The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:10 am

Greetings friends,
SN 55.3 wrote:"You should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. [1] Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, [2] percipient of stress in what is inconstant, [3] percipient of not-self in what is stressful, [4] percipient of abandoning, [5] percipient of dispassion, [6] percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself."
Does anyone wish to discuss any of these six qualities individually, or as a cohesive guide to mental cultivation?

:meditate: :buddha1: :meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings friends,
SN 55.3 wrote:"You should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. [1] Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, [2] percipient of stress in what is inconstant, [3] percipient of not-self in what is stressful, [4] percipient of abandoning, [5] percipient of dispassion, [6] percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself."
Does anyone wish to discuss any of these six qualities individually, or as a cohesive guide to mental cultivation?

:meditate: :buddha1: :meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
That is a rather awkward translation. Ven Bodhi's (CBD 1791) is clearer:

"I dwell contemplating impermanence in all formations, perceiving suffering in what is impermanent, perceiving nonself in what is suffering, perceiving abandonment, perceiving fading away, perceiving cessation."

A variation:

the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." Ud 37 (4.1)
>> 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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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:38 am

Greetings Tilt,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I believe the original one I quoted is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's.

Assuming they're both explained in the same sequence, "perceiving fading away", doesn't seem to align too well to [5] "percipient of dispassion". Of Bodhi, I would ask, the "fading away" of what?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I believe the original one I quoted is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's.

Assuming they're both explained in the same sequence, "perceiving fading away", doesn't seem to align too well to [5] "percipient of dispassion". Of Bodhi, I would ask, the "fading away" of what?

Metta,
Retro. :)
The question is: what is the Pali and whose is the more literal translation? Fading away of passions, attachments, and all thast other stuff, it would seem. I'll take Ven B's translation as being the more accurate.

CBD 1621: perception of dispassion

These lists seem to be somewhat fluid.
>> 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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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by Nyana » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I believe the original one I quoted is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's.

Assuming they're both explained in the same sequence, "perceiving fading away", doesn't seem to align too well to [5] "percipient of dispassion". Of Bodhi, I would ask, the "fading away" of what?

Metta,
Retro. :)
The question is: what is the Pali and whose is the more literal translation? Fading away of passions, attachments, and all thast other stuff, it would seem. I'll take Ven B's translation as being the more accurate.

CBD 1621: perception of dispassion
The term is virāgasaññā. Virāga has been translated as "fading away" as well as "dispassion." Both have the same general meaning.
tiltbillings wrote:These lists seem to be somewhat fluid.
There are a number of similar lists found in the suttas, which are either called recognitions (saññā) or contemplations (anupassanā). For example:
  • Recognition of Impermanence (Aniccasaññā):

    AN 10.60 (PTS A v 108)
    AN 7.49 (ATI 7.46, PTS A iv 46)
    AN 7.95 (PTS A iv 145)
    SN 46.71 (PTS S v 132, CDB 1620)

    Recognition of Unsatisfactoriness in what is Impermanent (Anicca Dukkhasaññā):

    AN 7.49 (ATI 7.46, PTS A iv 46)
    AN 7.96 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.72 (PTS S v 132, CDB 1620)

    Recognition of Selflessness (Anattasaññā) or Recognition of Selflessness in what is Unsatisfactory (Dukkha Anattasaññā):

    AN 10.60 (PTS A v 108)
    AN 7.49 (ATI 7.46, PTS A iv 46)
    AN 7.97 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.73 (PTS S v 133, CDB 1620)

    Recognition of Decay (Khayasaññā):

    AN 7.98 (PTS A iv 146)

    Recognition of Passing Away (Vayasaññā):

    AN 7.99 (PTS A iv 146)

    Recognition of Dispassion (Virāgasaññā):

    AN 10.60 PTS A v 108
    AN 7.100 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.75 (PTS S v 133, CDB 1621)

    Recognition of Cessation (Nirodhasaññā):

    AN 10.60 (PTS A v 108):
    AN 7.101 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.76 (PTS S v 133, CDB 1621)

    Recognition of Release (Paṭinissaggasaññā):

    AN 7.102 (PTS A iv 146)
A standard version in a practice context is the last tetrad of MN 118 Ānāpānassati Sutta: contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā), contemplation of dispassion (virāgānupassanā), contemplation of cessation (nirodhānupassanā), contemplation of release (paṭinissaggānupassanā).

These lists were then further extended in the Paṭisambhidāmagga, where we find the mega-list of 18 insight-gnoses as they came to be called in the commentarial tradition. The eighteen insight-ñāṇa-s as presented in the Paṭisambhidāmagga are:
  • (1) contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā), (2) contemplation of unsatisfactoriness (dukkhānupassanā), (3) contemplation of selflessness (anattānupnupassanā), (4) contemplation of disenchantment (nibbidānupassanā), (5) contemplation of dispassion (virāgānupassanā), (6) contemplation of cessation (nirodhānupassanā), (7) contemplation of release (paṭinissaggānupassanāā), (8) contemplation of decay (khayānupassanā), (9) contemplation of passing away (vayānupassanā), (10) contemplation of change (vipariṇāmānupassanā), (11) contemplation of signlessness (animittānupassanā), (12) contemplation of desirelessness (apaṇihitānupassanā), (13) contemplation of emptiness (suññatāupassanā), (14) clear seeing of dhamma with heightened discernment (adhipaññādhammavipassanā), (15) gnosis and vision of things as they are (yathābhūtañāṇadassana), (16) contemplation of misery/danger (ādīnavānupassanā), (17) reflexive contemplation (paṭisaṅkhānupassanā), (18) contemplation of turning away (vivaṭṭanānupassanā).
This system is the one used in the Visuddhimagga and became the standard process model for the modern Burmese Vipassanā Meditaion traditions.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:19 am

Greetings Ñāṇa,

Thank you very much for the above post.

Is there some point in the compilation and evolution of these lists where the way they are regarded in the texts changes from being "instructions" (as they clearly are in the suttas) to "knowledges"?

If so (or even if not), is that distinction of any relevance, in your opinion.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by Nyana » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Is there some point in the compilation and evolution of these lists where the way they are regarded in the texts changes from being "instructions" (as they clearly are in the suttas) to "knowledges"?

If so (or even if not), is that distinction of any relevance, in your opinion.
Hmmm.... I think that they are meant to be instructions even at the Paṭisambhidāmagga stage of commentary. They are meant to be learned, then experientially contemplated and recognized, and then personally known. So developmentally we would have: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā) → gnosis (ñāṇa).

This correlates to the more standard three stages of discernment (paññā): discernment obtained through hearing (sutamayā paññā), discernment obtained through reflection (cintāmayā paññā), and discernment obtained through meditative development (bhāvanāmayā paññā). The first two comprise theoretical levels of discernment where one hears the teachings and reflects on them. This reflection is the beginning of internalizing the meaning of what has been heard. But for discernment to be liberating the process of internalization must deepen through meditative development. This level is direct experiential discernment.

AFAIK it's only in some of the modern Vipassanā texts where it's said that a student shouldn't learn the "stages of insight" prior to recognizing them on the sitting mat.

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:47 am

Greetings Geoff,

Thanks - makes sense.

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:48 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
AFAIK it's only in some of the modern Vipassanā texts where it's said that a student shouldn't learn the "stages of insight" prior to recognizing them on the sitting mat.
That, of course, involves working with a teacher.
>> 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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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:00 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:That, of course, involves working with a teacher.
An interesting observation, given that when you wheel the clock back to the instructions quoted in the initial sutta posting, they appear quite clear, direct, succint, and (as far as we can tell from the suttas at least) devoid of the need for further consultation, explanation or collaboration with reference to them.

To me, 1-3 read as modes of perception, following part of the model Geoff quoted: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā)

With 4-6 reading as modes of perception conjoined with active release: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā) → gnosis (ñāṇa) (i.e. Right Knowledge, Right Release)

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly oblique there to someone forearmed with an appreciation of the concepts and causality taught by the Buddha.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:12 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:That, of course, involves working with a teacher.
An interesting observation, given that when you wheel the clock back to the instructions quoted in the initial sutta posting, they appear quite clear, direct, succint, and (as far as we can tell from the suttas at least) devoid of the need for further consultation, explanation or collaboration with reference to them.

To me, 1-3 read as modes of perception, following part of the model Geoff quoted: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā)

With 4-6 reading as modes of perception conjoined with active release: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā) → gnosis (ñāṇa) (i.e. Right Knowledge, Right Release)

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly oblique there to someone forearmed with an appreciation of the concepts and causality involved.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Wheel the clock waaay back and tell me how this practice was done, even during the time of the Buddha.
>> 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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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:15 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Wheel the clock waaay back and tell me how this practice was done, even during the time of the Buddha.
Wheel the topic back to the original post and the Buddha (of the Sutta Pitaka) will tell you himself.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by Ben » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:46 am

Retro if you are using the sutta as your meditation guide, can you please explain how one develops the six qualities beyond mere thinking about them?
Thanks

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:56 am

Greetings Ben,

See the earlier post here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 76#p155854" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also, as Geoff said...
This correlates to the more standard three stages of discernment (paññā): discernment obtained through hearing (sutamayā paññā), discernment obtained through reflection (cintāmayā paññā), and discernment obtained through meditative development (bhāvanāmayā paññā). The first two comprise theoretical levels of discernment where one hears the teachings and reflects on them. This reflection is the beginning of internalizing the meaning of what has been heard. But for discernment to be liberating the process of internalization must deepen through meditative development. This level is direct experiential discernment.
I don't see anyone endorsing this "mere thinking" furphy, nor do I see it in the Buddha's teaching.

See also the suttas Geoff listed if you seek more information on the Buddha's own instruction on these matters.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Post by Assaji » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:47 pm

Hi, Retro,

Chachakka sutta

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

provides the most comprehensive guide to these types of selective recognition

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 834#p40805" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta, Dmytro

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