Mr Man wrote:Well the realization could be something that develops and deepens (over time) and it could be a deepening in faith (see IanAnd's earlier post) rather than a moment of insight into the nature of self. Possibly the manifestation is not consistent.
Just to be clear here. Contrary to Mr. Man's perception about what I wrote, I would not describe what I was talking about as a "deepening in faith" but rather a moment of recognition of "this is it!" Faith, to me in this sense, implies a kind of not-knowingness, an acceptance without knowing. In the sense in which I am speaking here, a moment of recognition is a moment of realization of factual knowledge, a recognition of a truth that one has previous to that moment not seen or realized. Words can only approximate the experience, and therefore are often inadequate to convey its poignancy.
When I say "a realization of factual knowledge" I mean actual first hand knowingness itelf. Indisputable knowing or knowledge! In the same way that Gotama realized his own freedom through having realized nibbana having sat and realized it under the Bodhi tree. I don't know how much more precise and specific I can be than this. If you want to call it a fruition, then call it a fruition. I call it realization.
In the moment that this realization occurred to me (it was in 2001), I KNEW that following the noble eightfold path would work to alleviate dukkha because this was virtually the same thing that had been taught me while in the religious Order. In the Order, however, all the details of how to accomplish this were left out (not divulged, kept from me), and it was only by reacquainting myself with (and deeply pondering) the path laid out by the noble eightfold path (as well as in the discourses where the details were expressed) that I realized "Yes, this WILL work! This IS what I've been searching for!" There was absolute knowingness and certainty. Doubt was not even on the radar screen in that moment! Doubt was non-existent.
This was the moment (to my way of thinking) I entered the stream. It was indisputable! And it didn't matter what anyone else's opinion was! I KNEW! In the very same way that Gotama KNEW!
This is what I am thinking myself. What if fetters, for most of us, slowly fade from 100% to 0% rather than go from 100% to 0% in two micro moments.
From my reading of the discourses, there are instances where people that Gotama met were described and pronounced to have become stream enterers or arahants who very quickly died shortly thereafter. There was no way for anyone to independently confirm what these people knew or didn't know prior to the moment of demise. And yet these pronouncements are accepted as established fact by followers of the faith. I find that to be an incredible jump to a conclusion, and one which, I don't think, even Gotama would approve were he alive to weigh in on this issue.
If you stop for a moment to think about this from an experiential perspective, and realize that your mind has been through an incredible amount of programming (conditioning) starting from the moment you were born and came into the world right up to this present moment. To expect that a moment of self-realization is going to instantly and quite miraculously wipe out all of that programming (conditioning) is quite astonishing and unrealistic! I mean, how many people do you personally know to whom this has occurred? I would venture to say that most (if not all) of you would say: No one! So, it is not realistic to expect to clear out the asavas in one fell swoop (so to speak), but rather over time in the same way that the programming (conditioning) was induced to become in place. This is not to say that it doesn't make this process easier to achieve (the clearing out of the asavas, that is), it does. But one asava at a time; not all in one fell swoop.
I'm referring here also to instances of realizing selflessness. Rooting out conceit (the most subtle instance of selfhood) is an ongoing process that takes time before no reaction pattern shows up on the radar screen of one's mind. It's going to show up in big ways and small, and you just have to become aware of its appearance in each instance and let go of it. That's how you root out conceit. There's no magic here; just hard and diligent mental work.