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Wow... this suff is real. wow.

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Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 3:49 AM
I am a guy in my early 20s. started meditating around 6 months a go. Coming from an atheist / and philosophical materialist background I had a very skeptical attitude towards meditation, But the initial trial of meditation did show me how neurotically obsessed my mind was with thoughts. And the challenge of calming the mind down kept me going.

I always considered enlightenment to be a nebulous concept with little bearing on reality and mostly focused on concentration, and I developed decent concentration and attained the first 2 concentration jhanas in this time period (still takes me around 25 minutes to get to the jhanic state and it isn't 100% consistent).

Eventually I got bored with the concentration jhanas, and started doing a bit more research on Insight meditation. That is how I came across MCTB.

The possibility of a practial enlightenment is fascinating. Plus as an atheist I liked how the tone of the book was not very laden with buddhist traditional dogma and defined exactly what enlightenment was and how to get there.

But again I was very skeptical, as is my nature.

Over the last week I read / listened to / watched hard core dharma movement and listening to buddhist geeks podcasts like a madman over to make sure it was worth trying. It was pretty clear that whatever the reality of enlightenment was, people like Daniel Ingram and Kenneth Folk, seemed to be very genuine.

So I decided to give it a go.

Today I decided to try formal insight noting meditation, on the breath. After a couple of shitty attempts at noting at home I gave up and decided to go party with friends.

On the 40 minute subway ride downtown, I decided to give the noting another try.

A first nothing, but soon my breath starts becoming choppy. It is pretty weird but cool.

After a while, I move my attention to my hands. Only to find that they now feel tingly and like they are phasing in and out of existence rather than being something solid. It feels like if I try to hold something, it would just fall through, very weird. I also see some very, very, bright flashing lights, even though my eyes were closed.

Then I go to the club. I am naturally the quiet, nerdy guy. But don't know what got into me tonight...I ended up kissing 2 different random girls, and a 3rd girl gave me a lap dance.

Its 4 am, I just got home, still a little drunk, and can't fall asleep. I feel awesome, I feel like I have stumbled onto a goldmine of spiritual knowledge on these forums...

I just checked the MCTB maps and it is shocking how well this stuff fits.

But I now 'believe' in the maps presented in MCTB are real... the dark night cometh... not looking forward to it.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 5:07 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
DZ:

After a while, I move my attention to my hands. Only to find that they now feel tingly and like they are phasing in and out of existence rather than being something solid. It feels like if I try to hold something, it would just fall through, very weird. I also see some very, very, bright flashing lights, even though my eyes were closed.

Then I go to the club. I am naturally the quiet, nerdy guy. But don't know what got into me tonight...I ended up kissing 2 different random girls, and a 3rd girl gave me a lap dance.

Its 4 am, I just got home, still a little drunk, and can't fall asleep. I feel awesome, I feel like I have stumbled onto a goldmine of spiritual knowledge on these forums...


A&P. Well-done. Keep at it.

Welcome to the DhO.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 5:59 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
I agree it sounds like A&P. In a few months you may very well find it funny how you could ever believe anything but this was real.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 7:28 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:


After a while, I move my attention to my hands. Only to find that they now feel tingly and like they are phasing in and out of existence rather than being something solid. It feels like if I try to hold something, it would just fall through, very weird. I also see some very, very, bright flashing lights, even though my eyes were closed.

Dark night cometh... not looking forward to it.


Thirded. Sounds like AP.

This last line above deserves some attention. The dark night has been talked of a lot and yogis have talked of how dark it has been for them. So the expectation one has may be conditioned by what one has read or been told.

It might be wise to see that very idea that the dark night is something to NOT look forward to as part of what could condition the possible dark elements of the dukkha nana experience. Perhaps when that thought comes up again, simply change it to:

´The Dark night cometh, there may be some unpleasant phenomena to deal with, but ´I´ am purifed in the process, the illusion of self will begin to pass through a process of dissolution, the 3 C´s can be seen in in great clarity, so I look forward to progressing through and learning from such experiences. ´I´ will face it all willingly and openly and objectively.´

You have the heads up. Mentally preparing for it should involve being more positive towards what may arise as this will make things much less of a slap in the face, and you will potentially avoid conditioning a ton of aversion towards it all. This aversion is what makes it a ´dark´night. You could try and condition a more ´starry´night instead. To progress through it, the aversion needs to be addressed and replaced with equanimity and positivity. Start now.

Nick

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 10:30 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:

Then I go to the club. I am naturally the quiet, nerdy guy. But don't know what got into me tonight...I ended up kissing 2 different random girls, and a 3rd girl gave me a lap dance.

Does MCTB have a Testimonials section? This should go there, or straight on the back cover.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 11:15 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
hi d z,

welcome to the dho.

more important than the phenomena of the insight stages (which are more formally known as knowledges - for good reason) are the insights which can present in them. what insight have you had into the arising (appearing) and passing away (disappearing) of phenomena? what, experientially, is arising and passing away? what are the casual implications of such arising and passing away? should you wish to pursue insight practice, these are the matters most worth bearing in mind.. and by that, i mean 'be attentive to the theme of impermanence'. on the other hand, changes in your mood, behaviour, and/or beliefs are side effects of the path, and any fascination with them is deemed a corruption of insight, which tends to manifest during the early ('weak') stage of arising and passing away[1] ... and which may stunt (or imbalance) your further progress.

regarding the reputedly negative or undesirable stages of insight which succeed the (uncorrupted) mature ('strong') knowledge of arising and passing away... these are tendencies, not certainties, and, as nikolai pointed out, a kind of fascination with the experiences (even in anticipation of them) does condition them to a great extent. stick with the three characteristics - staying with the insight into phenomena, rather than concern with its content[2] - and you will keep making progress.

tarin

[1] Mahasi Sayadaw, The Progress of Insight, IV. Purification by Overcoming Doubt, 4. Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away (udayabbaya-ñana) in its weak stage, involving the Ten Corruptions of Insight

[2] as concerns insight practice, the difference between insight and content[3] is crucial to understand, and i recommend re-reading the MCTB chapters The Three Characteristics and From Content to Insight to drive it in further.

[3] a point may come at which this distinction between insight and content is understood to exist only as a function, and rightly. indeed, should this point not arrive, and should a practitioner not understand how this is so, he or she may end up reifying from this distinction a non-phenomenal category of existence (such as a 'space', or 'super-space', in which phenomena is embedded, or such as a 'box' for 'its contents', or an 'ocean' underlying 'its waves'). this type of understanding - which is taking literally what is meant metaphorically, or assuming something concrete about what is abstract - is a misunderstanding, and though it may not be particularly germane to your practice here and now, entire buddhist and buddhist-inspired doctrines appear to have been built on some version of it, and so i have included this quick mention/warning to balance out the heavy emphasis i have placed on the distinction (between insight and content) in my post, lest its emphasis be misunderstood and misapplied, whether by you or other readers, whether now or later.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 2:38 PM as a reply to N A.
N A:
A Z:
Then I go to the club. I am naturally the quiet, nerdy guy. But don't know what got into me tonight...I ended up kissing 2 different random girls, and a 3rd girl gave me a lap dance.


Does MCTB have a Testimonials section? This should go there, or straight on the back cover.

Without meaning to come across as a party pooper, why, exactly, does this line belong in either the testimonial section of a book on hardcore meditation practice, or on it's back cover?

Just to clarify, on the off-chance that you weren't actually joking or in the event that someone thinks you're serious, insight practice and the process of enlightenment is not a method of seduction or a technique used by pick-up artists to get laid.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/23/11 2:56 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
What Nick and Tarin have said about the conditioning factors involved when encountering Dark Night is something I can verify based on recent experience. The insights available while passing through this stage can be profound and reveal so much about the nature of things, it's not that it's all fun and games all the time, sometimes there can be unpleasant sensations happening but just knowing this allows you to prepare for it and have a head start when it comes to just accepting what arises.

The practical, matter-of-fact information and advice on meditation you can get on here, and also over on Kenneth Folk's site, will allow you to progress in a skillful and efficient way if you're willing to go for it. It's possible, as you can see from those of us on here who openly talk about it, so keep us updated on what's happening in your sits and how you're getting on.

Either way, welcome on board and the very best of luck with your practice.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/24/11 12:31 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I am very pleasantly surprise to see so many helpful replies to my late night drunken rambling lol. And quite excited to have found this new avenue for exploring the nature of reality.

Nikolai .:
D Z:


After a while, I move my attention to my hands. Only to find that they now feel tingly and like they are phasing in and out of existence rather than being something solid. It feels like if I try to hold something, it would just fall through, very weird. I also see some very, very, bright flashing lights, even though my eyes were closed.

Dark night cometh... not looking forward to it.


Thirded. Sounds like AP.

This last line above deserves some attention. The dark night has been talked of a lot and yogis have talked of how dark it has been for them. So the expectation one has may be conditioned by what one has read or been told.

It might be wise to see that very idea that the dark night is something to NOT look forward to as part of what could condition the possible dark elements of the dukkha nana experience. Perhaps when that thought comes up again, simply change it to:

´The Dark night cometh, there may be some unpleasant phenomena to deal with, but ´I´ am purifed in the process, the illusion of self will begin to pass through a process of dissolution, the 3 C´s can be seen in in great clarity, so I look forward to progressing through and learning from such experiences. ´I´ will face it all willingly and openly and objectively.´

You have the heads up. Mentally preparing for it should involve being more positive towards what may arise as this will make things much less of a slap in the face, and you will potentially avoid conditioning a ton of aversion towards it all. This aversion is what makes it a ´dark´night. You could try and condition a more ´starry´night instead. To progress through it, the aversion needs to be addressed and replaced with equanimity and positivity. Start now.

Nick


Thanks for this comment Nick. I am concerned about conditioning and see how real danger with looking into these maps too much (I think this might be a reason probably why not many traditional teachers talk publicly about these stages too much).

At this point I am going to pretty much stop reading into the maps unless I get stuck.

more important than the phenomena of the insight stages (which are more formally known as knowledges - for good reason) are the insights which can present in them. what insight have you had into the arising (appearing) and passing away (disappearing) of phenomena? what, experientially, is arising and passing away? what are the casual implications of such arising and passing away? should you wish to pursue insight practice, these are the matters most worth bearing in mind.. and by that, i mean 'be attentive to the theme of impermanence'. on the other hand, changes in your mood, behaviour, and/or beliefs are side effects of the path, and any fascination with them is deemed a corruption of insight, which tends to manifest during the early ('weak') stage of arising and passing away[1] ... and which may stunt (or imbalance) your further progress.


Thanks for this.I was definitely too taken in by feeling great last night, even though I recognize the basic reality that these feelings are not 'me'.

Now will try to be cognizant of the fact that identifying with even good feelings as something that is hindering my insight rather than furthering it (I am probably better at not identifying with bad feelings).

Despite all this I did have a major breakthrough about my intuitive understanding of the impermanence of phenomena.

Will pay heed to your advice.

The practical, matter-of-fact information and advice on meditation you can get on here, and also over on Kenneth Folk's site, will allow you to progress in a skillful and efficient way if you're willing to go for it. It's possible, as you can see from those of us on here who openly talk about it, so keep us updated on what's happening in your sits and how you're getting on.


Thanks, I am definitely going for it.

I am coming at this with little background in spirituality and am quite a novice at Buddhist concepts that are probably quite second nature to people that have been travelling in these sorts of circles for years.

I don't know anyone in real life who would understand any of this. So will probably have lots of questions and will be active on these boards.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/24/11 4:20 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Yes, lets not forget that enlightenment is serious business.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/25/11 4:21 PM as a reply to Pål S..
Yes, lets not forget that enlightenment is serious business.



I pointed out that framing insight practice as a way to get laid is pretty ridiculous. Nothing to do with serious business.

Only the internet is serious business. It says so on the picture.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/25/11 4:47 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
N A:
A Z:
Then I go to the club. I am naturally the quiet, nerdy guy. But don't know what got into me tonight...I ended up kissing 2 different random girls, and a 3rd girl gave me a lap dance.


Does MCTB have a Testimonials section? This should go there, or straight on the back cover.

Without meaning to come across as a party pooper, why, exactly, does this line belong in either the testimonial section of a book on hardcore meditation practice, or on it's back cover?

Just to clarify, on the off-chance that you weren't actually joking or in the event that someone thinks you're serious, insight practice and the process of enlightenment is not a method of seduction or a technique used by pick-up artists to get laid.


I personally thought it was funny as hell, but your seriousness is also a reasonable perspective, and so long as both takes on it have some weight, then I think all is well.

Daniel

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/25/11 5:15 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I would've added a smiley face of some sort to emphasize my lack of genuine seriousness had I thought about it. emoticon

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
10/25/11 7:47 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Then I go to the club. I am naturally the quiet, nerdy guy. But don't know what got into me tonight...I ended up kissing 2 different random girls, and a 3rd girl gave me a lap dance.


ah...finally the Heavy Metal chapter to hardcore practice.

(Keep up the fruitful work)

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
2/3/12 10:06 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
... I now 'believe' in the maps presented in MCTB are real...


Whoa. I thought you said you had a philosophy background and that you were skeptical.

Just because you've seen *some* good correlation with *some* of your experiences and *some* of what's in MCTB doesn't justify swallowing the whole thing. One skeptical step at a time.

It wouldn't be the first time that a genuine preternatural phenomenon was the hook by which previously rational people swallowed a flawed belief system. Work out your salvation with *diligence*.

(I'm not saying the rest of MTCB is wrong -- I'm just saying that one instance of choppy breath and a lap dance does not a wholesale justification make :-) )

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
2/4/12 12:50 PM as a reply to Johnny Froth.
lol, on the contrary, it is only a deepening of skepticism.

How completely are you willing to believe the 'rational' faculties of a species whose brain functions were primarily determined by mere survival and reproduction in an environment completely different from the one in which it currently lives ?

Read this by Atheist / Neuroscientist Sam Harris, I think you will get something out of it...
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-mystery-of-consciousness
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-mystery-of-consciousness-ii

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
2/4/12 5:40 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
lol, on the contrary, it is only a deepening of skepticism.

We must be using the word "skepticism" to mean different things.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
2/4/12 8:47 PM as a reply to Johnny Froth.
Johnny Froth:
D Z:
lol, on the contrary, it is only a deepening of skepticism.

We must be using the word "skepticism" to mean different things.
Johnny Froth:
D Z:
lol, on the contrary, it is only a deepening of skepticism.

We must be using the word "skepticism" to mean different things.


We aren't...

In practical terms, a certain level of blind faith in 'enlightenment' is required to have the motivation to practice diligently and make it through the phases of insight. That is what I was talking about when I say belief in the MCTB.

It also helps to have a questioning and skeptical approach. Perhaps a balanced sort of skepticism is required, along with non-attachment to views. This includes religious views like Buddhism or the maps of the MCTB. Naturally being inclined to skeptical viewpoint is an advantage. But ultimately it is also necessary to challenge the the underlying premise of rationality on which the skeptical viewpoint is based.

Here is a an explanation of what I mean by questioning the premise of rationality to become more rational and more skeptical...
http://lesswrong.com/lw/5h9/meditation_insight_and_rationality_part_1_of_3/

On a more personal note, I since successfully followed the MCTB till stream entry, and then took up different practices. You can see my detailed log here.
Pratice Log

I did it, other people have done it, and you can do it too. Only if you want to of course. Otherwise give up the search, forget this ever happened, and move on with your life.

It is not a big deal either way.

RE: Wow... this suff is real. wow.
Answer
2/4/12 9:17 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
... ultimately it is also necessary to challenge the the underlying premise of rationality on which the skeptical viewpoint is based.

Yeah, I don't understand what you're talking about. But that shouldn't matter as long you do. Good luck with your practice.