The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:51 am

Mr Man wrote:Is this Sutta relivent (AN 3.61)?

"Monks, there are these three sectarian guilds that — when cross-examined, pressed for reasons, & rebuked by wise people — even though they may explain otherwise, remain stuck in [a doctrine of] inaction. Which three?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.061.than.html

:anjali:

Hi mr man
Do you think that what I was saying as the causes for wisdom - as per the topic of this thread -fits into one of these three categories:
There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — that is all caused by what was done in the past.'

There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — — that is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation.'

There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — — that is all without cause & without condition.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:58 am

robertk wrote:
Mr Man wrote:Is this Sutta relivent (AN 3.61)?

"Monks, there are these three sectarian guilds that — when cross-examined, pressed for reasons, & rebuked by wise people — even though they may explain otherwise, remain stuck in [a doctrine of] inaction. Which three?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.061.than.html

:anjali:

Hi mr man
Do you think that what I was saying as the causes for wisdom - as per the topic of this thread -fits into one of these three categories:
There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — that is all caused by what was done in the past.'

There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — — that is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation.'

There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — — that is all without cause & without condition.


I think this one quoted by David somewhere in the middle of this thread and seemingly ignored is more pertinent:

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
_/|\_
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:59 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Sam,
SamKR wrote:No one would deny that hearing the Dhamma and wise-consideration is necessary. I think the "formal" practices are rightly done only after hearing the right Dhamma and having wise consideration. If not, then they will of course become blind rituals -- just as listening to the "right dhamma" is also suceptible to become a ritual.

Your post neatly summarises the origin of my total incomprehension of the arguments put forward by the Khun Suhin students. I've been asking that question for five years or so and have never got an answer that I can understand. Certainly practising (by listening or doing other activities) is alway susceptible to wrong views ("I'm a wonderful Dhamma listener/practitioner who is correctly following the Buddha Vacana...").

:anjali:
Mike

Dear Mike
can we agree that some formal practices are wrong. So if a teacher told you that by sitting in a cold river enduring cold was part of the path you would laugh and maybe even try to help him by explaining that such a practice is purely ritual with no value and is unrelated to the 8fold path?

If another teacher told you that studying and listening to Abhidhamma was a waste of time , that it was unrelated to right view , would you not then laugh also at him and point out how direct and true and helpful those details are?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:23 am

robertk wrote:can we agree that some formal practices are wrong. So if a teacher told you that by sitting in a cold river enduring cold was part of the path you would laugh and maybe even try to help him by explaining that such a practice is purely ritual with no value and is unrelated to the 8fold path?
Rather than laugh, I'd ask for an explanation of the practice. But interestingly, this is obviously an extreme practice that does not find favor that I am aware of in Theravada,

But then you contrast it with another extreme practice? It does not look to be a balanced comparison.

If another teacher told you that studying and listening to Abhidhamma was a waste of time , that it was unrelated to right view , would you not then laugh also at him and point out how direct and true and helpful those details are?
My response would be that the Abhidhamma has value and efficacy for some and that there is no reason to dismiss it out of hand.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:26 am

robertk wrote:Hi mr man
Do you think that what I was saying as the causes for wisdom - as per the topic of this thread -fits into one of these three categories:
There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — that is all caused by what was done in the past.'

There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — — that is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation.'

There are brahmans & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — — that is all without cause & without condition.


Hi robertk, The sutta reference was not specific to what you have said but to the thread as a whole. It is easy to unknowingly fall into one of these three views.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby SamKR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:
But then you contrast it with another extreme practice? It does not look to be a balanced comparison.

robertk wrote:If another teacher told you that studying and listening to Abhidhamma was a waste of time , that it was unrelated to right view , would you not then laugh also at him and point out how direct and true and helpful those details are?


Let me suggest a balanced example:
If another teacher tells that just by chanting and listening to Abhidhamma you will gain right view, you will be freed of your one hundred thousand sins, and you will attain final liberation, would you not laugh?

In Hinduism such "extreme" view that just by chanting and listening Puranas etc. you will get rid of your sins (usually without any necessity that you actually understand it) is supported by Hindu texts and deeply entrenched in the mind of the people, and people actually do it quite regularly. I myself have done so.
Last edited by SamKR on Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:53 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:41 am

robertk wrote:..can we agree that some formal practices are wrong.


I'm beginning to think that the formal v. informal argument is a red herring. Isn't the more important consideration whether our practice is based on what is described in the suttas?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:58 am

porpoise wrote:
I'm beginning to think that the formal v. informal argument is a red herring.

I agree. The distinction need not be there.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:24 pm

porpoise wrote:
I'm beginning to think that the formal v. informal argument is a red herring. Isn't the more important consideration whether our practice is based on what is described in the suttas?

In fact I gave several quotes showing that the most crucial causes for wisdom were hearing and considering the Dhamma, and when I initially implied that wisdom didn't depend on formal or informal etc it was met with some resistance:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&p=228688&hilit=tilt#p228688
You just got done equating sitting meditation of having no more significance in one's "spiritual" practice than choosing which sandwich shop to go to. The issue is not the ritual itself. It is our attitude towards it, our expectation of it, that is the problem with ritual, but let us look at your statement:


Robert: It is not that sitting and watching the breath or watching bodily sensations is going to help or hinder the path, anymore than me choosing the Belly Sandwich Shop in preference to Subway. But if one believes that it is these very operations that somehow are key to satisampajanna to arise then one is in the realm of silabataparamasa.


Tilt:
It is hard not to read this as a flat, straight forward dismissal of sitting practice itself. Maybe you were really tired when you wrote this and you really do not mean to dismiss meditation practice as direct away of cultivating the factors giving rise to wisdom/insight
.

Think of all the suttas that say seeing and color must be directly known, must be seen with wisdom. Yet I have even heard of people closing their eyes thinking this is part of 'doing vipasaana". (I realize this is a very extreme case, possibly no Dhammawheel members would think that, but it does show the confusions that exist about what 'meditation' really is in the Buddhist sense).
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:36 pm

To further help the case of the value of careful consideration of Dhamma:

The vimuttayatanam The 5 bases of deliverance:
XXV. "Five bases of deliverance; here
a.
the teacher or a respected fellow disciple teaches a monk Dhamma.
And as he receives the teaching, he gains a grasp of both the spirit
and the letter of the teaching. At this, joy arises in him, and from
this joy, delight; and by this delight his senses are calmed, he
feels happiness as a result, and with this happiness his mind is
established [he attains nibbana];

b. he has not heard it thus, but in the course of the teaching
Dhamma to others he has learnt it by heart as he has heard it, or

c. as he is chanting the Dhamma... or

d. ...when he applies his mind to the Dhamma, thinks and ponders
over it and concentrates his attention on it; or

e. When he has properly grasped some concentration sign, has well
considered it, applied his mind to it, and has well penetrated it
with wisdom. At this, joy arises in him; and from this joy, delight,
and by this delight his senses are calmed, he feels happiness as a
result, and with this happiness his mind is established
.


Only e. is really related to some special mindstate. The other 4 ways(, a, b, c, d) of attaining Nibbana are based on directly considering the Buddha's teaching.

But could such consideration be done in the Belly Sandwich shop? I would say yes,.

Could it be done while sitting? yes

while walking? yes.

while defecating? yes.

Urinating ?yes...

and all the other situations described in the satipatthana sutta...

Should one think, while enjoying a sandwich at Belly sandwich shop "Oh this is not so good, I wish I was at the root of trees doing real practice!".

Or could there be there and then, at the very moment of ordering, or at the moment of seeing , or tasting, awareness of hardness or feeling, or mind with desire or mind with aversion....
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:48 pm

Hi Sam,
SamKR wrote:If you have not got a satisfactory answer in five years, probably I will not either.
But Khun Sujin's students say many interesting and useful things and I like that. So, I want to see by trying to seek satisfactory answer to the question; there might be something fundamental that I have not understood.

Certainly practising (by listening or doing other activities) is alway susceptible to wrong views ("I'm a wonderful Dhamma listener/practitioner who is correctly following the Buddha Vacana...").
Exactly.

Yes, they say interesting things that are mostly in accord with what the teachers I respect say. Nothing surprising about saying that you can't will things to happen. That follows directly from the suttas, and noone I know claims that, or that the interpretation of the suttas, abhidhamma and commentary that they use to recommend their particular approaches are based on such a clearly incorrect idea.

Of course, they might all be wrong, so it's worth considering other possible interpretations (such as the Khun Sujin one).

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Hi robertk, do you practice sitting meditation? If you don't maybe you would enjoy it.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:50 pm

Dear Sam,

SamKR wrote:
In my limited understanding, the relationship between the teaching about not-self and the teaching about intentionally doing any practice is very complicated -- which the Buddha had to face. It was his great patience and skill that he managed to teach both at the same time to different people having different levels of wisdom; that's why he is a samma-sambuddha.

I don't think the Buddha had to face it. In the Pali texts, what is the word that is today translated as meditation?: bhavana. Bhavana means development, not sitting meditation. The Buddha taught the conditions for each kind of bhavana (samatha and vipassana) to be developed. At that time, many people had the accumulations to enter jhana. Many more people only listened to the Buddha's discourses and attained enlightenment. Now, do we really know, understand, accept and remember what are these conditions?


In my limited understanding, initial right view about no self is a tool for the final direct realization of no self. A person intentionally uses this tool (ie., initial right view about no self) while understanding the complication and acknowledging his sense of self that he is stuck with -- towards the final direct realization of no self


Who uses the tool and how in terms of ultimate realities? Only one citta at a time. If the citta is not accompanied by panna -right understanding, it is not the path. The path is not occuring if right view is not there.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Please restate. The above is not at all clear to me.


The stretching on "formal practice" suggests that certain dhammas (such as sati) can arise because of one's intention or will. Otherwise, why the idea of formal practice at all?

Is it clearer now?

D.F
"The stretching on" is a bit obscure, but I think I get your meaning here.

Let me ask you, using conventional language, one can act intentionally -- kamma --, and does not such an action give rise to dhammas? Could not these dhammas then, in turn, be the conditions for the arising of sati? Speaking conventionally, one can certainly act in such a way that the conditions for sati arise. That is not say to that one just sits on a cushion and say: "Arise sati!!!" But it is to say that one can cultivate conditions that lead to the arising of sati. Even your method claims as much, but just in a more circumbendibus way.


Dear Tilt,

Cetana arises with all citta, as you must know. Cetana arises in both kusala and akusala cittas. Kusala kamma results in kusala vipaka. As for the arising of panna, it is not cetana that conditions it, but panna cetasika it-self -from hearing and understanding the rights words.

The conditions for the arising of panna have been discussed so far, and RobertK has provided a lot of canonical material about that, I don't see why we have to try to make up new ones? Btw, it is not my method's or anyone's. We are simply discussing what are in the texts. Don't you agree?

Brgds,
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:16 pm

Dan74 wrote:Hi DF,

A good friend used to say "Buddhist practice is not a self-improvement project" and at least in the long term I agree. I also addressed this point several times in my previous posts and I am at a loss why you don't engage with this. I also don't see why listening to the Dhamma is more of a selfless practice than meditation.

Dhamma Follower, I am perplexed - are you practicing the Sixfold Noble Path? Which is fine with me - mindfulness and concentration can arise spontaneously too. But for the most of us, consciously applying effort to them, is necessary, and was taught by the Buddha, as far as I know.


Dear Dan,

Whatever we are doing, meditation or listening in the Dhamma, it is still selfless, only dhammas arising and passing away by conditions. If by selfless, you meant unselfish- which in Buddhist term would be kusala, then the question should be: will panna lead to the eradication of all kinds of akusala. Then of course, the answer is yes.

You implied that I excluded sati and samadhi from the ENP. The thing is, whenever there is right understanding, sati and right samadhi is there too, along with other 18 sobhana cetasikas. We are used to think of mindfulness and concentration as something that we "do", but it is not so. Sati arises with all kusala cittas, but sati of satipatthana arises with panna (sampajana). Ekaggata (concentration) arises with all cittas, both kusala and akusala. Only when it is kusala accompanied by panna, it is considered samadhi of the ENP. So the common denominator here is panna. Viriya (effort) is not a factor of the path, it is present in most cittas too (73 out of 89 kinds of citta), it can also be either kusala or akusala depending of other accompanying cetasikas. So what is more important is panna, which makes the citta and other cetasikas automatically kusala.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:Dear Tilt,

I believe it refers to the kind of being with quick understanding, those who have had accumulated such a great deal of wisdom that one short sentence in common language is enough for them to get it.


I don't thinks so. These verses from the Dhammapada are quite straightforward and are clearly aimed at not some sort of person with paramis to burn, but rather it is directed to anyone, and its language is clear and direct. One does not need the complexities of the Abhidhamma to understand what it being said, nor does one need the complexities of the Abhidhamma to put it into practice.

    By oneself is evil done, by oneself is one defiled;
    By oneself is evil shunned, by oneself is one refined.

    To polish or stain, on ourselves it depends,
    For a person cannot by another be cleansed.

    (Dhammapada 165)


Dear Tilt,

The above passage is saying the work to be done is from within. It doesn't mean, however, that there is a self doing the work.

As for the Abhidhamma, why don't just simply call it the teaching on dhammas which is marvelous?

Can anyone comes to realization of sotapattimagga without having realized the nature of dhammas ? And again, what arises and falls away?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:35 pm

Dan74 wrote:
I think this one quoted by David somewhere in the middle of this thread and seemingly ignored is more pertinent:

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


It was not ignored! I asked David to give us the Pali words in that sutta for Dhamma experts and meditators. He or anyone is always welcome to give an answer
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:21 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi robertk, do you practice sitting meditation? If you don't maybe you would enjoy it.

You see now, while at the computer I am sitting (actually slouching, maybe I should straigten up).

If I thought oh I better stand up so understanding can grow, or lie down, or open a Dhamma book then I am not really serious, I really dont want to undertand this moment as it is, I am imagining that some future situation is better.

It shows a lack of confidence in what the path is, it would mean I don't believe that as it says in the Satipatthana sutta "
bhikkhus, when he is going, a bhikkhu understands: 'I am going'; when he is standing, he understands: 'I am standing'; when he is sitting, he understands: 'I am sitting'; when he is lying down, he understands: 'I am lying down'; or just as his body is disposed so he understands it."


Notice it doesnt say "when is standing he should think "Oh sitting is better". It actually says "JUST AS HIS BODY IS DISPOSED "

Or sometimes Buddhist think they should try to gte rid of lust and then have 'real' vipassana. However The Satipatthana sutta says."bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust;"""
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:47 pm

robertk wrote: However The Satipatthana sutta says."bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust;"""


Again, I agree with you that many of the methods in Satipatthana are applicable off the cushion. But I also think that for most people sitting meditation is an important foundation, because without it the mind is often too scattered and busy to see clearly what is going on.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:59 pm

porpoise wrote:
robertk wrote: However The Satipatthana sutta says."bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust;"""


Again, I agree with you that many of the methods in Satipatthana are applicable off the cushion. But I also think that for most people sitting meditation is an important foundation, because without it the mind is often too scattered and busy to see clearly what is going on.

Dear porpoise,
Look again in the satipathhana sutta and you will see it says..
to When agitation and worry are present, he knows with understanding: 'I have agitation and worry,' or when agitation and worry are not present
,


So do we really want to understand the present moment just as it is. Or do we want to change objects to be something acceptable in polite society.i think If we want to know what is really going on we have to dirty and dive directly into the ugly underbelly of life. It's here and now for most of us.
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