Message Boards Message Boards

Books and Websites

Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship

Toggle
Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 1/24/10 3:44 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 1/23/10 5:15 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 1/23/10 5:45 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship tarin greco 1/23/10 8:02 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 1/24/10 2:25 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship tarin greco 1/24/10 3:47 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 1/25/10 12:12 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 2/2/10 6:33 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Daniel M. Ingram 2/3/10 11:45 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Constance Casey 2/4/10 12:02 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Tim Farrington 4/8/20 7:07 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh 1/24/10 2:36 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Papa Che Dusko 4/8/20 7:37 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Papa Che Dusko 4/8/20 7:58 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship wretched Earth 7/8/19 7:37 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ben V. 7/8/19 8:49 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship wretched Earth 7/8/19 12:58 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ben V. 7/8/19 2:27 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship wretched Earth 7/9/19 5:25 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Stirling Campbell 7/10/19 6:06 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ben V. 7/11/19 8:18 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Chris Marti 7/11/19 8:37 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ben V. 7/11/19 4:00 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Tim Farrington 4/9/20 6:40 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship J C 7/10/19 7:52 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Chris Marti 7/11/19 7:03 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Blue Jay 7/16/19 10:20 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Edward 7/16/19 11:24 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Ben V. 7/16/19 11:28 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Blue Jay 7/16/19 3:24 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship wretched Earth 7/8/19 1:07 PM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship agnostic 4/8/20 10:23 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship Brian 4/10/20 6:37 AM
RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship agnostic 4/11/20 7:06 AM
Hello, everyone!

Are any of you familiar with this book, Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship, by Ven. Ajahn Maha Boowa? If so, what is your opinion of it?

Also, because this is the books and websites category of discussion, I thought I'd mention that I'm currently reading Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (familiar to most here, of course) intermittently with Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

I'm finding that these two books work very nicely together as a goal-oriented, maps-heavy resource on the one hand, and (not sure how to characterize it) non-goal-oriented, non-maps heavy resource, on the other hand. The difference between the two is especially helpful for maintaining balance in how I relate to the matter of attainments.

Happy practicing!

Ryan

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/23/10 5:15 PM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
For anyone who would like to read this book I've mentioned, here's a link to the book and one to the page where I found the link, below. It's in PDF form, fyi.

http://www.luangta.com/English/site/books/book10_arahatta/Arahattamagga.pdf

http://www.luangta.com/English/site/book10_arahatta.html

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/23/10 5:45 PM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
Having browsed this book, I have a few early comments.

One, he uses the "no-dog" analogy. Like those of us familiar with that term in the DhO and KFDh context, he's talking about an ability to look at life situations with strong impartiality, but he brings up the analogy in order to discuss compassionate action, which I found interesting.

(page 80-82)

Also, he talks about seeing four types of beings, each classified according to their abilities to realize the Dharma (Dhamma). What do people make of this? I'm familiar with this kind of knowledge in the story of the Buddha's awakening, but I haven't heard any living beings discuss the matter.

It's mostly strange to me in terms of the padaparama, those who are 'lowest and most common" according to Maha Boowa. The other three make sense, but I don't understand what he's talking about in this lowest category. I suppose I just don't buy it. I'm a little bit reluctant to discuss the matter, because some people might fret that they fall into that category, and give up practiving at all. But that compassionate fear is overwhelmed by the likewise compassionate reason I'm compelled to mention the issue: that I don't believe that there are beings beyond hope in terms of the Dharma, and that this is an extremely dangerous view. I believe it should be vigorously challenged as erroneous, most especially when it is propagated by an Arahant. Am I misunderstanding Maha Boowa's point? Anyone care to weigh in?

Thanks.

Ryan

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/23/10 8:02 PM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh:
Hello, everyone!

Are any of you familiar with this book, Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship, by Ven. Ajahn Maha Boowa? If so, what is your opinion of it?

Also, because this is the books and websites category of discussion, I thought I'd mention that I'm currently reading Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (familiar to most here, of course) intermittently with Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

I'm finding that these two books work very nicely together as a goal-oriented, maps-heavy resource on the one hand, and (not sure how to characterize it) non-goal-oriented, non-maps heavy resource, on the other hand. The difference between the two is especially helpful for maintaining balance in how I relate to the matter of attainments.

Happy practicing!

Ryan


hi ryan,

i read 'the path of arahantship' several times a couple years ago and found it, along with other writings of ajahn maha boowa's, motivating. while not as map-oriented as 'mastering the core teachings', in it he does map his view of progress (which i presume is drawn from his own experience as it does not indicate whether the experiences of any others has been considered) to the 4 path, 10 fetter model. he is renowned in thailand for exhorting his students to relentless, unwavering effort in practice, which he also does in the book. as far as books coming from thai forest monks go, this is a very straight-forward and revealing piece, with much frank discussion of the features of his own practice and how it was shaped, what he recommends to his students, and pitfalls to watch out for.

i disagree with your characterisation of the book as being non-goal-oriented, as maha-boowa both indicates future goals which are practically attainable (the paths) as well as prescribes total-effort continuous mindfulness as the present goal. i quote from page 16:

'Once I understood the correct method for this initial stage of meditation, I applied myself to the task with such earnest commitment that I refused to allow mindfulness to lapse for even a single moment. Beginning in the morning, when I awoke, and continuing until night, when I fell asleep, I was consciously aware of my meditation at each and every moment of my waking hours. It was a difficult ordeal, requiring the utmost concentration and perseverance. I couldn’t afford to let down my guard and relax even for a moment.'

he does indicate that this way of practice is the means to path attainment.

tarin

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/24/10 2:25 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi, Tarin

Sorry if my earlier post was unclear. It was Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (ZMBM) that I meant to characterize as non-goal oriented. Also, perhaps I should say explicitly that I don't see "non-goal oriented" as an uncomplimentary or derisive term. The fact that he's not interested in talking about attainments and maps is precisely what I value about ZMBM, most of all as I read it alongside MCTB.

And thanks for your accounting of The Path to Arahantship! Sounds you liked it quite a bit.

Peace,
Ryan

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/24/10 2:36 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
the prisoner greco:


as far as books coming from thai forest monks go, this is a very straight-forward and revealing piece, with much frank discussion of the features of his own practice and how it was shaped, what he recommends to his students, and pitfalls to watch out for.

tarin


Yeah, I was expecting something very different, given his training in the Thai Forest school. Interesting to note the similarities and differences among those folks. Ajahn Chah, for instance, has a very different (warmer) personality, but a similar frankness.

I'm glad Ajahn Maha Boowa mentioned that moment when he realized "this isn't working!" and then went and corrected his mistake. I find that way of telling the story very helpful.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/24/10 3:47 PM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh:
Hi, Tarin

Sorry if my earlier post was unclear. It was Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (ZMBM) that I meant to characterize as non-goal oriented. Also, perhaps I should say explicitly that I don't see "non-goal oriented" as an uncomplimentary or derisive term. The fact that he's not interested in talking about attainments and maps is precisely what I value about ZMBM, most of all as I read it alongside MCTB.

And thanks for your accounting of The Path to Arahantship! Sounds you liked it quite a bit.

Peace,
Ryan


hi ryan,

re-reading your initial post, it is crystal clear that you were referring to suzuki's book, which reference i had somehow missed completely. that, and re-reading my typo-peppered reply, makes me wonder if perhaps i shouldn't post so late at night.

regarding ajahn maha boowa's relationship to the thai forest tradition, i think he might be the only remaining living student of ajahn mun (who is sort of the big daddy of thai forest teachers - pretty much everyone in the thai forest tradition today was either his student - such as ajahns chah, lee, tate, or his student's student - such as ajahns fuang, sumedho, brahm). ajahn mun was known for being exceptionally fierce and that probably comes through maha boowa a fair bit, as he was quite close to mun (remaining with him until his death).

tarin

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
1/25/10 12:12 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
the prisoner greco:


hi ryan,

re-reading your initial post, it is crystal clear that you were referring to suzuki's book, which reference i had somehow missed completely. that, and re-reading my typo-peppered reply, makes me wonder if perhaps i shouldn't post so late at night.

regarding ajahn maha boowa's relationship to the thai forest tradition, i think he might be the only remaining living student of ajahn mun (who is sort of the big daddy of thai forest teachers - pretty much everyone in the thai forest tradition today was either his student - such as ajahns chah, lee, tate, or his student's student - such as ajahns fuang, sumedho, brahm). ajahn mun was known for being exceptionally fierce and that probably comes through maha boowa a fair bit, as he was quite close to mun (remaining with him until his death).

tarin


No worries, Tarin. Late-night posting can be an adventure, indeed! : )

Ryan

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
2/2/10 6:33 PM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
Hey, so does anyone have any thoughts about Ajahn Maha Boowa's description of four types of people in the world, including one that is most common and not capable of making progress in the Dharma? (Please correct me, if you think I don't understand his view?)

I'm mentioning this again because it's not something I hear anyone in these forums discussing, and I wonder why that is. It seems pretty radical to me, that is to say - against the common view prevalent these days that everyone can understand, achieve enlightenment, or even that we're all already enlightened. I'm not so interested in which of those you personally buy into, but more what you make of the "four types" view, presented by an Arahant in his book linked above.

Thanks.

Ryan

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
2/3/10 11:45 PM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
In theory, the truth of sensations being the way there is available to everyone who can perceive reality.

In practice, very few will practice, very few can understand dharma teachings, very few will make enough effort, very few will look closely, very few will achieve sufficient concentration, etc.

Helpful?

D

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
2/4/10 12:02 AM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
"Hey, so does anyone have any thoughts about Ajahn Maha Boowa's description of four types of people in the world, including one that is most common and not capable of making progress in the Dharma?"

I recently read this book, and thought the same thing about it not being brought out much.

This view reminded me of the many individuals who I've seen in recovery circles and in treatment who were given nutritional support, financial support, educational support, emotional support, spiritual support and community support and went right back to using and creating a huge mess in a whole bunch of ways.

Where, when and how someone opens to the dharma is someone who is ready, and capable.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/8/19 7:37 AM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
An old post I have just come across... but very relevant, in my opinion, considering the darkness that surrounds us - all beings - at the moment, on this beautiful lost planet. And a question worth an answer, if one could be found...

"“Ugghaåitaññū: they were fully prepared to cross beyond in an instant. In descending order: there were vipacitaññū, those progressing quickly toward the goal; then, the neyya, whose desire to lie down and take it easy competes with their desire to be diligent. Do you see what I mean? Those two opposing forces are vying for supremacy within their hearts. And finally padaparama: those who are human in physical appearance only. They have gained nothing at all to enhance their future prospects. Death for such people is death without distinction. There is only one possible direction they can go—down. And they fall further and further with each successive death. The way up is blocked, for they have gained absolutely nothing beneficial to take along with them. They can only go down. Remember this well! This teaching comes straight from my heart. Do you think I am bluffing and telling you deliberate falsehoods?”

(Ajaan Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno. “Arahattamagga - Arahattaphala.” )

Not sure where I come in order (ascending or descending) but my own despair (an incentive to practice of course) I seem to share with or alongside a woeful lack of awareness in general that seems to be possessed by the human species - with little refuge to turn to?

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/8/19 8:49 AM as a reply to wretched Earth.
Ledi Sayadaw also wrote about these four types of individuals in his treatise 'The 37 limbs of Awakening'. He defines the lower type in a somewhat different way., referencing to a multiple lives model.

He says the padaparama cannot attain awakening in this life, even if he or she makes the effort. However, if the effort is made anyway, it will plant seeds that will give rise to rebirth in a deva world (heavens world) in the next life, and once there stream-entry would be easy if they apply their minds to the dhamma.

In 'Practical INsight Meditation', Mahasi mentions at the end of the book how some individuals may reflect that they may not have enough accumulated spiritual perfections (paramis) to gain path. He then advises against such reflections, saying even if it turns out to be true, the efforts will bring those perfections to fruition at some point, and one can never know anyway how much perfections opne already has.

I think the practical and pragmatic way would be to put such ideas aside and practice, and let nature take its course.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/8/19 12:58 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Good (and important) points, Ben, particularly in the context that seeds sown in the field of karma are recognised as complex and difficult to predict. But will take effect. My sense is the concern (and my own) is at facing the despair at the "slow and painful" path...and doubt of course, is an unmerciful hinderance...but again, looking at the 'law' of karma, we cannot avoid making a choice (conscious or unconscious) so I have faith in the skilful path eventually leading to insight. That is why I find Ajahn Maha Boowa's book so powerful (despite his negative view on those of us who may well be "the padaparama"). He has no hesitation in telling us that he accomplished his goal. Done is what needed to be done, etc. Liberation exists. Is real. Is possible. I have to believe that every step taken in the struggle to move forward and awaken is a skilful seed planted in a field of darkness... That said it might be worth starting a thread for those of us who try hard for years and make little or no apparent/visible progress? Thanks for your comment, by the way.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/8/19 1:07 PM as a reply to Ben V..
"A Padaparama is an individual who, though he encounters a Buddha Sàsana, and though he puts forth the utmost possible effort in both the study and practice of the Dhamma, cannot attain the Paths and the Fruits within this lifetime.

All that he can do is to accumulate good habits and potentials (vàsanà). Such a person cannot obtain release from worldly ills during this lifetime.If he dies while practising samatha(Tranquillity) or vipassanà (Insight), and attains rebirth either as a human being or a deva in his next existence, he can attain release from worldly ills in that existence within the present Buddha Sàsana.Thus did the Buddha declare with respect to four classes of individuals." Venerable Ledi Sayadaw

https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books14/Ledi_Sayadaw-Requisites_of_Enlightenment.pdf

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/8/19 2:27 PM as a reply to wretched Earth.
I'm one of those who's progress is really slow. Been at it for around 20 years and still no stream-entry, at least as understood in the Mahasi lineage.

In the last 3 years I've noticed a certain shift in my practice though. In any case, I discovered quite viscerally how observing all one's thoughts and feelings about how the meditation is going is itself a boost to higher progress.

Whenever you are observing these thoughts and feelings as "experiences arising and passing in awareness", you will feel how the sense of self is being dismantled, and it's very freeing. 

Theee's an article on the web by Michael Taft on 'Overcoming the Observer Trap'. It may be helpful to you. Lots of long time meditators get stucked there it seems before awakening.

Basically it is about overcoming the identification with the sense of observer in meditation. Thoughts like "I'm not progressing" or feelings of disappointment about one's meditation belongs to the observer issue. Observe them as mere objects and there you are, dismantling the sense of observer, and definitely making progress.

Even the traditional text 'Satipatthana Sutta', in the contemplation of feelings section, says that one contemplates "unpleasant spiritual feelings" as it arises, passes away, etc. These unpleasant spiritual feelings are exactly what you express: feeling sad, discouraged, that one is not breaking through in the practice. Observe such feelings as they come and go. Don't buy into them.

Best wishes with your practice.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/9/19 5:25 AM as a reply to Ben V..
Thanks, Ben...once again some very good points. I'll read Michael Taft's article... If I understand correctly Thanissaro Bhikkhu also uses "dread" and (its opposite) "heedfulness" as an incentive to the Practice, so, as you suggest, being mindful of dark feelings can have its place; at least the thoughts of an endless journeying through Samsara, sharpen my own focus...along with the fear of being unconscious to it all again (and again).

Having said that I sometimes wonder (deeply) why (my experience of) the Practce is so difficult, despite that possibility being addressed by the Buddha ("fast and pleasureable, fast and painful, slow and pleasureable, slow and painful")..?

Again, reading Ajahn Maha Boowa's story, his own struggle with pain seemed heroic but that was after achieving some deep states of concentration...It is the endless skating on the surface, and seeing (very briefly) my own mind like  a leaf in a storm, that weighs on me (along with the days slipping by so fast...)

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/10/19 6:06 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
I'm one of those who's progress is really slow. Been at it for around 20 years and still no stream-entry, at least as understood in the Mahasi lineage.

If most Buddhist literature is to be believed, you are fortunate even to have been born as a human. 20 years is nothing compared to lifetimes. You would be lucky to have it happen in this one.

In the lineages I have worked in we were always encouraged to let go of any thought of success, but to practice wholeheartedly just the same. Holding on to "progress" or positions on maps can be a hindrance as much as a help.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/10/19 7:52 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
I'm one of those who's progress is really slow. Been at it for around 20 years and still no stream-entry, at least as understood in the Mahasi lineage.


I have a different point of view on this - if you've been practicing for that long without progress, something is very wrong. Stream entry is fairly straightforward - you just keep noting till you get there.

So I think it's important to figure out what's wrong and correct it. The whole point of this, after all, is to get enlightened.

So - how often do you sit, and for how long? What do you do on sits? How often do you go on retreat and for how long, and what do you do there? What has happened in your practice? What obstacles do you run into?

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/11/19 7:03 AM as a reply to J C.
Stream entry is fairly straightforward - you just keep noting till you get there.

It's easy to say this, much, much harder to do this. "Just note until you get there" is not helpful to some folks. There are lots and lots of reasons that "getting somewhere" can be difficult, so I'm more careful about this kind of thing. Better to find a good teacher and work with that person and have them help diagnose what the issue might be. But even then, I know some very long term practitioners who just don't seem to "get somewhere" even with the help of more than one really good teacher, and I know some practitioners who have managed to "get somewhere" and not even be aware of it. Sometimes people just aren't aware of their progress. Sometimes they're so focused on making progress that they can't focus adequately on the practice. We don't call our collective selves the human zoo for nothing.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/11/19 8:18 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Seems like this one sentence of mine ("I'm one of those who's progress is really slow. Been at it for around 20 years and still no stream-entry, at least as understood in the Mahasi lineage.") has caught someattention. 

Stirling, thanks for your comments. The reason I wrote that sentence was precisely to give an example how the sense of lack of progress can be used to progress, by making them more objects to observe, as the rest of the post shows. When I have thoughts about non-progress or progress, I am now able to objectify them, whereas two or three years ago was getting very embedded in.

J C: Wow your comments hit me like a hammer, but I don't see it as a necessarily negative hammer emoticon I appreciate the challenge to re-evaluate my practice!  I wouldn't say I haven't made progress, just that it has been slow. My meditation feels very different now than it did before I got involved in Pragmatic Dharma. One teacher from another lineage, from his criteria, assessed that I already had an initial awakening. From the Mahasi lineage standpoint though (which has been the main thing I've done for around 20 years), there has been no discernable cessations. This being said, I visited Kenneth Folk just a few weeks ago and got to talk for around 3 hours with him. He said that he no longer (or does not) view cessation as the only necessary criteria for assessing stream-entry. He even mentioned someone who never had cessations (or discernable ones) but that he considers way beyond stream-entry. He gave me a whole list of clues to help assess SE, cessation being only one possible one, and said that not all of them necessarily have to be there for genuine SE to have occured.

Seems then that SE is more complex than some of us may think to assess.

To answer your questions about my practice (I really appreciate that you ask), I have a log here on DhO if you want to look at it. I can tell you a few things here.  Around 3 years ago, I got inspired to join pragmatic Dharma after a meditator friend of mine made impressive progress practicing with Kenneth Folk. As for my retreat practice, I do one retreat per year, since the last 20 years or so. For the last about ten years I do those retreats at home, solo, including sometimes a skype session with Kenneth Folk. I don't do residential retreats anymore in meditation centers because the isolation from my natural environment has a way to trigger some complex trauma in me, having to do with isolation. I notice that the same intensive schedule at home does not trigger the trauma, while allowing for the same levels of cencentration. 

I sit every day, one to 3 sittings per day of 30 to 45 min per sitting. I use noting, and sometimes use panoramic awareness in alternation with noting. Once a week I do ping pong noting 30  min with the above-mentioned friend. I find this very powerful and it gets me quite concentrated. Before my involvement with Pragmatic Dharma I was practicing only once a day though for only 30 minutes.

I touch base about once every six months with Kenneth Folk on skype to discuss my practice. From his assessment, seems like I've been lurking in equanimity nana for a while. I first tasted equanimity (if it is indeed equanimity) on a solo home retreat 3 years ago, after a skype session with KF in which he encouraged me to drop noting a bit and guided me into a more panoramic, broadened awareness. When I did just that in the next sitting it was quite an impressive shift. Felt like how equanimity is described in the texts. Lots of stillness, subtle phenomena being noticed on their inception, occasional quick pulses inside the head. The most obvious A&P type event I've had was on such retreat, where my face dissolved into rapidly, upward moving, continuous fast waves of vibrations.

I've relied a lot, for my practice, on Mahasi,s Practical Insight Meditation book, MTCB/MTCB2, and all I've learned from KF. Been also getting (as you can see on my log) very helpful occasional advice from Shargrol on my log, whom I must say, I consider a blessing to have on this site.

I definitely aim for SE, but have realised I need now to simply observe any thoughts or feelings I have about the goal, as just more objects to observe. 

Chris, I appreciate you normalizing that for some people progress may be slow. 

Certainly, if something is wrong with my practice, I definitely want to know. And if nothing is wrong and it's just normal that some progress slowly, and that this is my case, well that's fine too. I'll just have to keep investigating.

I do want to say that my practice HAS progressed since my whole involvement with the PD sceen. I can feel that viscerally. But nothing further than equanimity, it seems, for now.




RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/11/19 8:37 AM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben, that's a great post!

I think many of us, me included, have long-held simplified versions of "getting somewhere" in our heads that have clouded our judgment. I haven't talked to Kenneth Folk in some time but I'm really happy to hear his comments to you. It makes sense to me given all the practitioners I've talked to over the years and what I know to be the case in non-Pragmatic traditions.

BTW - Kenneth Folk was my pragmatic dharma teacher back in the day.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/11/19 4:00 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Cool!
Yes I remember from reading your log and Kenneth coaching you through your path. I appreciate that you leave your log available for others to view!

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/16/19 10:20 AM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
I'm one of those who's progress is really slow. Been at it for around 20 years and still no stream-entry, at least as understood in the Mahasi lineage.

In the last 3 years I've noticed a certain shift in my practice though. In any case, I discovered quite viscerally how observing all one's thoughts and feelings about how the meditation is going is itself a boost to higher progress.

Whenever you are observing these thoughts and feelings as "experiences arising and passing in awareness", you will feel how the sense of self is being dismantled, and it's very freeing. 

Theee's an article on the web by Michael Taft on 'Overcoming the Observer Trap'. It may be helpful to you. Lots of long time meditators get stucked there it seems before awakening.

Basically it is about overcoming the identification with the sense of observer in meditation. Thoughts like "I'm not progressing" or feelings of disappointment about one's meditation belongs to the observer issue. Observe them as mere objects and there you are, dismantling the sense of observer, and definitely making progress.

Even the traditional text 'Satipatthana Sutta', in the contemplation of feelings section, says that one contemplates "unpleasant spiritual feelings" as it arises, passes away, etc. These unpleasant spiritual feelings are exactly what you express: feeling sad, discouraged, that one is not breaking through in the practice. Observe such feelings as they come and go. Don't buy into them.

Best wishes with your practice.


Is it because you can't do the jhanas? Have you tried metta bhavana? It's easier to attain the jhanas with metta (or at least the first 2 jhanas) because metta bhavana naturally generates piti & sukha. When there is a decent amount of piti & sukha  you can shift the attention from metta to piti and stay with it to abide in the 1st jhana. And then shift to sukha to abide in the 2nd jhana. 2nd jhana should be enough to combine with your insight practice so you can attain SE. 

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/16/19 11:24 AM as a reply to Blue Jay.
I'm enjoying this thread but the term 'pragmatic dharma' is making me bristle. Isn't Attainment-Centred Dharma a more straightforward name?

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/16/19 11:28 AM as a reply to Blue Jay.
Thanks Blue Jay!

For my first sitting of the day I always start with 5 or 10 minutes of metta, then switch to noting. The metta very quickly brings forth nice sensations of tingles or warmth in my hands and under the nostrils. There is also sometimes bubbling sensations that go upward in the head, like water bubbles being released. I had planned to explore more this avenue (stay longer in metta and soak into the pleasant sensations) but my mind always ends up noting and not getting into jhana. It's as if my mind says "let's get into the real stuff" (vipassana).

I'll try it again emoticon 

Sounds intuitively correct to focus on bringing in more samatha element into my practice.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
7/16/19 3:24 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
Thanks Blue Jay!

For my first sitting of the day I always start with 5 or 10 minutes of metta, then switch to noting. The metta very quickly brings forth nice sensations of tingles or warmth in my hands and under the nostrils. There is also sometimes bubbling sensations that go upward in the head, like water bubbles being released. I had planned to explore more this avenue (stay longer in metta and soak into the pleasant sensations) but my mind always ends up noting and not getting into jhana. It's as if my mind says "let's get into the real stuff" (vipassana).

I'll try it again emoticon 

Sounds intuitively correct to focus on bringing in more samatha element into my practice.


You're welcome. emoticon

The path moment depends on calm and insight. From a previous post it seems that you practice enough mindful noting to gain insight. So the missing factor is probably a deeper calm. Good luck exploring this avenue. If you ever need jhana instructions, I recommend these Ayya Khema's dhamma talks:

1st jhana
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUn8T3-ZFGQ

2nd, 3rd and 4th jhanas   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7MYt_hjiRk   


-^-

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/8/20 7:07 AM as a reply to Constance Casey.
Please forgive me for blundering in on this thread, but I'm stalking Constance Casey. You still here, Constance? I just got your message from 2011. I promise to be very discreet from here in about BR and her beautiful heretical path to anatta.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/8/20 7:37 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
"i disagree with your characterisation of the book as being non-goal-oriented, as maha-boowa both indicates future goals which are practically attainable (the paths) as well as prescribes total-effort continuous mindfulness as the present goal. i quote from page 16:

'Once I understood the correct method for this initial stage of meditation, I applied myself to the task with such earnest commitment that I refused to allow mindfulness to lapse for even a single moment. Beginning in the morning, when I awoke, and continuing until night, when I fell asleep, I was consciously aware of my meditation at each and every moment of my waking hours. It was a difficult ordeal, requiring the utmost concentration and perseverance. I couldn’t afford to let down my guard and relax even for a moment.' "

I like it. Simple and straight forward. No laps in mindfulness. Thank you. 

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/8/20 7:58 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
"Sense of observer" is only there when there is some form of self-validation arising. 
When there is Seeing then in that very mindful moment there is nothing other but Seeing. 
"I'm seeing" comes only if I loose the mindfulness of This-ness and drop into a moment of self-validation. 

No laps in Mindfulness. Tap, tap, tap, tap ... one after another sensations and mind states, arise and fall away, while conscious. 

Jhanas are not my cup of tea. I don't tolerate opiates well, they cause me hangover emoticon 
I have got up to 5th Jhana back in 2009 and that didn't result in SE for me. 
Freestyle Noting Aloud as thought by Kenneth Folk did the damage (last year). No laps in Mindfulness. Tap, tap, tap ... one after another they arise and pass away and in each mindful moment of observance there was no sense of self.

 Btw, I find it's important to share that daily 45-90min, 1-3 times a day is enough to plow through the path. People should not believe that retreats are the only place where results can be observed. 
I've never gone on a retreat. Instead I make myself miserable at home , daily emoticon 

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/8/20 10:23 AM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
Fucking LOVE this book. IMHO the most kickass first person account of hardcore practice and breaking through. Pure dharma gold. I'm surprised it's not better known.

If you really want to be blown away, watch the YouTube video of his talk which is transcribed in Part 2 (Shedding Tears in Amazement with Dhamma). He must have been well into his 90s by then and he's getting jacked up on betel and taking no prisoners.

There's also some political diatribe in there. Not familiar with the exact details, seems to have been something to do with money laundering, but he starts trash-talking the Thai political establishment and comparing them to dogs while the cameras are rolling. Massive balls.

Just gonna quote a few gems to whet your appetite.

At present, all that is left of Buddhism are the words of the Buddha. Only his teachings—the scriptures—remain. Please be aware of this. Due to the corruption caused by the defiling nature of the kilesas, true spiritual principles are no longer practiced in present-day Buddhism.

Very first sentence. How can you not love this guy?

The citta resided at the center, neutral and placid. But it was impassive with supreme-mindfulness and supreme-wisdom; not vacantly impassive, gaping foolishly like the rest of you.

Bragging about his jhana attainments and ridiculing his audience. 10/10 for humility.

FROM THEN ON I ACCELERATED MY EFFORTS. It was at that time that I began sitting in meditation all night long, from dusk until dawn. While sitting one night I started focusing inward as usual. Because it had already developed a good, strong foundation, the citta easily entered into samãdhi. So long as the citta rested there calmly, it remained unaware of external bodily feelings. But when I withdrew from samãdhi many hours later I began to experience them in full. Eventually, my body was so racked by severe pain that I could hardly cope. The citta was suddenly unnerved, and its good, strong foundation completely collapsed. The entire body was filled with such excruciating pain that it quivered all over.

Thus began the bout of hand-to-hand combat that gave me insight into an important meditation technique. Until the unexpected appearance that night of such severe pain, I had not thought of trying to sit all night. I had never made a resolution of that kind. I was simply practicing seated meditation as I normally did, but when the pain began to overwhelm me, I thought: “Hey, what’s going on here? I must make every effort to figure out this pain tonight.” So I made the solemn resolve that no matter what happened I would not get up from my seat until dawn of the next day. I was determined to investigate the nature of pain until I understood it clearly and distinctly. I would have to dig deep. But, if need be, I was willing to die in order to find out the truth about pain. Wisdom began to tackle this problem in earnest.

The pain began as hot flashes along the backs of my hands and feet, but that was really quite mild. When it arose in full force, the entire body was ablaze with pain. All the bones, and the joints connecting them, were like fuel feeding the fire that engulfed the body. It felt as though every bone in my body was breaking apart; as though my neck would snap and my head drop to the floor. When all parts of the body hurt at once, the pain is so intense that one doesn’t know how to begin stemming the tide long enough just to breathe.

This crisis left mindfulness and wisdom with no alternative but to dig down into the pain, searching for the exact spot where it felt most severe. Mindfulness and wisdom probed and investigated right where the pain was greatest, trying to isolate it so as to see it clearly. “Where does this pain originate? Who suffers the pain?”

Sorry, what was that about respecting your limits and being kind to yourself?

If you find it difficult to investigate your own body in this way, begin by mentally dissecting someone else’s body. Choose a body external to yourself; for instance, a body of the opposite sex. Visualize each part, each organ of that body as best you can, and ask yourself: Which piece is truly attractive? Which part is actually seductive? Place the hair in one pile, the nails and teeth in another; do the same with the skin, the flesh, the sinews and the bones. Which pile deserves to be an object of your desire? Examine them closely and answer with total honesty. Strip off the skin and pile it in front of you. Where is the beauty in this mass of tissue, this thin veneer that covers up the meat and entrails? Do those various parts add up to a person? Once the skin is removed, what can we find to admire in the human body? Men and women—they are all the same. Not a shred of beauty can be found in the body of a human being. It is just a bag of flesh and blood and bones that manages to deceive everyone in the world into lusting after it.
...
Focus intently on those body parts that really capture your attention, the ones whose truth feels most obvious to you. Use them as whetstones to sharpen your wisdom. Expose them and tear them apart until their inherently disgusting and repulsive nature becomes apparent. Asubha meditation is insight into the repulsiveness of the human body. This is the body’s natural condition; by nature, it is filthy and disgusting. Essentially, the whole body is a living, stinking corpse—a breathing cesspool full of fetid waste. Only a paper thin covering of skin makes the whole mess look presentable. We are all being deceived by the outer wrapping, which conceals the fundamental repulsiveness from view.

Try that next time you're feeling horny.

As we investigate the citta thoroughly, stage by stage, the defiling elements that previously roamed about will converge into a single radiant point, merging with the natural radiance inside the citta. This radiance is so majestic and mesmerizing that even exceptional mental faculties like supreme-mindfulness and supreme- wisdom will invariably fall under its spell at first. It’s a completely novel experience, never before encountered. It amazes and appears so extraordinary, so majestic and awe inspiring, that it seems nothing could possibly compare with it at that moment. And why shouldn’t it be? It has been an absolute monarch, ruling over the three worlds of existence for countless eons. This point of radiance has held the citta under its power and command since time immemorial. And it will continue to mesmerize as long as the citta lacks the superior mindfulness and wisdom necessary to free itself from the power it exerts, forcing the citta to experience birth on countless levels of existence resulting from actions dictated by this subtle kilesa. Ultimately, it is this refined, natural radiance of mind that causes living beings to wander ceaselessly through samsãra, experiencing birth and death.

Pointing out that jhana is the ultimate delusion.

When that nature which we imagine to be so awesome and amazing finally disintegrates, something that is impossible to describe arises in full measure. That nature is Absolute Purity. When compared to that state of purity, the avijjã that we once held in such awesome regard resembles cow dung; and the nature that was concealed by avijjã appears to be pure gold. Even a baby knows which is the more precious between cow dung and gold; so we needn’t waste time and proclaim our stupidity by making comparisons.

To paraphrase: the most perfect jhana is a piece of shit compared with nibbana.

One accepts death—when it comes—as well as life—when it continues. Both are aspects of the same truth.

Truly one of the greats.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/9/20 6:40 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Ben V.:
I'm one of those who's progress is really slow. Been at it for around 20 years and still no stream-entry, at least as understood in the Mahasi lineage.

If most Buddhist literature is to be believed, you are fortunate even to have been born as a human. 20 years is nothing compared to lifetimes. You would be lucky to have it happen in this one.

In the lineages I have worked in we were always encouraged to let go of any thought of success, but to practice wholeheartedly just the same. Holding on to "progress" or positions on maps can be a hindrance as much as a help.

Ben V, your sharing on this thread is so beautiful and heartening. I've done the math a million times on my "progress," and there's no doubt whatsoever that however i am able to graph the learning curve as greater-than-zero (honestly, it barely registers as a slope), it's not a one lifetime thing. I'm prepared for eons, even though I have the deepest doubts as to what rebirth could possibly mean. Stirling's point abut the fortunateness of simply being born human, encountering the dharma, and practicing the dharma in this lifetime, is gorgeous: each of those are a different surfacing of a blind turtle through a small ring in a different ocean, and the story goes that the blind turtle only comes up for air once every hundred years. So you're three or four oceans in, that many near-zero-chance bits of fortune on an unimaginably vast time scale, and really you should probably be on guard against feeling all full of yourself and your progress, which you seem to have a great handle on. My ultimate fallback position, well, penuultimate maybe, just before i go into information theory and writing myself off as a single electron registering a meaningless 1 flash in some vast binary inconceivability, is that all these bodhisattva vows people take do pay off, and all sentient beings will be saved, and i will be the last one out of the bar at that point, the last resident of hell, and will be sure to turn off the lights as i go.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/10/20 6:37 AM as a reply to Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh.
Man, that was a really interesting book. Like others have said, it was gripping and seemed to ring true. Great writing style.

After I read the book I went to see if there were any videos of him, and there were. One thing that gave me reservations was, I wasn't immediately able to find the guy in a good mood. He just didn't seem happy. He seemed to like to scold people. I don't know what to make of that. I do tend to care what results a practice actually has, like how an old person is after they've done the practice for a long time. I wasn't encouraged by his behavior.

RE: Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
Answer
4/11/20 7:06 AM as a reply to Brian.
Brian:
Man, that was a really interesting book. Like others have said, it was gripping and seemed to ring true. Great writing style.

After I read the book I went to see if there were any videos of him, and there were. One thing that gave me reservations was, I wasn't immediately able to find the guy in a good mood. He just didn't seem happy. He seemed to like to scold people. I don't know what to make of that. I do tend to care what results a practice actually has, like how an old person is after they've done the practice for a long time. I wasn't encouraged by his behavior.

Hi Brian,

This kind of thought had also occurred to me in the past. I concluded that either he wasn't an Arahant or else I was mistaken in thinking that an Arahant should behave in a certain kind of way.

Best wishes
agnostic