How do you contemplate anicca?

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How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:14 am

I thought it might be useful to share experience.

My current approach is to simply observe continual change, using the 6 sense bases as a framework.

How about you?
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:28 am

I contemplate the anicca characteristic of vedana (sensation) in vedananupassana (vipassana meditation as taught by Sayagi U Ba Khin and SN Goenka).
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:48 am

Ben wrote:I contemplate the anicca characteristic of vedana (sensation) in vedananupassana (vipassana meditation as taught by Sayagi U Ba Khin and SN Goenka).
kind regards,

Ben


Just to check my understanding Ben, is this the method where one focuses primarily on the movement of the abdomen but shifts attention to other physical sensations as they arise?
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:54 am

No, Spiny.
What we do during a retreat is spend the first 1/3 of the retreat time developing samadhi via anapana (observing the touch of the breath in the area under the nostrils), then we practice vipassana by moving our awareness throughout the body observing the anicca characteristic of sensations.
The observation of the breath by observing the movement of the abdomen is a vipassana technique that was taught by the Mahasi Sayadaw and his students.
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:58 pm

Ben wrote:No, Spiny.
What we do during a retreat is spend the first 1/3 of the retreat time developing samadhi via anapana (observing the touch of the breath in the area under the nostrils), then we practice vipassana by moving our awareness throughout the body observing the anicca characteristic of sensations.


Yes, I see. Could you say how that translates to a daily meditation practice? Would you spend some time developing samadhi, then move to vipassana?
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:01 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:I thought it might be useful to share experience.

My current approach is to simply observe continual change, using the 6 sense bases as a framework.

How about you?
What do you mean by "contemplate?"
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:I thought it might be useful to share experience.

My current approach is to simply observe continual change, using the 6 sense bases as a framework.

How about you?
What do you mean by "contemplate?"


Good question! I suppose I was thinking about direct observation, but "contemplate" could also include reflection.
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:14 pm

Greetings,

Spiny Norman wrote:My current approach is to simply observe continual change, using the 6 sense bases as a framework.

How about you?

Likewise, but it's consciously the aniccata of sankharas - sabbe sankhara anicca.

Yes, it's also aniccata of dhammas (since all dhammas other than nibbana are sankhata-dhamma) but I have found sabbe sankhara anicca a more useful frame of reference for observation. The reason I have found it more useful is because the actual fabrication itself is a product of avijja (i.e. ignorance, i.e. you create it yourself), whereas if the focus is exclusively on the end-result dhammas (and their fabrication and cessation of that fabrication from the sphere of direct experience is excluded from perception) a vitally important aspect of the wilful ignorant generation of samsara will be missed. When it all comes down to it, that seems to be the purpose of insight meditation... to learn how to bring that process of ignorant fabrication to an end.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:52 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Ben wrote:No, Spiny.
What we do during a retreat is spend the first 1/3 of the retreat time developing samadhi via anapana (observing the touch of the breath in the area under the nostrils), then we practice vipassana by moving our awareness throughout the body observing the anicca characteristic of sensations.


Yes, I see. Could you say how that translates to a daily meditation practice? Would you spend some time developing samadhi, then move to vipassana?


On a daily basis I don't practice anapana-sati. Only as and when I need it. ie: when my concentration is not strong or when my sensitivity to subtle vedanas is diminished and then I will practice for as long as needed. Otherwise, I devote two 1 hour sessions a day to observing vedana in sitting mediation. I also spend five minutes at the end of each session practicing metta bhavana and the sharing of merits. My meditative awarness continues throughout the day for differing lengths of time where I am aware of the anicca characteristic of vedana or one or more of the other foundations of mindfulness.
kind regards,

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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby fivebells » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:01 am

Burmese vipassana really has this down (at least the way Goenka and Mahasi talk about it.) They just try to note what's arising as fast as they can.
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:09 am

fivebells wrote:...they just try to note what's arising

And passing away
fivebells wrote:as fast as they can.

kind regards,

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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:12 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Spiny Norman wrote:My current approach is to simply observe continual change, using the 6 sense bases as a framework.

How about you?

Likewise, but it's consciously the aniccata of sankharas - sabbe sankhara anicca.
Yes, it's also aniccata of dhammas (since all dhammas other than nibbana are sankhata-dhamma) but I have found sabbe sankhara anicca a more useful frame of reference for observation.


Retro, I'm not clear on the distinction between sankhara and dhamma in the context of observing anicca. Could you elaborate?
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:31 am

Greetings Spiny,

Not simple to explain, but here goes...

Dhamma can be roughly translated as thing or experience.
Sankhara can be roughly translated as formation or fabrication.
Sankhata-dhamma can therefore be roughly translated as fabricated experience.
Asankhata-dhamma is therefore unfabricated experience, and this term is analogous to nibbana.

The very act of consciousness (presence) at the sense door, involves converting so-called "raw stimuli" into an "experience" (dhamma) and is generally an act of formation for the non-arahant*.

In our life we have "experiences" (not "raw stimuli") and that "experience" is wilfully formed based upon the conjoinment of "raw stimuli" and various cognitive acts, classifyiable under the aggregates schema.

No formed consciousness is independent of that act of forming.

If we focus on "dhammas" rather than "sankharas", there is a greater propensity to mistake "experience" for "raw stimuli", and the distinction is crucial in terms of learning how not to fabricate, because the presence of "raw stimuli" itself is a fait accompli... and you can't really learn how not to do have "raw stimuli", whereas by removing avijja you can avoid giving rise to sankhata-dhammas.

* compare with the "seen in the seen" style instructions to Bahiya that Kirk showed you recently, and the difference between what a putthujana does, what a trainee should do, and what the arahant does in http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:58 am

retrofuturist wrote:If we focus on "dhammas" rather than "sankharas", there is a greater propensity to mistake "experience" for "raw stimuli", ...

Hmm, I'm confused. Sorry.

How do you tell the difference (if any) between dhammas and sahkhata-dhammas? All dhammas are fabricated (apart from nibbana), so all of our (unawakened) experience is fabricated isn't it?

Or are you talking about your "attitude" toward the phenomena, rather than some distinction between the phenomena themselves?

And what are these "raw stimuli" exactly? Surely whatever they are they are also fabricated:
"From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling." etc...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#phassa


:anjali:
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:17 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Or are you talking about your "attitude" toward the phenomena, rather than some distinction between the phenomena themselves?

"Lens of perception" or "frame of reference" moreso than "attitude".

mikenz66 wrote:And what are these "raw stimuli" exactly? Surely whatever they are they are also fabricated

No, there is just consciousness (presence) that corresponds to them.

Re: contact... see viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8033 - but especially this post - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8033&start=0#p126522

MN 18 wrote:Now, when there is the eye, when there are forms, when there is eye-consciousness, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of contact.


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: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:25 pm

retrofuturist wrote:If we focus on "dhammas" rather than "sankharas", there is a greater propensity to mistake "experience" for "raw stimuli", and the distinction is crucial in terms of learning how not to fabricate, because the presence of "raw stimuli" itself is a fait accompli... and you can't really learn how not to do have "raw stimuli", whereas by removing avijja you can avoid giving rise to sankhata-dhammas.


Could we take a simple example, like a dog barking? You seem to be drawing a distinction between the sound of the bark as the raw stimuli, and then our reaction to that sound? Clearly both the sound and the reaction are characterised by anicca, but what you're saying is that it's more productive to focus on how the reaction is characterised by anicca?

In practice I find that focussing on the transience of the sound seems to "disable" the reaction, ie because the sound is transient it's really not worth getting worked up about. So maybe there are different ways of looking at it.
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:36 pm

Greetings,

Spiny Norman wrote:Could we take a simple example, like a dog barking? You seem to be drawing a distinction between the sound of the bark as the raw stimuli, and then our reaction to that sound? Clearly both the sound and the reaction are characterised by anicca, but what you're saying is that it's more productive to focus on how the reaction is characterised by anicca?

Close. There's raw sound vibrations (out there - ontologically speaking), this gives rise to raw sound (sensed - phenomenologically speaking), which is processed/shaped/formed (inclusive of the "reaction", inclusive of apperception, inclusive of frame, inclusive of vitakka, vicara etc.), to form the holistic formed experience of "hearing a dog barking". If you were to stop that sequence of events earlier, your experience wouldn't be that of "hearing a dog barking", it would just be "unalloyed sound". You could try to focus on the "transience of the (unalloyed) sound" but by doing are you ignoring or neglecting other aspects of your present moment formed experience?

Is your present moment experience really just unalloyed sound? The fact there's vitakka, vicara and such going on during the observation is sufficient to demonstrate that it's not... at best the present experience being had is "mindfully observing the aniccata of unalloyed sound". The method of labelling such as "hearing, hearing" acknowledges this to some degree, though it should also be saying, "labelling, labelling" because that is another layer of fabrication it is imposing over present moment experience. Once mindfulness is strong, I find it more useful to thin out the layers, merely observing whatever presents, rather than adding to them.

Spiny Norman wrote:In practice I find that focussing on the transience of the sound seems to "disable" the reaction, ie because the sound is transient it's really not worth getting worked up about. So maybe there are different ways of looking at it.

Yes, it can suppress some of the potential subsequent reaction, but the question to ask is "is it giving rise to insight"? (It might be, I'm not being facetious)

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: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby alan » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:02 pm

:goodpost:
Excellent posts retro--intelligent and concise. Well done!
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:16 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:In practice I find that focussing on the transience of the sound seems to "disable" the reaction, ie because the sound is transient it's really not worth getting worked up about. So maybe there are different ways of looking at it.

Yes, it can suppress some of the potential subsequent reaction, but the question to ask is "is it giving rise to insight"? (It might be, I'm not being facetious)


I think if the transience is really experienced, then yes, it's a route to developing insight.

I agree that the process of perception has different layers, but I don't think this detracts from the basic principle, which is illustrated by passages like this one in SN22.59:.
"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."
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Re: How do you contemplate anicca?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:45 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:And what are these "raw stimuli" exactly? Surely whatever they are they are also fabricated

No, there is just consciousness (presence) that corresponds to them.

So there is a "real world" out there that is not conditioned that you are contacting?

Anyway, going back to the contemplation. If I understand it correctly, what you are talking about appears to me to be fairly standard instructions: noticing what develops from contact. How a sound, for example, triggers feeling, perception, thinking, ...

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