The causes for wisdom

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

Post by Polar Bear » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:27 pm

robertk wrote:Majjima Nikaya 64, we read: "
An untaught, ordinary person ... abides with a mind enslaved by adherence to rules and observances [silabbata-paramasa- pariyutthitena cetasa viharati]."
Unknowingly, many/most efforts we make in the spiritual realm are tied in with this fetter.

It is good to know this, because this knowing will condition dhamma-vicaya(investigation of Dhamma/dhammas) with sammaviriya (right energy) to learn what the right way is.
I'm not sure you have the proper definition of rules and observances. Bowing to statues, using incense, chanting in a dead language, these are rules and observances, rites and rituals, but watching the breath and other forms of meditation are not rituals, they are training methods and there is a big difference.
robertk: There are four types of clinging
(see visuddhimagga xvii 241-3). That of sense desire clinging, wrongview clinging, clinging to rules and
rituals, and lastly self view clinging.
Actually, it is not just clinging to wrong views that must be abandoned but clinging to all views, even right view must be let go of:
"Monks, if you were to adhere to this view — so pure, so bright — if you were to cherish it, treasure it, regard it as 'mine,' would you understand the Dhamma taught as analogous to a raft,[4] for crossing over, not for holding on to?"

"No, lord."

"If you were not to adhere to this view — so pure, so bright — if you were to not to cherish it, not to treasure it, not to regard it as 'mine,' would you understand the Dhamma taught as analogous to a raft, for crossing over, not for holding on to?"

"Yes, lord."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:03 pm

Greetings,
polarbuddha101 wrote:I'm not sure you have the proper definition of rules and observances. Bowing to statues, using incense, chanting in a dead language, these are rules and observances, rites and rituals, but watching the breath and other forms of meditation are not rituals, they are training methods and there is a big difference.
Regarded purely on the physical level, these are just physical manifestations of movement - no more or less significant than the last.

Therefore, whatever it is that could be used to differentiate them into two discrete classes - "rites and rituals" and "training methods" - is unlikely to be physical either...

So what precisely is the differentiation between "rites and rituals" and "training methods"? Is it defined in the suttas or commentaries, or is it a modern distinction?

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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Polar Bear » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:21 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
polarbuddha101 wrote:I'm not sure you have the proper definition of rules and observances. Bowing to statues, using incense, chanting in a dead language, these are rules and observances, rites and rituals, but watching the breath and other forms of meditation are not rituals, they are training methods and there is a big difference.
Regarded purely on the physical level, these are just physical manifestations of movement - no more or less significant than the last.

Therefore, whatever it is that could be used to differentiate them into two discrete classes - "rites and rituals" and "training methods" - is unlikely to be physical either...

So what precisely is the differentiation between "rites and rituals" and "training methods"? Is it defined in the suttas or commentaries, or is it a modern distinction?

Metta,
Retro. :)
I'm just going off my understanding of language, society, what's actually useful and what's superfluous for the most part. But here is this part of a sutta:
"Knowing thus and seeing thus, would you return to the observances, grand ceremonies, & auspicious rites of common contemplatives & brahmans as having any essence?"

"No, lord."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Meditation is training to cultivate skillful qualities and need not be accompanied by superfluous actions such as using incense etc.; not that I'm outright dismissing such a thing just that it is unnecessary (empty of anything essential) and not something to be attached to.

EDIT: I do think the Buddha would be a bit displeased with the observances, grand ceremonies, and auspicious rites that have sprang up around the practice of his teachings but that's the way of the world, it was inevitable.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Mr Man
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Mr Man » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:26 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
Meditation is training to cultivate skillful qualities and need not be accompanied by superfluous actions such as using incense etc.; not that I'm outright dismissing such a thing just that it is unnecessary (empty of anything essential) and not something to be attached to.
I think it is fairly easy for (formal) meditation to become empty of anything essential and also somthing that we are attached to. And it is also possible for "rites and rituals" to be a ground for cultivating skillful qualities. It's more about what we bring to these activities and intention. To reassess is a good thing.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Polar Bear » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:43 pm

Mr Man wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:
Meditation is training to cultivate skillful qualities and need not be accompanied by superfluous actions such as using incense etc.; not that I'm outright dismissing such a thing just that it is unnecessary (empty of anything essential) and not something to be attached to.
I think it is fairly easy for (formal) meditation to become empty of anything essential and also somthing that we are attached to. And it is also possible for "rites and rituals" to be a ground for cultivating skillful qualities. It's more about what we bring to these activities and intention. To reassess is a good thing.
I basically agree. But the difference being that meditation is the explicit act of or attempt at cultivating skillful qualities and abandoning unskillful ones whereas rites and rituals function as such only insofar as one undertakes them with a meditative mindset or wholesome mind state and without wrong views about what they can accomplish.

I'm not trying to say that buddhist rites and rituals should be eradicated either, I don't even think that's possible anyway, I'm just saying that they're unnecessary and weren't undertaken in the time of the Buddha as far as I know. The rites and rituals that grew up around the vast wealth that is the buddha's teaching is comparable to a pinch of salt in the river ganges, I'll gladly drink the water.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Dan74 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:04 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:
Meditation is training to cultivate skillful qualities and need not be accompanied by superfluous actions such as using incense etc.; not that I'm outright dismissing such a thing just that it is unnecessary (empty of anything essential) and not something to be attached to.
I think it is fairly easy for (formal) meditation to become empty of anything essential and also somthing that we are attached to. And it is also possible for "rites and rituals" to be a ground for cultivating skillful qualities. It's more about what we bring to these activities and intention. To reassess is a good thing.
I basically agree. But the difference being that meditation is the explicit act of or attempt at cultivating skillful qualities and abandoning unskillful ones whereas rites and rituals function as such only insofar as one undertakes them with a meditative mindset or wholesome mind state and without wrong views about what they can accomplish.

I'm not trying to say that buddhist rites and rituals should be eradicated either, I don't even think that's possible anyway, I'm just saying that they're unnecessary and weren't undertaken in the time of the Buddha as far as I know. The rites and rituals that grew up around the vast wealth that is the buddha's teaching is comparable to a pinch of salt in the river ganges, I'll gladly drink the water.

:anjali:
In a sense what you term rites and rituals can serve as a bridge between meditation and "everyday life" in that it is easier to bring a spacious clarity of meditation into a well-rehearsed activity like that than to face the "darts and arrows" in the same spirit.

Of course there are many other good reasons for performing them too. But since we are on the subject of meditation...
_/|\_

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:46 am

Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:In a sense what you term rites and rituals can serve as a bridge between meditation and "everyday life" in that it is easier to bring a spacious clarity of meditation into a well-rehearsed activity like that than to face the "darts and arrows" in the same spirit.

Of course there are many other good reasons for performing them too. But since we are on the subject of meditation...
Well actually, the topic is about "the causes for wisdom".

Since "attachment to rites and rituals" (as compared to say, "absence of meditation") is one of the three fetters that binds us to avijja (ignorance) and prevents stream-entry, possibly it's a more important (and less beaten to death) subject of discussion on a topic addressing "the causes for wisdom".

The topic, and forum in general, needn't always be framed as a relentless defense of sitting meditation and people's chosen practices (as it has been for much of the last 18 pages of discussion).

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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Alex123 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:22 am

robertk wrote:Sujin is saying that even right now if lobha is not understood, especially in regard to the path, then that could hinder progress.
Lobha is fully understood by anagami who becomes an arhat (or at arahattamaggaphala). So don't put the cart in front of the horse. I don't know about you, but this is way above my level to worry about.
"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 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:29 am

robertk wrote:Majjima Nikaya 64, we read: "
An untaught, ordinary person ... abides with a mind enslaved by adherence to rules and observances [silabbata-paramasa- pariyutthitena cetasa viharati]."
Unknowingly, many/most efforts we make in the spiritual realm are tied in with this fetter.
In Ancient India there were rites and rituals such as ox-duty ascetism and such. Not many people do this. Not everyone believes in facing east and lighting special stick of incense as real aid to enlightenment during meditation.


It is strange that the Buddha would teach something that hinders awaking in his own path, don't you think?
"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 tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:
The topic, and forum in general, needn't always be framed as a relentless defense of sitting meditation and people's chosen practices (as it has been for much of the last 18 pages of discussion).
Except the problem is that the "causes of wisdom" as being advocated by robertk in this thread violates the TOS: "There are a broad spectrum of approaches to, and interpretations of, the Dhamma. Please refrain from wholesale dismissal of a particular view, approach, or teaching style ," and sitting meditation is worth the defense.
>> 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 Dan74 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:In a sense what you term rites and rituals can serve as a bridge between meditation and "everyday life" in that it is easier to bring a spacious clarity of meditation into a well-rehearsed activity like that than to face the "darts and arrows" in the same spirit.

Of course there are many other good reasons for performing them too. But since we are on the subject of meditation...
Well actually, the topic is about "the causes for wisdom".
Paul, I am probably not in the mood for your sense of humour but people were discussing rites and ritual - so why the seemingly smartarse comment?
retrofuturist wrote: Since "attachment to rites and rituals" (as compared to say, "absence of meditation") is one of the three fetters that binds us to avijja (ignorance) and prevents stream-entry, possibly it's a more important (and less beaten to death) subject of discussion on a topic addressing "the causes for wisdom".
And here you go!

If someone is performing a ritual, does it mean (s)he is attached? And if so, could it still be useful before stream-entry?

The topic, and forum in general, needn't always be framed as a relentless defense of sitting meditation and people's chosen practices (as it has been for much of the last 18 pages of discussion).

Metta,
Retro. :)
A long time ago I was debating with Tilt, unable to understand his seemingly vehement attack on Mahayana sectarianism and particularly the term "Hinayana". Then he shared that due to this sectarian propaganda, to effectively slander, the avenue of exploring Theravada remained closed to him for some time. In essence he was denied an opportunity to explore this amazing tradition. A travesty, wouldn't you agree?

I think all ill-informed attacks on a tradition, a lineage or practice, do precisely that - misinform and deny people an opportunity to explore through slander. I am not defensive about my chosen practice - you are reading me entirely wrong. After 10 years I am completely at home with it. Any inadequacies are my own. But I think it is a good idea to correct misinformation and sectarianism when we see it. I try to do the same within my chosen tradition too.
_/|\_

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:48 am

Dan74 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:In a sense what you term rites and rituals can serve as a bridge between meditation and "everyday life" in that it is easier to bring a spacious clarity of meditation into a well-rehearsed activity like that than to face the "darts and arrows" in the same spirit.

Of course there are many other good reasons for performing them too. But since we are on the subject of meditation...
Well actually, the topic is about "the causes for wisdom".
Paul, I am probably not in the mood for your sense of humour but people were discussing rites and ritual - so why the seemingly smartarse comment?
The "rules and ritual" business was brought by robertk as a defense of his wholesale rejection of sitting meditation practice.
retrofuturist wrote: Since "attachment to rites and rituals" (as compared to say, "absence of meditation") is one of the three fetters that binds us to avijja (ignorance) and prevents stream-entry, possibly it's a more important (and less beaten to death) subject of discussion on a topic addressing "the causes for wisdom".
And here you go!

If someone is performing a ritual, does it mean (s)he is attached? And if so, could it still be useful before stream-entry?
Also, as has been mentioned above in response to robertk's comments, even if someone starts out the sitting practice with the hindrance of "rules and rituals," that does not mean they are going to be forever stuck there. Insight into what binds is part of the natural unfolding of practice. It is why one does sitting meditation practice.

Image:
Dan wrote:
retro wrote: The topic, and forum in general, needn't always be framed as a relentless defense of sitting meditation and people's chosen practices (as it has been for much of the last 18 pages of discussion).
A long time ago I was debating with Tilt, unable to understand his seemingly vehement attack on Mahayana sectarianism and particularly the term "Hinayana". Then he shared that due to this sectarian propaganda, to effectively slander, the avenue of exploring Theravada remained closed to him for some time. In essence he was denied an opportunity to explore this amazing tradition. A travesty, wouldn't you agree?

I think all ill-informed attacks on a tradition, a lineage or practice, do precisely that - misinform and deny people an opportunity to explore through slander. I am not defensive about my chosen practice - you are reading me entirely wrong. After 10 years I am completely at home with it. Any inadequacies are my own. But I think it is a good idea to correct misinformation and sectarianism when we see it. I try to do the same within my chosen tradition too.
>> 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 retrofuturist » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:49 am

Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:Paul, I am probably not in the mood for your sense of humour but people were discussing rites and ritual - so why the seemingly smartarse comment?
Nice to see the word "seemingly" there as it demonstrates that what you said reflects your own perception. There was no humour or smart-arsery intended - merely a statement of fact. This topic is titled "The causes for wisdom" and that is what it is about.
Dan74 wrote:A long time ago I was debating with Tilt, unable to understand his seemingly vehement attack on Mahayana sectarianism and particularly the term "Hinayana". Then he shared that due to this sectarian propaganda, to effectively slander, the avenue of exploring Theravada remained closed to him for some time. In essence he was denied an opportunity to explore this amazing tradition. A travesty, wouldn't you agree?
Not all people are like Tilt.
Dan74 wrote:If someone is performing a ritual, does it mean (s)he is attached? And if so, could it still be useful before stream-entry?
A good question, pertinent to the topic... perhaps someone will take it up?
Dan74 wrote:I think all ill-informed attacks on a tradition, a lineage or practice, do precisely that - misinform and deny people an opportunity to explore through slander.
That's all fine, but that's not how I've interpreted the words from Robert and likeminded individuals in this topic. From what I recall of their postings throughout the topic, they have been very careful to clarify that it's the view underlying what is done that is the significant factor underlying the efficacy of action, and not the corresponding movements and configurations of rupa. In other words, it's "sitting-neutral".

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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:55 am

retrofuturist wrote:That's all fine, but that's not how I've interpreted the words from Robert and likeminded individuals in this topic. From what I recall of their postings throughout the topic, they have been very careful to clarify that it's the view underlying what is done that is the significant factor underlying the efficacy of action, and not the corresponding movements and configurations of rupa. In other words, it's "sitting-neutral".
It may be worth going back through this thread and play back the words used by robertk, Virgo, and dhamma follower in relation to sitting practice and how sitting practice has been portrayed in this thread. I don't see anything "sitting-neutral" about it all.
>> 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 retrofuturist » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:03 am

Greetings Tilt,

It would be interesting then to see if one of them would be prepared to differentiate between "right sitting practice" from "wrong sitting practice".

If "wrong sitting practice" isn't anything advocated by Theravada teachers, then the objections are moot.

Robert? Kevin? DF?... any takers?

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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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