watching rise and fall

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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watching rise and fall

Post by tiltbillings »

I am starting a new thread, taking this msg as a basis:
  • mikenz66 wrote:
    tiltbillings wrote:
    dhammarelax wrote:
    The hindrances are ok to be there, they are your friends every time a hindrance arises is giving you an opportunity to gain insight in to the process of dependent origination, if its a thought then you know you are clinging to something and that this is suffering, by watching it arise and then fade away you are seeing impermanence, and because this does not remain then you know is not your self, you cannot control it. If its a feeling the same.
    Now you are sounding like a Mahasi Sayadaw student.
    Yes, well most teachers I've paid attention to (including the Buddha) teach that, so it's not so surprising...

    :anjali:
    Mike
    In response jnak wrote: I have some difficulty squaring that with MN 20. My read is that the Buddha recommends that one abandons unskillful thoughts associated with the hindrances. Abandonment suggests something a bit more active than watching them pass away of their own accord. The similes used in the sutta suggest that to me as well. I take this instruction to mean we should drop unskillful thoughts like a hot rock.
I have some difficulty squaring that with MN 20. My read is that the Buddha recommends that one abandons unskillful thoughts associated with the hindrances.” Of course, context is everything:
    • MN 20 states: “Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is giving attention to some sign, and owing to that sign there arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should give attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome.*
In the context of doing a particular practice – “giving attention to some sign” – if there are intrusive thoughts, hindrances, then the instructions of MN 20 are certainly appropriate.

It depends, however, what one’s practice is. We find in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta a very different set of instructions:
    • Contemplation of Mind-Objects

      1. The Five Hindrances

      “And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects? Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances. And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances? Here, there being sensual desire in him, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is sensual desire in me’; or there being no sensual desire in him, he understands: ‘There is no sensual desire in me’; and he also understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of abandoned sensual desire.’

      “There being ill will in him…There being sloth and torpor in him…There being restlessness and remorse in him…There being doubt in him, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is doubt in me’; or there being no doubt in him, he understands: ‘There is no doubt in me’; and he understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen doubt, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen doubt, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of abandoned doubt.


      Insight

      “In this way he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects internally, or he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects externally, or he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects both internally and externally. Or else he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of arising, or he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of vanishing, or he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of both arising and vanishing. Or else mindfulness that ‘there are mind-objects’ is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness. And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances.”
My read [of MN 20] is that the Buddha recommends that one abandons unskillful thoughts associated with the hindrances. Abandonment suggests something a bit more active than watching them pass away of their own accord.
a bit more active than watching them [the hindrances] pass away of their own accord.” The suggestion is that this is a passive process. The reality is that the practice is not all passive; rather, it requires a well-trained, keenly focused mind in which mindfulness and concentration are well developed, allowing for attention to be carefully and directly placed, so to speak, upon whatever the object of attention is.

A hindrance that arises can become a basis for insight. A hindrance is no less and no more of the same conditioned co-produced nature and thusly impermanent, unsatisfactory and empty of any essence.

I quote this again here:
    • There is a great deal of difference between thinking about anicca and directly, without comment, seeing the rise and fall of the nama/rupa process.

      During a meditation retreat, in the meditation hall, the woman four places over and one row down coughs. You recognize that cough as being hers, and an image of her pops into your head, and right along with that image comes a raging, burning lust, a carnal wanting. What do you do? You can think about it, get lost in it, or you can try the various anti-lust options in the Buddhist contemplative tool box to free oneself from this fire. Or you can simply pay attention without comment to it, seeing the aversion to the lust, the wanting, feelings the pleasure and feelings discomfort rising and falling in a flaming swirl. This storm rages and you sit unmoved, simply paying attention, and then there is this moment where the fuel of the lust is expended, and you move effortlessly in an instant from burning lust to nibbuti, coolness, release, ease, more deeply concentrated and attentive. No thinking, no comment, just direct experience of the play of one's nama/rupa process. Afterwards you can talk about this, put into a context, but it was a direct experience, giving a direct insight into the nature of the nama/rupa, and it is such an experience as this that changes one.

      It is not something special, and it is nothing at all to hang onto, and it is not something that comes by thinking alone. It is such an experience that gives one's contemplative/meditative Dhamma life, meaning, and direction.
This attention not a passive activity and nor is it a thinking about what is happening; rather, it is a very active paying attention: in the seen just the seen, which allows for the conditioned nature of what is being attended to to manifest as it is, not as concepts, but as perceptions, giving rise to insight.

This sort of thing is clearly not easy, but it is, in my opinion which no one else needs to share, what the Dhamma practice finally boils down to.
>> 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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Ben
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by Ben »

Nice opening post, Tilt. I look forward to the discussion.
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pegembara
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by pegembara »

How about this? To paraphrase the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
"Bhikkhus, thoughts are not self. Were thoughts self, then thoughts would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.' And since thoughts are not-self, so they lead to affliction, and none can have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: are thoughts permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in thoughts
Do you really know what your next thought will be before it appears?
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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tiltbillings
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by tiltbillings »

pegembara wrote:How about this? To paraphrase the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
"Bhikkhus, thoughts are not self. Were thoughts self, then thoughts would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.' And since thoughts are not-self, so they lead to affliction, and none can have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: are thoughts permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in thoughts
Do you really know what your next thought will be before it appears?
Please forgive, but I am not quite getting the point of the question at the end.
>> 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

pegembara
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by pegembara »

tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:How about this? To paraphrase the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
"Bhikkhus, thoughts are not self. Were thoughts self, then thoughts would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.' And since thoughts are not-self, so they lead to affliction, and none can have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: are thoughts permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in thoughts
Do you really know what your next thought will be before it appears?
Please forgive, but I am not quite getting the point of the question at the end.
The 3 characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and notself are well known. But the characteristic of uncontrollability is usually not mentioned. If thoughts were yours, you would know what it is going to be before it appears but you don't. You have limited "control" over them. You really don't know what you were "thinking" before those thoughts appear.
“Your decisions are strongly prepared by brain activity. By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the work has already been done,” said study co-author John-Dylan Haynes, a Max Planck Institute neuroscientist.
Sankhara paccaya vinnana?

http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/br ... you-decide" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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tiltbillings
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by tiltbillings »

Thanks for the clarification.
tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:How about this? To paraphrase the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
"Bhikkhus, thoughts are not self. Were thoughts self, then thoughts would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.' And since thoughts are not-self, so they lead to affliction, and none can have it of thoughts : 'Let my thoughts be thus, let my thoughts be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: are thoughts permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in thoughts
Do you really know what your next thought will be before it appears?
Please forgive, but I am not quite getting the point of the question at the end.
pegembara wrote: The 3 characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and notself are well known. But the characteristic of uncontrollability is usually not mentioned. If thoughts were yours, you would know what it is going to be before it appears but you don't. You have limited "control" over them. You really don't know what you were "thinking" before those thoughts appear.
“Your decisions are strongly prepared by brain activity. By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the work has already been done,” said study co-author John-Dylan Haynes, a Max Planck Institute neuroscientist.
Sankhara paccaya vinnana?

http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/br ... you-decide" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
>> 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

jnak
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by jnak »

tiltbillings wrote:It depends, however, what one’s practice is. We find in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta a very different set of instructions:
    • Contemplation of Mind-Objects

      1. The Five Hindrances

      “And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects? Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances. And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances? Here, there being sensual desire in him, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is sensual desire in me’; or there being no sensual desire in him, he understands: ‘There is no sensual desire in me’; and he also understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of abandoned sensual desire.’

      “There being ill will in him…There being sloth and torpor in him…There being restlessness and remorse in him…There being doubt in him, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is doubt in me’; or there being no doubt in him, he understands: ‘There is no doubt in me’; and he understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen doubt, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen doubt, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of abandoned doubt.


      Insight

      “In this way he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects internally, or he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects externally, or he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects both internally and externally. Or else he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of arising, or he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of vanishing, or he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of both arising and vanishing. Or else mindfulness that ‘there are mind-objects’ is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness. And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances.”
I imagine that is the view that predominates among those that practice vipassana techniques. For a different perspective I recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu's explanation of satipatthana in his treatise, Wings to Awakening.

A relevant point to this discussion is made in the second graph:
The texts give two different pictures of the role that the frames of reference play in the practice. Some [§§33, 34, 36] state that developing the frames of reference is a precondition for jhāna, which then forms a basis for transcendent discernment. Others [§§27, 43] make no mention of jhāna, stating that one goes directly from the frames of reference to the transcendent. On the surface, this would seem to indicate that there are two alternate paths: one with and one without jhāna. This reading, though, contradicts the many passages maintaining that jhāna is necessary for the development of transcendent discernment [§§165, 166, 171, 173, 178; some of these passages simply say "concentration" instead of jhāna, but there seems to be every reason to assume that concentration here means right concentration, which is nothing other than jhāna]. Thus we must look for an alternative reading, and we find one suggested by passages indicating that the development of the frames of reference implicitly entails the full development of the seven factors for Awakening. Because these factors are closely associated with jhāna, this would indicate that the proper development of the frames of reference necessarily incorporates, in and of itself, the practice of jhāna.
In the course of the chapter, he goes on to discuss how practices like "mental noting" and "scanning" or "body"sweeping" can lead to right concentration.
tiltbillings wrote:A hindrance that arises can become a basis for insight. A hindrance is no less and no more of the same conditioned co-produced nature and thusly impermanent, unsatisfactory and empty of any essence.
If Thanissaro Bhikkhu is correct that the proper development of sattipatthana includes the development of jhana, then I would think that a hindrance is not a basis for insight, as the hindrances are to be abandoned as a prerequisite for the development of jhana.

Your sentiments towards Thanissaro Bhikkhu's presentation of the dhamma are well known, so perhaps this will not be satisfying to you. For my part, I have no interest in endless debate over translation and interpretation of the suttas supporting or disproving this view. To me the question is academic as it presents no challenges to my manner of practice.
"...I'm not much of an expert when it comes to the texts. I've simply learned a few parts, and put them into practice." Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo

alan
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by alan »

MN 20 isn't necessarily concerned with the meditative experience, but has advice about dealing with hindrances. Among which are "beat down, constrain and crush".

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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by rohana »

Why must we assume that the hindrances need to be addressed in the exact same manner every time? If the hindrances are strong, then that means concentration is weak. When concentration is weak it is difficult to maintain mindfulness, so you can instead seek to eradicate the hindrance. Once concentration becomes stronger - i.e. it is easy to maintain mindfulness (and one can wrest one's mind back to being mindful easily if one gets lost in thought), then even when hindrances arise the strong sati and samādhi will allow you to observe their rise and fall without being overpowered by the hindrance.
"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43

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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by rohana »

tiltbillings wrote:

    • It is not something special, and it is nothing at all to hang onto, and it is not something that comes by thinking alone. It is such an experience that gives one's contemplative/meditative Dhamma life, meaning, and direction.
:goodpost:
"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43

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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by dhammarelax »

rohana wrote:Why must we assume that the hindrances need to be addressed in the exact same manner every time? If the hindrances are strong, then that means concentration is weak. When concentration is weak it is difficult to maintain mindfulness, so you can instead seek to eradicate the hindrance. Once concentration becomes stronger - i.e. it is easy to maintain mindfulness (and one can wrest one's mind back to being mindful easily if one gets lost in thought), then even when hindrances arise the strong sati and samādhi will allow you to observe their rise and fall without being overpowered by the hindrance.
In theory we can assume that we can choose from the toolbox every time a hindrance hits but this is only valid with specially long or strong attacks, normally the mind is working as an automate so for mild distractions or just thoughts the mind tends to apply the same response every time, the correct ongoing response are the four noble truths and to develop the mental habit to deal with hindrances using them is a winner.

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dhammrelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by bodom »

From Ajahn Sumedho:
So this is being the knowing, knowing what we can know. The Five Hindrances are your teachers, because they’re not the inspiring, radiant gurus from the picture books. They can be pretty trivial, petty, foolish, annoying and obsessive. They keep pushing, jabbing, knocking us down all the time until we give them proper attention and understanding, until they are no longer problems. That’s why one has to be very patient; we have to have all the patience in the world, and the humility to learn from these five teachers.

And what do we learn? That these are just conditions in the mind; they arise and pass away; they’re unsatisfactory, not-self. Sometimes one has very important messages in our lives. We tend to believe those messages, but what we can know is that those are changing conditions: and if we patiently endure through that, then things change automatically, on their own, and we have the openness and clarity of mind to act spontaneously, rather than react to conditions. With bare attention, with mindfulness, things go away on their own, you don’t have to get rid of them because everything that begins, ends. There is nothing to get rid of, you just have to be patient with them and allow things to take their natural course into cessation.

When you are patient, allowing things to cease, then you begin to know cessation - silence, emptiness, clarity - the mind clears, stillness. The mind is still vibrant, it’s not oblivious, repressed or asleep, and you can hear the silence of the mind.

To allow cessation means that we have to be very kind, very gentle and patient, humble, not taking sides with anything, the good, the bad, the pleasure, or the pain. Gentle recognition allows things to change according to their nature, without interfering. So then we learn to turn away from seeking absorption into the objects of the senses. We find our peace in the emptiness of the mind, in its clarity, in its silence.
:anjali:
The heart of the path is so simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice.

Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.

Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this-just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle.

- Ajahn Chah

dhammarelax
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by dhammarelax »

jnak wrote:
If Thanissaro Bhikkhu is correct that the proper development of sattipatthana includes the development of jhana, then I would think that a hindrance is not a basis for insight, as the hindrances are to be abandoned as a prerequisite for the development of jhana.
In my practice I understand hindrances to be all the distractions, any distraction is a hindrance, so every link of dependent origination is a hindrance, and unless we argue that in jhana all the links of dependent origination stop then seeing the links while in Jhana seems to be a valid source of insight as MN 111 seems to point out.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

dhammarelax
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by dhammarelax »

tiltbillings wrote:

It depends, however, what one’s practice is. We find in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta a very different set of instructions:
    • Contemplation of Mind-Objects

      1. The Five Hindrances

      “And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects? Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances. And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances? Here, there being sensual desire in him, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is sensual desire in me’; or there being no sensual desire in him, he understands: ‘There is no sensual desire in me’; and he also understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of abandoned sensual desire.’

      “There being ill will in him…There being sloth and torpor in him…There being restlessness and remorse in him…There being doubt in him, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is doubt in me’; or there being no doubt in him, he understands: ‘There is no doubt in me’; and he understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen doubt, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen doubt, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of abandoned doubt.


      Insight

      “In this way he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects internally, or he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects externally, or he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects both internally and externally. Or else he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of arising, or he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of vanishing, or he abides contemplating in mind-objects their nature of both arising and vanishing. Or else mindfulness that ‘there are mind-objects’ is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness. And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the five hindrances.”
Hi tilt

Would you say that the above passage is referring to the four noble truths? as it mentions "and he also understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen sensual desire, and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen sensual desire", what does it mean to "understand how there comes to be?" it seems to point towards the principle of causality, how comes to be it means the process of dependent origination how did that sensual desire arouse, it did depending on craving and the other links so this could refer to the second noble truth and the abandoning would refer to the third noble truth and the future non-arising refers to the 4rth noble truth.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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tiltbillings
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Re: watching rise and fall

Post by tiltbillings »

jnak wrote:If Thanissaro Bhikkhu is correct that the proper development of sattipatthana includes the development of jhana, then I would think that a hindrance is not a basis for insight, as the hindrances are to be abandoned as a prerequisite for the development of jhana.
There are certainly techniques for temporarily putting aside hindrances, but if one really wants "abandon" them, then it really is necessary to see -- to have insight into -- their actual nature.
Your sentiments towards Thanissaro Bhikkhu's presentation of the dhamma are well known, so perhaps this will not be satisfying to you. For my part, I have no interest in endless debate over translation and interpretation of the suttas supporting or disproving this view. To me the question is academic as it presents no challenges to my manner of practice.
Then why are you posting here? As for my take on Thanissaro, his particular style of practice is one among many, and I am sure it is not without virtue. What I object to, however, is his ham-handed, straw-man approach to dismissing those points of view with which he disagrees. It does speak poorly of him, and it unnecessarily corrosive.
>> 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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