"falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

thumbnail
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 9 Years ago.

"falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
This morning I had an A&P event that makes the rest of this life seem like a B movie.

Over here http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#foura it says:

He may feel as if he is falling into an abyss or going through an air pocket on a plane, but in fact the body remains motionless.


My question is for those who have had an experience just like that (the falling into an abyss / air pocket in the 4th nana) and also have experience with samatha jhanas (and maybe even arupa jhanas).

This abyss that I fell into was something I can't define, and since I'm not good at all with samatha jhanas, I'm thinking maybe one of you can help me find the words to talk about this, maybe even help me get back to whatever it is that I fell into. emoticon

So here's the deal: During a lucid dream, I focused on something I had created (or that had appeared) in my mind: A primitive blue/green visual kasina (of sorts) in combination with an Atari 2600-like, repetitive sound. Before I knew it, my sense of sight was gone, and all I was hearing was a smooth tone. Next the tone started getting choppy (as you may be familiar with from A&P), then I had the falling sensation, which made the chop slow and then caused the tone to disappear altogether. There was no sight, no sound, a huge amount of bliss. I had a last thought (or sequence of thoughts): I decided to let go and fall into "the abyss."

When the "falling" ended, I was left with nothing. Actually I'm not sure exactly what I was left with. It was not like a fruition cessation, because even though there were no sensations or thoughts I could discern, I was still somehow "there," in a way that frankly I don't understand. (When I have a fruition cessation, there is absolutely nothing at all, until after the "restart.") In other words, unlike a fruition, this morning there was no discontinuity. The absorption lasted only for a few seconds, although it may have been a few minutes. It's not like my sense of time was working very well during the deep portions of the absorption.

Then continued what I guess you would call a "normal" A&P event: Huge bliss and peace, then extraordinarily beautiful music appeared, and everything started feeling like paradise or something.

I don't need confirmation of A&P, as I have been through it enough times to recognize it when it bites me in the butt, although I do have to say, until this morning, I did not truly know how "huge" (pleasant) an A&P event can be. I feel like a heroin addict would probably be the person who can best relate to how pleasant the experience was and how it makes everything else seem unimportant.

So, would anyone like to weigh in on what label to slap onto the state of absorption I apparently slipped into? Does it sound like one of the samatha jhanas or arupas? Could it have been the "sphere of nothingness"? Or is it just some generic side effect of A&P that has nothing to do with those states of absorption?

What would be really neat is if I could somehow use this experience to develop the ability to actually get into a hard jhana at will; NS would be really, really cool, of course, but I'm probably about two paths away from that. My current skill level is that I can sometimes (about half the time) get into a relatively weak/"soft" jhana, about as pleasant as sex, nothing like the complete absorption I experienced this morning. On the vipassana side of things, my ability to "recall" fruition of SE is only existent if you give me a few weeks to go through the nanas. It's not like I can sit down for half an hour and cycle all the way through.
thumbnail
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
It seems like I have slipped into a big DN or something. I had some cessation-like experiences maybe a week ago without a bliss wave. A couple of days thereafter, I noticed something for the first time in almost a year: I realized that I don't know the difference between mind and body. There was a vibration, maybe 8 Hz, similar to what I had been experiencing for weeks, but this time it just became painfully obvious that I had no idea whether I was sensing it physically or mentally. I don't think the sensation was much different from before, but my awareness of the fact that it was not necessarily physical, as I had previously assumed, was new.

So now I'm totally lost regarding the maps. Am I pre-M&B, early DN, not really practicing at all? (It's one of those phases where you sit and feel like you have never meditated before.)

What's even more interesting/confusing is that I don't even know what has impacted my life more, SE or the (more recent) A&P event described in my previous post. Yes, SE has taken away a lot of suffering, totally eradicated the potential for it to arise, but ever since that A&P event I feel like normal life is a stupid, boring, monotonous game, whereas "subtle states of mind" or whatever you want to call them are what's real. When I go to work or interact with family, I pretty much feel like an adult playing a board game with children.

I think this dismissive attitude of mine is what has actually caused my current dissatisfaction with meditation: On some level, I probably feel like I don't want to bother with acknowledging physical sensations or the less subtle mental states or thought objects.

When I open my eyes and get up from meditation, even after just 20 minutes, my surroundings seem to move or spin, even though there is no vertigo. I have no difficulty walking straight. It's just that on some level visual form seems distorted.

Again, if anyone has any thoughts or recognizes some of my symptoms, I am open and would be grateful for ideas. But as before, I don't really need any input since there is only one thing I can do anyway: Continue to practice. (Stopping would seem as asinine as the adult in the above example deciding to stop playing the game with all the children and choosing instead to have a tantrum and roll around on the ground.)

Thanks for reading.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Dauphin Supple Chirp:
So, would anyone like to weigh in on what label to slap onto the state of absorption I apparently slipped into?


Can you provide any more details about it?

Could it have been the "sphere of nothingness"?


That seems like a fair guess, but I'd say more data is needed.
thumbnail
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:

Can you provide any more details about it?


Thanks for your answer. Let me try:

First I was seeing color and hearing a continuous sound. The color started disappearing, and the sound became choppy: It now consisted of several individual pulses of sound. The hearing and seeing stopped altogether, there was bliss, and I felt like I was floating downward while turning slightly to the left. Then the sense of rotation was gone. The sense of space was gone. There was just nothing there. There was no discontinuity or lack of awareness or anything like that, but still, because there were no objects, physical or mental, that appeared at any sense doors, it was impossible to sense the passage of time. After I came out of it, among the first thoughts that came to mind was, "There was nothing there." The experience as a whole was very pleasant. I'm not sure why I came out of it. I really wouldn't mind dying that way. I felt this way the moment the nothingness ended. I could feel my body sort of pulling me out of it, most likely because it wanted to breathe again, and the first judgment I made was, "Too bad my body didn't just leave me in there and remain without breath and die."

I'm not sure what else to say about the experience. If you have any questions, I would be delighted to try to answer them.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Dauphin Supple Chirp:
Thanks for your answer. Let me try:

First I was seeing color and hearing a continuous sound. The color started disappearing, and the sound became choppy: It now consisted of several individual pulses of sound. The hearing and seeing stopped altogether, there was bliss, and I felt like I was floating downward while turning slightly to the left. Then the sense of rotation was gone. The sense of space was gone. There was just nothing there. There was no discontinuity or lack of awareness or anything like that, but still, because there were no objects, physical or mental, that appeared at any sense doors, it was impossible to sense the passage of time. After I came out of it, among the first thoughts that came to mind was, "There was nothing there." The experience as a whole was very pleasant. I'm not sure why I came out of it. I really wouldn't mind dying that way. I felt this way the moment the nothingness ended. I could feel my body sort of pulling me out of it, most likely because it wanted to breathe again, and the first judgment I made was, "Too bad my body didn't just leave me in there and remain without breath and die."

I'm not sure what else to say about the experience. If you have any questions, I would be delighted to try to answer them.


I have a guess at what it is... but before I do: was there a sense of nothingness? A sense of there being nothing, while you were in it. Was there any sense of 'you' there? Any sense of location? Did it feel like total and utter complete relaxation?
thumbnail
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I have a guess at what it is... but before I do: was there a sense of nothingness? A sense of there being nothing, while you were in it. Was there any sense of 'you' there? Any sense of location? Did it feel like total and utter complete relaxation?


I do remember a sense of nothingness, but while I was being in it, the deepest part of it, it's hard to say whether that thought was actually present. It's more like I had that vague feeling that there was nothing impinging upon my consciousness, but did not articulate that feeling until after I had come out of it. There was no longer a sense of location, but the sense of "me" was continuous throughout the whole thing. (It was the kind of sense of "me" that I had right before SE. At that stage, I was already aware of the fact that form, feeling, perception, and formations were not "me," but there was always this basic awareness, the "watcher," that carried with it the sense of "me." At SE even that basic awareness just stopped, but that did not happen here. The basic awareness never stopped throughout the experience. It just didn't seem to have any objects to latch onto, except for the vague sense of nothingness.) Yes, it did feel like total and utter complete relaxation. So much so that I am pretty sure I stopped breathing, which is likely what led to my body pulling me out of it. I inferred having been "separate" from my body from the fact that "I" was totally relaxed with no motivation to do anything ever again, while the body obviously wasn't ready to let go and die right there.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Dauphin Supple Chirp:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I have a guess at what it is... but before I do: was there a sense of nothingness? A sense of there being nothing, while you were in it. Was there any sense of 'you' there? Any sense of location? Did it feel like total and utter complete relaxation?


I do remember a sense of nothingness, but while I was being in it, the deepest part of it, it's hard to say whether that thought was actually present. It's more like I had that vague feeling that there was nothing impinging upon my consciousness, but did not articulate that feeling until after I had come out of it. There was no longer a sense of location, but the sense of "me" was continuous throughout the whole thing. (It was the kind of sense of "me" that I had right before SE. At that stage, I was already aware of the fact that form, feeling, perception, and formations were not "me," but there was always this basic awareness, the "watcher," that carried with it the sense of "me." At SE even that basic awareness just stopped, but that did not happen here. The basic awareness never stopped throughout the experience. It just didn't seem to have any objects to latch onto, except for the vague sense of nothingness.) Yes, it did feel like total and utter complete relaxation. So much so that I am pretty sure I stopped breathing, which is likely what led to my body pulling me out of it. I inferred having been "separate" from my body from the fact that "I" was totally relaxed with no motivation to do anything ever again, while the body obviously wasn't ready to let go and die right there.


Hmm well I'm not sure, but based on what you say and my experience, it might have been what I call 'cessation of perception and feeling', not the MCTB one ("NS"), but one which there is no perception or feeling but still some kind of awareness. It depends on what that 'you' that remained was. In what I'm talking about, there is no 'being' whatsoever (no suffering; no attention wave; no 'being' in actualist terms, the one that goes away in a PCE/AF; no tension whatsoever, not even bliss; no sense of separation or unity), and also no sense of the body at all (no sense of a body to be separate from, for example). If there were any of those then it wasn't that.

I think this is what Bhante V is talking about here:

Bhante V:
H: "Again, by completely surmounting the base of nothingness, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

BV: Now, your mind before, got very big. Now your mind starts to get small, and smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and it gets so fine, that it’s difficult to tell whether it’s there or not.
S:~
BV: Not like floating.
S: ~
BV: This is all different perceptions of mind. It’s not blank. Your mindfulness is still there. You have energy. You have joy. You have investigation. You have stillness. You have tranquility. You have equanimity. But it gets very fine, very subtle. That’s why this is called cessation, because you can’t tell, sometimes, whether there’s a mind there or not, or whether there’s a perception of anything or not.
Now -
MN: He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating relinquishment'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating relinquishment.'

BV: Now, I was talking about vibration before. Now your mind is vibrating at such a high speed, that you can’t tell whether it’s moving or not, or whether it’s vibrating or not, and eventually, it gets to a place where it turns off, and this is called, the cessation, of perception and feeling. You don’t have any perception; you don’t have any feeling. It’s just like somebody turned off the light. When you’re in this state, you don’t know you’re in this state. There’s no knowing – there’s no perception at all. Now this in Pāli, is called nirodha-samāpatti. Nirodha-samāpatti - cessation of perception and feeling. Now, this is not the state of nibbana, yet. Let me define the word “nibbana”, because there’s some mis-understanding, sometimes. The word “nibbana” means putting out the fire. Ok? That’s literally what it means, putting out the fire. The fire of craving.

Now, there’s two different kinds of nibbana. One is a mundane kind of nibbana – it’s very worldly. Now, every time you have an emotional state, and you finally let that go, that is a state of nibbana. But it’s mundane. The super mundane nibbana, that is other-worldly. That’s the one that we’re working for. Ok? Now the way you attain the super-mundane nibbana, is by having, this nirodha-samāpatti, occur. And then, when you come out of nirodha-samāpatti, what do you see? You see Dependent Origination, forwards and backwards. Dependent Origination has twelve links, and you see it very quickly, and you see, this is the cause of that, that is the cause of this, and you see the cause and effect relationships, but it’s fast. Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing. Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing. While it’s going up, you’re seeing the second noble truth. While it’s coming down, you’re seeing the third noble truth. This is how you experience the super-mundane nibbana.
(from this thread).

Or it might have been a deep 7th jhana... but some of the things you say make it sound more profound than that, potentially.

Take it with a grain of salt. I think I got it once but I haven't been able to reproduce it... if you could figure out how to do it repeatedly, though, that'd be great, that's probably a pretty quick ticket into liberation. Not the state itself, but watching going into it + coming out of it (and the nice relaxation while in it doesn't hurt one's intention to do it again).
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Take it with a grain of salt. I think I got it once but I haven't been able to reproduce it [Bhante V's NS]... if you could figure out how to do it repeatedly, though, that'd be great, that's probably a pretty quick ticket into liberation. Not the state itself, but watching going into it + coming out of it (and the nice relaxation while in it doesn't hurt one's intention to do it again).


Does Bhante V describe a method to make use of this state?

I can attain (what I believe is) this state at will, but the state is un-analyzable (nothing to analyze) and I have never figured out what to do with it besides enter and exit.

There is an interesting experience at the exit (or rather, the first experience when the state ends is interesting) but apart from being fairly weird, I've never seen anything practical about it.
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Does Bhante V describe a method to make use of this state?

I can attain (what I believe is) this state at will, but the state is un-analyzable (nothing to analyze) and I have never figured out what to do with it besides enter and exit.

There is an interesting experience at the exit (or rather, the first experience when the state ends is interesting) but apart from being fairly weird, I've never seen anything practical about it.

He says to watch D-O stop as you enter it, and watfh D-O start as you exit it. The better you get at seeing D-O, the further along the path you are. Try exiting + entering it more slowly, if you can. And see what you can learn about D-O by being able to cut it off whenever you want. [edit for spelling+grammar]
thumbnail
Eric Bause, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
End in Sight:
Does Bhante V describe a method to make use of this state?

I can attain (what I believe is) this state at will, but the state is un-analyzable (nothing to analyze) and I have never figured out what to do with it besides enter and exit.

There is an interesting experience at the exit (or rather, the first experience when the state ends is interesting) but apart from being fairly weird, I've never seen anything practical about it.

He says to watch D-O stop as you enter it, and watcfh D-O start as you exit it. The better you get at seeing D-O, the further along the path you are. Try exiting + entering it more slowly, if you can. And see what you can learn about D-O by being to cut it off whenever you want.


Claudiu what you're saying there sums up succintly what Bhante V says in the last few pages of his book The Anapanasati Sutta: A Practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation.

I found myself wondering if he really did mean some lite form of nirodha-samapatti (NS) accessable prior to third path, which it must be if it can get you first path..

Eric
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Eric Bause:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
End in Sight:
Does Bhante V describe a method to make use of this state?

I can attain (what I believe is) this state at will, but the state is un-analyzable (nothing to analyze) and I have never figured out what to do with it besides enter and exit.

There is an interesting experience at the exit (or rather, the first experience when the state ends is interesting) but apart from being fairly weird, I've never seen anything practical about it.

He says to watch D-O stop as you enter it, and watcfh D-O start as you exit it. The better you get at seeing D-O, the further along the path you are. Try exiting + entering it more slowly, if you can. And see what you can learn about D-O by being to cut it off whenever you want.


Claudiu what you're saying there sums up succintly what Bhante V says in the last few pages of his book The Anapanasati Sutta: A Practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation.

I found myself wondering if he really did mean some lite form of nirodha-samapatti (NS) accessable prior to third path, which it must be if it can get you first path..


I have never found a reference in the suttas for the claim that NS is accessible only to anagamis...I assume that that originated in the commentary, too.

It seems to me that the "super-fruition" thing that gets called NS may not be what the suttas are talking about, for this reason (among others).
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Eric Bause:
I found myself wondering if he really did mean some lite form of nirodha-samapatti (NS) accessable prior to third path, which it must be if it can get you first path..


I'm not sure they are related in that way (Bhante V's being a 'lite' version of the 'hard' one that is MCTB-NS) or that the paths are related in that way (Bhante V's method getting you MCTB first path, vs. needing MCTB third for MCTB-NS). Might be best to treat them as separate for now.
thumbnail
Eric Bause, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Eric Bause:
I found myself wondering if he really did mean some lite form of nirodha-samapatti (NS) accessable prior to third path, which it must be if it can get you first path..


I'm not sure they are related in that way (Bhante V's being a 'lite' version of the 'hard' one that is MCTB-NS) or that the paths are related in that way (Bhante V's method getting you MCTB first path, vs. needing MCTB third for MCTB-NS). Might be best to treat them as separate for now.


Good points. I was quick to conflate the two.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
End in Sight:
Does Bhante V describe a method to make use of this state?

I can attain (what I believe is) this state at will, but the state is un-analyzable (nothing to analyze) and I have never figured out what to do with it besides enter and exit.

There is an interesting experience at the exit (or rather, the first experience when the state ends is interesting) but apart from being fairly weird, I've never seen anything practical about it.

He says to watch D-O stop as you enter it, and watfh D-O start as you exit it. The better you get at seeing D-O, the further along the path you are. Try exiting + entering it more slowly, if you can. And see what you can learn about D-O by being able to cut it off whenever you want. [edit for spelling+grammar]


My experience of this thing is more like this:

Culavedalla sutta:

"Now, lady, how does the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling come about?"

"The thought does not occur to a monk as he is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling that 'I am about to attain the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I am attaining the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I have attained the cessation of perception & feeling.' Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state." (...)

Now, lady, how does emergence from the cessation of perception & feeling come about?"

"The thought does not occur to a monk as he is emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling that 'I am about to emerge from the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I am emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling' or that 'I have emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling.' Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state."


i.e. there is no entering and no exiting, one is just in it or not in it.

Does Bhante V claim that this state automatically gives a clear view of DO every time (or just at special moments in practice)? Because I'm not seeing *anything*...
thumbnail
Eric Bause, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
End in Sight:


i.e. there is no entering and no exiting, one is just in it or not in it.

Does Bhante V claim that this state automatically gives a clear view of DO every time (or just at special moments in practice)? Because I'm not seeing *anything*...


Good question, EIS. Here's what he says, which doesn't explicitly answer your question, but it's the closest he comes:

Bhante V:

When one experiences the realm of neither-perception nor non-perception, and keeps opening and relaxing mind, eventually they will experience the cessation of perception and feeling (Nirodha-Samapatti). During this occurrence, one will not know this turning off of consciousness becausethey have no perception or feeling at all! This is the only stage of meditation where this phenomenon occurs. This meditation state is still mundane; it is not the Supramundane Nibbana yet. How can one know what is happening without perception or feeling? It is only when the perception and feeling come back, and if mindfulness is sharp enough, will one sees directly, each and every link of dependent origination forwards, one by one as they occur. Even this is not the Supramundane State of Nibbana. The links are:

When ignorance arises . . .<snip> . . . death arises.

After this arising phenomenon ends, then one will experience the cessation of the dependent origination, which goes:

When old age and death cease . . .<snip> . . . ignorance ceases.

The seeing of dependent origination both forwards and backwards leads mind to the attainment of the 'Supramundane Nibbana'. This is where there is a major change in one's outlook. One's mind at that time becomes dispassionate about the belief in a permanent everlasting ego or self. They see from first hand experiential knowledge, that this is just an impersonal process and there is no one controlling the way phenomena arise. These arise because conditions are right for them to arise. In Buddhist terms, this is called 'anatta' or not self nature of existence. One also realizes that no one can possibly attain sainthood by the practice of mere chanting words or phrases or suttas, or the practice of having rites and rituals done for them by someone else or by themselves. One has no more doubt about what is the correct path that leads to the higher stages of purity of mind towards arahatship. This is how one becomes a sotapanna and attains the true path of purification. There is no other way to attain these exalted stages of being. It is only through the realization of the Noble Truths by seeing Dependent Origination. Merely seeing the three characteristics will not now, nor ever be the experience which leads to the 'Supramundane Nibbana'. This is why all of the Buddha's appear in the world, to show the way to realizing the Noble Truths.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Dauphin Supple Chirp:
End in Sight:

Can you provide any more details about it?


Thanks for your answer. Let me try: (...)


I think your description is fairly consistent with 7th jhana, but, as you experienced this in a dream (!!), it's hard to say for certain; there may be other possibilities related to being asleep that I'm not familiar with.

I'd be interested in knowing whether the thing you had afterwards, which you diagnose as A&P, was heavily vibratory or not. High levels of concentration (which fuel "hard" jhanas as you may be describing) can also lead to "pleasure hangovers" which make normal A&Ps seem like a joke...but, I have only seen this happen in a non-vibratory way. (So, if it was not vibratory, that would be more evidence for 7th jhana; if if was, I'm not sure either way.)

Do you have a sense of what you did to enter this state (to go from sense-experiences to no sense-experiences)?

A random question (if you can answer)...which did you think was better, the possible 7th jhana thing, or the A&P thing? Why?
thumbnail
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:

I'd be interested in knowing whether the thing you had afterwards, which you diagnose as A&P, was heavily vibratory or not. High levels of concentration (which fuel "hard" jhanas as you may be describing) can also lead to "pleasure hangovers" which make normal A&Ps seem like a joke...but, I have only seen this happen in a non-vibratory way. (So, if it was not vibratory, that would be more evidence for 7th jhana; if if was, I'm not sure either way.)


The reason I diagnose that phase as A&P is that I had gone through the entire progress of insight up to SE before, and I remember from back then that the days around A&P were full of the same kind of "side effects:" Seeing breaking up into individual frames, hearing breaking up into short bursts or blips of sound, lucid dreams, feeling like I could meditate forever, suddenly being able to go into deeper absorption than before, clearly noticing one sensation after the other and how seemingly continuous sensations, such as a sore throat, are really just a few individual sensations here and there, amid a sea of unrelated ones.

It's interesting that you should mention vibrations. I didn't think this was important to mention, but right around that time was the first time ever that my predominant way of experiencing reality became vibrations. During my first couple of passes through the ñanas, I would sometimes perceive vibrations, but most of the time I did not focus on the vibratory nature of sensations. Right around the event I am describing in this thread, I did actually start focusing mainly on the vibratory nature of everything. So all this is my account of the days around the actual event.

The actual event itself did not have any vibrations that I was aware of. The sound broke up into blips of sound, but that's not really a vibration. Other than that, sinking into the absorption, being in it, and coming out of it, there were no vibrations. It's during regular, formal meditation later that day and week, and soon also in daily life, that I started feeling vibrations everywhere.

Regardless of this, the word "pleasure hangover" seems somewhat accurate. For days I felt an afterglow, but mainly I felt dissatisfaction with everything else. The way I expressed this to a couple of friends was, "The experience makes the rest of this life seem like a B movie."

End in Sight:

Do you have a sense of what you did to enter this state (to go from sense-experiences to no sense-experiences)?


First I tried to just relax, like I sometimes do after an intense vipassana session. At the crucial point, when I started sensing that I was about to slip into something deep, I had a little bit of fear, but then decided to "go against nature" and let go of everything. I decided not to hang on to life, consciousness, or anything else. That's pretty much the only thing I did to enter the state. The rest happened by itself. I just fell into a deeper and deeper absorption as the last few thoughts dissolved or ran out without anything to grasp at them or process them into new ones.

End in Sight:

A random question (if you can answer)...which did you think was better, the possible 7th jhana thing, or the A&P thing? Why?


Better in the sense of what I liked at the time, definitely the possible 7th jhana, simply because what I consider A&P is just a certain level of understanding of reality. Sure, it's pretty cool at the time, suddenly anything and everything I experienced was brilliant, clean, sharp, but really it's always the same thing every second of every minute of every day of being alive: Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, ... sensations battering me, never once letting up. The possible 7th jhana, on the other hand, was a vacation from the battery of sensations, including thoughts. "I" just disconnected from it all for a while.

However, A&P is better in the sense that it led to SE in my case, which, while not as immediately pleasurable, took away a huge amount of suffering forever. Sure, it doesn't keep the sensations from battering me, but it once and for all absolves me of the persistent, nagging feeling that I am responsible for what I "intrinsically am." SE clearly shows that I am not intrinsically anything, so there is nothing to worry about.

So the question is a little bit like a nice walk on the beach vs. having a good relationship with your family abroad. They are both good, but depending on what aspect you focus on, each can be seen as clearly better than the other.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: "falling into an abyss" A&P event and samatha jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
My best guess is, your experience had something to do with the 7th jhana. (But, it's just a guess.)

Why don't you see if you can reproduce some kind of jhanic experience along those lines (not necessarily 7th) during waking life? That would give you more evidence one way or the other. Instead of trying to focus on something (such as your breath), merely notice it, and follow the instructions you already know...

First I tried to just relax, like I sometimes do after an intense vipassana session. At the crucial point, when I started sensing that I was about to slip into something deep, I had a little bit of fear, but then decided to "go against nature" and let go of everything. I decided not to hang on to life, consciousness, or anything else. That's pretty much the only thing I did to enter the state. The rest happened by itself. I just fell into a deeper and deeper absorption as the last few thoughts dissolved or ran out without anything to grasp at them or process them into new ones.


The only improvements I can suggest are, start letting go whenever you think it's possible (which may be a bit earlier than this), to the extent that it's possible, and also, see if you can let go of the experience of "me" along with the rest.

One possibility you might consider is that there was no experience of "me" during that absorption, but in your memory you back-projected it in. (It happens.) Not saying that it was like that, just something to keep in mind...

Breadcrumb