How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:55 pm

Hi friend,

This is my 1st post in this sub forum. I'd like to discuss with friends here about the answers to the Buddha's questions (suggested to the practitioners who haven't gained insight to the phenomena through heightened wisdom) in AN 4.94:

1. "How should fabrications be regarded?"
This conditioned world (the all) is made of fabrications as a result of the ignorance/delusion of the unconditoned, which is deluded by the conditioned incoming defilements. Both physical and mental fabrications are caused by the incoming defilements and therefore are all empty (they are all anatta). They are all compounded, fabricated and conditioned phenomena which arise depending upon causes and conditions, and dissolute with the ending of these causes and conditions.

2. "How should they be investigated?"
1) During formal meditation time: use the methods of e.g. Satipathana & Anapanasati, first establish mindfulness and clear comprehension, after gaining tranquility contemplate body/feeling/mind/the dhamma (especially 5 aggregates and 6 sense objects, but the dhamma here also includes five hindrances, 6 sense sets, 7 enlightenment factors and 4 noble truths as taught in the Satipathana sutta).
2) During daily activities: use (the contemplation and realization of) anatta as the meditation object and keep constant awareness of anatta.

3. "How should they be seen with insight?"
[They are anicca, dukkha, anatta;
Their origin: ignorance/delusion and craving
Their cessation: nibbana
The way leading to their cessation: by mindfulness and wisdom established through the noble 8-fold path and the 4 establishments of mindfulness; focus on disillusion, dispassion, detachment and relinquishing]

In general, one should comprehends five aggregates and six sense objects through direct knowledge/experience, abandons ignorance/delusion and craving (liking and disliking) through direct knowledge/experience, develops tranquility and insight through direct knowledge/experience, and realizes true knowledge and liberation through direct knowledge/experience.

Your input would be most appreciated. Metta,

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Last edited by starter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby kirk5a » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:46 pm

Nothing wrong with these answers that I can see, but how are you going to actually practice with them?

It might be helpful to look at the Bahiya Sutta for a totally stripped-down model of Vipassana.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:55 pm

Hello Kirk,

Your very helpful advice has been quite appreciated. I guess the model of Vipasana you refer to is:

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance [to “I”, “mine”, “myself”].

I know the bare-attention model of Vipasana is probably based upon the cited paragraph. But I tend to interpret this paragraph as having no self-identification with / no clinging to the five aggregates and the sense objects (no "I-making" and "mine-making"). Please pay special attention to "the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance [to “I”, “mine”, “myself”]", no mention through bare-attention or non-subjectivity. I don't really want to start another round of dispute about this topic as my earlier post "Tathata/Tathagata interpretations Vs Mahayana Nirvana?" did in a way. At that time I didn't yet read the following teaching:

"Furthermore, Moggallana, should you train yourself: 'I will speak no confrontational speech.' That is how you should train yourself. When there is confrontational speech, a lot of discussion can be expected. When there is a lot of discussion, there is restlessness. One who is restless becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration." (AN 7_58)

But I want to be helpful to my dhamma friends, even though I'm only a beginner who knows very little indeed. I hope the friends following bare-attention vipasana won't be offended by my good will. I'm copying my previous post here for your reference:

"To my immature opinion, “Tathata” should probably better be used to penetrate the dependant origination, three characteristics and four noble truths (the Dharma Body of Tathagata), and to end the suffering by detachment to “self”. “Tathata” should probably not be interpreted and used just for obtaining a non-dualistic mind by non-subjectivity of things for the beginners —if used in this way, it could lead to no effort of the beginners for destroying assavas/defilements since assavas would be seen as neither good nor bad but rather void, and one would think s/he is already enlightened to the highest ultimate truth (which is an illusion).

The buddha has taught us to remove notion of “I” & “Mine” in order to remove our attachment to “self” and break the prison of “selfhood”, and finally uproot the assavas and defilements. His teachings are probably not meant to remove our subjective conceptualization and discrimination of all things, which is still necessary especially at the beginning of the practice, before one’s ultimate freedom, for abandoning assavas and defilements. As I understand, we should still have our heads to discriminate what to pursue and what not to pursue, but not the “swollen heads” soaked by “I” & “Mine”

I was kind of misled by the interpretation of "tathata" and "tathagata" into "as it truly is", and was going to try abandoning all subjective conception and discrimination of things, but the Buddha's suttas stopped me doing so and now I'm striving to remove my notion of self instead. I spent so much time on this topic, just want to help ..."

Metta,

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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby kirk5a » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi Starter

Your post tends towards complication.

The Bahiya Sutta speaks for itself. Now if it doesn't speak to you, then of course you can seek out something which does.

:namaste:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:35 am

Hi Starter

All the answers you seek are in here. This is satipatthana in a very practical sense:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... gress.html

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:10 pm

Hi friends,

I just read something interesting relevant to our discussion here:

"So we can't condemn thoughts [conceptions] entirely. We just need to learn how to think in new ways, in ways that are actually skillful, that help free the mind. Ultimately you do get to a place that's beyond concepts, that goes beyond words, but you need concepts and words to help get you there.

This is a point that a lot of people misunderstand. They think that in order to get beyond concepts, you just drop concepts immediately. It's like the old simile of the raft. The version in the Buddha's teachings is that you take the raft across the river. Then, once you get across the river, you don't need the raft anymore. You can put it aside. Thoughts of right view and thoughts of right resolve are part of the raft. You hold onto them while you're crossing the river, and only then do you put them aside. However, in the Diamond Sutra's version of the simile, you get across the river by dropping the raft to begin with. But that version of the simile just doesn't work. If you drop the raft before you've reached the other shore, you get washed away. So learn how to use the raft."

-- Meditation4

PS: RYB -- thanks for your recommendation. I'll read it after finishing Meditation4. Is your mail box still working (or you are too busy to reply to my private mails :) ?
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:55 pm

Hi Starter,

Sorry I get a bit delayed in replying emails sometimes- but do come around eventually. I hope your practice is going well.

with metta

Matheesha
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:16 pm

"I know the bare-attention model of Vipasana is probably based upon the cited paragraph. But I tend to interpret this paragraph as having no self-identification with / no clinging to the five aggregates and the sense objects (no "I-making" and "mine-making"). Please pay special attention to "the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance [to “I”, “mine”, “myself”]" ..."

-- Well, my new understanding of the Bahiya sutta is that we first need to really realize anatta before our conceit can really and thoroughly be removed.

Metta to all,

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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:30 pm

Impermanence and unsatisfactoriness is realised before anatta.


"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."


The self view (sakkaya-ditti) is realised as false during practice for stream entry. Conceit (manna) I-making mine-making is removed at arahath level.

All that is required for stream entry is to observe the arising and passing away of the aggregates in a sustained way, on a background of sila and samadhi.

With metta

Matheesha
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:39 pm

kirk5a wrote:Hi Starter

Your post tends towards complication.
A masterfully understated observation.
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: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:27 am

rowyourboat wrote:Impermanence and unsatisfactoriness is realised before anatta.


"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."


The self view (sakkaya-ditti) is realised as false during practice for stream entry. Conceit (manna) I-making mine-making is removed at arahath level.

All that is required for stream entry is to observe the arising and passing away of the aggregates in a sustained way, on a background of sila and samadhi.

With metta

Matheesha


Hello Matheesha,

Thanks for your comment. To my understanding, anatta can be realized via the 3 characteristics, the DO, and the pure/"luminous" mind vs. defiled mind (defiled by incoming defilements).

Metta to all,

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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:39 am

Hi starter,

You have not started vipassana yet. Anicca is the characteric you will observe 98% of the time. Something I see little in your posts (not a personal criticism, just an observation) is the sense of a path, a gradual development. Maybe it is the way dhamma expreses itself over the Internet or it maybe we discuss more panna oriented material, but insight (especially leading to nibbana, at stream entry) is not a one off practice. All the insights arise based on the backbone of a single vipassana practice running right through it's core until it reaches nibbana. It is like a fire you must tend to, without letting it die out prematurely. This might take months or years, especially if done at home. The noble (Ariya) has practiced the good path (supatipanno), the upright/virutous path (ujupatipanno), the path with a structure (nyaya patipanno), and practiced in a masterful way (saamichipatipanno). This person is like a sword forged in the best of qualities, in the furnace that the Thatagata rediscovered. It is not for academics, lazy people looking for a quick method but for the wise, clear headed strong people who know what they want. No one starts with these qualities entirely, but develop them bit by bit along the way. It is also for good virtuous people (now I'm rambling, but you get my drift). Be persistent in your effort - do not complicate it. All you have to do is develop virtue, concentration and insight. 3 practices maximum. You already have right view. The path will take care of the rest. You need to put in the time and effort. It's pretty much labour intensive, once you know the way conceptually. What is impermanent is suffering. When the arising and passing away (impermanence) is no more, this is the ending of suffering. The only way to get there is by seeing the three characteristics of the aggregates, in a mind with hindrance free samadhi, which in turn is based on keeping the five precepts. Seeing the true nature of the aggregates, craving aversion and delusion will fall away (temporarily at stream entry level- a suppression) and you will be freed from the burden of the aggregates. Simple really! :smile:
:anjali:

With metta

Matheesha
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Re: How to gain insight - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby SuperKingAir » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:44 pm

I feel like the effort you have to put in is equal to how much effort you've put in (that's deviated from the eightfold path) plus the momentum that it's built. Seeing it this way, I take total responsibility for it all, that is to say, it is what it is. It also satisfies my logical, scientific tendencies! Hope this helps someone else, too.
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