Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby starter » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:23 pm

Hello Friends,

I'd like to discuss with you about the meaning of Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor, since it's very important for our Dhamma practice. Here is my preliminary understanding:

1) Dhamma: the law of nature. Everything is the manifestation of dhamma, hence Dhammas are also translated into phenomena (all “things”, conditioned or unconditioned). I feel the translation of Dhammas into “mind or mental objects” is probably not the best, because such a translation could mislead to feelings/perceptions/thoughts/volitions, which are only part of phenomena, not all.

2) The Dhamma: what was discovered and taught by The Buddha for liberation.

3) The 2nd enlightenment factor (Investigation of Dhammas):
Contemplate, analyze phenomena (e.g. five aggregates and six sense objects) in order to understand THE Dhamma for Liberation (it’s not necessary to understand all the laws of nature). It’s interesting that “dhammas” instead of “Dhamma” is used for this enlightenment factor, which probably suggests that it should not only be the book studies of the Buddha’s teachings, but more the actual application of such studies in the investigation of personal experience (phenomena).

To my immature understanding, the 2nd enlightenment factor doesn’t seem to be just “analysis of (wholesome/unwholesome) qualities/states”, which probably can’t really lead to the full culmination of this enlightenment factor. In addition, it seems necessary to ponder/think about both "The Dhamma" and "Dhammas (e.g. five aggregates, six sense sets ...)" for developing the 2nd enlightenment factor.

Welcome your input.

Starter

PS:

Meanings of the term 'Dhamma': "It could be rendered by Law (cosmic and moral), Norm, Teaching, Doctrine, Scripture, Truth, Nature, practice, method, conduct, causality, etc. But they all tend to fall short of a true definition. ... In addition, it has another set of meanings and is practically always used in this sense in the plural, as mental (and sensory) objects, ideas, things, phenomena, elements, forces, states."
Last edited by starter on Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:20 pm

It doesn't seem to be a topic of meditation that is talked about much, but I personally prefer this type of meditation. Probably since it seems to have pariyatti as a sort of prerequisite.

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... the_Dhamma
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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:00 pm

Hello starter,

DhammaWheel member Bhante Yuttadhammo has written about this on his website:

''To simplify this process, we traditionally separate the experience of reality into four parts.(2) Everything we experience will fit into one of these four categories, and so if we can remember these four, it will allow us to develop a comprehensive and systematic meditative interaction with the world around us. For this reason, it is customary to memorize these for categories before proceeding with the meditation practice. The four categories are:
1. Body – the movements and postures of the body;
2. Feelings – the sensations that exists in the body and in the mind – pain, happiness, calm, etc.;
3. Mind – the thoughts that arise in the mind; thoughts of the past or future, wholesome or unwholesome thoughts;
4. The Dhammas – groups of mental and physical phenomena that are of specific interest to the meditator, including the mental states that cloud one’s awareness, the six senses by which one experiences reality, and many others.(3)

These four, the body, the feelings, the thoughts, and the dhammas are the four foundations of the meditation practice. This set of objects is what we use to create clear awareness of the present moment.

So in regards to the body, we can note every physical movement – when we stretch our arm for example, we can say to ourselves silently in the mind, “stretching”. When we flex it, “flexing”. Or, in noting the postures of the body, when we are sitting still we can say to ourselves, “sitting”. When we walk, we can say to ourselves, “walking”. Whatever position the body is in, we simply recognize that posture for what it is, and whatever movement we make, we simply recognize its essential nature as well, using the mantra to remind ourselves of the state of the body as it is. The body is thus one part of reality that we can use to create a clear awareness of reality.

Next are the feelings that exist in the body and the mind. When we feel pain in the body, we can say to ourselves, “pain”. In this case, we can actually repeat it again and again to ourselves, as “pain … pain … pain”. In this way, instead of allowing anger or aversion to arise in relation to the pain, we are able to remind ourselves that it is merely a sensation that has arisen in the body, coming to see that the pain itself is one thing and our dislike of the pain is another, and that there is really nothing intrinsically “bad” about the pain itself.
When we feel happy, we can acknowledge it in the same way, reminding ourselves of the true nature of the experience, as “happy, happy, happy”. In this way, we are not pushing away the pleasurable sensation, but we are not attaching to it either, and therefore not creating states of addiction, attachment, and craving for happiness. As with the pain, we come to see that the happiness and our liking of it are two different things, and there is nothing intrinsically “good” about the happiness. We see that clinging to the happiness does not make it last longer, but does lead to dissatisfaction and suffering when it is gone.
Likewise, when we feel calm, we can say “calm, calm, calm” and so on, to avoid attachment to peaceful feelings when they arise. Through the practice, we begin to see that the less attachment we have towards peaceful feelings, the more peaceful we actually become.

The third foundation is our thoughts. When we remember events in the past, whether they be events that bring pleasure or suffering, we can say to ourselves, “thinking, thinking”. Instead of letting them becoming something good or something bad, giving rise to attachment or aversion, we simply know them for what they are: thoughts. When we plan or speculate about the future, we likewise simply come to be aware of the fact that we are thinking, instead of liking or disliking or becoming attached to the thoughts, and we thus do not allow fear, worry, or stress to arise.

The fourth foundation contains many groupings of mental and physical phenomena that could be included in the first three foundations, but are better discussed in their respective groups for ease of acknowledgement. I will talk about the six senses in the lesson on practice in daily life. Here, for the benefit of beginner meditators, I will confine the discussion to the first group, the five hindrances to mental clarity. These are all the states that will obstruct our practice – desire, aversion, laziness, distraction, and doubt. These states are not only a hindrance to attaining clarity of mind, but are also a cause for suffering and stress in our daily lives. It is thus in our best interests to work intently on understanding and discarding from our minds these obstructions to peace and happiness, as this is the true purpose of meditation after all.
So when we feel greed, when we want something we don’t have, or are attached to something we do, we simply acknowledge the wanting or the liking for what it is, rather than erroneously translating desire into need, reminding ourselves of the emotion for what it is, “wanting, wanting”, or “liking, liking”. We come to see that both desire and attachment are stressful and a cause for future disappointment when we cannot obtain the things we want or lose the things we love.
When we feel angry, upset by a mental or physical phenomena the has arisen, or disappointed by one that has not; when we are sad, frustrated, bored, scared, depressed, etc., we simply know the emotion for what it is, “angry, angry”, “sad, sad”, etc., and see that we are only causing suffering and stress for ourselves by encouraging these negative emotional states.
When we feel lazy, we can say to ourselves, “lazy, lazy”, and we will find that we suddenly have our natural energy back. When we are distracted, worried or stressed, we can say, “distracted, distracted”, “worried, worried”, or “stressed, stressed”. When we feel doubt, unsure if we can do things we need to do, or are not sure what to do, or are confused, we can say to ourselves “doubting, doubting” or “confused, confused”. ''
http://yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/arti ... editation/


with metta
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby ground » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:18 am

starter wrote:To my immature understanding, the 2nd enlightenment factor doesn’t seem to be just “analysis of (wholesome/unwholesome) qualities/states”, which probably can’t really lead to the full culmination of this enlightenment factor. In addition, it seems necessary to ponder/think about both "The Dhamma" and "Dhammas" for developing the 2nd enlightenment factor.

Welcome your input.

Starter


IMO it may be understood in two ways:
1. active conceptual ("rational") analysis of phenomena (dhammas) in the context of the teachings
2. the discerning wisdom arising from that which is not necessarily full-fledged conceptual but sort of spontaneous sub-conceptual ("intuitive") re-cognition of phenomena that may entail right verbalization in this context


Kind regards
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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby Hanzze » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:53 am

WHY DHAMMA?

Before answering this question we need to understand the meaning of Dhamma. Then the reasons why we must study and practice Dhamma can be discussed. (1)

DHAMMA AND THE SECRETS OF LIFE

An easy to understand explanation of Dhamma is "the secret of nature which must be understood in order to develop life to the highest possible benefit." (2)

To develop life to the highest level means reaching a stage of life that is free from all problem and all dukkha. Such a life is completely free from everything that could be signified by the words "problem" & "dukkha." (3)

A clarification of the word "secret" is important to the understanding of our topic. If we do not know the secret of something then we are unable to practise successfully to obtain the highest results and maximum benefits from it. For example, progress in the exploration of outer space, and developments in nuclear power, as well as other areas, have been possible through the understanding of the secrets of these things. The same thing is true of life. In order to reach the highest possible development of life we must know life's secrets. (4)

Life, especially in the context of Dhamma, is a matter of nature (dhamma-jati). This Pali word dhamma-jati may not corres­pond to the English "nature" exactly, but they are close enough. Take it to mean something which exists within itself, by itself, of itself, and as its own law. This sense of nature is not opposed to man as some Westerners would have it, but encompasses man and all that he experiences. We must understand the secret of the nature of life, which is to understand Dhamma. (5)

DHAMMA: FOUR ASPECTS

The Dhamma of life has four meanings:

1. nature itself,

2. the law of nature,

3. the duty that must be performed according to that law of nature,

4. the fruits or benefits that arise from the performance of that duty.

Always keep these four interrelated meanings in mind. (6)

Please investigate that Truth within yourselves, in this body and mind that you imagine to be yourselves. Within each of us are various natures compounded into a body, into a being. Then there is the law of nature that controls those natures. And there is the duty that must be performed correctly by and for all things regarding the law of nature. Lastly, there are the results of the performance of that duty. If the duty is performed correctly, the result will be well-being, tranquility, and ease. If the duty is performed incorrectly, however, the result will be dukkha - unsatisfactoriness, anguish, pain, frustration. Even at this beginning level, please observe carefully and see clearly that within each one of us there are all four aspects of Dhamma or nature. (7)

When we have investigated these four meanings of nature completely, we will see that life is made up of just these four aspects of nature. Now, however, we have yet to understand them correctly and completely. We have not truly penetrated into the secret of what we call life. We have not grasped the secret of Dhamma, so we are unable to practice in a way that gets the fullest benefit from life. Let us take the time to study the words "Dhamma" and "secret of life" enough that we may take advantage of them. (8)

ANAPANASATI- MINDFULNESS WITH BREATHING by BUDDHADASA BHIKKHU
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby ground » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:50 am

Hanzze wrote:
WHY DHAMMA?
The Dhamma of life has four meanings:

1. nature itself,

2. the law of nature,

3. the duty that must be performed according to that law of nature,

4. the fruits or benefits that arise from the performance of that duty.

Always keep these four interrelated meanings in mind. (6)


E.g. these thoughts are dhammas, the feelings they cause are dhammas and the causes for the arising and ceasing of these thoughts are dhammas too.

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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:33 pm

Bhanthe Yurhadhammo's description is spot on. Starter, please take a look at this:

"And what is the faculty of mindfulness? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. He remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called the faculty of mindfulness.

Note that memory forms part of mindfulness, apart from direct mindfulness of what is happening now. This only makes sense when you consider that the work of yonisomanasikara must be done before being mindful- that is the cotemplstion of the four noble truths (as in Dhammachakka Sutta and Sabbasava sutta), followed by contemplating the five aggregates (silavant sutta and alluded to in the anattalakkhana sutta). When a person has done these, the element of memory comes into play when phenomena is being observed. This helps to turn the meditation into vipassana, rather than the mindfulness just turning it into samatha samadhi. Of course it maybe that people with a certain degree of intelligence and having read some dhamma is able to kick-start vipassana without having to do the preliminary contemplations (yonisomanasikara).

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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby starter » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:14 pm

Hi friends,

Thanks for the wonderful stuff. I have a question concerning:

"And what is the faculty of mindfulness? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago".

I thought we should of course pay enough attention to what we do, but we should choose what to remember and what to forget, otherwise our brain will be stuffed with unimportant things. However, the above sentence seems to suggest otherwise ...

Another comment is about mindfulness of mind. To my limited understanding, it includes not only thoughts but also mental states like centered or not, broad-minded or not, exalted or not, surpassed or not (I contemplate everyday if my development of mind has surpassed yesterday's), concentrated or not, in samadhi or not, liberated or not.

Metta,

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Re: Dhamma, Dhammas, the Dhamma, and the 2nd enlightment factor

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:34 pm

Hi starter,

I hoped my previous post would clarify just that. If a person does yonisomanasikara all day long, then when they are being mindful , some of those details/Dhamma should come to mind -hence the memory component of mindfulness.

Please read the acurate definitions of the terms used in cittanupassana section of the satipatthana.

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