Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stages of Meditation. Sound Like Hell to Me

Stage 1. Knowledge of the distinction between mental and physical states) and 2 (Knowledge of the cause-effect relationship between mental and physical states) involve deepening concentration and increasing mindfulness. Hallucinations, feelings of disturbance, and involuntary movements can occur. Many mental images may arise and disappear slowly and one can feel confused and distracted.

In Stage 3 (Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self) as samadhi is achieved, pseudo-nirvana phenomena may occur. These can induce attachment of the experience of a particular phase and include different experiences of light and color and feelings of rapture, tranquility, and bliss. Frightening images may also occur. Tears and body sensations, such as stiffness, heaviness, heat or energy pulsations, and twitching or itching, can arise. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as body movements can accompany some forms of rapture. Tranquility can be signified by clarity and feelings of lightness and smoothness. Bliss may involve desire to meditate a long time, gratitude, and pride. Confidence and zeal can occur with bliss and lead to over-exertion. With strong mindfulness, one may notice phenomena melted into the past and become concerned with the past and able to recall past lives. One may falsely believe hat insight-wisdom is attained and think excessively. Then equanimity can arise. When too strong, it can lead to absent-mindedness and inattention to bodily needs. Finally, one can be delighted and satisfied with the various signs of progress. After overcoming these imperfections of insight, genuine insight practice can begin. Concentration and mindfulness are balanced rather than fluctuating, and mindfulness is precise and constant.

Stage 4 (Knowledge of arising and passing away) is entered. Mental images disappear quickly with acknowledgement and a non-hallucinatory clear bright light may appear. Abdominal movements may cease and one may feel as though falling into an abyss.

Stage 5 (Knowledge of dissolution of formations) is entered. Sadness and irritability may occur when the passing away of phenomena is seen clearly. In addition to form disappearing, the mind of the knower seems to disappear and then acknowledges its disappearance. At times, only the rising and passing away of phenomena occurs while the self seems to disappear. Then both form and consciousness disappear. These may cease briefly or for several days until boredom occurs. One may also see object vibrating.

Stage 6 (Knowledge of the fearful nature of mental and physical states) involves fear, and one can be afraid of everything, even harmless objects. This is related to losing ones self. Pain in the body can be experience. One may feel utterly alone and weep at the thought of loved ones. One cannot find enjoyment in anything.

Stage 7 (Knowledge of mental and physical states as unsatisfactory involves further misery and disgust. Life seems bad and tiresome, and one can feel bored and uneasy. A deep sense of the insipid nature of life prevails.

Stage 8 (Knowledge of disenchantment) involves intensification of the sense of unsatisfactoriness. One realizes the interdependence of events (dependent origination) and their dissolution. One only wishes to escape from the world, realizing that nothing is lasting.

Stage 9 (Knowledge of the desire for deliverance) is the rolling the mat phase as one may desire to leave practice as restlessness increases and mindfulness is low. The body may itch as though being bitten by ants.

Stage 10 (Knowledge which investigates the path to deliverance and instills a decision to practice to completion) may involve the sensation of being slashed with a knife and other distracting disturbances. Drowsiness, stiffness, heaviness, and heat may occur.

Stage 11 (Knowledge which regards mental and physical states with dispassion) involves equanimity. Mindfulness and clarity are present and natural. Practice is smooth, and one may lose track of time and sit for hours. Certain psychosomatic diseases may be cured.

Stage 12-16, insight knowledge occurs. Nirvana is approached by way of one of the three marks of existence: impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), or emptiness of self (anatta), and everything drops away (cessation).

The path is entered and the fruit of the path attained. One experiences deep peace and stillness, the supreme silence. Defilements are abandoned and destroyed. When first experienced, this moment of realization does not last for even a second. Then comes contemplation of the basis for deliverance, the path, and the fruit and review of defilements remaining.
Submitted by GU

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