Nevermind for the moment quite who says what about the mind-states of other practitioners, I think it's not unreasonable from a Theravada perspective for someone claiming such experiences to be able to map their own experiences back to one of the simplest, most generic qualitative descriptions of mindstates provided the Buddha (later evolved in the Abhidhamma). Namely... the six mental roots (mula).Ben wrote: I think over the years, I've seen quite a bit of what you refer to as 'dark night' experiences interpreted as adverse reactions by new-to-meditation practitioners and some inexperienced teachers.
To expand on an extract from Nyanaponika's "The Roots Of Good And Evil" I quoted previously...DN 33 wrote:There are three roots of the unwholesome: greed, hatred and delusion; and there are three roots of the wholesome: non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.
I would welcome anyone here, who wishes to speak about this "dark night" phenomena (a term originally derived from Abrahamic religion, rather than Buddhism) to map back what they're saying to Theravada definitions. It might help to de-mystify it and improve clarity on precisely what is being discussed, and whether it is wholesome or unwholesome, or whether the broader "dark night" experience can alternate between the two.The Unwholesome.
The three unwholesome roots are not restricted to the strong manifestation suggested by the English terms greed, hatred and delusion. To understand their range it is important to know that in Pali these three terms stand for all degrees of intensity, even the weakest, of the three defilements, and for all varieties in which these appear. In their weak degrees their unwholesome influence on character and kammic consequences is, of course, not as grave as that of their stronger forms. But even weak forms may carry the risk of either growing stronger or making a person’s character more susceptible to their graver manisfestations. A fuller view of the various forms the unwholesome roots assume may be gained from a list of their synonyms, partly taken from the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, the first book of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.
Greed — liking, wishing, longing, fondness, affection, attachment, lust, cupidity, craving, passion, self-indulgence, possessiveness, avarice; desire for the five sense objects; desire for wealth, offspring, fame, etc.
Hatred — dislike, disgust, revulsion, resentment, grudge, ill-humour, vexation, irritability, antagonism, aversion, anger, wrath, vengefulness.
Delusion — stupidity, dullness, confusion, ignorance of essentials (e.g. of the Four Noble Truths), prejudice, ideological dogmatism, fanaticism, wrong views, conceit.
Though formulated negatively, the three wholesome roots signify positive traits:
Non-greed — unselfishness, liberality, generosity; thoughts and actions of sacrifice and sharing; renunciation, dispassion.
Non-hatred — loving-kindness, compassion, sympathy, friendliness, forgiveness, forbearance.
Non-delusion — wisdom, insight, knowledge, understanding, intelligence, sagacity, discrimination, impartiality, equanimity.