The Contracted/Constricted Mind

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
bhavanirodha
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The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by bhavanirodha » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:30 am

Dear Friends in Dhamma,

What exactly is meant by the contracted/constricted mind, as mentioned in the Satipatthana Sutta? What strategies or antidotes does the Buddha or do the commentaries have to offer?

Metta and peace,
Bowing and thanks,
Abhaya (Andrew)

Digity
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by Digity » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:35 am

A good example of a contracted/constricted mind is one that's filled with greed. The antidote would be to practice generosity. When you're giving wholeheartedly to another person the mind is anything but contracted/constricted. That's why practicing generosity is the antidote, because it puts the mind in the opposite state of being contracted/constricted.

SarathW
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:47 am

I understand expanded mind as Brahama Viharas.
So attachment, aversion and ignorance seems to be the contracted mind.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:50 am

Greetings,
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:47 am
So attachment, aversion and ignorance seems to be the contracted mind.
Yes.

Metta,
Paul. :)
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Spiny Norman
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by Spiny Norman » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:18 am

Digity wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:35 am
A good example of a contracted/constricted mind is one that's filled with greed. The antidote would be to practice generosity. When you're giving wholeheartedly to another person the mind is anything but contracted/constricted. That's why practicing generosity is the antidote, because it puts the mind in the opposite state of being contracted/constricted.
Yes, and I have the sense of constricted mind as a self-absorbed mind, inward rather than outward looking, claustrophobic rather than spacious.
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Mkoll
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by Mkoll » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:07 pm

bhavanirodha wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:30 am
Dear Friends in Dhamma,

What exactly is meant by the contracted/constricted mind, as mentioned in the Satipatthana Sutta? What strategies or antidotes does the Buddha or do the commentaries have to offer?

Metta and peace,
Bowing and thanks,
Abhaya (Andrew)
From Ven. Anayalo's Satipatthana:
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Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

2600htz
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by 2600htz » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:27 pm

Hello:

A contracted mind is a mind with sloth and torpor, like Mkoll pointed out.
Why contracted?, because thats what happens to your mind, it gets tight and small, everything you do is troublesome, hard, restricted, so you zone out and get into dreamy states.

Regards.

SarathW
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:24 pm

2600htz wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:27 pm
Hello:

A contracted mind is a mind with sloth and torpor, like Mkoll pointed out.
Why contracted?, because thats what happens to your mind, it gets tight and small, everything you do is troublesome, hard, restricted, so you zone out and get into dreamy states.

Regards.
Yes, this seems to be the most applicable explanation.
Then what is expanded mind? (without saying "free from sloth and torpor")
A person free from sloth and torpor is equated to a person released from the prison.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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bodom
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by bodom » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:01 pm

SN 51:20 identifies a “constricted” mind as one accompanied by sloth and drowsiness; a “scattered” mind as one stirred up by pleasing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile
sensations.
“And how is desire inwardly constricted? Whatever desire is accompanied by sloth & drowsiness, conjoined with sloth & drowsiness, that is called inwardly restricted desire.

“And how is desire outwardly scattered? Whatever desire is stirred up by the five strands of sensuality, outwardly dispersed & dissipated, that is called outwardly scattered desire.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN51_20.html

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bhavanirodha
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by bhavanirodha » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:39 pm

Dear friends in Dhamma,

thank you all for your timely and thorough replies.

Metta and peace,
Bowing and thanks,
Abhaya (Andrew)

form
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by form » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:43 am

bodom wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:01 pm
SN 51:20 identifies a “constricted” mind as one accompanied by sloth and drowsiness; a “scattered” mind as one stirred up by pleasing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile
sensations.
“And how is desire inwardly constricted? Whatever desire is accompanied by sloth & drowsiness, conjoined with sloth & drowsiness, that is called inwardly restricted desire.

“And how is desire outwardly scattered? Whatever desire is stirred up by the five strands of sensuality, outwardly dispersed & dissipated, that is called outwardly scattered desire.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN51_20.html

:namaste:
This is the correct interpretation.

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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by form » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:44 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:47 am
I understand expanded mind as Brahama Viharas.
So attachment, aversion and ignorance seems to be the contracted mind.
This is the wrong interpretation.

SarathW
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:30 am

form wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:44 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:47 am
I understand expanded mind as Brahama Viharas.
So attachment, aversion and ignorance seems to be the contracted mind.
This is the wrong interpretation.
I don't think so. It may be not the technical explanation.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Saengnapha
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:26 am

There are some interesting parallels that brain scientists have discovered about the workings of the brain in relation to the more troubled states of mind vs balanced states of mind. They have found that the amygdala at the base of the brain is responsible for fear and survival and the more instinctual feelings that we all have. Some have said it corresponds to the 'animal' in us.

They have noticed that when reasoning, which is done at the cortex and pre-frontal cortex enter the picture, this tends to override the messages from the amygdala and calms it. The reasoning part of the brain actually grows in size at the pre-frontal cortex and with advanced practitioners exerts greater communication with the amygdala and stops our normal emotional reactivity to experience and replaces it with calmness and balance that actually changes the wiring in the brain permanently.

The amygdala seems to be what is associated with citta, and mano is associated with that part of the brain responsible for reasoning and calm analysis. The contracted/constricted mind seems very much an activity of citta. When introspective attention is focused on citta, mano begins to override and calm the emotional, agitated citta by relaxing the automatic responses we call habits and re-orienting them to a different part of the brain where mano functions in a conscious way. This seems to allow the natural flow of experience to be brought to all our activities and a deepening of meditative activity to take place through this relaxation and re-orientation away from citta and its automatic emotional response.

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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by DooDoot » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:55 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:30 am
form wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:44 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:47 am
I understand expanded mind as Brahama Viharas.
So attachment, aversion and ignorance seems to be the contracted mind.
This is the wrong interpretation.
I don't think so. It may be not the technical explanation.
This appears to be the wrong interpretation because in MN 10 the term translated as 'contracted' (sankhitta) is not paired with, as an opposite to, the term mahaggataṃ (expanded). The term 'sankhitta' is defined in SN 51.20 as related to a lack of energy. In MN 10, the opposite of 'sankhitta' is 'vikkhittaṃ', which implies too much energy, as also explained in SN 51.20.
Kathañcakathañca: ?, bhikkhave, bhikkhu citte cittānupassī viharati?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sarāgaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘sarāgaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (1)

Vītarāgaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘vītarāgaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (2)

Sadosaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘sadosaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (3)

Vītadosaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘vītadosaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (4)

Samohaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘samohaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (5)

Vītamohaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘vītamohaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (6)

Saṅkhittaṃ (contracted) vā cittaṃ ‘saṅkhittaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (7)

Vikkhittaṃ (scattered) vā cittaṃ ‘vikkhittaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (8)

Mahaggataṃ (expanded/exalted) vā cittaṃ ‘mahaggataṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (9)

Amahaggataṃ (unexpanded/common) vā cittaṃ ‘amahaggataṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (10)

Sauttaraṃ vā cittaṃ ‘sauttaraṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (11)

Anuttaraṃ vā cittaṃ ‘anuttaraṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (12)

Samāhitaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘samāhitaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (13)

Asamāhitaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘asamāhitaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (14)

Vimuttaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘vimuttaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (15)

Avimuttaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘avimuttaṃ cittan’ti pajānāti. (16)

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Spiny Norman
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by Spiny Norman » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:10 am

In any case, the important thing is to notice one's state of mind.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

2600htz
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by 2600htz » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:42 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:24 pm
2600htz wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:27 pm
Hello:

A contracted mind is a mind with sloth and torpor, like Mkoll pointed out.
Why contracted?, because thats what happens to your mind, it gets tight and small, everything you do is troublesome, hard, restricted, so you zone out and get into dreamy states.

Regards.
Yes, this seems to be the most applicable explanation.
Then what is expanded mind? (without saying "free from sloth and torpor")
A person free from sloth and torpor is equated to a person released from the prison.
Hello:

As i understand it, an "expanded/exalted mind" is a mind with a rupa jhana, and a "surpassed mind" is a mind with arupa jhanas.

Regards.

SarathW
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:46 am

Good point 2600htz.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

DooDoot
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by DooDoot » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:57 am

2600htz wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:42 am
As i understand it, an "expanded/exalted mind" is a mind with a rupa jhana, and a "surpassed mind" is a mind with arupa jhanas.
SarathW wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:46 am
Good point 2600htz.
These views probably require sutta support to verify them.

SarathW
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Re: The Contracted/Constricted Mind

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:10 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:57 am
2600htz wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:42 am
As i understand it, an "expanded/exalted mind" is a mind with a rupa jhana, and a "surpassed mind" is a mind with arupa jhanas.
SarathW wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:46 am
Good point 2600htz.
These views probably require sutta support to verify them.
Agree.
It is a great thing if you can support your claims with a Sutta or from a respected source.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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