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I have been meditating intensively according to the Advaita tradition where self inquiry is practiced till realizing that I and effort are just feelings and that the watcher of even identity is the true self which isn't a phenomena that manifests.

2 days ago I had what I felt as a near death experience ,or maybe a great death of the ego ,at night I suddenly had an awakening in trance where there was a clear seeing of the "I" that I thought was me,then I woke up with a vibration feeling in my head and after lying on my back I suddenly felt as if a light was going to replace me as the identity of the body and me that I thought was my identity all my life was just an idea that was going to be replaced by that light ,I couldn't accept that happening and chose to stay as myself, and I actually cried cause I felt that I was going to die, not realizing that this "I" was more intimate that expected .

Is this a paranormal experience or is it actually how enlightenment should occur ?

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    This seems an important event. I would suggest that next time you go right ahead and die. Look at it as if you are Indiana Jones standing on the ledge peering into the chasm. This element of the Grail mythology is there for a reason.
    – user14119
    Sep 14, 2019 at 12:44
  • it may not be explicitly buddhist enough, but you could look at krishnamruti's (dunno which one) experience of kensho
    – user23973
    Jul 28 at 18:26
  • not to sound messianic, but I can relate to it. it was not satori, and not integrated with my everyday life, but nonetheless it made me question everything I have ever done, as if I were facing judgment, and it was, while being initially a small thing, completely life "destructive" (ultimately in a good way). I never got a certificate for it, I think, but it was on retreat.
    – user23973
    Jul 28 at 18:37
  • This seems to be a question about Advaita (Hinduism) meditation rather than Buddhism, and so it is off-topic.
    – ruben2020
    Aug 8 at 11:13

6 Answers 6

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I believe such peculiar experiences may be significant, or may not; but in Buddhism one shouldn't cling to them. Enlightenment would involve an understanding of the three marks of existence: impermanence, no-self, and suffering. I mean, if you delve into that experience and gain enlightenment, good! But if you do so and then everything remains exactly the same, you might be discouraged. Just do not cling to the whole phenomenon.

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Due to past karmic formation, people sometimes get "out of the world" experiences. Best is not to read into these experiences and continue your meditation.

Enlightenment is beyond any sensory experience, therefore if you experience involves any pleasant sensation, vibration, thoughts then this is not enlightenment.

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Is this a paranormal experience or is it actually how enlightenment should occur ?

That still sound rather abstract and hence difficult to evaluate where one is on the Path. Actually, enlightenment is subjected to pretty concrete tests and metrics as evidenced in various suttas like here, here and here

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There are four ways of developing immersion further. Your experience calls to mind the second way:

And what is the way of developing immersion further that leads to gaining knowledge and vision?

A mendicant focuses on the perception of light, concentrating on the perception of day regardless of whether it is night or day.

For more information on the four ways of developing immersion further, please see AN4.41, from which the above was quoted.

You may also be interested Ajahn Brahm's writings on nimitta:

Nimitta, in the context used here, refers to the beautiful "lights" that appear in the mind...

Please do consider finding a Teacher and a Sangha as well for personal guidance and reliable progress.

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If I can answer from the point of view of doctrine, rather than of meditative experience, I think that Buddhist doctrine says that any and every "doctrine of self" shouldn't be grasped (attached to) -- because they all give rise to dukkha and so on:

MN 22

  • It would make sense to grasp at a doctrine of self that didn’t give rise to sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.
    But do you see any such doctrine of self?”

  • “No, sir.”

  • “Good, mendicants!
    I also can’t see any such doctrine of self.

So I guess that the ("Buddhist") doctrine of suttas might contradict whatever "Advaita" is teaching -- i.e. you mentioned "is the true self" which I think is foreign to Buddhist doctrine.

Similarly I guess that "a light was going to replace me as the identity of the body" might also be a 'self-view' -- i.e. "there is a currently a 'me' which is the identity of the body" and "the light will become a new identity", even bits like "my life" and "I am going to die" -- I think these could all be classified as examples of self view.

As for "how enlightenment should occur" I suppose that the doctrine from the same Tipiṭaka describes what might be called Four stages of enlightenment. I think that "self views" are regarded as one of the "fetters", and that abandoning that fetter is part of the first stage of enlightenment.

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From experience and not repeating the words of others, Samadhi is a controlled physical death. The breathing stops in Dhyana. Then, the heart in Samadhi. It is not good to describe the experience but rather the methods to get there, as knowing that to look for can prevent obtaining it. Extreme concentration causes it in conjunction with cutting the knots or cakkras which hold one locked in the body. A correct method is needed to ensure it, lahiri mahasaya's methods are good, as are the tantrik methods (more forcible and can cause health problems), which force the blood pressure low but bounces back. Cells oxygen starved long enough go anaerobic and can turn into cancer. Meditational methods put all the cells to stop and need no oxygen. Take a very scientific approach to getting samadhi as endless falsities and imaginations will try to pose as being it when they are just more mayic delusions. After samadhi you see through the endless lies of others, and the dream world we live in. People wrapt up in psychological universes and delusions. Before samadhi, we understand nothing. After, all answers are had with perfect self-evidence preventing any possibility of having had another fraud in the endless ocean of it within mayic delusion. Certainty. Pure, crystaline, unending, unassailable.

Enlightenment and satori are often confused. Samadhi towers above both. Satori is a breakthrough to higher levels. Enlightenment is the spiritual disaster, where the mind is done and one no longer lives in a belief system or reality tunnel based on one's limited perceptions and unproven beliefs. A buddha may speak truth, but it is only theory for anyone who hears it. Thus in enlightenment, nothing is true.

You have to die to get though the door. The little self opresses and prevents the real Self. But it isn't how you think, because if you knew who, or what, you really are, you would be enlightened already, and laughing at the sillyness of it all.

Best of luck and many blessings.

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  • interesting response. slowed heart beat and breathing is not unique to samadhi and not necessary for it. HTH
    – user23973
    Jul 28 at 18:22
  • That depends on one's definition of samadhi. The guru warned me specifically not to associate with any person who claimed samadhi but could not demonstrate breathnlessness on command for at least an hour with their head in a bucket of water, as being a servant of mara, a deceiver, who are everywhere. Many buddhist tantrics, are sworn in the higher initiations, upon becoming boddhisattva, to turn all away from the truth even at the cost of their lives. Jul 28 at 18:48
  • hmm. isn't guru a hindu word?
    – user23973
    Jul 28 at 18:51
  • put it this way, I've done a lot of crazy breathing exercises, and they are not all zen, and it is completely unnecessary IMVHO
    – user23973
    Jul 28 at 18:53
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    Yes. A figure of speech. He is from Tibet and has had all 15 kalachakra initiations, as have I. He is also in non-denominational Hindu order. I work at the temple he owns. People of many faiths come often. Jul 28 at 18:59

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