I agree that reading suttas is important and I have read my fair share over the years. One can gain a good intellectual understanding of the dhamma by doing so, which is valuable. Sooner or later though one has to apply "right concentration". This is the development of Jhana, without which the actual insight will not arise.Twilight wrote:Realization about non existence of a self is done through contemplating suttas dealing with dependent origination, such as most suttas from SN. It is important to pay special attention to those suttas that end up with "after hearing this discourses, 20 bhikkhus attained stream entry". A lot of reading and contemplation is required to understand it. And this is how insight arises.Please feel free to correct it.
But what is this "stress"? A worldly person understands stress, as they are frequently stressed. Then they engage in a stress-busting pastime and feel chilled out, so they conclude, sometimes I'm subject to stress - but sometimes I'm chilled and life's good."And what has the Blessed One expounded?"
"I have expounded that, 'This is stress'... 'This is the origination of stress'... 'This is the cessation of stress'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'
This is the grossest manifestation of stress and when tranquility is achieved (in some measure) a different, deeper kind of stress is revealed (which we didn't even know about). There is some disagreement about whether thought is abandoned in 1st Jhana - so I don't wish to open that can of worms - but at some point awareness detaches from the stream of thought and we see it as no longer belonging to us (anatta) in a limited way.
Once thought is stilled, awareness goes to work to discover deeper stress, which is subsequently relinquished etc.
The problem with your assertion about thinking about the suttas is that this kind of thought and understanding is very superficial and is abandoned early on. It reminds me of some Mahayana schools who assert that a solid intellectual grasp of the Two Truths doctrine is essential for enlightenment. It's just more 'head stuff'. Same thing, the belief that intellectually acquired material will be our salvation.
Why do folks think this? Easy - all our life has been a process of acquisition, without which we would be nowhere. We rely on it and depend on it - hopefully acquiring the 'right' stuff as opposed to the wrong stuff. But these instructions are to be applied.
Right concentration is a challenge because for the first time on our journey, it's about 'relinquishment', abandoning stuff and going deeper. There is no acquisition here - there is only release. Release of what? Stress.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.htmlBut those who discern stress, what brings stress into play, & where it totally stops, without trace; who discern the path, the way to the stilling of stress: consummate in their awareness-release & discernment-release, capable of making an end, they aren't headed to birth & aging.