MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago at 6/20/15 8:58 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/20/15 8:58 PM

MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
I have been meaning to write this for a while and just saw Fitter's post so thought I would chip in.

There is always confusion about what exactly daniel Ingram means by 3/4th path - many claim 4th path but clearly are not functioning from the same level of insight as him.... I was confused about it for a while, and here are my current thoughts about clarifying it. Would be interested to know what others think.

IMO

There are 2 parts to the 4th path experience Dan talks about

1. transendence: knowing 100% that all "modes" are the same. Awakening, liberation.
Fitter describes this very beautifully in his recent post titled "Phenomenology of "3rd path" - response to Daniel", so I won't go on for too long. But this is the moment where one sees with certainty that however, whatever kind of seemingly self or no-self type expereince is occurring, it is still all the same thing. Now, there is no more "self" watching to see if any selfs or no-selfs are arising...  mind no longer reacts to different perceived "modes" of being, and there is no doubt about "awakening". It is no longer possible to worry about getting into "awake mode", and no longer possible to really try and do anything.

2. non-distraction: whatever the attention is doing, or contracting around (e.g. thoughts) there is ALWAYS enough attention on the rest of the sense field so that gross distraction does not occur, ever.
Gross distraction is typically when you totally lose yourself in thought, so that you forget you are even meditating. This is as opposed to subtle distraction which is where thoughts occur, sometimes long chains, but enough attention remains on the breath (or whatever) so that you don't lose track of things.
In daily life, e.g. when you are having a screaming match with someone, the attention does not totally contract and leap about blindly, at least some stays back in the body, so the whole situation remains a clear, non-dual expression of high-energy.


IMO, Daniel's attainment and description is for both (1) and (2). Most of the other people who claim 4th path are claiming just (1). I think this causes confusion when he talks about the sense of agencyless/luminosity being on 100% of the time.

Mahamudra emphasises not trying to attain (1) until one's concentration is strong enough that your recognition of rigpa (view of agencyless/luminosity) is more or less contstant through the days. At this point, and only at this point, they say you should then transcend rigpa VS non-rigpa. Otherwise, they say, you end up deluded with a lofty view.

I think this is especially important for pragmatic dharma followers.

The problem is that while Dan Ingram is a v strong concentration practicioner - (I think I read he maintained solid rigpa for 2 weeks solid before
his 4th path moment, where he did (1) transcended) - actually it is relatively easy with very poor concentration/meditation to acheive (1). 

Then someone with this attainment (1) -  they spend parts of the their day with their attention is blindly contracted, following thought after thought. Just because, when thoughts end, there is no resistance to them, it is ludricrous to say that one experiences emptiness/luminosity 100% of the time.

anyway, just some thoughts. If anything I think there can be a vibe here which is all about waking up with insight, which is great,  but the basic of just maintaining 'mindfullness' constantly is a vital part of it.
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Noah, modified 7 Years ago at 6/20/15 11:22 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/20/15 11:22 PM

RE: MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

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Really interesting material, thank you.  Learning a lot from this discussion theme, as of late.

I hesitate to believe in any attainment that involves something being fixed or locked in 100% of the time.  It seems to go against the understanding of the 3 C's.  

I also just think people's brains are wired differently.  It might be possible for one person to experience perfect rigpa 95% of the time and completely impossible for the next person to do it more than once in a blue moon.  Regardless, each person is capable of reaching their own, personal, 4th path, within the boundaries of the fact that the nature of that attainment will inevitably vary based on the individual.
B B, modified 7 Years ago at 6/21/15 5:48 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/21/15 5:48 AM

RE: MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

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Could you provide some quotes to back up everything you're saying here, because it's almost entirely new to me.
But this is the moment where one sees with certainty that however, whatever kind of seemingly self or no-self type expereince is occurring, it is still all the same thing. Now, there is no more "self" watching to see if any selfs or no-selfs are arising
If you're saying that the watching self is no longer there, I can relate to this. What is problematic for me though is the idea of placing an end point like MCTB 4th path before the ending of all perception of self on every level. This is because I know from my own experience that as long as there is still a sense of self, there is still potential to further reduce one's capacity for suffering. We need to remember to keep this pragmatic: there's no point in trying to achieve some sort of transcendent realization if it means letting go of conventional desires or goals--such as further reducing the sense of self--that are still worth having. 

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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago at 6/22/15 3:27 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/22/15 3:27 PM

RE: MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
@B B
here is a link to Daniel's defintion of 4th path
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2715189#_19_message_2718243

Ending of the sense of perception of self is a very murky concept that is defined differently by everyone.
For example, if the attention is moving/gathering at all, basically reacting to non-existent things in the sense field, some might say that that is a sense of "self". Others call the sense of self the emotional reactions to things, which I am not sure is helpful.

As I was referring to it in OP, I guess I exactly meant - any kind of self that identifies / believes in thoughts or actions, or a centre to experience. The kind of self that is confused by thoughts.

I agree with you about setting 4th path as an end point to insight (or an end point to anything other than some very very specific things), I don't think it is helpful.

@noah
thanks I have enjoyed your posts too. actually tho I pretty much disagree 100% with what you're saying in this case emoticon
IMO the value of the pragmatic dharma is precisely to state as clear as poss, in unambiguous, accessible terms, what is possible and how to do it.

in this case, all we are talking about is that the mind just does not seem able to get totally lost contracted in thoughts again, as a bit of the awareness is just habituated to be "introspective". Nothing is really locked anywhere, it's more like a pro piano player - he is very very very unlikely to make mistakes, and even if he does, he will correct them so quickly before anyone notices. Culadasa writes very well on exactly the meditative journey to get to this point, and the stages involved.
http://dharmatreasure.com/wp-content/uploads/LightOnMeditationHandout.pdf

and for sure, not everyone on earth will do this in this lifetime, nor will everyone awaken or anything else. But I don't know how helpful it is to think about these things.

peace
B B, modified 7 Years ago at 6/22/15 4:38 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/22/15 4:36 PM

RE: MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/20/15 Recent Posts
Ending of the sense of perception of self is a very murky concept that is defined differently by everyone.
It's also an integral element of Buddhist practise. And we don't have to worry about getting into precise definitions of the point at which it no longer exists. It's simply enough to perceive something that's clearly not self, such as a door, and then see if we notice any greater identification with the aggreggates than with that object. 
I think I read he maintained solid rigpa for 2 weeks solid before his 4th path moment
I'm highly skeptical that this ever happened. Could you provide a source for where he claims this?

As regards the 2 aspects of 4th path in your OP, I can relate to the first, but not really the second. At least not as a hard and fast rule. I get completely lost in thought much less often than I did alright, but being able to rule it out from ever happening would seem to depend more on one's development in concentration and mindfulness than in insight. This would throw another spanner in the works as then I would qualify as 4th path on all of Daniel's criteria in the link you provided, but not according to this particular proposed aspect of yours.
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Noah, modified 7 Years ago at 6/22/15 8:14 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/22/15 8:14 PM

RE: MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

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I think you're right, there's probably a common quality of permanent disembeddedness for all 4th pathers.  However, the degree to which one is self-aware of this quality might vary.  

That point matters a lot in my view because it effects how people evaluate their practice, which is what a lot of dho discussion is.
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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago at 6/23/15 3:36 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 6/23/15 3:36 PM

RE: MCTB 3rd/4th path observation

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
B. B:
Ending of the sense of perception of self is a very murky concept that is defined differently by everyone.
It's also an integral element of Buddhist practise. And we don't have to worry about getting into precise definitions of the point at which it no longer exists. It's simply enough to perceive something that's clearly not self, such as a door, and then see if we notice any greater identification with the aggreggates than with that object. 
I think I read he maintained solid rigpa for 2 weeks solid before his 4th path moment
I'm highly skeptical that this ever happened. Could you provide a source for where he claims this?




daniel ingram:

Dan Ingram:
I decided that I would allow no sensation anywhere in the entire wide sense field to go by without it being clearly known as it was during every single second of the day. It was a high standard, but strangely enough can actually be very closely approximated. It was sufficient to do the trick after about a week of doing that some 20+ hours per day. I remember attaining to a Fruition, and a few seconds later I noticed something about the entrance to it and the re-forming of the sense of a perceiver on the back side of it, and then suddenly the knot of perception flipped open, everything was the same and yet the perspective on it was completely different, and my vipassana problem, once I had stabilized in that understanding, was solved.

from http://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB+So+Who+the+Heck+is+Daniel+M.+Ingram/en


B.B:

As regards the 2 aspects of 4th path in your OP, I can relate to the first, but not really the second. At least not as a hard and fast rule. I get completely lost in thought much less often than I did alright, but being able to rule it out from ever happening would seem to depend more on one's development in concentration and mindfulness than in insight.
hey, yeah, this is exactly the point I am making. Most people have the insight that all is one selfless field, but not the concentration to remain "undistracted" constantly. I believe that Dan Ingram and a few others are at this level where they have noth, but most of the other people who claim mctb 4th path don't get this, and just have the 'insight' part. As a small point tho, even to separate "concentration" vs "insight" out like this is questionable.

The point of my post is just to point this out, that concentration/mindfulness are just as important as the "waking up" insights, and I think it is generally underappreciated how much of a beast in concentration Dan Ingram is, and how important this is if one wants to claim what he calls 4th path...

peace