Message Boards Message Boards

The Maps in General

Climbing the Stages of Insight, Each and Every Sit

Toggle
INQUIRY:  Please help me understand the concept of moving through the nanas, each and every formal sit. <and> What is the best practice for progressing through each stage? Does something need to be realized/accepted before moving on, or is it a matter about right concentration?
 
...This is brought up indirectly in MCTB, where Daniel discusses passing through the vipassana jhanas with a kasina (p.250). Is it directly discussed elsewhere?
 
Something that confuses me about the concept of needing to climb the ladder of nanas (or vipassana jhanas) every sit:  When I was in the DN, I had a vague black patch at the center of my vision (during everyday life). So it seems strange to me that I would then have had to start at the 1st vipassana jhana when sitting, even though I was already perceiving the 3rd vipassana jhana.
 
My position: I hit low-EQ a week ago. I had a few great days of meditating, but have been floundering since. Climbing the nanas every time was not a pressing issue before, but now I feel unable to consistently reach equanimity. Those first few days, I got to EQ rapidly by noting until I did not need to anymore. It was mostly a matter of widening my vision, while remaining stable.
 
But now, I can be noting quickly and accurately and have my access blocked. It is reminiscent of the final few days in the DN, for me. It just makes me suffer and wish the timer would go off, when it happens.
 
*Side Question: Can/Should I practice concentration intermittently with insight, or should I be strictly sticking to noting at this point? (My center-focus definitely took a dive after exclusively noting the periphery during DN, but it was never samatha-jhana good...I don't believe.) 
-------------------------------
This is my first post, and I would like to say how thankful I am to Daniel, this site, and its sister sites. I have made leaps and bounds in my practice over the past few months. This is because of your drive toward progress, and your dedication to helping others.

RE: Climbing the Stages of Insight, Each and Every Sit
Answer
9/16/17 10:32 PM as a reply to Rooster.
When you develop insight you are teaching your brain to cling less, which means less and less fight or flight responses to control your environment of desirable objects and possibilities, also clinging to prevent negative objects and possibilities. Many of these things are out of your control but the clinging remains. Getting to an equanimity towards all experiences is the stage before you have a fruition, when the mind naturally lets go of experience.

The dark night is simply looking at the passing away of experience and teaching the brain to cling less which is supposed to happen on it's own from consistent practice. The problem with learning about the stages is that the brain will start "analyzing", "strategizing", and "manipulating" the meditation to gain stages as if the self is a thing that can gain stages and congratulate itself. You want to note that stuff and keep going. The concentration is a way to make the weaning process less painful because you can feed your brain pleasure by playing a game of meditation and having fun with it. The concentration helps lubricate the insight so you aren't totally starving for pleasure.

I reviewed two methods. The noting method can be more dry but you need consistent noting of the mind that wants to control the meditation and just keep at it with patient noting and be aware of any goal orientation of stages and attainments. They are pointers but the rest is just consistent practice. With the Anapanasati Sutta you recognize like with noting but you are adding a lot of concentration practices and trying to teach the brain that it is also a little bit stressful trying to control your concentration practice, though this is when you've mastered the jhanas and moved to the 8th jhana and find all these to be part of the 3 characteristics and then the brain let's go of the concentration naturally. Nothing forced. This is why the practice is so difficult. The practice has to be more important than the instructions at some point. A good way to have some understanding without the experience is to notice the attention span moving and how it's always active and trying to move towards pleasure and away from pain. The thinking about the self through analyzing and strategizing feels like a fixed point in time but in fact it's constant activity and never completely rests unless you drop into a fruition.

https://youtu.be/_OsuiCaTmWE
Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha

https://youtu.be/RM69VCeECWA
The Anapanasati Sutta

Have fun perfecting your practice!

Richard

RE: Climbing the Stages of Insight, Each and Every Sit
Answer
9/17/17 3:20 AM as a reply to Rooster.
Rooster:
INQUIRY:  Please help me understand the concept of moving through the nanas, each and every formal sit. <and> What is the best practice for progressing through each stage? Does something need to be realized/accepted before moving on, or is it a matter about right concentration?
 
...This is brought up indirectly in MCTB, where Daniel discusses passing through the vipassana jhanas with a kasina (p.250). Is it directly discussed elsewhere?
 
*Side Question: Can/Should I practice concentration intermittently with insight, or should I be strictly sticking to noting at this point? (My center-focus definitely took a dive after exclusively noting the periphery during DN, but it was never samatha-jhana good...I don't believe.) 

I believe most people cycle throught the stages before hitting fruition. It sounds like you have started a new cycle and perhaps at Stage 1 or starting a new Dark Night cycle.

If you have come so far, you should not be having any concentration issues. Do you have any specific problems?

* You can. Whether you should is another issue. I enter whichever the mind inclines towards and do not force it. If it inclines towards samatha, I will enter it and switch to vipassana within or after emerging from the jhana. If for some reason, you wish to forcibly switch, it may take more effort to do so, but I am not aware of any negative effects. I wish to know if there are any as well, haha.

Here's wishing you and everyone here, a happy week ahead! emoticon