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Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:51 pm
by aflatun
binocular wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:26 pm
I don't want to overstate things, but with food, I seem to have defaultet to a sense of "This is what this taste is like", but without any drama or excitement to it. And it's this lack of drama and excitement that make such a difference and which I resent. There are all these mindfulness folks, and celebrity chefs, and psychologists who talk about enjoying food etc. -- and I can't relate to them or keep up with them.
I think I understand. But remembering some of the secular mindfulness literature I have read, its generally emphasized that enjoyment is not the point, but awareness is. One should, so they say, not attempt to force experience in any particular direction, what you're feeling is what you're feeling, etc. If one does not feel any drama or excitement than the instruction as I understand it would be to notice that and any thoughts, emotions, feelings (hedonic tone) or "bodily sensations" associated with that, how they come and go on their own, etc.

The "point" from the clinical point of view is simply to teach people to see thoughts as thoughts, feelings as feelings, etc, instead of reacting to them as substantial per usual, as this reaction and the cognitive distortion it is based on is what tends to trigger cascades of rumination ("I need to get rid of this, time to start ruminating") in those prone to depression or anxiety, cascades that are sticky for these folks precisely because they do NOT view thoughts as thoughts in the first place, for example, but as reality, which just feeds into another cycle of rumination ad infinitum.

(I know you know this, but I'm not advocating this approach per se, just reiterating what I've read these folks say)

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
by binocular
aflatun wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:51 pm
The "point" from the clinical point of view is simply to teach people to see thoughts as thoughts, feelings as feelings, etc,
Which is in roundabout the same as saying, "There is no love, or hate, or God, or destiny, or Nirvana, or any other thought, thing, person, or feeling, there's just neurons firing." Which may be helpful for neurologists and a few other medical professionals, but it isn't helpful for those who have a problem with some of their thoughts and feelings.

So thoughts are thoughts, feelings are feelings, etc. -- and then what?
Does this mean that they can be dismissed?
Why not treat "See thoughts as thoughts and not as reality" as yet another (dismissable?) thought?
Why exclude some thoughts and feelings from seeing them as just thoughts and feelings?

Although the suttas teach repeatedly how in the seen, there should be only the seen etc., they do so in very specific contexts. For example, when the Buddha instructs Rahula to reflect on whether his actions have done, are doing, or could do harm to himself or others, this is not accompanied with the claim that thougths are just thoughts etc. There, conspicuously, is no statement to the effect of, "When you think that your actions have caused harm to yourself or others, you should see that as a mere thought."
instead of reacting to them as substantial per usual, as this reaction and the cognitive distortion it is based on is what tends to trigger cascades of rumination ("I need to get rid of this, time to start ruminating") in those prone to depression or anxiety, cascades that are sticky for these folks precisely because they do NOT view thoughts as thoughts in the first place, for example, but as reality, which just feeds into another cycle of rumination ad infinitum.
And this is where I think that the psychologists are letting people down, and why their therapies have such a dismal success rate. Because in an effort to be metaphysically, religiously, morally neutral, what psychologists induce in a person is a kind of anomie.

(And I think that psychotherapy generally works mostly only on people who already have the same moral outlook as their psychotherapist, and for those for whom the only thing that is worse than their psychological problems is the psychotherapeutic treatment for them, so they get their act together just to get out of therapy.)

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:08 pm
by aflatun
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
aflatun wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:51 pm
The "point" from the clinical point of view is simply to teach people to see thoughts as thoughts, feelings as feelings, etc,
Which is in roundabout the same as saying, "There is no love, or hate, or God, or destiny, or Nirvana, or any other thought, thing, person, or feeling, there's just neurons firing."
No I don't think it is. I believe you're neglecting context and making a category error here.

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:32 pm
by chownah
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am

Although the suttas teach repeatedly how in the seen, there should be only the seen etc., they do so in very specific contexts.
Not so. In the bahiya sutta mr. bahiya just requested a teaching in brief....and this is what he got:
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."[2]
There was not special circumstance or context there. Shall I look for another?
chownah
edit: then there is the Malunkyaputta sutta where mr. malunkyaputta asks for a lesson in brief and he gets:
Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
the only specific circumstance there is that mr. m was very old.
chownah
edit: then there is the kalaka sutta.
chownah
edit: then there is the Mulapariyaya Sutta.
chownah

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:57 pm
by binocular
chownah wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:32 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
Although the suttas teach repeatedly how in the seen, there should be only the seen etc., they do so in very specific contexts.
Not so.
Can you name a sutta where there is a statement to the effect of
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
"When you think that your actions have caused harm to yourself or others, you should see that as a mere thought."
?

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:59 pm
by binocular
aflatun wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:08 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
aflatun wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:51 pm
The "point" from the clinical point of view is simply to teach people to see thoughts as thoughts, feelings as feelings, etc,
Which is in roundabout the same as saying, "There is no love, or hate, or God, or destiny, or Nirvana, or any other thought, thing, person, or feeling, there's just neurons firing."
No I don't think it is. I believe you're neglecting context and making a category error here.
How am I making a category error here? Do explain.

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:58 am
by chownah
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:57 pm
chownah wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:32 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
Although the suttas teach repeatedly how in the seen, there should be only the seen etc., they do so in very specific contexts.
Not so.
Can you name a sutta where there is a statement to the effect of
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
"When you think that your actions have caused harm to yourself or others, you should see that as a mere thought."
?
I can't find any sutta reference which refers to "mere thought" or "just thoughts". The adjectives "mere" and "just" are your additions which you use quite often if not all the time. What they do is to trivialize something which the suttas do not trivialize. What is sensed through the six sense doors are not trivial but they are what they are and nothing more.
chownah

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:04 am
by Saengnapha
chownah wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:58 am
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:57 pm
chownah wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:32 pm
Not so.
Can you name a sutta where there is a statement to the effect of
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
"When you think that your actions have caused harm to yourself or others, you should see that as a mere thought."
?
I can't find any sutta reference which refers to "mere thought" or "just thoughts". The adjectives "mere" and "just" are your additions which you use quite often if not all the time. What they do is to trivialize something which the suttas do not trivialize. What is sensed through the six sense doors are not trivial but they are what they are and nothing more.
chownah
This is a very good point, chownah.

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:03 am
by binocular
chownah wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:58 am
I can't find any sutta reference which refers to "mere thought" or "just thoughts". The adjectives "mere" and "just" are your additions which you use quite often if not all the time. What they do is to trivialize something which the suttas do not trivialize. What is sensed through the six sense doors are not trivial but they are what they are and nothing more.
By adding that "mere" or "just," I'm making a point, trying to get others to elucidate (ie. openly disagree with what I'm saying and clarify what they mean) the distinction they have in mind but which they so far have not stated.

I think I have said at least twice that I don't know any sutta that would talk about "thoughts being just thoughts"; and I doubt any of them does. In fact, my point so far is, that none of them does and that this is this way for a good reason because the suttas have more to offer.

On the other hand, there is an approach both in psychology as well as in popular Buddhism that has a practice of considering thoughts, feelings, etc. as "just thoughts, just feelings," etc. with the implication that this somehow makes them eminently dismissable. It's this practice that trivializes thoughts, feelings, etc. -- and it is this trivialization that I have been fighting all along (although it seems unsuccessfully).

What I want is that the proponents of this practice would explain how, if all thoughts and feelings are to be trivialized, to make sense of life then, what else is there, and why not dismiss their instructions as just more thoughts. But they have been decidedly stubborn and refuse to reply!

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:09 am
by L.N.
binocular wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:03 am
On the other hand, there is an approach both in psychology as well as in popular Buddhism that has a practice of considering thoughts, feelings, etc. as "just thoughts, just feelings," etc. with the implication that this somehow makes them eminently dismissable. It's this practice that trivializes thoughts, feelings, etc. -- and it is this trivialization that I have been fighting all along (although it seems unsuccessfully).

What I want is that the proponents of this practice would explain how, if all thoughts and feelings are to be trivialized, to make sense of life then, what else is there, and why not dismiss their instructions as just more thoughts. But they have been decidedly stubborn and refuse to reply!
I don't know that I would characterize myself as a proponent of the practice described, but my sense is that the intention is to counter the habit of identifying thoughts and feelings as "me, myself, mine." It does not trivialize thoughts and feelings to observe their not-self nature. As stated, however, proponents of any such practice as you describe would be in a better position to defend it. I have not come across a practice with the implication that the phenomena which arise are "eminently dismissible." I am not sure how such a practice would be workable.

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:08 am
by chownah
binocular wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:03 am

I think I have said at least twice that I don't know any sutta that would talk about "thoughts being just thoughts"; and I doubt any of them does. In fact, my point so far is, that none of them does ......
From my previous post:
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.
chownah

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:13 am
by Saengnapha
chownah wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:08 am
binocular wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:03 am

I think I have said at least twice that I don't know any sutta that would talk about "thoughts being just thoughts"; and I doubt any of them does. In fact, my point so far is, that none of them does ......
From my previous post:
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.
chownah
Any elaboration would be 'mere thinking'. :thinking:

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:21 am
by robertk
binocular wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:03 am
On the other hand, there is an approach both in psychology as well as in popular Buddhism that has a practice of considering thoughts, feelings, etc. as "just thoughts, just feelings," etc. with the implication that this somehow makes them eminently dismissable. It's this practice that trivializes thoughts, feelings, etc. -- and it is this trivialization that I have been fighting all along (although it seems unsuccessfully).

.
I would say any phenomena which arises only for an instant , then ceases immediately- as all dhammas do- is insignificant and if seen as such wouldn't even need to be dismissed.

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:07 am
by Dinsdale
robertk wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:21 am
I would say any phenomena which arises only for an instant , then ceases immediately- as all dhammas do- is insignificant and if seen as such wouldn't even need to be dismissed.
But there are moods and states of mind which persist over time, hence the need for Right Effort.

Re: Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:15 am
by Dinsdale
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am
So thoughts are thoughts, feelings are feelings, etc. -- and then what?
Let go of.

"The intellect is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit. Ideas are not yours... Intellect-consciousness is not yours... Intellect-contact is not yours... Whatever arises in dependence on intellect-contact, experienced either as pleasure, as pain, or as neither-pleasure-nor-pain, that too is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html