The Daily Tejaniya

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Nicolas
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Re: The Daily Tejaniya

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Suddh wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 4:52 am
Only when the mind is simple can wisdom develop. A complicated mind—a mind which thinks, expects, and plans—blocks off wisdom.
Strange how the Buddha recommended skillful thinking so much then. And how he specifically said that sammāsaṅkappa - right thinking and planning - actually promotes wisdom.

I used to like this teacher, and so understand the appeal. Simple, no doing, thought-free, effortless path to awakening. When it sounds too good to be true...
Regarding effort:
Dhamma Everywhere, by Sayadaw U Tejaniya wrote: What kind of effort do we need when we are meditating? Right now many people know of only one type of effort, which is energetic, forcing effort. However, it is wrong effort when it is motivated by defilements like craving, aversion, or delusion. This kind of effort will only feed more defilements in the process.

How then, do we meditate? We use the wholesome effort and the right effort of patience and perseverance in or practice. [...] Effort or energy should also be balanced.
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Many yogis suffer from headaches and stiff necks because they have used too much energy and wrong effort to focus on objects! It also gets tiring because of exertion of forceful energy as a result of wanting something or pushing something away.
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Viriya is the spiritual faculty of patience and perseverance. I understand viriya as persistence, not exertion or force! Please don't wear out your mind or body by striving forcefully when you meditate. Understanding can't develop when your mind or body is tired.
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Be cool and calm about it. Be interested. There should be consistent effort but not exertion.
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We are running a marathon. Would a seasoned runner use up all his energy from the very beginning? No! He runs at a steady pace, picking up momentum as he goes through each mile. We want this type of dhamma momentum that arises naturally in our practice. It is not a forcefully created momentum.

Practice in a relaxed way, but don't stop practicing. At this center, we meditate the whole day, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. If we put in a lot of energy or effort, can we meditate like this the whole day? We certainly can't! We'll burn out and probably get depressed. Faith in the practice will go down. That is why we don't exert force; we just use persistence and we don't give up. We keep applying ourselves as much as we can, but we don't slip.

Remember that this is not a 100-meter dash. We need to use wisdom effort and energy, not craving effort. That is why we do what we can, steadily, but we don't give up!
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Since this is a practice we do consistently over the entire day, it isn't necessary to spend so much energy all at once.
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We want the type of awareness that develops naturally from consistent effort, moment-to-moment.

We don't want this doing, forceful effort that uses a lot of energy all at once, only to slack off when we are tired. When we get some energy back, we may recover from our drowsiness and start to be aware once again. It's impossible to develop continuity of awareness in this random way.
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The momentum and strength of awareness will develop naturally when we practice consistently, moment-to-moment, without breaks. That is called right effort.

There is a vast difference between a mind that is aware and a mind without awareness. The kind of awareness that comes from energetic focusing lasts only briefly. The kind of awareness that develops naturally from continuous practice is longer lasting and doesn't just disappear because of some external causes.
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Meditation is for the long-haul, a practice we do for life, without rest until final liberation. We need to learn how to be skillful at running this marathon and learn to nurture all the wholesome mental qualities possible.
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We need momentum to be successful in all areas of life including education, business, or profession. Momentum is also needed for meditation to grow. But remember that this momentum doesn't come from exerting a lot of energy! If we exert a lot of energy, we will have only wasted that energy by the end of the day. We want a momentum that comes out of practicing steadily, without stopping.
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In meditation, you figure out and fulfill the conditions that will help the practice thrive. That's why I ask you to practice consistently and continuously. When momentum builds up, awareness will be there even if you don't want it to be there. That's why you want to practice steadily, throughout the day.

Most yogis know that they ought to practice diligently. However, few yogis are clear on how to practice diligently.
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When we say viriya is needed, the kind of viriya we're talking about is not focusing energy. The kind of viriya that's needed is perseverance. Applying our knowledge, the right attitude, and wisdom is what's needed for right effort.
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Keep your mind as calm and as relaxed as possible, not too tense or too lax. Don't be too anxious about your practice. The mind needs to be able to adjust accordingly, walking the middle road between too much and too little effort, neither overzealous nor disinterested. The wise mind makes adjustments as needed during meditation.
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Remember to practice consistently throughout the day, all the time, with a balanced mind and right effort.
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Viriya is the wish to practice continuously an with perseverance.
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Your responsibility is to have the right attitude and to be aware continuously. Check again and again, whether you have the right or wrong attitude. Reminding, checking, remembering—this is enough. You don't need to use too much energy to focus.
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The meaning of effort is to try to continue, try to be patient, try to be relaxed. Effort is doing what we should do and not doing what should not be done. Effort is also to try to reduce defilements. Making awareness continuous is also effort.
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Right effort is perseverance. Effort means being persistent, being patient, continuing again and again, and not giving up. This is the meaning of effort.
Sayadaw U Tejaniya doesn't advocate for no-effort, but balanced effort.
As the Buddha said, "if energy is aroused too forcefully, this leads to restlessness, and if energy is too lax this leads to laziness. Therefore, resolve on a balance of energy, achieve evenness of the spiritual faculties."
The type of effort that Sayadaw U Tejaniya advocates is one that is persistent and continuous, not one that leads to laziness.
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Nicolas
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Re: The Daily Tejaniya

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P.S. I seem to have accidentally edited-out a huge post full of quotes regarding thinking... Oops. Hopefully the moderators can help me recover it, otherwise I'll retype it eventually.
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Nicolas
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Re: The Daily Tejaniya

Post by Nicolas »

Suddh wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 4:52 am
Only when the mind is simple can wisdom develop. A complicated mind—a mind which thinks, expects, and plans—blocks off wisdom.
Strange how the Buddha recommended skillful thinking so much then. And how he specifically said that sammāsaṅkappa - right thinking and planning - actually promotes wisdom.

I used to like this teacher, and so understand the appeal. Simple, no doing, thought-free, effortless path to awakening. When it sounds too good to be true...
Okay, here's my attempt at re-typing what I quoted, regarding thinking:
Dhamma Everywhere, by Sayadaw U Tejaniya wrote: We need right view and right thinking. We also need inquiry and dhamma investigation, which is the investigation of phenomena and reflection on how we are observing or practicing, while we are practicing.
[...]
So, should you think or not think while practicing? You should be watchful of the kinds of thoughts that will increase craving, aversion, or delusion. When people say there shouldn't be thinking, they are referring to defilement-motivated thinking. Of course you can't help thoughts that just arise naturally but you don't help these defilement-motivated thoughts to grow even more.

You don't stop all sorts of thinking! You should think about the Dhamma you have heard, information you've read here, and reflect on the work you are doing and consider how you are practicing. This kind of thinking will help wisdom grow.

This information I'm giving you now will be working in the mind when you are practicing and you use the theory along with your own intelligence to work skillfully with the situation at hand.
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A calm mind develops when there is right view, right attitude, and right thought: samādhi can't develop with wrong attitude, wrong view or wrong thought.
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Because there is right view, right attitude, and right thinking, the mind does not react with craving or aversion.
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The mind is doing its own work through recognizing, being aware, knowing, thinking about the practice, and being interested, for example.
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The mind was now interested in knowing, so it backed up a bit and began to ask questions. What is happening inside? This interest to know and right thinking changed the path of the mind from anger towards Dhamma. Without this right thinking, the mind would have continued along the path of anger and aversion, still believing anger was an appropriate response for the situation.
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A yogi's work is to have the right view, right attitude, and right thought, and be intelligently aware, moment-to-moment.
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Awareness and some questioning go hand-in-hand. There has to be this inquisitive thoughtfulness along with the awareness.
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Being aware of thinking when there is thinking is right awareness. But many times you may want this thinking to stop because you consider it distracting. However, when you greedily try to make it still, it will only complicate the issue and bring about tension.
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Don't try to find fault with the thinking mind—you are not trying to stop thinking. Instead, you work to recognize thinking when there is thinking.
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Thoughts may only seem like a problem if you have the preconception that they are distracting you from your practice and you try to stop the thinking.
But aren't thoughts also the mind? If you really want to learn about the mind, these thoughts are showing the way.
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When you think about your practice and how you are practicing, you are basically filling the mind with wholesome thoughts, making it more difficult for unwholesome thoughts to arise.
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When you first begin, it's not enough only to have awareness. You need to reinforce it with other supports: Think about how you are going to practice and what is happening in the mind and body, for example. There are fewer chances to indulge in unwholesome thoughts when the mind is filled with wholesome thoughts. The mind can't simultaneously think two things. If there is right thinking, there can't be wrong thinking, or getting lost in thinking. Give the mind a job an make it work. Momentum builds from having awareness for longer periods moment-to-moment.
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Thinking is not a problem when you can recognize it as an object, just like you recognize breathing as an object.
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Don't immediately assume that the mind is agitated when you see thoughts. There is awareness because the mind has some measure of calmness. Only when there is no awareness can you say the mind is not calm. But so long as the mind is aware of the thinking, there is already some sort of stability there.
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You can really get to know this talking mind. Without trying to stop this talking or thinking, you can see the mind's internal dialogue from morning until night. You are observing to understand the mind as it is, not to make anything disappear.
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Is it good to have many thoughts? Is it bad? Is it good to have no thoughts? Is that bad? Having many thoughts or having few thoughts is neither good nor bad. Objects are just objects.
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When you use wisdom, right attitude, right idea, and right thought, the mind follows the middle-way.
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Don't forget to think the right way, have the right information, right idea, and right attitude.
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Our responsibility is to think the right way, to have the right attitude, and to be aware continuously. Right thought is very important; right attitude, right thought means perceiving everything as nature.
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The meaning of awareness is not forgetting. This means not forgetting to think the right way, not forgetting to be aware, not forgetting the right object. Awareness is not forgetting. Remembering and reminding is awareness.
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Your responsibility is to try to think the right way and to try to be aware continuously. Right view and right thought is very important. With right view and right thought, samādhi is already there. [...] Because of understanding, because of right view, because of right thought, the mind is already calm, peaceful and stable.
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If you have the right view, right idea, and right thought then the mind is stable.
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You are trying to think the right way. Thinking is very powerful. If your thinking is reasonable, if your thinking is right, the mind is already calm, relaxed and peaceful.
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When we are meditating and the mind thinks about the Dhamma, about practice, nature, or object, this thinking makes our awareness stronger and stronger, because of interest. The dhamma nature is more awake and alert because of checking. If our minds are thinking [these right thoughts] the mind can't be sleepy. Then we are thinking the right way. We must both think about the practice and practice. We are not blindly aware. Awareness alone is not enough. Awareness and wisdom come together.
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It's not only about being mindful. We are being aware, thinking, and recognizing.
We should be thinking about the practice. If we are thinking the right way, the mind can't think the wrong way. We prevent delusion when we are aware and when we understand.
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If you have right idea, right attitude, right thinking, the mind immediately calms down, becomes peaceful.
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When we have right view and right thought, we can't speak wrongly, we can't act wrongly, and we can't live wrongly.
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We are trying to think the right way; we are trying to be aware.
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Nicolas
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Re: The Daily Tejaniya

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The Daily Tejaniya, June 9, 2024 wrote: Yogi: I am tense all the time, what can I do?
Sayadaw U Tejaniya: Breathe deeply, and follow the breath. When you breathe in you may feel the tension increase; when you breathe out you will feel some relaxation. Track the relaxation over and over, not just when you are sitting but all day long. If you are continuously aware of your state of relaxation you will become even more relaxed.
The Daily Tejaniya, June 10, 2024 wrote: When the mind really sees something, it lets go.
The Daily Tejaniya, June 15, 2024 wrote: If desire arises because of a particular object, you should stop observing that object. It is not a dhamma object; it is an object of desire. The object you need to watch in a situation like this is desire itself.
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