Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thoughts (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:41 am

Understood today the difference between ill will (persistent hostility/hatred and will for others' suffering) and anger (could be temporary and non-persistent without hostility and ill will). The second path factor to perfect is non-ill will, not non-anger or non-aversion. The non-returners don't have self-identity view (five aggregates are non-self, plus non-eternal "self"), wrong grasp of sila and other rules/observances, doubts/uncertainties, sensual desires of five senses, and ill will (not anger/aversion).

Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thoughts (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:31 pm

Just to add the suttas on the drawbacks of sensuality:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Intention/Thoughts?

Postby starter » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:20 pm

Just to add the application of 4NT in cultivating samma sankappa summarizing the teachings in MN 117, SĀ 785 and SĀ 789:

"And what is the right resolve that is without asava's, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion, focused awareness, & verbal fabrications of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without asava's, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without asava's, transcendent, a factor of the path." (MN 117)

A noble disciple attends to suffering and contemplates suffering; attends to the cause of suffering and contemplates the cause; attends to the cessation of suffering and contemplates the cessation; attends to the path and contemplates the path; [directing/inclination of the mind + fixation of the mind + absorption of the mind (on an intention/thought -- non-sensuality, or non-ill will, or non-cruelty)], discriminate (each intention/thought), resolve, understand, repeatedly incline/direct the mind and make resolution for right intention/thoughts. [何等為正志是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊?謂:聖弟子苦、苦思惟,集……滅……道、道思惟,無漏思惟相應心法,分別、自決、意解、計數、立意,是名正志,是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊。SĀ 785]

Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thoughts (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:41 pm

Dear Friends,

Happy new year!

Today I read Ajahn Chah's Dhamma talk "The Last Gift", which is very helpful for letting-go of our worldly attachments. I'd like to share with you the following quotes:

"Everything has to change in line with its condition. The truth of these conditions—if you try to fix them in a way that’s not right— won’t respond at all."

"What’s the world? The world is any preoccupation that gets you stirred up, that disturbs you right now."

"If it arises in the mind, make yourself understand: The world is nothing but a preoccupation."

"There’s nothing that’s really you or yours." "If any preoccupation comes in to bother the mind, just say in your heart, “Leave me alone. Don’t bother me. You’re no affair of mine.”

"Today I’ve brought you some dhamma as a gift in your time of illness. I don’t have any other gift to give. There’s no need to bring you any material gift, for you have plenty of material things in your house, and over time they just cause you difficulties. So I’ve brought you some dhamma, something of substance that will never run out. Now that you’ve heard this dhamma, you can pass it on to any number of other people, and it’ll never run out. It’ll never stop. It’s the truth of the dhamma, a truth that always stays as it is."

With metta,

Starter
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:26 am

I'd like to share my updated understanding concerning how to cultivate Right Thinking, and would like to get your input:

1) First step: understand the true meaning of sensuality and renunciation (non-sensuality), comprehend sensual desire entirely -- learn the breadth/diversity of sensual desires,their various manifestations, and lust-inducing objects.

Likewise, comprehend ill will / non-ill will and harming/non-harming.

2) Second step: be clearly aware of the thinking imbued with sensual desire / ill will / harming -- detect the thoughts as soon as they arise; likewise, be clearly aware of thinking imbued with renunciation / non-ill will / non-harming [in other words, thinking of letting-go of sensual desire / ill will /harming) and detect them as soon as they arise, and keep dividing the thinking into two sorts (right thinking and wrong thinking) as the Buddha did:

"'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort." (MN 19)

It helps to know how sensual desire comes to arise (through unwise attention to lust-inducing objects) and when/how it subsides (through wise attention to remove the attention from lust-inducing objects). When sensual desire arises, switch the mind from wanting to mindfulness – mindfulness of the arising and fading away of the desire, noting the transition from wanting to becoming free from wanting and the greater happiness of peace and ease arising from not wanting, noting the transition from being lost in sensual pleasure to becoming mindful of the sensuality.

3) Third step: comprehend and familiarize the drawbacks/danger of sensual pleasures / ill will / harming, and the reward of renunciation / non-ill will / non-harming thoroughly, so that the heart will leap up at renunciation / non-ill will / non-harming:

"So it is, Ananda. So it is. Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.' But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'

"Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. ... " (AN 9.41)

For relevant suttas see notes PS1 and PS2.

4) Fourth step: apply the above understanding and the methods the Buddha taught us in MN 19 and 20 into abandoning wrong thinking and cultivating right thinking, and this should be done in whichever postures (Iti 4.11; Iti 115).

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality [ill will, harming] arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality [ill will, harming] 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, harming] had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence."

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation [non-ill will, non-harming] arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation [non-ill will, non-harming] has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed." (MN19)

For the other four methods for dispelling unwholesome thoughts see MN 20.

§ 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If, while he is walking, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, or wipe that thought out of existence, then a monk walking with such a lack of ardency & concern is called continually & continuously lethargic & low in his persistence.
"If, while he is standing...
"If, while he is sitting...
"If, while he is lying down, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, or wipe that thought out of existence, then a monk lying down with such a lack of ardency & concern is called continually & continuously lethargic & low in his persistence.
"But if, while he is walking, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he quickly abandons, dispels, demolishes, & wipes that thought out of existence, then a monk walking with such ardency & concern is called continually & continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused.
"If, while he is standing...
"If, while he is sitting...
"If, while he is lying down, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he quickly abandons, dispels, demolishes, & wipes that thought out of existence, then a monk lying down with such ardency & concern is called continually & continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused."

Whether walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down,
whoever thinks evil thoughts,
related to the household life,
is following no path at all,
smitten
with delusory things.
He's incapable,
a monk like this,
of touching superlative
self-awakening.
But whoever —
walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down —
overcomes thought,
delighting in the stilling of thought:
he's capable,
a monk like this,
of touching superlative
self-awakening.

Thanks and metta,

Starter

PS 1: Drawbacks of sensuality, ill will and harming

The drawbacks of sensuality:

see http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#s Sensuality

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Ill will: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#i

AN 10.80: ten reflections to help overcome hatred ["One does not get worked up over impossibilities" (when it's out of one's control?)]

Dhp 3:
"Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm.
Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one's own well-directed mind."

The sources of conflict and hostility: MN 18, DN 21, Sn 4.11, Sn 4.15

MN 18:
"The sort of doctrine, friend, where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk; the sort [of doctrine] where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-becoming. Such is my doctrine, such is what I proclaim."

"If, monk, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & papañca (proliferation) assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder."

DN 21:

"The world is made up of many properties, various properties. Because of the many & various properties in the world, then whichever property living beings get fixated on, they become entrenched & latch onto it, saying, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.'"

SN 4.11
"Conditioned by name & form
is contact.
In longing do graspings,
possessions have their cause.
When longing isn't
mine-ness does not exist.
When forms have disappeared
contacts don't touch."

"... the sage, ponders dependencies.
On knowing them, released,
he doesn't get into disputes,
doesn't meet with becoming & not-becoming:
he is enlightened."

SN 4.15:

"When embraced,
the rod of violence [physical/verbal/mental violence]
breeds danger & fear:
...
Seeing nothing in the end
but competition,
I felt discontent.
And then I saw
an arrow here,
so very hard to see,
embedded in the heart.
Overcome by this arrow
you run in all directions.
But simply on pulling it out
you don't run [to any of the destinations of rebirth],
you don't sink [into any of the four floods of sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance].

Whatever things are tied down in the world,
you shouldn't be set on them.
Having totally penetrated
sensual pleasures and passions [kama],
you should train for your own
Unbinding.
Be truthful, not insolent,
not deceptive, rid of divisiveness.
Without anger, the sage
should cross over the evil
of greed & avarice.
He should conquer laziness,
weariness,
sloth;
shouldn't consort with heedlessness,
shouldn't stand firm in his pride —
the man with his heart set
on Unbinding.
He shouldn't engage in lying,
shouldn't create a sense of allure in form,
should fully fathom conceit,
and live refraining from impulsiveness;
shouldn't delight in what's old,
prefer what's new,
grieve over decline,
get entangled in
what's dazzling & bright.

I call greed
a 'great flood';
hunger, a swift current.
Preoccupations are ripples;
sensuality, a bog
hard to cross over.
Not deviating from truth,
a sage stands on high ground: a brahman.

Having renounced All,
he is said to be at peace;
having clearly known,
he is an attainer-of-wisdom;
knowing the Dhamma,
he's independent.
Moving rightly through the world,
he doesn't envy
anyone here.

Whoever here has gone over & beyond
sensual passions —
an attachment hard
to transcend in the world,
doesn't sorrow,
doesn't fret.
He, his stream cut, is free
from bonds.

Burn up what's before (past),
and have nothing for after (future).
If you don't grasp
at what's in between [present]
you will go about, calm.

For whom, in name & form,
in every way,
there's no sense of mine,
and who doesn't grieve
over what is not:
he, in the world,
isn't defeated,
suffers no loss.

To whom there doesn't occur
'This is mine,'
for whom 'nothing is others,'
feeling no sense of mine-ness,
doesn't grieve at the thought
'I have nothing.'

Not harsh,
not greedy,
not perturbed,
everywhere
in tune:
this is the reward
— I say when asked —
for those who are free
from pre-conceptions.

For one unperturbed
— who knows —
there's no accumulating.
Abstaining, unaroused,
he everywhere sees
security.
The sage
doesn't speak of himself
as among those who are higher,
equal,
or lower.
At peace, free of selfishness,
he doesn't embrace,
doesn't reject,"
the Blessed One said.


As the only thing that's good to kill: SN 1.71
What to do if someone is angry with you: SN 7.2, SN 11.4
What to do when Anger arises: Thag 6.12
The best response to Anger (a debate between two deities): SN 11.5
Anger can carve into you like an inscription in stone: AN 3.130
Anger can never be conquered with more anger: SN 11.4, Dhp 3
"Anger" (Dhammapada XVII)
The dangers of giving in to anger: AN 7.60

In war, there is no winning side: SN 3.14, SN 3.15
Only forbearance, never revenge, can bring an end to war: Mv 10.2.3-20


Harming:

Non-harming/Non-violence leads to happiness after death: Dhp 132
As a supporting condition for Awakening: Dhp 270
Isn't all there is to the Buddhist path: MN 78
The story of Angulimala the bandit: MN 86
How a wise person moves in society: Dhp 49
"The Rod" (Dhammapada X)
"Non-violence" (Study Guide)

PS 2: Reward of renunciation

Bliss
[The Buddha:] "Is it true, Bhaddiya that, on going to a forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, you repeatedly exclaim, 'What bliss! What bliss!'?"

[Ven. Bhaddiya:] "Yes, lord."

"What meaning do you have in mind that you repeatedly exclaim, 'What bliss! What bliss!'?"

"Before, when I was a householder, maintaining the bliss of kingship, I had guards posted within and without the royal apartments, within and without the city, within and without the countryside. But even though I was thus guarded, thus protected, I dwelled in fear — agitated, distrustful, and afraid. But now, on going alone to a forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, I dwell without fear, unagitated, confident, and unafraid — unconcerned, unruffled, my wants satisfied, with my mind like a wild deer. This is the meaning I have in mind that I repeatedly exclaim, 'What bliss! What bliss!'"

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

In whom there exists
no provocation,
& for whom becoming & non-becoming
are overcome,
he is one — beyond fear,
blissful,
without grief,
whom the devas can't see.

— Ud 2.10


A sound night's sleep
[The Buddha:] "Now, what do you think: Suppose a householder or householder's son has a house with a gabled roof, plastered inside & out, draft-free, with close-fitting door & windows shut against the wind. Inside he has a horse-hair couch spread with a long-fleeced coverlet, a white wool coverlet, an embroidered coverlet, a rug of kadali-deer hide, with a canopy above, & red cushions on either side. And there a lamp would be burning, and his four wives, with their many charms, would be attending to him. Would he sleep in ease, or not? Or how does this strike you?"

[Hatthaka of Alavi:] "Yes, lord, he would sleep in ease. Of those in the world who sleep in ease, he would be one."

"But what do you think, young man. Might there arise in that householder or householder's son any bodily fevers or fevers of mind born of passion so that — burned with those passion-born fevers — he would sleep miserably?"

"Yes, lord."

"As for those passion-born fevers — burned with which the householder or householder's son would sleep miserably — that passion has been abandoned by the Tathagata, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Therefore he sleeps in ease.

"Now, what do you think, young man. Might there arise in that householder or householder's son any bodily fevers or fevers of mind born of aversion so that — burned with those aversion-born fevers — he would sleep miserably?"

"Yes, lord."

"As for those aversion-born fevers ...

"As for those delusion-born fevers ...

Always, always,
he sleeps in ease:
the brahman totally unbound,
who doesn't adhere
to sensual pleasures,
who's without acquisitions
& cooled.
Having cut all ties
& subdued fear in the heart,
calmed,
he sleeps in ease,
having reached peace
of awareness.

— AN 3.34


Rest

'Subject to birth, subject to aging,
subject to death,
run-of-the-mill people
are repelled by those who suffer
from that to which they are subject.
And if I were to be repelled
by beings subject to these things,
it would not be fitting for me,
living as they do.'

As I maintained this attitude —
knowing the Dhamma
without acquisitions —
I overcame all intoxication
with health, youth, & life
as one who sees
renunciation as rest.

For me, energy arose,
Unbinding was clearly seen.
There's now no way
I could partake of sensual pleasures.
Having followed the holy life,
I will not return.

— AN 3.38


Fearless
"There is the case of the person who has abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, and craving for sensuality. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought does not occur to him, 'O, those beloved sensual pleasures will be taken from me, and I will be taken from them!' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death."

— AN 4.184


PS 3: the first step to cultivate right thinking might be non-unrighteous greed / non-covetousness, non-ill will/non-hate, non-wrong view. The above-mentioned steps can be applied as well.

MN 41:

"And how are there three kinds of mental conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct?Here someone is covetous: he is a coveter of another's chattels and property thus: 'Oh, that what is another's were mine!' Or he has a mind of ill-will, with the intention of a mind affected by hate thus: 'May these beings be slain and slaughtered, may they be cut off, perish, or be annihilated!' Or he has wrong view, distorted vision, thus: 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed, no fruit and ripening of good and bad kammas, no this world, no other world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously (born) beings,[1] no good and virtuous monks and brahmans that have themselves realized by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.'[2] That is how there are three kinds of mental conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct."

"And how is one made pure in three ways by mental action? There is the case where a certain person is not covetous. He does not covet the belongings of others, thinking, 'O, that what belongs to others would be mine!' He bears no ill will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart. [He thinks,] 'May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!' He has right view and is not warped in the way he sees things: '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.' This is how one is made pure in three ways by mental action." — AN 10.176
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:38 am

starter wrote:1) First step: understand the true meaning of sensuality and renunciation (non-sensuality), comprehend sensual desire entirely -- learn the breadth/diversity of sensual desires,their various manifestations, and lust-inducing objects.

Likewise, comprehend ill will / non-ill will and harming/non-harming.

2) Second step: be clearly aware of the thinking imbued with sensual desire / ill will / harming -- detect the thoughts as soon as they arise; likewise, be clearly aware of thinking imbued with renunciation / non-ill will / non-harming [in other words, thinking of letting-go of sensual desire / ill will /harming) and detect them as soon as they arise, and keep dividing the thinking into two sorts (right thinking and wrong thinking) as the Buddha did:


It's probably necessary to add one more step in between the above quoted two steps:

During daily activities remain mindful of breathing to slow down (or some other meditation object), calm down, and remain calm, in order to be able to pause, examine, and reflect upon the thoughts and the intention.

I think that the Buddha didn't mention this step in MN 19 because he already mastered Samadhi then and was able to detect and divide the two types of thinking mindfully. For the starters like me, the added step would help us remain calm and then be able to pause and reflect on our thinking.

Hope to get more input on the cultivation of right resolve/thinking, which has probably been overlooked due to the translation of the second path factor as "right intention". It's easy to think that we have possessed right intention, but have actually not possessed right thinking at all. Right thinking is the foundation of right speech, right action and right livelihood.

Thanks again for all the help. Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:01 am

Just to share a great sutta relevant to the topic"

Ud 4.1
PTS: Ud 34
Meghiya Sutta: Meghiya
translated from the Pali by
John D. Ireland
© 1998–2013
Alternate translation: Thanissaro

"...
Now while the Venerable Meghiya was staying in that mango grove, there kept occurring to him three bad, unwholesome kinds of thoughts: sensual thought, malevolent thought, and cruel thought [TB: thoughts of sensuality, thoughts of ill will, and thoughts of doing harm.] The Venerable Meghiya then reflected: "It is indeed strange! It is indeed remarkable! Although I have gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless state, yet I am overwhelmed by these three bad, unwholesome kinds of thoughts: sensual thought, malevolent thought, and cruel thought."

Then the Venerable Meghiya, on emerging from seclusion in the late afternoon, approached the Lord, prostrated himself, sat down to one side, and said: "Revered sir, while I was staying in that mango grove there kept occurring to me three bad, unwholesome kinds of thoughts... and I thought: 'It is indeed strange!... I am overwhelmed by these three bad, unwholesome kinds of thoughts: sensual thought, malevolent thought, and cruel thought.'"

"When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, five things lead to its maturity. What five?

"Here, Meghiya, a bhikkhu has good friends, good associates, good companions. When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, this is the first thing that leads to its maturity. [We are fortunate to have online worldwide Kalyāṇa-mitta readily available now.]

"Furthermore, Meghiya, a bhikkhu is virtuous, he lives restrained by the restraint of the Patimokkha, endowed with conduct and resort (TB: “consummate in his behavior & range of activity”); seeing danger in the smallest faults, he trains in the training rules he has accepted. When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, this is the second thing that leads to its maturity.

"Furthermore, Meghiya, a bhikkhu obtains at will, with no trouble or difficulty, talk that is effacing, a help in opening up the mind, and which conduces to complete turning away, dispassion, cessation, peace, direct knowledge, enlightenment, and Nibbana — that is, talk about fewness of wishes, talk about contentment, talk about seclusion, talk about being non-gregarious, talk about putting forth energy, talk about virtue, talk about concentration, talk about wisdom, talk about deliverance, talk about the knowledge and vision of deliverance. When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, this is the third thing that leads to its maturity. [We are also fortunate to have suttas readily available now.]

"Furthermore, Meghiya, a bhikkhu lives with energy instigated for the abandoning of unwholesome states and the acquiring of wholesome states; he is vigorous, energetic, and persevering with regard to wholesome states. When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, this is the fourth thing that leads to its maturity.

"Furthermore, Meghiya, a bhikkhu is wise, endowed with the noble ones' penetrative understanding of rise and disappearance [“arising & passing away”] leading to the complete ending of suffering. When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, this is the fifth thing that leads to its maturity. When mind-deliverance is as yet immature, Meghiya, these five things lead to its maturity.

"It is to be expected of a bhikkhu who has good friends, good associates, good companions, that he will be virtuous, that he will live restrained by the restraint of the Patimokkha, endowed with conduct and resort, and that seeing danger in the smallest faults, he will train in the training rules he has accepted. It is to be expected of a bhikkhu who has good friends... that he will obtain at will, with no trouble or difficulty, talk that is effacing, a help in opening up the mind... talk about the knowledge and vision of deliverance. It is to be expected of a bhikkhu who has good friends... that he will live with energy instigated... vigorous, energetic, and persevering with regard to wholesome states. It is to be expected of a bhikkhu who has good friends... that he will be wise, endowed with the noble ones' penetrative understanding of rise and disappearance leading to the complete ending of suffering.

"A bhikkhu, Meghiya, who is established in these five things [the stream winners] should also cultivate four additional things: foulness should be cultivated for overcoming lust; loving-kindness should be cultivated for overcoming malevolence [TB: “ill will”]; respiration-mindfulness [mindfulness of breathing] should be cultivated for cutting off (discursive) thinking; the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now."

Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:

Trivial thoughts, subtle thoughts,
Mental jerkings that follow one along: [TB: when followed, stir up the heart]
Not understanding these mental thoughts,
One runs back and forth with wandering mind.

But having known these mental thoughts,
The ardent and mindful one restrains them.
An awakened one has entirely abandoned them,
These mental jerkings that follow one along."

Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:33 pm

Greetings!

I'm thinking that Right resolve/thoughts for the mundane path probably include:

Step 1: striving for the culmination of intention/thoughts of non-unrighteous greed/non-covetousness (not covet for material or immaterial gain that is not entitled to oneself, practice dana and caga), non-ill will [practice metta], non-cruelty [practice karuna]

Step 2: striving for intention/thoughts of non-sensual desire [practice foulness], non-hostility/non-anger & non-harming [practice metta, karuna, and upekkha and mindfulness of breathing to remain calm for yoniso manasikara]

Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:33 am

Greetings!

The sequence for cultivating Right Resolve/Thinking is actually in the following sutta:

AN 3.102 (The goldsmith): mainly from http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/angu ... 3-102.html (with some changes)

In the same way [as purifying gold], there are these gross impurities in a monk intent on heightened mind: misconduct in body, misconduct in speech, & misconduct in mind [unrighteous greed/covetousness, ill will, wrong views (of the law of karma)]. These [Ten unwholesome deeds] the monk — aware & able by nature — abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence [so that they will not rise again].
-- Step 1. Cultivate right thinking of non-unrighteous greed/non-covetousness, non-ill will, non-wrong views (of the law of karma), and right action/speech. It seems to me that the sequence for purification here should probably be abandoning misconduct in mind first, and then misconduct in speech and action.

When he is rid of them, there remain in him the moderate impurities [of mind]: thoughts of sensuality (due to liking), thoughts of hostility/hatred (due to disliking), & harming. These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence.
-- Step 2. Cultivate right thinking of non-sensuality, non-hostility (the moderate impurity here should not be the same as the gross impurity of ill will), and non-harming.

When he is rid of them, there remain in him the fine impurities: thoughts of his caste [greed for status], thoughts of his home district, thoughts related to not wanting to be despised [aversion]. These [the eight worldly winds] he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence.
[b]-- Step 3. Cultivate right thinking of non-greed for fame/honor, gain, praise, mental pleasure, and non-aversion to defame/dishonor, loss, censure, and mental pain.
[/b]

When he is rid of them, there remain only thoughts of the Dhamma. His concentration is neither calm nor refined, it has not yet attained serenity or unity, and is kept in place by the fabrication of forceful restraint. But there comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, grows unified & concentrated. His concentration is calm & refined, has attained serenity & unity, and is no longer kept in place by the fabrication of forceful restraint.

And then whichever of the higher knowledges he turns his mind to know & realize, he can witness them for himself whenever there is an opening [penetration?]."
[Another translation: "Then to whatever realization of knowledge the mind is bent, mindfulness in that sphere becomes the eyewitness."
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html]

"And how is one made pure in three ways by mental action? There is the case where a certain person is not covetous. He does not covet the belongings of others, thinking, 'O, that what belongs to others would be mine!' He bears no ill will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart. [He thinks,] 'May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!' He has right view and is not warped in the way he sees things: 'There is what is given, what is offered [small-scale offer?], what is sacrificed [large-scale offer?]. 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.' This is how one is made pure in three ways by mental action."

— AN 10.176

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby Zom » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:25 am

As I see it, "Samma Sankappa" translation as "Right Thinking" is inaccurate and confusing. There are suttas where "sankappas" go first and after that "vitakkas" (thoughts) appear. So the best translation is "Right Aspiration". These are just vectors of the mind - three good/right vectors: that is, mind inclined to compassion, goodwill, renunciation; or three bad/wrong vectors (if we speak about Wrong Sankappas): ill-will, doing harm, sensuality.

When the mind is thus directed going along these or those vectors (2nd path factor), one speaks this or that way (3rd factor), one does these or those deeds (4th factor), and has this or that livelihood (5th factor).

The thing is, you don't have to "think a lot" on the themes of 2nd path factor, but you have to incline your mind according those themes, even if you do not think about these things at all. This is how the factor is developed.
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Re: Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?

Postby starter » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:50 pm

Hello Zom,

Thanks for your input. I consider intention/resolve as the first part of thinking, not separate from thinking. I agree with Ven. Bodhi that purposeful thinking equals to sankappa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmsdRXm2Y10).

Furthermore, I found the following information on the Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary about Sankappa:

"Sankappa [saŋ+kḷp, cp. kappeti fig. meaning] thought, intention, purpose, plan D iii.215; S ii.143 sq.; A i.281; ii.36; Dh 74; Sn 154, 1144; Nd1

As equivalent of vitakka also at D iii.215; A iv.385; Dhs 7.

sammā˚ right thoughts or intentions, one of the angas of the 8-fold Path (ariya -- magga) Vin i.10; D ii.312; A iii.140; VbhA 117. Sankappa is defd at DhsA 124 as (cetaso) abhiniropanā, i. e. application of the mind."

Here is the Buddha's definition of samma sankappa:
"And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensual desire*, on malevonance/ill will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve. And what is right resolve? Being resolved on non-sensuality, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve." — SN 45.8

I believe that we need to practice right thinking in order to enter into right resolve and keep our resolve on non-sensuality, non-ill will, and non-harming, even though such a practice also contains right view, right effort and right mindfulness, which are inseparable from right effort and right mindfulness:

"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong resolve as wrong resolve, and right resolve as right resolve. And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve...

"One makes an effort for the abandoning of wrong resolve & for entering right resolve: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right resolve.
(MN 117)

As mentioned in my earlier post, "it's easy to think that we have possessed right intention, but have actually not possessed right thinking at all. Right thinking is the foundation of right speech, right action and right livelihood." Only intention is not enough. I believe that we need to practice right resolve/thinking as taught by the Buddha in SN 45.8, AN 3.102, AN 10.176, AN 9.41, MN19, MN 20, and Iti 4.11.

Nevertheless, I'd propose to translate sankappa as both: right resolve/thinking, as I did in most of my recent posts. I feel the translation "right aspiration" might cause confusion with "right effort", the 6th path factor.

I'd appreciate more input on this often overlooked path factor. Metta to all!

Starter

PS 1. *kāmacchanda (sensual desires; mundane desires) should include the desire of six senses to my understanding, to distinguish from the non-sense/noble desire for liberation. It should include:

1) unrighteous greed/covetousness (for what's other's or not entitled to oneself)
2) desire of body (five senses)
3) desire of mind (the sixth sense) for mundane mental pleasures (eight worldly winds)


"In all enumerations of obstacles to perfection, or of general divisions and definitions of mental conditions, kāma (kāmacchanda) occupies the leading position. It is the first of the five hindrances (nīvaraṇāni), the three esanās (longings), the four upādānas (attachments), the four oghas (floods of worldly turbulence), the four āsavas (intoxicants of mind), the three taṇhās, the four yogas ..." (from the Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary).

PS 2. I think that Nikkāma instead of nekkhamma should be used for the 2nd path factor.
"Nikkāma (adj.) [Sk. niṣkāma, nis+kāma] without craving or lust, desireless". This meaning is in accordance with the Chinese agama translation: 不欲

In summary, the cultivation of the second path factor for the mundane path should probably start from non-unrighteous greed/non-covetousness, instead of right from non-bodily desire, and end with non-household mental desire (which should also be included in the cultivation for the suppression of the first of the five hindrances). And it should probably include non-malevonance/non-hatred in addition to non-ill will, but should start from non-ill will.
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:51 am

I think that an important part of developing right thinking is to search out our own individual biases and prejudices.

Example observation WITH personal bias: "I think I'll keep reading here at Dhammawheel for another hour because it is fun and satisfying and good for me."

Example observed WITHOUT bias: "I want to read here at Dhammawheel for another hour because I want to avoid doing my work."

This kind of thing in endless variations occurs in my life all too often......and I don't just mean Internet use.....think of all the things people do to avoid meditating.....I've known people to do housework to avoid sitting!

People often think these little self deceptions are just part of life and not to be worried about. I think that the deceptions which one sees are just the tip of the iceberg and that iceberg of self deception is a major factor blocking progress.

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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby Hage » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:30 pm

It was interesting that the first post talked about the detachment from beautiful things like snow and sky.

There is a happiness when we see the arising of the Sun or the rain, but if we are not intelligent with this, this happiness won't have much value at all.

I remember of a Dhamma talk of Ajahn Brahm. He says that to overcome dullness we can walk if we like walking, or we can recite mantras if we like. He soon says - "this is not Sensual Desire (Kama Chanda)". Why? Because the intention in using this is beneficial, not just doing these sensual things just for doing.

So, if you are watching the Sun going away, use this happiness and this happy mind with wisdom. Use the phenomenons to remember the 3 characteristics. I don't remember if it was Ajahn Chah or Ayya Khema, but one of them said that we shouldn't just see the beauty in a tree, but also the impermanence in the leaves - some are falling, others are arising.

So, use the happiness of the sensual world, of Loka, to go beyond Loka and to remember the 3 characteristics. On the same way that the good condiciotiong leads to the Unconditioned, the simple happiness that we can use to perceive the Impermanence with contentment and detachment can lead us to the happiness that doesn't die.
If you really see uncertainty clearly, you will see that which is certain. The certainty is that things must inevitably be uncertain and that they cannot be otherwise. [...] If you know that all things are impermanent, all your thinking will gradually unwind and you won’t need to think too much. Whenever anything arises, all you need to say is "Oh, another one!" Just that! - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby starter » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:00 pm

Greetings!

I've attempted to translate the following teaching in Dhammapada based on my personal understanding:

1. Yamakavagga: Pairs

manopubbaṅgamā dhammā, ~ manoseṭṭhā manomayā,
manasā ce paduṭṭhena ~ bhāsati vā karoti vā,
tato naṁ dukkham-anveti ~ cakkaṁ va vahato padaṁ. [1]

Mind [intentions/thoughts] precedes things [states of verbal/bodily acts, suffering or happiness, ...].
Mind is their chief; they are all produced by mind.
If with a corrupted mind [with malevolent intentions/thoughts]
a person speaks or acts,
suffering follows him
like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

manopubbaïgamà dhammà, manoseññhà manomayà,
manasà ce pasannena bhàsati và karoti và,
tato naü sukham-anveti chàyà va anapàyinã. [2]

Mind [thoughts] precedes things.
Mind is their chief; they are all produced by mind.
If with a pure mind [with pure intentions/thoughts]
a person speaks or acts,
happiness follows him
like his never-departing shadow.

To my understanding, the above teaching suggests that right resolve/thinking should be practiced before right speech/conduct.

The following is not really the Buddha's teaching, but is considered to have derived from his teaching:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words;
watch your words, for they become actions;
watch your actions, for they become habits;
watch your habits, for they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

This saying further suggests the sequence of practice: right resolve/thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood.

Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:23 am

starter wrote:To my understanding, the above teaching suggests that right resolve/thinking should be practiced before right speech/conduct.


The relationship between the path factors is not described in the suttas as so purely linear, but incorporates feedback loops. The presence of these feedback loops seems to suggest that practicing all eight factors to the best of one's ability will then deepen the understanding and appreciation for the various path factors and allow improved progress in practice.

For example, looking at MN 117, right mindfulness and right effort play an important part in developing right resolve, and yet right resolve in turn develops factors that bring about right mindfulness and right effort.

MN 117: Maha-cattarisaka Sutta wrote:One makes an effort for the abandoning of wrong resolve & for entering right resolve: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right resolve.
...
In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration...


Similarly, other suttas describe being wholly accomplished in virtue (right speech/action/livelihood) and even wholly accomplished in concentration (right effort/mindfulness/concentration) while only being moderately accomplished in discernment (right view/resolve). Elsewhere, seeing things as they actually are and disenchantment (discernment) is described as a natural consequence of a concentrated mind (concentration) which is a natural result of virtue.

AN 3.86: Sekhin Sutta wrote:There is the case where a monk is wholly accomplished in virtue, moderately accomplished in concentration, and moderately accomplished in discernment.
...
There is the case where a monk is wholly accomplished in virtue, wholly accomplished in concentration, and moderately accomplished in discernment.


MN 44: Culavedalla Sutta wrote:Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment.


AN 11.2: Cetana Sutta wrote:It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.
...
It is in the nature of things that a person whose mind is concentrated knows & sees things as they actually are.
...
It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.


It's also worth noting that when the step-by-step approach to teaching the Dhamma is described, virtue (right speech/action/livelihood) comes before the drawbacks of sensuality and rewards of renunciation (contributing to right resolve). The four noble truths which contain the eightfold path are then described only after both of these.

Ud 5.3: Kuṭṭhi Sutta wrote:he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when the Blessed One knew that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elevated, & clear, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path.
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby santa100 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:56 am

starter wrote:This saying further suggests the sequence of practice: right resolve/thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood.

Refer to this similar thread: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20103&p=281705#p281705
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby starter » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:46 am

Hi culaavuso, santa100, and other friends,

Please see the following thread for the further discussion on the sequence of the practice, which I feel fit in the thread "The Buddha's path to liberation" better:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 07#p282207

Thanks for your input and mega metta!

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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby starter » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:28 pm

I'd like to share with friends my updated understanding of the practice of samma sankappa as a component of the N8P after listening to the following teaching in MN 2:

"What taints, bhikkhus, should be abandoned by removing? Here a bhikkhu, reflecting wisely, does not tolerate an arisen thought of sensual desire; he abandons it, removes it, does away with it, and annihilates it. He does not tolerate an arisen thought of ill will…He does not tolerate an arisen thought of cruelty…He does not tolerate arisen evil unwholesome states; he abandons them, removes them, does away with them, and annihilates them. While taints, vexation, and fever might arise in one who does not remove these thoughts, there are no taints, vexation, or fever in one who removes them. These are called the taints that should be abandoned by removing."

In MN19 the Buddha only taught us to apply the second method mentioned in MN 20 for removing unwholesome intentions/thoughts, because this method is the most effective one among the five to lead to true understanding, and thus "does away with them, and annihilates them".

To practice right resolve/thinking, we need to constantly regard (and remind) ourselves as the practitioners seeking the noble goal, set our mind on the right resolves (non-greed, non-ill will, non-harming; 把心摆正), and examine the resolve of our mind from time to time to adjust it and prevent it from slipping back to the mundane desires/resolves.

Metta to all!


PS:

MN 19 Two Kinds of Thought

Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with ill will arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with ill will 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 ill will had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence."

MN 20: The Removal of Distracting Thoughts

"Five things should be reflected on from time to time, by the bhikkhu who is intent on the higher mind [Samadhi] ...
when a bhikkhu is giving attention to some object, and owing to that object there arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then when he gives attention to some other object connected with what is wholesome, any such evil unwholesome thoughts are abandoned in him and subside, and with the abandoning of them his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. When he examines the danger in those thoughts…When he tries to forget those thoughts and does not give attention to them…When he gives attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts…When, with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, he beats down, constrains, and crushes mind with mind, any such evil unwholesome thoughts are abandoned in him…and his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. This bhikkhu is then called a master of the courses of thought. He will think whatever thought he wishes to think and he will not think any thought that he does not wish to think. He has severed craving, flung off the fetters, and with the complete penetration of conceit he has made an end of suffering.”
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby starter » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:42 am

Greetings!

To practice right resolve/thinking:

We need to study, "digest", memorize, and recite the suttas on a daily basis if possible, so that we can use right view to guide our practice and make right effort;

We need to keep our noble goal in mind and constantly regard (and remind) ourselves as the practitioners seeking the noble goal, and set/follow the noble standards of practitioners;

We need to generate the desire and establish the habit to always reflect and look inward to cultivate ourselves, instead of searching outside for fault finding with others or getting lost in mundane pursuits;

We need to set our mind on the right resolves (non-greed, non-ill will, non-harming; 把心摆正), and constantly examine the resolve and thoughts of our mind to adjust it and prevent it from slipping back to the mundane desires/resolves;

Once we find wrong resolves/thoughts, we need to be determined to eradicate them as the Buddha did, and constantly remind ourselves to get rid of those habitual ones.


Metta to all!
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Re: Right way to cultivate samma sankappa?

Postby starter » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:58 pm

Greetings!

Here is an updated version of the cultivation of samma sankappa:

To practice right resolve/thinking:

A. We need to study, "digest", memorize, and recite the suttas on a daily basis if possible, so that we can truly learn the true dhamma and firmly establish the right view, and effectively use the right view to guide our daily practice and make the right effort, while having admirable teachers/friends;

B. We need to keep our noble goal in mind and constantly regard (and remind) ourselves as the practitioners seeking the noble goal, and set/follow the noble standards of practitioners instead of the household standards;

C. We need to generate the desire and establish the habit of always reflecting and looking inward to cultivate ourselves, instead of searching outside for fault finding with others or getting lost in household pursuits;

D. We need to set our mind on the right resolves -- 把心摆正:
1) non-unrighteous greed/non-covetousness (not covet for material or immaterial gain that is other's or not entitled to oneself, practice dana and caga), non-ill will (practice metta), non-wrong view of the law of kamma (for the practice of yoniso manasikara to the law of kamma see the 09/12/2014 thread "Yoniso manasikara: the suttas and the practice" viewtopic.php?f=41&t=11734&p=310690#p310690); non-wrong view should be practiced until the sense of shame and fear of wrong doing are consistently present, which is needed for the perfection of sila.

2) non-bodily and then non-mental sensual desire, non-hatred/non-malevonence, non-cruelty/non-harming), and constantly examine the resolve and thoughts of our mind to adjust it and prevent it from slipping back to the household desires/resolves (for more details see the previous posts of this thread);

E. Once we find wrong resolves/thoughts, we need to be determined to eradicate them as the Buddha did, and constantly remind ourselves to get rid of those habitual ones.[/color]

Your comments and corrections would be appreciated. Thanks and Metta!
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