Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

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one_awakening
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Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by one_awakening » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:27 am

Listening to a Thanissaro talk on the sixteen steps of mindfulness of breathing, he says the following on the feeling tetrad:
The next four steps have to do with feelings. First you train yourself to breath in and out sensitive to rapture.

The word “rapture” here can also mean “refreshment”. Ask yourself…What type of breathing will feel refreshing right now?

Feelings don’t come and go on their own, the mind helps to fabricate them because there is an intentional element in every feeling.

The next step would be to breath in such a way that feels easeful and pleasant.

What does he mean when he says there is an intentional element in every feeling?



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DooDoot
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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by DooDoot » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:05 am

Hi 1A. Good question

While the instruction Bhikkhu Thanissaro is providing about exploring & feeling "what type of breathing will feel refreshing right now?" is perfectly OK and beneficial, the idea there is an intentional element in every feeling sounds incorrect to me.

One can certainly intentionally attempt to breathe in such a way that feels easeful and pleasant. However the refreshing nature of refreshing breathing is a quality of smooth refined breathe; similar to how "refreshingness" is a quality of cool pure water. That cool pure clean water refreshes the body on a hot day is not related to "intention".

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by one_awakening » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:14 am

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:05 am
...the idea there is an intentional element in every feeling sounds incorrect to me.
That's what I don't get. You can have the intention to act on a feeling...but does a person intend to have a particular feeling?
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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by DooDoot » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:18 am

one_awakening wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:14 am
That's what I don't get. You can have the intention to act on a feeling...but does a person intend to have a particular feeling?
I am attempting to not sound overly opinionated but Venerable Thanissaro is definitely incorrect to me. For example, even Arahants, at times (Iti 44), cannot avoid the arising of pleasant & unpleasant feelings (vedana).

In the manifestation of jhana, for example, the pleasant feelings arise due to the utter relaxation of the 'physical nervous system', which is probably why the 1st four jhanas are called "rupa jhana". This does not occur due to intention; just as the pleasant feeling of the warm sun on the body on a cool day is not due to intention.

Kind regards :smile:
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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by santa100 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:53 pm

one_awakening wrote:What does he mean when he says there is an intentional element in every feeling?
It'd probably make sense within the context of Anapanasati's Second Tetrad (Contemplation on Vedana/feeling), where it starts with: Experience Rapture/Piti, and then: Experience Pleasure/Sukha,... So while Pleasure belongs to the Vedana group, Rapture belongs to the Sankhara group. Ven. T's intentional element probably refers to the volitional element of Piti/the Sankhara group in the Second Tetrad...
MN 118 wrote:Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing rapture’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing rapture’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing pleasure’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing pleasure’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation’—on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. I say that this is a certain feeling among the feelings, namely, giving close attention to in-breathing and out-breathing. That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by DooDoot » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:15 pm

santa100 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:53 pm
one_awakening wrote:What does he mean when he says there is an intentional element in every feeling?
It'd probably make sense within the context of Anapanasati's Second Tetrad (Contemplation on Vedana/feeling), where it starts with: Experience Rapture/Piti, and then: Experience Pleasure/Sukha,... So while Pleasure belongs to the Vedana group, Rapture belongs to the Sankhara group. Ven. T's intentional element probably refers to the volitional element of Piti/the Sankhara group in the Second Tetrad...
MN 118 wrote:Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing rapture’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing rapture’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing pleasure’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing pleasure’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation’; trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation’—on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. I say that this is a certain feeling among the feelings, namely, giving close attention to in-breathing and out-breathing. That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.
Probably not. The above appears to be just another error or mistranslation by Venerable Thanissaro. Rapture is born from the relaxation of the breathing & body together with the relaxation & calmness of the mind; rather than from an intention to feel rapturous. The term "citta sankhara" (wrongly translated as "mental formation") refers to how rapture "conditions" the mind/citta. Rapture is the citta sankhara because it conditions the citta; such as causing the citta to have delight, attachment, enchantment or lust towards or be seduced by the rapture. The rapture is "vedana". The aforementioned defilements are citta. Kind regards :smile: Refer to this book.
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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by JohnK » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:57 pm

considering another angle: we do try to manage our vedana — selecting objects for “contact” with “vedanic” intent. And then we relate to that vedana with intent — hence perhaps intent as an element of vedana (or vedanic process). Seems like I often intend to feel refreshed from that cool water. And if I am distracted enough by a pretty girl and working on that visual contact’s vedana, I might not experience the water’s tactile refreshment. Of course, I might be “all wet.”
"...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.

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:15 pm

JohnK wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:57 pm
considering another angle: we do try to manage our vedana — selecting objects for “contact” with “vedanic” intent. And then we relate to that vedana with intent — hence perhaps intent as an element of vedana (or vedanic process). Seems like I often intend to feel refreshed from that cool water. And if I am distracted enough by a pretty girl and working on that visual contact’s vedana, I might not experience the water’s tactile refreshment. Of course, I might be “all wet.”
I think you are probably closest to what Ajahn Thanissaro has in mind here; at least, it's the only sense I can make of it. When he says that there is an intentional element in every feeling, I don't think he can mean that the feeling was intended. Obviously, we can intend to have some feelings, and we take steps to create them by manipulating the world and our own minds in ways that have worked before, or that have been recommended to us. But most feelings are outside of our control, and just arise according to their own nature. We don't intend them.

I think he means that whenever there is a feeling, there is an intention there to do something about it. Not a plan or a strategy or something that can be verbally articulated, but the basic pull or push of the mind that is integral to our recognition that something is pleasant or unpleasant. The intention doesn't cause the feeling to arise, but is structurally part of it and how it impacts upon our minds.

I've no idea (as yet) as to how this might relate to neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant, but if that's not what he means, then I'm at a loss on this one!

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by santa100 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:20 pm

DooDoot wrote:The term "citta sankhara" (wrongly translated as "mental formation")
What do you mean "wrongly translated"? Care to provide references/sources with the "right translation"?
MN 118 - Ven. Thanissaro's translation wrote:He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication[cittaSankhara].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'
MN 118 - Ven. Bodhi's tranlsation wrote:He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation[cittaSankhara]’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation. ’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation.’
And Comy's note from Ven. Bodhi's "Middle Length Discourses":
footnote wrote:Mental formation(cittasankhara) is perception and feeling(MN 44.14), which is tranquillised by the development of successively higher levels of serenity and insight.

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by DooDoot » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:43 pm

santa100 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:20 pm
footnote wrote:cittasankhara is perception and feeling(MN 44.14), which is tranquillised by the development of successively higher levels of serenity and insight.
Yes, cittasankhara is perception and feeling but cittasankhara does not mean mental formation. The only modern monk that has translated cittasankhara correctly is Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. Since perception and feeling are not objects of "cittanupassana", they are obviously not "citta formations". Citta sankhara does not mean "mental fabrication". It means "mind fabricator".
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by santa100 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:08 am

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:43 pm
santa100 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:20 pm
footnote wrote:cittasankhara is perception and feeling(MN 44.14), which is tranquillised by the development of successively higher levels of serenity and insight.
Yes, cittasankhara is perception and feeling but cittasankhara does not mean mental formation. The only modern monk that has translated cittasankhara correctly is Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. Since perception and feeling are not objects of "cittanupassana", they are obviously not "citta formations". Citta sankhara does not mean "mental fabrication". It means "mind fabricator".
Actually Ven. Buddhadasa's translation as "mind fabricator" is not correct. It should be "mental fabricator" :tongue:, get the picture? The terms by themselves: mental formation, mental fabrication, or mind fabricator don't mean much without further explanation. It's the explanation that they are perception and feeling that clarify things up for us.

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by DooDoot » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:36 am

santa100 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:08 am
"mental fabricator"
"Citta" appears to mean "mind" and not "mental" ("cetasika").
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by santa100 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:49 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:36 am
santa100 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:08 am
"mental fabricator"
"Citta" appears to mean "mind" and not "mental" ("cetasika").
Actually that's wrong. Cetasika means "mental factors". Citta means mind, consciousness, or mental processes depending on context. So you get the picture? Get hung up with the lingo and it will lead you nowhere. And be honest, without the Comy's explanation, can you honestly tell the differences between mental formation, mental fabrication, and mind fabricator?

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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by DooDoot » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:59 am

santa100 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:49 am
Cetasika means "mental factors".
Their physical and mental stress,

Tassa kāyikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti;

mental torment,

cetasikāpi santāpā ;

and mental fever grow.

cetasikāpi pariḷāhā

And they experience physical and mental suffering.

So kāyadukkhampi cetodukkhampi paṭisaṃvedeti.

https://suttacentral.net/mn149/en/sujato
“Mendicants, a monk or nun who has not given up five kinds of emotional [mental] barrenness and has not cut off five emotional shackles can expect decline, not growth, in skillful qualities, whether by day or by night.

“Yassa kassaci, bhikkhave, bhikkhussa vā bhikkhuniyā vā pañca cetokhilā appahīnā pañca cetasovinibandhā asamucchinnā, tassa yā ratti vā divaso vā āgacchati hāniyeva pāṭikaṅkhā kusalesu dhammesu no vuddhi.

What are the five kinds of emotional barrenness they haven’t given up?

Katamassa pañca cetokhilā appahīnā honti?

https://suttacentral.net/mn149/en/sujato
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

santa100
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Re: Mindulness of Breathing - Thanissaro

Post by santa100 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:06 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:59 am
santa100 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:49 am
Cetasika means "mental factors".
Their physical and mental stress,

Tassa kāyikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti;

mental torment,

cetasikāpi santāpā ;

and mental fever grow.

cetasikāpi pariḷāhā

And they experience physical and mental suffering.

So kāyadukkhampi cetodukkhampi paṭisaṃvedeti.

https://suttacentral.net/mn149/en/sujato
“Mendicants, a monk or nun who has not given up five kinds of emotional [mental] barrenness and has not cut off five emotional shackles can expect decline, not growth, in skillful qualities, whether by day or by night.

“Yassa kassaci, bhikkhave, bhikkhussa vā bhikkhuniyā vā pañca cetokhilā appahīnā pañca cetasovinibandhā asamucchinnā, tassa yā ratti vā divaso vā āgacchati hāniyeva pāṭikaṅkhā kusalesu dhammesu no vuddhi.

What are the five kinds of emotional barrenness they haven’t given up?

Katamassa pañca cetokhilā appahīnā honti?

https://suttacentral.net/mn149/en/sujato
CMOA wrote:A second distinguishing feature of the Abhidhamma is the dissection of the apparently continuous stream of consciousness into a succession of discrete evanescent cognitive events called cittas, each a complex unity involving consciousness itself, as the basic awareness of an object, and a constellation of mental factors (cetasika) exercising more specialized tasks in the act of cognition.
Pali Dictionary wrote:Cetasika: 'mental things, mental factors', are those mental concomitants which are bound up with the simultaneously arising consciousness (citta = viññāna) and conditioned by its presence.

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