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About the maps...
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About the maps...
2/3/11 11:17 AM
so... quick question: what does a MCTB-Arahat correspond with if matched with the classical 10-fetters map?

(if this has been discussed before can someone point me to some text?)
RE: About the maps...
2/3/11 5:24 PM as a reply to Pål S..
I've spoken briefly with a few people on this subject and it seems likely that the MCTB-Arahat relates to 2nd Path in the Ten Fetters model. My knowledge of this model is very, very limited but Nikolai H, amongst others, on here knows his stuff and might be worth asking.

Nick? You there? emoticon
RE: About the maps...
2/3/11 8:14 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hi guys,

If you really want to diagnose a MCTB 4th pather, it may vary from yogi to yogi and how they feel themselves about what has happened to them. And it might even be a case of the type of technique that a yogi has practiced conditioning how one expericnes 4th path. See this thread where Chelek talks about different techniques resulting in differing experiences of path.
http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4402183/Mahasi+and+Chah?offset=20&maxResults=20

I know a yogi who says 4th path was closer to the fetter model sotapanna/stream entry more than any other stage for him. I am not sure about that. My first cessation moment was preceded by seeing the illusory self as plain as day as it is, just a pattern of phenomena, sensations and images. I believe the fetter of identity view got blown to pieces in that moment. As well as the other two fetters which are kind of a given after seeing the "self" as nothing but substanceless fluff.

The cessation moment that directly followed it did something to my brain which forever changed me. I had at least two more big perceptual shifts that followed the first cessation moment in the next 5 months after "special" fruitions. Suffering levels were reduced in some hard to see way. Less stickiness, less clinging tendency and less stacking suffering on suffering. Not to mention access to a lot of jhanas by will of mind alone But if we are talking fetters of craving and aversion, they were still arising although i have to admt, seriousl affected. This was mainly because the relationship that the mind had with phenomena had changed. But the changes were not enough to say that craving and aversion had been seriously attenuated. It is hard to really match any stages there up to the fetter model sakadagami. It's easier to say that the fetters of craving and aversion were not fully eradicated as is supposed to occur at the anagami fetter model stage. The relationship to phenomena though starts to drastically shift in ways which can result in a lot less suffering.

At what people call 4th path here, something profound occurred. An amazing shift in the way the pattern of phenomena being misread as self was experienced. See here for a better explanation:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/666110

I am of the current subject to change opinion, that if I was asked to match up my current experience of 4th path, 6 months down the road, I would say craving and aversion have seriously been attenuated now and are at an all time low. And that hasn't changed and seems to have been a permanent shift. It seems like a gradual change over the past months and not like the sharp drastic shifts that the previous special cessation moments and the 4th path unique blip brought on.

Other 4th path yogis I've talked with seem to agree. Even Kenneth Folk agrees that MCTB 4th path seems to match the sakadagami fetter model stage.


http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4441395/The+7+Stage+Model

Nick asked:
"If I had to deal with friends who have been immersed in a theravada tradition all their yogi careers asked me about the fetter model (and they do) and where pragmatic dharma yogis are falling within such a model (common question), would it be correct to compare the fetter model with the 7 stages model like this:

1st Stage= AP nana
2nd Stage= Stream Entry (Personality View, Attachment to Rites and Rituals, Doubt in Buddha) 1st path(MCTB.)
3rd Stage= 2nd path (MCTB.)
4th Stage= 3rd path (MCTB.)
5th Stage=4th path (Sakadagami-Attenuating of sensual desire and ill will) Note: I say this because it matches my current experience of 4th path)
6th Stage= Anagami (Sensual desire and ill will done away with)
7th Stage= Arhat (the rest of fetters dealt with)

Sorry for asking all this. But it helps I think. It helps me anyway. ;)

Nick"

Kenneth replied:

Yes, I believe this is a reasonable way to align the ten fetters model and the 7 stages model.




In the end it doesnt matter, Im just after less and less suffering. I could care less about putting names t things these days. Suffice to say 4th path as talked of here, I would not trade it for anything. Give me one day at 4th path (MCTB.) versus 100 years of pre-1st, any day.

emoticon
RE: About the maps...
2/3/11 8:10 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Not_Sure_Standard.php

"If the mind tries to tell you, ''I'm a sotāpanna now,'' go and bow to the sotāpanna. He'll tell you himself, ''It's all uncertain.'' If you meet a sakadāgāmī go and pay respects to him. When he sees you he'll simply say, ''Not a sure thing!'' If there is an anāgāmī go and bow to him. He'll tell you only one thing... ''Uncertain.'' If you meet even an arahant, go and bow to him, he'll tell you even more firmly, ''It's all even more uncertain!'' You'll hear the words of the Noble Ones... ''Everything is uncertain, don't cling to anything.'' Achaan Chah
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 6:28 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks for the reply Nick. What I still don't get is that the paths are supposed to be insight stages, but after MCTB 4th there is no more insights (into the nature of self), by that I mean there is no longer anything separate "thing" to look at as self, only the habit of self so to speak. If you look back to the day you got 4th and who "you" are now, you would definitely say there has been progression (decreased sense of being, etc), but no definable new insights (related to self)? So what insights are supposedly made at anagami and arahat in the fetters model? Any thoughts?
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 10:24 AM as a reply to Pål S..
I think it's less about insight and more about liberating through purification of view. On second thought, perhaps its a refining and embodying, living, and putting into use of the insight already gained. This will naturally lead this mind/body organism to change in accordance with the new insights.

At 4th the view is gained to a very liberating degree. No denying that. But the flow of asavas /defilements still flows althought the relationship to the phenomena being read as asava, has changed. Still, no-one is here suffering, but suffering still can arise. I find this so hard to describe really.

When we talk about the fetters, I think over time if a yogi continues to break down the mirage of self (which pops up now and then post-4th, just not sticky and not really the same experience as pre-4th -hard to explain) into the 5 aggregates continuously showing this mind/body organism that it is misreading the mirage, and reacting in accordance with it (although very much reduced since pre-path) then changes will occur in the brain. This seems to be my own experience these past 6 months.

I see it as this process of continuing the purification of view. The view is gained totally at 4th but for some reason, their are still habitual tendencies of craving and aversion (reduced considerably in my own experience) This mind needs to be continuously shown that due to its habit of misreading phenomena as self and generating sankhara after sankahra, this all causes misery and when it is continuously shown what doesn't cause misery but in turn results in liberation from that misery, then the mental/behavioural paradigm begins to shift to what is naturally liberating. Gradually it seems the mind learns to read it all correctly 100% of the time, and perhaps that is how the anagami and arhat fetter model stages result. But, in the wise words of Achaan Chah, I'm not sure. I'll make sure to record how it occurs if and when I get there. ;)

emoticon

Nick
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 11:04 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai H.:

I see it as this process of continuing the purification of view. ...


Sounds about right to me. Although I can't say I follow what Achaan Chah is saying about uncertainty, at least when one is "done"/arahat and no fetters are left, how can you be uncertain about that?
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 11:13 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Paul S.:
What I still don't get is that the paths are supposed to be insight stages, but after MCTB 4th there is no more insights (into the nature of self), by that I mean there is no longer anything separate "thing" to look at as self, only the habit of self so to speak.


As ignorance spurs the genesis of that habit of self, then any lessening or ending of that habit is insight by definition. Perhaps it is time to revisit the noble truths ... what is this suffering? ... what must be done to end it?

Paul S.:
So what insights are supposedly made at anagami and arahat in the fetters model? Any thoughts?


Among a myriad of others ... insight into: desire, ill-will, material-rebirth lust, immaterial-rebirth lust, conceit, restlessness, ignorance, the nature of their arising and passing away, knowledge of the root of the first 6 (which is knowing the nature of the 7th), and the manner by which to cut those attachments entirely.

*

Nikolai H.:
I think it's less about insight and more about liberating through purification of view.


What does liberating through purification of view look like? What is liberated, and what is eliminated to precipitate such a liberation? Also, what is the method by which this liberation is the result, and why does it work?

Nikolai H.:
On second thought, perhaps its a refining and embodying, living, and putting into use of the insight already gained.


It must be this, as one's insight already 'gained' is the tool by which to 'gain' more ... and perhaps it is both that and a 'purification of view' (depending on what you mean by that).

Is insight gained, or is it the result of losing something, or is it both?

Nikolai H.:
Still, no-one is here suffering, but suffering still can arise. I find this so hard to describe really.


How's this (?): still, no personal identity is extant to claim the suffering, but this body in the here-and-now is still experiencing stress.

Nikolai H.:
(...) I think over time if a yogi continues to break down the mirage of self (which pops up now and then post-4th, just not sticky and not really the same experience as pre-4th -hard to explain) (...)


What is it that pops up now and then, and what is there in the absence of that?

What is suffering?

Trent
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 5:26 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Great questions Trent, a lot of juicy stuff to investigate here, as always. If I can be abstract though, and put this into a terrible metaphor: Would you say that the path up until MCTB-arahat is about learning the fact that you are sober, and the knowing of it. But somehow this body still feel tipsy, so now what is left is to behave/be sober and in the process the body can gain the last insights needed to return to its natural sober state? Maybe you can give me your take on it?
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 6:31 PM as a reply to Trent ..

Nikolai H.:
I think it's less about insight and more about liberating through purification of view.


What does liberating through purification of view look like? What is liberated, and what is eliminated to precipitate such a liberation? Also, what is the method by which this liberation is the result, and why does it work?


I'm not really sure, Trent. I feel like I am constantly trying to train a puppy who occasionally keeps pooping all over the rug, but less and less as I keep practicing. My current letting go approach to jhana practice thought, seems to be changing things, as I am quite calm and collected as of late, and there is no fussing over any self-contractions that I used to get caught up in. I attribute my change in demeanor to this practice as previously I was suffering a lot of emotional upheavels with the direct mode practice. It's teaching the mind to constantly let go and not conceive.

I seem to be able to will the mind into a PCE like I do for any jhana. I sense progress but I feel its hard to pinpoint just what is happening. There has been a drop in suffering. And by suffering I mean stress caused by the illusory self and being caught up and identified with compounded phenomena ie emotions.

What do you think?

Nikolai H.:
On second thought, perhaps its a refining and embodying, living, and putting into use of the insight already gained.


It must be this, as one's insight already 'gained' is the tool by which to 'gain' more ... and perhaps it is both that and a 'purification of view' (depending on what you mean by that).

Is insight gained, or is it the result of losing something, or is it both?



I agree when you say it may be both usuing the insight to generate more insight and purify view. But I am not really sure what I mean when I say purification of view. I know there are just the 5 aggregates, or rather that is all I see when I look. But for some reason there is still stress. And stress results when there is no letting go, but holding onto sensations in a particular way. When there is letting go, there is no stress, for me at least.

In my own experience insight seems to be a continuous "dropping" of wrong view. THings keep falling away to reveal sublter supposed realties and within those subtler supposed realities , more things drop away and so on and on. This is how it's been so far. Any insights seemed to come from a dropping of soemthing.

Nikolai H.:
Still, no-one is here suffering, but suffering still can arise. I find this so hard to describe really.


How's this (?): still, no personal identity is extant to claim the suffering, but this body in the here-and-now is still experiencing stress.


I like it!

Nikolai H.:
(...) I think over time if a yogi continues to break down the mirage of self (which pops up now and then post-4th, just not sticky and not really the same experience as pre-4th -hard to explain) (...)


What is it that pops up now and then, and what is there in the absence of that?

What is suffering?


What pops up is a misreading of a pattern of sensations that is occasionally still read as "Nick" the separate entitiy. But that pattern is clearly just a pattern of ever changing phenomena. Emotions seem to just support this illusory entity's existence.

Suffering, for me at least, is the way the mind will hold sensations with either craving, aversion, or dullness/ignorance to varying degrees. This tension is ever so clear in any state of mind as that tension seems to be the very factors that condition the very state being experienced in the moment. That is suffering for me.

These are all opinions that are subject to change.

Thanks for making me think, Trent.

Nick

Edited to add, I know i gave two definitions of what suffering is to me, but it all seems related.
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 6:23 PM as a reply to Pål S..
Paul S.:
Nikolai H.:

I see it as this process of continuing the purification of view. ...


Sounds about right to me. Although I can't say I follow what Achaan Chah is saying about uncertainty, at least when one is "done"/arahat and no fetters are left, how can you be uncertain about that?


I think he is talking about the stages before arhat, maybe.

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Not_Sure_Standard.php

"Frankly it's a matter of ''finishing off,'' that is, practicing to the finish by taking up the practice and then seeing it to completion, seeing the apparent and also the transcendent.
I've already spoken of this, but some of you may be interested to hear it again: if you practice consistently and consider things thoroughly, you will eventually reach this point... At first you hurry to go forward, hurry to come back, and hurry to stop. You continue to practice like this until you reach the point where it seems that going forward is not it, coming back is not it, and stopping is not it either! It's finished. This is the finish. Don't expect anything more than this, it finishes right here. Khīnāsavo - one who is completed. He doesn't go forward, doesn't retreat and doesn't stop. There's no stopping, no going forward and no coming back. It's finished. Consider this, realize it clearly in your own mind. Right there you will find that there is really nothing at all." Achaan Chah
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 8:44 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nick - "as that tension seems to be the very factors that condition the very state being experienced in the moment."

Is this tension the way in which ‘you’ experience ‘yourself’ in regards to ‘your’ situation and circumstances. ‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’. Feel out the answer. Without passions there is no feeling of ‘being’
RE: About the maps...
2/4/11 8:57 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
Nick - "as that tension seems to be the very factors that condition the very state being experienced in the moment."

Is this tension the way in which ‘you’ experience ‘yourself’ in regards to ‘your’ situation and circumstances. ‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’. Feel out the answer. Without passions there is no feeling of ‘being’


Hi Jeff,

When looked at closely, yes, any so called self-contraction or passions are that same tension. The self contraction is like any other state, it is conditioned by some sensation, the perception of it, and the mental reaction to it. Same for passions. Yes, the tension is the way "I" react to any given situation. More subtly, in my experience, it is the mind holding a sensation in a certain way. It only holds a sensation in a certain way when "I" crave, feel aversion and remain ignorant towards any experience. Yes, I see that the passions and "me" are interrelated and the same thing.

I'm working on seeing if the Buddha's instructions work to eradicate suffering. If they don't work, the AF way is always there.

Sincerely,

Nick
RE: About the maps...
2/6/11 10:13 AM as a reply to Pål S..
Paul S.:
Great questions Trent, a lot of juicy stuff to investigate here, as always. If I can be abstract though, and put this into a terrible metaphor: Would you say that the path up until MCTB-arahat is about learning the fact that you are sober, and the knowing of it. But somehow this body still feel tipsy, so now what is left is to behave/be sober and in the process the body can gain the last insights needed to return to its natural sober state? Maybe you can give me your take on it?


No, I would not say that. Personally, it was more that MCTB-arhat was about learning something fundamental about the self and also of realizing that my methods were no longer causing progress. That knowledge later aided in my understanding of the fact that I was further from the goal than I could have possibly imagined, believed or conceived. And all of that implied that I needed an entirely new vehicle to navigate that path.

Trent
RE: About the maps...
2/6/11 11:05 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai H.:
I'm not really sure, Trent. I feel like I am constantly trying to train a puppy who occasionally keeps pooping all over the rug, but less and less as I keep practicing. My current letting go approach to jhana practice thought, seems to be changing things, as I am quite calm and collected as of late, and there is no fussing over any self-contractions that I used to get caught up in. I attribute my change in demeanor to this practice as previously I was suffering a lot of emotional upheavels with the direct mode practice. It's teaching the mind to constantly let go and not conceive.


Are you not really sure because it's a practice being directed via intuition rather than by rationality?

By letting go and not conceiving, are you distancing yourself further from those self-contractions that you use to get caught up in, or are you letting go in a way which causes the self-contractions to no longer arise at all?

Nikolai H.:
I seem to be able to will the mind into a PCE like I do for any jhana. I sense progress but I feel its hard to pinpoint just what is happening. There has been a drop in suffering. And by suffering I mean stress caused by the illusory self and being caught up and identified with compounded phenomena ie emotions.


If you really are able to will the mind into a PCE like any jhana, then why do you ever return from it? Why do you re-arise?

Nikolai H.:
I know there are just the 5 aggregates, or rather that is all I see when I look.


If I may suggest, try looking at the process which generates the self, rather than the aggregates that which the process acts upon / within / as.

By the way... What sources have aided you in the collecting of your knowledge about the 5 aggregates? From what I've read, these are very poorly interpreted and/or understood anywhere I've ever looked. For just one example, the 4 elements comprising 'form' are twisted in all sorts of odd ways depending on the source [1], and the only functional way to read them seems to be: earth / fire / water / wind as physical-matter / malice / sorrow / delusion respectively.

Nikolai H.:
What pops up is a misreading of a pattern of sensations that is occasionally still read as "Nick" the separate entitiy. But that pattern is clearly just a pattern of ever changing phenomena. Emotions seem to just support this illusory entity's existence.


Do feelings merely support it, or are they both part and parcel?

Nikolai H.:
I'm working on seeing if the Buddha's instructions work to eradicate suffering. If they don't work, the AF way is always there.


Okay then ... can you explain what the buddha meant by 'past life' and why it might be important to recollect them?

Trent


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabhuta
RE: About the maps...
2/6/11 1:11 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Are you not really sure because it's a practice being directed via intuition rather than by rationality?


Seems rational to me as I am suffering less and less. My intuition says keep doing what i am doing because of the less suffering. So a mix of both.

By letting go and not conceiving, are you distancing yourself further from those self-contractions that you use to get caught up in, or are you letting go in a way which causes the self-contractions to no longer arise at all?


I'm letting the self contractions go as something that have no importance just like all the rest of any factors that condition any given state. Previously I would get fuss over seeing them in real time to see what was going on and that usually resulted in emotional upheavels and more tension through generating an aversion to it. This letting go way relegates any so called self-contraction as just another state with conditioning factors. And it's allowed to be there, it drops away by itself. And this seems to be changing something in my current default mode. But I need more time to say exactly what.

Nikolai H.:
I seem to be able to will the mind into a PCE like I do for any jhana. I sense progress but I feel its hard to pinpoint just what is happening. There has been a drop in suffering. And by suffering I mean stress caused by the illusory self and being caught up and identified with compounded phenomena ie emotions.


If you really are able to will the mind into a PCE like any jhana, then why do you ever return from it? Why do you re-arise?


Because it is just another mode of perception. Nice and all, but I don't feel the awe I had for it post -pce when I was actively cultivating them last year. Not sure why.

Nikolai H.:
I know there are just the 5 aggregates, or rather that is all I see when I look.


If I may suggest, try looking at the process which generates the self, rather than the aggregates that which the process acts upon / within / as.


Cn you elaborate on exactly how to do this?


By the way... What sources have aided you in the collecting of your knowledge about the 5 aggregates? From what I've read, these are very poorly interpreted and/or understood anywhere I've ever looked. For just one example, the 4 elements comprising 'form' are twisted in all sorts of odd ways depending on the source [1], and the only functional way to read them seems to be: earth / fire / water / wind as physical-matter / malice / sorrow / delusion respectively.


Ok, I am interested in your take on it. Can you elaborate on how form also includes malice and sorrow and delusion?

Do feelings merely support it, or are they both part and parcel?


Part and parcel in my current opinion.



Okay then ... can you explain what the buddha meant by 'past life' and why it might be important to recollect them?


Having not had any "past life" experiences yet I can't really say. Perhaps to see the amount of unnecessary suffering one has "self"-created and thus seeing the need to end that "self" created suffering?

Can you elaborate on this, Trent? What do you think the Buddha meant and why it was important? And did you have that experience yourself before or after achieving AF?


Nick
RE: About the maps...
2/6/11 8:59 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Trent - For just one example, the 4 elements comprising 'form' are twisted in all sorts of odd ways depending on the source [1], and the only functional way to read them seems to be: earth / fire / water / wind as physical-matter / malice / sorrow / delusion respectively

interesting correllation
thankyou

Jeff
RE: About the maps...
2/7/11 12:51 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Just to weight in here, as we are talking about my maps...

I don't see good correlations between these in the way Kenneth is seeing them.

Further, it is worth stating that we have very different interpretations even of the maps that we superficially or seemingly hold in common, and this has been a source of significant disagreements and discussions between us over the years.

Let's try to line up even something simple:

I claim I got anagamihood in late 1996 based on these things:
1) I had gone through what to me felt like 3 complete progress of insight cycles.
2) I had access to Nirodha Samapatti
3) I now could perceive the luminosity/centerless/awareness-as-manifestation-ness of the vast majority of the phenomena that made up the whole changing sense sphere, which was a radical and permanent transformation of how I viewed the world.

Yet, at the time, I still had all emotions, though the experience of them was quite different from before and some things about how they got triggered and how long they would sometimes last and the substantially more just-phenomenological way they manifested were all new in some ways, and yet, I couldn't claim even the permanent, all-the-time attenuation of greed or hatred in any meaningful, could hang your hat on it at all times way, much less say they had been eliminated, as one would assume from the traditional models.

So, what do you call that? How do you map it? The traditional maps break down here, as by definition you can't get NS until you are an anagami, but you also can't feel any lust or hatred or anger as an anagami either, so what is that? I would have only qualified as a stream-enterer by an emotional/fetter map, an anagami by the NS map, and what by my perception of reality in a panoramic and nearly all inclusive, very different from mere stream entry kind of way? Further, people clearly progress on different fronts at different rates. What do you consider most important as your bedrock criteria? For me, fundamental perception of the basic truths about sensate phenomena were the core of the thing, but for someone who could care less about how one perceives sensate reality but is all about emotional maps would have a very different attitude towards these things. I think that so long as terms and the criteria and phenomenology are really, really clearly defined by the speaker so that you know what they are talking about when they use whatever word, conversations can occur with some degree of clarity, but that is often not what happens.

Further, when we get out past what I call anagami territory the disagreements between various mapping entities get even wider and more controversial. I am really hoping to avoid some pissing match over whose maps are right, who has attained to what, and the like, as I haven't found those debates to always be as helpful as they might be.

I think that a high standard is worthwhile here: if you are perceiving some suffering, something about this field of experience that seems to be off in any way at all, even if it is subtle bodily sensations that you previously called emotions but now don't or whatever, if there is some aspect of it that doesn't work for you in some way, pay attention to that and see what methods there are out there to deal with that and see how far that can go. Then repeat the question, and if there is still something, then I would keep looking at it with an eye to figuring out what the problem is and how to solve it. At the very least this is interesting practice, and at best that problem just be resolved.

One more historical note here: I haven't found that thing too well when Kenneth and I compare our maps or our practice too closely or too directly. There is a lot of stuff there, a lot of history, a substantial mass of junk that muddies the waters. We have known each other over 20 years and had a lot of interactions during that time of many sorts. Thus, I am going to ask that this debate shift off of that and our models not be too carefully compared.

I remember when my uncle who worked as a shrinker of shrinks was learning to interpret Rorschach ink blot tests and they told him that there was no point in trying to read the interpretations of close family members or his wife as he would not be objective and would get them wrong. If I have the story straight, he didn't believe them and so tried to interpret his wife's impressions of the ink blots and they said he did in fact get his interpretations completely wrong, and so he became convinced of the truth of their predictions.

How they can be sure that interpretations of impressions of ink blots were right or wrong is baffling to me, but they would probably say the same about our high-level mapping debates. Regardless, attempts to cross-correlate Kenneth's and my maps and interpretations of each other's maps is likely to cause the same problems of interpretation, as we are close like brothers, like family members, and thus, just as with the ink blots, I will assert that we are likely to read and interpret each other's practice and maps less accurately than some neutral observer might, as our preconceptions are so strong.

In short, grains of salt will be of value here, as well as very careful reading of the fine print,

Daniel
RE: About the maps...
2/7/11 4:10 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai H.:
If I may suggest, try looking at the process which generates the self, rather than the aggregates that which the process acts upon / within / as.


Can you elaborate on exactly how to do this?


I would be writing for an awfully long time to elaborate on exactly how to do it … and ultimately, the little details are things you will have to figure out. If you have a specific question, I will happily answer, but otherwise, here is a generalization ... understand the vocabulary terms and what they refer to in your mind and as they relate to other terms:

If you want to think about it / investigate it with reference to a buddhist framework, make sure you’re only reading the suttas, the vissudhimagga or similar old / relatively pure texts. And although it might seem odd, read and strive to understand the odd “dogmatic” things that don’t seem to make sense … check out the passages talking about: dependent origination [1], rebirth, karma, the mundane powers (recollection of past life, knowledge of the arising and passing away of beings), anything talking about feelings / passions, anything talking about delusion / ignorance, right intention, and anything that seems to be necessary to understand those topics.

If you want to think about it / investigate it with reference to the actualist framework (which I highly recommend over the alternative [2]), it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read everything you can, giving priority to the less buried pages. A good rule of thumb would be to keep a rough idea of how many clicks it takes you to find new material, which means you would want to start at the most accessible pages, moving deeper and deeper into the site, eventually (although not necessarily) ending up in the miscellaneous line-by-line correspondences. Especially do whatever you can to understand this page, even if that means just sitting with a couple of sentences at a time: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm

Nikolai H.:
Ok, I am interested in your take on it. Can you elaborate on how form also includes malice and sorrow and delusion?


I might be able to, but I’m not sure if I’m correctly interpreting the meaning which was intended either … as I said, I have simply found that reading “the elements” in the way I described yields relatively useful information compared to any other reading of them, hence why I mentioned it.

Nikolai H.:
Having not had any "past life" experiences yet I can't really say. Perhaps to see the amount of unnecessary suffering one has "self"-created and thus seeing the need to end that "self" created suffering?

Can you elaborate on this, Trent? What do you think the Buddha meant and why it was important? And did you have that experience yourself before or after achieving AF?


Yeah, sure. Try thinking about a ‘rebirth’ as the moment of any ‘change-of-lineage’ as it pertains to ‘being’ – moment to moment-- rather than the common usage. If there’s a transition from one jhana to another, that’s a moment of rebirth. If stream entry is attained, that’s a rebirth. If you identify with something (anything) new, that’s a moment of rebirth. If you eliminate something (anything) you previously identified with, that’s a moment of rebirth. If you're feeling happy and then feel sad, that's a rebirth.The moment all of these point to is called ‘rebirth-linking’ and the ‘past life’ is the situation as it pertains to the specific conditions of the five aggregates of the identity as it was, when it was, between the links. Think about a movie film strip and consider each frame of the self’s ‘story line’ to be a ‘past life’ and the section between each to be ‘rebirth-linking.’ Also, keep in mind that when you read about someone talking about their past lives in the suttas, they also talk about their projections ... hence why they might seem to be talking about a completely different physical person [3].

I suspect that you are quite easily able to recollect many of your “past lives” … assuming that, do you recall the moment when you began to be able to see your pre-path self(s) clearly, understanding your way of ‘being’ then from a relatively objective perspective you couldn’t before? Sometimes it really is like looking back on the life of another person, and the further one goes, the more that is the case.

With this in mind, try reading about the topics I proposed above (re: how to examine the process(…)). Oh, and I would like to hear your take on what you find, if you like … perhaps we can discuss them in new threads (although I have not had a lot of DhO time lately, so I may respond slowly).

I made several edits to this, the last one around 4:10 CST on the 7th.

Trent


[1] Not a bad place to start: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html

[2] That alternative being the early Buddhist texts / commentaries on them. Why do I recommend actualism over buddhism? No ambiguity due to terminology, no ‘lost in translation’ problems, it’s written by a contemporary person with contemporary knowledge (meaning it’ll make a lot more sense and a lot quicker), and lastly, because the human condition is not the same as it was 2000+ years ago. If you want to figure out how to get to a destination in a major metropolitan area, it’s a good idea to use a current map, as opposed to a relatively old one, right?

[3] "There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html
RE: About the maps...
2/9/11 6:05 PM as a reply to Trent ..
By the way... What sources have aided you in the collecting of your knowledge about the 5 aggregates? From what I've read, these are very poorly interpreted and/or understood anywhere I've ever looked. For just one example, the 4 elements comprising 'form' are twisted in all sorts of odd ways depending on the source [1], and the only functional way to read them seems to be: earth / fire / water / wind as physical-matter / malice / sorrow / delusion respectively.


From what I understand from the Abhidhamma. The 4 elements were characteristics of matter and not necessarily actual elements.

Earth would be Solidity, Fire would be Temperature, Water would be Fluidity and Wind would be Motion. I could be wrong though. They also explained psychic phenomena by claiming there were different particles of matter maybe.

About the 5 Aggregates, form would be any physical matter, perception I think would be the ability to recognize something, formations included a wide variety of things like emotions, consciousness would be the ability to experience something and feeling would be pleasant or unpleasant.

(I highly recommend you actually read around Buddhism. Books on the subject actually seem to be unreliable, like ones from libraries. Most of what I learned was from Frits Koster's "Liberating Insight", most of the rest I read online I believe. Mostly what I did was research random things about Buddhism, such as kappas, cosmology, definite-prophecies etc. I didn't read about the philosophy or what the way to enlightenment was. I can also see how the suttas can be a turn off. Perhaps it has something to do with the translation. Anyways starting straight from suttas can be very strange, especially since they can feel very weird. I would recommend getting started with "Liberating Insight" by Frits Koster.)

(There's also other interesting stuff in Buddhism. Although I can't entirely discount your theory that the Buddha spoke only of moment to moment rebirths, he did at times say something like: "at the break up of the body and after death", although it could be a problem with translation. He also describes hell in the Devaduta Sutta. They also describe meetings of deities, the sexual molesation of monks by deities, whale-eaters, whale-eater-eaters, why solar eclipses happen.)

Speculation:

Anyways the theory was that everything possible in existence fell into those five categories except that unconditioned, unborn "thing".

So, what do you call that? How do you map it? The traditional maps break down here, as by definition you can't get NS until you are an anagami, but you also can't feel any lust or hatred or anger as an anagami either, so what is that?


I really don't know about this topic. But I think all that stuff about only Anagamis only getting Nirodha Samapatti was by Buddhaghosa. And Buddhaghosa wasn't enlightened. I dislike commentaries.

"
Australian Buddhist monastic Shravasti Dhammika writes: "Even Buddhaghosa did not really believe that Theravada practice could lead to Nirvana. His Visuddhimagga is supposed to be a detailed step by step guide to enlightenment. And yet in the postscript he says he hopes that the merit he has earned by writing the Vishuddhimagga will allow him to be reborn in heaven, abide there until Metteyya (Maitreya) appears, hear his teaching and then attain enlightenment."

"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhaghosa
RE: About the maps...
2/11/11 9:06 AM as a reply to Trent ..
So would you agree that there is a change in emphasis, from investigating (something) to being (something) (not that the one excludes the other) ?