Maha Boowa

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Maha Boowa

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:44 pm


I was reading a book by Maha Boowa when i come accross this

The citta forms the very foundation of samsãra; it is the essence of being that wanders from birth to birth. It is the instigator of the cycle of existence and the prime mover in the round of repeated birth and death. Samsãra is said to be a cycle because death and rebirth recur regularly according to the immutable law of kamma. The citta is governed by kamma, so it is obliged to revolve perpetually in this cycle following kamma’s dictates. As long as the citta remains under the jurisdiction of kamma, this will always be the case. The citta of the Arahant is the sole exception, for his citta has completely transcended kamma’s domain. Since he has also transcended all conventional connections, not a single aspect of relative, conventional reality can possibly become involved with the Arahant’s citta. At the level of Arahant, the citta has absolutely no involvement with anything.

Once the citta is totally pure, it simply knows according to its own inherent nature. It is here that the citta reaches it culmination; it attains perfection at the level of absolute purity. Here the continuous migration from one birth to the next finally comes to an end. Here the perpetual journey from the higher realms of existence to the lower ones and back again, through the repetitive cycle of birth, ageing, sickness, and death, totally ceases. Why does it cease here? Because those hidden, defiling elements that normally permeate the citta and cause it to spin around have been completely eliminated. All that remains is the pure citta, which will never again experience birth and death.

Rebirth is inevitable, however, for the citta that has yet to reach that level of purity. One may be tempted to deny that rebirth follows death, or one may doggedly hold to the nihilistic viewpoint that rejects all possibility of life after death, but such convictions cannot alter the truth. One’s essential knowing nature is not governed by speculation; nor is it influenced by people’s views and opinions. Its preeminence within one’s own being, coupled with the supreme authority of kamma, completely override all speculative considerations.

As a consequence, all living beings are compelled to move from one life to the next, experiencing both gross incarnations, like the creatures of land, sea and air, and the more refined incarnations of ghosts, devas and brahmas. Although the later are so ethereal as to be invisible to the human eye, the citta has no difficulty taking birth in their realms. The appropriate kamma is all that is required. Kamma is the determining factor; it is the power that propels the citta on its ceaseless journey in samsãra.

The citta is something so extremely subtle that it is difficult to comprehend what actually constitutes the citta. It is only when the citta attains a state of meditative calm that its true nature becomes apparent. Even experienced meditators who are intent on understanding the citta are unable to know its true nature until they have attained the meditative calm of samãdhi.

Even though the citta resides within the body, we are nevertheless unable to detect it. That’s how very subtle it is. Because it is dispersed throughout the physical body, we cannot tell which part or which aspect is actually the true citta. It is so subtle that only the practice of meditation can detect its presence and differentiate it from all the other aspects associated with the body. Through the practice of meditation we can separate them out, seeing that the body is one thing and the citta is another. This is one level of separation, the level of the citta that is experienced in samãdhi, but its duration is limited to the time spent practicing samãdhi.

At the next level, the citta can totally separate itself from the physical body, but it cannot yet disengage from the mental components of personality: vedanã, saññã, sankhãra, and viññãna. When the citta reaches this level, one can use wisdom to separate out the body and eventually become detached forever from the belief that one’s body is oneself, but one is still unable to separate the mental factors of feeling, memory, thoughts, and consciousness from the citta. By using wisdom to investigate further, these mental factors can also be detached from the citta. We then see clearly for ourselves—sanditthiko—that all five khandhas are realities separate from the citta. This is the third level of separation.

At the final level, our attention turns to the original cause of all delusion, that extremely subtle pervasion of ignorance we call avijjã. We know avijjã’s name, but we fail to realize that it is concealed there within the citta. In fact, it permeates the citta like an insidious poison. We cannot see it yet, but it’s there. At this stage, we must rely on the superior strength of our mindfulness, wisdom, and perseverance to extract the poison. Eventually, by employing the full power of mindfulness and wisdom, even avijjã can be separated from the citta.

When everything permeating the citta has finally been removed, we have reached the ultimate stage. Separation at this level is a permanent and total disengagement that requires no further effort to maintain. This is true freedom for the citta. When the body suffers illness, we know clearly that only the physical elements are affected, so we are not concerned or upset by the symptoms. Ordinarily, bodily discomfort causes mental stress. But once the citta is truly free, one remains supremely happy even amid intense physical suffering. The body and the pain are known to be phenomena separate from the citta, so the citta does not participate in the distress. Having relinquished them unequivocally, body and feelings can never again intermix with the citta. This is the citta’s absolute freedom.

He goes onto say

Birth and death have always been conditions of the citta that is infected by kilesas. But, since kilesas themselves are the cause of our ignorance, we are unaware of this truth. Birth and death are problems arising from the kilesas. Our real problem, our one fundamental problem—which is also the citta’s fundamental problem—is that we lack the power needed to be our own true self. Instead, we have always taken counterfeit things to be the essence of who we really are, so that the citta’s behavior is never in harmony with its true nature. Rather, it expresses itself through the kilesas’ cunning deceits, which cause it to feel anxious and frightened of virtually everything. It dreads living, and dreads dying. Whatever happens—slight pain, severe pain—it becomes afraid. It’s perturbed by even the smallest disturbances. As a result, the citta is forever full of worries and fears. And although fear and worry are not intrinsic to the citta, they still manage to produce apprehension there ... m#APPENDIX

To me this strikes me as saying the citta is some kind of permanent entity or self? or could this just be my own ignorance in what he is saying?


He who binds to himself a joy
Does the wingèd life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.

William Blake

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Re: Maha Boowa

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:20 am

Hi Craig

From reading what you have provided, I agree with you.

Here is something from Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments on Acariya Anuruddha's Cittasangaha in A comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma:

The Pali word citta is derived from the verbal root citi, to cognize, to know. The commentators define citta in three ways: as agent, as instrument, and as activity. As the agent, citta is that which cognizes an object (arammanam cinteti ti cittam). As an instrument, citta is that by means of which the accompanying mental factors cognize the object (etena cintenti ti cittam). As an activity, citta is itself nothing other than the process of cognizing the object (cintanamattam cittam).
The third definition, in terms of sheer activity, is regarded as the most adequate of the three: that is, citta is fundamentally an activity or process of cognizing or knowng an object. It is not an agent or instrument possessing actual being in itself apart from the activity of cognizing. The definition of terms pf agent and instrument are proposed to refute the wrong view of those who hold that a permanent self or ego is the agent and instrument of cognition. The Buddhist thinkers point out, by means of these definitions, that it is not a self that performs the act of cognition, but citta or consciousness. This citta is nothing other that the act of cognizing, and that act is necessarily impermanent, marked by rise and fall.

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Maha Boowa

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:53 am

i think many people have issues with boowa's philosophy
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Maha Boowa

Postby gavesako » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:15 am

I think his terminology is very idiosyncratic, and does not agree even with the other Ajahns of the forest tradition. The way he defines the khandhas as distinct from the citta (which nevertheless seems to perform some functions normally attributed to the khandhas) is puzzling. Even some Western monks adopt this way of talking which is then confusing. Some people have compared it to the ideas more commonly found in the Upanishads or Hindu systems of meditation.
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Re: Maha Boowa

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:51 am

To be fair, Ajahn Maha Boowa does seem to recognise that his approach and language is idiosyncratic. At the conclusion of "Kammatthana, the path of practice" he states:
This Dhamma has been discussed partly in accordance with theory, Pariyatti, and partly in accodance with the views of Forest Dhamma. Some are probably correct, and some incorrect. This is because it has been discussed out of the understanding of Forest Dhamma that has been experienced from practice. The writer asks forgiveness from all readers, and is alway ready to listen to any logical criticism.


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