"Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

"Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby odysseus » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:20 am

In this article (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html), there is the description of the "cessation of feeling and perception". I´m interested in this experience because I believe I have a perceptual problem due to former drug use (I´ve stopped now). I´ve tried many medications but nothing helps! Maybe this can heal me?

I can´t find much information about this phenomenon (cessation). Can anyone tell me more about this? What happens (in your own experience) when there is cessation of feeling and perception? Is it Jhana or Vipasanna meditation that is needed? I have´nt meditated much but I tried Vipasanna by instructions on the Internet, but my discipline has not been good... How to enter a Jhana, should I get myself a coloured disc or something?
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby catmoon » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:19 am

Objects of meditation include kasinas (the colored discs), the breath, fire, and other things. Which one you choose is supposed to be based on your personality. The reason breath meditation is so common is that it is the most general object, suited to the widest group of people.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:07 am

It means your mind detaches from the sensory apparatus and hence perceives neither sensory input nor pleasure/pain.

This is in theory possible by anyone, though of course some people find it more difficult than others.

Focused meditation on the breath is the most common method to cultivate meditative concentration which leads to detachment and eventually to bliss.

If you don't have access to a teacher in real life, I recommend reading Ajahn Brahm's book entitled Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook.

If you faithfully follow his simple to understand instructions you will probably have results.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:44 am

odysseus wrote:In this article (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html), there is the description of the "cessation of feeling and perception". I´m interested in this experience because I believe I have a perceptual problem due to former drug use (I´ve stopped now). I´ve tried many medications but nothing helps! Maybe this can heal me?


Cessation of feeling and perception means cessation of feeling and perception as if they are something concrete, something has to be followed.

It doesn't mean you totally become a robot. If you eat you can't taste, if someone poke you, you don't have any feeling. It is not like that.

If you see your feeling, for example your example want to eat drug.

Can you know when your desire want to eat drug appear?

You can't know. It just appear suddenly.

Can you know when your desire want to eat drug disappear?

You also can't know. It may also just appear suddenly.

Same thing, your desire, your feeling, your perception are always changing and changing and changing again. It changes so much until you can ask this question to yourself- Actually what is the true feeling, what is the true perception, which is real and unchange?

Nothing. THere is really nothing real there. Always changing, and they never show you - This is me, this is my real feeling, this is my real perception.

We just don't have it.

If you can see here, everything is automatic appear, automatic disappear. You don't even need to do anything.

This is amazing.

Because by doing nothing, everything just come and go automatically.

So, what bind you? You ask yourself, actually what are binding you?

If you need to do something to free you, you can say something is binding you. But, if everything comes and goes by itself or automatically, you are actually already free right now.

You are free. None of feeling and perception can bind you. So, whether this feeling appear or that feeling appear, this perception appear or that perception appear, it doesn't matter.

It wants to appear, no problem.
It wants to hide, also no problem.

Because whether they appear or not, they are same - just coming and going automatically.

We do not to do anything. Really nothing.

If before feeling and perception can affect you because you thing they have to be followed, because you don't know that actually they just appear and going, in this case you are fully affected by it.

But if you already know their nature, you should be already free from them - regardless they are appear or not, because at the end - they feeling and perception are just automatically appear and cease.

You are free from influence of feeling and perception.

THat is the cessation of feeling and perception.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:THat is the cessation of feeling and perception.

Generally, the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (saṃjñāvedayitanirodha) is a specific meditative attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) which only occurs after the development of the fourth formless attainment (ārūpyasamāpatti), namely, the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception (naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana). The standard formula for this cessation attainment is given in the Pañcavimśatisāhasrika Prajñāpāramitā Sutra:

    Entirely transcending the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception, he enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling.

According to the Abhidharma systems the cessation of perception and feeling is a state wherein all functional consciousnesses and associated mental factors have been suspended and cease operating for the duration of that attainment.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:25 pm

In that case, buddha is like the piece of dead wood.

Because, even bliss he can't feel.

Cessation of eyes for example doesn't mean there is no this appearances of eyes. It is this innate certainty there is no such thing called eyes.

Only the dead piece of wood will have 100% of no feeling and no perception.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:32 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:In that case, buddha is like the piece of dead wood.

Well, the cessation of perception and feeling isn't equivalent to bodhi.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:28 pm

Jnana wrote:Well, the cessation of perception and feeling isn't equivalent to bodhi.


So, how if you realized for bodhi, you don't have any feeling - not even bliss?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:08 pm

As far as I understand, the purpose of the different stages is to develop unremitting concentration. Then you can see the marks of existence even in things like the unworldly bliss of jhana, or of cherished perception itself. It's part of the Noble Eightfold Path after all, not the goal in itself to become a piece of dead wood as you put it :)
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby undefineable » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:51 pm

Jnana wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:THat is the cessation of feeling and perception.

Generally, the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (saṃjñāvedayitanirodha) is a specific meditative attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) which only occurs after the development of the fourth formless attainment (ārūpyasamāpatti), namely, the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception (naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana). The standard formula for this cessation attainment is given in the Pañcavimśatisāhasrika Prajñāpāramitā Sutra:

    Entirely transcending the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception, he enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling.

According to the Abhidharma systems the cessation of perception and feeling is a state wherein all functional consciousnesses and associated mental factors have been suspended and cease operating for the duration of that attainment.


I'm pretty unversed in interpretation of the the sutras, and had assumed that 'cessation' of perception occurred only after full enlightenment, i.e. one's last body - Are you saying that a Buddha is highly likely to bump into things all the time (I'm guessing not :tongue: ), or that his/her unconscious brain now handles all perceptions fully in the manner of blind-sight (thus preventing 'lower-order' mentational details from clogging awareness), or what?

The association with the 'sphere of neither perception nor non-perception' suggests that it's all a bit beyond me :thinking:
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:24 pm

undefineable wrote:I'm pretty unversed in interpretation of the the sutras, and had assumed that 'cessation' of perception occurred only after full enlightenment, i.e. one's last body

Non-returner śrāvakas and noble bodhisattvas on the path of meditation (bhāvanāmārga) can attain the meditative attainment of cessation of perception and feeling. Thus, it isn't directly related to the full enlightenment of a buddha.

undefineable wrote:Are you saying that a Buddha is highly likely to bump into things all the time (I'm guessing not :tongue: ), or that his/her unconscious brain now handles all perceptions fully in the manner of blind-sight (thus preventing 'lower-order' mentational details from clogging awareness), or what?

No. The cessation of perception and feeling is a specific state of non-percipient meditation. It has a beginning and an end. It's not a state wherein one could walk around.

undefineable wrote:The association with the 'sphere of neither perception nor non-perception' suggests that it's all a bit beyond me.

Right. The formless attainments and the cessation of perception and feeling are refined meditative states which require extensive training.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby undefineable » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:31 am

Jnana wrote:
undefineable wrote:I'm pretty unversed in interpretation of the the sutras, and had assumed that 'cessation' of perception occurred only after full enlightenment, i.e. one's last body

Non-returner śrāvakas and noble bodhisattvas on the path of meditation (bhāvanāmārga) can attain the meditative attainment of cessation of perception and feeling. Thus, it isn't directly related to the full enlightenment of a buddha.


I haven't studied therevada & the tripitaka for a long time, and never tied up loose ends or committed many specifics to memory, it seems :emb: - My first impressions (cold nihilism) put me off somewhat, and I found the mahayana teachings made more sense to me.

Jnana wrote:
undefineable wrote:Are you saying that a Buddha is highly likely to bump into things all the time (I'm guessing not :tongue: ), or that his/her unconscious brain now handles all perceptions fully in the manner of blind-sight (thus preventing 'lower-order' mentational details from clogging awareness), or what?

No. The cessation of perception and feeling is a specific state of non-percipient meditation. It has a beginning and an end. It's not a state wherein one could walk around.


So in an eyes-closed meditation (which I'm guessing would be necessary) one would lose one's sense of touch and one's sense of body (proprioception)-?

Jnana wrote:
undefineable wrote:The association with the 'sphere of neither perception nor non-perception' suggests that it's all a bit beyond me.

Right. The formless attainments and the cessation of perception and feeling are refined meditative states which require extensive training.


I'd like to think so, but the cessation of perception sounds, not to put too fine a point on it (as we say) like the morning after the night before, and I can't see the point, still less why anyone would want to do it. Isn't this a state that could take the exoteric (mundane) form you've described as well as the esoteric (detachment from perceptions as empty data?) form that DarwidHalim described.

However, I can see that a cessation of functional consciousness could be useful in cultivating raw awareness through the middle stages of the path, and the four formless jhanas still make satisfyingly little sense to me :tongue:
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:27 am

undefineable wrote:I haven't studied therevada & the tripitaka for a long time, and never tied up loose ends or committed many specifics to memory, it seems :emb: - My first impressions (cold nihilism) put me off somewhat, and I found the mahayana teachings made more sense to me.

The four dhyānas, four formless attainments, and the cessation attainment aren't unique to the Theravāda. A Mahāyāna bodhisattva develops and masters them all on the path, whereas a Theravāda arhat can be liberated without ever attaining or mastering any of the formless attainments or the cessation attainment.

undefineable wrote:So in an eyes-closed meditation (which I'm guessing would be necessary) one would lose one's sense of touch and one's sense of body (proprioception)-?

Yep.

undefineable wrote:I'd like to think so, but the cessation of perception sounds, not to put too fine a point on it (as we say) like the morning after the night before, and I can't see the point, still less why anyone would want to do it.

It's like being able to take a temporary rest every so often during a long journey.

undefineable wrote:Isn't this a state that could take the exoteric (mundane) form you've described as well as the esoteric (detachment from perceptions as empty data?) form that DarwidHalim described.

This has nothing really to do with exoteric vs. esoteric. There are both types of samādhis (i.e. cessative & non-dual) developed on both the exoteric and esoteric paths.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:42 am

Jnana wrote:The four dhyānas, four formless attainments, and the cessation attainment aren't unique to the Theravāda. A Mahāyāna bodhisattva develops and masters them all on the path, whereas a Theravāda arhat can be liberated without ever attaining or mastering any of the formless attainments or the cessation attainment.


I'd add part of the reason it is important for a bodhisattva to cultivate the formless attainments is to cultivate great compassion (mahā-karuṇā).

To understand the suffering of all beings, one needs a point of immediate reference, in which case having mastery of the formless attainments is necessary to understand the suffering of beings in such states. If one has no immediate point of reference, their suffering is only imagined, and not thoroughly understood.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby undefineable » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:20 pm

Jnana wrote:There are both types of samādhis (i.e. cessative & non-dual) developed on both the exoteric and esoteric paths.


Could you explain what you mean by non-dual samadhis and exoteric v. esoteric paths?
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:29 am

undefineable wrote:Could you explain what you mean by non-dual samadhis and exoteric v. esoteric paths?

Generally, the bodhisattva paths of the sūtra vehicle (sūtrayāna) are exoteric. The vajrayāna is esoteric, requiring specific empowerments and practice permissions.

Nondual samādhis are meditative states with concomitant clear seeing (vipaśyanā), where superimposition of subject and object have been eliminated. On exoteric paths this would include certain specific non-conceptual samādhis (nirvikalpasamādhi). On esoteric paths this would include mahāmudrā & dzogchen meditation.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby odysseus » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:03 am

Thanks for informative replies. :thanks:

Seems like there is disagreement of how many Jhanas there are, four or eigth or more? I have to read about it again and I ordered Ajan Brahm´s book, hope there is more there. Thanks for the tip!

If cessation is reserved to Sravakas and Bodhisattvas I guess I´m out of luck, but Right Concentration should be attainable by anyone no?

Cessation of perception must be cool since you are no longer fooled by your interpretations of sense information. Cessation of feeling must be a soothing thing since I agree from checking myself that emotions ultimately end in pain. I´m puzzled about "non-perception", it does not mean an unconscious state where your not aware of anything but I guess more like your perception is not needed at all and you have direct experience of "everything".

I thought that if your reach this cessative state of mind, your mind will stimulate your nervous system and brain to repair wornout nerve-ways and broken synapses. Thereby healing the body. There must be more benefits than only a blissful experience...

The Jhanas are certainly intriguing but there are few who teaches them it seems. My local lama said that my problems can only be fixed by meditation and I believe him now after medical science has failed to help me. But the lama teaches Tibetan meditation and not Jhanas I think. It´s nice to have a menu of meditations to choose from since I understand there are way many methods than only Vipassana which is the popular one nowadays. It´s a thrilling search anyhow! :rolleye:
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:38 am

odysseus wrote:Seems like there is disagreement of how many Jhanas there are, four or eigth or more?

There's no substantial disagreement. There are nine successive abidings (nava anupubbavihārā), which are also called successive attainments (anupubbasamāpatti). These are the four jhānas (#1-4), four formless attainments (#5-8), and the cessation of perception & feeling (#9). The formless attainments are sometimes also referred to as "jhānas," hence the differences in numeration.

odysseus wrote:Right Concentration should be attainable by anyone no?

Yes, if the rest of the factors of the noble eightfold path are being developed correctly.

odysseus wrote:I´m puzzled about "non-perception", it does not mean an unconscious state where your not aware of anything but I guess more like your perception is not needed at all and you have direct experience of "everything".

As per your initial query in this thread, in the context of the meditative attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling this is not what the absence of perception means.
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby odysseus » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:18 am

Jnana wrote:As per your initial query in this thread, in the context of the meditative attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling this is not what the absence of perception means.


That was my layman theory, but then what do you think non-perception is? If there is the possibility of cessation of perception (which I think I can understand), how is there a possibility of non-perception in the first place (which I can´t understand)?
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Re: "Cessation of feeling and perception", can anyone elaborate?

Postby Jnana » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:51 am

odysseus wrote:That was my layman theory, but then what do you think non-perception is? If there is the possibility of cessation of perception (which I think I can understand), how is there a possibility of non-perception in the first place (which I can´t understand)?

In the context of the nine successive abidings, the eighth, which is the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception (naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana), is the most subtle formless attainment wherein perception is inactive but not entirely absent.

But at any rate, rather than speculating about these very subtle formless attainments, it's far more useful to select a meditation object, such as mindfulness of breathing, and begin a regular sitting meditation practice, preferably with the guidance of a qualified meditation instructor that you have some confidence in (perhaps the lama whom you know).

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