Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Matthew, modified 1 Year ago.

Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 92 Join Date: 10/31/19 Recent Posts
A couple days ago I saw a video where Daniel went on Michael Taft's YouTube and participated in a Q&A. He mentioned the "physiological" necessity of cessation for awakening. Traditions that don't emphasize cessations, he hypothesized, actually do produce them but don't language it properly. Since cessation is simply necessary for awakening, any awakening-producing tradition must include cessation.

I'd like to question this. It seems to me like this is only true if we use a broader definition of cessation than Daniel (and the Mahasi tradition as a whole) does. I'll call their strict definition "complete cessation." Based on the way the awakening process appears to unfold, I argue such a complete cessation is only necessary for fourth path, and the first three paths can be attained with less-than-complete cessation. To explain why I'll quickly summarize the gist of how the paths appear to work.

By default we are ignorant of the ungraspable, unrejectable nature of phenomena. This causes us to try to grasp and reject them, causing suffering. The strongest manifestation of this is grasping some phenomena as self and rejecting some as other.

The process of awakening is the process of shedding these habits and realizing the nature of phenomena as it's always been. The four paths are four levels of depth of that same fundamental realization.
- Stream-Enterers realize non-grasping ways of being are possible; this dissolves doubt in the dharma and personality belief
- Once-Returners infer the futility of grasping phenomena as objects; this weakens greed and hate
- Non-Returners realize the futility of grasping phenomena as objects and infer the futility of grasping phenomena as a subject; this dissolves greed and hate
- Arhats realize the futility of grasping both object and subject; done is what has to be done.

Path attainment occurs when the next level of depth of experience temporarily stops functioning. By watching it re-construct, or by watching what it's like to live without it, the meditator gains insight into its emptiness/impermanence/constructedness and peels away that overlay from their experience of phenomena.

These four levels of depth mean that each realization only needs to penetrate to the level required by its path. Complete cessation is a full reset of the entire system, without even bare sensory stimulus; but the first three paths don't need the reset to be so deep. They can withstand some subtle clinging to a reference point, and of course they can, because otherwise they would be no different from Arhatship. They only require a smaller, incomplete cessation, similar to Shinzen's "noting Gone." Only fourth path, where the depth of realization must be total and complete, makes complete cessation mandatory.

So my thesis is: complete cessation is not strictly necessary before Arhatship. It is helpful, but not required.

Thoughts?
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Matthew, is this based on your experience?

In my experience, you have it backward - the earth-shattering no-holds-barred all the lights went out cessation occurred at first path (stream entry) and the fourth path moment wasn't really a cessation unless we define cessation broadly. I know quite a few others who report the same thing. Maybe they'll weigh in here.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Chris Marti:
Matthew, is this based on your experience?

In my experience, you have it backward - the earth-shattering no-holds-barred all the lights went out cessation occurred at first path (stream entry) and the fourth path moment wasn't really a cessation unless we define cessation broadly. I know quite a few others who report the same thing. Maybe they'll weigh in here.

yup

first jump into the ocean, then describe it...

hmmm...wet...


t
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Michial N, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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I agree with Chris on this. My experience matches cessation as the doorway into stream entry. One could say that the 4th path moment is almost the opposite of that experience.
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Yes. I didn't notice the lights out at stream entry, but it was otherwise pretty obviously a cessation, with the mind shocked at the insight, twisting through the three doors and falling into a hole, before rebooting with insight and concentration, and many permanent changes. In constrast, the last path moment I experienced was more of a shimmer, or a ripple. Or like sitting down and cracking open a cold beer after two hours in the garden. The last bit of striving went blip, and the whole thing just relaxed.

It may be possible to progress without a cessation, but how would you know? The more likely explanation is that a cessation occured, but was not recognised as such. But it there is a different experience, I think we would all like to hear about it! 
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Matthew, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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curious:
Yes. I didn't notice the lights out at stream entry, but it was otherwise pretty obviously a cessation, with the mind shocked at the insight, twisting through the three doors and falling into a hole, before rebooting with insight and concentration, and many permanent changes.
All of that is wonderful and spot-on, but without the total vanishing of awareness, is it a cessation? That’s what I’m disputing - if things don’t totally vanish and come back without a trace, and this vanishing is tied to awakening, why is it that insight seems to be produced without it? This seems like a crucial definitional distinction if such a thing is physiologically tied to awakening. 

And yet, what is indisputable is the sudden bolt that permanently shifts your relationship to everything. All I’m saying is, in the battle between insight and MCTB-style cessation events, insight wins. 
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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All I’m saying is, in the battle between insight and MCTB-style cessation events, insight wins. 

Battle?

Matthew, I believe this is a false dichotomy. I'm guessing that unless you know what cessation is you won't be looking for it and you won't thus see it. Or, as in my case, it's a cessation occurs that is profound but you have no idea what it is and don't thus pay much attention to it, in favor of insight. These two things are manifestations of the path and can't be artificially separated - pretty much like everything else.

emoticon
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Matthew, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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"Battle" may be a bit dramatic, you got me. What I meant was, "In the assessment of attainment, the effortless presence of insight seems like a more important indicator than passing through a moment of lights-out-no-awareness." The battle was a battle of priorities.

What I'm really trying to get at here is a phenomenological disagreement. Daniel and Michael say "the moment of lights-out-no-awareness, followed by the lights turning back on, is the culminating event of awakening." Daniel then points out a number of phenomena that occur in quick succession before and after this complete experiential gap.

When I look back at the path-defining events in practice, this doesn't line up for me. I can point to all the peripheral events that occur before and after, with permanent changes in the basic resting state of mind from then on, and can even point to a sort of gap in the middle, but this gap is not lights-out-no-awareness. It's a luminous gap. The lights are on, the room is just empty. Then as the objects phase back into the room, the light shines off of them differently, so to speak. But the experience is continuous.

This is a real dichotomy. If cessation is the culmination, a path-defining event which is physiologically tied to awakening, it's important to have criteria for what "counts." I and others appear to have the experience of something that functions as a cessation even though some sense of luminosity is still present. According to Daniel and Michael's definitions, this is not a cessation, meaning it should not have resulted in a path; and yet it is not uncommon. Even the descriptions of paths 2-4 here seem to imply this type of experience. To hand-wave this away seems like a missed opportunity to really explore what's going on and interrogate the actual, lived, non-theoretical criteria we use.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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I think I have heard Culadasa talking about, or maybe I read it in his book, how it is possible to have a cessation that is after the fact experienced as something continuous, and how even the experience of discontinuity the way we experience it (the silhouette of it, so to speak) is a similar construction. 
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Ward Law, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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There is a thorough discussion of cessation, and its different ways of manifesting, in TMI on pages 284-287. I would love to hear it discussed here by people who have actually read it.
SigmaTropic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I think I have heard Culadasa talking about, or maybe I read it in his book, how it is possible to have a cessation that is after the fact experienced as something continuous, and how even the experience of discontinuity the way we experience it (the silhouette of it, so to speak) is a similar construction. 

I've had experiences where it seemed like the body disappeared and there was an inconrehensible "moment" where all that was recalled was a visual static or a bright white light, followed by a bliss wave and all the effects of a complete "gone" type cessation, along with a mental reset and everything else associated with it. I've also experienced the "frames edited out" kind of cessation, and they seemed to be pretty similar in terms of what the mind took away from the experience. I had read the section in TMI on "consciousness without an object" before having those types of moments, so it's possible that whatever constructing activity happens after the fact depends on what your preconceived notions of cessation happen to be. It's all mind. 
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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I and others appear to have the experience of something that functions as a cessation even though some sense of luminosity is still present. According to Daniel and Michael's definitions, this is not a cessation, meaning it should not have resulted in a path; and yet it is not uncommon.
To hand-wave this away seems like a missed opportunity to really explore what's going on and interrogate the actual, lived, non-theoretical criteria we use.

I don't think there are definitive answers to any of this. Obviously there are meditative traditions and practices that do not include any references to, or descriptions of, cessation. Again, I'm not sure all cessations are obvious, especially if we're not looking for them because we know what they are. And it's possible that Daniel is likewise adding to the appearance of a dichotomy when none actually exists. In my version of this, it's okay to not know. Sometimes certainty is the enemy of accuracy.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Matthew:
"Battle" may be a bit dramatic, you got me. What I meant was, "In the assessment of attainment, the effortless presence of insight seems like a more important indicator than passing through a moment of lights-out-no-awareness." The battle was a battle of priorities.

What I'm really trying to get at here is a phenomenological disagreement. Daniel and Michael say "the moment of lights-out-no-awareness, followed by the lights turning back on, is the culminating event of awakening." Daniel then points out a number of phenomena that occur in quick succession before and after this complete experiential gap.

When I look back at the path-defining events in practice, this doesn't line up for me. I can point to all the peripheral events that occur before and after, with permanent changes in the basic resting state of mind from then on, and can even point to a sort of gap in the middle, but this gap is not lights-out-no-awareness. It's a luminous gap. The lights are on, the room is just empty. Then as the objects phase back into the room, the light shines off of them differently, so to speak. But the experience is continuous.

This is a real dichotomy. If cessation is the culmination, a path-defining event which is physiologically tied to awakening, it's important to have criteria for what "counts." I and others appear to have the experience of something that functions as a cessation even though some sense of luminosity is still present. According to Daniel and Michael's definitions, this is not a cessation, meaning it should not have resulted in a path; and yet it is not uncommon. Even the descriptions of paths 2-4 here seem to imply this type of experience. To hand-wave this away seems like a missed opportunity to really explore what's going on and interrogate the actual, lived, non-theoretical criteria we use.
aloha matthew,

   If you think you have attained something, you haven't.

   "The assessment of attainment" involves false premises. The "steam enterer" has abandoned attainments. There are no attainments in cessation. The "rebooting" of consciousness is a fall from grace. The best we can do is be conscious of this.

   This is not to dismiss what you are saying, but more to follow it to its logical conclusion. "If the cessation is the culmination" then the mere "appearance" of insight and luminosity amount to the reappearance of duality and delusion.

   Have some tea.

terry




from "tales of the dervishes" collected by idries shah...



THE STORY OF TEA


IN ANCIENT times, tea was not known outside China. Rumours of its existence had reached the wise and the unwise of other countries, and each tried to find out what it was in accordance with what he wanted or what he thought it should be.

The King of Inja ('here') sent an embassy to China, and they were given tea by the Chinese Emperor. But, since they saw that the peasants drank it too, they concluded that it was not fit for their royal master: and, furthermore, that the Chinese Emperor was trying to deceive them, passing off some other substance for the celestial drink.

The greatest philosopher of Anja ('there') collected all the information he could about tea, and concluded that it must be a substance which existed but rarely, and was of another order than anything then known. For was it not referred to as being a herb, a water, green, black, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet?

In the countries of Koshish and Bebinem, for centuries the people tested all the herbs they could find. Many were poisoned, all were disappointed. For nobody had brought the tea-plant to their lands, and thus they could not find it. They also drank all the liquids which they could find, but to no avail.

In the territory of Mazhab ('Sectarianism') a small bag of tea was carried in procession before the people as they went on their religious observances. Nobody thought of tasting it: indeed, nobody knew how. All were convinced that the tea itself had a magical quality. A wise man said: 'Pour upon it boiling water, ye ignorant ones!' They hanged him and nailed him up, because to do this, according to their belief, would mean the destruction of their tea. This showed that he was an enemy of their religion.

Before he died, he had told his secret to a few, and they managed to obtain some tea and drink it secretly. When anyone said: 'What
are you doing?' they answered: 'It is but medicine which we take for a certain disease.'

And so it was throughout the world. Tea had actually been seen growing by some, who did not recognize it. It had been given to others to drink, but they thought it the beverage of the common people. It had been in the possession of others, and they worshipped it. Outside China, only a few people actually drank it, and those covertly.

Then came a man of knowledge, who said to the merchants of tea, and the drinkers of tea, and to others: 'He who tastes, knows. He who tastes not, knows not. Instead of talking about the celestial beverage, say nothing, but offer it at your banquets. Those who like it will ask for more. Those who do not, will show that they are not fitted to be tea-drinkers. Close the shop of argument and mystery. Open the teahouse of experience.'

The tea was brought from one stage to another along the Silk Road, and whenever a merchant carrying jade or gems or silk would pause to rest, he would make tea, and offer it to such people as were near him, whether they were aware of the repute of tea or not. This was the beginning of the Chaikhanas, the teahouses which were established all the way from Peking to Bokhara and Samarkand. And those who tasted, knew.

At first, mark well, it was only the great and the pretended men of wisdom who sought the celestial drink and who also exclaimed: 'But this is only dried leaves!' or: 'Why do you boil water, stranger, when all I want is the celestial drink?', or yet again: 'How do I know what this is? Prove it to me. Besides the colour of the liquid is not golden, but ochre!'

When the truth was known, and when the tea was brought for all who would taste, the roles were reversed, and the only people who said things like the great and intelligent had said were the absolute fools. And such is the case to this day.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
terry:
If you think you have attained something, you haven't.
On very rare occasions, I get a glimpse of what you are talking about, terry. I don't mean that to be rude, it just seems beyond my grasp frequently.  I'm very confused here.

Is the key word here 'think' versus knowing it beyond all doubt based on whatever it is that changes for one who hits SE/Anagami/Arahant or what-have-you? Or just the idea of "attaining" which is a bit silly when considering how very normal it is when seen? I always get annoyed with that because a mind-shattering insight absolutely does appear totally normal after-the-fact (like the rope vs. snake) but is alien to the mind functioning prior.

I enjoy your poems and excerpts, by the way. It astounds me how many you have accessible to you for so many given situations. 

As I sit here... I expect I'm so far out in left field on this. It makes me laugh. 
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 3185 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Might find this video I made recently interesting: https://vimeo.com/user13532867 [see top video].

There really is this thing called Cessation, aka Fruition, and it really does do what it is supposed to do.
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Ben V., modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
I really appreciate this video.

The first entrance you mention where you say reality goes "bah dat dat dat" is very familiar for me, except for the cessation that follows (never had cessations).

Is it possible for someone to get conformity knowledge but then fall back to equanimity, without getting cessation?

I think I read somewhere the analogy of a bird on a boat flying away seeking land but coming back to the boat everytime land is not found. I don't remember if this was about falling back from conformity when not finding cessation.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1563 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Ben V., the tricky thing is aspects of A&P events can very closely resemble the three main styles of cessation. Many times there will be an A&P event when someone isn't able to rest in EQ with enough centering. It's like the mind knows it wants to go higher but can't, so it grabs onto the closest equivalent. Very very common. That's why people need to know there will probably be 500 A&P events before first path. If most of this is off retreat, then maybe that number is 1000 or 2000 times. Calling A&P event streamentry is soooo common, when actually it's just another trip through the A&P nana..

It's very similar to how towards the end of second path there can be a "first-path-like cessation" instead of a "second path fruition" --- this happens all the time. Many times people will call it second instead of a repeat of first.

a good natured rant follows... emoticon

This problem is _rampant_ on this board and others. Many people claim first and don't have it. Many people claim second and don't have it. For a number of years there was a lot more "policing" on DhO an /r/streamentry, but now I feel like the quality of diagnosis is lost and probably not able to "put the toothpaste back in the tube."  It falls under the "it takes more energy to correct a untruth than to claim an untruth" and so I personally just let these things be for the most part...

I will say though that it's very clear to experienced meditators who is really practicing, trying to maintain high standards, holding these claims provisionally while talking with other experienced meditators and trying to figure out the truth, etc.

I personally had basically a >perfect< psuedo-cessation event following a week on retreat as a dark night yogi. Looking back, I was clearly not centered in EQ, but WOW, it was a complete unknowing event without experience and my perceptual experience changed (much more sensitive by a factor of 5). But it didn't hold up in terms of other aspects of first path. Even after truly getting first with a teacher, I secretly debated whether my teacher was wrong and it was second. Even after getting third, I debated whether I had actually gotten 4th...  But this was all fine because I kept practicing and kept questioning. It fueled my actual practice.

(And it becomes clear that overcalling is just one aspect of somewhat inevitiable narcissism that gets more clearly seen in practice... and then it's kinda embarassing but excusable because, duh we're competitive mammals that do a lot of social status signalling... )

I think over-calling is somewhat fine if there is also doubt and ongoing practice. It's is totally normal. But I get creeped out when people have a moment of not-knowing and are sure they are first path -- they really haven't thought critically about all the criteria for truly having mature knowledge of the nanas and for first path. And it's scary how quickly they start trying to _teach_ getting to first path! I also get creeped out if someone is claiming a later path and doesn't think they have had cessations. By 3rd path, someone should have had 1000s of small cessations. Could there be outliers? Sure. But it's sort of like clamining to have climbed Everest and saying "you know, I actually found there to be plenty of oxygen, but I'm sure it was Everest because the view is exactly how everyone described" --- well, maybe you weren't really on the right mountain, that seems more likely.

So anyway, I really appreciate people that hold high standards even in the midst of a community of people that are apparently "making more progress". It's important not to lie to oneself and keep working on what still creates reactions and areas of the psyche that are still opaque. That's where any value is derived. Paths mean almost nothing (and are probably over-calling) without being built on a foundation of consistent daily practice. As it obvious, even talking in terms of path can be dangerous because there is always the hidden demon of spiritual pride and all the culty pathologies that pride can create. But I'm grateful for the honest discussion of paths in MCTB, it made a big difference in my life.

end good natured rant emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
About those repeat first path cessations at the end of second... How does one know the difference for sure? I haven't come across much information about how path moments beyond SE manifest. Is there a review phase and signs of a new path starting after those fake path moments as well? 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1563 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
None of this stuff comes with a label on it. None of it is sure, and I'm not even sure about that. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Right. That will have to be okay. I'll just keep practicing, regardless. I'm having some minor issues with motivation for the first time since I started my daily practice, but not enough to keep me from practicing. I guess I should invite Mara over for some tea, like some teachers suggest. 
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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shargrol:
None of this stuff comes with a label on it. None of it is sure, and I'm not even sure about that. emoticon


absolutely!
(grin)
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 3936 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Shargrol --

This problem is _rampant_ on this board and others. Many people claim first and don't have it. Many people claim second and don't have it. For a number of years there was a lot more "policing" on DhO an /r/streamentry, but now I feel like the quality of diagnosis is lost and probably not able to "put the toothpaste back in the tube."  It falls under the "it takes more energy to correct a untruth than to claim an untruth" and so I personally just let these things be for the most part...

+1,  and yes frankly, who has the time to respond to the flood of misinformation?

I get creeped out when people have a moment of not-knowing and are sure they are first path -- they really haven't thought critically about all the criteria for truly having mature knowledge of the nanas and for first path. And it's scary how quickly they start trying to _teach_ getting to first path!

+2
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Shargrol --

This problem is _rampant_ on this board and others. Many people claim first and don't have it. Many people claim second and don't have it. For a number of years there was a lot more "policing" on DhO an /r/streamentry, but now I feel like the quality of diagnosis is lost and probably not able to "put the toothpaste back in the tube."  It falls under the "it takes more energy to correct a untruth than to claim an untruth" and so I personally just let these things be for the most part...

+1,  and yes frankly, who has the time to respond to the flood of misinformation?

I get creeped out when people have a moment of not-knowing and are sure they are first path -- they really haven't thought critically about all the criteria for truly having mature knowledge of the nanas and for first path. And it's scary how quickly they start trying to _teach_ getting to first path!

+2

   All these technical terms remind me of the physicist who didn't want to be bothered with the "subatomic zoo." He said, "If I wanted to learn the names of all those particles, I would have been a botanist."

t

nana
nana nana
nanana
nanana
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Ben V., modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
Thanks Shargrol! Very much appreciated.

What you describe in your first paragraph makes a lot of sense to me, reflecting on what goes on in my practice! 

To be clear, I've never had cessations, so nothing to claim about that. But I do have a consistent daily practice ranging between 45 min. to around 2 hours a day. 

1000 to 2000 A&P events before having a 1st cessation is reassuring to me, actually. Seems what I'm going through is a normal standard emoticon
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Matthew, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 92 Join Date: 10/31/19 Recent Posts
Thank you Daniel, for the video! Even though it is mostly a reiteration of what you had already made available in MCTB, something about the direct verbal presentation, being able to see the emphasis that comes in speech more than in writing, gave a clearer picture to me. Hearing Conformity knowledge described as "badapbap" is always a favorite.

Thank you shargrol, for the good-natured rant! That type of candidness and BS-less-ness is what I appreciate about this community.

I will admit that my dharmic journey (after a beginning in magick, which continues but has its woeful incompleteness supplemented by dharma) has been in the Maha- and Vajrayana side of things, where the maps and methods of traversing them are different. A lot of my dumb questions are attempts to try and find how to re-map things into the language used here at DhO to be able to communicate correctly. With that context, I can see how some playful antinomianism might come off as annoying, overly-theoretical, or uneducated. In future I'll stick to phenomenological descriptions of practice, since that's something we can all share regardless of tradition or conceptual labels.
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spatial, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Here's a personal rant of sorts:

I consider myself a skeptic, and I hope that if anyone believes that I am over-calling my own attainments, they will challenge me on it. All of this vocabulary is still really new to me, and I have considerable doubt as to how to accurately line up my experiences with what I have read about.

The discussions about paths have motivated me to practice harder. I think that seems to be a good thing. It has also led to an unbelievable amount of striving. Maybe that's not a good thing, but I have a hard time imagining how things would have gone otherwise.

shargrol:

I think over-calling is somewhat fine if there is also doubt and ongoing practice. It's is totally normal. But I get creeped out when people have a moment of not-knowing and are sure they are first path -- they really haven't thought critically about all the criteria for truly having mature knowledge of the nanas and for first path. And it's scary how quickly they start trying to _teach_ getting to first path!


This is what scares me. I have an urge to teach what I feel like I know, and I find myself giving out advice here and elsewhere. Yet, my personal life is a mess and my practice is often nothing but confusion to me.

shargrol:
I will say though that it's very clear to experienced meditators who is really practicing, trying to maintain high standards, holding these claims provisionally while talking with other experienced meditators and trying to figure out the truth, etc.


I am wondering if it's a good idea to try harder to get to the truth. I don't know how I would do that. I just read books like MCTB and posts on this forum and try to match up descriptions of subjective experience. This stuff really does sound like Dungeons & Dragons... I have a hard time believing so much of it...and yet, my reality has changed in ways that are simply outside the understanding of normal society. I don't know what to do with that. And even if I'm making progress on the path outlined by Daniel, is that really the same path as that outlined by Buddha???

shargrol:

(And it becomes clear that overcalling is just one aspect of somewhat inevitiable narcissism that gets more clearly seen in practice... and then it's kinda embarassing but excusable because, duh we're competitive mammals that do a lot of social status signalling... )

I am very aware of narcissism that seems to be showing up around my practice. I'm not sure what to do about it other than watch it happen.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I was thinking that this was unfortunately exactly the kind of thing that would make those who already question themselves too much to do so even more. My impression of you, Spatial, is that you are a very diligent practitioner who always seeks out the truth and has very high standards for your practice together with a great amount of humble skepticism. I'm pretty sure you were not the target here, as it is clear to me that you are very well respected by both Shargrol and Chris, and for good reasons. (Just to be clear, I do not consider myself to be one of those experienced meditators who can tell who qualifies and who does not, as I'm still pretty much a newbie, but I think this particular case is as clear as they come, so I'm saying it anyway.) I have learned so much from you, and I'm very grateful for that. 
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
spatial:
Here's a personal rant of sorts:

I consider myself a skeptic, and I hope that if anyone believes that I am over-calling my own attainments, they will challenge me on it. All of this vocabulary is still really new to me, and I have considerable doubt as to how to accurately line up my experiences with what I have read about.

The discussions about paths have motivated me to practice harder. I think that seems to be a good thing. It has also led to an unbelievable amount of striving. Maybe that's not a good thing, but I have a hard time imagining how things would have gone otherwise.

shargrol:

I think over-calling is somewhat fine if there is also doubt and ongoing practice. It's is totally normal. But I get creeped out when people have a moment of not-knowing and are sure they are first path -- they really haven't thought critically about all the criteria for truly having mature knowledge of the nanas and for first path. And it's scary how quickly they start trying to _teach_ getting to first path!


This is what scares me. I have an urge to teach what I feel like I know, and I find myself giving out advice here and elsewhere. Yet, my personal life is a mess and my practice is often nothing but confusion to me.

shargrol:
I will say though that it's very clear to experienced meditators who is really practicing, trying to maintain high standards, holding these claims provisionally while talking with other experienced meditators and trying to figure out the truth, etc.


I am wondering if it's a good idea to try harder to get to the truth. I don't know how I would do that. I just read books like MCTB and posts on this forum and try to match up descriptions of subjective experience. This stuff really does sound like Dungeons & Dragons... I have a hard time believing so much of it...and yet, my reality has changed in ways that are simply outside the understanding of normal society. I don't know what to do with that. And even if I'm making progress on the path outlined by Daniel, is that really the same path as that outlined by Buddha???

shargrol:

(And it becomes clear that overcalling is just one aspect of somewhat inevitiable narcissism that gets more clearly seen in practice... and then it's kinda embarassing but excusable because, duh we're competitive mammals that do a lot of social status signalling... )

I am very aware of narcissism that seems to be showing up around my practice. I'm not sure what to do about it other than watch it happen.

aloha spatial,

   You are overthinking it, bra.

terry




T. P. Kasulis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii.

Philosophy East and West Volume 28, no. 3, July 1978,
p. 353-373 © by University Press of Hawaii



"Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where we differ is that we place a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience and then proceed to make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be 'real' in and of itself."
Ben Sulsky, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 118 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
As a relative beginner meditator and poster on DhO, it's tremendously helpful to me (and I imagine many others like me) to have people with 1k+ posts and lots of experience continuing to spend their time on here.  I can imagine it's frustrating to hear the same overcalls/mistakes/pitfalls again and again for years on end and feel like you're shouting into the wind.  On the other hand, for the person on the receiving end, a response in a thread or a piece of advice can feel personal and empowering even if similar information in the purely logical sense is available elsewhere.  

Best,
Ben
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Ben Sulsky:
As a relative beginner meditator and poster on DhO, it's tremendously helpful to me (and I imagine many others like me) to have people with 1k+ posts and lots of experience continuing to spend their time on here.  I can imagine it's frustrating to hear the same overcalls/mistakes/pitfalls again and again for years on end and feel like you're shouting into the wind.  On the other hand, for the person on the receiving end, a response in a thread or a piece of advice can feel personal and empowering even if similar information in the purely logical sense is available elsewhere.  

Best,
Ben
I agree with this, but I want to add the caveat that just because someone has 1k+ posts here, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are an experienced practitioner. I'm one of the members with most posts, and I'm a relative beginner meditator too. I may very well be one of the persons that are oversharing advice too early. I want to be very clear that I'm not doing that from the position of a teacher, because I'm not qualified for that. I'm a huge fan of peer support, though, and something of an action researcher in the field of mutual support, and that is my take on it. I find that it is in many different cases, meditation included, so much easier to make the journey together with others who are on a similar journey. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Ben V.:
I really appreciate this video.

The first entrance you mention where you say reality goes "bah dat dat dat" is very familiar for me, except for the cessation that follows (never had cessations).

Is it possible for someone to get conformity knowledge but then fall back to equanimity, without getting cessation?

I think I read somewhere the analogy of a bird on a boat flying away seeking land but coming back to the boat everytime land is not found. I don't remember if this was about falling back from conformity when not finding cessation.


That video got me thinking, too. The gesture describing how "this side" and "that side" change places was such an exact illustration of something that I was experiencing almost a month before my assumed stream entry. I had to go back to my log to check the context of it. I hadn't been able to verbalize it very well, but it was a very clear experience. Just not clearly verbalized. I can't use gestures in my log, but if I could, I would have made that exact gesture, because that's what happened. However, I did not notice any cessation afterwards. Thus I wonder, too, if it is possible to have conformity knowledge appear without being followed by a cessation. I also wonder if there was a cessation but I just didn't notice it. I was surprised that so much time had passed, because subjectively, it hadn't (and I wasn't sleepy or dull) but I seriously doubt that it was a cessation long enough to cause that. There was a tangible change in sensory experiences after this, most of which did however not last, and right after it I started to drop into something formless. Still, I doubt that was a cessation because it didn't feel finished. I think that may have been the sort of near miss that brought me to the post 8th junction point for the first time. Ben V, does that sound familiar to you?
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Ben V., modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
"There was a tangible change in sensory experiences after this, most of which did however not last, and right after it I started to drop into something formless. Still, I doubt that was a cessation because it didn't feel finished. I think that may have been the sort of near miss that brought me to the post 8th junction point for the first time. Ben V, does that sound familiar to you?"

Some of it yes. It all started some 3 years ago. I was in a solitary retreat and had a skype session with Kenneth Folk in the middle of it. He felt I was in re-observation and taught me how to expand my awareness in a more paronamic way. This made me go into a very new territory for me I had never been in before. In this expanded awareness it seemed that experiences were known immediately, without the need for mind movements to go after an experience.  It's after that retreat that I began to have moments, when I was in this more expanded state, where very quick, sudden, vibrations would be felt "in the background of my awareness", if that makes sense. It really was like the background was going "badatdatdat" real fast but for a short moment, like maybe for half a second. Right after that, nothing special, except sometimes some pang of fear.

One thing for sure is the feeling that I was not finished! So that part is very familiar to me! As for change in sensory experience, since then sometimes I feel more intimacy with experience, and the "sense that all experiences arise in awareness". Related to that, a sense that a part of the mind never moves around any experience. There is mind movement, and a sense that a part of the mind is always unmoving. This is not a 24h experience though. Even sometimes when walking outside, I would have, and still have at times, the funny feeling that although my body is moving, something in me is not moving. 

Sorry if this sounds overly mystical. But there is a sense of mild frustration that all this is close to something which could happen but is not happening: the cessation of mind. Before all this, cessation of mind seemed like something I could not fathom why people would meditate for that; it seemed painfully nihilistic. But since I've had these experiences (presumably equanimity related), cessation of mind seems the most attractive thing ever. Reflecting on it, it's probably because these is more clear seeing around the fact that all mind-movements contain subtle frustrations. 


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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Ben V.:
"There was a tangible change in sensory experiences after this, most of which did however not last, and right after it I started to drop into something formless. Still, I doubt that was a cessation because it didn't feel finished. I think that may have been the sort of near miss that brought me to the post 8th junction point for the first time. Ben V, does that sound familiar to you?"

Some of it yes. It all started some 3 years ago. I was in a solitary retreat and had a skype session with Kenneth Folk in the middle of it. He felt I was in re-observation and taught me how to expand my awareness in a more paronamic way. This made me go into a very new territory for me I had never been in before. In this expanded awareness it seemed that experiences were known immediately, without the need for mind movements to go after an experience.  It's after that retreat that I began to have moments, when I was in this more expanded state, where very quick, sudden, vibrations would be felt "in the background of my awareness", if that makes sense. It really was like the background was going "badatdatdat" real fast but for a short moment, like maybe for half a second. Right after that, nothing special, except sometimes some pang of fear.

One thing for sure is the feeling that I was not finished! So that part is very familiar to me! As for change in sensory experience, since then sometimes I feel more intimacy with experience, and the "sense that all experiences arise in awareness". Related to that, a sense that a part of the mind never moves around any experience. There is mind movement, and a sense that a part of the mind is always unmoving. This is not a 24h experience though. Even sometimes when walking outside, I would have, and still have at times, the funny feeling that although my body is moving, something in me is not moving. 

Sorry if this sounds overly mystical. But there is a sense of mild frustration that all this is close to something which could happen but is not happening: the cessation of mind. Before all this, cessation of mind seemed like something I could not fathom why people would meditate for that; it seemed painfully nihilistic. But since I've had these experiences (presumably equanimity related), cessation of mind seems the most attractive thing ever. Reflecting on it, it's probably because these is more clear seeing around the fact that all mind-movements contain subtle frustrations. 



I don't think this sounds overly mystical. It doesn't sound like the post 8th junction point either, though, so that leaves my hypothesis in the dark. 

I used to sometimes feel that cessation of the mind sounded painfully nihilistic, too, and the word emptiness even more so, even though I was often longing for the sense of a separate self to dissolve. I was so endlessly tired of me. I was also endlessly tired of the repetitiveness of sociality, having to tell stories about myself over and over again, present myself, position myself... Ugh... I used to joke about wanting to joining the Borg collective. Compared to that, not-self and emptiness are so very far from being painfully nihilistic. Now I have a hard time understanding what it was that felt so scary not that long ago. 

May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May you embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.
May you abide in peace, free from self-grasping.
May you attain the union of wisdom and compassion.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Ben V.:
I really appreciate this video.

The first entrance you mention where you say reality goes "bah dat dat dat" is very familiar for me, except for the cessation that follows (never had cessations).

Is it possible for someone to get conformity knowledge but then fall back to equanimity, without getting cessation?

I think I read somewhere the analogy of a bird on a boat flying away seeking land but coming back to the boat everytime land is not found. I don't remember if this was about falling back from conformity when not finding cessation.


That video got me thinking, too. The gesture describing how "this side" and "that side" change places was such an exact illustration of something that I was experiencing almost a month before my assumed stream entry. I had to go back to my log to check the context of it. I hadn't been able to verbalize it very well, but it was a very clear experience. Just not clearly verbalized. I can't use gestures in my log, but if I could, I would have made that exact gesture, because that's what happened. However, I did not notice any cessation afterwards. Thus I wonder, too, if it is possible to have conformity knowledge appear without being followed by a cessation. I also wonder if there was a cessation but I just didn't notice it. I was surprised that so much time had passed, because subjectively, it hadn't (and I wasn't sleepy or dull) but I seriously doubt that it was a cessation long enough to cause that. There was a tangible change in sensory experiences after this, most of which did however not last, and right after it I started to drop into something formless. Still, I doubt that was a cessation because it didn't feel finished. I think that may have been the sort of near miss that brought me to the post 8th junction point for the first time. Ben V, does that sound familiar to you?
After looking at this chart, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5037f52d84ae1e87f694cfda/t/5475825de4b0ac156d2453a4/1416987229931/Nanas+and+jhanas+tablep1.pdf, I'm thinking that those instances were A&P events, and now when I went back to this thread I see that Shargrol mentions that possibility too. I have been wondering about those instances of door mimicks without cessations and never knew before that they can occur during A&P events. That clarifies a lot.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
T:
terry:
If you think you have attained something, you haven't.
On very rare occasions, I get a glimpse of what you are talking about, terry. I don't mean that to be rude, it just seems beyond my grasp frequently.  I'm very confused here.

Is the key word here 'think' versus knowing it beyond all doubt based on whatever it is that changes for one who hits SE/Anagami/Arahant or what-have-you? Or just the idea of "attaining" which is a bit silly when considering how very normal it is when seen? I always get annoyed with that because a mind-shattering insight absolutely does appear totally normal after-the-fact (like the rope vs. snake) but is alien to the mind functioning prior.

I enjoy your poems and excerpts, by the way. It astounds me how many you have accessible to you for so many given situations. 

As I sit here... I expect I'm so far out in left field on this. It makes me laugh. 


aloha t,

   On very rare occasions, I get a glimpse of what I am talking about too.

   Lots of people, myself included, speak very knowledgeably and even glibly about enlightenment, stream entry, nirvana, buddhadharma and the like. No one really knows what any of these notions actually mean. Think about it: we define words using other words, we find meaning in words which depend on other words, and there is no real basis for any of it. All of this talk is suggestive only, it is art and poetry, if not mere gas.

   There is practice leading to enlightenment, but no one to practice, no one to be enlightened. The entire universe including yourself is One Pearl. Enlightenment is the condition of having overcome the notion of self, having no point of attachment to any passing phenomena.

   Perhaps when one meditates a lot, one comes to a point where all of our thinking is just background noise, to be ignored. We may find that none of it is worth paying any attention to, that we don't miss it at all. Our thinking becomes speech, our speech becomes action. Our action becomes non-action, our speech becomes silence. I can see how this sort of talk can be confusing, but nonduality can't be revealed to dualistic consciousness. It is like swimming in the ocean and scheming to get a hold of some of this water everyone talks about.

   As you say, if you "think" you don't "know." We don't have to think what we know, and if we do "think" we open up to debate and inner or outer dialog, and thus to doubt. 

   The idea of attaining, as you say, is silly in light of the ubiquity of one's "true nature." To be fair, these terms can be (and often are) used in a more technical sense. Talk of "cessation" and "gaps" makes sense in terms of dialog about meditation experiences and the like. Even such phrases as "stream entry," while notional, may refer to a particular set of experiences that those of similar background and practice may understand. Some of these experiences are universally human, and as such have "no dependence on words and letters" as in the zen tenet. So, it may be even more confusing that some can speak of these things in a particular, technical way, and others may brush this aside to get to the heart of the matter. One may speak of attainment and be entirely unattached to any personal sense of accomplishment. Another may speak of non-attainment in much the same way. Hopefully we respect each other's viewpoints and don't take sides and defend our "selves."

   There is no right answer here, no sure way of looking at it. It is your confusion that is at issue here, from seeing and respecting viewpoints that do not seem to coincide. Number one, it is your view that matters, and by this I mean it is no good to "believe in" what you don't understand just because you respect the author. As omar khayyam says, "Take the Cash and let the Credit go." See what is in front of you and don't be fooled. Stick to what you know, and don't stray from that for pie in the sky.  This is "pragmatic dharma," not religion.

   If I seem to be saying, like the fatuous polonius, "to thine own self be true," that is not it at all. It is absolutely not a matter of a reinforced self "navigating" or resolving issues. The taoist metaphor for dealing with confusion is "letting the mud settle." It is not about grasping, it is about letting go. About trusting your nature, letting yourself be as spontaneous, innocent, and sincere as all of the rest of nature. Being present, flowing with what is natural here and now, a part of all and at the same time all - this has nothing to do with attainment.

   The whole idea of attainment, for most people, involves the achievement of a desirable goal, for the sake of personal gain. Most people pursuing spiritual goals are actually further behind than "normal" people who don't even try. It is precisely people pursung spiritual goals who need elementary remedial training in simply being human. In getting in touch with their shadow side and their inner child, that sort of thing. Thus ironical long technical discussions with guys whose wives may be highly attained with no apparent effort at all, and whose kids already know what a lifetime has not yet taught dad.

   It is not about effort, there is no reward for long service, and suffering racks up no bonus. "Attainment" as a valid technical term refers to realizing what is always and ever apparent. That "one attains nothing" has a technical meaning as well. Cessation is a black hole.

   The sufis find all the time that some people know exactly what they are talking about in its technical senses, having "tasted" and having the experience, while others look at the same material and know it is significant, but only "get it" occasionally, or not at all. (The wise fish, the half wise fish, and the unwise fish.)

   I could post lots of excerpts related to these ideas, but I want to leave this with lao tzu's advice on "ruling the kingdom."

terry


from the tao te ching, trans lin yutang:


60. Ruling a Big Country

Rule a big country as you would fry small fish. 
Who rules the world in accord with Tao 
   Shall find that the spirits lose their power. 
It is not that the spirits lose their power, 
   But that they cease to do people harm. 
It is not (only) that they cease to do people harm, 
   The Sage (himself) also does no harm to the people. 
When both do not do each other harm, 
   The original character is restored.
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Matthew, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 92 Join Date: 10/31/19 Recent Posts
Yes, this is based on my experience. I don’t want to claim attainments because I’m more Buddhist than botanist - I’m not here to get stuck in the weeds emoticon

But I will say that what I now know was SE occurred within the context of ritual magic back when I lacked any real knowledge of Buddhism. At the time it felt like a radical opening up to experience rather than a cessation of experience, but it’s possible that that opening was the reboot and I simply didn’t notice the cessation for lack of knowledge of what to look for. It’s also possible that the most recent event that felt like a path attainment was less cessation-y because that’s the natural progression, rather than because that’s the nature of all path attainments.

I still contend that it’s possible to release entirely new depths of clinging via insight without awareness disappearing, which will eventually lead to a path. But perhaps the mechanism I thought enabled that is wrong. 

I am well and truly not an Arhat, so I don’t know what it feels like to become one!
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spatial, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 613 Join Date: 5/20/18 Recent Posts
At the moment I believe was my first cessation, I did not experience anything like "lights out". I was standing in a room with my eyes open, facing the door, when I started to become lost in thought. Suddenly, I had the sense that I was seeing the door for the very first time, that things were going to be profoundly different from now on, and that everything was going to be OK. It was weird, and I had no clue what it was.

I believe I experienced cessations in meditation for a couple years without knowing what they were. Most of them did not involve "lights out". Instead, they felt like abrupt discontinuities, like getting engrossed in a TV show and then suddenly somebody comes along and changes the channel. For a long time, that really frustrated me, because I felt like my concentration was getting messed up. The worst part was that I knew it happened every time my concentration became really good, so I just couldn't figure out what the heck I was doing wrong.

I have also had experiences in meditation that felt like cessations, but had no obvious discontinuity. I'm not sure what to make of those.

The more I pay attention, the more my experience does seem to line up with what Daniel describes. His descriptions seem to be based on obsessive focus on specific moments in the process, which most people will simply not notice. And, it's also probably somewhat subjective that he (or Mahasi) chooses those specific moments to focus on.

I'm pretty sure I too went down the line of thinking that you outlined in your original post, but I think there's something not quite right about it. The way I see it is that cessation is simply the ceasing of consciousness. The mind has resolved every problem that it is currently working on, and just stops functioning until something new shows up. This does not necessarily mean that you have worked through every single issue at that layer of the mind, but only that there's nothing in the present environment that is a cause for concern. So, the cessation itself is a non-event. It's not the result of insight, or the cause of insight. However, getting to the point where you are able to consciously witness the mind shutting itself down (and starting itself back up) requires working through quite a lot of stuff, and that process is what produces insight.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
spatial:
I believe I experienced cessations in meditation for a couple years without knowing what they were. Most of them did not involve "lights out". Instead, they felt like abrupt discontinuities, like getting engrossed in a TV show and then suddenly somebody comes along and changes the channel. For a long time, that really frustrated me, because I felt like my concentration was getting messed up. The worst part was that I knew it happened every time my concentration became really good, so I just couldn't figure out what the heck I was doing wrong.
This lines up exactly with my experiences in the last six months on a couple of occasions and really appreciate you sharing it. I am not tuned in/focused enough to understand/see what Daniel describes, or what you say you are starting to see. However, this description couldn't be more spot on from my meditation experiences.
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Matthew, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 92 Join Date: 10/31/19 Recent Posts
spatial:
At the moment I believe was my first cessation, I did not experience anything like "lights out". I was standing in a room with my eyes open, facing the door, when I started to become lost in thought. Suddenly, I had the sense that I was seeing the door for the very first time, that things were going to be profoundly different from now on, and that everything was going to be OK. It was weird, and I had no clue what it was.

I believe I experienced cessations in meditation for a couple years without knowing what they were. Most of them did not involve "lights out". Instead, they felt like abrupt discontinuities, like getting engrossed in a TV show and then suddenly somebody comes along and changes the channel. 
I agree with T, this is an excellent description, and way, way more in line with what insight feels like to me than "lights out then back on again." It's almost like when someone turns off the air conditioning - you didn't notice the sound was there, but then suddenly you notice its absence.

If this "counts" as a cessation, perhaps the inspiration behind this thread is a non-issue. But if so, I wish the language that dharma educators use would reflect this! Many in the so-called pragmatic dharma world emphasize a moment of total absence of any experience as a necessary component. This is apparently not a noticeable aspect of the experiences of many here, not just myself. This clearly has the capacity to create confusion.
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Michial N, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 102 Join Date: 10/27/19 Recent Posts
I agree with T, this is an excellent description, and way, way more in line with what insight feels like to me than "lights out then back on again." It's almost like when someone turns off the air conditioning - you didn't notice the sound was there, but then suddenly you notice its absence.

If this "counts" as a cessation, perhaps the inspiration behind this thread is a non-issue. But if so, I wish the language that dharma educators use would reflect this! Many in the so-called pragmatic dharma world emphasize a moment of total absence of any experience as a necessary component. This is apparently not a noticeable aspect of the experiences of many here, not just myself. This clearly has the capacity to create confusion.

Cessation and a moment of insight can be two diffrent things. You can have insight without a cessation. Just as you can have a cessation without a moment of insight after it. You cannot have "SE" without knowing what a real Cessation is like. They go hand in hand. There is a lot of things that sound like cessation. 
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
Michial N:
I agree with T, this is an excellent description, and way, way more in line with what insight feels like to me than "lights out then back on again." It's almost like when someone turns off the air conditioning - you didn't notice the sound was there, but then suddenly you notice its absence.

If this "counts" as a cessation, perhaps the inspiration behind this thread is a non-issue. But if so, I wish the language that dharma educators use would reflect this! Many in the so-called pragmatic dharma world emphasize a moment of total absence of any experience as a necessary component. This is apparently not a noticeable aspect of the experiences of many here, not just myself. This clearly has the capacity to create confusion.

Cessation and a moment of insight are two diffrent things. You can have insight without a cessation. Just as you can have a cessation without a moment of insight after it. You cannot have "SE" without knowing what a real Cessation is like. They go hand in hand. There is a lot of things that sound like cessation. 
Regarding my initial take - I have no basis to know about SE, I don't believe. Seems like I'd know, but I honestly have no idea based on all the confusing takes I read. 

That said - I would tend to agree with you on the separation. I can point out specific things that are insights I have "discovered" throughout this process that hit me like "whoa!" at the moment my mind saw the puzzle(s) clearly. Those are distinct from the experiences I'm relating to in Spatial's post. 
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 3936 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Once more from this particular peanut gallery - I wouldn't put such a fine point on this cessation issue because we know it varies by person and by practice.

JMHO
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Michial N, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 102 Join Date: 10/27/19 Recent Posts
True True.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Matthew:
spatial:
At the moment I believe was my first cessation, I did not experience anything like "lights out". I was standing in a room with my eyes open, facing the door, when I started to become lost in thought. Suddenly, I had the sense that I was seeing the door for the very first time, that things were going to be profoundly different from now on, and that everything was going to be OK. It was weird, and I had no clue what it was.

I believe I experienced cessations in meditation for a couple years without knowing what they were. Most of them did not involve "lights out". Instead, they felt like abrupt discontinuities, like getting engrossed in a TV show and then suddenly somebody comes along and changes the channel. 
I agree with T, this is an excellent description, and way, way more in line with what insight feels like to me than "lights out then back on again." It's almost like when someone turns off the air conditioning - you didn't notice the sound was there, but then suddenly you notice its absence.

If this "counts" as a cessation, perhaps the inspiration behind this thread is a non-issue. But if so, I wish the language that dharma educators use would reflect this! Many in the so-called pragmatic dharma world emphasize a moment of total absence of any experience as a necessary component. This is apparently not a noticeable aspect of the experiences of many here, not just myself. This clearly has the capacity to create confusion.

The way I read it, what Spatial describes is a moment of total absense of any experience. It is a moment that is totally cut out from experience, like the seamless changing of scenes inbetween clips in a film or when somebody abruptly changes the TV channel. 
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svmonk, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Probably a bit late in the thread, but I agree with Daniel here, though I think the duration and nature of the cessation varies by individual, as always, as Chris says. With me, I had like 2 minor cessations, where experience just stopped for maybe a minute or so while I was walking around, then rebooted, before a major one 6 months later while I was sitting in meditation that lasted for, I don't know how long, maybe 30 minutes? an hour? I was in retreat at the time so it's hard to say. After that, I had occasional cessations while walking around for the next two days, before a major 4 week A&P event happened and ended them. Since then, nothing.

Hope that helps.
Henry wijaya, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 7/7/18 Recent Posts
Matthew:

So my thesis is: complete cessation is not strictly necessary before Arhatship. It is helpful, but not required.

Thoughts?


Yes I agree, I had both, the cessation and the insights. But insights is most important and can definitely changed someone right  away without cessation, even in suttas agrees with your opinions, try and read early buddhist texts , mostly SE achieved on hearing dhammas.


Don't put such an importance to cessation, why? because it just another experience. Experience always in the past, is living in the past what Buddha taught?

The more outstanding experience the more it could make you feel like you're someone special, you will try hard for those new craving, next you'll be claiming attainments and talk shows.. While all your insights tells you that you are just a seeing, touching, hearing, no self. No one is here. Only activity, no existence.

From ordinary to "extra" ordinary
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Beyond the endless and confusing definitions of cessation, my personal view is that the importance of cessation isn't in "how" it plays out for any given person. It happens however it happens - big, small, noticed, not noticed, whatever.

The importance of cessation lies in the insight it engenders:

1. Consciousness is impermanent
2. Consciousness is not "me"
3. Consciousness is conditional, being a product of mind
4. If not perceiving in a habitual way with subject/object, there is no consciousness
5. Etc.

That these insights occur and are adopted at an innate, deeply grokked level and without further doubt is what really matters to advance the realization of the nature of existence.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Agree. 
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Chris Marti:
Beyond the endless and confusing definitions of cessation, my personal view is that the importance of cessation isn't in "how" it plays out for any given person. It happens however it happens - big, small, noticed, not noticed, whatever.

The importance of cessation lies in the insight it engenders:

1. Consciousness is impermanent
2. Consciousness is not "me"
3. Consciousness is conditional, being a product of mind
4. If not perceiving in a habitual way with subject/object, there is no consciousness
5. Etc.

That these insights occur and are adopted at an innate, deeply grokked level and without further doubt is what really matters to advance the realization of the nature of existence.


aloha chris,

   I watched pbs nova's show on black holes last night on netflix. Physicists obviously can't see black holes, so they study them by seeing how things around them are affected. The first black hole was detected by looking for binary stars in which one of the pair was invisible.

   There is a theoretical "event horizon" to a black hole where true voidness begins. And theoretically the mass of the black hole is infintiely great and the point of its concentration infinitely small. But what we can actually "see" is the "accretion disk," where objects seem to surround the black hole as they approach it.

   This reminds me of the insights associated with cessation.

terry
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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terry --

This reminds me of the insights associated with cessation.

Me, too. That is not a bad analogy.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Chris Marti:
terry --

This reminds me of the insights associated with cessation.

Me, too. That is not a bad analogy.


metaphor
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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Chris Marti:


   I know the difference, obviously, or I wouldn't have made the distinction.

  Is the cessation of human consciousness analogous to the death of a star? or a gravity well? Are the processes analogous? Or is "a black hole" a metaphor for cessation? Is consciousness analogous to light, or is light a metaphor for consciousness? Can any conception or image provide an analogy to cessation? Particularly one from subject-object oriented "science"?

   First a massive star fuses all its hydrogen, then helium, creating heavier elements which fuse, going through silicon, then carbon and finally iron, past which elements no longer fuse. In the absence of fusion, the resulting neutron star's contents collapse inward, forming a concentration of matter so dense even photons cannot escape its gravitational force. At the center of each galaxy is a super-massive black hole, around which stars rotate, and into whose maw stars expire.

   It might be interesting to see this spun into an analogy, but I'll settle for metaphor.

t
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 910 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Ooooh!  Can I play too?  The black hole is a metaphor, but the process of inference from observed to unobserved is an analogy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAvcGcEc0k


emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

emoticon
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Siavash Mahmoudpour, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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curious:
Ooooh!  Can I play too?  The black hole is a metaphor, but the process of inference from observed to unobserved is an analogy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAvcGcEc0k


emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

emoticon


Glad you said it! I wanted to mention that too, but since I am not a native speaker, I did hesitate :-D .
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
The debated text chunk - just like its referent - is the elephant being observed by different blind men.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

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curious:
Ooooh!  Can I play too?  The black hole is a metaphor, but the process of inference from observed to unobserved is an analogy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAvcGcEc0k


emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

emoticon

aloha malcolm,

   I agree that a black hole is a metaphor for cessation. I understand that an analogy is between processes. I don't agree that cessation is inferred from the presence of insight. Nor that insight is processual.

   The fallacy is as simple as: some s is p, therefore all s is p. Some insight is associated with cessation, but all insight is not. And association is not process.

   The point could be argued. In the end it depends on experience.

   The video was entertaining.

terry



In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus -
A lovely sunset

~basho
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
terry:
curious:
Ooooh!  Can I play too?  The black hole is a metaphor, but the process of inference from observed to unobserved is an analogy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAvcGcEc0k


emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

emoticon

aloha malcolm,

   I agree that a black hole is a metaphor for cessation. I understand that an analogy is between processes. I don't agree that cessation is inferred from the presence of insight. Nor that insight is processual.

   The fallacy is as simple as: some s is p, therefore all s is p. Some insight is associated with cessation, but all insight is not. And association is not process.

   The point could be argued. In the end it depends on experience.

   The video was entertaining.

terry



In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus -
A lovely sunset

~basho

Metaphors
by Sylvia Plath

I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
terry:
curious:
Ooooh!  Can I play too?  The black hole is a metaphor, but the process of inference from observed to unobserved is an analogy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAvcGcEc0k


emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

emoticon

aloha malcolm,

   I agree that a black hole is a metaphor for cessation. I understand that an analogy is between processes. I don't agree that cessation is inferred from the presence of insight. Nor that insight is processual.

   The fallacy is as simple as: some s is p, therefore all s is p. Some insight is associated with cessation, but all insight is not. And association is not process.

   The point could be argued. In the end it depends on experience.

   The video was entertaining.

terry



In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus -
A lovely sunset

~basho

 from "the essential rumi," trans coleman barks


16. Rough Metaphors: More Teaching Stories

On Roughness

Some of Rumi’s metaphors are rough, raw, and unacceptable to refined tastes. When Reynold Nicholson translated the Mathnawi into English in the 19205, he chose to render some passages into Latin, supposing that anyone who knew enough Latin to read them would be properly shielded from taint. Rumi uses anything human beings do, no matter how scandalous or cruel or silly, as a lens to examine soul growth. A gourd crafted to serve as a flange, allowing a donkey’s penis to enter a woman’s vagina just to the point of her pleasure but not far enough to harm her, becomes a metaphor for a device a sheikh might use to put limits on a disciple. After another graphic, outrageously elaborated comparison of breadmaking with lovemaking, he concludes, “Remember. The way you make love is the way God will be with you.” For Rumi, the bread of every experience offers nourishment.


ROUGH METAPHORS

Someone said, “there is no dervish,
or if there is a dervish, that dervish
is not there.”

Look at a candle flame in bright
noon sunlight.
  If you put cotton next to it, the cot-
ton will burn,
   but its light has become com-
pletely mixed
     with the sun.
   That candlelight you can’t find is
what’s left of a dervish.

If you sprinkle one ounce of vinegar
over
  two hundred tons of sugar,
   no one will ever taste the vinegar.

A deer faints in the paws of a lion.
The deer becomes
   another glazed expression on the
face of the lion.

These are rough metaphors for
what happens to the lover.

There’s no one more openly irrever-
ent than a lover. He, or she,
   jumps up on the scale opposite
eternity
    and claims to balance it.

And no one more secretly reverent.

A grammar lesson: “The lover
died.”
   “Lover” is subject and agent, but
that can’t be!
     The “lover” is defunct.

Only grammatically is the dervish-
lover a doer.

In reality, with he or she so over-
come,
   so dissolved into love,
    all qualities of doingness
     disappear.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 3936 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I'm just happy for the lesson, ya'll.

emoticon
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:


some analogies, from ajahn chah, trans thanisarro bhikkhu, from the access to insight website: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/chah/insimpleterms.html


THE SPITTOON

About anatta: In simple terms this means "not-self." But it depends on there being a sense of self; it depends on there being a sense of atta. That's why there's anatta. And it's a correct anatta, too. When there's no atta, anatta doesn't appear. For example: You don't have this spittoon in your house, so the affairs of this spittoon don't bother you. Whether it breaks or gets cracked or gets stolen by thieves, none of these things bother your heart — because there's no cause, no condition. How is that? Because there's no spittoon in your house.

If there's a spittoon in your house, that's a sense of self arising. When the spittoon breaks, it hits you. When it gets lost, it hits you — because the spittoon now has an owner. That's called atta. That's the state it has. As for the state of anatta, it means that there's no spittoon in your house, so there's no mind state that has to keep watch over the spittoon and protect it, no fear that thieves will steal it. Those states are no longer there.

These things are called state-phenomena (sabhava-dhamma). There are causes and conditions, but they're simply there, that's all.



CARRYING A ROCK

"Letting go" actually means this: It's as if we're carrying a heavy rock. As we carry it, we feel weighed down but we don't know what to do with it, so we keep on carrying it. As soon as someone tells us to throw it away, we think, "Eh? If I throw it away, I won't have anything left." So we keep on carrying it. We aren't willing to throw it away.

Even if someone tells us, "Come on. Throw it away. It'll be good like this, and you'll benefit like that," we're still not willing to throw it away because we're afraid we won't have anything left. So we keep on carrying it until we're so thoroughly weak and tired that we can't carry it anymore. That's when we let it go.

Only when we let it go do we understand letting go. We feel at ease. And we can sense within ourselves how heavy it felt to carry the rock. But while we were carrying it, we didn't know at all how useful letting go could be.



A SENSE THAT YOUR ARM IS SHORT

The Buddha's teachings are direct, straightforward, and simple, but hard for someone who's starting to practice them because his knowledge can't reach them. It's like a hole: People by the hundreds and thousands complain that the hole is deep because they can't reach to its bottom. There's hardly anybody who will say that the problem is that his arm is short.

The Buddha taught us to abandon evil of every kind. We skip over this part and go straight to making merit without abandoning evil. It's the same as saying the hole is deep. Those who say their arms are short are rare.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Those are really good ones. Thanks for sharing!
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svmonk, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 8/23/14 Recent Posts
Hi Henry,

Actually cessation is the absence of experience. What we construct around it after coming out is the experience. emoticon
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 5487 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Yup. And as far as experiences goes, even the constructed ones are exetremely banal when it comes to cessations. In order to make something extraordinary out of it, one would need a very vivid imagination. 
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Cessation: How Necessary Is It Really?

Posts: 1681 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
svmonk:
Hi Henry,

Actually cessation is the absence of experience. What we construct around it after coming out is the experience. emoticon


the following is more a comment on this whole thread...aloha svm nonetheless...

t



See KOAN: Chih-huang, Tai-yung, Samadhi at http://wanderling.tripod.com/tai_yung.html.



Zen master Tai-yung, passing by the retreat of another Zen master named Chih-huang, stopped and during his visit respectfully asked, "I am told that you frequently enter into Samadhi. At the time of such entrances, does your consciousness continue or are you in a state of unconsciousness? If your consciousness continues, all sentient beings are endowed with consciousness and can enter into Samadhi like yourself. If, on the other hand, you are in a state of unconsciousness, plants and rocks can enter into Samadhi." Huang replied, "When I enter into a Samadhi, I am not conscious of either condition." Yung said, "If you are not conscious of either condition, this is abiding in eternal Samadhi, and there can be neither entering into a Samadhi nor rising out of it."

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