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An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis

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An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Kenneth Folk 9/15/09 9:30 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Andrew P 5/20/09 3:51 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Jeff Grove 5/20/09 3:57 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis tarin greco 5/20/09 4:26 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Kenneth Folk 5/20/09 4:58 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 5/20/09 5:47 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Zyndo Zyhion 7/23/12 1:02 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Jeff Grove 5/20/09 7:21 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Ashley Young 12/23/13 3:44 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 12/24/13 4:26 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis . Jake . 12/30/13 1:12 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Wet Paint 5/21/09 12:46 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis lena lozano 5/29/09 11:18 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis lena lozano 5/29/09 11:20 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 5/30/09 8:28 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis tarin greco 5/30/09 11:18 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Ben Turale 6/5/09 5:12 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Wet Paint 7/14/09 6:02 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Wet Paint 7/14/09 7:12 AM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 9/19/09 7:35 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Eric Alan Hansen 10/14/09 10:56 PM
RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Fabien Ray 11/2/09 7:48 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Mike Kich 1/2/11 7:20 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 1/11/11 3:49 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Mike Kich 1/13/11 8:46 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Florian 1/13/11 11:46 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Mike Kich 1/17/11 4:01 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 1/20/11 2:12 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Mike Kich 1/25/11 3:16 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 1/25/11 4:37 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Mike Kich 1/29/11 3:21 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/29/11 7:38 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Mike Kich 1/29/11 5:19 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 1/25/11 5:17 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Florian 1/29/11 1:31 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis ivory 7/25/18 11:02 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Elle Francis Gee 3/30/12 5:47 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Zyndo Zyhion 3/31/12 8:40 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Elle Francis Gee 3/31/12 12:24 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Zyndo Zyhion 3/31/12 6:25 PM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Darrin Rice 9/19/12 8:46 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Russell . 9/19/12 10:57 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 9/22/12 2:46 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Darrin Rice 9/22/12 11:08 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Daniel M. Ingram 8/27/13 2:10 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Suzanne 4/12/16 8:42 AM
RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis Jim Smith 7/25/18 12:11 AM
An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
9/15/09 9:30 AM
The Idiot’s Guide to Diagnosing the 16 Insight Knowledges

One of the questions that yogis ask most often is “Where am I on the Theravada Progess of Insight map?” This is a legitimate question and there can be real benefit in knowing the answer. If you are able to align your own experience with the traditional descriptions of insight it helps you to have faith that this practice works, which in turn can motivate you to practice more. Furthermore, your teacher may suggest different practices depending on how far along you are in the process.

Below is a simple guide, designed to be “idiot-proof.” It only includes the most obvious landmarks along the way. Familiarize yourself with these diagnostic criteria and use them to place yourself on the map.

Case Study # 1:

Report: “My meditation used to be good, but now there’s nothing but solid pain when I sit. I sometimes feel nauseous and I want to leave the retreat."

Diagnosis: 3rd ñana, Knowledge of the Three Characteristics.

“But I also have all kinds of cool insights about this and that.”

Doesn’t matter. If you have persistent solid pain, you’re in the 3rd ñana.

Case Study # 2:

Report: “I had this incredible energy coursing through my body, tingled all over, saw white lights, and had unitive experiences.”

Diagnosis: 4th ñana, Knowledge of the Arising and Passing Away of Phenomena.

“But I had it while on drugs (or in a dream). I never even meditated.”

Doesn’t matter. 4th ñana. Have a nice day.

“But it was so real. I saw God. I know it was enlightenment.”

No, it was the 4th ñana.

Case Study # 3:

Report: “At some time in the past, I had white lights, unitive experiences and delightful tingles. Now my meditation sucks and I hate everything.”

Diagnosis: Dukkha ñanas 6-10, aka Dark Night of the Soul.

“But I feel super enlightened.”

Doesn’t matter. Dukkha ñanas. Thanks for asking.

Case Study # 4:

Report: I went through the 3rd, 4th, and dukkha ñanas (as described above) and now I feel fine every time I sit.

Diagnosis: 11th ñana, Knowledge of Equanimity.

“But I’m not having any insights.”

Right. Knowledge of Equanimity.

Case Study # 5:

Report: I went through the 3rd, 4th, dukkha ñanas, and Equanimity ñana, (as described above), and then one day I was just sitting (or standing, or walking), there was a little blip, and I knew that something was different. It was as though a weight had lifted from me. I felt light and wanted to laugh for a couple of days. After that, my practice was noticeably different than anything that had gone before.

Diagnosis: 14th and 15th ñana, Path and Fruition (1st or 2nd Path).

“But it was no big deal. More like an anticlimax. But it’s clear that some cycle was completed.”

Exactly. Path and Fruition.

***

This is a place to post your responses to An Idiot's Guide to Dharma Diagnosis.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/20/09 3:51 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Severe Props on this Guide To Maps - Had some much needed laughter. Right on. To T.H.E. point.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/20/09 3:57 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Thanks Ken, as always very helpful. Question about cessation in the cycles after path are they always followed by some sought of release, change or bliss or can they it be just the cessation followed by no change (ordinary feeling) then start to cycle again

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/20/09 4:26 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
there's always a change of some sort but not necessarily a change in feeling-tone. the clearest thing to look for is a kind of perceptual change but that might not be perceptible unless your concentration's up. look for a change in the way your body's weight feels. of course, this is just what's apparent to me, ymmv.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/20/09 4:58 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Hi Jeff,

In order to know that a cessation has occurred, there must be some kind of a change. That's because cessation is a lack of experience. So, if there were a cessation without a change after it, you wouldn't know about it. For all practical purposes, let's say that a cessation is always followed by a change of some kind, usually described as a feeling of relief, release, or bliss.

Is it possible to miss the change? Yes, in which case the cycle would reset, as you suggested, without your having noticed the cessation. This is not uncommon; in fact, it's common to miss both the cessation and the reset of the cycle. Many people who have not been indoctrinated into the Theravada system and are thus not trained to look for cessations or cycles do not report experiencing either, despite having attained one or more Paths. It's only later, upon learning about these phenomena, that they begin to experience them. In other words, these subtle phenomena can happen, but unless you are trained to notice them you may never see them. And even if you are trained to notice them, you may be tired or distracted and therefore miss them at times. Eventually, they happen so often that you sometimes tune them out as irrelevant. As Bill Hamilton used to say, "How many times are you going to laugh at the same joke?"

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/20/09 5:47 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I like this simple map.

A few things worth mentioning are the common mimics and things that get mistaken for other things. A short list of the big ones:

The A&P fools many into thinking it was stream entry.
The formless realms do the same thing.
The Three Characteristics and the Dark Night do share some commonalities, causing some confusion at times, though as stated above, if your body really hurts, probably 3C.
Occasionally the A&P and Equanimity get mixed up.
Mind and Body can be so profound for some people on rare occasions as to be mistaken for things as high as Equanimity and much further.

More simple criteria:
Thoughts seen as objects, likely Mind and Body, though if after A&Pemoticonark Night, could be Equanimity.
Noting interferes with breath: Cause and Effect.
Tense body, pain, difficulty, no A&P yet: Three Characteristics.
Energy, meditation in dreams/sleep/middle of night, big, profound opening that blew your doors off, likely A&P.
Edgy after A&P: always Dark Night.
Feel great after Dark Night: could be Equanimity, could be regression back to A&P.
The criteria for stream entry are complex: this should be its own thread.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/20/09 7:21 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Thanks for the replys I have been trying to understand something that has been happening consistently for about a year. This will happen anything from a couple of times aday (usually on the weekends when I meditate between 6 to 8 hrs a day) or every couple of days when I meditate at least 2 hrs a day. When it first started happening I thought I must have dozed off for a split second but over the past couple of months I have noticed 2 types of things that happen one is I notice a bit of a slide and then next a jolt or it feels like a sudden drop about a half second later the other type of thing its a jolt or sudden drop and I think a split second has passed. Although I have had a share of great experiences in meditation I cannot associate these blips with any incredible feeling, waves of bliss that people have been reporting. Hence my question are cessation always associated with Bliss waves and incredible changes/experiences between cycles.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/21/09 12:46 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Author: garyrh

Thanks for this Kenneth.

A question for the for that have gone thru this.

I am able to bring my attention to the "tingles" at pretty much anytime does anyone else have have this experience? Also at times of expansion there is strong "tingle" activity around the head.
By expansion I mean three characteristics, for me predominantly not self and suffering. Rather than using a map terminology, I call it expansion because that is what it feels like.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/29/09 11:18 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
i strugle through my inglish as well as through stages of insight.little question about changes in perception-just yesturday i was at the sea side and looked at the waves and their inprint on the sand-the patterns they created and little chisps of sunlight that bursted only for moment on top of each wave before it breaks-i cought myself thinking that these things always existed but i never puted attention to them-never saw them even staring right on them.probably now the concentration grew more and i could enjoy this beuity.i am before stream entry, i guess perseptual changes after path will be even more significant-i ll not be able to miss it.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/29/09 11:20 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
kenneth'thanks.couldnt help loughing-thanks for your humor-this way things stick better into the head

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/30/09 8:28 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
An isolated happening without the context of what came before and what came after is sometimes hard to diagnose, but when one really tunes into something in ordinary life and suddenly there is something beautiful and one sees thoughts as thoughts, usually this is the 1st jhana, of which Mind and Body is the first part.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
5/30/09 11:18 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
also, i think some experiences could be pretty much anywhere on the insight map, because not every experience or aspect of experience must be an insight marker. lena's description sounds pretty wonderful, just a sensuous appreciation of being alive.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
6/5/09 5:12 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Kenneth, it was so helpful to me reading your thread, and really funny too. Thanks!

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
7/14/09 6:02 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Author: kevin_stanley

Thank you so much. After reading Daniel's book I've been thinking a lot about where I might stand right now. After reading this "Idiot's Guide" it looks as though I hit A&P (inadvertently, not in the context of a disciplined practice) in the early 1990's and have been in chronic dark night territory ever since. I think it's time for me to set up a regular practice and move the ball down the field a bit.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
7/14/09 7:12 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Author: telecaster

Most of the insights I've had that I considered import were just that - insights with no accompanying spiritual "experience." Just really slight and subtle.

But I did have a moment once, which I've been thinking about a lot lately in the context of myself and these maps.

I think it was 1985. I had been practicing choiceless awareness for the majority of each day for about about a week. I think it had gotten nearly continuous and without much hard effort.

I went up to Lake Travis outside of Austin with a friend. I was standing by the car and looked over at a little streem which contained lots of plants, and surrounding the plants were 100s of tiny insects. While looking I realized or saw or experienced or lived this:
First:
Me (my body), and the plants, and the insects, and the water, and the dirt and the rock, and the air, etc. -- were all TOGETHER in some quiet reality.

And:

The thing that was my mind and all the myriad creations of my mind concerning me, who I was, and what the world and everything else was -- was a big ball of nothing - (something like that). It wasn't part of the world of the insects,plants, etc., and my body. I saw that It only existed because I conjured it up. And kept conjuring it up.

This lasted maybe two seconds and has never come back. Of course I tried to bring it back! There was no bliss or lights or excitement and, for sure, no change in my life. But what I knew intellectually from that moment I still know now.

It's nice to have a place to talk about this without getting embarrassed - even though I am a little embarrassed.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
9/19/09 7:35 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Mind and Body, when it hits really hard, can actually feel that good, can have lots of quiet and clarity, as well as unitive experiences. It rarely recurs with anything like that level of intensity, so trying to make it come back won't work, as new insights arise after it.

The A&P can have qualities like that, and can be associated with deep unitive feelings, but it tends to have a lot more associated with it, though I know of one example where it didn't, and trying to make it come back and failing is a very common post A&P thing.

Regardless of which it was, these provide glimpses of parts of the thing, are pieces of the puzzle, inspiration for further development and attainments, and just good fun. More practice clarifies these things like nothing else does.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
10/14/09 10:56 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
About the Vipassana Nanas

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/vpsnana.htm

I ran across this article I wondered about what thoughts you all might have about it.

Also I was wondering if Mahasi-style practice could be termed:

1. vipassana

2. vipassana + shamata

3. shamata

4. other

p e a c e

h a n s e n

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
11/2/09 7:48 AM as a reply to Eric Alan Hansen.
I wanted to express some words of gratitude for sharing your thoughts, knowledge and insights. With metta to all of you.

Fabien

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/2/11 7:20 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I dunno, the maps are useful but it's hard to see where I fit into them. I seem to go through cycles of sorts...some days I couldn't give a shit about meditation, buddhism, or anything really, and I'm fairly content to basically not think...sometimes even later that night I can't find satisfaction in anything, which makes me feel irritable and like I'm on fire, just without any physical sensations (other than the mind created stiffness). I sit down and meditate, and I feel better for the time that I'm sitting: calmer, concentrated, still, a greater sense of spaciousness and awareness of the present, and that sort of looseness of mind and body lasts for an indeterminate amount of time. One thing that does seem constant though, if I go a few days without doing either formal meditation or Tai-Chi, I feel progressively less at ease.

Sorry if this isn't the correct place to post, feel free to move my post if that's the case.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/11/11 3:49 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
That need to meditate to feel normal interspersed with feeling of disinterest or aversion to it all combined with hanging out on places like the DhO Forum: classic Dark Night Yogi stuff, meaning you crossed the A&P at some point almost certainly at least once but now in daily life don't have the concentration of someone on, say, a retreat, and so you have the classic description of someone who is in the Dark Night symptomatically but doesn't have the benefit of the concentration of retreats to enjoy the perks, if they can be called that.

D

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/13/11 8:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hmmm, interesting. I honestly didn't know that you can cross it multiple times, or that I did, though I have memories of two separate dreams in the past year in which a weird experience like the A+P is usually described happened. The more recent of the two occasions I remember dreaming and then suddenly in the dream getting a sort of mental tingling sensation and my perception momentarily exploding into light, along with this weird feeling almost like I was being sucked into something, like a momentary disorientation. Maybe that was it as well, but if you're right it must've happened the first time sometime in adolescence that I can't remember.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/13/11 11:46 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Hi Michael,

Here is a collection of Testimonies of the A&P. This stuff can present in a variety of ways.

Cheers,

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/17/11 4:01 AM as a reply to Florian.
I just experienced whatever it is AGAIN tonight in this semi-awake state in-between two dreams. I found myself concentrating on some sort of darkish orb with an aura around it, I can't really remember the specifics very well, and as I concentrated on it it sort of turned into a disk with rotating, very ornate golden branches and I felt myself sort of being pulled towards it and I got this tingling sensation in my mind, followed by my world sort of quickly exploding and then recoalescing into a very brief period of feeling sort of a lightness of mind, though not normal consciousness, more like half-awake dream consciousness. If this is anything, well...what is it? True, the stories Florian linked me are all ranging across a wide variety of experiences, some much more intense than others, but each time for me it happens so quickly. I also meditate on an off throughout the day, but because of how my life is structured right now it's not formal meditation most of the time...more like a few minutes here and a few minutes there. I dunno, this just feels confusing.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/20/11 2:12 AM as a reply to Mike Kich.
World exploding, always A&P. Meditating in dreams or nearly so, nearly always A&P.

See this: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1509672

In short: A&P territory.

Daniel

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/25/11 3:16 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Interesting link, particularly about how you went to India and the Far East in general. Despite what anybody claims, everyone who accomplishes anything real seems to spend not an inconsiderable amount of time there - be it on retreat or something less formal or studying under a master or whatever. It's possible that I won't really make substantial progress until I either do that or find a master...don't know what I'd make of a master though, he'd just tell me to sit down and get to it. That is one argument for going back to the States though, that spirituality in Europe in general is comparatively rare, and you get the definite sense that Buddhism in general is even rarer by several degrees here than in the States. When my level of not caring about anything other than the spiritual life finally does reach its critical mass, which it's slowly but surely approaching, I'll need to find a monastery or somesuch in the States if I'm going to.

I'm pretty interested as well in the territory regarding the stages of insight, i.e. the maps and the vipassana jhanas, but truth be told they're confusing as hell to try and even understand how they really differ from the samatha jhanas, other than the obvious difference that it's insight instead of concentration. And yes I have read that part of your book a few times over.

As well, I don't think I've ever read anyone try and take a stab at explaining why and how it is that someone can cross the A+P several times over and more...if the first time it happens is the point of no return, why the need to cross the event horizon twenty times over? The answer probably comes down to, "because it happens that way, now do your damn meditation.", but I'm curious.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/25/11 4:37 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
If you are looking for a scientific explanation for why the A&P crossing happens, or can happen multiple times, this is unknown. Maybe one day someone will make the pathways clear and defined, but suffice to say that it happens that way.

What sort of an explanation were you looking for?

Flowers bloom in the spring, rain falls, people cross the A&P and then often cross it more time as they fall back out of the Dark Night. That's just how it works for some.

D

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/25/11 5:17 PM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:
Interesting link, particularly about how you went to India and the Far East in general. Despite what anybody claims, everyone who accomplishes anything real seems to spend not an inconsiderable amount of time there - be it on retreat or something less formal or studying under a master or whatever. It's possible that I won't really make substantial progress until I either do that or find a master...don't know what I'd make of a master though, he'd just tell me to sit down and get to it. That is one argument for going back to the States though, that spirituality in Europe in general is comparatively rare, and you get the definite sense that Buddhism in general is even rarer by several degrees here than in the States. When my level of not caring about anything other than the spiritual life finally does reach its critical mass, which it's slowly but surely approaching, I'll need to find a monastery or somesuch in the States if I'm going to.


I don't think there's anything magical about going to India, except perhaps to strengthen your resolve (e.g. "Well I'm all the way here, now... better do something useful!") At least, though I entertained such notions myself, I was able to make good progress without heading over there or renouncing for a year or two, and I think I'm not the only one. (It does seem common to get stream entry on a retreat, though, so that probably helps, but even 10-day ones do the trick there.)

About studying with a master, there are plenty of well-informed and well-attained people on this and other forums that can probably answer most questions you have. like you said, "don't know what I'd make of a master though, he'd just tell me to sit down and get to it.", and having a computer with internet lets you talk to many such people instead of just one.


I'm pretty interested as well in the territory regarding the stages of insight, i.e. the maps and the vipassana jhanas, but truth be told they're confusing as hell to try and even understand how they really differ from the samatha jhanas, other than the obvious difference that it's insight instead of concentration. And yes I have read that part of your book a few times over.

Ah I don't know if you'll get much out of just reading it and pondering it. Just have to sit down and start going through them, yourself, at which point it's useful to read things about them to get advice on how to continue.

As well, I don't think I've ever read anyone try and take a stab at explaining why and how it is that someone can cross the A+P several times over and more...if the first time it happens is the point of no return, why the need to cross the event horizon twenty times over? The answer probably comes down to, "because it happens that way, now do your damn meditation.", but I'm curious.

Hehe yeah, probably just a part of the human brain's inherent wiring. I wonder if all conscious beings would do that.. we'll have to genetically engineer some dolphins to become sentient and see what happens. But this thread might answer that question somewhat.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/29/11 1:31 AM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Hi Mike,

Here's a little imagery. It's not a scientific explanation, but maybe it helps:

Once you cook a raw egg, it is no longer liquid inside. You can cool it back down, but it won't get liquid again, ever. You can heat it up and let it cool many times, but it will always stay firm (well, until it decays, but let's not overstretch the metaphor). But what you want to do is crack the shell and eat it, after all, and that takes a different approach from heating and cooling it: you have to take it out of the water, put it in an egg-cup, hit it with a spoon or knife, etc.

So here you have your point of no return, your different insights (heating an egg is not eating it... A&P is not Stream Entry), and so on.

I crossed the A&P multiple times prior to my entering the stream. I never went to India (used to live in Thailand as a teenager, but wasn't interested in Buddhism at all back then). I never went to a retreat center either, and sat only a few short self-led retreats. I practised in any free time I could find: coffe and lunch breaks at work, commutes, early in the morning, late at night. I did walking/noting meditation whenever I found myself going anywhere (such as to a conference room). Oh, and I used the collected wisdom and comradeship of the Dharma Overground and sister sites, and I exchanged private messages and mails with a few people who hang around these places. Yes, I also got annoyed at having A&P experiences every few weeks, I got quite angry at that. There's a useful chapter in MCTB about "harnessing the power of the defilements".

Also, thoughts of renunciation and going away are stage-specific: read up on the progress of insight. Keep in mind that there will also come the "rolling up the mat" stage, where you won't be able to see what made you get so worked up about renunciation.

Waiting to find the perfect practice conditions is really just making excuses. "If only I could live in a place conducive to meditation. I'd be basking in the radiant wisdom of enlightened masters every minute of every day, I wouldn't have to worry about food and bills and chores and noisy people, and my practice would really take off. But here, where I am, I can't really do it." Notice how it's always now or never. The breath is always with you. A kasina object is easy to find - just look around (that chewing gum on the pavement). You can always note what you experience when you have to wait for something. You can always repeat a meditation word in your mind when you are waiting for something. You can note while taking a shower, while preparing food, cleaning dishes, driving your bicycle, whatever. Everything you need is already with you, and if you go to India or Thailand or Burma or a retreat center or whatever at some point, it will be with you there as well, and you won't have to waste time learning how to practise well.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/29/11 3:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
emoticon

Well I'm not sure I suppose what sort of a scientific explanation there'd be...I just assumed that, like the maps of the vipassana jhanas, there might be some lesser known sub-map of some sort. It's just a little point of curiosity of mine, it's not that important, haha. What's really important after all is that, whatever the reason or wherever I am on someone's map, I need to start sitting more regularly.

Thanks for your help again Daniel.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
1/29/11 7:38 AM as a reply to Mike Kich.
Mike Kich:
emoticon

Well I'm not sure I suppose what sort of a scientific explanation there'd be...I just assumed that, like the maps of the vipassana jhanas, there might be some lesser known sub-map of some sort.


It's the same map. Did you check out this post about "cutting edge" and "center of gravity"? It explains why you cross it multiple times and such.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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1/29/11 5:19 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Yes I did, and I found it interesting. If it's Florian's post though, it doesn't go into why you need to necessarily repeat the experience multiple times...maybe I misread it and I'm talking out of my infamous end. I don't really remember exactly what the thought was behind my very last comment to be honest.

Anyway, I'm appreciative as always of everyone's honest efforts at answering my speculation, haha.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
dharma sensation buddhist sangha attempted rape calmness dmt mental abuse occurrence racing heart rapes sexual assault surroundings those memories thought process
Answer
3/30/12 5:47 PM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
Thank you so much for this guide. I've been going through a lot lately and believe that I fall somewhere in Case Study #4.

I was recently the victim of a sexual assault. This wasn't my first go around with abuse so I knew what to expect from my mind afterwards. Right before the attempted rape, I was given some type of drug without my knowledge. I talked to an online Buddhist friend of mine and it seems like it was a DMT hit.

During the experience I had a vision. Not a schizo vision. More like I was aware of my surroundings to some degree but I was distracted by the things I saw in my mind. Lights are a given... The thing that was most prominent was that I felt and saw my life going backwards as the present was very slowly progressing.

During similar situations before (minus the drug) I had no idea what to do with my abuser. This time, I experienced a totally different thought process. I saw all the prior abuse and my mind dissected the information and the knowledge that I had gained from the rapes, physical and mental abuse from family and boyfriends and the outcomes of each and every occurrence. Those memories took over my body. I felt a very strange calming sensation overcome me. Despite my racing heart, extreme thirst and the overwhelming feeling that I was about to die- my body didn't show any of those things on the outside.

It felt like there were two energies controlling me. One was inside- scared and hurt. The other was controlling the outside. My body wouldn't do anything that would let the abuser know that I planned to run away when it was safe. I left the situation totally unharmed. That's a first for me. I waited until the guy fell asleep and called the police. He had two or three prior arrests (although I was not informed as to what they were for). While the police were talking to me, my calmness continued. I gave them my report and he was arrested.

It has been less than a week and I just feel numb. Please don't tell me that I need to go see a therapist. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, wore it out and did it again. I am able to apply everything I've learned to this experience. It would just be a waste of time and money.

My point is- I need a Sangha. I have been knowingly studying Buddhism for about five years. I'm 24 now and I learned about it in college when I was about 19. I have lived by Mahayana traditions to the best of my ability since before I can remember. I had "made up" my own religion/philosophy that I fully believed until I finally realized that what I thought I pieced together myself already existed and was called Buddhism. I now feel Zen becoming more prevalent in my experiences, though.

Homelessness has been a huge struggle for me the past year because the point of my path that I'm in has made it impossible for me to work. I've had and taken several offers to sleep on couches but always end up leaving when I realize I've become a burden to whomever was kind enough to give me a temporary roof over my head. However, as this used to be very frightening the fear has slowly turned me into a stronger person. That's something that can never be taken away from me.

The past two years have been filled with formal and informal meditation, online research books on various Buddhist topics as well as general introductory texts and A LOT of deep inward looking. I have recognized several Samsaric cycles in my life and finally ended several of them. I'm obviously still in the process, but I have accomplished things that I never thought that I would.

I suppose the main question I am trying to get at is help finding somewhere that I can study further. Online forums, podcasts and books just aren't enough for me. I hope to one day become a Buddhist Nun, but I can't accomplish that without help. I have very little to offer, but this is my life. Nothing else gives me the wholesome pleasure that Buddhism does. I've lost interest in every other hobby that I used to have. If it doesn't involve Buddhism, I'm just not satisfied. My practice gives meaning to my life. Devoting my life entirely to learning and helping others learn is what gets me up every day. This question is probably not meant for this discussion but I didn't realize that until I typed out the whole thing. I feel like I typed it here for a reason. I went to the 'Teacher' forum to begin with and found myself here. I just feel that with the experiences that I've had in my life and with Buddhism that my question ended up here for a reason. I could very well be wrong... I am just in a very odd place right now. I feel like I should feel sad or depressed or angry or guilty but I don't. I don't really feel anything- except passion for my practice. Thank you in advance to anyone who had the patience to read this emoticon Much peace and love.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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3/31/12 8:40 AM as a reply to Elle Francis Gee.
Wow. I'm no master and I have gained no attainment yet despite spending 7 months of the last year meditating, but i don't plan on stopping there. I'm about to head off to Malaysia for another 12 wk retreat, and one month ago was in a Thai monastery in Australia for 6 weeks. Where i was planning on ordaining after a year. Unfortunately they worked me a bit to hard there, concrete and digging footings with crowbar. My back started to get some problems and i left. I've had a fair bit of depression over the years not just darknight stuff but conditioning/inprinting the has been wired into the brain after my mother died when i was 10. I'm 36 now and been through some stuff.
In my experience meditation and personality don't always mix and fix up history and the situation you find yourself in. It make it a lot better for handling things true. But you better be holding your centre, because the shit comes back as soon as you identify with or become the story/ego etc. Being poor and totally unmotivated toward well everything but Buddhism, has made my life a lot lonelier, somedays it doesn't matter. But other days it really hits home when I want a lover and the things that could help me have a life with someone, more wanting true.
Jack Kornflied, one of the greats, occasionally mentions people getting stuck in retreat and needing to go back to their issues and basically not being able to progress in the practice as a result. I've been there, heavy catharsis assuming you can get to the catharsis.
I'm not saying go to a councillor, cause i didn't, but on the other hand there has been some really progressive development in psychology since Freud. pheonix institute transpersonal counselling

So to finish up i really admire your courage to talk about this stuff so honestly, that's gotta be the foundations of strong insight.
Asia is a great place, for cheap by donation long retreats. Whether your in Equanimity or not this shit can pass, everything passes actually. If you've got it, whatever it is, maybe you can get a quick break through to stream-entry, but that doesn't fix everything up, but it may help a lot or be stabilising for the pain in an open vulnerable kind of way. Just keep at it, go on retreat and if you don't crack it quick, keep at it, it will help with the shit that comes up.
Metta Neem
Can start own thread and make link.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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3/31/12 12:24 PM as a reply to Zyndo Zyhion.
Wow. Your words really hit home. You're so right. I have to resist letting this situation define me. It has happened in the past and made me totally miserable. I actually do have a boyfriend. That's another issue... I love him so much but my love is more like a deeper love than I have for anyone else but not a romantic love. We have discussed this and he knows my plans to go on retreats and hopefully become ordained one day. He's great to talk to and encourages me very much to do what makes me happy. That's how I knew that I'd gone over some type of edge. When we got together I was at a point in my life where I did not want to be in another relationship. Although I love him dearly again it's not an "I want to spend the rest of my life with you" love. It is very comforting to have someone to talk to that understands but we do have that understanding that I will move on one day. We're just enjoying each other's company until then. There are very little sexual relations involved which makes me feel that I've lost my desire for that. I will definitely look into the idea of receiving treatment for this specific issue. You're point actually made a lot of sense to me. I definitely do think that I need to get past this difficult time before I can move on. I understand the situation but it can't hurt to talk to someone about it. I will also look up some things in Asia that could be beneficial to me. I've heard about people going over there with very little and finding themselves in the right place. Thank you again so very much for your advice and helpfulness! I appreciate your post more than you know! I also wanted to say that you must be very strong as well for going through your mother's death so young. My parent's aren't really in the picture but my mother is still there if I really need her for some things. Please stay in touch. I think that I could learn a lot from you.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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3/31/12 6:25 PM as a reply to Elle Francis Gee.
Here is a link to a new thread titled,"Practice & Personality: When is the ego cured" this is a continuation of our discussion.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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7/23/12 1:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi, with something like this it might be best to start your own thread.

I had a quick browse through, I notice a point or two that might be of interest. Most of the stuff in this thread should help you self diagnose.

What most people do, myself included after crossing the A&P is do their best to keep the good stuff going, fair enough when they've become opened up to both.
Good Periods are periods of Samadhi/Conentration, where the mind is stable enough to stay with objects of concentration. Try to balance out some of your practice with insight. Why? cause it develops tolerance when you can't get into states of concentration that make you feel good, cause the shit has hit the fan.
Awakening to the suffering of life isn't the same as learning to meditate with the suffering of life. Jhanic factors can arise and make states occur, great: but the equanimity you experience could be a Jhanic factor rather than actual equanimity regarding formation, which is built upon Kanika Samadhi and Investigation/Wisdom. Being okay with things not being okay, as Michelle McDonald says, or beginning to learning to accept the loss of good states, usually through falling apart time and again at losing them and investigating this until the attachment passes and some true equanimity begin to manifests is how you know you've attained Equanimity. So keep practicing and then you know what all this stuff is! Keep studying and then you'll know when you really have hit Equanimity Regarding Formations.
G'Luck, Neem.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
9/19/12 8:46 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I'm glad I found this.

Here is the deal. I was at Case Study #3. but now I can sit for much longer than I ever have and I really look forward to sitting. I definitely do not "hate everything". I would sit 4-5 times a day if I didn't have a job or wife who would kill me.

The problem is that I still have random thoughts popping into my head. Sometimes it's bad and I have a hard time staying on the breath others it barely happens at all. I do "feel fine every time I sit". If I take the below at face value I would think I was at the 11th nana but I have a hard time believing that when I am struggling with thoughts.

Any thoughts, pun intended.

"Case Study # 3:

Report: “At some time in the past, I had white lights, unitive experiences and delightful tingles. Now my meditation sucks and I hate everything.”

Diagnosis: Dukkha ñanas 6-10, aka Dark Night of the Soul.


Case Study # 4:

Report: I went through the 3rd, 4th, and dukkha ñanas (as described above) and now I feel fine every time I sit.

Diagnosis: 11th ñana, Knowledge of Equanimity."

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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9/19/12 10:57 AM as a reply to Darrin Rice.
I always had wandering thoughts in High EQ. Watch them, use them, see what you can learn from them. There is something that it's trying to tell you. I had good insights into how my thoughts were not me during this time.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
9/22/12 2:46 AM as a reply to Russell ..
Actually, the trick in Equanimity staying into the thing just doing its thing, and that thing could be ANYTHING!

Now, that thing could be the breath, could just be whatever happens, could be thoughts, could just be being really honest about what is actually going on regardless of it is, could just be being yourself in some really ordinary and non-idealized way, could be really letting the mind just do what it wants to do, all while really being naturally present to that just as it occurs.

It could be wanting to control things. It could be watching that struggle itself. It could be wishing thoughts would do whatever or not do whatever. It could be just letting your stuff happen. It could be fluxing formless realms. It could be ultra-powerful concentration. It could be noticing the motion of attention as it creates space just by being itself and moving around making space. It could be that space and attention are the same thing. It could just be following the textures of form and mind as they synchronize. It could be being really annoyed that the mind isn't "behaving", whatever that is. It could be noting forms moving and changing. It could be some other formal practice just formally practicing or trying to practice. It could be any conflict, any harmony, any success, any failure, any neutrality, anything: but that thing, whatever it is, as it is, is the key, right then and really following it, really merging into that impermanence, really giving into not being able to hold off as an observer, really not being able to find any place in space that anything can stand on and hold out from, as the whole thing is allowed to show just how utterly unstable the whole thing really is with no reference points or practitioner or anything remaining uninformed and unviolated by that direct and totally absorbed, naturally fascinated following of all of that.

Staying on any of that: letting it take you out. Letting it vanish and take you with it. Letting it stutter. Letting it shift and squirm. Letting space flow towards disappearing totally with all that is in it.

Any of that make any sense?

Daniel

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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9/22/12 11:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Any of that make any sense?


Let me just say LOLOLOL!

Now, most of the time when people use LOL what they actually mean is "mildly amused and chucked to myself". I actually laughed out loud.

I understand it about as much as I did the first several times I read about particle physics, i.e. not much. What I do know is that I will read it several times and practice what you are saying and then, from an experiential stand point, I will understand it.

Thanks much,
Darrin

One more thing. (Ha, Ha)

Actually, the trick in Equanimity staying into the thing just doing its thing, and that thing could be ANYTHING!


That is a great sentence.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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8/27/13 2:10 AM as a reply to Darrin Rice.
Here is a link to the guide in German.

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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12/23/13 3:44 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Hello,

Did you get a response to this? Or ever figure it out? I know it was a while back... I have a similar experience, a jolt or wave like I'm falling asleep but still doesn't feel like an accurate judgement of what's happening. I'm not particularly articulate with descriptions of my experience, but what you said resonated and I'd like to know if you have any further understanding of it yet?

Ashley

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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12/24/13 4:26 PM as a reply to Ashley Young.
I seem to be missing the context. Care to give us a bit more about your experience?

Daniel

RE: Responses to An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
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12/30/13 1:12 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Looks like she was responding to a post by Jef Grove from years ago at the top of the thread in which he was describing experiencing a slight blip in meditation that felt like falling asleep/jerking awake for a split second. He seemed to be asking whether this could be a cessation even though it was not typically experienced as followed by a wave of bliss or clarity, nor necessarily by a major baseline shift.

I wonder if she is still checking this thread?

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
4/12/16 8:42 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
I have been meditating on and off for about 20 years and have in the last 6 months developed a very serious meditation practice.  At home I meditate two 45 minute sessions/day.  I don't remember when but I'm sure a while back, I noticed that I would sort of "see" the breath circling around me when I meditated.  It was always in sync with my breathing.

On my last day of a recent 5-day retreat, I entered the first jhana.  While I was experiencing this amazing rapture, I could sense the breath coming up from my sides and sort of out away from me.  Once I got home, my experiences progressed and I started entering the jhanas almost every session, going up to J4 on several occasions.  As my experiences deepened, however, I started to feel worse physically all day after meditating in the morning.  I started feeling like I was bobbing up and down all the time, as if I had just walked off of a ship that had been on the water. I felt very light and like I was almost floating.  In a way nice but a bit hard to function that way.   When I would lie down, it was like being on waves.  The bed and my body would move up and down in waves and it would always get more pronounced the more deeply I breathed.  It got to the point where as soon as I would sit back down on the cushion, the waves would just take me right up as soon as I focused on my breathing and I would get almost pulled into J1 without much effort.  I had a few experiences where in J2 or 3, it felt like energy was being pulled up from inside and out of my head.  I thought that perhaps that would make the waves subside, like it was some sort of release of energy, but after a little while, the feelings of bobbing up and down would start up again.

Also, when my meditation sessions were done, I could barely come out. I felt so drugged, so deep in it that it was hard to drag myself back into normal thinking.  The other day, I was so drugged after my morning session, that I could barely function all day.  Mostly I just sat and stared at my toes.  I have read that your brain produces endorphins, dopamine and opioids in J1, 2 and 3 and I was wondering if all the opioids in my system were doing this to me.  I have a long health history (including lymphoma) and have weak immunity. frequent fatigue and exhaustion and have a hard time recovering from things.  I was wondering if I was having a hard time flushing the chemicals my brain was releasing out of my system.

I had to stop meditating after the other day.  I just couldn't function anymore and it started to get scary.  After 2 days of not meditating, I thought I was feelin better.  Then, I laid down yesterday and just did a body scan and noticed that when I started breathing deeply, the feeling of being on waves started up again and when I got out of bed that feeling persisted and now I still feel light and like I'm bobbing again.   The breathing seems to be what brings on this sensation.  If it's mild, it's pleasant enough when I'm lying down but I don't want to feel all day like I've just come off a boat.  My body can also feel very light.  If it's really bad, it can be scary in bed too.

I have been in contact with Leigh Brasington and gotten a lot of information but no concrete explanations of what's going on.  One teacher said it was a kundalini awakening but I don't know what to do with that.   I don't want to have to stop meditating but I'm wondering if my physiology is making me extra sensitive to what's happening in my body chemically.  I don't know if this is piti and if that's the same as saying it's from chemicals released from my brain.  I don't know if it's "energy" or what that even means.  I was also thinking maybe it was some synesthetic experience. MY meditation sessions have been great; I just want to feel well when I am not meditating!  Also, what I'm really interested in is emptiness and want to start doing some emptiness practice so I need to be able to concentrate on these practices when I'm meditating but I feel like I can't really do anything when I come out; I feel sort of brain dead.

Any ideas and suggestions would be helpful.  For now, I'm still not meditating.  it's been 5 days and I still feel the sensations.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
7/25/18 12:11 AM as a reply to Kenneth Folk.
What stage is it when meditation diminishes your sense of self, your sense of agency, your sense of free will, to the point that you have no ambition, feel no responsibility, and as a result don't care about awakening?*


*And you might have dropped out of the rat race too, because beyond your basic needs, you have no desire for material wealth or material goods.

RE: An Idiots Guide to Dharma Diagnosis
Answer
7/25/18 11:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
That need to meditate to feel normal interspersed with feeling of disinterest or aversion to it all combined with hanging out on places like the DhO Forum: classic Dark Night Yogi stuff, meaning you crossed the A&P at some point almost certainly at least once but now in daily life don't have the concentration of someone on, say, a retreat, and so you have the classic description of someone who is in the Dark Night symptomatically but doesn't have the benefit of the concentration of retreats to enjoy the perks, if they can be called that.

D

Crap. This sounds exactly what I'm experiencing. I thought that I was in EQ, but it sounds more like I'm falling back down into A&P territory. As far as the maps are concerned, I've been paying to my emotional experience, rather than my meditational experience (to find myself on the map). Once I get through DN, there is a strong sense of acceptance. But my meditations feel like crap.

My meditations are very nice in the morning, but as I move through the day meditation is rather unpleasant. Attention wanders and the quality of experience feels really crappy. My concentration is total shit. At some point I'll find myself in dark night again and will wonder how I got there. Dark night isn't nearly as powerful as it used to be but I still go through it, experience loads of seemingly causeless anxiety, feel a deep sense of loss and mourning, and get lost in my "stuff." And then finally, I just pop out of it.

I think the reason I keep cycling is that I never had a strong meditation practice. I was just really curious about who I was, what reality was, and my relationship with life. Right now I'm kicking myself because I'm just now learning how to meditate. I wonder how long it will be before my concentration is strong enough to abide in EQ.

At this point I'm wondering if I should quit my job and go stay at a monastery so I can get through this stuff. The down side is I would likely blow my career and need to start from scratch when I get out. Scary, scary.