cultivating wisdom?

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alan...
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cultivating wisdom?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:08 am

morality: easy, straightforward.

concentration: little more difficult but fairly straightforward, it's something to work on, to develop a skill. some variation from teacher to teacher but nonetheless one can describe simple steps to practice it and the goal relatively easily.

wisdom: um... what? i've read plenty of suttas and modern teachers teachings on how to develop this, there is a ton of variation and i'm kind of confused. getting wisdom is not like abstaining from alcohol, non violence, watching the breath or trying to enter jhana, which are all things you can simply DO, wisdom is something that you have to learn but simply reading about it does not do this, and there's a huge amount of variation on what practices lead to wisdom. help?

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby mirco » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:34 am

Well, what you are talking about is for monastics.

Start with DANA and work your way up.

No foundation, no peace.

Regards :-)
Last edited by mirco on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby DAWN » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:49 am

Wisdom is fruit of Right Mindfullness, and nature of Right Mindfullness is Wisdom.

Right Mindfullness is born from calm, detachement, clearity, openess...
The one who is wise can take a position out of situation, and by this ability of detachement he can see clearly, without be "impoisoned". When there is a self appropriation, there is no wisdom.

Right Mindfullness + Right Concentration = Insight

If we take some similie we can compare:
- wisdom as a resolution of camera screen, a number of pixels, more there is a resolution more there is a clearity, more there is a quality, more details can be seen.
- concentarion as a zoom of camera.

When great resolution is associated with great zoom - the one's mind is able to see deeply the whole picture.

Good advice from mirco. Wisdom can not be developped without perfect morality, without dana, without detachement, because wisdom is fruit of detachement.

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby ground » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:59 am

by "directly knowing" (abhijanam), the fully understanding of the known (nataprinna) is indicated

by "fully understanding" (parijanam), full understanding by scrutinization (tiranaparinna) is indicated

by "becoming dispassionate" and "abandoning" the fully understanding as abandonment (pahanparinna)

page 354 note 36 and page 1052 note 42 (SN, B. Bodhi)


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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:21 am

alan... wrote:morality: easy, straightforward.

concentration: little more difficult but fairly straightforward, it's something to work on, to develop a skill. some variation from teacher to teacher but nonetheless one can describe simple steps to practice it and the goal relatively easily.

wisdom: um... what? i've read plenty of suttas and modern teachers teachings on how to develop this, there is a ton of variation and i'm kind of confused. getting wisdom is not like abstaining from alcohol, non violence, watching the breath or trying to enter jhana, which are all things you can simply DO, wisdom is something that you have to learn but simply reading about it does not do this, and there's a huge amount of variation on what practices lead to wisdom. help?


In my own experience I can't simply "do" jhana. It's all part of a gradual progression. When this is, that comes to be. Without sila, no samadhi, et cetera. I don't know if this addresses the intent of your question but it may be that wanting wisdom is, in itself, getting in the way of its development. Mettaya. :heart:
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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby mirco » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:57 pm

alan... wrote:wisdom: um... what? i've read plenty of suttas and modern teachers teachings on how to develop this, there is a ton of variation and i'm kind of confused. getting wisdom is not like abstaining from alcohol, non violence, watching the breath or trying to enter jhana, which are all things you can simply DO, wisdom is something that you have to learn but simply reading about it does not do this, and there's a huge amount of variation on what practices lead to wisdom. help?

Wisdom in Buddhism always refers to the 4NTs and DO. I think, wisdom is (and is, what arises) if one understands and sees the Four Noble Truths and each link of Dependent Origination every moment in everything what goes on in and around you. And until this resides effortless within one, the footwork needs to be done.

:-)
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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby Ben » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:25 pm

mirco wrote:Well, what you are talking about is for monastics.

No, it is not.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:31 pm

Basically:

Do satipatthana 24/7, supported by morality, and the resultant composure of the mind makes seeing cause & effect, anicca, and so forth easier - over time, of course, but in any environment. When possible, sit down and engage in the fulfillment of satipatthana (i.e. anapanasati) in order to foment jhana, making the asavas available for pruning.

panna feeds back into sila and samadhi; there's a sutta where the Buddha compares sila and panna to two hands which wash each other.
    "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: cultivating wisdom?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:35 pm

My sense of it is that wisdom naturally manifests when the obstructions are removed. The chatter and clutter of the mind have to give way. It's a kind of a clear seeing of something without being enmeshed in it, invested in it emotionally. You see how it is, that's what I understand by wisdom. Plus you know the right course of action. This comes from a clear seeing of all involved and having the well-being of all as the driving motive for action.

I guess this aligns with what others have said already.
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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:09 pm

I like this little quote from Ajahn Thanissaro.

For all the subtlety of his teachings, the Buddha had a simple test for measuring wisdom. You're wise, he said, to the extent that you can get yourself to do things you don't like doing but know will result in happiness, and to refrain from things you like doing but know will result in pain and harm.


I'm not sure of the canonical provenance of this view, but I like it because it is so practical. You can practice to cultivate this type of wisdom.

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:24 pm

so it sounds like everyone is saying that these things more or less come about naturally. ie: practice morality, mindfulness and anapanasati (concentration) and wisdom will arise on it's own. however this would mean that there is nothing for the buddha to teach other than morality, mindfulness and anapanasati. however as i stated in the OP more or less, wisdom is something to be cultivated directly as far as i can tell from the suttas.

if mindfulness, concentration and morality alone brought about the right kind of wisdom then people would be reaching nibbana all over the world since long before the buddha and up to modern times spontaneously. there are many mindful, meditative and moral people throughout history and up to today that, according to this idea, should have reached nibbana on their own. however this is not the case (or argue this is the case by redefining "nibbana" or "enlightenment" and that people do and have reached it spontaneously with no knowledge of the dhamma, but from a traditional buddhist perspective this is not the case so either accept that or leave it alone, i'm talking about traditional buddhism, not other traditions or secular view points), only the buddha learned the dhamma and passed it on and only through practicing that dhamma do people reach nibbana. this means his words and teachings are necessary in a much broader scope than simply mindfulness, morality and concentration, the "wisdom" factor is clearly important and must come about in part through other means. not to mention the huge number of suttas where wisdom is discussed. if it could only come about through the above methods it would not need to be discussed like that as there would be no point to come up with methods to develop it since they wouldn't work.

for example there are numerous examples of people gaining wisdom in the suttas by hearing the dhamma. there are a few examples of people reaching nibbana simply by hearing dhamma. there are a huge number of suttas where contemplative methods are discussed, so clearly wisdom depends on more than just these practices mentioned above. there has to be some kind of cognition and learning involved and perhaps active reflection on the teachings. otherwise why do we need the thousands of suttas and all the variation? shouldn't there just be suttas dedicated to morality, concentration and mindfulness and that would be enough? as it is there are countless suttas that are supposed to impart wisdom more or less and be reflected upon or techniques to reflect on reality to develop wisdom.

i don't know where this attitude of thoughtless mindfulness and meditation bringing about perfect buddhist wisdom comes from and i don't see how it's possible. EDIT: hmmm. i worded that poorly, what i'm saying is people keep saying it all comes from mindfulness and what not as if prior knowledge or contemplation of wisdom is not required. there must be more instruction than just mindfulness, concentration and morality. END EDIT

seriously, imagine picking two groups of 100 people, none of them know anything about buddhism.

group A is taught the full dhamma and trained in all aspects for ten years and they live in a safe, comfortable buddhist temple.

group B is told literally nothing except how to meditate, the morality rules, and all mindfulness techniques but absolutely none of the teachings surrounding any of this and they live in a place with all the amenities and what not that group A has but it's just an anonymous building, not buddhist decorated or anything but just as safe, secure and comfortable. they also live there for ten years.

which group is more likely to have developed more buddhist wisdom after the ten years is over?

i'd be willing to bet group A would have produced some very wise individuals, learned in the dhamma with deep understanding of it's ways and group B would have produced some calm and thoughtful people but their revelations and wisdom would be far from what the buddha taught. group B would probably have people who develop their own philosophies on life that would vary greatly. there would be groups that get together and agree on things and individuals who stand alone, but none would spontaneously develop wisdom into the dhamma in the buddhist sense without knowing about it first.

hence, tell someone the goal, methods, and the path and it's easier to reach it, tell them only the methods and give them no direction and they probably will never get there. like giving a traveler a map, destination, and a horse, they'll get there fairly easy. give them just the horse and nothing else and they could end up anywhere!

or perhaps i'm totally full of it. i really don't know. i'm just explaining my view point more clearly. my OP is the result of having already used non-contemplative mindfulness, morality and meditation techniques for seven years with no results other than calm and clear thoughts and other improvements but no real buddhist progress. now i'm using the suttas directly and the methods within and having great progress but i'm wondering if i'm developing wisdom properly and how this is to be done.

basically, without knowledge of the wise ideas surrounding the dhamma and the wisdom one is supposed to develop, one is not likely to develop any kind of predictable wisdom.
Last edited by alan... on Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:10 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:27 pm

mirco wrote:Well, what you are talking about is for monastics.

Start with DANA and work your way up.

No foundation, no peace.

Regards :-)


i don't subscribe to the belief that lay people cannot practice these things. as far as i know from the suttas lay people generally do not become arahants (although even this can happen according to the suttas but they either ordain afterwards or die for some reason...) but can achieve significant progress in the dhamma such as stream entry or at least insight knowledges.

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby Ben » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:36 pm

Alan.../
This is from my teacher SN Goenka:
In an article on Vipassana Research Institute,[13] these three sources of panna are explained as followed.


Cintāmayā paññā is the wisdom obtained from one's own thinking, not just from hearing others (parato asutva patilabhati). It is the understanding of impermanence, suffering and essencelessness, from what one has grasped by the means of one's own intellect. It is the process of intellectually analyzing something to see whether it is logical and rational. Having gone through such a process, one can then accept a teaching intellectually. One may thereby become knowledgeable about the theory of Dhamma, and may be able to explain it to others. One may even be able to help others realize the fact of anicca, dukkha and anatta, but still one cannot obtain liberation for oneself. On the contrary, there is a danger that one may accumulate more mental defilements by developing ego since one lacks the direct experience of wisdom.
Sometimes we find in the texts a change in the order of sutamayā paññā and cintāmayā paññā. At times cinta-maya panna is mentioned first, followed by suta-maya panna and bhavana-maya panna. At times, suta-maya panna is followed by cinta-maya panna and bhavana-maya panna. But in both cases, bhavana-maya panna comes at the end and is of prime importance for the realisation of truth. It does not make any difference in which order we find the first two. Initially a person may listen to the Dhamma from an outside source- suta-maya panna, and then develop cinta-maya panna by rationally thinking about it, trying to understand anicca, dukkha and anatta intellectually, and thereby develop yoniso manasikara (right thinking). Or one may start with cinta-maya panna, one's own intellectual understanding, by reflecting rationally on anicca, dukkha and anatta, and then, by listening to others (suta-maya panna), one may confirm one's intellectual understanding. We should remember that whichever of the two may come first, neither of them can give liberation. Liberation results only from bhavana-maya panna.

Bhāvanāmayā paññā is the wisdom obtained by meditation -- the wisdom that comes from the direct experience of the truth. This development of insight is also called vipassana- bhavana (Vipassana meditation). The meditator makes right effort and so realizes for himself that every thing in the world is transitory, a source of suffering, and essenceless. This insight is not the mere acceptance of what someone else has said, nor the product of deductive reasoning. It is, rather, the direct comprehension of the reality of anicca, dukkha and anatta.
To develop bhāvanāmayā paññā, we must experience all phenomena and understand their true nature. And this is done through experiencing vedana, (bodily sensations), because it is through these sensations that the totality of our nature manifests itself as pancakkhandha (the five aggregates).

-- http://www.vridhamma.org/Relevance-of-V ... maya-Panna reproduced here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pa%C3%B1%C3%B1a
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:48 pm

Ben wrote:Alan.../
This is from my teacher SN Goenka:
In an article on Vipassana Research Institute,[13] these three sources of panna are explained as followed.


Cintāmayā paññā is the wisdom obtained from one's own thinking, not just from hearing others (parato asutva patilabhati). It is the understanding of impermanence, suffering and essencelessness, from what one has grasped by the means of one's own intellect. It is the process of intellectually analyzing something to see whether it is logical and rational. Having gone through such a process, one can then accept a teaching intellectually. One may thereby become knowledgeable about the theory of Dhamma, and may be able to explain it to others. One may even be able to help others realize the fact of anicca, dukkha and anatta, but still one cannot obtain liberation for oneself. On the contrary, there is a danger that one may accumulate more mental defilements by developing ego since one lacks the direct experience of wisdom.
Sometimes we find in the texts a change in the order of sutamayā paññā and cintāmayā paññā. At times cinta-maya panna is mentioned first, followed by suta-maya panna and bhavana-maya panna. At times, suta-maya panna is followed by cinta-maya panna and bhavana-maya panna. But in both cases, bhavana-maya panna comes at the end and is of prime importance for the realisation of truth. It does not make any difference in which order we find the first two. Initially a person may listen to the Dhamma from an outside source- suta-maya panna, and then develop cinta-maya panna by rationally thinking about it, trying to understand anicca, dukkha and anatta intellectually, and thereby develop yoniso manasikara (right thinking). Or one may start with cinta-maya panna, one's own intellectual understanding, by reflecting rationally on anicca, dukkha and anatta, and then, by listening to others (suta-maya panna), one may confirm one's intellectual understanding. We should remember that whichever of the two may come first, neither of them can give liberation. Liberation results only from bhavana-maya panna.

Bhāvanāmayā paññā is the wisdom obtained by meditation -- the wisdom that comes from the direct experience of the truth. This development of insight is also called vipassana- bhavana (Vipassana meditation). The meditator makes right effort and so realizes for himself that every thing in the world is transitory, a source of suffering, and essenceless. This insight is not the mere acceptance of what someone else has said, nor the product of deductive reasoning. It is, rather, the direct comprehension of the reality of anicca, dukkha and anatta.
To develop bhāvanāmayā paññā, we must experience all phenomena and understand their true nature. And this is done through experiencing vedana, (bodily sensations), because it is through these sensations that the totality of our nature manifests itself as pancakkhandha (the five aggregates).

-- http://www.vridhamma.org/Relevance-of-V ... maya-Panna reproduced here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pa%C3%B1%C3%B1a


right, these are wonderful words. one must have an idea of what they are looking for when they sit to reach the goal. they get a seed planted in their subconscious and then it grows and ripens during meditation. if you taught someone with no knowledge of the dhamma nothing but vipassana technique alone with zero other direction, literally none, they would not suddenly develop buddhist wisdom.

so perhaps the key here is knowing the right seeds? it seems you kind of tell your mind "we're looking for anicca, dukkha, and anatta." then you just observe and your mind works it out. so i'm wondering, how much of this is cognition developed through pondering and how much is some kind of received knowledge developed and received from the subconscious mind?

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:08 pm

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:i don't know where this attitude of thoughtless mindfulness and meditation bringing about perfect buddhist wisdom comes from and i don't see how it's possible.

I've tried to give examples on other threads showing that "thoughtless mindfulness" is not what is being recommended by anyone I know of. For example the quote I gave here about seeing intention:
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=15412#p221757

Once you are able to discern the arising and ceasing of phenomena, such as intention, etc, it is possible to get some idea of what the Buddha was talking about in terms of causality, impermanence, and so on. So, as you say, some knowledge of the Dhamma is needed in conjunction with the meditation. Thus, if you look at even the titles of the Patrick Kearney retreat recordings I referred to in that thread you'll see that in the morning he gives some meditation instructions and in the evening talks about more general aspects of the Dhamma. This combination of doing some exercises and hearing the Dhamma is typical.

:anjali:
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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:09 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:i don't know where this attitude of thoughtless mindfulness and meditation bringing about perfect buddhist wisdom comes from and i don't see how it's possible.

I've tried to give examples on other threads showing that "thoughtless mindfulness" is not what is being recommended by anyone I know of. For example the quote I gave here about seeing intention:
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=15412#p221757

Once you are able to discern the arising and ceasing of phenomena, such as intention, etc, it is possible to get some idea of what the Buddha was talking about in terms of causality, impermanence, and so on. So, as you say, some knowledge of the Dhamma is needed in conjunction with the meditation. Thus, if you look at even the titles of the Patrick Kearney retreat recordings I referred to in that thread you'll see that in the morning he gives some meditation instructions and in the evening talks about more general aspects of the Dhamma. This combination of doing some exercises and hearing the Dhamma is typical.

:anjali:
Mike


hmmm. i worded that poorly, what i'm saying is people keep saying it all comes from mindfulness and what not as if prior knowledge or contemplation of wisdom is not required.

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby detrop » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:31 pm

alan... wrote:wisdom: um... what? i've read plenty of suttas and modern teachers teachings on how to develop this, there is a ton of variation and i'm kind of confused. getting wisdom is not like abstaining from alcohol, non violence, watching the breath or trying to enter jhana, which are all things you can simply DO, wisdom is something that you have to learn but simply reading about it does not do this, and there's a huge amount of variation on what practices lead to wisdom. help?


I think the cultivation of wisdom has a lot to do with the willingness to face "the problem", to become fully aware of it, to formulate it clearly and to ask the right questions - and not to give up unless the problem is solved. This might not itself bring the solution, but at least one is ready to recognize a (possible) solution as such when it is presented to one.

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby Ben » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:41 pm

alan... wrote:right, these are wonderful words. one must have an idea of what they are looking for when they sit to reach the goal. they get a seed planted in their subconscious and then it grows and ripens during meditation. if you taught someone with no knowledge of the dhamma nothing but vipassana technique alone with zero other direction, literally none, they would not suddenly develop buddhist wisdom.


You can't develop real wisdom by merely reading books about it or thinking about it. Sutamaya panna and cintamaya panna are very valuable but are not liberative on their own. As Mike says, meditation instruction and exposition of the Dhamma are typically given together.

alan... wrote:so perhaps the key here is knowing the right seeds? it seems you kind of tell your mind "we're looking for anicca, dukkha, and anatta." then you just observe and your mind works it out. so i'm wondering, how much of this is cognition developed through pondering and how much is some kind of received knowledge developed and received from the subconscious mind?


And here is the particular approach my teacher employs (in brief):
To develop bhāvanāmayā paññā, we must experience all phenomena and understand their true nature. And this is done through experiencing vedana, (bodily sensations), because it is through these sensations that the totality of our nature manifests itself as pancakkhandha (the five aggregates).

Vedananupassana: observation of sensation, one of the four foundations of mindfulness.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:47 pm

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:hmmm. i worded that poorly, what i'm saying is people keep saying it all comes from mindfulness and what not as if prior knowledge or contemplation of wisdom is not required.

Ultimately, it's true that wisdom arises from causes and condition, and there is no "me" who "has" wisdom (or mindfulness).

See here: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=5195&start=100#p218121

:anjali:
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Re: cultivating wisdom?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:49 am

Ben wrote:You can't develop real wisdom by merely reading books about it or thinking about it. Sutamaya panna and cintamaya panna are very valuable but are not liberative on their own. As Mike says, meditation instruction and exposition of the Dhamma are typically given together.


i realize that, that's why i said
alan... wrote:they get a seed planted in their subconscious and then it grows and ripens during meditation.


as opposed to: "they get a seed planted and it grows and ripens due solely to thinking about it and reading about it into real wisdom."

all i'm saying is that no techniques alone will make wisdom arise, it takes learning about the dhamma and some contemplation/reflection to make it arise. in theory at least, i believe my example about the 100 people that study dhamma and 100 that don't but both do the same techniques is a correct idea that illustrates this point. you can't get to somewhere without a destination in mind and a map just because you are riding a horse as you can't get wisdom just by meditating, you have to know the kind of knowledge you're looking for and have an idea about the progression. otherwise you may become very wise from these practices but it would be doubtful that your wisdom would be anything like the very specific dhamma wisdom.

as for your teachers instruction and your own words, again, very wonderful stuff.

Ben wrote:Vedananupassana: observation of sensation, one of the four foundations of mindfulness.


but as i keep saying these practices alone will not develop buddhist wisdom without other reflections and contemplations.

which ties into my OP, but perhaps i need to ask a new more specific question: what OTHER THAN mindfulness, morality, and meditation will help develop wisdom?

for example in "focused and fearless" catherine suggests attempting to look for the source of thoughts. this is a contemplative effort that involves thinking and reflection.


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