Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Nicolas
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Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Nicolas » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:01 pm

I just finished reading Sayadaw U Tejaniya's new book, When Awareness Becomes Natural, and it was quite good!

Here are a few quotes I typed up from it:
Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote:Knowing reality should never be uninteresting because it is our lifetime's work.
Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote:Some yogis only know physical objects and are unaware of mental objects. For example, the physical object has settled down, and the mind is calm. They don’t realize that a calm mind is also an object; it is a mental state, also a mind object. Quietness is also a state of mind, but yogis don’t know how to observe that either. They only look for physical objects. To observe calmness, watch the awareness of it. When we look at calm, it will not seem as if it is changing. It’s when you know the awareness of it that you see that awareness is not static. You have a moment of awareness; then you see you have to renew it over and over again. When you know awareness and see that it is renewing, it becomes very clear that the object is also renewing again and again as well. So check your state of mind, how the mind feels, and whether awareness is present.
I will post a longer quote later.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by ieee23 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:27 pm

I read his other book "Don't Look Down On Your Defilements, They Will Laugh At You" and thought it was quite good. I have the book you have just read waiting for me to get to it.

Since he isn't an English speaker I wonder how much of the book are insights from him, a Buddhist monk, with his proper understanding as a Buddhist monk, or if it is the insights, misinsights, misinterpretation of the translator(s).

For myself it is a matter of "try it and ask yourself if it makes you happier".
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Nicolas
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Nicolas » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:13 pm

Ven. Tejaniya speaks English, and these are his insights. (He actually makes a point in the book about sharing only his own insights.)

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:59 pm

ieee23 wrote:Since he isn't an English speaker
He speaks english reasonably well but struggles to hear and understand yogis questions so prefers to work through an interpreter when teaching overseas, usually in his centre these days he teaches the english speakers without one.
“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: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by ieee23 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:55 am

That makes sense as I read something he wrote and there were credits for translators. I also saw interpreters used in one of the few videos I found of them.

That takes me back to my original concern that some of what the reader may be getting is from a translator and the Venerable. Bhante G speaks English, but used a cowriter+ghostwriter for Mindfulness In Plain English. I suspect to make good use of the language, get the best implied meanings etc.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Nicolas » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:44 pm

Another quote:
Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote: We need to practice with the thinking mind. How? Whenever the mind is thinking, we notice. Try to be aware of thinking again and again, and then slowly the mind will come to know the meaning of object. When the thinking mind becomes an object, then you cannot be involved in the thinking. Thinking comes and goes, but awareness is already there; awareness is present. But whenever you are involved in thinking, awareness disappears. If we are not skillful enough at recognizing thinking, then we can go back to body sensations, back and forth, back and forth. Later, when we recognize thinking, then we will also recognize awareness arises, because the mind understands that thinking is an object. We begin to understand that the mind is not involved in the thinking process, it is separate. So, to practice with the thinking mind, be aware of the thinking and be aware of the physical object, back and forth repeatedly.
[...]
When we make ourselves very busy by concentrating on things, we can artificially block our thoughts—this is not the goal of meditation. So don't be afraid of the thinking mind; know there is a thinking mind. When you recognize it, remind yourself that every moment of recognition is a moment of recognizing awareness. I'm not asking you to look at the story. I simply want you to recognize the mind is thinking. The story is concept, about things out there. What is actually happening is the mind is thinking. We want to be aware of the actual experience, the nature of what's happening. This is the mind meeting the world through the experience of the six senses. So it is the mind that we are experiencing, the mind that is arising, and the mind that is thinking. That is why we want to know and not attach to the story of our thoughts. We want to look at how the mind is generating thoughts, look at how the defilements feed thoughts. This is the work.
Last edited by Nicolas on Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Nicolas » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:49 pm

ieee23 wrote:[...]
From the aknowledgments:
Robert French, editor of Sayaday U Tejaniya's [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote:The writing of this book has been a collaborative effort between Sayadaw U Tejaniya, Ma Thet (Moushumi Sasiraj), Tony Reardon, myself, and many other yogis. The material that forms the foundation of this text has been drawn from various sources: primarily from interviews with Sayadaw himself and translations and transcriptions from the various talks and interviews he gives at the many retreats he facilitates around the world every year. The text has been edited into a first-person narrative in an attempt to give the reader a clearer insight into Sayadaw's unique journey along his path of vipassanā meditation practice.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:12 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote:Knowing reality should never be uninteresting because it is our lifetime's work.
Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote:Some yogis only know physical objects and are unaware of mental objects. For example, the physical object has settled down, and the mind is calm. They don’t realize that a calm mind is also an object; it is a mental state, also a mind object. Quietness is also a state of mind, but yogis don’t know how to observe that either. They only look for physical objects. To observe calmness, watch the awareness of it. When we look at calm, it will not seem as if it is changing. It’s when you know the awareness of it that you see that awareness is not static. You have a moment of awareness; then you see you have to renew it over and over again. When you know awareness and see that it is renewing, it becomes very clear that the object is also renewing again and again as well. So check your state of mind, how the mind feels, and whether awareness is present.
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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Nicolas » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:38 pm

Here is an expansion from the last quote I posted, a passage entitled "The Thinking Mind", which I find excellent, and which I transcribed from the book:
Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote: The Thinking Mind

Another definition of the mind is "the mind that thinks," because that is what it does. You cannot make the mind not think. If you are trying to stop the mind from thinking, you are trying to do the impossible. That is when you start using a lot of energy. Most people use a lot of energy because they are afraid of their thought. When we get lost in our thoughts, we get sucked in; then if we pay too much attention or concentrate too much, we use far too much energy and become like zombies. We shouldn't immediately assume the mind is agitated when we see thoughts. There is awareness because the mind has a degree of calmness. Only when there is no awareness can we say the mind is not calm. So long as the mind is aware of thinking, we can say there is some stability there.

We need to practice with the thinking mind. How? Whenever the mind is thinking, we notice. Try to be aware of thinking again and again, and then slowly the mind will come to know the meaning of object. When the thinking mind becomes an object, then you cannot be involved in the thinking. Thinking comes and goes, but awareness is already there; awareness is present. But whenever you are involved in thinking, awareness disappears. If we are not skillful enough at recognizing thinking, then we can go back to body sensations, back and forth, back and forth. Later, when we recognize thinking, then we will also recognize awareness arises, because the mind understands that thinking is an object. We begin to understand that the mind is not involved in the thinking process, it is separate. So, to practice with the thinking mind, be aware of the thinking and be aware of the physical object, back and forth repeatedly.

In the beginning, maintaining knowledge of the thinking mind can be difficult to put into practice. It is difficult because we only know the thinking. Thinking is concept because thinking appears as images, sentences, or sounds in the mind. But when we practice and begin to repeatedly notice that thinking happens, then we also notice that beyond thinking is the nature of the mind. This is due to wisdom; it understands that beyond the concept there is the nature of the mind—it thinks. When we can see the separation between the object and the knowing mind—that this is object and this is mind—then the mind has wisdom/understanding. If there is no understanding, then the object and mind appear as one.

As long as there is no understanding, then whenever we have a wrong thought, it will burn the mind and the heart and we will suffer, because there is no separation between the mind and the object. You will notice that some thoughts cause an immediate explosion in the mind, and you will feel hot and angry, embarrassed, upset, or whatever. If we can bring a little awareness and wisdom to this (not the story), then we can investigate and think about it in a sensible way. When we are caught in defilements and have some awareness of this mind process, then we can use the thinking mind to work with it. We can ask the question, "What can I do about this?" This investigating aspect of our mind helps us to disengage from the defilement. This can then calm the mind, allowing us to better observe the defilements and give wisdom an opportunity to develop further. Which is better: to have less thinking or a lot of thinking? Thinking is thinking; defilement is defilement; wholesome mind is wholesome mind, just objects, just nature. When we have this attitude toward thinking, we have right view.

When we make ourselves very busy by concentrating on things, we can artificially block our thoughts—this is not the goal of meditation. So don't be afraid of the thinking mind; know there is a thinking mind. When you recognize it, remind yourself that every moment of recognition is a moment of recognizing awareness. I'm not asking you to look at the story. I simply want you to recognize the mind is thinking. The story is concept, about things out there. What is actually happening is the mind is thinking. We want to be aware of the actual experience, the nature of what's happening. This is the mind meeting the world through the experience of the six senses. So it is the mind that we are experiencing, the mind that is arising, and the mind that is thinking. That is why we want to know and not attach to the story of our thoughts. We want to look at how the mind is generating thoughts, look at how the defilements feed thoughts. This is the work.

Initially you may find this difficult to achieve. The mind's habit is to know the story, so when you try to recognize the mind is thinking, the mind will automatically go to the story, and then you are lost in it. To prevent the mind from getting lost in the story, you become aware that you are lost, and you recognize thinking; just wait a few moments, and in a calm and gentle way, bring your attention to something more grounding, perhaps a sensation that is obvious in the body, and then give attention to the thought again—"the mind is thinking"—then go back to the body. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes to recognize thinking. This is not being busy; this is practicing. Try to relax through the process.

We want to understand the thinking mind, so we need to investigate it. How? One way is to look at the correlation between thoughts and feelings. You can look at how thoughts create feelings and feelings feedback into creating more thoughts. Behind every thinking process there is an underlying nature, the motivation for the thought. This could be a defilement or it could be wisdom. For example, a thought is a thought; it may be an angry thought, but anger is anger and the thought is the thought. They are different natures, but one is feeding the other. It is useful to investigate in this way: look at the entire thought process and the relationship between the thoughts, feelings, and sensations. See them all at once and know how they are interacting with each other; the cause-and-effect relationships within the process can then be seen clearly. When we take the opportunity to bring in right view, we see the thinking mind as a process that is continually feeding itself.

I don't want you to focus too much or concentrate too hard because I want you to notice your thoughts. Take the thinking mind as an object. We want to learn about its nature. You will notice how the mind works when it thinks. When we are not meditating, we often don't know we are thinking. When we sit to meditate, suddenly the mind is full of thought. That is a good sign; it means you are aware. Remember that everything you experience is fine. Nothing is actually wrong; nothing is a disturbance. Everything we experience is there to help us be aware, to help us be steady and grow our wisdom—that is, if you have the right attitude. Objects need never hinder the overall scheme of the practice; the are always just a means for us to practice.

Awareness always needs to be aware of something. If there were no objects to be aware of, we would be living in a very strange world. We are relying on the objects to develop our awareness; we need to capitalize on them and build the habit of awareness. We need to observe the experience and take out of it what is going to benefit us, and then hold on to this for all we are worth. When we practice vipassanā, we are practicing being aware of many objects; each object has the potential for a seed of wisdom that can be realized from it. So with an open awareness of multiple objects, there is the potential to build bountiful wisdom. We take out of the object what is useful and then let it be. It can be compared to panning for gold: take out the specks of gold and then discard the rubble. We can only do this if we have right view.

If we don't have right view, we will be upset by the experience. It doesn't have to be like this. We will be angry if there is noise; we will be upset if there are thoughts; we will be upset if there is pain. If we don't have the right attitude, then it will be like this. It is difficult to develop samādhi—steadiness of mind—if your attitude is off. You might have built up a lot of samādhi during the morning; then one little irritation and it is gone. That's how strong the defilement is; no matter how much samādhi we build up, once they come in—poof, gone. Ten days of retreat and then we go home, get irritated with somebody, and then samādhi is gone. So how are you going to use this mindfulness when you don't know how to handle the defilements (which also means you don't know how to maintain steadiness of mind)?

Mindfulness meditation is not about stopping a process that is happening; it is about understanding the reality or truth of that process. When yogis notice there are a lot of concepts in the mind, their tendency is to cut them off. Wisdom cannot arise that way. Wisdom can only come in when there is a clear seeing of mental functions doing their own work and lobha and dosa are not following close behind. Remember that it doesn't matter how many times the mind thinks, wanders off, or gets annoyed about something; it is OK, just as long as you can become aware of this. With practice you will begin to see the objects and follow them: see how the mind feels, how it reacts, and how it functions.

When you are starting out in practice, you may alternately recognize objects and then mind, then objects and then mind, and so forth. The way you meditate has to change from grade to grade; the practice is dynamic, ongoing. Are you going to be doing the same math at university that you did in primary school? Likewise the way you meditate will progress to match the level of wisdom in the mind. Now that you have progressed, there is no need to go around noting each object; rather, you notice each object and leave it at that. I see yogis who come to retreat for the first time and begin with one object. The next time they come to retreat, they are back to one object. Is there a need to go back to this level when you can see the object, the knowing mind, and the feeling mind all working together? Why is it that you can't see this? Because there is no continuity of practice, you are not taking it outside the retreat center. Every time you come back to retreat, you have to start afresh. There is no momentum. You are going to need continuity of practice and momentum if you want to do the work of purifying your mind.

There are many subtle levels of thinking; even when we are in a state of very sharp awareness, we can be thinking on a very subtle level. "Am I aware? Yes, I am aware." We are commenting about the experience. The difference with this subtle level of thinking is that there is no story. The thinking mind is the object, not the story. This subtle level of thinking is purely functional, not a gross level of thinking. Gross-level thinking is something that comes up quite randomly and strongly; you can become aware of it, and if it is not important, it just stops; if it is interesting and grabs your attention, it will continue while you maintain a light awareness or often no awareness at all. When we observe the thinking mind, we want to learn about the nature of it. Is it skillful or unskillful? Necessary or not necessary? In understanding it in this way, there is a level of wisdom. We want to understand the thinking mind as an object, nature. Thinking is mind.
This passage is quite long, and as such, I'm not sure if I should post it. Considering the nature of the work, I consider this post "fair use". The work is copyrighted by Sayadaw U Tejaniya, but he is a monk, and as such I don't expect him to object to my posting (and in fact, would expect him to encourage it). If the moderators feel otherwise, I invite them to censor me.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by robertk » Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:55 am

This passage is quite long, and as such, I'm not sure if I should post it. Considering the nature of the work, I consider this post "fair use". The work is copyrighted by Sayadaw U Tejaniya, but he is a monk, and as such I don't expect him to object to my posting (and in fact, would expect him to encourage it). If the moderators feel otherwise, I invite them to censor me.
of course moderators would not object. I work as a professor and fair use allows us to copy and distribute relatively large pieces of books , let alone what looks like only a couple of pages you copied here. You can read many pages on the internet here on google books: https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=Pu ... &q&f=false

Also most Dhamma teachers allow full copying of entire works: look at the dozens of books Nina Van Gorkom writes: sure they are sold on Amazon - but that is only to allow people to get them conveniently - as they also freely available in print in Thailand or on the internet for free download.
Over-scrupulousness is not a good thing.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Nicolas » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:16 am

Noted.
:anjali:

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by justindesilva » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:32 am

The books are there for better understanding. Before reading books it is my impression that we have to learn at least simple abidamma. It is then we can read in between the expressions noted down.
Hence with meditation we must realise that the basic stages are 1. Vitakka (application) 2 vicara( enquiry)
3 piti ( natural awareness following the 1 & 2. and then we get in to the 4th stage of sukha at the stage of absorption of the mind in to the subject.
This is a brief explanation from my experience which I feel is free to be corrected by any experienced meditator.

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by Kumara » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:36 am

Sayaday U Tejaniya, in [url=http://www.shambhala.com/when-awareness-becomes-natural.html]When Awareness Becomes Natural[/url], wrote: The Thinking Mind

Another definition of the mind is "the mind that thinks," because that is what it does. You cannot make the mind not think. If you are trying to stop the mind from thinking, you are trying to do the impossible.
As a student of SUT since 2000, I'd like to point out a potential confusion on this.

The "thinking mind" he's referring to seems to agree with the Suttas' "mano", which thinks. Being one of the 6 sense organs, it of course can't be shut off.

The thinking mind however does stop creating mental verbalisation when the mind is very still. In that quiet state, mano remains working, fully capable of reflecting, but without making mental sound.
I'm not just a monk. I'm a human being. — Sayadaw U Jotika

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Re: Sayadaw U Tejaniya - When Awareness Becomes Natural

Post by SarathW » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:37 am

Aren't we talking about the second Jhana here?
That is no Vitakka and Vicara. (ie: thoughts)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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