December 3, 2023

From Beyond: cessation trance: nirodha-samāpatti


“…niroda-samapatti or ‘attainment of extinction’, also called saññā-vedayita-nirodha, ‘extinction of feeling and perception’, is the temporary suspension of all consciousness and mental activity, following immediately upon the semi-conscious state called ‘sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception’ (s. jhāna, 8).

The absolutely necessary pre-conditions to its attainment are said to be perfect mastery of all the 8 absorptions (jhāna), as well as the previous attainment of Anāgāmī or Arahantship…”
(Nyanatiloka 2021, amazon >>)

After 'entering' the Nondual more or less at will for one year or so, profound anatta insight has manifested, as I have shared in the previous post (blog on anatta >>). A month and a half later, a thought about experiencing nirodha-samāpatti arose.

And it happened soon after that:

While lying in my bed, with closed eyes (no visual input), “entering” into Nondual and on to anatta using the entry of thoughts and feelings (just thoughts/feelings cognized, no observer, self, or witness), it happened.

Slowly, body awareness 'turned off', feelings of so-called tiredness just dissipated, and thoughts vanished one by one. Consciousness manifested as thoughts/feelings (anatta level insight) just gently and slowly faded to a complete cessation. Total silence or stillness and swoon-like absence of everything and anything. Beyond perception and non-perception. No saying; I can’t adequately describe it, I admit.

I don’t know how long this state lasted, but afterward, everything instigated itself; everything became active again: thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Eyes were closed still, so the visual cortex was inactive throughout the event.

It was like a natural thing, an element of arising and ceasing of events. Only this time, there was no event, no perception, and no not-perception. It was the total absence of anything and everything. I cannot remember what was going on in this state, as there was no I to remember anything.

Now, silent joy arises here as I share this; there is nothing overly special, extraordinarily mystical, or magical about the experience, just naturally unfolding events or non-events. 

Now, however, there is nothing I could possibly base my existence or awareness on, not even the consciousness itself. 

Everything is impermanent, arising and fading away, independently liberated and interdependent simultaneously, and free of inherent qualities with no center, self, god forms, angels, spirits, elements, energy, symbols, numbers, souls, etc.

The experience completely rewired existing cognitive maps in the brain and altered cell memory: there was no issue (after the experience) with letting go of anything from the past. Everything I still identified with (through attachment or aversion) just lost meaning and substantiality. Freedom beyond form.

So why am I sharing this?

In his detailed book on Buddhist sadhana, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, Daniel Ingram shares the following on the topic:

“I mention this attainment because it is one more of those things that are found today but has often been relegated to the realm of myth and legend or has been forgotten entirely. It is not that Nirodha is necessary, but it definitely is a good and useful thing to be able to attain. In fact, I have not yet spoken with anyone who had attained it and who didn’t consider it among the absolute King Daddy of meditation attainments other than arahatship, as the depth of its afterglow never fails to impress and amaze. Hopefully, mentioning it will raise the standard to which people feel they can reasonably aspire, which is basically the whole goal of this book.”
(Ingram, 2020, amazon >>)

Daniel’s words resonate with my current reality very much.

Interestingly enough, while this “non-state” manifested once or twice after the event described above, I completely forgot about it after entering the Vajrayana path. And it never manifested again.

My current understanding is that there is no need for that level of withdrawal as the Mahamudra, the apex of the Vajrayana path, the Land of no more Learning and the State of non-effort, is not some trance but a natural living and breathing ground reality, Nuit, the naked brilliance and beautiful void.

Gone, gone, gone beyond: anatta

It is written that Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism is the third and last stage of the Buddhist path (not known to Crowley, at least not at the time of writing the 'Science and Buddhism'). 

The entry-level Buddhist path is Theravada, also known as the Sutrayana or the Small Vehicle. It focuses on renunciation of worldly existence and studying sutras.

The middle path is Mahayana Buddhism, the Great Vehicle. It focuses on compassionate transformation and helping other beings.

The exit-level Buddist path is Vajrayana or the Diamond Vehicle. It is the most direct and fast path as it does not entertain renunciation (it actually doesn’t have to, despite what monks and nuns are practicing). It takes worldly existence not as something to be renounced; it uses it as a path. In Vajrayana, the goal is the path (under the guidance of a true Tantric or Mahamudra Master).

In my experiences, there is one attainment that is of paramount importance, no matter what Buddhist path one travels on:

anatta or non-atma insight.

And it really takes direct empirical knowledge. No amount of sacred texts learned by heart, no mental acrobatics, and no symbolic interpretations will do, not even in a million years.

Without such direct attainment, all one is left with are the Thelemic, Vedic, or Advaita level philosophical discussions or various levels of Advaita or Rasa samadhi…

Empirical knowledge

The apex of transpersonal insights into Absolute reality as per Vedanta awareness teachings are sabikalpa, kevala nirbikalpa, and sahaja nirbikalpa samadhi (Ramana Maharshi has elaborated upon these levels of samadhi extensively from his own empirical knowledge, of course; Crowley refers to nirbikalpa samadhi briefly in his 'Science and Buddhism').

There is more to be realized, however.

In the realm of so-called Emptiness teachings or teachings of the kind Buddha, there is no self, no center, no agency, no God involved in the natural ground Reality: anatta or an-atma. In Thelemic Holy and other Libri, this ground Reality is referred to as Nuit.

It was thus:

“I was sitting on a bench in a park, and it was a warm, lovely autumn day. I was browsing through a book on integral psychotherapy and transpersonal identity development (Forman 2010, amazon >>, a new page opens up), and the insight started to manifest while reading the information about the Nondual (the Nondual in this context refers to Reality beyond Advaita oneness, the I am presence and beyond any kind of identity, human or divine)

But before sharing the anatta insight, certain notions are worth mentioning.

In Kashmir Shivaism, ancient guidelines about obstacles to ultimate reality are outlined, so-called malas or impurities (Forman 2010, p.158, see link above):

– anava mala (the belief that any given person occupies a particular space, i.e. I am here, not there, and certainly not everywhere),

– mayiya mala (the belief that there are other objects outside of us, i.e. Angelina is out there, not here where I am located). Basically, that is the root perception of false ego, the illusory center of reference.

By the time I got through reading this, Nondual was already 'present' (only seeing the seen, hearing the sound, etc…); it seems the first two malas were recognized as false straight away: with the Kindle reader in hands, boundaries just vanished, and the little ego and also the well established and stable "I am presence" realization was gone, gone beyond and what remained was seeing only images, hearing only sounds. It, the “I am Presence” (the Causal Self, the Brahman, the Paramatma), became only what five aggregates or skandhas, according to Buddhism (Form, Sensation, Perception, Mental Formation, and Consciousness) were offering from moment to moment, arising and ceasing.

It is important to note that I was, at that point, still able to return to the “I am” presence, perceiving the well-known impersonal presence of the “True self”, or "Star". For years, I entered that state of oneness at will; that is why returning back to the “I am” presence was happening so easily.

It was different this time, however: I realized with the aha! moment that the “I am” presence as the center of consciousness is exactly the same as the arising and ceasing manifestation which was being intimately experienced. The seen, sensed, cognized was experienced AS the “I am” presence – only that “I am” presence was not there anymore.

What instigated further insight was comprehension of the third mala (or impurity) as defined in Kasmir Shivaism:

– karma mala – the belief that a person must perform an action, do something to remedy any given situation, say, “I need to meditate to get enlightened”.

It happened a few moments after I read those words (I was using the entry of mental formations and consciousness); everything just became crystal clear, no returning back to “I am” presence, for there was no one here, there, anywhere to return to!

And I am not talking only about the little false ego (which, in my opinion, may also be called the Authentic Self from Centuar or Authentic level as per Wilber map); I am not talking about the Ego, the Atma, Jivatma, the Soul; I am talking about the “I am” presence, The Witness Itself, the Star ("I am alone: there is no God where I am." Liber AL II:23).

For years (prior to and after the Ordeal x), I was grateful to abide as a Witness, Omnipresent and liberated, as it were, relatively free from mental/emotional/physical impressions, laughing at the human drama I was continually witnessing. But now, the “I am” presence itself, or the One Witness, was gone! Even the Pure abstract potential or the so-called Unmanifested “I am” (higher Causal level, the Impersonal Brahman) was nowhere to be found! It seems that after years of entering samādhi at will, I was allowed to move on.

Only there is no one to give permission to or anyone to be allowed to move on or do anything else. No one is here; it never was, and it cannot and does not exist because events unfold on their own. No center is needed. Phenomena are free, each one separated from every other phenomenon, not touching and yet interconnected but liberated as they come and go!
("...For the interplay of the parts hath no action upon the whole..." Liber B vel Magi, 16 

Gone (leaving little ego or the authentic self behind), gone (beyond the atma and/or HGA), gone  beyond (the I am presence).”

From Beyond: cessation trance: nirodha-samāpatti