rowyourboat wrote:Hmm.. It would seem people are confusing cessation with annihilation. Rather than speculate how the five aggregates cease and how this is not annihilation, it is best to get to that place and see yourselves. But without a doubt it is the cessation of all suffering- just that moment - the point where the fish jumps out of the water and finds for the first time in it's long samsaric life, that there is a place without water. We are swimming in attachment, ignorance and aggregates- release to be understood, must be experienced. This is truly a middle path between annihilation and existence - but even though I say that, that is also prone to misapprehension as some limbo state. The sooner we understand that this thing called nibbana cannot be comprehensively conceptualised, all the wrong views we are now generating in those reading this will hopefully be lessened.
I can't speak for anyone else, but my interest is focused on whether stream entry requires the total stopping of all sense experience. You have said that it does. If so, then I am also interested in how that stopping is different from anesthetized unconsciousness. It is not satisfactory to me to say "just go practice it and find out." As this thread is about, there was a guy who put a lot of effort into practicing certain instructions and all it got him was a sort of unconsciousness. Going by Ven. Thanissaro's account, that is the "state of non-perception (asaññi-bhava)".
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"The second state was one I happened to hit one night when my concentration was extremely one-pointed, and so refined that it refused settle on or label even the most fleeting mental objects. I dropped into a state in which I lost all sense of the body, of any internal/external sounds, or of any thoughts or perceptions at all — although there was just enough tiny awareness to let me know, when I emerged, that I hadn't been asleep. I found that I could stay there for many hours, and yet time would pass very quickly. Two hours would seem like two minutes. I could also "program" myself to come out at a particular time.
After hitting this state several nights in a row, I told Ajaan Fuang about it, and his first question was, "Do you like it?" My answer was "No," because I felt a little groggy the first time I came out. "Good," he said. "As long as you don't like it, you're safe. Some people really like it and think it's nibbana or cessation. Actually, it's the state of non-perception (asaññi-bhava). It's not even right concentration, because there's no way you can investigate anything in there to gain any sort of discernment. But it does have other uses." He then told me of the time he had undergone kidney surgery and, not trusting the anesthesiologist, had put himself in that state for the duration of the operation.
In both these states of wrong concentration, the limited range of awareness was what made them wrong. If whole areas of your awareness are blocked off, how can you gain all-around insight? And as I've noticed in years since, people adept at blotting out large areas of awareness through powerful one-pointedness also tend to be psychologically adept at dissociation and denial. This is why Ajaan Fuang, following Ajaan Lee, taught a form of breath meditation that aimed at an all-around awareness of the breath energy throughout the body, playing with it to gain a sense of ease, and then calming it so that it wouldn't interfere with a clear vision of the subtle movements of the mind. This all-around awareness helped to eliminate the blind spots where ignorance likes to lurk."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230