Choiceless Awareness

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Choiceless Awareness

Post by bodom » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:52 am

I am very interested in this meditation technique and am looking for modern day teachers who emphasise and teach this practice, books written on the subject, canonical and commentarial sources and any other helpful resources.

I have been reading some zen texts on shikantaza, which through experience I have found to be virtually no different from the Theravadan practice of choiceless awareness, but would like to find a Theravadan explanation and approach to the practice. Many thanks.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by Alex123 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:08 am

Try
http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

==============
To speak precisely, there is no such thing as "choiceless" awareness. There is always a choice, even if it was a past one. All 5 consciousness is a result (vipāka) of past or present wholesome or unwholesome kamma (intentional action). Some mental functions are result as well.
In order to see, there must be attention to seeing. To hear, there must be attention to hearing. So one does have to choose to see, or to hear, etc etc.

Rather than "choiceless" awareness, I suggest right awareness with understanding.
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:09 am

bodom wrote:I am very interested in this meditation technique and am looking for modern day teachers who emphasise and teach this practice, books written on the subject, canonical and commentarial sources and any other helpful resources.

I have been reading some zen texts on shikantaza, which through experience I have found to be virtually no different from the Theravadan practice of choiceless awareness, but would like to find a Theravadan explanation and approach to the practice. Many thanks.
Bare attention is another expression used for this practice. HEART OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION by Ven Nyanaponika is probably the first book in English to talk about this.

Any number of talks by Joseph Goldstein, an excellent teacher well grounded in the Theradavada tradition, will mention choiceless awareness http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
>> 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

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2974
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by Goofaholix » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:49 am

Definately Sayadaw U Tejaniya, though there is encouragement to pay particular attention to feelings and mental states and particularly awareness itself it's choiceless from the point of view of being open to be aware of everything and anything that arises.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:40 am

i think there is a thread on shikantaza from way back were we talk about this
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 3739
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:29 am

Please see A Discoure on the Mālukyaputta Sutta
“Mālukyaputta! As phenomena are seen, heard, thought of, or known, just let them be as they are seen, heard, thought of, or known at that moment. When you see, you just see it; when you hear, you just hear it; when you think, you just think it; and when you know, you just know it.”
BlogPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by PeterB » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:49 am

:thumbsup:

:anjali:

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by bodom » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:43 pm

Thank you.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by clw_uk » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:15 pm

bodom wrote:I am very interested in this meditation technique and am looking for modern day teachers who emphasise and teach this practice, books written on the subject, canonical and commentarial sources and any other helpful resources.

I have been reading some zen texts on shikantaza, which through experience I have found to be virtually no different from the Theravadan practice of choiceless awareness, but would like to find a Theravadan explanation and approach to the practice. Many thanks.

:anjali:

Ajahn Sumedho deals with this kind of meditation as well


Here is one but he has some other books and discussions on it as well


http://www.amaravati.org/abm/english/do ... ins10.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by bodom » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:28 pm

clw_uk wrote:Ajahn Sumedho deals with this kind of meditation as well
Thanks for the link. This is more on track of what I am referring too by the practice of "choiceless awareness" but Sumedho is still emphasising a point of focus with "the sound of silence".

What I mean by "choiceless awareness", is objectless meditation, sitting in meditation without a theme, i.e. the breath, but "just sitting" as emphasised in the zen tradition of shikantaza.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by bodom » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:39 pm

I found this in a little meditation booklet available from Abhayagiri and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery:
CHOICELESS AWARENESS

Meditation can also proceed without a meditation object, in a state of pure contemplation, or 'choiceless awareness'.

After calming the mind by one of the methods described above, consciously put aside the meditation object. Observe the flow of mental images and sensations just as they arise, without engaging in criticism or praise. Notice any aversion and fascination; contemplate any uncertainty, happiness, restlessness or tranquillity as it arises. You can return to a meditation object (such as the breath) whenever the sense of clarity diminishes, or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by impressions. When a sense of steadiness returns, you can relinquish the object again.

This practice of 'bare attention' is well-suited for contemplating the mental process. Along with observing the mind's particular 'ingredients', we can turn our attention to the nature of the container. As for the contents of the mind, Buddhist teaching points especially to three simple, fundamental characteristics. First, there is changeability (anicca) -- the ceaseless beginning and ending all things go through, the constant movement of the content of the mind. This mind-stuff may be pleasant or unpleasant, but it is never at rest.

There is also a persistent, often subtle, sense of dissatisfaction (dukkha). Unpleasant sensations easily evoke that sense, but even a lovely experience creates a tug in the heart when it ends. So at the best of moments there is still an inconclusive quality in what the mind experiences, a somewhat unsatisfied feeling. As the constant arising and passing of experiences and moods become familiar, it also becomes clear that -- since there is no permanence in them -- none of them really belong to you. And, when this mind-stuff is silent -- revealing a bright spaciousness of mind -- there are no purely personal characteristics to be found! This can be difficult to comprehend, but in reality there is no 'me' and no 'mine' -- the characteristic of 'no-self', or impersonality (anatta).

Investigate fully and notice how these qualities pertain to all things, physical and mental. No matter if your experiences are joyful or barely endurable, this contemplation will lead to a calm and balanced perspective on your life.
http://amaravati.org/abmtrial/documents ... 06ref.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by clw_uk » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:54 pm

bodom wrote:I found this in a little meditation booklet available from Abhayagiri and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery:
CHOICELESS AWARENESS

Meditation can also proceed without a meditation object, in a state of pure contemplation, or `choiceless awareness.' After calming the mind by one of the methods described above, consciously put aside the meditation object. Observe the flow of mental images and sensations just as they arise, without engaging in criticism or praise. Notice any aversion and fascination; contemplate any uncertainty, happiness, restlessness or tranquility as it arises. You can return to a meditation object (such as the breath) whenever the sense of clarity diminishes, or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by impressions. When a sense of steadiness returns, you can relinquish the object again. This practice of `bare attention' is well-suited for contemplating the mental process.
There just does not seem to be alot of info on this type of technique in Therevadan Buddhism.

:anjali:

Perhaps it doesnt need a lot of explanation, simply be aware of the present moment. Just witness and observe dhammas
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by bodom » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:07 pm

Perhaps. But nothing is so simple or cut and dry. Especially within interpreting the Buddhadhamma. How much literature has proliferated around the Buddha's teachings even though he has taught only suffering and the end of suffering?

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by clw_uk » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:29 pm

bodom wrote:Perhaps. But nothing is so simple or cut and dry. Especially within interpreting the Buddhadhamma. How much literature has proliferated around the Buddha's teachings even though he has taught only suffering and the end of suffering?

:anjali:


True but for a long time was not the tradition based upon study and academic pursuits (mostly). I believe I read this was true, if so then this would explain the amount of output in terms of literature


metta
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2974
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Choiceless Awareness

Post by Goofaholix » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:42 pm

bodom wrote:What I mean by "choiceless awareness", is objectless meditation, sitting in meditation without a theme, i.e. the breath, but "just sitting" as emphasised in the zen tradition of shikantaza.
Even in shikantaza I understand that awareness of the body just sitting is used as a frame of reference or anchor or starting point, this is also common with Theravadin teachers who encourage this approach, so not entirely choiceless.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 13 guests