Spiny Norman wrote:Could we take a simple example, like a dog barking? You seem to be drawing a distinction between the sound of the bark as the raw stimuli, and then our reaction to that sound? Clearly both the sound and the reaction are characterised by anicca, but what you're saying is that it's more productive to focus on how the reaction is characterised by anicca?
Close. There's raw sound vibrations (out there - ontologically speaking), this gives rise to raw sound (sensed - phenomenologically speaking), which is processed/shaped/formed (inclusive of the "reaction", inclusive of apperception, inclusive of frame, inclusive of vitakka, vicara etc.), to form the holistic formed experience of "hearing a dog barking". If you were to stop that sequence of events earlier, your experience wouldn't be that of "hearing a dog barking", it would just be "unalloyed sound". You could try to focus on the "transience of the (unalloyed) sound" but by doing are you ignoring or neglecting other aspects of your present moment formed experience?
Is your present moment experience really
just unalloyed sound? The fact there's vitakka, vicara and such going on during the observation is sufficient to demonstrate that it's not... at best the present experience being had is "mindfully observing the aniccata of unalloyed sound". The method of labelling such as "hearing, hearing" acknowledges this to some degree, though it should also be saying, "labelling, labelling" because that is another layer of fabrication it is imposing over present moment experience. Once mindfulness is strong, I find it more useful to thin out the layers, merely observing whatever presents, rather than adding to them.
Spiny Norman wrote:In practice I find that focussing on the transience of the sound seems to "disable" the reaction, ie because the sound is transient it's really not worth getting worked up about. So maybe there are different ways of looking at it.
Yes, it can suppress some of the potential subsequent reaction, but the question to ask is "is it giving rise to insight"? (It might be, I'm not being facetious)