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Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood

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Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/14/18 7:10 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Chris Marti 10/14/18 7:58 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/14/18 7:19 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Chris Marti 10/15/18 7:38 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 6/7/19 7:30 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood svmonk 10/14/18 11:27 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/14/18 7:30 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood An Eternal Now 10/22/18 9:13 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood svmonk 10/15/18 1:16 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Noah D 10/14/18 10:59 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood T DC 10/15/18 3:57 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood An Eternal Now 10/16/18 8:28 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/16/18 9:30 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood T DC 10/18/18 3:05 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Nick O 10/19/18 8:28 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood T DC 10/19/18 12:51 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/19/18 1:37 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/19/18 3:30 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/18/18 4:43 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/20/18 12:14 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood shargrol 10/20/18 3:42 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/20/18 12:44 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood shargrol 10/20/18 3:40 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood T DC 10/20/18 4:53 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/20/18 4:57 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Nick O 10/20/18 6:36 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/20/18 7:08 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/16/18 4:47 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Hibiscus Kid 10/16/18 9:10 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/19/18 10:30 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/19/18 3:28 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood curious 10/19/18 5:05 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Noah D 10/20/18 3:54 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/20/18 4:47 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Noah D 10/20/18 9:18 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/21/18 2:10 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Noah D 10/21/18 3:55 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/21/18 4:32 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood JP 10/22/18 9:10 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Noah D 10/22/18 11:05 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/23/18 12:56 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood JP 10/23/18 9:04 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood T DC 10/24/18 10:56 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/20/18 6:21 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/20/18 4:41 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/20/18 5:16 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/20/18 5:33 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/21/18 3:33 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/21/18 4:28 PM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/22/18 9:34 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood J C 10/23/18 12:57 AM
RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood Kim Katami 10/23/18 3:37 AM
Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/14/18 7:10 PM
Hello everyone,

This post is pretty much for curiosity's sake since I'm not an advanced practitioner (albeit passionate and interested).

When I think of fourth path and Arhatship as Daniel Ingram describes it, it seems to be some final way of perceiving reality so that sensations are happening and understood to be where they are, without a sense of self involved, and not being satisfying. It seems like locking in the 3 characteritics of every sensation in real time is "awakening". 

Daniel doesn't describe himself as a Buddha however. For Buddhahood, one needs to perfect the 3 different pillars (insight, concentration and morality) to be a Buddha. 

My question sort of stems from the fact that the Insight axis is apparently the only finite one according to Daniel. However, Daniel describes gaining some insight related to practicing Actualism (although he describes this as a separate axis of development).

If you reach Arhatship, what is the point in continuing insight practice? Or do sensations just "vipassanize" themselves (I believe Kenneth Folk has described it this way). Is there more fundamental insight progress to be made after awakening (once this perception of "seeing just the seen, hearing just the heard, etc. is figured out completely)? 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/14/18 7:58 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
We're all human beings, and human beings have human foibles and issues. No matter how awakened we might be, those still need to be addressed. Life needs to be lived. Events come upon us that are out of our control. Families, careers, children, pets, and so. The wheel keeps turning.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/14/18 11:27 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hi Hibiscus,

From the Mahamudra/Tibetan perspective, full Buddhahood is described as being present with the clear light mind (i.e. emptiness) while performing the activities of daily life. Most bodhisattvas (those on the path to achieve full Buddhahood) are only present with clear light mind while sitting in meditation. When present with the clear light mind, not only is there no sense of a self, but there is also no sense of an other as well, that is, there is no sense of any reality at all, except the reality of emptiness.

I can's speak for anyone on this forum who has made a claim of arhatship, but my impression from their postings is that they have some sense of a reality other than emptiness.

One can, of course, argue about whether going about one's daily life while not perceiving anything but emptiness is achievable, but that is the formal definition as far as I understand it.

Hope that helps.

         

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/14/18 7:19 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hello Chris, 

Based on your posts here over the years, it seems like you are quite awakened. I appreciate your participation on this forum as you've given out tons of helpful advice that I've taken to heart as well. 

In this case, I am wondering about whether the axis of fundamental insight is, infact, finite or if one can go beyond Arhatship. It's about whether the perceptual changes become deeper or if there are maybe new perceptual changes that can occur. 

I hope this makes the question a bit more straight forward. Then again, I also understand that people will sometimes just practice the brahmaviharas or conentration related meditations after getting to a certin point of insight developement that is "good enough". 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/14/18 7:30 PM as a reply to svmonk.
Hello svmonk,

It seems like you are describing some very advanced perceptual shifts. However, it seems sort of difficult given that I am not quite sure what definition of 'emptiness' that you or the Tibetans may be using. I've see that word thrown around in so many different contexts, that it has become unhlpful. 

Some people here seem to be experiencing reality in such a way, that the Tibetans would say that they achieved the same results (Daniel mentions this on his essay in Actualism). It's pretty interesting. 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/14/18 10:59 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
According to some orthodox stances , I believe they would say Buddha’s have awakened lucidity throughout dream & deep sleep while arahants do not, as that is not required to not suffer.  Dogmatically, arahants stay in a body relating to past karma keeping them there, while Buddha’s have no past karma (both produce no further karma).  Powers-wise, both arahants & buddhas may have great altruistic personality development & powers, but only Buddha’s have the type of “omnicompetence” involved in automatically responding with pro social intent unconditionally.  More dogma stuff - Both arahants & Buddha’s have the same dharmakaya realization but only a Buddha has opened the sambhogaka & nirmanakaya (the aforementioned omnicompetence).  The latter two of the trikaya are likely past what is needed to not suffer.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/15/18 7:38 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
In this case, I am wondering about whether the axis of fundamental insight is, infact, finite or if one can go beyond Arhatship. It's about whether the perceptual changes become deeper or if there are maybe new perceptual changes that can occur. 


Hubiscus Kid, I'm curious about what you mean by "perceptual shifts." Can you elaborate? From my perspective the developmental stages a human being can go through appear to be unlimited. And there seem to be unlimited axes upon which the stages play out.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/22/18 9:13 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
Hello svmonk,

It seems like you are describing some very advanced perceptual shifts. However, it seems sort of difficult given that I am not quite sure what definition of 'emptiness' that you or the Tibetans may be using. I've see that word thrown around in so many different contexts, that it has become unhlpful. 

Some people here seem to be experiencing reality in such a way, that the Tibetans would say that they achieved the same results (Daniel mentions this on his essay in Actualism). It's pretty interesting. 


4th path and PCE was my constant state before I dwelled more deeply into Emptiness. 4th Path actually deals with Emptiness as well but the emphasis is on the yogic realization/experience of the absence of a subject, self/Self, controller, agent, knower, doer, etc, and furthermore the complete stability of this insight such that it becomes the constant mode of perception in every moment of experience. However, there is also the emptiness of the 'objects' front, which is not merely the collapsing of subject and object dichotomy, but realizing the 'nature' of this non-dual presence (which is already emptied of any subject or background). It pertains to the non-arising of the foreground appearance, but not through deconstruction.

For example looking at the very solid vision of floor in a PCE mode with no self/Self/experiencer whatsoever just brilliant colors shining as its own vivid clarity, and we raise a question how does 'emptiness' apply to this, it can suddenly become clear that there is no floor there at all, no floor to be found anywhere, only a shimmering appearance, flickering patches of luminous brown with nothing arising at all, and then the meaning of appearing yet non-arising, appearance negates existence as it relates to the nature of presence (by Presence I don't mean a Self, or a Being, etc, but whatever vivid appearance as it presents itself dynamically) became clear. This unfindability and non-arising nature of Presence/Appearance is its true nature. It is not "impermanent, flickering in and out" that is its emptiness but the very non-arising of the whole field of manifestation due to its lacking of any essence whatsoever by its sheer appearance, where the very mere appearance by its very fact of merely appearing negates existence.

It is not by deconstruction, and it is not by subsuming everything to some ultimate Mind/Consciousness/etc. That metaphysical illusion is completely gone by the time the self/Self illusion is dropped through anatta realization and actualization, as Actual Freedom teachings point out. There is no such thing as an unborn undying metaphysical substrate or consciousness behind phenomena, that belongs to the lower stages like Thusness Stage 1 to 4: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html -- in Advaita the illusoriness of phenomena is posited through the subsuming of phenomena to an ultimate source and substratum (which truly exists) in the manner of 'necklaces of different shapes being fundamentally only gold', this is not the same insight as Stage 5 and 6. At the peak of the subsuming or essentialist type of non-dual, the subject/object division collapses into a seamless field of awareness and yet awareness is felt to be ultimate, unchanging, having an Absolute metaphysical essence yet undivided with manifestation (Thusness Stage 4). The kind of Emptiness insight I'm talking about however is completely non-essentialist, non-substantialist, non-metaphysical, and non-referential.

By Emptiness and the Non-Arising of phenomena I mean the very appearance does not arise even for a flickering moment, does not arise/abide/subside for even an instant, but its very appearance itself rejects the illusion of the appearance existing by its own essence and undergoing (even a flickering moment of) arising/abiding/subsiding. Conventionally, appearance which does not exist inherently, appears only by way of interrelatedness/interdependence, and in yogic actualization of emptiness-appearance, everything appears as being equal to space and illusions like mirage, holograms, reflections, and the like in a seamlessly interconnected suchness (but not even the concept of 'dependent origination' remains in this actualization).

The as-it-isness or suchness of anatta becomes even more as-it-is in the manner of any subtle non-recognition of the non-arising, empty nature of presence (misperceiving presence as truly arising/abiding/ceasing or ‘truly there’) released into the as-it-isness/suchness of shimmering holographic illusions through the recognition of its non-arising, which leads to actualizing of emptiness as forms in a direct and non-conceptual manner. This illusion-like nature of aggregates is most often taught in Mahayana sutras, but you find similar teachings by Buddha in the Pali Canon such as Dhammapada, Phena Sutta on the illusoriness of the aggregates, and Kaccayanagotta sutta explains how dependent origination negates 'existence' and 'non-existence' as it relates to the 'world'.

For the emptiness part check out  http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html , http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

Also recently I wrote:

Presence and the Nature of Presence


(Wrote this after a clear insight arose)


No behind, presence as form is anatta

Presence-as-form is merely appearing, nothing there, that's emptiness (the nature of Presence)


...

Not
only no who, but truly no it, no there, no here, no now, no when, no where, no
arising, no ceasing, no abiding or place of abidance. Coming to rest in
the nature of presence with no place to rest, whole field of
spontaneous illusory display emerges as empty-clarity-bliss.

...

Soh Wei YuI really like a statement by Tsongkhapa, “appearance negates existence”Manage
Like · Reply · 22h
Stian Gudmundsen HøilandSay some more about that Soh?

1Manage
Like · Reply · 16h

Soh Wei YuIt
starts with the very vivid "Presence" (or you can call it Awareness or
Clarity) that is simply shining as the very vividness of forms, sounds,
thoughts, whatever appears, as the subject/object or perceiver/perceived
dichotomy has collapsed into a non-conceptual experience of the
vividness of whatever manifests with zero sense of distance. There is no
more standalone Presence or Awareness or Clarity in anatta. The
illusion of a background Self/Mind has been penetrated. Even so, the
very empty nature of 'foreground Presence' may not yet reveal itself
initially.

Let's say you're looking at the floor, or
a table, or whatever it is. It seems very solid and real, but then upon
some investigation it's realised to be merely appearing without
substance or essence, and that happens to be the very nature of Presence
-- vividly appearing according to conditions but completely empty of
anything 'there', empty of an 'it-ness' or 'floor-ness' or any sort of
substance. Basically it's sort of like suddenly an apparent figure
you've been looking at or talking to is suddenly realised to be literally a
hologram. The very nature of Presence as merely appearing without
substance basically negates the extreme of existence.

For
me the nature of Presence reveals in a more experiential sort of
examination rather than through analytical reasonings. Like what
Thusness wrote in his article http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/.../on-anatta... "On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection",

"If
we observe thought and ask where does thought arise, how does it arise,
what is ‘thought’ like. 'Thought' will reveal its nature is empty --
vividly present yet completely un-locatable. It is very important not to
infer, think or conceptualise but feel with our entire being this
‘ungraspability’ and 'unlocatability'. It seems to reside 'somewhere'
but there is no way to locate it. It is just an impression of somewhere
"there" but never "there". Similarly “here-ness” and “now-ness” are
merely impressions formed by sensations, aggregates of causes and
conditions, nothing inherently ‘there’; equally empty like ‘selfness’."Manage
Like · Reply · 1m · Edited
Soh Wei YuThat
said not everyone uses or likes the term "Presence". Tsongkhapa doesn't
use that term. You can substitute that for other terms like "dharma"
etc, it's just the empty and luminously clear nature of the display.

Foreground emptying has this taste where appearance negates existence.


...........
update:

I was asked what is the direct insight of emptiness.

I wrote:The insight is how presence/appearance appears yet never truly exists (i.e. by way of inherent existence), like truly there... instead it's just mere substanceless appearance. Instead of essence, we see dependent origination.It's an insight into seeing how 'essence' does not apply, not only to background/self but to foreground/presence/phenomena, therefore arising/abiding/ceasing also don't apply.Because of this, there's no way to locate or pin down anything anywhere, therefore all the where, now, here, there don't apply, as pinning down something as 'there' requires the essence view.It is not just an experience of all reality as 'dream-like' (this experience can arise by linking what appears to one's radiance) but a direct insight that overturns the wrong view of phenomena as having essence in the same manner as the direct insight into anatta overturns the wrong view of self or consciousness as having essence existing by its own side.





p.s More writings on Emptiness from the experiential yogic insight point of view:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2015/01/four-levels-of-insight-into-emptiness_9.html

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2015/01/an-expansion-on-four-levels-of-insight_10.html

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/15/18 1:16 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hi Hibiscus,

"Emptiness" in the Mahayana means lack of any substantial reality to phenomena. Although...some Mayahana philosophers like Nagarajuna in the Karykas even refuse to go that far and define it. The Prasangyka Madhayamika uses Hegelian dialectics to totally demolish any logical argument that anything at all has a concrete reality, but they will never say what ultimate reality is, just what it is not.

Anyway, if you want to explore it more from an experiental standpoint, I'd suggest checking out Rob Burbea's book [url=]Seeing That Frees.  Rob describes meditations to explore emptiness, how clinging creates your reality and how any type of perception requires clinging. Somebody on this forum recommended it to me last summer and I practiced with it for three months, really good value.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/15/18 3:57 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
When I was practicing extensivley with MCTB and gunning for 4th path, I expected it to be the be-all end-all of attainment and solve all my issues.  4th path is a watershed moment for insight, and deserves it's reputation as an ultimate attainment.  However, as I found, and many other people on this forum have likewise found, the path does continue beyond 4th path.  

As far as axes go, this is only one way of conceptualizing the path.  Personally, I would argue that there is really only one axis - insight - and concentration and morality are more branches of this axis.  In other words, degree of insight is the governing factor that ultimately determines ones degree of concentration and ultimate morality. 

Regading Buddhahood; this means lots of different thing to different people.  Personally, I see it as the very end of the insight axis, far beyond 4th path.  From the metaphor of the zen ox hearding pictures, 4th path is seeing the ox, while enlightenment is riding the ox.  At 4th path we gain very deep insight into the genuine nature of reality - we see it, but we have yet to fully become, or ride this state.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/16/18 4:47 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
The problem is that everyone uses these words differently.

Daniel's definition of arahat/4th path is the end of the line on the insight axis. Under that definition, when people say they're 4th path but still are developing insight, then they're not actually 4th path.

Any lingering sense of self, center point, agency, fundamental suffering, or free will means you're not an arahat. When that's all gone, you are an arahat.

There's no clear definition of buddhahood, and I don't personally find it to be a helpful concept. There is no end to the morality axis, so if a buddha is someone fully developed on the morality axis, then there are no buddhas.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/16/18 8:28 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
When I was practicing extensivley with MCTB and gunning for 4th path, I expected it to be the be-all end-all of attainment and solve all my issues.  4th path is a watershed moment for insight, and deserves it's reputation as an ultimate attainment.  However, as I found, and many other people on this forum have likewise found, the path does continue beyond 4th path.  

As far as axes go, this is only one way of conceptualizing the path.  Personally, I would argue that there is really only one axis - insight - and concentration and morality are more branches of this axis.  In other words, degree of insight is the governing factor that ultimately determines ones degree of concentration and ultimate morality. 

Regading Buddhahood; this means lots of different thing to different people.  Personally, I see it as the very end of the insight axis, far beyond 4th path.  From the metaphor of the zen ox hearding pictures, 4th path is seeing the ox, while enlightenment is riding the ox.  At 4th path we gain very deep insight into the genuine nature of reality - we see it, but we have yet to fully become, or ride this state.

Actually, from this commentary by a Zen master, it is very clear that MCTB 4th Path is equivalent to the ninth and tenth oxherding pictures. The lower stages belong to the I AM and One Mind phases in the Thusness map.

The commentary: https://terebess.hu/english/oxherding.html

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/16/18 9:10 PM as a reply to J C.
This basically answers my question. I've seen some people claim that there's more insight to gain beyond the 4th path as defined in MCTB.

I've read in Daniel's essay on Actualism, that his original attainment in 2003 matched with the desciptions of reality that practitioners of  certian Tibetan Buddhist strains try to attain. However, his practice with Actualism did seem to affect wisdom related aspects in the areas of the 'attention wave,' and that suddenly the 'field of perception' was just so nice as it was, as well as issues related to "time pressure".

I was wondering if continuing insight practice would yield more insight. Then again, once the center point is gone, and things/sensations are happening by themselves where they are, it sorta sounds like vipassana is happening on its own in real time. Where can a person go from there in terms of insight? Maybe those 'Actulaism' attainments are just Zen attainments since Zen folks discuss their markers differently (and don't seem particularly interested in fast-noticing that Daniel advocates for). Then again, I'm probably incorrect given that Daniel has been in these circles for so long and has practiced so many different styles that he feels his work in Actualism is a separate axis of development (he's mentioned that he got really interested in Zen at one point as the Thervadan models no longer held up in his experience so my speculating here is most likely incorrect). 

Maybe there's more (I mean, there's a wikipedia article dedicated to the Tibetan attainment of the 'rainbow body phenomenon' which I don't personally believe in). Even if the rainbow body phenomenon is true/real, Siddhartha Gautama didn't realize that for himself (although Siddhartha attained Buddhahood, but the rainbow-body seems to be some ultimate attainment beyond Siddhartha's attainment within the Tibetan tradition). So it sort of brings into question what each of these definitions are, as well as what it true/attainable. After all, how would one go from the dissolving the sense of a self/center point, to becoming a rainbow? --> This question is a light hearted joke. I, myself, own quite a few floral t-shirts so that's my best attempt about looking colorful while meditating.

Either way, I appreciate the work that Daniel and others here have put into recording their experience with such practices and the results. There are quite of few advanced practitioners laying out their very real and human experiences. I'd just like to see a few of the different axis of development I suppose. It's super cool to see and also really helpful. I'm sure many of us remain skeptical that the same results can be achieved for ourselves. 

May we all awaken in this lifetime. May our awakening(s) benefit others as well. All of us face some degree of suffering, after all. 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/16/18 9:30 PM as a reply to T DC.
How would your defintion of 4th path fit/clash with J C's definition below? How would your definitions hold up with the various definitions that Daniel Ingram has given both here on the DhO and in MCTB2? 

I've read your posts both here and on Reddit (and I think these posts are super helpful and inspiring as I feel I can at least attempt rigorous mindfulness in daily life/off cushion to make a lot of insight progress). However, since you have followed Daniel's definitions of insight, I'd assume that you'd agree that there's an 'end-point' when it comes to the wisdom axis. 

Although Daniel often discusses that he attained some end to his development in wisdom, however, you have not (based on your posts). What might be the reason for that? It seems to have taken Daniel quite a while to attain some of the paths that you attained in a few months, although he was quite a dedicated practitioner (working part time, in formal meditation many hours a day, practicing rigorous mindfulness throughout his day [if you have read MCTB2]). 

Daniel (without making any quips about his age/I'm not intending to be offensive here) has been in this business for quite a while. The fact that he flipped his perception of sensations in 2003 (and that that flip has held up through today and he has nothing to add to his orginal descriptions of the attainment) is quite impressive and worth noting/honoring. That's pretty amazing given that it has been 15 years since then, and the guy is still a serious practitioner (he goes on retreats and still explores his mind).

I have seen your posts, and they inspire me. However, I wonder if your definitions/justifications aren't quite in line with some of the other reading I've done. It's not my place to question you however, as I am still trying to figure out whether I experienced a cessation. So, in other words, I'm still trying to figure out if I am a stream enterer. I'm just really skeptical.  

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/18/18 3:05 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Good discussion HK, I'll go through your post so we're on the same page  emoticon
Hibiscus Kid:
How would your defintion of 4th path fit/clash with J C's definition below? How would your definitions hold up with the various definitions that Daniel Ingram has given both here on the DhO and in MCTB2?   

JC's definition is 4th path as the definitive end of the insight axis, such that "any further progression is not on the insight axis or you're not 4th path".  That's one way to look at it, but it's not my personal experience, and many other people here who have gotten 4th path also experienced continued progression in insight. 

When I got paths 1 through 4, my experience followed MCTB to a T.  I think Daniel has done us all an amazing service with MCTB, and I think it is entirely, literally, applicable to meditative experience, my experience however was that the path continues post 4th.

Hibiscus Kid:
 ..since you have followed Daniel's definitions of insight, I'd assume that you'd agree that there's an 'end-point' when it comes to the wisdom axis.   

I disagree with the concept of different axes (see my previous post), although I do think there is a wisdom end-point; full enlightenment.  This has less to do with following Daniel's definitions than my own experience on the path.

Hibiscus Kid:
Although Daniel often discusses that he attained some end to his development in wisdom, however, you have not (based on your posts). What might be the reason for that? It seems to have taken Daniel quite a while to attain some of the paths that you attained in a few months, although he was quite a dedicated practitioner (working part time, in formal meditation many hours a day, practicing rigorous mindfulness throughout his day [if you have read MCTB2]).   

I think you may have misinterpreted my posts - I do claim to have reached the end of the insight axis (cue general controversy).  Yes it took me less time than most.  The reasons?  I had major issues with suffering (fodder for the path), I had a total glimpse of enlightenment experience that convinced me meditation was the only way out (fodder + direction), and similarly I practiced incredibly rigorously and was fortunate to find teachings to optimally guide me through the challenging and diverse territory of the path.

Daniel and I can be differentiated in that although he claims a final realization of insight, he discusses the general path as on going.  Personally I claim an end to the path altogether.  I believe that 4th path is a definitive insight, there's just more to go.  

Hibiscus Kid:
I have seen your posts, and they inspire me. However, I wonder if your definitions/justifications aren't quite in line with some of the other reading I've done. It's not my place to question you however, as I am still trying to figure out whether I experienced a cessation. So, in other words, I'm still trying to figure out if I am a stream enterer. I'm just really skeptical.  

When I got stream entry, I could do the review cycle and call up fruitions, with continued practice I began to reliably get into the jhanas - still however, I looked to 4th path as a final end to insight, and a return to the ultimate state I remembered from my early glimpse of enlightenment experience.  Even at 3rd path, having experienced significant insight, with access to all 8 jhanas and nirodah samapatti, having read everything I could find about 4th path - still the actual 4th path experience was entirely unexpected and blew me away.

Without firsthand experience, it is incredibly difficult to evaluate higher claims to attainment - having had the experience yourself, it becomes much easier to see generally cohesive characteristics, or deviations.  Although the potential exists, there is no one else on these boards, or present in the general pragmatic type meditation community who has experienced my degree of insight.  And so what I say sounds crazy, because it is an outlier perspective.  I have great hope however that, sooner than later, others here will similarly come to experience and discuss full enlightenment and the end of the path.  

For you, as a potential stream enterer, it would be best to evaluate what I say based on the territory you have experienced, or that is closer to that scope.  A thread such as this one detailing my experience of the MCTB four paths might serve as a better evaluation of my experience than discussions of the ever controversial topic of enlightenment or ends to the path.

It's very easy for people to question enlightenment, but I would prefer that people simply question my claim to stream entry. If that seemingly checks out, evaluate my claim to 2nd, 3rd, or 4th path. These smaller attainments were all very challenging for me to achieve, and I took them incredibly seriously. This same serious and dedicated approach continued all the way to enlightenment.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/18/18 4:43 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid, your description at https://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/alexd/home is a description of an A&P experience - the rushing sound and spinal column energy are dead giveaways.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 8:28 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:

Although the potential exists, there is no one else on these boards, or present in the general pragmatic type meditation community who has experienced my degree of insight.  



While I don't necessarily doubt you, this seems to be an incredibly far reaching assumption. Do you mind elaborating? The curiosity burns! emoticon

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 10:30 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hello. HK's parts marked with >, my own with -.


>When I think of fourth path and Arhatship as Daniel Ingram describes it, it seems to be some final way of perceiving reality so that sensations are happening and understood to be where they are, without a sense of self involved, and not being satisfying. It seems like locking in the 3 characteritics of every sensation in real time is "awakening".

- I'd say that what you describe in the last sentence is a way to greater awakening, but not awakening or enlightenment itself.

>For Buddhahood, one needs to perfect the 3 different pillars (insight, concentration and morality) to be a Buddha.
>My question sort of stems from the fact that the Insight axis is apparently the only finite one according to Daniel.
>If you reach Arhatship, what is the point in continuing insight practice? Or do sensations just "vipassanize" themselves (I believe Kenneth Folk has described it this way). Is there more fundamental insight progress to be made after awakening (once this perception of "seeing just the seen, hearing just the heard, etc. is figured out completely)?
>I was wondering if continuing insight practice would yield more insight. Then again, once the center point is gone, and things/sensations are happening by themselves where they are, it sorta sounds like vipassana is happening on its own in real time. Where can a person go from there in terms of insight?

- Reading these lead me to ask about the method or methods of insight practice. What techniques are we exactly talking about here? With what kind of elements they work with? What I'm after, is finding out how insight practice, as discussed in these circles, relates to subtle and very subtle layers of formless selfing, or ”subtle fogs”. I recently had a chat with Dan and he stated that in the pd scene there are differing views about path attainments (and that money plays a part in their verification). On the other hand, many 4th Pathers seem to be asking around where to go next. To me, it is understandable because 4th Path is still a stretch from buddhahood.



RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 12:51 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
T DC:

Although the potential exists, there is no one else on these boards, or present in the general pragmatic type meditation community who has experienced my degree of insight.  



While I don't necessarily doubt you, this seems to be an incredibly far reaching assumption. Do you mind elaborating? The curiosity burns! emoticon

Nick - In short, no one else is discussing full enlightenment or the end of the path.  If the path continues, on any axis, clearly the end has not been reached.  

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 1:37 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Nick O:
T DC:

Although the potential exists, there is no one else on these boards, or present in the general pragmatic type meditation community who has experienced my degree of insight.  



While I don't necessarily doubt you, this seems to be an incredibly far reaching assumption. Do you mind elaborating? The curiosity burns! emoticon

Nick - In short, no one else is discussing full enlightenment or the end of the path.  If the path continues, on any axis, clearly the end has not been reached.  

While pragmatic theravada excels in early stage practice, my impression is that it is ignorant of advanced stages and buddhahood. I was discussing this a couple of years ago. I think that the pd community here is stuck in hinayana, which is a pity.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 3:28 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
>  I recently had a chat with Dan and he stated that in the pd scene there are differing views about path attainments (and that money plays a part in their verification). On the other hand, many 4th Pathers seem to be asking around where to go next. To me, it is understandable because 4th Path is still a stretch from buddhahood.

Yes, unfortunately there are many PD teachers who claim 4th path when they don't have it and don't know what it is, then accept people's money and don't want to challenge their attainments. I was stuck there with some of those teachers for a while.

This is one of many reasons why it is unethical to pay or be paid to teach meditation.

I was one of those "4th pathers" asking around where to go next - of course, I wasn't actually 4th path. Daniel is the only one I've found willing to actually challenge attainments. Sometimes he goes to the other extreme, saying genuine paths are A&Ps, just as Bill Hamilton did. This is a useful counterbalance as it makes you question everything and look at your attainments very closely, as Daniel says in MCTB.

The process of enlightenment typically involves thinking you're fully enlightened when you're not, often many times. My theory is that this is the mind preparing itself, and it's a necessary part of the process.

What's sad is when people claim 4th path, aren't really done, and then use the label as an excuse to stop investigating.

I need a new word for "done with insight." Let's call it Bubba. If you have any lingering sense of self or free will or agency, you're not Bubba, so keep working till you're Bubba. I use 4th path and arahat interchangably with Bubba, but not everyone does.

What's confusing about the path model is that there are many cycles within cycles after 3rd. So many people who claim 4th have completed lots of cycles and had huge post-anagami shifts, call themselves 4th because they had a major post-anagami shift and feel done, but they're not Bubba.

I wish Daniel would kidnap all the PD teachers who claim 4th, train them until they are actually Bubba, and force them to disgorge the money they took from students. If only!

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 3:30 PM as a reply to T DC.
> In short, no one else is discussing full enlightenment or the end of the path.  If the path continues, on any axis, clearly the end has not been reached.

Life is the path. Learning and growing is the path. If you're alive, the path continues on the axes of living, learning, and growing (aka sila). If you're alive, clearly the end has not been reached.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/19/18 5:05 PM as a reply to J C.
Yeah, Daniel's advice can be challenging at times, and comes from a particular persepctive, but it is nonetheless hugely useful.

I would add that from my point of view the paths eventually become a fetter - as does the dharma.  None of it is 'true' - it is just a set of conceptualisations that provide a road map to permanently improved functioning.  It you cling on to the paths too much they can twist the mind a little, and create feedback loops and ontologies that frustrate 'progress'.  In other words, they can generate karma.

For me, the best pieces of advice I have got after making some progress are the Thai Forest tradition 'Let go', the Tibetan recommendations on humility, and from Daniel on the DhO (paraphrased from memory) 'Whatever you think you have got, try to deepen that.'

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 12:14 AM as a reply to J C.
I'm going to pollute this thread for a moment to explain my reasoning behind thinking the experience I had was a cessation. 

I've spoken to quite a few practitioners on the matter, and many of them are split between A&P and a cessation. So this is just one more data point.

Either way: I've been interested in meditation for years and have been frequenting forums such as this for quite a while due to feelings of trying to solve something having to do with life (I could be incorrect, but many who end up on the DhO are in the dark night). I can also recall various experiences in my late teens/early twenties as being Mind & Body, Cause & Effect, as well as A&P experiences. 

After a couple years of lurking, trying some psychadelics (purely for spiritual reasons; more dark night behavior I'd say), and finding Mahasi Noting, I started noting as much as I could in daily life. In addition, I read Daniel's book, and I went on 2 short retreats with Shannon Stein (she's an awesome human and extremely advanced practitioner in her own right). I had been noting as much as possible in daily life for about 10 months before this experience in addition to some formal sitting. 

I've seen many people on these forums mistake A&P experiences for stream entry, so I was also skeptical. However, I feel my experience matches descriptions of steam entry: I experienced a bliss wave that released a lot of tension in my body after the intial experience. This "bliss wave" phenomenon is described in both MCTB and on alohadharma.com by Ron Crouch and other practitioners. It wasn't what I'd describe as an "energetic phenomenon" since I haven't experienced much kundalini. I was really relaxed for the rest of the day, which was nice as I'm a very tightly-wound-up person with a lot of agitation. Stress/agitation was relieved for an afternoon/evening (another experience which people describe post-cessation).

Many practioners also recall hearing a "pop" or something during stream entry, and I'd say the rushing sound I heard qualifies as well. It was a fraction of a second. 

In addition, it was almost like some aspect of impermanence and no-self was made apparent in that moment. Like my mind connected with what was being observed. This "connection" is described by Daniel a couple of times in MCTB 2. 

In addition, I'm quoting Daniel on a post entitled, "Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?" because I found this quote after my experience and I feel it perfectly describes the experience I had (I mentioned my mind syching/honing in on something).

Quote- "If you get good at mobilizing attention centers to converge and synchronize on experience, such that they finally converge on a complete moment and follow it together to its end, Cessation results."
The above quote described my experience to a T. It seemed like different parts of my mind came together and rode the described moment out to its end.

I understand many people make mix ups, but I had been practing for almost a year and had read many accounts and practice logs to figure out that my guess was an educuated one. I still believe that I could have experienced a cessation because a good portion of my existential crisis has evaporated.

Then again, maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about, and I'm still in Mind & Body. Either way, I felt some need to lay out a counter argument. Probably because having a Cessation would be nice for validation purposes which would become extra inpiration to keep meditating. It's not all fun and games after all. 

This raises a question on my end, however. What sort of description are you looking for when it comes to describing stream entry/cessation? What would have made you reconsider my description? 

Thank you!

 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 3:54 AM as a reply to J C.
What if Bubba learns to continue the centerless perception into dream sleep & deep sleep cycles?  Do we call that Bubba 2 

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RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 3:42 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:
...
I understand many people make mix ups, but I had been practing for almost a year and had read many accounts and practice logs to figure out that my guess was an educuated one. I still believe that I could have experienced a cessation because a good portion of my existential crisis has evaporated.

Then again, maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about, and I'm still in Mind & Body. Either way, I felt some need to lay out a counter argument. Probably because having a Cessation would be nice for validation purposes which would become extra inpiration to keep meditating. It's not all fun and games after all. 

This raises a question on my end, however. What sort of description are you looking for when it comes to describing stream entry/cessation? What would have made you reconsider my description? 

Thank you!

 

All diagnosis involves analyzing what was happening before and after. The "event" itself is almost the least important part.

Before the event there tends to be some fairly significant purification, months or sometimes years, either true dark night or a more vipassina jhana version where there is more concentration, less overt psychological material, but still a lot of deep resistances to sitting going away in an almost physical-release way. The person has to feel "wrung out" in a way that isn't traumatic (reliving old trauma can mimic dark night, but the transit through the dark night also includes a lot of healing of those old trauma and old outdated views of self and the world because they are seen very clearly and "digested"). Eventually this transitions into a period reduced practice and regaining perspective of what is important in life. Then if gentle, consistent practice continues, it will transition into a period of profound equanimity (usually weeks/months), where multi-hour sits become realistic and effortless, practice is automatic and deep, where all thoughts of progress just really don't matter anymore, and some profound acceptance of being a human while also appreciating the depths of meditation.

Some of the biggest signs post SE is an ability to access the first four jhanas without much effort... and within 6 months the body goes through some very dramatic re-wiring, so to speak, that involves a lot of body and mind aches, discomfort, etc as well as the insight cycles begin again in a very confusing way because the experience of meditation is now colored strongly by the vipassina jhanas. 

As someone who had an  A&P that mimicked SE in a very similar way to what you describe, I'm sympathetic to anyone who thinks it might have been SE. Mine was a very clean, non-energetic, non-visually colorful "event", in which time and space seemed to go away and it left me with a distinctly different relationship with life. I was completely sure that there was something real about the nature of spiritual practice and a big part of my desparate seeking was gone. BUT, no jhanas, no new insight cycle.

Several years later, working with a teacher after a particularly difficult 15 day retreat, I re-established practice in a way that was very consistent and dedicated, day-to-day, and got very good advice on what how my "self" was still holding onto various mental frameworks. When SE occured, during a sit at home, it was after a few weeks of radically equanimous sitting, where I didn't even care what happened anymore, I simply knew I was a life-long meditator and "making progress" was beyond me except for continuting to sit and develop interest and sensitivity to what was occuring moment by moment, and practice itself was leading me into a space of a gentle blend of concentration and insight practice, including feeling the "on task" pleasure of first jhana, the basking in the sun version of second jhana, the cool bliss of third jhana, the spacious clarity of fourth jhana, moments of falling into formless jhanas, vipassina ramping up such that being able to meditate on the thinking process itself where "pre-thought" urges were being seen clearly --- and none of this was done intentionally, it was more just a artifact or consequence of being very interested in the nature of body sensations, urges, emotions, and thoughts --- and SE was such a minor event that it barely seemed significant... and yet afterwards, instant access to much harder jhanas and practice really took off in ways I could never have imagined, some of it very difficult, but also very interesting.

So I say all of that just to paint a picture that there really is A LOT of terrain that is hard to imagine in approaching SE and beyond. Meditation is so interesting, but the gateway will always be a curiousity and investigation of our tangible experience of sensations, urges, emotions, and thinking. One common theme to all of the practice I did was asking "where in this moment is there resistance, discomfort, or ill will? How does it change if I hold that sense of incompleteness or discomfort within my awareness and gently investigate what it really is and all the sensations and emotions and thoughts that seem tangled up with it?"  Many physical and psychological releases and insights came from that simple introspection, curiousity, and investigation.

Hope this helps others in some way!

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/20/18 6:21 AM as a reply to J C.
J C >, me -.

>Yes, unfortunately there are manyPD teachers who claim 4th path when they don't have it and don't know what it is, then accept people's money and don't want to challenge their attainments. I was stuck there with some of those teachers fora while.

- Well, that is weak.

>Daniel... Sometimes he goes to the other extreme, saying genuine paths are A&Ps, just as BillHamilton did. This is a useful counter balance as it makes you question everything and look at your attainments very closely, as Daniel says in MCTB.

- Purposefully mixing irreversible shifts (insight) with passing experiences (A&P) to question one's process and comprehension? I don't quite understand the logic.

>The process of enlightenment typically involves thinking you're fully enlightened when you're not, often many times. My theory is that this is the mind preparing itself, and it's a necessary part of the process.

- Something I've observed of many people is that if they lack the complete picture, they can take pretty much anything for full enlightenment. For example, this. All changes in one's mind require time to show what they are but to take stuff as the* enlightenment, is just being misguided by erroneous view.

>What's sad is when people claim 4th path, aren't really done, and then use the label as an excuse to stop investigating.

- It all boils down to not deceiving oneself, being honest, doesn't it. People, money involved or not, are lead by all kinds of motivations, aware of them or not. I certainly don't think 4th Path is biggy, by MCTB terms or traditional ones, just a sign post along the way.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 12:44 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thank you for sharing your experience shargrol. The way you describe your sit progressions and your changes in attitude during different phases of practice has been a serious blow to how I see my own progress.

I still can't get into jhanas. I really don't think I started any new cycle of insight or had a review phase after the event. My sits are never 'deep' in terms of high concentration/absorption. Even during phases where I enjoy sitting, I wouldn't be able to sit for hours (esp. without a goal). Thoughts about progress/mapping are a very regular part of my experience. 

I guess I'm in the dark night and have been for years. It seems that I still have to put in a lot more work and do more formal sitting. 

That means, however, that I can look forward to the benefits that you described. I hope to experience some of these phases and deep practice sessions for myself.  

I recently saw your recipe for structured noting on the "Wrong turns at Desire for Deliverance" thread. I'll give it a try so that my sits can be a bit more directed (right now I really just note freestyle).

Thank you for your contributions and being patient with me and my ramblings! I always enjoy reading your posts as you tend to give a lot of great advice related to coming to terms with this human condition in all its glory and misery. I suppose that that sort of advice really resonates with what I'm experiencing in my life as of late. 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 3:40 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
No worries, I have definitely been in the same boat, feeling the same way. But the nice thing is that consistent, good-quality sitting does the trick. And that doesn't mean every sit needs to be enjoyable or clear-minded, but rather good-quality means that whatever comes up in experience is noticed and appreciated with interest and curiousity.

Even really shitty sits are good-quality sits if we keep going "ah, look at how this is arising, notice how I'm feeling about it, notice how I'm thinking about it, wow all of this shit is coming up and all I'm doing is sitting on a cushion and paying attention to the breath -- wow, there really is a lot of wierd habits and attitudes that give me problems even when I'm doing nothing in particular. This is really important. On-the-cushion is the right time to investigate this, in real life I probably wouldn't be able to stay objective about it! This really is dukka and I know that the only way I'll learn to drop these odd habits and attitudes is to really see how unhelpful and inappropriate they are --- without blaming myself or having some big guilt trip -- and I know that in time, I'll learn to recognize and drop these habits almost as soon as they arise, and pretty soon I won't have the habit or negative attitude anymore. I know that my job is to simply notice how this all arises within my awareness. In fact, I want all this stuff to happen during my sits. I want to get a good look at how dukka shows up in my own mind! And so I welcome it like a friend and teacher. And I know that consistent practice, gentle investigation, and a positive attitude will allow improvements to happen." 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 4:41 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
> Purposefully mixing irreversible shifts (insight) with passing experiences (A&P) to question one's process and comprehension? I don't quite understand the logic.

Any insight stage can result in irreversible shifts in insight. That's why they're called "knowledges." It is very common to get huge, irreversible shifts and deep insight into no-self from an A&P.

It's not that he's purposefully mixing A&P and path, he's just being very careful about diagnosing path when it could be an A&P event. It is often tricky to tell the difference.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 4:47 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
What if Bubba learns to continue the centerless perception into dream sleep & deep sleep cycles?  Do we call that Bubba 2 

emoticon

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE

Are you suggesting there are two stages people go through:

A) centerless perception when awake but not while dreaming

B ) centerless perception while awake and while dreaming

I see any dream-type development as a different axis from insight and for me personally it doesn't seem relevant or important right now (though this may change). I rarely dream (or rarely remember my dreams) and I don't see the advantage of changing this.

I read somewhere that if you don't think about your dreams and just let them go, you'll be less likely to dream or remember dreams, so this is what I try to do.

But I'm not sure stage A above exists: I suspect once you untangle the knot that it will carry over into dreams. Do you have a different experience?

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/20/18 4:53 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Hibiscus Kid:

..I've been interested in meditation for years and have been frequenting forums such as this for quite a while due to feelings of trying to solve something having to do with life (I could be incorrect, but many who end up on the DhO are in the dark night).
...I read Daniel's book, and I went on 2 short retreats with Shannon Stein (she's an awesome human and extremely advanced practitioner in her own right). I had been noting as much as possible in daily life for about 10 months before this experience in addition to some formal sitting. 

I've seen many people on these forums mistake A&P experiences for stream entry, so I was also skeptical. However, I feel my experience matches descriptions of steam entry: I experienced a bliss wave that released a lot of tension in my body after the intial experience. ... I was really relaxed for the rest of the day, which was nice as I'm a very tightly-wound-up person with a lot of agitation. Stress/agitation was relieved for an afternoon/evening (another experience which people describe post-cessation).

Many practitioners also recall hearing a "pop" or something during stream entry, and I'd say the rushing sound I heard qualifies as well. It was a fraction of a second. 

In addition, it was almost like some aspect of impermanence and no-self was made apparent in that moment. Like my mind connected with what was being observed. This "connection" is described by Daniel a couple of times in MCTB 2. 

In addition, I'm quoting Daniel on a post entitled, "Where does cessation fit in to the stages of insight or of awakening?" because I found this quote after my experience and I feel it perfectly describes the experience I had (I mentioned my mind syching/honing in on something).

Quote- "If you get good at mobilizing attention centers to converge and synchronize on experience, such that they finally converge on a complete moment and follow it together to its end, Cessation results."
The above quote described my experience to a T. It seemed like different parts of my mind came together and rode the described moment out to its end.
I understand many people make mix ups, but I had been practing for almost a year and had read many accounts and practice logs to figure out that my guess was an educuated one. I still believe that I could have experienced a cessation because a good portion of my existential crisis has evaporated.


This raises a question on my end, however. What sort of description are you looking for when it comes to describing stream entry/cessation? What would have made you reconsider my description? 

Thank you!

 

To provide another perspective, for one here's my reply to your first thread about this, and for me it still stands.  Going through your post via the quote blocks, clearly you:
- could definitely have been past the A+P per general definition
- had been practicing diligently for a significant period of time
- experienced numerous effects associated with the SE path moment
- experienced a lasting and beneficial change in baseline perception

Per the last quote block - all the points above are strong indicators for stream entry, they cover your bases from practice history to path moment to significant perceptual effects.

Hibiscus Kid:
Thank you for sharing your experience shargrol. The way you describe your sit progressions and your changes in attitude during different phases of practice has been a serious blow to how I see my own progress.

I still can't get into jhanas. I really don't think I started any new cycle of insight or had a review phase after the event. My sits are never 'deep' in terms of high concentration/absorption. Even during phases where I enjoy sitting, I wouldn't be able to sit for hours (esp. without a goal). Thoughts about progress/mapping are a very regular part of my experience. 

I don't think Shargrol is wrong per se, but these things are not one size fits all.  Shargrol has very rigorous practice definitions, which I appreciate, but do not fully agree with. 

Jhana access can be loose with 1st path, reliable access to jhanas 1 - 4 only occurred for me following second path.  I found the insight cycles following 1st and 2nd paths murky at best.  I never sat for more than 40 minutes duration, period, and would, at no point on the path, have considered hours long sits effortless, if only due to the physical strain.  I obsessively continued practice almost immediately following stream entry - if anything stream entry provided a boost for thinking about the maps because now I saw they were true and doubled down on accomplishing them.  

I know multiple people who have overlooked what I considered a 1st path moment, simply because it wasn't fireworky enough and the lasting effect too subtle; I know people whose early path moments were nothing like what I look for or experienced, people who have demonstrated none of what I personally consider to be reliable 1st path hallmarks, such as practicing the review cycle for repeat fruitions, but nevertheless have obviously advanced in attainment. 

Just because these people's experiences don't exactly conform to my own, doesn't mean they haven't progressed.  After being around the pragmatic scene for some time now, I have had my mind majorly opened to the fact that people have different lenses and concepts for experience, different strengths, and different dominant perceptual and experiential characteristics - progress in meditation, although it may generally conform, does so by a very wide margin.

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I saw that you posted the first thread on this in May, how has your practice evolved since then?  5 months on, pinning down what you experienced exactly may be irrelevant.  The questions to focus on now might be, "What is your experience like today?", "What are your goals in practice and how can they be achieved?"  1st path is important because it enacts a slight reduction in our suffering, and it can help serve as a guide post for further practice.  However, practice pre-SE and post-SE is basically the same - focus on your chosen object of mindfulness, hone your mindful awareness, and (to honor the pragmatic mindset) level up via path attainment.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
Answer
10/20/18 4:57 PM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
> I still believe that I could have experienced a cessation because a good portion of my existential crisis has evaporated.

That can happen from an A&P or any other insight stage as well - don't confuse paths with shifts. A lot of big shifts don't happen at path moments.

> What sort of description are you looking for when it comes to describing stream entry/cessation? What would have made you reconsider my description?

The best and most productive thing you could possibly do would be to look very closely at these questions and the sensations and feelings behind them. Who's asking? Why? Look at the desire to be first path, the need for mapping, the need to know where you are - that's all suffering, and your questions are pointing directly at where you should look.

To actually answer your questions, I'd want to see you be able to see the Hz frequency patterns in each insight stage, and then see them again in each review insight stage over and over again, and then start a new progress cycle where you see the Hz patterns again, and feel the difference between progress and review cycles. Reread the descriptions of Misery and Disgust in MCTB2.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 5:16 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
> Purposefully mixing irreversible shifts (insight) with passing experiences (A&P) to question one's process and comprehension? I don't quite understand the logic.

Any insight stage can result in irreversible shifts in insight. That's why they're called "knowledges." It is very common to get huge, irreversible shifts and deep insight into no-self from an A&P.

It's not that he's purposefully mixing A&P and path, he's just being very careful about diagnosing path when it could be an A&P event. It is often tricky to tell the difference.
I see. I do not think it is at all difficult to discern between the two.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 5:33 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Really? How do you tell?

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 6:36 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
> I still believe that I could have experienced a cessation because a good portion of my existential crisis has evaporated.

That can happen from an A&P or any other insight stage as well - don't confuse paths with shifts. A lot of big shifts don't happen at path moments.



^ To vamp on this, the shift of 1st A&P was probably 10 times greater than the shift following 1st path fruition in my experience. Stream entry was surprisingly subtle.      

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 7:08 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Yeah, my biggest shifts tend to be either before path (in Eq) or after (in Review).

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/20/18 9:18 PM as a reply to J C.
JC:
Are you suggesting there are two stages people go through:

A) centerless perception when awake but not while dreaming

B ) centerless perception while awake and while dreaming


Sort of - you would have to add the word "lucid" in front of centerless.  There are probably a very small number of human beings alive on the planet with this trait (nondual dream & dreamless lucidity).

I see any dream-type development as a different axis from insight and for me personally it doesn't seem relevant or important right now (though this may change). I rarely dream (or rarely remember my dreams) and I don't see the advantage of changing this. 


That sounds like a good approach.  I'm also not worried about it for my practice right now.

I read somewhere that if you don't think about your dreams and just let them go, you'll be less likely to dream or remember dreams, so this is what I try to do.


That also sounds good & true.  It's complementary with dream yoga rather than contrasting.  The goal of both is to disengage with any dualistic activity at night.

But I'm not sure stage A above exists: I suspect once you untangle the knot that it will carry over into dreams. Do you have a different experience?


See my initial comment for adding "lucid."  The perceptual shifts have continued into the dreams that I recall during the day.  But in those dreams, I was not metacognitively aware that I was dreaming.  And I am not aware of a string of consciousness through dreamless sleep.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/21/18 2:10 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I'm not understanding this at all. What does having awareness that you're dreaming have to do with insight, or enlightenment, or Bubba, or dualistic activity, or anything? It seems unrelated to me.

Someone who's Bubba is not going to have dualistic activity while dreaming, right, even if the dreams aren't lucid? So why would you need anything special to get rid of duality during dreams?

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/21/18 3:33 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Really? How do you tell?

Read my book, especially the chapter on Open Heart Bhumi Model. Thread on this forum.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/21/18 3:55 AM as a reply to J C.
JC:
I'm not understanding this at all. What does having awareness that you're dreaming have to do with insight, or enlightenment, or Bubba, or dualistic activity, or anything? It seems unrelated to me.

Surely the mind is one whole entity that includes conscious/subconscious, attention/awareness, id/ego/superego, 6-sense-doors, etc?  If we take these various components to be interconnected but not completely unified, it would mean that a realization in one part would not automatically transfer to the others.  For instance, a realization in conscious-perception of nonduality would not necessarily be automatically integrated with conscious-personality or unconscious-perception.  I won't even open up the can-o-worms that is somatic integration here.
Someone who's Bubba is not going to have dualistic activity while dreaming, right, even if the dreams aren't lucid? So why would you need anything special to get rid of duality during dreams?

Doesn't the very definition of Bubba involve awakeness?  Granted you defined it, not me.  Awakeness is that brilliance of consciousness which shines & knows itself in all of the various perceptual shifts (non-clinging to objects, increased clarity, body-to-surroundings, luminosity, panoramic, centerless, etc).  The extent to which a part of that mind does not know itself lucidly & consciously is the extent to which that mind is not fully awake.  That self-knowing matters.  Altered perception without metacognitive recognition is incomplete.  

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/21/18 4:28 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
But if you can't look at a picture how do you tell?

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/21/18 4:32 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Knowing whether you're dreaming isn't knowing something about the mind, it's knowing something about the outside world. You could compare to something like perfect pitch, pharmaceutical intake, or absolute direction. An enlightened being is not necessarily going to be able to identify a C sharp, determine their blood alcohol content, or know which way is north.

For instance, some people say this is all a dream - what would you say to an enlightened being who said our waking reality was actually a dream?

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/22/18 9:34 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
But if you can't look at a picture how do you tell?

Look in person.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/22/18 9:10 AM as a reply to J C.
I think that the measure of lucidity here is less related to "aware of objective circumstances" and more that everything in consciousness is aware of everything else, and knows that it knows.  To take an example from waking life, let's say that you're daydreaming about a social situation with a friend and that part of you is aware that you're daydreaming.  But is your mental impression of your friend aware that it's in your daydream, or is that information that's cordoned off from them?  To me complete lucidity would mean that that quality of stopping and really recognizing the current moment would be something that's inherent in everything all at once.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/22/18 11:05 PM as a reply to JP.
JP:
I think that the measure of lucidity here is less related to "aware of objective circumstances" and more that everything in consciousness is aware of everything else, and knows that it knows.  To take an example from waking life, let's say that you're daydreaming about a social situation with a friend and that part of you is aware that you're daydreaming.  But is your mental impression of your friend aware that it's in your daydream, or is that information that's cordoned off from them?  To me complete lucidity would mean that that quality of stopping and really recognizing the current moment would be something that's inherent in everything all at once.


well said

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/23/18 12:56 AM as a reply to JP.
Right but whether you're dreaming or not is not in consciousness. It's not a fact you have access to.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/23/18 12:57 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim, I meant how do you tell just from a verbal description?

Can I email you photos of me and have you look at them? I'm curious.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/23/18 3:37 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Kim, I meant how do you tell just from a verbal description?

Can I email you photos of me and have you look at them? I'm curious.

I very rarely verify stages from mere verbal descriptions, just because it is not very precise. Reading bhumis/stages is way more exact, although it requires training.

I haven't done analyses for others than my students in a while but sure, you can send me. See info here. I have a bunch of them waiting. Will get to them likely in few days but if I don't might take a week or two.

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/23/18 9:04 AM as a reply to J C.
To me, the thing that differentiates dream lucidity from regular dreams is a perceived sense of agency and having an open range of possibility rather than things needing to play out a certain way.  If it were a videogame, regular dreaming is like a cutscene where you can't control your character, while lucid dreaming is like having full control.  (Obviously that control is an illusion and it's just a mental state where a wider range of intentions and actions can arise, and without the world needing to proceed in a certain direction).

It's true that the moment that sparks that sense of agency/fluidity is often a moment of recognizing that one is in a dream, but it seems pretty plausible that the same sense could be present without the certain knowledge that you're in a dream.  I've had a few times when I've woken up from lucid dreaming after a nap and not been sure whether I was really awake or still dreaming.  Luckily that sense of agency and lucidity was still present, so I proceeded as if I was really awake.  

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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10/24/18 10:56 PM as a reply to J C.
Greetings folks!  I regret to inform you that in my long journey on the path, to enlightenment and beyond, I never saw any direct correlation between attainment and lucid dreaming.  This is unfortunate, because lucid dreaming is awesome, and a skill I have worked to develop at various points, but nevertheless it has been the reality.  

The point that this discussion focused on attainment and lucid dreaming misses however, is that lucid dreaming is, quite simply, astral projections' slightly dumpier cousin.  Lucid dreaming is in the mind, while astral projection involves a journey to an outside plane.  If lucid dreaming is a space flight simulator, astral projection is space flight itself.

If you all are interested in these things, feel free to help resurect my prior thread - Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection.  As noted there, talking about these things is beneficial for their practice - discussion brings them to the forefront of the mind, and stimulates their occurance. 

RE: Beyond 4th Path and Buddhahood
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6/7/19 7:30 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Just realized that I never clarified this for you Chris... 

So I am having trouble coming up with an exact defintion or criteria for 'perceptual shifts' as these are related to various aspects of perception.

For instance, there was an interview with Daniel and Robert Wright were Daniel mentions perceiving color differently since it isn't filtered and is much more direct (probably more vibrant?). In the same vein, some practitioners have described how awareness fills the larger visual field and their vision seems more wide as a result (panoramic). 

Many people talk about "luminosity" which seems like a major shift once it becomes a locked-in way of experiencing sensations. 

Centerlessness is a major shift in perception.

Agencylessness is a major shift in perception. 

Discussions/descriptions about how all sensations are a part of the same "volume" seems like a major shift as well. 

Nonduality (I realize that this is a loaded term) is a huge shift. 

Any changes related to time (future and past all occur now via thoughts).

Then again, even seeing that thoughts are thoughts and that body sensations are just body sensations (one of the most basic insights) gets more and more wired in as a real-time way of seeing (grokking). Maybe it isn't super profound at the beginning (although it certainly can be fore some) but once it has been fully grokked, it is incredibly profound as it is globally transformative. 

Perceptual shifts seem to take many forms from "I can see 'better'" to "these sensations are not separate from me and that seperatness is what caused any sort of suffering in the first place".

To me, shifts need to be "locked in" to a certain degree. Entering jhanas seems helpful and provides good informations about how to calm the bodymind, but it doesn't necessarily create a lasting view and so that may not be a perceptual shit.