Stream-entry help!

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby hansen » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:47 am

It's also a very Zen thing, however it is that they do it, that the Dharma Eye be opened - that's consistent with Stream Entry if you look at the texts. It's a minimum in Zen tradition, for teaching. That is, if they teach, which is always optional. Remember it's a DIY approach.
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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:27 pm

hansen wrote:It's also a very Zen thing, however it is that they do it, that the Dharma Eye be opened - that's consistent with Stream Entry if you look at the texts. It's a minimum in Zen tradition, for teaching. That is, if they teach, which is always optional. Remember it's a DIY approach.


Practice is not just meditation from a Zen perspective either. Of course I admit that may surprise some Zen people.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby lite » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:42 pm

Where do I have to take my mind to conclude: This is not me, this is not I, this is not myself?
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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby kirtu » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:14 pm

lite wrote:Where do I have to take my mind to conclude: This is not me, this is not I, this is not myself?


Is your mind you , yourself?

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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby ground » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:15 am

lite wrote:Please, I need step by step instructions on how to enter the stream.

Study Samyutta Nikaya, especially Nidana-samyutta, Khandha-samyutta and Salayatana-samyutta.
and sit.
In parallel sit
and study (the above).
When sitting, whatever happens, just sit.

If it does not work after having studied and understood the above and after having done a lot of sitting
then abandon study and keep on sitting.

If after a lot of just sitting there still is no stream-entry then abandon sitting too.

In the course of this ... if things are getting worse or better be mindful of what you have studied
and watch understanding improve on the basis of experience.


Now all this may be totally inappropriate for you. In any case you have to find out for yourself.
You can rely on yourself.

:sage:
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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby hansen » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:41 pm

It's an old yoga story, about the onion. We keep peeling off the layers that are not-self, first the body, the emotions, mental, etc. until we arrive at what can't be peeled away. There's a bit of difference between Vedic and Buddhist conclusions about what you're left with, and different practices, and specifically highly different meditation practices. In yoga the body and mind are transcended, a full state of trance is practiced. In Buddhist mindful-based practices, stillness and mindfulness are considered to be more effective.

If you look at the Anapanasati Sutta, you do your mindful breathing, conscious of the depth and duration of inhalation and exhalation. Then we learn to do that within Four Foundations/Frames of Reference/of Mindfulness - body, feelings (perceptual sensations), the mind itself, then mental qualities - and then exercise in this manner to traverse the Seven Factors of Awakening/Enlightenment. Now, for a student who has looked deeply into the Seven Factors of Awakening it's unavoidable to see the over-lap with the Jhana factors. However, simply falling into a mindless serenity "trap" or going off on and endless Jhana "trip" we work through the 7 Factors - steadiness of mind (piiti), comprehension and discernment (dhamma vicaya), persistence/energy (viriya), rapture/mindfulness (sati), serenity (passadhi), concentration (samadhi - yes we do samadhi!!) , equanimity (uppekha). It's better not try try to analyze this too deeply, because it's the direct experience you need more so than the mental knowledge of it. I'm looking at Thanissano's translation. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

In this way stillness of mind is achieved. But in and of itself, it's not awakening. Still, it's necessary.

It's almost better not knowing the details because there is so much confusion about jhanas, vippasana, etc. What you do is sit and get started. If anything, use equanimity as a goal rather than samadhi. Samadhi can become another bottomless pit.

Going more deeply into it, we work with the Foundations of Mindfulness/Frames of Reference vis-a-is the Maha-satipatthana Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html - then also the Seven Factors of Enlightenment see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Fact ... ightenment

Warning: there are controversies and discussions about some of the key-words used in this post. My emphasis here is don't think about it, just do it.

Also please compare translations - they differ.

- h a n s e n -

p.s. Stream Entry usually happens when uppekha can be sustained during sitting practice. Just start doing it, it will all sneak up on you.
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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby hansen » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:25 pm

p.p.s. that having been said, most of my practice is what the Bamboo School calls "Consistent Mindfulness" e.g. mindful awareness while making pottery, fixing toilet stools, mowing the lawn, watering the garden, filling the bird feeder, washing dishes, cooking vegetables/beans/grains, buying groceries, going to the hardware store, working on the printing press - these things I call "The Real Zen."
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Re: Stream-entry help!

Postby rainbow_light » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:09 pm

Hi Lite,

From Dhammapada (sayings of Shakyamuni Buddha) verse 178:

Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry
excels them.

Stream Entry is a wonderful goal to have, no least because you go from wandering indefinitely in samsara, being reborn over and over, countless times, to having at most 7 more lifetimes before Arahatship, possibly even fewer:

"Stream-enterers with sharp faculties take only one more birth; those with middle faculties take two to six more rebirths; those with dull faculties take seven more rebirths."
From 'Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions' By Dalai Lama, Thubten Chodron

Check out the "Avoiding the stream?" thread. I think the prevailing opinion is that it is compatible with the bodhisattva vow as well.

Now as for how to attain it, I'd second the recommendation of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's guide. Just keep in mind that his work tends to be strictly sutta-based. What he doesn't mention is anything on the Progress of Insight stages found in the Visuddhimagga and, according to Ven. Yuttadhammo at least, even going back to Sariputta in the Patisambhidamagga. These are very real, and are still widely experienced by practitioners today (many openly describe their experiences on the DharmaOverground and related sites). Rob Preece even talks about going through "dark night"-type periods while doing tantra practices on retreat in Tibet (see Wisdom of Imperfection: The Challenge of Individuation in Buddhist Life).

Having spent a good deal of time on the DharmaOverground I can attest that there is lots of great advice there on how to attain Stream Entry, if you're prepared to dig through old threads.

Probably the most pleasant, and least life-disrupting, way to do it is to practice solely samatha until you can easily attain at least a "light" fourth jhana (that is, not one in which you are fully absorbed in the meditation object without any awareness of outside sensations). This is because the knowledge of insight stage from which the path moment follows, i.e. Knowledge of Equanimity Regarding Formations, corresponds to the fourth samatha jhana. Then once in the fourth jhana, begin practicing vipassana (making sure to choose a technique most suited to your mental proclivities). Eventually, you will reach a point of "non-fashioning" (which Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks about in some of his writings), and if your insight is sufficient, your mind will undergo cessation and you will have achieved Stream Entry.

On the other end of the spectrum there's the "dry" insight route, where one does little to no samatha practice, but this naturally puts more strain on the mind when the restorative power of jhana isn't there.

Unfortunately, there tends to be a wide variation in how long this takes people and the extent of practice required. There are a huge number of factors involved, and judging by some people's practice logs on the DharmaOverground, it seems they can be doing everything right, but it just doesn't happen for them. If you're getting stuck, it might be best to take a career break and go on retreat until you get it done rather than allow the Knowledges of Suffering stages to negatively impact your life for some indefinite period of time, as otherwise there is the possibility of beginning to identify as a lost spiritual seeker and losing that crucial factor of faith that it can happen for you.
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