Coming New Direction, Hope, and Loss

29 June 2015

I sat for only 30 minutes. I meant to practice these new concentration tips from the mahamudra book, but I detoured quite a bit. It seems that jhanas are so automatic for me that I don’t need to concentrate much for them to happen in the background. So I do need to practice a more vigilant and intensified concentration. The easing up kind I have down,

Mostly, I was following Daniel’s earlier advice to “let it settle,” whatever I have. I can hardly wait to communicate with him. And he better flash those dimples, pat me on the head, and say “Nice!” rather than tell me I need to repeat nirodha samapatti to get credit for it, haha!

I had a pretty intense fruition on the upper side of the jhana, with a spinning motion going into in. Not much bliss afterward, though.

I drew the Star, which suggests hope and good outcomes. There are symbols of Aquarius, water bearer and life bringer. The doves suggest release, lightness, the positive. The woman is naked and sheltered, or comforted, in her hair, needing nothing material, nothing else.

30 June 2015

I sat for only 40 minutes. I wasn’t much of a mood to sit at all. I slept much of the evening. Maybe I’m already moving into Dissolution. My jhanas bloomed much in the usual way, even though my concentration was rather shite. My mind kept wandering off to stories, and I had to bring it back repeatedly to the breath. For the arupas, I feel that I tried to go to Nothingness and NPNYNP too soon and so Nothingness wasn’t really all that stable, and eighth I couldn’t really tell I established at all. Center of gravity was Boundless Consciousness, and had a good stop off in Boundless Space on the way back down.

I drew the Hanged Man, reversed. This is ambiguity reversed, so ambiguity proper, ha. The man in green hangs suspended in timelessness, meditating to reach enlightenment. The hourglass on its side indicates the stopping of time. The aura around his head suggests new understanding. All the swirling in the background speaks of all that is outside of the self’s control, which is what brought the man in green to this state. The figures on the side are blown about by the winds of change, with the red indicating a sense of loss as I move on in a new direction. There is someone in the background who controls and draws on me for his own purposes, and this keeps me somewhat trapped for the time being. As with so many cards the past few months, this card is indicating meditation practice, the advent of a new direction and departure in my practice, and a sense of loss for someone I will leave behind as I embrace this new change, step into it.

  

Nirodha Samapatti: Attainment at Last

Jenny

I just had something weird happen during my sit. I lost consciousness while sitting up straight on the floor in a half lotus. It was not a Fruition because those are fast. I lost 30 to 40 minutes at least, with no sense of time or anything during that time out. It was like being “out” for surgery: I was completely and utterly gone—as in a coma, like Daniel said of nirodha samapatti.

I know I lost all that time because I set a timer at the beginning of my sits, and I set this time for one hour. I felt like I was about 20, maybe 25, minutes in. Suddenly, there was a kind of rock-heavy downshift and thud. Then I was out, and the next thing I knew, I was coming up out of it. I looked at the timer and there was three minutes left on it. So there is at least a half an hour I cannot account for and had no residual sense of having had that time pass in some way—not even the way we normally sense time has passed when we’ve slept.

I was doing concentration, but I’m not aware that I got all the way to seventh and eighth. I did not resolve to get NS (I kind of gave up on making resolutions for NS for now, feeling I’m not ready and should focus on resolving for clear fruitions). I normally get very intense afterglows from jhana practice, and I do not feel right now like I’m in a heavier one than usual. The main thing I’m noticing is extra clarity and brightness of mind, like I don’t need to sleep and could work all night or go for a walk in the moonlight. It is as if I have no need for sleep, all fatigue is gone.

Vasily

Could deep eighth possibly cause this?

Jenny

No. I’m positive this was nirodha. There is still some consciousness in eighth jhana. It is now 13 hours later and I’m still in the most intense and blissful afterglow I’ve ever experienced. It’s unbelievable.

The shutdown was distinctive, The powering back up was, too. My timer and my burned down candle showed that I was as if in a coma for about 30 minutes, completely gone. No mental activity or sense of time whatsoever in that state. I just vanished for half an hour. Everything feels different now, extremely vivid, clear, and blissful.

I’ve no doubt at all that this was the real deal.

I stayed up till dawn just to fully check out this afterglow and to scour the DhO for Daniel’s comments on claims to NS. I also looked at the language from texts and looked for any possible differential diagnosis.

There is no way that I can think at this point that what happened last night was anything other than the real deal, nirodha samapatti. The shutdown was distinctive; the rise out was distinctive. Three moments of shutdown and the reverse on the way up and out. I had zero consciousness for around 30 minutes (which, oddly, apparently didn’t affect my sitting posture at all, which was upright on a pillow, half lotus). I was completely, utterly gone. And my mobile phone app proves how much time I lost from all mental activity whatsoever. My new votive candle was burned down way past where it should have been if felt time were real time elapsed.

What is odd to me is that I was doing some mahamudra tips for concentration side only, and my usual vibratory stuff was almost nonexistent during the sit. So, apparently, for me to get NS, I have to lean way, way over to the samatha side of things—as in actually not cultivating even 30% vipassana, but none at all since plenty is there.

Also, hilariously, this happens soon after I gave up on its happening and quit with the resolutions after 3 months of steadfastly resolving? Funny how the Dharma does this to me all the time—must give up to get!

So power failure outage, nothing whatsoever in the way of mental anything for 30 minutes, gradual come up and back online, and a delayed-onset stunning afterglow lasting many, many hours.

I now am feeling incredible clarity, like a ton of “psychic gunk” was cleaned out, kind of like you feel the day after doing LSD. Everything is vibrant, extraordinarily clear, and blissfully calm.

Just as advertised, as Daniel says, and I highly recommend it if you can get it.

Postscript Almost 3 Years Later

I’ll never forget this event. It was truly the most stunning sudden event to happen on the path after the stream entry out-of-body and reboot experience. I had been practicing Daniel’s instructions for this attainment for 3 months and casting resolutions. Three changes seemed to make the difference on this night: (1) I leaned all the way toward the samatha side and away from the vipassana aspect, which was already strong; (2) I maintained metacognitive monitoring of how the sit was going past first jhana and in fact all the way up; and (3) I “forgot” about the spells I had been casting for 3 months straight, the forgetting being a common ingredient of most effective spells.

 Jhanas and Insight: Friendly Sparring with Pawel

Jenny

After stream entry, says Daniel, one is basically in some manner of jhana if drawing breath.

Pawel

Interesting =)

Jenny

He and I are both aversive personality types. This means we don’t readily get into the intensely pleasurable states, like second, but prefer the higher refined states that are more neutral-feeling.

Pawel

So I guess you won’t have anything against 4th path once you shut down half of your brain and rest of it finally “arrives.”

Jenny

Instead I simply call on the jhana and immediately drop manipulation and just observe what happens.

Pawel

Do you really “call” on jhana or are “jhana projectors” just getting active and casually start projecting jhanic qualities?

Jenny

Um, the correct answer is B—”jhana projectors” causally start projecting jhanic qualities! Did I pass the test?

Seriously, though, yes, I know, but it was 4:30 in the morning, at which time I have Super Agency, linguistically speaking! You have indeed identified one area to try to see as more stuff that is “simply happening.” I’m quite attached to my jhanas, baby; I guess there is a reason that, in the fetters model, attachment to the jhanas is the last attachment to go!

It is funny because when I talked to Daniel by phone after path in February, he advised me to call up the jhanas, in order and out of order, and do all sorts of manipulative exercises with them, such as holding a jhana way past the point where I want to move to the next one and then suddenly “let go” into the next one to watch its factors bloom rapidly and therefore clearly. He said, “Your ability to call them up as you now can aids mastery, and mastery is good, although before, when they were sensed to be just “taking over,” you were more tuned into the no-self aspect.”

Lately, I’ve been “just sitting,” meaning I don’t call upon anything. I sit without agenda or expectation. They show up in this way, usually, more deeply, harder, than the other way, with a more intense, long afterglow. Now, however, I’m feeling like I maybe should be working on concentration per mahamudra manual in preparation for the mahamudra retreat July 24, as both Daniel and Bill advised that I strengthen concentration, although Daniel pointed out that “just sitting” doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not concentrated. I think Daniel is talking about moment-to-moment concentration, anyway, which this mahamudra is all about, from one perspective—the mindstream-of-events perspective (the other perspective is the awareness-itself perspective).

Some degree of insight is always going to show up in those jhanas.

Pawel

Not that I pick on you, but what do you mean by “insight” in this context? You talk about it as it were some substance that was pouring up and filling some sort of path-cup. At least that is my impression. Could you clarify what do you mean by “insight”? For the sake of all living beings.

Jenny

Sure, hahahaha! All I mean is that jhanas will be vipassana jhanas to some extent, not “pure” samatha jhanas. Daniel says that “at this point” doing pure samatha isn’t likely possible for me, although he invited me to run the experiment and see if I can do it. He said the experiment might be interesting.

When MCTB2 is posted, then it will be clearer what I’m talking about. Daniel has in MCTB2 made the jhanas, generically described, the entire framework for advanced meditation (both samatha and vipassana aspects). He states in MCTB2 that there is always some combination of samatha and vipassana—and vipassana will be quite obviously operative after stream entry, especially.

What do I mean by “vipassana”? Only that the Three Characteristics will show up in the concentration states, breaking “pure” samatha. Reality will show itself, its true nature, as it were, until even that “true nature” is undone and the Three Characteristics vanish for good.

The jhanas have furthered my insight rapidly because they are like little laboratories in which many specific variables are held at bay, or turned away from, which makes what’s left, the isolated variable, easier to see into, to investigate. I’ve had major insight in the Realm of Nothingness, for example, that I think would have taken a lot more time to come across without my having that attainment to Nothingness.

For example, why, when I’m feeling super agencyless do I also have such intense j4.j5 that I barely feel my body?

Pawel

“Super agencyless”—I do not have that one yet, just normal plain old agencylessness. =(

Jenny

Perhaps you need to try harder to not try harder!

All I meant was that I was aware of it most of the day, but, yes, there is no “degree” of agencylessness. That wouldn’t make sense. By the way, I’m finding that if I pay attention to whether or not there is agency, I am shifted into being aware directly that there is no agency. Should I be trying, Pawel, to tune into that all day? I mean, I don’t understand from Daniel, how “constantly” screaming obvious the agencylessness is supposed to be. He states in one of his DhO postings listing criteria for 4th path that it “isn’t always in the forefront of attention.”

Does an arahat have a “forefront,” by the way?

In the new criteria for 3rd path, by contrast, he states that agencylessness should be the dominant experience the vast majority of the time. Why the discrepancy?

I need to remember to ask him about this, but I’m trying to stop bugging him, for he has 100 hours of ER shifts to do in eight days.

Pawel

Why agencylessness and not feeling body would be linked specifically to j4.j5? Body image projection does not have anything to do with “infinite space,” which is just another projection separate from projection of bodies. Have you tried to tweak this body sensation independently of jhanas as its own thing and then deepen it?

Jenny

First, there is no logical reason that I can think of for why agencylessness would be linked specifically to j4.j5. I’ve just noticed that I tend to be in a pretty strong j4.j5 when I notice a sense of agencylessness as experience. As for not feeling my body, that is part of the definition of Boundless Space as a jhana: No body. It applies to j6 and j7, as well.

No, I haven’t tried that. I can’t do anything “independently of jhanas,” for they are always running, per Daniel—and per experience so far.

Daniel wrote a comment that “vibrating formless realms” refers to oscillating between seventh and eighth jhana. I need to follow up on this marginalia.

Hi, Eric! Did you see where Moses, er Daniel, brought the law down from on high and threw it before swine, er, I mean all DhO beings? He didn’t answer clarifying questions about whether he was talking about criteria for having 3rd at all, or criteria for “late” 3rd. He’ll escape my questioning only so long, for now that this cat is out of the bag, it will certainly have to go into the revised edition.

Pawel

Yeah, path 3 and 3.5, that make some sense. I would still push 2nd path into 1st and make those two early and mature anagamis into two separate paths, 2nd and 3rd.

Jenny

There is not a two-phase third path in Daniel’s Revised Four-Path Model or in his Simple Model. Both models are worthless to me. They say almost nothing.

I’m inclined to agree with you Pawel—First Path ought to be Fruition and cycle based. As soon as actual insights/wisdom and walking-around persistent changes in perception start up, that ought to be next (Second?). At some almost-done point, that ought to be Third.

At any rate, Daniel has a bunch of ‘spaining to do.

If one has to have luminosity and agencylessness the “vast majority of the time” to even qualify for 3rd path, then, as DW mentioned, Daniel has lot of filling in of Second Path to do in his model! Currently, Second Path has zero insight listed—just, oh, another path and fruition attained. So friggin’ what!

 

Settling, Patience, and Letting Go: A Community Project

Jenny

One thing Daniel told me recently was to practice patience in the face of my recent intense (and distressing) Desire for Deliverance, which went on for almost two months. He tells me to investigate patterns “gently” and mainly just to let my recent (January/February) attainment “settle.” He says the brain can only rewire so fast, and I got stream entry less than a year ago. I said to him, “Then why do I feel like I’ve been doing this for lifetimes?”

What do I mean by “vipassana”? Only that the Three Characteristics will show up in the concentration states, breaking “pure” samatha. Reality will show itself, its true nature, as it were, until even that “true nature” is undone and the Three Characteristics vanish for good.

Vasily

Jenny, I’ve found myself coming to the same conclusion about patience from an experience that I think stems from a very similar place as your recent Desire for Deliverance, but probably not as intense.  By listening to something Adyashanti has said, and some things that Daniel has said, and some things that I have experienced, it feels like usually the cause is in some notion we are holding on to that either

  1. This can’t be it so I will try and in very subtle ways manipulate this experience, which clearly isn’t even a “thing,” nor does it help.
  2. That we have some notion of what our practice or reality should look like.

I have found useful incredible, incredible honesty about if I’m in any way trying to manipulate reality, as well as the fact that “awareness” doesn’t really care if it’s having a “bad” or “good” time; it’s this weird constructed notion of ourselves that gets really fussy about that. This has helped me remember to (my recent mantra): Chill the fuck out.

Jenny

Vasily, you have such useful insight. I really appreciate your Zen-inspired perspectives. They are  an often useful antidote to the crazymaking effort-manipulation and refuge-seeking knots we suddenly find ourselves in. I usually actually take perverse pleasure in Desire for Deliverance—I love all the cathartic weeping, praying—”melodharmas,” as Daniel calls them, haha. But when it goes on for 7 weeks? Not so fun anymore.

Upthread, you will see that I sent out strong intention after one of my sits to draw the card that would respond directly to this painfully long Desire for Deliverance. I drew the High Priestess, and that is an emphatically Yin card, one urging passivity, openness, and a “practice” consisting of patience.

I had told Daniel about my drawing the High Priestess, who urges patience. Here is what he wrote, and after reading it, that night I sat and went to High Mastery Equanimity and had the clearest experience of formations to date (I still haven’t posted here my entry for that sit by the way).

Jenny (to Daniel)

Lately, even “watching the motions of attraction and aversion” is taking me nowhere.

Daniel

Good. There is nowhere to get to but here. That’s the sort of response that drives people nuts, but it is still true. It is also not possible that practice isn’t doing something, even if you can’t see that right now.

I think that you can combine settling, patience and strong concentration. Settling is settling into right now, into this. Patience is allowing that sense of pulling to be embraced now and letting go of something (not a phrase I use lightly, but it seems to apply here). Concentration has to be grounded in this moment, in this plane, in these sensations, so it is also patience, and it is also settling. “Let it settle,” as Christopher Titmuss so wisely said to me one day. I would still be with the settling. That’s what comes to me this early, circadian-ly disrupted morning.

Jenny (to Elizabeth)

I too am looking forward to the dropping of MCTB2. We got really bogged down in the two most difficult chapters of the book—”Equanimity” and “Path and Fruit,” the latter of which includes the “Three Doors” section, which has always driven me bonkers and which caused me to drive Daniel bonkers over my being bonkers about it.

Exhale

He’s also even more overworked than usual now because three of his colleagues resigned.

We have finished “Equanimity,” which is fantastic and the most important chapter in the whole book. It was worth it that he and I took the time to haggle over every little part of it. We are both very, very happy.

We are almost done with “Path and Fruit,” now that we spent some 15 pages of email struggling with each other over just the No-Self/Suffering door, which is hilarious if you think about it! This one little section generated a ton of exchange with Daniel and exemplifies what a strange and wonderful, if often overwhelming, period in my life this has been—the challenges and opportunities of considering with Daniel every single passage in this book.

We have a chapter to get to on the Vipassana jhana models, which should be a walk in the park in comparison with the foregoing. Then we have another chapter that is a kind of catch-all space for the notation system detail, Nirodha Samapatti, and other advanced practice instructions. This is a brand new chapter.

Daniel’s most off-hand email can cause for me an opening, and did, leading directly to path, to luminosity as persistent shift. He is not my Teacher by his own definition of what a Teacher is (someone sitting with a student in person, on retreat with him). We’ve expressly sought not to make editing some exchange for teaching. Nonetheless, he is my teacher, even if he disclaims me as his student.

In short, what a wonderful period of my life this has been, what a unique opportunity it has been to get to know Daniel personally and to have these conversations. I also feel this morning like expressing high gratitude for this little space, all the people here in the Underground. May I catch up on journals (mine and everyone’s) this weekend.

Vasily

I remember before my latest shift seeing what I believe to be formations really clearly. I agree with Daniel about the “if you’re seeing formations, enlightenment is close” thing.

Regarding the second part, “The river naturally empties into the ocean.”

Regarding the letting go of something, I find myself contemplating a phrase by T. S. Eliot from Journey of the Magi:

But set down

this set down

this.

In terms of letting go, what has helped me is feeling the suffering of grabbing, holding, and in the same motion of letting a hot coal fall out of our grip, by simply opening our hand—let go.

Luminosity Leading to Mahamudra: Colloquy with Daniel

This was an hour-long sit someplace in Equanimity, although I think I have slipped back into a lower phase, probably because I missed some sits, which was dumb to have let happen. This sit went back and forth between jhanas and Equanimity. I felt some strong bodily vibrations at two points, across my face (oddly) and later my hips and thighs. Not much to say about this sit except that it was pleasant, ñ11.j4.j5.j2 today.

Strength

 I drew the card Strength, upright. This is a major arcana card and indicates that courage comes from within. It urges me to stand up to whatever the universe is throwing at me. I should confront antagonism and wrongdoing head-on, out of the power of my convictions and faith. The calm, patient, and gentle nature triumphs over the danger of the wild lion.

Weird Sleep Pattern

I had a nice hour-long sit. I’m manifesting this strange sleep pattern lately wherein I come home and sleep from 9 p.m. to midnight, wake, bathe, and then meditate. It is odd but I guess better than what I was doing before, which was getting only 5 or so hours of sleep. I think I would be happier if I fixed my sleep dysregulation, which is the root of all my other dysregulation.

Resolutions to See the Six Doors to Fruition Clearly

I’m sitting here in a totally blissed-out high from jhanas and fruition out on the P8JP above eighth jhana. I have been resolving strongly every night, per Daniel’s advice, to have Fruitions and to be able to see those six doors very, very clearly, as well as to re-experience clearly the Dependent Origination of the restart-of-reality after cessation. 

The one time I experienced the latter was during stream entry, and it was the most miraculous, mind-blowing event I’ve ever had happen: totally decentered awareness, a spatial turning of that awareness to find Jenny not there, and then a layering of me back into being, link by link of the DO. Nama-rupa was distinct as it came back online. I wept outright after this happened. I knew I had experienced something like miraculous vision into reality.

Well, at least I’m pretty sure now that these things I’m experiencing are Fruitions, not state shifts as Daniel tried to tell me months ago (he was wrong back then, too, and I think that I’ve actually experienced these in clumps, at intervals, years before my supposed stream entry, which maybe explains why I seemed to possibly have picked up an extra path somewhere along the way).

Mahamudra Prep

Anyway, I’m reading only bits of a bunch of different books because I lack time for reading or much of anything else till MCTB2 is done. I’m trying to focus on Daniel P. Brown’s Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition.

I practiced the body points and one-pointedness instructions tonight, and I noticed quickly how sloppy I’ve gotten with regard to those lower jhanas, especially first. I caught myself three times “elaborating” on the mind-stream instead of staying with the orderly arising and passing of each mind moment. So I noted the “elaborating,” returned to my object, which was the breath tonight to begin with, which I’ve not done in a long time because I normally take the jhana factors as objects, or take no object (unsupported), and then I “intensified” concentration without distraction. When I get to second jhana, everything normally becomes much more naturally on task, which is normal, especially if I remember to “tune into the pleasure” at that point, or earlier, as Daniel advises.

(I think it is funny that, in the personality categorization for jhana, which Daniel takes from the commentaries, he and I are both aversive types. This means we don’t readily get into the intensely pleasurable states, like second, but prefer the higher refined states that are more neutral-feeling. But his tips for getting the rapturous ones work usually.)

Jhana-Junkie Jenny

I’m wondering whether the jhanas are going to be obtrusive somehow during the mahamudra retreat. Well, not much I can do about that. Interestingly, MCTB2 posits that the jhanas are hardwired-in human potential. After stream entry, says Daniel, one is basically in some manner of jhana if drawing breath. That perhaps explains why after stream entry I felt j4.j5 constantly, when not j5 outright.

Also, after stream entry it is impossible to do “pure” samatha—some degree of insight is always going to show up in those jhanas. This is true. DreamWalker keeps saying that the jhanas “obscure” insight; this is untrue. Noting—pshaw! For kindergartners! The MCTB2 Mastery part is governed by the jhanas as the entire framework. I don’t recall that noting is invoked after Part I of the book. Noting is where DW wants to be right now, so okay, so long as it is fruitful, but I urge him to experiment more, branch out, and, above all, cultivate some love of the Zen, because otherwise DW is holding up the entire field with his linearly fixated stubbornness! Oh, and move your journal to here in the Underground!

Letting the Jhanas Bloom Naturally

I’m also continuing to work, for the most part, on not manipulating the jhanas but letting them bloom on their own. This means, for example, refraining from “pushing” my presence (or whatever) out into space in j5 and j6. Instead I simply call on the jhana and immediately drop manipulation and just observe what happens. I think that some amount of push or pull is necessary when one is for the first time trying to “find” a new jhana; however, later these things are wired in and all that is necessary is initial inclination, if even that. Even when I am “just sitting” I notice the jhanas unfolding in the background. I notice them unfolding as I sit at my desk at work. I was very much in j4 all day at work. They happen on their own, and they are much more pleasant than the insight stages, which also happen on their own.

Luminosity, Nondoing, Diminished Sense of Center, and j4.j5

Speaking of daily life, I remain enamored of, fascinated by, this luminosity, and I’m thankful that I’ve seen and understood clearly much of what is still not “awake.” For the past two days, I’ve had the sense of no-doer much of the day. I’m noticing that luminosity, increasingly less sense of “center,” and spontaneous unfolding are hooking up somehow. There really must be a brain and nervous system somewhere that is being “rewired.”

Daniel (from Interview with Vince)

“The sense of subject seems to be becoming more integrated with the field, or it seems to become less important, or they seem to see more of what I’ll call “luminosity of phenomena”: that they’re just showing themselves over there. Because that’s showing itself over there, maybe this is just showing itself over here. . . .”

Daniel (after I Showed Him This Quote)

That’s good stuff! Did this twitching corpse say that? I can’t even remember doing that interview with Vince. Perhaps we should try to pull that stuff into the book somehow when we get down the road to that part.

Jenny

Haha! That last sentence is what struck me, about how maybe this side can be luminous too. . . . Why has that not occurred to me?

Daniel

That recognition is part of the key. So: how to recognize that same aspect in the this side memory, dreaming aspect?

Jenny

Does this notion lead to any particular way of practicing?

Daniel

It should. Try seeing this side as part of the whole, as just more stuff, gently identifying patterns of effort and normalcy and me-ness that seem to be so ordinary that it would seem strange to interpret them any other way: Might help.

Jenny

Major gratitude, Daniel!

Postscript Nearly 3 Years Later: The Term “Luminosity”

Daniel uses the word luminosity loosely, I find, meaning different things in different contexts. Here he seems to be using the word in its traditional way, to mean not a whole nondual attainment, but the bright dynamic clarity aspect of the field (tsal) and the bright awake aspect of the practitioner’s mind (quasi rigpa). But in most contexts, and in virtually all conversations I had with him back in 2015, when Daniel has used the term luminosity he means not just an aspect of the post-4th-path unbounded whole, but a specific attainment—namely, permanent nondual sight-consciousness (NSC) as described in this chat with Vasily here:

http://jhanajenny.com/vasily-attentional-nonduality-luminosity/

Because my dharma friends and I have found the use of luminosity to be so slippery and nondescript, when it means the MCTB 3rd path attainment, I’ve replaced it in my own work with “NSC.” The path attainment is experienced only when the practitioner is looking at a visual object. It is sight-specific, although it concerns mainly the consciousness aspect of sight-consciousness. The shift does not include thoughts beyond that consciousness aspect of visual perception.

It also necessarily involves space and awakened paradoxes of space, such as simultaneous stillness and interflow. Memories and dreams certainly can be vivid, bright, high-def., and “visual,” but do they have a spatial relationship vis-a-vis the practitioner? No. Or only if the “subject” is himself or herself represented as an object in the memory or dream in question.

For luminosity to be the attainment that Daniel usually means, it has to (1) involve real subject-object spatial-relationship deconstruction, (2) happen when seeing is happening (not abstracted thoughts, not other senses), and (3) be in itself a complete nondual relationship rather than one aspect among many of unbounded wholeness as known after MCTB 4th path. The sense of hearing and feeling also have nondual counterparts to this attainment, but they almost always happen separately and are as different from “luminosity” as sight is from hearing and feeling in general. I agree with where Daniel maps NSC/luminosity attainment: It is generally well after body and hearing, the final correction of misperception before realization of unbounded wholeness. The vocabulary of Dzogchen—rigpa, kunzhi, and tsal—offers more rigorious aspect distinction for what Daniel seems to be meaning from his post-MCTB 4th path perspective.

Understanding Awareness-Space in Advance of Mahamudra

This entry is a transcription from an audio recording I made right after the sit of June 19.

This was another sit much like the one from the night before it—I could literally see and feel fluxing, huge swaths of literal movement. These are much bigger than the “blooming nimittas” that I saw before August path [stream entry in 2014]. These are huge, and I can actually “see” space itself moving, undulating, rocking. I feel it go through me, all of one piece.

This was a great sit—judging my sits again. I set the timer for only 30 minutes, but it felt like only 10, so I set it for another 30 minutes.

The stage was definitely Equanimity. There was some mini-Dark Night components, but they were subdued under a really luscious Equanimity. I’m noting this sit as ñ11.j4.j3.

Space was moving, the walls, the carpet—big, slow, rocking movements. Yes, I could actually see space moving, which is such an odd thing to say, but it is true.

There were certain moments when something seemed to flash through everything, through it all, not making it something homogeneous but still of a piece somehow. It was not a syncing-up so that I could have a fruition. This was something different. It was almost as if something formless—something akin to the formless realms, the upper two, flashed through everything—as if it nothingness zipped through everything, was the same everywhere, yet everything in all its diversity was still there.

Even thought this was clearly Equanimity, since the formations are a dead giveaway, there is still something A&P-like about the way I am feeling. It is funny, too, because Daniel has three different subsections in MCTB2 on trying to distinguish the A&P from Equanimity and Fruition. Anyway, I am feeling massive amounts of gratitude toward Daniel and feeling High Destiny feelings—as if all this were always meant to happen, that I would meet him, that I would edit his book, that all this was predestined and is magical, that enlightenment can and will happen.

I noted in my recording that I need to document here Vince’s interview of Daniel from early Buddhist Geeks days, regarding luminosity and the Simple Model. This is the transcription of that interview portion that is Daniel’s:

And so as people start to go through more insight cycles and new territory, they may get into what I’ll call second path or the second stage [of enlightenment] which is now they’ve completed a whole new progress of insight. They’ve abandoned the previous stages and started looking at more layers of mind and re-gone-through the process of seeing the true nature of those and a new set of insight stages, vipassana jhanas or ñanas or whatever you want to call them, and has gotten a new fruition, and gone, “Okay. So now I know how to abandon previous territories, start looking at new territory, new layers of mind,” and they are now what are called second path, or the second stage in the simple model. And their experience is all about “Oh, this fractal and this territory; oh, this new thing and this experience,” particularly if they’re geeky people like myself. Now some people who are not geeky model-based people may not label it like that, but it’s what their experience may be. They cycle and they are seeing deeper levels and deeper integrations of the mind—its not doing some things it used to do and doing some new things that it didn’t do before.

Then they begin to go, “Well it still seems like the point of my practice is to get my fruition and get my hit, sort of reset my mind, but walking around I’m not really seeing what I think I should be able to see,” and that gets more and more frustrating. So people begin to incline their minds toward what I’ll call a less cycle-fixated approach and a more right-here-right-now and it’s-got-to-be-now-or-never kind of dharma-awakening approach, and they begin to see more and more of what I’ll call emptiness in real time. Whereas they go deeper into more cycles and stages and more really investigating how things are, just moment to moment, same good, old foundation technique stuff, they begin to notice, “Wait a second. The center point really doesn’t seem to be such a big deal anymore. The sense of subject seems to be becoming more integrated with the field, or it seems to become less important,” or they seem to see I’m seeing more of what I’ll call luminosity of phenomena: that they’re just showing themselves over there. Because that’s showing itself over there, maybe this is just showing itself over here, and they begin to make those connections in terms of their experience and begin to notice as an obvious living, direct, nontheoretical but just sort of baseline sense processing experience, “Wow, this field really seems to be more and more integrated. There seems to be more and more just a sense of this is just what’s happening and it’s all wide open and it’s all just part of the field of attention and the sense of subject and center-point and watcher, or me, whatever you want to call it, at that level is not such a split off thing.” So you can get to anagami stages. They tend to be a lot like that, and as you get toward the high end of the anagami territory, you start to notice, “This seems to be really pretty complete and kind of done.”

I remember when I was a late anagami, I don’t know how many stages I went through thinking I was an arhat and was so wrong. I would walk around for a few weeks and everything seemed centerless and luminous and like it was happening on its own in some completely nondual way, and then I’d cross another Arising and Passing Away and hit a new Dark Night and realize I was completely delusional, but it was kind of nice while it seemed to last, and it sort of gave me hints of what would come next.

So one begins to have more integration, and one’s experience becomes more and more completely like that, and then finally one can get to a place where one simply understands it has to be now and it has to be all the time and there must be some truth that I’m missing, and one finally begins to see through the subtle anagami traps of wanting a superspace—that some transcendent space they can come into, or wanting this to be some super-watcher or wanting everything to be luminous in a wondrous “Oh it’s all luminous, wonderful kind of way.” As the golden chains of the high levels, or mid-high levels of realization start to fall away and they end up coming back down to earth, finally they abandon even those subtle things and subjects and wanting to be the subtle watcher that is simultaneously empty and luminous and wanting to be the subtle enlightened being that is the whatever . . . the transcendent super-being or something.

And as that all finally falls away and is seen through as being just preposterous and unrealistic, one understands, “Oh. this is it,” and when one finally comes all the way back down to earth, the split can dissolve. That usually takes good work and strong concentration and all the standard supports for insight and investigation and all that. But finally one knows, “Oh yeah. This is done.” And the sense of subject-object duality does not arise again once one is stabilized in that. And the whole field is just happening and life is just going on, bodies just moving, thoughts are just coming, all aware or just manifesting where they are, and concepts like luminosity and awareness even seem extraneous. There’s just the sense field, really, at a basic, ordinary, human level. And yet there is something remarkable about that. But it’s way more down to earth than everybody thinks it’s going to be.

I wish I had time to crosswalk this with the mahamudra book I’m reading, alas, because it is toe-to-toe with Daniel on the traps, the characteristics, the wisdom-compassion level of nondual, the works.

Another King card, this time of cups, which is emotions. This card represents someone creative, intuitive, and witty. There are sexual overtones, but that appeal is through the heart nonetheless.