RE: Stream Entry ??

Ben Davey, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 8:05 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 8:05 AM

Stream Entry ??

Posts: 3 Join Date: 9/2/23 Recent Posts
Hi,

I know that it seems very hard to diagnose whether someone has had stream entry or not but given my desire i'd like to be assesed by some of the
more experienced practitioners on here as to whether or not i've had stream entry.

For context, I started meditating when I was 18 whilst I was a night-shift security guard and immediately had experiences of my whole body buzzing, levitating, spinning etc, whenever I close my eyes these things would happen automatically whilst doing anulom vilom. I'm now 21 and am in the 2nd year of University (I took 2 gap years due to covid). Whilst being at university my practise has wained and these experiences are less common. Although for about 
3 years straight i've had pressure in my third eye / between the eyebrows that oscilates between very hot (almost painful) and also very blissful. Whenever I practise Trataka I start seeing my whole environment oscilate through colours and seeing fractal patterns. I'm Concerned because I used to be able to go into Jhana or an altered state of consciousness (like feeling like im floating) at will and although this still happens once a week I can no longer do this at will. I'm still very young and am aware I have a lot to do and learn & have transitioned from hindu practises like upassana and kriya to the Buddhist canon as it seems there is a more distinctly defined roadmap (hence stream entry). I have a decent amount of money and spare time to devote to practise and wish to if I havent already gained stream entry to gain it soon. any guidance or thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks
User 08, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 11:18 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 11:18 AM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 57 Join Date: 7/31/23 Recent Posts
I can't tell from your post which experience you're referring to as a possible stream entry. Do you mean feeling like your body is spinning and levitating, or seeing fractal patterns? Either way, I haven't attained stream entry, but neither of those sound like the description of it. Stream entry (i.e. the first experience of nibbana, known in other faiths as a union with God) seems to be an extremely quiet experience. Buddha described it as "cessation." From the descriptions I've read, what ceases appears to be, among other things, a sense of the self. Since you've experienced jhana, the following description may help: Ajahn Geoff (the abbot of Wat Metta) says that the eighth jhana is very close to nibbana, and that the way to get to nibbana from there is to continue dropping whatever is causing disturbance in the mind. (Daniel Ingram also has a very similar description in his book.) Spinning and seeing fractals are major disturbances in the mind, so they don't sound like stream entry to me. Usually, when those things come up, teachers say to disregard them and move on.

What's your motivation for wanting to attain stream entry?
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Chris M, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 11:31 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 11:31 AM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 5091 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
What many of us experienced at the moment of getting stream entry is a total loss of consciousness. A complete erasure of all sensation, and a return to consciousness that felt like a rebooting. There are many such descriptions here on DhO. Use the search function to find them.
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terry, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 11:54 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 11:53 AM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 2419 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Last night I experienced a total loss of consciousness, and then this morning it returned!

Wait, that happens every day.


I like the idea of fixing oneself by just unplugging and then pluggng back in. Very intuitive.
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Pepe ·, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 12:31 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 12:27 PM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 711 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hi Ben, welcome to DhO!

Check this:  List of symptoms for ñana diagnosis 

Also, the big section on Arising and Passing Away (in particular the Visual subsection)
Adi Vader, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 12:32 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 12:32 PM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 267 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
"immediately had experiences of my whole body buzzing, levitating, spinning etc,"When we begin to meditate either with the practice of stable attention or with the practice of momentary concentration, samadhi starts to develop. Concentration deepens. The mind engages across mutliple mind moments with breath, breath, breath, breath .... breath. Or it picks and lets go of various objects from across the sense doors - object, object, object .... object.

With this intial samadhi (or khanikka samadhi) comes the tendency of the mind to create tactile, visual, auditory and sometimes olfactory hallucinations. these hallucinations are to be ignored. If they are successfully ignored then samadhi deepns to a point where energy and relaxation are both developed. We have a stable easy mind that is also very sensitive to data it receives.

This is the point where the mind makes a flip from object to characteristics and eventually universal characteristics. From what you have written here my conclusion is that samadhi started to deepen for you but you havent mentioned a settling down of the mind and a dropping away of these hallucinations. Your samadhi was deep enough for fairly powerful hallucinations to show up that shows that you have innate talent.

It is in this depth of samadhi where the mind has worked through the hallucinatory phenomena and has settled down that insight opportunities start to appear. And this samadhi enables the gaining of the insight knowledges from these opportunities.

"pressure in my third eye / between the eyebrows that oscilates between very hot (almost painful) and also very blissful"

Pressure in the head region and pain/bliss accompanying this pressure is usually a sign of an imbalance between attention and awareness. A yogi usually powers attention as if they would poke at objects or torture them until they confess with their attention. This usually leads to such phenomena. My recommendation would be that you learn to rebalance the power between attention and awareness. Depower attention and become more sensitive and receptive to awareness and to the objects within awareness.

"I used to be able to go into Jhana or an altered state of consciousness (like feeling like im floating) at will and although this still happens once a week I can no longer do this at will"

Consider the arrow of attention. We have a sense that there is something called attention like an arrow with the arrow head pointed at an object and a sense of 'me' sitting at the nock end of that arrow. The stronger the power in attention, intially, the stronger te sense of a 'me'. This is a type of me making, my making or 'upadana'  in pali. This means that one is basically making the meditation about themselves. Jhana on the other hand is a process of easing into experience of letting go of ownership of experience thereby reducing the me making, my making. So this upadana is completely antithetical to jhana. One does jhana obviously, its not one's brother or sister who is doing the jhana. But at the same time the more 'me' and 'mine' exists in the mind the less likely jhana becomes.

This is what I can offer by way of diagnosing your practice from what you have written here:

1. You havent written anything about the insight knowledges that lead to stream entry
2. You havent described the quality of mind that arises and takes nibbana as its object at stream entry
3. You are describing innate talent with samadhi practice with associated early hallucinations
4. You are describing an imbalance between attention and awareness leading to headpressure and stuff

A few questions I have:

1. Have you settled on a system of practice that you will follow?
2. Do you have clarity on long term goals and short term more immediate goals?
3. Do you have a skill map either explicit or sketchy that you will use to develop the skills needed to further deepen samadhi and start doing insight practices?
Ben Davey, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 6:28 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 6:28 PM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 3 Join Date: 9/2/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for such a lucid and comprehensive response.<br /><br />I'm not entirely certain but I have had experiences of very deep peace and my sense of self did drop away once and it scared me quite a lot that my heart started racing, I take that as either I was about to have an experience of nibanna / stream-entry and I clung to myself or that was a stream entry??? either way I need to study a lot more technique wise and learn to recognise specfifc experiences &amp; stages and learn to integrate them well. To go in-depth Im struggling at the moment as I feel like i'm not really in control of my mind and it seems very hard to concentrate, the attention vs awareness advice was very useful, this is exactly the type of stuff I need to be learning so thank you. Also the fact that jhanas can't be accessed with will but open up the less the sense of 'you' there is makes so much sense now that I think about it. Somewhere along the line i've conflated concentration with self and self with jhanas, I think a lot of my mistakes come from me scattering my reading across multiple traditions rather than widening my knowledge base across one tradition like Buddhism. Thus far it seems like Buddhism has the most comprehensive roadmap.<br /><br />I do feel i've had profound insights into the nature of reality, I've noted the colours of my thoughts and their emotional vibrancy overtime and attenuated them with noting practise and non-attachment but the exact nature of insight, fruition, stream entry, dark knight, vipassana, A&amp;P etc is foggy and will have to be made clear with self-effort, study and practise.&nbsp;<br /><br />In answer to your first question, I currently do 45 minutes of Kriya Yoga and about an hour or more silent meditation a day (silent meditation being in savasana or padmasana) whilst also trying to stay attentive all day long with mantras and visualisation whenever I can. (i'm now understanding i've been placing way too much importance on attention rather than awareness)&nbsp;<br /><br />I have no short-term goals or desires, I only hope to reach the end of the path in this lifetime.<br /><br />Having just discovered Daniel Ingram on a QRI talk which led me to this forum, I intend to read his book MCTB.<br />I also have Wisdom wide &amp; Deep by Shaila Catherine which I bought out of curiousity when I was first meditating. This being said I will make my resolve much more firm to practise more, and my skill map more explicit to deepen samadhi and start doing insight practises. Thanks again for your response
User 08, modified 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 7:30 PM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/2/23 7:30 PM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 57 Join Date: 7/31/23 Recent Posts
Ben Davey
my sense of self did drop away once and it scared me quite a lot that my heart started racing, I take that as either I was about to have an experience of nibanna / stream-entry and I clung to myself or that was a stream entry???
That does sound closer to stream entry, but since stream entry isn't described as a scary event, it sounds more like the "fear" nana in the stages of insight. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mahasi/progress.html#ch6.6
To go in-depth Im struggling at the moment as I feel like i'm not really in control of my mind and it seems very hard to concentrate
Tbh this seems like something you should go to a psychiatrist about.
Adi Vader, modified 5 Months ago at 9/3/23 5:00 AM
Created 6 Months ago at 9/3/23 1:26 AM

RE: Stream Entry ?? (Answer)

Posts: 267 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
I am happy to know that my post helped you.

The best general advice I can give you right now is something you have already recognized. Get acquainted with a well defined and methodical system of practice. Spend some reasonable amount of time on getting conceptually familiar with the intellectual superstructure of that system of practice. Concepts themselves have an allure and contain the potential for fascination within them. So limit the amount of 'theory' study to say 5 to 10 hours. Once you have picked a system of practice, you believe that it suits you in terms of personality and innate skill, then commit to that system of practice for a longish period of time - say 6 months. For 6 months don't revisit your decision, fully assume that all doubt you feel is basically just the anxious mind searching for certainty and that certainty cannot be found unless some measurable progress is made. In those 6 months you can make fortnightly practice plans and keep a log of each sit. Review your log in order to figure out skill gaps and any course corrections you may need. Some log keeping, some analysis and a whole lot of practice - this seems to work well for most people.

I am adding some suggestions below. These suggestions are a result of my personal experience with my own practice. I mean absolutely no disrespect to any other system of practice:

1. Stephen Procter's MIDL system - midlmeditation.com (website)
2. Dr. John Yates - The Mind Illuminated (its a book)
3. Leigh Brasington - Right Concentration (book)
4. Manual of Insight - Mahasi Sayadaw

See the above resources and do a broad overveiw of what they are about and if they suit your current needs. Pick one of these systems of practice and commit to it for a defined duration. The decision to be revisited after that defined duration.

Some additional supplementary resources specific to problems you may currently have:


1. Rebalancing power between attention and awareness

https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/ekrscz/samatha_practices_to_balance_attention_and/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

2. Dealing with anxiety in midfulness meditation

https://midlmeditation.com/meditation-for-anxiety

Best of luck!!
Ben Davey, modified 5 Months ago at 9/3/23 5:15 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 9/3/23 5:15 AM

RE: Stream Entry ??

Posts: 3 Join Date: 9/2/23 Recent Posts
Thanks Adi Vader much appreciated