How do you contemplate anatta?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
Dinsdale
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:51 pm

daverupa wrote:I contemplate how everything is conditionally present or absent, which eliminates the possibility that my self - of any ideation - is isolated and independent.
Do you use a particular framework for noticing conditionality?
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pegembara
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by pegembara » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:52 pm

Anatta is not inconsistent with karma and will IMO. For example, people have different metabolisms, physical forms (karma). We control how much food we ingest using our hands and mouth to ingest said food (will, control over the physical) etc.

Abu
Of course there are intentions but those intentions aren't ours. "We " control what we eat because of the consequences of overeating. Even if we "choose" to overeat and suffer indigestion, we are actually still slave to our craving for taste. Free will is an illusion as long as we are still trapped in this prison called samsara. A simile would be having a gun held to our head and having to make the right choices. As long as there is dukkha (the gun), there is no freedom.

Another simile-
We are like chess pieces on a chess board. There are rules to follow on that chess board just like the movie The Matrix. It is here that conventions(law of kamma) apply. As long as we think we are that those chess pieces, those rules(conventions) apply. We have no choice but to play by those rules. We don't have to be those chess pieces. Once we realize that we are free.
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita
perceives that all five skandhas are empty
and is saved from all suffering and distress.
Oops -sorry for breaking the rules of this thread .... Theravada meditation.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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daverupa
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by daverupa » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:53 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
daverupa wrote:I contemplate how everything is conditionally present or absent, which eliminates the possibility that my self - of any ideation - is isolated and independent.
Do you use a particular framework for noticing conditionality?
Satipatthana, although no one of the usual four takes precedence. It's a fluid practice.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Dinsdale
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:48 am

daverupa wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
daverupa wrote:I contemplate how everything is conditionally present or absent, which eliminates the possibility that my self - of any ideation - is isolated and independent.
Do you use a particular framework for noticing conditionality?
Satipatthana, although no one of the usual four takes precedence. It's a fluid practice.
Yes, I see. I assume we're talking both on and off the cushion here?
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Dinsdale
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:53 am

pegembara wrote: Of course there are intentions but those intentions aren't ours.
I'm still not sure what that means. If we practice mindfulness, who is being mindful? And how does one explain Right Effort if no-one is making the effort?
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reflection
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by reflection » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:08 pm

You could say 'you' are being mindful for the sake of convention, but really nobody is being mindful. There is no core or central part which is mindful. It may seem like 'you' are watching, but the watching is a process that just happens by itself.

Right effort arises not from a controller, but from having a right idea. This idea then comes from insight or faith or intuition - all factors that are again dependent on other things. Things all arise dependent on condition, including the eightfold path itself. There is no need for free will for the path to be developed. Also there is no need for free will for there to be wholesome and unwholesome effort.

To let go of this sense of control in my experience allows the meditation to go deeper and beyond control. There it becomes clearer that it all happens by itself.

With metta,
Reflection

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kirk5a
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by kirk5a » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:32 pm

reflection wrote:Right effort arises not from a controller, but from having a right idea.
What right idea is that?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:40 pm

reflection wrote: Right effort arises not from a controller, but from having a right idea.
But it doesn't come across like this in the suttas:

"And what, monks, is right effort?
"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
— SN 45.8

Abandon the unskillful, develop the skillful
"Develop what is skillful, monks. It is possible to develop what is skillful. If it were not possible to develop what is skillful, I would not say to you, 'Develop what is skillful.'
— AN 2.19

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort...
— MN 117
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pegembara
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by pegembara » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:57 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
pegembara wrote: Of course there are intentions but those intentions aren't ours.
I'm still not sure what that means. If we practice mindfulness, who is being mindful? And how does one explain Right Effort if no-one is making the effort?
Let's try this. When we are breathing, who is actually breathing. Is it the lungs, the diaphragm, the cells, the mitochondria or the oxidative process that breathes? Do we need a self to breathe? Is "someone" breathing?

If there is an itch, there is an intention to scratch followed by the action. Does it need a self to do the scratching? The intention arises because of the itch, thats all. Cause and effect.

Suffering is the cause for making the right effort to follow the N8FP. No self is required for this.

Me, you, John etc. are just conventions to use for communication. They should not be taken as true entities.
Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found.
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there,
Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it.
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen.

Vism
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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reflection
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by reflection » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:17 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
reflection wrote: Right effort arises not from a controller, but from having a right idea.
But it doesn't come across like this in the suttas:

"And what, monks, is right effort?
"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
— SN 45.8

Abandon the unskillful, develop the skillful
"Develop what is skillful, monks. It is possible to develop what is skillful. If it were not possible to develop what is skillful, I would not say to you, 'Develop what is skillful.'
— AN 2.19

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort...
— MN 117
kirk5a wrote:
reflection wrote:Right effort arises not from a controller, but from having a right idea.
What right idea is that?
Be careful not to take conventional speech as reality. Even the Buddha had to speak in terms of an "I" and "monks" to make sense, but that doesn't mean that was real. It's a bit like we say the waves move. But in reality the water is only moving up and down and there is no such thing as a wave. So, this "monk" referred to, what is that? Is that a sort of entity? Or is it more like the conceptual wave? The latter is what the Buddha tried to get us to see. So, of course it requires our practice and development, but that practice requires no entity, soul or self to exist. So it also requires nobody in control.

I use the term idea very widely. Pegembara said in the post above that suffering is an idea that leads to practice. Another idea may be derived from the suttas; because we read the suttas, we put forth more effort. Another idea may be from our teachers, their inspiration. These are all ideas that give rise to effort. We don't freely decide to put forth effort. The reasons we put forth effort are all conditioned, just as the entire path is.
"Is the noble eightfold path fabricated or unfabricated?"

"The noble eightfold path is fabricated."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
But finally the 'right idea' will be right view. It is only natural that with right view, there will come right effort. There is no choice here. The Buddha couldn't choose to lie, he couldn't choose to kill. Those were things he was unable to do because of completing right effort. (which I prefer to translate as right thought, but that aside)
For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el377.html
imo

With metta,
Reflection

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SDC
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by SDC » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:58 pm

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Last edited by SDC on Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

binocular
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:01 am

pegembara wrote:Suffering is the cause for making the right effort to follow the N8FP.
If that were so, then prisons, hospitals, brothels, war zones, slaughterhouses and so on would be full of enlightened beings ...
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:08 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
pegembara wrote:Of course there are intentions but those intentions aren't ours.
I'm still not sure what that means. If we practice mindfulness, who is being mindful? And how does one explain Right Effort if no-one is making the effort?
As far as I understood, Thanissaro Bhikkhu would say that this is backwards. The consideration of kamma comes first, then comes consideration of self/not-self (given that a sense of self is something we ordinarily do, is an action).

And "mindfulness" is a tricky term. Ideally, it simply means 'to keep something in mind'. Such as "to be mindful of the breath" - 'to keep the breath in mind'. It's not about "who is being mindful."
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

pegembara
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by pegembara » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:29 am

binocular wrote:
pegembara wrote:Suffering is the cause for making the right effort to follow the N8FP.
If that were so, then prisons, hospitals, brothels, war zones, slaughterhouses and so on would be full of enlightened beings ...
Suffering is also the cause of making the wrong effort! Prisons, hospitals, brothels, war zones, slaughterhouses are the proof of that.
If we have found the way to end suffering for good, we can properly claim to be fully enlightened. And I would not be surprised that ariyas can be found in those populations too.
"Monks, there are these two searches: ignoble search & noble search. And what is ignoble search? There is the case where a person, being subject himself to birth, seeks [happiness in] what is likewise subject to birth. Being subject himself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, he seeks [happiness in] what is likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Dinsdale
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Re: How do you contemplate anatta?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:26 pm

Thanks to everyone who contributed. I'm still not sure I get anatta, but that's OK, I'll carry on with good old anicca and see where that leads. ;)
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