Two kinds of awakening?

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Jim Smith, modified 11 Months ago at 12/23/21 8:54 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/23/21 8:28 PM

Two kinds of awakening?

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I posted this on the Shinzen Young facebook group. I'm reposting it here because I think some people here might find it interesting ...
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I have a question about "Shinzen Enlightenment Interview.pdf" from the files for this group. There are two explanations of enlightenment:
One is based on seeing through the illusion of self:
"You see that your subjective experience is just feel, plus image, plus talk. When they get tangled together, that creates the illusion that there’s a thing called “self”. So the first time they get completely untangled with sufficient clarity and equanimity that illusion goes away. They can still get tangled and you can get momentarily caught in them, but some part of you still knows it’s really not a thing."

And another is based on gradually working through attachments and aversions (kleshas)
"What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice.

You remember that I said in traditional Buddhism it’s very significant that it’s formulated that something passes away and it’s not something that you get? So what typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion and unconsciousness -­‐ the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. Because it’s gradual, they may not realize how much they’ve changed. As the mula kleshas get worked through they suffer less and the fundamental alienation between inside and outside diminishes. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring.

In acclimatizing they may not realize how far they’ve come."

I am wondering what this means. Are there two different kinds of enlightenment? Do the two paths produce the same effects? Do they both eventually reach the same end point? Does a student need to work both paths to be balanced, or is either path as good as the other?

Thanks in advance.
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T DC, modified 11 Months ago at 12/23/21 11:55 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/23/21 11:54 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Well since you asked, in my view...  There is a single path of awakening (to a single enlightenment, and beyond) that produces both mentioned effects simultaneously.  This path is defined by progression in attainment - Stream Entry, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Path, ect.  These attainments function as checkpoints along the way, and can neither be skipped over, or progressed around.

More to your point, attainment involves a moment of insight, a instance of clear seeing into the murk of our mind, in the instant of which a certain degree of baseline illusion is overcome.  Our core delusion is the sense of conceptual self, but built upon that primary delusion are many successive layers of secondary delusion; the neurotic, turbulent, and obscuring murk of mind.  These obscurations can be equated to attachment and aversion generally speaking.

Imagine our primary illusion of a permenant conceptual self as a tangled net, in which is tightly wrapped the dead fish and debris of our mental neurosis and affliction.  When we gain any, and all attainments, some degree of core illusion is overcome - some section of net is cut - and as a result our mental murk is released.  Eventually we clear up the net all together and our associated neurosis and subtle hangups likewise evaporate.  

This is a theoretical explanation, but it relates simply in the attainment of something like Stream Entry.  We gain a certain insight, our core self delusion is somewhat reduced, our minds are newly cleared - due to this newfound clarity our mental power is likewise enhanced...  And so on an so forth, with some variation and evolution of this general pattern as we progress on the long, lonely, and joyous road of attainment.
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Noah D, modified 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 1:43 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 1:43 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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I think the second one happens later 
shargrol, modified 11 Months ago at 12/25/21 6:34 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 6:03 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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How are those two different? 

What can bind together raw seeing, feeling, and hearing into into self except for attachment, aversion, and indifference?

How do attachment, aversion, and indifference manifest as a self except through seeing, feeling, and hearing?

I like the way Shinzen described it in another one of his videos. Unenlightenment is like an eating disorder. When you cure your eating disorder you still eat, just not pathological eating; in the same way, when you cure your unelightenment there is still selfing, just not pathological selfing.

Buddha said "I" afterall.

And maybe someone otherwise without an eating disorder will eat too many Christmas cookies, and maybe someone otherwise without a pathological self will feel a flash of pride as they finish shovelling snow off their sidewalk --- but neither lasts very long and it's quite different from how it was in the past, that's for sure. Life goes back to normal right away.

It is imporant to remember the sutta of September 13, 2015, "Enlightenment is Cat Poop". Thus I have heard:  http://hardcorezen.info/enlightenment-and-cat-poop/3949
Adi Vader, modified 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 10:40 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 10:40 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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The article in the link is brilliant!

​​​​​​​Thanks for sharing.
Martin, modified 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 2:45 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/24/21 2:45 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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What Noah says makes sense to me.

It may be that the first facilitates the second. I certainly notice that knowing that the sense of being a self is a transient phenomenon and does not point to any lasting thing makes it easier to look at what is going on. When I believed that was the author of my desires and aversions, it was impossibly uncomfortable to examine many of them closely.

Although my experience does not fit with the POI model, and I cannot make a claim to any kind of path, in samadhi, after exiting the jhanas, I have seen, again and again, the sense of self be fabricated in slow motion only to dissolve and, after a time be replaced by a new fabricated self. With that knowledge of what is going on, the component parts of that fabrication do not seem so inherently sacrosanct that I have to avert my gaze. I find a whole hidden landscape of experiences, memories, sensations, which are no longer too personal to be examined. There is an auto-perpetuating nature to this exploration. And, of course, each time the components are clearly seen, it becomes all the more clear that there is nothing to which they can be said to inherently belong. My current view is that these two ways of seeing are mutually reinforcing, as are several other ways of seeing.
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Dream Walker, modified 11 Months ago at 12/25/21 11:30 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/25/21 11:30 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Jim Smith, modified 11 Months ago at 12/26/21 10:12 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/26/21 9:40 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/QjoTFHzvrxQg9A6j3/meditation-insight-and-rationality-part-2-of-3

Partial enlightenment is preceded by the apparent momentary cessation of consciousness, which will happen at the very end of this stage. Some people find it very profound, in that they now have a radically different understanding of 'self' and of their own mind. Other people find it to be a natural evolution of what they already have developed, and so do not find it to usher in an enormous new paradigm. 
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Marcia Samana, modified 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 6:23 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 6:23 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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I'm not a student of Shinzen though the bits of his teachings encountered seem spot on and I have a deep respect for him.

The two types of Awakening listed are mutually supporting and the subject of much debate over millennia. Is Awakening gradual or swift? Without the questions the division sort of heals to coalesce into a whole practice. One meditates to live well (Stages of Insight) and lives well to meditate (the Gradual Training). There are those two factors and sometimes one is stronger than the other. Right now my meditation is dragging but my life still upholds this practice. There can be years between attainment (I'm guessing) where one is supporting practice by consciously living with the precepts and within the guiding Noble Eightfold Path. There is also the flash of cessation where it all comes together and falls apart and one is never the same again. I believe Shinzen is saying, cessation may not even be noticed because one has gradually shed that "worn out skin". It can also happen during the most mundane of activities and not be properly understood (amazing but true). But if you look back ten years prior, you will be able to see the difference a sincere practice has made in your particular life stream. This is similar to the Buddha describing the barnacles on a ship. It's not possible to tell how many new barnacles appeared since yesterday but it is possible to notice the increase over time. If we look for these sign posts and keep them close to our attention, we won't get lost on our trip to the moon or wherever. This is also the case for someone just starting out. Meditate and live well to support your meditation practice.
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Jim Smith, modified 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 11:20 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 11:17 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Marcia Samana ... There is also the flash of cessation where it all comes together and falls apart and one is never the same again. I believe Shinzen is saying, cessation may not even be noticed because one has gradually shed that "worn out skin". It can also happen during the most mundane of activities and not be properly understood (amazing but true).  ​​​​​​​...


I look at the data:
a) Some people notice having cessation during meditation and think it caused awakening. 
b) Some people never notice having cessation but still become awakened.

There seem to be two possible explanations:

1) Cessation can happen unnoticed. (I don't know how you can prove this to be true. It looks like a classic case of an unfalsifiable theory.)
2) Cessation is not required for awakening. 

Some people will prefer #1 because it saves the theory "cessation is needed for awakening" from what seems to be contradictory evidence.
Other people will prefer #2 because it is parsimonious. 

I don't really understand what the big deal about cessation is. Why is it so important that it be required for awakening that pragmatic rationalist people are willing to belive it has the magic power of invisibility? People who support the ideals of pragmatic dharma shouldn't care if cessation is needed or not they should care about all the techniques that lead to awakening.

As a practical matter it seems like people ought to be aware of both a and b because there could be people struggling to experience cessation when they are already enlightened and ought to move on in their practice to more advanced exercises (like the 12 described in the link below). Teachers ought to be on the lookout for people like that so they can help them move their practice forward.
https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/a-revised-four-path-model/
George S, modified 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 1:40 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 1:40 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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I doubt that anyone who is enlightened would be struggling to experience cessation. Why would they be craving that?
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Jim Smith, modified 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 2:34 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 2:34 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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George S
I doubt that anyone who is enlightened would be struggling to experience cessation. Why would they be craving that?


When I have asked similar questions, I have been informed that enlightenment, and stream entry in particular, is not the perfected state that we are sometimes led to believe.

For example, Why would an enlightened teacher become the center of a sex abuse scandal?
George S, modified 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 3:31 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 3:31 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Some kind of unconscious psychological issue I would imagine.

I'm also guessing that if someone thinks they are enlightened but is hung up on a technical issue like the relationship between cessations and awakening, then they might have doubts.
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Stefan Stefan, modified 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 9:06 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/30/21 9:03 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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They're probably less enlightened than they have been led to believe

You know how people can tolerate, and sometimes even enjoy, the smell of their farts? Kinda the same with the hindrances/defilements. If you've been sniffing your farts for that long, chances are you're not looking for the reason why some people pucker up their faces around you. Now add power/money dynamics into the mix (people now have an incentive to say your farts smell great, better than you could imagine, in fact), and you've got a great chance to "harness" the defilements and "do tantra", as it may be colloquially known in some of these cults. 

Saints and psychopaths, they're close opposites... and in our western society that is very materialistic, Hollywood, dopamine rush, short attention span, ignoble, obsessed with appearance,  creating peons to conformism, the psychopath seems equanimous because he's aloof. Aloofness feels and acts like personal power because it is rooted in being better, it's an outward expression, it takes distance, it has no skin in the game. But equanimity is composure which is neither better nor worse, it has skin in the game but is very simply present and undisturbed by the winds of change blowing. Many people attracted to these self-help gurus love their aloofness, "just fuckin' crush it,", "hustle-grind to the top!", they say. There's no coincidence why most top business people have high levels of trait narcissism/psychopathy-- it's necessary to the job -- but it's also not a coincidence why they're generally worshipped or resented by the masses. Much like how a man can simultaneously love God and desire his favour, yet curse him when ill-fate arrives. Only idols generate such strong emotion (our minds do not distinguish between strong emotions, if it's strong, there's a type of attraction working). And that works because it keeps the wheel spinning that none of this shit is our responsibility; how we think, feel, or behave. 

So how do these gurus do it? Because it's baked into our society. Suckers get sucked in. Psychopaths walk around as saints, eliciting strong emotions from people. And the wheel keeps spinning, subtly providing feedback in boldface type, "don't trust flashy shit it'll corrupt you!!!" and people still do it, like moths to a flame. 

Also another very curious tidbit from research on Buddhist monks. They gave them the trolley problem and the agency trolley problem (instead of pulling a lever, you have to push someone onto the tracks to prevent the deaths). Buddhist monks gave the "psychopath" response, but when asked why, they answered giving reasons about compassion, love, and truth. Not about cost-benefit. Gives a little more oomph to the idea of saints and psychopaths, no?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 8:23 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 8:22 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Just try it out - see how enlightened you can get without cessations, and then you'll know for yourself. 

I'm really looking forward to your posts getting as free from self-grasping as you imagine they will be. 
Ernest Michael Olmos, modified 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 11:03 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 11:03 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Mi opinion, an analogy:

Awakening is like destroying an homogeneous wall. First path is the first crack, and should be something noticeable.
4th path is the wall dissapearing, so it should be noticeable.

In the middle, sometimes big chunks of wall fall off and we notice or little chunks fall off over long periods of time and we don't notice.
And for some people really big chunks of wall may come off in the middle paths and they are wow.
There may be some wow moments when you realize that half of the wall is missing.
Some criteria may be that when 25% of the wall is missing is second and 50% is third.
Another would be measuring the size of the chunks that fall off.

But my guess is that middle paths, for some there is a big hole in an otherwise intact wall and for some its a wall full of deep cracks ready to fall.

At least for me, they are not as measurable as first and last.

My opinion, hope it helps.
Ernest Michael Olmos, modified 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 11:44 AM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 11:44 AM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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In this analogy, cessation would be seeing through the wall. 

For some there are lots of small holes in an intact wall (lots of small cessations), for some one or two or theree big holes in an intact wall (few big cessations). And my guess is that for some the wall if full of cracks (and you can see that is going down), but you cant see the other side.

In this analogy, also, when chunks fall off, there is debris and cleaning the debris for the ones that makes holes but not for the ones that cracks.

Then there is the idea of using a hammer where you don't do any damage if you don't hit hard enough, but when you do, you do a lot of damage to the wall with a lot of debris. Or using a big spout to make sure to do damage, but not a lot every time you hit (and with no debris, until it falls in a really big wow).

As long as you keep hitting the wall, it will fall, and most of us do what we can with what we have.

I don't know how useful (or real) this analogy is (and I just thought about it and may forget about it soon), but yeah, just liked to share.

Hope it helps.
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Pepe ·, modified 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 12:27 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 12:27 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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I like it! Happy New Year! 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 3:56 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 3:53 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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"For example, Why would an enlightened teacher become the center of a sex abuse scandal?"

These are fantastic questions Jim! Its very normal to ask this when we have been served "Enlightenment" as some Saint-like state, without morning glory, without ill will, with farts that smell of Jasmin, without any negativity at all, just smiling all day long and gladdening the mind emoticon Then we wonder how come a Buddhist teacher gets a hard-on when he sees a good lookn' sheila giving him "the look" emoticon if you know what I mean.

I think its important we keep milking this issue as much as possible so people don't live in some false hopes about what awakening is about. Shargrol is one such dude who puts these things down to earth and so is Ingram and Kenneth Folk and likely those who followed their teachings. I now see this awakening thing as a change of lenses. cessation hits you without warning and the next thing is a new lens but you still have no idea what the fuck hit you! So there is time to get used to this new lense of seeing things.

However, no matter how many new lenses you get you only EVER ONLY have this NOW unfolding and if we are honest we will see some sort of "story" unfolding. Some sort of reactive patterns and some can be seen early on and others only once they have turned into action. So we work on recognizing these reactive patterns and is still the good ould DO but looked in a more zoomed out, and a bit dream-like, a bit of a detached way. So these awakenings are but lenses and not the "work to be done" and as some honest awakened blokes like Chris Marti say "it's all still the same" as in one is still a human person going on about life and having all the daily hemorrhoids and stuff happening. Depending on the karmic load, stuff is either sorted in its infancy (5 elements) or there is already a formation of a certain (6) Realm and one can recognize this and decide if to commit to it or not.

In the case of the master who got a hard-on and went full-on sex scandal, I think either he committed to it and said "fuck it!!!" emoticon and went full-on Animal Realm or he simply has this shadow side that is Ignoring this aspect. Thinking that awakening is the be-all-end-all is a mistake and I think its good to poke into this more and bring more of this stuff into the light of the world. There is lots of confusion about this where folks think one is to walk around like Osho emoticon (my partner believes that an awakened person walks and talks like that) emoticon 

Ok, nuf me blabbing! Happy New 2022 and may it be of benefit to countless! emoticon
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 4:04 PM
Created 11 Months ago at 12/31/21 4:04 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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What Im trying to say above is, there is something more important to consider than Awakening, and that is THIS KARMA still unfolding no matter how awakened one is, still being in this human body and its "realities", ... 

One can isolate one self in a monastery and robes and this way keep the "world" away and cover it with daily chants and sutta reading or one can just be with whatever arise-passes due to Karma and keep working it out for oneself (Be the light onto yourself)

Ok ... me still blabbing away over here! emoticon oops! off I go now ...
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Jim Smith, modified 8 Months ago at 3/2/22 11:38 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 3/2/22 11:11 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Jim Smith
I posted this on the Shinzen Young facebook group. I'm reposting it here because I think some people here might find it interesting ...
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I have a question about "Shinzen Enlightenment Interview.pdf" from the files for this group. There are two explanations of enlightenment:
One is based on seeing through the illusion of self:
"You see that your subjective experience is just feel, plus image, plus talk. When they get tangled together, that creates the illusion that there’s a thing called “self”. So the first time they get completely untangled with sufficient clarity and equanimity that illusion goes away. They can still get tangled and you can get momentarily caught in them, but some part of you still knows it’s really not a thing."

And another is based on gradually working through attachments and aversions (kleshas)
"What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice.

You remember that I said in traditional Buddhism it’s very significant that it’s formulated that something passes away and it’s not something that you get? So what typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion and unconsciousness -­‐ the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. Because it’s gradual, they may not realize how much they’ve changed. As the mula kleshas get worked through they suffer less and the fundamental alienation between inside and outside diminishes. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring.

In acclimatizing they may not realize how far they’ve come."

I am wondering what this means. Are there two different kinds of enlightenment? Do the two paths produce the same effects? Do they both eventually reach the same end point? Does a student need to work both paths to be balanced, or is either path as good as the other?

Thanks in advance.
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These are not different types of awakening, they are different types of practice: samatha and vipassana. Buddha taught they both should be developed in order to attain awakening.

I think of them as the emotional approach: working with emotions, relaxing to let go of emotions, techniques that quiet the mind and or elevate the mood, jhana, metta, surrender, different techniques that help you let go of attachments and aversions. Vs the insight approach that involves other techniques that help produce the realization that self is ultimately impersonal: noting, self inquiry, etc. And there is some overlap between the two types of techniques.

Practicing both types of techniques is like attacking a problem from two different angles. The effects of the two kinds of practice work together to produce a result.

In the past I've asked, does insight/realization relieve unpleasant emotions (end suffering/awakening), or does working through and letting go of emotions lead to insight/realization (awakening). The answer is they are two approaches to the same thing that should both be pursued.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago at 3/2/22 11:35 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 3/2/22 11:35 PM

RE: Two kinds of awakening?

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Jim have a look at this explanation by Kenneth Folk. 

Mind has many strata and all these are to be seen, awaken to. Some go deeper others more shallow. Some in between. Samatha helps with this travel and Insight does same job at any level. There is no better or worse level/strata of the mind. We are to awaken to all of these. 

https://youtu.be/fXaehPD01J4

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