MCTB 4th path's relationship to Mahasi's path/fruit phenomena

End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago at 8/13/12 9:19 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/13/12 9:16 AM

MCTB 4th path's relationship to Mahasi's path/fruit phenomena

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
When I got what I considered to be MCTB 4th path, it happened in a way that was independent of the progress of insight and of the path/fruit phenomena that Mahasi Sayadaw describes; it just dawned on me suddenly, in a way that was quite different from MCTB 1st-3rd. (And I fully expected it to come in the way that 1st-3rd came, not in the way it actually did.)

Dan Ingram's description of how he got it seems to indicate the same thing; after fruition, he saw something about how experience worked that ushered it in for him. (Dan, please correct me if I'm mistaken.)

I don't remember the details of how Kenneth Folk said he got it, but I have the recollection that it was a similar sort of occurrence. And one other person associated with Kenneth explicitly gave an account of it "just happening" to them as well.

(Of note, this is not how Mahasi Sayadaw says that the attainment or arahantship, or the attainment any other path for that matter, is supposed to work out. And I know of no cases where someone claims having attained any other MCTB path in anything other than the orthodox way, provided that they're familiar with the orthodox way.)

So, I'd like to ask, is this universal? If you got MCTB 4th path or think you might have, how did it happen? As a result of a trip through the progress of insight (ending in cessation), or something else?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 8/13/12 3:45 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/13/12 3:45 PM

RE: MCTB 4th path's relationship to Mahasi's path/fruit phenomena

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Excellent question!

End:
So, I'd like to ask, is this universal? If you got MCTB 4th path or think you might have, how did it happen? As a result of a trip through the progress of insight (ending in cessation), or something else?

This is hugely interesting to me 'cause I'm absolutely certain that I got 4th Path...but not when I initially thought I did. When I first thought I'd gotten 4th, it was definitely a case of it "just happening" by seeing how the entire dualistic split was being created moment-by-moment after coming out of a fruition. In an instant that vanished, the 'knot' untied and all sense of any subject disappeared, never to arise in the same way again, but it wasn't a clear Path moment like what I'd experienced from 1st to 3rd. Yes, there was no longer any "insight disease" but it became clear within a few months that this wasn't quite 'it' as I thought it was at first.

When I posted about that five-day PCE I thought was "actual freedom", one of the most definite and clear things about that, and I remember telling Nick about it on Skype a few days later, was that it was undoubtedly a Path moment. I know that totally fucks up trying to align things with a non-MCTB model but it's only been in the last few months, and with a more refined and precise practice that I've began to question if perhaps that was 4th Path, the subsequent PCE being basically that post-Path clarity at a really high level which was possibly extended via strong practice prior to it. I don't know, but I thought it'd be worth mentioning since you're asking about this very subject.

This also makes me wonder: What if those who've gotten "early-af" have actually got 4th Path, the 'shadow being' thing still possibly being related to affect, but affect seen far more clearly in operation with the clarity and depth of 4th?

Total speculation, but interesting stuff anyway!
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago at 8/13/12 5:35 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/13/12 5:33 PM

RE: MCTB 4th path's relationship to Mahasi's path/fruit phenomena

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
This is hugely interesting to me 'cause I'm absolutely certain that I got 4th Path...but not when I initially thought I did. When I first thought I'd gotten 4th, it was definitely a case of it "just happening" by seeing how the entire dualistic split was being created moment-by-moment after coming out of a fruition. In an instant that vanished, the 'knot' untied and all sense of any subject disappeared, never to arise in the same way again, but it wasn't a clear Path moment like what I'd experienced from 1st to 3rd. Yes, there was no longer any "insight disease" but it became clear within a few months that this wasn't quite 'it' as I thought it was at first.

When I posted about that five-day PCE I thought was "actual freedom", one of the most definite and clear things about that, and I remember telling Nick about it on Skype a few days later, was that it was undoubtedly a Path moment. I know that totally fucks up trying to align things with a non-MCTB model but it's only been in the last few months, and with a more refined and precise practice that I've began to question if perhaps that was 4th Path, the subsequent PCE being basically that post-Path clarity at a really high level which was possibly extended via strong practice prior to it. I don't know, but I thought it'd be worth mentioning since you're asking about this very subject.


* What changed your mind about your first assessment?

* In what sense was your long PCE a path moment or a consequence of a path moment? Was it immediately preceded by (caused by) cessation?

On this subject I can throw out something interesting, which might be relevant: after what I considered MCTB 4th path, I still had occasional "path moments", dependent on the intensity of my practice. (I'm not super-clear on how some of the technical stuff surrounding path moments is supposed to work, so the definition for "path moment" I'm using is: three pulses of experience followed immediately by an apparent "gap" (often with some kind of click-y noise when experience returns), and some sense of the process having been "different".) Not sure what MCTB has to say about this, nor what Dan's experience was.

This also makes me wonder: What if those who've gotten "early-af" have actually got 4th Path, the 'shadow being' thing still possibly being related to affect, but affect seen far more clearly in operation with the clarity and depth of 4th?


It's possible, but I wouldn't relate the experience of what I was previously calling "early AF" to what Dan or Kenneth or anyone else in the pragmatic dharma world has said about their experience. (Dan emphasizes "luminosity", "centerlessness", being "cured" of insight disease and not seeing any further development on the horizon, etc., whereas all I can think to emphasize is the seeing of how affective stuff is created, and breaking up the process, and recognizing that it would be even better to destroy the process completely.) This could be because of my practice orientation at the time, but I'm inclined to think there's a genuine difference.

(The following is just a follow-up bit of speculation based on what you said, feel free to ignore it if you don't think it leads anywhere useful:

As for whether the experience was a "path moment"...well, this is an interesting point, though it may be doctrinally confused and / or mixing up ideas from too many different sources. According to Mahasi Sayadaw, different paths are supposed to have different fruitions, and a yogi can apparently distinguish between them. I personally had no experience of this, in the sense that my experiences of paths and cessation, when practicing in the MCTB model, were all the same, except occasionally varying by which "type" they were (based on the 3Cs). The entrance to the state I called "early AF" was different in many ways, but similar in that it involved two or three pulses experience, albeit experienced very slowly compared to previous paths, and experienced in a highly detailed way that made the structure of the experiences clearer. (I was never able to make much of the pulses of previous paths in terms of analyzing them.) Nowadays, sometimes I experience the earlier type of path moment or cessation, but I also, quite rarely but often enough to mention, experience a repeat of the latter type (which generally ties in with a big shift). Bhante Vimalramsi says that one of the main ways that one's experience of attaining the next stage in enlightenment changes is that the entrance to later stages involve a much slower "pouring over" of the links of dependent origination. So, could these two distinct experiences just be fetter-model 1st path and 2nd path fruitions, respectively?)
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago at 8/17/12 5:40 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/17/12 5:40 PM

RE: MCTB 4th path's relationship to Mahasi's path/fruit phenomena

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I completely forgot to reply to this...

* What changed your mind about your first assessment?

The kicking I got with the next cycle through the dukkha ├▒anas was so thorough in bringing me back down to earth that I went back to square one. It struck me that I had no idea 'where' I was and I questioned whether or not my self-diagnosis was the result of wishful thinking, or whether it was simply that some non-dual realization had stuck once and for all; looking back on it now, and with the benefit of exploring other models, specifically Thusness and AEN's descriptions, the latter option is more likely as it was a total "Eureka!" moment rather than a cessation, but was accompanied by a massive dilation of consciousness which remained until the next shift happened. That "dilation of consciousness", which I hope conveys the idea well enough to be recognized, I suspect is perhaps the common phenomenological experience (I have no idea if those are ever the right words to use) in Path moment.

Whether cessation, as described in Mahasi's model, equates to a Path moment in terms of the dropping away of the fetters, I no longer agree as my experience suggests otherwise. That said, not being anywhere near knowledgeable enough in any of the technical side of Buddhism or even remotely well-versed in most of the theory, I couldn't possibly offer more than an opinion.

* In what sense was your long PCE a path moment or a consequence of a path moment? Was it immediately preceded by (caused by) cessation?

I was sitting on the bus looking at how the mental overlay was still implying someone who was "feeling" emotions, there was a cessation which was different from previous (suspected) Paths in it's complete bang-bang-bang-gone clarity, but 're-entry' involved another massive dilation of consciousness which, even though the, what for convenience I'll call, PCE-like clarity went away, remained the same until the most recent change-up in experience. What became very, very clear during that period was how I hadn't fully understood what "centerlessness", "luminosity", "emptiness" referred to, and I also developed an immediate taste for the dependent origination model too.

What continues to confuse me is that I can recall at least five of these sorts of permanent shifts, which were preceded by the same sort of dilation of consciousness which became my baseline. One of them happened before what I thought was 1st Path, and the other four were, in retrospect, preceded by clear and definite cessations. Whether these were Paths, A&P's, or whatever they were, I have no idea anymore and use the MCTB model for convenience sake, and 'cause it's still pretty funny to tell people you're an Arahat for teh lulz, but it'd be interesting to go back over my notes and analyze them further when I've got a chance.

It's possible, but I wouldn't relate the experience of what I was previously calling "early AF" to what Dan or Kenneth or anyone else in the pragmatic dharma world has said about their experience.

My bad. I should have been clearer, but it wasn't anything important or greatly useful anyway.

According to Mahasi Sayadaw, different paths are supposed to have different fruitions, and a yogi can apparently distinguish between them.

I can recall different fruitions, but whether or not that was more to do with the Three Doors I don't know.

The entrance to the state I called "early AF" was different in many ways, but similar in that it involved two or three pulses experience, albeit experienced very slowly compared to previous paths, and experienced in a highly detailed way that made the structure of the experiences clearer.

See that makes sense to me too, and that description of it happening more slowly and clearly seems to be what happened just prior to that five-day PCE, but as I said before I have no idea anymore. What you describe as being "experienced very slowly" would be especially accurate in describing how that "dilation of consciousness" occurred, I could see exactly how the whole thing was being brought back together, but not in any communicable way, more like an intuitive recognition or something, just directly known which did 'something'. Also, during that PCE, I seem to have experienced what Thusness calls "mind and body drop", where the whole body and mind as having any sort of independent existence vanished completely leaving a mode of experience which I can't describe, but which I suspect you've encountered too.

So, could these two distinct experiences just be fetter-model 1st path and 2nd path fruitions, respectively?

I suspect you might be correct, but I have to put my hands up and say that I don't really know either way. All I know is that what is described as ceasing, or is at least attenuated, when fetter-model Paths are attained does appear to be a more accurate way to diagnose ones whereabouts.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago at 8/17/12 6:28 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/17/12 6:28 PM

RE: MCTB 4th path's relationship to Mahasi's path/fruit phenomena

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
I'll respond later, but just a quick note:

EIS:
As for whether the experience was a "path moment"...well, this is an interesting point, though it may be doctrinally confused and / or mixing up ideas from too many different sources.


Oops. emoticon

I meant "it [the following speculation I'm throwing out, based on one way of conceiving of this as a path moment] may be doctrinally confused", etc. Not what you wrote. (Not sure how I managed to mangle that sentence...)

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