Ahara Sutta: Food

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seeker242
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Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by seeker242 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:53 pm

So when reading this sutta, a question arose pertaining to this particular part. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And what is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are phenomena that act as a foothold for uncertainty. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
What are the phenomena that he refers to, that act as a foothold for uncertainty? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention away from?
And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful & unskillful, blameworthy & blameless, gross & refined, siding with darkness & with light. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
What are the mental qualities that are the "lack of food"? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention towards?

:meditate:

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Sam Vara
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:27 pm

seeker242 wrote:So when reading this sutta, a question arose pertaining to this particular part. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And what is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are phenomena that act as a foothold for uncertainty. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
What are the phenomena that he refers to, that act as a foothold for uncertainty? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention away from?
I think the idea is for the practitioner themselves to find out what those phenomena are for him/herself, and to avoid them. Possibly because there are different phenomena for each of us which act as a support for certainty and uncertainty. This section looks rather like the passage in MN 2, where ideas unfit for attention are proscribed, but the specific content thereof is not specified:
And what are the ideas unfit for attention that he attends to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality increases; the unarisen fermentation of becoming arises in him, and arisen fermentation of becoming increases; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance increases. These are the ideas unfit for attention that he attends to.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=KJV

paul
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by paul » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:52 pm

seeker242 wrote: What are the mental qualities that are the "lack of food"? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention towards?
To be specific about the question, this is usually doubt about the doctrine. The fetter of doubt is eliminated at the first stage of holiness, stream winning. It is so done through the factor of investigation of life events put into the context of dhamma principles, which is really the application of mindfulness. That is to say that doubt is removed by verifying the truth of the dhamma in personal experience.

""He/she is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma: 'The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."---SN 55.1

"The feeding process is especially direct with analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening — a near equivalent of appropriate attention — and the hindrance of uncertainty. These two form a pair, in that the feeding of analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening in and of itself starves the hindrance of uncertainty, and vice versa. Appropriate attention to the effects of skillful and unskillful qualities in the mind — in other words, focusing on questions that identify such qualities as the hindrances and the factors for Awakening, and inquire into their causes and effects — not only feeds this factor for Awakening but also enables one to develop its fellow factors. Inappropriate attention to issues that excite uncertainty — asking questions that can lead only to doubt and perplexity — not only feeds the hindrance of uncertainty but also leads to a sense of confusion that prevents all the factors for Awakening from developing."---'The Seven Factors for Awakening', Thanissaro Bikkhu.
Last edited by paul on Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

Buddha Vacana
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by Buddha Vacana » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:26 am

Sam Vara wrote: I think the idea is for the practitioner themselves to find out what those phenomena are for him/herself, and to avoid them.
What you are describing here looks very much like burying one's head in the sand. That is probably better than applying inappropriate attention to doubt-inducing matters, but it does not look like the solution prescribed in this sutta.

It seems to me that the solution given in this sutta is to regard things with *appropriate attention*.

To try to answer the OP's question, I think among the things one should direct appropriate attention to, there will be thise doubt-inducing matters, but appropriate attention should now do its trick and resolve whatever paradox was there.

Although I agree sometimes acknowledging our ignorance seems to be the only thing we can do (I'm thinking for example about openly misogynistic or scientifically inaccurate statements we find in the suttas).

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Sam Vara
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:10 am

Buddha Vacana wrote:
Sam Vara wrote: I think the idea is for the practitioner themselves to find out what those phenomena are for him/herself, and to avoid them.
What you are describing here looks very much like burying one's head in the sand. That is probably better than applying inappropriate attention to doubt-inducing matters, but it does not look like the solution prescribed in this sutta.

It seems to me that the solution given in this sutta is to regard things with *appropriate attention*.

To try to answer the OP's question, I think among the things one should direct appropriate attention to, there will be thise doubt-inducing matters, but appropriate attention should now do its trick and resolve whatever paradox was there.

Although I agree sometimes acknowledging our ignorance seems to be the only thing we can do (I'm thinking for example about openly misogynistic or scientifically inaccurate statements we find in the suttas).
Yes, you make a good point. I was mainly concerned with the specific question in the OP about how we know what those factors are; and given that there is no list provided, we are probably to find out through our own experience what those doubt-inducing things are. Looking back at the OP I was also probably influenced by the phrase
what specifically do you direct your attention away from?
You, rightly, are concerned with what we do with those things once we have identified them. The sutta itself says that inappropriate attention to some factors causes doubt to grow, but that we need appropriate attention to both skillful and unskillful mental qualities in order for that doubt to decrease. This would certainly mean that we don't simply avoid them.

Please feel free to let me know whether you think I have understood this. And many thanks for your correction, which I find extremely helpful.

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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by JohnK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:00 pm

Just regarding the phrase "inappropriate attention"
seeker242 wrote:... what specifically do you direct your attention away from?
I don't think the phrase suggests "directing attention away from" as if all attention to them is inappropriate, just that the attention should be appropriate (no head burying).
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by JohnK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:44 pm

seeker242 wrote:
And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful & unskillful, blameworthy & blameless, gross & refined, siding with darkness & with light. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
What are the mental qualities that are the "lack of food"? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention towards?

:meditate:
Seems to me "appropriate attention" to them is the lack of food not the mental qualities themselves as the mental qualities can be skillful or unskillful as it says. So it seems that the key question is: what is appropriate attention. I bet somebody here at DW has the Pali word from the sutta, and I bet it is used/discussed in other suttas.
Edit: Same for "mental qualities" -- I bet somebody here knows the Pali from this sutta and how it is used in other suttas.
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:51 pm

JohnK wrote: So it seems that the key question is: what is appropriate attention. I bet somebody here at DW has the Pali word from the sutta, and I bet it is used/discussed in other suttas.
Yonisomanasikara.

It's a tough one. Different people translate it in different ways. Maybe "fixing one's attention with a purpose", or "attending to the origin or foundation". Ajahn Sucitto likes "Fathoming attention".

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Sam Vara
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:55 pm

JohnK wrote: Edit: Same for "mental qualities" -- I bet somebody here knows the Pali from this sutta and how it is used in other suttas.
I think that one is just "dhammas", so it's very broad.

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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by JohnK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:07 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
JohnK wrote: So it seems that the key question is: what is appropriate attention. I bet somebody here at DW has the Pali word from the sutta, and I bet it is used/discussed in other suttas.
Yonisomanasikara.

It's a tough one. Different people translate it in different ways. Maybe "fixing one's attention with a purpose", or "attending to the origin or foundation". Ajahn Sucitto likes "Fathoming attention".
Thanks. (I bet it shows up in other places which would shed light on its meaning for this sutta.)
It seems likely that for practical purposes in this context that it means at least in part attending to mental qualities AS mental qualities vs. being lost in them; knowing them for what they are vs. operating habitually toward them, allowing them to proliferate, and/or taking them to be "self."
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:27 pm

JohnK wrote: Thanks. (I bet it shows up in other places which would shed light on its meaning for this sutta.)
It seems likely that for practical purposes in this context that it means at least in part attending to mental qualities AS mental qualities vs. being lost in them; knowing them for what they are vs. operating habitually toward them, allowing them to proliferate, and/or taking them to be "self."
I think it's used in fairly similar ways in other suttas, and I'm sure that you're right about the practicalities. The yoni part means "womb" or "origin", so that it can mean something like "deep attention". But it could also point to attending to the origins of the thing one is attending to, i.e. knowing that it is dependently arisen. Attending to the "roots of things" can mean "all the way down", to see through it rather than being distracted by it; and/or "how it came to be". Both would appear to be a form of "wise attention".

There is a Yoniso Manasikāra Sampadā Sutta which has a very nice commentary by Piya Tan:
http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 5-piya.pdf

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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by JohnK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:44 pm

Sam Vara wrote:...
Thanks again, and hopefully this conversation is of some use to seeker242, the OP.
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

2600htz
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Re: Ahara Sutta: Food

Post by 2600htz » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:25 pm

seeker242 wrote:So when reading this sutta, a question arose pertaining to this particular part. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And what is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are phenomena that act as a foothold for uncertainty. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
What are the phenomena that he refers to, that act as a foothold for uncertainty? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention away from?
And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful & unskillful, blameworthy & blameless, gross & refined, siding with darkness & with light. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
What are the mental qualities that are the "lack of food"? In other words, what specifically do you direct your attention towards?

:meditate:
Hello:

Its talking about hindrances, those are the phenomena that when given inappropriate attention act as a food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the arising of unarisen unskillful mental states.

Regards.

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