What notices?

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

What notices?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon May 31, 2010 12:29 pm

I was practicing a new meditation tech today, which basically consists of just letting go of what ever comes up. My attention being drawn to my breath (not alot else going on) i noticed alot of fine background feeling/perceptual stuff going on that i hadnt noticed before and wouldnt have beleived could be involved with the simple act of just say, starting an inhale. This was pretty basic low level stuff that if i would have been concentrating on something i might not have noticed. So my question is, what is it, what function of the "self", is it that notices something like that?
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: What notices?

Postby Kenshou » Mon May 31, 2010 7:39 pm

What is it that notices those background peripheral things? Well, properly speaking "nobody" notices, when the conditions for consciousness to arise are in place, it does. But I think you know that.

The more subtle aspects of things can become apparent the longer you stick with a subject of meditation. I'd bet that your more lax attitude at the time allowed you a little more space in which to pay attention to some of the more subtle aspects of the breathing process. But the process of being aware is the same as ever.
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Re: What notices?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 31, 2010 11:44 pm

Greetings,

Extract from SN 12.2: Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name.


For more on nama, see: http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=73

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: What notices?

Postby Wind » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Extract from SN 12.2: Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name.


For more on nama, see: http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=73

Metta,
Retro. :)


I wonder why Thanissaro translated it to "name". It confused me a lot when I first encounter his term "name&form". Then when i read other translation of it as "mentality" as in mentaility-materiality it was clearer for me what was meant.
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Re: What notices?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:07 am

Greetings Wind,

"Mentality" is fine as a translation, unless you assume mentality to include consciousness (vinnana).

As you can see from the above sutta quotation, vinnana is not an aspect of nama.

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: What notices?

Postby Wind » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Wind,

"Mentality" is fine as a translation, unless you assume mentality to include consciousness (vinnana).

As you can see from the above sutta quotation, vinnana is not an aspect of nama.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yea, I understand the limitation on finding a word that group the mental phenomenas without including consciousness in it. It is interesting that vinnana was left out of nama. What can we make of this distinction? hmmm
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Re: What notices?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:31 am

Greetings Wind,

I think it's useful because consciousness always has an object... e.g. eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness and so on. It is merely the presentation of a dhamma via one of the sensory channels, no more, no less. Recognising it as such, it's much harder to reify it into a self when it is just the presentation of sense input. In the Mahanidana Sutta there's some details on the mutual dependence of nama-rupa and vinnana... in other words, when there is no sense-input via the 6 channels, there can be no present experience or awareness of nama or rupa... one disappears, the other disappears.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: What notices?

Postby Wind » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Wind,

I think it's useful because consciousness always has an object... e.g. eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness and so on. It is merely the presentation of a dhamma via one of the sensory channels, no more, no less. Recognising it as such, it's much harder to reify it into a self when it is just the presentation of sense input. In the Mahanidana Sutta there's some details on the mutual dependence of nama-rupa and vinnana... in other words, when there is no sense-input via the 6 channels, there can be no present experience or awareness of nama or rupa... one disappears, the other disappears.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Good points. :smile:
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Re: What notices?

Postby Virgo » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:46 am

Wind wrote:I wonder why Thanissaro translated it to "name".

Because he had no idea what was meant. Another time he thought that "Bile diseases" mentioned in the texts referred to someone having too much mucus. He had no idea that it was referring to a disease born of an excess of the fire element. I find time and again that he translates only to suit his own opinions. He is not the best translator in the world, that is for sure. I know I shouldn't talk and I should translate the whole Tipitika myself if I think I can do better, but I am lazy.

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Re: What notices?

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Extract from SN 12.2: Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)



Thanks for the links :) From the link above :
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.


Is this a hierarchical model? Can consciousness only look at name and form or can consciousness look directly at itself and also at ignorance and fabrications?
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: What notices?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:17 am

Wind wrote:I wonder why Thanissaro translated it to "name".


nāma
(lit. 'name'): 'mind', mentality.

This term is generally used as a collective name for the 4 mental groups (arūpino khandha), viz.

feeling (vedanā),
perception (saññā),
mental formations (sankhāra) and
consciousness (viññāna).
Within the 4th link (nāma-rūpa) in the formula of the paticcasamuppāda, however, it applies only to karma-resultant (vipāka) feeling and perception and a few karma-resultant mental functions inseparable from any consciousness.

As it is said (M.9; D.15; S.XII.2): "Feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), volition (cetanā), impression (phassa), mental advertence (manasikāra): this, o brother, is called mind (nāma)."

With the addition of 2 more mental factors, namely, mental vitality (jīvita) and concentration (samādhi), here 'stationary phase of mind' (cittatthiti), these 7 factors are said in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha to be the inseparable mental factors in any state of consciousness.
nāma-rūpa
(lit. 'name and form'): 'mind-and-body', mentality and corporeality. It is the 4th link in the dependent origination (s. paticcasamuppāda 3, 4) where it is conditioned by consciousness, and on its part is the condition of the sixfold sense-base. In two texts (D. 14, 15), which contain variations of the dependent origination, the mutual conditioning of consciousness and mind-and-body is described (see also S. XII, 67), and the latter is said to be a condition of sense-impression (phassa); so also in Sn. 872.

The third of the seven purifications (s. visuddhi), the purification of views, is defined in Vis.M. XVIII as the "correct seeing of mind-and-body," and various methods for the discernment of mind-and-body by way of insight-meditation (vipassanā, q.v.) are given there. In this context, 'mind' (nāma) comprises all four mental groups, including consciousness. - See nāma.

In five-group-existence (pañca-vokāra-bhava, q.v.), mind-and body are inseparable and interdependent; and this has been illustrated by comparing them with two sheaves of reeds propped against each other: when one falls the other will fall, too; and with a blind man with stout legs, carrying on his shoulders a lame cripple with keen eye-sight: only by mutual assistance can they move about efficiently (s. Vis.M. XVIII, 32ff). On their mutual dependence, see also paticca-samuppāda (3).

With regard to the impersonality and dependent nature of mind and corporeality it is said:

"Sound is not a thing that dwells inside the conch-shell and comes out from time to time, but due to both, the conch-shell and the man that blows it, sound comes to arise: Just so, due to the presence of vitality, heat and consciousness, this body may execute the acts of going, standing, sitting and lying down, and the 5 sense-organs and the mind may perform their various functions" (D. 23).

"Just as a wooden puppet though unsubstantial, lifeless and inactive may by means of pulling strings be made to move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity; just so are mind and body, as such, something empty, lifeless and inactive; but by means of their mutual working together, this mental and bodily combination may move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: What notices?

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:18 am

m0rl0ck wrote:I was practicing a new meditation tech today, which basically consists of just letting go of what ever comes up. My attention being drawn to my breath (not alot else going on) i noticed alot of fine background feeling/perceptual stuff going on that i hadnt noticed before and wouldnt have beleived could be involved with the simple act of just say, starting an inhale. This was pretty basic low level stuff that if i would have been concentrating on something i might not have noticed. So my question is, what is it, what function of the "self", is it that notices something like that?


IMO it is called sampajanna, usually translated as Awareness. When it is stable and happening on it's own (a memory function, the mind remembers on it's own to stay aware) it is called sati-sampajanna (sati meaning "remembering"), sometimes translated as "clear comprehension".

Nanavira Thera wrote:In the Buddha's Teaching, all consciousness is action (by mind, voice or body) and every action is conscious. But this does not mean that every action is done in awareness -- indeed, what is commonly called an 'unconscious action' is merely a (conscious) action that is done not deliberately, that is done unawares. What we commonly call a 'conscious action' is, strictly speaking, a deliberate action, an action that requires some thought to perform (as, for example, when we try to do something that we have not done before, or only infrequently). When we do such actions, we have to consider what we are doing (or else we shall make a mistake); and it is this considering what we are doing that constitutes 'awareness'. An action that we do without considering what we are doing is an action that is done without 'awareness'.
http://www.nanavira.110mb.com/lett1.htm
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Re: What notices?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:26 pm

Going back to the sutta definition of sati and sampajanna here:

Mindful & Alert. (Sati and Sampajanna) Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our
instruction to you all. And how is a monk mindful? There is the case
where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent,
alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to
the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities
in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed &
distress with reference to the world [§213]. This is how a monk is
mindful.

And how is a monk alert? There is the case where feelings are known
to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they
subside.
Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they
persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known
to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This
is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is
our instruction to you all.
— SN 47.35
With Metta

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Re: What notices?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:29 pm

Mental factors are aware of themselves.

The 'observer-observed' duality is part of avijja.


with metta
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