Looking for conversation on arousing energy

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Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby dhammapal » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:45 am

Hi,

I'm a very lazy person most of the time and am looking for conversation about arousing energy as one of the ten topics the Buddha himself recommended:
The Buddha transl. Thanissaro wrote:There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, talk on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun & moon, so mighty, so powerful — to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects."
From: Kathavatthu Sutta: Topics of Conversation (1) translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Here is what I've found so far:
the Buddha transl. Thanissaro wrote:Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will relentlessly exert ourselves, [thinking,] "Gladly would we let the flesh & blood in our bodies dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if we have not attained what can be reached through human firmness, human persistence, human striving, there will be no relaxing our persistence."' That's how you should train yourselves."
From: Appativana Sutta: Relentlessly translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

which seems to be connected to this:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:I remember once when I was staying with Ajaan Fuang, he told me out of the blue one day to sit up and meditate all night. My immediate reaction was that it wasn't a good day for me to try that. I had been working hard that day, I said, I couldn't do it. He looked at me and said, "Well, is it going to kill you?" "Well, no." "Then you can do it." That's the attitude you've got to have — as with that saying, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. But in the midst of doing difficult things, you don't just suffer through them. You've got to figure out, "How can I get through this without suffering?" That's where you start learning how to be ingenious. But the important thing is that you remind yourself, okay, you can stand this; whatever's coming up, you're not going to get blown around. That way you can begin to trust yourself as an observer.
From: Meditation Prep by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:55 am

Dhammapal,

Instead of just talking about it, how about just doing it?
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby dhammapal » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:11 am

Hi Ben, all,

I don't understand the sentences in bold type in this sutta:
Sona Sutta wrote:I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha, on Vulture Peak Mountain. And on that occasion Ven. Sona was staying near Rajagaha in the Cool Wood. Then, as Ven. Sona was meditating in seclusion [after doing walking meditation until the skin of his soles was split & bleeding, this train of thought arose in his awareness: "Of the Blessed One's disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but my mind is not released from the fermentations through lack of clinging/sustenance. Now, my family has enough wealth that it would be possible to enjoy wealth & make merit. What if I were to disavow the training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?"

Then the Blessed One, as soon as he perceived with his awareness the train of thought in Ven. Sona's awareness — as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm or bend his outstretched arm — disappeared from Vulture Peak Mountain, appeared in the Cool Wood right in front of Ven. Sona, and sat down on a prepared seat. Ven. Sona, after bowing down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Just now, as you were meditating in seclusion, didn't this train of thought appear to your awareness: 'Of the Blessed One's disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but my mind is not released from the fermentations... What if I were to disavow the training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?'"
"Yes, lord."

"Now what do you think, Sona. Before, when you were a house-dweller, were you skilled at playing the vina?"
"Yes, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too taut, was your vina in tune & playable?"
"No, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too loose, was your vina in tune & playable?"
"No, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned[1] to be right on pitch, was your vina in tune & playable?"
"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."

"Yes, lord," Ven. Sona answered the Blessed One. Then, having given this exhortation to Ven. Sona, the Blessed One — as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm or bend his outstretched arm — disappeared from the Cool Wood and appeared on Vulture Peak Mountain.

So after that, Ven. Sona determined the right pitch for his persistence, attuned the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there picked up his theme. Dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Sona became another one of the arahants.
From: Sona Sutta translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:23 pm

Hi Dhammapal,

Perhaps the discussion here is helpful: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14382

There are several alternative translations in this post: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14382#p211169

And some comparison with parallels in Chinese: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14382#p210753

:anjali:
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:47 pm

"Pushing the wheelbarrow is easy, thinking about pushing the wheelbarrow is hard."
- Ajahn Brahm?


In one of the videos of his dhamma talks on his youtube channel Ajahn Brahm said that people often make meditation into a chore because they fail to adequately notice how good it makes them feel. Stopping for a split second for a few times over the course of your sitting to ask yourself how you feel and think "isn't this nice" could help. I've also found cultivating an attitude of relaxation ( versus getting something or enduring something ) during meditation adds to my enjoyment and motivation.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive solution to "laziness" rather than only a Buddhist solution, "The Now Habit" by Dr. Neil Fiore is one of the best books on procrastination I ever read. If you read that book don't forget the two root points:

1. Procrastination is a symptom, not a cause and the cause of procrastination is fear.
2. How you think about a task dictates how motivated you feel about a task.

HTH
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby Zenainder » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:51 pm

In "Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English" it states that applied thought (striking the meditation object) helps overcome the hindrance of sloth and stupor. Essentially that means, IMHO, continuously returning to the breath (as an example) after applying mindfulness both of the sloth and miscellaneous phenomenon energy will naturally arise. It's your relationship with laziness that causes the common reaction of lethargy and inaction. Overcoming it comes with an energy that will really empower your practice. It's like the other hindrances in the end and you are fully capable of overcoming it.

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby dhammapal » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:48 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Dhammapal,
Perhaps the discussion here is helpful: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14382
There are several alternative translations in this post: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 82#p211169
And some comparison with parallels in Chinese: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 82#p210753
:anjali:
Mike

Thanks Mike :)

I found this post helpful:
daverupa wrote:In keeping with the music analogy, the faculties are each employed with a certain pitch, and the point is to harmonize them in order to get a boost in resonance.

The tuning fork is right view around which runs the whole of the Path; direct discernment of wholesome and unwholesome, or continual reflection before/during/after on whether the action afflicted/s anyone or not. The faculties are harmonized in just such a way, and it is all meant to facilitate jhana, it seems to me.

Skilled vina players are not made in a day.

Here's how I understand this so far:

So when there is a problem with the level of energy you don't just try to adjust the amount of energy but need to work with the other faculties of wisdom (discernment), faith, concentration and mindfulness.

"Continual reflection before/during/after on whether the action afflicted anyone or not" (Majjhima 61) has been my main practice over the years. I guess this means that getting the balance right is a matter of trial and error.

"Skilled vina players are not made in a day" explains why I don't understand the simile. I guess it means that there is no simple formula for getting the mind to settle down on automatic pilot. But one needs to make vows to sit for a certain length of time rather than deciding what to do as you're doing it.

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby daverupa » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:23 am

dhammapal wrote:
...Skilled vina players are not made in a day.

Here's how I understand this so far:

So when there is a problem with the level of energy you don't just try to adjust the amount of energy but need to work with the other faculties... getting the balance right is a matter of trial and error.

"Skilled vina players are not made in a day" explains why I don't understand the simile. I guess it means that there is no simple formula...


:thumbsup:

...for getting the mind to settle down on automatic pilot. But one needs to make vows to sit for a certain length of time rather than deciding what to do as you're doing it.


...but perhaps you can clarify these phrases? How do they look in practice, as you see them?
    "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: Looking for conversation on arousing energy

Postby dhammapal » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:22 am

Hi Dave,
daverupa wrote:
dhammapal wrote:Here's how I understand this so far:
So when there is a problem with the level of energy you don't just try to adjust the amount of energy but need to work with the other faculties... getting the balance right is a matter of trial and error.
"Skilled vina players are not made in a day" explains why I don't understand the simile. I guess it means that there is no simple formula...

:thumbsup:
...for getting the mind to settle down on automatic pilot. But one needs to make vows to sit for a certain length of time rather than deciding what to do as you're doing it.

...but perhaps you can clarify these phrases? How do they look in practice, as you see them?

Yes if the Buddha asked me if I was skilled in playing the vina I would have to say no so it's understandable that I don't understand the simile.

The idea of making vows to sit for a certain length of time no matter what rather than "deciding what to do as I'm doing it" or "seeing how it goes" is a question of what times during the day and night that my mind's decisions can be trusted e.g. making a vow late at night before bed to get up at a certain time the next morning to meditate rather than seeing how I feel naturally when I wake up which is usually much lazier. I've started a practice of sitting up on the edge of my bed to meditate instead of lying down.

With metta / dhammapal.
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