With right awareness any object is right object

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With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:24 pm

Hello all,


Do you agree with the phrase:

"With right awareness or mindfulness (yoniso manasikāro, sati), any object is the right object"
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:26 pm

Yes since through awareness you are observing the three characteristics in the dhammas that arise and fall in that awareness. This can be feeling, thoughts, heat, cold etc etc
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:33 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Do you agree with the phrase:

"With right awareness or mindfulness (yoniso manasikāro, sati), any object is the right object"


Yes, because the awareness is what's important not the object.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Srotapanna » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:16 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Do you agree with the phrase:

"With right awareness or mindfulness (yoniso manasikāro, sati), any object is the right object"

Anything further to say on this Alex?
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:44 am

I think the unexplained subtext of Alex's question is whether insight is possible when the object is a concept. Generally, conceptual objects such as metta, kasinas, or breath nimittas are classified as samatha objects (and the above-mentioned are some that are said to lead to jhana). Insight practises generally focus on "realities" such as elements, aggregates, and so on (though initially one will be focussing on the concept of "foot moving", rather than the wind element).

So, I interpret the question to possibly be: "Can focussing on a conceptual object lead to insight, or is it always just a precursor to build concentration?"

Mike
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby PeterB » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:47 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Do you agree with the phrase:

"With right awareness or mindfulness (yoniso manasikāro, sati), any object is the right object"


What does "agree" mean in this context ? Does it equate to experiential knowledge ? Intellectual assent ? Or what ?
Last edited by PeterB on Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Srotapanna » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:48 am

mikenz66 wrote:I think the unexplained subtext of Alex's question is whether insight is possible when the object is a concept. Generally, conceptual objects such as metta, kasinas, or breath nimittas are classified as samatha objects (and the above-mentioned are some that are said to lead to jhana). Insight practises generally focus on "realities" such as elements, aggregates, and so on (though initially one will be focussing on the concept of "foot moving", rather than the wind element).

So, I interpret the question to possibly be: "Can focussing on a conceptual object lead to insight, or is it always just a precursor to build concentration?"

Mike

Interesting interpretation Mikenz.
Could it be the other way around?
Your thoughts appreciated.

:thanks:
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:02 am

Hi Srotapanna,
Srotapanna wrote:Interesting interpretation Mikenz.
Could it be the other way around?
Your thoughts appreciated.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Do you mean that concepts could be better objects for insight than "realities". That would seem to contradict the descriptions of the development of in sight in the Suttas, and especially the commentaries.

One see this sort of passage:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"However, knowing & seeing the eye as it actually is present, knowing & seeing forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye as they actually are present, knowing & seeing whatever arises conditioned through contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the eye... forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye... whatever arises conditioned by contact at the eye and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

Not "directly knowing metta...". [Not that there is anything wrong with metta - it's very useful to develop it - but it's not, as far as I can tell, used as an object of insight.]

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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:05 pm

Well, since concepts are clingable phenonema, subject to the three characteristics, why couldn't they be potential objects of insight? What harm would come from it?
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:50 pm

Hi Kenshou,
Kenshou wrote:Well, since concepts are clingable phenonema, subject to the three characteristics, why couldn't they be potential objects of insight? What harm would come from it?

It's not a matter of "harm". The question (at least the question in my mind) is whether one can get insight into things "as they actually are" by taking concepts as objects. As far as I can see, in the Suttas there are either general statements about the ending of dukkha:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it was actually present, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

Or, if there are details, they are about such things as aggregates, elements, and other "realities":
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"The form of what has thus come into being is gathered under the form clinging-aggregate. The feeling of what has thus come into being is gathered under the feeling clinging-aggregate. The perception of what has thus come into being is gathered under the perception clinging-aggregate. The fabrications of what has thus come into being are gathered under the fabrication clinging-aggregate. The consciousness of what has thus come into being is gathered under the consciousness clinging-aggregate. One discerns, 'This, it seems, is how there is the gathering, meeting, & convergence of these five clinging-aggregates. Now, the Blessed One has said, "Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising."[4] And these things — the five clinging-aggregates — are dependently co-arisen.[5] Any desire, embracing, grasping, & holding-on to these five clinging-aggregates is the origination of stress. Any subduing of desire & passion, any abandoning of desire & passion for these five clinging-aggregates is the cessation of stress.' [6] And even to this extent, friends, the monk has accomplished a great deal.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."


So, as I said above, the instructions for insight always focus on breaking experience down into aggregates, elements, sense bases, and so on, in order to cease "... I-making and mine-making ..."

That's not to say that seeing the arising and fading away of concepts is not a useful skill to develop, but it does not appear to be sufficient. I have not seen any Sutta that states:
"Such is [some concept], such is its origin, such its disappearance... [attainment of nibbana]"

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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby altar » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:57 pm

Hi Mike,
What is the ground for calling metta, kasinas, and breath nimitta "concepts?" In particular metta I find hard to categorize this way. If someone speaks with metta they are not speaking with a concept. If someone acts with metta they are not acting with a concept. Or do you think they are?
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:12 pm

altar wrote:Hi Mike,
What is the ground for calling metta, kasinas, and breath nimitta "concepts?" In particular metta I find hard to categorize this way. If someone speaks with metta they are not speaking with a concept. If someone acts with metta they are not acting with a concept. Or do you think they are?
Thanks,
Zack

In a personal conversation I had with Ajahn Sumedho in the mid70's at Wat Ba Pong, he said that there were times when he practiced metta bhavana; tears would be rolling down his eyes; he'd bare his arm to feed the mosquitoes: love for everybody, love all around, light and airy with love, and 30 minutes after getting from such a session, he'd find himself getting cranky with a fellow monk.

Acting with metta may be a product of insight or it may not be. It depends.
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: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:55 pm

Mike,

I'm afraid that I don't see anything in the passages you've quoted that necessarily excludes concepts.

It's not a matter of "harm". The question (at least the question in my mind) is whether one can get insight into things "as they actually are" by taking concepts as objects.


Concepts don't not exist. Though they are constructions added on top of experience and not inherent in things themselves, which is probably important to understand, they still exist as mental fabrications and certainly have an impact on us, and so I think they're certainly important to comprehend.

Or, if there are details, they are about such things as aggregates, elements, and other "realities":


I've actually always understood concepts as something falling under the aggregate of saṅkhāra, as well as closely related to the aggregate of saññā, and therefore quite relevant to understanding the relationship of the 5 aggregates. Am I mistaken?

That's not to say that seeing the arising and fading away of concepts is not a useful skill to develop, but it does not appear to be sufficient.


No argument there, the DO of conceptual fabrications is one bit of understanding among many others, and not in itself sufficient.
Last edited by Kenshou on Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:02 am

PeterB wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Do you agree with the phrase:

"With right awareness or mindfulness (yoniso manasikāro, sati), any object is the right object"


What does "agree" mean in this context ? Does it equate to experiential knowledge ? Intellectual assent ? Or what ?


Intellectual assent and practice, of course.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:04 am

mikenz66 wrote:So, I interpret the question to possibly be: "Can focussing on a conceptual object lead to insight, or is it always just a precursor to build concentration?"


The OP used the word Awareness, not focus or concentration.

I don't think one can apply Awareness to a concept, Awareness is based on what is real. One can setup a concept in ones mind and focus on it howver in that cicumstances Awareness would be on the process of conceptualising and the process of concentration etc
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:08 am

Kenshou wrote:Well, since concepts are clingable phenonema, subject to the three characteristics, why couldn't they be potential objects of insight? What harm would come from it?




There is an interpretation that says that concepts cannot be said to have characteristics of anicca and dukkha. What doesn't exist can't rise and fall or cause dukkha. Since concepts don't really exist in their own way- they can't be "clingable phenomena". What does exist are citta-cetasika-rūpa-nibbāna, 5 aggregates, 12 āyatana, 18 elements. Concepts are constructed object rather than a paramattha dhamma. Some say that one can't gain awakening solely through using artifical and non-ultimately-existent objects. Constructed concepts can be fine for tranquillity, though.


Also with right awareness, it is doubtfully that it will take concepts as objects. So the objects that may be taken are the fundamental epistemological realities (paramattha dhamma).
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:24 am

Alex123 wrote:There is an interpretation that says that concepts cannot be said to have characteristics of anicca and dukkha. What doesn't exist can't rise and fall or cause dukkha. Since concepts don't really exist in their own way- they can't be "clingable phenomena". What does exist are citta-cetasika-rūpa-nibbāna, 5 aggregates, 12 āyatana, 18 elements.


I agree with Kenshou, concepts come under the aggregate of mental fabrications and are definately clingable.

Just notice people who cling to concepts like god or country etc.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:32 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Alex123 wrote:There is an interpretation that says that concepts cannot be said to have characteristics of anicca and dukkha. What doesn't exist can't rise and fall or cause dukkha. Since concepts don't really exist in their own way- they can't be "clingable phenomena". What does exist are citta-cetasika-rūpa-nibbāna, 5 aggregates, 12 āyatana, 18 elements.


I agree with Kenshou, concepts come under the aggregate of mental fabrications and are definately clingable.

Just notice people who cling to concepts like god or country etc.


Concepts are just thinking. While thinking mind exists, concepts do not. Thus they cannot be real objects of the mind. When it is said that someone clings to concept of God (or any other), they are just clinging to one, some or all 5 aggregates.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:36 am

There is an interpretation that says that concepts cannot be said to have characteristics of anicca and dukkha. What doesn't exist can't rise and fall or cause dukkha. Since concepts don't really exist in their own way- they can't be "clingable phenomena". What does exist are citta-cetasika-rūpa-nibbāna, 5 aggregates, 12 āyatana, 18 elements. Concepts are constructed object rather than a paramattha dhamma. Some say that one can't gain awakening solely through using artifical and non-ultimately-existent objects. Constructed concepts can be fine for tranquillity, though.

Also with right awareness, it is doubtfully that it will take concepts as objects. So the objects that may be taken are the fundamental epistemological realities (paramattha dhamma).


Okay, thank you for putting it all in context, Alex.

I think this boils down to the definition of "real", and weather or not being real matters. Even if concepts are illusions, they still exist subjectively, and are closely linked to our overall mental processes, which are the very thing we're trying to understand. And weather they are real or not matters less than weather or not they become fuel for clinging and stress, I think.

I believe the view of the perspective that I am arguing against (do correct me if I am wrong, don't want to misrepresent) and the core of this whole thing is that insight is only valid when it is based upon paramattha dhammas, because nibbana is a paramattha dhamma and will not be found when searching outside of the paramatthas. I personally reject the notion of paramattha dhammas and nibbana as a dhamma at all, and I'm happy to simply agree to disagree at this point.

Concepts are just thinking. While thinking mind exists, concepts do not. Thus they cannot be real objects of the mind. When it is said that someone clings to concept of God (or any other), they are just clinging to one, some or all 5 aggregates.


I understand that clinging to a concept is in actuality clinging to the aggregates, specifically sankhara in that case, but would you elaborate more upon the statement "While thinking mind exists, concepts do not. Thus they cannot be real objects of the mind."?
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:59 am

Kenshou wrote:I think this boils down to the definition of "real", and weather or not being real matters. Even if concepts are illusions, they still exist subjectively, and are closely linked to our overall mental processes, which are the very thing we're trying to understand. And weather they are real or not matters less than weather or not they become fuel for clinging and stress, I think.


Real = really exists as non-divisible, non-reducable to sub-components.
Or
Real = have functions, do things, affect anything.

We can say that car drives one from place A to B. Trees exist and don't you try to crash into one at 100 km/h.

But if one is to analyze what is happening, then it is just change of aggregates or 12 spheres or 18 elements.


So only those fundamental realities are found and only they are functioning and affect themselves.


I understand that clinging to a concept is in actuality clinging to the aggregates, specifically sankhara in that case, but would you elaborate more upon the statement "While thinking mind exists, concepts do not. Thus they cannot be real objects of the mind."?


Perception (saññā) exists along with other aggregates. 4 Great Elements and matter derived from them exists as well.
But not concepts as indivisible and functional objects. It is just thinking made out of many moments of mental aggregates (predominantly saññā ) .

Refuting concepts is just like refuting Atta.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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