Author Topic: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?  (Read 45929 times)

seekingñana

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Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« on: January 03, 2011, 08:24:32 PM »
Hi guys,

I've been reading this forum on and off for awhile and thought I'd finally join and ask a question. I came across this blog post that has been passed around and was wondering what you think. It gives advice on what to do to get stream entry with the Goenka sweeping method.

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html

Thanks
seekingñana
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 08:53:44 PM by seekingñana »

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 06:52:28 AM »
Frankly I would drop the idea of 'getting stream entry'. It will only set up an expectation. "Have I got it? Have I not got it? Oh I have it, now for the next step on the ladder".

And so on.

The real point about the Vipassana teaching is to see things as they are (as Goenka says often.) But this is something most of us resist every step of the way. 'Things as they are' might or might not be embellished or have a particular status, or no status. You won't know until you look, but the point is to really look and see. Use the teachings to reflect deeply on the nature of experience. That is my advice. (Incidentally I can't claim 'stream entry' or anything like that. More like 'trying to stay with it' in my case. But that is what comes up, in my case.)

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 02:32:33 PM »
Frankly I would drop the idea of 'getting stream entry'. It will only set up an expectation. "Have I got it? Have I not got it? Oh I have it, now for the next step on the ladder".

And so on.

The real point about the Vipassana teaching is to see things as they are (as Goenka says often.) But this is something most of us resist every step of the way. 'Things as they are' might or might not be embellished or have a particular status, or no status. You won't know until you look, but the point is to really look and see. Use the teachings to reflect deeply on the nature of experience. That is my advice. (Incidentally I can't claim 'stream entry' or anything like that. More like 'trying to stay with it' in my case. But that is what comes up, in my case.)


Hi Jeeprs,

You are right to say that we practice Vipassana in order to see things as they are. But why do we do that? Is it not in order to awaken via getting stream entry and beyond? Practicing Vipassana for anything other than to awaken is like, as a good friend of mine once said, eating blueberries to get blue teeth.

What about co-opting those "expectations" or "craving" as just more fuel for your rocket ship to awakening? Why does an "expectation" or "craving" have to be a hinderance to progress? Cannot any phenomena that arise, whether it be compounded phenomena, a mind state, a thought, sensations or an image, be observed, objectified and dis-identified with as support for an illusory self? Howabout observing any "expectations" when they arise from this angle? Then it would just be more stuff to observe and see its arising and passing, right?  

The strong resolve to awaken and get stream entry would help a yogi to maintain the momentum and effort needed in order to get it done, as momentum is key. If one desires to awaken and does so with wisdom, then any phenomena that arises in experience can be seen for what it is and progress continues unhindered. Thus desire and resolve for awakening are very valuable tools for a yogi who wishes to awaken.

Ever heard of the Bases of Power (Iddhipada)? They are what is required in a yogi in order to develop the supernormal powers. But most importantly the bases of power are needed for the ending of mental effluents and to awaken.

The Venerable Thanissaro makes a good case for this here:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/wings/part2.html#part2-d

Many popular Western writings criticize the four qualities listed in the bases of power — desire, persistence (effort), intent (will), and discrimination (the discriminating mind) — as enemies of proper meditation, both in that they interfere with the calming of the mind and are antithetical to the goal of the Unfabricated, which lies beyond desire, effort, and the categories of discrimination. The first part of the extended formula deals with the first of these criticisms.

 There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This desire of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' (Similarly with concentration founded on persistence, intent, and discrimination.)

This passage shows that the problem lies, not in the desire, effort, intent, or discrimination, but in the fact that these qualities can be unskillfully applied or improperly tuned to their task. If they were absent, the practice — if it could be called a practice — would stagnate from loss of direction or motivation. If they ran wild, they would interfere with mindful concentration. So the trick is not to deny them, but to tune them skillfully so that they will help focus the mind on the present moment. Thus, for instance, in the practice of meditation, as with any skill, it is important not to focus desire too strongly on the results one hopes to get, for that would interfere with the mind's ability to focus on giving rise to the causes leading to those results. If, instead, one focuses desire on putting the causes in proper order in the present moment, desire becomes an indispensable part of the process of mastery.



From Ananda:


§ 67. I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's Park. Then the Brahman Unnabha went to where Ven. Ananda was staying and on arrival greeted him courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda: What is the aim of this holy life lived under Gotama the contemplative?

Ananda: The holy life is lived under the Blessed One with the aim of abandoning desire.

Unnabha: Is there a path, is there a practice, for the abandoning of that desire?

Ananda: Yes, there is...

Unnabha: What is the path, the practice, for the abandoning of that desire?

Ananda: There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence... concentration founded on intent... concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion. This, Brahman, is the path, this is the practice for the abandoning of that desire.

Unnabha: If that's so, then it's an endless path, and not one with an end, for it's impossible that one could abandon desire by means of desire.

Ananda: Well then, Brahman, let me question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit... Didn't you first have desire, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular desire allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: Didn't you first have persistence, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular persistence allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: Didn't you first have the intent, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular intent allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: Didn't you first have [an act of] discrimination, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular act of discrimination allayed?

Unnabha: Yes, sir.

Ananda: So it is with an arahant whose mental effluents are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis. Whatever desire he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular desire is allayed. Whatever persistence he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular persistence is allayed. Whatever intent he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular intent is allayed. Whatever discrimination he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular discrimination is allayed. So what do you think, Brahman? Is this an endless path, or one with an end?

Unnabha: You're right, sir. This is a path with an end, and not an endless one...

— SN 51.15



The Buddha:


§ 63. Monks, whoever neglects these four bases of power neglects the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Whoever undertakes these four bases of power undertakes the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Which four?

There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion. He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence... concentration founded on intent... concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion.

Whoever neglects these four bases of power neglects the noble path going to the right ending of stress. Whoever undertakes these four bases of power undertakes the noble path going to the right ending of stress.

— SN 51.2

Hope this helps.

nibs
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 03:19:00 PM by nibs »
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 10:55:17 AM »
I see your point, and appreciate the extensive documentation -  but I still stay with the advice I gave. What is 'stream entry' and how are you to judge if you have attained it? I know what the dictionary definition is, but what does it mean really? How is it possible for anyone to know if they have attained that status? Is somebody going to give you a certificate? All of these discriminations belong to the realm of name and form, anyway. Besides, for all you know, you might have attained 'stream entry' in some previous existence, and are only here now to awaken interest in the subject in others. There are many imponderables.

So I would stick with the advice. I think having a 'strategy to attain' is treating the whole subject like a management problem. What chance of spontaneity will that allow?

Piece of advice I have always liked, from a Catholic mystic: 'the unattainable is attained by non-attainment'. Bodhidharma couldn't have said it better.

OK I guess that is more Zen than Theravadin, but at least consider it.

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 11:52:35 AM »
Hi Jeeprs,

There is the map of the progress of insight in the Theravada tradition that can be very helpful. There are 16 stages of insight in total. As you practice Vipassana, you make your way through the nanas as they are called (nanas=knowledges). When you get to the 11th nana (Equanimity of formations), you continue practicing your chosen technique diligently and suddenly out of the blue the following 4 nanas arise in quick succession.They are experienced as a cessation of all the senses. The length of time spent with all the 6 senses shutdown will vary from yogi to yogi depending on the technique of meditation adhered to to get to this point. A mahasi noting yogi who notes every moment of their experience will generally experience a brief moment of discontinuity of the mind/body process i.e stream entry. This will be followed, as the mind and body come back on line, by subtle cool release of bliss throughout the body and the yogi finds themselves in the 4th nana again to work their way up to the 11th nana and fruition again and again till the next path. Fruition is the cessation moment  i.e. nibbana for a brief moment.

If a yogi is more into a more relaxed, "let it go" type technique of vipassana, perhaps by the likes of Achaan Chah or even zen, then the cessation moment may be experienced a little differently, perhaps a lengthened experience or non-experience of the "deathless". It all depends on the chosen technique. It can influence how one experiences the non-experience of nibbana.

It's all there, the map of insight and what to look for. There are signs of stream entry that can be looked for. Constant cycling through the nanas followed by fruitions, is one way. The 10 fetter model of awakening can be another. Personality view is the big one. No self to find. But the cycling and fruitions and perhaps very easy access to jhanas that was not there previously is a good way to diagnose. There are things to look out for. But you are right, they are just names and experiences which all boil down to nama and rupa. But stream entry is still something to get to, regardless. You can either go for it, or not. It's purely up to the yogi. Going for it will increase the chances of it happening sooner rather than in some distant future or not ever. But each to his or her own temperament. :)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mahasi/progress.html

http://www.buddhanet.net/knowledg.htm

Hope this helps,

nibs
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 12:02:26 PM by nibs »
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi

kidnovice

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 12:37:39 AM »
Thanks for the link, seekingnana,

It was interesting. I really have mixed feelings about this whole "maps" approach, and the culture that seems to surround it.  However, I know that these "maps" have aided many practitioners. So, if it benefits you, that's great!

As for the debate about whether one should have a "seeking" or "non-seeking" mind, I believe that both are needed, at different times for different people. We have to know ourselves, and what is skillful for us. And always remember that the only true benchmark of one's development is the depth of kindness, equanimity, and discernment that one is capable of manifesting.

With metta,
KN
 
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

maybeiam

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 02:37:19 AM »
oh my , this is very wrong for me.
Bless you

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2011, 12:03:04 PM »
Hi Jeeprs,

There is the map of the progress of insight in the Theravada tradition that can be very helpful. There are 16 stages of insight in total. As you practice Vipassana, you make your way through the nanas as they are called (nanas=knowledges). When you get to the 11th nana (Equanimity of formations), you continue practicing your chosen technique diligently and suddenly out of the blue the following 4 nanas arise in quick succession.They are experienced as a cessation of all the senses.

Well, thanks Nibs, but I can tell you, this never happens for me, and I have been practicing for a long while.

At the last retreat I did, the teacher, who is a Theravadin,  talked at some length about the Jhanas. He said they are valuable states for those who experience them. He said that some people get them quickly, others more slowly, and some never get them at all. He also said that attachment to reaching refined states of concentration might also be a hindrance, and cause people to become recluses or avoid contact with anyone, lest it affect their concentration.  But he said they were valuable to those who were able to realize them, provided this was understood.

I thought the word 'nana' is actually from jhana, which means trance states (Sanskrit Dhyana). It is not the same as Jñāna or paññā which means wisdom or knowledge in the sense of understanding. But I will look into that text you provided on Access to Insight, it looks interesting.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 12:07:26 PM by Jeeprs »

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2011, 02:39:35 PM »
Hi Jeeprs,

There are many ideas on what jhana is and isn't. In my own experience, one can experience two types. Samatha jhana is more what you seem to be talking about (trance-like states), which have the mind deeply absorbed, embedded and unmoving. From the Visuddhimagga, we have this type of jhana. According to Buddhaghosa and perhaps your Thervadin teacher on your last retreat,  the yogi must come out of it to start practicing insight.

Then we have those that say that insight can and should be practiced within the jhana itself. Some like U Pandita, a student of Mahasi Sayadaw,  call this type of jhana a "Vipassana jhana". And some, like myself,  see the first 4 material jhanas as corresponding to certain nanas. Nanas are to do with insight and  not to do with getting embedded within an non-investigative trance-like state. Not all the nanas correspond to a jhana as they are not stable strata of mind.

The nanas (knowledges/stages of insight) that are stable correspond to a material jhana.  If a yogi is investigating within this type of nana they are technically in the "Vipassana jhana". If they wish, rather than investigate the phenomena of the nana with insight practice, they can ride the vibrations/sensations and general pleasantness and get absorbed in it. They then end up in the samatha version of the jhana.

The 1st nana of Mind and Body corresponds to the 1st jhana. The 2nd and 3rd nanas do not correspond to a jhana as they are unstable strata of mind (lots of aches and pains ie. dukkha can arise thus they are unstable). The 4th nana of Arising and Passing corresponds to the 2nd jhana as it can be quite a blissful nana and easy to stabilize. The 5th nana of Dissolution can also be a pleasant experience and corresponds to the 3rd jhana. The next 5 nanas are the dukkha nanas and are often not so pleasant thus they are quite unstable and have no corresponding jhana. The 11th nana of Equanimity of Formations corresponds nicely with the 4th jhana. Directly after the 11th nana are the nanas (and cessation of nama and rupa) that result in Stream Entry, thus they do not have a corresponding jhana.

Each of the nanas that corresponds with a jhana has a similar set up as the jhana; the mental focus and vibrational experience. If one gets embedded in the pleasant phenomena, riding and soaking the mind in the pleasantness, they can become absorbed into the samatha version. One can get really really abosrbed in a "hard" version of the jhana. If one investigates the reality within it via seeing the three characteristics and remaining dis-embedded and dis-identified with the phenomena of it, then they are in the "Vipassana Jhana" or nana version. This latter type of jhana, in my opinion,  leads to the cessation of the mind and body i.e. nibbana. The great thing about having access to the samatha jhanas up to the 4th is one can quickly rise up to the 4th jhana then turn around and start practicing discernment and insight practice within it. Hang out long enough in the 4th jhana and eventually a cessation/path moment will result. But if you don't have access to samatha jhana you can practice Vipassana through the nanas (whether being aware of them or not) and end up in the 11th nana where the mind is quite naturally equanimous with all the phenomena arising and passing away,  any formation of mind and matter including the patterns of phenomena that are misread as "self". Hang out here long enough, and a cessation/path moment will result. And if you have mastered hanging out in the 11th nana, you can trun around, stop investigating and "ride" the pleasant phenomena into deep, deep , hard samatha jhana.

Confusing? Hehe! There are lot's of differing opinions on what type of jhana is valid and how to go about it.

There are those who dive into a deep "hard" jhana and remain there unmoving and do not investigate. I am doubtful that pañña results from this endeavor. The Buddha seemed to have done this 6 years prior to his awakening. This seems to be the jhana junkie trap. If there is no discernment of phenomena and no process of developing dispassion towards the phenomena that make up the jhanas, then I don't think awakening is going to occur. I could be wrong.

Then there are those who dive into samatha jhana. Then they come out of the deep absorbed state and start practicing insight. There are also those who practice insight within the jhana itself. Some refer to this as practicing within the "Vipassana Jhanas". Some, like Mahasi Sayadaw and Buddhaghosa, talk about the nanas (knowledges or stages of insight) that lead the magga/path (stream entry and beyond). These nanas can be experienced without developing any samatha jhana. Thus we have the idea of a "dry" insight practice which the Visuddhimagga talks of. Some, like myself, see how the first four material jhanas correspond to four of these nanas. I believe these are all valid ways of practicing and can all eventually lead to the cessation of nama and rupa and freedom from suffering.

Some helpful links:

http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/should_we_come_out_of_jhana_to_practice_vipassana/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassana_jhanas
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/html/jhanas.html
http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/page/Jhana+and+%C3%91ana

Here is a recording of a myself and a couple of other yogis talking through the nanas/vipassana jhanas.
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/09/episode-1.html

And the Anupada Sutta where the Buddha talks about Sariputta  practicing insight within the first 7 jhanas themselves. (One has to come out of the 8th jhana to investigate as its impossible to investigate within it due to the perceptual craziness that occurs.). Then resulting in the cessation of "feeling and perception" or Nirodha samapatti.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.111.than.html


Hope this is helpful,

nibs
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 03:31:49 PM by nibs »
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2011, 02:58:02 PM »

Well, thanks Nibs, but I can tell you, this never happens for me, and I have been practicing for a long while.

Hi Jeeprs,

I think it may depend on what type of practice you follow, whether a Mahasi noting practice, or sweeping method, or a more relaxed Achaaan Chah method, or even a zen method which sees all this stuff as makyo and to be ignored. So it probably depends on whether  you are aware of the nanas when they may arise, what phenomena you are focusing on, how you "deal" with phenomena as they arise and pass as well as a yogi's  concentration levels.


 I think the technique and one's orientation and focus while practicing may influence whether they are perceived or not. Here is an interesting thread on another forum that talks about these differences and why yogis may see things differently.

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/4402183/Mahasi+and+Chah

Hope this is helpful,

metta,

nibs
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 03:48:44 PM by nibs »
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2011, 10:40:19 PM »
thanks Nibs, lots to think about here! I will read up on those links.

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2011, 11:25:08 PM »
The thought did occur to me when I was doing this last retreat, 'I am really not a Theravada practitioner'. There was a moment when I felt that in a very definite way. But it is confusing, because it is hard to know if this is just the process of avoidance, ego trying to not face up to itself. But when I did the Goenka retreat two years ago, I spent most of the time not meditating. I found the discomfort so great that I could barely think of anything else. Towards the end of the 10 days I was mostly elsewhere - designing a thriller in my mind, actually -  and just waiting to get out. I didn't feel that I had executed the retreat properly, nor did I maintain the two-hour-per-day routine when I left. It was not at all like the cut-and-dried, scientific process that Goenka and his students seem to be able to execute.

Earlier in life, when I first encountered spiritual teachings, the ones that made the most sense to me were Krishnamurti and Zen. What happened at the time was some kind of 'initial opening'. I regarded it at the time as a 'realization of emptiness', or actually, what I called 'the Not (as in, the not-manifest).  It was life changing. But at the same time, many of the old 'samskaras' remained. I always felt that they would simply fall away, but they haven't done that. It is something I need to do - there is no escaping the requirement for conscious commitment. That is what I need to do in this forthcoming year.

When I do make a consistent effort to sit every day, changes definitely occur, but they are generally subliminal. In other words, I never notice anything happening, I don't have experiences at the time. All that happens is that, later in the day, and always out of the blue, there is a further 'realization of emptiness', for want of a better word. This generally manifests as a feeling of love. It is actually a very religious type of feeling, much more like what I imagine Christians feel about God, than any kind of 'super-concentration' or the like. Maybe I still have a Christian archetype. I don't know.

Anyway in all of this, there is a big gap between what I think I know, and what is actually happening. But none of it maps against these various states, paths, or 'attainments'. Again, I don't really know if it is Buddhist, or what it is. Something is happening, that is for sure, it will be fascinating when I actually work out what it is.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 11:27:48 PM by Jeeprs »

Matthew

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 03:47:58 AM »
There is no difference in the true Dhamma between Therevadin, Mahayana and Tantra. All deviances are errors that have accumulated over the years as culture bends Buddhism. Problem is Dhamma can't be bent. It ends up being non-Dhamma - as is most of what is called "Buddhism" today.

These writings are useful:

Stream Entry
Part 1: The Way to Stream-entry
by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2006–2011


Quote
The practices leading to stream entry are encapsulated in four factors:

Association with people of integrity is a factor for stream-entry.
Listening to the true Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry.
Appropriate attention is a factor for stream-entry.
Practice in accordance with the Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry.

Stream Entry
Part 2: Stream-entry and After
by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2004–2011


Quote
The Pali canon recognizes four levels of awakening, the first of which is called stream-entry. The practices leading up to stream-entry are already discussed in the first part of this study guide. This second part covers the experience of stream-entry together with its results. The canonical passages treating the experience and its results use all three modes of discourse generally employed in the Canon: the narrative mode — stories about people who have attained stream-entry; the cosmological mode — descriptions of the after-death destinations awaiting those who have attained stream-entry; and what might be called the "emptiness" mode, which describes mental states in and of themselves as they are directly experienced as absent or present, both during and after stream-entry.

Both texts on "Access to Insight".

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2011, 03:51:26 AM »
The thought did occur to me when I was doing this last retreat, 'I am really not a Theravada practitioner'.....

A useful recognition would be that you are not a Vipassana practitioner - as Vipassana is a fruit/Phala of proper meditation - and not a form of meditation.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2011, 11:22:02 AM »
this board doesn't have a 'thankyou' button that I can see, so  - thankyou :)

Matthew

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2011, 06:16:38 PM »
this board doesn't have a 'thankyou' button that I can see, so  - thankyou :)

YW

:) took all that stuff off the day the site was built. .... everyone has 5 stars the day they join .. no "junior member" BS .. no "reputation" button to hit (just encourages laziness).
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jeeprs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2011, 10:00:27 AM »
Having gone back and read the original question and looked at the responses to it, and some of the attached links, I think I will change my response to 'yes, I think it is possible to realize Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day course'.


jenny

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2011, 09:56:55 PM »
Hello, just joined. Can any of you please describe the felt sense experience of stream entry? Thanks.

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2011, 11:08:02 PM »
Hi jenny,

Are you asking about the very moment itself? Or the aftereffects?

Here is a good link to start with: http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/12/testimonies-of-equanimity-and-stream.html


nibs
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torgeir

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2011, 12:37:27 PM »
But when I did the Goenka retreat two years ago, I spent most of the time not meditating. I found the discomfort so great that I could barely think of anything else. Towards the end of the 10 days I was mostly elsewhere - designing a thriller in my mind, actually -  and just waiting to get out. I didn't feel that I had executed the retreat properly, nor did I maintain the two-hour-per-day routine when I left. It was not at all like the cut-and-dried, scientific process that Goenka and his students seem to be able to execute.   ...

Actually, you are right on the ball. You did everything right on your retreat. You were experiencing the nature of the mind -- which is not wanting to be in the here-and-now by fantasizing (designing a thriller) and dreaming of the future (can't wait to get out!) That is it! You actually got it, without realizing it, perhaps. You realized at least one basic characteristic of existence -- the fact of dukkha (=discomfort so great that I could barely think of anything else). If you go into the retreat with the attitude that there is nothing to do, nothing to achieve, just to look to see what comes up, then you will get it. That is seeing things as it is. With the attitude: there is no 'good' meditation or 'bad' meditation.

Goenka teaches that the blissful experiences one can achieve in meditation are just fleeting moments and nothing to grasp onto. So there's no point in running after bhanga or any other subtle, pleasant sensations -- one is indeed then running in the opposite direction of nibbana. It doesn't matter if one is a so-called experienced meditator who has sat for many years and can enter into deep absorption trance like states of concentration or jhana or bhanga at will. It is all irrelevant for purposes of Stream entry. Many times such people are further away from nibbana than a newbie who comes in with no meditation experience, with just lots of unpleasant sensations. The maturity of a meditator is measured by one thing: equanimity in the face of pleasant or unpleasant sensations alike. Many pleasant experiences can be had with a concentrated mind, and the nature of the ego is such that one thinks one then has achieved something special. And then one can read about jhana and nibbana and one can feel deluded into thinking 'now I've got it! I've got nibbana!'
So many people have set up a trap for themselves thinking they have entered the stream.
It's a slippery slope.

Lokuttara

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2011, 06:01:54 PM »
This is a fantastic thread, great read.

I had already found my way to the authors insights on noting and noticing, and this has really helped my progress on the path. The entire thing could be summed up as:
Goenka course + noting/noticing (Mahasi style) = significant progress

"Following Goenkaji's instructions to the Tee will get you there in my humble opinion. I speculate that not every yogi does that." Nick, Hamilton Project author. Ok, "to the tee" is pushing it, but a little noticing and noting isn't really a big departure and is often intimated in some of the instructions.

Regarding stream entry, I guess it could be dangerous using it as a label for ones progress. Some of us have probably not achieved this and maybe we think we have (ego). Some of us may have achieved it, and think we have not, or don't really speculate too much because we are too busy being present to the Now (ego less). For some it may be obvious that we have not achieved it, but there is craving for it (ego again, this time with much craving). So it is a dangerous mental label, no doubt :)

Like Matthew says, "cling to nothing". And that includes stream entry!

But the hamilton project  article seems pretty accurate based on my own practise over the last few years, and is a lovely summary of the Goenka course when done seriously, and it also highlights how useful and helpful the course is when combined with knowledge of the states, or even without them.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 06:04:01 PM by Lokuttara »
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Stefan

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2011, 09:10:14 PM »
Is it not in order to awaken via getting stream entry and beyond?
sure is. but won't happen if you go to a course with expectation of stream entry or expectation of awakening or any expectation, really. best thing - and most difficult - is to let it happen. whatsoever "it" is going to be.
anicca

soma

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2011, 10:09:33 PM »
Fruitions are a sure sign of path. If you experience fruitions you have path. Maybe you can have path without experience fruitions, I don't know, but with strong enough concentration (in a retreat context) you should experience fruitions if you are at least stream enterer. If this applies to people who come from other traditions (other than vipassana) such as people who had kensho from, lets say, koan practice would be interesting to know. If not, then what is it that brings on these very special blank outs with a 'konk' on the head or violent pull of the head backwards followed by very blissful sensations streaming down the body that is specific to vipassana, or at least mahasi noting vipassana ?
Intellectual understanding of dukkha, anatta and anicca will not lead to stream entry, torgeir, and experiencing dukkha is not the same as seing dukkha - you will need to practice and one can practice with strong determination without 'running after enlightenment'.
Doing nothing will give you nothing in my humble opinion.

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2011, 01:11:11 AM »
Goenka teaches that the blissful experiences one can achieve in meditation are just fleeting moments and nothing to grasp onto. So there's no point in running after bhanga or any other subtle, pleasant sensations -- one is indeed then running in the opposite direction of nibbana.

Yes, this really needs to be emphasized. Nice reminder, torgeir! The object of any Vipassana technique is, of course, to develop wisdom via seeing the three characteristics in all mental and physical phenomena. Through seeing the threes C’s and developing this wisdom, a yogi begins to dis-embed, dis-identify  from and generate dispassion for all those phenomena. If a yogi chases after a particular experience, then that yogi is doing the opposite and embedding within that experience, identifying it as part of an illusory self, and generating passion and craving for it. This most certainly will not take you any closer to Stream Entry and like torgeir said, will be like running in the opposite direction to nibbana.

It is looking at , not looking for. Whatever phenomena that has arisen should be seen like this and let go of.  It is a process of peeling back the layers of  the illusory “self” and seeing it all as impermanent, not-self and unsatisfactory phenomena.  So yes, togeir is right to say to not run after bhanga nor any type of experience, whether pleasant, unpleasant nor neutral. Bhanga is only the 5th nana in 16 nanas. Not an experience to cling to nor a place to rest one’s laurels as mentioned in in that Hamilton Project article.

It doesn't matter if one is a so-called experienced meditator who has sat for many years and can enter into deep absorption trance like states of concentration or jhana or bhanga at will. It is all irrelevant for purposes of Stream entry. Many times such people are further away from nibbana than a newbie who comes in with no meditation experience, with just lots of unpleasant sensations.  

There is a definite case for the “dry” insight path as I know of yogis who have gone and got it done without much access to samatha jhana. There are such things as the Vipassana jhanas which I posted links to previously in this thread. See them for more info. You can get Stream Entry without having samatha jhana access. But I would argue that you will have mastered the 1st, 4th, 5th and 11th nana by the time you get to the cessation of all senses (nibbana/path moment), and these correspond to their more absorbed trance-like samatha jhana versions. The big difference is insight is practiced in the Vipassana jhana/nanas. So I would say, yes, they ARE relevant! But I would also say that if a yogi maintains a momentum in their insight practice without any gaps…non-stop!, they don't need know anything about jhanas or nanas nor this nor that to get stream entry. But I would also say that knowing about the nanas will make it easier for a yogi to maintain the momentum needed, and having jhana access will make it a quicker, smoother and more pleasant process (dukkha nanas are easier to navigate), and giving oneself permission to get it done will increase the odds substantially of it happening sooner rather than later. but again, each to his or her own temperament.


For the importance of jhanas, I’ll let the Buddha and the Venerable Sujato argue this one too:

There's no jhana for one with no discernment,
no discernment for one with no jhana.
But one with both jhana & discernment:
he's on the verge of Unbinding
The Buddha
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#dhp-372

The Venerable Sujato’s book A Swift Pair Of Messengers- An argument for jhanas and insight.

http://santipada.org/aswiftpairofmessengers/



The maturity of a meditator is measured by one thing: equanimity in the face of pleasant or unpleasant sensations alike.

I agree to a degree. I would say equanimity must be accompanied by insight and wisdom. Equanimity without wisdom and discernment may not result in stream entry. I could be wrong though. For example one could be  meditating with a strong sense of “ “I” AM equanimous with sensations!”. Eqaunimity is present, sure, but what is missing?  I would say more investigation is needed. It is not just about being “equanimous”.

Many pleasant experiences can be had with a concentrated mind, and the nature of the ego is such that one thinks one then has achieved something special. And then one can read about jhana and nibbana and one can feel deluded into thinking 'now I've got it! I've got nibbana!'
So many people have set up a trap for themselves thinking they have entered the stream.
It's a slippery slope.

No doubt. People can be fooled by their experiences. There are the ten imperfections of insight that arise during the 4th nana. Be wary of this. Good reminder again, togeir. Also, I would add to not delude yourself into thinking that it is not doable for you or for anyone else. That would be very much NOT in line with what the Buddha taught was possible. The strong resolve to get it done with wisdom will aid a yogi in getting it done.

Just my 2 cents.

nibs
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 02:02:06 AM by nibs »
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi

nibs

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Re: Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2011, 01:26:54 AM »

"Following Goenkaji's instructions to the Tee will get you there in my humble opinion. I speculate that not every yogi does that." Nick, Hamilton Project author. Ok, "to the tee" is pushing it, but a little noticing and noting isn't really a big departure and is often intimated in some of the instructions.

Why is it pushing it? Yogis have gotten stream entry with this technique alone. At the time of U Ba Khin and now. Why is it not possible? I would argue it is harder to do if we are comparing it to the Mahasi sayadaw noting technique. The noting technique keeps a yogi honest about what is arising and passing away in the very moment. A yogi who is not noting , may run the risk of supposedly observing phenomena but being well embedded and identified with it still. Good concentration though can make it easier to do. Here is an interesting link to an argument for the Buddha having taught a technique of noting. http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/iti-and-sallakkheti/

If you are inclined to try noting, I think it would be highly beneficial for a yogi to do. But many yogis, especially in the Goenka tradition, adhere to the view of 'not mixing techniques", thus the Hamilton Project article is written for that type of yogi.

Regarding stream entry, I guess it could be dangerous using it as a label for ones progress. Some of us have probably not achieved this and maybe we think we have (ego). Some of us may have achieved it, and think we have not, or don't really speculate too much because we are too busy being present to the Now (ego less). For some it may be obvious that we have not achieved it, but there is craving for it (ego again, this time with much craving). So it is a dangerous mental label, no doubt :)

Yes indeed. Labels are labels and they can be useful in a conventional way and a hinderance in others. You are right to say that they can be dangerous. There are stages on the way to full awakening. They have been given names and conceptualised. But they are just stages on the way to full awakening. Awakening is the goal. Not the label. Stream entry is but a rest stop on the way into town, no?

I know of yogis who did not know it had happened and had acclimatized to the aftereffects and only been diagnosed later on. There are others who knew with all their heart that it had been achieved when it was. And there are those who have mistaken their experiences for the real deal. It is good to be highly skeptical and rely on good common sense and to have access to a realized  teacher. There are ways to know though.


Like Matthew says, "cling to nothing". And that includes stream entry!


Excellent pointer to have in mind at all times. Thanks!
"Awakening is like taking a satisfying dump." Some anonymous yogi