Varieties of 4th Path Experience

T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 10/19/16 10:45 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/19/16 10:45 PM

Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
I have posted a lot on this forum about attainments, and if I have learned one thing it is that there is very little cohesion on this topic.  Everyone seems to experience attainments differently, have their own ways of describing them, and have different ideas about what they really mean in the long run, or bigger picture.  Nevertheless, this is community rich in people striving for and seemingly achiving meditative attainment, which is rare and something I greatly appreciate.

Reading Noah's practice log and his 4th path experience posts, while to me personally the general progression of practice seemed to indicate 4th path attainment, his report of the actual experience was greatly dissimilar to my own.  To be clear, it seems to me Noah got 4th path, but is experiencing it differently from myself.  Not picking on Noah for any special reason, just as an example of people here achiving attainment, but decribing in unique terms!

I have a theory as to why people expereince attainment differently, but I won't get into here.  For the sake of colaboration, I ask that in this thread people post their 4th path experience in their own terms so that we can get a solid look at what people are achieving, and calling 4th path, and what the result has been.  People can post however they choose, but I would personally appreciate they answer in the following general manner:

- How long practicing before achiving 4th path, and conditions of practice.

- What was the 4th path 'moment' like and what were the immediate results.

- What has been the long term effect of this attainment, and further progression.

I would really like it if people could note how 4th path affected their experience, or perception of conceptual thought, because this was a major player in my own experience and I think it would be interesting to compare.  Again play along as you desire..

The goal with this thread is to produce not a debate, but a compedium of knowledge.  We can debate each others attainment till we're blue in the face, but it really goes no where.  A record of different people's experience would I think be much more helpful for learning.  And if we can limit it to a discussion of what people are calling 4th path that would be helpful. 

Cheers!  I'll post my own experience below.
T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 10/19/16 11:02 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/19/16 11:01 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
I had an extremely strong (complete) enlightenment expereince in my senior year of high school, and pretty soon afterwards I began meditating.  I practiced Tibetan-Buddhist shamatha-vipassina meditation for about a year and a half, then encountered MCTB, resonated with it greatly, and switched to practicing intensive vipassina.  I achived 1st path within about a month, and 3rd path three months later, and 4th path about a month after that.  At the time of achieving 4th path I was practicing noticing of sensations as rapidly as possible very intensely, along with jhana practice. 

Lying in bed one night, it seemed as though a vast space opened up in my mind, unlike anything I had experienced before, totally unlike and beyond any preconception I might have had about 4th path.  This seemed to flicker somewhat for several days, then stabalised.  The effect was to counter the conceptual thought in my mind.  This vast space was an experinece of something beyond conceptual thought, and so when thoughts arose, it automatically negated their solidity.  The self-referential mass of thought could not encapsulate the space, and so the seeming solidity, or 'completeness' of the conceptual thought was rendered 'empty', seen as false and insubstantial.  Months after achieving this I read, in Cutting through spiritual materialism by Chogyam Trungpa about the 'end attainment of the Hinayana' and 'first attainment of the Mahayana', described as 'seeing that 'form is empty'.  To me this seemed a near perfect description of what I was experiencing.

Although 4th path was a major transition in perception and experience, it was not the final solution I sought.  Ultimately I was searching for a return to the glimpse of enlightenment I experienced in high school, which was far beyond, in unity and perfection, that of the 4th path experience.  The path for me very much continued after 4th path, and in this I followed progressive teachings on attainment laid out in Tibetan Buddhism.
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Noah D, modified 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 12:52 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 12:52 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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Hi TDC,

For the sake of the thread, I summarized my major shifts here: http://noahsmonthlyupdate.blogspot.com/p/milestones.html

I'm not personally attached to the specific labels used to describe attainments.  I am attached to the knowledge that such shifts are possible.  I want other people to know too.  That being said, I personally know of at least 3 maps that I can verify from 1st and 2nd hand knowledge.  I learned one from Ron, another from Dhammarato, and a third through friends in the Mahamudra tradition.  Each one has a differing intermediate, and end points.  I am able to "fit them" into each other fairly sufficiently.  "4th path" can be a helpful term when it is given proper context, which is usually a specific teacher and tradition.  Cheers.  
Banned For waht?, modified 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 7:23 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 7:23 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 500 Join Date: 7/14/13 Recent Posts
a)If someone says he/he is arhant or unattained, it is hinayana. Not having removed clinging to body/forms.
b)When you see then its only the seeing- the mind. The eyeorgan doesn't see. That is heart.
c)Thats not yet the end. Learn to arouse life/sensations too and end of this part, the inner and outer come together and your power wisdom will get level up.
---
And those 3 points are one third level. Go it through 3 times you get Full level.

and remember you need take into account your biology, that it takes time to get it to the bones. So at first level or tens level there might be no mayor biological changes and also it takes years to have body changed.

So its approx 9 years before full level is embodied for first level. There is surely a definite rule somewhere.
------------

See people think that their experiences and thinking are real but their imagination is not, hence the worldling view.

Take video games, killing others there is more profound than imagination. Thinking its not real because it is a game. Wrong thinking in a nutcell. Type game rage and search from internet videos. Despite of no form you still will have emotions. So pain is not defeated by having no body, hell is real if you appear there.

So basically church view of sinning will result in going to hell is not far from truth, its pretty true. If you have your own bread then you are free. Drinking the blood of the innocents will get you power to get out of hell, if you take it with the worldly view then thats stupid and noway you understand whats holy. So if you become innocent then you can empty the hell by drawing your own blood.

----
so what is technical MCTB 4th path?

Does it save you from hell. Yes.
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 6:10 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 6:10 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 1452 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
T DC:
I had an extremely strong (complete) enlightenment expereince in my senior year of high school, and pretty soon afterwards I began meditating.  I practiced Tibetan-Buddhist shamatha-vipassina meditation for about a year and a half, then encountered MCTB, resonated with it greatly, and switched to practicing intensive vipassina.  I achived 1st path within about a month, and 3rd path three months later, and 4th path about a month after that.  At the time of achieving 4th path I was practicing noticing of sensations as rapidly as possible very intensely, along with jhana practice. 

Lying in bed one night, it seemed as though a vast space opened up in my mind, unlike anything I had experienced before, totally unlike and beyond any preconception I might have had about 4th path.  This seemed to flicker somewhat for several days, then stabalised.  The effect was to counter the conceptual thought in my mind.  This vast space was an experinece of something beyond conceptual thought, and so when thoughts arose, it automatically negated their solidity.  The self-referential mass of thought could not encapsulate the space, and so the seeming solidity, or 'completeness' of the conceptual thought was rendered 'empty', seen as false and insubstantial.  Months after achieving this I read, in Cutting through spiritual materialism by Chogyam Trungpa about the 'end attainment of the Hinayana' and 'first attainment of the Mahayana', described as 'seeing that 'form is empty'.  To me this seemed a near perfect description of what I was experiencing.

Although 4th path was a major transition in perception and experience, it was not the final solution I sought.  Ultimately I was searching for a return to the glimpse of enlightenment I experienced in high school, which was far beyond, in unity and perfection, that of the 4th path experience.  The path for me very much continued after 4th path, and in this I followed progressive teachings on attainment laid out in Tibetan Buddhism.
An Explanation of My Claim to Full Enlightenment

After 4th Path: What do to?

I have read your descriptions several times throughout the years, you seem to be describing enlightenment from books you have read. I do not get a feeling from your descriptions that you are expaining things from a first hand point of view. You do not describe the type of practise that would get 3rd or 4th path and you miss certain things in your descriptions that should be pretty obvious.

I hesitate to participate in describing attainments any more than I have for fear that people merely wish to become better parrots.

Most people who think they have 4th path as described by Daniel really have part of 3rd completed. It is incredibly rare to get to the level Daniel describes. To go beyond that level of description is rarer still, but possible. (not that I have)

Good luck,
~D
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 8:31 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/20/16 8:31 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 605 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Nothing to add, just marveling that I nearly posted this question an hour ago, and that theories about why this part of the path differs from person to person, and why that is have been on my mind as my insights have deepened into non-doer territory.
Banned For waht?, modified 5 Years ago at 10/21/16 9:12 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/21/16 9:12 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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MCTB 4th path is untangling psychic point in back of the head. And the how to reach there is written in the book, but the crux is that the final advice given to DI were from a different vechile or out of the picture advice. If he would have had the same advice from the beginning then he would cut it through much faster.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 5 Years ago at 10/23/16 1:58 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/23/16 1:58 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I actually had some very good pointing out from Christopher Titmuss on early retreats, but I was too immature in my practice to have any idea what he was talking about. I found similar points in my readings in my early years of meditation, but, again, too early for me to be in a place to get it.

I attained to what I attained on retreat with a traditional Theravada Monk in a relatively traditional practice center, that being Sayadaw U Pandita, Junior at MBMC. He is now in Australia in Melbourne. His living example and embodiment of wisdom in his way of being were very important, as were practicing from very basic assumptions: six sense doors, three characteristics, crazy high levels of concentration and investigation without anything held back.

There are lots of discussions on this forum from previous years about the varieties of what people call fourth path, endless debates about criteria, endless comparisons of people's attainments, endless speculation about why the variability, the nuances of description, and the like, so I am not going to repeat that all here, as it has already been done again and again and again. Still, going back and reading some of that can be interesting. For other reading, check out posts by Thusness, as they are interesting to read, as well as those by Omega Point, as well as Bypasser (might have spelled that wrong, but something like that), as well as discussions about Rigpa (which can get a bit muddled and tired, but there is still likely to be something useful found there). More importantly, keep practicing and see what happens and be honest with yourself.
T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 10/24/16 10:22 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/24/16 10:22 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Thanks all for the replies!  Daniel, the suggestion to have a look at past discussions on this topic is a good one. 
Pål R, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 9:59 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 9:59 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 115 Join Date: 8/3/16 Recent Posts
Daniel and others who claim 4th, (how) has your attainment affected how you react to "jumpscares"?
Reason I wonder is that I managed to scare the shit out of my teacher, who I think has MCTB 4th path, yesterday emoticon 
Sorry if this has been up before!
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 3:08 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 3:08 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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I don't startle easily, but I am not sure how that is related to anything I did in my practice vs caused by something else.
Pål R, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 5:01 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 5:01 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 115 Join Date: 8/3/16 Recent Posts
But you have noticed a change? Measuring things like this is of course hard, especially from a place of only meeting enlightened people, not even having some degree of awakening one self.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 5:13 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 5:13 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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I'm not 4th path, but from SE on I have noticed a dramatic and increasing loss of my ability to be startled and seeming loss of my adrenalin response. The other day a car nearly hit me, and there was no obvious change to my heart rate, and the "heart in your throat"/sweat/etc. that would normally have accompanied that in the past were not present. At SE I also lost my anxiety, which had been a constant companion throughout my life. Maybe the two are linked?
Evammesutam, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 9:51 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 9:50 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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Daniel M. Ingram:

There are lots of discussions on this forum from previous years about the varieties of what people call fourth path, endless debates about criteria, endless comparisons of people's attainments, endless speculation about why the variability, the nuances of description, and the like

Yes lots of discussion and debates about what people here call fourth path. But in Theravada style they are clear what it is. I have read through them all and nobody here yet made a post to say they have done Theravada style 4th path. I wonder how long until it happens
T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 9:59 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 9:59 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Evammesutam:

Yes lots of discussion and debates about what people here call fourth path. But in Theravada style they are clear what it is. I have read through them all and nobody here yet made a post to say they have done Theravada style 4th path. I wonder how long until it happens


You know, frankly what I would be more interested in is a discussion on who has attained an experience of emptiness.  This might be less sujective than '4th path'.  Emptiness is an experience of that beyond normal 'material' perception.  Maybe Theravada doesn't focus on this as much as Tibetan Buddhism, but emptiness is something I major equate with Buddhism and rarely hear about on here.  For me personally, the experience of 4th path was synonomous with an initial attainment of emptiness.
Evammesutam, modified 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 10:26 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/25/16 10:26 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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T DC:
Evammesutam:

Yes lots of discussion and debates about what people here call fourth path. But in Theravada style they are clear what it is. I have read through them all and nobody here yet made a post to say they have done Theravada style 4th path. I wonder how long until it happens


You know, frankly what I would be more interested in is a discussion on who has attained an experience of emptiness.  This might be less sujective than '4th path'.  Emptiness is an experience of that beyond normal 'material' perception.  Maybe Theravada doesn't focus on this as much as Tibetan Buddhism, but emptiness is something I major equate with Buddhism and rarely hear about on here.  For me personally, the experience of 4th path was synonomous with an initial attainment of emptiness.

Experience of emptiness would not need to be 4th path though. Maybe too it is language problem. It is just an experience.
4th path in Theravada style needs the 10 fetters to drop off too. So maybe have experience of emptiness for a while but then still have hate so then that person know more work need to be done. But now I no longer know what is 4th path when people say it here.

I had doubts because I saw questions I could not find an answer too so I went and researched. Then I had a big moment of understanding happened a few days ago when I found where somebody asked a pali monk if he think this place (dharmaoverground) has 4th path. The monk read about it and then showed how for Theravada style it cannot be as the things said go against each other. After that I read and begin to understand what is 4th path in that style. Now I see that it is because in Theravada style there is not many models like how in here there is. Each description is not a different model. Each description is talking about same the model but different part of it. It is all of them together.

But 4th path in the style here interests me a lot. What happened when it happened to you that you knew that it was 4th path?   
Pål R, modified 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 12:35 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 12:35 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 115 Join Date: 8/3/16 Recent Posts
Interesting! It seems quite logical that when self views drop away so does dramatic reactions to threats to some kind of self. 
Ernest Michael Olmos, modified 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 9:33 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 9:33 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

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I'm also not 4th path (not even 3rd) but I've noticed the same.

Anxiety went way down and so did the adrenalin response.

However, I'm not so sure that there isn't a spike in adrenalin but that the recovery is very fast.
It seems to me that a second after the event has passed, as you don't get "attached" to the event, you get back to normal.

But also the spike seems lower.
Matt, modified 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 12:23 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 12:10 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 316 Join Date: 1/14/14 Recent Posts
I'm no where near 4'th, but I am moving up and down, back and forth, in and out, of some kind of cycle of progress.

Sometimes my head is full of blissfull honey, I feel that I'm above and beyond worldy concerns.

Sometimes I have monkey mind.

Sometimes I see an external event and feel a yawning chasm within me that once was a spot filled with reactivity to the external event.  The absense of reactivity *feels nice*. A meditation friend called this 'experincing emptiness'

Sometimes I see the external event, feel a bit of reaction chain inside of me but it dies out before much else happens.

Sometimes I see a relationship between events and I think "Oh, that's the way it is!" and it's feels like a valuable realization, and that circumstance leaves a bit of honey/bliss behind in my mind.

Sometimes I feel a 'regular old' reactive sequence, and I feel it's appropriate to ride that along, just go ahead and raise my voice perhaps.  And then I wonder 'how is that different from before any training?'

I feel this kind of conversation is really helpful, a way to share contemplative experience that is not constrained to dogma and labels.  It has been written, emoticon progress is fractal, cycles of various sizes overlaping with other cycles of various sizes, awareness of each and every experience as it unfolds is the way to move along the path.
T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 12:46 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/26/16 12:46 PM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Evammesutam:

Experience of emptiness would not need to be 4th path though. Maybe too it is language problem. It is just an experience.
4th path in Theravada style needs the 10 fetters to drop off too. So maybe have experience of emptiness for a while but then still have hate so then that person know more work need to be done. But now I no longer know what is 4th path when people say it here.

I had doubts because I saw questions I could not find an answer too so I went and researched. Then I had a big moment of understanding happened a few days ago when I found where somebody asked a pali monk if he think this place (dharmaoverground) has 4th path. The monk read about it and then showed how for Theravada style it cannot be as the things said go against each other. After that I read and begin to understand what is 4th path in that style. Now I see that it is because in Theravada style there is not many models like how in here there is. Each description is not a different model. Each description is talking about same the model but different part of it. It is all of them together.

But 4th path in the style here interests me a lot. What happened when it happened to you that you knew that it was 4th path?   

You're right, emptiness itself can be realized to varying degrees, so there is still room for discussion.  If we gain an attainment, it's permenant.  Attainment is a change that occurs in our minds, that while we may have consiously precipitated it to a degree, the experience itself is beyond conceptual fabrication.  That's the big point here, emptiness is an experience beyond a conceptual understanding, it's an experience of what lies beyond conceptuality, aka thoughts.
 
Personally, 4th path was an initial attainment of emptiness, that beyond conceptual thought.  When I have brought this up before, some people have said they understood emptiness upon 1st path, but I don't think this is accurate.  1st path is an initial attainment, and we feel better afterwords, the world is more vivid, or 'luminous', but we are not really seeing beyond our conceptual thoughts, we have just overcome a certain base set of them.  In my experience, on 1st path, and 2nd, and 3rd, certain unhelpful mental pathways dropped away; my mind became clearer.  At 4th path however, I saw that conceptual thought itself existed within a greater space of 'emptiness', a space which could not be encapsulated by conceptual thought.  Conceptual perception was seen in relation to a greater sphere of experience, and so naturally I understood that concpetual perception was not all there is, that in fact there is much more to experience. 
Banned For waht?, modified 5 Years ago at 10/29/16 7:05 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 10/29/16 7:05 AM

RE: Varieties of 4th Path Experience

Posts: 500 Join Date: 7/14/13 Recent Posts
If you mention or even hint to fetters model you are being turned down.
Best we can do is turn Them down and keep repeating that fetters model is possible.

Fetters model is possible!!

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