“…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. 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 (please, also see the Appendix 6.3.).
I don’t know how long this state lasted, but afterwards everything instigated itself it seems or whatever, everything became active again, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Eyes were closed still, so 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 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 which 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.
From my upcoming book, After Anatta
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 ground reality.
Important experience, though. In my case, the Sutrayana path laid the foundations for more advanced stages of insight…
Psychological-transpersonal identity development is a modern term for the process that in more spiritual traditions is referred to as the path to enlightenment.
This identity development is very well defined thanks to Mr. Ken Wilber, one of the best selling authors on this Earth.
Wilber map has contributed to the clarity of spiritual levels of awareness in so many ways. It is a huge topic, to be sure, and in this article, I only touch upon the main stages of said development. Probably I will copy over from my Slovenian Blog other posts on the Wilber map stages, sometime in the future.
In the meantime, here we go:
Writing mostly in a playful mode and yet maybe seriously, too:
We are in a hotel, my friend and me, having overwhelmingly huge breakfast. And she looks into my eyes and blows me a kiss over the table.
And let us say that in my head and heart the following happens (as per Wilber map of stages of human consciousness and identity development):
In a department of my consciousness labeled intellect, there is a Board of directors and all twelve of them are closely following everything that is going on. All of them are proud that they finally made it and became members of the Board. The illustrious Board basically decides about everything that is supposed to be happening on the planet edmondc.
They have a huge at least 90 inches plasma monitor on the wall of the room and are playing the “blowing kiss” sequence back and forth, watching it over and over again.
All of them are staring at the wall and hastily taking notes. All members of the Board are writing and writing, comparing the current situation with similar memories, analyzing the expression on the woman’s face and in her eyes, ambient noise and everything else.
They write and write and express their opinions aloud without any consideration for others. They don’t really hear one another and can’t seem to find a compromise what to do. Each member wants to be the one who decides and all of them are gunning for the honor, for they are aware that their ruling over such matters is not as definitive as it used to be. At least in the head, they want to build up their self-importance, for in real life they are not listened to anymore.
Members are all very intelligent but full of hundreds and hundreds of pieces of information, projections, doubts, expectations, plans, fears, dysfunctional mental representations, and they are even looking into mystical-analytical tools such as tarot, I-ching, Jyotish with the aim of reaching deeper understanding of what is happening, etc. and, above all, all of them exhibit obsessive need for control.
On and on they go:
What to do? What does this woman want, really? What is her intention? What the f**k is happening? What is acceptable to do now? Jeez, what this woman just did is not socially acceptable! etc. etc.
Well, and while the Board is debating endlessly, the room enters:
Upon the entrance of the Authentic Self seven members simply lose their consciousness, for the presence of the Authentic Self is so powerful that intellect can’t really deal with it. Scores of papers are flying up in the air, some members fall back, some hit the table with their foreheads and two of them even collapse to the flour. The rest five members of the Board are lost for words, thinking: now we are done for, oh my god.
Authentic Self knows all of the Board members intimately and the amount of attention he is offering them is exactly zero. He doesn’t even remember the last time he listened to them in serious matters.
Calmly he takes a look at the monitor on the wall of awareness and ignores Board’s intellectual mechanics as he has seen through them loooong ago. He has seen through their limited social convictions, superficial influences of others and society and all of the rules of the game of human interactions… and in the situation with the woman he senses affection and gentleness.
Board members are quiet and are holding their breath: “Oh dear, what will happen now?”. One member wants to add something to his notes but he doesn’t dare.
And before Authentic Self decides, the room is graced with the presence of:
The Subtle Self
The Soul or the Subtle Self simply is. Her presence changes the feeling in the room completely, in a positive fashion. Knocked out members regain their consciousness in a heart beat, the rest lift their heads, pick up their notes and the two members who crashed on the flour stand up and silently sit back at the table.
At this table, everyone is welcome. Board members are more relaxed, open and once in a while a word or two is heard. Subtle Self tolerates and acknowledges everyone and everything.
Subtle Self and Authentic Self look at each other and the later wants to express something and he cant utter a word, for a sheer and crystal clear realization dawns on him:
“Oh, f…f…f… fuuuuuuuuuu****k!
I don’t even exist for real!! My existence is not!
Separate Self doesn’t even exist!!! Not on my own!!”
And the Soul shines with inner Purity and Light even more.
The Soul is full of love, wisdom, power and vulnerability (which is in fact her greatest strength) and in the woman recognizes a kindred spirit from previous lives.
The Soul is aware of the relative importance of the relationship with this kindred spirit here on Earth and on other levels of existence and at the same time, the Soul is acutely aware she unconditionally and exclusively belongs to and is totally surrendered to the Source Itself. In Her case, that is Mahadevi.
While the Soul is contemplating these notions, the room is lighted up as if the sun itself just came out. The room, which is now in my heart of hearts, is bathed in Pure and Brilliant Light.
Board members, chairs, walls, monitor, flour, Authentic self – everything, indeed everything shines in completely new Light, for the Soul has spontaneously realized:
The Causal Self
The Soul or the Subtle Self has effortlessly dived deeply into Herself and has easily and directly realized Her true and eternal identity.
In Her heart a notion arises:
“Oh my God!!”
And soon after that:
“Wait a second, not Oh My God!”
“I am God!”
The room is completely immersed in the Presence and everything is just fine. No conflict whatsoever, no problem or deficit.
The Causal Self, the I am, is spontaneously aware of Everything that is, for there is no separateness, no duality at all.
The woman across the table is His manifestation, and He easily recognizes Himself in her. No duality, no distance. There never ever was. He easily accepts everything, for nothing apart from Himself simply does not exist.
He alone is.
The Causal Self manifests many things and one of those things is omnipresence. And using His presence that is everywhere, He spontaneously senses the conversation between two mountain men somewhere in the highlands about this year’s apples. One man shares his observation that this year some apples are redder than others.
And hearing that, the Causal Self realizes the undeniable truth:
He Himself and the redness of an apple are totally equal, both are only impermanent things in the vast ocean of events. There is no center, no God, and the Causal Self is only one of the impressions upon the Big Mind, just as the redness of an apple or wetness of a water is.
When this insight arises, the Power, Omnipresence, Pristine Presence of the Only One Causal Self simply melts into the Big Mind and what is left is:
The Nondual level
In the head and in the heart total peace arises. There are no Board members left, the room is empty. The Authentic Self is gone, the Subtle Self likewise. And the Causal Self has melted just as water melts in water.
Total identity collapse.
gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone beyond all the way to the other side.
No one is guiding anything, everything is happening by itself, with no cause and no effect.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Filmed over the period of 20 years, straightforward, non-dogmatic, independent and down to earth narration of a story of the first Dzogchen master in the West and His son, the reincarnation of His late teacher.
How fortunate are those that came into contact with Namkhai Norbu and His son, Khyentse Rinpoche.
One of the most informative films, to me.
Oh, my Guru! The Exemplar of the View, Practice, and Action,
Pray vouchsafe me your grace, and enable me
To be absorbed in the realm of Self-nature!
For the View, Practice, Action, and Accomplishment
There are three Key-points you should know:
All the manifestation, the Universe itself, is contained in the mind;
The nature of Mind is the realm of illumination
Which can neither be conceived nor touched.
These are the Key-points of the View.
Errant thoughts are liberated in the Dharmakaya;
The awareness, the illumination, is always blissful;
Meditate in a manner of non-doing and non-effort.
These are the Key-points of Practice.
In the action of naturalness
The Ten Virtues spontaneously grow;
All the Ten Vices are thus purified.
By corrections or remedies
The Illuminating Void is ne’er disturbed.
These are the Key-points of Action.
There is no Nirvana to attain beyond;
There is no Samsara here to renounce;
Truly to know the Self-mind
It is to be the Buddha Himself.
These are the Key-points of Accomplishment.
Reduce inwardly the Three Key-points to One.
This One is the Void Nature of Being,
Which only a wondrous Guru
Can clearly illustrate.
Much activity is of no avail;
If one sees the Simultaneously Born Wisdom,
He reaches the goal.
For all practitioners of Dharma
The preaching is a precious gem;
It is my direct experience from yogic meditation.
Think carefully and bear it in your minds,
Oh, my children and disciples.
– Jetsun Milarepa
Jetsun Milarepa, a direct disciple of the Tibetan Siddha Marpa Chokyi Lodro, has dedicated his whole adult life to meditation. He has renounced everything: home, personal relationship with a woman, family, and even necessities of life like normal food and drink. He is considered the greatest Yogi saint of Tibet and is well known throughout the world even today…
…and as illustrious as He is, He has said about the Great Siddha Marpa: “I am just a fox, He, my Guru, He is the Lion.” (in the book: “The Life of Milarepa”).
What did he mean? I can not possibly know.
What I hear, however, when I read His words is devotion, of course. Jetsun Milarepa’s devotion to His Guru is celebrated in various books.
Moreover, I also hear that Siddha Marpa never ever left His normal life, He remained a householder, married lots of times and attained the Buddhahood while living in everyday life.
And what I hear in Jetsun’s Milarepa words is that Siddha Marpa is the Lion because He has attained everything while enjoying normal life while Milarepa had to renounce even food and drink.
Each of us has a different path, of course. In my observation, though, it is easier to control sexual drive or material attachments from a distant cave in Tibet, 4500 m above the sea level and 45 km away from the nearest woman and duties in life.
The Marpa’s Lion-like approach to life is reflected in the song below:
I, Marpa lotsawa,
Know the king of tantras, the Hevajra.
I have the oral instructions of Mahapandita Naropa.
If I do not remain in solitude, it is a disservice to myself.
I know the king of tantras, the Catuhpitha.
I have the oral instructions of the ejection and transference of consciousness.
If I die in the ordinary way, it is a disservice to myself.
I know how to mix dhyana and sleep.
I have the oral instructions of the luminosity of dreams.
If I sleep in the ordinary way, it is a disservice to myself.
I know the Candali, the regal way of holding the mind.
I have the oral instructions that pierce to the pith of mind.
If I do not practice their meaning, it is a disservice to myself.
I know the seventy qualities of prana.
I have the oral instructions of utilizing illness.
If I summon a doctor, it is a disservice to myself.
I know my body to be the mandala of the victorious ones.
If I do not expand nadi, prana and bindu
Through enjoying meat and liquor, it is a disservice to myself.
In order to bring another person on the path,
I have the oral instructions of karmamudra.
If I do not enjoy the mudra, it is a disservice to myself.
(from the book “The Life of Marpa the Translator: Seeing Accomplishes All”)
Kindle format of the book:
In Great Exposition of the Stages of Secret Mantra Je Tsongkhapa mentions seven special benefits of practicing Secret Mantra:
(1) We receive the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas more swiftly
(2) We come under the care and guidance of our personal Deity or Yidam
(3) We shall be able to remember the Buddhas at the time of death, during the intermediate state,
and in future lives
(4) We quickly complete the collections of merit and wisdom
(5) We shall become free from all obstacles
(6) We shall accomplish both the common attainments- the pacifying, increasing, controlling, and wrathful attainments, and
the eight great attainments- and the uncommon attainment of the Union of No More Learning, or Buddhahood
(7) Our everyday bodily and verbal actions become causes to accumulate a great stock of merit.
Tantric grounds and paths, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
om ah guru hasavajra sarvasiddhi hum
Oh My gracious Guru, Marpa Lho Draug Wa,
From the depth of my
Merging the Self-mind with the Guru is indeed a happy thing.
Manifestation itself is the essence of Reality.
Through the realization of this unborn Dharmakaya,
I merge myself in the Realm of Non-effort,
To both the high and low Views am I indifferent.
In the mind of Non-effort I feel happiness and joy.
The nature of Mind is the Light and the Void.
By realizing the awareness of Light-Void,
I merge myself in the original state of Non-effort.
To good and bad experiences am I indifferent.
With a mind of Non-effort, I feel happiness and joy.
The Six Senses and Sense Objects of themselves dissolve [into the Dharmadhatu].
Where the Non-differentiation of subject and object is realized.
I merge happiness and sorrow into one;
I enter the original state of Non-effort.
To right and wrong actions, am I indifferent.
Happy indeed is the Non-effort mind.
The very nature of the Dharmakaya
Is identified through its myriad forms;
The myriad forms are the Nirmanakaya of Buddha.
With this understanding in mind,
Whatever circumstance I may encounter,
I am free in the happy realm of Liberation!
To return to the home of Buddha I have no longing!
Happy indeed is this mind of Non-effort.
“According to Sutra teachings the root of samsara is self-grasping and the delusions that arise from it. However, according to Secret Mantra teachings the root of samsara is ordinary appearances and ordinary conceptions. The self-grasping recognized by Sutra practitioners is only a gross ordinary conception.”
The new guide to Dakini land
Self-grasping and delusions that arise from it, is only wrong perception itself, and thats all. Ego, the ahamkara (I am the doer, the “I and mine” notion) – there is nothing wrong with it. It is as guilty as, say, the reddness of an apple.
And so the Tantra teachings tell us to embrace everything and to deny nothing. Vedanta teachings, seen from Tantric perspective, pour in disharmony (into the mind) where none exist.
No need to deny anything; instead, tolerance and compsssion is advocated. All we need do is alter our perception and through the right view see all phenomena as it really is: an inherent part of Adibuddha. And the Adibuddha is non-existant. There is only thusness, blissfully empty.
Everyday life is all there is to it and the ultimate natural state of awareness, buddhadhātu, could as well be called “driving a car”, “Saturday night” or “eating champa”. A path of percieving everything as a part and particle of Adibuddha who is actually Empty Bliss, and experiencing that Bliss through any perception is in itself affirmation of the fact that you and me are already Adibuddha.
It is indeed the most direct path, in my opinion and experiences.
Chöd is an advanced Tantric practice in which an adept offers his whole body to gods, demons and other spirits to feast upon as a means to cut through attachments.
It is truly one of the most advanced and challenging practices in my experience and yet, if correctly performed, it bestows unsurpassed awakening.
There are initial preparations which are withheld here, but let me share with you the juicy part:
“Imagine the corpse immediately after the breathing stops, before the warmth dissipates. It is young and plump, with smooth, soft skin and rosy, radiant flesh.
It is big and brilliant, fat and oily. Think of it as pervading the whole world. Just by catching sight of it, the hostile gods and demons are mentally satisfied.
Coming into contact with it, their evil minds are all pacified, and deep feelings of happiness and joy arise. Imagine the gods and demons all coming together uncontrollably like a swarm of bees in a flower grove.
Then, when it’s time to give over the flesh and blood, make it still warm with the steam all wafting up and the oil of grease and fat all slithering off, possessing a hundred excellent flavors, such as that of sea salt.
The potency of its excellent trace aroma is like the smell of camphor or sandalwood, a very fine fragrance that pervades the whole world, or all the appearances of the lands surrounding the place where you are.”
Zongtrul Losang Tsöndru, ‘Chöd in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’:
“When we are meditating in a haunted graveyard, or even in our rooms, frightening external and internal appearances may arise during Chöd practice. If this happens, check the two ‘superstitions’—the external, frightening appearance, and the internal appearance of the inherently existent ‘I’ that is frightened. Do they exist from their own sides? With determination, check for the ‘I’ that experiences fear, whether of
Recalling that our purpose is to compassionately sacrifice ourselves to the spirits, and remembering emptiness of the three spheres of giving, we mix our minds with space and visualize the spirits consuming our bodies as well as our sense of an inherently existent self.
After the spirits have eaten the body, again investigate the two superstitions. It is by checking for the independent ‘I’ that we come to realize emptiness.”
Do not try this without proper guidance and empowerment!