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Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel

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[Edit: I put things like "3rd path" and "4th path" in quotes to hopefully make clear that I'm using them as conventions, not because I think what we call "3rd path" is equivalent to what the Buddha called an "Anagami". I understand people have strong feelings about this issue. I, for one, do not. But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant.]

Throwing this up here because I feel like I went through the territory Daniel calls "3rd path", but my experience of it was sufficiently different that it might be helpful for others to have another point of reference. Emphasis is mine:
Third path:

1) Waking, walking-around reality should be very, very different from how it was before, with specific changes realted to the following:

i) Things should mostly seem to be happening on their own: that includes thoughts, actions, perception, intentions, feelings, movements, everything. This should be the dominant waking experience, with portions of experience that are not naturally known as being that way being the minority. The natural causality and self-lessness of action should be clear most of the time and for most things. In short, third path is a set up to fourth path, like a getting close but not quite. As a waking experience, it is most of the way there.
First of all, I never noticed anything "very, very different" in my walking around experience until I got to what Daniel calls "4th path". I had a lot of peak spiritual experiences before that. Sometimes there would be an afterglow from a peak experience that would last for awhile, and it would feel as though something significant had permanently changed. Or sometimes I would be having so many peak experiences in a row that the "baseline" as it's called would be obscured. But I never encountered anything before "4th" that wasn't impermanent.

Now different people have different experiences traversing this path. Some people are changed forever just by experiencing fruition. I was not one of those people. I'm not putting this forward to refute anyone else's experience, just to offer my own as another data point.

As for mostly seeing things happening causally and having this being the dominant waking experience - no, I never had that happen. There were periods immediately following intensive meditation retreats where experience was indeed like that, but that would taper off and go away once back in daily life for a few days.

What did start to happen - and this was about a year and a half before I attained "4th path" - was that my access to "emptiness" when I wasn't meditating increased.

So what do I mean by "emptiness"? I mean the ability to see things in the centerless way which is really vivid when you're in the 3rd or 4th vipassana jhanas. The ability to kind of see everything in the same causal space or as belonging to the same field of cause and effect. I didn't have the ability to just jump into it at will, and it was by no means by baseline, but I found that if the conditions were right, and if I inclined the mind a certain way, I could bring myself right up to the edge of fruition.

So for example, if I were on a long carride, I could start to inquire into experience, and everything would gradually "even out" until the experience was pretty similar to what it's like when you're in high equanimity. A few times I was on long walks around town, and just by inquiring into experience, I could bring about the same state.

This was not a "baseline". This was not a dimension of reality that was there all the time that I just had to incline my mind toward. Rather, it was a state or a way or framing experience I could sometimes evoke and other times not very well at all.

I remember that in the wake of these experiences of emptiness, I would think, "That has got to be what being enlightened [4th path] is like." I really did think I was "getting close but not quite" as Daniel says. I think now that that way of looking at things is very misleading.

What happened to me was, I went for about a year and a half occasionally having these experiences of selflessness. I wasn't practicing at all in the "Buddhist" tradition anymore and didn't care about it. But suddenly there broke through this new awareness which I can only describe (using Crowley's phrase) as a "trance of sorrow". What I could clearly see was that anything whatsoever - anything that you could experience with the senses, call by a name, imagine, think up, care about or desire, etc. - was in a state of passing away. I had some obtuse philosophical terminology to describe this - unity of opposites, unity of birth and death, finitude, etc. - but the main feature was this universal decay or instability. And with this awareness came a burning desire to put a stop to it - and a recognition I had never encountered anything in my entire life, not even an idea, that would resolve it or put it to rest.

So if you've ever had real bad Desire for Deliverance while meditating, it was like this, but I wasn't meditating - at all. I wasn't on retreat. There was no way to stop it. It was unleashed. It was in everything.

I wasn't freaking out or anything as this was happening, but there was this glowing clarity - and really an intensity of anger - about the situation. I was scornful if anyone proposed a solution that seemed mealy-mouthed. I would just think, "This is just words for you. You have no way of comprehending the seriousness of this situation."

I was never suicidal, but I remember thinking that the notion was very funny, because death itself is probably just as unstable as anything else. I began to appreciate those stuffy Buddhist teachings about rebirth. I had no real interest in Buddhism, but I could respect the Buddha, because it's obvious he saw the seriousness of the problem and wanted a total solution to it. The Buddha seemed much more serious to me than some jackass telling me, "Well, you just have to live in the present moment, and everything will be fine." I thought, well, you have to be really poorly attuned to the "present moment" to say something like that.

Then finally it seemed like it was beginning to lighten up a bit. And then I had a conversation with someone, and there was a realization shortly thereafter, and about 36 hours later, I realized I had done it and attained "4th path".

But here's the thing: The stuff I experienced in the year and a half leading up to "4th" - what we might call "3rd path" - wasn't really a "leading up to". I didn't experience it that way. When I look back on what things were like, say, two months before getting 4th, it's not like I was 3/4 of the way there.

The reason I say that is because 4th was less about locking in an awareness of emptiness and more like an understanding that whether I was aware of emptiness or not, it was all pretty much the same. It wasn't about putting my consciousness isn't some state and keeping it there. Consciousness is impermanent like anything else, after all.

To say the same thing a little differently, consider the following three sorts of experiences:

(1) Acute sense of self, like when you feel ashamed.
(2) Vague sense of self, like when you're on a long drive and lost in thought.
(3) Acute sense of not-self, like when you're in 4th vipassana jhana.

I used to think it was all about (3). "4th path" is all about being in (3) all the time, without exception. "3rd path" is being in (3) most of the time. "2nd path" is being in (3) some of the time. "1st path" means getting a taste of (3). It's all about (3).

And even after I stopped meditating, I would have these experiences of (3) that would leave me thinking, "That must be what '4th' is like. You walk around in that all the time. Why can't I do that all the time? I'm so unenlightened."

But then what happened was - and this happened almost instantaneously, like being hit by a car - I realized that there is no fundamental difference between the three of them. Different causes give rise to them, and different effects follow from them, but they're all conditioned phenomena.

[Edit: Before 4th path, there were experiences where the self felt vague but present, like if I were engaged in a thoughtful conversation with someone. And then I would have acute experiences of self, like when there was a deliberate act of reflection upon experience. After 4th path, this situation was reversed. The self feels like a perfectly normal phenomenon to me when I'm engaged in a thoughtful dialog with someone. If I try to turn it into a discrete object of inquiry by means of reflection, though, it completely disappears. This is a useful trick. It should be obvious why you shouldn't do this if you're trying to sort things out with a loved one, though.]

Another thing I realized - and this will seem completely orthogonal to what I just said, but it's not - is that there is no way to step outside of experience. Seeing things in terms of the three characteristics - having these profound experiences of emptiness - gives the impression of having some kind of fundamental insight into absolute reality. But in fact it's just a frame amongst others. There's nothing privileged about seeing things as impermanent and selfless - and in fact, from a certain perspective, there's no difference at all whether I see them that way or another. That was the insight that put a complete and irrevocable stop to the spiritual path I had been on up until that point. Yes, all things in the universe are limited and therefore in a state of passing away or dying - but so is the view that they are doing that.

This is unBuddhist. So let me be clear that I'm not advocating Buddhism, and I'm not trying to pass a non-Buddhist philosophy off as a Buddhist one. Nor am I trying to claim the same status the Buddha claimed. The idea that the three characteristics is merely one limited frame amongst other limited frames for understanding reality is not what the Buddha thought or taught. (As far as I understand him.) However, understanding this - coming to this realization - FOR ME, put a permanent stop to some stuff that was, in my opinion, delusional and a cause of discomfort and pain. And since that moment, it is clear, should it naturally and casually reveal itself, that there is no self "in here". Or to say the same thing another way, experiencing is not happening to an entity lying outside experience. To whom or to what is that revealing itself? I have no idea. This nervous system, I guess.

That's the only thing I ever experienced that felt like a baseline shift - in the sense that, barring a head injury or senility, there is no way I will ever unsee that. And I don't feel like there was anything that ever happened along the way that was an approximation to it or that intimated it. I'm pretty sure my previous work set up the conditions for this "flip" to take place, but at the same time, this realization was so completely discontinuous with anything that came before, that I really have no way of relating to the "getting close but not quite" part of Daniel's "3rd path" description.
ii) One's waking experience of awareness should be very different. There are lots of ways to say this, but I tend towards the following descriptions: the basic light/luminosity/awareness/manifestation in phenomena should mostly be known directly as being where the objects are. Said another way, manifest objects and sensations should be largely known to contain their own awareness in them, with them, as them, being the same thing. In short, the sense that this side is perceiving that side should be markedly diminished, and the sense that that side and substantial parts of this side are just stuff that knows itself where it is should predominate, with these exceptions becoming more and more subtle as insight deepens, until exceptions are very hard to find. In short, third path is a set up to fourth, like getting close but not quite. It is most of the way there and should point to what is left to be done and how to do it.
I get this. I get where this is coming from. I prefer not to use these particular metaphors, but I can see their appeal.

I was struck so hard by this particular dimension of "4th path" that I actually went a little bit crazy for two weeks after it happened. Not rubbing myself in feces and howling at the moon crazy, but more like, "How do I get my intellect around this? How will I ever communicate this to people?"

When this turn happens, what you figure out, in a real and immediate way, is that there's no way at all to talk about mind of consciousness apart from exactly what is happening "in" it, and as soon as you try to, you find yourself caught up in a web of lies or half-truths.

Even that metaphor I used right now - "happening 'in' it" - is exactly the opposite of what I meant to say about it. The mind is not a container. It's a little bit like space, in the sense that it just seems to take the shape of whatever manifests in relation to it. But unlike space, it doesn't really have any structure on its own. You can describe space on its own mathematically. You really can't do that for "awareness". If "awareness" is anything at all, it's just the manifestness of whatever is manifesting. It belongs with the object, not with the supposed subject. Or to say it a little differently, subject and object are both manifest.

Now here's where people run into the problem with the light/luminosity/awareness/manifestation metaphor. The opposite of light is shadow. The opposite of luminosity is darkness. The opposite of awareness is ignorance, disregard, unconscious. The opposite of manifestation is concealment. And yet "awareness" - or whatever word you choose for the realization of things - has to encompass these opposites, too.

To say it a little more concretely,. if I'm having some sort of tight, emotionally-charged experience in which my sense of self is painful and strong, I don't for that reason doubt that I've attained "4th path". Insofar as I think about it at all, I just think, "This too shall pass." And that does have a calming effect, but there's no reason that realization absolutely has to occur every time I'm in a bad mood or something.

Here's the thing: any framework you try to use to get at "the non-dual" (even using the phrase "non-dual") is going to pick out certain aspects of reality and conceal others.

And there's nothing inherently "wrong" with that. I'm not saying people shouldn't try to describe this. They should try to describe this, because those can become useful pointers for people trying to do the same thing. You can say, "Well, it's like __________," and even if that's not entirely true, it's a noble lie if it gets a person to eventually see for themselves.

The problems arise when you take one particular metaphor and have it stand in for everything. That's how you generate a spiritual shadow. "This view has no limits. It applies to everything without exception." Then you have to repress the cases where it doesn't.

Like in the case of the kind of energetic, progress-oriented practice we do - manipulating experience for results - the shadow side emerges as an unwillingness to acknowledge indeterminacy, vagueness, things that can't be mapped. When progress seems to go away, and the nebulous parts of reality start showing themselves, people flip out.

You can actually get cases where people suffer, not from an inability to see emptiness, but an over-ability to see it. I remember walking around in those empty states thinking, "What am I missing? What am I not seeing through?"

The truth is that I was "seeing through" pretty much anything and everything there was to see through - except for the phenomenon of "seeing through"! What was I missing? Nothing other than the fact that obscurity and lack of clarity are just as much parts of reality as figuring things out.

Which on the face of it isn't that big a deal. So what if you figure out that clarity and lack of clarity are part o the same reality? Well... spirituality is kind of silly.

Anyway, this is a different view on advanced attainment. "Advanced" compared to what? I don't know. Hearsay? Being a dark night yogi? Feeling "stuck"?

I don't think it's Buddhism. I don't consider myself a Buddhist. Some Mahayana stuff resonates with me, but I don't care enough about it to research it. I'm not a Buddhist teacher. This isn't a "dharma talk". I don't teach at all. I actually don't believe in the notion of "spiritual teachings". This is what I believe based on my experience. If people want to believe other things based on their own experiences, that's fine. I assume we're all works-in-progress.

It's weird, because even though I think "4th path" is a discrete phenomenon - in other words all-or-nothing - and therefore cannot be deepened in and of itself, my understanding of it continually evolves. By which I mean the way I go about describing it and understanding its implications for my life or anyone's life. I see a lot of ambiguity in it - maybe because the "it" I'm talking about is just existence or thusness, and so not an "it" at all. So while I have deep respect and appreciation for Daniel's words - because they helped get me here! - I hold them lightly. They're a way of understanding things. They're really pointers. I recommend following those pointers, at the same time being aware that they're going to break down at some point. You're going to encounter some dimension of reality where they don't seem to apply. You're going to want to repress that aspect of reality from awareness. And you're going to succumb to that temptation, and it's going to cause you pain. If you're really good, the pain will get so strong that you'll finally have no choice but to look at what's causing it. And if you're wise, you won't completely discard that way of looking at things, but instead see it as one mode amongst an infinity of others for dealing with the world.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/18/15 9:32 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Thank you, Fitter.  I think this is very relevant to where I am at right now.  Noting seems useless since it seems like it is a method whose ideal result is to see emptiness.  But I feel like my baseline is seeing emptiness, therefore, there is no point in noting in the first place.  As you say, the next step would be to integrate both times when I see emptiness and times when I don't.  I am working with the idea that it is all, already fine, and that all I have to do is just "fall off the cliff."

Here is another idea of modelling, based on what I read from Jackson Wilshire on the AN magazine function.
1) Pre-1st Path, one is unconsciously uncompetent, they have never seen emptiness
2) Post-1st Path, one is consciously uncompetent, meaning they have seen emptiness once and it is obvious how much of the time they do not see it
3) Post-2nd Path, one is consciously competent, having succeeded in seeing emptiness twice, they now have "a knack for it" and can repeat the effort
4) Post-3rd Path, one is unconsciously competent, one's baseline becomes the seeing of emptiness in real time, the sense that that no-self experience is never far from home, and the newness of the fact that they don't have to struggle to see it
5) Post 4th Path, one has conscious competence of unconscious competence, meaning, they have a fully integrated understanding of emptiness, regardless of whether it is there or not... and the fact that they don't have to struggle to see emptiness is not a new or special one, it is just another, equivalent way of being, like all other ways of being

The reason I like this model is that it leaves plenty of room for improvement past stage 5, while also acknowledging that stage 5 does represent a turning point.  

I am obviously pre-stage 5, since I am still favoring certain experiences over others, even in a subtle way.  I assume I just have to struggle for a certain amount of time before the switch will automatically be flipped, as per the advice of you and Nick.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/18/15 10:56 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Caveat: I haven't experienced anything I've identified as '4th path' so I have no basis from which to understand.

Much of your post seems to me reminiscent of what Dan says about the Fundamental Perception Models.

I'm also not confidently versed on Buddhist dogma, but I believe your view has affinity with the Madhyamaka  school. Insofar as I'm correct about this and one considers Madhyamaka Real Buddhism®, your view can be considered Buddhist.
The works of Nāgārjuna and his philosophical heirs are best understood as constitutively opposed to this understanding of the two truths. The foundational idea of Madhyamaka is that the set of ultimately existent things is an empty set – a point that Mādhyamikas characteristically promote by insisting on the emptiness (śūnyatā) not only of wholes such as persons, but also of the analytic categories (dharmas) to which these are reduced in Abhidharma literature. The works of Nāgārjuna and his commentators, then, typically comprise arguments to the effect that none of the analytic categories (dharmas) and concepts used to explain anything can be coherently formulated. More precisely, the argument is that no such categories can intrinsically provide any explanatory purchase on the phenomena they purportedly explain.

Anyway, your experience prior to what you identify as 4th does seem anamolous. It seems you have an unusual willingness to try for clarity. Thanks for posting.

Do you believe you'll have further fundamental perceptual or paradigmatic shifts?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 1:17 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
One of the best posts I've read here. Great motivation - thanks!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 10:05 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
I must say, reading about Pragmatic Dharma models of enlightenment is one of the few things that really rile me up. 

Why is it now OK to consider yourself fully enlightened [1] even when your mind is still beset by delusory appearances, such as a sense of self? This is SUCH an insidious idea. Full enlightenment is the opposite of delusion. There is no way they can co-exist on any level in the same mind. 

I suggest people on this forum who have bought into this view of full enlightenment should try to experience rigpa, and put that state to the test. I've entered it in circumstances where I was experiencing gross aversion, such as when holding my breath for a minute or more. In those moments, there was complete emptiness, a complete letting go, without any suffering. Many Tibetan Buddhist masters down through the centuries have claimed to have stabilizing this and made it permanent. So we can briefly experience what full enlightenment is like, it's not some nebulous thing that we can only guess at, and we have the precedent of many who have attained it. There even exists "secret biographies" of people like Dudjom Lingpa, containing descriptions of their inner life and visions as they traversed the entire path.

I wish people would find it in themselves to forget about Pragmatic Dharma models and get back to the hard and thankless task of eradicating the sense of self. As someone who was getting Nirodha Samapatti only a couple of weeks after Stream Entry, and (I now believe) reached MCTB 4th path about 6 months after, there is still a long, long, long way to go, and you are absolutely shooting yourself in both feet by thinking you are done at that point. Don't fall for such limiting views and let yourself get complacent. 

[1] I don't mean to suggest that you are doing this, Fitter.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 10:04 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Great post Fitter!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 10:11 AM as a reply to B. B.
B. B:
I must say, reading about Pragmatic Dharma models of enlightenment is one of the few things that really rile me up. 

Why is it now OK to consider yourself fully enlightened [1] even when your mind is still beset by delusory appearances, such as a sense of self? This is SUCH an insidious idea. Full enlightenment is the opposite of delusion. There is no way they can co-exist on any level in the same mind. 

I suggest people on this forum who have bought into this view of full enlightenment should try to experience rigpa, and put that state to the test. I've entered it in circumstances where I was experiencing gross aversion, such as when holding my breath for a minute or more. In those moments, there was complete emptiness, a complete letting go, without any suffering. Many Tibetan Buddhist masters down through the centuries have claimed to have stabilizing this and made it permanent. So we can briefly experience what full enlightenment is like, it's not some nebulous thing that we can only guess at, and we have the precedent of many who have attained it. There even exists "secret biographies" of people like Dudjom Lingpa, containing descriptions of their inner life and visions as they traversed the entire path.

I wish people would find it in themselves to forget about Pragmatic Dharma models and get back to the hard and thankless task of eradicating the sense of self. As someone who was getting Nirodha Samapatti only a couple of weeks after Stream Entry, and (I now believe) reached MCTB 4th path about 6 months after, there is still a long, long, long way to go, and you are absolutely shooting yourself in both feet by thinking you are done at that point. Don't fall for such limiting views and let yourself get complacent. 

[1] I don't mean to suggest that you are doing this, Fitter.

No one that I have talked to one-on-one who has completed the 4-Path territory would use the words "full enlightenment" to describe it.  I think you are misunderstanding the general consensus to be the idea that development ends after 4th Path.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 11:29 AM as a reply to Noah.
I think you are misunderstanding the general consensus to be the idea that development ends after 4th Path.

Are we discussing "general concensus" as model? No, we are not.

Fitter Stoke subheaded this post as "Response to Daniel," and I gather from Fitter's post that he claims attainment of "MCTB 4th Path," for he speaks of "the same territory" as what Daniel finally came out of the closet to define by way of attainment criteria for 3rd. We are discussing what is or should be MCTB 3rd and implicitly 4th.

It is clear from Daniel's post, to which Fitter is clearly responding, that Daniel does not agree that there is more wisdom attainment after 4th path. He also speaks and writes in very "ultimate" and "always" terms when he describes the dramatic and, yes, permanent deconstruction of perception that is his definition of nondual awakening.

This last point is something I mean to come on here later and straighten out with Fitter before I then proceed with what will likely take days of discussion.

Stay tuned, all.

Jenny

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 12:31 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
@ Fitter: Very articulate, thanks. FWIW this description is relatable to me experientially, especially the bits about the spectrum of the sense of self, and the simultaneity of clarity and confusion, in that nothing on the content level needs to change to make reality simply what it is. Personally, in my own experience, I see this as being the fruit of following up on what was evident immediately after my first (conscious) fruition/path moment. It seems to be close to ten-fetters Stream Entry.

For me there was a process of gradually sloughing of 'the search' and 'the seeker' after that initial awakening. This period, for me, was marked by a gradual reduction in desperation and seeking and doubting until a moment when it was very vividly seen that confusion (i.e. mental-emotional content that is saying something like 'i don't get it!') is simultaneous with clarity (i.e., it's 'it', there's nothing outisde of 'it' or beyond 'it' which is just this, whatever's happening).  Within six months of that moment (which was not impressive in a mystical experience sort of way) my outer circumstances completely rearranged themselves in the most fascinating and tumultuous ways until suddenly my outer world was stabilized and sane in a way that reflected my 'inner' experience of life. It was like a sudden massive draining of drama from my life (not complete, but seriously massive).

There seems like there's a lot more to learn and deepen, speaking for myself. (Not saying you disagree, just really wondering how this lines up with Daniel's criteria).

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 2:38 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Actually, although the original post has problems galore--both philosophical-theoretical and experiential-practical--I lack the great amount of time and responsive energy it would take to enter into the kind of ongoing communion and exchange that would make this thread more fruitful than it currently is.

I'll say just this:

*All signifiers are empty, meaning they have no ontological anything with to do with what is supposedly signified. The only "ground" language has, in other words, is in its emptiness (metaphoricity). There is nothing unique to "being awake" about this. It is structuralism and post-structuralism 101. Nonetheless, "being awake" is acted upon as something different from not being awake, or else why these discussions, why our practices to awaken?

*In linguistics and literary theory, all signifiers are binary and hierarchical (ie, dual). This means that any signifier, say the word luminosity, derives meaning only in provisional, suspended relationship to a "background" or "opposite," such as shadow, which itself has meaning only provisionally, only in relation to some other empty signifier. There is nothing unique to "being awake" about this. It is structuralism and post-structuralism 101. Nonetheless, "being awake" is acted upon as something different from not being awake, or else why these discussions, why our practices to awaken?

*When people come onto this forum, which is not just a Buddhist or MCTB forum, if they want to claim 3rd path or 4th path, it will, I daresay, normally be assumed that said 3rd path and said 4th path are per the MCTB revised four-path model. If that is not the model under which the claimant is claiming the "3rd" or "4th path," then it would help communication immensely if the claimant would be explicit about which model is being invoked. After all, there is nothing transcendent or sacred about the terms 3rd path or 4th path. "Paths" are constructs, empty signifiers. They function semi-adequately for provisional expressive and transactional purposes only to the extent that there isn't massive confusion about the specific cultural history that is being invoked when the terms are thus used. So--if anyone is going to claim 3rd path or 4th path, please, for the love of God, Buddha, and humankind, be explicit about which model you are referencing. (Thank you!) If we have the criteria of the model you are referencing, then we all can compare those criteria to Daniel's and better understand as a community what you are actually claiming.

*Fitter, if you are in fact invoking Daniel's revised four-path model of nondual awakening, which on the face of your post you appear to be doing, then it sounds as if (correct me as need be) what you claim is that you went from 2nd path straight to 4th. If I have this wrong, and what you are saying is that you propose a different model for 3rd path, different from Daniel's model, then let's hear your proposed model for that nonetheless somehow same "territory," as you call it. 

Fitter Stoke:

The problems arise when you take one particular metaphor and have it stand in for everything. That's how you generate a spiritual shadow. 'This view has no limits. It applies to everything without exception.' Then you have to repress the cases where it doesn't.

*Luminosity is real. That is, it is as real and as dramatic a difference from unenlightened phenomenalism (ie, perception) as any signified is from its binary and hierarchical "opposite." This is to say, luminosity is a very, very unusual walking-around experience. I do not claim 4th path and specifically disclaim it. I have at least a good deal of what Daniel delineated as criteria for 3rd path the other day. Specifically, I have luminosity as the Tibetan traditions use and occasionally define the term. It is, so far, since January 29, as permanent and persistent a shift in the way the experiential world is experiencing itself as can be. It is emphatically not some temporary frame through which I choose which side of a binary sign I intend to experience. It has nothing to do with my intent or any philosophical take on what nonduality "ought" to allow. I cannot make it flip back to the old way of perceiving. To test the persistence of the change, I've tried to flip it back multiple times and always fail. I'm stating this claim plainly just to make clear where, experientially, I'm coming from, for whatever that may be worth to anyone following along at home.

*The original post doesn't clarify why 4th path is being claimed. It references philosophical ideas, but where is the phenomenological descriptions of how perception itself has permanently changed? It almost sounds as if the model being proposed is that "enlightenment is when you take the view that attainments aren't attainments," meaning they aren't permanent and different from nonawake. Luminosity is permanent and different from nonawake, despite attempts to frame it within some philosophical notion of chosen perspective.

My takeaway is this: If anyone here is not experiencing the criteria for 3rd path as Daniel laid them out for what is, after all, his published model, consider that (aha!) you probably do not have 3rd path according to his model. This is not to say you don't have some other profound development that has enhanced your life.

Blessings all,

Jenny

[EDITED to add quotation from OP]


RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 8:56 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
@Mark, @Russell: My sentiments exactly.

@B.B: You've confused me, because I haven't heard the terminology "Full Enlightenment" used around here. It may be that we'd all be better off trying to excise self-belief, and experience rigpa; however, what Fitter seems to be saying in his narrative of his experience (which is not prescriptive in any way), is that ultimately, all experience is experience, period. Kenneth has to my recollection made similar kinds of comments, that even the most luminous, or the most exalted, or the most mundane experience boils down to sensation. It's a bit of a buzzkill for those of us who may be pursuing something better, but that's what the man (Kenneth) says, and I find it coming to mind as I read the OP's account. 

@Noah: I think you were doing fine until you used the words "general consensus," which will usually get you into trouble on these forums. Not that I needed to tell you that! emoticon

@Jenny: I do not appreciate your making allusions to all the awful take-downs you could utilize against the OP if you had the time or the energy. That kind of language is not legitimate engagement. I'm afraid by saying this I risk inciting a long, drawn-out refutation, which I heartily hope does not happen, because as I said before, Fitter is not being prescriptive. He simply has told his story in a thoughtful and precise manner, inspired by Daniel's description of 3rd path. He is not following a model as far as I can see, nor is he trying to create one. I would be intrigued if Daniel responded, and the two of them had a dialogue. I am not, however, eager to have you step in and straighten Fitter and all the rest of us out. This does not mean that I am not interested in what you think, or how it differs from what other people may think. It's apparent that your view is along the lines of what Daniel thinks. Fair enough. As OP as said, his experience suggests something else. Or not. 

@Fitter Stoke: Thank you. I'm glad to see you here again.  

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 4:21 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
however, what Fitter seems to be saying in his narrative of his experience (which is not prescriptive in any way), is that ultimately, all experience is experience, period.
Yes, the post is intended to be descriptive of part of my own journey. As I said at the beginning, I intend in no way to discount anyone else's experiences. It's been known for awhile now that different people have different responses to traveling the spiritual path.

Before I arrived at what I'm assuming was 4th path, I thought I would teach this stuff some day. Yet I found afterward that it became very difficult to say anything about it, since the "it" seemed to be nothing separate from things exactly as they're happening anyway. (As I quoted Daniel above, "manifest objects and sensations should be largely known to contain their own awareness in them, with them, as them, being the same thing" [emphasis mine]) If I wanted to say something separate from what's just occurring on its own in an ordinary sense, I found I had to use analogies or sometimes say things that, to me, seemed untrue. This has had the effect of getting me to hold all descriptions of it - either mine or others - more lightly than I did before. It's also had the effect of making me hesitate to talk about it on a forum like this - and not just because a prolific minority is routinely defensive or nasty.

As for "experience is experience", it's strictly speaking not true. You're never going to meet a person for whom it's a matter of complete indifference whether you give them a foot rub or hold them down while pouring acid in their face. Experiences can be quite different from one another in almost every relevant way. That being said, I got to a point in my own development where the phrase "experience is experience" became a very useful pointer.

But then it's like the ladder you toss away once you've climbed and stepped off it.
He is not following a model as far as I can see, nor is he trying to create one.
There are a few models I've used and have found valuable. My favorites are probably the Zen Ox Herding model, the Tree of Life from Hermetic Kabbalah, and the Simple Model in MCTB.

The only reason I felt compelled to reply to Daniel's account of 3rd path is that I find it's close enough to what I've experienced that a reply would be relevant and useful to other people who are trying to do the same thing.

Ironically - or not, depending on how you look at it - Daniel is the one who encouraged me to post more here. I said my way of describing things is unusual - "gnomic" may have been the word I used - and he said some people will probably respond positively to that, with the implication that it's good to describe things from a somewhat different perspective as some people respond better to some pointers rather than others.

Daniel, save me from your followers!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 5:32 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:

As for "experience is experience", it's strictly speaking not true. You're never going to meet a person for whom it's a matter of complete indifference whether you give them a foot rub or hold them down while pouring acid in their face. Experiences can be quite different from one another in almost every relevant way.


Point well taken; I've argued the same myself. I guess I should say that certain "spiritual" experiences don't point to a reality beyond wherever it is that one is. Even a horrible experience, like panic, is not indicative of some other place, like Hell. Does this make sense?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 5:56 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
Fitter Stoke:

As for "experience is experience", it's strictly speaking not true. You're never going to meet a person for whom it's a matter of complete indifference whether you give them a foot rub or hold them down while pouring acid in their face. Experiences can be quite different from one another in almost every relevant way.


Point well taken; I've argued the same myself. I guess I should say that certain "spiritual" experiences don't point to a reality beyond wherever it is that one is. Even a horrible experience, like panic, is not indicative of some other place, like Hell. Does this make sense?


Indeed.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 9:36 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
I'm glad you made this topic. Of all the topics this one is the most worth getting into a mess about because the broader fellowship of practitioners needs more data. My questions are:

We assume different people get different results. Based off your experience and what you know about others, how much variance between people with respect to the unfolding of insights do you think there is? And how much of a consequence might this be to using maps as, "At this stage x and y will happen, then z and w and then omicron and theta and so on?"

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 9:49 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
One more question, and this comes from 'the next generation of pragmatic Dharma practitioners, and it's a rather controversial one so here it goes!

From a somewhat newer practitioner exploring the pragmatic scene, I see some older practitioners 'achieving' MCTB 4th path, (Or at least, think they did) such as Alan Chapman, who now has a sort of further exploration of insight beyond MCTB 4th path. What do you make of this? If you are unfamiliar with Alan Chapman system currently that is fine, but I mean the possibility of further 'insight'?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/19/15 10:07 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Before I arrived at what I'm assuming was 4th path, I thought I would teach this stuff some day. Yet I found afterward that it became very difficult to say anything about it, since the "it" seemed to be nothing separate from things exactly as they're happening anyway. (As I quoted Daniel above, "manifest objects and sensations should be largely known to contain their own awareness in them, with them, as them, being the same thing" [emphasis mine]) If I wanted to say something separate from what's just occurring on its own in an ordinary sense, I found I had to use analogies or sometimes say things that, to me, seemed untrue. This has had the effect of getting me to hold all descriptions of it - either mine or others - more lightly than I did before. It's also had the effect of making me hesitate to talk about it on a forum like this - and not just because a prolific minority is routinely defensive or nasty.


All of this is very interesting and helpful - thanks Fitter. The part quoted above rings particularly true for my own experience of any levels of progress (which are, certainly at least in the MCTB model, much less than yours) - finger pointing at the moon is certainly not the moon and it depends a lot on whose finger it is.


Fitter Stoke:
Daniel, save me from your followers!
Afuckingmen.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 4:30 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
 I see some older practitioners 'achieving' MCTB 4th path, (Or at least, think they did) such as Alan Chapman, who now has a sort of further exploration of insight beyond MCTB 4th path.

Just as another reference point for 
'the next generation of pragmatic Dharma practitioners

What I am getting from face-to-face interactions, accessing of video and text, textual discussion on forums, and personal practice, is that 4th Path is basically the perfect platform of mindfulness to go in any direction, including the direction of "feeling done" and "being done", as well as the possibility for further development.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 6:05 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Dear Fitter,

Thanks for your descriptions and being willing to be out there with your stuff. I think that is where some of the most interesting things can happen: we put our best out there, we get feedback, people relate to it or not, people like it or not, and somehow, as painful as it often is, something good can occur.

"Daniel, save me from your followers!"

Yeah, I hear you. Still, if you are going to be out there, you are going to have to learn to just take what the world throws at you, which can be a lot, as this forum shows every single time the topic comes out, even as much as this forum tries to be a mature, thoughtful, accepting place where high-level, experience-based discussions can occur. I think that more reference points, more perspectives, thoughtfully presented and compared, helps to make this place the rich place it sometimes is.

While I obviously like my models and experiences a lot, I don't think that they should be the final arbiter of what is ok here on the DhO or how people use various terms, just so long as everyone clearly explains how they use the various terms and why, which you have, so that helps. Were this "DanielIngramDharma.Com", then things might be different, but it isn't, and that is intentional, so let's keep this about our experience when possible.

I think that, if this is done well, which this thread is doing moderately well as these things go (as it can often be much more toxic and immature than this thread, unfortunately), then real growth for all involved can occur, which is what I care about much more than the hegemony of my models over all other opinions.

There is clearly variability in how things go and also in how people conceptualize and describe how things go. Some of the most interesting discussions have happened around these, often painful and deeply personal, debates about how we self-less beings describe ourselves. Let's own our opinions as our own and see what people have to offer from their own experiences.

Thanks,

Daniel

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 6:53 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Jenny:
*The original post doesn't clarify why 4th path is being claimed. It references philosophical ideas, but where is the phenomenological descriptions of how perception itself has permanently changed? It almost sounds as if the model being proposed is that "enlightenment is when you take the view that attainments aren't attainments," meaning they aren't permanent and different from nonawake. Luminosity is permanent and different from nonawake, despite attempts to frame it within some philosophical notion of chosen perspective.
this was also pretty much my experience of reading the OP.  

You (fitter) do hint at experiential changes, and perhaps i'm just not resonating with your writing style, but what I'm overall hearing from you is along the lines of "I had an experience of realising [such and such a conclusion]". In other words, you seem to be describing the conclusions and beliefs you've come to.  

Here's a couple of examples
What I could clearly see was that anything whatsoever - anything that you could experience with the senses, call by a name, imagine, think up, care about or desire, etc. - was in a state of passing away. I had some obtuse philosophical terminology to describe this - unity of opposites, unity of birth and death, finitude, etc. - but the main feature was this universal decay or instability. And with this awareness came a burning desire to put a stop to it - and a recognition I had never encountered anything in my entire life, not even an idea, that would resolve it or put it to rest.
But then what happened was - and this happened almost instantaneously, like being hit by a car - I realized thatthere is no fundamental difference between the three of them. Different causes give rise to them, and different effects follow from them, but they're all conditioned phenomena. 
Another thing I realized - and this will seem completely orthogonal to what I just said, but it's not - is that there is no way to step outside of experience. Seeing things in terms of the three characteristics - having these profound experiences of emptiness - gives the impression of having some kind of fundamental insight into absolute reality. But in fact it's just a frame amongst others. There's nothing privileged about seeing things as impermanent and selfless - and in fact, from a certain perspective, there's no difference at all whether I see them that way or another.That was the insight that put a complete and irrevocable stop to the spiritual path I had been on up until that point. Yes, all things in the universe are limited and therefore in a state of passing away or dying - but so is the view that they are doing that. 

I think of Ken Wilber's distinction between 'translation' and 'transformation'.  
What Jenny writes about luminosity sounds to me like a genuine transformation of experience.
But your OP sounds to me like a lot of translation; restructuring your belief system about reality to conceptualise it in a new way.  


You already mentioned your style of description, suggesting perhaps it will appeal to some and not others?  

I'm perfectly open to this just being down to your particular style of describing your insight, filtered as it is through your particular character and intellect, and my own particular filters or levels of insight not allowing me to see the value in what you write, but I'd love to hear your response to this and what Jenny wrote - I imagine you can quite adequately save yourself from dan's followers ;)  

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 7:43 AM as a reply to cian.
[Post deleted because it really doesn't belong in this thread.]

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 5:26 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
[Edit: I put things like "3rd path" and "4th path" in quotes to hopefully make clear that I'm using them as conventions, not because I think what we call "3rd path" is equivalent to what the Buddha called an "Anagami". I understand people have strong feelings about this issue. I, for one, do not. But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant.]

Throwing this up here because I feel like I went through the territory Daniel calls "3rd path", but my experience of it was sufficiently different that it might be helpful for others to have another point of reference. Emphasis is mine:
Third path:

1) Waking, walking-around reality should be very, very different from how it was before, with specific changes realted to the following:

i) Things should mostly seem to be happening on their own: that includes thoughts, actions, perception, intentions, feelings, movements, everything. This should be the dominant waking experience, with portions of experience that are not naturally known as being that way being the minority. The natural causality and self-lessness of action should be clear most of the time and for most things. In short, third path is a set up to fourth path, like a getting close but not quite. As a waking experience, it is most of the way there.
First of all, I never noticed anything "very, very different" in my walking around experience until I got to what Daniel calls "4th path". I had a lot of peak spiritual experiences before that. Sometimes there would be an afterglow from a peak experience that would last for awhile, and it would feel as though something significant had permanently changed. Or sometimes I would be having so many peak experiences in a row that the "baseline" as it's called would be obscured. But I never encountered anything before "4th" that wasn't impermanent.

Now different people have different experiences traversing this path. Some people are changed forever just by experiencing fruition. I was not one of those people. I'm not putting this forward to refute anyone else's experience, just to offer my own as another data point.

As for mostly seeing things happening causally and having this being the dominant waking experience - no, I never had that happen. There were periods immediately following intensive meditation retreats where experience was indeed like that, but that would taper off and go away once back in daily life for a few days.
Edit: forgot to highlight this in red
My experience leading up to what I believe to be MCTB 4th path was of the sense of intention becoming increasingly integrated into causal experience. Before that, the intention to do something was identified with and misunderstood as coming from outside of causal experience in such a way that it wasn't fully dependent on the present circumstances. Here's how I described it in my diary towards the end of this period: "What remains? Possibly the sense that somewhere along the line the self is still behind the input into intentions, like a sense that something needs to be done by some essence in order to keep things working, some input on a very subtle level into proceedings." Now there's no sense of a self intending or doing anything. 
What did start to happen - and this was about a year and a half before I attained "4th path" - was that my access to "emptiness" when I wasn't meditating increased.

So what do I mean by "emptiness"? I mean the ability to see things in the centerless way which is really vivid when you're in the 3rd or 4th vipassana jhanas. The ability to kind of see everything in the same causal space or as belonging to the same field of cause and effect. I didn't have the ability to just jump into it at will, and it was by no means by baseline, but I found that if the conditions were right, and if I inclined the mind a certain way, I could bring myself right up to the edge of fruition.
By seeing things in a centerless way, do you mean the absense of a sense of the Watcher? For me, there was a gradual untangling of this in my head, as if it was looking out through the eyes, standing in the way of a direct experience of the visual field. And when it was finally gone, it was a delight just to walk around without that sense of self at the center of everything.

So for example, if I were on a long carride, I could start to inquire into experience, and everything would gradually "even out" until the experience was pretty similar to what it's like when you're in high equanimity. A few times I was on long walks around town, and just by inquiring into experience, I could bring about the same state.

This was not a "baseline". This was not a dimension of reality that was there all the time that I just had to incline my mind toward. Rather, it was a state or a way or framing experience I could sometimes evoke and other times not very well at all.

I remember that in the wake of these experiences of emptiness, I would think, "That has got to be what being enlightened [4th path] is like." I really did think I was "getting close but not quite" as Daniel says. I think now that that way of looking at things is very misleading.

What happened to me was, I went for about a year and a half occasionally having these experiences of selflessness. I wasn't practicing at all in the "Buddhist" tradition anymore and didn't care about it. But suddenly there broke through this new awareness which I can only describe (using Crowley's phrase) as a "trance of sorrow". What I could clearly see was that anything whatsoever - anything that you could experience with the senses, call by a name, imagine, think up, care about or desire, etc. - was in a state of passing away. I had some obtuse philosophical terminology to describe this - unity of opposites, unity of birth and death, finitude, etc. - but the main feature was this universal decay or instability. And with this awareness came a burning desire to put a stop to it - and a recognition I had never encountered anything in my entire life, not even an idea, that would resolve it or put it to rest.
Edit: I see this was meant to describe pre-4th path. But then later on you write: "Yes, all things in the universe are limited and therefore in a state of passing away or dying - but so is the view that they are doing that." So I'll leave most of what I've written here as it might still be worth saying.
A perception of passing away can't be ultimately true because after all time has been shown to be empty. It's also dependent on the reification of concepts like "before"/"after", and "exists"/"does not exist". "Anything whatsoever" also implies the breaking up of experience into separate phenomena that have some (ultimately existent) basis for distinction. Surely any significant attainment--not necessarily even full enlightenment--must involve a greater appreciation of the emptiness of concepts than this.
So if you've ever had real bad Desire for Deliverance while meditating, it was like this, but I wasn't meditating - at all. I wasn't on retreat. There was no way to stop it. It was unleashed. It was in everything.

I wasn't freaking out or anything as this was happening, but there was this glowing clarity - and really an intensity of anger - about the situation. I was scornful if anyone proposed a solution that seemed mealy-mouthed. I would just think, "This is just words for you. You have no way of comprehending the seriousness of this situation."

I was never suicidal, but I remember thinking that the notion was very funny, because death itself is probably just as unstable as anything else. I began to appreciate those stuffy Buddhist teachings about rebirth. I had no real interest in Buddhism, but I could respect the Buddha, because it's obvious he saw the seriousness of the problem and wanted a total solution to it. The Buddha seemed much more serious to me than some jackass telling me, "Well, you just have to live in the present moment, and everything will be fine." I thought, well, you have to be really poorly attuned to the "present moment" to say something like that.

Then finally it seemed like it was beginning to lighten up a bit. And then I had a conversation with someone, and there was a realization shortly thereafter, and about 36 hours later, I realized I had done it and attained "4th path".

But here's the thing: The stuff I experienced in the year and a half leading up to "4th" - what we might call "3rd path" - wasn't really a "leading up to". I didn't experience it that way. When I look back on what things were like, say, two months before getting 4th, it's not like I was 3/4 of the way there.

The reason I say that is because 4th was less about locking in an awareness of emptiness and more like an understanding that whether I was aware of emptiness or not, it was all pretty much the same. It wasn't about putting my consciousness isn't some state and keeping it there. Consciousness is impermanent like anything else, after all.

To say the same thing a little differently, consider the following three sorts of experiences:

(1) Acute sense of self, like when you feel ashamed.
(2) Vague sense of self, like when you're on a long drive and lost in thought.
(3) Acute sense of not-self, like when you're in 4th vipassana jhana.

I used to think it was all about (3). "4th path" is all about being in (3) all the time, without exception. "3rd path" is being in (3) most of the time. "2nd path" is being in (3) some of the time. "1st path" means getting a taste of (3). It's all about (3).

And even after I stopped meditating, I would have these experiences of (3) that would leave me thinking, "That must be what '4th' is like. You walk around in that all the time. Why can't I do that all the time? I'm so unenlightened."

But then what happened was - and this happened almost instantaneously, like being hit by a car - I realized that there is no fundamental difference between the three of them. Different causes give rise to them, and different effects follow from them, but they're all conditioned phenomena.

[Edit: Before 4th path, there were experiences where the self felt vague but present, like if I were engaged in a thoughtful conversation with someone. And then I would have acute experiences of self, like when there was a deliberate act of reflection upon experience. After 4th path, this situation was reversed. The self feels like a perfectly normal phenomenon to me when I'm engaged in a thoughtful dialog with someone. If I try to turn it into a discrete object of inquiry by means of reflection, though, it completely disappears. This is a useful trick. It should be obvious why you shouldn't do this if you're trying to sort things out with a loved one, though.]
I'm also skeptical that your sense of self completely disappears. Have you tried seeing the aggreggates as the property of other people, or taking the perception of a non-living object and applying it to all of the aggreggates until nothing is left out? If that thorough sense of objectivity isn't there, the self has just become attenuated or slipped outside of where you're focusing.
Another thing I realized - and this will seem completely orthogonal to what I just said, but it's not - is that there is no way to step outside of experience. Seeing things in terms of the three characteristics - having these profound experiences of emptiness - gives the impression of having some kind of fundamental insight into absolute reality. But in fact it's just a frame amongst others. There's nothing privileged about seeing things as impermanent and selfless - and in fact, from a certain perspective, there's no difference at all whether I see them that way or another. That was the insight that put a complete and irrevocable stop to the spiritual path I had been on up until that point. Yes, all things in the universe are limited and therefore in a state of passing away or dying - but so is the view that they are doing that.

This is unBuddhist. So let me be clear that I'm not advocating Buddhism, and I'm not trying to pass a non-Buddhist philosophy off as a Buddhist one. Nor am I trying to claim the same status the Buddha claimed. The idea that the three characteristics is merely one limited frame amongst other limited frames for understanding reality is not what the Buddha thought or taught. (As far as I understand him.) However, understanding this - coming to this realization - FOR ME, put a permanent stop to some stuff that was, in my opinion, delusional and a cause of discomfort and pain. And since that moment, it is clear, should it naturally and casually reveal itself, that there is no self "in here". Or to say the same thing another way, experiencing is not happening to an entity lying outside experience. To whom or to what is that revealing itself? I have no idea. This nervous system, I guess.
The view you've described (emptiness of emptiness) definitely isn't un-Buddhist in general, though it's possibly un-Theravadin. It goes right back to Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika. It's arguably found in the Pali suttas as well I believe. The Abhidhamma lists "views" as one of the ten fetters (not just wrong views). Thanissaro Bhikkhu: Mundane right view, framed in terms of "beings" and "worlds," asserts the efficacy of action: the principle that actions really do have results. This principle opens the possibility that transcendent right view, as a guide to action, can put an end to suffering. Transcendent right view then drops terms of "beings" and "worlds" to focus directly on the actions within the mind that cause suffering so that those actions can be abandoned. This brings suffering to an end — at which point all views are put aside as well.

That's the only thing I ever experienced that felt like a baseline shift - in the sense that, barring a head injury or senility, there is no way I will ever unsee that. And I don't feel like there was anything that ever happened along the way that was an approximation to it or that intimated it. I'm pretty sure my previous work set up the conditions for this "flip" to take place, but at the same time, this realization was so completely discontinuous with anything that came before, that I really have no way of relating to the "getting close but not quite" part of Daniel's "3rd path" description.
ii) One's waking experience of awareness should be very different. There are lots of ways to say this, but I tend towards the following descriptions: the basic light/luminosity/awareness/manifestation in phenomena should mostly be known directly as being where the objects are. Said another way, manifest objects and sensations should be largely known to contain their own awareness in them, with them, as them, being the same thing. In short, the sense that this side is perceiving that side should be markedly diminished, and the sense that that side and substantial parts of this side are just stuff that knows itself where it is should predominate, with these exceptions becoming more and more subtle as insight deepens, until exceptions are very hard to find. In short, third path is a set up to fourth, like getting close but not quite. It is most of the way there and should point to what is left to be done and how to do it.
I get this. I get where this is coming from. I prefer not to use these particular metaphors, but I can see their appeal.

I was struck so hard by this particular dimension of "4th path" that I actually went a little bit crazy for two weeks after it happened. Not rubbing myself in feces and howling at the moon crazy, but more like, "How do I get my intellect around this? How will I ever communicate this to people?"

When this turn happens, what you figure out, in a real and immediate way, is that there's no way at all to talk about mind of consciousness apart from exactly what is happening "in" it, and as soon as you try to, you find yourself caught up in a web of lies or half-truths.

Even that metaphor I used right now - "happening 'in' it" - is exactly the opposite of what I meant to say about it. The mind is not a container. It's a little bit like space, in the sense that it just seems to take the shape of whatever manifests in relation to it. But unlike space, it doesn't really have any structure on its own. You can describe space on its own mathematically. You really can't do that for "awareness". If "awareness" is anything at all, it's just the manifestness of whatever is manifesting. It belongs with the object, not with the supposed subject. Or to say it a little differently, subject and object are both manifest.

Now here's where people run into the problem with the light/luminosity/awareness/manifestation metaphor. The opposite of light is shadow. The opposite of luminosity is darkness. The opposite of awareness is ignorance, disregard, unconscious. The opposite of manifestation is concealment. And yet "awareness" - or whatever word you choose for the realization of things - has to encompass these opposites, too.

To say it a little more concretely,. if I'm having some sort of tight, emotionally-charged experience in which my sense of self is painful and strong, I don't for that reason doubt that I've attained "4th path". Insofar as I think about it at all, I just think, "This too shall pass." And that does have a calming effect, but there's no reason that realization absolutely has to occur every time I'm in a bad mood or something.
This sounds worryingly un-pragmatic. I hope you're not falling for the classic trap of taking an ultimate view, such as "you are already enlightened", when a conventional one would be more useful. Can I just say, there's nothing here that I can't relate to from my own practice--including the emptiness of emptiness view. But as long as you still experience a sense of self, there is still delusion that you would be better off without, and any view that hinders your potential to permanently rid yourself of this is one you need to let go of--at least until a more opportune time. This includes views resulting from profound insight experiences.
Here's the thing: any framework you try to use to get at "the non-dual" (even using the phrase "non-dual") is going to pick out certain aspects of reality and conceal others.

And there's nothing inherently "wrong" with that. I'm not saying people shouldn't try to describe this. They should try to describe this, because those can become useful pointers for people trying to do the same thing. You can say, "Well, it's like __________," and even if that's not entirely true, it's a noble lie if it gets a person to eventually see for themselves.

The problems arise when you take one particular metaphor and have it stand in for everything. That's how you generate a spiritual shadow. "This view has no limits. It applies to everything without exception." Then you have to repress the cases where it doesn't.

Like in the case of the kind of energetic, progress-oriented practice we do - manipulating experience for results - the shadow side emerges as an unwillingness to acknowledge indeterminacy, vagueness, things that can't be mapped. When progress seems to go away, and the nebulous parts of reality start showing themselves, people flip out.

You can actually get cases where people suffer, not from an inability to see emptiness, but an over-ability to see it. I remember walking around in those empty states thinking, "What am I missing? What am I not seeing through?"
Assuming a conventional Madhyamaka definition of emptiness (as opposed to your personal definition), you can't have an over-ability to see it, at least not while suffering and thinking "what am I missing?", because then you clearly lacked realization of the emptiness of self.
The truth is that I was "seeing through" pretty much anything and everything there was to see through - except for the phenomenon of "seeing through"! What was I missing? Nothing other than the fact that obscurity and lack of clarity are just as much parts of reality as figuring things out.
If you are referring to obscurity and lack of clarity as regards the emptiness of self or anything else, then you weren't seeing through everything. It sounds like you are elevating a realization of the emptiness of ignorance above other, more useful perceptions of emptiness.
Which on the face of it isn't that big a deal. So what if you figure out that clarity and lack of clarity are part o the same reality? Well... spirituality is kind of silly.

Anyway, this is a different view on advanced attainment. "Advanced" compared to what? I don't know. Hearsay? Being a dark night yogi? Feeling "stuck"?

I don't think it's Buddhism. I don't consider myself a Buddhist. Some Mahayana stuff resonates with me, but I don't care enough about it to research it. I'm not a Buddhist teacher. This isn't a "dharma talk". I don't teach at all. I actually don't believe in the notion of "spiritual teachings". This is what I believe based on my experience. If people want to believe other things based on their own experiences, that's fine. I assume we're all works-in-progress.

It's weird, because even though I think "4th path" is a discrete phenomenon - in other words all-or-nothing - and therefore cannot be deepened in and of itself, my understanding of it continually evolves. By which I mean the way I go about describing it and understanding its implications for my life or anyone's life. I see a lot of ambiguity in it - maybe because the "it" I'm talking about is just existence or thusness, and so not an "it" at all. So while I have deep respect and appreciation for Daniel's words - because they helped get me here! - I hold them lightly. They're a way of understanding things. They're really pointers. I recommend following those pointers, at the same time being aware that they're going to break down at some point. You're going to encounter some dimension of reality where they don't seem to apply. You're going to want to repress that aspect of reality from awareness. And you're going to succumb to that temptation, and it's going to cause you pain. If you're really good, the pain will get so strong that you'll finally have no choice but to look at what's causing it. And if you're wise, you won't completely discard that way of looking at things, but instead see it as one mode amongst an infinity of others for dealing with the world.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 2:58 PM as a reply to cian.
You (fitter) do hint at experiential changes, and perhaps i'm just not resonating with your writing style, but what I'm overall hearing from you is along the lines of "I had an experience of realising [such and such a conclusion]". In other words, you seem to be describing the conclusions and beliefs you've come t

That's really not the experience I had of the post while writing it or having re-read it.

The purpose of this post was to describe my 3rd path experience, not my 4th path experience. That's reflected in the title of the post, too. The complaint that I haven't described 4th path doesn't make sense to me.

I agree that I didn't lay out what transitioning to 4th path was exactly like. I could do that, though I'm going to continue to describe it in my characteristic ways using terminology that's going to sound intellectual. From my point of view, I don't see myself using any concepts worse than "luminous", but people have their preferences which I guess in some cases are unyielding.

As for my 3rd path description, I'm looking at it now, there's a lot of personal experiential stuff in it. Even the thing you quoted - about stuff passing away - is describing phenomena anyone who has done intensive vipassana is familiar with. I mean, I forgot to mention some of the particulars of it - like the period where my balls felt like they were rotting - would that have helped?

I'm not going to be condescending and show you exactly where in my post I was writing in an experiential way, but don't you think it's conspicuous that enough 3rd pathers are relating to what I said?

If you don't mind me asking, what have you attained to in this scheme? Have you been through what we're calling 3rd path territory? I don't mean to pull the, "You're not enlightened enough," card, but a lot of people who have done the work seem to be relating to what I've said and think it's clear.
But your OP sounds to me like a lot of translation; restructuring your belief system about reality to conceptualise it in a new way
I did restructure my beliefs about reality. I was forced to on the basis of my experience. I worked for a long time with the MCTB model of things and then a classical Buddhist model of things (along with a few other things). I finally got to a point - that Gran Dukkha I described in the OP - where I felt forced to reconceptualize things from the ground-up. At the time it felt like a terrible thing, but it was actually a very positive sign in the grand scheme of things, because it meant I was becoming disillusioned with my previous conceptualizations of things, and this disillusionment created the space to get really, really close to things as they were unfolding. I ended up settling on a set of terms to describe and explain reality as it was occurring to me. But it's not like I spent the post talking about those terms. I mentioned them in passing, which you then quote as an indication that I'm intellectualizing and not relating experience.  I don't really have a response to that. That's just not the way I read the post, and most other people aren't reading it that way, either.

Funnily enough, when I did reach 4th path, I waited a little while, and then I went back and read the Simple Model section in MCTB and was astounded to find out my experience matched it very closely. Especially that whole "Wisdom Eye" section. I had written MCTB off a long time before that and was really surprised to find the experiences were so similar.
I'd love to hear your response to this and what Jenny wrote
That's not going to happen.

First of all, you can't demand that someone describe their experiences in their own words when you're already complaining that it doesn't match chapter and verse of "scripture". I'm not going to take up a task that, to me, really does look futile.

Secondly, I've experienced the "Jenny" phenomenon before. She ran me off another board with behavior which was even worse than this. Based on my experiences with her and observing her experiences with others, I don't see a lot of learning potential there, just blow-ups, followed by dramatic apologies, followed by similar blow-ups.

I understand different people have different tolerances and preferences, and if anyone wants to continue interacting with her, that's their business. I'm not having that dynamic in my life, though. You may criticize that, but you don't know my personal experience with that dynamic.

As for follow-ups, I hope this satisfies you, because I'm probably not answering any more challenges to this post. I was intended as a description of my experience, which one would think couldn't be challenged anyway - how do you have a "wrong" experience? - but things work differently on discussion boards, I guess. I'm just going to have to assume the OP speaks for itself - which it mostly seems to - and is helpful - it seems to be - and just let people think what they're going to think, because this has already taken up too much time and energy.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 8:09 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
LOL ... So that is that!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 8:23 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
As for my 3rd path description, I'm looking at it now, there's a lot of personal experiential stuff in it. Even the thing you quoted - about stuff passing away - is describing phenomena anyone who has done intensive vipassana is familiar with. I mean, I forgot to mention some of the particulars of it - like the period where my balls felt like they were rotting - would that have helped? 

rotting balls ay!?  but how did that feeeeel?!  Just kidding.

I appreciated a lot what daniel wrote above and I hoped my post wouldn't have a feel of denying the validity of your experience.  And of your descriptions of it.  

I'm not going to be condescending and show you exactly where in my post I was writing in an experiential way, but don't you think it's conspicuous that enough 3rd pathers are relating to what I said? 

If you don't mind me asking, what have you attained to in this scheme? Have you been through what we're calling 3rd path territory? I don't mean to pull the, "You're not enlightened enough," card, but a lot of people who have done the work seem to be relating to what I've said and think it's clear.

I reckon based on MCTB i'm on 2nd path.  
I hope you'll excuse me for jumping on your OP questioning the validity of your experience.  
And now I see Pawel has just added an extra layer of that.
But hey, this is a discussion forum and people are gonna be damned interested in this stuff.  
In my limited experience with this forum it seems like a common thing that happens is everyone is so keen to understand this stuff that when someone vulnerably offers their experience we all jump in like anatomists with our scalpel blades.  Possibly forgetting sometimes that this is a real person's experience and possibly their life work to get to the point they're at.

If you happen to just not be on for discussion of it then that's totally cool and I won't probe anymore.  If you were though, it could be interesting. ( I happen to find Pawel's points interesting even if his approach is quite cutting and insensitive. I neither agree nor disagree. I'm open. ) 

Again, I'm totally open to maybe seeing it's my lower level of insight or whatever that's having me not get where you're at, if that's the case.  I get that your OP was not intended as a "diagnose this" thread, so my bad, but if you did happen to be open for further discussion I hope I will do that respectfully. and if you're not. totally cool and understandable; i need to spend less time online and more time practising too! emoticon

peace,
cian

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 12:00 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter:
Secondly, I've experienced the "Jenny" phenomenon before. She ran me off another board with behavior which was even worse than this. Based on my experiences with her and observing her experiences with others, I don't see a lot of learning potential there, just blow-ups, followed by dramatic apologies, followed by similar blow-ups. 

I understand different people have different tolerances and preferences, and if anyone wants to continue interacting with her, that's their business. I'm not having that dynamic in my life, though. You may criticize that, but you don't know my personal experience with that dynamic. 

Fitter,

I have to question the wisdom of your airing just enough of our exchanges from a separate private place out here on this public board just to insinuate something personal against me to damage me before others who were not party to our former interactions. That is the relevant behavior that is inappropriate. That other scene was resolved (I thought), and it is at any rate underhanded of you to bring it up here to gain some kind of roll on against me very personally. 

My comment on your post here was intellectually rigorous, not personal. I broke no rules of the DhO. If you are going to post challenging ideas on a public board, then don't you think you are opening yourself to the perogative of other member to intellectually counterpoint or question your post?

Unfortunately, you took my comments personally and are waxing defensive of your enlightenment, so we cannot have the conversation or conversations we could have had and may have both benefitted from. Such is your choice. I stand nevertheless by the points I made above. People can decide for themselves whether they worthwhile or not in the DhO scheme of things.

I was trying to understand how MCTB 3rd path is "the same" territory as what you say your version of MCTB 3rd path was. Maybe you meant a different 3rd path. It would seem so, else you sort of skipped 3rd path?
The purpose of this post was to describe my 3rd path experience, not my 4th path experience. That's reflected in the title of the post, too. The complaint that I haven't described 4th path doesn't make sense to me.
The reason I was asking about your 4th path phenomenology was because your post title calls Daniel out about his 3rd path criteria, and part of what Dan did in those criteria was say 3rd was much of the way to 4th. I was genuinely trying figure out if what you were saying, in light of Daniel's newly published 3rd path criteria, was that you went from 2nd to 4th. If you are questioning the criteria for MCTB 3rd, and those criteria say "this is almost 4th," and you say, "not for me in that same territory," then naturally the next question is, "So is your 4th MCTB 4th, or some other 4th?"

Your personal remarks re "the Jenny phenomenon" and your oblique but damning reference to our otherwise private exchanges are inappropriate here. Please cease with that line of commentary. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jenny

EDIT: Fitter, please review the rules of this board, particularly the one forbidding ad hominem attacks. As you well know, an ad hominem attack is responding to counterpoints in a debate or discussion with attacks on a person's character. That is what you have done.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/20/15 11:42 PM as a reply to Jenny.
When it comes down to it, Daniel publishes his model, and it is his.

So it just doesn't make sense to say, "I got MCTB 3rd" but "just not by the criteria of the MCTB 3rd model author."

Contradictory, not personal.

Jenny

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 6:33 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Paweł K:
The issue imho is that you have closed chakras and nadi channels. Until you open all of them there is no way you can be an Arhat. It is just not happening, neither for you nor anyone else. People skip basics, attain nothing significant and then wonder why life still sucks even after enlightenment. 

Hi Paweł, 

I'm interested in this. Would you mind elaborating on how it developed for you?

thanks, 
Bman

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 7:40 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny:
When it comes down to it, Daniel publishes his model, and it is his.

So it just doesn't make sense to say, "I got MCTB 3rd" but "just not by the criteria of the MCTB 3rd model author."

Contradictory, not personal.

Jenny

If somebody works with a respected teacher who teaches within a 4 path model, I think it makes sense for them to say they reached 4th path within that model.  Just as we might respect the efforts of someone doing koan practice in a lineaged rinzai zen group and reaching a remarkable kensho, or someone contacting the higher guardian angel under a known thelema teacher, it might also be okay for someone to reach a 'technical 4th path' under the requirements of a different pragmatic/hardcore teacher who's standards may be greater, less than or equal to (but different) than Daniels.

Edit: I recognize that the purpose of this thread is to address Daniel's model only, so consider this a tangent, to be ignored, if necessary.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 8:01 AM as a reply to cian.
No one said Arhats have to be sensitive. If they were sensitive they would go forever around in circles around the their own psyche issues because they would want to not hurt themselves. Enlightenment require cutting to the point, even if that means drawing blood.

That's fair enough.  You bring up some more interesting points.
I would be on for fitter to first agree to the blood-drawing operation though, if there is to be one.  Sure enlightenment may require a drawing of blood, but I don't think you can just impose yourself as someone's 'teacher' either.  

So far, Fitter's expressed a lack of desire to discuss this further and I think that kinda thing should be honoured.  

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 2:35 PM as a reply to cian.
Paweł K:
… I am not feeling Arhat-class quality from Fitter

Fitter Stoke:
… But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant. …

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 4:38 PM as a reply to b man.
Paweł K:
I am using many qualities, trying to feel them and speak the same 'language' with them. Treating them as some sort of beings (devas) that are lost inside me. It is more about connection than any method.

When I meditate I basically only do that, try to be with parts of my mind, be happy with them when they are happy, cry with them when they cry. Make them feel better. ..

thanks for explaining, this isnt something I have heard before. Did you find it easy to "hear" them at first or did you have to work at it? Has the energy system opening up helped with anything in particular? I feel like some opening is beginning with me, but all I really feel so far is more warmth in my body, and perhaps more awareness of the effect of things on the way i feel (in an emotional way rather than effecting my thoughts). I also think it is making me more in tune with intuition (perhaps this is the same as what I have just mentioned but in a more sublte way).

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/21/15 11:10 PM as a reply to -- Timus --.
-- Timus --:
Paweł K:
… I am not feeling Arhat-class quality from Fitter

Fitter Stoke:
… But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant. …

I'm guessing whenever the transmissions from Planet Pawel are finally decoded, they'll turn out to be in keeping with the mission of DhO.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 12:22 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
-- Timus --:
Paweł K:
… I am not feeling Arhat-class quality from Fitter

Fitter Stoke:
… But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant. …

I'm guessing whenever the transmissions from Planet Pawel are finally decoded, they'll turn out to be in keeping with the mission of DhO.

Lol!  Your sense of humour clocks in at 4th path anyway.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 2:24 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
-- Timus --:
Paweł K:
… I am not feeling Arhat-class quality from Fitter

Fitter Stoke:
… But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant. …

I'm guessing whenever the transmissions from Planet Pawel are finally decoded, they'll turn out to be in keeping with the mission of DhO.

Lmao at this link.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 5:50 AM as a reply to B. B.
re: B. B (6/21/15 5:26 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.)

"When this turn happens, what you figure out, in a real and immediate way, is that there's no way at all to talk about mind of [or?] consciousness apart from exactly what is happening "in" it, and as soon as you try to, you find yourself caught up in a web of lies or half-truths.""Even that metaphor I used right now - "happening 'in' it" - is exactly the opposite of what I meant to say about it. The mind is not a container. It's a little bit like space, in the sense that it just seems to take the shape of whatever manifests in relation to it. But unlike space, it doesn't really have any structure on its own. You can describe space on its own mathematically. You really can't do that for "awareness". If "awareness" is anything at all, it's just the manifestness of whatever is manifesting. It belongs with the object, not with the supposed subject. Or to say it a little differently, subject and object are both manifest."

Having more or less resigned myself to the apparent given that most everyone here (DhO discussions), from the top down, so to speak, uses "phenomenology" in the popular, psycholgoical sense of simply a mode narrative description – out of the blue here, I run across writing that shows aspects of whatI have called type-3 (in the sense of Husserl's version, 'genuine') or analytical phenomenology. What a treat!

Not to say that B. B would or would not agree, or that it makes any difference. Just that this   l o n g  post of his/hers was unusally interesting to read; and in stark contrast to most everything else in this thread, which is the more or less usual potpourri of back-and-forths, and many of the 'usual-suspects' sorts of subtopics (yawn) – none of which managed to answer or take into account anything of this post of B. B's.

"I don't think it's Buddhism. I don't consider myself a Buddhist. Some Mahayana stuff resonates with me, but I don't care enough about it to research it. I'm not a Buddhist teacher. This isn't a "dharma talk". I don't teach at all. I actually don't believe in the notion of "spiritual teachings". This is what I believe based on my experience. If people want to believe other things based on their own experiences, that's fine. I assume we're all works-in-progress."


But then, I don't get the necessity of his/her finding it necessary to assert these disclaimers?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 6:39 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Thanks for this post Fitter. I enjoyed reading it and will dig into it more later tonight. Very helpful to me.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 8:18 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S::
No one that I have talked to one-on-one who has completed the 4-Path territory would use the words "full enlightenment" to describe it.  I think you are misunderstanding the general consensus to be the idea that development ends after 4th Path.
I hope that is the general consensus. My understanding is that both Daniel Ingram and Kenneth Folk believe they have reached full enlightenment. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in Daniel's descriptions of 3rd and 4th path here that isn't part of my day-to-day experience. However, I don't qualify as 4th path from his description of it here: "an undifferentiated field of selfless causality doing its natural thing with no sense of center-point, doer, controller, perceiver, or agent of any kind". I'm certainly not entirely without any sense of self/subtle identification whatsoever. And, to be honest, I highly doubt that Daniel is either (perhaps if you're reading this, you could comment, Daniel?). 

My experience since MCTB 4th path is that it has still been very much worthwhile to continue trying to see the emptiness of self and contemplate in that direction. So it essentially seems to me to have failed in its purpose of providing a realistic, dogma-free description of the path in 4 stages. As Fitter says he doesn't believe he is an Arahant, yet still believes he has reached MCTB 4th path, presumably he would agree with this. So why even use this as a model, especially if most of your experience pre-4th path isn't accurately described by it either? Fitter's experience seems to greatly deviate from Daniel's descriptions. I haven't seen Daniel, or anyone else, describe MCTB 3rd or 4th path in terms of seeing the emptiness of emptiness or the emptiness of ignorance. 
Laurel Carrington::
@B.B: You've confused me, because I haven't heard the terminology "Full Enlightenment" used around here. It may be that we'd all be better off trying to excise self-belief, and experience rigpa; however, what Fitter seems to be saying in his narrative of his experience (which is not prescriptive in any way), is that ultimately, all experience is experience, period. Kenneth has to my recollection made similar kinds of comments, that even the most luminous, or the most exalted, or the most mundane experience boils down to sensation. It's a bit of a buzzkill for those of us who may be pursuing something better, but that's what the man (Kenneth) says, and I find it coming to mind as I read the OP's account.
I think the argument I'm trying to make is: if there is still a sense of self, there is still delusion. Incrementally ridding our minds of this delusion reduces our capacity for suffering. As long as this delusion exists in our minds, it doesn't make pragmatic sense to consider ourselves fully enlightened. Therefore, models or views that place a realization of "all experience is experience" and so on as markers of full enlightenment--rather than the end of all delusion--are un-pragmatic and potentially a hinderance if one can achieve this "enlightenment" and still have a sense of self. 
lama carrot top::
Fitter Stoke:-- Timus --:Paweł K:… I am not feeling Arhat-class quality from Fitter

Fitter Stoke:… But in case you are tempted to reason that I think I'm an Arahant - I do not think I'm an Arahant. …

I'm guessing whenever the transmissions from Planet Pawel are finally decoded, they'll turn out to be in keeping with the mission of DhO.

Lol!  Your sense of humour clocks in at 4th path anyway.
It's disappointing to see people condoning this kind of hurtful behaviour (towards both Pawel and Jenny). Whatever realization Fitter has achieved is hardly worth our attention if it makes so little difference as regards human suffering.
Chris J Macie::
But then, I don't get the necessity of his/her finding it necessary to assert these disclaimers?
Both of the quotes you've used there are from Fitter's original post, Chris. I only wrote what's highlighted in red in the post you're replying to.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 12:15 PM as a reply to B. B.
We seem to have polarized in this thread, with Fitter and admirers of his OP in one corner and Jenny, Pawel, and B. B in the other. People seem to have greater or less toleration of certain behaviors by others depending on which corner they occupy; for example, I tend to be more sympathetic towards Fitter, so I laugh at his tweaking of Pawel, whereas B. B thinks Fitter's wit is grounds for people discounting what he says. Unfortunately, there are some issues that would benefit from a discussion, but it's hard to make the headway we would like (although I do see some progress in spite of this dynamic).

One such issue: the MCTB orthodoxy approach vs. the multiple good models approach. Jenny seems to endorse regarding MCTB as a reference point at the very least, in order to avoid confusion. She has a point, although Daniel himself claims he is not trying to lay down an authoritative model to the exclusion of others. I guess Jenny would agree with that, as long as people are clear about what they mean when they talk about paths.

The subject of the thread is a narrative that describes one person's experience. Does it fit with MCTB? In certain ways yes, in other ways not so much, although I gather that point is debatable. Is it important that it do that, or not? B. B thinks the OP has further work ahead of him, eliminating self. Pawel agrees, but elaborates by saying that OP could use some attention to chakras. I would pause to ask, is this part of the MCTB model? I don't see it in the edition I read, although Daniel may have more to say in the 2nd edition (Jenny would know better than the rest of us). In any case, Fitter has received some advice, whether asked-for or not.

Noah is working with what seems to be another model entirely, which I could say reflects the experience of a number of people who post on AN. When I originally posted a long description of my own path(s) (since deleted), it was in an effort to clarify for myself the difference between MCTB and the work I have done with my teachers. I find it extremely confusing, sometimes to the point of distress, to have two such related yet divergent models out there. I have seen some similar admissions of distress in Noah's posts on DhO. This particular question is not necessarily one that can be addressed on this thread, if at all, but I have a perverse inclination to try to find out what's what. Which is rather silly, of course (I mean, how can anyone do that?), but one thing I really admire about Daniel's recent postings is that he is putting out there what he thinks, and saying this is what I mean by paths 1-4, although I recognize others may differ. I would love to be able to do the same some day. I expect that it could take years, and that's okay.

I managed to get depressed reading and processing all this stuff yesterday. Depression for me follows a sense of overwhelm, a feeling that I can't make sense out of something important. But yet another issue keeps popping up among posters: people will tell each other that such-and-such tone, or wording, or behavior proves that this or that yogi is not an arahant, not 4th path, not awake, not enlightened, not free of ego, and so on. In the privacy of my own home I have nurtured similar thoughts about various people who've annoyed me on here. Then I think that my being annoyed proves I'm not really awake or whatever.

So, to conclude: please, people, let's figure out what we're trying to do in response to Fitter's post. I thought it was wonderful. The "trance of sorrow" bit resonated with some of my own experiences. Is it the Last Word about full enlightenment? Fitter has not offered it as such. What then can we do in response? There are plenty of ways we can support one another's practice and journey in response. Perhaps Noah and I can try to solve our conundrum of what path we're at. I haven't read all of Noah's stuff, but will do so because I sense a real kindred spirit here. Others can legitimately point out where they see Fitter in relation to their own attainments, or to an ideal they have in mind (although I would hope that people do so without being unnecessarily condescending). He can choose to respond, or not, keeping in mind that this is a discussion, not an interrogation. I will leave it here for now.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 1:52 PM as a reply to B. B.
What if the fruits of practice are not, as seems to be assumed here, model-able? What if the mind and how it adapts to mind training practices is malleable and depends as much on the nature of the training as it does the nature of the mind? What if the jewel we call "enlightenment" has not one, or two, or four, or even sixteen, but thousands upon thousands of facets?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 3:29 PM as a reply to B. B.
Completing three cycles of insight to get to 3rd path seem to me rather silly criteria
Where are you getting this criterion from? I've never seen Daniel say that MCTB 3rd path = 3 completed cycles of insight.
Being slightly more strict in path definition I could say that if you are 3rd path when there is just no possibility of doing anything. It is seen through completely and if there is even slightest idea of moving your hand then it is not yet 3rd path, not even close.
Well, I can still think about moving my hand before actually moving it. There's just no sense of intending or doing. Like when I try to deliberately move my gaze around in random directions, it all happens spontaneously, without any sense of doing or needing to initiate an action before it occurs.
As for 4th path if there is anything that could be identified as "sensation" then it is not yet 4th path. 
I can intellectually see why the concept of a sensation is empty. I definitely wouldn't say I've fully integrated the emptiness of sensations into my everyday experience though.
I understand you believe to be 4th path after very fast progress. Frankly to me this sounds kinda ridiculous. But I do not say 'no', maybe you have experienced something profound which made you think that way. Having rather intense experiences and pretty fast progress myself I am not rejecting possibility to do all of this much much faster if actual practice was involved. It is however not really helping anyone if you just claim path and do nothing to help others get it. And if it is not helping anyone then as enlightened as you might think you are it is totally meaningless. 
I just wanted to show that the MCTB model didn't hold up for my experience, or wasn't detailed enough to disqualify me from 4th path if it did. The intent was to encourage those who think they are beyond MCTB 4th path and who still notice a sense of self to drop the idea that they are fully enlightened and get back to work. It's also yet another account showing the MCTB model to be inadequate, and so should cause people to reconsider whether it's worth using and discussing, or hopefully cause Daniel to provide more detail on it sooner rather than later.

I definitely made astonishingly fast progress, which is perhaps another reason to question the validity of the MCTB model if I can honestly say that I reached 4th path (to the extent that it's described in the Revised 4th Path model section of MCTB ) in such a short amount of time. I might have thought it a ridiculous claim too at one point. My best guess is that contemplative ability works on a bell curve and we can't just right people off just because they seem to be extreme outliers. I also suspect that I had done 99% of the work towards Stream Entry in previous lifetimes, owing to the uncanny way it all unfolded for me in an almost inevitable way.
BTW. As for Fitter's last post. I actually like it, it is genuinely funny 
Well Jenny clearly wasn't so appreciative of the comment he made about her, so we must refrain from all harsh speech, as we can't be certain whether it will be taken as amusing or as offensive.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 3:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What if the fruits of practice are not, as seems to be assumed here, model-able? What if the mind and how it adapts to mind training practices is malleable and depends as much on the nature of the training as it does the nature of the mind? What if the jewel we call "enlightenment" has not one, or two, or four, or even sixteen, but thousands upon thousands of facets?

In that case, do we get to choose what we want to have happen? Suppose I want to optimize for a sense of union with God. I guess certain techniques would bring about such an experience, but would that constitute clear seeing? I'm not saying it wouldn't; in fact, what I might wish at this point is for a feeling of union with the divine that would never go away. Kenneth said he got such an experience of universal consciousness, but then after awhile, on further examination, he came to realize that there was no more truth-value to that experience than to any other, so he reluctantly let it go. 

So, how big a tent is there? Suppose I said that my God told me that gay people are committing mortal sin, and therefore I as an enlightened being must do everything in my power to eliminate this scourge. There are many people who take this as their mission, unfortunately. Is there a way to discern what spiritual attainments are supportable? In MCTB Daniel lists models and comments on each one. It's not just those that are obviously destructive, but also those that appear to be wonderful, but have unseen destructive shadows, that he criticizes. Pawel is criticizing Fetter's attainments as incomplete. Now B. B is coming out and saying there are inadequacies to the MCTB model. All of this is as it should be, in the interests of good discussion. Maybe, as Shinzen has said, we will get better, more complete information for better, more complete maps and models.

@B. B: Jenny didn't like Fitter's comment about her; I would also say that Jenny's comments to Noah and to Fetter were condescending and insulting, and even if they were unperturbed by it, I was offended (not being an arhat), and I can imagine lurkers would be unwilling to post about their experiences if they thought they would be running into such a buzzsaw. But as Daniel pointed out, we all have to take care of ourselves, within limits, of course. 

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/22/15 3:55 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What if the fruits of practice are not, as seems to be assumed here, model-able? What if the mind and how it adapts to mind training practices is malleable and depends as much on the nature of the training as it does the nature of the mind? What if the jewel we call "enlightenment" has not one, or two, or four, or even sixteen, but thousands upon thousands of facets?

I've been wondering this, too (for the past five years!), so I will start a new thread for it.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 6:36 AM as a reply to B. B.
Nice but not deep enough for 3rd path ^_^
Well regardless, the point is that there was nothing in Daniel's criteria in MCTB, and also here, that seemed to disqualify me from 4th path. 
How do you conceptualize emptiness?
I don't think it's worth getting into a discussion of this. For one thing, this idea of 4th path meaning you don't identify anything as a sensation seems to be coming from your own interpretation. This is again beside the point I'm trying to make.
This arrogance will be large obstacle to overcome to gain true wisdom =(
I know because I consider myself some sort of dharma genius too... I hear and see mentation processes starting in my brain and got most of insight such as non-duality, 3C, etc doing my own practices reading no dharma books. I am actually more arrogant than you are, LOL
There is nothing in the passage you quoted that can be justifiably considered arrogance. I was trying to counter your accusation that my claim was ridiculous purely because of how quickly I made progress, I wasn't trying to boast. 
This what Fitter wrote here to Jenny is not even close to his 'possibilities', believe me XD XD
What he is capable of saying doesn't have any bearing on whether he was right to say something potentially hurtful. 

Laurel Carrington:
@B. B: Jenny didn't like Fitter's comment about her; I would also say that Jenny's comments to Noah and to Fetter were condescending and insulting, and even if they were unperturbed by it, I was offended (not being an arhat), and I can imagine lurkers would be unwilling to post about their experiences if they thought they would be running into such a buzzsaw. But as Daniel pointed out, we all have to take care of ourselves, within limits, of course. 
Apologies if it seemed like I was condoning her behaviour. I don't see why any sort of insulting, ad hominem attacks--however mild they might seem to some--should be tolerated. 

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 7:41 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
You cannot really claim anything not being able to recognize and describe it. Most people describe it in such a way like they were only reading about it somewhere. Genuine experiences and realizations are easily recognizable and while there are differences in how things are described and even depth of realizing it main content is revolving around the same basic issues.

Yes, this is the two-edged sword of pragmatic dharma as implemented originally by MCTB, then here on DhO and all the other related family of message boards.

The great thing about pragmatic dharma is that it is available to everyone. The bad thing about pragmatic dharma is that it is available to everyone.





RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 8:03 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
In that case, do we get to choose what we want to have happen? Suppose I want to optimize for a sense of union with God. I guess certain techniques would bring about such an experience, but would that constitute clear seeing? I'm not saying it wouldn't; in fact, what I might wish at this point is for a feeling of union with the divine that would never go away. Kenneth said he got such an experience of universal consciousness, but then after awhile, on further examination, he came to realize that there was no more truth-value to that experience than to any other, so he reluctantly let it go. 

Good morning, Laurel!

What is "clear seeing"? I'm not sure it exists in an absolute sense. I don't perceive any ground on which we can all stand and say, in unison, "Halleleuah, this is the truth, the one true way!"

Everything, including the dharma, is mediated by mind. There is simply no way out of that box. So what we decide to practice has a definite effect on what we get as a result. If we are Zen we practice in way that optimizes for non-dual realization. Guess what? That's what Zen practitioners generally obtain. If we are doinf vipassana we practice in a way that optimizes for a microscopic peek at the process of perception. Guess what? That's generally what vipassana practitioners get.

I think we do get to choose, after a fashion, what we get out of practice.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 9:25 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Good morning to you too, Chris! This question comes up for me from time to time. Thanks for the clarification. I'll try to wrap my brain around your response. 

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 10:38 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
In that case, do we get to choose what we want to have happen? Suppose I want to optimize for a sense of union with God. I guess certain techniques would bring about such an experience, but would that constitute clear seeing? I'm not saying it wouldn't; in fact, what I might wish at this point is for a feeling of union with the divine that would never go away. Kenneth said he got such an experience of universal consciousness, but then after awhile, on further examination, he came to realize that there was no more truth-value to that experience than to any other, so he reluctantly let it go. 

Good morning, Laurel!

What is "clear seeing"? I'm not sure it exists in an absolute sense. I don't perceive any ground on which we can all stand and say, in unison, "Halleleuah, this is the truth, the one true way!"

Everything, including the dharma, is mediated by mind. There is simply no way out of that box. So what we decide to practice has a definite effect on what we get as a result. If we are Zen we practice in way that optimizes for non-dual realization. Guess what? That's what Zen practitioners generally obtain. If we are doinf vipassana we practice in a way that optimizes for a microscopic peek at the process of perception. Guess what? That's generally what vipassana practitioners get.

I think we do get to choose, after a fashion, what we get out of practice.
Hallelujah Chris, this sub thread is awesome, it seems like a direction that can bring clarity.  Hopefully labels, the attached practice, the expected results can be widely known.  Then it's just a question of what is our personal suffering, best applying the indicated practice.

My personal interest here on DhO is Vipassana, which I hope can be accurately summarized as practicing "equanimous awareness of the 3 characteristics of present moment sensate events".

It seems to me that all humans gain something from Vipassana as described as above.  They gain equanimous awareness of the present moment events of life.

It's a telling indication of human nature that this simple recipee gets so complicated.

I wonder, am I being too simplistic?  Is there another label for this simple framing?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 11:10 AM as a reply to matthew sexton.
I have a totally different view of what an attainment is, which may or may not undercut or sort of predate-in-the-reasoning-process, many of the points in this thread.

My opinion is that all valid meditation techniques provide a pathway to key moments (whether detected or not by individual yogis or the entire tradition) which disrupt the entire structure of the mind/emotional/energetic system.  The point that I would make is that these disruption moments cause rippling waves of after-effects.  These wavelike after-effects are what might be called shifts in baseline pereception.  

If there was any evidence at all that permanent, solid, static perceptual background shifts could occur that would never change, regardless of the events in one's life, than the most enlightened modern humans on record would not all have fallen prey to sexual, financial and physical abuse of their followers.  

The point is that baseline is an average of daily-life, perceptual, quality.  The idea of being non-dual, no-sense-of-separate-observer, even when legitimate conventional emergencies occur or in times of vast emotional turbulance, seems to not be true to me.  It is still worth getting though!

So yeah, this is my idea: Enlightenment is a shifting, adapting, state of mind.  Enlightenment is liquid and gas, not solid.  Trying to attain any state of mind whose qualities could always-and-forever be described with the same five phrases is foolish.  Trying to attain powerful moments of energetic shift whose after-effects on the mind will be there more often than they will not, is worthwhile.

I don't want a static attainment that I can always depend on.  I want, as might be said by Ken McLeod or Suzuki Roshi, "a firm, way-seeking mind."  I want to grow stronger, grow more capable of manifesting, creating and expressing, all within the context of deep, clear-seeing, even if that deep-clear seeing is deeper sometimes than others.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 11:15 AM as a reply to Noah.
Well, then, what do we do about Daniel's definition of 4th path as no change? It shook me to read that when I first did, and continues to be confusing to me. Yet I think I have at least an idea of what he's saying, not that I'm anywhere near that place.

My practice technique seems to have started with vipassana (following a period of gaining concentration), then moved to jhana practice, and now seems to be a Zen-style "just sitting" technique. I have for the time being taken the view that this is probably the best thing at this moment, because it is what draws me. I have a meeting with my teacher next week and I'll see what she says.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 11:40 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
I'm not sure what to do with the idea that there is no change.  

One interesting counterpoint-of-reference for me is the Stephanie Nash-Shinzen Young interview where he describes his baseline perception, saying that any day he might go from the most rigpafied, nondual perception possible to the most embedded, impassioned, dualistic perception possible.  The only difference is that he has no preference whatsoever between the two.

That is sort of my definition of 4th Path, embodying that "one taste", all the time.

In one of the Hamilton Project Podcasts, Owen Becker talks about how there are still sensations of self, they just are "no problem." 

In another Shinzen video, Shinzen tells how Maezumi roshi defined enlightenment as the destruction of the difference between enlightenment and non-enlightenment.  

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 12:14 PM as a reply to Noah.
Interesting. Is Shinzen pointing to a dual experience without a sense of self ? I'm imagining something like a first-person shooter game, very intense but we never believe we are the character.

Another interpretation might be like Confucius implied - there is a point in moral training where there is no longer a need to monitor behavior as the habits are reliable. So in this case there is no fear of experiencing a self with the suffering that often ensues. 

Could the "always on" non-dual experience be a form of bypassing... Did the Buddha make a big deal of non-dual perception of phenomena ? Could that be one more attachment to loose.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 1:35 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Everything, including the dharma, is mediated by mind. There is simply no way out of that box. So what we decide to practice has a definite effect on what we get as a result. If we are Zen we practice in way that optimizes for non-dual realization. Guess what? That's what Zen practitioners generally obtain. If we are doinf vipassana we practice in a way that optimizes for a microscopic peek at the process of perception. Guess what? That's generally what vipassana practitioners get.

I think we do get to choose, after a fashion, what we get out of practice.
This is something I struggle with a lot. How would we know if this were the case, or if it were preselection? I.e. that folks who like the Zen flavor of nondual realization are the only stick with Zen long enough to get results that, surprise, are Zen flavored? But if you took someone that would naturally feel aversion to what Zen was selling, say a guy with natural inclinations to a devotional Hindu type practice, and somehow made him stick with heavy Zen methods for a few decades - would he get Zen or Hindu results?

That concept (Adyashanti's, I think) about head, heart, and gut realization keeps popping up for me lately. I wonder if the head folks (most of DhO) pick the head methods and end up with head realization.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 1:46 PM as a reply to Mark.
In my experience there is no change in what I perceive. The grass is still green, the rain makes me wet, I cry when I'm terribly sad, I laugh if something is funny. What is changed is the relationship that I have with all of eperience. It is not me. I do not identify with it, I am not defined by it, I have no stake in the outcomes, it just is what is IS, and IS is a great way to describe IT.

All these "things" in my experience are part of the processes that arise and pass with amazing complexity as each moment plays out. On top of all that, the ways of perceiving these "things" also arise and pass - there are many lenses that are applied at various times: the non-dual lens, the vipassana dependent origination lens, the good ol' embedded-as-all-get-out lens, and so on.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 2:51 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
I'm not sure what to do with the idea that there is no change. 
I think it's a conceptual, verbal sticking point that can be bypassed.  "It's been this way for so long, I take it for granted, and little disappointments are no big deal" is certainly achievable and valuable.  Kinda like you said above..

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/23/15 2:55 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
In my experience there is no change in what I perceive. The grass is still green, the rain makes me wet, I cry when I'm terribly sad, I laugh if something is funny. What is changed is the relationship that I have with all of eperience. It is not me. I do not identify with it, I am not defined by it, I have no stake in the outcomes, it just is what is IS, and IS is a great way to describe IT.

All these "things" in my experience are part of the processes that arise and pass with amazing complexity as each moment plays out. On top of all that, the ways of perceiving these "things" also arise and pass - there are many lenses that are applied at various times: the non-dual lens, the vipassana dependent origination lens, the good ol' embedded-as-all-get-out lens, and so on.

Nice Chris!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 2:15 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
In my experience there is no change in what I perceive. The grass is still green, the rain makes me wet, I cry when I'm terribly sad, I laugh if something is funny. What is changed is the relationship that I have with all of eperience. It is not me. I do not identify with it, I am not defined by it, I have no stake in the outcomes, it just is what is IS, and IS is a great way to describe IT.

All these "things" in my experience are part of the processes that arise and pass with amazing complexity as each moment plays out. On top of all that, the ways of perceiving these "things" also arise and pass - there are many lenses that are applied at various times: the non-dual lens, the vipassana dependent origination lens, the good ol' embedded-as-all-get-out lens, and so on.
Hi Chris,

This seems similar to what I described as the Confucius experience - there is little (maybe no) fear/stress through self consciousness. You are still acting in the world so I assume those actions are the result of habits and reactions. I also assume your behavior would be different if you were experiencing the fear/stress of personal responsibility for those actions.

I'm guessing that the fear/stress changes our behavior in a number of ways. A lot of the changes could be negative. But I doubt it is all negative all the time. For example Confucius wrote of reaching that stage of stress free behavior after many decades (I'm trying to remember if he was 60 or 70 years old by that time).

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 7:21 AM as a reply to Mark.
Hello. Mark.

I'm a bit confused by your question and could use some clarification. Are you assuming I carry no responsibility for what actions I might take that affect other human beings? How do you define "self-consciousness?" 

FWIW -- I see no way to avoid being alive and not having any influence on others, unless it would be to live as a hermit in a remote cave somewhere. No matter what our level of realization or spiritual accomplishment we're human beings and we all are influenced by, and by our actions affect, the things around us. That's different than having no stake in the processes that make up our experience. 

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 8:46 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Hello. Mark.

I'm a bit confused by your question and could use some clarification. Are you assuming I carry no responsibility for what actions I might take that affect other human beings? How do you define "self-consciousness?" 

FWIW -- I see no way to avoid being alive and not having any influence on others, unless it would be to live as a hermit in a remote cave somewhere. No matter what our level of realization or spiritual accomplishment we're human beings and we all are influenced by, and by our actions affect, the things around us. That's different than having no stake in the processes that make up our experience. 
Hi Chris,

I'd like to understand your experience. I'm guessing from your description there is nobody to take responsibility for your actions based on "I have no stake in the outcomes, it just is what is IS"

Yes it is with other people that I was thinking about responsibility.

Defining self-consciousness is a tough one, but should be possible to define it in one way for a certain context. In this discussion I relate it to to something like the super-ego. From wiki: The super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways. So being self-conscious would be related to conscience in regards to feeling remorse for some actions.

By "personal responsibility" I was referring to having no stake in the outcomes, so for exmaple if you act in a way, that has what some would consider negative consequences, I guess you don't feel remorse as IT just IS ? 

I'm most interested in understanding how the change in your perception of experience is changing your behavior.

Sorry for the poorly worded questions. It is about your experience and I hope I'm not coming across as judgemental. 




RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 12:57 PM as a reply to B. B.
Laurel:
I would also say that Jenny's comments to Noah and to Fetter were condescending and insulting, and even if they were unperturbed by it, I was offended (not being an arhat), and I can imagine lurkers would be unwilling to post about their experiences if they thought they would be running into such a buzzsaw. But as Daniel pointed out, we all have to take care of ourselves, within limits, of course. 

Consider that, sometimes, to take offense is to give offense.

I meant nothing offensive or condescending in my remarks to either Fitter or Noah. They were good questions, delivered directly, and people who have claimed the equivalent of MCTB 4th path have messaged me to say so and to elaborate, particularly on my point about the emptiness of language, deconstruction, etc. 

I asked intellectually clarifying questions of Fitter Stoke, and I offered propositions from my knowledge of linguistics and philosophy, out of a geniune desire to understand his experience of awakening and to clarify what this had to do with MCTB(2) 3rd path criteria since the title of the post called on Daniel because of Daniel's latest lowered BOOM regarding those criteria.

I was also moving from my experiential shift to luminosity as a so-far abiding change in the perceptual level, a change that has effects reaching far beyond some mode of apprehending percepts. So far, I don't experience luminosity as a shift that is sometimes there, sometimes not. So far, it does not seem to be a "mode" or a "lens." I'm just being honest about my experience so far on this path.

One of my main points, or pleas, was simply that people clarify which model they are using when they speak to "paths." It is clear now that Ron Crouch has a different attainment model than Daniel. So it simply aids communication and understanding if we know. In Fitter Stoke's case, I was trying to figure out if he was saying he had MCTB 3rd happen, whether he has a different model of 3rd, or whether he skipped 3rd and went straight from 2nd to 4th. I was trying to understand. He referenced going through the "same territory" as MCTB 3rd but not matching Daniel's latest criteria drop for 3rd. So, logically, I was trying to understand, trying to listen to Fitter, to understand in what way this was indeed still the same territory if it didn't have the criteria Daniel dropped.

I hope that clarifies. I wasn't attacking Fitter's story as somehow disingenuous or not profoundly life-altering; I was seeking to clarify which model and what the terms/metaphors were going to be governing this conversation, this attempt to communicate. 

Conceptually, I understand what Fitter is saying about there being no "outside" to experience from which the enlightened individual might look in and ask, "Am I enlightened?" I've heard Daniel speak in similar terms, and whatever that is, I don't have that yet. However, I admit, given this luminosity thing that I have going on all the time, with no "off" mode, that I'm having trouble understanding how there could be enlightenment but no perceptual change that was the new baseline of experience. Fitter stated, if I'm understanding correctly, that there was no such permanent change in perception at what he is calling 3rd path. So I was wondering, of course, how he then defined 3rd path, and also if he got those permanent perceptual changes at fourth. He does say, I think, that he got what others call luminosity at 4th.

I'm a no-nonsense type of intellectual, often direct and blunt, and, as I had lost sleep for 4 nights in a row, plus two weekends in a row, much of which was due to work on MCTB, I was trying to get my thoughts out quickly so that I could return to this work, for this community. That may have come across as abruptness, which is unfortunate in hindsight, but there was nothing personal in my comments at the level of intent.

If anyone or everyone wants to get worked up over my "behavior," well that is always an option. I am not sure how productive it is to concentrate on Jenny as this horrible human being, as someone with major character flaws and a mean streak. No one in my personal life describes me that way. I'm a shy, sensitive person with a good heart. If people want to dissect my character on this thread in order to "take offense" and register that "offense," then I will choose to direct my attention to more positive pursuits than to similarly contract around attainment wars, or perceived attainment wars.

To answer honest intellectual queries with an attack on my character in general, however, is against the rules of this board, period. I am the person who suggested and drafted the language of that rule against ad hominem attack back when I was appointed a moderator of this board, so do think on that basis that I have an idea what it means.

Now, can we all play nicely together? We are talking about awakening here. It is supposed to have something to do wisdom and compassion. Can we give each other the benefit of a doubt just a bit more, that we are good people with sincere intentions?

Thanks for listening and considering,

Jen

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 2:43 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

I'd like to understand your experience. I'm guessing from your description there is nobody to take responsibility for your actions based on "I have no stake in the outcomes, it just is what is IS"

Mark, I'm responsible for the actions I take that affect other people. Experience is not an either/or proposition. There are quite a few frames of reference from which we can observe our experience. I think I made it clear up-thread that what I perceive has not changed at all. What has changed is my relationship to those experiences. Waking up is not an abandonment of responsibility, morality or ethics.

In regard to the "who" that's responsible and how that is observed - dual and non-dual, self and not-self, occupy the same mind. These are frames of reference, not binary modes of operation or existence that once invoked over ride all other ways of perceiving our experience forever.

About self-consciousness - I can better observe my own behavioral sh*t. A long meditation practice has exposed, painfully in most cases, a lot of my bad habits, over-reactions and other personal trendencies that have thus become visible and upon which I can have more effect. I'd prefer to use the phrase "self awareness" for this.

None of the changes I've been through have reduced my abiltity or inlination to care about others. In fact, I think the opposite is true. The amount of self-centered-ness that I used to maintain seems to have declined dramatically.


RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 3:23 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Here is one of my favorite passages and favorite threads from the DhO. 

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/4593289#_19_message_5098214

What do you all think of this in terms of "permanent perceptual shifts" as opposed to multi-mode "whatever is, is"? A very slippery paradox, no? To choose is itself in question here.

Daniel M. Ingram
At some point there will no longer really be either option, as the thing will just be the thing, the field as the field of sensations, of manifestation, of qualities, textures, colors, and aspects

call it True Self

call it no-self

regardless, it is happening, as it always has

and there are various modes of attention, as there always have been

and various modes of perception arising and vanishing, which may highlight various qualities over others, it seems

and there is nobody to decide that this full, rich, transient, direct, interdependent, causal field is either

but thoughts that it might be one or the other can still arise, as they did before

and in that direct perception, the divisionlessness of it eliminates the subtle sense of some thing that is choosing modes

though the sense of those apparent choices and decisions arising on their own may still occur

and this lack of a split, this lack of an illusion of some separate, permanent, continuous something that could truly stand outside of all of this and make such choices is seen through as part of the whole of the flickering, shimmering, transient thing

so look carefully at the patterns that seem to be deciding between those various modes and notice them and just get to know them, such that what is getting to know them and them are both clearly comprehended on their own, by themselves, aware/manifest where they are

and all modes will come to be clearer about having that same quality of directness, of where-they-are-ness, in a way that eliminates finally the sense that any of those specific modes is the one true ultimate mode, but all modes are truly the thing itself, as the qualities of fundamental perceptual truth are universal and apply to all states and qualities and modes of perception and attention without exception

spend time enjoying the nice ones if you wish, as all modes of attention reveal the universal truths if perceived clearly, so if the nice modes happen, perceive them clearly, and if the modes you don't like as much happen, perceive them clearly, though it is true that the most pleasant and unpleasant ones as well as the least interesting ones are not as easy for some to just see as they are, as our reactions of enjoyment, aversion and boredom may seem to cloud clear perception

but with clear comprehension from good practice, the fundamental truths reveal themselves, and a fluent clarity and facility in all states of manifestation becomes natural and habituated

such that apparent exceptions and finally the sense of fundamental options become finer and more subtle and may eventually vanish.

I find especially interesting here that Daniel seems to be citing (to Pawel K in this case) that perceptual "modes" and choices among them gradually, eventually cease as "the fundamental truths reveal themselves" across and as all variety of manifestation.

Is this the permanent-perceptual-change model, or the nothing-is-outside-this-manifest-fluxing-multiplicity model?

Hard to choose, isn't it? Hahahahaha!

What does this clarify, if anything, for you all?

Jenny

PS: I think I feel a Zen headache coming on. . . .

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 3:20 PM as a reply to Jenny.
I think it's a conceptual, verbal sticking point that can be bypassed.  "It's been this way for so long, I take it for granted, and little disappointments are no big deal" is certainly achievable and valuable.  Kinda like you said above..

@Matthew: Yeah, it seems most likely that the experiences of said individuals are equivalent, but that the as a 4th path baseline becomes the 'new normal', it fades into the background.  Is that what you mean?
It is clear now that Ron Crouch has a different attainment model than Daniel. So it simply aids communication and understanding if we know. 

@Jenny: This is all good, and very clear.  I am happy you are the editor for MCTB2.  I realize that I felt defensive and was projecting when I assumed that people might think Ron Crouch 4th Path<Daniel Ingram 4th Path.  Even though it doesn't matter, I just hope people understand that Ron Crouch is a guy who does this for a living, probably between 20 and 25 sessions a week.  It is likely that he knows what he is talking about, and that his 4 path model is probably very legit, and would probably hold up to scrutiny from a variety of buddhist teachers if they were to talk to him in depth.  I feel that anyone who works with him long enough and hard enough to meet his criteria deserves some respect.  So, lol, basically I am just being insecure, which I admit.  I have already explained his criteria, as I understand them.  There are probably a ton of sub criteria he has just from hearing the way I note, watching my mannerisms, hearing the mode of description of my perception as it evolves every 2 weeks, etc.  How could I ever accurately represent this expert viewpoint with my own words?

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 3:27 PM as a reply to Jenny.
What does this clarify, if anything, for you all?

@Jenny: This is a quote I can relate to.  I call it the "gut" feeling or "sense" of self.  Meaning, my abiding sense of faith that any of this reality has anything to do with anything other than pure causality, pure three characteristics, is gone.  There is only the confidence or knowing, in the background, that it all is what it is, what it always will be, and has been.

But thats part of my argument, why these discussions have frustrated me; the background faith or sense or gut-knowing has changed so so so so much, which has eliminated soooo much of my suffering, but that doesn't mean that for me, for Noah S., that the foreground must be seen like a freakin alien or superhuman.  We don't all have brains that start processessing stuff that way.  And when I make this kind of distinction, people are like, "oh you can't be more than 2nd path, even though you work with this person who does this for a living".....  .... it doesn't add up.

Maybe people are just different and process the paths differently and the foreground perceiving processes come out differently.  

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 3:33 PM as a reply to Jenny.
...such that apparent exceptions and finally the sense of fundamental options become finer and more subtle and may eventually vanish.


It's clear from my reading of that passage that Daniel is not staking a permanent claim or asserting an absolute truth. I like that passage. It coincides with my experience. It carefully captures the fact that various modes of perception persist and that one's view of one's experience is dependent on causes and conditions, just like everything else.

It's hard to grok but in the end everything just happens, and the very hardest part to grok is that this applies to that privileged view of our world that we hold so dear, the one in which "we" manage somehow to choose anything at all. It's not a surprise to me that that very view is typically the last domino to fall on the way to waking up.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 5:56 PM as a reply to Jenny.
@Jenny: I have neither attacked nor dissected your character, nor made any ad feminam remarks. I specially referenced your comments to Noah and Fitter as condescending and insulting. I have no idea what you are like in person, much less the qualities of your heart. 

ETA: I realize that there is a loss when people read messages without a living person's inflection of the voice or body language. There's the added difficulty of not knowing another's circumstances (being sleep deprived). So, all any of us can do is our best. Over and out. 

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 7:23 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:

Maybe people are just different and process the paths differently and the foreground perceiving processes come out differently.  

I wish we had a solid handle on how people are the same, as opposed to all this flappdoodle about how we're different. [meant in a nice tone of voice]

Like, the persistent feeling of having a swollen mid-brain, is does that always happen after stream entry, at least for a while? I'd love to talk to a bunch of people who had that experience.

Do the fetters wane in generally the same order, or not?

What part of our human apparatus is the same for all of us, ie, does it mean something to be human, when it gets down to specific practice and results?

yada yada, nice thread Fitter, or Noah, whoever started this. emoticon

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/24/15 7:43 PM as a reply to matthew sexton.
@Matthew: In my last skype session with Ron, he said that one thing he sees in common with all 4th path attainments (as he is defining it, which I realize I do not have full knowledge or understanding to accurately represent) is the dropping of the center of caring or preference for experience.

I see this notion reflected in Chris phrasing that the relationship to all experience changes.

I also see it reflected in the other examples I listed earlier.

I think its a good, very strong and relevant, common thread, to cut through the flapdoodling; is there preference for some experiences over others; are the not-self sensations preferred over the selfing ones; if there are senses of centerpoint or volition, are they seen as deserving special attention in any way; is there a feeling of completeness or totality to the moment, including all internal and external objects?

My working definition is similar to Kenneth's, as I've heard him say it; enlightenment is seeing experience as process, and suffering is the wish for our experience to be anything other than what it is, moment by moment.

Edit: post-script: Ron also sees obvious divergent sub-strains of 4th path experience, i.e. some people see it as the end of their spiritual journey, others see it as only the beginning of all other developmental possibilities opening up to them, some people have super strong, constant, surface-level, obvious, perceptual effects, for others it is only a more subtle, background sense that changes.

I don't like writing a lot of what Ron tells me since I pay him for that information and experience-based perspective, but I realize that it is necessary to establish my views with evidence if I am to continue logging my practice and making claims on the Dho.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 2:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark --

I'd like to understand your experience. I'm guessing from your description there is nobody to take responsibility for your actions based on "I have no stake in the outcomes, it just is what is IS"

Mark, I'm responsible for the actions I take that affect other people. Experience is not an either/or proposition. There are quite a few frames of reference from which we can observe our experience. I think I made it clear up-thread that what I perceive has not changed at all. What has changed is my relationship to those experiences. Waking up is not an abandonment of responsibility, morality or ethics.

In regard to the "who" that's responsible and how that is observed - dual and non-dual, self and not-self, occupy the same mind. These are frames of reference, not binary modes of operation or existence that once invoked over ride all other ways of perceiving our experience forever.

About self-consciousness - I can better observe my own behavioral sh*t. A long meditation practice has exposed, painfully in most cases, a lot of my bad habits, over-reactions and other personal trendencies that have thus become visible and upon which I can have more effect. I'd prefer to use the phrase "self awareness" for this.

None of the changes I've been through have reduced my abiltity or inlination to care about others. In fact, I think the opposite is true. The amount of self-centered-ness that I used to maintain seems to have declined dramatically.


Hi Chris,

Thanks for your patience on this one. We probably have a few different definitions. I'm clear that you are responsible for the actions you take that affect other people. Does that mean that you do have a stake in the outcome ? Perhaps it is our definition of responsibility, a quick Google gives "the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one's power, control, or management."

We have a slightly different definition for "experience" it seems. I don't think we can observe experience, for exmaple the witness is not independent of experience, abiding in the witness will impact behavior. For me experience in the present moment is the totality of phenomena - there is nothing there to observe experience (any observer is part of the experience). We can observe the past and observe(imagine) the future.

We probably have different definition for perception also. You have a relationship with experience (this is dualism) and I would include that relationship as an aspect that is being perceived. I don't understand how you refer to dramatic changes in caring and better ability to observe along with no change in what you percieve. Maybe you are referring to perception of external phenomena detected by your senses because it seems your internal experience has changed a lot. For me we perceive phenomena, for example internal talk and external sound can be perceived as identical (e.g. when we misunderstand someone)

I like your point about "dual and non-dual, self and not-self, occupy the same mind" which seems in contradiction with some reports from people who have perceptual shifts that they believe will be permanent. Perhaps both options are possible, a mind that holds the paradox of "dual and non-dual" or a mind that will "switch" from one to the other (with a possibility of loosing that ability).

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 6:53 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
I don't like writing a lot of what Ron tells me since I pay him for that information and experience-based perspective, [...]

Hardcore/Pragmatic-Dharma is dead LOL
o__O

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 7:37 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark --

We have a slightly different definition for "experience" it seems. I don't think we can observe experience, for exmaple the witness is not independent of experience, abiding in the witness will impact behavior. For me experience in the present moment is the totality of phenomena - there is nothing there to observe experience (any observer is part of the experience). We can observe the past and observe(imagine) the future.

We probably have different definition for perception also. You have a relationship with experience (this is dualism) and I would include that relationship as an aspect that is being perceived. I don't understand how you refer to dramatic changes in caring and better ability to observe along with no change in what you percieve. Maybe you are referring to perception of external phenomena detected by your senses because it seems your internal experience has changed a lot. For me we perceive phenomena, for example internal talk and external sound can be perceived as identical (e.g. when we misunderstand someone)

Yes, Mark, I was trying my best to describe, without typing too much, what I experience assuming that it was evident from what I said that experience and the experiecer are all of a piece. But that is not the ONLY way that experience can be seen. As human beings we see our lives in several modes - we grow up with duality, thinking that "we" are observing what is "out there." We can, usually with a lot of effort, discover that there is no "out there" versus "in here." It's all the same.

I was not trying to define to a tee the concepts I was writing about. I assumed a certain level of agreement on that. My bad!


Please tell me how you observe the past. Maybe you mean remember the past? Langauge is a handicap in describing certain things, isn't it?

emoticon



RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 8:11 AM as a reply to Mark.
I like your point about "dual and non-dual, self and not-self, occupy the same mind" which seems in contradiction with some reports from people who have perceptual shifts that they believe will be permanent. Perhaps both options are possible, a mind that holds the paradox of "dual and non-dual" or a mind that will "switch" from one to the other (with a possibility of loosing that ability).

Thanks, Mark.

I have met and talked to quite a few people who I believe are awakened. I have yet to talk to anyone who claims that they have permanently lost the ability to see the world through a dualistic lens. I suspect the perceptual machanisms we're born with - five senses and mind - just are what they are and just work the way they work - we can't (yet?) turn a human being into an alien or a superhuman (using Noah's comments from another thread). There are people who believ
e that's what can happen. I'm open to the possiblity and would hope a living human being could report back from that territory.


RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 8:21 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:
Noah S:
I don't like writing a lot of what Ron tells me since I pay him for that information and experience-based perspective, [...]

Hardcore/Pragmatic-Dharma is dead LOL
o__O

I know the point that you're making, but do you really think I'm being unreasonable?  It took me 12 months to get from 1st nana to low eq, but only 2 months to get from low eq to SE entry once I started working with Ron, and each path after that was incredibly fast.  I have seen similar notions in the journals of Antero and Nikolai, who were working with Kenneth Folk at the time, presumably paying them.  Ron works through donation only, and if you can not afford to pay him, he requires one hour of service in your community in exchange for the service he is giving you.  

If your comment was truly only toungue-in-cheek, then I am on board with the humor; yes it does go against some of the basic ideas of our community.  However, if you're trying to subtly point out some flaw in the idea in paying for the most technical details and access to statistical trends that can't be found on the dho, even if that payment can be exchange-of-services (no actual money), then I would object.

Imagine, Bernd, if you did hardcore metta for another five or ten years, and then started helping others do metta, and then observed trends and stages of development for metta.  Imagine how hard it would be to explain those stages to others through text, and how much easier it might be through face-to-face coversation.  Now, add those hour-long conversations into your life as it is now (several a week), with a job/family/friends/etc., and tell me that you wouldn't want to set up some type of exchange with those who were on the recieving end of your perspective?

C'man bruh, its not unreasonable.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 8:28 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Please tell me how you observe the past. Maybe you mean remember the past? Langauge is a handicap in describing certain things, isn't it?

emoticon


I had in mind the idea of learning from past experiences. There is ceratinly an apsect of remembering but there can be a notion of being a 3rd party to the past experience. For example exploring what was going on in my own mind when that may not have been part of the original conscious experience. That is not possible in regards to present moment experience.

It is frustrating to get the vocabulary clear but perhaps better than talking in different languages. Seems we are in agreement on quite a bit.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 8:47 AM as a reply to Mark.
Seems we are in agreement on quite a bit.

Yes, I believe we are!


RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 3:23 AM as a reply to B. B.
B. B:
I suggest people on this forum who have bought into this view of full enlightenment should try to experience rigpa, and put that state to the test. I've entered it in circumstances where I was experiencing gross aversion, such as when holding my breath for a minute or more. In those moments, there was complete emptiness, a complete letting go, without any suffering. Many Tibetan Buddhist masters down through the centuries have claimed to have stabilizing this and made it permanent. So we can briefly experience what full enlightenment is like, it's not some nebulous thing that we can only guess at, and we have the precedent of many who have attained it. There even exists "secret biographies" of people like Dudjom Lingpa, containing descriptions of their inner life and visions as they traversed the entire path.
I was probably mistaken in calling this state rigpa. Going by what Omega Point writes here in his critique of Actual Freedom, what I was experiencing was the "base-of-all". Nevertheless, I'd just like to reiterate my point that accessing genuine rigpa is clearly a super-important achievement in that it can clear up any doubts about what full enlightenment is and isn't. I'm going to be making accessing it a priority in my practise and I urge Daniel and anyone else on this forum inclined towards fringe views on the subject to do likewise.
Edit: Fixed link. Thanks Matthew.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 5:18 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi, Chris,

Well, that isn't quite how I read his piece, which I just expanded and edited for Daniel's review for some privileged spot in his new edition, maybe the end of the introduction to the book.

When Daniel writes "may," I am pretty sure he means "will"--if and when we allow reality to show its "true nature." When he has written to me, for example, he has often written phrases such as, "What if everything were allowed to synchronize?" As in Zen, although it appears that he is merely suggesting an option or possibility, his words are actually practice instructions.

He says in the piece above that modes, states, options, and "lenses" will all arise as apparent options for an apparent "self,” just as they always have. True. However, the "fundamental" and "universal" difference that cuts across, through, and yet paradoxically as all is that, on the level of sensations, or percepts, they always already know themselves "at the level that makes the difference."

This "difference" that Daniel refers to, which he makes clear applies universally, transcending mere "modes" and cutting across true personal choice among modes, is none other than enlightenment. There is some difference, some permanent untangling of what was perception, and now, in some sense, is not perception--perception being a phenomenological function of subjects and objects.

Subject-identity has been seen through; object-identity has been seen through. The opposition, the dual, has been seen through, and cannot be un-seen-through. Duality has been seen all the way through, “to the very end” and “without exception”:

Daniel M. Ingram:
This knowing can be hardwired, become the way all sensate phenomena are perceived, which is to say perceive themselves, because it actually always was the way all phenomena were manifesting. This can finally be known directly and automatically—without exception and regardless of states, modes, chakras, insight stages, and all of that—because being the way things are is intrinsic to however the specifics manifest in all their rich occurrence.

With clear comprehension from good practice, the fundamental truths reveal themselves. A fluent clarity and facility in all states of manifestation becomes natural and habituated, so that apparent exceptions and, finally, the sense of fundamental options become finer and subtler and may, eventually, just vanish.

So, my understanding is that, although the enlightened person still functions in the relative, conventional world as before, experience is fundamentally changed, different, from what it was before awakening: It does not flip back and forth between nonduality and duality as if they were truly subsetted modes that a self could choose between and experience equally authentically. This piece by Daniel is a progression, and the final note is "vanish," meaning that the end, for 4th path attainment, is the cessation of any buying-into the appearence of mere "options" and "modes."

When the dualistic subject-object convolution is unknotted, it doesn’t re-knot unless there is more insight work to do. Such is my current understanding, anyway, of Daniel’s texts. How he himself would address these readings is an interesting prospect that I hope he will make manifest. emoticon

Along these lines, I'm curious: Do any of those of you who have attained 4th path still sense the Three Characteristics?

Interesting conversation,

Jenny

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 4:59 PM as a reply to B B.
the 'here' link is broken.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 8:56 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny --

When Daniel writes "may," I am pretty sure he means "will"--if and when we allow reality to show its "true nature." When he has written to me, for example, he has often written phrases such as, "What if everything were allowed to synchronize?" As in Zen, although it appears that he is merely suggesting an option or possibility, his words are actually practice instructions.

Parsing Daniels' meaning isn't the same as having the experience, in which case the meaning becomes pretty clear. Really. I had the same sorts of interpretations before IT happened.

Subject-identity has been seen through; object-identity has been seen through. The opposition, the dual, has been seen through, and cannot be un-seen-through. Duality has been seen all the way through, “to the very end” and “without exception”

Yep, once seen through it can't be reversed. But the ability to see everything as both, two sides of the same coin, remains.  I used to think that awakening would cause me to see only the absolute, the non-dual. Sort of like  what happens to Neo in the Matrix. But the reality of it is just not that way. This, right here right now, is the way perception works, without exception. Think about the way Daniel operates in the world. He still uses language. Language is dual by definition. Language relies on the perception of subject and object. This doesn't mean that the speaker/writer doesn't know and see, in a very deep, abiding and permanent way, that subject and object are not separate. It means that the awakened human being can see it both ways and, as a practical matter, live and operate in the same world as every other human being.

What Daniel is describing is the eventual seeing through, all the way to the very end, the singularly dualistic nature of our habitiual manner of human perception. That last bit, piercing through that thing we previously held very, very dear, unquestioning and unasailable, is a permanent shift in which we finally, unalterably, see that everything, absolutely everything, is on the same level playing field. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is in control, nothing perceives, nothing chooses.

You are interpreting Daniel's words in a way that I used to, very hopefully, interpret Daniel's words... until experience replaced interpretation. I was suprised at what happened. I laughed at the sheer absurdity of it. I felt I had been duped into making a huge investment of time and energy, years of my life, only to find that the reality of the thing had been right in front of me the whole time. Nothing had changed and yet everything had changed.

Nice discussion.


RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/25/15 8:56 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
BTW - I'm not sure there is just one version and have been clear about that here. I suspect we get what we optimize for as we practice, which I also think explains why different modes of practice from different sprititual traditions lead to different descriptions of the thing. I know others who claim to be awake who do not agree entirely with Daniel, or me, or Kenneth Folk, or anyone else for that matter. How to get there and exactly what we get are in some part matters for interpretation. That said, talking to someone for a time, interacting with them, can make it quite clear that there are in fact some experiences in common that make it obvoius that the other is, in same way, awake.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 12:32 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
I have a totally different view of what an attainment is, which may or may not undercut or sort of predate-in-the-reasoning-process, many of the points in this thread.

My opinion is that all valid meditation techniques provide a pathway to key moments (whether detected or not by individual yogis or the entire tradition) which disrupt the entire structure of the mind/emotional/energetic system.  The point that I would make is that these disruption moments cause rippling waves of after-effects.  These wavelike after-effects are what might be called shifts in baseline pereception.  

If there was any evidence at all that permanent, solid, static perceptual background shifts could occur that would never change, regardless of the events in one's life, than the most enlightened modern humans on record would not all have fallen prey to sexual, financial and physical abuse of their followers.  

The point is that baseline is an average of daily-life, perceptual, quality.  The idea of being non-dual, no-sense-of-separate-observer, even when legitimate conventional emergencies occur or in times of vast emotional turbulance, seems to not be true to me.  It is still worth getting though!

So yeah, this is my idea: Enlightenment is a shifting, adapting, state of mind.  Enlightenment is liquid and gas, not solid.  Trying to attain any state of mind whose qualities could always-and-forever be described with the same five phrases is foolish.  Trying to attain powerful moments of energetic shift whose after-effects on the mind will be there more often than they will not, is worthwhile.

I don't want a static attainment that I can always depend on.  I want, as might be said by Ken McLeod or Suzuki Roshi, "a firm, way-seeking mind."  I want to grow stronger, grow more capable of manifesting, creating and expressing, all within the context of deep, clear-seeing, even if that deep-clear seeing is deeper sometimes than others.

"...pretty consistant changes seem to appear".

".. you can jump right to point 'm' and stay there for the rest of your life."

Jeffery Martin, "The study of non symbolic conciousness" BG 224 interview.

Sorry for this isolated fragment, but I just ran across this and now I'm going to sleep. emoticon

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 10:15 AM as a reply to matthew sexton.
This is difficult stuff to talk about in text. The nature of the experience is not communicated easily, which is one reason why it's debated so fervently by so many people. Reading through what I've written here so far makes me cringe because I'm not doing a very good job.

emoticon

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 10:48 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
That said, talking to someone for a time, interacting with them, can make it quite clear that there are in fact some experiences in common that make it obvoius that the other is, in same way, awake.


I see degrees of awakeness. I can detect when someone is more awake than me. These are the people I pay attention to!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 10:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
This is difficult stuff to talk about in text.


Yes!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 1:50 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yep, once seen through it can't be reversed. But the ability to see everything as both, two sides of the same coin, remains.  I used to think that awakening would cause me to see only the absolute, the non-dual. Sort of like  what happens to Neo in the Matrix. But the reality of it is just not that way. This, right here right now, is the way perception works, without exception. Think about the way Daniel operates in the world. He still uses language. Language is dual by definition. Language relies on the perception of subject and object. This doesn't mean that the speaker/writer doesn't know and see, in a very deep, abiding and permanent way, that subject and object are not separate. It means that the awakened human being can see it both ways and, as a practical matter, live and operate in the same world as every other human being.

What Daniel is describing is the eventual seeing through, all the way to the very end, the singularly dualistic nature of our habitiual manner of human perception. That last bit, piercing through that thing we previously held very, very dear, unquestioning and unasailable, is a permanent shift in which we finally, unalterably, see that everything, absolutely everything, is on the same level playing field. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is in control, nothing perceives, nothing chooses.

You are interpreting Daniel's words in a way that I used to, very hopefully, interpret Daniel's words... until experience replaced interpretation. I was suprised at what happened. I laughed at the sheer absurdity of it. I felt I had been duped into making a huge investment of time and energy, years of my life, only to find that the reality of the thing had been right in front of me the whole time. Nothing had changed and yet everything had changed.

Nice discussion.

Actually, I think we are likely on the same page in the "final" (nonlinear) analysis. That is a very, very Zen piece Daniel wrote. I say that because Daniel also has lists of what he terms the "anagami traps." And the traps involve subtle attachment to deep insights, the notion that reality to going to acquire an additional gloss or lose some essential yuckiness at 4th path--he does address this condundrum as what occupied him for 6 years between 3rd path and 4th.

So I get that, at least conceptually and as a warning, a cautionary tale.

From the perspective of someone in the middle paths, though, there are meantime these shifts, and they do seem like a "big friggin' deal" from that side of things, some huge relieving difference.

But okay.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 2:03 PM as a reply to Jenny.
 I say that because Daniel also has lists of what he terms the "anagami traps." And the traps involve subtle attachment to deep insights, the notion that reality to going to acquire an additional gloss or lose some essential yuckiness at 4th path--he does address this condundrum as what occupied him for 6 years between 3rd path and 4th.

This is the sheer beauty of what we are doing here.  We have the experience of those before us who have been willing to be more verbally explicit than perhaps anyone in the past, with Daniel being the first trailblazer.  The communication lines of the internet, as well as the possibility of reacting to previous Western cultural versions of Buddhism, have made this possible (and obviously all of Daniel's remarkable individual qualities).  

This informational foreknowledge (i.e. "anagami traps") has the potential, no doubt, to quicken the path; not that it necessarily needs any quickening, as I think it is an integral one.

Anyhoo, just expressing gratitude for all the information that has been made available by Daniel and others.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 2:34 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Pawel, I took that post by Daniel, compiled the separate parts of it, edited it, rearranged it, and will present it to him for review as something that should be in a privileged spot in the 2nd edition--probably as a kind of inspirational invocation at the end of the introduction to the book as a whole. That's a very, very privileged spot, rhetorically.

He may feel that it is "too advanced" to go in the book intro and want it in the path models part instead. However, 99% of the time he does as his wise editor tells him to. emoticon

I'm thinking that the author's introduction to the book should include the following:
  • "A Clear Goal" as revised and edited
  • This brilliant little essay he wrote to me as part of a personal email--it is about "source" or "ground" as the nonsensate function of potential and how imaginary numbers in differential equations illustrate this aspect of our lives (wow)
  • This piece Daniel wrote to you in that thread
BTW, Pawel (and anyone else), please forgive this digression, but Daniel has given me the option of writing a signed Editor's Introduction to the edition, as well. I'm 99.9% likely to take up that offer. As a reader, what would you like to know about via this additional introduction to the revised and very expanded edition? I don't want to go into a bunch of boring details about what was done editorially. And I do have some definite ideas and even written letters to Daniel from which I could draw to construct an essay, but I may as well ask. This project has been a real life-changing opportunity for me, as I've had very intense and profound discussions with Daniel over nearly every passage of the book. 

And now my ADD is taking me off topic, for sure. If people want to write to me privately on that last matter, then you can email me at MCTB2_Editing@outlook.com rather than divert this thread further.

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 2:54 PM as a reply to Jenny.
As a reader, what would you like to know about via this additional introduction to the revised and very expanded edition?

I would like to hear about what it is like to talk to Daniel, and be on the recieving end of the workings of his brain directly.  Also, I think it would be good to express an appreciation for what we, as a 'community' (a term held-loosely, but held nonetheless), have, in terms of its ability to supplement more mainstream meditation teaching that is available.  Daniel was, after all, one of its founders.  

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/26/15 4:23 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Paweł K:
Jenny:

I hope that what Daniel wrote there will be included in MCTB2 in one or the other form because it is insight goldmine.
Daniel is definitely about quality over quantity in his DhO activity.
.....
thanks for that link. I feel like it opened a big door reading that. I might have to go read it again!

RE: Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel
Answer
6/28/15 11:10 AM as a reply to Noah.
I would like to hear about what it is like to talk to Daniel, and be on the recieving end of the workings of his brain directly.

emoticon

I can tell you that from my experience Daniel's in person demeanor is very friendly, very happy, and with a great sense of humor. I've been with Daniel on several occasions at three or four Buddhist Geeks conferences and surrounding activities, during meals and just to interact in group settings. I was honestly surprised at his outgoing nature after having known him only online for a number of years. I really like being around him. Last time we met it was during the Ebola crisis in October of last year and we had a great discussion on that topic, him being an ER phsyician and all. We also talk dharma, but he's very conversant on lots of other topics, too.