Posts Tagged ‘Experiences’

Terminology Warning – awakening


Recently I have begun to consider my awakening again, and it has left me completely re-evaluating my life. Now I understand I am a writer whereas previously I have seen myself as a teacher, similar but distinct purposes. This was discussed fully in the awakening section of my mid-life review.

My first childhood was the conditioning childhood we all go through to a greater or lesser extent – conditioning by family, conditioning by school, community and society. For me this conditioning was so repressive – dukkha – with no conscious pain, that it led to hitting bottom and the beginning of an awakening. But at that stage I wasn’t mature, and it took a second unconditioned childhood to come to terms with the inimical environment this part-awakening put me in. It was necessary for me to grow in this unconditioned environment before the awakening could be considered in some way complete – and that I am seeing as a spiritual or unconditioned childhood.

I describe the environment as inimical, it is worthwhile to consider why. Throughout this second childhood my awareness was based on an awakening that had seen through the systemic conditioning – the part-awakening. But whoever you are you live within conditioning – even in communes there is only less conditioning. And the primary means of maintaining that conditioning is wage-slavery, the need for money. After a couple of years my awakened compassion saw teaching as a vocation, my motivations for teaching were based in compassion. However teaching is an important part of the conditioned 1%-system, education is conditioning. And to make sure that you continue that conditioning process a teacher is controlled as a wage-slave – for details of that control see Matriellez.

Here was my situation. Through part-awakening compassion had chosen education, but education is a lynch-pin of conditioning. The awakening process has to be concerned with removing conditioning yet I had chosen a central conditioning environment – education; this was inimical.

Unfortunately I chose to cope with this enmity by turning to drink effectively slowing down the awakening process. Once I stopped drinking life pushed me into travel and working internationally. Whilst still being a wage-slave being in other cultures had less conditioning as you were physically detached. Being in Africa for a few years led to a completion of the awakening as discussed in the mid-life review until I eventually removed myself from the conditioned environment as much as I possibly could now being a writer with sufficient personal income from teacher pensions.

I have a good deal of control of my life now. Through awakening there is no conditioning, and through survival means (income) I can live a mostly unconditioned life – an awakened life – a mature life.

This reframing of my life as two childhoods is significant, because it removes incongruities from my awakening. There were questions that crossed my mind, how can a drunk be awake? How can awakening not be a conscious process? During the second childhood following the Path was an act of surrender but there was always some conscious awareness of being on the Path, and the need to change to start following again. Compassion chose education yet how can an awake person work as a slave and be truly awake? My teaching life was one conflict after another as I attempted to stand up for genuine education. How can I be a teacher when I don’t choose what I teach? How can an awakened person not have sila? It took retirement for me to see that I lacked silamy first blogs. How can an awakened person not take care of their body? It took retirement for me to begin my natural health. These are all decisions of a mature person, decisions that are hard if not impossible to be made in the conditioned environment of wage-slavery.

I developed into being a writer, it was an involuntary Path. I might well have developed into a teacher by choosing what I taught but I never made a decision to do that. I began writing in two ways. Firstly I wrote to expunge myself of the teacher-slavery and in some way help contribute to what might be genuine natural education – Matriellez. But I also wrote as I learned more about Buddhism – blogs. But at the same time I was writing me – firstly as the Treatise and then the novels. As I come to terms with what my awakening has been, I am writing – not teaching.

Awakening is so important, it means being completely independent of any conditioning – moving beyond conditioning. Undoubtedly there are people in this world who just develop “beyond conditioning” – Ajaan Buddhadasa. Especially in the West this process of awakening is going to be associated with dukkha. Conditioning creates pain, in my case the pain of repression, and my awakening started when I rejected all that conditioning and what that conditioning had in store for me. But I was still immature, and it took a second childhood to mature. This awakening process need not be an instant. Here is Eckhart Tolle’s instant in detail:-

“One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. `Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.”
Introduction to Power of Now.

The 5 Gateways movie also discusses awakening instants.

I know little of the spiritual game, there is a whole industry of teachers and charlatans. There is a whole industry based on aspirations – desire for awakening and learning, but are the people involved always genuine? It is hard to tell because in this inimical world awakened people are forced to find money. I consider Eckhart genuine – as far as I can know. Money has come to him from doing what his awakening decided – spiritual teaching, he appears independent. Are all such teachers independent? Are the interests of the spiritual writers the same as those of the publishers? Before I became concerned with his transcendence beyond conditioning, I followed Brad Warner quite closely; whilst I consider he was genuine (within the transcendence concern) he was always battling with survival to be independent; mostly I think he achieved independence.

Awakening is so important, hold onto it. Seek validation – creative people are good sources of this. Genuine creativity has an awakening but it has not matured. Such awakened people are usually involved in survival issues. They are also in the process of fully awakening, as partial awakenings can be seen in the lack of sila – moral integrity. Genuine spirituality can be a source of validation but my limited contact with spirituality is that much is about dogma and not experience. Religious institutions contain many who have started awakening but they don’t appear to be controlled by the awakened. Institutions are dominated by the same problem of all entities – the need to survive, in a financial world survival comes at a price of independence. And mature awakening must be independent.

Nature has much to offer but is there much better than awakening?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Advertisements

Terminology Warning – awakening

I have just placed Chiswick in my life’s context and timeline, the experiences of that bedsit were the genuine awakening. The total awakening was hitting bottom, running home but not really progressing, returning to Chiswick where the process completed and gave me the real awakening.

I had no idea what was happening to me. I was completely immature as a person by society’s standards, and then this happened. To this day I might still be floundering (exaggeration) but I connected with the people of the Arts Centre. They were huge in my life. The connection was Wendy but how that synchronicity happened I have no idea. What I recollect is people ratifying my experience, and while I was wandering around questioning all around me seeking new experience in life they were ratifying this. They were saying this is what should be done in life. After years of academia, then a short time in the rat race, and even after hitting bottom hiding myself in the Hounslow cubicle, all of this was conditioning – what the 1%-system wants you to do, but it all had so little meaning – other than paying for what mattered. The meaning was the “guys in the Chiswick bedsit”, but to know this was the meaning I had to be told by the Arts people. The meaning was not the system but the creativity of the writing and the compassion of the Mongol kids on Chiswick Common (?).

I am so happy that my memory has placed the timeline in order because it highlights the importance of these people. From Eckhart’s account of his awakening, there was a limbo “I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it at all.” I can’t say I understand it now, it just is, but without these people ratifying it I would have just been a fish out of water forcing myself to sit in my Hounslow cubicle and going home to “the guys”. They made me give meaning to my life. As I said in my last blogpost I became a teacher and the creativity went on a back burner – coming out at times but mostly now. My creativity was not active so eventually I lost touch with the people, and I now feel a sadness about that.

But people affirming the experiences – the presence – this is so important.

Buddhism doesn’t do it for the experiences. A few years later I got into searching spiritual stuff with theosophy. All very interesting. But these people were not celebrating the experiences – the presence – the muse. It was a church. They were nice people who could talk the theory but in no way were they there to celebrate experience. I touched Buddhism but that was also drab. There was an excitement about having been fortunate to experience this awakening, but apart from the Arts Centre the spiritual people were not exciting. Somehow that is wrong. There ought to be a club where people go to celebrate these experiences but that would be all too easy. Instead we wander around the globe looking to touch base with each other whenever possible.

Now I see the importance of the Buddha’s teachings, I see the need for detachment. But back then it would have made no sense. In the end my addiction to the booze gave me some sort of excitement – I am lucky I wasn’t attracted to worse drugs. And by 36 I had come sufficiently to terms with how I could live having had these experiences, I was able to stop the booze – although that wasn’t the rationale.

Because the majority of “successful” people have no idea what this blogpost – experience – is about, so much human potential is lost. Such experiences are ridiculed if not worse. Maybe it is possible to go out East and find places where such are valued. I am out East, deeply value the experience, but have never had such validated here.

Instead it has all helped me learn to live alone, to love nature, and be thankful for what I’ve got. There is a deep frustration that people are not listening, but are they listening to Eckhart? Can they hear?

Eckhart said “It wasn’t until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me.” Can this happen to everyone? I don’t know. This is the problem with spirituality, people listening to Eckhart want it to happen, people following gurus want it to happen, but can it? This is the detachment of Buddhism, it can’t happen unless you are detached. I had no clue what was going on, it wasn’t something I wanted – it was something I couldn’t control. It happened. I could not teach someone to be in the situation I was in at the time.

I always push meditation as a way forward, meditation can clear the mind, meditation can free the consciousness. Does that lead to experience? Don’t know. Does it lead to a better life? Certainly – maybe the rest will happen. Looking for the experience is a dead end. They are worth it, I am not sure that all the despair and ignorance that goes with it is.

But the real point of this blogpost is to offer succour. Have you experienced such things? Talk about them, get them validated. Seek out people they have happened to. It is important to know they are real.

Beware of spirituality. There are many charlatans, and many followers who will say anything – usually because they want to believe, want to experience.

Non-dogmatic Buddhism is the best guide I have found, but finding what is not dogmatic in Buddhism is difficult.

Few read this blog. If you want to talk about your experiences contact me.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Terminology Warning – awakening

I have been re-engaging with Eckhart Tolle, someone who has greatly helped in the past. I like him because of his apparent lack of dogma, and his similarity of early experience as described in Power of Now (see below).

I re-engaged with him because I was examining pain, and in this talk he speaks of his dogma coming from Buddhism. That statement in itself now says little to me because there are many appeals to Buddhism, and as Eckhart also points out the mind has complicated what is Buddhism – sankhara or as Ajaan Buddhadasa says concocting or proliferations.

I am absolutely certain that Eckhart Tolle is talking beyond dogma, but in doing so he creates his own dogma. But the difference with his dogma is that for him it was insight – personal assessment. In other words Eckhart has moved beyond dogma, come up with his own insights, and then applied his own framework to where he has gone. So for him it is Buddhism that is beyond the dogma of Buddhism. Yet for others it is still dogma.

This paradox of the last sentence illustrates that there is a huge problem in all of this, communication – explaining. Once you move beyond dogma, language is a great limitation because language is the métier of dogma – it is the tool of sankhara. The only way that language has meaning beyond dogma is that if the experience is somehow shared.

Below I have copied Eckhart’s experience, and I want to compare. First I want to explain why. These experiences, awakenings connected to jhanas, are so important, and treated as non-existent by the intellectual establishment – by the intellect. I have only just begun to re-celebrate my own experience mainly through consideration of the 5 Gateways movie – if these experiences interest you listen to the people describe their experiences in the movie. Whilst Buddhism talks of these experiences through jhanas there is a sense of belittlement of them possibly because of institutionalism, the dogma of detachment or maybe simply some monks don’t have such experiences. I don’t know.

But these experiences are so important if placed in life’s context.

My experience was not one full-blown awakening as Eckhart describes his and that was primarily because of the booze. Because of the booze I describe my despair as “hitting bottom”. I think I was not suicidal because of the booze but as my “hitting bottom” was diffused over time by the booze, fortunately there was not the same intensity – the same level of despair.

Another difference, maybe, was that my life had not been intense. My early life been totally superficial, just concerned with academia. Everything had been easy. Get up, go to school, play some football. University was just as superficial with drink thrown in. Starting work was the only form of intensity. Studying for exams had been focussed – although not too successful. But there was a real focus for the job, I had to get up go to work and do the stuff they did; I had to have discipline for something that I found meaningless. And as it went on I had to be disciplined to do the work to get money to drink. I didn’t spend my 20s in despair, I drifted around on the surface getting drunk. When I hit bottom it was like I woke up and found an inner life.

But there was another important aspect of intensity for me, after awakening I spent 13 years getting increasingly dependent on alcohol. This diffused the intensity, I even remember thinking at times that getting drunk burnt off excess energy. Coming to terms with the newfound awakening was tempered by increasingly dealing with alcoholism.

This also meant that I was in no way fit to be a spiritual teacher, I could not control my desires – addiction. But over time in this world you cannot live with the intensity, and over time I eschewed the addiction. By then I had accepted the world path of teacher, and in my personal time I occasionally wrote – although that was not frequent. But once I retired I found my own way. Getting rid of the job by writing – Matriellez, then coming to terms with how I should lead life – Treatise, blogging as a means of clearing the mind – Zandtao, Matriellez and Ginsukapaapdee, until I am now writing stories – Wai Zandtao.

His description of experience sounds so exciting:- “Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.”

Experiences occurred for me differently. Hitting bottom was obviously brought on by the booze, and booze, as I suspect all drugs – maybe not marijuana?, prevents these jhanas. Immediately following hitting bottom I ran to my parents – I was 22. As usual at my parents’ house I spent much time walking, and I remember wandering around Manchester looking at suits in a Xmas pub thinking “what is this?” Still coming to terms with what was going on I returned to London, and in my Chiswick bedsit finding these experiences happening regularly. I think I was meditating but they just came in, nothing as shattering as Eckhart but there was presence. (Added next day) Exploring memory makes things clearer. That Chiswick bedsit was far more important than the hazy recollection I have of it. It was not special. I remember cooking on a landing in a loft space, having little room but loving it. Getting up there seems almost to have been a trigger for presence. I was stuck in the cubicle of a job, escaped and wandered up and down Chiswick High Road. Then there was the bedsit. Maybe meditation triggered it, maybe just being there triggered it. Can’t remember, doesn’t matter. It happened. That Chiswick time was Eckhart’s “I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.”

After that initial Chiswick “reward” they settled down but have been there for much of my life. Usually they occurred late at night in bed, and suddenly this experience would well up inside me and expand. There was no light for me but it was almost like the air itself was visibly vibrating. I remember the Summer I wrote Kirramura, and I spent the days waiting for the late night where I would go to bed, lie down and just wait for “the guys” to come …. and then I wrote. It was as if such experiences were a bottleneck, they would build up and then wait for a chance to come out – a time when I was quiet or meditating. Now they are less because I am old and meditate regularly. I discussed experiences and Buddhism generally here.

Recently I heard of someone watching 5 Gateways and crying because she had something similar. I was unable to follow up. It made me realise that there is a need to celebrate such experiences because in this world such spiritual matters are belittled by academics, and such people are marginalised not celebrated.

Such great joy!!

“I had become a spiritual teacher.” During Chiswick I started writing – Martin Smoothchatter. It was a time when Arts Centre people were so important as they ratified my experience. The cubicle was never for me, and after a couple of months I started taking Mongol kids out on a Saturday morning, I had found a meaning. This compassion turned to child care and then teaching.

And why are these experiences connected with dogma. They are not, because such experience does not happen if all there is is dogma. Dogma is the refuge of the academic mind. Of its nature dogma creates restrictions, belief in a dogma or not. And if there is restriction there is no experience. This is an experience of genuine freedom, and that only occurs if what we are doing is opening doors. By the way institutions cling to dogma, there are not doors opening.

So Eckhart explains his despair, his experience and his expanding consciousness offering his insights. And he says choose to do this without going through pain and despair. Can we choose to do this without despair? Ajaan Buddhadasa did – I think he just grew up being wise and grew older getting wiser, but others? Is there a choice without pain and despair? I hope so.

    This is copied from the introduction of “The Power of Now”.

The Origin Of This Book
I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence. Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else’s life.
One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. `Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.
I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.
That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.
For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.
I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it at all. It wasn’t until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.
But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody.
Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: “I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?” And I would say: “You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is malting too much noise.” That answer later grew into the book that you are holding in your hands.
Before I knew it, I had an external identity again. I had become a spiritual teacher.” Power of Now Intro.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


I was drowsy last night – in and out of dozing so went to bed early. As to be expected there wasn’t sleep, and I began thinking about detachment from the 5 khandas. This has followed from this Santikaro talk on Ajaan Buddhadasa that, simplified, talks of 4 systems:-

Body
Psyche
Self
Emptiness

At the crux of the first 3 systems are the 5 khandas – discussed in part here. I want to look more at the Psyche and Self systems, and I want to bear in mind the visualisation talked of in the same blogpost. It is most interesting to me why Buddhadasa wanted to choose the word psyche as opposed to mind, and again for me it has an implication that mind is more than psyche.

Before I go on I consider myself Buddhist but much of this is personal. OK I am bouncing off a talk about Ajaan Buddhadasa, a key Buddhist in Thailand – if not mainstream, but I have no suttas or related dogma to back this up. If I thought I was wrong I would not be writing this but it is not mainstream Buddhism – I think.

Let me return to the term “psyche”. I believe Buddhadasa chose the term psyche because it is concerned with the 3 khandas, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, and sankhara – formations and proliferations. But it is also concerned with that part of consciousness – vinnana (the 5th khanda) which enables us to experience the 4 other khandas of rupa – body, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, and sankhara – formations and proliferations. But there is a part of vinnana that is more than just consciousness of the other khandas, a part of mind that is more than psyche.

Now how does this relate to self? Anatta, no-self, is a Buddhist tenet, but how can there be no ego, no self? This is where the khandas come in. When you examine the function of ego or self and compare it to the 5 khandas there is no difference, there is no functioning of I that is not a function of the khandas. A human functions as the 5 khandas. So where does I come in? As part of vinnana. There is that part of vinnana which enables the 4 other khandas to experience but through our conditioning we say that I experienced – I felt, I perceived, I thought. But it goes further than this – I become attached to the feeling, I become attached to the perception, and I become attached to the thoughts. These attachments start to build up the I, then through desire we indulge the feelings, through desire we remember and focus on the perceptions, and through desire we concoct proliferations and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons ….. And this becomes the I that is our ego – our self.

But if we detach from the desire, detach from the excesses, let the feelings, perceptions and thoughts happen without attachment we have the normal functioning of the khandas – and no self.

Let me recap simply the visualisation. In this I was trying to detach from conditioning – detach from the khandas, and once detached there was a part of mind that enabled me to relate to sunnata.

So this brings me to last night. I eventually slept trying to detach from the 5 khandas. I woke up early, and began thinking of vinnana. It was vinnana that transcends, it is a part of vinnana that transcends – that is meant to transcend. By transcending I mean beyond conditioning, that it is part of vinnana that detaches from the conditioning, detaches from the khandas, detaches from the self, and moves to relate to sunnata.

At this point consciousness started to lift from the base of my stomach and move up the body and towards the top of my head – crown chakra. It was a great feeling as this heaviness in my stomach became lighter and lighter as it moved towards the crown. With it came a great sense of freedom. I enjoyed it for a while, consolidated thoughts on vinnana and slept again- too much!

Fascinating – a good experience!!

I need the 5 Gateways people to do some effusion for me! And to counter my framework crit of 5 Gateways Ascension theory, I could be just fitting the experience to the theory – a Buddhadasa 4-system moment. Of course there is no answer to such except .

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

This is my 3rd blog on 5 Gateways movie.

It is strange how things happen. I got into discussion with an ex-student – communication friend, and amongst the first things I discussed was what I consider my awakening – nothing as arrogant as an awakening as a Buddha but an awakening. At one point I was sent a fascinating Anonymous clip much of which I agree with, and all I could see was a lack of joy. How could this Anonymous guy say all this without joy?

That took me to the 5 Gateways movie where there is joy, and this elicited tears from someone watching it. I have watched (and slept) with this film a number of times, and feel good about it (proviso (s)).

I have to react to the following. Here are the movie’s initiation stages:- Awakening, Realignment, Transfiguration, Enlightenment, Resurrection. Given all of this what does it mean to me?

Whenever I start questioning myself, it usually means I have been complacent, and complacency usually means less meditation. This is true. My first reaction is to offer my ageing body as an excuse, but whilst it requires more time it is not an excuse – except occasionally.

I am at peace. Whilst I continue to offer my limited dhamma online there is little feedback – perhaps I have been too willing to accept this. This last year writing has blossomed with there being 2 Wai Zandtao books completed and a third half way through. Same issue as my online Dhamma – it is not being read. I am willing to accept this too. I would like to see ever y thing distributed, but am unwilling to pay the publishers’ price for doing that – if I were ever to seek one interested. I have done enough work, and am at peace. But having said that, I have some interest in seeing if there are benefits in helping distribution.

In the movie I love all the effusion about nature, I don’t do effusion. Maybe I should. But nature and I are close now with the house and the sea and the walking – and the birds that want my bananas but run from me. And my tokey friends. Close without effusion.

It is only now that I thought of Ascension as western and I amended the framework blog accordingly. That east-west dilemma has been something I have never been comfortable with, maybe it is just east and west together that we should think about. Eastern religion regularly sends emissaries because they see what is missing. To me what is missing in the West is tradition, the strength that tradition gives you, countering the risks of ego that exist without tradition around you. But the eastern institution can bury the rapture especially if the institutional “experts” have not experienced the rapture.

There is a need to detach from rapture but being detached does not mean not evaluating the rapture for the importance of what it is. And when people ask the dogma which of the jhanas is happening, do the institutions have the answer? Maybe they do, that is for them to answer, but per se an institution does not as an institution does not have experience. Buddhism has the tradition and there are individuals within the tradition to help. It is up to you how you go and look. A question just struck me, can a person be a true Buddhist without having experienced the rapture?

The most important thing about the Buddhism is its focus, it has taught me to focus on what people can control and not to try to get into areas where humans can only speculate. This is the danger of rapture (piti) – trying to control it. Is rapture a goal? I do have to say that at times when I was writing I did try to experience both sides of the muse – the writing and the presence that accompanied it; but it was never presence alone. Never a goal.

Ajaan Buddhadasa’s 4 systems do not seek rapture (see this talk):-

Body
Psyche
Self
Emptiness

Link these systems with the teachings concerning khandas (aggregates). The body and psyche systems are primarily concerned with khandas. We have to have an appropriate relationship with the 5 khandas – not attaching to them. If we don’t attach to them then effectively we have removed the “I and mine from the 5 khandas” (another Buddhadasa phrase), and there is an appropriate lack of ego (or self system) that enables us to relate to sunnata. I am not able to define this but this relationship with sunnata is what connects us to piti but the objective is not piti but sunnata. But we cannot experience sunnata we can experience piti, and we can only experience piti if we have established the conditions of the first three systems. And ironically those conditions are lack of conditioning. In the West that conditioning is oppressive and leads to rapturous experiences as discussed in 5 Gateways. I believe Hindus discuss such rapture as well (see Jim Carrey), but I don’t know Hindu except what is in Buddhism but am not sure of the distinction.

But the conditioning discussed in Buddhism is the same but different – what an appalling sentence. In the West conditioning tends to be discussed as social conditioning – almost indoctrination. It is almost seen as the outer imposing on the inner, and these external factors are considered as education, parents, community, society etc. Whereas the conditioning discussed in Buddhism comes from how we experience the 5 khandas through dependent co-arising, much more of an inner focus.

I often talk of “moving beyond” conditioning but this is not something we control. What we control is removing conditioning, by removing conditioning we open ourselves up to being the emptiness system – open ourselves up to a relationship with sunnata. This phraseology is so dangerous. What is sunnata – emptiness? It is the emptiness that is full, what does that mean? We cannot explain it, yet there is an emptiness system and a meaningful relationship with that system but one that cannot be explained. I said once that during meditation I breathe in emptiness, what does that mean? But doing it helped. Relationship with emptiness or an emptiness system is so fraught with danger.

Is the approach to conditioning helpful in considering rapture? I expand on this without answering. Does western conditioning with its type of oppressive approach encourage rapture when breaking out of the conditioning?

In meditation I worked on a visualisation that might help. To use this visualisation we must first know the 5 khandas:- rupa(body), vedana (feeling), sanna (perceptions/memory), sankhara (mental formations/concocting or proliferations), vinnana (consciousness). Basically Buddhadasa’s first three systems are concerned with understanding the khandas. He uses the word psyche as covering the 4 mental khandas of vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana, and it is my understanding that there is an aspect of mind that is more than these as can be seen by the visualisation.

The first 3 systems are basically covered by the Buddhadasa purpose of Buddhism:- “To remove the I and mine from the 5 Khandas”. The visualisation is based on the seeking of harmony of the first three systems enabling the freed mind to relate to the emptiness system.

The body has to function. It requires healthy food – ideally organic plant-based, any necessary medicine – hopefully natural/herbal, and it requires exercise both physical and energetic, and if done harmoniously rupa is a happy system ready for sunnata. Lack of harmony can be caused by indulging in unhealthy food for taste’s sake, partaking of drugs, and indulging in excessive exercise perhaps for reasons of “body beautiful” etc.

The 4 mental khandas are concerned with harmony of the mind, this perhaps is better understood as non-attachment. The easiest to explain in this way is sankhara. In this world the mind has certain functioning such as reasoning, the mind must apprehend theories in order to understand them (and reject them?). This is a sankhara function. But if we attach to theories, concoct theories, let the mind proliferate here there and everywhere, this is the ego attaching to sankhara and is evidenced in academia (Buddhist and otherwise). Why does academia not have a functioning approach to mind when all people have to do is look inside? Because of sankhara. There is a harmonious relationship with sankhara where the ego is not attached. Similarly there is a harmonious approach to the other three khandas whose functions are harmonious if the ego is not attached to them.

If there is harmony and non-attachment to the 5 khandas, then the body and psyche systems are ready. And of these systems are ready the self system is also likely to be in harmony. In Buddhism there is anatta – no self. There is no function of I and mine that is not covered by the 5 khandas. I grows out of the 5 khandas. If we attach to emotions, memories and theories saying this is who we are, we are attaching to the 5 khandas. Over time this attachment becomes our personalities – I. Letting go of attachment to I, to the 5 khandas, leaves the mind free. Letting go of conditioning leaves the mind free.

And here is where the visualisation comes in. With the 5 khandas in harmony, the body’s food and exercise having been dealt with, the psyche functioning also being in harmony with no attachment to the khandas, no attachment to I, the mind (the rest of the mind that is not psyche) is free. Visualise the mind being free from the khandas, free from I, and that min can expand and soar. That mind can be open to breathing in sunnata, that mind can soar into Unity, that mind can feel unconditional love. It is this freed mind that experiences rapture once mind as a whole is free from conditioning, free from khandas, free from I.

I contend that it is this mind freed from conditioning that experienced during the 5 Gateways, and it is the soul that “ascended”. Mind free from conditioning can experience.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

5 Gateways is a wonderful movie from these people. If you want a movie that talks about finding the Path this is it. Most importantly when you first find the Path you need to find people who have shared experience. For me after hitting bottom it was the people at the Arts Centre – to whom I will always be grateful and to whom I am so sad we have lost touch only 42 years ago!!

Why is this movie so important? If you start on the Path, hitting bottom or otherwise, you need shared experience. This world will negate everything you are going through. Finding the greatest thing you could possibly find will be negated by family, friends and establishment authority because they have not experienced it. If you watch this movie then you can feel what these people feel, and your experience is reinforced. That is wonderful.

Now to the downside. These people have explained their shared experience through Ascension. Do you know if Ascension is true? For the makers of this movie Ascension is true. If you watch this movie after hitting bottom – in that or any other vulnerable position – you might well be attracted to their Ascension framework. I don’t know whether Ascension is true, and if I don’t know something is true I don’t go there. This movie has tremendous shared experience that helps in the alone situation people on the Path can find themselves, this movie can alleviate at such times but it is a danger at a time of vulnerability.

I am not saying Ascension is not true, I am saying I don’t know whether it is true. I have chosen a different Path – Buddhism. In Buddhism there is a lot of dogma, and over the years I have whittled down the dogma so that I have a Buddhism I am comfortable with – but many might not see it as Buddhism. BZBuddhism requires very little dogma – little more than the 4NT with a bit of help from Ajaan Buddhadasa. But even then to understand Ajaan Buddhadasa requires going beyond a great deal of dogma because he was such a dedicated scholar; dogma that in my view he eschewed. And studying Ajaan Buddhadasa would not ratify the tremendousness of experience that is shared in 5 Gateways, however the framework that Ajaan Buddhadasa gives you does not require any faith. It does require you to be discerning, questioning and intelligent but it does not require any leaps of faith. 5 Gateways requires a leap of faith to begin with (unless you know for yourself you have already gone through the 5 Gateways). I am not in favour of anyone taking a leap of faith.

I have an anecdote which gives me cause for concern. I met a drunk in Africa who had been involved with Ascension – not with these people. He spent a few years with them and did not ascend. He felt a failure and turned to drink. Accepting himself for who he was at whatever stage on the Path that he was might have kept him interested in the Path and kept him off the booze.

In the movie the shared experience is ratifying and well worth hearing. But all the people measure themselves in terms of the 5 Gateways, I have reached such and such a stage. This is understandable as the movie is made by people following this approach, but is it advisable for all people starting on the Path to measure themselves in this way?

For years after hitting bottom I studied spirituality in one form or another, sadly I wasted some time in the bottle. There is a variety of spiritual experience out there, but some of it is charlatan, some of it deluded and some of it exaggerated. Path experiences or jhanas are so powerful they can become all-embracing and all-consuming; they can also be a fixation. When you are vulnerable and starting out which of these attributes do you want? What do you want to know?

Firstly you need to know that your experience is real. You do not want to listen to people who dismiss your experience as trendy hippy or doped up or whatever, your experience is valid do not let people dismiss it. But such experience (or jhana) is not an end in itself, it is part of the Path. And what is the Path? And we are back to doubt again. The Path is real, or it can be real depending on who is talking about it. Out there there are charlatans who will tell you they have found the Path to enlightenment, but have they? You can only take their word for it – or not! Ascension is a Path to Enlightenment – or not, you can only take their word for it.

When I listen to what they say in the movie, they are people who have experienced, their experience is valid, they have done a great thing in sharing that experience in the movie, and that sharing of experience has to be validating for the vulnerable who have just started on the Path. But is their framework correct? Is there a leap of faith involved?

Does Buddhism require leaps of faith? To begin with, most definitely. Have most Buddhists made a leap of faith? Most definitely. Does the Buddha ask you to make a leap of faith? In my view the Kalama sutta suggests that you do not take a leap of faith. If you walk into a wat or Buddhist monastery will the monks have taken a leap of faith, and the answer most definitely is yes. Should you take a leap of faith? My answer is no.

The essence of all of this is understanding. To gain understanding you have to study dogma until that dogma falls away and you have understanding or wisdom. So as part of the learning process I have believed in Buddhism. By believing in it I was able to come to an understanding of those parts of Buddhism that I initially believed in. I now eschew the dogma and hopefully have wisdom. Can new people on the Path do this? I couldn’t when younger. Can young people believe in Ascension, let the dogma fall away and be left only with wisdom? That does not appear to be the teaching methodology but maybe so? Can young people go to Buddhism, let the dogma fall away and be left with wisdom? Definitely not within most of the Buddhist institutions I know of.

Buddhism has an advantage over the 5 Gateways Ascension. Buddhism is big and does not necessarily require commitment. I have been on retreats but I have not committed myself to cloisters. Maybe remaining on the periphery of 5 Gateways would allow their dogma to drop away? Immersing in their programme I would suggest might create problems of faith.

But I go back to my original point in this post, their movie is validating. For people new to the Path watching their movie without embracing their dogma would be extremely worthwhile. Maybe even getting involved with them would be worthwhile – I do not know, but the getting of wisdom anywhere means eventually eschewing dogma. There are Buddhists with dogma, eschew that dogma and get wisdom, there are followers of Ascension with dogma, eschew that dogma and get wisdom, there are followers of Eckhart Tolle (whom I at one time considered wise – he has done so much with Oprah I don’t know where he is at now), eschew his dogma and get wise. Wisdom is gained by eschewing dogma.

Why did I choose Buddhism? Ego. Buddhism has centuries of tradition in which there have been Buddhists who have questioned. Whilst Buddhism has its dogma, whilst Buddhism has a proliferation of intellectuals and concocters, it has its tradition. Wise people over the years have gained wisdom and contributed to Buddhism. What about the people ascending? Where is their tradition? They have to rely on themselves. And what happens? They come under threat from the society they are rejecting, and this can build up an ego that defends. How would this ego respond? Possibly by becoming more dogmatic, defending the dogma of their beliefs; is this wise? Immersion with Ascension risks such dogma, and possibly risks eschewing wisdom. At the beginning of the Path when people are vulnerable this is a danger.

To avoid this I have never recommended 5 Gateways until now, but the shared experience is so valuable so reinforcing, so invigorating, so IMPORTANT I want to recommend it with the above proviso.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Buddhist Experience

Posted: 07/12/2015 in Insight
Tags:

Buddhism is a mess. To look at all who hold reference to “what the Buddha taught” and the life of the Buddha, there appears to be nothing at the common core. One might imagine taking the three schools of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, seek commonality, and then call that commonality “the core of Buddhism” – and that doesn’t work either.

There seems a greater commonality in Christianity and Islam. Christianity has the two testaments, but then look at what passes for Christian behaviour on the Far Right of America. And in Islam you have the 3 branches of the Koran, Haddith and Shariya. These branches are hierarchical in belief, ie the Koran is the most important, and yet there are still people who blow themselves up claiming Shariya justification. And then there is the horrendous religion of Zionism which includes land as part of a religious belief.

Yet throughout the mess of Buddhism and the wider messes of the other religions all people are seeking meaning, seeking their paths. Somehow, in some way, these paths are the same because we are unity, one consciousness.

In future I have to play a bit of a Buddhist game using the sutta card. That which is the most profound and significant in my life has been my experiences. I attach great importance to these experiences because they have been life changing, but they are only just that – experiences. They are things to learn from and move on – despite their power. In Buddhist terms these experiences have ultimately been about anatta.

The first experience of anatta was one that I was completely oblivious of. Throughout my childhood I had followed instinct, on reflection the only consciousness I let in was reason because I gained acceptance through academic success. Yet even that was dubious because of the lack of effort in my studies. By the time I was 21 I had qualifications, and little understanding. Philosophy was my only expression of consciousness in that I wanted to study philosophy at university – long discussions with Henry were philosophical (Upper Sixth) although I have no idea what we talked about. But the university drink and socialising took over, and my mind never had the discipline to focus on philosophical study. On reflection I am amused at the year 1 philosophy exam in which I answered the questions by investigation as I hadn’t read a text, and got sufficient to drop it (maybe they just gave me enough to drop it and not be kicked out). I focussed on maths and became nothing but a maths drunk.

Conflict developed because of academic games with the stats department. I remember the details and I don’t always do that – my first conflict!! I was doing joint maths and stats, wanted to do stats postgrad, got a II(1) in maths and a II(2) overall – I knew the stats better than I knew the maths. So why did they let me do stats postgrad when a II(1) ought to be minimal postgrad requirements? I think the prior prof had been Lindley (if not Lindley a famous stats guy). To maintain the high standards set by Lindley the new prof lowered the results so that a II(2) from Aber meant something. What happened in my postgrad year backed this up. The degree students were all getting 3rds and some who worked got a pass, a pass was given if you completed the course and sat the exam. That was the first time I was a union guy, remembering lots of conversations about what was happening.

So I had focussed my self as an academic, and the institution sucked. I had done maths/stats because it was easier for me, and consciousness had lost out because I was too drunk and ill-disciplined to study philosophy. Work brought the next conflict because I had not discipline and didn’t know how to work. I wanted to be a statistician, and the company just wanted to make a. profit. In my first company I was a bit of a drunken talisman, Wendy found me, got no salary increase – didn’t deserve any, and moved on. Sevenoaks taught me how much of a talisman I had been because I had no work idea. I filled in data sheets wrongly and my immediate boss quite rightly said he preferred to use the school leaver. I did something stupid and they sacked me – well deserved the stupid incident was only the excuse. I had no discipline, no idea, I was a drunk who couldn’t work.

My self then had nothing. My academic self did not matter, I had no career or professional self, I had nothing – I was just a drunk – drank too much but not too heavily. I was absolutely nowhere at that point. My instinct through my upbringing had given me the qualifications to start on the bottom rung of the ladder, and the ladder had no attraction for me. I had no sila, the drink making that worse, the self had been completely destroyed, and there was just nothing. I hit bottom. I had the good sense to go back to Sale but I actually had nowhere else to go as I had no job – so no money. I probably spent a month walking as I cannot remember but walking was my escape – just walking the streets. It was over Xmas, and I remember a mixture of envy and disinterest as I heard the raucousness of office parties in the pubs. At some stage early in the New Year I decided to return to London. There was attraction and experience to be had in London, Manchester was too much parents, memories of a repressed childhood, and just a place I wandered on the outside. Something connected to London, I thought. I remember wanting a job that was not academic, and went to an agency. They forced me into a cobol programming job, I had the qualifications and they had their percentage – I had no idea.

I started work in a cubicle reading manuals. I remember a pipsqueak telling me off over something trivial and getting really upset because it was only discipline that was keeping me there. But the discipline was good, I was trying yoga and meditation. I had reconnected with Wendy, so I guess I had touched the Arts Centre. Art was never something I related to being a mathematician, and I say touch because I cannot recall being there. But I do remember Linda talking about the mongol kids when I started the Saturday volunteering. I lasted maybe two months on the cobol, and the second month I volunteered with the kids. That was my first compassion coming through, and it became a full-time temporary housefather compassion, consciousness was coming through.

The Arts Centre validated a different self, the writer, but this self had compassion and intelligence, and whilst writing had jhana – concentration, concentration that allowed consciousness through. I was on my path but there was still much self in the way. Consciousness came out through the writing, and I was encouraged to see the world for what it was through creativity – the eyes of the Art world discovering itself. “Seeing what it is” is like Buddhadasa’s “learning what is what”, but there was no Buddhism only a vague spirituality sponsored by creativity. But it was consciousness – vinnana. However what I saw as spirituality, I did not see as vinnana, I saw consciousness and spirit as something completely different. It was at this time I was beginning to use words to describe the Unconditioned thinking that my consciousness and creativity came from the Unconditioned as opposed to jhanas. This fallacy developed more when a few years later I got involved with theosophy. Theosophy was good for me because it opened up a whole world of people talking about spirituality, but it was the intellectual mind spreading its fanciful wings.

By this time the drink had got hold of me again because of work. I was teaching, I was born to be a teacher, but the institution was so screwed up by the 1% (nee bourgeoisie) the teacher in me wanted to drink. Thus began my working life of stress, stress that initially came out with drink and then later became apathy because of degenerative ill health. Throughout my teaching I had the holidays, they became my spiritual time. Here more experiences (jhanas) happened. I began to associate these jhanas with presence. I remember the Summer I wrote Kirramura. I was living in Brighton walking on the Downs, and then waiting for bed-time when I would lie there waiting for presence to come. At that point I centred, and as I centred it was as if there were only presence (I now call that presence “muse”). I associated this presence with spirit so in Buddhist terms I was trying to describe the Unconditioned, but it (the muse) was some form of jhana.

Meditation was never a part of my life, I dismissed meditation because of pretensions and Buddhism because spirit was free and did not need discipline; both were intellectual self giving excuses, trickster reasons not to embrace truth and true practise. On occasions I did have jhanas occur through some form of meditation through the centring process described above. So this spiritual existence based on my personal experiences interpreted by an errant frame of reference continued for 30 years until I retired. During work these experiences dwindled as my health and therefore energy began to deteriorate. I had always been close to nature when not teaching, and this became more and more important during the holidays which became back to nature and studying. For many holidays would be rushing from one place to another, whilst I met some good people on the holidays my holiday was static and based on study in a natural surround.

I used to think of these holidays as getting back to the path as work had dragged me away. Often walking and later sitting it was me in nature. On retrospection Kirramura was the end of the muse experience. Following Kirramura coincided with travelling, and once in Botswana I found nature 24/7. I got there and I felt free. I associated that freedom with being out of UK repression but it was more than that, I was free because of nature. I loved being in nature that Botswana gave me. Once I got rid of western angst and settled into the peace of African time I got back to nature far more regularly, I can still remember weekend afternoons under the reeds of Shashe dam, or the campsites especially Maleme. It was such a wonderful time. I remember the wonderful women with their strife, but the real Africa for me was nature – it is African nature I cried for when I left; I remember travelling to Maleme my last weekend and crying. I am feeling emotional now Africa was so wonderful …. I want to be there but the violence I can’t be.

There has to be nature in my life.

Africa brought me back to study. Around me there was drinking and screwing, and although I enjoyed the second it was very disruptive with the strife that came with the women. And the fact that I didn’t offer them anything. Once the UK repression went, study came, and included in that study came a life review that is still around on my website. Post-review meditation began to come in, and I remember erratic experiences (jhanas). I loved being in Africa, I should say Southern Africa – Nigeria had none of it. I played too much but it was a place for playing, the people I knew there were playing as well, the place was built for playing. I played and studied and centred again on my spiritual life. I first began with websites there, here are my earlier deliberations. It was the first time I thought of Buddhism but it was still mostly spiritual. I should also say Africa made me love education again, and I will always remember the haunting Kereng’s “we’ll miss you” after I surprisingly told the kids (surprise to me) how they had brought education back to me. Never had it again with all the screwed up institutions I later worked in, although the kids in China were so attentive and hard-working. Until I retired I never had that feel again, I now have it but every time I think of that Africa I want to go back – but I can’t, age and violence prevent me, too ill-disciplined.

Once study had got hold of me again, and with the return of the experiences Buddhism had to follow. I tried to develop the study with the institution but the gatekeeper told me that they allowed educated thinking at M Ed but Ph D was too integral to the institution and you had to follow their discipline. Soon study turned to where it belonged “Buddhism”. I became Buddhist when I became absorbed at Wat Phra Keau – jhana, I then visited a monastery, felt presence – jhana – that the guest monk had no idea what I was talking about, and never looked back.

But my experiences were still not in the correct frame of reference, I had more than 10 years to wait for that – assuming I am somewhere near now. Buddhism has become so disparate the frame of reference has disappeared, I have to assume that the Buddha gave the correct frame of reference. There have been too many revisions and inappropriate interpretations that what the Buddha taught has been lost as an integrity. Whilst that is true, what is truer is that I have never had to face my own false frames of reference.

When I retired my first study led me to sila, blog history here will show that. I early in retirement read Buddhadasa, and this helped clear some delusions but I was left with others. The power of my experiences (the strength of the jhanas) made me attached to the experiences, and I was attached to the feeling that these were more than vinnana – more than consciousness, what I fancifully later called Voidness-“experience”. In truth Buddhism has never asked me to place these experiences in a Buddhist context. OK this is my fault, I have never been to teachers. I have been to monasteries for short-term retreats but I have never been taught. Maybe if I had been taught I would have been taught jhanas, and taught that these experiences were jhanas.

Here is what the Buddha said about jhanas:-

“And what, bhikkhus, is right concentration? Here, bhikkhus, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. With the fading away as well of rapture, he dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences happiness with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhana of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and displeasure, he enters and dwells in the fourth jhana, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity. This is called right concentration.” Samyutta Nikaya 45.8

Someone said that jhanas are discussed everywhere in the suttas, yet my mind has tricked me into never seeing what has happened to me as jhanas. Look at what I have just written, look at this sutta. Stilling through walking, stilling alone, clear mind through writing, clear awareness when writing; what else is it?

No jhanas are not Unconditioned. This spirituality is consciousness, vinnana, it is right concentration, but it is not Voidness. Why have I not looked at jhanas? Because they are monks shut away in monasteries sitting. My experiences were about me coping with and then living daily life. Jhanas are this as well but not all do that. At the same time there appears to be a chauvinism about jhana, am I in jhana? Have I reached jhana 7? I haven’t fully studied what the Buddha describes as jhana nor what Tan Ajaan has either but I don’t know what level these experiences are. I didn’t choose them, they are not a reflection on work I did. Far from it at the beginning I didn’t know what was happening. After that I was not disciplined and working hard. The problem with all this chauvinism is that it separates people. “How far have I got?” is a competition – separation. More to be done on jhanas – a lot more. And a lot more on jhana reconciliation.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.