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.

Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:54 pm

ignobleone wrote: The point is, you cannot meditate properly if one or more of the five hindrances exist.


If by "meditate properly" you mean accessing the jhanas then I'd agree.

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby seeker242 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:57 pm

ignobleone wrote:
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.


I did read on and read that what you said, is the case for Jhana, like the previous poster said. Do you define "meditation" as only "Jhana"? If yes, then is Anapanasati also not "meditation"? Does one need to already have abandoned all the hindrances in order to practice Anapanasati? Most people would consider Anapanasati to be "meditation" I would think.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby marc108 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:57 pm

If we had to abandon the hindrances BEFORE we began to meditate we would all be truly up a creek without a paddle lol :jumping:
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:55 pm

MN 44 wrote:"And are the three aggregates [of virtue, concentration, & discernment] included under the noble eightfold path, lady, or is the noble eightfold path included under the three aggregates?"

"The three aggregates are not included under the noble eightfold path, friend Visakha, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates. Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment."

"Now what is concentration, lady, what qualities are its themes, what qualities are its requisites, and what is its development?"

"Singleness of mind is concentration, friend Visakha; the four frames of reference are its themes; the four right exertions are its requisites; and any cultivation, development, & pursuit of these qualities is its development."


Indeed, seeing the N8P as a strict, linear progression is faulty and ignores the feedback mentioned here:

DN 4 wrote:Wisdom is purified by morality, and morality is purified by wisdom.


The Digha Nikaya allows for an interesting analysis. In DN 4, cited just above, the hindrances are dealt with under the Sila category (corresponding to § 41-74 of DN 2) while the jhana pericopes begin the Panna category (DN 2, § 75-97). Later, DN 8 will bracket these differently, with § 41-63 of DN 2 dealing with the "perfection of sila", § 64-82 with the "perfection of citta", and § 83-98 with the "perfection of wisdom". DN 10, a Sutta by Ananda, is the first in the Digha Nikaya to mention Noble Morality, Noble Concentration, and Noble Wisdom.

Under this organization, the hindrances and the jhanas are both dealt with under Samadhi.
    "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: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:11 pm

marc108 wrote:If we had to abandon the hindrances BEFORE we began to meditate we would all be truly up a creek without a paddle lol :jumping:

If you're unable to provide the valid reference(s) to back your opinion, then it would be legit for me to laugh.
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby ignobleone » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:13 pm

danieLion wrote: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'.
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Daniel

Have you read the suttas carefully and thoroughly? And you simply ignored the supporting sutta such as AN 5.51.
IMO you have some problems: 1) language related problem, 2) over-interpretation, 3) out-of-context examples (caused by logic error). No offense, I'll explain each of them.
1) You are too caught up in the "There is a case where" phrase. Btw, it should be "There is THE case where". It proves you didn't read them carefully. I think "There is a case where" can be replaced by "when", since they have the same meaning in this context. Anyway, the phrase exists in the "Abandoning the hindrances" section only in MN 39, and the case is a monk in sitting posture brings mindfulness to the fore, i.e. there's only one case.
2)
"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....

This is what I mean with over-interpretation. You interpreted it too far. I'd suggest you to only read, and interpret if and only if it's meaningless or it sounds weird/unconvincing. If it's already clear by itself, there's no point to interpret it further. Over-interpretation will only bring bias, contradict with the original clear statement.
3)
In fact, the hindrances are simply abandoned whenever they're not present, regardless of whether we 'meditate' or not. ..... The point is to reinforce the skillful/wholesome and extinguish the unskillful/unwholesome in everything you do, not before 'meditation'.

Those sentences are out-of-context since they're not connected within the scope of the discussion (i.e. before meditating, 5 hindrances need to be abandoned or not). It's the same as if someone ask you: "do you need some money in order to buy something?" and your answer is: "I simply don't have money whenever my wallet is empty".
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:53 am

ignobleone wrote:
danieLion wrote: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

Have you read the suttas carefully and thoroughly? And you simply ignored the supporting sutta such as AN 5.51.
IMO you have some problems: 1) language related problem, 2) over-interpretation, 3) out-of-context examples (caused by logic error). No offense, I'll explain each of them.
1) You are too caught up in the "There is a case where" phrase. Btw, it should be "There is THE case where". It proves you didn't read them carefully. I think "There is a case where" can be replaced by "when", since they have the same meaning in this context. Anyway, the phrase exists in the "Abandoning the hindrances" section only in MN 39, and the case is a monk in sitting posture brings mindfulness to the fore, i.e. there's only one case.
2)
"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....

This is what I mean with over-interpretation. You interpreted it too far. I'd suggest you to only read, and interpret if and only if it's meaningless or it sounds weird/unconvincing. If it's already clear by itself, there's no point to interpret it further. Over-interpretation will only bring bias, contradict with the original clear statement.
3)
In fact, the hindrances are simply abandoned whenever they're not present, regardless of whether we 'meditate' or not. ..... The point is to reinforce the skillful/wholesome and extinguish the unskillful/unwholesome in everything you do, not before 'meditation'.

Those sentences are out-of-context since they're not connected within the scope of the discussion (i.e. before meditating, 5 hindrances need to be abandoned or not). It's the same as if someone ask you: "do you need some money in order to buy something?" and your answer is: "I simply don't have money whenever my wallet is empty".

1) amounts to equivocating: the difference between "a" and "the" is negligible
2) how is simply noting the multiple varieties of cultivation present in the Suttas a hermeneutical error?
3) the hermeneutical error is your imposition of a linear progressio--from hindrance abandoning to 'meditating'--not explicit in the Suttas
Goodwill
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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Brizzy » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:05 am

I have argued in the past that 'abandoning the hindrances' IS the practice. Satipatthana is approached by abandoning the hindrances and culminates in jhana. If I have a good day (an extremely good day!) I might begin a sit without to much trouble from the hindrances, but even then the process is still to keep abandoning the hindrances. 'Sitting' is the main approach with which we can abandon these hindrances - insisting we shouldn't meditate before they are abandoned seems non-sense - abandoning them (letting go) is what meditating is all about.

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:19 am

Brizzy wrote:I have argued in the past that 'abandoning the hindrances' IS the practice.


When you say "abandoning the hindrances", are you thinking of Right Effort, ie abandoning and and preventing unwholesome states? Or are you thinking of the hindrances being abandoned as a result of of meditation and mindfulness?
Or maybe these are the same? ;)

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:38 am

seeker242 wrote: Do you define "meditation" as only "Jhana"? If yes, then is Anapanasati also not "meditation"? Does one need to already have abandoned all the hindrances in order to practice Anapanasati? Most people would consider Anapanasati to be "meditation" I would think.


I think you can view anapanasati as a method for temporarily suspending the hindrances, following which one can develop jhana and/or insight. Presumably the permanent abandoning of the hindrances results from Right Mindfulness ( and Right Effort? ).

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Brizzy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:28 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Brizzy wrote:I have argued in the past that 'abandoning the hindrances' IS the practice.


When you say "abandoning the hindrances", are you thinking of Right Effort, ie abandoning and and preventing unwholesome states? Or are you thinking of the hindrances being abandoned as a result of of meditation and mindfulness?
Or maybe these are the same? ;)

Spiny


Not the same but yolked.
Right effort and mindfulness are both part of the same practice. I don't believe you can practice right mindfulness without right effort.

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:47 am

Brizzy wrote:Right effort and mindfulness are both part of the same practice. I don't believe you can practice right mindfulness without right effort.


Yes, and vice-versa. ;)

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby Brizzy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:18 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Brizzy wrote:Right effort and mindfulness are both part of the same practice. I don't believe you can practice right mindfulness without right effort.


Yes, and vice-versa. ;)

Spiny


Yes.

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Re: Meditation, 5 hindrances, and the misconception

Postby danieLion » Sun May 27, 2012 2:59 am

ignobleone,
Sorry for being such a jerk (above).

What I was trying to say was I don't believe you abandon the hindrances to get into jhana but note their absence as one of your "checks" on whether or not you're in jhana.
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