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PCE, Insight conclusions?

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PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/11/19 1:21 PM
Hi,

I recently found out about PCE and AF, but after hours of reading it is still not entirely clear to me how this plays into all this stuff most of us are doing here with Pragmatic Dharma.

It seems like despite all the politics that happened, PCE seems to be the thing that a lot of people were originally after in the first place (moment to moment happiness).

This begs the question, how does that come into play with Insight, and specifically achieving arhatship or other levels of attainment or Jhana and Magick and all that stuff? From my perspective, I’m mostly asking if there’s a point to gaining insight at all in the light of PCE? Or if it’s possible to attain PCE without achieving some level of insight or general meditative capability in the first place? Or if the two enhance each other and work together/the benefits of both insight and PCE add up and exist concurrently? Assuming people who have at least played around with PCE are reading, is the general advocation still for full Buddhist enlightenment? Yeah, yeah, I know, this community isn’t specifically “advocating” anything, work with me here...

I apologize if I’m misunderstanding something, but hopefully my question is clear.

Daniel still participates in helping people gain insight here, and in his most recent podcast with Dan Harris, he makes no mention of PCE or AF as far as I can remember. This would lead me to believe that Daniel still wholeheartedly advocates pragmatic dharma/insight, even in the light of having attained some permanent shift regarding something PCE-like in 2013 where he feels much happier but still has access to Jhana and all that stuff and still has some affect, as written on the integrated Daniel website. He also stated that the methods for achieving PCE weren’t in contradiction with Buddhism anyway, but I’m not entirely clear on that. Here’re the first two instructions Daniel listed for attaining PCE:

“1) Really pay attention all day long to just what its going on, particularly in the wide visual field and in the body. This sounds like the typical mindfulness advice and is, but that sort of attention forms the basis of so much that is good that it is very worth repeating.
2) Notice the beauty and niceness in ordinary and beautiful things, sounds, tastes, textures, feelings, the body, visuals, smells and the like. Really take time to smell the proverbial roses of the ordinary sensate world you find yourself in. Appreciate the feel of air on your skin, of the fingers hitting the keys, of characters showing up on computer screens, of your car going down the road, of the legs moving in space and balance shifting as you walk, of the taste of the food you eat, of the sound of your footfalls echoing off of the walls, of the quality of the light in the room, etc. It is very cliche advice again, but really do it all day long for a year or two and see what it is does to you: taken to that dose and degree of dedication, you would be surprised at what can occur.”

Instruction 1, clearly pretty much what a lot of us are already doing here anyway, if you add in the 3Cs. Instruction 2 does not seem Buddhist at all to me personally. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding, but seeing the suffering in every sensation and smelling the proverbial roses seem like two entirely different things. What gives?

With that said, if I was not practicing insight, instruction 2 was part of the conclusion I had come to before I found all this anyway, and if enlightenment would’ve turned out to not be real, instruction 2 is likely part of what I’d personally be doing instead.

Also, in the thread from 2010 linked below, Nikolai said:

“I have yet to make my mind up if what people are calling AF is what the buddha originally meant by the term arahat. I'm following the Buddha's teachings, seeing the 3 C's in the 5 aggregates generating dispassion for them to see if this will result in progress. So far, 7 months after 4th path, there are seems to be progress and a great significant reduction in suffering. So i'm going to see if it goes all the way. If it doesn't and AF is seen as a different end result of a totally different approach, then its always there to go for. I'm exploring. ;)”

Does anybody know if there was there ever any conclusion to this?

Also, wondering what things like food and sex are like with PCE/if the intentions to do those things are still present, and how having no affect plays into that.

Hopefully these questions are reasonable and clear. Thanks all!

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1578254

http://integrateddaniel.info/my-experiments-in-actualism

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/11/19 1:50 PM as a reply to Cherubi.
Come to think of it, regarding whether or not PCE and insight are compatible and to both be done or not, the first instruction Daniel gave would likely result in insight regardless, assuming you could get a little concentrated with that mindfulness and that you were still observing mental phenomena.

The other questions still remain, and a clear answer on this one would still be appreciated! Thanks!

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/11/19 2:20 PM as a reply to Cherubi.
Also, when Daniel was on the Dan Harris podcast, he told the story of how he was in an interview with Sayadaw U Pandita (I think), and Daniel was describing all the stuff he could do, and Sayadaw held out his hands and said “yes, but this, any time, so nice.” This sounds closer to descriptions of just being able to sit and enjoy life during PCE as opposed to MCTB 4th path which seems to be more of centerless, no observer, as if some buzzing or headache that has been there your whole life is finally gone, etc.

If this is accurate, would it imply that PCE is actual full enlightenment as intended by the Buddha and as wondered by Nikolai in 2010, and that Sayadaw had attained that? No?

Thanks!

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/11/19 4:04 PM as a reply to Cherubi.
Also, what is concentration like in this state? Creativity?

I remember Daniel used NS afterglow once to study for a test and said it was exactly the hard hitting concentration he needed for that kind of studying. Any similarities?

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/13/19 10:54 AM as a reply to Cherubi.
I think I can reply cleaning up some of my take from an older thread.

My Old AF Take: What It Was/Is

Taking the Actual Freedom Trust at its word, AF is a state of being that was discovered by an Australian meditator named Richard. I find the biography he gives of himself interesting.

He was inspired by the self-immolating monk in Vietnam and so later spent years and years on a spiritual quest that brought him to Buddhist and Hindu gurus, and he claims he eventually reached a form of enlightenment in which he was extremely full of compassion. He also spent significant lengths of time as a solitary vegan hermit living alone on sunny islands or something like that with nothing but basic possessions such as a couple shirts and a few sarongs (if I recall).

Growing frustrated with the limitations of enlightenment and the inability of spiritual communities to bring about world peace, he eventually invented an entirely new way of experiencing the world (he says).

He claims that he knows AF is completely novel because he has or had psychic powers - he writes on his site that by inspecting the "psychic footprints" of the universe he determined that his attainment was utterly unique and unprecedented.

AF is described in some places as a sort of "psychic suicide" - even by Richard in his own writing. The claim is that the practitioner no longer experiences emotional states or psychological states at *all* FULL STOP. They no longer arise. Visual imagination also evaporates completely, although there is an architect who claims that this does not hinder his ability to work. There is no more personal interest in harming, and there is no interest in concentration states or the siddhis - which generally seem to become either impossible or utterly undesirable to the meditator at this point. The "magisterial" quality of emotions vanishes and is replaced with a "fairy-tale" quality of direct experience of the "Actual World."

I believe this is also supposed to be/effectively is magical suicide, or the abolishing of any magical acts, emotions, etc. Do no harm. Do nothing, almost.

AF is supposed to be a relentlessly physical way of looking at the world. The practitioner gives themself over utterly to the body and the senses, except that they also have conditioned themselves to fiercely inspect the root-arising of every single emotion to the point where they stop appearing anymore, so the body is just a pure and undistorted physical field. It is said to be a direct and glorious way of being in the world that is completely anti-mystical.

In AF there is a lot of very heavy talk of prioritizing the 'flesh and blood' world as the only truth and reality that there is or ever can be from within AF. When Richard insists again and again that his methods and result have nothing to do with spiritual attainments and spiritual beings or the Buddha, I sorta believe him. This absolute materialism contradicts with Buddhism all over the place ranging from Trungpa saying that we should be mindful of the body while maintaining a "loose" (middle-way) relationship with it, to Mahasi Sayadaw instructing students to visualize their own decay, to the tantric Chöd practices of dis-identifying with the body we have gifted to the feast of the universe, to the Buddha summoning an illusion of a rapidly aging woman before Queen Khema. Plus all the obvious non-materialist implications of reincarnation and powers.

If we take Richard as truly the sole authority on AF then almost nobody has attained it outside of himself and a small number of people he personally knows. It also seems to me like more than half of the people who have claimed AF either have had their attainment explicitly denied by Richard or their attainment turned out to be only temporary and unstable. A number of Buddhists here have also experimented with the practices (often ignoring Richard himself) with a good number obtaining some pretty cool states of being and useful shifts in consciousness, but again only very few on DhO seem to claim that they got full-blown AF or anything that stuck.

Mentally, AF is a state related to something called a Pure Consciousness Experience, which I guess people mistake for rigpa. There is no gross and no subtle pressure about time and future-mind in AF. Free from evil intents, the AF masters still seem positively inclined towards improving the fates of others (they do evangelize, after all) but they also claim to lack empathy and emotional compassion. There is only a spacious attention that is not constrained in any particular way, as if the periphery and the center of attention have perfectly blended forever. That last bit might sound a little Dzogchen-like.

I remember that the AF site also alludes to something called "Actual Intimacy" which I think is something ineffable and supposedly purified within the possible relationships between two people who have AF. To put my non-AF impression out there I definitely read that as pertaining to a potentially erotic context/subtext, but maybe that was just my interpretation! There are also plenty of Buddhists who write pleasantly about enlightened sex, and in her biographies Machig Labdron performed erotic tantric practices with her own husband Topabhadra who is traditionally taken as a later emanation of Shakyamuni Buddha himself(!?) - so what can you say.

I think there is also an interesting argument Richard himself has a unique brain. He was hospitalized after falling into a catatonic state, and diagnosed with anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure). 

My Current Take

When I got Stream Entry in 2014, I then spent the next year trying to do Actualist practices. I think I had some PCEs and some pleasant times in general. But it faded and I got nothing permanent. Worse, I personally believe it may have prevented me from getting Second Path until I stopped doing Actualist practice after a year.

I do not think AF is full enlightenment personally, a few years later. The people I know who were into it at the time don't seem to talk about it any more. One college friend of mine who hung out with two of the big AF people said they were a little creepy and had a tendency to go into "zombie mode" (similar to in Daniel's essay). At least one of those two renounced their AF attainments later/ the bubble burst for them too. Reversions still seem the norm and the rule rather than the exception.

“Yes, but this, any time, so nice.” 

I sort of take that as luminosity, resting in experience, etc, or something like that.

Have you read this possibly relevant super excellent essay that might capture some of the dexterous expressions of enlightnement by Jack Kornfield, Enlightenments? Different characteristics and modes can dominate and be tapped into, I think.

I also think it is worth recognizing that in some sense even "negative" emotions can be nicer and nicer when you get enlightened. I have heard teachers talk about how becoming angry is actually a more pleasant experience (less and less baggage, just the anger) over time, in a sort of frightening way (to them). The Buddha certainly appears to get angry after his enlightenment in some of the stories. He also calls his evil cousin a bootlicker/or a "lick-spittle," a very negative word. 

Trungpa also indicates there may be value even in emotions or states like panic. In Journey Without Goal:

The student of tantra should be in a constant state of panic. That panic is electric and should be regarded as worthwhile. . . . Panic is the source of openness and the source of questions. Panic is the source of open heart and open ground. Sudden panic creates an enormous sense of fresh air. . . . We panic a thousand times a day, 108 times an hour. . . . Everyone in the tantric lineage has panicked: the teachers have panicked and the students have panicked. Because of that healthy situation of panic, the tantric lineage has developed beautifully, smoothly, and healthily. Nobody has made mistakes. If anybody did make a mistake, he just vanished and became a piece of charcoal. . . . The secret is not particularly exotic. It is not anything special. It simply refers to what we discover when we begin to play with the cosmos, the energy of the universe.


RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/11/19 10:44 PM as a reply to S..
Hey S, really apt response, thank you for taking the time. Super interesting history there and very informative!

I am still a little confused about how something like this is possible by following such simple, natural instructions as “be mindful and take delight in life”, resulting in loss of all stages and states and visual thought and becoming occasionally zombie-like. Slightly concerning, but the fact that those who have experienced this seem to think it is so amazing, and that Daniel achieved some seemingly permanent boost to his happiness is really interesting and raises more questions about the nature of happiness that I believed were already addressed. Wasn’t the clinging resulting from illusion of self supposed to be what caused suffering in the first place, the eradication of which would bring about happiness? Perhaps Daniel’s boost was actually just another milestone on the Buddhist path that just coincidentally arose from all the stuff he was doing with PCE? On the AF website it says that the Pure Consciousness Event has been recognized by all traditions. Any knowledge on that?

I suppose from the perspective of pragmatism, curiosity about how exactly this experience is occurring, and using that knowledge to cultivate more beneficial qualities is the main drive. Awareness continues to be the most attractive answer, making the whole question about how insight interacts with PCE not quite so simple.

Still interested to see if this discussion brings up any other useful knowledge! I feel like there’s still something to gain/be addressed from this, regarding full enlightenment and the nature of happiness and emotions in general.

Thanks again for answering, S!

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/12/19 12:47 AM as a reply to Cherubi.
Ok, here is my extremely opinionated and probably ill-informed answer.

No, AF/PCE is not full enlightenment, it’s a taint. It’s an advanced state but it still involves being in the thrall of an obsession. As result there is clinging that inflames the self, and dukkha results, as is completely evident from the all the arguments about it. Enlightenment is supposed to reduce suffering, not make you defensive and argumentative, right?

So what could it be? Here is my hypotheses - it is a form of non-duality. Non-duality is not enlightenment either, but it is a step along the way to liberation. The experience of non-duality attacks the fourth step of dependent arising, vijnana or divided knowing of the senses (usually mistranslated as consciousness). But when we experience non-duality at we first don’t know what to do with it. So we tend to misinterpret it using the fifth step of dependent arising, namarupa. That is, we apply the wrong conceptualisations to our non-dual sensory experiences. These wrong conceptualisations might be:

1 - Everything is just my mind
2 - My mind is just everything
3 - My true self is the ongoing sensory experience
4 - A universal consciousness is present in the ongoing sensory experience
5 - My true self is the universal consciousness present in the sensory experience
6 - Consciousness is eternal and impersonal.

My opinion is that all of these are namarupa errors, seeking to make sense of the unusual experience of non-dual perception by applying familiar concepts inappropriately to the new and weird experience of non-duality.

AF/PCE, as described, seems to be another of these namarupa errors.  From what I have read, it is responding to non-duality by trying to delete the subject (self) while leaving the object (other) intact.  But you can’t have an object without a subject, so it is really just suppressing the self, not deleting it. No wonder it leads to unpleasantness.

Anyway, even if we avoid these namarupa errors, knowledge and vision of non-dual perceptions is not final liberation.  You still need dispassion (about attachment), cessation (of dukkha), reununciation (of the self), liberation, and knowledge of the ending of the taints. Liberation involves a specific event - the blowing out the fire of the obsessed and clinging self.  It's not just a non-dual feeling, although if you non-duality well established, you are very very close.

JMHO

Hope you enjoyed the rant!  Feel free to make an Asuric response.

Malcolm

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/12/19 4:19 AM as a reply to curious.
Having lived through the toxic crazy that accompanied the first major round of discussing AF/PCE/Rigpa/Arhatship/etc. on the DhO, and spent countless hours having this debate with people in person and watching the forums burn with this stuff, I am of the opinion that trying to map AF/PCE to anything else is beyond not helpful and into the realm of highly radioactive poison, like DhO kryptonite.

I reject Richard's opinion that AF is 180 degrees from awakening in the same way that I reject attempts to definitively correlate it with any other framework I have come across. I personally am and have been friends with many of the major players back in the day, and keep in touch with some of them still, and have had many hours of intimate, honest, open conversations with them about how they were practicing and what they were experiencing, so have an unusually solid base of knowledge accumulated over nearly ten years on which to base this opinion. No, I am not going to connect you with any of them or discuss anything about what they said beyond what I wrote in that article, just in case you were going to ask.

Practically, and looking through a larger lens, I saw nearly nothing good come from such discussions and a ton that was bad, socially toxic, and based on wanton speculation, tribal spasmotic reactions, and ignorance.

Even from those who, rather than armchair-quarterbacking the whole thing, really did the work and tried the experiment in some mature, open-minded way, like a true Naturalist explorer, I found no discussion of the phenomenology of what they actually experienced that seemed to map well to pre-existing frameworks as I understood them, nor did I come to any good correlations when I did the experiment myself.

Imagine if the British Naturalists back in the day found three bugs in a jungle, one yellow one with four red dots on its back, one red one with two green dots on its head, and one blue one with three purple stripes on its underside, and they then spent years yelling at each other like pathologically mood-dysregulated children and freaking out about whether the blue one with the purple stripes really was the same as the yellow one with four red dots or the red one with the two green dots: that's my impression of how mind-bogglingly painful and foolish most of the debates on the DhO were around the results of AF-related practice and other maps.

I remain stauchly agnostic in my assessment of the deeper meanings of all of those mapping attempts, so, instead, simply reported the phenomenology that I experienced without fancy terms, and left it at that. It is honest, avoids a ton of social/political/spiritual/tribal/culty bullshit (which resulted in the first Great Schism of the DhO, by the way), and attempts no awkward shoehorning of experiences into maps that never seemed to be a perfect fit, at least to my eye.

Thus, my strong summary advice is:

1) If you wish to know for yourself, do the experiment honestly in sufficiently high dose over a long enough timeframe and see what happens.

2) Report the phenomenology of you own true experiences straightforwardly without attempting to line them up or compare it to anything else. Real results should stand on their own regardless of any conceptualization or system, and should withstand the test of time, so keep a long time horizon and an open mind.

3) Avoid like the plague any scripting and denial based on expected results.

4) Stick to sane, reasonable first principles.

5) Keep your wits about you.

6) Avoid arguing about Actualism and practices inspired by it with those who just hate it, as you won't change their mind.

7) Avoid fawning echo chambers that retain no critical eye on it either.

8) Avoid the politics around Richard, as it can be a massive distraction and time-suck.

9) Do not pay large corporate fees for proprietarily rebranded information that is already freely available and open-source.

10) If you don't really care to the degree that inspires properly repeating the experiment and seeing for yourself, then let it go and move on to something else.

These basic principles in more generic form may skillfully be applied much more broadly than just to this discussion.

Best wishes,

Daniel

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/12/19 10:47 AM as a reply to Cherubi.
Cherubi:
I’m mostly asking if there’s a point to gaining insight at all in the light of PCE? Or if it’s possible to attain PCE without achieving some level of insight or general meditative capability in the first place?

Richard has stated many times that everyone he has spoken to at length can remember a spontaneous PCE, mostly taken place in their childhood. This means that of course, no insight whatsoever or even prior meditative capability is required for PCE, in fact assuming that he is correct - everyone including yourself and everyone you knew has had it at least once before, and then most likely forgotten about it.

However, PCE is not the same as self-immolation/Actual Freedom. PCEs are temporary, usually very short-lived glimpses of selflessness (identity in abeyance, but not permanently dissolved) which gives people a temporary glimpse into what an actual freedom is like.

As for Richard himself, he said he's never meditated his entire life. Which means AF was not brought about by meditating. Yet on other occasions it is stated or observed by others that Richard can spend hours just looking out of the window at the scenery (or something like that). You can call that 'meditative' or whatever, but it does not involved getting into altered states of consciousness like jhanas and so on, one can assume that he is just sensuously enjoying and appreciating the perfection and purity of the 'infinitude of the universe in perpetuus mobillis'.

However, based on the AF site, actual freedom is related to certain insight/realization at the moment of attaining actual freedom itself:

1) Peter's report of Actual Freedom with a "final understanding":

"“The following evening, I found myself back on my couch, leaning across the little table that separated us, explaining to Richard that I experienced him as being on the other side of a veil – with only his face bulging through as it were. As was I explaining this to him, I was waving my hand in front of my face so as to illustrate the veil and I happened to look down at the table in front of me.
On the woven table mat my attention was drawn to a dark blue plastic cigarette lighter, an empty glass, a tobacco pouch and other sundry items. All of a sudden, Richard’s phrase “the actual world of people, things and events” came to mind and I found myself acknowledging that the things on the table existed in actuality, i.e. did in fact actually exist, and this being the case, here I was waving my hand in front of “people”, in this case Richard, saying that I experienced him as if behind a veil, i.e. not actually existing. It took only a few more seconds of switching my attention from the things on the table and my waving hand for the whole illusion of a separating veil to collapse – along with my illusory self-centred identity as I was gradually becoming aware of.
The whole experience was like a seamless transition between two worlds – from being a feeling being trapped within an illusionary all-encompassing self-created and sustained bubble to being here in the actual world. There was no dramatic end for ‘me’, no death-like traumatic experience, no prior psychic events or escapades, no “wall of fear”, no “abyss” – rather there was a profound experience of sweetness, a ready acknowledgement of my destiny and a final understanding that the feeling of separateness was nothing other than an illusion of ‘my’ own making.”"

2) Vineeto's report of Actual Freedom:

“I heard myself saying to Richard that ‘We’ve got all the time in the world’ and when I contemplated on the sentence that had just slipped out, time suddenly stood still.
I stopped in mid-sentence and the ensuing silence caught the attention of my two companions.
It was all over, in an instant.
There was no fear, no experience of death, no physical phenomena or changes, just the realization that I have always been here in this eternal moment in time, in this luminous magical world, more naked than I was born and utterly safe.
The stillness in my head was palpable (and has remained so ever since). Richard asked me a few test-questions to confirm what just had happened. We exchanged a few notes of how it is to live in this actual world and we found that our experiences matched.
For instance I noted that sentences were now coming out of me as if from nowhere – there was no causal sequence of thoughts preceding a conclusion (such as because A there is B and therefore C) but my thoughts/words were rather emerging from a surprising overall all-encompassing awareness that then voiced results out of a reservoir of my accumulated knowledge and experience on a particular topic.
The next morning was the real test – I half-expected that I had reverted back to normal but the world was just as brilliant, beneficial and wunderbar as I had experienced it the night before. I am still surprised how easy it all turned out to be in the end.”

....

Keeping in mind the definition of Actual Freedom according to Richard as consisting of eight (possibly more) characteristics:

Richard: "Vineeto’s experiential confirmation of the accessibility, safety and utter simplicity of the direct route to
an actual freedom from the human condition, pioneered by Peter only six days earlier, also entailed (just as with his actual freedom) no
marvellous and magical prodigy for me to experience (no fluctuation in atmospheric brilliance; no resonance in atmospheric timbre; no
physical caress of absolute perfection) but, rather, the everyday ‘magic’ of the way things work in this actual world.
Again, and purely for the sake of emphasis, the reason why the word ‘magic’ is utilised (magic as in prestidigitation and not as in a
sorcerer’s magic) is because no other word currently exists to adequately convey how a lifetime of cares and woes – all the misery
and mayhem which epitomises the human condition – can vanish in an instant (and vanish so completely as to have never been in
the first place).

Now that both a male and a female have demonstrated, experientially, that my condition is indeed replicable all what is required henceforth,
and preferably sooner rather than later, is for a person (or persons) having never met me physically to experientially demonstrate how
physical contact – being physically in my presence – is not a requisite for an actual freedom from the human condition to occur.
Put succinctly: as I thoroughly enjoy and truly appreciate my current life-style and living arrangement the biggest (and better than best)
favour someone can do for me, right now, is to experientially demonstrate that I am in no way physically needed as part of the actualism
process from the beginning to the end.
Any takers?

(There is a place waiting, in the history books yet to be written, for that person to fill).

Just for the record, then, here is a by-no-means exhaustive check-list of the main properties pertaining to an actual freedom from the human condition (in addition to the outstandingly magical property spelled-out further above):

1. No identity whatsoever.
2. No affective faculty at all (including its epiphenomenal psychic facility).
3. Utterly impervious to, and freely functioning without, both affective ‘vibes’ and psychic ‘currents’.
4. No separation (an actual intimacy) whatsoever betwixt this body and every body and every thing and every event.
5. Eternal time (no movement of time whatsoever) as expressed in, for instance, ‘this moment has no duration’.
6. Infinite space (the direct experiencing of limitlessness).
7. An apperceptive awareness (whereby all thought emerges from the full field of consciousness) of being alive/being here.
8. As a flesh and blood body only (sans the entire affective faculty/identity in toto) one is this infinite and eternal and perdurable
universe experiencing itself as an apperceptive human being ... as such it is stunningly aware of its own infinitude.
And this is truly wonderful."


p.s. I am not an "Actualist" but I did study the materials of the AF site out of interest and resonance. I have my own insights and experiences, some of which seems rather similar to AF, but I shall digress from discussing.

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/12/19 10:44 AM as a reply to Cherubi.
I have played for some time with AF and PCE (haven't posted it). There's a lot that I don't post because I don't consider posting that useful.

I consider it to be part of concentration practices. It is neither that good or bad.

It can feel extremely good as most concentration practices do. It can be addictive. It can give states that are wonderful.
Some of those states can last for some time (the highest ones).
The same as with concentration practices, the longer you practice, the easier it becomes (at some point it takes a life of its own).
It does not go well with other concentration practices (the same that most).

My guess is that some insight and morality gains can result from it, the same that can result from formal concentration practices.

At least for me, concentration can happen on anything (visualizations, mantras, physical sensations, emotions, ideas, space, concepts, memories, etc) as long as one keeps focusing, filtering, solidifying or doing something constantly, all the time.
You can even concentrate on things that do not exist (and you basically create or imagine).

It's more "portable" than most concentration practices. You can basically do it all day long for a long time.

My opinion anyway.

RE: PCE, Insight conclusions?
Answer
6/13/19 9:13 AM as a reply to Cherubi.
Cherubi:
Also, when Daniel was on the Dan Harris podcast, he told the story of how he was in an interview with Sayadaw U Pandita (I think), and Daniel was describing all the stuff he could do, and Sayadaw held out his hands and said “yes, but this, any time, so nice.” This sounds closer to descriptions of just being able to sit and enjoy life during PCE as opposed to MCTB 4th path which seems to be more of centerless, no observer, as if some buzzing or headache that has been there your whole life is finally gone, etc.

If this is accurate, would it imply that PCE is actual full enlightenment as intended by the Buddha and as wondered by Nikolai in 2010, and that Sayadaw had attained that? No?

Thanks!
I would say Buddha has had more insights than a PCE or AF.

By any chance have you read these before?

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html



Actual Freedom is very much anatta, and their fully free actual freedom that is permanently experiencing the infinitude of the universe is very much like Maha total exertion.

Actual Freedom does not go into emptiness. In fact their view is the different from emptiness insofar as they assert the inherent existence of the physical universe, although both AF and Buddhadharma agrees to the non-actuality of a truly existing self/Self. (Emptiness in buddhism doesn't mean non-existence, it means all entities are designated in dependence and all phenomena dependently originates, lacking in some sort of essence that exists by its own power independent of conditions.)

(john tan = thusness)

[24/4/19, 3:08:47 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I don’t need to focus on it it’s just there [pce as natural effortless ongoing state, not a peak experience here].. as for the cause.. I think a lot
[24/4/19, 3:09:00 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Like Anatta Realization is crucial yet I already had it 8 years ago
[24/4/19, 3:09:07 PM] John Tan: The cause of pce is just 1. [comments: what John meant here is not just PCE as a peak experience as the term usually refers to, but PCE as an effortless, ongoing, permanent natural state]
[24/4/19, 3:09:12 PM] John Tan: Not a lot
[24/4/19, 3:09:19 PM] Soh Wei Yu: It’s more like a gradual building up of intensity over the past few months
[24/4/19, 3:09:39 PM] John Tan: Pce comes from directness and gapless experience of the obviousness
[24/4/19, 3:09:41 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Then I remembered and contemplated on the pce state and suddenly triggered a shift
[24/4/19, 3:09:56 PM] Soh Wei Yu: And that triggered like a mutation of my brain, body and consciousness
[24/4/19, 3:10:20 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I mean in addition to anatta insight it’s those factors...
[24/4/19, 3:10:34 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I wouldn’t say I had a totally new insight more like intensified actualization
[24/4/19, 3:10:38 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Like some veil gone
[24/4/19, 3:13:35 PM] John Tan: There is no new insight, it is just the insight of anatta.
[24/4/19, 3:14:07 PM] John Tan: So it is just over emphasis to say it is something more.
[24/4/19, 3:14:28 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Hmm but previously I already had anatta insight yet somehow something prevented that mutation of brain body consciousness lol
[24/4/19, 3:14:38 PM] John Tan: The degree of severing the self can vary but the insight is the same.
[24/4/19, 3:14:40 PM] Soh Wei Yu: I think in addition to the insight I had to go through a process
[24/4/19, 3:14:44 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Yes
[24/4/19, 3:15:49 PM] John Tan: So there is no extra insight only the degree of doing away with that layer that hinders directness and gaplessness
[24/4/19, 3:16:26 PM] John Tan: however one can get so excited about the effect that is the issue.
[24/4/19, 3:16:35 PM] Soh Wei Yu: It’s almost like a chakra is open or something.. anatta should do that and maybe for some they get all of it from the start but for me maybe there were obscurations to full blown anatta
[24/4/19, 3:16:57 PM] John Tan: Because cause is not clearly seen their 2 fold cannot b understood clearly
[24/4/19, 3:17:04 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Even now I wouldn’t say no more obscurations.. just lesser. Maybe over years later even more intense
[24/4/19, 3:17:25 PM] John Tan: Still far from full blown
[24/4/19, 3:17:42 PM] John Tan: That is over exaggeration again.
[24/4/19, 3:18:10 PM] John Tan: Even inability to contain is part of it that re-force the sense of self.
[24/4/19, 3:18:17 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
[24/4/19, 3:18:56 PM] John Tan: I have told u how is it possible when the body is so inflamed and congested can one have full blown experience?
[24/4/19, 3:19:02 PM] John Tan: Does it make sense?
[24/4/19, 3:19:32 PM] John Tan: If u r fatigue how full blown can it be?
[24/4/19, 3:19:44 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Oic.. yeah
[24/4/19, 3:19:58 PM] Soh Wei Yu: Nowadays I don’t feel much fatigue and yet I sleep less.. but I still have inflammation from time to time

....

Purity of the body also leads to intensity but this aspect of body/energetics is completely not discussed at all in AF, which is why I was advised to go into yoga -

“John Tan: Yes you should learn slowly and safely… no need to rush… half a year you will see the effect.  My sensations are very powerful now… I want to focus this technique of mine for few months... Anatta is very strong nowadays... Wonder why… lol
In addition to insights, the body has some serious obstruction that prevents full blown experience of no-self.  When the intensity of sensation is strong, the transparency + insights of Anatta become very powerful and obvious… the natural intensity of sensations helps one to lose all sense of self too...

Soh Wei Yu: Intensity of sensations come from energy practice?
John Tan: Yes” - John Tan, 2013