"Attending" to objects.

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

"Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:46 am

Good morning forum!

In developing insight in the practice as phenomenon rise and cease I have been taught to attend to it using the "noting / mantra" device as a means of making an objective awareness of the object arising. I have become aware of the impermance presented in the rising and falling of phenomenon, however when developing insight and attending to objects as they arise how is discernment to see the sequence from which it is arising from procured?

For instance a feeling of frustration (dissatisfaction) with friend A arises: logistically I can state that it rises sequentially suffering -> ... -> nama-rupa (I am still understanding beyond nama-rupa (consciousness, etc). However, in my meditation practice in regards to my disatisfaction with friend A upon attending to it objectively how am I able to pierce and attain insight that the dissatisfaction ultimately arises from ignorance and unfetter myself from it? In other words, logistically one can state any fact, but empirically one does not know it (does that make sense?).

Currently, and perhaps right concentration & view still need to be developed further, there seems to be a fine line in attending to my objects and falling prey to unmindful engagement. Also, what arises often can cease rather quickly in my mindfulness practice:

In breath, out breath, dissatisfaction with friend A arises, disliking, disliking, disliking, dissatisfaction with friend A ceases, in breath, out breath... etc. I recognize that what arises always ceases, but where and how in the practice does one attend and contemplate objects objectively and insightfully --- ultimately discerning the sequence in which it arises? In the end, how is the dhamma properly observed? How is it that the sequence from which suffering arises from observed in practice?

Metta,

Zen
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:09 pm

I'm confused; it seems you describe mindfully attending to the process, and then you ask how to mindfully attend to the process...

I'm not sure thinking in terms of "unfetter myself" is really the way to go; as we can read in MN 2, the process as diagnosed with the four truths is the proper thing to which one ought to attend, not how one or another sort of self interacts with things. But it can be via conceit that we transcend conceit, so there will be a difference between individual methods here.

Ultimately, jhana is required, but the groundwork must be laid. Maybe there is also arisen impatience?

:heart:
    "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: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:34 pm

daverupa wrote:I'm confused; it seems you describe mindfully attending to the process, and then you ask how to mindfully attend to the process...

I'm not sure thinking in terms of "unfetter myself" is really the way to go; as we can read in MN 2, the process as diagnosed with the four truths is the proper thing to which one ought to attend, not how one or another sort of self interacts with things. But it can be via conceit that we transcend conceit, so there will be a difference between individual methods here.

Ultimately, jhana is required, but the groundwork must be laid. Maybe there is also arisen impatience?

:heart:


The question was spurred via discussion on the forum understanding the causes and conditions of phenomenon rising. For instance I objectively observe disatisfaction arise and cease, yet no understanding truly arises (unless the maturing process of the practice leads to observing the sequential process of rising and ceasing?). In my current practice an attempt to see the causes and conditions results in concentration being broken and unmindful engagement. If I understand the teachings correctly "unfettering" means letting go leading into liberation, i.e. a Nibbanic solution for every samsaric problem. However, I've observed that most phenomenon exist in a short duration making understanding its causes and conditions elusive or hard to observe.

Perhaps my question is how do we define "insight", which may be the basis of my confusion. How does one's skillful observation lead to useful dhammic insight? Is this a better framing of the question? Feel free to critique and guide what I am capable of sharing view wise. :)
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:45 pm

Zenainder wrote: How does one's skillful observation lead to useful dhammic insight?


Are you managing to maintain mindfulness off the cushion as well as observing rise and fall on the cushion? It might just be a case of sticking at it, in the knowledge that eventually you'll begin to see the patterns more clearly.
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:59 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Zenainder wrote: How does one's skillful observation lead to useful dhammic insight?


Are you managing to maintain mindfulness off the cushion as well as observing rise and fall on the cushion? It might just be a case of sticking at it, in the knowledge that eventually you'll begin to see the patterns more clearly.


As much as I can in my lay life. Ah, yes patterns, these I've observed for years (perhaps not always mindfully, more so recently have I been mindful through my studies of the practice). Now how are you understanding "patterns"? Are the patterns defined as certain phenomenon reappearing and ceasing? Or something else?

If you are referring to phenomenonic patterns I can think of a handful I've recognized reappearing, some subtle or others very obvious. How does one skillfully make use of their pattern recognitions?
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:06 pm

Perhaps this will bring more clarity as to what I am hoping to understand when it regards "insight":

1. How is it defined?
2. Explicate how it dawns?
For instance: mindfulness meditation-> phenomenon rising and ceasing -> pattern recognition over time -> ???
3. Correct me if I am wrong, and this may relate directly with how question #1 is answered, but isn't insight directly related to catching glimpses of dhamma?
4. My other intention is assistance in seeing the sequence of how phenomenon rise, relating to dependent origination and its formula in my practice. I find the teachings agreeable and have, in part, observed at the surface that they are true, but how does one go deeper?

I feel that these questions are all inter-related, if any feels otherwise please articulate so and remain focused on how to develop insight (remaining respectful of the purpose of the forum). :)
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:46 pm

Zenainder wrote:...


Insight is a translation of vipassana, so you can research the samatha-vipassana pairing to understand how these two qualities arise, interact, and support the path.

As to how things dawn, have a look at MN 95:

...when he gives ear, he hears the Dhamma; having heard the Dhamma, he memorises it and examines the meaning of the teachings he has memorised; when he examines their meaning, he gains a reflective acceptance of those teachings; when he has gained a reflective acceptance of those teachings, zeal springs up; when zeal has sprung up, he applies his will; having applied his will, he scrutinises; having scrutinised, he strives; resolutely striving, he realises with the body the supreme truth and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom. In this way, Bhāradvāja, there is the discovery of truth; in this way one discovers truth; in this way we describe the discovery of truth. But as yet there is no final arrival at truth.”

21. “In that way, Master Gotama, there is the discovery of truth; in that way one discovers truth; in that way we recognise the discovery of truth. But in what way, Master Gotama, is there the final arrival at truth? In what way does one finally arrive at truth? We ask Master Gotama about the final arrival at truth.”

The final arrival at truth, Bhāradvāja, lies in the repetition, development, and cultivation of those same things. In this way, Bhāradvāja, there is the final arrival at truth; in this way one finally arrives at truth; in this way we describe the final arrival at truth.”


You may also take heart from the following:

SN 22.101 wrote:“When, bhikkhus, a carpenter or a carpenter’s apprentice looks at the handle of his adze, he sees the impressions of his fingers and his thumb, but he does not know: ‘So much of the adze handle has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier.’ But when it has worn away, the knowledge occurs to him that it has worn away.

“So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu dwells devoted to development, even though no such knowledge occurs to him: ‘So much of my taints has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier,’ yet when they are worn away, the knowledge occurs to him that they have been worn away.


So, how's your satipatthana?

:heart:
    "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: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:32 pm

daverupa wrote:
Zenainder wrote:...


Insight is a translation of vipassana, so you can research the samatha-vipassana pairing to understand how these two qualities arise, interact, and support the path.

As to how things dawn, have a look at MN 95:

...when he gives ear, he hears the Dhamma; having heard the Dhamma, he memorises it and examines the meaning of the teachings he has memorised; when he examines their meaning, he gains a reflective acceptance of those teachings; when he has gained a reflective acceptance of those teachings, zeal springs up; when zeal has sprung up, he applies his will; having applied his will, he scrutinises; having scrutinised, he strives; resolutely striving, he realises with the body the supreme truth and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom. In this way, Bhāradvāja, there is the discovery of truth; in this way one discovers truth; in this way we describe the discovery of truth. But as yet there is no final arrival at truth.”

21. “In that way, Master Gotama, there is the discovery of truth; in that way one discovers truth; in that way we recognise the discovery of truth. But in what way, Master Gotama, is there the final arrival at truth? In what way does one finally arrive at truth? We ask Master Gotama about the final arrival at truth.”

The final arrival at truth, Bhāradvāja, lies in the repetition, development, and cultivation of those same things. In this way, Bhāradvāja, there is the final arrival at truth; in this way one finally arrives at truth; in this way we describe the final arrival at truth.”


You may also take heart from the following:

SN 22.101 wrote:“When, bhikkhus, a carpenter or a carpenter’s apprentice looks at the handle of his adze, he sees the impressions of his fingers and his thumb, but he does not know: ‘So much of the adze handle has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier.’ But when it has worn away, the knowledge occurs to him that it has worn away.

“So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu dwells devoted to development, even though no such knowledge occurs to him: ‘So much of my taints has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier,’ yet when they are worn away, the knowledge occurs to him that they have been worn away.


So, how's your satipatthana?

:heart:


Those passages are very helpful, thank you. Without having previously heard the wisdom of hearing the dhamma, contemplating, and memorizing it I have been doing just that. At times, even drawing pictures to help further understand it.

My current practice may be categorized into a samatha-vipassana mixture. Cultivating tranquility and single-pointedness of mind before focusing on insight, which leads me to satipatthana: given my limited studies in it I would say it is weak-but-developing. For instance applying mindfulness while eating pasta a few moments ago: I was able to recognize the process of taste: sense, contact, feeling-pleasure, & craving. Contemplating craving I tend to lull and ask myself what makes this pasta pleasurable / desirable? I can recognize there is nothing intricately good or pleasurable about the pasta in and of itself and recognize my "liking" of it both by sight, smell, and taste and end up defaulting to a concept of "self" that deludes my thinking: "this pasta is good". This may be a very good example of how weak it is, but I share it in hopes that it might in regards to guidance is concerned.

I have an article from accesstoinsight that teaches the foundation of mindfulness. More reading :coffee:

Edit:
If Anapansati is comparable to satipatthana, 2nd tetrad is relatable for me. Experience of rapture and bliss.
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:55 pm

Hi Zenainder,

It sounds to me like you are doing fine. But developing insight is a long-term project. Keep practising, and keep reading/listening and see if what you read/listen to relates to what your practice reveals. You might fine the quotes from Mahasi Sayadaw and Bhikkhu Nananada here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 36#p249336 useful.

:anjali:
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby pegembara » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:31 am

Zenainder wrote:Perhaps this will bring more clarity as to what I am hoping to understand when it regards "insight":

1. How is it defined?
2. Explicate how it dawns?
For instance: mindfulness meditation-> phenomenon rising and ceasing -> pattern recognition over time -> ???
3. Correct me if I am wrong, and this may relate directly with how question #1 is answered, but isn't insight directly related to catching glimpses of dhamma?
4. My other intention is assistance in seeing the sequence of how phenomenon rise, relating to dependent origination and its formula in my practice. I find the teachings agreeable and have, in part, observed at the surface that they are true, but how does one go deeper?

I feel that these questions are all inter-related, if any feels otherwise please articulate so and remain focused on how to develop insight (remaining respectful of the purpose of the forum). :)



1. All things are impermanent, suffering and not self.
2. Eg. Thoughts arise and disappear on their own almost automatically. One cannot choose what thoughts come next moment. One cannot make painful ones disappear. They do so on their own!
3. Thoughts are due to past causes and conditions ie. previous experience, parental influences, schooling etc. They can lead to pain or pleasure but don't actually reflect reality as it is.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:53 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Zenainder,

It sounds to me like you are doing fine. But developing insight is a long-term project. Keep practising, and keep reading/listening and see if what you read/listen to relates to what your practice reveals. You might fine the quotes from Mahasi Sayadaw and Bhikkhu Nananada here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2042&p=249336#p249336 useful.

:anjali:
Mike


Thank you for your kind words, they are both encouraging and confirming. It is ironic you link that discussion, I started reading Bhikkhu Nananada's work and I have found his writing to be an insightful and engaging. I plan on downloading the rest of his series on nibbana for my flight to taiwan (18 or so hours of flying + 2 or so hours of just waiting). Perfect time to read and be mindful ---- nothing else to do otherwise lol. I have not engaged Mahasi Sayadaw's work yet, any context you can share with me on his background?
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby Zenainder » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:55 am

pegembara wrote:
Zenainder wrote:Perhaps this will bring more clarity as to what I am hoping to understand when it regards "insight":

1. How is it defined?
2. Explicate how it dawns?
For instance: mindfulness meditation-> phenomenon rising and ceasing -> pattern recognition over time -> ???
3. Correct me if I am wrong, and this may relate directly with how question #1 is answered, but isn't insight directly related to catching glimpses of dhamma?
4. My other intention is assistance in seeing the sequence of how phenomenon rise, relating to dependent origination and its formula in my practice. I find the teachings agreeable and have, in part, observed at the surface that they are true, but how does one go deeper?

I feel that these questions are all inter-related, if any feels otherwise please articulate so and remain focused on how to develop insight (remaining respectful of the purpose of the forum). :)



1. All things are impermanent, suffering and not self.
2. Eg. Thoughts arise and disappear on their own almost automatically. One cannot choose what thoughts come next moment. One cannot make painful ones disappear. They do so on their own!
3. Thoughts are due to past causes and conditions ie. previous experience, parental influences, schooling etc. They can lead to pain or pleasure but don't actually reflect reality as it is.


I like how you have simply defined #1 and it is something I am continuously discovering. I suppose I had nothing to doubt after all in my practice, eh? :jumping: I suppose the variation in how the practice can be completed is ambiguous and not worth fretting over. In the end, it seems, cultivate mindfulness!!!
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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Re: "Attending" to objects.

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:46 pm

Hi Zenainder,
Zenainder wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Zenainder,

It sounds to me like you are doing fine. But developing insight is a long-term project. Keep practising, and keep reading/listening and see if what you read/listen to relates to what your practice reveals. You might fine the quotes from Mahasi Sayadaw and Bhikkhu Nananada here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 36#p249336 useful.

:anjali:
Mike


Thank you for your kind words, they are both encouraging and confirming. It is ironic you link that discussion, I started reading Bhikkhu Nananada's work and I have found his writing to be an insightful and engaging. I plan on downloading the rest of his series on nibbana for my flight to taiwan (18 or so hours of flying + 2 or so hours of just waiting). Perfect time to read and be mindful ---- nothing else to do otherwise lol. I have not engaged Mahasi Sayadaw's work yet, any context you can share with me on his background?

Bhikkhu Pesala's site here: http://aimwell.org/ contains a lot of Mahasi Sayadaw's writings.

:anjali:
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