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A thought on paths

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A thought on paths
Answer
12/18/19 7:08 PM
It seems to me that the various marks of stream entry mostly flow from a single thing: The person can now watch themselves 'selfing' on a day to day basis, though not always on a moment by moment basis. Because of this, there is a limit to how caught up in identification they can become. Strong identification that causes negative affect (instantiating a self in the lower three realms) causes remembering and is seen through. Thus an overall dampening of intense selfing/identity view.

Likewise, after second path craving is known experientially in day to day life, though not always on a moment by moment basis. Because of this, there is a limit to how caught up in craving they can become. Strong craving causes remembering and is seen though. Thus an overall dampening of intense craving.

I don't have any experience to draw on for anything else, but I do wonder if there's something similar for third path with boundaries between things (sense doors, skhandas, the 3 chars. themselves, etc.) since presumably one would have direct experience of these as fabrications, thus putting an upper bound on how seriously one can take them.

Curious if anyone has some good counter examples or other ideas.

(note I don't think this is an original formulation by any means, I mostly wonder what things people think a compression like this would miss or be misleading)

RE: A thought on paths
Answer
12/21/19 2:31 PM as a reply to Romeo Stevens.
Crossposting from r/streamentry for purposes of discussion:

McNidi3 points · 1 hour ago
Doesn‘t an overall increase in mindfulness lead to an inreased awareness of
selfing, liking, disliking etc? Just wondering whether the things you
described would really only be changes experienced through path
attainments or just an overall increase of mindfulness throughout the
day, as a result of intense practice.


RomeoStevens1 point · 19 minutes ago
That's a good point, there seems to be some sort of qualitative shift that
happens with close enough watching of the specific moments eg as in the
A&P. It might be that catching the moment of a self dissolving is
the primary thing. Likewise with tanha, it might be the specific moment
of sufficient mindfulness at the moment of dissolution that the mind
just clearly sees the increase in well being. I'm reminded of Shinzen
saying that if he could only tech one technique it would be 'note gone'.

Edit:
yeah there seems to be something interesting there. I just went to eat
an apple and paused to examine the mind's activity. There was definitely
an intentional self (skipping past the individual sensations that make
up that), and I was able to elicit craving by considering the world in
which I bite into the apple and it tastes really good vs the one in
which I find out it is rotten. Then, biting into the apple the intending
self drops out to be replaced by the experiencer of the actual flavor.
Watching this self drop out what I noticed was that although this
particular self (get apple self) could have been frustrated or satisfied
in its goal, while it was active there were no other selves to be
frustrated or satisfied. So the satisfaction or frustration of that self
occurs in a larger space that is mostly *not* frustrated or satisfied,
but content. This feels related to fundamental ignorance, to the mind's
tendency to skip over everything that isn't surprisingly good or
surprisingly bad. Also, it felt more obvious than usual how craving
plants the seed for future craving. This self was reinforced by being
successful in causing the sensations of sugar and calories so it is ever
so slightly upvoted.

This suggests one reframe as: figuring out how to configure things such that
selfing gets flagged as an error and thus gets promoted to conscious
attention.

shargrol4 points · 14 hours ago · edited 13 hours ago
This
sounds intellectual. In both of your path examples, there is some
"thing" that watches, gets caught up, remembers, etc. This would be
normal, conventional psychological thinking and experience. Everyone is
capable of these types of relationships with experience.The
road to stream entry causes a deep change in how we view the idea of
there is some person "in here" relating to the world "out there" and the
idea that "I am the mind and experience is in my mind".Where
is the boundary between self and other? Where is the division between
my mind and the world? Insight, albeit incomplete, into those sorts of
questions happen with (A&P and) path moments. And those kinds of
insights simply cannot be described.The
very cool thing is along the way to the various path moments, we learn a
lot about the way our mind works, so we adopt more skillful ways to
live...But fundamentally psychological thinking/models is different than the meditation models. They are different domains.
EDIT: I just re-read this and it sounds kind of dismissive --- that's not my intention.My
goal is to point out that path moments seriously undermine a sense of
conventional self -- but not in an intellectual way. It changes the
pre-verbal relationship to the self. That's their power. Selfing isn't
bad in itself (ugh, no pun intended). The buddha talked about himself
all the time. But it's a tool. The problem is we _believe_ in the self,
feel that the self is vulnerable, need to protect it, feel threatened
when people disagree with us, etc. because a lot of what we do is simply
ego defense, so to speak.It's
much like saying that "I live in Smithville County" but wherever you
look you can't find anything in the tangible world that is labelled
Smithville. Yet without the concept of Smithville, the people of
smithville wouldn't pay taxes, have sewer lines, get their garbage
picked up, etc. And if someday it makes sense for smithville to combine
with jonesville, no big deal. Or if smithville goes away, no one
magically dies. But with a sense of self, it feels like if it goes away,
we're going to die. You see what I mean? Self is functional, but not
quite real. Yet -- without a doubt -- people feel they need to defend
the self. That self-that-needs-protecting aspect is what path moments
are about.
EDIT
2: First path is watching the entire self go away... and viscerally
realizing that the experience can happen without pain or loss... and in
fact it feels kinda good. The road to first path is about moving through
a lot of non-verbal existential fears of losing the self.Second
path is similar except much more subtle because the road to second
really undermines the way the self is solidified. The formless jhanas
have a way of redefining how we conceptualize body/mind/self.Hope this helps.

RomeoStevens2 points · 5 hours ago · edited 4 hours ago
Thanks!
I think you're mostly referring to the moment of path insight itself
and I'm referring to what it's like day to day afterwards. I'm not
referring to how people think about selfing, craving, boundaries, but
rather their relationship to it in experience (even saying it like that
reifies a separate observer, I don't know how to language such that it
is highlighted that that's wrong).I
agree any backwards facing reification is going to potentially be in
danger of being ungrounded in experience. Also agree that selfing isn't
good/bad. Undoing the functional fixed-ness between ones' 'beliefs about
the world' map and their 'beliefs about values/goals' map is one of the
things that progresses.

mick34052 points · 1 day ago
Begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error.

RomeoStevens2 points · 1 day ago
Man, I guess all those models in the Pali discourses are full of shit~. More
compassionately, you seem to have fallen for some mindlessness
teachings. Empty mind is a tool useful for progress, not the end goal

.
level 6Gojeezy2 points · 1 day ago
They just aren't reality. And so reasoning about it, without first having
transcended it, a person necessarily falls into error.

level 7electrons-streaming1 point · 3 hours ago
Thats not my view. The rational mind can completely understand what is
happening and it isnt supernatural or really that interesting. We are
just mammals and we are lost in our own heads the same way squirrels and
manatees are. "awakening" is just waking the fuck up to that fact and
realizing the stream of experience in the mind has no owner and no
meaning and no importance. The same as the stream of experience in an
ants consciousness has no real owner or importance. Realizing that with
the rational mind, your model of reality changes slowly and as you step
through the "paths" (which I am not sure I believe in) the mind becomes
unified in this new understanding and eventually stops producing
nervous tension and can drop the whole fabrication project when
conditions permit.

level 8Gojeezy1 point · 2 hours ago · edited 2 hours ago
Reasoning isn't a problem. It's that before any sort of awakening a being that
reasons is one and the same as a being that identifies with reasoning.
It's the identification that is the error.Same
reason that being born is having fallen into error. Before any sort of
awakening, a being with a body is the same as a being that identifies
with said body.In this sense,
before awakening the rational mind actually can't completely understand
what is happening. There is always that fundamental ignorance that
clings to experience and therefore deludes the mind. Whereas, a being
that has fully awoken can actually fully understand reality because they
aren't deluded by clinging.


level 9electrons-streaming2 points · 2 hours ago
Yeah, I think I jumped the gun on my response, sorry. I dont actually agree
that pure reason doesn't lead to awakening, but I do agree that for most
people if you try to reason your way out it is likely that you will
have underlying assumptions (like that uou exist!) that will send your
line of reasoning off in a dead end direction and perhaps even further
convince yourself of something that isnt true.I was responding to the straw man idea that using the rational mind is a hinderance to awakening. I have found the opposite.

level 10RomeoStevens1 point · just now
Second this, if a mind couldn't be helpful then a book like The Seeing that
Frees would be in error in its general pedagogical thrust. Many
experienced teachers name their time thinking that mindlessness was the
correct direction for training as having been in error, including
Shinzen.

RE: A thought on paths
Answer
12/22/19 7:23 PM as a reply to Romeo Stevens.
Romeo Stevens:
It seems to me that the various marks of stream entry mostly flow from a single thing: The person can now watch themselves 'selfing' on a day to day basis, though not always on a moment by moment basis. 

I think the first three fetters are released on stream entry/awakening/kensho. Why? Because there is knowledge of at LEAST the empty nature of self, though possibly the empty nature of mind and reality. 

In some rare (I think) cases there is complete and stable insight, where all fetters are gone, but for the most part there is the experience of struggling to recapture the first moment of insight, and then various depths of moment to moment seeing. The paths, bhumis, or fetters may or may not be noticed or exist in between the first insight and stable seeing. It is eventually obvious that the paths, bhumis, fetters, stages, your carefully contrived maps and ideas, etc. were all conceptual nonsense. emoticon

(edit)

I'll just add that listening to Shargrol is ALWAYS a good idea, regardless of where you read the posting.

RE: A thought on paths
Answer
12/23/19 8:52 PM as a reply to Romeo Stevens.
Some of the most embarrassing things I have done have occured after my stream entry claim on here. Trying to barracaid myself in my room being one of them.

Dietrich.

RE: A thought on paths
Answer
12/27/19 3:08 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
It is eventually obvious that the paths, bhumis, fetters, stages, your carefully contrived maps and ideas, etc. were all conceptual nonsense. emoticon




Well, yes in the sense that the validity of all those categories were meaningful because they referred to a nonsensical way of setting up a perceptual system (ie default human perception). In the same way a screwdriver is a nonsensical object in a world that no longer has any screws.