“…niroda-samapatti or ‘attainment of extinction’, also called saññā-vedayita-nirodha, ‘extinction of feeling and perception’, is the temporary suspension of all consciousness and mental activity, following immediately upon the semi-conscious state called ‘sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception’ (s. jhāna, 8).
The absolutely necessary pre-conditions to its attainment are said to be perfect mastery of all the 8 absorptions (jhāna), as well as the previous attainment of Anāgāmī or Arahantship…”
After entering the Nondual more or less at will for almost one year or so, profound anatta insight has manifested as I have shared above (blog on anatta >>). A month and a half after that insight, a thought about experiencing nirodha-samāpatti arose.
And it happened soon after that:
while lying in my bed, with closed eyes (no visual input) “entering” into Nondual and on to anatta using the entry of thoughts and feelings (just thoughts/feelings cognized, no observer or witness), it happened; slowly body awareness turned off, feelings of so-called tiredness just dissipated and thoughts vanished one by one. And consciousness manifested as thoughts/feelings just gently and slowly faded itself down to a complete stop. Total silence or stillness and swoon-like absence of everything and anything. Beyond perception and non-perception. No saying; can’t really adequately describe it, I admit.
I don’t know how long this state lasted, but afterward, everything instigated itself it seems (or whatever), everything became active again, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Eyes were closed still, so the visual cortex was inactive throughout the event.
It was like a natural thing, an element of arising and ceasing of events. Only this time, there was no event, no perception, and no not-perception. It was the total absence of anything and everything. I cannot remember what was going on while in this state, as there was no I to remember anything and nothing at all was happening in that state.
Now silent joy is arising here as I share this; nothing overly special or extraordinarily mystical about it; just naturally unfolding events or non-events. Now, however, I realize that there is literally nothing that I could possibly base my existence or awareness on. Everything is impermanent, arising and fading away, by itself, independently liberated and interdependent at the same time and empty of inherent qualities.
So why am I sharing this?
In his detailed book on Buddhist sadhana Daniel Ingram shares on the topic:
“I mention this attainment because it is one more of those things that is found today but has often been relegated to the realm of myth and legend or has been forgotten entirely. It is not that Nirodha is necessary but it definitely is a good and useful thing to be able to attain. In fact, I have not yet spoken with anyone who had attained it who didn’t consider it among the absolute King Daddy of meditation attainments other than arahatship, as the depth of its afterglow never fails to impress and amaze. Hopefully, mentioning it will raise the standard to which people feel they can reasonably aspire, which is basically the whole goal of this book.”
(Ingram, p. 356, 2007)
Daniel’s words resonate with my reality very much.
Interestingly enough, while this “non-state” manifested once or two times after the event described above,
I completely forgot about it after I entered the Vajrayana path. And it never manifested again.
My current understanding is that there is no need for that as the Mahamudra is not some trance, but natural living and breathing ground reality.
Important experience, though. In my case, the Sutrayana path laid the foundations for more advanced stages of insight…