Backsliding through insight stages

T. Merganser, modified 9 Years ago.

Backsliding through insight stages

Posts: 22 Join Date: 10/10/11 Recent Posts
In looking through the many, many helpful threads on this site, I've noticed that the issue of backsliding through insight stages seems to come up quite a bit. As in "You were most likely (here), but this could be (that) since you might have slid back to (here)"...

What variables contribute to backsliding? What variables can contribute to prolonged "hanging out" in one stage?

I assume that lack of practice or quitting practice altogether is huge here, but is there anything else? I have strong reason to believe I am in Equanimity right now (have no idea which path) and have a two week retreat coming up the last half of December...Between now and then, probably just daily practice. Ideally I'd like to hold in Equanimity until the retreat and then go for it. (I mean, that's just an idea. Feel free to point out if it's silly, I'm new to the insight maps).
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Backsliding through insight stages

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Assuming you are in Equanimity, go for stream entry right now. I cannot imagine any good reason not to.

A lack of seriousness in practice contributes to backsliding (apart from the issue of the raw amount of time you practice).

EDIT: As I realized I am not sure what path you are working towards...go for whatever path it may be. emoticon
T. Merganser, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Backsliding through insight stages

Posts: 22 Join Date: 10/10/11 Recent Posts
...And EiS -- I'm taking your advice.emoticon
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Ian And, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Backsliding through insight stages

Posts: 784 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
T. Merganser:
I've noticed that the issue of backsliding through insight stages seems to come up quite a bit....

What variables contribute to backsliding? What variables can contribute to prolonged "hanging out" in one stage?

Hi T.

I'm a rather straightforward person. From my reading of the Discourses, Gotama seems to have been rather straightforward, too, in the way he taught. He doesn't waste time teaching things that don't work. Not that people have an easy time understanding what he had to teach; but that's another story. With this in mind...

Have you stopped to think about this at all? I mean, really just sat down and contemplated the dynamics of what you are asking? I'm sure that you already know the answer you seek; it's just that it hasn't occurred to you yet.

What happens when you come upon an insight about the Dhamma. In one moment it's there, you can see it and agree with it. And then in another moment it suddenly disappears? What process has just taken place?

During the times when you can "see" the insight and confirm it, your mind is able to recall it and to make sense of it via your own experience of it. But what happens when you lose sight of that insight?

Generally what happens is just that: you lose sight of it; it's no longer "real" or relevant to your present moment experience. You become unmindful of it. And so you slip back into your previous view of things.

The only way you can slip backwards is to become unmindful. Therefore, if you wish to maintain cognizance of insights that have occurred to you, you must remain mindful of them at all times. And, you must change the conditioning of the mind to align with the insight you wish to remain mindful of. This is a gradual process for most of us.

The Dhamma is there to correct a person's view of reality: all phenomena are anicca, dukkha, and anatta. All phenomena arise co-dependent on causes, or put another way are dependent co-arising. In order to make progress in the Dhamma, one needs first to develop Right View (samma-ditti) along with the other seven steps of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just this Path is the way to the ending of suffering.

What happens when you become unmindful of the Path? Your mind reverts back to its previous conditioning.

Knowing what the Path is and maintaining mindfulness of it are two separate operations. One can know what the Path is, and yet be personally unmindful of it in their own mind, in other words. What you might call "slipping back."

See?

In peace,
Ian
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Backsliding through insight stages

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Outstanding, Mr And.
T. Merganser, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Backsliding through insight stages

Posts: 22 Join Date: 10/10/11 Recent Posts
Thanks all for your helpful (and eloquent) replies.

Ian And:
Have you stopped to think about this at all? I mean, really just sat down and contemplated the dynamics of what you are asking? I'm sure that you already know the answer you seek...


Oh yeah. I know exactly what you mean. The beauty of the Dhamma is when it stops being intellectual and starts being downright visceral/experential. Thanks as always Ian -- its nice to get feedback.

I don't think there's going to be any backsliding.

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