What is conducive to awakening?

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What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:13 am

In the View of Mahayana/Vajrayana thread in the classical forum, Tilt asked:

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:And the answer is...... drumbeat.....

.....whatever is conducive to enlightenment!.
That is the real question: What, outside of the Buddha's teachings, is conducive to awakening?


This may be an interesting question to explore.

I find a great deal of material as being conducive to enlightenment. For instance I explored psychology for quite a few years and this brought a degree of clarity that enabled me to accept the Buddhist path. I would say this is conducive to awakening.

There are writings that bring out the best of human spirit, that inspire us, that explore the depths and challenge us to enquire where we had only taken things for granted before. I call this conducive to awakening.

Basically I would say that whatever helps one become aware, let go of bad habits, embrace a path of renunciation and compassion is conducive to awakening.

Of course as a Mahayana practitioner I find much in Mahayana (which was almost certainly not spoken by the historical Buddha) to be conducive to awakening. But wisdom can be found in the most unlikely places.

"Infinity in a grain of sand, Eternity in an hour."

"If only the doors of perception were cleansed..."

So what do you find "conducive to awakening?"

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:49 am

hmmm, the way the question is worded may lead to the assumption that there would be things that in and of themselves are conducive to awakening, a kind of generic or universalized principle, without considering that what is or is not conducive may depend on specific instances or cases, which may not always be able to be generalized or universalized.

To use an analogy, if we asked: What medicine is conducive to good health? We may first wish to inquire as to the patient's illness. We may be reluctant to specify any medicine as if it were always conducive to good health in a universalized manner.
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:16 am

Apropos things universally conducive to awakening - I doubt any such exist (except perhaps food, water and air :thinking: )

A striking example that came up recently in a sutta where the Buddha taught the monks meditation on the repulsiveness of the body, went into a retreat and upon returning discovered that quite a few had committed suicide. The solution? Back to mindfulness of the breath.

So horses for courses, eh?

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:24 am

Greetings Dan,

Dan74 wrote:Apropos things universally conducive to awakening - I doubt any such exist (except perhaps food, water and air :thinking: )


What about sati? You can never have too much of that.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:38 am

No doubt! But how do you teach sati? And regardless of how you teach it, how many people will misunderstand and develop all sorts of ideas?

I guess the point is not that sila, sati, panna, etc are not beneficial, but that teachings need to be tailored to the audience. Not really profound, I think (then again you'd be surprised how many of teachers don't really get it...)


Still, what outside of the Buddha's teachings (as preserved in the Pali Canon) would you consider to be conducive to awakening? :focus:

For me a very early formative influence were books by Victor Hugo which promoted self-sacrifice for the sake of others (no wonder I am ranting on about the Bodhisattva vows 30 years on! :D ) as well as survival stories like those of Jack London. It's very individual but looking back, they were good values and they helped me keep going at times when it wasn't easy and not (completely) lose sight of what truly matters. I would call this "conducive to awakening." Heck, I would even call most of what one finds in other religions as conducive to awakening. Great values, inspirational stories :twothumbsup:

(well some not so inspirational what with all the raping and pillaging of the heathens, who doubtless deserved it all, etc etc)

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:29 pm

Dan74 wrote:Still, what outside of the Buddha's teachings (as preserved in the Pali Canon) would you consider to be conducive to awakening? :focus:

For me a very early formative influence were books by Victor Hugo which promoted self-sacrifice for the sake of others (no wonder I am ranting on about the Bodhisattva vows 30 years on! :D ) as well as survival stories like those of Jack London. It's very individual but looking back, they were good values and they helped me keep going at times when it wasn't easy and not (completely) lose sight of what truly matters. I would call this "conducive to awakening." Heck, I would even call most of what one finds in other religions as conducive to awakening. Great values, inspirational stories :twothumbsup:

Who's definition of "awakening" are you seeking to inquire about? This is a Buddhist forum, so the obvious choice for a definition from those here might the the founder's, whose definition I would recommend that people study and pursue.

You might be better served by proposing what it is that YOU consider to be awakening...

...so that rest of us can tear your ideas apart and show how ignorant you are ( :stirthepot: just kidding, of course :smile: ).

But seriously, why would you want to go outside of the Buddha's teaching? Or are you only searching for other influences which might have positively affected one's decision to look more closely at the Dhamma? That latter would be an entirely different question altogether.

On the other hand,
Dan74 wrote:"So what do you find 'conducive to awakening?' "

To paraphrase a 1960-70s popular guru, Werner Erhard, "What is, IS. And what isn't, ISN'T. Learn to discern the difference." And, "Belief is a disease...and the ultimate boobie prize." (Don't laugh. These are more profound than you might imagine; if you take the time to actually examine them, that is.)
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby bodom » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:29 pm

37 Factors of Enlightenment or Wings of Awakening (bodhipakkhiya-dhammá) The set of teachings that the Buddha himself said formed the heart of his message.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness (satipatthana)
Four Right Efforts (sammappadhana)
Four Bases of Power (iddhipada)
Five Faculties (indriya)
Five Strengths (bala)
Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga)
Eight Fold Path (ariya-magga

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby locusphor » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:51 pm

Speaking from a personal standpoint, I believe that unrelenting pain is very conducive to awakening.

The key is that the suffering appear boundless, eternal, omnipresent to the student. He can do nothing to change the outcome: no matter how blameless his intent, no matter how quickly that intent gets forsaken, the result is always the same -- perpetual suffering.

I really don't like to think of my practice as a knee-jerk reaction to negative stimuli. And I want to avoid this trap. There's something base about my tendency to disregard unpleasant outcomes as 'mistakes' or 'errors' and therefore irrelevant to the pursuit of truth. And that's why today I am more grateful than ever to study these so-called mistakes and coax little gems of understanding from my ordeals. It's not fear or aversion that motivates my practice, but rather an earnest desire to see and accept my failures, to study the untruth with the same devotion that one reads the scriptures. Mistakes when seen correctly are actually a sign that the universe is exactly as it should be.

For me the ultimate reason pain is conducive to awakening is because, given enough suffering, we all abandon our static, unthinking selves in order to reach understanding. Self and its need to cling to knowledge is perhaps the greatest impediment to understanding. Therefore awakening requires we rid ourselves of self. There is no surer way to learn this than through intense and seemingly endless suffering.
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:26 am

IanAnd wrote:Who's definition of "awakening" are you seeking to inquire about? This is a Buddhist forum, so the obvious choice for a definition from those here might the the founder's, whose definition I would recommend that people study and pursue.

You might be better served by proposing what it is that YOU consider to be awakening...

...so that rest of us can tear your ideas apart and show how ignorant you are ( :stirthepot: just kidding, of course :smile: ).

But seriously, why would you want to go outside of the Buddha's teaching? Or are you only searching for other influences which might have positively affected one's decision to look more closely at the Dhamma? That latter would be an entirely different question altogether.

On the other hand,
Dan74 wrote:"So what do you find 'conducive to awakening?' "

To paraphrase a 1960-70s popular guru, Werner Erhard, "What is, IS. And what isn't, ISN'T. Learn to discern the difference." And, "Belief is a disease...and the ultimate boobie prize." (Don't laugh. These are more profound than you might imagine; if you take the time to actually examine them, that is.)


Hi Ian,

I'd rather people answered using their understanding of awakening rather than mine.

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:16 am

SN 46.53

Aggi Sutta: Fire
Right and Wrong Times
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe



"At such times, monks, as the mind is sluggish, that is the wrong time to cultivate the enlightenment-factor1 of tranquillity, the enlightenment-factor of concentration, the enlightenment-factor of equanimity. What is the reason? A sluggish mind is hard to arouse by these factors.

"Suppose a man wants to make a small fire blaze. If he heaps wet grass, wet cow-dung and wet sticks on it, if he exposes it to wind and rain and sprinkles it with dust, can he make that small fire blaze?"

"No indeed, Lord."

"Just so, when the mind is sluggish it is the wrong time to cultivate the enlightenment-factors of tranquillity, concentration and equanimity, because a sluggish mind is hard to arouse through these factors.

"But, monks, when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to cultivate the enlightenment-factor of investigation-of-states, the enlightenment-factor of energy, the enlightenment-factor of rapture.2 What is the reason? A sluggish mind is easy to arouse by these factors.

"Suppose a man wants to make a small fire blaze. If he heaps dry grass, dry cow-dung and dry sticks on it, blows on it with his mouth, and does not sprinkle it with dust, can he make that fire blaze?"

"Yes indeed, Lord."

"... a sluggish mind is easy to arouse through these factors.

"Monks, when the mind is agitated,3 that is the wrong time to cultivate the enlightenment-factors of investigation-of-states, of energy, of rapture. Why? An agitated mind is hard to calm through these factors.

"Suppose a man wants to put a big fire out. If he heaps dry cow-dung and dry sticks on it, blow on it with his mouth, and does not sprinkle it with dust, can he put that fire out?"

"No indeed, Lord."

"... an agitated mind is not easy to calm through these factors.

"When the mind is agitated, that is the right time to cultivate the enlightenment-factors of tranquillity, concentration, equanimity. Why? Because an agitated mind is easy to calm4 through these factors.

"Suppose a man wants to put out a big fire. If he heaps wet grass, wet cow-dung, wet sticks on it and if he exposes it to wind and rain, if he sprinkles it with dust, can he put that big fire out?"

"Yes indeed, Lord."

"Just so, monks, when the mind is agitated, that is the right time to cultivate the enlightenment-factors of tranquillity, concentration, equanimity. An agitated mind is easy to calm through these factors.

"But as for mindfulness, monks, I declare that it is always useful."
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:16 pm

Thank you, Gabriel, it was good to see this passage again and very appropriate for this thread.

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby LauraJ » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:57 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:hmmm, the way the question is worded may lead to the assumption that there would be things that in and of themselves are conducive to awakening, a kind of generic or universalized principle, without considering that what is or is not conducive may depend on specific instances or cases, which may not always be able to be generalized or universalized.

To use an analogy, if we asked: What medicine is conducive to good health? We may first wish to inquire as to the patient's illness. We may be reluctant to specify any medicine as if it were always conducive to good health in a universalized manner.


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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:16 am

What is conducive to awakening is the absence of that which is un-conducive (if that's even a real word).

Awakened is our natural state however so much of what we attach to, obsesses over, or believe to be real muddy's the waters. That's why so much of our practice is staying with the raw bare bones of our experience.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:29 am

Goofaholix wrote:What is conducive to awakening is the absence of that which is un-conducive (if that's even a real word).

Awakened is our natural state however so much of what we attach to, obsesses over, or believe to be real muddy's the waters. That's why so much of our practice is staying with the raw bare bones of our experience.


Hi Goofaholix,

What if the raw bare bones of our experience is obsessing, attaching, and believing the mud is real?

I am sympathetic to the cultivation of relaxed effort but I dont really think that it helps much to declare that our natural state is awakened. By what measure do we declare a state to be "natural"? In my view positive steps must be taken in order to bring about the appropriate conditions under which we develop in a positive manner. I would say this is only "natural". The degree to which conditions are unsupportive to Awakening is the degree to which Awakening is unlikely. I would say this is only "natural".

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:39 am

Greetings,

Extract from...

MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"And how are the four frames of reference developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination?

"[1] On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady & without lapse. When his mindfulness is steady & without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[2] Remaining mindful in this way, he examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment. When he remains mindful in this way, examining, analyzing, & coming to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[3] In one who examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, unflagging persistence is aroused. When unflagging persistence is aroused in one who examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then persistence as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[4] In one whose persistence is aroused, a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises. When a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises in one whose persistence is aroused, then rapture as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[5] For one who is enraptured, the body grows calm and the mind grows calm. When the body & mind of an enraptured monk grow calm, then serenity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[6] For one who is at ease — his body calmed — the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease — his body calmed — becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[7] He oversees the mind thus concentrated with equanimity. When he oversees the mind thus concentrated with equanimity, equanimity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

(Similarly with the other three frames of reference: feelings, mind, & mental qualities.)

"This is how the four frames of reference are developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:21 am

The noble eightfold path? I dunno...

:anjali: mate
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:49 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:What is conducive to awakening is the absence of that which is un-conducive (if that's even a real word).

Awakened is our natural state however so much of what we attach to, obsesses over, or believe to be real muddy's the waters. That's why so much of our practice is staying with the raw bare bones of our experience.


Hi Goofaholix,

What if the raw bare bones of our experience is obsessing, attaching, and believing the mud is real?

I am sympathetic to the cultivation of relaxed effort but I dont really think that it helps much to declare that our natural state is awakened. By what measure do we declare a state to be "natural"? In my view positive steps must be taken in order to bring about the appropriate conditions under which we develop in a positive manner. I would say this is only "natural". The degree to which conditions are unsupportive to Awakening is the degree to which Awakening is unlikely. I would say this is only "natural".

Metta

Gabe


If the raw bare bones of our experience is obsessing, attaching, and believing the mud is real then I'd say there was no hope for us. I suspect you didn't really understand my post, I certainly wasn't advocating not taking positive steps.

The raw bare bones of our experience that I was referring to are things like breathing, walking, sensations in the body, arising and passing away, thinking without getting involved in the story line. These are the practices I've been taught, when I undertake these practices properly I find all the crap fades away into the background, this is the absence of the un-conducive that I find conducive.

We declare a state as natural by measure of what the Buddhas teaching would have us become, by natural I mean the way we are meant to be but I suspect you've read it as "normal". It may be normal for us to be obsessing, attaching, and believing the mud is real but it's not natural, that's why we suffer because of it, that's why the Buddha taught us the way out of it.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby Sönam » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:15 pm

Goofaholix wrote:What is conducive to awakening is the absence of that which is un-conducive (if that's even a real word).

Awakened is our natural state however so much of what we attach to, obsesses over, or believe to be real muddy's the waters. That's why so much of our practice is staying with the raw bare bones of our experience.


Hello all,

From my point of view, that's an interesting post ... it sounds like an answer a Vajra, even a Dzogchen, practitioner could do. It's quite based on the Second Turn's assumptions, that is the Buddha nature that we all possess, just it is obstructed by our kleshas. The image being "the sun does exists, even if you have never seen it because it is obstructed by clouds" ... and of course what is interesting are the consequences into the discipline, of that.
Any comment ?

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:22 pm

Goofaholix wrote:Awakened is our natural state however so much of what we attach to, obsesses over, or believe to be real muddy's the waters. That's why so much of our practice is staying with the raw bare bones of our experience.

If that were so, then how did we loose it? Why did we loose it? Since we lost it, it no longer is our natural state? The Buddha made it quite clear that when we are awakened we do not loose it.

It is not really a very meaningful or useful conceptual structure to posit that awakening, being free of greed, hatred, and delusion is our natural state, given that greed, hatred, and delusion are what evolutionarily brought us to the human state in which most of us find ourselves.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: What is conducive to awakening?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:30 pm

Sönam wrote:, that is the Buddha nature that we all possess, just it is obstructed by our kleshas.
The problem is possessing things.
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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