Cessation but not stream entry?

Brendan Irwin, modified 4 Years ago.

Cessation but not stream entry?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 1/12/18 Recent Posts
Hi all,

On a 20 Day Goenka retreat 2 years ago I had what seemed to be cessation but no stream entry (i.e. I have not noted any changes aside from the usual results of a 20 day retreat).

It happened about 3 or 4 times during the middle of the course. I would get an experience like my stream of conciousness had suddenly come back online (restarting a computer is the best anaology I can think of). I wouldnt notice the conciousness suddenly come back on but I didnt notice it go off. As far as I could tell each experience happened for 1 second or shorter (how I had a sense of time I am not sure but it did). 

But it did feel literally like my whole system (body/mind/5 aggrigates) completely disappeared. No rapture of pleasant sensation after these events. Just felt mormal. 

I believe it wasnt SE as I did not notice any particular differences that SE'ers seem to have - big changes in practise, experience, insight etc.

Does anyone know why I would have cessation without proper SE. Is it a sign of getting close or totally meaningless?

Thanks! : ) 
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Cessation but not stream entry?

Posts: 3216 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
There are plenty of meditative experiences that can create what Bill Hamilton called "unknowning events", meaning moments when consciousness just goes away and then comes back. Most are not actual cessations.

The short list:

Falling asleep or nodding off a bit: by far the most common.

State shifts between insight stages and/or jhanas: happen at the end of the out breath, can invove the sense of transitioning from one state or phase of practice to another, often involve the sense of a blip out or pause or something like that.

The Arising and Passing Away: which can occur in many contexts and take many forms. It can often involve the sense that consciousness has paused and restarted or dropped into something that is very hard to perceive and then come out again.

Dissolution: often involves the sense of going into something pause-like, vanishing, disappearing, falling into some nothingness, and the like.

Equanimity: can involve these sort of head-droppy things when it feels like falling asleep but isn't, feels like there was a gap but it doesn't meet all the Fruition/Three Doors critieria and doesn't create path or the after-effects of path.

Formless realms: it is not actually that uncommon for people to briefly fall into formless-realm-like experiences and then rapidly come out of them, sort of micro-jhanas, and these can be described the way you describe them.

Fruitions: the real thing should have the right set-up, right entrance, right exit, and right after-effects, as well as no experience at all during it. If it doesn't have those, it very likely wasn't a Fruition.

Any of that helpful?

Raven Jones, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Cessation but not stream entry?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 1/12/18 Recent Posts
Thanks Daniel - definitely helpful!

Most likely I would think the experience was either "the arising & passing away", a brief formless realm exp., or a state-shifts between between insight or Jhana. I was experiecing Jhana on this retreat at at the time of these events was in deep Samahdi (my mind very bright & aware). 

I listen to one of your podcasts recently when you mentioned many different versions of "the arising & passing away".
My first arising and passing away was about 13 years ago on my first retreat. I was listening to outside when I noted: as the sound hit my ear as vibration, it was precieved as vibration and manifested on the body as vibration (sensation). At this point of self-observation the body dissolved completely & I could not distinguish betweeb what was body or what was outside. I felt like a ball of energy vibrating inside a universe of vibration. So I assumed that particular experience was "the arising & passing away". It seems from your podcast the experience has many forms. 

I have just started reading MCTB too - thanks for the help, advice & great inspiration! emoticon
Suhasini N Ram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Cessation but not stream entry?

Post: 1 Join Date: 2/3/17 Recent Posts
Can you pls tell us which podcast that was specifically? And where to find it? Thanks
Raven Jones, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Cessation but not stream entry?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 1/12/18 Recent Posts
Hi Suhasini,

In my usual style I binge-watched every Ingram interview, so I cant recall exactly where the Arising & Passing discussion occured however, it is one of these podcasts by Dan - all of which have great content.

Enjoy! : ) 

The path to enlightenment | Robert Wright & Daniel Ingram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0cXqFYlm2I

What does it mean to be "enlightened"? | Robert Wright & Daniel Ingram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDuLCDEjV_g&t=704s

Daniel Ingram - Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNg-gps9O0w