How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

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manas
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How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by manas » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:03 am

Sense Restraint

"And how does a monk guard the doors of his senses? On seeing a form with the eye, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... On tasting a flavor with the tongue... On touching a tactile sensation with the body... On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. Endowed with this noble restraint over the sense faculties, he is inwardly sensitive to the pleasure of being blameless. This is how a monk guards the doors of his senses.

source: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
I would like a few tips, about how not to get into aversion, regarding disagreeable odours,for example. Usually, when someone who smells like they have not bathed in quite some time, gets aboard a train carriage I am on, I sort of give the impression of needing to get off at the next stop, so as not to offend that person, but in reality I am just trying to either get some distance or, depending on how strong the odour is , get out of that carriage and quickly enter another one, when a chance arises.

Is the Buddha suggesting another way here? That is, I could actually stay right where I am , and simply not grasp at the disagreeable aspect of the odour, just know it as it is: 'foul odour', and thus not suffer mentally over it? But, how is this done, with something as foul as body odour?

let's be honest: body odour can be pretty disgusting. Should we attempt to not get aversive, or just change carriages? What would you do? thanks for reading. :anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:10 am

Greetings Manas,

I think MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta is a good place to start. The sutta summarises the situation as follows...
"Bhikkhus! There are āsavas that should be removed through vision, āsavas that should be removed through restraint, āsavas that should be removed through proper use [of requisites], āsavas that should be removed through forbearance, āsavas that should be removed through avoidance, āsavas that should be removed through rejection and āsavas that should be removed through cultivation [of the Factors of Enlightenment].
The sutta goes on to explain in detail about each modality...

Which one do you think would be most applicable in the situation you describe?

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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Sam Vara
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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:28 am

manas wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:03 am
Is the Buddha suggesting another way here? That is, I could actually stay right where I am , and simply not grasp at the disagreeable aspect of the odour, just know it as it is: 'foul odour', and thus not suffer mentally over it? But, how is this done, with something as foul as body odour?

let's be honest: body odour can be pretty disgusting. Should we attempt to not get aversive, or just change carriages? What would you do? thanks for reading. :anjali:
My view is that I think the Buddha is suggesting another way here, and that there are a number of different strategies one can use in order to not grasp at the disagreeable aspects. One is to consider the conditioned nature of our responses. We only have an aversive reaction because we have been brought up in a society where being unwashed is frowned upon. To a small child, or someone who lives where water is in short supply, that smell is no big deal. To a dog, that person is presumably a larger "olfactory object" in their world, and all the more interesting for it! We can think about how the smell is simply what happens when certain chemicals go through entirely natural processes. Or the Khandas: consider how all there is to our experience is an external object in the form of some matter; our activated sense of smell; a feeling which arises from their interaction; an intention to focus on the odour rather than anything else in the train carriage or our mind; and finally a label ("disgusting unwashed person with body odour!") which we attach to the experience in accordance with our memory. If any one of these were to be different, our aversion would not manifest itself in that way. It's all a bit fragile, really.

And, of course, one might attempt to generate feelings of metta for this person, who is unable to wash, or who suffers social stigma, etc. Imagine them as being kind, doing beneficial acts despite their bad odour.

Your post reminds me of a conversation with a nun who was irrationally averse to the big spiders in her dwelling. She said she spent quite a lot of time unpicking this reaction, and trying to find things to like about the spiders. She tried to see them as elegant, and now has managed to transform her strong dislike.

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:42 am

just change carriages?
Just imagine the garbage collectors, plumbers and doctors think the same way.
Do you have any respect for them?
Have you eaten durian?
What about your partner fart inside the doona?
:tongue:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:44 am

After a lot of satipatthana/vipassana meditation, perhaps being aware of sensations, or whatever kind of satipatthana/vipassana one does... you gradually get a lot of practise just observing aversion to small things, like a pain in the knee, or boredom, or someone sniffing annoyingly in the meditation hall next to you.
In my experience these hundreds of small moments of practise dealing with aversion, really have an effect in normal life when the big aversions start to come up.
So practise meditation, and in meditation cultivate that attitude of non-reaction, or equanimity, or whatever you call it.
It adds up, just like drops of water in the pot.

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:21 am

manas wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:03 am
Sense Restraint

"And how does a monk guard the doors of his senses? On seeing a form with the eye, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... On tasting a flavor with the tongue... On touching a tactile sensation with the body... On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. Endowed with this noble restraint over the sense faculties, he is inwardly sensitive to the pleasure of being blameless. This is how a monk guards the doors of his senses.

source: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
I would like a few tips, about how not to get into aversion, regarding disagreeable odours,for example. Usually, when someone who smells like they have not bathed in quite some time, gets aboard a train carriage I am on, I sort of give the impression of needing to get off at the next stop, so as not to offend that person, but in reality I am just trying to either get some distance or, depending on how strong the odour is , get out of that carriage and quickly enter another one, when a chance arises.

Is the Buddha suggesting another way here? That is, I could actually stay right where I am , and simply not grasp at the disagreeable aspect of the odour, just know it as it is: 'foul odour', and thus not suffer mentally over it? But, how is this done, with something as foul as body odour?

let's be honest: body odour can be pretty disgusting. Should we attempt to not get aversive, or just change carriages? What would you do? thanks for reading. :anjali:
Here in Bangkok, it is quite hot most of the year. Many times while traveling in the trains, there will be someone whose body odor is overwhelming. They are sweating profusely, often overweight people, but occasionally someone who is fit but perhaps unwashed. My first thought is simply to move away from the area if the odor doesn't dissipate through the ventilation system. Sometimes I see people struggling to cope with the odor, to be polite, to turn their head in a different direction. But the usual response is to simply move away. We don't have to torture ourselves to prove that we are somehow immune to these kinds of things.

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by manas » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:03 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:10 am
Greetings Manas,

I think MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta is a good place to start. The sutta summarises the situation as follows...
"Bhikkhus! There are āsavas that should be removed through vision, āsavas that should be removed through restraint, āsavas that should be removed through proper use [of requisites], āsavas that should be removed through forbearance, āsavas that should be removed through avoidance, āsavas that should be removed through rejection and āsavas that should be removed through cultivation [of the Factors of Enlightenment].
The sutta goes on to explain in detail about each modality...

Which one do you think would be most applicable in the situation you describe?

Metta,
Paul. :)
Recalling something Ajahn Chah once said, I think (patient) endurance is probably the most appropriate one, in the situation I described above. If, attempting that, my mind became too aversive, maybe 'avoidance' wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. Thank you for posting these options. Upon reflection, perhaps it's about choosing our battles at times, as Rome wasn't built (or demolished) in a day. :anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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manas
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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by manas » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:09 pm

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:42 am
just change carriages?
Just imagine the garbage collectors, plumbers and doctors think the same way.
Do you have any respect for them?
Have you eaten durian?
What about your partner fart inside the doona?
:tongue:
Lucky for me, I'm terminally single nowadays, and a musician by trade. :)
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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bodom
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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by bodom » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:11 pm

Let the odour stop at the nose. Don't let it enter the heart to give rise to aversion. "In the sensed is only the sensed Bahiya..."

:namaste:
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 no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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manas
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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by manas » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:23 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:28 am


My view is that I think the Buddha is suggesting another way here
I think you are correct; but maybe I'm not quite ready for it. I'm gravitating to Retro's suggestion regarding the Sabbasava sutta... in my defense, I actually do have a weak stomach at times, no kidding. Once, the combined smells of drunken folks' alcoholic breath, the sweat from their pores, vomit , and even urine, literally made me nauseated. Literally. This was when I was returning from the City, on a Friday night, with many folks who had enjoyed themselves by getting drunk, and were returning home. Just too intense for this monkey, I'm afraid. I had to stand in the section inbetween two carriages, where all I had to contend with, was the odour of the rubber siding , which was pleasant as compared to what was inside. :anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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manas
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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by manas » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:44 pm

Sorry I have to just sum up, but my eyes get sore, if I go on too long.

Thank you to everyone, whether I got around to replying specifically to your post, or not. I've received much wholesome, skilful advice. But, I think I've figured out, what is appropriate for me, at this time.

Just as I can handle having to glance into the eyes of an attractive woman, while not allowing my mind to get consumed by lust, BUT, if the same woman stood naked before me, that would be too much; OR, I can hear someone sniffling, yet I can avoid getting into aversion simply by noting it as 'sound', but if you played extremely loud Justin Bieber music (or some other appalling style) that would be too much - SIMILARLY, I will need to build myself up gradually, when it comes to foul odours. I can practice with small things first, like when my dog defecates on the lawn, and one day, when I'm ready, I will be able to not get aversive about the extreme body odour of some unwashed folks.

A man's got to know his limitations.

metta :anjali:
Last edited by manas on Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:55 pm

manas wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:09 pm
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:42 am
just change carriages?
Just imagine the garbage collectors, plumbers and doctors think the same way.
Do you have any respect for them?
Have you eaten durian?
What about your partner fart inside the doona?
:tongue:
Lucky for me, I'm terminally single nowadays, and a musician by trade. :)
>a musician by trade. :)>
Or, great. I did not know that.
:D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:02 pm

Once in our working place, a rat (size of a little rabbit) died in the wall cavity.
We could not find where it comes from unless breaking the whole wall.
So, we put up with the smell for four weeks until the body decomposed.

Avoidance is the best strategy if you can.
If you can't, it is a great way to practice your cemetery meditation.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by Stiphan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:02 pm

As per MN 2, I think this calls for endurance or avoidance. The former seems tough for you, so just use avoidance and change carriages or distance yourself from that place. For you it's smells, for others it could be sights, sounds, tastes, or tactile sensations that are difficult to endure, or any of the other items mentioned in that sutta. For me it's certain people, the so-called difficult people are hard to endure being around, so I just leave them. The Buddha also said that there is no fellowship with the fool and you should go your way alone like a Rhinoceros. (Khaggavisana Sutta, Sn 1.3) If I can't escape such people, I establish deep mindfulness of the body and go deep inside myself as a means for refuge.

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Re: How to exercise sense restraint in instances where aversion might arise?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:06 pm

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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