Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

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Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:37 am

I would like to explore approaches to developing the 7 factors of enlightenment.

I think the first 3 factors are self-evident, but how are the other 4 factors to be developed? Is it by developing jhana, or are there other methods?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby daverupa » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:58 am

SN 46.53 wrote:"Now, on any occasion when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, persistence as a factor for awakening, rapture as a factor for awakening. Why is that? The sluggish mind is easy to raise up by those mental qualities.

..."Now, on occasions when the mind is restless, that is the right time to develop calm as a factor for awakening, concentration as a factor for awakening, equanimity as a factor for awakening. Why is that? The restless mind is easy to still with those mental qualities.


---

Jhana is essential, as I understand things.

I tend to think that satipatthana, as the awakening factor that's always useful, means that anapanasati is also always useful - not while driving or anything, but as a seated meditation method for all occasions.

There are definitely ways to balance the awakening factors against the theme of one's own mind as one engages with the Samadhi aspects of the Path over time. So, what does it look like to 'do' satipatthana/anapanasati with one or another emphasis, as in the sutta above, in one's own case? That might be a useful question to pursue.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Aloka » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:42 pm

.

There's a booklet by Ajahn Thirodhammo called "Contemplations on the Seven Factors of Awakening".

Excerpt from the introduction:

"My intention is to give some basic information about the Factors based upon the teachings in the Pali Canon, the scriptures of the Theravada school of Buddhism,to readers ranging from complete beginners to experienced meditators, including guidance on how to develop these important spiritual qualities. Thus this is a series of meditative contemplations to help support a direct experience of the Factors.
I have therefore tended to emphasize certain aspects of particular Factors, for example, acknowledging natural energy rather than only willpower,making Awakening more accessible rather than explaining the ‘higher stages’, etc. I have included a suggested meditation at the beginning of each chapter to encourage a meditative enquiry."

https://tisarana.ca/download/books/pdf/Contemplations%20on%20the%20Seven%20Factors%20of%20Awakening%20-%20Ajahn%20Thiradhammo.pdf


.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby santa100 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:36 pm

Vism IV.51 (starting on page 126) has info. on how and when to develop the factors..
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby SDC » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:49 pm

Excellent talk. Only 9:31 in length.

Seven Factors of Enlightenment
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby culaavuso » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:42 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:I think the first 3 factors are self-evident, but how are the other 4 factors to be developed? Is it by developing jhana, or are there other methods?


The last four factors are described as "associated with jhāna" in Wings to Awakening by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

Wings to Awakening (II G) by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This point is reflected in the position of mindfulness — defined as the practice of any one of the four frames of reference — as the first factor in the list. Discernment, in the role of the analysis of mental qualities into skillful and unskillful, builds on right mindfulness and leads to persistence, which in the form of right effort/exertion maximizes the skillful qualities and minimizes the unskillful ones. This in turn leads to four factors associated with jhāna: rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity. Equanimity, here, is not a neutral feeling, but rather a balancing or moderation — an evenness of mind — with regard to any feeling or object that arises. It is identical with the equanimity in the fourth jhāna [§149] and with the inherent equanimity in the fifth factor of five-factored noble concentration [§150], which can develop out of any of the four jhanas.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby fivebells » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:17 pm

The Food Sutta has a lot of fairly specific information about developing the factors of awakening and abandoning the hindrances.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby daverupa » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:23 pm

fivebells wrote:The Food Sutta has a lot of fairly specific information about developing the factors of awakening and abandoning the hindrances.


This is a very nice sutta. Paying close attention to these various general guidelines is a key aspect of developing the proper method in one's own case. We might want to quickly discuss 'appropriate attention' since it occurs a lot in that sutta.

I think yoniso manasikara can be well understood by looking at the roots for the term 'yoniso'; Pali experts can chime in here, but I think the sense is something about origins or sources. In short, I think 'appropriate' means examination in terms of conditionality; and giving attention to the conditions for the awakening factors in one's own case is part of the skill of bhavana.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:21 am

santa100 wrote:Vism IV.51 (starting on page 126) has info. on how and when to develop the factors..


Thanks - there seems like a lot of detail in there!
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:23 am

Aloka wrote:.

There's a booklet by Ajahn Thirodhammo called "Contemplations on the Seven Factors of Awakening".

.


Thanks, I read that some time ago - I've been meaning to read it again.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:30 am

culaavuso wrote:The last four factors are described as "associated with jhāna" in Wings to Awakening by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

Wings to Awakening (II G) by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:This point is reflected in the position of mindfulness — defined as the practice of any one of the four frames of reference — as the first factor in the list. Discernment, in the role of the analysis of mental qualities into skillful and unskillful, builds on right mindfulness and leads to persistence, which in the form of right effort/exertion maximizes the skillful qualities and minimizes the unskillful ones. This in turn leads to four factors associated with jhāna: rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity. Equanimity, here, is not a neutral feeling, but rather a balancing or moderation — an evenness of mind — with regard to any feeling or object that arises. It is identical with the equanimity in the fourth jhāna [§149] and with the inherent equanimity in the fifth factor of five-factored noble concentration [§150], which can develop out of any of the four jhanas.


Yes, interesting. Though here he seems to considering the second factor more in terms of Right Effort than in terms of developing insight?
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:55 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:Yes, interesting. Though here he seems to considering the second factor more in terms of Right Effort than in terms of developing insight?


The mention of Right Effort seems to be the explanation of the third factor, energy or viriya. The second factor seems to be investigation defined in terms of discernment and appropriate attention on distinguishing skillful from unskillful.

The description is reminiscent of a quote from MN 19

MN 19: Dvedhavitakka Sutta wrote: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?'
...
In the same way I foresaw in unskillful qualities drawbacks, degradation, & defilement, and I foresaw in skillful qualities rewards related to renunciation & promoting cleansing.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Zom » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:18 pm

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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:15 am

culaavuso wrote:The mention of Right Effort seems to be the explanation of the third factor, energy or viriya. The second factor seems to be investigation defined in terms of discernment and appropriate attention on distinguishing skillful from unskillful.


Discernment yes, though I assumed the second factor dhamma vicaya is more about developing insight eg via the 3 characteristics? Distinguishing skillful from unskillful seems more like an aspect of ( prerequisite for? ) Right Effort.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:20 am

daverupa wrote:Jhana is essential, as I understand things.

I tend to think that satipatthana, as the awakening factor that's always useful, means that anapanasati is also always useful - not while driving or anything, but as a seated meditation method for all occasions.


It struck me that one way of looking at the function of the 7 factors is in terms of developing vipassana ( via the first 2 factors ) and developing jhana ( the last 3 factors ). And in terms of the 8-fold path this could be seen as parallel to Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:42 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
daverupa wrote:Jhana is essential, as I understand things.

I tend to think that satipatthana, as the awakening factor that's always useful, means that anapanasati is also always useful - not while driving or anything, but as a seated meditation method for all occasions.


It struck me that one way of looking at the function of the 7 factors is in terms of developing vipassana ( via the first 2 factors ) and developing jhana ( the last 3 factors ). And in terms of the 8-fold path this could be seen as parallel to Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
Here are Joseph Goldstein's discussions of each of the factors in terms of actual practice and the Satipatthana Sutta:

1. Mindfulness (sati)
2. Investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya)
3. Energy (viriya)
4. a. Rapture (piti)
4. b. Rapture (piti)
5. Calm (passaddhi)
6. a. Concentration (samadhi)
6. b. Concentration (samadhi)
7. Equanimity (upekkha)
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:45 am

In the suttas the 7 factors are presented in a particular order. My assumption is that the order isn't of any particular significance, but I'd be interested to hear if there are any different views on this point.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby daverupa » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:19 pm

Some early coffee thoughts.

Judging by SN 46.53, unless we need to say that we're always going to be sluggish (2+3+4) and then restless (5+6) and then equanimous, we have to allow for some non-ordinal interplay between the factors. In a way, it's somewhat akin to the ennobling eightfold Path, whereby the factors have ordinal importance alongside non-ordinal interactions.

I want to translate piti here as 'zest', however; I see this as a factor of engaged-noticing, and therefore as phenomenologically betwixt persistent analysis (2 & 3) and calm composure (5 & 6). This puts 1-mindfulness at the front as always useful, 7-equanimity at the end as jhana, and leaves a dichotomy of factors that looks like this:

2+3 |piti| 5+6

Piti can be due to e.g. either seclusion or composure as jhana factors, or else be simple energetic engagement with the Dhamma. I see 2+3 as vipassana-like, and 5+6 as samatha-like, and see this as another way of framing up bhavana. In one respect both are to be developed, in another respect you need to pick up on the theme of your mind in each case and ensure that you don't run into anxious or drowsy extremes.

The interplay here is complex and intricate, and in my estimation probably comprised a significant portion of the extemporaneous discussions in the forests of the period, just as now.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:29 am

Spiny Norman wrote:In the suttas the 7 factors are presented in a particular order. My assumption is that the order isn't of any particular significance, but I'd be interested to hear if there are any different views on this point.

In the context of 1st jhana, they appear to be supporting factors but i wonder why sukkha is not include in the 7 bojjhangas.
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Re: Developing the 7 factors of enlightenment

Postby SarathW » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:52 am

Hi Barcsimalsi.
See this post:

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=20136#p282192
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