The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:32 am

robertk wrote:It is not that sitting and watching the breath or watching bodily sensations is going to help or hinder the path, anymore than me chosing the Belly Sandwich Shop in preference to Subway. But if one believes that it is these very operations that somehow are key to satisampajanna to arise then one is in the realm of silabataparamasa.


But these are the practices described in the Satipatthana and Anapanasati Suttas. Are you advocating that we ignore these and do some other practice? And if so, what practice exactly? :shrug:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:00 pm

Dear porpoise
in the satipatthana sutta it says "Mindful, he breathes in, and mindful, he breathes out. He, thinking, 'I breathe in long,' he understands when he is breathing in long; or thinking, 'I breathe out long,' he understands when he is breathing out long; or thinking, 'I breathe in short,' he understands when he is breathing in short; or thinking, 'I breathe out short,' he understands when he is breathing out short.
"
and
bhikkhus, when he is going, a bhikkhu understands: 'I am going'; when he is standing, he understands: 'I am standing'; when he is sitting, he understands: 'I am sitting'; when he is lying down, he understands: 'I am lying down'; or just as his body is disposed so he understands it.
and
further, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, in going forwards (and) in going backwards, is a person practising clear comprehension; in looking straight on (and) in looking away from the front, is a person practising clear comprehension; in bending and in stretching, is a person practising clear comprehension; in wearing the shoulder-cloak, the (other two) robes (and) the bowl, is a person practising clear comprehension; in regard to what is eaten, drunk, chewed and savoured, is a person practising clear comprehension;

and
in defecating and in urinating, is a person practising clear comprehension; in walking, in standing (in a place), in sitting (in some position), in sleeping, in waking, in speaking and in keeping silence, is a person practising clear comprehension.
and

bhikkhus, a bhikkhu when experiencing a pleasant feeling, understands: 'I experience a pleasant feeling'; when experiencing a painful feeling, he understands: 'I experience a painful feeling'; when experiencing a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, he understands: 'I experience a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling'
;
and
bhikkhus, a
bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust; the consciousness without lust, as without lust; the consciousness with hate, as with hate;


so the sutta covers almost any situation. it simply shows that the objects for satipatthana are always arising and passing away. The only question is whether there is genuine awareness of them.
Take the taxi driver in Nepal. I told him and my friend that this waiting after we passed a cat was a silly superstition. they were offended and told me the importance of religion blah, blah blah.

Do you think if they had realized that it was merely a ritual that they would be better off? Yes they would. It doesn't mean that they would feel different: no "OMG I see ", no sudden uplift in their life. But they would be that litttle bit closer to coming out of their deep attachment to silabataparamasa: and that is valuable.

Most 'spiritual ' people can be the same. Tell them they have to sit under a freezing waterfall for 2 hours a day saying OM. and they reply,"Is that all! Book my ticket to Alaska, I will sit for 6 hours a day!"

But tell them it is harder than that: "you have to give up attachment to rules and rituals" and "you have to give up the belief in self" and that is something they can't accept. So they haggle: "well I will give up the self view after I get enlightened ( provided I can still take the credit for getting to nibbana)" :?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:05 pm

What we would call formal practice can also have value in it's own right. I would certainly agree that what is being put forward as "vipasana" is really just an exercise in concentration and that there has now been incredible investment in this idea, and in this path, and it has now become an industry and an occupation, an identity, but that does not, in my opinion, remove the value of formal practice completely. The benifit of formal practice is here and now. To live without silabataparamasa is actually not an option.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:22 pm

robertk wrote:Dear porpoise
in the satipatthana sutta it says "Mindful, he breathes in, and mindful, he breathes out. He, thinking, 'I breathe in long,' he understands when he is breathing in long; or thinking, 'I breathe out long,' he understands when he is breathing out long; or thinking, 'I breathe in short,' he understands when he is breathing in short; or thinking, 'I breathe out short,' he understands when he is breathing out short.
"
and
bhikkhus, when he is going, a bhikkhu understands: 'I am going'; when he is standing, he understands: 'I am standing'; when he is sitting, he understands: 'I am sitting'; when he is lying down, he understands: 'I am lying down'; or just as his body is disposed so he understands it.
and
further, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, in going forwards (and) in going backwards, is a person practising clear comprehension; in looking straight on (and) in looking away from the front, is a person practising clear comprehension; in bending and in stretching, is a person practising clear comprehension; in wearing the shoulder-cloak, the (other two) robes (and) the bowl, is a person practising clear comprehension; in regard to what is eaten, drunk, chewed and savoured, is a person practising clear comprehension;

and
in defecating and in urinating, is a person practising clear comprehension; in walking, in standing (in a place), in sitting (in some position), in sleeping, in waking, in speaking and in keeping silence, is a person practising clear comprehension.
and

bhikkhus, a bhikkhu when experiencing a pleasant feeling, understands: 'I experience a pleasant feeling'; when experiencing a painful feeling, he understands: 'I experience a painful feeling'; when experiencing a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, he understands: 'I experience a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling'
;
and
bhikkhus, a
bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust; the consciousness without lust, as without lust; the consciousness with hate, as with hate;


so the sutta covers almost any situation. it simply shows that the objects for satipatthana are always arising and passing away. The only question is whether there is genuine awareness of them.
Take the taxi driver in Nepal. I told him and my friend that this waiting after we passed a cat was a silly superstition. they were offended and told me the importance of religion blah, blah blah.

Do you think if they had listened to me and realized that it was merely a ritual they were so attached to that they would be better off? Yes they would. It doesn't mean that they would feel different: no "OMG I see ", no sudden uplift in their life. But they would be that litttle bit closer to coming out of their deep attachment to silabataparamasa: and that is valuable.

Most 'spiritual ' people can be the same. Tell them they have to sit under a freezing waterfall for 2 hours a day saying OM. and they reply,"Is that all! Book my ticket to Alaska, I will sit for 6 hours a day!"

But tell them it is harder than that: "you have to give up attachment to rules and rituals" and "you have to give up the belief in self" and that is something they can't accept. So they haggle: "well I will give up the self view after I get enlightened ( provided I can still take the credit for getting to nibbana)" :?



This is all well and good, but a ritualized practice may actually help one give up attachment to rules and rituals and the belief in self, don't you think?

The value of ritualised practice is perhaps as a container. There is the discipline, the time when all else stops and the energy is dedicated solely to practice. There is potentially an incredible amount of freedom and possibility in this format because we don't need to assume the outcome or even how the next moment is going to be. I think meditation creates a very fertile ground for insight and it is not until some serious practice maturity that everyday life can compare. Even then meditation does not become obsolete.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:41 pm

robertk wrote:Dear porpoise
in the satipatthana sutta it says "Mindful, he breathes in, and mindful, he breathes out. .......further, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, in going forwards (and) in going backwards, is a person practising clear comprehension; in looking straight on (and) in looking away from the front, is a person practising clear comprehension; in bending and in stretching, is a person practising clear comprehension;


so the sutta covers almost any situation. it simply shows that the objects for satipatthana are always arising and passing away. The only question is whether there is genuine awareness of them.


I agree, and clearly the approach described in the Satipatthana Sutta is applicable both on and off the cushion. But isn't the point that in order to develop genuine awareness we need to practice being aware? Isn't that the point of the Satipatthana Sutta, seeing how things really are by observing them?

I still don't see how this approach to practice is ritualist - though I can see it's possible to become attached to a particular method.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:44 pm

Mr Man wrote: I would certainly agree that what is being put forward as "vipasana" is really just an exercise in concentration...


Could you give some examples?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:24 pm

Dear Mr Man,

but a ritualized practice may actually help one give up attachment to rules and rituals and the belief in self, don't you think?


By simple logic, if ones thinks that ritualized practice is the way, one will not give up attachment to rules and rituals.
One gives up only when one realizes than it is the wrong way.

Similarly, if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?

Best wishes,

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby perkele » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:31 pm

So, in short:

Formal, "ritualized" meditation practice is useless.

People who, say, routinely sit 30 minutes every morning, practicing anapanasati in that posture, or whichever type of formal practice, should give that up. It just fosters clinging.

Anyone agree?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:03 pm

There are Dhamma-experts who praise only monks who are also Dhamma-experts but not
those who are meditators. And there are meditators who praise only those monks who are also
meditators but not those who are Dhamma-experts. Thereby neither of them will be pleased, and
they will not be practicing for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, for the good of the
multitude, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans.

Anguttara Nikaya 4.46
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:20 pm

porpoise wrote:
Mr Man wrote: I would certainly agree that what is being put forward as "vipasana" is really just an exercise in concentration...


Could you give some examples?


Hi porpoise, I don't want to take the thread of topic here and I know my view is not shared by many, but for example the sweeping technique.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:24 pm

dhamma follower wrote:Dear Mr Man,

but a ritualized practice may actually help one give up attachment to rules and rituals and the belief in self, don't you think?


By simple logic, if ones thinks that ritualized practice is the way, one will not give up attachment to rules and rituals.
One gives up only when one realizes than it is the wrong way.

Similarly, if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?

Best wishes,

D.F


Hi dhamma follower
Did you mean to address this to me?
:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Coyote » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:21 pm

Robertk ect.,

Do you think it would be silabbata paramasa for a Bhikkhu to devote time to formal meditation? How about for a lay person to meditate, but not "vipassana", say - Brahmavihara meditation or recollection of the Triple Gem? How about bowing or attending puja, chanting? Where is the line between formal and non formal practice anyway?
I ask this to get a clear understanding of your opinion.

Anyway, couldn't one argue that formal sitting practice helps build concentration thus making "mindfulness" (in conventional terms) clearer?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:14 pm

Mr Man wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:Dear Mr Man,

but a ritualized practice may actually help one give up attachment to rules and rituals and the belief in self, don't you think?


By simple logic, if ones thinks that ritualized practice is the way, one will not give up attachment to rules and rituals.
One gives up only when one realizes than it is the wrong way.

Similarly, if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?

Best wishes,

D.F


Hi dhamma follower
Did you mean to address this to me?
:anjali:


My appology! I meant to address Dan74 ! :toilet:

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:18 pm

Greeting David,

David N. Snyder wrote:There are Dhamma-experts who praise only monks who are also Dhamma-experts but not
those who are meditators. And there are meditators who praise only those monks who are also
meditators but not those who are Dhamma-experts. Thereby neither of them will be pleased, and
they will not be practicing for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, for the good of the
multitude, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans.

Anguttara Nikaya 4.46


Can you tell us what are the pali words for "meditators" and "Dhamma-experts" in the sutta provided? Tks

Brgrds,

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:22 pm

Coyote wrote:Robertk ect.,

Do you think it would be silabbata paramasa for a Bhikkhu to devote time to formal meditation? How about for a lay person to meditate, but not "vipassana", say - Brahmavihara meditation or recollection of the Triple Gem? How about bowing or attending puja, chanting? Where is the line between formal and non formal practice anyway?
I ask this to get a clear understanding of your opinion.

Anyway, couldn't one argue that formal sitting practice helps build concentration thus making "mindfulness" (in conventional terms) clearer?
:anjali:
The criticism of formal sitting practice that is stated here viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=60#p228510" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; is overly rigid, and it lacks a maturity and insight into actual meditation practice. The reality is, or course, that as we start our practice that we will likely not reflect the Dhamma at its highest levels, but this is to be expected. We can only start from where we actually are. However, as we put the teachings into practice, open to what arises as a result of the practice, fortunately things can change as we gain insight into, and maturity in, the Dhamma, as we learn not to hang onto expectations and results. The magical, ritualistic thinking drops away and our motivation changes, and this is the result of the Eightfold Path in action.

Clearly, as the suttas show, the Buddha taught the importance of formal meditation practice as having an important, if not central, place in the overall practice of the Dhamma.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Coyote » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:32 pm

Tiltbillings, thanks for the reply, and I agree.
However, I specifically wanted to know Robertk's opinion on those questions as I don't think thus far in the thread the limits/boundaries of the "anti-formal practice" view have been clearly stated.

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:43 pm

Coyote wrote:Tiltbillings, thanks for the reply, and I agree.
However, I specifically wanted to know Robertk's opinion on those questions as I don't think thus far in the thread the limits/boundaries of the "anti-formal practice" view have been clearly stated.

:anjali:
You might want to do a search for Sujin and read through the various threads that pop-up. Robertk is advocating a very particular point of view, which should be fine, except that the Sujin point of view, in the hands of her followers, can be highly critical and dismissive of other points of view. The issue here for me is not that the Sujin teachings are or are not efficacious; rather, the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:53 pm

tiltbillings wrote: the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.

Hi Tilt
If that was the case why does it cause such concern? Do you think that the very systamatic approaches to meditataion are efficacious, in terms of a higher goal? If this is your view, what do you base this on?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Coyote » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:01 am

Tiltbillings,

I have heard of and searched for threads related to Sujin's ideas since I came upon her viewpoint from these recent threads - I have read some her of writings and they are interesting, a fresh point of view. But I have not seen anything on whether her followers would agree with Bhikkhu's meditating or the other practices mentioned in my post as promoting Silabbataparamsa.

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:05 am

Greeting Coyote,

Coyote wrote:Robertk ect.,

Do you think it would be silabbata paramasa for a Bhikkhu to devote time to formal meditation? How about for a lay person to meditate, but not "vipassana", say - Brahmavihara meditation or recollection of the Triple Gem? How about bowing or attending puja, chanting? Where is the line between formal and non formal practice anyway?
I ask this to get a clear understanding of your opinion.

:anjali:


We should clarify between a "situation" (bowing, doing formal "sitting") and the actual cittas that arise in that whole process. I think it is pretty clear that many kind of cittas can arise in a given situation, say dana: there can be kusala citta rooted in alobha (non-clinging) succeded by akusala citta with conceit (mana), feeling proud for having done a wholesome deed).

So if we stick to ultimate realities to really understand life, we should bear this distinction in mind, and examine the nature of samatha and vipassana bhavana in terms of cittas and cetasikas instead of situations. Actually this can provide ground for a separate thread. However, we can briefly discuss what is the heart of samatha and vipassana bhavana here:

- samatha bhavana is the cultivation of kusala which is not dana, not sila. The ground for this bhavana is seeing the danger of attachment to sensuous objects. It is precisely panna which perform this function, panna of the degree of seeing the danger of attachment to sensuos objects, not the panna which sees realities of they are. This kind of panna knows the conditions for calmness to arise. It is then by virtue of this kind of panna that calmness which is kusala is developed, not because of wanting to have calm, or because of trying to sit hours after hours with ignorance.

- vipassana bhavana is the cultivation of understanding of realities as they are. This kind of panna is only available during a Buddha sasana. Without the words of the Buddha, no one would know about realities, and that they are not-self. The four conditions for the arising of sotapati magga (attaining the Path for the first time) are:
1. association with the wise
2. listening to the right Dhamma
3. Right consideration - yoniso manasikara
4. Direct awareness of the dhammas which appear naturally.

Apart from the moments of understanding, from intellectual level to direct level, there's no vipassana bhavana. It is the same with the example of dana above. There are countless moments of different nature: kusala and kusala, with or without understanding following each other, which clearly makes bhavana not a matter of doing, but a matter of understanding.

Therefore, if someone believes that it is the "doing" which constitutes bhavana instead of the real ground for each of 2 kinds, it can be called "clinging to rite and rituals". Sitting is not excluded, just the same way lying, or standing etc...., because they all occur naturally. It is the belief that bhavana lies in a "formal practice" which is the problem. A quiet environment is conducive to samatha bhavana, but for vipassana bhavana, it doesn't matter at all, any kind of reality can be object of understanding.

Anyway, couldn't one argue that formal sitting practice helps build concentration thus making "mindfulness" (in conventional terms) clearer?


Concentration (ekaggata cetasika) arises in all cittas. What should be cultivated is kusala, not ekaggata. However, when calmness is there and strong, the characteristic of ekaggata manifests, that why it is refered to as samadhi (concentration) and not ekaggata. However, there are micha samadhi, and samma samadhi too, they refer to the kind of samadhi with akusala and kusala respectively. It is the 2nd that needs to be cultivated, and we are back to the above.

Hope it helps,

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