If this site provides value to you and your practice, please consider donating a small amount to help with the hosting fees.
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Enlightenment

Enlightenment 12 May 2015 20:34 #98772

Posted in FB group dharma connection, but figured I'd include it here as a conversation starter perhaps:

Is enlightenment real? Do you believe enlightenment is one thing, or many different things? Anyone currently living you believe fits that category?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 06:06 #98774

My best guess is mapped out in the table at the top of this page:

awakenetwork.org/magazine/shargrol/253

I wrote the table after experiencing/realizing Awakening 1 and not being able to reconcile stories of other's awakening with that experience. Adyashanti talked about head, heart, gut awakening and that seems like the best model I've heard, seems to be sufficiently complex to have some resolution but not so complex that it isn't useful. I don't have a full appreciation of what I call awakening 2 and 3, it's a hypothesis. I haven't talked with anyone living that has mapped themselves against the head, heart, gut map. I hate guessing about living people, it always seems to lead to trouble and in the end, I don't know.

Ugh, my reply is so obscure... oh well.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kate Gowen, Bill F, Andy

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 07:50 #98776

I just realized that this is in the KFD section --- I'm not sure if it makes sense to talk about Enlightenment in general in Kenneth's section unless we're asking about Kenneth's teaching. Maybe it makes sense to move this?
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 08:21 #98777

As time goes by I find this question to be less and less useful and pertinent. We idealize this concept. It becomes what we want it to be, accessible or inaccessible. It's so personal it can't really be shared with anyone else except through the use of other concepts, which bring cultural, metaphysical, religious and philosophical baggage. And, like Shargrol, I am loathe to talk about other human beings and judge them in this regard because we just don't know. That applies to both the living and the dead, IMHO.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, Bill F, Rod

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 08:52 #98778

It is interesting to note a changing response to this sort of question: a decade and more ago, I was interested and engaged in the idea of mapping the territory, assessing the known and unknown, and orienting myself-- and hence in developing judgements with regard to enlightenment.

Now, not so much. My interests are wider, more utilitarian, and founded in an unexpected confidence. I recognize both sources of inspiration (that I need not justify by putting an honorific label to) and changes in my own character and manner of living.

This response is colored by the fact that the people I regard as my teachers have all been uninterested and unwilling in making claims or judgements in this regard. At first, I was perplexed, but over time I've come to appreciate it as an expression of wisdom.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bill F, Constance

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 16:17 #98784

"I just realized that this is in the KFD section --- I'm not sure if it makes sense to talk about Enlightenment in general in Kenneth's section unless we're asking about Kenneth's teaching. Maybe it makes sense to move this?"[/i Shargrol



Thanks for response. It is okay with me if it needs to be moved. Perhaps Chris and Kenneth can clarify: Is the KFD section specifically for asking Kenneth questions about his own understanding?
Last Edit: 13 May 2015 16:18 by Bill F.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 16:20 #98785

That diagram is fascinating too.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 16:27 #98786

Coincidentally I just received the following email from Vince as part of some mailing list I must be on. Copied and pasted below:

Are there Stages of Consciousness?

In my experience the model of “stages of consciousness” makes sense if we first admit that there are certain aspects of sensate reality which are more subtle--i.e. harder to observe or notice--than others. For example body sensations, like the feeling of pressure or itching or warmth, is a lot easier to notice than emotions or thoughts for most people. Certain kinds of thoughts are so subtle that they can take decades of introspective practice to begin to take as object--and thus are no longer been felt to be the subject, "I". In that sense there's a somewhat natural progression as the muscle of attention is trained to begin to notice--and make into an object--subtler and subtler sensate phenomena.

This refinement of attention happens over years and at certain points in practice specific types of sensations are nearly always transparent to the functioning of attention. That's what I'd call a stage of stabilized awareness, or what in Buddhism is sometimes called a stage of enlightenment. Interestingly every single Buddhist tradition I've run across has a stage model of enlightenment, even the one's that are typically the most adamant about the non-existence of stages--I’m looking at you Zen! You have in the Theravada tradition the 16 stages of the progress of insight, the 4 stages of enlightenment, and the 8 stages of concentrated absorption. In the Zen tradition you find the 10 ox herding pictures and Dongshan’s 5 Ranks of achievement. In the Tibetan tradition there are the 5 dharma paths and the 10 stages (bhūmis) of the bodhisattva path.

As one trains in seeing subtler and subtler phenomena as simply arising in the field of awareness the recognition often dawns that no matter what objects of consciousness are being observed, there's a unification of the entire field of awareness & experience. This unification is not dependent on the changes within the field. Or as meditation teacher Shinzen Young puts it, "emptiness is not a thing, it's a pure doing." This emptiness, which is not a thing, can be variously described as timeless or formless or without characteristics... even to say "it" is to mistakenly try and take "it" as an object and describe something which can be experienced like some other object.

The recognition of that fundamental unity of the senate field begins to dawn, it seems to me, when someone is sufficiently disinterested in trying to seek some sort of ultimate completion or wholeness in changing sense phenomena. This makes sense as a stage of practice because it usually takes a lot of time and observation of one's internal processes--seeing subtler and subtler sensations as not being permanent (i.e. being a ‘pure doing’)--to stabilize this understanding. Zen master Hongzhi puts it well when he says, “Facing everything, let go, and attain stability.” Facing everything means experiencing every single sensation that arises, letting go means allow the whole field to be what it is, and attaining stability is what happens when both happen.

When we realize emptiness as a pure doing then we see that “it” is not separate from the changing sense field, but rather is a unified dimension of it. It's the ground of being, from which everything arises, and from which nothing leaves. Or as they say in the Heart Sutra, "Form is no other than Emptiness, Emptiness is no other than Form."

Now that said there are a few ways in which these "stages" aren't linear:

One is that at any moment (ex. during a peak state of heightened attention) any sensation, no matter how subtle, can be known. They're all there and thus can all be known. The philosopher Ken Wilber acknowledges this as the distinction between a state and a stage. as Hongzhi alluded to this recognition of the complete non-duality of experience and formless awareness takes time to mature and stabilize. One can have a temporary glimpse of that even very early in one’s practice, but a stable 24-7 understanding of it often takes decades of training.

The other way these aren't stages is that there is a circular dimension to the cultivation of attentional stability. Sometimes attention becomes strong and pointed and at other times dispersed and scattered, and this actually has a pattern of pretty obvious cycling (like a sin wave). It's also influenced by a host of life factors, most of which aren't under our control.

Another way they aren't stage-like is that everyone is different with respect to what kind of sensations they notice easily (and thus identify with) and which they more easily see. What’s easy to become aware of for someone can be quite difficult for someone else.

Another issue is that when one recognizes something like the timeless ground of experience than the notion of linear progression seems like a limited perspective, and it is from the point of view of this emptiness perspective. The Zennies talk about this as the difference between the sudden and gradual schools of awakening.

There could obviously be many things I'm missing here, but from my experience there are something like stages, or waves, that occur in training the mind, and in examining one's sensate reality. That said, there's also a ton of variation and diversity that I've run across, so I find it hard nail down exactly what those stages are and so rely on a multidimensional model to describe the various ways that contemplative understanding develops.

Reading

Syntheism: Creating God in the Internet Age by Alexander Bard & Jan Söderqvist - I’ve been slowly working my way through this book for the past few months. It’s a tough read, even if you’ve done some study of the Western philosophical tradition, but there are very few books I’ve come across that explore the implications of the major metaphor for our time--the network--on our construction of ultimate meaning and on the way we devise our religions. They make a great case for putting God (i.e. our utopic visions) into the future as visions to move toward, rather than as something which existed in the past that we need to adhere to. I find this idea compelling because the old story of Individualism--where the individual replaces God--has so clearly gotten us in trouble.

Event

Drawing the Path - I’m co-leading this Life Retreat at the end of June with John F. Simon Jr. John is an incredible digital artist who I met a few years ago while creating the Life Retreat program. As I learned more about John and his practice--he attended our first ever retreat--I discovered that he had gone through an incredible spiritual journey while doing a daily drawing practice. He will be sharing what he’s learned over the last decade doing this contemplative drawing technique, and I’ll be leading the sitting meditation component of the course.

Most people have no idea I'm sharing these letters, so if you know anyone who you think might find them interesting, feel free to send them here: tinyletter.com/vincenthorn

all the best,

-Vincent Horn
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kacchapa, Elizabeth

Enlightenment 13 May 2015 17:51 #98790

Mu :P
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 14 May 2015 20:54 #98799

Bill F wrote:
Perhaps Chris and Kenneth can clarify: Is the KFD section specifically for asking Kenneth questions about his own understanding?

Not at all, Bill. Totally OK to post it here. My own definition of enlightenment is ever evolving, and I am delighted to have the discussion on this forum. Anything under the general heading of pragmatic dharma is welcome here.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bill F

Enlightenment 14 May 2015 21:24 #98800

O.K. Good. I like you, and find your teaching interesting, but that would be a little too much like dharma rock star worship for my tastes. :)

Is that a word you still use, and if so, what is the crux of how you would define it these days?

Previously I thought enlightenment was seeing through the seeming solidity of the self. Then I thought it was about seeing self, and not self, as valid points of view. Now I think maybe it is just being willing to meet each appearance without defensiveness, a mask. Maybe this is no different from being vulnerable, being human. It also seems like less like an attainment, but a continual invitation. And it will change. I'm sure.
Last Edit: 14 May 2015 21:24 by Bill F.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge

Enlightenment 15 May 2015 01:22 #98801

I just followed the instructions, life slowly became better, then wham, I'm walking around with a load of buzzing bliss in my head all the time (slowly normalizing) and something funny happens within 3-20 minutes of sitting down to meditate. And life seems even better. And, I gather this happens to a lot of people that follow the instructions. So, I figure it's something that's really there.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Bill F

Enlightenment 15 May 2015 07:58 #98805

Matt, I experienced the same buzzing bliss out for a while. But it fades. I have yet to encounter a state of mind that doesn't fade. Whether it's because mind adjusts to it or because the state slowly goes away I have no idea. Maybe a bit of both.
Last Edit: 15 May 2015 07:58 by Chris Marti.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, shargrol, Kenneth Folk, Shaun Elstob

Enlightenment 15 May 2015 09:39 #98809

Speaking of coincidences, I received the following from a friend:

A New Event Series—Free for the First 30 Days

A growing number of people are beginning to see things in a radically different way. In other words, more and more of us are starting to "wake up" spiritually—to discover an entirely new identity beyond the usual sense of who we think we are.

But what is spiritual awakening, really? How does it happen—and what are the consequences? Is it possible to attune to this dimension of experience at any moment?

In Waking Up, Sounds True publisher and founder Tami Simon speaks with over 30 of today’s leading authors and teachers who will share their personal understanding of spiritual awakening—how it takes place, what changes (and what doesn't), and how their experiences can inspire and inform our own realization.


To listen to the interviews, enter your email address at the bottom of the page to get the link. Providing your address will place you on the Sounds True mailing list to get emails from Sounds True and Eckhart Tolle. If you want, you can unsubscribe after you get the link.

Otherwise, click here to listen to the interveiws.

The guests:
Adyashanti
Andrew Harvey
Bentinho Massaro
Chris Grosso
Cynthia Bourgeault
David Frenette
Eckhart Tolle
Gangaji
Hameed Ali (aka AH Almaas)
Jack Kornfield
Jeff Foster
John Prendergast
Judith Blackstone
Ken Wilber
Loch Kelly
Mark Nepo
Matt Kahn
Michael Bernard Beckwith
Mukti
Peter Fenner
Rami Shapiro
Reginald A. Ray
Richard Freeman
Richard Rohr
Rick Hanson
Robert Thurman
Sally Kempton
Sandra Ingerman
Sera Beak
Shinzen Young
Tara Brach
Thomas Hubl
Thomas Moore
Tsultrim Allione
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, shargrol, Bill F, Kacchapa, Tina

Enlightenment 15 May 2015 10:44 #98810

FYI, the first question Tami Simons asks each guest is 'When you hear the words, "spiritual awakening," what does that mean to you?'
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 03:44 #98818

Chris Marti wrote:
Matt, I experienced the same buzzing bliss out for a while. But it fades. I have yet to encounter a state of mind that doesn't fade. Whether it's because mind adjusts to it or because the state slowly goes away I have no idea. Maybe a bit of both.
Hi Chris,

Thanks for giving my experience context. I thought it was more or less fading, but recently it's been swelling more when I get into activities conducive of 'flow'. I don't assume I know what's next.

My reply to Bill was a bit of a quip, but also trying to say something. That I didn't really know what his definition of enlightenment was, but that it seems like there's are baseline mileposts that are meaningful.

I thought it was uncontroversial around here, that something called Stream Entry exists, that lots of people can and do attain to it, that the transient and baseline shifts, like walking soft 3'rd jhana and market change of experience of suffering are reasonable markers for SE. And the pragmatic twist, that the details of our Sila practice and our experience of the fetters are going to vary with what dogma we're steeped in along the path. Is this too big an assumption?

I sure hope that there are aspects of my changing experience that don't fade. Like lower sensitivity to unexpected and unwanted events. Chris, are you saying that you have no residue effects from contemplative attainment?
Last Edit: 16 May 2015 03:57 by matthew sexton.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Bill F

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 07:20 #98823

I think Chris is preparing you for the changes ahead. One of the tricky, annoying, and wonderful aspects of this whole program is every time you hang your hat somewhere, the peg has a way of turning into emptiness. Somehow, that itself becomes a refuge rather than a problem -- but in a way that is impossible to predict or describe.

Still, there are lots of steps along the way where we get the satisfaction of hanging our hat for a while, that's for sure.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, Bill F, Andy, matthew sexton

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 10:50 #98825

Matt --
Chris, are you saying that you have no residue effects from contemplative attainment?

No, I'm not saying there aren't long term effects, Matt. I'm saying that states of mind simply do not last. I think the states of mind, like the buzzy, wispy feeling you have, are precursors and symptoms of other things going on. They're signposts and milestones. This is what the Theravada maps signify, IMHO. The milestones come and go, and we get used to the new normal, and then repeat the process at another, maybe more subtle level, of then soon find something completely new that arises, and then we get used to that and then it passes, and so on in what appears to be an endless spiraling process. At no time was this made more apparent than what occurred after my so-called 4th path transition. I was giddy and high for months. It seemed endless, or so I thought. Then the shit came crashing down really hard, harder than ever, and I had a horrible late summer that caused me to question the whole process once again. WTF? But it was just more of the same and that, too, passed and other states arose, and passed, and the process continues to work its magic, over and over again.

The long term changes that seem to last, at least in my experience, aren't states of mind. I'm not sure what to call them, frankly, but they alter my relationship to states of mind, and to experience in general.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, Andy, Kacchapa, Elizabeth, matthew sexton

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 12:38 #98829

The view that considers enlightenment to be 'recognizing the nature of mind' accounts for this development beyond dramatic altered states.

There is the breakthrough, with its various distinctive qualitative changes; that could be seen as the moment when you really learn how to practice. Then there is the rest of your life, lived as practice, under more and more subtle, complicated, obscure, and otherwise challenging conditions-- that tests the capacity to recognize the nature of mind and act in light of that recognition.

The main point is that expecting enlightenment to be an apotheosis of bliss and light in which yourself and conditions are magically transformed... is something to be outgrown, at best. At worst, hanging onto that view leads to its own gnarly prison of illusion and denial. Not to say that one can't float around in it for a bit and be astonished that it is even possible, and encouraged to keep going. And the world can use all the shiny, happy people it can get: may we all have our time to shine!

Beyond that, there is a lot to be said for adding to the collective glow without having to make a point of twinkling.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge, Andy, every3rdthought, Elizabeth

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 12:47 #98830

I moved this to a "quick reply" to Chris' posting (alas, did not achieve a different placement. I am still learning the ropes here!).
Last Edit: 16 May 2015 12:51 by Bjorn Merker.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 12:50 #98831

I recognize significant aspects of what you describe here, Chris, including the fact that although states of mind are changeable, ephemeral, come and go on a variety of time scales, sometimes to our disappointment, at other times to our relief, some things may be more abiding. If they are not "states of mind", what to call them? How about "insights"? And perhaps "attitudes"? Insights and attitudes certainly would fit your bill of "alter[ing your] relationship to states of mind". To the extent that an insight captures some deep aspect of reality it would last, because to that extent it would be unlikely to be overturned. That does not preclude even deeper insights along related lines coming along to change things - one can only "wait and see" - but it does provide scope for long-term stabilities in some.of the upshot of our experience, As long as we do not then turn those stabilities into dogmatic absolutes, they should serve us well as signposts along the way...

As an example, referring to my recent posting on Kenneth Folk's thread "The truth of dukkha", which I know you have read, there are aspects of what I experienced in that release from bondage at 21 that stayed with me over the intervening half century, and remain as valid today as when I first saw them, though the state of mind established by that release eventually ended up fading.

The issue is a good one, well worth grappling with!
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Elizabeth

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 13:11 #98832

Bjorn, "insights" is indeed a good word to use to describe the long term effects of dedicated meditative practice. I would also offer the word "wisdom" in this context.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen

Enlightenment 16 May 2015 15:51 #98839

Bjorn Merker wrote:
I moved this to a "quick reply" to Chris' posting (alas, did not achieve a different placement. I am still learning the ropes here!).

The visual representation can be affected by clicking on the "Threaded" and "Indent" buttons at the top and bottom of a topic.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Enlightenment 17 May 2015 00:02 #98844

I recognize the elephant, well mouse in the room, that is to say that I'm a newbie in this conversation. I know I benefit from the conversation and I appreciate everyone’s tolerance.

Insight/wisdom. Is this an example of that? I've had this experience of realizing I know just what something means, deep knowledge. For example, I was playing with my son in our backyard. He was 50' away, closer the wall and street than I was, closer to potential kidnappers on the side-walk just waiting for their chance. I noticed this situation. I thought, "oh, yes that could happen, and there is *nothing* I can do to make it impossible for that to happen". And I noticed a palpable sense of relief, and connected it to the idea of impermanence. I thought, oh, his safety is transient. It always will be, I can never change that, what a relief to just know that. Not that I won't keep an eye on him, though. Aside: I don't have any particular reason to fear kidnappers, beyond my 'normal' paranoia.

Anybody chime in! :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen

Enlightenment 17 May 2015 08:29 #98847

I'd say yes, an instance of gaining insight/wisdom. And the relief you experienced in that connection may even translate to greater calm/dispassion that will allow you to be more effective in ensuring your son's safety. Interesting example, thank you.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: matthew sexton
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Moderators: Kenneth Folk
Time to create page: 0.273 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum