Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
starter
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Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by starter »

Hello daverupa,

Many thanks for your kind concern and advice. You are right about my intention of trying the new contemplations instead of anapanasati. To my current understanding, anapanasati is not for beginners who haven't obtained or stabilized the 1st jhana yet, and it's based upon the approach of anicca/dukkha/anatta contemplation of the five aggregates (anatta derived from anicca and dukkha) which leads to disenchantment -- dispassion -- letting go. The above-mentioned contemplations are mainly based upon the contemplations of DO and pure mind, which also lead to anatta (a broader sense of anatta including not only the five aggregates) and subsequently disenchantment -- dispassion -- letting go, but such contemplations can be done during daily life (all possible time), instead of during only sitting after entering jhana (anapanasati). Actually I'm contemplating not only pure mind and anatta of DO but also anicca/dukkha/anatta of the five aggregates. I'd like to try this approach to abandon the defilements (at least to some degree) first, which could help with both tranquility and insight. But I appreciate and welcome your and other friends' comments and advice.

Metta to all,

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daverupa
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Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by daverupa »

starter wrote:To my current understanding, anapanasati is not for beginners who haven't obtained or stabilized the 1st jhana yet...
This is a problem because sammasati precedes sammasamadhi. I can see why you'd think as above, considering the difficulty people seem to have explaining anapanasati without referring to jhana, and such a view strikes me as a huge impediment to the Path precisely because it makes anapanasati practice seem mostly out of reach.

It is, in essence, an attempt to attain jhana before one meditates the way the Buddha instructed, and the way the Buddha instructed was that Right Mindfulness (satipatthana) leads to Right Concentration (jhana). Anapanasati fulfills satipatthana, not sammasamadhi. Only jhana fulfills sammasamadhi, and that comes after sammasati.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
Kenshou
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by Kenshou »

daverupa wrote: Anapanasati fulfills satipatthana, not sammasamadhi.
I think it probably fulfills both, eventually. For example, this sutta suggests that someone wanting jhana should practice anapanasati. And there are some obvious parallels between the steps of anapanasati and the jhana factors, as well as the 7 factors of awakening. I suspect that anapanasati is a description of the practice (or, a practice) of the satipatthanas, resulting in the cultivation of the bojjhanga, eventually resulting in sammasamadhi.
Only jhana fulfills sammasamadhi, and that comes after sammasati.
While jhana is obviously encouraged, I think that that is a wee bit of an exaggeration. This little article lists a few other examples.
daverupa
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Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by daverupa »

Those are good links, but examine that last one:

SN 45.8 and AN 9.36 mention only jhana, and in fact SN 45.8 expressly defines sammasamadhi as the four jhanas. AN 9.36 says the ending of mental fermentations requires jhana.

AN 4.41 mentions jhana as one of four developments of concentration, for pleasant abiding here and now. The other developments of concentration would be interesting to investigate, but SN 45.8 isn't thereby superceded, nor is AN 9.36.

MN 117 simply mentions that the previous seven steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are requisites and conditions of sammasamadhi, the eighth step. This goes to my main point, that sammasati must be practiced before sammasamadhi - therefore, explaining sammasati as requiring sammasamadhi is incorrect.

Therefore, I don't see an exaggeration at all.

As an aside, the Dipa Sutta, which you linked first, exemplifies my point: someone desiring to attain jhana should practice anapanasati, which is to say all 16 steps. It doesn't say someone wishing to attain jhana should practice the first tetrad, and then after jhana practice the remaining tetrads. All four tetrads are practiced before jhana. The Sutta says so.

:focus:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
Kenshou
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by Kenshou »

I'm not trying to say that anything should supercede anything, nor that jhana is not (eventually) necessary. Just that it may not make sense to take those suttas to be completely exhaustive, considering that looking at the wider picture there's a little more to the story, with sammasamadhi.
pegembara
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Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by pegembara »

Hi starter,

Greed and aversion are mental states. Like all else has the nature of arising and passing away. All you need to do is to observe these states and not the content or stories behind them.This is the practice of watching at the 6 sense doors.

Have a read on Buddhadasa's Heartwood:
In fact, the Buddha taught that when seeing forms there should be just the seeing, "when smelling odors just the smelling, tasting flavors just the tasting and touching tangible objects just the touching. If you can do it then there is no you, the ego is not born. It is the end of Dukkha, immutable emptiness.

It is sufficient to observe one's reactions at the times that we glance in the direction of some neutral form or other.

Try casting your eyes on the door or a window and you'll notice that there is merely phassa, there are no feelings. of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. When visible forms, sounds, odors, flavors and tangible objects enter as contact let them stop there in the same way.

Let it be like the soldier asleep by the side of a piece of artillery. When a shell is fired he merely registers the sound without feeling anything and just goes on happily sleeping. No matter how heavy the shelling he is not startled or disturbed. There is just the sound of the piece of artillery contacting his ear and then ceasing.

Can you let phassa stop at phassa in that way when you hear the sound of a' man or the sound of a woman or the sound of a loved one? If you can then you're really adept. Here animals may be more accomplished than we are because they lack all the excess mental baggage carried by humans. If we wish to reach the peak of excellence then we must train ourselves to let phassa remain as merely phassa.

But if you can't do it and concede defeat, you can still stop at vedana. As soon as there is a feeling of comfort or discomfort, of satisfaction or dissatisfaction then extinguish it just there, without giving birth to the various kinds of desire that spring from the urges of craving and clinging. This is the practice on the occasion of contact with sense-objects.

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/books ... _EMPTINESS" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Regards
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
starter
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Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm

Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by starter »

Hello pegembara,

Thanks for your helpful advice and link. To my understanding, the Buddha's teaching to Bahiya is suitable for those who have reached high level of mind development -- who are able to control their minds without unwanted proliferations/fabrications. Bahiya considered himself as an arahant before seeing the Buddha, and the only breakthrough he probably needed to make was the abandoning of conceit. I'm still far away from being able to control my mind.

I read the link and would like to share with you my view of Buddhadasa Bikkhu's approach to nibbana. Although it has nothing to do with my practice, I'm concerned with its influence on the Dhamma practice of our friends, so I spend the time to write the whole thing again (my first submission somehow went wrong) while I'm actually quite short of time.

As I understand, THE WAY TO PRACTISE IN ORDER TO ABIDE WITH EMPTINESS that he taught is abiding with the self -awareness of the feeling of not having and not being (nothing anywhere is worth having or being); he especially taught what to do at the moment of death to "leap from the ladder of falling" to "attain nibbana":

"So what path will be taken by the mind of a person without hope? It won't take any path at all because it sees that nothing is worth wishing for. Thus it lays the way for its own death. There being no desire to have or be anything, it dissolves into emptiness. This is the skillful means to cheat nature a little. When the time of death has truly arrived, we give rise to the feeling that nothing anywhere is worth having or being. If that feeling is present in the mind at the moment of death then one will inevitably reach Nibbana through the act of dying itself. It's a really good deal-putting down a tiny amount of capital certain of great results!"

I personally doubt this is the way to nibbana. It appears to me that 1) there’s still the conceit of “self”, the owner or “I” not to have or become instead of real anatta, 2) there’s still the desire/craving to generate such a feeling of not having/not becoming (craving for non-being), 3) there’s still the desire to ATTAIN nibbana, by “leaping from the ladder of falling”, and 4) there’s still strong craving for gain: “It's a really good deal - putting down a tiny amount of capital certain of great results”. How can such a practice really lead to nibbana – the pure emptiness of “self” and “cravings” (including the craving for nibbana)? Furthermore, if this is a real short cut to nibbana, the Buddha would have taught his dying disciples including his father to enter nibbana directly at death, instead of becoming only a non-returner or stream winner.

My sincere thanks to Kenshou and other friends for all the good stuff. Metta to all,

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pegembara
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Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by pegembara »

"So what path will be taken by the mind of a person without hope? It won't take any path at all because it sees that nothing is worth wishing for. Thus it lays the way for its own death. There being no desire to have or be anything, it dissolves into emptiness. This is the skillful means to cheat nature a little. When the time of death has truly arrived, we give rise to the feeling that nothing anywhere is worth having or being. If that feeling is present in the mind at the moment of death then one will inevitably reach Nibbana through the act of dying itself. It's a really good deal-putting down a tiny amount of capital certain of great results!"
I agree.
This easier than done. The automatic default tendency is to cling to continued existence[bhava tanha]. It is extremely unlikely to do what he says.

Now I would like to recount a story from a book I read. Tell me what you think.

It is an account of a young woman who faced death in a gas chamber in a German concentration camp during WW2 recounted by a camp survivor.
Life without a story

Perhaps there came a day for some of us when we saw the
same film again, or a similar one. But by then other pic­
tures may have simultaneously unrolled before one's inner
eye; pictures of people who attained much more in their
lives than a sentimental film could show. Some details of a
particular man's inner greatness may have come to one's
mind, like the story of the young woman whose death I
witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story.
There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented
it; but to me it seems like a poem.

This young woman knew that she would die in the next
few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite
of this knowledge. "I am grateful that fate has hit me so
hard," she told me. "In my former life I was spoiled and
did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously." Pointing
through the window of the hut, she said, "This tree here is
the only friend I have in my loneliness." Through that
window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree,
and on the branch were two blossoms. "I often talk to this
tree," she said to me. I was startled and didn't quite know
how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have
occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree
replied. "Yes." What did it say to her? She answered, "It
said to me, 'I am here—I am here—I am life, eternal life.' "

Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
pegembara
Posts: 2101
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by pegembara »

Furthermore, if this is a real short cut to nibbana, the Buddha would have taught his dying disciples including his father to enter nibbana directly at death, instead of becoming only a non-returner or stream winner.
Here is a teaching by Sariputta to Anandapindikka on his death bed.

The householder Anathapindika became sick a third time with very strong pains which were getting worse and not easing. Again Anathapindika asked Venerable Sariputta and Venerable Ananda for assistance. When Venerable Sariputta saw him, he knew that Anathapindika was nearing death, and gave him the following instructions:

He should practice freeing himself from clinging to the six sense faculties and not attach his thoughts to them; secondly, he should practice releasing himself from dependence on the six objects and not attach his thoughts to them either. Thirdly, he should stop clinging to the connecting link between the six senses and the six sense objects, as well as to the six sense contacts, the six feelings, the six elements, the five aggregates and the four formless realms, as well as to all that is seen, heard, thought, perceived, and investigated in the mind.

Anathapindika must have followed this detailed presentation with his heart so that even as he was listening, he was already practicing in the way the wise and holy Venerable Sariputta had instructed him. At the end of the instructions, tears came to Anathapindika's eyes. The Venerable Ananda turned to him compassionately and asked him to calm himself and be at peace. But Anathapindika replied: "I cannot calm myself and be at peace, O worthy Ananda. I have served the Master and the spiritually accomplished monks for a long time, and yet I have never heard such a profound discourse."

Then Venerable Sariputta said: "Such profound talk, O householder, will not be clear enough for white-clad lay followers; it is clear enough for ascetics."

Anathapindika answered: "Venerable Sariputta, let such talks on the Dhamma be given to white-clad laity, too. There are those with just a little dust on their eyes. If they don't hear such teachings, they will be lost. Some may be able to understand."

The difference from the previously presented teaching of the Buddha is significant. Here we are concerned with ultimate questions, with the highest deliverance, not just on a theoretical basis but as practice. Anathapindika was aware, as a disciple who possessed the fruit of stream-entry, of the transitory nature the five aggregates of clinging, and he himself had expressed the fact that he knew the three characteristics of existence: impermanence, suffering, and non-self. But there is a great difference as to whether one merely hears these things and ponders them, or whether one actually practices and applies their relevance to oneself. In this distinction lies the essential difference between the methods the Buddha used to teach householders and he used to teach monks.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el334.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And Ajahn Chah' teaching to a dying lay disciple

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/chah/bl111.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
starter
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm

Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by starter »

Hello pegembara,

"This easier than done. The automatic default tendency is to cling to continued existence[bhava tanha]. It is extremely unlikely to do what he says."

-- I suspect even if one does what he says one still can't reach nibbana that way, because of the attachments to the thought/feeling/desire. Please note that Ven. Sariputta's teaching is not only about the practice of freeing one from clinging to the six sense sets (and the All), but one should not attach his thoughts to them".

As to "Life without a story", I tend to think that lady has seen the unchanged (what she called "eternal life") behind the changed (the arisen and passing away).

Metta,

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starter
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Re: Wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred

Post by starter »

The Buddha's wisdom for uprooting greed and hatred (and underlying delusion) is the 4NT and N8P. For the relevant more recent discussions see http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... liberation [The Buddha's path to liberation] and http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=12604 [Right way to cultivate Right Thinking (samma sankappa)?].

Metta to all!
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