Follow-up to 'everything winked out'

Tejananda John Wakeman, modified 12 Years ago at 3/24/10 4:29 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 3/24/10 4:29 PM

Follow-up to 'everything winked out'

Posts: 7 Join Date: 12/1/09 Recent Posts
I’m putting the below in again as (not being used to how the site works yet) I marked my original thread as ‘resolved’ when actually I was & am quite keen to hear comments from anyone about what I’m describing here. Thanks!

Thanks for your thoughts, Daniel – useful and pertinent. By coincidence, before I saw your message this morning I did attempt to call up the insight stages in order. Amazingly, given how long I’ve been practicing, I’m very unfamiliar with this material, i.e. the 16 stages etc., as it’s simply never taught or referred to in my sangha (we’re pretty good at cultivating mushrooms, though)! So I’m still trying to get a clear conceptual grasp of the nature of each stage and find whether I can relate that to stuff that actually happens in my practice. This morning, I rapidly cultivated samatha up to (just) first jhana then ‘launched’ and found mind and body right away – I recognised that this is a ‘given’ in my practice. I also straightforwardly recognised Cause and Effect & the 3 characteristics. I then started to ‘contemplate’ thoughts/ mental states in the sense of noticing ‘where they come from’ before they actually form as thoughts and watching the kind of proto-thought energies vibrate and break up within a ‘perspective’ or ‘atmosphere’ of not-self. This led to minor energy effects (limb movements etc.) and a sense of everything opening out and becoming ‘at ease’. This mirrored a much stronger episode yesterday morning, when I was attending in the same way, where my body twisted strongly to the left as I ‘penetrated’ these proto-thought energies as not-self, which also involved a marked opening of the heart and sense of relief, together with tears. I’d guess these were probably both A&P episodes(?). Today this lasted for a while and then I found myself in dark thoughts & painful feelings. I twigged what was going on and continued to be aware of the sensations, including the thoughts-as-sensations. This continued for a while and then calmed down & the session ended.

Later (after reading your post) I tried going through this again, but had a suspicion I was somewhat forming my experience to expected results. I did try your suggestion of remembering that day – but that didn’t lead to any tangible effect, possibly for the reason just mentioned. I’ll try again. I’ve got less of a conceptual sense of the later ñanas than the earlier ones at the moment, so not quite so clear what I’m looking for apart from, possibly, the fruition itself ... if it is.

My experience with rigpa / pure awareness is of ‘stepping back’ to use Dogen’s evocative phrase, where Awareness or Suchness is ‘self-known’, the sense of ‘me here’ disappears and everything that appears is appearing in / as a field of sort of equal awareness everywhere with no ‘inside’ or ‘outside’. I first noticed this after a period in which ‘the watcher’ became very evident and seemed to have a quasi-location just behind my head. At some point, the watcher simply disappeared, and has never returned, and there was just the availability of this field of equal awareness as I just described. As far as I can ascertain, the dropping away of believing in ‘me’ as a fixed ‘self’ came in the wake of this becoming ‘available’. I’m not absolutely certain though – I just thought to ‘check’ one day and noticed it wasn’t there. It’s possible it hadn’t occurred to me to check in this way before. I made the connection with the first 3 fetters & sure enough there was no doubt and a clarity as to what was or wasn’t the effective path, together with a much clearer sense ‘from inside’ of how all the different wisdom teachings and perspectives in different Buddhist and (to the extent I’m aware of them) non-Buddhist traditions were in harmony with each other. That said, my habit energies (sankharas) still give me a very rough ride and my predominant experience of life tends to be rather painful.

Anyway, again, I can’t say how grateful I am to find your book and this site – it seems to be exactly the right thing, at the right time!
Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 3/25/10 2:56 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 3/25/10 2:56 AM

RE: Follow-up to 'everything winked out'

Posts: 3230 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear TJW,

Those are interesting descriptions.

If you got stream entry, I'll describe something of what the cycles were like for me then:

Intend to go through ñanas to Fruition
Immediate shift into Mind and Body-like state
Leading almost instantly to shift at middle of out breath, then second shift at end of out out breath
That was the whole of the A&P
To shift out into dissolution at rising inbreath
To spacing out a little
To Dark Night in standard sequence
To Equanimity
To variable effects, most of which not noticed much
To near miss (usually momentary hit of 8th jhana)
To spacing out
To Fruition
To Afterglow
To A&P shift again, and back around

Your insightful descriptions of No-self and seeing awareness everywhere is very interesting and insightful: a number of insight can look like that, but if there are still disturbances, keep looking to see what is being missed, as that may tell you something useful

Keep us posted,

Tejananda John Wakeman, modified 12 Years ago at 3/25/10 10:05 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 3/25/10 10:05 AM

RE: Follow-up to 'everything winked out'

Posts: 7 Join Date: 12/1/09 Recent Posts
Thanks again, Daniel, that's really brilliant.
Clayton James Lightfoot, modified 12 Years ago at 3/25/10 11:15 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 3/25/10 11:15 AM

RE: Follow-up to 'everything winked out'

Posts: 41 Join Date: 1/21/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for that Daniel I feel like some of what I have experienced have been 'near misses' which I had assumed were sudden shifts up to a higher jhana. I have had some experiences which I believe are legit fruitions... I just have come to believe I have to keep my standards rigorous when judging these things... Thanks for clarifying something I didn't ask

Sorry to hijack the thread. Best wishes Tejananda in your practice...