abhidhamma stuff: see a post above.


In the thread that you split off from this one, I wrote

Further, even with little familiarity with the (Theravadin) Abhidhamma, what I have read often seems to bear little relationship both with the suttas and with my own contemplative experience, and so I am inclined to simply pass it over.


Well then, I would consider more practice, as their analysis of mind moments and the impulsions and the like is so advanced that Western science is just beginning to grasp some of what they were talking about, but a skilled vipassana practitioner can see it for themselves. Some of the things about nutritive elements and the like are a bit primitive, reflecting archaic views of biology, but when it comes to consciousness and how the mind operates, it is still far ahead of anything else out there.


As an example, how much of Pa Auk Sayadaw's views about things in the section "how you discern materiality" (which appear to be based in the Abhidhamma) can you confirm in your own experience? http://www.paaukforestmonastery.org/books/knowing_and_seeing_rev_ed.pdf

(Reading that whole section makes clear how..."different", shall we say, Pa Auk's views on materiality vis-a-vis vipassana are than anything people talk about here.)

Another question which is of interest to me is...do you understand "mind-moments" as referring to attention wave flickers, or as something else?


It is of interest to emphasize how different Pa Auk's views on things are from the standard Burmese Theravada we're more used to here.

If you care to discuss this, I will also ask you to be specific concerning what you find clear about Pa Auk's apparently Abhidhammic views, and what (if anything) you find perplexing, and how the stuff you find clear is discerned.

As to the rest, it feels like I am talking to someone who can't comprehend the most simple and obvious points, such as Nibbana clearly and unambiguously and explicitly having two different meaning depending on context.


It is only clear and unambiguous and explicit according to the theories of various non-suttic sources (e.g. Abhidhamma), which are sectarian, which we have already talked about.

We have been over this at least two other times.

EIS:
Perhaps it will be less tedious to you if I say, explicitly, that this [= two meanings for "nibbana"] is merely one theory of things, is not stated anywhere in the suttas that I know of, and rings fairly hollow to me when applied to certain passages in the suttas.


In the split-off thread, I wrote:

EIS:
Dan Ingram:
What possible other ways of looking at the usage in the abhidhamma versus, say, the MN, can you come up with?


I have little familiarity with the Abhidhamma, but it's worth noting that we are talking merely about the Theravadin Abhidhamma, while many (no longer extant) schools of Buddhism also based on the Pali suttas had their own distinct Abhidhamma.

Further, even with little familiarity with the (Theravadin) Abhidhamma, what I have read often seems to bear little relationship both with the suttas and with my own contemplative experience, and so I am inclined to simply pass it over.

As far as the suttas in general, there is stuff like this:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.068.than.html:
"My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended. It's as if there were a well along a road in a desert, with neither rope nor water bucket. A man would come along overcome by heat, oppressed by the heat, exhausted, dehydrated, & thirsty. He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. In the same way, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended."


Does an arahant "dwell touching fruition with his body", literally or metaphorically (as the non-arahant has seen nibbana [fruition, according to you] but only dwells touching it at arahantship)? If not, that seems like good reason to consider a theory on which nibbana is not fruition (as described in MCTB ).


What about this is not clearly stated (whether you agree or not):

1) Sources that say that there are two meanings for nibbana are sectarian,
2) Suttas seem to be claiming that non-arahants can directly know the same "deathless" that is also the goal of spiritual life and attained at arahantship

?

As to people describing some transcendent bliss as some temporary attainment, very likely they describe what they felt: lots of bliss of a profound nature. Why you would be certain this is either Fruition or Nibbana (when in BR's case it didn't last and lead to dark stuff) is beyond me.


Well, "no mind, no senses, better than all conditioned phenomena", to start (as I explicitly pointed out about Roberts' description)...

EIS:
1a) Bernadette Roberts reports a non-experience that she describes as being apart from mind and the senses as some kind of transcendent reality, ecstatic, etc.


Bernadette Roberts:
While I do not like calling this heavenly estate a "condition," I do so to differentiate it from a passing state of stage as well as from "experience," which is always and everywhere a temporary non-eternal phenomenon. The final estate has no description because it never reaches the mind---"eye hath not seen nor the ear heard, nor has it ever entered into the mind of man. (...) About all that can be said is that if we put together man's loftiest experiences of ecstasy, bliss, love and all things ineffable, they fall as short of the divine condition as the size of an ant falls short of that of an elephant. Consciousness' most lofty heavenly experiences of the divine are but a palest shadow of the ultimate divine condition or "heaven."


"Undescribability" mirrors the standard Buddhist stuff, too (concerning what can and can't be said about an arahant after death, the Buddha in this life, etc.).

Bernadette Roberts:
As for a description of this "divine air" no word enters the mind; it simply puts an end to the mind.


And also cf.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.174.than.html:
"The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.


Note the difference between that and what MCTB says:

MCTB:
It [fruition] is like an utter discontinuity of the space-time continuum with nothing in the unfindable gap.


As for dark stuff, the suttas are explicit that all things subject to alteration (all conditioned phenomena) are dukkha by virtue of being so-subject, so it appears, on one reading of things, that Roberts' "dark stuff" just comes from understanding one of the marks of existence, with such an understanding attained by comparing the conditioned and the unconditioned and having the deficiencies of the former stand out grotesquely.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.147.than.html:
As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "What do you think, Rahula — is the eye constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think — are forms constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think — is consciousness at the eye constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think — is contact at the eye constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think — whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye as a mode of feeling, a mode of perception, a mode of fabrication, or a mode of consciousness: Is it constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

(etc.)


Bernadette Roberts:
In contrast to the divine, the human condition is so terrible and devastating that even the worst of descriptions could never do it justice. I am not referring here to sin, evil or suffering, but rather to bare human existence itself---and the whole natural world included. What we usually think is so beautiful in this world is actually monstrous and unbearable to look at, but only in contrast to the divine. (...) No one can understand this particular view of the world and the human condition unless he has first known the ultimate divine estate (heaven) and then returned (or originally come out of it as in the case of the incarnate Christ) to this world's condition. Those who believe man can have both heaven and this world at the same time are very much mistaken; such a notion is a total underestimation of God's utter transcendence, as well as heaven or man's final estate. Compared to the divine estate there is no beauty or happiness in this world; thus man cannot afford to have a glimpse or taste of the final estate and still expect to find this world acceptable.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 2:49 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
To sum up, I have been interested in floating theories that are different from what's talked about around here concerning nibbana. I have cited lots of disparate sources and spent a lot of time trying to connect information from them. However, you have only offered repetition concerning the standard doctrine you believe, apparently ignored my clarifications, apparently ignored my requests for clarification, speculated wildly about my understanding of and attainment of MCTB fruition without evidence, questioned my ability to comprehend "the most simple and basic points" (due apparently to having ignored my clarifications), suggested that I write as if I think you're baselessly making up the theories you believe, etc.

If you are confused about what I mean, it is a simple thing to ask "why do you say that / why do you keep insisting on this point?"

If you are confused about why I would say something and wonder if it relates to my understanding of e.g. fruition, it is a simple thing to ask "what is your understanding of fruition, from personal experience?"

Instead, what you have actually done has been unproductive and time-consuming for both of us.

If you would like to attempt to have a productive discussion, that is fine, but if you find it impossible to approach this discussion in a different way (due to your communication style, my communication style, their interaction, your stuff, my stuff, their interaction, whatever else), it would be better to let it go and not pursue it further.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 3:02 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Actually...

For whatever reason, I seem prone to getting into misunderstandings with people when talking online about the dharma. Probably due to some combination of different communication styles, different ways of thinking about things, etc.

Whatever value comes out of my posting on the DhO (for myself or others), I don't think it is worth the negative aspects of these misunderstandings, nor is it worth (to me) the time spent in trying to rectify them or explain myself.

As such, I will take an indefinite break from posting on the DhO, and focus on practice only.

Realistically, most of what I might have contributed that is of value to others, especially concerning practical topics, I have already contributed in the past. So this seems like a win-win decision to me.

@Dan: no hard feelings.

@everyone: take care!
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 3:19 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
My two cents here on Fruition...

- Started happening very noticeably after 1st path.
- Absolute dropping out of everything in a way that I'm not able to anticipate or see coming, it happens and it's clear as day that there was a complete and total absence of any experience, or at least the ability recall it in any way, until I come back 'online'.
- Coming back online is always followed by a wave of fine, blissful vibrations which seems to pour down from the top of the head about a second or so after coming back to being conscious. Sometimes it's ludicrously pleasant, sometimes it's quite subtle but it's definitely something I notice after that discontinuity.

Just for practical purposes.
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/18/12 7:11 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Just before 1000 posts!?!?!

emoticonnooooooooooooooooooooooooo
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/19/12 12:30 PM as a reply to josh r s.
I really like this passage from Mahasi's 'Practical Insight Meditation'. (page 125):

“...that is why those who have realized nibbana would say: “the objects noted and the consciousness noting them cease altogether; or the objects and the acts of noting are cut off as a vine is cut by a knife; or the objects and the acts of noting fall off as if one is relieved of a heavy load; or the objects and acts of noting break away as if something one is holding breaks asunder; or the objects and the acts of noting are suddenly freed as if from a prison; or the objects and acts of noting are blown off as if a candle is suddenly extinguised; or they disappear as if darkness is suddenly replaced by light; or they are released as if freed from and embroilment; or they sink as if in water; or abruptly stop as if a person running were stopped by a violent push; or they cease altogether.

“The duration of realizing the cessation of formations is, however, not long. It is so short that it lasts just for an instant of noting. Thenthe meditator reviews what has occurred. He knows that the cessation of the material process noted and the mental process noting them is the realization of magga-phala-nibbana. Those who are well informed know that the cessation of formations is nibbana, and the realization of cessation and bliss is magga-phala. They would say inwardly: “I have now realized nibbana and have attained sotapatti magga-phala.” Such a clear knowledge is evident to one who has studied the scriptures or heard sermons on this subject.”
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/20/12 9:55 AM as a reply to John White.
HI John - Thanks so much for excerpting Mahasi Sayadaw.

Here is Dharmavidya David Brazier on the effects of nirodha. His describes that one's energies after experiencing nirodha become like an irrigation system diverting energy to what is wholesome and skillful away from greed, ill-will and delusion.

This, I think, is why the practice of the immeasurables parallels the insight path to experiencing nirodha - it directs energies away from akusala (unwholesome, unskillful) applications of the human faculties, and effects 1) loving-kindness or benevolence, 2) compassion, 3) sympathetic joy, and, 4) equanimity. . Without a balancing practice like meditation or logic, though, I think the weak point for brahmivihara practice in isolation can be lack of or underdevelopment of equanimity (which EQ prevents overextension of loving-kindness, for example).

To be fair, lacking equanimity is the same weak-point in the Insight Path, but in regards to the jhanas and "powers" (altered states of perception and consciousness). Shinzen Young describes following the "powers" without equanimity as taking a right angle away from the path.

[edit: "EQ"]
RE: Nibbana / NS
2/21/12 5:19 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Culadasa wrote

2. .. to project any content into consciousness.

3. ....to project content into consciousness.

4. ..... to project vedana into consciousness

5. appears to be the simple fact of consciousness itself, which makes it into "consciousness without an object"


This is where my experience may depart
investigation points to that consciousness isn't such that it has content, like a container that gets projected into.
When reviewing a discontinuity is inferred by a change in body position (dropped slightly forward) or change in breath position from the entry to exit
RE: Nibbana / NS
3/13/12 6:51 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Not looking to re-open a debate, just interested in recording something interesting I ran across for the benefit of anyone interested in this topic.

Ven. Sujiva, Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/essentials.pdf:

Finally, speaking more from theory, a word on nibbana. As one goes
deeper and finds complete detachment from this mind and body, the
mindfulness and insight become more mature. When all these
supporting conditions and paramis (ten perfections) are ripe, then
the mind will turn into the unconditioned state—supramundane . In
other words, it will reach a state where it is cut away from all mind
and body processes, and goes to a state where there is no change.
We call this the absolute truth. However, there’s a lot of hearsay about
this and many misconceptions can arise. (...)

Experiences can go on to very subtle stages. You can meditate
very hard to the state where the mind becomes seemingly unconscious
for a short while; and then you come out, you think it is sensational.
Sometimes, you can go in for a long time; and when you come out,
there is nothing there. One thinks that that must be nibbana. That is
another pitfall. It can be asked, what is the difference between that
and sleeping? Some people might say it is different, but in what way
is it different? These people can become very attached to their
experience. However, remember that the experience of nibbana is not
just getting a blank mind or going into the unconscious.


If you study the Abhidhamma, the process becomes clearer. After
the path and fruition knowledge, which is the fourteenth and
fifteenth insight knowledge, the mind goes into the sixteenth insight
knowledge—the knowledge of retrospection. In the Abhidhamma, the
retrospection knowledge, the consciousness is sense-sphere moral
consciousness associated with knowledge. In other words, it is like
the mind meditating and watching the “rising” and “falling” except
at a deeper concentrated state, but it knows what is happening at
that moment. In that state of mind, the object of the mind is nibbana.
That means all the characteristics of the absolute truth become
“shiningly” clear in that state of mind. You will experience the
absolute truth while meditating and you know what it is. This is what
the Abhidhamma analysis of thought processes and consciousness says.
So, it is a very clear experience, a hundred percent certainty. One of
my brother monks asked a senior meditation teacher in Burma about
this and he said, “Oh! You cannot miss it. It is like lightning has struck
you in the head!” So it cannot be a case of going blank then coming
out.
The important thing is that it is an experience of the supra-
mundane—unconditioned state, and the person will be able to
describe it in his own words. The most important test will be what
happens after that, the degree of defilements that follow.
RE: Nibbana / NS
3/13/12 7:14 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
However, remember that the experience of nibbana is not
just getting a blank mind or going into the unconscious.


“Oh! You cannot miss it. It is like lightning has struck
you in the head!” So it cannot be a case of going blank then coming
out.


Thanks for posting this. This is great information for beginners like me.
RE: Nibbana / NS
8/17/12 11:53 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Because I don't see that any good will come from me revisiting this topic and throwing my opinions in again, I'll just offer you a practical thought:

John Baker:
Just like her, I felt what seemed like the infinite suffering of all beings. On a physical level I could feel how each instant of perception was a suffering or stress located in the heart center.


Was perception located there, or did perception nearly instantaneously lead to an additional experience which was located there?

Disentangling this might be helpful for your practice, because analogous things pop up all the time. For example, at one point it was common for me to judge "this moment of visual experience is pleasant / unpleasant" on the basis of pleasant or unpleasant-seeming sensations in my body. Disentangling the visual experience from the sensations in the body ("there is this visual experience, and it causes these body sensations...") was very beneficial to me...but easier said than done!.

In general, different experiences easily get mixed together, and qualities of one are easily seen as being qualities of the other.