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

TOPIC: Vince's awakening

Vince's awakening 14 Jul 2013 21:52 #13527

Oh my god. Twelve tone Mary Had A Little Lamb. Music nerdgasm.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge

Vince's awakening 14 Jul 2013 22:13 #13528

Going along with Chris' excellent point, in the same way that real-time journaling provides a context that couldn't be preserved otherwise, piecing together a retrospective grand narrative provides another unique and valuable perspective. And it's fun.

I was also struck by how much damn retreat time the guy has put in. I was also reminded of the recent Buddhist Geeks episode about the Life Retreats, wherein they talk about seeing people make progress much more rapidly and with considerably less retreat time than they did, how that could possibly be explained, and what it means for meditation pedagogy. I've never done a retreat longer than 8 hours, and I'm not sure that I've missed out on anything but some of the most extreme (transient) experiences he describes.

One thing I really liked was how Vince defined the "model" as including both the theory and the practices that go along with it.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, Rod

Vince's awakening 14 Jul 2013 22:52 #13529

This may sound a bit arrogant, but...
I think the reason for some very rapid progress versus the proverbial 10,000 hours is-- an informed sense of what you're looking for. The Dzogchenpas call it "recognizing mind essence." At some point, from study, lucky encounters, important dreams, life experience, or whatever: you know it when you see it; then, everything works; it is everywhere, coded and obscure from those who are not yet sure what they're looking for.

The route, I think, to that ability is idiosyncratic; the pedagogy is largely incidental. For instance, at some point Vince knew he needed to do inquiry and sought out teaching. Others have started there and plugged away for years without quite "getting it." I did it myself, on and off as the impulse struck me, for maybe a month-- using as guidance memories of stories about Ramana Maharshi that conveyed his do-or-die determination to get to the bottom of things.

The Rubicon seems to be a stepping up to say "I can do this, and I will-- however long it takes, and no matter what it looks like."
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge, nadav, Deklan

Vince's awakening 14 Jul 2013 23:08 #13531

When you know what you're looking for, you're more likely to find it, but you're more likely to miss out on everything you weren't looking for. Yes? :-)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 01:09 #13535

nadav wrote:
When you know what you're looking for, you're more likely to find it, but you're more likely to miss out on everything you weren't looking for. Yes? :-)

True enough; but are you really "missing out" on the thousands of random things that are inapropos? They come back into the picture when you've learned to recognize. Then they aren't random or inapropos anymore. Nothing is.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 06:28 #13537

Just to flip Kate's point, I also think that folks that make quick progress realize what isn't it and what isn't a problem. I think 99% of my spinning out in dark night related stuff was due to taking it seriously as me, mine, a problem, a personal flaw, a wound, danger, a weakness, etc. etc. While taking that view has maybe let me deal/heal/integrate a lot of that in the therapeutic sense, it also solidified my identity around those wounds and probably slowed down the progress of insight. So my hypothesis is that when I finally do awaken, in the tipping point sense, it may not be as dramatic as quick awakeners
but that's a lot of blind hypothesizing. Just putting it out there for the sake of science! :)

One thing that I have to admit comforted me in a weird way was the struggling that Vince admits to. In his BuddhistGeeks leadership role, associations with the Boulder crowd, friend of Daniel... I kinda made this assumption that his path was all peaches and cream. "Grass is greener on the other side of the fence" kind of thing. Well, seems like the struggle is a big part of this wiggle for everyone.

I'm also happy to have a better sense of what it means when the dharma eye opens and stay opens. Previous descriptions confused me.

I was shocked however, how little he mentions lotuses, dew drops, or dolphins. It makes me doubt the extent to which he truly has awakened. :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge

Vince on Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 12:02 #13540

Hi Everyone,

It's a little weird to be commenting on a thread called "Vince's awakening" but here goes... ;-)

Just a few random thoughts in response to what has been said here:

First, thanks for all the comments. I'm glad people found it interesting, that it may have shed light on their own experiences, or simply validated what they've already realized. Very cool.

Also, I've been having a discussion recently about the lots of retreat / little retreat question with Jack Kornfield--who has spent as much time as anyone doing Mahasi based noting and has worked with 1000s of students over the years--and he posed the question to me on whether the folks who are going through the progress of insight off retreat are maybe going through them in a way that would parallel the difference between how someone like Leigh Brasington teaches a much easier form of jhana practice (light jhana) compared to Pa Auk Sayadaw or Alan Wallace who teach a very high standard of jhana (hard jhana). So is it light-vipassana jhana vs hard-vipassana jhana depending on the level and depth of concentration, and does this effect the depth of the awakening? Or are all stream-entry experiences the same? I don't really have an opinion on this, as I can't seem to remove my experience from the context in which it happened, but it's a very provocative question. Perhaps contemplative neuroscience, as it develops, might be able to shed some light on this, by studying the comparative difference.

In terms of speed of the process unfolding, this is always interesting. I spent 4 years in the dark night on the way to 1st path. At the time I did a lot of practice, had Daniel's book as a guide, and a few friends who were also doing it as support. That said, neither Daniel or Kenneth were nearly as good teachers as they are now (!) so I think a lot of the advances that people are seeing comes from better instruction / support and seeing that WAY more people who have done it. At the time I started practicing w/ Daniel and Kenneth they were a couple of my only models, so it seemed a bit less achievable than it probably does now w/ online communities teeming full of folks who can speak pretty eloquently about breakthrough experiences (though sometimes i sense that the models we use to interpret our experiences often limit the power of translating those attainments into actual wisdom, but that's another story). :)

Ona & Chris: I would totally agree that over time the interpretation of these things changes pretty drastically. If we understand Awakening from a more Zen perspective, as "no fixed position," this is really consonant with that... :)

@shargrol : I forgot to mention that at the end of every major shif that I had a powerful image of dolphins playing together in a field of water lotuses. ;-D
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, shargrol, Ona Kiser, Andy, every3rdthought, Colleayn, Rod

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 12:12 #13541

"One thing I really liked was how Vince defined the "model" as including both the theory and the practices that go along with it."

Yeah, this is something that has become clearer to me in the past couple years, that it's very problematic to frame a model or approach by the theory alone, as the theory and practices that were created to help validate the theory co-arise and co-mingle to such a degree that it's basically impossible to separate them. Hegel said it better when he suggested that "perception is theory laden."

Which means to me that those of us who have gone deep in the progress-of-insight-practice-and-model have been training ourselves not to see "reality as it is" but rather as this particular lens-and-practice enables us to see things. Which also implies that there are other ways of experiencing things--other kinds of awakenings. That moves me both toward a multi-dimensional and more open-ended model what awakening is. But to me we're still in the stone ages of understanding what is going on here... Just my opinion. :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, shargrol, Andy, every3rdthought, Colleayn

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 12:22 #13542

Thanks for commenting Vince.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 12:58 #13543

Vincent Horn wrote:
Which means to me that those of us who have gone deep in the progress-of-insight-practice-and-model have been training ourselves not to see "reality as it is" but rather as this particular lens-and-practice enables us to see things. Which also implies that there are other ways of experiencing things--other kinds of awakenings. That moves me both toward a multi-dimensional and more open-ended model what awakening is. But to me we're still in the stone ages of understanding what is going on here... Just my opinion. :)

Awesome, thanks for commenting Vince! --- especially on the the essentialness of aquatic mammals and Asian water plants :)

It's significant to me that Daniel's instructions on noting include the model of reality that it supposedly reveals: momentary, rapid, changing, snapshot-like. But I suspect all practices are similar in this sense. Visualize a diety and see reality as an expression of the diety. Cultivate tranquility and experience the reality of that tranquility. Allow experience to arise and see reality as self-arising. etc. etc The way we create our "bootstraps" probably has an effect on what happens when we "pull ourselves up by them."
Last Edit: 15 Jul 2013 13:01 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Jake St. Onge, Ona Kiser

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 18:47 #13544

"Which means to me that those of us who have gone deep in the progress-of-insight-practice-and-model have been training ourselves not to see "reality as it is" but rather as this particular lens-and-practice enables us to see things."

Yeah, another way of saying that we get what we expect to get, see what we expect to see, interpret what we experience in light of what we "know" from reading books, talking to our teachers and friends. This can be validated by "traveling" around the Net reading message boards that are staked in various traditions - the noting folks have noting stuff happen, the Zen folks have Zen stuff happen, and so on :)

Thanks for your comments, Vince. Nice you see you here.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 15 Jul 2013 20:13 #13545

There is always the danger of scripting your experience, but I don't really see any way around that short of the proverbial "mushrooming". The benefit of a place like this, or some other online forums, is that they have the potential to keep you honest instead of reinforcing the scripting. That is the goal, anyway. But great point, Chris, about the value of practice journals.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 16 Jul 2013 12:20 #13557

Vincent Horn wrote:
those of us who have gone deep in the progress-of-insight-practice-and-model have been training ourselves not to see "reality as it is" but rather as this particular lens-and-practice enables us to see things.

Indeed.
Vincent Horn wrote:
we're still in the stone ages of understanding what is going on here

Kenneth Folk passed on to me a dictum of Bill Hamilton: "It is quite possible that there are no ultimate conclusions to be drawn."
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shargrol, Laurel Carrington, every3rdthought

Vince on Vince's awakening 16 Jul 2013 14:42 #13562

Vincent Horn wrote:
Also, I've been having a discussion recently about the lots of retreat / little retreat question with Jack Kornfield--who has spent as much time as anyone doing Mahasi based noting and has worked with 1000s of students over the years--and he posed the question to me on whether the folks who are going through the progress of insight off retreat are maybe going through them in a way that would parallel the difference between how someone like Leigh Brasington teaches a much easier form of jhana practice (light jhana) compared to Pa Auk Sayadaw or Alan Wallace who teach a very high standard of jhana (hard jhana). So is it light-vipassana jhana vs hard-vipassana jhana depending on the level and depth of concentration, and does this effect the depth of the awakening? Or are all stream-entry experiences the same? I don't really have an opinion on this, as I can't seem to remove my experience from the context in which it happened, but it's a very provocative question. Perhaps contemplative neuroscience, as it develops, might be able to shed some light on this, by studying the comparative difference.

A novel idea. What characteristics would differentiate "deep awakening" from "shallow awakening"? There's canonical support for meditators progressing at different rates according to their proclivities:

"Monks, there are four modes of progress: painful progress with slow comprehension, painful progress with quick comprehension, pleasant progress with slow comprehension, pleasant progress with quick comprehension. Among these four, the highest is pleasant progress with quick comprehension. There are, indeed, those who make progress in such a way. But even for persons who make progress in such a way, change takes place, transformation takes place."

IMHO: Identifying any class of thought, behavior, or bodily sensation as 'self' is enough to delay progress indefinitely. At some point every yogi gets stuck on thought about the practice technique, the dharma as a whole, personal content, expectations or demands for getting results from practice, and associated negative emotions. Belief in a permanent self will hole up in any unexamined metacognition.

For those able to ferret out such thoughts in "daily life" and note them consistently as they arise, retreat isn't necessary, although it's very possible such individuals would make even faster progress on retreat. Others need to hit a point of total frustration on retreat to see what they were missing.

The quality of instruction available off-retreat is definitely a factor; access to the pragmatic teaching online has been a colossal boon to my practice. On a related note, Vince: thank you for everything you've done to spread the teachings.
Last Edit: 17 Jul 2013 18:56 by Matthew Horn.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen

Vince's awakening 16 Jul 2013 21:12 #13594

(nevermind)
Last Edit: 16 Jul 2013 21:44 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 23 Jul 2013 11:31 #13754

Thanks for doing this interview, Vince.
One of the things I could really relate to in your descriptions was the complementarity of practice/theory in the sense that concrete practices like noting or whatever are intimitely tied into views which conceptualize or map what experience is like and what can be expected as practice unfolds. The deep circularity of practice/view characterizes dualistic struggle as such in some sense, in my experience, even though this basic structure can be turned towards waking up. What I mean is, this circle of view/practice seems to include the usually implicit assumption that we know how things are and how they should be and that we need to do something in order to move from a to b. It's easy in beginning practice to get caught up in experiences rather than to just be with experiencing.

Which ties in with another peice of your narrative that resonated for me: namely that dualities are countless (and so are non-dualities). Each view/practice modality seems to assume this structure. Some examples might be how self-inquiry assumes a duality between The Self absent phenomena and all phenomena; or how practicing mental-emotional stillness assumes a duality between self-referential thoughts and still openness.

The strange difference between realization-as-baseline shift on the one hand and view/practice on the other, to me, seems to be that realization involves a resolution in the sense of letting go of a (sometimes cherished) version of duality that has become enshrined in a particular approach to practicing in the context of a particular dualistic struggle or search.

These resolutions are curious though because they seem to reveal that the duality in question was never that important... at least, ontologically. Perhaps this explains some of the decreased dramatism of deeper practice in which 'ordinaryness' and similar themes start to predominate, and the difference between formal practice and life starts to break down (or be seen more in pragmatic terms of which mode facilitates which kinds of states in the bodymind, even as the differences between states becomes far less enthralling.)

To me this whole duality between practice/view (and how they construct or construe experience a certain way) on the one hand and realization (as the release of cumpulsion to construct/construe experience in that particular way) on the other is currently a fruitful existential koan lol!

ETA: because it is difficult for me right now to avoid framing this distinction in terms of a dualistic struggle between practice/no-practice. Seeing the limits of directed practice of all kinds in that they generate experiences, not insights, (although these experiences can precipitate insight), and yet, dropping practice can itself be a practice that assumes a dualistic view of doing vs. non-doing, and construes experience as being a certain way. Although I see this as different from just letting go and letting be, which ties in with what Kate said about 'knowing what we are looking for", or what i would frame as the difference between practice as expressing a 'search' versus practice that follows up on what was found to be true and has held up during the ups and downs of life.

Anyhow thanks for sharing, very interesting stuff.
Last Edit: 23 Jul 2013 11:50 by Jake St. Onge.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Ona Kiser, every3rdthought, Matthew Horn

Vince's awakening 23 Jul 2013 20:15 #13764

Chris Marti wrote:
"Which means to me that those of us who have gone deep in the progress-of-insight-practice-and-model have been training ourselves not to see "reality as it is" but rather as this particular lens-and-practice enables us to see things."

Yeah, another way of saying that we get what we expect to get, see what we expect to see, interpret what we experience in light of what we "know" from reading books, talking to our teachers and friends. This can be validated by "traveling" around the Net reading message boards that are staked in various traditions - the noting folks have noting stuff happen, the Zen folks have Zen stuff happen, and so on :)

Thanks for your comments, Vince. Nice you see you here.

There was a great thread on the wetpaint kenneth folk forum by chelek called mahasi/chan which illustrated somewhat the differences in results that different techniques and approaches showed. Shame i cant find it anymore. Does anyone know if that got saved somewhere? It was a n informative thread with triplethink/nathan also sharing data. Also, this seems to relate to the whole "you get what you optimise for".

Nick
Last Edit: 23 Jul 2013 20:16 by Nikolai Stephen Halay.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 23 Jul 2013 20:19 #13765

The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 23 Jul 2013 23:02 #13767

Thanks for linking to that, fascinating stuff! Haven't finished listening to Vince's talk yet but on the Mahasi/Chah thing the part that leapt out for me was the distinction between temporality and spatiality. This is exactly what has kept coming up in my practice recently. I actually said this to Ona last week, doing Mahasi it seemed like there was ONLY time whereas now, doing a more gentle inclusive do-nothing practice, sometimes it seems like there's ONLY space.

My biggest 'experience,' which I think was a pre-SE A&P by Mahasi standards and happened on a Mahasi retreat, was precisely the experience that, in time, every moment arises and passes away and there is only this moment which is constantly passing away, nothing else can ever exist, and a focus of intention (toward an object) and attention (on an object) which moves like the prow of a boat leaving that disappearing wake behind it. At the time, I described it as an experience of Impermanence and Unsatisfactoriness (although it was pretty blissful), but not No-Self because it still felt like all of this was being witnessed (and that 'I am the witness' thing kept on nagging at me).

In other words, for me at least, temporality would lead to the aspect of awakening which emphasises seeing that all objects are impermanent, whereas spatiality would lead to the aspect that emphasises seeing that there are no separate objects (personally, unlike CHeleK on the thread, I wouldn't associate the latter with the body, I would think the body can fall into either depending on 'what you do' with it in practice, so to speak...)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 24 Jul 2013 17:26 #13776

Another interesting thing I take away from reading others' accounts of practice and awakening is the great diversity of ways in which this stuff can occur. For instance, many folks' descriptions of profound shifts along the path include very clear experiential insights into certain things like 'emptiness of phenomena' or what Vince describes as the (paraphrasing from memory of this interview) interpenetration of the 'blip' of cessation with the manifesting of all phenomena (I believe somewhere around what he identified as second path). I think it's interesting that some people (like myself) can relate to these experiential insights before any sort of transformative path has even begun.

It's sort of a plus and minus thing of course-- semi-regularly flashing into these sorts of insights can really work against a motivation to practice diligently. On the other hand they can be very inspiring and (echoing something Kate said up-thread) can help orient the practitioner towards liberating insight and keep one on track, less likely to be enthralled by the newest shift.

For instance, after completing my first progress of insight, the mind moment right after the initial post-cessation "Aha!" moment was pervaded by a mix of dissapointment and determination, which in the next moment was cognized explicitly as "there is nothing in the progress of insight that can liberate". Another koan...

this whole topic is making me reflect more on the 'teaching' thread Duane started a while back, and my sense that individuals are so different that it would be very difficult to teach well without a good understanding of the basic 'types' if you will of practitioners and the ways they experience the path (if such generalizations can even be made...?)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kate Gowen, Ona Kiser

Vince's awakening 24 Nov 2014 17:24 #96282

Hey Guys!

I'm new to AwakeNetwork, but I have lurked round the dHo for about a year. I'm happy to meet all of you, and can't wait to get to know you more. I was wondering if anyone has this mp3 downloaded, and if they would be willing to share it. The link seems to be dead.

Thanks so much! :P

-Jeff
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Vince's awakening 24 Nov 2014 19:32 #96285

shargrol wrote:
Just to flip Kate's point, I also think that folks that make quick progress realize what isn't it and what isn't a problem. I think 99% of my spinning out in dark night related stuff was due to taking it seriously as me, mine, a problem, a personal flaw, a wound, danger, a weakness, etc. etc. While taking that view has maybe let me deal/heal/integrate a lot of that in the therapeutic sense, it also solidified my identity around those wounds and probably slowed down the progress of insight. So my hypothesis is that when I finally do awaken, in the tipping point sense, it may not be as dramatic as quick awakeners - but that's a lot of blind hypothesizing. Just putting it out there for the sake of science!

Just sayin' :D
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake St. Onge, Laurel Carrington

Vince's awakening 24 Nov 2014 23:30 #96290

erm... I'd like to listen to it too.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jeffrey Nieves

Vince's awakening 25 Nov 2014 00:18 #96291

I'd also like a listen
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jeffrey Nieves

Vince's awakening 25 Nov 2014 07:19 #96298

Here is Vince and Emily talking about retreats and what they call life retreats: www.buddhistgeeks.com/2013/04/bg-285-reinventing-the-retreat/
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Time to create page: 0.287 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum