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Childhood A&P
Answer
2/21/17 3:19 AM
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mahasi/progress.html#ch4.4

In the section on Knowledge of the Arising and Passing Away
There arises also rapture in its five grades, beginning with minor rapture.[28] When purification of mind is gained, that rapture begins to appear by causing "goose-flesh," tremor in the limbs, etc.; and now it produces a sublime feeling of happiness and exhilaration, filling the whole body with an exceedingly sweet and subtle thrill. Under its influence, he feels as if the whole body had risen up and remained in the air without touching the ground, or as if it were seated on an air cushion, or as if it were floating up and down.

I used to feel like this as a kid somewhere around 10-11 years old, it sounds like a very close description. I remember even earlier than this being very present and peaceful, things just happening. Way before I ever got on any deliberate contemplative path.

I have been thinking that this was one of the pre A&P jhanas, because it was such a gentle bliss and not as brain-zapping as later experiences in my youth.
But I did feel like I was floating on an air cushion, and it was really sweet and subtle, and I did seem to follow the experience from it's beginning to it's end all the way through - which is what A&P is supposed to be, right ?

This is the Burmese version of Buddism, and they have different descriptions of jhana (I gather from discussion here of the visuddhimagga) to the original Gautama teaching, so how reliable is this as a description of A&P too ?

My own impression is that this has to be A&P from the perspective of it simply being an internal phenomenon that I observed from start to finish, regardless of what the phenomenon actually was. The preceding jhanic states might be just lost in the fog of childhood memory.

But then there is this -
http://www.dreamviews.com/attaining-lucidity/131378-floating-sensation-before-falling-asleep.html

That's the exact thing I used to have. Happens to a lot of people. From Mahasi's description it sounds like a contemplative achievement (or a corruption of insight), but from everyday folk's accounts it reads more like something that just happens and is literally child's play and enjoyable too.

So, OK, what is this thing in terms of buddhist maps ?

Thanks for reading, please comment.

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/22/17 3:11 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Are you asking about the sleep experience, the A&P type experience, or both? All I can say is that sometimes people do cross the A&P with sleep, or else when they're young, as you claim, but I can't judge from what you've written here without knowing something about the aftermath. Have you subsequently been knocking around in the dukkha nanas? And what is your current practice? Are you practicing regularly or considering it? I would absolutely recommend getting serious with some solid practice. A lot of these questions will become either moot or else clearer with some practice experience. 

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/22/17 10:59 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
Are you asking about the sleep experience, the A&P type experience, or both? All I can say is that sometimes people do cross the A&P with sleep, or else when they're young, as you claim, but I can't judge from what you've written here without knowing something about the aftermath. Have you subsequently been knocking around in the dukkha nanas? And what is your current practice? Are you practicing regularly or considering it? I would absolutely recommend getting serious with some solid practice. A lot of these questions will become either moot or else clearer with some practice experience. 


Hi Laurel thanks for your quesitons. Well, I don't necessarily think A&P has to be followed by dukha nanas. Is it the case that they are more a consequence of continuing to practice after the A&P stage, and cast aside all that pleasure ? My other post on psilocybin shows an A&P mystical event as being a long term cure for depression, rather than an initiation into a dark night. So, at my current level of understanding, it looks like a dark night doesn't always follow A&P.
As far as I can remember, there was no aftermath, rather it was an expression of a general well being and inner sensitivity. It would be years before I experienced real and obvious inner stress.
Nobody yet has engaged with the question of whether Mahasi's description really corresponds to what I experienced - but as it's written it sure sounds similar. I know Daniel describes A&P as happening during late childhood, and not in any full on transcendent way. I would guess it's quite common. I speculate also that childhood and adolescent experience is supercharged once it becomes adult and deliberately intended via practice or whatever.
If the Theravada map is to be taken as authoritative, then I would expect jhana to be also part of my childhood. This shouldn't be a surprise given if the Buddha story of remembering childhood jhana is to be taken as true. That part of the Buddhist story says jhanas are a natural part of childhood, doesn't it? Also, I know people have had full blown mystical A&P events in childhood. I'm listen to a podcast by someone who had it at age 12.
I'm not really convinced that dukha nanas are a necessity for absolutely anyone going through an A&P experience, or just a product of the particular buddhist or ascetic way of development.
I have practiced regularly, with results, but I only do formal meditation occasionally nowadays. I wonder if I ever really needed it but it has been part of my life and it's too late to re-run for experimental purposes.

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/22/17 5:32 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
Stick Man:
Well, I don't necessarily think A&P has to be followed by dukha nanas. Is it the case that they are more a consequence of continuing to practice after the A&P stage, and cast aside all that pleasure ? My other post on psilocybin shows an A&P mystical event as being a long term cure for depression, rather than an initiation into a dark night. So, at my current level of understanding, it looks like a dark night doesn't always follow A&P.

The way that we know it's an A&P event is that it's followed by the DNs. If something happens that's not followed by the DNs, it probably wasn't an A&P event. It could still be a transcendent mystical experience though.

Alternatively, it could be followed by non-depressive DNs - they aren't always experienced as depression.

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/23/17 3:52 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Stick Man:
Well, I don't necessarily think A&P has to be followed by dukha nanas. Is it the case that they are more a consequence of continuing to practice after the A&P stage, and cast aside all that pleasure ? My other post on psilocybin shows an A&P mystical event as being a long term cure for depression, rather than an initiation into a dark night. So, at my current level of understanding, it looks like a dark night doesn't always follow A&P.

The way that we know it's an A&P event is that it's followed by the DNs. If something happens that's not followed by the DNs, it probably wasn't an A&P event. It could still be a transcendent mystical experience though.

Alternatively, it could be followed by non-depressive DNs - they aren't always experienced as depression.


It sounds like an orthodoxy. Why is A&P defined by what it is followed by rather than on it's own terms ? If those psilocybin experiences weren't A&P, followed by relief of depression, then what were they ?
Are those negative nana states non-depressing ? I suppose that may be but people sure write about them in terms of depression. Depends what depression means to people. Feeling disgust and misery aren't forms of happy mood, but same as depressive  - hmm... they are aversive emotions and depression is an aversion to engaging with life. Interesting.

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/23/17 12:15 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
Stick Man:

It sounds like an orthodoxy. Why is A&P defined by what it is followed by rather than on it's own terms ? If those psilocybin experiences weren't A&P, followed by relief of depression, then what were they ?
Are those negative nana states non-depressing ? I suppose that may be but people sure write about them in terms of depression. Depends what depression means to people. Feeling disgust and misery aren't forms of happy mood, but same as depressive  - hmm... they are aversive emotions and depression is an aversion to engaging with life. Interesting.
Not everyone experiencing fear is in the fear nana. People can experience fear for many different reasons having nothing to do with the progress of insight.

The same is true for transcendent experiences. They are not necessarily A&P events.

To tell whether an experience is an A&P event or not, it helps to look at the circumstances. If someone is doing insight practices and has an experience where thought speeds up, they have more energy, and they see lights, it sounds like an A&P. If someone has a history of spiritual search, interest in meditation practice, periods of depression, and psychedelic use, and has an intense psychedelic experience followed by a period of depression, it could be an A&P.

But if someone signs up for a study on depression, takes a low dose of psychedelics, and has some kind of transcendent experience followed by relief from depression, I don't see any sign that it was an A&P event. It might have been, because people aren't always aware of the stages they're in and don't always experience the DNs as depression. But it might not have been an A&P event at all. You can't shoehorn every human experience into the progress of insight. It could have just been a transcendent psychedelic experience followed by depression relief.

The stages you're in aren't that important - I didn't really know what stage I was in for most of the time I was working through the paths. Not everyone has really strong experiences of the stages.

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/23/17 5:30 PM as a reply to J C.
But if someone signs up for a study on depression, takes a low dose of psychedelics, and has some kind of transcendent experience followed by relief from depression, I don't see any sign that it was an A&P event. It might have been.

Well, what else could it be ? The only place for such an experience on the theravada map is A&P, and the description of the psilocybin experience is identical with that of a mystical A&P as written in various places ie MCTB. (high dose, BTW).
If there is no place for an A&P-identical event, without the following nanas, on the Theravada map, then it looks like those maps are inadequate and possibly obsolete. And why not, if there is no shroomery in the Burmese tradition ?

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/23/17 7:46 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
The Therevada map does not claim to encompass all human experiences. It's specifically a map of insight practice. You're talking about something completely different from insight practice, so there's no reason it would be on the map.

I don't see how the event you're talking about is identical to an A&P event at all. People can experience the A&P in a lot of ways, so almost any experience could be similar to the way that the A&P is sometimes experienced.

RE: Childhood A&P
Answer
2/24/17 4:45 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
The Therevada map does not claim to encompass all human experiences. It's specifically a map of insight practice. You're talking about something completely different from insight practice, so there's no reason it would be on the map.

I don't see how the event you're talking about is identical to an A&P event at all. People can experience the A&P in a lot of ways, so almost any experience could be similar to the way that the A&P is sometimes experienced.

Ah, well, that's an interesting point you make because I thought the Theravadan map was supposed to comprehensively encompass every level of human experience, otherwise it's of limited use. Certainly it's supposed to have the high point of wisdom at the end of it.
I don't see how almost any experience could be similar to the A&P, unless you mean within the bounds of Theravadan contemplative practice,hence people asking whether they got A&P or something else of a Theravadan ilk. But plenty of others seem to think that drug experiences are A&P experiences - hence MCTB

It should also be noted that some people will have a big and obvious buildup to such experiences and for others they will suddenly just show up completely without warning, sometimes spontaneously and even without formal meditation training, as happened to me at around age fifteen. I have a number of friends wh ran into these things without formal training and in daily life, others who ran into them when doing hallucinogens including mescaline and LSD....
...and big juicy shrooms, no doubt, my good fellow.

Flabadoo flabadeeee