The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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ieee23
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The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by ieee23 » Tue May 30, 2017 1:49 am

Hi,

In the 15 minute video below Ajahn Sona describes the 5 methods to be used for Right Effort in getting out of unwholesome mental states, the hindrances.

I've seen this list before in sutta readings and always just let it go as it didn't seem to fit with the rest of Buddhism. Especially the final step of suppression "as a stronger man would hold a weaker man down", and all of that.

Learned people do speak offhand, without considering all they know. I think Ajahn Sona might have done that in stating in the video that the list of 5 techniques contradicts "popular Buddhism" ( usually meant to refer to fake Buddhism ) and that the Buddha never taught people to stay with negative mental states.

That doesn't seem to fit with me. Vipassana is supposed to Buddhism's unique contribution to mental culture, and Vipassana is all about watch the arising and cessation of things as a tool of uprooting the hindrances, rather than just cutting off the weed above ground for it to grow back. The 4 establishments of mindfulness also include being aware of the state of the mind, and the state of feelings/sensations.

So given what I just wrote, what Ajahn Sona said about sitting with negative mental states not being the Buddha's teachings doesn't make sense. Ajahn Sona shut off comments on the video so I can't ask him.

How does Vipassnaa, the 4 establishments of mindfulness, and other things fit in with the list of 5 techniques to stop the hindrances/negative mental states?

My guess would be that the 5 techniques are for temporary situations like trying to focus on an object during meditation, or needing to pull yourself together for a stressful situation. I can't see their results being anything other than temporary and Buddhism is about permanent solutions in the long run.

If you give an opinion ( please do ), please state whether or not it is an opinion, or if it comes from Buddhist teachings.

Thanks!

Five Steps to Happiness: How to stop feeling bad
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Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

santa100
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by santa100 » Tue May 30, 2017 2:21 am

In that video, he basically provided the teaching on the five strategies of responding wisely to unskillful thoughts from the Middle-length Discourses MN 20. There's no contradicton between MN 20 versus the 4 nupassanas in MN 10. The total annihilation of all defilements doesn't happen instantly. It takes much time, much effort, and various strategies appropriate to the particular situation. The techniques/tactics may vary, but at the end of the day, it's the result that counts:
AN 8.53 wrote:As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'

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bodom
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by bodom » Tue May 30, 2017 2:32 am

ieee23 wrote:How does Vipassnaa, the 4 establishments of mindfulness, and other things fit in with the list of 5 techniques to stop the hindrances/negative mental states?
You have already answered your own question. It is the Right effort aspect of the eightfold path:
"And what, monks, is right effort?

"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

[iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

— SN 45.8


:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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bodom
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by bodom » Tue May 30, 2017 2:51 am

I've seen this list before in sutta readings and always just let it go as it didn't seem to fit with the rest of Buddhism. Especially the final step of suppression "as a stronger man would hold a weaker man down", and all of that.
The five techniques are not the only place in the canon where the Buddha uses strong language in regards to overcoming negative mind states. In fact he frequently states of the need to "destroy" these states:
"In the same way, in a person like this, evil, unskillful qualities born of greed... born of aversion... born of delusion have been abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. He dwells in ease right in the here-&-now — feeling unthreatened, placid, unfeverish — and is unbound right in the here-&-now.

"These are the three roots of what is skillful."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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bodom
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by bodom » Tue May 30, 2017 3:17 am

ieee23 wrote:....Vipassana is all about watch the arising and cessation of things as a tool of uprooting the hindrances, rather than just cutting off the weed above ground for it to grow back. The 4 establishments of mindfulness also include being aware of the state of the mind, and the state of feelings/sensations....

How does Vipassnaa, the 4 establishments of mindfulness, and other things fit in with the list of 5 techniques to stop the hindrances/negative mental states?
The satipatthana sutta was never intended to be a stand alone text and isolated from the rest of the canon. It needs to be read in context with the rest of the suttas, especially those on right effort and the rest of the eightfold path.

When read alone it would appear that one is to merely watch the rise and fall of the hindrances with out any intervention but this is not the Buddhas teachings.

For example when looking at the hindrances the Buddhas instructions are:
[1] "There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen.
The abandoning in the highlighted passage is of course,as we can tell from other suttas, done by right effort.

The satipatthana sutta is a catalog or almost a "summary" of the things we are to focus on and again is not meant to be isolated from the rest of the teachings. We need to unpack it with the help of the other suttas in the canon.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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TLCD96
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by TLCD96 » Tue May 30, 2017 5:20 pm

Leee23,

First, thank you for sharing the video. It's enjoyable and grounding for me to watch.

As for your question: I think it's worth considering how these "5 remedies" can cause insight, and also foster long-term prosperity along the path. I think, over time, you'll find that applying these methods can teach you all sorts of valuable lessons about yourself, whether it's about your tendencies or your own inner potential to change the course of your life.

It's also worth remembering that dwelling in wholesome states is far more conducive to insight than dwelling in unwholesome states. Or: the purer your state of mind, the clearer your vision.

Of course, this is just my personal opinion. I think the other posters did well by providing excerpts from the suttas which speak on right effort.

Edit: I now realize that some of the things I've said here have been already said in the video (I didn't watch the whole thing before finishing my post). First, I think that speaks of my own appreciation of the teaching of the 5 remedies and their place in the path. But to add: if you know how to maintain a mind free of hindrances and prevent them from arising, you're positioning yourself in a place far more conducive to insight than if you were to just let your hindrances hang around. And in regards to the last method: I personally have not been a great fan of it, but the video speaks on the other four in such great detail and clarity that I feel grateful to have those ones at my disposal (and to have a great opportunity to learn more about them so I don't have to be in a situation where my hindrances should be forcefully suppressed).

Also, if you're interested: Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery is planning to hold (and record) a live-streamed event on this topic (http://www.abhayagiri.org/news/upasaka-day-june-4-2017). There will be Q&A sessions throughout.

I also encourage you to be more open to the various discourses you may encounter; this path is a life-changing one, and I see no benefit in closing yourself off from the teachings on the grounds that you don't see how they fit with Buddhism. That's just personal opinions at work.
All of us are bound by birth, aging, and death.

JohnK
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by JohnK » Tue May 30, 2017 5:59 pm

I'm not trying to take a strong position on this subject, just considering that mindfulness is a wholesome mental state, and that to recognize an unwholesome mental state with mindfulness seems to suggest that a transition to a wholesome state has already happened. (I do mean to leave room for the apparent other angle on this, for example, that a recurring unwholesome state may need even stronger effort to inhibit its continual arising.)
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Tue May 30, 2017 6:30 pm

There is no contradiction, one can see the arising and ceasing and be applying effort for removal of unwholesome states. Reality is momentary.

paul
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by paul » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:04 am

The equanimity of simply observing their rise and fall is in some cases enough to uproot hindrances, but it’s not enough in all.
“ So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress for which dispassion comes from the development of equanamity.” —-MN 101.

As fetters, the hindrances are progressively eradicated on attaining the stages of sainthood, so it cannot be said that these five tactics are only for removing obstacles to jhana.
Doubt is eliminated on the first stage, the path of stream-entry (sotapatti-magga).
Sensual desire, ill will and remorse are eliminated on the third stage, the path of non-returner (anagami-magga)
Sloth and torpor and restlessness are eradicated on the path of Arahatship (arahatta-magga).
---MN 118, AN 10:13

Mindfulness of mental objects, the fourth foundation, includes knowing the complete process of investigating the source of (note the fourth tactic) and implementing the tactics for removal of the hindrances:
Herein, monks, when sensual desire is present in him the monk knows, "There is sensual desire in me," or when sensual desire is absent he knows, "There is no sensual desire in me." He knows how the arising of non-arisen sensual desire comes to be; he knows how the rejection of the arisen sensual desire comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the rejected sensual desire comes to be.—-MN 10, Satipatthana Sutta.

Other discourses which give further instructions for bringing appropriate attention to the factors that starve specific hindrances: AN 7:58, SN 46:51.

The three fundamental path strategies for abandoning are: suppression, substitution of opposites, and cutting off (destruction). ---Vism. XXII, 110.

ieee23
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by ieee23 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:23 pm

bodom wrote:
ieee23 wrote:How does Vipassnaa, the 4 establishments of mindfulness, and other things fit in with the list of 5 techniques to stop the hindrances/negative mental states?
You have already answered your own question. It is the Right effort aspect of the eightfold path
How do you mean? My thought that vipassana, noticing the arising and passing away is the long term solution, but the 5 hindrance stoppers are temporary stop gap solutions to get you through a meditation session or stressful situation where you need to have yourself together?
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

ieee23
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by ieee23 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:30 pm

TLCD96 wrote:Leee23,
Ieee23

First, thank you for sharing the video. It's enjoyable and grounding for me to watch.

As for your question: I think it's worth considering how these "5 remedies" can cause insight, and also foster long-term prosperity along the path.
I don't see how as most of them are about distraction and suppression. You can't be aware of the arising and passing with something you suppressed.

Suppression is basically what people not on the path do, which leads to all of the anxiety, depression and other hang ups out there.

Also, if you're interested: Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery is planning to hold (and record) a live-streamed event on this topic (http://www.abhayagiri.org/news/upasaka-day-june-4-2017). There will be Q&A sessions throughout.
404
I also encourage you to be more open to the various discourses you may encounter; this path is a life-changing one, and I see no benefit in closing yourself off from the teachings on the grounds that you don't see how they fit with Buddhism.
No disrespect, but you are making an assumption about my views you don't have grounds for.

Have a nice weekend.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

ieee23
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by ieee23 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:36 pm

R1111 wrote:There is no contradiction, one can see the arising and ceasing and be applying effort for removal of unwholesome states. Reality is momentary.
A person wouldn't really see enough to learn or uncondition their reflexes by only looking at something long enough to suppress it.

The only way I can see some, of these 5 remedies benefiting long term uprooting is to take the edge off of some hindrances to allow a person to stay mindful of them ( or control them enough to not be afraid of them, fostering looking at them again later ), instead of abandoning looking at the disturbances altogether in order to get away from it.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

ieee23
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by ieee23 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:45 pm

Thanks for the interesting sutta quotes Ladies and Gentleman. I'm looking forward to giving them a look over.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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bodom
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by bodom » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:35 am

ieee23 wrote:
bodom wrote:
ieee23 wrote:How does Vipassnaa, the 4 establishments of mindfulness, and other things fit in with the list of 5 techniques to stop the hindrances/negative mental states?
You have already answered your own question. It is the Right effort aspect of the eightfold path
How do you mean? My thought that vipassana, noticing the arising and passing away is the long term solution, but the 5 hindrance stoppers are temporary stop gap solutions to get you through a meditation session or stressful situation where you need to have yourself together?


Im not sure why you are seperating the two. There is no vipassana without right effort. Right effort enables one to free the mind of the hindrances which gives rise to vipassana. You dont practice vipassana as a meditation technique. You can only practice the factors that bring it about. Right effort along with right mindfulness and right concentration are what form the necesary factors and you cant do without any of them.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Circle5
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by Circle5 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:57 am

There is also this sutta about the nutriments and the antidotes to the 5 hindrances

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn46.51

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TLCD96
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Re: The 5 Remedies For Hindrances: Where does it fit

Post by TLCD96 » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:32 am

leee23 wrote: No disrespect, but you are making an assumption about my views you don't have grounds for.

Have a nice weekend.
First, I apologize for what I said earlier at the end of my post. It was rude.

Second, the video from the recorded Sutta Study which goes in depth about this specific topic is now available here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij8MV7h00KQ&t=6s

I hope it's helpful for you.

:anjali:
All of us are bound by birth, aging, and death.

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