Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-entry

Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-entry Mark L 6/14/09 5:57 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Mark L 6/14/09 5:57 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Mark L 6/14/09 5:58 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Wet Paint 6/14/09 9:53 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Wet Paint 6/14/09 9:57 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Mark L 6/14/09 10:34 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Daniel M. Ingram 6/14/09 3:59 PM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Mark L 6/14/09 10:30 PM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Mark L 6/14/09 10:32 PM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent tarin greco 6/14/09 10:44 PM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Florian 6/14/09 11:31 PM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Mark L 6/14/09 11:31 PM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent tarin greco 6/15/09 1:28 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Wet Paint 6/15/09 5:05 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent Wet Paint 6/15/09 5:14 AM
RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent tarin greco 6/16/09 4:52 AM
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:57 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:57 AM

Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-entry

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Before I ask these question, I need to lay out some common terminology:

In MCTB, Daniel writes:

"Coming directly after a physical sensation arises and passes is a separate pulse of reality that is the mental knowing of that physical sensation[. ...] This is the way the mind operates on phenomena that are no longer there, even thoughts, intentions and mental images."

Similarly, Herbert S. Demmin* calls these separate pulses "excerpts" or "excerptive-clips," and I suspect these are what translate as "seeds" from the Tibetan, but I haven't investigated that fully yet. I will call them "excerpts."

So, my experience, at the moment anyway, is that, even though they're almost as slippery as direct experience, these excerpts are the only thing that are possible to "fix" or "prolong". I mean, the ONLY reason we can remember having a direct experience at all (like a fleeting sound) is that we're operating on an excerpt of it in our mind. Otherwise, it would be as if it had never existed.

[contd]
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:57 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:57 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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Other point before I ask my questions, Demmin says, and my experience so far bears this out, that we only have an experience of self when *reflecting on* or existing in relationship to an excerpt. That is, if I'm having an experience of duality, of a separate self observing an object, then I am observing an excerptive-clip of a previous experience. Even when paying attention to, say, a kasina, or a continuous noise, I have the experience of "me" and "intentionality" quickly blinking in and out as I presumably am excerpting snapshots of the continuous experience in order to exist in relation to it and then dropping duality again to selflessly blend with the direct experience.

1. Question number one: Original experiences are long gone, right? When doing noting practices, we're noting excerpts, in a sense, and not direct experience?

2. Question number two: I can hang onto these excerpts for a little while. Usually they wiggle away, and I have to pick up a similar but new one. (You can never step into the same river twice?) So, when doing concentration practice, we're really holding onto excerpts past their normal lifespan? Is the fact that I can hang onto these excerpts for a little bit, really freeze them and get a good look, is that access concentration?

[contd]
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:58 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:58 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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3. So what is a jhanic object? It's an excerpt, right? Which is why the Jhanas are dualistic all the way up? As in, at least for the first Jhana, there's a sense of effort. For there to be a sense of effort, there must be a sense of self. And if there's a sense of self, it must be in relation to an excerpt? If I want to get into the first jhana, find an excerpt and hang on for dear life?

4. When we excerpt something, we chop it up in midstream. If we were talking in our head, noting the talk excerpts it--and we're left with the excerpt--a little ball of a felt meaning impression that can be unpacked to replay the words up to that point. Does good insight practice catch everything at its very beginning, chopping off the sensory world closer and closer to its roots, until excerpts have almost nothing in them and they're ironically experienced as "vanishings" and we're right at the edge of real, flickering sensory experience, as close as we can be and still cognize having been there, and we do the same thing to our sense of self so that's flickering and barely-there too, and if we synchronize everything and become aware of it all as one excerpt chopped off at its very roots, then that's pretty close to stream entry?

Agree/disagree? Did I get something wrong? Can you restate it more precisely?


*"The Ghosts of Consciousness" by Herbert S. Demmin. Meditative phenomenology. Wilber-endorsed. Check it out.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 9:53 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 9:53 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: bboyYen

Yeah I had a similar idea where I was really frustrated when I felt like I was too late after noting something.

Because I noted only after they had gone or arised, aka they had to arise for me to note them, and only after they were gone did I note them or possibly I noted them which made them go.

So I interpreted this as not being mindful enough of things arising.

It turns out if you actually try to be mindful and aware, like actually just watch one thing or your mind or whatever for something to arise. Samadhi develops and if concentration is good, they don't arise.

Which it seems might lead certain people to believe they have no defilements or flaws or whatever.

Actually it's really interesting, if you only watch they don't arise. Then samadhi develops.


Questionable information follows:

Because if an object arose and you were mindful of it, it would not be there. It would disappear.

So it's kind of like trying to seem something and when you stare at it you can't see it, but if you turn away and it comes out you see it out of the corner of your eye. Like shadows, night vision et..c Or possibly like in those cartoons where someone tries to catch someone doing something but they hide et.c

They say in night vision the cells or whatever that see in the night are in the corner of your eye, weird.

So you have to flick your eyes, because if you stare straight ahead you won't see, but if you look out of the corner of your eyes you can see it, but if you look it goes.

So with objects it might be like you have to kind of let it rise and fall and note it afterwards, or something like that. (egh?)


Questionable information ended.


Anyways it seems that U Than Daing in his book that is something like "Cittanupassana and Vedananupassana"
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 9:57 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 9:57 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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Author: bboyYen

which I think is in the tradition of Mogok Sayadaw.

Actually kind of addresses this, I quote:

"For more clarification for the benefit of the Yogi it is explained here again that the preceding citta which has already vanished is Anicca and the next immediately following citta (meditating one) which observes and watches and meditates is called Magga. Hence Anicca is followed by Magga, or in other words the vanishing Citta or consciousness is called Anicca because it is transient, impermanent and unenduring and cannot remain for two successive moment the same. And this vanished Citta is closely watched, observed and meditated on by the Citta which is Magga because this immediately following consciousness is Vipassana Samma Ditthi or Vipassana Magga. Hence there will be a series and sequences of events, i.e. Anicca, Magga, Anicca, Magga.


yeah.

_________________________________________________________________________

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if one actually tries to watch objects arise and fall in the moment, they won't because concentration or awareness prevents the thoughts from arising, and if you really were aware of them they would disappear.

Or something like that. (egh egh egh egh eghe egh egh egh)
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:34 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:34 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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bboyYen: Thanks for the references--they totally seem to describe what I'm experiencing:

"that the preceding citta which has already vanished is Anicca and the next immediately following citta (meditating one) which observes and watches and meditates is called Magga"

You've also reminded me of what one of my meditation teachers called a "light touch"--if you look to hard at certain experiences (like internal talk) they disappear.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 3:59 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 3:59 PM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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First, take it as a working assumption that everything is arising and vanishing completely in each moment, including all sights, sounds, physical sensations, space, memory, excerpts or whatever you want to call them.
Next, assume that all mental phenomena (including excerpts) and physical phenomena, are all just sensations, and thus they all arise and vanish every moment, and even during their arising and vanishing, they are also transient, meaning they are impermanent the way particles are and also impermanent the way waves are, meaning they have digital and analog aspects, the absolute nature of their transience is key.
Thus, each moment is something new, something fresh, and so to hold on to something is to notice a pattern of similarity across completely fresh sensations, but the sensations, regardless of what they are, are just as fresh, perceived clearly, "held onto", or otherwise. Thus, you cannot hang on to excerpts or anything, but it can appear so by repeating again and again in a completely transient way if the impermanence part is overlooked and ignored.
Concentration practice involves reality crafting itself to be more stable in some way, and the notion of continuity and stability is just pattern recognition at a basic level.
All excerpts are experiences, as is everything else.
Noticing excerpts and everything else arise and vanish on its own produces insights.
That is simple, straightforward, and a very practical way to look at it.
All sensations that seem to make up self, observer, watcher, doer, all are just sensations, and they are utterly transient and empty.
All sensations that seem to make up other, object, observed, all are just sensations, and they are utterly transient and empty.
These things are always true regardless of whether or not that is clearly perceived.
Noticing all things arise and vanish produces insights: Buddha's last instructions.
Helpful?

Daniel
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:30 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:30 PM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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>> Helpful?

Yes. I suppose why I'm making a fuss is that the generalizations you've stated above are still pretty theoretical for me. Far from seeing this basic principles in everything, as my concentration improves, I'm seeing more and more distinctions and mechanics of the thought process unfolding, etc., etc. What keeps happening is I'll notice something for the first time and think, "Crap, that's been going on since day one, and I haven't been noting it." And then I'll start digging up more books to see what else might be going on that I'm missing. However, as is finally starting to sink into my thick skull because people on this board keep telling me--whatever you see, you'll see it when you see it. Apply the instructions.

The only thing is, I suspect that, to some extent, one's expectations condition what one sees, and I'm not sure what to make of that, if anything.



So, rather (or at least in addition to) being fascinated with the workings of my own mind, stick to the instructions, eh?
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:32 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:32 PM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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Me: The only thing is, I suspect that, to some extent, one's expectations condition what one sees, and I'm not sure what to make of that, if anything.

You: "First, take it as a working assumption that everything is arising and vanishing completely in each moment, including all sights, sounds, physical sensations, space, memory, excerpts or whatever you want to call them."

Ok, I'll reread this a few times, and maybe it'll sink in. :-)
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:44 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:44 PM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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either 'rather' or 'in addition to' will get you there, provided you 'stick to the instructions', yes.

advantage to learning all the minutiae along the way: might make you a better teacher / more useful to others later

disadvantage: snail speed progress.
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Florian, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 11:31 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 11:31 PM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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One good, valid point about unskillful use of the maps and other "minutiae" I've come across is that the Buddha's simile for the teachings was a raft, to be used for scrambling across the flood. Something unglamorous, make-shift, cobbled together, just enough to keep one afloat.

With all the detailed concepts available, to Dharma geeks like myself it can be awfully tempting to build an entire ocean liner instead. To do just the right steps in the proper sequence, and so on. Takes a long time, and can even give a false sense of security, a false refuge.

NB: Discovering the maps (via MCTemoticon to me was the proverbial kick in the posterior to kick off with my raft and start scrambling for real.

Cheers,
Florian
Mark L, modified 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 11:31 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/14/09 11:31 PM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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>> provided you 'stick to the instructions', yes.
>> [...]
>> disadvantage: snail speed progress.

Thank you. I was going to ask, do you speak from experience? I just peeked at your profile, and it looks like the answer is yes. :-)

In my defense for picking at language and making up theory as I go along--I really do just sit and note as carefully and gently-but-intensely as I can when I'm meditating. All the thinking is before and after. Really! :-)
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/15/09 1:28 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/15/09 1:28 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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yes, speaking from experience, 10 years of it from the time i crossed the a&p, and about a year total on retreat. much of the first 9 1/2 years were spent gathering details and information, sometimes while on retreat as well, much to my own as well as my teachers' frustrations. then strictly following instructions for merely a week and a bit got me stream-entry half a year ago. i dont know if it would have been possible for me to have done that from the very beginning, 10 years ago, but it does seem possible given that there are people i know who have gotten stream-entry on way less meditation experience (and probably less meditation/concentration skill) and way less knowledge that is not directly concerned with path-realisation. thus, i refer you back to florian and dan's recommendations: dont build an ocean liner, and keep perceive arising and vanishing til it sinks in, and then some.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/15/09 5:05 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/15/09 5:05 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: yadidb

hi tarin,

a bit OT but I got some questions for ya:
what does reality feel like after fruition? how does it differ from the first few and the ones you have nowadays?,
do you think are you still on sakadagamita or ...?

and lastly how does it change the way you interact with the world in a basic down to earth day to day level?

cheers mate
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 6/15/09 5:14 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/15/09 5:14 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: bboyYen

I think what Daniel is saying is that either way all things are impermanent (with the exception of un-conditioned things).

So all conditioned things are impermanent.

So it is not necessary to know that another unconscious comes after the first one, or even necessary to know that they're excerpts.

Either way they are impermanent, you don't even need to know what they are?

Or get into the content?

Even the very stuff you're made of (actually it would be correct to say that it only seems like you're made of this?) the aggregates, et.c, your thoughts, ideas, recognitions, conceptualizations, confusion I don't know,e et.c Are all impermanent anyways.

Questionable information follows:

So you could actually generalize something like, either way, whatever comes along, no matter what it is (with the exception of the unconditioned things, of which there is only one?) is impermanent.

So you can apply it to all that.

Or just meditate normally. Noting et.c
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tarin greco, modified 13 Years ago at 6/16/09 4:52 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 6/16/09 4:52 AM

RE: Technical language and questions for access, jhana, and stream-ent

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hi yadidb,

its entirely off-topic, so i'll reply via pm

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