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My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?

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Over last few years I have read a lot of books and listened to lots of videos on the subject of enlightenment, meditation and theories about big picture of reality and I've come to a point where I have no more questions. My mind once hungry with many questions about what, how, why, what if, etc. is hungry no more. Reading any more is not going to help, now all I must do is to focus on practice. I am very serious about reaching 4th path and this is how I plan to approach it:

- 1 hour meditation everyday, over time maybe extend it to 2 hours.

- first, work on achieving Access Concentration through observing breath

- after AC, switch to Self Inquiry (Ramana Maharishi's tyle) until I get to Stream Entry

- after SE, play with Jhanas (I was planning to go for first Jhana right after AC but I've found Daniel's post that it's easier to work on Jhanas after SE and since my priority is Enlightenment and Jhanas only extra bonus, I'll take this approach)

- reach at least first Jhana, maybe more. I'll see how it goes when I get there.

- After that, keep working on higher Paths until 4th Path.



What do you think about it?

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/24/15 6:17 AM as a reply to Michał G..
sounds like a plan.  so where are you now?  what have you been doing for practice?

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/24/15 6:45 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
I have been doing breath observation on and off, usually for 30 minutes but was never really consistent with it. For some short time I switched to self inquiry but I realised that like Daniel mentioned, it would be better to first work on AC because I was drifting off too much. I haven't even developed access concentration (my mind is very active, I am this kind of guy who likes to contemplate a lot). As for fancy experiences, not much really except maybe for lucid dreaming I practiced a bit when I was younger. I should also mentioned that similar to Daniel, I got naturally into dark night in my teens and it kind of continues. In MCTB model I'd say the highest I got was re-observation but I keep falling back.

The reason I choose self inquiry over vipassana, is because it seems more attractive to me and more natural. The "Who am I?" resonates with me deeply and this question is like my life's theme

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/24/15 9:30 AM as a reply to Michał G..
ok.  i too have a very active mind but find the self-inquiry path less helpful, especially in the beginning, than noting.  everyone is different though.  does the fact that that BIG question is your life theme mean that it is the most effective way forward?  that is a real question which only you can answer.  some people are hesitant to mix is up and try different technniques for fear of digging lots of holes instead of one DEEP one.  its a valid concern but i needed to try different methods to find one which worked for me through experience. 

noting really kept me pegged to the issue at hand.

have you done a retreat in any tradition?  it might be just the thing to get your practice kick-started.

peace

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/24/15 11:12 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
Yes, everyone is different and no, the fact that I find that BIG question magnetic does not mean that it is the most effective way forward. But I have to pick something and stick with it for some time. I tried both vipassana and self-inquiry and I've found that big question works much better at this stage than noting. Of course I might eventually switch to vipassana but like I said, I have to pick something and for now I want to try that.

I also believe that self inquiry and vipassana are different at first glance but similar in the mechanics, the technology behind them. When noting, you create a distance between you that are noting and reduce everything notable into an object. Everything noted is kind of outside and you remain as the observer. In self inquiry you create a distance between you and everything you can be aware of. 

When you become aware of a sensation:

- vipassana: you note the sensation. akcnowledge it's temporary and external nature and go back to watching. You remain as a watcher.

- self inquiry: you note the sensation and question "who is aware of this sensation?" and remain with the watcher

So I believe that both methods are legit and both worth giving it a try. More on this here:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5730858#_19_message_5730858


As for retreat - no I have not done any yet and can't afford to do one right now but I will definitely go for it in 2016.

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/24/15 11:32 AM as a reply to Michał G..
right on.
stay with it and keep us posted.

cheers

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/27/15 2:57 AM as a reply to Michał G..
Hi Michal,

The spiritual/mind training path is lenghty and arduous if one aims high like the Fourth Path of the Theravada model or karmic purity as I like to call it. For sure, this bone grinding requires effort and commitment. But it can be achieved. After this stage there are even higher stages all the way to full buddhahood but that is another matter.

When looking back at my own path and those of my friend's, I'd say that the path is never easy. However, there are differences in methods and the views different teachers of different methods have. A saying goes that, "Each system is blind to itself". I've yet to see a truly universal model of the spiritual path that is devoid of black and white statements. This is something to keep in mind when following any path one chooses. Being a teacher of a particular method myself, I try to keep this in mind.

Based on my experience as a direct pointer (pointing my friends and students to awakening/stream entry/First Path) I'd say that  no prior preparation/mind training/shamatha is required or needed. I've had several people pass through the gateless gate without no meditation training. And to put this information into a realistic frame... I have not made a promise that the two step formula I use works 100%. No one can quarantee awakening. But based on statistics it does work for 95% of people who commit to this process seriously.

So I'd recommend going for stream entry without any delay. The sooner it is achieved, more easier the further path will be. I am not saying that the path will be easy altogether after awakening but surely it will be a lot easier.

I hope you all the best on the path!

Baba






RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/27/15 2:56 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
After this stage there are even higher stages all the way to full buddhahood but that is another matter.

You mean there are more stages between 4th path and full buddhahood? Sometimes I wonder, is there even an end to this, or this evolution is limitless... Some people say that either you are enlightened or not. If you are, that's it. This is all that was to be known and now you can only improve as a being. Some other people say that this is an endless process. And I suspect that most people who consider themselves enlightened are people who got stream entry. I get so confused at times... The only agreement among all mystics is that they agree that there is this something, this extraordinary happening that is a great shift in one's understanding of reality. Everything else differs.

And it bugs me that in buddhism it is so important to escape the miserable cycle of rebirth yet most of the so called enlightened don't even know, whether they will reincarnate or not. More and more I feel like, fuck this all and just focus on my experience and not read anything more on the spiritual subjects.

That's why I created this thread, I guess I wanted a green light to this plan and just practice and live. I've seen people who have read plenty of spiritual books and meditated for 3 hours a day for 50 years and they are still seeking. Some people become seekers forever and other end up in lifelong frustration. I don't want to be like that, I am closer and closer to just dropping the whole thing. Except meditation.

I've seen once or twice someone mention direct pointing but I don't really know what is it. Where is a good source of info on this method?

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/27/15 3:37 PM as a reply to Michał G..
Michał G.:
Kim Katami:
After this stage there are even higher stages all the way to full buddhahood but that is another matter.

You mean there are more stages between 4th path and full buddhahood?
Sometimes I wonder, is there even an end to this, or this evolution is limitless... Some people say that either you are enlightened or not. If you are, that's it. This is all that was to be known and now you can only improve as a being. Some other people say that this is an endless process. And I suspect that most people who consider themselves enlightened are people who got stream entry. I get so confused at times... The only agreement among all mystics is that they agree that there is this something, this extraordinary happening that is a great shift in one's understanding of reality. Everything else differs.

And it bugs me that in buddhism it is so important to escape the miserable cycle of rebirth yet most of the so called enlightened don't even know, whether they will reincarnate or not. More and more I feel like, fuck this all and just focus on my experience and not read anything more on the spiritual subjects.

That's why I created this thread, I guess I wanted a green light to this plan and just practice and live. I've seen people who have read plenty of spiritual books and meditated for 3 hours a day for 50 years and they are still seeking. Some people become seekers forever and other end up in lifelong frustration. I don't want to be like that, I am closer and closer to just dropping the whole thing. Except meditation.

I've seen once or twice someone mention direct pointing but I don't really know what is it. Where is a good source of info on this method?
Michal,

For sure Fourth Path is not full buddhahood.

>Some people say that either you are enlightened or not. If you are, that's it. This is all that was to be known

If enlightenment means awakening/1st Path, then nope that is not all. I've also heard people say that but that is a silly thing to say. Such people have not even begun to become aware of their subconscious impulses.

>And it bugs me that in buddhism it is so important to escape the miserable cycle of rebirth yet most of the so called enlightened don't even know, whether they will reincarnate or not.

My impression on this is that at 4th Path/karmic purity one can decide when and where to reincarnate.

>I've seen people who have read plenty of spiritual books and meditated for 3 hours a day for 50 years and they are still seeking.

I have a friend who spent over 30 years meditating all day, also as a renunciate monk for 12 years, and was still seeking after that. His seeking ended on day four, since we started working together for his stream entry. Of course, his mind was calm and clear from all that meditation. He just hadn't awakened.

>I've seen once or twice someone mention direct pointing but I don't really know what is it. Where is a good source of info on this method?

Google. I will boldly and arrogantly link Samadhi Path-website (my own). Whether this method of direct pointing works for you or not, it up to you to test. http://en.samadhipath.com/101

Baba

RE: My plan for reaching Enlightenment - what do you think?
Answer
11/28/15 12:59 PM as a reply to Michał G..
What is meditation to you?
If it is not all pleasure but mean to get better then you might want to drop it too. And start meditation that is pleasant. Start seeking that is not about relief but adventure, solving mystery for fun of it, not because you are afraid of the future or in pain and want to be relieved.
You know what, I admit that I used to look up to enlightenment mostly as a way to escape from suffering of life but that's not the case anymore. I finally accepted that suffering IS part of life and as long as there is body and mind, there will always be some discomfort in life, but now I see it as a challenge, encouragement to learn, grow and understand more about myself and world. There is day and night and both serve a purpose.

I stick to meditation for three reasons, the first is: it feels good and improved concentration improves literally every aspect of my life. Everything is much more efficient and it helps me to stay in the moment which is wonderful.

The second reason is, that I want to experience enlightenment, at least stream entry. I am a curious man and after all I've read I just can't help but desire the experience. All the mystics emphasizing how much you're missing out doesn't help to drop the desire for enlightenment either.

The third: the mystery of "I". Most of the time there is this default idea that I am this being that has body, mind, and all the preferences I have as a person. But there were few moments, for example when I was listening to music and I was just watching every sound, no judgement just listening completely. My mind happened to be pretty calm at that moment and then it felt like I was the stream of music, there was no receiver. It felt like, damn it's so hard to explain but it felit like there was no observer that I always assumed to be there, to witness the sensations. And I laughed a bit and thoughts came back.

This kind of stuff happened a few times and I am super curious, I don't know what the hell is going on. Like who am I, or what am I? I just need to understand it, don't ask me why. I just feel deep unrootable desire to solve this mystery. But I don't even know, can it be solved? Either way I have to solve it or I have to drop the question but that's impossible. It's like you would ask me to drop my love for my mother. And by solve I don't mean intelectually like a puzzle or math problem, rather experientally. As long as this is not solved, I will never be truly at peace. And as long as I am alive, I won't drop the question just like that, without any closure. Am I mad?