Clarification needed about accidental dark night

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Simon T., modified 9 Years ago.

Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
So it is said that someone can end up in the dark night by accident, in other words, without doing meditation. Drugs, flying dreams, stressful events, etc. etc. When such a person start doing meditation, what impact this is going to have on his practice compared to a non-dark-nighter? Does that person has to climb the ladder from the ground and eventually experience another A&P? Or is the person cycling in the dark night stages with very few ability to deal with it (not having the chance to learn to swim in the shallow water of stage 1-4)?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
I don't know about general data, but I cant tell you how it worked for me. I ended up in DN by accident just as you describe (in my case due to LSD inducing A&P).

I was horribly depressed for all of 2009. I started meditating march that year, and yes, I got to re-experience A&P a couple of times. I would have a week or two of euphoria, very energetic and trippy experience, followed by several months of dark night hell.

Then in the summer I did a Goenka retreat, there I re-experienced A&P, dark night and rose all the way to equanimity.

Then in the last few days of the year I did a solo retreat, again a bit of A&P, a bit of dark night, then a lot of equanimity, with the mind ridiculously powerful for a few days, and this finally led to stream entry.

I was never depressed that way since, although I still experience periods of dark night.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
It seems fairly common for people to cross the A&P without meditative experience, I clearly recall experiencing this at around 11 or 12 years of age for the first time and also remember several passes through it over the years between then and beginning insight practice. I was a chronic dark nighter for years due to this, cycling through what I now recognize as the progress of insight but never knowing how to do anything about it until I found MCTB and this site. I've said before that I got stream-entry pretty much by accident too, I had no idea about vipassana and had no interest in Buddhism so I've got plenty of experience of this sort of thing "accidentally" or "suddenly" happening. emoticon

When such a person start doing meditation, what impact this is going to have on his practice compared to a non-dark-nighter?

In my experience, it was finding out that these stages had been mapped and described in detail, descriptions which fitted exactly with what I had been going through periodically for years, that made the big difference. Due to the manner in which I attained 1st path, I can't really say how this works pre-path but after that point, since cycling continues, knowing that all of this stuff is just par for the course meant that it became less of a problem to be dealt with and more like something to be investigated.

Does that person has to climb the ladder from the ground and eventually experience another A&P?

Yes, until you land 1st path you'll cycle through the ñanas repeatedly. After 1st path happens, and before the progress of insight for 2nd begins (a.k.a. Review), you cycle from A&P to Fruition and back.

Or is the person cycling in the dark night stages with very few ability to deal with it (not having the chance to learn to swim in the shallow water of stage 1-4)?

As above, you cycle from 1st to 11th until you hit Path. As also stated, I don't know about pre-1st path so I don't think my opinion would be of much use to you here.

Dark Night is about surrender, not in the sense of giving up but in the sense of equanimous acceptance of what arises. If you can learn to see how none of this stuff is actually happening to a self, even the most unpleasant and difficult of sensations, you can begin to understand why this is the case and gain insight into suffering as a whole. Observe objectively, don't wrestle with it and learn to navigate the territory skillfully as it will stand you in good stead for future progress.
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Simon T., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
It

Does that person has to climb the ladder from the ground and eventually experience another A&P?

Yes, until you land 1st path you'll cycle through the ñanas repeatedly. After 1st path happens, and before the progress of insight for 2nd begins (a.k.a. Review), you cycle from A&P to Fruition and back.
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I was referring to the A&P pre-path. After path, there is no A&P.
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Simon T.:
I was referring to the A&P pre-path. After path, there is no A&P.


Hmm, where did you get that information?
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Simon T., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:
Simon T.:
I was referring to the A&P pre-path. After path, there is no A&P.


Hmm, where did you get that information?


I thought that one ended up right away in the dark night or something like that. I got confused. I don't care much about post-past since there is such a long way to go...

Still, from your experience you had to go through A&P pre-path another time. I guess someone can fall back pre-A&P as many time as possible?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I thought that one ended up right away in the dark night or something like that. I got confused.

There are actually four insight knowledges, ñanas, involved in Path: Conformity, Change of Lineage, Path and Fruition. After the first Fruition, you go back down to the A&P and cycle from there up to Fruition (without 12th, 13th & 14th ñanas) until the cycle for 2nd path begins.

I don't care much about post-past since there is such a long way to go...

Ballocks. There is no reason to hold such a defeatist attitude, the belief that it's "a long way to go" will just prevent progress from happening as you'll continually find reason, consciously or unconsciously, to scupper your own efforts. I repeatedly say that what I write should not be taken at face value, but when I say "This is entirely achievable if you put the work in" I mean it literally and I know from experience that beliefs to the contrary do nothing helpful.

Still, from your experience you had to go through A&P pre-path another time. I guess someone can fall back pre-A&P as many time as possible?

Yes, I can recall at least six or seven A&P Events over the course of approximately 10 years. These ranged from minor energetic phenomena to massive, unitive and heavenly experiences. Until you get 1st path, you will repeatedly cycle and the speed at which this happens will be dependent on your practice.
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Simon T., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Clarification needed about accidental dark night

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Your posts are always helpful Tom! Hey, how is this AF thing going? You like it? Did you notice any chance in your behavior?

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