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Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map

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Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/2/12 11:31 AM
Hi all
I hope I dont make this too long, , and be as direct as possible about my experience, hence the point format might be the nicest to diagnose, Ill do in a timeline, starting from the beginning...


- Nearly 10 months ago, very strong sudden awakening after intense focus on the existence of "me", sense of self relatively* eliminated almost immediately, great peace, joy, things looking ridiculously clear and pleasant, huge boost in confidence, and loads of conditioning destroyed almost immediately. (presuming 1st path combined with initial powerfulA+P or something),complete empty vessel feeling that never really went away despite what was ahead of me.
Basically to sum up, a life change shift that really never left , even if the novelty did.

*relatively meaning I was in 100% presumption prior to that of the existence of the "I".


- Move along a few months, and what Ive realized now were probably progress of insight cycles. Alot of doubt arising, alot of crap coming up, alot of feelings of me wanting the original feeling back, it coming and going in waves (could be days/weeks). But ironically still great times during this where it felt as easily as strong if not stronger than it did day 1.


- 5 months ago, an acceptance that the brain still believes in a self, despite the liberated feeling, an acceptance that these problems will come and go, suffering still coming and going , (not a patch on what it was like in the past but still ridiculously annoying). However the acceptance making it not as bad as it would have been during the cycles the previous months. Also some bliss waves, more physical than mental.
However,overall the clarity that I enjoyed in the first month or so, while still there in a way, not quite as exciting, or interesting.


- moving along another few months ,gradual deepening, sometimes great feelings of emptiness and no control, sometimes suffering, a (return of some suffering like irritation , fear etc), waves of bliss (very physical, fine but not as peaceful as it sounds). Still an overall empty clarity thing going but still the coming and going of this freedom.
Bad sleep began to kick in. Judgement , jealousy, comparing, looking up to people, etc etc, nearly fully gone, but still not quite (even if I wouldnt admit it to myself)

- arrived here 2.5 months ago to learn I was in no way finished (presuming stuff like the suffering I was experiencing was supposed to be there). Began to work really hard (concentration and insight meditation and investigation,and some more looking into no self) and started to get results almost immediately. Within days or weeks nearly all conventional silly suffering gone. More bad sleep.

- 2 weeks ago, what I presume was an A+P event, without a doubt the most peaceful free-est feeling I had yet, no controller, no me, mental internal bliss, excitement that I may feel like this the rest of my life, fear all but destroyed. Things (like nature,trees , people, traffic) looking as vivid ,calm, clear and smooth as they did on day 1. An extremely strong sense of progress. Touching on peace I thought didnt exist.

- 12 days ago the feeling notably wearing off, and things turning for the worst, panic and fear (in certain situations) bringing itself up. Stuff I hadnt previously dealt with really bothering me now. The great clarity from all this making me realize the utter insanity of believing the fear, a huge desire to improve myself. I went through a week long process of complete change, where I wrote my fears, dealt with them in real life, faced them, literally got myself into deep fearful situations knowing that if I didnt it may get worse. Realizing the only thing causing bad fear was the "what if" running in my head when I experienced subtle fear. Upon realizing this "what if", and dealing with it, a fast dissolving of the fear.And boy did that fix things right. Possibly the hardest week Id to go through since the start, but the most rewarding.

- The past week?, from an understanding to a near complete dissolving of fear, peaceful , no me , no controller alot of the time, but not all the time,empty, thoughts arising, not mine, just thoughts, close to the A+P I would have had about 2 weeks ago,but not quite as excited about it, definitely not as "wow" if you get me. yet still really enjoying the feeling, and things looking pretty vivid. Pretty much all silly conventional suffering gone. Still some basic ego inhibitions, even if I dont really feel the fear of it. Still a "not finished" feeling,even if Im not suffering.

I dont fear fear anymore, and because of it is seems very difficult to arise, a TINY bit may come, but with the utter acceptance of it, and almost expectation for it to get worse, it just dissolves,( a sort of a "is that the best you can do??? frame of mind :grinemoticon this cycle in turn makes me more confident about fear, and more willing to accept it. Its almost like the more I want it to happen the less likely it will.

HOWEVER, I must be completely honest, this is not to say that some of my deepest fears are actually gone yet, for instance, I started public speaking classes (my greatest darkest panicy fear) 2 weeks ago after the fear crept up and I knew Id to deal with it, and while I no longer dread the thought of it, I know, that on my next one on monday, I will feel that heart beat, and the shaking, however, I am not fearing THAT fear if you get me. emoticon Im actually finding it difficult to conjure up the fear and worry about it even if I try.


Im not sure has the past week or so been a breakthrough of sorts, but I have definitely found a consistency here.

What do you think? Still first path? Second Path?

Ive read MCTB,I get the impression you will KNOW when you've reached 4th path,but I got a little lost in terms of the difference between the paths.
Ive a strong sense that Im past stream entry and further, and a sense that Im getting closer to something else. But not really sure what, just perhaps a complete and utter 100% lack of "controller" that I still havent seen yet if you get me. Its like I spend alot of my day not feeling that control , but still deep inside something left thats making feel like there is a controller.
Any help would be great.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/2/12 4:46 PM as a reply to wylo ..
- Nearly 10 months ago, very strong sudden awakening after intense focus on the existence of "me", sense of self relatively* eliminated almost immediately, great peace, joy, things looking ridiculously clear and pleasant, huge boost in confidence, and loads of conditioning destroyed almost immediately. (presuming 1st path combined with initial powerfulA+P or something),complete empty vessel feeling that never really went away despite what was ahead of me.
Basically to sum up, a life change shift that really never left , even if the novelty did.

*relatively meaning I was in 100% presumption prior to that of the existence of the "I".

Unlikely to have been 1st path, for reasons I'll make clearer as I go. It's most likely to have been the A&P and no further. You came over from RT didn't you?

- Move along a few months, and what Ive realized now were probably progress of insight cycles. Alot of doubt arising, alot of crap coming up, alot of feelings of me wanting the original feeling back, it coming and going in waves (could be days/weeks). But ironically still great times during this where it felt as easily as strong if not stronger than it did day 1.

The line I've emboldened is not something I ever experienced after 1st path, and I definitely don't recall ever wanting things to feel the way they were before stream entry. Your brief description here sounds to me like someone who's cycling through the ñanas, the pace at which you'd move through them would be dependent on a lot of stuff but, since we can be pretty certain that you've at least crossed the A&P, it's safe to say that you'd be cycling and the shitty stuff is all Dark Night related.

- 5 months ago, an acceptance that the brain still believes in a self, despite the liberated feeling, an acceptance that these problems will come and go, suffering still coming and going , (not a patch on what it was like in the past but still ridiculously annoying). However the acceptance making it not as bad as it would have been during the cycles the previous months. Also some bliss waves, more physical than mental.
However,overall the clarity that I enjoyed in the first month or so, while still there in a way, not quite as exciting, or interesting.

Sounds more likely to have been Equanimity. The brain doesn't believe in anything, "you" believe in things, the brain is a lump of organic matter so perhaps you're confusing things a bit here. Could you describe this thing about the brain still believing in a self in more detail?

- moving along another few months ,gradual deepening, sometimes great feelings of emptiness and no control, sometimes suffering, a (return of some suffering like irritation , fear etc), waves of bliss (very physical, fine but not as peaceful as it sounds). Still an overall empty clarity thing going but still the coming and going of this freedom.
Bad sleep began to kick in. Judgement , jealousy, comparing, looking up to people, etc etc, nearly fully gone, but still not quite (even if I wouldnt admit it to myself)

Dark Night, definitely. Still cycling. The bliss waves you describe are A&P related.

On what do you base your claims that "Judgement , jealousy, comparing, looking up to people, etc etc, nearly fully gone, but still not quite (even if I wouldnt admit it to myself)"? What wouldn't you admit to your apparently non-existent self?

- 2 weeks ago, what I presume was an A+P event, without a doubt the most peaceful free-est feeling I had yet, no controller, no me, mental internal bliss, excitement that I may feel like this the rest of my life, fear all but destroyed. Things (like nature,trees , people, traffic) looking as vivid ,calm, clear and smooth as they did on day 1. An extremely strong sense of progress. Touching on peace I thought didnt exist.

Given what you write next, I'd say your presumption may be correct.

- 12 days ago the feeling notably wearing off, and things turning for the worst, panic and fear (in certain situations) bringing itself up. Stuff I hadnt previously dealt with really bothering me now. The great clarity from all this making me realize the utter insanity of believing the fear, a huge desire to improve myself. I went through a week long process of complete change, where I wrote my fears, dealt with them in real life, faced them, literally got myself into deep fearful situations knowing that if I didnt it may get worse. Realizing the only thing causing bad fear was the "what if" running in my head when I experienced subtle fear. Upon realizing this "what if", and dealing with it, a fast dissolving of the fear.And boy did that fix things right. Possibly the hardest week Id to go through since the start, but the most rewarding.

Dark Night. Still cycling.

- The past week?, from an understanding to a near complete dissolving of fear, peaceful , no me , no controller alot of the time, but not all the time,empty, thoughts arising, not mine, just thoughts, close to the A+P I would have had about 2 weeks ago,but not quite as excited about it, definitely not as "wow" if you get me. yet still really enjoying the feeling, and things looking pretty vivid. Pretty much all silly conventional suffering gone. Still some basic ego inhibitions, even if I dont really feel the fear of it. Still a "not finished" feeling,even if Im not suffering.

Equanimity. I suggest rethinking whether or not terms like "no controller" are accurate descriptions of these experiences, I'd also recommend remaining vigilant as, much as you might like to think that "pretty much all silly conventional suffering gone" I wouldn't be so confident in making these claims at this early stage. Why? Based on my own experiences of thinking that that sort of thing was gone, forever, only to have my arse handed to me over and over again with each cycle.

I dont fear fear anymore, and because of it is seems very difficult to arise, a TINY bit may come, but with the utter acceptance of it, and almost expectation for it to get worse, it just dissolves,( a sort of a "is that the best you can do??? frame of mind emoticon) this cycle in turn makes me more confident about fear, and more willing to accept it. Its almost like the more I want it to happen the less likely it will.

If "a TINY bit may come" then it's not gone, is it? Set a high standard and stick to it, don't just accept "well things are a bit better now, but...".

Im not sure has the past week or so been a breakthrough of sorts, but I have definitely found a consistency here.

Again, Equanimity is what I'd suggest which is good going if you're not formally practicing.

What do you think? Still first path? Second Path?

Based on this post and your others on this site, I'd say you haven't gotten 1st path yet and are most likely cycling through the ñanas up to Equanimity and back down.

Ive read MCTB,I get the impression you will KNOW when you've reached 4th path,but I got a little lost in terms of the difference between the paths.

Yes, you'll know when you get 4th path but if you're trying to understand things in the terms used in MCTB then I suggest you familiarize yourself with the terminology, and the technical criteria required for you to qualify as having attained Paths in this model.

Ive a strong sense that Im past stream entry and further, and a sense that Im getting closer to something else.

Could you describe this "strong sense" better? I'll tell you one thing from my own experience: Don't go with having a "strong sense" or a "feeling" or an "intuition" or a "suspicion" that you've gotten Paths. You're usually wrong. I know this from having fucked up self-diagnosis repeatedly and suffering for it.

But not really sure what, just perhaps a complete and utter 100% lack of "controller" that I still havent seen yet if you get me.

So basically you have no idea what it is that you're getting closer to beyond what you've read on here, or in MCTB and on your own speculations. It's better to not know and then investigate that not knowing itself.

I know this response sounds critical and dismissive of your claims but I'm basing what I've said on repeated reading of your post and have given what you've said some serious consideration before replying. I'm not trying to be a prick, there's no point in bullshitting you and telling you you've gotten this Path or whatever when there's no evidence of it in your descriptions. I'm not saying that's it's not possible for you to have gotten 1st path, which is about as far as I would go based on what you've said, but having gotten 1st path before I ever read MCTB I know a bit about how hard it is to line things up when you're not familiar with this model and terminology. In fact, it was only after finding this site that I even found out what stream entry was and that, through some weird turn of events and hybridized meditation practices, I had gotten it!

There's a few things which might help clarify your general location along the progress of insight and would be much more useful in terms of offering an educated guess.

1. What's your current practice? How often do you meditate? What style of meditation do you practice?
2. Can you describe in basic phenomenological detail what happens when you sit down to meditate?

There's some technical criteria which I found hugely beneficial in determining whether or not I had attained stream entry, I'll quote them directly from the reply Daniel gave me when I first came on here:

1) You should be able to get into some sort of altered/meditative state at will within about 1/2 a second just by deciding to investigate something or look at reality carefully or incline your mind that way 100% of the time you try this.

2) Once you become familiar with the insight stages as described, you should be able to sit down in a brief version of 4th, progress down in to 5th, hit the Dark Night, progress to Equanimity, and then, maybe, depending on a number of factors, get a Fruition: note: not everyone can do this last part, even if they are a good meditator. Some can and some can't. Criteria for a Fruition are given in MCTB, as well as common mimics listed. Even if you are a stream enterer, if you haven't exercised this ability or done it only once, it may not be that easy to do it again until you have had some practice and maybe not even then. This is particularly true of those who have come up in other traditions where that particular ability was not the focus of practice.

3) Your life should be completely different in some ways: problem is, the A&P can do this on its own, so this is insufficient criteria in and of itself.

4) Talk with someone who has stream entry about this, particularly someone who is familiar with the variability in presentation and abilities that can occur.

5) Try to have repeat Fruitions: incline, incline, incline, and practice. Resolve, resolve, resolve and practice. Pay attention. Learn to navigate through the Vipassana Jhanas, learn their qualities, learn how to shift to each new level and know what they shift was and how it occurred: this is the foundation of the solid practice that causes progress and clarifies what was what.

(I've highlighted that line about life changing stuff and the A&P as I think it's relevant to your own situation.)

One of the most useful things I've found along the way so far is to underestimate where you think you are, it's for this reason that I'm incredibly skeptical of outright claims to paths with no evidence to back it up. You've obviously got the urge to investigate this stuff more so where you are, whether it's pre- or post-1st path, isn't a big deal anyway as it will unfold by itself if you practice well. Again, I'm not trying to be a prick or belittle your claims, I'm being as critical with your descriptions as I am with my own as I see no value in not setting a high standard.

Hope that's of some use.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/3/12 6:35 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi Tommy, thanks for taking the time to reply, I know it takes time to read it all and dive into it.I hope to do the same when Ive improved my terminology and understanding.

Tommy M:

Unlikely to have been 1st path, for reasons I'll make clearer as I go. It's most likely to have been the A&P and no further. You came over from RT didn't you?


Yep! Bare in mind, everyone through the RT system has come out with a wide variety of results.

-
Move along a few months, and what Ive realized now were probably progress of insight cycles. Alot of doubt arising, alot of crap coming up, alot of feelings of me wanting the original feeling back, it coming and going in waves (could be days/weeks). But ironically still great times during this where it felt as easily as strong if not stronger than it did day


The line I've emboldened is not something I ever experienced after 1st path, and I definitely don't recall ever wanting things to feel the way they were before stream entry. Your brief description here sounds to me like someone who's cycling through the ñanas, the pace at which you'd move through them would be dependent on a lot of stuff but, since we can be pretty certain that you've at least crossed the A&P, it's safe to say that you'd be cycling and the shitty stuff is all Dark Night related.



Ok, I wrote that badly , I would never EVER want to go back to where I was pre A+P, before the change I was full of lies, beliefs , ideas, suffering, jealousy, feelings of inferiority, feelings of superiority, all that nonsense.
What I meant by "me wanting the original feeling back", was whenever there was doubt,or feelings of old, or a retraction in the sense of freedom, I would want the sense of freedom back, not the feelings of old.
Literally not for a billion euro would I want to go back to pre shift (be it A+P or stream entry, whatever is it)


Sounds more likely to have been Equanimity. The brain doesn't believe in anything, "you" believe in things, the brain is a lump of organic matter so perhaps you're confusing things a bit here. Could you describe this thing about the brain still believing in a self in more detail?


Yea sure, well basically after the change from time to time ,maybe for a few hours, a few days, or even a week or 2, I would starting "selfing" again, like I described above, basically feelings of old would arise, but for months I sort of denied it, saying "no no I dont believe in this crap anymore", but then 5 months after the change I sort of let go of that nonsense and got more honest and realized I still beleive stuff of old, even if the illusion has been seen.


Dark Night, definitely. Still cycling. The bliss waves you describe are A&P related.


Definitely agree, the only reason I was putting stream entry on it was because I was under the impression from reading MCTB that cycles still occur.

On what do you base your claims that "Judgement , jealousy, comparing, looking up to people, etc etc, nearly fully gone, but still not quite (even if I wouldnt admit it to myself)"? What wouldn't you admit to your apparently non-existent self?

That there was still some lingering conditioning left, I would think "this is great, I dont care people think of me anymore", and it was true for the most part, really it was (and is 10 times more the case now than even back then), but from time to time something would arise that would make me realize Im still sort of "looking up" to someone, rarely mind you, but still it happened.
Dont get me wrong, this isnt about not respecting, admiring, or even envying someone else. This is about feeling somewhat inferior or even superior to someone else. Thats the bit thats gone.


- 12 days ago the feeling notably wearing off, and things turning for the worst, panic and fear (in certain situations) bringing itself up. Stuff I hadnt previously dealt with really bothering me now. The great clarity from all this making me realize the utter insanity of believing the fear, a huge desire to improve myself. I went through a week long process of complete change, where I wrote my fears, dealt with them in real life, faced them, literally got myself into deep fearful situations knowing that if I didnt it may get worse. Realizing the only thing causing bad fear was the "what if" running in my head when I experienced subtle fear. Upon realizing this "what if", and dealing with it, a fast dissolving of the fear.And boy did that fix things right. Possibly the hardest week Id to go through since the start, but the most rewarding.


Dark Night. Still cycling.

It was the toughest yet most rewarding process Ive ever went through, I really faced up to some stuff that even 8/9 months after the initial A+P I still hadnt addressed.


- The past week?, from an understanding to a near complete dissolving of fear, peaceful , no me , no controller alot of the time, but not all the time,empty, thoughts arising, not mine, just thoughts, close to the A+P I would have had about 2 weeks ago,but not quite as excited about it, definitely not as "wow" if you get me. yet still really enjoying the feeling, and things looking pretty vivid. Pretty much all silly conventional suffering gone. Still some basic ego inhibitions, even if I dont really feel the fear of it. Still a "not finished" feeling,even if Im not suffering.


Equanimity. I suggest rethinking whether or not terms like "no controller" are accurate descriptions of these experiences, I'd also recommend remaining vigilant as, much as you might like to think that "pretty much all silly conventional suffering gone" I wouldn't be so confident in making these claims at this early stage. Why? Based on my own experiences of thinking that that sort of thing was gone, forever, only to have my arse handed to me over and over again with each cycle.


You are right , Ive done that loads myself, since coming here and beginning practice though, and with the help of "End in Sight", I have definitely made huge progress in addressing the silly stuff, and getting more focused.
For about 2.5 months now there has been certain stuff that hasnt returned.


If "a TINY bit may come" then it's not gone, is it? Set a high standard and stick to it, don't just accept "well things are a bit better now, but...".

Couldnt agree more, I guess Im in such a mode now that I welcome fear that I am just happy to be at least at this point. Dont get me wrong, Im not going to pretend to myself I dont want fear 100% eliminated.
Quick Question: should stream entry mean no fear afterwards?? I was under the impression the same cycles still occur. But this is definitely NOT stream entry if fear should be 100% gone.


Again, Equanimity is what I'd suggest which is good going if you're not formally practicing.

Ok cool!


Based on this post and your others on this site, I'd say you haven't gotten 1st path yet and are most likely cycling through the ñanas up to Equanimity and back down.

Ok cool, I need to read the book again and look at these parts more clearly.
I thought stream entry for a reasons:
1. Anyone here who describes stream entry seems to have similar experiences as I had.
2. Sometimes when I read problems people run into I think to myself "Im sort of beyond that" (not in an egoic way, just that Ive dealt with that stuff already"
3. As soon as I got to the 1st path description in MCTB I finally felt I could relate to what was being said. However that may EASILY be a situation of me picking and choosing what I want to read based on my assumptions.
4. The "beyond first path" chapter was without a doubt the one I felt I could relate to and got the most help from.


Yes, you'll know when you get 4th path but if you're trying to understand things in the terms used in MCTB then I suggest you familiarize yourself with the terminology, and the technical criteria required for you to qualify as having attained Paths in this model.

You are right, I need to read through bits of it again, and get even more up on the terminology , im still all over the place on that front.


Could you describe this "strong sense" better? I'll tell you one thing from my own experience: Don't go with having a "strong sense" or a "feeling" or an "intuition" or a "suspicion" that you've gotten Paths. You're usually wrong. I know this from having fucked up self-diagnosis repeatedly and suffering for it.

I guess its a stable strong confidence that Im really making progress, I guess its all the side effects and the fact that stuff isnt really "coming and going" like it used. Just the emptiness, peace, no controller* , much weaker residual reactions if they do occur at all, meditation being no effort whatsoever, I guess a drive in general regarding where this is going.

*no controller: Ok , when I say this , Im not just throwing it out there randomly, its fairly difficult to describe because of the contradictory nature of it. You know when the world feels like its on automatic, cars moving, people walking, people talking. Now, Im aware that feeling is probably only temporary A+P, BUT it feels like it applies here too, that actions are being carried out, and that the thoughts causing the actions are irrelevant.Its very very hard to explain to be honest. Ill stop using it now.

So basically you have no idea what it is that you're getting closer to beyond what you've read on here, or in MCTB and on your own speculations. It's better to not know and then investigate that not knowing itself.

yep pretty much...emoticon , Ill be honest I only ever heard of any of this stuff AFTER the change , I was never looking for anything prior to the change. Ive read MCTB and quite a few threads here,im trying my best to just put this somewhere on a map, thats all. And Im aware my time at RT can mess things up in terms of terminology/culture/understanding clash. So im trying my best to drop it and start fresh from here.

I know this response sounds critical and dismissive of your claims but I'm basing what I've said on repeated reading of your post and have given what you've said some serious consideration before replying.

I really appreciate it.

I'm not trying to be a prick, there's no point in bullshitting you and telling you you've gotten this Path or whatever when there's no evidence of it in your descriptions. I'm not saying that's it's not possible for you to have gotten 1st path, which is about as far as I would go based on what you've said, but having gotten 1st path before I ever read MCTB I know a bit about how hard it is to line things up when you're not familiar with this model and terminology. In fact, it was only after finding this site that I even found out what stream entry was and that, through some weird turn of events and hybridized meditation practices, I had gotten it!

You are not being a prick AT ALL man, this is purely objective for me, not personal, I just want to get organized thats all, whether the label "1st path" or whatever else is put on it wont change the experience. And hey, if this isnt even Stream Entry, then why on Earth would I complain, if things can get this good, and such big changes be madeover 10 months, and it isnt even the tip of the Iceberg??? then even better!




1. What's your current practice? How often do you meditate? What style of meditation do you practice?

I only began practicing 2 months ago, and only more intensely 2/3 weeks ago since reading MCTB.
I would have to say on average per day, 30 mins concentration on the breath, followed by insight 30 mins, experiening the senses/vibrations/as many as possible per second, then sometimes insight focused directly on thought, not the content,just occurance of thought itself.
Sometimes Ill do this stuff more than once in a day if Im not busy.
Then , whenever the mind isnt occupied by conventional life stuff I try and just concentrate on sensations, sometimes I do this if I think of it,even WHILE busy with other stuff.

2. Can you describe in basic phenomenological detail what happens when you sit down to meditate?


I wrote something here, but deleted it, because it was crap. Ill meditate properly later on and give a decent reply.




1) You should be able to get into some sort of altered/meditative state at will within about 1/2 a second just by deciding to investigate something or look at reality carefully or incline your mind that way 100% of the time you try this.

I THINK so, so maybe thats not enough, but I find I do this alright, especially if Im bored. I can instantly watch how words are utterly meaningless, I might be with a group of people, and just decide to forget about the content of whats being said, and just listen to the random sounds,and how there is no "subject" ,its just ideas. Ironically, if I began talking I get RIGHT back into the subject again. I do this with other stuff too, like watching people walking around , as if there is no entity or thinker behind the people,almost like robots (yea all that might seem a bit childish or silly)
. The other one I do is like an instant unity feeling, not this grand "WE ARE ALL ONE" or anything silly, just an instant acknowledgement of all surroundings, and me not being seperate from it. This is ALOT more subtle,silly, and small than the way Im describing it in words though. And its just something I do if Im sitting there bored.

This may not be what Daniel is talking about though.

2) Once you become familiar with the insight stages as described, you should be able to sit down in a brief version of 4th, progress down in to 5th, hit the Dark Night, progress to Equanimity, and then, maybe, depending on a number of factors, get a Fruition: note: not everyone can do this last part, even if they are a good meditator. Some can and some can't. Criteria for a Fruition are given in MCTB, as well as common mimics listed. Even if you are a stream enterer, if you haven't exercised this ability or done it only once, it may not be that easy to do it again until you have had some practice and maybe not even then. This is particularly true of those who have come up in other traditions where that particular ability was not the focus of practice.

I need to get up on my terminology properly to see if this is happening . It may not be, bare in mind, Im only completely new to meditation.


3) Your life should be completely different in some ways: problem is, the A&P can do this on its own, so this is insufficient criteria in and of itself.

Duly noted!!

4) Talk with someone who has stream entry about this, particularly someone who is familiar with the variability in presentation and abilities that can occur.

I guess this is the only place I know emoticon

5) Try to have repeat Fruitions: incline, incline, incline, and practice. Resolve, resolve, resolve and practice. Pay attention. Learn to navigate through the Vipassana Jhanas, learn their qualities, learn how to shift to each new level and know what they shift was and how it occurred: this is the foundation of the solid practice that causes progress and clarifies what was what.

Ok, Im going to start seeing can I do this or not.

(I've highlighted that line about life changing stuff and the A&P as I think it's relevant to your own situation.)

One of the most useful things I've found along the way so far is to underestimate where you think you are, it's for this reason that I'm incredibly skeptical of outright claims to paths with no evidence to back it up. You've obviously got the urge to investigate this stuff more so where you are, whether it's pre- or post-1st path, isn't a big deal anyway as it will unfold by itself if you practice well. Again, I'm not trying to be a prick or belittle your claims, I'm being as critical with your descriptions as I am with my own as I see no value in not setting a high standard.

Hope that's of some use.


Hey listen it was of great help. You are right, I do have the urge, there was always an interest in the mind. The change 10 months answered that interest and also made me aware of alot of bullshit I was living. It freed me from alot of it, not all of it though. And you are right , 1st path or not, it doesnt matter a damn. Its purely for practicality I guess.
I dont want to think Im further than I am, definitely not!! But while being cautious about all this, I have to admit, the thought arises alot that I have attained stream entry, and it just often silly trying to get something I already got.
I guess the only important thing is practice and the fun of how its changing my life, maps can be dangerous!! lol

Thanks again Tommy.n

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/3/12 7:37 AM as a reply to wylo ..
The ultimate test for MCTB 1st path is whether you can get a fruition (either spontaneously or by meditation), so if you really want to know where you stand in MCTB, you'll have to check that out. If you can't get one, chances are you don't have MCTB 1st path. (You might have attained something like MCTB 1st path, but MCTB wouldn't have any info about it, and honestly, I doubt we at the DhO would either.)

In case it helps, here's a super-abridged version of how I understood the paths in relation to my experience:

1st: Wow, there's no self in my experience anywhere!
2nd: Deeper than 1st, but hard to distinguish.
3rd: A sense that all experiences happen independently of 'me', are not perceived by 'me', are just the universe doing its thing, etc. Sort of mystical in a dry way. Lingering ideas that "no self" is a particular way of looking at things that I need to sustain, a particular feeling, a particular perspective, a particular lack of a 'self' experience, or something like that. (3rd was very long, this does not capture all of it.)
4th: No-self is true no matter what experience I'm having or not having, experiences of 'self' are equally no-self compared to experiences of no-self; no-self isn't an experience at all, but just the way the world is; in this sense, no-self can't be deepened, as anything I could experience would equally be marked by it.

4th was like a natural end-point concerning inquiry into no self, was psychologically freeing, gave me a healthier perspective on things.

As a separate issue, let me point out that trying to figure out where you are on the map isn't as useful as you may think (especially if you're past MCTB 1st path, but in some ways even if you're not). The most useful thing in my opinion is to become familiar with the cycles of the progress of insight as it plays out in your own experience, which will help you understand why you suddenly feel a certain way for no (other) obvious reason, as well as help you understand how you might alter your meditation (based on where you're at at any particular moment) for maximal effectiveness.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/3/12 4:39 PM as a reply to wylo ..
You're more than welcome, and thank you for responding and clarifying things. It's a pain in the arse trying to figure out the what's and where's but I guarantee you it'll get so much easier with strong practice. I'll go through your reply and see if I can point out anything useful in terms of practice.

What I meant by "me wanting the original feeling back", was whenever there was doubt,or feelings of old, or a retraction in the sense of freedom, I would want the sense of freedom back, not the feelings of old.

It's worth looking at what's experiencing those sorts of feelings when they appear, try to catch what it is that triggers them, look at what it is that allows them to keep on going, what's fueling them and how they, like everything else, arise and pass away too. Remember, that "sense of freedom" you've experienced doesn't go anywhere, something just gets in the way of seeing it clearly so don't struggle with it 'cause that just kicks up more shit you don't need. Observe it with the sort of perspective you may have noticed here:

from an understanding to a near complete dissolving of fear, peaceful , no me , no controller alot of the time, but not all the time,empty, thoughts arising, not mine, just thoughts, close to the A+P I would have had about 2 weeks ago,but not quite as excited about it, definitely not as "wow" if you get me. yet still really enjoying the feeling, and things looking pretty vivid.

Equanimously, accepting and curious about your experience.

Yea sure, well basically after the change from time to time ,maybe for a few hours, a few days, or even a week or 2, I would starting "selfing" again, like I described above, basically feelings of old would arise, but for months I sort of denied it, saying "no no I dont believe in this crap anymore", but then 5 months after the change I sort of let go of that nonsense and got more honest and realized I still beleive stuff of old, even if the illusion has been seen.

This line in particular is really, really great to hear. I have no doubt that, if you haven't already got it, you'll hit stream entry sooner rather than later. The ability to be brutally honest with yourself and say "No, this still isn't good enough so there's more to be done..." will stand you in good stead to make progress.

The point about it being "you" who believes in something, not your brain is worth investigating too. You've already seen that beliefs are no more than more mental constructs, they're like little lenses you see "reality" through and that colour it in certain ways. Look at how a belief about something is formed, look at what it's made of and how those little joints that connect it together are built up. Beliefs are tools, you can use them skilfully to point yourself in the right direction without developing an attachment to them rather than letting them affect your experience.

That there was still some lingering conditioning left, I would think "this is great, I dont care people think of me anymore", and it was true for the most part, really it was (and is 10 times more the case now than even back then), but from time to time something would arise that would make me realize Im still sort of "looking up" to someone, rarely mind you, but still it happened.

That's fine, no reason for concern or for thinking you've done something "wrong" when that sort of things happens. Acceptance, equanimity and clearly seeing how it's just more impermanent, luminous and fundamentally unsatisfying phenomena arising, doing it's thing and then going away again. No more, no less.

It was the toughest yet most rewarding process Ive ever went through, I really faced up to some stuff that even 8/9 months after the initial A+P I still hadnt addressed.

I had a soft spot for Dark Night because of this sort of deep, profound and rewarding aspect of facing it head on. If you've been able to appreciate and understand how and why those sorts of times are tough then that's excellent, it's a great attitude to have.

I guess Im in such a mode now that I welcome fear that I am just happy to be at least at this point.

Equanimity. Use that nice, spacious acceptance and investigate what is it that's still doing the observing of this experience as it happens. There's something subtle and fluctuating in the field of awareness which you might notice more clearly during a sit, investigate that, observe it and then see what's still observing that.

Quick Question: should stream entry mean no fear afterwards?? I was under the impression the same cycles still occur. But this is definitely NOT stream entry if fear should be 100% gone.

Stream entry doesn't put an end to fear arising, it just changes something in your relationship towards that pattern of feelings but doesn't get rid of it entirely. For fear to arise it requires a cause, in normal everyday life there are (what seem like) logical and sensible reasons for that fear arising, I know you've mentioned public speaking for example, but when it comes up during practice, and there's no discernible cause for it, then it gets even more interesting.

I thought stream entry for a reasons:
1. Anyone here who describes stream entry seems to have similar experiences as I had.
2. Sometimes when I read problems people run into I think to myself "Im sort of beyond that" (not in an egoic way, just that Ive dealt with that stuff already"
3. As soon as I got to the 1st path description in MCTB I finally felt I could relate to what was being said. However that may EASILY be a situation of me picking and choosing what I want to read based on my assumptions.
4. The "beyond first path" chapter was without a doubt the one I felt I could relate to and got the most help from.

1. It's a strange one. There's all sorts of stuff that someone who's attained stream entry should, and shouldn't, be able to do depending on which source you're basing your criteria on. My knowledge of Buddhism as a whole is limited and so I tend to stick to the criteria in MCTB and what I've learned from this site, for this reason my guess, which is what it is, that you don't have 1st path yet could be completely wrong. However, as End has said in his reply, the thing about being able to hit Fruition is probably the most accurate and easily confirmed aspect of having gotten stream entry as it's discussed on here.

2. Over time it becomes clear that we don't all walk the same metaphorical Path, much as there are lots of point along the way where things play out in a similar way for the majority of people there's always going to be idiosyncrasies and details of the thing which are specific to you. When I came on here I thought I might have gotten 2nd path, I read posts and also thought stuff like "Well, I already know that so I must be further ahead than them 'cause that just seems so obvious to me", as you've said it's not in an egoic, "I'm better than you" way but there's a certain confidence and certainty that comes with this as a byproduct of practicing seeing reality in fine detail. What I eventually learned though was that I was completely misunderstanding things as I didn't have sufficient insight to see what was really being discussed, things that seemed obvious were only obvious to me due to the way I was interpreting them but, when I asked questions and practiced more, it became clear that my assumptions were incorrect. Be patient and stay curious, there's no point in rushing 'cause what you're looking for is already happening right here and now but you need to see it for yourself. Cheesy cryptic zenny stuff, I know, but it's hilariously apparent when you see it.

3. You may well have gotten 1st path but what's more interesting and encouraging is your ability to critically examine why you think that. That's a skill in itself and something which a lot of people, particular people who'd like to think they're further on than they are, don't learn until they've made more progress.

4. Do what works for you. One thing I know about MCTB is that I can always learn something new from it when re-reading it, you'll probably find yourself going back over certain parts in a few weeks going "Shit, so that's what he was talking about!" and laughing.

I need to read through bits of it again, and get even more up on the terminology , im still all over the place on that front.

For sound criteria on whether or not you've experienced, or do experience, a fruition check out the chapter called "Was That Emptiness?". The terminology all falls into place as you practice and experience these things for yourself, don't worry about the details right now 'cause it'll become clearer over time.

I guess its a stable strong confidence that Im really making progress, I guess its all the side effects and the fact that stuff isnt really "coming and going" like it used. Just the emptiness, peace, no controller* , much weaker residual reactions if they do occur at all, meditation being no effort whatsoever, I guess a drive in general regarding where this is going.

Aye, there's a certainty that comes with seeing things in the level of detail experienced at the A&P which is unshakeable. That drive is what keeps you searching, once you get to 4th it stops and it's absence is freeing in a really clean and clear way.

It definitely sounds like you're in Equanimity, that's a great place to be but don't cling to these things or believe that they're permanent, stable or that they're the final answer to the thing, it's easy to fall back from this point and have to go through Dark Night territory again but if you can continue to investigate, in a relaxed, natural but still active and intent way then you'll hit Path, whichever one it may be...emoticon

And hey, if this isnt even Stream Entry, then why on Earth would I complain, if things can get this good, and such big changes be madeover 10 months, and it isnt even the tip of the Iceberg??? then even better!

Dude, you've got a great attitude and I just wanted to highlight this bit as it's great to hear.

*no controller: Ok , when I say this , Im not just throwing it out there randomly, its fairly difficult to describe because of the contradictory nature of it. You know when the world feels like its on automatic, cars moving, people walking, people talking. Now, Im aware that feeling is probably only temporary A+P, BUT it feels like it applies here too, that actions are being carried out, and that the thoughts causing the actions are irrelevant.Its very very hard to explain to be honest. Ill stop using it now.

You don't need to stop using the term if it fits your experience accurately, I was just trying to get you to examine it and see whether or not it's the best way to describe what actually goes on. From your descriptions I can see how it makes sense to use that phrase so don't change anything unless it's useful to you. I understand why it's hard to explain, what you're talking about is very subtle but, as you go, it becomes prevalent so just keep investigating what's happening as it happens.

And Im aware my time at RT can mess things up in terms of terminology/culture/understanding clash. So im trying my best to drop it and start fresh from here.

I just recently dropped everything and started fresh. It's never too late. emoticon The terminology is a bit difficult at first but, like I said, don't let it become something to worry about.

I can instantly watch how words are utterly meaningless, I might be with a group of people, and just decide to forget about the content of whats being said, and just listen to the random sounds,and how there is no "subject" ,its just ideas.

Good, look at how those random sounds are being perceived. Do you need to "do" anything for the sound to be heard? This isn't me trying to be all Zen-like, literally look at what it is to hear a sound without the mental processes involved in actively listening. The sound hits the ear, hearing occurs. Where is the "you" in that?

Ironically, if I began talking I get RIGHT back into the subject again.

So you're not trying to hear what's being said yet hearing occurs. You're not consciously trying to listen to the words being spoken but there is still the hearing of the words, their processing and mental representations and the whole chain of events that has to happen for hearing to occur, yet you didn't need to do anything for that to happen. How did that happen?! This game is fun... emoticon


I was trying to respond to as much as I could but I just realized the time and I need to go just on skype for a bit, I'll get back to you 'cause there's a few more things I wanted to suggest. In all honesty, whether or not you've got 1st path isn't a big deal 'cause you've got the drive and the ability to question your experience required to make progress and just be much happier than you ever thought possible.

I'll get back to you asap.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/5/12 8:40 AM as a reply to wylo ..
Right, back to business... emoticon

I only began practicing 2 months ago, and only more intensely 2/3 weeks ago since reading MCTB.
I would have to say on average per day, 30 mins concentration on the breath, followed by insight 30 mins, experiening the senses/vibrations/as many as possible per second, then sometimes insight focused directly on thought, not the content,just occurance of thought itself.
Sometimes Ill do this stuff more than once in a day if Im not busy.
Then , whenever the mind isnt occupied by conventional life stuff I try and just concentrate on sensations, sometimes I do this if I think of it,even WHILE busy with other stuff.

Good stuff.

When you're doing insight practice, rather than trying to experience as much as possible per second try going for consistency and accuracy over speed for a while. There's a lot to be said for fast noting 'cause it takes up more processing power and stops thought wandering as much, but going for detail and accurate observation of the Three Characteristics will make a few things clearer and lead to deeper insight into things, especially if you're fairly new to it. The speed at which you note fluctuates as you go through the ñanas anyway so work with what feels natural, sometimes objects will arise at lightning speed while at other times you'll only be able to catch the very end of them so use that to your advantage.

Taking your practice into daily life is a great way to make progress too, in fact a large part of my practice was done off the cushion and led to some of the most profound realizations about seemingly mundane parts of my experience. What I noticed too was that there would be sensations arising that didn't show up, or at least I hadn't noticed, while I was sitting. Seeing the process of something simple like dialing a phone number, how it's recalled, visualized, the feelings associated with doing it, the tactile impression caused by pressing the buttons, just lots of daft stuff that you might not normally consider worth investigating but that are still loaded with insights aplenty.

The other one I do is like an instant unity feeling, not this grand "WE ARE ALL ONE" or anything silly, just an instant acknowledgement of all surroundings, and me not being seperate from it. This is ALOT more subtle,silly, and small than the way Im describing it in words though.

It's not silly at all, as you said, it's an acknowledgement, a noticing of things as they are right here and now which is the only place that insight can be found. Have a listen to Kenneth Folk's talk on mahamudra here and see if that allows you to refine this sort of practice a bit more.

I dont want to think Im further than I am, definitely not!! But while being cautious about all this, I have to admit, the thought arises alot that I have attained stream entry, and it just often silly trying to get something I already got.
I guess the only important thing is practice and the fun of how its changing my life, maps can be dangerous!! lol

Using the maps without becoming attached to them is a skill in itself, just remember that they're not the territory they describe and can't truly encompass all the possible variations of experience available out there.

The thought that you've attained stream entry is just a thought, it'd arise whether you had it or whether you hadn't 'cause it's just another object coming and going like everything else. That's why I said about not relying on "feeling" that you've gotten to x, y or z 'cause that feeling arises as a result of thinking about it, just good ol' cause and effect, but continued practice will tell whether or not you've gotten Path so don't worry about it.

When it comes to "trying to get something I already got", just remember that 1st path is 1st path and there's still more to go. The process is the same anyway, just keep on investigating, noting and seeing the 3C's play out in all sensate phenomena and you'll get to where you want to be.

Make it happen! emoticon

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/6/12 5:43 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi guys, just want to quickly say thanks for all the help, some great stuff that Ive already brought into practice, Ill reply properly later on.
But overall you are both right, path is irrelevant, it was just another thought, another object occupying in this experience.
So Im taking your advice and looking at the ocurrance of the object ("do I have path or not?"), and watching that thought arise.

Im boosting up my practice too to get deeper into the three Cs, impermanence being one I ,for the most part have largely ignored.


Anyway Ill reply properly later on!
Thanks

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/6/12 6:39 AM as a reply to wylo ..
wylo de c:
Im boosting up my practice too to get deeper into the three Cs, impermanence being one I ,for the most part have largely ignored.


Weren't you looking at the way that experience is rapidly tuned out earlier (this flickering being "impermanence" according to MCTB )?

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/6/12 7:31 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Actually , youre right, I was, and that was pretty much what you were showing me to do in the other thread. I guess the book and this thread just helped me get my shit together a bit more again and give it decent focus again.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/7/12 7:01 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Said Id get back properly to these!

Tommy M:


It's worth looking at what's experiencing those sorts of feelings when they appear, try to catch what it is that triggers them, look at what it is that allows them to keep on going, what's fueling them and how they, like everything else, arise and pass away too. Remember, that "sense of freedom" you've experienced doesn't go anywhere, something just gets in the way of seeing it clearly so don't struggle with it 'cause that just kicks up more shit you don't need. Observe it with the sort of perspective you may have noticed here:

Thanks man, this is definitely something Ive been getting better and better at as each cycle goes by.


This line in particular is really, really great to hear. I have no doubt that, if you haven't already got it, you'll hit stream entry sooner rather than later. The ability to be brutally honest with yourself and say "No, this still isn't good enough so there's more to be done..." will stand you in good stead to make progress.

Cool, funny thing is, Ive learned that the process of me starting this thread and wanting to know where I was at was just another thing that was sort of getting in the way to an extent. But I think it was well put in MCBT that you sort of have to soak yourself in the maps before you can forget about them.emoticon

The point about it being "you" who believes in something, not your brain is worth investigating too. You've already seen that beliefs are no more than more mental constructs, they're like little lenses you see "reality" through and that colour it in certain ways. Look at how a belief about something is formed, look at what it's made of and how those little joints that connect it together are built up. Beliefs are tools, you can use them skilfully to point yourself in the right direction without developing an attachment to them rather than letting them affect your experience.

Cool, Ive been always trying to challenge beliefs, and examine them, but not this closesly and accurately.



I had a soft spot for Dark Night because of this sort of deep, profound and rewarding aspect of facing it head on. If you've been able to appreciate and understand how and why those sorts of times are tough then that's excellent, it's a great attitude to have.

It seems Ive been around in circles again, going through the cycles. This can change so fast for me (which by the way probably adds to the fact I probably havent hit stream entry).

Examplee: Since starting this thread, and boosting up my practice both in quality and quantity, I really felt I was making huge progress. Even the past few days, I honestly thought I was hitting new ground.
Im currently setting up a business, this is requiring me to do more than Ive done in the past in terms of meeting "important" people, and getting myself out there and making calls and chatting to people I wouldnt have usually been bothered chatting with.
I had 2 importants meetings last week, absolutely cool as a breeze, right to the centre of the mind and body, I couldnt have been more chilled out. This in turn made the meetings far more enjoyable and relaxing and productive too. All I think to myself was "holy crap I love this "enlightenment" business."

THEN Today , for alot of the time during the day, I felt extremely deep ,empty , and 'selfless', but there was sort of tension there , something very very in the background from time to time.
Anyway I had a meeting with someone later on and out of nowhere alot of fear came over me, just before meeting him, and at the start of chatting to him, it actually took me a few minutes to begin to chill out. I dont think he noticed, not that it matters.
You were right, these cycles are going to go for more longer than I thought.
Now I dont like to slap on the label of "fear / dark knight", almost as an excuse for not dealing with my shit. But I couldnt get over how this meeting had absolutely no more importance than the others and this sort of fear followed by mild misery arrived.
I reread those sections on MCBT and there was some solid advice , and addressed everything that needed to be addressed.
It was like I reading my experience of today!


Equanimity. Use that nice, spacious acceptance and investigate what is it that's still doing the observing of this experience as it happens. There's something subtle and fluctuating in the field of awareness which you might notice more clearly during a sit, investigate that, observe it and then see what's still observing that.

Cool Ill concentrate on this.


Stream entry doesn't put an end to fear arising, it just changes something in your relationship towards that pattern of feelings but doesn't get rid of it entirely. For fear to arise it requires a cause, in normal everyday life there are (what seem like) logical and sensible reasons for that fear arising, I know you've mentioned public speaking for example, but when it comes up during practice, and there's no discernible cause for it, then it gets even more interesting.

Funny enough I dont mind the fear that arises in meditation, even though it is quite interesting. Its probably because Im completely 'safe'


1. It's a strange one. There's all sorts of stuff that someone who's attained stream entry should, and shouldn't, be able to do depending on which source you're basing your criteria on. My knowledge of Buddhism as a whole is limited and so I tend to stick to the criteria in MCTB and what I've learned from this site, for this reason my guess, which is what it is, that you don't have 1st path yet could be completely wrong. However, as End has said in his reply, the thing about being able to hit Fruition is probably the most accurate and easily confirmed aspect of having gotten stream entry as it's discussed on here.

I think I can, only think though, Ive read and reread the description, and sometimes it feels like I just touch on it, for a split second or two, and its only after I lose it do I realize I even experienced it.
But you know what? Maybe Im wrong, and who cares, Ill just keep plugging away and see what arises.

2. Over time it becomes clear that we don't all walk the same metaphorical Path, much as there are lots of point along the way where things play out in a similar way for the majority of people there's always going to be idiosyncrasies and details of the thing which are specific to you. When I came on here I thought I might have gotten 2nd path, I read posts and also thought stuff like "Well, I already know that so I must be further ahead than them 'cause that just seems so obvious to me", as you've said it's not in an egoic, "I'm better than you" way but there's a certain confidence and certainty that comes with this as a byproduct of practicing seeing reality in fine detail. What I eventually learned though was that I was completely misunderstanding things as I didn't have sufficient insight to see what was really being discussed, things that seemed obvious were only obvious to me due to the way I was interpreting them but, when I asked questions and practiced more, it became clear that my assumptions were incorrect. Be patient and stay curious, there's no point in rushing 'cause what you're looking for is already happening right here and now but you need to see it for yourself. Cheesy cryptic zenny stuff, I know, but it's hilariously apparent when you see it.

Ive a feeling Ive been misunderstanding things alot already, but its good to see the errors and move on.
End in Sight was getting me to do certain practices, and yet I was understanding the fundamental reasons behind , even though he explained it to me !!! oops!


4. Do what works for you. One thing I know about MCTB is that I can always learn something new from it when re-reading it, you'll probably find yourself going back over certain parts in a few weeks going "Shit, so that's what he was talking about!" and laughing.

Yep, Im just going to keep going back to the book.




I guess its a stable strong confidence that Im really making progress, I guess its all the side effects and the fact that stuff isnt really "coming and going" like it used. Just the emptiness, peace, no controller* , much weaker residual reactions if they do occur at all, meditation being no effort whatsoever, I guess a drive in general regarding where this is going.

Aye, there's a certainty that comes with seeing things in the level of detail experienced at the A&P which is unshakeable. That drive is what keeps you searching, once you get to 4th it stops and it's absence is freeing in a really clean and clear way.


Cool ^^Theres my motivation to get this.

It definitely sounds like you're in Equanimity, that's a great place to be but don't cling to these things or believe that they're permanent, stable or that they're the final answer to the thing, it's easy to fall back from this point and have to go through Dark Night territory again but if you can continue to investigate, in a relaxed, natural but still active and intent way then you'll hit Path, whichever one it may be...emoticon

I think this is what happened me today!!



Good, look at how those random sounds are being perceived. Do you need to "do" anything for the sound to be heard? This isn't me trying to be all Zen-like, literally look at what it is to hear a sound without the mental processes involved in actively listening. The sound hits the ear, hearing occurs. Where is the "you" in that?

Cool, this is sort of what I was doing in RT, and what broke this whole thing open in the first place, HOWEVER, I got complacent and presumptuous , so cheers, Im gonna get back to it.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/7/12 6:46 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:

Good stuff.

When you're doing insight practice, rather than trying to experience as much as possible per second try going for consistency and accuracy over speed for a while. There's a lot to be said for fast noting 'cause it takes up more processing power and stops thought wandering as much, but going for detail and accurate observation of the Three Characteristics will make a few things clearer and lead to deeper insight into things, especially if you're fairly new to it. The speed at which you note fluctuates as you go through the ñanas anyway so work with what feels natural, sometimes objects will arise at lightning speed while at other times you'll only be able to catch the very end of them so use that to your advantage.

Taking your practice into daily life is a great way to make progress too, in fact a large part of my practice was done off the cushion and led to some of the most profound realizations about seemingly mundane parts of my experience. What I noticed too was that there would be sensations arising that didn't show up, or at least I hadn't noticed, while I was sitting. Seeing the process of something simple like dialing a phone number, how it's recalled, visualized, the feelings associated with doing it, the tactile impression caused by pressing the buttons, just lots of daft stuff that you might not normally consider worth investigating but that are still loaded with insights aplenty.

All this really helped the past few days, Im gonna keep at it.

here and see if that allows you to refine this sort of practice a bit more.

I gave this a listen, and it was great, it really helps get away from the over emphasis on the goal, and more on the practice you are doing right now.


Using the maps without becoming attached to them is a skill in itself, just remember that they're not the territory they describe and can't truly encompass all the possible variations of experience available out there.

Yea true, I think like End in Sight, I may not have hit stream entry, but something like it. Maybe something not quite as solid and permanent as first path. Who knows. Maybe I just need to look more into the progress and realize its just another example of whats described there.



When it comes to "trying to get something I already got", just remember that 1st path is 1st path and there's still more to go. The process is the same anyway, just keep on investigating, noting and seeing the 3C's play out in all sensate phenomena and you'll get to where you want to be.

Make it happen! emoticon

Thanks again, Ill keep at it,

ps, dont feel obliged to reply to all or any of this, just thought I would let you know where I was at ,and respond. emoticon

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/7/12 6:56 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
The ultimate test for MCTB 1st path is whether you can get a fruition (either spontaneously or by meditation), so if you really want to know where you stand in MCTB, you'll have to check that out. If you can't get one, chances are you don't have MCTB 1st path. (You might have attained something like MCTB 1st path, but MCTB wouldn't have any info about it, and honestly, I doubt we at the DhO would either.)

Im thinking its the bit in brackets, unless i still havent got a full understanding of fruition, ( I have read it a few times). Once or twice I think I hit it after about 40 mins,
basically, even the senses that I was concentrating on seem to disappear, as does awareness, yet ironically it doesnt feel a bit like being unconscious, almost the opposite.
Not that it matters. Ive kind of come to a realization that the maps are just mild guides, and shouldnt become the practice itself.

In case it helps, here's a super-abridged version of how I understood the paths in relation to my experience:

1st: Wow, there's no self in my experience anywhere!
2nd: Deeper than 1st, but hard to distinguish.
3rd: A sense that all experiences happen independently of 'me', are not perceived by 'me', are just the universe doing its thing, etc. Sort of mystical in a dry way. Lingering ideas that "no self" is a particular way of looking at things that I need to sustain, a particular feeling, a particular perspective, a particular lack of a 'self' experience, or something like that. (3rd was very long, this does not capture all of it.)
4th: No-self is true no matter what experience I'm having or not having, experiences of 'self' are equally no-self compared to experiences of no-self; no-self isn't an experience at all, but just the way the world is; in this sense, no-self can't be deepened, as anything I could experience would equally be marked by it.

Thanks, a nice layout here.

4th was like a natural end-point concerning inquiry into no self, was psychologically freeing, gave me a healthier perspective on things.

Based on this, when I initially saw no self, I would have probably thought I was 4th, (I know , a bit silly), luckily I didnt know about the paths, I had alot to learn!

As a separate issue, let me point out that trying to figure out where you are on the map isn't as useful as you may think (especially if you're past MCTB 1st path, but in some ways even if you're not). The most useful thing in my opinion is to become familiar with the cycles of the progress of insight as it plays out in your own experience, which will help you understand why you suddenly feel a certain way for no (other) obvious reason, as well as help you understand how you might alter your meditation (based on where you're at at any particular moment) for maximal effectiveness.


The bolded bits there were extremely extremely helpful the past few days!
Thanks again for the help.
I keep opening up MCTB again, and rereading chapters, and it just seems to fall into place more and more, as in , what you said about the cycles.

Can I ask a question?
What was your experience like post stream entry in terms of the cycles? Would they still sometimes be quite unpleasant? Were there times of doubt during a period of dark knight post 1st path? 2nd path even? and so on...

I know this thing isnt linear, and despite how many times I tell myself this, I keep trapping myself (although it gets weaker and weaker every time).

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/7/12 9:42 PM as a reply to wylo ..
wylo de c:
End in Sight:
The ultimate test for MCTB 1st path is whether you can get a fruition (either spontaneously or by meditation), so if you really want to know where you stand in MCTB, you'll have to check that out. If you can't get one, chances are you don't have MCTB 1st path. (You might have attained something like MCTB 1st path, but MCTB wouldn't have any info about it, and honestly, I doubt we at the DhO would either.)

Im thinking its the bit in brackets, unless i still havent got a full understanding of fruition, ( I have read it a few times). Once or twice I think I hit it after about 40 mins,
basically, even the senses that I was concentrating on seem to disappear, as does awareness, yet ironically it doesnt feel a bit like being unconscious, almost the opposite.


Dan Ingram is adamant that there is no experience when everything "winks out", but some other people who never practiced according to the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition report otherwise (I think Triplethink has described this here or on KFD). And Nick posted an interesting link to a discussion with Culadasa describing the same divergence.

If you wanted to investigate further, the main thing would be to see whether you proceed up through the progress of insight, hit this experience or non-experience, and then end up immediately at the beginning. (The beginning would be early A&P if you attained MCTB 1st path.)

4th was like a natural end-point concerning inquiry into no self, was psychologically freeing, gave me a healthier perspective on things.

Based on this, when I initially saw no self, I would have probably thought I was 4th, (I know , a bit silly), luckily I didnt know about the paths, I had alot to learn!


Yeah, the "everything is no-self, including perceptions of 'self'" is what I would think of as the crucial distinguishing feature. The psychological benefits are just consequences of that. (And I'd say there were also psychological benefits for me from MCTB 1st path, though I also got stuck in the "there is no self, so there is no suffering!" dissociation thing which wasn't so great, and which got stronger up until 4th, when it suddenly seemed really silly.)

Can I ask a question?
What was your experience like post stream entry in terms of the cycles? Would they still sometimes be quite unpleasant? Were there times of doubt during a period of dark knight post 1st path? 2nd path even? and so on...

I know this thing isnt linear, and despite how many times I tell myself this, I keep trapping myself (although it gets weaker and weaker every time).


I had lots of shitty dark night stuff, but I learned to keep it under control and meditate my way through it / out of it, so it was only shitty for short periods, and didn't really affect my life. But inside those periods, there was lots of unhappiness, lots of doubt, lots of despair, etc. The whole thing got much less intense at some point during 3rd path, but the cycles were still there.

Even after 4th, the cycles and the dark night were still there, but I had a different relationship to them...they became more like "cognitive weirdness" rather than "something bad happening to me".

Even now, pretty far out into who-knows-where, there are still cycles...the individual nanas have very few significant features anymore (they're like bare-bones versions of what they used to be), but I can see that they're cycling around by the differences in the way that experience flickers.

Overall, I'd say that it gets better...but, I'd also say that it would have gotten better for me much sooner if I had figured out how to meditate in the way I described to you ("right concentration" in the eightfold path), rather than the MCTB "hardcore vipassana" style, and done something more in that direction.

The main advice I'd give is, when you're experiencing dark night stuff, face it directly, examine it carefully, try to see how the experience of tension and the way things flicker is directly responsible for all the negative stuff you feel, and try to muster dispassion / equanimity towards those things. Going to meditate when dark night stuff happened always made it pass more quickly for me.

RE: Curious as to where Im at on MCTB map
Answer
2/9/12 4:21 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Ok thanks
It seems I lost my way a bit, hopping from our thread to MCTB to wondering where I was on maps, to getting hooked on experiencing the senses, to not bothering with basic concentration, and not bothering to find and watch the tension the way I was doing in our thread, and thus overall,

And then after all that , all it took was one "relapse", i.e. one bad experience of fear to make it feel like I was making no progress whatsoever despite being able to build such clarity prior to it.
I'm going to go back to basics, find the tension, notice it is due to a lack of being tuned in, and watch as the tension comes and gos.

Ill compliment all this formal practice, as much as possible.
Some concentration practice, and some insight practice.

Thanks