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Re: [dsg] Re: Satori?

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  • LBIDD@webtv.net
    Hal: I believe you ve only listed 9 out of the 10 defilements of insight (_uppekha_ can also be a defilement of insight), the last being attachment itself
    Message 1 of 28 , Sep 30, 2005
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      Hal: "I believe you've only listed 9 out of the 10 defilements of
      insight (_uppekha_ can also be a defilement of insight), the last being
      "attachment" itself (_nikanti_)."

      Hi Hal,

      You're right. I didn't catch it. The text says there are 10 defilements
      but only lists 9.

      I didn't really look into this list before, but giving ~Nanarama's
      booklet a quick skim I can't really locate the Consciousness Only view
      or experience among these defilements. If anything, I might put it in
      the "Purification of View" stage as an alternative view of nama and
      rupa. To use an analogy from the next stage (Purification by Overcoming
      Doubt), a fire that burns dependent on logs is reckoned as a "log-fire"
      [but it is first and foremost a fire]. Likewise, a consciousness
      dependent on eye and forms is reckoned as an "eye-consciousness". [But
      that form over there is an eye-consciousness.] Brackets indicate the
      alternative view. I don't really see any reference to the Consciousness
      Only experience in Theravada sources but I don't think it is
      incompatible.

      Larry
    • buddhatrue
      Hi Larry (Hal, Dan, Howard, and Robert K.), Thanks again for you succinct answers. I asked this question because I was wondering if there was a corresponding
      Message 2 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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        Hi Larry (Hal, Dan, Howard, and Robert K.),

        Thanks again for you succinct answers.

        I asked this question because I was wondering if there was a
        corresponding description in Theravada to satori. I am getting the
        impression from the discussion that there are some minor references
        but nothing really significant. This is probably because the
        emphasis of Theravada and Zen are quite different. Orthodox
        Theravada (including the entire Pali Canon- Abhidhamma and
        commentaries) emphasizes a slow and gradual path, while Zen emphases
        a quick and sudden path- Instant Enlightenment. Personally, I tend
        toward the Zen perspective because I discount the Abhidhamma and
        some of the commentaries. Perhaps I don't really qualify as a
        Theravada Buddhist? (But I think I am just a theravadan rebel like
        Nanavira Thera ;-))

        As far as the question: Did I experience anatta during my satori
        experience? Not really, but maybe a bit. The problem is that while
        there was a breakdown of subject and object, and there wasn't a
        separation between me and everything around me- there was still
        a `me' in the picture. I hadn't let go of `me' during that
        experience. Now, Howard sounds like he had a much deeper satori
        experience where he actually did let go of `me'- and the result was
        terrifying. But, as they say, when you fall off the horse you have
        to get back on again ;-)). (Best wishes Howard with your continuing
        mental development).

        Finally, the subject was raised about the imperfections of
        practice/insight and how such a satori experience might condition
        attachment to the experience. Again, as a member pointed out, that
        will depend on the person and what latent tendencies they have in
        their mind (in Zen there is the term "good spiritual roots" or a
        lack thereof). As for myself, I found the satori experience as an
        indicator that I was doing something right and that the Buddha had
        indeed taught the right path. I tested his path for myself and
        found my mind transformed, albeit temporarily- but it was still
        encouraging. I haven't had such an experience for a long time
        because I haven't been meditating extensively like in the past. Now
        I am focusing more on study since I don't have a teacher to guide me-
        I have to be my own teacher. Later, I will get back to meditating
        extensively (I just hope I don't get hit by a bus first! ;-))

        Metta,
        James
      • Nina van Gorkom
        Hi Larry and all, I know nothing about this subject, but I understood that one has to go through the stages of tender insight before there can be vipassana
        Message 3 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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          Hi Larry and all,
          I know nothing about this subject, but I understood that one has to go
          through the stages of tender insight before there can be vipassana
          defilements. That is quite something, is't it?
          It means that one directly realizes seeing now as being different from
          visible object, and that one also has begun to see the arising and falling
          away of nama and rupa separately, one at a time.
          If this is not the case then a person's extraordinary experiences must be
          due to other conditions, stemming from the past, even past lives.
          The development of concentration can lead to superpowers like walking on
          water, flying through the air. Concentration may be right concentration,
          kusala, or wrong concentration, akusala. Both may have as effect special
          experiences.
          Rob K gave as example that he had a radiating appearance that others noticed
          and he found out that this was due to lobha. Lobha can play us tricks,
          taking into consideration the inherent tendency to it we all have.
          When jhaana is the right jhaana it is accompanied by paññaa and it has as
          effect being removed from the hindrances such as lobha and dosa.
          When one takes delight in special experiences or there is fear (dosa,
          conditioned by lobha), one has to scrutinize oneself as to the presence of
          the hindrances.
          Also: does such an experience have a positive effect on one's daily life? Is
          there more understanding of seeing, thinking, lobha or dosa at this moment?
          This is the test.
          Also: such experiences are condiitoned dhammas, they do not arise without
          conditions, and then they are gone immediately. What is the use of clinging
          to them, or thinking of them again and again?
          As to the three characteristics, realizing them is very precise. One may
          have great confidence in anattaa, be firmly convinced of this truth, but it
          may still be on the theoretical level, that is, so long as this dhamma
          appearing now or that dhamma appearing now is not realized then and there as
          non-self. If that is not the case, the wrong view of self cannot be
          eradicated.
          Nina.

          op 01-10-2005 01:28 schreef LBIDD@... op LBIDD@...:
          >
          > My experience of Consciousness Only is identical to yours. It arose
          > after meditative concentration on rupa. The sense of being apart from
          > external phenomena dissolved and with it the fundamental dualism of self
          > and other. This school is also called Yogacara because meditation (yoga)
          > is a major factor. In the Middle Way analysis is the major factor.
          >
          > Another way to experience "nothing to cling to" is simply by means of
          > impermanence.
        • Dan D.
          Dear Howard, I m not ready to make any conclusions about your experiences or understanding (and I hope I never get to the point where I presume to be ready),
          Message 4 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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            Dear Howard,
            I'm not ready to make any conclusions about your experiences or
            understanding (and I hope I never get to the point where I presume to
            be ready), so my questions are about the Dhamma in general, not so
            much about *you*.

            Comments interpersed...

            <snip>

            > > However,
            > > without the shattering of the illusion of continuity and the
            > > perception of the breakup of the stream of experience, can it be
            with
            > > anything beyond a soft, conceptual understanding of anatta?
            > >
            > -------------------------------------------
            > Howard:
            > I speak only for my own experience. I agree in one respect
            and
            > disagree in another.
            > The disagreement first: All sense of personal self/identity
            was
            > entirely gone - hence it was not just a "conceptual" experience,
            and since that time
            > I have had an experience-based incontrovertible disbelief in a
            personal
            > self, and hence also in any things known by a self.

            --> Dan: The reason I ask the question is that my understanding is
            that the tilakkhana are akin to one another (as applied to sankhata
            dhamma), and that in later reflection about the perception of one, it
            becomes clear that the others were characteristics as well, but the
            perception of the one was predominent. For example, suppose the
            meditator observes a flickering of consciousness, i.e. objects arise
            and fall so rapidly that the mind seems to be flickering -- no sense
            of continuity at all. This same "phenonomenon" would be perceived as
            anicca if the impression is "dhammas arise and pass away rapidly", it
            would be perceived as anatta if the impression is "dhammas have no
            handle to grasp", or it would be perceived as dukkha if the
            impression is "dhammas are not worth grasping at". Unless all three
            characteristics were evident (at least in retrospect), I'd be
            skeptical that it was more than conceptual insight, regardless of how
            convincing it may have seemed.

            <snip>

            > -----------------------------------------
            > Howard:
            > My experience was more terrifying than "cool"! ;-)
            > ----------------------------------------

            What specifically was terrifying?


            Metta,

            Dan
          • Dan D.
            Dear RobertK, I agree with you, Robert, that what most people take as vipassanupakkilesa are nothing of the kind and are just deluded states based on some
            Message 5 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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              Dear RobertK,
              I agree with you, Robert, that what most people take as
              vipassanupakkilesa are nothing of the kind and are just deluded states
              based on some experience, nothing to do with the path. However, it is
              not helpful (and even damaging) to prejudge an individual case
              as, "Most people get this wrong, so you are wrong as well." If you see
              an error, point it out rather than insinuate to one that others are
              deluded.

              With much appreciation,

              Dan



              --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "rjkjp1" <rjkjp1@y...> wrote:
              > Dear Hal,
              > I suppose it goes without saying (but I say it anyway) that what most
              > people take to be vipassanupakilesa are nothing of the kind - they
              are
              > rather just deluded states based on some experience, nothing to do
              > with the path.
              > Robertk
              >
              > In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Hal" <halwilson@g...> wrote:
              > > Hi Larry,
              > >
              > > Thanks for the snippet. As you say, the defilements of insight are
              > so
              > > called, not because of the meditative experience itself, but
              because
              > > of the unwholesome tendencies that arise in response to these
              > > experiences. The _vipassanupakkilesas_ mark the tender phase of
            • upasaka@aol.com
              Hi, Dan - In a message dated 10/1/05 10:11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ===================== Absolutely nothing to hold onto - the ground slipping out
              Message 6 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                Hi, Dan -

                In a message dated 10/1/05 10:11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                onco111@... writes:

                > >-----------------------------------------
                > >Howard:
                > > My experience was more terrifying than "cool"! ;-)
                > >----------------------------------------
                >
                > What specifically was terrifying?
                >
                =====================
                Absolutely nothing to hold onto - "the ground slipping out from under
                my feet," rather like being in the midst of the spiritual analogue of a major
                earthquake. (Unfortunately, my mind lacked the layer of equanimity that prior
                mastery of jhanas would have cultivated.)

                With metta,
                Howard

                /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                phantom, and a dream./            (From the Diamond Sutra) 


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Larry
                Hi James, Thanks for your reply. I m not familiar with Zen but I have no doubt that there is a level of satori that would condition the arising of path
                Message 7 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                  Hi James,

                  Thanks for your reply. I'm not familiar with Zen but I have no doubt
                  that there is a level of satori that would condition the arising of
                  path consciousness. My experience also was just a glimpse of anatta. It
                  helped me to understand what other people with deeper experiences and
                  understandings were talking about. If you get something out of
                  meditation I would encourage you to keep at it even though you don't
                  have a guide. Maybe just a half hour once in a while. It doesn't have
                  to be an intense regimen. The practice of letting go of busy mind is
                  very beneficial.

                  Larry
                • nidive
                  Hi Howard, ... Although I don t really understand what you meant by the ground slipping out from under my feet , I think it must have been real terrifying.
                  Message 8 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                    Hi Howard,

                    > Absolutely nothing to hold onto - "the ground slipping out from
                    > under my feet," rather like being in the midst of the spiritual
                    > analogue of a major earthquake.

                    Although I don't really understand what you meant by "the ground
                    slipping out from under my feet", I think it must have been real
                    terrifying.

                    Regards,
                    Swee Boon
                  • Larry
                    Nina: I know nothing about this subject, but I understood that one has to go through the stages of tender insight before there can be vipassana defilements.
                    Message 9 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                      Nina: "I know nothing about this subject, but I understood that one has
                      to go through the stages of tender insight before there can be
                      vipassana defilements. That is quite something, is't it?
                      It means that one directly realizes seeing now as being different from
                      visible object, and that one also has begun to see the arising and
                      falling away of nama and rupa separately, one at a time."

                      Hi Nina,

                      Thanks for your comments. In general I agree but I look forward to more
                      in-depth study and discussion in the years to come. At the moment I
                      feel ill equiped to formulate a view.

                      Larry
                    • Larry
                      ... falling ... Hi Nina, I sent a reply to this but it disappeared. The gist of it was, in general I agree, but let s study this some more over the next
                      Message 10 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@x>
                        wrote:
                        > Hi Larry and all,
                        > I know nothing about this subject, but I understood that one has to go
                        > through the stages of tender insight before there can be vipassana
                        > defilements. That is quite something, is't it?
                        > It means that one directly realizes seeing now as being different from
                        > visible object, and that one also has begun to see the arising and
                        falling
                        > away of nama and rupa separately, one at a time.

                        Hi Nina,

                        I sent a reply to this but it disappeared. The gist of it was, "in
                        general I agree, but let's study this some more over the next several
                        years". I really don't have any understanding of the stages of the path
                        of purification.

                        Larry
                      • buddhatrue
                        Hi Larry, ... It ... and ... have ... Thanks for the kind words and advice. I am starting to get back to meditating regularly but it is a slow process. I
                        Message 11 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                          Hi Larry,

                          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Larry" <LBIDD@w...> wrote:
                          > Hi James,
                          >
                          > Thanks for your reply. I'm not familiar with Zen but I have no doubt
                          > that there is a level of satori that would condition the arising of
                          > path consciousness. My experience also was just a glimpse of anatta.
                          It
                          > helped me to understand what other people with deeper experiences
                          and
                          > understandings were talking about. If you get something out of
                          > meditation I would encourage you to keep at it even though you don't
                          > have a guide. Maybe just a half hour once in a while. It doesn't
                          have
                          > to be an intense regimen. The practice of letting go of busy mind is
                          > very beneficial.
                          >
                          > Larry

                          Thanks for the kind words and advice. I am starting to get back to
                          meditating regularly but it is a slow process. I have developed some
                          bad habits I need to break (being lazy is the worst one ;-)). I do
                          meditate on and off but I need to be meditating more on than off! ;-)
                          It needs to become a habit. My excuse of not having a teacher is not
                          a very good excuse- nice of you to point that out for me.

                          Metta,
                          James
                        • Dan D.
                          Was it an honest-to-goodness dosa/akusala fear? Dan ... from under ... of a major ... that prior ... a bubble ... lamp, a
                          Message 12 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                            Was it an honest-to-goodness dosa/akusala fear?

                            Dan

                            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@a... wrote:
                            > Hi, Dan -
                            >
                            > In a message dated 10/1/05 10:11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                            > onco111@y... writes:
                            >
                            > > >-----------------------------------------
                            > > >Howard:
                            > > > My experience was more terrifying than "cool"! ;-)
                            > > >----------------------------------------
                            > >
                            > > What specifically was terrifying?
                            > >
                            > =====================
                            > Absolutely nothing to hold onto - "the ground slipping out
                            from under
                            > my feet," rather like being in the midst of the spiritual analogue
                            of a major
                            > earthquake. (Unfortunately, my mind lacked the layer of equanimity
                            that prior
                            > mastery of jhanas would have cultivated.)
                            >
                            > With metta,
                            > Howard
                            >
                            > /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn,
                            a bubble
                            > in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering
                            lamp, a
                            > phantom, and a dream./            (From the Diamond Sutra) 
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • upasaka@aol.com
                            Hi, Dan - In a message dated 10/1/05 5:02:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ======================== I find it interesting that you are pursuing this point,
                            Message 13 of 28 , Oct 1, 2005
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                              Hi, Dan -

                              In a message dated 10/1/05 5:02:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                              onco111@... writes:

                              > Was it an honest-to-goodness dosa/akusala fear?
                              >
                              > Dan
                              >
                              ========================
                              I find it interesting that you are pursuing this point, Dan. Is there
                              a particular reason or just interest?
                              To answer your question: Yes, it was honest-to-goodness fear. It was
                              outright terror, in fact. Despite that fact, it was transformative as regards
                              establishing a strong and continuing no-self conviction.

                              With metta,
                              Howard

                              /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                              in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                              phantom, and a dream./            (From the Diamond Sutra) 


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Dan D.
                              Hi Howard, I pursue this point because my impression is that in seeing sankata dhammas, the tilakkhana are seen. It may be that the awareness is weak so that
                              Message 14 of 28 , Oct 2, 2005
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                                Hi Howard,
                                I pursue this point because my impression is that in seeing sankata
                                dhammas, the tilakkhana are seen. It may be that the awareness is weak
                                so that the vision appears blurred and the experience is described
                                elsewise. Or it may be stronger, so that one characteristic is noted
                                more clearly (e.g., the moment(s) may scream "anatta"), and, in
                                retrospect, the description brings in another of the two (e.g., an
                                experience of "the ground slipping out from under my feet" might
                                sometimes scream "anicca" rather than "anatta"). The awareness of the
                                third ("dukkha", in this case) might be so faint that it is virtually
                                unrecognized, but not entirely. The mind still responds to dukkha in
                                its usual way with aversion (e.g., fear). Or, with stronger awareness,
                                the dukkha may be recognized simply as a characteristic a la "the
                                formations appear terrifying" -- no reaction with dosa/akusala fear,
                                but deep recognition that the sankhata dhammas are dukkha.

                                Metta,

                                Dan

                                > > Was it an honest-to-goodness dosa/akusala fear?
                                > >
                                > > Dan
                                > >
                                > ========================
                                > I find it interesting that you are pursuing this point, Dan.
                                Is there
                                > a particular reason or just interest?
                                > To answer your question: Yes, it was honest-to-goodness fear.
                                It was
                                > outright terror, in fact. Despite that fact, it was transformative as
                                regards
                                > establishing a strong and continuing no-self conviction.
                                >
                                > With metta,
                                > Howard
                              • upasaka@aol.com
                                Hi, Dan - In a message dated 10/2/05 3:53:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Howard: Sure. ... It may be that the awareness is weak ... Howard: No, it was an
                                Message 15 of 28 , Oct 2, 2005
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                                  Hi, Dan -

                                  In a message dated 10/2/05 3:53:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                  onco111@... writes:

                                  > Hi Howard,
                                  > I pursue this point because my impression is that in seeing sankata
                                  > dhammas, the tilakkhana are seen.
                                  --------------------------------------
                                  Howard:
                                  Sure.
                                  -------------------------------------
                                  It may be that the awareness is weak >
                                  > so that the vision appears blurred and the experience is described
                                  > elsewise. Or it may be stronger, so that one characteristic is noted
                                  > more clearly (e.g., the moment(s) may scream "anatta"), and, in
                                  > retrospect, the description brings in another of the two (e.g., an
                                  > experience of "the ground slipping out from under my feet" might
                                  > sometimes scream "anicca" rather than "anatta").
                                  >
                                  ----------------------------------------
                                  Howard:
                                  No, it was an anatta-dominated experience, with little apprehension of
                                  anicca.
                                  ----------------------------------------
                                  The awareness of the >
                                  > third ("dukkha", in this case) might be so faint that it is virtually
                                  > unrecognized, but not entirely. The mind still responds to dukkha in
                                  > its usual way with aversion (e.g., fear).
                                  ----------------------------------------
                                  Howard:
                                  The fear was the fear of being released from one's prison cell, when
                                  that cell has been all one has known for a long, long time. Often, a woeful but
                                  familiar circumstance is welcomed over a vastly better but strange one. The
                                  horror at being released, adrift on an unknown sea or plunged into a bottomless
                                  abyss, is quite overwhelming unless a layer of calm has been set in place.
                                  This is why the jhanas are so important I believe.
                                  -------------------------------------------
                                  Or, with stronger awareness, >
                                  > the dukkha may be recognized simply as a characteristic a la "the
                                  > formations appear terrifying" -- no reaction with dosa/akusala fear,
                                  > but deep recognition that the sankhata dhammas are dukkha.
                                  >
                                  > Metta,
                                  >
                                  > Dan
                                  =======================
                                  With metta,
                                  Howard

                                  /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                                  in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                                  phantom, and a dream./            (From the Diamond Sutra) 


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Dan D.
                                  Hi Howard, What you describe sounds similar to something I struggled with for a few days during the fourth week of my second intensive meditation retreat. It
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Oct 2, 2005
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                                    Hi Howard,
                                    What you describe sounds similar to something I struggled with for a
                                    few days during the fourth week of my second intensive meditation
                                    retreat. It was resolved somewhat after a few days, and I left a few
                                    days more after that. I had originally planned to stay an additional
                                    week or two, but I convinced myself that I needed to leave so that I
                                    could learn how to scuba dive at Phuket and visit the jungle -- "not
                                    much time left in Thailand to accomplish these things!" My meditation
                                    teacher told me that I was running away because of the fear. I
                                    assured him that the fear issue had been resolved by adding more
                                    layers of calm, so that I could "blink out" and thereby "go through"
                                    the whirlwind. After going through, it became quite easy to sit for
                                    one hour (and occasionally two hours) without even the slightest
                                    adjustment or even the desire to adjust. Both my teacher and an
                                    Australian monk at the monastery independently said, "Jhana" when I
                                    described what was happening, but the truth is that I left a few days
                                    later, a week or two ahead of schedule. Attachment to the special
                                    experiences that I couldn't seem to conjure up again? Disappointment
                                    that the other side of the whirlwind was not enlightenment?

                                    I recall the experiences quite vividly, even today, 16 years later;
                                    but, really, they weren't anything more than "special experiences".
                                    The experiences closely resemble *almost* everything that I read in
                                    the texts about jhana. But it could not have been jhana. The
                                    difference is that the sharp concentration that brought me through
                                    the whirlwind was akusala (great attachment), but jhana is kusala.
                                    Every little detail is of critical importance.

                                    It reminds me of the difference between Right Effort and Wrong Effort
                                    as described in Dhs (as I have posted several times in the past):

                                    "What at that time is right effort? That which at that time is mental
                                    endeavor, riddance of lethargy, exerting harder and harder,
                                    endeavoring higher and higher, striving, painstaking zeal, utmost
                                    exertion, steadfastness, resoluteness, unfaltering endeavor, having
                                    sustained desire to strive, not relinquishing the task, discharging
                                    the tast well, endeavour as faculty of endeavour, power of endeavor,
                                    right effort -- this at that time is right effort" (paragraph 22 in U
                                    Kyaw Khine's translation of Dhs; exposition of kusala dhamma).

                                    "What at that time is wrong effort? That which at that time is mental
                                    endeavor, riddance of lethargy, exerting harder and harder,
                                    endeavoring higher and higher, striving, painstaking zeal, utmost
                                    exertion, steadfastness, resoluteness, unfaltering endeavor, having
                                    sustained desire to strive, not relinquishing the task, discharging
                                    the tast well, endeavour as faculty of endeavour, power of endeavor,
                                    wrong effort -- this at that time is wrong effort" (paragraph 383 in
                                    U Kyaw Khine's translation of Dhs; discussion of akusala dhamma).

                                    The only difference between right effort and wrong effort is that
                                    right effort is Right and wrong effort is Wrong! The difference lies
                                    in the distinction between 'samma' and 'miccha', which is not that
                                    easy to discern...

                                    Metta,

                                    Dan

                                    > ----------------------------------------
                                    > Howard:
                                    > The fear was the fear of being released from one's prison
                                    cell, when
                                    > that cell has been all one has known for a long, long time. Often,
                                    a woeful but
                                    > familiar circumstance is welcomed over a vastly better but strange
                                    one. The
                                    > horror at being released, adrift on an unknown sea or plunged into
                                    a bottomless
                                    > abyss, is quite overwhelming unless a layer of calm has been set in
                                    place.
                                    > This is why the jhanas are so important I believe.
                                    > -------------------------------------------
                                  • upasaka@aol.com
                                    Hi, Dan - Thank you for the following. Perhaps there were similarities in our experiences. It is difficult, of course, to attempt to compare unusual internal
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Oct 3, 2005
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                                      Hi, Dan -

                                      Thank you for the following. Perhaps there were similarities in our
                                      experiences. It is difficult, of course, to attempt to compare unusual internal
                                      events in differnt mind streams.
                                      In my case, the experience didn't occur while in the midst of
                                      meditating, though it was clearly conditioned by the intense meditating at the
                                      retreat. The experience lasted for perhaps only an hour to two, but it did seem to
                                      have a lasting "fall out." As time has gone by, I seem to have increasingly lost
                                      desire for a "repeat performance". That experience came and went, it seems to
                                      have been helpful, and that's that. What fruit current and future practice
                                      will bear remains to be seen.


                                      In a message dated 10/3/05 2:57:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                      onco111@... writes:


                                      > Hi Howard,
                                      What you describe sounds similar to something I struggled with for a >
                                      > few days during the fourth week of my second intensive meditation
                                      > retreat. It was resolved somewhat after a few days, and I left a few
                                      > days more after that. I had originally planned to stay an additional
                                      > week or two, but I convinced myself that I needed to leave so that I
                                      > could learn how to scuba dive at Phuket and visit the jungle -- "not
                                      > much time left in Thailand to accomplish these things!"
                                      >
                                      --------------------------------------
                                      Howard:
                                      LOL!! :-)
                                      ------------------------------------
                                      My meditation >
                                      > teacher told me that I was running away because of the fear. I
                                      > assured him that the fear issue had been resolved by adding more
                                      > layers of calm, so that I could "blink out" and thereby "go through"
                                      > the whirlwind. After going through, it became quite easy to sit for
                                      > one hour (and occasionally two hours) without even the slightest
                                      > adjustment or even the desire to adjust. Both my teacher and an
                                      > Australian monk at the monastery independently said, "Jhana" when I
                                      > described what was happening, but the truth is that I left a few days
                                      > later, a week or two ahead of schedule. Attachment to the special
                                      > experiences that I couldn't seem to conjure up again? Disappointment
                                      > that the other side of the whirlwind was not enlightenment?
                                      >
                                      > I recall the experiences quite vividly, even today, 16 years later;
                                      > but, really, they weren't anything more than "special experiences".
                                      > The experiences closely resemble *almost* everything that I read in
                                      > the texts about jhana. But it could not have been jhana. The
                                      > difference is that the sharp concentration that brought me through
                                      > the whirlwind was akusala (great attachment), but jhana is kusala.
                                      > Every little detail is of critical importance.

                                      ------------------------------------------
                                      Howard:
                                      I find myself unable to characterize my experience except to say that
                                      it was very frightening yet very useful.
                                      -----------------------------------------

                                      >
                                      > It reminds me of the difference between Right Effort and Wrong Effort
                                      > as described in Dhs (as I have posted several times in the past):
                                      >
                                      > "What at that time is right effort? That which at that time is mental
                                      > endeavor, riddance of lethargy, exerting harder and harder,
                                      > endeavoring higher and higher, striving, painstaking zeal, utmost
                                      > exertion, steadfastness, resoluteness, unfaltering endeavor, having
                                      > sustained desire to strive, not relinquishing the task, discharging
                                      > the tast well, endeavour as faculty of endeavour, power of endeavor,
                                      > right effort -- this at that time is right effort" (paragraph 22 in U
                                      > Kyaw Khine's translation of Dhs; exposition of kusala dhamma).
                                      >
                                      > "What at that time is wrong effort? That which at that time is mental
                                      > endeavor, riddance of lethargy, exerting harder and harder,
                                      > endeavoring higher and higher, striving, painstaking zeal, utmost
                                      > exertion, steadfastness, resoluteness, unfaltering endeavor, having
                                      > sustained desire to strive, not relinquishing the task, discharging
                                      > the tast well, endeavour as faculty of endeavour, power of endeavor,
                                      > wrong effort -- this at that time is wrong effort" (paragraph 383 in
                                      > U Kyaw Khine's translation of Dhs; discussion of akusala dhamma).
                                      >
                                      > The only difference between right effort and wrong effort is that
                                      > right effort is Right and wrong effort is Wrong! The difference lies
                                      > in the distinction between 'samma' and 'miccha', which is not that
                                      > easy to discern...
                                      >
                                      > Metta,
                                      >
                                      > Dan
                                      >
                                      =======================
                                      With metta,
                                      Howard

                                      /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                                      in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                                      phantom, and a dream./            (From the Diamond Sutra) 


                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • buddhatrue
                                      Hi Dan (and Howard), It was very fascinating reading about your meditation experiences in Thailand. Thanks for sharing! To give you my opinion, and take it
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Oct 3, 2005
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                                        Hi Dan (and Howard),

                                        It was very fascinating reading about your meditation experiences in
                                        Thailand. Thanks for sharing! To give you my opinion, and take it
                                        for what it's worth (about $2.00 on the open market ;-)), I think
                                        that what you experienced, when you had fear, was very similar to
                                        what Howard experienced. I have also had the same type of fear
                                        during vipassana meditation which interfered with my practice for
                                        many years. To come close to realizing that the `self' doesn't
                                        really exist is not an easy experience. And no one should expect it
                                        to be! Just think about for how many countless eons we have been
                                        carrying this self around! And then just think about how upset we
                                        become when our favorite TV show gets cancelled! ;-)) Those who talk
                                        so easily about anatta and how it makes their lives so much more
                                        peaceful to realize anatta, are talking a bunch of bs as far as I am
                                        concerned! They don't know the first thing about anatta- it is just
                                        an idea to them "Hey, I am not happy with the way I am…the Buddha
                                        said `I' don't really exist…that solves all my problems!"
                                        Whatever. I can get so tired of the Hallmark Card arahants! ;-))

                                        Anyway, the experience of losing yourself is not pleasant or easy-
                                        it is terrifying. You experienced that but said that you pushed
                                        through it. Excuse me for saying so, but you are most definitely
                                        mistaken. You didn't push through your fear- you just covered it
                                        up. Your teachers were right: You had a great opportunity to have a
                                        fantastic insight but you decided to run away instead. You left
                                        your retreat early because of the fear. Just admit it- it's nothing
                                        to be ashamed of. You weren't ready. Sure, you might feel some
                                        regret about it, but that's better than fooling yourself that you
                                        really pushed through the fear.

                                        So, how do you become ready to face the fear of losing one's self?
                                        As Howard suggests, Jhana is the key. Jhana on a suitable object-
                                        or even better yet, jhana with the Brahma-Viharas. The Brahma
                                        Viharas can help one to shake loose the attachment to the self by
                                        replacing it with compassion for all people and sentinet beings. We
                                        are all so egocentric most of the time; we stay stuck in our
                                        personal little dramas. When we can see the big picture of
                                        universal suffering, we will be more willing to let go of the little
                                        self. But, that's just my opinion. So often, I feel like "Mr.
                                        Metta" in this group because that's what I often write about ;-)).

                                        Metta,
                                        James
                                      • nidive
                                        Hi James, ... I most certainly agree with you on this! It s not easy, and there will be fear. I experienced this fear too. But once you get used to it, the
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Oct 3, 2005
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                                          Hi James,

                                          > To come close to realizing that the `self' doesn't really exist is
                                          > not an easy experience. And no one should expect it to be! Just
                                          > think about for how many countless eons we have been carrying this
                                          > self around! And then just think about how upset we become when
                                          > our favorite TV show gets cancelled! ;-))

                                          I most certainly agree with you on this!

                                          It's not easy, and there will be fear. I experienced this fear too.
                                          But once you get used to it, the fear actually subsides.

                                          > Those who talk so easily about anatta and how it makes their lives
                                          > so much more peaceful to realize anatta, are talking a bunch of bs
                                          > as far as I am concerned! They don't know the first thing about
                                          > anatta- it is just an idea to them "Hey, I am not happy with the
                                          > way I am…the Buddha said `I' don't really exist…that solves all my
                                          > problems!" Whatever. I can get so tired of the Hallmark Card
                                          > arahants! ;-))

                                          Your remarks are funny although not without truth.

                                          Regards,
                                          Swee Boon
                                        • Dan D.
                                          Howdy, James (and Howard), It s great to see you on board this thread James. I appreciate your input. I really don t like to talk about meditation experiences
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Oct 4, 2005
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                                            Howdy, James (and Howard),
                                            It's great to see you on board this thread James. I appreciate your
                                            input.

                                            I really don't like to talk about meditation experiences because that
                                            topic is particularly well-suited to proliferation of views, so I'll
                                            try to keep my comments brief. I'm going to respond to your comments
                                            in a different order than you made them and snip some other parts. If
                                            you want me to respond specifically to other parts as well, let me
                                            know.

                                            > Anyway, the experience of losing yourself is not pleasant or easy-
                                            > it is terrifying. You experienced that but said that you pushed
                                            > through it. Excuse me for saying so, but you are most definitely
                                            > mistaken. You didn't push through your fear- you just covered it
                                            > up.

                                            You are correct that I just covered it up. What I said was that I was
                                            able to go through the whirlwind by calming (or covering up,
                                            suppressing) the fear by dint of great effort and concentration.
                                            Nominally, I was practicing 'vipassana', i.e. following Mahasi-style
                                            instructions for 16 hours a day, but "dealing with" a whirlwind, if
                                            done with kusala, is samatha. And, if done "correctly", jhana can be
                                            attained. Although it is very tempting to speculate that a base of
                                            jhana would enable insighting of the characteristics by "holding on
                                            just a little longer to see what is really going on, to get through
                                            the slipping away of the world and the fear it induces", but
                                            overcoming turmoil to see calm and peace *is* jhana if all goes as
                                            planned. Vipassana is different. It is not at all seeing a
                                            destination and fixing the mind on it, but, rather, a seeing very
                                            clearly the moment as it is. There is no struggling to deal with
                                            fear, no trying to hold on through the whirlwind to see what's on the
                                            other side.

                                            With jhana, there is a sense of "losing yourself" as the focus shifts
                                            entirely to the object of samadhi. Attaining jhana requires a moment
                                            called "change-of-lineage" (gotrabhuu), as at that moment "overcomes
                                            the sense-sphere lineage and evolves the lineage of sublime
                                            consciousness." [CMA IV, 14]. That involves turbulence, except in the
                                            case where the faculties are keen and in the case where it isn't
                                            really occuring. It is quite interesting that gotrabhuu also occurs
                                            at the inception of supramundane path consciousness for the budding
                                            sotapanna (CMA IX, 34). However, the turbulence is resolved not by
                                            overcoming or overpowering it, but by insighting it.

                                            When discussing these things and thinking about them, there is
                                            tremendous need for caution. There are a lot of things that *seem*
                                            like jhana or path consciousness that really aren't. When in doubt,
                                            it wasn't jhana, it wasn't path consciousness. When you are pretty
                                            confident about it, it wasn't jhana, it wasn't path consciousness.
                                            When one thinks, "I was close to jhana (or path consciousness)", the
                                            proper conclusion is usually that jhana (or path) was far away.

                                            > So, how do you become ready to face the fear of losing one's self?
                                            > As Howard suggests, Jhana is the key.

                                            Jhana involves suppressing fear, not eradicating it. The real key is
                                            in understanding that there is no "self" to lose in the first place.
                                            When the whirlwind is insighted, fear has no opportunity to arise at
                                            all. However, the dhammas themselves are recognized as intrinsically
                                            terrifying (CMA IX, 33), but there is no being fooled by that, and
                                            fear itself does not arise. Recognizing the dhammas as terrifying but
                                            not having fear arise is much, much different from the jhana-
                                            inclined "going through" fear, or "overcoming fear" or "suppressing
                                            fear" or "covering up" fear.

                                            But, again, fear can be suppressed, covered up, overcome, gone
                                            through with sharp, strong, clear, one-pointed concentration that is
                                            not jhana.


                                            Metta,

                                            Dan
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