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Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"

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Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/3/14 1:54 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" . Jake . 11/3/14 2:14 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/3/14 2:23 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" . Jake . 11/3/14 2:52 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/3/14 3:34 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" B B 11/3/14 4:15 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" John Wilde 11/3/14 5:49 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/3/14 7:03 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" John Wilde 11/4/14 5:11 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" CJMacie 11/5/14 3:30 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" John Wilde 11/5/14 11:33 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" x x 11/6/14 11:51 AM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Banned For waht? 11/7/14 6:41 AM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" x x 11/7/14 8:43 AM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" svmonk 11/7/14 11:10 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" CJMacie 11/8/14 5:14 AM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" . Jake . 11/8/14 7:24 AM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" . Jake . 11/8/14 9:32 AM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" x x 11/8/14 3:22 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Chuck Kasmire 11/4/14 12:51 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/4/14 3:34 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Chuck Kasmire 11/4/14 5:18 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/4/14 8:24 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" lama carrot top 11/4/14 8:08 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" CJMacie 11/5/14 3:25 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" CJMacie 11/5/14 3:19 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Small Steps 11/3/14 3:48 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" John Wilde 11/3/14 4:00 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Richard Zen 11/3/14 6:43 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Not Tao 11/3/14 8:42 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Richard Zen 11/3/14 9:12 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Jenny 11/5/14 6:16 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Richard Zen 11/5/14 7:16 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" Mike H. 11/4/14 1:21 PM
RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing" J J 11/7/14 9:52 PM
Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 1:54 PM
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.006.than.html

This seems to contradict the "blackout" fruition. Isn't he saying there is some kind of understanding while in this state?

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 2:14 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yes, some people report a 'pure awareness' kind of cessation where only knowingness remains. I wonder sometime whether it may be a matter of differing descriptions. It's been a while since I've practiced in such a way as to result in a cessation but my suspicion was it wasn't quite so cut and dried whether the cessation itself was truly 'blank'. I can relate to the standard descriptions of the whole 'blip' thing and think they're accurate as far as they go; but still I had the strong sense (afterwards, admittedly) that *something* was 'in' the cessation, a presence or ultra-high-intensity-energy/awareness. Kind of hard to put into words. It seems reality re-emerges kind of 'charged' with the quality of that 'blip' if you will; trailing clouds of glory lol.

I wonder if Chuck Kasimir will weigh in, if I remember correctly his experiences match the description you linked moreso than the Mahasi-style 'blip'.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 2:23 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
 If knowing is also present - especial a knowledge of "this is peace, this is exquisite, the ending of all fabrication" - then I've definately seen that. At the time it struck me as an ending of all effort and definition, like I'd finally let go completely.  This happened back when I was spending whole days in a very panoramic awareness.  Checking my journal, it looks like I "bumped into" this thing 3 or 4 times while going to sleep at night.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 2:52 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Cool!
How would you distinguish this from a hard 5th/6th jhanna?
(I understand in the description you link they are clearly differentiated, just wondering how you personally would tell the difference?)

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 3:34 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
In the fifth jhana, when it hits hard for me, it's like the body itself becomes a vast space.  So it still has a "physicality" to it, but no sense of arms and legs and a boundary.  As it shifts to the next one, the sense of a mind, or the head area, expands in the same way. Then, in the sphere of nothingness, this same space fills with an absence, if that even makes sense, haha.  So to me the feeling is almost like the boundaries of my personal reality keep inflating until the singularity of perception itself as a empty space is all that's left.  At that point there is a sinking down and the sense of any kind of space dissolves completely - which is probably the very edge of the sphere of nothingness.  Then there is a blinking or wobbling that happens, and this wobbling can kind of stabilize.  It almost feels like perception is pinched, or compressed.  It also feels like there is a sense of expectation to it, like it's stuck halfway into the process of dissolving.

The odd thing about that very still state was that it seemed to skip any kind of progression. I was in what I call the PCE at the times it happened, where there is a perfect emotionlessness and awareness is fixed into "nowness," and then I just fell into complete stillness. It was like the perfection of the PCE was distilled into its most basic component and that's all that was left. Everything else was gone. When I "came to" I felt a bit out of touch with everything.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 3:48 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I started another thead some time back where I referenced this talk by Guy Armstrong, titled "Bodhisattva Path: Plus Rigpa & Nirvana"
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/79/talk/2440/.

I found it fascinating as it describes several different interpretations of the experience of Nibbana/Nirvana across two different Theravadan as well as some Tibetan traditions. Of interest may be his discussion regarding Ajahn Maha Boowa's report of Nibbana, which includes a sense of presence/awareness, which the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition does not.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 4:00 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
Small Steps:
I started another thead some time back where I referenced this talk by Guy Armstrong, titled "Bodhisattva Path: Plus Rigpa & Nirvana"
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/79/talk/2440/.

I found it fascinating as it describes several different interpretations of the experience of Nibbana/Nirvana across two different Theravadan as well as some Tibetan traditions. Of interest may be his discussion regarding Ajahn Maha Boowa's report of Nibbana, which includes a sense of presence/awareness, which the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition does not.

Speaking of Maha Boowa, this may be relevant to the controversy in another thread about not-self (strategy of disentanglement) vs no-self (declaration that there is neither a phenomenal nor non-phenomenal self of any kind).

"Being intrinsically bright and clear, the citta is always ready to make contact with everything of every nature. Although all conditioned phenomena without exception are governed by the three universal laws of anicca, dukkha, and anattã, the citta’s true nature is not subject to these laws. The citta is conditioned by anicca, dukkha, and anattã only because things that are subject to these laws come spinning in to become involved with the citta and so cause it to spin along with them. However, though it spins in unison with conditioned phenomena, the citta never disintegrates or falls apart. It spins following the influence of those forces which have the power to make it spin, but the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die. This deathlessness is a quality that lies beyond disintegration. Being beyond disintegration, it also lies beyond the range of anicca, dukkha, and anattã and the universal laws of nature. ...."

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 4:15 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu seems to think this attainment is only accessible to arahats:
This experience of the goal — absolutely unlimited freedom, beyond classification and exclusive of all else — is termed the elemental nibbāna property with no 'fuel' remaining (anupādisesa-nibbāna-dhātu). It is one of two ways in which nibbāna is experienced, the distinction between the two being expressed as follows:

'Monks, there are these two forms of the nibbāna property. Which two? The nibbāna property with fuel remaining, and the nibbāna property with no fuel remaining.

'And what is the nibbāna property with fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose effluents have ended, who has attained completion, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. His five faculties still remain and, owing to their being intact, he experiences the pleasing & the displeasing, and is sensitive to pleasure & pain. His ending of passion, aversion, & delusion is termed the nibbāna property with fuel remaining.

'And what is the nibbāna property with no fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant... released through right gnosis. For him, all that is sensed, being unrelished, will grow cold right here. This is termed the nibbāna property with no fuel remaining.'

— Iti 44

The phrase referring to the range of feeling as 'growing cold right here' is a set expression describing death as experienced by one who has reached the goal. The verse following this passage states explicitly that this is what is meant here.

These two         proclaimed
        by the one with vision    
nibbāna properties        the one independent
        the one who is Such:
one property, here in this life
with fuel remaining    
    from the ending of ,
    the guide to becoming
and that with no fuel remaining

    after this life
in which becomings
    entirely stop.
    
Those who know this unfabricated state,
their minds released     
through the ending of ,
    the guide to becoming,
    
they, attaining the Teaching's core,
    delighting in ending,
have abandoned all becomings:
            they, the Such.
— Iti 44

The Verses of the Elder Udāyin suggest a simile to illustrate the distinction between these two nibbāna properties:

A great blazing fire
    unnourished grows calm
and though its embers exist
    is said to be out:
Conveying a meaning,
this image is taught by the cognizant.
Great Nāgas* will recognize

    the Nāga as taught by the Nāga
as free from passion,
    free from aversion,
        free from delusion,
            without effluent.
His body discarded, the Nāga
    will go totally out
        without effluent.
— Thag 15.2

Here Ven. Udāyin compares the nibbāna property with fuel remaining — the state of being absolutely free from passion, aversion, & delusion — to a fire whose flames have died out, but whose embers are still glowing. Although he does not complete the analogy, he seems to imply that the nibbāna property without fuel remaining — when the Worthy One discards his body at death — is like a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold.

Thus the completely free & unadulterated experience we have been discussing is that of nibbāna after death. There are, though, states of concentration which give a foretaste of this experience in the present life and which enabled the Buddha to say that he taught the goal on the basis of direct knowledge.

Ānanda: 'In what way, venerable sir, might a monk attain concentration of such a form that he would have neither the perception of earth with regard to earth, nor of water with regard to water, nor of fire... wind... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception... this world... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet he would still be percipient?'

The Buddha: 'There is the case, Ānanda, where he would be percipient of this: "This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; stopping; nibbāna."'

— AN 10.6

[Ānanda puts the same question to Sāriputta, who responds that he himself once had experienced such a concentration.]

Ānanda: 'But what were you percipient of at that time?'

Sāriputta: '"The stopping of becoming — nibbāna — the stopping of becoming — nibbāna": One perception arose in me as another perception stopped. Just as in a blazing woodchip fire, one flame arises as another flame stops, even so, "The stopping of becoming — nibbāna — the stopping of becoming — nibbāna": One perception arose in me as another one stopped. I was percipient at that time of "the stopping of becoming — nibbāna."'

— AN 10.7

Ānanda: 'It is amazing, my friend, it is marvelous, how the Blessed One has attained & recognized the opportunity for the purification of beings... and the direct realization of nibbāna, where the eye will be, and forms, and yet one will not be sensitive to that dimension; where the ear will be, and sounds... where the nose will be, and aromas... where the tongue will be, and flavors... where the body will be, and tactile sensations, and yet one will not be sensitive to that dimension.'

Udāyin: 'Is one insensitive to that dimension percipient or not percipient?'

Ānanda: '... percipient...'

Udāyin: '... percipient of what?'

Ānanda: 'There is the case where — with the complete transcending of perceptions of form, and the passing away of perceptions of resistance, and not attending to perceptions of diversity — (perceiving,) 'infinite space,' one remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space: Percipient in this way, one is not sensitive to that dimension.

'Further, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, (perceiving,) 'infinite consciousness,' one remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness: Percipient in this way, one is not sensitive to that dimension.

'Further, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) 'There is nothing,' one remains in the dimension of nothingness: Percipient in this way, one is not sensitive to that dimension.

'Once, friend, when I was staying in Sāketa at the Game Refuge in the Black Forest, the nun Jaṭilā Bhāgikā went to me and, on arrival — having bowed to me — stood to one side. As she was standing to one side, she said to me: "Ven. Ānanda, the concentration whereby — neither pressed down nor forced back, nor with fabrications kept blocked or suppressed — still as a result of release, contented as a result of stillness, and as a result of contentment one is not agitated: This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of what?"'

'I said to her, "...This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of gnosis [the knowledge of full Awakening]." Percipient in this way, friend, one is not sensitive to that dimension.'

— AN 9.37

In this extraordinary state of mental poise — neither pressed, forced, blocked, or suppressed — nibbāna in the present life is experienced as freedom from all perception dealing with the six sensory spheres & the dimensions of meditative absorption. Although one is conscious, and these dimensions are present, one does not partake of them.

On the level of ordinary sensory experience, however, nibbāna in the present life is experienced by the Worthy One as the passing away of passion, aversion, & delusion. This implies that these three states are analogous to fire; and as we saw in the Introduction, they are directly referred to as fires at various points in the Canon. On the surface, the notion of passion & aversion as fires hardly requires explanation, but in order to gain a fuller appreciation of the analogies that the Canon draws between fire on the one hand, and passion, aversion, & delusion on the other, we first need some background on the specifically Buddhist views on fire it contains.
At least he's citing AN 9:37 along with AN 10:6 and AN 10:7, implying they're all referring to the same thing. If the bolded bit wasn't there I'd say AN 9:37 could be referring to the 8th jhana though (those are his brackets by the way).

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 5:49 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Yes, some people report a 'pure awareness' kind of cessation where only knowingness remains.

As you probably know, direct path advaita treats deep dreamless sleep that way: awareness sans objects, rather than no awareness. If it's not dismissed as senseless, it can lead to the recognition of a deep and lustrous peace underlying the waking state... something that is not, in itself, disturbable, but hosts any kind of disturbance.

But maybe for me that deep and lustrous peace is tinged with something else though. On a series of LSD trips in the 90s, a common feature was the "bright midnight" of the background, the pure, shining blacker-than-black peace of death from which everything pours forth in all its vividness and intricacy. I'd lost that background, until I came across the direct path in '06, and found it again, unexpectedly close to home. (Not sure if this would be the case without it being seeded by LSD).

I guess whether it's a highly sought after blip as the fruition of years of practice, or a deep refreshing sleep, the only measure of its significance is what we ascribe to it and what effect it has, if any.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 6:43 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
This is the best description I've seen so far:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/210/11135.html
Especially after 40:00

Personally talking to Ron Crouch he said there still was some kind of knowing but without objects.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 7:03 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John, your idea that it's a backgound that's always there was my thought about it too after I came out of it.  My first thought was, "why don't I just stay there?"  But I couldn't at the time, because I really wanted to, ha!  It also seems to come if I've locked into awareness while falling asleep, so that makes sense that it would be deep dreamless sleep.

It seems to be what the mind looks toward when it decides to accept what's happening.  In a state of perfect equanimity, it is simple to drop into it because there is nothing the mind is occupied with.  But when bad feelings come up, it takes a lot to accept them completely.  Knowing that "bright midnight" is there makes it much easier, though, which is why I think I had such a nice time in the weeks after it happened - it was easy to just accept whatever was happening.

It seems to line up with the buddha's teachings - let go of everything and eventually abide in emptiness.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 8:42 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
WOW, ok, seriously he's describing this stuff exactly! Haha, thanks for that, Richard, you made my day.

"You can feel either the throbbing of intention to be present, or a more steady sense of tension in the intention..." ~18:00

"Fading of experience..."

"The subject-object-time triumvirate suddenly collapses..." ~26:00

Oh this is interesting. Around 48:00 someone asks how consciousness could be without object if conscious was also non-dual (as in, seeing IS the thing seen). He says that, "as one learns to let go and see the emptiness of things, the mind learns to go into emptiness." Basically, consciousness takes emptiness, or letting go, or non-fabricating, as its object. Letting go, itself, is the object. Like in the sutta where the Buddha talks about how consciousness is like a light passing thought a window, and he keeps taking things away. It hits the opposite wall, then when the wall is taken away, the ground, etc. Eventually there is nothing left for the light to hit, it just goes on. He says this is the unfabricated, the deathless, etc.

So the idea that all the aggregates are empty is true, but then nibbana is a state of consciousness that has emptiness as its object. Like a perpetual cooling, as the name implies.

EDIT: And then there's a little gem at the end where he shows how we can understand emptiness even at a very high level.  "Maybe you think you're stuck in a job or a bad relationship, and then you suddenly see how the mind is connecting those dots and say 'oh! this doesn't have that solidity that I thought.'"

You could say that this is the angle Actual Freedom practice takes - letting go of all of the supporting identity, specifically, so that the mind is free to stay in an unfabricated/unfabricating emotional state.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/3/14 9:12 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Basically, consciousness takes emptiness, or letting go, or non-fabricating, as its object. Letting go, itself, is the object. 
I love that. That might help me further.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 12:51 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Hi everybody,
Yes, I did not experience any blips. I am convinced that what I went through is fundamentally different from the Mahasi type practice experiences.

As I have mentioned before, my own experience is much more similar to what I find being described by Richard (from AF), Bernedette Roberts, Adyashanti, and the Thai Forest Ajahns - both in the nature of the unfolding stages and in the day to day nature of experience. As Mahasi folks don’t seem to relate well to these people - this further reinforces my view that we are speaking about something different.

One of the best descriptions (of stream entry from my experience) I have come upon  is from Maha Boowa’s Arahattamagga (pg 31):

“Even if everything else were completely destroyed, the citta would remain wholly unaffected. I realized this truth with absolute clarity the moment when the citta’s knowing essence stood alone on its own, completely uninvolved with anything whatsoever. There was only that knowing presence standing out prominently, awesome in its splendor. The citta lets go of the body, feeling, memory, thought and consciousness and enters a pure stillness of its very own, with absolutely no connection to the khandhas. In that moment, the five khandhas do not function in any way at all in relation to the citta. In other words, the citta and the khandhas exist independently because they have been completely cut off from one another due to the persistent efforts of meditation.

That attainment brings a sense of wonder and amazement that no experience we’ve ever had could possibly equal. The citta stays suspended in a serene stillness for a long time before
withdrawing to normal consciousness. Having withdrawn, it reconnects with the khandhas
as before, but it remains absolutely convinced that the citta has just attained a state of extraordinary calm totally cut off from the five khandhas. It knows that it has experienced an extremely amazing spiritual state of being. That certainty will never be erased.”

Of course, his description uses the language of the suttas - he’s a monk - Than Geoff describes it as an awareness outside of time and space - which is a more contemporary western way of putting it. If you read through Boowa’s description of what led up to this experience - it was the result of extremely deep jhana - you basically go deeper and deeper until at some point get sucked into the vortex and spit out of time and space - it isn’t something that anyone can do - all one can do is just set-up the conditions - cultivate the deep tranquility jhanas - and then wait for the voodoo or star alignment or whatever to happen - it’s a mystery to me.

There is no thought, perception, form - so there is no you in it - no space and no time - no boundary - no universe - and the experience is burned in like no other ever. Your understanding of who and what you are, the world, reality - it’s shattered.

I liked the Guy Armstrong talk linked to in this thread. I think this stuff needs to be talked about and explored - so I am glad to see him bringing this up. He mentions the notion that we are awakening to different aspects - kayas of this thing - that’s the best explanation I have heard yet and makes lots of sense to me.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 1:21 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao - this is a great post and something that I've wondered about as well. 
This essay by Thannissaro Bhikkhu is pretty on point here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/nirvanaverb.html

I also like Shinzen's Young description of "gone" and "macro gone" experiences.  (look it up on youtube).  My impression is that he includes all sorts of 'unknowing' events, including unknowing events in AP, under the label 'gone' and doesn't fret as much about the exact diagnosis.  Of course, I'd like to hear him discuss this in person, I'm just going off recorded talks.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 3:34 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Hey Chuck,

I did a bit of experiementation, and it looks like I still have access to this state. I haven't gone all the way back in yet, but I'll keep playing around with it and see if I can't stabilize it. What seems to work best for me is to observe the emotional feelings and the physical body, and resolve to stay exactly how they are - like holding perfectly steady in the current state of being. It can almost work like a check list, where I feel around with my mind and say, "Ok, slight tension in the jaw, a bit of discomfort in the leg, a feeling of slight agitation," etc. The goal is to let go of it and allow it to continue on that way.

If I'm doing it right, the sense of awareness will become very still and open, like it would if I intentionally focused on an object for a long time, and then a flickering starts in the head and move into the body so it feels like a steady beat is whumping away at everything. If I just continue on letting go, after a minute or so of whumping, the back of the head "melts" like, literally, it feels like the brain is melting. If letting go continues that melting takes over everything and reality falls away completely into that state. I've only gone all the way in once or twice when it first happened a while back, but I was suprised how easy it was this time around to get the same effects. That melting effect at the back of the head has the same quality as the perfect stillness does, but if it gets interrupted a bunch of times in a row (like it was when I was trying to do it last night, haha) it can be a bit unsettling.

EDIT: The whumping is definately related to the melting and the state itself.  Maybe it's a kind of eyes-open eighth jhana?  It has that same mind-floping quality.  The main reason it's hard to stabilize this thing is that the mind really needs to be spaced out, seems like.  Just now I was trying it, and it just came out of nowhere.  I was startled by it so it didn't go all the way in, and then the beat started.  Letting go makes the beat increase in intensity.

EDIT 2: Mike, you're right, shinzen seems to describe it the same way here (with some weird numerology, haha...) https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=shinzen%20young%20macro%20gone&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCEQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shinzen.org%2FRetreat%2520Reading%2FReturn%2520to%2520the%2520Source.pdf&ei=v0FZVND8H5KqyATk2IHQBQ&usg=AFQjCNF0xRk-QFAgdco3HiZVQljCAkIlTA&bvm=bv.78677474,d.aWw

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 5:11 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
It seems to be what the mind looks toward when it decides to accept what's happening.  In a state of perfect equanimity, it is simple to drop into it because there is nothing the mind is occupied with.  But when bad feelings come up, it takes a lot to accept them completely.  Knowing that "bright midnight" is there makes it much easier, though, which is why I think I had such a nice time in the weeks after it happened - it was easy to just accept whatever was happening.

I see two kinds of acceptance. One is unconditional, impersonal and choiceless, like the way time and space 'accepts' (and is unaffected by) whatever moves around within it. The other is personal, like when a person chooses to accept a situation in order to alleviate stress. They're different, but they can work together. The less I see acceptance as a voluntary act, and the more it's a recognition of the enclosing context (which is already fully accepting and unaffected), the less I'm responding from a position of fragmentation and stress.... and the less fragmentation and stress matters when it arises... and the briefer its tenure.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 5:18 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Regarding release I can give you these aspects that might help: if there is any sense that you did something to get into it then that cannot be it - you can’t make it happen as there is then by definition a sense of you and a perception - still bound-up with the aggregates. If there is a sense of you that cognizes or knows this experience then there is still consciousness of something. This awareness that stands on its own has absolutely 0 sense of being anything at all - yet at the same time - as consciousness reconnects with the aggregates - allowing you to reflect on the experience - this was the most truly aware you have ever been in your life. And this reconnection is completely seamless - you know that this is what I truly am or this is my true nature - the sense that I am Chuck or this body or have this life or am in this or that situation is simply the result of confusing perceptions, thoughts, etc. as a me or mine.

In that other thread we talked about not-self and the pce - if you can work with the pce and just keep investigating and releasing in a very open way - to an ever simpler sense of ‘being’ - then that releasing or relaxing and letting go of one level to something simpler and subtler is the not-self strategy at work. For example - if you can think about things then you are still attending to the mental aggregates - so see if you can relax your attention on the mind - that is seeing thoughts as not-self and letting go of them but you don’t do that until you have used thinking to get you to a point where mind can relax and open into something subtler, more spacious. Eventually, the sense of you becomes so delicate, so subtle that it just disappears - its like you die - you die on the cushion as they say - and when that happens this vast awareness has the opportunity to arise.

Jhanas are fabricated so you have to employ the aggregates - but you use them in such a way as to create a gradual path of letting them go. I don’t see why the pce could not be used as an entry into this process - just that as it is currently defined it doesn’t go far enough.

Another tip - if you find doing these sorts of practices on a daily basis tend to make you more irritable in your daily life - you are holding to tightly - if you find that the openness and peacefulness carries into your daily life and you just feel happier - then you are on the right track. If you can put the time into it - see if you can do 90 minutes a day or so - I believe Ajahn Chah once said this was a minimum to keep the process moving ahead.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 8:24 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
The only way to talk about meditation is to explain what we're "doing" of course.  I think what you wrote here applies to what I call "letting go."  It's actually always been a big surprise that anything at all happens because letting go is, quite literally, just doing nothing.  You do have to do something to do nothing, though - you have to stop doing.  So that's what I talk about when I write about these things... emoticon

EDIT:
If there is a sense of you that cognizes or knows this experience then there is still consciousness of something. This awareness that stands on its own has absolutely 0 sense of being anything at all


What's the difference between consciousness and awareness the way you're using it here? I use these words as synonyms.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/4/14 8:08 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Your point on irritation and holding too tightly resonates.

Thanks Chuck, I always appreciate your contributions.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/5/14 3:19 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
re: Chuck Kasmire (11/4/14 12:51 PM as a reply to . Jake .. )
(about Maha Boowa & sotapatti)
" Of course, his description uses the language of the suttas - he’s a monk - Than Geoff describes it as an awareness outside of time and space - which is a more contemporary western way of putting it. If you read through Boowa’s description of what led up to this experience - it was the result of extremely deep jhana - you basically go deeper and deeper until at some point get sucked into the vortex and spit out of time and space - it isn’t something that anyone can do - all one can do is just set-up the conditions - cultivate the deep tranquility jhanas - and then wait for the voodoo or star alignment or whatever to happen - it’s a mystery to me."

Here's transcription of a description by Than-Geof of stream entry where he relates it also (similar to Boowa/Bua) as an end-point in refined concentration practice (jhana); from a day-long dharma-talk (on 'papanca'), April 28, 2012 at IMC (Redwood City, CA); available at audiodharma.org: 20120428-TG-IMC-reading_continued_part_3.mp3) at about 1hr 20 minutes into the MP3, shortly before the end.)

QS "… this term stream-entry, sotapana, people talk about it, but in different ways,… would you tell us what you think about that?"
ANS: "What I think about that? (chuckling) (QS: Yes, would you define it for us…) It's bascially… stream-entry happens when you've got the mind as quiet as possible that you can through your concentration practice. And you start asking the question – is there still some stress here? And you look for it. And this is one of the reasons that you look for inconstancy, because you want to see the rise and the fall of the level of stress experienced by the mind. (We're not talking about the body now.) And you begin to notice that there's certain things that you do that are going to raise the stress level, just minor things at this point in your concentration. And you say 'I going to stop doing that.' And then you stop doing that, and that will take you to another level of concentration. So you go through the levels of concentration this way. Finally you get as far as you can go in concentration, and you begin to realize, you know, if I make…, once you get that question comes up -- there's stress if I stay here, but there's going to be stress if I move. And this is where is gets kind of paradoxical, because you neither stay nor move. There's no intention either way. Because you realize whichever way you intend, there's going to be stress. And it's in that moment of non-intention that things open up. And it's very impressive – it's not one of these things you say "Gee, I had stream-entry and I didn't know it." (audience laughter) I mean it's earth-shattering."


Notice he depicts the mind's letting-go of intention. Relate this to Brentano's notion of consciousness involving intention, the object of consciousness being given its meaning by this 'intending,' 'stretching into' from the mind.

In Ahbidhamma terms, consciousness requires an object. (btw Maha Boowa's use of 'citta' looks like use of Abhidhamma language.) This requirement may seem a forced formalism, but Antonio Damasio (Self Comes To Mind) also defines consciousness, from the viewpoint of neuro-science, as necessarily directed to an object.

Paradoxically, then, the mind lets go of intending, intending an object, so the object becomes 'nibbana,' which is, of course, undefinable in our linguistic logic, a sort of linguistic stand-in for non-object. (Than-Geof's book The Paradox of Becoming ends, oddly enough, with a chapter on theins-and-outs of describing nibbana.)

So, the mind also drops out the realm of language (verbal fabrication).

Also, taking the understanding of viññāna (a form of citta) as consciousness linking to its object in a kammic (intended action; kamma aka karma) way, that may be why nibbana is said to be the end of generating kamma.

This as also a way of interpreting:Not Tao (11/3/14 8:42 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.)
"Basically, consciousness takes emptiness, or letting go, or non-fabricating, as its object. Letting go, itself, is the object. "

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/5/14 3:25 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
re: Not  Tao (11/4/14 3:34 PM as areply to Chuck Kasmire.)

…"If I'm doing it right, the sense of awareness will become very still and open, like it would if I intentionally focused on an object for a long time, and then a flickering starts in the head and move into the body so it feels like a steady beat is whumping away at everything. If I just continue on letting go, after a minute or so of whumping, the back of the head "melts" like, literally, it feels like the brain is melting. If letting go continues that melting takes over everything and reality falls away completely into that state."

Maybe related (maybe not): Reminds me of a sometimes occurrence in working up jhana. Given enough time of trying to stay with the breath-object (40 minutes plus, usually), everything gradually settles but still some mental floating off here and there. (Though sans beating or flickering.) Often, right out of a mental, dream-like side trip, it comes back, without having done anything, maybe just a pre-verbal gesture of "lets get back to the object", and then suddenly goes 'whump' -- right into absorption, opened-up, clear presence with the nimitta surrounding the mind, the mind suspended in it, brightly awake.

Then later in it, noticing that there's a sense of sitting here, facing front, and 'seeing' all this in front, I sometimes play with getting rid of this directional focus, that which is 'facing' front. S/t imagining striping it down to a statue of a head, or a mask, becoming hollow, and then crumbling away. Then the awareness has no directionality; no head on the trunk; just ablob of radiant awareness, resting on a trunk of a body that also seems sort of detached and inert, like a headless Buddha statue. (This in picturing it after the fact, in 'reflection' on it.)

(Considering that icons of the sitting-Buddha appeared first many centuries after his death, and, btw, under the influence of Greek scupture that spread through Asia after Alexander's ventures, it's not like I imagine I'm the Buddha, but rather that those statues do not represent an image of a person Gotoma Buddha, but rather they represent the mental state of deep concentration itself. Maybe that's obvious.)

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/5/14 3:30 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
re:Not Tao (11/3/14 7:03 PM as a reply to John Wilde.)

"… In a state of perfect equanimity, it is simple to drop into it because there is nothing the mind is occupied with.  But when bad feelings come up, it takes a lot to accept them completely.  Knowing that "bright midnight" is there makes it much easier, though, which is why I think I had such a nice time in the weeks after it happened - it was easy to just accept whatever was happening…."


What John describes resembles the feeling that follows a good sit of 1 to 1.5 hours with jhana, especially the 4th; i.e. afterwards no longer absorbed but interactively experiencing (vipassana) under the influence, so to speak. This can last for hours, with also a lingering sense of maybe something like "bright midnight", an aura in which challenging events that come along seem to just float, get dealt with but aren't gripping or derailing.

But this all has not to do with a full encounter with nibbana; perhaps more an instance of what's sometimes said – that jhanic states can provide a preview, limited and transitory but vivid and encouraging, of deeper attainments. 

btw This thread is about the most consistently non-contentious and constructive I've read here in DhO, so far.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/5/14 6:16 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard:
Personally talking to Ron Crouch he said there still was some kind of knowing but without objects.

So, he was talking about the gap itself here?

What happened August 8 for me was the opposite of this, except not in the gap--rather it was during the re-ignition of the world, afterward. There was a radical decentralization, really de-localization such that there seemed to be the world, every particle, of what we normally perceive as objects, but absolutely no subject. In fact, there was this really beyond-the-reach-of-description "turning toward" what would have been the subject, me, I--only enough of a pulse to "know" absolutely not finding it. This was an earth-shattering experience for me. It was not just a "blip" but an extremely clear happening of this quotation below, except that I'm talking about the moments when reality was coming back online, after the coming-to-a-point and dropping to zero:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.' That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

As for the 4 clear moments leading up to the dropping away, it was a distinctly clear synching up of these sort of "blooming" nimittas I was watching. When they synched up such that there was a unified arising and a unified passing, so that I could see the beginnings and endings clearly, I had this realization that "gone" as in the "passing away" contrast with "arising" wasn't really a total GONE; rather it was a kind of perceived inverse of the arising, so another arising. After slow frames of seeing this clearly, there was a collapse, and I couldn't possibly say whether "awareness" continued across the interval. I only know that the restart was spectacular, that I was transformed for good by what that experience locked in. The whole "event" from start to finish was way, way more than a "blip." I'm not even sure what people mean by "blip."

Interesting thread. I'll need to go back and listen to the dharmaseed.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/5/14 7:16 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
Richard:
Personally talking to Ron Crouch he said there still was some kind of knowing but without objects.

So, he was talking about the gap itself here?



Yes, and he talked about how getting close a person might get excited and screw it up. It seems it's better to do this stuff yourself because in the end it's your experience and what happens to you is what matters.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/5/14 11:33 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris J Macie:
re:Not Tao (11/3/14 7:03 PM as a reply to John Wilde.)

"… In a state of perfect equanimity, it is simple to drop into it because there is nothing the mind is occupied with.  But when bad feelings come up, it takes a lot to accept them completely.  Knowing that "bright midnight" is there makes it much easier, though, which is why I think I had such a nice time in the weeks after it happened - it was easy to just accept whatever was happening…."


What John describes resembles the feeling that follows a good sit of 1 to 1.5 hours with jhana, especially the 4th; i.e. afterwards no longer absorbed but interactively experiencing (vipassana) under the influence, so to speak. This can last for hours, with also a lingering sense of maybe something like "bright midnight", an aura in which challenging events that come along seem to just float, get dealt with but aren't gripping or derailing.

But this all has not to do with a full encounter with nibbana; perhaps more an instance of what's sometimes said – that jhanic states can provide a preview, limited and transitory but vivid and encouraging, of deeper attainments. 


Thanks; I hadn't thought of this in terms of jhanas (because I wasn't practising for them), but it makes sense. I had one transformative experience in 2006 which changed my baseline somehow (including giving me access to this 'jhana'); but since then it's been more incremental clarification than transformative experience... and I don't feel I'm 'done' by any means.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/6/14 11:51 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Thanks for linking to Shinzen's document.

Shinzen's framing is very interesting and seems to make a clear distinction between "nibbana with knowing" and "100% nibbana" without disparaging either. Exerpt below:

The Logical Objection
Logically, how can anyone experience something that is not an experience? Well, of course you can’t!But what you can experience is a continuous sequence of “momentary advertings of awareness towardnothingness.” After a while, this string of acknowledged vanishings sum to a deliciously fulfilling senseof nothingness.

That “deliciously fulfilling sense of nothingness” is not nothingness itself. It is a human sensoryeventthe closest experience a human can have to direct contact with the non-human nothing of theSource. The only closer thing is the “singularity” ofdirect contact itself; but in that instant there is noknower, known or knowing; there is just the One Zero.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/7/14 6:41 AM as a reply to x x.
if you untie your senses into one centerless center then you don't blinkout when there is discontinuity in the senses.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/7/14 8:43 AM as a reply to x x.
The Armstrong mp3 is great, too.

Basically linking the three different emptiness approaches with three types of nibbana:

dharmakāya of complete cessastion (sterotypical burmese)
sambhogakāya of cessation with knowing/luminosity (sterotypical thai)
nirmanakāya of nibbana-ing embodyment (sterotypical dzogchen/mahamudra)

Diplomatically, one could say that all lead to a univeral sense of emptiness, but with each having different emphasis. Neat!

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/7/14 9:52 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
There is no description of fruition as a 'blackout' in the canon, in Mahasi Sayadaw's large treatise or in the Visuddhimagga.

Mahasi Sayadaw describes fruition (in his large four volume PDF treatise that I linked in my whole Dropbox thread) as explicitly not being unconsciousness.

The innovation that fruition is a blackout is a recent development made by Ingram et al. It is not found in any traditional sources, whatsoever.

Hence, at the moment of absorption while absorbed in phala, there is also no recollection of the present day world starting with the state of one's own personal consciousness. No imagination arises, and no thinking is done, or rather, it does not occur to one's mind about the universe beyond the range of perception, such as, deva-loka, etc. A certain sense-object might have once been seen, or heard, or smelt, or consumed, or contacted or reached, or known and thought of, or visualized, or sought for, or frequented resorted to. There is no noting and commitment to memory in respect of such kind of objects of consciousness also. (With this phrase it is shown that at the moment of occurrence of magga-phala, and in respect of the sense-object whether it is Paramatta or just as it has been found and known at any other time, it is not thought of, imagined
and borne in mind.) However, it is not devoid of perception (saññā). There is noting and perception. (With this phrase, it indicates that there is awareness of Nibbāna where saṅkharas cease). It has been preached that it is possible, to gain deep concentration only if there is an act of noting and of awareness of Nibbāna without making a note and without awareness in respect of any other sense object whatsoever. (This is the translation of Burmese version of Pali).


This is the pertinent phrase:

However, it is not devoid of perception (saññā). There is noting and perception. (With this phrase, it indicates that there is awareness of Nibbāna where saṅkharas cease). It has been preached that it is possible, to gain deep concentration only if there is an act of noting and of awareness of Nibbāna without making a note and without awareness in respect of any other sense object whatsoever. (This is the translation of Burmese version of Pali).

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/7/14 11:10 PM as a reply to x x.
This is an interesting thread, hope nobody minds if I jump in.

In the Rinzai Zen tradition, the kensho experience is said to be the dharmakāya, complete cessation, Gone, like the Burmese (Sazaki
Roshi, Shinzen's teacher was Rinzai). In the Soto Zen tradition, to the extent they talk about enlightment at all, it is said to be an
experience of light, like the sambhogakāya or Thai forest tradition.

For myself, I've had lots of experience of light in meditation. Actually, it happens practically every time I sit a retreat and sometimes (but
rarely) in my daily sittings too. In one long retreat, my body progressively became a body of light over several days, with chakras
where I could throw in the afflictive emotions and have them dissolve. I thought it was just an A&P event. Not so much the extinction
experience...although there is this.

I sat a week retreat with Shinzen this summer in LA. After the retreat, I drove down the hill from the retreat center in Ranchos Palos Verdes to get gas. After I'd pumped the gas and paid inside the gas station, I walked out and up to my car. As I reached for the door handle, my
vision started to dissolve into small dark spots until my experience of the outside world  was completely gone. I had no further experience
of anything until I was sitting down inside the car. Then, in a mirror of its disappearence, the world reassembled in patches before my eyes.

My feeling at the time was "Oh, this is interesting. I wonder if this was what Shinzen was talking about?", i.e. a feeling of equanimity.
Shinzen had given a couple talks during the retreat along the lines of the link Not Tao posted, about the Source. I asked him in email
whether it was something  similar to what he had talked about and he thought it could have been, though he couldn't say for sure. It
happened again in Ashland Oregon about a month later. I was at the annual  4th of July festival, walking up to where they read the
Declaration of Independence in Lithia Park, and suddenly, everything vanished for a  second, reality was Gone. After experience
reappeared, I was filled with a kind of happiness. I think this may have been due to my practicing Shinzen's Basic Mindfulness (which I
use as my standard meditation technique) the night before at a play I didn't like very much.

I don't quite understand the "nirmanakaya of nibbana-ing embodyment", but I will check out Guy's podcast.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/8/14 5:14 AM as a reply to x x.
re: x x(11/7/14 8:43 AM as a reply to x x. )
"…three types of nibbana:
dharmakāya of complete cessastion (sterotypical burmese)
sambhogakāya of cessation with knowing/luminosity (sterotypical thai)
nirmanakāya of nibbana-ing embodyment (sterotypical dzogchen/mahamudra)"

re: svmonk
(11/7/14 11:10 PM as a reply to x x.)

"In the Rinzai Zen tradition, the kensho experience is said to be the dharmakāya, complete cessation, Gone, like the Burmese (Sazaki Roshi, Shinzen's teacher was Rinzai). In the Soto Zen tradition, to the extent they talk about enlightment at all, it is said to be an experience of light, like the sambhogakāya or Thai forest tradition.
…I don't quite understand the "
nirmanak[ā]ya of nibbana-ing embodyment", but I will check out Guy's podcast."

Anyone here know what these 3 terms (in red above) mean? I seems they're in Sanskrit (judging from the 'r' in 'dharma'). 'Kāya' is the same in both Sanskrit and Pali (below definitions I've found). 'Dharma' / 'dhamma' has umptine meanings. 'Sambhoga' and 'nirmana' I can't find at all, even as 'nimana' (presumed Pali minus the 'r').

(METTANET-LANKA Pali-English Dictionary)
kāya-- m. a heap; a collection; the body.
(BPSDict)
kāya--(lit: accumulation): 'group', 'body', may either refer to the physical body (rūpa-kāya) or to the mental body (nāma-kāya). In the latter case it is either a collective name for the mental groups (feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness;…

According to Alexander Wynne (The Origin of Buddhist Meditation, p.91): "the definition of 'kāya' as 'group', 'assemblage' or 'collection'" (DOP, MMW, PED [3 dictionaries])

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/8/14 7:24 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
In the Vajrayana traditions that use the three kayas model extensively, they have a few different typical meanings. On one level they are dimensions of being- dharmakaya is formless, sambogakaya is visionary, nirmanakaya is the dimension of ordinary mindbody experience. In this case the kayas are the awake versions of those modes of experience rather than the unawake. Another significant meaning is more ontological/phenomenological: each kaya is a facet of any experience. Dharmakaya is the openess, samboghakaya is the vividness/clarity, nirmanakaya is the energy/movement/impermanence. These two varient interpretations of the kayas work together in that what defines the "awakeness" of the first version is insight into the second version (i.e. seeing the complete fractal of openness-clarity-energy in the ordinary waking state is the nirmanakaya; seeing that completeness of the visionary/dreaming state is the samboghakaya; etc.). Thus this trikaya approach implies that there is no duality between the unconditioned and conditions (which might be a disagreement with earlier forms of Buddhism).

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/8/14 9:32 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
Oh, I want to throw one more consideration out there. The concept of state-specific memory may be relevant to the issue of awareness continuing through cessation. The fact that one has no memory of an event does not mean one lacked awareness during it; this is clear from many common experiences. Also we know that memories have the shape of the state one was in when they were laid down: and I suspect this is related to why many folks have few memories of early childhood (so called childhood amnesia) because they no longer have access to the way of experiencing that characterized that stage of development (even though the brain was sufficiently developed to lay down memories). 

So if we need current access to a way of experiencing in order to reliably access memories laid down in that particular mode, then imagine the inverse of all possible modesof experiencing and how could one form a memory of it? Doesn't automatically mean the inverse-experience lacks the quality of knowingness, just means it's going to have an unusual affect on the whole mnemonic system. Since that system is significant constituant of the identification process, makes sense that this inverse-experience would have a profound affect on identity... but this actually the seems to support there being a knowingness there in the inverse of all possible experiences, even if this non-experience is not graspable by memory in the same way as experiences are.

RE: Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"
Answer
11/8/14 3:22 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Jake, I agree. Although cessasions are not experiences in the normal sense, having gone through that non-experience does have effects... which means that it "registers" somehow. If it didn't register, then there would be absolutely no change in a meditators experience before and after.