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Tips for attaining stream entry

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Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/16/18 11:18 PM
Hi everyone,

I wanted to start a thread asking for people who have definitely, actually, without doubt, attained stream entry, to give their ideas on approaches to practice that might increase an individual's chances of success.

I am asking for my personal benefit but also hoping it will be a benefit to other aspiring stream entry seekers.

A quick history about me and my attempt to enter the stream. I've had deep insights into the three characteristics - especially Annatta. I've done two consecutive years intensive practice practising 4-12 hours every day living in a retreat centre. I've practised with monks in Myanmar seeking their advice and support. 

I've not been able to do it and these are the various approaches of taken:
  • I've strived to attain stream entry - working myself to near exhaustion on 10 & 20 day retreats. 
  • I tried for two years as mentioned above to intensely practice.
  • I've also tried not intensively practising - being a lot more relaxed and detached from the idea completely.
  • I truly believe it's possible
  • I've read MTCB (onto 2nd reading) and been applying everything I understand from the book
  • I am friends with a Sotapanna who has given me good advice. (His advice is basically find your own way to practice, in other words what works for you, look at your actual sensate that experience, believe it's possible & and try not to get caught up in traditional dogma as it conditions the mind).
I have recently started Mahasi noting practice (haven't tried it on a retreat as yet) as that seems to work for a lot of people is a path to stream entry. 

Most of my life have been practising Goenka style Vipassana. 

I find noting really helps me to note that thoughts, feelings, sensations, and objects are all lacking intrinsic "self" quality. I see it's all just there happening by itself with nobody behind the wheel.

I would love any support and suggestions on how to align oneself mentally, or a practice to get through and attain this goal.

May we all be liberated!  
Metta 
Brendan 

RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/16/18 2:46 AM as a reply to Thich Nhat Han Solo.
Hi Brendan,

it may help others here give more tailored advice if you talked about what happens in your sits and practice day to day, from a purely phenomenological description of what arises and passes in at least an hour sit, what stands out, seems to hinder or help your practice, what patterns are noticed from sit to sit, what your set up is and what is going on from moment to moment as you apply the chosen technique. A continued online journal might help us see patterns and tailor advice.

my generic advice is the following: 
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/hi-friend-one-of-defining-and-very_12.html?m=1



RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/16/18 2:55 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..

RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/16/18 6:50 AM as a reply to Thich Nhat Han Solo.
Hi Brendan!

The most effectively seeming method I've come accross has been the two part formula (2PF), details of which you can find here: http://www.en.openheart.fi/113

Basically with the method you examine (vipassana-style, so you are already familiar with this!) two modes of existence: one that is heavily me-based and the other that is not. This alternation and careful examination of the arising phenomena is what does the trick, I believe.

I have not awakened through this method myself, as I was already awakened before stumbling onto the formula, but have watched close by as others have achieved awakening through applying it (numbers are above one hundrer at this point). Some have intially been highly sceptical of the method, but after deciding to give it a go, got awakened and have been advocating the 2pf since!

For additional info you can download an e-book that contains 11 stories of awakenings.

Best of luck to you!

RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/16/18 8:51 AM as a reply to Thich Nhat Han Solo.
I agree that more practice details of what it is like when you sit now would help.

This is about both strenghtening and balancing meditative factors (like the Seven Factors), as well as basic sensate awareness.

What happened when you tried the methods that exhausted you? What happened when you tried the more relaxed methods?

Have you read Practiical Insight Meditatation with great care? It is unusually valuable, short, and often people miss the essential details found therein. Page by page the instructions change as one progresses.

Do you have any sense of the progression of the vipassana jhanas, from the first which is linear, more narrow, and effortful, to the second, which is the A&P and involves dealing with all of those factors, to the third which is wide and complex and diffuse and can involve Dark Night stages, to Equanimity, which puts them all together, is flowy and natural and volumetric?

Where specifically do you think things went off the rails? Where specifically do you think you got stuck? Have you applied basic insight map theory to what happened and what conclusions did you come to regarding how practice went?

RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/16/18 10:41 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
 
To get much more specific about my actual practice has suggested:
 
My practice presently swings wildly between:
  1. barely being able to concentrate on the breath with strong, trying to do Vipassana
  2. frequent days when it's total the opposite. I'm able to enter a blissful Jhana state (within 5-10minutes), followed by strong the Vipassana practice in which I note: objects arising across all 6 sense doors such as: sounds, sensations (as vibrations) in detail arising on the body, emotions, perceptions, and rising thoughts. I often note 5 or 6 things happening simultaneously (a thought, perception changes, aversion arising, bodily sensation, vibrations in different parts of the body). The subtle nature of some cravings and aversion, and the gross nature of others.
  3. Equanimity (in meditation) can shift between a total disassociation with the 6 sense doors - in which awareness is in the middle of experience observing everything, deeply detached  without giving particular importance to anything and totally accepting all experience (Dukkah & pleasure) as it is. Everything become just form being observed. Other times I get mentally identified and totally overwhelmed.
 
The hardest application of equanimity to me currently is being equanimeous to a thought. Thought is where the awareness gets most associated and fixated. Once the thought gets identified, the consequent process draws the awareness into: perception, reaction, sensation, craving and aversion.
 
It should be noted I am in a very strong dark night at present. The strongest yet. Probably why I'm thinking quite a lot about the desire for achieving Nibanna & actually making that profound shift. It's actually been a very challenging couple of months since my last retreat gave rise to this dark night.
 
The highest stage of insight as far as I understand the 16 stages would be high EQ in the state I'm very disassociated and Equanimeous. The sense doors and their respective objects kind of just melt, until there is just awareness of form and awareness of awareness. This has happened many times but I go through different stages. Sometimes this happened multiple times a week, sometimes not for months.
 
I can't get to the next four stages that would be the process to cessation. I cannot identify what is stopping me or where I am getting stuck. 
 
As far as noticing a difference between the results when I'm either striving for Nibbana or, relatively indifferent, I cannot comprehend can't comprehend any real difference. Insight & deep experiences just seem to arise sometimes when I would least expect them. Striving hard brings up a lot of Sankaras but not necessarily insight. By comparison I have insight sitting at home for one hour equivalent today 8 of a retreat.
 
I have only recently attempted Mahasi noting. I have not yet had the opportunity to do it on retreat. What I do notice is that Goenka style makes me very aware of the Anicca characteristic of phenomena, and occasionally aware of Annatta, whereas Mahasi noting really drives home the awareness of Annatta. Mahasi noting is starting to make me aware that everything is just where it is, thoughts just arising, habitual patterns of reaction are just arising, sensations are just arising, all the phenomena are just relating to each other in habitual ways. There is an Centre, a core or anyone behind the wheel.
 
In November I plan to do a 26 Day retreat at Wat Ram Poeng.
 
With gratitude!

RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/17/18 2:32 PM as a reply to Thich Nhat Han Solo.
Brendan, for starters forget any wishes for attaining stream entry. Awakening has nothing to do with attaining anything. It is about relinguishing your control of everything. True meditation is not about intensity, but about relaxation combined with subtle concentration. The only advice I can give you in your retreats is, relax, relax, relax, whilst keeping your atention on the physical sensation of your belly rising and falling with each breath. I ganrantee you, if you can do that for a long period of time without any random mental interference you will get results.

RE: Tips for attaining stream entry
Answer
5/17/18 3:12 PM as a reply to Thor.
Hmmm,

@Thor

I disagree. A strong determination is a desire/wish for awakening which served me well. Ananda might have disagreed with you too. And maybe the Buddha as well. 


Advice From Ananda: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.015.than.html


" I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's Park. Then the Brahman Unnabha went to where Ven. Ananda was staying and on arrival greeted him courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda: What is the aim of this holy life lived under Gotama the contemplative?

Ananda: The holy life is lived under the Blessed One with the aim of abandoning desire.

Unnabha: Is there a path, is there a practice, for the abandoning of that desire?

Ananda: Yes, there is...

Unnabha: What is the path, the practice, for the abandoning of that desire?

Ananda: There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence... concentration founded on intent... concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion. This, Brahman, is the path, this is the practice for the abandoning of that desire.

Unnabha: If that's so, then it's an endless path, and not one with an end, for it's impossible that one could abandon desire by means of desire.

Ananda: Well then, Brahman, let me question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit... Didn't you first have desire, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular desire allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: Didn't you first have persistence, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular persistence allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: Didn't you first have the intent, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular intent allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: Didn't you first have [an act of] discrimination, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular act of discrimination allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: So it is with an arahant whose mental effluents are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis. Whatever desire he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular desire is allayed. Whatever persistence he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular persistence is allayed. Whatever intent he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular intent is allayed. Whatever discrimination he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular discrimination is allayed. So what do you think, Brahman? Is this an endless path, or one with an end?

Unnabha: You're right, sir. This is a path with an end, and not an endless one... ": SN 51.15



http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/even-if-my-blood-dries-out-my-flesh-my.html?m=1