I would like to share with you all a very inspiring account of Mae Chee Kaew’s anagami fruition, in the context of her practice of kayagatasati, as found in the book “Mae Chee Kaew: Her Journey to Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment” by Bhikkhu Sīlaratano.
This was brought to my attention by a venerable friend who also made sure to highlight how powerful and remarkable the anagami fruition can be and how easy it is as well to mistake it for the fulfillment of the path.
It is also interesting how Mae Chee Kaew’s account is somehow aligned with what MN119 says about how powerful this mode of practice can be.
Sorry if this is too long but I assure you, it is definitely worth the time and effort.
May this serve inspire us all to cultivate the path and verify for ourselves the end of suffering.
"At this stage, Mae Chee Kaew began to focus exclusively on the emotional responses evoked by body contemplation. She had become adept at interrupting the mind’s conscious momentum, and reversing its normal course back to the source. So, she started to use the same technique to reverse the flood of thought and emotion, and retrace its course to the point of origin. She concentrated on an image of advanced bodily decay, absorbing it all at once without conceptualization.
With spontaneous awareness and specific perception functioning together, she noticed an instinctive surge of revulsion push its way out from deep inside her to permeate the image. She held the image in her awareness until object and observer became one. At that moment, image and emotion gradually contracted and drew inward until both were fully absorbed by the conscious mind.
Then they simply vanished. Quickly she refocused on the mental image and its attached sense of revulsion; and again, watched as the flow of mental perception, infusing the image with emotional impact, reverted to its source, merging with the center of consciousness and then disappearing.
The more she focused in that way, the more spontaneous the reversal of image and emotion became. Eventually, on their own, without prompting, images and emotions receded into the mind, returning to their original source, where they vanished immediately.
Mae Chee Kaew’s meditation had reached a decisive phase in body contemplation, a turning point in which the root-cause of the mind’s attachment to bodily form was seen in stark clarity. As instinctive feelings of revulsion reunited with their primary cause, a profound realization suddenly occurred: the mind itself produced feelings of revulsion and attraction; the mind alone created perceptions of ugliness and beauty.
Those qualities did not actually exist in the objects of perception. The mind projected those attributes onto the images it perceived, and then deceived itself into believing that the objects themselves were beautiful and attractive, or ugly and repulsive.
In truth, the flow of consciousness was consistently steeped in a proliferation of mental imagery and attending emotion. Her mind painted elaborate pictures all the time — pictures of herself and pictures of the external world. It then fell for its own mental imagery, believing it to be substantially real.
At that stage, the infinite, space-like awareness of mind essence and the particularity of conscious perception were operating simultaneously.
Gradually the illusion of cohesive mental images began to break down as well. Within the flowing current of consciousness, myriad amorphous forms and fragmentary shapes arose, coalesced into images, and then broke apart immediately, only to regroup and disband time and time again. No sooner did an image of the body appear than it vanished instantly.
Before a particular desire or expression could fully formulate, the source of awareness simply enveloped it,
causing it to dissolve into emptiness and disappear. Countless potentialways in which body and mind could express themselves seemed to arise in random succession, only to dissolve into emptiness, one after another.
Habitual concepts of bodily existence expressed a desire to take form and declare their individual characteristics, but the knowing essence dissolved them all before they could establish a definite presence in the mind.
This insight occasioned a momentous revolution of Mae Chee Kaew’s entire being. She understood the truth with absolute certainty: delusion about imagery produced by the flow of consciousness leads to feelings of repulsion and attraction.
She realized that both were rooted in a deeply instinctive, but almost subliminal, distortion of conscious perceptions of body and form. When the real basis of those perceptions was exposed, completely undermining their validity, the external world of appearances collapsed, and her attachment to it ceased of its own accord.
With the cessation of all images created by the mind, came the cessation of attachment to form. Once her mind had withdrawn completely from all sensual involvement, a feeling of profound serenity enveloped her entire mental being.
Finally, for Mae Chee Kaew, bodily images, even as bare forms, no longer existed within her mind’s conscious framework. Since no shapes or forms remained in the mind to be grasped, Mae Chee Kaew knew she could never be reborn in the realms of form again.
The mind’s usual sense of physical limitation and embodiment completely disappeared. She felt her being dissolve, expand outward and merge with all things, as though forming one essence with the universe; resting within, unfettered by any dependency, was a supreme emptiness — clear, bright and still."
pages 184 - 187
As a topics for discussion I suggest:
- Does anyone know of similar / comparable contemporary accounts of such or similar fruition?
- It is not uncommon to read things like this coming from the Thai forest tradition. How common is it to find similar sort of accounts by accomplished practitioners from the Sinhalese , Burmese, Tibetan or Chinese Buddhist traditions?