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Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)

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Dear forum dwellers,

I seem to have attained what I expected MCTB 4th path to be like, two days ago, on the eight day of a solitary at-home retreat. I can't vouch that's what really happened, since I cannot understand the language Daniel uses to describe it - it has been years since I haven't the faintest clue what is meant by a sense of centrepoint, or observer, so I can't say if I got rid of the thing which he is referring to when he says that.

But there was something that was comming from behind somewhere which is no longer doing that, it stopped doing so when the ajna chakra (in the middle of the head) cleared up in a big way. The mind is much more silent. Same thing as MCTB 4th path? I dunno. Maybe not, that's OK, as well. [edit: I have since changed my mind, see follow-up below]

Although I had planned for 30 days, instead of 10, I have decided to slowly bring the retreat to an end for now, because I think I am too high and loosing a balanced perspective of things. I have existential epiphanies every day that bring me higher still (God this, the universe that, karma something, etc, and I'm not even religious), and since I feel I've already reaped some permanent reward from this retreat, it's time to back off a little bit.

I have had two PCEs recently for the first time, and am thinking of developing them further. 

I worked with the PCE during this retreat using two different methods: 

  • attending diligently to the dan-tien / sweet spot, trying to make it still, or
  • "cultivating wonder" as the main feeling experience.

The first was mentioned by Jeff Grove in this forum (link), that's why I put his name in the topic. The second is part of the actualist method (paraphrasing).

The only two times I got a PCE, it happened when I was trying to make the feeling of being as "light" as I could, and suddenly there was a sucking of energy somewhere around the dantien (I think downwards, but maybe inwards, not sure), which then became fairly still (though not completely, so I wouldn't call it 100% PCE). The experience then lasted a few minutes. To maintain it I had to make a careful effort at not "looking inside", which I eventually did and caused it to end. The dantien method was my main mode of practice with regards to the PCE.

Until today, when after hearing Tarin's talk at Cheetah house, I experimented with trying to make my entire being express the feeling of "wonder" (the "wonder about" but without the about, not awe necessarily, though that follows often).

This seemed to force the nerves to stretch --- that's how it felt, anyway. As a result of this, my perception of internal experience diminished quite a lot, quite quickly, and created great pressure in the back of the skull. Having been privy to several horrifying stories of Richard's behavior, I am concerned about potential dissociation, and so I am not keen on using this method anymore.

To add another layer of confusion around this issue, some people here, such as Chuck Kasmire, describe their final attainment as having feelings, which they claim to experience as "mere body sensations. I would much prefer that, to be honest, as I suspect that feelings, even as bodily sensations, will make me more relatable to others than otherwise. And it is important to me that my friends and loved ones feel I am relatable to them.

Any questions are welcome, and I have a few of my own:

  • Daniel, you claimed to have made PCE a permanent state a few months ago (plus the synchronization thing). I haven't paid much attention to the DhO recently, but as far as I know, you never clarified whether or not you still experience emotions. I was happy to assume so, given your intensified investment into magick, and your recent barely contained desire to magickally electrocute someone, which you described in your practice thread. But I would rather ask straight out: Could you tell me (or point to a place where you already said) what is your experience with regards to feelings?
  • Jeff could you please let me know how about your own experience of feelings, as well? Could you, if possible, describe your sweet-spot/dantien focusing practice in greater detail? For example, did you *try* to make the dantien calmer? or would you just focus on it without any other intention? How long did it take to produce which results?
  • I have asked other people off-forum the same question I've asked to Daniel and Jeff, namely Nick Halay and Clayton Lightfoot, but I would welcome the answer from anyone who believes they have made a very significant accomplishment.



I read several DhO posts during the retreat, which were interesting and informative. So I'd like to say thank you everyone, for making the DhO such a nice place. This is really a resource which I treasure, and which continues to enrich my life in a big way. I guess I will start reading and posting again, to help lower the bar to more human standards emoticon

Bruno

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 12:13 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
 What you mention seems to be some residue of fascination with altered states of consciousness. 
The Buddha warned us that nothing whatsoever should be clung to. No experience is more sacred than any other. 

Its fun to throw out all the paths and maps and just be nobody, nothing and everything simultaneously. It is also wise to consider that an arahats awakening is through non-clinging to all of the 5 aggregates (khandhas). Thus body and mind  (namerupa) remain just as they were before arahatship, but now ALL mental and physical sensations, conscious of themselves devoid of a person, being, an owner or operator, or any tendency to stick to a "ultimate state of being".

It's nice to discover the liability to cling to any experience doesn't arise anymore, including PCE's and all possible emotions. (Moral or immoral mental phenomena are quick arising and Passing and don't stick). Just impersonal phenomena instantly arising and Passing. 

Using dantien to expand into a PCE is a common technique. Another way is the crown chakra and the root chakra merging and the 6th jhana infinite consciousness mixed. PCE's are profound calm and blissful for sure. But they evaporate too. They can show us how concepts and labels do violence to silent "just knowing".

No one but the Buddha can know objectively what any of our path attainments are. I wouldn't worry about it. Just have fun smashing perceptual thresholds and experiment letting go of the desire to understand anything.

As Daniel Ingram skillfully suggests: wait a year and a day before drawing any conclusions. Even then still invite the possibility for it to be otherwise. 


And anecdotally, I've spoken with some Mahasi monks who believe the MTCB 4th path to actually just be Stream Entry.

Ultimately we will only find out when we die..



Kind regards,
Thomas

[Edited for curiosity, humility and spelling]

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
1/31/17 9:36 PM as a reply to Thomas Jackson-Brown.
These Mahasi monks had heard of MCTB?  Had they read it?  How many did you speak to?

Also, do they assume that 10 Fetter path attainments arise through insight meditation alone, or as a synergy of the 3 trainings?  Dunno how far you got in the convo.

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
1/31/17 11:49 PM as a reply to Noah D.
I really don't want to hijack this nice thread of Bruno's. I will keep it super brief out of respect.

I make the statement that they perceive MTCB 4th path to be phenomenlogically the same as the Mahasi Theravada 10 fetters model's Stream Enterer. Based on private interviews I have had with Mahasi senior disciple Sayadaw U Janakabhivamsa, his senior monks and an ex-mahasi monk of 10 years tenure. Their standards of vipassana knowledges are very very high. I have read almost all the practice logs here and at the old KFD forum and am sorry to say most of the people who claim to be arahats or 4th path-ers, here, would not pass the Sayadaw's standards. Sayadaw does not accept that a simple 'blip' is a Fruition (magga phala). Non-dual experiences, PCE's, and sensations of centre-lessness, are, I directly quote, "like Nibanna" but not the real thing. I should add, U Janaka says his vipassana method is slightly different than U Pandita's. I have spoken with yogis who have been warned by U Pandita to be aware of "fake enlightenment" phenomena.

Sayadaw U Janaka believes 10 fetters Arahat is attained when the 5 faculties (Panca Indriya) are perfected, and by definition the 3 trainings, perfected simultaneously and automatically. The effect is a an experience that obliterates all the fetters at Arahat's Magga Phala. Sayadaw U Silananda (another senior Mahasi desciple) menations in a talk, how the arahat has 100% uprooted the potential or liability to commit a fetter ever again. 

I mention this only anecdotally, out of deep respect to all awakening beings here and everywhere, nothing is 'done' only 'doing'. 

Also, it's no problem to be a MTCB Arahat if the 10 fetters Arahat is untenable to you. Jungles of views.

Personally I don't cling to any dogma, map or Sayadaw's words. All I know is this experience, nano second by nano second, is enigmatic and fleeting, blissful and a continuous cause for wonder. After years of hardcore insight practices, I am no authority on anyones experience except my own.

Back to Bruno now, sorry dude...

Per request this thread has been moved to Claims to Attainments
Answer
2/1/17 12:21 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Per request this thread has been moved to Claims to Attainments

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 12:27 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Congratulations on your shift Bruno!


Bruno Loff:

But there was something that was comming from behind somewhere which is no longer doing that, it stopped doing so when the ajna chakra (in the middle of the head) cleared up in a big way. The mind is much more silent. Same thing as MCTB 4th path? I dunno. Maybe not, that's OK, as well.
Are there any other phenomenological descriptions regarding the event? Any examples?
Thanks,
~D

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 2:00 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Are there any other phenomenological descriptions regarding the event? Any examples?

There had been for a long time the impression that there was something wrong with perception. This is what I have for so many years thought to be the cause of my "insight disease". That original impression is gone.

(Of course, meanwhile I found other things I'm not happy with, so I don't think I'm "done", nor am I claiming to.)

It was a thinky noise. It was an itch that seemed impossible to scratch, for when I tried looking at it it would twist and turn and tense up into a knot. It felt like it was in a specific place in the centre of the brain.

More detail: In the moment just as I was about to focus on something, there is a twang, or twist, or grasping, for lack of a real word for it, which would seem to start somewhere that was out of sight, and latch onto attention.

It dissolved in that moment, leaving the mind very silent. This is what I expected to finally happen with it.

More precisely, the background from which the grasping appears from was made clear for a brief moment, and then it dissolved.

However I don't feel as sure as I felt yesterday, as there is some stuff appearing in that place again that isn't entirely right. I hope it sticks. A nice shift in any case.

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 2:29 AM as a reply to Thomas Jackson-Brown.
Thomas Jackson-Brown:

Its fun to throw out all the paths and maps and just be nobody, nothing and everything simultaneously. It is also wise to consider that an arahats awakening is through non-clinging to all of the 5 aggregates (khandhas). Thus body and mind  (namerupa) remain just as they were before arahatship, but now ALL mental and physical sensations, conscious of themselves devoid of a person, being, an owner or operator, or any tendency to stick to a "ultimate state of being".

There is definitely clinging still happening. I don't know what it means to be devoid of a person, owner, operator, or doer. I describe my experience by way of naming the sensations that compose of it.

There used to be lots of sensations in the form of thoughts containing the word "person", "self", etc, which would be triggered by certain sensations and patterns of tension around the head. Eventually I realized that these sensations and patterns of tension are just and only sensations and patterns of tension. I could have just as arbitrarily be having thought with the word "person", "self", etc that were triggered by some other phenomena, and I imagine many people *do* have such thoughts triggered by phenomena different than those that caused such thoughts to be triggered in me.

So eventually I realized that I actually have no idea what people mean when they use the word self, owner, doer, etc, and I never use those words nowadays to describe my meditation experiences.

That said, during this retreat, I have come to understand quite directly what some people are pointing to when they say "being", or "feeling of being", etc.

Maybe I will post on that someday, but briefly it seems like a very rough and powerful kind of energy, running on the same nerves as everything else, which is rougher, noisy and umpolished, compared with the baseline signal running through said nerves, and which is prone to tying itself into knots of tension. And it starts at the dantien, which acts as a sort of beacon for that specific signal, like a cell-phone tower, so to speak.

That is surely not yet gone, but it seems to me now that my practice must be aimed at aquiescing this "being". The questions I have asked in this thread pertain to how I want to go about doing that, as it is my impression that the way people arrive at such a place has a profound effect on how they chose to live the rest of their lives. Some have babies, some become hermits, some investigate the powers, etc. I basically want to chose a way such that my friends and loved ones don't suffer because of my choice. This for me is vital.


Using dantien to expand into a PCE is a common technique. Another way is the crown chakra and the root chakra merging and the 6th jhana infinite consciousness mixed. PCE's are profound calm and blissful for sure. But they evaporate too. They can show us how concepts and labels do violence to silent "just knowing".

I suspect we are talking about different things. I would never describe the process of obtaining the PCE as expanding into something. Rather, the process of being becomes still(er), because the dantien shuts the fuck up finally, and the rest of perception just keeps on working as always, but now without the horribly loud and noisy overlayed second channel.

How does one go about merging the crown and root chakras and the 6th jhana? (I should perhaps say that the only jhana that has ever been clear to me was the 5th)

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 3:16 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I am now under the impression that whatever shift happened in the region, it was not enough to completely purify it. After being completely absent for two days, the grasping movement I have described just above seems to have returned, albeit softer than before.

So I withdraw my previous statement that I got (what I think) MCTB 4th (will be like). Aw well. I am happy I chose to entitle this thread "some path moment".

I am still taking a break from retreat to regain some perspective, but will probably do another ten day retreat in February.

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 11:38 AM as a reply to Thomas Jackson-Brown.
Personally I don't cling to any dogma, map or Sayadaw's words. All I know is this experience, nano second by nano second, is enigmatic and fleeting, blissful and a continuous cause for wonder. After years of hardcore insight practices, I am no authority on anyones experience except my own.

Do you see the irony in this comment?

Just curious...

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/1/17 8:29 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
 it seems to me now that my practice must be aimed at aquiescing this "being". The questions I have asked in this thread pertain to how I want to go about doing that, as it is my impression that the way people arrive at such a place has a profound effect on how they chose to live the rest of their lives. Some have babies, some become hermits, some investigate the powers, etc. I basically want to chose a way such that my friends and loved ones don't suffer because of my choice. This for me is vital.


I echo that friend. It seems this sensation of "being" is physiological. During intense a & p, dissolution and high equanimity the tactile sensation of being any one thing is shattered into microbits, particles and vibrations, at those times it impossible for me to claim to be any one thing though. Outside of those moments is a very mammalian 'sensory organs occurring conscious contact', fluidity to existence. Self referential thoughts occur far less often than in years past, but still happen. Like "I should shave" or "how should I reply to this post?".  But there is no conflict with the Arising of self-referencial thought as its perceived here as included in this 'field of luminous emptiness' for lack of better term. I also am inconclusive about what is best to do with this life, cuz its seems like I have no urge to "be" anything anymore. 

I was reading about non-symbolic people in location 4, and it's very interesting you should check it out if you haven't already. People in location 4 have no sense of agency or decison, things just unfold. They are always in stillness, even when walking, they describe it as, they stay still and everything moves through them. Here's a link. 

http://nonsymbolic.org/PNSE-Summary-2013.pdf

As for PCE's, maybe we are talking about something different. For me it's utter non-movement, vast silence kind of 'absorbs or suffuses' all tiny subtle movement and vibrations in the dantien and becomes pervasive surrounding, engulfing stillness of "knowing". The crown to root 6 jhana way is kind of like 'knowing this' sensation at the crown, is the center of the universe, and then the sensations of a 'bottom' drop out and it's like the whole universe is bottomless, topless, all pervasive silent stillness. Who knows, it may be something else entirely. I'm curious how the others will chime in.

RE: Some path moment (atn. Jeff Grove, Daniel Ingram, Chuck Kasmire)
Answer
2/2/17 8:16 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris - Ha yes! There was sensation of hesitation to claim authority over anything, more layers of delusion revealing themselves. 


For Pawel - Chanmyay Sayadaw U Janaka does not recommend his yogis to read Mahasi's progress of insight until the yogi has crossed the  udayaBaya ñana by his own diagnosis. But that book and the Visudhimagga section on progress of insight are the go-to books for reference. 
I have mentioned his very very high standards in regards to my own private interviews with him and felt he may be just super skeptical that anyone can experience genuine insights outside of long term silent retreats. I have tremendous respect for him. His scruples are so strict that his yogis really do give up life and limb for experiences he is satisfied to be genuine and not scripted.

[Edit: Ignore my irreverence. More feedback for Bruno, this is his thread...]