What is ill will ?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is ill will ?

Postby Freawaru » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:06 pm

Hi Cooran, hi Nathan,

now you have confused me. I thought I know dosa from this chain

Pleasant feeling induces greed...
Painful feeling produces hate...
Neither-painful-nor-pleasant neutral feeling
causes neglect and therefore generates ignorance...
http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/II/Bo ... eeling.htm


I thought greed was a translation of lobha, hate/anger a translation of dosa and neglect a translation of moha. However dosa does not arise as a result of situations but as a result of EVERY painful feeling. Usually I don't feel angry or hate anybody when I get a painful feeling thus it has to mean something else than anger or hate in the emotional sense.

When an unpleasant feeling arises in the mind there are two things happening simultaneously (well, more or less - I don't want to talk about Abhidhammic time scale here, just about what can be observed). One is the mind reacts to that stimulus - say, we touch something hot, a painful tactile impression conditions a painful feeling and the mind reacts with telling the hand to remove itself from the heat. So far so good, but a second thing happens, namely that the awareness moves away from the painful feeling itself. It blocks it. We get similar blocks when neither painful nor pleasant feeling arise - the awareness it self does not judge it as interesting or important and ignores it and whatever lead to it - an example would be the tactile impression of our heartbeat. It is always there but who can really be aware of it except when the heartbeat changes due to exertion or heart problems and stuff like that? At every moment of our life it is there and we COULD be aware of it - but we are not. It leads to a neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling and thus our awareness is not interested in it.

However, all this has nothing to do with emotions. The reaction of awareness, the instability does not depend on emotions but on it blocking itself from unpleasant and neutral feelings. Emotions such as anger are neither, they are contacted and lead to lobha, dosa or moha which then result in a reduction of awareness or an increase depending on how one has conditioned it.

nathan wrote:hi Cooran

The mistake is mine, I made the wrong assumption on the basis of the previous discussion and I mistook dosa as a synonym for aversion.
aversion  nibbidā (f.), virāga (m.), anālaya (m.), parammukhatā (m.), vimukhatā (m.)

I'm happy to concede that the terms are used synonymously if that is typically so. Probably the point I was trying to make is lost in the attempt to define the various pali terms used for ill will and aversion. What I was trying to point out, because it is the meditation forum, is that when you are practicing mindfulness you can develop awareness of some of the subtle differences in the way that the mind moves and changes. As an indication of a way to observe ill will in practice I was trying to point out the difference that one can observe between the minds attraction to pleasant sensation and aversion to unpleasant sensation when it is simply left to it's own devices


Yes! The goal is reached by improving awareness - not by blocking more and more away. The state of non-perception is not nibbana.

I hoped that the observation of the one kind of process could be a means to observation of the other. The distinction I was pointing to was between the arising of a relatively unwilling aversion and a more willful involvement in an aversion. I apologize if I misused the terms. The OP was about ill will and I was hoping that I could point to a manner of observing it and some of the subtleties of it first hand. I had thought that what I was saying might be clearer if aversion could be taken in a sense to refer to a more autonomic kind of event whereas ill will could be taken in a similar sense to imply the additional involvement of a more conscious or willful quality. I'm not expert on pali definitions and I didn't take the time to look into those specifics. So if it is just definitions of terms the Op is after, then I offer my apologies for the digression into an exploration of some of what might be noted about ill will and aversion in practice.


It is a definition I want but I want it in relationship to meditation. I want to be able to point it out in my mind. Vyapada appears in the jhana formula so it should be easy to identify it. Dosa as in aversion to any unpleasant feeling is certainly less and less arising. When reaching access concentration there is already enough lobha /greed there to keep the object of concentration stable. The mind is attracted to the object because awareness judges it as generating a pleasant feeling. But there are other ways to generate concentration. Ven. Cittapato mentions it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQr_zQfW6rQ . One can generated concentration by observation, including by observing the mind during an emotionally altered state such as anger. Instead of loosing awareness when an emotion such as anger or fear arises one can learn to keep it by observing the angry mind. Sati-sampajanna will increase the concentration and one can enter access concentration or even absorption concentration very fast. Sometimes I use this kind of practice with interesting results - states I need hours to reach when using an object like breath arise almost immediately. Space is there automatically, and the Beauty nimitta arises, flashing in and out. Thus the emotion anger goes well with sampajanna and thus also jhana. Meaning, vyapada cannot mean an emotion, not even anger. So what is it?

nathan
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is ill will ?

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:13 am

hi Freawaru

If this was a more general or scholastic forum I wouldn't have posted because when it comes to translating pali and interpreting word definitions and usage and so on I have as much to learn as anyone, so I'm not even someone to ask. I thought of the relationship that I was pointing to differently. More of a meditation to understand ill will than an effort to define it. I have a long life of meditation but Theravada doctrine is newer in my life and it's existential psychology or whatever you want to call the many ways it categorizes our experience is not something that is entirely obvious to me.

So personally, I am more interested in what is ill will, for instance, in my mind? How would I know what it is in that sense. Know if it is present or not. Know where it comes from, goes to, why or why not.

That's all I can speak to. So I would put this in terms of mentality and materiality or nama and rupa. In my exploration by meditation, the attraction, aversion and ignorance experienced has a frequent basis in the body. The body is continually sensing and signaling to various parts of itself and life processes continue on. The mind commonly blocks a lot of this out and inclines towards more obvious or stronger signals that may require more conscious involvement.

I have watched all this stuff go on during meditation for years, it's always going on. The body and the mind can act all of these ways that can be described as greedy or aversive but there is a whole range of sensations that may be related to any number of these three responses. The relationships in the body and mind might work in many different ways for people. One person hates pickles. Next person loves pickles. The pickles probably aren't that much different.

The signals of comfort and discomfort, etc., in the body provide the ongoing basis for the "more expanded narrative" that human mind prefers. I've watched as a physical sensation arises and then an awareness of it arises and following that initial sensation/awareness other kinds of mental activity may or may not occur dependently. When something more is conjectured by the mind beyond simple awareness of a pleasant neutral or unpleasant sensation, then I note if it is a hindrance or not. The basic biological responses seem directly related but not implicated in anything the mind may make of these.

Maybe I'm holding my ill will to too high a standard, expecting it to be conscious ill will but it seems to me as if the two are experienced as quite distinct parts of interrelated processes of the mind and body. Regardless of noting a body response that is inclining to greed, ignorance or aversion, I don't find the body's natural responses an impediment to meditation. The mind can pick up the body signal and begin to weave a subjective story and I consider the first sense of the mind doing that to be the first place that I can intervene in ill will in any significant sense.

There may be an itch and that is not in itself a problem. When the mind says "damned itch!" in response, that is the appearance of ill will in my sense of the significance of the idea of it for me as a meditator. It is the ill will that the conscious mind can cultivate that is deleterious to waking up the mind more to what is there. The body is a helper in comparison, no matter how it is disposed towards other parts of itself. The body won't reject anything, you have to push stuff out or cut it off. The mind doesn't have to conform to the realities that the body has to conform to yet it can be much more "ill willed" than the body could ever be. So, there are two kinds of different things happening in my sense of this. The one often leads to the other and observing that all happen has been instructive to me. My interest is much more in the direction of examining things directly and over time the definitions of things tend to fall into place for me usefully in the context of looking at things that are actually happening. I can't honestly speak for what anyone else might mean to include or exclude as ill will. Sorry again for any confusion caused.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is ill will ?

Postby Freawaru » Sun May 02, 2010 7:28 pm

Hi Nathan,

no problem. I mean it is okay when I am confused. Only means I need to learn something, that there is still something I have not understood.

nathan wrote: My interest is much more in the direction of examining things directly and over time the definitions of things tend to fall into place for me


Yes, some do for me, too. But others don't. Sometimes this is because my interpretation and conceptualisation is going into the wrong direction.

For example, as I said I see no problem with experiencing jhana and anger simultaneously. So I concluded that they do not exclude each other and vyapada cannot mean emotions. But maybe they do after all and it is just because I divide my mind into parts and do not let those parts interfere with each other. Like moving right and left hand independently of each other, or like drums and singing. Recently, I thought about this sutta:

The Blessed One said, "Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Here the simultaneous appearance of thinking imbued with ill will and thinking imbued with non-ill will is described. If I use the definition vyapada meaning inconsiderateness, anger and so it describes what I experience: one sort of thinking is angry thoughts, inconsiderate, mean... and the other is compassionate, empathic, and so on and can be so distant to the first that jhana arises. Awareness is aware of them both (seemingly) simultaneously.

The interesting aspect of this is that these kind of experience stabilises the awareness. The distance to the emotionally altered mind grows, emotion has less and less influence and power. Within that "space" called awareness the emotionally altered mind is stoped, excluded, does not penetrate. And the other part can lead to jhana:

"Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.


But I am not sure. It all depends on what vyapada really means.

nathan
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is ill will ?

Postby nathan » Sun May 02, 2010 9:16 pm

From different people I have heard a few variations of thinking about jhana. Some people have the thinking that jhana, at least the first one or two, can be 'soft' enough that there could be some sense of other thoughts or sensations. In my read of the sutta discourses, I don't come to that conclusion. As I see it, the instability that can be in the first jhana is only caused by the movement of the mind between applied and sustained thought on the jhana object. That instability is gone in the second jhana. However even the first jhana is defined as "single pointed". Single pointedness may be an quality that some people have overlooked but to my understanding it is vital to what makes jhana what it is. The other jhana qualities are based on that single pointedness. So, as I understand it, there is no other kind of thinking or perceiving or sensing going on during jhana. One may move in and out of jhana very quickly with thoughts occurring in between moments of jhana but that still would not mean that sense perception and discursive thinking have occurred during jhana. In my experience jhana is distinctly that kind of a state of mind where there is no variety of mental activity except for movement from one type to jhana to another. It has never happened to me that I have watched the mind go from that kind of stillness to ill will and back, the qualities of those states are so different, almost opposite, certainly opposed. Definitely, as you noted, the more time spent concentrating the mind the more obvious will be the differences in the qualities of wholesome and unwholesome mental states that arise in the routine course of life.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is ill will ?

Postby Freawaru » Mon May 03, 2010 9:50 am

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:From different people I have heard a few variations of thinking about jhana. Some people have the thinking that jhana, at least the first one or two, can be 'soft' enough that there could be some sense of other thoughts or sensations. In my read of the sutta discourses, I don't come to that conclusion. As I see it, the instability that can be in the first jhana is only caused by the movement of the mind between applied and sustained thought on the jhana object. That instability is gone in the second jhana. However even the first jhana is defined as "single pointed". Single pointedness may be an quality that some people have overlooked but to my understanding it is vital to what makes jhana what it is. The other jhana qualities are based on that single pointedness. So, as I understand it, there is no other kind of thinking or perceiving or sensing going on during jhana. One may move in and out of jhana very quickly with thoughts occurring in between moments of jhana but that still would not mean that sense perception and discursive thinking have occurred during jhana. In my experience jhana is distinctly that kind of a state of mind where there is no variety of mental activity except for movement from one type to jhana to another. It has never happened to me that I have watched the mind go from that kind of stillness to ill will and back, the qualities of those states are so different, almost opposite, certainly opposed. Definitely, as you noted, the more time spent concentrating the mind the more obvious will be the differences in the qualities of wholesome and unwholesome mental states that arise in the routine course of life.


Yes, I know what you mean. The kinds of jhana I experienced at first were that way, too. No thoughts, no other sensations and so on. But things change. It is like with dreaming. When I was young and I was in the dream state the dream state was all I was aware of. And so I thought that dream and wake exclude each other. This view was first challenged by the experience of lucid dreams. By now I have experienced being normally awake and dreaming simultaneously. Being aware of my physical body and surroundings while the dream went on, too. In general I always know now when I dream, sometimes commenting on the dream scenery right when it happens without influencing the dream itself. It is similar with jhana. When I was completely absorbed in jhana I was only aware of this state, but things have changed. With growing awareness there is an increase of multi-tasking happening in the mind. I split it. Jhana is still one-pointed as before but limited to the mental space I confine it to. Awareness is broader than this space and thus able to include other mental functions.

In my experience jhana is distinctly that kind of a state of mind where there is no variety of mental activity except for movement from one type to jhana to another.


Yes, but this means that awareness is broader than the jhanic state itself. To shift intentionally one needs to be aware of both states. And as described in the Visuddhimagga one can also jump jhanas, and hold another object - such as a kasina (or two) - in concentration, too.

So I think that the term jhana describes a state, just as dreaming is a state, and in this state there is no thinking or sensing just as in the dream state there is no sensing of the physical body and world - but one can experience and be aware of several states simultaneously. :juggling:


Return to “Theravada Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: paul, ramelec and 3 guests