Arising and Passing Away

Daniel M. Ingram:

The Arising and Passing Away is the 4th insight stage, or the 4th stage of The Progress of Insight, and correlates with the Second Vipassana Jhana. It is also sometimes referred to as the A&P. It follows the stage of the Three Characteristics, and leads to the Dark Night.

It is a very significant stage in meditation practice and can have profound life changing effects. I write about it in MCTB 4. The Arising and Passing Away, and also Some A&P Experiences. It can and often does present in daily life, and many people have gotten into it on retreat. Most who are looking around websites like this one have probably crossed the A&P at some point, even if they don't know it.

It tends to involve elements of the following, though the range of ways it can present is extremely wide:

  • Meditation in dreams, lucid dreams, and a reduced need for sleep.
  • Very good posture, possibly with shaking, trembling, rapid sniffing, and similar rapid or spontaneous movements.
  • Strong concentration abilities and the ability to sit for a long time.
  • Increased faith in spiritual and/or meditative and related traditions.
  • Increased ability to understand dharma and related teachings, such as philosophy.
  • Powerful or subtle vibrations on ones skin or in ones back and neck and head, such as are standardly described in Kundalini material.
  • Bright jewel tone and then white lights, as well as other spontaneous visions, seeing through one's closed eyelids, and other more interesting things, such as OBE's or out of body experiences.
  • Other spontaneous magickal abilities, such as seemingly being able to influence reality or read peoples' thoughts or manipulate other's energy bodies, etc.
  • Profound shifts of consciousness or openings, such as unitive experiences, profound "emptiness" experiences or unknowing events, and the like.
  • The confused but understandable belief that one is enlightened, such as mistaking this experience for stream entry or even higher levels of enlightenment.
  • Experiences like those of an orgasm, as well as temporarily heightened sexual ability and interest.
  • Profound releases of energy blockages and emotional experiences, such as spontaneous crying or profound joy and ease.
  • In general, this is one of the most powerful experiences on the spiritual path, and it may repeat in many forms as things cycle and progress.
  • Sometimes it will happen with a large and obvious build up, and sometimes it will just strike like lightening without warning or preparation, and often without formal meditation training.

It is followed by Dissolution, which can make people want to try to get back to this very interesting territory.