The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:24 pm

Here is something from the Satipatthana sutta commentary: "Six things lead to the arising of this enlightenment factor(wisdom): Inquiring about the aggregates and so forth; the purification of the basis (namely, the cleaning of the body, clothes and so forth); imparting evenness to the (five spiritual) controlling faculties; avoiding the ignorant; associating with the wise; reflecting on the profound difference of the hard-to-perceive processes of the aggregates, modes (or elements), sense-bases and so forth; and the inclining (sloping, bending) towards the development of the enlightenment factor of the investigation of mental objects.

Inquiring about the aggregates and so forth means: seeking the meaning of the aggregates, the modes (or elements), sense-bases, controlling faculties, powers, enlightenment factors, way factors, absorption factors, the meditation for quietude, and the meditation for insight by asking for explanation of knotty points regarding these things in the Five Nikayas with the commentaries from teachers of the Dhamma.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:29 pm

on the question of what is the practice

I think with effort and the suitable determined and lengthy practice, we can become the Meditator or the Abhidhamma Expert or the Calm Person because these seem desirable and have the look of progress - but they too may be varied shapes of the Paticcasamuppada(dependent origination).
Think of the seeing process. It occurs almost an infinite number of times just in one day. Yet every brief moment of seeing an object arises because of very complex conditions - no one can make it arise, but if the conditions are there it must arise.
We take it for granted but it is at least as amazing that seeing should arise as that satipatthana should arise. From this perspective, then, can you really tell someone how to have satipatthana; it is like trying to explain to someone how to see. If they good eyes (conditioned by kamma and other conditions) then they must see; but if they are without eyes....
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:33 pm

this is something Jon abbot of DSG group wrote that is pertinent to this thread and which is well said IMHO.

QUESTION: Hello all In observing realities, am I right to think that what one sees generally is more the khandhas than the individual citta, etc.? It seems to me that what I take to be "citta" is actually a very complex manifestation of innumerable cittas - more on the lines of "aggregates" (khandas) than as single realities. Even isolating rupa from concept of rupa seems almost impossible to my mind - what I notice as "hardness", etc. is already elaborated into something quite different from plain hardness - it's more like "hardness" + sanna + vedana + vinnana, +/- recollection of & comparison with other experiences of "hardness" and even expectations of "hardness" becoming softer and warmer...instead of looking at one door, I'm looking at a whole building plus the surrounding gardens, parks and streets...

What you are describing is I think a fairly common experience, namely, that a practice of 'observing realities' does not result in a breaking down of the present moment experience into its component realities. To put it another way, it does not seem possible by such a practice to 'deconstruct' the ongoing present moment experience into the various parts that are described in the teachings.

The reason this is so (at least, according to my understanding of the teachings) is that the underlying realities that constitute the present moment can only be directly observed as they are by awareness and insight, and the conditions for the the happening of these particular factors do not include the intentional observation of realities.

Let me hasten to add here, since I am likely to be misunderstood on that last point, that I am not saying that the intention to observe realities is either a positive or a negative factor. I am saying it is not given in the texts as one of the *necessary i.e., indispensable*, factors in the development of insight. I presume this is because, when you think about it, kusala of any kind canand does occur both with and without the 'assistance' of volitional intention, and presumably the stronger one's kusala tendencies the more likely those tendencies are to manifest without the 'prompting' of a self-administered reminder.

To answer your question, then, I think that what one sees when trying to observe realities is neither individual cittas not khandhas. Anything we try to 'see' in this way has actually gone before we 'see' it. My understanding is that what we see at those times is not different *qualitatively* (in the terms we are discussing here -- awareness, panna or other kinds of kusala) from what we see at any other time, although it is no doubt different in the sense that we do not normally turn our attention to those particular matters.

QUESTION So, I wonder, does the practice of satipatthana lead to discriminating individual realities? What's the process by which the aggregates disaggregate and an individual citta or rupa becomes manifest?
I suppose theshort answer to the first of these questions is found in the Satipatthana Sutta itself, where it says in the section on mind- objects (which I quoted in a recent post to Howard), that 'contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects' means in fact 'knowing as they really are' those mind-objects. In other words, it's not that there is a practice of satipatthana that *leads to* the discriminating of individual realities, but satipatthana itself *is* the discriminating of individual realities. If individual realities are not being discriminated, then it's not satipatthana; only by satipatthana can individual realities be discriminated.

As to individual cittas or rupas becoming manifest, it depends on what you mean by 'individual' here. True, awareness knows *only one reality at a time*, but this does not mean that it knows *a single moment of that reality*, followed by a single moment of some other reality (only great minds such as those of a Buddha can know realities to that level of detail). As I understand it, there may be several moments of awareness of the same particular reality, and in this way the individual reality becomes discriminated for a brief period.

What is the process by which this happens? According to the texts, it cannot happen without a thorough grasp of the theory of the present moment, otherwise one will be trying to see things that are not there to be seen. Nor can it happen without an appreciation that it cannot be made to happen, but can only come about (but nevertheless will surely come about) if the right conditions for its happening are developed.

Some consider this to be mere randomness, but properly understood it just means that if the right environment is provided, awareness will sprout in due course (can anyone *make* a tree grow??). And awareness needs the most delicate of nurturing!
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:37 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Hi everyone, the following underlined seems important to me:

There is the case where a monk 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... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.


Is it possible to put aside the greed and distress in reference to the world without having the wisdom?

:anjali:

Good point. and something I mentioend to Mikenz a year or three back:

The main point is that hearing/studying Dhamma is essential for right view to
develop. If one does not learn the theory accurately and in sufficient depth
then it is sure that one will either make no progess or progess in a wrong
direction. These wrong directions can be very enticing and have the outward
appearance of correctness. One may live a more serene and law-abiding life but
be as deluded about the way out of samsara as ever.

One may wonder whether everyone who studies, studies rightly. In fact very
obviously they don't. But why is that?
Mainly it is because of the very deepseated nature of self-view, it must be
truly understood that there are only elements arising and passing away with no
one controlling or doing anything. These elments don't want to study or not
study, they are mere conditioned phenomema that arise and perform their
function, and then they cease forever and a new element arises.
Kind of easy to write about and of course most Buddhists easily agree with this
( a few don't) but then because of self-view people believe that they have to do
something /change something in order to understand this. But the real 'change'
is not anything outward it is purely the arising of understanding.
And this type of understanding, as the suttas say, depends on hearing Dhamma.

Now three people may hear/read this and have totally different reactions: one
may properly understand, at some level. Another might say 'yes, but..I still
want to do something' Another might say 'it is nonsense..'
This is due to accumulations from the near and distant past.

Even the one who understands correctly at the basic level may still go wrong.
They may think mere acceptance of these facts is already enough whereas it is
only the first step in a long path of studying and learning - both in theory
and directly the difference between concept and reality- and eventually the
difference between nama and rupa.

Now if you are sitting down can there be understanding - even direct
understanding of an element.?
There can if there are conditions. You don't have
to stand up to understand, or go and sit somewhere else. And if you were sitting
somewhere else you don't need to come and sit here..
Or if you have desire arising, as we all do very often - can it be known as
desire, as an element, right there and then? Yes, it can if there are enough
conditions. But if one thought that 'Oh, here is desire I must remove it', then
one is no longer following the path toward vipassana. One is either having
aversion, or another more subtle desire (to get rid of the big desire) or at
best one might start developing samatha.
Satipatthana though is about knowing with satisampajanna what is arising now..
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:46 pm

Many thanks for a very detailed response. Could you say a bit more on how you see this:
Satipatthana though is about knowing with satisampajanna what is arising now..


How do you see the sampajanna working? How would one know if it is there or not?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:57 pm

Hi Robert,

Some members may find it useful to read this thread:
anatta and cetana and conditions for right view
which covers this same ground of whether one's practice is trying to "will sati/panna/etc to arise" (which clearly would be inconsistent with suttas such as Anatta-lakkhana Sutta), or whether one's practice is leading to the conditions for the arising of sati/panna/etc. That's where the disagreements arise.

My current understanding is here:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=5195&p=216888&hilit=exercise#p216888
and I'm afraid that after literally years of considering the sorts of arguments on these threads I haven't heard anything that convinces me otherwise. I clearly have the wrong conditioning to understand the Khun Sujin view, so I guess I'll continue to practice in the ways that my hearing of the Dhamma has conditioned me to do and come back to it in another life...

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:01 pm

In the Satipatthana sutta the Buddha spoke about clear comprehension(Sati and sampajanna):


"And further, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, in going forwards (and) in going backwards, is a person practising clear comprehension; in looking straight on (and) in looking away from the front, is a person practising clear comprehension; in bending and in stretching, is a person practising clear comprehension; in wearing the shoulder-cloak, the (other two) robes (and) the bowl, is a person practising clear comprehension; in regard to what is eaten, drunk, chewed and savoured, is a person practising clear comprehension; in defecating and in urinating, is a person practising clear comprehension; in walking, in standing (in a place), in sitting (in some position), in sleeping, in waking, in speaking and in keeping silence, is a person practising clear comprehension."


Notice that "looking straight on and in looking away" is included among the opportunties where sati and sampajanna (comprehension) can arise. What then is meant by sati sampajanna? The samanaphala sutta commentary (translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi as Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship). notes that there are 4 types of sampajanna (clear comprehension) 1)puposefulness, 2)suitabilty, 3)resort, and 4)non-delusion -amoha , panna. Number 3, resort, has two meanings: one as "clearly comprehending the resort for ones almsround(for example)" and the other as comprehending the resort of ones meditation subject. On p116 it says "therefore those practising here with with the aggregates, elements and bases as their meditation subjects should look ahead and look aside by way of their own meditation subject: those practising such meditation subjects as the kasinas should look ahead and look aside keeping their meditation subject in mind."
A couple of points here: One - that gocara , resort, has levels of meaning. Two- a distinction made between those who are developing samattha and those who are developing vipassana (the object of vipassana is the agggregates, elements or bases - paramattha dhammas). This should not be taken to mean that those who develop vipassana should be so fixed on the khandas etc. that they exclude any samatha. As when one sees people, for example, there can be moments of metta or karuna. Or if one sees a dead body moments where this is taken as an object for reflection. Likewise one who is developing samatha, if he attains jhana, upon leaving the state of jhana can insight those pleasant moments directly as simply dhammas.

The same page says "Clear comprehension of non-delusion here is understanding thus "internally there is no self which looks ahead and looks aside. When the thought 'let me look ahead' arises , the mind -originated air element arise together with the thought, producing intimation....." It carries on giving more and more details about mind processes, all to show that there is no-self, only fleeting conditioned phenomena. This is comprehension as non-delusion, asammoha-sampajanna. And the commentary to the satipatthana sutta notes that it is this 4th ,nondelusion gocara, that is formost in satipatthana

. On page 88 the sammanaphala sutta commentary says "".since this Dhamma is deep in doctrine and deep in teaching, listen carefully. Since it is deep in meaning and deep in penetration, attend to it carefully"
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:08 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Many thanks for a very detailed response. Could you say a bit more on how you see this:
Satipatthana though is about knowing with satisampajanna what is arising now..


How do you see the sampajanna working? How would one know if it is there or not?

Good question again!
Firstly let us be upfront and honest and admit, especially to ourselves, that delusion and conceit are almost omnipresent. Then we can take a breath and see that this Dhamma is so profound that is probable that if we feel we are having frequent moments of sati-sampajana that we are even more deluded than we first admitted.

That degree of honestly will hopefully make us feel like our head is on fire and propel us to learn what the Buddha really taught, to look for every little bit of wrong view .....and keep at it year after year, happily. :anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:01 pm

Hi Robert K., I appreciate the commendation on the last post. :)

robertk wrote:on the question of what is the practice

I think with effort and the suitable determined and lengthy practice, we can become the Meditator or the Abhidhamma Expert or the Calm Person because these seem desirable and have the look of progress - but they too may be varied shapes of the Paticcasamuppada(dependent origination).

Think of the seeing process. It occurs almost an infinite number of times just in one day. Yet every brief moment of seeing an object arises because of very complex conditions - no one can make it arise, but if the conditions are there it must arise.
We take it for granted but it is at least as amazing that seeing should arise as that satipatthana should arise.


I agree with all of the above, but:

From this perspective, then, can you really tell someone how to have satipatthana; it is like trying to explain to someone how to see. If they good eyes (conditioned by kamma and other conditions) then they must see; but if they are without eyes....


I think that this metaphor might be inappropriate. You mentioned that the two conditions for the arising of right view would be the voice of another, and appropriate attention. That seems to imply that the right view is: teachable (i.e., the voice of another); and learnable (with appropriate attention).

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:25 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Hi Robert K., I appreciate the commendation on the last post. :)



I agree with all of the above, but:

From this perspective, then, can you really tell someone how to have satipatthana; it is like trying to explain to someone how to see. If they good eyes (conditioned by kamma and other conditions) then they must see; but if they are without eyes....


I think that this metaphor might be inappropriate. You mentioned that the two conditions for the arising of right view would be the voice of another, and appropriate attention. That seems to imply that the right view is: teachable (i.e., the voice of another); and learnable (with appropriate attention).

:anjali:

Dear BB
Quite so, right view can be/may be gradually developed due to hearing and considering Dhamma. And if it is then the satipatthana will manifest, just as the person who has eyes sees.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:34 pm

So, Robert, I'll ask you again, what does what you are advocating look like as an actual daily practice?
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:26 am

tiltbillings wrote:So, Robert, I'll ask you again, what does what you are advocating look like as an actual daily practice?

I think it is pretty obvious that it is not a daily practice.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:45 am

Greetings Virgo,

Perhaps it just challenges contemporary notions of what "an actual daily practice" is?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:26 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:So, Robert, I'll ask you again, what does what you are advocating look like as an actual daily practice?

I think it is pretty obvious that it is not a daily practice.
If you say so, but I'll wait to see what robertk has to say. Somehow or other what robertk is saying has to be put into some sort pf practice and it would help greatly to clarify what he is saying by making the nature of that sort of practice clear.
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:So, Robert, I'll ask you again, what does what you are advocating look like as an actual daily practice?

Here is a summary of yesterday's practice.
Wake up, check email, brush teeth. Go to coffee shop, read local newscpaper while indulging in brewed coffee. Go to gym, 30 minutes on stepmill then a 1km swim. Go to office, have first meeting of day. Forget about second schefuled meeting, arrive 15 minutes late for that.
Discuss baby issue with wife on phone.
Finish work early, go to shopping center. Buy a shirt at La Martina. Sales girl asks where I am from and whether she can come to new zealand with me. Feel 10 years under my age after that comment.
Have a coffe and tuna bun at Belly sandwich shop, outstanding service and taste. And so it goes...
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:47 am

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:So, Robert, I'll ask you again, what does what you are advocating look like as an actual daily practice?

Here is a summary of yesterday's practice.
Wake up, check email, brush teeth. Go to coffee shop, read local newscpaper while indulging in brewed coffee. Go to gym, 30 minutes on stepmill then a 1km swim. Go to office, have first meeting of day. Forget about second schefuled meeting, arrive 15 minutes late for that.
Discuss baby issue with wife on phone.
Finish work early, go to shopping center. Buy a shirt at La Martina. Sales girl asks where I am from and whether she can come to new zealand with me. Feel 10 years under my age after that comment.
Have a coffe and tuna bun at Belly sandwich shop, outstanding service and taste. And so it goes...
Cute, though not very clever and it is totally evasive. That rather neatly spells it out in terms of what you are talking about. Thanks.
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:56 am

robertk wrote:baby...

Congratulations.

robertk wrote:Sales girl asks where I am from and whether she can come to new zealand with me. Feel 10 years under my age after that comment.

C'mon Rob, you always got all the ladies. It's 1/3 the accent, 1/3 perpetually youthful look, and 1/3 $100 jeans :tongue:

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:Cute, though not very clever and it is totally evasive.

I didn't see any evasiveness at all. In my opinion those are signs of a good sukkha-vipassaka practitioner.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:05 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Cute, though not very clever and it is totally evasive.

I didn't see any evasiveness at all. In my opinion those are signs of a good sukkha-vipassaka practitioner.
Again, with evasiveness.
Of, course, the question is what does what you (and robertk) have said actually mean in terms of an actual ongoing practice? Are you going to answer that question or is robertk?
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby danieLion » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:19 am

RobertK,
This is a wonderful thread. Thank you.
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