A clear mind more important than listening to music

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:16 am

manas wrote:[ But yeah, today I have no doubts about this issue. 'Sticky' music (music with the tendency to get stuck in the mind, to be repeated over and over) is a pain in the...a pain for the mind.
It is a pain because you make it a pain. And avoiding music is not going to stop that.
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby convivium » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:22 am

Ajahn Brahm:

The party was going on. It was already 2 am. The sound of merry making from the Thai villagers was impossible to ignore. A young monk sitting in his kuti (hut) was not feeling happy.

He was unable to meditate.

Nor get to sleep.

His waking time was usually at 3 am. How was he possibly going to survive on one hour’s sleep if at all, he wondered.

The young monk decided to have a chat with his peers. His peers were equally vexed by the same issue. Would it be possible to ask the villagers to end their partying earlier? They debated for a while and agreed that no villager was going to listen to their request. After all, they were a group of foreigners, who had each separately come from afar to learn from a great Thai meditation teacher. Their Caucasian features would have given them away.

So the group of monks – including the young monk – decided that they would ask their teacher. They concluded that only their great teacher could command enough respect by the local villagers. The villagers would probably accede to his request.

So the young monk approached his teacher. He asked, “Ajahn Chah, I have been disturbed by the noise that the villagers are making in the night. I cannot sleep.”

He continued somewhat hopefully, “Can I get your help in telling them to stop their partying sometime around midnight?”

Ajahn Chah turned to the young monk.

He replied, “It is not that the noise is disturbing you.”

He then went on, “You are disturbing the noise.”


It's the same with sankharas. We say they disturb us, like when we sit in meditation and hear a sound. We think, ''Oh, that sound's bothering me.'' If we understand that the sound bothers us then we suffer accordingly. If we investigate a little deeper, we will see that it's we who go out and disturb the sound! The sound is simply sound. If we understand like this then there's nothing more to it, we leave it be. We see that the sound is one thing, we are another. One who understands that the sound comes to disturb him is one who doesn't see himself. He really doesn't! Once you see yourself, then you're at ease. The sound is just sound, why should you go and grab it? You see that actually it was you who went out and disturbed the sound. - Ajahn Chah
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:It is a pain because you make it a pain. And avoiding music is not going to stop that.

Then why are monks and other serious meditators encouraged to give up sensual things at all? The reason we have these precepts in place is because sensual indulgence does objectively muddle the mind, and one who chooses to renounce something in order to reduce the muddling should be praised.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:01 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is a pain because you make it a pain. And avoiding music is not going to stop that.

Then why are monks and other serious meditators encouraged to give up sensual things at all?
And you do not think that "monks and other serious meditators" never get earworms or have to deal with other annoyances, internal and external, no matter how disciplined they may be or free of external distractions? Not listening to music is not going to stop earworms and other internal chatter and annoyances from external sources even for "monks and other serious meditators."

The reason we have these precepts in place is because sensual indulgence does objectively muddle the mind, and one who chooses to renounce something in order to reduce the muddling should be praised.
There is renunciation and then there is renunciation. Reread the OP. What was being expressed there was a lot of negative, averse ideation. Renunciation grounded in that might not be the best way to start.

Also, what constitutes "sensual indulgence?"

See: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=16603&p=236632#p236621
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:03 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is a pain because you make it a pain. And avoiding music is not going to stop that.
Also. you really did not address what I am saying here.
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby manas » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is a pain because you make it a pain. And avoiding music is not going to stop that.
Also. you really did not address what I am saying here.


Tilt,

I appreciate that you are trying to help me, by pointing out my aversion to music going on in my head. Thank you for reminding me not to become aversive if such things happen, and to remain watchful. But actually the whole point of this topic, was that I had a realization: that there is an easy way to be rid of the noise: Stop putting it in there, in the first place. Yes, I know it won't fully solve the problem of a noisy mind. But it will help. As I understand it, this practice is part of the Eight Precepts, and is to be encouraged. I am a bit confused as to why you seem to be kind of 'pouring cold water' over this idea (correct me if this is not your intention, but that is the feeling I am getting).

Kind regards :anjali:
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby Mr Man » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:48 am

Hi Manas
I think it could be an intereating experiment but remember to keep your practice sustainable.
It's posible that the race is going to be a marathon.
:anjali:
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby manas » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:There is renunciation and then there is renunciation. Reread the OP. What was being expressed there was a lot of negative, averse ideation. Renunciation grounded in that might not be the best way to start.


I am saddened by this judgement you are making here. I felt quite inspired and even uplifted this morning when I wrote that OP. Not 'negative' at all. But rather, realizing that sometimes on the Path, there comes a time to let go of a particular sensual indulgence, and it can seem like this natural thing rather than a big challenge. Is it safe to be so honest about my practice here? To express my feelings like this about joy in the Path? Without you saying there was a lot of 'negative, averse ideation'?

The concern for the possibility of that kind of reaction to honest, forthright sharing of a personal journey, used to stop me from being too forthright and honest here on DW. I thought, "best just to keep things to yourself". But lately I have decided that, since there's no easily accessible, physical 'sangha' I can hang out with, to more fully embrace this idea of the 'virtual sangha' here online. But this comes with risks, that someone will really misapprehend the spirit and intention of what was written, and that's what you have done in this case. Since when is giving up a sensual indulgence, and joyfully rather than with a groan of how hard it's going to be, anything other than a positive thing? If I had been gritting my teeth and with tears saying "oh this is going to be hell..." - then I would understand your comment. But I thought I made it clear, that I have made an experiential link with the concept of cause and effect here. This is a positive step, not a negative one, nor was it undertaken in a negative frame of mind. Quite the opposite.
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:24 pm

manas wrote:Hello all,

it has become apparent to me, in the course of trying to be 'mindful in everyday life', i.e. when doing even mundane tasks such as cooking, washing dishes etc, and even sometimes during sitting meditation, that the music often playing in the background of my awareness, like a soundtrack in my head, has got to go. I have tried so many other ways to cleanse it from my mind, but as an ex-musician who spent years training and developing his 'inner ear' to hear melody and harmony in his head, it has now become a burden to the point where, I think I just need to stop listening to music. I find that having 'earworms' hinders being really present with the body in the here-and-now, it kind of sucks or drags awareness in the direction of obsessive thoughts, and away from the body and it's current task.

I have these "earworms" also. I wonder what they're really about. Just a way to provide an ongoing internal distraction?

But I've discovered this habit reveals an important principle - it is volitional activity, just exactly the same as singing out loud. But people generally don't suppose they can't stop singing out loud. I guess mental activity is more habit-forming. Addictive, even. But it doesn't change the fact that it's not a case of the mind doing this stuff "on it's own." It is, in fact, our own activity, and we can stop doing it, exactly the same as how we can start/stop talking out loud. The key is applying effort to wakefulness, in my experience.

As for your decision to give up listening to music for awhile, I think a quiet-er environment is conducive to practicing mindfulness. There is that much less sensual distraction to reach out and latch onto.
"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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:45 pm

manas wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:There is renunciation and then there is renunciation. Reread the OP. What was being expressed there was a lot of negative, averse ideation. Renunciation grounded in that might not be the best way to start.


I am saddened by this judgement you are making here. I felt quite inspired and even uplifted this morning when I wrote that OP. Not 'negative' at all. But rather, realizing that sometimes on the Path, there comes a time to let go of a particular sensual indulgence, and it can seem like this natural thing rather than a big challenge. Is it safe to be so honest about my practice here? To express my feelings like this about joy in the Path? Without you saying there was a lot of 'negative, averse ideation'?

The concern for the possibility of that kind of reaction to honest, forthright sharing of a personal journey, used to stop me from being too forthright and honest here on DW. I thought, "best just to keep things to yourself". But lately I have decided that, since there's no easily accessible, physical 'sangha' I can hang out with, to more fully embrace this idea of the 'virtual sangha' here online. But this comes with risks, that someone will really misapprehend the spirit and intention of what was written, and that's what you have done in this case. Since when is giving up a sensual indulgence, and joyfully rather than with a groan of how hard it's going to be, anything other than a positive thing? If I had been gritting my teeth and with tears saying "oh this is going to be hell..." - then I would understand your comment. But I thought I made it clear, that I have made an experiential link with the concept of cause and effect here. This is a positive step, not a negative one, nor was it undertaken in a negative frame of mind. Quite the opposite.
I am sorry for offending you with what i wrote, which certainly was not my intention. I think, however, you might want to go back and look at what you wrote.
"music running in my head a lot of the time has become a burden" Also, you might want to consider what else I said.

Given that music has been an important thing in your life, your stopping listening to music is not going to make the unwanted earworms go away. Stopping listening to music may be, for any number of reasons, what you need to do. Maybe, but far more importantly, learning to pay attention, with lightness, to your mind's functioning is even more directly to the point, particularly since you cannot always control your envirnment, nor can one necessarily control what pops up in the mind, but we can cultivate the mindfulnees, the attention, that allows us to let go of, not by force of will but by arising insight, those things that are distractions and our negative responses to them. Probably the best thing posted in this thread is this: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=16603&start=20#p236621

Again, my apologies.
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:05 pm

manas wrote:
Tilt,

I appreciate that you are trying to help me, by pointing out my aversion to music going on in my head. Thank you for reminding me not to become aversive if such things happen, and to remain watchful. But actually the whole point of this topic, was that I had a realization: that there is an easy way to be rid of the noise: Stop putting it in there, in the first place. Yes, I know it won't fully solve the problem of a noisy mind. But it will help. As I understand it, this practice is part of the Eight Precepts, and is to be encouraged. I am a bit confused as to why you seem to be kind of 'pouring cold water' over this idea (correct me if this is not your intention, but that is the feeling I am getting).

Kind regards :anjali:
When you do something as radical, for a musician, as stopping listening to music because you perceive the music in your head as a burden, you can expect (though it might not happen that way) for a lot of varying internal responses to arise before any real equanimity becomes evident. A quiet environment, fewer distractions, are all important and good things.

There is a story about a fellow, who at a retreat center in the Rockies, got a lovely little cabin in the woods as a place to do his month long practice. It was next to a stream far away from any human distractions. Very lovely, very quiet, a great place to practice, and as he was practicing he heard the stream softly babbling on to the tune of the Star Spangled banner, a tune that he particularly hated. Very annoying, very distracting, so much so that he went out an rearranged the rocks in the stream, thinking that might help. It did not. Some things are burdens only because we let them become burdens. That is worth seeing. Stop the music and then pay attention. It is always an ongoing, empirical experiment, and the sole tool is paying attention. That is all I am trying to say here.
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:47 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Some things are burdens only because we let them become burdens. That is worth seeing. Stop the music and then pay attention. It is always an ongoing, empirical experiment, and the sole tool is paying attention. That is all I am trying to say here.

And some things are burdens because they are "sensual pleasures with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable."

I remember an interview with Thanissaro once where he said that his guiding principle about what books to read was essentially, "Stay away from anything that will pop up when you close your eyes." You keep pointing to that Ajahn Brahm story, but I missed the part where, after hearing Chah's admonition, he then turns on Top 40 radio. You're right that we must be mindful of mental distractions, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with removing the source of such a distraction so that it may not arise in the future. When a member comes on the forum to express his happiness regarding a decision he's made to further his meditation, it is absolutely inappropriate to respond as you did. It's not particularly meaningful Dhamma advice, but more importantly, it's not beneficial. I know that you are a respected and important member of this forum, and I sincerely value your posts, but your reaction here was not samma vaca.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby SamBodhi » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:26 pm

manas wrote:...that the music often playing in the background of my awareness, like a soundtrack in my head, has got to go.
:anjali:



As a painter and a musician, I nearly always have something going on. I make ambient music and my most recent set is devoted to sounds that work well for listening to while doing something else. However, in recent days, I have not been listening to music at all when painting and it is so much more rewarding. The sort of painting I do requires a concentration that can't be reached when listening to something else.

Were it not for those who have said my music feels to them like a meditative experience, I would probably feel pretty bad about the sort of distraction I had provided.


with Metta,
SamBodhi
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unentangled knowing,
All outward-going knowing
cast aside."
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby marc108 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:30 pm

i gave up music a few years ago for this exact reason. i found not only did music i had recently heard auto-play constantly during the day when i would prefer silence, but that in meditation music i had not heard for days or even weeks would randomly come up. once in a while i will listen to some music with my girlfriend or driving, but very rarely. i now mostly listen to Dhamma talks instead. i think my meditation and clarity of mind have improved as a result.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:04 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Some things are burdens only because we let them become burdens. That is worth seeing. Stop the music and then pay attention. It is always an ongoing, empirical experiment, and the sole tool is paying attention. That is all I am trying to say here.

And some things are burdens because they are "sensual pleasures with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable."
An earworm, a primary player in this topic, is a burden only if one makes it a burden, and seeing an earworm that has arisen as a burden, as a block to awareness, as an annoyance, as a distraction, and making one unhappy and then one wants it gone -- all of that is aversion. If renunciation is motivated by such aversion, then one needs to be aware of that, and that, then, is part of what one works with.

I remember an interview with Thanissaro once where he said that his guiding principle about what books to read was essentially, "Stay away from anything that will pop up when you close your eyes."
Which includes much of life.

You keep pointing to that Ajahn Brahm story, but I missed the part where, after hearing Chah's admonition, he then turns on Top 40 radio.
" he then turns on Top 40 radio." Damdifino what you are talking about here; your statement is less than clear.

You're right that we must be mindful of mental distractions, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with removing the source of such a distraction so that it may not arise in the future.
But the real source of such distractions and aversion, as Ajahn Chah made clear, is in oneself. Removing distractions in order to meditate more effectively is a reasonable thing, but one needs to be willing to be aware of one's motivation when one chooses to act in a particular way. And one's motivation may be very mixed, indeed, and since motivations are not always immediately obvious, that is stuff that one should be willing to look at as it presents itself.

When a member comes on the forum to express his happiness regarding a decision he's made to further his meditation, it is absolutely inappropriate to respond as you did. It's not particularly meaningful Dhamma advice, but more importantly, it's not beneficial. I know that you are a respected and important member of this forum, and I sincerely value your posts, but your reaction here was not samma vaca.
Thank you for sharing your opinion, but I simply do not agree with what you are saying here. My point is simply that one needs to be willing to look a bit more deeply at why one does something as that plays itself out in one's life. Just because renunciation is a virtue does not mean that such an action should not be looked at as to why it is undertaken.
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:An earworm, a primary player in this topic, is a burden only if one makes it a burden, and seeing an earworm that has arisen as a burden, as a block to awareness, as an annoyance, as a distraction, and making one unhappy and then one wants it gone -- all of that is aversion. If renunciation is motivated by such aversion, then one needs to be aware of that, and that, then, is part of what one works with.

It is not aversion to identify something is a distraction and hindrance to meditation and then take steps to remove that hindrance. The aversion you are attempting to highlight is just not there.

Which includes much of life.

It certainly includes sensual indulgence.

Damdifino what you are talking about here; your statement is less than clear.

What I mean to say is, while that story is obviously a good lesson in dealing with things as they come, it does not imply that sense restraint is somehow unnecessary. I guarantee you, if someone asked Ajahn Chah whether or not they should listen to music, he would advise them not to.

There is more to meditation than just equanimity, and it is no sign of aversion should one turn away from a lesser happiness in order to facilitate easier access to a greater one. The OP is not trying to remake the world in his image or somehow banish these earworms from existence; he's just trying to take pragmatic steps to reduce their occurrence by following a set of restrictions enshrined in the precepts themselves. Why do you think the eighth precept exists if not for exactly this reason?

But the real source of such distractions and aversion, as Ajahn Chah made clear, is in oneself.

The source of the aversion is in oneself, but the distraction is obviously external. Even the Buddha went off into the forest to meditate. If all distractions are purely internal, why didn't he hang out in the city or do Jhana in the marketplace?

Removing distractions in order to meditate more effectively is a reasonable thing, but one needs to be willing to be aware of one's motivation when one chooses to act in a particular way. And one's motivation may be very mixed, indeed, and since motivations are not always immediately obvious, that is stuff that one should be willing to look at as it presents itself.

I absolutely agree.

Thank you for sharing your opinion, but I simply do not agree with what you are saying here. My point is simply that one needs to be willing to look a bit more deeply at why one does something as that plays itself out in one's life. Just because renunciation is a virtue does not mean that such an action should not be looked at as to why it is undertaken.

And there is no reason to assume this action is being taken for any reason other than one's desire for more effective and distraction-free meditation. What you are calling aversion is nothing more than pragmatism.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby convivium » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:36 pm

i'm glad to see the ajahn chah quotes posted without any context have sparked some discussion. music isn't really a need, however much it may seem to be to certain people in certain circumstances. vinaya followers need to be content with having needs for survival met, and not seek that which satisfies only self-interested wants. but for lay people or ordinary people, art and music can at least provide significant means to cope with daily life. sometimes we can't just go beyond coping in daily life. as far as escapism or means to subdue the aversion and craving of the will go, great art and music are among the most suitable alternatives to meditation in my experience.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby Mr Man » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:53 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote: I guarantee you, if someone asked Ajahn Chah whether or not they should listen to music, he would advise them not to.


???
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Re: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:53 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:An earworm, a primary player in this topic, is a burden only if one makes it a burden, and seeing an earworm that has arisen as a burden, as a block to awareness, as an annoyance, as a distraction, and making one unhappy and then one wants it gone -- all of that is aversion. If renunciation is motivated by such aversion, then one needs to be aware of that, and that, then, is part of what one works with.

It is not aversion to identify something is a distraction and hindrance to meditation and then take steps to remove that hindrance. The aversion you are attempting to highlight is just not there.
All I can go by is what is written, and in this our opinions are going to vary.

Which includes much of life.

It certainly includes sensual indulgence.
And so much more.

Damdifino what you are talking about here; your statement is less than clear.

What I mean to say is, while that story is obviously a good lesson in dealing with things as they come, it does not imply that sense restraint is somehow unnecessary. I guarantee you, if someone asked Ajahn Chah whether or not they should listen to music, he would advise them not to.
I never said, I never would say, sense restraint was unnecessary or without value, but even more important is to learn how to relate to one's earworms rather than trying manipulate the environment so that might not arise again. It is a balancing act.

There is more to meditation than just equanimity, and it is no sign of aversion should one turn away from a lesser happiness in order to facilitate easier access to a greater one. The OP is not trying to remake the world in his image or somehow banish these earworms from existence; he's just trying to take pragmatic steps to reduce their occurrence by following a set of restrictions enshrined in the precepts themselves. Why do you think the eighth precept exists if not for exactly this reason?
The description was not a turning away from a lesser happiness, but, rather, trying to do away with a perceived cause of earworms, earworms being identified as a burden, an unwanted distraction, but what about the earworms that arises, as they are wont to do, well after no music has been listened to?

That he is trying something is fine, but my point is that when one does this is to be open to what arises as a result, and part of what arises is going to be dependent upon motivation.

But the real source of such distractions and aversion, as Ajahn Chah made clear, is in oneself.

The source of the aversion is in oneself, but the distraction is obviously external. Even the Buddha went off into the forest to meditate. If all distractions are purely internal, why didn't he hang out in the city or do Jhana in the marketplace?
I have have spent time in deciduous and subtropical forests. They can both, during the spring and summer months, be very noisy, indeed. The issue here is learning how to deal with these annoyances, burdens, distraction, because one cannot always control one's environment.

Thank you for sharing your opinion, but I simply do not agree with what you are saying here. My point is simply that one needs to be willing to look a bit more deeply at why one does something as that plays itself out in one's life. Just because renunciation is a virtue does not mean that such an action should not be looked at as to why it is undertaken.

And there is no reason to assume this action is being taken for any reason other than one's desire for more effective and distraction-free meditation. What you are calling aversion is nothing more than pragmatism.
In your opinion.
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: A clear mind more important than listening to music

Postby convivium » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:56 pm

there is an argument which goes like something as follows:
mantras, music, chants, etc. are artificial vibrations.
artificial vibrations obscure discernment of natural vibrations (we need to see things as they are, not how we want them to be)
mindfulness of natural vibrations (vedena, in some sense isolated from sankara) is necessary to achieve heightened discernment of phenomena.
heightened discernment of phenomena is necessary for enlightenment, etc.
this argument is great for more advanced practitioners, or monks.
however, for ordinary people, sankara is always clouding or smoking up vedana in one way or another.
it seems better and healthier to condition a calm (albeit 'artificially' fabricated) form of sankara to cloud or smoke up our discernment of vedena qua vedana, rather than letting a neurotic, crazed, stressed one do so out of control (this is why people do what people do i.e. seek ways to escape). so, as ordinary people, we should at least choose more skillful ways to escape (great art, music, heightened thinking, etc) when we are at the borderline of otherwise choosing unskillful ways to cope, and cannot establish sati, etc.
Last edited by convivium on Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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