the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.
alan...
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Re: the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:55 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:okay so can you just tell me please? all my readings seem to imply we should just be mindful and note and then drop everything that comes to mind but the satipatthana sutta says to contemplate arising/vanishing/etc., i read a commentary that says it's sequential, first the practitioner contemplates body as body, then once that's solid they contemplate arising/vanishing, then once they get it they can just do bare attention. but a lot of teachers teach to start off with bare attention.


"Just be mindful and note and then drop everything that comes to mind" is a common, and useful, instruction when beginning this sort of practice, and it could well be useful to just follow that advice for some time (months, not hours or minutes...), making sure that you really are observing, in particular, the body and feeling tone of sensations, and not just imagining it. [I'm sure I spent months with the concept of rising and falling of the abdomen and the motion of the feet, not the actual sensations... It's simple, but not easy, and it really helps to have some in-person interaction.]

However, I don't see that the totality of the instructions from any teacher I'm familiar with as being as simplistic as "just be mindful and note then drop everything that comes to mind". I gave an extensive quotation from Bhante Sujiva above about seeing how intentions arise, and there are many discussions in that book about other aspects of satipatthana.

alan... wrote:basically, when are we supposed to consider things about reality and when are we supposed to just drop thoughts for non thinking mindfulness?

I think the communication problem I am having with you and PP is your equating of "knowing" with "thinking". Thinking is about concepts. For example "my leg is hurting". What we are trying to know is the basic sensations that are arising: "itching, heat, pain,...". You start to see that "leg" is a concept that you are concocting from those basic sensations. When you can see this a bit more clearly, you can discern, in the example from Bhante Sujiva, intention arising before each movement. This starts to give you some inkling of the cause-and-effect that the Suttas are talking about. Note that it is not "thinking about intention" it's "knowing intention". And it takes quite a lot of time to develop.

There are many other issues. However, I can't write a post that contains all the information in, for example, Bhante Sujiva's book, or in 10+ hours of retreat talks by Patrick Kearney:
http://www.dharmasalon.net/Audio/audio.html

:anjali:
Mike



okay mike let me just tell you what i do and we'll work backwards:

i do the bare attention thing with breath as my main object. if an emotion comes up i cannot shake or something such as physical pain i note mentally that it's not self and/or see it's causes for arising and how it will vanish, see that this is true by looking inward, and then usually this allows me to let it go.

is this correct in your understanding?

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Billymac29
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Re: the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Postby Billymac29 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:05 am

alan... wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:okay so can you just tell me please? all my readings seem to imply we should just be mindful and note and then drop everything that comes to mind but the satipatthana sutta says to contemplate arising/vanishing/etc., i read a commentary that says it's sequential, first the practitioner contemplates body as body, then once that's solid they contemplate arising/vanishing, then once they get it they can just do bare attention. but a lot of teachers teach to start off with bare attention.


"Just be mindful and note and then drop everything that comes to mind" is a common, and useful, instruction when beginning this sort of practice, and it could well be useful to just follow that advice for some time (months, not hours or minutes...), making sure that you really are observing, in particular, the body and feeling tone of sensations, and not just imagining it. [I'm sure I spent months with the concept of rising and falling of the abdomen and the motion of the feet, not the actual sensations... It's simple, but not easy, and it really helps to have some in-person interaction.]

However, I don't see that the totality of the instructions from any teacher I'm familiar with as being as simplistic as "just be mindful and note then drop everything that comes to mind". I gave an extensive quotation from Bhante Sujiva above about seeing how intentions arise, and there are many discussions in that book about other aspects of satipatthana.

alan... wrote:basically, when are we supposed to consider things about reality and when are we supposed to just drop thoughts for non thinking mindfulness?

I think the communication problem I am having with you and PP is your equating of "knowing" with "thinking". Thinking is about concepts. For example "my leg is hurting". What we are trying to know is the basic sensations that are arising: "itching, heat, pain,...". You start to see that "leg" is a concept that you are concocting from those basic sensations. When you can see this a bit more clearly, you can discern, in the example from Bhante Sujiva, intention arising before each movement. This starts to give you some inkling of the cause-and-effect that the Suttas are talking about. Note that it is not "thinking about intention" it's "knowing intention". And it takes quite a lot of time to develop.

There are many other issues. However, I can't write a post that contains all the information in, for example, Bhante Sujiva's book, or in 10+ hours of retreat talks by Patrick Kearney:
http://www.dharmasalon.net/Audio/audio.html

:anjali:
Mike



okay mike let me just tell you what i do and we'll work backwards:

i do the bare attention thing with breath as my main object. if an emotion comes up i cannot shake or something such as physical pain i note mentally that it's not self and/or see it's causes for arising and how it will vanish, see that this is true by looking inward, and then usually this allows me to let it go.

is this correct in your understanding?


Note the emotion... What emotion is coming up?(Name it) What does it feel like? Where is it felt? How does it feel? Is it hot or cool or neither.. Observe it, look at, watch it... You might note your feeling towards it... Do you like it? dislike it? neither like nor dislike??

:anjali:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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mikenz66
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Re: the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:19 am

alan... wrote:okay mike let me just tell you what i do and we'll work backwards:

i do the bare attention thing with breath as my main object. if an emotion comes up i cannot shake or something such as physical pain i note mentally that it's not self and/or see it's causes for arising and how it will vanish, see that this is true by looking inward, and then usually this allows me to let it go.

is this correct in your understanding?

This is subtley
The basic practice described by Mahasi and others is a little different from that:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pra ... tical.html
If you imagine something, you must know that you have done so and make a mental note, imagining. If you simply think of something, mentally note, thinking. If you reflect, reflecting. If you intend to do something, intending. When the mind wanders from the object of meditation which is the rising and falling of the abdomen, mentally note, wandering. Should you imagine you are going to a certain place, note going. When you arrive, arriving. When, in your thoughts, you meet a person, note meeting. Should you speak to him or her, speaking. If you imaginarily argue with that person, note arguing. If you envision or imagine a light or colour, be sure to note seeing. A mental vision must be noted on each occurrence of its appearance until it passes away. After its disappearance, continue with Basic Exercise I, by being fully aware of each movement of the rising and falling abdomen. Proceed carefully, without slackening. If you intend to swallow saliva while thus engaged, make a mental note intending. While in the act of swallowing, swallowing. If you spit, spitting. Then return to the exercise of noting rising and falling.

Note :tongue: that the instruction is not to try to "shake off" things that arise, or to "note mentally that it's not self". The instruction is to pay attention to it. If you pay attention to a "secondary object" (the "primary object" in this case is the abdominal motion, the "secondary objects" are whatever else comes up) the eventually it will cease (mental objects will tend to cease quite quickly when you pay attention to them, physical pain may take longer...). Then you go back to the primary object. [This is different from a jhana-oriented practice, where you want to get back to the object as soon as possible.]

:anjali:
Mike

alan...
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Re: the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:42 am

mikenz66 wrote:
alan... wrote:okay mike let me just tell you what i do and we'll work backwards:

i do the bare attention thing with breath as my main object. if an emotion comes up i cannot shake or something such as physical pain i note mentally that it's not self and/or see it's causes for arising and how it will vanish, see that this is true by looking inward, and then usually this allows me to let it go.

is this correct in your understanding?

This is subtley
The basic practice described by Mahasi and others is a little different from that:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pra ... tical.html
If you imagine something, you must know that you have done so and make a mental note, imagining. If you simply think of something, mentally note, thinking. If you reflect, reflecting. If you intend to do something, intending. When the mind wanders from the object of meditation which is the rising and falling of the abdomen, mentally note, wandering. Should you imagine you are going to a certain place, note going. When you arrive, arriving. When, in your thoughts, you meet a person, note meeting. Should you speak to him or her, speaking. If you imaginarily argue with that person, note arguing. If you envision or imagine a light or colour, be sure to note seeing. A mental vision must be noted on each occurrence of its appearance until it passes away. After its disappearance, continue with Basic Exercise I, by being fully aware of each movement of the rising and falling abdomen. Proceed carefully, without slackening. If you intend to swallow saliva while thus engaged, make a mental note intending. While in the act of swallowing, swallowing. If you spit, spitting. Then return to the exercise of noting rising and falling.

Note :tongue: that the instruction is not to try to "shake off" things that arise, or to "note mentally that it's not self". The instruction is to pay attention to it. If you pay attention to a "secondary object" (the "primary object" in this case is the abdominal motion, the "secondary objects" are whatever else comes up) the eventually it will cease (mental objects will tend to cease quite quickly when you pay attention to them, physical pain may take longer...). Then you go back to the primary object. [This is different from a jhana-oriented practice, where you want to get back to the object as soon as possible.]

:anjali:
Mike



then what does it mean: "he abides contemplating the body as a body internally. or he abides contemplating the body as a body internally. or he abides contemplating the body as a body both internally and externally. or else he abides contemplating in the body it's nature of arising. or he abides contemplating in the body it's nature of vanishing. or he abides contemplating in the body it's nature of both arising and vanishing. or else mindfulness that "there is a body" is established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness."

this is written after every section. shouldn't we be doing this quite literally considering how many times it's mentioned?

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mikenz66
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Re: the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:52 am

Hi Alan,

Certainly we should take that seriously, but there are a lot of options there, so one would need a book chapter to cover them
The short answer is that those are the sorts of things I've been talking about. "He is aware of this, or that, or ....": One notices the the arising and vanishing of phenomena.

For the last part, see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15207#p219318

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: the place of cognition in satipatthana?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:31 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,

Certainly we should take that seriously, but there are a lot of options there, so one would need a book chapter to cover them
The short answer is that those are the sorts of things I've been talking about. "He is aware of this, or that, or ....": One notices the the arising and vanishing of phenomena.

For the last part, see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15207#p219318

:anjali:
Mike


i guess i'll sit down with a book then. know any that go in depth?


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