MCTB A Simple Model
In earlier versions of this work, I had a model called The Heart Sutra Model. The Simple Model is the less mysterious, stripped down version of that earlier model, though in its essence it is the same. While in one sense it is also a rephrasing of the Revised Four Path Model, as it has no numbers, and is free of the traditional names, it has some advantages over that terminology.
I present this somewhat novel model here because it focuses on real insight directly and treats any emotional benefits of this as side effects. Further, there are often too many cycles of insight before arahatship, making the Four Path model troublesome. This phenomena of too many cycles (which I will sometimes call “paths” with a lowercase “p”) between each of the Four Paths gets worse as one works towards final awakening. As Bill Hamilton put it, and I have learned the hard way, “The arahat fractal is vast.”
The Simple Model does not reinforce fascination with content, nor with life-denying ideals or limited emotional range models in the way that the traditional Four Path Model often does. It does not tempt one to count paths. It keeps the focus on precise inquiry into the truth and one’s experience of it or lack thereof.
This model basically says that enlightenment is about direct insight that progressively reveals something different in the relationship to the field of experience and gradually allows things in it to be held in their proper proportion. Thus, it is a Non-Duality Model.
The first understanding is that sensations are sensations, thoughts are thoughts, and this forms the basis of further inquiry. When the universal characteristics of these sensations begin to be seen, this represents growth in understanding. When the whole sense field is known directly and completely as it is, this can cause an entrance into Fruition through one of the Three Doors, and represents the first stage of awakening.
When one appreciates the cycles of the process of awakening and has completed at least one more new progress cycle, this is the next stage. When one begins to appreciate the emptiness, luminosity, centerlessness, agentlessness, etc. of phenomena in real-time and this becomes the focus of practice rather than Fruition, this is the next stage. When the sense of the watcher, observer, subject, controller, doer, etc. is seen completely as it is and the knot of perception untangles, that simple, fundamental way of perceiving things is the next stage of awakening. When that untangling stays untangled, that is the next stage. As that understanding is integrated into our lives, that is the next phase, though it is more an ongoing process than a stage.
The problem is that the traditions seem to want to make this understanding into so much more than it is, such as add ideals of emotional perfection onto this. There is some truth in the models dealing with emotions, but it has to do with things moving through faster and being seen more clearly. It does not have anything to do with bad emotions not arising. I hate to even go here, as my goal is to give the emotional models the bashing they richly deserve, but I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Thus, here it goes.
As the deep-seated perceptual sense of a separate, continuous, permanent, observing Agent stops being extrapolated from the same old patterns of sensations that seemed to be those, there is this wider inclusive something that can come into the consciousness of the enlightened individual, depending on their level of awakening. There is also a slowly growing directness of perception that comes as reality is not filtered so exclusively through thought. These two can combine to give the emotions of enlightened beings less sticking power, so that they may move through more quickly than for those that are not enlightened, and also may be seen more quickly and clearly as they arise and vanish. There may also be less blind contraction into thoughts and emotions and a wider perspective, thus giving the other parts of the brain more of a chance of creating moderated responses to the emotions. That said, even when seen through, there seems to be a biological component to how emotions move through that can only be expedited so much.
Anyone who thinks these highly qualified statements are anything like a vision of emotional perfection or the elimination of all negative emotions is not paying attention! That is the last thing I wish to imply. I merely wish to say that there is some increased clarity about our basic human experience and it can help, but that is all. That said, you would be amazed how angry, lustful or ignorant enlightened beings can be, and they can still do all sorts of stupid things based on these emotions, just like everyone else. The ability to moderate responses to emotions can sometimes give the impression that those emotions have been attenuated, but that is not the same thing, and this is my nice transition to the Action Models.