What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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SarathW
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What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:25 am

What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?
Why above two are not considered Jhana?
Are above two are Samatha or Vipassana?
Thanks.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:03 am

This is a rather technical distinction, which is discussed in various places. This is quite short:
Mahasi Sayadaw on Right Concentration
See also:
U Pandita on "Vipassana Jhana", though that doesn't really address the momentary/access distinction.

The above distinguish between jhana - unwavering absorption into an object, and the momentary/access concentration on changing phenomena. The difference between momentary and access is one of degree.

These "momentary" and "access" terms are not in the suttas, though some different types of samadhi are:
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.41
“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now? There is the case where a monk—quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities—enters & remains in the first jhana: ...
...
And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light ...
...
“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. ...
...
“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: ‘Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. ...
I suspect some teachers who say they are teaching jhana according to the suttas are actually talking about the momentary/access level. Since the distinctions are not so explicit in the suttas, both interpretations are plausible.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by Sylvester » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:47 pm

Ven Dhammanando previously remarked that ALL concentration are technically momentary, given that all cittas are momentary under the Momentariness model.

While I don't follow the developed Comy model of universally very short moments, i think it's implicit from the trapeze monkey simile in SN 12.61 that consciousness has to be discreet and conscious of only one object at a time. The more interesting issue would be how long a sutta-moment lasts in light of the Abhidhammic and commentarial abhorence of an ambient consciousness that cognises all the time uninterruptedly, even if the objects arise sequentially. Personally, i feel they are over-scrupulous, since DO and Cessation can operate whatever the duration of a phenomenon.

As for access concentration as understood by the Comy, i think there is a sutta basis if we sniff around for concentration that (1) has no hindrances and (2) has 5 sense consciousness. How about the common stream entry pericope eg-
Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones etc etc
There is also the same malleability available post-jhana as attested in AN 9.35 -
When a monk enters & emerges from this or that attainment, his mind is pliant & malleable. With his pliant, malleable mind, limitless concentration is well developed. With his concentration well developed & limitless, then whichever of the six higher knowledges he turns his mind to know & realize, he can witness them for himself whenever there is an opening.

using Ven T's translation but correcting his failure to recognise the distributive taṃ tad/this or that

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bodom
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Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by bodom » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:07 pm

Ajahn Chah on the different levels of concentration:
A further aspect of mental development that leads to clearer and deeper insight is meditating on an object to calm the mind down. The calm mind is the mind that is firm and stable in samādhi. This can be khanika samādhi (momentary concentration), upacāra-samādhi (neighbourhood concentration) or appanā samādhi (absorption). The level of concentration is determined by the refinement of consciousness from moment to moment as you train the mind to maintain awareness on a meditation object.

In khanika samādhi (momentary concentration) the mind unifies for just a short space of time. It calms down in samādhi, but having gathered together momentarily, immediately withdraws from that peaceful state. As concentration becomes more refined in the course of meditation, many similar characteristics of the tranquil mind are experienced at each level, so each one is described as a level of samādhi, whether it is khanika , upacāra or appanā . At each level the mind is calm, but the depth of the samādhi varies and the nature of the peaceful mental state experienced differs. On one level the mind is still subject to movement and can wander, but moves around within the confines of the concentrated state. It doesn’t get caught in activity that leads to agitation and distraction. Your awareness might follow a wholesome mental object for a while, before returning to settle down at a point of stillness where it remains for a period.

You could compare the experience of khanika samādhi with a physical activity like taking a walk somewhere: you might walk for a period before stopping for a rest, and having rested start walking again until it’s time to stop for another rest. Even though you interrupt the journey periodically to stop walking and take rests, each time remaining completely still, it is only ever a temporary stillness of the body. After a short space of time you have to start moving again to continue the journey. This is what happens within the mind as it experiences such a level of concentration.

If you practise meditation focusing on an object to calm the mind and reach a level of calm where the mind is firm in samādhi, but there is still some mental movement occurring, that is known as upacāra-samādhi. In upacāra-samādhi the mind can still move around. This movement takes place within certain limits, the mind doesn’t move beyond them. The boundaries within which the mind can move are determined by the firmness and stability of concentration. The experience is as if you alternate between a state of calm and a certain amount of mental activity. The mind is calm some of the time and active for the rest. Within that activity there is still a certain level of calm and concentration that persists, but the mind is not completely still or immovable. It is still thinking a little and wandering about. It’s like you are wandering around inside your own home. You wander around within the limits of your concentration, without losing awareness and moving outdoors away from the meditation object. The movement of the mind stays within the bounds of wholesome ( kusala ) mental states. It doesn’t get caught into any mental proliferation based on unwholesome ( akusala ) mental states. Any thinking remains wholesome. Once the mind is calm, it necessarily experiences wholesome mental states from moment to moment. During the time it is concentrated the mind only experiences wholesome mental states and periodically settles down to become completely still and one-pointed on its object.

So the mind still experiences some movement, circling around its object. It can still wander. It might wander around within the confines set by the level of concentration, but no real harm arises from this movement because the mind is calm in samādhi. This is how the development of the mind proceeds in the course of practice.

In appanā samādhi the mind calms down and is stilled to a level where it is at its most subtle and skilful. Even if you experience sense impingement from the outside, such as sounds and physical sensations, it remains external and is unable to disturb the mind. You might hear a sound, but it won’t distract your concentration. There is the hearing of the sound, but the experience is as if you don’t hear anything. There is awareness of the impingement but it’s as if you are not aware. This is because you let go. The mind lets go automatically. Concentration is so deep and firm that you let go of attachment to sense impingement quite naturally. The mind can absorb into this state for long periods. Having stayed inside for an appropriate amount of time, it then withdraws. Sometimes, as you withdraw from such a deep level of concentration, a mental image of some aspect of your own body can appear. It might be a mental image displaying an aspect of the unattractive nature of your body that arises into consciousness. As the mind withdraws from the refined state, the image of the body appears to emerge and expand from within the mind. Any aspect of the body could come up as a mental image and fill up the mind’s eye at that point.
http://www.abhayagiri.org/books/the-col ... -hardcover" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


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

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:43 pm

Thanks Bodom. Ajahn Chah has a way of putting these concepts in very practical terms.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:14 pm

Thanks all.
Out of three level of concentration as per Ajahn Chah, what is the minimum for Vipassana?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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bodom
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Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by bodom » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:30 pm

SarathW wrote:Thanks all.
Out of three level of concentration as per Ajahn Chah, what is the minimum for Vipassana?
From Ajahn Thiradhammo a student of Ajahn Chah:
I personally like Ajahn Chah's definition. When I asked him how much concentration we need, he said it should be developed until the mind was ‘just calm enough’. Maybe this sounds a bit vague to some people – enough for what? What is enough? Actually it was a profoundly wise answer, because each of us has to find out for ourselves through practice. It also helps us keep the right perspective. Calm enough for what? Calm enough for insight. Calm is not an end in itself. Calm is a tool, a foundation, a basis for clear seeing, for insight. Only insight leads to awakening; concentration alone does not. It’s only one of the Factors of Awakening, but it can be a very helpful support for insight. And each person is different. For some people ‘calm enough’ could mean a lot of concentration. Some people have a very busy, slippery mind, which doesn’t really hold onto or settle on any object easily or for any length of time, so perhaps they need to put more emphasis than most people on
developing concentration. For other people whose mind can settle on things quite easily, concentration may not need much developing. A man on a retreat in England came to me during interview time and explained about the very intricate workings of his mind. It was quite amazing. I was surprised and curious, and asked what his job was. He was a television repair man! To him, looking at all the circuits in a television was just like looking at all the circuits in his brain. So he’d trained his concentration on the job. His limitation was looking at the bigger picture. He was caught up in looking at all these minor workings of his mind, but the purpose of meditation is to realize the bigger picture, the overall principles of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and impersonality.

So Ajahn Chah’s advice was to experience just enough calm for insight. And we all have to know for ourselves, discover what for us is calm enough. Also, each time we practise is different. Sometimes the mind may be really busy, so we need to spend the whole time just focusing on the breathing. Other times we come and sit, and after a few minutes the mind is calm already. What kind of calm is it? Is it light calm or heavy calm? Is it calm conducive to increased mindfulness or investigation of dhamma? Is the calm supported by joy, energy, tranquillity? Then we can either put more energy into insight meditation or continue to develop ever deeper levels of concentration. As Ajahn Chah taught, ‘The deeper the calm, the deeper the insight.’
http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/c ... awakening/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


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

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

SarathW
Posts: 10506
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: What is the difference between momentary concentration and access concentration?

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:37 pm

Calm enough for insight. Calm is not an end in itself. Calm is a tool, a foundation, a basis for clear seeing, for insight. Only insight leads to awakening; concentration alone does not. It’s only one of the Factors of Awakening
Thanks Bodom

Seven factors of enlightenment.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Fac ... ightenment" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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