judgment-free awareness

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:26 pm

pegembara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:Sati without sampajanna is only half the equation. . . .
Your point with these quotes is?


Judgement free awareness would be like blissing out under the Bodhi tree and sampajanna would be thinking, "Who can I benefit benefit from this discovery?"
Judgement free awareness would be like walking into the path of a raging cow and getting gored. With sampajanna one can avoid such problems.

It is not enough to just see, hear, smell etc. See David's comment.
Don't forget the active component.
So, Ajahns Chah and Munindo haven't a clue as to what they are talking about.
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: judgment-free awareness

Postby Mr Man » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:16 pm

The "judgment-free awareness" still needs to be taken within a context and to practice it is not easy.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby Kenshou » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:44 pm

I think that this approach actually automatically satisfies right effort, because that kind of attitude is really just the sort of thing that feeds good qualities and starves bad ones, settles the mind, and allows clear comprehension, in an nearly (but not entirely) effortless way. It is a very refined practice that comes about from a lot of experience and a well developed mind.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:21 pm

Mr Man wrote:The "judgment-free awareness" still needs to be taken within a context and to practice it is not easy.
What the Ajahns are talking about is a mature 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: judgment-free awareness

Postby Samma » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:47 am

Note that Still Forrest Pool was compiled by jack kornfield & paul breiter.
So not sure that is a quote maybe more paraphrase.

Whatever there is that arises in the mind, just watch it. Let go of it. Don't even wish to be rid of thoughts. Then the mind will reach its natural state. No discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow. No me and no you, no self at all. Just what there is. When you walk on alms-round, no need to do anything special. Simply walk and see what there is. No need to cling to isolation or seclusion. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come
and go. It' s very simple. Hold on to nothing. It is as though you are walking down a road. Periodically you will run into obstacles. When you meet defilements, just see them and just overcome them by letting
go of them. don't think about the obstacles you have passed already . Don't worry about those you have not yet seen. Stick to the present. Don't be concerned about the length of the road or about the destination. Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, do not cling to it. Eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice is automatic. All things will come and go of themselves. (Teachings of Ajahn Chah p. 76)


Some context for the Munindo quote:
[Munindo] characterised a practice centered on trust in a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment as ‘source-oriented’ practice, contrasting it to ‘goal-oriented’ striving. (p.7)


The satipatthana refrain is of interest, Analayo p. 111:
At this comparatively advanced stage satipatthana is practised for its own sake. With this shift in attitude, the goal and the act of meditation being to merge into one, since awareness and understanding are cultivated for the sake of developing ever more awareness and understanding. The practice of satipatthan becomes "effortless effort", so to speak, divested of goal-orientation and expectation. It is preciesly this way of contemplating tha tin turn enables one to proceed independently, "without clinging to anything in the world" of expiernece, as stipulated in the final part of the refrain"
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby pegembara » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:50 am

So, Ajahns Chah and Munindo haven't a clue as to what they are talking about.



Sure they do. They are wise people.

Q: Have you ever looked at the Altar Sutra of the 6th Patriarch, Hui Neng?

Answer: Hui Neng's wisdom is very keen. It is very profound teaching,not easy for beginners to understand. But if you practise with our discipline and with patience, if you practise not-clinging, you will eventually understand. Once I had a disciple who stayed in a grass-roofed hut. It rained often that rainy season and one day a strong wind blew off half the roof. He did not bother to fix it, just let it rain in. Several days passed and I asked him about his hut. He said he was practising not-clinging. This is not-clinging without wisdom. It is about the same as the equanimity of a water buffalo. If you live a good life and live simply, if you are patient and unselfish, you will understand the wisdom of Hui Neng.

http://www.buddhanet.net/bodhiny2.htm
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: judgment-free awareness

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:21 am

pegembara wrote: With sampajanna one can avoid such problems.


But isn't sampajanna a type of judgement? Wise judgement, anyway. So perhaps the point is not rushing to judgement, not reacting to immediate experience?
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:44 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
pegembara wrote: With sampajanna one can avoid such problems.


But isn't sampajanna a type of judgement? Wise judgement, anyway. So perhaps the point is not rushing to judgement, not reacting to immediate experience?
The primary context, it seems to me, of the two OP quotes is 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: judgment-free awareness

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:56 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
pegembara wrote: With sampajanna one can avoid such problems.


But isn't sampajanna a type of judgement? Wise judgement, anyway. So perhaps the point is not rushing to judgement, not reacting to immediate experience?
The primary context, it seems to me, of the two OP quotes is meditation practice.


Certainly the first one, though I think the second has application both on and off the cushion.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:59 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Certainly the first one, though I think the second has application both on and off the cushion.
I would have said it the other way round.
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: judgment-free awareness

Postby sphairos » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:23 am

perhaps it's worth mentioning in this context that judgment-free awareness is the very core of the modern MBSR-therapy (and the like, of course, which are many these days):

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
http://www.wildmind.org/applied/daily-l ... indfulness


It's also worth considering that absence of judgement lies at the very core of the humanistic psychology and therapy:

Rogers asserted that the most important factor in successful therapy is the relational climate created by the therapist's attitude to their client. He specified three interrelated core conditions:

Congruence - the willingness to transparently relate to clients without hiding behind a professional or personal facade.
Unconditional Positive Regard - the therapist offers an acceptance and prizing for their client for who he or she is without conveying disapproving feelings, actions or characteristics and demonstrating a willingness to attentively listen without interruption, judgement or giving advice.
Empathy - the therapist communicates their desire to understand and appreciate their clients perspective.


See also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person-cen ... Conditions

And I would also say that it - the very judgement-free awareness - is one of the main features of psychoanalytical treatment.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby Mr Man » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:51 am

The context is practicing within the discipline and the tradition, this is a safe guard. No doubt Ajahn Chah had great faith/confidence in the way of practice through putting in the time and be committed to it and seeing the results.

I think it is really not that hard to get a feel for "rest with things as they are" and experience "where it is cool" but having the confidence and the vigilance to go with it is where we fall down.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby kirk5a » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:12 pm

The OP quotations could be seen as an "exhortation in brief" which have an "in detail" explication that helps more precisely draw out the meaning and resolve wrong ways of understanding what was said. The section below is how Ven. Mālunkyaputta described his understanding of instructions given to him by the Buddha, which are identical to those given to Bahiya. (Since the "Bahiya instructions" have been held out as what, in the suttas, would correspond to this practice of "judgment-free awareness")

Ven. Mālunkyaputta wrote:Having seen a form with mindfulness muddled,
Attending to the pleasing sign,
One experiences it with infatuated mind
And remains tightly holding to it.

Many feelings flourish within,
Originating from the visible form,
Covetousness and annoyance as well
By which one's mind becomes disturbed.
For one who accumulates suffering thus
Nibbāna is said to be far away.

... [the same for heard a sound, smelt an odour, enjoyed a taste, felt a contact, known an object] ...

When, firmly mindful, one sees a form,
One is not inflamed by lust for forms;
One experiences it with dispassionate mind
And does not remain holding it tightly.

One fares mindfully in such a way
That even as one sees the form,
And while one undergoes a feeling,
[Suffering] is exhausted, not built up.
For one dismantling suffering thus,
Nibbāna is said to be close by.

- SN 35.95 BB trans.
"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: judgment-free awareness

Postby sphairos » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:48 pm

Mr Man,
why should one practice "within the discipline and the tradition" and consider that - and no other thing - to be the context? Who says that?
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:00 am

kirk5a wrote:The OP quotations could be seen as an "exhortation in brief" which have an "in detail" explication that helps more precisely draw out the meaning and resolve wrong ways of understanding what was said. The section below is how Ven. Mālunkyaputta described his understanding of instructions given to him by the Buddha, which are identical to those given to Bahiya. (Since the "Bahiya instructions" have been held out as what, in the suttas, would correspond to this practice of "judgment-free awareness")

Ven. Mālunkyaputta wrote:Having seen a form with mindfulness muddled,
Attending to the pleasing sign,
One experiences it with infatuated mind
And remains tightly holding to it.

Many feelings flourish within,
Originating from the visible form,
Covetousness and annoyance as well
By which one's mind becomes disturbed.
For one who accumulates suffering thus
Nibbāna is said to be far away.

... [the same for heard a sound, smelt an odour, enjoyed a taste, felt a contact, known an object] ...

When, firmly mindful, one sees a form,
One is not inflamed by lust for forms;
One experiences it with dispassionate mind
And does not remain holding it tightly.

One fares mindfully in such a way
That even as one sees the form,
And while one undergoes a feeling,
[Suffering] is exhausted, not built up.
For one dismantling suffering thus,
Nibbāna is said to be close by.

- SN 35.95 BB trans.



I think that while this is an important point, what is more important is to ask these 2 questions -

1. how does one not "grasp at the sign" (nimittaggāhī), the process that leads to the chanda, raga, pema (desire, passion, love) or I-making?
2. will judgment-free awareness be able to stop said "grasping"?

I suspect that part of the problem in understanding how "grasping at the sign" is to be negated falls much on how Right Effort is interpreted.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby kirk5a » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:59 am

Just six, O bhikkhus, are the bases for contact,
Where one unrestrained meets with suffering.
Those who know how to restrain them
Dwell uncorrupted, with faith their partner.

Having seen forms that delight the mind
And having seen those that give no delight,
Dispel the path of lust towards the delightful
And do not soil the mind by thinking,
'[The other] is displeasing to me.'

Having heard sounds both pleasant and raucous,
Do not be enthralled with pleasant sound.
Dispel the course of hate towards the raucous,
And do not soil the mind by thinking,
'[This one] is displeasing to me.'

Having smelt a fragrant, delightful scent,
And having smelt a putrid stench,
Dispel aversion towards the stench
And do not yield to desire for the lovely.

Having enjoyed a sweet delicious taste,
And having sometimes tasted what is bitter,
Do not greedily enjoy the sweet taste,
Do not feel aversion towards the bitter.

When touched by pleasant contact do not be enthralled,
Do not tremble when touched by pain.
Look evenly on both the pleasant and painful,
Not drawn or repelled by anything.

When common people of proliferated perception
Perceive and proliferate they become engaged.
Having dispelled every mind-state bound to the home life,
One travels on the road of renunciation.

When the mind is thus well developed in six,
If touched, one's mind never flutters anywhere.
Having vanquished both lust and hate, O bhikkhus,
Go to the far shore beyond birth and death!


SN 35.94 Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.
"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: judgment-free awareness

Postby pegembara » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:44 am

I think that while this is an important point, what is more important is to ask these 2 questions -

1. how does one not "grasp at the sign" (nimittaggāhī), the process that leads to the chanda, raga, pema (desire, passion, love) or I-making?
2. will judgment-free awareness be able to stop said "grasping"?

I suspect that part of the problem in understanding how "grasping at the sign" is to be negated falls much on how Right Effort is interpreted.



Here is one way to do it -

The 90-second rule is totally empowering. That means for 90 seconds, I can watch this happen, I can feel this happen and I can watch it go away. After that, if I continue to feel that fear or feel that anger, I need to look at the thoughts I am thinking that are re-stimulating that circuitry that is resulting in me having this physiology over and over again.
http://www.lifepositive.com/Body/Health ... e82008.asp


That is vipassana, observing the arising and passing away of phenomena.

Are thoughts, feelings, perceptions permanent or impermanent? Are they really yours etc?

“When you stay stuck in an emotional response, you are choosing it by choosing to continue thinking the same thoughts that retrigger it. We have this incredible ability in our minds to replay but as soon as you replay, you are not here, you are not in the present moment. You are still back in something else and if you continue to replay the exact same line and loop, then you have a predictable result. You can continue to make yourself mad all day and the more you obsess over whatever it is, the more you run that loop, then the more that loop gets energy of its own to manifest itself with minimal amounts of thought, so it will then start on automatic. And it keeps reminding you, ‘Oh yeah, I was mad, I have to rethink that thought.’"


That is papanca.
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: judgment-free awareness

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:20 am

kirk5a wrote:
Just six, O bhikkhus, are the bases for contact,
Where one unrestrained meets with suffering.
Those who know how to restrain them
Dwell uncorrupted, with faith their partner.

Having seen forms that delight the mind
And having seen those that give no delight,
Dispel the path of lust towards the delightful
And do not soil the mind by thinking,
'[The other] is displeasing to me.'

Having heard sounds both pleasant and raucous,
Do not be enthralled with pleasant sound.
Dispel the course of hate towards the raucous,
And do not soil the mind by thinking,
'[This one] is displeasing to me.'

Having smelt a fragrant, delightful scent,
And having smelt a putrid stench,
Dispel aversion towards the stench
And do not yield to desire for the lovely.

Having enjoyed a sweet delicious taste,
And having sometimes tasted what is bitter,
Do not greedily enjoy the sweet taste,
Do not feel aversion towards the bitter.

When touched by pleasant contact do not be enthralled,
Do not tremble when touched by pain.
Look evenly on both the pleasant and painful,
Not drawn or repelled by anything.

When common people of proliferated perception
Perceive and proliferate they become engaged.
Having dispelled every mind-state bound to the home life,
One travels on the road of renunciation.

When the mind is thus well developed in six,
If touched, one's mind never flutters anywhere.
Having vanquished both lust and hate, O bhikkhus,
Go to the far shore beyond birth and death!


SN 35.94 Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.



Very good. So, MN 2 lays out 7 methods for dealing with the cankers, so pre-emptive, some reactive and some non-reactive. Does it suggest that judgment-free awareness has no place in the MN 2 schema?
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby Mr Man » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:43 am

sphairos wrote:Mr Man,
why should one practice "within the discipline and the tradition" and consider that - and no other thing - to be the context? Who says that?



Hi sphairos
That is the context from which Ajahn Chah taught and Ajahn Munindo teaches. Their teaching/insight comes from practicing and living in a certain way.
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Re: judgment-free awareness

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:49 am

Hi all,
Doesn't "judgment-free awareness" suffer from the same defects that Locke's tabula rasa and Rousseau's noble savage/state of nature theories do? Perhaps it's more helpful to just distinguish between skilful judging and unskilful judging, via ardency, alertness, mindfulness, setting aside greed and distress with regard to the world and yoniso manasikara?
Kindly,
dL
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