The causes for wisdom

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:29 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:Matthew Kusota’s impressions of the Sujin cult may be of interest:

The Abhidhammic theory of Ajaan Sujin Boriharnwanaket

I didn't see cult used in Kosuta's piece?
There is a thread here which discusses his article:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=5195&hilit=kosuta
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:43 am

robertk wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:Matthew Kusota’s impressions of the Sujin cult may be of interest:

The Abhidhammic theory of Ajaan Sujin Boriharnwanaket

I didn't see cult used in Kosuta's piece?
There is a thread here which discusses his article:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... lit=kosuta
It is not used in the article. I am guessing that ancientbuddhism is using the word cult as result of how Sujin's followers come across online. While it may not be an appropriate word, it is an understandable as why it might be used.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:59 am

Ok I just reread it and this is how he describes her in the article:

So who is Ajaan Sujin Boriharnwanaket and what is the DSSF? Ajaan Sujin's teachings are based primarily on the Theravada Abhidhamma-pitaka. She emphasizes the practice of being aware of the present moment's ultimate reality (paramattha dhamma) as the means to nibbāna. She has been guiding monks, nuns and laypeople for over 40 years. Ajann Sujin maintains a well-established, modern Dhamma center in the Bangkok area and presents daily radio talks on over 20 radio stations. She has been granted an honorary degree from a top Buddhist university and Ajaan Sujin has been honored by the King of Thailand for the positive effects that her work and Dhamma center have had on many Thai people.

She also has created some controversy. The controversy around her stems from her being a woman teaching the Dhamma, including teaching to bhikkhus, and from her interpretation of abhidhammic teachings and its often unorthodox effect on more traditional interpretations of the Sutta and Vinaya pitakas. An interpretation that I think pushes abhidhammic theory into a near expression of Mahayana Emptiness.
Although Ajaan Sujin speaks English quite well, much of her teachings are know to the English-speaking world through one of her longest associates, Nina Van Gorkom. Nearly all of the printed material in English has been translated or written by Ms Van Gorkom. Thus, her work provided the majority of the written sources I consulted. The senior student's command of Pali abhidhammic vocabulary is quite good. And in the case of Ajaan Sujin and Ms Van Gorkom, and perhaps others, their knowledge of the workings of the Abhidhammic theory is excellent.


Reading it he seems to feel that the Abhidhamma and commentaries, as much as Sujin, in places, run against his interpretations of the suttas.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:20 am

robertk wrote:
Reading it he seems to feel that the Abhidhamma and commentaries, as much as Sujin, in places run against his interpretations of the suttas.
There is a rather interesting question concerning the Abhidhamma, and that is the differences between the Pitaka texts and the later highly interpretive stuff such as the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, which does, indeed, push beyond the suttas. I think much of what we see talked about of the Abhidhamma comes from the later stuff, especially dhammas as realities..

What this thread has shown -- assuming that you are accurately reflecting Sujin -- is that her point of view does fly in the face of the suttas, and I have not been impressed with the Sujin interpretation -- assuming your are reflecting that -- of the commentaries, such as the VM.

Also, I am not taken with Kosuta's interpretation of Nagarjuna.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:31 am

That's a good point. From my skimming through canonical Abhidhamma texts, it seems clear that many things that are presented as "Abhidhamma" (billions of cittas per second and so on) are actually later developments. The canonical Abdhidhamma texts themselves appear to me to be quite logical summaries and extensions of the Suttas. Classifications of mind states, conditions, and so on.

Perhaps we have a thread on this somewhere...

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:45 pm

The main theses of Kusota’s paper is not whether the Sujin milieu is a ‘cult’, that quip was mine. But in his introductory comments he does give this:

    “I thought that the session would consist of my listening to some of their ideas and of my posing a few questions. However, it began with Ajaan Sujin, followed by her students, asking me question after question on what I know of the Dhamma and how I interpret what I know. I quickly found myself on the defensive in a somewhat heated debate as they rejected all the ‘traditional’ answers that I gave.” (Kusota, p.20)

I also had attended Sujin’s lectures at MCU and found much the same as Kusota did from her sycophantic students. That Sujin makes bold, irresponsible claims is her own head, but to not yield when soundly defeated in those claims is intellectually dishonest.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby phil » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:58 pm

I'm one of her students, have listened to her for around 10 years and have attended discussion sessions in Thailand several times. I must say I go through periods of kind of stepping away and I'm in one of those periods now. What has me a bit uncomfortable these days is a tendency on the part of some of her students (not as much Sujin herself as in tge internet discussion group) to make almost a practice out of seeing the characteristics of dhammas here and now and insisting that pariyatti is in this understanding of dhammas now without recognizing how much of the same lobha ditthi can be involved in it as with modern meditation techniques. I am meditating again and seeing a lot of benefits. But thanks to having listened to her I can also see how much of what I hear from modern teachers is deviating from a strict adherence to the tipitika. I think that's especially true if one values Abhidhamma and its commentaries which I do. If one rejects or relegates them to a lower place then I guess one can say that what she is saying is not canonical. But I'm not so keen on debates so I'll stop there.
I would like to hear more acknowledgment that what she says might be wrong on some points. I think she is less likely to give the impression that she thinks she is infallible than some of her students do. Not thinking of Robert there, actually...
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:39 pm

phil wrote: I would like to hear more acknowledgment that what she says might be wrong on some points. I think she is less likely to give the impression that she thinks she is infallible than some of her students do. Not thinking of Robert there, actually...
In listening to the linked talk in this msg viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=280#p229904 Sujin is her own worst enemy, in that she encourages her followers in the sectarian approach of dismissing Dhamma practices that do not conform to her point of view.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:42 pm

Hi Phil,

phil wrote: I would like to hear more acknowledgment that what she says might be wrong on some points. I think she is less likely to give the impression that she thinks she is infallible than some of her students do. Not thinking of Robert there, actually...


As I have said before, I have only briefly met some of the students, but my impression was similar to Ancient Buddhism, and Kusota. I was quite surprised that the whole tone of the conversation from some of the students (not Robert...) was that I should be defending myself, rather than having any sort of mutual dialog.

Of course, that seems to be the particular procedure that they have developed, and one could argue that if one chooses to turn up, that's what one is buying into, just as if one chooses to turn up to a meditation session one should expect to be sitting and walking, not discussing cittas over a cup of tea.

One could argue that the sort of questioning of assumptions that the Sujin approach involves could also be seen in a similar light to Sayadaw U Tajaniya's http://sayadawutejaniya.org/ approach, which seems to involve a lot of questioning of what exactly one is doing, and why.

phil wrote: But thanks to having listened to her I can also see how much of what I hear from modern teachers is deviating from a strict adherence to the tipitika. I think that's especially true if one values Abhidhamma and its commentaries which I do. If one rejects or relegates them to a lower place then I guess one can say that what she is saying is not canonical. But I'm not so keen on debates so I'll stop there.

Personally, I never cease to be amazed by the implication I see in some posts that the ancient commentaries have completely misunderstood the Dhamma, with little or no attempt to actually engage with them. The poster's favourite modern commentator(s) of the moment are then wheeled out as representing the correct interpretation. It seems to be a strangely contradictory attitude that the ancients who preserved the texts, the lineage, and the practice that enables us to have access to the Dhamma today can be summarily written off as bumbling incompetents. I certainly value modern scholarship and teachers, and would not have made any progress in understanding the Dhamma without it. But "scholarship" that arbitrarily dismisses such important sources of interpretation and practical experience doesn't impress me very much.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby phil » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:23 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
phil wrote: I would like to hear more acknowledgment that what she says might be wrong on some points. I think she is less likely to give the impression that she thinks she is infallible than some of her students do. Not thinking of Robert there, actually...
In listening to the linked talk in this msg viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=280#p229904 Sujin is her own worst enemy, in that she encourages her followers in the sectarian approach of dismissing Dhamma practices that do not conform to her point of view.



When she is at her best she will make it very clear why the practices represent wrong view. There are many discussions where visitors wander into the web if you will and really there is in many cases a pretty tough revelation of just where their understanding has been let astray by their gurus. But I will admit at other times and this is often the case there's just a simple "no understanding" laid down as soon as the word meditation is mentioned which is really a little bit lazy, there should always be a clear development of the explanation of where specific practices go wrong but perhaps because it is such a familiar topic there is a kind of shorthand at work, regular members are familiar with the exclamation.
If however as you say any dismissing of others' practices is a kind of unwholesome sectarianism then she can certainly be accused of it. But at her best the topic of others' practices don't come up and there is just a lot of helpful unforced guidance towards understanding reality. I would say discussing of others practices only constitutes around 10% of the total discussion time, roughly speaking, unless there is a visitor who is a proponent of some practice that will of course therefore they will be in the hot seat and there will be a lot of discussion about it and yes the visitor will certainly feel grilled... But as Mike said day almost surely know what they're getting into so shouldn't be surprised. And yes perhaps their beliefs and or understanding will be rejected in a pretty forthright way which could be called undiplomatic or inconsiderate or even intellectually lazy at times or whatever. She's in her mid 80s after all and discusses for hours on end and so she can't always be perfectly engaging I don't think.

In passing Mike thanks for your comments on the ancient commentaries I agree absolutely is it really a bit ridiculous how readily they are dismissed. Certainly they can and should be questioned but the easy dismissal is a bit absurd and indicates something really lazy about modern-day approach to Dhamma and also a failure to appreciate that it is really much much deeper and subtler then we naturally like to and want to think/believe in order to get quick comfort and solace and encouragement out of it...my opinion.

I wrote this quickly sorry for any typos caused by Siri.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:17 am

phil wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
phil wrote: I would like to hear more acknowledgment that what she says might be wrong on some points. I think she is less likely to give the impression that she thinks she is infallible than some of her students do. Not thinking of Robert there, actually...
In listening to the linked talk in this msg viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=280#p229904 Sujin is her own worst enemy, in that she encourages her followers in the sectarian approach of dismissing Dhamma practices that do not conform to her point of view.



When she is at her best she will make it very clear why the practices represent wrong view.
In her opinion. From what has been presented here via the linked talk, numerous quotes from her and from Nina VG and from what robertk and dhamma follower have said, I would have to say that Sujin is rather clueless when it comes to what is actually involved when it comes to actual meditation practice. And this has been addressed at length in this thread, though the Sujin followers here really have not engaged the responses to her criticisms.

If however as you say any dismissing of others' practices is a kind of unwholesome sectarianism then she can certainly be accused of it. But at her best the topic of others' practices don't come up and there is just a lot of helpful unforced guidance towards understanding reality. I would say discussing of others practices only constitutes around 10% of the total discussion time, roughly speaking, unless there is a visitor who is a proponent of some practice that will of course therefore they will be in the hot seat and there will be a lot of discussion about it and yes the visitor will certainly feel grilled...
10% is obviously more than enough to color her followers approach, and she certainly does not do anything to tamp down the triumphalist attitude of her followers as we can hear in the hear in the talk linked above. If you can show us something different, please do.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:31 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:The main theses of Kusota’s paper is not whether the Sujin milieu is a ‘cult’, that quip was mine.

I also had attended Sujin’s lectures at MCU and found much the same as Kusota did from her sycophantic students. That Sujin makes bold, irresponsible claims is her own head, but to not yield when soundly defeated in those claims is intellectually dishonest.

Where is MCU?
Why not start a thread where you briefly illustrate the points she was soundly defeated on.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:19 am

phil wrote:When she is at her best she will make it very clear why the practices represent wrong view…


Sujin makes very clear her own cogent opinion. However, when she and her followers, when confronted to supply evidence from suttanta (or even the commentaries which could point to suttanta) only revert to further Sujin opinion. In short, there is no discussion with them as any attempt becomes circular.

robertk wrote:Where is MCU?


http://www.mcu.ac.th/site/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahachulal ... University

robertk wrote:Why not start a thread where you briefly illustrate the points she was soundly defeated on.


This thread has already defeated Sujin from those of her own choir.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby phil » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:49 am

Hi Tiltbilling, all


10% is obviously more than enough to color her followers approach, and she certainly does not do anything to tamp down the triumphalist attitude of her followers as we can hear in the hear in the talk linked above. If you can show us something different, please do.


Well, I'll be out of this thread now, but I'll just leave a taste. I find the best thing is to just get her talking about the natural development of understanding, which must be very gradual,and of course accompanied by detachment. (I assume we are acknowledge that as panna is kusala, it must -- as all kusala cittas must -- be accompanied by alobha. Now, to be honest, these days I am listening to other teachers because I am wanting fast results, instant tips for how to fend with sense door objects in a more strategic way, for example, in order to lead a more wholesome life and be happier. And surely the Buddha in many suttas does so as well. I think in particular of the MN sutta where he, for example, tells Rahula to consider the implications of his actions, or when he talks of when he decided to categorize his thoughts into two categories, very pragmatic strategies or remedies that can be applied upon hearing, as long as they are remembered by a basic level of sati. So when I listen to Joseph Goldstein, for example, there are lots of useful tips for negotiating daily life. And yet, when I listen to her when she is just talking like in the first five minutes of the following link, there is something much subtler, much closer to the heartwood, I feel, a real appreciation of anataness and detachment that develops little by little from the beginning along with understanding. But I am too impatient for results to be content with such a gradual development of understanding.

http://www.dhammastudygroup.org/audio/i ... aya_02.mp3


In any case,I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to hear her, and look forward to making another trip in January. (Lovely people and great food and lovely settings as well, that is maybe as big of a reason to want to go.)

OK, I will move on from this thread.

Thanks.

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:29 am

phil wrote: Well, I'll be out of this thread now, but I'll just leave a taste. I find the best thing is to just get her talking about the natural development of understanding, which must be very gradual,and of course accompanied by detachment. (I assume we are acknowledge that as panna is kusala, it must -- as all kusala cittas must -- be accompanied by alobha.
What I find interesting is the movement from unwholesome to wholesome. I just do not find Sujin's explanation very convincing, but I'll listen to the linked talk and see what there is to see.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:43 am

I listened to the first 5+ mins, and I will, when I am not at work, listen to all of it. I understand what she is doing here, and what the basis is for her criticism of other ways of practice. And I still think she has not a clue as to what is going on when someone sits on a cushion to meditate.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby culaavuso » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:40 pm

phil wrote:Now, to be honest, these days I am listening to other teachers because I am wanting fast results, instant tips for how to fend with sense door objects in a more strategic way, for example, in order to lead a more wholesome life and be happier. And surely the Buddha in many suttas does so as well. I think in particular of the MN sutta where he, for example, tells Rahula to consider the implications of his actions, or when he talks of when he decided to categorize his thoughts into two categories, very pragmatic strategies or remedies that can be applied upon hearing, as long as they are remembered by a basic level of sati. So when I listen to Joseph Goldstein, for example, there are lots of useful tips for negotiating daily life.


The suttas appear to describe craving, discontent, exertion when unskillful states have arisen, distress and longing as all being productive along the path when they arise in with appropriate conditions. This desire for results may be productive or unproductive depending on conditions, but in productive conditions it appears to be described as furthering development of the path.

AN 4.159: Bhikkhunī Sutta wrote:This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.


AN 2.5: Upaññāta Sutta wrote:Monks, I have known two qualities through experience: discontent with regard to skillful qualities and unrelenting exertion. Relentlessly I exerted myself, [thinking,] 'Gladly would I let the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if I have not attained what can be reached through human firmness, human persistence, human striving, there will be no relaxing my persistence.' From this heedfulness of mine was attained Awakening. From this heedfulness of mine was attained the unexcelled freedom from bondage.


AN 6.20: Maraṇasati Sutta wrote:If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities.


MN 141: Saccavibhaṅga Sutta wrote:And what is right effort? There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen... for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen... for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen... (and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This is called right effort.


MN 137: Saḷāyatana­vibhaṅga Sutta wrote:And what are the six kinds of renunciation distress? The distress coming from the longing that arises in one who is filled with longing for the unexcelled liberations when — experiencing the inconstancy of those very forms, their change, fading, & cessation — he sees with right discernment as it actually is that all forms, past or present, are inconstant, stressful, subject to change and he is filled with this longing: 'O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that the noble ones now enter & remain in?' This is called renunciation distress. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)
...
By depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation distress, abandon & transcend the six kinds of household distress.


AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:And what is the result of stress? There are some cases in which a person overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast, & becomes bewildered. Or one overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, comes to search outside, 'Who knows a way or two to stop this pain?' I tell you, monks, that stress results either in bewilderment or in search. This is called the result of stress.
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