The thought that stops......

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

The thought that stops......

Postby rucontent » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:33 am

Let me see if this can make it out of words....................................................

While sitting....using the analogy of watching the mouse hole.....I can see some thoughts before they happen....and even witness/influencing them ceasing to finish their thought.....but its so basic that it applies to any sentence i even think.....so im wondering how will any material for the grind stone get out? I find it useful to sometimes inject a word related to something that creates a stir in me....

edit:
I know that we are NOT supposed to try to stop thoughts/resist but i am not trying....i see them they stop......



Here's my question for you "what's your question?" folks:

What is going on? Thoughts stop but i am not really trying. Am i doing something wrong? If not, how does this help wise action i want to take in my life on say Aversion, Doubt, Desire, Restlessness, Torpor?

Just be patient Grasshopper? IF so that is fine, I would accept that.
Last edited by rucontent on Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:25 am

Why we have to stop thoughts?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby rucontent » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:15 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Why we have to stop thoughts?


Please see edit......

I meant that i know we are NOT supposed to TRY and stop thought........
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:43 am

rucontent wrote:What is going on? Thoughts stop but i am not really trying. Am i doing something wrong? If not, how does this help wise action i want to take in my life on say Aversion, Doubt, Desire, Restlessness, Torpor?

Just be patient Grasshopper? IF so that is fine, I would accept that.


The main problem is patient.

When we see the thought, the thought can disappear. It can disappear in 2 ways, by force (purposely stop it), or it stops naturally.

SInce it is natural, when the thoughts appear, they are also 2 possibilities. One when we look at it, it stop naturally stright away. Second, when we look at it, it keeps going on and on and on. It takes time for it to stop naturally.

FOr the second one, when the thought of desire appear, if it appears for 20 minutes, we have to be patient for 20 minutes.

This approach is the big problem.

The problem lies in not knowing the nature of that thought. If we know the nature of that thought, when the desire appear in the meditation, there is no such thing called patient.

Someone will be in patient mode, only if that person is in an effort of waiting something to pass away. THere is something he dislike. Because he dislike it, and because he is not supposed to change anything, he only left with 1 option, which is patient.

So, the meditation sometime become the exercise to become the Olympic champion in training patient. We are trying to become the macho man in patient.

Patient is good, and meditation can build that, it is good. However, that is not the purpose of buddhist meditation.

If we can see the nature of the thoughts that appear during meditation, for example desire, we won't do anything and we will be completely relax. There is no such thing called patient.

If someone comes to our house, because we don't know who he is, we will naturally very cautious with that person, as if that person is someone who is very dangerous, or someone who is very holly.

But if we know that the true face of that person, his existance, whether he will be in that house for 100 years, or 100000 years, it won't bother us. We don't need to be patient with him, we naturally don't need to do anything to him.

Same thing here. When the thought of desire arise, there is really zero efforts in responding to its presence.

In meditation, as long as there is still an effort, such as patient, there is still something real in our view.

So, we need to again and again see the nature of everything until we reach the state of zero efforts.

Instead of becoming Olympic Champion or macho man in patient, it is better if you see the nature of whatever appear to you nakedly. Someday, once you really know them, you will see that actually patient is a mistake for this case.

Patient is really the action due to not knowing who it is.

This effort of patient block your meditation to go further.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby santa100 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:39 pm

Nicely put DarwidHalim. Just want to add that the true nature of every single thought, is the same as any other phenomena in life: anicca, dukkha, and anatta; Remember the 3 marks and you won't be swept away by the flood of thoughts..
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:16 pm

It has become de rigueur for meditators to claim that "one should just observe the thoughts arising and ceasing." This has become a sort of unquestioned assumption, as if it were the wisest thing in the world to sit and watch yourself thinking.

However, the suttas describe something else:

He should develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off distractive thinking.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Boom!

What else.

Trivial thoughts, subtle thoughts,
Mental jerkings that follow one along:
Not understanding these mental thoughts,
One runs back and forth with wandering mind.

But having known these mental thoughts,
The ardent and mindful one restrains them.
An awakened one has entirely abandoned them,
These mental jerkings that follow one along.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

For one who has mindfulness of in-&-out breathing well established to the fore within oneself, annoying external thoughts & inclinations don't exist.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

But whoever —
walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down —
overcomes thought,
delighting in the stilling of thought:
he's capable,
a monk like this,
of touching superlative
self-awakening.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Wow. Are we getting mislead by those who claim we should simply observe thoughts as they arise?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:22 pm

kirk5a wrote:Wow. Are we getting mislead by those who claim we should simply observe thoughts as they arise?



Or by those who claim that jhana is unecessary? ;)

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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:36 pm

Good points in the above two posts; fascinating lines of inquiry.

:popcorn:
    "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: The thought that stops......

Postby santa100 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:57 pm

Obviously it still takes efforts for the contemplation of the 3 Marks of anicca, dukkha, and anatta mentioned in my post above. Actually they're part of the 4th Tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ), a beautiful sutta that touches on both Samatha (first 3 Tetrads) and Vipassana (last Tetrad).
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:08 pm

santa100 wrote:Obviously it still takes efforts for the contemplation of the 3 Marks of anicca, dukkha, and anatta mentioned in my post above. Actually they're part of the 4th Tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ), a beautiful sutta that touches on both Samatha (first 3 Tetrads) and Vipassana (last Tetrad).


It's possible that the fourth tetrad was originally related only to the four hindrances and the seven factors of enlightenment.
    "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: The thought that stops......

Postby nameless » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:08 pm

I don't think it's an either/or issue between just observing or restraining/stilling. There is a use for just observing; if you don't just observe and try to meddle too much, you fail to see what's going on and it becomes hard to restrain/still. It's like I suppose a child throwing a tantrum, if you don't listen and try to understand why it is doing so, and just try to shut it up from the start, it will just cause resentment and a pushing back from the child, and it will throw another tantrum the next time a similar situation arises.

When you know what's going on then you can address the restraining/stilling. Just observing isn't useful if you don't put the knowledge you gain to use. If you know why the child is throwing a tantrum then you can address things so that it stops/doesn't do it again.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby Aloka » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:37 pm

kirk5a wrote:


Wow. Are we getting mislead by those who claim we should simply observe thoughts as they arise?



When one gently relaxes into awareness with breathing, thoughts naturally settle by themselves. No need for any observation.



.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby reflection » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:39 pm

As I see it, all the confusion arises due to the choice of words.

On one side, we should not try to stop thoughts, because the attempt can be based on supression or anger. If we find no other way, it is best to just see the thoughts come and go and not try anything; in itself this can learn you a lot.

But, on the other hand, more skilled meditators can apply small tricks to trigger the mind into silence; reflecting on the uselesness of thoughts, finding the silence beneath the thoughts, seeing their non-self or whatever we like to do. So you could call this trying - skilfull trying.

Can you do non-doing or can't you? It's just a choice of words to me.

However, I think it is obvious the fading away of thoughts is a natural effect of meditation and is one we should cultivate.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby rucontent » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:47 am

Wow.....

Thank you all for your insights!

I recently stumbled on some mindfulness vs. concentration stuff. I think I should stop watching mouse hole (seems like concentration) and sometimes take in the whole room for balance.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby seeker242 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:15 am

kirk5a wrote:
Wow. Are we getting mislead by those who claim we should simply observe thoughts as they arise?


No, because you can not stop thoughts from arising! All you can do is make an effort to maintain mindfulness of breathing. If you try to do both, then you are not really maintaining mindfulness of just breathing. :) You are doing two things instead of just one thing, breathing. As I understand it, to observe thoughts as they arise means that you don't split your attention between "breathing" and "stopping thoughts". Your attention is on one thing, breathing. When it come off of breathing you become aware of that (observe the fact that these thought arose) and then return attention to just breathing. This way, you only have one job to do and not two jobs.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby daverupa » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:24 pm

seeker242 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
Wow. Are we getting mislead by those who claim we should simply observe thoughts as they arise?


No, because you can not stop thoughts from arising! All you can do is make an effort to maintain mindfulness of breathing. If you try to do both, then you are not really maintaining mindfulness of just breathing. :) You are doing two things instead of just one thing, breathing. As I understand it, to observe thoughts as they arise means that you don't split your attention between "breathing" and "stopping thoughts". Your attention is on one thing, breathing. When it come off of breathing you become aware of that (observe the fact that these thought arose) and then return attention to just breathing. This way, you only have one job to do and not two jobs.


Still two jobs: breathing and returning to the breath, partly for the purpose of stilling two other jobs, vitakka & vicara. I think the Nigantha Nataputta also didn't believe stopping thoughts was possible.
    "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: The thought that stops......

Postby kirk5a » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:48 pm

seeker242 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
Wow. Are we getting mislead by those who claim we should simply observe thoughts as they arise?


No, because you can not stop thoughts from arising!

Can you stop your legs from moving?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:32 pm

rucontent wrote:While sitting....using the analogy of watching the mouse hole.....I can see some thoughts before they happen....and even witness/influencing them ceasing to finish their thought.....but its so basic that it applies to any sentence i even think.....

Yes, one can either attend to the thought or attend to the volitional intention to think. By attending to the volitional intention, the thought may fall apart (so to speak), because it's deprived of its momentum and fuel.
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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:55 pm

Greetings,

The Vitakka-Santhana Sutta gives good advice on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el021.html

It focuses on the removal of "evil unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate, and delusion".

Are there any suttas that talk about the removal of "skillful thoughts connected with non-desire, non-hate, and non-delusion" in any context other than as the removal of vitakka and vicāra during the transition to the second jhana?

The answer to this question seems particularly important to me in terms of what we'd be best off doing at any point in time.

In other words, there may be a distinction between these two scenarios...

- If you're presently working towards the second jhana and beyond, then x
- If you're not presently working towards the second jhana and beyond, then y

Does x = y?

Whatever we decide x and y might be, how do they align with this exhortation on Right Effort...?
SN 45.8: Magga-vibhanga Sutta wrote:"He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The thought that stops......

Postby reflection » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:33 am

I don't get your part of the post with the x and y stuff, could you elaborate? But anyway, you might want to consider that vitakka/vicara in context of jhana may not mean discursive thoughts, but the more subtle process of bringing and sustaining attention that lies beneath it.

:anjali:
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