Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

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Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby smokey » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:46 pm

I have a question regarding gaining insight knowledge. My question is this: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock? What I mean by mental shock is flash in consciousness. For an example when you have this train of thought: Reality is an illusion. Then your mind is shocked and it produces a flash in consciousness.. Of course I consider reality real. But before when I thought that it is an illusion, I experienced such sensation when I had such a train of thought and was convinced of such belief. Thank you in advance for your answers.

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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby Rui Sousa » Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:02 pm

I believe that, sometimes, for a moment there is some excitement when something is known.

But I also believe that the development of equanimity tends to make this moments less intense.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:52 am

smokey wrote:I have a question regarding gaining insight knowledge. My question is this: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock? What I mean by mental shock is flash in consciousness. For an example when you have this train of thought: Reality is an illusion. Then your mind is shocked and it produces a flash in consciousness.. Of course I consider reality real. But before when I thought that it is an illusion, I experienced such sensation when I had such a train of thought and was convinced of such belief. Thank you in advance for your answers.





Just for background, there is a phenomenon, fairly well established in psychological and religious writing, called a photistic experience. I just tried Googling it but resources are pretty thin.

Consider the stories told by people who encounter aliens: some mention standing in a brilliant white light.
When people encounter angels, again the brilliant white light and perhaps choirs are heard.
Notice in the Zen that a lightning metaphor is often used.

Basically, the mind can and does produce these things. Whether or not they are real I leave to you.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:03 am

Hi Catmoon,

This is getting a little off topic, but the photistic thing you mention sounds like meditation nimittas ("signs") which can appear to be visual (or other) experiences.

I thought Smokey was talking more about a sense of disorientation and "wow" than that sort of thing.

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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:07 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Catmoon,

This is getting a little off topic, but the photistic thing you mention sounds like meditation nimittas ("signs") which can appear to be visual (or other) experiences.

I thought Smokey was talking more about a sense of disorientation and "wow" than that sort of thing.

Mike


Well a nimitta is a kind of eidetic image, so I'm not sure if that would be the same. What I've heard sounds more like looking at a radiant object than being immersed in radiant light, but I know very little about it.

All I'm saying is that mind can put on a spectacular light show.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:52 am

catmoon wrote:Well a nimitta is a kind of eidetic image, so I'm not sure if that would be the same. What I've heard sounds more like looking at a radiant object than being immersed in radiant light, but I know very little about it.

Little about nimittas or photistic objects?

catmoon wrote:All I'm saying is that mind can put on a spectacular light show.

Yes, that's certainly true, and most of it is just noise as far as I can tell. At least for me...

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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby smokey » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:32 pm

Mental shock is not a visual experience and thus you do not see anything, it is a metaphorical flash, flash in consciousness. Such an experience occurs when one has train of thought in mental activity that is very surprising. For an example when one thinks of a reality on a way that he has never thought before. But perhaps such an experience only occurs because of thinking and not of gaining insight knowledge.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:39 pm

smokey wrote:Mental shock is not a visual experience and thus you do not see anything, it is a metaphorical flash, flash in consciousness. Such an experience occurs when one has train of thought in mental activity that is very surprising. For an example when one thinks of a reality on a way that he has never thought before. But perhaps such an experience only occurs because of thinking and not of gaining insight knowledge.


Well mental shock is probably real. I know that I have experienced very sudden, almost wrenching shifts in consciousness while meditating. Sometimes its like a sudden jump in awareness and alertness. These things happen. I just note them and continue.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:51 pm

smokey wrote:Mental shock is not a visual experience and thus you do not see anything, it is a metaphorical flash, flash in consciousness. Such an experience occurs when one has train of thought in mental activity that is very surprising. For an example when one thinks of a reality [in] a way that he has never thought before. But perhaps such an experience only occurs because of thinking and not of gaining insight knowledge.

I think I understand what you are getting at, smokey.

It's kind of like when one has the first initial sudden realization about anatta and the process involved with the six sense spheres. When one sees that what is seen is not self, what it heard is not self, what is smelled, tasted, touched, or cognized is not self, this experience can come in a sudden rush of realization, because this was not how one had been previously conditioned to view reality. This "rush of realization," I presume, is what you are referring to as "mental shock." It is usually a one-time event, taking place during the moment when the realization is being made. This event remains in one's memory, but is never really repeated in quite the same way in the future, because the "shock" of the event has worn off. But the memory of having been "shocked out of our old habits of viewing reality" remains. Yes. Such an experience is quite real.

Does that answer your question?
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby smokey » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:05 pm

IanAnd wrote:
smokey wrote:Mental shock is not a visual experience and thus you do not see anything, it is a metaphorical flash, flash in consciousness. Such an experience occurs when one has train of thought in mental activity that is very surprising. For an example when one thinks of a reality [in] a way that he has never thought before. But perhaps such an experience only occurs because of thinking and not of gaining insight knowledge.

I think I understand what you are getting at, smokey.

It's kind of like when one has the first initial sudden realization about anatta and the process involved with the six sense spheres. When one sees that what is seen is not self, what it heard is not self, what is smelled, tasted, touched, or cognized is not self, this experience can come in a sudden rush of realization, because this was not how one had been previously conditioned to view reality. This "rush of realization," I presume, is what you are referring to as "mental shock." It is usually a one-time event, taking place during the moment when the realization is being made. This event remains in one's memory, but is never really repeated in quite the same way in the future, because the "shock" of the event has worn off. But the memory of having been "shocked out of our old habits of viewing reality" remains. Yes. Such an experience is quite real.

Does that answer your question?


I suppose it does answer my question. Thank you.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
I thought Smokey was talking more about a sense of disorientation and "wow" than that sort of thing.

Mike


That is also how I took it.

Smokey, I had moments of insights rushing in suddenly that left me quite ...disorientated perhaps.

I needed to be alone and withdraw.

I was fine though. Just didn't want to stop it through dealing with external influences.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:01 pm

People experience the results of meditation in various ways according to a number of factors. There is no right way, only the way that it will take for you. There are commonalities, but also differences. A teacher is a great help in sorting things out. Pointing out the way forward, making suggestions to enhance progress sorting out the difference at times between insight and the arising of psychological disturbances due to sankharas.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby smokey » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:47 am

Annabel wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
I thought Smokey was talking more about a sense of disorientation and "wow" than that sort of thing.

Mike


That is also how I took it.

Smokey, I had moments of insights rushing in suddenly that left me quite ...disorientated perhaps.

I needed to be alone and withdraw.

I was fine though. Just didn't want to stop it through dealing with external influences.


Dear Annabel, can you tell me what insight knowledges have you gained?

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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:12 am

Hi Smokey

smokey wrote:Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock? What I mean by mental shock is flash in consciousness. For an example when you have this train of thought: Reality is an illusion. Then your mind is shocked and it produces a flash in consciousness.. Of course I consider reality real. But before when I thought that it is an illusion, I experienced such sensation when I had such a train of thought and was convinced of such belief. Thank you in advance for your answers.


I think we have to be careful to remain equanimous and remain aware of whatever is going on and not to develop craving towards this or that experience or to ascribe meaning to this or that experience. Whatever you experience is just the interplay of dhatu, elements.
Ultimately, the experience of naana is no different to any other experience. They are impermanent, they become a source of dukkha if one develops attachment to them, and they're anatta - not self.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby pink_trike » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:33 am

Yes, there can be a period of shock as insight reorders perception/senses...sometimes this reordering can even be blissful or disorienting. On occasion, it can be experienced as if a flash of light in the dark, or a gradual sense of more light (less dark), or like a light bulb going on suddenly. There can also be tingling in the body -as if an electrical shock. The body/mind has a sophisticated electrical system that sometimes goes nova as an insight-triggered aha! dharma (with a little "d") explodes into appearance. As Ben points out...best to just note these appearances and experiences and not be enchanted by them. Just more fireworks and potential for distraction and dissatisfaction.
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:08 am

do you mean like an eureka moment or shock like when you see your buddy's head explode from a bullet hitting it? im confused
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby pink_trike » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:26 am

jcsuperstar wrote:do you mean like an eureka moment or shock like when you see your buddy's head explode from a bullet hitting it? im confused

Subjective internal experiences don't translate into words well. I was just confirming that in my experience, flashes of insight can occasionally ripple through the totality of our appearance...somatic, perception, cognition - sometimes abruptly or dramatically, sometimes subtly or gradually. Best not to let them knock us of our dot.
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Union is Great Bliss

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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:59 am

Hello smokey, all,

smokey said: I have a question regarding gaining insight knowledge. My question is this: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock? What I mean by mental shock is flash in consciousness. For an example when you have this train of thought: Reality is an illusion. Then your mind is shocked and it produces a flash in consciousness.. Of course I consider reality real. But before when I thought that it is an illusion, I experienced such sensation when I had such a train of thought and was convinced of such belief. Thank you in advance for your answers.


I think the story of Yasa is an example of what you are talking about.

The power of the Buddha and his new teaching is illustrated in his first major conversion after the initial core group of his first five disciples had been established. Whilst he was still in Sarnath he met a young man named Yasa, who in an upbringing not too dissimilar to the Buddha’s, was the son of a wealthy local guild-master. One night, after being entertained by the women of his harem located in the nearby holy city of Benares, he awoke to find them stretched out, dishevelled and making noises in their sleep. Thinking that his apartment was more like a cemetery than a place to live he couldn’t stand it any longer and he got up and fled the city.
http://www.wisdom-books.com/FocusDetail.asp?FocusRef=17
Yasa Thera. He was the son of a very wealthy treasurer of Benares, and was brought up in great luxury, living in three mansions, according to the seasons and surrounded with all kinds of pleasures. Impelled by antecedent conditions, he saw one night the indecorum of his sleeping attendants, and, greatly distressed, put on his gold slippers and left the house and the town, non humans opening the gates for him. He took the direction of Isipatana, exclaiming: "Alas! What distress! Alas! What danger!" The Buddha saw him in the distance and called to him, "Come Yasa, here is neither distress nor danger." Filled with joy, Yasa took off his slippers and sat beside the Buddha. The Buddha preached to him a graduated discourse, and when he had finished teaching the Truths, Yasa attained realization of the Dhamma. http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/y/yasa.htm

Here is a talk by Patrick Kearney given at a 10 day Retreat I attended last month at Bodhi Forest Monastery (the home of Buddhanet.net).
Talk 13
17/11/09 17:02
Tonight we follow the Buddha from Bārāṇasī back to the area where he practised before his awakening, the Nerañjarā River near Gayā. First, at Bārāṇasī, the Buddha awakens Yasa, the son of a rich banker. This is the first time the Buddha awakens a lay person, proving the dharma can be understood by the laity as well as by professional ascetics; and the first time the Buddha gives a “graduated discourse,” which becomes the basic template of his teaching method. Yet this is not counted as the third teaching. Why not?
http://www.dharmasalon.net/Audio/Audio.php

metta
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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:30 pm

I think the shock comes if the insight is very different from the world view you held previously. However I have seen many people who get insight without 'shocks' simply because they have a lot of faith in the Buddhas words prior to gaining insight -so it comes as no surprise to them.

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Re: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock?

Postby Freawaru » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:25 am

smokey wrote:I have a question regarding gaining insight knowledge. My question is this: Does gaining an insight knowledge cause mental shock? What I mean by mental shock is flash in consciousness. For an example when you have this train of thought: Reality is an illusion. Then your mind is shocked and it produces a flash in consciousness.. Of course I consider reality real. But before when I thought that it is an illusion, I experienced such sensation when I had such a train of thought and was convinced of such belief. Thank you in advance for your answers.

With metta -smokey


Hi Smokey,

I think it can happen the other way round: first there is (or not) a shock (caused by a sudden change of thought or something else) and THEN insight arises. I do not think that Insight itself causes a shock. On the contrary, during Insight one is all calm and in equanimity, observing the mind (maybe even the body) during shock without any feeling of danger penetrating into the equanimity. And afterwards ... well, nothing has really changed, one is oneself again, but the memory lingers and this changes everything. One pays more attention to these kind of things, as if the mind itself tries to re-establish the previous experience of insight.
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