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.

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

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:11 am

Greetings Reflection,

reflection wrote: 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.

I have considered it, I just don't happen to see it that way.

Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10355

reflection wrote:I don't get your part of the post with the x and y stuff, could you elaborate?

That's just where you fill in the blanks. I'm not categorically saying what I think should be in place of the x or y... that's for people to determine according to their own experience, reason and such.

I just know that for myself, they're not necessarily the same. In other words, it's not a case that I should always regard thoughts in the same way. How I regard them should depend on my current goal.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14770
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

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

Postby seeker242 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:13 pm

daverupa wrote:
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.


I see them as just one job: breathing. So there is a distraction and then all of a sudden there is breathing again, and then all of a sudden there is distraction and all of a sudden breathing again. Of course you are aware of all this activity. With a lot of people, mostly beginners, they become distressed over the fact that there was a distraction before they start just breathing again. They start thinking "What am I doing wrong?! I'm not supposed to be distracted!" which of course, is just another distraction itself. I think the "simply observe thoughts as they arise" is designed to help people not be distracted by the fact that their mind became distracted.

I never said I believe that thoughts stopping was not possible. It is possible. What I said is that it's not possible for you to stop your thoughts, because the act of breathing is what the stops the thoughts and the act of breathing is not you, it just the act of breathing. You don't have to stop your thoughts, all you have to do is breathe and they stop automatically. "simply observe thoughts as they arise" is directed towards people who are not aware that the thoughts will stop automatically by just breathing. People who think they need to do something else too when in fact there is nothing else to do. It's designed to help people not be distracted by the fact that distractions have arose. That's how I see it.

:namaste:
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

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

Postby reflection » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:30 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Reflection,

reflection wrote: 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.

I have considered it, I just don't happen to see it that way.

Fair enough.

I can't comment on the rest because I don't see any thoughts in the jhanas, but I understand your point of view now.
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

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

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:15 am

Greetings reflection,

reflection wrote:I can't comment on the rest because I don't see any thoughts in the jhanas, but I understand your point of view now.

Yes, if jhana is presently the goal, all bodily, verbal and mental fabrications need to be tranquillized (both wholesome and unwholesome)

However, if jhana is not presently the goal, wholesome bodily, verbal and mental fabrications should actually be cultivated.

That is how I understand it.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14770
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

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

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:14 pm

Hi Retro

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?


Well the satipatthana sutta comes to mind. Thinking wholesome thoughts can lead to cintamaya panna (discursive wisdom) but cannot lead to bhavanamaya panna (meditative wisdom). Also the question of what the best thing we can do in any given moment (artha-kusala) is possibly mentioned in the maha parinibbana sutta - to develop heedfulness. As to a definition of that see the pamada viharin sutta. Also the velama sutta is also important and point towards the same thing.

Whatever we decide x and y might be, how do they align with this exhortation on Right Effort...?
["SN 45.8: Magga-vibhanga Sutta"]"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."


The final expression of the wholesome developed in the mind depends on the the strength of that wholesome quality vs the stregnth of the opposing unwholesome quality. So both sides of the equation must receive adequate practice time ie the definition of right effort.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

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

Postby reflection » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:54 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

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

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

..
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?


Reading this post again, it's worth mentioning that the Pali wording Vitakka-Santhana doesn't say anything about distracting. It just says removal of thought.

And after recent reflection on this sutta, I think that's what it's about; it's about stilling all thoughts. In the end, about all of our thoughts based on delusion in a way. They are centered around a 'me'. They are coming from a desire or will to think. (one of the practices mentioned is about finding the source of thinking)

And the sutta ends with
that bhikkhu is called a master of the paths along which thoughts travel. The thought he wants to think, that, he thinks; the thought he does not want to think, that, he does not think.


Also in this sutta, I have the personal idea vitakka is not just referring to thought, but thought-processes. If you can catch anger or greed before it turns into words, it's better to do so.

But all of the above is my personal interpretation based on experiential understanding. I can admit it's not obvious from the sutta itself and other interpretations are possible.

Reflection
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

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

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:06 am

kirk5a wrote: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!



Hi

I agree, but I would just point out that in the Pali, the adjective "distractive" is nowhere to be found. (Ānāpānasati bhāvetabbā vitakkupacchedāya)

Thoughts, whether distractive or non-distractive, are supposed to be bumped off by anapanasati.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1569
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Previous

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests