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.