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Dealing with the Dark Night

St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights

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In st John of the cross'es work of the accent to mount Carmel, he claims there are 2 dark nights to be crossed .  The dark night of the senses and later on the dark night of the soul.  Almost anybody can see the parallel  between the dark night of the soul and the buddhist dissolution stage (abyss in many western magic systems)  .what would be the dark night of the senses in buddhist terms?    St Juan de la Cruzes described as this night as very depressing also( not nearly as bad as dark night of the soul) but disturbing.  I do t see the buddhist counterpart. The juanas are  very pleasurable .

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/9/19 6:08 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
I have always thought of it as the Three Characteristics Ñana (3rd insight stage), as it is more physical.

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/9/19 6:13 PM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
I think Shinzen talks about it in one of the videos that is uploaded recently in his Shinzen's Videos youtube channel. I am not sure though, I can check it later. I guess the video has Dark Night in its title. (Although he uses different definition for the term Dark Night, and it seems that he is not much familiar with how it's used in this community)

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/10/19 6:14 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
I tend to feel like the christian maps are more general and cover "types" of experiences rather than stages of insight, so there isn't a strong correlation... 

In general the dark night of the senses is all the aspects of realizing that sense pleasure doesn't last and therefore cannot satisfy in the long term. You could say this is the realizaiton of the "hedonic treadmill" idea. In buddhism this would be called "disenchantment" and disenchantment with sense pleasure is what allows/motivates the idea of renunciation and seclusion --- it's what makes a strong meditation practice possible. You know that chasing things wont make you happy, but maybe refining the mind will. 

The dark night of the soul is all the aspects of realizing that meaning itself is conditional and relative. This is a much deeper realization that refining the mind is valuable, but it needs to be done with a sense of allowing things to be as they are, rather than how we would like it to be. This stage is all about giving up hope that we will be able to find an end state where we can avoid death, where all our emotional needs are met, where we will be an independent person in control of their life.

Both of these are aspects of serious adult maturation. Heavy shit, as people say. But going through the dark night of the senses type experience means that you can ride through the highs and lows of physical life and still have a good attitude and be helpful to ourself and others. Going through the dark night of the soul type experience means we can deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, fears, and still have a good attitude and be helpful to ourself and others. But going through this stuff can be very difficult.


In a way the vague christian maps have a kind of elegant simplicity. In terms of the buddhist 4 path map, people can get hung up at an of the paths and there doesn't seem to be a good reason or way to predict. But it does seem like most meditators have a particularly difficult time where sense-pleasure-renunciation is really the challenge and once they get that, there isn't as much "dark night of the senses" crisis anymore. Same thing with "dark night of the soul". Seems like most people have those crisises once in their practice --- but of course, there are no perfect maps or rules for how this will actually play out for someone.

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/10/19 7:16 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
These are  all great points. thankyou. I feel as if I have gone through  this in an unintentional way. Just through Introspection in a non meditative or Intentional way 

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/10/19 8:03 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
Matthew Jon Rousseau:
I feel as if I have gone through  this in an unintentional way. Just through Introspection in a non meditative or Intentional way 

That is quite possible. I did. And even now that I do have a formal practice, introspection in daily life still plays an important part in bringing my practice forward.

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
Answer
11/10/19 8:25 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
I think Shinzen talks about it in one of the videos that is uploaded recently in his Shinzen's Videos youtube channel. I am not sure though, I can check it later. I guess the video has Dark Night in its title. (Although he uses different definition for the term Dark Night, and it seems that he is not much familiar with how it's used in this community)

Do you mean Bhanga? He talked about it in a video that was recently talked about in Shinheads although it's not new. I was confused about that one at first, because he says it means dissolution, but he seems to be talking about a much greater span of experiences. I don't think he distinguishes between different dukkha nanas. Also, I think it makes more sense if there are two dark nights, because much of what he describes in the video I'm thinking about is stuff that I associate with the 3C nana too.

I think the term dissolution is confusing per se if one talks about a specific stage because there is dissolving going on at various points of the path. I always had the nagging feeling that the term dissolution fits better with a separate scale having to do with another dimension of mapping than the PoI map that deals with the chronology of stages in the cycling. It seems to be more about what Michael Taft talks about in his deconstruction map for Vipassana. Dissolution the way Daniel describes it seems to be a different thing, and that phase occurs at that specific place in the sequence of the cycle. I think confusion or brain fog would be a better term for it, at least the way it tends to manifest for me. I have had chrystal clear experiences of stuff dissolving, but rarely in the dissolution nana. My experience of the nana fits quite well with what Daniel describes in his vimeo, though. 

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
Answer
11/10/19 8:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
I think Shinzen talks about it in one of the videos that is uploaded recently in his Shinzen's Videos youtube channel. I am not sure though, I can check it later. I guess the video has Dark Night in its title. (Although he uses different definition for the term Dark Night, and it seems that he is not much familiar with how it's used in this community)

Do you mean Bhanga? He talked about it in a video that was recently talked about in Shinheads although it's not new. I was confused about that one at first, because he says it means dissolution, but he seems to be talking about a much greater span of experiences. I don't think he distinguishes between different dukkha nanas. Also, I think it makes more sense if there are two dark nights, because much of what he describes in the video I'm thinking about is stuff that I associate with the 3C nana too.

I think the term dissolution is confusing per se if one talks about a specific stage because there is dissolving going on at various points of the path. I always had the nagging feeling that the term dissolution fits better with a separate scale having to do with another dimension of mapping than the PoI map that deals with the chronology of stages in the cycling. It seems to be more about what Michael Taft talks about in his deconstruction map for Vipassana. Dissolution the way Daniel describes it seems to be a different thing, and that phase occurs at that specific place in the sequence of the cycle. I think confusion or brain fog would be a better term for it, at least the way it tends to manifest for me. I have had chrystal clear experiences of stuff dissolving, but rarely in the dissolution nana. My experience of the nana fits quite well with what Daniel describes in his vimeo, though. 


No I don't mean Bhanga. He talks explicitly about Dark Night in one of these videos, and talks about how he defines it and why, and relates it to the Dark Night of the Soul.

For the Bhanga, yes he doesn't map it to any specific stage of PoI the way talked about in this community. I asked in Shinheads before that has he read Daniel's book, and Har-Prakash said no, he has not read it.

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/10/19 8:41 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
In the video I was thinking about, he explicitly says that the dark night is called Bangha "which literally means dissolution". But that was an older video. I see now that he has posted a different video about the dark night three months ago. 

He could have come over the Theravadan maps from some other source than Daniel's map, though. 

(Sorry for my inconsistent spelling; I'm not sure how to spell Banga/Bhanga/Bangha...)

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
Answer
11/10/19 9:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I think the term dissolution is confusing per se if one talks about a specific stage because there is dissolving going on at various points of the path. I always had the nagging feeling that the term dissolution fits better with a separate scale having to do with another dimension of mapping than the PoI map that deals with the chronology of stages in the cycling. It seems to be more about what Michael Taft talks about in his deconstruction map for Vipassana. Dissolution the way Daniel describes it seems to be a different thing, and that phase occurs at that specific place in the sequence of the cycle. I think confusion or brain fog would be a better term for it, at least the way it tends to manifest for me. I have had chrystal clear experiences of stuff dissolving, but rarely in the dissolution nana. My experience of the nana fits quite well with what Daniel describes in his vimeo, though. 
That nana seems to get less foggy with every new path, though, and I probably started out with more brain fog than average because of my attention deficit (which thankfully is not an awareness deficit). Maybe it will turn out that the feeling of total confusion is really my thoughts dissolving, and maybe I can learn to notice that happening, with remaining clarity. I have experienced that happening at one occasion (dissolving gradually, manifesting gradually, dissolving gradually again, manifesting gradually again, and so on). I think that was a case of a slow A&P that arose from the confusion. I happened while listening to one of Michael Taft's guided meditations, or rather afterwards during the Q&A part. 

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/11/19 6:39 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
There are four dark nights:

1) The Active Night of the Senses (Book I, Ascent of Mount Carmel)

2) The Passive Night of the Senses (Book I, Dark Night of the Soul)

3) The Active Night of the Spirit (Books II and III, Ascent of Mount Carmel)

4) The Passive Night of the Spirit (Book II, Dark Night of the Soul)

https://catholicstrength.com/2017/12/13/saint-john-of-the-cross-and-the-dark-night-of-the-soul/

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
Answer
11/11/19 7:20 AM as a reply to Derek2.
Derek2:
There are four dark nights:

1) The Active Night of the Senses (Book I, Ascent of Mount Carmel)

2) The Passive Night of the Senses (Book I, Dark Night of the Soul)

3) The Active Night of the Spirit (Books II and III, Ascent of Mount Carmel)

4) The Passive Night of the Spirit (Book II, Dark Night of the Soul)

https://catholicstrength.com/2017/12/13/saint-john-of-the-cross-and-the-dark-night-of-the-soul/

Damn. Meditation  might  be painfull and creepy. 

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/11/19 7:41 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
Heh, sure, but so might not meditating. 

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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11/11/19 8:35 AM as a reply to Derek2.
Lol. I've struggled  with wether I should join the order of carmalites since I was 17. I'm a confirmed catholic. It was fascinated me. I tried to escape into buddhism. Same damn thing hav e to cross that abyss.  Even in a 12 step program. There is the abyss.  I'm 46 now and still cant attain jhana.  O wretched  man am  I. Who will deliver me from this body  of death (from st paul)

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
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1/31/20 6:51 AM as a reply to Matthew Jon Rousseau.
Matthew, that degree of black humor in the face of the fractalling dark nights seems to me to indicate a very high level of attainment!


I've spent a lot of time with John of the Cross too, and tried hard at various points to correlate his "maps" with the MCTB stages of insight and related schematics. I don't think you can get a good clear sense of his overall mapping of the whole journey from either The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, or the Dark Night, both of which are literally unfinished. The Spiritual Canticle is the most schematically clear run-out that I can find in John X, and in my tentative cross-mapping of the forty stanzas of that poem (each with its exegesis, as is John's method), I think he starts the poem already in the active dark night of the senses--- seeking, seeking, working very hard, and this phase runs through the first five stanzas, ttransitioning to the passive night of sense with the onset of acknowledged helplessness in stanza 6 and grinding seriously through the abrupt (and initially terrifying) breakthrough experience in stanza 13. I tend to read this transition as what he calls "betrothal" of "spiritual espousal," and it's an open question to me at this point whether it constitutes "stream entry" and attainment of the first path or not. John X speaks of the "state of the proficients" and an illuminative phase in other places (DN 2, 1:1, for instance), and has a substantial period of time pass in this before entry into the active night of spirit, but in the Canticle, it seems to me that stanzas 14-18 are all about this subtler but distinctly active work at the deeper level, with, again, a transition to the end of the soul's efforts, the move into the passive night of the spirit, in stanza 19, running through stanza 21. And then the good stuff, the "spiritual marriage," from stanza 22 on.

I think I'm like you in feeling sort of perpetually dark night without much to show for it--- a Chronic Dark Night Yogi, as the DhO language has it. Right now i'm trying to be alert to the insight stage of equanimity, in which the burning of the dark night stages lightens up reliably. John X says, in The Living Flame of Love, speaking to the flame, "Now that you are no longer oppressive . . ."  I can relate to that. I'm keenly aware that "no longer oppressive" is not exactly a rah-rah spiritual rallying cry, but it sure beats feeling the heat.

RE: St Juan de la Cruze says there are 2 dark nights
Answer
2/5/20 4:31 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I have always thought of it as the Three Characteristics Ñana (3rd insight stage), as it is more physical.


I think the Dark Night of Sense comes after A&P, and that one reason John X broke it down this way is that in context, at that time in monastic practice and the Carmelite nunneries where he was a spiritual advisor, a lot of the early practices were shamatha practices, concentrative prayer with consequent numinosity: the person was trading up from "worldly" concerns to "spiritual" concerns, the things of God, and equanimity came in being well-established in a reliable concentration practice. Whether the "illuminated" phase of "the proficients" that follows in his scema constitutes stream entry is an open question to me (though you can tell from John X's teaching on the Night of Spirit that the proficients being way full of themselves "spiritually" was an ongoing thing, and that much of the Night of Spirit is particularly effective in deconstructing, through a much more dry vipassana-type practice, all the things the proficients had gotten good at and proud of, first of all by draining all the juice out of the luminous concentrative idols).