Establishment of right attention / Yoniso manasikara

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Establishment of right attention / Yoniso manasikara

Postby Alobha » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:41 pm

Hey everyone,

Thanks to starter and others, I found a good overview on where the suttas mention right attention / Yoniso manasikara here

I'm unsure how it is best applied in the practice and there seem to be several approaches. Where is which one used, is there a "best" one ?

1: Reflection on wholesomeness/unwholesomeness of an action. [MN 61]
Regarding any verbal/bodily/mental activity, one should reflect before/during/after it:
"Whatever action you intend to perform, by body, speech or mind, you should consider that action... If, in considering it, you realize: 'This action which I intend to perform will be harmful to myself, or harmful to others or harmful to both; it will be an unwholesome action, producing suffering, resulting in suffering' — then you should certainly not perform that action.
"Also while you are performing an action, by body, speech or mind, you should consider that action... If, in considering it, you realize: [...]
"Also after you have performed an action, by body, speech or mind, you should consider that action... If, in considering it, you realize: [...]

----
Pretty easy to understand I think..

2: Reflection on self-afflection or affliction to others of an action
“Is it leading to self-affliction [bodily and mental disturbances that are harmful to one's Dhamma practice], to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unwholesome [non-factual, ill-intentioned, ...] activity, with painful consequences, painful results [1) karmic; 2)obstructing panna, causing inner disturbances/turmoils, and leading away from nibbana] ? If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both, it is an unwholesome activity with painful consequences, painful results, then any activity of that sort is absolutely inappropriate for you to do. But if, on reflection, you know that it is not leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it is an wholesome activity with happy consequences, happy results, then any activity of that sort is appropriate for you to do.”
Perhaps not so different from 1, but affliction seems to be a more narrow explanation of what is to be regarded. Or is it really the same as 1) ?


3: Reflection on impermanence (of an object)
Patisambhidamagga. Treatise I, 409:
"Nine ideas rooted in appropriate attention:
1) When he give appropriate attention [to an object] as impermanent
gladness springs up in him.
2) When he is glad, happiness springs up in him.
3) When he is happy, his body becomes tranquil.
4) When his body is tranquil, he feels pleasure.
5) When he has pleasure, his cognizance becomes concentrated.
6) When his cognizance is concentrated, he understands correctly 'This
is suffering'.
7) He understands correctly 'This is the origin of suffering.
8) He understands correctly 'This is the cessation of suffering'.
9) He understands correctly 'This is the way leading to the cessation of
suffering'."
"When he gives appropriate attention [to an object] as painful ... When he gives
appropriate attention [to an object] as not self, gladness springs up in him ...
He understands correctly 'This is the way leading to the cessation of
suffering'."

---------------------
When you act like in 1) and 2), objects always involved. So instead of considering the action, objects can be considered. Or should both be considered before, during and after an action?


4: Reflection of loathsomeness and unloathsomeness (of objects)
MN 152
"And how is one a noble one with developed faculties? There is the case where, when seeing a form with the eye, there arises in a monk what is agreeable, what is disagreeable, what is agreeable & disagreeable. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome & what is. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not. If he wants — in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not — cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, & mindful.

-----------
I don't really understand how to apply this technique. As I understand it: If an object is pleasant, one should consider the unpleasant sides of it (example: one listens to a song one really likes and finds plesant, then one should consider that these sounds are impermanent? Or if one sees a maggot and finds the sight unplesant, one should consider the pleasant aspects of the maggot like i don't know ?)
Can someone tell me how this is put in practice?

Is MN152 meaning the same as AN 3.68 ?:
"[Then if they ask,] 'But what, friends, is the reason, what the cause, why unarisen passion does not arise, or arisen passion is abandoned?' 'The theme of the unattractive' it should be said. 'For one who attends appropriately to the theme of the unattractive, unarisen passion does not arise and arisen passion is abandoned...'

"[Then if they ask,] 'But what, friends, is the reason, what the cause, why unarisen aversion does not arise, or arisen aversion is abandoned?' 'Good will as an awareness-release,' it should be said. 'For one who attends appropriately to good will as an awareness-release, unarisen aversion does not arise and arisen aversion is abandoned...'

"[Then if they ask,] 'But what, friends, is the reason, what the cause, why unarisen delusion does not arise, or arisen delusion is abandoned?' 'Appropriate attention,' it should be said. 'For one who attends appropriately, unarisen delusion does not arise and arisen delusion is abandoned. This is the reason, this the cause, why unarisen delusion does not arise and arisen delusion is abandoned.'"


Another method i stumbled upon a few times is 5: Regarding objects as anicca, dukkha, anatta
(perceiving the five clinging aggregates as anicca, dukkha and anatta).
So not just attending to impermanence, but dukkha and anatta, too when an object makes contact with the mind.

But it doesn't sound at all in MN 19 Dvedhavitakka Sutta like the Buddha regarded every object as impermanent before awakening, just regarded whether the arising thoughts were skillful or unskillful, leading to stillness or to affliction, vexation etc.


So when i'm about do to something, should i first regard all involved objects as impermanent, or impermanent, dukkha and not-self ? Or should I regard their pleasant qualities if i find them unpleasant and vice versa? Or should I watch whether pursuing the objects are skillful or unskill before, during and after the situation?
Or should i not watch the objects when about to act but consider only the intended action ?
All techniques are surely beneficial but which one to stick to? Can someone also explain me in examples, how the technique of choice is used by a practitioner.
Of, if all are used, how this is done in a doable matter. (with so many objects and 5+ reflections for every single object or action??)

Thanks in advance!
Alobha
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Re: Establishment of right attention / Yoniso manasikara

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:59 pm

Hi Alobha,

As they say 'it's all in the wrist' :D

"Suppose that there is a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful cook who has presented a king or a king's minister with various kinds of curry: mainly sour, mainly bitter, mainly peppery, mainly sweet, alkaline or non-alkaline, salty or non-salty. He does not take note of[1] his master, thinking, 'Today my master likes this curry, or he reaches out for that curry, or he takes a lot of this curry, or he praises that curry. Today my master likes mainly sour curry... Today my master likes mainly bitter curry... mainly peppery curry... mainly sweet curry... alkaline curry... non-alkaline curry... salty curry... Today my master likes non-salty curry, or he reaches out for non-salty curry, or he takes a lot of non-salty curry, or he praises non-salty curry.' As a result, he is not rewarded with clothing or wages or gifts. Why is that? Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful cook does not pick up on the theme of his own master.

"In the same way, there are cases where a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on the body in & of itself, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements[2] are not abandoned. He does not take note of that fact.[3] He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements are not abandoned. He does not take note of that fact. As a result, he is not rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, nor with mindfulness & alertness. Why is that? Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful monk does not take note of his own mind.[4]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If it works, as long as it is working, stick with it. Drop it, when it is not. Thats the skilful approach.

With metta
With Metta

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& Upekkha
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Re: Establishment of right attention / Yoniso manasikara

Postby santa100 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:41 pm

The paragraph mentioned in MN 152 was discussed in this thread ( viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9544&p=146696&hilit=+total+control#p146696 )

Basically, the Buddha taught various methods so that they could be flexibly applied depending on the situation. Since your mental defilements change all the time, you'll need to have a flexible strategy to tackle each one. If Lust arises, then contemplate on the Impurity of the 32 parts. If Anger arises, contemplate on Compassion. If seeing something solid and permanent, contemplate on Impermanence. If sensual indulgence arises, contemplate on Suffering, etc..
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Re: Establishment of right attention / Yoniso manasikara

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:54 pm

Indeed. If purifying the mind has an opportunity to grow, then it should be persued. A moment later, if vipassana has an opportunity to grow that should be persued. I guess this method is particularly good for those witha scattered mind.
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