Notes from Sutra Discussion group 10/8

Thanks again to Mike for taking notes:

Book 2, Sutra 27
“The experiencer gains this knowledge in seven stages, advancing toward
the highest”
“Through the unbroken flow of discriminative awareness, one gains
perfect knowledge which has seven spheres”
Does this Sutra describe a journey, or does it describe what it means to
be enlightened?
If it describes a journey, then this seems to be quite different from
the Zen tradition, wherein we hear of individuals instantly reaching
enlightenment: “He saw the pebble fall into the water, and he became
It has been said that book one of the Sutras is for the advanced
student, who has the potential of becoming instantly enlightened, and
that book two is for the rest of us, who take the journey. With this
view, the Zen tradition and the Yoga tradition are not necessarily
The Sutra textbooks describe these seven steps/states, in great detail.
How can the textbooks describe these seven steps/states, if the Sutra
itself does not? It was suggested that the details are available to us
today because they were passed down in the oral tradition: we have heard
that the Sutras were intentionally written in brief from, and that the
details were meant to be supplied by the yogi/teacher.
There was a fair bit of discussion around the metaphor of the shallow
wells: Many spiritual seekers do not persevere in their path, but
instead jump from one path to the next and to the next. This is like
the impatient man digging wells looking for water. If he gives up too
quickly, he will end up with many shallow wells, none of which reach
This metaphor speaks to perseverance, and also to the idea that there
are many paths to spiritual enlightenment.

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