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Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/30/10 11:01 AM
I managed to get Nirodha Samapatti last night by following Dan's directions in MCTB. I now see exactly what people have been talking about with this incredible afterglow and how completely different the setup is compared to getting a Fruition. I had been studying it and actively pursuing it for the last two weeks but last night marked a definite turning point.

I had lay down last night around midnight with the intention of working on the formless jhanas. I'd managed to soldify the first four (open and closed-eyed) much more during the last week or so of samatha practice and had become far more aware of at least the fifth and sixth jhanas. The transition up into seven and eight hadn't been greatly clear during practice but I can now see why this was since they're so subtle. Admittedly, previous encounters with these went by almost unnoticed until after the fact!

So last night I decided I'd follow Dan's direction (and also based on advice I'd seen on KFD) by going through the formless jhana and resolving to attain NS. Once I was certain that I'd hit the eighth I resolved to attain NS and began moving back down to baseline. I was still reclining on the couch and noting the sensations of bliss, following the vibrations as the sense of the body returned when, literally from out nowhere, there was an incredibly powerful sense of perception just shutting down completely. There was literally no experience or awareness. I have no idea what sort of timescale was involved between my loss of awareness and subsequent re-entry which felt like a computer coming back online, loading up each strata of mind before being able to perceive normally again.

Coming back from this state felt like having had perception rebuilt from scratch and even now, over 12 hours later, I still have this feeling I can only describe as being like an inverted comedown. On waking up this morning (I actually overslept!) there was a post-coital glow to the world and a sense of gratitude, restfulness and joy which has only started to ebb in the last hour or so during work.

If this wasn't Nirodha Samapatti then I have no idea what it was but it's definitely something I would recommend. I know that the proof of the pudding is going to be the ability to repeat the feat so I'll be sure to report back if and when this occurs again.

(Edited for spelling)

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/30/10 1:12 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Sounds great! Seems like KFD people talk more about NS so you can post there if you want more opinions on it. Guess you are also third path in that case, sweet, just a little more to go!

I have a question, how did you get "an incredibly powerful sense of perception just shutting down completely"? Meaning, how did you sense perception shutting down if perception was shutting down? Ya know? =P. Was it like some aspects shut down and before all perception ceased the last sensation was that of perception shutting down until that sense too shut down?

Also was there any particular blip you can point to as being 3rd path? How is your daily experience different now than, say, after stream entry?

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/30/10 1:48 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Just quickly checked in and saw you'd replied. I'll do you a proper response later on 'cause getting NS has pretty much destroyed any ideas of where I thought I could possibly be in Theravadan terms. I'm just making dinner then going to practice for an hour so I'll definitely report back. I'd been trying it out of curiosity, just to see if it was possible as I'd been working with the formless jhanas over the last week and eventually finished MCTB so it was a major surprise when it happened.

As for the shutting down thing, just to quickly describe how it happened: Realising I was in eight jhana brought me back down through to sixth very quickly but I had already set my intent to reach NS, as I came out into fourth I resolved again to enter NS and forgot about it (I use a sort of slight of mind used in charging sigils from experience with Chaos magick). As I felt the space around my body and that tingly first jhana feel, it was as it someone pulled the plug out of an electrical device. The way that when you're listening to a radio and pull the plug, there's just enough power still flowing into it to keep the sound going for a split second after you unplug it. That's what it was like. I didn't have a chance to notice anything else to be honest. It was immediate, total and it was only apparent that something had even happened when I "woke up".

I'll get you a full posting later on.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/30/10 5:44 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Right....back again...This may take some time but I think a bit of background here is important.... emoticon

I've been unwilling to make any outright claims to Paths above stream entry because I'm still learning the terminology. I'm also skeptical of making claims to grades/paths since my background in magickal tradition is based on one being initiated into some sort of temple, group or whatever as a physical validation of attaining whichever grade. Since 2002 I've been a sole practitioner having become tired of dealing with group politics, ego trips and the bullshit inherent in pretty much every Western magickal tradition I've encountered or worked with. I mainly worked with "Chaos Magick" from 2003 but with a strong foundation in the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley and kabbalistic maps although I abandoned any ideas about grades while focussing on techniques, results and experience.

Since the time I got involved with magick I had balanced it up with studies (not academic, purely personal) in philosophy, psychology and other stuff like general semantics, hypnosis, NLP etc etc to maintain the ability to rationally examine and deconstruct what goes on internally during magickal workings. Like vipassana, it's easy to get lost in content or mistake something like the A&P for ultimate enlightenment so the ability to maintain a healthy skepticism prevents one from falling prey to the often mindblowing experiences which come with exploring reality! These are some of my reasons for not wanting to claim any grade before I had enough experience to allow me to do so.....which brings me to last night:

If indeed that was Nirodha Samapatti then I have little choice but to believe that I have attained 3rd path in February of this year. Admittedly I had thought to myself that what I was reading about the work of the anagami and the changes in perception it entailed fitted in the most natural way with how "I" experience reality. I just didn't want to make an arse of myself and make some bold claim without basis for the reasons mentioned above. What made me laugh was about a month ago when I was watching a Kenneth Folk video on youtube and heard him mention something about "the circuit being completed" in one of the formless jhanas because those were the exact same words I said to my girlfriend when the actual Path Fruition happened!

I could give you a massive story here about the year leading up to this point and all the rituals, workings etc but it'd bore you senseless. To summarise, I started practicing magick and meditating again after a three year break (I fried myself basically!) and on a purely intuitive hunch started paying attention to the sensations that made up thoughts, breaking them down and examining the ideas in my head. This led to a brief but intense (what I now know to have been) A&P event and very quickly into Dark Night which I recognised having spent the last few years in it and getting to know it. This time around though I was noting but didn't know it.

What followed were the worst but most educational eight months of my entire life and where I learned how important those truths I now know as the Three Characteristics actually are. During that time I lost several jobs, was on the verge of losing my house, my relationship broke down, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and a whole host of other painful losses occured. It was only by seeing that there literally is no-self, nothing is permanent and that there truly is no satisfaction to be found in the "other" that I managed to get through those times. Although I had no formal experience with Buddhism outside of reading some very basic stuff these things presented themselves as being the only certainties in this life and showed me, in the darkest days, that everything just arises and passes, does it's thing and goes away again. As I wrote that paragraph my eyes literally welled-up, I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for the Dharma (Overground and otherwise) as it is the most perfect expression of truth.

My practice during that time wasn't formal, I was still using chaos magick frameworks which were basically a mix and match but my notes from that time show walking meditation, choiceless awareness-style excerices, meditating on koans and Rumi's poetry and a lot of failed sigil work to get myself a job! emoticon

In February I entered into what I now know was High Equanimity and got Path towards the end of the month (can't recall the exact date). I was sitting in my chair working away on some video when there was just a moment, devoid of anything and then an increase in awareness. I turned to my girlfriend (we had split up but, for financial reasons, remained in the same house) and just said "The circuit is complete", she had no idea what had happened and asked me what I meant. I said that something had changed, that I could now see clearly and that there was no reason to worry about how things would turn out since change was the only thing anyone can guarantee. That was it.

Over the following three or four months, I was still unemployed, still getting letters from solicitors with court dates for repossession and still living on £60 a week or less for a family of three but my entire experience of life was much more about my relationship to these aspects of my life and noticing that I was now suffering less than at any point in my previous work.

That's been pretty much it. When I came across Baptists Head, which I came across looking for information on the grades above the Abyss in Golden Dawn terminology since I knew that something was different to any grade I'd experienced before, I read Alan's piece on what changed for him since attaining enlightenment and found his advice to those at the previous stage to be oddly relevant to what I'd been wondering myself. This then led me to DhO and the rest is a messy, verbose and boring word-vomit-salad which you may already have seen before on here.

I know that this may have been a totally unneccesary spiel to post but I'm hoping that it demonstrates that I'm not just making random claims from out of nowhere. I have been working towards enlightenment for a fairly long time but find Buddha's teachings to be the most perfect expression of truth. I'm learning and always will be. Any questions just give me a shout!

Thanks for reading. Again. emoticon

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/30/10 5:50 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Very interesting post, thanks for sharing! I don't have much to comment on since I'm not familiar with that background... but I'm struck that you were intuitively led to the 3 characteristics, that you had clear cycles without knowing what they are.. basically that your experience was best described w/ the terminology we have here, and that you were able to have it even though you were practicing a different tradition. goes to show that so far this seems like the most direct way to get these things done =).

When did you get stream entry, if you weren't practicing Buddhist meditation before hand? Or you were, but not noting, and not explicitly knowing the 3 chars?

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
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12/30/10 11:48 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi Tommy,

thanks for the detailed posts! And to read a Chaos Magician's fervent writings about Truth is a rare thing indeed! ;)

Incidentally, the Baptist's Head was important to me, too: reading how Alan and Duncan reproduced Daniel Ingram's results in a different tradition seriously made me consider the possibility of there actually being something like a common human experience to all this, rather than just the ideals of one particular religion.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/31/10 6:17 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
When did you get stream entry, if you weren't practicing Buddhist meditation before hand? Or you were, but not noting, and not explicitly knowing the 3 chars?


This is where the major problem comes in when trying to translate experience from other traditions to those of Theravada. That's another reason why I've been trying to avoid pinpointing when things like stream entry occured since I wasn't following the specific techniques which would allow me to make a conclusion. Another problem is that I've got over ten years worth of data in the form of diaries and folders full of notes which contain numerous instances which could be interpreted as stream entry or attainment of Path. If I were to speculate, and based on the assumption that I do actually have 3rd path, then the most likely time for stream entry was in August 2004 when I was focussed on yogic techniques from John Mumford's "Chakra and Kundalini Workbook" and Patanjali's writings. The notes from that time indicate "symptoms" which would fit with stream entry, and the changes afterwards were the first noticeable and permanent shifts in perception to have occured since I started out.

I can also trace the A&P of that period back to the May of 2004 when I first experienced kundalini and had my universe blown out of my ears. This was followed by a few weeks of hearing explosions in my head, intense and vivid dreams and increased magickal abilities (siddhis) before I crashed into Dark Night. If I were to throw a guess at when the Fruition occured it would have been in August of that year but this is all based on speculation, old notes and my trying to understand previous experience in Theravadan terms.

As for the three characteristics, I think that anyone can become aware of them with or without formal instruction since they're so clear to anyone who takes the time to pay attention to what's going on moment by moment in their life. I think Buddha presented them in the most beautiful and clear of ways but they're spoken of in other traditions although perhaps using different words to label them. Either way, realising their truth in each moment changed everything.

I still don't feel comfortable claiming to have attained 3rd path since I can't say that I've done the "work" of what's involved in the 4-Path system. I remember reading Daniel telling someone that it can take years to understand where you're at on the 4-Path model if you've come from other traditions and I can totally understand that.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
12/31/10 6:50 AM as a reply to Florian.
The absence of any concept of objective truth in chaos magick was always an annoyance for me. I subscribed to that view for a while but found that a purely subjective understanding of reality, while useful to a point, is found to be incorrect when we actually investigate the nature of things as they are.

Don't get me wrong, the amount I learned from practicing chaos magick has been invaluable although it's outgrown it's usefulness for me and many others in modern magick. I do still think that some of the points made about shifting paradigms, freestyle techniques and abandoning dogma have value however and I would encourage anyone to investigate their take on maps and models if they're interested.

Yeah, what Alan and Duncan did with that site must have turned at least a few people onto MCTB and could prove to be a fundamental event in the spreading of the Dharma to more Western tradition-based practitioners. It certainly changed everything for me and it's unfortunate that they've decided to stop BH and Open Enlightenment too although Alan's work on "Deep Humanism" could prove interesting.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/19/11 11:42 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Yeah, I am going to talk with Alan tomorrow, I hope. We have been trying to schedule it for over a month. It will be interesting to see what he is up to.

Your descriptions of NS really do sound like it. I don't know of much that looks quite like that other than it.

Nice work and glad to have you here,

Daniel

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/20/11 3:11 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
in my opinion, the most relevant aspect of of attaining nirodha samapatti (as well as one possible criterion for determining its occurrence) lies in the changes that result, from such attainment, in one's practice, view, and everyday life. aside from the sizable afterglow which you report, have you noticed anything noteworthy in those regards?

tarin

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/20/11 5:27 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
That's a good question and something I've been looking at lately since there's been change at a variety of levels from practice to personal life. Since attaining nirodha samapatti my practice has become almost constant, aside from the formally seated one to two hour sessions daily, I note during as many activities as possible and in any moment I get the chance. It's brought a sense of needing to just get it done, the realisation that noting everything is the only way to get there and that anything observable needs to be seen as it is a'la the Three Characteristics.

During practice I now have a more panoramic range of sensation, an increased acceptance and a big decrease in the shaking between Dissolution and Dark Night. I generally follow sensation from the body, into thoughts, emotions, the space between these things, and since NS there's more of an awareness of the sensations implying nothingness, not emptiness but the sensations of nothingness having edges of their own which shows it as just something else to be notes. This is difficult for me to describe and I hope at least some of this is making sense.

My attitude towards practice has become much more hardcore than it was and I find myself unable to maintain interest in anything which isn't conducive to attaining 4th path. My confidence in my abilities has increased and I have more of a mastery of the samatha jhanas than before, solid first to fourth and the ability to go from fifth to eighth consistently although they're much softer. I've also gotten a PCE consciously since that time which was interesting, and I believe was enabled by the increase in concentration and awareness since NS. On the other hand, my attitude has become more about encouraging others to practice and a real desire to end the suffering for as many people as I'm able to, in however small a way.

Personally, I've noticed I'm developing a different and deeper compassion for people. There's more emphasis on passing on information, in the future I would love to teach but I'm in no way qualified to teach the Dharma so I can't until I learn much, much more but the desire to do so has definitely increased. I suppose gratitude would be an appropriate word, a gratefulness for the wealth of experience, sensation, emotion, and all of these things we go through whether they're positive or negative.

Without a shadow of a doubt, it's been a turning point. It's caused me to re-examine where I was and given me the confidence to get on with attaining arahatship, realising that I'm not bullshitting myself and that the practice I do is doing exactly what I need to be doing. Even the wonder and purity of the PCE hasn't pulled me away from pursuing my goal, however tempting the world of AF seems, particularly during Dark Night and Re-observation. If anything NS has strengthened my resolve to just get on with it, however long it takes.

Look, I'd be quite happy to accept if what occured wasn't NS. I'm not so daft that I don't consider the possibility that I'm deluding myself or that I've misinterpreted what happened. I see no point in fabricating a story about something like this when it would be so easy to poke holes in, especially given the level of honesty and experience of people on DhO. There's no benefit to be had from that, and if I'm wrong in my assertion that I attained NS then so be it, I'll have learned something and I'll move on from there. I still consider myself a beginner here and so may be unable to accurately express what happens in identical language to what people may expect although I'll explain, clarify or describe whatever is required. Having come from another tradition also complicates matters so feel free to call me out on my shit, if I'm wrong I'm wrong and have no problem with that.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/21/11 5:15 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi Tommy,

I wrote about the practice i am currently doing here:
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/yogi-tool-box-letting-go-approach-to.html

For me it always ends in short dips in and out of NS.

I'd be interested to see if it helps with your own access. It has for me and every time I practice I end up in and out of constant NS and concerning what Tarin inquired about, it is changing my day to day default mode. I am not sure exaclty to what degree, but my craving levels have dropped and i have never been so chilled out and relaxed like i have since I started the linked practice. I'd like to know if it helps you.

metta,

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/21/11 4:32 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks for that Nikolai, it's a really good piece actually. I'm going to start that today so I'll report back and let you know.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/23/11 1:24 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
based on my experience, and on the experiences of a few others (with whose overall descriptions of experience i have become sufficiently conversant as to confidently regard my understanding of theirs)[1], what attaining nirodha samapatti does is to clearly demonstrate that the consciousness (vinnana) still extant in neither perception nor non-perception (which contains the most subtle vinnana) is itself fleeting; going into cessation from 8th jhana (neither perception nor non-perception - nevasannanasanna), everything else is already gone so you get to watch nevasannanasanna-vinnana knock out clearly and completely.

while the cessation involved in the cessation of perception and feeling and the cessation involved in a fruition (as a repetition of a path-moment) are not different, the especial impact of the former comes from its occurrence being precipitated by conditions which are lined up so precisely that even at very refined levels there are no disturbances that prevent cessation from occurring; the absence of such disturbances reveals the ephemeral (and thus 'not it') nature of those refined mental experiences (such as consciousness - vinnana) and the dissatisfaction inherent in seeking release from being and becoming through craving their experience[2].

it seems to me, then, that anyone who has gone into cessation via the cessation of neither perception nor non-perception (which route is called sanna-vedayita-nirodha - the cessation of perception and feeling) will know that absolutely nothing of consciousness (vinnana) can be a refuge, nothing of it can be freedom from suffering. hence, grand notions like those of a pure mind, a primordial awareness beyond space and time, an awareness co-existing with the world of mind-and-matter yet transcendent of it, etc, become utterly void as a means of release. it is for this reason that practitioners who hold to notions of a sort of primordial awareness as freedom on one hand yet claim nirodha samapatti on the other seem to me to not actually have experience of the latter; that is to say, i do not understand the means by which such a profound experience does not yield at least as much insight as i have described.

so that it is understood (your previous reply leads me to think this explanation might be appreciated), the above is not intended as commentary on your claim or your description of attainment (as i do not mean to be taken as the arbiter of your experience) but as discussion on nirodha samapatti, prompted by a thread entitled by its subject.

tarin

[1] which sample size is admittedly small.

[2] it is in ceasing to be that such release is effected, and in ceasing to crave (being) that such cessation (of being) is effected.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/23/11 3:52 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Your input is very much appreciated, I see you as someone who knows their stuff and who's advice I respect.

I'm becoming less and less certain that 3rd path is where I am if I'm being totally honest. I think my mixbag background, getting a bit too sure of myself and putting too much emphasis on what attaining nirodha samapatti means has led me to thinking I'm closer to enlightenment than I actually am. I feel like I've been talking a lot of crap, not even in a Dark Night sense of lacking self-confidence, and that by attempts at understanding where I am are doing more to confuse than clarify.

I don't know if it is possible for someone to attain NS below 3rd path, I understand that there's a whole other discussion involved there but I'm nowhere near experienced enough to even speculate. If, through good conditions and strong concentration abilities, I've been fortunate enough to have attained this pre-3rd path then I am eternally grateful for that. As far as insights go, I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said but couldn't have expressed it so clearly.

I need to stop posting for a while and just get on with constant practice, I love the site and enjoy contributing whatever I can although I don't feel able to provide information to anyone at present. I need to go back to square one and start from scratch, I'm buying the Visuddhimagga this week and a hard copy of Progress of Insight because this feels like I just need to start all over again before I can truly understand where I am now and be able to talk about it with others.

Thanks to everyone who's helped me and who I've spoken with over the last few months, I'll still be checking in and I'll keep in touch with people on here anyway (Beoman, I'll mail you my email add) but this is something I need to do.

May we all end suffering in this lifetime.

Cya's in a while.....
Tommy

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
1/23/11 5:01 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

it seems to me, then, that anyone who has gone into cessation via the cessation of neither perception nor non-perception (which route is called sanna-vedayita-nirodha - the cessation of perception and feeling) will know that absolutely nothing of consciousness (vinnana) can be a refuge, nothing of it can be freedom from suffering. hence, grand notions like those of a pure mind, a primordial awareness beyond space and time, an awareness co-existing with the world of mind-and-matter yet transcendent of it, etc, become utterly void as a means of release. it is for this reason that practitioners who hold to notions of a sort of primordial awareness as freedom on one hand yet claim nirodha samapatti on the other seem to me to not actually have experience of the latter; that is to say, i do not understand the means by which such a profound experience does not yield at least as much insight as i have described.



Brilliant! Yes, Tarin. Everything you said I am now mulling over in my mind as it is my current experience. NS and the route to it through the jhanas is showing me how there is no refuge. One condition after another is let go, more calm and peace result, but on further investigation there still is tension and unsatisfactoriness in each of the jhanas all the way to the 8th. Having done this practice (letting go of conditioning factors in jhanas all the way to NS) as my principal practice for the past weeks, it seems to be leaving a very big imprint on the mind. Full release from nama and rupa seems to be the only refuge from this point of view. And yes, primordial awareness and all that, really loses it's status. I had let go of the rigpa/primordial awareness fascination awhile back. It was never really something I felt pulled to anyway. I am still of the opinion it is just resting in some sort of attention wave or other. The PCE kind of robbed it of any status it may have had in my head. I don't care now.

Oh, to maybe answer your last sentence above, maybe the reason that yogis don't find NS as a tool to insight and further development is because they relegated it to "side effect" status of progress through the stages of awakening. It really only started having an effect on me when I took Nathan and Chelek's advice to follow more closely what the buddha instructs to do in the jhanas to NS.

emoticon

Nick

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
2/25/11 6:22 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hey Tommy, as a stream enterer, you have helped me a lot with understanding what exactly stream entry is and how it feels. Just saying that you are at a level that can help people on this site.

RE: Nirodha Samapatti
Answer
2/26/11 2:06 PM as a reply to Adam Bieber.
Adam Bieber:
Hey Tommy, as a stream enterer, you have helped me a lot with understanding what exactly stream entry is and how it feels. Just saying that you are at a level that can help people on this site.


Adam, thanks for that! That really puts a smile on my face, if anything I've said has been of use to you (and just remember to do your own research and reality-testing 'cause I stand, as always, to be corrected) then I'm more than happy. We're all in this together so if I can save people some time, and help avoid making the same stupid mistakes I have, then that's enough for me. : )