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I’ve done a fair bit of meditation the last three to four years. Had a breathtaking AnP event couple of years ago, have had several since, though somewhat less fireworky.

Query from user on Dharma Overground

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Been in the dukkha nanas and up to eq, back and fort, many times. Many blips, or head drops, perhaps momentary formless something, many many times when I’ve decided to do solo retreats and gotten into eq. Though there was never an event where I truly felt that, it was what I was looking for.

Check.

But now, this summer I’ve practied even more, the last couple of weeks I’ve been though AnP, to frustraion and what have you in dukkha nanas, to feeling tranquil and at ease in eq.

Check.

For once I’ve really listened to the advice to get to eq and just letting it do it’s thing.

Check.

High concentration, yet wide. Aware of the all encompassing present moment to moment. Investigating, yet gently, accepting of anything that wishes to arise and pass. Realizing nothing can force fruition but causality itself.

Check.

Well, last evening I had a session, where there was an unknowing event, presented in a way I’ve never experienced before. For say half a second, everything just collapsed into itself. Eyes shut, the field of vision either fell into “my face/perspective” or the other way around, followed by an unknowing blip, followed by a profound since of bliss and joy. I for sure felt that was it, and just laughed and felt giddy. A quite subtle feeling I can’t accurately describe was present the rest of the evening and most of today.

This sounds promising indeed- your description so far is very much indicative of potential stream entry I would say.

Though, I don’t feel all to different, I don’t feel as if my concentration is necessarily more powerful, and I have not yet managed to repeat the event. Obviously I will try, and I will remain somewhat doubtful as I have been until repetition or lack there of can bring clarity.

This is something to just keep trying to maintain the same conditions that led to the event in the first place. It’s kinda like if you’ve ever played golf, you have to tee up the ball, draw back the club, and swing forward before hitting a golf ball. All steps necessary in that order or it won’t happen. Same way with cessation and mental events. You tee it up, swing back, and swing forward- then when you strike the ball it’s up to Elvis where it goes, but you’ve put the conditions in place for the shot.

Anyway, the question I wanted to ask, because it will help me bring clarity, is the following:

The near miss that is mentioned in mctb in equanimty, can it present itself with three door phenomenology, or how does it usually appear?

Because the way this blip presented itself, was like nothing I’ve had before, although I’ve had countless blips in eq throughout the last couple of years, that never felt like they completed anything, or presented in this manner.

The way I experience the near-misses (which may be slightly idiosyncratic to me but nonetheless) is kind of like the start to a cessation but in the last possible moment there is some reification and subject-object duality re-establishes itself. It sort of seems like an unknowing moment if you’re not that aware but what it lacks is the total death sense of totally shutting down everything. The near misses still feel like there was some continuity of consciousness and they don’t feel like a clean break in reality. And it is also quite clear that the reason it didn’t hit cessation is because of clinging and craving in the mind – there’s a definite strain and an identification that is directly noticeable. to me the near misses are a sort of rapid closing of some perceptual apparatus- just not quite 100%, so it can appear like a total break, but it really was just a near miss. “Blips” with no other distinct phenomena and no insight/no cessation of dukkha/no bliss wave after- probably near miss. Fruition always has a very distinct change in mental state and there will be a cessation of selfing and suffering after the event and it always (at least for me) has a feeling of profundity to the event itself-like a death.

Yet, I feel doubt that it actually was fruition, obviously because I need to keep practicing and repeat it. But I would be very happy if someone could answer, wheter or not the ‘eq-near miss’ ever presents with three doors phenomenology and/or a blip?

Near misses are not satisfying or blissful, in my experience they’re annoying- like a person who really needs a cigarette trying to get their lighter to work in the rain. It is annoying because they know that relief is there, but they can’t quite get it. If you are getting a lot of the near miss blippy things and you pay attention to that small sense of annoyance in the near misses that will encourage your mind to synch up and get fruition. I think this might be what Daniel talks about with “reality synching up” – there are these blippy skip type things that lead up to the fruition sometimes.  Often for me my mind does that in the territory of fruition- lots of little blippy stuff and then a real fruition. It’s like the mind is missing, still clinging to consciousness essentially. And it’s like you say – the real fruition is distinctly different and the mind sees something profound in that “gap” of death.

The near misses for me never really have a characteristic paradox of fruition or any obvious three door phenomenology for me. This is an interesting subject because according to my experience, the only time the three doors present is before fruition, and due to the nature of the object in conformity knowledge (the mind directly perceives one of the 3 C’s – directly- meaning no subject-object duality. This only lasts a moment, and usually you can only recall the door afterward- not while you’re in conformity knowledge- because it’s like a hard absorption- you can only recall the door afterward. If you realize you’re in conformity knowledge you are not longer in conformity knowledge in my view- and even if you have something that seems three-doorish before some unknowing moment- but no blissful release and no intuitive insight left on the mind- probably a near miss with some aspect of clinging. This feels like the mind “holding onto” some last bit of me-ness.

What you said about the perspective collapsing into you or the other way around- usually with three doors experiences you will immediately after the fruition recall the door and the “paradox” in the mind. For me it is never really clear in the moment because you are directly perceiving basic mental facts underlying all experienced phenomena. The mind does not have to construct reality based on external phenomena- and fruition show the mind that all of its own activity is entirely made up. What has become clear to me is that conformity knowledge and three doors are only cognizable after the fruition. Conformity knowledge is literally the mind perceiving reality as it is without clinging- this leads to fruition, or it wasn’t conformity knowledge.

This is deep in the basic hardware of how the mind is structured. The three characteristics are not inherent properties of the “objective reality” – they are inherent properties of experiencing reality via a mind. All three of the 3C’s are necessary to have experience itself that is conditioned.

According to my experience, it appears that the three characteristics- and the three doors- are directly observed like in an absorption- and the only way to know you were in conformity knowledge is retrospectively- and conformity knowledge is like a hard absorption- there is no self being created so reality does not present in a way that the conceptual mind can cognize in the moment- the mind remembers what happened and that’s how you can tell which door it was.

I only ever know which door it was immediately after the fruition- but even if you can’t tell the door- what is more important is that there is some paradox that is noticed- that’s insight that the conceptual mind no words for. This stuff is beyond words sometimes. But basically, you cut clinging or craving, subject-object duality collapses and your mind sees that everything is made up by the mind. That knowledge leads to fruition.

I would suggest just keeping doing what you’re doing and resolve to have this event again. It sounds pretty promising to me, but repetition is how you get a feel for the technical details. But like Linda Polly Ester says, the details are not as important or interesting to most people, and even if you never are able to see the nuances clearly the mind still learns from these kinds of experiences.

Yeah. In the meantime, I asked this very question a while back and never got a reply, so if anyone cares to answer it, it would actually be helpful, regardless. 

I’m curious because a short time before the event that I have been counting as stream entry, I had a very clear experience that fits exactly with the description of impermanence door, three rapid images flashing by (sacred geometry), but I never noticed a blip at that time. And similarly, around the time for what may have been second path, shortly before it (I may be confusing the order of things here), I had a very clear presentation of the no self door with suffering as second aspect, also with a very clear image but without noticing a blip. There have been other events with clear blips around both those events, so it doesn’t really matter as such, but it has made me curious as to whether there can be door moments that “fail” and never lead to an actual fruition.
 

<Linda Polly Ester>

This is probably some idiosyncrasy with your individual mind, but for me I never had door moments present clearly in the moment- it is like an absorption and it’s only really noticed afterward what exactly just happened- there is no conscious subject or object- just direct experience of reality without subject/object- and this seems to make reality cease to exist and show the mind that it’s cognizing is not necessary or indicative of anything true about external reality. I would say seeing the door moment and not noticing a blip might actually be a legit “not noticing” the cessation- but for me there is always a release of sorts and a bliss wave most often- and the mind goes into a different mode altogether. The key to telling fruition I would say is in the before and after. I think people can have fruitions where the “gap” is not comprehended as a break of reality- but the bliss wave and the change in mental state will follow a similar pattern. Or cases where you just notice a little hiccup and a shift from once state to another- with some release of dukkha and a bliss wave – no problems. There is probably lots of individual variation, but the important part is the insight.

Daniel Ingram has a decent chapter on the three doors in his book, but he completely ignores any dependent origination-based explanation of the three doors. Daniel has plenty so say about the minute details surrounding fruitions, and even if a practitioner doesn’t perceive these things with the level of detail that Daniel Ingram describes, they can still realize the insight inherent in them. Lots and lots of repetition with high concentration allows a person to notice those kinds of phenomenological details, but really the insight is what’s important- not the specific phenomenology. The exact way that the precursors to fruition present does not seem to matter much, but an understanding of dependent cessation – i.e. the cessation of suffering that occurs in fruition – and its dependence on experiencing reality without craving or clinging- these middle links of dependent origination are directly observable mind moments- and when one of the “links” upholding conditioned reality breaks- then reality as we know it ceases to exist.

This question has inspired me to create a new page of the website specifically devoted to cessation- the attainment thereof, the insights gained, and how it relates to dependent origination. Please stay tuned for ongoing updates.

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