Seeing Impermanence

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby sundara » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:50 pm

What does investigation of the Dhamma mean in the 2nd enlightenment factor?
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:48 am

sundara wrote:What does investigation of the Dhamma mean in the 2nd enlightenment factor?

Does this help?

Wings to Awakening Part II The Seven Sets
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
G. The Seven Factors for Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part2-g
[2] Any time one examines, investigates, & scrutinizes internal qualities with discernment, that is analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening. And any time one examines, investigates, & scrutinizes external qualities with discernment, that too is analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.


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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby sundara » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:01 am

Is contemplating impermanence really obligatory, or can I just contemplate suffering?
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:18 am

sundara wrote:Is contemplating impermanence really obligatory, or can I just contemplate suffering?


Just pay attention to your breathing.
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: Seeing Impermanence

Postby sundara » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:07 pm

What are the fruits of contemplating impermanence?
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby appicchato » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:15 pm

At the end of the pike...liberation...
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby fivebells » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:58 pm

But if you don't have all of that, keep going anyway. I had none of those things to start with, and the practice was still highly beneficial.

If contemplation of impermanence is causing you discombobulation, try something more concrete, like contemplation of the fact that you are inevitably going to die. If that's the kind of contemplation you mean when you're say you're having unwanted thoughts, not to worry. Those thoughts were actually always there, you just never noticed them before. The point of the practice is to develop the capacity to calmly abide whatever arises, including such thoughts, so the fact that they're coming up actually constitutes a good training opportunity. If you find you can't stay calm, start with contemplation of more remote deaths. Your own of old age, for instance, or the death of someone to whom you feel neutral.
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby sundara » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:12 am

I saw anicca, and dukkha and anatta, and my mind went to a realm outside this one all like the sky with white specks for a moment in my head but I was still experiencing the body. But the text by Ajahn Brahm, Reflections conducive to liberation, he talks about anicca, cessation, fading away and relinquishment. He says that by doing that the 5 aggregates disappear and what remains is Nirvana. What is the real Nibbana the first or the second. I'm reading the text by Bhante Vimalaramsi on Anapanasati meditation and he explains that to arrive at the true Nirvana we have to see Dependent Origination that's the true Supramundane Nirvana, what do you friends think.
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby PeterB » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:36 am

There is a long compound word in Pali for the fear or resistance that arises with the first arising of the fact of impermenance. When it is no longer just an interesting concept but is experienced as fact in mind and body. It takes work to then integrate that experience. Input from an experienced teacher is invaluable. Due to all sorts of variables not everyone reacts in the same way of course. I cannot speak apart from theoretically about the entire seeing of Dependant Origination.
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:09 pm

Dear Sundara
It is impossible to say from your post what you experienced. A teacher would have to ask you what you meant by anicca, dukkha, anatta, find out what practices you were doing and had experience in the past, and the gradual progress you had made, not to mention a detailed description of the state of mind you reached.

But generally (not regarding your experience) I can say that a glimpse of nibbana has no sensory perception in it. None at all. Also some people partially let go by seeing the three characteristics and their mind can feel disconnected from everything, but the mind has not vanished and some kind of formless perception persists. It is still a mundane type of letting go. It is a good sign and the person needs to keep on doing what she was doing, possibly at a greater depth/inensity.

Contemplating suffering is a trickier affair. I feel it can lead to depression unless done in a dispassionate way. This is the beauty of contemplating anicca because in a roundabout way it contains the contemplation of suffering but in a way which allows to let go of that same suffering.

with metta

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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:29 pm

sundara wrote:It's all very well but how is that going to resolve my predicament as a human being.


Impermanence is also very liberating, it means things always change, we are not stuck with the present situation.

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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:58 pm

sundara wrote:What are the fruits of contemplating impermanence?


Just from personal experience, contemplating impermanence is like a vaccine against suffering. If you look down the road and see loss and change coming, it greatly reduces the shock and pain of unhappy occurances.

For example, my parents were old and I knew they would soon die. I contemplated this and got through it pretty well because I was not expecting them to live forever in perfect health.
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:15 pm

One of Ajahn Chahs monks told a story about awareness of impermenance and not clinging. He said that Luang Por Chah was given a cup that he used to drink his tea. It was particularly beautiful. A visitor noticed this and remarked on its beauty. Luang Por said, " it is beautiful, and in my mind I have seen it fall to the floor and break many times."
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby shjohnk » Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:09 am

rowyourboat wrote:A Buddha is not required to say that everything is impermanent. Ask any man on the street. However a buddha is required to find a path through and beyond impermanence. This is where the meditative practices of vipassana/insight comes in.


Yes, but 'the man on the street' still grasps at things he knows are impermanent. Like you said, it takes insight to realise the futility of this. With me, I have, hopefully, taken the first small step towards this :smile:
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby sundara » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:40 pm

In the book "7 Contemplations of insight" it says a story about Venerable Channa when he was doing contemplation of impermanence he felt his self was going into a abyss, he became frightened, because he didn't discern conditions. He thought he was going to be annhialated. I don't know how to discern conditions.
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby IanAnd » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:38 am

sundara wrote:In the book "7 Contemplations of insight" it says a story about Venerable Channa when he was doing contemplation of impermanence he felt his self was going into a abyss, he became frightened, because he didn't discern conditions. He thought he was going to be annihilated. I don't know how to discern conditions.

Conditions can refer to the 12 factors of dependent co-arising or to the five aggregates of clinging, both of which make up the conventional or relative "person." Insight into these two doctrines of the Dhamma produces (or can produce) equanimity with regard to formations (or phenomena, if you prefer).

Most likely the reason that Channa "felt his self was going into an abyss" and about to be annihilated is because he wasn't able to see into the nature of anatta with regard to the five aggregates. In other words, he mistook form for self, feeling for self, perception for self, volition for self, and consciousness for self. Seeing self in the five aggregates, he only succeeded in increasing his own suffering ("he thought he was going to be annihilated").

Being able to discern the fact of the three characteristics of existence within the aggregates is tantamount to awakening, in one sense.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:32 am

Just a question- what is it you find so disturbing about contemplating impermanence anyhow?
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby notself » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:52 pm

sundara wrote:Apart from seeing the flowers decay, what other things in the 5 aggregates are beneficial to contemplate impermanence that can lead to calm?


If you are under 60, look at your baby pictures and ask yourself what happened to that child.

If you are over 60, look in a mirror. :tongue:
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: Seeing Impermanence

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:55 pm

Hi Sundara,before seeing causality it is important to see 'Nama Rupa'-the mental
and material components of reality. A way to do this is to simply categorize every bit ofyour experience under matter and mind. If you see something the visual object and the eye are material,the mind that l
perceives the sight (gives a name to it, decides how pleasant unpleasant or neutral it is for example)as mind. If a sound is heard the sound and the ear which heard it as material and the mind which heard it as mental component. Doing this to 6 sense bases until you stop seeing dogs and cars but seeing only mind and matter automatically isthe 'first insight knoledge of the delineation of mind and matter'.

The next step is to see that these material components are the cause of the mental components. This is then extended in everyway to see everything which happens through the day as cause and effect. So you stop seeing tables and mats but see causes and effects everywhere. I hope this helps. Only possible with good samadhi-otherwise it will remain at the level of theory. This is a 'yonisomanasikara' right contmplation method that we use in my tradition.

With metta
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