Extending the duration of the cessation event

Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago.

Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 15 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Hi everyone

I am very new here. Just joined today. I was directed by some friends on r/streamentry to come here to post a query I had. Here is a brief overview of my practice and my query towards the end:


Relevant background:

  • 3.5 years and 2700 hours of formal timed practice based on MIDL (satipatthana based system) and TMI. Multiple hundreds of hours more of un-timed practice afforded by insomnia.
  • Navigated the stages in the PoI multiple times, currently cycling a lot from the knowledge of fear to lower equanimity in every sit. Some times higher equanimity and cessations (Yes ... I know)
  • Stream Entry approx one year ago, Sakadagami approx three months after that
  • I hold labels / titles / places on maps in a very serious, and at the same time a very light hearted way. I find the paradigm useful to plan the way forward. These words have meaning for me only in a project planning kind of way.
  • I Place myself on stage 8/9 of TMI - have stopped tracking progress in that rubric since a short while, but hold the skills and structured approach in very high value
  • Can do all the rupa and arupa jhanas in and out of order.
  • Can wilfully induce a nirodha sampatti - sometimes not always - if I am lucky (I am not attained to Anagami)
  • Very intuitive and non-conceptual in practice - highly conceptual, rubric and paradigm driven in planning my practice - served me well so far. Can very fluidly abandon the rubric and pick up any other that makes sense.

The Problem:

In meditation whenever I get into a nice flow I experience cessation events. This happens even when I do observation at sense doors using momentary concentration. Any given cycle on the PoI on a good day (sometimes not always) ends in a cessation. This also happens in any Shamatha practice. Comes out of the blue with very brief moments reminding me of higher equanimity. I was initially under the impression that cessations happen 4 times with fruitions happening after those 4 times in order to solidify the learning. I no longer have that impression. I have personally lost count of cessations/fruitions.I believe that the experience of being inside a cessation is not of much use. But the build up to the cessation, the dissolving of the world that the mind constructs and the rebuilding of it after cessation is where the honey lies. I currently do not have the meditation chops to either slow down the process or to speed up my power of observation

My question:

In your practice (direct experience) or in your intellectual study of books, blogs, videos, sutras, commentaries (The intellect is very important) of the practice have you come across a way or a method of extending / stretching out the entire dissolving, cessation, reconstruction event. Can you please help me with tips / pointers / detailed instructions etc. If you do this intuitively in practice then is it possible for you to take the experiential, and for the sake of explanation (as limp as it may seem to you), convert it into explanatory language.

Thanks a ton.

I have copy pasted this question/post from reddit, I hope I am not violating any etiquette
punto, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 20 Join Date: 1/17/18 Recent Posts
Just casual sharing and not an answer to your question, but from your post I am left wondering why you think the entry and exit from cessation is so important?

For me (and not to say this is the same for you), progress has always been about seeing something totally new, and this is much more about the way of practicing than the result (cessation).

So what types of phenomena might be worth exploring in terms of 'deconstructing' experience? Some ideas: physical space, location, time, thought space, quality of attention, aperture of attention, movement of attention, decision, intention, agency, watching, subject vs. object.
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 15 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Hi Punto

The dissolving of all mental fabrications and the rebuilding of all mental fabrications contains within it the opportunity to see the entirety of one's conscious experience getting destroyed and reconstructed. This is a 'sweet spot' where this entire project can be wrapped up with a ribbon on top. This is my intuition and 'limited' experience based hypothesis.

Regarding seeing something 'new'. I dont believe we see anything new anywhere, its always a spiral, you go over the same territory again and again in order to gain a deeper and deeper understanding, a greater and greater dispassion and increasing wisdom.

"physical space, location, time, thought space, quality of attention, aperture of attention, movement of attention, decision, intention, agency, watching, subject vs. object"

Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I do all of these things already on the fly continuously - sequentially in attention heavy practice and parallely in awareness heavy practice - which I am not proficient with. Certainly helps to be reminded. emoticon

Be Well.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 3192 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear Adi,

If you are up for a talk about this, let me know, as, while internet forums are great for what they do, sorting out various deep phemoneology, comparing disparate models and criteria, clarifying subtle experiences, asking complex follow up questions, lining up terms, and the like is a tedious business that typically takes 1-3 hours by phone just to get anything like a decent start and vastly longer by internet forum when it can even be done.

Best wishes,

Daniel
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 15 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Dear Daniel

Thank you so much for writing to me. I would love to talk to you. I live in Mumbai India. Would you like to do a video call on zoom? Any other medium?
Also in order to coordinate, do we interact with each other here, or should I email you?

Thanks
Adi
Ben Sulsky, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 118 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
Hi Adi,

Here's the bit from Mahasi's Practical Insight Meditation dealing with duration; I've clipped it in a gyazo because it's a pdf but if you go in google books it's page 39-40, https://gyazo.com/1e5d04cc1e5fcf66d0e40f555d3a6a63 ., https://gyazo.com/21abff35a120e02fc529737e5cb8bc7a

The passages raised the question about whether the longer duration cessations are a little bit more 8th jhana like and leave some kind of residue?  Or not?  
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 15 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot Ben. The pages you shared refer to forming a firm resolve to extend the duration of the cessations. I have tried that in the past, I will keep trying this. So far unsuccesful.

I was hoping to hear from folks who may have a way of finessing this!
Ben Sulsky, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 118 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
Adi,

I do a lot of concentration practice as well, and there are fuzzy borders between concentration and insight.

I think this passage might help you "finesse" this: (from one by one as they occurred sutta)


16] "And the states in the base of ‘Nothingness’ - the perception of the base of ‘Nothingness’ and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness, the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; know to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ‘So indeed, these states not having been, come into to being; having been, they vanish.’ Regarding these states he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this’, and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

17] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of ‘Nothingness’ Sariputta entered upon and abided in the base of neither perception nor non-perception.

18] "He emerged mindful from that attainment. Having done so, he contemplated the states that had passed, ceased and changed, thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been they vanished. Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this,’ and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

19] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the cessation of perception and feeling. And his taints were destroyed by his seeing with wisdom.

20] "He emerged mindful from that attainment. Having done so, he recalled the sates that had passed, ceased, and changed, thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been, they vanish.’ Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is no escape beyond this,’ and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is not’.

I think of particular interest is passage 19: after emerging from the 8th jhana, Sariputta lands a fruition.  I find especially in a review cycle of insight, it's possible to land a fruition either through the jhanic route or the insight nana route, or some combination of both.  The jhanic route tends to be a little more controlled in my experience and perhaps more amenable to getting a longer duration fruition as opposed to one of the quick blips that tend to happen in the insight cycles.

Kenneth Folk's take on this framework is that going from the 7th jhana to the 8th, you let go of meta cognition.  To go from the 8th to a fruition, consciousness gets let go of.  This is definitely some weird territory that I'm doing some exploring in but have emphatically not mastered!  Good luck have fun!
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 15 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot Nikolai. This page is chockfull of great info. 
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Extending the duration of the cessation event

Posts: 15 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot, this is very interesting!