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Am I a Sotapanna?

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Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/31/17 4:28 AM
In August 2014 I attended a Goenka 10-day meditation retreat. Prior to the retreat, I had severe depression and anxiety. I experienced a ton of amazing spiritual experiences both during and after the retreat, including several spontaneous experiences of all sense of self/me/I dissolving and experiencing myself as the totality of experience, mind, body, world all being one thing with no "one" experiencing it, just a projection like a video or even a cartoon, projected from the heart chakra. One of these experiences lasted for 8 hours subsequent to a retreat at a Thai monastery during which I had a very effective metta session with tears. During the Goenka retreat I remember a moment during which I saw clearly how dharma worked to help people attain enlightenment, and ever since that retreat, my depression and anxiety have cleared up, I have completely abandoned any belief that there is an actual, non-illusory self, I have zero doubt in the dharma as being effective to dissolve/reduce the perceptual illusion of self and I know that dharma practiced correctly in any way/context will be equally effective to produced this result, regardless of any rites or rituals performed or association to any particular named theistic or atheistic organization. I still have lots of sensual desire and ill-will, so, it seems to me that perhaps I have reached stream-entry and lost the first 3 fetters. Can someone with wisdom, perhaps an arahant here help me to discern where I am on the path? Thank you.


To summarize, I think I may have attained stream-entry because 1. my suffering has vastly reduced since the experience and 2. I seem to have lost the 3 fetters of belief in self, skeptical doubt in dharma and clinging to rites and rituals.

What I am hoping for is that some arahants will come and ask me a series of questions I can answer from which they will be able to make a determination.

RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/30/17 4:57 PM as a reply to KundaliniLinguini.
It sounds like a very nice, intense peak A&P lasting several hours, followed by a lot of conceptualisation about the dharma and enthusiasm for it, which is a typical aspect (or maybe side effect) of the A&P.

The difference in how selfing works after SE is more perceptual / experiential than how you seem to describe it, although there are conceptual side effects of it, but they are not the main thing about SE, at least in my experience.

Of course, not being in your head, I might be 100% wrong, so do not take my words for granted emoticon

RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/30/17 5:29 PM as a reply to neko.
Addendum.

Paradoxically, you sound a bit too certain that there is no self. If I were you, I would look to check if this certainty comes from faith or from direct real-time experience. How does it feel to have / not have a self right now? Does the experience corroborate the faith? If not:

1) It is better to drop the faith and trust the experience that there is a self, rather than the faith that there isn't one.

2) The other way around means that the faith clouds the experience, and that is a guarantee never to complete a path.

Also: Did you go through a cessation? Do you cycle? Are you able to have repeat fruitions?

RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/30/17 6:20 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
It sounds like a very nice, intense peak A&P lasting several hours, followed by a lot of conceptualisation about the dharma and enthusiasm for it, which is a typical aspect (or maybe side effect) of the A&P.

The difference in how selfing works after SE is more perceptual / experiential than how you seem to describe it, although there are conceptual side effects of it, but they are not the main thing about SE, at least in my experience.

Of course, not being in your head, I might be 100% wrong, so do not take my words for granted emoticon

In terms of perception, as I noted, numerous times perceptions shifted into a state of no perceived location/center with there being just this entire experience without any experiencer and reality was perceived to be "fake". No conceptualization required. This has not been an abiding state, but a transient one. The perception of self always has returned and is currently operating.

RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/30/17 6:20 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Addendum.

Paradoxically, you sound a bit too certain that there is no self. If I were you, I would look to check if this certainty comes from faith or from direct real-time experience. How does it feel to have / not have a self right now? Does the experience corroborate the faith? If not:

1) It is better to drop the faith and trust the experience that there is a self, rather than the faith that there isn't one.

2) The other way around means that the faith clouds the experience, and that is a guarantee never to complete a path.

Also: Did you go through a cessation? Do you cycle? Are you able to have repeat fruitions?
It is not faith but past experiences which have shown me that there is just this experience with no experiencer. I can't forget those experiences. I do not believe there is no self. I just remember time when there was no self percieved. Right now, a self is perceived.

Certainly I would not cling to some belief. I want freedom from suffering, not to be right.

If there was cessation it was brief and I don't really remember it. I do cycle and I do not reach anything that feels like fruition unless it has been one of the spontaneous experiences described above which to me seemed like fruition/stream entry.

RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/30/17 7:24 PM as a reply to neko.
Just read the description of fruition in the MCTB:

"attainment of ultimate reality, emptiness, Nirvana, God or whatever you wish to call it"

Yes, I am pretty sure I have experienced this.

"no time, no space, no reference point, no experience, no mind, no consciousness, no nothingness, no somethingness, no body, no this, no that, no unity, no duality, and no anything else. Reality stops cold and then reappears. Thus, this is impossible to comprehend, as it goes completely and utterly beyond the rational mind and the sensate universe."

This also sounds pretty familiar.

"an utter discontinuity of the space-time continuum with nothing in the unfindable gap."

Yep.

"the visceral feeling that sensory reality is so intense that the nerves in one’s forehead and upper neck may not be able to handle the strain"

Uh huh.

"the feeling that one has become diffused into the atmosphere without a center, purpose, function, sense of direction or even of will"

Yes, I described that above in my original post and comments.

"a feeling of joy and gratitude beyond what is normally possible welling through one’s being"

Yes.

"the sense of discovery of that which one has most needed"

Yes, very much have experienced that.

"The profound sense of coming home"

YES

"particularly the first path, is a time when formal resolutions have an outrageous amount of power" 

I know I spontaneously made many resolutions following my first retreat.




RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/31/17 1:47 AM as a reply to KundaliniLinguini.
Ok, then you have answered your own question emoticon

RE: Am I a Sotapanna?
Answer
5/31/17 10:07 AM as a reply to KundaliniLinguini.
KundaliniLinguini:
"The profound sense of coming home"


That sense of "coming home" is, I believe, caused by the opening of the navel chakra. There is a very clear description of this in the opening pages of "Techniques for Centering" in The Book of Secrets.