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Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
2/13/15 9:39 AM
Hello,

I was hoping some experienced yogis might weigh in on a couple questions I have about the stabilization of 4th path (as described in MCTB ).

1. How many of you had a temporary opening, such that you thought you were done with this stage, only to find later on that you had reverted to a more 3rd path-like baseline experience? If you did, how many times did you experience this temporary opening before the shift became permanent, if indeed it did?

2. For those who have stablized 4th path, in your experience, was it more of a all-in-one kind of deal, where once you had it, you had it, or did you feel you had to maintain a continuity of practice following the shift, such that you might "lock it in"?

Appreciate the help,
Kyle

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
2/13/15 4:27 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Good question!

When I experienced 4th path, the experience did cycle for several days as described in MCTB, geting stronger and getting weaker.  Having read in MCTB that it could potentially close I did maintain a continuity of practice (but I also went skiing.. ha).  Looking back I do not think it is likely or even possible the 'eye' could revert once opened.  With other attainments, such as 1st 2nd and 3rd path, and those that come after 4th, as attainments they are by definition permenant shifts in perception, and 4th path is most likely the same (i.e. irevocable).  The cycling after the attainment is largely unlike anything I experinced with other attainments, although this could be simply because 4th is such a major shift in perception. 

As for temporary openings, I think these are more likely temporary mind states, or 'glimses' rather than genuine attainments that faded.  I have read in the Tibetan tradition that glimpses of emptiness are expected somewhat as a precurser to stable attainment.  As a general rule, if you genuinly gain an attainment that experience will be permenant and lasting, as a specific delusion has been fully seen through and overcome/erased. 

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
2/13/15 7:47 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Pawel,

I suppose I am referring to two different experiences:

1) What I call the "Wisdom Eye"

and

2) The baseline shift of 4th path, which in my experience is closely related to the experience of 1)

For me, the Wisdom Eye is the pinnacle of "in the seen, just the seen, in the heard, just the heard, in the cognized, just the cognized . . ." and so on. At first it is put into practice (involving effort), but with the experience of the 4th path "moment", it becomes fully operational on its own. The best way I could describe it is to imagine a camera shutter flick flick flick flick, within which all the phenomena of the mind present themselves without any inherent reference to a subject (including sensations/formations that were normally associated with subjecthood, which still persist), and in this sense the notion of free will is discovered to be baseless.

When I first experienced what I call the 4th path shift (or something close to it), the symptoms of centerlessness (no preference given to any phenomena presented in the field of experience, outside or in) and timelessness (no sense that any time, past or future, is different from now -- if you'd ask me what I had been doing twenty minutes ago, there would be no sense of having to "go back" to remember) persisted for about two weeks. It seemed there was a very subtle sense of agency, however. Though the Wisdom Eye experience described above was for me a peak experience, the essential insight of it remained for those two weeks, and hence the notion of "stabilizing" the Wisdom Eye.

I hope that clears some things up. If anyone else's understanding of these stages and terms differs from mine, be encouraged to chime in.

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
2/13/15 7:45 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Good question!

When I experienced 4th path, the experience did cycle for several days as described in MCTB, geting stronger and getting weaker.  Having read in MCTB that it could potentially close I did maintain a continuity of practice (but I also went skiing.. ha).  Looking back I do not think it is likely or even possible the 'eye' could revert once opened.  With other attainments, such as 1st 2nd and 3rd path, and those that come after 4th, as attainments they are by definition permenant shifts in perception, and 4th path is most likely the same (i.e. irevocable).  The cycling after the attainment is largely unlike anything I experinced with other attainments, although this could be simply because 4th is such a major shift in perception. 

As for temporary openings, I think these are more likely temporary mind states, or 'glimses' rather than genuine attainments that faded.  I have read in the Tibetan tradition that glimpses of emptiness are expected somewhat as a precurser to stable attainment.  As a general rule, if you genuinly gain an attainment that experience will be permenant and lasting, as a specific delusion has been fully seen through and overcome/erased. 

T DC,

Thanks for your input. I am curious, could you go into more detail about the cycling you experienced after opening the "eye"?

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/9/15 6:18 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Bump.

I was hoping I might get a little more input as I think I might be back in the same territory. Any help is appreciated.

-Kyle

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/9/15 6:48 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
By in the same territory do you mean you think you may have opened the wisdom eye?  What are you experiencing (descriptively)?

Personally, for all my talk of cycling in the post above I think the attainment of 4th path is likely permenant once gained despite some initial 'cycling'.  The initial experience of the attainment is very clear and unlike any other experience, it is an opening of mind that is beyond concept.  Once one has gained this attainment, the solidity of thought is negated by the appearance of emptiness.  The cycling seems to be just a period of integrating, or getting used to the attainment as is quite a shift in perception. 

Hope this helps, perhaps it would be helpfull if you could provide a description of your practice and experience.

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/12/15 8:06 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
By in the same territory do you mean you think you may have opened the wisdom eye?  What are you experiencing (descriptively)?

Personally, for all my talk of cycling in the post above I think the attainment of 4th path is likely permenant once gained despite some initial 'cycling'.  The initial experience of the attainment is very clear and unlike any other experience, it is an opening of mind that is beyond concept.  Once one has gained this attainment, the solidity of thought is negated by the appearance of emptiness.  The cycling seems to be just a period of integrating, or getting used to the attainment as is quite a shift in perception. 

Hope this helps, perhaps it would be helpfull if you could provide a description of your practice and experience.

Okay, so as for the description of the first time I opened the 'eye', you can look at my reply to Pawel above. Some things to add to it: the moment of attainment was notably different from the previous paths, as it wasn't ushered in by a blip or accompanied by fruition (as far as I could tell). The best way I could think to describe it is that in the middle of a very intense peak equanimous experience awareness seemed to shift from a specific set of locations to a nonspecific set of nonlocations. And yes, the immediate result was unlike anything I have ever experienced, easily among the most notable of my life, and yet what was so striking about it was its utter normalcy evading any attempts to conceptualize it. It was also characterized by a thorough sense of luminosity. As I said above, the symptoms of centerlessness and timelessness (regarding agencylessness it's difficult to say) persisted for about two weeks, during which time I didn't really practice at all. This was due both to the fact that I felt profoundly done, or off the ride, and to the fact that the immediate experience after the moment of attainment and in the following days was in fact totally crushing, as well as somewhat frightening, though in the end I was immensely glad it happened.

Now, as to what happened afterward; after around two weeks had passed, it seems that some subtle clinging started to resurface in my mind, some subtle "back and forth", and I began to doubt that I had fully attained 4th path. Another two weeks later, it was clear that a sense of identifcation had indeed resurfaced, and eventually this led to me resuming practice. A couple weeks ago, I had what felt like a close call of re-opening the 'eye', and I thought "well, that might have been it", but I wasn't so convinced, even though the symptoms of centerless, agencylessness, doneness, and timelesssness were realized. These lasted only for about a day, though. Three days ago, I had what felt like a new fruition (in other words, not a 4th path-like experience), but which was accompanied by those 4 symptoms again, this time a little more intense and clear, as well as by a seemingly whole new baseline-shift involving less clinging and a whole lot more positivity, as in, it almost seems that I can't maintain a negative mind state, though obviously I am not making any claims here and some time needs to pass before it can be said what's changed for good, if anything.

So needless to say I'm finding this all a bit confusing, but it's not bothering me so much as it is bringing me to the provisional opinion that there is some variability to people's progression through awakening. Not to say that the end result is any different, but that perhaps the intermediary stages can present themselves in unique ways or orderings. To use the mountain metaphor, maybe there are different resting places on the path up the mountain that some make use of, but which others fly by. In any case, this post is more about sharing my experience so that others who find themselves in similar territory may gain some commiseration, than it is about any despair with regard to "where I am", as the process itself has proven rewarding enough.

-Kyle

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/13/15 1:59 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
I can't say for sure what you experienced, but it might be helpful to understandthat  MCTB 4th path is definately not the end of the road.  It may be presented as such, but in relation to the full path and the final state of enlightenment, 4th path could be understood as the very first genuine experiene of emptiness, and could perhaps be said to represent a half-way point on the path.

  As you have described, 4th path brings a profound openess; in my experience 4th path is the first of the Mayahana attainments (i.e. form is empty, emptyness is form, form is none-other than emptiness, emptiness is nome other than form).  If you attained 4th path, it should feel descriptively accurate to say that form is now seen as empty.  In experience this means that the form/solidity of thought (which is relative) is now negated by emptyness; the experience of an ultiamte reality beyond relative belief.

What you have decribed of the attainment, the crushing feel of it, is very accurate.  In my experience, the time after 4th path was some of the most difficult territory on the path.  On one hand one is now aware that form is empty and cannot rely on the material world as before, and at the same time ones understanding of emptiness is not great enough that one can abide in it fully.  This results in a distinct push-pull phenomena in which one is bound to the conflicitng worlds of form and of emptiness.  Personally, in the time after 4th path, the mental tension I experienced as a result of this conflict was extremely difficult and somewhat painfull.

Personally after 4th path, I had been following MCTB, but having reached the end of its teachings I was lost and did not know where to look for more teachings on a path.  I searched around for teachings, pursued AF for some time, and ultimately did not practice meditation for about 4 months.  When I did resume I began practicing the Shamatha-Vipassina meditation taught by Chogyam Trungpa, and ceassed to practice Vipassina.  While Vipassina is good for initially gaining insight, as you may have experienced, its constant focus on senasations can be extremely iritating and grating, which probably contributed to my mental tension and suffereing after 4th path.

If this resonates with you, please know, there is a path of attainment after 4th path, laid of as clearly as MCTB, but found in the Tibetan tradition.  The next 3 attainments are as I described above; seeing emptiness as form, form as naught but emptiness, and emptiness as naught but form.  When one completes this final attainment, emptiness and form are reconciled in a sense, and the trial of mental strain and unpleasantness is over, though there is still much attainment to gain full enlightenment.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!  I hope this helps!  Cheers!

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/13/15 2:43 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC,

To clarify, the doneness I refer to is a special kind of doneness. It is a doneness with a certain way of thinking, a large part of which includes the way I think about practice as it relates to the goings on of my life. It is seen that there is no division between what is practice and what is not -- it's all just experience. That terming is paradoxical, because it is actually more like a beginning than an end, but the road that leads there won't ever be forgotten.

Thanks for your input, T DC.

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/14/15 6:18 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
This is a good question. You may be able to find more answers on facebook group Dharma Connection. They do not use the language of MCTB, but talk about insight into anatta, or anatta realization, which is the core of the bahiya sutta you referenced. Wei Yu's awakening to reality blog and attendant stages also outline the insight into anatta and accompanying effects well. There are a number of experienced practitioners talking about that sort of thing there (Dharma Connection FB group) frequently. I have some thoughts on your initial question, but it would be very long, and it's sort of all been written about in my most recent Mahamurda practice log here, and my previous logs at KFD. -Bill

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/14/15 9:36 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Bill,

Thanks for pointing those resources out for me. Maybe I will have to reactivate my FB account to check out Dharma Connection. As for your KFD practice log, could you tell me roughly what dates the relevant stuff was covered, or will I have to go digging?

-Kyle

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/14/15 11:07 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Hi. Sorry, I had typed in a rush. I can link to what may be relevant. Give me a few.

Edit: O.K. Here are links to practice journals when anatta realization happened. If you go to the second page of the first link those were the events surrounding the shift, and the fall out from that shift is detailed as well. Speicifically beginning on 1/29/12. It really changed things more than anything else before, or since, though prior to that shift I'd already been diagnosed as having attained 4th path by two of the major figures in the pragmatic dharma movement, which says something relevant about mapping, the fluidity of definitions and generalizing individual ideas about attainments.


Billnotes

Billnotes2

Regarding your initial post, my own experience has been that there are insights that permanently change the experience of reality in a continuous way, but none that break karma (thus far for me) regarding the residual persistence of certain processes, though even these processes become filtered through the lens of the new insight which leads to them being experienced differently.



RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/15/15 12:28 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Thanks, Bill.

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
3/15/15 11:08 AM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
No problem. If you find anything from other sources that satisfies your curiosity, let me know. It's an interestesing and potentially rich inquiry.

RE: Stabilizing the Wisdom Eye
Answer
8/1/18 9:44 AM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Hey Kyle,

It’s it’s been a while since the original post but in the chance you’re still around on here I’m interested to hear what ever came of this situation you were in.

I ask because I currently find myself in an almost identical scenario based on your description. I think the only difference is that the shift occurred while on a retreat and lasted for the remainder (5 days). Now as I transition off retreat, things have gotten murky about whether the wisdom eye is closing back up if that’s even possible. It feels like I’m somewhere in no mans land where the cycles of 3rd path haven’t picked back up but the clarity of understanding, feeling finished, no control, perceptual shift in awareness along with some of your previously mentioned descriptors are no longer clear.

Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Ra