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?