Claiming some form of "attainment"... possibly SE?

Tessa W, modified 10 Years ago at 4/1/13 1:16 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 4/1/13 1:16 AM

Claiming some form of "attainment"... possibly SE?

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/17/13 Recent Posts
Hi Everyone!

I'm really shy and I've been really, really scared to come out of my shell to contribute to this forum, but I've decided to give it a try.

A few years ago, I started to go to a Zen meditation center to meditate on a regular basis. According to my memory, my practice mostly consisted of (at the time) concentrating on certain parts of my body (like the tingling on my forehead) and attaining a calmness and high state of concentration within a 30 minute session. Sometimes, I would focus on the good-doings of people whom I knew, because concentrating on the good deeds of the Buddha (if I remember correctly) was one of the 40 meditation subjects that the Buddha recommended... it's just that I just didn't know the Buddha personally enough at the time, but people whom I knew with exceptional deeds as a meditation subject helped with concentration. I would come back home and read Buddhist Sutras. (I must have meditated in a slightly funny way at the time.)

Well, this particular event that I'm about to describe about the most didn't really happen on the meditation cushion while I was meditating. I was reading the Lankavatara Sutra. It was after a session of meditation... I was reading and nodding to myself, when I encountered a moment, which I think is best described as a candle being extinguished. I was rapidly reading the sutra, almost at the speed at which I think, and the point of awareness (that usually exists in my within my head) that I strongly identify with suddenly "vanished." I will also describe it as a "before-thought" event which must have happened within a fraction of a second. In the few thought moments afterwards, I must have thought something like, '(there is) no life, no death, no Buddha, no Bodhisattva, no coming, no going... no opposites...' (but words themselves already create opposites, so perhaps it is an oxymoron to try to explain this event) In the few days after the event, I was in a state of bliss and extreme calmness.

Some things that have changed since this event (which might help with diagnosis? I don't know):
- I can sort of tell by listening to a person's dharma talk whether this person has had a similar experience or not... Likewise with spiritual books and authors...
- Sutras used to be really hard to understand. But I've since developed this intuition, or there must have been a shift in perception that must have happened at a very fundamental level that make many of them easier to comprehend.
- I don't know how my meditation practice has changed since then. I couldn't relate to my meditation practice being so much easier, but... I've had some deep karmic issues... I've since read Daniel Ingram's MTCB and I can relate to the cycling because it is stronger and noticeable, but I'm not 100% sure I'm fooling myself.
- When someone says something like "hair grows on wide teeth," I am reminded of the "no coming, no going" event.
- I used to be stuck on every possible koan ever since I was fascinated with them when I was in my teens. They are a breeze now (not all of them).
- Well, I can't say that I can enter jhanas easily... should I be embarrassed?

Another fascinating event that I encountered was when I was concentrating on a particularly difficult koan, when I had more meditation experience. After I solved it, I felt like the whole world was my home... I could make anywhere my home. I had this distinct feeling that I was "done," and that the questions I had asked about life were all solved. The myriad beings that were out there were all a part of me, this dream. I was in you and you were in me... This might be out of context, I wanted to talk about it because it was a really beautiful experience. However, I don't think I'm "done" at all. I fought with my parents two weeks after this event, and it was a moment when I felt that I had some karmic issues and was definitely not in harmony with the world. After that, I started to wonder about the state of attainment I had reached. My interest in the traditional path models were revived, and that was when I encountered Daniel Ingram's MTCB and this website too.

Based on my experiences, I'd be happy to know if I can have Stream-Entry verified or debunked according to people who practice with a more traditional style. I think I would benefit from learning more about this style of practice, and if I have thought that I attained something that I haven't, I would greatly benefit from having the opportunity to change my views as well. Thanks!
Mike Knapp, modified 10 Years ago at 4/29/13 6:23 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 4/29/13 6:19 PM

RE: Claiming some form of "attainment"... possibly SE?

Posts: 63 Join Date: 10/26/11 Recent Posts
Hi Tessa,

I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your post before now. I'll give it a shot.

At the outset, it is really, really hard to diagnose meditation events that happened years ago - especially when no meditation journal exists to refer back to (friendly advise: if you don't keep a journal of your practice, try it - I've found it quite helpful). I too have a few "mysterious" meditation events that happened to me years ago, and I didn't keep a meditation journal at the time; I've tried a few times to "figure them out" but ultimately I just gave up and decided to move on rather than run the risk of wasting too much time hypotheticals. Buy anyway, that's me - lets talk about you.

So this Thing happened to you when you were reading a sutra - you describe it as a sort of disappearance of your sense of self. Do you recall whether you saw any bright lights? Saw anything else odd or abnormal? Experienced a bliss wave? Were you conscious and aware during this whole episode - or did your mind sort of *blink out* and then snap back? Also, in the period leading up to this event, what were your meditation sessions like - easy breezy or filled with pain or sorrow?

Without knowing any of that, I'd guess we're talking about either that "pernicious trickster" the A&P, or a Fruition. Check out those links to read a little more about those stages. But regardless, congratulations on experiencing new territory! Keep on going!