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The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages

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The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
concentration stream entry visuddhimagga stages of insight breath meditation daniel ingram concentration meditation breath awareness danielingram books
Answer
2/3/18 5:38 PM
I just read The Illuminated Mind by Culadasa and totally loved it. I recently went on a 7 solo retreat and during breaks I read the whole thing and practiced according to his instructions. Interesting how I experienced going through the stages (his revision of Asanga's 9 elephant path) as I kept reading.

My main practice has been the "choiceless awareness" approach (Shikantaza, or just sit, in Zen) which requiers to let go of any intention, without any emphasis on stable attention, you just notice impermanence and emptiness in the whole filed of experience without any frame of reference, well actually you don't TRY to notice them, is more like they start to become evident as you practice, you don't go after elightenment but rather let elightenment grow by itself until at some point is just there, there are no explicit stages or a map to follow, though after reading MTCTOTB the stages became clear. After following the instructions presented in TIM it became obvious that my insight (seeing the 3 Cs) is much more developed that my concentration (stability of attention as he names it). This has actually caused some problems in daily life which are becoming clearer after reading the book.

The practice he suggests is not exclusively a concentration one though, he does at some point (after stage 4 I think) instructs to pay attention to the rising and passing of the sensations of the breath, so it is also an insight practice. Therefore, it should produce the traditional stages of insight and culminate in stream entry (or at least, one would expect that) but according to the book, it leads to something different, the "unification of mind" which creates meditative joy. He does say though that in the process of getting to the latter stages, it is very likely that the meditator would experience stream entry at some point, but not neccesarily ... hmmm.

Any ideas from fellow meditators who have read both books to see how these 2 maps would line up, and/or at which point they would diverge?

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/3/18 10:22 PM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
My 2 cents :

The nanas & jhanas say where you ARE.  The elephant path says what you can DO.  Therefore they don't line up.  You could be in TMI 8 & POI 2 or POI 11 & TMI 3.  Someone with only momentary concentration could complete the POI - they may not ever qualify as TMI 4 in terms of staying power on one object for extended periods. 

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/4/18 6:24 AM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Hey Santiago,
Culadasa mentions that the way Mahasi describes the POI will only be experienced by people practising dry insight with a focus on impermanence. According to him people who practice samatha before vipassana will also experience the POI in a different way.
Culadasa also mentioned somewhere that A&P will most likely be achieved between Stages 6 and 7 of his map.

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/4/18 4:38 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
My 2 cents :

The nanas & jhanas say where you ARE.  The elephant path says what you can DO.  Therefore they don't line up.  You could be in TMI 8 & POI 2 or POI 11 & TMI 3.  Someone with only momentary concentration could complete the POI - they may not ever qualify as TMI 4 in terms of staying power on one object for extended periods. 

This makes sense, although TMI also describes a series of EXPERIENCES that the meditator goes through, things like specifically dealing with pain (3 Characteristics in the POI), spontaneous movements, lights, energy, etc (A&P) that would seem like POI stages, and even somehow resemble the sequence up to some point. 

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/4/18 4:41 PM as a reply to Adrian.
Adrian:
Hey Santiago,
Culadasa mentions that the way Mahasi describes the POI will only be experienced by people practising dry insight with a focus on impermanence. According to him people who practice samatha before vipassana will also experience the POI in a different way.
Culadasa also mentioned somewhere that A&P will most likely be achieved between Stages 6 and 7 of his map.
That's interesting, is there a place where I can find Culadasa's take on the elephant path vs the process of insight? I don't remember seeing it in the book.

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/5/18 3:16 AM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Culadasa just asked to see mctb2, so I sent him a draft version, and at some point soon we will likely compare and contrast our maps: will let you know what results from that conversation.

Daniel

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/5/18 5:05 AM as a reply to Santiago Jimenez.
Santiago Jimenez:
Adrian:
Hey Santiago,
Culadasa mentions that the way Mahasi describes the POI will only be experienced by people practising dry insight with a focus on impermanence. According to him people who practice samatha before vipassana will also experience the POI in a different way.
Culadasa also mentioned somewhere that A&P will most likely be achieved between Stages 6 and 7 of his map.
That's interesting, is there a place where I can find Culadasa's take on the elephant path vs the process of insight? I don't remember seeing it in the book.
Sure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT59emts4RQ&t=14m11s
If I understood correctly he says that the POI and his samatha stages measure different things, but your level of samatha will determine how you will experience the POI stages.
You might also want to check out his teaching retreat on "Meditation and Insight": https://dharmatreasure.org/teaching-retreats/

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/8/18 12:39 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Culadasa just asked to see mctb2, so I sent him a draft version, and at some point soon we will likely compare and contrast our maps: will let you know what results from that conversation.

Daniel


Awesome, looking forward to that. 

RE: The Illuminated Mind vs MTCTOTB - Lining up the stages
Answer
2/12/18 6:24 PM as a reply to Adrian.
Adrian:
Santiago Jimenez:
Adrian:
Hey Santiago,
Culadasa mentions that the way Mahasi describes the POI will only be experienced by people practising dry insight with a focus on impermanence. According to him people who practice samatha before vipassana will also experience the POI in a different way.
Culadasa also mentioned somewhere that A&P will most likely be achieved between Stages 6 and 7 of his map.
That's interesting, is there a place where I can find Culadasa's take on the elephant path vs the process of insight? I don't remember seeing it in the book.
Sure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT59emts4RQ&t=14m11s
If I understood correctly he says that the POI and his samatha stages measure different things, but your level of samatha will determine how you will experience the POI stages.
You might also want to check out his teaching retreat on "Meditation and Insight": https://dharmatreasure.org/teaching-retreats/
That was an excellent explanation, thank you Adrian.