The practice of vigilance

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

The practice of vigilance

Postby starter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:05 am

Hello friends,

After possessing the noble aggregate of virtues, sense restraint and moderation in eating, the Buddha taught us to train further on vigilance (being wakeful and watchful -- cleansing the mind of obstructive mental states) before the training of full awareness and clear comprehension in some suttas:

Vigilance

"As soon, brahman, as a monk is moderate in eating, the Tathagata disciplines him further, saying: 'Come you, monk, dwell intent on vigilance; during the day while pacing up and down, while sitting down, cleanse the mind of obstructive mental states; during the middle watch of the night, lie down on the right side in the lion posture, foot resting on foot, mindful, clearly conscious, reflecting on the thought of getting up again; during the last watch of the night, when you have arisen, while pacing up and down, while sitting down, cleanse the mind of obstructive mental states.' (MN 107 & MN 125)

However, it's strange that in some other suttas (e.g. MN27) such a training on vigilance is not mentioned, but rather the training went directly from sense restraint to full awareness and clear comprehension. In these suttas the four establishment of mindfulness is also not mentioned, but rather directly from full awareness and clear comprehension to samadhi training (abandoning 5 hindrances and jhana in formal sitting). So in these suttas the path factor of mindfulness only includes full awareness and clear comprehension of postures/activities. I suppose these suttas might be taught earlier than the suttas like MN107 and MN125, which includes more steps and probably more developed (?) path.

Well, for the lay practitioners I suppose the step of vigilance training is very useful, before we focus our mind on mindfulness of body (postures/activities or breath) or practice 4 establishments of mindfulness. It's a part of right effort. Your input would be appreciated.

Metta to all,

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Re: The practice of vigilance

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:35 am

I will point you to the satipatthana sutta, specifically the sections on the postures, and clear comprehension.

These sections are very much the same thing just one expanding the range of the other, so it maybe the case that the times the Buddha mentions vigilance specifically it is because the person being addressed did not know the connection?

it could also be that the postures/vigilance are a more formal meditative practice being mentioned specifically as a practice to do, and the clear comprehension is an everyday affair?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The practice of vigilance

Postby starter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:03 pm

Hello Cittasanto,

As I can see, the practice of vigilance is watching and cleansing the mind of obstructive mental states (unwholesome states or five hindrances), instead of mindfulness of postures/activities. The practice of vigilance was taught before the practice of full awareness and clear comprehension of postures/activities. The four exertions (at thoughts level) might fit here. Metta to all,

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Re: The practice of vigilance

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:46 pm

starter wrote:Hello Cittasanto,

As I can see, the practice of vigilance is watching and cleansing the mind of obstructive mental states (unwholesome states or five hindrances), instead of mindfulness of postures/activities. The practice of vigilance was taught before the practice of full awareness and clear comprehension of postures/activities. The four exertions (at thoughts level) might fit here. Metta to all,

Starter

Look at the satipatthana sutta the order is the same, and cover the same postures in each!

pay particular attention to the areas in clear knowing in the satipatthana sutta.
at every moment the four upright efforts are to be applied, so I see no difference, except in expression.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The practice of vigilance

Postby starter » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:35 pm

Hi thanks to Buddha's Life and Teachings (http://www.buddhagautama.com/apps/blog/ ... lying-down), I've found the following sutta for the training of vigilance (wakefulness / watching and cleansing the mind of obstructive mental states):

Sila Sutta (AN 4.12) : Virtue and Dispelling the 5 Hindrances While Walking, Standing, Sitting, and Lying Down

"Bhikkhus, be virtuous, observe the patimokkha, conduct yourselves with the right behavior, realizing the danger in the slightest fault. Bhikkhus, when the bhikkhu is virtuous, observing the patimokkha, conducting himself with the right behavior, realizing the danger in the slightest fault, what further has he to do?

"Even when walking he dispels grasping ( abhijjha: covetousness ), aversion, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness & worry , and has discarded doubts , then his energy becomes actively aroused, unclouded mindfulness (sati) is established, his body is at ease and unexcited, his mind is collected ( samahita: settled, composed, collected of mind) and tranquil ( ekagga: calm, tranquil). Even when walking, if he is scrupulous in this way, it is said: ‘ strenuous and scrupulous, he is continually with aroused effort to dispel (the 5 hindrances) .’

"Even when standing he dispels grasping ( abhijjha: covetousness ), aversion, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness & worry , and has discarded doubts , then his energy becomes actively aroused, unclouded mindfulness (sati) is established, his body is at ease and unexcited, his mind is collected ( samahita: settled, composed, collected of mind) and tranquil ( ekagga: calm, tranquil). Even when standing, if he is scrupulous in this way, it is said: ‘ strenuous and scrupulous, he is continually with aroused effort to dispel.’

"Even when sitting he dispels grasping ( abhijjha: covetousness ), aversion, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness & worry , and has discarded doubts , then his energy becomes actively aroused, unclouded mindfulness (sati) is established, his body is at ease and unexcited, his mind is collected ( samahita: settled, composed, collected of mind) and tranquil ( ekagga: calm, tranquil). Even when sitting, if he is scrupulous in this way, it is said: ‘ strenuous and scrupulous, he is continually with aroused effort to dispel.’

"Even when lying down he dispels grasping ( abhijjha: covetousness ), aversion, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness & worry , and has discarded doubts , then his energy becomes actively aroused, unclouded mindfulness (sati) is established, his body is at ease and unexcited, his mind is collected ( samahita: settled, composed, collected of mind) and tranquil ( ekagga: calm, tranquil). Even when lying down, if he is scrupulous in this way, it is said: ‘ strenuous and scrupulous, he is continually with aroused effort to dispel.’

"When walking, standing, sitting, lying down, stretching or bending,
Upwards, across, behind or in any direction,
He should observe the rising and falling of the five aggregates
Ever mindfullly trains oneself to calm the mind in the proper way
Such a bhikkhu is zealous to dispel, it is said."

Mindfulness of five hindrances is the first step of Dhammanupassana, because only after these obstructive mental states are dispelled then one can see the truth. Metta to all,

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