Stream Entry without Cessation?

Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Yeah, I know it ain’t Stream Entry without cessation, MTCB made that perfectly clear. But what is it then, and what the heck are those unknown stages I experience and still experiencing that don't seem to appear anywhere on the map?

Here's my story...

I’m currently on a 21 day retreat and thought I got Stream Entry on the 8th day, until I reread “Was that Emptiness?” from MTCB. Here’s what went down.

Leading up to the Event:
I spent the first few days moving up through the DK stages until I got to Re-observation. I spent about 2 days in Re-observation before rereading MTCB to figure out how to pass, then passed it thanks to MTCB. Spent the next 2 days cycling back and forth between Re-observation and Equanimity occasionally getting to “High” Equanimity after regular Equanimity. In high Equanimity sensations became finer. Whereas sensations seem to emanate from my forehead in regular Equanimity, they seemed start higher (crown?) in high equanimity, and the entire experience seemed to shift to a higher frequency (for the record). Then I stopped resetting back to Re-observance and simply started sessions at regular Equanimity.

During Event (The Unknown Stages):
Finally, on the eve of the 8th day, my awareness had unusual clarity and the sensations were very clear. After 40min, Equanimity went into High Equanimity. After a few more minutes, I felt my “self” start getting slightly distorted and stretched, then stabilized. I felt this was it and conditions were ripe. So I decided to “go for it”. I made a very strong resolution. “I WILL ATTAIN SOTAPANNA!” I know it was cheesy and grammatically incorrect, but that’s what came out of my head in the moment. Suddenly, my heart started racing. My whole sense of being felt like it was stretched, pulled, purged into space above. Sensations in my head changed from being very fine to extremely fine, to either too fine to perceive or were no longer there. All sensations seemed like they were flowing upwards through the top of my head. The entire top half of my head felt like it was being cleaned out. My heart was racing like I was running from Godzilla. My whole body was convulsing from the experience. This “purging” lasted about three minutes. Afterwards, there was a calming down stage of another 2-3 minutes, then finally things stabilized.

What didn’t Happen:
There was no cessation, no going through one of the Three Doors, no blacking out, nothing that looks similar to the stages of Conformity to Fruition. There were still sensations, perception, object-subject awareness. But, these are the effects from the experience…

After-effects:
• Top half of my head no longer has (or I could not feel) any sensations, like it was cleaned out, wiped out. Feels like I got a hole in my head.
• Everything seems more clear. I perceive objects with a certain quality of lightness and fluidity not there before (~15%).
• It’s like my mind won’t give objects the solidness or concreteness I used to before. Or that my mind doesn’t project as much onto objects. Objects also feel more raw, for the same reasons.
• It feels like all the garbage in my mind has been cleaned out, similar to the top of my head. The noise, volition, emotions (or emotion elements as I like to call it) has been reduced by like 85%.
• My concentration increased 2-3 fold. I was able to obtain (very soft) jhana in 2-3 minutes when I tried it out the next day.
• I was stumbling during walking meditation since I lost my equilibrium during the experience.

Afterwards:
The next morning, I was able to start cycling through the nanas again. First it started with A&P and moved effortlessly fast through to Equanimity which scared me. Now it just starts at Re-observation and goes to Equanimity, then goes to those Unknown stages where I got the experience, then back to Re-observation and starts again. It does it in the background also when I'm meditating but lost in thought. I can't tell if it cycles when I'm off the cushion. Now that I continuously cycle through those unknown stages then back, I can say definitively that there is no cessation and Fruition. I thought maybe I missed it, but now I am more puzzled than ever.

The last effect I want to note that is hasn’t been mentioned by anyone I’ve read is that compassion flows like water now. Man, during my sittings, I think of one little sympathetic being, an ant. The sensations suddenly zoom out from my chest and compassion shoots up more strongly than at any other time in my life. If I don’t control it, I start bawling like a little schoolgirl. Happened to me during three sittings now. Its never done that before! I feel like sensitive Brenden Frasier from Bedazzled when he can’t stop crying while the sun’s setting and wishes it would just go the f*** down.

The effect on me both during and after the event are the most powerful I have ever experienced, I would say twice as much as 1st time A&P event (and that was something too!). So it seems everything that was supposed to happened, did, almost textbook (I think), and the effects are pretty much in line with what I’ve read and from MTCB (again, I think). But no cessation = no Fruition = NOT Stream Entry. Fine. But then what was that? And why the effects? Any ideas?
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Fitter Stoke, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
From what you describe, it sounds like you got stream-entry.

Not everyone has clear fruitions. Some people just have a dramatic sit or a series of dramatic sits, and then their meditation is changed in the way you describe. That's more or less what happened to me. If Beth and Kenneth hadn't told me I'd gotten stream-entry, I probably would have just kept trucking along like before, oblivious to what had happened, except for the fact that my meditation was suddenly and unusually subtle and powerful.

The inability to pick out fruition bothered me after my first path. I felt like I really need to know, for certain, what the hell happened, and that I wasn't fooling myself or my teachers. Here are some reasons to avoid that trap if you can:

  • Fruitions tend to get clearer later on, especially as you learn to calm down the mind more and see more of the subtleties of sensations. You think you're paying close attention now, but I can promise you that your perception is going to increase more with subsequent paths, and at that point you're going to see these things better.
  • Just because you've experienced fruition doesn't mean you've mastered it. In a way it's not much different from going through the other ñanas: you can be in them without knowing it. It takes many repetitions of the experience to recognize all its features and to know what comes before and after so you can identify it. Fruition is no different.
  • In a sense it doesn't really matter. You've obviously had a huge experience. It's obviously changed you. Nobody can take that away from you (though the experience will fade in intensity over the coming days, weeks, or months). Enjoy it and take what you can from it and try to hold the labels lightly.


Hopefully others will chime in here to offer their expertise, since that will likely add to your confidence, but what you describe sounds to me an awful lot like path!
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Exactly, I feel like I need to know so that I know what my next goal is, and also so that I can let other meditators I know, know that they can do it too and here are the effects and here is what it isn't.

Currently I'm cycling through those stages beyond Equanimity. I guess I can focus in on those to see if I can detect Fruition, if all it is is that it was too subtle for me at my level to detect. Still, I did try to look and found nothing except for the repeat of my experience at one-fifth the intensity.

The other thing I should mention is that none of the Three Characteristics became prominent during the Event. This I understand is supposed to take place. I did not feel I suddenly understood one or any of Self-lessness, Impermanence, or Suffering. During my 1st A&P, Self-lessness was very prominent and the Self disappeared in front of my very eyes. Here none of that happened.

Currently, I am just watching the stages repeat over and over again not really knowing what to do, at least until I can confirm that was Stream Entry.

And, yeah, the effect is awesome and I hope it lasts. I do hope it was Stream Entry, and that I did not miss out on some of that sweet sweet Dharma.
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Dodge E Knees, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 71 Join Date: 9/25/11 Recent Posts
It sounds great whatever it was you experienced, and probably was fruition. Like you, I was expecting a big black out, something special, in fact the fruition itself is a bit of an anti-climax compared to the A&P event.

A fruition is a blip, a non-event, like a small portion of your experience has been edited out. So how do you know you actually had one? You can only tell by the entry and exit. In terms of entry, read the three doors section of MCTB; I investigating that for a while, then got side-tracked by something else. In terms of exit, think afterglow and what happens cycling-wise.

When you exit a fruition, it feels as if the mind has been restarted and the 'missing the top of the head' you describe is part of the characteristic afterglow. You will then cycle from A&P to EQ, fruition......A&P to EQ, fruition, over and over, whether you like it or not! Try sitting and doing nothing but watching what happens. If the fruition is unclear, just repeat until you get a better sense of it. I doubted whether I had actually done it for quite a while afterwards, but eventually it became obvious. It can take time.

It also sounds familiar when you talk about feeling like you haven't really had that big an insight into the 3 characteristics. Remember that insights happen mainly at a visceral, instinctive level and can take a while to surface. Also even at SE there is still a long way to go!

All the best.
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Florian Weps, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Well, wild stuff! Those energy tingles are interesting, aren't they?

The most general and best advice regarding this kind of question: Can you do it again?? Repeat, observe...

What was your meditation object like? Were you observing the sensations in your head, or did you have some other object? Did you notice some kind of spaciousness in high equanimity? Investigate that sense of space, if you like, and see what happens - how do you know it's spacious?

If you were just generally and broadly noting everything, you might want to try with something specific like a candle flame after-image or with just the sensations in one body part at some distance from your head.

More hints:

Don't get too hung up about the donut-shaped doors.

Fruitions can happen off-cushion, too. There's nothing special about your meditation seat.

Also, in case you remember your dreams - anything striking?

Cheers,
Florian
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Well, wild stuff! Those energy tingles are interesting, aren't they?

The most general and best advice regarding this kind of question: Can you do it again?? Repeat, observe...

What was your meditation object like? Were you observing the sensations in your head, or did you have some other object? Did you notice some kind of spaciousness in high equanimity? Investigate that sense of space, if you like, and see what happens - how do you know it's spacious?

If you were just generally and broadly noting everything, you might want to try with something specific like a candle flame after-image or with just the sensations in one body part at some distance from your head.

More hints:

Don't get too hung up about the donut-shaped doors.

Fruitions can happen off-cushion, too. There's nothing special about your meditation seat.

Also, in case you remember your dreams - anything striking?

Cheers,
Florian


Sorry Florian, I wasn't sure if you responded to right post (donut-shaped doors?).

Yeah, my experience is repeating again as mentioned in what feels like my Review phase. The stages post EQ are exactly the same as the event, described above.

As for my object of meditation, it was just sensations and the overall experience, like free noting without the deliberate noting. The sensations in my head I am pretty sure didn't "disappear" but just became extremely fine with high activity. And I don't tend to remember much in my dreams in most cases. Why, would Guatama himself present me a certificate??? That would remove all doubts.
Jason B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Charles, your experience sounds an awful lot like my stream entry experience except you described it a lot better. The clearest evidence for me was the sudden appearance of concentration ability, whereas before I had very little; and the personality changes and affective changes were pretty profound. Those latter indicators are different for everyone and may be harder to detect while on retreat.

Also, your updates are pretty typical descriptions of review cycling.

Congratulations!
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Jason B:
Charles, your experience sounds an awful lot like my stream entry experience except you described it a lot better. The clearest evidence for me was the sudden appearance of concentration ability, whereas before I had very little; and the personality changes and affective changes were pretty profound. Those latter indicators are different for everyone and may be harder to detect while on retreat.

Also, your updates are pretty typical descriptions of review cycling.

Congratulations!


Thanks! At least I hope so.

Just curious, Jason were you able to eventually detect the cessation or Fruition in the Review stage? If so, how did you detect it and where or how did it occur? If not, how did you eventually resolve that you attained Path? By no means am I doubting you, I am just trying to arrive at a clear resolution as well.

I can't accept it just yet without knowing cessation really took place, or there's away around it, which sort of defeats attaining Path.

Also, have you ever done any other Buddhist practices? I am wondering about the Tibetan stuff which MTCB talks about too.
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Charles B:
Jason B:
Charles, your experience sounds an awful lot like my stream entry experience except you described it a lot better. The clearest evidence for me was the sudden appearance of concentration ability, whereas before I had very little; and the personality changes and affective changes were pretty profound. Those latter indicators are different for everyone and may be harder to detect while on retreat.

Also, your updates are pretty typical descriptions of review cycling.

Congratulations!


Thanks! At least I hope so.

Just curious, Jason were you able to eventually detect the cessation or Fruition in the Review stage? If so, how did you detect it and where or how did it occur? If not, how did you eventually resolve that you attained Path? By no means am I doubting you, I am just trying to arrive at a clear resolution as well.

I can't accept it just yet without knowing cessation really took place, or there's away around it, which sort of defeats attaining Path.

Also, have you ever done any other Buddhist practices? I am wondering about the Tibetan stuff which MTCB talks about too.




What is the current relationship with the notion of 'self'? How does it play out in experience?
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
What is the current relationship with the notion of 'self'? How does it play out in experience?


My sense of self is still present, thinking foolish things and such. However, I feel more distant from it. It almost feels like, the notion of my 'self' no longer quite matches up with what my senses are actually perceiving. Who I think I am isn't quite who I see I am. And I feel like I am somewhat a stranger or more like I am just a familiar person versus 'me'.

In the same way, as I'm typing this, it feels like I'm watching someone else do everything.

It may just go away after retreat, intense mindfulness (which I do not have currently) can sometimes bring the same feelings.
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Charles B:
Nikolai .:
What is the current relationship with the notion of 'self'? How does it play out in experience?


My sense of self is still present, thinking foolish things and such. However, I feel more distant from it. It almost feels like, the notion of my 'self' no longer quite matches up with what my senses are actually perceiving. Who I think I am isn't quite who I see I am. And I feel like I am somewhat a stranger or more like I am just a familiar person versus 'me'.

In the same way, as I'm typing this, it feels like I'm watching someone else do everything.

It may just go away after retreat, intense mindfulness (which I do not have currently) can sometimes bring the same feelings.


The same practice that brought you thus far can take you further down the road. If the 'wanting to know' where you are on a map is a constant theme, then perhaps taking it as the object of curiosity and discernment will get things moving once again. Everytime that desire comes up, become aware of it. When it is not paid attention to, that is when the content/proliferation of mind runs the show.

I think kids are taught to run past the plate in baseball in the united states. Keep running past the plate. Don't inadvertently slow down perhaps before you have crossed it. If you have crossed the plate already, still keep running. Investigate some more into what 'you' seem to be made up of. This is fertile soil for further baseline shifts which trump SE without question. Playing with cessation can lead to discernment too, but I have found the I am conceit/me-ness/selfing process to be the most progressive territory to explore and take apart. All my post 1st path shifts have had this in common.
Jason B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Charles B:
Just curious, Jason were you able to eventually detect the cessation or Fruition in the Review stage? If so, how did you detect it and where or how did it occur? If not, how did you eventually resolve that you attained Path? By no means am I doubting you, I am just trying to arrive at a clear resolution as well.


Even at 2nd path I can't say I experienced a complete cessation of sensation. But I definitely experienced Review. This for me was very distinct from everything that came before. Especially the speed of ascending to EQ, feeling that pulling and popping sensation at the crown, the bliss wave, and back around. What else could that be? And, like I said, the sudden ability to go into jhanas, and distinguish them. And in general I just suffered a lot less in a lot of big and small ways.
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Florian Weps, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Charles B:
Sorry Florian, I wasn't sure if you responded to right post (donut-shaped doors?).


Heh, good for you, then, because those were a major obstacle or "locked door" to me for a time:

MCTB The Three Doors:
When the emptiness aspect predominates and is combined with the impermanence door, there are three clear and discrete moments of moving towards or sideways to (or perhaps focusing on) an intelligent seeing image staring back at us, except that there is nothing on this side. After the third moment, the illusion collapses in a very natural and pleasant way. When the emptiness door predominates with suffering as its second aspect, then a very strange thing happens. There is an image on one side staring back, and then the universe becomes a toroid (doughnut), and the image and this side of the toroid change places as the toroid universe spins. The spinning includes the whole background of space in all directions. Fruition occurs when the two have changed places and the whole thing vanishes.


I was captivated by that description, and it took a bit of practice to break free of that.

Here's another good one, which I just remember: Fruitions are primarily insight-producing rather than experience-producing. In other words, the absence of a freaky experience doesn't indicate the absence of fruition. On the other hand, the absence of deeper insight would be a strong indicator of "no fruition". This was pointed out to me by Duncan Barford.

As for my object of meditation, it was just sensations and the overall experience, like free noting without the deliberate noting. The sensations in my head I am pretty sure didn't "disappear" but just became extremely fine with high activity. And I don't tend to remember much in my dreams in most cases. Why, would Guatama himself present me a certificate??? That would remove all doubts.


Don't discount dreams - I had dreams with very clear three-doors properties. Depending on the general territory you're in, the usual self-honesty and checking of as many factors as possible applies, in order to distinguish "fruition dreams" from "a&p dreams".

The best way to proceed remains: can you do it again, to get a closer look, so to speak?

Cheers,
Florian
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Heh, good for you, then, because those were a major obstacle or "locked door" to me for a time:

Ah, donut-shaped doors, lol.

Florian Weps:
Here's another good one, which I just remember: Fruitions are primarily insight-producing rather than experience-producing. In other words, the absence of a freaky experience doesn't indicate the absence of fruition. On the other hand, the absence of deeper insight would be a strong indicator of "no fruition". This was pointed out to me by Duncan Barford.

Makes perfect sense. The Fruition is only truly proven by the after-effects. I guess I'll have to accept that this is enough.

Florian Weps:
The best way to proceed remains: can you do it again, to get a closer look, so to speak?

In one sitting two nights ago I cycled three time through those unknown post-EQ events watching very closely for cessation. And nothing. Not just cessation, no Three Doors either (unlike A&P event). I made sure to keep my eyes open, I noted, I was aware, keeping my eye out for any blip, flicker, blackout. Nothing. This is why it's so puzzling.
super fox, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 2/9/11 Recent Posts
"Suddenly, my heart started racing. My whole sense of being felt like it was stretched, pulled, purged into space above. Sensations in my head changed from being very fine to extremely fine, to either too fine to perceive or were no longer there. All sensations seemed like they were flowing upwards through the top of my head. The entire top half of my head felt like it was being cleaned out. My heart was racing like I was running from Godzilla. My whole body was convulsing from the experience. This “purging” lasted about three minutes. Afterwards, there was a calming down stage of another 2-3 minutes, then finally things stabilized."

I had an extremely similar experience (like extremely similar) several times over the lat few days. I was very confused, especially since the heart racing was somewhat frightening, I thought I might even die.

One useful thing to do is to suppose you got Path and then try to go and replicate the experience (fruition), but this time know that everything will be ok, and that you need to very very carefully notice moment-to-moment what is going on. You have to keep your concentration moment-to-moment enough that you can notice the sudden transition forward (basically the "suddeness" quality of the blip is what was key in building up my confidence that it was a fruition). I also found the "bliss wave" people talk about to not be some kind of loud joyous explosion, but rather a sudden deep cooling/calming of the mind, with the body sensations arising and passing in clear focus.

Your after effects also sound a lot like mine, especially being able to get into soft jhanas within 2-3 minutes.

Check out my practice log and see if it resonates as I think we're in a similar spot of maybe having just gotten path:

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3695194
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Okay, so I just came out after sitting through three repeated cycles of these Unknown stages to be certain. I stayed awake, I kept my eyes open just to be sure, I remained concentrated, aware, and noting. There was no blip, no pause, no black-out, no flicker, and no Three Characteristics. At least I can better describe the stages through their sensations, and I would say there are four after Equanimity.

1) I always start out the cycle in Re-observation NOT A&P for whatever reason.

2) Equanimity, then high Equanimity.

3) Unknown Stage 1: Spacious sensations from Equanimity start to close in on and concentrate around middle of forehead. There is lots of activity there. Can feel something is "about to happen". Lasts 2-3 minutes.

4) Unknown Stage 2: This is what I'm calling the Ecstasy stage. Entire body is flooded with high energy sensations. Heavy sensations from bottom half of head down through body. There is a feeling of being squeezed by waves of sensations in the body. Top half of the head has the most activity out of all with highest levels of energy and the subtlest, finest sensations. However, sensations there are so fine, can barely feel anything, like from the brow up, the head is numb. But activity can be felt by subtle waves and occasional high energy sensation popping out. Feels like all sensations through body is moving towards the crown and outwards. Can "feel" there are sensations above the head. Feels like consciousness is trying to exit out the crown. This stage lasts for 2 minutes.

5) Unknown Stage 3: All sensations die down to very low energy or low activity and spread out evenly through body. It's almost like releasing sexual tension and the previous stage was the orgasm, excuse the analogy. Sensations remain stable for about 10-30sec before moving to next stage. This is the stage with the lowest energy sensations and lasts the shortest, it actually may be considered as the conclusion of Stage 2. Lasts 30sec.

6) Unknown Stage 4: Sensations return to concentrate around the forehead like Stage1. Then, remaining grouped together, the sensations slowly travel from the forehead down to the chest as a group spreading out into the torso once there. Then sensations become slightly hardened as it returns to Re-observation. The cycle starts all over again. Stage lasts 2 minutes.

Again, no cessation, no Fruition, unless it was so fast it would have been impossible for me to catch. But then look at the characteristics of these stages. Is this what those who've attained 1st Path went through? They look nothing like any description I've read.

I realize the effects are great and what really matters, but this nonconformance baffles me.

Maybe its because of my bodhisattva vow that I cannot attain Path or break that vow... yeah that's it, for sure.
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Teemu H., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 41 Join Date: 3/28/12 Recent Posts
Hi Charles,

Can you describe on purely sensate level what you experience in the stages you consider re-observation and equanimity? Your stage shift 4-5 (release to low energy) sounds very similar to what I experience in stages that I consider crossing AP and moving to DN stages.

Teemu
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Teemu H.:
Hi Charles,

Can you describe on purely sensate level what you experience in the stages you consider re-observation and equanimity? Your stage shift 4-5 (release to low energy) sounds very similar to what I experience in stages that I consider crossing AP and moving to DN stages.

Teemu


What do you mean by describing on purely sensate level? I thought I was.

The one thing I am absolutely sure on is that I start from Re-observation then move forward. I know Re-obs can be easily confused with Three Char and Eq with A&P. When I read back at my descriptions, I guess it does sound like the A&P event similar to how I remembered it too.

As I mentioned though, I've been through the A&P Event over a year ago and have since crossed the DN stages many times over. If this was the DN, right now I would be stuck in Dissolution. Currently I am just continuously cycling from Re-Obs to the last unknown stage, then automatically back to Re-Obs. The cycles are fast taking a maximum of 10mins for Re-Obs and Eq, then 2-3 min for the unknown stages, then back again.

There is almost no doubt I am in some kind of Review stage. I know I cycle even while in the Jhanas.

This is weird huh. I wouldn't be worried except that cessation is a key component of enlightenment, and if somehow I'm immune to cessation or its corresponding stages, that would suck.
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Teemu H., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 41 Join Date: 3/28/12 Recent Posts
Charles B:
What do you mean by describing on purely sensate level? I thought I was.


I found descriptions only for your unknown stages. Which part was describing your experience in equanimity and re-observation?
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
The same practice that brought you thus far can take you further down the road. If the 'wanting to know' where you are on a map is a constant theme, then perhaps taking it as the object of curiosity and discernment will get things moving once again. Everytime that desire comes up, become aware of it. When it is not paid attention to, that is when the content/proliferation of mind runs the show.

I think kids are taught to run past the plate in baseball in the united states. Keep running past the plate. Don't inadvertently slow down perhaps before you have crossed it. If you have crossed the plate already, still keep running. Investigate some more into what 'you' seem to be made up of. This is fertile soil for further baseline shifts which trump SE without question. Playing with cessation can lead to discernment too, but I have found the I am conceit/me-ness/selfing process to be the most progressive territory to explore and take apart. All my post 1st path shifts have had this in common.


Nikolai, can you clarify what you mean by baseline shift? There are times for me, like right at and after A&P event, where something very strong happens that is always accompanied by a great release or experience of energy. The first after-effect that is always prominent is how all the strong sensations in the head have been annihilated, usually left with only very subtle or no sensations at. And then there's the change in perception of objects. Is this what you mean? This happened to me 3 times so far, A&P, somewhere in DN (Re-Obs?), and EQ.

The other thing that I do find important about the four Paths, and I do want to make a separate thread on this eventually, is that the possibility of a hard limit on the number of lives in Samsara, seven, one, zero, for example, is very important to me, even if we dub it dogma for now. Knowing that I don't have to attain Arahatship each and every life (if you believe in many lives) to reduce suffering is relieving.

And thanks Nikolai, I will take your advice seriously and attack the self any chance I get. Even before my A&P event, I always felt intuitively that if I can just permanently separate that feeling of self from me, that I would attain enlightenment or at least all my "problems" would be solved.

Jason B:
Even at 2nd path I can't say I experienced a complete cessation of sensation. But I definitely experienced Review. This for me was very distinct from everything that came before. Especially the speed of ascending to EQ, feeling that pulling and popping sensation at the crown, the bliss wave, and back around. What else could that be? And, like I said, the sudden ability to go into jhanas, and distinguish them. And in general I just suffered a lot less in a lot of big and small ways.


Yes, this is pretty much what I am experiencing. And if you've gotten second Path then that means my Review stage will end and I will get a chance at it too. Strange though that there is no cessation, I wonder what makes our experiences different.

Oh and btw, you didn't happen to have the after-effect of having these bouts of compassion (or sympathy or whatever) where tears were rolling down your eyes as you're thinking about some pitiful ant (or living beings of the world), or anything like that did you? Man, that was unexpected.

Teemu H.:
I found descriptions only for your unknown stages. Which part was describing your experience in equanimity and re-observation?

Oh my bad, I read through your reply a little too quickly. For me the sensations in Re-observation are spread out evenly and pop in and out steadily. However, they are just sharp causing slight aversion with each one. It's like if someone to hundreds of toothpicks and start lightly poking your face many times per sec. Sensations also feel local, located somewhere on or all over the body. In Equanimity, the sensations become much lighter and spread out, giving a feeling of spaciousness. The don't feel as local, but feel all-pervasive. High EQ feels like either they spread out more and/or move to a high location. Sensations are lighter and pop in/out extremely fast. In both EQs feels like they emanate from the forehead since there's always more sensation there than usual.

But, like I said, I am absolutely certain this isn't A&P.
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Charles B:


Nikolai, can you clarify what you mean by baseline shift? There are times for me, like right at and after A&P event, where something very strong happens that is always accompanied by a great release or experience of energy. The first after-effect that is always prominent is how all the strong sensations in the head have been annihilated, usually left with only very subtle or no sensations at. And then there's the change in perception of objects. Is this what you mean? This happened to me 3 times so far, A&P, somewhere in DN (Re-Obs?), and EQ.


I mean permanent brain changes in perception of the entire field of experience and how stuff arises or ceases to arise like the 'paths' talked of in MCTB and beyond as well rather than temporary mind state changes like nanas.

And thanks Nikolai, I will take your advice seriously and attack the self any chance I get. Even before my A&P event, I always felt intuitively that if I can just permanently separate that feeling of self from me, that I would attain enlightenment or at least all my "problems" would be solved.


Be wary of the language you use to describe the advice I gave. "Attacking self" and "permanently separating that feeling of self from me" (which I'm not sure I understand as that would be smoke and mirrors separating from more smoke and mirrors, no?) could condition a practice which is tinged with aversion towards all things 'self'. It is about seeing what is there as it is, rather than what it is assumed to be. It's an illusion, a mirage, though referring to it as a 'thing' might direct practice in the desired direction, be wary that it doesn't subtly trigger the very same process of 'I'-making (i.e. desiring non-becoming). There is a fine line to become aware of when desiring the end of desire.
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
Be wary of the language you use to describe the advice I gave. "Attacking self" and "permanently separating that feeling of self from me" (which I'm not sure I understand as that would be smoke and mirrors separating from more smoke and mirrors, no?) could condition a practice which is tinged with aversion towards all things 'self'. It is about seeing what is there as it is, rather than what it is assumed to be. It's an illusion, a mirage, though referring to it as a 'thing' might direct practice in the desired direction, be wary that it doesn't subtly trigger the very same process of 'I'-making (i.e. desiring non-becoming). There is a fine line to become aware of when desiring the end of desire.


Right, I was attempting to describe the intuitive wish when faced with a very prominent feeling of a separate self during daily life and meditation. By 'attacking' the self, I mean dispel the illusion, not to have any aversion towards it. Too bad this can't be done directly. Just say three times "There is no self, there is no self...

And I suppose this is really what my lack of experience of Fruition comes around to also. What I really don't get, is why removing this illusion does not cut craving and aversion and remove suffering according to MCTB. It is even now in question whether cutting craving and aversion would even removing suffering, now that one of the core buddhist tennet about the arahat has been 'disproven' through many's experience. But I guess that's another discussion...
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Charles B:
Nikolai .:
Be wary of the language you use to describe the advice I gave. "Attacking self" and "permanently separating that feeling of self from me" (which I'm not sure I understand as that would be smoke and mirrors separating from more smoke and mirrors, no?) could condition a practice which is tinged with aversion towards all things 'self'. It is about seeing what is there as it is, rather than what it is assumed to be. It's an illusion, a mirage, though referring to it as a 'thing' might direct practice in the desired direction, be wary that it doesn't subtly trigger the very same process of 'I'-making (i.e. desiring non-becoming). There is a fine line to become aware of when desiring the end of desire.


Right, I was attempting to describe the intuitive wish when faced with a very prominent feeling of a separate self during daily life and meditation. By 'attacking' the self, I mean dispel the illusion, not to have any aversion towards it. Too bad this can't be done directly. Just say three times "There is no self, there is no self...

And I suppose this is really what my lack of experience of Fruition comes around to also. What I really don't get, is why removing this illusion does not cut craving and aversion and remove suffering according to MCTB . It is even now in question whether cutting craving and aversion would even removing suffering, now that one of the core buddhist tennet about the arahat has been 'disproven' through many's experience. But I guess that's another discussion...


If it has been disproven, it may well have been disproven only by premature flag planting. Be aware that because of such flag planting, you may adhere to it and create an insidious 'belief' that you can never end your own suffering, which will prop up its insidious head from time to time while practicing and perhaps condition what you do and not do in practice. Your intent to practice in a way that results in the cessation of that which is stressful will be absent and as far as i see it, intent is key as is how you optimise and what you optimise for. Craving and aversion traditionally are not even touched when the illusion of a separate identity has been initially seen through in real time and dropped in real time. That comes later if you don't allow some niggly 'belief' (locked in thought loop that conditions behaviour) that it isn't possible to infect and misdirect your efforts. A "beyond" 4th path (as defined in MCTBi) has been talked about by "many". What does this mean for "craving and version" and "the end of stress"? There is no need to limit yourself to others' flag planting. Question all beliefs to see if they are indeed acting as triggers for not so conducive efforts in one's practice.

Fruition can occur and one can gain insight from them if one is so inclined. If not inclined, one may not gain anything except some occasional bliss and perhaps confusion.
Charles B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 3/13/12 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
If it has been disproven, it may well have been disproven only by premature flag planting. Be aware that because of such flag planting, you may adhere to it and create an insidious 'belief' that you can never end your own suffering, which will prop up its insidious head from time to time while practicing and perhaps condition what you do and not do in practice. Your intent to practice in a way that results in the cessation of that which is stressful will be absent and as far as i see it, intent is key as is how you optimise and what you optimise for. Craving and aversion traditionally are not even touched when the illusion of a separate identity has been initially seen through in real time and dropped in real time. That comes later if you don't allow some niggly 'belief' (locked in thought loop that conditions behaviour) that it isn't possible to infect and misdirect your efforts. A "beyond 4th path" (as talked of in MCTBee) has been talked about by "many". What does this mean for "craving and version" and "the end of stress"? There is no need to limit yourself to others' flag planting. Question all beliefs to see if they are indeed acting as triggers for not so conducive efforts in one's practice.


My practice won't be affected by whether all suffering, craving and aversion, will be removed after 4th Path, although I've been disheartened, no doubt. The benefits I feel just after attaining 1st (or whatever it was) are still well worth the investment. Still, the whole point is to end suffering permanently. If it doesn't happen during life, it better happen sometime after. Or else, the poor Buddha and his followers went through all that trouble to reduce "stress" but will have to do it each and every life to retain the benefits. This I have a hard time believing.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry without Cessation?

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Just some quotes from Kenneth Folk that relates to the title of the thread:

3rd gear equivalent to stream entry?

3rd Gear, by definition, does not admit time. Using CM’s term, 3rd Gear is an “absolute awareness approach.” It is the recognition, in this moment, of that which is beyond time; it is not the past, nor the future, nor even the present. It is the Absolute. Where there is no time, there is no development. Each moment of recognition of the Absolute is complete unto itself. It has no need to develop and nowhere to develop to. There is no one here to develop. All talk of development belongs in either 1st or 2nd Gear, which are practices that work through time toward enlightenment. This is a very subtle point and may not make sense except to those who have surrendered to the Absolute, at least for a moment, but it is essential to understanding 3rd Gear and all true direct path teachings. Confusion arises because many systems of teaching, my own included, contain both developmental and direct approaches.


Yes, development results from 3rd Gear practice once you admit the existence of time, which simply entails looking through any lens other than the Absolute (which is not a lens). And the reason direct path teachers often deny the possibility of development is because, as you point out, they don't want to muddy the waters; a student can only surrender to the timeless when s/he stops obsessing about development. It's very tricky to teach both time-bound and timeless approaches together, and sometimes I envy the teachers who have chosen to specialize in one or the other. When you do teach both, the ability to "turn it on and off at will" is one of the skills you try to teach. Context is everything here, and the rest is precision of language.


"Will dwelling in rigpa lead to stream entry?'"-IanReclus

Hi Ian,

This one is easy to answer. Any practice that leads to dis-identification of successive strata of mind will lead to stream entry and beyond. Rigpa, by almost any of the many definitions found on KFDh and elsewhere, can accomplish this if practiced diligently.

Stream entry doesn't belong to any tradition any more than puberty belongs to modern medicine. Both "stream entry" and "puberty" are just names applied by certain systems of thought. In both cases, the words refer to natural, organic, biological realities that arise spontaneously given the right conditions. The conditions for the arising of puberty have to do with the maturation of a healthy human body. As such, nearly everyone gets there. The conditions that lead to stream entry, on the other hand, have to do with consistently adopting a particular perspective in the mind. This usually requires training in a system specifically designed to foster such a perspective and therefore most people will not attain stream entry. We could say that stream entry is "optional human development," although some people do stumble upon it with no formal training.

I regularly work with people who have unwittingly attained stream entry and beyond through some training other than Theravada Buddhism, e.g., Jewish mysticism, Zen, or even poorly taught vipassana. In most cases, they were unable to diagnose themselves in terms of the 4 Paths of Enlightenment simply because they were unfamiliar with the map. There are also people who mistakenly diagnose themselves as stream enterers, again because they don't know the map. Such yogis are usually confusing A&P or jhanic attainments with stream entry. Bottom line, though, all of these "attainments" are normal, human, organic, biological developments and are not unique to any tradition.