The Ariyas talk about the same thing with different words

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

The Ariyas talk about the same thing with different words

Postby Hage » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:06 pm

I was Reading some discussions here and I found a lot of debates between methods of Buddhism, as doubts about the teachings of Ajahn Brahmavamso, when some arguments surprised me, because when I read Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Chah, Maha Boowa, Ajahn Akincano and some other masters of Thai Forest Tradition (considere that Ajahn Brahm was trained on this) I really see some diferente words, but I think that they are talking of the same thing. I read many people talking that Ajahn Brahm, as an example, don't seems to be disciple of Ajahn Chah, but why not?
During all my time of studying Buddhism, I agree that there are many wrong teachings, but I also agree that the Ariyas, even the Arahants, are different because tendencies and anothers factors, so, I think natural that they talk on the same experience with different words or emphasys. In a road, someone could hit his head on something and other walker could fall because a rock. If they would go help other people, they would talk in accord with their difficulties, don't they? Maha Boowa talke a lot about the "primordial mind", although Ajahn Chah talked almost nothing about this. Ajahn Chah talked a lot about sati and sampajañña, but Ajahn Brahm talks of Jhanas so much... Ajahn Akincano also means about the debate sati x samadhi in a vídeo that I saw somewhere, Ajahn Sumedho talks more about beeing mindfulness on the presente moment that Jhana come naturally... What I am saying is that there are different methods because their different tendencies and experiences, but I think they all talked about the same thing. I am glad to see that so many monks experienced the teachings of the Buddha, because if we see with calm, we see that they are talking about the same thing, it is what I think, and not that the Dhamma of the Buddha are being forgotten.
I would like to share some texts that helped me to understand all of this better. If I am wrong, it would be very good if someone here corrects me, out of compassion.

As the arguments saying that Ajahn Brahm don't seems to be Ajahn Chah's disciple intrigued me, because they talk about the same experience as the disappearence of the body and cetana, will, don't they?

Ajahn Chah on "Unshakeable Peace": Then, just before my head hit the pillow, the mind’s awareness began flowing in- wards, I didn’t know where it was headed, but it kept flowing deeper and deeper within. It was like a current of electricity flowing down a cable to a switch. When it hit the switch my body exploded with a deafening bang. The knowing during that time was extremely lucid and subtle. Once past that point the mind was released to penetrate deeply inside. It went inside to the point where there wasn’t anything at all.
Absolutely nothing from the outside world could come into that place. Nothing at all could reach it. Having dwelt internally for some time, the mind then retreated to flow back out. However, when I say it retreated, I don’t mean to imply that I made it flow back out. I was simply an observer, only knowing and witnessing. The mind came out more and more until it finally returned to normal. Once my normal state of consciousness returned, the question arose, “What was that?!” The answer came immediately, “These things hap- pen of their own accord. You don’t have to search for an explanation.” This answer was enough to satisfy my mind. After a short time my mind again began flowing inwards. I wasn’t making any conscious effort to direct the mind. It took off by itself. As it moved deeper and deeper inside, it again hit that same switch. This time my body shattered into the most minute particles and fragments. Again the mind was released to penetrate deeply inside itself. Utter silence. It was even more profound than the first time. Absolutely nothing external could reach it. The mind abided here for some time, for as long as it wished, and then retreated to flow outwards. At that time it was following its own momentum and happening all by itself. I wasn’t influencing or directing my mind to be in any particular way, to flow inwards or retreat outwards. I was merely the one knowing and watching. My mind again returned to its normal state of consciousness, and I didn’t wonder or speculate about what was happening. As I meditated, the mind once again inclined inwards. This time the entire cosmos shattered and disintegrated into minute particles. The earth, ground, mountains, fields and forests – the whole world – disintegrated into the space element. People had vanished. Everything had disappeared. On this third time absolutely nothing remained. The mind, having inclined inwards, settled down there for as long as it wished. I can’t say I understand exactly how it remained there. It’s difficult to describe what happened. There’s nothing I can compare it to. No simile is apt. This time the mind remained inside far longer than it had previously, and only after some time did it come out of that state. When I say it came out, I don’t mean to imply that I made it come out or that I was controlling what was happening. The mind did it all by itself. I was merely an observer.

Many people think strange that Ajahn Brahm say that the body disappears, arguing that it would be Non-perpection, and not samma-samadhi, but many másters talked aboutit:

Maha Boowa on the way to Arantship: Through diligence and perseverance, buddho had become so closely unified with the citta that buddho itself no longer appeared within my awareness. The mind had become so calm and still, so profoundly subtle, that nothing, not even buddho, resonated there. This meditative state is analogous to the disappearance of the breath, as men- tioned above. When this took place, I felt bewildered. I had predicated my whole practice on holding steadfastly to buddho. Now that buddho was no longer apparent, where would I focus my atten- tion? Up to this point, buddho had been my mainstay. Now it had disappeared. No matter how hard I tried to recover this fo- cus, it was lost. I was in a quandary. All that remained then was the citta’s profoundly subtle knowing nature, a pure and simple awareness, bright and clear. There was nothing concrete within that awareness to latch on to. I realized then that nothing invades the mind’s sphere of awareness when consciousness—its knowing presence—reaches such a profound and subtle condition. I was left with only one choice: With the loss of buddho, I had to focus my attention on the essential sense of awareness and knowing that was all-present and prominent at that moment.

Ajahn Anan Akincano ( ... amadhi.htm): The feelings in other areas of the body, even the sensation of the whole body itself, can likewise entirely disappear from consciousness. The body feels completely tranquil. During this period that the heart is peaceful, the mind temporarily lets go of its attachment to the physical body and consequently mind and body feel light and tranquil. As we sit in meditation and this tranquility increases, it can seem as though we are floating in space, giving rise to feelings of happiness and well-being. At this point we can say that the power of our concentration has deepened to the level of upacara samadhi.

As samadhi deepens further, the heart experiences even greater rapture and bliss together with feelings of profound inner strength and stability. All thoughts completely cease and the mind becomes utterly still and one-pointed. At this stage we cannot control or direct the meditation. The heart follows its natural course, entering a unified state with only a single object of consciousness

Some people also say that it is not right the ausence of Cetana, because there would be attachment, not Insight, but they all talk o this after deep meditation:

Teachings of Mahha Boowa: It's the same with the citta. After it has investigated until it becomes exhausted, it has to rest in samādhi or calm, where all activities of the citta are halted, leaving the citta with just the knowingness and tranquillity. After it has fully rested, the citta will be strengthened and after withdrawing from calm it'll investigate with paññā again. Paññā is similar to a knife that has been resharpened and the workman who has regained his strength from eating and resting. It'll now have the strength and sharpness to swiftly destroy the kilesas. The Lord Buddha said that paññā developed with the support of samādhi is very powerful.

I don't know, too, why people say that Ajahn Brahm don't think Jhana ossbile without Nimmita, he considered it:

Ajahn Brahmavamso on the book "The Jhanas": These “light nimittas” are the best vehicle for transporting the meditator into the Jhanas. However, it is just possible, but rarely done, to enter a Jhana by using “feeling nimittas” instead. By this I mean that one sees no lights in the mind, instead one experiences a feeling of bliss in the mind. It is important to note that he sense of touch has been transcended and such a “feeling” if bliss is experienced completely by the mind sense. It is a pure mental object again, but perceived as relating closely to a physical feeling of bliss. This is a bona-fide nimitta. But it is much more difficult to work with such as a nimitta to gain access to Jhana, though it is not impossible.

I agree that someone can attachs to Jhana, but Ajahn Brahm, as a matter of fact, don't think it is impossible:

There is a danger there that you can get attached to jhanas, but the danger is not that much. ... tation.htm

Besides Maha Boowa got stuck with Jhana without praticing Vipassana, it is as I said, each one has different experiences and difficulties, because of it I think one monk can seem to say something that is of not accord with his teacher or the Suttas, but, really, I think that they are talking about the same thing. Ajahn Chah could seem controversy a lot of times, sometimes he teaches something and to other person other thing different, but it al depended on the level of who talked to him. I think Ajahn Brahm tried to convince people don-t have fear of Jhanas.

The way he talks, it does not seem to me that he begun attached to Jhana. He ask for Insight after someone exit of Jhana.
I see theses másters talking about the same thing about the aspect below too:

Ajahn Brahmavamso on the book "THe Jhanas": NIBBANA, THE END OF ALL PERCEPTION
For within the perception of neither perception of neither perception nor non-perception lies the end of all perception, the cessation of all that is felt or perceived, Nibbana. If the mind attends to this, the mind stops. When the mind starts again one gains the attainment of Arahant or anagami, these are the only possibilities.

Maha Boowa on "Visions of a Samana": At that time, I was examining the mind’s central point of focus. All other matters had been examined and discarded; there remained only that one point of “knowingness”. It became obvious that both satisfaction and dissatisfaction
issued from that source. Brightness and dullness – those differences arose from the same origin.
Then, in one spontaneous instant, Dhamma answered the question. The Dhamma arose suddenly and unexpectedly, as though it were a voice in the heart: “Whether it is dullness or brightness, satisfaction or dissatisfaction, all such dualities are not-self.” The meaning was clear: Let everything go. All of them are not-self.
Suddenly, the mind became absolutely still
. Having concluded unequivo- cally that everything without exception is not-self, it had no room to maneuver. The mind came to rest – impassive and still. It had no interest in self or not-self, no interest in satisfaction or dissatisfaction, brightness or dullness. The mind resided at the center, neutral and placid.

I think interesting how he says the same thing that Ajahn Chah said. But is interesting that Maha Boowa talked a lot of this, Ajahn Chah very few, Brahm talks more about Jhana and Anatta, more of the way, even so Ajahn Akincano or Ajahn Sumedho. Sumedho almost doesn't talk about the nature of Jhana, he just talk how to get there naturally. Each teacher use a method, diferente words, but they are not talking the same thing?

Even so Maha Boowa and Ajahn Chah, I remember that Ajahn Brahm also talked about being attach to the pure mind, the last obstacle to the Anagami.

Ajahn Brahm ( ... Things.htm): It's hard to go that deep inside the mind. There comes a time when we almost get to the innermost petal - but not the very innermost - and we think that's good enough. As we go deeper into that lotus, the petals are more and more golden, beautiful and brilliant. They are delightful, those innermost petals. Sometimes we come to the most beautiful petal, and we think, "That's it. This must be it! It's so beautiful, so wonderful, so inspiring. This must be the Dhamma!"

However, it's only in the emptiness, in the nothingness, that there can be an end.

I remember Ajahn Ben talking “when there is light, destroy right there” talking to us that we must not be attached to the pure mind, but go beyond of all the duality. Destroy, without will, natural way, without cetana, body disappears, body feels tranquil, citta… there are a lot of different words, but, really, they are talking about the same experience, don’t they?
I don’t posted it to start a discussion or to speculate, but because I became intrigued with the views of many people, specially about the teachings of Ajahn Brahm. Each teacher has your methods, but is all about Nibbana, what do you think?
I read this with calm and become joyful, because it seems to me that the Dhamma of the Buddha, since Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Mun, is really being preserved. Isn’t that wonderful?
It all is not to speculate, but to propose that we don’t seek so many faults when we compare the teachings through the words. Looking more deeply, “let go of the citta”, “the citta remains still”, “destroy the lightness of the citta”, “the citta stops”, these different words are not talking about the same thing?
There are a lot of wrong teachings, indeed. But I don’t agree that we compare so many, because the methods are different, just the way of saying about the way. It’s not to speculate, I just think we can see all this with more calm and understand that each Ariya had your own difficulties. So, we must go on the road and consider all these different words, because I think that they point out to the same way, only on a different way, if you can understand me, lol.

What do you think?
If you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see that which is certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be uncertain and that they cannot be otherwise. [...] If you know that all things are impermanent, all your thinking will gradually unwind and you won’t need to think too much. Whenever anything arises, all you need to say is "Oh, another one!" Just that! - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Ariyas talk about the same thing with different word

Postby Insitu » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:40 am

Thank you for your post. I have experienced the same problem many times recently concerning ajahn brahm.
At other times it was a different people. What these people share is a somewhat unusual way to teach. That has always puzzled the establishment.
But at the same time it has attracted people who respond to an unorthodox teaching style.
Each teacher has his own personality and style.
You did a great job pointing that out. :clap:
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