Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
starter
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Re: Suttas on yoniso manasikara?

Post by starter » Mon May 28, 2012 4:20 pm

Hello Dymtro and other friends,

Thanks for the helpful input. Also thanks to retrofuturist for bring MN 19 into my attention (http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... ead#unread" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;), which is a very important sutta about the practice of yoniso manasikara. As I understand, in MN 19, the Buddha clearly taught us how to cultivate right intention by examining if our thoughts fall into the three unwholesome and unbeneficial ones:

MN 19: Dvedhavitakka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... .than.html
The Blessed One said, "Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensual desire (欲念), thinking imbued with ill will (恚念), & thinking imbued with harmfulness (害念) one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation (無欲念), thinking imbued with non-ill will (無恚念), & thinking imbued with harmlessness (無害念) another sort.

And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality [ill will, harmfulness] arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with sensuality [ill will, harmfulness] had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.
...
Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality [ill will, harmfulness], abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation [non-ill will, harmlessness] his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality ..."

After reading the Chinese equivalent of MN 19, MA 102, it seems to me that the sensuality (sensual desire/cravings) in this sutta meant passion/delight and cravings for the pleasure of five senses ("大泉水者。謂是五欲愛念歡樂。云何為五。眼知色.耳知聲.鼻知香.舌知味.身知觸"), which is a bit different form covetousness/unrighteous greed as one of the ten unwholesome/evil deeds. So the cultivation of right intention as the 2nd fold of the 8-fold path is not only about non-covetousness/non-unrighteous greed, but more about guarding the sense doors (renunciation from sensual pleasures), which is in agreement with the sequence in AN 10.61.

I've revised the sequence of the 8-fold path as follows:
Learn the Buddha's teaching while having admirable teachers/friends:
→ Right view of the law of karma to start the mundane 8-fold path → Sense of fear and shame, and Faith in the Buddha → Right attention (striving for yoniso manasikara)
→ Right intention [striving for renunciation from sensual cravings /subdue desires for sensual pleasures, non-ill will, non-harming]
→ Right speech [striving for no deliberate, deceitful, false, malicious, harsh speech and no gossiping]
→ Right conduct [striving for no killing / stealing /sexual misconduct]
→ Right livelihood [striving for wholesome, beneficial livelihood; contentment]
→ Right effort [striving for 1) Sense restraint, in particular moderation in eating; 2) Wakefulness -- watching and cleaning the obstructive mental states - 5 hindrances; 3) Mindfulness/full awareness and right/clear comprehension]
→ Right mindfulness [the 4 establishings of mindfulness: body/feeling/mind/Dhammas]
→ Right Samādhi [establishment of Samadhi -- suppression of 5 hindrances]
→ Noble Right view of the 4 Noble Truths (which is not to be obtained by only studying the teachings), unshakable Faith, and enter the Noble 8-fold path:
→ Right attention (culmination of yoniso manasikara)
→ Noble Right intention [culmination of non-greed, non-aversion, non-delusion]
→ Noble Right speech [culmination of no un-wholesome/un-beneficial speech]
→ Noble Right conduct [culmination of no killing / stealing /sexual misconduct]
→ Noble right livelihood [culmination of wholesome, beneficial livelihood and contentment]
→ Noble right effort [culmination of sense restraint, wakefulness, mindfulness/full awareness and right/clear comprehension]
→ Noble right mindfulness [culmination of the 4 mindfulness]
→ Noble right Samādhi [the 4 jhanas]
→ Noble right knowledge for liberation: know/see things as they truly are without delusion and attachments -- the 5 aggregates/6 sense objects are all anicca/dukkha/anatta.
→ Noble right liberation [from Samsara, from five aggregates]: nibbana.

Your comments and correstions are always welcome and appreciated. Thanks and metta,

Starter
Last edited by starter on Wed May 30, 2012 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dmytro
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Re: Suttas on yoniso manasikara?

Post by Dmytro » Mon May 28, 2012 4:38 pm

Hello Starter,
starter wrote:I've revised the sequence of the 8-fold path as follows:
IMHO, the 8-fold path is somewhat simpler, as explained in more detail in the suttas from the first part of Digha Nikaya:

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

Metta, Dmytro

starter
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Re: Suttas on yoniso manasikara?

Post by starter » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:35 am

Hello Dmytro and other friends,

After listening to MN8 this morning, it occurred to me that the Buddha has actually taught us the sequence of effacement/practice:

1) Striving for the effacement of 10 unwholesome deeds for the mundane practice
2) Perfection of the Noble-8-factored path for the supramundane practice

So my former model about the mundane 8-fold path should be revised:

Learn the Buddha's teaching while having admirable teachers/friends:
→ Right view of the law of karma to start the mundane 8-fold path → Sense of fear and shame, and Faith in the Buddha → Right attention (striving for yoniso manasikara) in all the following:
→ Right intention/thoughts [striving for non-covetousness (not covet for others' material or immaterial possession that are not entitled to oneself -- not harm others), non-ill will, non-harming]
→ Right speech [striving for no deliberate false, malicious, harsh speech and no gossiping]
→ Right conduct [striving for no killing /no stealing /no sexual misconduct]
→ Right livelihood [striving for a non-harming livelihood]
→ Right effort [establishing four exertions/strivings]
→ Right mindfulness [establishing the 4 mindfulness]
→ Right Samādhi [establishing Samadhi]
→ Noble Right view of the 4 Noble Truths (which is not to be obtained by only studying the teachings), unshakable Faith, enter the Noble 8-fold path, and apply Right attention (culmination of yoniso manasikara) in all the following:
→ Noble Right intention/thoughts [culmination of non-sensuality, non-ill will, non-harming]
→ Noble Right speech [culmination of no un-wholesome/un-beneficial speech]
→ Noble Right conduct [culmination of no killing / stealing /sexual misconduct]
→ Noble Right livelihood [culmination of wholesome, beneficial livelihood and contentment]
→ Noble Right effort [culmination of sense restraint, wakefulness, mindfulness/full awareness and right/clear comprehension]
→ Noble Right mindfulness [culmination of the 4 mindfulness]
→ Noble Right Samādhi [the 4 jhanas]

→ Noble Right knowledge for liberation: know/see things as they truly are without delusion and attachments -- the 5 aggregates/6 sense objects are all anicca/dukkha/anatta.
→ Noble Right liberation [from Samsara, from five aggregates]: nibbana.

Your correction/comments would be appreciated. Metta to all!

starter
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by starter » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:50 pm

Greetings!

I'd like to bring it to the attention of the friends who might read this thread that the "model" of the path postulated in my above old post contains errors. For my updated understanding of the path please read:

The Buddha's path to liberation
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8276

I resume this thread after listening to MN 2, because I've realized that yoniso manasikara is the first element of Right Effort. Right effort should be applied to every step of the practice, with yoniso manasikara as the forerunner.

Metta to all!

starter
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by starter » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:32 pm

starter wrote: MN2:
"The Blessed One said, "Monks, the ending of the fermentations is for one who knows & sees, I tell you, not for one who does not know & does not see. For one who knows what & sees what? Appropriate attention & inappropriate attention. When a monk attends inappropriately, unarisen fermentations arise, and arisen fermentations increase. When a monk attends appropriately, unarisen fermentations do not arise, and arisen fermentations are abandoned. There are fermentations to be abandoned by seeing, those to be abandoned by restraining, those to be abandoned by using, those to be abandoned by tolerating, those to be abandoned by avoiding, those to be abandoned by destroying, and those to be abandoned by developing."

"... He wisely attends: ‘This is suffering'; ‘This is the origin of suffering'; ‘This is the cessation of suffering'; ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering. ...'"
Greetings!

It appears to me that the above highlighted example of yoniso manasikara (attending to the 4NT) is for the noble disciples (stream winners and above). For the others, the law of karma should probably be attended to first. It's easy to assume that we've comprehended the law of karma and have established the mundane right view, and that we have applied yoniso manasikara in our practice. But if we ought to be honest with ourselves, have we really gotten the sense of fear for our wrong doings, as we fear our unpaid or late paid mortgages/credit card debts? If the fear and shame* for our wrong doings is not yet established, and we have not yet removed the "gross sands" (the ten unwholesome deeds), then we haven't truly mastered the law of karma and haven't applied it successfully enough to guide our sila practice. Then we probably still need to apply yoniso manasikara to the law of karma, and recite the following diligently:

'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' [From MN 117]

"I am the owner of my kamma/actions, heir to my kamma/actions, born of my kamma/actions, related through my kamma/actions, and have my kamma/actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir."
[From AN 5.57 Upajjhatthana Sutta: Subjects for Contemplation]

Those in whom shame and fear of wrong,
Are not consistently found,
Have deviated from the bright root,
And are led back to birth and death.

But those in whom shame and fear of wrong,
Are consistently ever present,
Peaceful, mature in the holy life,
They put an end to renewal of being."
[From http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html]

Your input would be welcome. Metta to all!

* Relevant suttas:


http://suttacentral.net/en/sn45.1

SN 45.1. Ignorance

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”

“Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along. For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up. For one of wrong view, wrong intention springs up. For one of wrong intention, wrong speech springs up. For one of wrong speech, wrong action springs up. For one of wrong action, wrong livelihood springs up. For one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort springs up. For one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness springs up. For one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration springs up.

“Bhikkhus, true knowledge is the forerunner in the entry upon wholesome states, with a sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing following along. For a wise person who has arrived at true knowledge, right view springs up. For one of right view, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up.”

starter
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by starter » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:06 am

Greetings!

I was wondering about why Satisampajañña is placed after Yoniso manasikara in AN 10.61 [...Faith → Yoniso manasikara → Satisampajañña → Sense restraint → Right (perfection of) verbal/bodily/mental conducts → 4 establishings of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhānā) ...].

I now understand that Yoniso manasikāra is like a director, while satisampajanna is like a worker. Yoniso manasikāra makes wise use of attention, and points the attention to its rightly selected object. Then satisampajanna comes in to work on the object and achieve good results. So indeed it's even more important to have Yoniso manasikāra well developed first.

How to cultivate Yonismanasikara, the most important internal factor for a trainee according to SN 45.55/5.31, and become accomplished in Yonismanasikara so that it can become an internal spiritual friend who points us to the right direction and sees to it that wise attention is aroused and unwise attention does not arise? When we have such an internal spiritual friend, we'll less likely get lost in unwisely attended things, which can really ruin us.

As mentioned in http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=21856, it seems to me that the commentaries' 4-step practice of satisampajañña better fits the training of yoniso manasikara, since the training of satisampajañña as taught in the suttas (e.g DN 2) doesn't seem to concern purpose/intention, suitability, and (inclusion in the meditative) domain, but rather concern maintaining un-distracted attention to and clearly comprehending what is occurring. The commentaries' 4th step practice of satisampajañña (non-delusion) is also a function of yoniso manasikara.

Metta to all!

randall
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by randall » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:51 am

hello starter, this is a good thread! have you had a chance to read "Mind, Overcoming its Cankers" by Acharya Buddharakkhita? It's an excellent and very informative book about about the asavas, MN 02 and its commentaries.

starter
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by starter » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:16 pm

Hello randall: Thanks for your comment. I don't have the book you that recommended. Would it be convenient to share the most helpful content relevant to the practice of Yoniso manasikara? I can hardly find information on how to cultivate Yoniso manasikara as an internal factor. It seems to be an overlooked topic, unlike some other ones such as mindfulness and samadhi.

Relevant information from commentaries would be welcome as well.

Metta to all! :anjali:

randall
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by randall » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:20 pm

an excerpt is attached below.

:anjali:
Attachments
Sabbasava Sutta~Acharya Buddharakkhita.pdf
(282.31 KiB) Downloaded 57 times

starter
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by starter » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:00 am

It's so nice of Randall to type out the whole chapter for us, which took quite some time. Randall, your input is greatly appreciated. Nice to have you in the forum. :anjali:

starter
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by starter » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:49 pm

Greetings!

I'd like to add the suttas mentioning what should not be attended to, including those incomprehensibles:

AN 4.77 Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

My personal understanding of "the realm of the Buddhas" (buddhavisaya) as an unconjecturable is not to speculate e.g. "after death does a tathāgata exists, not exists, both exists and does not exist, neither exists nor does not exist". The same applies to arahants. Similarly we shouldn't speculate about nibbana such as 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is no anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' [AN 4:173] It's because "the Tathagata (also Arahants, Nibbana) is deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply." [From MN 72].

My personal understanding of "the sphere of jhānas (jhānavisaya)" is not to speculate about meditative absorptions including jhāna (e.g how jhana is like ...) which are to be experienced for them to be comprehended.

My personal understanding of "kamma-result" is not to try to understand the precise workings of kamma, as it will lead to madness and vexation.

As to speculation about the world (lokacintā): "Therefore, o monks, do not brood over the world as to whether it is eternal or temporal, limited or endless .... Such brooding, O monks, is senseless, has nothing to do with genuine pure conduct (s. ādibrahmacariyaka-sīla), does not lead to disenchantment, detachment, extinction, nor to peace, to full comprehension, enlightenment and Nibbāna, etc." (S.56.41).

Instead, we should focus on "the handful of leaves", which the Buddha repeatedly taught and are really useful to us:

"So too, bhikkhus, the things I have directly known but have not taught you are numerous, while the things I have taught you are few. And why, bhikkhus, have I not taught those many things? Because they are unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore I have not taught them.

“And what, bhikkhus, have I taught? I have taught: ‘This is suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ And why, bhikkhus, have I taught this? Because this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore I have taught this.

“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

[From SN 56.31: http://suttacentral.net/en/sn56.31, with "revulsion" changed into "disenchantment"]

Metta to all!

paul
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Re: Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice

Post by paul » Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:09 am

starter wrote: I can hardly find information on how to cultivate Yoniso manasikara as an internal factor. It seems to be an overlooked topic, unlike some other ones such as mindfulness and samadhi.
For definition of yoniso manasikara see:

http://www.bdcu.org.au/Yoniso-Manasikara-Sampada.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
To his credit, Thanissaro Bikkhu in "Right Mindfulness" devotes a chapter to this overlooked factor (which he calls 'appropriate attention'), which is the active component linking mindfulness with the tasks of Right Effort, producing movement along the Path; The chapter 'Experience is Purposeful', contains a discussion of how 'appropriate attention' operates:
"....the role of appropriate attention is to choose to avoid issues that will encourage the effluents and to focus on issues that will help get rid of them';
in fact chapter three would be more informatively titled, "Experience is Purposeful When Appropriate Attention is Employed".

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ulness.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


This role is expounded in SN 46.51:

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

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

-See also (second half of article) "One Tool Among Many", Thanissaro Bikkhu:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... etool.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
-SN 12.10:
"Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, it occurred to
me: “Alas, this world has fallen into trouble, in that it is born, ages, and dies, it passes away and is reborn, yet
it does not understand the escape from this suffering led by aging-and-death. When will an escape be discerned
from this suffering led by aging-and-death?" Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: “When what
exists does aging-and-death come to be? By what is aging-and-death conditioned?" Then,
bhikkhus, through wise attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: “When
there is birth, aging-and-death comes to be; aging-and-death has birth as its condition.¨

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