samatha replacing sense pleasures

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samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby befriend » Sat May 24, 2014 6:59 pm

is using samatha for indulgence the same thing as indulging in sense pleasures?
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Re: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby daverupa » Sat May 24, 2014 7:05 pm

It would be a case of 'micchasamatha' which seems possible, although I expect that this will be a samatha that is avoidant - e.g. one that seeks not to pair with vipassana. This also would be a case of not having ones practice revolve around sammaditthi, since the Goal will have been lost sight of, and as such would comprise one aspect of micchasamadhi.
    "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: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby culaavuso » Sat May 24, 2014 7:49 pm

befriend wrote:is using samatha for indulgence the same thing as indulging in sense pleasures?


They are different in that the suttas say sense pleasures should be feared and the bliss of jhana should be developed and not be feared. They are the same in that neither is recommended by the suttas to be taken as an end in itself.

MN 139: Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta wrote:Bhikkhus, there are these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye … sounds cognizable by the ear … odours cognizable by the nose … flavours cognizable by the tongue … tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and likeable, connected with sensual desire and provocative of lust. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. Now the pleasure and joy that arise dependent on these five cords of sensual pleasure are called sensual pleasure - a filthy pleasure, a coarse pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should not be pursued, that it should not be developed, that it should not be cultivated, and that it should be feared.

Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana … the second jhana … the third jhana … the fourth jhana. This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, and that it should not be feared.


MN 30: Cūḷasāropama Sutta wrote:He achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that consummation in concentration he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am concentrated, my mind at singleness, but these other monks are unconcentrated, their minds scattered.' He doesn't generate desire or exert himself for the realization of those qualities that are higher & more sublime than consummation in concentration. He is drooping & lax.

Just like the man who, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood — cutting away the inner bark, went off carrying it, thinking, 'heartwood': Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served. This individual, I tell you, is similar to that.
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Re: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby daverupa » Sat May 24, 2014 8:02 pm

I suppose I don't consider that samatha = jhana; it's something I consider in terms of vipassana-samatha.

AN 2.32 describes:

developing samatha --> developing citta --> fading of passion
developing vipassana --> enhanced panna --> fading of ignorance

Strictly speaking, this would suggest that a samatha integrous with the Dhamma leads naturally away from passion, which means that it has a natural velocity of renuniation, which is an aspect of sammasankappa - 'right intention'.

Jhana is how sensuality finally stops being a draw (MN 14); samatha is necessarily engaged prior to this.
    "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: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby befriend » Sat May 24, 2014 8:18 pm

I ask because my intention behind samatha for the sake of pleasure is to make renunciation of sense pleasures easier. so for example instead of smoking a cigarette I would do metta or mudita to get that high my mind is looking for. im not sure if this is correct renunciation because the joy I get from metta is impermanent just like the cigarette is.
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Re: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby culaavuso » Sat May 24, 2014 8:24 pm

befriend wrote:I ask because my intention behind samatha for the sake of pleasure is to make renunciation of sense pleasures easier. so for example instead of smoking a cigarette I would do metta or mudita to get that high my mind is looking for. im not sure if this is correct renunciation because the joy I get from metta is impermanent just like the cigarette is.


Perhaps MN 137 would be informative for evaluating this decision:

MN 137: Saḷāyatana­vibhaṅga Sutta wrote:And what are the six kinds of household joy? The joy that arises when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, connected with worldly baits — or when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed: That is called household joy. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)

And what are the six kinds of renunciation joy? The joy that arises when — experiencing the inconstancy of those very forms, their change, fading, & cessation — one sees with right discernment as it actually is that all forms, past or present, are inconstant, stressful, subject to change: That is called renunciation joy. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)
...
Here, by depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation joy, abandon & transcend the six kinds of household joy. Such is their abandoning, such is their transcending.
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Re: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 24, 2014 8:26 pm

befriend wrote:I ask because my intention behind samatha for the sake of pleasure is to make renunciation of sense pleasures easier. so for example instead of smoking a cigarette I would do metta or mudita to get that high my mind is looking for. im not sure if this is correct renunciation because the joy I get from metta is impermanent just like the cigarette is.


Whatever your motivation is, I think that if you're able to meditate instead of indulging in sensual pleasures, this is a step in the right direction. The second Noble Truth says that craving for sensual pleasures, craving for becoming, and craving for non-becoming is the origin of suffering (SN 56.11). Abandoning the craving for sensual pleasures is 1/3 of the battle.
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Re: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby 2pennyworth » Sat May 24, 2014 9:37 pm

Happiness and tranquility born of seclusion is wholesome. Craving is easier to "work with" due to the ease of investigation / clarity / collectedness bought about by the wholesome states. That level of clarity / collectedness is usually absent whilst indulging in sense pleasures driven by habitual tendencies.

... But I think Dave summed it up better than me:

daverupa wrote:Strictly speaking, this would suggest that a samatha integrous with the Dhamma leads naturally away from passion, which means that it has a natural velocity of renuniation, which is an aspect of sammasankappa - 'right intention'.

Jhana is how sensuality finally stops being a draw (MN 14); samatha is necessarily engaged prior to this.


These two things—serenity and insight—occur in him yoked evenly together.

- MN-149:10

:meditate:

Matt
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Last edited by 2pennyworth on Sat May 24, 2014 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby daverupa » Sat May 24, 2014 9:54 pm

culaavuso wrote:Perhaps MN 137 would be informative for evaluating this decision:

MN 137: Saḷāyatana­vibhaṅga Sutta wrote:And what are the six kinds of household joy? The joy that arises when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, connected with worldly baits — or when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed: That is called household joy. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)

And what are the six kinds of renunciation joy? The joy that arises when — experiencing the inconstancy of those very forms, their change, fading, & cessation — one sees with right discernment as it actually is that all forms, past or present, are inconstant, stressful, subject to change: That is called renunciation joy. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)
...
Here, by depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation joy, abandon & transcend the six kinds of household joy. Such is their abandoning, such is their transcending.


Very nice! Here, exactly, renunciation and its relationship to a wholesome joy is made clear.
    "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: samatha replacing sense pleasures

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 24, 2014 9:56 pm

daverupa wrote:It would be a case of 'micchasamatha' which seems possible, although I expect that this will be a samatha that is avoidant - e.g. one that seeks not to pair with vipassana. This also would be a case of not having ones practice revolve around sammaditthi, since the Goal will have been lost sight of, and as such would comprise one aspect of micchasamadhi.

And this is described in various suttas.

For example in http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.140.than.html:
"One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure & bright as this towards the dimension of the infinitude of space and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated.
...
One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, one is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world). Unsustained, one is not agitated. Unagitated, one is totally unbound right within. One discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'


or MN 111
"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.

The point is that jhana (or samadhi in general) is fabricated, and is therefore not the final goal.

However, the breakthrough described in those suttas is quite a distance away for most of us. As others have said, development of samadhi is important and useful.

On the other hand, I'd be careful about thinking too much in this way:
befriend wrote:I ask because my intention behind samatha for the sake of pleasure is to make renunciation of sense pleasures easier. so for example instead of smoking a cigarette I would do metta or mudita to get that high my mind is looking for. im not sure if this is correct renunciation because the joy I get from metta is impermanent just like the cigarette is.

Not because it is "wrong", but because if you approach it that way it will tend to hinder the development of samadhi because it is ultimately motivated by aversions and desires. And achieving good samadhi seems to generally involve a lot of "letting go".

The tricky thing is to get that "relief" from samadhi without the intention and clinging messing up the process of getting to the samadhi. I'd recommend reading Ajahn Brahm's book, Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond (AKA Happiness through Meditation). See the link here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 60#p289315

:anjali:
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