Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

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

Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:34 am

Buddha called Ven. Nanda the foremost in sense restraint:

http://www.awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitak ... ali-e.html

Here's the sutta about it:

9. Nandasutta- Venerable Nanda.

Bhikkhus, saying it rightly Nanda is a clansman. Saying it rightly he is powerful. Saying it rightly he is extremely pleasant. Saying it rightly he is extremely passionate. Bhikkhus, other than with protected mental faculties, knowing the right amount to eat, becoming wakeful, becoming aware and mindful, how could he have lived the holy life complete and pure. Bhikkhus, this is how Nanda protected his mental faculties. If Nanda wanted to look at the eastern direction, he would call to mind every thing before looking at the east, thinking May evil demeritorious things connected with coveting and displeasure not arise to me. He becomes aware in this manner.

If Nanda wanted to look at the western direction, ....re... northern direction, ...re... southern direction, ....re.. look up, ...re... look down, ....re.. the inter directions he would call to mind every thing before looking at the inter directions, thinking May evil demeritorious things connected with coveting and displeasure not arise to me. He becomes aware in this manner. Bhikkhus, this is how Nanda protected his mental faculties.

Bhikkhus, this is how Nanda knew the right amount to partake. He partook food carefully considering. `It is not for play, to look beautiful or to adorn the self. It's for the upkeep of the body without attachment to soups as a help to lead the holy life. Destroying the earlier feelings will not arouse new feelings so that there may be no faults for my pleasant abiding. Thus Nanda partook the right amount of food.

This is how Nanda was wakeful. Here, Nanda purified his mind from obstructing things during the day seated somewhere. Nanda purified his mind from obstructing things during the first watch of the night seated somewhere. During the middle watch of the night, turning to his right he takes the lion's posture keeping one foot over the other and mindful of the time of rising. Having got up in the last watch of the night he purifies the mind from obstructing things. Bhikkhus, this is how Nanda was wakeful.

Bhikkhus, this is Nanda's mindfull awareness. Here, bhikkhus, to Nanda, feelings, arise, persist and fade with his knowledge. Bhikkhus, to Nanda, perceptions, arise, persist and fade with his knowledge. Bhikkhus, to Nanda, thoughts, arise, persist and fade with his knowledge. This is Nanda's mindful awareness.

Bhikkhus, other than with protected mental faculties, knowing the right amount to eat, becoming wakeful, becoming aware and mindful, how could he have lived the holy life complete and pure.

http://www.awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitak ... ggo-e.html

In Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

This, monks, is how Nanda guards his sense doors. If Nanda has to look to the east, he does so only after having everything considered well in his mind: "While I am looking to the east, I will not let covetousness and grief, or other evil, unwholesome states, enter my mind." Thus he has clear comprehension.

If he has to look to the west, south or north, he does so omly after having considered everything well in his mind: "While I am looking to the west, south or north, I will not let covetousness and grief, or other evil, unwholesome states, enter my mind." Thus he has clear comprehension.
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:39 am

From a book by Ashvaghosha, dedicated to Ven. Nanda and his practice:

2. The Restraint of the Senses
(a) From Ashvaghosha's Saundaranandakavya

By taking your stand on mindfulness you must hold back from the sense-objects your senses, unsteady by nature. Fire, snakes, and lightning are less inimical to us than our own senses, so much more dangerous. For they assail us all the time. Even the most vicious enemies can attack only some people at some times, and not at others, but everybody is always and everywhere weighed down by his senses. And people do not go to hell because some enemy has knocked them down and cast them into it; it is because they have been knocked down by their unsteady senses that they are helplessly dragged there. Those attacked by external enemies may, or may not, suffer injury to their souls; but those who are weighed down by the senses suffer in body and soul alike. For the five senses are rather like arrows which have been smeared with the poison of fancies, have cares for their feathers, and happiness for their points, and fly about in the space provided by the range of the sense-objects; shot off by Kama, the God of Love, they hit men in their very hearts as a hunter hits a deer, and if men do not know how to ward off these arrows, they will be their undoing; when they come near us we should stand firm in self-control, be agile and steadfast, and ward them off with the great armor of mindfulness. As a man who has subdued his enemies can everywhere live and sleep at ease and free from care, so can he who has pacified his senses. For the senses constantly ask for more by way of worldly objects, and normally behave like voracious dogs who can never have enough. This disorderly mob of the senses can never reach satiety, not by any amount of sense-objects; they are rather like the sea, which one can go on indefinitely replenishing with water.

In this world the senses cannot be prevented from being active, each in its own sphere. But they should not be allowed to grasp either the general features of an object, or its particularities. When you have beheld a sight-object with your eyes, you must merely determine the basic element (which it represents, e.g., it is a sight-object), and should not under any circumstances fancy it as, say, a "woman" or a "man." But if now and then you have inadvertently grasped something as a "woman" or a "man," you should not follow that up by determining the hairs, teeth, etc., as lovely. Nothing should be subtracted from the datum, nothing added to it; it should be seen as it really is, as what it is like in real truth.

If you thus try to look continually for the true reality in that which the senses present to you, covetousness and aversion will soon be left without a foothold. Coveting ruins those living beings who are bent on sensuous enjoyment by means of pleasing forms, like an enemy with a friendly face who speaks loving words, but plans dark deeds. But what is called "aversion" is a kind of anger directed towards certain objects, and anyone who is deluded enough to pursue it is bound to suffer for it either in this or a future life. Afflicted by their likes and dislikes, as by excessive heat or cold, men will never find either happiness or the highest good as long as they put their trust in the unsteady senses.

— Saundaranandakavya, xiii, 30-56; translated by Edward Conze

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch2.2
http://www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/ebene_ ... vsaunu.htm
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:46 am

Lohicca sutta from Samyutta Nikaya (in the translation of Ven. Bodhi) describes an important aspect - spaciousness of mind:

"Master Kaccana said 'with sense doors unguarded.' In what way, Master Kaccana, is one 'with sense doors unguarded'?"

"Here, brahmin, having seen a form with the eye, someone is intent upon a pleasing form and repelled by a displeasing form. He dwells without having set up mindfulness of the body, with a limited mind, and he does not understand as it really is that liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having heard a sound with the ear ... Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, someone is intent upon a pleasing mental phenomenon and repelled by a displeasing mental phenomenon. He dwells without having set up mindfulness of the body ... cease without remainder. It is in such a way, brahmin, that one is 'with sense doors unguarded.'"

"It is wonderful, Master Kaccana! It is amazing, Master Kaccana! How Master Kaccana has declared one whose sense doors are actually unguarded to be one 'with sense doors unguarded'!

But Master Kaccana said 'with sense doors guarded.' In what way, Master Kaccana, is one 'with sense doors guarded'?"

"Here, brahmin, having seen a form with the eye, someone is not intent upon a pleasing form and not repelled by a displeasing form. He dwells having set up mindfulness of the body, with a measureless mind, and he understands as it really is that liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having heard a sound with the ear ... Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, someone is not intent upon a pleasing mental phenomenon and not repelled by a displeasing mental phenomenon. He dwells having set up mindfulness of the body ... cease without remainder. It is in such a way, brahmin, that one is 'with sense doors guarded.'"

"It is wonderful, Master Kaccana! It is amazing, Master Kaccana! How Master Kaccana has declared one whose sense doors are actually guarded to be one 'with sense doors guarded'!
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:03 am

starter wrote:If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome & what is. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not. If he wants — in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not — cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, & mindful."
[I'd like to know if the English translation of this paragraph is accurate or not, since it differs from the equivalent sutta in Chinese Agama (SA 282)
]


It's accurate. Perhaps the English wording can vary.

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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:09 am

Hi Starter,

starter wrote:Just figured out that any theme or details appears to actually mean the theme of the attractive / repulsive [the distinctive attractive/repulsive features] (instead of all the gross sign and fine details/features of six sense objects), which appears to be also the teaching in AN 3.68:

'For one who attends inappropriately to the theme of the attractive, unarisen passion arises and arisen passion tends to growth & abundance...'

'For one who attends inappropriately to the theme of irritation, unarisen aversion arises and arisen aversion tends to growth & abundance...'

'For one who attends inappropriately [to the theme of the attractive or irritation?], unarisen delusion arises and arisen delusion tends to growth & abundance...'


Indeed Titthiya sutta is very relevant here.

General inappropriate attention is just haphazard.

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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Wed May 30, 2012 5:22 pm

Hi I saw that the following paragraph MN10 was referenced for how to practice sense restraint. After a second thought I tend to interpret the following as the practice of one of the four establishings of Mindfulness (Mindfulness of Dhammas) instead of the practice of sense restraint, which should probably be practiced later, after practicing sense restraint [by not dwelling on the attractive or the repulsive characteristics of the 6 sense objects and by focusing on their drawbacks (anicca/dukkha/anatta)], wakefulness, and mindfulness/full awareness and thorough/clear comprehension that can suppress the hindrances to a degree, so that we can establish the 4 mindfulness.

From the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10)

"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on Dhammas in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media. And how does he remain focused on Dhammas in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter (sensual desire -- could be either greed or aversion) that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of a fetter that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, & intellect.)

"In this way he remains focused internally on Dhammas in & of themselves (with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media), or externally on Dhammas in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on Dhammas in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to Dhammas, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to Dhammas, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to Dhammas. Or his mindfulness that 'There are Dhammas' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on Dhammas in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media".

Metta to all,

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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:28 pm

I'd like to add a very helpful sutta on sense restraint translated by Bhante Ānandajoti, which explains the exact meaning of the famous teaching to Bāhiya in Bāhiya Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html).

http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/E ... aputta.htm

"The Request

Then venerable Māluṅkyaputta approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sitting on one side the venerable Māluṅkyaputta said this to the Gracious One:

“Please, reverend Sir, may the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me in brief, then I, having heard the Gracious One's Dhamma, may dwell solitary, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute.”

“Now what shall we say to the young monks, Māluṅkyaputta, if you, who are an old monk, elderly, of great age, far gone, advanced in years, ask for advice in brief?”

“Although I, reverend Sir, am old, elderly, of great age, far gone, advanced in years, let the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me in brief, reverend Sir, let the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma to me in brief, I will surely understand the meaning of what is spoken by the Gracious One, I will surely be an heir to what is spoken by the Gracious One.”

The Questions

“Then what do you think, Māluṅkyaputta, those forms cognizable by the eye, which have not been seen - which formerly have not been seen, (which) you are not seeing, and which you do not expect to see - can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

“Those sounds cognizable by the ear, which have not been heard - which formerly have not been heard, (which) you are not hearing, and which you do not expect to hear - can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

“Those smells cognizable by the nose, which have not been smelt - which formerly have not been smelt, (which) you are not smelling, and which you do not expect to smell - can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

“Those tastes cognizable by the tongue, which have not been tasted - which formerly have not been tasted, (which) you are not tasting, and which you do not expect to taste - can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

“Those tangibles cognizable by the body, which have not been touched - which formerly have not been touched, (which) you are not touching, and which you do not expect to touch - can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

“Those thoughts cognizable by the mind, which have not been cognized - which formerly have not been cognized, (which) you are not cognizing, and which you do not expect to cognize - can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

The Instruction

“Now here for you, Māluṅkyaputta, in regard to things that are seen, heard, sensed, or cognized,

in what is seen there must be only what is seen,
in what is heard there must be only what is heard,
in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed,
in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized.

The Result

And since for you, Māluṅkyaputta, in regard to things that are seen, heard, sensed, or cognized,

in what is seen there will be only what is seen,
in what is heard there will be only what is heard,
in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed,
in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized,

therefore, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be with that,
and since, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be with that,
therefore, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be in that,
and since, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be in that,
therefore, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two - just this is the end of suffering.”

[Or: "there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."]

Verses on Passion

“Of this, reverend Sir, that was spoken in brief by the Gracious One thus do I understand the meaning in detail:

Having seen a form and forgotten mindfulness,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:
So for him increase various feelings that originate with form,
And by covetousness and by violence [repulsion, aversion] is his mind destroyed -
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

[Or Thanissaro Bhikkhu: "Seeing a form
— mindfulness lapsed —
attending
to the theme of 'endearing,'
impassioned in mind,
one feels
and remains fastened there.
One's feelings, born of the form,
grow numerous,
Greed & annoyance
injure one's mind.
Thus amassing stress,
one is said to be far from Unbinding." ]

[Or Maurice O'Connell Walshe: "Forms perceived cause loss of mindfulness,
If we dwell on their endearing charms,
Passion grips the heart,
and feeling flows,
Clinging has us firmly in its grip:
So emotions rise and grow in strength,
Of divers kinds, all based on what was seen.
Some of greed and some of hatred born —
Grievously they all afflict the heart of man,
Heaping up his store of pain and woe: Thus for him Nibbaana's far away."]

Having heard a sound and forgotten mindfulness,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:
So for him increase various feelings that originate with sound,
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

Having smelt a smell and forgotten mindfulness,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:
So for him increase various feelings that originate with smells,
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

Having savoured a taste and forgotten mindfulness,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:
So for him increase various feelings that originate with tastes,
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

Having touched a tangible and forgotten mindfulness,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:
So for him increase various feelings that originate with tangibles,
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

Having cognized a thought and forgotten mindfulness,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:
So for him increase various feelings that originate with thoughts,
And by covetousness and by violence [repulsion] is his mind destroyed -
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

Verses on Dispassion

Not being excited by forms, having seen a form he is mindful,
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who sees a form and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -
For one reducing suffering like this [not amassing suffering] nibbāna is said to be near.

[Or TB: "Not impassioned with forms
— seeing a form with mindfulness firm —
dispassioned in mind,
one knows
and doesn't remain fastened there.
While one is seeing a form
and even experiencing feeling
it falls away and doesn't accumulate.
Thus one fares mindfully.
Thus not amassing stress,
one is said to be
in the presence of Unbinding (close to nibbana)."]

[Or Maurice: "He who's not inflamed by things he sees,
Seeing forms retains his mindfulness,
Not in passion's grip, simply feels,
On him clinging cannot get a hold.
If he just observes the things he sees,
Not reacting to their shape or form,
He'll pull down the pile, not build it up.
Mindfully proceeding on his way,
Heaping up no store of pain and woe:
Then for him Nibbaana's very near."]

Not being excited by sounds, having heard a sound he is mindful,
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who hears a sound and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

Not being excited by smells, having smelt a smell he is mindful,
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who smells a smell and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

Not being excited by tastes, having savoured a taste he is mindful,
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who savours a taste and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

Not being excited by tangibles, having touched a tangible he is mindful,
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who touches a tangible and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

Not being excited by thoughts, having cognized a thought he is mindful,
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who cognizes a thought and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

Of this, reverend Sir, that was spoken in brief by the Gracious One so do I understand the meaning in detail.”

“Good, good, Māluṅkyaputta, it is good, Māluṅkyaputta, of what was spoken in brief by me so do you understand the meaning in detail:

(The Buddha here repeats all 12 verses that were spoken by venerable Māluṅkyaputta, and then adds:)

Of this, Māluṅkyaputta, that was spoken in brief by me so should you understand the meaning in detail.”

Then venerable Māluṅkyaputta having rejoiced in and been gladdened by the Gracious One's speech, having risen from his seat and worshipped the Gracious One, after circumambulating (him) departed.

Then venerable Māluṅkyaputta while dwelling solitary, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute, after no long time (attained) that good for which young gentlemen rightly go forth from the house to the houseless life, that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life, and dwelt having known, experienced, and attained (it) himself in this very life.

Destroyed is (re)birth
accomplished is the spiritual life
done is what ought to be done
there is no more of being in this mundane state - this he knew.

And venerable Māluṅkyaputta became another of the Worthy Ones."

Metta to all!
Last edited by starter on Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:27 pm

Yes, that's a great Sutta. There are some other translations and discussion here: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=8361

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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:22 pm

Hello Mike and other friends,

Thanks for the helpful information. I've added some different translations to the above post. Interestingly the 3 translations differ in the following:

AB:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:
For he who sees a form and experiences the feeling in this way,
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Maurice:
Not in passion's grip, simply feels,
On him clinging cannot get a hold.
If he just observes the things he sees,
Not reacting to their shape or form,
He'll pull down the pile, not build it up.

TB:
While one is seeing a form
— and even experiencing feeling —
it falls away and doesn't accumulate.
Thus one fares mindfully.

In TB's translation, "it" appears to refer to the feeling of greed or annoyance, which "falls away" when occurred. While in AB's translation, "it" appears to refer to corruptions/defilements (of greed or repulsion), which doesn't occur because one feels with a dispassionate mind. I tend to agree with the latter.

It's a bit puzzling to me that some arahants, even the Buddha, reacted to the beautiful sights and uttered words like "how delightful ...". So faring with a dispassionate mind doesn't seem to mean that one should "just observes the things" and "Not react to their shape or form". It's my understanding that one can enjoy the beautiful things (without craving/clinging), but shouldn't connect them to "I" -- "I want it", "I don't want it", ... which is the so called "the proliferations of consciousness" or "the perceptions & categories of objectification"(papanca: a process of 'I-making' and 'my-making' ) to my understanding. It's not the sensual pleasures that we should renounce, but our desire/craving for them.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Much metta,

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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:47 am

Today I happened to read the following teaching:

"There is no ‘thing’ that exists on its own. Here again, I’m reminded of some­thing Dr. W.S. Karunaratne said: ‘Exis­tence has got to be rel­a­tive; there is no absolute exis­tence.’ But the world thinks of uni­tary things exist­ing on their own. They ask, ‘why, even when I don’t look at this thing, doesn’t it con­tinue exist­ing’? But really there is only a diṭṭha, a seen. There is only a suta, a heard. But the moment we think of a seen ‘thing’, a heard ‘thing’, we are trapped. We cre­ate things with maññanā, ideation* [*the formation of ideas or concepts].

The prob­lem with ‘things’ is solved in the Bāhiya Sutta: there are only diṭṭha, suta, muta, viññāta, noth­ing else. That is the theme in the Kālakārāma Sutta too. As long as one does maññanā about these, one would be deluded.”

It seems to me that the theme of the Kālakārāma Sutta, and in particular the Bāhiya Sutta (and the Māluṅkyaputta sutta) is about not to connect "I" (not to papanca) with the sense objects so that one can guard the senses and fare dispassionately (without "that arrow", that self-fetter), not about the ideation of "things" and their existence.

Metta to all!

PS:

AN 4.24 PTS: A ii 23
Kalaka Sutta: At Kalaka's Park
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2002–2013

"...

Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

"When hearing...

"When sensing...

"When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.

Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is 'Such.' And I tell you: There's no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.

"Whatever is seen or heard or sensed
and fastened onto as true by others,
One who is Such — among the self-fettered
wouldn't further claim to be true or even false.


"Having seen well in advance that arrow
where generations are fastened & hung
— 'I know, I see, that's just how it is!' —
there's nothing of the Tathagata fastened."
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby Mindstar » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:46 pm

SN Chapter I - 35 Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases ( Bhikkhu Bodhi translation as far as I´m aware of)

http://www.palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pitaka/samyutta-nikaya/part-iv-the-book-of-the-six-sense-bases-sal-ayatanavagga/792-sn-chapter-i-35-sal-ayatanasam-yutta-connected-discourses-on-the-six-sense-bases
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:02 pm

starter wrote:It's a bit puzzling to me that some arahants, even the Buddha, reacted to the beautiful sights and uttered words like "how delightful ...". So faring with a dispassionate mind doesn't seem to mean that one should "just observes the things" and "Not react to their shape or form". It's my understanding that one can enjoy the beautiful things (without craving/clinging), but shouldn't connect them to "I" -- "I want it", "I don't want it", ... which is the so called "the proliferations of consciousness" or "the perceptions & categories of objectification"(papanca: a process of 'I-making' and 'my-making' ) to my understanding. It's not the sensual pleasures that we should renounce, but our desire/craving for them.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Much metta,

Starter


"The passion for his resolves [in sensual pleasure] is a man's sensuality, not the beautiful sensual pleasures found in the world. The passion for his resolves is a man's sensuality. The beauties remain as they are in the world, while the wise, in this regard, subdue their desire." (from AN 6.63 Nibbedhika Sutta: Penetrative)

"Having directly known earth as earth, he does not conceive [“I am”] earth, he does not conceive [“I am”] in earth, he does not conceive [“I am”] apart from earth, he does not conceive earth as 'mine,' he does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has understood that delight is the root of suffering ..." (MN1)

I'm a bit confused now. According to MN1, Arahants do not delight in sense objects (probably do not even enjoy sense objects), but why they enjoyed the beauty of the nature and found it "delightful"? Is the translation of "delight" in "he does not delight in earth", "delight is the root of suffering" accurate? There's the opposite to delight (aversion), which is also the root of suffering, which is somehow not mentioned in MN1.

The correct understanding of the teaching is important in order to practice sense restraint correctly. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and metta!
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:39 pm

Hello Mindstar,

Many thanks for recommending the link to me. It's very helpful.

This is the first time I came across http://www.palicanon.org/, which contains a complete set of Pali canon, with Ven. Bodhi's sutta translation freely available, which is very useful for sutta study and discussion. Thanks for the work of the contributors!

Much metta,

Starter
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Re: Sutta on methods of sense restraint?

Postby starter » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:20 pm

The Buddha said:

“Whatever you know, above, below, and across the middle, dispel the
enjoyment of, and settling on, these things
, and consciousness,
and one will not remain in existence. Living in this way, mindful, and
heedful, the monk who lives on after giving up loved things, can,
being wise, give up birth, old age, grief, lamentation, and suffering
right here.”

Without rejoicing over feeling on the inside or outside - for he who
lives mindfully in this way, consciousness (paṭisandhiviññāṇaṁ: rebirth consciousness?) surely ceases.”

Having known the origin of nothingness, and that enjoyment is called
a fetter
, knowing deeply that it is so, and then having insight into
this: this is real knowledge for him, for the brahmin who is accomplished.”

From The Way to the Beyond, http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/E ... Beyond.pdf]

I understand now that we can still have pleasant feelings* (e.g. toward the beauty of the nature), but we shouldn't enjoy/rejoice over/delight in such feelings and should remove the attachment to such feelings, as the Buddha taught:

“You must remove all attachment to craving, above, below, and across
the middle, for with whatever they are attached to in the world, with
just that Māra follows a man
. Therefore knowing this, the mindful
monk should not be attached to anything in the world, seeing that
with what is called attachment and clinging, these people are clinging
to the realm of Death.”

I also understand now why only delight, not aversion, was mentioned in MN 1 as the root of suffering. Aversion causes suffering, but not the root of suffering which keeps us in samsara.

Thanks and metta!
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