What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? chris jordan 12/16/23 2:48 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Chris M 12/16/23 5:16 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? shargrol 12/16/23 5:04 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? chris jordan 12/16/23 7:03 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Chris M 12/17/23 8:14 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? shargrol 12/17/23 5:12 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? shargrol 12/17/23 7:27 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Jim Smith 12/17/23 12:34 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? chris jordan 12/17/23 3:38 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Conal 12/17/23 12:20 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/17/23 3:58 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/17/23 4:20 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Chris M 12/18/23 4:02 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Ni Nurta 12/18/23 4:49 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Chris M 12/19/23 3:59 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Papa Che Dusko 12/19/23 5:59 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Ni Nurta 12/20/23 6:08 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Papa Che Dusko 12/20/23 6:12 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Papa Che Dusko 12/19/23 6:08 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? shargrol 12/21/23 7:48 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Ni Nurta 12/21/23 8:37 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Chris M 12/21/23 8:46 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Sha-Man! Geoffrey 12/21/23 6:45 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Ni Nurta 12/22/23 5:29 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Olivier S 12/21/23 1:35 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? shargrol 12/22/23 6:31 AM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? brian patrick 2/11/24 12:54 PM
RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? Chris M 2/11/24 1:37 PM
chris jordan, modified 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 2:48 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 2:48 PM

What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/16/23 Recent Posts
Hi guys, longtime meditator and fan of Daniel's work here. I've gotten myself a bit stuck on attaining fruition, and rather than keep trying to pound my way in, I thought I would stop by and ask a question that's been bugging me for ages. What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important? What is the effect of it, or the permanent insight that happens, or what actually is it? I have heard it described as a blanking out, or dropped frames in the video, but why does that matter? Why is a couple of seconds of blackout considered "fruition" of the whole long path of meditation? And does anyone have any ideas about what actually happens physiologically in a cessation? Any thoughts from those who have experienced cessations would be much appreciated. : )
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 5:16 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 4:05 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

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It gives a meditator the direct experience of what consciousness truly is and of the ultimate nature of existence that is powered and created by mind. No mind? Nothingness. No experience, no existence. It flips the equation that we habitually assume is the way things are. 
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 5:04 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 5:04 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Basically the self/ego is really obsessed with what exactly IS IT about anything, so when it encounters ultimate ISN'T... well, it has an effect. (A cessation is so much an isn't that it is not even nothing. It's definitely isn't a blackout because a blackout is still something.)
chris jordan, modified 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 7:03 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/16/23 7:03 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

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Okay so how is nothingness/no experience/no existence/the ultimate "isn't," different from being unconscious for a moment? And if there is no experience, how do you know that it happened at all? I would love to hear more from you guys if you're up for it, with thanks in advance.<br /> 
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 5:12 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 5:12 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

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It's pretty obvious when it's streamentry because the person has moved through the stages of insight in a very predictable way. It's similar to being unconscious but something about it is different and seems to reinforce all of the abilities developed through the months/years of meditation practice leading up to it. 

Really, there is no way to verbally describe a non-verbal experience. If it truly interests you, you'll have to go through it yourself. That's just the way it is. Lots of things in life are like that. It's pointless to talk about what the experience of bungee jumping is, too. emoticon
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 7:27 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 7:10 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
And one last point that's very important --- it's all the work that leads up to cessation that is 90% of the transformation. All that damn sitting and studying the mind is what matters, the cessation just sort of "locks in" all the insights that have been slowly accumulating up until that point.

Bill Hamilton's metaphor is that streamentry gives you a basket to carry all your insights in. So it's not that you get anything much beyond what you already have, but when you have a basket you aren't dropping things all the time. 


All this woowoo language makes sense as you get closer/go through it. emoticon
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 8:14 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 8:10 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Okay so how is nothingness/no experience/no existence/the ultimate "isn't," different from being unconscious for a moment? And if there is no experience, how do you know that it happened at all? I would love to hear more from you guys if you're up for it, with thanks in advance.


This really is one of those things that you need to experience for yourself to really "get it," as shargrol said already. For me, the distinction was obvious in the way the experience starts, evolves, and ends. It's not like going to sleep. It's not like getting hit on the head. It's not like getting anesthesia. (I've experienced all of those).

​​​​​​​Here's how I described it:

"Reading through Kenneth's (Kenneth Folk) new discussion thread I'm reminded to ask folks here about a recurring experience that I have with some frequency. While observing an object in meditation - let's say the breath entering and leaving my nostrils - I perceive a slow building of energy and focus. The in breath starts to brings a very fine set of vibrations in the top of the head and an almost giddy mental feeling, sort of like a tiny whiff of laughing gas, that grows as the breath is drawn and until it is at its peak. The peak of the breath brings a sharp distinct break and when the outbreath starts that same energetic and finely vibrating giddy feeling resumes (this not a hyperventilation-like giddiness). Each successive breath slowly increases the intensity of these fine vibrations until a kind of crescendo is reached, at which point all the energy that has built up quickly flows to the observed object appears to merge with the object and then FLASH!, an image appears, a complex image, for just a tiny fraction of a second, after which everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING - winks out of existence. Pure pitch black silent nothingness ensues (no sound, no light, no feeling, no self, no perception of any kind) and lasts for a second or so. Then awareness reappears anew. The impression after the second or so of nothingness reminds me of the rebooting of a computer. Everything is turned completely off and then restarts."
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 12:34 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 12:16 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I explained the way I experience cessation here:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/c/message_boards/find_message?p_l_id=10262&messageId=26092809

But in my opinion cessation is optional. My advice is to understand how meditation, for example noting, ends suffering or helps you realize anatta or whatever your approach is and then to just meditate to accomplish that purpose. Don't worry about states, just watch the activity of the mind and sensations in the body and learn about impermanence, dukkha arising and fading, and the sense of self and anatta from your observations. 

https://inquiringmind.com/article/2701_w_kornfield-enlightenments/
Enlightenments
By Jack Kornfield
...
His approach to enlightenment was not based on having any particular meditation experience, no matter how profound. As Ajahn Chah described them, meditative states are not important in themselves. Meditation is a way to quiet the mind so you can practice all day long wherever you are; see when there is grasping or aversion, clinging or suffering; and then let it go. What’s left is enlightenment, always found here and now, a release of identification with the changing conditions of the world, a resting in awareness.
...
There is also what is called the “gateless gate.” One teacher describes it this way: “I would go for months of retreat training, and nothing spectacular would happen, no great experiences. Yet somehow everything changed. What most transformed me were the endless hours of mindfulness and compassion, giving a caring attention to what I was doing. I discovered how I automatically tighten and grasp, and with that realization I started to let go, to open to an appreciation of whatever was present. I found an ease. I gave up striving. I became less serious, less concerned with myself. My kindness deepened. I experienced a profound freedom, simply the fruit of being present over and over.”


https://www.lionsroar.com/on-enlightenment-an-interview-with-shinzen-young/
On Enlightenment – An Interview with Shinzen Young
...
When it happens suddenly and dramatically you’re in seventh heaven. It’s like after the first experience of love, you’ll never be the same. However, for most people who’ve studied with me it doesn’t happen that way. What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice. What typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion, and unconsciousness—the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring and they may not realize how far they’ve come. That’s why I like telling the story about the samurai.

This samurai went to the Zen temple on the mountain and lived there for many years. He didn’t seem to be getting anything out of the practice. So he said to the Master, “I think I need to leave. Nothing’s happening as a result of this practice.” So the master said, “Okay. Go.” As he was coming down the hill one of his former comrades, a fellow samurai, saw him in the tattered robes of a Buddhist monk, which is equivalent to a glorified beggar from a samurai’s point of view, and he said, “How could you be so undignified to join the counter-culture of Buddhist beggars?” and he spit on him. Now in the old days the samurais were extremely proud. Any insult to their personal dignity meant a fight to the death. So the monk who had formerly been a samurai just walked on and after he’d walked a certain distance, it occurred to him that not only did he not need to kill this guy, he wasn’t even angry.

As the story goes he turned around and bowed toward the mountain three times where he had practiced. He bowed in his recognition of all that he had worked through. He recognized he no longer needed to kill someone that had offended his dignity. He noticed how fundamentally he had changed as a human being.

Of course, it’s not just samurai in sixteenth century Japan. The same things apply to twenty-first century North Americans. Maybe they’ve been practicing for ten, twenty, or thirty years and it doesn’t seem that much has changed. And then something big happens like a major bereavement, a major illness like cancer, a serious injury, or their life is somehow threatened. Then they notice how everyone around them is freaking out and how much less they’re freaking out.

I’ll give you an example that happened just a few weeks ago. Someone who has been coming to retreats for quite a while went to have a biopsy to determine whether they had a serious cancer or not. While waiting for the results, this person noticed they weren’t worried. Anyway, it turned out that the biopsy was negative. So all the unnecessary suffering that would’ve happened but didn’t, that was the effect of that person’s years of practice. It’s my impression that many more people have that gradual unfolding than have the sudden,

From the same article:
I like to analyze subjective experience into three sensory elements: feel (emotional-type body sensations), image (visual-thinking), and talk (auditory-thinking). Those sensory elements continue to arise for an enlightened person. However, the frequency, duration and intensity of identifying with feel-image-talk diminishes as the months and years go on as you go through deeper levels of enlightenment. There are exceptions, but typically it takes months, years, indeed decades to learn how not to get caught in feel-image-talk when it arises.

Enlightened people have three kinds of no-self experiences. In the first subjective elements of self simply don’t arise. Subjective space vanishes. As the process of enlightenment deepens you experience longer and longer durations during which little or no subjective activity needs to arise. In the second emotion in the body and visual thinking and verbal thinking all arise, perhaps even intensely, but because there is so much clarity and equanimity present you’re not caught in them. In the third the subjective elements arise and you do get caught in them but some part of you still knows this experience is a wave called body-mind, not a particle called self.


If you note perceptions in your environment you will focus your mind away from subjective experience. If you note perceptions of internal phenomena you will develop clarity and equanimity. Noting both is good too.

Being continuously mindful for 7 days will cause one of the two highest stages of awakening:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2023/07/practicing-mindfulness-in-daily-life.html

When you are mindful in meditation and daily life, when you are in the present moment you are not carried away by thoughts, emotions and impulses, you are interrupting dependent origination, dukkha and identity view, do not arise.

Whether you observe dukkha, or identity-view (the sense of self) or look for anatta you will discover the aggregates - the source of thoughts emotions impulses, sensory experience, senses of self and noself. You will run into the impersonal unconscious processes that produce mental activity and go no further. You will see that mental activity is just a sequence of cause and effect with no one in control. It is like looking for the pilot of an airplane discovering there is a magic 8 ball in the cockpit - you don't trust or respect or have any faith the source of your thoughts, emotions and impulses. How can you be attached to the output of a magic 8 ball? When you are not attached to emotions, suffering decreases. You still have emotions but you know they are not real, not reality the power they have to make you suffer decreases. And you see your "self" is really just a magic 8 ball.

And don't neglect samatha, samatha and vipassana are not two different approaches, they are two qualities of mind you should cultivate and they can be cultivated in the same meditation session using the same technique.
Conal, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 12:20 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 12:16 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 63 Join Date: 6/3/17 Recent Posts
Hi Chris (J), good question. It has often been described as the first taste of nirvana and that hits the nail on the head for me.  It's a glimpse of a new reality that simultaneously feels like the oldest, best, and most basic reality.  It's also a bit like being in prison and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that you have been digging. There's a certain inevitability about it and you can see how all your previous efforts have led to this.

Anyhow, that's how I found it.  My advice is to keep chipping away at that tunnel and you'll see the first chink of light eventually.

Conal
chris jordan, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 3:38 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 3:38 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

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Hello Jim, thank you for this generous and helpful response, I really appreciate it. I have noticed some of the teachings and insights sinking in over the years, which is always a bit surprising. This stuff actually works hahahaha! But I have had it in my mind for a long time that cessation is "the Thing." Perhaps it is the word "fruition" that is so enticing, or the way Daniel describes it as having a permanent effect on the mind. I have felt myself getting close, like a kind of electric volume turning itself up in my mind, getting ready for a zap, and then every time I get so stoked that it's finally about to happen that I blow out and lose the vibe and then can't even do basic concentration for a couple of weeks afterwards lol. Somebody who thinks they are someone in my mind really wants fruition hahahahahaha. Anyway, I'm going to take your teachings to heart and just get back to the practice and let it go. Equanimity is pretty dang nice even without anything else happening. : )  Thank you and here's wishing you a great day.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 3:58 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 3:58 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Lately I have been pondering that what blinks out of existence could possibly be a layer of experiencing that has some kind of center, even at the subtlest of levels. That if at the moment of going into the cessation there is identification (or pragmatic "larping" of it) with that subtle sense of center experiencing something, then there is disruption of consciousness. And if at that moment there is no such identification going on at that specific moment, then maybe there is no experience of missing frames. By identification here I don't mean buying into it, but just pragmatically being in that position for the purpose of seeing something that requires a position, even if that duality is seen through. Ugh, language is so inept when it comes to these things. 

Anyway, that could explain why people defind the cessations differently, and especially why they seem to differ between practice traditions. That's just speculation based on different reports and some personal experiences (too few to draw any definite conclusions) and the notion of different kinds of experiencers described in the Recognition Sutras. I have had clear cessations with a gap in them. That has happened while I have been fucusing on phenomenology. I have also had what seemed to behave like cessations but instead of the gap there was a very profound silence in all sense gates. That has occurred in Dzogchen style practice. So I don't know... maybe gap or no gap is just a matter of perspective? I used to be rather dogmatic about the gap having to be there, and suspected that anyone who seemed to have fruit without having noticed a gap must be sloppy with regard to phenomenology, but now I'm not so sure at all. Watching the phenomenology creates a watcher, even if you don't believe in the watcher as a thing. Just different stances, all part of the same dance. 

So — I'm not going to argue that the moment of non-consciousness has to be there, as I'm not sure. I do believe that the duality of watcher—watched goes away, though, regardless, and that there are distincts benefits of that happening. It seems to me like some kind of rewiring happens there. Whether that actually happens on a physical level I really have no idea. But patterns definitely change. Some crappy programming gets de-bugged. And that makes things easier. I'm thinking of it as the restarting of the computer that is sometimes required when there's an upgrade of programs. It's not the actual restart that does the trick, but the download of the new code. The practice leading to insights is the download. The restarting is just what allows the new code to replace the old one. There is no point in just restarting your computer over and over again if you haven't done a new download. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 4:20 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/17/23 4:20 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Just a little note about two of the cessations: there was a sense of something turning itself inside out sort of in the head region. Hard to describe. Not totally unlike the image of a toroid rotating in on itself. That was the going into the cessations. 
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/18/23 4:02 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/18/23 3:58 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I created a custom GPT called "Buddhism Expert" and loaded its knowledge with various Buddhist information, including MCTB2 and the Visuddhimagga. I asked it about this topic - the value of cessations. Here's the dialog I just had with it (see if you can catch the error it makes):


Me: What is the practical value of a cessation? Why does it matter?

​​​​​​​
Buddhism Expert:The practical value of a cessation in meditation practice is significant and multifaceted:
  • Equanimity and Mindfulness in Daily Life: A regular meditation practice, including experiences of cessation, can lead to a greater sense of equanimity and mindfulness. This improved mental state can be incredibly useful in dealing with life's challenges. For instance, it can help you cope with crises more effectively, allowing you to focus less on the effects on yourself and more on helping others in need. This equanimity also enables you to interact with others, such as healthcare practitioners, in a more rational, calm, and purposeful manner​​.
  • Change in Mental State and Outlook: Fruition or cessation brings about a definite change in mental state and outlook. Initially, these experiences may feel like significant events, but as one continues to practice, they become more integrated into one's life. This integration leads to a profound shift in how one perceives and interacts with the world, moving from a sense of awe to a more normalized, yet deeply meaningful, experience​​.
  • Awareness and Ordinary Experience: The experience of cessation can lead to a deeper understanding and awareness of the nature of existence. It involves knowing and remembering the entry into and emergence from cessation, recognizing it as awareness without any objects of experience. This insight fosters a paradoxical feeling of the profound importance and ordinary nature of life. It emphasizes that even after profound spiritual experiences, one returns to the mundane activities of daily life, integrating these insights into a balanced existence​​.
In summary, the practical value of a cessation lies in its ability to transform one's mental state and outlook, bringing about a deeper sense of equanimity and mindfulness that enhances the ability to navigate life's challenges and integrate spiritual insights into everyday living.

Me: Please answer again in a different way.

Buddhism Expert:The practical value of experiencing a cessation in meditation is multi-dimensional and impactful in daily life:
  • Enhanced Equanimity and Effective Coping: Experiencing cessation can significantly improve one's ability to cope with challenging situations. It fosters a sense of equanimity, allowing individuals to focus on helping others rather than being overly concerned with the impact of situations on themselves. This heightened state of mindfulness can be especially beneficial in crisis situations, enabling a more rational, calm, and purposeful response​​.
  • Shift in Mental State and Outlook: Regular occurrences of cessation can lead to a profound shift in one’s mental state and overall outlook on life. Initially, these experiences might feel like significant events, but as one progresses in their practice, they become more normalized. This change in perception marks a significant transformation in how one experiences and interacts with the world, moving from awe to a more integrated, meaningful existence​​.
  • Awareness and Integration into Everyday Life: Cessation experiences lead to a deeper understanding of the nature of existence and awareness. This understanding encompasses the recognition of cessation as a state of awareness without objects of experience. Such insights lead to a paradoxical realization of life's profound significance yet its ordinary nature. It underscores the concept that life's spiritual insights are seamlessly integrated into everyday activities, balancing profound understanding with mundane responsibilities​​.
In essence, the practical value of cessation lies in its transformative effect on one's mental state, attitude, and approach to life, enhancing equanimity, mindfulness, and the ability to incorporate spiritual insights into everyday living.

Me: Your answers are not deep or meaningful enough. please try again.

Buddhism Expert: Understanding the practical value of experiencing cessation in meditation requires a deeper exploration of its implications:
  • Transformation in Personal Reactions: Engaging in practices leading to cessation can dramatically alter how one reacts to life's challenges. This transformation is not just about achieving a calm state of mind; it's about a fundamental shift in perspective. For someone who has experienced cessation, their approach to crises, interpersonal interactions, and even their own thoughts and emotions can change profoundly. They may find themselves more capable of responding to situations with equanimity and compassion, focusing on what is needed rather than being driven by personal anxieties or ego-driven concerns​​.
  • Evolution of the Experience of Cessation: Initially, cessation might be experienced as a monumental event, eliciting a strong sense of awe or wonder. However, as one's practice deepens, the nature of these experiences evolves. They become less about the extraordinary and more about an intimate familiarity with the nature of mind and reality. This shift reflects a deepening understanding and integration of the insights gained through meditation into everyday life. The practitioner begins to see the extraordinary within the ordinary, recognizing the profound nature of simple existence​​.
  • Profound Insights into the Nature of Reality: Cessation is not just a momentary pause in experience; it offers a glimpse into the fundamental nature of consciousness and reality. It provides a direct, experiential understanding that there is awareness even in the absence of objects or content. This insight can be life-changing. It reveals the unconstructed nature of reality, leading to a sense of freedom and openness. Emergence from cessation can bring with it a buoyant feeling of profoundness, yet it is coupled with the realization that this profoundness is an ever-present background to every moment of life. This realization can make even mundane tasks like doing laundry feel imbued with a deeper sense of purpose and connection​​.
The practical value of cessation, therefore, lies in its profound impact on one's understanding of self and reality, the transformation of one's reactions and interactions, and the integration of deep spiritual insights into the fabric of everyday life.

Me: What are the metaphysical effects?

​​​​​​​
Buddhism Expert: The metaphysical effects of experiencing cessation in meditation can be profound and transformative:
  • Awareness without Objects of Experience: Cessation is described as a state of Awareness without any objects of experience, not even subjective experiences. This implies a direct encounter with a form of pure consciousness, unmediated by thoughts, perceptions, or sensory inputs. Such experiences can lead to a profound shift in understanding the nature of consciousness and reality, suggesting a fundamental layer of existence that is independent of the usual mental and physical processes​​.
  • Experience of Non-Existence and Rebooting: One description likens cessation to hitting the off switch on a computer, where everything momentarily winks out of existence, followed by a rebooting or coming back online. This metaphor indicates a temporary but complete cessation of normal consciousness, followed by a return to normal awareness. This experience can provide an experiential understanding of the non-continuous, constructed nature of ordinary consciousness​​.
  • Integration of Conceptual Understanding with Experiential Insight: The experience of cessation bridges the gap between conceptual understanding and direct experience. It aligns with the teachings of figures like Nagarjuna, illustrating the inseparability and interconnectedness of all phenomena, the timelessness of existence, and the limitations of concepts like causation. Such experiences reinforce the understanding that the ultimate nature of reality transcends ordinary conceptual frameworks and is intimately connected with the essence of our own being​​.
In summary, the metaphysical implications of experiencing cessation involve a deeper awareness of consciousness, a profound insight into the nature of existence and non-existence, and an integration of philosophical concepts with direct experiential insight. These effects go beyond mere intellectual understanding, offering a transformative glimpse into the fundamental nature of reality.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/18/23 4:49 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/18/23 4:49 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 1100 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Fruition Buddha talked about was different type of cessation regarding something else.
Like when person realizes how story they spinned in their mind became object of unhealthy attachment to the point it started affecting views person have and limiting mindfulness.
Cessation in this case is seeing it enough to be neither attached to it but also not aversive to it. Nothing flashy about it and in no way is related with meditation practices.

My idea of meditative development of mind is based on different ideas which are directly based on experiences which led to analysis of what mind seems to actually be made from and how it operates. In these models moment of this A&P experience people call fruition is not very significant in itself. The whole sequence of events and things which led to it and effects it can sometimes have - and especially the mechanism of locking that allows these apparent persistent changes in the mind - these things are imho far more important. Of course experiencing fruition doesn't give any insight. What it gives is better opportunity to study these things. Otherwise to study non-experience no fancy A&P has to happen because non-experience happens every mind moment. For some people who like their defilements it gives opportunity to spin nicer stories - those in which they are somehow awakend while everyone else suffers and the only way to not suffer is do bunch of ascetic practices which are not ascetism because one could do much worse.

Personally I do not see much suffering in people. I only bother speaking out because it is internets as I have read somewhere in internets that when you see someone wrong on internets you have to put a lot of effort to point out he is wrong and in what ways. After heated discussion, neuronstorming if you will, I came to conclusion it makes perfect sense.

No relief,
Ni
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/19/23 3:59 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/19/23 3:59 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 12/19/23 5:59 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/19/23 5:53 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I've experienced "bleeps" and "passed out". I've been In anesthetisia (a few times). 

I've passed out while still walking and talking and fist fighting another guy! I was drunk so my mate told me all about it while at the emergency being stitched behind my ear, bleeding like a slaughterhouse. 

I also just passed out and fell on the floor. Drunk. 

Cessation is just plain different. I can't tell anything about IT but I can say about after and before IT. 

In my "after" experience it kind of felt like something ripped me out this reality and did to me what ever they fucking wanted to do and then shoved me back into the same place. I was like "what WAS that?!!!" So in retrospect I felt afterwards a bit like I was "violated". 
Nothing special. No bliss or after bliss or rapture. Just plain life going on. 

Then soon stuff started to feel like I at last came back home after being utterly lost for an eternity. I was home. 

Then jhanas just started ufolding on their own. And on and on it goes. Entering the steam does not mean chilling out but actually joining the samsaric traffic and it's busy! Watch out!!! 

EDIT to add; this might not be the answer to your question and that is just fine. 

​​​​​​​Best wishes! 

Edit 2; oh! Must say that the cessation happened off the  cushion after several weeks in the stage of Equanimity. As in a Nana. Not Jhana. I suggest look to the MCTB by Ingram and focus on matter of fact arise/passing experience. 1-10 times a second. Note aloud. Note silent. Notice. But keep at it for the duration of your daily sit. Daily practice is of benefit! 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 12/19/23 6:08 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/19/23 6:06 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Also to add but could be off here; cessation is abrupt in its "after" feel. Bleeps, passed out and being in a trance or a dream, sleep, anesthetiser, all have a bit of "gliding into the conscious or mindful. There is transition "space" to it which lacks in cessation. 

Im talking in retrospect so I might be as well talking out if me ars emoticon Please forgive! 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/20/23 6:08 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/20/23 6:08 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 1100 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
In my "after" experience it kind of felt like something ripped me out this reality and did to me what ever they fucking wanted to do and then shoved me back into the same place. I was like "what WAS that?!!!" So in retrospect I felt afterwards a bit like I was "violated". 
Nothing special. No bliss or after bliss or rapture. Just plain life going on.
Doesn't sound like any cessation I ever had.
In my case it was part of mind waking up, conflicting with existing mind, then crash/seizure and then old mind was gone and new mind wondering what the hell is going on and if mind can change like that is the mind changing its parts like that all the time but without everything happening more at once and without such ruckus it isn't as noticeable (hint: it is exactly how it works).
I would also expect fruition to actually lead to new mind being able to replace old mind - any event of mind conflict that doesn't change anything (the same mind after as it was before , no actual swap changes) isn't really it and more like a near miss at most.
I am ignoring completely changing anything within mind with such tricks its low tech and at while revealing and can be beneficial one should not rely on this sort of experiences. The essence of fruition can be learned and had any time person wants and without any seizures, blips or any other events. Mind when it hasn't sorted itself out will find it hard to do anything and it is because fruition as it is described can do some things that can help mind to untangle itself it is something that can be beneficial. The 'can' here is not guarantee that it does, especially each time. The whole 'blip == stream entry' imho even if it is completely wrong on fundamental level has even more technical issues.

What you describe looks like part of your mind wasn't even perceiving other part as its own - which can happen and it is how idea of ghosts came to be a thing. If someone has such experiences and especially they are unpleasant I would recommend more minfulness.
I mean real mindfulness and not more (pseudo-)vipassana practices.
That said with such practices mind can sort itself out too so its not a matter of either or but skillfulness. I have done lots of unskillful things in my mind and some I did benefit greatly.

That said for some people doing practices in certain way can be the best way forward. I just call things like they are - lots of practices called as mindfulness and vipassana has very little to do with mindfulness.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 12/20/23 6:12 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/20/23 6:12 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Uh, uh, dear Ni emoticon nothing ever sounds like "your experiences" on this forum emoticon 

Best wishes!
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 7:48 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 7:45 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It's interesting how a lot of words are being used to describe "not an experience" emoticon 

Papa Che Dusko
Also to add but could be off here; cessation is abrupt in its "after" feel. Bleeps, passed out and being in a trance or a dream, sleep, anesthetiser, all have a bit of "gliding into the conscious or mindful. There is transition "space" to it which lacks in cessation. 


This to me is the best description. The not experience is inferred from the abruptness of experiencing returning again, the quality of the experience that returns isn't quite diagnostic. What returns doesn't quite matter, especially for early paths. And of course if the cessation was SE or a path, the days and weeks after that cessation should behave as SE or a path.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 8:37 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 8:37 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 1100 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
I always assumed fruition to need to have distinct old mind being completely gone experience and what is left after fruition is completely new mind - in early fruitions might even be completely made from parts of the brain which obviously didn't do this mind thing before.

Now that I am thinking about it because in this case there is no 'returning' from fruition as much as just being assembled anew and there is no experience of returning at all... is this description more closely matchin 3rd path fruitions?

Name kinda suggest it should be it. I only had blip kind when I did the so called momentary fruitions which was halting consciousness(es) to break certain connections/triggers and even then at times this caused part of the mind or basically whole mind to be replaced with something else - in which case the amout of afterglow also depended on if such mind (how much of it anyways) was already 'formatted' it didn't cause as much afterglow which I believe is result or caused by using part of nervous system which didn't host consciousness/mind to do it as certain sensations in it would indicate. These days I can just have the same afterglow by conscioussly making some poor neurong have to participate in mind while some other neurons not being needed might go to sleep - which is also part of the afterglow it being quite complex experience I would say. These skills required however sorting things out, getting my consciousnesses up to speed, etc.

If that is the case then I might have confused paths all along. Not sure why I would have Anagami fruitions right away - especially since I remember these kind of expeirences from much earlier because I had them even when I had less than ten years old and I distinctly remember literally not finding my old mind and rather being some new mind which appeared out of nowhere, caused some sort of clash with the existing mind and then the whole thing crashed and only this new mind remained. Whole think lasting few seconds.

Since paths are actually BS and only skills/experiences matter and it should always be that fruition at least partially causes some part of the mind to be gone then maybe the usual case for most people is that they usually do not experience as much change for it to be noticeable but it changes over time to be more complete...

What do you think?
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 8:46 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 8:45 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta and FWIW, every spiritual lineage and practice is empty - made up of classifications, paths, markers, etc. But they're all meaningful as a way to get us into the process
Olivier S, modified 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 1:35 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 1:23 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 890 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
  I realize some of the things I just posted in another thread, about cessation, were actually sort of meant to be posted here. That other topic was "Time to Stream Entry". So, the OP may want to check the long post I wrote about cessation there.

Re: the question of what happens physiologically in a cessation, you may want to check out the following papers, although I have strong reserves about the idea that the neurological correlates are what's important here, but anyways...

Berkovich-Ohana, A. (2017). A case study of a meditation-induced altered state: increased overall gamma synchronization. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences16(1), 91–106. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-015-9435-x

Chowdhury, A., Lutterveld, R. V., Laukkonen, R. E., Slagter, H. A., Ingram, D. M., & Sacchet, M. D. (2023). Investigation of advanced mindfulness meditation “cessation” experiences using EEG spectral analysis in an intensively sampled case study. Neuropsychologia, 108694. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2023.108694

Laukkonen, R. E., Sacchet, M. D., Barendregt, H., Devaney, K. J., Chowdhury, A., & Slagter, H. A. (2023). Cessations of consciousness in meditation: Advancing a scientific understanding of nirodha samāpatti. In Progress in Brain Research(p. S0079612322001984). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.pbr.2022.12.007

Winter, U., LeVan, P., Borghardt, T. L., Akin, B., Wittmann, M., Leyens, Y., & Schmidt, S. (2020). Content-Free Awareness: EEG-fcMRI Correlates of Consciousness as Such in an Expert Meditator. Frontiers in Psychology10, 3064. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.03064

Also, Daniel (Ingram) (who is the meditator in some of these papers, along with Delson Armstrong), did a fire kasina retreat last summer where he filmed and EEG'ed himself during his sessions. The data is posted here, and an analysis has been done by some EPRC people, here on github.

I do think there are physiological "phenotypes" that will tend to have cessations as abrupt as the ones Daniel has (he sort of twitches when they happen and then does a very intense, long outbreath). I know that there are other situations (like, learning a language being in a foreign country) where he has had sorts of "path" moments that seemed very discontinuous in terms of going from one stage of learning to something completely different, i.e., going from "don't understand these people are saying for three days" to suddenly "I understand everything perfectly" in one instant.

Sorry Daniel but it's interesting to speculate about this in terms of.. learning styles, I guess.
  
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 6:45 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/21/23 6:45 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 358 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
Even my Madhyamaka school?!

​​​​​​​:o 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/22/23 5:29 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/22/23 5:29 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 1100 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Definitely.
It also helps the minds adhere to standards they consider anyone with the path should adhere to.
It is however double-edged sword and the same skills and tendencies can lead to ignorance by damping any thoughts of actually not knowing something (or anything out of ordinary really) which should be known according to the dogma using the same mechanisms of damping activity we use not exhibit unskillful behaviors.

That is why I think paths are BS and why we should not be so emotionally invested in our own claims. Only for the things that demands certain level of skillfulness we should at least have enough self-dignity to not let them happen if we consider certain behaviors not to be suitable for given path. Even then however we should be mindful what is actually happening as to not fall in to heedless reactivity even if said reactivity works just fine most/all of the time.

Stream Entry is like carrying a giant ship's control wheel on your back (hopefully references will be clear) and not something that we do to make things always fall in to place no matter what we do.
​​​​​​​Arhatship is in this picture even worse because its like carrying whole ship with all of its crew ;)
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago at 12/22/23 6:31 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/22/23 6:31 AM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
If you don't talk about what's possible, how helpful are you? If you do talk about it, how egotistical are you?

sort of a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. 

but I'd rather be accused of being egotistical if it also means there is a chance to be helpful. 

Sometimes it's okay to keep carrying the raft/ship on the other shore to show people how to build one for themselves. Nothing wrong with that.

The only mistake is to hint that "I can build your raft for you." Those gurus inherit a lot of bad karma. emoticon
brian patrick, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 12:54 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 12:54 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 51 Join Date: 10/31/23 Recent Posts
The experience of cessation might act as a sign post or a marker that gives one the incentive to keep up the subtle effort required to keep going. Or the blissful or "sense of the mysterious" that can propel one to keep going. But it's just another "experience", and our noticing of it and the experiences surrounding it can just as easily become another "thought trap." The event in and of itself is not important. 
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 1:37 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/11/24 1:37 PM

RE: What exactly is it about cessation that makes it so important?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Cessation is not just about cool stuff. It shows us something important. We can ignore that part but it's a big realization missed if we do that.

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