Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/4/23 3:58 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/4/23 4:15 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Chris M 12/4/23 6:59 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Sha-Man! Geoffrey 12/4/23 5:58 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Chris M 12/4/23 7:12 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/4/23 10:34 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Sha-Man! Geoffrey 12/4/23 3:02 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/4/23 4:03 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Sha-Man! Geoffrey 12/4/23 4:51 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/4/23 5:01 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/4/23 12:29 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/4/23 4:04 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/5/23 4:25 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/5/23 12:30 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/5/23 2:10 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/5/23 2:33 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/5/23 3:33 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Soh Wei Yu 12/5/23 9:33 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/5/23 12:59 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Nick Chab Chab 12/5/23 2:50 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/5/23 5:03 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/5/23 4:38 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Bahiya Baby 12/5/23 4:56 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/6/23 2:14 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Bahiya Baby 12/6/23 11:30 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Bahiya Baby 12/6/23 11:36 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/7/23 10:36 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II J W 12/7/23 12:39 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/7/23 12:46 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/7/23 12:08 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/7/23 12:46 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Papa Che Dusko 12/8/23 4:37 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Papa Che Dusko 12/8/23 4:41 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Nick Chab Chab 12/7/23 1:31 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Sha-Man! Geoffrey 12/8/23 6:18 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/7/23 2:05 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Sha-Man! Geoffrey 12/8/23 3:40 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/7/23 3:36 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/9/23 7:38 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Martin 12/10/23 10:40 AM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Not two, not one 12/10/23 1:00 PM
RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II Ni Nurta 12/14/23 8:34 AM
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 3:58 AM
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Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

Posts: 1038 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Starting a new thread as the old one is unwieldy now and I am having trouble posting.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 4:15 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Chris, I can't post on this thread either.  I even typed it in from scratch to avoid hidden characters but it didn't work.  Maybe 903 words is too much!
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 5:58 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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I think this means your insight is too vast and deep for the internet to handle. Congratulations!
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 6:59 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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I don't know if there are comment size limits here, Malcolm. Obviously, you can post here, just not in large quantities, correct?
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 7:12 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Malcolm, I was able to create and save a 1,300+ word post on this topic just now. I don't think there is a problem on DhO. Can you please try again?
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 10:34 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Trying again ....

I just wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to everybody who has engaged with the dharma on this thread (and don't let me stop you engaging more!). It is great to see so many friends, old and new, sharing their perspectives here together. I also acknowledge all the comments of appreciation and friendship, and although I am not the type to reply to everything in the midst of deep discussions, I read them all, treasure them all, see you all.

JW asks what's next after fourth path?  Morality is the last training; the four right exertions, guarding the six sense doors, right speech, living with compassion. Also staying busy being born, or busy dying - this is actually the same as the four right exertions as it is about constantly remaking yourself.  Also watching the unfolding of causes and consequences and participating happily as a not-passenger. Remembering grace in every moment. Dwelling in the senses. Greeting the breath. You get the idea. Or wig out on concentration and perceive a different reality! (And this is also the same as the four right exertions.)

Also, a final thought on Rigpa. As I mentioned I didn't get my first two paths through the methods in MCTB, so I don't 100% align with the phenomenology and exact cycling talked about here (although it is pretty close).  I do see people talk about high equanimity but I don't think I have seen an account of exactly what they mean.  My suspicion is that it is equanimity overlaid with some mild positive regulation of emotions, mind and dharmas, to create an mild overlay of stable sensory illumination and wonder. You can work with that.

So, as a hypotheses, if you treat high equanimity as a jhana, and observe (vipassinize) the various jhana factors present, discriminate between these factors, and then relinquish the body, emotional, and mind factors, see them as subtly unsatisfactory (and the same for centering), then let your being push out into the expansive non-dual empty senses, have an absorption purely in the senses, then you may find some Rigpa. You can work with that like any other jhana factor, encouraging it and spreading it until your entire perceptual field is nothing but absorption the vivid beauty and grace of the dwelling in the senses.

Let me know if it works!

Malcolm  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 12:29 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Malcolm, I so love how you are turning the path into a celebration of life, of grace, of love and compassion, and in such a joyful manner. You truly embody that ongoing dance. 
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 3:02 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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I do see people talk about high equanimity but I don't think I have seen an account of exactly what they mean.  My suspicion is that it is equanimity overlaid with some mild positive regulation of emotions, mind and dharmas, to create an mild overlay of stable sensory illumination and wonder. You can work with that.

Oh, I can actually be pretty useful here (this comment is mostly for posterity’s sake, so if someone searches high equanimity they can see this summery). It's the territory I'm in, and I did a deep dive into the DhO backlog a few months ago before I joined, right before going on a big retreat. The TLDR is that high equanimity actually kinda a messy thing. My hunch is that there are a few common things that happen that aren't cataloged in MCTB, and so people tend to use that as a benchmark for low vs high eq. I got into these cause basically everything on this list started happening to me at some point. The things you see are

1. Head pressure, oozing, grinding around the forehead and crown charkra

Here's a thread they talk about it (control+f for oozing), and here's another thread (control+f for pressure). But you will see people say that the forehead pressure is both a sign they are in low eq vs high, or high eq vs low.

Moving from low to high EQ I get a rising of energy and attention more into the upper head. Often top of head tingling and pleasant sensations. Sometimes third eye pulsing and energy and sometimes that squeezing or compressing sensation that can be accompanied by a sense of darkening and entering a tunnel like area.
2. These like temporary intense equanimity states. This happened to me a lot more when I was in a more dark night/low eq phase, where you'd be walking along or doing something very calm and everything would expand, the world would feel amazingly 3d, visual acuity would spike, there would be basically no subject/object distinction, space would feel huge, sitting became a breeze, but there was an undertone of excitement and amazement, and the world seems super beautiful (when I got this on retreat I would just walk around and stare at how amazing the trees looked). I think its similar to what Jenny in the second thread is talking about

High EQ is sublime, feels regal. I'm calm and sit up straight as a queen for long sits with zero pain and nothing that feels like effort. The bordom is gone, but daydreams and fascination with whatever I'm focusing on ensue, naturally. Spaciousness is predominent, everything is okay, but I'm actually motivated to practice at this point because the equanimity is so, so nice. I don't even thirst for Path but just enjoy the equanimity, which I think is the most helpful attitude to go with.
3. Everything turning into vibrations

This is mentioned in the Ron Crouch insight map as high equanimity, but every time it's happened to me it just seems like it's a straight-up concentration state.

In high equanimity the meditator moves from “just sitting” to noticing a subtle and pervasive sense that the objects of meditation are vibrating. For example, you notice an itch on your cheek and it seems as if it is composed of thousands of fizzing bubbles rather than a single thing called an “itch”, you notice a feeling of tension in a muscle and it is almost sizzling with vibration, you notice a distant noise and it has a distinct humming quality about it like a microphone picking up dead air. For every object there is a clear visceral sense that it is vibrating.
And finally the MCTB definition

As practice matures, reality can be perceived with great breadth, precision, and clarity, and soon with no special effort. This is called “High Equanimity” (ñ11.j4 or ñ11.ñ11). It is the loss of any sense of the isolated, individual, effortful kazoo player, and there is just the symphony of ordinary reality happening on its own, as it is. The odd thing about High Equanimity is that most of the time you don’t notice you are in it. In fact, not noticing that you are in it is part of its hallmark. It can feel so normal that it might feel like terrible practice, if we were even thinking about such things, which is not nearly as likely in actual High Equanimity. Obviously, the problem with this is that some will think, “I don’t at all feel like I am in Equanimity, so I must be in Equanimity!” when, in fact, they are not. So, such advice must be taken in context.
This is a lot more how my practice looks these days, after I went on a retreat and had several 'flips' over to the other side (like my rupa sans head, craving, thoughts, head pressures a couple of times which gradually diminished it). It's basically periods of this, and then periods of that, plus the oozing. It really is super ordinary. But fun and enjoyable in a regular way (I've been loving my daily walks and hauling wood). 

Back to Riga,

So, as a hypotheses, if you treat high equanimity as a jhana, and observe (vipassinize) the various jhana factors present, discriminate between these factors, and then relinquish the body, emotional, and mind factors, see them as subtly unsatisfactory (and the same for centering), then let your being push out into the expansive non-dual empty senses, have an absorption purely in the senses, then you may find some Rigpa. You can work with that like any other jhana factor, encouraging it and spreading it until your entire perceptual field is nothing but absorption the vivid beauty and grace of the dwelling in the senses.
This actually sounds the most like 2, because of the awe and just sheer beauty of the sensory details.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 4:03 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Cool!  Thanks for that Geoffrey.  Yes the energy and head stuff seems a whole other thing.  I have tended to see it as a nervous system phenomena associated with meditation, rather than being a specific stage of insight. But I may have to rethink that.

What's the longest you have been in '2' for?
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö
Malcolm, I so love how you are turning the path into a celebration of life, of grace, of love and compassion, and in such a joyful manner. You truly embody that ongoing dance. 
Thank you, Linda.  :-) 
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 4:51 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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I'd say maybe the better part of a day? So like 6-8 hours.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago at 12/4/23 5:01 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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I would say that a whole lot of pressure in the head might indicate that there is more energy going through those pathways than they are ready for. Hard to tell, though, since people use words so differently. But also precicely for that reason (that people use words so differently), I'd say that talking generally about head pressure as a tell for eq is risky business. I can think of many different phenomena matching that description, some of which are harmless sensations of high concentration from a narrow focus (I think of that more as density) whereas others are quite alarming. So just to balance this, I would suggest that if there is any uncertainty as to health risks, it's better to step back a bit and cool things down and if possible talk it through with a thoroughly experienced teacher (well versed in possible risks) before moving further. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 4:25 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Centerlessness?
I get distinct 5th nana vibes... and not only from this one term but everything about what you choose to say and how you say it.

Could it be you are confused regarding nanas, paths, etc.?
Soh Wei Yu, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 9:33 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Not two, not one
Starting a new thread as the old one is unwieldy now and I am having trouble posting.


Thought this might interest you, an article I wrote on the different degrees of no-self/no-Self: https://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2020/04/different-degress-of-no-self-non.html

If the above interests you, you might also be interested to read my mentor's articles https://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html and https://www.awakeningtoreality.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html


One last thing. You mentioned about rigpa a lot, is your current experiential insight on the matter similar to Daniel Ingram:


From Dharma Overground,  Daniel M. Ingram:

Dear Mark,

Thanks for your descriptions and analysis. They are interesting and relevant.

I think of it this way, from a very high but still vipassana point of view, as you are framing this question in a vipassana context:

First, the breath is nice, but at that level of manifesting sensations, some other points of view are helpful:

Assume something really simple about sensations and awareness: they are exactly the same. In fact, make it more simple: there are sensations, and this includes all sensations that make up space, thought, image, body, anything you can imagine being mind, and all qualities that are experienced, meaning the sum total of the world.

In this very simple framework, rigpa is all sensations, but there can be this subtle attachment and lack of investigation when high terms are used that we want there to be this super-rigpa, this awareness that is other. You mention that you feel there is a larger awareness, an awareness that is not just there the limits of your senses. I would claim otherwise: that the whole sensate universe by definition can't arise without the quality of awareness by definition, and so some very subtle sensations are tricking you into thinking they are bigger than the rest of the sensate field and are actually the awareness that is aware of other sensations.

Awareness is simply manifestation. All sensations are simply present.

Thus, be wary of anything that wants to be a super-awareness, a rigpa that is larger than everything else, as it can't be, by definition. Investigate at the level of bare sensate experience just what arises and see that it can't possibly be different from awareness, as this is actually an extraneous concept and there are actually just sensations as the first and final basis of reality.

As you like the Tibetan stuff, and to quote Padmasambhava in the root text of the book The Light of Wisdom:


"The mind that observes is also devoid of an ego or self-entity.
It is neither seen as something different from the aggregates
Nor as identical with these five aggregates.
If the first were true, there would exist some other substance.

This is not the case, so were the second true,
That would contradict a permanent self, since the aggregates are impermanent.
Therefore, based on the five aggregates,
The self is a mere imputation based on the power of the ego-clinging.

As to that which imputes, the past thought has vanished and is nonexistent.
The future thought has not occurred, and the present thought does not withstand scrutiny."
I really found this little block of tight philosophy helpful. It is also very vipassana at its core, but it is no surprise the wisdom traditions converge.

Thus, if you want to crack the nut, notice that everything is 5 aggregates, including everything you think is super-awareness, and be less concerned with what every little type of consciousness is than with just perceiving them directly and noticing the gaps that section off this from that, such as rigpa from thought stream, or awareness from sensations, as these are golden chains.


......

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/95028

Aight, I'll jump in.

I do use the word "emptiness" loosely to refer to both Fruition and seeing things as they are, and this probably needs some revision. I fall into the same basic trap as the original dudes did with Nirvana, where they used it both to describe Fruition and to describe Arahatship. It is the same basic categorical ambiguity. The relationship between these is an age-old question, and is basically just one of categorization.

As to seeing "emptiness" in real-time, this is what anagamis do particularly well, especially those who have been them for a while, and what is means is that they can notice that sensations are just where they are, doing just what they do, on their own, not observed, not as object, but simply as manifesting transience. This comes as much from having clearly penetrated and understood the sensations that seemed to make up "subject" as it does about anything to do with "object". However, there are still processes that are somewhat artificially dualistic, distorted, subject-objecty, or however you want to put it.

As to primordial awareness, it actually becomes something of an extraneous concept at the end, as finally there is "in the seeing just the seen, in the hearing just the heard, in the feeling just the felt, etc.", and things being that simple, that direct, that untangled, is what makes the difference, and you can call it what you like.

Fruition is when reality vanishes in very specifically complete way and and then reappears. Primordial awareness is realized when one realizes there is no such thing as primordial awareness that is different from the field of transient manifestation, though there are various aspects of that understanding that can become the focus of attention, which is to say present themselves, and various linguistic ways to talk about this, some of which are clearly more ambiguous than others. 

...

Beware the seduction of the formless realms. They are very enticing. It is not that they do not convey something important, it is not that they don't write something very good and useful on the mind, and it is not that they don't provide some hints about things, but in the end they are conditioned. I actually highly recommend them to anagamis who are working on finishing things up, but not because they contain some truth that more ordinary mind states do not, as in the end, one has to find some aspect of things that is present at all times, in the most ordinary places and objects, something that was always true, something unconditioned, and, as all is transient, it ends up being something that is not bound up in the specific qualities.

The anagami is easily lead astray in various directions. They long for various artificial relationships between the ultimate and relative, with some of these being along the lines of:
-they want emptiness to be some transcendent superspace in which they rest untouched by phenomena
-they want emptiness to be something like the transcendence of the formless realms
-they want emptiness to be the complete disappearance of experience that somehow happens in realtime
-they want emptiness to be like some subtle other dimension that gives them a break from reality
-they want to go into Fruition and never come out
-they want emptiness to be some extra light or radiance or quality that gets added onto phenomena that somehow makes them better or more pleasant

These are all subtle or gross forms of aversion, desire, and ignorance. In the end, this is it, but there is some very real, straightforward, untangling of subject-object at its core that reveals why the dreams that the formless realms create and the paradoxical escape dreams that anagamis can fall into are not a realistic refuge, and also reveals something very simple about why the Buddha talked a lot about suffering.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 12:30 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Ni Nurta:
Centerlessness? I get distinct 5th nana vibes... and not only from this one term but everything about what you choose to say and how you say it. Could it be you are confused regarding nanas, paths, etc.?


Haha oh look it is the DhO! Anyway, dissolution? Sure, put me whever you want. I don't mind. Also of course dissolution is a flavour of one of the three major practices in the greater discourse on mindfulness, focussing on the ending of sensations, the vanishing.  As opposed to the beginnings, or the middle, or just that fact that there is a sensation. I really enjoy dissolution, it is one of my favourite nanas, and I notice it as it comes and goes, but it is not that common.

Ni Nurta, if you want me to *engage* with your question, how about asking it a bit differently. How about offering some detail on what you really want to know, or some comparisons from your own experience, or anything that invites more of a joint discussion than a drive-by shooting.  :-)  
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Thanks Soh Wei Yu, yes I do like your stuff on anatta, and have enjoyed reading insights from your community. It is not quite the language that I would use sometimes, or how I would organise things, so it is not completely framework that is right for me, but that is in no way a criticism.  It's good stuff.

And yes Daniel's desriptions certainly resonate with me; In case you missed it on the other thread I see this state (Rigpa or whatever) as a stage and really a kind of formless jhana, to be gone through and somewhat relinquished and eventually not to be clung to (although neurobiological changes get burned in and remain).

Actually, I have another bit of theory that tends to guide me, which is DO; My approach is to counter more or less every part of the chain of DO until we get to the point of being able to uproot ignorance. Some of the practices required are more profound that others. Some examples of counter practices or experiences for each stage are as follows, although obviously this is a partial list and there isn't necessarily a one-to-one correspondance:

Avijja - countered by knowledge, the end goal.
Salayatana - countered by Rigpa, but also other preparatory practices on moving consciousness.
Sankhara - countered by morality, body scanning, zapping with concentration, four right exertions etc.
Vinnana - countered by non-duality.
Namarupa - countered by emptiness
Contact - countered by mindful observation of the three marks of existence.
Vedana - countered by reversal, cemetary contemplations, making the beautiful repulsive, etc.
Tanha -countered by gaurding the six sense doors.
Upadana - countered by mindful observation of the three marks of existence.
Bhava - countered by the four right exertions.
Jati - countered by self enquiry.
Jamarama - countered by the other practices and by rooting up ignorance.

I'm not expecting anybody to agree with this, but it is how I think.

Malcolm

Edit:  Actually on reflection this more or less accords with your comment "It is my estimate that when someone says they have broken through to no-self, 95% to 99% of the time they are referring to impersonality or non-doership, not even non dual, let alone the true realization of anatman (Buddhism's no-self dharma seal)." As I would regard impersonality as countereing Jati and non-dual as countering vinanna.  Neither uproot ignorance on their own.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 2:10 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Not two, not one
Ni Nurta, if you want me to *engage* with your question, how about asking it a bit differently. How about offering some detail on what you really want to know, or some comparisons from your own experience, or anything that invites more of a joint discussion than a drive-by shooting.  :-)  

Nope, drive-by shooting is fine by me.
Unless perhaps you can uncover the great dharma mystery and describe in gruesome details what fruition does.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 2:33 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Ni Nurta:
Not two, not one Ni Nurta, if you want me to *engage* with your question, how about asking it a bit differently. How about offering some detail on what you really want to know, or some comparisons from your own experience, or anything that invites more of a joint discussion than a drive-by shooting.  :-)  
Nope, drive-by shooting is fine by me. Unless perhaps you can uncover the great dharma mystery and describe in gruesome details what fruition does.


First you have to appropriately define fruition Ni Nurta, and distinguish clearly between path moments, non-path cessations, and the fruit of practice as it is described in various evolving versions of the dharma. You also need to clearly distinguish between gaps in consciousness that are not fruitions, and fruitions that are not gaps in consciousness. While at it, you probably need to be clear on the differences between various descriptions of cessations, for example in the discourse on minfulness of the in-out breath, the greater discourse of mindfulness, in the Sutta of Dhammadinna instructing her ex-husband, in the Abidhammic tradition and the Mahasi tradition, MCTB's descriptions of cessation and fruition, and Culadasa's description of cessation. You also need to have some appreciation of how practice varies between individuals, and perhaps to indicate whether those who claim no cessations such as Zen are just a bunch of fraudsters or whether they also have the fruit of practice. (I am of the latter view.)

But of course I set you impossible task.  So here is a simpler one.  Open your heart my friend, be mindful.

And if my writings upset you, feel free to find better sources.

With love (and a slight edgy push back, I will not deny, but still with love)

Malcolm
Nick Chab Chab, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 2:50 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Very interesting thread !
A question to you all : can you still make love to your loved ones aka experiencing desire aka experiencing pressure on your senses to such an extent that you have to give in to it ? Do you crave a second piece of chocolate cake ? Do you feel pressured to take a second bite ? Seeing a stunning woman/man in the street, do you feel pressured to watch her/turn your head ? Listening to music, do you feel elated at the thought of the next song, wanting to keep on listening ? Most importantly, since path attainement have you ever felt you overeat at a meal ?
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 3:33 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Cannot answer simple question about nature of fruition?
How can we be sure you had the right kind then?
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 4:38 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Sorry Ni Nurta, I have nothing to say in reply that would meet your current needs. 

But, I would advise noticing that at the moment you are finding it difficult to concentrate on the centre or on precise details, and instead move your attention to be more wholistic and intuitive on the periphery of attention, as that is where things are currently seem to be presenting for you. Notice how emotions are arising and passing away, notice that they impermanent, not a part of you, and only a source of suffering if clung to. Keep doing this, perhaps alternating with meditation on the breath to regulate on the vagus nerve in support, and hopefully you will move back to equanimity before long. Another approach that I find useful to crack back to equnamity is to do guru yoga using the medicine buddha as an object - never seems to fail.

And if that doesn't work, the strongest medicine of all is forgiveness - forgive those that are troubling you (including me!). And forgive yourself. Try to see clearly that our subconscious sometimes smuggles in negative evaluations of others in order to support it's own duality, it's own self, in fear of the alternative. Reassure your subconscious, encourage it to be free of the fear.  I am ok. You are ok. We are all in this together and we can help one another, but we are human so we will fail a lot of the time too. That's ok.

So if I have annoyed you, or this advice is wrong, or too insufferably arrogant, I humbly ask your forgiveness.  :-) Blessings on you.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 4:56 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Malcolm !

I would love to know more about this. 

Super interesting. How did you come about this kind of practice and do you have any advice on where I might start. I have been reading bits and pieces on DO over the past few months. I find it tremendously interesting and at this point in practice feel I can see some aspects of it.

Avijja - countered by knowledge, the end goal.
Salayatana - countered by Rigpa, but also other preparatory practices on moving consciousness.
Sankhara - countered by morality, body scanning, zapping with concentration, four right exertions etc.
Vinnana - countered by non-duality.
Namarupa - countered by emptiness
Contact - countered by mindful observation of the three marks of existence.
Vedana - countered by reversal, cemetary contemplations, making the beautiful repulsive, etc.
Tanha -countered by gaurding the six sense doors.
Upadana - countered by mindful observation of the three marks of existence.
Bhava - countered by the four right exertions.
Jati - countered by self enquiry.
Jamarama - countered by the other practices and by rooting up ignorance.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/5/23 5:03 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Nick Chab Chab:
Very interesting thread ! A question to you all : can you still make love to your loved ones aka experiencing desire aka experiencing pressure on your senses to such an extent that you have to give in to it ? Do you crave a second piece of chocolate cake ? Do you feel pressured to take a second bite ? Seeing a stunning woman/man in the street, do you feel pressured to watch her/turn your head ? Listening to music, do you feel elated at the thought of the next song, wanting to keep on listening ? Most importantly, since path attainement have you ever felt you overeat at a meal ?


I think it is best to answer in general terms out of respect for others in our lives.  Very experienced teachers indicate that some lose sexual desire and some do not.  I'm not aware of any explanation why, although it might be related to genetics, personal history, practice history, or environment.

All those who reach the end of the path of insight will have a resiude reamining - this partly our basic biology and partly historical psychological tendencies. So you won't have purified everything, triggers will still arise, and you must choose how to deal with them. This is the four right exertions, part of morality, the last training relevant even for those who have reached the end. The amount of mental capacity available for the four right exertions or guarding the six sense door will depend on what else is going on in your life - more is available if you are in a monastery, less if you are a householder and working in a busy job.

But emotions don't stick, don't have a compulsive element. And it takes real conscious effort to build new habits and triggers. Practice has a different purpose that it did before - for regulation of the entity (and joy) rather than for obtaining insight, so pratice is less essential, less compelling. And there is nothing wrong with desire, that is just human!  But desire is under much more control, and MOST IMPORTANTLY there is no wallowing in the emotion that in turn creates new programming and ongoing arising of the sense of self.  The problem is being a slave to the triggers and wallowing in emotion, not the desire itself.

If you would like evidence to infor doctrinal disputes on these points, please have a look at the statues of an obsese Maitreya  or laughing Buddha.  Please investigate the history of Drukpa Kunley who coverted Bhutan to Buddhsim through sex and drunkeness.  And please read about the insights, drinking and sex of Chogyam Trungpa.  (These last two being crazy wisdom practitioners.)

I hope that is helpful!  It can be tricky to communicate these things accurately, and of course mine is just one perspective.  So here is a poem about happiness from Drukpa Kunley.  I have to say, there is slight element of self-justification in this poem, as he deals with the residue remaining.  He's still human right?  And to me this text has grown out of some doubt and concern over how others are perceiving him, and maybe whether his behaviour truly is justified.

I am happy that I am a free Yogi.
So I grow more and more into my inner happiness.

I can have sex with many women,
because I help them to go the path of enlightenment.

Outwardly I'm a fool
and inwardly I live with a clear spiritual system.

Outwardly, I enjoy wine, women and song.
And inwardly I work for the benefit of all beings.

Outwardly, I live for my pleasure
and inwardly I do everything in the right moment.

Outwardly I am a ragged beggar
and inwardly a blissful Buddha.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 2:14 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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 Hey Bahiya Baby, glad you find it interesting. This is something that I have synthesised from my own knowledge of the dharma and from personal observation. Understanding DO (dependent origination) is absolutely core to the later stages of the spiritual path, but its overt meaning has been somewhat obscured or even partially lost over time, giving rise to confusion, and in some cases doctrinal disputes. 

So this is how I regard it and rest assured others may well disagree!! Life is constantly unsatisfactory because we grasp after things that we are unable to possess. We can fix that, first by calming down the grasping, and then by looking internally to understand ourselves and how the body-mind systems operates. Once we do this we can see things are not what they think they are, and that part of our operating firmware and software that runs the system is faulty. By following the path of calm, concentration and insight, we can upload new firmware and software and get everything working much better. But we have to strip down all the links in the chain that leads to the unsatisfactoriness. These links are described in linear fashion, but actually they are interdependent and iterative with weird connections and repetitions, and have many hidden layers within each link.

So the first link is ignorance about the perceptual world. Then there is a cluster of links that describe the unfolding psychophyical being - more or less a version of the five aggregates of clinging, but partly at a slightly more abstract level. These are our volitional formations (sankharas), our sensory processing (salayatana, including the sense organs and the preprocessing in sensory cortices), the process of dividing our perceptions into the biographical self and the rest (vinnana), the ovelay of conceptual ideas onto perceived objects (namarupa) and then ongoing discrimination or perception as we apply our recognition mechnisms to clusters of perceptions to bring into being objects in the world (phassa or contact). Note that we are bringing into being only the phenomenal object that we perceive, not the physical matter that may exist independently of us.

Following this description of the psychophysical being are a series of links that describe how the being responds to the environment, and how it learns by incorporating feedback to maintain environmental homeostasis. These are the reactions to contact, with an initial positive or negative evaluation of stimuli (vedana), in some cases triggering desire or thirst from sankharas (tanha) and then grasping or wallowing in that desire (upudana) which is an attempt to bind to the object and coat ourselves in it and possess it as part of our identity, like hippopotamus wallowing in mud and covering itself totally in the dried mud, satisfied with nothing other than the mud being part of it's skin. When we wallow in this way we create new programming or triggers that will affect future behaviour (karma). Notice that it is not desire (tanha) that is the problem, but the desire that we wallow in, and incorporate into our sense of self (tanha with upudana). Then the last links are the creation of new triggers or sankharas or karma as a result of this wallowing (bhava), the intermittent arising of a sense of self as a result of this learning reprogramming (jati) thereby reinforcing the ignorant view that we are a separate enduring being, leading on to more anquish (jamarama).

Because it is all interlinked, the whole system is self-reinforcing.  That makes it hard to change. You might purify one link, but then the impurities tend to grow back in from triggering of adjacent processes. So it is a long slog to do the job.  However, sometimes a profound insight moment might cascade purification through more of the chain, or maybe even very rarely through the whole chain at once, and this is why uncle Sid advises that when insight arises, you should "squeeze the honey out of it".

In terms of how it affects practice, I would think you should just continue whatever practice you have chosen at first. 'Take the one chair'. But when the practice starts to run out, or face obstacles, or you have a sense you are not quite getting what you need, this kind of classification might help you to choose an extra practice, or even better find a dimension of your current practice that can be applied to a new link in the chain. Also, in general I recommend the sutta on mindfulness of the in-out breath and the greater discourse on mindfulness, as they contain complete systems for total liberation. But any well developed practice will cover most of these in various ways, and have elements that fill the gaps from other parts of their system.  For example, Tibetan non-dual traditions still incorporate tonglen, visualisations, and work on physical ecstasy.

The taxonomy I describe can also help you to discriminate between different phenomena and this can be good for making progress. For example, non-duality can be separated from emptiness by seeing that one is the non-arising of biographical separation, and the other is non-arising of conceptual overlays on perceptions (although obviously this is a kind of superset of biographical separation). Of course they are related and can arise together in various strengths and flavours, but being able to discriminate the subtle differences between them hammers another little bit of rust of the chain of dependent origination. And you don't have to clean off all the rust!  Just enough so that the chain can move freely and under your volition, instead of whipping you about in life like a scalded cat.  (Please excuse the wallowing in an appalling series of mixed metaphors!)

But also, the body-emotions-mind-dharmas path described in the suttas is really important.  Body is initially about calm and concentration, and later about sankharas. Then emotions grow naturally out of the focus on body (and start from it, really) but in this context are about understanding and controlling the feedback mechanisms, including getting the feedback mechanisms to do things on command. Right, 5 minutes of joy now!!!  ..... and ... stop. Then mind is about developing more profound insights, vipassinizing contact - spotting the exact moment of contact and seeing vedana and tanha follow within moments, then relinquishing that process, and purfiying the sankhara that squatted like a malevolent toad in the middle of that reaction. There are many other ways to vipassinize and purify sankharas - it is huge long process and sometimes quite shocking because we don't even see what we cling to, and we subconsciously defend some of our most cherised delusions rather well indeed.  Then dwelling in emptiness (non-arising of classification) and nonduality (non-separation) for a long time to burn in neurobiological changes to reduce biographical separation and endless pointless classification that is not really necessary.  This is really relaxing, once you give up all the cognition associated with those form and duality contractions, it's a real upgrade.  And then dharmas goes even deeper, into the bowels of our sense consciousness and the constrution of form and emptiness, self and the world.  This occurs in multiple stages through the path actually, so it too is a bit iterative, and involves a series of upgrades to sensory processing. Once you have really purified that too, and maybe reclaimed the natural mind (to choose from one particular tradition) you are ready to take the last step of rooting up the foundations of ignorance.  So hard, and yet so easy. 

If you find anything unsatisfactory in your current practice, understanding DO can help you to see HOW to move through the progressive path of purification. Working successively on body-emotions-mind-dharmas to reach liberation and uproot ignorance forever.  But sometimes you need to keep doing the same thing for quite a while to complete the rewiring.  If you listent to your intuition, it will tell you when to move on. 

Hope this helps.  :-)

With love

Malcolm 

 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 11:30 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Thanks Malcolm !!

I really appreciate that. Very informative and pertinent. 

Cheers !!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 11:36 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Ok, I respect I'm asking complicated questions and your answers are very detailed and understandable. I know that takes effort. I can't help but ask. 

How does that general process interact/integrate/overlay/ with the fetters?
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 12:39 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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" squatted like a malevolent toad "

lol

​​​​​​​I would support the continued use of such metaphors
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 12:46 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Glad it is useful.  I see I forgot to add the fundamental problem is that there is mismatch between our belief in the reality of objects, and the truth that they are really ephemeral results of our perceptual processing. Hence, we can't be satisfied, because we imagine that our imaginings have a separate enduring existence and it just ain't true. It's as if when we finally grasp our dreams, they disappear. And we come up empty handed, disappointed.  Dukkha.  

Ok, I will produce an answer for the next question. I feel like GPT 4 after a heavy prompting session! Let me search my hidden layers and autocomplete for you ... 

"How does that general process interact/integrate/overlay/ with the fetters?  Well it's like this. After much initial progress in meditation, the flash of insight at stream entry reveals the basic truth that you can't unsee, and ignorance, doubt and religious clinging (or aversion) is severely weakened or gone because you see your old default view of reality was just plain wrong and the dharma is right. Then you can really start the heavy work on the emotional system and make progress on the fourth and fifth fetter, or get more big cessations that do most of that for you. But really you need to go deeper into the mind and perceptual processing to truly reduce those fetters to more or less nothing. However, the process of doing all this work and building your meditation practice generates some skill and pride and craving around the dharma and jhanas, and ego extension from your admittedly astonishing skills. So you have to go all the way to finally realise ... yeah that was all wrong. How ignorant. I can't believe I used to think I was important or godlike in my meditation skills. What a laugh. Actually, now I really see the truth of suffering, and that to reach the end of the path, you finally (not too quickly!!) have to give up the path. But I think I'll hang around and tell the junior monks they have to tickle my toes and cook my food 'cos that sounds a lot easier than working for a living." 

The last bit is of course ironic, and the skilled monks will make a huge contribution to others and make very good choices and should be wonderful people ... but I am pointing at the ludricous idea of seeing these people as sacred. They are just human. Pretty good humans, hopefully, but human.  And we are all just as precious as each other.  A boy in a field is just as important as a king, the son of an elephant tamer is just as important as a skilled yogi. :-). Uncle Sid lived this truth every day.

I should maybe add that Burmese-style vipassana (called the path of the body witness in the suttas) can be a bit of a shortcut at the start for the first three, and then the first five fetters, if you can hack it. But try to calm the body and purify the worst sankharas first, or you could be in for a really wild ride.  But perhaps that is ancient history for you?

You can ask more questions if you want. Replies might be delayed, but talking the dharma is the best conversation.  And if anything was not clear, feel free to ask for clarification.

Malcolm
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 10:36 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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According to the same tradition which gave us descriptions of fruitions the person is supposed to work multiple lifetimes to attain Stream Entry and with a bit more effort than what people describe. Yet I am supposed to believe that so many arhats exist?

Maybe what Daniel and others wannabe-arhats says about traditions under-estimating this has some merit to it but what I would expect is Stream Enterers to be able to notice obvious things about things they say they are not only mindful of but are actively 'investigating' and have deep realizations about.

If I do not see fruits of their investigation but the same old nonsense from fairlytale books, something about deep realization of non-duality, deep realization of insight of non-experience, deep realization of bla bla bla, then I just do not believe the person who makes such claim they had realized anything.

So pardon my low estimates and skepticism.
Also I mighgt have overestimated your nana. If I did then I am deeply sorry.
Nothing worse than conceit... it is even worse than all the clinging ascetic rules and obsessing about identity.
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 12:08 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Hi Ni Nurta, adopting your frame of reference for moment, can you answer me this: ​​​​​​​What makes you think this is my first lifetime?

Edit:  Ni, it's a bit hard to interpret your last comment.  You say overestimate which sounds like another drive-by shooting. :-). but maybe you mean underestimate?  I don't really mind either way.  And I think you do raise some interesting issues and I would be happy to discuss them a bit more.  If you meant underestimate and really are sorry instead of being ironic about being sorry, then there is no need to be. Please just accept my regard and good wishes and know that we are all in this chaotic world together, trying out best, and trying to learn to do even better.  Love - Malcolm 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 12:46 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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So far nothing makes me believe it is your last. Maybe you are shy or something but from what you 'put out' I* just don't feel it emoticon
I also do not think you understand the weight of your claims.

In dogma of pragmatic dharma no such thing exists and attainments are defined differently than what Buddha understood them as.
Even here I do not think you have 'done' what Daniel did cause I cannot feel the defining quality from you which I identified as what he refers to when he claims 4th path. It doesn't have to be exact but it has to pass the threshold of similarity. Many people claim 4th path when they did something else and it just doesn't feel right, regardless what they developed of its own merit. There are 'solutions' to issue which were always possible but as you can imagine if you read Daniel's testimony he had meanigful contact with references to aim to - and it is hitting these references what he understood as his attainment.
I mention Daniel here because IMHO when you enter a temple and claim what head monk claims it is your responsibility to be able to have what said head monk has - not the other way around. I guess this is how it goes.

So can you make your mind feel as sharp as Daniel mind is?
Or going to even bigger temple of Theravada - can you make your mind feel as sharp as Mahasi Sayadaw mind feels like?
And going to even bigger temple of Buddhadharma - can you make your mind as sharp as Buddha mind feels like?
And going to even bigger temple of reality itself - can you make your mind as sharp as God itself is?

In my definition of 4th path it is the last one - and by 'can you?' I do not ask any question - you either can or you do not, no need to claim that. If you want to answer something then describe... Stream Entry. It is 3rd from the list - and it doesn't mean you have to dwell in Nibbana all the time but it should be a choice you can make on a whim because that means you have attained it. To attain it also mean to have mindfulness which can in fact describe Stream Entry in the way another Stream Enterer expects - showing you actually were mindful and know how mind works and what we are.

This is my understanding and my criteria for claiming 4th path.
If you can live up to the hype act accordingly.

...or whatever. I just think you have ways to grow and claiming 4th path is like throwing a towel no matter what definition of 4th path you use. At least in that definition of being 'done' everyone here agrees but some people seem to misunderstand the meaning of being done... They all also stop any progress - which is a shame because they have room to grow.

Metta Fruitions,
Ni

*) Did I mention I designed my perception based on pure understanding of how neuron networks can process information more efficiently taking  development of physical sense (mostly eyesight) while taking care I do not make them have more activity than they feel comfortable having at any given moment? Your mind has to be worthy of praise to get the real 4th path perks. Buddha didn't even attempt that cause he thought he can escape in to Nibbana forever... knowing damn well it won't last and it didn't. Even Buddha didn't live up to his own ideals he taught. He was, after all, just a human, like we all. His mind however was very impressive. Or actually still is. It didn't went anywhere, nothing does.
Is your mind impressive enough?
Are you really ready to be 'evaluated'?
Celebration from having improvements and all that good stuff is one thing but if you do you should know your place when you didn't in fact put all the effort you could to get what you say you got. Overclaiming is the very definition of conceit. Saying you removed fetter of ignorance is the very definition of fetter of ignorance. Even God itself didn't remove its ignorance - that is what this reality is for, duh...
Nick Chab Chab, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 1:31 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 1:31 PM

RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Hey Ni, 
I think most of advanced practioners know that many arhats here are usually just sotapanna. I don't think they are to blame though ! It's just that the criteria is unclear for them and everything gets mudded. Here is a very instructive post that everyone claiming arahantship or any realisation should read. 
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 2:05 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Nice, now we are getting somewhere! You are welcome to evaluate and we can talk more about this.  I will write again soon when I have time and will discuss bodhisatva path, clinging to formless realms, two types of arhats, multiple paths to insight, selection bias, and so forth. We can have some fun!  Meanwhile, here is something I wrote on this forum about my stream entry experience. I was second path when I wrote this.

"I had spent months consumed with understanding consciousness and buddhism, supported by meditation. I was reading a relevant philosophical book in a very deep state of concentration. My mind was totally focussed on the text, with no awareness of anything else.  At the very instant I read the last word of the book - bam!  There really is no self - leading on to direct realisation of the other two characteristics, 40 minutes of deep samadhi looking out the window, bliss waves, changed perceptions, some ongoing bliss waves and laughter for the next few weeks, a permanent reduction in clinging, some life changes.

"Nowadays, I would interpret this using Culudasa's framework.  That is, my subminds were in agreement and totally concentrated on processing the words of the book. This striving intensified in the last few pages, right up to the very last word.  So when the book ceased, my sub minds remained completely focussed, but suddenly lost all input.  So I think that must have led to a brief cessation.  I just got really lucky."

This is jnana yoga, or scholar monk.  It seems to be very rare these days.  Other teachers I have spoken to have said I am the only one they have met that got stream entry this way.  By the way, the description I wrote about does not really hint at the depth of what went on.  For example, I gave up martial arts for many months despite having trained for over 30 years - it just became inconsistent with my existence for a while.

:-) More soon!

Malcolm
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 3:36 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Oh by the way Ni Nurta and Nick Chab Chab, now that I have shared my stream entry experience, could you please share as well?  After you do that I'll happily continue the discussion.

:-)

​​​​​​​Malcolm
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 4 Months ago at 12/8/23 3:40 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Out of curiosity, what was the philosophical book?
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 12/8/23 4:37 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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Ni Nurta
So far nothing makes me believe it is your last. Maybe you are shy or something but from what you 'put out' I* just don't feel it emoticon



Oh I see Ni also joined this discussion emoticon Ha! 
Here is a perfect presentation of real awakening and real path to awakening! I hope you can feel this one! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYgEn_xQQKI
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago at 12/8/23 4:41 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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and here is the REAL cessation! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkbptXtxwWg
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 4 Months ago at 12/8/23 6:18 PM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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It's these 10 vague concepts translated by a guy from NYC who based his translations off of a monk from the 60s who used a first gen English-pali dictionary based off of scriptures that were orally passed down for several hundred years before being written down in a dead language and from secondary sources (but don't worry, you can trust them, after all, the guy's cousin had a photographic memory!)

What's so unclear about that criteria?
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/9/23 7:38 AM
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RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

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17 or 18 years ago I had fun idea to stop using that control signals which felt like sense of self and I had fruition shortly afterwards. I would also completely change focus of mind and not use the same control signals there for awareness and focus. I would also synchronize hemispheres as you do - quite a bit changes for very short period of time. That is why I didn't even put that much attention to this fruition thing - new parts of brain were stated to be also used - especially after that blip which was just moment of change preceded by sequence of fist cancelling activity and new part of mind being assigned to take responsibility. There are many ways to switch active parts of brain after initialization and various aspects of these skills (if I wanted it to be skill I treated it as skill) took lots of time using until it things would work correctly. Parts of mind had to learn how to executes these actions.

What captured my attention even more than being able to focus on Nibbana and seeing it as happening for like 99.9...% of the time with occasional wave of activity was having synesthesia. I eventually stopped experiencing so much Nibbana because I figured how I can have activity in sense of self that is there but not really in the way that makes it feel like what I chose not to do - and choosing to use this better way was 4th path.

Where it comes to e.g. identity and when I realized there is no sense of self - I remember I was reading some article about meditation or something like that and they mentioned sense of self quite and ego quite lot as if realizing it not existing was goal of spiritual practice. I checked if I moved my hand when I moved my hand - it didn't feel like I moved my hand, didn't feel like sense of self was tangible phenomena and more like some kind of experience of pressure or muscle-tension. It was kinda obvious there is nothing to investigate there and at most have less tension cause my body felt tense at the time.

I could not imagine how not having tense body feels like at the time and what it entails but otherwise I imho nailed it. Didn't fell in to this 'cosmic joke'. That said I did develop some issues with sense of self during years on the path which I then had to fix - also why I avoid not using parts of brain completely and rather just using them correctly. Of course by doing anything, using anything, etc. I mean mind being made from collection of consciousnesses which are themselves collections of consciousnesses and they all connect and form various consciousnesses means various consciousnesses just make choices and have activity - which isn't about one part controlling other but rather cooperation. This cooperation kinda sucked for years and what other paths were about. Also I can say I saw it all already at 1st path and its true and for most of the time I wasn't confused and often everything would work fine - the issue was some parts of brain were like ox from Zen ox herding pictures. Some were okay but something new happened and they didn't know how to behave.

I didn't want it to be like taming a wild beast so I had to be patient and work with my mind. Parts of the mind which I know can pull it off can just work with rest of the brain to help this process. I at some time just started using visual cortex to train rest of my brain. BTW. The whole idea was to improve eyesight and it improved quite a lot.

So that would be my dharma story - I put all my dharma eggs in to the mindfulness basket.
Regarding fruitions they stopped happening some time after they initially happened. I didn't have particular need to experiment with them having so many things to try out and they did too much ruckus. I would do such experiments and also do process of insight after reading MCTB but after a year I would decide to move away from fruitions - there are some negative side-effects to having fruitions and they are not needed for anything really. Process of insight of course is natural phenomena and has some dynamics but it is different keeping running it on more or less normal mind patterns and just choosing to not have such activity at all. In this case after few 'passes' I satisfied my curiosity and didn't feel the need to continue.

BTW. It all sounds super easy in these descriptions - in reality moment to moment experiences had some issues and especially - and what I had to drill in to my head - was that bad activity patterns cannot be and should not be fixed. All they do is make more brain do bad activity. The way out is just not do them at all. No need to have fruition for part of the brain to make choice to not have certain type of activity and that is why imho fruitions are overrated.

I might even go as far as to ponder if this whole fruition thingy isn't just old ascetic concept. I can easily imagine there being concepts like fruits of practice which Buddha also used to describe different things and they being reimagined incorrectly later on and where from we have these concepts. It is my gut feeling.
Martin, modified 4 Months ago at 12/10/23 10:40 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/10/23 10:40 AM

RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

Posts: 797 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for taking the time to write this out, Ni. Thanks, as well, to Malcolm. It's inspiring and just generally helpful to read about the nitty-gritty in development experiences. 
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Not two, not one, modified 4 Months ago at 12/10/23 1:00 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/10/23 12:57 PM

RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

Posts: 1038 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Yes indeed, thanks so much Ni.  Let me pick up fruitions first. I agree with you. I think that they originally referred to the fruit of practice. MCTB type fruitions are a specialist practice that has the advertised effects for first and second path, but it is not necessarily the only way to go, and the benefits of the practice tail off over time hence the move to other mind- and perceptual-based practices. From my own experience, the first two path moments were nonetheless exactly as described in MCTB with astonished realisation and a kind of twisting of reality and reboot with a completely different perspective and all the things that might be expected in review, although I didn't notice time gaps. After one of these I even got the divine taste - a complete taste sensation hallucination/siddhi of a rich and succulent red berry fruit to the point of being indistinguishable from reality. Daniel laughed when I told him this and said "a fruit fruitiion!!"  Lol.

Given how accurate Daniel has been about all of this, I imagine the time gaps were absolutely there, but just not the focus of my investigation and thus less notiecable for me. Afterwards, in review, I could continue to twist reality at will and produce more bliss waves and mini-reviews, and I can still do that with a little bit of effort, but generally can't be bothered.

I also find the Culavedalla sutta really fascinating. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.044.than.html.  It is an incredibly clear description of meditative develoipment, if you have the background knowledge. As part of that there is a descrption in that of "cessation of perception and feeling" but to me it clearly refers to insight cessation not the formless jhana, with descriptions of shutdown and reboot of formations and the presentation of one of the three doors of liberation (the clincher that it is a cessation). I think this may be the only phenomenal description of a cessation in the Suttas! This interesting thing about this is that Dhammadinna presents it as something that only has to be done once, and then moves on to relinquishing passion obsesson by developing jhana pratice and relinquishing resistance obsessions through non-resistance to pain, and then abandoning ignorance through equanimity. This is all rather shorthand for the very hard work required, as you note. She makes it sound so simple!  :-). So I think some kind of cessation is probably required, but may not always be noticed as such in some traditions.

I think many people however do not know how to follow the path described by Dhammadinna, and will get a glimpse of some formless realm and not know how to process it or put it in context, and this can easily lead to a kind of mystical clinging. This lack of understanding may also lead to evaluation, ego, restleness etc. The last five fetters really.  However, it is interesting to note that in the Sutta's there are two types of Arhats - those whose minds are unsurpassed and those whose minds are not. In other words, those with access to the formless realms and those without access to the formless realms. So formless realms are incidental to insight development (although obvioiusly pretty useful). There are even arguments over whether any jhana is required for liberation, or alternatively whether anything beyond first jhana is required (because as you note, Ni, the real deal is mindfulness, and the purpose of concentration is at least in part to enable mindfuless). Although I can't imagine how you can become liberated unless you at the very least uncork Piti and get your energetic system flowing more smoothly. Similarly, experience of nimitta varies hugely between people.  So if you take the Pau Auk Sayadaw type of jhana pratice, there may be selection bias in that only one particular type of person may attain what he teachers.  But the original dharma was for all people so I think that there is a hazard in modern practices; people may think that if a practice is successful then it is the true way - when it may only be the way for some people!  So people may overestimate the value of their particular practices because they see it working for some, but don't necessarily see those for whom that practice does not prosper, but for whom other practices will be successful.  Hence doctrinal arguments may be fruitless consequences of selections bias leading traditions to work for some people but not others.

Similarly, I have read or heard both Leigh Brasington and Pau Auk Sayadaw say they are Anagami not Arhat. To an Arhat this is obvious right? Because they cling so much to jhana! To progress they would have to give up this clinging to their most cherished possession, and their identities so carefully cultivated as Jhana teachers. That is a very big ask. But nor is my comment a criticism - they have given up their own progress to help others with jhana and this is the very definition of the incredibly admirable Bodhisattva path. They are wonderful people doing very admirable things, and if they have progressed since I read of their self evaluations then that is also wonderful. But if they are anagami they do not know fourth path, their students are even less likely to do so. Some students may be overwhelmed with partly understood boundless experiences, and consumed to extend those in discussion of the dharma, but really they are likely unable to communicate with those who have fourth path because they cannot conceive how different the experience is from a boundless realm, and do not share the frame of reference. 

For myself, I do not experience hard boundless jhanas, I suspect because of decades of martial arts training making me very integrated with the body. But I experience the boundless jhana factors, and some of the ancilliary events - extreme calm, slowness of breath, partial (but never quite full) disappearance of sensations. I can fairly easily do the reversal from space to consciousness, and relinquish from there.  I experience many other states from that point, and some might fall within the standard formless realm factors and some do not (the brain is pretty amazing).  So I would characterise myself as having mind that is NOT unsurpassed, in the lingo of the sutta translations - I am one type of Arhat, not the other.  The second rate version!!  :-). Also, modern interpretations of Arhats might include extreme moral purification, or extreme concentration practices and I don't have those.  But of course remember that Uncle Sid characterised the siddhis (which are extreme concentration practices) as a dead end!!!  And also, any Arhat can tell you (but they usually won't because it isn't right speech), that morality is an simply an arbitrary mental formation, although compassion becomes a baseline state due to the rooting up of ignorance. On the other hand, in the Suttas Arhats were specialists in different areas, and Uncle Sid would send yogis to different Arhat's for training dependent on their needs.  Pretty obviously my specialist area is investigation, scholarship and secondarily mindfulness, and not jhana or morality.  I am definitely not the same as Daniel.  :-). 

So I think I have avoided calling myself an Arhat, as I don't meet any of the modern criteria people use. I am only an Arhat in the useless, narrow, irrelevant, technical, sense that Uncle Sid used the word.  :-).  I built a creaky raft and just made it over to the other shore, and I look back now at those with amazing jet boats zipping up and down the river, huge pleasure palaces with jacuzzis and bars and jet ski hangers, some people even with foiling windsufers showing a purity of experience as they travel consumed in their simplicity, and I think to myself, "why don't you all just come over here?"


Avalokiteshvara
while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!

Cessation, Cessation, Perceptual Opening, Totaly Gone, Oh Yeah! 
First, second, third, fourth. Far out man!
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/14/23 8:34 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/14/23 8:34 AM

RE: Some reflections on the phenomenology I experience with 4th Path II

Posts: 1100 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Not two, not one
However, it is interesting to note that in the Sutta's there are two types of Arhats - those whose minds are unsurpassed and those whose minds are not. In other words, those with access to the formless realms and those without access to the formless realms.

Do you mean formless realms as experiences described as infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness and neither perception nor non-perception?

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