Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One, Two, Three and Four (Week of May 2, 2021)

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by Ceisiwr »

Do the Buddha’s bidding,
you won’t regret it.
Having quickly washed your feet,
sit in a discreet place to meditate.
I quite like this.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by SDC »

Glad to see these verses generating so much discussion this early in the week. I think it’s worth continuing on to Book Three and Four and possibly Five (four only has the verses of a single nun). We’ll see how the week goes.
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by sunnat »

With the so called 'modern' method of body scanning in mind:

Abhayamātutherīgāthā (Abhaya’s Mother) Thig 2.8

My dear mother, I examined this body,
up from the soles of the feet,
and down from the tips of the hairs,
so impure and foul-smelling.

Meditating like this,
all my lust is eradicated.
The fever of passion is cut off,
I’m cooled and quenched.

On the whole the collection is an immediate and touching look at meditators more than two and a half millennia ago with the direct instructions from the Blessed one shining through.
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by mikenz66 »

Sam Vara wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 9:29 pm I'm not sure that "tough" is the right term here. I think they are simply beyond caring or being embarrassed by such things. Tough people tell it like it is because they understand it is a big deal, but they have the strength not to flinch. These seem to tell it like it is because they realise it is not actually very much.
Perhaps there is a better term, but to me these poems do evoke strength.

It's an interesting flip side to the stories from the Buddha, and other male monastics, about giving up their indulgence in sensual pleasures.

:heart:
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by SDC »

sunnat wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 2:16 am With the so called 'modern' method of body scanning in mind:

Abhayamātutherīgāthā (Abhaya’s Mother) Thig 2.8

My dear mother, I examined this body,
up from the soles of the feet,
and down from the tips of the hairs,
so impure and foul-smelling.

Meditating like this,
all my lust is eradicated.
The fever of passion is cut off,
I’m cooled and quenched.
I’m not sure if Abhaya looking for the unattractiveness of the body is the same as “body sweeping/scanning”. Doesn’t that require looking for sensations and developing equanimity towards them? She isn’t developing equanimity per se - it seems as though she’s trying to establish the perception of the body as impure and foul-smelling in order to destroy lust. Maybe I’m reading it differently.
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by sunnat »

The body is examined: goiing 'up from the soles' (plural, both feet) obviously up to the top : then down : 'from the tips of the hairs'. Clearly in complete minute detail.

How is the body perceived?

Through the senses, by observing sensations, sight, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and thoughts. And it is by equanimously observing these feelings that the ties to them are let go of. 'abandoning delight in pleasant (sense organ) feelings, aversion to unpleasant feelings and ignorance of neutral feelings'.
As such in the stanza there is mention of smells and impurities. Buddha often used the simile of scent, pure and impure, to describe such things as the defilements. Ultimately being craving and ignorance.

And so the person who wrote these brief stanzas summarises this as meditating.

The mind-body phenomenon is known by the examination, meditation, : ignorance is abandoned.

By equanimity with regard to that which is seen while meditating, craving (lust) is abandoned.

Thus nibbana is there, 'cooled, quenched'.
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by Sam Vara »

sunnat wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:57 pm The body is examined: goiing 'up from the soles' (plural, both feet) obviously up to the top : then down : 'from the tips of the hairs'. Clearly in complete minute detail.
Does it say that it's in minute detail? It might just be an expression signifying "the whole thing", rather like "from a to z", or "from soup to nuts". The body was examined and was found to be completely impure.
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by sunnat »

Hair tips are minute.
'completely' means just that: in toto. ie in minute detail.
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by SDC »

sunnat wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:57 pm The body is examined: goiing 'up from the soles' (plural, both feet) obviously up to the top : then down : 'from the tips of the hairs'. Clearly in complete minute detail.

How is the body perceived?

Through the senses, by observing sensations, sight, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and thoughts. And it is by equanimously observing these feelings that the ties to them are let go of. 'abandoning delight in pleasant (sense organ) feelings, aversion to unpleasant feelings and ignorance of neutral feelings'.
As such in the stanza there is mention of smells and impurities. Buddha often used the simile of scent, pure and impure, to describe such things as the defilements. Ultimately being craving and ignorance.

And so the person who wrote these brief stanzas summarises this as meditating.

The mind-body phenomenon is known by the examination, meditation, : ignorance is abandoned.

By equanimity with regard to that which is seen while meditating, craving (lust) is abandoned.

Thus nibbana is there, 'cooled, quenched'.
What Pali word are you referring to when you say “sensations”? I only know of one translator who uses it for “touches” (phoṭṭhabba) of the body, having nothing to do with the other four senses. Often it seems “sensations” is a blanket term used to cover some mixture of perception and contact (perhaps even conceiving), but I’m unaware of such a term or usage in the suttas themselves.

The reflection seems to be about developing a perception by thinking about what is impure, i.e. “he dwells contemplating”. The more this is reflected upon the more established the perception becomes and less of a chance it will be forgotten.
AN 10.237 wrote: Bhikkhus, for direct knowledge of lust, ten things are to be developed. What ten? The perception of unattractiveness, the perception of death, the perception of the repulsiveness of food, the perception of non-delight in the entire world, the perception of impermanence, the perception of suffering in the impermanent, the perception of non-self in what is suffering, the perception of abandoning, the perception of dispassion, and the perception of cessation. For direct knowledge of lust, these ten things are to be developed.”
AN 10.60 wrote: And what, Ānanda, is the perception of unattractiveness? Here, a bhikkhu reviews this very body upward from the soles of the feet and downward from the tips of the hairs, enclosed in skin, as full of many kinds of impurities: ‘There are in this body hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, snot, fluid of the joints, urine.’ Thus he dwells contemplating unattractiveness in this body. This is called the perception of unattractiveness.
I agree with @Sam Vara on this one.
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Post by sunnat »

Sensations are phenomena that are sensed by means of the six sense organs, in other words feelings, including mind-feelings, like thoughts, ideas, memories. See chachakka sutta, six sets of six.
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Post by sunnat »

Also, it's not a matter of forgetting or remembering. Those are acts of self making, with sankharas or kamma resultants. It is a matter of training to not react, rather be equanimous with regards to the sankharas as they rise and pass away. So, contemplating is not a conventional 'thinking' but rather atapi sampajano satima just as there is conventional knowledge from reading suttas and true knowledge from direct meditation experience.
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May

Post by SDC »

sunnat wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 1:26 am Sensations are phenomena that are sensed by means of the six sense organs, in other words feelings, including mind-feelings, like thoughts, ideas, memories. See chachakka sutta, six sets of six.
Yes that is a great sutta, but all I see is the six sense base (internal/external), consciousness, contact, feeling, craving, etc., but if sensation is only touch of the body then I’m not sure how it applies to all the other senses as well. There doesn’t seem to be a word for this idea of all of the senses uniting under the “sensations”. If anything that is more reminiscent of the usage of “dhamma”, which if we keep in mind dhammānupassanā of MN 10, all of these concepts are found as objects/phenomena within the scope of that reflection —— but it goes without saying that dhamma is far broader than mere sensation.
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May

Post by SDC »

sunnat wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 1:42 am Also, it's not a matter of forgetting or remembering. Those are acts of self making, with sankharas or kamma resultants. It is a matter of training to not react, rather be equanimous with regards to the sankharas as they rise and pass away.
I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but I’m just not sure how much of it can actually be found in the suttas, which is the entire point of this Study Group.
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Post by sunnat »

Semantics, touch, to touch, the act of touching, that which is touched, that which touches etc. Perhaps tangibles is a better word. The feeling that comes with body (or other sense organs sound, smell ... ) contact. What is that thing that touches or is touched? A tangible?
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Re: Therīgāthā, The Verses of the Elder Bhikkhunīs, Book One and Two (Week of May 2, 2021)

Post by Bundokji »

I think the act of grouping these verses as said by elder Bhikkhunis reflect that the nature of the task and what constitutes wisdom has nothing to do with gender issues. This is in stark contrast with modern solutions to suffering.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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