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orlando's avatar

Do you know of any Buddhist maps of absorption and insight stages?

Asked by orlando (627points) April 4th, 2013

I’m looking for books that would be able to explain (map out) Buddhist states of consciousness evoked through meditation or after death.

I know there are two broad areas—Realms of Absorption and Realms of existence these texts describe, but I can’t find much more material on this. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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5 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

The foundational texts on states of consciousness are known as the Abhidharma. They’re among the least readable of the suttras; the state of consciousness they induce in me can best be described as “huh?”.

But if you really want to wade into this swamp, I’d suggest this book . Bikkhu Bodhi, the author, is a generally reliable guide through arcane Buddhist texts.

Good luck!

Earthgirl's avatar

@thorninmud Can you speak about Bardo? I had a friend who was enamored of this whole idea but I don’t really understand much about it. It seems to be relate to this question though I cannot begin to pretend I understand it at all.

thorninmud's avatar

@Earthgirl You probably know more about it than I do, I’m afraid. It’s the Tibetans who’ve plotted out all of the post-mortem stuff. There’s an anecdote circulating in the Zen crowd about a guy who asked a Zen master, “What happens when we die?”.

The master said, “I don’t know”

“What do you mean you don’t know? You’re Zen master, aren’t you?”

“Yes, but not a dead one”

Earthgirl's avatar

@thorninmud that’s so funny! Thank you for that :)

orlando's avatar

@thorninmud great answer—thank you very much! I did not expect to get this answer on Fluther, so this is a pleasant surprise.

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