A maker of signs (MN 43)

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vitellius
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by vitellius » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:56 am

Hello all,
Dmytro wrote:There's also a great description in Saundara-Nanda-kavya:

"When you have beheld a sight-object with your eyes, you must merely determine the basic element (which it represents, e.g., it is a sight-object), and should not under any circumstances fancy it as, say, a "woman" or a "man." But if now and then you have inadvertently grasped something as a "woman" or a "man," you should not follow that up by determining the hairs, teeth, etc., as lovely."
There is something I couldn't understand about guarding sense doors. Deliberate control of recognition, such as not grasping gender characteristics, requires quite high concentration skills. But in "Gradual Training" guarding sense doors comes the second - right after learning to behave ethically according to Vinaya and before any other meditation or mindfulness practice.

Any ideas?

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kc2dpt
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by kc2dpt » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:04 pm

Oleksandr wrote:There is something I couldn't understand about guarding sense doors. Deliberate control of recognition, such as not grasping gender characteristics, requires quite high concentration skills. But in "Gradual Training" guarding sense doors comes the second - right after learning to behave ethically according to Vinaya and before any other meditation or mindfulness practice.

Any ideas?
I recall it says "secluded from sensual pleasures". I think there are two different things here: a] the gradual training you mention is talking about finding a quiet place free from sensual distractions as a preparation for sitting in meditation and b] the practice of guarding the sense doors in all one's activities - walking around, going for alms, eating, etc.

I have heard that having engaged in unethical behavior is a hindrance to concentration because the mind is disturbed by guilt and fear associated with that behavior. Also, if one recklessly engages in sensual pursuits right before a meditation session, one's mind will be disturbed. Imagine watching an exciting movie and then immediately trying to sit in meditation! This is what I think the gradual training you mention means.

I hope this is helpful.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

vitellius
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by vitellius » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:59 pm

Hello Peter, "secluded from sensual pleasures" is a common phrase for a "prerequisite" for jhana practice. As far as I remember the commentary explains it in line with your post, - it is both physical seclusion and seclusion from 5 hindrances.

In "gradual training" we have these stages:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
1) Morality
2) Sense-control (topic of my question)
3) Moderation in eating
4) Vigilance
5) Mindfulness and clear consciousness
6) Overcoming of the five hindrances (here one becomes "secluded from sensual pleasures")
7) Jhana

Stage 2, guarding sense doors, seems to involve development of deliberate changes in recognition (sañña), such as not grasping gender characteristics (see previous posts in this thread).

As for me such recognitions are quite automated processes, and it seems unlikely that one can have big success working with them without at least ability to stay without five hindrances for some time (stage 6). Better ability to manage recognition is developed in jhana (stage 7), e.g.
- in jhana on light kasina one can perceive light even in dark
- in jhana on breathing one feels their body as filled with air (Vimuttimagga and Dhammadharo-Thanissaro method)
- sutta example when a monk concentrated on bones couldn't tell if he met a man or a woman (he perceived body as skeleton only)

But how without this ability developed on stages 6-7 one can do this on stage 2?
Come you monk, be guarded as to the faculties of the senses; having seen a form with the eye, don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of sight uncontrolled, - covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in.

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Dmytro
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:30 am

Hi Oleksandr,

Thanks to jhana, one can temporarily suspend the hindrances, this is called "removal by temporary suspension" (vikkhambahana-pahāna).

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/pahaana.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Very skilful as it is, it's indeed hardly possible for beginners.

Beginners can use removal by the opposite (tadanga-pahāna). Here one "manually" cultivates another kind of recognition (saññā).
In this case, techniques like contemplation of the 32 parts of the body, or four elements of the body, are recommended.

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/a/asubha.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

They are quite accessible, and bring immediate results.

The example of Nanda helps to understand another important aspect. One can be careful in directing the gaze in this or that direction, maintaining general balanced and spacious awareness.

Metta, Dmytro

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phil
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by phil » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:16 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Phil,
I'm reminded of the great sutta in which a king asks one of the leading disciples about how to deal with the lust that arises when he walks in amoung his harem.
Thank you! If you or someone else reading this forum will point out the reference, this would be appreciated.


Hi Dymtro

The sutta I was thinking of is SN:127


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... 7.than.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Since this is the classical section, I will abstain from rambling on about how helpful I have found this sutta! :smile:


Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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cooran
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by cooran » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:24 am

Hello Phil,

The link doesn't work for me.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Macavity
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Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Post by Macavity » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:07 am

Hello Phil,

The link doesn't work for me.

metta
Chris
It should end in html, not htm

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