David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom

Postby yawares » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:15 pm

Dear Members,

:candle: David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom :candle:
[By Dr.David N. Snyder]


The supremacy of Wisdom in the Pali Canon

The use of this meditation on the Dhamma, emphasizes the cultivation of wisdom. We normally
think of the cultivation of wisdom through study and this is the case, but with the practice of
meditation too, as shown above. There are a number of discourses in the Pali Canon which
support this use of study with the frequent occurrence of wisdom being mentioned as supreme.
―Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One . . . It is bhikkhus, because he has
developed and cultivated one faculty that a bhikkhu who has destroyed the taints declares final
knowledge thus. What is that one faculty? The faculty of wisdom. For a noble disciple who
possesses wisdom, the faith that follows from it becomes stabilized, the energy that follows it
becomes stabilized, the mindfulness that follows it becomes stabilized, the concentration that
follows it becomes stabilized. Samyutta Nikaya 48.45


―It is, bhikkhus, because he has developed and cultivated two faculties that a bhikkhu who has
destroyed the taints declares final knowledge thus. What two? Noble wisdom and noble
liberation. For his noble wisdom is his faculty of wisdom; his noble liberation is his faculty of
concentration. Samyutta Nikaya 48.46

―Bhikkhus, just as the footprints of all living beings that walk fit into the footprint of the
elephant, and the elephant‘s footprint‘s is declared to be their chief by reason of its size, so too,
among the steps that lead to enlightenment, the faculty of wisdom is declared to be their chief,
that is, for the attainment of enlightenment. Samyutta Nikaya 48.54


―Bhikkhus, just as among fragrant heartwoods red sandalwood is declared to their chief, so too,
among the states conducive to enlightenment the faculty of wisdom is declared to be their chief,
that is, for the attainment of enlightenemment. Samyutta Nikaya 48.55

―Bhikkhus, just as, among the trees of Jambudipa the rose-apple tree is declared to be their
chief, so too, among the states conducive to enlightenment the faculty of wisdom is declared to
be their chief, that is, for the attainment of enlightenment. Samyutta Nikaya 48.67


―Bhikkhus, just as, among the trees of the Tavatimsa devas the coral tree is declared to be their
chief, so too, among the states conducive to enlightenment the faculty of wisdom is declared to
be their chief, that is, for the attainment of enlightenment. Samyutta Nikaya 48.68

―Bhikkhus, just as, among the trees of the asuras the trumpet-flower tree is declared to be their
chief, so too, among the states conducive to enlightenment the faculty of wisdom is declared to
be their chief, that is, for the attainment of enlightenment. Samyutta Nikaya 48.69

―Bhikkhus, just as, among the trees of the supannas the silk-cotton tree is declared to be their
chief, so too, among the states conducive to enlightenment the faculty of wisdom is declared to
be their chief, that is, for the attainment of enlightenment. Samyutta Nikaya 48.70


As can be seen in these many similes, the Buddha really hammers down the importance of
wisdom for the Path and especially for the attainment of enlightenment. Faith is important to
Buddhism and in this context it means confidence in the teachings. But even faith is attained by
doing some initial examination. For example, we study many different religions and decide to
try Buddhism because there is some logic to the teachings. Even in this way, the Buddha still
places it as the lowest:
―Bhikkhus, there are these five faculties. What five? The faculty of faith, energy, mindfulness,
concentration, and wisdom. These are the five faculties. One who has completed and fulfilled
these five faculties is an arahant. If they are weaker than that, one is a non-returner; if still
weaker, a once-returner; if still weaker, a stream-enterer; if still weaker, a Dhamma-follower;
if still weaker, a faith-follower. Samyutta Nikaya 48.12


Non-returners who have eradicated five of the ten hindrances to enlightenment are usually reborn
in the Pure Abodes and attain enlightenment there. There are five different levels or planes of
existence in the Pure Abodes. The higher levels have a longer life. Non-returners ascend to the
different levels based on what their directive force or ―specialty was as a human. At the first or
lowest level in the Pure Abodes are those whose directive force was faith. At the next level is
energy, the level above that is mindfulness, the level above that is concentration, and the
highest level in the Pure Abodes is reserved for those with the directive force of wisdom.
(Khuddaka Nikaya, Paramatthajotika)

Having faith / confidence is good and on the Path, but at the lowest level according to the
Buddha‘s Path. The highest and most important is the faculty of wisdom.


About Posture, Time, and Place

Choose a posture that is comfortable to sit in for at least 45 minutes. Choose a meditation
posture such as one of the lotus positions or kneeling, American Indian, Burmese, or in a chair.
Try to sit while you read or contemplate just as you do when you work on one of the other
meditation subjects, such as awareness of breath. Try to sit without moving except for the
turning of pages in a book, if you are reading. Take this meditation seriously and even though
you may be reading, try to remain still just as you do with other forms of meditation. When you
go to a Dhamma center to meditate with a group do not use the reading form of meditation. This
would be too distracting for yourself and the others in the center. Use the reading form of
meditation only when you are at home and not distracted by others or sitting with others.
However, when you meditate in a group such as at a Dhamma center you can still practice this
meditation on the Dhamma. Do this by contemplating, focusing your mind on something you
have read or one of the concepts (subjects) above.

Meditation on the Dhamma is not for everyone. If you do not like to read or you are not the
―intellectual type, no problem. There are 39 other forms of meditation.


Why group practice is beneficial

Participating in group meditation is helpful along the Path because it encourages us in our
practice. Whatever the reason, be it the community, peer pressure, the teachers, the meeting of
like-minded individuals, etc., group practice helps us continue to practice on the Path. Many
meditation groups have a networking time where the meditators can meet and get to know each
other better. This is helpful not only for the social benefits, but for learning from other
people‘s experiences in meditation. In ancient times meditators came to retreats or the temple
for meditation and everyone just left back to their homes. This is because everyone already
knew each other very well in the close-knit traditional society. However, in modern times there
are people who live next door to each other for many years without even knowing each others‘
names. For some, the networking time at a meditation group may be the only intelligent
conversation a person participates in for the whole week. Some meditation groups have a
―Kalyana Mitta‖ (spiritual friends) group which is a discussion on various aspects of the
Dhamma. This can be very beneficial for networking and also for Insight (see above on
meditation on the Dhamma).
―The Bhikkhu Ananda approached me, paid homage to me, sat down to one side, and said:
Venerable sir, this is half of the holy life, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good
comradeship. Then the Buddha said, ―Not so, Ananda! Not so, Ananda! This is the entire
holy life, Ananda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When one
has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop
and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.
Samyutta Nikaya 3.18


Participating in a one or two or three week retreat once a year does not help us with
everyday mindfulness if we do not practice on a regular on-going basis. It is best to meditate for
at least 30 minutes everyday. But if we can not do it everyday, then at least once or twice a week
is better than nothing or the once a year practice.


Life Meditation

Another form of meditation that is not discussed much by most teachers is that of Life
Meditation. To do Life Meditation you simply make your life your meditation. It is not
discussed too much because teachers do not want people to do only this type and forget the core
meditations described above.

A popular saying is ―Life is what happens while you are making plans for something else.‖ How
true this statement is. Most people are ambitious and want to succeed in whatever it is that they
are doing. So we plan our next promotion or purchase or whatever. We are always ―on the
way to something better. By doing Life Meditation we can try to be present in each moment,
while we are cooking, while we are cleaning, while we are working, and while we are
communicating with others.


There are some people, even some very famous meditation teachers who have spent years on the
cushion, but still have had many problems when interacting with others. There is a joke that
goes something like this:
A guy asked me how long I have been meditating. I answered, ―about twenty years.‖ The man
said, ―You have been meditating for twenty years? But you are so messed-up, what has it done
for you? I answered, ―Yes, but imagine how much more messed-up I‘d be if I wasn‘t
meditating for all these years.

There is another story about a girl who came from a fundamentalist Christian family and
converted to Buddhism. Her family was very upset and opposed to her adopting of Buddhism.
The girl said ―my family hates me when I‘m a Buddhist, but they love me when I‘m a Buddha.‖
The above two stories show the importance of Life Meditation. Buddhism is not just some set
of beliefs and rituals to practice. It is to be lived and practiced as a way of life. Our intention is
to become buddhas, not Buddhists. A Buddha acts out of compassion and respect for all and not
as a dogmatic fundamentalist.


Some teachers have described sitting meditation to an analogy of a concert pianist. Sitting on the
cushion is like the concert pianist practicing scales on the piano. The performance with
Buddhism is Life itself. We are not supposed to be peaceful and content just on the cushion. We
must transfer that peacefulness to everyday life.

There are some people who meditate on the cushion and then apparently forget what they were
doing when the meditation session is over and immediately go back to biting everyone‘s head off
with harmful speech. This is why there needs to be an emphasis on Life Meditation as well as
the core techniques described above of meditation on breath, sensations, and thoughts.
To do Life Meditation simply go about your daily routine. Notice the breath at any occasions
where you have a moment to spare, such as when you are waiting for something. Notice the
sensations whenever possible and also notice the thoughts. You are still going about your
normal routine, but with more mindfulness and awareness. When you communicate with others,
guard the sense doors and your reactions.


Guarding the sense doors is one of the most important practices, according to the Buddha. It is
through the sense doors that craving and attachment can come into our minds. In Life
Meditation we can watch the senses and see if we are reacting to something out of craving and
attachment or if we are responding with our senses in a wholesome way. For example, we may
see some junk food and this stimulates our sight, which then stimulates the olfactory senses, and
then convinces us to think about the taste. If we react blindly to these senses we may indulge in
them, even though we are not hungry. Later on, we feel regret when we see the damage it does
to our waistline and health. By guarding the sense doors we can have more awareness and
mindfulness and less suffering.


As someone talks to you, monitor their speech to see if it is useful or wholesome speech. If it is
not, politely avoid the person. If the speech is vicious and attacking, do not react immediately.
Carefully size-up the situation and respond in a way that is not harmful, that is not hateful, that
is not unproductive, or that is not hurtful to you, the other person, or others. How many times
have we said things to someone that we later regretted? Whole friendships and marriages have
been destroyed with a few misplaced words. If we had been more mindful and careful in our
speech, a different result may have occurred. Therefore, it is best to practice this Life Meditation
as often and as much as possible.


-----to be continued--------
yawares :anjali:
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Re: David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom

Postby DAWN » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:53 pm

:namaste:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom

Postby yawares » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:43 pm

(quote) : How many times have we said things to someone that we later regretted? Whole friendships and marriages have been destroyed with a few misplaced words.
Dear David,
One night I was walking meditation, my best neighbor 'Sarah' came to talk to me about her husband....he joked with his friends at the party that on his birthday he wished he had two 25 yrs old wives instead of one 50 yrs old wife(Sarah)....Sarah was quite upset/sad...I just tried to make her feel better by saying that she should judge her husband by his good deeds as a good husband/good dad to his 3 daughters..he always works hard(professor at Texas A&M Univ), sometimes he might say something as a joke...bad joke...but she should forgive him etc.
But the next day I saw Jeff(her husband) I told him that Sarah was sad because of his joke...he said he would apologize to Sarah...he thanked me for telling him.
yawares
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Re: David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:42 am

yawares wrote:.he joked with his friends at the party that on his birthday he wished he had two 25 yrs old wives instead of one 50 yrs old wife(Sarah)....Sarah was quite upset/sad..

haha :tongue:

One things i say we men do. We think it is joke only when woman says something like that we also get very upset.
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Re: David's Book:The Supremacy Of Wisdom

Postby yawares » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:46 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
yawares wrote:.he joked with his friends at the party that on his birthday he wished he had two 25 yrs old wives instead of one 50 yrs old wife(Sarah)....Sarah was quite upset/sad..

haha :tongue:

One things i say we men do. We think it is joke only when woman says something like that we also get very upset.

Dear BlueLotus,

Believe it or not, I noticed that men/women love to bad joke about their spouses at the parties!!
yawares
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