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The Middle Paths (2nd and 3rd)

Questions for anagamis and arahants

Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 8:57 AM
Hi there

Recently , I stumbled upon a fruition which is making me believe I got the second path , though I'll wait and see for sometime
if it was the fruition of the first path. I have certain questions for all anagamis and arahants because I simply want to know
where I'm headed and it may give me useful hints on what to expect.

1. Does sensual desire totally not arise or it does arise but it has no real control over you ?

2. Does anger ,jealousy and other 'negative' defilements totally not arise or they arise but they have no control over you ?

3. Do you really have no suffering if anything at all happens to anyone or anybody ? By suffering I mean , will you not feel even a momentary sadness , sorry , lamentation ?

4. Does your heart race at anything at all ? I ask this because I do notice this is one of the most major physical sensation that
arises when anything happens..like the other day I was crossing the road and suddenly a car zoomed by and I was caught
unaware and my heart kind of raced a little. Need to be more mindful though :-P

Thank you so much..this community is a real saviour !

Regards
Shashank

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 11:41 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
1. Does sensual desire totally not arise or it does arise but it has no real control over you ?

Clinging is the only thing that is dealt with at 4th path and to a great degree at 3rd path too.
The first arrow is still stuck right in there. One's relationship to desire changes somewhat after 3rd and definitley 4th. But desire still can arise. It's just not clung too like before.

2. Does anger ,jealousy and other 'negative' defilements totally not arise or they arise but they have no control over you ?

They still can arise depending on your own past habitual tendencies, but can be seen ever so clearly to be "not-self". You can choose to react or not.

3. Do you really have no suffering if anything at all happens to anyone or anybody ? By suffering I mean , will you not feel even a momentary sadness , sorry , lamentation ?

They still arise, they are just seen clearly not to be self. There is only the suffering of the first arrow. Not the second arrow of clinging. There is no clinging. Things arise and can be let go of effortlessly. But things still arise. And in my opinion, the first arrow can be a bitch still. But it seems it can be done away with with further practice.

4. Does your heart race at anything at all ?

Yes, this can still happen post 4th.

There is some fundamental suffering that is seen through and dealt with at 4th path. It is that identifying with phenomena which caused the second arrow of clinging to cause so much more misery. That is dealt away with. But stuff still arises. Your habits will still be there afterwards. You will just see them differently and absolutley clearly. And from there, you have a choice. You can change the way you act due to this clarity.

These days, I have discovered that the cultivation of what Kenneth Folk calls the "direct perception mode", which can be very effective in cultivating PCE's, has made it seem very obvious that what 4th path brought about was just the realization that all phenomena is "not-self". There is a heap of weight put down at this stage. That is for sure. You are off the ride. Insight disease is no more.

But I see that it did nothing to forever stop the habitual tendencies to crave and feel aversion from arising nevermore. They are still annoyingly arising even though they pass much more quickly than before without the tendency to cling there. This lack of clinging made it possible to be able to see all that clearly and have a better position to decide on what to do about all those habitual tendencies.

There are many directions one could take with with this new found clarity. You could go down many avenues. Clear Light/ Primordial awareness development, One Taste, Bodhisatva routes, harnessing the power of the still arising emotions etc. Or you could go in the direction of eradicating them permanently. I am taking it in the direction of complete eradication of these habitual tendencies that cause me and others so much suffering. And it seems that that is a very real possibility from my current experiences, cultivating PCE's with direct perception mode.

4th path in my opinion is just the realisation of the no-self aspect of all phenomena. It does not stop them from arising. There is a lot of weight put down at this stage. There is more freedom than pre-4th path. But there seems to be more one can do to deal with the 1st arrow post-4th path. 4th path is not the end. No place to rest my laurels yet. ;)

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 4:16 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai S Halay:
1. Does sensual desire totally not arise or it does arise but it has no real control over you ?

Clinging is the only thing that is dealt with at 4th path and to a great degree at 3rd path too.
The first arrow is still stuck right in there. One's relationship to desire changes somewhat after 3rd and definitley 4th. But desire still can arise. It's just not clung too like before.


The experience and the experiencer are the same, if desire arises there is always the possibility that it will be clung to. If desire arises it affects you no mater how it is rationalized.

So yes desire occurs and yes desire affects you (or is you). How this affects you changes as you progress in your investigation

2. Does anger ,jealousy and other 'negative' defilement's totally not arise or they arise but they have no control over you ?

They still can arise depending on your own past habitual tendencies, but can be seen ever so clearly to be "not-self". You can choose to react or not.


The very fact that these negative difilements arose means that you have already reacted and the idea that you have a choice is an illusion

3. Do you really have no suffering if anything at all happens to anyone or anybody ? By suffering I mean , will you not feel even a momentary sadness , sorry , lamentation ?

They still arise, they are just seen clearly not to be self. There is only the suffering of the first arrow. Not the second arrow of clinging. There is no clinging. Things arise and can be let go of effortlessly. But things still arise. And in my opinion, the first arrow can be a bitch still. But it seems it can be done away with with further practice.


At what point does it become not effortlessly? While there is a self, a Self, a no self or a True Self there will be suffering.


4. Does your heart race at anything at all ?


The heart racing is a biological response the cause could be either conscious or unconscious or both.


There is more freedom than pre-4th path. But there seems to be more one can do to deal with the 1st arrow post-4th path. 4th path is not the end. No place to rest my laurels yet. ;)


Yes and to be open to this possibility is a huge step for further insight

Have a great weekend
Jeff

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 5:03 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Hi jeff,


Can you clarify if you are 1st/2nd/3rd/4th path or AF? I'm curious.



Does anger ,jealousy and other 'negative' defilement's totally not arise or they arise but they have no control over you ?

They still can arise depending on your own past habitual tendencies, but can be seen ever so clearly to be "not-self". You can choose to react or not.

The very fact that these negative difilements arose means that you have already reacted and the idea that you have a choice is an illusion



Maybe I should be more precise in my explanations. I usually just equate specific sensations that arise to be the defilements. Crappy sensations. They still arise. And I have a choice whether I mentally,verbally or physically react to those sensations. I can choose NOT react to those sensations (which I have habitually always just refereed to as the emotions in their most basic form, without all the mental reaction). So yes, I have a choice.

Do you really have no suffering if anything at all happens to anyone or anybody ? By suffering I mean , will you not feel even a momentary sadness , sorry , lamentation ?

They still arise, they are just seen clearly not to be self. There is only the suffering of the first arrow. Not the second arrow of clinging. There is no clinging. Things arise and can be let go of effortlessly. But things still arise. And in my opinion, the first arrow can be a bitch still. But it seems it can be done away with with further practice.
At what point does it become not effortlessly? While there is a self, a Self, a no self or a True Self there will be suffering.


Are you 4th path, Jeff? I don't know how to is for you but I find it effortless in cycle mode as Daniel calls it, to watch ALL phenomena including the sense of self as just one mass of arising and passing phenomena without effort, if I feel inclined.
And I agree, as long as there is a self contraction of any kind, there will be suffering. I have recently been introduced to a mode of perception that does not allow the self contraction that occurs with with the arising of emotions and desire and it is becoming close to effortless to maintain that mode of perception. Hopefully it will click permanently in the near future and no more subtle 1st arrow self contraction.

There is more freedom than pre-4th path. But there seems to be more one can do to deal with the 1st arrow post-4th path. 4th path is not the end. No place to rest my laurels yet. ;)

Yes and to be open to this possibility is a huge step for further insight


Your pro-AF stance is quite obvious. I'm ok with it. But no need to ram it down peoples throats. The post was asking about 3rd and 4th path NOT A/F. No need to preach. There is a section for that. Have a good weekend too.

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 5:46 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai S Halay:
Hi jeff,


Can you clarify if you are 1st/2nd/3rd/4th path or AF? I'm curious.


Why are you curious, what will it change?



Maybe I should be more precise in my explanations. I usually just equate specific sensations that arise to be the defilements. Crappy sensations. They still arise. And I have a choice whether I mentally,verbally or physically react to those sensations. I can choose NOT react to those sensations (which I have habitually always just refereed to as the emotions in their most basic form, without all the mental reaction). So yes, I have a choice.


If you had a choice Nick how come they still occur and how come they can affect you?
At what stage do you choose not to be affected?
Why do you believe you have a choice in the first place if you cant stop them at the source?


Your pro-AF stance is quite obvious. I'm ok with it. But no need to ram it down peoples throats. The post was asking about 3rd and 4th path NOT A/F. No need to preach. There is a section for that. Have a good weekend too.


Nick the only person who has mentioned AF is you (and now me). I was responding to the specific questions and answers to this thread.

My comment was because of your statement that you have indicated that there is more to be investigated. This was a huge hurdle for me to get past in my investigation, to be open to changing my beliefs which I had previously clung to and defended

thanks
Jeff

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 6:00 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Hi Jeff,


Why am I curious? Because this thread is asking about specific 3rd and 4th path experiences and I am wandering where you are talking from. From 3rd or 4th path or something else? Please specify for the sake of this thread if what you talk about is from your own experience and not from a book, what someone else said, or wrote somewhere. Please just be honest about it. Being honest about it will help others asking questions about 3rd and 4th path get a good idea about how 3rd or 4th path was/is like. For the sake of honesty and this thread. We are not arguing about what needs to be done after 4th path here. Just what 3rd and 4th path are like.

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 6:04 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai S Halay:
Hi Jeff,


Why am I curious? Because this thread is asking about specific 3rd and 4th path experiences and I am wandering where you are talking from. From 3rd or 4th path or something else? Please specify for the sake of this thread if what you talk about is from your own experience and not from a book, what someone else said, or wrote somewhere. Please just be honest about it. Being honest about it will help others asking questions about 3rd and 4th path get a good idea about how 3rd or 4th path was/is like. For the sake of honesty and this thread. We are not arguing about what needs to be done after 4th path here. Just what 3rd and 4th path are like.


Nick,

I write from what I have experienced in the past including meditation, books, and other people

thanks
Jeff

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 6:23 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
If you had a choice Nick how come they still occur and how come they can affect you?

Yeh, not AF at all this type of questioning. Hehe! Actually, Ive discovered that I can get into a mode of perception where they DO NOT affect me anymore. We'll see where this practice takes me.


At what stage do you choose not to be affected?

Well, when i realized that there was self-contracting still going on at the level of emotions and desire. And so I decided to take the path to come out of that. We'll see were this practice takes me.

Why do you believe you have a choice in the first place if you cant stop them at the source?

I have a choice in reacting to the sensations mentally with mind states, thought patterns or in another word..full blown sankharas and emotions, OR I can just observe the sensations/the senses in a particular way which doesn't have the self contracting arise at all, no defilements arise, thus no affective feelings and no suffering. Yeh, they still arise, but there is still a choice to react or not. What are we arguing about? I choose to react or not react. It's called (effortless) apperception by some. We'll see how far this can go.

Thanks,

Nick

P.S. I accept that AF as a possible route for anyone. I accept that that 4th path is too. I'm not anti-either these days. However, when in cycle mode, I still dislike things. Like when you say you aren't talking about AF, when you post in a thread about 3rd and 4th path with obvious AF related questioning. Man!

So you have or haven't gotten 3rd nor 4th path? Come on, Jeff. I'm seriously curious to know. Where's your anti-mushroom spirit? You are avoiding the question. Why? Hmmmm. Let's just leave this thread for yogis who want to talk about 3rd and 4th path experiences, ok?

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 6:50 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai S Halay:
If you had a choice Nick how come they still occur and how come they can affect you?

Yeh, not AF at all this type of questioning. Hehe! Actually, Ive discovered that I can get into a mode of perception where they DO NOT affect me anymore. We'll see where this practice takes me.


At what stage do you choose not to be affected?

Well, when i realized that there was self-contracting still going on at the level of emotions and desire. And so I decided to take the path to come out of that. We'll see were this practice takes me.

Why do you believe you have a choice in the first place if you cant stop them at the source?

I have a choice in reacting to the sensations mentally with mind states, thought patterns or in another word..full blown sankharas and emotions, OR I can just observe the sensations/the senses in a particular way which doesn't have the self contracting arise at all, no defilements arise, thus no affective feelings and no suffering. Yeh, they still arise, but there is still a choice to react or not. What are we arguing about? I choose to react or not react. It's called (effortless) apperception by some. We'll see how far this can go

Thanks,

Nick

P.S. I accept that AF as a possible route for anyone. I accept that that 4th path is too. I'm not anti-either these days. However, when in cycle mode, I still dislike things. Like when you say you aren't talking about AF, when you post in a thread about 3rd and 4th path with obvious AF related questioning. Man!

So you have or haven't gotten 3rd nor 4th path? Come on, Jeff. I'm seriously curious to know. Where's your anti-mushroom spirit? You are avoiding the question. Why? Hmmmm.


Nick I fell for the same trap in the belief that defilement's arise and don't stick if I choose. While you are conscious to these there is suffering. The defilement's are a self experience. No self is a self experience.

I believe there is value in achieving the 4 paths. I landed 4th path Sept 2009 but have had no urge to post it.

Let's just leave this thread for yogis who want to talk about 3rd and 4th path experiences, ok?


thanks
Jeff

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 7:17 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.


Nick I fell for the same trap in the belief that defilement's arise and don't stick if I choose. While you are conscious to these there is suffering. The defilement's are a self experience. No self is a self experience.

I believe there is value in achieving the 4 paths. I landed 4th path Sept 2009 but have had no urge to post it.

thanks
Jeff



Thanks Jef for your honesty. Now I can stop being so pushy.;) And by the way. I am aware of the trap you mention and am discovering things that are very much in line with what you have said and I am actively working on it. emoticon

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/23/10 9:51 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks so much for your replies !

To be honest , if I go by "sense-desire , anger etc does arise but I have a choice of what to do with it" , then I am already a 4rth path..also, I totally feel centerless already..I just see the self as mere sensations in the causal field of the universe..arising and passing away with no real self..these are mere impersonal , causally originating sensations but I still get caught up in habituated tendencies which leads to the arising of these defilements...

I think the traditional 4 path model has something to it when it says that fetters are cut off permanently...I feel that at 3rd path , anger and sense desire should be cut off so that they simply won't even arise...Is there anyone who has spoken to real monks in Theravada monasteries about this point ?

Regards
Shashank

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/24/10 9:15 AM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
I haven't talked to any monks. But what people have been calling 4th path around here, what Kenneth Folk and Daniel Ingram have been calling arahatship, is all about the getting off the ride. Do you feel "done"?. Holding onto a specific ideal may become an obstacle to actually getting it done in the sense people talk of getting it done here (4th path). Now we could argue that what these AFers are callling actual freedom is actually the Arahat that the Pali canon buddha talked of, but I really have no idea.


This thread might help
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/666110

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/24/10 11:53 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi,

Nick wrote a good description of 4th path in the thread he linked. Also add access to the NS, 8 Jhanas and the Pure Land Jhanas are a good identicator of 3rd and 4th but there is also dry insight so you can get there without.


Now we could argue that what these AFers are calling actual freedom is actually the Arahat that the Pali canon Buddha talked of, but I really have no idea.


this is something I have been questioning lately but have to take into account that these were written 500 yrs after his death and that they may be a translation from Pali to a second language and then into English or Pali to English or a first language to Pali then English etc which increases the chances of error being made

thanks
Jeff

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/24/10 1:19 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
I found this quote posted on another forum so don't now the original place it came from.It is presumably by Mahasi Sayadaw.

The Arahat has no illusion about the nature of sense-objects. He is aware of their unwholesomeness and this means he realizes the truth of dukkha because he is free from ignorance (avijja). So he has no craving for anything. Inevitably, he has to fill the biological needs of his physical body such as eating, sleeping, etc., but he regards them as conditioned (sankhara) dukkha and finds nothing that is pleasant to him.

The question arises as to whether he should long for speedy death to end such suffering. But the desire for early death or dissolution of the physical body too is a destructive desire and the Arahat is free from it. So there is an Arahat's saying in the Theragatha that he has neither the wish to die nor the wish to live.

The Arahat does not wish to live a long life for life means largely the burden of suffering inherent in khandha. Although the burden of khandha needs constant care and attention, it is not in the least reliable. To many middle-aged or old people, life offers little more than frustration, disappointment and bitterness. Living conditions go from bad to worse, physical health declines and there is nothing but complete disintegration and death that await us. Yet, because of ignorance and attachment many people take delight in existence. On the other hand, the Arahat is disillusioned and he finds life dreary and monotonous. Hence, his distaste for life.

But the Arahat does not prefer death either. For death-wish is an aggressive instinct which he has also conquered. What he wants is to attain Nibbana, a longing that is somewhat analogous to that of a worker who wishes to get his daily or monthly wage.

The worker does not like to face hardship and privations for he has to work inevitably just to make his living but he does not want to lose his job either. He wants only money and looks forward to pay-day. Likewise, the Arahat waits for the moment when he should attain Nibbana without anything left of his body-mind complex. So when they think of their life-span, the Arahats wonder how long they will have to bear the burden of nama-rupa khandha. Because of his disillusionment, the Arahat's life-stream is completely cut off after Nibbana, hence it is called //anupadisesanibbana//.

-- Mahasi Sayadaw


It really sounds like Mahasi Sayadaw's take on the aharat from just this, is that the arahat still has somewhat of an aversion for life and the khandas and is just waiting around to get parnibbana so he/she wont have to suffer the monotony no more. Doesn't sound like his arahat is free from all misery, does it?

I would rather have my parnibbana now in this life, rather than in death. So perhaps A/F is a step beyond.

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/24/10 2:30 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Yes, it's Mahasi Sayadaw and he does sound a little bitter almost. emoticon

http://www.midamericadharma.org/gangessangha/arahat.html

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/24/10 2:58 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi Nikolai,
Nikolai S Halay:

It really sounds like Mahasi Sayadaw's take on the aharat from just this, is that the arahat still has somewhat of an aversion for life and the khandas and is just waiting around to get parnibbana so he/she wont have to suffer the monotony no more. Doesn't sound like his arahat is free from all misery, does it?

I would rather have my parnibbana now in this life, rather than in death. So perhaps A/F is a step beyond.

You've quoted a short extract from a long discourse: http://www.mahasi.org.mm/discourse/E17/E17ch01.htm

I must admit, that, leaving it there, makes it sound not particularly inviting...

However, it continues:

NOT ANNIHILATION BUT EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING

Those who believe in ego or soul deprecate Nibbäna as eternal death of a living being. In reality it is the total extinction of suffering that results from the non-recurrence of psychophysical phenomena together with their causes viz, kamma and defilements. So the Buddha points out the cessation of upadana arising from the complete cessation of craving, the process of becoming (bhava) ceasing to arise due to cessation of upadana and so on. With the non-arising of rebirth, there is the complete cessation of old age, death and other kinds of suffering.

Here the popular view is that birth, old age and death are evils that afflict living beings. But in point of fact these evils characterize only the psychophysical process and have nothing to do with a living entity. Since there is no ego or soul, it makes no sense to speak of the annihilation of a living being with the cessation of rebirth and suffering.

So those who regard Nibbana as annihilation are not free from the illusion of ego-entity. To the intelligent Buddhist, Nibbana means only cessation of suffering. This is evident in the story of bhikkhu Yamaka in the time of the Buddha.
...

Mike

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/24/10 5:09 PM as a reply to Mike NZ.
This is sobering. Thank you for the warning. If the final fruits of Buddhist practice are disenchantment with life compensated by the knowledge that one will not have to be born again, I want none of it!

Paul

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/25/10 1:12 PM as a reply to Paul Duplessis.
Well, lots of models here and lots of different takes on things.

That is par for the course, both fortunately and unfortunately.

Even if we look at the Pali Buddhist texts, we find the Buddha at the end of his life dying of food poisoning and unable to find refuge from that pain even in the highest temporary attainments he could pull off, and he also suffered from headaches and some other problems.

That said, what I call arahatship is and was very much worth it to me, vastly better than what I had before, a place of markedly increased sensate clarity and substantially less suffering on many fronts, though not completely suffering free.

Here we get into the old debates of how much is just the conditioning created by having been born and how much suffering can be eliminated by various meditation technologies, and as I am still doing some experiments on this front, will leave the commentary on that to others who claim to have gone further than myself, but regardless, I am really glad I got arahatship as I define it and find that perspective and the side-effects and additional remarkable abilities I gained along the way all a huge improvement from what I had before and absolutely worth everything that it took to get them by a long shot.

I go on and on about my take on this in MCTB, but as to whether or not arahatship as I define it is a good idea, compared to many other ways of being it blows their doors off, and there is solid evidence that it also provides a fantastic platform for all sorts of other pursuits that are of benefit.

I am personally way happier than what Mahasi is talking about and, while extremely grateful to the talented old bat, think he was a little dry and probably needed to go out and have some more fun (nearly wrote something else here, but you can just extrapolate in your own mind what I was actually thinking), and find his pictures reminiscent of a corpse or crypt thing, though I never met him in person.

Anyway, to each his or her own, and don't be warned off of arahatship just because the revolutionary genius Mahasi Sayadaw, upon whose giant shoulders I stand and so see far and positively delight in doing so, spun it that way. There is progress and continues to be progress and these are amazing times we live in when so much remarkable meditation technology is so available and people are making such remarkable discoveries about what is possible in this life and what freedoms from suffering and amazing experiences can be attained.

Daniel

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
10/25/10 3:49 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank you for the ray of sunshine, Daniel. I hoped Mahasi Sayadaw's grim and joyless attitude toward life was not the bitter fruit of his practice - or I had better not practise his method any more!

To practise only for the ending of suffering seems a morbid and unworthy aim. I would choose suicide, having no fear of rebirth.

I would prefer to think of the negative aim (ending suffering) as but a means to a more positive end: to fully appreciate the joy and magic and mystery of life.

If Mahasi Sayadaw's apparent grimness is a personality trait or even an intrinsic part of Buddhist discourse, I can see how the methods (morality, samatha, vipassana) can be applied to good effect outside their original context. Thank you for affirming this, even if indirectly.

Paul

RE: Questions for anagamis and arahants
Answer
11/27/10 5:02 PM as a reply to Paul Duplessis.
In regards to Mahasi, here's a quote from Kornfield, who had direct contact with him:
"Mahasi Sayadaw, the Burmese master, expressed enlightenment as emptiness. Watching him on his visits to America, we saw that he rarely laughed or judged. Instead, he exuded a quiet equanimity. Events and conversations would happen around him while he remained still. He was like space—transparent, nobody there." - Jack Kornfield, from the Enlightenments article on Inquiring Mind ( www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/Enlightenments.html )