A maker of signs (MN 43)

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby phil » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:00 am

Hi all

I'm interested in this passage from MN 43. "Lust is a maker of signs, hate is a maker of signs, delusion is a maker of signs."

BB's note: "MA interprets the phrase 'maker of signs' (nimitta-karana) to mean that lust, hate and delusion brand a person as a worldling or a noble one, as lustful, hating or deluded. But it may also mean that these defilements cause the mind to ascribe a false significance to things as being permanent, pleasurable, self, or beautiful."

I have seen Bhikkhu Bodhi accused of adding his own commentaries (or "neo-commentaries" as one person I know put it) and this could be a case here. But I like his interpretation. Our defiled minds plant the defilements in many objects that arise, infecting them in a way so that they will further defile our minds when arising in the future, something like that. Very interesting, I think. There are so many objects that are loaded with "false significance" because of the unskillful ways we have responded to them in the past.

Do you agree with BB's interpretation?

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:49 am

Greetings Phil,

phil wrote:Do you agree with BB's interpretation?


Yes. I believe it relates to noticing the characteristics of things, perception (and conceptualisation) of these characterists, and the subsequent papanca (mental profileration) that arises, fuelled by greed, aversion and delusion.

I think it is backed by the following sentence in MN 43 which states "In a monk whose fermentations are ended, these have been abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising."... and I don't think this is consistent with the regular usage of "nimitta", as commonly understood, which may occur during meditation even in the absence of asavas. It's interesting to see that even the commentary (from what you've presented) does not seem to speak of it in terms of images arising during meditation.

(It's a bit hard though to say much more about it, and keep within the spirit of the Classical Theravada forum, though).

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14520
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:17 am

Hi Retro,

Nimitta just means "sign", etc. You are referring to a particular sign (of concentration), which according to the following is a Commentarial development.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#nimitta
Nimitta: mark, sign; image; target, object; cause, condition. These meanings are used in, and adapted to, many contexts of which only the doctrinal ones are mentioned here.

1. 'Mental reflex-image', obtained in meditation. In full clarity, it will appear in the mind by successful practice of certain concentration-exercises and will then appear as vividly as if seen by the eye. The object perceived at the very beginning of concentration is called the preparatory image parikamma-nimitta The still unsteady and unclear image, which arises when the mind has reached a weak degree of concentration, is called the acquired image uggaha-nimitta An entirely clear and immovable image arising at a higher degree of concentration is the counter-image patibhāga-nimitta As soon as this image arises, the stage of neighbourhood or access concentration upacāra-samādhi is reached. For further details, see: kasina, samādhi.

2. 'Sign of previous kamma' kamma-nimitta and 'sign of the future destiny' gati-nimitta these arise as mental objects of the last kammic consciousness before death maranāsanna-kamma see: kamma, III, 3.

Usages 1 and 2 are commentarial see: App.. In sutta usage, the term occurs, e.g. as:

3. 'Outward appearance': of one who has sense-control it is said that he does not seize upon the general appearance' of an object na nimittaggāhī M. 38, D. 2; expl. Vis I, 54f; see sīla.

4. 'Object': the six objects, i.e. visual, etc. rūpa-nimitta a href=dic2-abbrev.htm#S. S. XXII, 3. Also, when in explanation of animitta-ceto-vimutti signless deliverance of mind see: ceto-vimutti vimokkha it is said, sabba-nimittānam amanasikārā it refers to the 6 sense-objects Com. to M. 43, and has therefore to be rendered;by paying no attention to any object or object-ideas.; - A pleasant or beautiful object subha-nimitta is a condition to the arising of the hindrance of sense-desire; a 'repellent object' patigha-nimitta for the hindrance of ill-will; contemplation on the impurity of an object asubha-nimitta see: asubha is an antidote to sense-desire.

5. In Pts.M. II, in a repetitive series of terms, nimitta appears together with uppādo origin of existence, pavattam continuity of existence, and may then be rendered by 'condition of existence' see: path, 194f..


Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 9612
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:41 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:...which according to the following is a Commentarial development.


Interesting - thanks.

The way I interpreted it in the context of the sutta, was as per definition #3.

'Outward appearance': of one who has sense-control it is said that he does not seize upon the general appearance' of an object

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14520
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:19 am

Hi Phil
phil wrote: Do you agree with BB's interpretation?


Please keep in mind the purpose of the Classical Theravada forum:

The Abhidhamma and Classical Theravada sub-forums are specialized venues for the discussion of the Abhidhamma and the classical Mahavihara understanding of the Dhamma. Within these forums the Pali Tipitaka and its commentaries are for discussion purposes treated as authoritative. These forums are for the benefit of those members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of these texts and are not for the challenging of the Abhidhamma and/or Theravada commentarial literature.

Posts should also include support from a reference or a citation (Tipitaka, commentarial, or from a later work from an author representative of the Classical point-of-view).

Posts that contain personal opinions and conjecture, points of view arrived at from meditative experiences, conversations with devas, blind faith in the supreme veracity of one's own teacher's point of view etc. are all regarded as off-topic, and as such, will be subject to moderator review and/or removal.


These guidelines were developed for the sake of members to gain a deeper understanding of the Classical Mahavihara point of view free from extraneous noise in the form of personal opinion (however well informed) or debate.

Having said that, Bhikkhu Bodhi is a scholar who is considered consistent with the Mahavihara.
Metta

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15786
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:27 am

Greetings,

Ben wrote:Bhikkhu Bodhi is a scholar who is considered consistent with the Mahavihara.


Or at least knows the Mahavihara perspective and with transparency, acknowledges any deviations between his perspective and that of the commentarial tradition.

Phil ~ Taking what Ben has said into account, would you like this topic to remain here or be transferred to the General Theravada section? Your topic - your call.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14520
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:41 am

Thanks Retro!
Phil, you're also welcome to reframe your question should you wish to make an exploration of the Classical perspective.
My apologies for not pointing that out earlier.
Metta

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15786
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Dmytro » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:33 am

Hi Phil,

The commentry of Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is quite in line with Atthakatha, if one looks a bit deeper:

Tattha vipassanā niccanimittaṃ sukhanimittaṃ attanimittaṃ ugghāṭetīti animittā nāma. Cattāro āruppā rūpanimittassa abhāvena animittā nāma. Maggaphalāni nimittakaraṇānaṃ kilesānaṃ abhāvena animittāni.

Pathikavagga-atthakattha 2.355
Salayatanavagga-Atthakatha 3.99

I hope this fits into 'Classical Theravada' 8-)

See also the thread:
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=17871

Metta, Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:51 am

Thanks Dmytro
Of course, it fits with the requisites for the Classical forum.
Though, a translation would be nice!!!
Metta

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15786
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby phil » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:10 am

Ben wrote:Thanks Retro!
Phil, you're also welcome to reframe your question should you wish to make an exploration of the Classical perspective.
My apologies for not pointing that out earlier.
Metta

Ben


Hi Ben and all

No problem. I'm happy to rephrase it. I didn't really mean to quetsion Bhikkhu Bodhi here, just to explore the true meaning of the sutta.

What are some other ways in which this idea is developed in the teachings, other ways the texts get at the way objects are marked by lust, hatred, delusion? And how does the Buddha guide us toward "unmarking" the objects, if you will, se that we can see through the vipallasas to the true nature of objects? I don't know if there is potential for this thread to be developed, but I'll put it up there anyways....

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:14 am

Greetings Phil,

phil wrote:And how does the Buddha guide us toward "unmarking" the objects, if you will, se that we can see through the vipallasas to the true nature of objects?


I think the intention with regards to this phrase is, in part, the promotion and endorsement of sense restraint. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the objects of the senses (on account of greed, aversion and delusion - as mentioned in the sutta) then we are no longer being mindful of their fundamental characteristics... namely anicca, anatta and dukkha.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14520
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby phil » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Phil,

phil wrote:And how does the Buddha guide us toward "unmarking" the objects, if you will, se that we can see through the vipallasas to the true nature of objects?


I think the intention with regards to this phrase is, in part, the promotion and endorsement of sense restraint. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the objects of the senses (on account of greed, aversion and delusion - as mentioned in the sutta) then we are no longer being mindful of their fundamental characteristics... namely anicca, anatta and dukkha.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro.

Yes, I was thinking of the Honeyball Sutta as I walked home. The proliferation laid out there is where the various notions related to the objects get spun out. I'm not a very insight-oriented person, so reflecting even on anicca doesn't come around for me. There tends to be more reflection on the harmfulness of behaviour that results from failing to guard the sense doors. But of course you are right that it is insight into the characteristics that does the "unmarking." What I usually do is just cut off the marking by thinking in conceptual terms about this or that behaviour (including mental proliferation) being bad for myself and others.

I guess asubha meditation and metta meditation, neither which are insight-related meditations from what I understand, would also help in demarking re lust and hatred, respectively. OK, I am a bit uncertain about how far away we can wander from actual text analysis in this corner, so I will step back now.

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:52 am

Hi,

Of course, it fits with the requisites for the Classical forum.
Though, a translation would be nice!!!


The point is that Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in his passage:

"MA interprets the phrase 'maker of signs' (nimitta-karana) to mean that lust, hate and delusion brand a person as a worldling or a noble one, as lustful, hating or deluded. But it may also mean that these defilements cause the mind to ascribe a false significance to things as being permanent, pleasurable, self, or beautiful."

doesn't add any new ideas, but just conveys the explanation of the Majjhima Nikaya Atthakatha.

What are some other ways in which this idea is developed in the teachings, other ways the texts get at the way objects are marked by lust, hatred, delusion? And how does the Buddha guide us toward "unmarking" the objects, if you will, se that we can see through the vipallasas to the true nature of objects?


This starts with guarding the sense doors:

"'Come you monk, be guarded as to the faculties of the senses; having seen a form with the eye, don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of sight uncontrolled, - covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in. So fare along controlling it, guard the faculty of sight, achieve control over the faculty of sight. Having heard a sound with the ear... Having smelt a smell with the nose... Having savored a taste with the tongue... Having felt a touch with the body... Having cognized a quality with the intellect (mano), don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of intellect uncontrolled, covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in. So fare along controlling it; guard the faculty of intellect, achieve control over the faculty of intellect.'

Majjhima Nikaya 107

On the stage of developing wisdom removal of the perversions of recognition (saññā-vipallasa) is a prevalent theme. I the Mahaparinibbana sutta, Buddha urged to develop the seven types of selective recognition (satta saññā):

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... t&p=312610

Metta, Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby phil » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:51 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi,

Of course, it fits with the requisites for the Classical forum.
Though, a translation would be nice!!!


The point is that Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in his passage:

"MA interprets the phrase 'maker of signs' (nimitta-karana) to mean that lust, hate and delusion brand a person as a worldling or a noble one, as lustful, hating or deluded. But it may also mean that these defilements cause the mind to ascribe a false significance to things as being permanent, pleasurable, self, or beautiful."

doesn't add any new ideas, but just conveys the explanation of the Majjhima Nikaya Atthakatha.

What are some other ways in which this idea is developed in the teachings, other ways the texts get at the way objects are marked by lust, hatred, delusion? And how does the Buddha guide us toward "unmarking" the objects, if you will, se that we can see through the vipallasas to the true nature of objects?


This starts with guarding the sense doors:

"'Come you monk, be guarded as to the faculties of the senses; having seen a form with the eye, don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of sight uncontrolled, - covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in. So fare along controlling it, guard the faculty of sight, achieve control over the faculty of sight. Having heard a sound with the ear... Having smelt a smell with the nose... Having savored a taste with the tongue... Having felt a touch with the body... Having cognized a quality with the intellect (mano), don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of intellect uncontrolled, covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in. So fare along controlling it; guard the faculty of intellect, achieve control over the faculty of intellect.'

Majjhima Nikaya 107

On the stage of developing wisdom removal of the perversions of recognition (saññā-vipallasa) is a prevalent theme. I the Mahaparinibbana sutta, Buddha urged to develop the seven types of selective recognition (satta saññā):

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... t&p=312610

Metta, Dmytro


Hi Dmytro

Thanks, very helpful expansion on your earlier post.

Yes, the oft-repeated description of guarding the sense doors as you quote: "having seen a form with the eye, don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of sight uncontrolled, - covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in."

This is what it's all about. I'm reminded of the great sutta in which a king asks one of the leading disciples about how to deal with the lust that arises when he walks in amoung his harem. He hears two suggestions (think of them as your sisters and daughters etc, or do asubha reflection on foulness) and he points out that both of those approaches might fail, because the defilements are so strong. But the thrid teaching he hears, the one above, is the one that sticks for him, and saves him from further suffering due to unbridled lust.

Thanks again.

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:47 am

Hi Phil,

I'm reminded of the great sutta in which a king asks one of the leading disciples about how to deal with the lust that arises when he walks in amoung his harem.


Thank you! If you or someone else reading this forum will point out the reference, this would be appreciated.

There's also a great description in Saundara-Nanda-kavya:

"When you have beheld a sight-object with your eyes, you must merely determine the basic element (which it represents, e.g., it is a sight-object), and should not under any circumstances fancy it as, say, a "woman" or a "man." But if now and then you have inadvertently grasped something as a "woman" or a "man," you should not follow that up by determining the hairs, teeth, etc., as lovely."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch2.2
http://www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/ebene_ ... vsaunu.htm

It's quite in line with Visuddhimagga, but puts a live touch in description.

Nanda was named the best in guarding the sense doors:

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ali-e.html

And there's a sutta about that:

Tatridaṃ, bhikkhave, nandassa indriyesu guttadvāratāya hoti. Sace, bhikkhave, nandassa puratthimā disā āloketabbā hoti, sabbaṃ cetasā samannāharitvā nando puratthimaṃ disaṃ āloketi– ‘evaṃ me puratthimaṃ disaṃ ālokayato nābhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssavissantī’ti. Itiha tattha sampajāno hoti.

“Sace, bhikkhave, nandassa pacchimā disā āloketabbā hoti …pe… uttarā disā āloketabbā hoti… dakkhiṇā disā āloketabbā hoti… uddhaṃ ulloketabbā hoti… adho oloketabbā hoti… anudisā anuviloketabbā hoti, sabbaṃ cetasā samannāharitvā nando anudisaṃ anuviloketi– ‘evaṃ me anudisaṃ anuvilokayato nābhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssavissantī’ti. Itiha tattha sampajāno hoti. Idaṃ kho, bhikkhave, nandassa indriyesu guttadvāratāya hoti.

in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

This, monks, is how Nanda guards his sense doors. If Nanda has to look to the east, he does so only after having everything considered well in his mind: "While I am looking to the east, I will not let covetousness and grief, or other evil, unwholesome states, enter my mind." Thus he has clear comprehension.

If he has to look to the west, south or north, he does so omly after having considered everything well in his mind: "While I am looking to the west, south or north, I will not let covetousness and grief, or other evil, unwholesome states, enter my mind." Thus he has clear comprehension.

See the whole Nanda sutta in another translation at:

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html

Metta, Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby vitellius » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:56 am

Hello all,

Dmytro wrote:There's also a great description in Saundara-Nanda-kavya:

"When you have beheld a sight-object with your eyes, you must merely determine the basic element (which it represents, e.g., it is a sight-object), and should not under any circumstances fancy it as, say, a "woman" or a "man." But if now and then you have inadvertently grasped something as a "woman" or a "man," you should not follow that up by determining the hairs, teeth, etc., as lovely."


There is something I couldn't understand about guarding sense doors. Deliberate control of recognition, such as not grasping gender characteristics, requires quite high concentration skills. But in "Gradual Training" guarding sense doors comes the second - right after learning to behave ethically according to Vinaya and before any other meditation or mindfulness practice.

Any ideas?
vitellius
 
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:21 pm

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:04 pm

Oleksandr wrote:There is something I couldn't understand about guarding sense doors. Deliberate control of recognition, such as not grasping gender characteristics, requires quite high concentration skills. But in "Gradual Training" guarding sense doors comes the second - right after learning to behave ethically according to Vinaya and before any other meditation or mindfulness practice.

Any ideas?

I recall it says "secluded from sensual pleasures". I think there are two different things here: a] the gradual training you mention is talking about finding a quiet place free from sensual distractions as a preparation for sitting in meditation and b] the practice of guarding the sense doors in all one's activities - walking around, going for alms, eating, etc.

I have heard that having engaged in unethical behavior is a hindrance to concentration because the mind is disturbed by guilt and fear associated with that behavior. Also, if one recklessly engages in sensual pursuits right before a meditation session, one's mind will be disturbed. Imagine watching an exciting movie and then immediately trying to sit in meditation! This is what I think the gradual training you mention means.

I hope this is helpful.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby vitellius » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:59 pm

Hello Peter, "secluded from sensual pleasures" is a common phrase for a "prerequisite" for jhana practice. As far as I remember the commentary explains it in line with your post, - it is both physical seclusion and seclusion from 5 hindrances.

In "gradual training" we have these stages:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html
1) Morality
2) Sense-control (topic of my question)
3) Moderation in eating
4) Vigilance
5) Mindfulness and clear consciousness
6) Overcoming of the five hindrances (here one becomes "secluded from sensual pleasures")
7) Jhana

Stage 2, guarding sense doors, seems to involve development of deliberate changes in recognition (sañña), such as not grasping gender characteristics (see previous posts in this thread).

As for me such recognitions are quite automated processes, and it seems unlikely that one can have big success working with them without at least ability to stay without five hindrances for some time (stage 6). Better ability to manage recognition is developed in jhana (stage 7), e.g.
- in jhana on light kasina one can perceive light even in dark
- in jhana on breathing one feels their body as filled with air (Vimuttimagga and Dhammadharo-Thanissaro method)
- sutta example when a monk concentrated on bones couldn't tell if he met a man or a woman (he perceived body as skeleton only)

But how without this ability developed on stages 6-7 one can do this on stage 2?
Come you monk, be guarded as to the faculties of the senses; having seen a form with the eye, don't grasp nor those perceptual images (nimitta), neither those details, due to which, - if one dwells with the faculty of sight uncontrolled, - covetousness and dejection, evil, unskillful mental qualities, may flow in.
vitellius
 
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:21 pm

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:30 am

Hi Oleksandr,

Thanks to jhana, one can temporarily suspend the hindrances, this is called "removal by temporary suspension" (vikkhambahana-pahāna).

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/pahaana.htm

Very skilful as it is, it's indeed hardly possible for beginners.

Beginners can use removal by the opposite (tadanga-pahāna). Here one "manually" cultivates another kind of recognition (saññā).
In this case, techniques like contemplation of the 32 parts of the body, or four elements of the body, are recommended.

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/a/asubha.htm

They are quite accessible, and bring immediate results.

The example of Nanda helps to understand another important aspect. One can be careful in directing the gaze in this or that direction, maintaining general balanced and spacious awareness.

Metta, Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A maker of signs (MN 43)

Postby phil » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:16 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Phil,

I'm reminded of the great sutta in which a king asks one of the leading disciples about how to deal with the lust that arises when he walks in amoung his harem.


Thank you! If you or someone else reading this forum will point out the reference, this would be appreciated.


Hi Dymtro

The sutta I was thinking of is SN:127


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... 7.than.htm

Since this is the classical section, I will abstain from rambling on about how helpful I have found this sutta! :smile:


Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Next

Return to Classical Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests