The causes for wisdom

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
pt1
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby pt1 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:55 am

tiltbillings wrote: I am not deliberately in my responses to robertk, Virgo/Kevin, and dhamma follower trying to misrepresent what they are saying. As I asked you once already, have you actually read the exchanges in this thread?

Yes, following the thread, though usually a few days behind.
tiltbillings wrote:Please show me where I have significantly misunderstood what was being said by the Sujin followers here.

When I just got in contact with K.S. students, I expressed pretty much the same criticisms as you did. They patiently kept explaining I was misunderstanding them. After a few years of getting a hold on the terminology, I might have a clue about some bits that I was misunderstanding. In fact, I now think there’s really not much difference between what K.S. and say Ledi Sayadaw teach. There are some differences of course, though in the grand scheme of things, not that important I think.

The point being, you don’t need to understand K.S. to be a Theravadin, but if you want to understand K.S, it helps to approach it with the same respect and eagerness to learn as you would any other favourite teacher. Otherwise, not much point wasting energy because the difference in exposition is vast and the meanings of most terms need to be redefined, e.g. “bhavana”, “practice”, “path”, etc . Anyway I’ll address a specific discussion issue in another post (probably tomorrow and to separate it from this rambling), not sure if it’ll really clarify things, if not, you can always try dsg if you get the inclination.

tiltbillings wrote:(I am a Registred Nurse, working night shift, which pays me well enough that I can do quite well working part time. When I am not working I keep night shift hours.)

Good to know, as a nursing assistant hoping to slowly work and study my way to registered nurse, I hope one day I’ll get to be as prolific online as you are.

Best wishes

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:42 pm

Thank you for your considered reply.

pt1 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: I am not deliberately in my responses to robertk, Virgo/Kevin, and dhamma follower trying to misrepresent what they are saying. As I asked you once already, have you actually read the exchanges in this thread?

Yes, following the thread, though usually a few days behind.
Okay. Then you must have seen that I addressed repeatedly the question of the use of conventional language:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=40#p228363

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=60#p228438

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=160#p229243

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=220#p229407

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=400#p230923

And many more, and the issue of conventional language was never really directly addressed by the KS followers here. So, maybe you can clarify this significant issue.

I might have a clue about some bits that I was misunderstanding. In fact, I now think there’s really not much difference between what K.S. and say Ledi Sayadaw teach. There are some differences of course, though in the grand scheme of things, not that important I think.
Given the wholesale dismissal of formal sitting practice by robertk and Dhamma follower – not just dismissal, but characterizing is as wrong and as lobha --, I look forward to your discussion of this.

The point being, you don’t need to understand K.S. to be a Theravadin
So far what I have seen of KS in this thread and in the links provided, she is an outlier, but I would welcome to be shown to be wrong in that assessment.

not much point wasting energy because the difference in exposition is vast and the meanings of most terms need to be redefined, e.g. “bhavana”, “practice”, “path”, etc .
And this actually makes the point her teachings being an outlier, especially when you add to that the pointed dismissal of more traditional approaches.

I look forward to what you have to say.
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

pt1
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby pt1 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:37 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And many more, and the issue of conventional language was never really directly addressed by the KS followers here. So, maybe you can clarify this significant issue.

I find more seasoned K.S. students have no problems using conventional speak. It’s a bit different for more recent students like me (and I suspect DF). I guess a certain level of understanding and confidence in the teachings is needed to be able to use conventional and ultimate speak together without problems. I still struggle and prefer ultimate-speak (which for me equals to pali terms in abhidhamma-like English sentences), mainly because of precision and not having to rely much on English for important terms because it’s not my native language, like it isn’t for most K.S. students, even though we communicate mostly in English.

Other reasons for ultimate speak among K.S. students, as I see it:

1. When you just get into contact with K.S. students, you notice a lot of pali, which I think is used partly to ease the communication between different nationals, but also because all the Theravadin classical texts are taken as authority – tipitaka, commentary and subcommentary. Thus, a lot of pali terms from abhidhamma and commentaries are in common parlance among K.S. students, so you have to look into abhidhamma and commentaries to understand the discussions.

2. For definitions of terms, one is usually directed to passages from suttas, but also, and sometimes even more often, to Dhammasangani, Visuddhimagga, Atthasalini, Samohavinodani and Abhidhammattha Sangaha. Thus, almost form the start, one’s interpretation of even the most basic terms is strongly influenced by abhidhamma and classical commentaries, which of course is different when compared to most modern Western Buddhist traditions.

3. As you probably know, commentaries are somewhat specific – they sometimes use and build upon abhidhamma terminology, employ abhidhamma-like exposition, momentariness, as well as sometimes a specific tone – more negative statements concerning actions and people, while statements concerning dhammas are more affirmative (e.g. Vis. XVI, 90: "Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found; The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there”).

4.Such tone of exposition obviously influences the way K.S. students discuss Dhamma (e.g. using statements like “no one can make mindfulness arise”), and it did feel quite foreign initially because I was used to sutta-only and meditation-speak (e.g. “a person should develop mindfulness”) that usually take the opposite tone - more affirmative on actions and people but more negative on dhammas. Incidentally, both types of the above statements would be used in K.S. discussions, and it used to really confuse me initially, until it was explained to me that the two statements essentially refer to the same thing, though seemingly being exact opposites due to positive conventional speak tone and negative ultimate speak tone.

Anyway, I feel it’s quite natural that if you’re spending a lot of time discussing abhidhamma and commentaries, your discussions would tend to be shaped by the terms and tone of the matter discussed, just like if you’re discussing meditation a lot, your discussion would then be shaped by meditation experiences. Of course, which one is better or more correct as an interpretation of suttas, I guess that’s up to each person to determine on one’s own, but I feel K.S. students can't be blamed for talking the way they usually do, just like you can’t blame people from Brazil for speaking English with a Portuguese accent. That said, I feel “when in Rome…” should apply, so if a K.S. student is participating in Dhamma Wheel discussions, an effort should be made to use conventional-speak, which is the lingua franca here.

Don’t know if this addresses what you were trying to understand regarding terminology? Maybe before moving on to the issue of formal practice I should give an example to illustrate the equality between ultimate and conventional speak statements despite them seeming to be complete opposites due to tone? Didn’t want to make this post overly long.

Best wishes

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:26 pm

Thank you for time you put into this.

pt1 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And many more, and the issue of conventional language was never really directly addressed by the KS followers here. So, maybe you can clarify this significant issue.

I find more seasoned K.S. students have no problems using conventional speak. It’s a bit different for more recent students like me (and I suspect DF). I guess a certain level of understanding and confidence in the teachings is needed to be able to use conventional and ultimate speak together without problems. I still struggle and prefer ultimate-speak (which for me equals to pali terms in abhidhamma-like English sentences), mainly because of precision and not having to rely much on English for important terms because it’s not my native language, like it isn’t for most K.S. students, even though we communicate mostly in English.
From what I undetrstand robertk is not a KS neophyte.

2. For definitions of terms, one is usually directed to passages from suttas, but also, and sometimes even more often, to Dhammasangani, Visuddhimagga, Atthasalini, Samohavinodani and Abhidhammattha Sangaha. Thus, almost form the start, one’s interpretation of even the most basic terms is strongly influenced by abhidhamma and classical commentaries, which of course is different when compared to most modern Western Buddhist traditions.
Almost every one of these texts has been quoted in this thread, and, as I have addressed this issue above, I am not impressed with how they are used.

4.Such tone of exposition obviously influences the way K.S. students discuss Dhamma (e.g. using statements like “no one can make mindfulness arise”), and it did feel quite foreign initially because I was used to sutta-only and meditation-speak (e.g. “a person should develop mindfulness”) that usually take the opposite tone - more affirmative on actions and people but more negative on dhammas. Incidentally, both types of the above statements would be used in K.S. discussions, and it used to really confuse me initially, until it was explained to me that the two statements essentially refer to the same thing, though seemingly being exact opposites due to positive conventional speak tone and negative ultimate speak tone.
So, you would not agree with robertk's highly dismissive and bitingly negative assessment of meditation practice: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=80#p228511 ?

but I feel K.S. students can't be blamed for talking the way they usually do, just like you can’t blame people from Brazil for speaking English with a Portuguese accent. That said, I feel “when in Rome…” should apply, so if a K.S. student is participating in Dhamma Wheel discussions, an effort should be made to use conventional-speak, which is the lingua franca here.
I'd blame KS for much of what I heard here. Listen to that Q&A talk on metta linked above by Virgo: http://www.dhammastudygroup.org/audio/2012-01-kk/2012-01-25-am-b-01.mp3 What I find unfortunate in this is that KS does not really seem to understand what actual meditation is about as a process of growth in understanding, and the negative attitude she which has toward "sitting in the dark" is reflected in her students, and that has been reflected in this thread.

Don’t know if this addresses what you were trying to understand regarding terminology? Maybe before moving on to the issue of formal practice I should give an example to illustrate the equality between ultimate and conventional speak statements despite them seeming to be complete opposites due to tone? Didn’t want to make this post overly long.
I think you have a some heavy lifting to do here. Don't worry about the length of the msgs, as long as they are on point, which I do not see as an issue with you. Please do illustrate your point about conventional and ultimate language. It would seem that, as of yet, KS has not been well served in this thread.
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

pt1
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby pt1 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:13 am

Glad to continue the discussion.
tiltbillings wrote:From what I undetrstand robertk is not a KS neophyte.

Yes, he’s been at it a lot longer than me, so I haven’t mentioned him among us of the newer crop. I think he’s actually quite good in using both terminologies, and in fact, I recall him criticising me on several occasions when I was dismissing conventional speak in favor of ultimate speak. I suspect he just doesn’t have the time to get into lengthy discussions at the moment.

tiltbillings wrote:So, you would not agree with robertk's highly dismissive and bitingly negative assessment of meditation practice: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=80#p228511 ?
...
What I find unfortunate in this is that KS does not really seem to understand what actual meditation is about as a process of growth in understanding, and the negative attitude she which has toward "sitting in the dark" is reflected in her students, and that has been reflected in this thread.

When I was trying to make sense of similar K.S. and her students' statements, as a meditator, I found it helpful to put the statements into context regarding who’s the speaker, to whom the statement is intended and how do both understand “bhavana” (translated as development, practice, meditation). If that’s alright, I’ll get into this in the next post as it is probably the central difference here.

tiltbillings wrote:Please do illustrate your point about conventional and ultimate language.

I used to get confused when just starting with Nina Van Gorkom books when in one sentence she would say something like – (a) “we should develop mindfulness”, but then in the next sentence she would say something like – (b) “no one can make mindfulness arise”. I’d then ask – but aren’t the two statements exact opposites?! I was then explained that they weren’t - it’s just that one is conventional speak, the other ultimate speak, both describing more or less the same thing.

(a) “we should develop mindfulness” - this is conventional speak, taking on the positive tone, reminiscent of the similar exhortations in the suttas and in meditation speak. (Incidentally, someone questioned the issue of “we” statements earlier - I don’t really know, but I suspect it’s one of those non-English expressions that got translated into English literally and then just stuck. It’s basically just an equivalent of “a person should develop mindfulness”, “one should…” type of conventional expressions, etc.)

Now, if I was looking for the worst in the statement (a), I’d conclude that it is advocating self-view and mindfulness as something permanent that isn’t conditioned. This of course isn’t the intended meaning of the statement. So, looking for the best in the statement, I’d say it is trying to point to something like a neutral statement (c) – “mindfulness is conditioned and not self”, because I presume that someone with developed wisdom, and accordingly developed mindfulness (as the intended end result of the statement (a)), would understand mindfulness as such.

(b) “No one can make mindfulness arise” – this is ultimate speak, as well as taking on the occasional negative tone of the commentaries (negative on people and actions, positive on dhammas). Now, if I was looking for the worst in this statement, I’d conclude that it is advocating fatalism and passivity. This of course isn’t the intended meaning of the statement. Rather, it is meant to emphasize anatta and conditionality of mindfulness. So, looking for the best in the statement, I’d say it is again trying to point to something like a neutral statement - (c) “mindfulness is conditioned and not self”.

So basically, the two can be interpreted in the same way if looking for the best in them, even though they seem entirely opposite. I feel that both types of speech can work, sometimes a person needs to hear it one way, sometimes it might help to hear it another way. I’m under the impression that a lot of misunderstandings in this thread arose due to looking for the worst in each other's statements.

Similarly, regarding K.S. and her students’ statements on meditation - even though a meditator can find them critical and hostile even, I generally find them really helpful when looking for the best in them. Of course, even then, the statements might not work for everyone. Anyway, I’ll get on the subject of criticising formal meditation in the next post, just please give me a few days to come up with something decent.

Best wishes

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:28 am

So, you would not agree with robertk's highly dismissive and bitingly negative assessment of meditation practice: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=80#p228511 ?

This is what I said in that link:

robertk wrote: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.


If you think that is dismissive and bitingly negative you maybe don't realize how much I enjoy Tuna sandwiches> :smile:

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:53 am

robertk wrote:
So, you would not agree with robertk's highly dismissive and bitingly negative assessment of meditation practice: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=80#p228511 ?

This is what I said in that link:

robertk wrote: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.
If you think that is dismissive and bitingly negative you maybe don't realize how much I enjoy Tuna sandwiches> :smile:
Damdifino how much you enjoy tuna sandiches. Your initial comment comes across a negative and dismissive, and this comment only adds to the negativity. Maybe you could try writing in a far more straightforward manner.
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 Mar 17, 2013 11:49 am

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:
So, you would not agree with robertk's highly dismissive and bitingly negative assessment of meditation practice: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=80#p228511 ?

This is what I said in that link:

robertk wrote: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.
If you think that is dismissive and bitingly negative you maybe don't realize how much I enjoy Tuna sandwiches> :smile:
Damdifino how much you enjoy tuna sandiches. Your initial comment comes across a negative and dismissive, and this comment only adds to the negativity. Maybe you could try writing in a far more straightforward manner.

Earlier in the thread I wrote this:
Here is a quote from a popular book by Venerable Gunaratana,Mindfulness in Plain English:

One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state.. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness.

I agree with that quote
I don't believe that vipassana/satipatthana is related to posture. I believe that satipatthana can arise while eating a tuna sandwich at Belly Sandwich, or even at Subway. It can also arise while sitting in lotus posture in a jungle.
This is because it is a purely mental phenomena, and unlike samatha development, where sound is a thorn, vipassana can be aware of sound or of unpleasant feeling or pleasant taste. It can even arise "in the midst or a raging fury" or "in the middle or a footall scrimmage"> THis is because "mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness"

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:32 pm

robertk wrote:Here is a quote from a popular book by Venerable Gunaratana,Mindfulness in Plain English:

One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state.. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness.

I agree with that quote
I don't believe that vipassana/satipatthana is related to posture. I believe that satipatthana can arise while eating a tuna sandwich at Belly Sandwich, or even at Subway. It can also arise while sitting in lotus posture in a jungle.
This is because it is a purely mental phenomena, and unlike samatha development, where sound is a thorn, vipassana can be aware of sound or of unpleasant feeling or pleasant taste. It can even arise "in the midst or a raging fury" or "in the middle or a footall scrimmage"> THis is because "mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness"
I wonder if you agree with the full context of this quote in Ven G's book, which is that mindfulness can be deliberately cultivated, and it is a matter of discipline choice that leads to the cultivation of mindfulness. Also, that passage refers to a well cultivated mindfulness. Like passages you have quoted above, this also seems to be out of context in the way you are using it here.
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 pulga » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:31 pm

I still don't have the time to engage in much "heavy lifting", but I noticed that two of the sutta quotes offered in support of a mundane interpretation of yoniso manasikara come from the Kalyanamittavagga of the Anguttaranikaya. A kalyanamitta is explicitly defined as an ariyan in the Suttas, later the monks felt the need to introduce the notion of a "kalyana puthujjana" (Patisambidhamagga and the Commentaries) to compensate for the dearth of ariyans in their midst.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby daverupa » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:51 pm

pulga wrote:I still don't have the time to engage in much "heavy lifting"


It's cool, I'll wait.

:meditate:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:06 pm

robertk:This is because it is a purely mental phenomena, and unlike samatha development, where sound is a thorn, vipassana can be aware of sound or of unpleasant feeling or pleasant taste. It can even arise "in the midst or a raging fury" or "in the middle or a footall scrimmage"> THis is because "mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness"

I wonder if you agree with the full context of this quote in Ven G's book, which is that mindfulness can be deliberately cultivated, and it is a matter of discipline choice that leads to the cultivation of mindfulness. Also, that passage refers to a well cultivated mindfulness. Like passages you have quoted above, this also seems to be out of context in the way you are using it here.


well lets look at what well cultivated mindfulness is?
do you mean it is something that happens while in a meditation retreat? if so is it a 10 day retreat, or a one month , or three year? say he is in a football scimmage after the retreat, is there a time limit, after the retreat ends, when he no longer has the ability to have mindfulness in the football scrimmage or while in a raging fury
or does it apply to someone who meditates an hour a day? or twice a day?

when this person is in the middle of a football scrimmage what sort of processes arise that give this "discipline choice" that you mention?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:57 pm

robertk wrote:robertk:This is because it is a purely mental phenomena, and unlike samatha development, where sound is a thorn, vipassana can be aware of sound or of unpleasant feeling or pleasant taste. It can even arise "in the midst or a raging fury" or "in the middle or a footall scrimmage"> THis is because "mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness"

I wonder if you agree with the full context of this quote in Ven G's book, which is that mindfulness can be deliberately cultivated, and it is a matter of discipline choice that leads to the cultivation of mindfulness. Also, that passage refers to a well cultivated mindfulness. Like passages you have quoted above, this also seems to be out of context in the way you are using it here.


well lets look at what well cultivated mindfulness is?
do you mean it is something that happens while in a meditation retreat? if so is it a 10 day retreat, or a one month , or three year? say he is in a football scimmage after the retreat, is there a time limit, after the retreat ends, when he no longer has the ability to have mindfulness in the football scrimmage or while in a raging fury
or does it apply to someone who meditates an hour a day? or twice a day?

when this person is in the middle of a football scrimmage what sort of processes arise that give this "discipline choice" that you mention?
The fact of the matter is that mindfulness can be deliberately cultivated by a formal meditation practice, which is one of the major points of Bhante G's book, but that is something that KS and her acolytes have denied as having any real value, rejecting any attempt at sitting meditation being lobha or some other negative mental state, and you own comments support the KS point of view. You have taken the Bhante G quote out of its context.
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 tiltbillings » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:00 pm

pulga wrote:I still don't have the time to engage in much "heavy lifting", but I noticed that two of the sutta quotes offered in support of a mundane interpretation of yoniso manasikara come from the Kalyanamittavagga of the Anguttaranikaya. A kalyanamitta is explicitly defined as an ariyan in the Suttas, later the monks felt the need to introduce the notion of a "kalyana puthujjana" (Patisambidhamagga and the Commentaries) to compensate for the dearth of ariyans in their midst.
And you do not have the time to even quote the two suttas you just mentioned. At this point, I'll stay with the highly educated and experienced bhikkhus who have done the work for which you have no time.
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 Spiny Norman » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:44 pm

robertk wrote:or does it apply to someone who meditates an hour a day? or twice a day?


From a practical point of view I've found that the more sitting meditation I can do, the more mindful I am able to be.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:11 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Several things: the response to dhamma follower concerning having to be awakened to be awakened was an attempt at trying to clarify something she said several times, but -- alas -- she never clarified the point, even after asking her to do so several times.



Dear Tilt,

I thought I was being clear in my answer...Well, probably there are some different ground ideas which give rise to misunderstanding between us on this regard. For example, when i talked about wisdom/understanding, i was referring to the panna cetasika, which is not necessarily ariyan, but just the mental factor which understands correctly. This mental factor can be of intellectual level, i.e having concepts as object, or of the level of direct understanding or insight i.e having paramatha dhammas as object. Thus, when speaking about understanding as being the forerunner factor which cultivates the Path, I didn't mean one had to be awakened to be awakened. What was meant is that without hearing the Buddha's words, there's no way for vipassana to be developed. The wisdom contained in his words conditions the right understanding- first, at an intellectual level- in the hearer. The understanding thus gained can be a condition for further understanding, which at some point, can condition direct understanding.

We usually think that intellectual understanding is one thing, and direct understanding is another, which is totally right. However, we are not inclined to believe that it is the intellectual understanding which conditions direct understanding. This thread is an attempt (at least to me) to demonstrate that it is precisely this intellectual understanding gained from hearing the right dhamma which is the cause of direct understanding.

When we talk about an activity, such as doing meditation, attending dhamma discussions, we actually talk about countless moments of many different kinds of mental states, then not all kinds of mental states occurring during those moments can be said to be the cause of wisdom. By way of paccaya, moments of unwholesomeness can not condition moment of wholesomeness. Only wholesomeness can condition other moments of wholesomeness, and only understanding can condition further understanding.

Another thing: I - or Robertk- have never asserted that understanding can not be developed, or should not be. Of course it should be. But since dhammas don't arise at someone's will, we need to understand what conditions what. Even something we often talk about like "sati"- how much we understand its characteristics? how much we understand the conditions for its arising? Without really understanding what is sati, can we cultivate it? If you agree that everything is merely impersonal processes, then it should follows that understanding is not developed by a self- but by its precise conditions. This understanding is crucial.

When we talk about "deliberate development", I'm afraid that we are making cetana- will- the forerunner of the Path. Of course, language sometime can be an issue. We can not avoid using conventional speak. But does one really understand that it is only conventional, or does one take its meaning literally, that is something I think important to find out.

I don't know if this post is any clearer than my previous ones...But actually I don't find repetition a bad thing anymore, sometime i have to listen to something many many times without knowing what it is about, until one moment it clicks...

Best regards,
D.F

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:41 pm

It may have been exceedingly exceptional but the Buddha awakened. He had no one to show him the way.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:14 am

Prasadachitta wrote:It may have been exceedingly exceptional but the Buddha awakened. He had no one to show him the way.


Greeting Prasadachitta,

Indeed, it is exceedingly exceptional, that's why he is called samma sambuddha - the one who has become enlightened without a teacher. You might know that it is by virtue of his exceptional paramis which have been developed for a really looooooooong time, 4 aons and 100.000 kappa at the shortest...However, his understanding has also been developed throughout those time thanks to listening to other Buddhas' teachings. He has met 24 Buddhas since he was predicted to become one, until his own enlightenment. If you are interested in the subject, the book "the perfections leading to enlightenment" by Nina Van Gorkom- Sujin is a very good one. There, we read that in his previous lives,the Boddhisatta who is to become our Buddha Gotama already reached very high level of understanding, along with all other paramis.

Apart from Buddhas, all others are hearers. A Boddhisatta also is a hearer for many lifetimes.

Who are we compared to the qualities he was endowed with?

Brgrds,
D.F

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:24 am

Greetings DF,

dhamma follower wrote:Who are we compared to the qualities he was endowed with?

Similarly, who are we to make up the qualities and history he was endowed with? Much of what you state about his history and path to enlightenment was not actually said by the Buddha himself and is just hagiography created by others to make the Buddha sound more impressive to those who are impressed by such grandeur.

It would be rather unfortunate if we did not look directly at the Buddha's own teachings, as they were presented, but insisted on filtering them through posthumous hagiography and scholastic frameworks instead.

SN 20.7: Ani Sutta wrote:Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained. [1]

"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."

Note
1. Ironically, the Commentary notes that the drum originally could be heard for twelve leagues, but in its final condition couldn't be heard even from behind a curtain.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby pulga » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:05 am

tiltbillings wrote: At this point, I'll stay with the highly educated and experienced bhikkhus who have done the work for which you have no time.


I've got a question regarding Ven. Bodhi's introduction to the Sotapattisamyutta in his translation of the Samyutta Nikaya. On pages 1517 and 1518 he refers to the tetrad of the sotapattiyangani as "qualities that must be actualized to attain stream-entry" -- which I'm in full agreement with. But later on page 1520 he writes: "These qualities lead not only to stream-entry but to all the fruits of the path."(my emphasis) -- thus implying that the puthujjana possesses these qualities prior to having actualized them. Does Ven. Bodhi mean to say that the sotapattiyangani are within the domain of the puthujjana? Is it appropriate to attribute the sotapattiyangani to the puthujjana prior to stream-entry?

Any clarification would be welcome.


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