The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:51 am

robertk wrote:actually the Commentary gives the attainment of jhanas as one of the possible things that Bahiya might have attained , but doesc not state that he had definitely attained them.
That is a significant bit of ground work for the particular situation, bringing to fruition the previous conditioning already in place. But, as I have said, these instructions are not at all unknown in the suttas, and these instructions are a masterful expression of doing.
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.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:08 am

Take the Majjhima Nikaya 138 Uddesavibhanga sutta.
The Buddha said (p1074 bodhi)"Bhikkhus a bhikkhu should examine
things in such a way that while he is examining them his
consciousness is not distracted and scattered externally nor stuck
internally.If his consciousness is not distracted and scattered
externally nor stuck internally and if by not clinging he does not
become agitated, then for him there is no origination of suffering
or birth, ageing and death in the future."

In the sutta Mahakaccana explains what the Buddha meant
by "agitation due
to clinging" (upadaya paritassana).
" Here the "uninstructed worldling" (assutava puthujjana), who
regards his five aggregates as self. When his form, or feeling, or
perception, or volitional formations, or consciousness undergoes
change and deterioration, his mind becomes preoccupied with the
change, and he becomes anxious, distressed, and concerned. Thus
there is agitation due to clinging. But the instructed noble
disciple does not regard the five aggregates as his self. Therefore,
when the aggregates undergo change and transformation, his mind is
not preoccupied with the change and he dwells free from anxiety,
agitation, and concern.""
http://www.abhidhamma.org/maha_kaccana.htm#ch5

Do we feel agitated when vinnana (consciousness) changes form what
we think it should be? Or do we see that vinnana is not self and so
develop detachment from the idea of a self who is controlling
vinnana.
Before the buddha taught about conditionality and anatta, sages
understood that objects through the sense doors condition craving.
And so they developed jhanas, very difficult to do so, so that all
contact at the 5 doors ceased. But the path of the Buddha not the
stopping of contact, rather it is insight into the six doors.
So I think we become less concerned about what the object is, and
whether there is akusala or akusala, and the focus changes to the
anattaness and conditionality of the moment.
This doesn't rule out developing samatha or other ways of kusala,
but I think it is helpful to see the difference.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:39 am

I am kind of amazed this thread is still going...

On the one hand if one rejects the importance of meditation and other formal practice, one rejects much of the best of today's Theravada, like the Thai Forest, Mahasi and Ledi Sayadaw and followers, etc.

While one may want to discuss weaknesses of their approaches (and every approach has weaknesses and pitfalls) to reject it wholesale would be absurd, is that not so?

On the other hand, it is not controversial that formal practice is somewhat artificial at the outset. There is craving present, spiritual materialism of some sort, if you will, and conceit about progress is bound to creep in at some stage. This has been recognized for 2500 years I think and there are antidotes for this. That's why having regular contact with a good teacher can be so valuable.

Finally when the view is perfected, every moment of life is practice, and even before the perfect Right View, we learn to apply the Dhamma to difficult situations in life, to the cravings and aversions, to laziness and excitability, to fears and desires, we learn to see their transience and their illusory nature.In my experience I am sometimes able to do that thanks to the time spent on the cushion, where we learn to pay attention and let go.

Right from the outset, I was taught to take whatever happens on the cushion into the rest of my life and to live my life in accordance with sila which is the foundation of cushion practice.

Except in a few exceptional cases I am doubtful that learning can replace meditation. In fact after so many debates and arguments between scholars and meditators across centuries, isn't it time to put this old saw to rest and accept that the Dhamma practice includes both?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Alex123 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:46 am

Dear Dhamma Follower,

dhamma follower wrote:The issue is not whether there's a choice in the conventional sense or not, but to understand that the choice is also conditioned, not "I", me, or mine. Do you agree that choice is conditioned?


Is it possible that conventional meditation practice (including Jhāna) can bring one to a situation of insight where anatta will be seen, after which one's wisdom will be developed much more?
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:22 pm

dhamma follower wrote:What we have been trying to show, is that, regardless what one choose to do, it is not the doing, but the right understanding which can be said to cultivate the Path.

"doing" is kamma. Right effort is kamma.
The second section focuses on the Buddha's basic observation that underlay his teachings on kamma: that it is possible to develop a skill. This simple fact carries a number of important implications for any teaching on action. (1) Actions give results, and their results follow a discernible pattern. Otherwise, it would not be possible to develop a skill. (2) Some results are more desirable than others. Otherwise, there would be no point in developing a skill. (3) By observing one's mistakes one may learn from them and use that knowledge to act more skillfully in the future. This means that the mind is a crucial agent in determining actions and their results, and there is an opening for feedback to influence the process of action. It is thus a non-linear process, and there is room for free will. (4) Results can be observed while one is acting, as well as after the action is done. This means that actions have both immediate results and long-term results, a fact that makes the non-linear process very complex.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... illfulness
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:37 am

Dan74 wrote:On the other hand, it is not controversial that formal practice is somewhat artificial at the outset. There is craving present, spiritual materialism of some sort, if you will, and conceit about progress is bound to creep in at some stage. This has been recognized for 2500 years I think and there are antidotes for this. That's why having regular contact with a good teacher can be so valuable.

See this post for a link to Ajahn Brahm sounding like Khun Sujin, banging on about cause and effect, lack of control, and the importance of hearing the Dhamma:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=17013&p=243109#p243109

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:35 am

mikenz66 wrote:See this post for a link to Ajahn Brahm sounding like Khun Sujin, banging on about cause and effect, lack of control, and the importance of hearing the Dhamma:


But the difference is that Ajahn Brahm actually teaches Jhāna and insight based on it. He doesn't teach to: live normal life, read a bit of Abhidhamma, and hope that somehow aeons in the future, satipaṭṭhāna will come like a knight in shining armor and rescue one.

P.S.
I find Ajahn Brahm to be very inspirational.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:32 pm

Alex123 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:See this post for a link to Ajahn Brahm sounding like Khun Sujin, banging on about cause and effect, lack of control, and the importance of hearing the Dhamma:


But the difference is that Ajahn Brahm actually teaches Jhāna and insight based on it. He doesn't teach to: live normal life, read a bit of Abhidhamma, and hope that somehow aeons in the future, satipaṭṭhāna will come like a knight in shining armor and rescue one.

Yes, based on causes and conditions. :tongue:

Anyway, my point was that there is nothing special (in Buddhist circles) about pointing out that all actions are dependent on causes and conditions and that you can't will yourself into satipatthana, jhana, or awakening.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:39 pm

And here's another example, from Ajahn Amaro:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=5195&start=100#p218121

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:55 pm

mikenz66 wrote:And here's another example, from Ajahn Amaro:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 00#p218121

:anjali:
Mike

Ajahn Amaro wrote:So there's a lot of doing.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:55 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Ajahn Amaro wrote:So there's a lot of doing.

Of course. There is a lot of doing in the suttas, but not by a self...

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:34 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Dan74 wrote:On the other hand, it is not controversial that formal practice is somewhat artificial at the outset. There is craving present, spiritual materialism of some sort, if you will, and conceit about progress is bound to creep in at some stage. This has been recognized for 2500 years I think and there are antidotes for this. That's why having regular contact with a good teacher can be so valuable.

See this post for a link to Ajahn Brahm sounding like Khun Sujin, banging on about cause and effect, lack of control, and the importance of hearing the Dhamma:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=17013&p=243109#p243109

:anjali:
Mike


Thanks, Mike! Sounds to me like a very commonsense teaching really. We set up the conditions for practice. It's kamma really, that's all.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:19 am

Dan74 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
Dan74 wrote:On the other hand, it is not controversial that formal practice is somewhat artificial at the outset. There is craving present, spiritual materialism of some sort, if you will, and conceit about progress is bound to creep in at some stage. This has been recognized for 2500 years I think and there are antidotes for this. That's why having regular contact with a good teacher can be so valuable.

See this post for a link to Ajahn Brahm sounding like Khun Sujin, banging on about cause and effect, lack of control, and the importance of hearing the Dhamma:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=17013&p=243109#p243109

:anjali:
Mike


Thanks, Mike! Sounds to me like a very commonsense teaching really. We set up the conditions for practice. It's kamma really, that's all.

    This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
    SN I, 38.
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 kirk5a » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:45 am

mikenz66 wrote:Anyway, my point was that there is nothing special (in Buddhist circles) about pointing out that all actions are dependent on causes and conditions and that you can't will yourself into satipatthana, jhana, or awakening.

If that is really accurate, then how would one follow the Buddha's instruction to "remain focused on the body in the body" or "practice jhana" ?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:02 am

Greetings,

This topic reminds me of an applied enactment of MN 2.

Sabbasava Sutta wrote:"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self arises in him as true & established...

... and there is so much mental contortion required in order to substantiate and adhere to this inappropriately arisen view of "no self".

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


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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:16 am

I am not sure if I am catching retro's drift correctly, but in a relative sense most of us have a notion of self and application of effort. When unwholesome thoughts of tendencies are perceived and are not indulged contrary to the habit, there is usually an application of effort. When we are in a wholesome state, with sharp and spacious awareness, it takes some effort to attend than we do not slip into the habits. And usually we fail.

On the other hand, since in reality there are just causes and conditions, effort is part of these and no self is actually applying one self at all. But that is not what an unenlightened worlding experiences and is more likely to understand the above as license to just float along. This too is part of causes and conditions and that's why no self, no effort is a pretty dangerous teaching that is more likely than not to lead to the continuation of unwholesome habits rather than their uprooting...
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:26 am

kirk5a wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Anyway, my point was that there is nothing special (in Buddhist circles) about pointing out that all actions are dependent on causes and conditions and that you can't will yourself into satipatthana, jhana, or awakening.

If that is really accurate, then how would one follow the Buddha's instruction to "remain focused on the body in the body" or "practice jhana" ?

Well, that's the puzzle, isn't it? Clearly, from the Anatta-lakkhana sutta, one can't just will one's form, feeling, etc to be such and such. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

Nevertheless, to quote from one the suttas the Ajahn Brahm discusses in the link I gave (most are not on Access to Insight, unfortunately):
"In a person of right view, right resolve comes into being. In a person of right resolve, right speech. In a person of right speech, right action. In a person of right action, right livelihood. In a person of right livelihood, right effort. In a person of right effort, right mindfulness. In a person of right mindfulness, right concentration. In a person of right concentration, right knowledge. In a person of right knowledge, right release.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And a sutta related to one that he discussed:
"For a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue, there is no need for an act of will, 'May freedom from remorse arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.
... joy ... rapture ... serenity ... pleasure ... concentration ... know and see ... disenchantment ... dispassion ... release.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So right view conditions ... effort conditions mindfulness conditions jhana, and so on.

Of course, Ajahn Brahm's conclusion appears, at least on the surface, a little different from the Khun Sujin position.
To quote from the talk I liked to:
"You can't develop them, just look at the Anatta-lakkana sutta...This is the great myth, that we can make ourselves enlightened... we do need another ... that was the great thing about a Buddha arising ... it makes enlightenment possible... just cause and effect ..."
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=17013&p=243109#p243109

I.e. the instructions from the Buddha, and/or Ajahn Brahm (or some other teacher) are what conditions "your" mindfulness, jhana, release...

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

This topic reminds me of an applied enactment of MN 2.

Sabbasava Sutta wrote:"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self arises in him as true & established...

... and there is so much mental contortion required in order to substantiate and adhere to this inappropriately arisen view of "no self".

Metta,
Retro. :)
This seems a bit cryptic. It might help if you were to draw out what you mean in more detail.
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 retrofuturist » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:37 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:This seems a bit cryptic. It might help if you were to draw out what you mean in more detail.

The "more detail" is that if people weren't so obsessed with trying to prove (either to themselves or others) the validity of this inappropriately derived view that "I have no self", both this topic and their own thought processes might be greatly simplified.

"This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — discerns what ideas are fit for attention and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention."

It's relevant to this topic, because "I have no self" is listed in MN 2 as an inappropriate view, and inappropriately held views feed the asava of ignorance. In other words, they directly oppose the causes for wisdom, which are the subject of this topic.

"And what are the ideas unfit for attention that he does not attend to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them...the unarisen fermentation of ignorance arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance increases. These are the ideas unfit for attention that he does not attend to."

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


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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:This seems a bit cryptic. It might help if you were to draw out what you mean in more detail.

The "more detail" is that if people weren't so obsessed with trying to prove (either to themselves or others) the validity of this inappropriately derived view that "I have no self", both this topic and their own thought processes might be greatly simplified.
For example?
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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