RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Over in the other thread I asked: 

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8826008
what is cessation, is it equivalent to stream entry? Is experiencing cessation the criterion for claiming enlightenmnet?

I am still not clear on this. Can anyone tell me where cessation fits in the stages of insight or the stages of awakening?


Thanks
thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy jim,
in the mahasi tradittion which is loosely the tradition put forward in daniel's book, cessation is the stage which "flips the switch" although it could be argued that all of the stages taken as a whole do that.  

in this technical model the first time that happens it is referred to as the first of four stages of enlightenment or as "stream entry".  this is then a plateau which one cannot fall back below and which one uses to attain the further three stages of enlightenment by going through the 16 stages but working on ever subtler properties.

this is all theory though and mileage varies.  it varies in many ways.  some do not notice certain steps and stages with the clarity described in the doctrinal literature.  individuals vary on how a cessation is experienced if at all in the earlier stages.  "stream entry" as a concept is also much discussed and argued as to what exactly qualifies one to be a stream enterer.

there is the technical completion of the first cycle if insight but there are also experiential definitions mentioned in the suttas and in many non doctrinal accounts. additionally there are the definitions of SE which are based on the noticible changes in what one sees as important.  certain "fetters" tend to fall away at SE.  reliance on rites and rituals was a big and obvious one for me and is doctrinally supported. doubt about the teachings and path is another property that tends to attenuate with successful completion of the first path (SE)

despite being a little tough to pin these things down verbally or intellectually, both concepts are experientially real and, most would agree, are worthy of pursuit.

i wish you success!

tom
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
In the Pali Canon tradition, which includes the Abhidhamma, meaning in the Theravada tradition in general, Cessation/Fruition occurs after Equanimity, Conformity, Change of Lineage, and Path (stream entry the first time), meaning it is a requirement for stream entry. It is true that some modern strains of the Theravada are not all that into the Abhidhamma, prefering the Sutta Pitaka (one of the other Three Baskets of the Tipitaka) instead, but this appears to be a relatively recent shift in the emphasis of some Theravada strains (with relatively over 2,000+ years of the Tipataka's history being sometime in the last few hundred years, likely).

To say that it is in the Mahasi tradition that this occurs could be read to imply one of the following:

1) That the Mahasi tradition is the Theravada tradition: this is clearly untrue, as there are many strains of the Theravada that are not explicitly Mahasi-influenced.
2) That the Mahasi tradition is the only tradition that represents the true Theravada and that the others are not valid: this is clearly untrue, and would garner great nashing of teeth among other Theravada strains.
3) That the Mahasi tradition is the only one that incorporates the Abhidhamma: this is clearly not untrue, as many Theravada strains give great value to the Abhidhamma.
4) That the Mahasi tradition is the only one among those Theravada traditions that incorporate do the Abhidhamma to include the part in the Abhidhamma about awakening and its fine-grained phenomenology: this is clearly untrue.

Said another way: this Dhamma regarding Cessations/Fruitions is core Theravada doctrine and teaching, found in numerous strains of the Theravada. It is also verifiable today and has been by countless living practitioners through their own practice.

It is true that some have Fruitions/Cessations without knowing what it was, but it is also true that plenty of people have experiences they think were Fruitions/Cessations that simply weren't, and this later phenomena is vastly more common.

What specifically in your life and practice raises this question?
thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
nice to read your complete answer.  i recall reading much in the suttas (especially the Samyutta Nikaya in the stream entry section) of MANY different criteria for what makes one qualify to be a stream enterer. including things such as perfect sila constand bending of the mind in the direction of nibbana.  perhaps there is the implication of the necessity of cessation in some of those but that to me is a stretch.  obviously the classic three fetter loss is a criteria often mentioned without the explicit mention of cessation and then again cessation IS mentioned itself many many times and implied many more. i did reference the 16 stage path language but the sutta based discussions about this are well known and not new.

my reply was certainly not meant to be a definitive catalog of what constitutes stream entry...your book , your knowledge, your experience and that of others are much more vast than mine..just a blog entry.

i'm not sure you were answering me or the original poster but i will assume the former so i will butt out here.
cheers

tom
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
Over in the other thread I asked: 

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8826008
what is cessation, is it equivalent to stream entry? Is experiencing cessation the criterion for claiming enlightenmnet?

I am still not clear on this. Can anyone tell me where cessation fits in the stages of insight or the stages of awakening?


Thanks

cessation = nirodha sampatti
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
Jim Smith:
Over in the other thread I asked: 

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8826008
what is cessation, is it equivalent to stream entry? Is experiencing cessation the criterion for claiming enlightenmnet?

I am still not clear on this. Can anyone tell me where cessation fits in the stages of insight or the stages of awakening?


Thanks

cessation = nirodha sampatti


Someone kindly sent me a private message saying this is not correct. I would like to keep the conversation here in the thread. Can anyone let me know if this is right or not? Is the "cessation" Phyo Arkar was talking about (which thread I linked to in the op) the same as or something different from nirodha samapatti? 


Here is my source:
http://talks.dhammasukha.org/uploads/1/2/8/6/12865490/mn-118-breath-u-et.pdf


this is called, the cessation, of
perception and feeling. You don’t have any perception; you don’t
have any feeling. It’s just like somebody turned off the light. When
you’re in this state, you don’t know you’re in this state. There’s no
knowing – there’s no perception at all. Now this in Pāli, is called
nirodha-samāpatti. Nirodha-samāpatti - cessation of perception and
feeling

Is the source wrong or is what Phyo Arkar experienced a different cessation?

Phyo wrote:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8826008#_19_message_8831413

first: hearing doesn't make sense anymore 
then breathing disappears
and then only mind left
after noting the last remaining mind
its like fallen into a  black hole
its like a total void in time and space
then when i am back  i know something happened, but dunno what it is
when i tried to think back what happened, i cease to exist for a moment. 


And I have a few other questions:

Where does cessation occur on this diagram?  Where is stream entry on this diagram?
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5037f52d84ae1e87f694cfda/t/506fcc5c84aefb9a79a610b3/1349504092518/Pathways.jpg


Daniel wrote in reply to tom moylan:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8856271#_19_message_8852326
Daniel M. Ingram:
In the Pali Canon tradition, which includes the Abhidhamma, meaning in the Theravada tradition in general, Cessation/Fruition occurs after Equanimity, Conformity, Change of Lineage, and Path (stream entry the first time), meaning it is a requirement for stream entry....
So is cessation the same as Fruition?

And this statement has me a bit confused: "Cessation ... occurs after Path (stream entry the first time), meaning it is a requirement for stream entry."

If cessation occurss after stream entry how can it be a requirement for stream entry?

"Phyo Arkar wrote:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/7146949#_19_message_8071737
May i Gain Fruitation of Stream Entry (10 Sessions)

Is Fruition (box 15 on the diagram) = stream entry? And this is also cessation?

The Four Noble Truths and 8 fold path are about the cessation of suffering. Is cessation the goal of the 8 fold path?

I ask because it seems odd to me that cessation which seems to be unconsciousness would be considered nibbana or enlightenment. I was sure it was a misunderstanding to say that Buddhism teaches that the end of suffering and rebirth is achieved by permanently extinguishing consciousness.

Are Phyo Arkar and Henry wijaya experiencing different attainments and both calling them stream entry or are they describing two different aspects of stream entry. Phyo experiences cessation, Henry experiences this:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8713569#_19_message_8765680

I mean you can drop any identitiy anytime, see you have to hold identities when you talk to people, connect with people, but when nobody around, you’re just a gentle whisper of wind blowing in summer breeze.



Thanks in advance.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Ok, I understand the confusion.

Clarifying: the word "nirodha" simply means "cessation". It is used with the qualifier "samapatti" to mean "The Cessation of Perception and Feeling", a very unusual accomplishment only available to very small subset of advanced meditators, those way out past stream entry with full access to formless realms who are at least anagamis and who can figure out how to translate those two impressive attainments into the even more impressive attainment of nirodha samapatti. The term "nirodha" is sometimes used to refer to fruitions, which are discussed in the Abhidhamma, and here is simply means "cessation". So, if there is ambiguity, it is typical to clarify what one means, but, in the discussion of stream enterers, as they are incapable of attaining to "nirodha samapatti", by convention we generally presume that "cessation" simply means "fruition" in stream enterers' cases.

As to the perfectly understandable question regarding Fruitions/Cessations (not Nirodha Samapatti) being a criterion for stream entry but occurring after Path, one has to realize that in Abhidhammic phenomenology, as well as contemporarily verified phenomenology, the three stages of Conformity Knowledge (insight stage 12), Change of Lineage (stage 13), and Path (stage 14) occur as a package, taking three very rapid sequential mind moments, and leading immediately and unfailingly to Fruition (stage 15). So, once one gets to Conformity Knowledge, one immediately in the next moment goes to Change of Lineage (the moment that changes one into a stream enterer), then Path (the result of Change of Lineage, meaning the first moment of stream entry) in the next moment, then Fruition in the next moment, without any breaks, pauses or interruptions in that rapid, transformative process.

Thus, as one can't get Path (stream entry) without the immediate next moment being Fruition, Fruition (what we could call "cessation") can reasonably be considered a requirement for stream entry, as this package only comes as a package, with the whole package taking less than a second in practice, and so anyone that you are talking about asking, "Are then a stream enterer?", will by definition have had at least one Fruition unless someone somehow slipped the question in during the few microseconds between Path and Fruition, a situation of such brief duration and resolved by just waiting a few microseconds for them to have their Fruition, so, in diagnostic practice, when asking, "Is someone a stream enterer?", one typically looks for the entrance to Fruition (the three packaged moments), the gap that is Fruition, and the emergency from Fruition, as these tend to stand out, as do the transformations and capabilities that occur as a result of stream entry.

As to the true dropping of the illusion of a fixed, permament, independent, stable identity, that doesn't happen until arahatship, so is not a criterion for stream entry.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Is Phyo's description of cessation (below) what it is like to experince Fruition? If not, can someone tell me what the experience of Fruition is like or provide a link to a description?

Phyo wrote:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8826008#_19_message_8831413

first: hearing doesn't make sense anymore 
then breathing disappears
and then only mind left
after noting the last remaining mind
its like fallen into a  black hole
its like a total void in time and space
then when i am back  i know something happened, but dunno what it is
when i tried to think back what happened, i cease to exist for a moment. 


Thanks in advance.
There's a decent talk on Dharma Seed where Guy Armstrong talks about 3 definitions of Nirvana he has encountered:
1 - Cessation (most notably New Burmese Tradition)
2 - On Cushion Awareness (most notably Thai Forest Tradition)
3 - On & Off Cushion Awareness (most notably Tibetan Buddhism)
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Traditionally, you find the word Nibbana in the Pali Canon Sutta Pitaka (basket of suttas) pointing explicitly to arahantship, aka fourth path, and in the Abhidhamma the additional meaning of Fruition is found, though it is easily possible to read some suttas as having that meaning also, though this discrepancy is not explicitly stated anywhere in the Sutta Pitaka that I am aware of. Stated more simply, Nibbana in the Pali Canon tradition means both arahantship and Fruition, depending on context.

The tenet systems of the Mahayana and Vajrayana get exceedingly subtle and complex, making sorting out those meaning structures a serious project, particularly as they relate to a term such as Nirvana (the Sanskrit equivalent of Nibbana), but you could start here at the Berzin Archives, a top notch site on those traditions.

My apologies for my very arbitrary use of Capital letters.
Just for fun, the Wisdom Publications Style Guide contains 'official' capitalization rules for dharmic words.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yeah, I reviewed that guide when editing MCTB2, but I don't agree with all of their ideas, and in general find capitals helpful for plenty of specialized terms. For example, it is easy to mistake nothingness and nothingness; but, if one capitalizes Nothingness the formless jhana, and nothingness the quality of experience is left lowercase, this can make everything much clearer. How about differentiating three characteristics from three characteristics? Not so easy, unless you make a habit of capitalizing the Three Characteristics insight stage and keep the three characteristics lowercase. 
I have had cessation a lot of times, probably more than 16 times, I thought it was samadhi - like when they put you to sleep with anaethetic at hospitals. You are in meditation, then there is nothing, and you wake up, and what feels like 3 minutes can be 5 hours.

But I don't think I am enlightened at all. I seem to experience both some of the first parts of all paths as well as some of the last. I put it down to autism and the mind experiencing things differently. But as we (should) know, experience doesn't necessarily tell any truth of ones progression.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
The differential diagnosis (list of possible things it could be) that applies to situations where people say things like, "I was meditating and suddenly there was this time gap and then I woke up," includes Cessation, but it has extremely specific setup, entrance, and exit criteria, as well as afterglow, and the list of things that this typically is instead of Cessation includes sleep, hypnogogic states, various unclassifiable meditation experiences, various formless realms, very heavy dullness, theta-wave heavy states, and all sorts of other stuff that is not Cessation.

For Cessation/Fruition to last for 5 hours is rare in the extreme, even for super-competent meditators, just FYI.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
The differential diagnosis (list of possible things it could be) that applies to situations where people say things like, "I was meditating and suddenly there was this time gap and then I woke up," includes Cessation, but it has extremely specific setup, entrance, and exit criteria, as well as afterglow, and the list of things that this typically is instead of Cessation includes sleep, hypnogogic states, various unclassifiable meditation experiences, various formless realms, very heavy dullness, theta-wave heavy states, and all sorts of other stuff that is not Cessation.

For Cessation/Fruition to last for 5 hours is rare in the extreme, even for super-competent meditators, just FYI.

Daniel,

Would you elaborate on this statement? I can think of a lot of reasons why I would disagree with parts of it. I am always interested in increasing my store of knowledge so I would like to know  how you justify it.

My objections:

1) Most people know when they are falling asleep, particularly meditators would be very familiar with sleepiness while meditating. It seems to me it would be unlikely they would confuse falling asleep with anything else.

2) "Hypnogogic states" Plural? How many are there what are their characteristics that distinguish them from one another? My understanding of the hypnogogic state is that it occurs before falling asleep and involves vivid imagery. So the imagery and the association with sleep (which I think is recognizable) would seem to rule out, in my opinion, hypnogogia as an explanation for a false cessation.

3) Theta states, when not occuring during sleep (which I have dealt with above),  as far as I know, involve vivid imagey and would not be likely to be confused with cessation.

4) What are the setup, entry, and exit criterion that define true cessation? Do actual reports of the experience always include them?  Can you quote any reports from experiencers to justify that there are setup, entry, and exit criteria? I don't know what the creiteria are so I can't tell if they are in Phyo's description. Are they?

5) All sorts of other stuff? Such as?

When you have such a long list of exceptions and when they are ill defined like "all sorts of other stuff", it might be because reality is complicated. Another possibility is that the theory (cessation causes enlightenment) is unfalsifiable. Anytime there is an exception (someone has cessation without enlightenment ) you classify it as not cessation but something else.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, call it cessation only if it happens before enlightenment, but then you can't assert a causal relationship.


Thanks
Personally I don't think cessation leads to enlightenment. But it depends what you call enlightenment. Some kinda of buddhist systems seem to, to me atleast, think that enlightenment is where you have cessation and you stay in it, forever. That God takes over your body for the rest of your life; you are, in some texts, then just an observer of what God is doing with your body, or in other texts, you may as well be dead but your body carries on with something else in control. Please note I am not speaking of basic path "there is no I" "who is the person that is in pain" stuff like Mooji tells people who don't get it. I am hoping everyone here understands there is no "Self" - the first fetter. (btw, it has always seemed wierd to me that peopeople call everything, aka unified consciousness "Self", when most people on the planet think of Self as seperate-self and call themselves, Self.).
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
1) Re: sleepiness and sleep. People fall asleep all the time and don't know it. I have heard people sitting up snoring in meditation halls numerous times and they had no idea they had fallen asleep during their sit until someone either wakes them then or mentions it to them sometime after their sit. I have been in bed with people who were certain that they hadn't slept at all yet who had been snoring for hours and totally asleep, and they neither knew they went to sleep or woke up. Sleep is an extremely common reason for people to lose time in meditation and life in general.

2) Yeah, hypnogogia is typically related to the strange images that occur in the territory of the border of waking and sleep, but other odd things can happen there also, including but not limited to traveling out of body, various inspired creative ideas, and odd time distortions. While one might blanketly call the territory hypongogic, in reality it is not a homogenous, single state and has grades, shades and variants, as anyone who has spent a lot of time playing in that territory has noticed.

3) Theta states when not sleeping are associated with all sorts of things, such as those in float tanks (sometimes called sensory deprivation tanks) saying things like, "Wow, that whole 2 hour float seemed to take ten minutes!", and yet they are 100% sure they were not asleep, never turned over, never went under, are sure they kept consciousness the whole time. I have noticed time distortion where long periods of time seemed very short, particularly in float tanks but also in meditation, and been 100% sure I was awake for the whole thing. At least the floaters often call these very deep states that don't seem to be sleep "theta states". Theta waves are more active in REM sleep, hypnosis, and even possibly fire walking trances, if my internet searches are valid, which they might not be. I claim no particular expertise in EEG interpretation, so, if you are an expert, your knowledge might trump mine in this case.

4) The setup, entrance, exit, and afterglow criteria are all discussed in serious detail in MCTB, found in the wiki page of this site, and MCTB2, found at quality booksellers everywhere and hopefully shortly at www.mctb.org for free. They tell me there are already pirated free electronic versions floating out there. Look in the Progress of Insight section and then in the Three Doors section, as well as the chapter that follows that talks about stream entry, called various things, including "Was that Emptiness?" in the first edition and "What Was That?" in the second edition. The information is extensive, so I won't reproduce all that here.

5) Yeah, and then there is other stuff. The problem is that not all states are easily classifiable, various flavors of the things above and states that might not easily fit into those categories. Time distortion is talked about in Culadasa's book The Mind Illuminated in attacks of severe dullness, for example. Dissociation leading to unnaturally long, peaceful or time-missing sits is discussed in Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness as a defense mechanism against trauma. I have had time distortion in the oddest settings, such as driving. For example, I was driving home alone from Maryland to North Carolina after running sound for a band until 2am and packing up until about 4am (and after a long week of work). It was about a 6-hour drive total. I was driving through Richmond, Virginia at 8am or so, and the next thing I know I am pulling into my driveway little more than 2 hours later, which is about how long it takes to drive from Richmond, VA to Chapel Hill, NC. The gap had nothing at all in it. No memories, no time, nothing. Somehow I navigated an interstate in a car at highway speeds with no obvious problems but my brain had no trace of it stored. It freaked me out at the time and made me seriously question my exhausted driving habits. What state is that? Was I sleep driving? Then there are drugs. The ER nurses I worked with would tell all these amazing stories of things that happend to them on Ambien that they found out about the next day. One made her entire kitchen into something like a giant thing of nachos, with chips, salsa, queso, and quacamole smeared everywhere, on the cabinets, counters, stove, floor, ceiling, dishes, etc. but had absolute no memory of this. This is one of the more polite examples. What state is that? How would you classify it? I am not saying you were doing drugs, dissociating, exhausted, or anything like that when meditating, just mentioning that there is a lot weird stuff out there, some of which may be related, but some of which clearly has its own aspects.

6) Assertions of the mechanism of awakening are not mine, they come from the Abhidhamma and Suttas, as well as the living, oral and continued written tradition of the Theravada as taught to me by living (and now dead) masters, and these were verified in practice.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Summary of my reply: While  I don't agree with all of your examples you've convinced me there could be other things that would seem like cessation. So my next question would be is cessation as part of the fruition package really different from these other experiences of missing time? How is that known? Maybe cessation during fruition really is hypnogogia or a theta state or a catnap?

If cessation is recognizable and distinct on it's own, people who know about it wouldn't confuse it with something else. If it is not distinguishable from other states then what is the basis for asserting it is a distinct state?

Full reply...

Daniel M. Ingram:
1) Re: sleepiness and sleep. People fall asleep all the time and don't know it. I have heard people sitting up snoring in meditation halls numerous times and they had no idea they had fallen asleep during their sit until someone either wakes them then or mentions it to them sometime after their sit.

If they never knew it happened presumably they didn't confuse it with cessation. 


I have been in bed with people who were certain that they hadn't slept at all yet who had been snoring for hours and totally asleep, and they neither knew they went to sleep or woke up.


But people who have cessation do feel like they have woken up, they say something happened but they don't know what? Or is that not always the case?


Sleep is an extremely common reason for people to lose time in meditation and life in general.

2) Yeah, hypnogogia is typically related to the strange images that occur in the territory of the border of waking and sleep, but other odd things can happen there also, including but not limited to traveling out of body, various inspired creative ideas, and odd time distortions. While one might blanketly call the territory hypongogic, in reality it is not a homogenous, single state and has grades, shades and variants, as anyone who has spent a lot of time playing in that territory has noticed.
Okay I see what you are saying. I've spent a lot of time in hypnogogia too, the obe and creativity will not be confused with cessation, but you can fall asleep and wake up and notice a discontinuty in your stream of consciousness but you don't know what happened. Usually if you are hypnogogic you will attribute it to a brief spell of sleep, but maybe some people who don't practice being aware during hypnogogia would confuse it with cessation.


3) Theta states when not sleeping are associated with all sorts of things, such as those in float tanks (sometimes called sensory deprivation tanks) saying things like, "Wow, that whole 2 hour float seemed to take ten minutes!", and yet they are 100% sure they were not asleep, never turned over, never went under, are sure they kept consciousness the whole time. I have noticed time distortion where long periods of time seemed very short, particularly in float tanks but also in meditation, and been 100% sure I was awake for the whole thing. At least the floaters often call these very deep states that don't seem to be sleep "theta states".
Okay it could explain missing time, but doesn't cessation come with a feeling of "something happened but I don't know what"? If you are missing time but don't feel like it, you don't say "I know something happened but I don't know what" You say "I didn't notice anything strange, just that time passed too fast".



Theta waves are more active in REM sleep, hypnosis, and even possibly fire walking trances, if my internet searches are valid, which they might not be. I claim no particular expertise in EEG interpretation, so, if you are an expert, your knowledge might trump mine in this case.

I am not an expert. I have read a bit on the subject. In case anyone is interested people use  that state for psychic perceptions including obe, clairvoyance, and spirit communication, and also use it for creativity. Thomas Edison used it for creativity. The hypnogogic state is a theta state and very easy to recognize (lie down and relax like you are going to sleep and when you get vivid imagry and can't count to ten without your mind wandering your're in it, deliberately trying to think - ie counting to ten - can help you extend the state so you can experiment) so you don't need eeg equipment if you want to experiment with the theta state.

4) The setup, entrance, exit, and afterglow criteria are all discussed in serious detail in MCTB, found in the wiki page of this site, and MCTB2, found at quality booksellers everywhere and hopefully shortly at www.mctb.org for free. They tell me there are already pirated free electronic versions floating out there. Look in the Progress of Insight section and then in the Three Doors section, as well as the chapter that follows that talks about stream entry, called various things, including "Was that Emptiness?" in the first edition and "What Was That?" in the second edition. The information is extensive, so I won't reproduce all that here.

5) Yeah, and then there is other stuff. The problem is that not all states are easily classifiable, various flavors of the things above and states that might not easily fit into those categories. Time distortion is talked about in Culadasa's book The Mind Illuminated in attacks of severe dullness, for example. Dissociation leading to unnaturally long, peaceful or time-missing sits is discussed in Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness as a defense mechanism against trauma. I have had time distortion in the oddest settings, such as driving. For example, I was driving home alone from Maryland to North Carolina after running sound for a band until 2am and packing up until about 4am (and after a long week of work). It was about a 6-hour drive total. I was driving through Richmond, Virginia at 8am or so, and the next thing I know I am pulling into my driveway little more than 2 hours later, which is about how long it takes to drive from Richmond, VA to Chapel Hill, NC. The gap had nothing at all in it. No memories, no time, nothing. Somehow I navigated an interstate in a car at highway speeds with no obvious problems but my brain had no trace of it stored. It freaked me out at the time and made me seriously question my exhausted driving habits. What state is that? Was I sleep driving? Then there are drugs. The ER nurses I worked with would tell all these amazing stories of things that happend to them on Ambien that they found out about the next day. One made her entire kitchen into something like a giant thing of nachos, with chips, salsa, queso, and quacamole smeared everywhere, on the cabinets, counters, stove, floor, ceiling, dishes, etc. but had absolute no memory of this. This is one of the more polite examples. What state is that? How would you classify it? I am not saying you were doing drugs, dissociating, exhausted, or anything like that when meditating, just mentioning that there is a lot weird stuff out there, some of which may be related, but some of which clearly has its own aspects.

6) Assertions of the mechanism of awakening are not mine, they come from the Abhidhamma and Suttas, as well as the living, oral and continued written tradition of the Theravada as taught to me by living (and now dead) masters, and these were verified in practice.
thumbnail
curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 903 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Hey Jim, just a few ideas from my perspective.   One way to think about it is that cessation is a neurological explanation (particularly for stream entry). That is, it describes how and why a brief shutting down of the mind stream can occur, and that this undermines the sense of identity, and thus cuts off a lot of clinging and suffering that otherwise arises.

Cessation may not always be clearly perceived by the meditator, as it is not in the realm of their natural experience.  Many writers suggest that it is more likely to be experienced as a brief blip (if at all), and that it will be more reliably known by its antecedents and consequents, and particularly by the enduring changes that result.  So for the realtively untrained (like me), seeking to observe and understand cessations would be like seeking to observe and understand the firing of the rods and cones in the eye, or the vibrations of the tympanic bone in the ear.

Daniel's Abidharmic/Mahasi approach seems to be an exception, as it specifically trains meditators to cultivate and perceive cessations.  But this requires great technical dedication (as might be expected for such precise observation).  However, there are other approaches to the dharma, and other ways to make progress.  Buddha said there were 84000 doors to the dharma!

So, if you want a deep technical knowledge of cessation, I would suggest the Abidharma/Mahasi method is the way to go.  But if you don't want to do that, then another fruitful path (PUN!) might be to build concentration, study the mind (e.g. depdendent arising), and support this by contradicting all grasping/clinging/duality through metta and tantric practices etc.  Or there are many other approaches, such as faith.  Daniel's method does seem the most reliable, though.  And of course he knows far more about all the alternatives than I do. So I speak more as a naive interlocuter than anything else.

My apologies if this is more wrong than usual, or poorly timed.  To sum it up though, I wonder if you should be more concerned about clinging to cessations, rather than the cessations themselves?

Metta
Mahasi goes into a lot of detail on fruitions in Manual of Insight, you may find a lot of answers there. This book/teaching is largely the root cause of online discussions involving the terms "cessation" and "fruition" (however distanced or confused they may have become from the source).

Mahasi also says that a skilled meditator (in his practice) should be able to induce fruition at will. Assuming this and his reputed powers of observing sensations are true, that would mean he had a lot of opportunities to analyse first hand what happens when approaching and exiting fruition, in order to make conclusions about it as a distinct and repeatable process.

In this view, meditators without extraordinary ability to observe individual sensations would be unable to observe the actual specific sensations of entering and exiting fruition, and so could not confirm the truth of Mahasi's claims about the specifics for themselves.

However you can imagine a spectrum of ability to observe sensations at a fine grain, and consider that there may be many meditators with sufficient ability to discriminate between frution and other time gaps by virtue of their strong awareness of the moments before and after fruition, and the knowledge to compare them with more detailed descriptions, and to contrast them to all the other potential explanations for a gap in memory, in order to form a reasonable conclusion that a given experience was or was not a cessation.

All that said, there is a lot of room on that spectrum for being mistaken about one's powers of awareness and sensory discrimination, and whether a given experience matches a recollection of the description of cessation. There are numerous threads online describing experiences which sound a lot like having a fun meditation which involved a micro-sleep, and claiming cessation.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
But people who have cessation do feel like they have woken up...

Jim, not in my case and I suspect not in the vast majority of cases There is a very stark difference between waking up from sleep and a cessation. In sleep there is consciousness. In cessation, there is not. Cessation, at least for me, is like turning consciousness off. The only other phenomenon I can relate it to is having general anesthesia. With cessation, there is a very stark border between the cessation period, usually only a matter of a second or so, and the pre-consciousness and post-consciousness that surround it. The post is not like waking up. It's more like being turned back on and rebooting consciousness.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yep. After a Fruition, there is this immediate great mental clarity, like perception has been cleaned and refreshed somehow, like the mind has been reset, and it is nothing like the fogginess of waking out of sleep.
Henry wijaya, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 7/7/18 Recent Posts
It’s been several months for me since fruition, I cannot tell in details like most you do here, because I had no one to report to. I can only remember the night where I sit from midnight till the sun came up,  losing the concept of time,  my head already drop so low, and the moment the fog in my mind gone away in the morning, and life changed ever since. All those dhamma I ever read about suddenly makes sense. I become like a dhmamma geek, books, online reading, youtube etc, also since I’d only had little knowledge to these things
 
The next time I re-enter that state, like two weeks after, I can only remember before the self dissappear, there’s only small notice of breath and emptiness, then the next I’m gone, not sleeping cause I remember the moment I went to sleep after the meditation . Only this time there is no fog dissapearing and life has changed effect. 
 
I do strongly emphasize on your book mctb chapter Review.  After fruition, for those without guru guiding, before telling people things, maybe take months or a year to summarize first. Try going back to daily life and no meditation, see what life become. I’m totally a new person now that I asked my family, my close friends, but some old habits still there or they wont be able to recognize me.
I’d like to quote : Strangely, many people are very excited about the idea of people getting enlightened but not the idea of you getting enlightened. 
People would debate you like how can stream enterer still tells white lies or not taking silas
,  laughing out loud in public , etc
Phyo Arkar, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 56 Join Date: 12/18/17 Recent Posts
But people who have cessation do feel like they have woken up...


Totally Different:
Waking up from Cessation and Fruitation is totally different from waken up from sleep.
Waking up from sleep accompanies with drowsiness , everyone had napped in their life and people can't be mistaken with a nap.
Waking up from sleep know there is time , there is well aware of self. (oh i sleep so long , oh i just sleep a few minute , oh i have not enough sleep) . 
But cessation is not like that , There is no "I"  , there is clear feeling of Non-Self , it is the experience that defines the  total "Wait What?" moment . 
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Phyo Arkar:
But people who have cessation do feel like they have woken up...


Totally Different:
Waking up from Cessation and Fruitation is totally different from waken up from sleep.
Waking up from sleep accompanies with drowsiness , everyone had napped in their life and people can't be mistaken with a nap.
Waking up from sleep know there is time , there is well aware of self. (oh i sleep so long , oh i just sleep a few minute , oh i have not enough sleep) . 
But cessation is not like that , There is no "I"  , there is clear feeling of Non-Self , it is the experience that defines the  total "Wait What?" moment . 
I explained the context of this in my reply to Chris.

But my original point was that I thought falling asleep was not likely to be confused with cessation. I think you and Chris are supporting me on that. 
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
But people who have cessation do feel like they have woken up...

Jim, not in my case and I suspect not in the vast majority of cases There is a very stark difference between waking up from sleep and a cessation. In sleep there is consciousness. In cessation, there is not. Cessation, at least for me, is like turning consciousness off. The only other phenomenon I can relate it to is having general anesthesia. With cessation, there is a very stark border between the cessation period, usually only a matter of a second or so, and the pre-consciousness and post-consciousness that surround it. The post is not like waking up. It's more like being turned back on and rebooting consciousness.
Chris,

I agree with you based on what I have read. But in the context of what I wrote I was saying that people who have cessation know they were out and now they're back. Some of the examples Daniel gave were of people who were asleep and didn't even know it. So I was saying those examples could not be confused with cessation and were not useful in trying to assert that sleep could be confused with cessation. But yes I also agree with you. Quite often when people do wake up from sleep they know it was sleep because of they were conscious a little bit before they woke up, and that is very different from how people describe cessation.
Phyo Arkar, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 56 Join Date: 12/18/17 Recent Posts
Sorry for late reply  i didn't see this thread since not direct reply to my thread.
Since Denial.M.Ingram have already filled it nicely ( i can't explain that well ) .

In my experience , the mentors are very careful about checking cessation . Since the way start with Thamahta (Samahta) and move to Vipassa , there can be fake cessation (arupa jhanas, sleeping  , etc)

When i first reported in 7th day , it happened while reconing pain so it is purely vipassana , not due to jhana .
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I am puzzled that nirodha smampatti and cessation (fruition) are described in such similar terms.

I provided quotes illustrating this here:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8856271

 Are they the same experience, but because they occur at a different time in a person's development the after effects are different?
Hmm... context: I've had plenty of cessations, but never have obtained Nirodha Sampatti. It is not a necessary part of the path. It is also a "fourth seal of Nirvana" or fourth possible "door" (along with the three characteristics) to the experience of cessation/and in some sense is another way of experiencing/entering it is my understanding. If it helps, I understand that Nirodha Samapatti is extremely, extremely rare, and only likely to be encountered intentionally and on a very, very, very deep retreat.

I think you've maybe reached probably the epistemological limit of your potential understanding of the two as compared though and their differences in that case without experiencing them yourself in a more direct way. 

A metaphor that comes to my mind is Marco Polo in space. Imagine that 700 years ago some very enterprising Venetians were able to send Marco Polo on a rocket to the planets Venus and Mercury. His descriptions would have been very fanciful, and they might have sounded very similar in some ways (hot! hot! hot! rocky! bad!), with his normal fourishing + invention added on. Either way even if he was very detailed in listing out their properties his archaisms would get in the way of our understanding. A modern radio spectographic chemical analysis of the two planets and temperature analysis (understand atmosphere, composition, temperature, day-night cycles, vapor, etc) would help to predict what the experiential difference is like, but would be nothing like the instant obliteration you would actually feel on either planet. 

If you want to really bake your noodle, the ancient Yogacara school commentaries debate good and bad kinds of Nirodha, and claim that attempting to experience Nirodha Samapatti before you are sufficiently purified can lead to a disaster of "mindlessness." I think the academic Dan Lusthaus has some analysis of this in his work.

(I have also speculated that Buddhaghosa dropped the ball on Nirodha Sampatti given the ambiguities (for me) in his work but since I haven't gone for it I am not the person to confirm or verify.)
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I touched on this subject in another thread ...

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8496517#_19_message_8902974

... but maybe it is a better fit here:

Is cessation necessary and sufficient to attain stream entry?

If so what is the point of insight practice, noting, etc. You still have to meditate deeply (intensively) enough to stop the mind to have cessation.

Or rather why is cessation necessary if insight practice leads to stream entry?

Feel free to refer me to Daniel's book, but there might be other views represented on the forum and I am interested in those too.

Thanks in advance.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
S.:
Four years later I finally got Stream Entry after 6 months of full retreat time within a year. It was absolutely better and different, and the cessation phenomenology and models seemed pretty clear-cut/legit.

Maybe I didn't express myself well ... one of the things I am wondering about is that vipassana is supposed to only require access concentration so it is easier and accessible to more people than the path of concentration which requires mastering the hard jhanas and only a very few of the most dedicated monks can ever do that. But it sounds to me like cessation requires a very deep state of meditation and it sounds like most people have to go on retreats to experience cessation. So I am wondering what is the relationship between vipassana and cessation.


Do you need more than access concentration to experience cessation?

To experience cessation it sounds like you have to meditate so deeply that the mind stops. To me that sounds like the most extreme form of concentration possible. Nothing could be harder.

If you need more than just access concentration to experience cessation, that brings up more questions:

What if you did more than enough vipassana using access concentration but never went deep enough to experience cessation? What is the point of vipassana?

Why bother with vipassana if you still have to go deep to experience cessation, why not just go deep and experience cessation?
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
But it sounds to me like cessation requires a very deep state of meditation and it sounds like most people have to go on retreats to experience cessation. So I am wondering what is the relationship between vipassana and cessation.

Hello again, Jim.

My experience of this is that cessation is related far more to the realization of how the process of perception actually works (vipassana) than it is to a deep, almost impossibly hard to achieve concentration state. My first cessation came from paying close attention to the breath as it entered and exited my nostrils (vipassana). It came not as the result of being in a jhana state. It came from a vipassana realization, not intellectual but felt in an intuitive, soaked in, grokked sort of way. I was not on retreat and had never been on retreat. I was sitting on my front porch one evening and had been meditating for 30 minute periods once in the morning and once in the evening.

So my experience of cessation and stream entry says no, you do not need to have super-jhana concentration powers. You need just enough concentration, coupled with the vipassana investigation of an object of some sort, comprehensive enough that the experience opens up the door to a cessation/fruition event. Thus the first introduction to no-objects, no-consciousness and the realizations that can engender. It is what folks call the "penetration of objects" that matters, which means one can see the perception process clearly, and how 
the mind works to thus generate our experiences.

I hope this helps.

thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:

...

My first cessation came from paying close attention to the breath as it entered and exited my nostrils (vipassana). It came not as the result of being in a jhana state. 

...

I hope this helps.

Hi Chris,

That is very helpful.

But still, your experience sounds like an exception. For most people it does not happen so easily, right? Do you have any ideas on why it worked for you when so many people never have the experience and most who do have to go on a retreat or meditate much more than 30 minutes twice a day?

And is the meditation technique as simple as it sounds or is there a lot of complexity implied  in "paying cose attention"? Is there a full description of the technique on line anywhere? Or if it is simple, could you explain it in a couple of sentences?

And if the technique is so simple, that makes me wonder, what is "vipassana"? Why is noticing the breath the same practice as intense noting? Why do they both have the same effect - it seems like they are two different types of meditation?
(I'm replying to Chris but I am interested if anyone else has an opinion on this.)


Thanks in advance.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Jim, you can read the detail of my first cessation experience in my meditation diary:

http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/cmarti/70#more-70 

I don't believe my experience was as easy as it sounded when I posted it, or as easy as you think it might have been. It takes time and effort, and good vipassana meditation practice. I did not mean to convey that it was "easy". I meant to convey that it does not require almost super-human effort and deep, deep concentration.

And if the technique is so simple, that makes me wonder, what is "vipassana"? Why is noticing the breath the same practice as intense noting? Why do they both have the same effect - it seems like they are two different types of meditation? 
(I'm replying to Chris but I am interested if anyone else has an opinion on this.)

The technique is not complicated but you have to actually use it consistently over an extended period of time. It requires focusing on one object completely or on the stream of objects that appear in your attention as you sit. Some people favor the one object approach, some the stream of objects coming into attention approach. For both methods, however, the key is to do that practice consistently, do it a lot, and pay attention to the objects and how they present themselves in your attention.

My practice is not unlike that of many others I know, but my sample is not of beginning meditators any more. My awake friends would probably express a similar level of effort and result, however.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:

...
The technique is not complicated but you have to actually use it consistently over an extended period of time. It requires focusing on one object completely or on the stream of objects that appear in your attention as you sit. Some people favor the one object approach, some the stream of objects coming into attention approach. For both methods, however, the key is to do that practice consistently, do it a lot, and pay attention to the objects and how they present themselves in your attention.



So, when you "pay attention to the objects and how they present themselves in your attention" that is the essence of vipassana?

Then soft jhana could also be done as vipassana?

Here is how Leigh Brasington explains how to enter 1st jhana

http://www.leighb.com/jhana2a.htm

Once access concentration has been established, you now induce the next factor of the first Jhana. This third factor is called piti and is variously translated as delight, euphoria, rapture and ecstasy. By shifting your attention from the meditation object to a pleasant sensation, particularly a pleasant physical sensation, and doing nothing more than not becoming distracted from the pleasant sensation, you will "automatically" enter the first Jhana.

I point this out because sometimes I see people making a strong distinction between vipassana and other forms of meditation and I don't think that is necessarily accurate (see reference below).


Also is there a technical term for the state of hightened alertness/awareness that is produced by practicing noting in daily life?


Reference:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/onetool.html



One Tool Among Many
The Place of Vipassana in Buddhist Practice
by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

...
But if you look directly at the Pali discourses — the earliest extant sources for our knowledge of the Buddha's teachings — you'll find that although they do use the word samatha to mean tranquillity, and vipassana to mean clear-seeing, they otherwise confirm none of the received wisdom about these terms. Only rarely do they make use of the word vipassana — a sharp contrast to their frequent use of the word jhana. When they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana." And they never equate the word vipassana with any mindfulness techniques. In the few instances where they do mention vipassana, they almost always pair it with samatha — not as two alternative methods, but as two qualities of mind that a person may "gain" or "be endowed with," and that should be developed together. One simile, for instance (SN 35.204), compares samatha and vipassana to a swift pair of messengers who enter the citadel of the body via the noble eightfold path and present their accurate report — Unbinding, or nibbana — to the consciousness acting as the citadel's commander. Another passage (AN 10.71) recommends that anyone who wishes to put an end to mental defilement should — in addition to perfecting the principles of moral behavior and cultivating seclusion — be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This last statement is unremarkable in itself, but the same discourse also gives the same advice to anyone who wants to master the jhanas: be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This suggests that, in the eyes of those who assembled the Pali discourses, samatha, jhana, and vipassana were all part of a single path. Samatha and vipassana were used together to master jhana and then — based on jhana — were developed even further to give rise to the end of mental defilement and to bring release from suffering. This is a reading that finds support in other discourses as well.
...

thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
So, when you "pay attention to the objects and how they present themselves in your attention" that is the essence of vipassana?

Hi, Jim.

Yes, I'd say that is indeed the essence of vipassana.


Then soft jhana could also be done as vipassana?

Here is how Leigh Brasington explains how to enter 1st jhana

http://www.leighb.com/jhana2a.htm 

"Once access concentration has been established, you now induce the next factor of the first Jhana. This third factor is called piti and is variously translated as delight, euphoria, rapture and ecstasy. By shifting your attention from the meditation object to a pleasant sensation, particularly a pleasant physical sensation, and doing nothing more than not becoming distracted from the pleasant sensation, you will "automatically" enter the first Jhana."


Yes, there's definitely overlap between vipassana investigation style meditation and jhana style meditation. I can get into concentration states by focusing on an object. I can investigate an object while in a concentration state. In fact, in my daily meditation this afternoon I was flipping back and forth, from using the ultra-pleasant feeling (object) that arose in the forehead area to the investigation of the sounds arising from my neighborhood as I sat on the front porch. The cost of switching from jhana to vipassana is some loss of concentration. The cost of switching from vipassana observation to jhana is some loss of observation.

I've met Leigh Brasington and had the pleasure of talking to him about his jhana experiences in pretty good detail. I really enjoyed listening to him and his explanatoins lined up closely with my experience.

Also is there a technical term for the state of hightened alertness/awareness that is produced by practicing noting in daily life?

People generally call this "mindfulness." I'm not sure that's a technical term but it's cetainly used a lot to describe heightened observational attention in daily life.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:

 The cost of switching from vipassana observation to jhana is some loss of observation.



I'm not sure I understand what you mean. I don't think you would say, "The cost of switching from vipassana observation to observing the breath is some loss of observation" To me jhana is observing a sensation whether it is pleasure or infinite space no different from observing the breath.

Why can't you "pay attention to the objects and how they present themselves in your attention" when you are observing pleasure or infinite space the way you do when you are observing the breath?
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Jim, there's nuance to this that is important.

Being in a concentration state, a jhana, is somewhat different than being observational and attempting to evaluate what's happening in the flow of our attention. While observing we are applying some element of discernment. We are not letting go of our ability to recognize what's happening. We can recognize and evaluate not just one object, but others that may arise in our attention.

In jhana we are letting go of that observational processing and focusing on one object that we allow to infuse our attention as completely as possible. In doing so we lose most if not all of the ability to evaluate anything else.  Of course, in both cases, we are focused on objects, so I can see where there might be confusion. And also, of course, there is overlap in both of these things, with huge amounts of gray area in between what I would call "hard" jhana and "hard" observation/vipassana.

The Thanissaro Bikkhu quote you posted is very descriptive of this, and I agree with it. We talk about vipassana and jhana as separate and distinct things, mainly I think so we can describe to people what to focus on when meditating. But they're not separate. They're on a spectrum of how the mind works.

Do you have personal experience of these things that might make this more relatable for you?
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Jim, there's nuance to this that is important.

Being in a concentration state, a jhana, is somewhat different than being observational and attempting to evaluate what's happening in the flow of our attention. While observing we are applying some element of discernment. We are not letting go of our ability to recognize what's happening. We can recognize and evaluate not just one object, but others that may arise in our attention.

In jhana we are letting go of that observational processing and focusing on one object that we allow to infuse our attention as completely as possible. In doing so we lose most if not all of the ability to evaluate anything else.  Of course, in both cases, we are focused on objects, so I can see where there might be confusion. And also, of course, there is overlap in both of these things, with huge amounts of gray area in between what I would call "hard" jhana and "hard" observation/vipassana.

The Thanissaro Bikkhu quote you posted is very descriptive of this, and I agree with it. We talk about vipassana and jhana as separate and distinct things, mainly I think so we can describe to people what to focus on when meditating. But they're not separate. They're on a spectrum of how the mind works.

Do you have personal experience of these things that might make this more relatable for you?

I practice soft jhanas (up to 5th), practiced the way Leigh describes, he says you only need access concentration, and that is what I am referring to. Being in a jhana is being in a different state, but mind is still mind, observation is still observation, and I don't see the difference between observing the breath and observing pleasure or infinite space.

I worked out how to get into the soft jhanas before I learned about Leigh, I was looking for information to figure out what I was experiencing and I found Liegh's web site and his description of experience and technique matched very closely what I was doing.

I wrote:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8948242
Jim Smith:

Then soft jhana could also be done as vipassana?

I interpret "hard jhana" as being a state of non-dual absorbtion where the separation between observer and observed disappears. Is that what you were referring to?

(Is there a term for that: non-dual abosrbtion where the separation between observer and observed disappears" because I see so many terms used in so many differnt ways, abosrbtion, samadhi, kensho that I don't know how to say it in one word and be sure I am understood while not seeming to give it more significance in terms of awakening than it should have.)


What do you mean by "hard vipassana"?
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Jim, do you have any experience of this stuff? Can you please speak to that? It would help to know if we have any experiences in common. Right now it appears that we don't but it would be nice to hear what you do have experience with.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Jim, do you have any experience of this stuff? Can you please speak to that?


Which stuff exactly? Absorbtion? I was meditating with my eyes open, I got the feeling of coming out of my body and my sense of self disappeared (I lost all sensation of my body) and it seemed like "I" didn't exist, the thing that existed was what I was looking at.  This was after 5 hours of meditation and don't normally meditate that long so I don't have a lot of experience with it.

It showed me the sense of self is subjective but it didn't change me in any significant way. I interpreted it as an effect of certain regions of the brain becoming dormant, and later I found  information that confirmed that interpretation. I didn't see it as a spiritual experience.


What is it like for you?
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:

I know there is debate on what jhana is. That's why I wrote "soft jhana" and brought in Leigh Brassington.

I'm not sure where we  are in this discussion.... You don't think the soft jhanas, what Leigh teachers, allow other types of observations, like observing the breath? Maybe I am in cushy comfy soft baby jhanas, but I don't see how you can confuse infinite space with anything else, I experience the "edginess of the first jhana" which eases in the higher jhanas, and I am using a technique pretty much identical to what Leigh has on his web site. 
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
You don't think the soft jhanas, what Leigh teachers, allow other types of observations, like observing the breath?

Yes, I do believe what Leigh teaches and explicitly said so in a post just a few minutes ago. I've made that very clear, Jim. It's a spectrum, not one or the other. 

I said:

I've met Leigh Brasington and had the pleasure of talking to him about his jhana experiences in pretty good detail. I really enjoyed listening to him and his explanations lined up closely with my experience.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:

When you say you are practicing jhanas you mean you are not aware of other sense impressions?

I think that soft jhanas like Leigh teaches does not exclude other sense impressions. Leigh says only access concentration is needed. In access concentration you can perceive all sense impressions, right?

So maybe that explains our different interpretations?
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
When you say you are practicing jhanas you mean you are not aware of other sense impressions?

I can sense other objects when in soft jhana. I've been expressing that all along this afternoon but apparently not in language you're picking up on. My bad.

I think that soft jhanas like Leigh teaches does not exclude other sense impressions. Leigh says only access concentration is needed. In access concentration you can perceive all sense impressions, right?

Again, Brasington's descriptions agree with my experience.

So maybe that explains our different interpretations?

No, I don't think so. I think language and terminology are our barriers to understanding and agreement.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
What is it like for you?

What is what like for me?
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
What is it like for you?

What is what like for me?


Who's on first?
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Who's on first?

I feel you.

emoticon


Henry wijaya, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 7/7/18 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
Chris Marti:
Jim, do you have any experience of this stuff? Can you please speak to that?
  

Which stuff exactly? Absorbtion? I was meditating with my eyes  open, I got the feeling of coming out of my body and my sense of self disappeared (I lost all sensation of my body) and it seemed like "I" didn't exist, the thing that existed was what I was looking at.  This was after 5 hours of meditation and don't normally meditate that long so I don't have a lot of experience with it.

It showed me the sense of self is subjective but it didn't change me in any significant way. I interpreted it as an effect of certain regions of the brain becoming dormant, and later I found  information that confirmed that interpretation. I didn't see it as a spiritual experience.


What is it like for you? 
 
Jim can you elaborate further on this? How can this not a spiritual experince? Sounds you’re sensing the universe as “I” itself, and the old “I” is an illusion
What you did in these 5hrs?

I’d like to quote monk sarana :

The problem is, that if a meditator doesn't know what Stream-Entry is, he/she doesn't know what Arahant is either. The only way how you can become a Stream-Enterer is by the path toward Arahanthood. 
In its nature Stream-Entry and Arahanthood are same - they are giving up of "self".
Therefore, to become a Stream-Enterer you need to totally relinquish "everything." Your body and your mind. There must be no residue, no expectation, no plans for future, no desires or tasks. 
When becoming a Stream-Enterer you totally penetrate the experience of Not-Self, but after that you realize that there are still some defilements in you. You will then work with those defilements until you get the higher and higher stages.
So, in brief, you never try to be a Stream-Enterer. You always try to be an Arahant. Good luck ;-) 
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Henry wijaya:
Jim Smith:
Chris Marti:
Jim, do you have any experience of this stuff? Can you please speak to that?
  

Which stuff exactly? Absorbtion? I was meditating with my eyes  open, I got the feeling of coming out of my body and my sense of self disappeared (I lost all sensation of my body) and it seemed like "I" didn't exist, the thing that existed was what I was looking at.  This was after 5 hours of meditation and don't normally meditate that long so I don't have a lot of experience with it.

It showed me the sense of self is subjective but it didn't change me in any significant way. I interpreted it as an effect of certain regions of the brain becoming dormant, and later I found  information that confirmed that interpretation. I didn't see it as a spiritual experience.


What is it like for you? 
 
Jim can you elaborate further on this? How can this not a spiritual experince? Sounds you’re sensing the universe as “I” itself, and the old “I” is an illusion
What you did in these 5hrs?

I’d like to quote monk sarana :

The problem is, that if a meditator doesn't know what Stream-Entry is, he/she doesn't know what Arahant is either. The only way how you can become a Stream-Enterer is by the path toward Arahanthood. 
In its nature Stream-Entry and Arahanthood are same - they are giving up of "self".
Therefore, to become a Stream-Enterer you need to totally relinquish "everything." Your body and your mind. There must be no residue, no expectation, no plans for future, no desires or tasks. 
When becoming a Stream-Enterer you totally penetrate the experience of Not-Self, but after that you realize that there are still some defilements in you. You will then work with those defilements until you get the higher and higher stages.
So, in brief, you never try to be a Stream-Enterer. You always try to be an Arahant. Good luck ;-) 

Hi Henry,

I've read about it described like you say, "sensing the universe as “I” itself, and the old “I” is an illusion" But for me it just seemed like a weird state of consciousness caused by certain areas of the brain going dormant because I did so much meditation. Like if you took a drug and had a hallucination you wouldn't believe it was real. At the time I was a materialist, in those days I didn't believe in the afterlife so that might have influenced my interpretation. Later I found some information on the internet that seemed to confirm my interpretation (below). It proves that self is an opinion. It proves that consciousness needs the brain to create "self". But for me it didn't really change anything. It didn't change my personality.  I had read about experiences like that so I felt like I knew what it was. I already knew intellectually self was an opinion - some people think self is the body, some people think it is the brain, some think it is the mind etc. I had read about Buddhist philosophy that self is an illusion.  When I say I didn't see it as a spiritual experience I meant  it didn't change the way I think about things   I didn't think it was caused by some aspect of the human spirit (soul), I saw it as as something with a physiological cause. When I came out of the state I was pretty much the same as when I went into it, maybe a little more egotistical because I experienced something relatively rare. 

It happened during a time I was going to the zen center a few days a week after work. On that day I left work and got to the zen center a few hours before the evening public sitting and I started meditating. I stopped to have dinner with the people who lived at the center and then participated in the evening public sitting. I meditated by saying inwardly a mantra (any random sounds that came to me) in rhythm with my breathing, or counting the breath.  (I didn't do jhanas in those days it was before I learnd about them.) I didn't do koan practice and I didn't mediate the way they teach at the zen center, I just meditated  my own way. At the actual time of the experience I was repeating inwardly in rhythm with my breathing a few syllables that stuck in my mind from the evening chanting practice. We would do walking meditation for about five minutes after meditation sessions of about 40 minutes or so, however long it took an incense stick to burn. When I got up to do a walking meditation, for a few seconds I felt like I was going to come out of my body, but I just ignored it and did the walking meditation. Then during the next session of sitting meditation I had the experience. It was the last sitting session of the evening and when the session was over the noise they make to signal the end of the sitting session (a loud clap made by a wooden stick hitting the floor, if I remember right) startled me and the experience ended.

In my life I have had many different "spiritual" / unusual experiences. When you read about something it sounds "special", mysterious, exotic, but when you actually experience it, you experience through your normal senses or through your brain it can only be "normal" because you are already familiar with your senses. When I had this experience I say I felt like I was out of my body because I didn't feel my body. But I don't think my spirit was really out of it, it just felt that way because I wasn't sensing my body. So I was still experiencing reality through my brain I believe. It was like if you stare steadily at someting your vision becomes gray because nerves or the brain tends to filter out unchanging sensory input - so if you sit absolutely still your brain will filter out the unchanging sensation of your body - at least that is what I thought at the time.

I've read the book "The Three Pillars of Zen" where they discuss this kind of experience and call it an enlightenment experience. In the book, when someone has this experience after screaming "Mu! MU! MU!!!!!" all night they have a big ceremony and make a big deal out of it. When I've asked about it on various internet forums I've been told it is just an experience it doesn't really change you the way enlightement does and I agree it doesn't really change anything. Maybe if someone knew nothing about Buddhsim and never heard of this kind of experience, it could change them, but for me it didn't change me. It didn't change my personality.

(When people have NDE's (or some but not all OBE's which can be caused by many different things) they are out of the body and they really have unusual experiences. They experience 360 degree vision, they see colors they never saw before, people blind from birth see, they say it is "realer than real". This is consciousness unflitered by the brain. Now THAT is what I consider a SPIRITUAL experience.)


Here is a description of some of the information I mentioned above that I found on the internet  ...
http://serendipstudio.org/bb/neuro/neuro01/web3/Farrenkopf.html

The subjects then meditated. When they reached the peak, they pulled on a string attached at one end to their finger and at the other to Dr. Newberg.2 This was the cue for Newberg to inject the radioactive tracer into the IV connected to the subject. Because the tracer almost instantly "locks" onto parts of the brain to indicate their activity levels, the SPECT gives a picture of the brain essentially at that peak moment (Newberg 3). The results revealed a marked decrease in the activity of the posterior, superior parietal lobe and a marked increase in the activity of the prefrontal cortex, predominantly on the right side of the brain (Newberg 6). Such changes in activity levels demonstrated that something was going on in the brain in terms of spiritual experience. The next step was to look at what these particular parts of the brain do. Studies of damage suffered to a region of the brain have enabled us to draw conclusions about its role by observing loss of function.

It has been concluded that the posterior, superior parietal lobe is involved in both the creation of a three-dimensional sense of self and an individual's ability to navigate through physical space (Journal 216). The region of the lobe in the left hemisphere of the brain allows for a person to conceive of the physical boundaries of his body (Newberg 28). It responds to proprioceptive stimuli, most importantly the movement of limbs. The region of the lobe in the right hemisphere creates the perception of the matrix through which we move.

thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
What do you mean by "hard vipassana"?

Oh, I meant using powers of discernment almost exclusively, as opposed to being in hard jhana.

EDIT:

Hard Discernment/Observation <-----------------------------------------------------------> Hard Concentration/Jhana

The spectrum I mentioned earlier, which is how I interpret Thanissaro's comments that you posted. This is like going from the color black to the color white. Both shades are colors, just like both mind states focus on objects. The hue changes as we slide along the spectrum - those "shades of gray" people talk about. Just like the amount of discernment or concentration changes as we move back and forth along the spectrum above.

thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
I interpret "hard jhana" as being a state of non-dual absorbtion where the separation between observer and observed disappears. Is that what you were referring to?



Chris,

I see that I was wrong about this. Hard jhana = "not perceiving other sense perceptions". It is not "being in absorbtion". Thanks for the link clarifying this.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Hard jhana and soft jhana are really a spectrum, though, if one added in all the considerations, it is really a multidimensional space. Thinking dimensionally rather than categorically about jhana makes for much improved understanding and conversations. However, keeping it simple:

At one end, that of soft jhana, you have some jhanic factors present, it is clearly an altered state from regular consciousness, the mind is more stable and attentive to the object of attention than ordinary attention.

At the other far end, attention is extremely stable, extremely rarified, and objects and experiences other than the intended object are nearly entirely or apparently entirely excluded, such that nothing else beyond extremely subtle experiences are intruding on the meditation object, such that most people will say that the object became the whole of attention, that attention was fused to the object.

Then there is all the stuff in the middle, where, as one goes from soft to hard, the jhanic factors become stronger, attention becomes more exclusive, other factors and experiences gradually drop away, and eventually, if taken far enough, becomes really hard jhana.

Hard jhana is a lot harder for most people to get into than soft jhana. Hard jhana benefits from momentum (lots of practice recently, such as 10-15 hours per day for a some number of weeks), great conditions (quiet, safe), great support of other factors (such as morality practice that has temporarily relieved the mind of coarse hatred, desire, fear and guilt), and settings such as retreats in particular. However, some strong practitioners can get into hard jhana in daily life if they have practiced well and learned those skills.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Sorry, I must have accidentally saved this as a draft instead of canceling an edit. That's why it may have seemed to disappear. But Daniel's reply to Chris (below) very effectively answers my question (Thanks!).  Apologies.

Daniel M. Ingram:
...
At the other far end, attention is extremely stable, extremely rarified, and objects and experiences other than the intended object are nearly entirely or apparently entirely excluded, such that nothing else beyond extremely subtle experiences are intruding on the meditation object, such that most people will say that the object became the whole of attention, that attention was fused to the object.
...
Hard jhana benefits from momentum (lots of practice recently, such as 10-15 hours per day for a some number of weeks), great conditions (quiet, safe), great support of other factors (such as morality practice that has temporarily relieved the mind of coarse hatred, desire, fear and guilt), and settings such as retreats in particular.


However, some strong practitioners can get into hard jhana in daily life if they have practiced well and learned those skills.


Daniel,

I keep asking this question and getting the same answer but it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the answer.

When somone is in that state, where the "attention was fused to the object" I assume that is a form of what I have come to  describe as "non-dual absorption where the separation between oberver and observed disappears" (is there a simple one word term for this state?). Now this state being a non-dual state would seem to be a state in which one experiences no-self. If someone is walking around in this state, it would seem to satisfy the main criterion for stream entry: understanding no-self.

But people tell me that absorbtion is not stream entry and I don't dispute that, experiencing absorbtion doesn't really change anything. But I am having a hard time understanding how the two experiences are different. Stream entry understanding  no-self, vs walking around in absorption experiencing no-self. Is there a different quality about the expeirences, or is it just that stream entry changes everything while absorbtion changes nothing? Maybe stream entry involves/changes understanding while absorbtion is just an experience/feeling?


Thanks
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I keep asking this question and getting the same answer but it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the answer.

There is something to be said for being curious, skeptical and really wanting to have a deep, accurate intellectual understanding of a thing. There is also something to be said for simply knowing a thing, having the experience of the thing, having a deeply felt, personal and intuitive grokking of the thing. When the "thing" we're talking about is a mind state, we begin closing in on the limits of intellectual understanding. It's highly unlikely that folks can obtain any real, accurate, intimate personal knowledge of mind states without experiencing those states. This is like describing the color red to a color-blind individual, or the taste of a lemon to someone who has never tasted anything sour.

At some point, one has to sit and practice and have some amount of faith in the process of meditation and in the descriptions of mind states from those who have experience of them, trusting that those folks are doing their best to explain and describe what they've experienced. This is necessary because a purely intellectual understanding inevitably fails to bring us meaningful results. 

JMHO, of course.

thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
It seems the post I was responding to has been removed. This was likely done by the author as there was nothing in that post that would cause a moderator to remove it. 
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
It seems the post I was responding to has been removed. This was likely done by the author as there was nothing in that post that would cause a moderator to remove it. 

Was it this one?
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8957036#_19_message_8957036

I think I must have saved it as a draft instead of cancelling an edit. I have restored it. Sorry.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
I keep asking this question and getting the same answer but it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the answer.

There is something to be said for being curious, skeptical and really wanting to have a deep, accurate intellectual understanding of a thing. There is also something to be said for simply knowing a thing, having the experience of the thing, having a deeply felt, personal and intuitive grokking of the thing. When the "thing" we're talking about is a mind state, we begin closing in on the limits of intellectual understanding. It's highly unlikely that folks can obtain any real, accurate, intimate personal knowledge of mind states without experiencing those states. This is like describing the color red to a color-blind individual, or the taste of a lemon to someone who has never tasted anything sour.

At some point, one has to sit and practice and have some amount of faith in the process of meditation and in the descriptions of mind states from those who have experience of them, trusting that those folks are doing their best to explain and describe what they've experienced. This is necessary because a purely intellectual understanding inevitably fails to bring us meaningful results. 

JMHO, of course.



Okay but on occassions when I sit down to do a long meditation I feel drawn into absorbtion but after participating in the forums here I am beginning to suspect there is a different way to meditate that leads to stream entry. So I have to resist this feeling and go in a different direction. Its just a fact that it is unlikely that I am going to do long hours of meditation for an extended period of time where I can try every different type of meditation and have every kind of experience known to mankind. So I want to use my limited meditation time to greatest effect. It will be a great help to have a "logical reason". Something theoretical I can understand and use to explain why I am doing what I am doing. That's the way my mind works. Maybe because I was educated as a scientists and worked as an engineer. Maybe because there is so much BS in the world. Maybe because in my life I have met many "experts" who were full of s**t, either scammers or just stupid. I don't mean to offend anyone here, I am not referring to anyone here, I am just explaining how my mind works and why I would like an answer to my question if possible. If someone has experienced both states, it would cost them very little to answer me. The way I learn best is by applying theoretical knowledge to a practical application. Some people learn best following instructions from a trusted teacher. Unfortunately for me, in that situation, I am a really bad student. It's like having a learning disability - I need  a "special education" program for instructionally impaired Buddhists.

At some point, one has to sit and practice and have some amount of faith in the process of meditation and in the descriptions of mind states from those who have experience of them, trusting that those folks are doing their best to explain and describe what they've experienced.

That is what I am asking, for someone to explain and describe what they've experienced.

Thanks
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
That is what I am asking, for someone to explain and describe what they've experienced.

I've posted this for you before, but if you read my mediation diary you might get a good idea of a different way to practice than you're used to. There are 7 parts to it, so don't stop at the end of the first installment:

http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/cmarti/70#more-70

There are many such diaries on DhO and on Awakenetwork.org in the Kenneth Folk Dharma section that you should also read. They are all written by people who have pursued the path as recommended by MCTB and related teachings called Pragmatic Dharma.

thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris,

I appreciate your very helpful replies. But I also like to know what other people think. And Daniel's book is very good but again there may be times when I am also interested in what other views might be out there too.

Thanks
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
That is what I am asking, for someone to explain and describe what they've experienced.

That's what people here have been doing for you, Jim. You're just very skeptical (admittedly so, as you just said) of the answers and descriptions you're getting here, so we seem to be going 'round and 'round and you seem to be getting little out of it. I'd suggest you do some deeper reading -- of the mediation diaries of some of the folks here and on Awakenetwork.org, and of Daniel Ingram's book called MCTB, of Rob Burbea's book called "Seeing That Frees," and of Culadasa's book called "The Mind Illuminated."

I wish you the best on your quest!
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Jhanic states, particularly the strong ones, particularly the 4th jhana and the formless realms that arise from it, have fooled
people into thinking they were true non-dual experiences since people have been having these experiences and thinking about non-duality.

This is understandable, as duality can get exceedingly subtle during the more impressive of these states, though it is still there.

True non-duality is not state-dependent. It stands up across jhanas and ordinary mind states. It is not dependent on specifics. It is not dependent on the qualities of experience, as these can be anything.

The Buddha, during his period of training with ascetics, found teachers who taught jhanas and he learned them from them, then learned the formless realms, and finally, having learned the 8th jhana, of the profound state of neither-perception nor non-perception, he realized that these states, while impressive, were not true wisdom, did not provide lasing liberation, and all ended. Thus, he sought something that would actually allow him to walk around free, not just have some profound but non-liberating experience while deep in meditation. He finally found that and taught it to others. It can be verified today.

As those who have actually achieved true non-dual perception will tell you, it is something entirely different from jhana. It is the total directness of all experience, whatever it is. It is the total non-clinging to all transient phenomena. It is the end of the perceptual ignorance that previously seemed to create a stable self out of phenomena that were instead discrete, causal, and transient. Non-duality, once realized, applies to everything, jhana and other ordinary mind states, equally, regardless of what they are.

It is common for people to wish to rationalize that some state is non-duality, tempting, compelling, as there are many profound states of consciousness, and one imagines that they must the some pinnacle of wisdom, being so much more impressive than ordinary states of mind. However, these states are called the Golden Chains, chains that, though they sparkle with the glitter of magnificence and profundity, are still chains, still a trap if taken too seriously or clung to, still finally a distraction from the real thing, still mundane, still transient, still not a refuge from the suffering the Buddha was pointing to in his most profound teachings.

I hope this helps.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
As those who have actually achieved true non-dual perception will tell you, it is something entirely different from jhana. 

Yep. Having the experience of both is the key, in which case it's impossible to mistake one for the other.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Is there a succinct way to explain the cause and effect relationship between noting and cessation?

Is it that by developing the ability to see the smallest iotas of experience you also develop the ability to see the "nothing" between them?


Thanks in advance.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
If you get good at mobilizing brain attention centers to converge and synchronize on experience, such that they finally all converge perfectly on a complete moment and follow it together to its end, Cessation results.

Noting practice (and the rapid noticing practices that come after it, see Practical Insight Meditation, found on the wiki here and various other places) help one notice experience, using what is ordinarly a distraction (thinking) to instead begin to ground the mind in what is occurring.

As it is by comprehending clearly what is occurring in experience that Cessation finally results, Noting (and the rapid noticing that follows in that style of practice) helps create the conditions for Cessation.

If you want a more complete explanation, might check out MCTB2, where I talk about Equanimity and the fourth vipassana jhana.
Henry wijaya, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 7/7/18 Recent Posts
Daniel, can you help identify what happened to Jim on his experience, his self coming out and anything in his sight become him? 

I’ve ever heard of these but I thought thats for arahant, but there is also a chance arahant feels nothing after his enlightment as he has already ceased his feeling and perception

But Jim , That thing you called spiritual seems not so spiritual for those experienced ones. It might be for those who never practice spiritual before. Its more illusionary , the way of view is real, colour is real, but objects is way more illusionary.
Phyo Arkar, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 56 Join Date: 12/18/17 Recent Posts
that seems like A&P
this can happens during jhana practices too.
my first OBE was during jhana, not sure. which jhana sincemaster never described what jhana we are in
2nd obe is during early vipassana 
the other is before first cessation. 
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris,

I don't have any experience with losing awareness of other sense perceptions.

How do you get into that state?
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Jim, I've succeeded in getting into such states by sitting for long periods, and starting with access concentration and letting that establish itself as clearly and as cleanly as possible before allowing a jhana state to develop. Once the jhana state develops I let go of everything else, including the expectation that the state I'm in will deepen. I have had success only when intention can be dropped along with everything else.

Not sure if that will help you, however.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
 I don't think you would say, "The cost of switching from vipassana observation to observing the breath is some loss of observation"


Jim, the key here is the word "some." That's more of the nuance at play.

Again, I see this as a spectrum of possible states, not two states separated by an impenetrable barrier. We can both concentrate and observe, but with the tradeoff I described.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Jim, I have to ask you something - your curiosity about meditation seems to have a focus. I'm basing this on the way you appear to discount or explain away certain comments from others. I absolutely get that you're of the belief that the most viable purpose of meditation is to relax, to calm down, to be happy or at least not be upset/angry/fearful/anxious. That's a very worthwhile objective for a meditation practice. But you seem always ready to dismiss the notion that awakening is also a viable objective.

Why? Do you believe it's just too hard to do? Is there something about awakening that sounds inconceivable or even frightening?

I'm really curious, not judging.
thumbnail
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3176 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Speaking of Nirodha Samapatti... a video on it to help clarify what is different about it from Fruition (and everything else).
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Jim, I have to ask you something - your curiosity about meditation seems to have a focus. I'm basing this on the way you appear to discount or explain away certain comments from others.
Chris, could you send me a private message with more specific information about what I wrote that you are referring to? 

If anyone feels I have been insensitive I apologise. 


I absolutely get that you're of the belief that the most viable purpose of meditation is to relax, to calm down, to be happy or at least not be upset/angry/fearful/anxious. That's a very worthwhile objective for a meditation practice. But you seem always ready to dismiss the notion that awakening is also a viable objective.

Why? Do you believe it's just too hard to do? Is there something about awakening that sounds inconceivable or even frightening?

I'm really curious, not judging.

Maybe I am jealous?

I respect that others see awakening as a worthwhile goal and I apologise if I seem to be dismissive of it. Some people want to see the TRUTH and put in a lot of hard work and endure discomfort and make sacrifices and I truly respect and admire that whether they are stream enterers or not.

(If anyone is offended by my blunt writing they should stop reading now because what follows in answer to Chris's question is necessarily blunt  ...)
...
Maybe the way I practice is different from what most people on this forum do and it seems to me it needs to be explained - to broaden forum members' horizons - to help them better understand the people who are not looking for enlightenment?

And I wonder if awakening just an altered brain state? If I knew it was a revelation about the underlying nature of eternal consciousness independent of the physical body, that would be TRUTH. But at the moment I am not sure if it is just a kind of mental valium that only has meaning and usefulness during one physical incarnation or is something more significant with implications beyond this physical existence. Did you see this post I wrote about some of my other experiences? My perspective on TRUTH is influenced by that so I have a different persepctive than most of the people on this forum. It seems to me that for some people all that time sitting in meditation required to attain awakening might be better spent having the experiences that only a physical existence can provide.

Also I think there is a sort of bait and switch going on with Buddhism. First people hear about the "end of suffering" and they swallow the bait and they take up Buddhism only to find out that in reality only a very small percentage of people get to stream entry and even that isn't the end of suffering.

And people hear that there is a special practice where you don't need super powers of concentration, it's called "vipassana" and all you need is access concentration. Again they swallow the bait (buy the book, go on the retreat) but then it turns out that still only a few people ever reach stream entry and really no one ever attains Nirvana (the real end of suffering).

And it also sounds very hypocritical to me to read about people who experience cessation and say after a taste of nirvana all they want to do is to dedicate their life to pursiing it - when there is also this negative attitude to people who purusue concentration and who like the peaceful states it produces because they are off sitting in bliss when they should be working towards an (almost) impossible goal. It's like "my nirvana" which no one attains, "is the true path while your bliss" or at least temporary peace and serentiy which is readily attainable by many is "just a delusion". For some people who may have had difficulies in their lives, the serenity of a daily meditation practice is HUGE. That should not be discounted or explained away. Awakening might be a better alternative, but is it a practical alternative for the masses? I don't think it is.

So I think for the average person (not necessarily the folks on this fourm) it would be more helpful to teach them that there is a way to meditate that gives you immediate results today, and if you keep it up you get more and more out of it over a life time of practice, rather than the traditional way of teaching Buddhism which focuses on the mythical (for practical purposes) end of suffering. So I am thinking that maybe if members of this forum understand my perspective they will explain Buddhism to others in a way that presents the benefits of meditation in a more realistic way than is presented by the four noble truths.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Jim, I see no need for private messages. I think it's better to have this conversation in the open, on the message board.

It's clear you're coming from a specific point of view. That's cool and all perspectives need to be heard and respected. What you're expressing is no doubt a common view and we here may be its antithesis. You're spot on - most of us on DhO are aiming for the fence.

Ironically, the original premise here, based on Daniel Ingram's book (Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, i.e., MCTB, now in its second edition) and his intent behind creating DhO, was to make meditation practice and its fruits more accessible to more people.

Have you seen or read MCTB? If not, I'd suggest it as a way to better understand vipassana meditation practice.

I'll respond later, as well, but I have to get back to work now.
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 960 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Jim, I see no need for private messages. I think it's better to have this conversation in the open, on the message board.
If I wrote something that was insensitive I would like to know what it was, but without replaying it in public where it might cause offense again. That's all I meant. If you don't think it's necessary then skip it.


It's clear you're coming from a specific point of view. That's cool and all perspectives need to be heard and respected. What you're expressing is no doubt a common view and we here may be its antithesis. You're spot on - most of us on DhO are aiming for the fence.

Ironically, the original premise here, based on Daniel Ingram's book (Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, i.e., MCTB, now in its second edition) and his intent behind creating DhO, was to make meditation practice and its fruits more accessible to more people.

Have you seen or read MCTB? If not, I'd suggest it as a way to better understand vipassana meditation practice.

I'll respond later, as well, but I have to get back to work now.

I've looked at MCTB but I have not read the entire book. I tried the intensive noting but it didn't really resonate with me.
But I think it is great that there is a book for the more advanced practitioner. Most books are for beginners and don't really help you beyond basic meditation techniques and an introduction to Buddhist philosophy.

The book makes vipassana accessible, people can read and understand, but no book can replace the practice which has to be done by each person for himself.

I like this version of noting A LOT:
https://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/mental-noting/
Notice how it explains so many benefits of the practice with out mentioning enlightenment? Very practical, very helpful for the average person.

I get it that this forum is for serious practitioners. I am also interested in the practice and even though my perspective is different I am interested in what the people here are experiencing and their interests.

Because of the way my mind works, I have to understand something in order to believe it. So when I ask a question and the answer doesn't make sense I become skeptical. Some times the answer doesn't make sense because it is about something you have to experience to understand, but sometimes it is because the answer is coming from someone who thinks and uses language differently from the way I do. So I try asking the same question of different people in different situations. It doesn't mean I am discounting what one person says, it means I am clueless.
thumbnail
Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?

Posts: 3875 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
If I wrote something that was insensitive...

You didn't write anything that I thought was insensitive, Jim.

So when I ask a question and the answer doesn't make sense I become skeptical. Some times the answer doesn't make sense because it is about something you have to experience to understand, but sometimes it is because the answer is coming from someone who thinks and uses language differently from the way I do. So I try asking the same question of different people in different situations.

This is very helpful to me in understanding your purpose and how you interact on DhO. Thanks for explaining.


Jim Smith:
[quote=]And people hear that there is a special practice where you don't need super powers of concentration, it's called "vipassana" and all you need is access concentration. Again they swallow the bait (buy the book, go on the retreat) but then it turns out that still only a few people ever reach stream entry and really no one ever attains Nirvana (the real end of suffering).


Hey Jim,

FWIW, in my experience (as an unawakened being), I have to say that insight meditation has improved my life dramatically pre-stream entry. The way I look at it, stream entry is the sum of all the ways one improves clear perception of body and mind. Most importantly, for me, practicing Vipassana has provided insight to the inner workings of thoughts and emotions, how they work together and how I react to them. The practice has smoothed out a lot inefficient or unhelpful mental processes that would before have me running in circles. When one takes a lot of time to sit and watch the mind and emotions that go with it, one begins to see knots to be untied. And when the mind realizes some of its deeper processes are problematic or harmful, it begins to drop them. Not to mention, having a much more vivid and clear perception of your senses makes for living a much richer life.

Sure, the path of insight passes through some dark territory, but even these stages can be deeply healing and if one is encountering those, it only means they're making progress and are potentially finding their way closer to stream entry.

My conclusion here is that I think it would be a mistake to assume that Vipassana is only good for stream entry. I'm currently reading Seeing that Frees by Rob Burbea. He shows a myriad of different insight practices and may be helpful for you to see that there's a lot of pragmatic practices for insight practitioners who aren't shooting for the moon.   

Breadcrumb