Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by ToVincent » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:14 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:46 pm
Could you illustrate what you're saying using my bus example? How do you witness the arising of "bus", practically speaking?
Hi SN,

May I come with some practical explanation; which I hope, won't be too cryptic.

What we experience is a sensory experience.

The field of this experience is the āyatana of the organ concerned. For instance, when you see a bus, your āyatana is the cakkhu āyatana.
Cakkhu is the physical part (the physical eye), AND the sensorial part of the āyatana (but the latter is not "sight").
What arises is neither the physical bus or the physical part of the cakkhu āyatana (the physical eye per se); but the sensorial part of the cakkhu āyatana.
When the sight of the bus (that is not assembling itself at the mere moment of your experience - but has been assembled in a bus factory, quite a while ago), passes on in the physical eye - what arises is the sensorial moment of that experience. This sensorial moment on the field of experience, that is the purely sensorial part of your āyatana, is dependant on the indriya you have in relation to this kind of situation.
The arising of this sensorial moment of your āyatana (field of sensory experience) is what arises.
"Sight" has nothing to do with that. Or very little.
Only the physical eye (which has little to do in the sensory process per se) - and the sensorial arisen moment of the āyatana, are concerned. Or we could say that "sight" is part of the physical eye.
Cakkhu āyatana is both the physical eye, and the "moment" of the sensorial experience. What arises and leads to conciousness, contact and feeling, is that sensorial experience per se; that sensorial moment, in the field of experience (āyatana). (Eye & Sight are only there to trigger that sensory experience.)

What arises is that sensorial moment. What fades is that sensorial moment - of the purely sensorial part of the āyatana.
And in cascade, sense-consciousness, contact and feeling arise and fade.

The restraint of the indriya makes this sensory experience, more or less felt. (But that is another story).

Metta
Last edited by ToVincent on Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:19 am

Hi Spiny,

Ven Ñāṇananda addresses some of these issues in his meditation manuals. His approach is based on the Mahasi-style method, but with it's own spin, so may be somewhat digestible:

Seeing Through: A Guide to Insight Meditation
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... ev-0_3.pdf
In the case of ‘saññā’ or perception, there are the six
kinds of percepts – rūpa saññā, sadda-saññā, gandhasaññā, rasa
saññā, phoṭṭhabba saññā, dhamma saññā (i.e., the percepts of
form, sound, smell, taste, touch and idea). These are the six
objects of the senses. The Buddha has compared the aggregate of
perception to a mirage. Now, if perception is a mirage, what is
‘rūpa-saññā’ or a visual percept? That also must be a mirage.
What about ‘sadda saññā’? What about the auditory percept or
what strikes the ear? That too must be a mirage. Though it is not
something that one sees with the eye, it has the nature of a
mirage.

To take as real what is of a mirage-nature, is a delusion. It
is something that leads to a delusion. It is an illusion that leads to
a delusion. In order to understand deeply this mirage-nature in
sensory perception, there is a need for a more refined way of
mental attending. So the meditator, instead of attending to these
objects as ‘form’, ‘form’ or ‘sound’, ‘sound’, moves a step
further and notes them as ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’. Now he attends to
these sense-percepts even more briefly, not allowing the mind to
go far – as ‘seeing-seeing’, ‘hearing-hearing’, ‘feeling-feeling’,
‘thinking-thinking’.

In short, the attempt here, is to escape the net of ‘saññā’
or perception and to limit oneself to the bare awareness. To stop
short just at the awareness. This is an attempt to escape the net of
language, the net of logic and also to be free from the duality of
the two ends which involves a middle. Everywhere one is
confronted with a subject-object relationship. There is one who
grasps and something to be grasped. There is a seer and an object
seen. But this way of attending leaves room for delusion.

Now, if perception is a mirage, in order to get at this
mirage nature, one has to be content with attending simply as
‘seeing, seeing’. One way or the other it is just a seeing or just a
hearing. Thereby he stops short at the bare awareness. He stops
short at the bare seeing, bare hearing, bare feeling and bare
thinking. He does not grant it an object status. He does not
cognize it as an object existing in the world. He does not give it a
name. The purpose of this method of mental noting or attending,
is the eradication of the conceit ‘AM’, which the meditator has to
accomplish so as to attain release. The conceit ‘AM’ is ‘asmimāna’.
The approach of bare attention on the process ('seeing, seeing') is standard insight practice. The variations come in what is concluded from the attention to the process.

Ven Ñāṇananda goes on to relate his instructions on attention to Dependent Arising:
For instance, eye-consciousness is a relationship between
the eye, the internal base, and forms, the external base. Here,
then, we already have an instance of ‘paṭicca samuppāda’ – the
Law of Dependent Arising.
:heart:
Mike

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Spiny Norman » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:40 am
Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:46 pm
Could you illustrate what you're saying using my bus example? How do you witness the arising of "bus", practically speaking?
Your desired example neatly captures why giving a "practical example"' is hard to do in English, because nouns (like "bus") take both the object itself and the conception of the object for granted.

In the Dhamma, the conception of an object is explained through the paticcasamuppada steps prior to contact. Thus, its arising.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Sure, I understand that "bus" is a concept. At which paticcasamuppada step would you say the concept arises?
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Spiny Norman » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:24 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:19 am
Hi Spiny,

Ven Ñāṇananda addresses some of these issues in his meditation manuals. His approach is based on the Mahasi-style method, but with it's own spin, so may be somewhat digestible:

Seeing Through: A Guide to Insight Meditation
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... ev-0_3.pdf
In the case of ‘saññā’ or perception, there are the six
kinds of percepts – rūpa saññā, sadda-saññā, gandhasaññā, rasa
saññā, phoṭṭhabba saññā, dhamma saññā (i.e., the percepts of
form, sound, smell, taste, touch and idea). These are the six
objects of the senses. The Buddha has compared the aggregate of
perception to a mirage. Now, if perception is a mirage, what is
‘rūpa-saññā’ or a visual percept? That also must be a mirage.
What about ‘sadda saññā’? What about the auditory percept or
what strikes the ear? That too must be a mirage. Though it is not
something that one sees with the eye, it has the nature of a
mirage.

To take as real what is of a mirage-nature, is a delusion. It
is something that leads to a delusion. It is an illusion that leads to
a delusion. In order to understand deeply this mirage-nature in
sensory perception, there is a need for a more refined way of
mental attending. So the meditator, instead of attending to these
objects as ‘form’, ‘form’ or ‘sound’, ‘sound’, moves a step
further and notes them as ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’. Now he attends to
these sense-percepts even more briefly, not allowing the mind to
go far – as ‘seeing-seeing’, ‘hearing-hearing’, ‘feeling-feeling’,
‘thinking-thinking’.

In short, the attempt here, is to escape the net of ‘saññā’
or perception and to limit oneself to the bare awareness. To stop
short just at the awareness. This is an attempt to escape the net of
language, the net of logic and also to be free from the duality of
the two ends which involves a middle. Everywhere one is
confronted with a subject-object relationship. There is one who
grasps and something to be grasped. There is a seer and an object
seen. But this way of attending leaves room for delusion.

Now, if perception is a mirage, in order to get at this
mirage nature, one has to be content with attending simply as
‘seeing, seeing’. One way or the other it is just a seeing or just a
hearing. Thereby he stops short at the bare awareness. He stops
short at the bare seeing, bare hearing, bare feeling and bare
thinking. He does not grant it an object status. He does not
cognize it as an object existing in the world. He does not give it a
name. The purpose of this method of mental noting or attending,
is the eradication of the conceit ‘AM’, which the meditator has to
accomplish so as to attain release. The conceit ‘AM’ is ‘asmimāna’.
The approach of bare attention on the process ('seeing, seeing') is standard insight practice. The variations come in what is concluded from the attention to the process.

Ven Ñāṇananda goes on to relate his instructions on attention to Dependent Arising:
For instance, eye-consciousness is a relationship between
the eye, the internal base, and forms, the external base. Here,
then, we already have an instance of ‘paṭicca samuppāda’ – the
Law of Dependent Arising.
:heart:
Mike
Thanks Mike. This is very relevant because I work with the sense bases regularly. With the bare attention practice I tend to focus on the sense-objects eg "sensation", "sight" or "sound". I have tried using "feeling" or "seeing" but it doesn't seem to work very well because I immediately wonder what I am feeling or seeing! In any case I do get a sense of how transient and conditional my experience is, which I think is the point.
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:28 am

Greetings Spiny,

Sure, I understand that "bus" is a concept. At which paticcasamuppada step would you say the concept arises?
All of them, but specifically...

- From ignorance, comes fabrications.
- From consciousness, comes name-and-form. From name-and-form comes consciousness.

Think in particularly of what that second one means if,

- Consciousness refers to the six consciousnesses,
- Name refers to naming/labelling, and
- Form refers to visual/auditory/scent/tactile/taste/conceptual forms

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Spiny Norman » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:28 am
Greetings Spiny,

Sure, I understand that "bus" is a concept. At which paticcasamuppada step would you say the concept arises?
All of them, but specifically...

- From ignorance, comes fabrications.
- From consciousness, comes name-and-form. From name-and-form comes consciousness.

Think in particularly of what that second one means if,

- Consciousness refers to the six consciousnesses,
- Name refers to naming/labelling, and
- Form refers to visual/auditory/scent/tactile/taste/conceptual forms

Metta,
Paul. :)
But is it possible to notice these processes actually happening? What I do sometimes is consciously name sense-objects, eg "man", "tree", "bus" - it's rather interesting!
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:56 am

Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:38 am
But is it possible to notice these processes actually happening?
Not only is it possible, I would say that it is essential. It is good to understand them conceptually, better still to witness what is understood conceptually, playing out experientially.

Mike's post nicely detailed how ven. Nanananda addresses the matter vis-a-vis meditative observation, and by referring to these aspects collectively as 'arising', I have shown how this mode of observation can be incorporated into a satipatthana practice.
What I do sometimes is consciously name sense-objects, eg "man", "tree", "bus" - it's rather interesting!
Here's an experiment.... walk along a path (or somewhere safe without traffic or other hazards) and be aware that what you are seeing is just sense stimuli in the form of light and colour. Observe the mind as it takes amalgams of light and colour, "frames them", and attributes a name to these fabrications - sky, tree, sign, bin, bird, field... whatever. Then observe how there is consciousness of the object that your mind has created. That, in a nutshell, shows you the vinnana/nama-rupa vortex at work.

Then, keep walking, and consciously refrain from naming forms... see what happens. 8-)

Then, on the cushion, apply that same process to objects of the mind.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:27 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:50 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:07 pm
Spiny Norman wrote:
I'm just going on how the suttas describe it:

"The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Are there other suttas where phassa is described in a different way?

My understanding works like this: Say I'm about to cross the road, then I look to the left and see a bus is fast approaching, so I stop. The Loka Sutta seems to say that my "world" is dependently arising, and doesn't include the "bus" until I actually see it - which is the point of contact, ie phassa.
If you think this understanding is incorrect, could you explain clearly why?
The Law of Dependent Origination doesn't begin with contact of consciousness and eye forms. It begins with ignorance as condition arises formations. Formation as condition arises consciousness. From consciousness ....name and form....From name and form....the six sense spheres....from the six sense spheres....contact....From contact....feeling and so forth. Ignorance is the cause of all of this mass of samsara. It is the way we create this whole magical illusion of our world. The analysis of only a part of it will not untie the knot that binds. Cessation is the complete stopping of any formation that gives rise to a conception about the way things are. The paradox of appearance (arising) is seen as having no referents, no point to rest on. This doesn't mean that you walk out into traffic without a care in the world. The relative truth of the world is still operative but with no attachment to it at all. This was what Nagarjuna established as the two truths in his Madhyamaka verses, the Middle Way, as originally taught by the Buddha.

Spiny, does any of this resonate with you?
Could you elaborate on the relationship between dependent origination and the two truths? Do you mean that Sunyata is equivalent to idappaccayatā?
I had to look up idappaccayata! :D
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.


This is essentially dependent origination. The two truths of Madhyamaka, are relative truth and ultimate truth. Madhyamaka deals with relative truth only. Relative truth is our total experience, the arising of phenomenon and the sense of person. All of it is said to be empty of self. Through the analytical and reasoning functions of our minds, we come to understand that things neither exist nor don't exist, etc., encompassing the tetralemma, the 4 sided refutation of all views. This leads to the realization of emptiness which is the nature of all things and the nature of ultimate truth which cannot be conceptualized or known.

The inevitable problem is the one of intellectually understanding this and repeating that everything is empty. That is not what Nagarjuna had in mind. ;) Looking at dependent origination, the tendency is to analyze the parts of it or try to 'observe' either the parts or the whole. But how can you observe anything when the observer is part of this process, not separate from it. Watching the law of dependent origination unfold around you gives you a sense of the way things are but not the 'experience' of it. Because of this magical illusion of the world and yourself, which is the deception that we have, prevents seeing things the way they are. It's not possible to crave your way into this. We need to stop feeding the deception through attachment, desire, etc. Intellectually trying to work all of this out is useless after you begin to see that this is nothing but suffering, perpetuating ignorance. This is why the Buddha took no position, stood on no platform. You give up everything.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Spiny Norman » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:56 am
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:38 am
What I do sometimes is consciously name sense-objects, eg "man", "tree", "bus" - it's rather interesting!
Here's an experiment.... walk along a path (or somewhere safe without traffic or other hazards) and be aware that what you are seeing is just sense stimuli in the form of light and colour. Observe the mind as it takes amalgams of light and colour, "frames them", and attributes a name to these fabrications - sky, tree, sign, bin, bird, field... whatever. Then observe how there is consciousness of the object that your mind has created. That, in a nutshell, shows you the vinnana/nama-rupa vortex at work.

Then, keep walking, and consciously refrain from naming forms... see what happens. 8-)
Sure, I've done that too, I realise that what I am actually "seeing" is colour, shape and movement, and that this is the basis for my mental model of the world ( or, more accurately, "my world" ). That's the point of consciously labelling sense-objects, it encourages you to look more closely - what are you actually seeing? I have a friend who is an artist, he told me this was one of the first things he was taught at art school, it's basically the psychology of perception.
What I haven't done is refrain from naming sense-objects for a sustained period, so I will try that - not that easy though because the naming is usually an unconscious process ( another reason for the conscious naming I mentioned ). I find all this fascinating by the way. ;)
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:50 am

Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:45 am
That's the point of consciously labelling sense-objects, it encourages you to look more closely - what are you actually seeing?
Or alternatively, you could turn it on its head, and reflect that the raw stimuli is inherently inconsequential and meaningless, until it is regarded as form (rupa) and meaning is imputed upon it by way of name (nama).
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:45 am
What I haven't done is refrain from naming sense-objects for a sustained period, so I will try that.
Great. I look forward to hearing how you go...
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:45 am
I find all this fascinating by the way. ;)
Likewise, and I think such considerations are also far more central to the essence of the Buddha's path than our tradition has traditionally given them credit for. So it's a bonus that what is fascinating is also the Dhamma... it helps to cultivate the quality of interest.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:56 am
Here's an experiment.... walk along a path (or somewhere safe without traffic or other hazards) and be aware that what you are seeing is just sense stimuli in the form of light and colour. Observe the mind as it takes amalgams of light and colour, "frames them", and attributes a name to these fabrications - sky, tree, sign, bin, bird, field... whatever. Then observe how there is consciousness of the object that your mind has created. That, in a nutshell, shows you the vinnana/nama-rupa vortex at work.
Good advice. In fact that's exactly the sort of instructions that many Mahasi-based teachers give. Ven Nananda builds his instructions on that approach, but as far as I can understand him, he differs in some of the details of description of how the insights ultimately play out.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:57 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:50 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:56 am
Here's an experiment.... walk along a path (or somewhere safe without traffic or other hazards) and be aware that what you are seeing is just sense stimuli in the form of light and colour. Observe the mind as it takes amalgams of light and colour, "frames them", and attributes a name to these fabrications - sky, tree, sign, bin, bird, field... whatever. Then observe how there is consciousness of the object that your mind has created. That, in a nutshell, shows you the vinnana/nama-rupa vortex at work.
Good advice. In fact that's exactly the sort of instructions that many Mahasi-based teachers give. Ven Nananda builds his instructions on that approach, but as far as I can understand him, he differs in some of the details of description of how the insights ultimately play out.

:heart:
Mike
Nanananda seems more of an anomaly than most teachers I've come across. There is something different at work there and very much to the heart of the matter.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:14 pm

Yes, he's very good, and he does go to the heart of the matter. I can very much relate to the approach he takes in the book I quoted - it's similar to what I've learned from other teachers, but with some extra insights thrown in that make him very compelling.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by ToVincent » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:12 pm

People should read Fyodor Stcherbatsky, to understand how Buddhism veered into idealism in the Gupta period (roughly 4th - 5th century CE).
This late period of "buddhism" is known as the bahya-artha-sunyata era. And it has very little to do with the original Budddhism of the pluralist pudgala-sunyata era (note that pudgala does not mean that the original Buddhism was Pudgalavada - it is just the way this era is commonly labelled by the scholars to denote a pluralist and realistic Buddhism).
The idealists of the bahya-artha-sunyata, maintained that all existence is necessarily mental and that our ideas have no support in a corresponding external reality. And that is late Buddhism. Not the original one.

There are three major eras of the sort in Buddhism - Pudgala-sunyata >> Sarva-dharma-sunyata >> Bahya-artha-sunyata. The latter has profoundly changed Buddhism, and it is very influent, even in some Theravadan circles nowadays.
But once more, this is not the original Buddhism of Buddha. And not the way of the Ancients (Thera).

People should really read SN 22.95 https://justpaste.it/xij5 more closely - that is to say, read a bit further than just the "mirage" stuff.
"There is no continuum (santāno - संतति saṃtati - continuity , uninterruptedness (TS.), uninterrupted succession (MBh.) ) - there is no substance (sāro -सार sāra [agt. sṛ] - substance - essential part (RV. AitBr.) - √ सृ sṛ , with a meaning of flowing, moving, pursuing)), when a body falls into ashes - when a feeling is just so transient, etc.
Your body just pops-up like a bubble, leaving nothing essential or even substantial.
"When vitality, heat, and consciousness depart from this physical body, then it lies there cast away: Food for others, without volition."

The body is not necessarily mental, and it does not mean that our idea of it, has no support in a corresponding external reality. It just means that every phenomena (dhamma) is anicca - this body included, in this instance.

Sometimes, I hear the bahya-artha-sunyata crowd developing their own reading of the suttas/sutras. And it sounds a bit like this to me:
https://twitter.com/elizxbethkels/statu ... 5401672705
There is a lot of "sense" in that, but it's a bit weird though.

________
retrofuturist wrote: Name refers to naming/labelling
The definition of nama in "name & form" is not exactly that. It is usually given in SN 12.2 and SĀ 298.
I don't mean here that one should stick to just a definition in a particular sutta/sutra; but in this particular case, I have a hard time to see what the process of a vacisaṇkhara has to do with a sense-experience, the way you formulate it:
Here's an experiment.... walk along a path (or somewhere safe without traffic or other hazards) and be aware that what you are seeing is just sense stimuli in the form of light and colour. Observe the mind as it takes amalgams of light and colour, "frames them", and attributes a name to these fabrications - sky, tree, sign, bin, bird, field... whatever. Then observe how there is consciousness of the object that your mind has created. That, in a nutshell, shows you the vinnana/nama-rupa vortex at work.

One does not experience through naming. One experiences through sense-consciousness (and restraining the indriyani - and understanding how an āyatana (the field of experience) leads to the sensory process).
This is the essence of the Teaching.

A sense-experience usually goes this way: (https://justpaste.it/1695d)
External stimulus from an external āyatana >> Descent of the indriya in the internal āyatana >> sense-consciousness >> contact >> feeling >> perception >> THEN come the thoughts & concretism (vitakka & vicāra,) and the resulting naming process (vāca).

It is interesting, and even crucial, to see how the Āgamas & the Nikayas treat the definition of nāma-rūpa. There is absolutely no discrepancy between the two definition. It all depends where nāmarūpa "stands".
See again the visual aid (above link).
This is where the "vortex" of SN takes its full meaning.
‘This consciousness turns back; it does not go further than name-and-form. It is to this extent that one may be born and age and die, pass away and be reborn, that is, when there is consciousness with name-and-form as its condition, and name-and-form with consciousness as its condition. SN 12.65
How does that "vortex" work?
When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there is a descent of name-and-form. https://justpaste.it/16943 (important)

We are talking here of the consciousness that is in the nāmarūpa nidāna (as per SA 298 definition - see the visual aid).
Name-and-form descends in Saḷāyatana and changes its nature as in the definition of the Nikayas (as per SN 12.2 - see the visual aid).
What imports is that "With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases come to be" (Nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ).
And that in Saḷāyatana, there is a new consciousness, so to speak, that is purely a sensorial consciousness.
So we have an establishing of consciousness (in the khandhas - for instance "form is the home of consciousness" - SN 22.3) >> a descent of nāmarūpa >> an occurence of a sense-consciousness >> again nāma-rūpa (contact [with form], feeling, perception, intention (cetāna), and attention (manasikāra) >> Vitakka/vicāra (and naming) >> manosañcetāna, that leads to the maintenance (ṭhitiyā) of conciousness (SN 12.11 & 39) >> With the maintenance of consciousness, there is a descent of consciousness in nāmarūpa >> and with the latter, there is an establishing of consciousness....
So on and so forth.
You call it vortex - I call it the vicious circle.

Consciousness turns back at nāme and form, and does not come (go) back - (with the knowledge of dukkha, this time) - to the higher spheres of the immaterial saṅkhāra nidāna.
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

ieee23
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by ieee23 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:09 pm

I recently discovered this old blog entry by Ajahn Sujato on the topic of what mindfulness is.

https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/01/18 ... ndfulness/


A Brief History of Mindfulness by Ajahn Sujato



I’ve been revising my second book, A History of Mindfulness, and I’m kinda amazed that anyone actually read it. It’s hard going. For those with better things to do than wade through oceans of textual references, here’s the sankhittena version. (For non-Pali geeks, that means the short version!)

The word sati, which we translate ‘mindfulness’, means ‘memory’, and was originally used by Brahmans in the sense of memorized Vedic scriptures. To effectively recall large bodies of text, you get into a zone of clarity and presence, free of distractions. This was one of the influences in developing what we today call ‘meditation’.

The Buddha adopted this Brahmanical usage, and used sati to for both ‘memory’ (of texts) and ‘presence of mind’ in meditation.

Modern teachings on mindfulness are almost exclusively derived from a peculiar 20th century interpretation of one text, the Pali
Satipatthana Sutta. This doctrine, the vipassanavada, says that satipatthana is a practice of ‘dry insight’, where the meditator, without previous practice of tranquility meditation, is ‘mindful’ of the changing phenomena of experience. This alone is sufficient to realize enlightenment.

When we carefully consider the range of teachings found in early Buddhist texts on mindfulness, it becomes clear that this doctrine does not hold up.

There are seven versions of the Satipatthana Sutta material, as well as hundreds of other texts on mindfulness. Relying on all these, not just one, we come to the following picture of mindfulness in early Buddhism.

While sati is used in many contexts, the most important is the four satipatthanas, or ‘establishments of mindfulness’. These are ‘right mindfulness’, the seventh factor of the eightfold path. The purpose of satipatthana is to gain the eighth factor, right samadhi or the four jhanas.

The word satipatthana is a compound of sati and upatthana, meaning to ‘set up’ or ‘establish’. It is the focussing and presence of awareness on an object; in other words, it basically means ‘meditation’.

Satipatthana is the ‘contemplation’ (anupassana) of body, feelings, mind, and principles (dhammas). ‘Anupassana’ means ‘sustained watching’. It is an awareness that stays on one thing and doesn’t jump from object to object. For this reason satipatthana is said to be the ‘way to convergence’, ekayana magga.

The main practice of satipatthana is breath meditation, anapanasati. One focusses on the breath, keeping awareness there, continually ‘remembering’ the breath. As the physical breath becomes tranquil, one moves from body contemplation to the awareness of the subtle feelings of bliss and rapture that arise in the breath. The mind becomes purified. Finally one reflects on how the whole process is impermanent and conditioned; this is contemplation of dhammas (‘principles’).

There are many other types of meditation that can be classified as satipatthana, but all of them follow a similar course.

The Pali Satipatthana Sutta includes a number of sections that are not shared with other texts on satipatthana, and which are later additions.

One of the additions is the inclusion of the awareness of postures and daily activities among its meditation exercizes. The awareness of postures is, in every other text, part of the preparation for meditation, not a kind of meditation itself.

Another late addition to the Pali Satipatthana Sutta is a ‘refrain’ following each meditation, which says one practices contemplating ‘rise and fall’. This is a vipassana practice, which originally belonged to only the final of the four satipatthanas, contemplation of dhammas.

The contemplation of dhammas has also undergone large scale expansion. The original text included just the five hindrances and the seven awakening factors. The five aggregates, six sense media, and four noble truths were added later.

Each version of the Satipatthana Sutta is based on a shared ancestor, which has been expanded in different ways by the schools. This process continued for several centuries following the Buddha’s death. Of the texts we have today, the closest to the ancestral version is that contained in the Pali Abhidhamma Vibhanga, if we leave aside the Abhidhammic elaborations.

Tracing the development of texts on satipatthana in later Buddhism, there is a gradual tendency to emphasize the vipassana aspect at the expense of the samatha side. This happened across various schools, although there is some variation from text to text, and perhaps some differences in sectarian emphasis. This led to various contradictions and problems in interpretation.

Nevertheless, in all schools and periods we also find presentations of satipatthana that hark back to the original meaning. For example, the great Yogacara teacher Asanga defined mindfulness as ‘the sustained awareness of the previously experienced object’.

By considering mindfulness in its historical conext, by including all relevant texts, and by understanding the historical evolution of the schools, we arrive at a richer, more nuanced, and more realistic understanding of mindfulness. This not only helps us appreciate our tradition better, it gives a more useful, balanced, and authentic framework for practice.




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

ToVincent
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by ToVincent » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:36 pm

ieee23 wrote:I recently discovered this old blog entry by Ajahn Sujato on the topic of what mindfulness is
.
Mindfulness has been defined pretty clearly by the Buddha, and expressed in both the early suttas and sutras in unisson.

Mindfulness is exactly what I said in the previous post (that is to say, what the Buddha said).
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=29917&start=60#p439298
External stimulus from an external āyatana >> Descent of the indriya in the internal āyatana >> sense-consciousness >> contact >> feeling >> perception >> thoughts & concretism (vitakka & vicāra).
Viz. recalling the Teaching. ( like https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.238/12 & https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.245/14-15 )
Viz. that one should first restrain the indriyani. That is the essence of the Teaching.
Viz. that one should be "mindful" of the things going on - and be jugmental. (see previous links)

This is why mindfulness has to be jugmental.
Just because the Buddha said so (in the EBTs, with parallels).
Period.

In other words, don't talk uselessly - Restrain! :)
Last edited by ToVincent on Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

Saengnapha
Posts: 339
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:19 pm

ToVincent wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:36 pm
[quote="ieee23]I recently discovered this old blog entry by Ajahn Sujato on the topic of what mindfulness is.
Mindfulness has been defined pretty clearly by the Buddha, and expressed in both the early suttas and sutras in unisson.

Mindfulness is exactly what I said in the previous post (that is to say, what the Buddha said).
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=29917&start=60#p439298
External stimulus from an external āyatana >> Descent of the indriya in the internal āyatana >> sense-consciousness >> contact >> feeling >> perception >> thoughts & concretism (vitakka & vicāra).
Viz. recalling the Teaching. ( like https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.238/12 & https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.245/14-15 )
Viz. that one should first restrain the indriyani. That is the essence of the Teaching.
Viz. that one should be "mindful" of the things going on - and be jugmental. (see previous links)

This is why mindfulness has to be jugmental.
Just because the Buddha said so (in the EBTs, with parallels).
Period.

In other words, don't talk uselessly - Restrain! :)
It's very difficult to follow your argument. Maybe you can cut and paste specifically, where the Buddha says to be judgemental. Perhaps you are interpreting judgemental in a way that it is not meant?

ToVincent
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by ToVincent » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:30 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:19 pm
It's very difficult to follow your argument. Maybe you can cut and paste specifically, where the Buddha says to be judgemental. Perhaps you are interpreting judgemental in a way that it is not meant?
Merriam-Webster (since 1828) wrote: Judgmental:
- of, relating to, or involving judgment.
Judgment:
- the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing.
The basic fraud today is to say that mindfulness should be a non judgmental awareness, about any experience.
I have just given you a link above, not only to the sutta, but to the exact extracts, in which the Buddha says that one should be mindful AND judgmental. But let me resume the gist of it.

Mindful like a gatekeeper, that is discerning (being judgmental) between what to let in, or out.
The gatekeeper posted there would be wise, competent, and intelligent; one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances.
......
‘The gatekeeper’: this is a designation for mindfulness.
SN 35.245
If you don't understand simile; then there is nothing much I can do.
People who do understand simile, will easily understand what is meant there. Viz. that one should not let everything in.
Period.
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Spiny Norman » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:22 am

ToVincent wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:30 pm
The basic fraud today is to say that mindfulness should be a non judgmental awareness, about any experience.
I have just given you a link above, not only to the sutta, but to the exact extracts, in which the Buddha says that one should be mindful AND judgmental. But let me resume the gist of it.
Mindful like a gatekeeper, that is discerning (being judgmental) between what to let in, or out.
The gatekeeper posted there would be wise, competent, and intelligent; one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances.
......
‘The gatekeeper’: this is a designation for mindfulness.
SN 35.245
Mindfulness certainly includes that active role of guarding the senses, moderating Right Effort, acting mindfully, and so on. I think though what is being discussed here is a particular approach to practice, including "bare attention".

Also "judgemental" can sound pejorative, so personally I prefer "discernment".
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

Saengnapha
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:56 am

ToVincent wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:30 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:19 pm
It's very difficult to follow your argument. Maybe you can cut and paste specifically, where the Buddha says to be judgemental. Perhaps you are interpreting judgemental in a way that it is not meant?
Merriam-Webster (since 1828) wrote: Judgmental:
- of, relating to, or involving judgment.
Judgment:
- the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing.
The basic fraud today is to say that mindfulness should be a non judgmental awareness, about any experience.
I have just given you a link above, not only to the sutta, but to the exact extracts, in which the Buddha says that one should be mindful AND judgmental. But let me resume the gist of it.

Mindful like a gatekeeper, that is discerning (being judgmental) between what to let in, or out.
The gatekeeper posted there would be wise, competent, and intelligent; one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances.
......
‘The gatekeeper’: this is a designation for mindfulness.
SN 35.245
If you don't understand simile; then there is nothing much I can do.
People who do understand simile, will easily understand what is meant there. Viz. that one should not let everything in.
Period.
It is either the language that you are using to explain some of these terms, or we have a basic difference in our experiential understanding of what mindfulness is all about. That gatekeeper seems to be some kind of dualistic remnant of the discursive mind who has dreamed up what is good and bad the way you are explaining it. Is awareness itself judgemental? Is equanimity a judgemental activity? Is mindfulness equal to equanimity or is it a precursor for it?

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