Training in Aversion is wrong

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

the problem arises of how to break the shackles of desire. The Buddha does not offer as a solution the method of repression — the attempt to drive desire away with a mind full of fear and loathing. This approach does not resolve the problem but only pushes it below the surface, where it continues to thrive. The tool the Buddha holds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, in the section on the Intention of Renunciation, in The Noble Eightfold Path
The Way to the End of Suffering
1999.

Placing this in Sīla sub-forum but it might belong elsewhere.

I thought this writing was particularly well-stated.
- MettaDevPrac

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 6794
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by Sam Vara »

MettaDevPrac wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:31 pm
the problem arises of how to break the shackles of desire. The Buddha does not offer as a solution the method of repression — the attempt to drive desire away with a mind full of fear and loathing. This approach does not resolve the problem but only pushes it below the surface, where it continues to thrive. The tool the Buddha holds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, in the section on the Intention of Renunciation, in The Noble Eightfold Path
The Way to the End of Suffering
1999.

Placing this in Sīla sub-forum but it might belong elsewhere.

I thought this writing was particularly well-stated.
Yes, I agree; it's quietly inspirational. I'm not sure if it is the whole truth, though, as it reflects this from MN 20:
If the evil unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu, who in order to get rid of an adventitious object reflects on a different object which is connected with skill, he should ponder on the disadvantages of unskillful thoughts thus: Truly these thoughts of mine are unskillful, blameworthy, and productive of misery. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).
But in the same sutta there is this:
If evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu in spite of his reflection on the removal of a source of unskillful thoughts, he should with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate, restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).
I guess these techniques are more about tools to do with dealing with thoughts short-term, during meditation. It could be that Bhikkhu Bodhi's wisdom refers to the longer-term reflective practice of investigating desire.

SarathW
Posts: 14089
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by SarathW »

Yes. This is why Samath and Vipassana meditations are different.
Samatha suppress the Akusal (gross attachment and aversion)
Vipassana destroy the root of Akusala. (subtle attachment and aversion)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

@SarathW yes. :)

More from Bhikkhu Bodhi, this time from the section on the Intention of Good Will.
The intention of good will opposes the intention of ill will, thoughts governed by anger and aversion. As in the case of desire, there are two ineffective ways of handling ill will. One is to yield to it, to express the aversion by bodily or verbal action. This approach releases the tension, helps drive the anger "out of one's system," but it also poses certain dangers. It breeds resentment, provokes retaliation, creates enemies, poisons relationships, and generates unwholesome kamma; in the end, the ill will does not leave the "system" after all, but instead is driven down to a deeper level where it continues to vitiate one's thoughts and conduct. The other approach, repression, also fails to dispel the destructive force of ill will. It merely turns that force around and pushes it inward, where it becomes transmogrified into self-contempt, chronic depression, or a tendency to irrational outbursts of violence.

The remedy the Buddha recommends to counteract ill will, especially when the object is another person, is a quality called in Pali metta. This word derives from another word meaning "friend," but metta signifies much more than ordinary friendliness. I prefer to translate it by the compound "loving-kindness," which best captures the intended sense: an intense feeling of selfless love for other beings radiating outwards as a heartfelt concern for their well-being and happiness. Metta is not just sentimental good will, nor is it a conscientious response to a moral imperative or divine command. It must become a deep inner feeling, characterized by spontaneous warmth rather than by a sense of obligation. At its peak metta rises to the heights of a brahmavihara, a "divine dwelling," a total way of being centered on the radiant wish for the welfare of all living beings.
- MettaDevPrac

MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:00 am

I guess these techniques are more about tools to do with dealing with thoughts short-term, during meditation. It could be that Bhikkhu Bodhi's wisdom refers to the longer-term reflective practice of investigating desire.
Yes, I think you are correct.
- MettaDevPrac

Spiny Norman
Posts: 7399
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by Spiny Norman »

Effort is initially required to improve one's state of mind, creating more conducive conditions for insight and dispassion to arise.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 5235
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by Kim OHara »

MettaDevPrac wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:07 am
...
More from Bhikkhu Bodhi, this time from the section on the Intention of Good Will.
The intention of good will opposes the intention of ill will, thoughts governed by anger and aversion. As in the case of desire, there are two ineffective ways of handling ill will. One is to yield to it, to express the aversion by bodily or verbal action. This approach releases the tension, helps drive the anger "out of one's system," but it also poses certain dangers. It breeds resentment, provokes retaliation, creates enemies, poisons relationships, and generates unwholesome kamma; in the end, the ill will does not leave the "system" after all, but instead is driven down to a deeper level where it continues to vitiate one's thoughts and conduct. The other approach, repression, also fails to dispel the destructive force of ill will. It merely turns that force around and pushes it inward, where it becomes transmogrified into self-contempt, chronic depression, or a tendency to irrational outbursts of violence.

The remedy the Buddha recommends to counteract ill will, especially when the object is another person, is a quality called in Pali metta. This word derives from another word meaning "friend," but metta signifies much more than ordinary friendliness. I prefer to translate it by the compound "loving-kindness," which best captures the intended sense: an intense feeling of selfless love for other beings radiating outwards as a heartfelt concern for their well-being and happiness. Metta is not just sentimental good will, nor is it a conscientious response to a moral imperative or divine command. It must become a deep inner feeling, characterized by spontaneous warmth rather than by a sense of obligation. At its peak metta rises to the heights of a brahmavihara, a "divine dwelling," a total way of being centered on the radiant wish for the welfare of all living beings.
I agree completely with both quotes you have posted from Bhikkhu Bodhi.

That means, naturally, that I do have doubts about some material in the suttas. I could be wrong (it happens quite often :tongue: ) but I have suspected for a long time that quite a bit of the hatred towards secular pleasure (and particularly towards women) found in the suttas comes from monastics desperately trying to prop up their community by demonising distractions from the monastic life.
My suspicion is reinforced by the fact that you find exact parallels in the writings from the medieval Christian monastics, who obviously faced the same problems for the same reasons but come from completely different religious and cultural traditions, i.e. the hate speech is product of monasticism per se, not of either Buddhism or Christianity.
If that is the case, then it suggests that such material belongs to a relatively "late" textual layer in the suttas ... which means to me that it has less weight than most other teachings.

:namaste:
Kim

SteRo
Posts: 2367
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by SteRo »

Aversion as such is not necessarily wrong if it is directed against the appropriate phenomena. It is the same with desire which is said to be fine if desire is directed towards liberation. That said it might be restriced to cases where aversion arises spontaneously based on insight. However training in aversion might seem to overdo it or to artificially fabriciate what does not arise spontaneously based on ingight.

Spontaneous aversion against the appropriate phenomena migh be the precursor of disenchantment which is a beneficial attainment on the path.

pegembara
Posts: 1700
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by pegembara »

Aversion arises because you are still part of the story. When you are no longer part of the story aversion stops. But before that, you do need ways and means to deal with it.
Everything is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


“There's no such thing as an ending; just a place where you leave the story.” Muriel Donnelly
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

SteRo wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:44 pm
Aversion as such is not necessarily wrong if it is directed against the appropriate phenomena. It is the same with desire which is said to be fine if desire is directed towards liberation. That said it might be restriced to cases where aversion arises spontaneously based on insight. However training in aversion might seem to overdo it or to artificially fabriciate what does not arise spontaneously based on ingight.

Spontaneous aversion against the appropriate phenomena migh be the precursor of disenchantment which is a beneficial attainment on the path.
Based on View, Intention develops; basd on Intentions, behaviors manifest. If Views are not Right, wong intentions, wrong behaviors.
Repetition is training, training is practice. It is possible to train and practice based on wrong Views, creating the conditions conducive to movement away from liberation, away from sīla, samādhi, paññā, away from the teachings of the Buddha.

So what does the Buddha teach about aversion? What does the Buddha teach about disenchantment, or (perhaps) about the conditions condusive to detachment arising? What do the suttas say? Let's be careful on this, because aversion can be pleasurable, and in terms of caste-making based on conceits of a Self.
- MettaDevPrac

MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

pegembara wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:06 pm
Aversion arises because you are still part of the story. When you are no longer part of the story aversion stops. But before that, you do need ways and means to deal with it.
Everything is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html



“There's no such thing as an ending; just a place where you leave the story.” Muriel Donnelly
I agree, aversion depends on lack of anatta. That sutta reference is on-point.

Another translation https://suttacentral.net/sn22.59/en/sujato
“So you should truly see any kind of form at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near: *all* form—with right understanding: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.

Any kind of feeling at all …

Any kind of perception at all …

Any kind of choices at all …

You should truly see any kind of consciousness at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near: *all* consciousness—with right understanding: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’


Seeing this, a learned noble disciple grows disillusioned with form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness. Being disillusioned, desire fades away. When desire fades away they’re freed.
- MettaDevPrac

User avatar
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:06 pm

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

.



Training in "Aversion" is right, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . if done properly, imo.



Suttas wrote:
  • "When you attend properly to the feature of ugliness, sensual desire does not arise, or, if it has already arisen, it’s given up."
  • "The perceptions of ugliness ....... when developed and cultivated, are very fruitful and beneficial. They culminate in the deathless and end with the deathless."
  • "You should develop the perception of ugliness to give up greed"
  • Meditate on ugliness. For when you meditate on ugliness any lust will be given up.
  • Training for "revulsion"
    • When you pursue meditation on the feature of ugliness, revulsion at the feature of beauty becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.
    • When you meditate observing impermanence in the six fields of contact, revulsion at contact becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.
    • When you meditate observing rise and fall in the five grasping aggregates, revulsion at grasping becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.



AN1.16

PTS
Monks, I know not of any other single thing of such power to prevent the arising of sensual lust, if not already arisen: or, if arisen, to cause its abandonment, as the feature of uglinness (in things).

B. Sujato
“Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that prevents sensual desire from arising, or, when it has arisen, abandons it like the feature of ugliness. When you attend properly to the feature of ugliness, sensual desire does not arise, or, if it has already arisen, it’s given up.”
Paṭhamasaññā Sutta AN 7.48


Mendicants, these seven perceptions, when developed and cultivated, are very fruitful and beneficial. They culminate in the deathless and end with the deathless.
What seven? The perceptions of ugliness, death, repulsiveness of food, dissatisfaction with the whole world, impermanence, suffering in impermanence, and not-self in suffering. These seven perceptions, when developed and cultivated, are very fruitful and beneficial. They culminate in the deathless and end with the deathless.
Rāga Sutta AN 6.107

Mendicants, there are these three things. What three? Greed, hate, and delusion. These are the three things. To give up these three things you should develop three things. What three? You should develop the perception of ugliness to give up greed, love to give up hate, and wisdom to give up delusion. These are the three things you should develop to give up those three things.
Mahārāhulovāda Sutta MN 62

...
Meditate on ugliness. For when you meditate on ugliness any lust will be given up.
...
Nāgita Sutta AN 5.30

...
When you pursue meditation on the feature of ugliness, revulsion at the feature of beauty becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.
When you meditate observing impermanence in the six fields of contact, revulsion at contact becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.
When you meditate observing rise and fall in the five grasping aggregates, revulsion at grasping becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.”
...

:heart:
.


🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐

Self ...
  • "an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" :D ~ MN22

MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:00 pm
.



Training in "Aversion" is right, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . if done properly, imo.

Aren't these trainings in Right View, and especially helpful in creating the conditions for insight into anicca, dukkha, anatta?

There is no attainment of aversion; there is attainment of dispassion.
- MettaDevPrac

MettaDevPrac
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:44 am

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by MettaDevPrac »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:00 pm
Rāga Sutta AN 6.107

Mendicants, there are these three things. What three? Greed, hate, and delusion. These are the three things. To give up these three things you should develop three things. What three? You should develop the perception of ugliness to give up greed, love to give up hate, and wisdom to give up delusion. These are the three things you should develop to give up those three things.
107. Greed107. Rāgasutta
“Mendicants, there are these three things.“ Tayome, bhikkhave, dhammā.
What three?Katame tayo?
Greed, hate, and delusion.Rāgo, doso, moho.
These are the three things.Ime kho, bhikkhave, tayo dhammā.
To give up these three things you should develop three things.Imesaṃ kho, bhikkhave, tiṇṇaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānāya tayo dhammā bhāvetabbā.What three?Katame tayo?
You should develop the perception of ugliness to give up greed, love to give up hate, and wisdom to give up delusion.Rāgassa pahānāya asubhā bhāvetabbā, dosassa pahānāya mettā bhāvetabbā, mohassa pahānāya paññā bhāvetabbā.
These are the three things you should develop to give up those three things.”Imesaṃ kho, bhikkhave, tiṇṇaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānāya ime tayo dhammā bhāvetabbā”ti.
You are talking about countering rāgo greed. I was talking about not cultivating moho hate.
Training in asubhā should not be training in hate or anger. It is simply training to elimnate greed or lust.
- MettaDevPrac

Spiny Norman
Posts: 7399
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Training in Aversion is wrong

Post by Spiny Norman »

I think you're over complicating things. It's just about creating a more wholesome state of mind, and allowing insight to arise.
There are various methods which can be used, but it's a simple principle.
Four jhanas, four tetrads of anapanasati, four frames of satipatthana, samatha and vipassana, etc.
Various methods, same principle.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

Post Reply