For example, I've always liked beautiful scenery. Once during a retreat that I led in Switzerland, I was taken to some beautiful mountains and noticed that there was always a sense of anguish in my mind because there was so much beauty, a continual flow of beautiful sights. I had the feeling of wanting to hold on to everything, that I had to keep alert all the time in order to consume everything with my eyes. It was really wearing me out! Now that was dukkha, wasn't it?
I find that if I do things heedlessly — even something quite harmless like looking at beautiful mountains — if I'm just reaching out and trying to hold on to something, it always brings an unpleasant feeling. How can you hold on to the Jungfrau and the Eiger? The best you can do is to take a picture of it, trying to capture everything on a piece of paper. That's dukkha; if you want to hold on to something which is beautiful because you don't want to be separated from it — that is suffering.
starter wrote:But if we use the sense pleasure in a wholesome way with a wholesome purpose – to refresh, calm and gladden the mind for meditation, without becoming attached to it and carried away by it, then it should be OK.
"In this, Aananda, a monk dwells contemplating the body, ardent, clearly aware and mindful, putting aside worldly desire and dejection. As he thus dwells contemplating the body, some bodily object arises, or physical discomfort or mental drowsiness causes his mind to wander to external things. Then, Aananda, that bhikkhu's attention should be directed to some inspiring object of thought. As he thus directs it to some inspiring object of thought, delight springs up in him. When he is thus delighted, rapture arises. When he experiences rapture, his body is calmed down. With body so calmed down, he experiences joy. Being joyful, his mind is concentrated. He reflects thus: 'The aim on which I set my mind has been achieved. Let me now withdraw my mind [from the inspiring object].' So he does so, without starting or continuing the thought-process. And he is aware of being free from initial or sustained thought, inwardly mindful and joyful. [Similarly with feelings, state of mind and mind-objects.]
It really does not make any sense.James the Giant wrote:Individual wrote:Not being attached to sense pleasure is unwholesome.
Eh? I thought non-attachment was a good thing...?
[/quote]Alexei wrote:starter wrote:But if we use the sense pleasure in a wholesome way with a wholesome purpose – to refresh, calm and gladden the mind for meditation, without becoming attached to it and carried away by it, then it should be OK.
Ven. U Mangala explains this "skillful means" in this Dhamma Talk (at 30:00): http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Pa_Au ... angala.mp3. It's interesting that he don't recommend do it for more than one minute.
"... He reflects thus: 'The aim on which I set my mind has been achieved. Let me now withdraw my mind [from the inspiring object].' So he does so, without starting or continuing the thought-process. And he is aware of being free from initial or sustained thought, inwardly mindful and joyful. ...
starter wrote:Would you please summarize the reason(s) why he doesn't recommend "do it for more than one minute"?
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.
Then Anathapindika the householder, surrounded by about 500 lay followers, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him, "Householder, you have provided the community of monks with robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick, but you shouldn't rest content with the thought, 'We have provided the community of monks with robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick.' So you should train yourself, 'Let's periodically enter & remain in seclusion & rapture.' That's how you should train yourself."
[The Blessed One said:] "Excellent, Sariputta. Excellent. When a disciple of the noble ones enters & remains in seclusion & rapture, there are five possibilities that do not exist at that time: The pain & distress dependent on sensuality do not exist at that time. The pleasure & joy dependent on sensuality do not exist at that time. The pain & distress dependent on what is unskillful do not exist at that time. The pleasure & joy dependent on what is unskillful do not exist at that time. The pain & distress dependent on what is skillful do not exist at that time. When a disciple of the noble ones enters & remains in seclusion & rapture, these five possibilities do not exist at that time."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
In this way, your ability to find nourishment inside is protection for the mind. The pleasures of the world outside hold a lot less poison because you're not trying to feed on them anymore. They're still there, but you can learn how to handle them more skillfully, use them more skillfully, as you try to make the mind even stronger.
For instance, there will be times in your meditation when things aren't going as well as you'd like. In cases like that, it can be helpful to go outside and look at the beauty of nature around you — the clouds, the sunset, the moon and the stars at night — to help clear and refresh your mind. There are passages in the Canon where MahaKassapa, who was one of the strictest and sternest of the Buddha's disciples, talks about the beauty of nature. The constant refrain in his verses is of how the hills, the mountains bathed in rain, and the jungle refresh him. Some of the first wilderness poetry in the world is in the Pali Canon — an appreciation of the beauties of not just nature but of wild nature. That sort of appreciation is part of the skill in learning how to gladden the mind.
What this comes down to is that, as the Buddha said, even something as simple as looking or listening can be developed as a skill. You look and listen while at the same time trying to maintain your sense of being centered inside. This is one of the best measurements for how much greed, anger, or delusion is lurking in the mind and pushing it around. If you catch the mind flowing out to a particular object, there you are: You've found a defilement.
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