relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

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form
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relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by form » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:34 pm

The healthier, the younger the body the easier it is to progress. Is that correct?

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Bundokji
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:54 pm

In theory, this seems to be correct. Its always better to practice when we are young and healthy before the shit hits the fan.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:04 pm

form wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:34 pm
The healthier, the younger the body the easier it is to progress. Is that correct?
I'm not sure. One would certainly have more strength to practice, but maybe that is offset by a greater difficulty in renouncing things, and a greater strength of defilements. The Buddha says
"Monks, there are these three forms of intoxication. Which three? Intoxication with youth, intoxication with health, intoxication with life.

"Drunk with the intoxication of youth, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

"Drunk with the intoxication of health, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

"Drunk with the intoxication of life, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

"Drunk with the intoxication of youth, a monk leaves the training and returns to the lower life. Drunk with the intoxication of health, a monk leaves the training and returns to the lower life. Drunk with the intoxication of life, a monk leaves the training and returns to the lower life."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

On the other hand, exceptional individuals like Ratthapala gained insight without experiencing "loss through illness and loss through ageing".
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So I don't think it is as clear cut as all that.

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Polar Bear
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by Polar Bear » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:23 pm

A healthy body is certainly useful:
"These are the five factors for exertion. Which five?

"There is the case where a monk has conviction, is convinced of the Tathagata's Awakening: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is pure & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.'

"He is free from illness & discomfort, endowed with good digestion — not too cold, not too hot, of moderate strength — fit for exertion.

"He is neither fraudulent nor deceitful. He declares himself to the Teacher or to his wise friends in the holy life in line with what he actually is.

"He keeps his energy aroused for abandoning unskillful mental qualities and taking on skillful mental qualities. He is steadfast, solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful mental qualities.

"He is discerning, endowed with discernment leading to the arising of the goal — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress.

"These are the five factors for exertion."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, these five future dangers are just enough, when considered, for a monk — heedful, ardent, and resolute — to live for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. Which five?

"There is the case where a monk reminds himself of this: At present I am young, black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life. The time will come, though, when this body is beset by old age. When one is overcome with old age and decay, it is not easy to pay attention to the Buddha's teachings. It is not easy to reside in isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. Before this unwelcome, disagreeable, displeasing thing happens, let me first make an effort for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized, so that — endowed with that Dhamma — I will live in peace even when old.

"This is the first future danger that is just enough, when considered, for a monk — heedful, ardent, and resolute — to live for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized.

"Furthermore, the monk reminds himself of this: At present I am free from illness and discomfort, endowed with good digestion: not too cold, not too hot, of medium strength and tolerance. The time will come, though, when this body is beset with illness. When one is overcome with illness, it is not easy to pay attention to the Buddha's teachings. It is not easy to reside in isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. Before this unwelcome, disagreeable, displeasing thing happens, let me first make an effort for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized, so that — endowed with that Dhamma — I will live in peace even when ill...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
But it would be grasping the teaching improperly to then give up hope if one is old or sick, like grabbing a snake by the tail.
Then Ven. Malunkyaputta, who was ardent & resolute, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone in seclusion: heedful, ardent, & resolute."

"Here now, Malunkyaputta: What will I say to the young monks when you — aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life — ask for an admonition in brief?"

"Lord, even though I'm aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life, may the Blessed One teach me the Dhamma in brief! May the One Well-gone teach me the Dhamma in brief! It may well be that I'll understand the Blessed One's words. It may well be that I'll become an heir to the Blessed One's words."

...

Then Ven. Malunkyaputta, having been admonished by the admonishment from the Blessed One, got up from his seat and bowed down to the Blessed One, circled around him, keeping the Blessed One to his right side, and left. Then, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Malunkyaputta became another one of the arahants.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“I am old, venerable sir, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, afflicted in body, often ill. I rarely get to see the Blessed One and the bhikkhus worthy of esteem. Let the Blessed One exhort me, venerable sir, let him instruct me, since that would lead to my welfare and happiness for a long time.”

“So it is, householder, so it is! This body of yours is afflicted, weighed down, encumbered. If anyone carrying around this body were to claim to be healthy even for a moment, what is that due to other than foolishness? Therefore, householder, you should train yourself thus: ‘Even though I am afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.’ Thus should you train yourself.”

...

“And how, householder, is one afflicted in body but not afflicted in mind? Here, householder, the instructed noble disciple, who is a seer of the noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who is a seer of superior persons and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, does not regard form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am form, form is mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, that form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“He does not regard feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling. He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am feeling, feeling is mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, that feeling of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of feeling, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“He does not regard perception as self, or self as possessing perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception. He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am perception, perception is mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, that perception of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of perception, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“He does not regard volitional formations as self, or self as possessing volitional formations, or volitional formations as in self, or self as in volitional formations. He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am volitional formations, volitional formations are mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, those volitional formations of his change and alter. With the change and alteration of volitional formations, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“He does not regard consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am consciousness, consciousness is mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, that consciousness of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of consciousness, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“It is in such a way, householder, that one is afflicted in body but not afflicted in mind.”

This is what the Venerable Sāriputta said. Elated, the householder Nakulapita delighted in the Venerable Sāriputta’s statement.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.1
"Then there is the case where a monk comes down with a slight illness. The thought occurs to him: 'I have come down with a slight illness. Now, there's the possibility that it could get worse. Why don't I make an effort beforehand for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized?' So he makes an effort for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. This is the seventh grounds for the arousal of energy.

"Then there is the case where a monk has recovered from his illness, not long after his recovery. The thought occurs to him: 'I have recovered from my illness. It's not long after my recovery. Now, there's the possibility that the illness could come back. Why don't I make an effort beforehand for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized?' So he makes an effort for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. This is the eighth grounds for the arousal of energy.

"These are the eight grounds for the arousal of energy."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Also, see this sutta:

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

: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."

paul
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by paul » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 pm

Energy is the third factor of enlightenment and one of the five elements of effort is health (faith, health, sincerity, energy and wisdom). So health is a fundamental factor underlying successful practice:

"There is the case where a monk has conviction, is convinced of the Tathagata's Awakening: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.'

"He is free from illness & discomfort, endowed with good digestion — not too cold, not too hot, of moderate strength — fit for exertion.
"He is neither fraudulent nor deceitful. He declares himself to the Teacher or to his wise friends in the holy life in line with what he actually is.
"He keeps his persistence aroused for abandoning unskillful mental qualities and taking on skillful mental qualities. He is steadfast, solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful mental qualities.
"He is discerning, endowed with discernment leading to the arising of the goal — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress.
"These are the five factors for exertion.—-MN 90, AN 5:53.

From experience, having practised both reasonably young and old, insight is developed and stronger with age, whereas further concentration practice is not possible when old due to physical restraints.
Last edited by paul on Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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retrofuturist
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:18 pm

Greetings,

A healthy body is certainly not to be taken for granted on the Dhamma path. Once you've read Nanavira Thera's letters you'll know all about it...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by DNS » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:44 pm

I don't think being young is necessary and I'm not just saying that because I'm old. :mrgreen: Being healthy is good though. I can't imagine what it must be like for some people who endure chronic pain on a daily/hourly basis. It must be hard to have equanimity when in constant pain.

The Buddha prior to awakening was weak from ascetic practices and ate food and then attained enlightenment.

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DooDoot
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by DooDoot » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:51 pm

Healthy body for Buddhism includes normal breathing. Strong hatha yoga practises, for example, can distort natural breathing patterns. I noticed a thread here about deliberate short energetic breathing practises & could only cringe.

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Dhammanando
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:05 pm

form wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:34 pm
The healthier, the younger the body the easier it is to progress. Is that correct?
I think it's an over-generalization. In the Suttas there are no arahants under the age of seven and the commentaries say that seven is in fact the minimal age for any ariyan attainment. They also say that the fifth decade of one's life is the optimal age. After that the task becomes increasingly difficult because of the decline in mental sharpness (nipuṇatā). In the first of the Vuḍḍhapabbajitasuttas, nipuṇatā is given as the first of the five qualities that are seldom found in those who go forth in old age.

As for strong health, this is essential for development of the jhānas, but not for insight development.

form
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by form » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:30 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:05 pm
form wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:34 pm
The healthier, the younger the body the easier it is to progress. Is that correct?
I think it's an over-generalization. In the Suttas there are no arahants under the age of seven and the commentaries say that seven is in fact the minimal age for any ariyan attainment. They also say that the fifth decade of one's life is the optimal age. After that the task becomes increasingly difficult because of the decline in mental sharpness (nipuṇatā). In the first of the Vuḍḍhapabbajitasuttas, nipuṇatā is given as the first of the five qualities that are seldom found in those who go forth in old age.

As for strong health, this is essential for development of the jhānas, but not for insight development.
I ever come across in AN, where the Buddha listed (among five factors) being young as an advantage to practicing the dharma. I hope I have phrased it correctly as it comes from my memory.
Last edited by form on Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

chownah
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by chownah » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:50 am

For sattipatana one only needs to minimally remember that "there is a body". Seems like while health is important it does not seem that vibrant health would be needed to minimally remember that "there is a body".
chownah

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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:14 am

Greetings,
chownah wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:50 am
For sattipatana one only needs to minimally remember that "there is a body". Seems like while health is important it does not seem that vibrant health would be needed to minimally remember that "there is a body".
:jumping:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by chownah » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:13 am

I'm glad my post strikes you as funny. I don't get it. Unintended humor is sometimes the best kind.
chownah

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Polar Bear
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by Polar Bear » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:41 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:05 pm

As for strong health, this is essential for development of the jhānas, but not for insight development.
What is the explanation for that, particularly in relation to the development of jhānas? Also, what text(s) is that notion found in?

I would imagine the reasoning would be along the lines of bodily tranquility (passaddhi) being necessary for samadhi whereas comprehension of feeling is sufficient for liberating insight leading to arahantship; but I'd be interested in a more explicit, sourced answer.

: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."

form
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Re: relationship between a healthy body and enlightenment

Post by form » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:19 am

quote=Dhammanando post_id=440887 time=1507849512 user_id=56]

As for strong health, this is essential for development of the jhānas, but not for insight development.
[/quote]

This is an interesting point that may suggest jhana is closely related to body alchemy.

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