The greater the anger and desire...

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The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:09 pm

...the greater is the wisdom and compassion, when they are "conquered"?

I recall a sutta which spoke of how anger becomes wisdom and desire become compassion, when their true nature is seen through insight (my recollection - perhaps someone has a ready reference?).

I also recall Ajahn Chah when asked how it happened that he was such an enlightened monk, replied "Because I had such great defilements." Turns out he was an extremely lustful young monk. And apparently once after an extended retreat to tackle just this problem, when a young and fully clothed village girl brought him some dana, he got aroused from just seeing her feet (again my recollection may be dodgy, but the point stands, I think).

So those of us who are prone to anger and desire (anyone? :? ) we can rejoice in that we have great fuel for wisdom and compassion. I also recall a Rinzai Zen teacher Myokyo-Ni (of Zen Centre in London) write that the Buddha-nature is passions and passions are the Buddha-nature (when seen for what they truly are).

I see all this not as a license to indulge anger and desire of course (both Ajahn Chah and Myokyo-Ni are explicit about that) but to redeem them as misunderstanding or a misdirected energy, rather than thoroughly bad and rejoice in the energy that fuels them, especially as we begin to see the source of this misdirection.

Any thoughts?

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PS If the mods feel it more appropriate, please move this topic to the Dhammic Free-for-all forum.
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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:28 am

Interesting topic but I dont see how refernces to " Buddha Nature" shed any light in a discussion in the " General Theravada" forum.
Sometimes I get the feeling that a game is being played to test limits.
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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby kayy » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:40 am

That's interesting.

I've not read anything about this idea, but I've often sensed that in moments of the most intense suffering, there is the greatest opportunity for happiness. To re-iterate, this is not a call to indulge your anger, desire and suffer more...
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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:02 am

kayy wrote:That's interesting.

I've not read anything about this idea, but I've often sensed that in moments of the most intense suffering, there is the greatest opportunity for happiness. To re-iterate, this is not a call to indulge your anger, desire and suffer more...

(emphasis added)
This is highly doubtful!
from my own experience during these times there is nothing to be happy about let alone opportunity for happiness. looking at the suttas the Buddha moved away from the self inflicted extreme practices because they weren't conductive. and talks with Ajahns, insight didn't arise [to any great degree] during strict hard practice.

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:16 am

hi Dan,
I don't have a reference, and I would say from my experience that it wasn't when the defilements were raging that the insights occured, but after they had settled to some degree, either levelled off and a sort of 'gotten used to the suffering happends, or calmed down.

Insight can happen before calm, and calm can happen before insight, but I highly doubt it would be refering to full blown Hell on Earth when there is nothing but the end of a knife to hope for.



Dan74 wrote:...the greater is the wisdom and compassion, when they are "conquered"?

I recall a sutta which spoke of how anger becomes wisdom and desire become compassion, when their true nature is seen through insight (my recollection - perhaps someone has a ready reference?).

I also recall Ajahn Chah when asked how it happened that he was such an enlightened monk, replied "Because I had such great defilements." Turns out he was an extremely lustful young monk. And apparently once after an extended retreat to tackle just this problem, when a young and fully clothed village girl brought him some dana, he got aroused from just seeing her feet (again my recollection may be dodgy, but the point stands, I think).

So those of us who are prone to anger and desire (anyone? :? ) we can rejoice in that we have great fuel for wisdom and compassion. I also recall a Rinzai Zen teacher Myokyo-Ni (of Zen Centre in London) write that the Buddha-nature is passions and passions are the Buddha-nature (when seen for what they truly are).

I see all this not as a license to indulge anger and desire of course (both Ajahn Chah and Myokyo-Ni are explicit about that) but to redeem them as misunderstanding or a misdirected energy, rather than thoroughly bad and rejoice in the energy that fuels them, especially as we begin to see the source of this misdirection.

Any thoughts?

_/|\_

PS If the mods feel it more appropriate, please move this topic to the Dhammic Free-for-all forum.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:18 pm

Dan74 wrote:...the greater is the wisdom and compassion, when they are "conquered"?

I recall a sutta which spoke of how anger becomes wisdom and desire become compassion, when their true nature is seen through insight (my recollection - perhaps someone has a ready reference?).
I would be very interested in reading such a Pali text, though I kind of doubt it exists.

I also recall Ajahn Chah when asked how it happened that he was such an enlightened monk, replied "Because I had such great defilements."
We all have great defilements. The Buddha said we are characterized by greed, hatred and delusion. Do a few long term retreats and a lot of practice in between, one gets to see that the Buddha meant GREED, HATRED, AND DELUSION.

So those of us who are prone to anger and desire (anyone?) we can rejoice in that we have great fuel for wisdom and compassion. I also recall a Rinzai Zen teacher Myokyo-Ni (of Zen Centre in London) write that the Buddha-nature is passions and passions are the Buddha-nature (when seen for what they truly are).
Buddha nature is an unnecessary doctrine, given that it has no singular meaning and tends towards a self sort of thingie. It is better stated that all conditioned dhammas are characterized by anicca, dukkha, and anatta.

I see all this not as a license to indulge anger and desire of course (both Ajahn Chah and Myokyo-Ni are explicit about that) but to redeem them as misunderstanding or a misdirected energy, rather than thoroughly bad and rejoice in the energy that fuels them, especially as we begin to see the source of this misdirection.
There is a problem with the "already enlightened" notion that often accompanies the buddha-nature notion, it seems to give such license.

As for the energy that fuels them, sure; however, I would be interested how you think that is done.
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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Dan74 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:...the greater is the wisdom and compassion, when they are "conquered"?

I recall a sutta which spoke of how anger becomes wisdom and desire become compassion, when their true nature is seen through insight (my recollection - perhaps someone has a ready reference?).
I would be very interested in reading such a Pali text, though I kind of doubt it exists.


I dug around and found that I was thinking of The Path to Purity by Buddhaghosa. More precisely he says (in E. Conze's translation):

Those who act from faith are akin to those who act from greed: for in people who are dominated by greed faith is bound to be strong at the time when they act in a wholesome way[...] As greed seeks out the objects of sense-desire, so faith the virtues of morality, and so on. [...]

Those who act from intelligence are akin to those who act from hate: for in people who are dominated by hate wisdom is bound to be strong at the time when they act in wholesome ways, because its qualities are similar to those of hate; as on the unwholesome plane hatred does not cling, does not stick to its object, so wisdom on the wholesome plane. As hate seeks for faults, even though they do not exist, so wisdom seeks for the faults that do exist. As hate leads to the rejection of beings, so wisdom to that of all conditioned things.


tilt wrote:As for the energy that fuels them, sure; however, I would be interested how you think that is done.


That may be something for a Dhammic Free-for-all forum or a PM if you are interested. There have already been people unhappy with me posting in this forum so I'd rather not cause any more aggravation.

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:51 pm

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:...the greater is the wisdom and compassion, when they are "conquered"?

I recall a sutta which spoke of how anger becomes wisdom and desire become compassion, when their true nature is seen through insight (my recollection - perhaps someone has a ready reference?).
I would be very interested in reading such a Pali text, though I kind of doubt it exists.
It did not sound as if it were a sutta.

I dug around and found that I was thinking of The Path to Purity by Buddhaghosa. More precisely he says (in E. Conze's translation):

Those who act from faith are akin to those who act from greed: for in people who are dominated by greed faith is bound to be strong at the time when they act in a wholesome way[...] As greed seeks out the objects of sense-desire, so faith the virtues of morality, and so on. [...]

Those who act from intelligence are akin to those who act from hate: for in people who are dominated by hate wisdom is bound to be strong at the time when they act in wholesome ways, because its qualities are similar to those of hate; as on the unwholesome plane hatred does not cling, does not stick to its object, so wisdom on the wholesome plane. As hate seeks for faults, even though they do not exist, so wisdom seeks for the faults that do exist. As hate leads to the rejection of beings, so wisdom to that of all conditioned things.
Good old Buddhaghosa. Which Conze book? I am sure he gives a citation of where in the PP this passage is found.

tilt wrote:As for the energy that fuels them, sure; however, I would be interested how you think that is done.


That may be something for a Dhammic Free-for-all forum or a PM if you are interested. There have already been people unhappy with me posting in this forum so I'd rather not cause any more aggravation.[/quote]The free-for-all would be good.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Dan74 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:00 pm

It was the humble Buddhist Scriptures, selected and translated by Edward Conze and printed by Penguin which I had evidently picked up for $2.50 many moons ago (p.116: The Six Types of persons).

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:00 pm

Hi Dan,

Thanks, I recall that passage, but perhaps you can give us the exact reference (at least the chapter) so we can find it and read around it.

I still don't quite see how you get "anger becomes wisdom and desire become compassion , when their true nature is seen through insight" from the Buddhagosa quote.

He does have hate (anger) related to wisdom but desire related to faith, not compassion... And I can't see where your phrase about "true nature seen through insight" comes from. As far as I can remember, he's talking about the tendencies of various types of individuals.

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:32 am

You are quite right, Mike. As it turns out what I said above is more my take than Buddhaghosa's. But I think it is still basically in line with what he is saying and with basic Dhamma, since "acting in a wholesome way" is what happens when we have insight into their true nature, i.e. recognizing that anger and greed cause unhappiness to ourselves and others and stem from a basic delusion. In a sense the energy is then liberated, since these unskillful expressions are seen for what they are.

As regards the exact reference, I don't think I can give more than I gave above since it is a collection of excerpts. In this passage he talks more about what kinds of meditation are suitable for individuals of different types. I don't have the book in front of me now and will have another look if the exact reference is listed at the back when I am back home later on today.

Also "faith" is what he related to moral virtue and compassion is the foremost of them, is it not?

(Yes my recollection of material is not exactly photographic, is it?)

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:13 am

Hi Dan,

The reference is Visuddhimagga Chapter III, paragraphs 74-77 (Nanamoli translation). That covers the basic temperaments. Then there are a few pages of discussion, which I'll read later...
Dan74 wrote:Also "faith" is what he related to moral virtue and compassion is the foremost of them, is it not?

I don't see the direct connection between saddha (faith or confidence) and moral virtue. They seem to me to be different attributes. Can you explain your reasoning?

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:06 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Dan,

The reference is Visuddhimagga Chapter III, paragraphs 74-77 (Nanamoli translation). That covers the basic temperaments. Then there are a few pages of discussion, which I'll read later...
Dan74 wrote:Also "faith" is what he related to moral virtue and compassion is the foremost of them, is it not?

I don't see the direct connection between saddha (faith or confidence) and moral virtue. They seem to me to be different attributes. Can you explain your reasoning?

Metta
Mike


Buddhaghosa says "As greed seeks out the objects of sense-desire, so faith the virtues of morality" as quoted above. Perhaps he meant that moral virtues would be something for the greedy type to hold on to, to possess, a wish-fulfilling jewel, so to speak.

My take would be that a person whose predominant taint is desire and greed and who therefore tends to suffer from not being satisfied upon awakening feels compassion for the dissatisfaction of others, their "neediness" since he was so familiar with this feeling.

I am not completely sold on this whole idea, but the point of the OP was to take a somewhat positive slant on the "bad guys", greed and anger. Seeing them as enemies, we are in danger of trying to split them off and reify them as "those nasty habits" and not us. Psychologically this gives them a lot of energy and makes it a losing battle. Rather we could perceive them as fuel for enlightenment which when not indulged in, releases a great deal of energy for practice and insight. Something to hold firmly in awareness like disobedient kids, it settles them a lot better than a clash of egos - trying to control, suppress, etc.

Now I am in trouble... (where that paper bag smilie when you need it??)

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:20 am

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the explanation. It makes some sense but I'll have think about it some more...

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Re: The greater the anger and desire...

Postby fig tree » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:19 am

Ven. Ñaṇamoli's translation of Buddhaghosa wrote:Herein, one of faithful temperament is parallel to one of greedy temperament because faith is strong when profitable [kamma] occurs in one of greedy temperament, owing to its special qualities being near to those of greed. For, in an unprofitable way, greed is affectionate and not over-austere, and so, in a profitable way, is faith. Greed seeks out sense desires as object, while faith seeks out the special qualities of virtue and so on. And greed does not give up what is harmful, while faith does not give up what is beneficial.

One of intelligent temperament is parallel to one of hating temperament because understanding is strong when profitable [kamma] occurs in one of hating temperament, owing to its special qualities being near to those of hate. For, in an unprofitable way, hate is disaffected and does not hold to its object, and so, in a profitable way, in understanding. Hate seeks out only unreal faults, while understanding seeks out only real faults. And hate occurs in the mode of condemning living beings, while understanding occurs in the mode of condemning formations.

One of speculative temperament is parallel to one of deluded temperament because obstructive applied thoughts arise often in one of deluded temperament who is striving to arouse unarisen profitable states, owing to their special qualities being near to those of delusion. For just as delusion is restless owing to perplexity, so are applied thoughts that are due to thinking over various aspects. And just as delusion vacillates owing to superficiality, so do applied thoughts that are due to facile conjecturing.

Is it me, or does the speculative temperament seem to get somewhat short shrift here? I seem to remember the third relatively virtuous type described as the equanimous temperament elsewhere.

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