The causes for wisdom

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SamKR
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by SamKR » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:46 am

robertk wrote: Dear Sam
actually concepts are unreal according to the texts:
http://www.abhidhamma.org/sujin3.htm
Ok. Thanks, Robert.

SamKR
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by SamKR » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:53 am

pt1 wrote:
When it comes to effort, wisdom, development of wisdom:

(1) It’s probably clear by now that the arising of a wholesome state of mind is thought to correspond to what is meant by many instances in the suttas when the arousing of effort, concentration, mindfulness, etc, is described and encouraged. So, when the wholesome state has arisen, there’s nothing “extra” that needs to be purposefully aroused - wholesome effort is already there, sati is there, wholesome concentration is already there, etc, so this is the actualisation of what’s spoken of in the suttas when it comes to wholesome effort, concentration, sati, etc.
Actually it is not quite clear to me. If wholesome qualities should have been already there why would the Buddha suggest to make effort to abandon unskilful qualities (by right effort)?
Sorry if my question has already been answered, but I thought it's so important that I should ask it again anyways.
"And what, monks, is right effort?

"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

[iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."


So, right effort is a tool to be used intentionally with desire, endeavor, persistence to remove unwholesome qualities and maintain only wholesome qualities.
When I say intentionally I mean guarding the mind with intent, just like a watchman guards a house intentionally only to let desired people in the house.

But all these efforts with the right view that these efforts, desires, endeavors, persistence, intentions are not self.

pt1
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by pt1 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:And, of course, that can include the “wish/decision” to follow/to listen to/to take seriously Sujin’s teachings.

Yes, so (ideally) it's not about this or that action but awareness of the present mental state.
tiltbillings wrote: Why would you think that following her teachings would be any more wholesome than following Ajahn Brahm or Mahasi Sayadaw?
Don't think it's about one teaching being more wholesome than another, but rather, some teachings appeal more or not, as per one's level of development, my being quite low, I find it easier to understand the way K.S. teaches precisely.
tiltbillings wrote: Neither Ajahn Brahm nor Mahasi Sayadaw have taught the unwholesome notion that they have it correct and everyone else has it wrong, as it certainly appears that Sujin does,
Not sure, my impression of K.S. is that she criticises what she thinks is wrong practice - a meditator comes to her - she calls it what she thinks is right and wrong about what that person is asking. An abhidhammika comes to her - she does the same. Her own student comes to her - she does the same. Perhaps most people that come to her are meditators, so they seem to get the most criticism. In either case, I don't get from her that thing that everyone else is wrong. From some of the students, yes, but that's to be expected from some, and that's probably what you mean by
tiltbillings wrote: as we have seen graphically illustrated in this thread.
Though, from my side of the fence, this thread seems a bit like I'm back on e-sangha constantly being told that what I'm doing is hinayana.
tiltbillings wrote:And also, this wholesome/unwholesome divide really misses an important point about practice, about where we start from. It does not show a mature understanding of meditation/sila/Eigthfold Path practice.
My impression was that the beginning of development is learning to know the difference between what's right and what's not (un/wholesome), both in terms of sila and bhavana. Could you say a bit more on where do you think we start from?
tiltbillings wrote:
pt1 wrote: (b) It is recognised that intentional development (wholesome) of wisdom and other wholesome factors is possible, however, this is thought to happen at the stage when faculties are highly developed, when it’s basically natural to “sit at the roots of trees and meditate” directing one’s mind to samatha or vipassana, without the danger of it turning (largely) unwholesome.
There is no justification for this statement from the Buddha’s teachings, as the story Nanda makes humorously clear. And as the Four Noble Truths makes quite clear, we can only start from where we are. In other words as we do the practice, as we cultivate our meditation/sila/the Eightfold Path we move from unwholesome to insight and wholesome qualities of mind.
I quite agree with the last two sentences, but you disagree with my original statement, so that probably means we understand differently how bhavana actually occurs. Maybe my previous post on effort and bhavana has explained some things, if not, we can discuss more.
tiltbillings wrote:
pt1 wrote: (c) All of K.S. students I came into contact with consider their mindfulness, wisdom and other faculties to be quite underdeveloped. So, they are of the opinion that if they were to attempt intentional development, it would be largely unwholesome since underdeveloped faculties do not allow the distinction between wholesome and unwholesome states to be made, and thus, one’s likely to be developing largely unwholesome states, including wrong view, since unwholesome states predominate for someone with underdeveloped faculties.
And this comes directly from the teachings of Sujin, it would seem, and this is one of the saddest things I have ever seen expressed in the name of the Dhamma, and, again, it shows an immature understanding of the practice it criticizes.
I don't know, in technical terms I think she's right - conditions are what they are (natural decisive, predominance, etc) despite how I'd want it to be. But more importantly, it feels right experientially - any progress that happened in my practice seems to have occurred in spite of my meditation practice so to speak, i.e. thanks to hearing and considering.
tiltbillings wrote:
(d) That thought to be the case, they give each other (and occasionally to others – by habit, or by assumption that we’re all pretty much the same) the advice appropriate to those with underdeveloped faculties. As in, if you can’t tell the difference between wholesome and unwholesome states, then you really have no idea what is it that you’re intentionally trying to develop at the moment, so better consider the teachings some more until that distinction between wholesome and unwholesome is more clear.
And you do not see the problem you are making for yourself here? And you do not see the rejection of the Buddha’s teachings implicit in your above position?
I guess not. Could you point out the problem as it seems to you? Also, in an earlier post, you said (if I remember right) that we can cultivate conditions for wisdom. I've been meaning to ask if you could also say a bit more about that? Thanks.

Best wishes

pt1
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by pt1 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:24 am

SamKR wrote:
pt1 wrote: When it comes to effort, wisdom, development of wisdom:

(1) It’s probably clear by now that the arising of a wholesome state of mind is thought to correspond to what is meant by many instances in the suttas when the arousing of effort, concentration, mindfulness, etc, is described and encouraged. So, when the wholesome state has arisen, there’s nothing “extra” that needs to be purposefully aroused - wholesome effort is already there, sati is there, wholesome concentration is already there, etc, so this is the actualisation of what’s spoken of in the suttas when it comes to wholesome effort, concentration, sati, etc.
Actually it is not quite clear to me.
...
"And what, monks, is right effort?
...
[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
So, right effort is a tool to be used intentionally with desire, endeavor, persistence to remove unwholesome qualities and maintain only wholesome qualities.
When I say intentionally I mean guarding the mind with intent, just like a watchman guards a house intentionally only to let desired people in the house.

But all these efforts with the right view that these efforts, desires, endeavors, persistence, intentions are not self.
Yes, I think I'd interpret it the same - intellectually that is. The problem I think is how this intellectual understanding then gets assimilated into one's practice. If I attempt to replicate the effort described in the sutta - there are only two possiblities - it will be wholesome effort, or it will be unwholesome effort, since all except arahats are capable of both. If it's wholesome effort, then in that instance there is the actualisation of what the sutta is describing. If it's unwholesome effort, then at that instance there is no actualisation of what the sutta is describing. Not sure if this makes it more clear in reference to what I was saying in the other post?

As for the first question you ask:
Sam KR wrote: If wholesome qualities should have been already there why would the Buddha suggest to make effort to abandon unskilful qualities (by right effort)?
That's not an easy one for me. I guess it goes down to the abhidhamma notion that unwholesome and wholesome states cannot arise at the same time - they can alternate extremely quickly, often appearing to arise at the same time, but actually they're just changing very quickly from one to another. So, if there's an unwholesome quality that has arisen, then, as the sutta describes, when wholesome effort and other qualities arise, the unwholesome state will be no more, and this can happen in split second thankfully.

The question that interests me in relation to causes of wisdom is - what was it that caused the wholesome effort to arise? In other words, what forms can my "intention to arouse right effort and use it as a tool to abandon unwholesome states" take? Could it be an unwholesome state and can it still condition a wholesome state with right effort? Yes, as per Patthana it can, but I take it doesn't happen often that an unwholesome state conditions a wholesome one. The other causes like - hearing the Buddha praise right effort, being aware of right effort as and when it arises, appreciating the value of right effort as and when it arises, etc, can be wholesome and can also called "intention to arouse right effort and use it as a tool to abandon unwholesome states". But of course, these too can be confused with unwholesome states as well, so no rules I guess, it just goes down to awareness.

Best wishes

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:50 am

How subtle is the right way?
Anguttara Nikaya (Tika-Nipata No. 128):
Venerable Anuruddha said to Venerable Sariputta, "Friend Sariputta, with the
divine eye that is purified, transcending human ken, I can see the thousandfold
world-system. Firm is my energy, unremitting; my mindfulness is alert and
unconfused; the body is tranquil and unperturbed; my mind is concentrated and
one-pointed. And yet my mind is not freed from cankers, not freed from
clinging." "Friend Anuruddha," said the Venerable Sariputta, "that you think
thus of your divine eye, this is conceit in you. That you think thus of your
firm energy, your alert mindfulness, your unperturbed body and your concentrated
mind, this is restlessness in you. That you think of your mind not being freed
from the cankers, this is worrying in you
."

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by dhamma follower » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:50 pm

Dear PB,
There is such a thing as wrong sati
What is the characteristic of wrong sati? Can you show where there is the description of wrong sati?
"And who is the individual who goes against the flow? There is the case where an individual doesn't indulge in sensual passions and doesn't do evil deeds. Even though it may be with pain, even though it may be with sorrow, even though he may be crying, his face in tears, he lives the holy life that is perfect & pure. This is called the individual who goes against the flow.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
We can read further in the same sutta:
Thus the enlightened one, with mindfulness here established, not indulging in sensuality & evil, though it may be with pain, would abandon sensuality. They call him one who goes against the flow.
The sutta goes on talking about the next two kinds of people: the anagami, and the arahant. IMHO, what is meant here, it' s that although the sotapana or sakadagami still have clinging to sensual pleasures, and anger (pain), their level of mindfulness is such that they never transgress the five precepts. It is not at all a description of the characteristic of right effort, neither an exortation

It is similar in your other sutta quoted. They say nothing about the characteristic of the effort exerted, but rather, it talks about its degree in each case, which is in accordance to the degree of parami -wholesome qualities which have been accumulated by a Buddha-to-be. We read about his state of mind :
Gladly would I let the flesh & blood in my body dry up
Effort has desire as a condition.
There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: "weighs," "compares"). Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The word desire here is not lobha, greed, unwholesome, but it is chanda. Chanda can be either wholesome or unwholesome. But as it is conditioned by real understanding of the teaching in this context, it must be wholesome.
The problem is that all this talk about realities from you comes mostly from abhidhamma, which the Buddha clearly did not teach.
Without the details and precision which are found in the Abhidhamma, one is very easily lead astray. You see: we have two different readings of the same suttas. I guess if you ask two more persons, they might come up with two more different readings...I find it deplorable that the Abhidhamma is regarded with so much disdain by many who consider them-selves Theravadins. The idea that it is not the Buddha's teaching has become so widespread and taken to be granted. I also used to reject it (just following other people) eventhough I had never read it and got a clue what it is really about. It actually refers to all what appears now, to be verified. At least, I would refrain from criticizing it until I can, by my own direct experience and certainty, know that it doesn't say the truth.

Brgrds,
D.F.

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Polar Bear
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:40 pm

Edit: I've stated my opinion and others have stated theirs. Anyway, no point really in debating, we each have our own understanding. Anyone who has faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha and who follows the 5 precepts is doing pretty good so I wish you all the best of luck in your practice and hope you realize nibbana in this very life.

:anjali:
Last edited by Polar Bear on Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:52 pm

there is no miccha sati in the ultimate sense and in the suttas about the wrong path it is used to represent what people mistake for sati.

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:54 am

Sn 3.12
PTS: Sn 724-765
Dvayatanupassana Sutta

Now on that occasion — the Uposatha day of the fifteenth, the full-moon night — the Blessed One was sitting in the open air surrounded by the community of monks. Surveying the silent community of monks, he addressed them: "Monks, if there are any who ask, 'Your listening to teachings that are skillful, noble, leading onward, going to self-awakening is a prerequisite for what?' they should be told, 'For the sake of knowing qualities of dualities as they actually are.' 'What duality are you speaking about?' 'This is stress. This is the origination of stress': this is one contemplation. 'This is the cessation of stress. This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way — heedful, ardent, & resolute — one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — non-return."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:31 am

robertk wrote:Sn 3.12
PTS: Sn 724-765
Dvayatanupassana Sutta

Now on that occasion — the Uposatha day of the fifteenth, the full-moon night — the Blessed One was sitting in the open air surrounded by the community of monks. Surveying the silent community of monks, he addressed them: "Monks, if there are any who ask, 'Your listening to teachings that are skillful, noble, leading onward, going to self-awakening is a prerequisite for what?' they should be told, 'For the sake of knowing qualities of dualities as they actually are.' 'What duality are you speaking about?' 'This is stress. This is the origination of stress': this is one contemplation. 'This is the cessation of stress. This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way — heedful, ardent, & resolute — one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — non-return."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And your point is in quoting this discourse?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:00 am

The title of this thread is Causes for wisdom
Suttas have already been cited showing that the prime causes for wisdom are hearing and contemplation of the Dhamma. This sutta adds to the discussion by showing that listening to the Dhamma leads to the attainment of nibbana. :D
It underlines the crucial importance of right view in the path.

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retrofuturist
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:21 am

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:27 am

robertk wrote:The title of this thread is Causes for wisdom
Suttas have already been cited showing that the prime causes for wisdom are hearing and contemplation of the Dhamma. This sutta adds to the discussion by showing that listening to the Dhamma leads to the attainment of nibbana. :D
It underlines the crucial importance of right view in the path.
Yes, very choice driven behaviors, all. And, of course, listening is followed by the choice to put into practice, by doing, what the Buddha taught, as has been carefully explained and shown to be so via the suttas, and pretty much most, if not all, of the texts you yourself have quoted.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by robertk » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:55 am

Samyutta Nikaya XXII.59:
And it is not possible to say with regard to consciousness, 'Let MY consciousness be thus. Let MY consciousness not be thus.'
The literal translation of the Anatta Lakkhana Sutta is "the characteristic of not-self" and that characteristic is no control.
"The mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over them is the characteristic of no-self."
Sammohavinodani.

So listening to Dhamma can be with wisdom or without. But without listening and considering there is no possibility of deeper wisdom arising.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:52 am

robertk wrote:Samyutta Nikaya XXII.59:
And it is not possible to say with regard to consciousness, 'Let MY consciousness be thus. Let MY consciousness not be thus.'
The literal translation of the Anatta Lakkhana Sutta is "the characteristic of not-self" and that characteristic is no control.
And you had no control over writing your msg? There was no choice? This issue has been dealt with, above, at length. The sutta is telling us we do not have an absolute control, in that we can not will ourselves not to die or such, but it is certainly not telling us that we have no choice in how we act, and it is certainly not telling us that that choice -- kamma -- is not important to our progression on the Path.
"The mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over them is the characteristic of no-self."
Sammohavinodani.

So listening to Dhamma can be with wisdom or without. But without listening and considering there is no possibility of deeper wisdom arising.
And listening to the Dhamma is a choice and opting to act upon what is heard is a choice that will help cultivate the causes and conditions for the arising of wisdom. We are a bit more than leaves blowing in the wind.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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