Message Boards Message Boards

Wetpaint Migration 4

weak or strong defilements

Toggle
weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/10/09 2:01 AM
Author: SimoneRühle
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

I read once in a commentary that a oncereturner has usually weak desire and aversion but when he does have them, they are very strong and violent. What would you say from your experience about this? I can't really solve this contradiction. Either one has reduced defilements forever and they don't come up heavily on some occasions or the work is not finished yet and that is why defilements pop up from time to time? Or the commentary is wrong...

My thread appeard on my profile page so I put it here
There was one reply: from monkeymind
HI Simone, Welcome! Nice to have you here. So, what's the context of this statement, in terms of the noble eightfold path, or in terms of sila, samadhi, panna? I like to look at such questions in this way, because it encourages me to take a practice-oriented approach. So for example in terms of sila / morality, to me, the statement seems to be a heads-up, even an encouragement: don't be complacent. Desire and aversion come and go, in various degrees of intensity; be prepared for the big ones. In terms of samadhi / concentration, there are instructive maps like the one about the planes of existence, and the defilements certainly seem to bump the meditator around these states, keep them out of some states, or within some states.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html
In terms of panna / insight, this statement seems to be about attraction and repulsion, about preferences regarding how things should or should not be. Sometimes these are noticed strongly, sometimes not. It's all a bit on the theoretical side for me, however. I tend to identify this kind of worrying about the "one true interpretation" with the "fetter" of sceptical doubt. I strongly assume that it will all resolve when I get there. All these fetters, hindrances and defilements are countered not by obsessing about them, but by diligent, mindful practice, after all. Cheers, Florian

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/10/09 2:10 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: SimoneRühle

actually I'd like to reply to monkeymind: for me it is not theoretical. On the contrary, it is a criterion of diagniostics, if I may say so.

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/10/09 4:31 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Simone,

The commentary was evidently using a classic "limited emotional range model," if you have not already, check out the MCTB chapter on this model. Also, chapter 17 "Harnessing the Energy of the "Defilements," may shed some light here.

This is extremely sticky, tough thing to put onto paper. The best I can say is that the defilements themselves never actually leave, but something about how they are perceived is altered in a way that changes our reactivity & repulsion toward them.

Now, for the once-returner, it may be the case that the commentary is mentioning a few cycle-stage specific events and is mapping them in an emotional range model. Thus, it is probable that the "usually weak desire and aversion" are citing the relative lack of desire/aversion as compared to their previous stage of enlightened experience.

Furthermore, "when they do have them, they are very strong and violent" is probably pointing to the 2nd path 3rd Vipassana Jhana (dark night). This would seem probable to me, as most folks I have spoken to about this area , and myself included, have a hell of a time with 2nd path's dark night.

This is mere speculation on my part, but careful analysis of the 4 path model through the lens of a fractal path model (cycles/sub-cycles) seems to indicate that once-returners typically go through a multi-layered dark night in this period. That is, the whole of 2nd path seems oddly dark night, even while in the 2nd vipassana jhana area of the stage, due to an underlying dark night cycle. When the practitioner moves through 2nd path, they will eventually cross a point where all of the dark night cycles converge; a Grand Dark NIght ("very strong and violent") experience of the defilements.

The important thing to realize is that the defilements are empty, causal, transient, typically cyclical, and thus not a fundamental problem.

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/10/09 5:59 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
simone: in my experience, when someone, whether a once-returner or otherwise, doesn't experience craving and aversion much except for times when they experience it very strongly and violently, it is because they are repressing those feelings.

yabaxoule: my 2nd path dark night wasn't that bad and i'm not even sure when it ended because it was so subtle (and i was easily distracted). but what i think is that it might be due to the sense of 'where do i go from here?' that starts kicking in hard, that gets some people. i had/have a pretty easy time with that because i'm so used to dealing with that question that when it comes up i just do what i'd already gotten used to doing - which is nothing. and that seems to work well, from an insight practice perspective anyway. other than that i cant see what would be so bad about 2nd path dark night. what do you think?

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/10/09 6:45 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Tarin,

Not sure man. I'm glad it wasn't bad for you, though! Most of my speculation is based on my experience, but there are some places in the traditions that seem to indicate 2nd path dark night being a typically miserable one. Tozan's 5 ranks and "the fall from grace" is one place that I see commentary that suggests this. Letting go of "me as an enlightened being" can be particularly painful if one has invested heavily into that.

Mostly I think that whether or not it is bad depends a lot upon what sort of importance is put into it in regard to dogma and odd beliefs regarding attainments. I went through the bulk of that dark night prior to meeting Daniel & the DHO, so I had some notions about what was going on that made the situation extremely painful, confused and misguided. If I had known better, I would have done exactly what you suggest: nothing different than before. At the same time though, I do see some validity in the fractal view and how it aligns with the stages of the 4 path model. At the end of the day, I don't think it really matters as far as pragmatism and progress is concerned.

Trent

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/10/09 7:38 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Dear Simone,

There are lots of controversies regarding the criteria for Third Path, lots of dogma, speculation, nice dreams, good advertising, spin, and some truth also.

The models we use can have some significant implications for our practice and our relationship to our humanity and reality.

I make a long and pretty thorough case for some models that are squarely grounded in practice, actual experience, and reproducible results, as many here can attest, in my book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, which can be found various places, including a print version from any major bookseller and for free on my website www.interactivebuddha.com, and other places. I would consider reading that, as many here agree to various degrees with the descriptions there, as they have navigated the territory for themselves and come to similar conclusions.

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/21/09 1:08 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: SimoneRühle

I am rather disappointed. The answers look like mere hypothesis and not experienced materials, as could be expected on this forum of so many highly realized people...
A pointer to a book maybe helpful if there would be a page number

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/21/09 7:24 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Simone,

Trent's pointer was to pp. 119ff and 272ff respectively, of the PDF edition of Daniel's book "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha", (download here: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/mctb.shtml )

I'm uncertain actually whether you've read the book and find it to contain hypothesis and speculation, or whether Tren'ts reference was too oblique.

Either way, it would be great if you could tell us more about what you find disappointing. My first reply to your initial post was really far out, mainly because I didn't appreciate which angle you were coming from.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: weak or strong defilements
Answer
5/21/09 8:08 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Simone,

I'd like to suggest that perhaps even diagnostics can be (and usually are) theoretical.

Which commentary did you get these ideas from?

Jackson