I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Cittasanto
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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:15 pm

ihrjordan wrote:I didn't say a lay person couldn't attain arahantship, I said a householder endowed with the 5 chords of sensual pleasure couldn't attain Anagami or Arahantship.
To quote
ihrjordan wrote:Profound insight resulting in freedom from suffering - arahantship-unattainable as a layperson
this is one line, no indication the next line is related.
Lay person is a very broad term which means different things to different people. Could Ghatikara the potter be considered a layperson? Sure. Could he be considered a householder who indulges in sensual pleasure? I have my doubts.
Hence why I pointed this out here.
householder can be seen as more than a layperson, there are numerous examples of Bhikkhus who are far from the life of a mendicant and indulge in one or more of the five cords of sensuality. and examples of lay people who were far more adept than ordained Bhikkhus.
I personally take the "householders life is full of dust" sentiment to be the individuals way of life. Ordination does not make one holy, nor a meditator.
Sure there may be stories of this or that householder available in the dhammapada commentaries who managed to bypass all levels of enlightenment and go straight to arahantship while still engaged in sense pleasures but I'm doubtful of the authenticity of these stories which seem to contradict suttas like the one in which a prince asks a Bhikku if it possible to put an end to all craving and the prince says he doesn't believe him (I can't seem to pinpoint where it was) and the Buddha says that it is impossible that one who is utterly immersed in suffering via the 5 chords of sensual pleasure may come to grasp the subtleties of this Dhamma.
one I can think of is the drunk. But the moment of insight cut thru the heedless mind. but if you can pinpoint the one you have in mind that would be helpful.
And when I said grains of suffering I was referring to the simili that the Buddha once used to compare the amount of suffering left for a stream enterer in contrast to that of an untrained ordinary person whose suffering is as though al the grains of sand in the Ganga river.
I understand now thank-you.

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hohohodam
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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by hohohodam » Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:51 am

I started doing some reading and it's helpful.

What I really want to know, which I haven't found the answer to, is if I can reach the first jhana with Mahasi style meditation in couple of months of several hours of practice. Problem I find is Jhana seems to be a prominent domain of discussion for Samatha meditation but not vipassana and similar mark of progress is not to be found for the method that I am being taught now.

I would like some guidance.

Thank you.

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by ihrjordan » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:59 pm

Cittasanto wrote:....
I tend to use the words householder and lay person interchangeably. Let me clear things up. What I'm saying is that a householder (one who literally tends to the affairs of a homeowner, complete with family, money etc.) cannot attain to arahantship. You mentioned the drunk guy but was this story canonical or was it from the commentary? I am not denying however that a layperson (e.g. one who isn't necessarily a monk like Ghatikara but who you couldn't rightfully call a householder) could attain Arahantship. I just refuse to believe that one can become fully enlightened by going contrary to the way the Buddha taught. What is the moral of the so-called drunk Arahant? That it's ok if we drink so long as we comprehend suffering and see our buzz as impermanent? I think it sends an irresponsible and otherwise harmful message.

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by bodom » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:50 pm

ihrjordan wrote: You mentioned the drunk guy but was this story canonical or was it from the commentary?
Canonical:
[At Kapilavasthu] Now at that time Sarakaani the Sakyan, who had died, was proclaimed by the Blessed One to be a Stream-Winner, not subject to rebirth in states of woe, assured of enlightenment. At this, a number of the Sakyans, whenever they met each other or came together in company, were indignant and angry, and said scornfully: "A fine thing, a marvelous thing! Nowadays anyone can become a Stream-Winner, if the Blessed One has proclaimed Sarakaani who died to be Stream-Winner... assured of enlightenment! Why, Sarakaani failed in his training and took to drink!"

[Mahaanaama the Sakyan reported this to the Buddha who said:] "Mahaanaama, a lay-follower who has for a long time taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha — how could he go to states of woe? [And this can be truly said of Sarakaani the Sakyan.] How could he go to states of woe?

"Mahaanaama, take the case of a man endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, declaring 'He is the Blessed One...,'[1] the Dhamma... the Sangha... He is joyous and swift in wisdom, one who has gained release.[2] By the destruction of the cankers he has by his own realization gained the cankerless heart's release, the release through wisdom, in this very life, and abides in it. The man is entirely released from the hell-state, from rebirth as an animal,[3] he is free from the realm of hungry ghosts, fully freed from the downfall, the evil way, from states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha... the Dhamma... the Sangha... he is joyous and swift in wisdom but has not gained release. Having destroyed the five lower fetters,[4] he is reborn spontaneously[5] where he will attain Nibbaana without returning from that world. That man is entirely released from... states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. But he is not joyous in wisdom and has not gained release. Yet by destroying three fetters[6] and weakening lust, hatred and delusion, he is a Once-returner, who will return once more to this world and put an end to suffering. That man is entirely freed from... states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. But he is not joyous in wisdom and has not gained release. Yet by destroying three fetters he is a Stream-Winner, not subject to rebirth in states of woe, assured of enlightenment. That man is entirely freed... from states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is not even endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. He is not joyous and swift in wisdom and has not gained release. But perhaps he has these things: the faculty of faith, of energy, of mindfulness, of concentration, of wisdom. And the things proclaimed by the Tathaagata are moderately approved by him with insight. That man does not go to the realm of hungry ghosts, to the downfall, to the evil way, to states of woe.

"Take the case of another man. He is not even endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. He is not joyous and swift in wisdom and has not gained release. But he has just these things: the faculty of faith, of energy, of mindfulness, of concentration, of wisdom. Yet if he has merely faith, merely affection for the Tathaagata, that man, too, does not go to... states of woe.[7]

"Why, Mahaanaama, if these great sal trees could distinguish what is well spoken from what is ill spoken, I would proclaim these great sal trees to be Stream-Winners... bound for enlightenment, how much more so then Sarakaani the Sakyan! Mahaanaama, Sarakaani the Sakyan fulfilled the training at the time of death.'[8]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.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


Ultimately, your meditation involves sustaining the knowing, followed by continuous letting go as you experience sense objects through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. It involves just this much and there is no need to make anything more out of it.

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ihrjordan
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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by ihrjordan » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:01 pm

But what is this sutta really trying to convey? The Buddha never actually adresses the fact that he took to drink and as much as I do agree that a stream winner may occasionally break one of the 5 precepts; this sutta is in no way stating that one who takes to drink is capable of becoming enlightened. It is basically saying that one who is already a stream winner or one with strong faith in the Buddha may screw up every now and then but there's still the caveat being that those who take to drink before attaining stream entry are liable to fall away when they act heedlessly again and again since their minds are not completely settled. This man was already a stream winner and just as Sakka had done in the past so too was this man acting carelessly.

Edit: To add even more confusion. What about the case of Devadatta who on his death bed took refuge in the buddha dhamma and sangha? Should he have not gone to hell for splitting up the sangha just because he had faith in the buddha?

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by robertk » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:09 pm

ihrjordan wrote:But what is this sutta really trying to convey? The Buddha never actually adresses the fact that he took to drink and as much as I do agree that a stream winner may occasionally break one of the 5 precepts; this sutta is in no way stating that one who takes to drink is capable of becoming enlightened. It is basically saying that one who is already a stream winner or one with strong faith in the Buddha may screw up every now and then but there's still the caveat being that those who take to drink before attaining stream entry are liable to fall away when they act heedlessly again and again since their minds are not completely settled. This man was already a stream winner and just as Sakka had done in the past so too was this man acting carelessly.

Edit: To add even more confusion. What about the case of Devadatta who on his death bed took refuge in the buddha dhamma and sangha? Should he have not gone to hell for splitting up the sangha just because he had faith in the buddha?
A stream winner can never break the 5 precepts. Sarakaani attained at the moment of death - even with the stench of alcohol on him.

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by ihrjordan » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:42 pm

robertk wrote:
ihrjordan wrote:But what is this sutta really trying to convey? The Buddha never actually adresses the fact that he took to drink and as much as I do agree that a stream winner may occasionally break one of the 5 precepts; this sutta is in no way stating that one who takes to drink is capable of becoming enlightened. It is basically saying that one who is already a stream winner or one with strong faith in the Buddha may screw up every now and then but there's still the caveat being that those who take to drink before attaining stream entry are liable to fall away when they act heedlessly again and again since their minds are not completely settled. This man was already a stream winner and just as Sakka had done in the past so too was this man acting carelessly.

Edit: To add even more confusion. What about the case of Devadatta who on his death bed took refuge in the buddha dhamma and sangha? Should he have not gone to hell for splitting up the sangha just because he had faith in the buddha?
A stream winner can never break the 5 precepts. Sarakaani attained at the moment of death - even with the stench of alcohol on him.
Where in the canon does it say this? Both that Stream winners cannot break the five precpts and that he attained it at the moment of death.

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by rowboat » Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:40 pm

hohohodam wrote:I started doing some reading and it's helpful.

[...]

I would like some guidance.

Thank you.
Hohohodam, for guidance I suggest contacting Dhammawheel member and monk practicing in the Mahasi tradition, Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by fivebells » Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:53 pm

hohohodam wrote:What I really want to know, which I haven't found the answer to, is if I can reach the first jhana with Mahasi style meditation in couple of months of several hours of practice. Problem I find is Jhana seems to be a prominent domain of discussion for Samatha meditation but not vipassana and similar mark of progress is not to be found for the method that I am being taught now.
Are you interested in Jhana primarily as a potential indicator of progress? Overall, what do you hope to gain from the practice?

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by Goofaholix » Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:23 pm

hohohodam wrote:What I really want to know, which I haven't found the answer to, is if I can reach the first jhana with Mahasi style meditation in couple of months of several hours of practice. Problem I find is Jhana seems to be a prominent domain of discussion for Samatha meditation but not vipassana and similar mark of progress is not to be found for the method that I am being taught now.
I wouldn't expect so, Mahasi technique is not designed to cultivate the jhanas.

The Mahasi school talks about Vipassana Jhanas but these re very different.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by robertk » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:46 am

ihrjordan wrote:
robertk wrote:[an"]But
A stream winner can never break the 5 precepts. Sarakaani attained at the moment of death - even with the stench of alcohol on him.
Where in the canon does it say this? Both that Stream winners cannot break the five precpts and that he attained it at the moment of death.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
Sarakaani the Sakyan! Mahaanaama, Sarakaani the Sakyan fulfilled the training at the time of death.'[8]
It means he attained at the death moment.
The sotapanna has virtues dear to the noble ones:
http://www.buddhistteachings.org/wp-con ... -Entry.pdf
Householder (Anāthapiṇḍika), when five fearful retributions are stilled in a noble
disciple, and he possesses the four factors of stream-entry, and he has clearly seen and
thoroughly penetrated with wisdom the noble method, if he wishes he could by himself
declare of himself: ‘I am one finished with hell, finished with the animal realm, finished
with the domain of ghosts, finished with the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the
place of ruin. I am a stream-enterer, no longer bound to perdition, sure in destiny, with
enlightenment as my destination….
1. Stilling the five fearful retributions: On account of his behaviour, one who
destroys life encounters fearful retribution in the present and in the future, and he
experiences mental pain and anguish. For one who abstains from destroying life, this
fearful retribution is stilled….
One who steals encounters fearful retribution in the present and in the future….
For one who abstains from taking what is not given, this fearful retribution is stilled….
One who engages in sexual misconduct encounters fearful retribution in the
present and in the future…. For one who abstains from sexual misconduct, this fearful
retribution is stilled….
One who speaks falsely encounters fearful retribution in the present and in the
future…. For one who abstains from false speech, this fearful retribution is stilled….
One who indulges in wine, liquor and intoxicants encounters fearful retribution in
the present and in the future…. For one who abstains from intoxicants, this fearful
retribution is stilled….
[/quote]

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by ihrjordan » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:50 pm

Aren't the five fearful retributions those things that upon doing them send one unquestionably to hell. Killing one's mother. Killing ones father, splitting up the sangha, killing an Arahant, with a mind of hate spilling the blood of a Buddha? Where in the non-commenta-rial literature does the Buddha say that a stream winner may not break the five precepts? He said so for an Arahant so he clearly wasn't against making moral predictions. So why wouldn't he explicitly state this about a Sotapanna?

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:04 am

Goofaholix wrote:
I wouldn't expect so, Mahasi technique is not designed to cultivate the jhanas.

The Mahasi school talks about Vipassana Jhanas but these re very different.
Not so very different.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by Cormac Brown » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:09 am

hohohodam wrote:Hello,

I have quit my job, ready to be a student again this fall and am lucky to be able to devote around 8hrs straight to meditation each day. I want to progress. I really do.

Currently I visit my local Theravada temple to practice walking and Vipassana meditation (on abdomen). Perhaps it's the way things are in a temple for the lay person in the west or just the monk who gives the instruction but I find that the teachings are always the same and uninspiring. Temple unfortunately gets a lot of tourist visitors. I have requested interviews but it is still the same.

I have been pracitsing breathing meditation on nostril for couple of years which has given me a lot of calm and emotional control but as far as "milestones" that I have read about such as "nimittas" I have not been able to attain. I am absolutely ready to block out a chunk of my day to progress with the meditation I am being taught now and want to have confidence that the effort will be translated to more than just an impression of progress.

I understand how important it is to not to "look" for the mark of progress. I know how desperate my grasping mind can be. But I would like advice on what I can do in the time I have. How best can I sit. What can I attain and especially, what means progress.

Thank you.
Where are you based? Certainly sounds like you need to find a new temple/teacher.

Nimittas as they are commonly used and understood in meditation today are a commentarial phenomenon. "Bright white light" nimitta is not a factor of any jhana in the suttas, nor is any nimitta, so stop worrying about trying to attain them. In fact, you might want to do a thorough check of the suttas and see for yourself just how much of what you've been taught actually accords with what's in there. Plus, if you get well acquainted with the suttas, they'll provide you with much more inspiring teachings than you seem to be getting.

Absolutely do look for signs of progress, and view with great skepticism anyone who advises you not to. The Buddha taught a path that gives results: increased wellbeing, feelings of physical and mental pleasure bubbling up from within, joy. If you're not getting them, something's not right in your practice. Instead of grasping at the results, grasp the causes that will give rise to them; but do keep an eye out for the results. Like an artist: yes, they need to focus on executing each brushstroke carefully, but sometimes they need to take a step back and look at the overall picture - otherwise they'll just very carefully make a total mess of the canvas. Also, the causes aren't just more meditation, and meditation doesn't involve just focusing on your abdomen.

Generosity; service to parents if they're still alive; precepts; studying the true Dhamma in the suttas; visiting monks who are practising well and who rouse and encourage you, even rebuke you; metta; anapanasati's sixteen steps (particularly if you're aiming for jhana); asubha; Buddhanusati etc. Lots of fun to be had. As ihrjordan excellently suggests, if you're this serious about making progress, why not consider ordaining?
“I in the present who am a worthy one, rightly self-awakened, am a
teacher of action, a teacher of activity, a teacher of persistence. But the
worthless man Makkhali contradicts even me, (saying,) ‘There is no
action. There is no activity. There is no persistence.’ "
AN 3.138, trans. Ven. Thanissaro

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by JMGinPDX » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:59 pm

hohohodam wrote:Hello,

I have quit my job, ready to be a student again this fall and am lucky to be able to devote around 8hrs straight to meditation each day. I want to progress. I really do.

Currently I visit my local Theravada temple to practice walking and Vipassana meditation (on abdomen). Perhaps it's the way things are in a temple for the lay person in the west or just the monk who gives the instruction but I find that the teachings are always the same and uninspiring. Temple unfortunately gets a lot of tourist visitors. I have requested interviews but it is still the same.

I have been pracitsing breathing meditation on nostril for couple of years which has given me a lot of calm and emotional control but as far as "milestones" that I have read about such as "nimittas" I have not been able to attain. I am absolutely ready to block out a chunk of my day to progress with the meditation I am being taught now and want to have confidence that the effort will be translated to more than just an impression of progress.

I understand how important it is to not to "look" for the mark of progress. I know how desperate my grasping mind can be. But I would like advice on what I can do in the time I have. How best can I sit. What can I attain and especially, what means progress.

Thank you.
I'm just now making my way through Leigh Brasington's book "Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas" and one of the main points he makes is that in order to attain jhanas you cannot try to attain jhanas or even WANT to attain jhanas. Take out the intention to reach a specific goal and just SIT, without fretting over goals. I've heard a similar approach taught by Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Chah but I can't cite specific sources off the top of my head.
Right now, it's like this...

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Re: I have some time to meditate and want to absolutely progress. Can I do this?

Post by Saoshun » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:17 pm

Jhanas appears by itself if you mature enough. Let's say you want to drink with friend but you are underage, you can not do nothing about (including cheating) then you need to wait to naturally develop age. You wanting or desire do not change things and not wanting also do not change things. So if you want desire for jhanas or not if does not matter if you do the right thing they just appear as completion of the right practice.

Saying that trying to attain jhanas are desiring it will move you away from it it's nonsens as jhanas or on different level than our wanting it or not.
Remember… the Buddha had said that everyone living in this world is crazy, by the phrase, “Sabbē prutajjana ummattakā”; excluding the Arahants, everyone else is crazy. Would you get angry if a mad person scolds? Do we get angry for a crazy thing done by a crazy person? Just think about it! :candle:

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