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Help needed!
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3/2/16 10:03 AM
Helloo alllll, My name is Gihan. 19 years old from Sri Lanka. English is not my first language so please bear with me on that. I am a buddhist by birth. And I've learned tons of things which are related to buddhism and i've been meditating for years as a daily habbit. Metta which seems useless now because I was thinking when meditating. Then few months ago I met a great teacher who changed my path, he taught me that this is not the reality and he told me to not to belive in those concepts such as rebirth. Then he provided me some techniques to meditate (vipassana). Last week I started to do vipassana, and few days later I got a feeling like vibrating all over my body and it lasted few days. Also I had a small ache between my eyes. I got scared and I immediately stopped mediatating for few days.Then later my mind changed and I started to meditate, now I do not have vibrational feelings anymore. Then I started finding about these on internet and found this forum. I'm happy I found this.

It's hard to find a good teacher on Sri Lanka, because the things they are teaching is inttelectual.From Books. Not by experience. We have many vipassana meditation centres also but none of teachers seems have experienced the sotapanna. Because they talking about a rebirth and telling us to do good things and saying that it will make my next life better. I do not want belive in these lies anymore and I want to achive this right now. If anyone who has attained a margapala, please help me out I have several questions. 

1. Am I on the right track ?

2. How long will it take to get in to sotapanna ? 

3. I am a student and I have to study about 10 hours a day. I can only meditate for like 4 hours. Is this enough ? Can I do that with my studies ? 

4. I've just checked the forum and found that their are levels. If so which level am I at the moment ? 

Thanks a lot! 

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/2/16 4:48 PM as a reply to Gihan.
Hello Gihan emoticon

Welcome to the forum! Don't worry about your English (which is excellent btw), many of us here speak English as a foreign language emoticon

Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
Metta which seems useless now because I was thinking when meditating.


Thinking while meditating is not necessarily bad, particularly in the beginner stages... and the very advanced ones. But it is better to cut back on it in the intermediate stages emoticon

Either way, if you found no benefit in metta at the moment, I think it is perfectly ok to drop the practice emoticon


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
Then few months ago I met a great teacher who changed my path, he taught me that this is not the reality and he told me to not to belive in those concepts such as rebirth. Then he provided me some techniques to meditate (vipassana).

Could you tell us more about the vipassana instructions you have got? I am curious. The most famous ones in the Theravada tradition are probably Goenka / U Ba Khin body scanning, Mahasi Sayadaw choiceless noting, and Forest Thai. Is it any of these?


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
Last week I started to do vipassana, and few days later I got a feeling like vibrating all over my body and it lasted few days.

It sounds like the Knowledge of the Arising and Passing Away, particularly if you were doing body scanning. If you have never heard the term before, it is udayabbaya-ñana in Pali, the fourth of about 16 stages to Stream Entry (sotapanna). It is hard to confirm by forum, but, if it is, it is called informally "the little enlightenment", so it would be reason to celebrate emoticon



Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
Also I had a small ache between my eyes. I got scared and I immediately stopped mediatating for few days.

Can you elaborate on getting scared? Give us more details? Depending on the answer, it might be either be the sixth ñana, Knowledge of Fear (bhayatupatthana-ñana)... or simply a case of you having gotten scared by something that should not have scared you. emoticon

The ache between the eyes... no idea, it could just be straining. Probably someone on this forum has experienced it too, never happened to me.

In any case, if what you experienced was, indeed, the Knowledge of the Arising and Passing Away, a phase in which meditation feels difficult, painful, stagnating, scary, or makes you sad is very likely. Nothing to worry about, with correct practice it can be dealt with, but it is something that is good to know about.


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
Then later my mind changed and I started to meditate, now I do not have vibrational feelings anymore.

It is normal. That is a transitory phase. It is perfectly fine to enjoy the vibrations while they last, but you should absolutely not associate progress with getting vibrational feelings on your body.


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
It's hard to find a good teacher on Sri Lanka, because the things they are teaching is inttelectual.From Books. Not by experience.
You've come to the right place. Lots of practice here! emoticon


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:
We have many vipassana meditation centres also but none of teachers seems have experienced the sotapanna.

It is a common problem in certain traditions, sadly. You can get Stream Entry working on your own. This e-sangha is here to help! emoticon 


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:

1. Am I on the right track ?

Hard to say without more details, but if you share your practice, you will get lots of advice here.


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:

2. How long will it take to get in to sotapanna ? 

Impossible to predict. Some people get it spontaneously, by accident so to speak. Some work on it for months, some for years. With smart and intensive practice and good instructions, months might be a reasonable goal. But it depends on putting in the right number of hours, the right kind of effort, finding the technique(s) that are best for you, and so on.


Gihan Saminda Pathirage:

3. I am a student and I have to study about 10 hours a day. I can only meditate for like 4 hours. Is this enough ? Can I do that with my studies ? 


Four hours a day is really good practice! If you practice correctly you can get a lot of progress from that. Absolutely keep doing your studies! There is no need to renounce your life, interests, hobbies and friends to cultivate meditation. (Actually, I would worry about the opposite, with 10 hours of study + 4 of meditation, do you find time for friends, family, some physical activity, and so on?)

If you want to know about the stages of progress towards Sotapanna, you should read Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, which is available for free here (400 pages):

http://static.squarespace.com/static/5037f52d84ae1e87f694cfda/t/5055915f84aedaeee9181119/1347785055665/

if you are burning with impatience to know about these maps, a much shorter presentation (40 pages) can be found here in Mahasi Sayadaw's book The Progress of Insight, the second link here:

http://www.saraniya.com/page/ebooks/ebooks-mahasi-sayadaw.html

The first book in this link, "Practical Insight Meditation" is also pretty nice (20 pages).

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/2/16 11:17 PM as a reply to neko.
Thank you so much for the reply emoticon. I was doing noting practices. I tried to do it everytime, but it seems hard because I can not note while studying. I really don't like socializing with other people. I try to avoid it as much as I can. I don't like being bothered by others. I wouldn't want to bother anyone because of me. I feel like everything around me is useless. 

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/3/16 12:25 AM as a reply to neko.
I got scared because my heart was beating very fast.emoticon Thank you so much for the books. 

RE: Help needed!
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3/3/16 3:49 AM as a reply to Gihan.
Hello again! The books I suggested all focus on noting, so they should be useful. Ingram's book is without doubt the best around for mapping the progress to sotapanna, so I wholeheartedly suggest it. There are several parts that might not apply to your experience: they are about countering a certain North American / European approach to spirituality and Buddhism; I imagine things to be substantially different in Sri Lanka, although there must be things in common too. They might still be of interest, I guess.

Back to you.

Everything around you feeling useless. I am sorry to hear that. Has it always been like this, or has it got worse lately? Either way, meditation will mess with this feeling: you will see it getting better, then worse, then better, and so on. The overall trend is for improvement to happen, but it will not be all great. Trust the process. Most of all, try not to identify with this feeling of uselessness. Watch it happen, as you would watch a crow perched on a roof. You are not the feeling of uselessness. Acknowledge it. Note it!

Not liking to socialise: You don't have to. I am a little bit like that myself. Meditation might change this, at least it has for me. When you were trying metta, were you directing metta at others, or yourself? If you were trying with others, you might want to give it a second chance trying metta towards yourself. Again, you don't have to (I do not practice metta, for example).

Heart beating fast: First thing to know is that you cannot cause yourself a heart attack by meditating, so do not worry. Second thing, the physical manifestations of fear and anxiety are an integral part of "dry" vipassana practices such as noting. In the beginning they are scary, then you will be like: "oh, look, I have all the physical manifestations of fear without the emotional / psychological aspect of it. Fascinating!". So the trick is to just observe what is going on. Take it as a sign of progress, actually. If my intuition of your current stage of progress is correct (dukkha nanas / knowledge of suffering / the dark night), practice now might feel unpleasant and with little progress - which is a sign of progress, actually. Try to keep your momentum and practicing as well as you can. Be kind with yourself.

Not being able to note while studying: This is fine! When you study, your first goal is studying. Instead of trying formal noting, try some free-form mindfulness / awareness practice. So keep the subject of your study in the centre of attention, but keep a little bit of attention on your body sensations, mood, feelings, the sounds around you too. This will *not* be possible if you are super-concentrated, which is a good thing, because it means that:
1) you are studying well (first goal),
2) you are developing your skill at concentration through studying (which is useful for vipassana).
What you should avoid is mind-wandering. If you notice that the degree of effort necessary for studying leaves you some "brain power" free, instead of letting your mind wander, keep studying while being mindful of the things I suggested before. If you catch yourself mind-wandering, do not be angry with yourself; rather, be happy that you realised! Compliment yourself for noticing it, and go back to studying (+ mindfulness when possible).

Best of luck with your practice, studies and life emoticon

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/3/16 4:58 AM as a reply to Gihan.
Gihan:

1. Am I on the right track ?

2. How long will it take to get in to sotapanna ? 



Welcome Gihan

In Buddha-Dhamma there are two kinds of dhamma:

(1) morality (lokiya) dhamma for laypeople; and

(2) supramundane/transcendent (lokuttara) dhamma for enlightenment.

The 'rebirth' teaching is for morality & not for enlightenment.

Whenever there is thinking about 'rebirth', this is craving & 'becoming', which is the opposite of the noble path. 

The belief in 'rebirth' is not a factor of the noble eightfold path, as explained here:  
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html

For enlightenment, the mind must see phenomena & realities in the present moment.

For enlightenment, all mind & body is seen to be impermanent & non-self. 

The mind of enlightenment does not think: "I will be reborn" and does not think: "I will end at death" because the mind of enlightenment is free from the idea or thought of "I". 

To get in sotapanna, it takes one moment of right view that frees the mind from craving for becoming (which is then maintained for many moments, minutes or hours, afterwards).

To get sotappana, the mind should ideally give up wanting to get sotappana, as explained in this video, from 4:30: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu7mtlbVBOA

Kind regards 

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/3/16 5:07 AM as a reply to Gihan.
Gihan:
I got scared because my heart was beating very fast.emoticon Thank you so much for the books. 

Fear arising when getting into sotappana is normal. It happens. 

Fear is an emotion or mental creation. It is a mental object. 

Where as the observer in meditation is consciousness (vinyana; vinnana).

Fear is not the observer and the observer is not fear. 

When fear arises, remain calm, trusting & courageous; observing the fear until the fear passes & dissolves.

Kind regards

 emoticon

RE: Help needed!
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3/3/16 8:19 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Thanks to both of you for showing me the right path and for the clarification emoticon emoticon 

RE: Help needed!
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3/7/16 6:11 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Please help me. I've been browsing through this forum and I found a thread which is related to rebirth which confused me. I didn't belive rebirth thing earlier but this confuses me. 
"The general mass of the Buddhists in Ceylon are not orthodox in their view of transmigration, as they believe that the same soul migrates into different bodies. But this is contrary to the teaching of Buddhu, and of this the learned priests are fully aware; but they do not attempt to correct the error, regarding the subject as too difficult to be understood by the unlearned. His doctrine is that of a series of existences, which he illustrates by the metaphors of a tree and a lamp. A tree produces fruit, from which fruit another tree is produced, and so the series continues. The last tree is not the identical tree with the first, but it is a result, so that if the first tree had not been, the last tree could not have existed. Man is the tree, his conduct is the fruit, the vivifying energy of the fruit is desire. While this continues, the series will proceed: the good or evil actions performed give the quality of the fruit, so that the existence springing from these actions will be happy or miserable as the quality of the fruit affects the tree produced from it. According to this doctrine the present body and soul of man never had a previous existence, but a previously existing being under the influence of desire performed virtuous or vicious actions, and in consequence of these upon the death of that individual a new body and soul is produced. The metaphor of the lamp is similar. One lamp is lighted from another; the two lamps are distinct, but the one could not have been lighted had not the other existed. The nature of Nirwana, or cessation of being, is obvious from this. It is not thedestruction of an existent being, but the cessation of his existence. It is not an absorption into a superior being, as the Brahmans teach; it is not a retreat into a place of eternal repose, free from further transmigration; it is not a violent destruction of being, but a complete and final cessation of existence."

http://www.nanavira.org/letters/post-sotapatti/1964/162-l-128-26-july-1964

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/7/16 7:27 AM as a reply to Gihan.
Gihan:
Please help me. I've been browsing through this forum and I found a thread which is related to rebirth which confused me. I didn't belive rebirth thing earlier but this confuses me. 

I don't know what to make of the thing you quoted, it does not make any sense to me and I do not find it useful in any way. Just a personal opinion, it will certainly "resonate" with others. Why is it important for you?

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/7/16 9:37 AM as a reply to neko.
Thanks for getting back to me necko . It says that emoticon
Man is the tree, his conduct is the fruit, the vivifying energy of the fruit is desire. While this continues, the series will proceed: the good or evil actions performed give the quality of the fruit, so that the existence springing from these actions will be happy or miserable as the quality of the fruit affects the tree produced from it.


To be honest I'm afraid, because I've done some bad things in past. (when I was about 7 years old I used to go fishing with my grandfather for fun. So.. Yes I've killed many fishes and now I feel bad about it) So according to this I wasn't a good tree. Is there a conscious existence after death ? Yesterday I sent an email to my teacher but he ignored be simply saying come see for yourself. Everything was going well until I see this. emoticon 

http://www.nanavira.org/letters/post-sotapatti/1964/162-l-128-26-july-1964

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/7/16 10:02 AM as a reply to Gihan.
Maybe there is a single, almighty god who happens to be a fisher-god, who will reward you in the afterlife for having gone fishing and punish everyone who has never fished.

RE: Help needed!
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3/7/16 10:26 AM as a reply to neko.
hahaa emoticon I just realized that It was just a dumb thought of me.

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/7/16 12:29 PM as a reply to Gihan.
I don't think it was a dumb or a smart idea, but I do think it was a not-very-useful thought. See it like this: Now you realise that killing fish for fun is not a good thing to do. Be happy about yourself for having realised this, now you are a better person. And the world has become a better place. The past is the past, and you cannot change it emoticon

RE: Help needed!
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3/8/16 3:20 AM as a reply to Gihan.
in this life i was a fisherman in alaska.  i still have vivid memories of nets FILLED with millions of herring.

i have done many unskillful things much worse than that. 

the path you are now on give you a way out of this unskillfull behaviour both here and now and theoretically will help you karmically too.

RE: Help needed!
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3/8/16 8:08 AM as a reply to neko.
Thanks neko and tom for advice emoticon

RE: Help needed!
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3/8/16 11:30 PM as a reply to Gihan.
Gihan:
Please help me. I've been browsing through this forum and I found a thread which is related to rebirth which confused me. I didn't belive rebirth thing earlier but this confuses me. 

I recommend to ignore this. Nanavira was a confused Englishman, who became a monk & committed suicide. 

When you listened to what Nanavira wrote, you became confused, just like Nanavira. It is best to ignore Nanavira. 

With metta

Ñāṇavīra Thera (born Harold Edward Musson; 5 January 1920 – 5 July 1965) was an English Theravāda Buddhist monk, ordained in 1950 in Sri Lanka. He died on 5 July 1965, by his own hand and deliberate decision. Ñāṇavīra Thera wrote extensively and carefully on the question of suicide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanavira_Thera

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/9/16 12:12 AM as a reply to Gihan.
Gihan:

To be honest I'm afraid, because I've done some bad things in past. (when I was about 7 years old I used to go fishing with my grandfather for fun. So.. Yes I've killed many fishes and now I feel bad about it) 


Your reaction to your past actions is against Buddhist principles because Buddhism teaches loving-kindness (forgiveness). 

In Buddhism, "you" are not the doer of wrong action. Instead, ignorance or not-knowing is the doer of wrong action. 

Ignorance is not something personal. Ignorance is impersonal. It is a mental blindness every life form is born with. 

Buddhism teaches all actions in life are a lesson for spiritual growth. 

When you see with right wisdom a past action was wrong (harmful) and you cease to have the motivation to perform that action, the wrong action is purified. It is finished. 

Please read the words of the Lord Buddha below. 

With metta emoticon

The Blessed One said, "Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience & lack of concern. In an unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech... In one of wrong speech, wrong action... In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood... In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort... In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness... In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.


"Yes, great king, a transgression overcame you in that you were so foolish, so muddle-headed, and so unskilled as to kill your father — a righteous man, a righteous king — for the sake of sovereign rulership. But because you see your transgression as such and make amends in accordance with the Dhamma, we accept your confession. For it is a cause of growth in the Dhamma & Discipline of the noble ones when, seeing a transgression as such, one makes amends in accordance with the Dhamma and exercises restraint in the future."


He who having been heedless is heedless no more, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.


RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/9/16 8:37 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Thank you so much Nicky. I didn't know that he commited suicide. You cleared almost 101% of my doubts. emoticon

RE: Help needed!
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3/30/16 10:02 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Hey again emoticon I've been doing noting practices and few days ago ,something strange happened. I was reading a newspaper and for one moment I felt like nothing exists. It only lasted like maybe 1 or 2 seconds. But it's hard to explain. Am I on A&P stage again ? Please help me. 

Thanks a lot. 

RE: Help needed!
Answer
3/30/16 2:13 PM as a reply to Gihan.
Gihan:
Hey again emoticon I've been doing noting practices and few days ago ,something strange happened. I was reading a newspaper and for one moment I felt like nothing exists. It only lasted like maybe 1 or 2 seconds. But it's hard to explain. Am I on A&P stage again ? Please help me. 

Thanks a lot. 

Hi Gihan 

This is a spontaneous samadhi state of the mind. Consciousness released and normal perceptions ended/dissolved. 

It felt like nothing exists because the thinking stopped & perceptions dissolved.

This shows an underlying potential of the mind to enter the stream & incline towards emptiness. 

Therefore, to continue this potential, do not generate new thoughts & perceptions by thinking about the experience too much. 

The path is one of letting go; of continally dropping thoughts, dropping unnecessary perceptions & not clinging to experiences. 

The Buddha taught:

The noble disciple "shrinks and doesn’t build up," he "throws away and doesn’t cling," he "scatters and doesn’t pile up" and he "makes die out and doesn’t make flare up."

http://www.suanmokkh.org/archive/as/n10-45.htm

The five aggregates are heavy loads,
Holding them is suffering in this world,
Laying down the load is bliss.
The wise lay down this heavy load,
Without taking up another burden...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.022.than.html


With metta

emoticon

RE: Help needed!
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3/31/16 8:30 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Thanks a lot emoticon emoticon

RE: Help needed!
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4/8/16 10:32 AM as a reply to neko.
Hey, I hope both of you are well! emoticon I have a question.. I'm doing noting practices, but sometimes my mind wanders a lot. And I notice it very late emoticon. Will this decreese the progress ? I feel like it does. 

Thanks

RE: Help needed!
Answer
4/8/16 4:11 PM as a reply to Gihan.
Distraction could be a stage-based sign of progress!

RE: Help needed!
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4/8/16 4:33 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:
Distraction could be a stage-based sign of progress!


I agree. And if it isn't, periods in which meditation does not work as well always happen. So it is good to be equanimous about it and learn strategies to deal with them emoticon