listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

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listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:21 pm

I've been thinking about this recently... usually, it seems like when most practitioners talk about the use of a conventional language, they focus on the side of what is being spoken, but seem to neglect the other side... i.e., "conventional listening" vs. "ultimate listening."

I think that this is the kind of listening where a person does not see a "self" (or at least makes an attempt not to), along with not trying to see the "permanence," or the "perfect non-dukkha," in what's being said. I think that is "listening with wisdom."

I had a realization recently, that this sort of listening would apply even while listening to a non-practitioner... including even those not familiar with the Dhamma.

It seems like that when a person says something like, "I think that you're great," or "Your behavior sucks," while this might seem like the person had a view of the specific person, who embodied these qualities, that probably wasn't his/her intention in the first place.

From the point view of a listener (who has the wisdom), that person's intention was probably just to point out the bad or good qualities... i.e., to just point out the conditions which were seen as wholesome or unwholesome. It just happened that this speaker was framing these things as a "person," instead of using Dhammic terms... but that doesn't change the message.

So, it's not useful, or even wise, to tell that person (especially if he/she wasn't a practitioner) that he/she was just seeing a "self" that was never there... because that is very likely not the point of what this person was trying to say in the first place. I think listening in this way only makes things confusing or bothersome (i.e., dukkha), and probably a waste of everyone's time. This kind of comment of there being "no self," or "no person," I think is probably more of a reflection on the listener's wisdom, than the speaker's.

The speaker was merely sharing an observation of the conditions...

I'm pretty sure that with a person who listens with wisdom, things would be understood (and then get resolved) much quicker... because then this person sees the actual intention, whether the speaker knew how to frame them or not.

For example, if a speaker said that someone wasn't behaving in a way that he/she likes, then the person listening to that knows that there were conditions which were seen as unbeneficial. He doesn't become fixated on the usage of "someone," and then tries to attribute that fault to the person speaking, for having a delusion of self... (which actually, if you paid attention carefully, is more the listener's delusion, than speaker's.)

It seems like an interesting twist on the art of conventional language... using the point of view of a listener.

Thoughts?

:anjali:
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby DAWN » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:49 pm

I'am agree. :anjali:

Often, before sayng some critics to someone, i say in introduction that what i will say it's not a critics of him personaly, but critics of such and such statement, belief, idea. :console:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:01 pm

beeblebrox wrote:I've been thinking about this recently... usually, it seems like when most practitioners talk about the use of a conventional language, they focus on the side of what is being spoken, but seem to neglect the other side... i.e., "conventional listening" vs. "ultimate listening."

I think that this is the kind of listening where a person does not see a "self" (or at least makes an attempt not to), along with not trying to see the "permanence," or the "perfect non-dukkha," in what's being said. I think that is "listening with wisdom."

I had a realization recently, that this sort of listening would apply even while listening to a non-practitioner... including even those not familiar with the Dhamma.

It seems like that when a person says something like, "I think that you're great," or "Your behavior sucks," while this might seem like the person had a view of the specific person, who embodied these qualities, that probably wasn't his/her intention in the first place.

From the point view of a listener (who has the wisdom), that person's intention was probably just to point out the bad or good qualities... i.e., to just point out the conditions which were seen as wholesome or unwholesome. It just happened that this speaker was framing these things as a "person," instead of using Dhammic terms... but that doesn't change the message.

So, it's not useful, or even wise, to tell that person (especially if he/she wasn't a practitioner) that he/she was just seeing a "self" that was never there... because that is very likely not the point of what this person was trying to say in the first place. I think listening in this way only makes things confusing or bothersome (i.e., dukkha), and probably a waste of everyone's time. This kind of comment of there being "no self," or "no person," I think is probably more of a reflection on the listener's wisdom, than the speaker's.

The speaker was merely sharing an observation of the conditions...

I'm pretty sure that with a person who listens with wisdom, things would be understood (and then get resolved) much quicker... because then this person sees the actual intention, whether the speaker knew how to frame them or not.

For example, if a speaker said that someone wasn't behaving in a way that he/she likes, then the person listening to that knows that there were conditions which were seen as unbeneficial. He doesn't become fixated on the usage of "someone," and then tries to attribute that fault to the person speaking, for having a delusion of self... (which actually, if you paid attention carefully, is more the listener's delusion, than speaker's.)

It seems like an interesting twist on the art of conventional language... using the point of view of a listener.

Thoughts?

:anjali:

I will go through this again later but here are some initial observances.

Here is what Ajahn Chah said on the matter of conventional words
No Ajahn Chah wrote:Ajahn Chah listened to one of his disciples recite the heart Sutra. When he had finished, Ajahn Chah said, " No emptiness either…no bodhisatta." He then asked, where did the sutra come from?" it's repute to have been spoken by the Buddha," the follower replied. "No Buddha," retorted Ajahn Chah. Then he said, " this is talking about deep wisdom, beyond all conventions. How could we teach without them? We have to have names for things, isn't that so?"

Listening with wisdom is understanding what is being or has been said, but what has been said needs to be timely and factual i.e., it is in the right context and true.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:14 pm

Cittasanto wrote:I will go through this again later but here are some initial observances.

Here is what Ajahn Chah said on the matter of conventional words
No Ajahn Chah wrote:Ajahn Chah listened to one of his disciples recite the heart Sutra. When he had finished, Ajahn Chah said, " No emptiness either…no bodhisatta." He then asked, where did the sutra come from?" it's repute to have been spoken by the Buddha," the follower replied. "No Buddha," retorted Ajahn Chah. Then he said, " this is talking about deep wisdom, beyond all conventions. How could we teach without them? We have to have names for things, isn't that so?"

Listening with wisdom is understanding what is being or has been said, but what has been said needs to be timely and factual i.e., it is in the right context and true.


Hi Cittasanto, I'm surprised you shared that. :) I think the Heart Sutra is quite appropriate to add to what was said...

Just for the record, the idea of "emptiness" in the prajnaparamita literature (such as this sutra) refers to the lack of inherent nature, in any phenomenon... so it's true that there is no such thing as an "emptiness," which is inherent in itself, or a "Buddha" who is inherent in himself (e.g., "Do you view the Tathagata as being this; or being apart from this; or being neither this nor apart from this; or both this and apart from this?"), nor an inherent "someone."

There is nothing but wisdom... which means seeing that there are nothing but phenomena which are dependently conditioned. "Listening with wisdom" involves that kind of understanding... with anyone who might be speaking, who might use any kind of words, whether that person is a practitioner or not.

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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:51 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I will go through this again later but here are some initial observances.

Here is what Ajahn Chah said on the matter of conventional words
No Ajahn Chah wrote:Ajahn Chah listened to one of his disciples recite the heart Sutra. When he had finished, Ajahn Chah said, " No emptiness either…no bodhisatta." He then asked, where did the sutra come from?" it's repute to have been spoken by the Buddha," the follower replied. "No Buddha," retorted Ajahn Chah. Then he said, " this is talking about deep wisdom, beyond all conventions. How could we teach without them? We have to have names for things, isn't that so?"

Listening with wisdom is understanding what is being or has been said, but what has been said needs to be timely and factual i.e., it is in the right context and true.


Hi Cittasanto, I'm surprised you shared that. :) I think the Heart Sutra is quite appropriate to add to what was said...

Why surprised?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:18 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Hi Cittasanto, I'm surprised you shared that. :) I think the Heart Sutra is quite appropriate to add to what was said...

Why surprised?


Just wanted to make sure... what did you think I was surprised by? This isn't an evasion, just a sincere question.

I think usually when someone asks that question, they put it forward as a personal question. Maybe that isn't the case here, so that's why I wanted to ask before there's any further strife/confusion which might ensue from this.
Last edited by beeblebrox on Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:07 pm

you seamed to be referring to the Ajahn Chah quote so....
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:16 pm

Cittasanto wrote:you seamed to be referring to the Ajahn Chah quote so....


I was surprised that the Heart Sutra was brought up in this thread (which is an appropriate place for it), on Theravadin forums, out of all places. While this might be beyond the scope of the practice in Theravada Buddhism (not that it lacks anything for that), Avalokitesvara among other things is known as the bodhisattva of listening... that's all. :)

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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:00 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:you seamed to be referring to the Ajahn Chah quote so....


I was surprised that the Heart Sutra was brought up in this thread (which is an appropriate place for it), on Theravadin forums, out of all places. While this might be beyond the scope of the practice in Theravada Buddhism (not that it lacks anything for that), Avalokitesvara among other things is known as the bodhisattva of listening... that's all. :)

:anjali:

The quote has more than just a mention of the Heart Sutra and says something very relevant about conventional & ultimate meaning.

No Ajahn Chah wrote:Ajahn Chah listened to one of his disciples recite the heart Sutra. When he had finished, Ajahn Chah said, " No emptiness either…no bodhisatta." He then asked, where did the sutra come from?" it's repute to have been spoken by the Buddha," the follower replied. "No Buddha," retorted Ajahn Chah. Then he said, " this is talking about deep wisdom, beyond all conventions. How could we teach without them? We have to have names for things, isn't that so?"

Essentially what I believe Ajahn Chah is saying is conventions are important for pointing in the direction for understanding, although not the "be all & end all" of what is said.

Conventional language and understanding can only lead so far, but it is what is beyond the words that is pointed to. although some only have the conventional level and read into things in an inappropriate way, missing the moon for the fingertip and surrounding area (as it were) proliferating things other than making the link & ocular jump to the moon a 30° head turn away and quite obviously the point of the matter at hand.
Yet only using "ultimate" meaning would only confuse the person being spoken to. A good example of this is when two Arahants have a Q&A discussion in the Suttas. Both would obviously know and understand the answers to the questions but they are either looking for alternative means of answering, or using the meeting as a means to help their disciples (who may not listen as intently to their teacher due to familiarity.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:31 pm

In case it wasn't noticed... I treated Ajahn Chah's quote to be in agreement with what I said.

In my post, I clearly explained that "listening with wisdom," involves listening to conventional words, as they are, in themselves, whether it's spoken by a practitioner or a non-practitioner, even by those unfamiliar with the Dhamma... already with the understanding of non-self, impermanence, and dukkha, of these words.

It doesn't involve the expectation that the other person should be framing his/her words in certain ways... i.e., in ways that "affirm" the ideas of non-self, impermanence, and dukkha... because those are already understood, by the listener. Even when the speaker doesn't know such concepts.

I think that only then, the listener could be seen to have the wisdom.

I don't see Ajahn Chah's comment as a rejection of the Heart Sutra, by the way (as the person who wrote down that quote seemed to think was the intention)... it was a clarification which he conveyed, to the person (or a series of conditions, if you prefer) who was reciting the sutra.

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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:12 pm

beeblebrox wrote:In case it wasn't noticed... I treated Ajahn Chah's quote to be in agreement with what I said.

In my post, I clearly explained that "listening with wisdom," involves listening to conventional words, as they are, in themselves, whether it's spoken by a practitioner or a non-practitioner, even by those unfamiliar with the Dhamma... already with the understanding of non-self, impermanence, and dukkha, of these words.

It doesn't involve the expectation that the other person should be framing his/her words in certain ways... i.e., in ways that "affirm" the ideas of non-self, impermanence, and dukkha... because those are already understood, by the listener. Even when the speaker doesn't know such concepts.

I think that only then, the listener could be seen to have the wisdom.

I don't see Ajahn Chah's comment as a rejection of the Heart Sutra, by the way (as the person who wrote down that quote seemed to think was the intention)... it was a clarification which he conveyed, to the person (or a series of conditions, if you prefer) who was reciting the sutra.

:anjali:

are you interested in exploring what the quote is saying in relation to your op or not?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:22 pm

Cittasanto wrote:are you interested in exploring what the quote is saying in relation to your op or not?


I read your explanation of what you were trying to do with the quote, and it seemed like you missed the point of what I was trying to say with the thread... so I tried to clarify that for you in the previous post. I would call that exploring...

If you feel like I've missed something, then feel free to clarify. (Or not, it's up to you.)

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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:05 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:are you interested in exploring what the quote is saying in relation to your op or not?


I read your explanation of what you were trying to do with the quote, and it seemed like you missed the point of what I was trying to say with the thread... so I tried to clarify that for you in the previous post. I would call that exploring...

If you feel like I've missed something, then feel free to clarify. (Or not, it's up to you.)

:anjali:

you asked for thoughts, you give presumptions of others motives... not seen that before. Good buy
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:15 pm

Cittasanto wrote:you asked for thoughts, you give presumptions of others motives... not seen that before. Good buy


I apologize. I thought you were trying to point out some discrepancy in the OP with Ajahn Chah's quote, even though I said that I didn't see any?
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:04 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:you asked for thoughts, you give presumptions of others motives... not seen that before. Good buy


I apologize. I thought you were trying to point out some discrepancy in the OP with Ajahn Chah's quote, even though I said that I didn't see any?

Did I actually point out any discrepancy? I would just say so directly.
like I said about what Ajahn Chah said
Conventional language and understanding can only lead so far, but it is what is beyond the words that is pointed to. although some only have the conventional level and read into things in an inappropriate way, missing the moon for the fingertip and surrounding area (as it were) proliferating things other than making the link & ocular jump to the moon a 30° head turn away and quite obviously the point of the matter at hand.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: listening with wisdom vs. deluded listening

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:19 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Did I actually point out any discrepancy? I would just say so directly.


Ok.

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