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Fruitions at different paths

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Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/2/19 3:06 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/2/19 5:03 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/2/19 5:35 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/2/19 6:29 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/2/19 7:12 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/2/19 7:57 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/3/19 4:07 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/3/19 4:20 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/3/19 5:52 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/3/19 7:40 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/3/19 8:51 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 9:29 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 9:32 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/3/19 9:46 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/3/19 10:11 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/3/19 11:22 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/3/19 11:43 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/3/19 11:45 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 12:42 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/3/19 12:57 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/3/19 9:07 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 10:31 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 1:40 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/4/19 4:10 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Daniel M. Ingram 9/4/19 5:23 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Daniel M. Ingram 9/4/19 5:27 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/4/19 5:36 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 8:17 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/4/19 5:53 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/4/19 6:50 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 7:58 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Paul 9/6/19 9:28 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/6/19 11:50 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/6/19 12:31 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/4/19 10:34 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Lewis James 9/4/19 5:21 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/3/19 12:24 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/4/19 1:36 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/4/19 2:23 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/4/19 2:31 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/4/19 2:51 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Chris Marti 9/6/19 10:02 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/3/19 11:35 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 1:25 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/3/19 2:34 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 2:56 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/3/19 3:56 PM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 8:02 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths shargrol 9/3/19 9:32 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/3/19 11:29 AM
RE: Fruitions at different paths spatial 9/3/19 1:03 PM
Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/2/19 3:06 PM
I'm hoping someone can answer a few of my conceptual questions regarding fruitions. If you don't know the answers to these questions, please don't take my questions as containing any sort of useful information! This is all wild speculation for me.

Are 1st path, 2nd path, and 3rd path fruitions different from each other? If so, how?

Do these experiences change as one attains higher paths? If so, how?

Is there such a thing as a 4th path fruition?

Is it the case that the A&P event of 2nd path is basically a 1st path fruition that went a little deeper than normal?

Is it the case that when one has attained 3rd path, the awareness is so broad that a 1st path fruition is practically a non-event? Is it the case that when one attains stream entry, the awareness is so narrowly constricted that the fruition appears to be a gap in experience, in a way that is later seen to be false?

Thanks.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/2/19 5:03 PM as a reply to spatial.
I'd be happy to provide my personal experience of this... but first I'd like to know why you're asking.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/2/19 5:35 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'd be happy to provide my personal experience of this... but first I'd like to know why you're asking.

I'd love to know more about your personal experience. 

As for why I'm asking...I guess I'm trying to get a handle on what my experiences have been, exactly. I'm still trying to understand what the difference is between an A&P event and a fruition. I'm trying to understand why my experiences don't seem to line up neatly with anything I've read. Or, maybe they do, and I just don't understand the language very well. Do you want more specifics?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/2/19 6:29 PM as a reply to spatial.
I’m looking forward to Chris’ input. But I can answer one straight away. The A&P is an event. The fruition is a non-event. That is, the first is experienced. The second is not experienced in any way. So there’s a very big difference. If you experienced something and are wondering if it’s this or that, then it’s definitely not a fruition. 

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/2/19 7:12 PM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:
I’m looking forward to Chris’ input. But I can answer one straight away. The A&P is an event. The fruition is a non-event. That is, the first is experienced. The second is not experienced in any way. So there’s a very big difference. If you experienced something and are wondering if it’s this or that, then it’s definitely not a fruition. 


So I hear! But, even this language makes no sense to me. If you didn't experience anything, how do you know something happened? Even if there is a total gap in experience, if the gap is recognized upon returning, that is itself an experience. Do you get what I mean?

What makes this more confusing for me is that if I pay attention, I can see gaps in my experience all the time. What's the difference between a "normal" gap and a fruition? What if some of those gaps are currently being perceived by me because in the past they were actual fruitions, but now they are simply normal gaps?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/2/19 7:57 PM as a reply to spatial.
In other words:

It would seem that the defining event of the fruition is actually the "recognition event". This implies that the mind views this event as something Really Big. Otherwise, the fruition would pass by completely unnoticed. It stands to reason that over time, the novelty of the recognition event will wear off. After that point, what substance does the fruition have?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 4:07 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial, these are all interesting points to mull over, but they’re not really getting to grips with the facts here. Imagine you’re sitting at your computer when suddenly the screen goes black, then there’s a ding sound and it starts up from scratch, unpacking the OS, opening the last-used apps, bringing up recently saved files, etc. It’s like that. So, you noticed the computer was running, then suddenly starting up from scratch. But your questions are like asking what happened in the computer’s system during the second or so it was completely down. Simple - nothing.

On your second quandary, you notice it because suddenly all the stuff that was running has vanished and you’re observing bits and pieces of cognition booting up again. As for what happened in between - nothing. I can assure you that being confused by this is a very normal reaction. No less so than when you go through it many times a day and wonder ‘What the hell good is this?’ The scriptures, and traditional teachers, will tell you something or other about Nibbana. But what I’ve noticed is it’s like bathing the mind in the most wondrously comfortable jacuzzi. You’re not actually present for it, but afterwards you have this ‘clean,’ pure, ‘reset,’ everything gone, emptiness, nothingness sense which leads to a lingering very deep peacefulness. So I’m guessing that’s what it’s all about. Allowing the mind to ‘crap’ itself and start up afresh means you find yourself sitting (or lying) in stillness, silence, peacefulness, several times a day. With enough exposure to that, it imbues the mind with a new baseline of calm, patience, forbearance, etc. I guess. Just my experience and input. One teacher told me it disappoints him a lot to see people get a path then leave retreat, because the good stuff is in the bathing of the mind in fruitions. According to him. 

If I can anticipate a follow-up question - something re what happens ‘in the gap’ that leaves you feeling refreshed - that’s falling into the old trap again of looking for something in the gap. In fact, nothing happens, and it’s the coming back from that absence of everything which leaves the mind feeling purified, if you will. I hope that helps! 

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 4:20 AM as a reply to spatial.
Looking back, you’ve asked more than that. The diff between a normal gap in awareness and a fruition is sometimes tricky to be absolutely sure about. Some fruitions can be so sudden and leave so little trace that I spend some seconds pondering over it. But in the end, I’ve always found a way to ascertain if it was a fruition or not. It has to do with a sense that is always slightly disorienting of having lost everything that was going on in the stream of consciousness. So casting the attention back to what is recalled from the last few seconds, there’s a fog which takes time to become clear, and what is then understood is that whatever was going on in the moment before the fruition began is now lost to history. For example, I’m daydreaming about an attractive female acquaintance, suddenly there’s rebooting, then there’s a recall that I had been thinking about, say, Jane, but now the story about Jane has no relevance, power, significance, because all the myriad details and the web of causes giving rise to that train of thought are gone. So all I can do now is think, ‘Oh yeah, Jane,’ then drop it and move on to deal with whatever is currently presenting itself. 

As for whether the novelty wears off, that’s a really good and interesting point. I’ve been getting them on average several times a day since I left retreat in January, where I was getting them many dozens of times a day, so that adds up to a huge number. And yet somehow every time it happens, it’s always a subtle surprise. Then there’s the fact they manifest in myriad ways dependent on practice conditions. For example sometimes returning from a fruition there is a monumental sense of awe, sometimes a little involuntary smile on the lips, other times there’s a sense of ‘Oh another gap.’ Please note that the mind is opting on its own to go to a fruition at some deep level ‘I’ don’t control, so it seems to me the mind is endlessly interested in dipping into that non-experience. That in itself is intriguing.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 5:52 AM as a reply to Paul.
Is it possible to have a fruition in the midst of daydreaming of someone attractive? That’s pretty cool. How does that happen? Does the mind simply disengage because it is reminded of the emptiness of the attraction or what?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 7:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hey Linda

Oddly, since this is now the topic, let me say fruitions have occurred even during thoughts of sexual desire, including the related ... physical stimulation. Maybe I have the makings of a teacher of renown after all! Yay! Haha. 

Actually as I understand it, the content of the thought is irrelevant. What matters is the mind took an object, be it a mental state or idea, or a sensation on the nose or in the abdomen, or a sound, or whatever, and then ‘turned away,’ so to speak. So the content doesn’t seem to enter into consideration. If noticing the emptiness of it is key, I’d say the mind notices that a thought per se is empty, perhaps by noticing how rapidly it’s arising and passing, as opposed to a philosophical reflection on the meaning or validity of the content of the thought. I hope that makes sense. 

I’m still looking forward to Chris’ input here. Sorry for hijacking the discussion in the meantime! 

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 8:51 AM as a reply to Paul.
Thanks Paul! I appreciate your candid response. That’s very interesting. For me getting fruitions is much more difficult than for you, so I have never experienced anything like that. However, I often have a feeling of thin silky layers being drawn away from behind my face, leaving a feeling of fresh open emptiness (it’s hard to describe), and that can happen basically any time, including during sex or while watching netflix. I thought that was a bit odd, but it probably isn’t then. It’s nothing compared to a fruition. Anyway, your explanation might be applicable for my experience too, I guess. That does make sense.

Did you do anything special to get the fruitions flowing like that, or is it just karma? Several times a day since January - that’s a lot. Wow! I hear it’s learnable, just like multiple orgasms (working on that teacher karisma too), so maybe I’ll learn some day, when the universe decides that it’s a good idea.

I’m looking forward to Chris’ reply too, and I’m sorry for hijacking the thread even more with a new question. Hopefully, Spatial finds your responses as interesting as I do.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 9:29 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I’m looking forward to Chris’ reply too, and I’m sorry for hijacking the thread even more with a new question. Hopefully, Spatial finds your responses as interesting as I do.

Don't worry, I don't mind anybody hijacking this thread. I find it very interesting to read others' thoughts on this matter.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 9:32 AM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:

Actually as I understand it, the content of the thought is irrelevant. What matters is the mind took an object, be it a mental state or idea, or a sensation on the nose or in the abdomen, or a sound, or whatever, and then ‘turned away,’ so to speak. So the content doesn’t seem to enter into consideration. If noticing the emptiness of it is key, I’d say the mind notices that a thought per se is empty, perhaps by noticing how rapidly it’s arising and passing, as opposed to a philosophical reflection on the meaning or validity of the content of the thought. I hope that makes sense. 

This is related to my question.

My hypothesis is that a fruition is a physical event relating to the mechanics of the spine, more than it is about the mental content itself. It is an event when something is released physically, and as a result whatever content the mind was holding onto at the moment is also released.

I'm really interested in understanding the "nature/type of the content". I'm suspicious of the claim that "during a fruition, absolutely everything disappears". I say that because over the course of my practice, I have unlocked new layers of sensory perception, and corresponding mental content. This is stuff that I had absolutely no awareness of before. If we imagine going back to before this happened, supposing I had cleared my mind of everything else, and you had asked me what was left, I would have said "absolutely nothing".

So, I'm wondering to what extent the recognition and impact of the fruition is based on which layer of the mind one considers to be "the most fundamental layer of reality". You notice when reality comes back online because you're holding on tightly to that layer of the mind (as tightly as you can be while still being willing to let it go for a moment). But, if you weren't...

Again, this is all wild speculation on my part, but I'm curious to know how this resonates with the experiences of others.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 9:32 AM as a reply to spatial.
I tend to be a very "dry" meditator with puncutated "wet" experiences that fade quickly. Here's how I distill the whole thing down to something simple:

If the unknowing event was preceeded by "energy, bliss, pleasure": A&P event.
If the object being observed before the event feels intimate but separate and it feels like you "penetrated" the object: A&P event
If there is a feeling of energetic release after the event: A&P event.
If the event was followed by a profound new understanding or wisdom: A&P event.

If the unknowning event was preceeded by a period of being clear minded, then getting slightly daydreamy: cessation.
If the "scene" that was being observed had the odd sense of "seeing the self seeing the object", that somehow "you" and "it" were being held in the mind at the same time, and got kinda confusing, and then you found yourself where you already were but somehow time must have passed: cessation.
If it feels like you fell into a hole and landed back inside your body somehow: cessation. 
If the unknowing event was followed by a sense of things being plain and normal yet "completely at ease": cessation.

If it seemed like a cessation, but it doesn't feel that satisfying: cessation from a previous path.

If the cessation seems to confirm something you already knew, but because you already knew it it's no big deal, but you also feel glad something got done and leave that all behind: possible fruition from a new path, wait and see...

 

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 9:46 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

I'm really interested in understanding the "nature/type of the content". I'm suspicious of the claim that "during a fruition, absolutely everything disappears". I say that because over the course of my practice, I have unlocked new layers of sensory perception, and corresponding mental content. This is stuff that I had absolutely no awareness of before. If we imagine going back to before this happened, supposing I had cleared my mind of everything else, and you had asked me what was left, I would have said "absolutely nothing".

So, I'm wondering to what extent the recognition and impact of the fruition is based on which layer of the mind one considers to be "the most fundamental layer of reality". You notice when reality comes back online because you're holding on tightly to that layer of the mind (as tightly as you can be while still being willing to let it go for a moment). But, if you weren't...

Again, this is all wild speculation on my part, but I'm curious to know how this resonates with the experiences of others.

I think there is something real that you are pointing at. I would say that cessation is a complete gap, but your point about how it creates a new level of sensitivity definitely feels right to me. 

Here's the way I would describe it: we have a sense of self that tries to stay in control. At first we hold on through emotions and when that falls apart, it's A&P. Then we try to use thoughts and when that falls apart: first path.

Then the sense of self get's smart and says, maybe if I dissassociate with objects and add in jhana mind states, then I'll keep my hold. But when thoughts and jhanas fall apart: second path

Then it get's really serious and starts using subtle worldviews and really strong jhanas ... but when worldviews are all seen as empty and jhanas are seen as golden chains and that falls apart: third path.

And when the sense of self that was driving all this inquiry gets seen, then the sense of self substantially falls apart: fourth path.


Is that the kind of inuition you have on this?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 10:11 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I really don't see a need for me type in a bunch of words here since you're all doing such a good job of describing this phenomenon. If you read through my practice journal you can find references to the fruitions that I believe marked the transitions in paths - for me. I doubt everyone's are similar. There are seven segments of my journal with the first path fruition at the start of part 1.

http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/page/2  

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 11:22 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
This is turning out very interesting! Thanks for the link, Chris. Nice to get Kenneth’s input on your practice like that!

spatial, I have to make you the same counter-offer again! Fruitions, according to the texts as well as my experience and guidance by a prominent Mahasi teacher on the retreat when it all began, is literally a non-event, a non-experience. Everything - including consciousness - goes offline. So unlike many other things that happen in meditation, this one doesn’t ‘happen.’ The computer analogy before fit the purpose so I won’t make up another one. It takes some time to come to terms with, hence why people both during such experiences, and before, get into endless discussions about ‘What, this is it?!’ But I do believe there’s an underlying value to it as stated before, re the infusion of peacefulness throughout the mind. I was guided into and through all of this by one of the most experienced teachers out there, and his kind of leading me by the hand to discover what’s there was indispensable. He encouraged me to look at what was happening in the moment before going to the gap, and in the moments after. (He never sought to get at what was happening in between because in his phenomenology, if you experienced anything whatsoever in there, it wasn’t a fruition.) Now, to get at one of Linda’s questions, I do believe that his approach helps ‘grow’ fruitions. The idea is that as soon as you begin to ‘re-emerge’, you drop all that Mahasi noting of the current moment and instead grasp for details of what just happened and, as you’re doing that, looking also at what’s emerging post-gap. I started out thinking this was intended to give the teacher as much info as possible about what my practice was like. Later I began to get a strong sense it was actually intended to train the mind (like a puppy) to see that gaps were immensely interesting and must be focused on with great intent, this then giving rise to more of them. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. But it’s a fine balance. If I revelled in, indulged in the often buzzy post-gap sensations, the practice would do a nose-dive and I’d be in pain and stiffness for a while, I guess due to the collapse of Equanimity. So it was all about going ‘Ah, another one! Stay calm. What happened, what’s happening right now, etc?’

Thing is, this stage of practice (I stayed on for 2 months to develop this) was incredibly interesting because the gaps manifested in an amazing variety of ways, all of which the teacher was familiar with and very pleased to get reports on (again, part of the reinforcing of the mind’s interest in gaps, I believe). There were all kinds of gap experiences. Even ones that involved a big frightened jolt of the body when re-emerging, probably as a result of the practice being in the Fear Ñana upon emerging. There were also ones that haven’t happened since leaving retreat but which were unbelievably intense, leaving the mind reeling in a kind of blissful shock, but contrasted against a sense of utter confusion since there was absolutely no conscious awareness of anything having happened. Fascinating! I dreamt up an analogy for those ones. Imagine you’ve gone to a cinema with a friend, and near the end you need to take a piss so you go out to the toilets, then return and sit down next to him again. The screen is black and the cinema silent, but your friend is sitting there staring at the screen with his mouth and eyes wide open, frozen, as if having seen the most amazing thing ever, yet you don’t see a thing. All you can do is look at him and wonder what happened. Oh, and as for duration, with lots of practice, they grow longer. Ones of 1-2 minutes became common. And the longest by far was a one-off freak event of 30 minutes. To put that in perspective though, the teacher said that’s pretty common when people train to extend duration.

Linda, you ask about how, and what I learnt early on is there is absolutely no how. They never happen by design, cannot be predicted or sought out. All I know is that by ‘letting go,’ seeking nothing, expecting nothing, not even trying to not seek anything, but truly letting go of all interest in getting anything, then anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes after heading down that way, it happens. If I can immediately relax back into that again, then another one follows sometimes only seconds later, then another and another. Eventually I either bliss out so much I drift off into a daydream and lose the ‘run’, or start to think and analyse and question, and then it’s gone.

I forgot to mention I’ve spent the whole year since leaving retreat living in a monastery in Asia, a very quiet, peaceful environment where meals are provided and I’m left alone in secluded conditions to meditate as much as I like, read Dhamma books, study online, etc. I credit this super-conducive environment with the ongoing fruitions. That’s probably an important factor. Thing is, the gap experiences here are a fraction as diverse and intense as in retreat early this year. The teacher used to press on the matter of mindfulness, saying that was the key, as opposed to concentration or any other factor. Mindfulness as intensely as possible. Again, it’s not about seeking or angling towards fruitions. It’s just about getting so used to applying intense mindfulness to everything that the mind goes and does it without prompting, without Vitakka and Vicara, and then the gaps happen. They happen in the midst of Pali chanting here at the monastery, where the mind is off reciting stuff by rote then suddenly *blip* and now I’m a couple of syllables behind everyone else. And another one recently where I was reading an ebook propped up in front while sitting on a cushion. The eyes were scanning the top line of text then suddenly there was that old familiar but unceasingly surprising sense of rebooting, except there was total darkness instead of a glowing page in front of me. I opened the eyes to find the gap must’ve begun with eyes open, then eyes closed during the gap, then when consciousness re-arose there was some disorientation. 

Ok, I won’t bore you any longer. I go into detail because it’s the one thing in all my practice that seems to come without effort and I feel blessed. I hope there’s something useful in there for you.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 11:29 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
I tend to be a very "dry" meditator with puncutated "wet" experiences that fade quickly. Here's how I distill the whole thing down to something simple:

If the unknowing event was preceeded by "energy, bliss, pleasure": A&P event.
If the object being observed before the event feels intimate but separate and it feels like you "penetrated" the object: A&P event
If there is a feeling of energetic release after the event: A&P event.
If the event was followed by a profound new understanding or wisdom: A&P event.

If the unknowning event was preceeded by a period of being clear minded, then getting slightly daydreamy: cessation.
If the "scene" that was being observed had the odd sense of "seeing the self seeing the object", that somehow "you" and "it" were being held in the mind at the same time, and got kinda confusing, and then you found yourself where you already were but somehow time must have passed: cessation.
If it feels like you fell into a hole and landed back inside your body somehow: cessation. 
If the unknowing event was followed by a sense of things being plain and normal yet "completely at ease": cessation.

If it seemed like a cessation, but it doesn't feel that satisfying: cessation from a previous path.

If the cessation seems to confirm something you already knew, but because you already knew it it's no big deal, but you also feel glad something got done and leave that all behind: possible fruition from a new path, wait and see...

 


According to this, I may have had more fruitions than I thought.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 11:35 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

Then the sense of self get's smart and says, maybe if I dissassociate with objects and add in jhana mind states, then I'll keep my hold. But when thoughts and jhanas fall apart: second path


I’m trying to understand this. I have had thoughts fall apart, or dissolve into vibrations, but I’m not aware of there being any new cessation. Don’t jhanas break apart all the time? Could you elaborate on this? I’m guessing that you mean sonething different from what I’m imagining.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 11:43 AM as a reply to Paul.
Ok, having laid all that out, I’m going to cross over and join spatial on the questioning side of the issue because my own questions have emerged and no one seems to have satisfactory answers. The big one is, simply, that if all conditioned phenomena are turned off, go completely still, and no new conditions are arising, then why does a gap ever end? It should be the ultimate snuffing out, since there are no conditions/causes arising in there to create a new moment of consciousness. A yogi should end up in a permanent vegetative state til the body dies. But the reality is gaps seem to be extremely fragile and end almost as quick as they begin much of the time. Something upsets them, or limits them, or undermines them. Meditation conditions generally need to be extremely stable or ... it all falls apart.

To give it more perspective, there are gaps where something like a body sensation or sound triggers a return to consciousness. For example, a gap is going on, maybe 10s of seconds, and the body begins to lean over to one side, only slightly, but enough that the forearm touches onto the thigh, and suddenly boom I’m conscious again and the first thing sensed was the arm touching the leg. It seems as though that sensation caused the mind to come back online. But how did it come back online if there was no conscious state to realise something just happened? There were also gaps where the body needed to go on doing something like for example when holding a hot mug up to the mouth, then a longish gap happened, but upon return the mug was still being firmly grasped and held in place, not instead that the hand had slumped and dropped the cup and its hot contents onto my lap. Gaps also happened during walking meditation, but the arms and legs kept on doing what they do, whereas I would expect the body to go limp and fall to the ground. How?! 

The only answer seems to me that some level of cognition must be present, some level that is sub-conscious or pre-conscious, something like when you’re driving or cycling and a threat appears suddenly and the body has begun an evasive manoeuvre before you even realised something was wrong. And to go one further, this might explain why returning from a gap, the mind seems infused with peace before any cognitive activities have properly taken place. That is, some primal level of mind is present when everything (except it) shuts down, and brings back to consciousness a sense of the nothingness that went on. Please note I’m referring to some level of mind not cognizable or known in any way by the conscious mind. But anyway I have a friend who insists that by the traditional definitions, this is not possible. I’d love to see an fMRI study of a yogi’s brain activity going in and out of repeated gaps. Does the brain just stop for a few seconds? Would love to see that on a chart. Anyway, I’m open to all possibilities as I have no idea for now. And in the end, I don’t get the impression fruitions need to be understood, just ‘experienced’, as best they can be.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 11:45 AM as a reply to Paul.
 How?! 

Don't get too wonky on us, Paul. Does it matter? That's the question I'd be asking - some things just are, as I'm pretty sure you know, even though the mind wants them to be otherwise.

emoticon

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 12:24 PM as a reply to Paul.
There is no risk whatsoever that you would be boring me, Paul. This is fascinating! If you write an entire book about your experiences, do let me know!

I did dive into the details of what happened around the gaps, but that didn’t seem to help. I have only had four fruitions that I know of, but they were of three different kinds. One of them was the blissful shock type that you described. Now I’m wondering, though... I have had quite a few instances of suddenly coming back to my body with a jolt of surprise. I thought I was spitted out from some jhana, because I didn’t feel the same kind of satisfaction and changes to my perception as before. Maybe they were actually fruitions from the previous path? Would that boost concentration afterwards (I’m asking anyone who knows)? Because if I remember correctly, they were followed by peaks in concentration.

The pain and stiffness have happened to me many times after endulging in buzzy sensations. I thought it was dukkha nanas after the A&P. Maybe it was, for me. I don’t know. Words are so limited. Very different experiences can be described in similar wordings.

Sometimes I find myself longing for a monastic life. I don’t think I’m quite ready to leave the people close to me, though, or my cats. My health would probably not allow it either (complicated food intolerances). Or maybe I’m just a coward. I think it’s very cool that you are going for it.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 12:42 PM as a reply to Paul.
Very interesting, Paul, thanks for sharing. Here are more of my thoughts:

Paul:

spatial, I have to make you the same counter-offer again! Fruitions, according to the texts as well as my experience and guidance by a prominent Mahasi teacher on the retreat when it all began, is literally a non-event, a non-experience. Everything - including consciousness - goes offline. So unlike many other things that happen in meditation, this one doesn’t ‘happen.’ The computer analogy before fit the purpose so I won’t make up another one.


Using Chris's journal as an example:

Chris Marti:
Each successive breath slowly increases the intensity of these fine vibrations until a kind of crescendo is reached, at which point all the energy that has built up quickly flows to the observed object, appears to merge with the object and then FLASH!, an image appears, a complex image, for just a tiny fraction of a second, after which everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING – winks out of existence. Pure pitch black, silent nothingness ensues (no sound, no light, no feeling, no self, no perception of any kind) and lasts for about a second or so. Then awareness reappears anew. The impression after the second or so of nothingness reminds me of the rebooting of a computer. Everything is turned completely off and then restarts.


I'm not denying that there's a gap here, but I find it hard to accept that the gap is the part where "pure pitch black, silent nothingness ensues...and lasts for about a second or so". My guess is that we have something like this:

1. Image appears
2. Gap
3. Pure pitch black for about a second
4. Sensation of things rebooting
5. Normal awareness

Carrying on with my theory, I would say that the pure pitch black seemed so empty because Chris had not yet developed the necessary sensitivity to see what was going on during that time. I would also say that the sensation of things rebooting is because he was accustomed to using his mind with all of that stuff running in the background, so watching it start up was probably disorienting. I would guess that over time, he developed sensitivity to whatever was happening in the "pitch black", and also got more accustomed to using his mind in a more "light-weight" mode that didn't necessitate starting up so many heavy processes all the time. As a result, as this event occurred more and more, the pitch black stopped being so black, and the rebooting stopped being such an event, and so the only things left were the image and the gap, the latter of which is not noticeable at all. So, the fruition is still happening, but he's not noticing it. Or, perhaps only noticing it slightly. I mean, Chris would know better than I would, but that's how I imagine it happening.

Paul:

The idea is that as soon as you begin to ‘re-emerge’, you drop all that Mahasi noting of the current moment and instead grasp for details of what just happened and, as you’re doing that, looking also at what’s emerging post-gap. I started out thinking this was intended to give the teacher as much info as possible about what my practice was like. Later I began to get a strong sense it was actually intended to train the mind (like a puppy) to see that gaps were immensely interesting and must be focused on with great intent, this then giving rise to more of them.

Do you think that this is perhaps what is meant by the Dhamma Eye: "Whatever is
subject to origination is all subject to cessation"? Because, when you see things arise out of nothingness, there can be no doubt that they are subject to cessation. That's much more powerful than seeing them arise out of somethingness.

Paul:
Ok, having laid all that out, I’m going to cross over and join spatial on the questioning side of the issue because my own questions have emerged and no one seems to have satisfactory answers. The big one is, simply, that if all conditioned phenomena are turned off, go completely still, and no new conditions are arising, then why does a gap ever end? It should be the ultimate snuffing out, since there are no conditions/causes arising in there to create a new moment of consciousness.


Well, there you go. It seems to me that a new moment of consciousness arises for the same reason that every other moment of consciousness arises: because the necessary stimulus is present. So, it would seem that the gap isn't really a complete gap. It's definitely a gap in the part of your mind that is narrating your experience, but it can't be a gap in everything.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 12:57 PM as a reply to spatial.
I think Paul's example of the body moving during a cessation and then suddenly being back in a differently shapped body is good example of a cessation.

Another way to say it is it is like a movie strip having a 2 second segment taken out of it and spliced together again. The "gap" is noticed by the abrupt jump cut, but there is no experience in that 2 second "gap" because it isn't there.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 1:03 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

If the unknowing event was preceeded by "energy, bliss, pleasure": A&P event.
If the object being observed before the event feels intimate but separate and it feels like you "penetrated" the object: A&P event
If there is a feeling of energetic release after the event: A&P event.
If the event was followed by a profound new understanding or wisdom: A&P event.


This is helpful, thanks.

Is it possible (likely, in some cases?) that a fruition and an A&P can occur simultaneously? Especially in the aftermath of a fruition, does the calmer state of mind make it more likely to be able to penetrate objects (which perhaps normally require high energy to penetrate?) Might this make it possible for a path event to lead to "profound new understanding or wisdom"?

Also, is it possible, with high concentration, to "force" a fruition? Or perhaps, to force the mind to basically empty itself to the point where a fruition is more likely to occur? Might there be a lot of energy/bliss/etc. wrapped up in this somehow?

shargrol:

If it feels like you fell into a hole and landed back inside your body somehow: cessation.


Is it possible that this can be due to a jhana transition? If so, does that necessarily mean it wasn't a cessation? Following on my theme for this whole thread: does it mean it was a cessation? That is, is it the case that abrupt jhana transitions like that can only happen after stream entry?

Not sure if my questions make sense. I'm just trying to flesh out my intuition about all of this.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 1:25 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

I think there is something real that you are pointing at. I would say that cessation is a complete gap, but your point about how it creates a new level of sensitivity definitely feels right to me.

Here's the way I would describe it: we have a sense of self that tries to stay in control. At first we hold on through emotions and when that falls apart, it's A&P. Then we try to use thoughts and when that falls apart: first path.

Then the sense of self get's smart and says, maybe if I dissassociate with objects and add in jhana mind states, then I'll keep my hold. But when thoughts and jhanas fall apart: second path

Then it get's really serious and starts using subtle worldviews and really strong jhanas ... but when worldviews are all seen as empty and jhanas are seen as golden chains and that falls apart: third path.

And when the sense of self that was driving all this inquiry gets seen, then the sense of self substantially falls apart: fourth path.


Is that the kind of inuition you have on this?


Yes, this is the kind of intuition I have on it. But, I'm not sure how exactly it maps to my intuition about specific stages.

Please understand that this is all very confusing for me. I have no idea where exactly I am on the map, and I also don't fully understand the basic terminology.

I understand that the stages of insight are perhaps not best explained in terms of "what you believe", since beliefs have more to do with how you've learned to talk about things, than they do with what you're experiencing on a more fundamental level. But, it still seems to me that the changes in your basic experiences will inform the way your beliefs change, and I'm hoping that the broad strokes of those patterns are predictable across individuals, even if it's difficult to nail it down exactly.

So, if we just look at the first two paths, I want to understand what the basic transitions are. What's the difference between:

- Review after stream entry
- Mind & Body of second path
- Post-A&P of second path

Does it make sense to say that the progress of insight generally is like this:

A&P, Dark Night: you've unlocked the necessary sensitivity, but you are relating to it with previous-path strategies.
Equanimity: you've learned the correct current-path strategy, but it takes conscious effort to apply
Path: you've integrated the strategy
Review: you're automatically practicing the strategy on a wider variety of objects

So, it's like the cycle begins at A&P and ends before Mind & Body, and ñanas 1-3 are a weird in-between zone comprised of straight-up delusion? I know this isn't the normal way of describing it, but I'm trying to look at this on the level of "content".

Disclaimer again: This is all just intuition of mine, which I'm trying to work through.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 2:34 PM as a reply to spatial.
You know, ultimately I think your questions are the important thing. I really don't know if there are perfect answers. My own experience is that things are very sloppy for me and I never was a great mapper. The rules of thumb I wrote out are just basic ideas rather than anything I think is 100% certain. And I'm totally just being sloppy by talking about cessations/falling apart/paths, so take all of that with a grain of salt.


The important thing about second path is it is completely confusing. The clean progress of insight starts falling apart and things get fractal (stages within stages). It feels like being on a roller coaster ride facing backwards... The most common statement I've made to people working through it is: Straight Ahead!  In otherwords, just keep doing the practice and stay curious. 

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 2:56 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
You know, ultimately I think your questions are the important thing. I really don't know if there are perfect answers. My own experience is that things are very sloppy for me and I never was a great mapper. The rules of thumb I wrote out are just basic ideas rather than anything I think is 100% certain. And I'm totally just being sloppy by talking about cessations/falling apart/paths, so take all of that with a grain of salt.


The important thing about second path is it is completely confusing. The clean progress of insight starts falling apart and things get fractal (stages within stages). It feels like being on a roller coaster ride facing backwards... The most common statement I've made to people working through it is: Straight Ahead!  In otherwords, just keep doing the practice and stay curious. 



I don't feel like I ever had a "clean progress of insight" at any point, and that's not fair!

I can't deny that my primary motivation for understanding this is to satisfy the part of me that is trying to "game the system".

Well, you know, there's another part of me that would want to be able to teach this some day, and it's like I want to understand my experience now, while I still can. It disturbs me sometimes how hard it is for me to communicate with "normal people", as I feel like I missed my opportunity to fully learn how to operate in that particular language system.

Although, I'm probably also looking at it from a very narrow perspective. I suspect that this is mostly me striving to hold on to certain ways of viewing myself. I don't see why I couldn't just learn another way of being if necessary, even if it doesn't fit this particular conceptualization.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 3:56 PM as a reply to spatial.
Well, any semblance of a "clean progress of insight" completely falls apart on the road to third... so maybe a messy second path is good preparation for what comes next. emoticon

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 9:07 PM as a reply to Paul.
I don’t think it’s that weird that cessations are temporary. They just mean that nothing is being projected into consciousness, right? For the moment, all parts of the mind are like ”no comment”, and therefore there is no content to perceive. Since there is ultimately no subject-object division, this means that there can be no consciousness at that time. However, that doesn’t mean that consciousness can’t arise again. There is no continuous entity that can be alerted by something and therefore come out of the cessation. Being alerted is the arising of consciousness.

My guess would be that at the time of entering cessation, there was still a clinging for becoming, just not immediate becoming.

As for the brain, maybe it’s more like a coma than being brain dead. The body still functions while in a coma, and there seems to be some kind of perception arising and passing away. It’s just not projected into consciousness.

However, that raises new questions... Do people get stream entry from waking up from a coma? Or is a cessation something deeper than a coma? Does it matter that the causes for a coma differ from the causes of a cessation?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 8:02 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

The important thing about second path is it is completely confusing. The clean progress of insight starts falling apart and things get fractal (stages within stages). It feels like being on a roller coaster ride facing backwards... The most common statement I've made to people working through it is: Straight Ahead!  In otherwords, just keep doing the practice and stay curious. 


Thanks! I needed that. It is indeed utterly confusing and rather frustrating.

EDIT: I think I misinterpreted this quote as dealing with the road to second. It is really about the road between second and third, right? I’m not there yet. I suppose the advice is still valid for most challenges, though. At least I hope so.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/3/19 10:31 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
As for the brain, maybe it’s more like a coma than being brain dead. The body still functions while in a coma, and there seems to be some kind of perception arising and passing away. It’s just not projected into consciousness.

However, that raises new questions... Do people get stream entry from waking up from a coma? Or is a cessation something deeper than a coma? Does it matter that the causes for a coma differ from the causes of a cessation?


But, isn't it the case that there are several moments per second when nothing is projected into consciousness (not entirely sure how to think about that, but it seems reasonable to some extent)? And when we go to sleep at night, that's not a cessation...

It seems to me that the crucial thing here is that in a cessation, you watch everything go away, and you watch it come back.

I know somebody who never meditated, and a few years ago had a weird LSD trip. She says that she saw herself die, and she saw herself come back. She doesn't know anything about "stream entry" or anything, but let me tell you, she is a different person now (much improved!).

I think this might also be related to people who go through similar changes after actual near-death experiences. I imagine when you are that close to death, it might force you to suddenly confront the fear that probably normally prevents you from allowing yourself to disintegrate during your waking hours.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 1:40 AM as a reply to spatial.
Yeah, the mindful awareness of it could be the difference, I guess. That makes sense. Hm, I wonder if someone ever had stream entry from being mindful of falling asleep and waking up. I sure wasn’t mindful while fainting when that happened to me. I have no idea how I managed to fall under a chair, haha.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 4:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Wow there’s a whole lot going on in this thread! I can only see the post I’m replying to but I want to comment on a few things. Firstly, the progress of insight works, and it’s important to understand it if you want to keep going on retreats or advancing your practice, because we all need some indication that the immense amount of effort is taking us somewhere. So let me polish up a couple of points. 

After 1st path, the A&P event doesn’t happen again. That’s because the Stream Enterer starts out from the mature end of the 4th insight knowledge, and the A&P event occurs in the initial or tender phase of the 4th IK. So, let’s just get that straight. After SE, you don’t drop back below the later part of the 4th IK. The same goes for Mind & Body, which is the 1st IK. A Stream Enterer simply doesn’t go there anymore. Of course people can experience all kinds of interesting stuff going on into the future of their practice, but it can no longer be the fresh seeing into of the IKs 1, 2, 3 or the tender phase of 4. How can I be sure? Because SE makes those 3 and a half IKs internalised, they become part of the fabric of one’s reality. So it’s simply not possible to get a big moment of ‘Wow, everything is Arising & Passing!’ because that’s now as obvious as breathing. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the Insight Meditation canon of works such as Mahasi Sayadaw’s epic Manual of Insight, and various other writings. Then test that by going on a lengthy insight retreat and see it happen for yourself!

I’m aware the above statement doesn’t suit all folks, but it’s what the texts say, it’s what the teachers working in the tradition see in their students, and it’s what a yogi will see if they go there. Anyway, if someone is still getting IKs 1 through early 4, I’d suggest SE has not happened yet.

On much the same point, instead of all the conjecture and analysis, please (spatial) push on and get there so you can study it up close for yourself. These insights are not gained through thinking about them or understanding them analytically. The only way is to experience them. Fruitions don’t seem to make much sense or add up to much, but once you’ve worked on them a lot, you’ll have a clearer picture of what is and isn’t. I see more statements there about things happening in the mind during a gap, etc, and all I can keep saying is - nothing happens in a gap, whatsoever. shargrol mentioned splicing a couple of frames out of a film. Good analogy! Spot on. It’s exactly like a jump-cut. As for talk of blackness, if your eyes are closed and you re-emerge from a gap, then it makes sense all is black for a moment until the mind fires up fully and lots of activity means the mental field doesn’t seem blank anymore. Still says nothing about anything happening in the gap itself.

As for the point about forcing fruitions, that’s tricky. It’s not technically possible, but what happens for me very often is, once in that non-seeking, non-giving an F about getting anything state of practice, it’s been known to happen that I can bring in lots of intense concentration on an object then in an inexplicable way just kind of wait and not seek, yet kind of knowing something is about to happen like watching a door and expecting it to open at any moment but without anticipating it, and boom a gap happens. It’s not the same as simply choosing to make it happen then it does. So it is kind of possible, but not in the way it sounds to say someone can force a fruition to happen. 

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 5:21 AM as a reply to Paul.
So I've had seemingly both major 'types' of fruition mention happen during my practice, the very first was the 'instant gap in experience' type where my body was slight in motion during sitting, just rocking forward ever so slightly, and then suddenly it was in a slightly different position from before without there having been an experience of movement (which would have been noticed due to high mindfulness of the body during the practice). Looking back from that moment, it was obvious that no experience at all occured during that instant.

More recently I've had the "falling into a black hole" type fruitions. These are kind of interesting to me as per the discussion above re: why is there a gap that comes back, and not an endless nothing. As my (not very strong yet) jhana abilities have progressed since that first blip, the fruitions also seem to get deeper. There's still no experience happening, but there's actually more of a sense of what the nothingness is, if that makes any sense. It's less of a complete oblivious gap, and more of a flow from somethingness to nothingness that seems to be somehow experienced, despite it being no experience. It's tricky to figure out. As if in the first fruition, the mind goes into total oblivion, but in the subsequent ones, there's kind of an abiding within nirvana that didn't happen before. And again, this feels like it 'happens' for about 2-3 seconds, somehow.

All of this is kind of curious, because how can a non-experience have an abiding, and how can it seem like a length of time? My only reference is dependent arising, that somehow there is still some subtle ignorance that manages to quickly re-arise.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 5:23 AM as a reply to Paul.
Fruitions are the same at all paths, as there is no experience in Fruition, just missing parts of the movie reel of our life.

Regarding the entrance, there is one striking exception, that of fourth path, as the subject-object experiene is fundamentally and totally transformed. Specifically, the Suffering Door, where everything is suddenly ripped away from the sense of some "this side", has nothing creepy or violating about it at all, as there is none of that "attachment" to this side (or that side), to use a sticky word. Instead, this is just stuff happening as it does with no sense of grasping, resistance, solidity, or imperfection of the natural flow, unfolding, and vanishing of experiences. Some in third will notice that there is something less creepy about the Suffering Door, but this is different from the feeling at what I think of as true fourth when there is utterly no sense of some existential wrongness when it occurs.

Sorting out what is the A&P from EQ from Fruition/SE, etc. is a seriously problematic business, just FYI. It is extremely easy to get this wrong, to misapply criteria, to misrepresent what is happening, and deception, both intentional and accidental is common. That doesn't mean that something good can't come from such attempts, but just realize how hard this is, and keep an open mind and long time horizon.

As to the A&P after stream entry:

The stream enterer starts off meditating at a very mature, quick, lite version of the A&P. Even gentle reflection on anything can produce this state, as it is so close that the lightest bit of attention in that direction causes it to show itself. Yes, one can with strong resolutions and practice make it into something more powerful and long-lasting than the very quick, not-very-impressive thing it is for those with SE, but that's much more of an adhitthana (resolution)/second samatha jhana practice. A stream enterer will generally progress from the A&P to Dissolution within seconds to a few minutes, perhaps even by just dropping down the out breath.

As to further A&P's, here's the problem: after Review has some mastery, new insight stages will start showing up of the next path, and the A&P can sometimes be impressive on subsequent passes at higher path cycles, though the general/average trend is for it to get less dramatiic as path cycles progress.

HOWEVER: those below stream entry can also go through cycles that are basically A&P>DN>EQ, back to lower stages, back up to A&P>DN>EQ, and may do this many times before stream entry. THUS, IT IS EASY TO MISTAKE this cycle for a post-path thing, particularly as, at the stage of EQ, for example, one might sit down in earlier stages that seem very mild and pass quickly and rapidly get up to EQ, which can MIMIC a REVIEW CYCLE.

Also, that point about it being murky and complicated to map in the post-stream entry cycles can easily be used as an excuse to map the pre-path A&P>DN>EQ cycle as being that, as it can be repetative and murky pre-path. I personally crossed the A&P at l east 6 times in daily life before SE, as well as a few times on retreat. They varied dramatically in  intensity and presentation, with some being oddly mild and others being pretty  wild with no obvious rhyme or reason to why, though the first major one was among the most impressive of them all.

So, mappers, be wary, be skeptical, keep an open mind, map things over the long-term, meaning months to years, have high standards for SE criteria, and avoid being fooled by the very common mimics of the A&P and EQ.

Best wishes,

Daniel

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 5:27 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Also, in addition to the A&P and some of the stuff in EQ that fools people into thinking it is SE, there are the head drops at EQ that can fool people into thinking they are Fruitions, Dissolution experiences, momentary formless realms, falling asleep, theta states (a la those who float in float tanks and lose many minutes of experience of time), etc., so be careful, and keep strict criteria for what to call Fruition and what to call something else.

This level of careful discrimination is a skill that takes most years to develop well, and many will call all sorts of things "Fruitions" or "Cessations" that simply weren't, both out of a simple lack of discriminating ability and also a desire to have experiences be them, so overcalling what is going on.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 5:36 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
HOWEVER: those below stream entry can also go through cycles that are basically A&P>DN>EQ, back to lower stages, back up to A&P>DN>EQ, and may do this many times before stream entry. THUS, IT IS EASY TO MISTAKE this cycle for a post-path thing, particularly as, at the stage of EQ, for example, one might sit down in earlier stages that seem very mild and pass quickly and rapidly get up to EQ, which can MIMIC a REVIEW CYCLE.


This quote should probably be a sticky post... or maybe a tattoo that everyone one DhO needs to get. emoticon

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 5:53 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Regarding the entrance, there is one striking exception, that of fourth path, as the subject-object experiene is fundamentally and totally transformed. Specifically, the Suffering Door, where everything is suddenly ripped away from the sense of some "this side", has nothing creepy or violating about it at all, as there is none of that "attachment" to this side (or that side), to use a sticky word. Instead, this is just stuff happening as it does with no sense of grasping, resistance, solidity, or imperfection of the natural flow, unfolding, and vanishing of experiences. Some in third will notice that there is something less creepy about the Suffering Door, but this is different from the feeling at what I think of as true fourth when there is utterly no sense of some existential wrongness when it occurs.


Very interesting. I never would have thought to describe it as the suffering door, but that's a great way to say it.

For me there was the faintest _non-verbal_ premonition feeling of "oh shit, here it comes", a slight fear-tension in my heart area that I had already experienced a million times but which had become less and less with all the variety of practices I had done, but this time it simply dropped away.

When it "went" and I was left dumbstruck by how cleanly it went and I could kind of see all previous experiences of dukka had a clinging element that involved "trying to find a solution to this dukka" or "seeking a relief from this dukka", but this time it was clear that dukka was always nibbana-ing itself dependently with its arising. And the "seeking instinct" was seen for what it was in a final way.

Well, anyway, that's a way to paint a picture with words, but it was all at the level of the pre-verbal body.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 6:50 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Specifically, the Suffering Door, where everything is suddenly ripped away from the sense of some "this side", has nothing creepy or violating about it at all, as there is none of that "attachment" to this side (or that side), to use a sticky word.

According to my experience, this is an understatement. I was more like having shackles and a blindfold removed and suddenly being free.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 7:58 AM as a reply to Paul.
After stream entry there are still new insight cycles for the following paths. I haven’t got the faintest idea whether the A&P still has an ”event” or whether it is called something differently in correct terminology, but if you think you will never have to struggle with the three first insight stages again, you are in for a big surprise. Sorry.

Maybe I misunderstood you and you didn’t mean it like that at all, but just in case... working with the new layer can be very disconcerting at times, so you may want to be mentally prepared for that. If your teacher denies that the stream enterer will eventually have to deal with new layers of the early insight stages, it might be a good idea to find support somewhere else. Having mastered the fruitions probably helps a lot, but it’s probably still messy.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 8:17 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Daniel M. Ingram:
HOWEVER: those below stream entry can also go through cycles that are basically A&P>DN>EQ, back to lower stages, back up to A&P>DN>EQ, and may do this many times before stream entry. THUS, IT IS EASY TO MISTAKE this cycle for a post-path thing, particularly as, at the stage of EQ, for example, one might sit down in earlier stages that seem very mild and pass quickly and rapidly get up to EQ, which can MIMIC a REVIEW CYCLE.


This quote should probably be a sticky post... or maybe a tattoo that everyone one DhO needs to get. emoticon



Yup. I cycled like that, very rapidly and reliably. It had me think that maybe I’d had stream entry already, especially since I also had pretty good access to jhanas without even practicing shamatha, and there had been unknowing events, but as I had read Daniel’s warnings I soon realized that it wasn’t it. It was a great place to be, though. I would mediate myself into EQ in the morning before going to work. If needed, I took a short break at the office to meditate myself up to EQ again. It was only one layer of nanas to deal with and the dukkha nanas didn’t scare me anymore. Good times.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 10:34 AM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:
On much the same point, instead of all the conjecture and analysis, please (spatial) push on and get there so you can study it up close for yourself. These insights are not gained through thinking about them or understanding them analytically. The only way is to experience them. Fruitions don’t seem to make much sense or add up to much, but once you’ve worked on them a lot, you’ll have a clearer picture of what is and isn’t. I see more statements there about things happening in the mind during a gap, etc, and all I can keep saying is - nothing happens in a gap, whatsoever. shargrol mentioned splicing a couple of frames out of a film. Good analogy! Spot on. It’s exactly like a jump-cut. As for talk of blackness, if your eyes are closed and you re-emerge from a gap, then it makes sense all is black for a moment until the mind fires up fully and lots of activity means the mental field doesn’t seem blank anymore. Still says nothing about anything happening in the gap itself.


I get what you're saying, but I want to emphasize that this isn't simply conjecture and analysis. I am trying to make sense of what is happening in my own experiences.

Let me give two examples from my sit this morning:

1. I noticed some tension in my face, and the mind started investigating it. I was eventually mesmerized by the tension, just sitting there enjoying it, when suddenly I saw that I was looking at my face looking at the tension. There was a moment of "oh, I get it", and then I found myself sitting where I was, inhabiting a face that had different tensions.

2. I was sitting, lost in the sensations of the breath, when I suddenly found myself again sitting where I was, with everything vibrating and then settling down like a plucked guitar string.

Both times, there was no gap, no blackness. Only a discontinuity, where I felt like whatever happened before was abruptly ripped away from me. Both times, I immediately had the sense that the only thing real is what's here and now, and whatever had been happening earlier was there and then.

I have also had, maybe a handful of times, what appeared to be gaps. Recently, for example, there were moments where my vision and hearing suddenly disappeared for maybe a second or so (it's especially noticeable when there is a fan going in the room). These came out of nowhere, when I was totally spaced out, so I don't know what to say about them.

I have had two events in my life that I view as candidates for path moments. Maybe both were, maybe only one of them was, or maybe neither was. Neither happened while I was meditating. The first was very transformative, the second created subtler changes. Both of them had that same quality of feeling like whatever came before the event is just gone forever, and what came after is far more real. I have had thousands of "weird experiences", but these two are question marks in my mind.

Paul:
Because SE makes those 3 and a half IKs internalised, they become part of the fabric of one’s reality. So it’s simply not possible to get a big moment of ‘Wow, everything is Arising & Passing!’ because that’s now as obvious as breathing. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the Insight Meditation canon of works such as Mahasi Sayadaw’s epic Manual of Insight, and various other writings. Then test that by going on a lengthy insight retreat and see it happen for yourself!


I'm not sure that everyone is using the same terminology. I'm also not sure that I fully understand the first 3.5 ñanas, which is a big part of what I'm investigating in this thread. I have gone through multiple layers of thinking "OK, now I understand what are the fundamental objects of my reality", and then realizing that no, those objects are actually composed of smaller objects. I don't know how many layers, and I don't know which of them are permanent shifts. But, there are objects, thoughts, images, emotions, urges, impulses, textures, etc. that just weren't there before. So, I think I've had this sense of "Wow, everything is Arising & Passing!" more than once. I don't know what the implications of that are, but it is what makes it hard for me to understand texts on the subject.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/4/19 1:36 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I really don't see a need for me type in a bunch of words here since you're all doing such a good job of describing this phenomenon. If you read through my practice journal you can find references to the fruitions that I believe marked the transitions in paths - for me. I doubt everyone's are similar. There are seven segments of my journal with the first path fruition at the start of part 1.

http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/page/2  

Chris, I'm looking at your journal, and I am finding it hard to understand exactly where you believe to have attained 3rd path. Was it on October 25, 2009 (the "new type of cessation")?

RE: Fruitions at different paths
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9/4/19 2:23 PM as a reply to spatial.
Spatial, I'm honestly not sure how detailed my online diary documentation was. I was also working with Kenneth Folk directly back then so it may be documented in an e-mail to him. I'll look into it when I get the time.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
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9/4/19 2:31 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yes, spatial, my third path transition description starts on October 25, 2009.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
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9/4/19 2:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Yes, spatial, my third path transition description starts on October 25, 2009.

OK, that makes sense, thank you. I have another question: about the "sinking into blackness" that you describe on that same day. Did this start before 3rd path? Have your interpretations of this changed since you wrote about it? I ask because that sounds a lot like something that happened to me during my retreat last year. It was just as you describe: pushing in between my eyes and everything blacking out. I didn't let it go all the way, because it totally freaked me out (it felt like I was about to die, and it felt relaxing right up until that point). I have no idea if I even could have let it go all the way. It has not happened again, but I also haven't tried.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
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9/6/19 9:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks for the input, Daniel! Always great to get your insight on these things. 

Linda, my point was that after SE, when the mind cycles or (through lack of practice) ‘degrades’ back down the progress of insight, it bottoms out at what we used to call the 4th IK (aka the Knowledge of the Arising & Passing Away), and doesn’t return to the earlier 3 IKs. This is well-documented as well as taught by - dare I appeal to authority - leading teachers. I’m surprised this topic has come up as I thought it was common knowledge. If a yogi is seeing the first 3 IKs, it’s a pretty clear sign they’re not past first path yet. That’s not to say that in the complex world of meditative phenomenology we don’t experience all manner of things including things we might tie together and feel are the first 3 IKs. And did someone say here on DhO that they can manifest as sub-ñanas? Anyway, as I understand it, the review cycles that begin after SE start at IK 4 and go up to IK 11 (Knowledge of Equanimity Towards Formations). But what’s interesting is that the 4th IK has sub-parts, including the A&P event in the early more energetic stage. The later stage becomes more refined and eventually may have a period of Tranquility before busting into IK 5 (Knowledge of Dissolution). Anyway, just making the point that IK 4 is complex and has phases. After SE, the cycles start in the later part of IK 4, which means those big mind-blowing energetic experiences labelled the A&P event do not occur anymore. I’ve been racking my brains for textual refs and for now I’m pretty sure it’s in Daniel’s book and would venture a guess that either Progress of Insight or Practical Insight Med would mention these things. 

spatial, those are some interesting reports. If vision and hearing are vanishing for some moments, I’d have to ask how about the rest of the senses? If not sure, keep going and see how it happens. One of the challenges of recognising a fruition is that time was not perceived in any way and so whether it’s a second or a minute or longer, you’ll re-emerge with no clear idea whether time has passed. Unlike when sleeping or daydreaming and there is a vague sense time has passed. What gives a fruition away are the changes. For example, if you recall having, say, strong energetic breathing and heartbeat, then there’s a blip and now the breathing is long, gentle, slow, and the heartbeat is so slow it’s barely detectable, then you can be sure a lengthy period passed. Since in conscious experience such a physiological change would take, say, at least 2 minutes to come round, you can be pretty sure it was a decent-sized gap. The other obvious ones are posture changes, like you mentioned, where you find the body has shifted but there is no experience of the shift taking place. A dead giveaway for me is the diaphragm jumps because the gap between going in and coming out involved, say, half an in-breath and now the diaphragm is in a different position and moving on. Also, at the retreat centre I was training at, there were loud sounds passing by frequently, but they would come from far away and the noise would slowly and consistently build over, say, 30 seconds. So if there was no sound going on then blip and now there’s a loud sound, the gap must have been 10s of seconds. I used to use a watch also, but that’s complicated as you have to keep opening the eyes.


For me when initially training with the teacher through many weeks, the fruitions manifested in an incredible array of styles, but the development was clearly going along a path of big ‘gross’ experiences of going in and coming out, to subtler and more refined experiences til they became almost impossible to detect. So in the early days, there would be a moment of conscious observation of the foot lifting, then suddenly the foot is back on the ground a few inches ahead and the mind is racing through a kind of boot-up procedure of establishing where, what, when, how, etc. But as the weeks wore on, they became increasingly mental-based, and progressed from Anicca door through Dukkha door experiences, to finally arriving and mostly staying in the Anatta door type. They are all different and with practice you get to know them by how they unfold. For example, Anicca ones were always clearly experienced including the going in, and then the coming out. Later on, the Anatta ones can be disorientating and bewildering for a few seconds (afterwards) because they went into a fruition off of a very subtle instant of thought possibly running in the background, but enough to prompt a fruition. Further down the track, the mind developed this nifty ability to cobble together a working reality quicker and quicker when re-emerging until there was the funny experience of the mind trying to patch up what had just gone missing and roll on as if nothing had happened, but a beat or two further on it would stall because the train of thought it had just started up again from memory had in fact lost all direction, intention, and momentum. Somewhat as described way up above about the female acquaintance. Or something like this following example. Mind mulling over random stuff while meditating: “In the old Japanese Zen practice, koans would’ve been pretty handy for achiev- —BLIP— ... umm, Zen, yeah koans, umm, they were handy ... Oh well, whatever.”

Anyway, as per Daniel’s point, it’s important to study these things in great depth for as long as the retreat conditions are available so as to get as deeply into them and understand them as well as can be. Having to give many daily examples to hawk-eyed teachers who noted down my every word and quizzed me on the details forced me to examine them in minute detail all day long lest I get called out in the interviews ;-) It’s been without doubt the most fascinating time in my few years of meditation development, and it’s still ongoing everyday so I hope to keep gaining insight into what this all is.


RE: Fruitions at different paths
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9/6/19 10:02 AM as a reply to spatial.
I have another question: about the "sinking into blackness" that you describe on that same day. Did this start before 3rd path? Have your interpretations of this changed since you wrote about it?

That was something that happened after third path but not before. It's called "Nirodha Samapatti" and Daniel describes it here:

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-vi-my-spiritual-quest/54-the-middle-paths/nirodha-samapatti/

After those frustrating but finally fruitful weeks of re-mastering the formless realms, I could lie down or sit and consistently rise through the eight jhanas in about thirty to forty minutes. So it wasn’t that much of a stretch to follow the standard instructions and rise through them with just a bit of a vibrational aspect to them also and incline to nirodha samapatti and see what happened. It was only a few weeks later in mid-December while sitting on the floor of a supply closet before work at the CDC’s National AIDS Hotline that I first attained nirodha samapatti very briefly, about forty minutes into my usual one-hour sit. I am not sure how long it lasted, but it couldn’t have been that long. It is hard to remember now, two decades later, exactly how many times after regaining the formless realms I had tried for nirodha samapatti and failed before finally attaining it, but my rough guess is thirty to fifty consecutive tries, meaning thirty to fifty one-hour sits. In short, should you find yourself in a similar situation practice-wise with similar aspirations, don’t give up easily.





RE: Fruitions at different paths
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9/6/19 11:50 AM as a reply to Paul.
Actually, Daniel explains in this video https://vimeo.com/69475208 that stream enterers may very well drop back into the early nanas, which isn’t really back, though, since it is a new insight cycle. He also elaborates on it in his book.

RE: Fruitions at different paths
Answer
9/6/19 12:31 PM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:
Further down the track, the mind developed this nifty ability to cobble together a working reality quicker and quicker when re-emerging until there was the funny experience of the mind trying to patch up what had just gone missing and roll on as if nothing had happened, but a beat or two further on it would stall because the train of thought it had just started up again from memory had in fact lost all direction, intention, and momentum. Somewhat as described way up above about the female acquaintance. Or something like this following example. Mind mulling over random stuff while meditating: “In the old Japanese Zen practice, koans would’ve been pretty handy for achiev- —BLIP— ... umm, Zen, yeah koans, umm, they were handy ... Oh well, whatever.”


That sounds a lot like the phenomenon that prompted my original questions. How things just seem to disappear, and I don't care about them anymore. And sometimes it's funny, because it's like it takes a moment to realize I don't care. This happens a lot in daily life, too, and I think I'm too young to be going senile. It seems to be meditation-related.

Another example: if I focus my eyes on an object for a couple seconds, and then quickly move them to something else, I can feel the mind quickly deconstruct the old object and construct the new one, with a sense of discontinuity. I don't know that this is a "fruition", but there's something interesting about that, in that I certainly never saw reality in such a discontinuous way until fairly recently.