Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:37 pm

Some people think meditation is to remove hindrances. It's a misconception (wrong view) since from the main Nikayas it's clear that the 5 hindrances need to be abandoned first before meditating.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:40 pm

Greetings,

Do you care to demonstrate by way of recourse to examples?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:56 pm

Hi Leo,

I thought suttas such as these were about how abandoning the hindrances were part of the process:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .soma.html
If the evil unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu, who in order to get rid of an adventitious object reflects on a different object which is connected with skill, he should ponder on the disadvantages of unskillful thoughts thus: Truly these thoughts of mine are unskillful, blameworthy, and productive of misery. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).


:anjali:
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Do you care to demonstrate by way of recourse to examples?

If you mean the example where it's mentioned in the Suttas, at least there are four sutta references:
- DN 9 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- DN 11 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- DN 12 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- MN 39 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:58 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Leo,
I thought suttas such as these were about how abandoning the hindrances were part of the process:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .soma.html
:anjali:
Mike

Hi Mike,
Yes, to remove hindrances one should practice samma-sati, not samma-samadhi.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:08 am

OK, I guess it's a matter of terminology, therefore, what people refer to as "meditation".

If by "meditation" you mean samma-samadhi, then that seems like a reasonable statement.

:anjali:
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:15 am

mikenz66 wrote:OK, I guess it's a matter of terminology, therefore, what people refer to as "meditation".
If by "meditation" you mean samma-samadhi, then that seems like a reasonable statement.
:anjali:
Mike

I thought Theravada Meditation or meditation in Buddhist context refers to samma-samadhi by default. :smile:
:anjali: also
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:08 am

ignobleone wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:OK, I guess it's a matter of terminology, therefore, what people refer to as "meditation".
If by "meditation" you mean samma-samadhi, then that seems like a reasonable statement.
:anjali:
Mike

I thought Theravada Meditation or meditation in Buddhist context refers to samma-samadhi by default. :smile:
:anjali: also

I thought 'meditation' meant bhavana?
Goodwill
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:16 am

ignobleone wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Do you care to demonstrate by way of recourse to examples?

If you mean the example where it's mentioned in the Suttas, at least there are four sutta references:
- DN 9 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- DN 11 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- DN 12 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- MN 39 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I think you're imposing a seriality (or some kind of order) that the manuscripts themselves don't necessarily imply, as the phrase, "there is the case where...." suggests.
Goodwill
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:45 am

danieLion wrote:]
I thought 'meditation' meant bhavana?
Goodwill
Daniel

bhāvanā has more general meaning which may not related to meditation. bhāvanā means development/cultivation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhavana)
Thanissaro Bhikkhu translated bhāvanā as development, for example: Indriya-bhavana Sutta (MN 152) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html.
You can also judge the meaning yourself by looking it up in a Pali-English dictionary. I use this online Pali dictionary:
http://www.archive.org/details/palitextsocietys00pali
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:48 am

danieLion wrote:I think you're imposing a seriality (or some kind of order) that the manuscripts themselves don't necessarily imply, as the phrase, "there is the case where...." suggests.
Goodwill
Daniel

Please do not mind the order. The order is not important. I wrote them that way just to make it looks nice.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:47 am

ignobleone wrote:Yes, to remove hindrances one should practice samma-sati, not samma-samadhi.


Yes, that does seem to be supported here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Although jhana is dependent on a temporary suspension of the hindrances?

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Brizzy » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:36 pm

ignobleone wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Leo,
I thought suttas such as these were about how abandoning the hindrances were part of the process:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .soma.html
:anjali:
Mike

Hi Mike,
Yes, to remove hindrances one should practice samma-sati, not samma-samadhi.


Yes it is a process, samma-samadhi does not occur in isolation. Samma-sati is part (a big part) of the development of the 7 enlightenment factors which are the factors to be developed to achieve samma-samadhi. I doubt there are many of us who could just sit down and enter something called 'samma-samadhi' straight off, right 'meditation' would be the development of all 7 factors along with the 8 fold path.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:38 pm

danieLion wrote:
ignobleone wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:OK, I guess it's a matter of terminology, therefore, what people refer to as "meditation".
If by "meditation" you mean samma-samadhi, then that seems like a reasonable statement.
:anjali:
Mike

I thought Theravada Meditation or meditation in Buddhist context refers to samma-samadhi by default. :smile:
:anjali: also

I thought 'meditation' meant bhavana?
Goodwill
Daniel

What I meant was 'meditation' is from Latin roots. It's a crap translation of all the Pali words, including bhavana, translated as 'meditation.'

IOW: Buddhists don't meditate.
Goodwill
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:49 pm

ignobleone wrote:
danieLion wrote:I think you're imposing a seriality (or some kind of order) that the manuscripts themselves don't necessarily imply, as the phrase, "there is the case where...." suggests.
Goodwill
Daniel

Please do not mind the order. The order is not important. I wrote them that way just to make it looks nice.

Not the order in your post; the "order" in the Pali manuscripts. The Path is not a literal step-by-step, serial, process. The Buddha taught a variety of cultivations. The Path is not a formulaic, one-size fits all endeavor. E.g., you have to remove the hindrances before you practice, samatha and/or metta and/or vipassana and/or jhana, etc....

"THERE IS A CASE WHERE...."

Goodwill
Daniel
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:33 am

danieLion wrote:What I meant was 'meditation' is from Latin roots. It's a crap translation of all the Pali words, including bhavana, translated as 'meditation.'

IOW: Buddhists don't meditate.

Language isn't static. The meaning of the English term "meditation" has shifted in the past 40-50 years to include Buddhist definitions.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby seeker242 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:03 am

ignobleone wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Do you care to demonstrate by way of recourse to examples?

If you mean the example where it's mentioned in the Suttas, at least there are four sutta references:
- DN 9 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- DN 11 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- DN 12 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- MN 39 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Where do you see the Sutta reference saying this in MN 39? What I see in MN 39 is this and it seems to me to be opposite of what you are saying.

Abandoning the hindrances

"And what more is to be done? There is the case where a monk seeks out a secluded dwelling: a forest, the shade of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore.


It then goes on to say:

"Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.


Taken in context, all this is happening as he is sitting there with his legs crossed and body erect. If that not meditation?

:anjali:
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:02 am

danieLion wrote:
ignobleone wrote:Please do not mind the order. The order is not important. I wrote them that way just to make it looks nice.

Not the order in your post; the "order" in the Pali manuscripts. The Path is not a literal step-by-step, serial, process. The Buddha taught a variety of cultivations. The Path is not a formulaic, one-size fits all endeavor. E.g., you have to remove the hindrances before you practice, samatha and/or metta and/or vipassana and/or jhana, etc....

"THERE IS A CASE WHERE...."

Goodwill
Daniel

To be honest, it was quite hard to understand what you mean. I hope I won't misunderstand again this time.
Since you wrote "The Path", now I think I know what you mean by "order". I believe you think I imposed samma-sati first and then samma-samadhi, in that order based on the Noble Eightfold Path usually mentioned. I never think or thought so. You're wrong.
It's not the matter of order, it's about what the suttas say. The point is, you cannot meditate properly if one or more of the five hindrances exist. Hopefully this sutta can get rid of your doubt: Avarana Sutta (AN 5.51) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:20 am

seeker242 wrote:


Where do you see the Sutta reference saying this in MN 39? What I see in MN 39 is this and it seems to me to be opposite of what you are saying.

Abandoning the hindrances

"And what more is to be done? There is the case where a monk seeks out a secluded dwelling: a forest, the shade of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore.


It then goes on to say:

"Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.


Taken in context, all this is happening as he is sitting there with his legs crossed and body erect. If that not meditation?

:anjali:

Have you read MN 39 thoroughly and completely? I suggest you to read completely every sutta that you want to read, do not read partially. If you still couldn't find it after reading the sutta completely, I will post the passage for you. And if later you're still not satisfied, read AN 5.51.

And btw, the two passages you quoted describe the instruction to remove hindrances with samma-sati (suggested by "brings mindfulness to the fore") which can be done in sitting posture.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:54 am

ignobleone wrote:
danieLion wrote:
ignobleone wrote:Please do not mind the order. The order is not important. I wrote them that way just to make it looks nice.

Not the order in your post; the "order" in the Pali manuscripts. The Path is not a literal step-by-step, serial, process. The Buddha taught a variety of cultivations. The Path is not a formulaic, one-size fits all endeavor. E.g., you have to remove the hindrances before you practice, samatha and/or metta and/or vipassana and/or jhana, etc....

"THERE IS A CASE WHERE...."

Goodwill
Daniel

To be honest, it was quite hard to understand what you mean. I hope I won't misunderstand again this time.
Since you wrote "The Path", now I think I know what you mean by "order". I believe you think I imposed samma-sati first and then samma-samadhi, in that order based on the Noble Eightfold Path usually mentioned. I never think or thought so. You're wrong.
It's not the matter of order, it's about what the suttas say. The point is, you cannot meditate properly if one or more of the five hindrances exist. Hopefully this sutta can get rid of your doubt: Avarana Sutta (AN 5.51) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I was referring to this order in your statement, "...the 5 hindrances need to be abandoned first before meditating." Your imposing a linear-temporal-serial order--"...first before..."--pattern onto the Suttas that the Suttas don't consistently support. Why would the Buddha say, "There is a case where...," if there was only one linear-temporal-serial order that is the case? "There is a case where" implies a multiplicity of cases, including the cases where the hindrances are abandoned/removed/absent during or after samma-sati, samma-samadhi, bahvana, etc.... In fact, the hindrances are simply abandoned whenever they're not present, regardless of whether we 'meditate' or not. For instance, when you're being kind, ill-will is absent. When you wake up refreshed, sloth and torpor are absent. When you do something with confidence, doubt is absent. When you're relaxed, restlessness and anxiety are absent. When your being generous, sensuous desire is absent. The point is to reinforce the skillful/wholesome and extinguish the unskillful/unwholesome in everything you do, not before 'meditation'.
Goodwill
Daniel
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