Second path - alternatives to modern vipassana

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Malcolm John Wright, modified 3 Years ago.

Second path - alternatives to modern vipassana

Posts: 904 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Hi there, this is my first post so apologies if I offend any community norms.

I am seeking advice on ways to progress to second path. Most of the advice I read seems to assume that a particular method will be used - modern vipassana. But this is not the way I have made progress, so I am not sure that it is right for me now. My reading suggests there are many other methods of achieving insights, but they seem to be out of favour and are not much talked about online, and I don't quite understand what they are. Can anybody point me towards other traditions that I could usefully explore?

To help diagnose what I may need, here is some background. I had A&P experiences from adolesence and probably spent years cycling through these and the dark night.  I spent 25-30 years training in martial arts and working at a University lecturer/professor.  About 18 months ago I became interested in mindfulness and this led me back to buddhist teachings (I had some ignorant dabbling as an adolescent).  I started accessing buddhist resources (Bikkhu Bohdi's talks, Daniel's book, internet resources), trying to follow the eightfold path, and cultivating the 8 jhanas. I was also studying memory and consciousness in my profession, and had previously studied philosophy of mind and personal identity. I made some really noticeable progress in the first and second jhanas, and some progress in other jhanas (my concentration objects quickly became the jhanas themselves).  I gave up some pretty embedded hatreds, became more generous, and was achieving more and more profound insights about reality (sometimes with big moments of clarity, like a bell being struck, accompanied by temporarily altered perceptions of reality). So I guess in a sense I was also doing a lot of insight work in thinking about the mind and reality.

Then during my study of the mind, I finished reading a book on consciousness and achieved the first path through the non-self door. This was followed by after effects like bliss waves, partial loss of attachment, cycling through discontinuities and bliss (with decreasing frequency), improved sleep, and pausing my martial arts (partly because I lost interest in the violence and ego involved). While I have the occaional grumpy or unhappy moment they are now fairly transitory and there has been no sign of another big dark night. This was about 9 months ago. My meditation practice was only a few hours a week , but it was supplemented with regular yoga, martial arts and breathing exercises, together with many hours of intellectual contemplation of buddhist concepts.

So now I am interested in progressing. I know that I can just keep doing the same things, but I wonder if there is a more focussed approach that would amplify my approach to date?  I guess some readers may think that I just had an A&P event rather than Stream Entry. That's cool, doesn't really change the question: what I am interested in is how to go forward in a way that works in with my path so far.

Also, I have had many subsequent fruitions (if I am interpreting them correctly), and meet the descriprtion of second path in the suttas in terms of attentuated desire and ill-will. But I don't think I have achieved second path.  While I have eliminated fear of death and an intellectual belief in self, I have an active mental life that subconsciously seeks a nice shiny mental self - that is, I am still generating subconscious attachment to the 'mind' (and still have material attachments, albeit much attenuated).

Hope you can offer some thoughts on what to do next.  Thanks, peace and love to all.
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Noah D, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Second path - alternatives to modern vipassana

Posts: 1143 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1330349#_19_message_1330373
T DC, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Second path - alternatives to modern vipassana

Posts: 389 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Good post! 

My meditation practice was only a few hours a week , but it was supplemented with regular yoga, martial arts and breathing exercises, together with many hours of intellectual contemplation of buddhist concepts.

So now I am interested in progressing. I know that I can just keep doing the same things, but I wonder if there is a more focussed approach that would amplify my approach to date?

Personally I found that the main determinant for progress on the path was the effort I put into moment to moment mindfulness.  That can be vipassina style attention to sensations, mindful attention to awareness, to the breath, to general activity...  I think the link Noah posted is very much in the same vein - Nikolia just seems to have pursued a unique mindfulness approach:

i went about
my daily life, making little or no time for formal practice, and
electing instead to, purely out of curiosity and fascination, watch
inclusively and in particular to see through the sensations that make
up the notions of 'inclusive', 'watching', and 'centre' whenever it
occurred to me to do so, or whenever it just happened on its own

So my basic advice is keep doing what you're doing if that works for you, but keep in mind that mindfull effort is what propells us on the path, whatever form it may take.  Formal meditation is a part of this - mindfulness is the continuance of effort off the cushion. 
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Malcolm John Wright, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Second path - alternatives to modern vipassana

Posts: 904 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Thank you both so much.  That sounds like really helpful advice and I will give it a go.

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