Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Alex123
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Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:09 pm

From personal experience I have seen that I can't control thoughts. One cannot stop a thought from arising. You can easily check it yourself.

Sit down in meditation posture, close your eyes, be aware of the present moment, and give yourself a firm resolution "for the next 5 minutes do not think any thought or imagine any thing". You will see that very quickly thoughts or images will arise. Perhaps in as soon as 10 seconds.

If one cannot stop a thought or a mental image from arising, this means that one really can't stop wholesome thought or unwholesome thought from arising. It
would also mean that one can't control thought to stop a split second after arising... My refutal to that was that one should practice those skills, to "put in"
necessary conditions for non-arising of unwholesome thoughts and for arising of wholesome thoughts. But even this "putting in the causes" cannot be controlled as all things are Anatta. Things arise due to causes and conditions rather due to free will agency of the Self. Even putting in the causes is not-self and without any controlling agency. Even here there is no free-will.

So what do we have?




With metta,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Goofaholix
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:38 pm

Why do you want to control thoughts?

What we have is a clear teaching that the thoughts I experienxce are not me, are not self, therefore I have no need to react to them or try to control them.

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:44 pm

A lot of my sitting meditations were following a certain Ajahn's teaching to get into deep samatha, where all thoughts are supposed to cease and so do the 5 senses. He had (what sounded brilliant to me) teachings about "put the peace between the observer and the observed", or "stop struggling with the hindrances" . But, as if The One could put peace or anger toward whatever one is doing. As if one could just observe without interfering. It seems to be missing the point of anatta. Not only there is no control over big events, there is no control over smaller scales.

One can't control what is happening (anatta, remember?) or how one reacts or doesn't react toward anything.


If there was control, I'd be an Arahant by now and any and every meditation sessions would be very blissful and productive. Some say, "put in the required causes and the effects will follow". But even "putting in the causes" is still beyond control, fully conditioned, and not-Self. There isn't any Self-Agency that can do things...
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Reductor
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Reductor » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:00 pm


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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby bodom » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:26 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:52 pm

Thank you for reminding about MN20 sutta.

I've tried, unsuccessfully some of its advice. Unfortunately there is no self that can control what happens "let the thought fabrications be relaxed! Lets crush mind with mind. Lets change the subject!".
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby bodom » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:18 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

Kenshou
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Kenshou » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:42 pm

Since when does the fact that there is no self mean that there is no control or choice? There is, (though not complete control) and they're just also empty of self.

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Viscid
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:45 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby bodom » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:58 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Viscid
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:03 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

Kenshou
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Kenshou » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:11 pm

Viscid-

I mean choice in the most conventional sense. You chose to make that post, I'm choosing to write this reply. But there is no particular agent which owns these choices, these intentions, they come about due to other conditions. A doer isn't necessary. I suppose you might say that the mind does them, but we know that the mind is also a conditionally functioning thing, empty of self.

The particulars of determinism-or-not will go over my head though honestly, so I can't give you a good answer on that second part. As far as I understand things, what's important is to understand the impermanent conditioned nature of intention, not so much the deeper philosophical implications. Not that there's any harm talking about it.

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Viscid
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:17 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby bodom » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:18 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:18 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:20 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Viscid
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Viscid » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:23 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

Kenshou
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Kenshou » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:26 pm


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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:46 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:51 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."


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