Thinking and Clinging

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

Thinking and Clinging

Postby jackson » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:11 pm

Hi everyone,
I decided to contemplate thinking today for the last half of my meditation, but I'm having trouble seeing precisely what it is about thought that I'm clinging to. I find that if I'm mindfully watching thoughts, then, as far as I can tell there's no clinging, but when the mind wanders mindfulness is gone so there's no way I can see what is going on. I hope this post is coherent, basically I'm wondering if anyone can point me towards what I could look for so that I may see what it is I'm clinging to that makes my mind go off on a tangent, because as I understand it the only way to let go is to understand what it is you're holding on to. Your help is appreciated!
Metta, :smile:
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby Fede » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:40 pm

I think you think you're clinging, but you're not.
Thinking is obligatory. It's what your mind does.
It's what it's made for. so worrying about clinging to something that your brain is wired and destined to do, is fruitless.
So your brain thinks.
Point being?
Don't over-think clinging to thinking, because we all cling to a whole lot more than that....I think thought-clinging is the least of your problems.....! ;)


:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby baratgab » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:01 pm

jackson_last wrote:... I'm wondering if anyone can point me towards what I could look for so that I may see what it is I'm clinging to that makes my mind go off on a tangent, because as I understand it the only way to let go is to understand what it is you're holding on to. ...


I can point towards you. :smile: What you identify as "me" - the measurer, the controller, the chooser, the doer, the core of ignorance - is always off the screen of awareness. I think it's useful to do a mental switch, and perceive everything as "happening", and nothing as "I am doing"; this takes the "I" out from the practice, opening up the possibility of wider observation.
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"
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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:15 pm

Bahiya Sutta

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

Ud 1.10

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

: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
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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby jackson » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:52 pm

Thankyou for your replies, they've been helpful. I guess I approached this wrongly. That quote that you posted was especially insightful Bodom.
Metta, :smile:
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:36 am

Greetings Jackson,

I would recommend being observant of what is coming through the six sense doors and observing what you consider to be pleasant and what you consider to be unpleasant. Observe also the reaction you have to the pleasant, versus your reaction to the unpleasant. What happens when you respond with equanimity and acceptance, rather than craving for things to become or remain a certain way?

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: Thinking and Clinging

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:48 am

Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Dwelling at Savatthi... "Monks, I will describe & analyze dependent co-arising for you.

"And what is dependent co-arising? From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

"And what is becoming? These three are becomings: sensual becoming, form becoming, & formless becoming. This is called becoming.

"And what is clinging/sustenance? These four are clingings: sensuality clinging, view clinging, precept & practice clinging, and doctrine of self clinging. This is called clinging.

"And what is craving? These six are classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tactile sensations, craving for ideas. This is called craving.

"And what is feeling? These six are classes of feeling: feeling born from eye-contact, feeling born from ear-contact, feeling born from nose-contact, feeling born from tongue-contact, feeling born from body-contact, feeling born from intellect-contact. This is called feeling.

"And what is contact? These six are classes of contact: eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, intellect-contact. This is called contact.

"And what are the six sense media? These six are sense media: the eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. These are called the six sense media.

"And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name. The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form. This name & this form are called name-&-form.

"And what is consciousness? These six are classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness.

"And what are fabrications? These three are fabrications: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, mental fabrications. These are called fabrications.

"And what is ignorance? Not knowing stress, not knowing the origination of stress, not knowing the cessation of stress, not knowing the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called ignorance.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."


See also: SN 12.61; SN 22.5.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:59 am

You watched thoughts with the expectation something would happen, with the expectation that you would be able to observe clinging, this expectation is the very clinging that you were looking for. Well, probably not so much the clinging but the desire which is the precursor to clinging.

So just watch your experience, your thoughts, without expectation and you'll probably find you'll notice much more than you would otherwise, and sometimes not. Insights come when they are ready to, no need to force them, just be open and willing to experiment.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Thinking and Clinging

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:09 pm

There are two methods to see what the clinging behind the thoughts are. One is to note the contents of the thought. Thoughts will proliferate around the object which it is trying to cling to or push away from. The other method is to strike thoughts off with another thought like 'anicca!' (impermanant) and then stay focused on the mental 'ground' underneath those thoughts. You will be able to catch the developing craving before it has broken into verbal thought. If you focus on what this feeling is all about (it comes with meaning attached) you will see the object of this craving.
Good luck!

I think a bit of clinging to the practice is a good thing. It is called 'caga'- a 'wholesome' type of clinging which will lead to end of clinging.

With metta

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