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PARIYATTI and Patipatti


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#1 RobertK

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:26 AM

I wrote:

It is hard for most to see that while discussing Dhamma there are immediate conditions for insight: that even at this moment conditioned dhammas are arising. They think study and practice are somehow separate - this stems from strongly held self-view. WE think we have to do this or that before insight arises - not realising that there is nobody who can do anything, but that any moment can be understood if panna has been developed; while no moment can be understood(at the level of satipatthana) if there is an idea of 'me' seeing. Some want to have 'experience', they think Abhidhamma is intellectual, they want to know their own heart; but what is more real than nama and rupa that is arising now? What could be more useful than learning to see what is really there - fleeting, insignificant dhammas- nobody. As
this
_________

And you replied:

Dear Robert,
Can I deduce from what you have written , that when someone seperates the pariyatti from the actual practice thinking that the former is a tool for the latter at another time and place, being a situation created by the mind, we are infact chasing our own projections?
Sukin
____________

This is part of what I meant. While it is true that listening to Abhidhamma is a condition for future direct insight, it is also true that it is pointing to this moment. When we are listening to Dhamma or discussing or reading the texts what cittas are present? Isn't there seeing and visible object, sound and hearing, bhavanga cittas.... It all points to understand the anattaness of dhammas that are arising now. These dhammas are arising right while listening or considering - now is the time to understand. However, if we listen without knowing that the whole Abhidhamma has one flavour- that of anatta- one can still believe "I am listening" or "the real understanding will come later when I do this or that" (whatever one thinks the real practice is). No rule that insight should arise now and yet if there is careful listening and right consideration then wisdom of some level must arise - couldn't stop it. I was in a car with Sarah and Jon and Sujin discussing Dhamma . Jon said he was a little tired to listen after flying into Bangkok the day before . However, I was keen and so (rudely) carried on the discussion. He had to listen and soon came in with some comments anyway. I think it all becomes seamless - listening, considering, any time; because by habit it becomes natural to learn , investigate, study,. And this is such a slow process though. Too, it is not a mathematical rule that we need so many moments of sati. It is view that is the danger. If understanding is developed by listening and considering then when there are moments of direct awareness the insight can go deeper . One can only know for oneself if there is more understanding than say a year ago. But it is sometimes hard to know the conditions that caused this. Do we listen with respect?

In the Atthasalini (translated as Expositor p14)
QUOTE

Expositor
"the Bhikkhus who study the Abhidhamma experience infinite rapturous joy in reflecting..'The Teacher taught things mental and material, dividing them into various parts- things subtel and abstruse such as the aggregates sense organs, elements, controlling faculties, kamma and its results; and the distinction between mind and matter' The Thera Mahagatigamiyatissa ...was on the upper deck of a boat he looked at the great ocean...He thought to himslef which is more extraordinary - the ocean..or the basis of the method in the Patthana (last book of abhidhamma)The limits of the ocean became apparent but the limits of the universal patthana are not apparent. Abundant rapture arose in him as he reflected on the abstruse and subtle Dhamma and increasing insight he ..became established in arahantship"


When we read this we should know that there was direct insight into nama and rupa happening even during the time he was reflecting. We might think we have to get "my mind calm first" before understanding can come. But even the idea of a mind is a delusion let alone My mind. The theory shows one that nothing lasts even for a moment. here I am talikng about vipassana,. For sila, samatha or giving one can still have such self-view and perform these good deeds - but not for vipassana. The theory gives enough undertanding so that all states can be dissected. Dissected even while they are happening. All the khandas (aggregates), all the time are in a flux; there is nothing good about them. They are, as the Patisambhidhimagga says, a disease and alien, not self. Do we think calmness is good, better than agitation? They are both merely conditioned phenomena, they pass away instantly.

The Atthasalini, (triplets p451)defines "ignorant average man" as:
QUOTE

Expositor

"owing to the absense of access to the Scriptures, and of the higher attainment of the path and fruition. For to whoever owing to the absense of learning by heart and deduction therefrom regarding the khandas(aggregates) elements(dhatus) sense-organs(ayatanas) the causal mode, the applications of mindfulness etc there is NO attainment of that learning which represses opinionativeness, nor any access, owing to the non-attainment of what should be attained by conduct. Such a person, from the absense of such access and such attainment should be known as ignorant"
In the Netti-Pakarana (translated as the Guide, PTS) p7. It explains the vipallasa, perversions of view. These are the perception of seeing the ugly as beautiful, the dukkha as sukkha, the impermanent as permanent and the not self as self. These vipallasa are said to be overcome repectively by the cattaro satipatthana (four foundations of mindfulness). Satipatthana sees realities as they really are - ugly, dukkha, impermanent and not-self. This is a gradual seeing though. The first phase (cira kala bhavana -long, long time development) is investigating and learning the characteristics (visesa lakkhana) of paramattha dhammas as they are. Perhaps we think we already know the characteristic of feeling. After all feeling arises with every citta. It is arising now. All of us experience it almost all day long. But do we experience it with sati and panna? Observe feeling now. Somewhere it is arising but is it experienced with sati or lobha or moha or dosa? Or are we not sure what type of citta experienced it? Do we think it is "us" who is experiencing feeling? Obviously if we do then that is not satipatthana - that is vipallasa , a perversion of view. Do we think I am having insight? Do we think sati is something we bought up, we conditioned? It is easy to see these strong vipallasa but there are more subtle aspects of vipallasa. By hearing enough and considering conditions are built up to gradually let go of the clinging to wrong practice that we have accumulated, Then there can be the opportunity for sati and panna to understand dhammas, as they are now. Whether we are sitting, or standing, or in the meditation center there can be awareness of dhammas -but not by clinging.

There is no self - that is the illusion formed by the rapid change and the different elements doing their functions. It is like a movie - merely different frames joined together and giving the appearance of life.And yet, like a movie we get so engrossed in the 'story of my life'. None of the elements, the different cetasikas and cittas and rupas have any idea of wanting to do this or that. They are merely carrying out there function - which is to know, or to hear, or to see, or to crave and so many other elements with different functions.

There are levels of understanding both at the theoretical and experiential level. The theory assists undertsanding at the practical level and the practical makes the the theory clearer. Even when we are thinking there can be moments of direct understanding of the characteristics of different realities. Also when we are studying a Dhamma book there can be many moments when there is direct study of realities. This is an important question because we have to learn how to study realities directly otherwise our Dhamma study is merely theoretical. Sometimes we might think "there is no self" but still have no understanding. Thus even when we are reflecting or contemplating or whatever we call it we need to develop the ability to see below the surface and see the realities that are conditioning the thinking. It can be done and discussions like these perhaps help to encourage. And are we grateful for the understanding we have now? Whatever level is there only because of the compassion of the Buddha who developed the parami over 100,000 aeons and 4 unthinkably long periods of time. And too the sangha that kept the teachings pristine for these thousands of years - in Sri lanka, thailand, Burma, Cambodia.

robert

#2 RobertK

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:42 AM

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A couple of general responses:

1/ I think it is important not to confuse the nature of activities with our concepts about them. It may be that in the theoretical scheme of things that contemplating sutta is not a "practice," but in the ordinary sense of the word, it is. It is an activity, a task, with a specific purpose.

Sukin: I think this is why we must differentiate and come to determine exactly what the reality is and what we mean by them in the conventional sense. I don't think we can rely on the latter, since it is based on the idea of `self', `situations' and `activity', none of which have any ultimate status and all of which are infused with our personal and distorted understandings.

That is how I would define practice. In a sense, I think you are confusing two different meanings of the same word, one a technical term in the Buddhist path, distinguishing between intellectual study and the accomplishment or presence of full mindfulness, which you are calling the "practice;" and the ordinary sense in which "practice" merely means a directed activity. Surely, in that sense, both intellectual study of sutta and meditation are "practices."

Whatever it means by `practice' in the conventional sense, and how we ever create situations out of our experience through the six doorways, through ignorance or through panna, in the end if we are to come to appreciate the Buddha's teachings, we must be able to determine what behind all this, the `ultimate realities' are. I believe otherwise, we will not make any progress. > At the same time, you do have a valid point in that you are saying that meditation purports to grant direct insight, which pariyatti does not. You could say that pariyatti is a preliminary practice, while paripatti is the actual practice. I think both pariyatti and patipatti must always go hand in hand. There must be I believe, moments of direct experience, though they may be too little to be noticed, otherwise I think, there cannot be the confidence in and to continue with pariyatti. [*Ken H. is this what you are referring to on another thread? I have always wondered about this, but never asked anyone.] So I don't think that pariyatti is preliminary and patipatti is the subsequent step, as in one following the other. I think we do have a tendency to draw lines and in the process take what is not real to be real, namely the conventional activities. Dhammas arise and fall by conditions, and none of us have directly seen enough of this to go beyond doubt that this is quite different from what we usually think. Attachment to our conventional view can only make it harder to appreciate this fact, I think.

This is why I wanted us to be clear from the very beginning what pariyatti is, and how it relates to patipatti. I wanted to show you in the last post, that `study' is not the matter of accumulation of words, but the `understanding' which is something that arises because of conditions and cannot be willed. Of course it does involve `words' on one level, whether this is apprehended through the eye door, the ear door or the mind. And each time there is any understanding, it is `verbalized' mentally. But note that this does not happen automatically when one reads or hears the teachings, it must depend on other conditions as well, the primary of which is the accumulated panna, from hearing and reflecting in the past. In that sense, what is the preliminary practice prior to meditation, if meditation is the practice? What is the preparation, which would be the meditator's equivalent of pariyatti? I suppose it would also be the basic comprehension of sutta or appropriate scripture. And then putting it into practice through mindfulness meditation. In that sense the paths seem somewhat similar.

Again, I don't think that they should be compared. And just as it requires panna to `understand' the meaning of the words, it is panna which is involved in `patipatti'. No `self' can intend to have satipatthana, if conditions are right, it will happen. Just as one cannot will `understanding' while reading, listening or thinking over the words, similarly one cannot will satipatthana by `intending to apply'. Sati, just like panna, depends on conditions from past accumulations; `intention' is not one of the factors to condition it. Rather, the primary conditions would be, having heard about the Teachings in the past, particularly about the objects of sati, which is the paramattha dhammas.

And because so much wrong view and other akusala have been accumulated from the past, that we need to be reminded again and again through pariyatti about realities and their conditioned nature. If we forget that sati and panna arises due to conditions other than intention, then wrong view will make us believe that we can `do' something to condition sati. Rob, when you decide to "apply" the theory, how sure are you that at that instant, that there is panna which makes the decision? If you agree that it is not panna, then what is the reality of the moment? Is it kusala, or is it desire? And if it is the latter, then by what miracle do you think that satipatthana can ever be conditioned to arise later on, except probably, a highly developed panna accumulated from the past. In which case I think, it would realize the futility of deliberate practice, because it would at that time see that conditions other than the sitting, caused it to arise. And once this happens, you will also see that the so called sati apparent during formal practice is not in fact satipatthana as taught by the Buddha, the characteristic being quite different.

I am still confused however, if patipatti is your equivalent of meditation in our comparison, what exactly does patipatti entail as a practice? If one does not meditate, what exactly is the practice of satipatthana? I suppose it is the discernment of arising moments of everyday life, which to me is basically the same thing as meditation, except that you have the stipulation that one must not do it as a specific purposeful practice, as one does in meditation.

And everyday life may include `sitting', if that is our normal activity! However, we can't decide to `discern the arising moments in daily life' any more than we can do it during `formal sitting'. The main problem is `wrong view', and this can believe that there is a `self' who can apply either in `normal everyday activity' or `formal sitting' or even this very moment "now". This is the `self' which Sarah and others so often talk about, and is not bringing in a dualistic category, but is a reality of the moment, in this case `lobha mula citta accompanied by wrong view'.

But this too is confusing: If one practices mindfulness as a stage following pariyatti, then it seems like it really is a purposeful practice to gain the result of full mindfulness of the object, and so it is just as intentional as meditation. And the distinction seems even more artificial when you imagine that the only real difference between paripatti and meditation is that the meditator is "assuming a sitting position," while the practitioner of paripatti practices his "meditation" wherever and under whatever conditions happen to arise. Surely, the physical positioning of the practitioner cannot create such a great theoretical rift?

I hope you now understand that the core matter is Right / Wrong View. Sitting and not sitting is just side issues, though reflective of this primary one. And this is why on DSG so much emphasis is on Rt. View. Even more confusing is the fact that every meditation practice includes both walking meditation, and the admonition that the practice of mindfulness should be extended into a 24-hour a day operation, where one is always conscious of both the breath and whatever is arising for consciousness. In many ways, both paths seem to come around to the same place by a different route. Why the `breath' when we know that we have so much ignorance and wrong view regarding it? Why would any serious practitioner want to give importance to that which only conditions more akusala? Anything at all that we as worldlings give special importance to, that becomes immediately an object of clinging. And no matter how we rationalize about `breath' being neutral and so on, the clinging is there and becomes in fact, an object of `wrong view' when associated with right practice.

So what exactly does paripatti entail? And if it is indeed a
practice, how is this not a "doing" with a doer involved? I am
sincerely interested in the answer to this.

Any moment of satipatthana is a moment of patipatti. So, just as one cannot will satipatthana because it will arise when the conditions are right, there is no one who `practices'.

<snip>

To me all of the above is "the practice." Now if one is *not* discerning, but hallucinating, and going down an akusala path without knowing it, well, that's a big problem. But I would like to know, Sukin, how is one to know this anyway, if one does not trust his own sense of whether detachment, insight, clarity of discernment, etc. are developing? Who do you trust to tell you you are seeing the real moment arising, if you yourself are not training your own citta to do this? I think without development of faith in one's own evaluation of what is occurring on the path, the path must be lost.

Sanna, citta and ditthi vipallasa is the norm for most of us. We may believe that a certain characteristic trait qualifies as `hallucination' etc. However anytime there is attachment to result which motivates a measuring of one's progress along the path, and involving hindsight, how can we be certain that we are not hallucinating? I don't put much faith in my own evaluation based on the past, but there are moments of faith based on understanding the meaning of the Buddha's teachings and what can be verified in the moment. This keeps me going, at least more confident in the particular interpretation as taught by K. Sujin and expressed by many members of this list. But have I gone beyond doubt? Surely a big NO!!

I will appreciate your response, hoping that these points are not also too far flung to give the basis for a good exchange.

Hope you are not disappointed.

Metta,

Sukin.

#3 RobertK

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:46 AM

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E: Does A. Sujin or you offer suggestions for this development?
E: Only listening? This is not clear here.

N: By listening, as I said, in that way intellectual understanding grows. This is the stage of pariyatti and this forms up the condition for practice, patipatti. This again for the realization of the Truth, pativedha. Many conditions are necessary for the arising of kusala citta with pañña. You may not have seen the Visuddhimagga study referring to kusala citta accompanied by pañña. I shall quote a little: We read in the Atthasaalinii (Expositor p. 100): A person thinking: 'I ought to do meritorious deeds,' has his mind 'determined' for moral acts, 'bent' only on moral acts by inhibiting immoral acts, well 'trained' by constant practice of good.

As to the word 'bent on' , the Pali has: pari.naamita, bend to, change into. There can be a change from akusala to kusala if one understands the right conditions to be cultivated. An abundance of right reflection is also a condition for kusala. We need good friends who give us stimulating talks. We then read that the Tiika refers to the four wheels that are favorable conditions for the arising of kusala citta with right understanding. These four wheels are: living in a suitable place, association with noble persons, right aspiration, and meritorious deeds formerly done. (See AN IV, 4, 1, The Wheel). Further on the Tiika mentions as conditions for the citta to be accompanied by wisdom: past kamma, maturity of the faculties, that is to say: the faculties of confidence, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom which have to be developed. Another factor is one¹s age. The age from forty to fifty is the most favorable age to develop wisdom according to the Visuddhimagga. Kusala citta accompanied by wisdom needs many conditions, some stemming from the past and others that are of the present.

The Dhammasanga.nii, when dealing with the first type of kusala citta, states: At the occasion (yasmi.m samaye) when kusala citta belonging to the sense sphere has arisen accompanied by joy and associated with knowledge, unprompted... and then it enumerates the many cetasikas that assist the citta. The ³Expositor² (p. 76 etc.) explains numerous meanings of samaya, such as: time or occasion, concurrence of causes, moment. It explains that the four wheels should be classed as the one moment in the sense of occasion, they form the occasion for the production of merit. It states: It does not occur without there being a concurrence of circumstances, such as existence as a human being, the rise of the Buddha, and the stability of the good Law, etc.... It shows the extreme shortness of the time in the occurrence of kusala citta and it points out the extreme rarity of such moments. It stresses that advice has been given that we should have strenuousness and earnestness in pa.tivedha, realization of the truth, since this is very difficult: as difficult for the mind as stringing pearls in the dark by a lightning-flash, because of its extremely short duration.

Samaya can also mean group, and this shows the simultaneous occurrence of many dhammas. The kusala citta is accompanied by many cetasikas, each performing their own function. By samaya is shown the concurrence of conditions, the mutual contribution towards the production of a common result. The Expositor explains with regard to samaya as condition: 'By this word showing thus the condition, the conceit of one who believes that states unconditionally follow one¹s own will is subdued.' When we learn about all the different factors that are necessary conditions for the arising of one moment of kusala citta with paññaa we are reminded that kusala citta does not belong to us and that it falls away immediately.

Kusala citta is very rare and even more so kusala citta with paññaa. We have accumulated a great amount of akusala and thus there are conditions for its arising very often. This is a pungent reminder to develop all kinds of kusala for which there is an opportunity. This may show you the concurrence of many favorable conditions, necessary for the development of pañña. It can grow, so long as we do not obstruct it by wanting, wishing, clinging to a fast result.

E: This seems to be easier said than done. Again, any tips for the eradication?

N: It is fully developed pañña that leads to the eradication of wrong view and after that of all other defilements. In order to reach accomplishment, pañña has to begin. It can begin to grow by listening and deeply considering the Dhamma. Also by asking questions, discussing difficult points as you do now. If there is anything you like to discuss, do not hesitate.
Nina.

#4 RobertK

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:47 AM

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N: By listening, as I said, in that way intellectual understanding grows. This is the stage of pariyatti and this forms up the condition for practice, patipatti.

============================

Okay, it's clear what the pariyatti is. But what, Nina, and all others, of course, in your understanding, is the patipatti - the practice - that the pariyatti "forms up the condition for"?

N: Inspired by Azita's and Christine's good posts, I shall give an example. Yesterday while hiking, we saw the corpse of a yound wild boar. I had attachment to its beauty (the stripes on its back were so cute), and aversion because of the flies on it. I then remembered suttas. especially Theragatha,: "As is that body, so this body will be." This brings us back to reality now. What are we? Only citta, cetasika and rupa arising and falling away. There is actually life and death at each moment, also now. If there are enough conditions accumulated such happenings can be a reminder for sati and pañña to consider dhamma now and be aware of it, so that there can be direct understanding. But I must add that its development is a long process and that we cannot expect a quick result of the development. But anyway it is beneficial to reflect on and contemplate nama and rupa as they appear now, and also to develop the "Perfections". It all begins with listening, and so I was glad with Rob K's quote. A good reminder that sati is also anatta, non-self. it cannot be manipulated.

When we listen, and this also includes reading suttas, we come to understand that citta, cetasika and rupa occur now, in daily life. We come to understand more what kusala is, what akusala. How we need the Abhidhamma and also the consideration of these realities when they occur. When looking at a corpse there are so many types of cittas, akusala and some kusala, but kusala is very rare. A concurrence of many conditions are necessary for the arising of kusala citta with understanding. Howard, you will always stress: training is necessary. As I see it: all the moments of listening, considering, practising dana, sila and mental development, and these include the ten bases of kusala, in our life are the training. They are conditions that are accumulated so that direct understanding of dhammas can arise and lead to enlightenment. Howard, you have been discussing samatha with Jon. I would like to add something. The subjects of samatha such as mindfulness of death, maranasati, have the word sati. This, as I see it, has everything to do with satipatthana, the development of right understanding of nama and rupa. As I showed above: maranasati brings us back to awareness of reality now. Also before the Buddha's time people practised samatha, but the Buddha gave a new dimension to all those meditation subjects. Whatever he taught, the goal was always: eradication of wrong view of self and other defilements through the development of understanding now. Thus, whenever we read about samatha or meditation subjects we should not forget this goal. Also for those who could attain jhana the goal was the same. They should not take their development of samatha and jhanacitta for self. I shall write more to Joop R about the social aspects of the Dhamma. This is nothing else but practice with satipatthana inspired by the whole Tipitaka, including Abhidhamma! But when I say, satipatthana, I know that direct awareness and understanding are difficult, still being far from it. But, even intellectual understanding helps in our life, to understand ourselves and others, to see the benefit of kusala, the danger of akusala. Those are conditions for the growth of pañña, and, as I said, we should not wish for it to grow fast, that slows down the process. Lodewijk understands your concern that just listening may lead to passivity, sliding down to laziness, not doing anything. But, he says, it is listening with the purpose of considering, understanding and applying what one heard in the circumstances of daily life. The above example shows that there are all the time confrontations desirable or undesirable, events and our reactions to it with kusala citta or akusala citta. During a walk, when we visit my father, there are always things happening. We can learn to live by the Dhamma, we do not have to go far, Dhamma is everywhere.
Nina.

#5 RobertK

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:47 AM

Dear Group,

A friend asked:

"I don't know that I've ever known the moment, but it's certainly clear in retrospect. But is this kind of retrospection of some value, or just 'darting among unrealities'?"
---
R: Thinking about it in retrospect is not understanding at the level of satipatthana but, if it is right thinking, it is kusala and beneficial. Everyone has to see for themself how much this is useful. If it is done with panna it is very good but if we cling to this type of reflection again we are missing the main point. So many ways to think about it even in retrospection: are we considering that dosa was simply a parammattha dhamma; are we remembering that there is no self who has dosa; is there consideration that each moment arises to pass away instantly? This type of reflection is, if done with panna, a type of samattha ie dhammanusati- recollection of Dhamma. And it can support direct awareness. Even while we are thinking in this way, another level of panna can come in and directly understand some aspect of the thinking process - and that is satipatthana. If there is retrospection then that is what is happening now- and it is good to know whether it is done with kusala or akusala. At times we may reflect often about Dhamma but have very little direct awareness. At other times possibly little thinking but still direct awareness comes. Most of the time both are scarce. When we think about Dhamma or study Dhamma it can be and even should be (but of course no rule, not always) a condition for some direct study, at some level, (maybe simply at the level of what I call "consideration in the present") of the present moment. It is worrying that some who study even Abhidhamma do not connect it with satipatthana. But Abhidhamma is purely what is real - how can we separate this subject from the direct study of dhammas? Pariyatti should be intimately connected to patipatti.

Robertk

#6 Wolfgang

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:28 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 3 2006, 08:47 AM) View Post


It is worrying that some who study even Abhidhamma do not connect it with satipatthana. But Abhidhamma is purely what is real - how can we separate this subject from the direct study of dhammas? Pariyatti should be intimately connected to patipatti.

Robertk



Dear Robert ,

in a certain way I have it much easier. I came to Vipassana-retreats very naive. I just followed its instructions how to differentiate and pay attention. In this way I started see thoughts arising and passing, conditioned alone by grammars and beginningless repetition, I (conventionally speaking) also can see how with every thought 'I' arises and passes alike.

This caused me in my regular life to become able to take myself less serious. Further, in turn, it gave me an earnest confidence in the Dhamma. So I just continue this practice without worrying. Whenever there is for example the thought: 'I would get somewhere with this practice', I just try to see how this 'I' comes to its natural end - together with the thought spinning it, and all other dhammas in alleged support of it.

Of course in daily life that is much more difficult. Because usually the movement of thoughts passes totally unrecognized. However, my experience is that after having followed the advice of the Buddha and given more and more periods where 'I' do practice. I found it increasingly easier to follow the movement of thoughts in daily life too.

I wished many could have it easier by just remaining with the acknowledging of these thoughts for what they are, just doubts arising and passing. The problem comes if one thinks one would have to produce 'right view'. However, acknowledging wrong view, according to the Buddha, is the practice of Satipatthana. To acknowledge 'Right view' is early enough when and where it arises.

Through my experiences of benefits, I have the faith just to continue contentedly - even if it lasts to my last breath. Because for me this Dhamma has already been proven beneficial in its beginning. Always to glean to its supposed end is just not, what is meant with this noble eightfold path.

Wishing here everyone contentedness by just seeing wrong view arising and passing away. Being it in daily live, in retreats or as a monastic. Its next logical thought: "I am so glad that I've got nothing to do with that 'I'" - passes too.

Regards,

Wolfgang


PS: I intentionally simplify Satipatthana - because I see no benefit in expressing its complexity of the actual experience of it, with language. Just as the Satipatthana Sutta does. Because otherwise its too easy to get in endless thoughts about it - and thereby misses its point: To practice it! Further its too easy to become trapped in thoughts about 'Abhidhamma'. Thinking, this would be the 'higher' Dhamma. All this applies in particular to me. Only onself can know oneself.

#7 RobertK

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 07:39 AM

I like the practical approach of the meditation centers Wolfgang. It is often better than the way of academics. And also there are can be very good Dhamma talks given every day. For some very busy people it gives them a period in life where they are almost forced to reflect on Dhamma.
But we also need to remember that Dhamma is deep and difficult to understand. From my own expereinces and through talking with other Buddhists I find there is a tendency when 'practice' is emphasised to overestimate understanding and mistake concentration for sati.

I know you have great confidence in the Sutta Pitaka and in suttas, most of the laypeople came to listen to the Buddha or bhikkhus and apply what they had learned in their daily life. Consider this sutta
QUOTE
SalayatanasamyuttaFull Understanding Translated by by Bhikku Bodhi p1141 Connected Discourses
Bhikkhus without directly knowing and fully understanding teh eye, without developing dispassion towards it and abandoning it, one is incapable of destroying suffering. Without directly knowing and and fully understanding forns (rupayatana)..eye-consciousness (cakkhu-vinnana)..and whatver feeling arises with eye-contact as condition...one is incapable of destroying suffering..


There is seeing now, why not study about its characteristic while it is appearing at this moment.
Robert

#8 RobertK

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Jun 8 2006, 12:28 AM) View Post

Dear Robert ,

PS: I intentionally simplify Satipatthana - because I see no benefit in expressing its complexity of the actual experience of it, with language. Just as the Satipatthana Sutta does. Because otherwise its too easy to get in endless thoughts about it - and thereby misses its point: To practice it! Further its too easy to become trapped in thoughts about 'Abhidhamma'. Thinking, this would be the 'higher' Dhamma. All this applies in particular to me. Only onself can know oneself.

Dear Wolfgang
When I first learned about Buddhism I was overawed by the themes expounded in it. The void (sunnata), the deathless, freedom, nirodha, non-graping and so on. I would hear a talk and it all seemed right. I could see that these things must be true. I listened to and read famous teachers who put things so beautifully; it was almost poetry. They made the path seem simple and direct.
But somehow I found it didn't quite transform me as I had expected.After a few years I decided to delve into
the Pali texts. I studied and gradually things began to make more sense. I found details in the Abhidhamma and commentaries that I could not find anywhere else. For instance here is a passage about verbal intimation –
QUOTE
"the mode and the alteration in the consciousness-originated earth element that causes that occurrence of speech utterance which mode and alteration are a condition for the knocking together of clung to matter….."

This is not just theory – it happens everytime we talk to others. Speech is merely these elements, not us. You see I had heard that everything is anatta but I found while I believed this to be true, nonetheless when I spoke I thought it was "me" speaking. Contemplating passages like this helped to bring
attention to every little moment in life and break it down into its component parts.

Before I studied I had heard many times that avijja(ignorance) keeps the wheel of dependent origination spinning. But ignorance of exactly what? Without the details I couldn't grasp the meaning.
Here are some details about avijja (the first link in the Paticcasamuppada from the Visudhimagga
QUOTE
XVII 43: " it (avijja) prevents knowing the meaning of collection in the aggregates(khandas), the meaning of
actuating in the bases(ayatanas)…..the meaning of reality in the truths…Also it prevents knowing the meaning of dukkha described in the four ways as `oppression etc'..Furthermore it is ignorance because it conceals the physical bases and objects of eyeconsciousness etc and the dependent origination."


In brief we can say it is an ignorance of the true nature of dhammas and the intricate ways they condition each other. The commentary to the UDANA ( translation by Peter Masefield from PTS)defines it (p71,vol1, enlightenment chapter)
QUOTE
"it is ignorance since it causes beings to dart among becomings and so on within samsara.., it is ignorance since it darts among those things which do not actually exist [i.e.men, women] and since it does not dart among those things that do exist [i.e.it cannot understand the khandas,
paramattha dhammas].


This is not just philosophising. Knowing this helped a lot when I heard it. I thought "yes we are always
thinking of "me" and "she" , "us" and "them", we don't see the real dhammas that arise and fall away so
quickly. It encouraged me to start to study another world - the world of this moment.

This letter is starting to get long so I just want to touch on one other link of the Paticcasamupada(there
are twelve in total); the factor of upadana, grasping, clinging. There are four types of clinging
(see visuddhimagga xvii 241-3). That of sense desire clinging, wrongview clinging, clinging to rules and
rituals, and lastly self view clinging. Note that the last three are types of miccha-ditthi, wrong
view(the three include all types of wrong view from the gross to the very most subtle). These three are
the most dangerous types of clinging and the ones we especially need to understand, see Visuddhimagga
xvii246. The path of vipassana gradually eliminates the three types of micchaditthi until at sotapanna they are eradicated forever. Later stages, after sotapanna, then attenuate the clinging to sense desires. I mention this because one of the mistakes I made in my early buddhist life was to try to stop having sense desire. It got to the point where I would feel guilty everytime I had an icecream. What is most needed, I think, is that there should be a gradual wearing away of wrongview. We have accumulated much defilements and we have to learn to understand them –not suppress them. Most of us have difficulty in comprehending this point as "sense desire clinging is obvious ... not so the other kinds (the three types of micchaditthi)" Visuddhimagga XVII 246.

However, at the moments there is insight into any reality - for example, lust, at those moments there is no clinging. But if we merely try to suppress lust we may succeed (and then feel happy) but be unaware of the more subtle clingings to the idea of 'self' and control that were present. I think you appreciate the danger of wrong view already Wolfgang , so maybe this makes sense?
Robert

#9 Wolfgang

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 04:07 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 8 2006, 03:53 PM) View Post

This is not just theory –
This is not just philosophising...
Robert


QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 8 2006, 03:53 PM) View Post

However, at the moments there is insight into any reality - for example, lust, at those moments there is no clinging. But if we merely try to surpress lust we may succeed (and then feel happy) but be unaware of the more subtle clingings to the idea of 'self' and control that were present. I think you appreciate the danger of wrong view already Wolfgang , so maybe this makes sense?
Robert



Dear Robert,

This does quite make sense. It is one of the major points I want to bring attention to - with my website for disciples of Goenka. Because there (in 10-day courses; the advanced courses are much better at that) one is repeatedly told that - if one's craving and aversion is not diminishing - then one supposedly is doing something wrong (i.e. 'playing games with sensations'). Without differentiating, what wrong view actually plays for a role in all of that. Only from there, one could proceed to look at sensual desire without merely doing as if.

However, the longer I am on forums the more I acknowledge how different the conditions are - different personalities have to be with, on their path. As example myself: before I came to Dhamma (through Vipassana courses) I already suppressed all 'negative' emotions. Therefore, from this situation it did so good just to acknowledge all this anger, fears, passions etc... From my position I was no longer tempted to suppress at all - I really came to Dhamma because I wanted to know how that really feels like, what I had suppressed most of my life.

So contrary to you, when I started this practice I saw for the first time all my ideals and guilds at a deeper level, and from there they wouldn't pose anything so threatening anymore. I arrived at present bodily life, which my theories had painted over with; like:

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 8 2006, 03:53 PM) View Post

The void (sunnata), the deathless, freedom, nirodha, non-graping and so on.


For me the understanding really grew through experience of such impermanence, painfulness and insubstantiality. Moreover, what I additionally read in the Sutta sufficed more then enough to differentiate. In addition, you know from my description on the other thread (Brahmali) - I very well do differentiate between hindrances and concentration.

As it appears to me - you came just from a opposite situation and needed many more clear explanations - to arrive at this world of the moment the way you did.

Nevertheless, with what I really have a problem with in Abhidhamma is the usage of the term 'paramattha dhamma' - Ultimate Truth. Of course, in the Suttas this differentiation - between conventional and ultimate speech - is made. However, the word 'paramattha' itself I found only in the:


Paramatthaka Sutta Sn IV.5, Supreme.

When dwelling on views as "supreme," a person makes them the utmost thing in the world, &, from that, calls all others inferior and so he's not free from disputes.
When he sees his advantage in what's seen, heard, sensed, or in precepts & practices, seizing it there he sees all else as inferior.

That, too, say the skilled, is a binding knot: that in dependence on which you regard another as inferior.
So a monk shouldn't be dependent on what's seen, heard, or sensed, or on precepts & practices; nor should he conjure a view in the world in connection with knowledge or precepts & practices; shouldn't take himself to be "equal"; shouldn't think himself inferior or superlative.

Abandoning what he had embraced, abandoning self, not clinging, he doesn't make himself dependent even in connection with knowledge; doesn't follow a faction among those who are split; doesn't fall back on any view whatsoever.

One who isn't inclined toward either side - becoming or not-, here or beyond - who has no entrenchment when considering what's grasped among doctrines, hasn't the least preconceived perception with regard to what's seen, heard, or sensed.
By whom, with what, should he be pigeonholed here in the world? - this brahman who hasn't adopted views.

They don't conjure, don't yearn, don't adhere even to doctrines. A brahman not led by precepts or practices, gone to the beyond - Such - doesn't fall back.

*) Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


I am 100 percent sure that there is this ultimacy in the presence of anicca, dukkha and anatta.
'As it actually is, the origination & passing away of...'

However - then to hieve such concepts as:

'the six media of sensory contact'
'the five clinging-aggregates'
'the four great elements'
'or whatever'

- into 'paramattha sacca' - as a conceptual framework in its entirety ultimately binding to each and every follower of the Buddha - that is exactly how and why Abhidhamma, the 'higher' teaching, in my eyes is misused to its opposite end: To claim superiority in arguments. Moreover, not for liberation. Just as outlined in the Paramatthaka Sutta.

Such different approaches, as showed in the following Riddle Tree Sutta, mean nothing more to me than, that I have to study - but not the whole of the Suttas. The Dhamma necessary - to have vision well purified - I read in the Suttas. Of course, that again might be different to every other.



The Riddle Tree Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya XXXV, 204:

A certain monk went to another monk and, on arrival, said to him, 'To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?' - 'When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the six media of sensory contact, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified.'

- The first monk, dissatisfied with the other monk's answer to his question, went to still another monk and, on arrival, said to him, 'To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?' - 'When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the five clinging-aggregates, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified.'

- The first monk, dissatisfied with this monk's answer to his question, went to still another monk and, on arrival, said to him, 'To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?' - 'When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the four great elements [earth, water, wind, & fire], my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified.'

- The first monk, dissatisfied with this monk's answer to his question, went to still another monk and, on arrival, said to him, 'To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?' - 'When a monk discerns, as it actually is, that whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified.'

- The first monk, dissatisfied with this monk's answer to his question, then went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he [reported to the Blessed One his conversations with the other monks.

[The Blessed One then said:] - 'Monk, it's as if there were a man who had never seen a riddle tree. (Literally, a 'what's it' tree - apparently Butea frondosa, the flame of the forest. It is often the subject of riddles in lands where it grows because its seasonal changes - e.g. losing all its leaves just before its striking red flowers bloom - are so vivid and unusual) He would go to another man who had seen one and, on arrival, would say to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?' - The other would say, 'A riddle tree is black, my good man, like a burnt stump.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

- Then the first man, dissatisfied with the other man's answer, went to still another man who had seen a riddle tree and, on arrival, said to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?' - The other would say, 'A riddle tree is red, my good man, like a lump of meat.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

- Then the first man, dissatisfied with this man's answer, went to still another man who had seen a riddle tree and, on arrival, said to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?' - The other would say, 'A riddle tree is stripped of its bark, my good man, and has burst pods, like an acacia tree.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

- Then the first man, dissatisfied with this man's answer, went to still another man who had seen a riddle tree and, on arrival, said to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?' - The other would say, 'A riddle tree has thick foliage, my good man, and gives a dense shade, like a banyan.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

- 'In the same way, monk, however those intelligent men of integrity were focused when their vision became well purified is the way in which they answered.'


As already repeatedly said, I respect each different approach to the understanding and practicing of the Dhamma. The moment one such approach claims ultimacy, I take a stand against. (as I did with my own tradition)


Kind regards,

Wolfgang





#10 RobertK

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 07:58 AM

Dear Wolfgang,
The commentary to the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, the
Abhidhammattha
Vibhavani explains why the Buddha taught so extensively in many different ways.

"
QUOTE
There are people who like short explanations, there
are people who
like explanations of medium length, and there are
people who like
detailed explanations. Those among the different
groups who are slow in
understanding as regards mentality can understand
realities as
explained by way of five khandhas, because mentality
is classified by
way of four khandhas, thus, in a more extensive way.
Those who are slow
in understanding as regards physical phenomena (rupa)
can understand
realities as explained by way of åyatanas. The five
senses and the
five sense objects are ten kinds of rúpa which are
åyatanas. As to
dhammåyatana this comprises both nåma and rúpa. Thus
in this
classification rúpa has been explained more
extensively. Those who are
slow in understanding as to both nåma and rúpa can
understand realities
as explained by way of elements, dhåtus, because in
this
classification both nåma and rúpa have been explained
in detail."


We see the differences in beings also explained in the suttas>

QUOTE
Anguttara nikaya, Book of 4s, X1V, iii(133) Quick-Witted (PTS)

"Monks, these four persons are found existing in the world. What four?

He who learns by taking hints [uggha.tita~n~nu= (brief-learner)= sankhepa~n~nu]: he who learns by full details [vipa~ncit~n~nu (diffuse-learner)= vitthaarita~n~nu]: he who has to be led on (by instruction)[neyyo=netabba]: he who has just the word (of the text) at most [padaparamo=vya~njana- padam eva parama.n assa, one who learns by heart, is word-perfect but without understanding it]. These are the four."


At this time (acording to the texts) there are only padaparama and neyya. The extremely wise types with high accumulations of parami called Ugghatitannu and Vipancitannu are now extinct. Padaparama cannot attain in this life, although they can in future lives.. We, at this time, - so the Theravada commentaries say- are either padaparama or neyya and we need many details so we have to study and consider a great deal as a condition for understanding. From Ledi sayadaw
http://web.ukonline....sm/individu.htm

QUOTE
Ledi sayadaw.""(1) A Ugghatitannu : an individual whoキ encounters a Buddha in person, and who is capable of attaining the Holy Paths and the Holy Fruits through the mere hearing of a short concise discourse.

(2) A Vipancitannu: an individual who キ encounters a Buddha in person, but キ who is capable of attaining the Paths and the Fruits only when the short discourse is expounded to him at some length.

At the present day, only the following Neyya and Padaparama classes of individuals remain.

(3) A Neyya : an individual who needs キ to study the sermon and the exposition, and then キ to practise the provisions contained therein for 7 days to 60 years, to attain the Paths and the Fruits during this lifetime if he tries hard with guidance from the right teacher.

(4) A Padaparama : is an individual who cannot attain the Paths and the Fruits within this lifetime can attain release from worldly ills in his next existence if he dies while practising samatha or vipassana and attains rebirth either as a human being or a deva within the present Buddha Sasana. "" --

Robert

#11 RobertK

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 08:15 AM

QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Jun 16 2006, 01:07 AM) View Post

Dear Robert,

Nevertheless, with what I really have a problem with in Abhidhamma is the usage of the term 'paramattha dhamma' - Ultimate Truth. Of course, in the Suttas this differentiation - between conventional and ultimate speech - is made. However, the word 'paramattha' itself I found only in the:
Paramatthaka Sutta Sn IV.5, Supreme.

When dwelling on views as "supreme," a person makes them the utmost thing in the world, &, from that, calls all others inferior and so he's not free from disputes.
When he sees his advantage in what's seen, heard, sensed, or in precepts & practices, seizing it there he sees all else as inferior.

They don't conjure, don't yearn, don't adhere even to doctrines. A brahman not led by precepts or practices, gone to the beyond - Such - doesn't fall back.

*) Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I am 100 percent sure that there is this ultimacy in the presence of anicca, dukkha and anatta.
'As it actually is, the origination & passing away of...'

However - then to have such concepts as:

'the six media of sensory contact'
'the five clinging-aggregates'
'the four great elements'
'or whatever'

- into 'paramattha sacca' - as a conceptual framework in its entirety ultimately binding to each and every follower of the Buddha - that is exactly how and why Abhidhamma, the 'higher' teaching, in my eyes is misused to its opposite end: To claim superiority in arguments. Moreover, not for liberation. Just as outlined in the Paramatthaka Sutta.



- 'In the same way, monk, however those intelligent men of integrity were focused when their vision became well purified is the way in which they answered.'
As already repeatedly said, I respect each different approach to the understanding and practicing of the Dhamma. The moment one such approach claims ultimacy, I take a stand against. (as I did with my own tradition)
Kind regards,

Wolfgang


Dear Wolfgang,
Paramattha is used in different ways depending on context. It means fundamental or basic or ultimate. When it is used to refer to the khandhas and ayatanas and dhatus it simply means that these are basic, fundamental elements. The Paramatthaka Sutta is talking about views - where someone upholds some wrongview(note ditthi by itself in the pali always refers to wrongview- never to sammaditthi, rightview) as being the ultimate view: this is not related to paramattha dhammas.

I think most Abhidhamma students respect all the Tipitaka because it is the word of the Buddha and arahants. Obviously some people who study Abhidhamma have conceit about it, think they are better for doing so. But mana (conceit) is a deepy rooted reality- it takes any suitable object; they would have conceit about something else if not Abhidhamma: maybe conceit about not studying Abhidhamma (e.g.I am a sutta man!).
Robert

#12 Wolfgang

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:23 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 16 2006, 10:15 AM) View Post

Dear Wolfgang,
Paramattha is used in different ways depending on context...

I think most Abhidhamma students respect all the Tipitaka because it is the word of the Buddha and arahants. Obviously some people who study Abhidhamma have conceit about it, think they are better for doing so. But mana (conceit) is a deepy rooted reality- it takes any suitable object; they would have conceit about something else if not Abhidhamma: maybe conceit about not studying Abhidhamma (e.g.I am a sutta man!).
Robert

Dear Robert,

thanks for taking the effort for clarifying to such detail in your recent replys. That really helps to understand you better.

kind regards,

'the sutta man'




#13 RobertK

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 12:49 PM

QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Jun 16 2006, 08:23 PM) View Post



kind regards,

'the sutta man'

biggrin.gif wink.gif
My pleasure.

#14 RobertK

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 03:46 PM

I take it, based on what you say here, that you would consider it more efficacious to discern naturally arising dhammas than to engage in formal mediatation practice? This has been my impression, but I just want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly.

____________

Jon Abbot:

The emphasis of what I've been saying, or trying to say, in this thread is that to my reading the teachings do not advocate a 'formal meditation practice' as the prescribed means of developing satipatthana, and nor do they recommend a 'daily life practice', a 'sutta reading practice', an 'abhidhamma practice' or indeed any particular kind of 'practice'.

What they do is to explain, in great detail and repeatedly, the conditions necessary for the development of insight. What are those conditions? In brief, they are (1) hearing the true dhamma (for which one is dependent on meeting the right person(s), (2) considering and reflecting on what has been heard, so that one has having a solid grasp of its meaning, and (3) applying what has been thus understood to the present moment of experience. So while it is not a 'practice' in the generally understood sense of that word, it is by no means 'doing nothing'.

_____________

I am not quite sure what you are saying is discussed at length in the suttas. If there is any caution expressed towards formal meditation, I would be very interested to see that.
____________

The subject that I referred to as being discussed at length in the suttas is insight (i.e., the understanding that leads to release from samsara) both what it is and what are the factors necessary for or conducive to its development.

In terms of what is to be found in the suttas, the Satipatthana Sutta is a pretty good place to start. A lot can be learnt from a close reading of that sutta, but of course not in isolation from the rest of the tipitaka.

Fortunately for us, the commentary and sub-commentary are still available in English translation. I think it's best to read the suttas without the bias of a particular 'practice' of any kind.
___________

I just wonder if that difference [between awareness naturally arising on the one hand and directed attention on the other] is actually described in the suttas or the commentaries. Or on what basis this explanation is based. I keep contending that it seems to be more like a feeling amongst abhidhammists that formal meditation is not the way to go, but I am still not sure what teachings this is really based on, or whether it is a kind of traditional understanding that has grown up over the centuries because of abhidhamma's emphasis on seeing rupas and namas as they occur in life.

_____________

All I can say on this is that the whole thrust of the teachings seems to be the development of understanding of a presently arising dhamma/phenomena, regardless of what that dhamma is. Throughout the suttas one finds mention of these dhammas/phenomena, presented under different classifications and from different angels (khandhas, ayatanas, dhatus), but always the same dhammas. No priority is assigned to one kind of dhamma over another (wholesome vs. unwholesome mental states, rupas vs. namas), as regards the development of insight into their true characteristics.

Also, the idea that insight can be aroused by directing one's attention to an object/to the task seems to run directly counter to the teaching on not-self. If dhammas are not-self in the sense of not being subject to our control, and of arising only when the necessary conditions occur, this would seem to imply that no level of kusala can be brought on by directed attention.

If you argument/supposition was correct and the Buddha's teachings supported the selecting of certain objects in preference to others for the development of insight (and this, after all, is what directed attention is all about), then I imagine the quickest way to find the relevant sutta references would be to look among the writings of the well-known insight meditation teachers, who presumably have assembled textual references in support of their practices (but I understand that in fact they each have their own ideas about which should be the preferred objects).

Jon

#15 RobertK

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 04:05 AM

http://groups.yahoo....p/message/96162
Hi Rob Ep,




I thought to let you have the last word with this post, but after
reconsidering, I decided to try once more to explain. You appear to
continue misunderstanding my position and go on to making critical
remarks that do not therefore apply.

I'll start off with laying out what I see as three different
approaches to the Dhamma, yours, mine and the one you are saying is
mine.

a) There are those who see value in the Dhamma and are interested in
continued study of the Texts, but without having applied any of what
is heard to the experience of the present moment. These often end up
doing what's called, holding the snake by the wrong end.

Those who see value in the Dhamma, are interested in hearing more,
but are moved greater, by an idea about `practice' hence ending up
downplaying the importance of listening to and reflecting on the
Dhamma.

c) Those who see value in the Dhamma, are interested in hearing /
studying more, conditioned in part by seeing a direct relationship
between hearing the Dhamma, and coming to understand those things
which they would otherwise never have come to realize. This position
is arrived at only as result of some degree of `application' to the
present moment experience. And this is reflective of seeing
importance of direct understanding, but not one which goes on to take
wrong practice for right.

is what I see as being your position. c) is where I am, and a) is
where you judge me to be.

I have tried in many ways to show you the difference between c) and
a), but you keep making comments as if in fact there is no difference
between the two. Perhaps I'm stupid, so much so that I don't know
what I am talking about. You may be right, but your response has not
helped me see where I am wrong. And since I don't think that I can do
any better than this, discontinuing this discussion may be the right
thing to do.

But I'll add more comments on what I wrote above, and I'll do this
using a section of your response to bring out the context.

========
>
QUOTE

QUOTE
R.E> How and when will insight arise as a result of conceptual
> understanding? How is this conversion going to take place ever?
> Insight into what? What you are reading? Where is the real dhamma
in
> all this? What has happened to the present object while you are
> reading and conceptualizing? Where is it?



The distinction between theory and practice is something few people
fail to appreciate. You don't need to hear the Dhamma to think along
these lines. Indeed it is likely that one goes about this particular
idea with `self view' if one has yet to really appreciate the Dhamma,
which is something only a Buddha could point out. On the other hand,
the one important distinction got from hearing the Dhamma is that of
reality vs. concept. It is in fact from seeing this distinction that
in the Teachings, `practice' is understood to be reference to a
particular kind of consciousness and not some conventional activity.
The kind of practice which you are trying to promote here is of the
latter kind, a conceptual story and taken seriously. This is due to
failure at making the concept / reality distinction.

In other words your repeated pointing out the need to get on with the
practice and drop the theory is motivated by `self view', one which
fails to distinguish reality from concept. After all you talk for
example, in terms of `reading' and the need to stop this and instead
`look'. While I have said that no matter what conventional activity
is being engaged in, there are realities arising and falling away
which can be the object of understanding, you are asking me to stop
and do something else, even if this is to "look" at what is going on
while reading. This impresses upon you as application / practice,
however from where I stand, it's just `thinking' motivated by self
view.

While right understanding may manifest on occasion as reminder about
paramattha dhammas and conditionality, this is not what you are
doing. You are insisting on `taking action' with total disregard to
the reality / concept distinction and the principles of anatta and
conditionality. In other words you advice because you fail to
*understand*! And if I followed you, it would be a case of the blind
being lead by the blind.

===============
QUOTE

QUOTE
> R.E. If you want to take the dhamma theory seriously, then understand
what
> you have read and then be present to the actual arising moments.
> Your real experience is something like "reading reading reading
> reading, scratching eyebrow, glance to side, cough, hunger pang,
> sadness, thought of past, person comes into room is perceived as
body,
> thought of taking nap, reading reading reading reading, shopping
list.
> All of these break down into many different dhammas, many different
> cittas with accompanying cetasikas. To do the real work of
discerning
> such, one would be looking at these, not at the book the concept,
the
> com.

So if indeed there are only citta, cetasikas and rupas, why be moved
by conventional activity? Why need to stop "doing" something even if
only momentarily, in order that something else is "done"? Why such
ideas? The real difference is that while there may arise little or no
panna at all during any activity including reading, which implies
there was ignorance all this time, I understand that this is
conditioned and beyond control. *This* realization however, even if
it is only at the level of suttamaya panna or cintamaya panna, would
be an instance of development along the right direction. You on the
other hand, not with any level of right understanding about the
present moment, but instead some wrong view about practice, end up
being moved by "intention to do". When in fact this very intention to
practice could have been the object of panna, a story about practice
is instead being followed. This is idealism.

And I'll say that even though you speak so much in favor of practice,
that you associate it particularly with `formal meditation' and
disassociate it from the development of right understanding at the
level of pariyatti, is reflection of lack of confidence. Because if
there was enough saddha, no excuse will be made as to why
understanding can't arise "now" at this very moment. And if there was
in fact any level of right understanding, the need to keep on
hearing/ studying will never be overlooked.

================
QUOTE
>
QUOTE
R.E.Sure there is room for reading, but only to understand a bit more,
> then stop reading and look around the room and see what is really
> happening in "real life," including the dhammas that arise in
reading
> the book in the first place.



You are saying that direct understanding can arise only if one makes
a decision to stop reading and start looking? What is your definition
of "real life" which makes `reading a book' not part of it? Dhammas
arise and already fallen away before we know it. The object of direct
understanding is a paramattha dhamma just fallen away and is not
without this very understanding. What you are suggesting leans
towards a view about dhammas being within control, and when anatta is
misunderstood, so will any perception of rise and fall.

And btw, what of the idea of formal practice now? If you are
suggesting the possibility of direct understanding arising at any
time, what then is the role of meditation?

===============
>
QUOTE
QUOTE
R.E.The real dhammas in the reading are not
> the concepts of the cittas and rupas; it is "eye door/eye object/
idea
> of book, asngle of book/hardness/scanning of words on
> page/concept/thought of concept/thought of application of
> concept/hardness of page/turning of page/see words in eye door/eye
> processing through nama/new citta; and of course even that is just a
> gross gloss of all the cittas arising in the act of reading and all
> the dhammas; but at least one would really be following the dhamma
> theory and really looking at the dhammas instead of
> concept/concept/concept/concept and more concept; more menu, more
> thoughts about dhammas, without acknowleding the real dhammas that
are
> right in front of one's nose

.

And what message are you trying to convey to me with these
descriptions? What have you added to the above which you see as
lacking in the Abhidhamma and the commentaries that I may happen to
be reading? I have my own idea about what is actually going on:

The Abhidhamma has an extensive list of the various paramattha
dhammas and talks about them from various perspectives, such as
dhatu, ayatana, khandha etc. It provides also a description of the
characteristic and functions of all these different realities, and
gives a detailed description about the various conditions possibly
involved. Far from leading one to think that one "knows" just by
reading all this, it in fact helps us to realize how little is
understood, at the intellectual level itself, not to speak of direct
understanding of characteristics.

On the other hand, the message I get from you, is that there is no
need to even distinguish reality from concept. And why is this?
Because one only need to begin "looking" and it does not matter then
what the object of consciousness is, let alone determining whether
the consciousness itself is one which is rooted in wisdom. One takes
it unquestioningly to being `mindfulness' of some level. The
suggestion hence is that when one starts looking, the development of
mindfulness and understanding is taking place.

This is like the suggestion by one biologist to another to look
through a microscope with the expectation that what is observed by
the one will also be observed by the other. *This is not the way of
Dhamma*, but in fact an encouragement by one to another, the feeding
of ignorance and craving! One is caught in the illusion of result and
tries to drag another along the same path. The concepts that are
being pointed out to do not exhibit characteristics, but being agreed
upon convention, all that is needed for the illusion to continue, is
a nod of approval.

One last thing, your objection to pariyatti may in part be due to the
perception of it being constantly referred back to the Texts rather
than what may come from personal experience. It appears to you
therefore like parroting and clinging. True there may be little or no
direct understanding, but even if someone were to experience insight,
if there was a need to express one's understandings, the inclination
would be to refer back to the source of the Teachings if possible
rather than to talk in terms of one's own experience, would it not?
And given that the Teachings are available to be quoted at anytime,
what would be the right thing to do than to quote just those Texts?
Besides should one not also show acknowledgement of the Buddha being
the source of these Teachings without which one could not even begin
to understand such things? And if the understanding is indeed quite
low, what is there to say about personal experience except maybe the
very fact of there being so little understanding? Also if one has had
even a glimpse of what is involved when making reference to one's
past experience, namely perversion of consciousness and of perception
if not also of view, one becomes hesitant to take seriously such
thinking, would one not?

As usual, I've written more than necessary. But you don't have to
respond, especially since you are discussing the same points in other
threads.

Metta,

Sukin

#16 RobertK

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 06:40 AM

pARIYATTi is hearing and considering Dhamma with wise attention. And this leads to pattipati which is the gradual approaching of understanding realties directly.

#17 RobertK

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 08:16 AM

From sarah abbot:
http://groups.yahoo..../message/121561

--- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:

> Kh Sujin said that a talk on viriya (viriya katha) helps right energy
> for awareness now while there is still an opportunity for awareness.
> When there is rebirth in an unhappy plane this is very difficult,
> perhaps impossible. She said: be aware just a little, be aware even
> though there is not yet clear understanding. Just go on being aware,
> this is a condition for the arising of pa~n~naa later on.
> N: I found this encouraging, not worrying about the degree of
> understanding, or worrying about it that sati is so weak. It can be
> accumulated little by little.
> She said that we are still in human life, not in hell. We should not
> waste our life in being forgetful.
....
S: This reminds me of the part of the recording that caught my attention as
mentioned to Phil. I listened to it again:

KS: "When the panna develops on and on one can see that everything's so
meaningless when awareness does not arise - only thinking thinking, thinking
about the past reality which appears as nimitta or sign of reality only. So only
the moment of being aware of reality has some meaning .... the other moments
past completely and only the signs are left."

S:She then goes on to talk about the 3 kinds of cariya, behaviour of citta:
a) vi~n~naana cariya (behaviour of consciousness), cool.gif a~naana cariya (behaviour
of unknowing) c) ~naana cariya (behaviour of wisdom - pa~n~naa which can
experience reality directly)

KS: "So in the Patisambhiddamagga - vi~n~naana cariya, a~naana cariya and ~naana
cariya. Sariputta just stressed 3 words. The vi~nnaana cariya are the moments of
vipaaka ahetuka. For example when one is born one cannot escape from moments of
seeing, hearing, smelling. They have to arise - no one can avoid them - and
after that a~naana cariya, akusala comng all the time. No need to talk about
other kinds of kusala [S: kusala other than satipatthana] because it's exactly
the same like other things - just arise and pass, nothing left. Only the moment
of understanding of that reality which appears is ~naana cariya. Even right now,
when there is no awareness, there's no meaning at all."

S: K.Sujin continues to talk about how essential is is for theoretical
understanding of the Path to be "really well, firmly established otherwise
there's always no awareness at all". If there's an idea of following any
practise of doing anything in particular to have satipatthana arise, then it
indicates the theoretical understanding is not firmly established.

I like this reminder too:

KS: "Always thinking, just thinking - taking reality which has gone so very
seriously as something (which) stays, permanently, all the time. So in one's
life, no matter it's short or long, the most valuable moment is the
understanding of reality as it is. That's all, because it is the absolute
reality. No story concerning, no thinking about realities as something permanent
and (which) stays."

Jon mentions that still while we live, we have to have the other stories.

KS: " Yes, but what about the understanding? We cannot stop taking the story out
of realities, but the development of understanding can understand each moment as
a reality, not self, otherwise there is no way to eradicate the idea of self and
wrong view. "

Jon: "in that case what understanding would see if it were more fully developed
would be a lot of thinking. a lot of the moments of the day are just thinking."

KS: "Yes, it doesn't mean we have to stop or try to stop (thinking). it's wrong
because that is done by 'I' again. The 'I ' is always there, just want something
for oneself. But actually it's like other moments, just arises and falls away,
nothing is left and that which has gone, never comes back at all. Each is the
new one conditioned by paccaya. One can see the different levels of
understanding - theoretically understanding about realities, talking about
realities, and the development of understanding with direct awareness and the
penetration of the true nature of reality as it is, as just what we keep on
talking about. Like 'dhamma, dhamma, dhamma now' but it does not appear as
dhamma when sati does not arise. So we just talk about khandha again, about
ruupa khandha - how all types of ruupa are ruupa khandha, but what about this
one? Whether it's the ruupa khandha which is seen, the ruupa khandha which is
heard, the ruupa khandha which is touched - just in a moment so fast, arising
and falling away."

S: K.Sujin goes on to discuss how it has to be the well established theoretical
understanding, sacca ~naana which conditions the direct undersanding.
****

If anyone would like to listen to this piece (and more), it can be heard at the
very beginning of the following audio to be found at the link below:

http://www.dhammastudygroup.org/#mtgs
scroll down to: Kaeng Krajaan (Thailand), September 2006

Metta

Sarah
=====


#18 RobertK

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 06:05 AM

. Rob M:

In the Kimsuka Sutta (SN 35.204), a monk asks four arahats how to practice. Arahat #1 replies, “Discern, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the six media of sensory contact.” Arahat #2 replies, “Discern, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the five clinging-aggregates.” Arahat #3 replies, “Discern, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the four great elements [earth, water, wind, & fire].” Arahat #4 replies, “Discern, as it actually is, that whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.” The monk is confused to get four different answers from four arahats and consults the Buddha. The Buddha advises, “However those intelligent men of integrity were focused when their vision became well purified (i.e. they because arahats) is the way in which they answered.”

 

Here are Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes:

 

=====

 

The purification of vision (dassana) usually means the attainment of stream-entry, the gaining of “the vision of the Dhamma” (dhammacakkhu). Here, however, the qualification “well purified” (suvisuddham) seems to imply that the question concerns the path to arahantship. It is so taken by [the commentary]. [The commentary] says that all the bhikkhus who replied were arahants; they answered in accordance with their own method of practice. The inquirer was dissatisfied with the reply of the first because it mentioned the formations only partially (pandesasankharesu thatva); he was dissatisfied with the other replies because they seemed to contradict each other.

 

Based on this, I have the impression that my interpretation of this sutta finds some support from Bhikkhu Bodhi and the commentaries.

 _____________________________________________________________________________

 

From jon abbott:

 

http://groups.yahoo....s/topics/134356

=====

 

=====

-------------------------------

Jon2: Yes, I was aware of Bhikkhu Bodhi's note when I wrote my previous reply. Thanks for quoting it in your reply.

I think you would see your main support as coming from the expression "method of practice" because, without that expression, there's nothing in the commentary passage as quoted itself (vs. BB's interpretation of it) to indicate the question being asked -- or the answers being given -- are anything other than about what constitutes purification of vision (i.e., the actual moment of enlightenment, or mundane path moments leading to that).

Nowadays the term "practice" is generally used to mean some mental activity undertaken in order to develop -- i.e., preliminary to the actual arising of -- tranquillity (samatha) or insight (vipassana), with awareness (satipatthana) being the classic such method to be employed.

However, if we are to understand "method of practice" in those terms, the questions that would immediately arise would be:

1. What then is the difference between:
- a method of practice that is the discerning as it really is the origination & passing away of the six media of sensory contact [i.e., the ayatanas]
- a method of practice that is the discerning as it really is the origination & passing away of the five clinging-aggregates [i.e., the khandhas]
(to take the first 2 of the 4 answers, although the same question arises in respect of all 4).

To my understanding, the classifications known as the ayatanas and the khandhas are just different ways of classifying the same dhammas.

2. What does such a "practice" involve, given that 'discerning as it really is' can only be a reference to actually arisen panna, which would be the outcome rather than the input, if you see what I mean? Do the texts anywhere give an explanation?

-------------------------------
RM2:  I acknowledge that your "non-practice" interpretation of this sutta is also a valid perspective. I appreciate your comments; I find it valuable to challenge my own preconceptions... as long as we keep ourselves grounded in the texts.

-------------------------------

Jon2: Thanks for the sentiment, Rob, which I entirely share.

As regards my having a "non-practice" interpretation, that is so only in the sense of "practice" as I've described it above. The term "practice" does appear in the suttas (e.g., "practice of the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma"), but generally speaking it has the meaning of the actual arising of understanding, and not something to be done preliminary to that, similar to the English 'practising doctor/lawyer', etc. And I'd be inclined to consider "method of practice" (if that's the actual expression used in the commentaries) in that light.

So rather than a non-practice interpretation, I'd just say that my understanding/interpretation of 'practice' in the context of the path differs from that of the conventional meaning of the term :-))

Jon