So what is exactly Sloth and Torpor?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible in order to double-check alignment to Theravāda orthodoxy.
Post Reply
Ryan95227
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:29 am

So what is exactly Sloth and Torpor?

Post by Ryan95227 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:52 am

I've always assumed to be related to sleepiness during meditation but can it also mean lack of motivation/laziness to study buddhism and be continually mindful?

SarathW
Posts: 13311
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: So what is exactly Sloth and Torpor?

Post by SarathW » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:31 am

Listening to the following Dhamma talk could be a good start.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/296/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 3944
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: So what is exactly Sloth and Torpor?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:06 am

It is laziness rather than mere sleepiness, but I cannot be bothered to explain in detail, so I will just post a link. :stirthepot:

Courageous Effort is required to dispel the hindrance of sloth and torpor.
Sayādaw U Paṇḍita wrote:Ordinarily the kilesas pull the mind into their field of sensual pleasures. This is especially true for rāga, lust, one aspect of desire. People who are devoid of courageous effort are helpless in rāga’s grip. They sink again and again into the field of sensual pleasures. If effort is injected into the mind, though, the mind can free itself from this harmful energy field. The mind becomes very light, like a rocket that has succeeded in entering the weightlessness of outer space. Freed from the heaviness of desire and aversion, the mind fills instead with rapture and calm, as well as other delightful, free states of mind. This kind of delight can only be enjoyed through the fire of one’s own efforts.
It is noteworthy that when the late Mahāsi Sayādaw first started teaching at his centre in Rangoon, the meditators had to practice from 3:00 am to 11:00 with just 4 hours being allowed for sleep. When I was there later, that was relaxed to 4:00 am to 10:00 pm but some meditators were more diligent.
BlogPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6524
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: So what is exactly Sloth and Torpor?

Post by Mkoll » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:20 am

Ryan95227 wrote:I've always assumed to be related to sleepiness during meditation but can it also mean lack of motivation/laziness to study buddhism and be continually mindful?
The hindrances are more fundamental. They're disturbances of the mind that can arise with regard to many things. So the answer to your question is both, and also any other thing that one can be lazy about. An advanced practitioner would see their hindrances arise in more subtle ways as hindrances arising in more gross situations are overcome.
SN 46.55 wrote:[At Saavatthii the Brahman Sangaarava asked the Buddha:] "Why is it, good Gotama, how does it come about that sometimes sacred words[1] I have long studied are not clear to me, not to mention those I have not studied? And how is it too that sometimes other sacred words that I have not so studied are clear to me, not to mention those I have studied?"

"Well, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sense-desires, and does not know, as it really is, the way of escape from sense-desires that have arisen, then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, nor can he know and see what is to the profit of others, or of both himself and others. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has not studied.

"Imagine, Brahman, a bowl of water mixed with lac, turmeric, dark green or crimson dye. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was. In the same way, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sense-desires... then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, to the profit of others, to the profit of both. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has not studied.

"Again, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed with ill-will... then he cannot know or see...

"Imagine a bowl of water, heated on a fire, boiling up and bubbling over. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was...

"Again, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sloth-and-torpor... then he cannot know or see...

"Imagine a bowl of water covered over with slimy moss and water-plants. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was...

"Again, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by worry-and-flurry... then he cannot know or see...

"Imagine a bowl of water ruffled by the wind, so that the water trembled, eddied and rippled. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was...

"Again, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by doubt-and-wavering... he cannot know or see...

"Imagine a bowl of water, agitated, stirred up muddied, put in a dark place. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was. In the same way, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by doubt-and-wavering... then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, to the profit of others, to the profit of both. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has studied. But, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart not possessed, not overwhelmed by sense-desires... ill-will... sloth-and-torpor... worry-and-flurry... doubt-and-wavering... [like the five bowls of water not as previously described, but 'clear, limpid, pellucid, set in the open']... then he knows and sees, as it really is, what is to his own profit, to the profit of others, to the profit of both himself and others. Then even sacred words he has not long studied are clear to him, not to mention those he has studied."
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

santa100
Posts: 3901
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: So what is exactly Sloth and Torpor?

Post by santa100 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:25 am

More info. from Vism.XIV.167 (Ven. Nanamoli used "stiffness" instead of "sloth"):
Herein, (xliii) stiffening (thìnanatá) is stiffness (thìna); making torpid
(middhanatá) is torpor (middha). The meaning is, paralysis due to lack of urgency,
and loss of vigour. The compound thìnamiddha (stiffness-and-torpor) should be
resolved into thìnañ ca middhañ ca. Herein, stiffness has the characteristic of lack
of driving power. Its function is to remove energy. It is manifested as subsiding.
Torpor has the characteristic of unwieldiness. Its function is to smother. It is
manifested as laziness, or it is manifested as nodding and sleep.68 The proximate
cause of both is unwise attention to boredom, sloth, and so on.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 207 guests