Regarding Nirodha Samāpatti/Saññāvedayitanirodha

A meditator named Delson Armstrong has been studied extensively, from a neurolo-physiological standpoint, by Dr. Reuben Laukkonen while in nirodha samāpatti, i.e. saññāvedayitanirodha.

His longest interval, he says, was 6 hours.
While in this state, profound and very unusual changes in his EEG were recorded, which indirectly substantiate his claim.
This is not to reduce the mind to the brain, but rather confirms that this kind of cessation aligns with the suttas and confirms that, as Armstrong says, the state is one of complete cessation – in other words, he reports no presence of any sort of unconditional consciousness/knowing, luminosity, Love, or anything else. Just, nirodha.

A long YouTube video can be seen here, in which Armstrong, Laukkonen and others discuss this from the standpoints of the science and the Dhamma:

The scientific paper can be accessed here:

Comments always welcome.

Again, this is not to limit the Dhamma and mind to the brain. But is offered as a modern confirmation of this state, and it’s interesting that after coming out of it, Armstrong states there’s nothing there – one might expect a timeless unmade awareness/knowing/ineffable being to be naturally “present” in such a state in which all the senses and aggregates have disappeared completely. As at the final death of an arahant.

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I thought he’s a bit unreliable?

This whole 5 hour thing is dedicated to refute the TWIM style where Delson is from.

Anyway, Bhante Aggacitta has detailed many apparent cessation experiences. Bhavaṅga, Jhāna, Magga, Phala, and the true nirodha. So it’s not necessarily it must be the last one.

But to be fair, I haven’t seen these 2 youtube videos yet.

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By “last one” we are here referring to the 9th attainment after neither perception nor non-perception.
In the suttas, no other states are described beyond this, as in MN44, MN43, SN36.11, and others.

Regarding the paper, here’s the abstract which highlights many of the important points:

“Absence of consciousness can occur due to a concussion, anesthetization, intoxication, epilep- tic seizure, or other fainting/syncope episode caused by lack of blood flow to the brain. However, some meditation practitioners also report that it is possible to undergo a total absence of consciousness during meditation, lasting up to 7 days, and that these “cessations” can be consistently induced. One form of extended cessation (i.e., nirodha samāpatti) is thought to be different from sleep because practitioners are said to be completely impervious to external stimulation. That is, they cannot be ’woken up’ from the cessation state as one might be from a dream. Cessations are also associated with the absence of any time experience or tiredness, and are said to involve a stiff rather than a relaxed body. Emergence from meditation-induced cessations is said to have profound effects on subsequent cognition and experience (e.g., resulting in a sudden sense of clarity, openness, and possibly insights). In this paper, we briefly outline the historical context for cessation events, present preliminary data from two labs, set a research agenda for their study, and provide an initial framework for understanding what meditation induced cessation may reveal about the mind and brain. We conclude by integrating these so-called nirodha and nirodha samāpatti experiences—as they are known in classical Buddhism—into current cognitive-neurocomputational and active inference frameworks of meditation.”

Just go to 17:14 and turn on subtitle.

Thanks. Watched it.

But my post has nothing to do with any claims of arahanthood by Delson.
Rather, it’s about the independent observations of his being able to attain nirodha samāpatti and the associated physiological changes associated with this state.
Did you read the abstract?

Clearly, people can achieve exotic meditative states and yet remain mired in ethical and egoistic problems if they’re not practicing and embodying all aspects of the Path.

From classical Theravada point of view, nirodha samapatti is only accessible by arahants and anagamis. And the exiting from there in particular has the fruition moment of seeing nibbāna, corresponding to the attainment that they have. So it’s cut and dry conditions for nirodha samapatti.

But of course, EBT wise, there doesn’t seem to be such pegging of the attainments to cessation absorption.

Right. But I think this is in the commentaries and not the suttas. Just saying…

A key point is the validity of the state being described and as measured in the lab.
Dr. Laukkonen is a respected researcher.

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I believe it makes no sense to describe nirodha as….there is nothing there because how does one know this? If one would know this, really know this, then certaintly there is knowledge there.

One can know absence retrospectively. You can realise there was no consciousness in a moment of time you know has passed. That’s kind of the definition. :slight_smile:


What if one day mean robots make machines that can see if your brain/mind is in advanced meditation and use that to their advantage in a negative way… :robot:

he, he… but one cannot know that there was nothing…there is no way one can claim mind was absent or all was absent. Such claims are merely theoretical claims, speculations.

It is the same as claiming to know that there is no single reality or reality as singleness. Such is all absurd to claim to know. One will never know this. It will always remain speculation, i believe.

It’s possible to use your mind to realize advanced subjects based on meditation. Basic: when you’re in Love is that just speculation? Even more basic: a food tastes good, is that just speculation? These things may be not what they seem, or much more than they seem, but they are not speculation. Even speculating, the mental process is rooted in Emptiness, so there are unlimited possibilities in what else you could think. It’s not just observation.

For example like having a Vision, etc…

Well, according to this study, and the testimonies from others who have experienced this, including in the suttas, it can be known afterwards.

Imo, it also reinforces the Buddha’s teachings on how everything, including what is called “mind” is conditional and a set of intermixing processes.
While many of these processes went dormant in this state, the being was not dead and other mental processes remained (recorded in the EEGs) even in the absence of the conditional processes labeled “consciousness” which were not present, (including in the suttas).

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Testimonies of others? This is all very subjective @Jasudho . Lets be open and honest about it to eachother. Those socalled testimonies of others, we all know…they are all over the place. Even how buddhist teachers testify about jhana is all over the place in a way i feel ashamed of, to be honest. I am ashamed that the Sangha is so lost and in this position that teachers apparantly on basic things like ‘what is jhana’ do not even share a common ground. I feel this is not oke.

You might believe the testimonies of a certain teacher, other teachers testify very different things, right. So, it is all over the place.

and you have never asked yourself the question how in Godsname is this possible?

I believe we must all see for ourselves what mind really is and not take refuge in some theory of mind such as the mind-moments in Abhdihamma. We can assume that while awake mind also arises and ceases very quickly, but i feel we must see for ourselves what the nature of mind is.

I believe from experience mind cannot change. Mind is like an empty room. The content may change from time to time but not the room. It does not seem that minds empty essence and clear light nature can change. It seems impossible to change minds nature. All that seems subject to change does not seem to be mind. Intentions, feelings, views, emotions, habits, tendencies, attention, this is not mind. These are mental formations arising in the mind. Like furniture in the room.
Dhp 1 is right. Mind is the forerunner of all such formations. But minds nature is clearly peaceful, stilled, dispassionate. That is its empty essence. This cannot be caused. Dispassion is always any moment part of us.

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“Others” includes Sariputta and Dhammadhinnā in the suttas. Sounds like you’re discounting their insights and teachings. Of course, that’s up to you.

Agree that there are many teachings about the jhanas – but that’s different than this topic.

It’s not about how, but about what’s been taught in the suttas and what is being studied and validated in current research.
I mean, not knowing “how” doesn’t negate “what is.”

And the Buddha taught in SN12.61: “… that which is called ‘mind’ and also ‘sentience’ and also ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another all day and all night. It’s like a monkey moving through the forest. It grabs hold of one branch, lets it go, and grabs another; then it lets that go and grabs yet another. In the same way, that which is called ‘mind’ and also ‘sentience’ and also ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another all day and all night.”

Buddha taught many things about mind.

What you describe is what buddhist masters refer to as monkey mind and Buddha calls this untamed mind. That is the instinctive engaging and grasping mind. That alternatedly grasps a taste, sounds, idea, tactile sensation. This happens all out of the force of habit and is not ones choice.

It would be a huge mistake to think Buddha describes here the nature of mind. He describes here how a defiled and untamed mind functions. You make constant this mistake that you believe that Buddha makes here some statement about what mind really is. But he says….that what is called mind….Indeed, people call this monkey mind, mind. But ofcourse Buddha does not mean…this IS mind. Ofcourse not.

The monkey mind is a defiled functioning mind. Run by avijja and tanha.
Please do never think that this is mind according Buddha. You make this mistake as long as we are talking here.

Buddha understood the nature of mind is something completely different from what SN12.61 describes. He understood it as desireless, empty, uninclined, or without direction, wishless, signless.
Now we are talking about mind. And Buddha does all the time.

MInd is also freed from khandha’s in Dhamma. Also freed from vinnana in EBT. If mind is not freed from all khandha’s then it is still defiled.

But you never seem one moment willing to consider what i write.

There is no sutta that says that when recognition, sign making, labeling , the ability to distinguish. associations(sanna) and all feelings cease, mind must have ceased now. It is much more likely that the distortion that comes from the magician vinnana is now gone. And one has a direct meeting with the empty, desireless, uninclined empty nature of mind.

And this is blissful as Sariputta says. Not afterwards but while in it. No buddhist will ever use the word bliss, when there is no bliss.So, if sariputa says that when nothing is felt or perceived that is bliss, he also means…that is not the bliss of blacking out or absence but the bliss of bliss.

Not gonna lie, I was interested until they started talking about AI arhats. :smiley:

That aside, the paper and research on its own should be of some importance anyway.

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Agree about AI arahants.
And I’m not relying on science to confirm the Dhamma – but, as you wrote, it can be interesting when scientific results correlate with the Teachings.

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But there are. See SN36.11, AN9.44, MN44, and others.
An important point regarding this is in MN43:
"“Feeling, perception, and consciousness—these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely disentangle them so as to describe the difference between them. For you perceive what you feel, and you cognize what you perceive. That’s why these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely disentangle them so as to describe the difference between them.”

So here we have the absence of consciousness when perceptions and feelings cease. And also as cited in the OP.
Notice also, there is no mention of a remaining "unconditioned, changeless consciousness/knowing/being here.

This describes an arahant. Not final cessation.
But I know from your posts that you interpret things otherwise.

Which is never mentioned in the suttas, ever. Interestingly, people still argue for it. Literally hundreds of suttas explaining end of aggregates and sense fields, and never a mention of an eternal mind. Thousands of suttas explaining how nothing’s permanent.

What I’ve learned on online Buddhism is that, you can point an empty glass, tell people it’s empty, and people will say it’s full. Worse yet, they will convince themselves you’re saying the glass is full instead.

So, it’s hard to keep a sane head when people behave like that.