Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Enlightenment without phenomena?

Toggle
Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/7/14 5:14 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? T DC 3/7/14 5:28 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/7/14 5:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/20/14 12:18 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Ian And 3/20/14 2:01 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/20/14 6:33 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Ian And 3/21/14 2:28 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/21/14 10:15 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Ian And 3/8/14 12:18 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/8/14 4:37 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Dada Kind 3/8/14 11:16 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Ian And 3/8/14 11:21 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/8/14 12:14 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Dada Kind 3/8/14 12:50 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Dream Walker 3/8/14 12:50 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Ian And 3/8/14 1:07 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/8/14 2:26 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/8/14 4:07 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/8/14 4:46 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/8/14 10:58 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/8/14 11:17 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Dream Walker 3/10/14 1:48 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/10/14 5:33 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Dream Walker 3/10/14 6:55 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/11/14 1:31 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/11/14 1:52 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/12/14 6:52 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/12/14 9:58 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/12/14 3:34 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/12/14 4:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/12/14 6:44 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/12/14 7:45 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/12/14 10:10 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/12/14 9:38 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/12/14 9:45 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Dream Walker 3/12/14 10:04 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/12/14 10:13 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/13/14 3:58 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/14/14 4:25 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/14/14 1:09 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? sawfoot _ 3/14/14 3:43 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? . Jake . 3/20/14 9:33 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? John Wilde 3/11/14 6:22 PM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Ian And 3/9/14 10:50 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Bill F. 3/9/14 11:16 AM
RE: Enlightenment without phenomena? Zendo Calrissian 3/9/14 8:41 PM
Thread Splitted Daniel M. Ingram 3/13/14 2:17 AM
Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/7/14 5:14 PM
I'm curious as to the community's views on attaining SE without ever having experienced any sort of what I am calling "unusual phenomena" (i.e. anything out of the realm of one would regard as normal experience).

Daniel makes it clear that awakening is not a mind state but rather a changing of perspective. So does anyone think it is possible to achieve this without ever having a Jhanaic experience, A&P energy event, seeing ones consciousness explode, crazy lights, or the like?

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/7/14 5:28 PM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Yes, indeed. While some people have experiences such as you have described, such as mental light light explosions during the A+P, the A+P could also simply manifest experientially as a mood in which you are very "stoked", or feel like you are totally on the ball, have a ton of energy...

In my opinion, the descriptions of the states experienced on the path of insight described in MCTB verge on the extreme that one might experience on the path. This is no critique of Daniel, everyone experiences these things with varying degrees of intensity, and he seems to be on the more intense end of the spectrum. However, speaking from personal experience, it is somewhat likely that your experience of stages and insights are less dramatic, or toned down.

That said, the path of meditation does often lead to somewhat non-normal mind states as a byproduct, so it would not be unusual to experience something "not normal" by societal standards.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/7/14 5:38 PM as a reply to T DC.
Thanks for the reply. I find it difficult to believe based on my own experiences that someone could attain stream entry and not have noticed some significantly strange events. My practice seems to have a bent towards the concentration side, however, which could explain my perspective.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 12:18 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Hi Zendo,

Welcome to the DhO.
Zendo Calrissian:
I'm curious as to the community's views on attaining SE without ever having experienced any sort of what I am calling "unusual phenomena" . . .
So does anyone think it is possible to achieve this without ever having a Jhanaic experience, A&P energy event, seeing ones consciousness explode, crazy lights, or the like?

You ask a very intelligent question for your first post, one that most people might never consider asking. It indicates that you are willing to "think for yourself" and not just accept others' descriptions of things as being the "be all" or "end all" of experience.

T DC is correct when he states: "...everyone experiences these things with varying degrees of intensity..."

What I would add to that is that everyone perceives these transitions as coming from varying points of affective experience (depending upon what one has been told or what one believes or expects is likely to occur). This is why one can read about several different accounts of people's experience of having achieved the same thing. In other words, each psyche processes these events in different ways, depending upon its previous conditioning.

My experience of stream entry was probably different from everyone here, and yet I consider it to have been as traditional an experience as any that has ever been described. Nothing unusual happened in terms of weird or intense phenomena. There was the realization that "this is the path I've been seeking all my life, and now I know I am on it." For me, stream entry was an intellectual realization that "I know this path will work" because 1) it makes sense intuitively and experientially, and 2) I'm not going to stop treading it until I reach my intended destination. I developed an instant bent toward diligence in my practice. No one (and I mean NO ONE) was going to stop me from achieving that goal, and most especially myself.

In other words, I had developed an inner confidence and knowingness about the Dhamma that no one was ever going to shake from me. I had seen first hand that what Gotama taught was true, correct, and lasting. All the main factors that I knew would lead to enlightenment were becoming aligned in my life: mindfulness, investigation, energy, faith, concentration, tranquility, and equanimity. I knew that there was more that I needed to learn, to be able to fulfill these seven factors more completely than I was able, in that moment, to do. The only difference was: I knew I was capable of achieving that goal by staying on the noble eightfold path.

If you can remove all doubt and self-defeating elements from your practice, YOU WILL SUCCEED! No doubt about it. That is the connecting (intersecting) link that anyone who has ever achieved this goal has experienced. Going back to Sariputta all the way forward to Daniel Ingram. The sheer determination to achieve what you know you can achieve. That's what separates the men from the boys – the fakes from the authentic.

The trick is: to stay as grounded in everyday reality as you are able as you undergo the roller coaster of the psychological journey. Don't believe what your mind tells you to believe as you go through these changes. And by that I mean, don't buy into any kind of metaphysical explanation of what it is that you are experiencing. Because things will change constantly, including your opinion and evaluation of where you are at on the path at any given moment and what is happening. At the end of my journey, it took me close to a year of continuing self-evaluation, evaluating every aspect of my mental experience, before I finally allowed myself to entertain the idea that I had reached the end of the road. I needed to see concrete changes first before I was willing to concede such thoughts.

In peace,
Ian

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 4:37 AM as a reply to Ian And.
An interesting response, Ian. You stress the importance of the need to " "think for yourself" and not just accept others' descriptions of things as being the "be all" or "end all" of experience. ". Yet for you, the turning point on your path was the complete and unconditional acceptance of what the Buddha taught as being "true, correct and lasting". For you, it appears it wasn't weird phenomena, but the full emergence of religious faith. Faith is the foundation of the determination and confidence that comes when all doubt is vanquished. This is what separates the "men from the boys – the fakes from the authentic.".

So Zendo, you just need to believe.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 11:16 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Sawfoot, it appears you overlooked/misunderstood this part
For me, stream entry was an intellectual realization that "I know this path will work" because 1) it makes sense intuitively and experientially, and 2) I'm not going to stop treading it until I reach my intended destination. I developed an instant bent toward diligence in my practice. No one (and I mean NO ONE) was going to stop me from achieving that goal, and most especially myself.



Thanks, Ian. Somehow your response was exactly what I needed to hear right now. Just a week ago I renewed my determination along the same lines as you. Your post has inspired me to keep up my practice no matter what.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 11:21 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

Yet for you, the turning point on your path was the complete and unconditional acceptance of what the Buddha taught as being "true, correct and lasting". For you, it appears it wasn't weird phenomena, but the full emergence of religious faith.

Sawfoot, you have completely misread what I wrote, and are only seeing what you "believe" it is that I wrote. You have put words in my mouth that I did not speak (or write). I would caution you to read more carefully in the future.

Nowhere did I say or even imply that "the complete and unconditional acceptance of what the Buddha taught" was the "true, correct and lasing" end for me. What I was saying was a confirmation of the Kalama Sutta which is to test things out for oneself (to think for oneself) before accepting something as being true and conducive to wholesomeness.

Nyanaponika translation:

"Come, Kalamas. Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of scriptures, by logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by reflection on reasons, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think, 'The ascetic is our teacher.' But when you know for yourselves, 'These things are wholesome, these things are blameless; these things are praised by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to welfare and happiness', then you should engage in them."


Here is another translated version of that same passage, the version that I first came across and was initially impressed by. I came upon it in the book Three Ways of Asian Wisdom by Nancy Ross Wilson:

Although the Buddha went forth personally to teach his doctrine of "mindfulness" as the way to enlightenment, he never failed to stress the necessity for freedom from all sacrosanct religious authority. "Believe nothing," he said to his followers, "just because you have been told it, or it is commonly believed, or because it is traditional or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your Teacher tells you merely out of respect for the Teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings — that doctrine accept and engage in and take as your guide."

sawfoot _:

Faith is the foundation of the determination and confidence that comes when all doubt is vanquished.

So Zendo, you just need to believe.

There is a difference between faith, on the one hand, and belief, on the other. Alan Watts once wrote in his book The Wisdom of Insecurity something I found to be true in my experience, also. I will share with you what he wrote:

"We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would 'lief' or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception."

A wise man once said: "Belief is the boobie prize. Belief is a disease." What he meant to imply by that comment was that only first hand experience (only what you know directly from your own experience as being true) is acceptable to accept as the truth. He went on to emphasize that: "The problem with a belief is that we take it to be truth -- and get stuck in it. That means that most of us persist in thinking and doing what we learned from our acculturation, rather than acting out of our experience in response to whatever is happening now."

If you bother to read the discourses of the Buddha, you will find these same ideas being taught there, too.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 12:14 PM as a reply to Ian And.
I am not entirely convinced that I have misunderstand anything, but it has raised some interesting discussion.

The point was that you were saying determination is key, but I was suggesting that what underlined determination was key. For most people, getting the necessary determination is a combination of desire, either due to promised reward (happiness) or escape (from an unhappy life), combined with the belief/faith that a particular path can give you that salvation.

I think one of the great myths of Buddhism is that idea that it involves founding out the truth for oneself. Of course, compared to other world religions, it is fair to say that experiential understanding is prioritised. And that is surely a good thing, overall.

Where does that lead?

"In other words, I had developed an inner confidence and knowingness about the Dhamma that no one was ever going to shake from me. I had seen first hand that what Gotama taught was true, correct, and lasting."

So you start off not accepting everything you read, you experiment, you see how the theory matches up with your experience, gradually it starts to make sense, your confidence in the teachings grows, your "belief" in them gets to the point of being unshakeable…You reach the stage of being a believer (in the sense Alan Watts uses it).

Now, belief and faith are indeed different words. I take "belief" to mean having the state of mind that a state of the world is a particular state. It is pretty innocuous. And as such, I would disagree with nearly all of that passage from Alan Watts, though I think he is using the words differently to how most people would. My conception (and I think this is pretty common) is that faith involves belief without evidence. In this sense, faith is the enemy of science, and seeing faith "an unreserved opening to the truth" a rather odd statement. I don't want to completely knock faith, as without faith, determination to some amazing things wouldn't be possible. But faith can also lead one to do some pretty horrible things too. As can beliefs, of course.

But then, you might argue, that my (sic) belief in Buddhism is not faith, as it arises from evidence, from my experience. But I also entirely disagree with this statement: "only first hand experience (only what you know directly from your own experience as being true) is acceptable to accept as the truth.". A most obvious example where this goes wrong is reincarnation/rebirth, which some Buddhists end up believing in being true through their direct experience.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 12:50 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I don't really see what you're driving at, Sawfoot. This seems like an unnecessary quibble over word usage.

I can only speak for myself here, but I think Ian would agree.

Here's how I understood Ian: Buddhism is a set of clearly defined techniques that bring about certain results. In this sense, Buddhism is an experiment; Buddhism is scientific (see this essay for the complete argument along these lines http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5261745). For success to follow, the experimental protocol requires that one suspends or eliminates doubt, disbelief, self-defeating behavior, etc. To do this one must sufficiently convince themselves that the experiment will work. In Ian's case, the experiment made sense to him intuitively, and he verified some of its predictions experientially. At that point, for practical purposes, Ian removed the blocks to the experiment and conducted it as per instruction. I agree with Ian on these points. Furthermore, people have been conducting the experiment for thousands of years with success. In fact, many on this forum have completed the experiment.

If no one had sufficient confidence in Einstein's results to attempt to reproduce them it would have been unfortunate indeed.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 12:50 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

But then, you might argue, that my (sic) belief in Buddhism is not faith, as it arises from evidence, from my experience.

What is your experience?
How does it relate to the OP?
Thanks,
~D

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 1:07 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
I am not entirely convinced that I have misunderstand anything, but it has raised some interesting discussion.

It is not discussion that you want. It is misrepresentation. And some sort of egocentric desire to argue.

You have no one to argue with but yourself, and your deluded ideas about what I wrote.

You have totally misunderstood (and twisted) all that I wrote to align with your preconceived ideas about what it is you think I wrote. And have made an attempt to hijack this thread. I will not be a part of this travesty.

sawfoot _:

So you start off not accepting everything you read, you experiment, you see how the theory matches up with your experience, gradually it starts to make sense, your confidence in the teachings grows, your "belief" in them gets to the point of being unshakeable…You reach the stage of being a believer (in the sense Alan Watts uses it).

These are your words, your misrepresentations, your misperceptions of what I wrote. They are yours, not mine. You own them. Not I.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 2:26 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Droll:


I don't really see what you're driving at, Sawfoot. This seems like an unnecessary quibble over word usage.



Ian starting with the quibbling. I joined in. I will try explaining again the driving below.

Droll:


Here's how I understood Ian: Buddhism is a set of clearly defined techniques that bring about certain results. In this sense, Buddhism is an experiment; Buddhism is scientific (see this essay for the complete argument along these lines http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5261745). For success to follow, the experimental protocol requires that one suspends or eliminates doubt, disbelief, self-defeating behavior, etc. To do this one must sufficiently convince themselves that the experiment will work. In Ian's case, the experiment made sense to him intuitively, and he verified some of its predictions experientially. At that point, for practical purposes, Ian removed the blocks to the experiment and conducted it as per instruction. I agree with Ian on these points. Furthermore, people have been conducting the experiment for thousands of years with success. In fact, many on this forum have completed the experiment.

If no one had sufficient confidence in Einstein's results to attempt to reproduce them it would have been unfortunate indeed.



Buddhism has little to do with Science, so I don't think the analogy works. And Einstein is primarily known as a theoretical physicist. But anyway, you make the point I am driving at yourself:

"To do this one must sufficiently convince themselves that the experiment will work".

To what extent is this faith in the experiment working necessary for it work? The less interesting aspect is the determination and motivation aspect. So you need the determination to success in order to put the work in. Without that you probably won't get very far, so we can take that as a given. The more interesting aspect is the faith that it will work, and how that links to "enlightenment".

dream walker:

"But then, you might argue, that my (sic) belief in Buddhism is not faith, as it arises from evidence, from my experience."
What is your experience?
How does it relate to the OP?
Thanks,


To bring it more explicitly in line with the OP, in my experience (though obviously, being pre SE, my opinions are worthless and should be safely ignored), I have found that "unusual phenomena" is conducive to changing of perspective (and an increase in faith). Now why is this? I think one interesting line of explanation is that such states can enhance plasticity in the brain. And it seems that "unusual experiences" AKA mystical or spiritual experiences lead to dysfunction in our belief systems, such that we have an exaggerated sense of "knowing" or certainty (where doubt gets vanquished). Based on my willful distortions, misrepresentations and misperceptions of what Ian wrote, it seems you can still get that kind of dysfunction without direct proximity to those unusual experiences. By the way, I mean to use the term dysfunction in a non-pejorative sense, in that this kind of dysfunction can be pretty useful for achieving particular goals.

So Zendo, I agree with Ian, that it is an interesting question, but I don't think you are going to get much of answer as I don't think anyone around here has much of a clue about what stream entry is. It is a concept that points to particular experiences, yet it may be that those experiences have enough heterogeneity that the question turns out not to be a sensible one.

---------------------------------------------------

Ian, you know, is it just me, or do you have an egocentric need to argue and have misunderstood (and twisted) all that I wrote to align with your preconceived ideas about what it is you think I wrote? Because if so, that would be a horribly ironic travesty.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 4:07 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
(...) I have found that "unusual phenomena" is conducive to changing of perspective (and an increase in faith). Now why is this? I think one interesting line of explanation is that such states can enhance plasticity in the brain. And it seems that "unusual experiences" AKA mystical or spiritual experiences lead to dysfunction in our belief systems, such that we have an exaggerated sense of "knowing" or certainty (where doubt gets vanquished).


Just following this tangent for a sec...... this can work both ways. People respond differently to unusual experiences. A lot seems to depend on personality and temperament.

E.g., two starkly different types:

1) I thought I understood reality before, but I really didn't. Now I do.

Resulting attitude: This, now, is the way things really are.

(Until it happens again, at which time the response is the same).

2) I thought I understood everything before; then X happened and it showed me my understanding was wrong or incomplete. This has happened a few times now; maybe it'll happen again. It's unlikely that my current understanding is THE correct/ final/ ultimate one.

Resulting attitude: Keep the experiences, but hold the interpretations lightly.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 4:46 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
sawfoot _:
(...) I have found that "unusual phenomena" is conducive to changing of perspective (and an increase in faith). Now why is this? I think one interesting line of explanation is that such states can enhance plasticity in the brain. And it seems that "unusual experiences" AKA mystical or spiritual experiences lead to dysfunction in our belief systems, such that we have an exaggerated sense of "knowing" or certainty (where doubt gets vanquished).


Just following this tangent for a sec...... this can work both ways. People respond differently to unusual experiences. A lot seems to depend on personality and temperament.

E.g., two starkly different types:

1) I thought I understood reality before, but I really didn't. Now I do.

Resulting attitude: This, now, is the way things really are.

(Until it happens again, at which time the response is the same).

2) I thought I understood everything before; then X happened and it showed me my understanding was wrong or incomplete. This has happened a few times now; maybe it'll happen again. It's unlikely that my current understanding is THE correct/ final/ ultimate one.

Resulting attitude: Keep the experiences, but hold the interpretations lightly.


Just to rehash what I said earlier, while personality and temperament are no doubt hugely important, I am suggesting that the "this is the way things are" attitude is linked to "unusual experience" - in the sense of brain dysfunction (AKA mystical experience). e.g., you often hear in reports of spiritual experience of having a greater sense of knowing or certainty than they ever have had before, such that it can be life changing. And in response to the second attitude, there is still an implicit assumption in your wording that there is such a thing as A correct/final/ultimate perspective. Spiritual seekers tend to be looking for this.

Back to the OP, is it just a matter of shifting perspective? I think for unusual experiences to have a transformative effect on everyday life, you need to have a perspective shift. But there are two ways this can manifest. One is in having a genuinely new perspective on life, which could result from an unusual experience, as an altered state of consciousness. But another is your confidence or belief in an existing perspective, perhaps linked to enhanced insight compatible with that existing perspective - a new angle, and reinterpretations of old data. For me, my experience is of the latter, but over time, confidence or "faith" dissipates. For some, it remains strong.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 10:58 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

Just to rehash what I said earlier, while personality and temperament are no doubt hugely important, I am suggesting that the "this is the way things are" attitude is linked to "unusual experience" - in the sense of brain dysfunction (AKA mystical experience). e.g., you often hear in reports of spiritual experience of having a greater sense of knowing or certainty than they ever have had before, such that it can be life changing.


Yes, I get your point that some "unusual experiences" can inhibit critical reflective faculties and lead to a greater sense of certainty or conviction (while you're in them, and for a while afterwards); but experiencing many such things over the years can lead to less conviction in the absolute validity of any particular experience, or any particular world view based on them, therefore a less dogmatic outlook overall. But people who have this attitude aren't the ones who gain notoriety; we hear more about the ones who embrace and advocate their certainties -- (sometimes one certainty after another) -- and maybe acquire followers/ students on that basis.

(Not to imply that anyone who teaches is such a person; especially not in DhO circles where the prevailing culture tends more towards pragmatism, flexibility in interpretation, diversity and inclusiveness).

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/8/14 11:17 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Wow. Didn't expect to stir the shit with my first post emoticon

Regardless, I like that this community tolerates open discussion on such matters. Rare on the internets.

And Ian, I appreciate your response. Without going into details as to the motivation for asking the question, what you said was exactly what I needed to hear in this circumstance. Strangely relevant, like you know more about my situation than I provided in my query. Weird.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/9/14 10:50 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Zendo Calrissian:
And Ian, I appreciate your response. Without going into details as to the motivation for asking the question, what you said was exactly what I needed to hear in this circumstance. Strangely relevant, like you know more about my situation than I provided in my query. Weird.

If my explanation connected with you (despite the distraction provided by sawfoot) then it is because I, too, have had to deal with these same questions in my own practice. Unlike you, though (since you are new to the practice), I have been practicing meditation for nearly 34 years now (the last 14 of which have been primarily influenced by the teachings of Gotama's Dhamma), so I have had the time and the space to contemplate these matters from many different perspectives in order to figure out what is happening.

In other words, I've been in your shoes, I know the terrain that you are traveling over, and therefore, based on my extensive experience, I am able to provide you with the benefit of my experience.

If my explanation resonates with you, then you and I must be on the same page in that regard. There's really nothing weird about that. And certainly nothing "psychic" or "prophetic" about it in terms of the popular understanding of the word "clairvoyance." If you look the word up in the dictionary, it simply means "clear seeing." Nothing in that about being able to predict the future or know things about people that they are surprised that you know about because they've never expressed them to you.

It is simply a matter of having paid one's dues in the practice. I've been there, done that! It's really quite that simple. That is why I am able to describe these matters with such certainty and matter-of-factness. I know what I'm talking about.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/9/14 11:16 AM as a reply to Ian And.
Hello Ian And,

In your initial response you wrote that you had reached the "end of the road". I am curious if you could say a little more about what the experience of that is like as well as what brought you there. I realize you have already done so to some extent in the above posts: I guess what I am looking for is what you found to be most useful. Was it scriptural study, combined with many hours of meditation, learning basic methodology and then applying it, awareness of somatic processes, jhana? Most of the previously listed items are my own ideas and not yours, just so there is clarity about that. Thank you.

Bill

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/9/14 8:41 PM as a reply to Ian And.
I wasn't trying to imply anything psychic or clairvoyant here. Just a weird coincidence.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/10/14 1:48 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

dream walker:

sawfoot _:
"But then, you might argue, that my (sic) belief in Buddhism is not faith, as it arises from evidence, from my experience."

What is your experience?
How does it relate to the OP?
Thanks,


To bring it more explicitly in line with the OP, in my experience, I have found that "unusual phenomena" is conducive to changing of perspective (and an increase in faith).

Hmmm...in your experience, you have found.
What "unusual phenomena" have you experienced?
Please share this experience with us if you would be so kind. I am interested in your direct experiences that have led you to your conclusions.
Thanks,
~D

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/10/14 5:33 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
sawfoot _:

dream walker:

sawfoot _:
"But then, you might argue, that my (sic) belief in Buddhism is not faith, as it arises from evidence, from my experience."

What is your experience?
How does it relate to the OP?
Thanks,


To bring it more explicitly in line with the OP, in my experience, I have found that "unusual phenomena" is conducive to changing of perspective (and an increase in faith).

Hmmm...in your experience, you have found.
What "unusual phenomena" have you experienced?
Please share this experience with us if you would be so kind. I am interested in your direct experiences that have led you to your conclusions.
Thanks,
~D


Dream walker,

Why are you interested? It seems to me you ask just because this is your way of calling bullshit, which is merited. But if so, inherent in the assumption that works as a "calling bullshit strategy" is that experience is the trump card. The card that Ian played above. Which, I found ridiculous. Which compelled me to troll.

I am not going to go into details, as do you really care about the nitty gritty? Would you like me to recount my dreams? And some acid trips? (A&P would be the obvious one though). The interesting part of the question is the "direct experiences that have led to your conclusions". Which is a tricky one to answer, as my own claim (based on my experiences) that experiences are linked to perspective change is weak. And leading myself to a conclusion involves thinking, and
"not direct experience". But generally speaking, there appears to be a correlation, which leads me to that conclusion. And how that happens (or even if that does happen and it isn't a spurious correlation) for me is a $53,000 question, e.g., in Daniel's POV, to get insight it doesn't matter what you pay attention to - anything will do, it just so happens that examining sensate experience has some advantages. But maybe that is just me. I can see that others might have a specific experience that changes perspective in specific ways that can be more clearly articulated (say, insights into emptiness). Still, in the way Daniel describes it (which roughly matches my limited experience), I have yet to encounter what I consider a decent explanation what all this is really about. And part of the reason I get on my high horse about woo woo like "psycho-physiological awakening" and the like is that I feel it impedes our understanding of the really interesting stuff that is going on. It is just a bit of a wasted opportunity.

Jake

I didn't fully understand this bit of your post "But as a few practitioners have pointed out to you, awakening is less about experiences (which could very well be artifacts of a particular belief being reified habitually or a particular technique being deployed which affects how experience functions) and more about something beyond experience, or a shift in the way experiences are understood and related to." 

I am not clear what you use that line suggesting that I am arguing or have a mistaken belief that awakening is about experiences? (maybe you are right in thinking that, I don't know, I am just not sure why you say that specifically). And I have no clear about "something beyond experience" is.

Through the power of empathy, remembering how annoying I found TripleThink, I would hate to think I have become my mortal enemy, and people think the same about Sawfoot. Which is a strong reason to reflect and ponder wisely before I post, though sometimes I do and on a cost/benefit analysis I still end up on the wrong side of the fence. The important question for one/me to ponder is: Who benefits from antagonism?

John,

"On the other hand, some of the most spiritually, morally and psychologically impressive people I've ever met have been hardened criminals; people whose character, toughness, will, resilience, courage, humour, sila and insight into life and character would put your average priest or monk to shame... and the closest they've ever come to spiritual teachings is Sunday school and maybe AA/ NA meetings. (Different notions of sila, of course, but extraordinary capacity to live up to them).

Not sure what my bottom line is here. Maybe something like: what do you really want or expect from spiritual practice and the people who undertake it?"


I haven't been around these kinds of people. Much. Or at all. But can I make an ill-informed guess about their character? My guess is that these are the kinds of people know themselves. They are completely honest about who they are, and why do the things they do. There isn't any self-deception. Is that a romantic notion or does it match with your experience?

I realise inadvertently that by writing that I have an answer to that great question (thanks), as to what I want from spiritual practice and the people who undertake it. So the simple answer is honesty. The elimination of self-deception - enlightenment = seeing clearly. But then, the really hard part of the question is then the match between what I want and what I want from others... ("and  if so, good luck to them; what kind of sport is it to take potshots at them?").

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/10/14 6:55 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Dream Walker:
sawfoot _:

dream walker:

sawfoot _:
"But then, you might argue, that my (sic) belief in Buddhism is not faith, as it arises from evidence, from my experience."

What is your experience?
How does it relate to the OP?
Thanks,


To bring it more explicitly in line with the OP, in my experience, I have found that "unusual phenomena" is conducive to changing of perspective (and an increase in faith).

Hmmm...in your experience, you have found.
What "unusual phenomena" have you experienced?
Please share this experience with us if you would be so kind. I am interested in your direct experiences that have led you to your conclusions.
Thanks,
~D

sawfoot _:
Dream walker,

Why are you interested?

I find that I am disliking you enough to become a bit curious about you. I started reading your early posts to find out a little about where you were at in practice and realized I have no idea if you have ever done any meditation. This made me want to reread some more of your posts to find the answers but I don't have time so I figured I'd just ask you...can you point to a thread that tells a little about yourself or your practice? I'd like to take the conversation there to avoid hijacking this thread.
sawfoot _:

It seems to me you ask just because this is your way of calling bullshit, which is merited. But if so, inherent in the assumption that works as a "calling bullshit strategy" is that experience is the trump card. The card that Ian played above. Which, I found ridiculous.

It could very well go this way but I'd rather not. Perhaps change your vocabulary a bit to reflect your contemplations and astute thinking verses experiences.
sawfoot _:
Which compelled me to troll.

Thanks for being honest. As long as you know when you are deliberately trolling and when you are not while you are doing it....that is mindfulness.
sawfoot _:
I am not going to go into details, as do you really care about the nitty gritty? Would you like me to recount my dreams? And some acid trips? (A&P would be the obvious one though).
I don't care about the nitty gritty unless it is part of your narrative of who you are now and what you are doing with it.
sawfoot _:

I have yet to encounter what I consider a decent explanation what all this is really about. And part of the reason I get on my high horse about woo woo like "psycho-physiological awakening" and the like is that I feel it impedes our understanding of the really interesting stuff that is going on. It is just a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I too am frustrated in the things I can not yet understand. I try to keep this frustration from lashing out to judge and impede conversations that do not directly involve my belief systems. I dearly wish you would do so too.
I hope I am not just feeding the trolling part of you.
Thanks,
~D

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/11/14 1:31 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:

Why are you interested?
I find that I am disliking you enough to become a bit curious about you. I started reading your early posts to find out a little about where you were at in practice and realized I have no idea if you have ever done any meditation. This made me want to reread some more of your posts to find the answers but I don't have time so I figured I'd just ask you...can you point to a thread that tells a little about yourself or your practice? I'd like to take the conversation there to avoid hijacking this thread.
sawfoot _:

It seems to me you ask just because this is your way of calling bullshit, which is merited. But if so, inherent in the assumption that works as a "calling bullshit strategy" is that experience is the trump card. The card that Ian played above. Which, I found ridiculous.

It could very well go this way but I'd rather not. Perhaps change your vocabulary a bit to reflect your contemplations and astute thinking verses experiences.
sawfoot _:
Which compelled me to troll.

Thanks for being honest. As long as you know when you are deliberately trolling and when you are not while you are doing it....that is mindfulness.
sawfoot _:
I am not going to go into details, as do you really care about the nitty gritty? Would you like me to recount my dreams? And some acid trips? (A&P would be the obvious one though).
I don't care about the nitty gritty unless it is part of your narrative of who you are now and what you are doing with it.
sawfoot _:

I have yet to encounter what I consider a decent explanation what all this is really about. And part of the reason I get on my high horse about woo woo like "psycho-physiological awakening" and the like is that I feel it impedes our understanding of the really interesting stuff that is going on. It is just a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I too am frustrated in the things I can not yet understand. I try to keep this frustration from lashing out to judge and impede conversations that do not directly involve my belief systems. I dearly wish you would do so too.
I hope I am not just feeding the trolling part of you.
Thanks,
~D


Dreamwalker, I don't seem to be able to stop being a dick on the internet, and I think it has a lot to do with being anonymous. Though I suppose there are lots of anonymous people on the internet who don't end up acting like dicks...Still, I probably am a lot more likeable when I am not being a dick. So I think I should retire Sawfoot_, and if I do end up on this forum again then I will try to do it in a less anonymous, more considerate manner. Thanks (along with other posters) for putting up with me and pointing out the obvious.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/11/14 1:52 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Thanks. That would be awesome if you were to participate in a more constructive and responsible way. Your contributions are potentially quite valuable.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/11/14 6:22 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

Dreamwalker, I don't seem to be able to stop being a dick on the internet, and I think it has a lot to do with being anonymous. (...) So I think I should retire Sawfoot_


Or just integrate the prick, and see what he's about? Giving full expression to it without good cause isn't a great idea; and letting it become compulsive is no good either, even if there is good cause; but divesting yourself of its energy is probably not the best either. Antidote to excess credulity, groupthink, docility, pomposity, manipulation by others -- all good things. Bad side you already know. (And so do I. I've done the practice; can speak from extensive experience on this).

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 6:52 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Thanks. That would be awesome if you were to participate in a more constructive and responsible way. Your contributions are potentially quite valuable.


Am I right in thinking you used that adjective "condescending" not so long ago? Difficult isn't it ..Jake.. Still, don't worry, you are Bombu! (see below)

And "potentially"? They are bloody valuable! Irresponsible? Irregularly. Constructive? Nearly always, at least in some senses. Unskillful? Too often. Not in keeping with the purpose of the forum as defined by its overlord? Guilty. Narcissistic drama? I think therein lies the main problem, as pointed out by our resident head sage.

John Wilde:
sawfoot _:

Dreamwalker, I don't seem to be able to stop being a dick on the internet, and I think it has a lot to do with being anonymous. (...) So I think I should retire Sawfoot_


Or just integrate the prick, and see what he's about? Giving full expression to it without good cause isn't a great idea; and letting it become compulsive is no good either, even if there is good cause; but divesting yourself of its energy is probably not the best either. Antidote to excess credulity, groupthink, docility, pomposity, manipulation by others -- all good things. Bad side you already know. (And so do I. I've done the practice; can speak from extensive experience on this).


Well, yes. What does it tell us about our base human nature when we look at anonymous comments on Youtube. Is it humanity or is it the anonymity that is the problem? Wouldn't life be much nicer if we didn't have to have laws to stop people killing each other…

As for integration, I haven't the foggiest. It seems different from the self-knowledge aspect, which I can understand. So my use of this forum can end being egocentric and disruptive by the expression of the prick. Yet is enlightening. But it can lead to guilt and regret. And isn't in keeping with one person's vision of what this forum should be for.

My way of thinking about integration (today) is through the idea of bombu nature.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Oh, yes, related to trolling...
I would really like things to go more in a practice and experience direction rather than an armchair skeptic direction when possible. I have no problem with skeptics who are willing to do the experiment and see how it performed when they followed instructions diligently, but armchair skepticism for the sake of armchair skepticism rapidly blows up threads with all sorts of drama and the signal-to-noise ratio rapidly tanks.


The self-perfection narrative that Daniel teaches that is aligned with the likes of Ian and TDC's talk about "the end of the road" is ultimately the main thing I am lashing out and judging (yet, who am I too judge etc...). Is this armchair skepticism? It isn't scientific materialist troll skepticism, at least. I think armchair criticism might be a better choice of words. And "The experiment" is a telling choice of words. Not "an experiment". Just follow the instructions, 30 minutes of noting, 30 minutes of jhana, bake in a retreat, leave at room temperature, and pffff, enlightenment! Again, this goes back to old ground, regarding who gets to decide what ("good") practice is.

An alternative to self-perfection and seeking the extraordinary is embracing more fully your Bombu nature, and the liberating promise that entails. Bombu nature is a key construct from Pure Land Buddhism (as described David/Caroline Brazier's versions of it), which is the acknowledgement that we are bombu. We are human. We are unenlightened beings, subject to conditioning, which we can never go beyond. We are flawed and helpless. Full of all sorts of crappy stuff, like fear, resistance, suffering, anger, greed and meanness. We are Bombu!


Being bombu is a great liberation, the relief of ordinariness. So much of our feeling of guilt comes from our expectation that we should be extraordinary. Not only do we mess up and feel regret, we then feel deeply ashamed that we have proved our failure as perfect beings. We squirm with humiliation at the prospect that others might see our imperfection. We struggle to hide beneath a mirage of niceness, whilst layers of resentment and anger bubble up at our exposure.

...

If we can make the crossing, however, we no longer have to fortify ourselves as much. The deep honesty which comes from recognising our humanity in all its colourful, and sometimes dismaying, guises releases a layer of pretence and we step into the world lighter. Accepting that, yes, sometimes we are guilty. We no longer have to torture ourselves, however, by wallowing in the feelings of guilt. We do not need to endure the torture. We can make recompense, learn, and then let go because our egos are not threatened by knowing that we have slipped up yet again. That is the true freedom of living in Amida’s love.
http://buddhistpsychology.typepad.com/my-blog/beyond-guilt.html

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 9:58 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Yes! Bombu! lol emoticon
I think Pure Land is great and is a vital aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. I would just point out that our bonbu nature is illuminated within our buddha nature. Pure Land Buddhism is squarely within the Mahayana tradition although it has a very different emphasis and style than Chan or Zen for example. I think it offers wonderful corrective to the self-improvement identity that can arise with 'hardcore' practice. There are lots of parrallels with how the Vajrayana lineages I am familiar with function, in that the latter offer more of a balance between devotional Pure Land style approaches and meditative practice based approaches. Historically, my understanding is that there was a lot of crossover between Pure Land, East Asian Vajrayana, and Chan in China which would be pretty similar to Central Asian approaches which also integrate all those facets.

I would point out though that the Pure Landers also have a progressive path which results in Birth, True Entrusting, etc. This outcome doesn't eradicate bonbu nature, certainly. It just means it is more clearly arising within buddha nature. Buddha Nature in this system is conceived as Other, which is perfectly compatible with how it is conceived in more self-powered practices in my experience, since the experience is the same either way. It is totally valid to describe the experience of Buddha Nature as that my bonbu nature is Seen by the Budhha rather than conceptualizing it as suddenly I am the buddha and the bonbu stuff is not-me. In fact, the former in my experience is a more mature less identified insight into buddha nature.

But in my experience insight into bonbu nature in the moment has the practical effect of making it impossible for me to act out those negativities and dramas that are arising-- and it comes with a hugely significant compassion regarding mine and others' bonbu natures (as well as a sense of humor).

In your experience, what does insight into bonbu nature mean, and how does it relate to buddha nature? Or do you just like these concepts for now? (Perfectly fine either way. Just to be clear which it is.)

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 10:13 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
. Jake .:
Thanks. That would be awesome if you were to participate in a more constructive and responsible way. Your contributions are potentially quite valuable.


Am I right in thinking you used that adjective "condescending" not so long ago? Difficult isn't it ..Jake.. Still, don't worry, you are Bombu! (see below)

And "potentially"? They are bloody valuable! Irresponsible? Irregularly. Constructive? Nearly always, at least in some senses. Unskillful? Too often. Not in keeping with the purpose of the forum as defined by its overlord? Guilty. Narcissistic drama? I think therein lies the main problem, as pointed out by our resident head sage.


Hmm, maybe that was condescending! Sorry if it came off that way. I meant it all literally and wasn't trying to imply anything, text can be a funny format lacking all the other cues of communication.

My earlier post was intentionally and explicitly sarcastic and ashholey. It was kind of a satire ;) But maybe indeed my bomu nature got away with me?

Also, you seem to be overestimating your contributions I think. As I and others have pointed out elsewhere, the constructive aspects of your comments point to issues which are discussed by others all over the board periodically. I think they are important things to reflect on but I'm definitely not seeing anything groundbreaking.

Again though, it is hard to seperate the wheat from the chaff in your posts as they are so full of passive aggressive bullshit and other trollish mind games. That's why i said it "would be awesome if you participated in a more constructive and responsible way". Responsible meaning, you take responsibility for your bonbu nature, rather than shitting and pissing it all over the board unconsciously. Seriously, that would be great!

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 3:34 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:

I think Pure Land is great and is a vital aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. I would just point out that our bonbu nature is illuminated within our buddha nature. (...) I would point out though that the Pure Landers also have a progressive path (...). This outcome doesn't eradicate bonbu nature, certainly. It just means it is more clearly arising within buddha nature. Buddha Nature in this system is conceived as Other, which is perfectly compatible with how it is conceived in more self-powered practices in my experience, since the experience is the same either way. It is totally valid to describe the experience of Buddha Nature as that my bonbu nature is Seen by the Budhha rather than conceptualizing it as suddenly I am the buddha and the bonbu stuff is not-me. In fact, the former in my experience is a more mature less identified insight into buddha nature.


Hmmm... there's that same motif again: the flawed, conditioned and incomplete, all happening within something essentially whole and flawless....

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 4:38 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
yep, busted ;) Been my path as long as I can remember, honestly...

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 6:44 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
yep, busted ;) Been my path as long as I can remember, honestly...


And definitely the one that I relate to best.

[Deleted a longer response because I figured it would only make sense to its author].

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 7:45 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
shoot, who was the author lol? I bet I would have dug it

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 10:10 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:

shoot, who was the author lol?


Heh... I still don't have a great answer to that question... apart from that one syllable that means so much, and yet so little.

. Jake .:

I bet I would have dug it


Okay, I've dug out of the email archive and tidied up a little. Hope you can get some sense out of it.

===========================================================================

John Wilde:

Hmmm... there's that same motif again: the flawed, conditioned and incomplete, all happening within something essentially whole and flawless....
. Jake .:

yep, busted ;) Been my path as long as I can remember, honestly...



And definitely the one that I relate to best. What's interesting now is being able to see it everywhere in one form or another. I knew nothing of Pure Land teachings, but when you point it out, there it is again. So many ways of elaborating on this basic theme -- and so many ways to quibble over the differences -- but it seems to be universal.

And maybe this core motif is fractal, and reality is like this at all scales; or maybe humans merely project their own intra-psychic structure upon reality itself; or maybe experience is structured this way because it's an archetype. Whatever. Suffice it to say, it seems true at various levels.

In conventional terms, through the lenses of a self: there's a me jumping around and making ripples within something that's still me, but is essentially untroubled by all those movements. And this larger me is jumping around and making ripples within something that's not-me-but-not-essentially-other. And then there's something that probably is essentially other, but which contains all this, and isn't fundamentally distinct from an aspect of me that is essentially-other in exactly the same way.

[Author's note: See what I mean?? Hard to resist reaching for the delete button again ;-)]

I guess that's why I don't find it absurd to talk about becoming (in some sense) what one already is.

And there's another aspect of all this -- one that I want to explore more -- which is how things that are experienced as opaque, troublesome, full of ignorance and struggle and strife from one perspective can, from another perspective, be experienced as clean, transparent and harmless. In the early days of my interest in actualism, I used to argue that not only the actual/physical world but psychic content -- iow, all phenomena -- could be experienced as pure and perfect... but somewhere along the way that fell by the wayside.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 9:38 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Yes! Thanks for un-deleting.
There's a lot that we could discuss about all that.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 9:45 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Yes! Thanks for un-deleting.
There's a lot that we could discuss about all that.


Seriously? Turning farcical here: At the very moment you wrote that, I was deleting it again ;-)

I'll now restore it to how it was when you responded, and let it stand.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/12/14 10:04 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
And maybe this core motif is fractal, and reality is like this at all scales; or maybe humans merely project their own intra-psychic structure upon reality itself; or maybe experience is structured this way because it's an archetype. Whatever. Suffice it to say, it seems true at various levels.

In conventional terms, through the lenses of a self: there's a me jumping around and making ripples within something that's still me, but is essentially untroubled by all those movements. And this larger me is jumping around and making ripples within something that's not-me-but-not-essentially-other. And then there's something that probably is essentially other, but which contains all this, and isn't fundamentally distinct from an aspect of me that is essentially-other in exactly the same way.

Makes complete sense after reading "My Big Toe" by Thomas Campbell

Thread Splitted
Answer
3/13/14 2:17 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
thread about trolling split off to keep it in its own space

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/13/14 3:58 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
sawfoot _:
. Jake .:
Thanks. That would be awesome if you were to participate in a more constructive and responsible way. Your contributions are potentially quite valuable.


Am I right in thinking you used that adjective "condescending" not so long ago? Difficult isn't it ..Jake.. Still, don't worry, you are Bombu! (see below)

And "potentially"? They are bloody valuable! Irresponsible? Irregularly. Constructive? Nearly always, at least in some senses. Unskillful? Too often. Not in keeping with the purpose of the forum as defined by its overlord? Guilty. Narcissistic drama? I think therein lies the main problem, as pointed out by our resident head sage.


Hmm, maybe that was condescending! Sorry if it came off that way. I meant it all literally and wasn't trying to imply anything, text can be a funny format lacking all the other cues of communication.

My earlier post was intentionally and explicitly sarcastic and ashholey. It was kind of a satire ;) But maybe indeed my bomu nature got away with me?

Also, you seem to be overestimating your contributions I think. As I and others have pointed out elsewhere, the constructive aspects of your comments point to issues which are discussed by others all over the board periodically. I think they are important things to reflect on but I'm definitely not seeing anything groundbreaking.

Again though, it is hard to seperate the wheat from the chaff in your posts as they are so full of passive aggressive bullshit and other trollish mind games. That's why i said it "would be awesome if you participated in a more constructive and responsible way". Responsible meaning, you take responsibility for your bonbu nature, rather than shitting and pissing it all over the board unconsciously. Seriously, that would be great!


You have already made your point, Jakke, and are repeating yourself and explaining yourself unnecessarily. I am not sure what compelled you to add that post 15 minutes after that last one

[PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE SARCASTIC MODE ON]
was it all that thinking about your practical experience of insights into bombo nature and the associated experiences of hugely significant compassion regarding my bonbu nature? The sense of humour that it brings? The impossibility of you acting out of those negativities and dramas that are arising?
[PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE SARCASTIC MODE OFF].

The "groundbreaking" (and consciously made) point? Enlightened people are full of shit (just like the rest of us, or perhaps, even, more so?).

[PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE SARCASTIC MODE ON]
An important thing for us all to reflect on.
[PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE SARCASTIC MODE OFF]

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/14/14 4:25 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
hi jake, just to advise I sent you a personal message (a nice one, I hope).

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/14/14 1:09 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Lol yes well I often express my profound compassion in such ways.. you wouldn't understand... yet ;)
Um, yes, I did get your note and responded via email because the PM system here doesn't work for me at all lately. It was very nice indeed! Thanks emoticon

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/14/14 3:43 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
yeah, I had go switch browsers the messaging to work. But I realised I had an old email address which I can no longer access, but I just updated it so could you resend, thanks.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/20/14 12:18 AM as a reply to T DC.
This thread sort of got redirected so back to my original question--Daniel states:


In this non-state, there is absolutely no time, no space, no reference point, no experience, no mind, no consciousness, no nothingness, no somethingness, no body, no this, no that, no unity, no duality, and no anything else. Reality stops cold then reappears.


So I ask again, is it possible to attain enlightenment without phenomena? This description seems like "phenomena" to me...

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/20/14 2:01 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Zendo Calrissian:
This thread sort of got redirected so back to my original question--Daniel states:


In this non-state, there is absolutely no time, no space, no reference point, no experience, no mind, no consciousness, no nothingness, no somethingness, no body, no this, no that, no unity, no duality, and no anything else. Reality stops cold then reappears.


So I ask again, is it possible to attain enlightenment without phenomena? This description seems like "phenomena" to me...

You didn't provide enough information about the context of this statement from Daniel. What is "this non-state" that he is talking about? Did he provide a name?

I ask because from its description, it sounds like sanna-vedayita-nirodha otherwise also known as nirodha samapatti or the extinction of suffering attainment or the attainment of cessation which is a temporary suspension of mental activities.

This is what many call the ninth jhana, the cessation of perception and feeling.

The description given above is definitely without phenomena. In other words, there is no phenomena to describe! So, how can it seem like "phenomena"? You don't know that you have attained it until you come out of it. That is the whole point of his description.

Having attained this state is part of the process of enlightenment (from my POV) but it, in itself, is not enlightenment. Yet, being made aware that the mind is actually capable of attaining it brings with it knowledge of cessation, the complete cessation of all mental activity. Until one has experienced this state, it just remains words on paper (or on an LCD screen). Having attained it, one realizes that such a state actually is possible. That the mind is actually capable of escaping phenomenology! That direct experience is knowledge in and of itself. It is part of the process, but is not its end product.

Now, to get to your question. What do you think, bhikkhu? Is it possible to attain enlightenment about the ending of suffering while in a state of cessation? Are the three characteristics realized more fully while in this state? How about the five aggregates? Not to speak of paticca samuppada or dependent co-arising? Do you think one could realize any of these truths while in this state? Take your time and think about it. Then put two and two together and figure out why attaining this state is so important in the process of enlightenment as a whole. Then you will have your answer. But not until.

Here's a hint: What does nirodha samapatti teach you about nibanna? (Secondary hint: You have to know the definition of nibbana first before you can answer the first question.)

Further more, this affiant saith not.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/20/14 9:33 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
yeah, I had go switch browsers the messaging to work. But I realised I had an old email address which I can no longer access, but I just updated it so could you resend, thanks.


Oh, I just saw this! I'm not sure how to navigate the user information here at DhO to find your updated email, so if you send me a new message with the update I can cut and paste my response.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/20/14 6:33 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Sounds like you are assigning me a koan, Ian emoticon

The quote I took is from MCTB's description of SE. Despite what you call it, phenomena, state, non-state, non-phenomena, it is out of ordinary perception of reality. So if someone hasn't experienced this 'non-event' or anything else out-of-the-ordinary, can they be enlightened? Or is it possible that this is so subtle that one may not have noticed? Doesn't seem likely given the description...

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/21/14 2:28 AM as a reply to Zendo Calrissian.
Zendo Calrissian:
Sounds like you are assigning me a koan, Ian

I think I see what you mean, but actually not at all. I'm just encouraging you to wait until you experience the state before forming any opinions about it.

I really didn't know it was possible until I experienced it. Once I had experienced it (to be clear here, the cessation of perception and feeling), it wasn't a state that I wanted to revisit anytime soon, given that at the time I hadn't yet been able to fully satisfy my aspiration for self realization (enlightenment and the "end of suffering").

Besides, I gave you two gigantic hints that, if you will just rationally think about them, should provide you with the insight you are seeking!

To make this even easier, let me help you with that definition for nibbana. Nirvana (in the Sanskrit) means to "go out" like a flame; when it loses its fuel, it blows out. Or, as I was first introduced to the significance of the word when I came across it in Alan Watt's book The Way of Zen, he described it thus (which I find satisfactory and insightful): " has been variously connected with Sanskrit roots which would make it mean the blowing out of a flame, or simply blowing out (ex- or de-spiration), or with the cessation of waves, turnings, or circlings (vritti) of the mind. . . . If nirvana is related to the cessation (nir-) of turnings (vritti), the term is synonymous with the aim of yoga, defined in the Yogasutra as citta-vritti nirodha – the cessation of turnings of the mind. These turnings are the thoughts whereby the mind endeavors to grasp the world and itself. Yoga [and Zen koan practice] is the practice of trying to stop these thoughts by thinking about them, until the utter futility of the process is felt so vividly that it simply drops away, and the mind discovers its natural and unconfused state."

See also Thanissaro's enlightened definition for this word in his essay A Verb for Nirvana.

But failing that, let's go over the questions I asked and see if you agree with the answer I was hoping you would recognize as plainly as the nose on your face.

Is it possible to attain enlightenment about the ending of suffering while in a state of cessation?
Not likely. Can you see why?

Are the three characteristics realized more fully while in this state?
Again, not likely.

How about the five aggregates? Not to speak of paticca samuppada or dependent co-arising?
Again, not likely.

Do you think one could realize any of these truths while in this state?
Again, not likely.

Zendo Calrissian:

The quote I took is from MCTB's description of SE. Despite what you call it, phenomena, state, non-state, non-phenomena, it is out of ordinary perception of reality.

Could you provide the page number and paragraph where this quote can be found (or a link if you read it here on this site) so that I can be assured to be on the same page with you? I ask because that quote does not sound like stream entry to me!! Therefore, I would like to see it in context in order to verify your characterization of it as such.


Zendo Calrissian:

So if someone hasn't experienced this 'non-event' or anything else out-of-the-ordinary, can they be enlightened?

Or is it possible that this is so subtle that one may not have noticed? Doesn't seem likely given the description...

First question: In my opinion, yes they can. It just enhances the enlightenment, though, if they have experienced it. Once again, just my personal opinion based on the reaction I had to the experience and what I realized afterward.

Second question: Yes, I think you are correct in your supposition. It may very well be so subtle that one may be confused as to whether or not they just experienced it. It takes a high degree of mindfulness (remembering the moments up to the moment just before everything blanked out, then recalling afterwards the fact that there was some time unaccounted for during the meditation) to be able to recall having had the experience once one emerges from it. The mind can become so calmed, the breath so shallow that in the enjoyable experience leading up to becoming enveloped by this state one simply finds it difficult to recall just what occurred. Until one realizes that everything just blanked out.

RE: Enlightenment without phenomena?
Answer
3/21/14 10:15 AM as a reply to Ian And.
First question: In my opinion, yes they can. It just enhances the enlightenment, though, if they have experienced it. Once again, just my personal opinion based on the reaction I had to the experience and what I realized afterward.

Second question: Yes, I think you are correct in your supposition. It may very well be so subtle that one may be confused as to whether or not they just experienced it. It takes a high degree of mindfulness (remembering the moments up to the moment just before everything blanked out, then recalling afterwards the fact that there was some time unaccounted for during the meditation) to be able to recall having had the experience once one emerges from it. The mind can become so calmed, the breath so shallow that in the enjoyable experience leading up to becoming enveloped by this state one simply finds it difficult to recall just what occurred. Until one realizes that everything just blanked out.


This was the answer I was looking for. Thank you.

As for the citation, I mispoke, it wasn't SE it was fruition, pg 212 section 15 of the chapter The Progress of Insight.