What was that 'mystical' experience?

Morgan Gunnarsson, modified 9 Years ago.

What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
Can't tell you how happy I am to find this site, and this is my first post. I had a ‘mystical' experience almost 20 years ago, and have never shared this with any advanced meditator before, and would really appreciate some guidance.

After a power failure, a dark winter evening, I was suddenly aware of an inner world that I had not previously explored. After that event I laid in bed at night and studied the subtle visual impression you get when you shut your eyes. That way I discovered what I now call kasina meditation and found jhanas 1-5. By studying the jhanas I became aware of the sensations (vedana) in my body, because the jhana concentration reinforced the experience of them. I explored the sensations while in jhana and after some time I also found bhanga/dissolution. It was somewhat frightenting the first few times. After a couple of years of meditation I got what a mysticism researcher maybe would call a ‘deep mystical experience’.

From 4th jhana I reached bhanga, and after 20-30 min the sounds from the street outside suddenly started to fade away, and with that fading I was drawn into a new state. The hearing was virtually turned off and I experienced myself as a non-visual point in an infinitely extended black space. The experience of ‘self’ was suddenly more vague, but there was still a duality – a self and a space where the self ‘floated’. After just a few seconds, that state too collapsed, and both space and self disappeared...

What remained where an anonymous existence and a deep/infinite calm, plus a vague knowing of breathing. I can’t remember if the state disappeared by itself or if I opened my eyes after a while. Afterwards, I felt a deep joy and gratitude. The everyday problems were suddenly petty and I had gained an insight that is difficult to express in words. The joy was of a completely different variety or quality than what e.g. jhana or bhanga can trigger. I knew somehow that there was an inner reality that was more real than everyday life, and that ‘I’ was something else than I thought it was. I would say it is one of the most important experiences in my life.

I was 16 or 17, had no teacher or literature to consult, and understood that no one around me would understand or even believe me. I stopped meditating after a few months, but have never stopped thinking about the experience, that still influences my perspective today... What was that experience?

In 2008, about 15 years later, I took my first vipassana course (Goenka). A few weeks later I decided to try to find out more about that mystical experience, and found the term ‘jhana’ after having done some reading. I thought it might had been a higher jhana and learned the 6th and 7th jhana with the help of a book, but the jhana experiences turned out to be something completely different. Since there were two new states I had experienced that night almost 20 years ago, and none of them seemed to be jhana 1-7, then at least not the 2nd state could have been the 8th jhana, I reasoned. Even though jhana and bhanga perhaps for the beginner can feel like a different world, it is after all quite ‘flat’ experiences with an apparent duality. What I experienced was something very different, where the whole reality seemed altered.

I totally understand that success on the path is measured in equanimity and personal development, and not in experiences, but I really need someone to explain. What do you think guys? What kind of experience was this, and does it mean anything for my current practice (mainly Mahasi-style vipassana in combination with the lower jhanas, plus metta), or is it just a sweet memory?
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Ian And, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 783 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Welcome to the DhO, Morgan.

Morgan Gunnarsson:
I had a ‘mystical' experience almost 20 years ago, and have never shared this with any advanced meditator before, and would really appreciate some guidance.

...By studying the jhanas I became aware of the sensations (vedana) in my body, because the jhana concentration reinforced the experience of them. I explored the sensations while in jhana and after some time I also found bhanga/dissolution. It was somewhat frightening the first few times. After a couple of years of meditation I got what a mysticism researcher maybe would call a ‘deep mystical experience’.

Strictly speaking, sensations are NOT vedana (the aggregate of "feeling" that Gotama spoke of). Sensations are just sensations. Vedana is your affective response toward the sensation (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral). It is often best to maintain a clear idea of the definitions of the terms one is using to describe their experience. Without this, one can fall into a delusion (or at the very least "wrong view") about what they experience.

Morgan Gunnarsson:

From 4th jhana I reached bhanga, and after 20-30 min the sounds from the street outside suddenly started to fade away, and with that fading I was drawn into a new state. The hearing was virtually turned off and I experienced myself as a non-visual point in an infinitely extended black space. The experience of ‘self’ was suddenly more vague, but there was still a duality – a self and a space where the self ‘floated’. After just a few seconds, that state too collapsed, and both space and self disappeared...

I find it difficult to respond to this because of the use of one of the words in your statement. Are you sure about your use of the word "bhanga"? Is that really the word you wish to use?

"Bhanga, or Bhang, is a narcotic (cannabis sativa) used in India to assist divination and produce ecstatic states. The substance, according to the Atharva Veda 9. 6. 15, it is one of the five kingdoms of plants ruled by Soma. A.G.H." — Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 142

Or, did you perhaps mean to say "bhavanga"? Which means: "Bhavanga (Pali, "ground of becoming") is the most fundamental aspect of mind in Theravada Buddhism. It is an exclusively Theravada doctrine that differs from Sarvastivadin and Sautrantika theories of mind, and has been compared to the Mahayana concept of store-consciousness." — Wikipedia

Aside from this question surrounding the use of words, the experience described here sounds like a 4th jhana experience coupled with something else. That "something else" might have been an experience of the deepening of concentration to the point of the diminishment of sound and a feeling (not vedana) or perception of an alteration of self within space. With deep moments of concentration, this perception (this "something else") is not an unusual experience for many meditators. It helps to provide insight, sometimes now, sometimes later on in the journey. It all depends on when one is ready to come to a different impression (realization) of the experience of the reality they have become accustomed (conditioned) to seeing, and whether or not they can connect the dots they've been given from the Dhamma (eg. the three characteristics, dependent co-arising, the five clinging aggregates etc.).

Morgan Gunnarsson:

What remained were an anonymous existence and a deep/infinite calm, plus a vague knowing of breathing. I can’t remember if the state disappeared by itself or if I opened my eyes after a while.

That first ("a deep/infinite calm, plus a vague knowing of breathing") does sound like the 4th jhana. And the second ("I can't remember if the state disappeared by iself or...") is likely due to a lack of enough sati (mindfulness) at that moment. Mindfulness often goes together with "clear seeing" or "clear comprehension" (sampajanna). That's why the two words are so often found used together in various writings as: sati-sampajanna or mindfulness and clear comprehension.

Morgan Gunnarsson:

I was 16 or 17, had no teacher or literature to consult, and understood that no one around me would understand or even believe me. I stopped meditating after a few months, but have never stopped thinking about the experience, that still influences my perspective today... What was that experience?

I thought it might had been a higher jhana and learned the 6th and 7th jhana with the help of a book, but the jhana experiences turned out to be something completely different. Since there were two new states I had experienced that night almost 20 years ago, and none of them seemed to be jhana 1-7, then at least not the 2nd state could have been the 8th jhana, I reasoned. Even though jhana and bhanga perhaps for the beginner can feel like a different world, it is after all quite ‘flat’ experiences with an apparent duality. What I experienced was something very different, where the whole reality seemed altered.

I totally understand that success on the path is measured in equanimity and personal development, and not in experiences, but I really need someone to explain. What do you think guys?

It was what it was, and your affective response to it was what it was. That's all. Nothing to get all excited about, yet also something to be kept in mind as one makes progress on the path. The mind can play some very heavy tricks on one if one is not mindful enough to spot these tricks when they are happening. Keep practicing.

It has often been said before that meditation is only one tool among many tools used by Gotama to assist people in the activity of being able to "see things as they are." Never forget that meditation is only a tool. A tool to help assist the mind in discerning the same truths that Gotama pointed out in his Dhamma. That tool helps people develop stronger concentration (and hopefully mindfulness) which helps in clearer discernment of dhammas (phenomena).
Morgan Gunnarsson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for your feedback, Ian.

Strictly speaking, sensations are NOT vedana (the aggregate of "feeling" that Gotama spoke of).

Sensations are not necessarily vedana, but vedana are bodily sensations. A sensation is any perceived information that comes from the sense organs (touch, sight, sound, smell, taste).

Vedana is your affective response toward the sensation (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral)

This common misunderstanding comes from the fact that the word 'vedana' is often translated into 'feeling', and 'feeling' has two meanings. That why it's better, in Dhamma contexts, to use the word 'vedana' for bodily sensations and reserve the word 'feeling' for the "conscious subjective experience of emotion". Still, 'vedana' is unfortunately often translated into 'feeling' in Dhamma litterature, instead of being left untranslated (but explained).

Are you sure about your use of the word "bhanga"?

Yes, definitely. Bhanga is the vipassana ñāna "Knowledge of dissolution":

For example:
http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#fourb
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Bhanganupassana-nana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUryO_vJT1o
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Thom W, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 63 Join Date: 12/31/10 Recent Posts
Hi Morgan

Your response to Ian's reply reads as being curiously defensive. And at times, slightly off the mark.

You write that "in dhamma contexts" (what contexts exactly?) it is "better" to use the word vedana for body sensations.

However using vedana to mean "body sensations" just robs the word of its more subtle meaning and potential accurate usage. If you mean body sensations, best use body sensations. If you mean your response to and susbsequent aggregated experience of those sensations as pleasant, neutral or unpleasant, then best use vedana.

Until you have the level of insight to really see the practical use of distinguisinging these two however, this argument may seem petty. Or "circular". However, there is insight behind it - insight that it's possible you may not have yet.

As for the last comment, I would say that because you describe most aspects of the experience in great detail (which would suggest that your memory of the experience is pretty good) Ian's response that at that moment mindfulness was lacking would be the most practical way to "analyze" what happened. It's not a criticism.

Just a friendly reminder to be wary of over-confidence, especially the over-confidence that comes from having a level of insight above the average joe coupled with some retreat time. A dharma expert this does not make!

But more interestingly, why do you really need to know what "it was?" Where does that need come from? These are deceptively subtle questions. I would suggest that the best clarification will come only from your continued investigation of moment to moment experience. If you take this far enough, it will almost certainly answer the question for you, or put the need for answers into a context that relieves the tension somewhat.

Cheers,

Thom
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Ian And, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 783 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Thom W:

You write that "in dhamma contexts" (what contexts exactly?) it is "better" to use the word vedana for body sensations.

However using vedana to mean "body sensations" just robs the word of its more subtle meaning and potential accurate usage. If you mean body sensations, best use body sensations. If you mean your response to and subsequent aggregated experience of those sensations as pleasant, neutral or unpleasant, then best use vedana.

Until you have the level of insight to really see the practical use of distinguishing these two however, this argument may seem petty. Or "circular". However, there is insight behind it - insight that it's possible you may not have yet.

As for the last comment, I would say that because you describe most aspects of the experience in great detail (which would suggest that your memory of the experience is pretty good) Ian's response that at that moment mindfulness was lacking would be the most practical way to "analyze" what happened. It's not a criticism.

Just a friendly reminder to be wary of over-confidence, especially the over-confidence that comes from having a level of insight above the average joe coupled with some retreat time. A dharma expert this does not make!

But more interestingly, why do you really need to know what "it was?" Where does that need come from? These are deceptively subtle questions. I would suggest that the b]est clarification will come only from your continued investigation of moment to moment experience. If you take this far enough, it will almost certainly answer the question for you, or put the need for answers into a context that relieves the tension somewhat.

Thom, I couldn't have said this any better than you did. Thank you for adding your comments.

As I am not Morgan's teacher, I have no need to be heard by him. How he wants to interpret my commentary is up to him, even if he wishes to see it through "wrong view." There is little I can do about such wrong view, except to point it out. He asked for commentary on his experience, and I provided a comment. That's all. He can use it or discard it as he sees fit (at the moment). Although I am certain that if given more time and practice, his perception of these comments may change over time.
Morgan Gunnarsson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
Thom W:
Your response to Ian's reply reads as being curiously defensive. And at times, slightly off the mark.

Oops, that was definitely not my intention, I can assure you. Ian stressed the importance of defining the terms, and expressed that it was difficult for him to reply, since he didn't understand what I meant with the terms I used. I just wanted to clearify what I meant when I wrote 'vedana' and 'bhanga'. You are probably right that my definition of 'vedana' is too narrow, I will reconsider it.
But more interestingly, why do you really need to know what "it was?" Where does that need come from?

Hmm... I think it is deeply human that mystical experiences might shake your foundations and reveal some kind of existential anxiety. I felt an acute need to talk about the event with other people, but noone I knew had the knowledge or experience to give me that support.
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josh r s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
I think that for the purposes of this thread, understanding the experience, the language doesn't really matter, as one can simply use sensation vs. emotion... but what the Buddha meant by the word vedana is really important in understanding his teachings. I've never actually seen reason to believe that the buddha used "vedana" to mean emotion at all.

If vedana is meant to mean "emotion," then how could the buddha's statement that an Arahant still experiences the pain of the aggregates (one of them being vedana) co-exist with his other statement that an arahant lacks sensual desire and ill will among other things (which are affective)

The places I've seen vedana used it seems to be referring to physical sensations, he refers to the six classes of vedana, the six sense doors for example. Why do you think that "vedana" as the buddha used it refers to emotions, and why do you think the word doesn't refer to "actual" sensations?

If vedana means emotion then is contact actual sensation? Then what is craving which arises from affect? Looking at my experience craving seems to be the affect itself, the reaction; this along with the Buddha's classification of 6 forms of vedana would make it seem that vedana refers to the sensate input which then leads to the affective reaction (craving).
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi Josh,

I can't find the reference to vedana being 'emotion'.

Perhaps this was read in Ian's quote? I am not sure if that is what he meant.

Strictly speaking, sensations are NOT vedana (the aggregate of "feeling" that Gotama spoke of). Sensations are just sensations. Vedana is your affective response toward the sensation (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral). It is often best to maintain a clear idea of the definitions of the terms one is using to describe their experience. Without this, one can fall into a delusion (or at the very least "wrong view") about what they experience.


'Affective response' does not necessarily mean 'emotion' though it could be mistaken for it. As far as i see it, in my own experience, vedana is the mental overlay (nama) over bodily sensations (rupa). The sensations are collocated the mental evaluation of pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. This mental overlay is vedana. From vedana leaps the rest of the sequence that give rise to compounded 'emotion'.

"Feeling," not "emotion"
Regarding the relationship between vedanā and "emotions," American-born Theravada teacher Bhikkhu Bodhi has written:
"The Pali word vedanā does not signify emotion (which appears to be a complex phenomenon involving a variety of concomitant mental factors), but the bare affective quality of an experience, which may be either pleasant, painful or neutral."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedan%C4%81



My 2 cents.
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josh r s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
Nikolai, I was using or misusing the word emotion to mean affective response. I wasn't thinking of anger/happiness etc. I was just thinking of bare affective response.

So if I switch emotion to affective response in my post it would look like this:

I think that for the purposes of this thread, understanding the experience, the language doesn't really matter, as one can simply use sensation vs. emotion... but what the Buddha meant by the word vedana is really important in understanding his teachings. I've never actually seen reason to believe that the buddha used "vedana" to mean affective response at all.

If vedana is meant to mean "affective response," then how could the buddha's statement that an Arahant still experiences the pain of the aggregates (one of them being vedana) co-exist with his other statement that an arahant lacks sensual desire and ill will among other things (which are affective)

The places I've seen vedana used it seems to be referring to physical sensations, he refers to the six classes of vedana, the six sense doors for example. Why do you think that "vedana" as the buddha used it refers to affective responses, and why do you think the word doesn't refer to "actual" sensations?

If vedana means emotion then is contact actual sensation? Then what is craving which arises from affect? Looking at my experience craving seems to be the affect itself, the reaction; this along with the Buddha's classification of 6 forms of vedana would make it seem that vedana refers to the sensate input which then leads to the affective reaction (craving).



Nik, I was under the impression that you thought affective response to be a form of sensual desire. If vedana is affective response, how does this opinion correspond with the Buddha's statement that an arahant suffers from the bare aggregates but has no sensual desire?

I am trying to figure out where I am going wrong here, it could be in how I use the word "affect." I am using it as I heard Tarin and Dan use it in there conversation at hurricane ranch which is where I first heard the word. Tarin claims to be free of affect, yet he mentions that "it's pleasant to experience what this body experiences, if this body experiences pain it can also be painful" I am paraphrasing out of memory but I am pretty sure that's what he said. Based on this and my own experience I have thought of pure sensate experience to be either painful pleasant or neutral, affect being the desire and aversion, the "dirty" affective overlay. The affect seems to exist on top of the painful/pleasant/neutral sensate experience.

Ian, I think the way I read what you were saying came from a notion I had that you believed that the end of suffering as the Buddha meant it was the point at which one was no longer attached to emotional (meaning anger, fear) reaction, this comes from something you said quite a long time ago about AF being an unnecessary practice, sorry I can't find the quote but it seems that this is not what you intended when you made that post or it is what you intended and you have since changed your mind. Regardless, you seem to be talking about becoming unattached to the pleasant and painful experience which arises directly and unintentionally from sense contact, and our difference is coming from our use of the word affective, as I mean it to be a "self" reaction to pure sensate contact and you seem to use the word to mean the painful/pleasant/neutral quality of pure sensate experience... does that sound right?

I will try and explain what I perceive, as a misunderstanding here could be based on a lack of experiential insight on my part. I see bare sensate experience at the six sense doors which can be automatically painful or pleasant if I touch a hot stove there is a painful physical sensation. Then I see an affective response, which is in part localized, there is some extra feeling on top of the pure sensation which has a "dirty" urge inherent in it, this "dirtiness" is how i separate between affective sensations and physical ones. Then there is the more complicated arising of anger or whatever else. Which of these experiences is vedana? Am I wrongly perceiving somewhere?

thanks
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Ian And, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 783 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Josh,

At the risk of seeming to hijack Morgan's thread (for which I apologize) but in the spirit of clarification, I will attempt to clarify my understanding of vedana as it relates to the questions you posed.

You mentioned: "I think the way I read what you were saying came from a notion I had that you believed that the end of suffering as the Buddha meant it was the point at which one was no longer attached to emotional (meaning anger, fear) reaction..."

This is a rather simplistic view as it begins only to touch the surface of what Gotama meant by nibbana, the process of dependent co-arising, and the end of human suffering. Be that as it may, let's continue.

You mentioned: "Our difference is coming from our use of the word affective, as I mean it to be a 'self' reaction to pure sensate contact and you seem to use the word to mean the painful/pleasant/neutral quality of pure sensate experience... does that sound right?"

Yes, this would be correct for the word vedana, which only refers to the pleasant, unpleasant or neutral quality of sense experience, the word "affective" being used to imply or refer to the pleasant, unpleasant or neutral quality of the experience. If seen with insight, there is no "self" that would be placed into this equation which might trigger an emotional response ending in dissatisfaction (dukkha) toward sense experience. This last is the genius inherent in the insight taught by the Dhamma.

The Dhamma is very simple, although uninformed and untrained people can tend to over think these things until they happen upon a moment of discovery when they can verify from their own direct experience the truth in the statement that all phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta. These three main elements constitute the basis for wisdom in the Dhamma. Yet, most people only gloss over these insights or have a shallow and incomplete understanding or realization of these truths as they relate to their own personal experiences in life. If a person is finally able to see these truths in all phenomena on a consistent and constant basis, they will not mistake suffering (dukkha) as part of their experience. This, in its very simplicity, is liberation from suffering.

As Mathieu Boisvert points out in his book The Five Aggregates, Understanding Theravada Psychology and Soteriology: "Suffering does not merely result from unpleasant sensations, physical or mental, but is inherent in all compounded phenomena (sankhara) — all psycho-physical phenomena of existence, all five aggregates. These are characterized by constant change. They arise and pass away; they are transitory (anicca). Because of this inherent instability, they are subject to suffering. Moreover, suffering is often directly correlated with the five clinging aggregates (sankhittena pancupadanakkhanda pi dukkha)."

Notice he makes a point to mention a modifier in the process of the aggregates by including the word "clinging," which points toward its opposite ideal of detachment or disenchantment. The condition of "craving" can arise on account of clinging (attachment) to phenomena. Take that clinging out of the equation, and craving has no foundation for arising.

This is why it seems to me that a thorough (and I do mean thorough) understanding of the connections between the five aggregates, having insight into how they arise as conditions in the process of dependent co-arising, is so important for the ending of the experience of suffering. People don't want to take the time (or are unable to because of a lack of mindfulness) to finally be able to observe this process as it arises and subsides within their own mental framework or experience. And because of this they persist in their clinging to the false idea of there being a "self" placed within this equation. Once they begin to see that experiences arise without a "self" in the equation, a light bulb moment goes off in their mind and they finally understand what Gotama was going on about when he introduced the brilliant insight and idea of anatta into his teaching.

You might want to find and read Boisvert's book as it delves into these details in more depth than I have allowed in this response. Here's another little tidbit from his book: "Whenever something is sensed, it is also recognized. Sanna always accompanies and follows vedana, but depending on the particular orientation of the sanna [perception], one may generate craving or start cultivating wisdom. The sannakkhandha lies between two links of the paticcasamuppada: vedana and tanha [craving]. . . . That causal chain, then, places sanna between vedana and 'thinking about' (vitakka). Since 'thinking about' belongs to the sankharakkhandha, it is evident that the sannakkhandha finds its place in between the vedanakkhandha and the sankharakkhandha. . . . if the recognition that interprets the sensation is one of the positive sanna, no craving or aversion will be generated, for the recognition itself will signal that this particular sensation is not 'worth craving for' since it is impermanent, suffering and selfless."

I hope this brief and incomplete response has been of some benefit.

In peace,
Ian
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Ian And, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 783 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
josh r s:
I've never actually seen reason to believe that the buddha used "vedana" to mean emotion at all.

The places I've seen vedana used it seems to be referring to physical sensations, he refers to the six classes of vedana, the six sense doors for example.

If vedana means emotion then is contact actual sensation? Then what is craving which arises from affect? Looking at my experience craving seems to be the affect itself, the reaction; this along with the Buddha's classification of 6 forms of vedana would make it seem that vedana refers to the sensate input which then leads to the affective reaction (craving).


And I wouldn't disagree with your statement (emphasized) above.

You perhaps have a point in that I may have been unclear in wording the statement I made.

By stating that "vedana is your affective response toward the sensation (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral)" I was pointing toward the "like, dislike, or neutral" outcome arising from the contact and not an emotion (like anger, happiness etc.) per se. As you stated, vedana can affect the arising of emotion. But also one can become detached from such feeling (vedana), thereby cutting off the effect of the arising of any emotion (be it pleasant or unpleasant).

In the suttas, there is the analysis that pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feeling (vedana) can be experienced as worldly or as renunciatory (MN 56). The distinctions "worldly" and "renunciatory" apply to the manner in which the feeling arises: whether it arises from the perception of material things, or whether it arises from the discernment of the transitory nature of things seen. This reflects the distinction made throughout the discourses between the ordinary (ignorant) man, the puthujjana, and the advanced disciple of the Buddha's teaching, the ariyasavaka. The well-taught disciple knows that there is a refuge from disagreeable feeling other than happiness through sense pleasures. He would experience feeling as renunciatory. Through insight into this process, he renounces all three: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feeling when seen for what they are (transitory) with equanimity. "All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation."

He is the Wise One who has cast off delusion,
abandoned the heart's wilderness, victor in battle;
He knows no anguish, is perfectly even-minded,
mature in virtue, of excellent wisdom;
Beyond all temptations, he is without stain;
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

. . .

He is the Noble One, developed in mind,
who has gained the goal and expounds the truth;
Endowed with mindfulness and penetrative insight,
he leans neither forward nor back,[1]
Free from perturbation, attained to mastery...


Footnote:
[1] This refers to the absence of attachment and repulsion.
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 Tarver , modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Morgan Gunnarsson:
In 2008, about 15 years later, I took my first vipassana course (Goenka). ...

I totally understand that success on the path is measured in equanimity and personal development, and not in experiences...


First of all, welcome to DhO!

I would suggest that you be very aware as you explore this that Goenka's teaching and presentation of Vipassana is somewhat idiosyncratic and differs significantly from other commonly accepted teachings. This is especially true in his strong emphasis on equanimity, analysis of vedana, the significance of "bhanga", the interpretation of what exactly is "right concentration" (forget jhana!), and other points. The blessing and the curse of our times is that we get to see and try many similar and yet significantly differing "dharmas", with much overlapping vocabulary and mostly pointing back to the same original sources. Good luck sorting through it, and figuring out what works best for you!
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Steph S, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience?

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Hey Morgan,

Welcome! There's a category on here for practice journals. Starting your own is a good way to get feedback on your recent & ongoing sits.

Practice Logs

Steph
Morgan Gunnarsson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: What was that 'mystical' experience? (Answer)

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
Morgan Gunnarsson:
What do you think guys? What kind of experience was this, and does it mean anything for my current practice (mainly Mahasi-style vipassana in combination with the lower jhanas, plus metta), or is it just a sweet memory?

Since the first state had a space element and the second state more of a consciousness element, I would say it was the 5th and 6th jhana inside dissolution. A sweet memory, in other words. Back to noting...

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