N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

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Alīno
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N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Alīno »

Good evening!

I started to re-read Bhikkhu Bodhi's book "The Eightfold Noble Path - Way to the end of suffering" and iam surprised to read at the very first sentence of chapter about Right View :

"The eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path are not steps to be followed in sequence, one after another. They can be more aptly described as components rather than as steps, comparable to the interwinning strands of a single cable that requires the contributions of all the strands for maximum strenght"

What do you think about it? Many peoples say that practice is strictly gradual... Or some things are gradual and other not ? :thinking:
Ajahn Nanadassano (before ordaining) : Venerable Ajahn, what is the bigest error that buddhist do in their practice?
Ajahn Jayasaro : They stop practicing ...
dharmacorps
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by dharmacorps »

I'd agree with that based on my understanding. Although in a sense, I think right view and right intention do make sense as a starting place.
SarathW
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by SarathW »

I agree with BB's explanation.
This is why some of the mindfulness and meditation is not in line with Noble Eightfold Path.
Another thing to remember is every activity has an Eightfold Path.
Not necessarily the Noble Eightfold Path.
It is also important to understand that the Path is not gradual but is coherent but the fruits may be gradual. (Sotapanna etc)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
paul
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by paul »

If you read on in chapter II, it will be seen that the NEP has a threefold division into sila, samadhi and panna, and the interaction of these is the cyclical vipassana process, beginning with sila. Right view and right thought are progressively developed depending on the insights provided by the concentration group. Within that, samadhi in itself is passive, and right effort is active, and there needs to be a working balance between the two.

“The unwholesome dispositions continue to rule as long as they are permitted to gain expression through the channels of body and speech as bodily and verbal deeds. Therefore, at the very outset of training, it is necessary to restrain the faculties of action, to prevent them from becoming tools of the defilements. This task is accomplished by the first division of the path, the training in moral discipline. Thus the path evolves through its three stages, with moral discipline as the foundation for concentration, concentration the foundation for wisdom, and wisdom the direct instrument for reaching liberation.”

Chapter V:
"Wisdom is the primary tool for deliverance, but the penetrating vision it yields can only open up when the mind has been composed and collected. Right concentration brings the requisite stillness to the mind by unifying it with undistracted focus on a suitable object. To do so, however, the factor of concentration needs the aid of effort and mindfulness. Right effort provides the energy demanded by the task, right mindfulness the steadying points for awareness."
—-“The Noble Eightfold Path”, Bikkhu Bodhi
Last edited by paul on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Zom
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Zom »

Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? In one of right view, right intention comes into being; in one of right intention, right speech comes into being; in one of right speech, right action comes into being; in one of right action, right livelihood comes into being; in one of right livelihood, right effort comes into being; in one of right effort, right mindfulness comes into being; in one of right mindfulness, right concentration comes into being; in one of right concentration, right knowledge comes into being; in one of right knowledge, right deliverance comes into being. Thus, bhikkhus, the path of the disciple in higher training possesses eight factors, the arahant possesses ten factors. :reading:
santa100
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by santa100 »

Nwad wrote:What do you think about it? Many peoples say that practice is strictly gradual...
Question is, how do they define "strictly gradual"? For example if right view/right intention already come into being, going with the "strictly gradual" process, does that mean one should hold off on right speech for the next month, right action for next year, right livelihood the next decade?? Similarly, if right speech, right action, right livelihood already come into being, then one should hold off on the cultivating of right mindfulness and right concentration? Going by the strands inside a single cable analogy, it'd only make sense that each strand reinforces one another and the net total strength of the cable does require the strength of all strands combined together.
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Kim OHara
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Kim OHara »

santa100 wrote: Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:23 am ... Going by the strands inside a single cable analogy, it'd only make sense that each strand reinforces one another and the net total strength of the cable does require the strength of all strands combined together.
Yes, so long as the analogy holds true.
But the other aspect of the cable is that it twines, it spirals ... and you keep coming back to the same strand, at the next step of the path. It is not as though you work on (e.g.) Right Speech and can then say, "Okay, that's done. What's next?" because you will need to revisit Right Speech after gaining more insight from Right Concentration, etc.

:namaste:
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SarathW
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by SarathW »

Even a thief or the murderer follow the Eightfold Path.
It is impossible to follow only one path.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
chownah
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by chownah »

Nwad wrote: Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:27 pm What do you think about it? Many peoples say that practice is strictly gradual... Or some things are gradual and other not ? :thinking:
It is called the 'eightfold noble path'.....it is not called the 'eighfold noble dash'....it is not called the 'eightfold noble high hurdles'.....I wonder why?
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Zom
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Zom »

Question is, how do they define "strictly gradual"? For example if right view/right intention already come into being, going with the "strictly gradual" process, does that mean one should hold off on right speech for the next month
Gradual - means you pay special attention and direct most of your efforts (most - but not all) to a particular factor. 1st come Views - you have to understand things first, this is where you should put your efforts from the very start. You can meditate, give dana, try to be gentle, etc etc etc - but Views is something which requires all your attention, when you are on the start. This is the most important thing right now. When you see your views are correct and strong enough, you go to intentions, that is, right, skillful desires in life. You spend most of time on changing your real life vectors - that what it is. When you see that it done, you pay special attention to morality in its three forms - bodily, verbal, mental. After that you pay more attention to developing good qualities and removing bad. When this is done to a great extent, you pay special attention to mindfulness development, and when it is developed to a good degree, it will naturally lead to jhana, which you develop as the end of the path. Developed jhanas together with right views will lead to nibbana. This is what is meant by gradual.

Again, on paper everything looks smooth and clear, but in real life this doesn't happen. Delusion and other defilements play a great role in our practice too, unfortunately. So most of us go this Path by trials and errors. For example, one may spend years on "this/that" buddhist practice and after that realize that he doesn't actually believe in all this stuff, and quit, forever. He thought that, probably, he had 1st path factor developed. But that was a delusion.
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by budo »

I think many people here are confused about the gradual training.

The noble eightfold path is not gradual, the removal of fetters and the training is gradual.

This means you should try to fulfill the entire eightfold path until you do so, you won't at first, but you should aim towards it. Therefore when you sit and meditate in the beginning you will not have the jhanas, not access concentration, and maybe just weak meditation with the 5 hindrances, however if you persist (Right Effort and the awakening factor of determination) then you will eventually reach jhanas.

People who never meditate never develop their mind and will never attain Right Concentration. One does not simply pick up a guitar and become a rockstar, therefore meditation needs to be trained and also gradually developed.

Anyone who tells you not to meditate is telling you not to practice and develop the eightfold noble path, remember that.
SarathW
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by SarathW »

The noble eightfold path is not gradual, the removal of fetters and the training is gradual.
Agree.
I have to follow the entire eightfold path even to write this post.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Alīno
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Alīno »

Hello friends,


Here on 26th minute Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro say that N8P or Sila Samadhi Panna is not strictly gradual, and after reflecting about it its seems logic that strict graduality of N8P is wrong. Why?

1. If it's strict then we can not practice Wisdom with out Jhana, it means that we need Jhana to get fruit of Sotapanna and Sakadagami - it's wrong
2. If we need absolutely pure sila before practice Samadhi, it means that one need go be at least Sotapanna to practice Jhana - it's wrong too.

So at the same time the view about strict graduality of N8P say that one can not get fruit without fully developed jhana and panna, and in the other hand it say that one can not practice Jhana without Ariya Sila ... So we have a snake which beats it's tail.

What do you think ?
Ajahn Nanadassano (before ordaining) : Venerable Ajahn, what is the bigest error that buddhist do in their practice?
Ajahn Jayasaro : They stop practicing ...
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Antaradhana
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Antaradhana »

The sequence of stages of the Eightfold Path of Aryans is the most optimal.
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".
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Alīno
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Re: N8P - Gradual or not gradual ?

Post by Alīno »

Antaradhana wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:38 pm The sequence of stages of the Eightfold Path of Aryans is the most optimal.
Hello _/\_
So for you there is no possible development of one stage without fully developed previous ?
Ajahn Nanadassano (before ordaining) : Venerable Ajahn, what is the bigest error that buddhist do in their practice?
Ajahn Jayasaro : They stop practicing ...
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