The causes for wisdom

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
dhamma follower
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:18 pm

Greeting David,

David N. Snyder wrote:There are Dhamma-experts who praise only monks who are also Dhamma-experts but not
those who are meditators. And there are meditators who praise only those monks who are also
meditators but not those who are Dhamma-experts. Thereby neither of them will be pleased, and
they will not be practicing for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, for the good of the
multitude, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans.

Anguttara Nikaya 4.46


Can you tell us what are the pali words for "meditators" and "Dhamma-experts" in the sutta provided? Tks

Brgrds,

D.F

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:22 pm

Coyote wrote:Robertk ect.,

Do you think it would be silabbata paramasa for a Bhikkhu to devote time to formal meditation? How about for a lay person to meditate, but not "vipassana", say - Brahmavihara meditation or recollection of the Triple Gem? How about bowing or attending puja, chanting? Where is the line between formal and non formal practice anyway?
I ask this to get a clear understanding of your opinion.

Anyway, couldn't one argue that formal sitting practice helps build concentration thus making "mindfulness" (in conventional terms) clearer?
:anjali:
The criticism of formal sitting practice that is stated here is overly rigid, and it lacks a maturity and insight into actual meditation practice. The reality is, or course, that as we start our practice that we will likely not reflect the Dhamma at its highest levels, but this is to be expected. We can only start from where we actually are. However, as we put the teachings into practice, open to what arises as a result of the practice, fortunately things can change as we gain insight into, and maturity in, the Dhamma, as we learn not to hang onto expectations and results. The magical, ritualistic thinking drops away and our motivation changes, and this is the result of the Eightfold Path in action.

Clearly, as the suttas show, the Buddha taught the importance of formal meditation practice as having an important, if not central, place in the overall practice of the Dhamma.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Coyote » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:32 pm

Tiltbillings, thanks for the reply, and I agree.
However, I specifically wanted to know Robertk's opinion on those questions as I don't think thus far in the thread the limits/boundaries of the "anti-formal practice" view have been clearly stated.

:anjali:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:43 pm

Coyote wrote:Tiltbillings, thanks for the reply, and I agree.
However, I specifically wanted to know Robertk's opinion on those questions as I don't think thus far in the thread the limits/boundaries of the "anti-formal practice" view have been clearly stated.

:anjali:
You might want to do a search for Sujin and read through the various threads that pop-up. Robertk is advocating a very particular point of view, which should be fine, except that the Sujin point of view, in the hands of her followers, can be highly critical and dismissive of other points of view. The issue here for me is not that the Sujin teachings are or are not efficacious; rather, the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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Mr Man
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:53 pm

tiltbillings wrote: the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.

Hi Tilt
If that was the case why does it cause such concern? Do you think that the very systamatic approaches to meditataion are efficacious, in terms of a higher goal? If this is your view, what do you base this on?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Coyote » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:01 am

Tiltbillings,

I have heard of and searched for threads related to Sujin's ideas since I came upon her viewpoint from these recent threads - I have read some her of writings and they are interesting, a fresh point of view. But I have not seen anything on whether her followers would agree with Bhikkhu's meditating or the other practices mentioned in my post as promoting Silabbataparamsa.

:anjali:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

dhamma follower
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:05 am

Greeting Coyote,

Coyote wrote:Robertk ect.,

Do you think it would be silabbata paramasa for a Bhikkhu to devote time to formal meditation? How about for a lay person to meditate, but not "vipassana", say - Brahmavihara meditation or recollection of the Triple Gem? How about bowing or attending puja, chanting? Where is the line between formal and non formal practice anyway?
I ask this to get a clear understanding of your opinion.

:anjali:


We should clarify between a "situation" (bowing, doing formal "sitting") and the actual cittas that arise in that whole process. I think it is pretty clear that many kind of cittas can arise in a given situation, say dana: there can be kusala citta rooted in alobha (non-clinging) succeded by akusala citta with conceit (mana), feeling proud for having done a wholesome deed).

So if we stick to ultimate realities to really understand life, we should bear this distinction in mind, and examine the nature of samatha and vipassana bhavana in terms of cittas and cetasikas instead of situations. Actually this can provide ground for a separate thread. However, we can briefly discuss what is the heart of samatha and vipassana bhavana here:

- samatha bhavana is the cultivation of kusala which is not dana, not sila. The ground for this bhavana is seeing the danger of attachment to sensuous objects. It is precisely panna which perform this function, panna of the degree of seeing the danger of attachment to sensuos objects, not the panna which sees realities of they are. This kind of panna knows the conditions for calmness to arise. It is then by virtue of this kind of panna that calmness which is kusala is developed, not because of wanting to have calm, or because of trying to sit hours after hours with ignorance.

- vipassana bhavana is the cultivation of understanding of realities as they are. This kind of panna is only available during a Buddha sasana. Without the words of the Buddha, no one would know about realities, and that they are not-self. The four conditions for the arising of sotapati magga (attaining the Path for the first time) are:
1. association with the wise
2. listening to the right Dhamma
3. Right consideration - yoniso manasikara
4. Direct awareness of the dhammas which appear naturally.

Apart from the moments of understanding, from intellectual level to direct level, there's no vipassana bhavana. It is the same with the example of dana above. There are countless moments of different nature: kusala and kusala, with or without understanding following each other, which clearly makes bhavana not a matter of doing, but a matter of understanding.

Therefore, if someone believes that it is the "doing" which constitutes bhavana instead of the real ground for each of 2 kinds, it can be called "clinging to rite and rituals". Sitting is not excluded, just the same way lying, or standing etc...., because they all occur naturally. It is the belief that bhavana lies in a "formal practice" which is the problem. A quiet environment is conducive to samatha bhavana, but for vipassana bhavana, it doesn't matter at all, any kind of reality can be object of understanding.

Anyway, couldn't one argue that formal sitting practice helps build concentration thus making "mindfulness" (in conventional terms) clearer?


Concentration (ekaggata cetasika) arises in all cittas. What should be cultivated is kusala, not ekaggata. However, when calmness is there and strong, the characteristic of ekaggata manifests, that why it is refered to as samadhi (concentration) and not ekaggata. However, there are micha samadhi, and samma samadhi too, they refer to the kind of samadhi with akusala and kusala respectively. It is the 2nd that needs to be cultivated, and we are back to the above.

Hope it helps,

D.F

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:02 am

dhamma follower wrote:Dear Mr Man,

but a ritualized practice may actually help one give up attachment to rules and rituals and the belief in self, don't you think?


By simple logic, if ones thinks that ritualized practice is the way, one will not give up attachment to rules and rituals.
One gives up only when one realizes than it is the wrong way.

Similarly, if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?

Best wishes,

D.F


Hi D.F.

Thank you for your response.

I think there is much in our mental habits that is conditioned, rigid, unexamined and often harmful, in other words like the worst kind of ritual. To introduce a positive ritual which fosters greater awareness, spaciousness and clarity actually serves to shed light and dismantle existing negative patterns.

It seems to me that in time, when the rigidity of the mind is loosened, what used to be a ritualised practice turns more organic and natural and begins to permeate other aspects of one's life.

But in the beginning (and maybe the middle too if one can make such distinctions) introducing formal practice is very useful for many many people. And I don't just mean meditation, sitting and walking. Prostrations and chanting can also be very useful. But this is not to say that this way is for everyone.
_/|\_

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby danieLion » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Coyote wrote:Tiltbillings, thanks for the reply, and I agree.
However, I specifically wanted to know Robertk's opinion on those questions as I don't think thus far in the thread the limits/boundaries of the "anti-formal practice" view have been clearly stated.

:anjali:
You might want to do a search for Sujin and read through the various threads that pop-up. Robertk is advocating a very particular point of view, which should be fine, except that the Sujin point of view, in the hands of her followers, can be highly critical and dismissive of other points of view. The issue here for me is not that the Sujin teachings are or are not efficacious; rather, the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.

Sujin Boriharnwanaket, author of A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas (apparently the whole book here)?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby danieLion » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:21 am

robertk wrote:hi Daniel
any kusala citta can never come with unpleasant feeling. Often it comes with pleasant feeling(or at worst neutral).
So any wise reflection related to anatta will at those very moments be relaxing and , I dare say, confidence building. If it is not then somewhere along the way something has got twisted and it is not a genuine wise reflection.
Secondly contemplation of anatta (speaking here about basic intellectual level ) goes together with understanding the momentariness of life: we die every second. So this is also a way of Dhammanusati, a type of samatha that is very freeing and leads to fearlessness. There is nothing in life than can really panic one anymore, after all we have died so many times already.
so in that sense I think Gil's comments about having a strong confident self are redundant.
The confidence and joy are a part and parcel of developing the perception of anatta. Even the beginning is good...

Nevertheless I know it is very hard and takes a long time for most people to get their heads around anatta. So any help, such as Gil is giving, is valuable I think.

Thanks again. Very helpful. I often wonder if anatta is related to the common ideas of not taking things so personally and not being so self absorbed? Can it include these things, and if so, how far beyond these ideas does the Buddha's anatta go?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby perkele » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:44 am

Dan74 wrote:I think there is much in our mental habits that is conditioned, rigid, unexamined and often harmful, in other words like the worst kind of ritual. To introduce a positive ritual which fosters greater awareness, spaciousness and clarity actually serves to shed light and dismantle existing negative patterns.

It seems to me that in time, when the rigidity of the mind is loosened, what used to be a ritualised practice turns more organic and natural and begins to permeate other aspects of one's life.

Very well said.
And following discussions like this one can at times do much to loosen such rigidity a bit.
Very interesting things have been said here and explored from various angles.
Thanks for all the good contributions. It has been very interesting for me to follow this discussion.
:anjali:

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:48 am

danieLion wrote:Sujin Boriharnwanaket, author of A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas (apparently the whole book here)?
Yes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:03 am

Another great question . Indeed The understanding of Anatta should lessen self-absorption and taking things personally. But these are entrenched ways to most of us so it takes a very long time. Also conceit, which is different from the wrong view of self, still remains even once all self-view is gone.....and that plays its toxic role too.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby ground » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:19 am

robertk wrote:robertk wrote:
But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.


But if we don't pay attention to our experience, how can sati and panna develop?


So first we need to know the conditions for these factors. This thread can consider the causes for panna, wisdom.

Maybe a strange idea behind those words.

Is there something that believes to know the ideas behind each individual "parlance"? If yes this may be the effect of association with a specific group of individuals and hearing their words or reading their words generating ideas based upon these and taking these ideas to be "common parlance".

Why aren't the ideas behind the idea "common parlance" assumed to be found in MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta?

What idea is expressed with "the here and now"? :sage:

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby ground » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:20 am

robertk wrote:So first we need to know the conditions for these factors. This thread can consider the causes for panna, wisdom.


The causes are the three introspective understandings:

B. Bodhi wrote:understanding of the known

understanding by scrutinization

understanding as abandonment

S. 354 n. 36 und S. 1052 n. 42 (SN, B. Bodhi)


:sage:

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby danieLion » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:43 am

robertk wrote:...these are entrenched ways to most of us so it takes a very long time...conceit...plays its toxic role too.
Oh boy don't I know it. However, it helps me keep in mind the strong relationshiop between Anatta and Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood--how they work together and reinforce each other. I find dealing with people to be a much better test of my attempts to live by the Dhamma than seclusion practices. I tend to reclusiveness and shyness, and am "naturally" introspective. Seclusion practice can help me work on my self-monitoring skills, but I don't see the point of developing them if they're not useful for relationships. It's said that sitting practices are hard, but I think practicing the Dhamma in "daily life" is way harder. Anatta is much more evident when I'm quiet and alone, but the more entrenched "I-making" and "my-making" happens in my dealings with others, which to me implies that that is where the bulk of my not-selfing and conceit up-rooting efforts had better be attempted.

That was kind of "ranty" so feel free to critique it.
Thanks

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:47 am

sounds good to me, 'self-awareness' in the sense of seeing our wrong ways, is a must!

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:37 am

Coyote wrote:Robertk ect.,

Do you think it would be silabbata paramasa for a Bhikkhu to devote time to formal meditation? How about for a lay person to meditate, but not "vipassana", say - Brahmavihara meditation or recollection of the Triple Gem? How about bowing or attending puja, chanting? Where is the line between formal and non formal practice anyway?
I ask this to get a clear understanding of your opinion.

Anyway, couldn't one argue that formal sitting practice helps build concentration thus making "mindfulness" (in conventional terms) clearer?
:anjali:

nice question: and it shows you differentiate between vipassana and samatha.
For reasons which are not entirely clear to me the meditation on breath is often recommended to new Buddhists. And that is one type of samatha where a secluded spot and an erect sitting posture are helpful.

But we should know that anapanasati is singled out as being the most difficult of all the 40 objects. Here is a passage from the Visuddhimagga Viii


QUOTE

211: "Although any meditation subject, no matter what, is successful only in one who is mindful and fully aware, yet any meditation subject other than this one gets more evident as he goes on giving it his attention. But this mindfulness of breathing is difficult, difficult to develop, a field in which only the minds of Buddhas, paccekabuddhas and Buddhas sons are at home. It is no trivial matter, nor can it be cultivated by trivial persons.."

We might be concentrating on the breath with subtle lobha (attachment) not realising that true samatha comes with alobha, detachment.

So in many suttas the Buddha was speaking to monks who had vast accumulations of panna and other parami. It is not, I believe, that the Buddha said that all should take up anapanasati.

There are other types of samatha - such as Maranasati (meditation on death)- that are suitable for all times.
For example the Anguttara nikaya (Book of the Elevens ii 13 p213 Mahanama) says about Buddhanusati and Dhammanusati and several other samatha objects:

"`
you should develop it as you sit, as you stand, as you lie, as you apply yourself to business. You should make it grow as you dwell at home in your lodging crowded with children"


Anyway as the visuddimagga says "any meditation subject, no matter what, is successful only in one who is mindful and fully aware," the main point has to be knowing what is real sati and what is only perception ...

For bowing and so on.
It is a way of showing respect and can help us focus on the virtues of the triple gem, or it can be done with attachment...

Your question about concentration helping: it only helps if it is associated with kusala citta. Samadhi can easily be miccha-samadhi and have the same characteristics as the samma version.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:15 am

robertk wrote:For reasons which are not entirely clear to me the meditation on breath is often recommended to new Buddhists. And that is one type of samatha where a secluded spot and an erect sitting posture are helpful.

But we should know that anapanasati is singled out as being the most difficult of all the 40 objects. Here is a passage from the Visuddhimagga Viii


QUOTE

211: "Although any meditation subject, no matter what, is successful only in one who is mindful and fully aware, yet any meditation subject other than this one gets more evident as he goes on giving it his attention. But this mindfulness of breathing is difficult, difficult to develop, a field in which only the minds of Buddhas, paccekabuddhas and Buddhas sons are at home. It is no trivial matter, nor can it be cultivated by trivial persons.."
On one level it is, indeed, very subtle, but it is also extremely accessible and if one is consistent and persistent with it, one can see degrees of success in concentration and mindfulness, and it a direct body practice that is useful on any number of levels, in any number of ways.

We might be concentrating on the breath with subtle lobha (attachment) not realising that true samatha comes with alobha, detachment.
Without question, when one starts a practice, whether is breath awareness or cultivating right view, or mindfulness of death, there is going to be all sorts of "subtle attachments" and self centered expectations. It goes with the territory, as does varying degrees of insight into these "subtle attachments" and expectations as one does the practice, allowing one to let go of them. You cannot wish or think these problems away, but as one begans to see them and understand them as a result of directly seeing them via meditation practice and working with the rest of Eightfold Path, there can be a genuine letting go.

Any spiritual practice/discipline, including the Sujin type, can be a basis of "subtle attachments."

Anyway as the visuddimagga says "any meditation subject, no matter what, is successful only in one who is mindful and fully aware," the main point has to be knowing what is real sati and what is only perception ...
And by doing the practice as outlined in the Eightfold Path, which includes formal meditation, the conditions for the arising and maturing of concentration and mindulness are cultivated.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Coyote » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:07 am

robertk wrote:nice question: and it shows you differentiate between vipassana and samatha....


Thank you for the reply (and dhamma follower). I certainly agree that breath meditation is harder than other meditation, and perhaps should not be done by beginners. At least, I think there is a lot to be said for not doing this kind of meditation at all until one is at least established in Sila.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26


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