With right awareness any object is right object

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

Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Thanks for the thorough explanation.

When eye consciousness meets the object that we call "house", there's a whole set of processing happening: it regcognizes the shape, finds in the memory store, regcognizes the features, finds in the memory store again...then word processing and so on. The result of that "checking" is: "rectangular", "windows", "roof",.... and : "a house", all of that happens in a milisecond.


Yes, this isn't really different than how I understand it...

In this case, do you make a package of these two and call it concept also?


No, however I believe I have expressed why I believe they are both important.

As for,

If your awareness can really catch the seeing, that's wisdom at work, no "I' making. When the attention is directed to the seeing, there's a chance for them to see rise and fall of the seeing [consciousness]


And,

When the attention is directed to the house, either the mind will get caught in proliferation about the house (the content) and eventually wanders to other objects


I'm not so sure that these things are necessarily mutually exclusive.

So may be you don't care what the Teachings say about paramatha and concepts, but it is an extremely important issue to explain to people how to practice and what to make sense of their experiences.


If one is an Abhidhammika, that is. This is one way of making sense of things, to each his own. To put it politely, I do not prefer it.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:02 pm

Hi Kenshou,
Kenshou wrote:Thanks for the thorough explanation.

When eye consciousness meets the object that we call "house", there's a whole set of processing happening: it regcognizes the shape, finds in the memory store, regcognizes the features, finds in the memory store again...then word processing and so on. The result of that "checking" is: "rectangular", "windows", "roof",.... and : "a house", all of that happens in a milisecond.


Yes, this isn't really different than how I understand it...
....
If one is an Abhidhammika, that is. This is one way of making sense of things, to each his own. To put it politely, I do not prefer it.

Perhaps you could explain how you do understand it in terms of what is in the Suttas? In the Suttas we find all sorts of descriptions of visual objects,eye consciousness, contact, perception, etc, etc.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.

Not my favourite translation, but it's not so different from what Dhamma Follower wrote...


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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:12 pm

Perhaps you could explain how you do understand it in terms of what is in the Suttas? In the Suttas we find all sorts of descriptions of visual objects,eye consciousness, contact, perception, etc, etc.


This is probably my fault on account of sloppiness, but I did not mean to imply by saying that I do not prefer Abhidhamma that I consider everything single bit of the Abhidhamma to be useless and wrong.

On the contrary,

Not my favourite translation, but it's not so different from what Dhamma Follower wrote...


Yeah, I think so too. However, I think where I disagree primarily is in the implications drawn from it.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:13 pm

Hi Kenshou,

Thanks for the interesting discussion. I'm trying not be be too argumentative, though unfortunately that's the nature of such a discussion. I think this topic raises a lot of interesting points that are really important in to practice.
Kenshou wrote:
Not my favourite translation, but it's not so different from what Dhamma Follower wrote...


Yeah, I think so too. However, I think where I disagree primarily is in the implications drawn from it.

Fair enough, but perhaps you could try to explain what conclusions you draw from passages like that, and how you see it relating to your practice. For me, with my practice with my teachers, I see some glimpses (not particularly clearly, and only after some retreat time) of how these processes involving contact, feeling, persception, proliferation, etc. work. My teachers (and others I trust) are adamant that dwelling on that proliferation for any longer than it takes to see that there is thinking happening will get me nowhere: It is not useful to get distracted into thinking about: "Where did that feeling come from?"; "Who am I angry at?"; and so on (unless they are so distracting that I *have* to deal with them to be able to maintain calm and mindfulness).
As far as I can tell, this advice matches my reading of Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentaries, and other teachers who I have read or listen to on recordings.

From your previous posts, perhaps your view is not so different, but I'd be interested in your thoughts.

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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:06 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks for the interesting discussion. I'm trying not be be too argumentative, though unfortunately that's the nature of such a discussion. I think this topic raises a lot of interesting points that are really important in to practice.


My thoughts exactly. These discussions are how understanding is refined, that's why I even bother, and I think we've been pretty civil.

mikenz66 wrote:My teachers (and others I trust) are adamant that dwelling on that proliferation for any longer than it takes to see that there is thinking happening will get me nowhere: It is not useful to get distracted into thinking about: "Where did that feeling come from?"; "Who am I angry at?"; and so on (unless they are so distracting that I *have* to deal with them to be able to maintain calm and mindfulness).


When it gets down to it, I don't think my view is that different, at least at the start. On one hand, as for establishing mindfulness and concentration in general, I do agree that there's no need to get caught up in the flow of the mind. It's preferable not to at first. And when it comes down to the analysis of mental processes, the content is certainly not important, beyond the extent that is is recognized for what it is and nothing more. I've expressed my opinion on this already.

However, when it gets down to dismantling my personal craving and clinging, I actually do find it useful sometimes to actively engage in the content (when the content is stress-related, that is, not all random mental wandering), to find the root cause of it. I do not try to simply engage in mental proliferation, but to analyze the issue in terms of the 4 noble truths and the origination and cessation of stress. I find this very effective.

If I am having a difficult time establishing mindfulness and concentration, I may employ the standard remedy against the hindrances in question, or I may choose to actively engage the hindrance and seek it's cause, so that I can uproot it. It often works, in and out of meditation time. When I find what thing I'm stupidly clinging to and understand the danger of this clinging, it's not so hard to give it up.

By engaging the content of the mind and finding it's source, I gain insight into my own ignorance, clinging, stress, and how to remove it, and a deeper understanding of the four noble truths as they relate to my own mind. I find the understanding gained in this way to me mutually supportive with the practice of satipatthana, contemplation of the aggregates or 3 characteristics or what have you.

So the truth is that the amount of my effort that actually goes into the engaging of mental content is really in the minority. The majority of time, it is simply allowed to float by ungrasped. But for me it does have it's place, and plays a useful part in the larger path to the cessation of dukkha.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:08 am

Hi Kenshou,
Kenshou wrote:My thoughts exactly. These discussions are how understanding is refined, that's why I even bother, and I think we've been pretty civil.

Yes, I think this is actually much more useful than most other discussions... :sage:
Kenshou wrote:However, when it gets down to dismantling my personal craving and clinging, I actually do find it useful sometimes to actively engage in the content (when the content is stress-related, that is, not all random mental wandering), to find the root cause of it. I do not try to simply engage in mental proliferation, but to analyze the issue in terms of the 4 noble truths and the origination and cessation of stress. I find this very effective.

Yes, I agree, this sort of thing can be helpful. The question I have (which I don't really know the answer to) is whether this is just a necessary step to get the mind calm enough or whether it is really is part of the insight process.

Whatever the answer is, it is certainly worth exploring...

Best Wishes,
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Kenshou » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:32 am

The question I have (which I don't really know the answer to) is whether this is just a necessary step to get the mind calm enough or whether it is really is part of the insight process.


Aha.

Well, the answer to that depends on the wider context of your practice and goals and the ideas underlying them, eh?

In my view, if it dissolves craving and dukkha and weakens the fetters, it is legitimate insight, regardless of how you get it.
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby dhamma follower » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:29 am

Kenshou wrote:
The question I have (which I don't really know the answer to) is whether this is just a necessary step to get the mind calm enough or whether it is really is part of the insight process.


Aha.

Well, the answer to that depends on the wider context of your practice and goals and the ideas underlying them, eh?

In my view, if it dissolves craving and dukkha and weakens the fetters, it is legitimate insight, regardless of how you get it.


IMO, this kind of insight belongs to cinta wisdom, the second level. Bhavanna level is next
I agree that cinta wisdom is also good to develop and can be a help for advancement. However excessive cinta wisdom can give rise to proliferation and restlessness.
There are some differences between cinta and bhavana panna: with cinta panna, thingking is still involved. There's some flash of reality but it's too short, one falls back immediately to the thingking process and identifies with it. With bhavana panna, there's only bare awareness of the process, so understanding is more clear, more powerful. Vipassana panna is a step further, where experiences of the three marks erase attachments caused by the deluded mind.
So now it seems easier to agree that, for vipassana panna to occur, the objects of awareness must be paramatha.
All levels of wisdom are valid and useful, but the degree of impacts differ. So it is good to understand the context/ conditions for each kind to occur.

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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Srotapanna » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:41 am

Kenshou wrote:But the packages of mental activity and association, which I choose to label a concept, do arise and pass away. The parts change and fluctuate, resulting in a change in the overall package, if you choose to look at it from that perspective as I have. I think that's the main thing, it is indeed a question of perspective, entirely.

It is a matter of perspective weather you choose to look at the "concept" in terms of the whole or it's parts. Looking at it in terms of it's parts and leads to the view that it doesn't really exist, since it is indeed just a group of fluctuating parts. I understand this position. However I personally see no harm in looking at the overall package and deciding to call it a concept for the sake of convenience. I just don't see the value in splitting hairs over it, because I'm not concerned with what is or isn't paramattha. That's all there is to it. To put this in other words, I think it's just that I prefer to use conventional terms sometimes. That's all that's going on here. And since when I attempt to look at the process of a concept, in reality I'm looking at a package of aggregate activity and whatnot, it doesn't really matter what I call it.

Srotapanna wrote:Note 9th paragraph: http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Vipa ... th_(Talk_4)


Link seems to be broken.

(that is there's no text on the page, though the page itself does load)


Hi Kenshou,
Hm, don't know what happened there.
Anyway, ...in the last sections, section 5 perhaps, of the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha refers to things which are not objects in the general sense.
:namaste:
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:42 pm

An interesting quote about concepts


“Beings percipient of what can be expressed, Become established in what can be expressed. Not fully understanding what can be expressed, They come under the yoke of Death. But having fully understood what can be expressed, One does not conceive ‘one who expresses.’ For that does not exist for him By which one could even speak of him.

SN 1.20 (10) Samiddhi



Perceiving in terms of signs, beings take a stand on signs. Not fully comprehending signs, they come into the bonds of death. But fully comprehending signs, one doesn't construe a signifier. Touching liberation with the heart, the state of peace unsurpassed, consummate in terms of signs, peaceful, enjoying the peaceful state, judicious, an attainer-of wisdom makes use of classifications but can't be classified - Iti 63
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... l#fn-063.1
"dust to dust...."
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:41 pm

Srotapanna wrote:Hi all,

Note 9th paragraph: http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Vipa ... th_(Talk_4)


I fixed the link --> here. (The last parenthesis was left out by the forum software for some reason.)
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:15 pm

With right awareness, can observed akusala dhamma be as useful for development of understanding (paññā) as kusala dhamma?

For ex:
Can citta with greed (lobha-mūla-citta) be a valid object of insight as good as alobha-citta?
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Re: With right awareness any object is right object

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:37 am

Alex123 wrote:With right awareness, can observed akusala dhamma be as useful for development of understanding (paññā) as kusala dhamma?

For ex:
Can citta with greed (lobha-mūla-citta) be a valid object of insight as good as alobha-citta?


Definitely yes. As one famous Burmese Sayadaw has put it: "the more defilements we can observe, the more woods we get." There are just so few alobha-citta arising compared to lobha-mula-citta...
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