The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:46 pm

Virgo wrote:
Ben wrote:


Related to what, exactly, Kevin?

The right path and the wrong path.

Kevin
Don't be stingy with your words. What is the right path and what is the wrong path?
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 Virgo » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:49 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi Virgo
Perhaps you could bring what you took from the talk to the discusion?

Very often we take akusala for kusala. Is there really calm or is it attachment? This is evident in the discussion about metta practice in the talk.

We have so much lobha that we don't even recognize it most of the time. Is that really renunciation? Or is that just developing more subtle akusala?

These are the questions we have to ask ourselves.

Kevin
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Virgo » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:54 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Don't be stingy with your words. What is the right path and what is the wrong path?

One needs to understand magga-paccaya to really understand it.

Kevin
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:58 pm

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Don't be stingy with your words. What is the right path and what is the wrong path?

One needs to understand magga-paccaya to really understand it.

Kevin

Virgo
Do you understand it?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:08 pm

Virgo wrote:
Mr Man wrote:Hi Virgo
Perhaps you could bring what you took from the talk to the discusion?

Very often we take akusala for kusala. Is there really calm or is it attachment? This is evident in the discussion about metta practice in the talk.

We have so much lobha that we don't even recognize it most of the time. Is that really renunciation? Or is that just developing more subtle akusala?

These are the questions we have to ask ourselves.

Kevin

Virgo
And do you know kusala and akusala? Do you know lobha? Are you possibly just passing on someone else's view? Do you see the attachment you have?
Where are you Virgo? Can you work with that?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Virgo » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:15 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Don't be stingy with your words. What is the right path and what is the wrong path?

One needs to understand magga-paccaya to really understand it.

Kevin

Virgo
Do you understand it?

I like to think that I understand it fairly well, yes.

Kevin
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:36 pm

Virgo wrote:
Mr Man wrote:

Virgo
Do you understand it?

I like to think that I understand it fairly well, yes.

Kevin

So Virgo, You know what is right path and what is wrong path? You know you are on the right path (you have gone beyond doubt)? And you no when others are on the wrong path?
Last edited by Mr Man on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:48 pm

I am finding it interesting to learn about the Abhidhammic way of looking at things. So when I searched ATI for "magga-paccaya" I also found this in The Abhidhamma in Practice, by N.K.G. Mendis, in a list of "paccayas" (Modes of Conditioning)
Faculty condition (indriya paccaya). There are twenty-two faculties: six sense bases, two sexes, the life faculty, five feelings, five feelings, five spiritual faculties, and three supra-mundane faculties. Except for the two sexes, the other twenty can exercise control in their respective spheres on the co-existent mental states and the material phenomena they originate. For example, mindfulness — one of the five spiritual faculties — has a controlling influence on the other four co-adjuncts during meditation.

and also this:
Free Will. Someone might say: "If all phenomena are conditionally arisen, then Buddhism is a form of fatalism, for we have no free will to control our destiny." Such a statement would not be correct. Will is volition (cetanaa), a mental state, determined ethically by its root condition (hetu paccaya). If the root is unwholesome, we can either restrain or indulge the volition; if the root is wholesome, we can encourage it or neglect it. In this exercise of will lies our freedom to guide our destiny.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:26 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Don't be stingy with your words. What is the right path and what is the wrong path?

One needs to understand magga-paccaya to really understand it.

Kevin
Of course, this is a non-answer. The talk you linked was interesting for any number of reasons. The traditional metta practice as we see in the suttas and the Visuddhimagga was utterly dismissed. discounted as being wrong path was interesting, but expected in light of what as been said above, and the rather triumphalist responses of the questioners of Sujin in regards to the traditionalist to metta practice approach was very interesting. So, the question is: why did you link this talk? For what purpose?
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 Virgo » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Don't be stingy with your words. What is the right path and what is the wrong path?

One needs to understand magga-paccaya to really understand it.

Kevin
Of course, this is a non-answer.


Of course it's not a non-answer. Magga-paccaya is one of the 24 Conditions, right out of the texts. Whether it conditions the right path or the wrong path can be seen by what cetasikas are present. I answered briefly, because magga-paccaya itself explains everything. If you don't understand what it is, you can read more about it here: http://www.zolag.co.uk/conditions/html_node/Path_002dCondition.html.

I didn't want to explain everything, so I summed it up with magga-paccaya.

tiltbillings wrote:The talk you linked was interesting for any number of reasons. The traditional metta practice as we see in the suttas and the Visuddhimagga was utterly dismissed. discounted as being wrong path was interesting, but expected in light of what as been said above, and the rather triumphalist responses of the questioners of Sujin in regards to the traditionalist to metta practice approach was very interesting. So, the question is: why did you link this talk? For what purpose?


True metta is never unwholesome. Sila is never unwholesome, etc. There have been many great meditators that cultivated metta. However, just because we think we are cultivating mettta does not mean we actually are. It takes a person with very high accumulations for it to practice samatha of any kind. They have to have panna on that level. I personally do not believe that every person has that kind of understanding. A lot of times, we just increase our self-view that way, taking attachment (unwholesome) as calm (wholesome). During those moments, the cetasikas which are path factors are not present, so we are not on the right path.

It can be hard to know when the mind is kusala or akusala. For example, earlier today while driving I saw a Golden Retriever in someones yard. It was running around and came very close to the edge of the road (almost on the road) as I approached in my vehicle. I had aversion thinking that the dog was pesky and might run into traffic while I drove by, and that I might hit it by accident. Then the dog (while still on the lawn) jumped in the air and wagged it's tail which was quite beautiful. I felt happier immediately and was no longer disturbed by the presence of the dog. After I drove by I thought to myself "first I was averse to the dog which was akusala but then there was a moment with metta and I liked the dog when I saw how playful it was and how nice it looked". When I examined my mind closer, I realized there was actually not any metta at the moment that I thought there was, there was just attachment because seeing a carefree dog made me feel good. I liked the color of it's fur. I liked it's bushy tale. I liked that it was carefree. It made me feel good, and I was attached at that moment. That's akusala, not metta. That moment was not an eight-fold path moment.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:25 am

Virgo wrote:
Of course it's not a non-answer. Magga-paccaya is one of the 24 Conditions, right out of the texts. . . . I didn't want to explain everything, so I summed it up with magga-paccaya.
Using technical Abhidhamma terminology that is certainly not going to understood by a fair numbers of readers here is in a non-answer.

tiltbillings wrote:The talk you linked was interesting for any number of reasons. The traditional metta practice as we see in the suttas and the Visuddhimagga was utterly dismissed. discounted as being wrong path was interesting, but expected in light of what as been said above, and the rather triumphalist responses of the questioners of Sujin in regards to the traditionalist to metta practice approach was very interesting. So, the question is: why did you link this talk? For what purpose?


True metta . . .Kevin
Again, you did not answer the questions put to you: The talk you linked was interesting for any number of reasons. The traditional metta practice as we see in the suttas and the Visuddhimagga was utterly dismissed. discounted as being wrong path was interesting, but expected in light of what as been said above, and the rather triumphalist responses of the questioners of Sujin in regards to the traditionalist to metta practice approach was very interesting. So, the question is: why did you link this talk? For what purpose? It certainly does not look like you are denying that the traditional Theravadin understanding of metta practice is being rejected as being simply wrong. And you certainly did not at all address the the attitude of triumphalism exptressed by the Sujin questioners in the talk.
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 Sylvester » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:00 am

Hmm, if stream entry is an absolute pre-requisite to practise by this theory, how will that sit with the model in MN 70 that even the Dhamma-followers and Faith-followers have a duty with heedfulness (appamādena karaṇīyanti)?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:24 pm

Virgo wrote:
Of course it's not a non-answer.
Hi Virgo,
And how about the answers to the questions I offered to you?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:24 am

When you write about the development of vipassana, you don’t speak about concentration methods or sitting practice.
Vipassana, insight, is actually panna (wisdom) which has been developed to clearly understand realities as they are, as non-self. It is not some special practice, it is not sitting or breathing. If one wishes to induce calm by sitting one still wants to get something. There is subtle clinging which can pass unnoticed. The aim of vipassana is to have less ignorance of realities, including our defilements, even subtle ones. Therefore it can and should be developed in daily life; any object can be an object for mindfulness and understanding.

But can’t sitting quietly be an assistance for mindfulness to arise?
Even mindfulness is anatta, non-self, it cannot be induced just by concentrating or trying to be calm or by sitting quietly. The conditions for mindfulness to arise are listening to the Buddha’s teaching, discussing, considering and pondering over realities. And it develops by studying realities as they appear in our daily lives. Some people find it difficult to accept that one cannot force sati to arise, and they wonder whether this means idleness. The Buddha taught us to develop all good qualities, such as generosity and metta, along with right understanding. It is understanding, actually, that should be emphasized.

Nevertheless, the Buddha taught concentration practices such as anapanasati--breathing mindfulness. Doesn’t that suggest that they are important?
We read about this in the scriptures because in the Buddha’s time there were people who were able to concentrate on the breath. This is a very subtle rupa, which is produced by citta. It is most difficult to be aware of breath, before one knows it one takes for breath what is something else, air produced by other factors, not breath. The commentary to the Kindred sayings V, The lamp, states that only Maha-Purisas, the great disciples can practice it in the right way. Thus, the Buddha did not teach that everyone should practice it. To those who were gifted, who had the accumulations to do so, he taught it. He explained that there is no self who is breathing, and that breath is only rupa. -- Interview with Nina van Gorkom
And this is, of course, an highly inaccurate, self-serving caricature of sitting meditation practice.
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 Dan74 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:43 am

It's the last paragraph that is the most interesting for me - Nina van Gorkom saying that anapanasati is only for the gifted, the great disciples.

I definitely think that there should be a discussion of whether meditation has taken a disproportionately large place in Western Buddhist practice, but saying that it's only "for the great disciples, for the gifted" may be going way too far!

Perhaps knowledgeable people can bring some scriptural evidence to show that

1. The Buddha exhorted his monks to meditate in various ways (anapanasati, parts of the body, metta, etc)

or

2. The Buddha taught meditation only to the most gifted.

It seems that the tradition evolved so that the lay did not meditate outside the Mahayana. But was that what the Buddha intended?

Of course it may also be the case that meditation is more needed now than in the times of the Buddha when his disciples' minds were perhaps not as cluttered and their egos not as big as ours.

For me, meditation has been a wonderful gift that has helped make sense of the Dhamma and I slowly introduce it to my children and of course share with any friend who asks. I highly doubt that I am gifted and certainly not a "great disciple" by any stretch of imagination. Recent studies in mindfulness based cognitive psychology have shown an anapanasati type practice even divorced from the Dhamma, can be very beneficial for people's well-being. How much more so, when founded upon the Right View?
_/|\_
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Sylvester » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:04 am

Thanks Tilt.

I wonder why there is this rejection of anything that smacks of even the slightest form of clinging.

In SN 22.55, a form of contemplation is advocated by the Buddha that leads to Non-Return, namely the "It might not be, it might not be mine; it will not be, it will not be mine" contemplation (no cassaṃ, no ca me siyā, na bhavissati, na me bhavissatī). The ahaṃ conceit (embedded in the me) responsible for the niggling clinging sense of individuality persists in this recommendation. Yet, there is the promise of Non-Return if one practices in this manner.

It's not until one has completed the task underlying this contemplation that the final vestige of clinging to the sense of "I" is to be abandoned. This process is set out famously in MN 106 -

When this was said, the venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, here a bhikkhu is practicing thus: ‘It might not be, and it might not be mine; it will not be, and it will not be mine. What exists, what has come to be, that I am abandoning.’ Thus he obtains equanimity. Venerable sir, does such a bhikkhu attain Nibbāna?”

“One bhikkhu here, Ānanda, might attain Nibbāna, another bhikkhu here might not attain Nibbāna.”

“What is the cause and reason, venerable sir, why one bhikkhu here might attain Nibbāna, while another bhikkhu here might not attain Nibbāna?”

“Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu is practicing thus: ‘It might not be, and it might not be mine; it will not be, and it will not be mine. What exists, what has come to be, that I am abandoning.’ Thus he obtains equanimity. He delights in that equanimity, welcomes it, and remains holding to it. As he does so, his consciousness becomes dependent on it and clings to it. A bhikkhu with clinging, Ānanda, does not attain Nibbāna.”


I get the sense from these suttas that some forms of clinging are tolerable in the path and practice, or at the very least, are not obstructive to Non-Return. The residue just needs to be dealt with on the final leg to awakening.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:11 am

Dan74 wrote:It's the last paragraph that is the most interesting for me - Nina van Gorkom saying that anapanasati is only for the gifted, the great disciples.
Of course it would be of value to see the actual full text of that commentary, but it would also be of help to know exactly which suttas is being referenced here. Since this is robertk's interview, maybe he give us that info.
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 tiltbillings » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:12 am

Sylvester wrote:
I get the sense from these suttas that some forms of clinging are tolerable in the path and practice, or at the very least, are not obstructive to Non-Return. The residue just needs to be dealt with on the final leg to awakening.
That makes sense, indeed.
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 tiltbillings » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:04 am

Dan74 wrote:1. The Buddha exhorted his monks to meditate in various ways (anapanasati, parts of the body, metta, etc)

or

2. The Buddha taught meditation only to the most gifted.
No evidence for 2.

It seems that the tradition evolved so that the lay did not meditate outside the Mahayana.
Or inside the Mahayana. The Mahayana was not a lay movement. The commentary to the Satipathhana Sutta indicates that this texts was being put into practice by the laity at least early in the Buddha's dispensation:

Further, in that territory of the Kuru people, the four classes — bhikkhu, bhikkhuni, upasaka, upasika — generally by nature were earnest in the application of the Arousing of Mindfulness to their daily life. At the very lowest, even servants, usually, spoke with mindfulness. At wells or in spinning halls useless talk was not heard. If some woman asked of another woman, "Mother, which Arousing of Mindfulness do you practice?" and got the reply, "None at all," then that woman who replied so was reproached thus: "Your life is shameful; though you live you are as if dead," and was taught one of the kinds of Mindfulness-arousing. But on being questioned if she said that she was practicing such and such an Arousing of Mindfulness, then she was praised thus: "Well done, well done! Your life is blessed; you are really one who has attained to the human state; for you the Sammasambuddhas have come to be." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#fnt-4
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 polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:25 am

Nevertheless, the Buddha taught concentration practices such as anapanasati--breathing mindfulness. Doesn’t that suggest that they are important?
We read about this in the scriptures because in the Buddha’s time there were people who were able to concentrate on the breath. This is a very subtle rupa, which is produced by citta. It is most difficult to be aware of breath, before one knows it one takes for breath what is something else, air produced by other factors, not breath. The commentary to the Kindred sayings V, The lamp, states that only Maha-Purisas, the great disciples can practice it in the right way. Thus, the Buddha did not teach that everyone should practice it. To those who were gifted, who had the accumulations to do so, he taught it. He explained that there is no self who is breathing, and that breath is only rupa. -- Interview with Nina van Gorkom


I will go so far as to call this wrong view. Do not be so heedless, meditate, lest you regret it later.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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