Transforming the kleshas

Question:

My question today is about kleshas which I believe are sometimes described as defilements and I understand them as character traits rooted in the unconscious mind which give rise to unwholesome behaviour, such as fear, greed, envy etc.

Following my shift in consciousness I spent about 5 years in a blissful state. Emotions arose but seemed to pass through and I didn’t have the sense of being driven by them. It was as though life was living itself through me and there was a lack of a personal self.

About 2 years ago I began to experience very strong emotions. It was as though the emotions were suddenly back and the gloves were off. Things that had not bothered me at all, suddenly seemed very important and after a while I had to admit that they were definitely driving me. I found this very confusing. About a year ago, I met an Indian gentleman who is a Hindu and has studied extensively in that tradition but also in the Buddhist tradition. He was able to help me with an explanation. He makes a distinction between levels of Samadhi and levels of enlightenment. He said that there are 4 levels of Samadhi which can be experienced in a human body and that the shift I experienced in 2002 took me to the third level. I had described it as feeling as though nobody was driving the bus and he said that I could think of it as moving from a relatively small bus, to a huge bus, so huge that I could no longer find the driving seat. The driver was still there but at a subtler level. There are also 4 levels of enlightenment which can be experienced in a human body and the first level is attained when the kleshas of wrong view, envy, avarice and doubt are gone. He said that through the mantra meditation I had done I had dealt with the branches and trunk of the kleshas but that the roots were still there, hence the strong emotions. I’ve since read up on some of this in Theravada Buddhist books and have also read Joe Dispenza’s “Evolve Your Brain”. After a big shift, the mantra didn’t seem to do anything anymore, so I hadn’t had a daily practice since then. About six months ago I learnt vipassana meditation from my Indian friend during a 10-day silent retreat that he held for a small group. My program now is about 2-3 hours in the morning comprising physical yoga, yogic breathing and vipassana meditation. I also do about an hour of vipassana meditation in the evening. I am enjoying this and feel it is right for me at the moment, however, I’m finding these very strong emotions quite hard to deal with even though I now have a greater understanding of what is going on. I have another 10-day silent retreat coming up soon so I’m sure that will help.

I would be very grateful for your insight.

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