"Its like this"

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Ben
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Re: "Its like this"

Post by Ben »

At this point I will ask that everyone stay on topic. As per the TOS, ad hominem remarks and meta-discussion are prohibited.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Pinetree
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Re: "Its like this"

Post by Pinetree »

Yes, I agree that it's fundamental to accept the present moment. Most if not all of the practice cannot progress if we forget this first important step.

Wishing against the present moment is the inability to recognize that the present moment "is like this" and cannot be something different, and is an exercise in futility, wrong effort, lack of wisdom.

In pursuing wholesomeness, wisdom is the ability push (or not) the right "mental button" and right effort is to press it hard enough, but not too hard.

The subject of debate might be believing that judging or reasoning (which is a sort of micromanagement) rather than cultivation should be an important focus of effort.
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cobwith
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Re: "Its like this"

Post by cobwith »

daverupa wrote:
Cormac Brown wrote: With mindfulness as his gate-keeper, the disciple of the ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity.
Mindfulness is essential as a first step, and then with this in place right effort can kick into gear. You would claim, on the basis of this metaphor, that mindfulness involved most/all of Samadhi and all of Sila as well.
No one seems to deserve blame here.
Yet, both of you look at the process in a linear way; while it is recursive.

As far as sila is concerned, I would say that the following pleads in Brown's favor:
Buddha wrote: "When defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, there is joy, rapture, serenity, mindfulness, alertness, and a pleasant/happy abiding."
(DN 9)
Buddha wrote: But as for those monks who are perfected ones, the cankers destroyed, who have lived the life, done what was to be done, shed the burden, attained to their own goal, the fetters of becoming utterly destroyed, and who are freed by perfect profound knowledge - these things conduce both to their abiding in ease here and now as well as to their mindfulness and clear consciousness (satisampajaññena)."
(MN 107)
Buddha wrote: “The abandoning of both
sensual perceptions and dejection;
the dispelling of dullness,
the warding off of remorse;

purified equanimity and mindfulness
preceded by reflection on the Dhamma:
this, I say, is emancipation by final knowledge,
the breaking up of ignorance.”
(AN 3.33)
Etc.


How sati fits within the different progressions?:

Faculties + Powers
------------------
Confidence > energy > sati > concentration > wisdom.

Noble eightfold path
--------------------
Right view > right thought > right speech > right action > right livelihood > right effort > right mindfulness (sammā sati) > right concentration.

Awakening factors
-----------------
Sati > investigation-of-dhammas (dhamma-vicaya) > energy > joy > tranquillity > concentration > equanimity.
Note:
Contemplation of the dhammas (dhammānupassanā) emphasizes contemplation of the Hindrances [Sensory desire - Ill-will - Sloth-torpor - Restlessness-worry - Doubt,] & the contemplation of the Awakening Factors.
Mindfulness/Sati is the means to a reflection on the known - gate-keeping any new knowledge and phenomena from entering (indriya saṃvara); and allowing in samatha and vipassana (SN 35.245).
Mindfulness is the eye-witness of the sphere that is witnessed.
Buddha wrote:
If he desires, destroying desires, the mind released and released through wisdom, abides here and now having realized; and mindfulness in that mental sphere becomes the eye-witness in the respective sphere." (tatra tatreva sakkhibhabbataṃ pāpuṇāti sati sati āyatane”ti.)
AN 9.35 (Gāvīupamā sutta)
Hence, sati of body, sati of feelings, sati of mind and sati of dhamma - and their sub-categories.

---

So the process is the following:

1. Prerequisite:
---------------
Buddha wrote: The four establishments of mindfulness, too, I say, have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for the four establishments of mindfulness? It should be said: the three kinds of good conduct.
AN 10.61
Buddha wrote: “In that case, bhikkhu, purify the very beginning of wholesome states. And what is the beginning of wholesome states? Here, bhikkhu, having abandoned bodily misconduct, you should develop good bodily conduct. ...verbal misconduct, ... mental misconduct, you should develop good mental conduct. When, bhikkhu, having abandoned bodily misconduct … you have developed good mental conduct, then, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you should develop the four establishments of mindfulness.
SN 47.47
In other words, the more you have previously given concern to: confidence > energy & right view > right thought > right speech > right action > right livelihood > right effort; the better the mindfulness/sati will be; the better the dhammānupassanā and dhammāvicaya will be - (and "purified equanimity and mindfulness" will ensue - AN 3.33 above).

2. Sati:
-------
Sati (from sarati: to remember,) enables memory.
Buddha wrote:Mindfulness and clear comprehension, too, I say, have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for mindfulness and clear comprehension? It should be said: careful attention.
AN 10.61
So, as soon as yoniso manasikāra (careful attention) calls in a particular sphere (body, feeling, mind or dhamma;) and yields a contemplation upon a particular phenomena in that sphere (e.g. dhammesu dhammānupassi - an hidrance, for instance, viz. ill-will) - then Sati should act as a gate keeper (particularly at the sense doors (indriya saṃvara)-MN10,) for any new input (desire and discontent) to enter in. [active]
Then Sati calls the recollective function. [active]
Buddha wrote: Here, a bhikkhu is mindful, possessing supreme mindfulness and alertness, one who remembers and recollects what was done and said long ago.
AN 8.30

Ill-will as a whole, from that particular instance, must be called in from memory. That bad feeling in which consciousness has found its home (SN 22.3;) that particular ill-will, must unveil its entire nature. Consciousness that has settled (SN 12.39,) must bring out all the cumulated qualities of ill-will.

Like the cowherd in AN 10.20, sati must render (actively) the big picture.


3. Contemplation and investigation:
----------------------------------
Then comes the contemplation (passive) and the investigation (active) (anupassati & vicaya).

In our particular case, the meditator contemplates the hindrances; which is a sub-category of the fourth reflection, that is the reflection on dhammas (after body, feeling and mind (citta)). [passive]
Buddha wrote: "Come you, monk, fare along contemplating the mental states in mental states, but do not apply yourself to a train of thought connected with mental states (vitakkaṃ vitakkesi)."
MN 125
Then he investigates them. (And realizes them).[active]

Finally, the meditator contemplates (samanupassati) the disappearance of the five hindrances within himself.[passive]
It is because the dhammas are cognized and realized properly, that there is an abandonment of the defiling mental qualities.
Buddha wrote: As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind becomes concentrated, his defilements are abandoned. He takes note of that fact. As a result, he is rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, together with mindfulness & alertness. Why is that? Because the wise, experienced, skillful monk picks up on the theme of his own mind."
(SN 47.8)
His mindfulness is purified.

Then again, the meditator pursues in his quest for perfection:
Buddha wrote: "With mindfulness as his gate-keeper, the disciple of the ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity."
AN7.63
Recursive process applies here, until perfection is attained.

______

Where to put Sumedho in all this?

His excerpt seems to me like a catch-all for odds and ends.

Time, and particularly "Presentness (this)," might be the ultimate reality - yet, it is not the purpose of mindfulness to witness part of time; and certainly not to remain distant from the phenomena.
Mindfulness is definitely not a passive state.
The cowherd in AN 10.20, might have a clear overview (sati) of the situation; yet, he is still guarding the herd. Think of those times (no barbed wires - no weapons of mass destruction - nothing to help the poor lad against those tigers, lions, cheetas, panthers, sylvesterss, and other nefarious creatures).
Sati is not just witnessing but gatekeeping too. Moreover, it is recollecting.

Sati is just a part of a process. Vicaya is another part.
Sati let's in samatha and vipassana. It can't be equated to them.


Acknowledging the present is marginal; and of a quite questionable appurtenance.

______

I must admit that C. Brown's attitude is far from being unpleasant.
There is nothing more rewarding than digging Buddha's words (suttas,) in the face of some unconvincing interpretations; even when the heartiness of youth, have you stumble from time to time.
Last edited by cobwith on Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sā me dhammamadesesi,
khandhāyatanadhātuyo
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Ben
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Re: "Its like this"

Post by Ben »

My apologies for the temporary lock down.
This thread is back open for discussion.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: [email protected]..
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badscooter
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Re: "Its like this"

Post by badscooter »

Greetings Cormac,

It seems you are very attached to the teachings of Venerable Thanissaro (all be it you may be a bit confused about some of them). I too enjoy his teachings, but I will say I see nothing contradictory in what was stated by Ajahn Sumedho and others in this thread. It seems you tend towards defensiveness and using back handed insults. I suggest you take what Daverupa and Sylvester (and others who have posted here) and try to learn from them. I wouldn't let pride get in the way of a better understanding of the dhamma.

kind regards
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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