Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby daverupa » Sun May 19, 2013 7:52 pm

Alex123 wrote:Even in Sattipatthana sutta on 4th satipatthana it doesn't talk about doing anything toward hindrances.


Hmm...

MN 10 wrote:"There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)


So perhaps this isn't a "doing" in the sense you mean, but it's also talking about an aspect of the gradual training which is elsewhere written about thusly:

MN 107 wrote:“He resorts to a secluded resting place: the forest...a heap of straw. On returning from his almsround, after his meal he sits down, folding his legs crosswise, setting his body erect, and establishing mindfulness before him. Abandoning covetousness for the world, he abides with a mind free from covetousness; he purifies his mind from covetousness. Abandoning ill will and hatred, he abides with a mind free from ill will, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Abandoning sloth and torpor, he abides free from sloth and torpor, percipient of light, mindful and fully aware; he purifies his mind from sloth and torpor. Abandoning restlessness and remorse, he abides unagitated with a mind inwardly peaceful; he purifies his mind from restlessness and remorse. Abandoning doubt, he abides having gone beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubt.


So satipatthana very much underlies doing this with the hindrances, which concomitantly develops the awakening factors.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 8:34 pm

Alex123 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:The hindrances are to be abandoned and the factors of awakening are to be developed. So practice in accord with the Bahiya sutta does not contradict that.


The Bahiya sutta does not say that one needs to develop or abandon something. Even in Sattipatthana sutta on 4th satipatthana it doesn't talk about doing anything toward hindrances.

I don't think the Buddha described a way to awakening without developing the factors for awakening. I think it is just implicit in the Bahiya sutta. As for sattipatthana:
The four frames of reference, when developed & pursued, bring the seven factors for Awakening to completion.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 19, 2013 9:36 pm

daverupa wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Even in Sattipatthana sutta on 4th satipatthana it doesn't talk about doing anything toward hindrances.


Hmm...

MN 10 wrote:"There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within,he discerns that'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)


Bold is mine. It doesn't say anything about actively removing hindrances, the word used is "discerns".

MN 107 wrote:“He resorts to a secluded resting place: the forest...a heap of straw. On returning from his almsround, after his meal he sits down, folding his legs crosswise, setting his body erect, and establishing mindfulness before him. Abandoning covetousness for the world, he abides with a mind free from covetousness; he purifies his mind from covetousness. Abandoning ill will and hatred, he abides with a mind free from ill will, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Abandoning sloth and torpor, he abides free from sloth and torpor, percipient of light, mindful and fully aware; he purifies his mind from sloth and torpor. Abandoning restlessness and remorse, he abides unagitated with a mind inwardly peaceful; he purifies his mind from restlessness and remorse. Abandoning doubt, he abides having gone beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubt.


So satipatthana very much underlies doing this with the hindrances, which concomitantly develops the awakening factors.


Abandoning is not exactly the same as forceful cutting-off. Maybe one doesn't consider any mental states to be his, so they don't bother anymore.
Wouldn't view that bad mental states need to be forcefully cut-off imply ownership of them and thus be a atta view?

Bad mental states are anicca, they will pass by themselves when their causes cease, and not because fictitious "Atta" willed them so.

    "in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.'"


It doesn't say to "cut off bad states that are cognized!".
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 19, 2013 10:21 pm

Hi Alex,
Alex123 wrote:It doesn't say anything about actively removing hindrances, the word used is "discerns".

I think that's a rather literal, unimaginative, reading of the passage:
There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within,he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned.

This suggests to me an investigation of how the hindrances arise and cease. This understanding implies to me that the monk would then know how to deal with them: "He discerns how..."

:anjali:
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby daverupa » Sun May 19, 2013 10:22 pm

Alex123 wrote:It doesn't say anything about actively removing hindrances, the word used is "discerns".


Well, sati underlies dhamma-investigation; satipatthana, then, underlies & facilitates the following:

MN 78 wrote:With regard to that point, one should know that 'These are unskillful resolves'... 'That is the cause of unskillful resolves'...'Here unskillful resolves cease without trace'...'This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful resolves' I say.


... and dhamma-investigation conditions energy. Perhaps you are concerned that the Satipatthana Sutta doesn't seem to specifically mention the application of right effort, but I wonder why you would artificially truncate the gradual training in that way; sammaviriya and sammasati are quite related.

Abandoning is not exactly the same as forceful cutting-off... Wouldn't view that bad mental states need to be forcefully cut-off imply ownership of them and thus be a atta view?


Where'd this talk of forceful cutting off come from? Who said they were the same or different, or talked of that at all? Certainly no one said an Atta of any kind was 'the one doing the thing', nor is such a thing necessarily implied.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 19, 2013 10:27 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alex,
I think that's a rather literal, unimaginative, reading of the passage:


But it is what it says there which is consistent with anatta.


mikenz66 wrote:This suggests to me an investigation of how the hindrances arise and cease. This understanding implies to me that the monk would then know how to deal with them: "He discerns how..."


Investigation and understanding is not the same as actively trying to cut off hindrances. Furthermore, if there is no self, then there isn't a self that can deal with them.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 10:42 pm

Here we go again. "If there is no self, then... how can one abandon the hindrances?"
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 19, 2013 10:51 pm

Alex123 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alex,
I think that's a rather literal, unimaginative, reading of the passage:


But it is what it says there which is consistent with anatta.


mikenz66 wrote:This suggests to me an investigation of how the hindrances arise and cease. This understanding implies to me that the monk would then know how to deal with them: "He discerns how..."


Investigation and understanding is not the same as actively trying to cut off hindrances. Furthermore, if there is no self, then there isn't a self that can deal with them.

Wisdom deals with them.

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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 19, 2013 11:06 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Wisdom deals with them.


Right. I guess we shouldn't consider any states as "mine" or belonging to "Self".
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby ground » Mon May 20, 2013 2:33 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,

I have multiple ideas as to how the practice ultimately works.

...

Any comments?

If you look at it you will see that all these ideas have just one purpose: to keep itself busy. It is just restlessness. :sage:
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 20, 2013 2:44 am

Alex123 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Wisdom deals with them.

Right. I guess we shouldn't consider any states as "mine" or belonging to "Self".

It seems clear that an important part of awakening is to realise that all phenomena are "not me, not mine, not my self". But of course most of the Buddha's instructions, in the Satipatthana Sutta, and elsewhere, are along the lines of: "a monk does such-and-such", and I don't see how creating convoluted sentences to avoid using words like "myself" or "monk" would be helpful until one is dealing with specific teachings such as in SN 12 Phagguna Sutta.

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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 20, 2013 10:47 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Wisdom deals with them.

Right. I guess we shouldn't consider any states as "mine" or belonging to "Self".

It seems clear that an important part of awakening is to realise that all phenomena are "not me, not mine, not my self". But of course most of the Buddha's instructions, in the Satipatthana Sutta, and elsewhere, are along the lines of: "a monk does such-and-such", and I don't see how creating convoluted sentences to avoid using words like "myself" or "monk" would be helpful until one is dealing with specific teachings such as in SN 12 Phagguna Sutta.

:anjali:
Mike


About 3/4 of instruction in Satipatthana involve "discerns". Only very few instructions seem to imply active doing: ex: 4 elements, 31 bodyparts, corpse meditation, *anapanasati. Anapanasati in some aspects might not need any intentional effort as we are all naturally breathing, and without becoming restless one can notice in/out breaths as part of automatic/semi-automatic bodily processes.
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 20, 2013 10:50 am

Hi Alex,

Evidently you interpret those passages differently from me, and my teachers. I explained my reasoning here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=17217&start=20#p246253

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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 20, 2013 10:53 am

ground wrote:If you look at it you will see that all these ideas have just one purpose: to keep itself busy. It is just restlessness. :sage:



What I asked is of practical importance. If one follows a path incorrectly, then Awakening will not happen. If one needs to travel west but walks east, then with every step s/he is further and further away from the goal.
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby ground » Mon May 20, 2013 12:18 pm

Alex123 wrote:
ground wrote:If you look at it you will see that all these ideas have just one purpose: to keep itself busy. It is just restlessness. :sage:



What I asked is of practical importance. If one follows a path incorrectly, then Awakening will not happen. If one needs to travel west but walks east, then with every step s/he is further and further away from the goal.

Ah ... so you have a real need here ... well sorry then I misunderstood your wording because it made me think of intellectual edification :sage:
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby fivebells » Mon May 20, 2013 4:36 pm

Alex123 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:The hindrances are to be abandoned and the factors of awakening are to be developed. So practice in accord with the Bahiya sutta does not contradict that.


The Bahiya sutta does not say that one needs to develop or abandon something.


I understand the commentaries disagree on this point, but there's good reason to think that Bahiya was already a quite advanced practitioner: Great respect from the nearby lay community, conversation with a devata, traveling an impossible distance in one night, precognition, near-instant awakening (faster than Kashyapa!)

If you try the Bahiya practice and the hindrances don't get in the way, you don't need to work with them. If they do, it may be fruitful to work with them as described in the Food Sutta etc.
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby reflection » Mon May 20, 2013 5:10 pm

4) Letting go.

It's not about creating some sort of insight, not about suppressing or controlling the mind, or creating wholesome states. In the end even wholesome states have to be let go of. We will get nothing out of it, letting go of it all is the practice and the result.
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 20, 2013 6:12 pm

reflection wrote:4) Letting go.

It's not about creating some sort of insight, not about suppressing or controlling the mind, or creating wholesome states. In the end even wholesome states have to be let go of. We will get nothing out of it, letting go of it all is the practice and the result.


In order to let go, does one need some sort of super insight that is going to automatically make one let go? Or is it something that one trains, like a muscle?
If no to both of them, then it sounds like my point #3.
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby kirk5a » Mon May 20, 2013 6:28 pm

reflection wrote:4) Letting go.

It's not about creating some sort of insight, not about suppressing or controlling the mind, or creating wholesome states. In the end even wholesome states have to be let go of. We will get nothing out of it, letting go of it all is the practice and the result.

I don't think that represents the Eightfold Path very well.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Nature of Awakening, the role of practice

Postby reflection » Mon May 20, 2013 6:36 pm

Alex123 wrote:
reflection wrote:4) Letting go.

It's not about creating some sort of insight, not about suppressing or controlling the mind, or creating wholesome states. In the end even wholesome states have to be let go of. We will get nothing out of it, letting go of it all is the practice and the result.


In order to let go, does one need some sort of super insight that is going to automatically make one let go? Or is it something that one trains, like a muscle?
If no to both of them, then it sounds like my point #3.

From a practical point of view it doesn't matter. You can't 'want' an insight. They come through letting go as well. And seeing no-self is a result of letting go of the things you once thought were self. This can happen step by step and then suddenly, as in the ocean simile somewhere in the suttas. But from a practical point of view, the sudden step is just like the other steps. Just like the final drop is a similar drop to all the other drops, but accumulated they make the bucket overflow.
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