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Anupada Sutta Not two, not one 11/11/19 2:08 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/11/19 2:35 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/11/19 3:04 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 5:12 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Chris Marti 11/13/19 7:45 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 9:49 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Chris Marti 11/13/19 9:56 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 10:35 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/13/19 12:46 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Chris Marti 11/13/19 12:43 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/13/19 1:00 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Not two, not one 11/13/19 2:35 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/13/19 3:53 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 4:07 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/13/19 4:17 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 4:35 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/13/19 4:47 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 5:06 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta shargrol 11/13/19 8:12 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 12:58 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Bardo 11/14/19 1:35 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Not two, not one 11/14/19 2:12 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 2:33 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta shargrol 11/14/19 6:12 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 7:38 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 11:34 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 1:38 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 1:30 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Not two, not one 11/13/19 2:51 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 3:45 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/13/19 4:51 PM
RE: Anupada Sutta Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 11/14/19 8:51 AM
RE: Anupada Sutta Not two, not one 11/14/19 11:05 AM
Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/11/19 2:08 PM
So this is a technical speculation ...  I was prompted to think about Sariputta's enlightment, achieved through close and precise observation of, and dispassion towards, the jhanas and their factors.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.111.than.html

In doing this, it occured to me that there is another way to think about the arupa jhanas.

As I understand it, the Theravada tradition sees arupa jhanas as deep concentration states that involve disappearance of the sensations of the body. But actually, most of them also read very much as waking non-dual absorptions. Further, the disappearance of the sensations of the body should arguably be described as closing of the five physical sense doors, and not the "transcendance of perceptions of physical form" as described in the sutta. My view is that perceptions occur further along the chain of dependent arising than the sense doors, and involve conceptual overlays on the raw sense data. So would the suttas really be so imprecise?  Surely "transcendance of perceptions of physical form" in a conceptual state, rather than a (non) physical state, as perceptions are fundamentally conceptual overlays?  

So maybe we could reinterpret the arupa jhanas in the suttas as also allowing for something like. 

Infinite space - Achievement of non-dual field of perception
Infinite consciousness - Shifting of consciousnes into the non-dual field 
Inifinite nothingness - Not so sure about this one - here the description does look like shutting off of the sense doors
Cessation of perception and feeling - The complete seeing through of all non-dual perceptions and feelings as conditioned impermanent phenomena subject to arising and passing away

None of this is to imply that transcedance of the physical sensations of the body is not very good, and indeed superior tech, for those that can achieve it.  But it is not essential, as widely attested. So I wonder whether this way of thinking about the arupa jhanas could reintegrate non-dual and jhana traditions, and encourage more waking non-duality within the Theravadan approach?  

Just a few wild ideas based on some rather limited scholarship ...   

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/11/19 2:35 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
I'm glad you asked. I have been wondering about this for quite some time. I have two different hypotheses and cannot decide which one is more likely.

One is what you propose, although I couldn't put it into words with such precision and eloquence. 

My other hypothesis is that there is a difference, albeit subjectively perhaps very subtle, and that it has to do with construction vs deconstruction. According to that hypotheis, in the arupa jhanas there is still active construction going on because of the focus that turns the object of it into something more smooth and continuous than what it really is, as if it had an essence. Since the object per se is so immaterial, it is easy to disregard the difference. The non-dual versions do not involve that kind of active construction. Hence they are more on the deconstruction side, albeit not of the more actively "drilling" type that vipassana involves but on the tranquil side. The arupa jhanas are thus as tranquil as the rupa jhanas but on the deconstruction side rather than the construction side.

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/11/19 3:04 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Yes, one could reinterpret them perhaps at the disgust of many ardent practising Buddhists. In my slightly limited view - limited by the usual cognitive parameters but not limited experientially - the formless realms are the result of an expanding consciousness. The all-pervading consciousness is bound-up in the body. It backs up into itself and the obstacle that causes this blockage is name-and-form or conceptual thought and object interaction. Object interaction is an internal affair resultant of external objects leaving internal impressions in the mind. When we practice, we begin the break down this naming and forming, consciousness begins to flow, and there comes the realizing that consciousness is much grander than our small internal world and so enter the formless realms. Not everyone can enter those realms. I think it takes a healthy degree of concentration.

I would describe the perception of nothingness as a play on forms, time and space depending on how deep you want to investigate it. With a deeper field of view, space itself becomes a form surrounding the presence of physical forms. Space cannot be said to be a form without the presence of physical forms. The presence of one form means that space has occurred and for a conscious observer to observe that form in some way there would need to be the presence of time and this is intrinsic to a conscious observer. Where's this going? Nowhere, of course!

EDIT: Anupada is a favourite!

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 5:12 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
I would really appreciate more input on this question as I'm trying to grasp exactly what the dividing line is, if there is one. I would be most grateful for some qualified feedback on my thoughts about construction vs deconstruction in my post above. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 7:45 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
My experience says the jhanas are qualities of mind and allow us to bring into conscious consideration what and how the mind perceives and processes. These are subtle perceptions that are not available during our day to day experience, and uncovering them requires a level of concentration (more like gentle tuning) that takes a lot of practice to achieve. The jhanas, in turn, present more and more subtle qualities of perception. I might posit that the rupa jhanas reveal first-order qualities that are directly associated with external senses and "my position" therein, and the arupa jhanas second-order qualities that are associated with the mind sense and the construction of the first-order concepts the mind uses to create space, time, consciousness, etc.

Take this with a grain of salt, of course.

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 9:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That is my understanding of the jhanas as well, although I probably do not understand all the implications and nuances of it as well as you do. I'm not wondering as much about the jhanas as about other routes to experiencing infinite space and awareness and understanding how the mind constructs the world with regard to these aspects. I find it somewhat tricky to grasp the relationship between the arupa jhanas and non-dual teachings (which I'm not very familiar with) because the terminology suggests quite a lot of overlap, just like curious points out. Maybe it has to do with confusing states with facts - jhanas are states whereas non-duality is a fact (if there ever was one). Facts can be experienced within states, but that doesn't turn the state into the fact. Nor does it turn realization of the fact into a state.

I guess what I'm trying to grasp is the difference in methods for reaching similar understanding, and both similarities and differences in the experiences. Are there similar or other states that one learns to reach within Mahayana, Dzogchen and/or Mahamudra that functions as similar lenses for this understanding, and if so, in what ways are they similar to and different to the arupa jhanas? Or is the point rather to achieve similar understandings without using specific states as lenses? 

I also have the impression that shamatha always involves some degree of construction. Well, duh, I guess everything the mind does involves construction, so yeah, of course. But I mean compared to other forms of meditation. In MCTB2, Daniel talks about solidifying. I suppose that's what I'm referring to. Even in the arupa jhanas, where we gradually attend to subtler and subtler qualities of the mind and thereby allow for other qualities to be deconstructed, we are turning the non-object or immaterial object of our focus into an idealized version of itself (of its not self), aren't we? In other words, what we experience is a distortion of the concepts that we are all trying to reach from different directions, right? A very refined and exquisite distortion, but still a distortion. So, are there alternative distortions in other traditions? Are there routes that enable less distorted experiences with the same kind of clarity and zoom? I mean before one reaches arahanthood and gets that cosmic joke and all that. 

---

Malcolm, the experiences you are asking about, whether they could be allowed for within the framework of arupa jhanas, how exactly would you describe those experiences?

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 9:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I guess what I'm trying to grasp is the difference in methods for reaching similar understanding, and both similarities and differences in the experiences. Are there similar or other states that one learns to reach within Mahayana, Dzogchen and/or Mahamudra that functions as similar lenses for this understanding, and if so, in what ways are they similar to and different to the arupa jhanas? Or is the point rather to achieve similar understandings without using specific states as lenses? 

In my humble opinion, these are questions that don't have "correct" answers. It's like having a favorite color - you can experience all the different practices just like you can see all the different colors. You will relate better to some than to others. They will engender different feelings and have different implications. Having an "accurate" mapping of Mahayana non-dual states versus Theravada jhanas won't make any real difference to your awakening. It's fun conjecture, though. and just to say it - having the experiences of both tells me these are not the same things. But as I said before, take me with a grain of salt!

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I guess what I'm trying to grasp is the difference in methods for reaching similar understanding, and both similarities and differences in the experiences. Are there similar or other states that one learns to reach within Mahayana, Dzogchen and/or Mahamudra that functions as similar lenses for this understanding, and if so, in what ways are they similar to and different to the arupa jhanas? Or is the point rather to achieve similar understandings without using specific states as lenses? 

In my humble opinion, these are questions that don't have "correct" answers. It's like having a favorite color - you can experience all the different practices just like you can see all the different colors. You will relate better to some than to others. They will engender different feelings and have different implications. Having an "accurate" mapping of Mahayana non-dual states versus Theravada jhanas won't make any real difference to your awakening. It's fun conjecture, though. and just to say it - having the experiences of both tells me these are not the same things. But as I said before, take me with a grain of salt!


Thankyou!

My limited experience from following Michael Taft’s guided meditations have gotten me into states that I would say are different from the jhanas, some of which I recognize from before. Whether they really are Mahayana non-dual states I cannot tell for sure, but the subjective difference between the states is what made me ponder about wherein the difference lies. I used to believe that they were more alike than what I now think, so my questions are generated from my subjective experience. I guess I'll just keep on exploring how different approaches resonate with me and what I can learn from them.

I understand that this kind of mapping is unnecessary for awakening. It just fascinates me and makes me SOOOOOOO curious. I want to understand all of it and learn how to navigate between the variety of states with precision and learn about the quirks and limitations of my mind and learn which limitations can and cannot be transcended. I want to understand how all the different states relate to each other and how they shape and limit and expand our experience in different ways. I don't even know why I want to learn all this. I just do. Quite frankly, I don't understand how it would be possible not to want to learn it. Even if there are no correct answers. I mean, there are still possible answers. I want to know all of them.

(Desire for deliverance much...? emoticon Craving noted.)

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 12:46 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

(Desire for deliverance much...? emoticon Craving noted.)


It's amazing how our minds can take us through the catacombs of cognition, like a hall of mirrors, before we finally note the fact. Curiosity is extremely helpful in this arena and even curiosity around understanding the processes, relationships, and transactions concerning altered states of consciousnesses, but I found that trying to cognize all of this wore me down into a clueless dunce. I had always enjoyed the retrospective intellectual view of the contours around this very intriguing terrain, but these days I try to keep things straightforwardly simple perhaps for my own sanity. There's an internal tutor who keeps uttering these intuitions about how absurdly simple it all is and this is helping me to disengage from my intellectual pursuits. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 12:43 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I had always enjoyed the retrospective intellectual view of the contours around this very intriguing terrain, but these days I try to keep things straightforwardly simple perhaps for my own sanity.

There's a pattern to this that I've noticed in myself over a long period of time. At first, I just wanted to find the right practice and get somewhere. When I did get traction I soon developed an appetite for maps, models and increasingly complex explanations of everything related to my practice. You can see this is my old posts on DhO and on Awakenetwork (you'd have to go back to pre-2010 to see this). I wanted to explain everything to anyone who'd listen, even foisting my explanations on poor, unsuspecting victims. Then as my practice unfolded, around MCTB third path territory, things got quiet and simple, and I developed an unwillingness to process complex stuff. I didn't want to deal with it and found I really wasn't even able to at one point. Sometime later I realized this is all sort of stage-dependent and doesn't really matter in the grand scheme, so I stopped even thinking about it. Until just now, that is.

emoticon

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 1:00 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yes, letting go of this part of things can be a little tricky. I'm not sure if this is related but recently I have been losing the ability to conceptualize and this is a part of my mind that I really like. I find it quite disconcerting especially when I need to respond to somebody with carefully considered thought. Instead, I find I have to trust that what comes out will be ok and most of the time it is but it still requires me to throw caution to the wind. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 1:30 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

(Desire for deliverance much...? emoticon Craving noted.)


It's amazing how our minds can take us through the catacombs of cognition, like a hall of mirrors, before we finally note the fact. Curiosity is extremely helpful in this arena and even curiosity around understanding the processes, relationships, and transactions concerning altered states of consciousnesses, but I found that trying to cognize all of this wore me down into a clueless dunce. I had always enjoyed the retrospective intellectual view of the contours around this very intriguing terrain, but these days I try to keep things straightforwardly simple perhaps for my own sanity. There's an internal tutor who keeps uttering these intuitions about how absurdly simple it all is and this is helping me to disengage from my intellectual pursuits. 

Thanks for sharing! I don't feel worn down by it, though, but happy happy that there is so much to explore empirically. It's not the intellectual understanding that drives me, but the experiential dimension. I ask for navigational purposes with regard to practising.

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 1:38 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I had always enjoyed the retrospective intellectual view of the contours around this very intriguing terrain, but these days I try to keep things straightforwardly simple perhaps for my own sanity.

There's a pattern to this that I've noticed in myself over a long period of time. At first, I just wanted to find the right practice and get somewhere. When I did get traction I soon developed an appetite for maps, models and increasingly complex explanations of everything related to my practice. You can see this is my old posts on DhO and on Awakenetwork (you'd have to go back to pre-2010 to see this). I wanted to explain everything to anyone who'd listen, even foisting my explanations on poor, unsuspecting victims. Then as my practice unfolded, around MCTB third path territory, things got quiet and simple, and I developed an unwillingness to process complex stuff. I didn't want to deal with it and found I really wasn't even able to at one point. Sometime later I realized this is all sort of stage-dependent and doesn't really matter in the grand scheme, so I stopped even thinking about it. Until just now, that is.

emoticon



For me this is not so much about finding the right practice as it is about navigating the experiential terrain. That is probably stage related too, though, like so many other things, but right now it is motivating me and I enjoy it thoroughly. Also, it seems like a few people remain phenomenology nerds throughout their practice (thankyou universe!). Whether I'll be one of those is an empirical question, of course, but let's just say that it wouldn't surprise me that much if it were to turn out that way. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 2:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

---

Malcolm, the experiences you are asking about, whether they could be allowed for within the framework of arupa jhanas, how exactly would you describe those experiences?

Well first up, what an interesting discussion. Thank you all!

To answer your question Linda/Polly ... one type of experience comes from deep mindfulness of the body, perceiving the flow of sensations as they arise and pass away. Then this meditation moves into mindfulness of the flow of all perceptions, with the twinkling of sense data arising and passing away across the whole perceptual field. The conception of the body disappears, very much like a dissolution into the sensory field, and all that remains is the twinkling of sensa quanta. But the sense quanta still include bodily data, and while it feels like a dissolution it doesn't actually seem to be the dissolation nana. Sometimes, at this point, the dimension of space also disappears, and all the sense data are right there, completely immediate with no separation (and yet they are still distinct quanta). Other times, this state may flow into sleep yoga (sleeping with mindfulness of the flow of sensation). 

The other types of experiences are in non-dual absoprtions. One has a similar sense of flow to the that described above, but is more active and engaged with the brightness and immediacy of reality that knows itself and is immediate and present just right where it is (EDIT: This state perceives objects as non-separate emergences in the field of perception, rather than decomposing the field into individual sense quanta). Another goes further and shifts a sense of identity into that bright reality to merge with the field of awareness - becoming one with the source. In both cases, the sensations of the body are still present, but the conception of the body is not. 

Thanks for asking! 

Malcolm 

P.S. Yes, still a bit of an intellectual nerd. But it doesn't grab me anymore - more just lazing on a sunny afternoon.

Gotama's taken all my fear
And left me here without a care
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
And I can't grab at any trouble
My anxiety's reduced to rubble
All I've got's this sunny afternoon 

... with apologies to the Kinks

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 2:35 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
Yes, letting go of this part of things can be a little tricky. I'm not sure if this is related but recently I have been losing the ability to conceptualize and this is a part of my mind that I really like. I find it quite disconcerting especially when I need to respond to somebody with carefully considered thought. Instead, I find I have to trust that what comes out will be ok and most of the time it is but it still requires me to throw caution to the wind. 

Ah, that part isn't empty yet!  Time for some close introspection.   emoticon

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 3:45 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
curious:


To answer your question Linda/Polly ... one type of experience comes from deep mindfulness of the body, perceiving the flow of sensations as they arise and pass away. Then this meditation moves into mindfulness of the flow of all perceptions, with the twinkling of sense data arising and passing away across the whole perceptual field. The conception of the body disappears, very much like a dissolution into the sensory field, and all that remains is the twinkling of sensa quanta. But the sense quanta still include bodily data, and while it feels like a dissolution it doesn't actually seem to be the dissolation nana.

So far I’m with you. All my most vivid experiences of this have been outside the dissolution nana. This is what I meant with it being more on the deconstruction side, because this is part of what Michael Taft’s map for deconstruction deals with. He talks about it in one of his latest podcasts, the one from September 24th. At the moment I’m working on zooming out from more narrow focuses in order to have this happening to a wider range of perceptions, not just the kinds that are easiest for me to deconstruct. I think his model is pretty much a way for those who come from vipassana to integrate non-dual experiences with their vipassana. It would be very interesting to hear what you think about that specific podcast.


Sometimes, at this point, the dimension of space also disappears, and all the sense data are right there, completely immediate with no separation (and yet they are still distinct quanta).

I once had the experience that time went away and all the sense data were right now. They were spatially organized somehow, though, I think. Or maybe that’s just how I intellectualized it afterwards.


Other times, this state may flow into sleep yoga (sleeping with mindfulness of the flow of sensation). 

I think this may be what’s happening to me rather often lately. Is that possible at this point in my practice or am I misinterpreting some other state? For me it’s a state that doesn't seem concentrated at all, as there is no focus whatsoever, but sensations are flowing. My body seems to be asleep. There are occasional outbreaths where my mouth opens itself to let out a burst of air in a way that surprises me every time because it sounds as if I were aleep and I know that I was completely aware. Those sudden occurrances bring about a brief moment of conceptualizations that interrupt the sense of there being just a flow. For a moment my mouth and breath are conceptualized both as mouth and breath and as associated with this particular body, and there are conceptualizations about sleep and non-sleep, but outside of those interruptions, such concepts do not arise. There's just a flow and no-one there to conceptualize it or own it. The body temperature seems to drop as if in deep sleep and afterwards I feel like I have slept, except for the fact that there was awareness the whole time. Is that the kind of state you are referring to? Or how would you describe it?


The other types of experiences are in non-dual absoprtions. One has a similar sense of flow to the that described above, but is more active and engaged with the brightness and immediacy of reality that knows itself and is immediate and present just right where it is.

I think I have very brief glimpses of this. Love those.


  Another goes further and shifts the sense of identify into that bright reality to merge with the field of awarenes - becoming one with the source.

That sounds very similar to what happened to me when I was drawn in by the nada sound, although I interpreted that as a fourth jhana thing that resulted in fruitions. All external senses gradually went away and everything turned into bright whiteness which submerged me and took away both the world and eventually me. Even the nada sound fell away so there was absolute silence, and then cessation of experience. There’s a palpable difference though: it was more the experience of having everything taken away than merging with it. It was a drawn-out tearing as if being on the verge of a black hole, except it was white and nothing but white light existed.


In both cases, the sensations of the body are still present, but the conception of the body is not. 

That’s a familar experience.

Thanks for asking! 

You are very welcome. Thank you! Fascinating conversation!


P.S. Yes, still a bit of an intellectual nerd. But it doesn't grab me anymore - more just lazing on a sunny afternoon.

Great! It still grabs me, more or less, but most of the time the fascination is joyful. I assume that I will uncover layers of dukkha in that joy eventually, apart from what is apparent already, but after all, phenomenology and the kind of conceptualizing that comes with it is pretty much what I do for a living, albeit so far not with meditation practice as its focus, so I think it is pretty likely that I will continue with it to some extent just because it is a preference regardless of grabbings.


Gotama's taken all my fear
And left me here without a care
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
And I can't grab at any trouble
My anxiety's reduced to rubble
All I've got's this sunny afternoon 

... with apologies to the Kinks
emoticon

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 3:53 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
I enjoy your lyrical cohesion. Introspective intervention I've been finding extremely difficult recently. I find that my awareness has been shifting into the surrounding space. When this happens I lose all sense of there being a centre and it seems I'm over there but not occupying any defined finite space in any particular location. I might be pushed to say there is everywhere-ness without asserting that 'I' am the everywhere-ness. One thing I notice is that occasionally, the sense of 'me' and its centre becomes an occurrence in the very same way a car passes by. I cannot claim the car just like I cannot claim the centre of experience. The car passes by, the centre of experience passes by and it is all seen as the rolling-on of phenomena. This became so prominent at one time it appeared that all worldly activity was winking at me. A bus would pass by and it was the suchness winking at me. A person would cough and again it was suchness winking at me. I recall having some sort of intuitive conversation somewhere that went sort of like this...

This is truly wonderful.

That's nothing. There's more!

Oooh, surely not?

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 4:07 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
When this happens I lose all sense of there being a centre and it seems I'm over there but not occupying any defined finite space in any particular location. I might be pushed to say there is everywhere-ness without asserting that 'I' am the everywhere-ness. 

This is familiar but not yet very common for me. The way I phrased it was that the world remained but I didn't since there was no sense of any center whatsoever. So, if this happens when I follow Michael Taft's guided meditations on non-duality, I guess I'm on the right track then?

For me, this is something very different from formless realms. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 4:17 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Bardo Cruiser:
When this happens I lose all sense of there being a centre and it seems I'm over there but not occupying any defined finite space in any particular location. I might be pushed to say there is everywhere-ness without asserting that 'I' am the everywhere-ness. 

This is familiar but not yet very common for me. The way I phrased it was that the world remained but I didn't since there was no sense of any center whatsoever. So, if this happens when I follow Michael Taft's guided meditations on non-duality, I guess I'm on the right track then?

For me, this is something very different from formless realms. 

Yes, this is a very different experience to formless realms. There is no grasping at it but instead there's a very gentle inclination of mind fuelled by a very simple curiosity as mind finally begins to realize itself as being something that it cannot define in any conceptual sense. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 4:35 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Exactly. I would say that in the craving sense there is no grasping in formless realms either, because that would make them inaccessible. There is some sort of grasping in the three first formless realms in another sense, though, and I think that pretty much nails the difference. One grabs onto one specific quality very tightly as if it had an essence, as if there was something there to actually grab. And that's a very cool experience. And eventually it leads to non-grabbing, because the illusion of something being there to grab (even if that something is nothingness) doesn't last, and that's when the neither perception nor yet non-perception comes into the picture. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 4:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
neither perception nor yet non-perception


Neither perception nor yet non-perception is a very peculiar state. I always enjoyed the perception of the infinitude of consciousness but like you say, it leads to non-grabbing. Once you've paid many visitations you naturally seek further afield.

Do you have a method of shifting into the surrounding space or is this a spontaneous thing?

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 4:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
In other words, what we experience is a distortion of the concepts that we are all trying to reach from different directions, right? A very refined and exquisite distortion, but still a distortion.

Just to clarify: they are distortions only if we mistake them for some ultimate truth. If not, they are just as real and true as anything else. Ultimately, there are no distortions because there is nothing there to begin with that can be distorted. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 5:06 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:

Do you have a method of shifting into the surrounding space or is this a spontaneous thing?

Both, I guess. It has happened when following Michael Taft's instructions, but I recognized the state from before. It is a state that I have gotten into at times because resting from being a center was necessary and felt like the natural thing to do. At those times, it was easier to just allow that state to occur than not doing it. Still, it's not something I can experience at will. Maybe because the will itself makes it inaccessable, because it requires that center. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/13/19 8:12 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm late to this thread, but here's my own thoughts on jhana... it's probably obvious stuff but I'm inspired to attempt to say it...

Jhanas are the mind looking for a refuge within seclusion and renunciation. It starts off as gross bodily pleasure, but each of the first four jhanas in turn has a limitation which doesn't satisfy. First is interesting but too buzzy, second is satifying but too sweet, third is blissy but too numb, four is wonderfully simple but there is still the tension of "a witness". So then the mind tries to find refuge/pleasure in aspects of the witnessing and knowing. Endless space feels spacious but the witness has a position, endless consciousness is full but has "knowing", nothingness is nothing but even that is something (it's nothing), and neither perception nor non-perception still has some kind of beingness that is recognizable by it being unrecognizable beingness. 

All of the jhanas have allure because there is a kind of false refuge that seems possible. The self must find the refuge and it becomes more and more subtle. Just like all aspects of samsara, so to speak, has an allure because it promises a refuge in excitement, satisfaction, bliss, equanimity, space, consciousness, nothingness, undefinableness. Those things that make jhana seductive are what makes samsara seductive if you look closely enough.

You see what I mean? 

But this is simply this. so where is the problem? Why does there need to be a refuge?

So I mostly agree with the sutta that enlightenment is through "achieved through close and precise observation of and dispassion towards the jhanas and their factors". But my practice was somewhat weak in jhana, at least compared to others, but I could quickly understand how the glimpses of jhana basically exposed the building blocks of everyday samasaric experience, with jhanas giving clues to what those are. Once you can see how jhanas are a false refuge, samasara is clearly seen as a false refuge. And when the false refuge is understood, then the self-which-must-find-refuge is also seen for what it is.

Hope this helps somebody in some way. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 12:58 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks! Yeah, I see what you mean. But since I'm still far from finished, there is probably more left for me to realize about that false refuge part. In the meantime, it is fascinating to learn about all the tricks that the mind tries. It is pretty clever in all its delusion, and I think that's kind of cool. It's a bit like watching an amazingly well programmed AI in action - the outcome may not be that impressive per se, but the fact that it's doing all this based on its conditioning, that is fascinating. It is creation. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 1:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It's a bit like watching an amazingly well programmed AI in action

That's such a pertinent analogy! emoticon

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 2:12 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Amazingly well programmed ... except for the out of control feedback loop linked to the faulty reward mechanism. emoticon   Actually, you can find a very nice analogy for the problem at this link

A humble contribution compared to the wisdom from Chris and Shargrol. But we all do what we can! 

RE: Anupada Sutta
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11/14/19 2:33 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Hehe! Actually, I have faulty reward mechanisms. That's quite the challenge in daily life but I guess there is an upside to it as well.

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 6:12 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
. In the meantime, it is fascinating to learn about all the tricks that the mind tries. It is pretty clever in all its delusion, and I think that's kind of cool. It's a bit like watching an amazingly well programmed AI in action - the outcome may not be that impressive per se, but the fact that it's doing all this based on its conditioning, that is fascinating. It is creation. 

Watching AI in action ---- that's really my experience, too. Good metaphor. I find it absolutely amazing and mysterious and actually pretty impressive when you consider we started out as a single cell and now we're having these conversations about the nature of mind! emoticon

Ultimately, I think practice doesn't make you dismissive of mind and it's tricks (well it could, but that kind of indulgent negativity hopefully gets seen through as unhelpful and petty), but rather practice leads to the appreciation of the mystery of experience itself. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 7:38 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Cool! emoticon Yeah, it is quite the miracle, isn't it? 

That was what I was thinking and hoping for. I know that my former teacher is pretty adamant about seeing through the renouncing of the world, and I appreciate that. I thought about saying something about it but thought that there was a risk that it would come off as argumentative or something, since nuances are sometimes difficult online. My clarifying comment about the jhanas only being a distortion if one mistakes them for some ultimate truth was an attempt at saying something about it.

The thing is, jhanas and other states and mappings don't have to lead somewhere for me to find them interesting. The fact that all this occurs is enough. That fascinates me. I don't need them to be a refuge. I want to experience them just because I can, if that makes any sense. They are cool just as they are, despite being no refuge and no ultimate truth. I want to explore all those roads not only because of where they lead but also because the roads themselves are experientially interesting. I think my phrasing earlier about the jhanas being distortions and asking about other ways allowed for reading between the lines in a way that was misleading. I'm not looking for the least distorted way, as I'm fairly confident that the road I'm on is good enough. I'm looking for every nook and cranny, just because I enjoy it, and if there are more nooks and crannies than those I have already heard about, I would want to know, because that would mean more to explore. Some information about the terrain also makes it easier not to mistake things for something that they are not, which probably makes the insight work a bit easier. Even if it doesn't, it's still nice to read up a little about the places I visit on my journey. I know that most of it is unnecessary for awakening. I just enjoy it anyway. That's okay, right? It's not everyone's cup of tea, sure, but it is mine. And even if that were to turn out to be a temporary thing, so what? I still enjoy it now and it doesn't harm anyone, does it? I take delight in exploring the mystery just for the sake of exploring. emoticon My comment about desire for deliverance was a joke about my enthusiasm and an acknowledgement that I'm aware that I get carried away. This mammalian body and this conditioning tend to produce that kind of pattern. I figure that if I'm going to get carried away, this is a relatively healthy outlet. I'm going to allow myself to indulge in this, just like the Buddha did with the jhanas. 

I like your approach. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 8:51 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Anyway... it wasn't my intention to steal this thread. I was just happy to see someone else ponder about this. What kind of discussion were you hoping for, Malcolm? 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 11:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Anyway... it wasn't my intention to steal this thread. I was just happy to see someone else ponder about this. What kind of discussion were you hoping for, Malcolm? 

Just this kind of discussion - shining a light on the dharma from different angles.  It's been great, from my perspective.  Much gratitude to you and Bardo Cruiser and Chris Marti and Shargrol for all the interesting observations and insights. 

RE: Anupada Sutta
Answer
11/14/19 11:34 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
four is wonderfully simple but there is still the tension of "a witness".


Phenomenologically, that tension reminds me of the G-force or whatever it is that pushes you down in your chair when on an air plane that leaves the ground. It seems like that is related to how the eyes are sort of pushed back into their sockets in order to disengage them. 

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Curious, really good to hear that the thread turned out to your liking. I appreciate the discussion too, and I found it very interesting to get phenomenological descriptions from your experience and from others as well, and to get a glimpse of how a bunch of advanced practitioners make sense of stuff (that's the researcher patterns arising).