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Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/8/14 1:46 PM
Hi folks,

Never posted here before, but I have some questions for this fine community. Thanks for reading!

Roughly 5 years ago, I began searching for the truth. I didn't understand what that meant at the time, but I resolved to "stop lying to myself". I was naive, and lacked any understanding of the profundity of that simple change in paradigm. I felt the massiveness of the change build up rather quickly, however. I began to look at the world differently. I saw suffering everywhere. I was immediately jaded. I read and read dharma books. I practiced intensely, until I had an extroardinarily powerful A&P type event. After that, my concentration became the tits-- meditation became so easy despite some of the difficult sensations and thoughts. Since that event, I fall into awareness of the sensate field like I'm returning to my bed after a long day. So comfortable, so equanamous in my sitting. Within the next couple of months after the event, the dark night type stuff picked up. Eventually I had equanimity, and saw the fabrication of the self very clearly-- ignorance to becoming (later I came to be aware of dependant origination). Somewhere in there, I lost any doubt about the Buddhadharma.

As time moved onward, I repeated the same fruition, and my understanding deepened; dependant origination was very comprehensible to me. I kept meditating, trying to uncover the mystery of ego. Eventually, new understandings arose. I began getting sense that mind was primary, etc, without having "experienced" that to be true. Duality was beginning to weaken, but what seemed to be fairly slowly. Soon I reached another dark night. During a walking meditation, something clicked, and non-duality set in intensely. The lines defining inside and outside of my body began to really blur...quite a trip. Physicalism became silly to me, and I came to understand exactly the extent of physicalism/materialism on my experience. Things aren't things. I learned it so well that I was able to drop much of it and stay in a perpetual non-dual experience. Around this time I began to understand the operation of karma as it unfolds in my life. For awhile I walked around in the depths of non-duality, observing the karma that pulled me around. It was fascinating. I grew into an experience of equanimity despite emotions, and objects of sense (thoughts, things, etc). In understanding how my emotions and objects of sense pull me around karmically, I began to take greater steps to surrender, and moved into equanimity regarding those ideas. Again, things began to click, and I became very aware of these facets of awakening. I also surrendered into a very deep recognition of "no-self" for the first time.

Some months later (just a couple of months ago, actually), I ended up at a Goenka vipassana retreat. I spent the entire time deeply engaged with the dharma. I had an A&P type event with some odd experiences starting to arise-- in walking after my meditations, I would experience the movement as if the world was moving through me, instead of me moving through the world. Not sure if that makes any sense. My body became completely unattached to the ever-moving point of awareness that "I" control. Two other things of note occurred. I had an experience of seeing extremely nostalgic images of events which strongly contribute to my karma in the here and now. Seeing the ignorance in those extremely nostalgic images, I was able to glimpse aspects of my character that I had entirely forgot about. Moreover, I was able to resolve the karmic baggage--their egoic weight lifted. This only happened with 2 or 3 images. I think this was a "past-life" experience of some sort.

Since then, my awareness of the sensate field has coupled very well with my recognition of no-self, allowing me to quickly identify my egoic energy as it bubbles up. The egoic energy is just *so fabricated*, so not part of the emptiness within which I clearly *actually am*. This has just "clicked". Awareness of only the sensate field is present always, just sort of in the "background" when I have to think.When I finish thinking, and move forward with my day, I slip right back into equanamous observation of the sensate field. Thinking itself has become just another gateway to recognizing the "Deathless" or "unmanifested" or "emptiness" that pervades all my experience.

These are the events which have contributed strongly to my own awakening. In terms of pragmatic dharma, where would you all map me at this time? I'm really having a lot of fun with this, and thanks for your insight and opinions!

Thanks!

RE: Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/9/14 10:36 AM as a reply to Daniel Moretti.
[quote=
]Hi!

Welcome to the DhO. In terms of pragmatic dharma, where you do map yourself?! I am guessing you have some ideas about that - so it seems that might put yourself as a stream enterer who has perhaps gotten some futher paths?

RE: Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/9/14 11:33 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Daniel, 

Also, yes, welcome to this forum.
These are the events which have contributed strongly to my own awakening. In terms of pragmatic dharma, where would you all map me at this time? I'm really having a lot of fun with this, and thanks for your insight and opinions!

Thanks!

Maybe akin to the above equestion via SF...

..in your post, everything seems very well with you, so do you know what are your needs/motivations for placement on a map? This is not a trick or baiting question; it's just to learn from you about what is/are motivating you to ask for other's placement of you/your work/your condition on a map. 

RE: Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/10/14 2:38 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Sawfoot -- 

Welcome to the DhO. In terms of pragmatic dharma, where you do map yourself?! I am guessing you have some ideas about that - so it seems that might put yourself as a stream enterer who has perhaps gotten some futher paths?
Thank you for welcoming me! Happy to be talking with the folks here.

I am confident that I am a stream-winner, but that is the only "level" of awakening I really have any intellectual knowledge of (for instance, I know that it is typical for stream-winners to lose any doubt about the dharma)-- so I don't presume to judge myself beyond that level. I suspect that I have had fruitions beyond stream-entry, I just don't know what those steps on the path really are supposed to look like according to the teachings. Many things have changed in my experience since that time where I lost all doubt of the dharma, and not in "small" ways-- in profound ways which dramatically change the nature of experience (deeply sensing presence at all times in the day, crazy mystical "trippy" moments, wisdom which I faithfully stick to and practice, sturdy and strong equanimity). That said, I have no idea of what's what, and I would be curious to put vernacular around these changes. Perhaps you could lend any insight into things that changed for you or other friends upon attainment of fruitions beyond stream-entry? The most particular and recent thing to change is that I do not sense any "ignorance" about awakening (even if I lack language for it). I used to easily become confused and now even that egoic tendancy has receeded (this is a very recent change, so I will continue to monitor for some time before I judge myself to have successfully completed my "ignorance-ectomy"...

But despite good results, I simply lack understanding in terms of how to think about these maps-- for instance, does everybody who attains a given fruition experience similar changes? Although Mr. Ingram's book is extraordinarily thorough, it skips to masterful level teachings without unloading much introductory material. Perhaps you can recommend any sections which were helpful to you with these questions?

katy steger --

..in your post, everything seems very well with you, so do you know what are your needs/motivations for placement on a map? This is not a trick or baiting question; it's just to learn from you about what is/are motivating you to ask for other's placement of you/your work/your condition on a map. 
Thanks for welcoming me!

You're correct, my practice is strong, and moving forward (despite the occasional col-de-sac or "slump" in meditation practice). Wisdom is deepening, as is equanimity-- all good stuff! That said, as I said to SF, I have a lot of gaps in knowledge about what's what in this practice. I am completely devoid of any conventional and dualistic understanding of what's going on inside me. It is very strange. I sense clearly that I'm going in the correct direction, and that I know how to practice well, I just don't know things at the intellectual level meaning that I cannot articulate my experience with any degree of clarity to others. So, in the interest of bettering my intellectual understanding of dharma as fully as possible from my armchair, I just want to map myself and get to the bottom of what's what. Great question!

RE: Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/10/14 5:19 PM as a reply to Daniel Moretti.
So the main thing in the maps in MCTB is about the cycles of insight - so in a "path"  you go through a cycle - such as mind and body, A&P, dissolution, dark night, equanmity, path... And MCTB does go into detail into each of these "nanas" - so getting familar with each of the stages of insight, you can get a better feel of where you are at a particular point in time - which might be during a period of months, weeks, days, hours or even over the course of meditation sit.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/The+Progress+of+Insight

So in theory, with a good understanding of these stages, if you think you have achieved "stream entry" you should be able to look back and recognise some of the stages that led up to it, and trace where you are from there. 

RE: Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/13/14 6:51 PM as a reply to Daniel Moretti.
You took the same path I did!  I love it!  I think of this path as the dharma of existentialism.  I did not come through buddhism, but once I had the experience you worded so well, I consumed Mahayana for its terms.  

Awareness of the sensate has always been, is always, present.  That is why Mahayana teaches 'once enlightened you realize you were always enlightened'

"Equanimity despite emotions" is the true equanimity since we are not our emotions.  This equanimity will make the deepest hell the same as the highest bliss.  It is the place where we use meta-programming to manipulate our constituent parts.

I love your phrases.  I am stealing them.

Where should you go next??  Find out why you are awareness and nothing else.  How are you Aware?

RE: Diagnose me, dharma doctors!
Answer
8/13/14 7:33 PM as a reply to Jeremy May.
Jeremy,

Please steal the heck out of my phrases and use them as often as you would like, haha!

Find out why you are awareness and nothing else.

It's interesting you mentioned that, I have been inquiring on that line of questioning for the past little while and the answers are becoming clearer. I can't say that I've arrived at any answer to "How are you aware?" than the simple truth that, indeed, I am. This carries through with my past insights in knowing that, all I can see is the self. There is simply nothing *real* to be aware of aside from the experience of I am. This is becoming known without thinking!

Dan