Manasikara in sweeping

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

Thanks for sharing the above quotes.

Further to the explanation above about why this interests me, I think it's because when I falsely identify "myself", I associate it in terms of volition or will.

Therefore, for me at least, the ti-lakkhana aspects of volition are arguably more worth penetrating than the ti-lakkhana aspects of the feeling or body aggregates.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Sure. Next time you are sitting and have an itch on your nose. You can watch your intention to scratch it, though you do not have to act on the intention and you can watch your intention not to act on scratching your nose, or you can scratch your nose, moving very slowly catching as much of the intentional/volitional aspects of the action as you can.

But one also needs to be careful as to not to concoct "intention"/"volition." Basically, it is a matter of attending to, very carefully, what arises, but this also presupposes some degree of cultivation of mindfulness and concentration.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:36 am

Thanks Tilt,

To loosely paraphrase Ajahn Chah:
"You can learn a lot from Ajahn Itch..."

:anjali:
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

Thanks for sharing the above quotes.

Further to the explanation above about why this interests me, I think it's because when I falsely identify "myself", I associate it in terms of volition or will... and manisikara is a subtle aspect of will or volition.

Therefore, for me at least, the ti-lakkhana aspects of volition are arguably more worth penetrating than the ti-lakkhana aspects of the feeling or body aggregates.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Paul I've never had any problem with attending to volition with vedananupassana. Observing vedana is an excellent training ground which trains the mind in observing increasingly more subtle phenomena. Initially when one practices vedananupassana, one's attention is focused on the grosser forms of sensation, but through time and continuity of practice, one develops sensitivity - not only towards finer sensation, but also to other co-arising phenomena. As one's equanimity develops and matures, one increasingly observes the evanescing flora without identifying with it.
kind regards

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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Sanghamitta » Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:35 pm

Ben wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

Thanks for sharing the above quotes.

Further to the explanation above about why this interests me, I think it's because when I falsely identify "myself", I associate it in terms of volition or will... and manisikara is a subtle aspect of will or volition.

Therefore, for me at least, the ti-lakkhana aspects of volition are arguably more worth penetrating than the ti-lakkhana aspects of the feeling or body aggregates.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Paul I've never had any problem with attending to volition with vedananupassana. Observing vedana is an excellent training ground which trains the mind in observing increasingly more subtle phenomena. Initially when one practices vedananupassana, one's attention is focused on the grosser forms of sensation, but through time and continuity of practice, one develops sensitivity - not only towards finer sensation, but also to other co-arising phenomena. As one's equanimity develops and matures, one increasingly observes the evanescing flora without identifying with it.
kind regards

Ben

I think its worth noting that observing vedana can initially result in a hypersensitivity to same.
Many people find that sensations that are hitherto not registered consciously become conscious...which is actually a sign that things are proceeding as they should, but which can mean a period of being very aware of itching and other sensations which the conscious mind usually ignores in order to function. This passes.
It goes quicker with "noting"..
A book that deals in a very accessible and pragmatic way with working with vedana using Vipassana methods is " The Dynamic Way Of Meditation " by Dhiravamsa,
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:30 am

Sanghamitta wrote:I think its worth noting that observing vedana can initially result in a hypersensitivity to same.
Many people find that sensations that are hitherto not registered consciously become conscious...which is actually a sign that things are proceeding as they should, but which can mean a period of being very aware of itching and other sensations which the conscious mind usually ignores in order to function. This passes.

Indeed. If the practice is twinned with equanimity training then the hypersensitivity is less subject to the usual irritation and anxiety that it habitually causes in most people. Eventually, sensation is just seen for what it is and it is no longer a source from which tanha and dosa originate.
Sanghamitta wrote:It goes quicker with "noting"..

Not having practiced noting, I take your word for it.

Sanghamitta wrote:A book that deals in a very accessible and pragmatic way with working with vedana using Vipassana methods is " The Dynamic Way Of Meditation " by Dhiravamsa,

Thanks for the recommendation, I am sure some of our members will find it of benefit.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:54 am

Indeed Ben ( re Equanimity ) I was fortunate to learn the Brahma Viharas at the same time as I was learning Vipassana. In my mind they are inseparable.

:anjali:

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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:30 pm

I think there are some methods of vipassana which make understanding anatta easier. Watching intentions arise in walking meditation (as well as other movements right through the day) is part of my lineage practice as well. Often the idea that I am doing something is strongly linked in with the sense of agency/self. It takes time and focused attention on intention to see its Nama rupa, cause effect interaction. That intention itself is causally arisen - hence doing away with the need for a do-er. Without seeing intention the idea of the self may well stay hidden in the unanswered question 'well who is doing the meditating' or 'who is shifting the awareness'. A clever practitioner may note this even if not intentionally focused upon, but that in my experience of teaching vipassana is rather rare.

Without getting past understanding non-self, there can be no bhanga nana (to link in with the other topic). Seeing anatta with any reliability/regularity involves seeing cause and effect very clearly (after seeing Nama rupa). Only some methods focus on cause and effect (of Nama rupa). Otherwise because of the inherant avijja, it is highly improbable these things would be understood without specific focus on these aspects of phenomena. Without seeingcause and effect as it is happening in all phenomena, there is no bhanga nana. This is paccaya parigghaha nana -the knowledge of causality, which is part of khankavitarana visuddhi (the purification of overcoming doubt). This visuddhi and this nana arise as effect of the previous nana and visuddhi- Nama rupa paticceda nana and Ditti visuddhi)

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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:48 am

rowyourboat wrote:I think there are some methods of vipassana which make understanding anatta easier.
Could you be a little more expansive on this?
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.

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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:04 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Thanks for sharing your experiences... should you ever attempt to observe the volition that operates concurrently with the sweeping, I'd be interested to hear those experiences too.

Well, I haven't tried sweeping (not much call for that around here...), but I did spend my walking time on retreat last weekend attempting to see volition during motion. I don't find it particularly easy. I can see the volition before the motion quite clearly, but during the motion itself it's difficult to find amongst the sensations, feelings, and so on... However, making the effort was worthwhile, as it heightened my attention.

And sometimes I did see some strange effects. I occasionally got the feeling of a volitional "force" that was "automatically" propelling my legs. Very odd. Walking but no walker... Only clear a couple of times in the whole weekend, though, this stuff takes patience...

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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:01 am

At the risk of addressing a non problem, or a problem which lies in my perception of some of the posts rather than in actuality..I think its worth pointing out that manasikara refers to directed attention...only. It does not suggest a focus on any given phenomenon to the exclusion of any other phenomenon. Manasikara is a means of loosening rather than accumulation.
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Freawaru » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:58 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

May I ask a question to our resident meditators who use "sweeping" in their practice?

When you sweep, do you ever pay attention to the quality of the volitional action of sweeping, or put another way, the deliberate act of changing the focus of attention?


In my experience intention activates patterns rather than one single impression. For example, there is not just intention to lift the foot but intention to move the whole body through pattern of movements. The intention to walk is not sliced into "intend to lift foot, intend to move it through air, intend to put it down" but the whole movement is intended at the beginning and the pattern is followed as if it was a program in a computer.

This is not so when I move very slowly, deliberately slowing down the movements. In this case a large part of intention is diverted to keeping the movements slow. Another situation is when I try to learn a new movement (also done slowly), it seems to me that these are phases of generating patterns rather than initiating a set pattern by intention.

An interesting situation to observe intention are surprises or sudden problematic situations. Intention can shift very quickly. For example when a driving the car the intention to keep a specific pattern (go straight) can change within a second to (turn left) to avoid another car.

Other interesting situations are those where I have to alter my movements and thus the intention to initiate specific movement patterns continuously to adapt. For example during trekking in the mountains. Every step one has to choose anew, using the information of the eyes. All these intentions to make long step, short step, a bit to the right or left etc, come automatically, too.
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:14 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:At the risk of addressing a non problem, or a problem which lies in my perception of some of the posts rather than in actuality..I think its worth pointing out that manasikara refers to directed attention...only. It does not suggest a focus on any given phenomenon to the exclusion of any other phenomenon. Manasikara is a means of loosening rather than accumulation.

Personally I didn't register the particular Pali term Retro was using. I just replied to the English term "pay attention". Certainly, as I'm sure you are well aware, the (Mahasi) approach I use doesn't exclude objects, but does "pay attention" to particular objects.

However, re-reading Retro's original post:
retrofuturist wrote:May I ask a question to our resident meditators who use "sweeping" in their practice?

When you sweep, do you ever pay attention to the quality of the volitional action of sweeping, or put another way, the deliberate act of changing the focus of attention?

I'm not entirely sure what he meant by "quality of the volitional action" and "deliberate act of changing the focus of attention".

Just seeing any volition at all can be quite tricky (for me), so what he seems to be asking about here sounds quite subtle...

:anjali:
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:18 pm

Hi Freawaru,
Freawaru wrote:In my experience intention activates patterns rather than one single impression. For example, there is not just intention to lift the foot but intention to move the whole body through pattern of movements. The intention to walk is not sliced into "intend to lift foot, intend to move it through air, intend to put it down" but the whole movement is intended at the beginning and the pattern is followed as if it was a program in a computer.

Yes, that's what I tried to explain in some of my posts. It's like a button is pushed then the whole motion is inevitable.
Freawaru wrote:This is not so when I move very slowly, deliberately slowing down the movements. In this case a large part of intention is diverted to keeping the movements slow. Another situation is when I try to learn a new movement (also done slowly), it seems to me that these are phases of generating patterns rather than initiating a set pattern by intention.

That's an interesting point. But hard for me to comment more without trying it out... Later...

:anjali:
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

May I ask a question to our resident meditators who use "sweeping" in their practice?

When you sweep, do you ever pay attention to the quality of the volitional action of sweeping, or put another way, the deliberate act of changing the focus of attention?

I hope the question was clear, but feel free to ask for clarification if not.

Metta,
Retro. :)

"Sweeping": I am not sure if I would say this is a technique I consciously use and haven't formally studied under anybody (like Goenka?) who uses the term. But it is something I noticed recently I sometimes do habitually, as part of my understanding of mindfulness. Paying attention to everything that passes through contact (phassa), whether it's a physical sense or a thought or feeling. Seeing that it is, as Gil Fronsdal once said, like a flashlight: where the "brightness" is what I'm directly aware of, while the darkness is what I'm less aware or unaware of. So, I am always aware of what I am aware of, but also intuitively scan the dark spots for things I might be missing. This scanning is in no particular order, because it is intuitive. It's not possible to be aware of everything all the time, but you can at least be aware of your own awareness, and try to "feel" if there are things you're missing that need to be seen, and over time, make the light brighter (samadhi) and wider (mindfulness).

I'm not sure if I'm describing a different practice here, because what I do isn't a "volition" as it's not bound to causality. It is revealed by certain parallel states of mind, so particular volitions are important, but it is itself not a particular state of mind directly created by any volition.

Also, I take it what you're getting at here: I think Retrofuturist wants to know if you all are practicing real mindfulness, or if you are stuck in a mental activity with a particular methodology. If it's real mindfulness, you should be paying attention to the quality of the volitional action of sweeping (if it's a relevant object that comes into consciousness, if it's unimportant no need to give yourself a headache), but you should not be paying attention to the quality of the volitional act, if the "quality" ascribed is a notion of self, if "quality" means the "nature of the one doing the sweeping."
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:56 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Freawaru,
Freawaru wrote:In my experience intention activates patterns rather than one single impression. For example, there is not just intention to lift the foot but intention to move the whole body through pattern of movements. The intention to walk is not sliced into "intend to lift foot, intend to move it through air, intend to put it down" but the whole movement is intended at the beginning and the pattern is followed as if it was a program in a computer.

Yes, that's what I tried to explain in some of my posts. It's like a button is pushed then the whole motion is inevitable.
Freawaru wrote:This is not so when I move very slowly, deliberately slowing down the movements. In this case a large part of intention is diverted to keeping the movements slow. Another situation is when I try to learn a new movement (also done slowly), it seems to me that these are phases of generating patterns rather than initiating a set pattern by intention.

That's an interesting point. But hard for me to comment more without trying it out... Later...

:anjali:
Mike

My experience was that there was a long period...in retrospect maybe it wasn't actually that long, when I intellectualised the process and watched myself watching myself. I think its analogous to learning to change gear..the analogy breaks down because we dont actually want to go through the process of sweeping on autopilot as we do when changing gear.It does though begin to happen while the analytic processes lie fallow...
I remember having a discussion about precisely the same issue with Ajahn Anando and hm saying "you should sweep lightly like dancing "......which made sense to me.I think the process of talking these through with an experienced practitioner cant be over emphasised..some much subtlety gets lost when things are reduced to the written form.
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:13 am

Greetings,

To hopefully clarify my question a little....

Individual wrote:Seeing that it is, as Gil Fronsdal once said, like a flashlight

To extend Gil Fronsdal's flash-light analogy... I'm asking if people pay attention to the flash-light and/or the decisions on where to move the flash-light itself... or whether they merely pay attention to what is being lit by the flash-light.

(Where the flashlight represents manasikara, of course)

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:36 am

To what is lit by the flashlight Retro. Manasikara is not the flashlight..consciousness is the flashlight. Manasikara is either the dance or the computer programme, depending on the analogy of your choice , which results from the volitional activity of applying the flashlight.
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:49 am

Greetings Sanghamitta,

OK, sure... but when you scan down your arm for instance, consciousness doesn't just go on a merry amble all by itself - it is being intentionally directed that way.

Directed by what? Manasikara.

(Well that's how I understand it - happy to be corrected)

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: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:14 am

Manasikara is the volitional activity of scanning your arm. The scanning is done by awareness..focused attention.
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Re: Manasikara in sweeping

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:43 pm

Not necessarily. Even a computer can scan things, without having any awareness. Why couldn't humans do the same thing? :)
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