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Non-dual realization without stream entry?

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Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/25/16 4:08 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? neko 4/25/16 4:41 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/25/16 1:19 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/25/16 12:18 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/25/16 1:29 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/26/16 1:03 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 1:34 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/26/16 2:26 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 3:03 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Eric B 4/25/16 2:17 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 2:06 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Noah 4/25/16 6:31 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 2:12 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Noah 4/26/16 4:04 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 4:18 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Dream Walker 4/26/16 11:52 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 12:16 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Dream Walker 4/26/16 12:55 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/26/16 1:11 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 1:20 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Dream Walker 4/26/16 3:29 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/27/16 7:02 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/27/16 9:49 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/27/16 2:15 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/28/16 8:56 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/28/16 1:29 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 5/2/16 10:10 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Small Steps 4/27/16 5:30 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 4/28/16 11:19 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 1:14 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Dream Walker 4/26/16 3:39 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 4:08 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Dream Walker 4/26/16 4:25 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/26/16 4:59 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Stirling Campbell 4/27/16 5:34 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? shargrol 4/27/16 4:11 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/28/16 4:14 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Derek 5/4/16 7:47 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Eric B 4/27/16 12:01 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? T DC 4/27/16 1:52 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/27/16 2:30 PM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? Jason Snyder 4/29/16 8:38 AM
RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry? . Jake . 5/2/16 10:21 AM
My practice consists of both Vipassana, self-inquiry, and other direct looking methods. Lately I have been experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path, a state of centerlessness and agentlessness. While this state is temporary and impermanent, it has been occuring more and more frequently for longer periods of time, i.e. it seems to be starting to stabilize. It has also been something that is easier and easier to shift into at will. There seems to be a slow but sure falling away of the self narrative, albeit interspersed with strong reversions back to normal monkey mind.

My experience seems to accord with the path described by teachers of self-inquiry and Dzogchen...Loch Kelley and Gary Weber for example (or many others that can be found on BATGAP). However I have not had a stream entry event that I can recall, and they don't mention anything about stream entry either. 

So what is the deal with this? Is stream entry and the occurance of multiple "fruitions" a universal aspect of awakening? If not is it associated particurly with Vipassana, but not with other direct practices like Dzogchen and self-inquiry? If yes, then do those who experience the gradual falling away of self experiencing through direct practices experience stream entry somewhere along the way without knowing it?

I am interested in peoples take and experience...

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/25/16 4:41 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
My practice consists of both Vipassana, self-inquiry, and other direct looking methods. Lately I have been experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path, a state of centerlessness and agentlessness. While this state is temporary and impermanent, it has been occuring more and more frequently for longer periods of time, i.e. it seems to be starting to stabilize. It has also been something that is easier and easier to shift into at will. There seems to be a slow but sure falling away of the self narrative, albeit interspersed with strong reversions back to normal monkey mind.
A couple not-so-related questions for personal curiosity:

Could you describe the moment the transition / opening up happens? Does the transition feel smooth or discontinuous?

The quality of this thing you are experiencing:
1) was it exactly what Daniel describes as 4th path right from the start?
2) or was it over time "approximating" it better and better, getting closer and closer to it, until it started to be indistinguishable from the intellectual image you had of what 4th path should be like?

That is, does it feel like some "supermindfulness" which is tending to become full-blown agentless non-duality over time? Or is it something that comes about entirely differently from how being mindful used to happen, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes by just wanting it to happen?

(Sorry for the multiple edits.)

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/25/16 12:18 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Hey Jason,
sounds like your practice is unfolding. My personal experience has been that some kind of insight into nonduality has been spontaneously capable of arising at least since my first A&P in early adolescence and possibly earlier. Is it a state experience of what Daniel calls 4th path? who knows! ;) [ETA: I've never heard a description of someone's awakening that isn't compatible with these peak insights I've had, and I frequently have been surprised at how surprised some practitioners seem to be when nonduality/emptiness/no-self finally clicks for them after a lot of practice and development, simply because my own experience has always placed the goal prior to the path and this has been my only motivation for practicing, so people whose motivation is more based on things they've read or heard is just very different from my experience]

Practicing pragmatic vipassana and going through the progress of insight, cessations, etc in my experience has correlated with a gradual shift of my baseline in the direction of those 'sudden' (acausal, spontaneous) peak experiences or glimpses with the gradual letting letting go of the habits of reification of self and world which habits obscure that natural state. But this style of practice isn't the only thing that has facilitated such shifts for me.

Anecdotally, there is definitely a wide world of practice and result as you have mentioned with folks experiencing baseline shifts in multiple different ways (creeping slow change, sudden change, etc.)

I think the most important thing is what you're getting out of your own practice, and it sounds like meaningful change, so that's awesome!
-jake

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/25/16 1:19 PM as a reply to neko.
Hi Neko,

I would say that the transition is discontinuous, as it involves an intentional shift. Over time it has been approximating Daniel's description better and better, and it is becoming easier to access more often. It is not yet the default state, which might be a key difference from those who have had a cessation event. However it is becoming more and more familiar and it seems only a matter of time before it becomes the default state. 

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/25/16 1:29 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Thanks Jake, your experience gave me an idea. For those who practice more direct inquiry/direct pointing, the goal is to get glimpses many times until the experience stabilizes. For Vipassana people, the idea seems to be to keep your head down, get through the stages and lay the groundwork, and wait for the big shift. I wonder if the former approach is one of poking holes in the veil - there is no dramatic baseline shift but instead a slow motion one, whereas in the latter approach, because there is less emphasis on the glimpsing the end state and more emphasis on laying the groundwork, when the veil is ready to go, it all comes off at once (i.e. stream entry)

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/25/16 2:17 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Hi Jason,

My experience has been unfolding in a manner very similar to yours, along the line of what follows from doing Loch Kelly's glimpse exercises and dzogchen.  It definitely stronger and/or more obnvious at some trimes than others.  Three days ago, I snapped into it suddenly and palpably in the most striking way yet; there was no center and the self had completely blown out.  This exterience was not long lived.  I had stopped trying to frame my experience using the four path Theravadin model, but this experience made me wonder if it was in fact a fruition. As for  how this relates to things like MCTB fourth path, which I've never bothered to figure out exactly what it meant, I don't know.

Phenomenologically, my experience tracks better with the four yogas of mahamudra than other models.  In this four yoga model, the cusp between the 2nd and 3rd yogas corresponds to the path of seeing in the tibetan five path model, which in turn is usually equated with stream entry.  

Dakpo Tashi Nyamgal's "Clarifying the Natural State" has an extremely good concise overview of the four path model.  Each of the four yogas is divided into 3 stages, and includes signs for the stages. (Perhaps "Moonbeams of Mahamudra" by the same author has greater detail.)

Last summer when I got done a retreat with Loch, I would have placed myself in the 3rd and final stage of the first yoga.  A couple weeks later, I would not place myself so high on the scale.  It's been a while since I've gone back and looked the detailsof this model, but I think it's safe to say I'm still below transitioning from the 2nd to the 3rd yoga, and hence below stream entry using that system.

Eric

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/25/16 6:31 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
@OP:

There are some really good responses to this thread.  Here is my own, personal example.  Buddhadasa taught a system he called "insight by the natural method," which I have been working on.  Basically one cultivates joy and mindfulness during all waking hours.  Then one investigates suffering in an analytical-contemplative way without coming to a conclusion.  Over time, the benefits of 'path' in the Mahasi system become apparent in an equivalent way, but without necessarily traversing the stratum of mind (i.e. no 3rd & 4th jhana) that is crossed in the Mahasi system.  A wide hole is dug, rather than a deep one, so to speak.

So I would say "yes," lots of different awakening processes.  Some core commonalities to the results of various techniques, but also some major differences depending on what aspect of experience is stressed.

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/26/16 2:06 AM as a reply to Eric B.
Hi Eric, thanks for your insight. I think we are on a similar track (with you further along)! I have read "Clarifying the Natural State" twice now, and plan to read it again, I just keep feeling drawn back to it. 

Good luck with awake awareness!!

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/26/16 2:12 AM as a reply to Noah.
Hi Noah, your approach is interesting, it makes me wonder if with one approach, one can skip stages that would be necessary in another approach. If so, what does that mean? Is there a downside to skipping stages in terms of total overall development? Or do those strata of mind that would have been experienced in the skipped stages get experienced after awakening instead, albeit in a more casual and less noticeable way?

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/26/16 11:52 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
Lately I have been experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path, a state of centerlessness and agentlessness.
Perhaps you could break this down a bit...
  1. What descriptions of Daniel's are you using?
  2. How do you describe it first hand, Phenomenologically?
  3. What is the expereince of Nondual like?
Thanks
~D

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/26/16 12:16 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Hi Dream Walker, I was referring to this description in particular

"1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.


2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention."

My brief but increasingly frequent glimpses seem to line up with this fairly well, though not as strong and perhaps leaning more towards to the centerlessness. To me the experience of non-dual is the merging of subject and object, just reality or "knowing" as it is, wide open and without a "knower". 

RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
Answer
4/26/16 12:55 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Dream Walker:
Perhaps you could break this down a bit...
  1. What descriptions of Daniel's are you using?
    Jason Snyder:
    Hi Dream Walker, I was referring to this description in particular

    "1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.


    2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention."
These are extremely high level attainments that you are claiming. I hope you don't mind that I have a few questions for you, as you're in a perfect position to do a/b comparisons of the two states and might be able to answer the most detailed and nuanced differences between said states.  This could be an unprecedented opportunity here.

Dream Walker:
  • How do you describe it first hand, Phenomenologically?
    Jason Snyder:
    My brief but increasingly frequent glimpses seem to line up with this fairly well, though not as strong and perhaps leaning more towards to the centerlessness.
  • Perhaps you could could go into this a bit more in your own words?
    Phenomenologically what is the center? When it disappears, what is that like?
    Phenomenologically what is the agent? When it disappears, what is that like?


    Dream Walker:
  • What is the experience of Nondual like?
    Jason Snyder:
    To me the experience of non-dual is the merging of subject and object, just reality or "knowing" as it is, wide open and without a "knower".

    Thanks
    ~D
  • Can you unpack this a bit more?
    What is the subject/object, what is it made out of, what does it feel like before merger during and after? How is it measured?
    What do you mean by "just reality", 'knowing", wide open, and without a knower?
    I think I can guess what your talking about from my own experience, but anyone who has not experienced any of this would not have a clue from your extremely brief explanations here.
    Please detail a bit more than one or two sentences to your claims.
    Thanks Jason,
    ~D

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 1:03 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    Thanks Jake, your experience gave me an idea. For those who practice more direct inquiry/direct pointing, the goal is to get glimpses many times until the experience stabilizes. For Vipassana people, the idea seems to be to keep your head down, get through the stages and lay the groundwork, and wait for the big shift. I wonder if the former approach is one of poking holes in the veil - there is no dramatic baseline shift but instead a slow motion one, whereas in the latter approach, because there is less emphasis on the glimpsing the end state and more emphasis on laying the groundwork, when the veil is ready to go, it all comes off at once (i.e. stream entry)

    Hi Jason, you may be on to something. Traditionally I think this has been thought of with a matrix of four qualities, suden, gradual, practice and awakening.

    So for instance, sudden practice is something like the 'glimpse' method. once one identifies the natural state, one 'glimpses' it here and there and this is spontaneous, i.e., nothing (except at first the intention to do so) precedes the glimpse. Gradual practice would be more like Vipassana, a deliberate method that is maintained over time, which leads to unfolding experiences. In either case the result is temporary experiences which do not in themselves lead to baseline shifts.

    Sudden awakening is a sudden baseline shift. Gradual awakening is a baseline shift that takes place over time, sometimes very subtly. In either case the results are by definition lasting changes to the baseline mode of experiencing.

    So personally I've experienced all four of these in various combinations. Good to keep an open mind!

    Lots of interesting tangents in this thread. Thanks for starting this conversation!

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 1:11 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
    Dream Walker:
    Dream Walker:
    Perhaps you could break this down a bit...
    1. What descriptions of Daniel's are you using?
      Jason Snyder:
      Hi Dream Walker, I was referring to this description in particular

      "1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.


      2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention."
    These are extremely high level attainments that you are claiming. I hope you don't mind that I have a few questions for you, as you're in a perfect position to do a/b comparisons of the two states and might be able to answer the most detailed and nuanced differences between said states.  This could be an unprecedented opportunity here.




    Hmm, I think a distinction can be very clearly drawn between these experiences as glimpses and these experiences as baseline. In the former case, I wouldn't say they are attainments, would you? It's just a temporary clearing of 'what is as it is' in conscious awareness.

    My observation is that such clearings are common for some folks even before formally practicing at all, while for others, there is little or no inkling of such things (at least on a visceral level) until they have been on an unfolding path for some time.

    I've often wondered what sets these two broad groups apart (acknowledging there is a spectrum of course). My pet theory is that some personality types hold identity more fluidly to begin with and so tend to be more easily conscious of the natural gaps between moments of reification, while other personality types are more solid, and tend not to register those gaps (except perhaps as passing anxiety, ambiguity, etc, rather than as an enjoyable peak experience).

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 1:14 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
    Hi Dreamwalker,

    I am not claiming these as attainments, I am saying I am getting fairly clear glimpses into these states more and more often with greater and greater ease. However it is intentional (not spontaneous) and I don't go into it when I am working or doing other complex tasks. 

    The center is the sense of self, and in particular the particular vantage point of that self. It seems to be located somewhere in the head that all experience seems to refer to/funnel towards. When it disappears, there is no funnel, there are sights and sounds and sensations in the body and thoughts, but it is all just appearing in its own space, it is not appearing to anybody located at a particular vantage point. 

    As I mentioned previously, the sense of agentlessness is less pronounced in these glimpses then centerlessness and very brief. The agent is the filling of having autonomous will, to be directing action. I usually can drop into a sense of agentlessness when I am walking, it is a feeling of things just happening on their own, causally and inevitably.

    The subject/object is the feeling of me in here looking at that out there. In other words, normal waking consciousnes. The shift is instantanous so I can't answer how it feels during the transition. After is similar to the descriptions above. I am not sure what you mean by "how is it measured", it is just the experience described, in fact trying to measure implies analytical mind which, at my current level of development, cannot be accessed simultanously to the non-dual state. 

    By "just reality" I am referring to the feeling of centerlessness, and by "knowing" I am referring to the experience that in the non-dual state, the situation seems to be understood without explicitly thinking about it, "intuition" is a word I would use synonomously with this. "Wide open" and "without a knower" are the same as the descriptions above. 

    Is this detailed enough?

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 1:20 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    Hi Jake, 

    Yes, for me these are glimpses, I never claimed that they were my baseline. But it does seem to me like a natural progression towards it becoming my baseline...i.e., continuing to glimpse these states more and more often in more varied situations for longer periods of time with greater ease, eventually it seems like the mind will get so used to this other state that will smoothly become the baseline...or maybe the final switch will be more sudden like stream entry...but I don't see why it necessarily has to be sudden. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 1:34 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    Thanks Jake! I think this matrix makes a lot of sense. I would say I have experienced 3/4 of these combinations, with the exclusion of sudden awakening. 

    While it is a spectrum, I would go further and say that Vipassana is more a combination of gradual practice and sudden awakening (defined here as stream entry), whereas direct inquiry/pointing is more a combination of sudden practice and gradual awakening. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 2:26 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Yes, I'd agree with your assessments of those two traditions! 

    Fwiw,  in my experience with these glimpses I have observed over the years what I call a 'clarity oscillation' in which at the peak of the wave the natural state is most easily available/obvious and the trough it is least and the peaks and troughs seem to come and go a few times per year. I'm not sure how this factors in with baseline shifts but I have observed that over time, the whole oscillation seems to have trended upward,  i.e., at first the natural state was only available at the peak, then it became available across much of the oscillation but never during the troughs,  then eventually has become more accessible even in the troughs. Likewise the degree of spontaneity of the glimpses trends along with the oscillation so towards the peak there are more purely spontaneous glimpses and towards the trough less spontaneity and more set-up/inquiry required to prompt a glimpse.  This is basically what I'm thinking of as an experience of gradual awakening 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 3:03 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    Thanks Jake! These regular glimpses are  fairly new for me and still intentional (i.e. not spontaneous) in the peak, so it's great to hear your experience as a possible model for how mine might unfold. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 3:29 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    . Jake .:
    Hmm, I think a distinction can be very clearly drawn between these experiences as glimpses and these experiences as baseline. In the former case, I wouldn't say they are attainments, would you?
    The distinction being drawn being duration. Does this somehow negate the actual experience? If someone attains the peak of Mount Everest because they come down does that somehow change the attainment? I guess its sematics.
    If you claim you have seen MCTB 4th path, I will hold you to that claim and be very curious as to how it looked while you were there. Daniels MCTB criteria is so very extremely rare as to disinclude most who claim technical 4th path. So when someone bandies it about as if it were nothing, I sometimes have a bit of doubt though I claim to have had a preview of something similar to centerless but not nessasarily full agentcylessness. So obviously I believe its possible, though from a place of prepath? That stretches my belief a bit and I will want to make sure that what is being described matches.

    . Jake .:

    My observation is that such clearings are common for some folks even before formally practicing at all, while for others, there is little or no inkling of such things (at least on a visceral level) until they have been on an unfolding path for some time.
    I call this the A&P most if the time, for most folks, including me, regardless of path level.
    . Jake .:

    I've often wondered what sets these two broad groups apart (acknowledging there is a spectrum of course). My pet theory is that some personality types hold identity more fluidly to begin with and so tend to be more easily conscious of the natural gaps between moments of reification, while other personality types are more solid, and tend not to register those gaps (except perhaps as passing anxiety, ambiguity, etc, rather than as an enjoyable peak experience).
    There seems to be a wide variety of A&P expereinces for different people at different times along thier path.
    ~D

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 3:39 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    Hi Dreamwalker,

    I am not claiming these as attainments, I am saying I am getting fairly clear glimpses into these states more and more often with greater and greater ease....
    ....Is this detailed enough?
    Sorry that I seem so skeptical of your glimpses. I just desire some clarification to assure that we are pointing to the same apple shape thing or at least talking about fruit here. Your details of what you glimpsed as fruit matches mine and probably is the same apple shape thing.

    If you are able to do an A/B comparison please dont waste this opportunity and capture everything in the most detail that you can. I've not heard of many who ever got to do that here.
    What exactly do you do to flip from A to B? I would very much like to do this myself.
    Thanks,
    ~D

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 4:04 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    Hi Noah, your approach is interesting, it makes me wonder if with one approach, one can skip stages that would be necessary in another approach. If so, what does that mean? Is there a downside to skipping stages in terms of total overall development? Or do those strata of mind that would have been experienced in the skipped stages get experienced after awakening instead, albeit in a more casual and less noticeable way?

    No I don't think the stages are actually skipped. I think the 'experiencing of stratum of mind' is equivalent to 'releasing pockets of deeply held clinging/trauma/stress.'  In my experience, as I went through the dn nanas, or the eq sub-stages, I would have weird memories come up and be released... that kind of thing.  Similarly, as I have worked with insight by the natural method, I have encountered lots of deeper material that has been effectively processed.  So I would say the a proportionate amount of deep stress is dealt with in the natural method, but through gladdening and calming with the breath, and then investigating it. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 4:08 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
    How I flip depends on my current state of mind, etc. Sometimes it just requires the intention to, maybe a remembering of the experience previously and just kind of jumping back into it, kind of like remembering what it feels like to be angry, and deciding to shift into that mode again. I can probably best describe the intention as "making myself disappear" or "just dropping all sense of context" ...Probably more often it requires some kind of inquiry technique, a question such as "what am I?", "where am I?" or, "to whom or what is this appearing to?", "what is looking", etc (right now I am on a "what" as opposed to a "who" kick) Or stating/intuiting "not me, not mine" to experience or "there is knowing" and trying to exerience from a place of decentralized knowing....often times many in succession kind of like chopping away at a tree continuosly in different places at its weakest point until it falls. And sometimes I can only access it a little bit, still with a strong trace of self...but I usually go further now than before. Often, I need to do some Vipassana type meditation before my mind is calm/stable enough to get traction with the inquiry. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 4:18 PM as a reply to Noah.
    Hi Noah,

    What your saying makes sense to me in my experience also. One thing I've noticed is: often times when I am trying to calm the mind and Vipassanize, etc, and I am too distracted, I switch over to the inquiry/looking stuff, and it seems to bring up a bunch of energy. One interesting thing lately is that I seem to be cycling a lot between the Dark Night stages and equanimity, but they are spontaneous during daily life and don't occur in any kind of progression during a formal sitting meditation.

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 4:25 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    I can probably best describe the intention as "making myself disappear" or "just dropping all sense of context" ...Probably more often it requires some kind of inquiry technique...
    ....often times many in succession kind of like chopping away at a tree continuosly in different places at its weakest point until it falls. ...
    ...I need to do some Vipassana type meditation before my mind is calm/stable enough to get traction with the inquiry. 
    Well this sounds like your accessing jhana, can you compare how these glimpses are different from jhana? Sorry, I don't what your jhana ability is. Can you get to 5th/6th jhana? and your sure its not this?
    ~D

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/26/16 4:59 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
    Could be, I don't know, I have never accessed Jhana's that I know of. I think access concentration is the furthest on the concentration axis that I have gotten. However, when people describe the non-dual state, I have a strong intuitive sense of what they are talking about and I am highly motivated experience it...on the other hand, peoples descriptions of Jhana have always sounded somewhat interesting to me, but not enough to really put in the effort to go for it.  

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 7:02 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
    hey DW,
    how would you characterize the relationship between contemplative experience in general and the MCTB maps of jhanna and nanas?

    Are all contemplative experiences understandable in your opinion within the MCTB map of concentration states, insight stages and stages of awakening?

    It seems like you may be trying to shoe-horn all experiences into that framework and if so, I'm not sure that dialogue will get us anywhere, because I'm not convinced personally that there is only one kind of awakening with multiple ways to get there much less one way to get to one awakening, with all varient maps being mere misunderstandings of one Very Important Map ;)
    -jake

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/27/16 9:49 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
    Another thought occured to me in this regard, which comes up for me in the context of sudden practice/gradual practice blend, which is my basic orientation to the path, and this is the question of the difference in significance between those glimpses at different stages of the path. I think that depending on where one's subtle energetic development and cognitive understanding are at, while the glimpse itself may be revealing the same awakened reality that some folks apparently only 'attain' at the end of a linear path, the immediate aftereffects of the glimpse is going to be very different based on that energetic and cognitive development. Which is why merely glimpsing reality is not as relevent to transformation of experience as how that glimpse impacts one's basic cognitive/perceptual paradigms and THAT (impact, transformation) in my opinion seems to depend heavily on preparatory work done on the energetic system. Concentration is an effective means of developing the energy system in this regard, in my experience. That's probably why it is traditionally found paired with insight practices.

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 12:01 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
    Dream Walker:
    Well this sounds like your accessing jhana, can you compare how these glimpses are different from jhana? Sorry, I don't what your jhana ability is. Can you get to 5th/6th jhana? and your sure its not this?
    ~D

    These states are not jhanas  You can move around, and, with practice, function from them. "Absorption" is not a word that could be used to describe them. There is a flow of effortless minfulness that corresponds to khanika samadhi. They are the union of objectless samatha and vipashanya. They do not have infinte space or infinite conciousness as an object.

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/27/16 1:52 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    My practice consists of both Vipassana, self-inquiry, and other direct looking methods. Lately I have been experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path, a state of centerlessness and agentlessness. While this state is temporary and impermanent, it has been occuring more and more frequently for longer periods of time, i.e. it seems to be starting to stabilize. It has also been something that is easier and easier to shift into at will. There seems to be a slow but sure falling away of the self narrative, albeit interspersed with strong reversions back to normal monkey mind.

    My experience seems to accord with the path described by teachers of self-inquiry and Dzogchen...Loch Kelley and Gary Weber for example (or many others that can be found on BATGAP). However I have not had a stream entry event that I can recall, and they don't mention anything about stream entry either. 

    So what is the deal with this? Is stream entry and the occurance of multiple "fruitions" a universal aspect of awakening? If not is it associated particurly with Vipassana, but not with other direct practices like Dzogchen and self-inquiry? If yes, then do those who experience the gradual falling away of self experiencing through direct practices experience stream entry somewhere along the way without knowing it?

    I am interested in peoples take and experience...

    Hey Jason!

    Interesting post!  It definately sounds like you're getting somewhere although your experiences may not line up presicely with MCTB.  I personally found the MCTB stages of insight and 4 path model to be extremely relevant to my experience, but I know this is not the case for eveyone.  I have a good friend, also a meditator, who I am convinved has gotten to 3rd path because he has described experiences and manifested results strikingly similar to those I experienced as the first 3 MCTB paths.  He also cannot relate to the MCTB model whatsoever and is not at all interested in pursuing such a track.  This has somewhat led me to believe that everyone goes through the same attainments whether they are aware of it or not, and it also speaks to the veracity of different approaches to practice for different people, especially in the early stages of the path.

    Aside from MCTB, the other Buddhist teachings I am familiar with are those of the Tibetan tradition, which seems to have no parallels whatsoever for the MCTB stages of insight and progressive insight leading to 4th path.  In this I am refering to Hinyana teachings.  It seems to me the early path of Tibetan Buddhism is focused on practice much as you describe; repeated glimpses leading at last to a stable realization.  Although Tibetan Buddhism does not map attainment up to the initial glimspe of emptyness, which I see as MCTB 4th path, after this point maps of attainment are extensive.  So for such a map focused tradition to have little mapping of the initial stages leading to a stable non-dual or emptiness realization, further suggests that these are very subtle stages not everyone will experience.  For me personally I could not have picked these stages out prior to reading MCTB, but afterwards they were celarly seen to be active in my experience.

    Anyhow my point is it sounds ike you're doing well, and if the MCTB stages don't resonate with you particularly don't worry about it, just keep practicing!  If you do experience a stable shift into the state you are now temporarily experincing, it wold be interesting to here about it! 

    Cheers!

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 2:15 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    Hi Jake, I think what you are saying makes sense. That is one reason why I try to pair glimpse practice with mindfullness and some concentration (although I should devote more time to the latter). For me it seems that one effect of a glimpse can be a rise of energy in the body which then can be observed through a Vipassana practice. Without this latter part is seems to me that the altered perceptoin can stay to disconnected from the body which is probably not conducive to longer term transformation. With that said, I also think that it is possible to just have a glimpse only strategy, where one tries to access non-dual experience more and more often until it becomes the most normal mode of experience. Myself I prefer a blend of the two, I like to think of it as attacking the problem from the ground up (Vipassana) and the top down (glimpse), and hopefully they meet in the middle or in some non-linear fashion. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 2:30 PM as a reply to T DC.
    Thanks T DC for the encouragement. Yes I think I relate strongly to the Tibetan approach that your describe. I have also benefited a lot from the descriptions of the 16 stages of the 1st path in the 4 path model, I am almost certain that I have cycled through A & P, the Dark Night, and Equanimity probably numerous times, most clearly all of them at a 10 day Goenka retreat. However I have also been frustrated with the model precisely because it neglects the Tibetan/Advaita direct inquiry/looking approaches. One way I have thought about it is that in the 4 path model, we are climbing this mountain and it is often grueling, sometimes there are nice views, etc. We are told to trust that there is something great when you get to the top and can finally see the big picture, so just keep plowing ahead. I think with the direct approaches, the awakening gods are saying "hey, yes keep climbing the mountain and putting in the work, but lets give you a glimpse of the view from the top, a real taste of what you are working for". 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 5:34 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Paweł K:

    There is nothing special about non-duality. I would not be much surprised if many people experienced it all the time.

    In that it's entirely normal - perhaps the most normal thing there is - I would agree, but was also an earth shattering experience for me, personally. It was completely unambiguous, not a "did something just happen" kind of thing. I also get that we don't want to be grasping at it, but, speaking for myself, I don't think I could have conceptually grasped in any real way at such a familiar yet utterly foreign experience. I wonder sometimes if we are all seeing the same thing or if different practices/traditions/karma/? lead us to realizations with different flavors, depths or intensities? My experience was most similar to a teacher of mine who told me his story of this experience - and both of ours have many aspects of Daniel's "emptiness door" with "impermanence" as a first or second - though not exactly the same.

    You seem to have a much greater level of experience than me - how would flesh out your comments in this regard?

    - edit - 

    ...maybe you mean non-duality, as opposed to NON-DUALITY (dharmakaya)?

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 4:11 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    One way to think about non-duality is it is an experience without greed, hatred, or delusion. There's no reason we can't stumble upon it at many different times in our life. A clean moment of presence. That's it.

    But when we get "greedy" for the classic non-duality experience (an intimate, panaoramic, buoyant awareness) we can turn it into yet another dualitistic quest. It's much better to look at this greedy drive and investigate >that< because awakening is hiding within that sense of having a problem.

    (It's interesting Pawel, I think I'm starting to understand how you use language... I think I'm saying something similar.)

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/27/16 5:30 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    . . Jake .:
    Another thought occured to me in this regard, which comes up for me in the context of sudden practice/gradual practice blend, which is my basic orientation to the path, and this is the question of the difference in significance between those glimpses at different stages of the path. I think that depending on where one's subtle energetic development and cognitive understanding are at, while the glimpse itself may be revealing the same awakened reality that some folks apparently only 'attain' at the end of a linear path, the immediate aftereffects of the glimpse is going to be very different based on that energetic and cognitive development. Which is why merely glimpsing reality is not as relevent to transformation of experience as how that glimpse impacts one's basic cognitive/perceptual paradigms and THAT (impact, transformation) in my opinion seems to depend heavily on preparatory work done on the energetic system. Concentration is an effective means of developing the energy system in this regard, in my experience. That's probably why it is traditionally found paired with insight practices.
    Jake, I really like what you're saying here. It's basically been my experience ever since my first taste of piti.

    It really feels like the body and mind are being cultivated so that seeds can be planted. The Pali word bhavana seems really quite appropriate. Once the seeds are planted and the pastures tended, what do you expect might happen?

    As Thoreau once said, "I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/28/16 4:14 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Paweł K:
    Question is: was duality that much of an issue for you before you read about it?
    For Daniel it was not-duality but thrill of the chase, meditation itself, meditation described like he describe it and it should be obvious what parts about it.

    There is nothing special about non-duality. I would not be much surprised if many people experienced it all the time.
    Once mechanism of mind are known sufficiently good it is possible to have experiences such as non-duality easily. So easily that it loose any impressiveness it had. In this case one can generate more and more elaborate mental imagery and escape to infinity. The only variable in this equation that make any difference is: why do you do anything?

    Whatever is done and whatever are the outcomes it is the thought that define why we want to accomplish anything that matters. What arise is only important on this background of reason why anything is done. The liberation is not in non-duality but in having worthy reason why anything is done. As long as it is to escape something and get relief from experienced now suffering you will suffer. The whole thing is a matter of style. You can treat it as form of spiritual art.

    Yes, it was, I had multiple glimpses as a teenager and maybe before of something approximating non-duality while using hallucinogenics. When I started meditating again around the age of 30, I had a sense of what I was looking for and when I read texts they were confirming something that I already intuititively had access to. 

    I don't buy this idea that people meditate just for the thrill of it, and not also to reduce suffering. Wanting to be thrilled is just another way of not wanting to be bored which carries aversion (and suffering) inside of it. So I call BS to the idea that Daniel had no desire to gain insight into non-duality. 

    Sure people may experience non-duality all of the time (for me defined as DI descriptions of centerlessness and agentlessness), but at least in my experience, it was very rare before I started practicing meditation again, now it is fairly common at least to some degree. In other words, it can be cultivated and accessed more and more often. 

    I seriously doubt that anybodies reason for starting to meditate etc is entiry pure (in the sense of not just wanting to avoid suffering). I started meditating to escape suffering, sure. And that is still the case to some degree, but as things have progressed, other intentions have arisen...because its fun and interesting, because I want to seek the truth, etc. But again, why pursue something that is fun and interesting or why seek the truth? At least part of it is because the alternative likely involves more suffering in our cost benefit analysis. I don't think we need to have perfect intentions to start anything (as if that was even possible), but through meditation we can explore those intentions and descontruct them. 

    Also, by definition non-duality involves less suffering. If one no longer identifies with pain, then they suffer less. It is kind of like Shinzen Young's equation: suffering = pain X resistance. But where does the resistance come from if there is no longer identification with a self that needs to be protect, and if there is no longer an agent that makes autonomous decision in the world?

    So basically, I mostly disagree with your main point, I am a big advocate of people getting on a spiritual path. I don't care what there intention is because that intention will surely change and be deconstructed and be transformed as they go along, but the first step is to get bodies in the seats, and if that is because they want to avoid suffering? Great! 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/28/16 8:56 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    . With that said, I also think that it is possible to just have a glimpse only strategy, where one tries to access non-dual experience more and more often until it becomes the most normal mode of experience. Myself I prefer a blend of the two, I like to think of it as attacking the problem from the ground up (Vipassana) and the top down (glimpse), and hopefully they meet in the middle or in some non-linear fashion. 

    Yeah i like that too! Actually I think the 'glimpse only approach' that you articulate here actually cultivates concentration by returning to that check-in with nonduality again and again. It's a form of mind-training, although it can indeed be done in very ordinary informal circumstances. I actually was doing something like this pretty consistently for about a year  prior to my apparent stream entry. i had an infant and a dog and I'd walk the dog alot with the baby in the baby bjorn carrier and I'd be listening to podcasts and doing the 'check-in' to nonduality. I also had a physical job at the time and was able to cultivate in this way 8 hours a day while at work, made it a habit while driving, while getting up in the night to do feedings, etc. But doubtless I was cultivating a lot of calm abiding through these informal methods. I think some kind of generalized life practice approach is really important for awakening.

    By the way, what you're describing (the top down mixed with bottom up approach) is basically what Namkhai Norbu, the Dzogchen teacher, teaches (or basically what I get out of it anyhow, to be more precise). A combination of a variety of bottom up practices including energy, visualizations, concentration, and inquiry practices balanced with just relaxing dualistic tension directly.

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/28/16 11:19 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
    @ Small Steps:
    I love the cultivation metaphor, I think it's spot on. For one thing it sets up the paradoxical expectation that although we can arrange conditions for awakening, we can never quite expect what that discontinuity in our identity will actually be like. It's a rupture and it's unprecedented in some way. Also we could extend the metaphor and say there are broadly different approaches, like hot house monoculture cultivation, with grow lights and artificial fertilizers would be one extreme and organic permaculture would be at the other end of the spectrum haha

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    4/28/16 1:29 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
    Hey Jake,

    Wow! it's very encouraging to hear that you were able to attain (apparent) stream entry using the "glimpse" approach. I'll check out the stuff by Namkhai Norbu, sounds interesting! Can you recommend anything in particular by him?

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    4/29/16 8:38 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    My practice consists of both Vipassana, self-inquiry, and other direct looking methods. Lately I have been experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path, a state of centerlessness and agentlessness. While this state is temporary and impermanent, it has been occuring more and more frequently for longer periods of time, i.e. it seems to be starting to stabilize. It has also been something that is easier and easier to shift into at will. There seems to be a slow but sure falling away of the self narrative, albeit interspersed with strong reversions back to normal monkey mind.

    It occured to me, which is why Dream Walker probably thought I was making a big claim to attainment (which I'm not), that my statement here was too strong. By "experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path", what I really mean is that I have brief glimpses of a state that , if judged on a continuum from normal waking consciousness to full-on centerlessness and agentlessness, is probably somewhere in between. Sorry for the overstatement. 

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    5/2/16 10:10 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    Hey Jake,

    Wow! it's very encouraging to hear that you were able to attain (apparent) stream entry using the "glimpse" approach. I'll check out the stuff by Namkhai Norbu, sounds interesting! Can you recommend anything in particular by him?

    Oh, I should have been more clear myself!
    I was doing that check-in practice pretty much 24/7 combined with a simple Tibetan breathing visualization to purify the channels etc for a year prior to stream entry, yes, but late that summer this set off an intense A&P around which time I discovered MCTB, DhO, and KFD (2009). I then began sitting daily for about three months, peaking at a few hours a day (during all baby nap times). Thus I experienced the progress of insight through high EQ as diagnosed by a pragmatic dharma teacher I was emailing with at the time, followed by (self-diagnosed) stream entry after a falling out with said teacher about the relationship of dzogchen to vipassana. haha! Ironic ;)

    I've continued with a mix of vipassana and other methods since then in varying mixtures and balances [ETA: and become almopst as skeptical of dogmatic mapping since then as I have been appreciative for pragmatic mapping!]

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
    Answer
    5/2/16 10:21 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Jason Snyder:
    Jason Snyder:
    My practice consists of both Vipassana, self-inquiry, and other direct looking methods. Lately I have been experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path, a state of centerlessness and agentlessness. While this state is temporary and impermanent, it has been occuring more and more frequently for longer periods of time, i.e. it seems to be starting to stabilize. It has also been something that is easier and easier to shift into at will. There seems to be a slow but sure falling away of the self narrative, albeit interspersed with strong reversions back to normal monkey mind.

    It occured to me, which is why Dream Walker probably thought I was making a big claim to attainment (which I'm not), that my statement here was too strong. By "experiencing what Daniel describes as 4th path", what I really mean is that I have brief glimpses of a state that , if judged on a continuum from normal waking consciousness to full-on centerlessness and agentlessness, is probably somewhere in between. Sorry for the overstatement. 

    My own hypothesis about this (based on my own similar experience) is that the initial 'flash' of the glimpse is about as 'it' as it can be, but that in the very next mind moment there is an overlay onto that glimpse which is the output of at least two factors, my cognitive/perceptual paradigm and my energetic system's development. This 'next instant' after the glimpse is somewhere on a spectrum between current baseline and the true nature of things. But the initial glimpse is just the true nature. Evidence in favor of this hypothesis is that when conditions are set for greater receptivity on my part, whether through having been cultivating solid mindfulness *(ramping up the frame rate of attention) or simply through being in a spontaneous/synergetic state of highly refined attentiveness the transitions from baseline-glimpse-hybrid states is very clear.

    The only thing misleading about this way of talking about it (and I'm not sure how to talk about it without this limitation) is that this implies a dualism between the 'glimpse' as a special state that can be pinned down with certain characteristics, such as whether certain experiential processes are happening or not, whereas in actual experience, it absolutely doesn't seem to matter in that the 'glimpse' can include any kind of cognitive, perceptual, emotional etc 'content' and it's still clearly just centerless spontaneous magical experience without an experiencer.

    So what's the difference between the baseline dualistic state, the glimpse of true nature, and the follow-on or afterglow hybrid state? I'm not sure but I definitely find reflecting on the apparent differences to be fruitful for developing insight. It always seems to boil down to one more area where I'm (subconsciously, viscerally) drawing a line in experience and saying 'ok, this here can be IT, but that there can't be...'. So the main qualitative difference (rather than content difference) seems to be the presence or absence of grasping/resistence...

    Still, that language is still too dualistic.
    Reality just can't be mapped. This may be why it's so tempting for folks who are strongly committed to one way of mapping the path to argue with others about their experiences? I'm not sure...

    RE: Non-dual realization without stream entry?
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    5/4/16 7:47 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
    Paweł K:

    entering this state is true mediation and one should never leave it in the first place. One should totally trust this state and never want to solve anything and just experience what it provides. Every action should come from it, be its expression and this include thinking too. It should be trusted so completely that even in life threatening situations all actions should be done exclusively using this state.

    Now that is a brilliant description of Dzogchen.

    Paweł K:

    I invented it long time ago and extensive testing comparing it to other ways of doing it resulted in conclusion that this is the best and only 'practice' worth doing.
    Cool that you discovered this for yourself, independently of the tradition.