Some basic questions.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Kaneki
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Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:05 am

Some basic questions.

Post by Kaneki »

1.Is there any difference between rapture, joy, and happiness?

2. How is rapture cultivated?

3. Are the enlightenment factors of tranquility and concentration 2 sides of the same coin? I figured they were defining qualities of one another.

4. How exactly are the brahma-viharas held as a permanent dwelling place of the mind without holding another as an object of directing such feelings toward. I only feel the brahma-viharas when I am directing them toward another or a group, it's not like you can do this while doing breathing meditation so for it to be developed as a permanent abode of the mind, what does one do?

5. When in one's study should you begin working with the abhidhamma?

6. How do you "make wisdom arise" in the same regard as a necessity for equanimity to be present?

7. I am currently familiar with the 5 hindrances, 5 khandas, the 3 marks of existence, the 3 types of craving, the 3 causes of dukkha, 7 factors of enlightenment, cause and effect (kamma), 2 darts, the eight fold path, 4 noble truths, lokadhamma, the brahma-viharas, and the 5/8/10 precepts. What would you seek to learn about next if you were I?

8. From what I've listened to of Ajahn Brahm and read of Ajahn Chad thus far I can say I really really love Ajahn Chah but don't care too much for Ajahn Brahm's dhamma talks, they just seem too light and fluffy with lots of laughs but not enough depth, kinda like sunday school sermons meant for kids or people newly introduced to Buddhism. I'll say I haven't experienced enough material of Ajahn Brahm's to get a proper feel so if you'd like to recommend some of your favorites from him, I'd welcome them. Give my preference for Ajahn Chah, who else would you recommend. I've heard Ajahn Maha Bua has some of the best dhamma talks for spurring practice, what might those be?

9. I want to feel firm in my practice, more certain that I'm doing everything correctly, I welcome reading or listening material that helps one grasp in this regard.

Thanks!
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Mkoll
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Re: Some basic questions.

Post by Mkoll »

Kaneki wrote:8. From what I've listened to of Ajahn Brahm and read of Ajahn Chad thus far I can say I really really love Ajahn Chah but don't care too much for Ajahn Brahm's dhamma talks, they just seem too light and fluffy with lots of laughs but not enough depth, kinda like sunday school sermons meant for kids or people newly introduced to Buddhism. I'll say I haven't experienced enough material of Ajahn Brahm's to get a proper feel so if you'd like to recommend some of your favorites from him, I'd welcome them. Give my preference for Ajahn Chah, who else would you recommend. I've heard Ajahn Maha Bua has some of the best dhamma talks for spurring practice, what might those be?
For Ajahn Maha Bua, check out Samana, free to download legally here. I remember that some of the talks in the second half of the book were the most inspiring, but the whole collection is well worth reading.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
paul
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Location: Cambodia

Re: Some basic questions.

Post by paul »

Kaneki wrote: 6. How do you "make wisdom arise"
Studying the interactive functions of the three divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path will teach how morality and concentration relate to wisdom and how wisdom in turn strengthens morality.
-"The Noble Eightfold Path", Bikkhu Bodhi, Chap. VIII, 'Wisdom'.
Thisperson
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:36 pm

Re: Some basic questions.

Post by Thisperson »

Kaneki wrote:1.Is there any difference between rapture, joy, and happiness?

2. How is rapture cultivated?

3. Are the enlightenment factors of tranquility and concentration 2 sides of the same coin? I figured they were defining qualities of one another.
You'll find different answers to these questions from different sources, but seeing as you like Ajahn Chah, this talk may help.

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/On_Meditation1.php

This one as well.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Monastery_Confusion1.php
4. How exactly are the brahma-viharas held as a permanent dwelling place of the mind without holding another as an object of directing such feelings toward. I only feel the brahma-viharas when I am directing them toward another or a group, it's not like you can do this while doing breathing meditation so for it to be developed as a permanent abode of the mind, what does one do?
They're not permanent dwelling places. The brahmaviharas are conditioned states and habits. They arise when the factors for them to arise are cultivated. As we cultivate metta (for example) the more we cultivate it, the more the habit becomes "ingrained". If we don't make an effort, they don't arise. In order for them to become a more natural "go to" for the mind, we must pay attention to the quality of our thinking. We notice when harmful thinking is present and the resultant unpleasant feelings in mind and body which are associated with ill will or harmfulness. Likewise, we notice when good thoughts are present. We pay attention to the positive effect of metta on the mind and body. If we put in effort in this practice, the mind will naturally start to incline more and more towards the good and away from the harmful.

One of the most important factors in the brahmaviharas (in my opinion) is the effort to have the feeling be genuine. So if we think "May so and so be well" but our heart really doesn't want so and so to be well, it's not going to work very well. This requires a certain letting go of "self". If we try to cultivate metta towards others but we're clinging too hard to the idea of "me", it wont work so well. Try to be genuine about it. This takes practice but is very possible.

Personally I'll think "May I be well" with the genuine wish for my own well being. Then I'll move on to others such as my parents, other family members, friends, neighbors, indifferent people, enemies, animals, all beings. In between the different phrases, I'll notice any pleasant sensations which arise in the body, sometimes using the breath as a "background focus point" or "anchor point" for lack of a better way to describe it. If the mind starts trying to run off somewhere.. "May I (or another being) be well" and back to any pleasant sensation/feeling of ease which comes from the genuine wish. Sometimes I'll stick with one being for longer duration. For example "May I be well"........"May I be peaceful"........"May I be at ease". Experiment and see what works for you.

A similar type of thing can be done with compassion. We could think "May all beings without food, find food" "May all beings without water, find water" "May all sick beings be well" again while trying to genuinely feel the intention behind the phrases. You'll have to find your own pace on how quickly you move from being to being and what phrases suit your conditioning.

Metta or the other brahmaviharas when cultivated well can lead to rapture, and the Buddha said they could even lead to non-returning, but it's not as if the non returning will be in some "permanent metta abode". The non returning will be from seeing through the illusion of self identity view and the rest of the lower fetters. Metta or the other brahmaviharas can be methods which aides in the removal of those fetters. :)

This sutta may help:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
5. When in one's study should you begin working with the abhidhamma?
One doesn't need to study the abhidhamma. There's nothing wrong with doing so, but it's not a requirement. Personally I found it seemed to make things overly complicated. This is just my opinion/current experience, not fact, so do as you wish. :)
santa100
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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Some basic questions.

Post by santa100 »

1. For a detailed description of piti and sukha, see Vism IV.94-100 (page 137-139)

2. For the nutriment for the arising of rapture, see SN 46.51 and Ven. Bodhi's note in "Connected Discourses"
Spk: Eleven other conditions are: (i-vii) recollection of the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Saṅgha, virtue, generosity, the devas, and peace; (viii) avoiding coarse people; (ix) associating with refined people; (x) reflecting on inspiring suttas; and (xi) right resolution.
3. They're closely related but not exactly the same. Again refer to SN 46.51 and Ven. Piyadassi detailed analysis in his "The Seven Factors of Enlightenment"

4. AN 8.63 refers to the brahmaviharas as a form of concentration practice. This provides sort of a theoretical explanation. For the exact implementation, you might need some detailed guidance from a qualified meditation teacher.

5. Give it a try and see if it's helpful to you. A good source would be Ven. Bodhi's "Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma"

6. Good question. A work in progress for most people. I don't think there's any secret formula though. Observe the Precepts, cultivate the 8NP, and practice diligently the Three Trainings of Virtues, Concentration, Wisdom.

7. The Dhamma is boundless. One will learn more as s/he reads more. Stick with accesstoinsight.org and suttacentral.net. They're great sites with tons of info. Use dhammawheel.com for any question.

9. Ven. Bodhi's "In the Buddha's Words" is excellent. Strongly recommend it..
Pinetree
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:25 am

Re: Some basic questions.

Post by Pinetree »

2. You can check Ajahn Brahms Jhana Book:
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_ ... Jhanas.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

4. I assume they are permanent when they come out of anatta.
it's not like you can do this while doing breathing meditation so for it to be developed as a permanent abode of the mind, what does one do?
I don't fully understand this, but Gil Fronsdal claims that he has cultivated metta from vipassana.

6. I'm not sure how you relate wisdom to equanimity.

I think wisdom arises mostly from insight, sometimes from study. Ajahn Brahm's version is: knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

Ajahn Brahm's version of equanimity involves balancing the ups with the lows and impermanence. Also, not judging and measuring.

7. Not sure what familiar means to you, but personally I think the goal is to build an engine from nuts and bolts.

What you have enumerated are nuts and bolts, what we want is to practice until we can forget about the nuts and bolts and have an engine running.

8. From the talks, Ajahn Brahm's version of "deep" seems to be to take 1 thing or few things and practice it until you master it ... deeply.

We don't need more things, we need less.

For example:
- letting go
- stop
- make peace, be kind, be gentle

His lectures clearly try to be accessible to the public, he avoids intellectualization, and aims at the emotional level.

An interesting technique is letting go of the clinging in the body to teach the mind to let go, using sometimes examples or "exercises", like throwing a rock, holding a cup, flushing the toilet, self-massage. Also, humor and laughing seems to work towards letting go.

He tries to integrate things from various Buddhist traditions and not only. For example, he described a method to quiet the mind using the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum", which I can't find the link now, but it's similar to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiLkudR ... ZCEhhaBpXW" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I've listened to more than 100 lectures, and the information I got from those 100+ hours I can probably write down on a couple of pages. But I find the lectures to be words that move, the bare written information doesn't do that.

One of the similes I like is that of the lotus flower. We aren't trying to do something or go somewhere, but do nothing and allow for the present moment to blossom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ1dx5T2P24" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Kaneki
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Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:05 am

Re: Some basic questions.

Post by Kaneki »

Mkoll wrote:
Kaneki wrote:8. From what I've listened to of Ajahn Brahm and read of Ajahn Chad thus far I can say I really really love Ajahn Chah but don't care too much for Ajahn Brahm's dhamma talks, they just seem too light and fluffy with lots of laughs but not enough depth, kinda like sunday school sermons meant for kids or people newly introduced to Buddhism. I'll say I haven't experienced enough material of Ajahn Brahm's to get a proper feel so if you'd like to recommend some of your favorites from him, I'd welcome them. Give my preference for Ajahn Chah, who else would you recommend. I've heard Ajahn Maha Bua has some of the best dhamma talks for spurring practice, what might those be?
For Ajahn Maha Bua, check out Samana, free to download legally here. I remember that some of the talks in the second half of the book were the most inspiring, but the whole collection is well worth reading.
Thanks, downloaded.

Santa100 -
1. For a detailed description of piti and sukha, see Vism IV.94-100 (page 137-139)
...I almost wish I wouldn't have read about uplifting happiness, lol. No where in recorded history has there ever been a proving instance of people springing into the sky and floating back down again when they get too excited. This aspect of buddhism is what sometimes makes me want to declare myself as a follower of the 8 fold path than as a Buddhist. A lot of the sillier things I read from the suttas scream modern day indian culture. I'd like to guess every reference of this bouncing into the sky involves some sort of promoting of Buddhism. Anyway, I'm off topic. Thanks for the link.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of rapture and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of rapture? There are, bhikkhus, things that are the basis for the enlightenment factor of rapture: frequently giving careful attention to them is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of rapture and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of rapture."
What things? Actually, I can dig around for that answer on my own. But I do wonder what specifically is implied by "giving careful attention to"

Thanks for all your input guys, you've been a lot of help. :)
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