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The Middle Paths (2nd and 3rd)

Second Path → Third Path

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Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/13/17 12:20 AM
In Mahasi's Manual of Insight, page 300, I read:

...it is relatively easy to attain the second path knowledge and fruition knowledge fairly soon after attaining the first, but it will probably take a long time to attain the third path knowledge and fruition knowledge after the second.

Also, in Bill Hamilton's Saints & Psychopaths, page 107, I read:

However, only a small percentage of people who attain the second level [of enlightenment] will attain the third level.

There seems to be consensus that Third Path is more "challenging." Neither cited resources elaborate on these statements, however.

Why does it seem to be the case that Third Path is more difficult and what adjustments should be made after finishing Second Path to have a better chance of succeeding at Third?

(This is probably where having a teacher comes in handy, to help assess an individual student's needs. For those of us who haven't managed to procure one, what are people's thoughts, in general, regarding this question?)

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/13/17 1:31 AM as a reply to Chris O..
I went on retreat about four months after getting second path and got third and fourth path on retreat. I didn't think it was harder. First path is the hardest - after that they all just happen on their own.

Past second path it's all concentration-based - you want to spend a lot of time in the high jhanas and force fruitions. There's a audio recording on the Hamilton Project about going through the jhanas - I listened to it driving up to retreat and it really helped me.

Also it's really helpful to make a lot of resolutions to become fully enlightened as quickly as possible. I also found stimulants to be very helpful in increasing concentration.

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/13/17 3:16 AM as a reply to Chris O..
Chris O.:
There seems to be consensus that Third Path is more "challenging." Neither cited resources elaborate on these statements, however.

Why does it seem to be the case that Third Path is more difficult and what adjustments should be made after finishing Second Path to have a better chance of succeeding at Third?
Well, it really depends on how you define third path now doesn't it? What definition would you like to use? If your standards are low then you no doubt could get to 12th path in no time at all right?
Here is my attempt to explain it a bit....it falls short and needs updating but it fills in the broad strokes.
A Framework of Awakening

Give it a read and see what you think.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/13/17 5:37 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Chris O.:
There seems to be consensus that Third Path is more "challenging." Neither cited resources elaborate on these statements, however.

Why does it seem to be the case that Third Path is more difficult and what adjustments should be made after finishing Second Path to have a better chance of succeeding at Third?
Well, it really depends on how you define third path now doesn't it? What definition would you like to use? If your standards are low then you no doubt could get to 12th path in no time at all right?
Here is my attempt to explain it a bit....it falls short and needs updating but it fills in the broad strokes.
A Framework of Awakening

Give it a read and see what you think.
Good luck,
~D

...I'll just say that I remain indebted to the mysterious Dr. D, for the page linked above, and grateful for his coaching on certain aspects of working with the skhandas/senses. There is some great stuff there.

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/13/17 6:32 PM as a reply to Chris O..
There is clearly a range of how difficult people find each path or cycle, but stream entry is likely the hardest of the bunch, on average, as the others do tend to pull onward after that. Due to that, stream entry should almost be in its own category, really, in terms of difficulty.

As my model looks at it, second path is really just doing stream entry over again at a deeper level with more nuance, so the skills that work for stream entry will work very well for second path. That is true to some degree for the rest, in that the Three Characteristics, etc. still apply.

However, as I map things, third really involves noticing something totally different, that of intrinsic awareness, luminosity, centerlessness, or whatever you wish to call it, about more and more of the waking, walking around field. Here things get complicated, as some will have some appreciation of this to some degree earlier, even at stream entry, as Mahasi says, and some will have a hard time with those concepts and labels despite pretty deep realizations and profoundly transformative practice.

Traditionally, third is the one said to be all about concentration, though great concentration works well for second also, I agree.

As to third taking a long time or being hard, over the years this forum has seen a wide range, again, depending on how you define it.

The farther you go from stream entry, the harder mapping gets, in general terms, with some notable exceptions.

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/14/17 3:23 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks for everyone for this thread, very interesting. 

Daniel - just a couple of questions to clarify what you said, if I may, 

You said third (I assume you mean getting to third) is about recognising something about intrinsic awareness or luminosity. Can you say any more about this? Are you referring here to the way in which experience takes on an aware and luminous quality, both out there and in side? 

By centreless, do you mean the sense that ones self is not located in any particular place?

Would you say the methodology found in the mahamudra or dzogchen traditions are valuable here (as found by teachers like lock Kelly)?

You also mention the value of concentration. Would you recommend developing hard jhanas states here. Or would the softer and open practise of concentration work equally well?

Thanks!

B

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/14/17 9:41 AM as a reply to Barry D.
For what it's worth, I would say that the path to third is about seeing the "sameness" in every perception, including self, and that sameness is "emptiness".

There are two aspecits of this path:

1) concentration/jhanas seriously kick in, if you are wired this way. All the jhanas and formless realms are at least touched on if not dwelled in. This is (nearly) endlessly fascinating.

2) conventional perception, including the nanas, is really seen to be constructed from basic building blocks. As a result, there is a lot more freedom in life.  

The mature side of third comes with the depressing realization that the jhanas and the new freedoms are just even more whiz-bang experiences -- which if you are wise, you'll see as more evidence of the same emptiness of perception.

When all of these perceptions/insights are really established, you can go through nana cycles as if it is running in the background. You'll probably have lots of fruitions. But one of nanas cycles will go deep enough (or really, it might be better to say, they will become so shallow as to be insignificant) and a third path fruition will occur. It will have the same sense of completion as the previous two paths.


Just because all of this begs the question --- fourth path is very similar, except the concepts/perception of an indepent/observing self and enlightenment are seen through completely. This is really subtle stuff and indeed relates to a very basic sense of "pride".


Hope this helps!

Adding on: as far as practice goes, at this point mindfulness is probably a default state and noting/noticing happens fairly automatically. So practice can really do itself. All that has to be balanced is alertness and relaxation, the mind does its thing. The mind will go into concentration states and will instinctually investigate things that seem like ill will/hindrances. So it's mostly "getting out of your own way" emoticon  Anything that seems like a road block should be investigated to find its inherent emptiness, concentration states should be enjoyed and dwelled in to condition the mind. It's a facinating path so enjoy!

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/14/17 1:07 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Latching on to this topic: what would be a good place (or good teacher) to aim for 3rd path? I will have time next year to do a long retreat (3 months or longer) and this seems like the appropriate aim right now. (currently 2nd path)

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/14/17 3:02 PM as a reply to Oochdd.
I like Sayadaw U Pandita, Junior, typically found in Australia. Still, any of the senior Mahasi kids would be fine for this, though they might use the models a bit differently than I do, or very differently, still, sitting with people with realization helps, even if they don't use the same models entirely.

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/14/17 5:26 PM as a reply to Oochdd.
Oochdd:
Latching on to this topic: what would be a good place (or good teacher) to aim for 3rd path?

Start researching Western mahamudra teachers. I'd start with Ken McLeod's website. His retreat transcripts and recordings see if he speaks to you, or Reggie Ray. Or Dan Brown's book - Daniel P. Brown and 1 morePointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/15/17 9:18 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks Shargol...Good stuff:-)

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/15/17 10:53 AM as a reply to Barry D.
Loch Kelly has it goin' on, might check him out also.

Despite the occasional light-weight scandal involving unusual attention to pretty females, I still really appreciate the direct wisdom of Christopher Titmuss. Not a map guy at all, but he clearly perceives something very immediate and useful. If you can get out of a map mentality and just pay attention to what he says, he would be of value as well.

Culadasa also would be a good person to study with, as he knows that territory also.

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
2/15/17 11:07 AM as a reply to Chris O..
Thanks J C, Dream Walker, Daniel, and shargrol. Very much appreciate you all taking the time to reply to this thread and share your wisdom. I'm greatly indebted. Can't imagine where I'd be on this journey (actually, I can: lost in the woods!) if not for a place like this with people like this.

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
10/15/17 8:03 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Oochdd:
Latching on to this topic: what would be a good place (or good teacher) to aim for 3rd path?

Start researching Western mahamudra teachers. I'd start with Ken McLeod's website. His retreat transcripts and recordings see if he speaks to you, or Reggie Ray. Or Dan Brown's book - Daniel P. Brown and 1 morePointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition

Hi DreamWalker,

Just wondering what made you suggest mahamudra teacher's specifically?

Is there something about that system of practcie which is particularly suited to 2nd -> 3rd territory?

Thanks emoticon

RE: Second Path → Third Path
Answer
10/15/17 1:56 PM as a reply to J C.

Also it's really helpful to make a lot of resolutions to become fully enlightened as quickly as possible. I also found stimulants to be very helpful in increasing concentration.
Why would making resolutions help? A variety of texts say this as well, but I don't get what that resolution would do in actual practise?

Is it some sort of subconscious thing that makes you make pay extra attention while meditating or something? Because I feel like it has a real and practical effect on meditation,whenever I've done it, but I don't know how the mechanism behind it actually works.