Questions on mental abilities and further readings

Luke R Hope, modified 9 Years ago.

Questions on mental abilities and further readings

Posts: 9 Join Date: 10/9/11 Recent Posts
Context for the questions: I am a home practitioner who is modestly read in the Theravada tradition and academically inclined - PhD level/computer science. A few months ago I (most probably, everything seems to point at it), attained stream entry through dry insight. I am up to discuss the events/states that occurred privately, if people are interested.

1. I have the ability to 'squeeze/relax' my mind into peaceful/happiness at will. Is that normal? I think I've had the ability to do this for a long time, but it has been strengthened after my stream entry event.

2. After the event, I have the ability to use the same 'squeeze/close door' ability to gently suppress narrative streams. With focus, I really can just turn the narrative stream off and sit in an attentive stream. It is like the narrative stream is a stressful/tense/'dukkha' sensation which insistently pushes open a door. I can focus and gently close the door and hold it closed to attain peaceful attentiveness when I focus. I feel a physical sensation as if internal muscles in my brain are flexed. I noticed this skill developing earlier this year, but I can access it at will now. Is that a common thing? At what level?

2.a. side question. Is one of the abilities of an arahat to be in the attentive stream by default and able to switch to narrative modes? So the above door is by default shut and stays shut unless willed to open to access cognitive functions.

3. What are some good books dealing with/attaining the higher paths? I am due to re-read Daniel Ingram's book, and I have recently read Mahasi Sayadaw's 'The Progress of Insight' and Bhante Henepola Gunaratana's 'The Path of Serenity and Insight' - the latter to learn more about how to attain and recognise concentrative jhana states.

I am aware that I have probably reached a level where a teacher or guide would be quite useful, but being on the east coast of Australia and at some sort of intermediate/advanced stage, finding a suitable one seems problematic. Advice there would be very welcome.

Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Questions on mental abilities and further readings

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Are Subhana or Sayadaw U Pandita, Jr. anywhere near you? My Australian geography is weak.

How about Craig Nichols?

Those might be interesting people to talk with, if they are anywhere close by.

There are also lots here that might be able to Skype. Read around and find someone whose style and insights you like and ask them: that's my advice,

Luke R Hope, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Questions on mental abilities and further readings

Posts: 9 Join Date: 10/9/11 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel,

Thank you very much for the recommendations. Sayadaw U Pandita, Jr. seems to have weekly sits a few miles from me! I will pursue that lead.

I'm reading through the middle path sections of this forum which contains experiences I can identify with.

I am also quite comfortable with skype chats as I live on skype for work anyway.

Peace and thanks again.