How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

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How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Sati1 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:54 am

Hello,

I recently learned that the arahant can no longer experience sloth and torpor. Does this mean that he/she will not get tired with insufficient sleep? From my own experience I know that when I don't sleep enough at night, sloth and torpor usually arise in the afternoon, making it difficult to remain mindful and concentrate. Would an arahant be able to be mindful and concentrate even with very little sleep, and wouldn't that mean that the basic need for sleep is overriden with enlightenment?

Thank you,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Zom » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:47 am

No. He can be tired, he does have bodily fatigue. Sloth/torpor are purely mental things which, of course, can have an effect on the body.
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Sati1 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:20 pm

Would his mental faculties, including the capacity to meditate and be mindful, then not be affected by the fatigue?

Thank you.
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:26 pm

Sati1 wrote:Would his mental faculties, including the capacity to meditate and be mindful, then not be affected by the fatigue?


Cultivated mindfulness allows one to be mindful even of mental states that hinder progress.

DN 22
DN 22: Maha-Satipatthana Sutta wrote:"And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in & of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion. When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion. When the mind has aversion, he discerns that the mind has aversion. When the mind is without aversion, he discerns that the mind is without aversion. When the mind has delusion, he discerns that the mind has delusion. When the mind is without delusion, he discerns that the mind is without delusion.

"When the mind is restricted, he discerns that the mind is restricted. When the mind is scattered, he discerns that the mind is scattered. When the mind is enlarged, he discerns that the mind is enlarged. When the mind is not enlarged, he discerns that the mind is not enlarged. When the mind is surpassed, he discerns that the mind is surpassed. When the mind is unsurpassed, he discerns that the mind is unsurpassed. When the mind is concentrated, he discerns that the mind is concentrated. When the mind is not concentrated, he discerns that the mind is not concentrated. When the mind is released, he discerns that the mind is released. When the mind is not released, he discerns that the mind is not released.
...
"There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Sati1 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:34 pm

Fascinating. Thank you very much for the reference, Culaavuso. This clarifies my question. Thus, against my assumption, fatigue can be dislodged from sloth&torpor. Incredible indeed.
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Mkoll » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:35 pm

Sati1 wrote:Would his mental faculties, including the capacity to meditate and be mindful, then not be affected by the fatigue?

Thank you.


The mindful and energetic quality of his mind that is the antithesis to sloth-torpor is not affected by bodily fatigue at all.

In very deep states of meditation like the fourth jhana, breathing is supposed to basically be so unnoticeable that for all intents and purposes it stops. I'm no physician, but I'm guessing the physical explanation for this would be that all of his bodily processes like metabolism and electrical signaling basically stop as well. One would need very little food or sleep to maintain oneself in this state because the body's cells have little need for energy. This is why we here in the suttas of people staying up for long periods of time, e.g. the Buddha staying awake for seven days straight after his enlightenment.

On the other hand, we also hear in the suttas of people becoming fatigued and needing to sleep. For example, when the Buddha got older, he would take a short nap "mindful and fully aware" in the midday.

Of course this is all my own rampant speculation. :shrug:

:anjali:
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Sati1 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:01 pm

Interesting. I have definitely noticed that meditation provides more energy during he day and reduces the need for sleep. Mkoll, I wonder if the 4th jhana phenomenon you describe was the one used by the contemprary "Buddha boy" for his 10-month-long meditation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Bahadur_Bomjon

:anjali:
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby suttametta » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:56 pm

Sati1 wrote:Hello,

I recently learned that the arahant can no longer experience sloth and torpor. Does this mean that he/she will not get tired with insufficient sleep? From my own experience I know that when I don't sleep enough at night, sloth and torpor usually arise in the afternoon, making it difficult to remain mindful and concentrate. Would an arahant be able to be mindful and concentrate even with very little sleep, and wouldn't that mean that the basic need for sleep is overriden with enlightenment?

Thank you,


by meditation one's energy grows; buddha slept one hour per night
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Mkoll » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:39 pm

Sati1 wrote:Interesting. I have definitely noticed that meditation provides more energy during he day and reduces the need for sleep. Mkoll, I wonder if the 4th jhana phenomenon you describe was the one used by the contemprary "Buddha boy" for his 10-month-long meditation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Bahadur_Bomjon

:anjali:

Probably, or something like it. There are also cases of Hindu ascetics performing supernormal feats like levitation or going without food or water for lengths of time that would kill normal people, this man for example.

I think anyone performing such supernormal feats must be tapping into some power of their mind.

:anjali:
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Ananda26 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:22 pm

Sati1 wrote:Hello,

I recently learned that the arahant can no longer experience sloth and torpor. Does this mean that he/she will not get tired with insufficient sleep? From my own experience I know that when I don't sleep enough at night, sloth and torpor usually arise in the afternoon, making it difficult to remain mindful and concentrate. Would an arahant be able to be mindful and concentrate even with very little sleep, and wouldn't that mean that the basic need for sleep is overriden with enlightenment?

Thank you,


Percipient of light, mindful and clearly aware one abandons sloth and torpor.

Capala (Pacala) Sutta: Nodding

Once[1] the Blessed One was living among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. At that time Ven. Maha Moggallana[2] sat nodding near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha. The Blessed One, with his purified divine eye, surpassing the human, saw Ven. Maha Moggallana as he sat nodding near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha. As soon as he saw this — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — he disappeared from among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt, and re-appeared near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha, right in front of Ven. Maha Moggallana. There he sat down on a prepared seat. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to Ven. Maha Moggallana, "Are you nodding, Moggallana? Are you nodding?"

"Yes, lord."

"Well then, Moggallana, whatever perception you have in mind when drowsiness descends on you, don't attend to that perception, don't pursue it. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then recall to your awareness the Dhamma as you have heard & memorized it, re-examine it & ponder it over in your mind. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then repeat aloud in detail the Dhamma as you have heard & memorized it. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then pull both your earlobes and rub your limbs with your hands. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes out with water, look around in all directions and upward to the major stars & constellations. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then attend to the perception of light, resolve on the perception of daytime, [dwelling] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, develop a brightened mind. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then — percipient of what lies in front & behind — set a distance to meditate walking back & forth, your senses inwardly immersed, your mind not straying outwards. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then — reclining on your right side — take up the lion's posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with your mind set on getting up. As soon as you wake up, get up quickly, with the thought, 'I won't stay indulging in the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of reclining, the pleasure of drowsiness.' That is how you should train yourself.

"Furthermore, Moggallana, should you train yourself: 'I will not visit families with my pride[3] lifted high.' That is how you should train yourself. Among families there are many jobs that have to be done, so that people don't pay attention to a visiting monk. If a monk visits them with his trunk lifted high, the thought will occur to him, 'Now who, I wonder, has caused a split between me and this family? The people seem to have no liking for me.' Getting nothing, he becomes abashed. Abashed, he becomes restless. Restless, he becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

"Furthermore, Moggallana, should you train yourself: 'I will speak no confrontational speech.' That is how you should train yourself. When there is confrontational speech, a lot of discussion can be expected. When there is a lot of discussion, there is restlessness. One who is restless becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

"It's not the case, Moggallana, that I praise association of every sort. But it's not the case that I dispraise association of every sort. I don't praise association with householders and renunciates. But as for dwelling places that are free from noise, free from sound, their atmosphere devoid of people, appropriately secluded for resting undisturbed by human beings: I praise association with dwelling places of this sort."

When this was said, Ven. Moggallana said to the Blessed One: "Briefly, lord, in what respect is a monk released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among human & heavenly beings?"

"There is the case, Moggallana, where a monk has heard, 'All phenomena are unworthy of attachment.' Having heard that all phenomena are unworthy of attachment, he fully knows all things. Fully knowing all things, he fully comprehends all things. Fully comprehending all things, then whatever feeling he experiences — pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain — he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling. As he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling, he is unsustained by[4] anything in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is unbound right within. He discerns: 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"It is in this respect, Moggallana, that a monk, in brief, is released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among human & heavenly beings."
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Re: How can arahant experience no sloth and torpor?

Postby Sati1 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:02 pm

Hi Ananda26,

Thank you, this quote is very helpful.
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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