How Did Your Awakening Cease Suffering?

Front Page Forums Meditation How Did Your Awakening Cease Suffering?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Malte Malm 6 years, 11 months ago.

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    Jevan P

    The connection between Awakening and the cessation of suffering is sometimes difficult to see. Awakening stops craving, craving based on the illusions of emptiness, dependent origination, impermanence, dissatisfaction and no-self.

    How specifically, did the insight into no-self, and then Awakening, stop craving? What type of craving? And why? I completely understand how the mind functions so that there is no ‘separate self’, that consciousness doesn’t do anything, but is only a medium of information exchange, but I feel it’s still not clear how this actually plays out in real-world experiences.

    The type of answer I’m looking for here is …I reached Awakening, and hence stopped craving (__fill in the blank__), which led to the cessation of (fill in the blank) type of suffering.


    Ted Lemon

    Bear in mind that there are four paths of awakening in the Theravada tradition so how they end your suffering and to what extent depends on which path you are talking about. Stream entry doesn’t end your suffering, but it does suck a lot of the energy out of it.

    Culadasa could probably give you a better answer than this, as could some of the more senior teachers, but one way to talk about it is that at stream entry, the keenness of your interest in stories drops a _lot_. So when something happens, a story doesn’t pop up to carry it. You stub your toe, you just stubbed your toe. It’s not someone’s fault. Someone says something mean to you, okay, they said something mean to you, but you don’t get sucked into a story about the person being mean and needing to do something to make up for it.

    So where before it was very easy to get swept up into some big story about something that went wrong, now it kind of bounces off. If you get pissed off, it drops away quickly. If the stimulus is continuous, the upset can stay, but you notice it staying, so again you can pull back away from it to a much greater degree than you could before stream entry.

    What this has to do with no self is that self is a story that you tell yourself. And I think the realization of no self is what makes you stop being so interested in stories—you just don’t believe the whole thing the way you used to.


    Jevan P

    Sure, I guess what I’m having trouble seeing is why does this new understanding of how the mind works make us less interested in our stories? Is it simply because we realize we are creating them?

    Btw, myself, I have also gradually becomes less interested in my stories, but I’m not exactly sure why, other than greater concentration and being happier means I ruminate less. The connection between seeing the mind as a collection of subminds versus a permanent self, and why the former makes us less interested in stories is not completely clear.


    Ted Lemon

    Think about it this way. A story about Jevan feels like a story about “me” to you, right? And a story about “Ted” feels like a story about “Ted.” If you break down the connection between “me” and “Jevan,” then a story about “Jevan” will seem less like a story about “me” and more like a story about “Ted.” It’s not that you won’t care what happens to Jevan anymore, but you’ll just be a lot less attached to it.

    That said, you can’t think your way to awakening. Awakening happens in the deep mind. So having a perfect answer to this question is definitely something that would be interesting, but it’s a bit academic. 🙂



    Ted: at stream entry, the keenness of your interest in stories drops a _lot_. So when something happens, a story doesn’t pop up to carry it.

    I would rather describe my experience as:

    1) Something happens.

    2) A story pops up to carry it.

    3) “I” do not feel embedded in / identified with the story. The story is seen with relative clarity as something arising out of causes and conditions.

    There is still reactivity (and hence suffering, which is a form of reactivity) but those are seen in a very different perspective, so they have a different flavour. In addition, with experience, new options open up to transmute the flavour of the experience, and hence the type of reaction.


    Ted Lemon

    Thanks for that. That’s a much more clear way of putting it. I was trying to make the same point in my most recent reply, but neglected to point out that my earlier reply was actually wrong. 🙂


    Malte Malm

    I don’t think this answers your first question as directly as you’d like Jevan, but I think you’ll find it an interesting read. It’s from another Vipassana (related) forum.

    “Question for those who have obtained stream entry (or feel they might have)”

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by  Malte Malm.
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