my goals and ways of practice

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: my goals and ways of practice

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:55 pm

Hi ignobleone,
ignobleone wrote:When I tried to help some monks (in a Thai Buddhist temple) to clean-up their laptops (yes, these days monks are inseparable from computers) from virus, I saw uTorrent was running on the background with at least ten action movie torrents in the queue. I didn't say anything about it, only talked to myself that it was a serious Vinaya violation. No wonder the laptops are often infected by virus. I wonder whether they have time to meditate everyday.

Well, yes, anyone who has spent any time with Monastics (or just walked through a city like Bangkok) would know that there is a wide variation in how seriously they take the Vinaya/Path.

But that doesn't mean there are not some extremely dedicated bhikkhus in city or western monasteries or that one cannot get some extremely useful instruction in the West.
ignobleone wrote:There are too many distractions these days. I think living in jungle is the best way to avoid modern distractions. My opinion is based on that reason.

That's really a different issue from the finding a helpful teacher. If you keep thinking that the good teachers are only to be found in some shangri-la place, then, of course, you won't find any close by...

:anjali:
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote:That's really a different issue from the finding a helpful teacher. If you keep thinking that the good teachers are only to be found in some shangri-la place, then, of course, you won't find any close by...


Of course and if they have retreated to such a shangri-la place chances are they don't want to teach anyway.
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:42 pm

ignobleone wrote:With all due respect. But this is a very typical comment from the victims of jhana bifurcation/dichotomy, many of the mainstream theravadan buddhists these days are. For them, jhana has nothing to do with insight (I prefer the word discernment), in other words, insight is not needed to attain jhana, a misconception. Some people even too ignorant to accept this reality.
If the Buddha didn't master jhanas, he would have been trapped in jhana state like his former teachers. What Siddhaartha did was transcending the 8th (arupa)jhana to the next state, which he claimed to be the ultimate peak of perception, nothing further, i.e. the cessation of perception and feeling, nibbana.
Jhanas are tools, not an end in themselves. As for the attainment of jhana and nibbana, where in the suttas does it say that one must, absolutely must, have mastered all the jhanas in order to attain nibbana, to become an arahant? I am not arguing here that the Buddha did not mastyer the jhanas.

Also, I never said here that jhanas having nothing to do with insight. And has been pointed out above jhanas also can be a basis for a trip down the garden path of wrong view.

What Siddhaartha did was transcending the 8th (arupa)jhana to the next state, which he claimed to be the ultimate peak of perception, nothing further, i.e. the cessation of perception and feeling, nibbana.
The are plenty of instances of individuals in the suttas attaining nibbana without attaining nirodha-samāpatti. And just as aside, "Siddhaartha" is not a name found in the suttas, but rather it comes from the later hagiographical works.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby manas » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:16 pm

I'm no jhana expert, but from my current understanding, there is such a thing as 'right concentration' vs 'wrong concentration'. It's a weighty subject, and I don't feel ready to say much about it, other than to post this vid of Bhante G:



I wish that we could spend more time on supporting each other in developing samma-samadhi, and less time arguing about what it is. I won't call arguing 'ill-will' but it might fall under 'restlessness', and actually serve to hinder us. Something we can all agree on - that the five hindrances need to be overcome - we could share helpful information about that. I also am sorry for getting into arguments. We should focus more on helping each other, less on proving our particular point of view.

with metta.
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:52 am

manas wrote:I'm no jhana expert, but from my current understanding, there is such a thing as 'right concentration' vs 'wrong concentration'....

Nevertheless, there is a lot of talk of "wrong concentration" in the suttas. 70 hit on access to insight:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ah ... centration
Clearly not just any concentration is "right concentration".

However, Bhante G does have a point that one can be a little too fixated on some particular definition of "right concentration". My understanding, and experience, is that in a state of "right concentration" there is a good degree of mindfulness --- the mind is still very sharp and attentive, not aimless...

:anjali:
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:51 am

ignobleone wrote:Nibbana is also known as cessation of perception and feeling.

No it isn't. An arahant liberated through discernment doesn't attain the cessation of perception and feeling.

ignobleone wrote:I would blame all of this on commentaries, since they talk about jhana only in terms of ten fetters, which have puzzled people for so long.

You really don't know what you're talking about. You might want to learn what the suttas and commentaries actually teach.
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:05 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:This forum is good for theoretical discussions and learning buddhist tenets, but its weak point is discussion of practice, which is the most important part of buddhism.

An internet discussion forum isn't a very suitable medium for discussing the specific details of meditation practice MP. There's too many variables which can only be adequately addressed through face to face communication with somebody in the specific tradition of the practitioner.
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby ignobleone » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:34 am

Sorry, there's formatting mistake in the last post. I re-post it.
Sarva wrote:
ignobleone wrote: But the problem is, it's unclear how to withdraw from sensuality technically.

Hi Ignobleone
I take "sensuality" to mean the arousal of "pleasurable" versus "dis-pleasurable" or "attractive" versus "ugly" etc. Correct me if different?

We have somewhat different perspective/view on "sensuality". My view on kama is without pleasure reference. But I don't want to judge whose is correct. Please use your own reasoning to assess correctness. I can only provide some reasons which support my view:
1. Literally: kama is translated to two meanings, i.e sensuality with pleasure reference(sensual pleasure) and merely sensuality(sense-based, sense-related). 'kamasanna' = 'kama' + 'sanna'. And I noticed in pali nouns which consist of two words usually the first word becomes adjective. So, 'kama' is an adjective here, thus 'kamasanna' means 'sense-based perception'.
With pleasure reference, kamasanna's meaning becomes 'sensual pleasure perception', which for me personally doesn't sound right, and the meaning becomes vague.
2. More on the meaning: "pleasurable","dis-pleasurable", etc, they're more to feeling(vedana) than perception(sanna). And from Dependent Origination, feeling comes after perception. So, it's not appropriate to include feeling when describing perception.

The withdraw of sensuality would imply the end of the perspective of "mine" versus "yours", to use a phrase I would say the insight of "no duality". There would be no object comparison and hence sensuality would withdraw as no object would be more or less sensual or desirable than any other object. In a way we label objects with a quality of sensuality. In order to achieve no duality and withdraw of sensuality one would have to remove the subject, who makes the judgements on objects. The subject is the cause of differentiation, the subject selects "most beautiful" over "less beautiful" based on its view of self values, so the subject needs "to end". This is what I would call anatta. I see this being done gradually through buddhist practice.

Your explanation is irrelevant in talking about the 1st jhana. The end of the perspective of "mine" versus "yours" is relevant in the dimension of nothingness, and "no duality" is relevant in the 4th jhana.
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby ignobleone » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:Jhanas are tools, not an end in themselves.

I didn't say they're an end in themselves. Maybe you missed my reply to Sarva about "mastering jhana".

As for the attainment of jhana and nibbana, where in the suttas does it say that one must, absolutely must, have mastered all the jhanas in order to attain nibbana, to become an arahant? I am not arguing here that the Buddha did not mastyer the jhanas.

From AN 9.36 Jhana Sutta:
"I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana... the second jhana... the third... the fourth... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness. I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception."
depends on implies one absolutely must have mastered all the jhanas in order to attain nibbana, isn't it? Unless your understanding of nibbana is different. Does the ending of the mental fermentations match your understanding of nibbana?

Also, I never said here that jhanas having nothing to do with insight.

Well, your previous comment: "No, he did not. The jhanas are tools that helped him master the insight necessary for awakening." implied it so. It implied that insight is only necessary for awakening. Anyway, I'm curious on how is the mechanism of the tools that helped him master the insight necessary for awakening. Could you please elaborate more? More technical is better, so that other people and I also can understand.

And has been pointed out above jhanas also can be a basis for a trip down the garden path of wrong view.

And I also have mentioned not to get trapped/indulged in jhana.

The are plenty of instances of individuals in the suttas attaining nibbana without attaining nirodha-samāpatti. And just as aside, "Siddhaartha" is not a name found in the suttas, but rather it comes from the later hagiographical works.

nirodha-samāpatti, does it come from commentary?
Yes I'm aware there's sutta which mention monks got released from discernment. If I'm not mistaken, it was not the Buddha who said so, was it?
And also in mahaparinibbana sutta, Ven. Anurudha said that the Buddha parinibbana from the fourth jhana. Does this make you think one doesn't need to master all jhanas to attain nibbana?
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:43 am

ignobleone wrote: . . .
I am going to pass. Sometime it feels like life is way too short for these endless, and often fruitless, debates about the jhanas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: my goals and ways of practice

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:
ignobleone wrote: . . .
I am going to pass. Sometime it feels like life is way too short for these endless, and often fruitless, debates about the jhanas.


Yes, quite right, Tilt.

I think its time for everyone, and this post is not directed at anyone in particular, to return to the needs and context of the OP.
We already have long threads on the jhanas and I believe any discussion focused primarily on the jhanas should continue there.
Thanks for your cooperation.

Ben
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