This testimony is written by ”R”, an Open Heart-practitioner. It has been published to provide information about the relevance of further training for those who have attained the so called arhat-stage. More info about stages and bhumis can be found here.
R's bhumi documentation on video can be found here:
path, filmed 6/2016
7th bhumi, filmed
- R's 8th bhumi, filmed 8/2016
- R's 9th bhumi, filmed 9/2016
R: Gratitude to all who have taught, helped, supported me.
I first meditated in my late teens for 2 years daily. I stopped due to experiences such as lucid dreams, and sleep paralysis, which at the time I didn’t understand. No-one around me knew about it, they thought I was being attacked by demons! So I stopped. Over the next 25 years, I regularly read Buddhist books and was fascinated with the ‘big questions’ of life.
In 2012 my father died, I started a daily meditation and spiritual practice and came across Daniel Ingram’s book, MCTB which I read 3 times in a week. My practice became Theravada Buddhist based. Not long after I started meditating I felt drawn to shamata Jhanas and found that I could attain first Jhana. So I incorporated this into my meditation practice and opened up the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Jhanas. I read that the Buddha recommended a balanced practice of insight and concentration so I adopted this using Jhanas for concentration and noting, noticing, contemplation and awareness of awareness as insight practices. I had some online sessions with a well-known pragmatic dharma teacher, which was helpful for guidance. I had my first cessation in mid 2013 and was delighted to have attained stream entry, or so I thought. At a Buddhist conference in the US I met my next teacher who quickly determined that I had actually attained 2nd path. So stream entry probably occurred early in my meditation included in a number of experiences I had whilst developing jhanas. I continued to practice with this teacher’s expert guidance and support from an online community, attaining 3rd path 3 months later and by 29th October attained 4th path, verified by my teacher. This seemed a fast path but 2 years of daily meditation in my teens and 25 years of reading, contemplating, searching probably prepared me somewhat.
The next two and half years were spent integrating and embodying this significant and fast transformation. During that time, my practice was meditating in open awareness, and letting go of residual mental patterns that I could see playing out. The previous practice techniques I had used all held no interest for me and I relaxed in equanimity/contentment acceptance. Significant external life changes also occurred during this time as part of this integration.
However, by early 2016 I became aware of something very, very subtle still remaining to be done. I felt drawn to Tibetan Tantric traditions of Mahamudra and Dzogchen because they mentioned similar things to what I was practicing – open awareness, ‘non-meditation’. I tried returning to Theravada techniques but found they no longer resonated. As a ‘Westerner’ I found the Tibetan cultural context difficult to relate to but I came across Tibetan Heart Yoga and Open Heart-method taught by Kim Katami. He had stripped away a lot of the cultural context to the core teachings, similar to what Daniel Ingram had done with his book making it more accessible and direct. I started the practices (Guru Yoga of Machig Labdron, Deity Yoga - Mantra and Ati-meditation/ati yoga) and found that more expansion was occurring. Whilst the Theravada practices were perfect for opening the wisdom eye, the tantra teachings were perfect for opening the heart and body. So I continue with these teachings and practices and continue to have openings/shifts leading to greater expansion of awareness.
- R, 13.8.2016