New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:58 am

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Of course, such and such interpretor and commentator might be quite wrong, but simply stating he or she is wrong without actually doing the work of dismantling his or her argument does not raise the quality of the argumentation, either.


Sure. The "Four Great References" from the Mahaparinibbana sutta are an excellent guide here.
Not that you have shown.
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.

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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Dmytro » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Not that you have shown.


Not that you have seen : )
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:38 pm

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Not that you have shown.


Not that you have seen : )
One cannot see what is not shown.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:13 pm

Forgive me, as I am only halfway through the book, but I'm going to try to get caught up on this thread.
tiltbillings wrote:Maybe, but he does not quote Goldstein, so it becomes hard to take what he says seriously as criticism of Goldstein, or any one else. It reads as a bit of a straw man argument. If one is going to argue against a postion, then put that position out there as accurately and fully as possible, then one should do one's best to beat it up, if it needs beating up. I do not see that as what has happened in this book.

This "bare attention" approach, no matter if there is a techer teaching it, seems to be getting picked up by students. It definitely seems to be "out there" in the Buddhist lexicon, so shouldn't it be fair to criticize the approach? Even if the actual good teachers have a context and more depth than a stripped down "bare attention", a lot of students seem to miss that. Maybe Ajaan Geoff should be seen as criticising, not the various teachers' understanding of the dhamma, but their methods for teaching the dhamma, whose "bare attention" approach may be dangerous to the casual student who's take away lesson may be to sit on the couch in "bare attention" doing whatever activities they please.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby twelph » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:56 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Forgive me, as I am only halfway through the book, but I'm going to try to get caught up on this thread.
tiltbillings wrote:Maybe, but he does not quote Goldstein, so it becomes hard to take what he says seriously as criticism of Goldstein, or any one else. It reads as a bit of a straw man argument. If one is going to argue against a postion, then put that position out there as accurately and fully as possible, then one should do one's best to beat it up, if it needs beating up. I do not see that as what has happened in this book.

This "bare attention" approach, no matter if there is a techer teaching it, seems to be getting picked up by students. It definitely seems to be "out there" in the Buddhist lexicon, so shouldn't it be fair to criticize the approach? Even if the actual good teachers have a context and more depth than a stripped down "bare attention", a lot of students seem to miss that. Maybe Ajaan Geoff should be seen as criticising, not the various teachers' understanding of the dhamma, but their methods for teaching the dhamma, whose "bare attention" approach may be dangerous to the casual student who's take away lesson may be to sit on the couch in "bare attention" doing whatever activities they please.


Excluding the controversies, what do you think about the book so far?
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Billymac29 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:59 pm

Buckwheat wrote:whose "bare attention" approach may be dangerous to the casual student who's take away lesson may be to sit on the couch in "bare attention" doing whatever activities they please.


This reasoning would make it much more understandable.

may you be well :anjali:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Billymac29 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:39 am

copied from another thread, though it would be good here too:
Words like "bare attention", "choiceless awareness", etc.. are not just genuine to the Theravada lineage. Such practices date back centuries in the Tibetan and Zen traditions of Mahayana tradition. Such meditations are used in Objectless Shinay and Shikantaza from Tibet and Zen respectively. These came into effect well before Krishnamurti, Nyanaponika, and Rupert Gethin were ever even born let alone a thought.

"On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion'; trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.'

Dispassion - objectivity and detachment; the state or quality of being unemotional or emotionally uninvolved.


It seems as though Bhante Thanissaro has unskillfully ridiculed the practices of many Buddhists. To give his opinion on practice is one thing, but to down grade others in an attempt to show some sort of righteousness or authority is naive and unsophisticated. If his theories cannot stand on their own merit without trying to diminish others' teachings on the same subject, then his theories, in my opinion, can be looked upon as inefficient and vice.

Having said that, one wont truly know the effectiveness of his practice unless it is practice by himself/herself. Initial appearance of it, however, is bleak to me.

may all be well
:anjali:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Kamran » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:10 am

It may not come across as clearly in his writing, but in his talks Ajaan Thanissaro's comparisons of other methods and traditions are not denigrating and are extremely informative.

Here's his take on Zen's "Buddha Nature" for example:

"The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom — that past kamma doesn't totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative — you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ature.html
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:42 am

Kamran wrote:It may not come across as clearly in his writing, but in his talks Ajaan Thanissaro's comparisons of other methods and traditions are not denigrating and are extremely informative.

Here's his take on Zen's "Buddha Nature" for example:

"The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom — that past kamma doesn't totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative — you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path."

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


This is another one where Ajaan Geoff seems to target the least common denominator of teachings, hopefully as a warning to avoid poor teaching methods and not a method for stirring up controversy. While this interpretation of buddha-nature is no doubt common, in "Opening the Hand of Thought" by Kosho Uchiyama, he states that Buddha-nature is nothing other than "one's capacity to awaken", meaning that we all have the capacity to awaken if we make the decisions in the here and now that lead to liberation instead of decisions that lead to suffering. I can agree with this idea for Buddha-nature as it is really just stating that no matter how bad you think you are, you can get out of the mud. Everybody can have liberation, but that does not mean they will. It still requires a lot of work.

I only point this out to show that when Ajaan Geoff criticizes a concept, he does find the parts that he has issue with, but I don't really think it's out of stirring controversy. He is pointing out where other teachings can be, and often are, misunderstood and misapplied by practitioners. I think the same is happening in his criticism of "bare attention".
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:49 am

Buckwheat wrote:I think the same is happening in his criticism of "bare attention".
The problem is, however, that Ven Thanisarro's criticism of bare attention is a criticism of a strawman.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:56 am

Billymac29 wrote:copied from another thread, though it would be good here too:
Words like "bare attention", "choiceless awareness", etc.. are not just genuine to the Theravada lineage. Such practices date back centuries in the Tibetan and Zen traditions of Mahayana tradition. Such meditations are used in Objectless Shinay and Shikantaza from Tibet and Zen respectively. These came into effect well before Krishnamurti, Nyanaponika, and Rupert Gethin were ever even born let alone a thought.

"On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion'; trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.'

Dispassion - objectivity and detachment; the state or quality of being unemotional or emotionally uninvolved.


It seems as though Bhante Thanissaro has unskillfully ridiculed the practices of many Buddhists. To give his opinion on practice is one thing, but to down grade others in an attempt to show some sort of righteousness or authority is naive and unsophisticated. If his theories cannot stand on their own merit without trying to diminish others' teachings on the same subject, then his theories, in my opinion, can be looked upon as inefficient and vice.

Having said that, one wont truly know the effectiveness of his practice unless it is practice by himself/herself. Initial appearance of it, however, is bleak to me.

may all be well
:anjali:


Just because one has dispassion does not mean they are without a goal. I understand the main crux of Ajaan Geoff's criticism ofattention being that wrongly applied it negates chanda (desire, intent http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Chanda). Wrongly applied, it also seems to prevent any experimenting with phenomena to see how they give rise to either attachment or dispassion. I think there's a role for bare attention, and I'm sure the teacher's that are mentioned in this thread can give great advice on how to apply it correctly, but there's also a misapplication of it that can be dangerous.
Last edited by Buckwheat on Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:02 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:I think the same is happening in his criticism of "bare attention".
The problem is, however, that Ven Thanisarro's criticism of bare attention is a criticism of a strawman.


I sat in front of a teacher (not a good one) teaching exactly the position Ven Thanisarro is criticizing. I can't find a quote right now because I didn't like the teacher and didn't try to remember the name. I do not think he was famous, but people like him exist out there. You are probably right, that this is a strawman, IF you limit the argument to well known teachers.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:09 am

Buckwheat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:I think the same is happening in his criticism of "bare attention".
The problem is, however, that Ven Thanisarro's criticism of bare attention is a criticism of a strawman.


I sat in front of a teacher (not a good one) teaching exactly the position Ven Thanisarro is criticizing. I can't find a quote right now because I didn't like the teacher and didn't try to remember the name. I do not think he was famous, but people like him exist out there. You are probably right, that this is a strawman, IF you limit the argument to well known teachers.
No one is saying that crappy teaching and bollixed concepts do not happen, but that does not mean one should characterize all vipassana teachers based upon crappy teachings of a few. I do not find that Ven T's statements are at all balanced.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:No one is saying that crappy teaching and bollixed concepts do not happen, but that does not mean one should characterize all vipassana teachers based upon crappy teachings of a few. I do not find that Ven T's statements are at all balanced.

Oh, I guess I haven't got to the part of the book where he said "all vipassana teachers" have such and such view. My bad for entering discussion too early. I have a problem with Premature Deliberation.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:30 am

Buckwheat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:No one is saying that crappy teaching and bollixed concepts do not happen, but that does not mean one should characterize all vipassana teachers based upon crappy teachings of a few. I do not find that Ven T's statements are at all balanced.

Oh, I guess I haven't got to the part of the book where he said "all vipassana teachers" have such and such view. My bad for entering discussion too early. I have a problem with Premature Deliberation.
If one characterizes a key teaching used by many vipassana teachers -- in this care "bare attention -- in a bad light without any nuance, it reflects upon all the teachers that use it, whether or not they are guilty of using the crappy version of that VenT finds so hedious.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:47 am

I would like to take a closer look at Ven T’s critique of the so-called “bare awareness” method as Ven T understands it. It will be obvious from his “Right Mindfulness – Memory and Ardency on the Buddist Path” that his belief is firmly grounded in “development” (bhavana) being a very intentional, controlled and directed practice. In his method, all states are the direct application and product of intention, thereby leaving no place for “bare awareness”.

My approach is to approach his critique through his philosophy, principally in his understanding of DO’s idappaccayatā formula, cetanā (intention) in particular and sankhāra (all forms of intention) in general.

Firstly, we have his interpretation of idappaccayatā as follows –

The Buddha expressed this/that conditionality in a simple-looking formula:

(1) When this is, that is.
(2) From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
(3) When this isn't, that isn't.
(4) From the stopping of this comes the stopping of that.
— AN 10.92

There are many possible ways of interpreting this formula, but only one does justice both to the way the formula is worded and to the complex, fluid manner in which specific examples of causal relationships are described in the Canon. That way is to view the formula as the interplay of two causal principles, one linear and the other synchronic, that combine to form a non-linear pattern. The linear principle — taking (2) and (4) as a pair — connects events, rather than objects, over time; the synchronic principle — (1) and (3) — connects objects and events in the present moment. The two principles intersect, so that any given event is influenced by two sets of conditions: input acting from the past and input acting from the present. Although each principle seems simple, the fact that they interact makes their consequences very complex [§10].

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


Ven T interprets idappaccayatā’s limb #1 and limb #3 as connoting contemporaneity of states within a relationship. Following this interpretation, the skilfull states in bhavana must always be sustained by the constant presence of intention, directed towards its tasks. If the intention were absent, then in Ven T’s model, the bhavana has lost the plot.

You can see this model manifest in his translation of an important passage from AN 6.63 –

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."


This is easily recognisable and citable by many here, as what distinguishes the Buddhist model of ethics versus that of the Vedas and Jains.

I would say that Ven T’s explanation of idappaccayatā is unsatisfactory. There are several reasons, but I will focus on 3.

Firstly, from a grammatical point of view, limbs #1 and #3 are structured in a special construction –

imasmiṃ sati, idaṃ hoti
imasmiṃ asati, idaṃ na hoti


This is one of the 2 kinds of locative absolute constructions. This form is made up of sati/asati, the locative of santo. Santo is the present participle of atthi (“there is”). Generally, while present participles are used to indicate contemporaneity, in this locative absolute construction, it has no temporal value, unlike locative absolutes constructed with past participles.

Secondly, many grammars ascribe to this locative absolute the function of identifying “cause”. In this case, the translation will not show a temporal relationship, but will read like this –

Because this is, that is.
Because this is not, that is not.


In the Prakrit and Sanskrit formulations of idappaccayatā that have been translated into Chinese, the translators also understood the locative absolute to mean cause or reason, using the word “from” instead.

Finally, Ven T’s interpretation of the 1st and 3rd limbs are inconsistent with a pair of suttas in SN 12.49 and SN 12.50, both of which are unfortunately not translated by Ven T. This is what SN 12.50 says –

Atha kho, bhikkhave, sutavato ariyasāvakassa aparappaccayā ñāṇamevettha hoti— ‘imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati. Avijjāya sati saṅkhārā honti; saṅkhāresu sati viññāṇaṃ hoti; viññāṇe sati nāmarūpaṃ hoti; nāmarūpe sati saḷāyatanaṃ hoti; saḷāyatane sati phasso hoti; phasse sati vedanā hoti; vedanāya sati taṇhā hoti; taṇhāya sati upādānaṃ hoti; upādāne sati bhavo hoti; bhave sati jāti hoti; jātiyā sati jarāmaraṇaṃ hotī’ti. So evaṃ pajānāti— ‘evamayaṃ loko samudayatī’ti.


It should be immediately obvious to the Pali reader that whether you intend the 1st limb or the 2nd limb, the locative absolute represents both. Any temporal implication to idappaccayatā is completely absent, thereby confirming what the grammars say about imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, namely that it illustrates a principle of causation, not a temporal one.

Unfortunately, Ven T allows his synchronic interpretation to colour some of his interpretations. I gave as an example his translation of AN 6.63, where he says –
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."


The synchronic interpretation creeps in, where his choice of the word “intending” implies the contemporaneity of intention and kamma.

The Pali says this –

Cetanāhaṃ, bhikkhave, kammaṃ vadāmi. Cetayitvā kammaṃ karoti— kāyena vācāya manasā.

Intention, I say, is kamma. Having intended, one does kamma by way of body, speech and mind.


The absolutive cetayitvā bears the most common sense of “having done something”. Although it is rare, you could read the absolutive as connoting synchronicity between 2 actions/verbs. But, should such a rare usage be applied to AN 6.63? Note that Ven T does not translate the absolutive in this manner, when he translates a very similar passage from MN 44 –

Pubbe kho, āvuso visākha, vitakketvā vicāretvā pacchā vācaṃ bhindati, tasmā vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro.
Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications.


It looks to me that Ven T has imported his understanding of Dependant Origination to bhavana. I am of the view that the synchronicity principle is not inherent in the 1st and 3rd limbs of idappaccayatā and there is therefore no doctrinal basis for Ven T’s insistence that intention must always be present in order for the bhavana or meditation or whatever to proceed. A prior intention, done skilfully, can be sufficient to provide the impulse and the momentum for an action to start and to persist, even if the original intention has subsided.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:57 am

This takes me to Ven T’s understanding of sankhāra as the cause of the establishment of consciousness. Take a look at how he translates a passage from SN 12.38, which deal with all possible types of sankhāra that lead to rebirth/establishment of consciousness -

If one doesn't intend and doesn't arrange, but one still obsesses [about something], this is a support for the stationing of consciousness.


The problem is his concept of anusaya as “obsession”. I have addressed this elsewhere –

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299&start=60#p206500

To reiterate, Ven T views rebirth or establishment of consciousness as being driven only by very active and conscious sankhāra. However, it is clear that anusaya is a sub-conscious intention. There does not seem to be any valid reason why other types of sankhāra cannot be operating at the subconscious level during meditation. SN 12.25 clearly provides for these sub-conscious intentions, including mental volitions.

Giving the suttas’ allowance for intention/ sankhāra to manifest in very subtle forms, so as to be imperceptible, I cannot see why such intentions cannot be operating at the “bare awareness” level. For that matter, past intentions themselves suffice to cause rebecoming; why should they be inadequate to sustain the persistence of bare awareness?

I don't think any of the bare awareness teachers actually actually a "choiceless" awareness a la Krishnamurti. The decision to practise bare awareness is an exercise in choice and a sankhāra. The Dependant Origination formula does not require the sankhāra to perdure in order to sustain awareness. The important thing to note is that "attention" is what establishes phassa/contact, but in the nāmarūpa scheme of things, attention is something different from intention - MN 9.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Dmytro » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:33 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:To reiterate, Ven T views rebirth or establishment of consciousness as being driven only by very active and conscious sankhāra. However, it is clear that anusaya is a sub-conscious intention. There does not seem to be any valid reason why other types of sankhāra cannot be operating at the subconscious level during meditation. SN 12.25 clearly provides for these sub-conscious intentions, including mental volitions.


Why do you think that Ven. Thanissaro talks only about conscious sankhāra?

He just points out the constructed, fabricated, conditioned nature of attention:

"The Myth of Bare Attention
The Buddha never used the word for “bare attention” in his meditation instructions. That’s because he realized that attention never occurs in a bare, pure, or unconditioned form. It’s always colored by views and perceptions—the labels you tend to give to events—and by intentions: your choice of what to attend to and your purpose in being attentive.
If you don’t understand the conditioned nature of even simple acts of attention, you might assume that a moment of nonreactive attention is a moment of Awakening. And in that way you miss one of the most crucial insights in Buddhist meditation, into how even the simplest events in the mind can form a condition for clinging and suffering. If you assume a conditioned event to be unconditioned, you close the door to the unconditioned. So it’s important to understand the conditioned nature of attention and how the Buddha recommended that it be trained—as appropriate attention—to be a factor in the path leading beyond attention to total Awakening."

http://dharma.org/ij/documents/FoodforAwakening_000.pdf

"In the Satipatthana Sutta, they’re combined with a third quality: atappa, or ardency. Ardency means being intent on what you’re doing, trying your best to do it skillfully. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep straining and sweating all the time, just that you’re continuous in developing skillful habits and abandoning unskillful ones. Remember, in the eight factors of the path to freedom, right mindfulness grows out of right effort. Right effort is the effort to be skillful. Mindfulness helps that effort along by reminding you to stick with it, so that you don’t let it drop.
All three of these qualities get their focus from what the Buddha called yoniso manisikara, appropriate attention. Notice: That’s appropriate attention, not bare attention. The Buddha discovered that the way you attend to things is determined by what you see as important—the questions you bring to the practice, the problems you want the practice to solve. No act of attention is ever bare. If there were no problems in life you could open yourself up choicelessly to whatever came along. But the fact is there is a big problem smack dab in the middle of everything you do: the suffering that comes from acting in ignorance. This is why the Buddha doesn’t tell you to view each moment with a beginner’s eyes. You’ve got to keep the issue of suffering and its end always in mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fined.html
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Dmytro » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:46 am

Sylvester wrote:I don't think any of the bare awareness teachers actually actually a "choiceless" awareness a la Krishnamurti.


Ven. Analayo writes in his book on Satipatthana, page 58:

"Uninvolved and detached receptivity as one of the crucial characeristics of sati forms an important aspect in the teachings of several modern meditation teachers and scholars. They emphasize that the purpose of sati is solely to make things conscious, not to eliminate them. Sati silently observes, like a spectator at play, without in any way interfering. Some refer to this non-reactive feature of sati as "choiceless" awareness. "Choiceless" in the sense that with such awareness one remains impartially aware, without reacting with likes and dislikes. Such silent and non-reactive observation can at times suffice to curb unwholesomeness, so that an application of sati can have quite active consequences. Yet sati's activity is confined to detached observation. That is, sati does not change experience, it deepens it."

Compare this with the words of Krishnamurti who coined the term "choiceless awareness":

"(Choiceless) Awareness is a state in which there is no condemnation, no justification or identification, and therefore there is understanding: in that state of passive, alert awareness there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced."

http://books.google.com.ua/books?id=Uxv ... 9&lpg=PT29
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:16 pm

Sylvester wrote:I would like to take a closer look at Ven T’s critique of the so-called “bare awareness” method as Ven T understands it.

...

I am of the view that the synchronicity principle is not inherent in the 1st and 3rd limbs of idappaccayatā and there is therefore no doctrinal basis for Ven T’s insistence that intention must always be present in order for the bhavana or meditation or whatever to proceed. A prior intention, done skilfully, can be sufficient to provide the impulse and the momentum for an action to start and to persist, even if the original intention has subsided.


Sylvester, thank you for that detailed analysis. I found it very interesting. I do have a question, though: If the 12 links of DO show how Ignorance leads to clinging and suffering, and cutting off ignorance leads to the cessation of clinging and suffering, can one really "temporarily suspend" ignorance and fabrication without suspending the whole chain, which would be dukkha nirodha, right? I can see maybe suppressing them so that one is not totally consumed by ignorance and fabrication, but they would still be present in subtle forms, right?

Forgive any errors in my logic.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
Buckwheat
 
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