Train the fox, not the monkey!

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

Train the fox, not the monkey!
Ven. Vijithananda argues that contrary to popular belief training the monkey (the mind) we should first start training the fox (the body)
In his opinion, Satipathana is the trining of the fox and the Samath is the attempt to train the monkey.
However, body training is the door to attaining Nibbana.
It appears it easier to train the body rather than the other five senses. Once you master the training of the body you can naturally train the other five senses.
However, it is important to understand how to train the fox. He recommends walking meditation. He said you should only contemplate on the touch of your feet on the ground when you walk. It is the same as a contemplation on in and out-breathing. This will help you to understand the elements (Dhatu) of your body hence eliminate self-view.
The great thing about walking meditation is that it will not shift your practice to Samatha as it happens in sitting meditation. This is also great for people who can't sit due to some health issues. People who got the problem of sleeping when meditate also benefit from walking meditation.
I personally found this is a very effective method.

This analogy comes from the following Sutta.

Then those six animals, of different ranges, of different habitats, would each pull toward its own range & habitat. The snake would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the anthill.' The crocodile would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the water.' The bird would pull, thinking, 'I'll fly up into the air.' The dog would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the village.' The hyena would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the charnel ground.' The monkey would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the forest.' And when these six animals became internally exhausted, they would stand, sit, or lie down right there next to the post or stake. In the same way, when a monk whose mindfulness immersed in the body is developed & pursued, the eye does not pull toward pleasing forms, and unpleasing forms are not repellent. The ear does not pull toward pleasing sounds... The nose does not pull toward pleasing aromas... The tongue does not pull toward pleasing flavors... The body does not pull toward pleasing tactile sensations... The intellect does not pull toward pleasing ideas, and unpleasing ideas are not repellent. This, monks, is restraint.
"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will develop mindfulness immersed in the body. We will pursue it, hand it the reins and take it as a basis, give it a grounding. We will steady it, consolidate it, and set about it properly.' That's how you should train yourselves."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

It seems this Theravada monk made a holy mess of the Satipatthana sutta. Satipatthana is not about body meditation, it is about "body and mind' meditation.
In the selected sutta SN 35.206 Buddha mentions
five animals leashed to a pole (the notion of self) animals are the eye, ear....that distract  constantly,  the 6th the mind, the monkey
'Body in body' is not a corpse, it is a body with active sense organs, very much alive, creating the sensory world, the meditator deals with the world created by the body.
 
To restrain the body housing the sense organs, and that activity, is itself the entire meditation, it is not simple walking meditation.
One who understands this, will see
the first satipatthana is very similar to first jhana meditation.
Sensual restraint, is the key, to both.The sutta itself is a great teaching tool, but the Ven unfortunately misinterprets it.  
Let us look at a another way Buddha teaches Satipatthana, to get a better understanding.https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
condensed Excerpts from SN 47.2 Samudaya 
Following is from BB version.
  • 1st Satipatthana: What bikkhus is the origination of the body? With origination of nutrients there is the origination of the body. With the cessation of the nutrient, there is the cessation of the body.(see how powerful this teaching is, one has to bring in Son's flesh SN 12.60 to complete this meditation)
  • 2nd Satipatthana: With the origination of contact, origination of feeling(one has to bring in several suttas to understand this
  • 3rd Satipatthana: With origination of name and form, there is the origination of mind. DO is brought in subtly, was not Buddha amazing?
  • 4th satipatthana: With the origination of attention there is the origination of phenomena (mind's objects) these include training in the 7 seven factors of awakening etc. (Reading Bojjhanga samyutta will help here
Satipatthana is not a body only meditation as the Ven implies, it is the entire teaching. Thank you Sarath for selecting a topic on mediation.  You called Theravada "mumbo jumbo" in another thread yesterday. You understand Theravada better than any of us.
PS Ven. also states mind training is Samatha, but this is not correct either. Samatha is the
early phase of mind training as in the 4 jhanas, or the 4 Satipathanas. An introduction to Samatha. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samatha

SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

Ven. Vijithananda argues that you practice four Satipathana only in the body sense organs (ie all four Satipathana namely Khaya, Vedana, Citta and Dhamma)
The other five organs such as eye, ear, tongue, nose, and mind have only had three namely Vidana, Citta, and Dhamma.

:shrug:

Last edited by SarathW on Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

He also argues that Anapanasati Bhavana is not the same as Satipathana.
:shrug:

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

SarathW wrote
"Ven. Vijithananda argues that you practice four Satipathana only in the body sense organs (ie all four Satipathana namely Khaya, Vedana, Citta and Dhamma)
The other five organs such as eye, ear, tongue, nose, and mind have only had three namely Vidana, Citta, and Dhamma.
The above statement does not make sense to me. It goes "practice is only in the body sense organs" which do include all the sense organs.
Then calls these sense organs eye, ear etc
The other five organs such as eye
This would fit the statement
Theravada Mumbo Jumbo
That is what I love about Dhamma
Wheel. It has opened my eyes in way that I never anticipated, for which I have to thank DNS and the
entire amazing community.
Dear SarathW Can you rephrase the statement or can someone else, who understands it logically,
rephrase it for Pulsar. Pulsar is puzzled.
With love :candle:

Dan74
Posts: 3320
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Dan74 »

This is surely :offtopic: in this section, but for those who may be curious, in the Mahayana (Zen) world, there are teachers like Meido Moore, who emphasise working with the body as an integral part of Buddhist practice.

I've observed both from myself and others, that practice can all too easily become a cerebral endeavour and lose that vital grounding and energy that practicing as a whole psycho-physical being brings.
_/|\_

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

SarathW wrote
"He also argues that Anapanasati Bhavana is not the same as Satipathana"
Of course the two are not the same, but the statement is misleading. It is more logical to say
that Anapanasati is an elaboration on the Satipatthana scheme. It clarifies the Four establishments
of mindfulness to a greater degree in a sense.
How so? Anapanasati dwells more on the preparatory Samatha Bhavana, by bringing in
breath. That is kinda cool.
Samatha, or preparatory stage is not dwelled upon in Satipaththana sutta, so the meditator has to figure
out how to quieten the mind, before embarking
on the meditation.
Has the Ven. practiced any of these? Or is it theoretical speculation? Are you able to ask
him why he says so?
Best :candle:

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

Dan74 wrote
This is surely :offtopic: in this section, but for those who may be curious, in the Mahayana (Zen) world, there are teachers like Meido Moore, who emphasise working with the body as an integral part of Buddhist practice.

I've observed both from myself and others, that practice can all too easily become a cerebral endeavour and lose that vital grounding and energy that practicing as a whole psycho-physical being brings.
That makes sense, but this Ven. admittedly is Theravada, but perhaps he is a secret hybrid
of the two, Theravada and late Mahayana.
And the statements of those, lead to a large degree of confusion. Nevertheless I am thankful to SarathW for the post, since it enabled me to take second look at the sutta involved, i.e.
animals stuck on the pole of self
as a simile for the behavior of our sense organs, and how Satipathhana when correctly engaged, enables the
diminishing of the contacts that lead to unsavory feelings.
A constructive Day to all :candle:

SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

which do include all the sense organs.
We can't see the ear, eye, tongue, nose, and mind.
What we see outwardly is the body.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

SarathW wrote
"We can't see the ear, eye, tongue, nose, and mind.
What we see outwardly is the body."
Seriously, SarathW are we not not able to see the eye, ear, tongue nose and tactile surface?
We are unable to see the fine material stuff of these organs unless under a
microscope, or using other scientific instrumentation.

As for the mind, it is immaterial, and cannot be seen.
Looks to me like you still have faith in the pronouncements of this Ven. O what
harm these Venerables do, by misrepresenting Buddha.
:candle:

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

Dan74 I appreciate this bit of information.
"in the Mahayana (Zen) world, there are teachers like Meido Moore, who emphasise working with the body as an integral part of Buddhist practice"
I had not delved into late Mahayana. I only studied Nagarjuna. His work is mind blowing but then is it even
Mahayana? I also studied Vasubandu (is he Mahayana)? This is tricky. He was an expert in Sarvastivada and authored their Abhhidhamma the "Kosa". Then he became a Sautrantika. His writings are superb and very much stick to the original suttas. Rupert Gethin called him the greatest Buddhist philosopher of the
early period.
I am sorry if this is off topic, but since Mahayana had to be brought in to understand the teaching of this Theravada monk, perhaps it is not all that off topic
Early and late Mahayana...not the same. :candle:

SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

Seriously, SarathW are we not not able to see the eye, ear, tongue nose and tactile surface?
Think about a dead body.
What do you see?
Can you see the eye?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Pulsar
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by Pulsar »

SarathW wrote
"Think about a dead body.
What do you see?
Can you see the eye?
Are you serious? Can a dead person engage in Satipatthana?
:heart:

SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

In the following video (Sinhalese language) Ven. Vijithanada said Samtha meditation object (theme or Nimitta) is mental (monkey) while the meditation object (it is not a theme or Nimitta as its concentrate on real-life experience) for Vipassana is the body (fox).

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SarathW
Posts: 13892
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Train the fox, not the monkey!

Post by SarathW »

In the following video (Sinhalese language), Ven. Vijithananda argues that Buddha's teachers Alara Kalama and Uddhakarama had the Six of the Noble Eightfold path except the Samma Ditthi and Samma Sati.
That means they also had the Samma Vayama and Samma Samadhi.
According to him Samma Vaca, Samma Kammantha and Samma Ajiva are not qualifies as Samma Vayama even though they are a good effort.
What is qualify for Samma Vayama is the development of Samma Sankappa. (Nekkhamma and loving-kindness or not been angry and greedy)


“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Post Reply