Samadhi without sila?

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m0rl0ck
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Samadhi without sila?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:02 pm

Referencing this post viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6098#p103022 and starting a new thread based on it.



rowyourboat wrote: There can be no samadhi, without sila.

with metta


Is that true? Dont people who practice martial arts acheive great one pointedness in the pursuit of violence?

Sila is a great aid to concentration if one has a conscience to disturb, if one does not have a conscience prone to being disturbed by bad acts, i wouldnt think it would be so important. I am a highly deluded person with many flaws and have spent enough time on the cushion so that despite that, i can achieve great, often self sustaining, concentration. I would imagine that there are others even more deluded and lacking in character, who are even better at it than i am. :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Cloud » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:06 pm

As Jack Kornfield puts it, it's hard to have a good meditation session when you've been out stealing and killing all day.

There is some variance depending on individual minds, but there's a kind of pain that remains with you if you've been doing immoral things, even if you aren't aware of it. This can be detrimental to gaining a clear picture of reality; not saying impossible.

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:27 pm

Cloud wrote:As Jack Kornfield puts it, it's hard to have a good meditation session when you've been out stealing and killing all day.



I know thats the party line and what all well meaning people would like to beleive, after all if even the wicked and deluded could attain the fruit of practice, where would be the justice in that?

I dont think its so, i think that if you are comfortable with bad acts and protected from consequences, you are just as likely to attian the benefits of practice as anyone. Samadhi is a learned skill, like playing the guitar or riding a skate board. A clear conscience is certainly a help in preventing distraction, but for some i think, the bar is set pretty low.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:49 pm

Hi m0rl0ck,

usually when we find the word samādhi in the suttas without any further specification, it is not just any kind of concentration or "one-pointedness" but "right concentration" (sammasamādhi).
rowyourboat wrote:There can be no samadhi, without sila.
m0rl0ck wrote:Is that true? Dont people who practice martial arts acheive great one pointedness in the pursuit of violence?

Those people may achieve great one pointedness but without any sīla it won't be right concentration (sammasamādhi) but rather wrong concentration (micchāsamādhi). Only sammasamādhi (together with the other 7 parts of the noble 8-fold path) leads to liberation.

Right concentration are the four jhanas (see SN45.8)
And it is said in a lot of suttas:
And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana ...


I don't know of any sutta that tells that one can enter the jhanas not withdrawn from unskillful qualities.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby ground » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:31 pm

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong resolve as wrong resolve, and right resolve as right resolve. And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve.
...
"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration... In one of right concentration, right knowledge... In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Kind regards

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Emanresu » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:37 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:I dont think its so, i think that if you are comfortable with bad acts and protected from consequences, you are just as likely to attian the benefits of practice as anyone.


Hello,

I think this is the crucial point (underlined). According to the Buddha you cannot protect yourself from the consequences of bad acts unless you abstain from such acts. Everyone of us depends (more or less) on the goodwill of others. If you hurt others (especially if this happens habitually or if they seriously suffer from it), they/this might come back at you one way or another and thereby conditions might be created which are not suitable for any meditation practice. A bad reputation alone can have serious conscequences, especially if important and more powerful people decide to get rid of you or to deprive you from certain necessary things (your job, your home, your freedom etc.). And there might also be consequences we are not aware of: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.040.than.html. None of them is conducive to meditation practice. Apart from that: Samadhi is about becoming calm and peaceful, i.e. it is about being undisturbed by such emotions which usually lead to bad actions. Therefore I think that it is impossible that they both can go together for very long. If I am not even able or willing to restrain myself from acting out my greed, hatred etc., how and why should I be able or willing to get them out of my mind and thereby attaining samadhi?

All the best!

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:51 pm

Hi morlock

This is how sila works in attaining samadhi:

Thus in this way, Ananda, skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward. Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward.

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

So sila seems necessary to generate the jhana factors.

However, the point you are asking is if a person may be free from remorse without practicing sila. In my opinion, no. Even psychopaths have moral consciousness, although they are not aware of it. I think it stays burried in their minds but it's still there and still blocking jhana factors.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby andre9999 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:09 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:However, the point you are asking is if a person may be free from remorse without practicing sila. In my opinion, no. Even psychopaths have moral consciousness, although they are not aware of it. I think it stays burried in their minds but it's still there and still blocking jhana factors.


There are a fair number of scientific studies that would suggest otherwise. This summarizes them, but you should be able to find some of the academic papers pretty easily: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100428/New-study-links-psychopathy-to-frontal-lobe-dysfunction.aspx

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:09 pm

Depends on the understanding of sila.

It is possible to have samadhi without following precepts. But it is not possible to have samadhi without skillful and virtuous actions born of mindfulness.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Anicca » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:31 pm

The whole of the eightfold path is possible without sila - and what you have is:

    ditthi without samma-ditthi
    sankappa without samma-sankappa
    vaca without samma-vaca
    kammanta without samma-kammanta
    ajiva without samma-ajiva
    vayama without samma-vayama
    sati without samma-sati
    samadhi without samma-samadhi

None of it worth doodly-squat.

metta

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby andre9999 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:54 pm

Individual wrote:Depends on the understanding of sila.

It is possible to have samadhi without following precepts. But it is not possible to have samadhi without skillful and virtuous actions born of mindfulness.


Reference?

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby yuttadhammo » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:41 am

andrer9999 wrote:
Individual wrote:Depends on the understanding of sila.

It is possible to have samadhi without following precepts. But it is not possible to have samadhi without skillful and virtuous actions born of mindfulness.


Reference?


It is possible to have micchāsamādhi without wholesome cetasikā, but not sammāsamādhi, nor Buddhist jhāna. Since breaking sīla requires unwholesome cetasikā, there can be no sammāsamādhi nor Buddhist jhāna at the moment of breaking sīla.

"sammāsamādhissa, bhikkhave, micchāsamādhi nijjiṇṇo hoti; ye ca micchāsamādhipaccayā aneke pāpakā akusalā dhammā sambhavanti te cassa nijjiṇṇā honti; sammāsamādhipaccayā ca aneke kusalā dhammā bhāvanāpāripūriṃ gacchanti.

For one who has right concentration, o monks, wrong concentration is exhausted; and what manifold evil, unwholesome realities co-arise dependent on wrong concentration, these are exhausted; and the manifold wholesome realities dependent on right concentration go to development and fulfillment."

AN 10, 3. tatiyapaṇṇāsakaṃ, (11) 1. samaṇasaññāvaggo, 6. nijjarasuttaṃ


It is interesting to note that micchāsamādhi has many of the same "beneficial" qualities of sammāsamādhi:

"katamā tasmiṃ samaye cittassekaggatā hoti? yā tasmiṃ samaye cittassa ṭhiti saṇṭhiti avaṭṭhiti avisāhāro avikkhepo avisāhaṭamānasatā samatho samādhindriyaṃ samādhibalaṃ micchāsamādhi -- ayaṃ tasmiṃ samaye cittassekaggatā hoti."

"What, at that time, is onepointedness of mind? At that time, the staying of mind, staying composed, staying put, undistractedness, undisturbedness, unperturbedness, quietude, concentration faculty, concentration power, wrong concentration -- this, at that time, is one-pointedness of mind."

DhS, 1. cittuppādakaṇḍaṃ, dvādasa akusalāni


Obviously the benefits of such concentration would be short lived, due to the increase in unwholesome tendencies in such a person.
Last edited by yuttadhammo on Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby phil » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:24 am

"When the mind is disturbed it is far from concentration." (MN 19 or 20, I think, but don't count on it, but it is the Buddha's teaching.) In another sutta it is said that guarding the sense doors and sila lead to freedom from remorse, and that is a condition for samadhi. Other people will tell you that (according to Abhidhamma) concentration is a cetasika that accompanies every citta and that right samadhi can occur with any object at any time, but I think that is their very self-generous wishful thinking. Personally, my practice is all about establishing sila, I personally think aspiring for right samadhi without sila is an absurdity, and I say that both from watching the mind, and from the Buddha's teaching, as above.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby yuttadhammo » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:20 am

phil wrote:"When the mind is disturbed it is far from concentration." (MN 19 or 20, I think, but don't count on it, but it is the Buddha's teaching.)


"api ca kho me aticiraṃ anuvitakkayato anuvicārayato kāyo kilameyya . kāye kilante cittaṃ ūhaññeyya. ūhate citte ārā cittaṃ samādhimhāti."

"And so, indeed, when I was investigating and reflecting for a long time, the body would become tired. When the body was tired, the mind would be disturbed. When the mind is disturbed, the mind is far from concentration."

-- MN 19

Not really proof that concentration cannot be accompanied by unwholesomeness....

In another sutta it is said that guarding the sense doors and sila lead to freedom from remorse, and that is a condition for samadhi.


I believe this was discussed already, but I think the concentration implied here is right concentration, and the wording is that freedom from remorse is for the purpose of concentration (I think actually there are a few more links here...). So at best it is a support, but not a necessary condition.

Other people will tell you that (according to Abhidhamma) concentration is a cetasika that accompanies every citta and that right samadhi can occur with any object at any time, but I think that is their very self-generous wishful thinking.

It is one thing to say that concentration is a cetasika, it is another to say that right samadhi can occur with any object at any time. Since it does actually say that samadhi is a universal cetasika in the abhidhamma, it might just be because they respect the authority of that body of texts that they tell you that. And since it does seem to be supported by scientific inquiry, why be dogmatic in refusing to admit it? According to both the sutta and the abhidhamma, there is something called micchāsamādhi, as pointed out above. It is quite obvious that micchāsamādhi is accompanied by unwholesomeness, so obviously the two can go together. There is no reason to think that micchāsamādhi does not exist at the moment of committing an offence against one's sīla.

Personally, my practice is all about establishing sila, I personally think aspiring for right samadhi without sila is an absurdity, and I say that both from watching the mind, and from the Buddha's teaching, as above.

I may be wrong, but I think the OP was asking about samādhi in general, not only sammāsamādhi, which everyone should agree cannot come without concurrent sammāsīla.

Wrong concentration is focussing the mind on a misdeed that one intends to commit by body or speech. It is concentration that enables one to do unwholesome deeds successfully. For example, when you intend to tell a lie, your intention will materialise only if you fix your mind on the words that you have to utter falsely. If your mind wanders, you are likely to speak the truth unwittingly. It is said that in courts the truth about some cases comes to light when witnesses who have agreed to give false evidence are tricked by lawyers whose cross-examination is designed to create confusion. This is due to lack of concentration on the part of the witnesses, so concentration is vital when doing an evil deed. Wrong concentration is very powerful when men plan a massacre, a big robbery, or produce lethal weapons.

-- Mahasi Sayadaw, Sallekha Sutta

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:44 pm

"Once, Ven. Ananda, Master Gotama was staying near Vesali in the Peaked Roofed Pavilion in the Great Wood. I went to him at the Peaked Roofed Pavilion in the Great Wood, and there he spoke in a variety of ways on mental absorption. Master Gotama was both endowed with mental absorption & made mental absorption his habit. In fact, he praised mental absorption of every sort."

"It wasn't the case, brahman, that the Blessed One praised mental absorption of every sort, nor did he criticize mental absorption of every sort. And what sort of mental absorption did he not praise? There is the case where a certain person dwells with his awareness overcome by sensual passion, seized with sensual passion. He does not discern the escape, as it actually is present, from sensual passion once it has arisen. Making that sensual passion the focal point, he absorbs himself with it, besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs himself with it.

"He dwells with his awareness overcome by ill will...

"He dwells with his awareness overcome by sloth & drowsiness...

"He dwells with his awareness overcome by restlessness & anxiety...

"He dwells with his awareness overcome by uncertainty, seized with uncertainty. He does not discern the escape, as it actually is present, from uncertainty once it has arisen. Making that uncertainty the focal point, he absorbs himself with it, besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs himself with it. This is the sort of mental absorption that the Blessed One did not praise.

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

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Individual » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:56 pm

Thank you, Ven. Yuttadhammo. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby Individual » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:28 pm

In conventional terms, "right concentration" means samadhi with sila. People should not say, for instance, that concentrating deeply in order to perform immoral acts is the same thing as Buddhist concentration. Angulimala, before he was an Arahant, was an example of wrong samadhi, directed towards killing people rather than helping others attain liberation.

However, in ultimate terms, this no longer applies to the Buddha or the Arahant, because there is concentration but there is no concentrating person upon which wholesome and unwholesome tendencies can sit. In this sense, the Buddha can concentrate to do whatever he wishes; if his concentration were bound to do this or that, to be directed in this or that way, it would not be called unconditioned, it would not be liberation. Instead it would still simply be conditioned action and conditioned rebirth.

Perhaps then one could make the distinction between conventional samadhi and noble or supreme samadhi. In supreme samadhi, sila is irrelevant because there are no actors and no actions, only bodhi. At the same time, with supreme samadhi there is supreme sila; not "attachment to rites and rituals" (like precepts) but skillful and virtuous actions born of mindfulness, which do not require the unnecessary burden of being consciously named. Supreme sila is not spoken, but when it is performed and observed by others, it is extraordinarily beautiful in its resilience. In supreme sila and supreme samadhi, there is no meaningful distinction between the practices of sila and samadhi. In this supreme way, meditation itself is a skillful action (of sitting down or merely impersonal observation while carrying out daily activity) and skillful acts are carried out because of right concentration (the real meditation is when you are engaged in overcoming hindrances which is all the time, not merely when sitting).
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Samadhi without sila?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:31 am

Hi Individual

If you want to write your own 'pali' cannon, be my guest. Some of us actually feel that we do not know everything.

Good luck.


Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
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