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After Stream-entry

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After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 7:27 AM
1) I've heard that stream-entry is a change in understanding and is therefore permanent.

2) I've also heard that after stream-entry, continued practice is necessary in order to make it full-time and stable.

I am wondering if those people who agree with statement #2 would explain what it is that needs to become full-time and stable?



Thanks in advance.

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UPDATE: Here is some clarification on what I am asking ...  I posted this below:
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Stirling posted this:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/15048024#_19_message_15063942
"The practical training of the Dzogchen path is traditionally, and most simply, described in terms of View, Meditation and Action. To see directly the Absolute state, the Ground of our being is the View; the way of stabilising that view, and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating the View into our entire reality, and life, is what is meant by Action.
..." - Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

He explained it thusly:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/15056027#_19_message_15059213
There is no backpedaling happening here. Stream entry is the moment there is insight. The insight stabilizes over time.

Imagine riding a bike at a decent pace, then jumping off. The bike continues along its last established path, and you watch it continue from your vantage behind it until it eventually runs out of momentum and drops to the ground. Insight at stream-entry is like this... you jump off your "self"/etc., but it takes a while for the constructed "self" to wind down, and as it winds down the insight and its frequency as a portion of your day to day experience seem to deepen.

Stream Entry is the initial insight... you are "entering the stream". The insight is inconsistently present. At first, you still get caught up in your day to day nonsense, temporarily forgetting what you know, but then come back to it over and over.



I am interested in whether or not other people agree with Sogyal Rinpoche and if so how they explain it.


Thanks

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 6:09 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
1) I've heard that stream-entry is a change in understanding and is therefore permanent.

2) I've also heard that after stream-entry, continued practice is necessary in order to make it full-time and stable.

I am wondering if those people who agree with statement #2 would explain what it is that needs to become full-time and stable?



Thanks in advance.
Both are true, #2 is poorly worded.

You don't need to do anything in order to make Stream Entry stable. What you need to do is continue to do work in order to progress further. Stream Entry is a significant accomplishment, but it is no reason to slack. 

Basically, everything you've been doing you just need to continue more-or-less. I don't know what your practice is so it's hard to say, but the important thing to keep in mind is 1) you have made it very far. It is described as if you've turned your mountain of suffering into a grain of sand. 2) be diligent and do not let your achievement become grounds for complacency. There is much work to be done, but the vast majority of your journey is now behind you! 

emoticon 

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 7:25 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Stirling posted this:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/15048024#_19_message_15063942
"The practical training of the Dzogchen path is traditionally, and most simply, described in terms of View, Meditation and Action. To see directly the Absolute state, the Ground of our being is the View; the way of stabilising that view, and making it an unbroken experience is Meditation; and integrating the View into our entire reality, and life, is what is meant by Action.
..." - Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

He explained it thusly:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/15056027#_19_message_15059213
There is no backpedaling happening here. Stream entry is the moment there is insight. The insight stabilizes over time.

Imagine riding a bike at a decent pace, then jumping off. The bike continues along its last established path, and you watch it continue from your vantage behind it until it eventually runs out of momentum and drops to the ground. Insight at stream-entry is like this... you jump off your "self"/etc., but it takes a while for the constructed "self" to wind down, and as it winds down the insight and its frequency as a portion of your day to day experience seem to deepen. 

Stream Entry is the initial insight... you are "entering the stream". The insight is inconsistently present. At first, you still get caught up in your day to day nonsense, temporarily forgetting what you know, but then come back to it over and over. 



I am interested in whether or not other people agree with Sogyal Rinpoche and if so how they explain it.


Thanks

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 9:09 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
IMO the biggest complication here is mapping across traditions.

For the Tibetans Stream Entry isn't the milestone it is in Theravada.  Mahamudra uses pointing out instructions to set up an awakened view (a glimpse of non-dual / awake awareness) and then attempts to maintain it by explicitly practicing, repeating, and holding this. Think of it as a kind of mental gymnastics that removes obscurations and greases the skids for full realization. Their measure of awakening is how consistently you can hold this state, and by extension how much it has locked in to become the default.

If you insist on mapping across systems:
  • A&P is a taste of awakening. For some people (e.g. via pointing out instructions) it's a taste of the end state, though not for everyone. It manifests differently.
  • SE is locking in that first level of realization, but it's quite incomplete in terms of lived experience. It's simply a small fraction of the way towards enlightenment / full awakening.
  • Further practice depeens that awakening. Mahamudra uses pointing out instructions to set up a view and maintain it. Mahasi-style vipassana deepens insight by deconstruct experience. They don't induce an approximation of the end state, so "stabilizing" isn't nearly as relevant. Check out this post and the entire attached thread for some interesting input from Daniel and a helpful discussion of the different approaches.
  • Stable awake awareness (Rigpa) = pragmatic dharma / Mahasi 4th path = "enlightenment" = falling away of self
Some advanced Tibetan practitioners will rightfully disagree in terms of depth and nuance of realization.  Pa Auk / Thai Forest Tradition will disagree and suggest you can count the number of Arhats in existence on your fingers + toes. You get the idea. Mapping across traditions rarely makes everyone happy.

I personally believe that legitimate Stream Entry isn't going away, but it's pretty much a crapshoot whether it does anything positive to your life whatsoever without further realization. The whole notion of "stabilizing" became very relevant at what I considered to be pragmatic dharma 3rd path territory (take that self diagnosis with a grain of salt), just as MCTB Revised 4 Path model  suggested:
 Fascination with terms like rigpa, and feeling that they now seem very important to one's practice and what one is experiencing, is common in this territory.

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 8:47 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
It's interesting that you chose the Sogyal Rinpoche quote Jim because he's a classic example of a highly-accomplished, highly regarded master, close friend to the Dalai-Lama, who's recently been disgraced due to widely publicized sex scandals emoticon

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 8:54 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Depending how you define path. You can either claim 1st path after the moment fruition happen or you can claim it after you master it eg. can cause it yourself anytime you want. When you know how to do it and do it all the time then it isn't maybe as eventful but you experience it whenever you want and you know that not experiencing it in order for it to be this big even is not skillful.

For myself I took hybrid approach which is more aligned with MCTB so and path attainment claim equals beginning/starting of the path when I experienced some important experience but at the same time it does not mean the path is finished but that it just began. Each path being about separate topic basically, begining deepening on previous topic and mastery of each topic also depending on mastering previous topic.

After sufficient mastery is gained it can mean that path is finished. So with that I finished 1st path though it happened somewhere during 2rd path and it was requirement to start really master 2nd path topic. Finished 2nd after getting 4th. 3rd/4th I only recently started practice to really master these paths. Those are kinda related like switch has on and off position. Keep light off all the time and you will never master these two paths, a kind of useless hint no one will ever pick up... XD

So for 1st path: you need to be able to experience Nibbana any time you want. Literally zero delay, you just experience it, faster than you can blink. And I do not even mean feeling well or anything like that because you do not need no path to feel good. Nibbana, immediately, always, effortless.

BTW. If I was a monk I would rather wait for mastery before claiming anything. But then it would be literally my job to get enlightened and not just a hobby emoticon

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 9:21 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I think there are some assumptions in OP that need to be examined before answering the question.  

OP quotes a quote of a Nyingma lama speaking about the Dzogchen Trekcho method of 'stabilizing the view' of vidya/rigpa/awakened awareness, which is a specific method within a branch within a branch of Buddhism.

OP also quotes statements about 'stream entry' which is the 1st stage on the Theravada map (quite apart from Trekcho).  

Scriptually/dogmatically, I disagree that this exact comparison is valid.  If I had to guess, I would say that Rigpa can actually be glimpsed well before stream entry.  For instance, on one of his Wisdom podcast interviews, Dzogchen translator & teacher Malcolm Smith said something to the effect of recognizing Rigpa (& maybe even practicing Thogal??) below the path of seeing (3rd of 5 Mahayana paths & parallel with 1 of 4 Theravada paths - per StudyBuddhism.com).  Therefore, the process of 'stabilizing Rigpa' does not exactly line up well with the Theravada paths.

Pragmatically - if we are talking about 'technical paths' (meaning the things were you can still be an asshole but your perception & deep understanding of reality changes), it is my experience that SE does not need to be stabilized.  Most of the shifts I have had (& definitely SE), flipped & then that was it.  However, I have known people that took a couple weeks to stabilize it & I had shifts myself that were like that later.

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 9:23 AM as a reply to Noah D.
If I had to guess, I would say that Rigpa can actually be glimpsed well before stream entry. 

I agree with Noah here, from personal experience.

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 1:32 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Most of the shifts I have had (& definitely SE), flipped & then that was it.  However, I have known people that took a couple weeks to stabilize it & I had shifts myself that were like that later.
That's interesting. Could you tell me how did they stabilize SE?

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 5:34 PM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Depending how you define path. You can either claim 1st path after the moment fruition happen or you can claim it after you master it eg. can cause it yourself anytime you want. When you know how to do it and do it all the time then it isn't maybe as eventful but you experience it whenever you want and you know that not experiencing it in order for it to be this big even is not skillful.

For myself I took hybrid approach which is more aligned with MCTB so and path attainment claim equals beginning/starting of the path when I experienced some important experience but at the same time it does not mean the path is finished but that it just began. Each path being about separate topic basically, begining deepening on previous topic and mastery of each topic also depending on mastering previous topic.

After sufficient mastery is gained it can mean that path is finished. So with that I finished 1st path though it happened somewhere during 2rd path and it was requirement to start really master 2nd path topic. Finished 2nd after getting 4th. 3rd/4th I only recently started practice to really master these paths. Those are kinda related like switch has on and off position. Keep light off all the time and you will never master these two paths, a kind of useless hint no one will ever pick up... XD

So for 1st path: you need to be able to experience Nibbana any time you want. Literally zero delay, you just experience it, faster than you can blink. And I do not even mean feeling well or anything like that because you do not need no path to feel good. Nibbana, immediately, always, effortless.

BTW. If I was a monk I would rather wait for mastery before claiming anything. But then it would be literally my job to get enlightened and not just a hobby emoticon

In 1st path, how do you experience nibbana when you want to? For example, do you remember the understanding you experienced when you first attained stream entry - and that memory/concept throws you into nibbana? And, is experienceing nibbana something you do in response to an unpleasant emotion or is it something you are trying to maintain all the time.

Thanks

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 5:35 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
...
 However, I have known people that took a couple weeks to stabilize it & I had shifts myself that were like that later.


Can you describe what was stabilizing for them after stream-entry? Was it an understanding that was stabilizing or something else?  Did it just stabilize by itself or did they do something specific to stabilize it?

Thanks

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 6:13 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
... Dzogchen Trekcho method of 'stabilizing the view' of vidya/rigpa/awakened awareness, which is a specific method within a branch within a branch of Buddhism.

...

Searching for more info on the above I found this:

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/jamyang-khyentse-chokyi-lodro/key-points-on-trekcho
Having recognised this fact, we should look directly into the nature of the mind that does not find anything when it searches for mind.

It sounds like meditating on the feeling of anatta and trying to make the feeling permanent is a recognized path. Is that right? Is that what self-inquiry is?

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 7:55 PM as a reply to Pepe.
Pepe:
Noah D:
Most of the shifts I have had (& definitely SE), flipped & then that was it.  However, I have known people that took a couple weeks to stabilize it & I had shifts myself that were like that later.
That's interesting. Could you tell me how did they stabilize SE?

In all the cases I know, it was just that they had a series of deep insights over some time.  I guess the most accurate thing would be to say that there was one moment that was SE & then they some times afterwards where it "set in".  In terms of the "how" of that, I think they just probably 'went with the flow' of how their mind & energy was going at that time.  No specific method.  The methods are more useful to get *thru* EQ to the path moment but not for after that (until the next cycle starts of course).

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 7:58 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Noah D:
...
 However, I have known people that took a couple weeks to stabilize it & I had shifts myself that were like that later.


Can you describe what was stabilizing for them after stream-entry? Was it an understanding that was stabilizing or something else?  Did it just stabilize by itself or did they do something specific to stabilize it?

Thanks

I think my answer above to the other posters answers this.  One person described 2 discrete insights that together formed what they considered to be their first major shift.  So in that case it would have been 2 or 3 separate moments but not stabilizing in a gradation way.  

As an aside from SE, the last major shift I had (probably what might be called 'technical 4th path' but I am not interested in claiming that) did have a few weeks of stabilizing it.  That shift was much more along the 'rigpa' end of the spectrum so I had to do some work with keeping that centerless openness 'in place.'

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/27/20 8:00 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Noah D:
... Dzogchen Trekcho method of 'stabilizing the view' of vidya/rigpa/awakened awareness, which is a specific method within a branch within a branch of Buddhism.

...

Searching for more info on the above I found this:

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/jamyang-khyentse-chokyi-lodro/key-points-on-trekcho
Having recognised this fact, we should look directly into the nature of the mind that does not find anything when it searches for mind.

It sounds like meditating on the feeling of anatta and trying to make the feeling permanent is a recognized path. Is that right? Is that what self-inquiry is?

Yeah I think that's accurate.  But it's not really an indirect feeling of anatta so much as it is the direct perception of both emptiness of self & phenomena across all the sense doors in every moment, always was right here the whole time.  So you cut through all the appearances that things ever could have been any other way & recognize that everything is right where it is with no priveleged point in the field needed.

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/28/20 1:52 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
In 1st path, how do you experience nibbana when you want to? For example, do you remember the understanding you experienced when you first attained stream entry - and that memory/concept throws you into nibbana? And, is experiencing nibbana something you do in response to an unpleasant emotion or is it something you are trying to maintain all the time.
Nibbana is experienced most of the time. Actual experience is like flashes of sensual content appearing at your sense doors. You can however experience state of sense doors any time because it is just there. Or you can focus on nibbana instead. When active stimulation happen the content on sense doors will still change and be there, processing will be happening, signals will be fired, so no loss in functionality there, no need to not experience nibbana and watch at sense doors all the time.

Unpleasant emotion is the same as pleasant emotion. Both are experienced nicer when most of the experience is Nibbana and conditioning yourself to focus on experiencing nibbana instead of sense doors works the same for all mind phenomena.

What prevent you from experiencing nibbana at will any time is 2nd fetter - doubt in Buddha teachings. If you have choice to experience nibbana but actively choose to focus on sense doors because you believe experiencing these continuously is required to mind to function properly, react to things, etc. and experiencing relaxation would cause functionality loss then you do not really believe in Buddha teachings yet.

Just to be clear. I do not mean experiencing the taste of nibbana at sense doors. There is specific taste to what hits sense doors when source experiences nibbana vs. does not but it is not what I mean as immediate effortless nibbana experience. When this immediate nibbana experience is mastered at source then the taste of mind changes also and can become pretty immediate as well. This can be practiced however from either direction or to put it differently: it should practiced from both directions at once. In the end what matters is skill and natural responses.

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/28/20 7:47 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Thanks Noah

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/28/20 4:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
If I had to guess, I would say that Rigpa can actually be glimpsed well before stream entry. 

I agree with Noah here, from personal experience.

Noah (and Chris) are correct.

This is the tradition I have worked most deeply in (20 years). Rigpa is "pointed out" after shine' (or shamatha) practice is well-established. Resting in Rigpa with open awareness is the base Dzogchen practice. Recognizing the "nature of mind" is the "stream entry" equivalent if you were looking for a map related location. While the insight is a unshakeable understanding after stream entry, it is not the moment to moment experience. A new "stream enterers" would still get lost in samsara, etc. The stabilization is to bring prajna (wisdom) and regarding the "nature of mind" to ALL moments and thus stabilize the view. 

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/28/20 4:31 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

It sounds like meditating on the feeling of anatta and trying to make the feeling permanent is a recognized path. Is that right? Is that what self-inquiry is?

In Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana) it is not Anatta that you use as an object (which would only be a subset) but Sunyata, or the understanding that all things are empty of intrinsic existence or nature. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhyamaka

Resting in Rigpa IS resting in Sunyata. Recognizing that underlying wisdom of Sunyata in an experiential way (vs. the intellectual understanding of Pointing Out) is the same as Stream Entry.

RE: After Stream-entry
Answer
7/29/20 11:25 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Malcom smith has a week long retreat teaching Trekcho this month if people are interested: 

http://www.zangthal.com/tantra-without-syllables-retreat