Meditating vs Thinking

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:21 am

Hi Mike
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Legolas,

Perhaps that's possible, but I've not come across any teachers who advocate relying on reflections to gain the insight necessary for stream entry.

Mike

I vaguely remember something in Ven Analayo's Satipatthana: the direct route to realization where he gives two modes for "Investigation of Dhammas".
One is the contemplation of the teaching itself while the other mode is penetration into the nature of conditioned mental phenomena that is arising moment-to-moment.
But I would have to agree with posters who have suggested that thinking (focus on a mundane activity) itself can't lead to supramundane attainments. If anything, thinking can rely upon and build samadhi, but whether deep absorption into a physics or maths problem constitutes sammasamadhi, is again, something that I would have trouble accepting without some textual evidence.
kind regards

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15785
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:58 am

Ben wrote:Hi Mike
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Legolas,

Perhaps that's possible, but I've not come across any teachers who advocate relying on reflections to gain the insight necessary for stream entry.

Mike

I vaguely remember something in Ven Analayo's Satipatthana: the direct route to realization where he gives two modes for "Investigation of Dhammas".
One is the contemplation of the teaching itself while the other mode is penetration into the nature of conditioned mental phenomena that is arising moment-to-moment.
But I would have to agree with posters who have suggested that thinking (focus on a mundane activity) itself can't lead to supramundane attainments. If anything, thinking can rely upon and build samadhi, but whether deep absorption into a physics or maths problem constitutes sammasamadhi, is again, something that I would have trouble accepting without some textual evidence.
kind regards


Ben


I dont think "absorption" into physics or maths is sammasamadhi, how could it be? However contemplation of the Dhamma is not the same as other thinking processes. As the suttas stress, contemplation of the Dhamma gives birth to the eightfold path which however weak is still stream entry. Dont forget, meditation instructions are really worthless without an underlying attainment of right view, understanding Dhamma.
User avatar
legolas
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:14 am

legolas wrote:I dont think "absorption" into physics or maths is sammasamadhi, how could it be?

If seen from a perspective of shamata only the object to attain samadhi is different. Once the mind is pliant there is no difference.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:23 am

TMingyur wrote:
legolas wrote:I dont think "absorption" into physics or maths is sammasamadhi, how could it be?

If seen from a perspective of shamata only the object to attain samadhi is different. Once the mind is pliant there is no difference.

Kind regards


Really? Samma?
User avatar
legolas
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby ground » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:33 am

legolas wrote:Really? Samma?


It is very unlikely that we find a common ground on which to decide what "really" is the case. But I would be interested to learn about your way of discerning.

My approach has been that if the object does not cause unwholesome states of mind then the kind of object is irrelevant.
This does however not exclude that some objects may be more appropriate for some individuals than other objects.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Digger » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:59 pm

Thanks all for discussing this topic. Here are a few related quotes and their links to the Pali texts. Your comments how these relate to this topic of thinking vs meditating and to your previous posts would be appreciated.

"I secluded the mind from sensual desires and thoughts of demerit and with logical reasoning and investigation, with pleasant joy born of seclusion raised my mind to the first high stage and abode" (link is http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/Agama/Sa ... ttam-e.htm ). Here it appears to me the first jhana is attained by focusing and thinking (i.e. logical reasoning and investigation)

"We who raise the mind to a higher degree should praise the bhikkhus studying the Teaching. What is the reason? It is surprising and rare to find persons who understand the deep meanings in the Teaching and penetratingly see it with wisdom." (link is http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/Agama/An ... aggo-e.htm ) Here it appears to me that there are two acceptable paths, one is raising the mind to a higher state (meditating? jhanas?), the other is studying the teaching (studying and thinking just as one would learn calculus or physics?)

Would you agree with how I am understanding the above?

I fully agree with previous posters that by thinking one can not touch supermundane areas such as seeing past lives, seeing karma as it affects future births, psychic powers, etc. But can anyone here, or anyone anywhere, through meditation, reach this deep? Again I link to a section in the Pali text that talks about monks who state of themselves "Birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, duties are done, I know there is nothing more to wish" yet also state they can not do a list of supermundane things. They state that they are "released through wisdom". Above "wisdom" is related to "studying the teaching".

Link is http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/Agama/Sa ... aggo-e.htm (section with The Wandering Ascetic Susãma)

As always, I am here to discuss and grow, never to argue or discount anyones opinions, statements or interpretations.
He is different. He thinks.
User avatar
Digger
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:12 pm
Location: Florida USA

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby 5heaps » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:23 pm

Digger wrote:"I secluded the mind from sensual desires and thoughts of demerit and with logical reasoning and investigation, with pleasant joy born of seclusion raised my mind to the first high stage and abode" (link is http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/Agama/Sa ... ttam-e.htm ). Here it appears to me the first jhana is attained by focusing and thinking (i.e. logical reasoning and investigation)

thats getting into subtle territory and going close to the heart of the matter.


although moving between the form realm jhanas does involve insight and analysis, these are not conceptual elaborations which harness the use of generic images. rather they are concentrations harnessing the mental factor of insight, in part made possible by the dissipation of conceptual elaboration at that time, even though conceptual elaboration may very well have been the direct cause for entering nonconceptuality (ie. due to joy arisen from conceptual analysis).

likewise, prior to the insight, the analysis taking place is not one of discrimination of generic images used when making conceptual inferences, but rather the discrimination of the direct experience of mental states etc. one is making use of the nonconceptuality of shamata to make progress into 1st jhana by analyzing the negative qualities of the desire realm. moving into 1st jhana thus requires the direct realization of the negativity of the desire realm at which time certain cessations are produced and the mind becomes a mind of the form realm.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
5heaps
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby nameless » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:21 pm

What is the difference between a student studying then grasping calculus or physics and a student studying then grasping the Four Noble Truths or other key Buddhist concepts?


I think the difference is that calculus/physics can be expressed solely using words and symbols. What is the difference between a student studying then grasping calculus or physics and a student learning to play basketball? Can one play well without ever touching a ball? There is a practical aspect to meditation. For example, if I get angry and I do "this" with my mind, I find that the duration and intensity is lowered. But I can never tell you what "this" is, nor could I have ever "discovered" it through just thinking etc.

"We who raise the mind to a higher degree should praise the bhikkhus studying the Teaching. What is the reason? It is surprising and rare to find persons who understand the deep meanings in the Teaching and penetratingly see it with wisdom." (link is http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/Agama/An ... aggo-e.htm ) Here it appears to me that there are two acceptable paths, one is raising the mind to a higher state (meditating? jhanas?), the other is studying the teaching (studying and thinking just as one would learn calculus or physics?)


If you see the top few paragraphs, it says that a failure to do so "is not for the good and pleasantness of many, not for the welfare and happiness of gods and men." So it seems that both have their merits, but there's no mention that either path is complete on its own.
nameless
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:25 pm

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Individual » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:43 am

Digger wrote:Your opinions please - when a college student is trying to penetrate and deeply understand, for example calculus or physics, they may spend time reading, studying, etc. A student may have to battle their wandering mind and at some point keep focus and by thinking begin to just grasp, then grasp more and more until they understand, then more and more until they get closer and closer to fully understanding.

What is the difference between a student studying then grasping calculus or physics and a student studying then grasping the Four Noble Truths or other key Buddhist concepts? Can someone who is not skilled at meditating but is skilled at keeping focus on a subject, thinking through and truly understanding get to the same place as a skilled meditator?

Or would you say that type of thinking is meditating?

Meditation is a deeper level of focused thinking, which doesn't need to be goal-directed or bound by language.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Digger » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:22 pm

Regarding the reply above by Nameless, I believe the intent of "It is not for the good and pleasantness of many, not for the welfare and happiness of gods and men..." means that it is not good for the monks who study the Teaching to argue and disagree with the monks who develop the mind to higher states about which is the correct path. Do you read and interprete this section in a different way than this?

Thanks all for this profitable discussion.
He is different. He thinks.
User avatar
Digger
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:12 pm
Location: Florida USA

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby nameless » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:31 am

No Digger, I interpret it in the same way. Hence the statement doesn't say that both are equally good and valid; at the same time, it also does not say that they're not. The quality of each path is not commented on, the purpose is, as you say, to bring to mind that arguing about which is better is not fruitful.
nameless
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:25 pm

Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby bodom » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:13 am

According to Sangiti Sutta: The Chanting Together in Digha Nikaya, sutta 33, there are three kinds of wisdom:

XLIII. Three More Kinds of Wisdom

a. Based on Thought
b. Based on Learning (Hearing)
c. Based on Mental Development (Meditation)


http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Sangiti_Sutta

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4535
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Previous

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Kasina, Lazy_eye, Shaswata_Panja and 6 guests