The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 1:41 pm

kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:But I still maintain that for the development of vipassana one is ready to face any object anytime and that preferencing certain postures or activities is actually counterproductive.

For the development of vipassana, concentration has to be developed. So how, in your view, is concentration developed?

i think i quoted this sutta eariler in this thread.
Anguttara Nikaya 10:121
Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states.
For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up.


right view always comes together with right concentration and right mindfulness. it is true that moments of patipati , practice, those brief moments when dhammas are known directly, come with higher degrees of (right) concentration.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby daverupa » Mon May 06, 2013 1:48 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Exactly how those conditions arise is the key question and the area of disagreement, it seems.


AN 10.71 wrote:"If a monk would wish, 'May I attain — whenever I want, without strain, without difficulty — the four jhanas that are heightened mental states, pleasant abidings in the here-&-now,' then he should be one who brings the precepts to perfection, who is committed to inner tranquillity of awareness, who does not neglect jhana, who is endowed with insight, and who frequents empty dwellings.


AN 4.94 wrote:"As for the individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, his duty is to make an effort in establishing ('tuning') those very same skillful qualities to a higher degree for the ending of the (mental) fermentations.
    "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 kirk5a » Mon May 06, 2013 1:55 pm

robertk wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:But I still maintain that for the development of vipassana one is ready to face any object anytime and that preferencing certain postures or activities is actually counterproductive.

For the development of vipassana, concentration has to be developed. So how, in your view, is concentration developed?

i think i quoted this sutta eariler in this thread.
Anguttara Nikaya 10:121
Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states.
For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up.


right view always comes together with right concentration and right mindfulness. it is true that moments of patipati , practice, those brief moments when dhammas are known directly, come with higher degrees of (right) concentration.

And these "brief moments" you're talking about, in your view are they conditioned in any respect, in any way along the line, by volition?
"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 robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 2:25 pm

volition , cetana, comes with practically all moments. Sometimes strong, sometimes weak and barely noticeble.
Conventionally we decide to be buddhists, decide to follow this teacher or that teacher.
But at the level of elements there are merely certain types of citta, accompanied by cetana, and with wisdom or without, that perform their functions of being interested in this or that (manipulated by the strings of either wisdom or greed or ignorance).

One story from the Commentaries tells of a queen who was extremely beautiful. She had heard that the Buddha spoke about foulness of the body so she resisted meeting him. Her King, who was a sotapanna finally told his men to bring her to the Buddha's talk. But still she insisted on staying at the edge of the crowd. The Buddha conjured an image of a beautiful woman who slowly aged and then died. The queen had no wish to see this or to listen to the talk but seeing and hearing wosdom grew and she became enlightened where she stood.

Overall I think it is because of not really seeing the way that we place emphasis on choosing this way or that way. If wisdom grows then I think volition is seen as merely an element, often associated with lobha, and it is other elements that play the main role in this path.
And also elements are so ephemeral..
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Mon May 06, 2013 2:40 pm

robertk wrote:volition , cetana, comes with practically all moments. Sometimes strong, sometimes weak and barely noticeble.
Conventionally we decide to be buddhists, decide to follow this teacher or that teacher.
But at the level of elements there are merely certain types of citta, accompanied by cetana, and with wisdom or without, that perform their functions of being interested in this or that (manipulated by the strings of either wisdom or greed or ignorance).
...
Overall I think it is because of not really seeing the way that we place emphasis on choosing this way or that way. If wisdom grows then I think volition is seen as merely an element, often associated with lobha, and it is other elements that play the main role in this path.
And also elements are so ephemeral..

Your assertion is "often" not "always." So you can't really say for sure whether the choices of others are associated with lobha or wisdom.
"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 robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 2:47 pm

That is true. :anjali:
My own volitions are almost always with lobha. It covers everything, so this path is not so obvious. But if we mix wrong view with lobha then it gets harder: hence the reason for this thread- to look at the causes for wisdom/rightview.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Nyana » Mon May 06, 2013 2:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Despite what some people think, Nanavira Thera was not being malicious when he said the following in the preface to Notes On Dhamma... he was being incisively accurate on the state of play.

Nanavira Thera wrote:These books of the Pali Canon correctly represent the Buddha's Teaching, and can be regarded as trustworthy throughout. (Vinayapitaka:) Suttavibhanga, Mahāvagga, Cūlavagga; (Suttapitaka:) Dīghanikāya, Majjhimanikāya, Samyuttanikāya, Anguttaranikāya, Suttanipāta, Dhammapada, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Theratherīgāthā. (The Jātaka verses may be authentic, but they do not come within the scope of these Notes.) No other Pali books whatsoever should be taken as authoritative; and ignorance of them (and particularly of the traditional Commentaries) may be counted a positive advantage, as leaving less to be unlearned.


I don't think Ñāṇavīra was necessarily being malicious, but I don't think that he was being "incisively accurate" either. It seems to me that Ñāṇavīra's view as quoted in the above passage is an extremist position.

Extreme #1: All Pāli commentaries are useless and have no positive value.

Extreme #2: All Pāli commentaries are perfect and essential.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Mon May 06, 2013 3:06 pm

robertk wrote:That is true. :anjali:
My own volitions are almost always with lobha. It covers everything, so this path is not so obvious. But if we mix wrong view with lobha then it gets harder: hence the reason for this thread- to look at the causes for wisdom/rightview.

"Wrong view" - define, please. What is it, exactly, that you are calling "wrong view"?
"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 mikenz66 » Mon May 06, 2013 7:31 pm

robertk wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:But I still maintain that for the development of vipassana one is ready to face any object anytime and that preferencing certain postures or activities is actually counterproductive.

For the development of vipassana, concentration has to be developed. So how, in your view, is concentration developed?

i think i quoted this sutta eariler in this thread.
Anguttara Nikaya 10:121
Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states.
For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up.


right view always comes together with right concentration and right mindfulness. it is true that moments of patipati , practice, those brief moments when dhammas are known directly, come with higher degrees of (right) concentration.

This text is common, and appears to be the same as the extract from AN 1.103 that I quoted in these posts:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=740#p243244
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=17013&p=243109#p243109

It's interesting to see the different interpretations of this passage. Robert interprets it in terms of short timescales, of the whole process recurring moment to moment. Most teachers I know (such as Ajahn Brahm in the link above) talk about a much longer timescale, where the effort, mindfulness, and so on are developed over a period of time, usually involving some sort of "formal" practice. In either case, of course, the actions are conditioned by causes and conditions, not by some self willing itself to be a certain way. To paraphrase what Ajahn Brahm says in the talk I linked to, his practice was conditioned by what Ajahn Chah instructed him to do, which was conditioned by his teacher, and so on, back to the Buddha:
Ajahn Brahm wrote:that was the great thing about a Buddha arising ... it makes enlightenment possible... just cause and effect


:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Mon May 06, 2013 7:36 pm

mikenz66 wrote:In either case, of course, the actions are conditioned by causes and conditions, not by some self willing itself to be a certain way. To paraphrase what Ajahn Brahm says in the talk I linked to, his practice was conditioned by what Ajahn Chah instructed him to do, which was conditioned by his teacher, and so on, back to the Buddha:
Ajahn Brahm wrote:that was the great thing about a Buddha arising ... it makes enlightenment possible... just cause and effect


yes... but he did what he was instructed to do. Which is a matter of volitional activity. It doesn't just happen "on it's own."
"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 mikenz66 » Mon May 06, 2013 7:40 pm

But isn't that volition conditioned and not-self?

"Mental formations, O monks, are not-self; if mental formations were self, then mental formations would not lead to affliction and it should obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my perception be thus, may my mental formations not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since mental formations are not-self, therefore, mental formations lead to affliction and it does not obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my mental formations be thus, may my mental formations not be thus.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .mend.html


:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 06, 2013 8:07 pm

mikenz66 wrote:But isn't that volition conditioned and not-self?

"Mental formations, O monks, are not-self; if mental formations were self, then mental formations would not lead to affliction and it should obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my perception be thus, may my mental formations not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since mental formations are not-self, therefore, mental formations lead to affliction and it does not obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my mental formations be thus, may my mental formations not be thus.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .mend.html


:anjali:
Mike


What if a person is dropped into deep part of a lake. Will he attempt to swim to safety, or do nothing except thinking that "conditions will decide"?
Last edited by Alex123 on Mon May 06, 2013 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Mon May 06, 2013 8:08 pm

mikenz66 wrote:But isn't that volition conditioned and not-self?

Yes, BUT it doesn't happen "on its own." If the individual remains in a state of passivity, no volition happens, no volitional activity happens. The instructions are not carried out until the individual volitionally carries them out. That is not self-view. It is simply - volitional action in line with the instructions given.
"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 mikenz66 » Mon May 06, 2013 8:29 pm

Well, sure, there has to be doing:
... it is not proper for you to assert that, "Whatever a person experiences — pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain — all is caused by what was done in the past.
...
"And how is striving fruitful, how is exertion fruitful? There is the case where a monk, when not loaded down, does not load himself down with pain, nor does he reject pleasure that accords with the Dhamma, although he is not fixated on that pleasure. He discerns that 'When I exert a [physical, verbal, or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of exertion there is dispassion. When I look on with equanimity at that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is dispassion.' So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity. Thus the stress coming from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the fabrication of exertion is exhausted & the stress resulting from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the development of equanimity is exhausted.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 8:34 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Well, sure, there has to be doing:
... it is not proper for you to assert that, "Whatever a person experiences — pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain — all is caused by what was done in the past.
...
"And how is striving fruitful, how is exertion fruitful? There is the case where a monk, when not loaded down, does not load himself down with pain, nor does he reject pleasure that accords with the Dhamma, although he is not fixated on that pleasure. He discerns that 'When I exert a [physical, verbal, or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of exertion there is dispassion. When I look on with equanimity at that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is dispassion.' So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity. Thus the stress coming from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the fabrication of exertion is exhausted & the stress resulting from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the development of equanimity is exhausted.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


:anjali:
Mike
This passage totally undermines the Sujinist point of view on any number of levels.
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.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue May 07, 2013 7:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

dhamma follower wrote:It is beyond anyone's control whether there's right consideration or not.

dhamma follower wrote:These conditions are them-selves also dhammas which have their own conditions to arise. Like now, can you say let’s the sense of urgency arise in me, and then it will arise? But when by conditions ( thanks to hearing the Dhamma and reflecting wisely), it does arise at a non-predicted moment, it conditions right effort to perform its own functions. At that moment, there’s kamma which leads to the beyond.


fa·tal·ism
/ˈfātlˌizəm/
Noun
1. The belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable.
2. A submissive attitude to events, resulting from such a belief.

Dhammafollower... what do you make of the following statement, in particular the bolded portion?

There is no shortening or lengthening, no accelerating or decelerating. Just as a ball of string, when thrown, comes to its end simply by unwinding, in the same way, having transmigrated and wandered on, the wise and the foolish alike will put an end to pain.'

Metta,
Retro. :)


Dear Retro,

I think there's samsara and the way out of samsara, the Eight Noblefold Path, which is taught by the Buddha. And I also think that although there is a Path, there is no walker of the Path. The factors of the Path are elements which have the cause as hearing the Dhamma taught by a Sammasambudha and right consideration of it, which is also a conditioned element.

I am aware that the arguments we present here can be easily misunderstood to be a statement of fatalism. Actually, whether thinking that one should do something, or one should not do something, both can be an expression of the idea of a self. The truth is that dependent on what is heard and how it has been understood, some people will go worshiping fire, others will go to a meditation centers, others to a cave, others read Dhamma books...However, I don't consider that those activities are in them-selves the Path. A moment of right understanding can occur any time. And when it occurs, it should understand that whatever arises, arises by conditions. But without hearing the words of the Enlightened ones, that would be impossible, that's why the appearance of a Sammasambuddha is such a great event.

I would comment on the passage you quoted should I see the whole context of it. Also, English being not my mother tongue, when the meaning is not clear, I prefer to refrain from commenting.

Brgds,

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue May 07, 2013 8:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:I don't find Robert's posts unpleasant, and I did have a nice afternoon tea with Robert and some of his friends in Bangkok. And I have no problem with them presenting their opinions. However, my impression of their criticisms of other teachers is like Tilt's: that they inaccurate and often evasive. Rather than pointing out something specific that someone is teaching or doing wrong, the discussion (as in this thread) tends to focus on assumptions about what "meditators" do.

For example, this is the sort of argument I have frequently heard from Robert and his friends:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 00#p228748
dhamma follower wrote:... if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?
The highlighted statement simply makes an assumption about the motivation.

I have given examples of what other teachers say, which I find to be consistent with the statements from the Buddha that anything that arises does so from causes and conditions. I was hoping that by giving such references we we might be able to discuss in detail where exactly particular teachers and Dhamma practitioners are, or are not, making serious errors. This is clearly an important question, but to answer it requires engagement with the specifics.

:anjali:
Mike


Dear Mike,

What you have said here actually points out one of the characteristics of A.S approach. And I think that is worthwhile to discuss a little bit about that. Personally, I've never heard her criticizing any teacher. And it seems that most of her students seem to do the same.

As one of the underlying ideas in her explanation of the Dhamma is that there's no person, only realities arising and falling away. Each moment is different and is conditioned by a different set of conditions. With that idea in mind, it would be inappropriate to say "this person is wrong", or "that person is right", as the same person can have moments of right understanding of certain aspects, and at other moments, wrong understanding again. So that's why there is this "assumption of what a meditator does" which actually steems from a mere attempt to see what conditions what.

With that premise, A.S actually asks: WHY formal meditation? What is the ground motivation for a particular person who wants to commit to formal practice? What does such motivation imply? Is that consistent with the teaching of anattaness?

Another example is her examination of what is sati, what is its characteristics, what are the conditions for its arising? What is the object of satipatthana? Then we can check for our-sevles whether trying to be aware is sati

....

So her approach is not to point out the fault of another, but to show what is the right development, what is the right understanding, then each person can examine for him or her self whether his previous understanding is right or wrong. Sometime it clicks, and sometime it doesn't. Something clicks and other things don't, by conditions.

In one of her discussions in Kaeng Krachan 2012, she asked back when someone said she liked to do meditation:

AS: You want to meditate with understanding or not with understanding?
X: With understanding of course
AS: Is technique understanding?
X: No, it's not
....
Then when asked whether she rejected meditation as a whole, she said: "when I hear the word "meditation", I would like to know what it is.

That being said, if you want to discuss certain points of difference in other teachers' teaching who also stress on causes and conditions, we can try to do it in another thread. However,I believe you would agree that we should try to emphasize only on the teaching points, and that saying such or such points does not accord to the Dhamma doesn't necessarily means that the person is disrespected, or that all what he teaches is wrong, because it would be totally untrue.

brgds,

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 07, 2013 8:46 am

dhamma follower wrote:Personally, I've never heard her criticizing any teacher. And it seems that most of her students seem to do the same.
You do not have to criticize a teacher by name. All you have to do is say that slow walking meditation is an expression of lobha and the damage is done.
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.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 07, 2013 8:52 am

dhamma follower wrote:
With that premise, A.S actually asks: WHY formal meditation? What is the ground motivation for a particular person who wants to commit to formal practice? What does such motivation imply? Is that consistent with the teaching of anattaness?
Unless she has iddhis, she has no real idea what another's motivation is, what is going in the mind/body of a person who is doing a 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 dhamma follower » Tue May 07, 2013 11:59 am

tiltbillings wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:Personally, I've never heard her criticizing any teacher. And it seems that most of her students seem to do the same.
You do not have to criticize a teacher by name. All you have to do is say that slow walking meditation is an expression of lobha and the damage is done.


Well, the point is not to avoid to put the name in order to avoid saying who, but to see that idea/view is not a person.

May I point out that it doesn't not help to see a person behind a view. Does it bring more attachment or detachment ?

Brgrds,

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