AN 6.55: Sona Sutta

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Re: AN 6.55: Sona Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:47 pm

Hi Mal,
Mal wrote:
AN 6.55 wrote:Then the Blessed One, as soon as he perceived with his awareness the train of thought in Ven. Sona's awareness — as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm or bend his outstretched arm — disappeared from Vulture Peak Mountain, appeared in the Cool Wood right in front of Ven. Sona, and sat down on a prepared seat.


Did this actually happen or is it an "effect" added by the storyteller to stress the Buddha's importance through adding a mythical/supernatural element? Did the historical Buddha have telepathic and telekinetic powers? If so, why can't modern monks read my thoughts or teleport?

AN 6.5 wrote:
Ven. Sona, after bowing down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Just now, as you were meditating in seclusion, didn't this train of thought appear to your awareness: 'Of the Blessed One's disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but my mind is not released from the fermentations... What if I were to disavow the training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?'"



Isn't this something that most practitioners will think frequently? So is the Buddha really mind reading or using subtle clues, that an expert pyschologist might see, to guess Sona's state of mind?

Well, of course, these passages may or may not be added, and may or may not be meant to be taken literally. But perhaps they represent how the Buddha understood exactly what Sona needed, and how he appeared at just the right time.

Mal wrote:
AN 6.5 wrote:"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune[2]the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."


Is this persistence in everyday activities, or persistence in meditation? I'm guessing the latter, if so, I don't get "attune the pitch of the five faculties" metaphor. How do you tune your hearing? Isn't hearing just a given, you can't make yourself not-tone-deaf!

I think you answered this question for yourself later, that the faculties are faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom, not the senses.
Mal wrote:
AN 6.5 wrote:So after that, Ven. Sona determined the right pitch for his persistence...


OK that metaphor makes sense to me.

AN 6.5 wrote:"When a monk is an arahant ... he is dedicated to six things: renunciation, seclusion, non-afflictiveness, the ending of craving, the ending of clinging/sustenance, & non-deludedness.


So can an arahant teach? If renuciation is "dedicated" then shouldn't everything go except the minimum basics for life - food, water, minimal shelter. Besides being something else "beyond the basics", teaching is obviously not a secluded activity, it's afflictive (!), and surely there's a great danger of desiring, and clinging to, the success of your pupils.

mikenz66 wrote:The monk whose fermentations are ended, having fulfilled [the holy life], does not see in himself anything further to do, or anything further to add to what he has done. It is because of the ending of passion, because of his being free of passion, that he is dedicated to renunciation. It is because of the ending of aversion, because of his being free of aversion, that he is dedicated to renunciation. It is because of the ending of delusion, because of his being free of delusion, that he is dedicated to renunciation.


So he wouldn't see himself as having to teach, would have no passion to pass on the dhamma, and would be dedicated to renouncing his teaching activities?

This is like the monk in the film Black Narcissus - he sits on the mountain while the Catholic nuns and "action men" do their (good) works & suffer, lust & suffer, etc. He sits there, does nothing, he's beyond suffering... but he's also beyond teaching and helping the poverty stricken villagers.

I read it in a more positive way: There is nothing to add to the awakening. That is complete.

:anjali:
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Re: AN 6.55: Sona Sutta

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:34 pm

Mal wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:How much is too much? How much is not enough? A vina player can match the pitch of his intrument to a known note, such as a tuning fork. But there is no such objective yardstick for the persisting meditator. Perhaps the idea is leaving it to the individual practitioner to experiment and find out whether a tune can actually be played on the instrument - or whether one can actually meditate in a way that one judges to be beneficial.


There are qualities of jhana - calm, joy, ecstasy, equanimity, spacuiousness, nimittas... Wouldn't those be as close to "objective" yardsticks as you can get? Of course, jhana is a state only available to advanced meditators, but these qualities are felt before jhana. Shouldn''t we doing whatever encourages the beginnings of these qualities?


They might be as close as we can get - I don't know. But they are certainly not objective, and the fact that most if not all of these mental qualities are subject to doubt and frequent debate on these pages means that there is an obvious pitfall in any individual trusting that they know what they are. (Note that some of them have "near enemies", and some are translations of two or more different Pali terms) Jhana, for example, is extraordinarily hard to pin down. Many people seem sure that they know what it is, but their accounts differ a lot. Descriptions of mental states - especially translated out of their original cultural context - are weak predictors of whether two or more people using the same terminology are talking about the same thing.

So yes, I think we should do whatever encourages the beginnings of these qualities, and I agree with Mike's point that

one needs the right balance of energy and concentration to develop deep samadhi.


Before the samadhi is actually developed however, and hence before we know by means of hindsight, the problem is knowing what to do with a particular mental quality. If one is not actually experiencing samadhi right now, it is not immediately obvious what one should do.
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Re: AN 6.55: Sona Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:27 am


"Bhante, when a bhikkhu is thus perfectly liberated in mind, even if powerful forms cognizable by the eye come into range of the eye, they do not obsess his mind; his mind is not at all affected. It remains steady, attained to imperturbability, and he observes its vanishing. ... sounds ... odours ... tastes ... tactile objects ... phenomena cognizable by the mind ...


    Mp: He sees the arising an vanishing of that mind.
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Re: AN 6.55: Sona Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:36 am


"Suppose, Bhante, there were a stone mountain ...


    A different simile is used in AN 9.25
    http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
    6. Silàyåpasuta: A stone Column
    Friend, when the bhikkhu's mind is rightfully released thus, even a lot of forms cognizable by eye consciousness coming to the purview of the eye do not overwhelm the mind, they do not get mixed up with the mind. The mind stays unmoved seeing their fading.

    Friend, like a stone column of sixteen cubits, eight cubits of which is deeply rooted underneath and eight cubits stand above. Even if a great wind comes from the east, it does not shake or shiver. ... re ... from the west, ... re ... from the north, ... re ... from the south, it does not shake or shiver. What is the reason? Friend, because of the deep establishment of the stone column. In the same manner friend, when the bhikkhu's mind is rightfully released thus,even a lot of forms cognizable by eye consciousness coming to the purview of the eye do not overwhelm the mind, they do not get mixed up with the mind. The mind stays unmoved seeing their fading.

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