Not-Thinking as a practice

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Alex123 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:53 pm

Bhante,

Thank you for your reply,

Dhammanando wrote:If one is a worldling there is no 'how' about it. One cannot not conceive, nor is not conceiving one’s task. Likewise if one is an arahant there is no 'how' about it: having cut off the fetter of māna the arahant does not have to deliberately refrain from conceiving any more than he needs to deliberately abstain from immoral conduct.



Then "how" do you suggest one becomes an Aryan?


With best wishes,

Alex
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:53 pm

SarathW wrote:Mr Man
I think that you mean the Dhayna infinity of space. In that state you are thinking about the space.

Hi SarathW,
I guess it would depend on what we understood "think" to be. From the OP I had understood thought to be mental dialogue.
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:02 pm

Dhammanando wrote:A worldling who believes that the abandoning of māna consists in the deliberate avoidance of thinking and conceiving will be going about things the wrong way. He will probably just end up frustrated, unless he’s a jhāna-wallah and very strongly committed to deliberate abstention from thinking, in which case he may arrive at the impercipient attainment and end up spending a few kalpas in the Brahmā realms as an anthropomorphic block of stone.

Hi Ajahn,
Could MN20 The Vitakkasanthana Sutta be dealling with this also?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:50 am

Alex123 wrote:Then "how" do you suggest one becomes an Aryan?


By arriving at a level of insight knowledge that is adequate to cut off the first three fetters. This is done by developing and making much of the Eightfold Path.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:27 am

Bhante,

Dhammanando wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Then "how" do you suggest one becomes an Aryan?

By arriving at a level of insight knowledge that is adequate to cut off the first three fetters. This is done by developing and making much of the Eightfold Path.


So one practices/develops N8P?

What is wrong with practicing to avoid thinking with greed, anger and delusion? Isn't that part of N8P? Doesn't it help N8P?


With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:08 am

Alex123 wrote:What is wrong with practicing to avoid thinking with greed, anger and delusion?


Nothing, but that's rather different from the non-thinking tout court that you were advocating earlier.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:14 am

Cittasanto wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:A worldling who believes that the abandoning of māna consists in the deliberate avoidance of thinking and conceiving will be going about things the wrong way. He will probably just end up frustrated, unless he’s a jhāna-wallah and very strongly committed to deliberate abstention from thinking, in which case he may arrive at the impercipient attainment and end up spending a few kalpas in the Brahmā realms as an anthropomorphic block of stone.

Hi Ajahn,
Could MN20 The Vitakkasanthana Sutta be dealling with this also?


I understand that sutta to be about the overcoming of the five hindrances in samatha-bhāvanā. Both a Buddhist jhāna-wallah and a non-Buddhist yogi striving to become a block of stone via the impercipient attainment (asaññā-samāpatti) would of course need to do this, for the latter attainment, though not at all approved in Buddhist tradition, does require jhānic proficiency as its foundation.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:22 am

Greetings,

Dhammanando wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Then "how" do you suggest one becomes an Aryan?


By arriving at a level of insight knowledge that is adequate to cut off the first three fetters. This is done by developing and making much of the Eightfold Path.

:bow:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:21 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Hi Ajahn,
Could MN20 The Vitakkasanthana Sutta be dealling with this also?


I understand that sutta to be about the overcoming of the five hindrances in samatha-bhāvanā. Both a Buddhist jhāna-wallah and a non-Buddhist yogi striving to become a block of stone via the impercipient attainment (asaññā-samāpatti) would of course need to do this, for the latter attainment, though not at all approved in Buddhist tradition, does require jhānic proficiency as its foundation.

:anjali:
Thank-you Ajahn,
I feel I was unclear by choosing the wrong post you made to quote. I was thinking more about this when the Sutta came to mind
Dhammanando wrote:Conceiving (maññati, e.g., "he conceives earth...") is what the worldling does do, what the sekha ought not to do, and what the asekha (arahant) does not do.

I Although applying it to more daily life when we may have thoughts and ideas surrounding something increasing (proliferation) instead of dealing with facts of a situation.
However thing the link I made was incorrect.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby jackson » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:18 pm

Pardon my ignorance and slight derailment of the topic, but could someone explain what a Jhana-Wallah is for those of us who don't know the term? I tried looking it up but had no success.
Thanks :anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby imagemarie » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:42 pm

Hi Jackson


Well, some people claim that the term is an oxymoron (Ajahn Brahm?). Because to be able to attain the state of jhana, requires some degree of letting go of self proliferating. That jhana is a kind of free-falling which once initiated, leaves little to attach to. Piti, sukkha etc. are seen to arise and pass.

Others claim that the "bliss states", and beyond, can provide a false haven, or temporary refuge where the notional self can choose to hang out.
Hence "jhana wallah".

I think probably the only resolution to this argument is to test it.

Saying that, I did find this book to be worthwhile.. :tongue:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Experience- ... 999&sr=8-1

:namaste:
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby nibbuti » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:27 pm

imagemarie wrote:Well, some people claim that the term is an oxymoron (Ajahn Brahm?). Because to be able to attain the state of jhana, requires some degree of letting go of self proliferating. That jhana is a kind of free-falling which once initiated, leaves little to attach to. Piti, sukkha etc. are seen to arise and pass.

Others claim that the "bliss states", and beyond, can provide a false haven, or temporary refuge where the notional self can choose to hang out.
Hence "jhana wallah".

Only what is based on craving (for jhana), rather than on letting go, can provide a false haven.

So it should really be 'nose tip' wallah or craving wallah.

:anjali:
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:21 pm

Wakeful non-thinking is not stone-like. Not remotely. On the contrary, it allows for the development of energy, a factor of awakening, rather than its dispersal down the endless rabbit-warrens of the mind. If it was stone-like, the Buddha wouldn't have advocated it. Which he did, as I have pointed out. To further this point:

He should develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off distractive thinking.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Trivial thoughts, subtle thoughts,
Mental jerkings that follow one along:
Not understanding these mental thoughts,
One runs back and forth with wandering mind.

But having known these mental thoughts,
The ardent and mindful one restrains them.
An awakened one has entirely abandoned them,
These mental jerkings that follow one along.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

For one who has mindfulness of in-&-out breathing well established to the fore within oneself, annoying external thoughts & inclinations don't exist.

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: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:50 pm

jackson wrote:Pardon my ignorance and slight derailment of the topic, but could someone explain what a Jhana-Wallah is for those of us who don't know the term? I tried looking it up but had no success.
Thanks :anjali:


In about the mid-80's the term "vipassanā-wallah" came into use as either a jocular term for persons committed to one or another of the modern systems of dry insight meditation or a pejorative term for persons fanatical about the same. I don't know who came up with the term, but I first heard it myself from the Aussie Patrick Kearney when he was a monk in Thailand.

In more recent years, with the growth of interest in absorption practice, "jhāna-wallah" has come into use to denote those with a similar dedication to samatha-bhāvanā.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:18 pm

kirk5a wrote:Wakeful non-thinking is not stone-like. Not remotely. On the contrary, it allows for the development of energy, a factor of awakening, rather than its dispersal down the endless rabbit-warrens of the mind.


Well said. I think it is certainly worth exploring.
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby jackson » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:31 pm

Dhammanando wrote:In about the mid-80's the term "vipassanā-wallah" came into use as either a jocular term for persons committed to one or another of the modern systems of dry insight meditation or a pejorative term for persons fanatical about the same. I don't know who came up with the term, but I first heard it myself from the Aussie Patrick Kearney when he was a monk in Thailand.

In more recent years, with the growth of interest in absorption practice, "jhāna-wallah" has come into use to denote those with a similar dedication to samatha-bhāvanā.

Thank you for the interesting bit of history Venerable Dhammanando. I'd also like to take this time to say it's great to see you posting on these boards again, I enjoy reading your posts very much.
Anyway, :focus:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:53 am

Alex123 wrote:Experience is always direct. Thoughts about it, are at best one level removed from actual experience.

So, when we're thinking, we're not experiencing? They can never occur simultaneously?

Maybe thinking is a form of experience; maybe thinking and experiencing are concomitants?

And are you saying thinking is epiphenomonal to experiencing?
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:03 pm

There's direct experience, and reflexion which is awareness of experiencing. So there's "ouch!" and there's "a pain is felt", and this last is sampajanna. It isn't that a sentence is necessarily formed per se, but there's an awareness of sense input which limits or prevents it from invading the mind and remaining & which differs from "whatever is, is".

This reflexion is what allows for right effort. If the brute impact of sense-impressions are not addressed with right effort - which takes vitakka-vicara at first, then only later is it done sans vitakka, then later sans vitakka-vicara - so without this right effort, where is the bhavana?

Many people seem to think that thinking is wrong or an obstacle, but this is exactly required in the gradual training...
    "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: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi Dave,
A sharp distinction between experience and reflex is difficult at best. E.g., the James-Lange theory of emotion has it as, "We don't cry because we're sad, we're sad because we cry." Or in your example, "ouch" is the experience of contact, "pain is felt" is the experience of the reaction. They're both experience, and awareness itself a type of experience. Experience isnt' just what happens to us; it's also how we happen.
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Re: Not-Thinking as a practice

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:56 pm

danieLion wrote:A sharp distinction between experience and reflex is difficult at best.


We don't need a sharp distinction; any distinction which indicates that we are to note our behaviors, rather than let them pass unnoticed, is going in the right direction.

And, at first and likely for some time, this requires thinking.
    "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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