The causes for wisdom

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Thu May 14, 2015 1:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Yes, I enjoy this topic being about "the causes for wisdom", not "the same old grievances about Robert's preferences".

Metta,
Retro. :)
Given that robertk has significantly dismissed, in direct contravention of the TOS, major aspects of the Buddha's teachings that have to do with the arising and cultivation of wisdom, it really is, by robertk's own construction about robertk's preferences.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Thu May 14, 2015 4:14 am

Rereading this msg the following passage quoted by robertk caught my attention. It is worth commenting on a bit if it, given that it addresses much of what has been discussed in this overly long thread.
As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it. Find a teacher and ask them about paramattha dhamma and listen to what they say. Or find somewhat like Khun Sujin who can actually take you on a dialectic tour through your own citta. A few sessions will give you enough to wrestle with for a very long time,

Meditation is a great laboratory and a great calmative. I still practise formal meditation and I still attend the occasional retreat. But it can be a bit like taking psychedelic drugs, ie disappointing when you 'come down.' It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta. On the other hand f practised under the right conditions and perhaps with a very good teacher, nibbana is possible.
  • As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it.
The problem with this statement is that “dhamma theory” in terms of 'paramattha dhammā ' is not part of the whole of the Tipitaka. It is part of the Abhidhamma, which evolved considerably after the death of the Buddha, and continued to evolve for quite some time. See this THE DHAMMA THEORY Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa for a carefully done, non-sectarian look at the development of “dhamma theory” and its relation to the Nikayas.

Much of what is presently presented as “dhamma theory” comes from the 11/12th Century CE Abhidhammattha-sangaha, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, a work that pushes far beyond the original Abhidhamma Pitaka texts in how it presents the “dhamma theory.” The Abhidhammattha-sangaha “dhamma theory/'paramattha dhammā” notions are not something one will find in the suttas or the Vinaya.

An example of the sort thing that comes from the later Abhidhamma "dhamma theory" such as the Abhidhammattha-sangaha can be seen here and here.

And the second paragraph:
  • Meditation is a great laboratory and a great calmative. I still practise formal meditation and I still attend the occasional retreat. But it can be a bit like taking psychedelic drugs, ie disappointing when you 'come down.' It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta. On the other hand f practised under the right conditions and perhaps with a very good teacher, nibbana is possible.
If it is “disappointing when you 'come down’” after a retreat, that is not a problem with meditation. It has to do with the individual's lack of experience and with a grasping after the pleasant aspects of a retreat.

And now for the really interesting bit:
  • It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta.
I wonder what the intention is for someone to go to see Sujin: “Find a teacher and ask them about paramattha dhamma and listen to what they say. Or find somewhat like Khun Sujin who can actually take you on a dialectic tour through your own citta.” Going to Sujin as a Dhamma teacher is motivated by a kusala/wholesome state of mind and meditating is motivated by an unwholesome state of mind? In terms of motivation and all the stuff we have to deal with, why would seeing Sujin be any different in terms of motivation than doing meditation and working with a meditation teacher other than she apparently says it is different?

The author of the bit linked by robertk seems to have a very immature understanding of meditation practice. I wonder why he does something motivated by an unwholesome state of mind.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by mikenz66 » Thu May 14, 2015 6:53 am

tiltbillings wrote:
  • As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it.
The problem with this statement is that “dhamma theory” in terms of 'paramattha dhammā ' is not part of the whole of the Tipitaka. It is part of the Abhidhamma, which evolved considerably after the death of the Buddha, and continued to evolve for quite some time. See this THE DHAMMA THEORY Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa for a carefully done, non-sectarian look at the development of “dhamma theory” and its relation to the Nikayas.

Much of what is presently presented as “dhamma theory” comes from the 11/12th Century CE Abhidhammattha-sangaha, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, a work that pushes far beyond the original Abhidhamma Pitaka texts in how it presents the “dhamma theory.” The Abhidhammattha-sangaha “dhamma theory/'paramattha dhammā” notions are not something one will find in the suttas or the Vinaya.

An example of the sort thing that comes from the later Abhidhamma "dhamma theory" such as the Abhidhammattha-sangaha can be seen here and here.
I think this is an important point. There is a huge confusion between the Abhidhamma, (which according to the Theravada account was taught by the Buddha in Tusita Heaven) and the later commentary (which the Theravada does not claim to be the word of the Buddha).
All this talk of of billions of cittas arising per second, and so on, is not Abhidhamma, it is later commentary.

The sort of thing that is in the Abhidhamma is what I quoted in this thread:
"Mind-Moments" in the Suttas
01. ROOT CONDITION means roots 1 are related to those things associated with roots, and the forms that originate from it, 2 the condition being by way of root condition.

02. OBJECT CONDITION means the form sense-sphere is related to the eye-consciousness element and the things associated with it, 3 the condition being by way of object condition;

the sound sense-sphere is related to the ear-consciousness element and the things associated with it, the condition being by way of object condition;
...
This kind of thing is recognisable as a detailed analysis of the suttas. Unfortunately, it can be rather sleep-inducing after a few dozen pages...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Alex123 » Sun May 17, 2015 5:42 pm

robertk wrote: Insight can arise while walking, while standing, while looking straight ahead, while looking to the back, while defacating and while urinating. And most certainly it can arise while sitting.

This conflates two things: cause and occasion.

What is the cause to make insight arise while one is walking, standing, etc? This is the most important issue.
"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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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Alex123 » Sun May 17, 2015 6:00 pm

The Sutta Pitaka contains more than 10,000 separate discourses. Only two suttas focus entirely on meditation, the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Four Foundations of Mindfulness) and the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing). A search of Access to Insight's translations of the Suttas online for the word 'meditation' yields only 93 results, and aside from the aforementioned two suttas, most of the mentions occur in passing.
link to that post

First of all, there is satipatthana samuytta (SN47.xx) which has MANY satipatthana suttas. There is also anapana-samyutta (SN54.xx) dealing with anapanasati meditation. Not to mention MN118. These are not the only meditation subjects: Contemplating four nutriments SN12.63 can lead anywhere from anagami (repulsiveness of food), to arhatship (contact, mental volition, consciousness). There are many more suttas dealing with other meditation subjects (asubha, nutriment, sense restraint, moderation of eating, etc, etc ).


Second, many of the suttas talk about practice, even if it sounds like philosophical teaching. From my years of sutta study, etc, I believe that right-view is to be practiced.

There are interesting books such as:

1) The notion of ditthi in Theravada Buddhism - by Paul Fuller
2) Early Buddhist metaphysics- by Noa Ronkin
3) A history of Buddhist philosophy - by David Kalupahana

That for hundreds of pages talk about that Right View isn't just a correction of wrong ideas with the right ideas (each religion believes that its teaching is the right ones). Right view is to be practiced (rather than simply intellectually attained), that Buddha ethicized kamma, aggregates, etc, also about anti-essentialism.
"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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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:27 am

There are some interesting points here (taken from another thread) but does TB underate study. Totally true about honesty.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:
Even in Buddhist circles, you find various kinds of meditation where as they say, "Everything has all been thought out, everything has all been worked out, just follow the instructions. Don't think, don't add anything of your own." It's interesting to note that a lot of these methods also refer to the teaching on not-self as egolessness. Any sense of pride, any sense of independence is a bad thing in those meditation traditions. As one tradition would say, just be totally passive and aware, very equanimous, and just let your old sankharas burn away. And above all, don't think. Or if you are going to think, they say, learn how to think the way we think. And they have huge volumes of philosophy you have to learn, to squeeze your mind into their mold, after which they promise you awakening.

But that doesn't work. Awakening comes from being very observant in seeing things you don't expect to see, developing your own sensitivities, your own discernment. After all, as the Buddha said, the issue is the suffering you're creating. If you don't have the basic honesty and maturity to see that, you're never going to gain awakening no matter how much you know, no matter how much you study, no matter how equanimous you are. You've got to take responsibility.
From: Adult Dhamma by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:48 am

Greetings Robert,
robertk wrote:... but does TB underate study?
Good question.

I don't think that he under-rates it per se, he just seems to think that "basic honesty and maturity" is a pre-requisite to getting anything out of this study. And following that, getting anything out of this path.

We know Right View is the forerunner of the path, but does it too have pre-requisites? Is "basic honesty and maturity" a pre-requisite for Right View? Maybe ""basic honesty and maturity" is a factor of having "good attributes", "keen faculties" and "little dust in their eyes"?
SN 6.1 wrote:Then the Blessed One, having understood Brahma's invitation, out of compassion for beings, surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As he did so, he saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses — born and growing in the water — might flourish while immersed in the water, without rising up from the water; some might stand at an even level with the water; while some might rise up from the water and stand without being smeared by the water — so too, surveying the world with the eye of an Awakened One, the Blessed One saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world.
Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:33 am

Actually I think you put it well. Certainly someone can study Abhidhamma, say, and still seem to interpret the world through their own limited vision.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:08 am

That's good, not unsurprising, advice from TB. I haven't come across any teacher who would disagree with the student needing to take responsibility for their own development, so nothing much to disagree with there...

Where there may be some confusion is how some teachers get their students to take that responsibility. Often it's more subtle than just telling them to take responsibility and start to figure out things for themselves. It's more about getting them into a situation where it becomes obvious that that is the only option.

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:22 am

Greetings,

Further to the point made above re: "basic honesty and maturity"...

"When we read teachings contrary to our preferences and outside the realm of our usual consideration, we tend to reject them automatically. They are strange and intellectually disturbing - hence they must be wrong. This tendency, too, is quite natural; and certainly our native intelligence and worldly experience should alert us to what is outlandish and incoherent. But it is good to remember that a new or an old way of considering and dealing with life is not false just because it surprises us or contradicts our theories. A sincere seeker should compare ideas for the purpose of gaining a closer fix on truth."

- Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano, "Available Truth"

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Mr Man » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:30 am

robertk wrote:Certainly someone can study Abhidhamma, say, and still seem to interpret the world through their own limited vision.
Isn't that the only way the world can be interpreted?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:35 am

Perhaps my English doesn't make sense. Let me rephrase:

Certainly someone can study Abhidhamma, say, and still seem to interpret the world through their own limited vision RATHER THAN HONESTLY CONSIDERING WHAT THE TEXTS are really trying to EXPRESS. The venerable Nyansobhano writes:
"When we read teachings contrary to our preferences and outside the realm of our usual consideration, we tend to reject them automatically. They are strange and intellectually disturbing - hence they must be wrong. This tendency, too, is quite natural; and certainly our native intelligence and worldly experience should alert us to what is outlandish and incoherent. But it is good to remember that a new or an old way of considering and dealing with life is not false just because it surprises us or contradicts our theories. A sincere seeker should compare ideas for the purpose of gaining a closer fix on truth."

- Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano, "Available Truth"

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:00 am

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks, Robert. That is an interesting point.

However, reading of those passages in the Visuddhimagga (and other passages) in context, leads me to the conclusion that quite a lot of concentration is required for insight.

I guess we will continue to come to different conclusions.

:anjali:
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Dear mike
I saw this today. From http://www.amazon.com/Listening-Heart-C ... +the+heart" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Acharn cha: .."if we have enough concentration to read a book, we have enough samadhi to be liberated"

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Mr Man » Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:41 am

robertk wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Thanks, Robert. That is an interesting point.

However, reading of those passages in the Visuddhimagga (and other passages) in context, leads me to the conclusion that quite a lot of concentration is required for insight.

I guess we will continue to come to different conclusions.

:anjali:
Mike
Dear mike
I saw this today. From http://www.amazon.com/Listening-Heart-C ... +the+heart" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Acharn cha: .."if we have enough concentration to read a book, we have enough samadhi to be liberated"
OTP: Are you reading that book Robert? Any thoughts?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:47 am

Yes I bought it and read it.
The best parts are when they talk about difficulties they had in their buddhist lives.

I found her sections better than his and the whole book was a bit uneven in quality: overall it got me though a 5 hour flight to tokyo and there were a few gems in it..

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Mr Man » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:00 am

robertk wrote:Yes I bought it and read it.
The best parts are when they talk about difficulties they had in their buddhist lives.

I found her sections better than his and the whole book was a bit uneven in quality: overall it got me though a 5 hour flight to tokyo and there were a few gems in it..
Thanks

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:38 am

this is from a post by venerable dhammanando, which is relevant to the earlier discussion about Nina's interview::


http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 3&start=20" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Human dhammas” (manussa-dhammā) means the ten wholesome courses of action. Any wholesome states that are superior to the ten wholesome courses of action are “superhuman dhammas” (uttarimanussa-dhammā). In the Vinaya Piṭaka these are defined deictically as:

“Uttarimanussadhammo” — nāma jhānaṃ vimokkho samādhi samāpatti ñāṇadassanaṃ maggabhāvanā phalasacchikiriyā kilesappahānaṃ vinīvaraṇatā cittassa suññāgāre abhirati.

A super-human state: jhāna, release, samādhi, attainment, knowledge and insight, development of the path, realisation of the fruits, abandoning the defilements, a mind without hindrances, delighting in solitude.

tiltbillings wrote:
On what basis do you claim that it is rare
?


It would appear that even the human dhammas are rare, for if they were common it would not be the case (as the suttas say it is) that the overwhelming majority of humans are headed for rebirth in the lower realms. How much rarer, then, are the superhuman dhammas.

As for the rarity of jhāna in particular:

Now, the kasiṇa preliminary work is difficult for a beginner and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. The arousing of the sign is difficult for one who has done the preliminary work and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To extend the sign when it has arisen and to reach absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To tame one’s mind in the fourteen ways after reaching absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it.
(Path of Purification, ch. XII)


So if this is correct, then the jhāna-attainment rate of those who attempt samatha-bhāvanā will range from one in a million to one in a thousand million, while the jhāna-mastery rate will range from one in a hundred million to one in a trillion.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:20 am

robertk wrote:this is from a post by venerable dhammanando, which is relevant to the earlier discussion about Nina's interview::


http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 3&start=20“Human dhammas” (manussa-dhammā) means the ten wholesome courses of action. Any wholesome states that are superior to the ten wholesome courses of action are “superhuman dhammas” (uttarimanussa-dhammā). In the Vinaya Piṭaka these are defined deictically as:

“Uttarimanussadhammo” — nāma jhānaṃ vimokkho samādhi samāpatti ñāṇadassanaṃ maggabhāvanā phalasacchikiriyā kilesappahānaṃ vinīvaraṇatā cittassa suññāgāre abhirati.

A super-human state: jhāna, release, samādhi, attainment, knowledge and insight, development of the path, realisation of the fruits, abandoning the defilements, a mind without hindrances, delighting in solitude.

tiltbillings wrote:
On what basis do you claim that it is rare
?


It would appear that even the human dhammas are rare, for if they were common it would not be the case (as the suttas say it is) that the overwhelming majority of humans are headed for rebirth in the lower realms. How much rarer, then, are the superhuman dhammas.

As for the rarity of jhāna in particular:

Now, the kasiṇa preliminary work is difficult for a beginner and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. The arousing of the sign is difficult for one who has done the preliminary work and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To extend the sign when it has arisen and to reach absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To tame one’s mind in the fourteen ways after reaching absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it.
(Path of Purification, ch. XII)


So if this is correct, then the jhāna-attainment rate of those who attempt samatha-bhāvanā will range from one in a million to one in a thousand million, while the jhāna-mastery rate will range from one in a hundred million to one in a trillion.
Jhana is probably not as rare as is often thought to be, given that there are those who teach and experience jhana as described by the Visuddhimagga and the suttas.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:45 am

Ajahn Jayasaro The cultivation of the conditions for the arising of wisdom:

Image
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:Ajahn Jayasaro The cultivation of the conditions for the arising of wisdom:

Image
Do you have a more precise link? This one leads only to a Facebook group, not to any particular talk or article.

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