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Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.

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Hello! Decided to finally make an account after lurking for a while.

Some info on me:
I am pretty sure I have not crossed the a&p yet and have read some spooky dark night stories from people around here and other sites, and I would like to keep emotionally stable enough to hold a job/go to school and do other basic "householder" stuff through the dark night. My current practice has been just basic breath meditation (concentrating on breath, bring it back when it wanders) and have not reached any jhanas yet.

I was hoping to postpone the A&P for some time and tought about cultivating samatha/concetration first before attempting insight practices for the "lucricating"-effect. From what I have read it is possible to cross the A&P even when trying to do pure samatha. I have read about cultivating samatha without insight and I got the impression that it is difficult to do with breath, so I tought maybe I could start with metta to cultivate the jhanas and forget the breath for a while. Maybe metta would be easier to not ivestigate accidentally, when trying to cultivate it, but I'm not speaking from experence so... thoughts?
After having the ability to developp metta-jhanas more easily, I planned to pick up culadasa's "Mind Illuminated"-book, and progress as it instructs. If I understand correctly, then even though it is mainly about samatha, the book's techniques cultivate insight too, at least on some level, am I right? I quess it will take some time to progress through the book's stages and have not yet planned what insight practices to do afterwards, but I will see it then.
Ok so that was my plan to get started.

Wondering a bit about the siddhis...
When practicing concentration there are the possibilities of crossing siddhis/powers, altough they sound very interesting, I'd rather not pursue them, or play with them if they occur. Is there something I can do to minimize the chance of them appearing without stopping practice. Staying out of 4th jhana, no visualizations... anything else?

Any other advices that might help me on getting started?

(btw, sorry for any grammar mistakes, english is not my first language.)

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
9/27/16 1:59 PM as a reply to brokenteacup.
brokenteacup:
Hello! Decided to finally make an account after lurking for a while.

Some info on me:
I am pretty sure I have not crossed the a&p yet and have read some spooky dark night stories from people around here and other sites, and I would like to keep emotionally stable enough to hold a job/go to school and do other basic "householder" stuff through the dark night. My current practice has been just basic breath meditation (concentrating on breath, bring it back when it wanders) and have not reached any jhanas yet.

I was hoping to postpone the A&P for some time and tought about cultivating samatha/concetration first before attempting insight practices for the "lucricating"-effect. From what I have read it is possible to cross the A&P even when trying to do pure samatha. I have read about cultivating samatha without insight and I got the impression that it is difficult to do with breath, so I tought maybe I could start with metta to cultivate the jhanas and forget the breath for a while. Maybe metta would be easier to not ivestigate accidentally, when trying to cultivate it, but I'm not speaking from experence so... thoughts?
After having the ability to developp metta-jhanas more easily, I planned to pick up culadasa's "Mind Illuminated"-book, and progress as it instructs. If I understand correctly, then even though it is mainly about samatha, the book's techniques cultivate insight too, at least on some level, am I right? I quess it will take some time to progress through the book's stages and have not yet planned what insight practices to do afterwards, but I will see it then.
Ok so that was my plan to get started.

Wondering a bit about the siddhis...
When practicing concentration there are the possibilities of crossing siddhis/powers, altough they sound very interesting, I'd rather not pursue them, or play with them if they occur. Is there something I can do to minimize the chance of them appearing without stopping practice. Staying out of 4th jhana, no visualizations... anything else?

Any other advices that might help me on getting started?

(btw, sorry for any grammar mistakes, english is not my first language.)
Welcome to the Dharma Overground!

So, you don't want -
1) A&P
2) Dark night
3) Siddhis/powers

You do want -
1) Advice that might help me on getting started

What is your goal?
What timeframe?

If you meditate, you might get to the A&P. Decide when you want that to happen. Then start a practice.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
9/28/16 9:24 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
The end goal is awakening, but before that mastering to at least to the stage 9 of samatha of Culadasa's 10-stage model and before that get to a point with metta, where I can easily access light-jhanas from 1-2, or to 3.
Here are culadasa's 10-stages, stage 9 is on page 11 if you are interested:
http://dharmatreasure.org/wp-content/uploads/LightOnMeditationHandout.pdf

I haven't tought about a specific timeframe, but planned to dedicate daily at least 2h and on saturdays and sundays hopefully on both days 6h. First fill the time with metta, then after metta-jhanas, fill most of it with samatha. Then I would just do the practice see how fast I advance. Currently don't feel to be in a too much of a hurry. Don't know if that changes after A&P...

If I should be ready for the A&P before starting practice, is there something I could do to maybe prepare myself  for it and the upcoming stages? Any recommended reading (aside from MCTB ), good dharma-talks, random tips?

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
9/28/16 10:53 PM as a reply to brokenteacup.
brokenteacup:
If I should be ready for the A&P before starting practice, is there something I could do to maybe prepare myself  for it and the upcoming stages? Any recommended reading (aside from MCTB ), good dharma-talks, random tips?
Sounds like you have a good plan.

Get your support system together and speak honestly about your goal.

Find a teacher
Think through what you would do if you did have a hard time, who could you reach out for support....talk them before.

Good luck,
~D

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
9/30/16 2:49 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thank you for taking the time to answer!

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/2/16 4:26 AM as a reply to brokenteacup.
You are worried to go into meditation because of Daniel's book?
o_O
Do you have any reasons to worry except what you read?
Do you have any history of mental illness or similar?

Really, there can be problems with the dry insight approach, but for some people it is so ridiculously effective in comparison to jhana-first approaches that I really think it's worth taking the very small risk.

I'm pretty sure that Daniel didn't write the book to deter people from trying the Vipassana, but to ensure that everyone understands that it can have its difficult phases. No need to worry imo.

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/2/16 1:00 PM as a reply to brokenteacup.
I was taught by Mahasi trained monks. Their instructions were to do try and develope jhana.Those that cannot develope jhana can go on to do dry insight. Their advice was, do not go anywhere near dry insight until you and your teacher have confirmed that you don't have the type of concentration for the jhana first approach.
Just because people say its difficult to get jhana, does not mean it will be for you. It depends on the type of concentration you have. Many new meditaters miss the chance for jhana first because they don't have information or teachers who understand this. They are simply instructed into dry insight.

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/2/16 3:13 PM as a reply to Bigbird.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I am working on Culadasa's samatha path for the time being and have doubts about my eventual ability to enter into jhanas. Can you offer tips as to which "concentration types" or personality types are the most suitable candidates?

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/2/16 5:00 PM as a reply to Ward Law.
www.justbegood.net/Downloads/e-books/In This Life Itself.pdf

There are some references on pages 22-25 also some brief references in chapter 7 and possibly elsewhere, its been a long time since ive  read it.
Venerable Uda Eriyangama Dhammajiva was a great teacher, very middle way and not extreme.
Even if you dont get jhana, the benefits of some solid grounding in samatha will be enormous and well worth the effort.
Good Luck.

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/3/16 6:11 AM as a reply to brokenteacup.
Don't afraid suffering, there is periods(reoccuring) or states where you do things what you regret afterwards or feel bad, like lifechanging decisions you do when you discover what you do is unwholesome. People selling their houses or decide to live in woods, give away money or go to monastery.. Circles may be pretty long when having no wisdom, so your treehugging period may last..minutes or years. So you might think you are doing the right thing without realizing that its impermanent, temporary. Include here the desire to meditate can be also unwholesome so after it subsides then you give up mediation and go back to your "life living".

So contemplation, reading others accounts, learning from their mistakes is useful. You can contemplate so long till the likeable object/activity/situation becomes unlikeable or the otherway around (what it becomes anyway) you may get fullfill the karma a lot faster.

We need to "learn"(use that function) in every full circle, hence you can study sutras or solve crosswords or try to figure why there is seasons or go to learn building. Also there becomes the youth period, agressive, irritable..

What im saying the meditation is just a part of the circle. If you could sit in fullotus and meditate on one state very long times, its not useful at all, it is just one point in path like also when you rest very long times or are in vacation long times isn't fast progress either.

When you punch someone or get punched you will just pass many points way too fast but then backwards cultivation you have material, you will go through all what were missed.

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/3/16 10:11 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
The dark night is not the only reason I would like to cultivate samatha first, it just sounds more fun too. I first came to meditation, because I read somewhere about the jhanas and they sounded awesome. While reading about then I came across the pragmatic-dharma and then developped interest in enlightenment as achievable thing , but I am still very interested in jhanas as a cool skill to cultivate.

Thanks for sharing your opinion!

RE: Beginner starting on the path hoping to get advices on plans.
Answer
10/4/16 7:07 AM as a reply to brokenteacup.
There doesn't exist samantha or vipasyana. At one point path will twist and you see things inside out, from there you have object as a base and can note supernatural arisings and say you have objectless awareness.
You can't decide doing vipasyana first or samantha first. You will only think that you are doing those but actually you are not crossed over. So your practice is low and you will lose motivation fast, hereon you need faith and definition of religion comes apparent.

But you prolly won't have those problems because you are leading household life. The meaning of household life isn't that you have house and family, it means you making deals and pacts instead of renouncing and abandoning. And renouncing is also done when you have crossed over, that means you will feel the pressure, it is very hard to abandon or say no.

All paths happen the same time, but you focusing on things what will bring small benefits or are instantly fullfilled with gross and blind actions.