anatta and cetana and conditions for right view

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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:05 am

Dear Mike,
Despite repeated conversations (mostly online) with various KS advocates I've not heard a convincing reason why not being able to directly control citta presents a problem to development. [The Buddha said that rupa cannot be controlled, for example, but obviously that doesn't refer to the fact that doing certain things affects our bodies positively or negatively; and so on for the other aggregates...]


Not being able to control cittas is not the problem. The problem is the wrong understanding about them.

And, if it did, we all have the exact same problem. You seem to be arguing that a certain way of going about things is going to give better results in the long term than other methods. (If you're not, why would it be important?) But this is just as much a particular view/method as anyone else's view/method regarding Dhamma, so you (or some succession of citta if you prefer) would be subject to exactly the same criticisms that you are making.


Let’s see what we have agreed so far:
- That all conditioned dhammas (including sati, viriya, panna) arise by their own condition. They can not by forced to arise by will (cetana)
- Cetana is also a conditioned dhamma.
- The conditions for the arising of sati and panna is: listening to the right dhamma, wise cinsideration (yoniso manasikara) – which is also a conditioned dhamma.

Until here I guess there’s no problem.

Now you seem to be saying that because there are conditions for the arising of sati and panna, we can create those “conditions”. Let’s examine if it’s true.
I have listened to AS, found the value of it, and now want to listen to her again.
- the cetana to listen to her again is conditioned by the understanding gained from listening to her previously (which is conditioned by previous accumulations...)
- Even with cetana to listen to her again, whether new listening occurs or not depends on many conditions: the ear must still be functioning; the source of her teaching must be available.... We might take these for granted, but it is all up to vipaka of past kamma, accumulations and other factors whether ear-base arises or not, whether the the sound (of her voice) arises or not, whether understanding as the result of that listening arises or not.

If we consider that way, there’s not “active conditioning” (by a self) at all. Does that mean we shouldn’t do anything? Not at all. Some of us like to go to retreats, some study by them-selves, some read Ven Nanananda’s books, some fly to BKK to meet AS…All these things still happen no matter what, but not because of “active conditioning” by s.o, but because of complex conditions.

Do you agree with this?

Now back to the condition : “listening to the right Dhamma”. Some people listen to Krishnamurti, others to the Pope, others to Achaan Brahm, others to Pa-auk Sayadaw, others to AS… All these people think that they are hearing the truth. However the messages of all the above mentioned teachers vary to different degrees. But if the Buddha mentioned the right Dhamma, it means there must be one Dhamma which is true, while others, if different from it must not be true. What can recognize the right Dhamma other than right understanding or right view of dhammas as taught by the Buddha? And the core of the teaching, I think we can agree, is ‘all dhammas are not-self, arising and falling away by conditions”.

I don’t think I even attempt to convince anyone here. Whether someone accepts the arguments above depends on their accumulations. And again, I’d like to stretch, the path it’s not about doing something, but it is about understanding. There’s no method (since you mentioned AS method versus others). AS doesn’t teach any method. She only tries to help others to understand rightly the dhamma which arises now. If right understanding is there, the path is being cultivated. Apart from those moments, at all other moments of not understanding( be it while cooking at home, sitting on a meditation cushion, listening to AS...) we just go on perpetuating samsara. There are other aspects of the Teaching: on kusala versus akusala in dana, sila, and samatha. It is wonderful to hear about these things too. However, what really distinguishes the Buddha’s teaching from others, is precisely this message on anatta, which needs to be thoroughly discussed and rightly understood, and it should not be separated from reality now (seeing now, hearing now....)

Any common ground, any disagreement?

Brgrds,

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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:27 am

Hi DF,

Lots of common ground. Key disagreement is clearly over:
1. Who to listen to. [My working hypothesis, based on meeting and listening to a number of teachers is that the key features of the Buddha's teaching has been preserved adequately by all the teachers you mention.]
2. Your insistence that what you choose to do somehow magically avoids the same criticisms over attachment, etc, that you level at other approaches.

Clearly we are not going to agree on those points. It would be more interesting to examine how much other teachers are aligned with KS's arguments. I would say, quite a lot if you don't keep insisting it is something so special that it avoids all problems.

:anjali:
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby SamKR » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:29 am

dhamma follower wrote:Any common ground, any disagreement?

Supporting Mike's post and his two points above, I also I don't see any other significant thing to disagree with what you said. Nevertheless, I think many people find it useful to have "observation of phenomena" (anicca, dukkha, anatta) while sitting on a cushion after “listening to the right Dhamma”, and I cannot still see anything wrong with that (based on your post above).
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:30 am

SamKR wrote: Nevertheless, I think many people find it useful to have "observation of phenomena" (anicca, dukkha, anatta) while sitting on a cushion after “listening to the right Dhamma”, and I cannot still see anything wrong with that (based on your post above).


Dear Sam,

I have two questions:
- why sitting on a cushion should be chosen as opposed to going to the market after listening to the right Dhamma?
- what is anicca, dukkha, anatta?

Brgds,
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:43 am

Dear Mike,

Your insistence that what you choose to do somehow magically avoids the same criticisms over attachment, etc, that you level at other approaches.


Haven't I said many times the the path is not about doing? It is made up from moments of right understanding. Right understanding is always right and free from attachment. I, as a "person" puthujana, can have both moments of right and wrong understanding. My moment of wrong understanding can be subject of criticism, but my moment of right understanding is not, otherwise would not be called "right". You, or anyone, is invited to point out where my understanding of realities is wrong, I will be very grateful. Actually, it is great kusala to point out others' wrong understandings.

It would be more interesting to examine how much other teachers are aligned with KS's arguments


Why only the common points? Why don't also examine the points they differ?

Thanks for keep going with the discussion,

Brgrds,
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby robertk » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:53 am

Mike,
let's look at the idea, often put forward, that there can be continuous mindfulness. Today on another thread you wrote that viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15090&p=217473#p217473
" on retreats it can be very helpful to maintain mindfulness at all times.".
To me any idea of being able to maintain mindfulness, (or for that matter even make it arise for a moment) is wrong. It is opposed to the truth of anatta and the uncontrollabilty of phenomena. Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta.

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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:59 am

robertk wrote:Mike,
let's look at the idea, often put forward, that there can be continuous mindfulness. Today on another thread you wrote that http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 73#p217473
" on retreats it can be very helpful to maintain mindfulness at all times.".
To me any idea of being able to maintain mindfulness, (or for that matter even make it arise for a moment) is wrong. It is opposed to the truth of anatta and the uncontrollabilty of phenomena. Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta.

robert
You typed this msg, which would then strongly suggest that "the truth of anatta and the uncontrollabilty of phenomena" might be something a bit different than what you seem to be suggesting.
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: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:16 am

Hi Robert,

I don't mean that one can achieve sati at all times, if at all. I probably should not use "mindfulness" but some more generic term like "pay attention".

DF:
I'm sorry, perhaps I was not clear enough.
dhamma follower wrote:Haven't I said many times the the path is not about doing? It is made up from moments of right understanding? ...

This statement, to me, despite all your protestations to the contrary, suggests that you have a particular idea of how the path works, and your choices of action are governed by that understanding.

I'm sorry, but I see no difference between those choices and the choices to use any other method (setting aside the rightness or wrongness of your or my particular method). In both cases choices of action (or inaction) are made.

Of course the path is not about doing but about the moments of right understanding. Who has ever suggested otherwise? However, doing is happening all the time, and certain doing is obviously more conducive to developing that right understanding. I presume you don't advocate killing, speaking harshly, or engaging in sexual misconduct? Are there not choices being made regarding those actions?

:anjali:
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:47 pm

Dear Mike,

dhamma follower wrote:Haven't I said many times the the path is not about doing? It is made up from moments of right understanding? ...

This statement, to me, despite all your protestations to the contrary, suggests that you have a particular idea of how the path works


I do have a particular idea of how the path works, and it is the one taught by the Buddha:
listening to the right Dhamma from a wise spiritual friend and wise consideration (yonisomanasikara), all by conditions.

and your choices of action are governed by that understanding.


This can be done either with the understanding that it is conditioned, or it is done with a wrong idea of self.

I'm sorry, but I see no difference between those choices and the choices to use any other method (setting aside the rightness or wrongness of your or my particular method). In both cases choices of action (or inaction) are made.

The difference lies in:
- whether the choice made is conditioned by the right understanding of anattaness or by misunderstanding that things can happen at will.
- like above: the choice can be done with right understanding that it is just conditioned or with a wrong idea of self

Of course the path is not about doing but about the moments of right understanding. Who has ever suggested otherwise? However, doing is happening all the time, and certain doing is obviously more conducive to developing that right understanding. I presume you don't advocate killing, speaking harshly, or engaging in sexual misconduct? Are there not choices being made regarding those actions?


Like above, choice and doing are conditioned, and can be done with right understanding or a wrong idea of self .


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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:55 pm

Hi DF,
dhamma follower wrote:I do have a particular idea of how the path works, and it is the one taught by the Buddha:
listening to the right Dhamma from a wise spiritual friend and wise consideration (yonisomanasikara), all by conditions.

The difference lies in:
- whether the choice made is conditioned by the right understanding of anattaness or by misunderstanding that things can happen at will.

Of course, we've (and any teachers I've spent time studying) always agreed on this. "Control" is not possible ("let my form/feeling/etc.. be thus...). Choice of development approach is, as in: "listening to the Dhamma from a wise spiritual friend..."
dhamma follower wrote:- like above: the choice can be done with right understanding that it is just conditioned or with a wrong idea of self

So the key questions are:
1. Whether your "listening to the Dhamma from a wise spiritual friend..." is done with correct understanding.
2. Whether some other activity recommended by my (hopefully) wise spiritual friends and teachers (and, it seems, by the Buddha, according to our reading of the Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentary) are done with correct understanding.

At least, that's how I understand it so far...

Since, as far as I understand my teachers, it is not possible to exercise control by will, I don't see where you think that problem lies. Probably in my wrong understanding of self, which is going to be with me for some time, according to the Suttas...

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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby DAWN » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:02 pm

Cetana is conditioned by kamma, and by so cetana is anatta.
Kamma is conditioned by cetana, and by so kamma is anatta.

We can not say that our cetana belong to us, cause it's conditioned.
We can not say that our kamma belong to us, cause it's conditioned.

Nothinkg belong to me :cry:

:smile: :anjali:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:08 pm

Let me throw in some other ideas/questions:

1. I don't believe I have interacted with a Khun Sujin student who has not spent quite a while doing "conventional" meditation. Do such people exist? Perhaps the doing the meditation and realising that if often involves a great deal of clinging and wanting to control (which is certainly my experience, and, in my view is much of the point...) is a necessary precursor to KS's ideas making some sense. I certainly wouldn't be able to make any sense of it without such experiences.

2. I've also not met a KS "follower" who has not met her. Perhaps her teaching skill in person transcends the rather mechanical arguments that I tend to hear from her students.

3. As far as possible wrong view in the KS approach is concerned, I think that a valid question to ask would be whether this rejection of conventional meditation is a manifestation of the hindrance of doubt about the practices.

From the Commentary to the Samaññaphala Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#comm
It is similar with one in whom doubt has arisen in regard to one of the eight objects of doubt. Doubting whether the Master is an Enlightened One or not, he cannot accept it in confidence, as a matter of trust. Unable to do so, he does not attain to the paths and fruits of sanctity.
    The doubts are, according to the Vibhanga: doubt in regard to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha, the (threefold) training, the past, the future, both past and future, and the conditionality of phenomena dependently arisen.


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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:15 am

Dear Mike,

You said:
2. Whether some other activity recommended by my (hopefully) wise spiritual friends and teachers (and, it seems, by the Buddha, according to our reading of the Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentary) are done with correct understanding.

If there is truly understanding of the conditions for the arising of sati-panna, why the idea of other (selected) activity?
Listening (or reading) carefully the teaching on realities and wise consideration can give rise to firm theoretical understanding of them, which is one condition for sati to arise (as according to the Athasalini quoted in one of my previous posts). But no one can predict when and where sati which is directly aware of a reality will arise, and it does only when there's no expectation at all, with right understanding firmly established. So why some particular activities should be recommended?

Let me throw in some other ideas/questions


Thanks for your questions! I am a fairly new student of AS, compared to many others who have been with her for 10, 20,...40 years. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge, and others might correct if I am wrong

1. I don't believe I have interacted with a Khun Sujin student who has not spent quite a while doing "conventional" meditation. Do such people exist? Perhaps the doing the meditation and realising that if often involves a great deal of clinging and wanting to control (which is certainly my experience, and, in my view is much of the point...) is a necessary precursor to KS's ideas making some sense. I certainly wouldn't be able to make any sense of it without such experiences.


I don't know all of her students, it is hard to say...But Khun Sujin studied the Abhidhamma with Achaan Naeb around the age of 25, and somehow developed her own understanding of the Dhamma by her self. I never hear her mentionning any period of "doing meditation" previously. It must be then due to her great accumulations from the past....

As far as we, "yogis", are concerned, I think the problem is we started to practice without proper theoretical knowledge and understanding, just keep going with our own ideas about things, and our own (erroneous) interepretations.

2. I've also not met a KS "follower" who has not met her. Perhaps her teaching skill in person transcends the rather mechanical arguments that I tend to hear from her students.


Sure, AS doesn't teach simply by reasoning, she always relates to the present reality. IMHO, it is much more than skill, it is her deep understanding...

3. As far as possible wrong view in the KS approach is concerned, I think that a valid question to ask would be whether this rejection of conventional meditation is a manifestation of the hindrance of doubt about the practices.


It would be a proper question to ask: what conventional meditation exactly means? Actually, AS doesn't reject any particular activity. She just asks why? It is clear that people in the suttas were sitting in jhanna. But do we have the same accumulations than the Boddha and his disciples at that time? What did the Buddha teach to his lay, house-holders followers, and what did he teach to the bikkhus who were already in the forest and who had the accumulations to be so? The word "samatha" also has different meanings. A reading into the suttas will be very different if the understanding of realities is thorough like AS's. For example, the word "patipati" is usually translated as practice and commonly understood as someone doing something. But let's see how AS explains about this:

First of all I respectfully ask you to please determine whether you wish to study, listen and consider the dhamma to increase understanding of the dhamma or to practice with the self doing the practice. For without correctly understanding the dhamma, there is still the self to the fullest, then there is the desire to practice, without first conscientiously studying even the Pali term, pati-pati. Pati means specifically, and pati means to reach or to see. In reality pati-pati or to practice is to have sati arising to be aware when any reality arises and appears. The sati would be aware of the characteristics of the reality appearing respectively. The moment of seeing is not the instant of hearing, nor the instant of thinking; but a nama-dhamma reality that arises and falls away extremely rapidly. Therefore to be able to know the true characteristics of realities as not at all ourselves, since they are distinct kinds of realities that arise because of conditions and fall away swiftly as opposed to the selves who want to realize the arisings and falling aways. For there has to be panna, right understanding, samma-ditthi that has been developed unto the level that is able to know the truth about realities level by respective level.


So, according to this: patipati = moment of the arising of direct awareness of reality, by conditions.

Certainly, this has nothing to do with doubt, but rather a different understanding of the teaching, in conformity with the Buddha's teaching on D.O and anattaness.

For full discussions: http://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/essay ... c4428.html
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby robertk » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:20 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:Mike,
let's look at the idea, often put forward, that there can be continuous mindfulness. Today on another thread you wrote that viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15090&p=217473#p217473
" on retreats it can be very helpful to maintain mindfulness at all times.".
To me any idea of being able to maintain mindfulness, (or for that matter even make it arise for a moment) is wrong. It is opposed to the truth of anatta and the uncontrollabilty of phenomena. Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta.

robert
You typed this msg, which would then strongly suggest that "the truth of anatta and the uncontrollabilty of phenomena" might be something a bit different than what you seem to be suggesting.

dear Tilt
thanks for joining the discussion. The thing is we do all kinds of actions all day long,like writing a post, and yet without the Buddha's teaching we would always believe there was a self doing, deciding, acting.
------------

The story "typing a msg" is a concept. Even in one second so many dhammas have arisen and passed away. When we talk about long periods like writing a post it is countless. During the writing effort arose and fell away and each moment was different from the other - but because each moment also is one of the conditions (among many ) for the next this is not fully realised. There may have been some moments with kusala effort, some without, some with weak concentration (right or wrong) some with stronger. Moments of energy, moments of slightly less energy: and all usually taken as 'my' energy. Even when we talk about one brief moment this is a very complex thing many different conditions needed.

Take the act of seeing while you writing the msg. So many different moments of seeing and each moment conditioned:

"Firstly the eye element is a condition in six ways namely, dissociation, prenascence, presence, non-disapearance, support, and faculty for the eye-consciouness (cakkhu vi~n~nana) element. The visible object is a condition in four ways, namely, prenascent, presence, non-disappearance, and object for the eye- consciousness element"
Visuddhimagga XV 40

Then following that flash of seeing there are many mental processes similarly conditioned by several factors, none of which are in the control of anyone. And these conditioning factors are all likewise conditioned by many conditions. Because of ignorance of this the illusion of beings and self, like actors in an endless play, continues.

We can understand conceptually how this is by looking at bodily functions - say the way the body heals cuts - very complex, and if even one condition is not present then infection can arise and so other complex conditions are needed to heal. Yet nama (mentality) is more subtle than rupa and more complex:

"It would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard this body, built up of the four elements, as his self, rather than the mind. For it is evident that this body may last for a year, for two years, for three years, four, five, or ten years, or even a hundred years and more; but that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness, is continuously, during day and night, arising as one thing, and passing away as another thing."
S. XII. 62

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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby robertk » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:26 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Robert,

I don't mean that one can achieve sati at all times, if at all. I probably should not use "mindfulness" but some more generic term like "pay attention".

Mike

Dear Mike
the thing is, is that this idea that paying attention leads somehow to mindfulness needs to be examined. Attention arises with kusala and akusala and if we agree that akusala is more likley to arise (which it is) then all someone is doing by having more attention is increasing some special type of akusala or even magnifying the idea of a self who can control awareness to go here, arise there..
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby robertk » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:28 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Let me throw in some other ideas/questions:

1. I don't believe I have interacted with a Khun Sujin student who has not spent quite a while doing "conventional" meditation. Do such people exist? Perhaps the doing the meditation and realising that if often involves a great deal of clinging and wanting to control (which is certainly my experience, and, in my view is much of the point...) is a necessary precursor to KS's ideas making some sense. I certainly wouldn't be able to make any sense of it without such experiences.

2Mike

Dear mike
Nina van gorkom is well known and has never done any conventional meditation practice.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Alex123 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:29 pm

Hello Dhamma follower,

dhamma follower wrote:It is the view which is wrong. "I shall walk and sit maintaining sati". Sait does'nt arise because one decides to have it, but because of its own conditions.


And why isn't proper practice with right view are the conditions for more of it. Do you expect person who never meditates to have the same sati as someone who was, lets say, a meditating bhikkhu for 20 years?

Here is metaphor: A young kid wants to bench press 400 pounds. But he can't even lift 200 pounds. So he systematically trains, eats all the right food, does everything properly, and in number of years he can bench press it.

If he would say "I don't have conditions for bench pressing 400 pounds so I should not go to the gym" will he able to bench press 400 pounds?

Or another metaphor: A young kid is being beat up by big bullies. He joined karate and even though he was clumsy at first, after few years of intense training he became really skillful and defended himself.

If he would say "I am clumsy and weak, I can't defend myself, so I should not train" will he able to improve?
Last edited by Alex123 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Alex123 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:33 pm

Hello Dhamma follower,

dhamma follower wrote:- why sitting on a cushion should be chosen as opposed to going to the market after listening to the right Dhamma?


Less external stimulation that can provoke defilements. Even when it comes to considering the Dhamma, it is easier to do it in a quite rather than loud and chaotic environment.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:26 pm

Hi Robert,
robertk wrote:dear Tilt
thanks for joining the discussion. The thing is we do all kinds of actions all day long,like writing a post, and yet without the Buddha's teaching we would always believe there was a self doing, deciding, acting.

Of course. And the question is what is the most effective choice to make in order to actually understand and see through that. It just seems to me that many KS students don't take seriously that this self belief can be based on a number of things, including the choices of action that the KS students make (speaking conventionally...). It seems to me that one can build a sense of self based on:

1. Clinging to the concept of a clever non-meditator who is just studying, listening, not meditating, and allowing the opportunity of hearing the correct Dhamma and having insight arise.
2. Clinging to the concept of a clever meditator who is just studying, listening, meditating, and allowing the opportunity of hearing the correct Dhamma and having insight arise.

Is there more danger in the latter or the former?

Is insight happening now? :thinking:

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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:29 pm

robertk wrote:Nina van gorkom is well known and has never done any conventional meditation practice.

Thanks, that's interesting.

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