Craving stillness.

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Craving stillness.

Postby K.Dhamma » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:51 pm

How do you fight the craving to want more stillness? I know that craving is my problem, but for some reason I get to certain points in my meditation and I "grasp" onto these points of stillness and then they fade away. I feel like it's maybe a problem with my perspective. Please, any help?
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:56 pm

K.Dhamma wrote:How do you fight the craving to want more stillness? I know that craving is my problem, but for some reason I get to certain points in my meditation and I "grasp" onto these points of stillness and then they fade away. I feel like it's maybe a problem with my perspective. Please, any help?
Don't grasp onto those points of stillness.
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: Craving stillness.

Postby manas » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:05 pm

K.Dhamma wrote:How do you fight the craving to want more stillness? I know that craving is my problem, but for some reason I get to certain points in my meditation and I "grasp" onto these points of stillness and then they fade away. I feel like it's maybe a problem with my perspective. Please, any help?


Hi KDhamma,

I can recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu's talks for issues relating to jhana cultivation and practice:

http://www.dhammatalks.org/mp3_index.html

I think he 'knows the territory' and could be of assistance :anjali:
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby K.Dhamma » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:02 pm

Thank you and much metta.
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby Samma » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:09 am

Yea I think this issue is relatively common. I think this is generally grouped under restlessness in the 5hinderances. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auddhatya
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#rest

Craving comes up when you compare to past practice, want your state to be better soon, get excited by what you have and don't want it to go, and so on. So quieting thoughts is key here as well, see:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It revolves around unwise attention, so focus on benificial things instead. Hope this is helpful, be well.
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby K.Dhamma » Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:55 am

What about when people reach these jhanas and have that sense of pleasure from it? I have heard people talk that it is normal to crave that pleasure but I guess the important question is: Does desire to want that pleasure constitute craving? Or does it depend on the context of why the pleasure is being craved?

So let's just say a person experiences this "rapture." What if the person wants the "rapture" more than anything else and tries to attain it? Does that mean they are craving? Is it considered an unwholesome craving? I'm sorry about all of the questions. I just have read a few things and these questions popped up in my mind and it seemed a little counter intuitive.
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby K.Dhamma » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:00 am

After re-reading that I am thinking I should repost that into a new posting. But i'll just try to bump this one before cluttering up the forum.
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby IanAnd » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:35 pm

K.Dhamma wrote:What about when people reach these jhanas and have that sense of pleasure from it? I have heard people talk that it is normal to crave that pleasure but I guess the important question is: Does desire to want that pleasure constitute craving? Or does it depend on the context of why the pleasure is being craved?

So let's just say a person experiences this "rapture." What if the person wants the "rapture" more than anything else and tries to attain it? Does that mean they are craving? Is it considered an unwholesome craving? I'm sorry about all of the questions. I just have read a few things and these questions popped up in my mind and it seemed a little counter intuitive.

Funny that you should be asking these questions. Someone else recently asked similar questions and my answer was posted here:

Trying to separate tanha from vedana

    There are some pleasures that are not indicative of an attachment by craving for sensual pleasures resulting in unwholesome states. Recall that the Buddha once questioned his own experience of dhyana, saying: "Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states?" Then it occurred to him, "I am not afraid of that pleasure since it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states." And he proceeded to develop his practice of dhyana with a clear mind at ease.
The Buddha's quotation was taken from MN 36.

In reference to the questions posed in your first paragraph, notice the qualifying parameter: "sensual pleasures resulting in unwholesome states."

In the case of the context in which you've asked the questions in the second paragraph, someone in pursuit of the attainment of a dhyana meditation state who was craving rapture for the sake of experiencing its pleasure alone would be practicing under a wrong view, and hence would need to detach themselves from (become dispassionate about) that view (and unwholesome craving).

The point, from my perspective, of taking up a practice of dhyana meditation is to be able to attain to the fourth dhyana where the mind is at ease, free from distraction, and able to "see things as they are" in order to be able to take up insight objects leading to awakening. Rapture (piti) is just one of the elements on the way to that fourth level, which ultimately has to be dropped in order to enter the fourth level. To cling to it would be unhealthy for one's practice. See?
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby K.Dhamma » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:47 am

Thank you all. Ianand, that last posting really hit the nail on the head. I got a moment of insight from that and I can put this idea to rest. Thank you so much.
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:20 am

K.Dhamma wrote:How do you fight the craving to want more stillness? I know that craving is my problem, but for some reason I get to certain points in my meditation and I "grasp" onto these points of stillness and then they fade away. I feel like it's maybe a problem with my perspective. Please, any help?

You shouldn't. Its precisely this kind of craving that leads to enlightenment.

AN 4.154:

"This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'I hope that I, too, will — through the ending of the fermentations — enter & remain in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for myself in the here & now.' Then, at a later time, he abandons craving, having relied on craving. 'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said."
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Re: Craving stillness.

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:48 am

mogg wrote:
K.Dhamma wrote:How do you fight the craving to want more stillness? I know that craving is my problem, but for some reason I get to certain points in my meditation and I "grasp" onto these points of stillness and then they fade away. I feel like it's maybe a problem with my perspective. Please, any help?

You shouldn't. Its precisely this kind of craving that leads to enlightenment.

No, that is not correct.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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