The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:10 am

Greetings friends,

SN 55.3 wrote:"You should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. [1] Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, [2] percipient of stress in what is inconstant, [3] percipient of not-self in what is stressful, [4] percipient of abandoning, [5] percipient of dispassion, [6] percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself."

Does anyone wish to discuss any of these six qualities individually, or as a cohesive guide to mental cultivation?

:meditate: :buddha1: :meditate:

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings friends,

SN 55.3 wrote:"You should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. [1] Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, [2] percipient of stress in what is inconstant, [3] percipient of not-self in what is stressful, [4] percipient of abandoning, [5] percipient of dispassion, [6] percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself."

Does anyone wish to discuss any of these six qualities individually, or as a cohesive guide to mental cultivation?

:meditate: :buddha1: :meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
That is a rather awkward translation. Ven Bodhi's (CBD 1791) is clearer:

"I dwell contemplating impermanence in all formations, perceiving suffering in what is impermanent, perceiving nonself in what is suffering, perceiving abandonment, perceiving fading away, perceiving cessation."

A variation:

the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." Ud 37 (4.1)
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.

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:38 am

Greetings Tilt,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I believe the original one I quoted is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's.

Assuming they're both explained in the same sequence, "perceiving fading away", doesn't seem to align too well to [5] "percipient of dispassion". Of Bodhi, I would ask, the "fading away" of what?

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I believe the original one I quoted is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's.

Assuming they're both explained in the same sequence, "perceiving fading away", doesn't seem to align too well to [5] "percipient of dispassion". Of Bodhi, I would ask, the "fading away" of what?

Metta,
Retro. :)
The question is: what is the Pali and whose is the more literal translation? Fading away of passions, attachments, and all thast other stuff, it would seem. I'll take Ven B's translation as being the more accurate.

CBD 1621: perception of dispassion

These lists seem to be somewhat fluid.
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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby Nyana » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Thanks for the alternative translation. I believe the original one I quoted is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's.

Assuming they're both explained in the same sequence, "perceiving fading away", doesn't seem to align too well to [5] "percipient of dispassion". Of Bodhi, I would ask, the "fading away" of what?

Metta,
Retro. :)
The question is: what is the Pali and whose is the more literal translation? Fading away of passions, attachments, and all thast other stuff, it would seem. I'll take Ven B's translation as being the more accurate.

CBD 1621: perception of dispassion

The term is virāgasaññā. Virāga has been translated as "fading away" as well as "dispassion." Both have the same general meaning.

tiltbillings wrote:These lists seem to be somewhat fluid.

There are a number of similar lists found in the suttas, which are either called recognitions (saññā) or contemplations (anupassanā). For example:

    Recognition of Impermanence (Aniccasaññā):

    AN 10.60 (PTS A v 108)
    AN 7.49 (ATI 7.46, PTS A iv 46)
    AN 7.95 (PTS A iv 145)
    SN 46.71 (PTS S v 132, CDB 1620)

    Recognition of Unsatisfactoriness in what is Impermanent (Anicca Dukkhasaññā):

    AN 7.49 (ATI 7.46, PTS A iv 46)
    AN 7.96 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.72 (PTS S v 132, CDB 1620)

    Recognition of Selflessness (Anattasaññā) or Recognition of Selflessness in what is Unsatisfactory (Dukkha Anattasaññā):

    AN 10.60 (PTS A v 108)
    AN 7.49 (ATI 7.46, PTS A iv 46)
    AN 7.97 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.73 (PTS S v 133, CDB 1620)

    Recognition of Decay (Khayasaññā):

    AN 7.98 (PTS A iv 146)

    Recognition of Passing Away (Vayasaññā):

    AN 7.99 (PTS A iv 146)

    Recognition of Dispassion (Virāgasaññā):

    AN 10.60 PTS A v 108
    AN 7.100 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.75 (PTS S v 133, CDB 1621)

    Recognition of Cessation (Nirodhasaññā):

    AN 10.60 (PTS A v 108):
    AN 7.101 (PTS A iv 146)
    SN 46.76 (PTS S v 133, CDB 1621)

    Recognition of Release (Paṭinissaggasaññā):

    AN 7.102 (PTS A iv 146)

A standard version in a practice context is the last tetrad of MN 118 Ānāpānassati Sutta: contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā), contemplation of dispassion (virāgānupassanā), contemplation of cessation (nirodhānupassanā), contemplation of release (paṭinissaggānupassanā).

These lists were then further extended in the Paṭisambhidāmagga, where we find the mega-list of 18 insight-gnoses as they came to be called in the commentarial tradition. The eighteen insight-ñāṇa-s as presented in the Paṭisambhidāmagga are:

    (1) contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā), (2) contemplation of unsatisfactoriness (dukkhānupassanā), (3) contemplation of selflessness (anattānupnupassanā), (4) contemplation of disenchantment (nibbidānupassanā), (5) contemplation of dispassion (virāgānupassanā), (6) contemplation of cessation (nirodhānupassanā), (7) contemplation of release (paṭinissaggānupassanāā), (8) contemplation of decay (khayānupassanā), (9) contemplation of passing away (vayānupassanā), (10) contemplation of change (vipariṇāmānupassanā), (11) contemplation of signlessness (animittānupassanā), (12) contemplation of desirelessness (apaṇihitānupassanā), (13) contemplation of emptiness (suññatāupassanā), (14) clear seeing of dhamma with heightened discernment (adhipaññādhammavipassanā), (15) gnosis and vision of things as they are (yathābhūtañāṇadassana), (16) contemplation of misery/danger (ādīnavānupassanā), (17) reflexive contemplation (paṭisaṅkhānupassanā), (18) contemplation of turning away (vivaṭṭanānupassanā).

This system is the one used in the Visuddhimagga and became the standard process model for the modern Burmese Vipassanā Meditaion traditions.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:19 am

Greetings Ñāṇa,

Thank you very much for the above post.

Is there some point in the compilation and evolution of these lists where the way they are regarded in the texts changes from being "instructions" (as they clearly are in the suttas) to "knowledges"?

If so (or even if not), is that distinction of any relevance, in your opinion.

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby Nyana » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Is there some point in the compilation and evolution of these lists where the way they are regarded in the texts changes from being "instructions" (as they clearly are in the suttas) to "knowledges"?

If so (or even if not), is that distinction of any relevance, in your opinion.

Hmmm.... I think that they are meant to be instructions even at the Paṭisambhidāmagga stage of commentary. They are meant to be learned, then experientially contemplated and recognized, and then personally known. So developmentally we would have: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā) → gnosis (ñāṇa).

This correlates to the more standard three stages of discernment (paññā): discernment obtained through hearing (sutamayā paññā), discernment obtained through reflection (cintāmayā paññā), and discernment obtained through meditative development (bhāvanāmayā paññā). The first two comprise theoretical levels of discernment where one hears the teachings and reflects on them. This reflection is the beginning of internalizing the meaning of what has been heard. But for discernment to be liberating the process of internalization must deepen through meditative development. This level is direct experiential discernment.

AFAIK it's only in some of the modern Vipassanā texts where it's said that a student shouldn't learn the "stages of insight" prior to recognizing them on the sitting mat.
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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:47 am

Greetings Geoff,

Thanks - makes sense.

:meditate:

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:48 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
AFAIK it's only in some of the modern Vipassanā texts where it's said that a student shouldn't learn the "stages of insight" prior to recognizing them on the sitting mat.
That, of course, involves working with a teacher.
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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:00 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:That, of course, involves working with a teacher.

An interesting observation, given that when you wheel the clock back to the instructions quoted in the initial sutta posting, they appear quite clear, direct, succint, and (as far as we can tell from the suttas at least) devoid of the need for further consultation, explanation or collaboration with reference to them.

To me, 1-3 read as modes of perception, following part of the model Geoff quoted: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā)

With 4-6 reading as modes of perception conjoined with active release: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā) → gnosis (ñāṇa) (i.e. Right Knowledge, Right Release)

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly oblique there to someone forearmed with an appreciation of the concepts and causality taught by the Buddha.

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:12 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:That, of course, involves working with a teacher.

An interesting observation, given that when you wheel the clock back to the instructions quoted in the initial sutta posting, they appear quite clear, direct, succint, and (as far as we can tell from the suttas at least) devoid of the need for further consultation, explanation or collaboration with reference to them.

To me, 1-3 read as modes of perception, following part of the model Geoff quoted: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā)

With 4-6 reading as modes of perception conjoined with active release: contemplation (anupassanā) ⇄ recognition (saññā) → gnosis (ñāṇa) (i.e. Right Knowledge, Right Release)

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly oblique there to someone forearmed with an appreciation of the concepts and causality involved.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Wheel the clock waaay back and tell me how this practice was done, even during the time of the Buddha.
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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:15 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Wheel the clock waaay back and tell me how this practice was done, even during the time of the Buddha.

Wheel the topic back to the original post and the Buddha (of the Sutta Pitaka) will tell you himself.

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:46 am

Retro if you are using the sutta as your meditation guide, can you please explain how one develops the six qualities beyond mere thinking about them?
Thanks

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:56 am

Greetings Ben,

See the earlier post here: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10176#p155854

Also, as Geoff said...

This correlates to the more standard three stages of discernment (paññā): discernment obtained through hearing (sutamayā paññā), discernment obtained through reflection (cintāmayā paññā), and discernment obtained through meditative development (bhāvanāmayā paññā). The first two comprise theoretical levels of discernment where one hears the teachings and reflects on them. This reflection is the beginning of internalizing the meaning of what has been heard. But for discernment to be liberating the process of internalization must deepen through meditative development. This level is direct experiential discernment.

I don't see anyone endorsing this "mere thinking" furphy, nor do I see it in the Buddha's teaching.

See also the suttas Geoff listed if you seek more information on the Buddha's own instruction on these matters.

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby Dmytro » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:47 pm

Hi, Retro,

Chachakka sutta

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

provides the most comprehensive guide to these types of selective recognition

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2834#p40805

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:00 pm

Greetings Dmytro,

Thank you, and well said.

(A couple of choice quotes relating to the instruction, retrieved from your topic for those following this discussion)

SN 3.157 wrote:It is by seeing: “Such is body; such is the arising of body; such is the ceasing of body. Such is feeling; such is the arising of feeling; such is the ceasing of feeling. Such is perception; such is the arising of perception; such is the ceasing of perception. Such are activities; such is the arising of activities; such is the ceasing of activities. Such is consciousness; such is the arising of consciousness; such is the ceasing of consciousness.

Even thus practised and enlarged, brethren, does the perceiving of impermanence wear out all sensual lust, all lust for body, all desire for rebirth, wears out all ignorance, tears out all conceit of “I am”.


MN 146 wrote:"Sisters, there are these seven factors for awakening through whose development & pursuit a monk enters & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known & realized them for himself right in the here & now. Which seven? There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor for awakening dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening ... persistence as a factor for awakening ... rapture as a factor for awakening ... serenity as a factor for awakening ... concentration as a factor for awakening ... equanimity as a factor for awakening dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. These are the seven factors for awakening through whose development & pursuit a monk enters & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known & realized them for himself right in the here & now."

To borrow my words from 2009, "There's a certain active conceptual component to saññā which may be under-represented if the more standard rendering of 'perception' isn't clearly differentiated from consciousness."

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:16 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Wheel the clock waaay back and tell me how this practice was done, even during the time of the Buddha.

Wheel the topic back to the original post and the Buddha (of the Sutta Pitaka) will tell you himself.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Even during the time of the Buddha, once the Sangha got too large for any monastic to have frequent (or any) direct contact with the Buddha, if that monastic (or lay person) wanted to work with a particular teaching he or she heard, that would mean that that monastic would have work with an individual who knew the teaching, which would mean taking the time with that individual to memorize it (a vital part of the study and practice), which would mean that individual would explain the terminology and structure of the text to our monastic, which would mean that individual would answer questions about that text, which would mean that individual would also recite other texts to our monastic that would further illuminate the text in question as part of the study of that text, which would mean that that individual would give guidance on how to put it into practice or direct our monastic to an experienced kalyāṇa-mittatā who would help our monastic in that manner, which would mean that our monastic was working with a teacher or teachers. It was the way the monastic Sangha was structured, and more or less continues to be structured.

As for "in some of the modern Vipassanā texts where it's said that a student shouldn't learn the "stages of insight" prior to recognizing them on the sitting mat," the Burmese vipassana methods were developed for the most the laity who would not have the time or the resources for that sort of study. Also, knowing the "stages of insight" before hand is hardly necessary to experience them, and all of this was, or should be, done under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable teacher who would, then, explains things to the student as they were experienced. The nice thing about that is that there is not all this preoccupation with trying to get to this or that experience. Things are explained to the student a they progress, and the explanation is in terms of their actual experience.
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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:40 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Even during the time of the Buddha, once the Sangha got too large for any monastic to have frequent (or any) direct contact with the Buddha, if that monastic (or lay person) wanted to work with a particular teaching he or she heard, that would mean that that monastic would have work with an individual who knew the teaching, which would mean taking the time with that individual to memorize it (a vital part of the study and practice), which would mean that individual would explain the terminology and structure of the text to our monastic, which would mean that individual would answer questions about that text, which would mean that individual would also recite other texts to our monastic that would further illuminate the text in question as part of the study of that text, which would mean that that individual would give guidance on how to put it into practice or direct our monastic to an experienced kalyāṇa-mittatā who would help our monastic in that manner, which would mean that our monastic was working with a teacher or teachers. It was the way the monastic Sangha was structured, and more or less continues to be structured.

Well let us proceed on that basis.

:candle:

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: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:36 pm

What is foundational to this: Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' Since to is foundational to the list, the question is what does mean, how is it done?
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.

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Re: The Buddha's Guide to Mental Cultivation for Trainees

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:50 pm

Greetings Tilt,

What is explained in brief in the earlier sutta quotes is explained in detail at...

MN 148: Chachakka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The whole sutta is relevant (I guess that goes without saying), but if you want to get to the section specific to your question, scroll down to the part that says "Now, this is the path of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification."

That the compilers of the Sutta Pitaka saw fit to mention that "while this explanation was being given, the hearts of 60 monks, through no clinging, were fully released from fermentation/effluents" is testament to the regard in which the instruction was held.

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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