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Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?

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So, I've had a non-dual experience, and dropped some fetters. I convinced that I've got at least solid stream entry (this happenened middle of last year and has only deepened). As time has passed I have seen:

Eagle eye view of interpersonal problems viewed with non-detachment and easy to choose or advise a course of action: 90% of the time

Quiet mind, easy to dip into first Jana at any time, and up through a light 4th quite easily: 100% of the time.

Luminous quality to reality increasing with warm glow to objects, and integrated sharpness of detail and extra shine to shiny objects: 45% of the time

Often a panoramic "view", something like Janas but during normal walking around, etc.



I feel like these experiences are increasing slowly. What should I be looking for, or how can I enhance these experiences? What next?

Thank you in advance for your generousness with your experience and time.

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/25/16 4:04 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Off the cushion, I would focus on identifying these two emotional states and see if you can become sensitive to them: feeling superior and feeling inferior. Don't try to change anything, but just check in so often --- especially in challenging situations --- and see if you are embedded in either of those two states. No big deal if you are, don't change anything, just watch how things play out.

On the cushion, I would focus on using a sitting practice to make you more sensitive to how the mind contracts away from open experincing. Usually the best practices for this are "just sitting" or "no distraction, no control, no practice" sitting. Again, don't try to change anything, but simply let the mind settle for 15 minutes or so (using your normal approach) and then drop using methods and simply watch how the mind opens and contracts on its own. Experiement with eyes closed and eyes open.

It can be helpful to work with a teacher, especially when exploring these hard-to-describe practices.

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/25/16 4:38 PM as a reply to shargrol.
 shargrol:

Are your "off the cushion" suggestions around working on integration? It was certainly a theme of the 1st 6 months after things changed. I'll give it a shot, and I completely get the non-attachement aspect to the observation.

What do you mean by "open experiencing"? As it happens, my practice is primarily a Zazen/Shiné style meditation, so "just sitting" is definitely what I have going already. 

I am fortunate to have a teacher I work with and am very satisfied with, so I'm set in that respect.

I appreciate your reply. Thanks!

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/25/16 6:33 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Hi Sterling,

I'm happy for the openings in your life!

A few great phenomena to investigate and observe:
The feeling of a being or a center who understands, or perceives the world, or looks out from behind the eyes.
Any sense of contraction or clinging or tightness.
The gaze when looking. What is observing the seemingly outside world?
Any projection of happiness in the future.
The sense of separateness from the "outside."
Any judgments arising about events or people.

Many blessings being sent your way emoticon

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/25/16 6:39 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Sounds good. I would ask the same question to your teacher and disregard most other advice (including what follows).

Just to answer your question, the off cushion practice is about finding the cutting edge of your practice, rather than integration. In other words, can you experience what is occuring without taking a position as being either superior or inferior? It's very difficult and subtle practice. In buddhist terminology, it would be like saying "are you being reborn into the asura realm? are you being reborn into the god realm?".

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/25/16 6:41 PM as a reply to Chi.
Good advice Chi!

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/26/16 11:51 AM as a reply to shargrol.
What a great opportunity it is to have all of you bodhisattvas here. Thank you both for your ideas and input. I'll be putting them to work this week.

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/26/16 12:08 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
  1. So, I've had a non-dual experience, and dropped some fetters.
  2. I convinced that I've got at least solid stream entry
  3. (this happenened middle of last year and has only deepened).
Perhaps you could break this down a bit...
  1. Phenomenologically could you describe what Non-dual is like? Can you list which fetters and what your personal descriptions of such are and how you measure thier dropping?
  2. What criteria do you use to claim solid stream entry?
  3. What has the deepening been like? What aspects, from the previosly mentioned criteria, have deepened?
Thanks,
~D

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/26/16 12:54 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Hello DW.

I actually worked through all of that in a different thread. 

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5835669

Having talked to a number of teachers at this point I'm no longer concerned about whether or not - more about how far along, and what next. emoticon

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/26/16 5:03 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Hello DW.

I actually worked through all of that in a different thread. 

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5835669

Having talked to a number of teachers at this point I'm no longer concerned about whether or not - more about how far along, and what next. emoticon

All right, I caught up with your thread.
What to do next is sometimes predicated on what you have done so far.
Your temporary experience has a lot in common with -

EDIT: added -
MCTB:
When people say to me, “I had this big experience...”, 99% of the time it is almost certainly related to this stage. The description I give of it may not line up exactly with how it happens or happened for or to you, but pay attention to the general aspects of the pattern. I tend to describe it as it happens on retreat and with strong practice going on, but it may happen off retreat, in daily life, without warning, in people who don't think of themselves as meditators, and even in dreams.
But lets say that according to whatever criteria your teacher has that you have that kind of stream entry/1st path
I'd say go for second path. If you don’t have first path, no harm cause second path and first path has virtually the same practise.
Do some kind of vipassana and delete the obscurations around the 6 senses. Empty that stuff out by exploring reality very very closey in 3rd and 4th jhana. Daniels book has good practices for this if your into that sort of thing.

Stirling Campbell:
I should clarify that I am not intentionally visualizing space, but instead what the Tibetans commonly refer to "the view", or a sort of wide-screen quality to the way things look when eyes are open.
This description of the "view" is wrong, I too made this mistake.

Stirling Campbell:
Often a panoramic "view", something like Janas but during normal walking around, etc.

If you want to work on this then check this out - A Framework of Awakening
Stirling Campbell:
I feel like these experiences are increasing slowly. What should I be looking for, or how can I enhance these experiences? What next?

Well read the rest of the framework thread and see if anything resonates with you. It's still a work in progress though.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/26/16 9:03 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:


Quiet mind, easy to dip into first Jana at any time, and up through a light 4th quite easily: 100% of the time.

Luminous quality to reality increasing with warm glow to objects, and integrated sharpness of detail and extra shine to shiny objects: 45% of the time



Based on this I would say definately 1st path or 2nd.  In my own experience, prior to 1st path I could not attains the jhanas clearly or reliably, but after 1st or 2nd I had stable access to the first 4.  After 3rd path, with some practice I then had access to all 8 jhanas.  I think in terms of determining level of attainment in these first few paths, access to the jhana states is probably the most reliable indicator, given the dificulty of describing the subtlties of our experience.  Cheers!

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/26/16 9:18 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Stirling Campbell:


Quiet mind, easy to dip into first Jana at any time, and up through a light 4th quite easily: 100% of the time.

Luminous quality to reality increasing with warm glow to objects, and integrated sharpness of detail and extra shine to shiny objects: 45% of the time



Based on this I would say definately 1st path or 2nd.  In my own experience, prior to 1st path I could not attains the jhanas clearly or reliably, but after 1st or 2nd I had stable access to the first 4.  After 3rd path, with some practice I then had access to all 8 jhanas.  I think in terms of determining level of attainment in these first few paths, access to the jhana states is probably the most reliable indicator, given the dificulty of describing the subtlties of our experience.  Cheers!


Daniel M. Ingram:
2) I don't use jhanic criteria for third path, as I don't find them reliable, and that includes what Kenneth Folk proprietarily calls The Pure Land Jhanas®. Jhanas are very manipulable, criteria for these PL® jhanas are not easily defined, and it is easy enough for people with sufficient focus to craft jhanic experiences that meet their expectations. I have played around extensively with various combinations of enjoyable and pleasant factors and found that the potential for trouble by overcalling these crafted experiences is quite large. Thus, I don't find them reliable enough to be used for something as important as realization criteria, something I obviously take seriously. The potential to totally overcall attainments and miss important points about basic insight is huge.
I tend to agree with Daniel, people just have such variety in talent with jhanas.
~D

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/27/16 2:16 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:

Daniel M. Ingram:
2) I don't use jhanic criteria for third path, as I don't find them reliable, and that includes what Kenneth Folk proprietarily calls The Pure Land Jhanas®. Jhanas are very manipulable, criteria for these PL® jhanas are not easily defined, and it is easy enough for people with sufficient focus to craft jhanic experiences that meet their expectations. I have played around extensively with various combinations of enjoyable and pleasant factors and found that the potential for trouble by overcalling these crafted experiences is quite large. Thus, I don't find them reliable enough to be used for something as important as realization criteria, something I obviously take seriously. The potential to totally overcall attainments and miss important points about basic insight is huge.
I tend to agree with Daniel, people just have such variety in talent with jhanas.
~D
DW, are you refering to variety in talent or in the ability of people to craft states that confirm their expectations?  In what you quoted, it sounds like Daniel is talking about the latter.  When people have lots of grand claims about attainment, I do tend to discount them, but from Stirlings post I get the sense of someone who is realistically evaluating their experience and their limits.  I know I probably seem like someone with a lot of grand claims, ironically I would consider by myself to be playing it pretty much by the book.  Almost everything I say is based on what I have experienced, in-line with what others have also experienced.

I have gotten the impression that Daniel has somewhat of a bias towards the idea that people are scripting themselves into experiences of attainment.  I respect this attitude because it shows he has high standards and he doesn't want to compromise a genuine experience of attainment, but at the same time I think we do have to have trust in the experience of ourselves, and also other people.  We shouldn't have blind trust, but trust based on reason.

In my experience, each path shift was acompanied by a dramatic shift in strength of awareness and power of concentration.  Whereas before 2nd path I could barely attain the first jhana, suddenly the first four were now stable.  This was the same with 3rd path and the latter 4.  It is possible there are those, as you seem to be saying, who are able to access high jhana states regardless of attainment, but I think they are probably rare and their lack of attainment could probably be debated.  The jhanas are not a common expereince for most meditators that I am aware of, and the experience of them is a clear sign of some advancement in meditation.  We could argue otherwise, but I would say in turn that progress in meditation is inherantly goverened by attainment.  Given this, the jhanas do seem to be a reliable indicator of attainment.

Stirling - As for what to look for next, this thread helped me immensely when I was at the 2nd path stage.  For me, as well as a friend, and also Daniel has a quote in MCTB that is similar, about how 'the cycle is complete', third path occured as a sudden and seemingly logical concluding insight, as though I had just figured something out that had been on my mind for some time.  As it may be gleaned from that thread, a major hallmark of 3rd path having attained is increased confidence. 

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/27/16 10:59 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
DW,

A lot to absorb there, and I think I'll need another less cursory pass, but thank you indeed for your hard work. Your "framework" is an interesting journey for sure. I actually had time during my sit last night to try your: 

2) Vision - Panoramic visual field that holds the focal point 

...and was encouraged to find that I could get the center of my vision (around a chinese urn on the floor in front of me) to go from being initially having a sort of spotty focus to sort of enveloping the entire urn in a beautiful sharp, glossy focus for a few seconds at a time by sort of mentally pushing against a short of spring loaded (pop top lid on a jar-ish?) tension in the center of my vision. Will try to work with that more. I can see how it's likely going to increase the donut-shaped dharmakaya flavor of things, but will it also increase the luminosity of things? I'm guessing yes?

-edit-

Had a go at this over lunch today on a walk. Wow. Please disregard my earlier questions. This might be one of the most promising practices I've done this year. Many thanks.

Looking forward to spending more time with your hard work. Am also curious about your journey to and through your experience so far.

RE: Based on these phenomena, what am I looking for next?
Answer
4/27/16 3:14 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

...
but from Stirlings post I get the sense of someone who is realistically evaluating their experience and their limits.

Having met a few teachers who I am satisfied are genuine and at least a few paths further up the road than I am, my experience is that people with real attainment are kind, humble, and encouraging. When I evaluate the comments of strangers on bulletin boards, I look for this. I also look for details in their posts that show me that they have at least seen as much as I have, and that they make similar inferences about what becomes obvious having seen it. Anyone who has seen "THIS IS IT" knows what I mean.

I don't believe that direct knowledge of emptiness and inseparablilty creates people with egos that are so fragile that they need to parade their experience, superiority, or tradition specific jargon in front of other genuinely invested practitioners. How could it? This makes it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I HAVE mulitple teachers, in 2 traditions, that I can consult - but, just as it took many different perspectives to create most of the shifts in my perception of things, I am very grateful to have found a largely non-judgemental community of excited dharma brothers and sisters that are intellectually curious and doing the hard work it takes to follow that first stainless insight into further ones. 

I don't have a problem with anyone who questions my attainment. It changes nothing about my practice. Still, while I'm not questioning it, and haven't really been since it occurred, I HAVE been looking for some reassurance. The move from intellectual understanding to experiental understanding really shook me to my foundations even as it answered most of my questions and removed any doubt about the path of Buddhism for me.

T DC

Stirling - As for what to look for next, 
this thread helped me immensely when I was at the 2nd path stage.  For me, as well as a friend, and also Daniel has a quote in MCTB that is similar, about how 'the cycle is complete', third path occured as a sudden and seemingly logical concluding insight, as though I had just figured something out that had been on my mind for some time.  As it may be gleaned from that thread, a major hallmark of 3rd path having attained is increased confidence. 


Thanks T DC! It's clear I have a lot of reading to do. emoticon Again - having searched for some time for an online place to explore practice, I greatly appreciate all of this sanghas input and guidance. I hope to get the opportunity to share it with a sufficiently advanced student some day.

Bows.