I am attaching a series of posts by CHS on E-sangha which deal with the subject of "the one who knows" or "original mind" as taught by Ajahn Pramote and other Thai forest Ajahns, together with some clarifications coming from the Abhidhamma perspective. An interesting read...
(By CHS on E-sangha)
This is from what I heard. Be cautious.
Buddho for what? To know the mind (to have Sati Sampajanna).
What are at least three ways of doing and the many kinds of result of reciting Buddho:
1. After reciting Buddho, the mind is dulled and cloudy with a diminishing awareness. Some may have a loss of awareness as if one is asleep or some may have a dream-like state. If this happen, you don't have Sati Sampajanna for sure.
2. When Buddho is coupled with in- and out-breathing, this is for suppression of mental agitation by thoughts, to train the mind to dwell in breathing as described in the post above. When the mind is calmed down, Buddho is dropped away, just feeling of breathing only. So this is Anapanasati as usual. In the forest tradition, they need to cultivate Appana Samadhi, and when the mind withdraws from Appana Samadhi, they must investigate the body and mind. Not just doing Samadhi only.
3. Reciting Buddho to establish an alert awareness separated from the Buddho. This can be done either slow or fast recitation of Buddho, (any chanting or mantra will do), depending on each one predilection. After a while, when the mind is calmed down and the recitation is flowing smoothly without much effort, observe that Buddho is being perceived and reflect that there a separated awareness apart from Buddho. Use this awareness to investigate the body and mind. (All of us have a sense that the computer screen just in front of us is separated from us, it is the same for the reciting word Buddho.)
Luang Pu Bunjan teaches: พุทโธใจรู้ พุทโธรู้ใจ Buddho, the mind knows. Buddho, knows the mind. The first Buddho, the reciting word, is the object of the mind and the mind knows this object of the mind. The second Buddho is an “alert” awareness, a consciousness reflection of the calm awareness that arises.
Luang Pu Fun teaches: พุทโธรู้สึกตัว Buddho, self-aware. Self awareness here means that you are not drowned into a flight of thought, or fixedly staring at something; be at present.
The way of Forest Kammathana: It is the way of Samathayanika. There are three steps.
According to the commentary to the Mahasatipattathana sutta: Those with Tanha caritta and Samathayanika are suitable for practicing Kaya- and Vedananupassana. Those of the forest monks are mostly rural peasants, and all their lives are full of aching pain of their bodies due to hard physical work in rice fields. So they yearn for a more comfortable life; this is Tanha caritta.
The first step is to do Samatha by reciting Buddho. They can do Samatha very well but are simply caught into stillness and nothing else. ( It is well known that most educated Western monks in this tradition find it more difficult to do calming meditation while they are more excellent in contemplation of Dhamma: different in caritta.)
So there comes the second step of investigating the 32 components of the body or Asupa contemplation after withdrawal from the samatha meditation. There are two-fold benefits of this step: 1. to activate the mind from being caught in stillness, the mind that feels lazy. 2. to diminish Raka. By doing the step one and two repeatedly will enhance one’s capability to go into a deeper state of Samatha or into Jhana states. And when arising from Samatha to contemplate the body, some may have the sense of dissolution of the entire body; then the mind comes to reflect on the awareness itself. The body is no longer the object of interest of the mind(the mind no longer resorts to the body), and at this stage, the investigating of the mental phenomena will follow automatically.
Step three, the most important one, is one must practice mindfulness in daily life, by following to know the body in various postures and all coarse and fine bodily movements. This is the way to establish mindfulness(Sati Sampajanna) in daily life. The practice in the step one and two will enhances the perception of Rupa as Rupa and Vedana as Vedana. Mindfulness of the citta and dhamma will follow suit.
Many new-generation monks of this tradition mainly teach the step three and just lighter calming meditation, since they reason that it is much more difficult for urban people to cultivate Jhana. Luang Pu Dule did not teach the step one and two to my teacher, an urbanist with a master degree. He told my teacher to directly observe his mind. The teachings and the approaches are not as homogenous as we think.
Another thing to add: Luang Pu Lah Kemmapatto and my teacher teach that the mind, citta, arises and falls very fast. So let the controversial teaching be a controversial teaching, not in accordance with the Pariyatti.
Just for fun:
1. Raise you hand close to the moniter. Do you feel that your hand and the moniter have a similar weight in your mind?
2. When pain arises in a sitting session, do you see pain as pain separated from a calm awareness of the mind or your mind is agitated with repulsion?
3. In routine daily life activities, does anyone automatically mentally register the followings activities without an intention to note them:
"Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward & looking away... when bending & extending his limbs... when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe & his bowl... when eating, drinking, chewing, & savoring... when urinating & defecating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, & remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert.”
A keen witted Tanha carita person would find that contemplation of Kayanupassa of the Mahasatipattana is boring, narrowed and shallowed , unsuitable for his mind capability which needs more challenge, that is Vedananupassana.
A keen witted Dithi carita person would find that contemplation of Cittanupassana is shallowed unlike that of Dhammanupassana which offers much more varieties of objects of contemplation.
Tanha carita VS Dithi carita:
A tanha carita person loves to indulge oneself in pleasurable things or it could be someone who loves calmness or solitude, while a dithi carita person could well tolerate a hardship in his life to uphold his idea or theory. He loves to think and to argue.
I guess most in this board are likely of Dithi carita and could well be practicing either Citta or Dhammanupassana according to the Attakatha. A practice of mindfulness in the cittanupasana section does not need a strong back up of Samadhi ( Vipassanayanika according to the Attakatha) since anytime that we reconize we are thinking, the thinking process will stop. (Don't confuse this with recognition of thought contents.) But it will occur again and again. Just simply follow with neutrality, without any intention to suppress thinking. And we would be able to discern the three characteristics of mental concoction. (It is no longer "my idea", but it is just simply a thought process.) And when Sati-Sampajanna is well established, discernment of Kaya and Vedanna will follow by itself. Strong Samadhi will banish thoughts and also Raka and Dhosa from arising in Cittanupassa, so that why the Attakatha said it was suited from Vipassanayanika.
There is also another system of carittas classification provided in the Atthagatha of the Mahasatipattathana sutta. All carittas classification according to Visuddhimagga, to my understading, is for calmig meditation (Samatha Bhavana), ( various Kasina precription and Annusati.)
The classifcation provided in the Atthagatha of the Mahasatipattathana sutta is for the Mindfulness practice and they gave only to carittas: Tanha caritta and Dhiti caritta.
The first two sections of the Mahasatipattathana sutta, Kaya and Vedana, are suitable of those of Tanha caritta and Samathayanika to begin with.
The Citta and Dhamma sections, are suitable for those of dhiti caritta and Vipassanayanika to begin with.
คำว่า เอกายนมรรค กับคำว่า สติปัฏฐาน ๔ โดยอรรถก็เป็นอันเดียวกัน ต่างกันแต่พยัญชนะเท่านั้นก็ฉันนั้น เพราะฉะนั้น บัณฑิตพึงทราบว่า เป็นเอกวจนะ ก็เพราะเป็นทางเดียว ด้วยอรรถว่าเป็นมรรค เป็นพหุวจนะ ก็เพราะมีสติมาก โดยความต่างแห่งอารมณ์.
ถามว่า ก็เพราะเหตุไร พระผู้มีพระภาคเจ้าจึงตรัสสติปัฏฐานว่ามี ๔ ไม่หย่อนไม่ยิ่ง.
แท้จริง ในจำพวกเวไนยสัตว์ที่เป็นตัณหาจริต ทิฏฐิจริต ผู้เป็นสมถยานิก (ผู้มีสมถะเป็นยาน) และวิปัสสนายานิก (ผู้มีวิปัสสนาเป็นยาน) ที่เป็นไปโดยส่วนทั้งสอง คือ ปัญญาอ่อน และปัญญากล้า
กายานุปัสสนาสติปัฏฐานมีอารมณ์หยาบเป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้มีตัณหาจริต มีปัญญาอ่อน. เวทนานุปัสสนาสติปัฏฐานมีอารมณ์ละเอียด เป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้มีตัณหาจริต มีปัญญากล้า. จิตตานุปัสสนาสติปัฏฐานที่มีอารมณ์ไม่แยกออกมากนัก เป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้มีทิฏฐิจริต มีปัญญาอ่อน. ธัมมานุปัสสนาสติปัฏฐานที่มีอารมณ์แยกออกมาก เป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้มีทิฏฐิจริต มีปัญญากล้า.
อนึ่ง สติปัฏฐานข้อ ๑ ที่มีนิมิตอันจะพึงบรรลุได้โดยไม่ยาก เป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้เป็นสมถยานิก มีปัญญาอ่อน. สติปัฏฐานข้อที่ ๒ เพราะไม่ตั้งอยู่ในอารมณ์อย่างหยาบ จึงเป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้เป็นสมถยานิก มีปัญญากล้า. สติปัฏฐานข้อที่ ๓ มีอารมณ์ที่แยกออกไม่มากนัก เป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้เป็นวิปัสสนายานิก มีปัญญาอ่อน. สติปัฏฐานข้อที่ ๔ มีอารมณ์ที่แยกออกมาก เป็นทางหมดจด สำหรับเวไนยสัตว์ผู้เป็นวิปัสสนายานิกมีปัญญากล้า.
เพราะเหตุดังนั้น จึงกล่าวว่า สติปัฏฐานมี ๔ เท่านั้น ไม่หย่อนไม่ยิ่ง.
The way of meditation the Thai forest tradition really follows this Attagatha instruction.
"one who knows"
Yes, it is a form of sampajanna: a Jhana back-up sampajanna. It has a much more strength than the sampajanna of the dry insight practice. Sampajanna is a kusala sankara, which is still fallen under the three characteristics, and not yet a Mahakiriya Citta of an arahant. "The one who knows" can send someone up to an Anakami, of which his "the one who knows" will be very bright and clear due to the abandonment of Raka and Dhosa. (Raka and Dhosa are enemies of Jhana.) To pass on to Arahatship, one must realize that "the one who knows" is either Anicca, Dhukka or Annata which is the complete realization of the first Noble Truth: Upadana Skandas are Dhukka. That is why Luang Pu Dule said: if you meet the one who knows, kill him. Luang Pu Lah said: Nibbana is beyond the one who knows.
But if you don't have such a strong "the one who knows", don't be worried. Sampajanna of the dry insight works well too, especially when doing the mind investigation of the 3rd section of Mahasatipattathana sutta. The commentary to the Sutta, expicitly wrote that Citta investigation is suitable for a Vipassanayanika ( the one who practice the dry insight). Later on, one can see the Kaya and Vedana with sampajanna.
My teacher always stresses this point. Luang Pu Lah Kemmapatto once said: if anyone still thinks that the one who knows is permanent, he still has a wrong view (Micchadithi). I have had this kind of separation just a few times and it is so extra-ordinary such that many things that are usually incorporated into our self boundary are suddenly thrown out of the boundary. Just like a computer monitor in front of you is not a part of you. It is good for investigating Kaya and Vedana.
The maha-Kiriya citta is a very magical thing in itself indeed, in my eyes: totally independent from, not inducible, unblemished, unstained or uncontaminated by any kinds of Kusala or Akusala Vipaka Cittas. It was like a lotus leave which contacts but not absorbs water, or a lotus surrounded by a mud without contamination, as were written in the texts, right?
I was wondering in the texts they said an arahant lived with Saupadisesa-Nibbana and this must be meant for the ordinary daily living of an arahant and in the aspect of Viraka or Visankara. For the Phala-samapatti above it was meant for Anupadisesa-nibbana. Is this correct?
Don't be serious with the following. Just for fun.
Some has offered an explanation why the mind of an arahant seems boundless, which I think this quality was also mentioned in the texts. It is because Nama and Rupa are all completely equal, and no longer there is a perceiver, unlike all of us, who still have a perceiver residing in the body.
The Mahakiriya citta of an arahant is the manifestation of his mind when he contacts the world and it is still Kamavacara citta, not Lokuttarara citta. There must be the other aspect of his mind: the manifestation of his consciousness as it contacts Nibbana Dhatu. It must be Lokuttara citta or the Arahattaphala citta. When this manifestation arises? It couldn't be superimposed upon the Mahakiriya citta, right? (Since the rule says one citta at a time.) Does an arahant need to do a Phala-Samapatti meditation in order to contact Nibbana as in the cases of the lower-leveled Ariya-pukkala? Or does his mind spontaneously contact Nibbana whenever he does not pay attention to the world?
Abide by the one who knows: อยู่กับผู้รู้
What is the one who knows: It is the term used specifically in the Forest tradition in which serious cultivation of Samatha Bhavana must be first achieved before doing Vipassana. It is the state of full Sati-sampajanna, backed up by the power of Jhana. In the 2nd state of Jhana of Samma-Samadhi, (well it must be Samma-Samadhi, not ordinary Jhanic Samadhi), there arises what is termed EkkaDhammo or Ekkothibhava and when a practitioner awakes from this Jhanic absorption, there will be a retention of an utmost stillness of the mind, and when contacts with six senses happen, there will be a strong separation between the percieved and the perceiver, similar to that of oid and water.
So one can clearly see our mental phenomena without attachment and spontaneously appreciate the three characteristics with equanimity. The part of the perceiver is the one who knows. However this is not yet a liberation. It is just a tool; the one who knows is still another Sankara, embedded with subtle "I" and the three Asava Kilesa. So the choice No. 8 is incorrect. It must be abandoned finally.
Analogy of this separation is like that you can distinguish between the atmosphere and space. The atmosphere changes all the time; it is hot, cold, windy, rainy or stormy but the space that accomodates it just stays still. The space is the one who knows and the atmosphere is our mind phenomena.
This experience may not happen to those who practices direct Vipassana or they may have a very weaker one
Please allow me to share some thoughts about Poo Roo (ผู้รู้). This is my view only and it is from what I have heard and read. Be careful of what is written below since I would not assert that it is absolutely correct. Just something from my memory. Throw in tons of grains of salt. I’ll take all the blames for anything wrong, and if there is something good, a million thanks to my teacher.
As all Theravadin meditators know, there are two ways of Vipassana: Samatha-Vipassana (Samathayanika) and Vipassana only (Vipassanayanika). The necessary requirements of these two ways of meditation are Sati and Sampajanna, in order to have a neutral discernment of mind phenomena (Nama-Rupa and their arising and falling). Both ways do work, but there is some difference in that those who have attained a jhanic power will have a very, very strong and clear sense of separation of awareness from the object of awareness. It sounds wired, isn’t it? When you see a mouse or a computer monitor just in front of you, there is a clear sense of separation that it is definitely not a part of you, and it is totally weightless in your mind. Look at your hand, do you feel like that? Are you hand equal to the mouse? Now consider a physical or mental discomfort, pain or fear; can anyone see them as something else with no connection to the mind, while the seeing mind is very calm and clear, and unshaken but yet open entirely to the experience? This state of mental separation can arise when a samatha meditator continues Vipassana meditation right away after a jhanic meditation session, and the detached awareness part is the Poo Roo. In one sutta regarding Samma Samadhi, it was written that in the Jhana states, EkaDhammo (เอกธัมโม) arose, and there were Sati, Sampajannya and Ubekka. These elements may be related to Poo Roo, since they may enable a meditator to maintain a detached and neutral awareness separated from the object of awareness after he/she has emerged from the deep jhanic meditative state. So who attains this ability can simply see the arising and falling of Nama and Rupa without attachment, similar to when we observe a theatrical play from a distance, without getting involved or submerged into the story of the play, while all the actors are actually our various mind states/components or our mind actions. Someone who has such an experience once will know it by heart. It contains both acceptance and detachment together, and it is also spontaneous, beyond intention, and without thoughts.
The one who knows in the forest tradition is not a permanent consciousness residing in Nibbana forever. The one who knows is just a tool to see Aramana with detachment such the three characteristics could be appreciated easily. Luang Pu Lah Kaemmapatto said Nibbana is beyond the one who knows (ผู้รู้) and Lung Pu Dule said when if you meet the one who knows, kill him. The one who knows is a tool that can bring someone up to the Anakami, but not the Arahant.
Secondly, the presence of consciousness that rise above the Skandas, that is not contaminated by Skandas is affirmed in this lineage, but this is the experience of a “living” achiever of this lineage only. As far as I know, most of them never spoke of what would be after the death of the achiever, and most did not talk about the forever-exiting consciousness being united with Nibbana after death, except in one controversial biography.
For those who are well versed in Abhidhamma, could you please tell me about the Maha-Kiriya citta of an arahant, whose mind still contacts the world, with frequent arising of Vipakka cittas resulted from the pre-enlightened Kamma, but it is still unperturbed and commit no Kamma, even though lots of activities yielding no result are taking place in this kind of mind. I remember one Abhidhammika posted that the mind of The Buddha still contained a thousand monkeys, but it is only Kiriya.
Last night, I was reading a passage describing a spiritual experience from a book, which I thought it was weird and if there was a reference in the Tipitaka. Well, when I read all of the posts above, ah yes: "vinnanam anidassanam." My understanding is that it is a kind of citta( a de-conditioned citta) that is no longer perturbed by the disturbances of the 5 Skandas, not even by the disturbance of the citta itself; it is the citta that mirrors Nibanna. It is as if it lies outside all Skandas, since no marks are given to the Skandas nor to the movements of Skandas, or as you says there is no recourse to all 5 Skandas. In the book, reference was also made to the One Mind or Mahasunnata of ZEN; the one mind that no longer shows duality, the mind with no boundary, and the mind without movement. In this citta, there is no question of what it is, since there is no mark of itself, nor there is a question of what will exist after the 5 Skandas has been completely extinguished.
Well, vinnanam anidassanam: Nibbana in the sense of conciousness of a living arahant, a citta reflection of Nibbana?
One important principle of Theravada Buddhism is “momentarily existence of consciousness.” Citta or consciousness element exhibits a general property which is pertaining to no individual, and just functions to perceive object of the mind(Aramana.) Its existence depends of other components of aggregrates( Skandas) and also it just exists in blibs. An individualistic appearance of Citta arises because of Cetasika and the false view. So there is no individual permanent Citta to be united with Nibbana. Citta is still a thing that is conditioned by causes (Sankhatadhamma) and not Nibbana which is the unconditioned.
"Sabbe Dhamma Annattati" & Paramattha Dhamma: Rupa, Citta, Cettasik and Nibbana.
Atta, in the texts are related to "controlling" and "possessing." But no one can control, order or possess Nibbana according to one wishes. There is also no actor no bearer of Kamma in this state. So it is the definitely not Atta, which is Annatta. Please note that Citta is not Nibbana. Citta is not going to fuse with Nibbana according to Abhidhamma, right? Citta just only see Nibbana and there is no eternal Citta. It is unlike the concept of fusing citta with Paramathaman, then citta would be eternal.
Evidence in Tipitaka: There are at least four places that clearly state so and many more in commentaries.
I cannot provide them in English. I will provide at least two of them in Thai for reference.
1. พระไตรปิฎกเล่มที่ 8 (วินย. 8/856/224)
อนิจฺจา สพฺพสงฺขารา ทุกฺขานตฺตา จ สงฺขตา
นิพฺพานญฺเจว ปณณตติ อนตฺตา อิติ นิจฺฉยาฯ
สังขารทั้งปวบง อันปัจจยปรุงแต่ง ไม่เที่ยง เป็นทุกข์ นิพพานและบัญญัติเป็นอนัตตา วินิจฉัยดังนี้
2. พระไตรปิฎกเล่มที่ 31 (ขุ ปฏิ. 31/546/450)
อนตฺตฏฺเฐน จตฺตาริ สจฺจานิ เอกปฏิเวธานิ.......... นิโรธสฺส นิโรธฏโฐ อนตฺตฏโฐ
สัจจะ ทั้ง 4 (ทุกข์ สมุทับ นิโรธ มรรค) มีการตรัสรู้ด้วยเป็นอันเดียวกัน (คือด้วยมรรคญาณเดียวกัน) โดยความหมายว่าเป็นอนัตตา .... นิโรธมีความหมายว่าดับ(ทุกข์) ก็มีความหมายว่าเป็นอนัตตา
Luang Por Put wrote about this mental separation state as if there were two minds or two cittas within the mind (เหมือนมีสองจิตสองใจ). Luang Por Chah wrote about this separation by comparing it to that of oil and water. This is also the mind that sees mind. Actually Luang Pu Dule wrote: ปฎิบัติจนจิตเห็นจิตเหมือนตาเห็นรูป: Keep practicing until the mind sees the mind as the eyes see a material object. A samathayanika who has reached the Non-returner state, his/her Poo Roo will be very bright and clear, separated from the surrounding mental perception screens as if it were a freely floated, bright knowing sphere, persisting all day and night.
However, this Poo Roo is still a Citta-Sankara, falling under the Three characteristics (ไตรลักขณ์). Luang Pu Dule taught that พบผู้รู้ให้ฆ่าผู้รู้: Meet Poor Roo, kill Poo Roo. Very similar to Zen: Meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha, isn’t it? Luang Pu Lah Kemmapatto taught นิพพานเลยฟากผู้รู้ไป: the Nibbana is beyond Poo Roo. Luang Ta Maha Bua said if there was still a point or nucleus of Poo Roo, it was still not the Nibbana (ยังมีต่อมผู้รู้ยังไม่ใช่นิพพาน). Luang Ta Maha Bua also wrote about a dimming of his Poo Roo at the Dhamma Jedi mountain (ดอยธรรมเจดีย์).
For those who practice Vipassana only by cultivating Sati-Sampajanna directly, there will be no strong Poo Roo, but a much weaker sense of detachment that something which is not a part of I, is being seen, and falling away. This something may have no name if your sati is fast enough. In Vipassana-only method, the perception of the object of awareness and the Three characteristics is not arisen by just thinking it up, but by cultivation of Sati-Sampajanna. An analogy to this situation: when it rains, we can see small bubbles caused by rain drops hitting the ground. Just as we see them, they get burst and disappeared right before our own eyes. No need to think about it. We can spontaneously see our mind bubbles if we cultivate Sati-Sampajanna well. In the Tipitaka, they used the word Panyavimutti-pukkala (ปัญญาวิมุตติบุคคล) instead of Sukkagavipassako (สุขกวิปัสสโก) for those who were liberated by Vipassana only.
And when practicing Vipassana, Luang Pu Dule said อย่าใช้จิตหาจิต, don’t try to seek the mind with the mind. And you must know which path you are taking. Those who do Vipassana only, don’t try to have a Poo Roo. However, practitioners of both ways must practice Satipattana. Luang Ta Maha Bua wrote in one of his book, in the last page, that Luang Pu Mun taught Mindfulness (หลวงปู่มั่นสอนสติ). Why Sati or Mindfullness? In order to see clearly that the mind is a part of 5 Skandas. All skandas are suffering and so is the mind. This is the first Noble truth. Only an Arahant fully realize the first Noble truth (that the mind is suffering) and as such, attachment to the mind can be spontaneously dropped away. One principle of practicing Vipassana: Know suffering and abandon the cause of suffering (รู้ทุกข์ ละสมุทัย). It is not abandoning suffering by intentionally submerge the mind into Voidedness and try to maintain it forever. Once a senior monk told Luang Pu Dule that in his meditation, he mind was separated from the body and floated into the sky and when he looked at the city of Nong Kai, it vanished and when he looked at the city of Vientaine, it also vanished. Then there was nothing at all. He thought he had reached the Nibbana. Luang Pu Dule just simply said “ขันธ์ 4” ( just 4 skandas; a mind state without Rupa).
Those of Vipassana-only schools usually say that those of Samatha-Vipassana schools are drowning themselves into imagination (Nimitta) or caught up in Jhana, especially the voidedness. While the latter always say that those of Vipassana-only schools just think it up entirely, since if there is no Samadhi, there will be no Wisdom. And for Vipassana-only, it is a momentarily existence of consciousness, while those of Samatha-Vipassana seem to have a very long lasting, clear and bright Poo Roo. When they try to talk to each other, the results have been clearly shown in the arguments above this post. These kinds of arguments will go on and on endlessly.
Each one has his/her own way, and no one sock fits all. Both ways of Vipassana do work if Sati and Sampajanna are well cultivated, and both share the same common goal: to realize that the mind is suffering and to abandon attachment to the mind. (This is the finale of จิตเห็นจิตอย่างแจ่มแจ้ง: the mind that sees mind clearly.)
Actually in commentaries, there are terms Aramanupaniccha Jhana, this is the Jhana that we all know, and Lukkanupaniccha Jhana, the one arising from observing the three charateristics. The first one, the object of the mind is static so it is the state of a pyramid. The second one, the objects of the mind keeps changing, but without grapsing onto these changing mental objects: it is more like a running bicycle. Dynamic but stable.
Why the clear cut passage points to Jhana? The answer of the Abhidhammika side would be like this: The context of the sutta is that the Buddha was teaching Samathayanikas, those who well versed in calming meditation. Do not have to believe me.
SammaSamadhi is for wisdom develpment. The mind with SammaSamadhi will be unwavering, not perk on, latch onto nor fuse with the object of the mind or an emotion state, such that one then can see, without being consumed by it. Observe a play but do not act in the play: this teaching is used by teachers on both sides. With this mind stance, the three characteristics of Sankara will be appreciated which lead further to the wisdom of neutrality to Sankara which will further bring one to the last step just in front of the door to Nibbana (Visankara). If you cannot see but just keep reacting and submerging into Sankara, there will be no neutrality to Sankara. SammaSamahdi through Jhana development aims at this point and Sati-Sampajanna development by dry insight also aims at this point: seeing without involving. The more important question is not which way you do, but if you are observing a play or acting in the play.
One more thing, in many suttas regarding Jhana, there are many other descriptions such as arising of Sati & Sampajanna, Ekkadhammo, Ekgodhibhava, unwavering mind with pure Sati-Sampajanna. There are more Jhanic factors than the main five ones that we usually know. These make it distinct from an ordinary Jhana, Jhana that just absorbs but nothing else.
My teacher teaches direct Cittanupassana. So I will tell you. We do it without going to a retreat. The practice is in daily life. But to begin with, you must be primed to have Sati-Sampajanna. Otherwise you might not be able to see. The first phase for building of Sampajanna can be either by calming meeditaion first or by using 2 direct methods. It depends on you. These methods are complementary.
Calming meditation first: Either Jhana or nonJhana state of concentration will do.
I would not explain the Jhana method, since I use the very strict definition of Jhana as in the forest tradition, which must be like that in Cullasunnata sutta. For nonJhana concentration:
1. Use breathing: feel relax and calm while breathing in and out. When the mind wanders, just simply notice and do noting else. Don't be upset. By practicing, you will be smarter at catching a wandering mind. It is not to recognize thought contents but to recognize the act of the mind that is thinking. Allow the mind to wanders and observe, observe. Here, we don't practice for calmness itself but to spot check the wandering mind to see how often it happens and how often you catch it more earlier.
2. Use recitation such as budho, budho ( the rate of the recitation could be either fast or slow) until the mind is calm down and observe the wandering mind as in the above.
1. Direct mind observation: observe anger,happiness, drowsiness, or any other emotions as in the cittanupassa and the mind reaction (pleasing or displeasing ) to these emotions directly. The first phase will be a building up of Sati-Sampajanna. It is to learn to recognize various emotional states and our reaction in daily life. Just recognize and do nothing more than this. Whether it still exists or it has been resolved, let it be it. But at first, there will be no neutrality. Keep on, neutrality will gradually emerge to together with Sati-Sampajanna.
2. Direct body observation: Feel all postures and all movements without intention to do so. Do not try to known them as in a 3D projection. Just simply feel and feel. This is also the way to build up Sampajanna. ( The section of Kayanupassana about coarse or minor movements is named Sampajanna section.) First there will be stiffness and intention to do. Relax and relax. Knowing the body will send you to know the mind when Sati-Sampajanna is further developed. (Actually Luang Por Teean teaches Cittanupassa through this sampajanna section.)
The direct methods can be done and must be done in daily life. Both of them are complementary. The sitting sessions in the calming method will enhance the daily life practice too.
Mindfulness (Sati-Sampajanna or Samma Sati ) in insight practice means only mindfulness of the mind and body only (Nama and Rupa which must be Paramatha, which means not the ones created by mental projections ). Awareness of contents of thoughts is similar to awareness of your own dreams without realizing you are dreaming. Hence if you enjoy your reading, it means you are forgetful of the mind and body and this is worldly Sati, not Samma Sati. If you oberve that you are reading, you would not be able to understand what you read at that moment. I don't say that this is not good, but if you want to really practice Theravada insight meditation, we should understand this distinction. When you think, if you realize that you are thinking ( realizing the mind action) this will be Samma Sati but if you clearly comprehend your thought contents, this is worldly Sati. When you see a beautiful flower, you know that the flower is beautiful, this is not Samma Sati, but if you recognize that you are attracted to the flower, this is SammaSati.
Awakening while dreaming or lucid dreaming has been scientifically studied. An experimenter can send information to the subject while the subject has a lucid dreaming. Look in the internet. It means the subject is still opening to outside signal while sleeping.
The one that I'm talking about not a meditation or doing Jhana. Luang Por Teean didn't do Jhana. How does it like? I will put it like this. In daily life, do you always spontaneously register all your movements, even minor ones such as blink of the eyes or quiet breathing? You just register it briefly and slip back to something else. In sleeping, it was like that but it occurs with coarse movements. When the body moves, you are just awakened and aware it and fall back to sleep. Difficult to explain. But don't mind if anyone don't have this experience. It is not necessary. The best student of my teacher says he doesn't have it. This is one form of awareness in sleep.
Another form is that consciousness is all maintained but in stillness, with a resting body. This one is more like that one is awakened but in a meditative state. And it spans all the night. No drowsiness after wake up. This one is a more common form.
No control: we will be trapped by old habits and unable to liberate ourselves from Samara without an end.
Control: we can choose to change our mind at will, so we must be now in a perfect blissful state.
If we throw someone who cannot swim into the water, he will be drowned. But after that guy has learned how to swim, if he is thrown into the water again, he can float himself almost automatically. When this guy floats himself, he unknowingly uses some physical property that his body is only a little bit denser than that of water. But before he can swim, he would not be able to dictate himself to stay afloat even if this physical property is inherent to him since he was born.
We control ourselves when we do calming meditation (Samatha) or when we inhibit ourselves not to transgress the five precepts.
But when practicing Vipassana, we do not attempt to clean our minds. We learn to see things ( this body and mind) as they are, in order to realize that this body and mind are suffering ( all upadhana skandas are suffering ). Suffering is to know, not to get rid of but when suffering is well realized, the cause of suffering, Tanha will be abandoned. We cannot choose to abandon Tanha at our will. The roots of Tanha will be eradicated when the mind enters Ariyamagga. The factor that will bring us to the doorstep of Ariamagga is equanimity. The early stage of equanimity arises from Sati-Sampajanna and later it will be consolidated by the accrued wisdom.
When practicing Vipassana, we exploits some innate property of the mind in that if the mind is not consumed by Kilesa, it will be in a resting peace by itself ( Kusula mind states: Sati-Sampajanna and equanimity). And after a kilesa is being realized by Sati-Sampajanna, there will be no kilesa in the mind at that “small moment” of mind. (There are still the inherent roots of kilesa.) So there is nothing to be cleaned at that moment. By just simple seeing with sati-sampajanna without reacting or attempts of controlling, we will learn to appreciate the alternation between Akusala and Kusala Cittas, until one day the mind realize that both of them are Anicca, Dhukka and Anatta and enters equanimity which is at the doorstep of Ariyamagga.
So we train ourselves to have Sati-Sampajanna arising as often, in order to just simply see without doing and that will bring us to equanimity accepting this body and mind as they are.
What I wrote above, I has learned it from monks of forest traditions, not Abidhammist teachers. When things fell apart for me, I stuck to the recommendation by a monk who is a disciple of Laung Pu Sim - one of Ajahn Mun’s senior disciple, who instructed me not to do anything but just simply saw suffering.
My teacher once quoted Luang Ta Maha Bua teaching that no one can liberate the mind, the mind liberates itself. Only dhamma reaches Dhamma.
Other sects teach Nondoing.
Why and how does "nondoing" work? Because in the nondoing mind mode, Cetana associated with lobha, dhasa and moha cannot be prolonged and is dissolved by itself. It is annica. By "nondoing" the mind will be spontaneously flipped into Kusala mind states. If we put in Cetana to control, to clean or to change a mind state, it will be further doing dictated by desires.
”Another variation. Craving may or may not arise from feeling. Those people who have heard/read/understood Buddha's teaching (but aren't Arahants yet) can they
willfully make and follow the choice of reacting with craving or not to feeling?
Or is everything so conditioned that choices are 100% determined by previous causes and there is no degree of freedom of choice and action (to a degree of course)?”
My answer: Spontaneity VS Spontaneity.
I will put an analogy like this:
In a dream state, we feel that we can decide what to do and we feel that we have our freedom to choose such an action. But when we just recognize that it is only a dream or we are dreaming, that dreaming state just spontaneously vanishes. The occurrence of dreaming is beyond our control and the occurrence of dreaming recognition is beyond our control too, but we may learn or train ourselves to recognize that we are dreaming and be free of its oppression.
Sikka – learning or training is a common word in Buddhism: Sila-Sikka, Citta-Sikka and Panna-Sikka.
The mind states in grip of Tanha arise also most spontaneously after sense contacts and vedana, from the prior deeply-rooted causes, namely Asavakilesa. We may choose our actions by following or resisting our desires. By resisting or opposing our desires, it is countering Tanha by another Tanha, which is not so bad, but it is not yet transcendental. There is another mean of not following nor resisting Tanha; it is just awakening to recognize the mind states in grip of Tanha. That is when Sati-Sampajanna arises in the mind, and turns it to be an unengaged, neutral observer, and Tanha will spontaneously loose its powerful grip over the mind at that moment.
We learn or train ourselves to have frequent arising of Sati-Sampajanna, by the methods of the Four Foundation of Mindfulness, (Mahasatipattathana Sutta.) We do not choose to kill Tanha, which we can’t. Sati-Sampajanna will do it. We train ourselves to be awakened (or to have Sati-Sampajanna) and the awakened mind, of which its arising is also beyond our will, will do the job of just simply seeing with spontaneous loosening of the grip of Tanha. Sila and Samadhi are perfected at that short mind moment. A further action or inaction is now by reasons, not emotions.
Arising of Tanha, leading to further Samsara is beyond our intention and so is arising of Sati-Sampajanna, leading to liberation; it is akusala spontaneity VS kusala spontaneity. But we use tricks (Upaya) to train ourselves to have frequent kusala spontaneity in order to see this mind and body as they are, not through the glasses of our desires, and this will lead further to arising of wisdom and abandonment of the root causes of Tanha.
How far we can choose along the path ?; from intention to no intention; from mundane to supramundane; from causes to results.
When intention or making choices is applicable: the mundane eight-fold path to establish good causes for practicing insight meditation. We choose to abide by the five precepts, do Dhana, and cultivate calming meditation to make a good basis for further mental cultivation.
However, we do this because “we” still “want” “our mind” to be “good” and “happy.” So it is still under the influence of the False view and Tanha. It is not wrong. In one sutta, Ven. Ananda said: use Tanha to abandon Tanha, use Mana (conceit ) to abandon Mana. So we use our intention to build up good causes that will lead to the results which are beyond intention. We cannot intentionally create these results at will, because they are opposite to the False view and Tanha (“we” still “want” “our mind” to be “good” and “happy”).
What are these results?
In insight meditation (Vapassana) stages, one of these results is Sati-Sampajanna. This is not the ordinary Sati that we use when we study or work. Sati-Sampajanna endows the mind with a stepping-back, unengaged quality.
The causes of arising of Sati-Sampajanna are at least 1.) Recognition of body positions or movements without an intention to gaze into that particular body part. 2.) Recognition of the mind state at the present moment, without intentional gazing into the mind. ( Seeing anger is different from being angry. Seeing fear is different from being fear.) Either one will lead to the other.
The repeated arising of Sati-Sampajanna causes arising Samadhi, Ubekka (neutrality) and Panna (wisdom) (The 7 factors of enlightenment). Sati-Sampajanna itself exhibits the three characteristics as any other good or bad mental components.
Many (well most?) won’t agree with this, and think they can dictate their mind to have Sati-Sampajanna, any time they want. Test it: Seeing anger is different from being angry. If you see your anger as something not you and it is suddenly resolved, then you have real Sati-Sampajanna. If you know you are angry and it continues to grasp on your mind; it is not yet real Sati-Sampajanna.
Supramundane results: Totally beyond intention or making choices.
Arising of Ariya-Magga happens by itself, from the ripened stage of the insight meditation when, by wisdom, the mind is neutral to both happiness and suffering, not striving to get rid of the bad mind nor trying to preserve the good mind. Akusala citta is equal to Kusala citta in term of Anicca, Dhukka and Anatta.
It is a transformation from the beginning that we study the eight-fold path because “we” still “want” “our mind” to be “good” and “happy”, to the stage of accepting whatever a mind state is, without struggling. This stage is also a result: no one can choose to be neutral to suffering or happiness.
Arising of Ariya-Magga in the mind cut off the binding factors (10 fetters) that are the roots of the false view and Tanha, that are embedded deep in our mind beyond our control (Anatta).
Asava-kilesa: 3 components. Avijjasava – not knowing, Bhavasava – awareness ( the mind ) is I or mine, Kamasava – I must be happy. Then I choose to make my mind happy or good. Beware of this when practicing insight meditation.
From what I heard: Abandonment of Sakayaditthi occurs when Sotapatti-Magga Citta arise in the mind, as you have quoted. This is the first encounter with Nibbana, with a revealation that there is no I or mine in this body or mind. It is only a brief moment of a direct experience and then the mind turns back to the usual ordinary mind states. However, the knowlegde gained is there; you know it. This process happens by itself and you cannot adjust the degree of "being oneself" to achieve it. So don't try to seek or locate that point. Observing this body and mind as they are, with neutrality is its main cause. If you happen to "see" your sense of "being oneself", just observe it with neutrality. Do not try to reject, attenuate or discard it. By doing nothing but just only observing, you will see its fluctuation. It is not as constant as we think.
After this false view is discarded, attachment to the mind and body still remain. Now you know you have borrowed this mind and body to use. You still want them to be good eventhough they do not belong to you. Attachment to the body is abandoned when Magga-Citta arises in the mind for the third time, the Anagami-Magga. Attachment to the mind is abandoned when the mind enters the Arahat-Magga.
Explanation of the abandonment of the first three lower fetters: An analogy
There is a big rock amid a thick and tall grass field. You wanders through the field, the thick and tall grass blocks you from seeing the rock. Somehow, you happen to walk near the rock and separate the grass, see the rock and then the thick grass close itself blocking the view again. You know the rock is there. You have no longer any doubt. Similarly when you reach the stream-entry, you know Nibbana is there and there is no I in this mind or body. No longer any doubts regarding the Buddha teachings; becoming the true witness of the Buddha. You know the cause leading to this exposure is Vipassana or walking along the 8-fold path only, not by holding or sticking to some rites or rituals. That is why these three lower fetters are abandoned together.
Meditation - Samatha and Vipassana. What you talk about is mainly Samatha. Vipassana - The four foundation of Mindfullness. It is the only one way to Nibbana. Real Vipassana begins when you see arising and falling of physical (Rupa) and mental(Nama) phenomena which will lead to neutrality(Ubekkha) to all phenomena and brings you to the door step of the stream-entry. Just realization of seperation of awareness and object of awareness is not yet the real Vipassana.
Samatha is very helpful but we need to know the distinction between the two and know the purpose of Samatha and know what you are doing now is Samatha or Vipassana.
Let’s do some experiment. Hold your mouse in one hand, and feel the touch sensation. Then move your hand and the mouse until the side of you hand touch the side of the keyboard. Observe the very moment when the side of your hand touch the keyboard. This new touch sensation will be stronger and brighter perceived than the touch sensation of the mouse which is now more dimmed. Now move your hand from the mouse and place it over the keyboard. This is an oversimplified analogy of how Bhavanga cittas work according to Abhidhamma. It is a gap between conscious mental registration of two successive mental objects: No longer attentive to the old one, get aroused by presence of a new one, let go of the old one to grasp on the new one in order to examine it. When the mind choose to examine this new objection it will be consciously aware of the new object and spontaneously tags it with mental feelings, and further metal concoction processes are spinning on.
Can we observe Bhavanga citta. It depends. Some, after practicing right Mindfulness, report a clear notice of a short blank transition in awareness of successive mental objects; well not when it is blank but after that.
About Anatta: The process in which the mind no longer is attentive to an old mental object, get arouse by presence of a new one, let go of the old one to grasp on the new one in order to examine it , and becomes consciously aware of it and tags its with mental feeling, is beyond control by Will, according to the Abhidhamma theory. Prove it by yourself. What will be the next thing that will dominate you mind screen immediately after finishing this sentence? Do you know it in advanced? Can you choose to attach happiness, suffering or neutrality to the thing that you know.
Scientific findings: Recently, it was shown in some experiments which use brain-imaging machines that can look into the brain to see bran activities of volunteers, that some emotional stimuli of which volunteers could not consciously be aware, could arouse brain activities in the emotional-processing parts of the brain. I don't say that this fit with the Bhavanga citta model.
About Luminous mind: In the Forest tradition, the luminous mind is not being held as Bhavanga Cittas, but as kusala cittas with presence of sati and sampajanna. In these cittas, Lobha, Dhasa and Moha can not be present, due to their opposing nature to sati-sampajanna, but there are still lurking dormant kilesa tendencies, which will be aroused when proper conditions for them arise. The zenith of the luminous mind is “the one who knows” of an Anagami who takes jhana practice as his vehicles (Samatha-yanikka.) “Lung Ta” calls it Avijja Citta or the dangerous and castastrophic “the one who knows.” ( Well, it is a subtle and heavenly manifestation of the avijja; the 10th abiding factor. We use to think of Avijja and kilesa as a dark lord, but in their finer manifestations, it is the opposite. )
For me, I find that some study of Abhidhamma help in practicing Vipassana, especially the dry insight.
- The kind of mind that us uses to do Vipassana must have Sati-Sampajanna - a neutral step-back observer, not a doer who try to interfere or manage. This is the most difficult part to understand and get to. It is not mindfulness that we are using in reading, studying or working.
- The mind objects in Vipassana must be only Rupa and Nama. The rupa is not a projected 3-dimensional objects of our body or parts.
- The mind with Sati-Sampajanna is Mahakusala Citta which is deferent from Akusala Citta. We can tell when akusala citta arise when practice. Mahakusala citta will not arise together with Akusala citta.
- Abhidhamma tells us what is the cause of arising of Sati-Sampajanna, which is very relevant to Cittanupassana.
- Abhidhamma tells us when we are doing Samatha or when we are doing Vipassana. Otherwise we may be mistaken that we are doing Vipassana while actually we are doing Samatha.