Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by zan » Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:57 pm

I understand what they are but has anyone actually experienced any of them that could explain and answer questions?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

Psychotropic
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:03 pm

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by Psychotropic » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:02 am

Insight is not some magical thing that pops up by focusing on a fixed spot. That would be like looking at a dot on a wall and waiting for knowledge to appear by itself.

Insight is said to come from studying dhamma and contemplating it.

befriend
Posts: 1269
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by befriend » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:38 am

i have experienced from practicing vipassana doing mahasi method, hopefully i was doing it correctly, at times in my meditation everything became putrid and repulsive, good thoughts were disgusting to me, bad thoughts were disgusting to me, sights, sounds etc... that was as deep as i got with insights i haven't continued doing intensive mahasi method as i do not have access to a teacher at the moment so i stopped because i needed some clarification and guidance.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

befriend
Posts: 1269
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by befriend » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:48 am

Psychotropic wrote:Insight is not some magical thing that pops up by focusing on a fixed spot. That would be like looking at a dot on a wall and waiting for knowledge to appear by itself.

Insight is said to come from studying dhamma and contemplating it.
i think zan is talking about the insights you get in meditation that can change how you understand the nature of the world not the understanding you aquire from deep study and contemplation.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by zan » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:08 am

befriend wrote:i have experienced from practicing vipassana doing mahasi method, hopefully i was doing it correctly, at times in my meditation everything became putrid and repulsive, good thoughts were disgusting to me, bad thoughts were disgusting to me, sights, sounds etc... that was as deep as i got with insights i haven't continued doing intensive mahasi method as i do not have access to a teacher at the moment so i stopped because i needed some clarification and guidance.
Sounds like the knowledge of the desire for liberation?

Do you think that sounds correct? If so what were the lower insight knowledges like?

I am not sure where I went with them as I usually practiced jhana first, then vipassana, and so there was none of the disgust, fear or danger, just the knowledge of them. So I just calmly knew that there is nothing satisfactory in conditioned phenomenon and that I wanted liberation, that there was danger in attachment, etc.

However I may have experienced none of them because my experiences have almost nothing in common with the way they are described as extremely intense states. I was super calm, just observing and learning. They fit the minimum description of knowing but not the full on experience.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

befriend
Posts: 1269
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by befriend » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:29 am

zan wrote:
befriend wrote:i have experienced from practicing vipassana doing mahasi method, hopefully i was doing it correctly, at times in my meditation everything became putrid and repulsive, good thoughts were disgusting to me, bad thoughts were disgusting to me, sights, sounds etc... that was as deep as i got with insights i haven't continued doing intensive mahasi method as i do not have access to a teacher at the moment so i stopped because i needed some clarification and guidance.
Sounds like the knowledge of the desire for liberation?

Do you think that sounds correct? If so what were the lower insight knowledges like?

I am not sure where I went with them as I usually practiced jhana first, then vipassana, and so there was none of the disgust, fear or danger, just the knowledge of them. So I just calmly knew that there is nothing satisfactory in conditioned phenomenon and that I wanted liberation, that there was danger in attachment, etc.

However I may have experienced none of them because my experiences have almost nothing in common with the way they are described as extremely intense states. I was super calm, just observing and learning. They fit the minimum description of knowing but not the full on experience.
the other insights ive had from mahasi vipassana were seeing impermanence, then after a while i would see unsatisfactoriness and there was an insight that sensations were not real,the sensations in my leg disappeared and i had the realization that sensations aren't real because there impermanent, if there impermanent, meaning they don't stop for any brief moment in time then life is like a dream. if our thoughts are based on our sensations and sensations aren't real, what is real? i think this would be an insight into non self. im not sure about what stages of insight are what, there are others here that may be able to answer that. ive never done jhana so my experiences might be different from yours? not sure. ive also experienced dispassion after seeing unsatisfactoriness and the mind turns away from the object of meditation, and feels peaceful. but im not sure if thats considered insight knowledge of this or that maybe just some fruit of the practice.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by zan » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:50 am

befriend wrote:
zan wrote:
befriend wrote:i have experienced from practicing vipassana doing mahasi method, hopefully i was doing it correctly, at times in my meditation everything became putrid and repulsive, good thoughts were disgusting to me, bad thoughts were disgusting to me, sights, sounds etc... that was as deep as i got with insights i haven't continued doing intensive mahasi method as i do not have access to a teacher at the moment so i stopped because i needed some clarification and guidance.
Sounds like the knowledge of the desire for liberation?

Do you think that sounds correct? If so what were the lower insight knowledges like?

I am not sure where I went with them as I usually practiced jhana first, then vipassana, and so there was none of the disgust, fear or danger, just the knowledge of them. So I just calmly knew that there is nothing satisfactory in conditioned phenomenon and that I wanted liberation, that there was danger in attachment, etc.

However I may have experienced none of them because my experiences have almost nothing in common with the way they are described as extremely intense states. I was super calm, just observing and learning. They fit the minimum description of knowing but not the full on experience.
the other insights ive had from mahasi vipassana were seeing impermanence, then after a while i would see unsatisfactoriness and there was an insight that sensations were not real,the sensations in my leg disappeared and i had the realization that sensations aren't real because there impermanent, if there impermanent, meaning they don't stop for any brief moment in time then life is like a dream. if our thoughts are based on our sensations and sensations aren't real, what is real? i think this would be an insight into non self. im not sure about what stages of insight are what, there are others here that may be able to answer that. ive never done jhana so my experiences might be different from yours? not sure. ive also experienced dispassion after seeing unsatisfactoriness and the mind turns away from the object of meditation, and feels peaceful. but im not sure if thats considered insight knowledge of this or that maybe just some fruit of the practice.
I could be wrong about the following so please keep that in mind, but as far as I know:

According to Mahasi Sayadaw, and the Abhidhamma, physical matter is ultimately real and can actually be experienced as something that really exists. One can experience different aspects of the way the mind experiences and interprets these ultimate realities which is probably what you were experiencing.

For example, to paraphrase a small section of Manual of Insight, when we see a hand moving we are seeing a form that really exists and can actually be empirically known. The knowledge that it is a "hand" is due to mental processes turning the form made of matter into a concept. The concept of "hand" does not exist but matter and forms do. Nonetheless you are actually seeing a form that really exists. The same for sounds, tastes, etc.

Meditating and not being able to sense something sounds like the knowledge of dissolution. After this knowledge somewhere up the line of knowledges the sensations come back. Your leg is really there, made out of ulimately existing matter.

Have you considered reading Manual of Insight? It covers all of this stuff in great detail.
Last edited by zan on Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

befriend
Posts: 1269
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by befriend » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:57 am

yes im reading it im only in the very beginning though.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

Psychotropic
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:03 pm

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by Psychotropic » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:01 am

For example, to paraphrase a small section of Manual of Insight, when we see a hand moving we are seeing a form that really exists and can actually be empirically known. The knowledge that it is a "hand" is due to mental processes turning the form made of matter into a concept. The concept of "hand" does not exist but matter and forms do. Nonetheless you are actually seeing a form that really exists. The same for sounds, tastes, etc.
Yes, Buddha considered that they exist. And the concept of a hand exist too. The concept of a hand does not have "substance" but it does exist. And Buddha considerd that form too, exists but has no substance just like the concept of a hand.
Meditating and not being able to sense something sounds like the knowledge of dissolution. After this knowledge somewhere up the line of knowledges the sensations come back. Your leg is really there, made out of ulimately existing matter.
Maybe the "experience of dissolution" would be a more appropriate term. I don't see how knowledge could arise while focusing on a fixed spot. Insight or "vipassana" is said to arrive through the practice of contemplation, at least that's what the suttas say. For example you can understand how consciousness works and interacts with other aggregates through contemplation. Try focusing on a fixed spot how much you want - all you will ever get will be interesting experiences, not knowledge.
However I may have experienced none of them because my experiences have almost nothing in common with the way they are described as extremely intense states. I was super calm, just observing and learning. They fit the minimum description of knowing but not the full on experience.
And why would an "intense state" be considered knowledge ? I think the term "experience" would be more appropriate. As for insight and therefore knowledge, contemplation is the only way to arrive at it. At least that's how insight is described in the pali canon. From my experience, I too can confirm that indeed that is the proper way to arrive at insight.

zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by zan » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:33 am

befriend wrote:yes im reading it im only in the very beginning though.
Great, I'm on chapter 4 and it's an incredibly long chapter, 114 pages (a good thing as it's explaining mindfulness). You could also check out the Abhidhammattha Sangaha. It is very informative as well.

Also, there are two translations of Manual of Insight. It is wise to compare both because sometimes it can clear things up. For example, in the newer translation, which is edited and translated in a way that is supposed to make it flow smoothly, the Venerable states repeatedly that matter actually exists (along with the other three ultimately existing things) but that concepts do not. Then he writes:

"What really exists is referred to as "eye-sensitivity" (cakkhupasada)."

Which leaves out that matter also really exists in an odd way that is not quite the same as the pattern he had been explaining it with before. The way he had been explaining it before being in line with what is found in the Abhidhamma and commentaries he is referencing. Then a few lines later it says:

"Therefore, in order for there to be seeing, there must be eye-sensitivity, and there must be visible forms that really exist, are realities that genuinely exist, are personally experienced, and are ultimate reality."

Which does include both ideas as explained earlier in the chapter. So by looking at the whole thing it is understandable: eye-sensitivity really exists and so does matter (it may be matter, I'm not sure).

Now if we look at the older translation which is supposed to keep his exact wording more as opposed to being edited to make it read smoother we have:

"The sense of eye-sight, or in other words, the eye-sensitivity called Cakkhupasāda also really exists and is actually present."

So in the translation that is closer to his original wording it is clear that he is not singling out eye-sensitivity as really existing but is including it as one of mind, mental factors, matter and nibbana (all ultimately existing realities as explained throughout the chapter, I'm not sure which it falls under.): "Cakkhupasada also really exists and is actually present."

Kind of frustrating to have to compare two editions but it's worth it as it clears up some confusion sometimes. I would prefer to read only the older translation but I believe (but I could be wrong) it leaves a large amount of Pali words untranslated which is confusing and so in this respect the newer translation is easier but loses the Venerable's original rhetoric in some ways which can also be confusing. The older translation is available online for free. Side note: the newer translation is such a beautiful book! The brown cover and gold lettering and text fonts just look fantastic!
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:55 am

Psychotropic wrote:Insight is not some magical thing that pops up by focusing on a fixed spot. That would be like looking at a dot on a wall and waiting for knowledge to appear by itself.
Who is suggesting focussing on a fixed spot?
Psychotropic wrote: Insight is said to come from studying dhamma and contemplating it.
And from direct experience and observation:
What four? Here, a monastic meditates by observing an aspect of the body, keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate by observing an aspect of feelings, keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate by observing an aspect of the mind, keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate by observing an aspect of principles, keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world.
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn10/3
:anjali:
Mike

ToVincent
Posts: 431
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by ToVincent » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:33 pm

Putting insight in satipaṭṭhāna, is an ineptitude lacking fine distinction.
"The two Pāli and the two Chinese versions begin by proclaiming that satipahāna constitutes the way for the purification of beings and for overcoming grief and sorrow.
The Pāli versions mention “attaining the [true] method” as another benefit of satipahāna practice, while the Madhyama-āgama version speaks of “attaining the right principle”
and the Ekottarika-āgama discourse of “attaining great wisdom”."

says Analayo in
https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... dyvol1.pdf
Indeed the Ekottarika-agama - EA 12.1, states the following:

“There is a way to practice which purifies the actions of living beings, eradicates all sorrow, anxiety, and the roots of afflictions, and leads to the highest understanding and the realization of nirvāṇa. It is a path, which destroys the Five Obstacles. It is the path of the Four Ways of stopping and concentrating the Mind. Why is it called ‘the one way in’? Because it is the way to the oneness of mind. Why is it called a way? Because it is the Noble Eightfold Path, the way of right view, right contemplation, right action, right livelihood, right practice, right speech, right mindfulness, and right concentration. This explains the expression ‘the one way in.’
There is no "insight" in that. Insight comes after right concentration; which comes after right mindfulness.

Some people seem to believe that discerning (cf. pajānāti,) between the different possibilities among the different dwellings (cf. viharati) [ https://justpaste.it/q94w ] - for instance dwelling in breath (breath is a body - see SN 54.13 & MN 118,) among the bodies (kāye kāyānupassī viharati) - and observing (cf. ānupassī) the states (dhamma) that arise and pass in the body - is the same than yathābhūtañāṇadassana, a.k.a. insight, from knowledge according to what have become.

In other words, seing how things arise and fade, is not the same as seeing things as they have come to be.

Additional reference:
Commonalities between MN 10 and its Chinese parallels:
https://justpaste.it/109at
Note the importance of the awakening factors.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:46 pm

ToVincent wrote:Putting insight in satipaṭṭhāna, is an ineptitude lacking fine distinction.
Thank you for confirming that there is little point in discussing the Dhamma with you. You are entitled to your opinions, but your dismissive posts are hardly likely to lead to anyone taking them seriously.

Good day.

:coffee:
Mike

ToVincent
Posts: 431
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by ToVincent » Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:16 pm

mikenz66 wrote: Thank you for confirming that there is little point in discussing the Dhamma with you.
You know Mike that I have quit trying discussing Dhamma; and that I am just sharing points of view.

The idea is to find and show the common denominator between all schools; as well as making fuzzy interpretations a little bit clearer. (In our case the latter applies).
By doing that, I am betraying no school; but only relying on what is common between them.

Again, this is what Analayo says:

The descriptions of the benefits of satipahāna practice in the two (Mahā-)Satipahāna-suttas and the Ekottarika-āgama version, culminate in the realization of Nirvāna; while the Madhyama-āgama discourse does not explicitly mention this as a benefit of satipahāna practice.
Note also that in the Ekottarika-āgama, the four jhanas (dyanas,) are done thoroughly. This shows that we are already here, in the domain of samadhi in the Noble Path. And therefore the Ekottarika-āgama starts and ends with the following pericope:

Bhikkus, relying on this one way of entering the path, living beings are purified, freed from sorrow and anxiety, their minds no longer subject to agitation, their understanding stable, and they are able to realize nirvāṇa. This one way in is the destruction of the Five Hindrances and practice of the Four Ways of stopping and concentrating the Mind.

So we are here in the case of a MN 10, in which there is absolutely no mention of vipassana in the pali text; and that does not either really clearly states that you arrive to that knowledge, or nibbana while doing satipaṭṭhāna.
And, on the other hand, we have an MA that "does not explicitly mention this as a benefit"; and an EA that includes the jhanas in it.

Again, I see nowhere that insight is present in the MN, MA, and even the EA (that includes jhana).
I only see that the practice of mindfulness, then samadhi, leads to insight and nibbāna.

I would advise people to do a search here [ https://justpaste.it/zcue ] on "jhana" to see the relationship between jhana and samadhi (especially AN 7.4, SN 41.8, and Thag 17.2).



My second point of view is that, some people seem very reluctant to the application of jhana (and the particular samadhi pertaining to it,) to the training of the Noble Path.
Why wanting to go above the 11th level (paranimmita-vasavatti deva of the sensuous world (kama loka),) of the Thirty-one Planes of Existence, be a problem? (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html).

If only jhana could make our mind quieter; that would be of a great benefit.
mikenz66 wrote: You are entitled to your opinions, but your dismissive posts are hardly likely to lead to anyone taking them seriously.
Well, too bad for them.
That's their kamma, I suppose. Such is yours. And such is mine.

Note that I am not aiming at adressing myself to "anyone", but to "some ones"; even just one, or none.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

ToVincent
Posts: 431
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Has anyone here experienced any of the stages of insight?

Post by ToVincent » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:07 pm

zan wrote:... has anyone actually experienced any of them
The problem is in the mistaken definition and the fuzzy content that has been given to the word "vipassana", since the Burmese Buddhist reform movement; happily followed by western "buddhists" (Vipassana movement,) attracted by a profit in "quick" enligthenment.
Thanks Buddha, things seem to change a bit lately.
http://buddhiststudies.berkeley.edu/peo ... ddhist.pdf

Indeed, the scenario is a lot simpler than it seems.

When I said in my previous post that insight does not exist in satipaṭṭhāna; I meant the "insight", as hazily and complicatedly defined by the Vipassana movement.

In fact, Insight is just looking at things with discernment.
As in:
Not knowing what’s inside,
But discerning what’s outside.
Ajjhattañca pajānāti,
bahiddhā ca vipassati.
Thag 7.2

But that which is present he discerns —
With insight as and when it comes.
Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati.
MN 131 & 132


In satipaṭṭhāna (mindfulness > 7th link of the Noble Path,) "insight" means looking with discernment at things as they arise and fade in the different dwellings (cf.viharati). It can be as simple as looking at your breath rise and fade.
To please the Vipassana movement, I would say that it is synonymous with sati (mindfulness).

In samadhi/(jhana) (8th link of the Noble path,) "insight" means looking with discernment at the different spheres that you cross and abandon, when you move towards liberation.
Body, verbalism, senses (first four jhanas) - then the spheres of forms, space, consciousness, nothingness, perception and feelings (the four higher jhanas).
Which is just the reverse (patilomam) of paṭiccasamupāda. You are just experiencing things as they have come to be (buthā).

So experiencing vipassana [insight], (as well as experiencing samatha [calm]), is just a matter of knowing where you are in your progression on the Noble Path.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Sam Vara and 14 guests