yoniso manasikara

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

yoniso manasikara

Postby Dhammanucara » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:33 pm

In practicing the 4 foundations of mindfulness, should yoniso manasikara, i.e. wise reflection (there may be a variety of translations to this), be employed? For example, if a person is experiencing intense hatred, instead of focusing on and watching his anger, should he reflect "I should not get angry because it will cause me more suffering"? If we do this, well, no doubt that to a certain extent, it may help us to lessen our anger, but wouldnt that be like trying to get the value imprinted into your mind instead of realizing it naturally?
What is your opinion about this?

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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:01 pm

oh where's that quote about thoroughbred horses...

it depends on the person really, how, without wisdom, is watching anger going to help some people? snipers concentrate very well yet no wisdom arises from their killing of people.
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:23 pm

Dhammanucara wrote:In practicing the 4 foundations of mindfulness, should yoniso manasikara, i.e. wise reflection (there may be a variety of translations to this), be employed? For example, if a person is experiencing intense hatred, instead of focusing on and watching his anger, should he reflect "I should not get angry because it will cause me more suffering"? If we do this, well, no doubt that to a certain extent, it may help us to lessen our anger, but wouldnt that be like trying to get the value imprinted into your mind instead of realizing it naturally?
What is your opinion about this?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:


Yes.
if we focus inappropriately unwholesome traits are strengthened.
we are to know what is arising and what is present, as in the feelings or mind sections, but we are also to know what to attend on as in the dhamma section.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:16 pm

Association with people of integrity (kalyanamitta) is a factor for stream-entry.
Listening to the true Dhamma (sadhamma) is a factor for stream-entry.
Appropriate attention (yonisomanasikara) is a factor for stream-entry.
Practice in accordance with the Dhamma (dhammanudhamma patipada- read four foundations of mindfulness) is a factor for stream-entry.
— SN 55.5

One practice leads to the next.
It is a reminder not to take any one sutta in isolation.
Some people who do just satipatthana dont seem to 'get it'. Contemplating (appropriately) the truths become a useful exercise in this situation. The Buddha never said that we must exclusively understand through direct experience. He spoke of 3 levels of wisdom/insight- knowledge from what is hear or read, understanding from contemplation and finally insight from the practice of the noble eightfold path. There is a gradual seeping in of insight.
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Freawaru » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:26 am

Hi Dhammanucara,

Dhammanucara wrote:In practicing the 4 foundations of mindfulness, should yoniso manasikara, i.e. wise reflection (there may be a variety of translations to this), be employed? For example, if a person is experiencing intense hatred, instead of focusing on and watching his anger, should he reflect "I should not get angry because it will cause me more suffering"? If we do this, well, no doubt that to a certain extent, it may help us to lessen our anger, but wouldnt that be like trying to get the value imprinted into your mind instead of realizing it naturally?
What is your opinion about this?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:


I think the trouble with mindfulness is that it requires awareness of what arises presently in the mind (and body). To develop this awareness is no mean task and even when one has developed it for some situations it still needs to be grown into all others and that can take years (or even lives).

The usual advice is to start developing it during sitting meditation, during a calm, concentrated mind. One can learn to observe the images and thoughts and memories, etc that arise and fall away and the sensory information of the physical senses (tactile, sound, etc). When one has gotten the knack of this one develops it during simple, automatic tasks such as walking or brushing the teeth, etc. When this works well one can practice during more difficult every-day tasks such as typing a post or reading a book or talking with other persons. Of course, one does not exclude the other, one can practice them all and some practice in a different order. (See f.e. Chapter 2 here: http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/dha ... 10-p2f.swf)

Awareness is more difficult to establish for some states of mind than for others. So one starts with those that are more easy, and that might be different for different practitioners. Also, some of the four foundations of mindfulness are more difficult than others, depending on the practitioner. Even though I started with kayanupassana it is more difficult to me presently than vedananupassana. And once one has developed it during wake one still has to develop it during dream, trance and deep sleep.

To develop mindfulness during the emotionally altered mind comes more difficult to some than to others. And because of it's social and physical implications it is, IMO, better to control the emotions tightly during every-day situations in the case one is not yet sure about one's ability to stay mindful and detached to the emotionally altered mind. But one can postpone the practice of mindfulness, telling oneself to suppress the emotion during the every-day situation and recall it during a sitting. This practice has also a healing effect, btw.

So my suggestion is to be honest with oneself. In the case awareness is not stable during emotions it is better to postpone the practice to the safe environment of a sitting, but once one sees that stability has been reached it is useful to practice in vivo, so to speak.
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:32 am

Yes. yoniso manasikara is always very valuable. Personally, I often take this term as very similar to samma sati. ie. the yoniso is like the samma, the manasikara is like the sati. Recently, I have appreciated some comments from Ven Nanananda on this term, understanding it as "on target (yoniso) mental attention (manasikara)", or something like that; and also "viz conditions (yoniso) ...". This last last point seems rather novel, but is sound. The "yoni" is the source or womb, just as conditions (esp. with the word "nidana") are the source or origin of phenomena. This renders it into an investigation into dependent arising (and, I feel, dependent cessation, too).
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:50 am

Greetings JC,

jcsuperstar wrote:oh where's that quote about thoroughbred horses...


This one?

AN 4.113: Patoda Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I think there's another one in the suttas (Samyutta Nikaya, I think?), but that might be the one you're thinking of.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby cooran » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:56 am

jcsuperstar wrote:oh where's that quote about thoroughbred horses...

it depends on the person really, how, without wisdom, is watching anger going to help some people? snipers concentrate very well yet no wisdom arises from their killing of people.


Hello JC,

Maybe this sutta:
AN 4.111 Kesi Sutta: To Kesi the Horsetrainer

Then Kesi the horsetrainer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him: "You, Kesi, are a trained man, a trainer of tamable horses. And how do you train a tamable horse?"
"Lord, I train a tamable horse [sometimes] with gentleness, [sometimes] with harshness, [sometimes] with both gentleness & harshness."
"And if a tamable horse does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, Kesi, what do you do?"
"If a tamable horse does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild and harsh training, lord, then I kill it. Why is that? [I think:] 'Don't let this be a disgrace to my lineage of teachers.' But the Blessed One, lord, is the unexcelled trainer of tamable people. How do you train a tamable person?"

"Kesi, I train a tamable person [sometimes] with gentleness, [sometimes] with harshness, [sometimes] with both gentleness & harshness.
"In using gentleness, [I teach:] 'Such is good bodily conduct. Such is the result of good bodily conduct. Such is good verbal conduct. Such is the result of good verbal conduct. Such is good mental conduct. Such is the result of good mental conduct. Such are the devas. Such are human beings.'

"In using harshness, [I teach:] 'Such is bodily misconduct. Such is the result of bodily misconduct. Such is verbal misconduct. Such is the result of verbal misconduct. Such is mental misconduct. Such is the result of mental misconduct. Such is hell. Such is the animal womb. Such the realm of the hungry shades.'

"In using gentleness & harshness, [I teach:] 'Such is good bodily conduct. Such is the result of good bodily conduct. Such is bodily misconduct. Such is the result of bodily misconduct. Such is good verbal conduct. Such is the result of good verbal conduct. Such is verbal misconduct. Such is the result of verbal misconduct. Such is good mental conduct. Such is the result of good mental conduct. Such is mental misconduct. Such is the result of mental misconduct. Such are the devas. Such are human beings. Such is hell. Such is the animal womb. Such the realm of the hungry shades.'"

"And if a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, what do you do?"
"If a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, then I kill him, Kesi."
"But it's not proper for our Blessed One to take life! And yet the Blessed One just said, 'I kill him, Kesi.'"

"It is true, Kesi, that it's not proper for a Tathagata to take life. But if a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, then the Tathagata does not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. His knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. This is what it means to be totally destroyed in the Doctrine & Discipline, when the Tathagata does not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing, and one's knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing."

"Yes, lord, wouldn't one be totally destroyed if the Tathagata does not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing, and one's knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing!

"Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the community of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:04 am

Did someone say 'horses'??
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby cooran » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:07 am

Uh oh! as long as no body mentions greyhounds! shhhhhh ......
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:11 am

Shhhhh indeed!

I think I've derailed this thread enough.

Time to get back on topic!
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:40 pm

On one occasion Ven. Sariputta & Ven. Maha Kotthita were staying near Varanasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then Ven. Maha Kotthita, emerging from seclusion in the late afternoon, went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, "Sariputta my friend, which things should a virtuous monk attend to in an appropriate way?"

"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Which five? Form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. A virtuous monk should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a virtuous monk, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant... not-self, would realize the fruit of stream-entry."

"Then which things should a monk who has attained stream-entry attend to in an appropriate way?"

"A monk who has attained stream-entry should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a monk who has attained stream-entry, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant... not-self, would realize the fruit of once-returning."

"Then which things should a monk who has attained once-returning attend to in an appropriate way?"

"A monk who has attained once-returning should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a monk who has attained once-returning, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant... not-self, would realize the fruit of non-returning."

"Then which things should a monk who has attained non-returning attend to in an appropriate way?"

"A monk who has attained non-returning should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a monk who has attained non-returning, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant... not-self, would realize the fruit of arahantship."

"Then which things should an arahant attend to in an appropriate way?"

"An arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Although, for an arahant, there is nothing further to do, and nothing to add to what has been done, still these things — when developed & pursued — lead both to a pleasant abiding in the here-&-now and to mindfulness & alertness."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Dhammanucara » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:33 pm

Wow I really like the Kesi Sutta! Thank you,cooran for posting that! :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup:

I agree with what most of you said. What I understand is though not denying the importance of bare mindfulness, to me, it is a rather risky thing when your mind is attacked by kilesas or strong emotions. If a person can really sit there and maintain such great mindfulness and observe the process of the lingering emotions and kilesas without being affected by it at all or without any attachment to it at all, and throughout the sitting,he could observe the rising, on-going and falling of the kilesa or emotion so smoothly (I believe that this is actually achieveable, but it may be hard,and many would be affected by kilesas when they arise), then the practice of bare mindfulness will be good because it would lead you to penetrate into the understanding and realization of the truths of impermanence,etc.

However,in my opinion, if you are those person who are easily affected,and no matter how hard you have tried to remain unaffected by your thoughts and emotions, I feel that bare mindfulness could pose a challenge, and one may end up feeling so sorrowful,his mind totally unmotivated and uninspired,lost faith in the teachings and resulting the mind in such depressed condition. Thus, in this case,I feel that yoniso manasikara should step in to lift up your mind from such state. It serves as a foundation for the mind to continue to be mindful in my opinion.

However,I heard that,especially those proponents of bare mindfulness's claim, by doing yoniso manasikara, one unconsciously sets a judgment on any phenomenon and defines each phenomenon as according to one's own understanding of right and wrong,proper and improper, righteous and unrighteous. This,they say, could be an error to the practice because as long as one is not enlightened, one could not possibly say and firmly declare that this is right or wrong. In my understanding, i say that whether a person is an adherent to bare mindfulness or yoniso manasikara, this is not a big deal,because we have a general rule of thumb: kilesas arise from chiefly greed, hatred and delusion and if one sees any relatives to these families, to a certain degree one can say that that phenomenon or thought is improper. Ah well, just my thought on this 'philosophical' issue.

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby sangyey » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:56 pm

Hi everybody,

I am new to this forum and I saw this thread on yoniso manasikara. I have been studying satipatthana and I am wondering what the difference between yonisa manasikara and sampajana is?

Thank you :smile:

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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:15 pm

Hi Sangyey

Mindful (sati) & Alert (sampajanna). Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our
instruction to you all. And how is a monk mindful? There is the case
where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent,
alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to
the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities
in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed &
distress with reference to the world [§213]. This is how a monk is
mindful.

And how is a monk alert? There is the case where feelings are known
to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they
subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they
persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known
to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This
is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is
our instruction to you all.
— SN 47.35
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby sangyey » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:31 am

I think there different though. Sampajana is also known as 'clear comprehension' and yoniso manasikara is known as 'wise consideration.' I'm just trying to figure out where yoniso manasikara comes into play in terms of practice or within a framework.
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:10 am

sangyey wrote:I think there different though. Sampajana is also known as 'clear comprehension' and yoniso manasikara is known as 'wise consideration.' I'm just trying to figure out where yoniso manasikara comes into play in terms of practice or within a framework.


Yoniso Manasikara is what we are attending on and if it is appropriate.
Sampajana is how we should see the object.

if we are feeling ill will, and this is leading to more and more thoughts of ill will due to our attention being placed on it, then we should change our object, this is yoniso manasikara

if we are practicing Anapanasati yet we are distracted with thoughts of things that have happened which bring about negative feelings, we need to focus harder on the breath, this is yoniso manasikara.

clearly comprehending something doesn't make it an appropriate use of attention.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby sangyey » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Thank you that makes sense now. It almost seems then that yoniso manasikara is a facet of right effort and would be used in terms of the 5 hindrances.
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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:31 pm

Hi Sangyey

I think it is more than that. It focuses the mind on the truths like anicca and dukkha- as noted in the sutta I posted earlier in the thread. A road from one place to the next can be described in various ways- using landmarks, naming roads or naming distances and turns. Similarly the path to nibbana can be explained in different ways. I suppose they do correspond to different places in different descriptions but there may not be clear one to one comparisons. I especially like the 'factors of stream entry' description where yonisomanasikara comes before one is mindful. It is a vehicle to carry what one has heard and pondered upon on to the mindfulness practice.

with metta

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Re: yoniso manasikara

Postby sangyey » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:01 pm

Thank you for the reply.
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