Announcements Announcements

DhO Hacked and Upgrade

General

ATTENTION!: It appears that our server has been hacked through this version of Liferay, meaning it is no longer secure, and so expect instability as we deal with this and attempt to upgrade to Liferay 7, which we failed to be able to do last year the last time the team attempted it, but we have no choice at this point, so bear with us as we try again. Save any long posts in a text file before posting them. You can follow me on Twitter at @danielmingram for updates if the site is down. Apologies for any complexity this causes. We will work as fast as we can. We have backups of the database, so hopefully nothing will be lost. Thanks to all helping with this complex process.

 

 

 

Message Boards Message Boards

Toggle
Pushing through to equanimity
Answer
1/29/10 11:04 AM
After Daniel Ingram suggested that I read his book 'Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha' for guidance regarding the stages of insight and practice in general, I've done so, and determined that I'm loitering in re-observation right now. Basically, I've hit a brick wall after a long fall.

The advice given in the book is to continue practicing until you can get into equanimity, paying diligent attention to the sensations' comings and goings etc. But there's one slight problem with this: I have approximately zero grounding in insight practices. Aside from the occasional deviant state (such as the aptly named A&P), I'm largely unable to notice the three characteristics of sensations precisely, aside from in relatively broad strokes. My concentration is mediocre, though I can do access concentration when I've rested and eaten properly.

As far as I understand, the whole state is going to revert to A&P sooner or later, unless I'm able to push forward into equanimity. And while I'm in no extreme rush to get out of the Dark Night - even though it's obviously not a pleasant place to be - I would appreciate not having to go through it again without being able to do what has to be done. Becoming a Chronic Dark Night Yogi doesn't appeal all that much.

So, the question: Is there any way for a Dharma newbie such as myself to get through from re-observation into equanimity without having to go through more Dark Nights while improving my insight practice?

By no means do I think that I can skip insight, but anything that'll make this particular transition possible in this particular cycle would be helpful. If the only true way (you know of) is to develop insight further and focus on the sensations, please be clear about that, and I'll do all I can to improve my insight instead of pondering this sort of temporary solution.

I'm sure some of you might wonder why I'd want to skip through to equanimity without first developing my insight, and the answer to that is such: as far as I understand, developing insight would probably be a lot easier and more effective from a place where my attempts at sitting don't feel so goddamn painful.

That's all, and thanks in advance for your advice.

RE: Pushing through to equanimity
Answer
1/29/10 12:06 PM as a reply to Sindre Eskel Aspaas.
Sindre Eskel Aspaas:
So, the question: Is there any way for a Dharma newbie such as myself to get through from re-observation into equanimity without having to go through more Dark Nights while improving my insight practice? ...

I'm sure some of you might wonder why I'd want to skip through to equanimity without first developing my insight, and the answer to that is such: as far as I understand, developing insight would probably be a lot easier and more effective from a place where my attempts at sitting don't feel so goddamn painful.


Hello Sindre,

In my understanding, there's no skipping through it - at least not prior to actually attaining path. You will proceed through the dark night stages in an organic way as you continue to practice. I believe Daniel's advice in MCTB regarding making it through to Equanimity is to stay with bodily sensations as much as possible. Insight is more or less the same regardless of whether one is observing mental phenomena or bodily phenomena, and for some reason working with the body (though painful) is quite effective during the dark night stages.

You mentioned not being able to perceive the three characteristics well. I don't buy that for a second. Sure, you're concentration my not be all that great, which means you may not perceive the flickering, vibratory micro-level of sensations as well as you could. But that doesn't mean you can't note changing phenomena at whatever level is available to you right now. You breathe in, the belly expands. Breathe out, it contracts. At a gross, but not insignificant level, that's impermanence. You can always access some level of understanding regarding the three characteristics, and the goal is to do just that. You don't have to wait for some special level of sensations to arise before you begin to practice.

So, stay with it, even when it sucks. And not in a way that says, "I'll just sit here and ignore it until it goes away." That's aversion, and it doesn't work. You have to welcome the whole catastrophe into your experience and be with it. Believe me, the three characteristics will become clear if you do this.

Press on, man.

~Jackson

RE: Pushing through to equanimity
Answer
1/29/10 12:30 PM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
When I read that, I realized that I'd effectively used the whole "I haven't attained good concentration"-thing as a sort of bulwark against having to address the sensations. Of course, you're right. My concentration and overall mindfulness is more than good enough to notice banal impermanence. In fact, the Dark Night, being a sort of higher level of insight (than the A&P), seems to be boosting this awareness. I'll endeavor to address these sensations at whatever level I'm able to, and simply deal with insight and concentration the way one should with all skills that needs to be improved: practice.

If anyone has further advice or comment, feel free to bring it, though it seems the core issue has been resolved now.

So yeah... pressing on.

Addendum: I do not seem to be suffering any Dark Night-symptoms right now. Perhaps it's just a momentary reprieve, but I'll see how it pans out, and where it leads. If I can't find out, I'll probably post a question about it later, in a new thread.

RE: Pushing through to equanimity
Answer
1/31/10 7:47 PM as a reply to Sindre Eskel Aspaas.
I like Jackson's advice.

If you were in Dark Night (as opposed to 3 Characteristics, 3rd ├▒ana), then what happens next is Equanimity.

While that doesn't mean you will really appreciate it for what it is, try to anyway. See wide open attention moving through space. See attention and space as the same thing. See presence and manifestation move all through the center. No you, just natural life happening. All the sensations that seem to be center point/Subject are just more stuff and always have been

Do something really crazy: just resolve to get stream entry. It can't hurt much you never know. People have gotten it on less.

If this isn't Equanimity then just do your best to appreciate whatever comes next.

Keep practicing even if you feel the pressure is off: that is the best time to practice.

Try to contact people who have done this, particularly the likes of Trent who did it in daily life: he has lots to say about this.

Just enjoy being yourself: that is very important.

Daniel