Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

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Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby djlewis » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:17 pm

I know this is a big topic, but I have a specific question.

In Bikkhu Nanamoli's translation of Buddhaghosha's Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification), three widely cited passages (XIV.141, XIV.96, 98) say about Mindfulness that it has "the characteristic not wobbling" or "the function of preventing wobbling".

That's always confused me because it sounds more like Concentration. In fact, III.4 says: "Concentration has non-distraction as its characteristic. Its function is to eliminate distraction. It is manifested as non-wavering."

Not knowing any Pali, I may be missing some subtleties here, but this makes is sound like Mindfulness and Concentration share the aspect of "non-wobbling", "non-distraction", "non-wavering" which all seem in English to be the same or very similar. Or at least "non-wobbling" and "non-wavering" seem like synonyms in English -- what are the Pali words here? Maybe "non-distraction" is something else.

Anyway, why would the Buddha ascribe such a crucial characteristic/function to two supposedly distinct elements of the Eightfold Path? Or am I being too pedantic (and modern?) to expect that kind of crisp orthogonality. In any case, my gut interpretation says that these are about Concentration, not Mindfulness. Or maybe it's saying that Mindfulness is never present without some measure of Concentration?

To make matters a bit worse, I.141 also mentions "non-wavering". That's the chapter on Sila, but I can't tell what the referent of "non-wavering" is.

Thanks. --David
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby Sekha » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:45 pm

djlewis wrote:That's always confused me because it sounds more like Concentration. In fact, III.4 says: "Concentration has non-distraction as its characteristic. Its function is to eliminate distraction. It is manifested as non-wavering."

I think the Pali passage you are looking for is this:
ettha pana avikkhepalakkhaṇo samādhi, vikkhepaviddhaṃsanaraso, avikampanapaccupaṭṭhāno.

avikkhepa would be non-distraction (PTSD says for vikkhepa: "1. disturbance, derangement 2. perplexity, confusion 3. in citta˚ cetaso; v. upset of mind, unbalanced mind, mental derangement [-- avikkhepa: equanimity, balance]"
lakkhaṇo means characteristic
viddhaṃsana: "shattering, destruction (trs. & intrs.) undoing, making disappear"
raso: no idea what it means. normally refers to 'tastes', Nanamoli seems to render it as 'function'
avikampana: non-trembling
paccupaṭṭhāno: "1. (re)appearance, happening, coming on phenomenon 2. tending"

djlewis wrote:Anyway, why would the Buddha ascribe such a crucial characteristic/function to two supposedly distinct elements of the Eightfold Path?

People get confused with the visuddhimagga: it is a buddhist text, not the Buddha's teaching. Let us not confuse the teaching of the Buddha and buddhism! It may or may not agree with the Buddha's teaching, and actually sometimes it clearly does NOT, as in the case of the list of the first jhana factors where the Vsm inculdes citassa ekaggata (following the abhidhamma against the suttas) whereas the Buddha speaks of unification of the mind only in the 2nd jhana. It also takes vitakka and vicara in a wrong meaning (precisely because if they refer to the thoughts process, then there is not necessarily citassa ekaggata in the first jhana), which is in contradiction with what is found in the suttas, like at AN 3.102 which speaks about concentration (adhicittasikkha, which is defined elsewhere as the four jhanas) and clearly takes vitakka in the meaning of 'thought' (ñativitakka=thoughts about relatives, janapadavitakka=thoughts about the country etc.), which debunks the argument of those practicing the Vsm and who say to defend themselves that vitakka means thought generally but means 'application of the mind' in the context of jhanas.

If we take the Buddha's advice given at DN 16: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#ref4
'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."

Then tose parts of the visuddhimagga are to be rejected, and I don't see how anyone can argue on this as the evidences or so obvious.

So if I come back to your question, it is natural that you get confused while reading the Vsm if you deem it consistent with the Buddha's teaching. If you take it as something that still needs to be cross-checked, that will help allay your doubts. If it doesn't, I would suggest you to play safe and keep to the suttas only.
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:30 am

djlewis wrote:"the function of preventing wobbling".

Hello David

The characteristic described above sounds fine to me. Often, the simile of a 'gatekeeper' is used for mindfulness. That function that supervises the mind to prevent it from wobbling is mindfulness. When the mind constantly has one focus (i.e., one object) & does not wobble, this is concentration. (Please note, insight or vipassana can be the mind's one object of concentration).

Compare to a motor car being driven down a laned highway. The car remaining within its lane is like concentration. The driver being watchful to ensure the car remains within its lane is like mindfulness.

Metta
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:47 am

Sekha wrote:...in the case of the list of the first jhana factors where the Vsm inculdes citassa ekaggata (following the abhidhamma against the suttas) whereas the Buddha speaks of unification of the mind only in the 2nd jhana. It also takes vitakka and vicara in a wrong meaning (precisely because if they refer to the thoughts process, then there is not necessarily citassa ekaggata in the first jhana)...

Sekha

All suttas of the Buddha & his arahant disciples, such as Sariputta, describe the 1st jhana as possessing ekkagattacitta. Try to examine the Pali and find what is translated as 'unification of mind' in the 2nd jhana is not the words 'ekkagattacitta'.

As for the terms 'vitakka' & 'vicara', these have various subtleties of application. When the mind reaches the 1st jhana & then the 2nd, both with ekkagattacitta, it will truely know what 'vitakka' & 'vicara' are in relation to the 1st jhana. There is no need to get too far ahead of oneself.

:candle:

Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single (ekkagattacitta). Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture I remained in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. I entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the noble ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.

Stock phrase


And how many factors does the first jhana have?

The first jhana has five factors. There is the case where, in a monk who has attained the five-factored first jhana, there occurs directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, & singleness of mind. It's in this way that the first jhana has five factors.

MN 43


I have heard that at one time the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, saying, "Monks."

"Yes, lord," the monks responded to him.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, Sariputta is wise, of great discernment, deep discernment, wide... joyous... rapid... quick... penetrating discernment. For half a month, Sariputta clearly saw insight into mental qualities one after another. This is what occurred to Sariputta through insight into mental qualities one after another:

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

"Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, Sariputta entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. Whatever qualities there are in the second jhana — internal assurance, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

MN 111
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby daverupa » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:58 am

JhanaStream wrote:All suttas of the Buddha & his arahant disciples, such as Sariputta, describe the 1st jhana as possessing ekkagattacitta.


"There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.


So, which English term is translating ekkagattacitta here?
    "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: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:02 am

daverupa wrote:So, which English term is translating ekkagattacitta here?

None. The terms 'citta ekaggata' are not found in any of the stock descriptions of any of the four jhanas because 'citta ekaggata' is a prerequisite for each jhana.

If the Pali is examined, this will be found to be evident.

:reading:

The stock phrase is:

Āraddhaṃ kho pana me, brāhmaṇa, vīriyaṃ ahosi asallīnaṃ, upaṭṭhitā sati asammuṭṭhā , passaddho kāyo asāraddho, samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ

Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single
.
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby Sekha » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:05 am

JhanaStream wrote:All suttas of the Buddha & his arahant disciples, such as Sariputta, describe the 1st jhana as possessing ekkagattacitta.

This is simply not true. I do not need to argue on this.

JhanaStream wrote:Try to examine the Pali and find what is translated as 'unification of mind' in the 2nd jhana is not the words 'ekkagattacitta'.

I suggest you examine the Pali text before speaking falsely of the Buddha's teaching.

As for your subsequent quotes, it has been demonstrated that some suttas of the MN contain imports from the abhidhamma, and MN 43 and MN 111 are reported to be some of them. So quoting them is not considered by everyone an evidence about what the Buddha says. I suggest keeping to the standard formula for the first jhana, which does not include ekaggata as a factor. Cetaso ekodibhava is a factor of the second jhana, and it is the one that relates to 'unification of the mind'.

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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby Sekha » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:09 am

JhanaStream wrote:The terms 'citta ekaggata' are not found in any of the stock descriptions of any of the four jhanas because 'citta ekaggata' is a prerequisite for each jhana.
If the Pali is examined, this will be found to be evident.

So, if it is a sine qua non prerequisite to the first jhana that implies that thoughts subside - and the Buddha makes great deal of handling thoughts - why on earth would he keep total silence on the issue?

I suggest you make this evident. Because if the Pali is examined by me, it is found to be not evident at all.
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:13 am

Sekha wrote:I suggest you examine the Pali text before speaking falsely of the Buddha's teaching.

I have. Stock phrase for the 2nd jhana:

Vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja vihāsiṃ.

The Pali translated as 'unification of mind' is ekodibhāvaṃ rather than citta ekaggata.

:candle:
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:16 am

Sekha wrote:I suggest keeping to the standard formula for the first jhana, which does not include ekaggata as a factor.

You are overlooking the fact ekaggata occurs prior to the description of the jhanas.

Āraddhaṃ kho pana me, brāhmaṇa, vīriyaṃ ahosi asallīnaṃ, upaṭṭhitā sati asammuṭṭhā , passaddho kāyo asāraddho, samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ

Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single
.

There is no such reality as 'jhana' without cittaṃ ekaggaṃ.

:reading:
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby Sekha » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:19 am

JhanaStream wrote:I have. Stock phrase for the 2nd jhana:
Vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja vihāsiṃ.

The Pali translated as 'unification of mind' is ekodibhāvaṃ rather than citta ekaggata.

this is what I said just before. You are just contradicting yourself, and you are not able to back up your previous statements. This is the second time you happen to behave this way.

JhanaStream wrote:You are overlooking the fact ekaggata occurs prior to the description of the jhanas.

This is completely baseless.

Sorry, but henceforth, I will just ignore your remarks as soon as you engage in debate by making unfounded statements that merely aim to contradict others.
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:22 am

Sekha wrote:So, if it is a prerequisite to the first jhana that implies that thoughts subside - and the Buddha makes great deal of handling thoughts - why on earth would he keep total silence on the issue?.

The suttas describe that thoughts subside prior to jhana. Vitakka & vicara in the 1st jhana are not referring to gross thought.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmlessness arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmlessness has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture I remained in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. I entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.

MN 19

:meditate:
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:25 am

Sekha wrote:This is completely baseless.

I have quoted the relevent scripture around 3 or 4 times in this thread. How can these discourses be 'baseless'?

:reading:

Sekha wrote:you engage in debate by making unfounded statements that merely aim to contradict others.

What about considering the possibility that we may simply not be 100% correct in our understanding of the scriptures?

:smile:
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby djlewis » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:30 am

@JhanaStream
Compare to a motor car being driven down a laned highway. The car remaining within its lane is like concentration. The driver being watchful to ensure the car remains within its lane is like mindfulness.

Ok, but which is the driver actually making the correction?

Maybe it's this -- the observational function of mindfulness keeps watch not only on the object itself, but on the mind doing the watching, and by the latter detects when there is wobbling, wandering or distraction. Then concentration makes the correction. So they both contribute to keeping the car in the lane -- mindfulness says "hey, you're wandering" and concentration says "thanks, let me fix it". Make sense?

That makes this somewhat OK: mindfulness has "the function of preventing wobbling", but leaves me a bit cold on "the characteristic of not wobbling". Well, maybe it is either the translation (which you folks can help with) or the Vsm itself.

BTW, the reason I ask is that I have been reviewing the research literature on mindfulness in psychology and medicine, and trying to coordinate it with the Buddhist literature. And to put it mildly, in the psych literature there is rampant confusion between mindfulness and concentration. But part of the problem seems to originate in these passages, and another part comes from the Tibetan literature which seems to equate mindfulness to concentration in many places.

In my own work, I am using this paradigm so far (following numerous Buddhist authors like Gunaratana, Thanissaro, many Tibetans): meditation = concentration (calm abiding, shamatha) + insight (vipashyana), and mindfulness is a vital tool for insight used in all systems. Satipatthana, "The Path of Mindfulness" is named that not so much because it uses mindfulness -- all Buddhist systems do; it's in the Eightfold Path -- but because it develops concentration and mindfulness together and depends less on concentration than "The Path of Shamatha", hence more on mindfulness (if that is meaningful). In this scheme, "mindfulness" in the Eightfold Path stands for what we often call insight.

Make sense?

Just for disclosure purposes, I am a long-time practitioner in the Tibetan tradition, but I am casting a wide net for some research I am doing. In fact, Bikkhu Bodhi gave a talk recently (here in Cambridge, USA) and was terrific -- clearing up some points for me. I wish I had asked him this one, but I had already hogged too much of the question time.
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby daverupa » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:31 am

JhanaStream wrote:'citta ekaggata' is a prerequisite for each jhana.


Where is this stated? As I read it, the pre-reqs are in the pericope itself:

vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi

(I know this may seem tangential to the OP, but the presence or absence of the pre-req in question ought to have relevance to an understanding of the term 'samadhi' - here being translated as 'concentration' - which may not carry the concomitant English connotations; 'composure' may better serve that purpose, but this matter of "citta ekaggata" touches on this, with some consequence with respect to a response to the OP, it seems to me.)
    "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: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:43 am

daverupa wrote:Where is this stated?

:heart:

Āraddhaṃ kho pana me, brāhmaṇa, vīriyaṃ ahosi asallīnaṃ, upaṭṭhitā sati asammuṭṭhā , passaddho kāyo asāraddho, samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ

Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:50 am

djlewis wrote:Maybe it's this -- the observational function of mindfulness keeps watch not only on the object itself, but on the mind doing the watching...

DJ

My personal view is how the scriptures about mindfulness are written have lead to the common view that mindfulness watches the meditation object. My reading of the stock phrase about mindfulness is 'right mindfulness' refers to being mindful to watch the meditation object.

The mind (consciousness) does the watching. Mindfulness keeps watch on the mind to ensure it is watching the meditation object (instead of watching TV or reading a book).

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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby daverupa » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:02 am

JhanaStream wrote:
daverupa wrote:Where is this stated?

:heart:

Āraddhaṃ kho pana me, brāhmaṇa, vīriyaṃ ahosi asallīnaṃ, upaṭṭhitā sati asammuṭṭhā , passaddho kāyo asāraddho, samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ

Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single


Ah yes, a few places in the Majjhima Nikaya at least.

So it would be correct to say that anapanasati results in samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ, I think, given the overall pattern of practice being described. It seems, therefore, that ones practice and understanding of anapanasati will then color an understanding of what "concentrated & single" means; that, or satipatthana is the rubric. These are probably important pieces of subjectivity for us all to consider.

In any event, since the Visuddhimagga is part of the necessary context here, this is as far as I'll inquire. Always nice to clarify subtle points!
    "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: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby Sekha » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:54 am

JhanaStream wrote:
Sekha wrote:This is completely baseless.

I have quoted the relevent scripture around 3 or 4 times in this thread. How can these discourses be 'baseless'?

you are quite right, I have to temper this statement.

I am digging the issue, and I find out that ekaggata actually does not mean 'one-pointedness' in some suttas, and that it is a mental state in which one still handles thoughts:

AN 5.151
“pañcahi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato suṇanto saddhammaṃ bhabbo niyāmaṃ okkamituṃ kusalesu dhammesu sammattaṃ. katamehi pañcahi? na kathaṃ paribhoti, na kathikaṃ paribhoti, na attānaṃ paribhoti, avikkhittacitto dhammaṃ suṇāti, ekaggacitto yoniso ca manasi karoti.
Bhikkhus, endowed with five things by listening to the good Teaching it is possible to enter the righteous way in wholesome states. What five? Not enjoying talking, not enjoying boasting, not enjoying life, listening to the Teaching with an undisturbed mind, and thinking wisely with the mind concentrated.

Here it is clear that while being 'ekaggacitta' one 'manasi karoti' (reflects/attends), which, as made clear at MN 2, refers to thinking:
So evaṃ ayoniso manasi karoti: ‘ahosiṃ nu kho ahaṃ atītamaddhānaṃ? Na nu kho ahosiṃ atītamaddhānaṃ? Kiṃ nu kho ahosiṃ atītamaddhānaṃ?
This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past?

So it seems that the suttas are contradicting themselves when they define samadhi as 'citassa ekaggata'.. this requires some further analysis.

JhanaStream wrote:
Sekha wrote:you engage in debate by making unfounded statements that merely aim to contradict others.

What about considering the possibility that we may simply not be 100% correct in our understanding of the scriptures?

Sure. But that is not an open license to say anything.

:anjali:
Last edited by Sekha on Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Concentration vs Mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga

Postby santa100 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:01 am

djlewis wrote:
That's always confused me because it sounds more like Concentration. In fact, III.4 says: "Concentration has non-distraction as its characteristic. Its function is to eliminate distraction. It is manifested as non-wavering.

Some alternative terms beside "non-wobbling" might help..

"Yasomitra characterizes the activity of apilapana (not wobbling) toward the object of mindfulness as that of "taking up", or "sustaining", or perhaps more appropriately "noting" or "fixing". Such a sense would be consistent with the traditional connection between mindfulness and attentivenes. "


~~ Janet Gyatso - In the Mirror of Memory ~~

Relationship between Mindfulness and Concentration is further demonstrated in the training of Anapanasati (Mindfulness of In/out Breath), one needs to be mindful(sati) of the in/out breath(anapana) first (the implementation could be a combination of those terms above: non-wobbling, noting, fixing, etc..) in order to bring about more refined states of concentration. Thus the Vsm depiction of Concentration and Mindfulness sound fine to me, especially when we consider the full paragraphs:

Vsm XIV.139 (on Concentration):It puts (ádhiyati) consciousness evenly (samam) on the object, or it puts it rightly (samma) on it, or it is just the mere collecting (samadhana) of the mind, thus it is concentration (samadhi). Its characteristic is non-wandering, or its characteristic is non-distraction. Its function is to conglomerate conascent states as water does bath powder. It is manifested as peace. Usually its proximate cause is bliss. It should be regarded as steadiness of the mind, like the steadiness of a lamp’s flame when there is no draught


And
Vsm XIV.141 (on Mindfulness):By its means they remember (saranti), or it itself remembers, or it is just
mere remembering (sarana), thus it is mindfulness (sati). It has the characteristic of not wobbling. Its function is not to forget. It is manifested as guarding, or it is manifested as the state of confronting an objective field. Its proximate cause is strong perception, or its proximate cause is the foundations of mindfulness concerned with the body, and so on (see MN 10). It should be regarded, however, as like a pillar because it is firmly founded, or as like a door-keeper because it guards the eye-door, and so on
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