How Does One Know the Difference?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
flyingOx
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How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby flyingOx » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:32 am

How does one know the difference between the peace associated with the subtle, supersensory meditative states above the fourth jhana and the peace associated with Nibbana?

Also, how does one know when the roots of the hindrances are destroyed rather than just silenced for a very long time?
One is encouraged to seek the truth, but be warned if you ever find it, you will be treated as blasphemous.

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Ben
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:20 am

Hi FlyingOx

According to the Abhidhamma, there are eight cittas, two each (phala: fruition & magga: path) cittas that arise at each ariyan attainment when the citta takes nibbana as its object. Having experienced nibbana, one 'knows'.
I apologise as I don't have more detailed information to give you at this point, perhaps later I'll be able to transcribe a paragraph or two from Bhikkhu Bodhi's A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma that I hope will go towards answering your excellent question.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

flyingOx
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby flyingOx » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:40 am

How does one know when the roots of one's hindrances are completely gone rather than just dormant?
One is encouraged to seek the truth, but be warned if you ever find it, you will be treated as blasphemous.

flyingOx
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 4:08 pm

Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby flyingOx » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:48 am

One is encouraged to seek the truth, but be warned if you ever find it, you will be treated as blasphemous.

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Ben
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:40 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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mikenz66
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:44 am

Hi Ben,

Did you cut and paste that, or type it? I can read it on-line but I can't see how to cut and paste it.

Mike

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Ben
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:47 am

Hi Mike
Despite feeling like crap, I transcribed it from the hardcopy!
I'm going off to observe these dukkha vedanas!
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Individual
Posts: 1970
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby Individual » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:59 am

The best things in life aren't things.


flyingOx
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby flyingOx » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:14 am

Wow, this stuff is really hard to grasp. Are you sure that it is supposed to be this difficult to understand? Thanks for the transcription, Ben. I did not mean to make you do something that would make you feel like crap. If there is an online version, perhaps just a link and a page number would do next time. Anyway, I thank you again for your effort to help explain this to me.

So if one is guaranteed to reach nibbana in seven lifetimes, then one doesn't really have to do anything, right? The purpose of meditation, then, is really just to speed the process up, correct? Even still, it looks to me like one doesn't really have to do anything except make oneself continuously concentrate and observe with mindfulness. Therefore if one is observing correctly then everything pretty much just falls into place, and one eventually just knows? That would make the complicated study of the complicated explanations seem moot, in a way, would it not?
One is encouraged to seek the truth, but be warned if you ever find it, you will be treated as blasphemous.

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Ben
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:45 am

Hi FlyingOx
I was feeling unwell before I did the transcription, so there's no need to apologise!
Yes, it is hard to grasp! However, as Venerable stated, it is vipassanabhavana which leads to the eradication of the defilements, so just maintain your vipassana practice! Also, I have found with increased practice I've found aspects of the Dhamma intellectually easier to understand.

As for having to do nothing after attaining stream-entry... I tend to think that as one reaches stream-entry one is naturally inclined towards practice. Not that I am anywhere close to stream entry but my own experience is that as I've matured in my practice, I'm inclined towards those things which support my practice and I naturally shun those things that are detrimental.

You might find it interesting that a teacher within the tradiiton I practice, Webu Sayadaw, knew no Pali and apparently not well versed in the Abhidhamma. Yet, his close disciples considered him to have attained Arahantship, and all on the back of just observing his breath (anapana-sati)!! Yes, knowledge of the complicated processes of mind is not necessary but many people find sutta and abhidhamma study beneficial. But each to his own, I guess.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

rowyourboat
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Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:49 am

Hello Flyingox

You will know whether the roots of the hindrances are still there are not soon enough! If they are not eradicated they will pop up sooner or later in your experience. The only sure way to find out is to stop practice for a few months. I would think if they don't arise for 6 months, and you are not doing any samatha or vipassana, then it is very likely you are in the clear. You would ever really need to test something like this if you became a non-returner! As long as there are defilements arising in the lower stages there is more work to be done.

The arupa/formless jhanas have a little bit of experience left in them ie there is something to feel. Nibbana is beyond the eigth jhana- there is nothing to feel- one can only know about going into this state and coming out. The little bit that is felt earlier is subject to arising and passing away -hence unsatisfactory.

This is not to be confused with the mind of an arahanth however- which manifests as being free from defilements and delusion, but sensing phenomena as we do- without any form of mental suffering what so ever. However in deep meditative states they can access 'complete' cessation- absorption into the 'fruit' of arahanthood- 'arahath phalasamapatti'.

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

flyingOx
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 4:08 pm

Re: How Does One Know the Difference?

Postby flyingOx » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:52 pm

So if I’m allowed to put this into my own words, what I am getting is:

Paying attention to the breath,
focused on a single point where the breath enters and exits the nose in order to get used to keeping the awareness in the constantly changing present,
bringing the attention back to the breath when wandering is recognized in order to establish and train the process of mindfulness,
because when the mind wanders, the attention is captivated by that particular stream of consciousness or emotional mode which is really just a false and meaningless experience even though it might contain seemingly interesting or some kind of important content which was really just created in order to distract the attention away from the ultimate reality of the present and thereby deceptively creating a sense of self-identity absorbed into the particular stream of consciousness or experience.

So in other words, any kind of possessive identifying state should be regularly checked so that the checking of the state, itself, becomes an automatic wake-up call to bring the attention back to the non-localized awareness.

Also, before coming back to the meditation object to make oneself feel a contented happiness so not to get bogged down with disappointment.

Anything that can be noticed through some kind of experience is not self, and when it is all said and done, there really is no self, anyway.

Does this sound correct?
One is encouraged to seek the truth, but be warned if you ever find it, you will be treated as blasphemous.


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