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

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.
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D Z, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
The path laid out in the map is legit AFAIK.

The map itself could be more clear and avoid words like hinyana etc.
Tom Tom, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/19/09 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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D Z, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
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.
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neem nyima, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 168 Join Date: 8/6/10 Recent Posts
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:
[Bonus] A Followup to Thursday’s Nirvana/Rigpa Answer. A Jewel of a Lecture.
Jinxed P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
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?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
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?
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
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.
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
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.
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Chris M, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 33 Join Date: 1/8/13 Recent Posts
Hi T DC,

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

Regards,
Chris
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

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Bill - Fair enough.

Chris - What exactly are you trying to say?
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Chris M, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 33 Join Date: 1/8/13 Recent Posts
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
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
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!!!
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
Jinxed P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
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 ;)
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
William Finch, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/21/11 Recent Posts
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
Brother Pussycat, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
T DC, could you go here and do the little experiment mentioned in the penultimate paragraph of the penultimate post?
Change A., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 797 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
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?
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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?
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D Z, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

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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
Brother Pussycat, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
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.
Change A., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 797 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
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?
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 1311 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
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
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
DreamWalker - Sure, I will do that tomorrow.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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!
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

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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.
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Nikolai ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

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I agree with Daniel.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 1311 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
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
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 3658 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

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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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

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well, how was that last explanation?
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 3658 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
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?
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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sadalsuud B-Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 117 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
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.
Jinxed P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
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".
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
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."
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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?
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
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
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sadalsuud B-Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 117 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
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
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
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?
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
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.
Jinxed P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
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
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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?
Jinxed P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
Jinxed P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
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
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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?
James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 10/2/13 Recent Posts
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.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
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.
James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 10/2/13 Recent Posts
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.
James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 4 Join Date: 10/2/13 Recent Posts
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.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
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
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
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
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 3658 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
... either be real or fuck off.


Now that's an enlightened response emoticon
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 3658 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
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.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Enlightenment and the path which leads there.

Posts: 387 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
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.

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