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Enlightenment and the path which leads there (Key edit now in first post!)

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Enlightenment and the path which leads there (Key edit now in first post!) T DC 12/21/13 12:42 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. (D Z) Dhru Val 9/24/13 2:49 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Tom Tom 9/24/13 4:22 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/24/13 8:19 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. (D Z) Dhru Val 9/24/13 9:08 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Zyndo Zyhion 1/1/14 9:29 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Jinxed P 9/24/13 9:07 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/24/13 9:49 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/24/13 11:08 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 9/25/13 7:46 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. . Jake . 9/25/13 10:43 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/25/13 11:23 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/25/13 11:49 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 9/25/13 5:20 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/25/13 9:55 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris M 9/25/13 11:29 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/26/13 12:11 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris M 9/26/13 12:32 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 9/26/13 3:32 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/26/13 5:53 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Jinxed P 9/26/13 7:52 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 9/27/13 3:56 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/25/13 9:37 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. William Finch 9/25/13 10:57 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Brother Pussycat 9/26/13 3:14 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Change A. 9/29/13 6:26 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/29/13 10:40 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. (D Z) Dhru Val 9/30/13 2:20 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Daniel M. Ingram 9/30/13 4:15 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Brother Pussycat 9/30/13 5:34 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Change A. 10/1/13 10:48 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Dream Walker 9/30/13 12:23 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/30/13 12:35 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 9/30/13 11:31 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Daniel M. Ingram 10/1/13 4:50 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Nikolai . 10/1/13 6:30 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/1/13 4:24 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Dream Walker 10/1/13 1:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris Marti 10/1/13 3:43 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/1/13 4:22 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris Marti 10/1/13 5:34 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/1/13 5:49 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris Marti 10/1/13 6:12 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/1/13 10:20 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 10/1/13 3:48 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Jinxed P 10/1/13 7:33 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/1/13 7:59 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/1/13 11:12 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/1/13 11:55 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 10/2/13 2:55 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 10/2/13 4:34 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/2/13 5:32 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Adam . . 10/2/13 5:57 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/2/13 6:11 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Adam . . 10/2/13 6:22 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Jinxed P 10/2/13 5:58 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/2/13 6:16 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Jinxed P 10/2/13 8:48 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Jinxed P 10/2/13 9:07 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/2/13 10:16 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. James Yen 10/2/13 10:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Adam . . 10/2/13 11:07 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. James Yen 10/3/13 12:00 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. James Yen 10/3/13 12:05 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Adam . . 10/3/13 12:27 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/3/13 12:43 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Adam . . 10/3/13 1:25 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 10/3/13 3:40 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/3/13 12:37 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris Marti 10/2/13 6:47 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/2/13 7:37 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Adam . . 10/2/13 8:09 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/2/13 10:07 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Chris Marti 10/3/13 7:35 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/17/13 12:13 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Banned For waht? 10/3/13 3:16 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 10/4/13 3:15 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Dannon F 10/14/13 8:28 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Dannon F 10/14/13 8:32 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Dannon F 10/14/13 8:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/15/13 8:18 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/16/13 10:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/16/13 11:49 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/17/13 12:07 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/17/13 5:07 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/17/13 11:54 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/17/13 11:03 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 10/18/13 2:12 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/18/13 3:50 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/18/13 4:00 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/19/13 3:49 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. (D Z) Dhru Val 10/19/13 6:31 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/19/13 7:34 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Banned For waht? 10/20/13 9:48 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 10/19/13 10:16 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 10/20/13 2:21 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/20/13 10:29 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 10/21/13 3:08 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. PP 10/21/13 6:41 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. sawfoot _ 10/21/13 7:54 AM
Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) sawfoot _ 12/20/13 7:17 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/20/13 9:32 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) Bill F. 12/20/13 10:41 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/21/13 1:57 AM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) Bill F. 12/21/13 9:27 AM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/21/13 9:51 AM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) lama carrot top 12/20/13 11:08 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/21/13 1:31 AM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) sawfoot _ 12/21/13 3:00 AM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/21/13 12:07 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) sawfoot _ 12/21/13 10:57 AM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/21/13 12:38 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) Bill F. 12/21/13 12:43 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) T DC 12/21/13 1:08 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) Nikolai . 12/21/13 1:25 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) (D Z) Dhru Val 12/21/13 2:08 PM
RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!) Bill F. 12/21/13 1:28 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/20/13 9:53 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. An Eternal Now 12/31/13 5:51 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/16/13 10:49 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Mr. Marga 10/17/13 8:16 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/18/13 6:11 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. William Finch 10/19/13 8:51 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/20/13 10:19 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. William Finch 10/20/13 11:45 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Mr. Marga 10/22/13 5:00 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/22/13 3:47 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Mr. Marga 10/23/13 12:30 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/23/13 4:51 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. Mr. Marga 10/24/13 7:48 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/25/13 6:09 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 12/20/13 3:20 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. B B 10/21/13 8:43 AM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there. T DC 10/24/13 1:32 PM
RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there (Key edit now in firs T DC 12/22/13 1:43 PM
EDIT: What I am arguing is that there is a common progression in attainment among all practitioners. This idea is not foreign to this community, indeed few would assume that one could attain 2nd path without first attaining 1st path, or that having attained 1st path, one could then attain 3rd path without first attaining 2nd path. What I am proposing is simply that this linear system of attainment continues on up until full enlightenment. (And I have mapped it below)

Hello! (Please note: a map with detailed explanations has been posted (far) below)

I am posting this thread to share with you all two things. One: enlightenment does exist, and two: the path one must tread to reach it is clearly delineated.

First: Enlightenment does exist. How do I know this? I am fully enlightened. I have deepened enlightenment to the fullest extent, such that no suffering, or confusion remains. What do I mean by this? I will explain..

We suffer from a sense of separation, from a sense of being a separate entity from all other things around us.. This sense of separation is caused by confusion as to the way things actually are. When the confusion causing us to believe ourselves separate is eradicated, we know that we are a part of the whole. This is enlightenment. Enlightenment is felt as a union with all things.

From a nuts and bolts standpoint, basically; we have awareness, which sees, and we have thoughts, karmic patterns which float across our mind. In our confusion, we have identified with our thoughts. Our awareness is a point in boundless space, in which exist our thoughts. We have disregarded the boundless space, choosing instead to identify with our thoughts.

The truth is though, we are not just our thoughts. Really we are the boundless space, that which composes all things. A drop of water in the ocean is one whole with the entire ocean, and is not separate. It is the same for ourselves with the whole of reality. To know this unquestioningly in ones experience is enlightenment.

The experience of enlightenment is one of constant fulfillment, constant vibrations of intense pleasure. However upon awakening to non-duality, there is still a path of sorts. Karmic patterns remain. The fabled karmic storehouse, or reservoir, has yet to be emptied. Thus thoughts still move across ones' mind. However, having fully overcome confusion, one can never again believe themselves to be separate. The thoughts in the mind are experienced, but are not grasped at, they simply move though.

After time with continued practice, there will come a time when the karmic storehouse is exhausted. The last neurotic thought moves through ones' mind. Then there is complete peace in all waking moments. There is nothing to do or want, life is a blissful experience, for one feels the love of the universe, and knows that nothing is separate from that. One has love for all beings, and all things, for the boundless space of which all is composed with no exceptions, is composed of love.


Second: the path to enlightenment is clearly delineated. How do I know this? I know the path because I walked it. I walked it by meditating and following Buddhist teachings.

What I am offering here is a map of the attainments one goes through on the way to enlightenment. The path, and thus the map, are linear; one proceeds from one end to another, without, for all practical purposes, skipping any steps. The bars delineate the yana transition points, as well as the transition between Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Be aware, the steps in this map (the attainments) are delineated using teachings from MCTB, and Tibetan Buddhism. Thus their names reflect that. The names are pointing at something which is beyond the trappings of religion, it is at its core human spiritual development. Please ask if you have any other questions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hinayana
1st path
2nd path
3rd path
4th path : Form is empty. --------------------------------------------------------------Mahayana

Emptiness also is form
Form is none other than emptiness
Emptiness is none other than form -------------------------------------------------Vajrayana (Mahamudra)

The Mahamudra attainments

Recognition of thought as separate from observer------------------------------- (Dzogchen)
Increasing
Full recognition of Space as Awareness: 6th level of Shamatha

7th level of Shamatha
8th level
9th level

10th level : Seeing through the self : 1st vision of Thodgal

2nd vision
3rd
4th : Enlightenment : eradication of dualistic thinking.------------------------------------------------

(path: working through karmic reservoir)

State of Bliss : the end of the road : no more karma.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 2:49 AM as a reply to T DC.
The path laid out in the map is legit AFAIK.

The map itself could be more clear and avoid words like hinyana etc.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 4:22 AM as a reply to T DC.
Reginald Ray (a knowledeable and accomplished Vajrayana teacher) states in his book "Indestructible Truth:" "The term Hinayana has sometimes been mistaken as a designation for specific historical schools, such as the Theravada"p. 75..."Each school, whether classified as Hinayana, Mahayana, or Vajrayana, has practitioners at all levels of understanding. For example, one can be a member of a Hinayana school yet have a Vajrayana level of understanding, or follow a Vajrayana school with a Mahayana level of understanding." pg 238.

Therefore, equating all 4 paths with Hinayana (or Mahayana) is not necessarily correct in all cases (the territory from 2nd to 4th varies case to case and there are varying definitions of what constitutes 4th).

Also, why the emphasis on boundless space as "us"? Is it not just more sensations/phenomena? Daniel clearly states in mctb that formless realms are not the final answer..

I don't doubt that you have come to a place of great peace/bliss of mind.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 9:07 AM as a reply to T DC.
Thank you T DC,

Still I have a few questions.

1. If you were to be chased by a tiger would you feel anxiety? Since you probably haven't been chased by a tiger, what about nearly getting into a car accident or turbulence on a plane? I recall the Dalai Lama saying that he was scared while flying when he was younger. Is there any situation where you still experience anxiety or sadness? Death of a loved one?

2.Do other people notice and comment on how you are blissed out all the time?

3. How long did it take you to complete the whole path?

4. How many hours a day on average did you meditate?

5. Do you have a normal job? How has your attainments affected your performance at work?

6. Do you still have friends, girlfriends, still engage in sex?

7. Do you watch television shows? Go hiking? Do anything that most people consider 'fun'? Or do you just sit around and bliss?

8. Does your mood fluctuate at all? If you were to only get two hours of sleep would you not feel as good as if you got in a good night's sleep?

9. Do you feel the need to exercise?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 9:49 AM as a reply to T DC.
How do you reconcile your map with the fact that Mahayana and Vajrayana and Mahamudra and Dzogchen didn't exist when the Buddha was alive and teaching? What does that say about the Buddha's attainment or what the Buddha taught?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 8:19 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Pawel K - So to clarify on how the map is laid out, those horizontal bars which delineate the yanas are placed at the break point attainments. Thus, for example, seeing that emptiness is none other than form is the last attainment of the Mahayana, and the entrance to the Vajrayana, it is a yana-switching point attainment.

As for "recognition of thought at separate from observer", that attainment is correctly placed on the map. Why does this concern you? Note that I named this attainment as such because I thought that was an appropriate name for it, but the name is not completely self-explanatory. The names of the attainments are pointing at experiences, and experiences cannot be fully encapsulated in words.

Tom Tom:
Reginald Ray (a knowledeable and accomplished Vajrayana teacher) states in his book "Indestructible Truth:" "The term Hinayana has sometimes been mistaken as a designation for specific historical schools, such as the Theravada"p. 75..."Each school, whether classified as Hinayana, Mahayana, or Vajrayana, has practitioners at all levels of understanding. For example, one can be a member of a Hinayana school yet have a Vajrayana level of understanding, or follow a Vajrayana school with a Mahayana level of understanding." pg 238.

Therefore, equating all 4 paths with Hinayana (or Mahayana) is not necessarily correct in all cases (the territory from 2nd to 4th varies case to case and there are varying definitions of what constitutes 4th).


The way this map is meant to be interpreted is from the standpoint of efficient progression in attainments. Each yana, each level of practice has a different approach to the path, they use different tools. Frankly, (my opinion), these tool work best when followed in the way the map is set up. For example...

The Hinayana, the narrow path, does not use lots of fancy practices. The focus is on morality, building concentration, and then building insight. I.e. not committing disharmonious actions which will affect your state of mind, upon that building your concentration ability, and then using that to gain insight. The Hinayana is the path of discipline, strict nose to the grindstone. People need this when they first start out. They need to calm down in their lives, start calming down their minds, and ultimately gaining insight. When you start out on the path, trying to take on everybody's suffering is probably going to be a bit much, and god forbid you try to visualize yourself as anything.

However, once you've seen that thoughts are empty, and you know in your experience that your own mental creations aren't all there is, there's a lot more space of mind. What you need to do now in order to progress is to open yourself up. You need to shift your focus off yourself, and onto reality. So this is a prime time for the Mahayana teachings of taking on the suffering of others, and giving up your own personal gain. Frankly, I was somewhat stuck at 4th path, and what helped me moved forward, along with the Mahayana teachings, was getting a girlfriend, because I was forced to care about somebody other than myself.

And then the Vajrayana has it's own unique teachings.. Back to your post, I admit, I am not a Buddhist scholar, I don't know how exactly Buddhism was practiced in Tibet, and I never practiced any sort of Vajrayana visualization type practice. What I did was practice simple meditation (and some lojong...) and follow along the paths of attainments which are outlined in various places in Tibetan Buddhism. What I offer you here is a synthesis of these attainment paths.

So when I say; 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th path are relegated to the Hinayana, what I mean is A. These are attainments which are explicitly, and best treated by the Hinayana teachings, and so on.. and B. when you have finished these attainments, you would likely be best served to move on to a more appropriate set of teachings to get further on the path.

If you are a card carrying member of a Hinayana school who, though you have reached a level of practice which may be better dealt with by a different school, have chosen not to pursue those options, that's fine. It may not be the most efficient use of your time, but that's for you to decide, or figure out. So obviously I have an opinion about that.. And, different strokes for different folks. I hope this map helps an audience, but everyone's unique a little bit.

Tom Tom:
Also, why the emphasis on boundless space as "us"? Is it not just more sensations/phenomena? Daniel clearly states in mctb that formless realms are not the final answer..

I don't doubt that you have come to a place of great peace/bliss of mind.


I emphasize boundless space because that's just a good way to describe it. We and everything is composed of minute vibrating particles, which you could also call emptiness. This is not a formless realm. This is experience when you can see beyond conceptual thought.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 9:08 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

As for "recognition of thought at separate from observer", that attainment is correctly placed on the map. Why does this concern you? Note that I named this attainment as such because I thought that was an appropriate name for it, but the name is not completely self-explanatory. The names of the attainments are pointing at experiences, and experiences cannot be fully encapsulated in words.


The "recognition of through as separate form observer" can be interpreted to be 2 different experiences.

1. Taking clarity as a true self, that serves as a background observer to thought.
2. Separating the recognition of primordial awareness from thought.

The first one is not Dzogchen. But more like Self-realization.

It would be useful if you have the time and inclination to add some short descriptions or pointers for each stage. I would be quite interested in reading them. Specially for 4 visions of togal.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/24/13 11:08 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
How do you reconcile your map with the fact that Mahayana and Vajrayana and Mahamudra and Dzogchen didn't exist when the Buddha was alive and teaching? What does that say about the Buddha's attainment or what the Buddha taught?


That fact that those teachings may not have existed at the time of the Buddha does not in anyway mean the Buddha wasn't fully enlightened. All Buddhist traditions revere the Buddha as number one, in terms of prestige. If it really says anything, I think it's a testament to the possibility of enlightenment. Other beings were able to free themselves after the time of the Buddha, and thus they were able to pass on detailed teachings as to how to get to enlightenment.

Jinxed P:
Thank you T DC,

Still I have a few questions.


Alright, good questions. I re-arranged them a bit by theme.

Jinxed P:
1. If you were to be chased by a tiger would you feel anxiety? Since you probably haven't been chased by a tiger, what about nearly getting into a car accident or turbulence on a plane? I recall the Dalai Lama saying that he was scared while flying when he was younger. Is there any situation where you still experience anxiety or sadness? Death of a loved one?

5. Do you have a normal job? How has your attainments affected your performance at work?

8. Does your mood fluctuate at all? If you were to only get two hours of sleep would you not feel as good as if you got in a good night's sleep?

9. Do you feel the need to exercise?

6. Do you still have friends, girlfriends, still engage in sex?


So, in a life threatening situation, being attacked by a tiger, I would probably be like, "shit!! Shit!!" and try to fight it off. What I wouldn't do is have and then totally buy into a bunch of terrified, and essentially unrelated thoughts.

In all these questions, you have to keep in mind; I still have a physical body. I still live on earth. I still have to eat things, if you stab me I will bleed. Haha, question 9: if I don't exercise I will get fat. I'm not neurotic about getting fat, but I am aware that I feel better when I'm healthy. If you ask why I feel better when I'm healthy, then you're missing the point I'm trying to make. I'm still human, I'm just not confused any more.

I can imagine how hard this is to understand, and why you want so much specifics. I'll try to give you some perspective. However keep in mind that you will practice ultimately not because my life's awesome, but because your life sucks.

5. I go to school. I feel happier now, and am not distracted by neurotic thoughts. I still have to learn things. I don't just know everything all of a sudden. One thing; I can express myself more clearly now because I know exactly what I want to say.

8. Yes I need a good amount of sleep. 6. Yes, I have a girlfriend, and that is awesome. Sharing love with people is why we're here in a way, and healthy relationships are good. Haha, do I engage in sex, no I'm abstinent all the time just for fun (sorry jk).

Jinxed P:
2.Do other people notice and comment on how you are blissed out all the time?

7. Do you watch television shows? Go hiking? Do anything that most people consider 'fun'? Or do you just sit around and bliss?


Look man, the point of the path is to live an good life. Now that I've gotten over my meaningless neurotic confusion, I am naturally fully engaged in life, and it's awesome. So I try take advantage of that. I like to get out in nature, I'm stoked for ski season, and hopefully I get to shred much deep pow bro. No, I don't watch television, that shit's not real life. I do get pretty distracted by the internet though.

One thing I forgot to mention: I'm content. I'm content with my life; I could die right now and I would accept that. Do I want to go have fun outdoors? Sure! Am I going to be broken if I don't get to? No. Just being alive is pretty fun in and of itself, but a little spice doesn't hurt.

Jinxed P:
3. How long did it take you to complete the whole path?

4. How many hours a day on average did you meditate?


3 years to enlightenment, and another 4 months to the end of karma. Meditated for at least a half hour everyday, often twice a day, and often more. When I wasn't meditating though, I was still trying to be as mindful and aware as possible.

I wanted enlightenment so badly, maybe you don't understand.. That's why I'm how I am today, I put in the absolute ton of effort that it takes. If you want it, it's never too much, because you know within that you have to it. If you really want it, you will do what it takes.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 7:46 AM as a reply to T DC.
hi TDC

Thanks for posting this. As someone who has claimed to gone through all these paths in such a short space of time in a western context, your experiences are very interesting.

On another thread you wrote this:

Beyond the full recognition of non-duality, I have seen through all of my karma, such that no conceptual thought remains in my mind.


Can you explain? At first blush it seems non-sensical as you have to use conceptual though in your mind in order to use language and write that sentence.

And from a non-buddhist perspective (i.e. no belief in reincarnation etc.)., I don't understand what you mean by karma and how you can eliminate it - "no more karma". If you see karma as related to your experiences that gives rise to memories that influence your behaviour, then I don't understand you can eradicate those.

Edit:

I see you have answered some questions about this in that thread:


Yes, here I am referring to a permanent shift. There was a moment of full-recognition of non-duality, which came at the end of a long path. At this point however, my karma, or 'storehouse' of thought patterns, was not exhausted. The exhaustion of the karmic storehouse occurred, and the end of conceptual thought and emotion disturbance occurred also as a distinct moment, in which it was finished. It remains finished, there is no possibility of un-finishment.

As for seeing through Karma, once you reside in non-duality, and are thus enlightened, your karmic patterns have no hold on you, they simply blow through your mind. However they do blow through, which is somewhat irritating. Having continued to meditate after enlightenment, I saw through more and more of my conceptual baggage, until at last there was no more.

Five poisons, five wisdoms, who can say if this is really accurate. After I was enlightened I still experienced most notably jealousy and insecurity. I do not think it was an expression of wisdom. Having exhausted all karma, this issue is no more. I now bask in a state of radiant self-confidence 24/7, haha, but seriously.


I guess what I understand least is the metaphor of a "karmic storehouse", in that it is just a metaphor and I think the metaphor may be misleading in describing what is actually going on.

My understanding of what you are claiming is that you have cured neuroticism by stopping having neurotic thoughts/emotions, rather than stopping thoughts and emotions altogether, and this for you is the end of the path.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 10:43 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:


I guess what I understand least is the metaphor of a "karmic storehouse", in that it is just a metaphor and I think the metaphor may be misleading in describing what is actually going on.



You could google 'eight consciousnesses' and 'yogachara' and see what pops up. The eight consciousnesses model is very common in Mahayana and Vajrayana.

The first five: physical senses
sixth: mental consciousness
seventh: 'defiled' consciousness; I've heard this well explained as the patterns of grasping/aversion/delusion which distort the other seven consciousnesses, the consciousness that believes in a solid separate self.
eighth consciousness: 'storehouse' which refers basicaly to subconscious impressions.

Basically the idea is, in everyday experience, you have experiences arising from two sources. On the one hand, you have present sense inputs at the six sense gates. On the other hand, you have past impressions, both coming up in response to present stimuli and just coming up randomly (notice, they are registered in/by the sixth consciousness). When you are dreaming at night, it's pretty much JUST past impressions coming up and combining (possibly in novel ways) with little or no sense input. The seventh consciousness is always trying to manage these present stimuli, past impressions, and behavioral responses, based on its erroneous belief in a solid separate self. This meta-process of grasping/resistance creates the emotional flavors of neuroticism (felt in the whole body mind as karmic emotional drives), and perhaps the intellectual obscurations as well, I'm not sure how they factor into the theory. That's a basic overview of how the 'storehouse' fits in.

ETA: so according to my rough understanding of this model, the seventh consciousness's activities are creating a flavor of ego in experience that colors all impressions one takes of each moment's experience; these impressions then resurface from the storehouse when triggered to do so. By meditating and relaxing the activity of the 7th consciousness till it falls into abeyance, one has glimpses of the awakened state, which means one is taking impressions of experience unclouded by those erroneous beliefs and reaction patterns. One could have a decisive breakthrough which leaves one liberated from the feeling of being a separate solid self, yet still have many entrenched patterns of acting out that belief in one's storehouse which continue to arise, disturbing one (and others if one expresses those patterns behaviorally). So the further work is to 'empty the storehouse' and 'work through past karma' alongside stopping to create new karma (not acting out based on the arising impressions of karmic states from the storehouse). Those last two may well be the same thing.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 11:23 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:


I guess what I understand least is the metaphor of a "karmic storehouse", in that it is just a metaphor and I think the metaphor may be misleading in describing what is actually going on.

My understanding of what you are claiming is that you have cured neuroticism by stopping having neurotic thoughts/emotions, rather than stopping thoughts and emotions altogether, and this for you is the end of the path.


Alright, so what I meant by the metaphor of the karmic storehouse is essentially a backlog of karmic patterns. By karmic patterns I mean thoughts and emotions. I have not stopped thoughts by for instance, putting up a barrier; I have emptied the storehouse. Thoughts stopped on their own accord because they were exhausted, there were no more. Does this help?

I would define neuroticism as buying into thoughts. When I became enlightened I ceased to do that. Seeing through all of my karmic baggage meant the end of all thoughts, as I explained above.

Paweł K:
@T DC
As for "recognition of thought at separate from observer", that attainment is correctly placed on the map. Why does this concern you?

This is basic stuff, definitely pre-SE. Care to explain why you placed it where you placed it or will you continue being rude?

However keep in mind that you will practice ultimately not because my life's awesome, but because your life sucks.

seriously? O_o


What I have called "recognition of thought as separate from observer" is not what you think it is. It is much deeper than some sort of pre-stream entry attainment. It is the end attainment of Mahamudra. I just called it what I called it. I had to call it something.

When I said why does it concern you, what I meant is, why does it cause you concern? Why are you bothered? Unless you are far down the path, you will not be able to comment on this map's validity, simply because that's the way it is. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm trying to be as straightforward as I can. Without experience of attainments, there is no real understanding of them.

As for what I said to Jinxed; maybe that seemed harsh, let me offer an explanation. He is asking all sorts of questions for some reason. Whatever the reason, my experiences do not actually matter to him, other than that he understands enlightenment is possible. Like I said, he is not going to practice because I am happy, he is going to practice because he is suffering, so to some extent, wanting to know so much about my experience is unnecessary. I'm not trying to tell him his life sucks, I'm making a point.

D Z:

The "recognition of through as separate form observer" can be interpreted to be 2 different experiences.

1. Taking clarity as a true self, that serves as a background observer to thought.
2. Separating the recognition of primordial awareness from thought.

The first one is not Dzogchen. But more like Self-realization.

It would be useful if you have the time and inclination to add some short descriptions or pointers for each stage. I would be quite interested in reading them. Specially for 4 visions of togal.


It can be interpreted, but that's not the point. For the purpose of this map, just rest assured that what I am referring to is the end attainment of the Mahamudra system.

I would like to add some descriptions, however I don't have a lot of free time. As for the visions of thodgal, I didn't really experience anything super spectacular, mostly just shifts in awareness. If you really want to know, there was a period of time when I saw floating circles, haha. If you have questions about stages more relevant to your practice maybe, I would be happy to go into more detail.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 11:49 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
How do you reconcile your map with the fact that Mahayana and Vajrayana and Mahamudra and Dzogchen didn't exist when the Buddha was alive and teaching? What does that say about the Buddha's attainment or what the Buddha taught?


That fact that those teachings may not have existed at the time of the Buddha does not in anyway mean the Buddha wasn't fully enlightened. All Buddhist traditions revere the Buddha as number one, in terms of prestige. If it really says anything, I think it's a testament to the possibility of enlightenment. Other beings were able to free themselves after the time of the Buddha, and thus they were able to pass on detailed teachings as to how to get to enlightenment.

Alright. I guess what I'm asking is why the need for anything besides "Hinaya" if "Hinaya" is all that was when the Buddha taught? As in, why isn't the Pali Canon enough for everyone? Is it that the teachings were lost and people discovered them, or people found better ways (Mahayana, Vajrayana) to get to the same place? I'm curious what your take on it is.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 5:20 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I would define neuroticism as buying into thoughts. When I became enlightened I ceased to do that. Seeing through all of my karmic baggage meant the end of all thoughts, as I explained above.



As I suggested above, to say you have ended all thoughts (and all emotions) makes no sense given what I (and what I assume most people) mean by the word "thoughts". I.e. you need thoughts in order to use language etc...So for you to say that be accurately describing your experience I would assume you must have a very different meaning of what "thoughts" are, which makes it difficult to understand what states of mind you experience are like.


Alright, so what I meant by the metaphor of the karmic storehouse is essentially a backlog of karmic patterns. By karmic patterns I mean thoughts and emotions. I have not stopped thoughts by for instance, putting up a barrier; I have emptied the storehouse. Thoughts stopped on their own accord because they were exhausted, there were no more. Does this help?


Thanks for the explanation Jake, btw.. I have been reading about storehouse consciousness recently actually, but that gets to the crux I think. So as a metaphor and as a framework, I can see it being useful for buddhists trying to make sense of the mind and karma, but in terms of a modern scientific understanding of how the mind/brain works, it is hard to take very seriously.

[Unless you are far down the path, you will not be able to comment on this map's validity, simply because that's the way it is. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm trying to be as straightforward as I can. Without experience of attainments, there is no real understanding of them.


Oh, so that settles that then! It is just the way it is...

You are speculating about your experiences based on a buddhist theory. Your map's validity partly rests on this theory (I.e you can "exhaust your karma"), and this theory is not fully based on your experience but on what you have learnt in buddhist teachings. So I think it is fair game for others to comment on the validity if that validity rests on theoretical assumptions which only indirectly relate to direct experience. Especially when that theory may be erroneous.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 9:37 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
T DC:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
How do you reconcile your map with the fact that Mahayana and Vajrayana and Mahamudra and Dzogchen didn't exist when the Buddha was alive and teaching? What does that say about the Buddha's attainment or what the Buddha taught?


That fact that those teachings may not have existed at the time of the Buddha does not in anyway mean the Buddha wasn't fully enlightened. All Buddhist traditions revere the Buddha as number one, in terms of prestige. If it really says anything, I think it's a testament to the possibility of enlightenment. Other beings were able to free themselves after the time of the Buddha, and thus they were able to pass on detailed teachings as to how to get to enlightenment.

Alright. I guess what I'm asking is why the need for anything besides "Hinaya" if "Hinaya" is all that was when the Buddha taught? As in, why isn't the Pali Canon enough for everyone? Is it that the teachings were lost and people discovered them, or people found better ways (Mahayana, Vajrayana) to get to the same place? I'm curious what your take on it is.


Ok, I think I see what you're asking. Buddha taught both the Hinayana and the Mahayana. In the second turning of the wheel of dharma, he taught teachings on emptiness, and gave us the Heart Sutra, and several others. The Heart Sutra is pretty much the definitive Mahayana teaching, at least attainment wise.

The Vajrayana emerged some centuries after the Buddha, in India apparently. That just came from a google search, I don't know much more about its origins.

I elaborated my take on the yana's somewhat in a previous post in this thread to Tom Tom, but pretty much, I think the three yana's have different styles of practice each of which are especially helpful depending on where you're at on the path. My take is that one should proceed though the yana's as one gains attainment, as indicated in the above map.

If the Pali Cannon enough? I don't know, I haven't read much of it at all. The reason why I think people should progress through the yana's, the reason I wrote that map of attainment, is because I think a clear guide on why you are practicing is an incredibly helpful tool at all levels of practice. So essentially I'm advocating doing what works in order to progress on the path.

As I think Daniel extremely helpfully laid out in MCTB, you're not practicing to become a better person, and if you are, then that's a distraction. You are practicing in order to progress along the path, to progress in attainments, and to eventually attain enlightenment. That's the goal. So I approached practice that way, and this map reflects that.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 9:55 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
I would define neuroticism as buying into thoughts. When I became enlightened I ceased to do that. Seeing through all of my karmic baggage meant the end of all thoughts, as I explained above.



As I suggested above, to say you have ended all thoughts (and all emotions) makes no sense given what I (and what I assume most people) mean by the word "thoughts". I.e. you need thoughts in order to use language etc...So for you to say that be accurately describing your experience I would assume you must have a very different meaning of what "thoughts" are, which makes it difficult to understand what states of mind you experience are like.


No, I'm just the same as you. Thoughts are thoughts. I know it's hard to imagine, but somehow it works to live without thoughts. I'm not an expert on this, I just do it. Actually if you re-read the end of Jake's response about the karmic storehouse, he hit the nail on the head.


sawfoot _:

TDC:
[Unless you are far down the path, you will not be able to comment on this map's validity, simply because that's the way it is. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm trying to be as straightforward as I can. Without experience of attainments, there is no real understanding of them.


Oh, so that settles that then! It is just the way it is...

You are speculating about your experiences based on a buddhist theory. Your map's validity partly rests on this theory (I.e you can "exhaust your karma"), and this theory is not fully based on your experience but on what you have learnt in buddhist teachings. So I think it is fair game for others to comment on the validity if that validity rests on theoretical assumptions which only indirectly relate to direct experience. Especially when that theory may be erroneous.


No, you're missing the point. 1. My map clearly doesn't rest on this supposed theory I have about karma, it stands solidly by itself without that bit, right until you get to the end, at which point I have a stage for karmic exhaustion.
2. Alright, now that you're convinced I'm fooling myself and making up theories, you're off the deep end. You are no longer making logical arguments, what you're doing is assuming you know where I'm at, which you clearly don't.

And lastly I will say this again, for it has fallen on deaf ears, if you have not attained a level of attainment at or above that one on the map which you are trying to critique, it's no use arguing, you don't know what you're talking about. If you have two people, both from England, one still lives there and has never left, the other traveled to and lives in the arctic, assuming there is one path only to the arctic, is their any use in an argument between the two about the way from England to the arctic? Does the person who never left England have any idea what he is talking about? No, there is no use arguing, the reason being, the person from England has never left home, and thus has no idea what he's talking about, except by hearsay, which frankly doesn't count.

Why doesn't it count? Buddhist scholars who have no attainment do not know what they are talking about experientially. Experiential understanding is the whole point of Buddhism. If you have your blindfold on, what's the use arguing with someone who has taken theirs off? If that's what you also want to do, seriously, what's the point? Just calm down and focus on the goal.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 10:57 PM as a reply to T DC.
TDC: I don't believe you. I find little in your posts to suggest you have any actual realization. But if you continue to work, and it may take much more than a half hour a day or an hour a day, you may begin to stumble upon some of the realizations that the people who you are giving advice to stumbled on long ago.

Bill

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/25/13 11:29 PM as a reply to T DC.
Hi T DC,

Do you have ANY craving/clinging arising? If so, are you acting upon it?

Regards,
Chris

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/26/13 12:11 AM as a reply to Chris M.
Bill - Fair enough.

Chris - What exactly are you trying to say?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/26/13 12:32 AM as a reply to T DC.
Sorry T DC, I'll be more specific. Do you have any craving arising in terms of craving for sensual desire, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming?

Do you have any clinging arising in terms of clinging to, sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self?

To be more direct, in light of the Second Noble Truth and Dependent Origination.

Regards,
Chris

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/26/13 3:32 PM as a reply to Chris M.
No, I'm just the same as you. Thoughts are thoughts. I know it's hard to imagine, but somehow it works to live without thoughts. I'm not an expert on this, I just do it


I find it impossible to imagine! How do you "think" about the future? Have memories? Imagine anything? How do you plan? Make decisions? Think about alternative states of affairs? I would have to say that you still must have thoughts (given my definition of them), but how you experience them as an "I" has radically changed.

My map clearly doesn't rest on this supposed theory I have about karma, it stands solidly by itself without that bit, right until you get to the end, at which point I have a stage for karmic exhaustion.


True, but as the end state and goal, that end state does have importance. And the map rests on other kinds of theories.

Alright, now that you're convinced I'm fooling myself and making up theories, you're off the deep end. You are no longer making logical arguments, what you're doing is assuming you know where I'm at, which you clearly don't.


I don't know where you are at, which is why I have been probing and trying to understand about how you have eliminated thoughts, but of course I will make assumptions in trying to understand.

I am not saying you are making up theories, but you are interpreting your experiences in the theories of others (i.e. buddhist theories).

You said that you have taken refuge in Tibetan Buddhism. This involves learning a set of theories and frameworks for understanding your experiences. But those theories and buddhist frameworks and practices will shape the nature of your experiences. Your experiences are conditioned by them.

Why doesn't it count? Buddhist scholars who have no attainment do not know what they are talking about experientially. Experiential understanding is the whole point of Buddhism. If you have your blindfold on, what's the use arguing with someone who has taken theirs off? If that's what you also want to do, seriously, what's the point? Just calm down and focus on the goal.


I am not a Buddhist, so for me there is more to be understood than just the experiential.

If you come onto a forum like this and make grand claims, you are going to get a range of responses. Some will question the depth of your attainments, and be very sceptical of them. You shouldn't expect everyone to accept what you say on face value just because you say so. You will be judged by how you respond, since we don't have much else to go on. The level of certainty that you express (your blindfold is off, mine is on), your belief that you have finished, and your apparent annoyance at being questioned is telling us something interesting about you and how your attainments are expressed in your world. But you should try not to take it personally. Despite some scepticism, your experiences will be of interest to this community.

You are practicing in order to progress along the path, to progress in attainments, and to eventually attain enlightenment. That's the goal.


Just curious about love and compassion and concern for the well being of others? You haven't mentioned it, but I understood that it was quite important to Mahayana paths and beyond...

edit:

And lastly I will say this again, for it has fallen on deaf ears, if you have not attained a level of attainment at or above that one on the map which you are trying to critique, it's no use arguing, you don't know what you're talking about. If you have two people, both from England, one still lives there and has never left, the other traveled to and lives in the arctic, assuming there is one path only to the arctic, is their any use in an argument between the two about the way from England to the arctic? Does the person who never left England have any idea what he is talking about? No, there is no use arguing, the reason being, the person from England has never left home, and thus has no idea what he's talking about, except by hearsay, which frankly doesn't count.


bob- I went to the artic recently. I have decided to live there.
linda-really? how did you get there?
bob-I got on a magic pixie elephant that took me there
linda-hmm, really? what did it look like?
bob- it was really big, and white, and had these large wings,and little eyes along the side, and made a loud noise, and flew through the air.
linda-oh, I see. So what, was the artic like? I have never been.
bob-it was really great! it was really lovely and warm.
linda-oh, that sounds...odd. I have read about the artic and seen it on tv, and have talked to people who have been. I thought it was meant to be cold. Are you feeling ok bob? I have this friend you could talk to...
bob-you haven't been to the artic!!! I have!!!

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/26/13 3:14 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC, could you go here and do the little experiment mentioned in the penultimate paragraph of the penultimate post?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/26/13 5:53 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Please read this carefully and calmly, I am really trying here.
sawfoot _:


Just curious about love and compassion and concern for the well being of others? You haven't mentioned it, but I understood that it was quite important to Mahayana paths and beyond...


Yes, indeed it is quite important. I did mention in my first post how all things could be said to be composed of nature of reality, which in experience is no different than love. When you're on the path, part of the reason maps help, in some practices you are approximating the experience which you would have if enlightened. For instance, one reason constant mindfulness is emphasized is because that is the experience of enlightenment. If you want to be enlightened, you need to start moving in that direction. Compassion practices, like tonglen (sending out compassion, taking in suffering) train you in doing something counter-intuitive to normal self-concerned life; taking in pain, and giving away love. Normally in life we try to do the opposite, take all the love for ourselves, and shield ourselves from pain. However, in enlightened experience, we are totally open. Our love goes out, and pain is free to come in. By approximating enlightened experience, by training ourselves in that direction, we can break down the barrier which separate us from that experience.

In terms of the path, for instance developing compassion in the Mahayana, compassion practices are a tool to be used. In terms of actually experience, compassion is not experienced in such a simple way. Buddhism has two spheres of comprehension, the relative, and the ultimate. The relative is concept, or fabricated experience, and the ultimate is non-conceptual, direct experience. Compassion on the relative level is clear. We have an idea of compassion, and we can apply that to situations. This is somewhat broad scale.

Compassion on the ultimate level is described at letting things be completely how they are, allowing them to be what they are, and accepting them as none but that, not something to be changed. Compassion on the ultimate level is also concerned with seeing the way things truly are, and expressing that. In an an ultimate sense, things just are. As we on earth have only our conceptual frameworks to make sense of things often, we evaluate things on the basis of other things. Ultimately though, a spoon sitting on the table is not a spoon like we think. It is a hunk of worked metal, to which we can apply the concept spoon. It is not really a "spoon" though. It just is what it is.

An enlightened individual has seen beyond concept. Their compassion is based on a direct acceptance of things as they are, and not on rigid conceptual frameworks of what is an is not compassionate action. Thus, sometimes other people have a hard time understanding their actions and their motives. In Tibetan Buddhism, the term crazy wisdom refers to that. Obviously this could be abused if someone who was not truly enlightened went around creating havoc in the name of crazy wisdom. The basic idea is that enlightened individuals are in direct contact with an undying source of compassion, and express this in their lives, perhaps in ways that some people will not at first glimpse understand.

sawfoot_:


bob- I went to the artic recently. I have decided to live there.
linda-really? how did you get there?
bob-I got on a magic pixie elephant that took me there
linda-hmm, really? what did it look like?
bob- it was really big, and white, and had these large wings,and little eyes along the side, and made a loud noise, and flew through the air.
linda-oh, I see. So what, was the artic like? I have never been.
bob-it was really great! it was really lovely and warm.
linda-oh, that sounds...odd. I have read about the artic and seen it on tv, and have talked to people who have been. I thought it was meant to be cold. Are you feeling ok bob? I have this friend you could talk to...
bob-you haven't been to the artic!!! I have!!!


haha. Alright so to go back to the subject of the maps, let me ask you a question, and then maybe we can have more understanding. (Pawell K, you could answer this too..)

How do you think someone who is not attained could accurately describe attainments? How would that work?



And lastly I will try to offer another explanation of what not having thoughts is like. Ordinarily, people experience thoughts i their mind which they have no control over. These thoughts are annoying. This is why most people practice meditation.

As gradual progression on the path occurs, people come to find out, more and more, how hollow their thoughts are, how little they actually apply to reality, and the hope builds there is a possibility of experiencing the world without thoughts as an intermediary. When you overcome duality, and you perceive the world directly, thoughts do not run your life anymore. They are just annoyances. Now one should differentiate between thoughts which path through you mind, and doing something such as moving your hand. Do you need to think to move your hand? Maybe you have some slight thing like a thought telling yourself to move your hand, but we don't really NEED to the think about it, we just do it.

My experience now is that all those thoughts which run through the mind usually are gone, just flat gone. The space of my mind is empty. I am still able to function in the world just as I did before. I think that those micro thoughts in which I would tell my hand to move are not gone. Explicit conceptual thought is not gone. What is gone is rampant uncontrollable conceptual thought.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/26/13 7:52 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC,

Thanks for your answers. I hope you can understand people's skepticism, especially when you say you are following a Tibetan model. When you make a claim that you are completely done, having gone as far as your enlightenment can go and then say you followed the Tibetan path it is curious because well the Dalai Lama would never say he is done. He says there are people far farther along then he is. B.Alan Wallace, Mattieu Ricard, all these guys have spent decades meditating all day long as monks, they have done multiple many year retreats and they would never claim they are done. They are still meditating. Still deepening their wisdom and compassion.

They do tantric Dzochen practices which are only passed down from teacher to student in a trusted situation for fear that if not followed with a teacher correctly they will end up crazy.

In studies of the brain of these advanced monks those who have meditated for 40,000 hours (approximately 3 hours a day for 40 years) were more advanced (showed more gamma wave activity associated with calm focus and pre-frontal cortex activity which is associated with happiness) than those monks who had meditated for 20,000 hours who in turn were more advanced than those who had meditated 10,000 hours.

Yet, here you are , a college kid, who meditates for 30 minutes a day, for 3 years, ..about 500 hours, or if we give you an hour a day than 1,000 hours and yet you claim to be farther advanced than these monks who have been meditating 40,000 hours in perfect conditions with great masters at their disposal and doing tantric techniques you have never done!

If you are right these guys must really be wasting their time! Or maybe, just maybe there is more to be done than you know ;)

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/27/13 3:56 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Explicit conceptual thought is not gone. What is gone is rampant uncontrollable conceptual thought.


This is a bit different from what you seemed to be implying earlier, but makes a lot more sense. Thanks for clarifying.

How do you think someone who is not attained could accurately describe attainments? How would that work?


As I alluded to, a scientific approach to the mind (while not discounting the importance of phenomenological reports) gives you a framework to describe and understand attainments. To illustrate and repeat my point earlier, the idea of a storehouse that we can exhaust is not compatible with everything else we know about the mind, and so therefore suffers as an accurate way to describe attainments.

You recommended a book by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche on mahamudra. I don't have it but I managed to find "the practice of Lojong" by him which I am finding pretty awesome - it’s a complete and very simple spiritual path and written to suit the western mind. He starts off by describing perhaps the most important preliminary, which is "mogu" - the quality of interested humility.

I think the consensus on this forum is that there is no such thing as "enlightenment". Instead, there are "enlightenments" (see this nice essay by Jack Kornfield)
http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/Enlightenments.html

And furthermore, you can never become "fully or truly enlightened". The practice is a lifelong practice. You never stop learning till you die. There is always room for improvement, as pointed out in Jinxed P's post above. So I would say, keep in mind the attitude of mogu, keep on practicing, and best of luck with the rest of your journey.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/29/13 6:26 PM as a reply to Brother Pussycat.
T DC, this is what Brother Pussycat was referring to:

"An example given to me more than once concerning nirvana: on the very first try and having not practiced it before, if someone can't hold their breath for several minutes without any uneasiness, unpleasantness, dissatisfaction at all, then the proper label of nibbana or liberation, or consciousness without surface of feature can't even be considered."

Can you try to do this experiment?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/29/13 10:40 PM as a reply to Change A..
Change A.:
T DC, this is what Brother Pussycat was referring to:

"An example given to me more than once concerning nirvana: on the very first try and having not practiced it before, if someone can't hold their breath for several minutes without any uneasiness, unpleasantness, dissatisfaction at all, then the proper label of nibbana or liberation, or consciousness without surface of feature can't even be considered."

Can you try to do this experiment?


Haha, I thought what he wanted was for me to hit myself with a hammer..

As for holding your breath, what sort of things arise when you try to hold your breath? Personally, just off the top of my head, perhaps there might be slight fear of death, pain as your body wants to breath and is denied..

I'm not sure this is a good test for nirvana. It seems to test mostly whether you do or do not experience physical pain. As long as you're in a physical body, you are going to experience pain. And that's not a bad thing! Human bodies are good for functioning in the physical world. If they are damaged, they are less good. So if pain is what is needed to remind you sometimes that you need to take care of your body (i.e. in the above experiment that you need oxygen) then it seems pain is serving a valuable role.

What isn't serving a valuable role in your life is a belief in separateness, and other limiting conceptual beliefs. This seems like it would be good to get rid of, so that you could feel better, and probably function better. And luckily, that's what enlightenment is! That's where the path of meditation leads!

A common definition perhaps, is that enlightenment is the end of the ego. To most people this sounds like there would be nothing there, like some vital function would be removed. Really, nothing is removed. In the end, only clarity is achieved, nothing is destroyed. Letting go of the thought of self is just letting go a large delusion. It does not however mean the end of perceiving the world, of living in a human body.

When you look at yourself introspectively, you can either think about yourself conceptually, of you can feel yourself with your heart. You don't have to be attained to do this. Everyone has the capacity to just feel with their hearts, and everyone does at some level. At some level, even if you feel confused, you can feel who you are, you still have moments of beauty and stillness. This feeling of heart, of just knowing who you are and resting in that, is cultivated to its highest extent when one attains nirvana. One is still an individual soul on some sort of journey. Now however, one explicitly recognizes that one is a part of and inseparable from the larger system of things.

Does that help?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/30/13 12:23 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Please ask if you have any other questions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hinayana
1st path
2nd path
3rd path
4th path : Form is empty. --------------------------------------------------------------Mahayana

Emptiness also is form
Form is none other than emptiness
Emptiness is none other than form -------------------------------------------------Vajrayana (Mahamudra)

The Mahamudra attainments

Recognition of thought as separate from observer------------------------------- (Dzogchen)
Increasing
Full recognition of Space as Awareness: 6th level of Shamatha

7th level of Shamatha
8th level
9th level

10th level : Seeing through the self : 1st vision of Thodgal

2nd vision
3rd
4th : Enlightenment : eradication of dualistic thinking.------------------------------------------------

(path: working through karmic reservoir)

State of Bliss : the end of the road : no more karma.

To stay on topic, could you please fill in the blanks for those of us who are not already familiar with the terms/paths of Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana (Mahamudra), Dzogchen,Thodgal etc... could you number each step sequentially and give it a sentence or two of what that path entails? This would be very helpful.
Thanks
~D

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/30/13 12:35 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
DreamWalker - Sure, I will do that tomorrow.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/30/13 2:20 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

As for holding your breath, what sort of things arise when you try to hold your breath? Personally, just off the top of my head, perhaps there might be slight fear of death, pain as your body wants to breath and is denied..

I'm not sure this is a good test for nirvana. It seems to test mostly whether you do or do not experience physical pain. As long as you're in a physical body, you are going to experience pain. And that's not a bad thing! Human bodies are good for functioning in the physical world. If they are damaged, they are less good. So if pain is what is needed to remind you sometimes that you need to take care of your body (i.e. in the above experiment that you need oxygen) then it seems pain is serving a valuable role...

..A common definition perhaps, is that enlightenment is the end of the ego. To most people this sounds like there would be nothing there, like some vital function would be removed. Really, nothing is removed. In the end, only clarity is achieved, nothing is destroyed. Letting go of the thought of self is just letting go a large delusion. It does not however mean the end of perceiving the world, of living in a human body.



You claimed to have ended suffering. If you have truly eliminated suffering then pain is just another sensation. Albeit a signalling sensation that you should pay attention to avoid health problems.

Holding your breath for a couple of minutes will trigger pain and some bodily reflexes. But it will not cause any damage to your body. (Arguably the hypoxia induced stressors are actually good for your cardio-vascular system and trigger higher red blood cell production similar to high-altitude training.)

The test here is to see if you can 'relax' into the pain rather than getting caught up in it via clinging or aversion (suffering).

Whether or not you are able to do this is not to take away from your attainment in anyway. Getting over affliction to such a large measure is very inspiring and no small feat. In fact most people would consider even that to be impossible.

The goal is to facilitate a more accurate and useful discussion for everyone. Look forward to reading your updates to your map.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/30/13 4:15 AM as a reply to T DC.
Forgive me if I missed this in this long thread, but how long have you been in what you call the post-karma state?

Also, what is the most difficult thing you have had to face physically and what is the most difficult thing you have had to face situationally/emotionally since you reached what you call that karma free state and how did the thing performance test?

Daniel

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/30/13 5:34 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Change A.:
T DC, this is what Brother Pussycat was referring to:

"An example given to me more than once concerning nirvana: on the very first try and having not practiced it before, if someone can't hold their breath for several minutes without any uneasiness, unpleasantness, dissatisfaction at all, then the proper label of nibbana or liberation, or consciousness without surface of feature can't even be considered."

Can you try to do this experiment?


I'm not sure this is a good test for nirvana. It seems to test mostly whether you do or do not experience physical pain. As long as you're in a physical body, you are going to experience pain.


Nitpicking perhaps, but the quote says "without any uneasiness, unpleasantness, dissatisfaction at all" (all of which necessarily fall under the umbrella of suffering), not "without pain" (which doesn't have to equal suffering). And elsewhere Omega Point underlines the distinction between pain and suffering, and mentions that some degree of pain is useful - as opposed to suffering. So the experiment is most likely aimed at testing whether you experience suffering, not pain.

Interestingly, Omega Point also mentions practicioners who are very much "in a physical body", yet don't experience pain at all, or experience it unconventionally, as a neutral sensation or even as a pleasant one. So "being in a physical body" would not even be inextricably tied with an inevitability of pain, never mind an inevitability of suffering. This would point to an even greater capacity for liberation.

Which ties very neatly with Daniel's question to you.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
9/30/13 11:31 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
This is an explained map of the attainments on the path to enlightenment. Attainment means experience. What I say below can be understood conceptually, and probably will make sense conceptually. However, until these are unquestionable facts of personal experience, one cannot truly understand what the concepts are pointing toward. Concepts are like theory's about existence. They can be well supported, but can never be proven; they can approximate, but can never be the real thing. Only direct experience, 'the real thing', is proof (for oneself) of truth about reality.

This explanation is long, so feel free to skip to parts of interest. However I will insert this cautionary advice that I also wrote below: I must caution, and I want to make this quite clear: the dangers of practicing above your level are, you will not get anywhere! There's no point in being stuck, you could be progressing. If you're stuck, you're wasting your time. Thus, practice at your own level, humility pays! Please don't misuse this map and attempt to do practices above your level of understanding, truly, from the heart, that is all I ask.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hinayana
1. 1st path (MCTemoticon

Slight reduction in neurosis, general boost in feelings of well being.

2. 2nd path

Very subtle, hardly noticeable, not much of a shift in awareness. What I experienced was a glitch and shaking in my vision; it rippled somewhat, as though something snapped into place, then had several settling vibrations.

3. 3rd path

Definite noticeable feeling of being done with something. The most obvious after effect is greatly improved confidence. I noticed this not only in myself, but also in one of my close friends who got it last summer (ha if you read this I hope you know who you are (JSR, haha)).

4. 4th path : Form is empty. --------------------------------------------------------------Mahayana

This is the first glimpse of emptiness. This attainment is expressed as seeing form to be empty. In this case form refers to thoughts. Up until 4th path, thoughts completely rule our minds, we see no alternative to conceptual thought, and thus we buy into it completely as if it were all there is. When 4th path is attained, the space between thoughts is seen. The way in which we buy into thoughts is still somewhat present, but now we cannot buy into them completely as if they were all that existed. Now we see thoughts on a backdrop of void, or space. The concepts, the form, or solidity of thought no longer stands. The thoughts, and their meaning is seen to be negated by space, empty of existing as a completely solid framework. Concepts arise as solid, but are then (immediately) negated by the space around them.

Here is an analogy: image you are standing in the middle of a quickly rotating cylinder. The cylinder has gaps in the sides, it is not solid, but it is spinning so fast that you perceive it to be totally solid and unbroken. Perceiving the cylinder to be solid, and with no knowledge of anything outside of it, in fact no conception of an outside, you know nothing but the interior of this cylinder; this is your world essentially. At 4th path, you could say that you suddenly see that there are gaps in the cylinder, and that there is a world outside. Your belief in the solidity of the cylinder world as you previously perceived it is shattered. The form, or solidity, or unbroken-ness of the cylinder is negated by the sight of a world beyond its walls.

However, you're still in the cylinder..

5. Emptiness also is form

This attainment consists of just a slight switch in perspective, like the center of your vision kind of resolved itself. In Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Chogyam Trungpa talks about how after the attainment of 'form is empty' (4), the meditator tries excessively hard to see the world as "naked of preconceptions". This is a good explanation of a tendency at 4th path to try too hard. This 5th attainment is not a big step, it really consists of relaxing somewhat, going outward, away from your conceptual self, a bit more.

6. Form is none other than emptiness

The titles in the Mahayana attainments come from the Heart Sutra, which is an implicit attainment guide (the Dalai Lama says this himself in The World of Tibetan Buddhism). These attainments are encapsulated in what is called the HEART sutra, for a reason! The attainments of the Mahayana, seen here, are about moving awareness from mind to heart. Mind is concept based, cold and calculating, lacking a warm felt sense of life. The heart on the other hand feels and is open to what is here now, without conceptual judgement. We need both to survive and be truly happy, but up until now, mostly we have relied on the mind. In order to progress in these attainments, one must move away from tight personal territory into openness to the world and situations. Most notably this includes openness to the pain we are actually feeling; like it or not, whether we deny it or not.

Thus, progression up through these attainments is greatly helped by Mahayana practices, such as Lojong (Lojong is very beneficial), in which the focus is on extending compassion for others, and opening ourselves to our pain. These are somewhat advanced practices. That is important to remember. The Mahayana teachings come after the long hard discipline of the Hinayana. A prime example and encapsulation of these teachings is the Lojong slogan: Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself.

When you take defeat, are taking on your shittyness. You are taking on and just being with the parts of yourself that hate and judge other people. And you are sitting back with this shittyness, and letting others have the happiness that you so desire, and that they seem to posses. There is an element of recognizing the internal nature of our issues, and then sitting with them. You can't do such practices in a manner unkind to yourself, with an idea that you are bad and that's why you get defeat. That only results in suffering. Personally I strongly believe you have to have attained recognition of emptiness before you can use the Mahayana teachings for their true benefit. You have to do them in an aware way, aware already of some heart openness.

Back to attainment descriptions, this attainment (#6) is that of seeing that all things are empty. Form is naught but emptiness. At 4th path, concepts were seen in their solidity, only to be negated by the space (emptiness) in which they exist. At this stage (#6), to go back to the cylinder analogy, the cylinder itself is seen to be no different from the outside world. Now, all form is seen to be empty. Looking around, all things have the quality of space, of completely lacking substantiality. Of course physical reality is still solid as ever, all things are empty of any of our preconceptions.

At any rate, if you experience it, form is none-other than emptiness encapsulates it in a nutshell.

7. Emptiness is none other than form -------------------------------------------------Vajrayana (Mahamudra)

This is the final attainment in the Mahayana, and marks the transition between Mahayana and Vajrayana. A note: the time preceding this attainment was one of the few, and the most memorable time on the path where I thought I might well be going crazy. I heard a quote from Trungpa in which he told his wife he was at a stage where either you become enlightened, or you go crazy. At the time, I thought he may well have been referring to this stage. Do not fear though; I am not sure that one can go crazy from practice alone. It may simply be that in order to accomplish this stage, one must pass through a mental zone of intense neurosis, perhaps not dissimilar to the dark night everyone on here is probably familiar with.

The attainment of 'emptiness is none other than form' is marked by profound relief from issues regarding trying to open oneself. All of the emptiness of the world one was experiencing in the last stage was a little weird, a little disconcerting, but now one fully steps into it, one fully owns the experience so that it is no longer disconcerting, it is joyous. One perceives that though things are totally empty of preconceptions, there is indeed something out there, and it has a remarkable beauty. At this point, one has turned oneself outward to a profound degree, and is now perceiving true emptiness for the first time.

In the 4th stage (4th path) one experienced emptiness as that void which negated form. This experience was subtly built on in the subsequent attainments. In the 5th, there was seen to be something which composed the void. In the 6th, all things were seen to be composed of the void, or space. Now, in the 7th, one is looking at space directly and fully for the first time. One is directly experiencing emptiness, and it is truly quite an experience. Emptiness is not just empty space, it is that which composes all things in the universe. Constantly shifting and vibrating, it knows no fixation, no separation. It is all that is, and it composes all things.

That said, at this point one still is fixated on the idea of being a separate observer, and on various ideas of being in general. In order to overcome this, the entire Vajrayana path lies ahead.



8. - 19. The Mahamudra attainments

I have grouped these attainments together because they all fall under, or are described (as is the path to them), in the Kagyu (Tibetan Buddhist lineage) system of Mahamudra. These attainments are numerous, and quite slight, or subtle. I myself have little memory of the differentiations between the various stages as there were so many, and again they were so subtle. However, luckily for us all, these minute attainments have been described in detail in Kagyu texts, which in my opinion is an impressive feat, and for which I am very grateful. If you are curious (and I caution you, you had better only check this out if you're at this state, other wise Your Not Going To Get Anywhere!!) I recommend two books: Confusion Arises As Wisdom by Ringu Tulku for path instructions, and some subtle description of attainments, and Mind at Ease by Traleg Kyabgon for a comprehensive description of attainments.

I must caution however, and I want to make this quite clear: the dangers of practicing above your level are not mystical, your face is not going to melt off. What will happen is you will not get anywhere! This is pretty much the biggest danger on the path, and can occur at any time. Everyone wants enlightenment! If you are on the path and you get stuck, shit!, that's literally the worst that can happen! I mean that in a reassuring and very serious way too. There's no point in being stuck, you could be progressing! If you're stuck, you're wasting your time!! Thus, practice at your own level, humility pays!! Please don't misuse this map and attempt to do practices above your level of understanding, truly, from the heart, that is all I ask.

20. Recognition of thought as separate from observer------------------------------- (Dzogchen)

This is the fruition attaiment, the final attainment of Mahamudra, and switching point (as I have delineated it) to Dzogchen. The experience of this attainment is, in the words of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, seeing 'there is no place where thoughts arise or abide or go.' This describes it well. When it happens, thought arises, and is seen to be separate from the nature of mind, or in other words, recognition that you are yourself the nature of mind.

These higher attainments are hard to describe, but to be fair I'll do my best. Descriptions may be brief though.

21. Increasing

'When we recognize that appearances are mere ornaments of the real condition of existence, these appearances are self-liberated into their own condition whenever they arise.' - Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

This is an intermediate stage. Awareness is deepening, but a major shift is yet to occur (still coming).

22. Full recognition of Space as Awareness: 6th level of Shamatha

This stage is described by Namkhai Norbu as, 'Appearances and pure presence are inseparable. When we recognize this and find ourselves in this state, then the discursive thoughts arising which grasp at the duality of subject and object, are liberated into their own condition.

At this stage, awareness (of emptiness, that which is all things) is seen to be inseparable from the observer. This is a major stage, a major shift or attainment.

As for the correlation with the stages of shamatha, Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham describes these well, and I will describe these based on that book.

The 6th level of stage of shamtha is described as a feeling of victory over mind, like a 'battle has been won' at last, and a great increase in mental energy and clarity.

23. 7th level of Shamatha

Though victory is accomplished, there are 'still a few enemy soldiers' running around.. Meditation continues..

24. 8th level

All discursive thought is gone, but still some effort must be applied in meditation.

25. 9th level

Our mind feels 'strong, stable, clear', 'like we could meditate forever'. Indeed this stage feels like perfection, but still we are peeling back subtle dualistic layers.

26. 10th level : Seeing through the self : 1st vision of Thodgal

The 7th - 9th stages could be described as minor shifts or attainments; sometime these are unclear, or not that well differentiated, and can be hard to line up with a map. The 10th is a major shift. It is exactly what it sounds like, seeing through the delusion of a separate self. Simply, the self, the concept of self arises to the mind, is seen to be separate, and passes away. This process occurs just as seeing through another thought. Many of you have no doubt experienced this: you're sitting, you have a thought, the mind sees that that thought is separate, and immediately the mind lets go of it, and the thought dissolves away immediately of its own accord. Totally natural, no force involved. Very ordinary really, only that this time this process occurs with the king of all thought, the concept of a separate self.

After this has occurred, still there is farther to go!

In visions of thodgal terms, this seeing through the self is the attainment, or entrance to the first vision, which is called; direct realization of reality.

One is now looking at reality, illusions of self gone, but subtle dualistic filters remain. This is what is eliminated as one progresses through the 4 visions.

The visions of thodgal are popularly known for the wild visions which are said to occur during them. I believe that how strongly these visions occur differs person to person, and also due to the attention with which you engage and focus on them. Personally I experienced visions of circles, mainly a small circle above a large circle, which looks like a person, or Buddha. Personally, at the part of me believed I was seeing Buddhas. As I progressed in the first vision, these circle visions got more intense, but as I got to the second vision, they diminished, and became somewhat unremarkable.

Were or were not these Buddha's, I cannot truly say. On the one hand, I do not believe strongly they were Buddhas, on the other hand, they may well have been. At higher levels on the path, mystical experience is not at all to be denied. I would not exactly say it is to be encouraged, but certainly it is to be heeded. As well I must say that prayer to Buddhist saints, especially Padmasambava, helped me to over come obstacles. I do not think this is too much to say. If you must know, the forces of the universe are willing to help, if you can be open and receptive. Om Ah Hung Vajra Guru Pema Siddhi Hung!

27. 2nd vision

The second vision is called: 'increasing experience'. It is an intermediate stage in which there is progression, but not completion.

28. 3rd

The third vision is known as: 'experience reaching full measure/maturity' Here, all things manifest as a beautiful dream, it is as though flowers are floating across your vision. Duality is not quite transcended, but you are ever so close, so close as to be done, to be enlightened, just one more step..

29. 4th : Enlightenment : eradication of dualistic thinking.------------------------------------------------

Then, out of the blue, it is seen that there is nothing at all which exists from its own side. In my experience, this occurred out of the blue, a feeling that my mind had been blown, and the recognition that there is no mind, there is no duality, all things exist as one cohesive field. Finality, done, duality is eradicated, grasping at thought is gone.

(path: working through karmic reservoir)

After enlightenment, I added the above stage on the map. After enlightenment, though no thought can shake your non-dual realization, still thoughts flow through your mind. They flow in, are not grasped at, and flow out the other side. These thoughts are recognized as false, mere conception, and pass out of mind, never to return. There is at this point a backlog of habitual beliefs and conceptual thought patterns, which could be referred to as the karmic storehouse, or reservoir. In this analogy, thoughts are karma, and the backlog of thoughts, the reservoir. Ordinarily, thoughts are not seen though, so they remain in the system, and come back to haunt you over and over. However, upon enlightenment, you are bound by no conceptual belief, so this backlog of thoughts can we worked through. This is done just as has been done on the entire path; the disciplined practice of sitting meditation.

30. State of Bliss : the end of the road : no more karma.

There comes a point where these rampant conceptual thoughts, this backlog of conceptual belief, is exhausted. At this point, one is free from thought, and at peace always, untroubled in the slightest. We can really only be troubled from within.

I hope that explained version helps, please ask for clarification if you have questions!

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 4:50 AM as a reply to T DC.
For those not that familiar with these maps, one will note that, while he says this map has something to do with MCTB, I don't see obvious parallels basically anywhere. I am not meaning that in any other than this is his own work, his own conception, and not anything to do with anything I wrote or meant.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 6:30 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I agree with Daniel.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 1:38 PM as a reply to T DC.
Thanks for describing your personal map. I really like looking at the various ways people explain their experience of the journey to the top of their mountain.
I noticed that several of the stages seem to have to do with the same subject...in sewing three or four different traditions together I guess that would naturally happen. I have a feeling that they may be describing the same thing in different ways but having not completed the paths on your map I can not speak from experience. It would be interesting to put the common subjects together and then show the detailed breakdown of the common descriptions. It also seems possible that some people might get more than one step at a time.

Where in the paths does the modification of chronoception take place? Have you experienced this attainment also?
Thanks for sharing,
~D

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 3:43 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
T DC, the following several entries on your map appear to be contradictory:

"8th level: All discursive thought is gone, but still some effort must be applied in meditation."

Then this, much later on --

"4th : Enlightenment : eradication of dualistic thinking: though no thought can shake your non-dual realization, still thoughts flow through your mind. They flow in, are not grasped at, and flow out the other side. These thoughts are recognized as false, mere conception, and pass out of mind, never to return. There is at this point a backlog of habitual beliefs and conceptual thought patterns, which could be referred to as the karmic storehouse, or reservoir. In this analogy, thoughts are karma, and the backlog of thoughts, the reservoir."

And again here --

"30. State of Bliss : the end of the road : no more karma.

There comes a point where these rampant conceptual thoughts, this backlog of conceptual belief, is exhausted. At this point, one is free from thought, and at peace always, untroubled in the slightest. We can really only be troubled from within."



I assume here that when you say thoughts "... are recognized as false, mere conception, and pass out of mind, never to return" they are considered to be discursive thoughts as that is what you seem to be describing.

Can you explain how all discursive thought is dropped in an earlier stage only to show up as discursive thought at later stages, post enlightenment? Am I being too literal, or are you describing different phenomena?

Thank you, in advance.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 3:48 PM as a reply to T DC.
I love this thread, thanks T DC. It makes me feel the same way I felt when I first read MCTB, basically that:

"wow! people, just like me, are doing amazing stuff that sounds true but is beyond my current comprehension. how beautiful.
it sounds cool, I can do it! Let's aim high and try it!"

some people seem frosty but I guess my thinking is, "why wouldn't I want to believe in what T DC's saying?" I can't see any advantage in disbelieving him.


on MCTB or not: just my 2 cents - I think his descriptions of MCTB 1st and 4th path seem accurate. For me, what I think was 4th path was marked by (amongst other things that Daniel describes perfectly) exactly this - the mind's sudden inability to attach the 'me/mine' tag to thoughts, which takes away a lot of their believability, significantly undermining the solidity of thoughts and leading to the teflon-mind and sense of agencylessness.

The metaphor about being in the cylinder is resonating with me somehow.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 4:24 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
For those not that familiar with these maps, one will note that, while he says this map has something to do with MCTB, I don't see obvious parallels basically anywhere. I am not meaning that in any other than this is his own work, his own conception, and not anything to do with anything I wrote or meant.


Daniel, could you explain how what I described as 4th path compares with what you described? It would be nice to have some sort of consensus. Maybe I am just using language to which you do not relate. When I got '4th' path, and saw emptiness, immediately I went and read the description in MCTB of the wisdom eye (where ever that is, I can't seem to find it now), and it described my experience very well, so in my experience, they lined up.

Nikolai; maybe you could chime in on that too, to offer some explanation for why you feel that you cannot relate to this map.

I did not put much time into describing MCTB stages 1 -3, because I figured that people were probably pretty familiar with them. So if you disagree with me, to be fair to both of us, I didn't give you much to go off. (I did for 4th path clearly, but I can expand).

Ha, and where it says MCTemoticon, it should have said MCTB, but the ')' interfered.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 4:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
T DC, the following several entries on your map appear to be contradictory:

"8th level: All discursive thought is gone, but still some effort must be applied in meditation."

Then this, much later on --

"4th : Enlightenment : eradication of dualistic thinking


I assume here that when you say thoughts "... are recognized as false, mere conception, and pass out of mind, never to return" they are considered to be discursive thoughts as that is what you seem to be describing.

Can you explain how all discursive thought is dropped in an earlier stage only to show up as discursive thought at later stages, post enlightenment? Am I being too literal, or are you describing different phenomena?

Thank you, in advance.


Ya sorry I can see how that could be confusing. Essentially, the description for the 8th level of shamatha could be called technically incorrect. This description is based on a distinction in types of mental concept which is not expressed in my description (my mistake). Discursive thoughts here refer to distractions in meditation. When you experience the 8th level of shamatha, there is still background delusions (such as belief in separateness), but the mind appears free of rampant, flitting conceptual thought, thoughts which are obvious distractions in meditation. Once one has moved on a bit, one sees clearly there still are distractions in meditation, and more concept to work through.

Thought as I mentioned in relation to enlightenment and the end of karma refer to the most base, or last remaining mental concepts. Enlightenment is the end of believing these thoughts, and the end of karma is the state of no more thoughts. At the 8th level of shamatha, one still has thoughts, but in felt experience, discursive thought is gone.

This description for the 8th level of shamatha is based primarily on felt experience of that particular attainment, as are all the attainment descriptions. As such they may indeed not make sense relatively some times. Anyhow, thanks for catching that. Pretty much, end note, I may need to explain some of this better.. emoticon

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 5:34 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC --

I may need to explain some of this better


Yes, as you are using the same terms in and out of different contexts, like the words "thought" and "thinking." It's confusing. More precision might help.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 5:49 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
well, how was that last explanation?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 6:12 PM as a reply to T DC.
You won't like my answer: it remains confusing. I think you need to take some time to think it through and get very precise about what you're describing. For example, to say "one is free of thoughts" is misleading, mainly because it lacks any definition. What kinds of thoughts? If you are what you say you are - and I have no reason to doubt you - then you're having thoughts every time you write something here. So those thoughts aren't dropped when one gets enlightened and are not "discursive." How so?

If you use terms like "discursive thoughts" and don't distinguish those from analytical thoughts (like solving for x in algebra, or writing a sentence here), then you're not being accurate or complete.

Make sense?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 7:33 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC,

I think some of the confusion can be summed up by your description of MCTB first path, which is stream entry and comparing it to what the Buddha said about stream entry.

You described stream entry as a slight reduction in neurosis. While the buddha described stream entry by picking up a few pebbles and asking "What are these pebbles to a large mountain", and then saying "Once you get stream entry the amount of suffering that goes away is comparable to a large mountain, and all that remains are these little pebbles."

Or to compare it to someone like B.Alan Wallace's model.Wallace recommends getting Shamatha (that is the 10th level of Shamatha) before even beginning insight practice. His 10th level of shamatha is before access concentration which allows one to access the jhana's, and it is from the jhana's that you can realize no self..etc..

Yet, you have 1st path as number one on your list, and Shamatha level 10 as number 26, when Wallace has Shamatha level 10 way before 1st path.

Stream entry is the realization of no self, although not the complete eradication of it in daily life. Your experience of enlightenment #30, is what I think most parallels Daniel's MTCB first path. As you have realized no-self and non-duality but it hasn't completely been destroyed in daily life. What you are calling "karma residue".

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 7:59 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
T DC,

I think some of the confusion can be summed up by your description of MCTB first path, which is stream entry and comparing it to what the Buddha said about stream entry.

You described stream entry as a slight reduction in neurosis. While the buddha described stream entry by picking up a few pebbles and asking "What are these pebbles to a large mountain", and then saying "Once you get stream entry the amount of suffering that goes away is comparable to a large mountain, and all that remains are these little pebbles."


Do you have a reference for that quote? If that quote is actual, then whatever he was referring to as stream entry is very much not what I am referring to. Nor for that matter is it what everyone else on here is referring to. Stream entry is very much just the beginning, and not at all the end. I do not think this is really up for debate in the community. Is this the impression you have gotten?

Jinxed P:
Stream entry is the realization of no self, although not the complete eradication of it in daily life. Your experience of enlightenment #30, is what I think most parallels Daniel's MTCB first path. As you have realized no-self and non-duality but it hasn't completely been destroyed in daily life. What you are calling "karma residue".


No, stream entry is not the realization of no-self. Where are you getting this information? As for first path, this is stream entry, is it not? Seriously, first path is also known as stream entry. 4th path is the realization of no-self (the first realization of it), and 4th path itself is a long way from enlightenment. At 4th path, you have realized no-self, but it still must be deepened QUITE a bit.

Jinxed P:
Or to compare it to someone like B.Alan Wallace's model.Wallace recommends getting Shamatha (that is the 10th level of Shamatha) before even beginning insight practice. His 10th level of shamatha is before access concentration which allows one to access the jhana's, and it is from the jhana's that you can realize no self..etc..

Yet, you have 1st path as number one on your list, and Shamatha level 10 as number 26, when Wallace has Shamatha level 10 way before 1st path.


I must say that either you misinterpreted B. Alan Wallace's model, or he massively misinterpreted the Tibetan system of the Stages of Shamatha. Where is this model? Shamatha means essentially calm abiding. The stages of shamatha are a system for describing the progression up to enlightenment. These are both using the word shamatha, but in different ways, or contexts. The end of the stages of shamatha is enlightenment. So it is not possible that one has to achieve that much shamatha before even beginning insight, or before access concentration.

Also, the jhanas don't allow you to realize no self, the jhanas are purely concentration, insight allows progression in insight.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 10:20 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
You won't like my answer: it remains confusing. I think you need to take some time to think it through and get very precise about what you're describing. For example, to say "one is free of thoughts" is misleading, mainly because it lacks any definition. What kinds of thoughts? If you are what you say you are - and I have no reason to doubt you - then you're having thoughts every time you write something here. So those thoughts aren't dropped when one gets enlightened and are not "discursive." How so?

If you use terms like "discursive thoughts" and don't distinguish those from analytical thoughts (like solving for x in algebra, or writing a sentence here), then you're not being accurate or complete.

Make sense?


Yes indeed. There was quite a discussion about this above, but this threads so long it may be a bit buried. Essentially what I meant by the end of thought was the end of rampant, uncontrollable thoughts. I am defining thoughts as uncontrollable conceptual beliefs. Here is a repost of what I wrote above:

What not having thoughts is like: Ordinarily, people experience thoughts in their mind which they have no control over. These thoughts are annoying. This is why most people practice meditation.

As gradual progression on the path occurs, people come to find out, more and more, how hollow their thoughts are, how little they actually apply to reality, and the hope builds there is a possibility of experiencing the world without thoughts as an intermediary. When you overcome duality, and you perceive the world directly, thoughts do not run your life anymore. They are just annoyances.

Now one should differentiate between thoughts which course through you mind, and doing something such as moving your hand. Do you need to think to move your hand? Maybe you have some slight thing like a thought telling yourself to move your hand, but we don't really NEED to the think about it, we just do it.

My experience now is that all those thoughts which run through the mind usually are gone, just flat gone. The space of my mind is empty. I am still able to function in the world just as I did before. I think that those micro thoughts in which I would tell my hand to move are not gone. Explicit conceptual thought is not gone. What is gone is rampant uncontrollable conceptual thought.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 10:48 PM as a reply to Brother Pussycat.
Brother Pussycat:
T DC:
Change A.:
T DC, this is what Brother Pussycat was referring to:

"An example given to me more than once concerning nirvana: on the very first try and having not practiced it before, if someone can't hold their breath for several minutes without any uneasiness, unpleasantness, dissatisfaction at all, then the proper label of nibbana or liberation, or consciousness without surface of feature can't even be considered."

Can you try to do this experiment?


I'm not sure this is a good test for nirvana. It seems to test mostly whether you do or do not experience physical pain. As long as you're in a physical body, you are going to experience pain.


Nitpicking perhaps, but the quote says "without any uneasiness, unpleasantness, dissatisfaction at all" (all of which necessarily fall under the umbrella of suffering), not "without pain" (which doesn't have to equal suffering). And elsewhere Omega Point underlines the distinction between pain and suffering, and mentions that some degree of pain is useful - as opposed to suffering. So the experiment is most likely aimed at testing whether you experience suffering, not pain.

Interestingly, Omega Point also mentions practicioners who are very much "in a physical body", yet don't experience pain at all, or experience it unconventionally, as a neutral sensation or even as a pleasant one. So "being in a physical body" would not even be inextricably tied with an inevitability of pain, never mind an inevitability of suffering. This would point to an even greater capacity for liberation.

Which ties very neatly with Daniel's question to you.


T DC, can you do the small experiment and describe what you experience?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 11:12 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Jinxed P:
T DC,

I think some of the confusion can be summed up by your description of MCTB first path, which is stream entry and comparing it to what the Buddha said about stream entry.

You described stream entry as a slight reduction in neurosis. While the buddha described stream entry by picking up a few pebbles and asking "What are these pebbles to a large mountain", and then saying "Once you get stream entry the amount of suffering that goes away is comparable to a large mountain, and all that remains are these little pebbles."


Do you have a reference for that quote? If that quote is actual, then whatever he was referring to as stream entry is very much not what I am referring to. Nor for that matter is it what everyone else on here is referring to. Stream entry is very much just the beginning, and not at all the end. I do not think this is really up for debate in the community. Is this the impression you have gotten?

I think most people are in agreement that stream entry the Buddha talked about is the same as that which is attained here marked by the fruition resulting from Mahasi noting, but not everyone is - at least I am not. Here is the suttic quote:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth — this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail — when compared with the great earth."

"In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress that is totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/1/13 11:55 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth — this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail — when compared with the great earth."

"In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress that is totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."


Beo - Thanks for the quote. If that is what people consider stream entry on here, then I would question that. Clearly at stream entry some suffering is removed, but from what I have read on here, most people do not seem to consider it that big a deal, which is definitely how I view it in retrospect (to not be a big deal, though somewhat significant). I do think that, on the basis of this quote, 'Buddha' could be referring to what we (perhaps I) have called 4th path.

Don't anyone get confused by this and think I'm saying that my 4th path is your stream entry. 4th path is a major event, and the first exposure to emptiness. It is a very important attainment. What seems to be lacking right now between myself and certain others on this site who have attained 4th path, namely Daniel, and Nikolai, is an understanding of how our experiences line up.

So in light of that, and hopefully to spark some discussion on this, I will say: In my understanding, based on MCTB, stream entry is the first attainment, so to speak (other than the A&P, which is not the same as an attainment), and when one attains it; certain neurotic patterns drop away, but clearly many remain, and the mediator soon feels drawn to continued practice.

4th path is the culmination of this whole process, in which one finally glimpses something other than thought, that which is not thought. This is I think a reasonable and simple definition. What do you all think?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 2:55 AM as a reply to T DC.
sadalsuud B-Aquarii

some people seem frosty but I guess my thinking is, "why wouldn't I want to believe in what T DC's saying?" I can't see any advantage in disbelieving him.


I don't disbelieve that he believes all this.

Why would you want to believe in what T DC is saying? Would you want to believe in reincarnation, eternal savlation in heaven, or being rewarded 72 virgins when you die? But salvation in this life? Eliminating the possibility of suffering in this life? Is this what people/you really want? Do we follow a path of enlightenment because we believe it will fix all our problems? Is this the/your goal? Thinking about the assumptions underlying that desire to be fixed is good practice.

Doesn't it seem like if you were to truly eliminate suffering and the possibility of suffering (if that were at all possible), then we end up being something not recognisably human? If someone close to me died, I expect it would cause a lot of pain and suffering. If I was somehow able to achieve a state where this didn't happen, then I would think there would be something very wrong with me. And as Daniel alluded to (which the OP didn't follow up on), it is only when significant difficulties occur in our lives that our understanding is truly tested - then our nice spiritual bubble bursts and reality kicks in.

So all this talk of paths and attainment badge collection is interesting, but excessive preoccupation with the badges for the badges sake can lead to problems, and doesn't end up looking anything like buddhism to me. John Welwood coined the term "spiritual bypassing", which you can find lots about if you google. This refers to using spirituality to avoid dealing with problems, transcending (and perhaps inflating) the self by bypassing the self. What can happen is you can reach some advanced stage on the path, and have these delusions of grandeur and high attainment, but by getting there you have actually missed out on lots of earlier stages of development. Eventually if/when you realise this, then starts a difficult process of dealing what you have bypassed.

His teacher Chögyam Trungpa has this to say (from cutting through spiritual materialism):

“As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the ‘golden chain of spirituality.’ Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves. As long as one’s approach to spirituality is based upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process rather than a creative one.”

longer passage: http://www.tonglen.oceandrop.org/Spiritual_Materialism.htm

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 4:34 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
hey sawfoot.

this is what I was talking about when I said I want to believe:

1. That the journey of insight does not end like a brick wall at mctb 4th, that instead it is long, mysterious and beautiful, like zooming along the arm of a galaxy, winding off into the almost infinity of space, with amazing sights along the way. You can follow if you want, drifting silently further into space, if you find it interesting, but you don't have to.

2. That some kid (no offence) aged (guessing about 22?) has got to a very high level of realisation (maybe even done) by simply following classic texts, interpreting them for himself, with a good nose for insight.

3. The possibility that you can clear out the less useful bits of your conditioned behaviour (karmic storehouse) to such an extent that it feels "done", like a switch, off. I don't even mind if this happens to me or not, I just think the idea is amazing.

I find these beliefs empowering and inspiring.

I think what drew me to practice in the first place was just a desire to see the world as it truly is, which means that I suspect that my mind will just want to drift down the more insight path sort of by itself.

things I am not bothered about believing: the actual shapes and stages of the map, or exactly what the end of suffering is.

I agree they can be useful, and I agree they can cause a materialism trap. Also, spiritual bypassing is a definite concern too.


sawfoot _:
sadalsuud B-Aquarii

some people seem frosty but I guess my thinking is, "why wouldn't I want to believe in what T DC's saying?" I can't see any advantage in disbelieving him.


I don't disbelieve that he believes all this.

Why would you want to believe in what T DC is saying? Would you want to believe in reincarnation, eternal savlation in heaven, or being rewarded 72 virgins when you die? But salvation in this life? Eliminating the possibility of suffering in this life? Is this what people/you really want? Do we follow a path of enlightenment because we believe it will fix all our problems? Is this the/your goal? Thinking about the assumptions underlying that desire to be fixed is good practice.

Doesn't it seem like if you were to truly eliminate suffering and the possibility of suffering (if that were at all possible), then we end up being something not recognisably human? If someone close to me died, I expect it would cause a lot of pain and suffering. If I was somehow able to achieve a state where this didn't happen, then I would think there would be something very wrong with me. And as Daniel alluded to (which the OP didn't follow up on), it is only when significant difficulties occur in our lives that our understanding is truly tested - then our nice spiritual bubble bursts and reality kicks in.

So all this talk of paths and attainment badge collection is interesting, but excessive preoccupation with the badges for the badges sake can lead to problems, and doesn't end up looking anything like buddhism to me. John Welwood coined the term "spiritual bypassing", which you can find lots about if you google. This refers to using spirituality to avoid dealing with problems, transcending (and perhaps inflating) the self by bypassing the self. What can happen is you can reach some advanced stage on the path, and have these delusions of grandeur and high attainment, but by getting there you have actually missed out on lots of earlier stages of development. Eventually if/when you realise this, then starts a difficult process of dealing what you have bypassed.

His teacher Chögyam Trungpa has this to say (from cutting through spiritual materialism):

“As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the ‘golden chain of spirituality.’ Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves. As long as one’s approach to spirituality is based upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process rather than a creative one.”

longer passage: http://www.tonglen.oceandrop.org/Spiritual_Materialism.htm

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 5:32 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
sadalsuud B-Aquarii

some people seem frosty but I guess my thinking is, "why wouldn't I want to believe in what T DC's saying?" I can't see any advantage in disbelieving him.


I don't disbelieve that he believes all this.

Eliminating the possibility of suffering in this life? Is this what people/you really want? Do we follow a path of enlightenment because we believe it will fix all our problems? Is this the/your goal? Thinking about the assumptions underlying that desire to be fixed is good practice.

Doesn't it seem like if you were to truly eliminate suffering and the possibility of suffering (if that were at all possible), then we end up being something not recognisably human?

So all this talk of paths and attainment badge collection is interesting, but excessive preoccupation with the badges for the badges sake can lead to problems, and doesn't end up looking anything like buddhism to me.

His teacher Chögyam Trungpa has this to say (from cutting through spiritual materialism):

“As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the ‘golden chain of spirituality.’ Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves. As long as one’s approach to spirituality is based upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process rather than a creative one.”

longer passage: http://www.tonglen.oceandrop.org/Spiritual_Materialism.htm


Sawfoot, please here me out. This is long, but I hope you read it. I came to meditation in high school due to social anxiety. In social situations, I would just shut down, I felt I couldn't really connect with people. It was painful and frustrating, and somewhat isolating. What is your life if you can't connect with people? That's huge. And more than that, I didn't feel happy. I was constantly mentally fighting myself. At the same time these issue were really peaking, I randomly experienced briefly being fully in the moment. The barriers I felt were removed, everything was flowing, nothing was stuck. I was in the experience instead of sitting back and fighting with myself about trying to be more social. So my goal from the outset was not superhuman status, or the banner of enlightenment. I wanted happiness in my life, and the greatest happiness I knew was to be in experience without barriers.

Having glimpsed that state, I knew from that point that nothing would compare. You speak above about dealing with problems. This sounds like a good idea, but what is the experience really like? In my own experience, I was very unhappy with myself, I felt like I hated myself, which was very painful. Of course this is a problem I wanted to solve. But I could not find a logical conceptual solution. When you have emotional issues, they do not follow logic. A large part of it is not really understanding why those problems are there. You can try to find a cause, and then proceed to a logical solution, but I do not believe that this truly solves these issue. Quite often it may help some, but the issue does remain.

At the same time as experiencing all this self hate and anxiety, I was practicing meditation. I practiced for about a year and a half before I found Daniels book, and at that time I felt like I was just going in circles. My mind became somewhat more clear, but at the same time the pain did not stop. During this time, I had no notion of path, no notion that the practice of meditation could really lead you anywhere. I heard of Tibetan monks meditating their whole lives and attaining great peace, but I had no idea how to get there. It seemed to just be a numbers game of time on the cushion.

When I read MCTB, I immediately connected with it, because it provided a path, and an outcome if you practiced this path correctly. This was such a relief, such a switch from just wandering from teaching to teaching, hoping that something would help me. Reading the book, reading posts on here, and watching some videos I found of Daniel talking about it, it was clear people were doing this. At that point I began to practice intensively. Then sometime afterwards I got first path. I could go through the stages of insight. I could see directly that the teachings were true, and they related to my life. Anyhow, I kept practicing extremely diligently and within several months got to 4th path.

4th path is a radical shift because one see beyond thought. However, it was clear my pain was not eradicated, my dealings with other people were not filled unequivocally with love and understanding, there was lots of confusion and self-doubt. This is what drove me on. I could not fix my emotions. All along the path as I progressed, self-doubt and jealousy plagued me. This was painfull! Everyone experiences the pain of emotions, we can all relate to this. My practice was not at all badges for badges sake, it was trying to get out of my suffering.

As you progress on the path, your mind puts less energy into conceptual thought. It puts more energy into just being there in the moment. This does not involve becoming less human. Compassion is the goal! The human heart is not eradicated, it comes to be what one lives from. The heart isn't perfect, it is open. It is tender to situations. When I come on here, and get shut down, it is somewhat painfull! I am doing this because I know I have something beautiful I can share with people. I relate very deeply to the struggle of meditation, and if I can ease one person's journey, than this post was a success. I'm not here to brag. I am trying to be open about my attainment for the sake of this situation. What would be the point of this map if I had no attainment? It would be the blind leading the blind!

To be clear, I believe the path of meditation is the way out of suffering. Attainments are one's progression along the path. This map is like a trail map out of suffering, with the attainments being checkpoints along the way. If you hit the check points, you know you are progressing, and with this comes confidence that you are on track, and that you can do this, just as those who did it before you.

I'm not saying don't deal with your emotions, or life issues, and that everyone should practice to become attained so you can be in the special enlightened club. You need to deal with your life, in which emotions and issues arise. You also need to do this with respect for yourself and others. So frankly having a handle on your mental and emotional issues goes a long way. This is the purpose of the path!

One last thing which you brought up: how has it field tested?

Since I have eradicated karma, it has field tested and passed so to speak. During the last two weeks (since that happened) I have been pretty sick mostly, and had a ton of school work. I do not enjoy being sick, it is not a pleasant experience. I also do not enjoy having my nose to the grindstone for papers and staring at a computer all day. That said, I experience it moment to moment. I may have these negative sort of expressions about my life situation, but I am contentedly blissful inside. I do not mean I am just resting in some smug, self-absorbed state. I have an infinite experience of inner wellness, and I am open to the world. I would like to help people, I would like to get my papers done and not be sick, but if none of that happens, I am radiantly content. I do not need anything, I am glad right now, not based on causes and conditions.

One event I think I should mention: I had to give part of a group presentation in front of a my class. There was some anxiety, or noticeable nervous energy. I was not divorced from that. I was not totally separate and superior. I could feel that yes, there is some nervousness about this. But it didn't matter really. It was there, and I continued to live, my feeling of ultimate health did not diminish. Also, I have a girlfriend, and I love her. It's not like I just love everybody like that, some random guy on the street I have compassion for, I know irrevocably that he and I are made from the same stuff, we are at some level one and the same, but he is a separate soul on his own path. I wish him the best. If I talked to him, the universal love I feel would be expressed. This is somewhat different though from romantic love. There is a deeper bond between my girlfriend and I than some random homeless dude and I. These things (human energetic bonds..) do exist. Just because I have transcended concept, doesn't mean I've left the beauty and richness of the world behind.

Really I just see it clearly now. Conceptual thought is a veil over our eyes which obscures our sight. We can still see bushes and trees, but once we have seen them, we immediately unconsciously stuff them into a tight conceptual framework with 'ourselves' in the middle. When this is gone, we see the world in all its beauty. We don't actually need the conceptual framework, tightly as we cling to it.

I will leave you with this. Who are you? No doubt, a convenient conceptual answer can be found. But do you really know who you are? When you ask yourself that question, do you really know the answer, or do you feel an emptiness inside? I know exactly who and what I am now. I know that innately, just as a fact of being alive. So when you talk about losing humanness, really I have gained it.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 5:57 PM as a reply to T DC.
As you progress on the path, your mind puts less energy into conceptual thought. It puts more energy into just being there in the moment. This does not involve becoming less human. Compassion is the goal! The human heart is not eradicated, it comes to be what one lives from. The heart isn't perfect, it is open. It is tender to situations. When I come on here, and get shut down, it is somewhat painfull! I am doing this because I know I have something beautiful I can share with people. I relate very deeply to the struggle of meditation, and if I can ease one person's journey, than this post was a success. I'm not here to brag. I am trying to be open about my attainment for the sake of this situation. What would be the point of this map if I had no attainment? It would be the blind leading the blind!


Or maybe you are not enlightened because you experience that pain, some would certainly say so. Maybe their hearts aren't open so they don't experience pain and therefore they aren't enlightened though. Maybe enlightenment is infinite pain when your heart is totally open and your experience is only somewhat painful and as such you aren't fully enlightened, just partially? Do pleasure and pain matter?

You need to deal with your life, in which emotions and issues arise.


why?

You also need to do this with respect for yourself and others.


why?

Just because I have transcended concept, doesn't mean I've left the beauty and richness of the world behind.


Aren't beauty and richness concepts? Isn't your girlfriend here a concept? Does your girlfriend exist from her own side? If not what is it that you love and how is it particular to your girlfriend? I thought that your girlfriend was a drop in the ocean so isn't it pretty arbitrary to single her out like this?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 5:58 PM as a reply to T DC.
TDC,

No, stream entry is not the realization of no-self. Where are you getting this information? As for first path, this is stream entry, is it not? Seriously, first path is also known as stream entry. 4th path is the realization of no-self (the first realization of it), and 4th path itself is a long way from enlightenment. At 4th path, you have realized no-self, but it still must be deepened QUITE a bit.


Stream Entry is the first stage of enlightenment. 4th path is the culmination of enlightenment. 1st path is the first stage of enlightenment.

Here is the wiki page on it
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sot%C4%81panna


According to the Theravadan 10 fetters model upon attaining stream entry one no longer has

Belief in self
skeptical doubt about the Buddha's path
clinging to rites and rituals

He also no longer has 6 types of defilements..

Envy, Jealousy, fraud, hypocrisy, denigration, domineering

This is classic theravadan buddhism and can be found in for instance in the writings of Bhante G. in Eight Mindful steps to happiness

If I had to guess, I think what you mean by your full enlightenment is that you've reached Stream entry.

Here is Bhante Sujato giving a talk on stream entry
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQYbwp4V3Js

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 6:11 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

Or maybe you are not enlightened because you experience that pain, some would certainly say so. Maybe their hearts aren't open so they don't experience pain and therefore they aren't enlightened though. Maybe enlightenment is infinite pain when your heart is totally open and your experience is only somewhat painful and as such you aren't fully enlightened, just partially? Do pleasure and pain matter?


Are you serious? Ha I can't really tell. Anyhow I am enlightened, but at this point you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Adam . .:
You need to deal with your life, in which emotions and issues arise.


why?

You also need to do this with respect for yourself and others.


why?


Are you serious? Why do you think? I'm not going to baby sit you here.
Adam . .:

Just because I have transcended concept, doesn't mean I've left the beauty and richness of the world behind.


Aren't beauty and richness concepts? Isn't your girlfriend here a concept? Does your girlfriend exist from her own side? If not what is it that you love and how is it particular to your girlfriend? I thought that your girlfriend was a drop in the ocean so isn't it pretty arbitrary to single her out like this?


No. You seem to be referring to nihilism, where nothing exists. There's definitely a world out there and either you can be fixated on your concepts, or you can actually experience the world. Frankly Adam, either be real or fuck off.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 6:16 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
TDC,

No, stream entry is not the realization of no-self. Where are you getting this information? As for first path, this is stream entry, is it not? Seriously, first path is also known as stream entry. 4th path is the realization of no-self (the first realization of it), and 4th path itself is a long way from enlightenment. At 4th path, you have realized no-self, but it still must be deepened QUITE a bit.


Stream Entry is the first stage of enlightenment. 4th path is the culmination of enlightenment. 1st path is the first stage of enlightenment.

If I had to guess, I think what you mean by your full enlightenment is that you've reached Stream entry.


A. 'TDC is not enlightened'. No, you're wrong. This has been debated, and at this point, take it or leave it. I am enlightened.

B. '4th path is the culmination of enlightenment.' No, 4th path is not the culmination of enlightenment, there is still more to do after.

C. Stream entry is just an initial attainment. Will no one back me up on this?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 6:22 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Adam . .:

Or maybe you are not enlightened because you experience that pain, some would certainly say so. Maybe their hearts aren't open so they don't experience pain and therefore they aren't enlightened though. Maybe enlightenment is infinite pain when your heart is totally open and your experience is only somewhat painful and as such you aren't fully enlightened, just partially? Do pleasure and pain matter?


Are you serious? Ha I can't really tell. Anyhow I am enlightened, but at this point you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Adam . .:
You need to deal with your life, in which emotions and issues arise.


why?

You also need to do this with respect for yourself and others.


why?


Are you serious? Why do you think? I'm not going to baby sit you here.
Adam . .:

Just because I have transcended concept, doesn't mean I've left the beauty and richness of the world behind.


Aren't beauty and richness concepts? Isn't your girlfriend here a concept? Does your girlfriend exist from her own side? If not what is it that you love and how is it particular to your girlfriend? I thought that your girlfriend was a drop in the ocean so isn't it pretty arbitrary to single her out like this?


No. You seem to be referring to nihilism, where nothing exists. There's definitely a world out there and either you can be fixated on your concepts, or you can actually experience the world. Frankly Adam, either be real or fuck off.


Lol yep these are sincere questions and I think about them alot. Apologies if you didn't want to.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 6:47 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
... either be real or fuck off.


Now that's an enlightened response emoticon

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 7:37 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
... either be real or fuck off.


Now that's an enlightened response emoticon


I apologize, it seemed like you were just trolling. It seems even enlightened beings have an edge ha. Anyhow what are you hoping to get out of those questions?

Do pleasure and pain matter? I would say really people can only answer that for themselves. Does pain matter? It may not matter, but it sucks. The purpose of the path isn't to eradicate pain, it's to eradicate confusion, which could be said to be painful.

Why do you need to deal with your life and have respect for others? Well you don't explicitly need to, no one's making you. You could just do nothing and let your life fall apart. But you just kind of have to. You have to survive, or you will die, and so you need to do what it takes to make that happen. As for respect, I would say, we are all in this together, humans are really no different than one another. And respect for others really comes from self-respect, IMO. The extent to which you respect yourself, or are open and accepting of who you are, is largely the extent to which you are happy.

By my response I meant, it's really up to you to decide. However you feel about your life, that's your own issue. These are questions for you to figure out. It doesn't really matter if I answer them for you. The satisfaction comes from knowing them yourself, and that's what the path allows you to do.

Chris Marti:
Aren't beauty and richness concepts? Isn't your girlfriend here a concept? Does your girlfriend exist from her own side? If not what is it that you love and how is it particular to your girlfriend? I thought that your girlfriend was a drop in the ocean so isn't it pretty arbitrary to single her out like this?


Sure beauty and richness are concepts. They are based on things you do experience though. There may be the concept of a flower, which does not exist on it's own accord, and has no inherent reality. The actual flower to which it refers exists however, unrelated to the conception of it, and in experience it is beautiful, regardless of your varied conceptions of beauty. What you do on the path is stop thinking about things so much and actually slow down and experience.

Does my girlfriend exist from her own side? From her own side refers to inherent existence in the way we mentally construct things. When I think of my girlfriend, I have thoughts about her. These thoughts are not her. If I stand in front of her and think about her, these thoughts are not her, she is something else entirely. I can think about her all I want, but I am just mentally trying to describe her, I am trying to conceptually evaluate my experience. This cannot be done fully, or should I say, one could try to evaluate things mentally literally for infinite time. The only way you can actually experience something is without a filter of concept.

As well from it's own side refers to the perception that things are separately existing, which in experience beyond concepts, they are not. As for everyone being just a drop in an ocean; that's one special part of existence. Everyone and thing is just a drop in the ocean of the whole, but each drop is significant. The part is no different from the whole. Just because it seems relatively smaller doesn't make it less.

Cheers

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 8:09 PM as a reply to T DC.
Thanks for the replies, most of those quotes were mine not chris marti's btw.

I apologize, it seemed like you were just trolling. It seems even enlightened beings have an edge ha. Anyhow what are you hoping to get out of those questions?


Well like I said on the one hand I think about these things in my life. It seems like there are all sorts of things you can do with your life and alot of the time enlightenment and Buddhist ideals are about suffering and the end of suffering. So is the best way to live your life 100% about minimizing suffering/pain and maximizing happiness/pleasure?

The purpose of the path isn't to eradicate pain, it's to eradicate confusion


Ok so the "purpose of the path" is to eliminate confusion. What does that mean and why is it desirable? Would you choose not to be confused at any cost of pain? Or do you value both pleasure and wisdom?

Why do you need to deal with your life and have respect for others? Well you don't explicitly need to, no one's making you. You could just do nothing and let your life fall apart. But you just kind of have to. You have to survive, or you will die, and so you need to do what it takes to make that happen. As for respect, I would say, we are all in this together, humans are really no different than one another. And respect for others really comes from self-respect, IMO. The extent to which you respect yourself, or are open and accepting of who you are, is largely the extent to which you are happy.


Ok so I could do nothing and let my life fall apart and not respect all the humans who are in this together. Is the reason not to do this all about the pain that it would cause me? In just this life or in future lives extending infinitely until I change my ways?

By my response I meant, it's really up to you to decide. However you feel about your life, that's your own issue. These are questions for you to figure out. It doesn't really matter if I answer them for you. The satisfaction comes from knowing them yourself, and that's what the path allows you to do.


Yea good points. Except that last one. Are you personally figuring it out yourself or trusting the validity of some path that you more or less stumbled on to?

The actual flower to which it refers exists however, unrelated to the conception of it


Are you sure?

What you do on the path is stop thinking about things so much and actually slow down and experience.


For the sake of pleasure?

The only way you can actually experience something is without a filter of concept.


When you do this, do you still love her? How do you know where she starts and the ground she is standing on ends?

Let me get at what I am trying to say in a nutshell. You seem to be operating from stuff like compassion, confusion, suffering, enlightenment etc. For me there is just lots of arising and passing sensations and thoughts. I really don't know if any of those things which you seem to be operating from are real. Are they just fictions we create for ourselves to attain or escape and then at some point decide "now i've got it!" ??

Like you said, we can make various choices and from those choices we experience a different set of sensations and thoughts. I don't see any sensations and thoughts as so important to make big claims about or seek with great effort in the way you seem to.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 8:48 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Jinxed P:
TDC,

No, stream entry is not the realization of no-self. Where are you getting this information? As for first path, this is stream entry, is it not? Seriously, first path is also known as stream entry. 4th path is the realization of no-self (the first realization of it), and 4th path itself is a long way from enlightenment. At 4th path, you have realized no-self, but it still must be deepened QUITE a bit.


Stream Entry is the first stage of enlightenment. 4th path is the culmination of enlightenment. 1st path is the first stage of enlightenment.

If I had to guess, I think what you mean by your full enlightenment is that you've reached Stream entry.


A. 'TDC is not enlightened'. No, you're wrong. This has been debated, and at this point, take it or leave it. I am enlightened.

B. '4th path is the culmination of enlightenment.' No, 4th path is not the culmination of enlightenment, there is still more to do after.

C. Stream entry is just an initial attainment. Will no one back me up on this?


I never said you weren't 'enlightened'. As I said, STREAM ENTRY IS ENLIGHTENMENT.

This is what you don't seem to be getting. It is the first level of enlightenment in the Theravada buddhist system. No one will back you up on this , because that is clearly what has been laid out by the Theravadan tradition. Stream entry is the realization of no-self. That is what it is.

There reason you are having so many battles here and no one thinks your map lines up with anyone elses is because you are misunderstanding what the paths are.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 9:07 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
T DC,

Here are the classic four paths of enlightenment in the theravadan system...Now I should point out Daniel doesn't agree with the the traditional four path model and has created his own.

4 stages of enlightenment

When you have attained the first path you have gotten rid of these three fetters.

1. Belief in self
2. doubt
3. Ritual attachment

At the second and third stages of enlightenment you give up

4.ill will or hatred (aversion to anything unpleasant, anything you don't like- meaning you don't like waiting in life or being stuck in traffic..that goes away)
5. Sensual desire (desire for sexual pleasure, desire for pleasant sounds, smells, tastes, sights, thoughts, idea, opinions)

*Considering you still desire to go skiing and still like sex, it would not seem you have reached these stages of enlightenment.

Fourth path
6. desire for material rebirth
7. desire for immaterial rebirth
8. Conceit - the seeming to exist as a person.
9.Restlessness and worry
10. ignorance

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 10:07 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:
Thanks for the replies, most of those quotes were mine not chris marti's btw.


Ya sorry I screwed that up. These are interesting questions.

Adam . .:
So is the best way to live your life 100% about minimizing suffering/pain and maximizing happiness/pleasure?


Well, the 'best way' to live your life is up for debate. Maybe we could define it as that lifestyle which leads to the greatest stable happiness for you. In my opinion, the best way to live your life is to work on your mental confusion so that you can experience happiness which is not 'based on causes and conditions' as they say. This is not done by maximizing happiness, but lessening the hold these transitory states of happiness and unhappiness have on you.

Adam . .:
The purpose of the path isn't to eradicate pain, it's to eradicate confusion


Ok so the "purpose of the path" is to eliminate confusion. What does that mean and why is it desirable? Would you choose not to be confused at any cost of pain? Or do you value both pleasure and wisdom?


Alright so I said above that the way to a stable unconditioned happiness is to lessen the hold of transitory states of happiness and unhappiness. First I should differentiate between conditioned and unconditioned happiness. Conditioned happiness would be, things come together in your life in a good way, and as a result you are happy. Your basis for happiness here is causes and conditions in your life which are not stable, and no doubt will change. Thus, this happiness is bound to be temporary.

Unconditioned happiness comes from seeing the way things truly appear. When you see beyond your mental constructs (aka confusion), a feeling of great happiness arises, which is not destroyed or changed by causes and conditions. It is thus unconditioned happiness.

Pleasure doesn't really come into it. Pleasure is nice, that is its nature, but it is conditioned happiness, and cannot be relied upon.

Adam . .:

Ok so I could do nothing and let my life fall apart and not respect all the humans who are in this together. Is the reason not to do this all about the pain that it would cause me? In just this life or in future lives extending infinitely until I change my ways?


What I meant was that yes, the reason you would not do this is it would cause you pain. Maybe it would be pleasurable to let your life fall apart, in which case you might well do that. It could go both ways. As for respecting humans, I mean by this being aware of what they are, their role so to speak. You don't need to treat everyone with prefabricated ideas of respect, that's not going to work all the time. If you are really aware of what other people are about (and you know this by knowing what you yourself are about) then you can interact with then skillfully. Why would one want to interact skillfully?

What I mean by skillful is oriented with how things truly are. When you are thus oriented, life is a joyous experience, regardless of what you are experiencing. It's like bliss, and it is also simply and unchangeably the way things are. It is an unchangeable fact of existence. So people are struggling with issues, not knowing and seeing that there is no reason to suffer, and basically everything is totally fine, from an ultimate perspective. Aligned with truth, one clearly knows there is no reason to suffer, it is just caused by confusion, which can be overcome. So skillfulness could be not adding to peoples suffering, helping orient them towards the truth, and why do it could be; simply because that is the nature of the system in which we live.

Adam . .:
By my response I meant, it's really up to you to decide. However you feel about your life, that's your own issue. These are questions for you to figure out. It doesn't really matter if I answer them for you. The satisfaction comes from knowing them yourself, and that's what the path allows you to do.


Yea good points. Except that last one. Are you personally figuring it out yourself or trusting the validity of some path that you more or less stumbled on to?


Alright so ya that last point wasn't too great, or at least well put. Satisfaction in life doesn't come from knowing things conceptually. If knowing things made you happier, there would be a gradient of happiness from those who know little, to those who know much, and clearly that's not the case. Satisfaction (in my opinion) comes from knowing the truth of things in your own experience. The path is just a means to help you do that. You have to do it all, and evaluate it yourself; if you just take someone else's word for it, you're doing it wrong. You are doing it wrong because belief in concept isn't the answer or the end goal. The goal is to see beyond your limited conceptual framework to the peace and joy which somehow happens to lie beyond it. I can't explain why, it just seems to be the way it is, that is the nature of this place we live.

Adam . .:
The actual flower to which it refers exists however, unrelated to the conception of it


Are you sure?


Well, yes, I can feel it physically, I can see it, I can examine it with my senses. That's as good as existing. Does it not exist maybe? is a very conception oriented question. It seems this question is quite similar to, 'is everything in my head'? Whether or not that is the case doesn't really matter. What matters is your experience of life, and how that can be improved.

Adam . .:
What you do on the path is stop thinking about things so much and actually slow down and experience.


For the sake of pleasure?


You could say yes, for pleasure, but really, pleasure is not a good way to define naked experience. Naked experience is truth, it's like vital primal energy. It encapsulates both pleasure and pain. It transcends those things. It cannot be described conceptually, it's in its own category. You do it for the sake of wanting to come to the end of the confusion you have as to how things are, or what is.

Adam . .:
The only way you can actually experience something is without a filter of concept.


When you do this, do you still love her? How do you know where she starts and the ground she is standing on ends?

Let me get at what I am trying to say in a nutshell. You seem to be operating from stuff like compassion, confusion, suffering, enlightenment etc. For me there is just lots of arising and passing sensations and thoughts. I really don't know if any of those things which you seem to be operating from are real. Are they just fictions we create for ourselves to attain or escape and then at some point decide "now i've got it!" ??


Alright, here is what I see as the issue here. I have one experience; a non-conceptual one, which cannot be accurately put into words, and I'm trying to describe it conceptually to you all who have a conceptual experience. It's really hard to relate between these two experiences. What you say is very true, and insightful: you don't know if any of these things I am saying are actually true. That is a super good point. On your end, there is absolutely no way to verify my experience. What's more, if you accept my words as straight truth, you will be wrong because the truth is non-conceptual.

In this circumstance, it seems you can have two things; faith that I am indeed pointing at the truth with my words, or doubt, the belief that I am just making this all up. I am not going to be able to have the final say as to which you have. This is really based on trust; that I am not deluded, or lying to you. You have to evaluate that based on your experience with me. I can talk about how trust worthy I am till forever, but in the end it's your call.

The other doubt you seem to be expressing is whether or not enlightenment is actually possible. Fair enough. I definitely had my doubts as well, and the only thing which alleviated them was continuing experience as I progressed along the path. As for whether or not progression is possible; either you can take people's words for it, or not, and/or you can test it out for yourself, or not.

Adam . .:
Like you said, we can make various choices and from those choices we experience a different set of sensations and thoughts. I don't see any sensations and thoughts as so important to make big claims about or seek with great effort in the way you seem to.


Well I'm not talking about thoughts, I'm talking about beyond thought. The experience of life beyond thoughts, beyond perception filtered by belief in conceptions. If you feel it, it is a big deal. If you are content in your life without it than, frankly that's fine too. I don't think everyone is going to become enlightened because I posted this thread, and maybe they have more important things to do in their lives in the grand scheme. But, if you are meditating, non-conceptuality is what you can hope to achieve, so from that standpoint, it does matter.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 10:16 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:


I never said you weren't 'enlightened'. As I said, STREAM ENTRY IS ENLIGHTENMENT.

This is what you don't seem to be getting. It is the first level of enlightenment in the Theravada buddhist system. No one will back you up on this , because that is clearly what has been laid out by the Theravadan tradition. Stream entry is the realization of no-self. That is what it is.

There reason you are having so many battles here and no one thinks your map lines up with anyone elses is because you are misunderstanding what the paths are.


Alright Jinxed P, I see what you are saying. I am claiming to be fully done though, not at the first level. Also, I would say that if stream entry is the realization of no-self, then the MCTB maps are wrong. Stream entry in MCTB seems to be the end of one insight cycle, I don't recall it saying anything about non-duality. It could very well be that the MCTB map doesn't line up with the Theravada map, and that 4th path MCTB is actually Theravada stream-entry.

Recognition of non-duality is so clear, such an obvious occurrence that I don't think one could miss it. And Daniel described it quite well as MCTB 4th path

Thanks for what you are saying, this is clarifying the confusion somewhat. However, can I ask, have you experienced stream entry? Did you think it was the first recognition of non-duality? And, if so, what is your opinion of the validity of the MCTB map?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 10:38 PM as a reply to T DC.
I find this whole thread hilarious for various reasons.

Here are some of them:

1) People disbelieve that TDC is fully done, because he has radically reworked an entire model of attainment, but this is exactly what Daniel did, and Daniel did it to a more heretical degree than TDC has done.

2) People keep asking stupid questions that really need no explication, for example: "Do you really believe that doing enlightenment for pleasure is beneficial?"

^Lol.

Of course it is you fucktard, that's why we do it. Would I do enlightenment if it caused me a fuck ton of pain?

Why do you meditate if you don't believe that it is for a beneficial reason?

Why are you even asking or questioning this basic assumption?

3) Some retard is going to pick apart my grammar and say: "You can't do enlightenment." This is probably while fully understanding what it is I'm saying.

The last reason is actually the funniest.

4) People do not understand that they actually no way of determining if TDC's claim is true or false, this is the essence of agnosticism, you can either accept or reject his claim. There is no way of determining if what he says his true through conversation, you can determine that what he deems to be awakening is NOT the same as what other people deem it to be.

But you have no way of knowing (if he is awakened, if his awakening is final etc).

But for some reason no one grasps this.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/2/13 11:07 PM as a reply to James Yen.
James I hope no one deletes your thread because I sincerely find your questions valuable.

1) People disbelieve that TDC is fully done, because he has radically reworked an entire model of attainment, but this is exactly what Daniel did, and Daniel did it to a more heretical degree than TDC has done.


I know, right? I don't have a clue if either of them are "enlightened."

2) People keep asking stupid questions that really need no explication, for example: "Do you really believe that doing enlightenment for pleasure is beneficial?"

^Lol.

Of course it is you fucktard, that's why we do it. Would I do enlightenment if it caused me a fuck ton of pain?

Why do you meditate if you don't believe that it is for a beneficial reason?

Why are you even asking or questioning this basic assumption?


Why am I questioning this basic assumption? Because I don't know the answer, truly. Why do I meditate? I don't anymore because I have been questioning the whole thing (and I can't seem to stop). Is it all just about pleasure? There is something about that which just doesn't sit right with me. Are people just re-orienting our thinking and perceiving processes to maximize pleasantness? It just seems like that isn't a valuable enough pursuit, lol. Do people eventually say, ok I've got a pleasurable enough way of being conscious, time to go watch a movie. My default mode for the last month is simply not having a clue about what is worth pursuing in life. Thank you for calling me a fucktard I just might be one haha. When I consider the situation i.e. me questioning the value of pursuing happiness I sure look like one.

It seems like the very idea of trying to achieve happiness is a failed enterprise, an "hedonic treadmill." Isn't that what happened with Daniel and crew? Gary Weber describes something like it too... "when the lake is entirely still the slightest ripple feels like a tidal wave" something along those lines.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 12:00 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Sup.

Yeah this whole thing is wack, I'm not entirely sure myself what's real and not real anymore either. I suppose that's a result of postmodernism and relativism though. I'm not in the spiritual game myself anymore, I mostly just do school and dance, occasionally I point out that my teacher is proposing a logical fallacy in class.

That experience that you posted before is good though, it's a return to normal life, or at least a sort of paradigmical breakthrough, wherein one experiences pleasure that is NOT defined by a framework or belief system.

In other words: real life.

Life is too sweet, literally too ehhh, universal, it cannot be captured by one sector of life (be it spiritual, social, sexual or whatever), it cannot be contained.

At least I don't think so.

But limiting your world to basically pursuing pleasure that is INDEPENDENT of standard conditions for happiness (like sex, friends, drugs and music or career purpose, financial success, having enough food or shelter etc) SEVERELY limits what you can experience, at the same time it's stupid.

You (read: people) need to break these barriers and realize that religions and paradigms are basically limiting frameworks that make life REALLY dry AND bland AND one track.

It's hard to describe the experience of life, which is so universal, that it is impossible to master from any one vantage point within life itself.

I'm Christian now actually (mostly because of my rejections of postmodernism, feminist politics, and the fact that Christianity removed the angst that I always complained about), but I'm glad to hear that you got high while, doing whatever it is that you did.

Peace man.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 12:05 AM as a reply to James Yen.
I apologize for the drivel I posted.

What I mean to say is, there is essentially the possibility for REAL LIFE, to happen, again.

Nowadays we take for granted that real life can't happen, our friendships are only as deep as kid's pools, our experiences are limited to twitter and facebook, we want to get laid but we can't (and fuck finding someone who we can get into a relationship with), there was a time where in the absence of self-absorption, it was somehow possible to actually lead a real life.

With real human interaction, real drama, real emotions, real stories.

Now that's all gone for some reason.

I find this really disturbing.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 12:27 AM as a reply to James Yen.
What I mean to say is, there is essentially the possibility for REAL LIFE, to happen, again.

Nowadays we take for granted that real life can't happen, our friendships are only as deep as kid's pools, our experiences are limited to twitter and facebook, we want to get laid but we can't (and fuck finding someone who we can get into a relationship with), there was a time where in the absence of self-absorption, it was somehow possible to actually lead a real life.

With real human interaction, real drama, real emotions, real stories.

Now that's all gone for some reason.

I find this really disturbing.


Who cares about real human interaction, real drama, real emotions, and real stories? Does this "real human" thing exist? Is it valuable? Isn't it just another "enlightenment?" More of the same I would say. Same structure. I don't think we are going to resolve what the right thing to seek is. Something is flawed with the model.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 12:37 AM as a reply to James Yen.
James Yen:
I apologize for the drivel I posted.

What I mean to say is, there is essentially the possibility for REAL LIFE, to happen, again.

Nowadays we take for granted that real life can't happen, our friendships are only as deep as kid's pools, our experiences are limited to twitter and facebook, we want to get laid but we can't (and fuck finding someone who we can get into a relationship with), there was a time where in the absence of self-absorption, it was somehow possible to actually lead a real life.

With real human interaction, real drama, real emotions, real stories.

Now that's all gone for some reason.

I find this really disturbing.


Haha, ya bro! Also your first post here was fuckin hilarious!! Any how, REAL LIFE, that's what we're all after. And that is what enlightenment is REAL EXPERIENTIAL LIFE. No wonder we all are searching for it, no wonder there are all there spiritual paths. I read a Dolores Cannon book in which she contacted some being who said that earth is a school for learning that we are not separate from the Universe (and no one else in the universe experiences this separation). If you look at it like that, of course we're all searching, that's why we're here!

What you said above: "people need to break these barriers and realize that religions and paradigms are basically limiting frameworks that make life REALLY dry AND bland AND one track", I partially agree with. Yes if you just straight believe religions, that is totally bland. The magic of Buddhism as a religion is that if you believe it you're wrong, really what it is is a systematic way of realizing non-separation, non-conceptuality, non-duality, whatever you want to call it.

If you're interested in Christianity, I highly recommend you read The Way of a Pilgrim, in which the parallels between Christianity and Buddhism, as religions meant to be interpreted as a way to experience non-separation, are beyond uncanny, they are essentially complete.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 12:43 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Adam . .:

Who cares about real human interaction, real drama, real emotions, and real stories? Does this "real human" thing exist? Is it valuable? Isn't it just another "enlightenment?" More of the same I would say. Same structure. I don't think we are going to resolve what the right thing to seek is. Something is flawed with the model.


Yes Adam, dammit, it exists, reality exists, an end to suffering exists (as I have been saying). Seriously though, I don't think you're going to get anywhere by attempting to conceptually analyze this thing, though dissatisfaction is the way to start. Seriously, that is the best place to begin practicing from; IF you can manage to go beyond thinking about it and A. Believe based on inspiration that it is possible to be free from existential doubt, and B. Channel this dissatisfied energy into diligent practice.

Your mind has to calm, to let the shit settle down, and allow you to penetrate the muck and see the truth. Meditation is essential to progress.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 1:25 AM as a reply to T DC.
I disagree with you completely T DC but I don't think it would do much good to keep talking about it. You told me to fuck off and figure it out for myself, I think that is good advice and it is what I am doing.

Isn't it funny how me actually doing that led to an instant rebuke and you telling me to abandon thinking about this and be inspired and believe?

Enjoy your non-conceptual experiencing. Sounds like a cool ride. Vibrations of constant pleasure and all that. emoticon

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 3:40 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Thanks for your honest and detailed response T DC, I appreciate it.

I am happy for you that this path has enriched your life so much. You are happy and content, and don't feel that you are searching anymore. That is a great place to be, and starting point to deal with the significant challenges that life brings. All I would say is that you appear to have this unshakeable conviction in doneness, and as I mentioned earlier this seems tied into a conceptual framework that makes it theoretically possible, though obviously it is based on your experiential understanding as well. It seems unwise to hold onto any belief too strongly. While that belief might be important to the positive state you are now in, the stronger you hold onto it the harder it will be when that belief is seriously challenged. So I wonder if it is necessary to think "I am definitely done" instead of just thinking "it really feels like I am done right now, but I don't know what the future holds, so lets see".

And if after some time you don't feel quite as done, don't forget the advice in "isolation of blowing it thread":

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4462226

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 7:35 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC --

I believe you need to pay closer attention to who says what to you here. You're attributing others' comments to me. Can you please be more careful? For example, I didn't ask you about your girl friend and the concept of beauty. That was someone else but you attributed the question to me.

Thanks.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/3/13 3:16 PM as a reply to T DC.
Bus can not ride over itself, so it will be the weapon to destroy suffering.

After getting established in nondual state(enlightenment), real cultivation, real struggle can begin.

anyone here have won sexual urge? or actually tries to cultivate it?
Or eating or other habits, investigating heat?

look how easy it is to slip back to dualism view, so that easy it is to be born back to earth. if you can't fly you will be back to learn it..that means next time all over again but then that time it will be easier and those guys who made it to nondual state fast are probably the guys from past who have done it many times.

enlightenment rather means supreme knowledge. It will be good to start putting it to a good use.

breaking into being state and destroying sentient animal remnants.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/4/13 3:15 AM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Hi T DC,

thanks for all the replying so far, I have been loving this thread. I have an idea though. Instead of debating about the end of the path, or people being fussed if you're done or not, which doesn't seem to be generating that much good chat, why don't we try a more practical approach - please give us a how-to, for just the very bottom of your map (post mctb 4th), and let people see if your model rings true for them.

If we started at immediate post MCTB 4th path, as there are a lot of 4th pathers here, some who believe that MCTB 4th as Daniel describes it is the end of insight, some not.

So to do the things you call the Heart Sutra attainments - the first steps beyond MCTB 4th.How does one practice? What should we looking for? What exactly do we attain? I would love to see this and test it out, there is something about the cylinder analogy which rings true for me, and I'm sure others would too.

I have pasted below Daniel (hope he doesn't mind) talking about MCTB 4th path to take as a starting reference point so we know where we're all starting from. What do you think? Maybe a new thread? PLEEEASE? Cheers, Anthony

Daniel Ingram:

Since the topic has come up so often and been so bandied about so many times by so many people, let me state here what I mean by 4th path, regardless of what anyone else means by it. It has the following qualities:

1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.

2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

3) No cycles change or stages or states or anything else like that do anything to this direct comprehension of simple truths at all.

4) There is no deepening in it to do. The understanding stands on its own and holds up over cycles, moods, years, etc and doesn't change at all. I have nothing to add to my initial assessment of it from 9 years ago.

5) There is nothing subtle about it: anything and everything that arises exhibits these same qualities directly, clearly. When I was third path, particularly late in it, those things that didn't exhibit these qualities were exceedingly subtle, and trying to find the gaps in the thing was exceedingly difficult and took years and many cycles. I had periods from weeks to months where it felt done and then some subtle exception would show up and I would realize I was wrong yet again, so this is natural and understandable, and if someone claims 4th as I define it here and later says they got it wrong, have sympathy for them, as this territory is not easy and can easily fool people, as it did me many, many times over about 5 years or so. However, 4th, as I term it, ended that and 9 years later that same thing holds, which is a very long time in this business.

There are other aspects that may be of value to discuss at some other time, but those are a great place to start for those who wish to claim this. If you truly have those, then perhaps we can talk about a few other points that are less central and essential.

Now, how there can still be affect (though quite modified in many ways) when there is centerlessness and agencylessness, this is a mystery to the AF kids and to me as well, and that brings me to my next point: there seems to be areas of development depending on what you look for and aim for that may arise independently, and not everything seems to come as a package necessarily. Those things are what I looked for really hard for about 7 years, and that is what I found. Now I find that the interest in the unraveling of what drives that residual affect is arising, and so that investigation happens on its own also.

Perhaps people will find this helpful in some way.


Daniel talking what he means by his experience of emptiness in a thread about 2 fold emptiness.
Daniel Ingram:

When I mean empty, I also mean without boundary, without inside and outside

I also mean the direct immediate experience in its unprocessed or raw form. I also mean the total dissolution of the sense of a perceiver.

I also mean no active agent.

I also mean that nothing is stable, including space and time.

I also mean that all is bare, shifting, empty sensate experience, causal, happening according to the basic laws of the universe, naturally, on its own.

I also would say that there is no boundary or differentiation between the sense doors at they occur, nor between body and mind, nor between manifestation and awareness, nor between this and that, beyond those ordinarily used for communication and discriminating function, but these are not the essential nature of experience, just part of it as sensations when they occur.

Nor can one find any here that is stable, nor a now that is stable, nor a knower, nor an investigator, nor any practitioner, nor any attainer.

When I talk of an integrated transient, natural, causal, luminous experience field, this sounds to me exactly like your "All collapse into a single sphere of natural presence and spontaneous simplicity."

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/14/13 8:28 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
This thread is funny. I had to log in just to add my two cents, which I rarely feel compelled to do, mostly being a lurker on this site.

First of all, everyone here is fascinated with maps. Does anybody question this? Can it be that nobody's experiences are the same? Like a fingerprint? I try to fit my insights and experiences into any of these maps and I end up being an arhat, which I doubt I actually am. I just try to stay humble and keep going.

Ok.... let's stop beating around the bush...

For people who use the term "stream entry" it means the first stage of enlightenment in which one sees beyond thoughts, sees through the illusion of self. Etc... This is satori. It is the first stage of enlightenment. It is not merely an experience but an insight that totally changes one's life, it is enlightenment after all. I would also say that it is Satori... This seems very clear. After stream entry, there is 'karmic residue' and that is why there are more paths after stream entry, to deal with the karmic residue. To integrate enlightenment into everyday life. This is where the real spiritual life begins, as far as I am concerned.

After stream entry, one "gets it", one's wisdom eye is opened and one understands the teachings of the Buddha and the teachings are corroborated by personal experience. But there is a disharmony or discord, as it were, between the realization and actual life in which one still craves sex or gets angry or has an edge, which can still cause one suffering.

Also, there is the world as it exists in our minds, and the "actual world" as a material self-existing actuality. But this "actual world" is not actually a material self-existing world independent of our perception of it. This is realized at some point, either at stream entry or later (I am unclear as to what is what after stream entry). You seem to believe that there is a real self-existent world "out there" and that your girlfriend is "real".

It is interesting to compare the path to enlightenment with the path to lucidity in dreams. First level of lucidity is where you still think the dream is real, but the setting of the dream is at a school or class or workshop in which a teacher is teaching about lucid dreams. The second level of lucidity is where you realize that you are dreaming and that this is a dream, but you still think that your dream characters are actual people independent of your mind that happen to also be dreaming they are sharing this dream with you. The third level of lucidity is where you realize that your dream characters are also just figments of your imagination. And so on.


Merely recognizing the space between thoughts is merely a shamatha jnana, and is not that remarkable in itself and does not indicate full enlightenment.

Now I am not going to say that this is that and that is this and it is stream entry. But my feeling is that I totally recognize everything you describe and have been very familiar with these things for a while now, and I don't consider myself fully enlightened. But now I am curious, maybe I am quite a bit further down the stream than just entering it. But who cares? All I know is I am going to keep paddling with the flow and I don't need a map to tell me where I am going.

BTW, your descriptions of the visions of Thogal are not authentic thogal visions.... In Thogal visions any illusion of an actual material self-existing world "out there" independent of your perception of it is totally eliminated. In the Thogal visions, your body and the world are actually seen for what they really are: dreams made of rainbow light. Figments. Soap bubbles. Mirages. Etc....

Don't take this as a criticism or jealousy of your attainment or anything. And I do not mean to cause doubt. But if you think you are "done" merely because you are successful at not thinking, then you are stuck. Keep going, you are young and you can become a great Siddha in this lifetime and you have my support!

I would like to add that we can experience full enlightenment in our meditations and still not be fully enlightened. When the meditation session is over and our default baseline state is where we are really at. And full enlightenment is more than seeing the field of perception without the interference of thought.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/14/13 8:32 PM as a reply to Dannon F.
T DC:

Do you wake up in the morning enlightened? Do you sleep enlightened? Do you dream enlightened?
I also would like to shine a light on something you said: you said that experiences in dreams do not arise from sensory input, yet there are sight, sound, feeling, etc... in dreams. These are sensory input.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/14/13 8:38 PM as a reply to Dannon F.
Sorry, but one more thing: if you hold your breath some very interesting things do happen and is the basis of all breath-retention energy work such as tummo and such. The mind is made of prana, which is in the breath. Thoughts are prana. So holding your breath the mind stops and the formless jnanas appear. Pay attention when you hold your breath and you will see it. Same thing happens during orgasm and sneezing.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/15/13 8:18 AM as a reply to Dannon F.
Dannon F:
First of all, everyone here is fascinated with maps. Does anybody question this? Can it be that nobody's experiences are the same? Like a fingerprint? I try to fit my insights and experiences into any of these maps and I end up being an arhat, which I doubt I actually am. I just try to stay humble and keep going.
It is good that despite wherever you think you are, you remain humble and continue practicing.

Could you share with us what map are you basing on which you see yourself as aligning to their description of 'arahat' (are you referring to the MCTB 4th path, which is distinct from the Buddha's fetter model description of it)?

Can you describe your experience of 'stream entry' in more details and how you progressed into 'arahatship', what the experience and insights were like and what practices led to it?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/16/13 10:38 PM as a reply to Dannon F.
Dannon F:
Can it be that nobody's experiences are the same? Like a fingerprint?


That is a valid question. However I fully believe that everyone progress on the same stages. The end result for all people is the same. Enlightenment is the recognition of THE truth. There is ONE great truth. The recognition of this truth is an experience of ONENESS. What this means is we're all going the same place. And the way I progressed was recorded with extreme precision by Tibetans who died long ago. So it seems extremely likely that everyone progresses through the same stages on the path.

Dannon F:
I try to fit my insights and experiences into any of these maps and I end up being an arhat, which I doubt I actually am. I just try to stay humble and keep going.


That is quite the conclusion. I will not say I doubt you, because you have not provided much for or against. However, please realize that arhatship is the first true recognition of emptiness. It is quite a pronounced, or recognizable stage, and if you were there, you would likely be pretty damn sure of it.

Dannon F:

For people who use the term "stream entry" it means the first stage of enlightenment in which one sees beyond thoughts, sees through the illusion of self. Etc... This is satori. It is the first stage of enlightenment. It is not merely an experience but an insight that totally changes one's life, it is enlightenment after all. I would also say that it is Satori... This seems very clear. After stream entry, there is 'karmic residue' and that is why there are more paths after stream entry, to deal with the karmic residue. To integrate enlightenment into everyday life. This is where the real spiritual life begins, as far as I am concerned.


Alright, so there was some debate about this above. The conclusion was as I saw it that MCTB stream entry and traditional stream entry are not referring to the same things. So you here are supporting this claim in my view.

About enlightenment and satori, I just googled satori and got this off the wiki page:

Satori is considered a "first step" or embarkation toward nirvana:

Ch'an expressions refer to enlightenment as "seeing your self-nature". But even this is not enough. After seeing your self-nature, you need to deepen your experience even further and bring it into maturation


That definition seems like an accurate description of 4th path. As well it seems reasonable to call this the first stage, maybe the first big stage, of enlightenment.

As stream entry is used in MCTB, it seems to refer to an attainment before 'satori', and is not interchangeable. In the map I wrote above, this is the case.

Dannon F:

After stream entry, one "gets it", one's wisdom eye is opened and one understands the teachings of the Buddha and the teachings are corroborated by personal experience. But there is a disharmony or discord, as it were, between the realization and actual life in which one still craves sex or gets angry or has an edge, which can still cause one suffering.


Right on. What you are referring to as satori, I referred to as 4th path. Everything you said above holds true. More than just emotional discord in actual life, there is still confusion to be eradicated, and thus a continuing path.

Dannon F:
Also, there is the world as it exists in our minds, and the "actual world" as a material self-existing actuality. But this "actual world" is not actually a material self-existing world independent of our perception of it. This is realized at some point, either at stream entry or later (I am unclear as to what is what after stream entry). You seem to believe that there is a real self-existent world "out there" and that your girlfriend is "real".


Alright, sorry, but that was a misinterpretation on your part. For practical purposes, I could say there is a world out there, of which my girlfriend is a part. Experientially, indeed the world is not self-, or inherently-existing.

As for what is after stream entry, have a look at after 4th path in my map! haha

Dannon F:
Merely recognizing the space between thoughts is merely a shamatha jnana, and is not that remarkable in itself and does not indicate full enlightenment.


At 4th path, which I defined as 'the space between the thoughts is seen', one is seeing the SPACE between the thoughts. Not just between the thoughts, one is seeing the 'emptiness', or void of space in which thoughts exist. No it is not full enlightenment, just a beginning stage (4th path).


Dannon F:
BTW, your descriptions of the visions of Thogal are not authentic thogal visions.... In Thogal visions any illusion of an actual material self-existing world "out there" independent of your perception of it is totally eliminated. In the Thogal visions, your body and the world are actually seen for what they really are: dreams made of rainbow light. Figments. Soap bubbles. Mirages. Etc....


Actually, I would counter you there. The names I described the visions with are the very names by which they are called. As for authentic visions, who are you to say? Have you experienced this? It sounds like you're just going off written descriptions. The result of the 4 visions is not awesome hallucination, it is the eradication of duality. All things are known to be one, and it is seen that nothing exists solidly from it's own side; all things are seen to be totally empty, like an illusion, or mirage.

Dannon F:
Do you wake up in the morning enlightened? Do you sleep enlightened? Do you dream enlightened?
I also would like to shine a light on something you said: you said that experiences in dreams do not arise from sensory input, yet there are sight, sound, feeling, etc... in dreams. These are sensory input.


Yes, I am enlightened. That means all the time. I don't know where you think I said dream experience doesn't come from sensory input, anyhow that seems pretty tangential. I'm not on here because I know all about dreams, but because I have eradicated dualistic confusion, and all habitual karmic patterns.

Dannon F:
my feeling is that I totally recognize everything you describe and have been very familiar with these things for a while now, and I don't consider myself fully enlightened. ...But who cares? All I know is I am going to keep paddling with the flow and I don't need a map to tell me where I am going.


But who cares? You brought is up! If you think you know everything I have described than either you're fully enlightened, or you're missing something. Do you really think you've been through all the stages I described? Maybe you're missing what I said about being fully done.

As for not needing a map, that is true, no one NEEDS a map. It is just a helpful way to track progression.

Dannon F:
Sorry, but one more thing: if you hold your breath some very interesting things do happen and is the basis of all breath-retention energy work such as tummo and such. The mind is made of prana, which is in the breath. Thoughts are prana. So holding your breath the mind stops and the formless jnanas appear. Pay attention when you hold your breath and you will see it. Same thing happens during orgasm and sneezing.


You said above that the mind is made of prana, which is in the breath. This reflects dualistic thinking, because it implies that there is something other in the breath than prana, which composes the mind. There is no mind, and and consciousness composes all things. There are no independent constructs. Everything in experience is one unified field, conceptual labels have no reality. If you know this then you are enlightened.

Dannon F:
if you think you are "done" merely because you are successful at not thinking, then you are stuck.

..we can experience full enlightenment in our meditations and still not be fully enlightened. When the meditation session is over and our default baseline state is where we are really at. And full enlightenment is more than seeing the field of perception without the interference of thought.


I am not talking about a temporary state of having repressed thoughts. Thoughts have come to an end, they have been fully worn out. Thought is gone; it's not just not happening, it's gone for good.

Cheers

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/16/13 10:49 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii:
please give us a how-to, for just the very bottom of your map (post mctb 4th), and let people see if your model rings true for them.

If we started at immediate post MCTB 4th path, as there are a lot of 4th pathers here, some who believe that MCTB 4th as Daniel describes it is the end of insight, some not.

So to do the things you call the Heart Sutra attainments - the first steps beyond MCTB 4th.How does one practice? What should we looking for? What exactly do we attain? I would love to see this and test it out, there is something about the cylinder analogy which rings true for me, and I'm sure others would too.


I tried to be specific above about what is attained, do you have specific questions about what I wrote for the 'Heart sutra attainments'?

As for how to practice, continuing in meditation is always the key, at all stages of the path. I posted below what I had written in several places above, for ease of use. Maybe you could read that too, and see where you have questions.


Once you've seen that thoughts are empty (4th path), and you know in your experience that your own mental creations aren't all there is, there's a lot more space of mind. What you need to do now in order to progress is to open yourself up. You need to shift your focus off yourself, and onto reality. So this is a prime time for the Mahayana teachings of taking on the suffering of others, and giving up your own personal gain. Frankly, I was somewhat stuck at 4th path, and what helped me moved forward, along with the Mahayana teachings, was getting a girlfriend, because I was forced to care about somebody other than myself.

The titles in the Mahayana attainments come from the Heart Sutra, which is an implicit attainment guide (the Dalai Lama says this himself in The World of Tibetan Buddhism). These attainments are encapsulated in what is called the HEART sutra, for a reason! The attainments of the Mahayana, seen here, are about moving awareness from mind to heart. Mind is concept based, cold and calculating, lacking a warm felt sense of life. The heart on the other hand feels and is open to what is here now, without conceptual judgement. We need both to survive and be truly happy, but up until now, mostly we have relied on the mind. In order to progress in these attainments, one must move away from tight personal territory into openness to the world and situations. Most notably this includes openness to the pain we are actually feeling; like it or not, whether we deny it or not.

Thus, progression up through these attainments is greatly helped by Mahayana practices, such as Lojong (Lojong is very beneficial), in which the focus is on extending compassion for others, and opening ourselves to our pain. These are somewhat advanced practices. That is important to remember. The Mahayana teachings come after the long hard discipline of the Hinayana. A prime example and encapsulation of these teachings is the Lojong slogan: Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself.

When you take defeat, are taking on your shittyness. You are taking on and just being with the parts of yourself that hate and judge other people. And you are sitting back with this shittyness, and letting others have the happiness that you so desire, and that they seem to posses. There is an element of recognizing the internal nature of our issues, and then sitting with them. You can't do such practices in a manner unkind to yourself, with an idea that you are bad and that's why you get defeat. That only results in suffering. Personally I strongly believe you have to have attained recognition of emptiness before you can use the Mahayana teachings for their true benefit. You have to do them in an aware way, aware already of some heart openness.

Cheers

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/16/13 11:49 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

At 4th path, which I defined as 'the space between the thoughts is seen', one is seeing the SPACE between the thoughts. Not just between the thoughts, one is seeing the 'emptiness', or void of space in which thoughts exist. No it is not full enlightenment, just a beginning stage (4th path).
Nobody defines any form of enlightenment as "the space between the thoughts". That is merely a mundane shamatha state.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/17/13 12:07 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
T DC:

At 4th path, which I defined as 'the space between the thoughts is seen', one is seeing the SPACE between the thoughts. Not just between the thoughts, one is seeing the 'emptiness', or void of space in which thoughts exist. No it is not full enlightenment, just a beginning stage (4th path).
Nobody defines any form of enlightenment as "the space between the thoughts". That is merely a mundane shamatha state.

I just did. haha, what now?!

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/17/13 5:07 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
An Eternal Now:
T DC:

At 4th path, which I defined as 'the space between the thoughts is seen', one is seeing the SPACE between the thoughts. Not just between the thoughts, one is seeing the 'emptiness', or void of space in which thoughts exist. No it is not full enlightenment, just a beginning stage (4th path).
Nobody defines any form of enlightenment as "the space between the thoughts". That is merely a mundane shamatha state.

I just did. haha, what now?!
Sure you can, but it is not logical and not consistent with anyone else's definition.

Space between thought has nothing to do with insight, wisdom, realization or enlightenment. It is just a transient state.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/17/13 11:54 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
Sure you can, but it is not logical and not consistent with anyone else's definition.

Space between thought has nothing to do with insight, wisdom, realization or enlightenment. It is just a transient state.


I just defined it above as seeing the emptiness in which thoughts abide. This is an experiential description of the first recognition of emptiness, here on this forum referred to as 4th path. Thus it is completely consistent with another accurate description of the first recognition of emptiness.

Just a transitory state? You clearly are not getting what I am saying. I am referring to attainment, to a permanent shift in baseline perception.

Please take a minute to try to comprehend what I am saying. Why are you arguing this?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/17/13 12:13 PM as a reply to T DC.
Paweł K:

care to explain what you mean by 'Buddha'?
and why this description and wondering is some hallucination was 'Buddha' or not seems so childish and totally unenlightened?


Buddha. As in awakened beings. As for your opinion of this description, I don't think it's very nice to express that for no apparent reason other than to be critical. Just saying.. If you have a point you're making that's one thing, but just being a dick for the sake of it is another.

Paweł K:
if your map is incompatible with Theverada and MCTB then don't assume MCTB/Theverada Stream Enterers and Arhats to be at 1st - 4th point in your map


Ya that's the thing. There has been much discussion already about this.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/17/13 8:16 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Please ask if you have any other questions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hinayana
1st path
2nd path
3rd path
4th path : Form is empty. --------------------------------------------------------------Mahayana

Emptiness also is form
Form is none other than emptiness
Emptiness is none other than form -------------------------------------------------Vajrayana (Mahamudra)

The Mahamudra attainments

Recognition of thought as separate from observer------------------------------- (Dzogchen)
Increasing
Full recognition of Space as Awareness: 6th level of Shamatha

7th level of Shamatha
8th level
9th level

10th level : Seeing through the self : 1st vision of Thodgal

2nd vision
3rd
4th : Enlightenment : eradication of dualistic thinking.------------------------------------------------

(path: working through karmic reservoir)

State of Bliss : the end of the road : no more karma.



Greetings, T DC

I don't think there is a need to belabor the points about how to correlate insight into selflessness, insight into emptiness, and insight into nonduality; there is clearly disagreement among members of this community regarding your interpretation of the MCTB 4-path structure and the traditional Theravada Buddhist 4-path structure.

However, there are a couple of additional things about your map that I continue to find puzzling. And, since you invited us to ask questions, here are a few, to which I will hope you will take the time to reply. To give you a sense of why I think these questions are important, both conceptually and practically, I've included some commentary for further reflection.

Question 1. You locate the 6th through the 9th levels of Shamatha *after* what you call Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana attainments. Why?

Commentary 1. In every presentation of the stages of Shamatha practice that I have ever received or read about, calm abiding meditation is a *preliminary* to insight. According to the traditional presentations from Asanga's Mahayanasutralankara and its commentaries in the Tibetan tradition, the 6th stage still suffers from the defect of subtle excitement (like the 5th does of subtle laxity). It is not until the 8th and 9th stages that concentration and pliancy/equanimity are established and maintained effortlessly. Thus, it seems rather strange to place a state of concentration involving subtle hindrances and effort *after* the attainments of the "Hinayana" and Mahayana traditions. Many, many Tibetan commentators draw parallels between the mental states cultivated in the 9 stages of Shamatha and the canonical 7 factors of awakening (the last two of which are concentration and equanimity as well). All 9 stages can be cultivated prior to any direct experience of insight; that is, they can precede the canonical understanding of 1st path (stream-entry). I've neither heard nor read any Tibetan commentator who would place them after the Mahamudra attainments either, which are understood as tantamount to full awakening, Buddhahood.


Question 2. This one pertains to your characterization of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. In your experience, what is the difference between the "Mahamudra attainments" (by which I presume you mean the Four Yogas) and the attainments of thod-gal? Can you provide us with some phenomenological distinctions so that we can understand why you separate them in your map? In particular, perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "seeing through the self: 1st vision of Thodgal" and how this is different from insight in Mahamudra, Mahayana, and Theravada path schemas?

Commentary 2. As suggested towards the end of my first comment, it strikes me as a bit unusual to so strongly differentiate Mahamudra and Dzogchen attainments, and especially to separate them by placing stages of Shamatha between them. Many Tibetan authors as early as Karma Chagme in the 17th century have emphasized the compatibility and of these two systems in terms of their ultimate realization. Thus, while I can be sympathetic to your inclination to place Dzogchen and thod-gal at the end of the path over and above other systems (although I personally have some reservations about this), many Tibetans (again, Karma Chagme, or the contemporary Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, for example) understand the nondual insights of thod-gal practice to be tantamount to the Mahamudra practice of pointing out the nature of mind as coemergent with appearances. Yes, thod-gal practices typically involve the cultivation of particular light visions (through dark retreat or sun or sky-gazing), but the purpose of these visions is to facilitate insight, not to have the visions themselves.


References
Asanga/Maitreya, Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahayanasutralankara) (AIBS, 2004)
Gen Lamrimpa, How to Practice Shamatha Meditation (Snow Lion, 2011)
Tsongkhapa, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Vol. III (Snow Lion, 2002)
Khenchen Thrangu, The Practice and Tranquillity and Insight (Snow Lion, 1993)
Leah Zahler, Study and Practice of Meditation: Tibetan Interpretations of the Concentrations and Formless Absorptions (Snow Lion, 2009)
Karma Chagme, A Spacious Path to Freedom: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra & Atiyoga (Snow Lion, 1998)
Dzogchen Ponlop, Wild Awakening: The Heart of Mahamudra and Dzogchen (Shambhala, 2003)

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/17/13 11:03 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
An Eternal Now:
Sure you can, but it is not logical and not consistent with anyone else's definition.

Space between thought has nothing to do with insight, wisdom, realization or enlightenment. It is just a transient state.


I just defined it above as seeing the emptiness in which thoughts abide. This is an experiential description of the first recognition of emptiness, here on this forum referred to as 4th path. Thus it is completely consistent with another accurate description of the first recognition of emptiness.

Just a transitory state? You clearly are not getting what I am saying. I am referring to attainment, to a permanent shift in baseline perception.

Please take a minute to try to comprehend what I am saying. Why are you arguing this?
Thoughts do not abide anywhere. What is this emptiness that you are talking about? Is it Awareness, Pure Beingness, True Self, etc? Do you have experiential realization of this emptiness and if so, what is it like experientially?

In any case I do not see any of your description as having any relevance whatsoever to the 4th path that this forum refers to, as defined by Daniel here:


Since the topic has come up so often and been so bandied about so many times by so many people, let me state here what I mean by 4th path, regardless of what anyone else means by it. It has the following qualities:

1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.

2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

3) No cycles change or stages or states or anything else like that do anything to this direct comprehension of simple truths at all.

4) There is no deepening in it to do. The understanding stands on its own and holds up over cycles, moods, years, etc and doesn't change at all. I have nothing to add to my initial assessment of it from 9 years ago.

5) There is nothing subtle about it: anything and everything that arises exhibits these same qualities directly, clearly. When I was third path, particularly late in it, those things that didn't exhibit these qualities were exceedingly subtle, and trying to find the gaps in the thing was exceedingly difficult and took years and many cycles. I had periods from weeks to months where it felt done and then some subtle exception would show up and I would realize I was wrong yet again, so this is natural and understandable, and if someone claims 4th as I define it here and later says they got it wrong, have sympathy for them, as this territory is not easy and can easily fool people, as it did me many, many times over about 5 years or so. However, 4th, as I term it, ended that and 9 years later that same thing holds, which is a very long time in this business.

There are other aspects that may be of value to discuss at some other time, but those are a great place to start for those who wish to claim this. If you truly have those, then perhaps we can talk about a few other points that are less central and essential.

Now, how there can still be affect (though quite modified in many ways) when there is centerlessness and agencylessness, this is a mystery to the AF kids and to me as well, and that brings me to my next point: there seems to be areas of development depending on what you look for and aim for that may arise independently, and not everything seems to come as a package necessarily. Those things are what I looked for really hard for about 7 years, and that is what I found. Now I find that the interest in the unraveling of what drives that residual affect is arising, and so that investigation happens on its own also.

Perhaps people will find this helpful in some way.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/18/13 2:12 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
hey.

I resonate with TDC's description of "space between thoughts". In a metaphorical way, I think it's a good description.

Basically normal people are identified with thoughts, and then even after meditation practice + study, they know their own thoughts are not them, but the thoughts still seem to have 100% inherency, their own thoughts are still reified. So it seems like they and their mind are made out of their thoughts, as solid as the bricks of their house.

When a big no-self realisation is made around thoughts (perhaps around mctb 3rd to 4th path), the thoughts lose all their inherency (perhaps totally suddenly), and for the first time, one totally realises that ALL the thoughts in their head have nothing to do with them whatsoever, they are just noise, like a random radio channel. This is intensely liberating and feels like enlightenment.

So now, the bricks that their house was made of, are now transparent, or you can see through the gaps in the bricks. But you're still in the house. This is what I think TDC is referring to as gaps between thoughts at MCTB 4th.

To get out the house, or become the house, one must then continue to dissolve the 'mind', centre and sense fields totally into one empty impermenent thing.

An Eternal Now:
T DC:
An Eternal Now:
Sure you can, but it is not logical and not consistent with anyone else's definition.

Space between thought has nothing to do with insight, wisdom, realization or enlightenment. It is just a transient state.


I just defined it above as seeing the emptiness in which thoughts abide. This is an experiential description of the first recognition of emptiness, here on this forum referred to as 4th path. Thus it is completely consistent with another accurate description of the first recognition of emptiness.

Just a transitory state? You clearly are not getting what I am saying. I am referring to attainment, to a permanent shift in baseline perception.

Please take a minute to try to comprehend what I am saying. Why are you arguing this?
Thoughts do not abide anywhere. What is this emptiness that you are talking about? Is it Awareness, Pure Beingness, True Self, etc? Do you have experiential realization of this emptiness and if so, what is it like experientially?

In any case I do not see any of your description as having any relevance whatsoever to the 4th path that this forum refers to, as defined by Daniel here:


Since the topic has come up so often and been so bandied about so many times by so many people, let me state here what I mean by 4th path, regardless of what anyone else means by it. It has the following qualities:

1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.

2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

3) No cycles change or stages or states or anything else like that do anything to this direct comprehension of simple truths at all.

4) There is no deepening in it to do. The understanding stands on its own and holds up over cycles, moods, years, etc and doesn't change at all. I have nothing to add to my initial assessment of it from 9 years ago.

5) There is nothing subtle about it: anything and everything that arises exhibits these same qualities directly, clearly. When I was third path, particularly late in it, those things that didn't exhibit these qualities were exceedingly subtle, and trying to find the gaps in the thing was exceedingly difficult and took years and many cycles. I had periods from weeks to months where it felt done and then some subtle exception would show up and I would realize I was wrong yet again, so this is natural and understandable, and if someone claims 4th as I define it here and later says they got it wrong, have sympathy for them, as this territory is not easy and can easily fool people, as it did me many, many times over about 5 years or so. However, 4th, as I term it, ended that and 9 years later that same thing holds, which is a very long time in this business.

There are other aspects that may be of value to discuss at some other time, but those are a great place to start for those who wish to claim this. If you truly have those, then perhaps we can talk about a few other points that are less central and essential.

Now, how there can still be affect (though quite modified in many ways) when there is centerlessness and agencylessness, this is a mystery to the AF kids and to me as well, and that brings me to my next point: there seems to be areas of development depending on what you look for and aim for that may arise independently, and not everything seems to come as a package necessarily. Those things are what I looked for really hard for about 7 years, and that is what I found. Now I find that the interest in the unraveling of what drives that residual affect is arising, and so that investigation happens on its own also.

Perhaps people will find this helpful in some way.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/18/13 3:50 AM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii:
hey.

I resonate with TDC's description of "space between thoughts". In a metaphorical way, I think it's a good description.

Basically normal people are identified with thoughts, and then even after meditation practice + study, they know their own thoughts are not them, but the thoughts still seem to have 100% inherency, their own thoughts are still reified. So it seems like they and their mind are made out of their thoughts, as solid as the bricks of their house.

When a big no-self realisation is made around thoughts (perhaps around mctb 3rd to 4th path), the thoughts lose all their inherency (perhaps totally suddenly), and for the first time, one totally realises that ALL the thoughts in their head have nothing to do with them whatsoever, they are just noise, like a random radio channel. This is intensely liberating and feels like enlightenment.

So now, the bricks that their house was made of, are now transparent, or you can see through the gaps in the bricks. But you're still in the house. This is what I think TDC is referring to as gaps between thoughts at MCTB 4th.

To get out the house, or become the house, one must then continue to dissolve the 'mind', centre and sense fields totally into one empty impermenent thing./quote]
Anything that is unrelated to 3 dharma seals really have nothing to do with Buddhist enlightenment. I have not seen him relating enlightenment to dharma seal of anatta or as an insight into no-self. Lots of people practicing shamatha experience a quiet mind too. What he calls "emptiness" does not seem to be an insight... but shall wait for him to elaborate.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/18/13 4:00 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
When 4th path is attained, the space between thoughts is seen. The way in which we buy into thoughts is still somewhat present, but now we cannot buy into them completely as if they were all that existed. Now we see thoughts on a backdrop of void, or space. The concepts, the form, or solidity of thought no longer stands. The thoughts, and their meaning is seen to be negated by space, empty of existing as a completely solid framework. Concepts arise as solid, but are then (immediately) negated by the space around them.

This description of spaciousness is just describing a state of experience. Spaciousness that is felt as a backdrop of thoughts is just a state of experience and this is not even the I AM realization yet much less an insight into anatta. I had plenty of experiences of spaciousness... it is far off from any realization.

On the realization of I AMness vs experience of spaciousness, Thusness said in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/realization-and-experience-and-non-dual.html in 2009 before my I AM realization in Feb 2010:

"So what is lacking? You do not lack the experience, you lack the realization. You may have the blissful sensation or feeling of vast and open spaciousness; you may experience a non-conceptual and objectless state; you may experience the mirror like clarity but all these experiences are not Realization. There is no ‘eureka’, no ‘aha’, no moment of immediate and intuitive illumination that you understood something undeniable and unshakable -- a conviction so powerful that no one, not even Buddha can sway you from this realization because the practitioner so clearly sees the truth of it. It is the direct and unshakable insight of ‘You’. This is the realization that a practitioner must have in order to realize the Zen satori. You will understand clearly why it is so difficult for those practitioners to forgo this ‘I AMness’ and accept the doctrine of anatta. Actually there is no forgoing of this ‘Witness’, it is rather a deepening of insight to include the non-dual, groundlessness and interconnectedness of our luminous nature. Like what Rob said, "keep the experience but refine the views"."

Even the realizaton of I AMness is not the end. (See: Stage 1 of http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html )

When T DC said things like " Really we are the boundless space, that which composes all things. A drop of water in the ocean is one whole with the entire ocean, and is not separate. " It does sound like he is describing from the perspective of I AMness.

It also makes sense that he is talking from the perspective of I AM/Witness since he says thoughts are separate from the observer. I'm not sure if he had the I AM realization yet.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/18/13 6:11 PM as a reply to Mr. Marga.
These are good questions, and thank you for the commentaries. I am sorry to say I have not read any of those books, but I have listed some from which I drew information.
Mr. Marga:

Question 1. You locate the 6th through the 9th levels of Shamatha *after* what you call Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana attainments. Why?


**A note: the Vajrayana encompasses all attainments after the Mahayana. 6th - 9th stages of Shamatha are included in the Varjayana

This is a good question. Have you ever seen the drawings of the stages of Shamatha? Here is an example. There is a description of the first 9 stages here. If you look at the picture, you will note that in the final depiction, the 11th in the picture, the man riding on the elephant is about to cut several rainbow cords; this stage is called 'the severing of karma' or something to that effect. That this stage is the end goal seems to reflect that the stages of Shamatha go beyond the Hinayana, the first stage of the path.

Clearly it seems that you have also read the stages of shamatha being applied in a different context, such as pre-stream entry. Personally I do not believe this refutes what I am saying. The various broad systems of describing attainment, such as the stages of shamatha, and the Boddhisatva buhmis, seem to be applied differently to the path by different teachers. Specifically I have noticed this with the buhmis. To support my own view, the sources I linked above clearly refer to the stages of shamatha in a context quite similar to my own (because the way I describe it is based upon them).

Another possible source of confusion here is; I have heard shamatha translated as calm-abiding. As a pre-requisite to insight, indeed some mental calm must be accomplished. So in this sense it is quite logical to say that shamatha must be attained prior to insight. However, the stages of shamatha deal with complete mental pacification: the eradication of confusion, not just a rudimentary sort of calming, or concentrated mental stability. To equate the stages of shamatha with an experience of shamatha would thus be in error. Do you see what I'm saying?

As for why I placed them after the Mahamudra attainments, as I have said, I am using the stages of shamatha in a context in which they are descriptions of the stages to full awakening. I believe (and I will say more about this below for your 2nd question) that there are higher teachings than Mahamudra, or in essence that Mahamudra is limited, and thus, per a full map of awakening, which the stages of shamatha present, some stages fall beyond the scope of Mahamudra.


Mr. Marga:
Question 2. This one pertains to your characterization of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. In your experience, what is the difference between the "Mahamudra attainments" (by which I presume you mean the Four Yogas) and the attainments of thod-gal? Can you provide us with some phenomenological distinctions so that we can understand why you separate them in your map? In particular, perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "seeing through the self: 1st vision of Thodgal" and how this is different from insight in Mahamudra, Mahayana, and Theravada path schemas?


What I meant by Mahamudra attainments are those attainments corresponding with the path of Mahamudra found in the book, 'Mind at Ease', by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche. This book (about Mahamudra) breaks down the stages of the path as one practices the Mahamudra system into something like 18 very detailed stages of attainment. NOTE: the end stage of this is indeed referred to as full Buddhahood. Unfortunately I do not have the book with me for more reference.

Upon progressing through the stages of Mahamudra and attaining 'full buddhahood', I was convinced I was done. Though emotional problems in my life had not been eradicated, a major shift in perception had occurred, and the book said that was it! At this point I went and saw my teacher, who studied very extensively under a Tibetan Mahamudra expert, and told her that I had attained Mahamudra. After discussing what exactly I had attained, she replied that I had not actually attained Mahamudra, and there was more to go, but I 'would not find it in books'. I went home, and continued to search for information on how to proceed. As my Mahamudra books were topped out, I looked elsewhere, and found Dzogchen teachings by Namkai Norbu describing the very stage I was at, and the following stages (which are in the map).

This is the way in which Namkai Norbu describes the apparent attainment of Mahamudra,"All appearances are understood to be the potency of the energy of the Bodhicitta or the primordial state." This is the end state of Mahamudra, but Dzogchen goes on from here. At this point (the end Mahamudra attainment), I believe these Dzogchen teachings would fall into the treckchod category. Only after the self is fully seen through can one actually proceed with the teachings of Thodgal in a meaningful manner.

Here I mean fully seeing through the self, completely doing away with the idea of a separate observer. The result of the Hinayana was a glimpse of emptiness. The result of the Mahayana was deepening of that emptiness such that one actually sees the world as empty. The Varjayana deals with coming to understand that we ourselves are not a seperate entity, but actually just the same as the emptiness which composes all other things. Thus seeing through the self in this context means fully destroying that core belief in a separate self. After this there still exists a subtle perception of duality, which the 4 visions of Thodgal eliminate.

You ask how Thodgal and Mahamudra differ. An analogy would be that, if the Vajrayana was a ladder, Mahamudra would be rungs 1 - 8, and thodgal would be rungs 14 - 17. And treckchod would be rungs 1 - 13. Thodgal and Mahamudra cannot really be compared as though they were con-current systems. They each have their place on the path!
Just because Mahamudra is lower doesn't mean it's not as good. It has a very specific application; it is literally meant to apply to people at one specific stage, or set of stages, on the path. And thodgal is meant to apply to another very specific set of stages.

(slight digression) The various stages in the map I have described are not optional. They are descriptions of the stages that all people will go through on the path to realization of non-duality. Different stages cannot be compared as though they were equal because linearly it doesn't line up; comparison just doesn't make sense. Granted I have cobbled together this map from a variety of sources, and it may look a little rough.

BUT LOOK: everyone please read this. If you don't have a map, you don't really know where you are, or where you're going. If you don't know where you are, or where you're headed, you tend to practice blindly and ineffectively. If you know what the next stage looks like, if you know what you're going for, you naturally practice in the right direction.

When I was progressing along the path, I had no such map. I had to cobble it together, and this took time and error, and was responsible for some stagnation and needless confusion. That is why I have provided this map for you all. DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE IT'S POWER! Some people may not relate, but frankly, please understand that this is just my shitty description of ONE path which we're all on. There is ONE path, this map describes it, not is it.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/19/13 3:49 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
First off, Eternal Now, please answer this question: What is your motivation in arguing with me about this?

An Eternal Now:
Thoughts do not abide anywhere. What is this emptiness that you are talking about? Is it Awareness, Pure Beingness, True Self, etc? Do you have experiential realization of this emptiness and if so, what is it like experientially?

In any case I do not see any of your description as having any relevance whatsoever to the 4th path that this forum refers to, as defined by Daniel here:

Anything that is unrelated to 3 dharma seals really have nothing to do with Buddhist enlightenment. I have not seen him relating enlightenment to dharma seal of anatta or as an insight into no-self. Lots of people practicing shamatha experience a quiet mind too. What he calls "emptiness" does not seem to be an insight... but shall wait for him to elaborate.


Yes, for the love of god, I have experiential understanding of emptiness, how could you possibly have missed that. That I'm not relating it to the three dharma seals means NOTHING. It does not prove anything. There exists more Buddhist teachings than the three dharma seals.

An Eternal Now:

This description of spaciousness is just describing a state of experience. Spaciousness that is felt as a backdrop of thoughts is just a state of experience and this is not even the I AM realization yet much less an insight into anatta. I had plenty of experiences of spaciousness... it is far off from any realization.

On the realization of I AMness vs experience of spaciousness

When T DC said things like " Really we are the boundless space, that which composes all things. A drop of water in the ocean is one whole with the entire ocean, and is not separate. " It does sound like he is describing from the perspective of I AMness.

It also makes sense that he is talking from the perspective of I AM/Witness since he says thoughts are separate from the observer. I'm not sure if he had the I AM realization yet.


Will you please read my posts!?! I am done! DONE! That is the perspective from which I am speaking!

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/19/13 6:31 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

Will you please read my posts!?! I am done! DONE! That is the perspective from which I am speaking!


Hi T DC good to see that you are still answering all these posts.

Can you share some thoughts on what you are describing and if/how it lines up with the following map ? It will clear up some confusion for me...

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.ca/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html


Although I think your map is pretty good, we are interpreting it differently. So there is confusion.

Your understanding of things like MCTB 4th is not the one normally used on these boards and as explained by Daniel. I don't see it as having anything to do with the space around thoughts and everything to do with "emptiness" of self.

Mind you there is still no direct recognition of emptiness as in basic awareness that is free from extreme cognitive propositions. But in MCTB 4th there is quite a bit of relief from suffering that comes from seeing through the subject / object duality.

Then the later definitions diverge from there.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/19/13 7:34 PM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:


Can you share some thoughts on what you are describing and if/how it lines up with the following map ? It will clear up some confusion for me...

Although I think your map is pretty good, we are interpreting it differently. So there is confusion.

Your understanding of things like MCTB 4th is not the one normally used on these boards and as explained by Daniel. I don't see it as having anything to do with the space around thoughts and everything to do with "emptiness" of self.

Mind you there is still no direct recognition of emptiness as in basic awareness that is free from extreme cognitive propositions. But in MCTB 4th there is quite a bit of relief from suffering that comes from seeing through the subject / object duality.

Then the later definitions diverge from there.


I looked at that map, and I must admit, I could not really make sense of it. I don't know where 4th path or any other recognizable benchmark fits into that. The fact that whoever wrote that seemingly just crafted stages from somewhat dubious personal experience makes it hard to relate to.

I want to make a point about my map. While 4th path is up for debate, please realize I have not independently created this map. Actually I have made up none of it. It is completely cobbled together from previously written, laid down teachings about the path. While we can argue all day about whether or not I am misinterpreting these teachings, the fact of the matter is that these are teachings about the path (esp. the Heart Sutra) which have persisted hundreds if not thousands of years, due to the fact that generations of lineage masters found them to be true in personal experience and passed them on. So it is not so far fetched to say I have realized these teachings, gone through these specific stage on the path, and you all will as well. This has been the state of things since the time of the Buddha.

Another note on 4th path not lining up with my map. The attainments I listed for the Mahayana are laid out in the Heart Sutra, and this is not debated in Buddhism as a whole. The attainments which Daniel laid out in MCTB, based on a Hinayana system, conveniently top out at, or lead right into, these Mahayana attainments. So whether or not Daniel or anyone else agrees with me that 4th path is what I say it is, that it is what I say it is is a boon for Daniel, because it essentially proves he laid out the Hinayana path totally correctly. (And note here for clarity, 4th path = form is empty, the initial, or first, Heart Sutra attainment.)

As for how I have defined 4th path, I will try to clarify. I defined it above as the emptiness between (and around) thoughts. To me this seems to be a reasonable experiential definition, but I can see how it could be confusing. Normally, pre-4th path, all thoughts are taken to be completely solid. Due to this, our sense of self is seemingly totally solid. All we see is our thoughts, that's all that we know to exist, and thus we take them as completely solidly real. Any thought about ourselves must be true, or not true, or some sort of split. We think thoughts are totally real and meaningful. If I think my sweater is red, then of course it is red..

At 4th path, we perceive that there is also space, or emptiness. Thoughts exist in this space. They are not a completely solid relational mass. Whereas before all conceptions seemed totally solid, as they existed in a closed system, now empty space is thrown into the mix, something with which thoughts cannot relate, and so the apparent solidity, or complete relational truth of thoughts is gone. Thoughts which were formerly considered to be totally true, about ourselves and the world, are now seen to be not inherently true. There is now empty space in the mix which negates their true-ness. Thus form (thoughts) is empty (has no intrinsically true or substantiated meaning).

Concept is relational, it derives truth from other concept. Pre-4th path concept derives it's seeming solidity from the fact it seems to encompass all things. However, when something other than concept is seen to exist, something to which concept cannot apply, then the solidity of the conceptual system falls apart.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/19/13 8:51 PM as a reply to T DC.
I won't belabor the point but one sees clearly at third path (if not before) that thoughts themselves are empty, and as such, are inseparable/not-separate from emptiness. It is evident from reading your thoughts that you have not yet had this realization. There is a clear dualism still at work in your mind between conceptual thought and what you refer to as "emptiness". You write repeatedly of the emptiness around and between thoughts which, if you are describing your experience correctly, would assert that you have not yet realized on a deep level the empty nature within conceptions. You quote the heart sutra repeatedly: anyone may do this, or any other text. It does not verify one's level of realization to quote things others have written. The extent of realization becomes clear the more one answers the questions that are posed to them regarding their own experience. From reading your answers there seem to be two possibilities: 1) You are misrepresenting your own experience to your own knowledge in order to appear more awake for whatever reasons that might be (perhaps some remaining karmic residue involving the need to feel important) or 2) you are in denial about your experience, and lack the humility to acknowledge where you really are at. I bring this up with no sense of ill will but because I think its important we keep each other honest in these communities and it concerns me that someone might actually buy into what you say and take it seriously as their practice or view when there is much more clear and useful information available for those who want to know.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/19/13 10:16 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
What is your motivation in arguing with me about this?

Because you think you have a higher attainment than you actually have. Also you misunderstand what other people are teaching, including Daniel, including the Mahayana/Mahamudra/Dzogchen teachings.
Yes, for the love of god, I have experiential understanding of emptiness, how could you possibly have missed that. That I'm not relating it to the three dharma seals means NOTHING. It does not prove anything. There exists more Buddhist teachings than the three dharma seals.
Nothing you wrote suggests experiential insight of anatta or twofold emptiness, sorry.

Will you please read my posts!?! I am done! DONE! That is the perspective from which I am speaking!
Not convinced.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/20/13 2:21 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
T DC:
What is your motivation in arguing with me about this?


What is your motivation is arguing with everyone else about this? Do you get frustrated when some people suggest you aren't even at stream entry? emoticon

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/20/13 9:48 AM as a reply to T DC.
At 4th path, we perceive that there is also space, or emptiness. Thoughts exist in this space. They are not a completely solid relational mass. Whereas before all conceptions seemed totally solid, as they existed in a closed system, now empty space is thrown into the mix, something with which thoughts cannot relate, and so the apparent solidity, or complete relational truth of thoughts is gone. Thoughts which were formerly considered to be totally true, about ourselves and the world, are now seen to be not inherently true. There is now empty space in the mix which negates their true-ness. Thus form (thoughts) is empty (has no intrinsically true or substantiated meaning).


i agree.

3rd path still is raw with a tail. 4th is complete, 360 degrees.

i did only concentration/samadhi practice, at third path there is one special samadhi, special because after 4th its not available anymore( at least that quality).
At 4th it took me around 7-8 months to get samadhi again but this time it was different. I could freeze the mind, that i could see the frame what make up the reality(movement), i just let go of one frame/field and there is another frame and i could see how previous one dissolves with the awareness of it. Also that mind is separate from the outside, i could still see through the eyes while mind were "freezed", i would able to make the eyes disappear from the mind field but i still saw. It was my individual mind. Then when i let go of it i enter nondual state, the change can be felt, like expansion from brain to boundless. The expansion seems to coming from the forehead. Then i assume that there is spiritual(third) eye. Also the nondual state is same/similar to the way you look the 3D pictures from 2D paper.

I have asked people do they know that thoughts are impermanet and they are not their body, they all agree and see it. Its not hard to understand that everything consists of signals what are bombarding the brain etc..but they miss the essence or the insight in it..so they remain ignorant, that means their mind is controlled by illusions, impressions, urges etc instead of themselves.

here i assume that 4th path denotes mastery over the individual mind. Mind is quite pure, what enables to have tens of fruitions a day. I see that mind could get even more stronger that it won't get lost so often.

i think spiritual eye is the key to spiritual world and this physical reality is completed by 4th path and everything else is something else..

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/20/13 9:53 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
T DC:
What is your motivation in arguing with me about this?

Because you think you have a higher attainment than you actually have. Also you misunderstand what other people are teaching, including Daniel, including the Mahayana/Mahamudra/Dzogchen teachings.


AEN - Are you the person who wrote this map?

If so, could you say where on that map you would put 4th path? As well, could you perhaps give me some more reasons as to why you do not agree with my descriptions of 4th path? Right now I do not know where you are coming from, and it feels somewhat like you are just denying what I say without providing any explanation.

Cheers

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/20/13 10:19 PM as a reply to William Finch.
William Finch:
one sees clearly at third path (if not before) that thoughts themselves are empty, and as such, are inseparable/not-separate from emptiness. It is evident from reading your thoughts that you have not yet had this realization. There is a clear dualism still at work in your mind between conceptual thought and what you refer to as "emptiness". You write repeatedly of the emptiness around and between thoughts which, if you are describing your experience correctly, would assert that you have not yet realized on a deep level the empty nature within conceptions.


All my writing of conceptual thought being surrounded by emptiness has been in the context of describing 4th path. As for a description of my experience, this has been provided multiple times, and most notably has included the phrase, "I have no more thoughts". I am completely and fully enlightened, and I would appreciate if, instead of assuming that you know my level of realization, you asked questions so that you could better understand my perspective. To form opinions and then remained entrenched in them is stagnation, whereas questioning and testing the opinions you have formed leads to progress.

As well, you say at third path thoughts are realized to be empty. Are you going off traditional Theravadan attainment descriptions? I do not think that on the MCTB path, thoughts are seen to empty at any time other than 4th path. If you disagree, provide some logical explanation. By what other means can one be convinced of an argument?!

William Finch:
You quote the heart sutra repeatedly: anyone may do this, or any other text. It does not verify one's level of realization to quote things others have written.


To be fair, I have quoted the heart sutra maybe 4 times, and my quotes have been around 3 words each. Every one of my posts has expressed my own personal view points in my own words.

William Finch:
The extent of realization becomes clear the more one answers the questions that are posed to them regarding their own experience. From reading your answers there seem to be two possibilities: 1) You are misrepresenting your own experience to your own knowledge in order to appear more awake for whatever reasons that might be (perhaps some remaining karmic residue involving the need to feel important) or 2) you are in denial about your experience, and lack the humility to acknowledge where you really are at. I bring this up with no sense of ill will but because I think its important we keep each other honest in these communities and it concerns me that someone might actually buy into what you say and take it seriously as their practice or view when there is much more clear and useful information available for those who want to know.


You did not the 3rd possibility, which is definitely a possibility, that I am actually telling the truth and am fully realized. In failing to list this possibility, you show that you are unwilling to even take the chance of believing me. Being completely closed to the idea that I am not deluded is frankly not a good place from which to contribute to meaningful discussion. But I have replied to you nonetheless.

Additionally I am going to go so far as to ask you to state logical reasons for your conclusions about me. As well, it would be interesting to know your level of attainment, so as to know from what experience you are coming when forming said conclusions. Cheers Bill.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/20/13 10:29 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Do you get frustrated when some people suggest you aren't even at stream entry? emoticon


Yes sawfoot_, I do get frustrated, for when people misunderstand my words, they misunderstand truth. Thus to argue with these people and attempt to correct these false views could indeed be viewed as somewhat of a compassionate service.

My motivation is that having realized the truth, I genuinely desire for others to do so as well, and so even when arguing with people, I do feel I am helping somewhat. I want to help you all get enlightened! Could it be so simple?

If you listen with open ears then good for you. But if you read this with a mind already turned away, then I daresay say you hardly deserved this explanation.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/20/13 11:45 PM as a reply to T DC.
TDC " I am completely and fully enlightened, and I would appreciate if, instead of assuming that you know my level of realization, you asked questions so that you could better understand my perspective. To form opinions and then remained entrenched in them is stagnation, whereas questioning and testing the opinions you have formed leads to progress."

I don't ask you questions because I don't think you have anything to offer me. You have written a lot and the writing has been sufficient.

TDC "As well, you say at third path thoughts are realized to be empty. Are you going off traditional Theravadan attainment descriptions? I do not think that on the MCTB path, thoughts are seen to empty at any time other than 4th path. If you disagree, provide some logical explanation. By what other means can one be convinced of an argument?!"

This was my own experience at what I would have then called third path. Vincent Horn, who I was working with at the time, referred to third path as "emptiness in real time", again, from his own experience. If you need further outside validation the quote below is taken directly from Daniel's revised four path model:
"By the mature stage of Third Path, which can take months to years to show up, the practitioner is more and more able to see the emptiness, selfless, centerlessness, luminosity, etc. of phenomena in real-time, so much so that it can be very difficult to notice what artificial perceptual dualities remain." It is safe to assume that the "mature stage of third path" precludes fourth path.


TDC"You did not the 3rd possibility, which is definitely a possibility, that I am actually telling the truth and am fully realized. In failing to list this possibility, you show that you are unwilling to even take the chance of believing me. Being completely closed to the idea that I am not deluded is frankly not a good place from which to contribute to meaningful discussion. But I have replied to you nonetheless."

This is in the realm of possibility, but inevitably in its wake I would have to conclude that you have infinitely poor written expression skills that lead you to write about your experience in a way that directly contradicts your direct experience which would be a real mind fuck, but hey.

TDC "Additionally I am going to go so far as to ask you to state logical reasons for your conclusions about me. As well, it would be interesting to know your level of attainment, so as to know from what experience you are coming when forming said conclusions. Cheers Bill."

I believe I did that in the previous post. I looked through some of the other ones but there is too much that doesn't agree with my own experience. If I had to honestly put my finger on it I would guess you have crossed the a and p (which is known to make one quite zealous and "enlightened" compared to mere mortals), but i doubt you have hit stream entry at this point. I can't be certain. I keep a log over at Kenneth's site under Bill's Notes II if you're curios. I don't think "I" have any attainments. Reality continues to come home to itself in pieces and a taste of that is reflected in me at times.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/21/13 3:08 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
sawfoot _:
Do you get frustrated when some people suggest you aren't even at stream entry? emoticon


Yes sawfoot_, I do get frustrated, for when people misunderstand my words, they misunderstand truth. Thus to argue with these people and attempt to correct these false views could indeed be viewed as somewhat of a compassionate service.

My motivation is that having realized the truth, I genuinely desire for others to do so as well, and so even when arguing with people, I do feel I am helping somewhat. I want to help you all get enlightened! Could it be so simple?

If you listen with open ears then good for you. But if you read this with a mind already turned away, then I daresay say you hardly deserved this explanation.


T DC, I have finally seen the light!

Behold, T DC. great lord, purveyor of wisdom, lord of Light, holder of the Truth, corrector of false views, compassionate one! The one and only truly completely and totally really definitely enlightened no question about it one. The Done One! Thou who ist totally stoked for the ski season, bro! Thou who hast a girlfriend who he loves! Thou who sometimes gets distracted by the internet! We thank you for your blessed presence on these forums, so we may one day know the Truth as you do! I open with my good ears, that I may humbly deserve such an explanation as my ignorant mind is fully open and ready to receive thine wisdom, lord, and may I receive your divine light as the anointed one.

All hail T DC!
All hail T DC!
All hail T DC!

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/21/13 6:41 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I might be wrong, but I suspect T DC is James Yen, who has shown in the past that he has read a lot of dharma literature. Isn't it possible to check this comparing their IPs?

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/21/13 7:54 AM as a reply to PP.
James Yen created an account just to comment on how funny he thought this whole thread was (see above). And I get the impression our Lord the Great Awakened One (AKA T DC) is sincere.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/21/13 8:43 AM as a reply to T DC.
Hi T DC,

Congratulations on achieving such unconditional peace and happiness in your life - it is very inspiring! I always feel the elephant in the room on this site is that, really, anyone who could grow up in the West with so many powerful forces pushing us into an ego-centric, materialistic lifestyle (and that's putting it lightly) and somehow have the vision, courage and perseverance to see past this, find the Buddha's teachings, and make progress on the path is an absolutely glorious person of enormous value to their fellow human beings. The fact that we could still be pushing each other so hard to be even better just makes it even more impressive.

  • You're demanding a near-superhuman level of open-mindedness from people. At this point, I feel your behaviour has jarred with so many of the preconceived notions that I, and I expect many others, have formed (however mistakenly) of how a fully enlightened person would act, that it's almost impossible to take your claim seriously. I mean, you even managed to tell someone to fuck off while arguing for your full enlightenment! Give us a break!
  • I've been following this thread pretty closely, but have read little in the way of phenomenological descriptions, detailed descriptions of your understanding and insights into fundamental teachings, new angles that I hadn't considered before, etc, etc. To even begin to consider the already pretty ridiculous task of evaluating someone's attainments on an internet forum, I'd say they're a must.
  • Could you provide your rationale for why you still experienced nervousness while giving a class presentation? To me that implies a fear of danger, which implies aversion to certain experiences, which implies a clinging to others.
  • Could you try the breath-holding test, and if you experience anything that you would deem 'unpleasant', please provide your rationale for this? I'm really struggling to see how suffering could be the result of anything other than ignorance.
  • Have you attained the 'knowledges of destruction and liberation'? If not, could you provide your rationale for this?


Many thanks

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/22/13 5:00 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

If you look at the picture [of the stages of shamatha], you will note that in the final depiction, the 11th in the picture, the man riding on the elephant is about to cut several rainbow cords; this stage is called 'the severing of karma' or something to that effect. That this stage is the end goal seems to reflect that the stages of Shamatha go beyond the Hinayana, the first stage of the path.

[...]

Another possible source of confusion here is; I have heard shamatha translated as calm-abiding. As a pre-requisite to insight, indeed some mental calm must be accomplished. So in this sense it is quite logical to say that shamatha must be attained prior to insight. However, the stages of shamatha deal with complete mental pacification: the eradication of confusion, not just a rudimentary sort of calming, or concentrated mental stability. To equate the stages of shamatha with an experience of shamatha would thus be in error. Do you see what I'm saying?

As for why I placed them after the Mahamudra attainments, as I have said, I am using the stages of shamatha in a context in which they are descriptions of the stages to full awakening.



Hi T DC,

Thank you for your replies. I do see what you are saying regarding the stages of shamatha. And I am going to have to respectfully disagree with your interpretation. You are correct that in the thangka paintings of the stages of shamatha, implicitly present are two additional stages where the monk is riding the elephant on a rainbow. These are traditionally understood as representing the resultant states that come from the the practice of investigative meditation or insight (vipashyana) based upon the stability and pliancy gained through the prior nine stages of shamatha. The text by Sakyong Mipham you quote actually supports this view if you look at the whole book and not the Shambhala Sun excerpt. On p. 131 of Turning the Mind into an Ally, he writes "But peaceful abiding is just the beginning of the spiritual journey. [...] We can take meditation further by using insight, vipashyana in Sanskrit, to reflect accurately on our own experience and the nature of experience." He goes on to explain how the purpose of shamatha is to focus the mind so that it can be skillfully directed towards insight. I can see how the language he uses in the Shambhala Sun excerpt could be confusing because he says "This is perfection." But he certainly doesn't mean that in the sense of insight. Even in that excerpt, he states that once one attains equanimity, "Now we have a mind that is able to focus in any endeavor." That endeavor is insight, and the rest of his book is about the four thoughts that turn the mind, the three characteristics, etc.

In Tibetan approaches to Mahayana paths (unlike some other Buddhist systems), the recommended degree of calm abiding is full equanimity. (Notice as well that this is the same general approach that Traleg Kyabgon takes in Mind at Ease, even if the object of concentration is different in Mahamudra systems.) As I suggested before, this is entirely consistent with the approach in most Theravada traditions of cultivating the seven factors of awakening (ending in equanimity) as a basis for investigation. I think it is important that if you are going to attempt to correlate Mahayana and Vajrayana maps with Theravada maps, you have a good grasp of the nuances of both. It is especially dangerous to rely on the highly polemical views within the Tibetan system in which they characterize, or better, caricature "Hinayana" systems. Historically and phenomenologically, the "Hinayana" schools can not be equated with Theravada Buddhism.


T DC:

'Mind at Ease', by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, [...] breaks down the stages of the path as one practices the Mahamudra system into something like 18 very detailed stages of attainment.

Upon progressing through the stages of Mahamudra and attaining 'full buddhahood', I was convinced I was done. Though emotional problems in my life had not been eradicated, a major shift in perception had occurred, and the book said that was it! At this point I went and saw my teacher, who studied very extensively under a Tibetan Mahamudra expert, and told her that I had attained Mahamudra. After discussing what exactly I had attained, she replied that I had not actually attained Mahamudra, and there was more to go, but I 'would not find it in books'. I went home, and continued to search for information on how to proceed. As my Mahamudra books were topped out, I looked elsewhere, and found Dzogchen teachings by Namkai Norbu describing the very stage I was at, and the following stages (which are in the map).

[...]

You ask how Thodgal and Mahamudra differ. An analogy would be that, if the Vajrayana was a ladder, Mahamudra would be rungs 1 - 8, and thodgal would be rungs 14 - 17. And treckchod would be rungs 1 - 13. Thodgal and Mahamudra cannot really be compared as though they were con-current systems. They each have their place on the path!
Just because Mahamudra is lower doesn't mean it's not as good. It has a very specific application; it is literally meant to apply to people at one specific stage, or set of stages, on the path. And thodgal is meant to apply to another very specific set of stages.


On the first and last points quoted above, I don't think Traleg Kyabgon intended you to understand the 14 meditations and the 4 yogas of Mahamudra as discrete stages. Rather, they are different angles on the nature of mind, different exercises employed to facilitate insight. In writings by other prominent Mahamudra authors, such as the pointing out instructions of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and even in the massive stages of the path treatise by the inimitable Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, these insights are specifically not treated as stages. They can come in any order, and they are going to depend upon the context of the insight practice that one is undertaking.

The absence of phenomenological descriptions here suggests to me that your path structure is largely polemical. Your answer to my plea for distinguishing them is to say that they are different rungs on a latter; it was already clear that you think that from your original map. Given the striking similarity in the way in which Mahamudra and Dzogchen practices aim to resolve all mistaken duality with regard to thoughts, emotions, and appearances, you haven't provided any phenomenological reason why you should stratify them the way you do.

The only reason that you give is in your very interesting personal anecdote about your meeting with your teacher. I think you should pay very close attention to what you report here. You read a Mahamudra text, claimed to have completed the path, and consulted with a presumably reputable teacher, who said you had not attained them, and that you would not understand it from just reading a book. Instead of taking that advice to heart, it seems that you went in search for another book that would allow you to interpret your prior experiences as steps along the way to something higher. I wonder, have you met with a Dzogchen master to talk about your subsequent experiences?

Perhaps you remember this important quote by Lama Zhang from Mind at Ease:

In the yoga of nonmeditation
meditation and postmeditation
are both aspects of the Dharmakaya.
I don't have the mouth for a lot of talk.
I don't have the mouth for swallowing dry tsampa.
Do not wrap up your own head.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/22/13 3:47 PM as a reply to Mr. Marga.
Mr. Marga:
You are correct that in the thangka paintings of the stages of shamatha, implicitly present are two additional stages where the monk is riding the elephant on a rainbow. These are traditionally understood as representing the resultant states that come from the the practice of investigative meditation or insight (vipashyana) based upon the stability and pliancy gained through the prior nine stages of shamatha. The text by Sakyong Mipham you quote actually supports this view if you look at the whole book and not the Shambhala Sun excerpt. On p. 131 of Turning the Mind into an Ally, he writes "But peaceful abiding is just the beginning of the spiritual journey. [...] We can take meditation further by using insight, vipashyana in Sanskrit, to reflect accurately on our own experience and the nature of experience."

He goes on to explain how the purpose of shamatha is to focus the mind so that it can be skillfully directed towards insight. I can see how the language he uses in the Shambhala Sun excerpt could be confusing because he says "This is perfection." But he certainly doesn't mean that in the sense of insight. Even in that excerpt, he states that once one attains equanimity, "Now we have a mind that is able to focus in any endeavor." That endeavor is insight, and the rest of his book is about the four thoughts that turn the mind, the three characteristics, etc.


It may be that you are correct in asserting that the stages of shamatha traditionally end before enlightenment. I have now read more sources which hinted at this, but did not state it clearly by any means. However, I would say that I find it somewhat unbelievable that complete mental calm or concentration could be achieved independent of any insight occurring. Frankly, while shamatha may lead to Vipassana initially, in my experience, insights into emptiness are the cause of deep and lasting mental calm.

As for the Sakyong's presentation of insight in his book following the stages of shamatha, please note that he is talking about contemplative insight. After discussion of the stages of shamatha, the book moves into a section on contemplation. Subjects for contemplation include the preciousness of human birth, and "may all beings be free of pain". I would say that the insight resulting from such contemplation cannot be equated with the normal use of the word insight, which implies direct knowledge of emptiness.

Mr. Marga:
In Tibetan approaches to Mahayana paths (unlike some other Buddhist systems), the recommended degree of calm abiding is full equanimity. As I suggested before, this is entirely consistent with the approach in most Theravada traditions of cultivating the seven factors of awakening (ending in equanimity) as a basis for investigation. I think it is important that if you are going to attempt to correlate Mahayana and Vajrayana maps with Theravada maps, you have a good grasp of the nuances of both.
It is especially dangerous to rely on the highly polemical views within the Tibetan system in which they characterize, or better, caricature "Hinayana" systems. Historically and phenomenologically, the "Hinayana" schools can not be equated with Theravada Buddhis


To be clear, I am correlating the MCTB map with the Hinayana. I am doing this on the basis that the Mahayana path begins at first recognition of emptiness, as defined in the Heart Sutra. I am not a scholar by any means, and may possibly be misusing terminology. However, my assertion that the path actually has a defined structure is frankly not all that far fetched.

Mr. Marga:
(Notice as well that this is the same general approach that Traleg Kyabgon takes in Mind at Ease, even if the object of concentration is different in Mahamudra systems.)


Right here you seem to be saying that the approach in Mahamudra is to generate mental calm, then contemplate things. Very well. What I want to express is that one cannot just start practicing Mahamudra because one believes that one has 'mental calm'. Significant insight into the nature of reality must be gained before the practice of Mahamudra can be employed. And how do you know if your insight is significant enough? Well, either by meeting with a qualified teacher (rare) or by using a map. It doesn't have to be my map, all this was written before I was born. All I'm saying is there is a pattern, there is a structure; one cannot just practice different random teachings willy-nilly and hope to progress.

Mr. Marga:
On the first and last points quoted above, I don't think Traleg Kyabgon intended you to understand the 14 meditations and the 4 yogas of Mahamudra as discrete stages. Rather, they are different angles on the nature of mind, different exercises employed to facilitate insight. In writings by other prominent Mahamudra authors, such as the pointing out instructions of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and even in the massive stages of the path treatise by the inimitable Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, these insights are specifically not treated as stages. They can come in any order, and they are going to depend upon the context of the insight practice that one is undertaking.


It seems that you have a copy of Mind At Ease, given you quoted from it below. Can you not see how that section of descriptions, ending in Buddha hood could be interpreted as a map? Why would they give 14 independent meditations in such clear order? For what reason?!! (other than, possibly maybe, those are descriptions of stages one passes through. After all, on the path, one goes through stages. Why not describe them? Hey! That might be helpful!)

Mr. Marga:
The absence of phenomenological descriptions here suggests to me that your path structure is largely polemical.


How can you say there is an absence of 'subjective experience and consciousness' descriptions. That was pretty much the entire detailed version of the map I wrote. As for the map being ' a contentious argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific understanding and the falsity of the contrary position', well... The argument about its truth has certainly become pretty contentious. The map was written to express the path which I followed to enlightenment.

Ok? Followed To Enlightenment. I got enlightened, and I did so by following the structure of this map. So far pretty much all that has been done is argue whether or not it's wrong. Maybe I am actually expressing something here that y'all are missing. Maybe this is actually the way it works (it worked for me after all), and I am not just here to ruffle some feathers. Consider that.

Mr. Marga:
You read a Mahamudra text, claimed to have completed the path, and consulted with a presumably reputable teacher, who said you had not attained them, and that you would not understand it from just reading a book. Instead of taking that advice to heart, it seems that you went in search for another book that would allow you to interpret your prior experiences as steps along the way to something higher. I wonder, have you met with a Dzogchen master to talk about your subsequent experiences?


Oh ya take that advice to heart, and then what? Do exactly what? In fact that was my predicament, so I continued to read.. No I have not met with a Dzogchen master, I would, but by god, they're a bit hard to come by! And as it stands now, I'm completely done, so I don't see the need.

Mr. Marga:
Perhaps you remember this important quote by Lama Zhang from Mind at Ease:

In the yoga of nonmeditation
meditation and postmeditation
are both aspects of the Dharmakaya.
I don't have the mouth for a lot of talk.
I don't have the mouth for swallowing dry tsampa.
Do not wrap up your own head.


Oh yes, such an important quote... That quote is important if it helps you and worthless if it does not. The only way it can help you is if you can accurately apply it to your own experience. At a specific stage, indeed this is helpful. Right now though, not so helpful. Actually it somewhat seems like you're trying to tell me something without actually having the balls to say it.

Mr. Marga:
Given the striking similarity in the way in which Mahamudra and Dzogchen practices aim to resolve all mistaken duality with regard to thoughts, emotions, and appearances, you haven't provided any phenomenological reason why you should stratify them the way you do.


Indeed Mahamudra and Dzogchen are strikingly similar. If you go back to my ladder analogy, this is because they deal with the same area of the path. I believe I have provided reasons for their separation, and I did so in my last post to you. Chiefly these reasons deal with Mahamudra's limited scope. Such was my experience.

As for phenomenological descriptions, again, look at the detailed map. Mahamudra ends, Dzogchen continues.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
Answer
10/24/13 1:32 PM as a reply to B B.
B B:
  • You're demanding a near-superhuman level of open-mindedness from people. At this point, I feel your behaviour has jarred with so many of the preconceived notions that I, and I expect many others, have formed (however mistakenly) of how a fully enlightened person would act, that it's almost impossible to take your claim seriously. I mean, you even managed to tell someone to fuck off while arguing for your full enlightenment! Give us a break!


  • Ya, crazy wisdom man. But seriously, peace does not mean obliteration of the spectrum of expression. Do you think an enlightened person would be unable to tell someone to fuck off? What if that was required of the situation? That would seem to be somewhat limiting. Progression on the path in no way removes anything from one's personality, except dualistic confusion.

    B B:
  • I've been following this thread pretty closely, but have read little in the way of phenomenological descriptions, detailed descriptions of your understanding and insights into fundamental teachings, new angles that I hadn't considered before, etc, etc. To even begin to consider the already pretty ridiculous task of evaluating someone's attainments on an internet forum, I'd say they're a must.


  • Well, I am sorry to have failed to provide. What about the interpretation of the Heart Sutra as a description of attainment? Personally I like that one. If you do have such questions, feel free to ask, and I will attempt to answer, though I am not a scholar, I am merely someone who managed to enlighten themselves by following previously laid down teachings (in a perhaps seemingly heretical way).

    B B:
  • Could you provide your rationale for why you still experienced nervousness while giving a class presentation? To me that implies a fear of danger, which implies aversion to certain experiences, which implies a clinging to others.


  • Yes, I think what that boils down to is wanting to do well in school. Why would I want that? Well, I might as well do well in school, that would no doubt serve me well on down the line. And in addition, being on the spot to talk about a subject you realistically know little is somewhat nerve-racking, especially when you are being graded on it. So I wouldn't say it's so much clinging to ideas of pleasure as realistically assessing the situation, and being under pressure to perform well. I know this is kind of a tricky subject/example. I don't know if nervousness is accurate, maybe more like a feeling of adrenaline

    B B:
  • Could you try the breath-holding test, and if you experience anything that you would deem 'unpleasant', please provide your rationale for this? I'm really struggling to see how suffering could be the result of anything other than ignorance.


  • Ok so I just did this, I sat here and held my breath as long as I could. I wouldn't say I experienced anything 'unpleasant', unpleasant is just a conceptual label. While maybe this seems like a cop-out answer, really it is quite profound. Really nothing in our experience is 'unpleasant', it just is the way it is. There is no true 'good', or 'bad', just experience. And seeing beyond concept allows you the freedom to experience that. Is that what you were going for with that question?

    B B:
  • Have you attained the 'knowledges of destruction and liberation'? If not, could you provide your rationale for this?


  • By knowledge of destruction and liberation do you mean this? You could say I do have this knowledge, because I see things the way they truly are. I do not know if these knowledge's refer to a specific attainment or not.

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    10/23/13 12:30 PM as a reply to T DC.
    T DC:

    It seems that you have a copy of Mind At Ease, given you quoted from it below. Can you not see how that section of descriptions, ending in Buddha hood could be interpreted as a map? Why would they give 14 independent meditations in such clear order? For what reason?!! (other than, possibly maybe, those are descriptions of stages one passes through. After all, on the path, one goes through stages. Why not describe them? Hey! That might be helpful!)


    It seems we are talking past each other here. I explained before that Kyabgon nowhere presents his meditations as stages, and many Mahamudra teachers refute the idea that these insights come in discrete and ordered stages. You are saying that it "could be interpreted as a map"; what I am suggesting is that Mahamudra teachers are saying "don't do that."

    "Mahamudra is one. Fools become confused by trying to figure out the stages and the paths."
    ~Zhang Rinpoche


    T DC:

    Indeed Mahamudra and Dzogchen are strikingly similar. If you go back to my ladder analogy, this is because they deal with the same area of the path. I believe I have provided reasons for their separation, and I did so in my last post to you. Chiefly these reasons deal with Mahamudra's limited scope.


    I think you are referring to these reasons:

    T DC:

    This is the way in which Namkai Norbu describes the apparent attainment of Mahamudra,"All appearances are understood to be the potency of the energy of the Bodhicitta or the primordial state." This is the end state of Mahamudra, but Dzogchen goes on from here. At this point (the end Mahamudra attainment), I believe these Dzogchen teachings would fall into the treckchod category. Only after the self is fully seen through can one actually proceed with the teachings of Thodgal in a meaningful manner.

    Here I mean fully seeing through the self, completely doing away with the idea of a separate observer. The result of the Hinayana was a glimpse of emptiness. The result of the Mahayana was deepening of that emptiness such that one actually sees the world as empty. The Varjayana deals with coming to understand that we ourselves are not a seperate entity, but actually just the same as the emptiness which composes all other things. Thus seeing through the self in this context means fully destroying that core belief in a separate self. After this there still exists a subtle perception of duality, which the 4 visions of Thodgal eliminate.



    The implications here are that no one ever attained full awakening prior to the advent of the thodgal teachings, and that no Buddhist practicing outside of the highly esoteric transmission of thodgal (in the Nyingma or Bon lineages--or people reading their books, apparently) has attained full awakening. Is this what you are suggesting? It also seems rather strange that if thodgal is the highest stage, that the completion stage practices (anuttarayogatantra) are nowhere on your map, since the practice of thodgal is predicated on initiation and training in this system.


    I am also having a hard time following the way you distinguish the three vehicles in the last paragraph quoted above. You have insisted that there and elsewhere that the distinguishing factor between Hinayana and Mahayana is that in the latter alone "one actually sees the world as empty." To support this, you cite the Heart Sutra, which reads:

    Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. Shariputra, in that way all phenomena are empty...


    Clearly what the Heart Sutra means by form is rupa, one of the five aggregates. This idea is not unfamiliar in Theravada Buddhism, for instance, in the Sunna Sutta (SN 35.85):

    Ananda said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

    "Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self..."



    And, as in the Heart Sutra, this does not pertain just to the realm of rupa, but also to the other four aggregates, as explained throughout the canon, perhaps most clearly in the Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85):

    "Now, the well-instructed, disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

    "He does not assume feeling to be the self...

    "He does not assume perception to be the self...

    "He does not assume fabrications to be the self...

    "He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

    "He discerns inconstant form, as it actually is present, as 'inconstant form.' He discerns inconstant feeling... He discerns inconstant perception... He discerns inconstant fabrications... He discerns inconstant consciousness, as it actually is present, as 'inconstant consciousness.'

    "He discerns stressful form, as it actually is present, as 'stressful form.' He discerns stressful feeling... He discerns stressful perception... He discerns stressful fabrications... He discerns stressful consciousness, as it actually is present, as 'stressful consciousness.'

    "He discerns not-self form, as it actually is present, as 'not-self form.' He discerns not-self feeling... He discerns not-self perception... He discerns not-self fabrications... He discerns not-self consciousness, as it actually is present, as 'not-self consciousness.'

    "He discerns fabricated form, as it actually is present, as 'fabricated form.' He discerns fabricated feeling... He discerns fabricated perception... He discerns fabricated fabrications... He discerns fabricated consciousness, as it actually is present, as 'fabricated consciousness.'

    "He discerns murderous form, as it actually is present, as 'murderous form.' He discerns murderous feeling... He discerns murderous perception... He discerns murderous fabrications... He discerns murderous consciousness, as it actually is present, as 'murderous consciousness.'

    "He does not get attached to form, does not cling to form, does not determine it to be 'my self.' He does not get attached to feeling... He does not get attached to perception... He does not get attached to fabrications... He does not get attached to consciousness, does not cling to consciousness, does not determine it to be 'my self.'"



    Finally, you suggest that the Vajrayana system is different from the Mahayana and Hinayana in "fully destroying that core belief in a separate self." A Theravada Buddhist would read this as a perfect definition of the eradication of the "conceit" fetter upon the attainment of arhatship. See, for instance, the Khemaka Sutta (SN 22.89):


    "Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' As he keeps focusing on the arising & passing away of these five clinging-aggregates, the lingering residual 'I am' conceit, 'I am' desire, 'I am' obsession is fully obliterated."

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    10/23/13 4:51 PM as a reply to Mr. Marga.
    Mr. Marga:
    T DC:

    ..Can you not see how that section of descriptions, ending in Buddha hood could be interpreted as a map? Why would they give 14 independent meditations in such clear order? ..those are descriptions of stages one passes through..


    It seems we are talking past each other here. I explained before that Kyabgon nowhere presents his meditations as stages, and many Mahamudra teachers refute the idea that these insights come in discrete and ordered stages. You are saying that it "could be interpreted as a map"; what I am suggesting is that Mahamudra teachers are saying "don't do that."

    "Mahamudra is one. Fools become confused by trying to figure out the stages and the paths."
    ~Zhang Rinpoche


    No we're not talking past each other, we disagree. While you did indeed explain before that (you personally believe) Kyabgon Rinpoche does not present stages, I am taking the opposite stance, and saying that I believe he does present stages. I do not have the book in front of me and thus cannot draw effectively on the text for my argument, but I still believe I have a valid point.

    For one, you seem inclined towards the idea that passages such at that which you quoted above (In the yoga of non-meditation, ..., Do not wrap up your own head) are "different angles on the nature of mind, different exercises employed to facilitate insight." How exactly one could hope to meditate upon the above passage to obtain insight is extremely unclear. What that passage does seem to do however is express a certain understanding, or realization. One might almost say it is expressed in a subtle phenomenological fashion. If you look at these passages in order, some sort of progression should be apparent.

    What's more, as I progressed in Mahamudra, these passages clearly, and in order, defined the stages through which I progressed in insight. I'm am actually serious here. This is the basis of my argument.

    I wonder if you could perhaps provide some more evidence of teachers saying not to rely on stages, and as well the context for it. Where is the Zhang Rinpoche quote from? Are there specific points in Mind at Ease which say this? Frankly I am quite dubious that discrete stages are not believed to exist. That they do exist, and are the same for every one, would seem to be not only the basis of my own progression in attainment, but as well the entire systematic teachings of Buddhism which profess higher and lower levels and teachings.

    How could higher and lower teachings exist and be in any way standardized enough to base multiple systems of practice on if there were not a linear system of progression non-unique to all human beings?

    Mr. Marga:
    T DC:

    ...I believe these Dzogchen teachings would fall into the treckchod category. Only after the self is fully seen through can one actually proceed with the teachings of Thodgal in a meaningful manner.

    Here I mean fully seeing through the self, completely doing away with the idea of a separate observer. The result of the Hinayana was a glimpse of emptiness. The result of the Mahayana was deepening of that emptiness such that one actually sees the world as empty. The Varjayana deals with coming to understand that we ourselves are not a seperate entity, but actually just the same as the emptiness which composes all other things. Thus seeing through the self in this context means fully destroying that core belief in a separate self. After this there still exists a subtle perception of duality, which the 4 visions of Thodgal eliminate.


    The implications here are that no one ever attained full awakening prior to the advent of the thodgal teachings, and that no Buddhist practicing outside of the highly esoteric transmission of thodgal (in the Nyingma or Bon lineages--or people reading their books, apparently) has attained full awakening. Is this what you are suggesting? It also seems rather strange that if thodgal is the highest stage, that the completion stage practices (anuttarayogatantra) are nowhere on your map, since the practice of thodgal is predicated on initiation and training in this system.


    That no one can attain awakening outside the specific teachings mentioned is not what I implied. That one can only 'actually proceed with the teachings of Thodgal' 'after the self is fully seen through' implies that one must have the base understanding of seeing through the self before the teachings of Thodgal can be practiced with a benefit to the practitioner. My implication was that in order to benefit from certain teachings, one must already be at a certain level. Thus we have advanced teachings and not so advanced teachings.

    The reason that specific pre-Thodgal teachings are not on the map is simply that I did not use them. There are lots of teachings out there within Tibetan Buddhism, and there is definite overlap. I did follow pre-Thodgal teachings for all stages up to Thodgal, they are just not the specific ones you mentioned.

    Mr. Marga:
    I am also having a hard time following the way you distinguish the three vehicles in the last paragraph quoted above. You have insisted that there and elsewhere that the distinguishing factor between Hinayana and Mahayana is that in the latter alone "one actually sees the world as empty." To support this, you cite the Heart Sutra, which reads:

    Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness..

    Clearly what the Heart Sutra means by form is rupa, one of the five aggregates. This idea is not unfamiliar in Theravada Buddhism, for instance, in the Sunna Sutta (SN 35.85): ...


    You say 'clearly' above, but this is not a situation of 'clearly'. The Heart Sutra can be interpreted in many different ways. If form refers to the five aggregates, that does not refute what I said.

    I said form referred to thought, or conception. The five aggregates are naught but conception, one way of conceptualizing mental phenomenon. There are not truly existent. So if one saw the five aggregates to be emptiness, as suggested in the Heart Sutra, then it can be said one did so because the five aggregates are concepts, and one sees concepts to be empty. I'm pretty sure that is what the Heart Sutra is getting at.

    The whole idea of emptiness is that are conceptions are not actually existent, they are in fact empty of reality, they do not actually exist. The point is to see beyond concept, beyond grasping at intellectual teachings. By this I do not mean that teachings are false, but merely that they are not true reality because they are concept. They are approximations of something. They are just pointing at the moon, not actually the moon (so to speak).

    Mr. Marga:
    Finally, you suggest that the Vajrayana system is different from the Mahayana and Hinayana in "fully destroying that core belief in a separate self." A Theravada Buddhist would read this as a perfect definition of the eradication of the "conceit" fetter upon the attainment of arhatship. See, for instance, the Khemaka Sutta (SN 22.89):


    "Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' As he keeps focusing on the arising & passing away of these five clinging-aggregates, the lingering residual 'I am' conceit, 'I am' desire, 'I am' obsession is fully obliterated."


    In your post you are seemingly equating Hinayana (or Mahayana) with Theravada by arguing against differentiation between Vajrayana and the other two yanas using a Theravadan quote. I am not sure what to make of this. Where do you see Theravada lining up?

    At any rate, I do not know what is meant by Arhat-ship. Daniel seems to be using it (or maybe just used to be) to refer to 4th path, the meaning of which is also quite debated and which I have deemed seeing that form is empty. Destruction of the 'lingering residual 'I am'' could refer to a number of different stages in my experience, from the end of the Mahayana to the attainment of full enlightenment.

    How I differentiated all the Yanas is largely based on 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism' by Chogyam Trungpa. All quotes below are from CTSP, with page numbers included.

    Hinayana to Mahayana
    pg.168 "We discover that the wall that separates us from (our projections) is our own creation. The insight into the insubstantial nature of ego is prajna, transcendental knowledge. As we glimpse prajna, we relax, realizing that we no longer have to maintain the existence of ego. ..Seeing another way of dealing with our projections brings intense joy. ..We enter the ..Mahayana path..."

    Mahayana
    pg.188 "So form is empty... But emptiness also is form. ..We thought we had managed to sort everything out...but the next point is that emptiness also is form, so we have to re-examine. ..Finally we come to the conclusion that...has been described in the sutra as seeing that form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form. ..Finally we have come down to earth, we see things as they are."
    pg. 207 just onto the top of 208 describe this in more practice oriented detail.

    Mahayana to Vajrayana
    pg 217 "Finally we reach the...death of shunyata and the birth into luminosity. (pg 218)..But wisdom is still experienced as an external discovery. The powerfull jolt of vajra-like samadhi is necessary to bring the bodhisattva into the state of being wisdom rather than knowing wisdom. This is the moment of bodhi or "awake," the entrance into Tantra."

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    10/24/13 7:48 PM as a reply to T DC.
    Hi T DC,

    Thank you for your replies. I am enjoying this exchange, and I hope that through it you and whoever else is reading these posts is engaging them in a way that ultimately is beneficial to their own practice. It is easy for discussions like this to degenerate into accusations and inflammatory comments in a way that benefits no one. Through these posts I am encouraging you to clarify your own thinking about various Buddhist stages and paths because I believe that these frameworks can have profound implications for our progress in practice. But they can also be a form of deep attachment if they are overly reified and not seen for what they are: mere conventions. The phenomenological distinctions, real and important as they may be, can be used rhetorically to determine what view or practice or tradition is the "highest". And anytime you put forth a "highest" stage or path schema, you are necessarily making a value claim and implicitly questioning or devaluing others. If this is not done with great precision, and with thorough attention to the detailed claims each tradition makes about their own path structures, it becomes nothing more than polemics--a means of establishing the superiority of one's own view over and against other traditions and practitioners. I personally am very suspicious of adopting such claims about stages and paths uncritically and without really thoroughly understanding the variety of Buddhist practices, stages, and paths, both conceptually and experientially. Given their complexity and how much there is to learn and to unlearn, that is likely going to entail a lifetime's work.

    The interlinear comments below will likely be my last contribution to this thread. I wish you good luck in your practice and encourage you to approach it all with a spirit of openness and uncertainty.


    T DC:

    For one, you seem inclined towards the idea that passages such at that which you quoted above (In the yoga of non-meditation, ..., Do not wrap up your own head) are "different angles on the nature of mind, different exercises employed to facilitate insight." [...] If you look at these passages in order, some sort of progression should be apparent.

    I wonder if you could perhaps provide some more evidence of teachers saying not to rely on stages, and as well the context for it.


    I think you misunderstood my previous post a bit here. It was not the Lama Zhang passage--which was intended as a playful if critical slogan about the whole process of describing and categorizing realization--but the 14 meditations in the "Insight Meditation" chapter of Mind at Ease that I suggested are different exercises and different angles on recognizing facets of the nature of mind. Over and over again at the beginning of those exercises, Kyabgon states "Begin with the four preliminaries, the four immeasurables, and tranquillity meditation, then..." and he proceeds to give the instructions for that particular meditation. Never does he say, do the preliminaries, tranquillity meditation, and meditations 1-10, and then move on to this meditation #11.

    Regarding even the Four Yogas, he writes "These yogas are only guidelines for the deepening of our meditative experiences. They do not represent the kind of structured path we need to fixate upon as a linear reality with clearly marked lines of delineation" (210). Similarly, Dakpo Tashi Namgyal writes in Mahamudra: The Moonlight, "There is no certainty experiences arising from the twelve levels of the four yogas will follow the regular order, like the steps of stairs" (374 or 380, depending on the edition), and, quoting the other verse from Zhang Rinpoche and a bunch of other Tibetan commentaries, he comments that "the essence of reality being nondifferentiable, its division into the grounds and paths cannot be acceptable from the ultimate standpoint" (402 or 408).

    This means that although these authors do present Mahamudra teachings in a path structure, they absolutely do not think that this is a necessary structure.

    T DC:

    How could higher and lower teachings exist and be in any way standardized enough to base multiple systems of practice on if there were not a linear system of progression non-unique to all human beings?


    Quite simply, "higher" and "lower" teachings do not exist in a standardized way. There is not a universal and linear system of practice. All path structures are relative to a particular system of practice, and are often entangled with particular commitments to lineage and view, and unfortunately polemics.

    That the path you outline is so clearly correlated with the teachings you say you encountered (Trungpa, Mahamudra, Thodgal) is evidence that the outcome of the path is going to be constructed by the inputs that feed into it. Now, this isn't to say that some path schemas aren't fairly reliable ones (like the 9 stages for shamatha practice or the progress of insight for dry insight practice). But even these ideas of states and stages are highly dependent on the practices that they are aiming to describe and guide. I think we end up with an impoverished and narrow view of Buddhism if we assume that all approaches are bits and pieces of some meta-map, and we almost certainly deviate from core Buddhist teachings about emptiness and causes and conditions if we claim that that meta-map is real is some ultimate way.


    T DC:

    That no one can attain awakening outside the specific teachings mentioned is not what I implied. That one can only 'actually proceed with the teachings of Thodgal' 'after the self is fully seen through' implies that one must have the base understanding of seeing through the self before the teachings of Thodgal can be practiced with a benefit to the practitioner. My implication was that in order to benefit from certain teachings, one must already be at a certain level. Thus we have advanced teachings and not so advanced teachings.

    The reason that specific pre-Thodgal teachings are not on the map is simply that I did not use them. There are lots of teachings out there within Tibetan Buddhism, and there is definite overlap. I did follow pre-Thodgal teachings for all stages up to Thodgal, they are just not the specific ones you mentioned.


    I agree with you that in order to benefit from Thodgal, you have to be at a certain level. According to every traditional presentation of Thodgal that I've been fortunate to encounter, that level is a mastery of completion stage tantra and an ability to remain in the natural state. If you didn't approach Thodgal through contemplation stage tantra, then I simply don't know what you mean by Thodgal (which you have never explained in any more detail than saying there are four visions and you have to have seen through the self before they can be used to undercut subtle duality).


    T DC:

    Mr. Marga:
    I am also having a hard time following the way you distinguish the three vehicles in the last paragraph quoted above. You have insisted that there and elsewhere that the distinguishing factor between Hinayana and Mahayana is that in the latter alone "one actually sees the world as empty." To support this, you cite the Heart Sutra, which reads:

    Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness..

    Clearly what the Heart Sutra means by form is rupa, one of the five aggregates. This idea is not unfamiliar in Theravada Buddhism, for instance, in the Sunna Sutta (SN 35.85): ...


    You say 'clearly' above, but this is not a situation of 'clearly'. The Heart Sutra can be interpreted in many different ways. If form refers to the five aggregates, that does not refute what I said.

    I said form referred to thought, or conception. The five aggregates are naught but conception, one way of conceptualizing mental phenomenon. There are not truly existent. So if one saw the five aggregates to be emptiness, as suggested in the Heart Sutra, then it can be said one did so because the five aggregates are concepts, and one sees concepts to be empty. I'm pretty sure that is what the Heart Sutra is getting at.


    rūpam śūnyatā śūnyataiva rūpam [...] evem eva vedanā-samjñā-samskāra-vijñānāni

    Form doesn't "refer to the five aggregates"; it is one of the five aggregates (rūpa). Nor does form "refer to thought, or conception".

    The point of my quoting sources from the Pāli canon was to challenge your assumption, based upon Trunpa's "map", that there was something special to the Mahāyāna about having insight into the five aggregates as empty. I'm not sure that there is.


    T DC:

    In your post you are seemingly equating Hinayana (or Mahayana) with Theravada by arguing against differentiation between Vajrayana and the other two yanas using a Theravadan quote. I am not sure what to make of this. Where do you see Theravada lining up?

    At any rate, I do not know what is meant by Arhat-ship. Daniel seems to be using it (or maybe just used to be) to refer to 4th path, the meaning of which is also quite debated and which I have deemed seeing that form is empty. Destruction of the 'lingering residual 'I am'' could refer to a number of different stages in my experience, from the end of the Mahayana to the attainment of full enlightenment.


    This is exactly the point. I see Theravāda sources lining up all over the place in the way you have been characterizing your map, which is why I think it is shortsighted to suggest that all of that is somehow left behind when one enters into what you calling the "Mahayana." If you can't tell the difference between a Theravada quote about a dimension of the realization of arhatship from the end of the Mahayana from the attainment to full enlightenment, then maybe you shouldn't be suggesting such a linear, stratified and hierarchical map!

    As I suggested above, these issues are very subtle and technical, and so much has been written about them throughout the centuries. As you say yourself, your map largely comes from your understanding of one teacher's very general characterization of these paths.

    T DC:

    How I differentiated all the Yanas is largely based on 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism' by Chogyam Trungpa.


    If you like this framework, and it useful to you, that's great. I would encourage you to study it further and continue to put it into practice. The good news is that Shambhala has recently published a three-volume set (1700+ pages) on Trungpa's take on these three vehicles, entitled The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. Despite all its richness and detail, it may or may not lead any further than the simple structure of the Burmese progress of insight or the pathless path of Zen.
    Ehipassiko...

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    10/25/13 6:09 PM as a reply to Mr. Marga.
    Mr. Marga:

    This means that although these authors do present Mahamudra teachings in a path structure, they absolutely do not think that this is a necessary structure.


    I do not have the book in front of me and thus cannot comment, but I disagree with you. To be clear; we are arguing opinions. You don't actually know what Mahamudra teachers think, you're just going off text in a book.

    Mr. Marga:

    That the path you outline is so clearly correlated with the teachings you say you encountered (Trungpa, Mahamudra, Thodgal) is evidence that the outcome of the path is going to be constructed by the inputs that feed into it. Now, this isn't to say that some path schemas aren't fairly reliable ones (like the 9 stages for shamatha practice or the progress of insight for dry insight practice). But even these ideas of states and stages are highly dependent on the practices that they are aiming to describe and guide. I think we end up with an impoverished and narrow view of Buddhism if we assume that all approaches are bits and pieces of some meta-map, and we almost certainly deviate from core Buddhist teachings about emptiness and causes and conditions if we claim that that meta-map is real is some ultimate way.


    I don't believe that the outcome of practice is structured by what we believe we will attain. If so, how could people achieve enlightenment, how could people throughout time have attained the same state? By conceiving of it in the same way? Or is enlightenment merely an idea? We may be more tuned to notice certain phenomena by reading teachings dealing with path stages, but to attempt to produce states which you have read about is delusion. You cannot force yourself into your conception of enlightenment. The path is about surrendering to what truly is, not reinforcing personal beliefs. Thus the fact that personal progression can be correlated with stages of progression laid out in a book reinforces the idea that there is an innate structure of progression, beyond our control, which acts regardless of our conceptual comprehension of it.

    Frankly, I see Buddhism at its core as structured teachings designed to bring practitioners to full enlightenment. In my mind, to overlook this in favor of individual practices is to miss the heart of the Buddhist teachings. It is to miss the forest for the trees. That Buddhism exists as a structured path to enlightenment is incredible! We are amazingly fortunate to have access to these teachings. To seemingly disbelieve the fundamental Buddhist assumption that there is a path to the end of suffering laid out in the teachings, an assumption enshrined in the 3rd and 4th Noble Truths, is in my view to have an impoverished view of Buddhism.

    Mr. Marga:
    I agree with you that in order to benefit from Thodgal, you have to be at a certain level. According to every traditional presentation of Thodgal that I've been fortunate to encounter, that level is a mastery of completion stage tantra and an ability to remain in the natural state. If you didn't approach Thodgal through contemplation stage tantra, then I simply don't know what you mean by Thodgal (which you have never explained in any more detail than saying there are four visions and you have to have seen through the self before they can be used to undercut subtle duality).


    Ok look, what I meant by pre-Todgal teachings was all teachings before Thodgal. That was somewhat of a joke.

    My point was that teachings such as completion stage tantra are practices at a certain level, and there are other different 'duplicate teaching' in Buddhism which also teach at that same level. Thus it unnecessary for a practitioner to go through specific teachings, such as completion stage tantra, in order to reach enlightenment. You can practice in multiple different systems and still progress, what's key is knowing how these systems relate on a level of attainment. I may not have practiced completion stage tantra, but I did go through the attainments which it helps to generate.

    Essentially, one only need the simple practice of sitting meditation in order to attain enlightenment; no fancy practices are necessary. The reason I list so many different teachings is that they all operate on a framework of producing certain attainment results. Thus these teachings are extremely helpfull tools for progression because they help to point one in the subtly different ways to practice at at certain different levels of attainment.

    Mr. Marga:

    Form doesn't "refer to the five aggregates"; it is one of the five aggregates (rūpa). Nor does form "refer to thought, or conception".

    The point of my quoting sources from the Pāli canon was to challenge your assumption, based upon Trunpa's "map", that there was something special to the Mahāyāna about having insight into the five aggregates as empty. I'm not sure that there is.


    Well, what else can I say. I just gave you evidence that one reputable teacher uses this path structure. The Dalai Lama as well says this in the book, The World of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Mr. Marga:
    T DC:

    In your post you are seemingly equating Hinayana (or Mahayana) with Theravada by arguing against differentiation between Vajrayana and the other two yanas using a Theravadan quote. I am not sure what to make of this. Where do you see Theravada lining up?


    This is exactly the point. I see Theravāda sources lining up all over the place in the way you have been characterizing your map, which is why I think it is shortsighted to suggest that all of that is somehow left behind when one enters into what you calling the "Mahayana." If you can't tell the difference between a Theravada quote about a dimension of the realization of arhatship from the end of the Mahayana from the attainment to full enlightenment, then maybe you shouldn't be suggesting such a linear, stratified and hierarchical map!


    For one, there is rampant speculation as to what an arhat actually is. There truly does not seem to be an agreed upon definition. At any rate it is unimportant. What I was getting at in my reply to you above it that you equated Hinayana with Theravada which I believe to you told me earlier not to do. That is what I did not know what to make of.

    Mr. Marga:
    As I suggested above, these issues are very subtle and technical, and so much has been written about them throughout the centuries. As you say yourself, your map largely comes from your understanding of one teacher's very general characterization of these paths.


    No my map does not, the specific attainments differentiating the Mahayana section do. No it's not general, it's extremely specific, dealing with specific attainments. What's more these attainments have been differentiated as such back to the time of the Buddha (Heart Sutra). If you don't believe me or Trungpa, read the book I mentioned above by the Dalai Lama, 'cause it's in there.


    Mr. Marga:
    If you like this framework, and it useful to you, that's great. I would encourage you to study it further and continue to put it into practice. The good news is that Shambhala has recently published a three-volume set (1700+ pages) on Trungpa's take on these three vehicles, entitled The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. Despite all its richness and detail, it may or may not lead any further than the simple structure of the Burmese progress of insight or the pathless path of Zen.
    Ehipassiko...


    And how would you know where it leads? By analyzing its explicit and implicit attainments! At any rate I know about the Treasury, but I don't believe Trungpa taught (at least publicly) the higher level Vajryayana path, such as that covered by Mahamudra and Dzogchen, or at least I haven't found record of it. And at any rate, I need teachings like a dead man needs food.

    Ehipassiko: a Pali word used to describe the investigative nature of Buddhism. Discouraging blind faith alone, the Buddha encouraged his disciples to "come and see" his teachings for themselves, to witness the fruits of this practice through direct experience.

    Thanks, but as I have already fully realized enlightenment that is somewhat unnecessary.

    At any rate, good discussion, and good luck to you. I wont judge your resolve if you reply again, haha!

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    12/20/13 3:20 PM as a reply to Mr. Marga.
    This reply is to the idea that stages of the path are not outlined in the teachings; specifically in Mahamudra. When I was arguing this several months ago with 'Mr. Marga' I did not have a text to reference, but now I do so I will attempt to set the record straight. In short, the text very clearly does support my position and 'Mr. Marga' is in error. I provide this reply such that a correct record is laid, though I daresay this example may be somewhat too specialized toward a specific tradition for many to care. The point I am trying to make is that all practitioners must travel one single road to enlightenment, and pass through the same attainments, or checkpoints so to speak. To think that any end can be achieved by any practice and that higher end states can be achieved by lower practitioners prior to accomplishing those middle states is IN ERROR. Every one must know their level and practice at it or they will suffer the consequences (stagnation), and will not progress. This is the essence of the point I tried to make in this tread.

    1.
    Mr. Marga:
    T DC:

    It seems that you have a copy of Mind At Ease, given you quoted from it below. Can you not see how that section of descriptions, ending in Buddha hood could be interpreted as a map? Why would they give 14 independent meditations in such clear order? For what reason?!! (other than, possibly maybe, those are descriptions of stages one passes through. After all, on the path, one goes through stages. Why not describe them? Hey! That might be helpful!)


    It seems we are talking past each other here. I explained before that Kyabgon nowhere presents his meditations as stages, and many Mahamudra teachers refute the idea that these insights come in discrete and ordered stages. You are saying that it "could be interpreted as a map"; what I am suggesting is that Mahamudra teachers are saying "don't do that."

    "Mahamudra is one. Fools become confused by trying to figure out the stages and the paths."
    ~Zhang Rinpoche


    I believe there is substantial evidence in the book (Mind At Ease) that maps are indeed a relied upon part of the tradition. I will elucidate below...

    2.
    Mr. Marga:
    T DC:

    For one, you seem inclined towards the idea that passages such at that which you quoted above (In the yoga of non-meditation, ..., Do not wrap up your own head) are "different angles on the nature of mind, different exercises employed to facilitate insight." [...] If you look at these passages in order, some sort of progression should be apparent.

    I wonder if you could perhaps provide some more evidence of teachers saying not to rely on stages, and as well the context for it.


    I think you misunderstood my previous post a bit here. It was not the Lama Zhang passage--which was intended as a playful if critical slogan about the whole process of describing and categorizing realization--but the 14 meditations in the "Insight Meditation" chapter of Mind at Ease that I suggested are different exercises and different angles on recognizing facets of the nature of mind. Over and over again at the beginning of those exercises, Kyabgon states "Begin with the four preliminaries, the four immeasurables, and tranquillity meditation, then..." and he proceeds to give the instructions for that particular meditation. Never does he say, do the preliminaries, tranquillity meditation, and meditations 1-10, and then move on to this meditation #11.


    Granted, in this section of the book he does not describe stages of meditation. Indeed this is a section on different meditations and not on the path of Mahamudra. This is not the section I was referring to..

    Mr. Marga:
    Regarding even the Four Yogas, he writes "These yogas are only guidelines for the deepening of our meditative experiences. They do not represent the kind of structured path we need to fixate upon as a linear reality with clearly marked lines of delineation" (210)...

    This means that although these authors do present Mahamudra teachings in a path structure, they absolutely do not think that this is a necessary structure.


    I disagree. If that quote is taken alone, it could seem that way, but taken in the context of the entire chapter, selections from which I have provided below, it is clear that indeed there is explicit recognition of stages. That which you have quoted above seems to be aimed at the fact that there are limits to how well as descriptions of stages can apply to everyone, as everyone's path manifests slightly differently, and to treat them more as rough guidelines than strict definitions of how one must feel at a given stage. I doubt very much he means for us to disregard the advice he gives after that (the quotes below from page 210).

    Quotes from Mind At Ease by Traleg Kyabgon

    pg. 209 ..It will come as no surprise...we need not be overly concerned with the concept of a path of spiritual journey in Mahamudra, because Mahamudra is the state of reality itself. ...While this in undeniably true in the ultimate sense, we still need to understand path Mahamudra from the point of view of our individual experience within the context of conventional truth.
    Anyone making the effort to experience and apprehend this reality will go through various edifying stages of spiritual fulfillment and consummation. In that sense the four yogas of Mahamudra should be understood as a spontaneous dawning of spiritual fulfillment. We need to reconcile the concept of spontaneity and stages here if this is to be intelligible. They can be reconciled if spontaneous is not taken to mean some kind of instinctive reaction of something newly created without any casual preconditions whatsoever.

    pg. 210 ..As we progress though the four yogas of spiritual fulfillment, our meditative experiences gradually become converted to meditative realizations.
    Each of the four yogas has a level of meditative experience and meditative realization and we generally cannot progress from one yoga to the next before attaining the appropriate realization for that stage..

    Further support for the idea of progressive stages comes from an extensive description of progressive stages:

    212: At the initial stage of the yoga..
    213: At the second stage of the yoga..

    215: This yoga dawns when... ..The second stage of this yoga..
    216: The last stage of this yoga..

    And on and on up until page 222 when the final attainment of Mahamudra is attained.

    Frankly if this doesn't convince you, then you had better contemplate for a minute how stuck in your ways you are.

    Cheers y'all, good luck on the path, and may you all experience swift and numerous realizations culminating in the awakened state!

    Peace.

    Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/20/13 7:17 PM as a reply to T DC.
    Paweł K:
    T DC:
    sawfoot _:
    Do you get frustrated when some people suggest you aren't even at stream entry? emoticon


    Yes sawfoot_, I do get frustrated, for when people misunderstand my words, they misunderstand truth. Thus to argue with these people and attempt to correct these false views could indeed be viewed as somewhat of a compassionate service.



    T DC:
    This reply is to the idea that stages of the path are not outlined in the teachings; specifically in Mahamudra. When I was arguing this several months ago with 'Mr. Marga' I did not have a text to reference, but now I do so I will attempt to set the record straight. In short, the text very clearly does support my position and 'Mr. Marga' is in error. I provide this reply such that a correct record is laid, though I daresay this example may be somewhat too specialized toward a specific tradition for many to care. The point I am trying to make is that all practitioners must travel one single road to enlightenment, and pass through the same attainments, or checkpoints so to speak. To think that any end can be achieved by any practice and that higher end states can be achieved by lower practitioners prior to accomplishing those middle states is IN ERROR. Every one must know their level and practice at it or they will suffer the consequences (stagnation), and will not progress. This is the essence of the point I tried to make in this tread.




    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/20/13 9:32 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
    Haha very funny sawfoot!! Actually Fuck You.

    No one will progress unless they practice at their own level, and frankly that seems like a pretty helpful thing to report. If you can't even take the time to consider what I'm saying, and instead are only concerned with attempting to ridicule me than, frankly man up and have some respect you self-righteous fuck.

    And for all you who think enlightened people are incapable of swearing, fuck you too! ha

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/20/13 10:41 PM as a reply to T DC.
    What does it feel like in your body?

    Enlightenment should be defined beyond one's ability to cut and paste. At a certain point all maps, attainments, the "specialness" of spirituality, the spiritual path, buddhism, meditation, observer, all collapse inward and are flattened, shown to be nothing more than filters to keep direct experience at bay, a direct experience which is not capable of being boxed or conceptualized. This is life without the anchor of self, or spirituality or stages. Does this resonate?

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/20/13 11:08 PM as a reply to T DC.
    @T DC

    Good thing you found that book. Phew!

    Thanks for setting the record straight man.

    Yeah, and Fuck them all, I mean why not - you the Fuckin’ real-deal Post-Arahat Mofo! You Done! Aight.

    Keep on rockin’ the truth bro, you can always dig up the books later to lay the record correct. Might take a couple months though – may be not really the truth in real time. Ah, whatever.

    The Good News is here!

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 1:31 AM as a reply to lama carrot top.
    carrot top:
    @T DC

    Good thing you found that book. Phew!

    Thanks for setting the record straight man.

    Yeah, and Fuck them all, I mean why not - you the Fuckin’ real-deal Post-Arahat Mofo! You Done! Aight.

    Keep on rockin’ the truth bro, you can always dig up the books later to lay the record correct. Might take a couple months though – may be not really the truth in real time. Ah, whatever.

    The Good News is here!


    Carrot top, noble attempt at making fun of me. Unfortunately you too can go fuck yourself. So there's that.. Not sure if you had a point of not, but it sure doesn't seem like it.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 1:57 AM as a reply to Bill F..
    William Golden Finch:
    What does it feel like in your body?

    Enlightenment should be defined beyond one's ability to cut and paste. At a certain point all maps, attainments, the "specialness" of spirituality, the spiritual path, buddhism, meditation, observer, all collapse inward and are flattened, shown to be nothing more than filters to keep direct experience at bay, a direct experience which is not capable of being boxed or conceptualized. This is life without the anchor of self, or spirituality or stages. Does this resonate?


    Not sure what you mean by cut and paste. Also not sure why I can't seem to get this message across: There is a universal enlightenment which all experience (and as well, perhaps tangential, there are universal stages upon which one progresses to this enlightenment).

    What you say about maps and all flattening inwards sounds an awful lot like some good old fashioned home brewed conceptual theory. In other words, it doesn't sound like you have an experiential understanding of what you're talking about. But I will give you credit because that's a pretty good conceptual model of progressively experiencing ultimate reality (what we're trying to do on the path).

    The point I am making, and the point our dear righteous scholar Traleg Kyabgon was making in the quotes above was; it's fine to think maps are useless from an ultimate perspective, because all conception is the same at the ultimate level, it's all rubbish. However, if you're not at that level (Read: Not enlightened) you had better pay attention to those pesky concepts 'cause they might help you. And frankly you're still stuck on them anyway, so you might as well pay attention to them.

    (Pay attention, this part's important) So as he said, stages don't exist in the ultimate sense, because nothing exists except 'emptiness' or whatever you want to call, that which is experienced in enlightened experience, that which concepts describe. However, back to non-ultimate reality, the day to day about which we talk using language. Just because the concept we use to describe the sun is 'empty' of inherent existence, doesn't mean the sun doesn't exist. Alright? Clearly there's a bunch of shit out there which we are interacting with, this Buddhism does not deny. What doesn't actually exist is the conceptual labels we put on things. Do you understand?

    So, back your original idea about how nothing, including stages, actually exists, if we apply what we learned in the last paragraph, stages on the spiritual path may indeed (according to me and others, I swear..) exist, in the same way that the sun and everything else exists. What you seem to be doing is confusing ultimate and relative. These are not so much theories as operative ways of looking at the world, and they exist in relation to each other. They cannot be used in the same context, they are two different ways of looking at the same thing. So while things may not exist form one perspective, this in no way negates the theory about things because that's a different level of experience, one which is completely necessary to function and get out ideas across, i.e. language.

    Hope that helps. As for what enlightenment feels like, essentially recognize that you are asking of me near on the impossible, and that which pretty much everyone has recognized cannot be done, to describe non-conceptual reality using concepts. Can't be done, sorry chap. At any rate, it feels like vibrations.

    Cheers!

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 3:00 AM as a reply to T DC.
    T DC:
    Haha very funny sawfoot!! Actually Fuck You.

    No one will progress unless they practice at their own level, and frankly that seems like a pretty helpful thing to report. If you can't even take the time to consider what I'm saying, and instead are only concerned with attempting to ridicule me than, frankly man up and have some respect you self-righteous fuck.

    And for all you who think enlightened people are incapable of swearing, fuck you too! ha


    I like to think (hat tip to Pawel), as attempts go, it was pretty successful.

    Look, if you can't laught at yourself, then who can you laugh at?

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 12:07 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
    Sawfoot, I admit, the first time I saw that 'someone is wrong on the internet' cartoon I thought it was a pretty funny take on my situation. However, that was only like maybe 8 posts ago in this thread, so I think you made your point. Point being, good job, you had your fun, and I would appreciate it if you now showed some respect for me and this thread by either posting in a constructive manner, or not posting at all. As fun as it is to laugh at yourself, when everyone without exception is doing their best to laugh at me, I find it somewhat tiresome.

    And as far as Pawel K is concerned, indeed kittens are Buddha nature.

    Cheers.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 9:27 AM as a reply to T DC.
    TDC,

    I did not ask you what enlightenment felt like anywhere in my post. You are responding to questions I haven't asked. You seem to be caught up in a lot of emotional currents (reviving a practice thread two months dead for a questionable "I told you so"), and in my experience paying attention to the body or sensations in a direct way is useful for teasing out areas of contraction. I am not interested in challenging you for further explanations. We have already been down that road, and you failed to persuade anyone as far as I can tell. But I do think transformation is possible for you, me, everyone, so in that spirit I was trying to offer something useful.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 9:51 AM as a reply to Bill F..
    William Golden Finch:
    TDC,

    I did not ask you what enlightenment felt like anywhere in my post. You are responding to questions I haven't asked. You seem to be caught up in a lot of emotional currents (reviving a practice thread two months dead for a questionable "I told you so"), and in my experience paying attention to the body or sensations in a direct way is useful for teasing out areas of contraction. I am not interested in challenging you for further explanations. We have already been down that road, and you failed to persuade anyone as far as I can tell. But I do think transformation is possible for you, me, everyone, so in that spirit I was trying to offer something useful.


    Dude, wtf, here is your original post:

    William Golden Finch:
    What does it feel like in your body?

    Enlightenment should be defined beyond one's ability to cut and paste. At a certain point all maps, attainments, the "specialness" of spirituality, the spiritual path, buddhism, meditation, observer, all collapse inward and are flattened, shown to be nothing more than filters to keep direct experience at bay, a direct experience which is not capable of being boxed or conceptualized. This is life without the anchor of self, or spirituality or stages. Does this resonate?


    The key sentence of this post being: What does it feel like in your body?

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 10:57 AM as a reply to T DC.
    T DC:
    Sawfoot, I admit, the first time I saw that 'someone is wrong on the internet' cartoon I thought it was a pretty funny take on my situtation. However, that was only like maybe 8 posts ago in this thread, so I think you made your point. Point being, good job, you had your fun, and I would appreciate it if you now showed some respect for me and this thread by either posting in a constructive manner, or not posting at all. As fun as it is to laugh at yourself, when everyone without exception is doing there best to laugh at me, I find it somewhat tiresome.


    Ok, sorry, man, I just couldn't resist it, and I knew it would give Pawel some pleasure.

    In the spirit of being on topic, in reference to your scary line:

    TDC:"To think that any end can be achieved by any practice and that higher end states can be achieved by lower practitioners prior to accomplishing those middle states is IN ERROR. Every one must know their level and practice at it or they will suffer the consequences (stagnation), and will not progress. "

    You know, just because you say something is true or false, it doesn't make it true or false. So my thinking (and experience) in regard to linear progress was that sometimes you can access or fall into certain states in meditation, which though lacking in stability, would seem to relate to states experienced by more advanced practitioners. If anything, these glimpses have given me a little piggyback and have helped to kickstart progress in some areas.

    However, much Tibetan practice relies on the development of increasing skill in samatha as a base for vipassana. I think a lot of the linear nature of the path you are emphasizing is just a consequence of the development of those skills, and I can see a danger that if you are striving to recreate or deliberately target more advanced states without the necessary base of concentration and skill, then there are risks in floundering and not make as much progress as with other more linear, developmental approaches.

    TDC:" Also not sure why I can't seem to get this message across: There is a universal enlightenment which all experience (and as well, perhaps tangential, there are universal stages upon which one progresses to this enlightenment). "

    It isn't getting across very well because it seems nearly everyone thinks the message is wrong.

    TDC: "dude,wtf, ..."
    TDC:" As for what enlightenment feels like, essentially recognize...."

    Your confusion comes from you assuming that you are enlightened and William shares that opinion.

    TDC, there are reasons why people aren't giving you respect, and I think exploring the issues surrounding that and why it is so vital to you are more important and interesting than discussions of all these wonderous meditative states and paths. If it makes you feel better, I do have respect that you have applied yourself and achieved a lot in a short space at time and have likely become a very skilled meditator, developing some expert knowledge along the way of advanced stages in Tibetan Buddhist practice.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 12:38 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
    sawfoot _:

    Ok, sorry, man, I just couldn't resist it, and I knew it would give Pawel some pleasure.


    Thanks! No worries!

    sawfoot _:
    TDC:"To think that any end can be achieved by any practice and that higher end states can be achieved by lower practitioners prior to accomplishing those middle states is IN ERROR. Every one must know their level and practice at it or they will suffer the consequences (stagnation), and will not progress. "

    You know, just because you say something is true or false, it doesn't make it true or false. So my thinking (and experience) in regard to linear progress was that sometimes you can access or fall into certain states in meditation, which though lacking in stability, would seem to relate to states experienced by more advanced practitioners. If anything, these glimpses have given me a little piggyback and have helped to kickstart progress in some areas.


    I definitely will not deny you there. I think what you are talking about comes down to the difference between meditative experience and realization. No doubt about it, Profound! experiences can be had in meditation, but as you said these experiences then fade. I am not talking about linear progression of these experiences. Indeed even complete novices who have never meditated in their lives can have glimpses of the ultimate state (my own experience..). And by all means, these experiences are extremely helpful! I would probably not started meditating or progressed as fast without the glimpse I had early on.

    The differentiation I am making is between these temporary insights which fade in experience and remain only in memory, and the experience of attainment, in which one's baseline state of perception is permanently and irrevocably altered. A common example of such attainment would be stream entry, or '4th path'. What I am arguing is that there is a common progression in attainment among all practitioners. Temporary meditative experience can be anything and need not progress in a linear order, however it is not stable and lasting.

    This idea is not foreign to this community, indeed few would assume that one could attain 2nd path without first attaining 1st path, or that having attained 1st path, one could then attain 3rd path without first attaining 2nd path. What I am proposing is simply that this linear system of attainment continues on up until full enlightenment.

    sawfoot _:
    However, much Tibetan practice relies on the development of increasing skill in samatha as a base for vipassana. I think a lot of the linear nature of the path you are emphasizing is just a consequence of the development of those skills, and I can see a danger that if you are striving to recreate or deliberately target more advanced states without the necessary base of concentration and skill, then there are risks in floundering and not make as much progress as with other more linear, developmental approaches.


    Right, right, this is kind of what I was saying about practicing at the appropriate level. If you do not have the appropriate basis, it will be very hard to reach advanced states. I am not at all suggesting one use this map to practice at a high level. One cannot deliberately target advanced states with success unless they are ready. The best anyone can hope for is to move up into the next immediately level.

    In my opinion, meditative practices do not create the causal conditions for attainment, they merely assist one in moving in a certain direction. In essence, the current baseline state of an individual is the condition which allows for the next, or subsequent attainment level to be reached. So, regardless of what meditative practices they employ, all practitioners progression of attainment (insight into the true nature of phenomena) will be the same.

    Sorry if this is getting long.. but just want to make my point clear. It is as if there is a great ladder, extending far into the sky above us. Linear progression upon the rungs of this ladder is the only way we can move upwards. We can climb the ladder anyway we want, backwards, sideways, upside down, but we're all climbing the same ladder.

    sawfoot _:

    TDC: "dude,wtf, ..."
    TDC:" As for what enlightenment feels like, essentially recognize...."

    Your confusion comes from you assuming that you are enlightened and William shares that opinion.


    What I was referring to in my reply to William was that in his first post he asked what enlightenment felt like in my body, and in his second post he denied ever asking me what enlightenment feels like. To this I replied wtf.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 12:43 PM as a reply to T DC.
    TDC: I never asked you that. That is an assumption. I was pointing towards your irritation, directing you towards the direct experience of irritation in your body.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 1:08 PM as a reply to Bill F..
    William Golden Finch:
    TDC: I never asked you that. That is an assumption. I was pointing towards your irritation, directing you towards the direct experience of irritation in your body.


    Ok thanks for the clarification. For the record I don't really have irritation in my body.

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 1:25 PM as a reply to T DC.
    T DC:
    William Golden Finch:
    TDC: I never asked you that. That is an assumption. I was pointing towards your irritation, directing you towards the direct experience of irritation in your body.


    Ok thanks for the clarification. For the record I don't really have irritation in my body.


    Hi tdc, just as an experiment.


    Anything tdc has written about the concept of "enlightenment" in no way represents any of my own experience and the nama/rupa-ing of it, that is the labeling of experience as being this and that.

    Nick

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 1:28 PM as a reply to T DC.
    "Yes sawfoot_, I do get frustrated"

    RE: Even kittens have buddha nature (and are cute too!)
    Answer
    12/21/13 2:08 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
    I was optimistic about this. But after reading more detailed descriptions from T DC, i have to agree with nick.

    Incorrect about mctb 4th, incorrect about emptiness, and incorrect about the thodgal descriptions. (based on my understandings of the above)

    It is problematic to read experiences and then extrapolate to your on perceptual reality without much consideration.

    I think the pragmatic dharma movement is guilty of this as well for eg. with insistance on fruitions, trying to move all the practices into our models etc.

    Well, shit. Sounds like I have few supporters. I will say in response to DZ "It is problematic to read experiences and then extrapolate to your on perceptual reality without much consideration."

    Where do we draw the line between skepticism and acceptance of things we personally have no experience with. Frankly it seems like most of you are drawing the line awfully close to unbridled skepticism. But if you don't agree with me, fine. These things are extremely subtle and hard to explain because they do not always line up with our expectations, thus making it very difficult to relate meditative experiences to people who are not open to them, and trying to do so over the internet is just an added complication.

    So have it your way!

    Paweł K:
    [quote="T DC"]ultimate state (my own experience..)

    can you describe in detail this state?

    how much control you have over mind and body and in what aspects? (eg. can you make sounds louder with your mind)
    can you stop physical pain and how much? is it by making pain threshold higher alone or do you also have some applicable method
    how you feel self and no-self aspects and what you do with them?
    do you feel kundalini and how it feels/presents_itself in body and mind?
    do you feel and/or see chakras and/or nadi channels?
    did perception of time changed? if yes then how
    were there any changes to perception of colors?
    how much do you feel mirror-neurons? (if you feel them stronger than say normal people you will know why I ask)
    is there cycling of any sort?

    As for control, unfortunately I did not gain awesome control over my physical body. Similarly I did not gain psychic powers relating to kundalini and the chakras. As much as I do sometimes wish this to be the case, all enlightenment will necesarily solve is the illusion of separateness. No psychic powers are guaranteed.

    Perception of time I would say has ceased to some extent in that it's always now. As well, maybe I could say I am better at gauging how much time has passed w/o a clock, but that's debatable.

    Perception of colors; as one progresses on the path, delusion is lessened, and one literally begins to see things more clearly, so things do appear somewhat more vivid.

    By mirror neurons do you mean my learning by watching ability? I maybe learn better now, but really hard to say. It's not like anything has changed. (You know the old saying, everyone already has Buddha nature, we just don't know it).

    Paweł K:
    also could you answer one more question: fruitions did something, had some function in mind. What it was and what your mind does now that he don't need fruitions anymore? I assume here that you don't experience them anymore just like Daniel

    that is many questions for one post but I am really interested in your answers because of my own practice and current mind state and abilites and direction I go, so I would be very thankful if you answered those emoticon


    As for cyclying and fruitions, no I do not experience either. Frankly, after 4th path fruition were relatively meaningless, and so was cycling. These things only declined in intensity as I progressed on the path. Same with the jhanas, at this point they are pretty much just ways of focusing the eyes, and consciousness remains relatively unchanged. That is to say, the enlightened state naturally possesses concentration at a level above the jhana states.

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    12/31/13 5:51 AM as a reply to T DC.
    T DC:
    An Eternal Now:
    T DC:
    What is your motivation in arguing with me about this?

    Because you think you have a higher attainment than you actually have. Also you misunderstand what other people are teaching, including Daniel, including the Mahayana/Mahamudra/Dzogchen teachings.


    AEN - Are you the person who wrote this map?

    If so, could you say where on that map you would put 4th path? As well, could you perhaps give me some more reasons as to why you do not agree with my descriptions of 4th path? Right now I do not know where you are coming from, and it feels somewhat like you are just denying what I say without providing any explanation.

    Cheers
    Thusness is my spiritual mentor. Your description is really nothing related to the stages in that map, what is described in Thusness and MCTB map are entirely different insights and experiences. Anatta is a direct realization and Daniel has already described it, and Thusness has described it, I have described it. MCTB 4th path sounds just like Thusness's Stage 5. Maybe there are certain aspects of 6 but not exactly so much about 6.

    RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.
    Answer
    1/1/14 9:29 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
    It took me a long time to find out the answer to a problem I have had, with what is the difference between pure awareness and primordial awareness/rigpa. It turns out its just like namkhai norbu says when he would repeatedly say to us all, during teaching over ten days retreats (I did 2 of those at the Australian Namgyalgar Centre ), that no one is recognising rigpa, he actually meant it quite literally. The notion the rigpa is available because it is our primordial nature, is stretched.

    I have had this debate with a friend. who leans toward the books that seem to talk about the Dzogchen's availability, books like 'Carefree Dignity', by Tsoknyi Rinpoche and also books by Namkhai Norbu's great books, like the 'Crystal and the Way of Light' and 'Dzogchen: the Self Perfected State', but I these books are coming from the ultimate perspective, of our very essential nature. There is a tendency in Dzogchen teachings to start from the top and then move down to the relative, so in all these pointing outs or texts that speak of the recognition of the primordial, come from a position of speaking to the root of our Omniscient Buddha Nature.
    So because Rigpa is our nature, from an ultimate perspective, it is ultimately available. This dilemma is talked about really clearly in Stilling the mind. As you can see near the beginning of the text, and the main theme of the text, is why don't people recognise Rigpa?
    This teaching is a Terma and was give in the realms of the Samboghaykaya, "Then Bodhisattva Faculty of Wisdom rose from his seat and asked the Bhagavan, "O Teacher, Bhagavan, you appear as the natural radiance of the sugatagarbha. I, Faculty of Wisdom, appear as the natural radiance wisdom. Vajra of Awareness appears as the natural radiance of awareness. This assembly of male and female bodhisattvas appear as the eight kinds of consciousness, together with the mental factors. But if this is so, we should appear in that way to all beings of the three realms, Therefore, why do they carry on in the midst of the delusive appearances of joys, sorrows, friends, and enemies in the three realms of existence, where miseries occur and pure appearances do not? Teacher, please explain!" (p.25).
    Being or Presence and the non-dual stabilisation of this awareness or the stabilisation of the the substrate awareness, meaning Jhanan, is not rigpa! Alan Wallace said, and Sogyal Rinpoche agreed with him, when he sent him a letter covering these points.
    Rigpa takes, either Shamatha Jhana or at least a Path to recognise, this becomes clear, in the book, 'Stilling the Mind,' which is a commentary on Dudjom Lingpa's text Vajra Essence. Also as Wallace explains, Path doesn't necessarily dispose one to the realisation of Rigpa, but is one of the requirements for its recognition. One interesting point is that the Arhat, when entering pari-nirvana, has their consciousness destroyed, and at that point all the remains is primordial awareness, or rigpa awareness.

    I sort of understand what his saying but its a bit like quantum physics, the clarity of the ideas aren't held clearly enough in my head to explain. I tried to cover some points to entice you to listen to the following talks. They are given during a retreat, so a portion of the 1st talk is a guided meditations. These talks cover clarification on the difference between Nirvana and Rigpa, and also on the state of consciousness of Jhana and where it resides in relation to the other states.

    This talk starts 1:02 mins in: Meditation and Reflections on Equanimity (and a very interesting “deep water” question)

    The follow up lecture on nirvana and rigpa and the difference between the two:
    A Followup to Thursday’s Nirvana/Rigpa Answer. A Jewel of a Lecture.