help needed

William, modified 7 Years ago at 12/2/14 7:52 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 12/2/14 7:52 AM

help needed

Posts: 2 Join Date: 5/23/14 Recent Posts
Hi this is my first post on this site.

I signed up around June before I went to my first retreat. At the time I didn't know anything about Buddhism. I just wanted to do it out of an interest in endurance that I'd picked up from having recently run a 100k ultramarathon and had an amazing experience. Also, the race was put on by the head Buddhist temple here in Seoul. I just concluded that sitting in silence for 10 days would be an exercise in endurance distilled down to it's essence. I wanted to see if I could do it. 

Anyways, the lady I emailed about the retreat in Bali said I was welcome to join and that they'd be doing Mahasi style. I looked that up, found my way here and started reading about the progress of insight. This led me to conclude that I had experienced stream entry back in November 2012. 

The fall of that year I had been spending more and more of my copious free time sitting in cafes and just contemplating existence, time, self, etc as well as training harder than ever to run a marathon which I wasn't able to compete in due to having to fly home for my grandmother's funeral. 

After I flew back I seemed to have more energy to do my philosophical investigations and on one particularly nice day I said to myself 'Wait, isn't this what Buddhism supposedly has the answers to? You know what, I'm gonna find out once and for all what that's all about'.

Right at the moment I made that resolution I felt a surge of energy. I dashed off wild emails to family members then went for long walks where it felt like I was wearing a headlamp and I could 'see' in a way that was different. Like I had finally turned my head from looking at the back wall of a cave and was now gazing out of the cave upon reality for the first time. It felt amazing and it kept going.

Having never been interested in business before I suddenly 'saw' my future as an ubercapitalist who would bring world peace. At the same time I knew that the 'me' that was going to do that was just my ego and that there was a higher self which I was going to have to get to know.

For the next few days I couldn't sleep and I kept 'downloading' insights and visions. They gave me a sense of power but I eventually felt overwhelmed and wondered when it would stop. I was concerned that I hadn't slept and felt like I was 'going crazy'. Finally on the third night when I had to teach the next morning I was desperately trying to fall asleep and even reached a point where it seemed my body was asleep but yet I was still awake. As dawn got closer I had a series of hard to describe moments that seemed to have some relation to Christian religious metaphors and then just a moment of nothing after which I went 'Whoa, that was interesting. What was that?' I also had a feeling like 'Hey, you know what? It's 6am. It's dawn. It's a beautiful day. I don't care at all that I haven't slept in 3 days. I'm gonna go have a great class this morning', accompanied by the feeling that I knew that whatever I had been going through was over. I even sent my Mom an email saying only 'I did it Mom. I survived the dark night of my soul.', which was strange considering I'd never used such expressions before. That night I smoked a cigar to celebrate the way a father would who had his first child. I felt like I gave birth to myself.

I never did end up following up on my resolution to look into Buddhism until I decided to do this retreat. The retreat went well but I really didn't keep meditating afterwards consistently. Still into running mostly.

However, recently I have started studying the dhamma again and am trying to figure out what to do. I don't understand what reviewing is exactly and also how one goes from reviewing the first path to starting the second path. I've been getting this feeling recently that I keep cycling through these dark nights and really feel sick of it. I still spend time doing the same sort of investigations into reality in the same way as before but since I know I can never top the experience I had I'm not so enthusiastic anymore. I feel like I've been neglecting my personal relationships and am going to need to work on healing them when I finally get over this. I feel like I may possibly need to more clearly divide my contemplative life from my regular life. I also feel that since I reached where I am now on my own outside of any tradition I may have to continue on my own. 

I think I'll just stop here. Sorry if I rambled on. 

My questions are. Would you consider me a stream-entrant? If so what should I do next as I really feel like I need to move on but I'm not sure how? I am missing being on retreat. I have no work in January or February and am considering going to a retreat in Sri Lanka. I don't know why Sri Lanka exactly. Just seems right.  

Thanks for reading
tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago at 12/2/14 8:16 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 12/2/14 8:16 AM

RE: help needed (Answer)

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy Quin,
pretty exciting stuff.  maybe you're  a stream enterer.  go and dig your retreat.  be as commited to it as an ultra.  watch the stages as they rolly by in the compressed timeframe of a retreat and try to get the "big picture" or the stages you go through.  sounds like you're a natural.

good luck

Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago at 12/2/14 1:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 12/2/14 1:32 PM

RE: help needed

Posts: 1470 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
I recommend reading  - Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, an Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book, by Daniel Ingram

Especially the section on MCTB 4. The Arising and Passing Away
You expereince is pretty standard for the A&P event. Read it and see what you think.
Sri Lanka has a lot of good Mahasi style retreats I hear.
Good luck
William, modified 7 Years ago at 12/3/14 12:54 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 12/3/14 12:54 AM

RE: help needed

Posts: 2 Join Date: 5/23/14 Recent Posts

I think I knew I needed to go back and do another retreat. Just needed to get that little push. Memerories of my first retreat experience are starting to come back to me now that I'm planning the next. A strategy of attack is forming.

Appreciate the support here.