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The Middle Paths (2nd and 3rd)

2nd path - specific tricks ?

2nd path - specific tricks ?
10/10/10 6:57 AM
Hi there

Let me first tell how thankful I am for seeing an active community of fellow practitioners
Thanks to all those who are behind Dho !

I've never taken a retreat because I have a chronic backache problem and so on the cushion I only practise in lying down position.
Other than that I have a lot of travelling to do all the way to office , so I am able to do a lot of noting all the way.

Here are some specific points that I'm noticing while practising :-

- Only the dark stuff of my past seems to popup out of nowhere( yes there are trains of thoughts that lead to them and I can notice them)...each one pops out and all this kind of sounds what Goenka mentions..that all the seeds of sankhars have to be uprooted first and only then Arhantship can be attained..Comparitively my Stream entry happened without much of this dark stuff popping up.
Can anyone throw more light on this ?

- Is there any specific renunciation I should take to cross the second path ?

Thank you so much my dear sangha !

- Shashank

RE: 2nd path - specific tricks ?
10/11/10 3:37 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
First to second path is interesting for a few reasons:

1) On the way to stream entry, things are straightforward, there are the ñanas on the way to first path and that is it, and one rises up and falls back before stream entry, but there is only one territory, so to speak. However, after first path and after the stages of second path (the ñanas that lead to second path) start showing up, there is sort of a fork in the road, or two possibilities for what is happening from a map point of view: one can be Reviewing the old stages of first path, or moving on into the new territory leading to second path, and sorting out which is which can be confusing.

2) Once one crosses the A&P before second path, then one enters the Dark Night of that path, which may be either weaker or stronger as well as shorter or longer than the one(s) one went through to get first path. There is no predicting this. My Dark Nights before second path were quite moderate and relatively quick in comparison to those of first path, not sure why. Others have reported the opposite, with second path Dark Nights kicking their collective butts.

3) From a practice point of view, this mapping gets much more complex and can get fascinating. The traps are:

a) to substitute thoughts of how to get through the ñanas for the actual work of mindful, precise, accepting, clear, complete investigation that actually causes progress at all stages.
b) to substitute thoughts about the maps and map theory for the actual work of practice as above.
c) to regress back to the review stages of first path and go through those, as they are easier and more comfortable than new territory that is one is not proficient in yet, all the while thinking those are progress stages
d) to forget the more immediate point: whatever is happening now are the sensations for investigation.

4) The advantage of second path is the flip side of those traps: one does know now to go through the stages (generally, assuming a technical, map-savvy practitioner) and thus, one need simply learn to do basically the same things for the new stages, and so most find second path substantially easier than first path, as they have done it once and already know it is possible to complete a cycle, as well has having substantially improved knowledge of the territory in general terms and what worked for them regarding getting through it.

5) Beyond all that, simply practice seeing these sensations now as they are with a focus on the There Characteristics: this is they key to the stages of insight, as always.


Let me know if you have any more specific questions and good luck,


RE: 2nd path - specific tricks ?
10/11/10 3:39 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
Oh, as to renunciation: the renunciation of misperception is the key renunciation. The rest are of superficial benefit unless they are things that really keep you stuck for some reason in a mode of attention that precludes investigation.

RE: 2nd path - specific tricks ?
10/11/10 8:31 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel

Thank you so much for the valuable inputs. I can relate to all of them very well and I will stick to the 3 Cs alone because this dark night seems to be leading me nowhere. I am cycling and cycling and getting confused where I am at times because like you said
there can be a confusion between the review of old territories and new territory of next path..

I also thought that it is just the renunciation of misperception that is required and additionally dropping those things that hamper investigation..Thank you so much for reconfirming this !

One last question :- I find the criteria for having achieved 2nd path slightly vague with the fetter model - reduction in sense desire and ill-will...It is simply a reduction but not a full blown cutting which would be easier to detect...a reduction in these 2 fetters may be temporary...Is there any other gold standard marker for having got the 2nd path ? In my stream entry for example , the gold standard marker turned out to be a destruction of self-view.

Thank you so much once again !


RE: 2nd path - specific tricks ?
10/11/10 9:07 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
Hi Shashank,

Seems we're in similar places... I appreciate Daniel's hints, too.

Here are a couple other models/criteria which I find useful:

Duncan Barford's Milestones of Meditation

Daniel's Revised four-path model, and

Daniel's Simple Model

Personally, I find Duncan's Model and the Simple Model reflect my experience very well.


RE: 2nd path - specific tricks ?
10/12/10 12:53 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Florian

Thanks so much for these links..I'll keep these in mind !