Samatha and Anatta

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Chandaka
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by Chandaka » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:29 pm

Twilight wrote:
When the Blessed One perceived that the mind of Upāli, the householder, was prepared, pliant, free from obstacles, elevated and lucid, .... MN 56
When hearing a complicated teaching such as the doctrine of dependent origination or a teaching on how a car engine works, the mind has to be in a good state to understand it. You can't do it drunk or after having a meal or while been sleepy etc. And it also depends on how smart the person is.

When you were in school, did you require hours of samadhi to understand what was been taught over there ? Is that what you did to understand complicated material, or did you use hours of contemplation like all us normal people ?
I can tell you for a fact that my ability to learn higher math was directly influenced by my ability to concentrate more with a less cluttered mind due to having found the Jhanas.

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Twilight
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by Twilight » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:36 pm

Many experiences are mistaken to mean jhana. As you yourself have pointed out, the jhanas Buddha reached before enlightenment were not the jhanas that he taught after enlightenment. They were probably hindu jhanas achieved through focusing on a single spot. Just take a look at MN 39 to get an idea how many decades achieving buddhist jhanas will take: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If one really has achieved jhana, then he should attain non-returning or arahantship when hearing and contemplating the teachings on dependent origination. And that would mean the person will not have any sensual desire at all from that point on.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

Chandaka
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by Chandaka » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:48 pm

Twilight wrote:Many experiences are mistaken to mean jhana. As you yourself have pointed out, the jhanas Buddha reached before enlightenment were not the jhanas that he taught after enlightenment. They were probably hindu jhanas achieved through focusing on a single spot. Just take a look at MN 39 to get an idea how many decades achieving buddhist jhanas will take: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If one really has achieved jhana, then he should attain non-returning or arahantship when hearing and contemplating the teachings on dependent origination. And that would mean the person will not have any sensual desire at all from that point on.
You are correct. The jhanas taught by his teachers were different jhanas before his Enlightenment, but he also encountered a Jhana while still a child before his Enlightenment that DOES lead to Enlightenment. That is what MN 39 is saying. The problem that we are having you to realize is that both jhana and Jhana can be achieved before Enlightenment and before Stream Entry. The point that I'm making is that it does not matter when the 8th factor of the 8-fold path comes. It is nonlinear, or at least it can be nonlinear. I suppose it can be linear as you are saying, but it doesn't have to be that way. It wasn't even that way for the Buddha, himself.

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mikenz66
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:55 pm

Twilight wrote:
I'm not sure where you get the idea that BB does not meditate from:
He said it himself. As a matter of fact, if you write "Bhikkhu Bhodi" on google, one of the most searched things that appear is "B.Bhodi does not meditate". What this refers to is that he does not "meditate" in the way most people understand meditation (mahashi focusing on the breath - similar to sutta apanasanti but not exactly the same thing). He said that despite starting with mahashi technique, he does not practice it anymore but that he does not advise against it. B. Sujato also has the same opinion about that type of meditation. And as we can see from your quote, what B.Bhodi means by meditation (things like recollection of death, loving kindness, contemplating the repugnant nature of the body etc.) is not what most people understand by meditation. And that is what B.Bhodi referred to when he said he does not "meditate" anymore. In the west, meditation is synonymous with the popular mahashi technique.
I guess if you want to take the quotes and talk I provided from Bhikkhu Bodhi, and the many talks where he discusses meditation, mentions three month retreats, and so on, and stil claim he doesn't meditate, I'll leave you to that view.

A few people might think that meditation is synonymous with Mahasi's approach, but I think that would be a major mistake.

:coffee:
Mike

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Twilight
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by Twilight » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:22 pm

The interview where he admitted not to meditate because meditation gives him a headache is this one: http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=9175

The problem with the mahashi technique is that despite been similar to mindfulness meditation described in the suttas it is taken out of context of the noble 8thfold path and is not keeping the goal in mind. What I am speaking about here is the practice done in day to day life by mahashis, the practice of noting. The other practice about focusing on the abdomen is more similar to hindu style meditation that buddhist and more far away from sutta meditation than the day-to-day life mahashi mindfulness practice. (mindfulness of breathing involves 16 steps, none of witch is focusing on the abdomen)

A good sutta explaining the context in witch day to day mindfulness should be developed is MN 39: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It is something like this: The mind always has the tendency to go towards pleasure. The person might want to engage in pleasurable activities or at least think pleasant thoughts. Every moment of our lives, the mind has this tendency to go towards pleasure, the tendency towards taking delight.

The way to stop this tendency is with mindfulness directed at the body. This does not mean focusing on some part of the body, it just means directing your mindfulness towards the body in a general sense. Because of this, the person can observe his mind pulling towards delight and stop it. In this way the person can "retreat" from pleasures, can destroy this tendency of taking delight of the mind. The goal is to stop this tendency of taking delight not to focus on a single spot and develop concentration. Concentration (witch is not a perfect translation for samadhi) will arise out of seclusion from sensual pleasures not out of focusing very strong on a single spot. (hindu style) Every time jhana is described, it is described as "secluded from sensual desires, he enters and abides in the first jhana". If one is able to destroy this tendency of taking delight and become secluded from sensual desires, it is said that a "rapture born out of seclusion" will arise. (jhana) This is why I agree to a large extent with day-to-day mahashi practice but not with the focusing on the abdomen exercise. The abdomen exercise achieves the same goal a little but that is not exactly what Buddha had in mind.

Today, we have this practice taken out of context and even sold for money to westerners. It is even advertised as a way to take more pleasure out of life. People are promised that this little exercise will solve all their life problems. Then we have the idea that this is all one needs to do as a buddhist. Just to do this long enough.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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mikenz66
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:19 pm

Twilight wrote:The interview where he admitted not to meditate because meditation gives him a headache is this one: http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=9175
I think that's the same interview I referenced. You seem to be interpreting it differently from me:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: In my own case, under the influence of my early Buddhist teachers, I have wanted to understand Buddhism in detail, in its horizontal extension as well as in its vertical depths. Despite my early ambition to plunge directly into meditation, my destiny seems to have steered me towards teachers who did not exclusively emphasize meditation but rather an integration of study, meditation, and character development. They repeatedly guided me in the direction of slow, gradual, patient practice, utilizing a broad approach to spiritual cultivation, and this has agreed well with my own disposition.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: Regretfully, though, because of my poor merits and the debilitating headache condition, I have not reached any attainments worthy of a true practitioner.
To me this says that he does meditate, but, like most (all?) of us, has no noble fruitions yet...

:anjali:
Mike

Akasha
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by Akasha » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:42 pm

Myotai wrote:Daft question maybe, but how does Samatha and/or Jhana bring about a transformation regarding a realization of Anatta or the Emptiness of self?

Thanks...
Hello,

In the first jhana there is no experience of self or boundary.A self Is not applicable.Because the mind is one pointed it eliminates duality/boundaries/separation/division.When the five senses shuts down completely the "I" vanishes.

Metta

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aflatun
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Re: Samatha and Anatta

Post by aflatun » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:00 pm

The Jhanas the Buddha practiced before his enlightenment are distinct from the Jhanas he used to achieve Awakening and subsequently taught afterwards...

This idea is interesting, but its a stretch to say its clearly articulated in the Suttas.

Another twist on this kind of theory would be the ideas of Bronkhorst. He argues that the formless attainments were squarely rejected by the historical Buddha and the true "Buddhist" Jhanas were originally only J1-J4, the inclusion of the formless attainments being a later intrusion of pre Buddhist ideas back into the mix.

For my own part I find this idea and its variants to be really interesting but based on weak speculation.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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