OnThatPath’s Meditation Framework
This page is an effort to collect all the available information about u/onthatpath’s meditation framework and instructions.
- Why You Feel Stress and Dissatisfaction in Life - The Cause - Part 1 (Dependent Origination)
- Why You Feel Stress and Dissatisfaction in Life - The Cause - Part 2 (Dependent Origination)
- How To Permanently Be Free From Stress, Suffering & Dissatisfaction: The Prognosis & Prescription
- The (Meditative) Path at a Macro Level
- How to Meditate Effectively for Faster Results. Part 1: Mindfulness
- How to Meditate Effectively for Faster Results. Part 2: Booster Tools
- How to Meditate Effectively for Faster Results. Part 3: What Should Your Meditation Feel Like?
- Tracking Meditation Progress part 1 - Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) Steps Overview
- Tracking Meditation Progress part 2 - Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) Steps in Detail
- Vipassana / Insight Meditation Progress part 3 - Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing)
Thanks for sharing, interesting stuff. What are the 13 locations? Where did you get them from?
It’s actual more like 14. These are just what collectively constitute the 5 aggregates of clinging. The first two locations correspond to external form (touch and other 4 senses) and internal form (body). The next location is where feeling related clinging happens and so on, up to 3 locations of intention/formations (bodily, verbal and mental) and 6 bases of observer/consciousness/attention each related to 6 types of phenomenon to check out (5 senses and mental stuff).
Got this from subjective experience and then tested it with others. Seems very universal. And finally looking at the Early Buddhist Suttas, the Buddha does talk about these various categories and their surprisingly similar numberings. Overall, you don’t need to know that this is what is happening underneath when you meditate, but knowing it can help progress quickly since you start picking up on repeated patterns.
1. Nose ( touch and other 4 sense, sensual domain)
2. Body (relates to the fetter of ‘clinging to form’)
3. Chest/upper chest/lower throat (pleasant/unpleasant, sukha/dukha generated here) ( Edit: Possibly stomach as another location sometimes)
4. Jaw/side of mouth (Verbal self talk/self directed thoughts)
5. Forehead (mental images, perceptions, past memories, logic)
6. Lower back/butt (Bodily intention/formation: causes intention to move body)
7. Jaw again (but slightly different): Verbal formation (leads to self talk, outward talk)
8. Forehead (but slightly higher): Mental formation/intention (leads to thinking, logical analysis, remembering, moving ‘attention’)
Consciousness/Base of Attention/Observer
9. to 13. (5 senses): Locations like eyes, side of the ears, behind the head, and then inside the head right in the middle that causes a deep sense of being an observer)
14. Slight Right side of the chest/opposite the heart’s location (attention base - used for the mental stuff/6th sense): Deepest sense of ‘self’/‘I am’. This is what Advaita Vedanta folks finally look for. Ramana Mahrishi talks about this as well. Most folks instinctively point to this area when talking about ‘me’, ‘I’ etc too. Hope this helps :)
Do you think anapanasati is particularly catered to going through these Insight stages/ do these insight stages happen regardless if one is practicing a different tech/tradition like zen/chan, Tibetan lineages,advaita vendata, etc.? I ask because, I’ve heard from other teachers that the Insight stages are due to a particular tech (Mahasi noting).Some other people(Ingram) believe that insight stages are an inherent human phenomenon and it doesn’t really matter if you do Mahasi or not. Also, some people report not perceiving any journey through vipassana stages and yet they awaken.
Yes, anapanasati has the Insight stages as the 4th tetrad. Other traditions/tech very probably do too, if they aim at stream entry (the permanent shift). These are inherent human phenomenon imo too, BUT they are definitely not a big deal through faster/efficient techniques like anapanasati, and other stuff. You go through them all in an hour or so the very first time and don’t feel as rough at all. With techniques like Mahasi noting the insight stages takes retreat days or weeks/months for some in daily life. And they are far more in your face with their symptoms because of the way the technique works. The reporting of awakening depends on definition of awakening. Having nonself/low self experiences doesn’t equal stream entry. For others who went through to an actual path moment, some of them might genuinely not make a big deal of the vipassana stages. Hence, you’ll see the lack of obsession of they insight stages in early suttas, since it was pretty quick and easy to go through.
For stages 5/6/7 what happens when you end a sit there? You mention not to get up during the dukkha stage as it would affect daily life causing mood swings. Is there a shift in lived experience in the later stages?Is it expected that one returns to those later stages immediately again when they sit?
You can get up, but you’ll still feel instinctively like you need to meditate because you haven’t gotten a proper release, and will have some slight tension. You’ll return to these stages in most cases when you sit without needing/being able to go through samatha stages.
You mention how it takes 100s of repeat fruitions to lock in stream-entry. If one successfully reaches stage 7 for the first time, is it expected that they will easily/quickly reach that when they sit every time? Have you noticed after 1st fruition that a yogi the next few times they sit can have multiple fruitions in a single sit?
This is where it gets a little tricky for some. You can easily get these 16 steps of anapanasati/poi cycles done and they become faster and faster. So much so you can get the stream entry fruit within an hour or so (100+ anapanasati cycles) with the fastest way to do it. Though most people will get a single cycle done everyday and then still get there in 3 or so months. But, in order to do this, you need to get into these ’letting go’/natural/right samadhi jhanas, which then kickstarts the next vipassana insight cycle automatically.
I think some folks struggle with this after their initial path moment. They’ll try and repeat the PoI/insight stages by trying to find a vibration in the mind/body somewhere to restart the entire process and get cessations. But these don’t seem to translate well into progressing towards the fruit. If they do try to get into a jhana, they try the clinging/focusing based jhanas which feel almost exactly like the letting go jhanas too, but with the difference that they don’t result in the vipassana stages to automatically start (a thing commonly mentioned in the early Suttas). This is basically what I went through for months after my initial path moment too.
Although there are also other people who do noting without retreat time and see gradual progress up to 1st fruition, but still it takes months to get there. Does Mahasi noting just suck?
Well, the proof is in the pudding. I actually did my first path moment through a mixture of TMI and noting practice. It took me a week or so too. But the people who are explained the anapanasati way go through it over a zoom call in 2ish hours for the first time (starting at no-vipassana stages). I’m very thankful for Mahasi noting personally, and I understand to a certain extent the history behind it (why it was taught initially) but I think (maybe wrongly?) that it was initially meant to only be used by beginner lay people to help them get a feel for bouts of mindfulness. But objectively, continuous mindfulness is far faster than these quick bouts.
You mention that 1st fruition isn’t stream-entry. Have you noticed in yourself and your students that 1st fruition leads to easier access to jhanas and other mental upgrades that you see reported after people reach 1st fruition? Why doesn’t 1st fruition cut the fetters?
Yes, these upgrades happen because 1st path is literally just that, the start of the Eightfold Noble Path. (before this you can only follow the Mundane Eightfold Path) For the first time you actually have the ability to actually practice the path instinctively with faster access, more clarity of dukkha etc. If you see the early Suttas though, the 4 stages of awakening are basically a pair of people per stage. So there are actually 8 Noble types of people, Stream entry path attainer, Stream enterer, Once returner path attainer, Once returner and so on.
Not sure about why the first fruition doesn’t cut the fetter. You get a preview of having dropped the fetter for sometime but then the fetters come back at other times and cause dukkha. And this off and on thing happens until you attain the fruit. But you do see this with people who post about being stream enterers sometimes yet the virtue isn’t there yet. They post this not out of ill-intention imo, but just not knowing how the fetter dropping works. I remember I used to believe I was a stream enterer after the path for months too. A lot of the Dhamma just made intuitive sense. And it should, since they are a Noble one. But the fetters just aren’t permanently removed and hence they can still suffer that sort of dukkha.
Is there a review stage, like in the Visuddhimagga, in your model of progression through the insight stages?
I’m not sure what the review stage exactly refer to. It could be a reference to the letting go stage (anapanasati step 16), or it could a reference to these 100s of poi cycles you need to go through later. Either way, the PoI stages’ details and symptoms only really really match the subjective experience if you use something slow and painful like Mahasi noting. Otherwise the symptoms aren’t as pronounced and the simpler early Buddhist demarcations are more closer to what it feels like.
Is this process only applicable to 1st path? Or is this process the same all the way to full awakening aka 4th path? If not, why?
Full, 4th path + fruit.
Is movement through these Insight stages possible off the cushion by carrying anapanasati into daily life or does it require sitting/doing anapanasati on the cushion?
Possible off-cushion, especially the faster cycles between path and fruit.
r/streamentry Community Resources - Weekly Thread for June 03 2022
- A Gradual Training by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- MN1 118 - Mindfulness of Breathing
- Comprehending the Mindfulness of Breathing by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
- Transcendental Dependent Arising by Bhikkhu Bodhi
- Q&A - Peripheral Awareness by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
- Peripheral Awareness PDF by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
- Instructions for Metta or Lovingkindness Meditation by Bhante Vimalaramsi
- 6Rs PDF and Video by Bhante Vimalaramsi
- The Progress of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw