Help with higher paths. Please

Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/26/23 10:38 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/26/23 11:52 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/26/23 12:01 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Olivier S 5/26/23 12:12 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/26/23 12:20 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Olivier S 5/26/23 4:46 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please shargrol 5/26/23 8:37 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Pepe · 5/27/23 1:34 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/26/23 12:18 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/26/23 12:24 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/26/23 12:31 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/26/23 12:42 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Jim Smith 5/26/23 3:00 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Jim Smith 5/26/23 6:27 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Jim Smith 5/26/23 3:20 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/27/23 11:17 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Olivier S 5/28/23 12:45 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/28/23 1:29 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Eric Abrahamsen 5/28/23 2:05 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/28/23 2:31 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Olivier S 5/28/23 3:12 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Eric Abrahamsen 5/28/23 4:27 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/27/23 7:57 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/27/23 9:23 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Jim Smith 5/27/23 11:28 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please shargrol 5/27/23 10:11 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/27/23 11:05 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Will G 5/28/23 3:42 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/28/23 1:40 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Ni Nurta 5/28/23 2:44 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/29/23 9:48 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/29/23 10:39 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please shargrol 5/28/23 7:15 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 5/29/23 1:37 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/29/23 2:23 PM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 5/31/23 7:48 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please shargrol 5/31/23 9:12 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Adi Vader 6/1/23 7:31 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 6/10/23 5:15 PM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please B B 6/12/23 7:49 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 6/12/23 8:48 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Olivier S 6/12/23 9:06 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 6/12/23 10:06 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 6/11/23 11:55 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please shargrol 6/12/23 9:29 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 6/16/23 7:11 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please Chris M 6/16/23 8:50 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 6/17/23 7:46 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please shargrol 6/17/23 10:26 AM
RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 6/17/23 11:27 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please Bahiya Baby 6/18/23 4:13 AM
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 10:38 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 10:38 AM

Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Hello!

This forum has been such a valuable resource to me, thank you all. 

I understand that I have no track record here. I’ve been meditating for years so it’s difficult to just condense all that into an easily digestible package. I will do my best to give a detailed phenomenological account of where I’m at right now and I'm very very happy to answer any questions that might help you to help me.

I am often having experiences of selflessness, agencylessness and centrelessness. 
Meaning, I have experiences in which there doesn’t appear to be any separate piece of phenomena “I” that could identify with a “that”, that is in any way separate from any other observable piece of phenomena. When I have these experiences reality becomes a seamless, fluxing, open realm. The body seems to move on its own, there’s no perseveration of thought, there’s no conception of future or past. Reality presents as a single continuous moment that is what it is without any need for modification, without any rejection or wrestling with how things actually are, in fact, there is nothing separate from reality that could wrestle or reject. It’s a radically immediate and fresh way to perceive. Even when there is pain there is an immediate, unescapable right nowness to it that is staggeringly frank and very very different to how I’ve lived my life up until recently.

Now, where it gets strange is sometimes I live like that for a few hours or even a whole day. Yet after time it flips into more selfy modes of being, even selfy modes of being that deeply resemble what selflessness seemed like but there is a dissatisfactory craving and a subtle rejection of reality that creeps back in. 

When last I spoke with my teacher he walked me through a practice. In this practice there’s a relaxing into and all the way through the entire brain and nervous system. This seems to consistently bring about these non-dual, selfless modes of being. But they’re not permanent. They are, like all things, ultimately transient. It feels as though there are knots at the top of the head, the heart and the base of the body that sort of unwind and spiral out and the self is totally vanished. Sometimes the body is comfortable to stay like that for long periods of time, at that point there’s no practicing happening, everything just is. Other times the knots wrap back up pretty quickly and I return to a very subtle selfing. It has gotten kind of murky, as the weeks have gone by, the difference between the knotted and unbound state are harder and harder to distinguish. Certainly entering this unbound mode of being is much subtler, softer, gentler than the first time it happened. But also self creeps back in ways that are increasingly difficult to notice. 
It does seem somewhat like there’s a gentle massaging of the body-mind towards inhabiting this new mode of being. I just don’t really know why it doesn’t flip over completely? Does it ever?

Obviously when this first happened I put effort into trying to tie it down. I have since dissolved that craving too. My moment to moment practice is radically surrendering any conception of self, time, preference in every single moment and letting the more obviously non-dual stuff come and go as it will. It tends to come and go when the body randomly chooses to just relax into it. “I” can sort of make it happen, but that’s obviously not the same thing.

It’s a very strange territory. The only person I’ve seen write about this with any meaningful detail is Adi Da. His “Paradox of Instruction”, not that one could easily get a copy, has very detailed quasi-neurological descriptions of this that I find to be very useful and very on the money. Is there something similar in the Pali canon? Or elsewhere?

This may be telling of my state of mind these days. I have been through hundreds of paths. I followed the fetter model up to Anagami and was personally satisfied that with the attainment of each Path fetters had been cut. I haven’t thought about Paths or Jhanas or the progress of insight or stages at all, in any way, for 3 weeks. Which honestly is a bit of relief after all these years. I am in some kind of review cycle it seems. Sitting down to meditate almost seems trivial in a weird way. I still do it but there often doesn’t seem there’s any meditating to do. I’ll be living my life and notice subtle dissatisfaction, sit to meditate, dissolve through everything and then one of two things happen. I go into very interesting non-dual modes of being. Or I see through the self in a way that doesn’t eliminate suffering and realize that I have shit to do and life is very short and I do not have the same kind of desire, motivation, need or time to sit that I previously had. 

I definitely do not feel done. I definitely feel what Daniel describes as the arahats experience but only occasionally. 

Would love to hear from anyone else who has navigated a similar territory. Would love to hear your advice or insight. 

In general, lots of love
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 11:52 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 11:40 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 5091 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Hmmm....

I suggest you give this a bit more time to settle. There is no permanence to be found anywhere, including in one's experience of awakening. Since dual and non-dual co-arise we can never escape either. Have you had any experiences of losing all reference points and seeing existence entirely without any form of hierarchy?

A tricky question for you: Can you choose to view experience as dual or non-dual? Can you see both arise simultaneously? Can you see them arise separately?
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:01 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 11:59 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
"I suggest you give this a bit more time to settle."
Been in some senses settling into it for a number of weeks. But certainly "take your time" is my intuitive understanding of the situation.

"There is no permanence to be found anywhere, including in one's experience of awakening. Since dual and non-dual co-arise we can never escape either."
I have come across this type of statement before. I often don't fully understand it. Perhaps you could tell me more about what you mean. From my point of view and to paraphrase myself rather reductively. I'm not awakened because I want to be more awakened. 

"Have you had any experiences of losing all reference points and experiencing existence entirely non-hierarchinally?"
Yes, I believe I am experiencing that right now as I write this and it is the experience I attempted, perhaps poorly, to describe above. Absolutely no heirarchy. Everything is totally immediate. There is no reference point, nothing to reference, no point seperate from any other point. I was not experiencing reality without heirarchy thirty minutes ago. 

"Can you choose to view experience as dual or non-dual?"
When I'm experiencing things dually, if there's subtle selfing going on I can kind of relax my brain into a non-dual way of seeing. But once the non-dual takes over I don't really know how to go back to dual, it just sort of happens after awhile.  

For reference, what I mean by dual is that there's a THIS observing a THAT which tends to occur as a perception of a self that is seperate in some manner from reality itself. By non-dual I mean the abscence of that. 
​​​​​​​
"Can you see both arise simultaneously? Can you see them arise separately?"
That is such a good question. I don't know. Oh man, wow. I need to sit with that one. That's an awesome question. I love it. I will report back on that. 
Olivier S, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:12 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:07 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 870 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Hi !

There is a cool short text by Daniel on this, which is on this website somewhere I think, but I just looked and coulnd't find it - maybe someone else will know what I'm talking about.

It's about recognizing the non-duality of these two modes.

I remember that during an important retreat for me, which was in perhaps similar territory that you describe, back in 2020... or 2021 ? -  I had printed this text out and would read it as meditation practice a couple of times a day on the 4th to 8th day of the retreat. 

Then, I went through all the meditation instructions in Clarifying the Natural State (well not all of them, starting from after concentration is established etc.) from the 8th to the 12th day -  again, not just reading, but immersing myself in the text very slowly, in meditation, applying it diligently and with fervor to my experience, etc.

The combination of marinating in these two texts and deep meditations seemed to do something very interesting...

Hopefully someone (pepe ?) will jump in with the exact Daniel quote I'm talking about. Could be in his compilation of posts.
​​​​​​​
All good wishes !

Olivier

ps: I looked on Library Genesis and the "Paradox of Instruction" text which Bahiya baby mentioned is available on there. Australia allows access library genesis, contrary to my native France. ... ;)
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:18 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:10 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 5091 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
For reference, I was in a position that seems similar to yours about ten years ago. I felt I had fully experienced all the not-self, non-dual, and related realizations, and yet I did not feel "done" in a way that others I knew felt done. They were onto something I didn't know about, or have, or realize. You pick the term. I emailed them all, asking them what I was missing, and to a person they said it would one day be ridiculously obvious but they were at a loss for words to explain or describe it to me.

I spent the next few months desperately wondering how to obtain thet certain "thing" that I wanted oh so much. 

If you think it might help I can link you to my description of what I did eventually realize. I felt really, really silly, even stupid, after "it" happened.

EDIT with a hint: this issue that you're facing tends to revolve around unstated and unrealized hidden assumptions about how your experience actually works. You are still seeking something. You like to think, intellectually, that you know this stuff. Some things have to be grokked without interference from concepts and assumptions.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:20 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:20 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Olivier S Hi ! There is a cool short text by Daniel on this, which is on this website somewhere I think, but I just looked and coulnd't find it - maybe someone else will know what I'm talking about. It's about recognizing the non-duality of these two modes. I remember that during an important retreat for me, which was in perhaps similar territory that you describe, back in 2020... or 2021 ? -  I had printed this text out and would read it as meditation practice a couple of times a day on the 4th to 8th day of the retreat.  Then, I went through all the meditation instructions in Clarifying the Natural State (well not all of them, starting from after concentration is established etc.) from the 8th to the 12th day -  again, not just reading, but immersing myself in the text very slowly, in meditation, applying it diligently and with fervor to my experience, etc. The combination of marinating in these two texts and deep meditations seemed to do something very interesting... Hopefully someone (pepe ?) will jump in with the exact Daniel quote I'm talking about. Could be in his compilation of posts. All good wishes ! Olivier ps: I looked on Library Genesis and the "Paradox of Instruction" text which Bahiya baby mentioned is available on there. Australia allows access library genesis, contrary to my native France. ... ;)
Hey Olivier!

If it's in the compilations I've probably read it. I've periodically read Daniel's and Shargrol's compilations over the past few months. Might read through again.

That book is on libgen ;) It is very cool. First time I read it, years ago I went into a very profound samadhi and could hardly move for like 24hrs. Adi Da is a bit high level. His writing style takes a bit of adapting to.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:24 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:24 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Chris please link me to your description. I'd appreciate that so much. 

"this issue that you're facing tends to revolve around unstated and unrealized hidden assumptions about how your experience actually works"
More meat to chew on. 

It's such a funny feeling to be on the cusp of something and not realize it. I feel silly preemptively. 

​​​​​​​Really appreciate the insight. I have some meditating to do on this
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:31 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:31 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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You can read this entire excerpt from my mediation diary.
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:42 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 12:40 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 5091 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
BTW - this is not the end of practice. It's a juncture and creates new opportuinities for further realization - deepening, actually. The path seemingly has no "end," probably because... human beings.

​​​​​​​emoticon
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 3:00 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 2:20 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 1624 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby Hello!
...
Would love to hear your advice or insight. 
...


Are you practicing in daily life or just sitting meditation?

Look at the satipatthana sutta, when Buddha taught mindfulness, he said (paraphrasing): a monk lives (dwells) practicing thus ... 
Shinzen Young says something like (paraphrasing): at first meditation is something you do during life, later life is somethign you do during meditation.

https://www.themindingcentre.org/dharmafarer/wp-content/uploads/13.3-Satipatthana-S-m10-main-piya.pdf
6 Furthermore, bhikshus, a monk,
(1) while walking, understands, ‘I walk [‘Walking’].32 gacchāmîti
(2) Or, while standing, he understands, ‘I’ve stood’ [‘Standing’]; ṭhito’mhîti
(3) Or, while sitting, [57] he understands, ‘I’ve sat down’ [‘Sitting’]; nisinno’mhîti
(4) Or, while lying down, he understands, ‘I’ve lain down’ [‘Lying down’]. sayāno’mhîti
In whatever way his body is disposed, that is how he understands it.
The satipatthana refrain
7 So he dwells contemplating body in the body internally,
or, contemplating body in the body externally,
or, contemplating body in the body both internally and externally;
or, he dwells contemplating states that arise in the body,
or, he dwells contemplating states that pass away in the body,
or, he dwells contemplating states that arise and pass away in the body.
Or else, he maintains the mindfulness that ‘There is a body,’ merely for knowing and awareness.
And he dwells independent, not clinging to anything in this world.
And that, bhikshus, is how a monk dwells contemplating body in the body.


You might have a look at this video interview of Daniel Ingram, he explains how he finally got things stable, starting at 1:24:58

https://youtu.be/EbJiy6EJLsI?t=5098
he highly
1:26:14
recommended i get my concentration strong even stronger than it was and so i just
1:26:19
started going what would be the strongest concentration i could get would be every sensation notice to arise and
1:26:25
vanish at every moment at every cent store regardless of what it is without expectation or maps or models or anything just what
1:26:32
is happening full-on as fast as you can go and the mind can comprehend it so this is not using fast noting to
1:26:38
script anything or to create anything this is a purely receptive but 360
1:26:45
all sense doors high resolution type of very direct practice with no noting or anything
1:26:51
concepts being used except three characteristics which is canonical buddhism as canonical as you
1:26:56
can get and sixth sense stores which is also as canonical and old as you can get in buddhism right so this is
1:27:02
the old stuff and just very straight up non-techniquey
and i went through lots of cycles and
1:27:09
stages and wild things but eventually came to this place where uh all of a sudden everything flipped
1:27:16
over and everything was just where it was and i had the tremendous sense that what i was looking for had been found which i
1:27:22
still have to this day 17 years later i come to the exact same conclusion that this stayed this sort of not state
1:27:29
but way of perceiving reality where everything is just now happening as it is where it is knowing itself doing
1:27:34
itself causally without any stable no order controller watch or beer in it is it's still the same
1:27:40
and it's highly recommended and delightful and finally when i flipped into this

...

when i was had was going in and out of this stage which was sort of
1:28:51
unstable initially he said you know some people are arhats only on retreat



Daniel covers this in his book:

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-vi-my-spiritual-quest/70-around-the-world-and-finding-home/the-second-mbmc-retreat/
After about a week of not impressing Sayadaw U Pandita Jr. at all with reports of all my various dharma experiences, he finally said, in so many words, “Yeah, okay, but at some point you are going to have to get your concentration strong.”
...
I took his advice to heart with my standard macho bravado, yet a bit humbled at the same time, and began a project of going back to extremely simple assumptions, trying to go for one hundred percent capture, not letting a single sensation anywhere in the entirety of experience go by without perceiving the three characteristics clearly. I did this from the moment I woke up in the morning to the moment I fell asleep at night. This was real Vipassana 101, just six sense doors and three characteristics, but with the seemingly preposterous goal of the true and final perfection of momentary concentration and investigation.

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-vi-my-spiritual-quest/70-around-the-world-and-finding-home/wobble-and-fall/
Sayadaw U Pandita, Jr. gently said to me, “You know, some people are arahants only on retreat.” Those terrifying words galvanized whatever else in me had held back.

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-vi-my-spiritual-quest/70-around-the-world-and-finding-home/vimuttimagga-the-path-of-freedom/
All these years later the field has never destabilized again,
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 3:20 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 3:20 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 1624 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby
Hello!
...

When last I spoke with my teacher he walked me through a practice. In this practice there’s a relaxing into and all the way through the entire brain and nervous system. ...


Can you explain how to do this practice? Is it published anywhere?

Thanks
Olivier S, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 4:46 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 4:44 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 870 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Here is the quote - this is worth ruminating and taking on the cusion ; there is no magic text that will make you see what you want to see just because of reading it emoticon :

There are various modes of perception arising and vanishing, which may highlight various qualities over others, yet the divisionlessness of this full, rich, transient, direct, interdependent, causal field eliminates the subtle sense of some thing that is choosing modes. At some point there will no longer really be either option, as the thing will just be the thing, the field as the field of sensations, of manifestation, of qualities, textures, colors, and aspects. 


Call it True Self. Call it no-self. Regardless, it is happening, as it always has and there are various modes of attention, as there always have been and various modes of perception arising and vanishing, which may highlight various qualities over others, it seems and there is nobody to decide that this full, rich, transient, direct, interdependent, causal field is either but thoughts that it might be one or the other can still arise, as they did before and in that direct perception, the divisionlessness of it eliminates the subtle sense of some thing that is choosing modes. Though the sense of those apparent choices and decisions arising on their own may still occur. 

And this lack of a split, this lack of an illusion of some separate, permanent, continuous something that could truly stand outside of all of this and make such choices is seen through as part of the whole of the flickering, shimmering, transient thing. 

So look carefully at the patterns that seem to be deciding between those various modes and notice them and just get to know them, such that what is getting to know them and them are both clearly comprehended on their own, by themselves, aware/manifest where they are and all modes will come to be clearer about having that same quality of directness, of where-they-are-ness, in a way that eliminates finally the sense that any of those specific modes is the one true ultimate mode, but all modes are truly the thing itself, as the qualities of fundamental perceptual truth are universal and apply to all states and qualities and modes of perception and attention without exception.

Spend time enjoying the nice ones if you wish, as all modes of attention reveal the universal truths if perceived clearly, so if the nice modes happen, perceive them clearly, and if the modes you don't like as much happen, perceive them clearly, though it is true that the most pleasant and unpleasant ones as well as the least interesting ones are not as easy for some to just see as they are, as our reactions of enjoyment, aversion and boredom may seem to cloud clear perception.

But with clear comprehension from good practice, the fundamental truths reveal themselves, and a fluent clarity and facility in all states of manifestation becomes natural and habituated such that apparent exceptions and finally the sense of fundamental options become finer and more subtle and may eventually vanish.

... The common way of looking at this is that there are zillions of sensations but we can only comprehend a limited number of them. 

Except that perspective actually misses a really essential point that is strangely obvious once you think about it and yet also quite slippery, given how we are so used to not seeing things this way, or so we think.

That point is that each sensation already knew itself when it arose. If it arose, then the comprehension was build into it, intrinsic to it, the same as it.

We have this notion that there is some central comprehender, some liner processor of all of that stuff out there, and yet all of the stuff out there already processed itself it as it arose, as that arising was the processing, and what the seeming central processor does is to make some additional secondary impression (that is also just more sensations that are aware where they are and of themselves), but we actually believe that this secondary impression, this echo, this stand-in, is actually the awareness, the comprehension, when it is actually just a secondary effect from the first cause, that being the first sensation that the second sensation follows.

Said another way:

All of the sensations know themselves as and when and where they are, always have, always will, couldn't be any other way. Awareness and phenomena just always are not in a 1:1 ratio, they are actually just the same thing.

When reality seems filtered through this odd secondary central processing habit, it appears that some middleman, some potentially overburdened one-at-a-time system, is perceiving them, when actually it is just making poor copies one at a time of something that is vast and rich and already comprehended itself and never really actually needed any poor copies made to already be known.

So, just let the field in all of its richness speak for itself, including the small, central, limited copying process, and, seen thusly, the knot of perception that doesn't realize that the things already happened and already knew themselves will eventually and perhaps in stages shift to the whole thing knowing itself directly, as it actually always has but just somehow failed to know that at the level that makes the difference.

I, for one, see no reason not to enjoy the state you are able to get into, as, done well, most such things get boring after a time, no matter how amazing, and eventually familiarity with it will, if you are lucky and when the thrill and novelty wear off, lead to better and more clear sensate comprehension, which is the first basis of insight.

Dukkha is a power hog only because it fails to realize that the work was already done, that phenomena already knew themselves naturally, and so it is when that overcompensation stops that the whole thing fully knows that it shines on its own without having to do anything.
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 6:27 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 6:26 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 1624 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Jim Smith

...
Daniel covers this in his book:

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-vi-my-spiritual-quest/70-around-the-world-and-finding-home/the-second-mbmc-retreat/
After about a week of not impressing Sayadaw U Pandita Jr. at all with reports of all my various dharma experiences, he finally said, in so many words, “Yeah, okay, but at some point you are going to have to get your concentration strong.”
...
I took his advice to heart with my standard macho bravado, yet a bit humbled at the same time, and began a project of going back to extremely simple assumptions, trying to go for one hundred percent capture, not letting a single sensation anywhere in the entirety of experience go by without perceiving the three characteristics clearly. I did this from the moment I woke up in the morning to the moment I fell asleep at night. This was real Vipassana 101, just six sense doors and three characteristics, but with the seemingly preposterous goal of the true and final perfection of momentary concentration and investigation.



Daniel explain 100% capture in detail in this video:

https://vimeo.com/250616410
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 8:37 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/26/23 8:37 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 2297 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
this is really good. thanks for finding/posting it.

Olivier S:
Here is the quote - this is worth ruminating and taking on the cusion ; there is no magic text that will make you see what you want to see just because of reading it emoticon :
There are various modes of perception arising and vanishing, which may highlight various qualities over others, yet the divisionlessness of this full, rich, transient, direct, interdependent, causal field eliminates the subtle sense of some thing that is choosing modes. At some point there will no longer really be either option, as the thing will just be the thing, the field as the field of sensations, of manifestation, of qualities, textures, colors, and aspects.  Call it True Self. Call it no-self. Regardless, it is happening, as it always has and there are various modes of attention, as there always have been and various modes of perception arising and vanishing, which may highlight various qualities over others, it seems and there is nobody to decide that this full, rich, transient, direct, interdependent, causal field is either but thoughts that it might be one or the other can still arise, as they did before and in that direct perception, the divisionlessness of it eliminates the subtle sense of some thing that is choosing modes. Though the sense of those apparent choices and decisions arising on their own may still occur.  And this lack of a split, this lack of an illusion of some separate, permanent, continuous something that could truly stand outside of all of this and make such choices is seen through as part of the whole of the flickering, shimmering, transient thing.  So look carefully at the patterns that seem to be deciding between those various modes and notice them and just get to know them, such that what is getting to know them and them are both clearly comprehended on their own, by themselves, aware/manifest where they are and all modes will come to be clearer about having that same quality of directness, of where-they-are-ness, in a way that eliminates finally the sense that any of those specific modes is the one true ultimate mode, but all modes are truly the thing itself, as the qualities of fundamental perceptual truth are universal and apply to all states and qualities and modes of perception and attention without exception. Spend time enjoying the nice ones if you wish, as all modes of attention reveal the universal truths if perceived clearly, so if the nice modes happen, perceive them clearly, and if the modes you don't like as much happen, perceive them clearly, though it is true that the most pleasant and unpleasant ones as well as the least interesting ones are not as easy for some to just see as they are, as our reactions of enjoyment, aversion and boredom may seem to cloud clear perception. But with clear comprehension from good practice, the fundamental truths reveal themselves, and a fluent clarity and facility in all states of manifestation becomes natural and habituated such that apparent exceptions and finally the sense of fundamental options become finer and more subtle and may eventually vanish. ... The common way of looking at this is that there are zillions of sensations but we can only comprehend a limited number of them.  Except that perspective actually misses a really essential point that is strangely obvious once you think about it and yet also quite slippery, given how we are so used to not seeing things this way, or so we think. That point is that each sensation already knew itself when it arose. If it arose, then the comprehension was build into it, intrinsic to it, the same as it. We have this notion that there is some central comprehender, some liner processor of all of that stuff out there, and yet all of the stuff out there already processed itself it as it arose, as that arising was the processing, and what the seeming central processor does is to make some additional secondary impression (that is also just more sensations that are aware where they are and of themselves), but we actually believe that this secondary impression, this echo, this stand-in, is actually the awareness, the comprehension, when it is actually just a secondary effect from the first cause, that being the first sensation that the second sensation follows. Said another way: All of the sensations know themselves as and when and where they are, always have, always will, couldn't be any other way. Awareness and phenomena just always are not in a 1:1 ratio, they are actually just the same thing. When reality seems filtered through this odd secondary central processing habit, it appears that some middleman, some potentially overburdened one-at-a-time system, is perceiving them, when actually it is just making poor copies one at a time of something that is vast and rich and already comprehended itself and never really actually needed any poor copies made to already be known. So, just let the field in all of its richness speak for itself, including the small, central, limited copying process, and, seen thusly, the knot of perception that doesn't realize that the things already happened and already knew themselves will eventually and perhaps in stages shift to the whole thing knowing itself directly, as it actually always has but just somehow failed to know that at the level that makes the difference. I, for one, see no reason not to enjoy the state you are able to get into, as, done well, most such things get boring after a time, no matter how amazing, and eventually familiarity with it will, if you are lucky and when the thrill and novelty wear off, lead to better and more clear sensate comprehension, which is the first basis of insight. Dukkha is a power hog only because it fails to realize that the work was already done, that phenomena already knew themselves naturally, and so it is when that overcompensation stops that the whole thing fully knows that it shines on its own without having to do anything.
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Pepe ·, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 1:34 AM
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Hopefully someone (pepe ?) will jump in with the exact Daniel quote I'm talking about. Could be in his compilation of posts.

Yeah Olivier, it's in Daniel's posts compilation, in the 4th Path section.
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 7:57 AM
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I did all this same searching in texts and in podcasts and asking others. But as Olivier said, there's no reading material that will get you to this realization. There's no thinking that will do that, either. I believe, based on my personal experience, this realization comes when the desire for deliverance and the resulting seeking reaches a crescendo, and there is simply nowhere else the mind can go. It doesn't seem to happen on some grand stage, though. It happens in a lonely little corner, very unlike the sense of bigness we get from our first cessation. It's just a little switch that gets flipped, and suddenly the world comes to us in an entirely different and yet completely familiar way. It made me laugh to myself. It made me think I'd been wasting my time for years looking for something that was always right there in front of me. I was always able to touch this thing but was too ignorant, too self-referenced, too enamored of the journey, to simply reach down and pick it up. I'd been too focused on the intellectual version. It's the same life, the same experience, but totally different. It's the cosmic joke.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 9:23 AM
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There's a lot here to chew on. I've been taking a lot of this onboard and am doing some practice. 

it's all very helpful and I really can't say how thankful I am to all above. 

I will ask a specific question. 

When I try this 100% capture type practice. I generally feel that I am doing it but it tends to build to this gnarly crescendo of discomfort. Similar to what you're describing. There's just this point in the body, the self presumably, that is really really not having a good time. Practicing like that day after day makes me very edgy and very anti-social. Should it be like that, am I doing something wrong? Or perhaps just need to stick it through?

Most of the way to where I'm at now I did a dry Vipassana type approach and it worked very well for me. In the last couple months dry Vipassana seems to be rubbing me up against some super gnarly edges that are very hard to deal with.

Since attaining 3rd Path I've been doing much more Brahma Vihara + Vipassana type practices. Like TWIM or other stuff I've picked up along the way. Mostly because I am a much nicer person to be around when I don't spend hours a day in psychic agony. The discomfort only became a serious issue in this 4th path kind of territory. 
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 10:11 AM
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Everyone needs to find their own way, but I would trust your personal experience and I would explore your path -- not someone else's.

Some people do the dry vipassina thing, others the wet, some the void (mahamudra/dzogchen type stuff). For me it moved through those three general approaches in roughly that order, but not like a block of time that switch from dry to wet to void, but more like a general trend with lots of overlap.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to explore the full bandwidth of experience in a much more analog, rather than a high-baud rate digital way. Luxuriate in fully being alive. But also don't decieve yourself, you know there is something not quite settled, not quite complete, not quite understood. Hold both at the same time like a koan, how can I feel so alive yet feel like something is still missing?

That's the same feeling/question that probably got you started on this whole thing. It will take you to the end.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 11:05 AM
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 Right.

Been practicing since I wrote that and I realize now that the only actual difference in my approach was surrender, letting go. 

I was carrying through some unnecessary "Doing a practice" qualities that I had long since dropped when doing more heart based approaches to meditation. There's no reason why a 100% capture type approach wouldn't involve total surrender. That seems very obvious to me now. Recognition of the three characteristics can kind of carry on as surrender, to as and through the entire sense field. (Forgive me if surrender is too soppy a word. I'm b*lls deep in Tantra.) 

Really starting to see some of this "... the patterns that seem to be deciding between those various modes ..."

Deeper surrender to the experience really brought me straight here: "... explore the full bandwidth of experience in a much more analog [...] way"

"Hold both at the same time like a koan, how can I feel so alive yet feel like something is still missing?"

Back to it.

You guys are the best. Thank you. Lots of love. 

 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 11:17 AM
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Hi Jim! Thanks for taking the time to respond emoticon I appreciate the hell out of it. 

“Are you practicing in daily life or just sitting meditation?”
I have been committed to meditation on and off the cushion. Though admittedly I have always sucked at remaining present while I work. Some days are better than others. 

I appreciate all the specific mctb and interview content. This is all stuff I’ve read and reread over the last few months. But I think your bringing it up is actually rather helpful at this point. And I spent the morning relistening and reading. 

"Just this, so nice, any time" - U Pandita Jr
Yeah that's what I'm gunning for. 

See my other comment here on 100% capture. Because it has always been a sticky topic for me and I feel like I got at it from a good angle in the comment I just sent.  

"Can you explain how to do this practice? Is it published anywhere?“
There are practices that are similar in late stages of Adidam. So you’d find similar stuff in The Dawn Horse Testament. The general territory is discussed at length in the Paradox of Instruction which was mentioned above but that doesn’t go into detail on practice. 

It’s very difficult to transcribe. My teacher just showed me with transmission, started a sentence describing it and then stopped when he saw I was already doing it.

The practice if I might attempt to describe it: Basically if the witness has a shape(a vaguely human shape), relax through that shape such that it diffuses into the entirety of all sensation in a totally panoramic way that includes every aspect of the body, every aspect of sensation itself. There’s a relaxing of every single piece of the brain and nervous system from the eyes back through the midbrain, the crown and that sort of naturally unfolds throughout the whole nervous system. 

It was then and still is the single most interesting meditative thing I’ve experienced. A total uncoiling of all knots in the body, like my brain stem was being gently massaged and stretched open. And that stretch, which is becoming more and more how I experience my body, is just the most natural, right, totally groovy way to be an embodied human. It feels like I magically gained the capacity to relax every element of my body and deep brain at will and more and more frequently the body just naturally relaxes itself into this very wide, very inclusive, very totally everything that is happening kind of situation. 

(For what it's worth I deeply suspect and have intuited from a couple of conversations with his students that Will Johnson's Hollow Bamboo dharma ends up in this similar territory. It's also very likely that Adi Da had a very body focused means of discussing the opening of the wisdom eye. Maybe not. I actually don't know.)

Adi Da I know was very sympathetic to Buddhism, but as is common with these crazy tantric virtuosos he seemed to suspect he had something the traditions did not. All I can say is I've practiced enough of the Buddha's and Adi Da's systems that they both seem to be onto something really very remarkable. 

I would be very interested in having a conversation about how different attainments stack up between different traditions and so on. Perhaps in the future on another thread. 
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 5/27/23 11:28 AM
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Bahiya Baby

When I try this 100% capture type practice. I generally feel that I am doing it but it tends to build to this gnarly crescendo of discomfort. Similar to what you're describing.

There is the dukkha characteristic in everything.

There's just this point in the body, the self presumably, that is really really not having a good time. Practicing like that day after day makes me very edgy and very anti-social. Should it be like that, am I doing something wrong? Or perhaps just need to stick it through?

If it has that effect I would do less. There are other less intense ways to be mindful in daily life.

I find that when I concentrate too hard it makes me irritable. So I try to avoid intense practices and gravitate more toward relaxing practices. I understand samatha to be more about tranquility than concentration. I don't really see vipassana and samatha as different types of practices, to me they are more what you do with any given practice. So if you want, you can do vipassana with a tranqulity type practice and you can relax while doing a vipassana type practice.
Olivier S, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 12:45 AM
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(For what it's worth I deeply suspect and have intuited from a couple of conversations with his students that Will Johnson's Hollow Bamboo dharma ends up in this similar territory. It's also very likely that Adi Da had a very body focused means of discussing the opening of the wisdom eye. Maybe not. I actually don't know.)
Nice ! There is a fun article about how subtle mental actions and bodily movements are what fabricate the "veils" that filter out aspects of experience, by Claire Petitmengin, Francisco Varela's student, who developed the micro-phenomenological method, and is also a meditator : On the veiling and unveiling of experience. It is not particularly inspiring like a spiritual text might be, but it is insightful in a different way, and demonstrates her deep knowledge of buddhist thought. E.g. "Ultimate meditation instructions prescribe to stop everything, to do nothing. The body is motionless, the gaze is motionless (an immobility which contributes to dissolving the ordinarily perceived border between interior space and exterior space, created as we have seen by tiny micro-movements)."
Will G, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 3:42 AM
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I've been through different phases similar to what you're describing, both before and after what i thought of as MCTB 4th path, given the sort of fractal and ever expanding nature of the thing.

In my experience, insight and concentration exist on somewhat parallel tracks. It sounds like you're having the experiences but aren't quite clear about the insights. Most of the big shifts I had happened through deepening degrees of relaxation and release that allowed for insights to dawn. Its hard to know exactly where you're at, but here are some pointers that I found helpful at different times:

One of the breakthroughs I thought of as 3rd path was triggered by reading Greg Goode's introduction to emptiness teachings, which triggered an insight into the lack of inherency, which flipped me into a primarily non-dual mode most of the time, prior to which I was just having glimpses for which I couldn't figure out the cause. You can find it here: https://greg-goode.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Introduction-to-the-Emptiness-Teachings.pdf

Speaking of Bahiya, is it clear to you that there is seeing, no seer, hearing no hearer, but also that in seeing, there is just the seen, in hearing, just the heard? Look for anything that seems residual, either a seer, or a seeing.

Do you still feel like nouns are needed to initiate verbs? Look for places where you get hooked, fixated, for anything that resists or blocks the free-fall of sensory experience.

And finally, do you still conceive of phenomenal experience as a 'flow'? If so, there might be a sense of inherency bound up with some aspect of attention and its movement. Another way to put this is, does it still feel like you're 'having' an experience, subtly appropriating it from somewhere? That sense can linger on for pretty long even into non-dual territory.

Hope that helps!
Best of luck!
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 7:15 AM
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Really good advice Will!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 1:29 PM
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Olivier. 

I'm really interested in where biology/neuroscience meet meditation/relaxation/embodiement. 

This is Awesome! Reading it now. I love seeing science look at not just wandering mind but where thoughts originate phenomenologically. So cool.  
There is a part of me that would dig researching this academically. Having to get a bachelors in psychology often holds me back. I dropped out of college early to start a business and there are just a lot of complications in going back to education. If I ever taught meditation I'd love to incorporate this type of work. 

Any other similar things you've come across?

Is Varela worth getting into? I read some of Humberto Maggi but the language was dense and I figured I'd need to start at the beginning, which is a bit of a project. Just like reading Adi Da you've got to adapt to the lexicon. 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 1:40 PM
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Will G.

Hi! 

It means so much that there are people, willing to talk to me, who can relate to these experiences.

"It sounds like you're having the experiences but aren't quite clear about the insights."
This sounds super accurate to me. 

"Most of the big shifts I had happened through deepening degrees of relaxation and release that allowed for insights to dawn."
I am doubling down on relaxation.  

You ask some really great questions here. I'm going to spend some considerable time meditating on them. 

What I was noticing before in practice was a shape or structure to the witness position and relaxing through that, which was sort of causing the "Non-dual" experiences to occur. Interestingly at this point and I may have to correct myself later, The five "Tactile" senses seem really clear but the mind has stuff going on that I'm only now paying attention to. 

Chris was really on the money above, there were subtle heirarchies of mental phenomena that I wasn't bringing attention to, or really able to see. There's like mental processes that are running pre-lexical thought functions. Constant preferring, choosing, sorting, etc. I've been bringing more attention to this and relaxing into and through these in my practice.

I've been going back to basics, sense doors and three characteristics, with an understanding that percieving the three characteristics is arrived at most deeply by relaxation. So relaxing every sense, allowing sensation to be where it's at and as you say noticing "anything that resists or blocks the free-fall of sensory experience". Most of it, besides some strange olfactory hindrances, has to do with mental objects back in the deep brain. 

I am aware also that my meditation has focused a lot on sensation, so the tactile senses, lots of feeling, seeing and hearing. I'm getting the impression that over the entire time I've been meditating there were ways in which I was subtly suppressing aspects of thought as opposed to really being aware of them, just a bad habit I picked up somewhere. 

The last few months it  seems I'm winding back mental phenomena to their core. It can be quite difficult stuff to see and honestly when some of it's seen it can be very tough to come to terms with. The self is pernicious and I find without deep relaxation some of these root functions can be kind of gnarly to observe. 



Y'all have no idea how useful and insightful this all is. I'm still contemplating some things Chris mentioned above. I'm really greatful for the abundance of wisdom. 
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 2:05 PM
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Bahiya Baby Olivier.  I'm really interested in where biology/neuroscience meet meditation/relaxation/embodiement.  This is Awesome! Reading it now. I love seeing science look at not just wandering mind but where thoughts originate phenomenologically. So cool.   There is a part of me that would dig researching this academically. Having to get a bachelors in psychology often holds me back. I dropped out of college early to start a business and there are just a lot of complications in going back to education. If I ever taught meditation I'd love to incorporate this type of work.  Any other similar things you've come across? Is Varela worth getting into? I read some of Humberto Maggi but the language was dense and I figured I'd need to start at the beginning, which is a bit of a project. Just like reading Adi Da you've got to adapt to the lexicon. 

I'm also really into this direction of research, and would love to see more recommendations. I recently read Varela-et-al's The Embodied Mind, and found it fascinating. I'm particularly interested in how phenomenology and Buddhist theory of mind could inform artificial intelligence, and was thrilled to find Hubert Dreyfus' article on "Heideggerian AI" as well -- it didn't cite Varela, but felt like it should have. That was from 2005, though, and I can't tell if that line of inquiry has been picked up by anyone else.

More recommendataions, please! I will not further hijack this thread! Maybe we could start another one.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 2:31 PM
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I second that motion Eric. A thread on that stuff would be awesome. More recommendations! I'll check out The Embodied Mind. 

Though it seems I've come by a host of new reading materials.

 
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Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 2:44 PM
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Bahiya Baby
Most of it, besides some strange olfactory hindrances, has to do with mental objects back in the deep brain.
At times when digging inside your brain there can be strange taste/smell experiences in the body and mind and they might be are related to release of some chemicals. It then might seem this sensual quality is distracting but it is really effect of these chemicals.

Not sure if this is what you describe but in either way nothing to worry about it. Brain through self observation and pushing buttons will see effects and later when any adjustment related to things these buttons control is needed brain will be able to act more skillfully thanks to this exposure.

For similar reasons body scanning techniques are beneficial. It is generally good idea to spend some time to from time to time have awareness on each body part. Any unrealized issues (read: energy blockades in esoteric lingo) and things brain might forgot about are being mapped and experience overall can become much better.

It would suck to have brain not knowing its buttons and suffer eg. depression not being able to self-correct its chemical ballance.

On this note it is not like there is need to consciously study these things in great detail. Just brain knowing is enough so if something happen and you are mindful of what you were doing and where and what are effects it causes it is enough.

"It sounds like you're having the experiences but aren't quite clear about the insights."
This sounds super accurate to me.

Most of the insight that really matters is just knowing which qualities are good and which bad to know which to cultivate.
Rest is conceptualization and as much as I am myself fan of right insight and right understanding down to single brain bits I must say that in practice even this is mostly pointless other than academical discussion and to maybe know that some of the canonical and commonly used conceptualizations are more harmful than helpful - which everyone knows is true but still put conceptualization allowed the place also limiting oneself with them.
It is not the point of feeling you know when you do not know.

True knowledge comes when you want to actually know how device works and put lots and lots of effort in studying it.
There is nothing bad in not being being interested in this stuff and just go right to the point, make experience nice and comfy and leave all technical details in cloud of unknowing. Inside own mind its always enough just to go by intuition and intuition works better without chains of conceptual understanding.

Say device you write on - is it really that important to know how it was build and software written, what endianess processor have or how buses verify correctness of transmitted data and which signaling methods are used? Not really, even instruction set of processor is completely transparent to like 99.9% developers let alone end users emoticon
And definitely it is not helpful to say things like that anyone who know how to use program on such device needs to know things about it and then invent bunch of nonsense about it just to appear to other people who also have no idea about as knowing something. It is ignorance.

In other words people cling to conceptualizations, mostly not even theirs and treat it as meme. (note: term "meme" originally was not about funny pictures... just like most dharma terms people use were originally about something else)
Olivier S, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 3:12 PM
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 So, in terms of more recommendations, if there is anything specific you guys are interested in I could try to share some things - let me know.

Perhaps more importantly though - unofficial announcement here - : as part of our work at Emergence Benefactors (charity supporting the EPRC, which currently employs me - both orgs co-founded by Daniel Ingram), some people have been putting together a "Guide to Emergence" or "Emergence Wiki" of sorts, which will contain references to many, many such articles, among quite a few other things. The 1.0 should be ready to go not too long from now.

Also, if all goes according to plan, we should be getting a summer intern who will help curate a zotero collection of emergence-related publications containing ~400 articles (for now), as well as a select list of EPRC members' publications on this general domain we are talking about. This should be made publicly available by the end of the (northern hemisphere) summer.

Cheers !

Olivier
 
Eric Abrahamsen, modified 9 Months ago at 5/28/23 4:27 PM
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Olivier S So, in terms of more recommendations, if there is anything specific you guys are interested in I could try to share some things - let me know. 
Perhaps the easiest thing would be to wait for the "Emergence Wiki" to launch!

I'm only tangentially interested in neuroscience, which I gather is a big focus of the scientific research. I'm more interested in how dependent origination and the karmic cycle can be used as patterns for pointing the way forward for artificial intelligence. AI (or more accurately ML) is very stuck in a two-phase process: first train the model, then use it for inference. Dependent origination, and embodied cognition, and some branches of phenomenology, have a much more dynamic, cyclical view of the process: "training" and "inference" are one and the same. Using our understanding of the world to drive our action in the world is the exact process by which we develop our understanding of the world -- and on it goes. I want to know if anyone is doing research in translating that idea into artificial intelligence.

I hijacked after all...
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/29/23 9:48 AM
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There's like mental processes that are running pre-lexical thought functions. Constant preferring, choosing, sorting, etc. I've been bringing more attention to this and relaxing into and through these in my practice.

Bahiya, can we briefly drop our concerns about dual vs. non-dual views? Let's assume some mean-spirited person puts a loaded gun to your head and tells you to point to where you believe "you" are. To what would you point? Please don't think this through. Go with your immediate gut reaction. Consider this a matter of life and death 'cause this person might shoot you if they suspect you're not being honest.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/29/23 10:39 AM
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Head
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 5/29/23 1:37 PM
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"Head"

Is there a certain special place in or on the head?
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/29/23 2:23 PM
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"!@$%"
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Bahiya Baby, modified 9 Months ago at 5/31/23 7:48 AM
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 It seems like the last few months I'm deepening through these sort of membranes in experience. I guess I'm loosely associating them with the Skandhas. 

You all really helped me to see mental formations, as far as I understand it. They were pretty pernicious in some senses and hard for me to recognize at first. Whatever about dual/non-dual I see those mental processes were kind of obfuscating reality with constant busy bodying. 

When I got to see these processes they were ultimately easy enough to swan dive through and that has helped loosen my attachment to states in general. 

Now things are a lot clearer. I notice a lot more that thoughts arise without everything contracting around them which is really nice. Some thoughts are great.

It’s clear something remains. A nebulous sort of dull seperation. It feels in a sense like there's psychic armor plating somewhere holding me back from the universe and I can't quite swan dive through it. I'm working more with letting practice, the process, take care of itself. I guess I’m really coming to terms with a process of gradual deepening, relaxation and surrender. 

The sense of a meditator doing meditation is beginning to dissolve. I can let the body hang in freefall and instead of relaxing the discomfort being the focus of practice I’m more surrendering the processes that are trying to change anything about the discomfort. 

Definitely beginning to observe that ALL experience is impermanent, dissatisfactory and not self. That seems like a silly thing to say, all things considered.

This morning I experienced how a trauma from a few years ago was related to early childhood trauma and how that was related to near birth trauma. It was all very vulnerable and sad. I saw in ways that are hard to describe how the personality sort of built itself out of reaction to that pain and how I’ve been living out that reactive pattern my whole life. That was a number of hours ago now but there was a realness to it that was heartbreaking and it’s been with me all day. 

Every single piece of advice I’ve been given here has come up, spontaneously or otherwise, during my practice. All were immensely useful and will continue to be I imagine. 

 
shargrol, modified 9 Months ago at 5/31/23 9:12 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 5/31/23 9:12 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 2297 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It's hard reading (at least for me, I found the style difficult) but "Seeing that Frees" by Rob Burbea is very good at identifying/deconstructing different mental frameworks that are easily overlooked.

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Adi Vader, modified 9 Months ago at 6/1/23 7:31 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 6/1/23 7:31 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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Hello Bahiya

We are all bound by the style of practice  and its associated languaging that forms in our own minds. Often we dump languaging that is traditional and adopt our own languaging of practice and the direct experience that we gain in practice. This makes it difficult to communicate, but not impossible. At the risk of sounding incomprehensible, I am putting together some responses to your writing and some pieces of advice in terms of the direction that you can  potentially give to your practice. I trust that you will evaluate and decide whether or not my responses and advice are relevant to you adopting that which works and simply dumping that which doesnt. My intention in writing to you isnt to challenge what you have written or debate it, but to present to you my point of view which you can do some good old fashioned 'Ehipassiko' on.

Responses

1. Think of each fetter as a connate of the mind - a sankhara. An underlying tendency that waits to be called into action by a trigger. The fetter determines the particular kind of cognitive cage that gets fashioned and then the heart gets stuffed into that cognitive cage in a set repeatable pattern called Pratitya Samutpad or Dependent origination. Thus if one is fettered then the hallmark of being fettered would be having the heart stuffed into a cage. Whether one walks around with a sense of self or as an empty container through which 'objects' simply come and go is immaterial in my opinion. these are strange perceptual configurations that have no bearing on fetters. These perceptual configurations are deliberately created in formal practice in order to create a vantage point throuugh which the mind and its activities can be observed. For us as practiotioners these perceptual configurations continue to get created .... and they keep breaking down ... a dumb mind doing gymnastics that we trained it to do, just doesnt stop doing them even though we arent practicing. In short, perceptual changes need to be completely ignored - they have no value in judging any kind of progress or lack thereof.

2. Think in terms of upadana or appropriation. An aspect of the process through which the heart is stuffed into conceptual cages. Take two of these potential cages as examples. Rupa raga and Arupa raga. Rupa is sensorial materiality, anything that carries sensorial materiality is sensed, that which does not carry sensorial materiality cannot be sensed. A thought carries sensorial materiality thus we can sense that there is a thought tumbling around inside our head. Sankharas or constructs that construct experience cannot be sensed they are outside the realm of the sensorium. A thought of pizza can have multiple precedents and consequents. For example a gourmand may salivate some one struggling with anorexia may vomit. There are different constructs in different people's heads, different 'operators', that construct further experience. To sense something that can be sensed and identify with it, lay a claim of ownership on it, derive one's identity from it is rupa raga. To intuit the presence of an operator/sankhara/ construct that constructs and then to identify with it, lay a claim of ownership on it, derive one's identity from it is arupa raga. To be free of fetters means to no longer have the heart stuffed into these two (and other) conceptual cages. To no longer take conscious experience 'personally'. This isnt anything personal, this is just the business conducted by the sensorium. This is a cognitive change resulting in an affective outcome - a heart quality, it is not a perceptual quality. To identify with any particular configuration of awareness is rupa raga. To identify with any operator that works towards any particular configuration of awareness is arupa raga.

Advice

1. Pick up the 5 aggregates model of conscious experience and train yourself to see sensorial materiality (Rupa), Its perverted knowing (vijnana), its cognition/recognition (samjna), The movements of the heart (vedana) and inuit the presence of the operators that pervert knowing, that run congition/recognition, that move the heart (sankharas/samskaras). And track these categories of experience deeply familiarizing yourself with experience as these categories - training the mind. Seeing that each experiential moment is one particular config of these aggregates. And there is no 'you' running them.

2. Do paccavekhana/pratyavekshana (reviewing of the fetters/defilements). Set up a simple repetitive attentional task. As an illustration, pay attention to the left buttcheek, then the right nostril, then two sounds, two thoughts ... and cycle between this for one hour in each session. The rigid military discipline will reliably trigger the fetters. 'I gotta do something else' - audhatya/restlessness, 'This is happening to me' 'This one hour of drudgery is happening to me' rupa raga, 'I am the stuff that is running the show' 'I am the ability to mark time' arupa raga ... and so on. This deep familiarization with the defilements brought about by the drudgery will completely demolish all ideas or notions of being 'done' .... or maybe you actually are done! I dont know emoticon

3. Amp up concentration practice - use the breath, do the jhanas, get to the breath nimitta, do the nimitta jhanas, do tejo krtsna (fire kasina), use a mantra .... basically train concentration as an ability independent of object, and get really good at it.

I hope something here was helpful to you.

Best wishes.
B B, modified 8 Months ago at 6/10/23 3:58 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/10/23 3:57 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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It's tricky because the ultimate nature of reality is beyond characteristics. That's the ground as it were. Then it's like appearances are in this state of superposition, a sort of holographic projection of the ground. Or you could think of light diffracted into many colors through a crystal. And crucially, the mind itself has this diffraction-like nature. So every concept is biased in some way. No concept or appearance directly maps onto the ultimate nature of reality. But one can speak of a nucleus or focal point of appearances at the heart center. And one can understand all appearances, whether peceived to be inner or outer, to be stemming from this nucleus, which of course is totally empty in nature. One must abandon the idea of there being an actual path. Compassion enables one to always aim to achieve awakening as swiftly as possible, thus not getting stuck on a path. Devotion enables one to have confidence in this ultimate nature. It can be introduced directly by a teacher for whom one cultivates devotion.

All clinging to views must be abandoned, even the subtlest dualistic grasping at extremes. Once one realizes this nature beyond characteristics, it's like the anchor has been cast and one is no longer adrift in samsara, although one must remain confident in the face of residual karmic propensities until parinirvana (which occurs automatically with sufficient realization). But there is a distinctive knowing, undistracted awareness (like a clear, colorless light) that's a sign of being anchored in "the ground". One doesn't fall into bias, i.e. clinging to concepts, though it may seem this way to an observer due to residual karmic propensities. With time, there is a settling down and clearing away of habitual tendencies, like water becoming clear when the silt at the bottom of the lake is no longer being stirred up.

So key points:
- There's not the slightest shred of anything to do from the vantage point of ultimate truth.
- Compassion to avoid stagnation
- Devotion to achieve confidence in the absolute
- The view is simply non-bias, non-clinging. Lesser attainments will include some clinging to concepts about ultimate truth.

Thus conduct can be simply to remain uncontrived, spontaneous, and present.

Yet after time it flips into more selfy modes of being, even selfy modes of being that deeply resemble what selflessness seemed like but there is a dissatisfactory craving and a subtle rejection of reality that creeps back in. 

Yep, totally relatable. I believe this stems from some clinging to the notion of a path, i.e. there being some actual change in perception or appearances that must occur for there to be awakening. Honestly the conditioning I received here at the DhO, and through MCTB, I've found to be a serious obstacle to final realization. Of course they are tremendous resources for earlier phases of one's practice. But it can be very difficult to shake the belief that there's some actual ignorance / delusion / I-making / etc which must be removed, i.e. that fundamentally there is an actual truly-existent path from samsara to nirvana. Insofar as there's a path, it's to realize the total baselessness of all supposed paths, which paradoxically really makes a practical positive difference in one's life in countless ways.

All states share the same unchanging nature. The "non-dual modes of being" are a trap because one's nature has always been beyond dualistic extremes - there have never been actual dualistic modes. In my experience, it takes tremendous perseverence towards the end because there are no more clear "wins", where one has this satisfying permanent reduction in I-making after a cessation. One must go beyond judging appearances, clinging to paths and concepts entirely. Fortunately there are dharma teachings and practices which are still tremendously helpful, i.e. Vajrayana practices.
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Chris M, modified 8 Months ago at 6/10/23 5:15 PM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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Yeah, only Vajrayana practice leads to awakening. Nothing else. 

;)
B B, modified 8 Months ago at 6/11/23 9:13 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/10/23 7:33 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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Yeah, only Vajrayana practice leads to awakening. Nothing else. 

;)
I can't speak for other forms of Buddhism, but yes probably. 

Edit: apologies, this is misleading. I mean "yes, probably there are other forms of Buddhism, and perhaps even other spiritual traditions entirely, which can lead to full Awakening". Though there may be truly vast differences in the efficacy of these forms compared to Vajrayana Buddhism.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/11/23 11:55 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/11/23 11:55 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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So this is like my fifth attempt at an update. My experience changes radically every couple of days so it’s really hard to nail down anything concrete about practice. 

Shargrol, yeah this book is very my kinda thing. Love it. 

Adi Vader, appreciate the advice. Your writing here is both educational and insightful. I have incorporated some of your suggestions. I have found noting the fetters particularly useful. 

B B, mulling this over. Grateful for your advice. Definitely committing to this “Thus conduct can be simply to remain uncontrived, spontaneous, and present.”

Some general practice updates. 

I passed through a period of time in which “doing practice” became kind of uncomfortable. “Practicing” was so obviously contrived that all I could do was be there and add absolutely nothing to it. This was really interesting because I began to notice lots and lots of restlessness. “Why can’t I just be here?” and “What is this part of me that wants to ‘just be here’”.

Next came a return to very obvious paths. I am not focusing on them in practice but they are arising. If I practice all day one or two whole paths can spin by. 

I began focusing very deeply on no-self and I got the impression there was a deeper insight there I needed to uncover. This led to a couple of interesting experiences. 

First I noticed the sense of experience flowing steadily from one moment to the next was actually a view and when I saw that to be not self, experience became much more a fluctuating, flickering, shimmering, patterning of sensations all around and here and there. Not the smooth continuous flow I had grown used to in meditation. Will’s questions above really helped me here. 

Following on from this there was a tiny little shift from that mode of practice which still had an aspect of “doing practice”, to something much more immediate. As though I could start doing meditation from the point of view of every sensation is known as it arises, wherever it occurs with out any referencing or reflection. This sort of feels like there’s a time gap between the doer and reality itself and when that time gap dissolves everything becomes super immediate. 

Not in the world shattering way it did in the experiences I mention above, but in a much more, “no big deal, this is just how things are naturally perceived” sort of way. This doesn’t feel like the end goal itself but just a more direct way to perceive and continue to practice. Though it is a very freeing way to see things. 

This shift came about with a noticeable softening of the heart and I began to see very clearly the role Conceit(pride) played in this sense of doership. I saw too, how much of my personality and sense of self was built on a sort of foundation of conceit. A tender, upsetting, though ultimately compassion inspiring experience. The fetters of rebirth and restlessness while still present really took a backseat to pride for quite some time. 

The last six months I’ve been working little and practicing a lot. Unfortunately I have to return to the world and I can’t maintain the same time commitment to practice. I am tipping away with an hour or two of meditation a day. My heart tells me this is ok and if I persist with what I’m doing I will continue to make progress. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 1:23 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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I can't speak for other forms of Buddhism, but yes probably.

I'd say Buddha's original attainment is da best.
From all Buddhist traditions only Mahayana captures qbit of it by adding lots and lots... padding. Though I believe Buddha himself couldn't really give it to people and Theravada is the realization of all the Buddha's teachings after he started teaching - i.e. Buddha's new cycle and actual "Buddhism".
Real Bodhisattvas figured out Buddha's hidden messages and realized what can be done.
Now Vajrayana I am pretty certain is mix of different stuff and more like taking all sorts of things, mostly from Hindus traditions but also some regional and slapping "Buddhism" on to itself and then declared "we are superior, we have all Ultimate realizations". It resembles more what Buddha would be at should he didn't have certain realization... but then he would never go seek because he would be a king. Probably splendid king but nothing more.

In any way I was a Bodhisattva so I know everything about everything and then some.
Was because these things one has to be complete for them to take full effect. Otherwise its no different than the so called Hinayana. I do not use it in derogatory term, just indicating sacrifice Bodhisattva must make which isn't part of Hinayana. None of the people who are using these terms as Hinayana in derogatory way have any rights to do so - but then again that is what you get when you put bunch of people enlightened less than flat worm in to tradition which openly considers itself superior - and it does exactly because of these people. Enlightened people on the level needed for Mahayana come very rarely and most who are fettered will only get the wrong message thinking they are already superior just because they make dishonest ritual and call it Bodhicitta which isn't at all what it should be. At the very least Mahayana has not lost its focus completely and advanced people do sacrifices even if partial because doing it is embedded in the "vibe" of the tradition so when someone get's to level where they can experience it they will know what to do.

Also... given how Vajrayana seems to have gotten the same wrong superiority complex and cranked it to 11 or even more Bhumis - which doesn't make any sense - just to claim superiority. It is obvious what it is. Always have to jump more hoops to get to the source of their dharmas.

So no, Vajrayana is not the superior Buddhism. It isn't Buddhism at all. More like some kind of Joga or something. Which isn't wrong by itself but out of respect to Lord Buddha it has to be pointed out. Not that normal people have any reason to have respect to Buddha anyways. There has to be direct transmission for there to be reason for there to be any reason for the respect. And at least people like you do have only respect to Vajrayana so that's at least good. There is value for traditions like these too, Vajrayana introduced lots of good stuff from older teachings which by itself were not bad. Especially in today's interconnected world where we have open dharma market they serve as hub for those teachings for people who like Vajrayana itself cling to Buddhism because it was claimed to be superior.

Edit: apologies, this is misleading. I mean "yes, probably there are other forms of Buddhism, and perhaps even other spiritual traditions entirely, which can lead to full Awakening". Though there may be truly vast differences in the efficacy of these forms compared to Vajrayana Buddhism.

FYI for Buddha it was never about "efficacy" but "completeness".
It usually was for all the gurus in India. And it really is the real origin of Vajrayana.
Again: nothing wrong with these teachings. You should however be aware Vajrayana is NOT real Buddhism and if you want real Buddhism go to Theravada and if you want real Nibbana go to Buddha.

That said if you never felt these differences and just focus on "efficacy" then you should not bother. In Vajrayana you are in the right for you company emoticon

BTW. Pragmatic dharma is not Theravada!
More like more modern efficient Theravada methods without proper focus thorough.
Like if you already took small vehicle and made toy vehicle out of it. Some skilled people at least put engines in it and have a blast with it emoticon
And I totally understand it, there is a time and place for this stage too. It after all already is being on the path, just not at the finish as it might seem to untrained eyes.
B B, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 7:49 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 7:49 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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It seems I'm one of very few whose practice was heavily influenced by MCTB and the DhO from a pretty early stage, and who then moved on to practice I believe authentic Vajrayana Buddhism (including Dzogchen), in that I have a close personal relationship with a Vajrayana guru who is part of a lineage and was authorized by his teachers. I can also speak from experience of having achieved the various paths described in MCTB, at least up to 3rd. Throughout all of this I've been living as a lay person with a full-time job.

My experience has been that Vajrayana works, and works on a level way beyond what one is likely to attain through the Theravada-influenced practice style typically discussed on the DhO. If one is interested in achieving the most profound peace of mind and freedom from limitations possible (i.e. the highest of higher paths), it may be worth delving into. But of course what works best will depend on the individual.
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Chris M, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 8:48 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 8:33 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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But of course what works best will depend on the individual.

I started meditation as a Zen student for quite some time. I moved to vipassana after reading MCTB some time around 2006, when it was called "The Blook". I was able to take vipassana through 4th path as decribed by Daniel Ingram. I've since been a non-denominational practitioner, and have been reading a lot of Mahayana literature and talking to my friends in that lineage. 

My best guess at the so-called "truth" is that what works is very personal. What works for me may not work for you, or her, or him, or them. There are many ways to awaken. Human history and the documented experience of thousands of practioners contradicts that way of thinking. Vajrayana is what I'd call a "direct path" method. Theravada uses those methods, too. Most practitioners these days use a toolbox of varied practices. This site, DhO, is dedicated to the idea that what works for you is the way forward -- "Pragmatic Dharma."

YMMV, but I'm staking my claim on the "There Are Many Roads to the Top of the Mountain" version of awakening.
Olivier S, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 9:06 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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Agreed, and then taking a global view, let's keep in mind that demographically speaking: Christianity 2.5 billion, Islam 1.9 B, Hinduism 1.2B, Buddhism 500m, Folk Religions 400m, and then countless other denominations and spiritual vehicles and non-denominational practice schools, etc., and secular approaches within the remaining 1.2B non-affiliate, many with their own complex practices and all that (Source: Pew Research Institute). One should probably assume that, as has been the case with other areas of human activity such as agriculture, the arts, the sciences, equally highly refined versions of the whole contemplative thing can be found in many other places than the indian sub-continent and related areas of expension of buddhism, though there may be some unevenness... That is my view anyways emoticon
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 9:29 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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Nicely said Chris and Olivier!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 10:06 AM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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I have often seen, when long ago I trekked the jungles of the past, gleaming droplets cradled in the feathers of the palm trees. Never will I forget how the sunlight on their surface drenched the nightmare of the forest in playful prisms of delight. Tell me of a jewel more splendid, more precious that you have witnessed, a treasure so rich with wisdom I might forsake this lowly frond. 

Oh shit… I meant to say:

In your personal experience, practically speaking, I would love to know how does the practice of Dzogchen differ from the investigation of the three characteristics into the totality of the six sense fields?

I am not asking how either of these practices are taught, or what people tend to say about either of these practices. But in your experience of them…

I am genuinely very interested in this topic but only from a purely phenomenological point of view. A great teacher of mine is a long time student of Tibetan Buddhism. While it is important for me to remain uninitiaited and not be formally involved in any tradition I have recieved all kinds of transmissions from all kinds of people. 

Practically... Moment to moment... What is the difference in your experience between the above practices? 
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 3:33 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/12/23 3:33 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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It seems I'm one of very few whose practice was heavily influenced by MCTB and the DhO from a pretty early stage, and who then moved on to practice I believe authentic Vajrayana Buddhism (including Dzogchen), in that I have a close personal relationship with a Vajrayana guru who is part of a lineage and was authorized by his teachers. I can also speak from experience of having achieved the various paths described in MCTB, at least up to 3rd. Throughout all of this I've been living as a lay person with a full-time job.

Pragmatic Dharma is not quite Theravada though.
It is obvious to anyone who can see.

Also why quit at 3rd?
It will always bother you with "what if?" questions...
That said you can always attain it later, maybe more correctly with less struggling and more fun. I guess that is your plan.

My experience has been that Vajrayana works, and works on a level way beyond what one is likely to attain through the Theravada-influenced practice style typically discussed on the DhO. If one is interested in achieving the most profound peace of mind and freedom from limitations possible (i.e. the highest of higher paths), it may be worth delving into. But of course what works best will depend on the individual.

If you believe these are highest of highest paths then good for you.

I believe they got something, though not sure at the moment if anything I didn't figure out already.
Maybe its good time to check what they got.

I checked this "thigle" thing today in like 5-10 minute meditation. It for whatever reason happens spontaneously from time to time over the years, especially lately. Not sure if its natural or visualization/transmission I picked up scanning some Vajrayana monk too hard or what. I close eyes and its there if I keep focus in specific way.

Rainbows normally are just circular rainbows - without any fancy glowing colors. Can be made glowing with the same tech as I use to make any color super vibrant and pleasant.
When focusing on them trying to see inside I can see they are on edges of cornea of giant eye (kinda saw this eyes a lot over years - it likes to look at me I guess... hope it likes what it sees emoticon). Then I saw eye transforming in to Rinnegan (specific modificaton to cornea and color) and then eye changed again to more normal and positioned itself seeing up and out of eye from pupil there came Vajra...
Kinda like that thing:

And it was absolute still like in vajra-like meditative stabilization. Absolutely stable unmoving, perfect implementation.
I figured that one out already years ago. It is evolutionary trait which was more useful in the past for perception and at the same time power savings. It reduces brain activity while providing better spatial resolution and motion detection.
What this visualization is trying to tell me anyways... that I hold Vajra in my third eye or what? emoticon

Hopefully you are good at mind state visualization. Vajrayana kinda seems to need it a lot...
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 6/15/23 1:15 PM
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RE: Help with higher paths. Please

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Skimming through MCTB2 draft edition and found this Daniel's quote relevant for pragmatic dharma's paths up to 4th.
For five years of my practice I was mostly a One-Technique Freak, and that technique was noticing—or noting—how sensations flicker. I would do so as often as I could—basically whenever I didn’t have to be doing something that required concentration on the specifics of my life. I would be riding an elevator, just trying to see when I could feel each foot, or lying down to sleep and noticing how many times I could experience the sensations of my breath in each second. I also tried to notice this quality of experience for every single sensation that occurred during my formal practice.


In other words you do not think about sense of self or any silly things but note sensations like literal madman all day long. You do it until EVERYTHING you experience is made from single sensations which your mind is let to experiences only through noticing them. Anything less won't do. Less doing noticing and more having the same noticing happens the better - then again at 3rd path no one can be confused about mind doing all that stuff by itself or have any issues with self anyways.

The way I did it near end of 3rd path was trying to come up with focus state which would be aware of all sensations. The same way of practice as improved my eyesight - I would not control eyes or process of seeing but would nudge mind to introduce errors in how brain would do seeing to hopefully introduce positive change which mind would hopefully notice and likewise all the noting/noticing. Of course I would not introduce any corrections because how would I? Idea for mind doing this refining processes is the way to go. Likewise I would mindfully assess how well mind was noticing and if it would slack I would observe small changes to wake mind up and remind itself to be more diligent. From time to time mind would change something how it focuses to notice more stuff eg. I would notice that some things appear as one blurry mess notices as one sensation and mind would be reminded it has to notice each individual sensations and not composite experiences as one thing.

Description-wise it is easier to say "I" did, "I" practiced noticing, etc. but definitions of these things change along with practice. If mind-state fluctuates between the so called self mode and no-self mode then definitions what "doing" means. In this case person has to be mindful enough to notice how things in no-self are done and if noticing performance is superior and do them the same exact thing when there is self and ignore if it is self mode or no-self mode and just drill practice ALL DAY LONG using this more correct way with idea that it is still not it and should be improved when it itself happens perfectly.

And I'll rephrase it again: you are supposed to be mindful in all instances mind state changes to more "enlightened" and when it shifts back down to less enlightened you are supposed to ignore all that jazz and have only things from the more enlightened mind state happen in exactly the same way. If you see you are doing something and it comes with all this sense of self jazz you just refuse to do it and try again with correct enlightened way. If that doesn't like work at all then you fall back to doing practice normally but then you note "I actually know nothing about how to do it and me doing this practice normally if utter FAILURE" and having noted that next time you have no-self state you like or whatever you are this time more mindful to notice relevant aspects of how things happen here to be able to if next time you are thrown out of this better mind state to be able to do things in this way despite being in worse mind state.

At 3rd path I had zero self states and zero no-self states because I fixed the whole damn issue before that but I would have times when noticing would happen and when my mind was cloudy enough it would get lost in intricaties of sensations and would start merge experiences. The idea was to notice all experiences as streams of individual sensations which all last for single moment and during that arise and pass away. I would also practice other stuff which had nothing to do with noting so not all day long one practice but the idea was to always hone this skill of noticing doing anything and I would note failures in being mindful on this level very often. Like when I was more practicing concentration I would still note failing to notice individual sensations and otherwise notice individual sensations. Concentration and jhana practices are pretty good environment to practice mindfulness anyways and noticing what from jhanas are made makes it later to induce jhanas easily.


I myself went as manic as this to start notice so much as my brain processes all sensual experiences in batches during pulses and noticed each individual "projectors of qualities" (parts of sensations which dealt with actual sensual qualities) so sensations within sensations which were actually describing these sensations how they actually felt. I because I always assumes mindfulness is not practice but something that should be there 100% and because mindfulness has to be working all the time I would play with interrupting mind during moment where qualities were to be applied (note: instantaneous cessations are 2nd path skill, at least I practiced and mastered this stuff at 2nd path) to then induce activity of sensations with different qualities (or as I would literally call them at the time 'projectors' - btw. how these operate can be noticed just by observing them and their sensations) and would play with this while trying to maintain stellar mindfulness of each sensation and noting all failures to do so moving more focus on part where failures happened. Each small sensation in sensate field would not be too small to conclude "there is nothing more fundamental than this level". More like on some level no sensation noticed was seen as anything than inability to see it deeper. The goal would not be to reach any relief but just to notice as much as possible and being mindful at 11 all day long. Of course I would not keep it up on that level all the time but the point was to note "FAILURE" when I would not and do better next time starting with HERE AND NOW resuming practice immediately.

It is how you get to "technical 4th path".
Nothing else will do. I mean maybe mixing "mind state visualization" with it is not part of it but eventually when all this noticing is drilled in to brain it should be something which should be easily done. If not then sensations are not noticed well enough. Why I always point out all the things 4th pather should be able to see and do... all the while I actually think even fluidly interrupting mind and inducing injecting qualities to cause mind to rewire itself in seconds is still only "wontly of praise" because one can slack off even more. No relief for Arhats from noting. It is only viable attitude for 4th path. Imho when someone doesn't keep this level of practice after 4th path they sided from 4th to some practice failure. Of course after you live at 4th path it is easy to pick it up but its is only when you keep this level of Noble Eightfold Path you are "worthy of praise" and therefore an Arhat. Not for a moment think its something to do and forget about whole thing. This is 6/7th fetter mentality.

Now go and forget yourself in noticing sensation and then not forget to note forgetting yourself as it was failure in your mindfulness which needs to be corrected because you should be mindful of literally EVERYTHNG and EVERY MOMENT YOU ARE ALIVE, all individual sensations and all sensations which make sensations arise as they arise, literally everything. This the goal. Not for 4th path but for your life. 4th path is just hindrance you should not desire and desiring it should be noted... again as failure not to be ever repeated again. Also note any thoughts "I am at path X " or how close you are and how long it will take to get path as failures just as any thoughts about this whole thing. It is not the point what path person is but how mindful he/she is during whole day. Even when going to sleep you should notice sensations as to notice how mind goes to sleep, what sensations arise then.

If you do not believe me sent email to Daniel Ingram and ask if you should wonder about what to do to get 4th path or instead notice sensations. I never sent such email to our overlord but I am pretty sure what his response would be ;)

BTW. This noticing should not only be flawless (and by flawless I mean all instances of noticing sensations are composite experiences but were noted as only whole package and more basic components were not notices as separate sensations). It should also be relaxed. Notice all stress you put yourself through and relax maintaining mindfulness. If its too stressful it isn't the right mindfulness. It should be as relaxed as if you experienced jhanas. In fact it is only 4th path when mindfulness is like pure most refined jhana, relaxed and itself pleasure.

Hopefully by this post you realized 4th path has nothing to do with sense of self or even attaining 4th path and has all to do with having (so attaining - through right practices) stellar mindfulness.

ps. If you often note "impatience" related with how much more time to 4th path attainment which break your mindfulness and concentration then put thought/answer "definitely more than 10 years when stupid thoughts like these arise and break my focus". Tested it, it works emoticon
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/16/23 7:11 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/16/23 7:11 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Hey ! Appreciate the response and thank you for making this thread about me again ;)

Making a commitment to bring very diligent mindfulness into my moment to moment life. 

“mind doing this refining processes is the way to go”

Yeah, I am starting to let this happen a lot in practice. There’s a sense of letting go of anything that’s doing practice. 

I just observe sensation and pieces of self spin up. Like some chunk of mind will try to make the body more relaxed. Or some whisper of thought will nudge the mind to see something as utterly empty. It’s like I have to really subtly allow those processes to arise so that I can see them as emptiness too. 

For the past week or so I’ve been working with the difference between investigating (doing) the three characteristics and just seeing them (naturally without effort or self-activity).

“If mind-state fluctuates between the socalled self mode and no-self mode then…”

If there’s self mode: I simply notice that there’s self mode. I notice if there’s anything trying to change self-mode. Often if I do nothing about it and it becomes no-self mode. 

Then I notice: What aspects of self, of doing, of activity arise in no-self mode. 

I no longer chase after or prefer either mode. At this point I don’t really care about what path or where I’m at. I definitely am starting to notice that self and no-self are both empty. It’s just another duality. 

There is sometimes a discomfort that can be frustrating. Like “what the fuck is left here?” or “How many more paths do I have to do?”

Most of the time things are very relaxed, practice is fun to explore and I don’t know where or what I am but I’m happy to keep meditating. 

Every few days I’ll have a more stressful or difficult practice, but I understand that’s just part of the process. 

I wrote up a more detailed practice log that I will add after this. 

Stellar Mindfulness. Lets go !
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/16/23 7:24 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/16/23 7:18 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
 (I address some of this in above reply, but I want to just add the occassional practice update. It helps me to write about practice, improve the way I speak about these things and my understanding of them. Generally my intuition tells me to keep doing what I'm doing.)

Practice overall is quite pleasant. 

I guess the crux of it is exploring the difference between investigating the three characteristics and seeing them. 

Generally I practice by just becoming very relaxed and noticing any subtle witnessing or aspects of agency in my experience. That tends to flip me over into something that resembles direct awareness, when the time gap of the subject-object split collapses and it no longer seems like anything has to be filtered by a doer/knower complex. (I get that both these modes are just more duality, but they’re happening and I’m just working with what’s happening.)

In this mode sensations sort of arise and fall throughout space, sometimes lapping at the six senses like waves, sometimes flickering and pulsating. They can arise anywhere in the sense field and don’t necessarily flow smoothly. There are similarities here to how I’ve experienced the upper end of Equanimity in the past, though this practice has persisted throughout a number of paths now.  

When I’m in this much more direct, immediate, timeless mode I just watch for what elements of doership arise. I watch as the modes gently switch back and forth. I notice how a sense of doership, a sense of witnessing, seems to flick on and offline. 

(I kind of associate the switch with Conceit, just an intuition.)

After a time this gives way to something new. Typically towards the end of a session. It sort of feels like every point in space just gives up, lets go. Then states, modes, thoughts, sensations come and go in a way that feels a lot less like practice, a lot less like anything needs to be done about them. It’s distinct from the direct awareness mode I mentioned above, there’s a deep relief to it. 

Then I spend some time as that and continue to notice the aspects of self that still arise. When I get to this point what I really notice is that a sense of doing, a need to do, seems to spin up for no reason. Why is there some inclination to “relax more”? Why a thought that reminds me “you need to see this as emptiness”. More that tell me “This too is just a mode”. I don’t really even understand why these thoughts arise. Most of my neurosis seems to be around practice. Lol

There’s natural ebbs and flows to practice. Days when the mind naturally inclines towards slightly different styles. Some days, like today, I can’t do anything but let meditation happen. Every disturbance contracts, every modification is felt as this big nasty thing and all I can do is be very very still and let everything just happen. 

Other days are more exploratory, more fun or more luxurious. All the while I’m inclining towards doing less and letting practice happen on its own. Obviously there are times when practice seems to line up with that and “feels right” and there times when it “feels wrong”. This is more duality. I get that both poles are empty. 

Sometimes it feels like I’ve been through a billion paths and haven’t made any progress at all.
Sometimes it feels like I’d happily do another billion paths, even if there’s no destination and no direction home.

Sometimes I don’t know what the fuck I’m supposed to be at. 

It’s strange passing through states that are so compelling, so “This has got to be it” and then seeing them as not self, or seeing how they’re interrupted by self. 

I find myself time and time again coming back to the questions “What is it that needs to rest?” “What is so desperately seeking release?” "Why must something interrupt?" "Why does the interruption bother me, or contract my awareness?" "Why am I attached to how open or closed my awareness seems?" (I notice this last one a lot when going through early nanas. I am deeply at peace with dark night, but early nanas still annoy me.)

There’s a vulnerability to not being able to point to some location on a map and say that’s where I am, not being able to point to some practice and say that’s what I need to do. There's a vulnerability to letting go of conceit. (control, power, pride, agency)

​​​​​​​
 
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Chris M, modified 8 Months ago at 6/16/23 8:50 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/16/23 8:50 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 5091 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Sometimes it feels like I’ve been through a billion paths and haven’t made any progress at all.

I suggest doing some serious sitting with and noodling on this comment. What did you call "progress?" Did you really ever need to make progress? Does anyone?

emoticon
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 7:46 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 7:46 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Ok, right, Emptiness!

Doing the seven fold reasoning practice from seeing that frees along with Chris's suggestion to pay attention to "Progress".

-self is not the shape of the aggregates nor their continuum in time. 

That really shifted something. 

I see very obviously how dual and non-dual states are both empty. 

I see how an object can be percieved as empty but still have something clinging to its perception. 

Experience is sort of rolling through me. Most of it seems to be immediately known as empty. Still, pieces of experience pass by and are clung to. That clinging can easily be seen as emptiness too though it still occurs. 

More practice to do. 

Appreciate the help and recommendations ! 
Just started on the Greg Goode pdf. I imagine it will be insightful.
shargrol, modified 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 10:26 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 10:23 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 2297 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Living emptiness is real time is very much the domain of the road to third path, at least for most people. See if this emptiness can soak every experience, so that everything is wet with emptiness. When this goes too far and there is seeking and striving and spiritual ambition or spiritual bypassing, notice all of that is wet with emptiness, too. Notice how the spiritual life seems to alternate between "I don't quite have it" and "I have it but better not lose it". 

Good advice I got for formal practice is to notice how the mind "leans" into experience. Does it lean away? Does it lean into?

When spiritual experiences are happening and still empty, that a nice easy place to dwell. Notice that it probably also has a little flavor of "I don't know/I'm not sure". A third path yogi needs to make peace and be able to live in the bardo -- so to speak -- of "I don't know". Equanimity with this is the equanimity of the road to third path. 

It could be that this approach also leads to fourth, but for most people what is interesting is really nailing third feels entirely like nailing fourth. They feel done. And it really is 99.99% of it. But then six months goes by and there is something that still is bothersome. For a while it can be denied, but usually it becomes very hard to deny and the final search is on.

People who can deny the bothersome thing after third become... fucking annoying. They are still trapped in spirituality but as so-called experts. They will even rant about spirituality being empty, but they'll also subtly and overtly remind you that their emptiness is emptier than yours. Imagine a dark night third path yogi. Ugh!! Their emptiness is mostly filled with pride, but they are the last to admit it.  

Good luck! Make sure you continue to have a basic sitting practice. You might convince yourself that it isn't necessary because you are encountering emptiness while walking down a street --- but it continues to be the cauldron for the deeper transformations. Mastery is all about getting good with the most basic of basics. 

Another teaser: the arhat experience is an experience free of greed, aversion, or indifference.

Another teaser: the three egotistical comparisons are good, better, and same. They are all wrong.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 11:27 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 11:27 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Understood. I hear you loud and clear. 

I will probably uproot myself from this thread and nestle into a practice log sooner or later. It's a goal of mine to get better at writing about meditation and phenomenology though I've been putting it off for awhile.  

Thank you. All of you. Great advice. I promise I'll do what I can to pay it forward. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 3:10 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 3:10 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 1070 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
People who can deny the bothersome thing after third become... fucking annoying. They are still trapped in spirituality but as so-called experts. They will even rant about spirituality being empty, but they'll also subtly and overtly remind you that their emptiness is emptier than yours. Imagine a dark night third path yogi. Ugh!! Their emptiness is mostly filled with pride, but they are the last to admit it. 

Have you ever considered that you are not 4th path?
I mean it literally: no one here is 4th path

People think they got 1st path because they experience some blip. Do not make me laugh.
Ascetic life seems diminished after the so called 4th path - no longer there is drive for ascetic practices.
People truly see there not being any self (when they actually get to 'technical 4th path', otherwise they obsess about it a lot!) 
Also they do have faith in path - just misdirected path and full of conceit - which isn't what SE is supposed to unroot anyways.

MCTB or "technical" or "pragmatic dharma" 4th path is really unrealized Stream Entry.
It hits the right markers for it whereas none of the previous paths do.

So... no true arhat arhatty experts here. Bunch of lay people trying to make ends meet, that's all.
Wouldn't it be amazing if that was 'the model'? You obsess about being free from lower realm up to 1st path and then you do not and this is normal.
But of course conceited people had to ruin the good thing. They had to make themselves "worthy of praise"

This is why I kinda do not have respect for any of Buddhist traditions and certainly do not think they are worthy of praise.
Also - biggest disappointment in MCTB. If Daniel went forward and said "this is how you get 1st path - I would truly believe him being pragmatic. It would make so much more sense and give so much better message. Too bad, karma is in effect now and nothing we can do about it... I mean everything can be fixed but you know what I mean. You will clench your teeth and bite sooner than admitting being wrong.

Sunshine and Rainbows,
SE Ni
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 4:42 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/17/23 4:42 PM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Sunshine and rainbows emoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 6/18/23 3:45 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/18/23 3:45 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 1070 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby
Sunshine and rainbows emoticon
Those are "apps" I worked on as Mahayana open source "software" developer of sorts, whatever I mean by it.
Ima pretty disillusioned with this "reality" ;)

Also good advice: do not fill your mind with any the so called "emptiness" or anything that pops in to your mind really.
Instead be smart and use sandboxed environments and run thorough Vipassana on it. It is what Vipassana is for you know... at some point it all get's more streamlined when you fill your mind with good habits, then you can pretend you fill mind with stuff and it will even feel totally real.
Until that happens be extremely careful of anything you find on internets and run it in sandboxed with all debug features enabled ;)
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Bahiya Baby, modified 8 Months ago at 6/18/23 4:13 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 6/18/23 4:13 AM

RE: Help with higher paths. Please

Posts: 371 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
I'm booting up the virtual machines as we speak. 

The firewall is activated. 

​​​​​​​Time to gleam the cube.