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Proof: A Single Path of Attainment

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Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 4/19/16 2:51 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment . Jake . 4/20/16 9:08 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 4/20/16 2:09 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris M 4/21/16 2:02 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris Marti 4/21/16 5:49 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Ernest Michael Olmos 4/21/16 9:07 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Noah 4/21/16 12:00 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 4/21/16 10:35 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment neko 4/23/16 12:04 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris Marti 4/23/16 10:16 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Vince 5/10/16 1:55 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Eric B 4/20/16 10:40 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Noah 4/20/16 12:56 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Pål 4/23/16 1:37 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Noah 4/25/16 5:22 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Dream Walker 4/22/16 12:06 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Stirling Campbell 4/22/16 3:25 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Jinxed P 4/24/16 10:17 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 4/24/16 11:23 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Jinxed P 4/25/16 8:32 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris Marti 4/25/16 5:18 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 4/28/16 11:29 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris Marti 4/29/16 7:37 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 5/3/16 8:46 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris Marti 5/4/16 7:34 AM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment T DC 5/8/16 5:18 PM
RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment Chris Marti 5/8/16 5:53 PM
Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/19/16 2:51 PM
Hello DhO!

I intend this thread not as literal proof of a single path of attainment, but as a proof of the veracity of my claim of a single path of attainment leading to the single final and ultimate state of full enlightenment.

Here is the basis of my argument:  1) I attained full enlightenment following centuries if not millennia old teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, and; 2) Others have done the same with no help from similar teachings.  To give an example, the Four Visions of Thodgal are teachings that detail the very end of the path to enlightenment, from the grand moment of seeing fully through the conceptual self up until the final dissolution of conceptual ignorance and the moment of full enlightenment. When I say final here I mean no traces of dualistic confusion remain; all is seen and understood as a single united sphere of perception.  If I, a young man in the west, was able to experience clearly the progression of attainment laid out in teachings written by people in a distant time and place, far spatially, temporally, and culturally removed, what does this say about the veracity of these teachings and the singleness of the path of attainment?

There are several options.  One is that I am a liar or am fooling myself, and thus I have not experienced the states they wrote about.  The second is that numerous final states of perception exist, and that the teachings we follow determine these states.  Here is where point 2 comes in.  In the writings of Ekart Tolle he recounts his enlightenment experience.  He was profoundly depressed and unhappy with himself; one day in a time of great depression the idea of himself, his conceptual self, arose in his mind and; seeing it to be a separable figment of mind he naturally released it, and thus attained enlightenment.  In a book by Adiashanti, another modern teacher, he wrote that seeing through the self is a peak attainment on the path, and at this point one is very close to final enlightenment although there is still a slight ways to go.

To clarify here, the four stages of Thodgal are (from His Holiness the Dalia Lama via wikipedia)
  1. manifest intrinsic reality
  2. increasing of experience
  3. rigpa attains its full measure
  4. exhaustion of phenomena, beyond the mind
Another way to explain these are

1.  The attainment of 'seeing through the self', after which we see clearly ultimate reality unveiled by conceptual obscuration but some subtle dualistic ignorance remains.
2.  Our experience of ultimate reality increases.
3.  Our experience of ultimate reality increases to its seeming full extent although traces of subtle dualistic ignorance remain.
4.  Dualistic ignorance fully collapses and is overcome; ignorance is overcome and we enter an experience fully beyond the realm of conceptual division or apprehension.  This is full enlightenment.

As we can see here, myself, following Tibetan Buddhist teachings, Ekart Tolle following no teachings whatsoever, and Adiashanti who I believe was following some sort of Zen method but was maybe largely just out on his own mystical bent, all reached the same peak experience of the stage just prior to final enlightenment.  This disproves that the method determines the result because we all got the same result regardless of method.  Furthermore, given the intricacies of individual experience, I think it is absurd to say we can in fact all follow the same method without conforming to a view of a single ultimate state.  How could each individual, with all their minutiae of differences, truly follow and put into practice the same method of practice unless all were ultimately governed by a single universal entity, or final and original ultimate state?

And finally, if we discount option one, which if we are each going to have faith in our own experience and reality we (or at least I) obviously must, option two is disproved by the example above that leads us to a third conclusion; that a single ultimate state exits, and the path to this final state of enlightenment is governed by discrete attainments that are experienced with universal similarity by all.

Note: The universal attainment used for this proof is that of 'seeing through the self', the entrance attainment to the first vision of Thodgal.  In my experience this is the most distinct and clearly describable attainment on the path.  As such it is not remarkable we should find it discussed in such diverse sources in clear and relatable terms.  When we consider earlier attainments on the path, which are many and somewhat indistinct, the variation in description and treatment by different lineages and traditions could lead us to conclude there are many separable paths, but ultimately the variation may be accounted for as variation in human descriptive ability and ultimately memory of perception.  Without a clear and distinct path of attainment, even if one does make progress on the path they may be unable to clearly describe their progress in relatable terms, although they experienced the same progressive attainments.

Cheers,
Tim

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/20/16 9:08 AM as a reply to T DC.
Tim,
what's the difference between 'seeing through the self' as the first vision of Thogal in your interpretation and, for instance, the hinayana awakening described by Trungpa; 4th path as described by Daniel and others; or Trekcho in the Dzogchen system, all of which could be said to involve "seeing through the [illusion of the solid separate] self".
-Jake

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/20/16 10:40 AM as a reply to T DC.
Tim,
Could you elaborate on the details of the actual practice method of Thogal, and how this may change over the span of the four stages?
Eric

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/20/16 12:56 PM as a reply to T DC.
@OP:

I like this post.  For me the point is that there are lots of ways that ones experience/understanding of reality can be permanently altered for the release of stress.  For many practitioners these would lie beyond the point of 'techical 4th path' (which I consider to be different from MCTB 4th path which is Daniel's experience).  Firstly, correcting all dualistic perception.  Then there are areas such as the somatic, emotional, or shamanic (which miiiiiight be what Thogdal is about??).  These last sentences are not my intellectual property btw: got them from a pragmatic dharma friend.  

Its good news because it means there is more fun to be had.  I don't think we must bandy about the specifics, although that could be fun too!  Thanks, Tim.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/20/16 2:09 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Tim,
what's the difference between 'seeing through the self' as the first vision of Thogal in your interpretation and, for instance, the hinayana awakening described by Trungpa; 4th path as described by Daniel and others; or Trekcho in the Dzogchen system, all of which could be said to involve "seeing through the [illusion of the solid separate] self".
-Jake

Hi Jake!

There are several different ways to categorize or explain these attainments. One way to do this is to explain the equation of MCTB 4th path with the Hinayana completion attainment which puts 4th path into a greater perspective in which it is seen to be a much earlier attainment on the path relative to the attainment I described above as 'seeing through the self' and the entrance to the 4 vision of Thodgal. 

Based on the argument above that a single universal path of attainment exists, we can logically see MCTB 4th path and the Hinayana completion attainment described by Trungpa as 'Form is empty' and the 'entrance to the Mahayana' as one and the same attainment.  MCTB 4th path was the first major attainment or experience of opening on the path, and per Daniel's description it is the perception of something beyond the cycles of insight; the perception of something we have not seen before.  Daniel also describes the centerlessness and agencylessness of 4th path.

In Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (CTSM), Trungpa describes the completion attainment of the Hinayana, and the entrance attainment of the Mahayana (one and the same attainment) as 'form is empty', or form is seen to be empty; the first genuine attainment of emptiness.  Following the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism in which the Three Yanas arose from the progressively advanced teachings of the three turnings of the wheel of dharma, the Mahayana correlates to the 2nd turning of the wheel and the introduction of teachings on emptiness.

Thus, if MCTB 4th path is held to be the first perception of that beyond an ordinary experience of mind, and Trungpa's Hinayana completion attainment is held to be the initial perception of emptiness, logically I do not think it is a stretch to say these are one and the same attainment.

Now on a personal level, several years ago when I encountered MCTB, I followed the teachings along and gradually seemed to gain the path attainments Daniel described.  At first path a weight was lifted and I could practice the review cycle to gain a fruition.  At third path I had greatly increased confidence and the experience of that attainment seemed to line up remarkably well with Daniels description.  After 3rd path I completed numerous review cycles until they seemed somewhat obsolete and then out of the blue, my mind seemed to open up; I perceived something new.  I perceived the fabric of ultimate reality beyond conceptual thought, the very existence of which negated the solidity of conceptual thought that had up until this time been percieved.  No thought could anymore seem to be true, or a center; thought's solidity of form was negated.

After this experience I wandered spiritually with no clear direction until one day some six months later I re-read CTSM by Trungpa and found a description of the Hinayana completion attainment, form is emptiness, and descriptions of further stages; a path of attainment.  Trungpa description of this attainment so resonated with my experience that I had no doubt on a personal level that he was describing my experience.  I suffered in the time between the attainment of 4th path and the finding of these teachings, I found 4th path to be a painful and disconcerting mental experience.  When I found Trungpa's description, there was no skepticism in my mind regarding separable paths of attainment.  Would I have taken the experience of 4th path back?  Would I rather have followed a different system to gain a different attainment?  The one clear thing about attainment is that there is no going back.  If I had gained 4th path following a different system, and here I found it described somewhere else, albeit slightly differently and with the weight of a millennia old tradition behind it, then for me personally that was irrevocable proof of a universal path of attainment. 

Now within this millennia old tradition, the Dzogchen teachings of Thodgal are inherently Vajrayana teachings, which are held to be a higher path from the Mahayana.  Again I am getting this straight from CTSM by Trungpa.  The Hinayana completion attainment he describes is followed by 3 further Mahayana attainments, found conveniently in the Heart Sutra, the last of which, the 4th attainment, is the completion attainment of the Mahayana, and the entrance to the Vajrayana.  So there we have; if the 4th path and form is empty attainments are the same, which they do seem to be, both logically and in experience, then they are early attainments on a greater path, the culmination of which is the attainment I described as 'seeing through the self'.

In addition I should note that these attainments are experienced much differently.  At 4th path we see an emptiness beyond form, or thought, for the first time.  This emptiness negates the form or solidity of thought, but thought still remains in our mind and is progressively undone and understood more deeply through the many successive attainments.  At the attainment of seeing through the self, the edifice of thought crumbles entirely; the root error of belief in a separately existing self is overcome.  This is comparable to, regarding the demolition of a building or prison, understanding that something does in fact exist beyond or other than the building or prison we are stuck in, and demolishing the building or prison in entirety such that we are fully set free.  After this point the 4 visions of Thodgal could be compared to clearing the rubble, or allowing the dust to settle such that the task, while at this point majorly accomplished, is then entirely complete.

As you noted, the whole process can be summed up in 'seeing through the self'.  Due to the progressive nature of attainments there are some to which this moniker applies more or less.  At 4th path we begin the process, but in the entrance to the 4 visions, the self is entirely seen through.

I cannot speak to the relation of Threkchod because I know very little about it.  However it's existence does in no way compromise the system I have laid out.  As should be clear, progressive attainment is a universal spiritual system described in relative terms.  Although these terms may differ, the system remains the same.  We call apples 'apples', in Spanish people call them 'manzanas' however we're both talking about the same thing.  I do not claim to have created a universal system of attainment, but merely to have completed it and to have uncovered evidence that would unite various divergent traditions as striving for and ultimately achieving the same goal (or goals regarding progressive attainment).

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/21/16 2:02 AM as a reply to T DC.

There are several different ways to categorize or explain these attainments. One way to do this is to explain the equation of MCTB 4th path with the Hinayana completion attainment which puts 4th path into a greater perspective in which it is seen to be a much earlier attainment on the path relative to the attainment I described above as 'seeing through the self' and the entrance to the 4 vision of Thodgal. 


Let's be clear here so that there is no confusion. MCTB 4th path is not the Arahantship expounded in early Buddhism, but is more likely to be equivalent to stream entry.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/21/16 9:07 AM as a reply to T DC.
Well, this is my opinion about the maps (and your view and Daniel's).

I think that both you and Daniel have the same level of attainment. I think you both have overcome duality.
I do think that Daniel's 4th Path correlates with the final attainment.

I do think that maybe what you consider 4th path is 3rd AP.
I see analogies with what Daniel says after late 3rd path and what you say after 4th path.

I think Daniel's maps are a lot better to describe attainments early (1st, 2nd path). I think that after 3rd of even late 2nd things get a lot more complicated (at least that is what everyone says emoticon). Daniel talks about more that 20 cycles.

It would be good to have a good framework for the late middle paths (i could definitely benefit from it emoticon). And it should align with what we know about early paths.

My 2 cents.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/21/16 12:00 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Nice Ernest!  Couldn't have said it better myself. 

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/21/16 5:49 PM as a reply to Chris M.
Let's be clear here so that there is no confusion. MCTB 4th path is not the Arahantship expounded in early Buddhism, but is more likely to be equivalent to stream entry.

This made me chuckle. The last thing we ever get in the area of mapping and meditative attainment is clarity emoticon



RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/21/16 10:35 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Ernest Michael Olmos:
Well, this is my opinion about the maps (and your view and Daniel's).

I think that both you and Daniel have the same level of attainment. I think you both have overcome duality.
I do think that Daniel's 4th Path correlates with the final attainment.

I do think that maybe what you consider 4th path is 3rd AP.
I see analogies with what Daniel says after late 3rd path and what you say after 4th path.

I think Daniel's maps are a lot better to describe attainments early (1st, 2nd path). I think that after 3rd of even late 2nd things get a lot more complicated (at least that is what everyone says emoticon). Daniel talks about more that 20 cycles.

It would be good to have a good framework for the late middle paths (i could definitely benefit from it emoticon). And it should align with what we know about early paths.

My 2 cents.
Hi Ernest! 

I started this thread to present a logical argument for why I consider there to be a single path of attainment.  In the spirit of logical argument, there are some things I take issue with in your post.

Firstly, that Daniel and I have the same attainment; the key glaring issue here is that I claim to be finally done with the path, and also to have reached an emotionally balanced state.  While Daniel did for a long time claim 4th path to be the final end state, he has in more rescent posts moved beyond this to suggest that progression continues after what he has called 4th path.  Thus we have one person who claims to be fully done, and one who seemingly does not.  I don't want to put words in Daniels mouth here, and I have great respect for him as the author of MCTB and the proginator of the DhO, I just don't think that he thinks he's done.

Secondly, the idea that the initial glimpse of emptiness according to the Tibean Buddhist tradition; a key and defining attainment on the path that signals a major shift in practice, could be equated haphazardly to the 3rd path A+P, a very minor event not to mention one that is repeated ad nausium due to the nature of 3rd path cycles, strikes me as extremely unfounded at best.

I agree that Daniel maps the inital territory quite well, but I would disagree he describes it better because I am using his map!

We might imagine I find it difficult to read many posts in dissagreement with my ideas, but frankly what I find more difficult is the trend of posters taking a divergent stance on my position without seeming to have read or attempted to understand my post.  As far as logical arguments go, posting to say you somehow know better than me without providing any clear evidence, is not a strong case!

I hope I do not come off too strong here, but I do implore those interested in this thread to please stick to the subject at hand, which is an attempt by myself to prove, with a logical and empirically based argument, the singleness or universal nature of the path of attainment.

Thanks!

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/22/16 12:06 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Hello DhO!

I intend this thread not as literal proof of a single path of attainment, but as a proof of the veracity of my claim of a single path of attainment leading to the single final and ultimate state of full enlightenment.
This seems to be a continuation of this thread - http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4735284

T DC:
EDIT: What I am arguing is that there is a common progression in attainment among all practitioners. This idea is not foreign to this community, indeed few would assume that one could attain 2nd path without first attaining 1st path, or that having attained 1st path, one could then attain 3rd path without first attaining 2nd path. What I am proposing is simply that this linear system of attainment continues on up until full enlightenment. (And I have mapped it below)

Hello! (Please note: a map with detailed explanations has been posted (far) below)

I am posting this thread to share with you all two things. One: enlightenment does exist, and two: the path one must tread to reach it is clearly delineated.

First: Enlightenment does exist. How do I know this? I am fully enlightened. I have deepened enlightenment to the fullest extent, such that no suffering, or confusion remains. What do I mean by this? I will explain..

I do wish you could explain in phenomenological terms each path. I wish you could explain the perceptual shifts that each path entails. I have read your accounts and maps but your descriptions are less than what I can get from wikipedia. Whether you are awakened or not, I get nothing from your explanations that tells me you have actually experienced any of the paths or jhanas. I do wish you would endeavour to describe first hand what awakening has been like, besides vague generic terms.
Thanks,
~D

Edit:
T DC:
I hope I do not come off too strong here, but I do implore those interested in this thread to please stick to the subject at hand, which is an attempt by myself to prove, with a logical and empirically based argument, the singleness or universal nature of the path of attainment.
For what its worth, I do think there is generally one major path with minor variations. There seems to be very poor descriptions of the variences though. Hopefully this can be cleared up some someday. 

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/22/16 3:25 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
An interesting thread. I don't have much add, except to say that my feeling is that a complete merging with the non-dual experience seems like the logical (my gut instinct ONLY) end of the path, and that it's fascinating to watch this part of the path (which seems a bit downplayed in MCTB ) jump around in it's theoretical position in the paths. To ME it's sits very logically in the Pali Sotapanna/Stream Enterer description. 

Where do the "blips" fit in? I confess this part of MCTB descriptions doesn't mesh with my experience thus far, and I wonder if this is due to the Dzogchen/Zen path I have spent my time on?

Lastly, I'm curious about the effect that our primary practices might have on how our path presents itself. This is a topic I would love to see better explored. 

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/23/16 12:04 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

Firstly, that Daniel and I have the same attainment; the key glaring issue here is that I claim to be finally done with the path, and also to have reached an emotionally balanced state.  While Daniel did for a long time claim 4th path to be the final end state, he has in more rescent posts moved beyond this to suggest that progression continues after what he has called 4th path.  

The fact that you think you are done does not mean that you are done.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/23/16 10:16 AM as a reply to neko.
I have to say, I'm not sure what "emotional balance" even means. Can someone explain it? Why is it being equated with awakening? 

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/23/16 1:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
Could you elaborate on the "shamanic area"? emoticon

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/24/16 10:17 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC,

What do you mean by full enlightenment? Do you simply mean as you wrote "When I say final here I mean no traces of dualistic confusion remain; all is seen and understood as a single united sphere of perception"..that sounds exactly what Daniel claims as MTCB 4th path. Or what the traditional Theravadans simply call "stream entry". I have asked Bhante G about this, and that is what he said. When the self is gone, completely and absolutely gone, that is one aspect of stream entry according to him.

By full enlightenment, you mean you have abandoned the ten fetters of the Pitaka Sutta? If so, is it true that you have completely abandoned sensual desire? Do you have no desire for sex or good tasting food?

What about the ten fetters of abbidharma? Do you experience no jealousy? Do you have a girlfriend? If she fucked your boss right in front of you would you experience no jealousy at all?

Most would say that 'full enlightenment' equals the complete cessation of suffering. Do you claim not to suffer at all? If someone shocked you with a taser, would you feel just fine? Perhaps, we should just stick to mental suffering. Do you experience absolutely no stress? No anxiety, worry, boredom, irritation or frustration?

I've seen you appear frustrated and angry on this board..

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/24/16 11:23 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
T DC,

What do you mean by full enlightenment? Do you simply mean as you wrote "When I say final here I mean no traces of dualistic confusion remain; all is seen and understood as a single united sphere of perception"..that sounds exactly what Daniel claims as MTCB 4th path. Or what the traditional Theravadans simply call "stream entry". I have asked Bhante G about this, and that is what he said. When the self is gone, completely and absolutely gone, that is one aspect of stream entry according to him.

By full enlightenment, you mean you have abandoned the ten fetters of the Pitaka Sutta? If so, is it true that you have completely abandoned sensual desire? Do you have no desire for sex or good tasting food?

What about the ten fetters of abbidharma? Do you experience no jealousy? Do you have a girlfriend? If she fucked your boss right in front of you would you experience no jealousy at all?

Most would say that 'full enlightenment' equals the complete cessation of suffering. Do you claim not to suffer at all? If someone shocked you with a taser, would you feel just fine? Perhaps, we should just stick to mental suffering. Do you experience absolutely no stress? No anxiety, worry, boredom, irritation or frustration?

I've seen you appear frustrated and angry on this board..

Jinxed P, have some respect!  I don't post here just to rile people up, I do so because I am very passionate about this topic and I feel a connection with this community regarding the path of attainment.  I am doing my best to be polite so I expect the same, and I'm not going to reply to you just because you baited the hook with something juicy.

Chris Marti, you asked why emotional balance was being equated with awakening.  The short answer is that the goal of awakening was always for me held to be the end of my suffering; the end of anxiety, social akwardness, fear...  I got enlightened and returned to a state of final oneness, but emotional problems still persisted.  With furthter progress on the path I did overcome these issues and realised a framework by which the gaining of a stable and emotionally balanced state was possible.  If the goal on the path is truly a final and complete peace, solving our emotional issues is a key component.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/25/16 8:32 AM as a reply to T DC.
Jinxed P, have some respect!  I don't post here just to rile people up, I do so because I am very passionate about this topic and I feel a connection with this community regarding the path of attainment.  I am doing my best to be polite so I expect the same,




Seems like your ego was threatened? I thought you had completely gotten rid of it? I was not being impolite , I was asking how about how your 'full enlightenment' reality tested.

Very passionate?

"I taught the Dhamma in many ways for the fading of passion, the sobering of intoxication, the subduing of thirst, the destruction of attachment, the severing of the round, the ending of craving, dispassion," --The Buddha

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/25/16 5:18 PM as a reply to T DC.
Chris Marti, you asked why emotional balance was being equated with awakening.  The short answer is that the goal of awakening was always for me held to be the end of my suffering; the end of anxiety, social akwardness, fear...  I got enlightened and returned to a state of final oneness, but emotional problems still persisted.  With furthter progress on the path I did overcome these issues and realised a framework by which the gaining of a stable and emotionally balanced state was possible.  If the goal on the path is truly a final and complete peace, solving our emotional issues is a key component.

I'd like to try to understand you better, so...

What is a "state of final oneness?"

How do you know you are in a place of "truly final and complete peace?"

Thanks.


RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/25/16 5:22 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Could you elaborate on the "shamanic area"? emoticon

From DW, but I really like the idea.  So magick would have to do with directly manipulating reality but being in control.  Shamanic would have to do with going to other realms/interacting with outside forces in a way where the power balance there shifts.  Its magick but the hunter becomes the hunted lol.  

I guess the idea seems to be that at a certain point there could be this merging of awareness completely, within this reality.  Where do you go from there?  To other worlds.  Infinity and beyond!

Keep in mind I just love playing with these ideas.  I take them all with a grain of salt until I experience them directly.  So far the only two maps I can buy into from my own experience have been Ron's and Dhammarato's.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/28/16 11:29 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

I'd like to try to understand you better, so...

What is a "state of final oneness?"

How do you know you are in a place of "truly final and complete peace?"

Thanks.

Thanks for the question!  When I was in high school, before I had any major exposure to religion or meditation, I had very bad social anxiety.  I felt like my mind was shut down all the time, and trying to express myself socially was a major challenge.  Looking back I think I had some mild bi-polar states going on.  I would have lots of shut down days, weeks of them, and then I would have one breakthrough day where I was super happy and easy going and my thoughts would flow naturally and happily; a very up day.  On one of these up days, I realized that unlike my normal depressed state, I was not thinking soley about myself.  Instead I was focused outward onto the world taking myself to be a solid and teneble force I need not constantly question.

Soon after this realization, I went to the bathroom, and all barriers of perception dropped away.  Suddenly there were no veils between myself and the present moment, no separation whatsoever.  I was fully in the moment, I was the present moment, and I was unspeakable united with all else of reality.  I was simply awareness of a process that was occuring naturally and with no hesitation.  I was awareness of the united presnt moment itself.

This experience soon faded, but I knew afterwords without doubt that a state of mind existed beyond my mental suffering, a state of mind so beautiful and joyous to transcend the pleasure of any possible material experience.  My glimpse of this ultimate state awoke in me a longing to return to this experience, and I knew I would never feel truly complete or whole until I did.

Fastforeword 2 years and I attained 4th path following MCTB.  It was an experience of great opening, but it was not a full return to the state I was searching for, and so I continued on the path of meditation.  Fastforeward again another year and a half; following Tibetan Buddhism maps of progressive attainment, I finally reached the awakened state.  My relative and small minded conceptual self was extinct, and I entered fully into the state of ultimate unity I had long ago witnessed; I transcended my relative conceptual self, or ego, and entered into direct perception of the present moment.

So in essense I know I have reached the ultimate state, or enlightenment, because I glimpsed it once before, and the memory of its ultmate perceftion has kept me searching and pressing onwards on the path through numerous progressive attainment expereinces.

To continue, after some time in this state and some progression, it was clear that although I had reached a definite state of oneness, emotionally I was still suffering.  After much suffering I encountered qi gong, and after much continued and varied progression I reached a final state of complete peace.  I admit that in this context it is hard enough to make sense of a claim to enlightenment let alone a claim to the competeion of a complex path of progression after enlightenment, but I mention this because I feel it nessecary to say I have truly reached a state of complete peace, and truly ended my suffering. 

All this I mention because I do think my experience is not unique.  To reach this final ultimate state I followed teachings long established in Buddhism, one of which was very importantly MCTB.  If I could reach the ultimate state following an ancient path, then surely everyone else can to, if they so desire.  I respect the idea of to each his own, but in this I also feel I must strongly suggest the idea of to each a single ultimate model, because ultimately this is what I have found to be true in my own experience.

I hope this helps!  Cheers emoticon

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
4/29/16 7:37 AM as a reply to T DC.
Thanks for your detailed reply - but all of that didn't quite answer my questions. I'm happy you are happy, feeling good all the time, are at peace. But I'm really interested in more and better descriptions of your ongoing experience: how is it different than it was ten years ago? What is the "oneness" you describe like to experience directly? How long has this been going on? How do you experience emotions? How do you experience thoughts?

We need phenomenological descriptions from you or the things you claim might ring hollow to everyone. 

Make sense?

Thanks in advance!

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
5/3/16 8:46 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Thanks for your detailed reply - but all of that didn't quite answer my questions. I'm happy you are happy, feeling good all the time, are at peace. But I'm really interested in more and better descriptions of your ongoing experience: how is it different than it was ten years ago? What is the "oneness" you describe like to experience directly? How long has this been going on? How do you experience emotions? How do you experience thoughts?

We need phenomenological descriptions from you or the things you claim might ring hollow to everyone. 

Make sense?

Thanks in advance!
Hey Chris - Thank you for engaging with me on this in such a clear and straight foreward manner!  Phenonemenoligical descriptions, so a description of how my experience apears to me.  I will do my best here, but I have to say the best description of the enlightened state I have found it that it is beyond conceptual conprehension or encapsulation.  In fact the path of progression in attainment leading to full enlightenment is a process of gradually stripping away the false concept of our minds and coming to percive firsthand that which lies beyond the veil of conceptual permenance and solidity.

How is it different thatn ten years ago?  Six years ago I was a senior in high school who had rescently had an enlightenment experience and started meditating.  I struggled with social anxiety, but I had hope in a brighter future, which was lacking in the time before this.  Prior to my enlightenment experience I had a pretty normal idea of happiness for a modern american teenager, which was to go skiing as much as possible and hopefully somehow resolve my fears and anxieties.  I think we naturally develop a lot in the 10 years from 15 to 25, but maybe highlighting some aspects of my personality can give you a glimpse into how things have changed for me as a result of enlightenment.

Social anxiety, gone.  A feeling of inferiority, gone.  A sense of purpose and destiny, gained.  I think the most telling indicator is that of the search.  I was always searching when I was younger, I thought I would get some lasting recognition and happiness through skiing well, or pursuing an extreme carreer.  Once I really started meditating, obviously I was always searching for a genuine change in my mind.  I am not searching anymore.  I know I have found what I sought.  Whether or not anyone believes me is ultimately a secondary concern, because I know I have gained a final and lasting peace.

Thoughts - When we meditate, a primary obstacle is our thoughts; our gross conceptual thinking.  I don't mean our ability to logically think, but thie thinking that is rampant in our minds.  We all probably agree we cannot stop our thoughts; unbidden thoughts that flow through our minds are part and parcel of meditation, even when we have begun to gain attainment.  When I gained enlightenment, I still had a such a thought stream, but with continued meditation after enlightenment, this stream was exhausted and ended.  I gained a state of complete mental silence.  I was free to think whatever I wanted, but there were no gross conceptual thoughts to work with in meditation, no thoughts apearing in my mind unbidden.  At this point, Buddhist meditation was rendered totally obselete as I overcame the very object itself.

Emotions - The path of post enlightenment progression is complex and in my case involves Qi Gong and the system of the three dantiens.  I will not explain it here, if you are interested let me know.  However, the short version is that after enlightenment, after fully entereing into an extinction of 'self', and the end of the thought stream I had terrible emotional difficultie, especially with jealosy and insecurity.  After a long time of struggle, I encountered the teachings of Robert Peng, who said explicitly that an enlightened person with unbalced energy centers (dantiens) would experience emotional turmoil and insecurity.  Following his teachings, I balanced my dantiens; a process I strived for diligently but did not fully expect until one day it suddenly happened.  At this point I developed emotional balance which still persists.

How long has this been going on? - I gained 4th path 4 and a half years ago.  I gained enlightenment almost exactly 3 years ago.  I gained emotional balance almost 2 years ago, and I gained a final peace close to 1 year ago.  In three years, my experience of oneness and unity did not change, and the same for these latter acomplishments.  Since reaching a final peace last summer, I can say that although relative development continues, my ultimate experience has remained exactly the same at all times.  I have no doubt; I am sure I will be saying the same thing any potential length of time from now.  I glimpsed a state of perfection, and I have miraculously achieved it.  I am not posting primarily to convince anyone of this, but to say, "it is possible, and here's how".

Finally, what is it like to experience oneness?  Well this is kind of the big question isn't it?  What is enlightenment and what is it like?  I think there are a lot of analogies for this, like the finger pointing at the moon.  The finger is not the moon and will never be, it just tells you how to get there.  I can tell you the techniques I followed and the stages I encountered and what genreally the journey was like, but the very point of the journey itself is to come to an experiential understanding of something that lie beyond our abliity to aprehend.  How many systems describe this?  Islam has One God, Christianity has the holy trinity.  In a book about Black Elk, a latoka medicine man, he describes the goal of the lakota spiritual rites as ultimately to "realise their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all of its powers".  Hinduism has the realization of Godhead, which is also very similar if I'm not mistaken.  The point being is that all major religions and spirituality have been seemingly focused on the same universal thing, but none have been able to describe it in clear and universal terms.  We cannot describe ultimate reality in using a relative system!  Only through direct perception can such a thing be genuinely apprehended.

The best decription is similar to that one quote; I am all, and I am nothing, and between the two my life flows.  So be it!  That our life flows seems to be the main point in some sense.  When we know what we are, everything else follows naturally. 

To experience oneness is like this; we are totally unrestrained.  We act according to no system whatsoever, we jsut simple are who we are and we do the best we can all the time whatever the situation.  It doesn't seem like perfection to the outside observer because we are acting in a relative and incomplete system, and we are constrained by our circumstances; physical, as well as emotional and mental development.  These three factos, physical, emotional and mental and ever evolving, personally and universally, and although we may be at a personal peak in every moment, always there is further to go and more to learn.  Spiritually however, we are perfection.  There is total awareness of the situation, and yet there's noone who is aware.  The lights are on, the car is driving, and there is no driver, but at the same time there is the ultimate of utmost driver.  We are nothing, we are totally extinct, and we are also everything, we have complete connection. 

Cheers!

Edit:  I came up with a more concrete example of the beneficial changes of attainment, and ultimately of reaching a state of final peace.  I said I had social anxiety before I started.  The summer after 4th path I worked as a raft guide, a job in which you do in some sense need to be a social person.  I did fine, but the reality of interacting with new people closely for several hours at a stretch was daunting.  Part of this was insecurity, and part of was a lack of ability to really relate to people in meaningful way.  Partly I think this can be chalked up to being on the path, which is a time in which, for me personally, the only thing that mattered largely was continueing to progress in attainment; this was the solution to the root problem, and everything else was secondary.  But at anyrate, my social skill were not what they could have been, and this was painful.

Now, having reached a final ultimate state, I am working as cna and looking at going to nursing school.  I like interacting with people, I like meeting new people, frankly this is now more exciting to me than anything else.  As a consequence of energetic balance I have the vitality to maintain my personal space, love for patients and coworkers, and a sense of spiritual connection and purpose.  In the final ultimate state, there is no personal territory whatsoever, and therefore there is no fear.  There is no me or mine to protect.  Of course I need to protect me and mine physically and emotionally and mentally to whatever degree seems necesary; we live in the physical world and no one is going to look out for us ultimatly but ourselves.  But in a neurotic, or 'egoic' sense, there is nothing to protect, there is complete openess to the unknown, and as a consequence there is complete peace.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
5/4/16 7:34 AM as a reply to T DC.
I'm so sorry, but I'm just not getting anything really concrete, T DC. You continue to describe how you got where you are but not with a lot of detail, phenomenological detail, of your ongoing, moment to moment experience. It's the second by second processing of experience that must have changed for you, and it's that change that matters to folks here. So you have used varoius techniques - how did that work, in detail? What does it mean, in detail, process-wise, phenomenologically, to balance your emotional existence?

BTW - many people who have a very profound spiritual accomplishment have been able to explain what happened to them without having to refer to fingers, moons, or the shortcomings of language. Yes, those things are "true" in some sense but we are also, generally speaking, able to describe experiences of all kinds. Please give it a try.

Maybe we should try to focus on a more narrow area of your experience. How exactly is the process, the very second by second process, of experiencing emotional turmoil different now as opposed to ten years ago?

Sorry to be so focused on this but you are making a very big claim that, to satisfy and qualify, deserves a more detailed explanation.

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
5/8/16 5:18 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Just to be clear, the "finger pointing at the moon" is a well known Buddhist analogy for the shortcomings of relative teachings to describe the ultimate state, or goal.  It cautions us that the teachings themselves are not and cannot encapsulate the final answer, but instead only point towards and attempt to describe the ultimate final state.  We are generally speaking able to describe our experiences, but when in the Buddhist teachings we find a discussion of the shortcomings of language, we should consider it.

I have thought of perhaps a better way to describe my experinece however.  If we imagine the many things we might feel outselves to be; a man, western eurpoean heritage, brown hair, lives in a certain place, has had many defining experiences, feels a certain way right now.. all the relative descriptions we think of as ourselves, normally we cannot take break from these things, they are everpresent and dominating in our awareness.  Now imagine we let all that go for a moment; instead of thinking and ideas, there is total mental silence, total peace, total calm.  This is my experince.  

You asked about emotions; at their root, in my experience, emotions are strong energy that is behind, or given, to a relative perception of an experience.  When I am subject to a strong emotion, such as anger, before it arises I am calm.  Some situation sparks anger in me, a situation that overwhelms a logical and rational response, overwhellems my momentary balance, for example someone invading my space.  Naturally anger is sparked, and I feel its strong energy.  If I am controlled I keep a handle on it and allow it to settle, I start to work through the mental turmoil to see the core mental root of the issue.  I am angry, but I try to work with it.  Eventually, in a moment of insight when I have truly gotten a handle on the strong emotion, I percieve the core issue, and the mental turmoil clicks into place.  Instantly the energy settles and my mind is calmed.  I feel an increase in mental and energetic power, and the anger is wholly disapated and transformed into beneficial growth of 'self', or soul, or what have you; the basic energetic singularity that is personal awareness.

As oposed to ten years ago when I could barely even summon the energy of anger it was so repressed. If I did get angry it festered and turned into selfhatred and insecurity.  There is hardly a contest with ten years ago, save to say that looking back I can see the core energetic process that is myself was in there all the time, dealing with its relative situation the best it could given its natural inborn mental constraints.  Now it is fully unleashed.

I hope this helps!  If it is not what you are looking for, perhaps could you give an example of a phenomenoligical description of your own experience so I have something to go off?  Cheers!

RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
5/8/16 5:53 PM as a reply to T DC.
When I am subject to a strong emotion, such as anger, before it arises I am calm.  Some situation sparks anger in me, a situation that overwhelms a logical and rational response, overwhellems my momentary balance, for example someone invading my space.  Naturally anger is sparked, and I feel its strong energy.  If I am controlled I keep a handle on it and allow it to settle, I start to work through the mental turmoil to see the core mental root of the issue.  I am angry, but I try to work with it.  Eventually, in a moment of insight when I have truly gotten a handle on the strong emotion, I percieve the core issue, and the mental turmoil clicks into place.  Instantly the energy settles and my mind is calmed.  I feel an increase in mental and energetic power, and the anger is wholly disapated and transformed into beneficial growth of 'self', or soul, or what have you; the basic energetic singularity that is personal awareness.


Thank you for the more detailed description of your experience.

Sans the description of some form of self or soul, this is a description I would write about dealing with a strong emotion like anger. I see nothing in what you've written that points to the deeper awakening you lay claim to beyond that which I, or many others I know, would describe.


RE: Proof: A Single Path of Attainment
Answer
5/10/16 1:55 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
an attempt by myself to prove, with a logical and empirically based argument, the singleness or universal nature of the path of attainment.


I feel like a fully enlightened individual would not do this, or in the least present the idea in this way. Probably wouldn't even consider "myself" in the first sentence, let alone include it.