Ben wrote:Hi Brizzy!
Rather than ask what other people think, why not just come out and tell us what you think!
Actually, I worded it wrong, it is not my own take on abandoning the hindrances, rather it is the importance I think should be given to the practice.
For my perspective on “abandoning the hindrances” I am using "Dvedhavitakka Sutta: Two Sorts of Thinking" (MN 19), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 7, 2009, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html
although there are many others. “Abandoning the hindrances” IS
the meditation IS
the practice and any dhamma means that occur to an individual can be used. Mindfulness of breathing/ metta / reflection on the foul/ reflection of the noble truths/ personal reflections on death etc. etc. etc. All these can be used in the abandonment of the hindrances. As you can see from the sutta, the buddha abandoned his hindrances through thought processes "As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with sensuality had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence."
Further in the sutta the buddha talks of the body and how "thinking and pondering" for a long time would cause the body to tire. The buddha is already in first jhana - practicing mindfulness of body. When he abandons thinking and pondering he enters second jhana and is still practicing mindfulness of body, and so on through the jhanas.
Mindfulness of body is always involved as right from the start what we think and feel can be experienced along with the body. As the practice progresses the mind finds gladness/joy and then the real job of mindfulness of body can begin. This insight/jhana approach is spelled out so often in the suttas and yet people still complain that the Buddha did not leave any meditation instructions. The Buddha did not appear to leave instructions on strange concentration practices where one is merely aware of sensations bubbling about the body while the mind is frozen with a superimposed "equanimity" that is just storing up trouble. He also did not appear to leave instructions about noting "rising" "rising" "falling" "falling" . These modern day insight practices seem to imply that by merely being "aware" insight will magically unfold. If we exam the buddhas teachings regarding wisdom then we can see that he taught a reflective/contemplative approach that when practiced evolves into greater samadhi & wisdom. As the samadhi becomes greater the wisdom becomes greater and less "thinking" is needed. This is all in the suttas but people seem to prefer a "special" mind numbing technique rather than what the buddha taught. I am not saying this is the only way but it is the most common approach to be found in the suttas ( if we ignore later interpretations of what is actually written) As an example in the suttas the jhanas are clearly described as states in which one is aware of the body and yet this idea is almost lost and jhana has been replaced by concentration exercises in which one can use determined effort and brute force to fix ones mind. To achieve the Buddhas jhanas one would use wisdom and peace to settle the mind. One thing that is also worth mentioning, the Buddha talks of the seven enlightenment factors, the second of these being investigation of the dhamma. I dont really know how much investigation can be undertaken when one is merely being aware or just noting physical phenomena. Another example could be anapana, where it is taught as a fixed meditation. If we read the sutta we see that the practicing monk has a real role in the meditation and not just a passive observational one. It is the practicing monk, who must figure out ways and means to calm the body/raise joy etc. That is not to say that these are not causally linked and will give rise to further progression, but it is the monk who must nurture their causes by thought. what do you think?