Awareness in the Theravāda

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:27 pm

Surely ultimate reality, things as they are, whatever, is capable of dealing with and holding this kind of paradox seamlessly. Why must we approach it with dogmatic preconceptions? Arent fixed views one of the fetters?
Isnt it better just to do ones practice and to try to avoid this kind of debate? If you want to know the truth, practice.
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby pegembara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:38 am

Some quotes from Ajahn Sumedho.

Learn how to trust and rest in this state of pure knowing: It is like this. It can't be any other way. You need mindfulness (sati) to keep remembering this state and returning to it. This stillness of the mind is non-critical, non-judgemental. It's an intuitive, direct knowing, it's not analytical. This is called nanadassana, or insight knowledge.

Discussing 'Transcendental Dependent Arising' (suffering --> faith --> gladness --> rapture --> calmness --> happiness --> concentration --> knowing and seeing things as they are --> disenchantment --> dispassion --> liberation --> destruction of the effluents): It begins with positive states like 'gladness' and 'happiness', so you would expect it to get better and better, but then it goes to ... disenchantment, or nibbida. It's like when you see some children playing on the sand, with buckets and spades, building sand castles and roads and bridges. I used to play like that when I was young! But then as you get older and you see small children playing in this way, you are no longer interested in it, you become disenchanted with it. And then dispassion arises, you can no longer get involved in the quarrelling and disputes among the children on the playground. You see society, people around you, getting upset and obsessed by such unimportant, trivial things.... That's how the arahant sees the world. And that's liberation.

In meditation we are breaking down the illusion that the mind is in the brain. Actually, the brain -- and the whole body -- is in the mind! The brain is more like a radio receiver. Each of us is a separate conscious entity in the universe. We all see the world from here. Consciousness is like light which makes things visible. Each of us is the centre of the universe, the centre of the mandala. That's why we are ultimately alone. Nobody can help you do this practice, it's only up to you.

If one is looking for perfection in a Buddhist teacher or in a Buddhist tradition, one will be greatly disillusioned by it. If one looks for perfection in anyone, or in the perfection of one's own body and the conditions of one's mind... it is not possible! One cannot force the mind to think only good thoughts, or to be always compassionate and kind, without giving rise to even an impulse of aversion or anger.

The mind is like a mirror -- it reflects. So the wise man knows the reflections as reflections, and not as self. Reflections do not harm the mirror at all. The mirror can reflect the filthiest conditions and not be dirtied by it. And the reflections change. They are not permanent.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby rohana » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:59 am

The question is, how does one differentiate that kind of teaching from this:

    Watch yourself closely and you will see that whatever be the content of consciousness, the witnessing of it does not depend on the content. Awareness is itself and does not change with the event. The event may be pleasant or unpleasant, minor or important, awareness is the same. Take note of the peculiar nature of pure awareness, its natural self-identity, without the least trace of self-consciousness, and go to the root of it and you will soon realize that awareness is your true nature, and nothing you may be aware of, you can call your own. When the content is viewed without likes and dislikes, the consciousness of it is awareness. But still there is a difference between awareness as reflected in consciousness and pure awareness beyond consciousness. Reflected awareness, the sense 'I am aware' is the witness, while pure awareness is the essence of reality.
    - Nisargadatta Mahārāj

    "After the initiation, 'the naked one' began to teach me Advaita Vedanta and asked me to withdraw the mind completely and dive into the atman. I had no difficulty in withdrawing from all objects except one, this was the all-too-familiar form of the Blissful Mother—radiant and of the essence of Pure Consciousness—which appeared before me as a living reality and would not allow me to pass beyond the realm of name and form."

    "In despair I said to 'the naked one', 'It is hopeless. I cannot raise my mind to the unconditioned state and come face to face with the atman.' She sharply said: 'You can't do it! But you have to.' She cast her eyes around for something, and finding a piece of glass, took it up, and pressing its point between my eyebrows, said: 'Concentrate your mind on this point.'"

    "With stern determination I again sat to meditate, and as soon as the Divine Mother appeared, I used my discrimination as a sword and with it severed it into two. There remained no more obstruction to my mind, which at once soared beyond the relative plane, and I lost myself in samadhi."
    - Paramahaṃsa Rāmakrishna

If you look carefully, you can see the formless realms in action(I suspect). But when couched in vague terminology, it can be quite confusing.

:shrug:
"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:15 am

Aloka wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:he tends to make up his own vocabulary and his use of language is at times very imprecise.

That seems to me to be an extremely sweeping and judgemental statement to make. How many of Ajahn Sumedho's talks and retreats have you actually attended ?

I don't think that the observation that Ajahn Sumedho has his own particular slant on the Dhamma and use of language is necessarily a judgemental statement. The same could be said of many students of Ajahn Chah and bhikkhus from the other Thai Forest groups, such as Vens Maha Bua, Thanissaro, etc.

I think that "problems" can appear when someone takes Dhamma talks designed to inspire and motivate listeners in their practice and reads (and criticises) them as if they were carefully constructed scholastic tomes.

[Of course, blatant nonsense about Dhamma should be called to account, but I don't think that Ajahn Sumedho is in that category!]

:anjali:
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:26 am

Like morlock, I try to focus on the practice and not worry about any 'ultimate positions" - 'is there this pure awareness or not?', 'what is the nature of the awakened consciousness of the arahat', etc. I guess it is always important to keep pressing on and not pitch a tent in the base camp thinking one's at the top. Assuming there is the top, that is, but perhaps even that is best not to hold to too tightly.
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby Aloka » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:02 am

pegembara wrote:Some quotes from Ajahn Sumedho.....



Could you provide the sources of your quotes, please pegembara ?

:anjali:
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby pegembara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:07 am

Aloka wrote:
pegembara wrote:Some quotes from Ajahn Sumedho.....



Could you provide the sources of your quotes, please pegembara ?

:anjali:


Here you go.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn ... viewed.htm

https://sites.google.com/site/gavesako/ ... hn-sumedho

http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/asint2.htm
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Awareness in the Theravāda

Postby Aloka » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:45 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Surely ultimate reality, things as they are, whatever, is capable of dealing with and holding this kind of paradox seamlessly. Why must we approach it with dogmatic preconceptions? Arent fixed views one of the fetters?
Isnt it better just to do ones practice and to try to avoid this kind of debate? If you want to know the truth, practice.



I am reminded of an excellent talk by Ajahn Sumedho which I went to about 3 years ago, its called "Who needs enlightenment when I have my opinions ?"

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewTalk.php?id=639

Kind regards,

Aloka :)
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