"Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:23 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Tilt is in a fine mood in this thread.
Of course. I am always in a fine mood. Nice of you to notice, though such an observation really adds nothing to the thread.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby reflection » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:35 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello Reflection,

reflection wrote:The mind can't make decisive movements in absorption, so you can't get an insight within it, that's right. Why not? Because the will is shut down.


Thank you for your helpful post. The follow up question is this: Is "will" required to observe presently arisen Nāmarūpa? Maybe just consciousness, perception, feeling and so on.

Considering that will is often an expression of one kilesas, it can be a hindrance for insight, because one may look at what one wants to look at and avoid looking at what one doesn't want to look.

With best wishes,

Alex

Hi Alex,

The will (or let's say volition) is not required to observe anything that is arisen. Volition does not observe. It is just an aggregate that is still a part of enlightened ones, but they are no longer attached to it. But knowing that intention shapes our karma, volition can lead us in the right direction, so it is not a defilement in itself. It depends on what you do with it, I guess.

Not looking at what one doesn't want to see, that's because of our attachments and that can certainly be a hindrance to insight. However, my main point is: Once you have seen things disappear it is much easier to see they are just a process. This is particularly true for volition.
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby reflection » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:37 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
reflection wrote:The mind can't make decisive movements in absorption, so you can't get an insight within it, that's right. Why not? Because the will is shut down. But that's exactly the 'temporal disappearance' of the aggregate of volition

No Pāli sutta or treatise accords with your notion that "the will is shut down" in jhāna or that the aggregate of volition has disappeared. Cetanā and numerous other saṅkhāras are all present in each jhāna.

All the best,

Geoff

I think the quite in the OP is an excellent example of a sutta reference to what I'm talking about.

" Such are fabrications (volitions), such its origination, such its disappearance."

However, may I suggest us to keep this discussion in the appropriate thread about jhanas. I know your point of view by now. I think it doesn't really add to the discussion about various interpretations of rise and fall and how to practice it.

:namaste:
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:38 pm

reflection wrote:I think the quite in the OP is an excellent example of a sutta reference to what I'm talking about.

" Such are fabrications (volitions), such its origination, such its disappearance."

No it isn't. Prof. William Chu:

    Numerous suttas in the Nikayas talk about all the jhanas and bases as "attainments with residues of volitional formations" (Sankhāra-vasesasamāpatti). This is such a common observation that Bhikkhu Bodhi also makes this comment in Note #233 of his translation of the Connected Discourses (2000:792). These suttas state that the jhanas and bases are the "successive pacification of volitional formations." The base of neither perception nor non-perception, being the subtlest, is called "an attainment with a small residue of volitional formations." Even the Visuddhimagga explains these passages as meaning that all four of the mental functions, including intention, remain in all these states (337-338).

    One of my Ph.D students' dissertation happens to be on the comparison of numerous commentaries in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan on the issue of jhana and vipassana. One really needs to be very competent in at least two canonical languages to know what she's talking about when she's trying to undertake scholarly debates on sutta terminology.

    The evidence is overwhelmingly compelling that Visuddhimagga is the oddball in claiming that vipassana is to be practiced after jhanas. Such evidence comes from etymological, philological/textual evolutionary, nikaya-comparative perspectives.

reflection wrote:However, may I suggest us to keep this discussion in the appropriate thread about jhanas. I know your point of view by now. I think it doesn't really add to the discussion about various interpretations of rise and fall and how to practice it.

This discussion in this particular sub-forum necessarily includes discussion of jhāna as sammāsamādhi. Moreover, you're the one who brought this idea of volitionless jhāna into the present discussion. Your interpretation of rise-and-fall has no canonical basis whatsoever.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:47 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The evidence is overwhelmingly compelling that Visuddhimagga is the oddball in claiming that vipassana is to be practiced after jhanas.


Are we able to say, then, that the Vimuttimagga differs in this respect?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby reflection » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:57 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
reflection wrote:I think the quite in the OP is an excellent example of a sutta reference to what I'm talking about.

" Such are fabrications (volitions), such its origination, such its disappearance."

No it isn't. Prof. William Chu:

    Numerous suttas in the Nikayas talk about all the jhanas and bases as "attainments with residues of volitional formations" (Sankhāra-vasesasamāpatti). This is such a common observation that Bhikkhu Bodhi also makes this comment in Note #233 of his translation of the Connected Discourses (2000:792). These suttas state that the jhanas and bases are the "successive pacification of volitional formations." The base of neither perception nor non-perception, being the subtlest, is called "an attainment with a small residue of volitional formations." Even the Visuddhimagga explains these passages as meaning that all four of the mental functions, including intention, remain in all these states (337-338).

    One of my Ph.D students' dissertation happens to be on the comparison of numerous commentaries in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan on the issue of jhana and vipassana. One really needs to be very competent in at least two canonical languages to know what she's talking about when she's trying to undertake scholarly debates on sutta terminology.

    The evidence is overwhelmingly compelling that Visuddhimagga is the oddball in claiming that vipassana is to be practiced after jhanas. Such evidence comes from etymological, philological/textual evolutionary, nikaya-comparative perspectives.

reflection wrote:However, may I suggest us to keep this discussion in the appropriate thread about jhanas. I know your point of view by now. I think it doesn't really add to the discussion about various interpretations of rise and fall and how to practice it.

This discussion in this particular sub-forum necessarily includes discussion of jhāna as sammāsamādhi. Moreover, you're the one who brought this idea of volitionless jhāna into the present discussion. Your interpretation of rise-and-fall has no canonical basis whatsoever.

All the best,

Geoff

Not here, there is a special sticky topic for it. Go on there if you want to defend your points and I might reply there. I don't see how this discussion helps anybody with respect to the question in the OP of this topic. You can reply on my view about the question asked in more detail here, but what exactly a jhana is can be discussed elsewhere. I don't think Alex is really interested to see that discussion -which by the way is just a repetition of arguments- again. Or at least, I'm not. With all respect, you can quote 100 PhD thesis on pali literature on jhana, but you aren't going to convince me. Neither am I going to convince you, so I'm not even going to try. ;) Especially not in this topic. These are my last words on it here.

:namaste:


However, back to topic. I would like to correct something I said, which I partly came up with because of what you posted:

reflection wrote: disappearance' of the aggregate of volition,

What I said here was not totally correct. There is still a kind of volition in absorption, but it is not voluntary, so what disappears is the "will" as most people see it. The mind still goes in a certain direction. This is what probably is meant with "residual volition" in the suttas. However "the will" is not exactly the same as volition. The aggregates are like a soup of stuff, not always that clear to distinguish. Pardon me for mixing it up a bit. However what certainly does disappear in absorption is the decision making. And partly based on this you can begin to contemplate the non-self of the entire aggregate of volition. To come back to the question: This can partly be done discursively, but you can also contemplate on things without using too much words.

:namaste:

With metta,
Reflection
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:28 pm

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The evidence is overwhelmingly compelling that Visuddhimagga is the oddball in claiming that vipassana is to be practiced after jhanas.


Are we able to say, then, that the Vimuttimagga differs in this respect?

The Vimuttimagga is less restrictive in its treatment of jhāna than the Visuddhimagga. However, I think Dr. Chu is primarily referring to the numerous non-Pāli commentaries, which are quite explicit in including vipassanā as a mental quality employed in jhāna. (When it comes to Nikāya school commentarial opinions and interpretations I don't see any reason to privilege what remains of Tāmraparnīya Theravāda over other Sthaviravāda schools. They were all basing their interpretations on very similar redactions of discourses.)

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:39 pm

reflection wrote:I don't see how this discussion helps anybody with respect to the question in the OP of this topic.

Again, you're the one who brought this idea of volitionless jhāna into the present discussion.

reflection wrote:With all respect, you can quite 100 PhD thesis on pali literature on jhana, but you aren't going to convince me. Neither am I going to convince you, so I'm not even going to try.

The accepted standard is to support your assertions with canonical passages. This is both a common courtesy and a time-honored method of interpretive analysis.

The developmental path is about abandoning hindrances and eliminating outflows (āsavas). There is a spectrum of meditative states which can aid in this. But there is no good reason to maintain that jhāna is an entirely passive state. There is an important distinction to be discerned between the refinement of volitional intention and the absence of volitional intention. The former is much more conducive to developing and using an optimal samādhi at least until the attainment of the non-returner path. Inert meditative states are not ideal for training in heightened mind or heightened discernment. They all too easily become cocoons for zoning out.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:29 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The former is much more conducive to developing and using an optimal samādhi at least until the attainment of the non-returner path.
Would you mind elaborating on that?
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:55 pm

Let us not turn this thread into another version of Jhana Wars. There is a thread for that.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby reflection » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:24 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
reflection wrote:I don't see how this discussion helps anybody with respect to the question in the OP of this topic.

The developmental path is about abandoning hindrances and eliminating outflows (āsavas). There is a spectrum of meditative states which can aid in this. But there is no good reason to maintain that jhāna is an entirely passive state. There is an important distinction to be discerned between the refinement of volitional intention and the absence of volitional intention. The former is much more conducive to developing and using an optimal samādhi at least until the attainment of the non-returner path. Inert meditative states are not ideal for training in heightened mind or heightened discernment. They all too easily become cocoons for zoning out.

All the best,

Geoff

They can for sure, but they do also give you the very important opportunity to contemplate on them and that's the topic here (not what jhana is exactly). I've explained in this topic why I see it as such; because in absorption things disappear which you always took for granted.. What could be a better opportunity to contemplate how there is no personal will than a direct encounter with not having it?

Also the deeper you meditate, the stronger concentration gets, the less fearless the mind and the more likely it will be able to penetrate pieces of the Dhamma. Whatever is most conductive is the deepest concentration you are able to achieve at the particular moment. You don't just stop at some level saying: "Well, until here and no further or else it will not be conductive anymore." I don't see any logic in that. And to have it your way: I also don't see any sutta to support that :D

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some sutta support, ok, because you ask. :) And because this is apparently a sutta based meditation topic or something. (never heard of suttanta meditation before) For me it is all written down in the anapanasati sutta very clearly, also in context of this topic. But a lot of people have read this sutta and have different opinions. Some even come to conclude the Buddha did not teach jhana at all.. so that's the main reason why I choose not to back up my things with suttas too much, its very, very very open to interpretation. After all, it is just language and the Dhamma really has no words.

Anyway, here goes! 8-)
[12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

This means letting the mind go its own way, leaving the will to influence it behind. There is nothing more to do, so there are no more steps described in anapanasati that deepen the meditation after this.

The part after absorption is the reflection, the "focusing on" part.
"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'


Coming out of jhana, and focus on the inconstancy of the self, of the doer, the will, however you want to call it, or whatever other aspect you choose to pick. There are other factors in Jhana that have stopped, like the 5 senses that are gone. Dispassion is the fading out, or 'fall' of all these things. Focus on cessation of the will is one thing that can be contemplated. Relinquishment is the relinquishment of those things also, you relinquish or "give away" the will, and the mind will relinquish slowly further.

So the anapanasati sutta also describes how to do some of the contemplation Alex wanted to know about.

If you have any comments of jhana with respect to insight practice and "rising/falling", please do in this thread. To discuss what jhana actually is, use the other one. It's totally useless to bring that up again and again. Maybe just ignore my posts if you only choose to focus and disagree on parts of it we have already discussed in dept before and I'll try to do the same with you. That's better for this forum, I think. And for ourselves :jumping:

:namaste:
With metta,
Reflection
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:16 pm

If you guys are going to continue down this path, please take it to the "Great Jhana Debate" thread.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:54 am

reflection wrote:Whatever is most conductive is the deepest concentration you are able to achieve at the particular moment.

"Deeper" isn't necessarily "better." This has been explained here. An optimal samādhi for developing insight (vipassanābhāvanā) necessarily includes perception (saññā), mental engagement (manasikāra) and volitional intention (cetanā). Cf MN 111. It also involves skill in the analytical understanding of phenomena (dhammapaṭisambhidā) -- which necessarily includes knowing and comprehending what is occurring as it occurs in one's mind-stream. Cf. AN 7.38.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:59 am

Kenshou wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The former is much more conducive to developing and using an optimal samādhi at least until the attainment of the non-returner path.

Would you mind elaborating on that?

It's mainly a reference to the necessary distinction between unskillful non-perceptive attainments (asaññasamāpatti) and integral meditative composure (sammāsamādhi). Integral meditative composure is always a perceptive, functional state.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:16 am

Ñāṇa wrote:"Deeper" isn't necessarily "better." This has been explained here. An optimal samādhi for developing insight (vipassanābhāvanā) necessarily includes perception (saññā), mental engagement (manasikāra) and volitional intention (cetanā). Cf MN 111. It also involves skill in the analytical understanding of phenomena (dhammapaṭisambhidā) -- which necessarily includes knowing and comprehending what is occurring as it occurs in one's mind-stream. Cf. AN 7.38.


That makes sense to me, but it seems to me this does require temporary suppression of the hindrances, ie at least access / neighbourhood concentration.

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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Goedert » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:39 am

View phenomena occoring an cessating, just it, do not elaborate while observing them. Bramahjala Sutta can correct mistakes of false metaphysical assumptions, this include the "I".

'The Rise and Fall' is prejudicated when the supreme net of 'I' is experiencing the phenomena. The works of Thanissaro bhikkhu on 'not-self' strategy could help you also.

Note that I have language limitations to provide you a satisfatory answer. I can only point you where to find it.
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:43 am

Goedert wrote:Note that I have language limitations to provide you a satisfatory answer.


You are doing very well Goedert. And your contributions here are almost always so much more than satisfactory!
kind regards

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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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