Cultivating happiness

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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befriend
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Cultivating happiness

Post by befriend » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:26 pm

In vipassana one is taught to not crave after pleasant internal states or crave external sensory experiences. But in Samatha or tranquility meditation it seems like it contradicts vipassana. I don't understand am I supposed to be meditating to get a higher joy than sense pleasures or am I supposed to meditate to diminish craving for happiness. I hope that makes sense. Thank you metta
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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ryanM
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by ryanM » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:48 pm

I think this can be answered referring back to the definition of right effort. One aspect, in brief, being the arousal and maintinence of wholesome qualities that haven't arisen. Joy would certainly fall into this category. Also, I believe joy is one of the seven enlightenment factors, so it's actually required!

With care,

Ryan
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

SarathW
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by SarathW » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:11 pm

One of the added benefits of meditation is the pleasant abiding here and now. Buddha himself took advantage of this and he recommended this for others. Another advantage of the concentration is realisation of Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Sam Vara
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:13 pm

befriend wrote:In vipassana one is taught to not crave after pleasant internal states or crave external sensory experiences. But in Samatha or tranquility meditation it seems like it contradicts vipassana. I don't understand am I supposed to be meditating to get a higher joy than sense pleasures or am I supposed to meditate to diminish craving for happiness. I hope that makes sense. Thank you metta
In the type of samatha meditation I was taught, one should not crave after those pleasant internal states. They might arise, and you might enjoy them for a while, but we were taught to let that go and just focus on the object of meditation. Unless your teacher tells you to actually strive for that "higher joy than sense pleasures", you might want to let go of any anticipations.

Do you have a personal teacher who could advise on this?

befriend
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by befriend » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:26 pm

Thanks Sam Vera no I do not I was thinking of visiting a monastery this weekend though.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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bodom
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by bodom » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:25 pm

The Buddha tells us over and over in many suttas to cultivate joy and happiness in our practice and to not be afraid of it. In addition we are to gradually let get of sensual and worldly happiness and to replace with the joy and happiness found in meditation and renunciation.
NowOmonks, what is worldly joy? There are these five cords of sense desire: forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust. Sounds cognizable by the ear... odors cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body, wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust. It is the joy that arises dependent on these five cords of sense desire which is called 'worldly joy.'

"Now what is unworldly joy? Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, a monk enters upon and abides in the first meditative absorption,[3] which is accompanied by thought-conception and discursive thinking, and has joy and happiness born of seclusion. With the stilling of thought-conception and discursive thinking, he enters upon and abides in the second meditative absorption which has internal confidence and singleness of mind without thought conception and discursive thinking, and has joy and happiness born of concentration. This is called 'unworldly joy.'

"And what is the still greater unworldly joy? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, freed of delusion, then there arises joy. This called a 'still greater unworldly joy.'

"Now, O monks, what is worldly happiness? There are these five cords of sense desire: forms cognizable by the eye... sounds cognizable by the ear... odors cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense desire and alluring. It is the happiness and gladness that arises dependent on these five cords of sense desire which are called 'worldly happiness.'

"Now what is unworldly happiness? Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, a monk enters upon and abides in the first meditative absorption... With the stilling of thought-conception and discursive thinking, he enters upon and abides in the second meditative absorption... With the fading away of joy as well, he dwells in equanimity, mindfully and fully aware he feels happiness within, and enters upon and abides in the third meditative absorption of which the Noble Ones announce: 'He dwells in happiness who has equanimity and is mindful.' This is called 'unworldly happiness.'

"And what is the still greater unworldly happiness? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, freed of delusion, then there arises happiness. This is called a 'still greater unworldly happiness.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.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 mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

paul
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by paul » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:20 pm

Vipassana is an ultimate view where feelings are recognised as impermanent and transitory. But samatha is experienced physically in the present and there is a progression from rapture to equanimity and finally cessation as the practice develops, making the mind malleable. Here only the first stage is being dealt with. How much samatha is developed is a matter of temperament but some degree of concentration is necessary for vipassana to function. Just as a surgeon is able to operate when the patient is anaesthetized, so investigation is able to penetrate into the source and entanglement of the defilements only when the mind is calm and lucid.
"In one who has rapture, the body becomes serene. When the body is serene, one feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, the mind becomes centered. When the mind is centered, phenomena become manifest."---SN 55:40

Both perspectives must be kept in mind simultaneously, the ultimate as well as the present, that is respectively the dhamma-memory aspect of mindfulness interpreting the awareness of present events.
Last edited by paul on Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rolling_boulder
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Re: Cultivating happiness

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:09 pm

Yes, wholesome mental states can and should definitely be developed, maintained and perfected.
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

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