Freed from naming things

J Cum, modified 11 Years ago.

Freed from naming things

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/5/10 Recent Posts
Last September I was on a week long retreat at Cloud Mountain Retreat Center, and on day 5, in the evening, I was meditating out doors, when I opened my eyes and nothing had names. I was looking at trees, and yet I couldn't tell you what they were. They were patterns of light and dark. This lasted about two hours. I could come back down into mundane every day thought with applied effort, but otherwise would simply flip back and reside effortlessly in a nameless condition with eyes open.
Where would this fit into Daniel's nomenclature of states of awareness? Just a wierd but interesting perceptual event that lasted quite a while.
thanks
Trent H., modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 361 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hello,

Could you provide any other information, such as: time durations, feelings (or the lack thereof), vividness of the senses, general ability to focus or be distracted, contentment with the state, etc? Any other descriptions in any ordinary terms you'd like to put it in (such as "it was pretty nice," or "it was perfect"), etc?

Trent
J Cum, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/5/10 Recent Posts
Hi Trent,
It lasted two hours.
It was very freeing, revelatory, hilarious, enjoyable, vivid, focused, one-pointed, entertaining, but mostly there was a sense of new-found freedom and discovery. In retrospect, there must have been thought involved for some part of the time at least, because I was conscious of this phenomenon while it was going on. But for the most part, beyond the commentary about the uniqueness of this state, I returned at will to rest and relax in this awareness, for as long as the blessing lasted...
At first I worried for a moment that it might be a stroke, but I was able to descend back into mundane awareness on intent to do so, several times during the period of time it lasted.
There was clarity and equinimity and sense of this being a perfection, finally seeing something that had not been apparent before, that had always been in this pure state but undetectable due to lack of clarity previously.
I don't want to embellish this after the fact, but those are the qualifiers that now come to mind.
I asked my meditation teacher the next day, and he said, "Good work, that's real meditation." I remember this conversation exactly, and I said, "I know that there's a lot of hype about what I'm now going to ask you, but could this be the process of awakening?" He said, "Yes." And that was the end of conversation as we walked down the path that day.

I'm going to say that it was one of the following:
Emptiness, ?
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Yadid Bee, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
How did you feel after the said state dissipated? and nowadays?
J Cum, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/5/10 Recent Posts
Yadid Bee:
How did you feel after the said state dissipated? and nowadays?


I've felt uniquely well for a very long time. This experience was one of a series for me, but stands out starkly. I am just curious where such a thing might fit in Daniel's nomenclature of Jhanic states, since I am new to your forums, to Mastering the Core Teachings, to Daniel Ingram and friends, and to the consideration of the analysis that appears to be possible of such things, at least under the paradigm you are using here, based on Mastering the Core Teachings.
For me this experience stands out as a profound event in my career as a hard core meditator, from an insight standpoint, because of the fact that this event was experiential evidence for emptiness. Don't you agree?

The teaching for me in this matter, is how one superimposes a filter or distortion of reality by naming things. This starts as a young child for us, when our mother teaches us the names of all the things of the world, and we thereafter see reality through that filter with the connotations we learned and accepted without critical analysis. And so to have that filter of naming-things fall away, even if just for two hours, shatters the conventional sense of our world if you buy into that event as real.
Don't you think? I mean, I thought you might see the relevance of this. Maybe some of you other meditators could possibly corroborate this in your retreat experiences too.
My question remains "Does this fit into Mastering the Core Teachings "paradigm" or not, and where?"
I didn't mean to say nor imply that I am awakened (whatever that is) vs. just high on endorphins or a patient with meditation toxicity.
benucci benassi, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 10 Join Date: 12/18/09 Recent Posts
I had exact the same experience. You come out and when somebody asks you
about a concept you want to follow now you dont know what to answer.
Its like a new born little child. I have exact the same interpretations but nobody
has an answer. When my mind comes into play I always get attracted to
sentences from the greatest master alive. You have to be like a little child to come into the paradise
of god. I guess for you now the universe is doing its own thing.
There are just body mind organisms guided by the force of the universe after this experience?
For me its like that content is content and I see in everybody good despite his emotional ups and down lost in content.
Sometimes its sad and hard though seeing all the problems in the world created by thought.
I would be happy to share experiences with you!
J Cum, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/5/10 Recent Posts
Thanks Benucci!
It occurred to me this state is the same as the term Rigpa, Primordial Awareness. What you all say?
J
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Well,

Mapping is an interesting business.

First: the experience in terms of what it conveys speaks for itself, its truths, its directness, and that is what is most important, really.

Second: labels, such as from the various maps and whoever is applying them, can be helpful, sometimes, to do certain things, such as watch for pitfalls, figure out how to do it again, avoid taking as something more than it was, get a heads up as to what may happen next, etc.

Third: In terms of standard guesses, and without all the stuff I would typically like to do that with hopefully more accuracy, meaning sequence leading up to it, what followed it, and a whole lot more besides, I'll just throw these out there as standard contenders for anything like this, given in what to me seems like the most likely order of presentation, but could be wrong, as I don't have as much as I typically like to go on:

1) High Equanimity: can have this pristine directness, quiet, openness, and simple profundity like that
2) A&P: always a candidate during these peak experiences, as it can have heavy unitive and other qualities to it, and doesn't always have what I think of as the standard stuff: zaps, etc.
3) Mind and Body: sounds crazy, but I have occasionally hit his one so hard with thoughts suddenly as small blips out at the periphery that were no longer me that it seemed to answer most of the insight path all on its own
4) Post-Fruition: can give an afterglow post-reset that can be very much like that: should lead to repeats and further rapid cycles and all sorts of other things
5) Various other things can arise, such as Formless Realms with eyes open can cause some people to describe such things, particularly 6th jhana
6) Whatever various experiences go into what the AF kids call the PCE, which is what I believe Trent was poking around for.
7) Sometimes things arise that, gasp, don't really quite fit with the maps, as good as they are, or not easily and without some work and flexibility.
8) Anagamis sometimes talk about things like that, as do arahats, not implying anything in particular, just throwing stuff out there.

One way or the other, I think that was a direct experience of something important, and the question is: what to do with that?

Can you see anything like that now?

Can you draw on the memory of that perspective to gain insight into this moment?
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the prisoner greco, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
J Cum:
Hi Trent,
It lasted two hours.
It was very freeing, revelatory, hilarious, enjoyable, vivid, focused, one-pointed, entertaining, but mostly there was a sense of new-found freedom and discovery. In retrospect, there must have been thought involved for some part of the time at least, because I was conscious of this phenomenon while it was going on. But for the most part, beyond the commentary about the uniqueness of this state, I returned at will to rest and relax in this awareness, for as long as the blessing lasted...
At first I worried for a moment that it might be a stroke, but I was able to descend back into mundane awareness on intent to do so, several times during the period of time it lasted.
There was clarity and equinimity and sense of this being a perfection, finally seeing something that had not been apparent before, that had always been in this pure state but undetectable due to lack of clarity previously.
I don't want to embellish this after the fact, but those are the qualifiers that now come to mind.
I asked my meditation teacher the next day, and he said, "Good work, that's real meditation." I remember this conversation exactly, and I said, "I know that there's a lot of hype about what I'm now going to ask you, but could this be the process of awakening?" He said, "Yes." And that was the end of conversation as we walked down the path that day.

I'm going to say that it was one of the following:
Emptiness, ?


actually that sounds more like what i'd call a pure consciousness experience. i wondered, from what you wrote in your first post (about things not having names), if that's what it might have been, but decided to hold off commenting until you provided more details, for the reason that pure consciousness experiences (pces) lack far more than names, they also lacks affective distortion entirely - hence their inherent clarity and equanimity and perfection.

a pce is a temporary experience of clarity, equanimity and perfection, during which time there is no possibility whatsoever of grief, ill-will, fear, worry, stress, or distress (as in a pce, the precursor of those things is in abeyance - temporarily dismantled). if what you experienced was a pce, then that's great, because given enough commitment, sensitivity, and sensibility, you'll be able to find your back again and again, and as far as i can tell, there is no better way to live life than like this (save for living like this full time, which is humanly possible - i can personally attest to it, having done this myself).

regarding your question about nomenclature, it is uncertain. it is possible that 'mastering the core teachings of the buddha' omits mention of this mode of experience completely, but based on what i've gleaned from recent conversations with daniel, what he refers to the wisdom eye (or sometimes calls 'no-dog' - but this is confusing, as kenneth folk uses that term to mean something else entirely) may be a pce. however, whether or not they are actually one and the same will be easier to determine when the mode of experience he refers to becomes permanent for him.

daniel's questions, above, are worth repeating verbatim:

one way or the other, i think that was a direct experience of something important, and the question is: what to do with that?

can you see anything like that now?

can you draw on the memory of that perspective to gain insight into this moment?

tarin
J C, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/5/10 Recent Posts
Hi Tarin,
So I gather, from your comment, that you are experiencing Pure Consciousness Experience PCE full time?
Can you explain how that could be possible? The reason I ask, is because with the episode I described, it would have been impossible to function in every-day life in that rarified state.
Secondly, I would like to explain the methodology I employ for this purpose, my sadhana, and hope perhaps you would say whether your sadhana is pure straight ahead Buddhist meditation or not.
I am a total pragmatist and quite frankly, am doing mantra yoga and a few esoteric yogic techniques and have been for about ten years. There has been a steady deepening of meditative states possible, and after recently coming across "Practicing the Jhanas" and Path of Serenity and Insight, realized that I have been traveling the same experiential sequence quite naturally, due to my particular contemplative yogic practices. I have also been doing Vipassana meditation for about 11 years with numerous Vipassana retreats throughout the year. There is a steady evolution that has happened to me. In reading posts on this website, it seems to me that this approach is pretty "dry" to my way of thinking, and the suffering is great on what yogis like myself might call the path of Jnana. The Path of Heart Centered practices that I know are a smoother ride. However I have the greatest respect for you Jnana yogis. I don't hear much talk about the powerful arising of overwhelming Love and Compassion from you practitioners here though, but rather a more attainment oriented focus. Which seems a bit "dry" to my way of thinking. Hope that assessment is not accurate, but frankly, that's a conclusion I needed to share with you. I am sure this will raise some hackles.
John
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the prisoner greco, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hi john,

J C:

So I gather, from your comment, that you are experiencing Pure Consciousness Experience PCE full time?


yes.


J C:

Can you explain how that could be possible? The reason I ask, is because with the episode I described, it would have been impossible to function in every-day life in that rarified state.


i remember a time when i wondered similar.. but upon looking into the matter directly, i found that my concerns were unwarranted. upon investigation, the notion that i would have difficulty functioning in a pce during every-day life came from a deeply-ingrained assumption that if 'i' weren't there to make things function properly, they would somehow cease to and i - as this flesh-and-blood body - would be dysfunctional. it seemed to me that i would be either low-functioning and dim-witted or completely delusional and off my rocker, cut off from 'everyone else'.. i cannot emphasise enough how real these fears felt. yet even then, what i had to gain seemed more important than what i had to lose, and i dared venture forth anyway despite the trepidation. as 'i' (and my feelings) slipped away, i let my life live itself. in doing so, 'my' previous concerns were revealed to be completely unfounded; i had, and have, no trouble at all managing, and managing well, in my day-to-day affairs.

it turns out that the various functions which make day-to-day living possible and easy are largely autonomic; and where they are not, thought takes care of them. for example, the function by which i am able to attribute name to things turns on by itself whenever it is needed (no intervention is necessary). if there is uncertainty or hesitation, then thought comes into play - memories are recollected, associations are recalled, and ta-da! the name arrives.. and does nothing to diminish the infinitude that all this is happening in by default.

i was able to discover this because i dared dream it possible to live like this full-time.


J C:

Secondly, I would like to explain the methodology I employ for this purpose, my sadhana, and hope perhaps you would say whether your sadhana is pure straight ahead Buddhist meditation or not.


my sadhana was, by the end, not at all buddhist meditation, whether pure straight ahead or otherwise. i employed methods advocated by richard (over at his website) and developed some modifications of my own. i explained the method to a practitioner here enquiring about it some weeks ago by way of flowchart; here is that chart again, along with another one which explicates a potentially vague part of the first:

chart
chart 2


J C:

I am a total pragmatist and quite frankly, am doing mantra yoga and a few esoteric yogic techniques and have been for about ten years. There has been a steady deepening of meditative states possible, and after recently coming across "Practicing the Jhanas" and Path of Serenity and Insight, realized that I have been traveling the same experiential sequence quite naturally, due to my particular contemplative yogic practices. I have also been doing Vipassana meditation for about 11 years with numerous Vipassana retreats throughout the year. There is a steady evolution that has happened to me. In reading posts on this website, it seems to me that this approach is pretty "dry" to my way of thinking, and the suffering is great on what yogis like myself might call the path of Jnana. The Path of Heart Centered practices that I know are a smoother ride. However I have the greatest respect for you Jnana yogis. I don't hear much talk about the powerful arising of overwhelming Love and Compassion from you practitioners here though, but rather a more attainment oriented focus. Which seems a bit "dry" to my way of thinking. Hope that assessment is not accurate, but frankly, that's a conclusion I needed to share with you. I am sure this will raise some hackles.


having not been a jnana yogi for a long time now, i will pass over commenting on the differences between what you regard as 'the path of Jnana' and '[t]he Path of Heart Centered practices'.

personally speaking, i don't write about the arising (whether powerful or otherwise) of Love and Compassion because i do not experience them, either overwhelmingly or otherwise, at all. i no longer experience their genesis because i am no longer possessed of their substrate; their source - the much-vaunted Source which inspires mysticism - is literally nowhere to be found here in my experience. that most basic, illusory phenomenon has been completely extirpated from the way this flesh-and-blood body experiences; no feeling of being, nor any feelings (whether compounded in form, or as elementary affects) ever arise here, for they are wholly dependent on that (now extinct) illusory phenomenon's movements. in the absence of the illusion, the absence of its movements; in the absence of its movements, the absence of feelings; in the absence of feelings, the absence of any feelings, no matter how transcendent and sublime. though i can remember, cognitively, what Love and Compassion are, what i experience, directly and uninterruptedly, is the sensate clarity, tranquility, and benignity that the universe experiencing itself as a self-aware human actually is.. in a word: perfection.

EDITED TO INCLUDE: however, i do write about vipassana/insight practice, as well as the samatha jhanas, because i have both practised them and have instructed others in their practice with significant benefit. while my own aim (and where i would wish others also aim) was (and is), ultimately, toward an end which is different from the ideal of enlightenment, i cannot deny that insight practice has been immensely helpful in arriving at that end (and so may be helpful to others who wish to seek it).

the word 'dry' has many definitions; the dictionary i consulted listed twenty-two, and of those i found six which i considered might suit your meaning. instead of replying to all those possibilities directly, it seems more expedient to ask you which, of the following definitions, you meant by your characterisation of the discussion you've read on the dharma overground as 'dry':

15. Having no adornment or coloration; plain: the dry facts.
16. Devoid of bias or personal concern: presented a dry critique.
17. a. Lacking tenderness, warmth, or involvement; severe: The actor gave a dry reading of the lines. b. Matter-of-fact or indifferent in manner: rattled off the facts in a dry mechanical tone.
18. Wearisome; dull: a dry lecture filled with trivial details.
19. Humorous or sarcastic in a shrewd, impersonal way: dry wit.
[...]
21. Unproductive of the expected results: a mind dry of new ideas.

EDIT: so which do you mean?

tarin
Peter J Malek, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 2 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
the prisoner greco:

it turns out that the various functions which make day-to-day living possible and easy are largely autonomic; and where they are not, thought takes care of them. for example, the function by which i am able to attribute name to things turns on by itself whenever it is needed (no intervention is necessary). if there is uncertainty or hesitation, then thought comes into play - memories are recollected, associations are recalled, and ta-da! the name arrives.. and does nothing to diminish the infinitude that all this is happening in by default.

i was able to discover this because i dared dream it possible to live like this full-time.



Hi Tarin,

Do you consider this state superior to normal arahantship?

How has this attainment affected you morally and socially?

Is life more enjoyable than in your previous arahant experience?

Does meditation help to get there? If so, what kind?

If you were starting over, would you aim at this state directly or still choose to go there via the path of insight?

Peter
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the prisoner greco, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Peter J Malek:
the prisoner greco:

it turns out that the various functions which make day-to-day living possible and easy are largely autonomic; and where they are not, thought takes care of them. for example, the function by which i am able to attribute name to things turns on by itself whenever it is needed (no intervention is necessary). if there is uncertainty or hesitation, then thought comes into play - memories are recollected, associations are recalled, and ta-da! the name arrives.. and does nothing to diminish the infinitude that all this is happening in by default.

i was able to discover this because i dared dream it possible to live like this full-time.



hi peter,

Peter J Malek:

Do you consider this state superior to normal arahantship?


yes, vastly.

Peter J Malek:

How has this attainment affected you morally and socially?


if, by that, you are asking how my standard of social conduct (my etiquette and behaviour) have been affected by this attainment, then i would say it (the attainment) has left me completely free to be patient, considerate, kindly, and helpful (when appropriate).

the character of the world i live in is, for lack of better words, inherently beneficient and magnanimous.

Peter J Malek:

Is life more enjoyable than in your previous arahant experience?


oh yes.

Peter J Malek:

Does meditation help to get there? If so, what kind?


this is a difficult question to answer, and has proven somewhat controversial. there is reason to think both 'yes' and 'no', but i cannot say i know clearly either way. if meditation were useful for arriving here, it would be because getting enlightened is useful for arriving here.. in which case, i would recommend insight practice. on the other hand, there are people who have arrived here who did not get enlightened beforehand.

whether previously enlightened or not, what everyone i know who has done this has had in common was the pure intent (to arrive to such a state). this - pure intent - is clearly the most determining factor.


Peter J Malek:

If you were starting over, would you aim at this state directly or still choose to go there via the path of insight?


if i were starting over and knew it were possible, i would aim at this state directly.

tarin
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I think that a few aspects of this discussion require careful clarification around a few points, namely what arahatship is, various modes of arahatship (yes, there are subcategories and complexities), how this relates to whatever various people attained, and how this relates to AF.

I believe that a few of the simplifications here are premature and some of the comparisons not quite right, but before I jump in further I would like to have had a little more time with a few things and a few more conversations, but as things are proceeding as they are, I find myself responding before I feel that I am completely certain of linguistic, conceptual and experiential clarity on a few points, as well as how this correlates with what others have experienced and are describing, and I think the topic is too important to do it badly or even anything less than really well and with great care.

I realize that I drew no specific conclusions and sound a bit vague, which is not my typical style, but I think that some more work needs to be done to make sure everyone is on exactly the same page at least as far as the language goes, as well as some other things that are hard topics to be perfectly clear on and can hit very close to home, even in those who claim to have nothing to hit, as it were.
Aman A., modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
J C:

I'm going to say that it was one of the following:
Emptiness, ?


It does sound like an experience of emptiness. I have had a similar experience and compared to it, PCE seems fabricated. AF doesn't have appeal after this.

You may read Nagarjuna's Mula madhyamaka karika and Heart Sutra.

http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/verses2.htm

As emptiness is a part of Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada people may not have much to say about this as well as someone from AF.
J C, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Freed from naming things

Posts: 26 Join Date: 4/5/10 Recent Posts
Hi folks,
I attend a week long retreat annually. One year ago, the theme was the nameless state as noted above. Just to provide an update about this last repeat three weeks ago the following happened:
As usual, the endless audio track of obsessing thoughts slow down and the witness mentality becomes stablized over the first day. The second day is noteworthy as usual with the emotion of grief and joy which are flip sides of the same coin. This always arises in this sequence. Then day three is notable for further stabilization, with dramatic stabilization of maintaining awareness continuously on the breath more or less, for most sittings, though the period of time from noon to around 3 PM is the best interval for alertness and prowess during that puny interval. By day four and beyond, there is a dramatic becalming of consciousness, with awareness easily resting with one-pointed awareness on the breath. Insights as to every day life and mythologies of small self become apparent.
The really dramatic insights seem to occur upon awakening from sleep around 3 AM:
On the morning of day five, I awoke from sleep with a panoramic perception that was incredibly wide and three dimensional compared to ordinary conventional perception. It was being engulfed in timelessness, in cosmic infinite space. It was more real by the exponential factor of an additional dimension compared to the puny two dimensional feeling of conventional reality. This was like sitting in a futuristic time machine behind a magnificent control panel of a high tech race car, and as if the small self was a toddler, not daring to touch any buttons or controls on the dashboard. It was reality with a capital letter R.

This was not a dream, but was occurring while awake, and an exhilerating liberation, and there were minutes to appreciate the magnitude and beauty of this before everyday consciousness came into play.
I am not framing this in terminology of Daniel's book, nor can I relate to such, but rather in terminology that seems most descriptive of this experience.
As was true with the "Nameless State" noted originally in this thread, this is the latest installment for me in this Journey. This Mystery. For what it's worth.
John C