Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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gavesako
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Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by gavesako » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:12 am

MEDITATION ON 32 PARTS OF BODY - Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw

Concerning the above statements, if one can see the 32 bodily parts such as hair, bodily hair, nails, teeth, skin etc., he can temporarily stop from Rupa kammatthana and instead change to Kasina meditation. If he can practice on the 32 bodily parts, what should he do (to change to Kasina)? This is mentioned in Sammoha Vinodani on page 242. Firstly practise on the 32 bodily parts well. Practise well means if shine by this light (light of wisdom), the internal 32 bodily parts can be found. If found then, according to the Maha Thera (senior monks) of the olden days, practise on the 32 bodily parts mainly as a group - Poranakatthera kira "kotthasamanasikarova pamana"nti ahamsu (Sammoha vinodani). Therefore discern from hair to urine as a group first. If not successful then discern in group of five only. Discern hair, bodily hair, nails, teeth, skin; again and again. At the beginning it may not be clear. If it is not clear establish the concentration by meditation on the 4 elements again. When the light becomes powerful then discern the bodily parts again. After successful, further discern another group of 5 bodily parts; if again successful then follow by another group of 5 bodily parts etc. Discern rather precisely the form (shape) of the liver, heart. It is necessary that this is clear to the insight.
After being successful. internally (ajjhata - i.e. one's own 32 parts) further discern externally (bahiddha - i.e. the 32 parts of another person). To discern externally, one good method is that with the power of the light that has arisen after development of concentration by 4 elements, shine it on the person sitting in front of you (in the meditation hall). At the beginning of discerning externally it is better to begin with the person in front. Discern his 32 bodily parts by the power of the light. When successful discern internally, i.e. in oneself again and then discern externally i.e. in the person in front again; alternately again and again. After successful, change to another person. He may be the one sitting beside you (in the meditation hall). After successful discerning on the person sitting beside you, then discern the other meditators who are around you. When you are able to discern skilfully the 32 bodily parts in this way, then if you spread the light to a far distance you can discern cows, buffaloes, dogs, pigs, chickens, birds and human beings which are under the light.
Therefore if one practises on the 32 bodily parts then 3 paths can be practised: 1) Vanna, he can meditate on colour Kasina; 2) Patikkula, he can meditate on the loathsomeness; 3) Sunna, he can meditate on the nature of the elements. To practise these 3 paths, the meditator must first choose one bodily part. He must practise well on that chosen bodily part. For example a meditator chooses bones. He must first be able to see the bones. The meditator who is skilful in meditation on 32 bodily parts internally and externally must discern one bone either internally or externally. The meditator chooses according to his wish. If the meditator finds it better to meditate externally, then begin externally. If internally is better then he should begin practising internally. Let us say he chooses the method of practising externally. When the light becomes powerful due to the practice of 4 elements, discern the 32 bodily parts internally and externally, alternately by the light. After successful, shine by this light on external bones. Keep the mind stable on that bone and pay attention on the loathsomeness of this bone. Meditating like this, 2 aims can be achieved: to be able to change to colour kasina and to be proficient on the loathsomeness of bones.

http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/l_of_w01.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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manas
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Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by manas » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:42 am

I'm going to venture an idea I have, a possibility, that maybe someone with a better knowledge of pali and the suttas could investigate further. Maybe "Iti ajjhattaṃ vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati. Bahiddhā vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati. Ajjhattabahiddhā vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati - In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself" - maybe this is referring to where we are looking from, location wise. 'Internally' might refer to being so absorbed in the body that one is literally viewing it from the inside, so to speak. 'Externally' might refer to the stage where one is still aware of being 'outside' or distinct from the object of meditation, hence one is viewing it 'externally' - ie, from the outside. It's just a hunch I have that might warrant further investigation. But since there is some debate on exactly what this passage refers to, I thought it would be ok for me to mention it.
:anjali: EDIT: Bhante actually clarified this for me after I had posted it, it turns out that I was incorrect...but I will just leave it here anyway. mistakes are a part of learning I guess
Last edited by manas on Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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gavesako
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Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by gavesako » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:01 pm

Compare with this passage from Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo:


III. The Mind

In using the mind as a frame of reference, there are three aspects to deal with:

1. The mind inside.
2. The mind outside.
3. The mind in and of itself.

'The mind inside' refers to a state exclusively in the heart unrelated to any outer preoccupations. 'The mind outside' refers to its interaction with such outer preoccupations as sights, sounds, etc. 'The mind in and of itself' refers to the act of singling out any aspect of the mind as it appears, whether inside or out. (...)

IV. Mental Qualities

Mental qualities as a frame of reference can be divided into three sorts: inner mental qualities, outer mental qualities, and mental qualities in and of themselves.

1. Inner mental qualities can be either good or bad, but here we will deal only with the five Hindrances (nivarana), which are bad —
1. Kāma-chanda: sensual desire.
2. Byāpāda: ill will, malevolence.
3. Thīna-middha: sloth and drowsiness.
4. Uddhacca-kukkucca: restlessness and anxiety.
5. Vicikicchā: uncertainty.

These five Hindrances can be either inner or outer phenomena. For example:
1. The mind gives rise to sensual desire but hasn't yet streamed out to fix its desires on any particular object.
2. The mind gives rise to a sense of irritation and displeasure, but without yet fixing on any particular object.
3. A state of drowsiness arises in the mind, without yet fixing on any particular object.
4. The mind is restless, anxious, and disturbed on its own, without yet fixing on any particular object.
5. The mind is doubtful and uncertain — unable to think anything through — but without yet fixing on any particular object. It's simply that way on its own.

If these five Hindrances are still weak and haven't yet streamed out to become involved with any external objects, they are called "inner mental qualities."
2. Outer mental qualities simply come from the inside:
1. Once the mind has given rise to a sense of desire, it streams out and fixes on such external objects as sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc.
2. Once the mind has given rise to a sense of irritation, it streams out and fixes on a sight, sound, smell, taste, etc., and then dislikes its object, wanting it to be destroyed.
3. The mind, already in a state of torpor, streams out and fixes on an outer object. Once it has fixed on the object, it then becomes even more torpid.
4. The mind, already restless, streams out to fix on such outer objects as sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc.
5. A mental state of uncertainty arises in the mind, and the mind lets it stream out to fix on such external objects as sights, etc.

These are thus called outer mental qualities. When any mental quality first arises in the mind, it's called an inner quality. When it flares up, grows stronger and streams out to an outer object, it's called an outer quality.
3. Mental qualities in and of themselves: This means to focus on any one of these Hindrances — because not all five Hindrances can appear in the same mental moment. You can thus pick out any Hindrance at all to focus on and examine. For example, suppose that sensual desire has appeared: Keep your alertness firmly in place at the heart, and use your mindfulness to keep the mind on the phenomenon. Don't waver, and don't let any hopes or wishes arise. Keep your mind firmly in one place. Don't go dragging any other objects in to interfere. Focus your powers of ardent investigation down on nothing but the quality appearing in the present. As long as you haven't gained clear, true insight into it, don't let up on your efforts. When you can do this, you are developing mental qualities in and of themselves as a frame of reference.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/frames.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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gavesako
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Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by gavesako » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:20 am

On this model we might think of emotional episodes as involving a process of initial perception, with associated affect, triggering bodily responses, and their associated affect, triggering thoughts, which in turn trigger further affective reactions, and so on. This is the cycle of proliferation ( papañca) that is sustained by craving and ignorance. Careful attention allows us to discern in our own experience the separate aspects involved in this cycle. Thus the Satipatthana Sutta differentiates kāyanupassana, paying attention to the body, from vedanānupassana, paying attention to the affective tone of experience. Interestingly, recent research has shown outside the meditative context that subjects can activate very different neural networks by switching their attention between the physical intensity of a touch or taste, and the pleasantness of it. 4

The central point of the early Buddhist psychological model is that craving and aversion arise in response to the affective tone that is associated with perceptual representations, rather than directly in response to the perceived object. This provides a critical entry point for therapeutic interventions: through paying careful attention to one’s own experience, the Buddhist account claims, we can see that perceptions and affective reactions are separate from – and indeed separable from – craving and aversion, as well as the elaborate thought processes these can motivate. As Nyanaponika Thera puts it, through paying mindful attention to affective reactions, “one distinctly realizes that a pleasant feeling is not identical with lust and need not be followed by it...” 5

By cutting off obsessive proliferation in thought, mindfulness thereby functions to calm the mind. Being less distracted we can see even more clearly our own reactions, but also those of others. The Satipatthana Sutta itself describes mindfulness as operating both internally (ajjhatta) and externally (bahiddha). Practicing attentive awareness of one's own body, affective reactions, mind, and sensory states produces unification and clarity of mind, as the Janavasabha Sutta (D.18.8) puts it, which is in turn conducive to awareness of others' bodily, affective, mental, and sensory states.

So mindfulness can make us more aware of our own emotional reactions and also those of others. And it allows us the clarity to distinguish in our own experience pleasant or unpleasant affective reactions, within the larger process of perceptions, bodily changes and thoughts involved in an emotional reaction.

http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/fullmoonInsi ... ml#article" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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gavesako
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Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by gavesako » Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:18 pm

Alva Noë - Alva Noë is a philosopher and cognitive scientist. He is the author of Out of Our Heads: Why You are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. He is now at work on a book about art and human experience.

Scientists can reconstruct a clip you're watching from information about what is happening in your brain. But does the advent of brain reading cast any new light on the nature of mind?

People are good mind readers, because they are good face readers. Are you paying attention? The answer, very often, is written all over your face.

How much better it would be, though, if we could actually get inside another person's head, to see what they see, and feel what they feel, from the inside.

...

There's plenty of detail I'm leaving out, but this summary is accurate enough to bring out the crucial fact that "decoding" the brain is really a process of looking at what happens in the brain as the person acts on or responds to the world. It is only in the context of the active tasks, interests, and activities of a person who is in fact dynamically responding to the world around her that the brain states have any significance for us.

My point is not that we cannot find out what you are thinking or feeling or experiencing by "reading" your brain. We can, at least in principle. My point is that what allows us to do this is our prior knowledge of you. It is only if I already know you -- if I've already mapped what happens to you and in your brain as you respond to the world around you; this is the real work of the experiment -- that I can do this.

Brain reading, then, is more like reading a person's facial expression than it is like a direct encounter with the soul. And brain reading is something we can do not because the brain is the seat of consciousness, but precisely because it is not.

http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive ... ee/247265/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:group:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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