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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")

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Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Mike Knapp 3/20/13 1:27 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&# Rod C 3/20/13 3:15 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Ian And 3/20/13 7:45 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Nikolai . 3/20/13 8:56 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Richard Zen 3/20/13 9:50 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Nikolai . 3/21/13 12:40 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Richard Zen 3/20/13 10:56 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Mike Knapp 3/21/13 10:57 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry Ian And 3/21/13 2:15 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Jane Laurel Carrington 4/2/13 5:03 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Mike Knapp 4/3/13 6:16 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Mike Knapp 4/5/13 11:42 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Jim Smith 8/7/19 8:24 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Travis McKinstry 8/7/19 8:40 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Jim Smith 8/7/19 9:47 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a spatial 8/7/19 11:09 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Chris Marti 8/8/19 6:36 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a spatial 8/8/19 7:21 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Chris Marti 8/8/19 8:50 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a spatial 8/8/19 9:56 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Ryan 8/8/19 9:32 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Chris Marti 8/8/19 1:06 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Travis McKinstry 8/8/19 2:02 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Ryan 8/8/19 3:17 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a Chris Marti 8/8/19 5:37 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a John H 8/10/19 8:31 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&# Daniel M. Ingram 3/21/13 12:05 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&# Mike H. 4/2/13 3:45 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Travis McKinstry 8/6/19 6:24 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Stirling Campbell 8/8/19 1:48 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 8/8/19 2:46 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 8/8/19 2:50 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Siavash Mahmoudpour 8/8/19 2:49 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Walter_Sobchakheit 8/8/19 2:52 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 8/8/19 3:10 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 8/14/19 2:02 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Travis McKinstry 8/8/19 3:08 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Siavash Mahmoudpour 8/8/19 3:16 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Travis McKinstry 8/8/19 3:18 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 8/8/19 3:22 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Stirling Campbell 8/8/19 4:00 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/17/19 6:01 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Siavash Mahmoudpour 9/17/19 6:25 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/20/19 9:17 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Siavash Mahmoudpour 9/21/19 2:52 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Siavash Mahmoudpour 9/21/19 5:49 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 7:09 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 8:09 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 10:45 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 11:23 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 1:56 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 2:01 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 2:23 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 3:25 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 11:29 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 2:39 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 3:35 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 11:04 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/22/19 1:49 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/22/19 7:36 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/22/19 8:22 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/22/19 8:48 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/22/19 9:13 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/22/19 9:04 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 8:26 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 9/21/19 11:47 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Stirling Campbell 9/21/19 12:07 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jens Theisen 9/21/19 12:00 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Siavash Mahmoudpour 9/21/19 7:25 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 5:51 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/22/19 1:01 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/22/19 12:59 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/17/19 7:51 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 9/21/19 2:21 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Ben V. 8/8/19 3:54 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Stirling Campbell 8/8/19 3:55 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") spatial 8/8/19 4:16 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Jim Smith 8/8/19 4:49 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") spatial 8/8/19 5:17 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Stirling Campbell 8/8/19 5:14 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") spatial 8/8/19 5:29 PM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") shargrol 8/9/19 6:10 AM
RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path") Chris Marti 8/9/19 6:42 AM
This goes out to everyone out there who believes they've attained Stream Entry.

Some years ago I had an event that could have been either the A&P Event or Stream Entry. At the time I was living at a Zen temple, and the teacher there, although I told him about the event, didn't explain what it was to me (I've come to learn this is pretty typical of Zen). He just said "Good. Keep doing what you're doing." Which is fair enough, as far as it goes. But I would like to know if it was Stream Entry . . . which, given the passage of time involved, and the dearth of information available on the subject, has proven difficult to determine - as Daniel Ingram notes here "he criteria for stream entry are complex: this should be its own thread." But there isn't a Stream Entry thread on the DhO (at least, not that I could find), so lets make one here. With that, I invite contributions as to how to diagnose Stream Entry.

Have at it, Yogis.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&#
Answer
3/20/13 3:15 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
That would be great!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
3/20/13 7:45 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
Mike Knapp:

Some years ago I had an event that could have been either the A&P Event or Stream Entry. At the time I was living at a Zen temple, and the teacher there, although I told him about the event, didn't explain what it was to me (I've come to learn this is pretty typical of Zen). He just said "Good. Keep doing what you're doing." Which is fair enough, as far as it goes. But I would like to know if it was Stream Entry . . . which, given the passage of time involved, and the dearth of information available on the subject, has proven difficult to determine - as Daniel Ingram notes here "he criteria for stream entry are complex: this should be its own thread." But there isn't a Stream Entry thread on the DhO (at least, not that I could find), so lets make one here.

With that, I invite contributions as to how to diagnose Stream Entry.

A question or two.

Stream entry according to whom? Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Vajrayana? You realize you're playing with fire when you play with religious organizations, don't you.

Or did you have a particular personality in mind? Mahasi Sayadaw, U Pandita, Daniel Ingram, Kenneth Folk. . . or someone else?

I'm not sure there is agreement as to the operating premise.

On second thought, I'm sorry. I'm probably out of line here. Just disregard my contribution and carry on as though nothing occurred.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
3/20/13 8:56 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Narky. Ultimately helpful approach?

Perhaps it would be fuitful to discuss the differing versions of stream entry. Others may get their feathers rustled, but phenomenological descriptions of what is possible in whatver paradigm regardless of the conceptual overlay assigned to such descriptions is pragmatic. I know personally that the version describd in mctb resulted in postive outcomes for practice. I am open to other takes as well. What other alternatives are there?

Also, it would be intersting to discuss if one when putting the noting practice into action, is doing the following or not? And if not, would a result be different to an outcome where noting did take this route?


[Ven. Sariputta:] "A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Which five? The form clinging-aggregate, the feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness clinging-aggregate. A virtuous monk should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a virtuous monk, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant... not-self, would realize the fruit of stream-entry."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/into_the_stream.html#attention


Nick

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
3/20/13 9:50 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I guess that would be a more politically incorrect version of saying Three Characteristics!emoticon

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
3/21/13 12:40 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
I guess that would be a more politically incorrect version of saying Three Characteristics!emoticon


Im also interested in whether one is doing as anaruddha is instructed when noting.

[Anuruddha & Sariputta discuss meditation]

Anuruddha: “Brother Sariputta with the divine eye, which is clarified and supernormal, I am able to perceive a thousandfold world system. My energy is strong and inflexible; my remembrance is alert and unforgetful; my body is calmed and unexcited; my mind is collected and unified. Yet my mind is still not freed, without clinging, from the defiling taints (asava).”

Thereupon Sariputta replied: “When you think, brother Anuruddha, that with your divine eye you can perceive a thousandfold world system, that is self-conceit in you. When you think of your strenuous energy, your alert mindfulness, your calmed body and your concentrated mind, that is agitation in you. When you think that your mind is still not liberated from the cankers, that makes for scruples in you. It will be good if the revered Anuruddha would discard these three things, would not pay attention to them and would instead direct his mind towards the Deathless-element (Nibbana).”

Having heard Sariputta’s advice, Anuruddha again resorted to solitude and earnestly applied himself to the removal of those three obstructions within his mind (AN 3:128), more: Wheel 262, BPS.
Taken from here


Is turning, directing, inclining the mind towards 'the deathless element' also apart of one's practice, at whatever stage it's at? If not, then will results differ? And what is the deathless? The infamous blip? Or something else?

Is one's reason for the approach one employs for one thing or another? Is it to see something previously unseen? Or attend to something now seen in a certain particular way such as the advice by sariputta to see the aggregates as alien and a cancer. I never really attended to what was seen in such a way till recently. Seeing the three c's...is it the goal? Or just a means to an end?

There are two kinds of planes: plane of seeing and plane of volition. Here, the Path of Stream-entrance is the plane of seeing. The other three Paths and the four Fruits of the recluse are the plane of volition. Not having seen before, one sees now. This is the plane of seeing. One sees thus and attends to it. This is called the plane of volition. Vimutimagga


Nick

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
3/20/13 10:56 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
These are good questions. When I started the practice I was looking for the blip and getting equanimity dropouts, but now I'm looking directly at the 5 aggregates (which is yielding more results in daily life), and I'm not sure what cessation means anymore. Is cessation just simply that old habits of clinging don't come back or with stream entry some of those clinging habits stop but after reaching 4th path you're "done"?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&#
Answer
3/21/13 12:05 AM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
might start with describing the event in question you thought might be stream entry

then start with what has changed or not about you and your practice

might consider my criteria in MCTB

@ianand: your thoughts on criteria?

daniel

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
3/21/13 10:57 AM as a reply to Ian And.
@ Ian:

Ian And:

Stream entry according to whom? Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Vajrayana? You realize you're playing with fire when you play with religious organizations, don't you.

Or did you have a particular personality in mind? Mahasi Sayadaw, U Pandita, Daniel Ingram, Kenneth Folk. . . or someone else?

I'm not sure there is agreement as to the operating premise.

On second thought, I'm sorry. I'm probably out of line here. Just disregard my contribution and carry on as though nothing occurred.


Haha. Ian, I'm glad you brought up that there isn't a consensus on the issue. That's something I didn't know before, and I am loath to disregard your contribution just because it makes things more complex. I had been operating under the assumption that there was a set of generally accepted criteria for stream entry; thanks for dispelling that notion! Lets get it all out there, if you're willing - see my response to Nick, right below.

@ Nick: I totally agree with your suggestion that it might be most pragmatic if we simply explore the various view-points on what constitutes stream entry without regard to "ruffled feathers".

@ Richard:

Richard Zen:
. . . I'm looking directly at the 5 aggregates . . . and I'm not sure what cessation means anymore. Is cessation just simply that old habits of clinging don't come back or with stream entry some of those clinging habits stop but after reaching 4th path you're "done"?


That's interesting. I'm confused how it relates to stream entry analysis. Could you expand on this?

@ Daniel: Thanks for chiming in. The basics of my A&P or SE experience are as follows (but please bear in mind that this was about 13 years ago, I didn't keep a meditation log at that time, and the experience was never explained to me, so my recollection is probably very inaccurate). But that said . . . the predominant experience was the cessation of discursive thought. I still had thoughts, but they were not running wild willy-nilly, they were fully experienced and observed as arising from nothing, happening, and then not being anymore. Concepts of past or future were gone. There was only this very instant, and everything in existence was absolutely and perfectly itself. There were no more ideas of what things "should" or "could" be like, there was just "this". "Time" was just "now", and it was constantly and rapidly fluxing to be a new, cutting-edge, current "now". Things very slowly sped back up again over the next 24 hours or so. Discursive thoughts again emerged. In retrospect, there was a "spaciousness" that lingered for a long time after this experience. Sorry about all the quote marks. Its an experience that would be difficult for me to describe under the best of circumstances, and this was a long time ago so the ever invaluable events surrounding the experience (e.g., was it preceded by a period of extreme pain/difficulty sitting) are lost to me.

So, thoughts on the criteria for diagnosing Stream Entry?

Thoughts on my own experience as A&P or Stream Entry?


Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry
Answer
3/21/13 2:15 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
Mike Knapp:

So, thoughts on the criteria for diagnosing Stream Entry?

The only criteria useful for any individual in attempting to place himself within the ranks of the ariya are those which he, after due diligence and introspection, personally accepts. By this I mean to say: making a choice between what may be the differing definitions and characterizations of such levels as stream entry.

Modern innovations (technical applications) of stream entry may not necessarily provide the best guidance. This is not to say that they are necessarily wrong or not based on the best intention of the spirit of the Dhamma; only to say that they may be misleading at certain points in a person's journey.

You may wish to consider the following, in addition to whatever replies you receive in this thread: Into the Stream.

Of particular relevance may be the following: Stream entry and its results: Introduction. Read through the brief two paragraph Introduction section and see whether or not you agree with its characterization. If you do agree, you may wish to read on for further clarification. If you do not agree, you may wish to pursue some other characterization.

My point being: you are the creator of (and therefore the one responsible for) your own mind with regard to its training. Nothing happens without your explicit consent. Take care and use proper diligence with the sources you are using for information and guidance. That's all.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&#
Answer
4/2/13 3:45 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
I just want to follow on Ian's point, referring to the pali sutta study guide on stream entry.

Let's say one accepts the pali cannon definition as valid, particularly the point about the destruction of the three lower fetters (identity view, doubt in the dhamma, unwarranted belief in rituals). Could you say that, if this is true, then you can diagnose stream entry by comparing your actions after this potential stream-entry event to this specific list? For instance, if you later find yourself having doubt in the Buddha's teachings, wouldn't that just, ipso facto, indicate that you did not attain stream entry? Or if you later took on a view that indicated some sort of identity view, inconsistent with stream entry (not sure what that would be)?

I am not an authority myself, I am just trying to look at the pali cannon and see if there is some portion of it that can be used as an empiral, falsifiable test.

Shaila Catherine (a jhana teacher) also writes about cultivating fruition as a meditative state, like a jhana. Maybe that would be another possible test? I don't know. She just addresses this briefly in "wisdom wide and deep", her book.

Also, maybe looking to one's conduct in the months and years after this possible stream entry event, would be a better diagnostic criteria than a narrative description of the event itself.

Just some thoughts.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
4/2/13 5:03 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
It doesn't sound like a cessation to me, but that's not necessarily everyone's criterion. What I'd ask you to consider is what has happened since then. Have you been practicing? If so, what's it like? What is your life like? Maybe the real issue at this point is to get a practice log going.

I have had some teachers who don't like labels (like your Zen teacher), some who embrace the fetter model, and some who hold other criteria. It used to bug me not to know what is what. Now I think the most important thing is to keep practicing. By practicing, I mean the entirety of the 8-fold path, to the best of my ability.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
4/3/13 6:16 PM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
@ Ian: Thanks for your thoughts on the general and relative helpfulness of the available criteria and descriptions of the levels. I’ve been spinning-out a bit lately regarding the maps, and your comments, along with simply paying consistent, precise attention to my thoughts about the maps, really helped to put things into perspective for me. I also appreciated your pointer to Into the Stream, which though a little abstract, was still useful.

@ Mike: To be totally candid, and perhaps reveal a great deal of ignorance and/or slothfulness on my part, I don’t find the Pali cannon very accessible - that’s not to say I don’t think there’s just tons and tons of good and useful information in it - its just to say that I usually come away from reading a lot of it more confused than when I started. I do find the fetters to be an interesting approach to mapping, and I would like (in theory) to learn some more about them - so thanks for reminding me that that is a good place for me to go to learn. I appreciate it emoticon

With regard to Shaila Catherine’s exhortation to “cultivate fruition as a meditative state”, that’s an interesting concept. My personal experience with Review was been that Fruitions are going to occur, a lot, whether I’m shooting for them or not, and that’s just part of Review. So if what she’s saying is: shoot for multiple Fruitions - got it, makes sense. If what she’s saying is actually more along the lines of “try and abide inside the actual unknowing event that comprises a Fruition” than I couldn’t be farther away from that - my Fruition experiences don’t involve “me” being ANYWHERE OR DOING ANYTHING; they’re a total non-experiential event that I come out the back-end of thinking “Woah. What was that?”

With regard to your comment “maybe looking to one's conduct in the months and years after this possible stream entry event, would be a better diagnostic criteria than a narrative description of the event itself” I’ve come to the same conclusion, see my response to Jane below.

@ Jane:
It doesn’t sound like Review to me either, Jane. Since then, I’ve been in what seems like Dark Night territory. I could be wrong. As you note, I wasn’t keeping a practice log at the time (I do now), and I think that would be very helpful determining exactly what happened. But for now I’ll assume it was the “pernicious trickster” the Arising and Passing Away, and The Meditater will just keep on meditating.

Thanks for everybody’s thoughts on this subject!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
4/5/13 11:42 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Jane Laurel Carrington:
I have had some teachers . . . who embrace the fetter model . . ..


Hi Jane,

I just wanted to say thanks again to you for your pointer re the Fetter Model. For those of you who (like me) did not know what this is, you can find a handy synopsis of it on wikipedia here.

Anyway, interesting stuff.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/6/19 6:24 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
Sooooo is there any way we could actually finish this thought? I feel like if we could get experienced yogi’s to actually create a thread or finish this, others who are wondering whether or not they hit the big S.E. could reference this.

I know this is old... I may be shooting for the stars here but.... yeah. Thanks in advance

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/7/19 8:24 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian And:

A question or two.

Stream entry according to whom? Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Vajrayana? You realize you're playing with fire when you play with religious organizations, don't you.

Or did you have a particular personality in mind? Mahasi Sayadaw, U Pandita, Daniel Ingram, Kenneth Folk. . . or someone else?

I'm not sure there is agreement as to the operating premise.

On second thought, I'm sorry. I'm probably out of line here. Just disregard my contribution and carry on as though nothing occurred.

I think this says everything you need to know. 

Why try to fit your experience in to someone eles's arbitrary definition when you can make your own?

Have a look here and decide for yourself. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment#The_four_stages_of_attainment

What is the point of the definition of the stages? Does it affect how you practice?

Does everyone abandon the fetters in the same order (I don't think so) so the definition might not reflect anything intrinsic in the process but be somewhat arbitrary - maybe they just needed a way to organize the monks into a hierarchy to stop them from rioting?

Should "once returner" be taken literally (the definitions are meaningful)? Maybe it is just a symbolic or honorary title like "eagle scout" or "Grand Poobah"?

Look at your practice, is it helping you abandon the fetters? Are they weakening over time? Isn't that what counts? Isn't that what you really need to know?


(In my own practice I am experiencing continuous gradual changes (weakening of the fetters) I am not looking for transformational experiences in the future. I am very satisfied with the results (return on investment).)

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/7/19 8:40 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Ian And:

A question or two.

Stream entry according to whom? Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Vajrayana? You realize you're playing with fire when you play with religious organizations, don't you.

Or did you have a particular personality in mind? Mahasi Sayadaw, U Pandita, Daniel Ingram, Kenneth Folk. . . or someone else?

I'm not sure there is agreement as to the operating premise.

On second thought, I'm sorry. I'm probably out of line here. Just disregard my contribution and carry on as though nothing occurred.

I think this says everything you need to know. 

Why try to fit your experience in to someone eles's arbitrary definition when you can make your own?

Have a look here and decide for yourself. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment#The_four_stages_of_attainment

What is the point of the definition of the stages? Does it affect how you practice?

Does everyone abandon the fetters in the same order (I don't think so) so the definition might not reflect anything intrinsic in the process but be somewhat arbitrary - maybe they just needed a way to organize the monks into a hierarchy to stop them from rioting?

Should "once returner" be taken literally (the definitions are meaningful)? Maybe it is just a symbolic or honorary title like "eagle scout" or "Grand Poobah"?

Look at your practice, is it helping you abandon the fetters? Are they weakening over time? Isn't that what counts? Isn't that what you really need to know?


(In my own practice I am experiencing continuous gradual changes (weakening of the fetters) I am not looking for transformational experiences in the future. I am very satisfied with the results (return on investment).)

“Look at your practice, is it helping you abandon the fetters?”
”Why try to fit your experience in to someone eles's arbitrary definition when you can make your own?”

Not to be disrespectful, but these two sentences seem contradictory to me. In one instance you’re encouraging me to look at the fetters as a way to diagnose my progress. In another instance, you’re encouraging me not to take anyone’s definition of progress except my one. “The Fetters Model” is one model of enlightenment which can also be used to diagnose whether someone has reached Stream Entry. 

My point for wanting to finish this thread is; we have to define Stream Entry as something. It can’t just be “whatever we want it to be, subjectively” (I’m not inferring that’s what you meant). I was just hoping we could define Stream Entry as how MCTB/Daniel does; what are the characteristics? What should one see happening in their meditation? What abilities (if any) is one expected to have? Etc.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/7/19 9:47 PM as a reply to Travis McKinstry.
Travis McKinstry:

“Look at your practice, is it helping you abandon the fetters?”
”Why try to fit your experience in to someone eles's arbitrary definition when you can make your own?”

Not to be disrespectful, but these two sentences seem contradictory to me. In one instance you’re encouraging me to look at the fetters as a way to diagnose my progress. In another instance, you’re encouraging me not to take anyone’s definition of progress except my one. “The Fetters Model” is one model of enlightenment which can also be used to diagnose whether someone has reached Stream Entry. 

My point for wanting to finish this thread is; we have to define Stream Entry as something. It can’t just be “whatever we want it to be, subjectively” (I’m not inferring that’s what you meant). I was just hoping we could define Stream Entry as how MCTB/Daniel does; what are the characteristics? What should one see happening in their meditation? What abilities (if any) is one expected to have? Etc.

I think the fetters are a good empirical way to monitor the progress (based on the changes I see in myself coming from my own practice). I don't think the standard four stages are necessarily a natural way that every person will progress. 

If you are following Daniel's method of practice I understand why you would use his definitions. I apolgize if I sounded judgemental.

But I don't think everyone is going to agree on this, just as a practical matter. Not everyone here is using Daniel's method.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/7/19 11:09 PM as a reply to Travis McKinstry.
Travis McKinstry:

My point for wanting to finish this thread is; we have to define Stream Entry as something. It can’t just be “whatever we want it to be, subjectively” (I’m not inferring that’s what you meant). I was just hoping we could define Stream Entry as how MCTB/Daniel does; what are the characteristics? What should one see happening in their meditation? What abilities (if any) is one expected to have? Etc.


Honestly, I'm beginning to suspect it's all just one A&P event after another, some big, some small, all the way to the end. But, I have no clue. It just seems all very subjective. Even the same type of event, I could see how two people could easily interpret it differently, attach a different level of importance to it, based on their individual conditioning, personality, what kind of mood they're in that day, etc. Let me know when you figure it out!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 6:36 AM as a reply to spatial.
I'm beginning to suspect it's all just one A&P event after another, some big, some small, all the way to the end.

While many of the markers we experience along the path are at first blush similar, they're really not the same thing. A&P can be and is easily confused with first path only by someone who has not experienced a clear transition through first path. It's not so much about the event itself, although some of us had a very clear, definite transition experience, but about the effects of the transition on the meditator. And the meditator has to be willing to do what Travis is doing - question it, ask others who've been through it. I wholeheartedly agree with what Travis posted here earlier:

...we have to define Stream Entry as something. It can’t just be “whatever we want it to be, subjectively” (I’m not inferring that’s what you meant).




RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 7:21 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

While many of the markers we experience along the path are at first blush similar, they're really not the same thing. A&P can be and is easily confused with first path only by someone who has not experienced a clear transition through first path. It's not so much about the event itself, although some of us had a very clear, definite transition experience, but about the effects of the transition on the meditator. And the meditator has to be willing to do what Travis is doing - question it, ask others who've been through it. I wholeheartedly agree with what Travis posted here earlier:


Well, that's what I'm doing: questioning it. I think this stuff was all made up by the D&D nerds of the day, and the rest of you are just playing along. I'm not doubting the path itself; that clearly works. But these specific markers seem way too subjective and arbitrary, and obviously not everyone agrees on them. On my retreat last year, I saw "gigantic fields of hyper-detailed, repeating, shifting patterns of...skulls", exactly as described in MCTB in the section on Re-observation. No one else I've talked to has seen skulls while meditating. Is this a marker of progress? Or, is it just something my mind generated because I was approaching meditation with the same mentality that this book seems to encourage?

Regarding the 3 fetters: again, this seems subjective. Every insight into the three characteristics is going to lessen those, isn't it? At what point can you say they are dropped?

I hope no one takes me too seriously, though. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to really stand behind anything I write these days.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 8:50 AM as a reply to spatial.
 I think this stuff was all made up by the D&D nerds of the day, and the rest of you are just playing along.

spatial, that's not how I roll. I never quote scripture as evidence of "stuff" - I use my own experience and may direct people to the diaries of others' experiences, that's it.

Just to set the record straight.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 9:32 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris -

Would you mind describing, or pointing us to a description of what that first transition was like for you? The phenomenology of the immediate before and after would be interesting/relevant I think, as would a description of how you knew that it was SE rather than one of the mimics. 

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 9:56 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 I think this stuff was all made up by the D&D nerds of the day, and the rest of you are just playing along.

spatial, that's not how I roll. I never quote scripture as evidence of "stuff" - I use my own experience and may direct people to the diaries of others' experiences, that's it.

Just to set the record straight.
I didn't mean to suggest you were quoting scripture. I don't doubt your experiences and wisdom. It's only the vocabulary that I'm calling into question. In actuality, I would guess it's more my own frustration with...something...that is motivating this. Carry on...don't mind me...

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 1:06 PM as a reply to Ryan.
Would you mind describing, or pointing us to a description of what that first transition was like for you? The phenomenology of the immediate before and after would be interesting/relevant I think, as would a description of how you knew that it was SE rather than one of the mimics. 

It's all online - here you go:  http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/cmarti/70

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 1:48 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
From my perspective, stream-entry is experiential knowledge (as opposed to intellectual understanding) of sunyata. The understanding isn't a continuum of small insights - it is an on/off switch, followed later by deepening insight.

-

Of all the "maps", IMHO there is nothing wrong with the Four Stages of Enlightenment:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment

Anyone who is a stream-enterer will fully understand what the removal of the first 3 fetters means without any doubt:

1. Identity view
2. Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Doubt about the teachings


The stream-enterer is no longer a seeker, and would only feel driven to deepen their insight into sunyata, until there is realization that there isn't anyone to be driven, or "do" anything.

In my experience only the first 3 and the last 3 fetters seemed to clear in anything like the suggested sequence.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 2:02 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Well. That’s bizarre. Holy hell. I can only hope, if I haven’t hit SE, that it’s that obvious. Thanks for sharing

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 2:46 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
From my perspective, stream-entry is experiential knowledge (as opposed to intellectual understanding) of sunyata. The understanding isn't a continuum of small insights - it is an on/off switch, followed later by deepening insight.

Can you clarify what you mean by sunyata? I am not able to find that word  in the link to the four stages of awakening.


-

Of all the "maps", IMHO there is nothing wrong with the Four Stages of Enlightenment:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment

Anyone who is a stream-enterer will fully understand what the removal of the first 3 fetters means without any doubt:

1. Identity view
2. Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Doubt about the teachings


The stream-enterer is no longer a seeker, and would only feel driven to deepen their insight into sunyata, until there is realization that there isn't anyone to be driven, or "do" anything.

In my experience only the first 3 and the last 3 fetters seemed to clear in anything like the suggested sequence.

When someone says, "I experienced this" I am ready to believe them.

When someone says, "This is true for everyone, and only this."  Then ... er ... I have a lot of questions. When I am personally attacked for asking questions, which happend to me elsewhere, my suspicion becomes reinforced many times over.

I think many people are not fettered by (2,6,7) rites and rituals, desire for rebirth material or immaterial long before they are unfettered from1 and 3.

And I think there are a few people who are not fettered by 8 and 5  conceit and ill will before 1 and 3.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 2:50 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
If the pot hasn't been stirred up enough, I will add the following question:

Is cessation the only way to graduate through the stages?
(Is it in the pali canon? Where?)

Because I am pretty sure there are other Buddhist traditions that do not think so and do not consider cessation a necessary part of insight. 

I am not saying the effects of cessation are not what people claim they experienced, I am saying cessation is not the only way to remove the fetters.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 2:49 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
If the pot hasn't been stirred up enough, I will add the following question:

Is cessation the only way to graduate through the stages?

Because I am pretty sure there are other Buddhist traditions that do not think so and do not consider cessation a necessary part of insight. 

I am not saying the effects of cessation are not what people claim they experienced, I am saying cessation is not the only way to remove the fetters.

I recently had a short discussion with Har-Prakash Khalsa on Shinheads group regarding Shinzen's view on Stream Entry and Arahantship. He quoted Shinzen that Shinzen talks about sudden and gradual awakening. I asked him you mean that by Shinzen's criteria someone would attain Stream Entry in a gradual way, and not experience any Frutions? and he said yes, it's not necessary to have Frutions, and he said that "they never talk about Frutions in Zen regarding Kensho".

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 2:52 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Whether you jump in the pool or walk through a thick mist...either way your clothes get soaked.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:10 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

I recently had a short discussion with Har-Prakash Khalsa on Shinheads group regarding Shinzen's view on Stream Entry and Arahantship. He quoted Shinzen that Shinzen talks about sudden and gradual awakening. I asked him you mean that by Shinzen's criteria someone would attain Stream Entry in a gradual way, and not experience any Frutions? and he said yes, it's not necessary to have Frutions, and he said that "they never talk about Frutions in Zen regarding Kensho".

Thanks for posting that. It actually explains a lot. I used to hang out at the local Zen center, and when I started getting involved in this forum I experienced severe culture shock, cognitive dissonance, general confusion and an extential crisis. Maybe I can start to heal now? 

Part of the problem too is that there is a tendancy for Theravadan teachers not to publicize the stages of insight so even though I had read a lot I didn't know about them - so I was fairly confused when I got here and everyone seem to take them for granted.


https://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#note
Note to the reader: Some meditation teachers feel that the following information should not be made available to the general public. That isn't because these teachings are for members of a select group, must be specially transmitted, or are in any sense esoteric; but because, due to the tricky nature of the mind, learning about these insights before acquiring personal meditation experience might cause you to anticipate results, thereby slowing your progress. That's why Mahási Sayádaw wrote, "It is not good for a pupil who meditates under the guidance of a teacher to get acquainted with these stages before meditation begins" (Practical Insight Meditation, p. 35).

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:08 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
My concern is that this specific perspective (one doesn’t have to experience fruitions to awaken) is a sort of excuse to help those who haven’t practiced enough, feel as though they’re still awakening when they are, in fact, not. 

Im not meaning to suggest that Daniel knows more than teachers or other approaches... I just don’t know what to believe. Are there people who don’t experience fruitions????? !!!!!!!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:16 PM as a reply to Travis McKinstry.
Travis McKinstry:
My concern is that this specific perspective (one doesn’t have to experience fruitions to awaken) is a sort of excuse to help those who haven’t practiced enough, feel as though they’re still awakening when they are, in fact, not. 

Im not meaning to suggest that Daniel knows more than teachers or other approaches... I just don’t know what to believe. Are there people who don’t experience fruitions????? !!!!!!!


I just quoted, and I don't know more. And I don't think that Shinzen has a compromising attitude at all, though there could be an agreement on the technical terms, which there isn't.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 3:17 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks Chris, I think I had stumbled onto your practice log before at some point but was happy to go over it again; I also enjoy practicing in airplane window seats emoticon. You gave a lot of great phenomenological detail, but I didn't see as much about the general life changes after SE beyond "increasing objectification of experience". Not that there is anything wrong with this, I suspect that's a big part of where this is all headed, but it seems like the "off-cushion" effects of SE were not nearly as noticeable and distinct for you as the cessation itself was. Is that fair?

FWIW, I sometimes think that, outside of very specific situations like persistent stuckness, worrying about the stages and attainments is a lot like demanding the two prime factors rather than working on GETTING OUT OF THE CAR in Scott Alexander's "Universal Love, Said the Cactus Person"  (Granted that's about psychedelics but the metaphor works nonetheless I think).

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:18 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Yeah that’s fair.

Well, shit. I wish this was more clear. I wish someone could just hit my elbow in a specific way and give me enlightenment. I also wish I could stop complaining. 

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:22 PM as a reply to Travis McKinstry.
Travis McKinstry:
Yeah that’s fair.

Well, shit. I wish this was more clear. I wish someone could just hit my elbow in a specific way and give me enlightenment. I also wish I could stop complaining. 
If only someone could discredit the whole architecture, then people would stop worring about it.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:55 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Stirling Campbell:
From my perspective, stream-entry is experiential knowledge (as opposed to intellectual understanding) of sunyata. The understanding isn't a continuum of small insights - it is an on/off switch, followed later by deepening insight.

Can you clarify what you mean by sunyata? I am not able to find that word  in the link to the four stages of awakening.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Śūnyatā

Emptiness of intrinsic existence or self-nature of all illusory "things' including the "person" who has the understanding - thus anatta, or "no-self".

When someone says, "I experienced this" I am ready to believe them.

We are used to using our thought process to try to parse how reality (sunyata) is, but this is really a waste of time. How things actually are cannot be conceptually described, as all concepts are limited in scope, and thing under scrutiny has no parts, and has no subject/object relationships. It cannot be conceived of by the thought process, because the tool of language is necessarily a subject/object process. Keep in mind that what we are talking about here is literally ineffable. There are millions of descriptions of this understanding, and many of them from enlightened or non-enlighted beings are fine, but describe the perspective from different vantages - for this reason think of any description as only a pointer... and don't feel you need to believe anyone. When the mind is empty and quiet, are there any beliefs or pointers? 

"As vast as infinite space,
it is perfect and lacks nothing.
Indeed, it is due to your grasping and repelling
That you do not see things as they are.

Do not get entangled in things;
Do not get lost in emptiness.
Be still in the oneness of things
and dualism vanishes by itself."


Hsin Hsin Ming - Seng T'san, 3rd Zen Patriarch


When someone says, "This is true for everyone, and only this."  Then ... er ... I have a lot of questions. When I am personally attacked for asking questions, which happend to me elsewhere, my suspicion becomes reinforced many times over.

Some here will disagree, but I think most non-dual traditions are pointing at the same thing, but they may pick up on different aspects of it, or not discuss the depth at which it can be understood, which I feel may be endless. Sorry to hear you felt attacked. It is definitely worth investigating your suspicion.

I think many people are not fettered by (2,6,7) rites and rituals, desire for rebirth material or immaterial long before they are unfettered from1 and 3.

And I think there are a few people who are not fettered by 8 and 5  conceit and ill will before 1 and 3.

From my perspective fetters 4-7 did not clarify in any particular order, but by degrees over time with no obvious resolution point except a moment where there was some understanding about them.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 3:54 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Concerning Pali canon references, some references clearly suggest cessations. Here is one from SN 35:117:

The Buddha says:

"The sphere should be known where the eye ceases and the perception of forms fades away...where the ear ceases and the perception of sound fades away... (same is said for the other physical senses)...The sphere should be known where the mind ceases and the perception of mental phenomena fades away. That sphere should be known."

When asked by other monks to explain this statement further, Ananda said that the Buddha was referring to the cessation of the six sense bases. Later, the Buddha confirmed this.

There is also a synonhym for Nibbana in the suttas that is often used: The "stilling of all mental fabrications."

To be fair though, some passages also mention cessations as such with still the presence of awareness. It goes something like: "All perceptions regarding the physical elements elements, the immaterial spheres, etc, ceased, and yet I was still percipient, percipient that all fabrications ceased."

In Zen, there is also "droping mind and body" which seems to point to cessation as well.

And Shizen Young, in his book 'The Science of Enlightenment' often discusses cessations.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 4:00 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

"they never talk about Frutions in Zen regarding Kensho".

This is true, and also goes for Dzogchen. I only realized what a fruition looked/felt like AFTER SE. My experience is that in the open awareness meditation traditions these things seem elongated/smeared into longer "moments", or don't happen/aren't noticed at all.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 4:16 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
OK, I've thought about this some more, and I'm just going to posit that, in my opinion, I've attained stream entry (in daily life, before I was a serious meditator). The main doubt in my mind has been about this "fruition" nonsense. Please challenge me if you want.

Stirling Campbell:

Anyone who is a stream-enterer will fully understand what the removal of the first 3 fetters means without any doubt:

1. Identity view
2. Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Doubt about the teachings


I kinda sorta think that I kinda get what you're saying, but I have a hard time believing that anyone who is a stream-enterer will fully understand this "without any doubt." I think "identity view" is the tricky one. Based on how I would expect something like "identity view" to be defined, even the Buddha still clearly had it for the rest of his life. So, one would have to presume that this means something other than the mere idea that "there is a me" (or even the fact that thoughts of "me" lead to pain).

Thinking about myself, there is something I no longer do, which might qualify as "identity view". I have a hard time putting it into words. And, I can't remember what it used to feel like, but I remember doing it. It's something to do with not realizing that the "me" of this moment is not in any way connected to the "me" of yesterday, except by biology (or whatever is making all of this run). I also wish I could get inside the heads of people who don't see this yet, but those conversations tend to go badly... When I read stuff I wrote from back then, I can remember that I really believed what I was writing, but now it's hard to fully relate to the feeling of that.

And yes, these were not gradual insights. There was an on/off switch, and it hasn't shut off.

Jim Smith:

I think many people are not fettered by (2,6,7) rites and rituals, desire for rebirth material or immaterial long before they are unfettered from1 and 3.


The majority of people I talk with in my daily life are clearly fettered by rites and rituals, even among those who practice meditation. This is the fetter whose definition is most obvious to me. I just can't see it any other way. I also suspect that "rebirth", in this context, has a special meaning.

OK, regarding fruitions, I am starting to think that maybe certain events which I had previously been ignoring (because they seemed so insignificant) might, in fact, be fruitions. I don't know the answer to this. I'm just putting it out there for the sake of discussion.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 4:49 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
...

The majority of people I talk with in my daily life are clearly fettered by rites and rituals, even among those who practice meditation. This is the fetter whose definition is most obvious to me.


Could you give some examples to explain this? Because I am not seeing it.

Thanks

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 5:14 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

I kinda sorta think that I kinda get what you're saying, but I have a hard time believing that anyone who is a stream-enterer will fully understand this "without any doubt."

If there is doubt, it isn't stream-entry, IMHO. It isn't like you have a funny feeling for a few minutes, and you notice you are more relaxed or something, it is a complete shift in understanding and perspective. Nothing is ever the same afterward.

Ask yourself: Do you believe that if you have had "stream-entry" that it is because of a set of practices you did, or your hard work as a meditator? If the answer is "yes", then I would be cautious about making any decisions about what has happened until you have lived with whatever you believe has happened for a perhaps 6 months or more. 

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 5:17 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
spatial:
...

The majority of people I talk with in my daily life are clearly fettered by rites and rituals, even among those who practice meditation. This is the fetter whose definition is most obvious to me.


Could you give some examples to explain this? Because I am not seeing it.

Thanks

Please understand that I am only speaking from my personal experience here. I'm not claiming to be an expert on Buddhist doctrine or anything.

I am referring to a specific thing that my mind stopped doing, which I didn't realize it was ever doing until it stopped doing it. The mind would grasp tightly onto rules and recipes for doing things, instead of accepting that things only happen through cause-and-effect. 

I see people doing things like:

- Trusting teachers and hoping things turn out OK, without looking at results themselves
- Arguing for specific traditions/methods/systems that they have only emotional attachment to
- Saying things like "I don't understand why it's not working...I followed all the instructions"
- Regretting past actions, as if things could have gone any other way
- Arguing over what the "proper rules of morality" are, which "we're supposed to believe"
- Doing things because they hope it will work, and then getting discouraged when it doesn't, simply because they had put their hope there
- Hopping from one spiritual system after another, wondering which one they're supposed to put their faith in, not realizing that they are simply tools, and that faith, when useful, is simply another tool
- Arguing with teachers because they don't want to put their faith in the wrong one
- Not realizing that you simply are your habits. So, you can change anything simply by training yourself in the right way, at least in theory

OK, so the way I'm phrasing these, maybe they sound like stupid things to believe. Still, I don't know how else to put it. I've always been a skeptical, scientifically-minded person, and yet I was doing these things all the time.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/8/19 5:29 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
spatial:

I kinda sorta think that I kinda get what you're saying, but I have a hard time believing that anyone who is a stream-enterer will fully understand this "without any doubt."

If there is doubt, it isn't stream-entry, IMHO. It isn't like you have a funny feeling for a few minutes, and you notice you are more relaxed or something, it is a complete shift in understanding and perspective. Nothing is ever the same afterward.

Ask yourself: Do you believe that if you have had "stream-entry" that it is because of a set of practices you did, or your hard work as a meditator? If the answer is "yes", then I would be cautious about making any decisions about what has happened until you have lived with whatever you believe has happened for a perhaps 6 months or more. 
This happened almost 3 years ago. It was a complete shift in understanding and perspective. Nothing has been the same since. 

It was not from meditation. But, I believe it was from spending a lot of time paying close attention to my mind and body in other contexts, combined with a stroke of random luck. I had no idea what "stream entry" was until last year when I discovered this forum, and it caught my attention because it sounded familiar. At the time, I just called it "my epiphany."

If this were the result of meditation, I would probably have less doubt, because I would be thinking of it only in that context. Instead, this event is what made me start getting serious about meditation, because it showed me that meditation is the only thing that is capable of deliberately increasing this kind of insight. But honestly, this couldn't have happened from meditation, because back then meditation was something I tried to force myself to do to relieve stress, and was just too utterly boring.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/8/19 5:37 PM as a reply to Ryan.
Not that there is anything wrong with this, I suspect that's a big part of where this is all headed, but it seems like the "off-cushion" effects of SE were not nearly as noticeable and distinct for you as the cessation itself was. Is that fair? 

Yes, that's fair. The biggest change that I noticed after stream entry was easy, even involuntary access, to the jhanas. The cessation itself scared the shit out of me. It happened twice over a six month period and I stopped practicing for quite some time, thinking I was causing damage to myself. I finally got the courage up several years later to mention it (as you see in my diary) to my soon-to-be teacher Kenneth Folk. Later transitions/paths were far more impactful for me in terms of off-cushion experience, number two being third path and (duh) number one being fourth path. Second path was so messed up I hated it. It's all in my diary - you just have to read all of the seven sections.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/9/19 6:10 AM as a reply to spatial.
Whether you are dark nighting on the road to SE or dark nighting on the road to second path doesn't make much of a difference in terms of practice. emoticon 

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/9/19 6:42 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Yeah, man!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
8/14/19 2:02 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Seung-Sahn-Dropping-Ashes-on-the-Buddha.pdf

3. My Dharma Is Too Expensive

Once a student came to Zen Master Hyang Bong and said, "Master, please teach me the Dharma."

Hyang Bong said, "I'm sorry, but my Dharma is very expensive."

'How much does it cost?"

"How much can you pay?"

The student put his hand into his pocket and took out some coins. "This is all the money I have."

"Even if you offered me a pile of gold as big as a mountain," said Hyang Bong, "my Dharma would still be too expensive."

So the student went off to practice Zen. After a few months of hard training, he returned to Hyang Bong and said, "Master, I will give you my life, I will do anything for you, I will be your slave. Please teach me."

Hyang Bong said, "Even if you offered me a thousand lives, my Dharma would still be too expensive."

Quite dejected, the student went off again. After several more months of hard training, he returned and said, "I will give you my mind. Will you teach me now?"

Hyang Bong said, "Your mind is a pail of stinking garbage. I have no use for it. And even if you offered me ten thousand minds, my Dharma would still be too expensive."

Again the student left to do hard training. After some time he came to an understanding that the whole universe is empty. So he returned to the Master and said, "Now I understand how expensive your Dharma is."

Hyang Bong said, "How expensive is it?"

The student shouted "KATZ!!!"

Hyang Bong said, "No, it's more expensive than that."

This time, when he left, the student was thoroughly confused and in deep despair. He vowed not to see the Master again until he had attained the supreme awakening. Eventually that day came, and he returned. "Master, now I truly understand: the sky is blue, the grass is green."

"No no no," said Hyang Bong. "My Dharma is even more expensive than that."

At this, the student grew furious. "I already understand, I don't need your Dharma, you can take it and shove it up your ass!"

Hyang Bong laughed. That made the student even angrier. He wheeled around and stomped out of the room. Just as he was going out the door, Hyang Bong called to him, "Wait a minute!"

The student turned his head.

"Don't lose my Dharma," said Hyang Bong.

Upon hearing these words, the student was enlightened.


Jo Jo was in prison.

He asked the guard who was also a Zen Master, "Am I in chains?"

The guard said, "Are you blind? Deaf? Senseless? Why do you ask me, 'Am I in chains?' Can't you see for yourself?"

After hearing this, all the fetters fell away from Jo Jo and he was free.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path&a
Answer
8/10/19 8:31 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

It's all online - here you go:  http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/cmarti/70
I've pretty much been only a lurker here. Your diary and several of the others on Awakenetwork are pure gold.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/17/19 6:01 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Jim Smith:
If the pot hasn't been stirred up enough, I will add the following question:

Is cessation the only way to graduate through the stages?

Because I am pretty sure there are other Buddhist traditions that do not think so and do not consider cessation a necessary part of insight. 

I am not saying the effects of cessation are not what people claim they experienced, I am saying cessation is not the only way to remove the fetters.

I recently had a short discussion with Har-Prakash Khalsa on Shinheads group regarding Shinzen's view on Stream Entry and Arahantship. He quoted Shinzen that Shinzen talks about sudden and gradual awakening. I asked him you mean that by Shinzen's criteria someone would attain Stream Entry in a gradual way, and not experience any Frutions? and he said yes, it's not necessary to have Frutions, and he said that "they never talk about Frutions in Zen regarding Kensho".

In "The Science of Enlightenment" Shinzen Young writes:

... in my experience as a teacher, enlightenment usually sneaks up on people. Sometimes they don't quiet realize how enlightened they've become over time because they have gradually acclimatized to it.
How would a teacher tell that a student is enlightened if the student didn't know?

How would someone who experiences graudal enlightenment figure out that they are enlightened?

In the book, Shinzen defines enlightenment as: "a kind of permanent shift in perspective that comes about through direct realization that there is no thing called "self" inside you."

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/17/19 6:25 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I have the same questions. I should've asked Har-Prakash in that conversations!

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/17/19 7:51 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I thought the ”usual” way of going through several paths with diligent practice was the gradual thing, as a contrast to the sudden awakening school that seems to think that one moment of realization is enough.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/20/19 9:17 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
I have the same questions. I should've asked Har-Prakash in that conversations!
Do you know if there would be some way I could get some sort of evaluation of my meditation practice via e-mail from Shinzen or any of his students who now teach? I would like to explain to someone how I practice and see what advice they would have for me. 


Below is an excerpt about gradual awakening from a file on the Shinheads facebook site

I am having difficulty seeing how this is the same as sudden enlightenment. Isn't sudden enlightenment a persistend non-dual state?  I don't see how you could be in a persistent non-dual state and not know it. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Shinheads/
Files -> Shinzen Enlightenment Interview.pdf

https://lookaside.fbsbx.com/file/Shinzen%20Enlightenment%20Interview%20.pdf?token=AWy04hPB37Lr5PhiD64J3M9WX7IPtaDYspnZgh-8T7smrTXO0VI4uH3knPIcVbco8jtFtdKKOlt-DWwj3gXg4sBW990DMLD02gUqQDS8Y7jusJf0JK5r-zMysbnVc_fdc7CBMvjXxUGNGnc-Gg4c6ZMJ


However,for most people who’ve studied with me it doesn’t happen that way. Not suddenly. What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice.

You remember that I said in traditional Buddhism it’s very significant that it’s formulated that something passes away and it’s not something that you get? So what typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion and unconsciousness -­‐the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. Because it’s gradual, they may not realize how much they’ve changed. As the mula kleshas get worked through they suffer less and the fundamental alienation between inside and outsidediminishes. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring.

In acclimatizingthey may not realize how far they’ve come. However, they often do notice it when “the doo doo hits the fan”.Like a major bereavement, a major illness like cancer, a serious injury, or their life is somehow threatened. Then they notice how everyone around them is freaking out and how much less they’re freaking out. Then the contrast becomes suddenly very evident. That’s when they would tend to notice it. That’s why I like telling the story about the samurai.

“This samurai went to the Zen temple on the mountain and lived there for many years. He didn’t seem to be getting anything out of thepractice. So he said to theMaster, ‘I think I need to leave. Nothing’s happening as a result of this practice’. So the master said ‘Okay. Go.’ As he was coming down the hill one of his former comrades, a fellow samurai, saw him in the tattered robes of a Buddhist monk –which is equivalent to a glorified beggar from a samurai’s point of view –and he said ‘how could you be so undignified to join the counter-­‐culture of Buddhist beggars?’ and he spit on him. Now in the old days thesamurais were extremely proud. Any insult to their personal dignity meant a fight to the death. So the monk who had formerly been a samurai just walked on and after he’d walked a certain distance, it occurred to him that not only did he not need to kill this guy, he wasn’t even angry.

As the story goes he turned around and bowed towards the mountain three times where he had practiced. He bowed in his recognition of all that he had worked through. He recognized he no longer needed to kill someone that had offended his dignity. He noticed how fundamentally he had changed as a human being.”

Of course, it’s not just samurai in 16th century Japan. The same things apply to 21st century North Americans. Maybe they’ve been practicing for 10, 20, or 30 years and it doesn’t seem that much has changed. And then something big happens and then they realize how different they’ve become compared to ordinary people. I’ll give you anexample that happened just a few weeks ago. Someone who has been coming to retreats for quite a while went to have a biopsy to determinewhether they had a serious cancer or not. While waiting for the results this person noticed they weren’t worried. Anyway, it turned out thatthe biopsy was negative. So all theunnecessary suffering that would’ve happenedbutdidn’t, that was the effect of that person’s years and years of practice. It’s my impression that many more people have that gradual unfolding than have the sudden,


RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 2:52 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Hi,
Sorry I didn't read rest of your comment, I'll read later.
You can participate in Home Practice Program, and in the self-practice periods, call Shinzen directly with the given phone number, and talk with him. It's recommended that calls should be less that 10 minutes, so that others could have time too, so you might want to prepare what you want to say exactly in a short time. You may need to try for several times, the line often is busy unless you try just when the practice period ends.

I've talked with him twice, and he answers like the robot that he wishes to design!

Registration for October 2019 HPP is open now, and all of its program are with Shinzen himself (Sometimes his students lead the programs)

https://homepracticeprogram.squarespace.com/

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 5:49 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Also you can participate in Shinzen's Life Practice Program (LPP) as a guest, and talk around 40 minutes with Shinzen about your practice. That program is generally about how to apply mindfulness techniques in daily life and improve daily life practice, but there were cases in the program, that the guest asked Shinzen to have an AMA (ask me anything), and they discussed a topic rather than talking about life practice. There are some requirements to be a guest in that program, that you can find in its website. This program is not a one to one call and there are other participants in the call, but they are muted.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 7:09 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:



I am having difficulty seeing how this is the same as sudden enlightenment. Isn't sudden enlightenment a persistend non-dual state?  I don't see how you could be in a persistent non-dual state and not know it. 


Lots of enlightenment porn talks about enlightenment being a state. Some types of porn describe it as blissful or peaceful. Some describe it as jagged and on the edge of sanity. Some describe it as funny and humorous. Some say it is intellectually perfect. Some say and every action is completely effortless. Some say it's none of that but rather is "non-dual", and there are various attempts to define non-dual without falling into the earlier types of descriptions...

It's not a state. That's a classic trap. If someone is experiencing reality as a state, there is a contraction still present that still isn't being objectified. Any state that is observerable also implies an observer of that state. If you are ever in a state that seems like it might be enlightenment, just ask "what is the mind that observes this state?"

When mind is understood...it's an insight, not a state.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 7:25 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Also I think it's worth mentioning that, the subject of discussion in that interview about sudden or gradual enlightment (the file that you are referring to), is Stream Entry, and not higher paths. Often (or maybe always) when Shinzen says sudden enlightment, he means SE.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 8:09 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Jim Smith:

...  I don't see how you could be in a persistent non-dual state and not know it. 


...

When mind is understood...it's an insight, not a state.

That is very helpful, thank you.

I am also trying to understand how someone can be enlightened and not know it. Can you explain that?


Thanks,

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 8:26 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

 If you are ever in a state that seems like it might be enlightenment, just ask "what is the mind that observes this state?"




I would like to ask a question about this style of teaching. I was educated as a scientist and worked as an engineer. The way I am used to learning about things is by testing hypotheses. That is what scientists do and engineers do it also sometimes when debugging systems. Why can't you tell me what the mind is and then I can try to observe the activity in my own mind and test what you say to see if it is true? Wouldn't that be faster than me trying to figure out something that so many people have already done? Why keep reinventing the wheel?

I am not trying to imply there isn't a good reason, I would just like to know what it is.

I expect someone could say: watch the activity in your own mind and you will see ....  . And then I know what to look for. It might take time but at least my practice will be directed in the right direction.


Thanks

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 10:45 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
shargrol:
Jim Smith:

...  I don't see how you could be in a persistent non-dual state and not know it. 


...

When mind is understood...it's an insight, not a state.

That is very helpful, thank you.

I am also trying to understand how someone can be enlightened and not know it. Can you explain that?


Thanks,
shargol,

I don't mind if you correct my terminology ... but I was reading recently how when you realize not-self you don't make a distinction between self and others and that leads to compassion - it was posted as justification for belief that enlightenment makes you a nice person.

Semantics aside, I think my question was valid: how can you lose the ability to distingush between self an others and not know it?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 11:23 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Does the "lose the ability to distinguish between self and others" description seem correct to you? When you really think about it? It seems pretty suspect to me.  It's not like the Buddha lost the ability to make that distinction, right? That "lost my self and now I'm completely fused with whatever I encounter" is basically another idealized model of enlightenment. A lot of people want that model to be true because then the teacher/guru/mentor is always going to be able to help, will always be perfectly compassionate, will always know what to say... 

But maybe the person is talking something more simple along the lines of compassion --- which is a lot more complex than "not-different-than-self". Compassion is technically the ability to be with someone who is in suffering, without projecting your own needs onto them. (Com= with, passion = suffering). It doesn't mean you suffer because someone else suffers, but rather you can be present and fully witness another's suffering. So no rescuer complexs, no borderline personality disorder, no repression, no projection... A first step in actually helping someone is just to be able to be present and understand their sense of reality. A lot of the time, that's what people really want, someone to be with who isn't also triggered. Just having someone there allows the person to accept and let go... 

The compassion that happens through practice is mostly from going through your own shit and processing your own neuroses. It allows you to more easily recognize it in others, not get triggered by their baggage, and generally have a sense of what might help. You never really know if you can help someone though. It's as much up to them as up to you, and communication is never perfect, so there aren't easy 100% cures...

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 11:29 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
shargrol:
Jim Smith:

...  I don't see how you could be in a persistent non-dual state and not know it. 


...

When mind is understood...it's an insight, not a state.

That is very helpful, thank you.

I am also trying to understand how someone can be enlightened and not know it. Can you explain that?


Thanks,

Siavash is correct in pointing that Shinzen is talking about Stream Entry in this case, which is an initial change in how we relate to our sense of self and how we relate to practice. In some traditions, simply "getting" that there isn't a separate self and that only meditation practice will reveal further dharma (not reading, not rituals, etc.). 

I can kinda understand how that model can have a SE that is so gradual that it there is no major "event" that singles when it happens.

I came up through the fruition=stream entry tradition, so I don't have personal experience in judging SE using that model.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 11:47 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
shargrol:

 If you are ever in a state that seems like it might be enlightenment, just ask "what is the mind that observes this state?"




I would like to ask a question about this style of teaching. I was educated as a scientist and worked as an engineer. The way I am used to learning about things is by testing hypotheses. That is what scientists do and engineers do it also sometimes when debugging systems. Why can't you tell me what the mind is and then I can try to observe the activity in my own mind and test what you say to see if it is true? Wouldn't that be faster than me trying to figure out something that so many people have already done? Why keep reinventing the wheel?

I am not trying to imply there isn't a good reason, I would just like to know what it is.

I expect someone could say: watch the activity in your own mind and you will see ....  . And then I know what to look for. It might take time but at least my practice will be directed in the right direction.


Thanks

I'm totally sympathetic and I think every meditator who had to slog this out is also sympathetic. If it was only that simple!

Meditation is a very very estoteric practice, mind looking at mind to figure out what mind is. Self investigating self to figure out what self is. It's pretty crazy when you think about it. 

It's much closer to playing an instrument. You can talk about it and describe how to play a guitar, but that will never allow you to play a guitar. It's all time spend training the body and guitar mechanics, developing the ear, developing a sense of rhythm/time, learning how to bend strings to the right pitch --- on and on and on. No one can say "just do this". You basically have to be like Slash or Hendrix and walk around all the time playing on and playing with your guitar...

Same thing with meditation. The only way to develop the machinery to see how mind creates a simulation of reality is to develop "mind looking at mind" ability. Learn how to distinguish sensations, urges, emotions, and thinking patterns. Learn how experience becomes modified by fears, resistances, past traumas, inhibitions, etc. Develop the ability to look at thoughts as thoughts. To notice how awareness requires no effort. Lots and lots of little things...  A teacher can usually help figure out what direction might be helpful, and usually practice itself points the way. Whatever is interesting or annoying about meditation usually has an insight somewhere in there...

So ultimately, it simply can't be said, which is why it doesn't get said. I could say "there is no mind" or "it is all mind" or "mind is self" or "the sense of self is just a sense of self" or "there is no self" or "suffering is personalizing pain" etc. if that would help, but it isn't quite the insight itself and I have a hunch that for 99% of people it would become just another unquestioned belief. The important thing is to peel away the illusions of mind and the illusions of self until, quite by accident you realize what others have realized. Then you really got it.

So this style of teaching is really just repeating practice instructions... if things seem solid and real, investigate them a bit more, you might find that they are both 100% vivid and real and 100% empty displays of mind. Until you can see how both are true, samsara is a trap. When you see both are true, you see how samsara is nirvana.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 12:00 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
[quote=Jim Smith

]I would like to ask a question about this style of teaching. I was educated as a scientist and worked as an engineer. The way I am used to learning about things is by testing hypotheses. That is what scientists do and engineers do it also sometimes when debugging systems. Why can't you tell me what the mind is and then I can try to observe the activity in my own mind and test what you say to see if it is true? Wouldn't that be faster than me trying to figure out something that so many people have already done? Why keep reinventing the wheel?


It's probably because most people who are drawn to practice are likely so taken in by their anti-scientific superstitions to begin with that they are unable to even try to be clear.

Just look how much clearer Ingram and Culadasa are. Are those gifted with explanatory talent or just less indulgent in craziness?

Also look at how people describe drug experiences: Materialists see a malfunctioning brain producing weird phenomena, mystics see God shaking their hand.

Why should meditation in general and Arahanthood in particular be any different?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 12:07 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

So ultimately, it simply can't be said, which is why it doesn't get said. I could say "there is no mind" or "it is all mind" or "mind is self" or "the sense of self is just a sense of self" or "there is no self" or "suffering is personalizing pain" etc. if that would help, but it isn't quite the insight itself and I have a hunch that for 99% of people it would become just another unquestioned belief. The important thing is to peel away the illusions of mind and the illusions of self until, quite by accident you realize what others have realized. Then you really got it.

Really nicely said, Shargrol.

-

Jim,

I see you struggling with trying to come up with some conceptual version of what enlightenment is that is satisfying, or helps you understand it. As Shargrol brilliantly describes, it isn't something that you can conceptually understand. There are thousands and thousands of accounts and documents desribing what it is, but all of them can merely be pointers, and NONE of them will get you any closer, really.

As an engineer you have possibly spent a lifetime using languages such as English or Math structured with the subject/object relationship to understand or document reality... but what would you do if you couldn't rely on those languages to describe something? What if you suddenly understood something about reality that couldn't be expressed this way? 

-

Just my 2¢: While I have read about gradual awakening, of the handful or so I have personally met that have awakened, none of them missed it happening.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 1:56 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I appreciate all the replies to my question. I apologise for one more ...

How does practice after sream-entry differ from practice before stream-entry?


Thank you.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 2:01 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
In the tradition that uses fruition as a milestone for SE, practice very often includes much more jhanic states after SE.

I suppose in the gradual SE tradition, you keep going with the same practice and continue gradually. (Just attempting a little lighthearted humor there.)

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 2:21 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

How would a teacher tell that a student is enlightened if the student didn't know?

The teacher could ask the student questions (possibly koans) for which the answer by someone who was enlightened would be distinctly different from someone who is not enlihtened. 

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 2:23 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
In the tradition that uses fruition as a milestone for SE, practice very often includes much more jhanic states after SE.



Why is that?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 2:39 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:



I came up through the fruition=stream entry tradition, so I don't have personal experience in judging SE using that model.


I guess part of what is puzzling me is that noting seems to be a very deterministic scientific process. But it produces stream entry through cessation which is not deterministic. Which to me seems like a huge contradiction.   Is noting (vipassna) just candy for the mind to trick it into focusing intently (concentrating) to produce cessation? 

Why not just practice concentration until you get cessation? At least then you have a consistent practice: quiet the mind until it stops.

What is the point of observing the mind if you get enlightenment by stopping it (cessation)?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 3:25 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
shargrol:
In the tradition that uses fruition as a milestone for SE, practice very often includes much more jhanic states after SE.



Why is that?

1) They come up quite naturally at that stage of practice. 2) jhanas have a way of conditioning the mind and making it very relaxed, which in turn sensitizes it to notice even more subtle suffering and it's causes (at this point, the practice is very non-verbal, so please don't ask me "what is subtle suffering and it's causes?" emoticon )

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 3:35 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
shargrol:



I came up through the fruition=stream entry tradition, so I don't have personal experience in judging SE using that model.


I guess part of what is puzzling me is that noting seems to be a very deterministic scientific process. But it produces stream entry through cessation which is not deterministic. Which to me seems like a huge contradiction.   Is noting (vipassna) just candy for the mind to trick it into focusing intently (concentrating) to produce cessation? 

Why not just practice concentration until you get cessation? At least then you have a consistent practice: quiet the mind until it stops.

What is the point of observing the mind if you get enlightenment by stopping it (cessation)?

Jim, I'm going to recommend reading Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. I feel like I'm explaining very basic stuff here and that book will give all this information and more.

Noting is a balance between active and passive. Experiences are allowed to arise (passive), you note one aspect of it every so often (active). This balance is a way to allow and yet stay engaged/aware. Over time, this balanc ebecomes fairly instinctual and the person sits, aware and allowing. 

The tricky thing here is no one really controls the mind. It's very easy to say "oh, just do concentration" but in fact very very few people can just do concentration in actual practice. There are many different practices out there, because there are many different kinds of practioners.

A lot of this stuff is self-contradictory/paradoxical. That's just the way it is. Just consider the idea "I'm aware of my mind" -- totally self-contradictory and paradoxical (if your mind is what is aware, how can you be aware of your mind? what is being aware of it? how many minds do you have?)

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 5:51 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I think the explanation of how someone could be enlightened without knowing it is that being freed from the fetter of identity view does not have to be a conscious process. It can happen from meditation without the insight reported by people who have sudden enlightenment. 

Jim Smith:



Below is an excerpt about gradual awakening from a file on the Shinheads facebook site

I am having difficulty seeing how this is the same as sudden enlightenment. Isn't sudden enlightenment a persistend non-dual state?  I don't see how you could be in a persistent non-dual state and not know it. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Shinheads/
Files -> Shinzen Enlightenment Interview.pdf

https://lookaside.fbsbx.com/file/Shinzen%20Enlightenment%20Interview%20.pdf?token=AWy04hPB37Lr5PhiD64J3M9WX7IPtaDYspnZgh-8T7smrTXO0VI4uH3knPIcVbco8jtFtdKKOlt-DWwj3gXg4sBW990DMLD02gUqQDS8Y7jusJf0JK5r-zMysbnVc_fdc7CBMvjXxUGNGnc-Gg4c6ZMJ


However,for most people who’ve studied with me it doesn’t happen that way. Not suddenly. What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice.

You remember that I said in traditional Buddhism it’s very significant that it’s formulated that something passes away and it’s not something that you get? So what typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion and unconsciousness -­‐the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. Because it’s gradual, they may not realize how much they’ve changed. As the mula kleshas get worked through they suffer less and the fundamental alienation between inside and outsidediminishes. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring.

In acclimatizingthey may not realize how far they’ve come. However, they often do notice it when “the doo doo hits the fan”.Like a major bereavement, a major illness like cancer, a serious injury, or their life is somehow threatened. Then they notice how everyone around them is freaking out and how much less they’re freaking out. Then the contrast becomes suddenly very evident. That’s when they would tend to notice it. That’s why I like telling the story about the samurai.

“This samurai went to the Zen temple on the mountain and lived there for many years. He didn’t seem to be getting anything out of thepractice. So he said to theMaster, ‘I think I need to leave. Nothing’s happening as a result of this practice’. So the master said ‘Okay. Go.’ As he was coming down the hill one of his former comrades, a fellow samurai, saw him in the tattered robes of a Buddhist monk –which is equivalent to a glorified beggar from a samurai’s point of view –and he said ‘how could you be so undignified to join the counter-­‐culture of Buddhist beggars?’ and he spit on him. Now in the old days thesamurais were extremely proud. Any insult to their personal dignity meant a fight to the death. So the monk who had formerly been a samurai just walked on and after he’d walked a certain distance, it occurred to him that not only did he not need to kill this guy, he wasn’t even angry.

As the story goes he turned around and bowed towards the mountain three times where he had practiced. He bowed in his recognition of all that he had worked through. He recognized he no longer needed to kill someone that had offended his dignity. He noticed how fundamentally he had changed as a human being.”

Of course, it’s not just samurai in 16th century Japan. The same things apply to 21st century North Americans. Maybe they’ve been practicing for 10, 20, or 30 years and it doesn’t seem that much has changed. And then something big happens and then they realize how different they’ve become compared to ordinary people. I’ll give you anexample that happened just a few weeks ago. Someone who has been coming to retreats for quite a while went to have a biopsy to determinewhether they had a serious cancer or not. While waiting for the results this person noticed they weren’t worried. Anyway, it turned out thatthe biopsy was negative. So all theunnecessary suffering that would’ve happenedbutdidn’t, that was the effect of that person’s years and years of practice. It’s my impression that many more people have that gradual unfolding than have the sudden,


RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 1:01 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
I think the explanation of how someone could be enlightened without knowing it is that being freed from the fetter of identity view does not have to be a conscious process. It can happen from meditation without the insight reported by people who have sudden enlightenment. 

Jim Smith:



Below is an excerpt about gradual awakening from a file on the Shinheads facebook site ...



Maybe the key ingredient in stream-entry is not the insight into not-self but the attitude of non-agency that it produces? And maybe you can get that attitude of non-agency from meditation without the insight into not-self? Just by observing how you don't really control your own mind? Every time you are meditating and you notice you are distracted by a stray thought, it is a lesson in how little control you have over your own mind. Over time recognition builds up and gradually seeps into and changes your attitudes and beliefs about reality.

When you don't believe in free will you understand yourself and others better, you start making all sorts of allowances for yourself and others, you stop overreacting, you feel compassion?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/21/19 11:04 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
shargrol:



I came up through the fruition=stream entry tradition, so I don't have personal experience in judging SE using that model.


I guess part of what is puzzling me is that noting seems to be a very deterministic scientific process. But it produces stream entry through cessation which is not deterministic. Which to me seems like a huge contradiction.   Is noting (vipassna) just candy for the mind to trick it into focusing intently (concentrating) to produce cessation? 

Why not just practice concentration until you get cessation? At least then you have a consistent practice: quiet the mind until it stops.

What is the point of observing the mind if you get enlightenment by stopping it (cessation)?

I am reposting this (below) here because of it's relevancy (above).  I will keep asking this question because I am always interested in other views and the only way to find out about them is to ask questions, sometimes about basic stuff. 


https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8850868?_19_delta=20&_19_keywords=&_19_advancedSearch=false&_19_andOperator=true&_19_resetCur=false&_19_cur=5#_19_message_8975159

Daniel M. Ingram:
If you get good at mobilizing brain attention centers to converge and synchronize on experience, such that they finally all converge perfectly on a complete moment and follow it together to its end, Cessation results.

Noting practice (and the rapid noticing practices that come after it, see Practical Insight Meditation, found on the wiki here and various other places) help one notice experience, using what is ordinarly a distraction (thinking) to instead begin to ground the mind in what is occurring.

As it is by comprehending clearly what is occurring in experience that Cessation finally results, Noting (and the rapid noticing that follows in that style of practice) helps create the conditions for Cessation.

If you want a more complete explanation, might check out MCTB2, where I talk about Equanimity and the fourth vipassana jhana.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 12:59 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
If Shinzen's observation is correct, that more people reach enlightenment gradually than suddenly, it could have widespread applicability.

There could be more people practicing noting who are enlightened and don't know it than there are people who know they have experienced cessation.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 1:49 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I read the chapter on fruition in MCTB2

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/15-fruition/

It describes an "aftershock" of fruition as:
the feeling that we have become diffused into the atmosphere without a center, purpose, function, sense of direction, or even will;

Is this feeling (state?) the insight that causes stream entry (loss of identity view)?

Is the feeling permanent or is it temporary? If temporary, does it return frequently / easily or only on subsequent fruitions?

After stream entry, do you live with this feeling 24/7 or is the memory of it the permanent change that happens with stream entry?


This part was also interesting:

All that said, there are those who won’t recognize it, particularly those who chance upon it outside of a meditative tradition that can recognize it. There will also be those for whom it happens within the context of their practice tradition, who can recognize it, but who fail to identify it as being what it is. Sometimes the afterglow is not so spectacular, though for most the series of insights, connections, syntheses, and the like that burgeon forth is impressive. Others will just go on practicing, not realizing what has just happened.

I am wondering, if someone has a fruition and does not recognize it, will they still experience stream-entry (without knowing it?) or not?


Thanks

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 7:36 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
No, the feelings are memorable (and they vary wildly between people) but are not "it". The best way I can describe it is that the experience of cessation seems to leave behind a bone-deep understanding that a sense of self is not essential for survival. It's an insight that the thing that needed defending 24/7 doesn't need defending. Again, it's non-verbal, so the words are approximations. And upon reflection, you realize that this insight would not have come without doing the practices leading up to it --- so you no longer think rites and rituals are the answer. 

Whatever feelings a person has along with it will last for a while and then go away. An insight remains. But here's the deal: stream entry is a big event, but it's also the gateway into other more serious insights. The insight isn't a final insight. There is a lot more terrain to cover which is why motivation for more practice is still there.

Yes, one explaination for people who seem to exhibit the signs of stream entry but who do not report a cessation is that they did experience the cessation, but didn't recognize it. But obviously that's untestable, so who knows? 

This is why diagnosing stream entry is less about the event and more about the events leading up to it. If a person has gone through the progress of insight, spent a bunch of time in equanimity, seen formations, and then had an unknowing event --- odds are it is SE/cessation. If the person has gone through the stages, spent a bunch of time in equanimity, had awareness of formations, and then experiences life very differently and feels like something essential has changed, then it has a good chance of being SE even without awareness of a cessation. If someone has other events leading to "the big change" then it probably isn't SE. See what I mean?

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 8:22 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
No, the feelings are memorable (and they vary wildly between people) but are not "it". The best way I can describe it is that the experience of cessation seems to leave behind a bone-deep understanding that a sense of self is not essential for survival. It's an insight that the thing that needed defending 24/7 doesn't need defending. Again, it's non-verbal, so the words are approximations. And upon reflection, you realize that this insight would not have come without doing the practices leading up to it --- so you no longer think rites and rituals are the answer. 

Whatever feelings a person has along with it will last for a while and then go away. An insight remains. But here's the deal: stream entry is a big event, but it's also the gateway into other more serious insights. The insight isn't a final insight. There is a lot more terrain to cover which is why motivation for more practice is still there.

Yes, one explaination for people who seem to exhibit the signs of stream entry but who do not report a cessation is that they did experience the cessation, but didn't recognize it. But obviously that's untestable, so who knows? 

This is why diagnosing stream entry is less about the event and more about the events leading up to it. If a person has gone through the progress of insight, spent a bunch of time in equanimity, seen formations, and then had an unknowing event --- odds are it is SE/cessation. If the person has gone through the stages, spent a bunch of time in equanimity, had awareness of formations, and then experiences life very differently and feels like something essential has changed, then it has a good chance of being SE even without awareness of a cessation. If someone has other events leading to "the big change" then it probably isn't SE. See what I mean?
I have to read MCTB2 to find out what formations are. 

When you say:

"If someone has other events leading to "the big change" then it probably isn't SE. See what I mean?"

are you saying vipassana is the only practice that can produce stream entry? 

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 8:48 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

When you say:

"If someone has other events leading to "the big change" then it probably isn't SE. See what I mean?"

are you saying vipassana is the only practice that can produce stream entry? 


No, I'm saying there are other "big changes" that are not SE. These are partially diagnosed by the events leading up to it, similar to how SE is judged by the events leading up to it.



With this last answer, I'm going to respectfully end things here. Lots of these answers can be found by a careful reading of MCTB2.

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 9:13 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Jim Smith:

When you say:

"If someone has other events leading to "the big change" then it probably isn't SE. See what I mean?"

are you saying vipassana is the only practice that can produce stream entry? 


No, I'm saying there are other "big changes" that are not SE. These are partially diagnosed by the events leading up to it, similar to how SE is judged by the events leading up to it.



With this last answer, I'm going to respectfully end things here. Lots of these answers can be found by a careful reading of MCTB2.

You ended you post with a question, "See what I mean?". I was trying to be polite and give you an honest answer. I thought if I ignonred the question it would seem like I was ungrateful for your help.

Anyway thanks for all your help.

Metta

P.S. I have a note taped to my computer monitor, it says, "Don't let the news or internet forums keep you from your meditation practice.".

RE: Diagnosing Stream Entry (aka "SE" and "First Path")
Answer
9/22/19 9:04 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Thanks Jim, no worries and thanks for the good discussion!