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Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/16/16 12:48 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Robert 3/16/16 12:52 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/16/16 1:05 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Robert 3/16/16 1:13 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry tom moylan 3/16/16 4:27 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/16/16 5:08 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry tom moylan 3/16/16 5:29 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/16/16 7:08 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry tom moylan 3/17/16 7:36 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Noah 3/17/16 10:59 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/18/16 11:00 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Noah 3/19/16 1:07 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/21/16 11:15 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/18/16 10:49 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/22/16 3:34 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/29/16 3:35 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 7/29/16 2:53 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 7/31/16 11:52 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stick Man 8/7/16 4:51 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stick Man 8/7/16 4:54 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 8/8/16 4:27 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/16/16 4:27 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Derek 3/16/16 6:27 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry shargrol 3/16/16 7:28 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/16/16 7:29 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry shargrol 3/16/16 8:52 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/17/16 11:50 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Derek 3/17/16 6:09 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry shargrol 3/18/16 7:47 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/18/16 10:58 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry shargrol 3/18/16 6:34 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/21/16 11:14 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/18/16 10:28 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Chuck Kasmire 3/16/16 7:51 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/17/16 11:18 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry neko 3/17/16 3:12 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/17/16 11:48 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry neko 3/17/16 12:24 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/17/16 2:05 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry neko 3/17/16 3:17 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Chris 3/21/16 8:58 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 3/21/16 11:18 AM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stick Man 7/30/16 5:48 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 7/31/16 12:58 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stick Man 7/31/16 1:27 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 8/3/16 6:04 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 8/3/16 6:05 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Stirling Campbell 8/3/16 6:05 PM
RE: Questions about Stream Entry Banned For waht? 8/9/16 9:34 AM
Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 12:48 PM
Hello - newbie here. Washed ashore here after trying to find a place to talk about Stream Entry and wasting far too much time with teenage Zen "Masters" on Reddit. : )

I have been absorbing Daniel's fascinating work, and the great contributions of so many in this community, and am grateful for this fantastic resource. After looking around, I haven't yet found what I'm trying to identify in terms of my own Stream Entry experience and I'm hoping that some of you with greater knowledge or experiences that are similar can help.

My background:

Discovered meditation through trying Tai Chi in my teens and realized it was a resonant practice for me. Began proper practice in the Dzhogchen tradition in my 20's and have been meditating off and on for over 23 years with varying degrees of intensity. Began the Ngondro  in 2008, my father died and I stopped practice altogether having something like a "Dark Night" experience, started to pick up my practice again and last July, while on my way to get new tires had the following experience:

As I came to a stop at an intersection, a few cars behind the first in line.... suddenly my “perception" shifted.

Things looked perceptually brighter as though a shade had been lifted from my vision. Things had no individual existence, or were “empty” of it but interconnected at every point to one another. There was no center to anything - my experience of my body as the center of the universe was gone, and my perception felt like it came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There was no time. I mean that moments were passing, but that the experience of it was gone like I was travelling entirely with the finger of time. I realized that all moments were present, and birth and death were there as well.

It wasn’t frightening, in fact it was delightful. Relaxing, like finally sitting in front of the fire after a long day. Blissful, even. I started to try to characterize this jawdropping experience by describing it to myself. I was worried after I had started to do this, though, that I would “collapse” the experience by trying to reduce it to symbols. The experience continued for about 10 - 15 minutes as the light changed and I drove through more city traffic and a short freeway drive. I came to a stop after exiting the freeway with the feeling still strong in my mind and body, I asked myself what I could do to arrive once again in that fantastic state. A few minutes after a slightly disconnected conversation with man at the tire store counter it fully faded.


After pulling all of the Buddhism books off the shelf I had tried to use to get enlightened by intellectual means over the years and scouring them for an experience that matched mine, I found that a "Satori" sounded most like my experience. I found some similar experiences by intensively searching the internet. I started back with sitting, and went for a first visit to a local Zen monastery and finally found the teacher I had been looking for who agreed with me that my experience was Stream Entry and that the experience and description of my brief visit to the dharmakaya were congruent with her experience.

The upshot for me is that I have abandoned the three fetters, as a Sotapanna would. Also, it is simple for me to dip into emptiness meditation and stay there at a fairly quiet level with little effort, and that meditation arises naturally of it's own accord at any time that there is space (driving/walking to my office, etc.) I have an increased and sustained level of "clarity" about interpersonal things as well as an ability not to take the suffering of others as my own (physically/emotionally feel it as empathy), but to have REAL compassion for them, and that *very significantly* my lifelong problem with anxiety (which included the use of strong medications) is completely gone. I am also driven to meditate. It is no longer a chore but an indulgence. Sitting everyday for between 30 - 40 minutes has deepened many of these effects.

In terms of this site, it seems these effects don't neatly correspond with any models I have looked at so far.

The other item that I don't see (so far) in Daniel's book or on the site after looking a few days is any mention of what seeing the dharmakaya is like for others, or where this experience fits into their journey if at all. I feel fairly certain that permanently having the view of the dharmakaya that I had momentarily would be proof that one has arrived journey.

My apologies in advance if I haven't done a deep enough search or if I offend anyone, and my thanks in advance to anyone who offers their untained opinion. As I'm sure you are all aware, there is a dearth of places where non-partisan discourse on these topics can be had. I am quite grateful that a community where these ideas can be discussed openly exists - I was prepared to do it myself if I couldn't find it.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 12:52 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Hello - newbie here. Washed ashore here after trying to find a place to talk about Stream Entry and wasting far too much time with teenage Zen "Masters" on Reddit. : )
This is not the attitude for living life in truth and as truth.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 1:05 PM as a reply to Robert.
Robert:
Stirling Campbell:
Hello - newbie here. Washed ashore here after trying to find a place to talk about Stream Entry and wasting far too much time with teenage Zen "Masters" on Reddit. : )
This is not the attitude for living life in truth and as truth.

My sarcasm wasn't the part I was hoping for help with, but thanks. You claim a lot of real estate and authority there. Can't we just be friends?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 1:13 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

My sarcasm wasn't the part I was hoping for help with, but thanks. You claim a lot of real estate and authority there. Can't we just be friends?

Up to you whether you see others as friends or not. It all starts with you. A friend can be a rock, a piece of trash on the sidewalk, that body "over there" etc.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 4:27 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
howdy stirling and welcome.
really nice post.  your path here is convoluted and your past experience obviously colors your report with some language that generally isn't used commonly here, satori, dharmakaya etc. but nevertheless its an important reminder that despite the tradition one has had these experiences explained in, there is really consistent overlap.

since you're reading MCTB you will read about some of the different maps of the 'spiritual territory' and how they align.  even the now commonly used term "dark night of the soul" is from the christian mystic writer san juan de la cruz and is another map of the contemplative territory.

stream entry as it is referred to , mostly, here is the first permanent shift and the first taste of enlightenment in the theravada four stage model of awakening. it is the analog to satori as far as i know.  dharmakaya is emptiness, or the realization of the illusory non-dual nature of experience.

stream entry, in this model, is reached after dilligent insight meditation and is the successful culmination of passing through the 16 stages of insight.  people here often describe a 'blip' which is classically referred to as a 'cessation' or 'fruition'.  when one has that (non) experience for the first time one is considered a stream enterer and removes the three fetters you referred to.

there are other descriptions of what defines a stream enterer or sotapanna.  in the pali cannon there are many descriptions which have to do with perfect sila, or moral behaviour, full faith in the three gems and things of that nature.

many of the people here practice pretty hard vipassana and thus see the sixteen stages of insight clearly.  in other types of meditation these stages may not be as apparent although we are all more or less crossing the same terrain.  these things show up even more clearly on retreat where the tight focus and compressed repetitive meditation makes seeing the patterns much easier.

do you ever notice cessation?  your sits sound jhana like, what is a typical sit for you like?  do you bliss out or do investigation?

cheers

tom

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 4:27 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
I either sit in emptiness meditation or insight meditation, or I will often rest my on objects as I go through my day, walking, driving, tasks, etc.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 5:08 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
Thank you for the welcome, Tom. I'd love to believe that there are calm, insightful practitioners who are open to creating sangha online, but my path to finding them has been frustrating and circuitous. I appreciate your willingness to engage.

I realize most of my language/terminology is couched in my Tibetan Nyingma/Dzogchen, or more recent Zen experience, so I'm sorry if I'm at all confusing. Still trying to bridge the gap here. : )

Yes, I agree that there is often overlap in the terminology traditions. 

I would say my experience was absolutely an emptiness/non-dual nature experience, but definitely more than what I would describe as a "blip",  as that reality (in my experience) looks/looked fundamentally different, while being entirely recognizeable and familiar if that makes sense. All of the talk about how ordinary enlightenment is makes much more sense to me now - not that I'm there yet.

I confess I didn't know much about the jhana's until the last 8 months or so, but my teacher (having been trained in them and expert in navigating them herself) seems confident that I am navigating them up to sitting commonly in the 3rd or 4th jhana in a deep absorption. Definitely sitting in bliss primarily, but sometimes investigating, always with a great spaciousness to the view when eyes are open at those levels.

What do you mean by cessation in this context? 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 5:29 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
i'm a kagyu refugee myself.  i'm of the opinion that the "shopping around" is a luxury that until recent years was unavailable to most practitioners.  i don't consider my time spent in other traditions as lost time but the focus in many western tantric 'traditions' fly over the essential basics of simple concentration and investigation.

i mentioned 'cessation' in my previous post.  it is the experience of emptiness, nibbana, the extinguishing of all sensate existence.  it is a non experience in that everything we associate with being, ceases to be.  it is the multiverse ceasing to exist for an unmeasurable instant. 

wtf?  ;-)

the first time it happens in a progress of insight cycle is first path, or stream entry, second time 2nd path up until fourth path where one becomes an arahant.  so the theory in this model.

sitting in emptiness is obviously differrent than what i just described.  how do you think your experience differs from what i just described?  are "you" there when you are siting in emptiness? is there space? time?
can you direct your mind to phenomena which arises?  do you notice bliss or hapiness?  do you perceive differences in light and dark?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 6:27 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
If the three fetters are gone, then that's stream-entry in my book. Your 10-15 minutes are what I call "transitional experiences." They vary a great deal from person to person. In fact, there is so much individual variation that not being able to find someone exactly like you is nothing to worry about.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 7:28 PM as a reply to Derek.
To do a true diagnosis, you would have to report a lot more detail about your practice. What has been the different types of typical sits for you? How has that changed over time? Any noticible experiences along the way? What happens currently during a sit in terms of the actual progression of experiences?

Have you looked at the description of the Equanimity nana? Does that seem familiar? How would you distinguish what your experiencing as different from Equanimity? What is the nature of the witness or observer in your actual experience right now? What is the nature of mind in your actual experience right now? What do you feel drawn towards, in terms of what experience you hope to happen?

(Edit: Actually it seems like you answered this last question, sounds like you would like that key experience to be a constant experience.)

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 7:08 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
Tom,

In my case it wasn't so much a case of shopping around, more that Zen had Satori that seemed to best describe my experience. Plus, the Zen center was 20 min. away vs. and hour and a half for the Nyingma one... I needed answers! : )

I've always seen the branches of Buddhism as different perspectives on the same practice, and after the event I felt pretty unattached to which of the more cultural aspects I adhered to.

My description of no-time, no-center, complete interconnectedness seems like the right idea, though things didn't cease to exist so much as they were simultaneously the same ordinary place and a completely unrecognizeable and comfortably foreign place at the same time.

When I sit in emptiness there is no self, often no time (for short periods), bliss, and spaciousness. I can watch phenomena arise and disappear without engagement. NONE of that is like the satori experience, except that many experiences, including in my daily life - like an etched brighter quality some things seem to have in the daily world - have the subtle flavor of it. Actually that's one experience I keep forgetting to ask about. It's been raining a lot in CA (where I am) and the reflections in puddles and standing water have WAY more definition and contrast than I remember them having. Could be imagining it. Ha. Maybe this is what you mean by light and dark?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 7:29 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol,

I'd refer you to my previous posts. I have had a number of experiences since I was in my teens with seeing interconnectedness in the sky between stars with vertices of color, and a feeling one day that I could feel how everything and everyone was connected. In meditation I have had all kinds of experiences, but have always discounted them per my training not to become attached to them. I don't remember anything earth shattering, just a gradual increase in my focus, or ability to sit in emptiness with fleeting non-developed thought.

I see that the 4th Jhana and one of Daniel's Equanimity levels seem to match. I would guess that would best explain where I'm coming from. In day to day experience, I can walk and interact in the world in emptiness meditation when not called into more intense interpersonal interaction, acting on thoughts without further engagement. However, I sit at a desk and work on a computer which I am beginning to really dislike - this drags me out of that meditation, though it does not alter any of the post Satori changes. Right now I am at home on a laptop. I type thoughts as they arise in my mind, and do not really weigh my words. 

In terms of what I hope to happen, I am keen to find a post-Satori practice that enhances what I have and takes me further, expediently and free of BS. It has been recommended by my teacher that I take ordination even though I am still learning the forms of Soto Zen. Despite my ambivalence about the trappings of robes and ceremony, I feel that it's legitimacy would probably equip and enable me to help others by bringing them to practice. This is the thing I feel most drawn to doing. 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 7:51 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Hmm, teenage zen masters? Seems like an oxymoron.

I am not a Mahasi style practioner. Most definitions you will find on this site are the mahasi blip stream entry thing. The blip experience and its repeatability as defining stream entry is unique to the Mahasi tradition as far as I can tell. Japanese satori experiences are more in line with what is generally described as stream entry elsewhere. Than Geoff (Thai Forest Tradition) describes it as 'earth shattering, an experience outside time and space' (paraphrasing here). Not being familiar with the different ways this thing might be experienced, can't say if yours is stream entry or not. But the stream entry experience is burned into your memory like nothing else. You never forget it, it doesn't fade. For the first time you know the truth and you know that everything you believed about the world is false.

My own experience was very close to what is found in the suttas - the result of deep tranquility and were in fact earth shattering and all that stuff. I wrote about my journey here.

The old Awakening 101 site has a page of modern awakening experiences here. Might be helpful to you.

A couple things to look at regarding samatha/vipassana. Sujato describes the relationship between samatha and vipassana here.

And here is a very good talk by Than Geoff on jhana, tranquility, and insight.

There are a bazillion definitions of jhana out there and some are quite shallow while others have a very narrow one-pointed focus and will not help. If your teacher is teaching tranquility and insight together and things seem to be going good then I suggest sticking with it - unless of course you just can't wait to experience emotional upheavals and dark nights - your choice.

From a Buddha perspective - if it wasn't stream entry - you should keep practicing tranquility. On the other hand, if it was stream entry - you should keep practicing tranquility.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/16/16 8:52 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
No worries, thanks for the reply. Using the model presented in Daniel's book, experiences that occur during meditation are diagnostic, which is why I was asking. The challenge is, unless someone is aware of the model, they might overlook some of the experiential trends which often appear during meditation.

I forgot to ask, how often are you sitting and how long is a normal sit? Have you sat on any multi-day retreats? If so, how were they?

It sounds like you haven't had any big, mind-blowing experiences. Normally, this would mean that you haven't passed the A&P, but many practitioners of "just sitting" can have such gradual changes over time that they honestly don't report any big experiences... so this in itself isn't diagnostic.

As you can tell, my initial hunch is a strong experience of presence/equanimity, rather than stream entry. In Daniel's book, the closest coorelate is the Equanimity Nana. The brightness, timelessness, emptiness, and seamless-flow of it are fairly classic signs of equanimity. The main diagnostic I tend to apply is if the experiental nature of it can be said to be a "state". Can you recognize the qualities of this experience as a recognizable state? Do you have it and lose it? Do you know when your in it and do you want to get back into it? Do you think that your practice will make more of it? 

I also am curious about how you are using emptiness. What is emptiness in your experience? What is and is not an empty experience? (Not intellectually, but in terms of your actual experience.)  Is there any suffering or ill will or striving or pride or sense of ownership in your experience?

The important thing is to look at your own experience and see the extent to which you find yourself identified with an experience or identified with a sense of self that is independent of experience. 

For what it's worth, it can be shocking to have equanimity pointed out. At least it was for me. Equanimity is very close to stream entry. When equanimity is experienced the important question becomes >what< is having this experience of emptiness/equanimity/timelessness etc. ?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 3:12 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

Things looked perceptually brighter as though a shade had been lifted from my vision. Things had no individual existence, or were “empty” of it but interconnected at every point to one another. There was no center to anything - my experience of my body as the center of the universe was gone, and my perception felt like it came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There was no time. I mean that moments were passing, but that the experience of it was gone like I was travelling entirely with the finger of time. I realized that all moments were present, and birth and death were there as well.

It wasn’t frightening, in fact it was delightful. Relaxing, like finally sitting in front of the fire after a long day. Blissful, even. I started to try to characterize this jawdropping experience by describing it to myself. I was worried after I had started to do this, though, that I would “collapse” the experience by trying to reduce it to symbols. The experience continued for about 10 - 15 minutes as the light changed and I drove through more city traffic and a short freeway drive. I came to a stop after exiting the freeway with the feeling still strong in my mind and body, I asked myself what I could do to arrive once again in that fantastic state. A few minutes after a slightly disconnected conversation with man at the tire store counter it fully faded.



Hello Stirling! Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your experience. I went once through something very similar to what you described here (particularly the boldfaced parts), it lasted about a couple minutes while I was discussing with friends what we were going to have for dinner. The main difference is that my event was really rather dry emotionally. Very matter-of-fact, kind of looking at reality the way a jouralist would. Stuff was happening without needing to be interpreted. The idea that there was a self "doing" stuff, or to which reality had to refer to and be categorised in here/there me/you split was gone completely. Similarly for the idea of there being a centre.

This "experience" of mine was well past stream entry. I talked about this with a Good Friend who says he had gone through many of these shifts himself before the "thing" kind of finally stabilised in one bigger shift. Now the fact that it was past stream entry for me does not mean anything from the point of view of where you are on the Theravada maps, but I have a couple thoughts more. 

First of all, I think it is a very useful experience. In my case, it pointed to some "different perspective" that would be cool to get back into and stabilise.

Second, I would not take for granted that yours was a path event in itself. From the Theravada maps point of view, it might have been a very intense Arising & Passing Away event, or a very clear form of Equanimity. It might just not be on the Theravada maps either: maps are not perfect.

What I have found is that, like my Good Friend foretold, that "experience" could not be caused to happen voluntarily again. Over the months that passed since, I have gone through many repeats of A&P and Eq, and they were never like that one event. Which suggests, to me, that it was kind of something special.

Trying to see if you can repeat it with meditation practice would be a great diagnostic tool for yourself.

Keep us posted! emoticon

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 7:36 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Tom,
When I sit in emptiness there is no self, often no time (for short periods), bliss, and spaciousness. I can watch phenomena arise and disappear without engagement. NONE of that is like the satori experience, except that many experiences, including in my daily life - like an etched brighter quality some things seem to have in the daily world - have the subtle flavor of it. Actually that's one experience I keep forgetting to ask about. It's been raining a lot in CA (where I am) and the reflections in puddles and standing water have WAY more definition and contrast than I remember them having. Could be imagining it. Ha. Maybe this is what you mean by light and dark?
so..just reading your description here says to me that "you were there" experiencing all of this.  i could be wrong of course, that is your call, but when this 'bliss' happens, where is it happening?  in your body?  is it 'your bliss'? When 'spaciousness' is experienced, is that you or separate from you?  When phenomena arises and dissapears, is there a sense of distance between you and that phenomena?  Is it a mental sensation?  Is it a physical sensation?  Are there differences between those things?

there is a chapter in MCTB named "was that emptiness" which would be good to read.  whether you are 'sitting in emptiness' or 'sitting in equanimity' or digging one of the jhanas you have to check in to whether you are there.  if you are, that is not what is referred to by the term 'emptiness' in this forum.  the term emptiness here refers to a non-constructed non-dependent state as far as i understand it. 

another point you made earlier is that you are looking to a zen practice / tradition and possibly signing up with that order.  i'm NO expert on zen but you seem to have an inquisitive mind.  they are known for not encouraging a deep intellectual investigative approach to progress.  how do those two things square?

cheers


tom

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 11:18 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:
Hmm, teenage zen masters? Seems like an oxymoron.

I am not a Mahasi style practioner. Most definitions you will find on this site are the mahasi blip stream entry thing. The blip experience and its repeatability as defining stream entry is unique to the Mahasi tradition as far as I can tell. Japanese satori experiences are more in line with what is generally described as stream entry elsewhere. Than Geoff (Thai Forest Tradition) describes it as 'earth shattering, an experience outside time and space' (paraphrasing here). Not being familiar with the different ways this thing might be experienced, can't say if yours is stream entry or not. But the stream entry experience is burned into your memory like nothing else. You never forget it, it doesn't fade. For the first time you know the truth and you know that everything you believed about the world is false.

My own experience was very close to what is found in the suttas - the result of deep tranquility and were in fact earth shattering and all that stuff. I wrote about my journey here.

The old Awakening 101 site has a page of modern awakening experiences here. Might be helpful to you.

A couple things to look at regarding samatha/vipassana. Sujato describes the relationship between samatha and vipassana here.

And here is a very good talk by Than Geoff on jhana, tranquility, and insight.

There are a bazillion definitions of jhana out there and some are quite shallow while others have a very narrow one-pointed focus and will not help. If your teacher is teaching tranquility and insight together and things seem to be going good then I suggest sticking with it - unless of course you just can't wait to experience emotional upheavals and dark nights - your choice.

From a Buddha perspective - if it wasn't stream entry - you should keep practicing tranquility. On the other hand, if it was stream entry - you should keep practicing tranquility.
I confess I have little or no familiarity with the Mahasi tradition. I understand the "blip entry" concept, but it does sound utterly different to anything I am familiar with and my personal experience. The more I look at this, the more I realize that these experiences seem to come in MANY different flavors. Than Geoff's experience is more like my own - it changed my world utterly, and blew my mind completely, and yet showed me that "reality" is quite recognizeable and familiar. I would say that it is certainly something unlike anything I have experienced (including psychedelic experiences of many moons ago) and, at least 7 months onward remains a permanent and gradually deepening change.   

Reading from your experience I wonder if your sense of a fist was inside of your skull? For weeks after my experience I felt a pressure in the center front of my skull... it still comes back after long deep sitting sometimes.

I'm definitely planning to continue to practice tranquility! Thanks for your insight.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 11:48 AM as a reply to neko.
Your experience does sound similar - though mine had an ease, familiarity and comfort around it. Because I have seen it I feel that existing permanently in that space is possible. I feel like it is the end-point with great conviction. Since that experience life seems to have more of that experience's flavor - the world in my everday meditative view seems to become sporadically more "radiant" or "luminous" and wide-screen-spacious for longer periods of time and seems deeper and more tranquil. I guess I want to be sure I am doing what I "should" be (without grasping at a goal) toward that.

I'm personally convinced that at the very least this experience was a galvanizing glimpse into where practice leads - it doesn't need to be more than that though I'm pretty sure it is. It was a wonderful place to be, and I can't lie that I would love to see it again - but since it presented itself outside of sitting (as seems to happen most often for me) I'm not sure it that is where it would arise again.

If I manage to get there again, I'll definitely post. : )

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 11:50 AM as a reply to Derek.
Derek:
If the three fetters are gone, then that's stream-entry in my book. Your 10-15 minutes are what I call "transitional experiences." They vary a great deal from person to person. In fact, there is so much individual variation that not being able to find someone exactly like you is nothing to worry about.

That's where I'm at, honestly. It's been 7 months and so far the effects remain permanent and are deepening. I'd be interested in hearing more about your idea of "transitional experiences".

Thanks for your thoughts.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 12:24 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Your experience does sound similar - though mine had an ease, familiarity and comfort around it. I feel like it is the end-point with great conviction. 

My friend did remark that the state that finally settled in for him (or at least what he referred to as the "most recent shift") did have an additional emotional quality to it that made it different from my "dryness". So I am not surprised that your experience was different from mine. Also useful that you bring up the "familiarity" aspect, mine felt plain weird, and my first thought was "if this is what 4th path is like, those guys must be weirdos". So, yes, something in common, something different.

Either way, the idea that it was something close to the end-point was definitely part of what happened. And the idea has stuck with me as well. Now, usually "was that enlightenment?" (when it wasn't) is  one of the defining characteristics of the Arising and Passing Away event emoticon but at the same time I have seen enough A&Ps to know the difference...

...well whatever, it was what it was. Perhaps it is more useful to talk about what one can do with it, as opposed to what it was.

0) If we think it is closely related to the endgame, cool, that is a great motivator. Worst that can happen is that we will change our mind. If we keep practicing with intelligence and without excessive attachment to that idea, I think only good can come from it.

1) So, partly with that experience in mind, and what I felt was missing from it, I have been working on the emotional aspect voluntarily in my everyday mindfulness practice, and I now have a "pair of glasses", so to speak, which have maybe 20% of the nondual characteristic of the "experience", but a much more colourful and I would say satisfactory and empathetic quality to it. It is weird, because I am in dark-nightish phase in general, yet I can kind of see through it / into it and the negative moods get kind of transformed by those glasses. They get moved in the entire sensate field (as opposed to "I am sad") and they get transmuted into something more positive. Sadness into caring/metta, for example. Much of this is through some Mahamudra practice actually.

2) I have been thinking that, if it was a fortunate accident, a useful thing to do would be to try and reproduce the conditions that caused that accident in the first place. To increase the risk, you know, get myself more accident-prone. So I was looking up in my dairy the practices I was doing in the three/four months before that event, and I will get back to those with increased intensity. We'll see what happens.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 2:05 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Stirling Campbell:
Your experience does sound similar - though mine had an ease, familiarity and comfort around it. I feel like it is the end-point with great conviction. 

My friend did remark that the state that finally settled in for him (or at least what he referred to as the "most recent shift") did have an additional emotional quality to it that made it different from my "dryness". So I am not surprised that your experience was different from mine. Also useful that you bring up the "familiarity" aspect, mine felt plain weird, and my first thought was "if this is what 4th path is like, those guys must be weirdos". So, yes, something in common, something different.

Either way, the idea that it was something close to the end-point was definitely part of what happened. And the idea has stuck with me as well. Now, usually "was that enlightenment?" (when it wasn't) is  one of the defining characteristics of the Arising and Passing Away event emoticon but at the same time I have seen enough A&Ps to know the difference...

...well whatever, it was what it was. Perhaps it is more useful to talk about what one can do with it, as opposed to what it was.

0) If we think it is closely related to the endgame, cool, that is a great motivator. Worst that can happen is that we will change our mind. If we keep practicing with intelligence and without excessive attachment to that idea, I think only good can come from it.

1) So, partly with that experience in mind, and what I felt was missing from it, I have been working on the emotional aspect voluntarily in my everyday mindfulness practice, and I now have a "pair of glasses", so to speak, which have maybe 20% of the nondual characteristic of the "experience", but a much more colourful and I would say satisfactory and empathetic quality to it. It is weird, because I am in dark-nightish phase in general, yet I can kind of see through it / into it and the negative moods get kind of transformed by those glasses. They get moved in the entire sensate field (as opposed to "I am sad") and they get transmuted into something more positive. Sadness into caring/metta, for example. Much of this is through some Mahamudra practice actually.

2) I have been thinking that, if it was a fortunate accident, a useful thing to do would be to try and reproduce the conditions that caused that accident in the first place. To increase the risk, you know, get myself more accident-prone. So I was looking up in my dairy the practices I was doing in the three/four months before that event, and I will get back to those with increased intensity. We'll see what happens.

I can't say that I know exactly what is meant by an Arising and Passing Away though I would say I have had plenty of metaphysical experiences with manic messiah complexes afterwards many years ago of ...and I admit that absorbing all of these new ideas, and things like counting vibrations goes against all of my teachings, which have been about not becoming attached to phenomena during sitting. It's going to take me some time to digest and weigh all of this before I am comfortable with it or even accept it - but the work that has gone into it is incredible and very fascinating. Certainly compelling enough for me to want to invest in. How are you working with the emotional aspect? Also, if you don't mind, tell me about how your 20% experience is "colorful and emphathetic" - wondering if the gradual shift that is quite often with me (described above) is similar. 

As far as reproducing the experience, in the weeks after it happened I would take the same route, put the same music on and *sometimes* I could feel the glass bowl/non-center experience as a flavor in my view. I could feel/see it stretch... but not far enough. I haven't tried to do that again in some time, concerned that I may push away the experience by grasping at it - at least in my actions. I'm not honestly sure what about those conditions would precipitate the event - I wasn't even in meditation at the time it happened, though was spontaneously as it arose. Have you had any success? Where you in meditation? I'd be curious about what circumstances you feel might have contributed to your experience.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 3:17 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
absorbing all of these new ideas, and things like counting vibrations goes against all of my teachings, which have been about not becoming attached to phenomena during sitting. It's going to take me some time to digest and weigh all of this before I am comfortable with it or even accept it - but the work that has gone into it is incredible and very fascinating. Certainly compelling enough for me to want to invest in


Quick note about the Arising & Passing Away and attachment. It is traditionally divided in phases:

1) Arising & Passing Away I: Fancy Things happen. Rapture, bliss, seeing lights, visions, pleasure, happiness, kundalini, thoughts of "I am enlightened". This completes the "Purification by Overcoming Doubt", which means that the practitioner has seen that the mind is capable of stuff he probably didn't think possible. It is good because doubt about one's capabilities are largely overcome.

2) The Corruptions of Insight: Great risk of becoming attached to the fancy things. There is actually a list of 10 official Fancy Things one can get corrupted by (no time to google them now).

3) Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is Path and Not Path: The practitioner realises that the fancy things are not the Path and starts observing the Three Characteristics of the Fancy Things.

4) Arising & Passing Away II: The fancy things are still there, but they are seen for what they are, they are investigated just like "ordinary" phenomena, and soon they fade away.

So as you see the approach is ultimately the same: do not get attached to the Fancy Things. The difference is that the Fancy Things are recognised and described in detail. (And there are ways to use them, which is called "wet" vipassana, although it is not strictly necessary.)

More on the colours tomorrow probably, got to go emoticon 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 6:09 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:

I'd be interested in hearing more about your idea of "transitional experiences.


The mind centered around a supposed self totally rearranges itself once it realizes this self is not actually there. If you are awake while this is happening, you will experience very unusual and very vivid experiences while the rearrangement is in progress. I call these "transitional experiences." Once the rearrangement has happened, the transitional experiences stop. Because they are so vivid, people think the transitional experiences must be very important. In fact, the content of these experiences is not important at all. It is the insight/new way of seeing afterwards that is important.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/18/16 7:47 AM as a reply to Derek.
For what it's worth, my revised hunch is this was a glimpse of non-duality, which is something that tends to happen close to awakening. In many ways, it's the last temptation: an experience so clean that it seems like "it". But interestingly, it can be a place where a practioner will camp out, dividing experience into dual and non-dual experiences. In the "practical dharma" world, this would place you in late third path, on the verge of fourth path. 

But again, it's hard to diagnose with limited information. 

If that's the case, the important thing to realize is >everything< is an experience. Dual experiences and non-dual experiences are still experiences. The nature of mind >is< experience. That's the insight. That's it. Done.

Hope this helps in some way. 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/17/16 10:59 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
@Pawel:

Just wanted to compliment, and second your thought on the use of mental resources.  As always, I'm not doing anything as subtle or complex as you, but I do meditate all the time in daily life, and find that it is totally possible to apply a technique, and do lots of complex worldly activities.  The primary mechanism for me seems to be re-prioritization to make the meditation technique the most important thing, and then everything else becomes easier because there is less attachment.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/18/16 10:28 AM as a reply to Derek.
Derek:
Stirling Campbell:

I'd be interested in hearing more about your idea of "transitional experiences.


The mind centered around a supposed self totally rearranges itself once it realizes this self is not actually there. If you are awake while this is happening, you will experience very unusual and very vivid experiences while the rearrangement is in progress. I call these "transitional experiences." Once the rearrangement has happened, the transitional experiences stop. Because they are so vivid, people think the transitional experiences must be very important. In fact, the content of these experiences is not important at all. It is the insight/new way of seeing afterwards that is important.

Thanks Derek. A very interesting possibility. 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/18/16 10:49 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Pawel,

I should clarify that I am not intentionally visualizing space, but instead what the Tibetans commonly refer to "the view", or a sort of wide-screen quality to the way things look when eyes are open. I'm not sure what practicing colors means. Could you clarify? It sounds interesting.

I appreciate your comments - they make it clear to me that I need to finish my homework with Daniel's book so I can use the terminology that prevails here.
Thinking about stuff is not helpful, mind can think faster when it does quiet and in neuron-network style instead making whole images of thoughts to present them to awareness. Making resolutions is not helpful either. Mind can will do things at least as willingly as with resolutions if not more and as a bonus it is more efficient. Emotions are obviously not needed most of the time. Desire for relief is only feeding on itself and is resource hog too. Excessive emotionality is ridiculously big resource hog. etc. etc. It is better to keep bare essentials and use rest power to either make beautiful and pleasant visualizations... or just experience nibbana ^_^ 

I agree that mind gets in the way. It's when you realize just how much, after it gets out of the way a bit.  Over the last few months I have noticed that, along with losing my anxiety, I don't worry about things or roll them over in my mind. I rarely even set up reminders for myself. Things just seem to arise when they need to get done or require attention. I also notice that the quality of my caring for others has gone from empathy (feeling a resonant pain in myself with people who experience pain) to what I consider true compassion (feeling sympathy for the discomfort of others with no personal resonant pain in myself). Emotions, aside from "bliss" seem to *mostly* have less range - in a good way. Is this the sort of thing you mean?

Work or heavy interpersonal interaction still boots me out of meditation... I'd love to find a technique to get around that, though I imagine more practice is the most likely path?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/18/16 10:58 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol,
For what it's worth, my revised hunch is this was a glimpse of non-duality, which is something that tends to happen close to awakening. In many ways, it's the last temptation: an experience so clean that it seems like "it". But interestingly, it can be a place where a practioner will camp out, dividing experience into dual and non-dual experiences. In the "practical dharma" world, this would place you in late third path, on the verge of fourth path. 
I agree absolutely that it was a glimpse of non-duality with complete conviction. Enough that I will say that immediately afterward I laughed at myself about how I was so sure I really understood what duality was. I compare the experience to reading the recipe for a cake and looking at the picture on the front, and actually baking one and eating it. 

As much as I would love to believe I was as far along as you posit, the leap from where I am now to the state I witnessed seems massive. I can definitely "taste" it in the world the way I experience it now, however. I know that, of course, it is right here, right now ALL of the time - just obscured.
If that's the case, the important thing to realize is >everything< is an experience. Dual experiences and non-dual experiences are still experiences. The nature of mind >is< experience. That's the insight. That's it. Done.
What do you mean "experience"?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/18/16 11:00 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah,
The primary mechanism for me seems to be re-prioritization to make the meditation technique the most important thing, and then everything else becomes easier because there is less attachment.
I see you partially answered my question to Pawel, which I appreciate. Any more tips? This is certainly a part of my life I'd like to better integrate.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/18/16 6:34 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
I agree absolutely that it was a glimpse of non-duality with complete conviction. Enough that I will say that immediately afterward I laughed at myself about how I was so sure I really understood what duality was. I compare the experience to reading the recipe for a cake and looking at the picture on the front, and actually baking one and eating it. 

As much as I would love to believe I was as far along as you posit, the leap from where I am now to the state I witnessed seems massive. I can definitely "taste" it in the world the way I experience it now, however. I know that, of course, it is right here, right now ALL of the time - just obscured.
If that's the case, the important thing to realize is >everything< is an experience. Dual experiences and non-dual experiences are still experiences. The nature of mind >is< experience. That's the insight. That's it. Done.
What do you mean "experience"?

This is great, thanks for your patience. It's so hard to diagnose such intimate experiences and to do so in a way that is helpful. 

Here's some thoughts, I hope the help in some way.

A non-dual experience is so shocking because it is the first experience without clinging. When greed and aversion are dropped, when there isn't a habit of delusion (where we can stay with the present and not go into fantasy), then we experience "non-dual" experience. So clean, so intimate, so spacious, so immediate, so complete, so timeless. Just perfect.

If experiences happen like that, simply dwell in it, let if "flavor" the way you relate to the world. It's a wonderful way to be. It's the absence of the three poisons, no greed, no aversion, no delusion. Just this, simple and luminous and wonderful.

But here's where it get's interesting. If you want that, and don't have that, well... that's greed all over again. Which is contrary to the non-dual experience that feels so much like home. So you are left in a paradox, you want to go home again, you have a sense of what home might be like, but if you want it over the current state of not being home, then you are even further from home.

(Does that make sense?)

So, the ultimate orientation to any experience is to welcome it. Although this has been the path all along, never placing too much value in any particular experience in meditation, it is still true even with non-dual experience. Are you able to let dual and non-dual experience come and go without clinging? Yes, notice it and dwell in the non-dual when it happens, but don't push away experiences that are dual. That is a very advanced practice and exactly the thing that is needed prior to awakening.

As always, natural curiousity, natural investigation, the natural wisdom of awareness itself will find the way.

Awareness is aware of everything and anything. The profundity of that statement can't be underestimated.

Awareness is aware of dual and non-dual. So what >is< awareness?

Pondering that question, not intellectually but experientially while sitting in meditation, could help the final insight occur. 

It can't be explained, but these statements point to it: Awareness >is< awareness. Experience >is< experience. 

Sorry in advance that this can't be put on a platter and simply served to you. For better or worse, we each have to find our way... find our way back to the simple insight that >this is it<. The experience of this moment is the perfect experience of this momement, because this moment >is< experience.


My very best wishes and good luck!

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/19/16 1:07 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling:

I see you partially answered my question to Pawel, which I appreciate. Any more tips? This is certainly a part of my life I'd like to better integrate.


There are tons of things that I could say about off-cushion practice.  I assume this is what you are asking about when you say "integration."  Different things (attitudes, thoughts, perspectives) work on different days.  The bottom line is to do whatever it takes make the meditation work.  I reccomend sticking with one technique all the time, rather than cultivating different "tools in the toolbox."  The more dumbly you can follow instructions without questioning, the better.  However, it has helped me to 'make the meditation my own,' by 'figuring it out,' on an intellectual/conceptual level.  When I was doing noting, noting out loud, where possible and appropriate, was helpful.  

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/21/16 8:58 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
The meditation subreddit is indeed a waste of time.  I could give details, but suffice to say that very few people there have any idea what they're talking about.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/21/16 11:14 AM as a reply to shargrol.
So you are left in a paradox, you want to go home again, you have a sense of what home might be like, but if you want it over the current state of not being home, then you are even further from home.

(Does that make sense?)
It makes complete sense. While I loved that experience, I have been trying to maintain my sense of detachment. I feel pretty good about my motivation being more about knowing what it was and how to proceed than being attached to it happening again immediately, but I am trying to be vigilant just the same. I am feeling close to being able to let go of the experience entirely, and the friendly advice here on the board has been very helpful in that regard.
So, the ultimate orientation to any experience is to welcome it. Although this has been the path all along, never placing too much value in any particular experience in meditation, it is still true even with non-dual experience. Are you able to let dual and non-dual experience come and go without clinging? Yes, notice it and dwell in the non-dual when it happens, but don't push away experiences that are dual. That is a very advanced practice and exactly the thing that is needed prior to awakening.

As always, natural curiousity, natural investigation, the natural wisdom of awareness itself will find the way.
I think I am ready for this approach, once I can damp any initial shock about it appearing again! : )
Awareness is aware of everything and anything. The profundity of that statement can't be underestimated. 

Awareness is aware of dual and non-dual. So what >is< awareness?

Pondering that question, not intellectually but experientially while sitting in meditation, could help the final insight occur. 

It can't be explained, but these statements point to it: Awareness >is< awareness. Experience >is< experience. 

Sorry in advance that this can't be put on a platter and simply served to you. For better or worse, we each have to find our way... find our way back to the simple insight that >this is it<. The experience of this moment is the perfect experience of this momement, because this moment >is< experience.
When I think back on my experience it feels like the answers to some of these statements are obvious, and some are just omnipresent hovering just beyond that veil that stands between me and non-duality. I'll have to spend more time with them in meditation when the taste of it all is closer. 

Thanks again for your insights, I am humbly grateful.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/21/16 11:15 AM as a reply to Noah.
Good stuff, Noah! Thank you.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/21/16 11:18 AM as a reply to Chris.
Chris:
The meditation subreddit is indeed a waste of time.  I could give details, but suffice to say that very few people there have any idea what they're talking about.
The Zen reddit especially is such a disappointing waste of a fantastically public resource, in particularly the infighting about what is Zen - there is only the path, IMHO. Ah well. 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/22/16 3:34 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Thank you Pawel.

Funny, I went from a time of trying to intellectualize my way into enlightenment - got a taste of duality that told me that I would never see it again if my approach relied on books and not practice, and now I'm back to the books. Ah me.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
3/29/16 3:35 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
OK Finally got far enough in Daniel's book to reach the end of his detailed chapter on The Progress of Insight. It's clear to me, that, starting with the tail end of "11. Equanimity":

Around this part of Equanimity there can arise the feeling that we are
not really there, or that somehow we are completely out of phase with
reality. Conducting our ordinary business may be difficult in this phase
if we are out in the world rather than on the cushion, but it tends to last
only tens of minutes at most. 


..and 10 minutes plus or minus another 5 is what the whole experience entailed - through 15: Fruition:

In this non-state, there is absolutely no time, no space, no reference
point, no experience, no mind, no consciousness, no nothingness, no
somethingness, no body, no this, no that, no unity, no duality, and no
anything else. Reality stops cold and then reappears. Thus, this is
impossible to comprehend, as it goes completely and utterly beyond the
rational mind and the universe. To “external time” (if someone were
observing the meditator from the outside) this lasts only an instant. It is
like an utter discontinuity of the space-time continuum with nothing in
the unfindable gap. 


...is precisely what I experienced. In contrast to my account:

Things had no individual existence, or were “empty” of it but interconnected at every point to one another. There was no center to anything - my experience of my body as the center of the universe was gone, and my perception felt like it came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There was no time. I mean that moments were passing, but that the experience of it was gone like I was travelling entirely with the finger of time. I realized that all moments were present, and birth and death were there as well. 

It wasn’t frightening, in fact it was delightful. Relaxing, like finally sitting in front of the fire after a long day. Blissful, even. I started to try to characterize this jawdropping experience by describing it to myself. I was worried after I had started to do this, though, that I would “collapse” the experience by trying to reduce it to symbols. The experience continued for about 10 - 15 minutes as the light changed and I drove through more city traffic and a short freeway drive

Daniel's description is definitely the most coherent and detailed version of what I have been trying to express about my experience that I have found yet. I'm greatly pleased and relieved to read a depiction that finally really resonates with things as I recall them. I feel like I've been waiting for this so that I could move forward, so I will simply express my deep gratefulness for Daniel's work here. Thanks everyone who posted with their advice and thoughts here.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
7/29/16 2:53 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
So, it's been over a year now since Stream Entry, and I'm still here in this post SE space, somewhere in the continuum.

My experience has deepened greatly with thanks to a number of posters here. I have managed to expand my everyday vision to be panoramic much of the time, available on thinking on it, and probably 40% of the time things have a "glow" about them, that often feels like it emanates from my eyes, though this makes no sense to me logically.

My teacher approved me to teach months ago, so, in the mean time, I have begun teaching "mindfulness" (meditation actually) on the campus where I work as part of an initiative that I pioneered and now has a life of it's own. I mention this because I reference it below. I have realized that teaching is strangely a powerful tool in my OWN development.

This month I have had some interesting experiences I wanted to share, and wondered what might be made of them. The second in particular accompanies what I feel is probably a major shift.

A few excerpts from my journal entries over the last month:

Friday July 7th, 2016

Went for my walk today. My mind was very quiet, no thoughts, breathing slow. I suddenly had a thought and it was vivid. Loud. Solitary in this environment of silence and dappled sunlight. I realized that “I” hadn’t been present for minute or a few minutes, I'm not sure - and this seeming fluorescent thought had made "me" briefly appear and disappear as it passed. Another thought arose - "where is this “I” that appeared with the last thought? Where is I?" The answer, again, in a quieter thought. Everywhere.

I can still sit in this I-less place. I think I understand it now. Hoping this lasts.

(The taste of it was similar to my non-dual experience, and lasted about 1.5 hrs).


and:

Thursday July 21st, 2016

This day was the day of our first meditation teaching session on campus, in the Humanities 2 building. I had a thought earlier in the day about whether I should prep or not and laughed - I knew that what I needed to say would come to me when I was ready with GREAT conviction. As I walked to go to the sit, my peripheral vision was sharp, everything had it’s glow and I felt relaxed and connected in the warm summer air. I got to the room right on time, after some wrong turns. As I arrived the organizer said, “I think you’re right on time. Looks like we should start”. I walked to the front of the class and had the panash and polish of a game show host. I made a little joke that the crowd responded to, “Hello my name is Stirling and I’m a meditator”. They all said, "Hello Stirling". I gave concise and simple instructions and proceeded to go very deep indeed for a sit in front of nearly 20 people. After I walked out, feeling great, after talking with a few of the attendees.

The rest of the day was easy and fun. Everything felt effortless. Preorganized. When I left work everything was still and glowing. I got in my car and as I drove home my sense of self popped out and the focus of my view became diffuse. I was so incredibly still and calm inside. “I” was not present as I drove. Everything was incredibly beautiful. I cried as I would come around corners and see the beautiful perfection of the vignettes in the landscape, like they were preorganized. I was listening to random selections of music, and it was all so deeply moving and beautiful - I begun to wonder if this was it - I had made a major, lasting leap into an almost perfection of my path. I came home, got out of the car and was still in the glow of it all. I laid next to my wife on our bed and we cuddled and told her about it all. She must have thought I was crazy. I was still tearful. It gradually faded, lasting an hour and a half or so, in total. I’m abundantly sure this is a MAJOR shift, and that this is where things are headed in the short term. It was beautiful. 

So, where does this leave me? What work is there to be done. It feels like this space was it, or an inch away. I feel like things are becoming more luminous, that this feeling of things happening without interaction is increasing, and that this feeling of a lack of an "I" is where things are headed.

This is where I am at present:

I still meditate about 40 minutes a day, deep in the jhanas easily, in less than 30 seconds, and have experiences that have the taste of the one above most days, but "I" am still commonly present. I have an intrinsic trust in how things work. No fear or anxiety. It is easy for me to see the mechanations of others lives and feelings and know what to do, or how to help, but I have gotten to the point where I know better than to give my opinions. It just annoys them, and I know they will do just as they are driven to - as they need to, and it's all working out just as it should. I rarely act on thoughts, but rather let them go if they are about actions in the future and am still amused to watch them arise at the right time to be taken care of. I'm sure I'm leaving something out. Ah well. 

Yes, I intuitively know there is nothing to be done... but here I am asking anyway. : )

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
7/30/16 5:48 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
It's interesting how people are talking about individual versions of a non-individual experience. Surely if there are individual versions, then it can't have been something beyond the individual.
How to square this contradiction ?

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
7/31/16 11:52 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Paweł K:

This sounds just about right! It does seem like there was light in eyes. I can even see light when I slightly pull skin from under an eye. Always found this effect fascinating especially that when I had no light there was no light doing that. Obviously mind states without luminosity are pretty bad in comparison with those with luminosity. Over time luminosity gets brighter, more refined.

Panoramicity went through evolution and in some sense is no more present. Mind is on its most raw outermost layer or should I say minds ground, and this is in some sense most panoramic thing ever, even though nothing is actually panoramic.

Thanks for your post, Pawel. This is great to hear - definitely where it seems to be headed and what my intuition tells me. 

Yes there is!
For one you need to enjoy this, bask in this sun, soak all rays of bliss and ecstasy and inner light and peace.
This after all is the very best part. And fortunately it will last longer and longer, get better and better. Savour every moment of it =)

That's exactly what it was like. I haven't had another experience of that intensity since last week, but I definitely have had moments of realizing that the "I" isn't present. Looking forward to seeing this develop. 

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
7/31/16 12:58 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
It's interesting how people are talking about individual versions of a non-individual experience. Surely if there are individual versions, then it can't have been something beyond the individual.
How to square this contradiction ?
Which experience are you referring to? If it's awakening/Stream Entry experiences you mean, then you'll find that there are as many variations on it as there are people. In Andrew Newberg's recent book "How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain" he interviews 2000 people with awakening experiences and, while the principle characteristics are shared, the remainder of those experiences are as individual as fingerprints. My observation is also that different traditions and practices yield different awakenings.

There is a Zen saying that goes along the lines of, "for every individual there is a ladder to enlightenment, and each is only used once".

Again - the experiences are individual, the upshot of what happens (in terms of the fetters and observations of interconnectedness, etc.) are consistently shared, as far as I can tell.

No contradiction I am aware of.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
7/31/16 1:27 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
John:
It's interesting how people are talking about individual versions of a non-individual experience. Surely if there are individual versions, then it can't have been something beyond the individual.
How to square this contradiction ?
Which experience are you referring to? If it's awakening/Stream Entry experiences you mean, then you'll find that there are as many variations on it as there are people. In Andrew Newberg's recent book "How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain" he interviews 2000 people with awakening experiences and, while the principle characteristics are shared, the remainder of those experiences are as individual as fingerprints. My observation is also that different traditions and practices yield different awakenings.

There is a Zen saying that goes along the lines of, "for every individual there is a ladder to enlightenment, and each is only used once".

Again - the experiences are individual, the upshot of what happens (in terms of the fetters and observations of interconnectedness, etc.) are consistently shared, as far as I can tell.

No contradiction I am aware of.
A beyond individual knowledge with an individual fingerprint. Damnedest thing isn't it ? Tim Freke calls this sort of thing paralogical.

"I was so incredibly still and calm inside. “I” was not present as I drove."  So if you are one with the car and the road etc, then they must have been conducting your teaching class too, yeah ? And the students teaching themselves, and me too, because if you have no centre then we are one aren't we. So I was teaching those students too. And Pavel was. And your dog, and anyone else 'cause there is no individual.
Good stuff.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/3/16 6:04 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
A beyond individual knowledge with an individual fingerprint. Damnedest thing isn't it ? Tim Freke calls this sort of thing paralogical.

"I was so incredibly still and calm inside. “I” was not present as I drove."  So if you are one with the car and the road etc, then they must have been conducting your teaching class too, yeah ? And the students teaching themselves, and me too, because if you have no centre then we are one aren't we. So I was teaching those students too. And Pavel was. And your dog, and anyone else 'cause there is no individual.
Good stuff.


I'd turn that on it's head. It's "flow" or "the wave" or "now" that are the moment and the things and the happening. No-one does anything. No-one IS. 

Of course, it's happening always, despite the fact that things don't look that way to me today. Can't wait to see it all in motion again.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/3/16 6:05 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
A beyond individual knowledge with an individual fingerprint. Damnedest thing isn't it ? Tim Freke calls this sort of thing paralogical.

"I was so incredibly still and calm inside. “I” was not present as I drove."  So if you are one with the car and the road etc, then they must have been conducting your teaching class too, yeah ? And the students teaching themselves, and me too, because if you have no centre then we are one aren't we. So I was teaching those students too. And Pavel was. And your dog, and anyone else 'cause there is no individual.
Good stuff.


I'd turn that on it's head. It's "flow" or "the wave" or "now" that are the moment and the things and the happening. No-one does anything. No-one IS. 

Of course, it's happening always, despite the fact that things don't look that way to me today. Can't wait to see it all in motion again.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/3/16 6:05 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
A beyond individual knowledge with an individual fingerprint. Damnedest thing isn't it ? Tim Freke calls this sort of thing paralogical.

"I was so incredibly still and calm inside. “I” was not present as I drove."  So if you are one with the car and the road etc, then they must have been conducting your teaching class too, yeah ? And the students teaching themselves, and me too, because if you have no centre then we are one aren't we. So I was teaching those students too. And Pavel was. And your dog, and anyone else 'cause there is no individual.
Good stuff.


I'd turn that on it's head. It's "flow" or "the wave" or "now" that are the moment and the things and the happening. No-one does anything. No-one IS. 

Of course, it's happening always, despite the fact that things don't look that way to me today. Can't wait to see it all in motion again.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/7/16 4:51 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
"and probably 40% of the time things have a "glow" about them, that often feels like it emanates from my eyes, though this makes no sense to me logically."
1234567891011121314151617181920212223

Definitely a link between mood and colour perception.

"Depressed patients were found to have dramatically lower retinal contrast "gain" than the volunteers who were not suffering from depression. It made no difference whether or not they were receiving antidepressant medication. There was also a significant correlation between the level of contrast gain and the severity of their symptoms. Patients who were most severely depressed had the lowest retinal responses.

The pattern was so consistent it was possible to distinguish highly depressed patients from healthy volunteers simply by looking at the test results. With further work, "electro-retinogram" tests could provide a better way of assessing a patient's mood than simply asking: "How do you feel?""

..and some funny stuff...

[b][size=5][/size]"GLASSES FOR ENHANCED VISUAL ACUITY[/b]

[b][size=2][/size]Todd Murphy, 2001[/b]


[b][size=2][/size]The experience of enhanced visual acuity is one of those experiences people often choose not to talk about. It creates a feeling that doesn't go into words very well.[/b]


[b][size=2][/size]Like most altered-state experiences, it invites a spiritual or religious interpretation. One of the best known is "Seeing the divine in creation". During enhanced visual acuity, everything seems to glow, without having any lights around them. Things seem sharper. Colors are more engaging, and one notices the contours of faces much more. It's very pleasant. In fact, in studies of visual acuity, people with lower acuity tend to be depressed, and people with higher acuity tend to have positive emotional styles.[/b]


[b][size=2][/size]I first began experiencing enhanced visual acuity shortly after I began meditation practice. I always felt very good whenever I was a having it. my eyes took in more detail, my gaze tended to linger over interesting textures, and 3D effects of any kind really stood out."

Probably more to do with retinal contrast than something that can be produced by clever spectacles.[/b]

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/7/16 4:54 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
"I have managed to expand my everyday vision to be panoramic much of the time, available on thinking on it, and probably 40% of the time things have a "glow" about them, that often feels like it emanates from my eyes, though this makes no sense to me logically."
"Depressed patients were found to have dramatically lower retinal contrast "gain" than the volunteers who were not suffering from depression. It made no difference whether or not they were receiving antidepressant medication. There was also a significant correlation between the level of contrast gain and the severity of their symptoms. Patients who were most severely depressed had the lowest retinal responses.
The pattern was so consistent it was possible to distinguish highly depressed patients from healthy volunteers simply by looking at the test results. With further work, "electro-retinogram" tests could provide a better way of assessing a patient's mood than simply asking: "How do you feel?""

..and someone tries to hack it...

"GLASSES FOR ENHANCED VISUAL ACUITY

Todd Murphy, 2001

The experience of enhanced visual acuity is one of those experiences people often choose not to talk about. It creates a feeling that doesn't go into words very well.
Like most altered-state experiences, it invites a spiritual or religious interpretation. One of the best known is "Seeing the divine in creation". During enhanced visual acuity, everything seems to glow, without having any lights around them. Things seem sharper. Colors are more engaging, and one notices the contours of faces much more. It's very pleasant. In fact, in studies of visual acuity, people with lower acuity tend to be depressed, and people with higher acuity tend to have positive emotional styles.
I first began experiencing enhanced visual acuity shortly after I began meditation practice. I always felt very good whenever I was a having it. my eyes took in more detail, my gaze tended to linger over interesting textures, and 3D effects of any kind really stood out."

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/8/16 4:27 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John..and someone tries to hack it...

"GLASSES FOR ENHANCED VISUAL ACUITY

Todd Murphy, 2001

The experience of enhanced visual acuity is one of those experiences people often choose not to talk about. It creates a feeling that doesn't go into words very well.
Like most altered-state experiences, it invites a spiritual or religious interpretation. One of the best known is "Seeing the divine in creation". During enhanced visual acuity, everything seems to glow, without having any lights around them. Things seem sharper. Colors are more engaging, and one notices the contours of faces much more. It's very pleasant. In fact, in studies of visual acuity, people with lower acuity tend to be depressed, and people with higher acuity tend to have positive emotional styles.
I first began experiencing enhanced visual acuity shortly after I began meditation practice. I always felt very good whenever I was a having it. my eyes took in more detail, my gaze tended to linger over interesting textures, and 3D effects of any kind really stood out."

Interesting stuff. I'm going to experiment with his ideas about crossing your eyes working with vision.
 He description sounds more or less correct.

RE: Questions about Stream Entry
Answer
8/9/16 9:34 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
What i think is you got glimpse to second skandha. If you have skill to purify your vision to the point of clarity like seeing things the way they are. During watching cartoon you can dissolve feelings and therefore see the textures or just pictures. You can dissolve the dross and be clear what you doing.