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#1 RobertK

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 06:44 AM

In dhammastudygroup@y..., Jonothan Abbott <jonoabb@y...> wrote:

Samatha bhavana is a very high degree of kuslala, well praised by the Buddha, and expressly encouraged on occasion (to selected audiences, I believe). It is a subject I am very interestd in, and happy to discuss
any time.

Where we have a difference, however, is whether samatha bhavana was taught as a *necessary* part of vipassana bhavana, according to a proper understanding of the teachings. Do you have any sutta (or commentary) texts to bring up on this very specific point (apart from the description of Right Concentration in the explanation of the Noble Eightfold Path, mentioned in your next post)?

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

Also, I would be interested to know what you see as being the significance of the 'non-reactiveness' (and what dhamma would this be, I wonder?

Howard:

Non-reactiveness isn't a dhamma; it is an absence, the absence of the tendency to react with craving, aversion, and clinging. When we react with craving, aversion, clinging, and with an active sense of "I" and "mine", the meditative process is short-circuited. This is quite evident to those who meditate.


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

Isn't this is a slightly circular statement? If non-reactiveness is seen as the aim of meditation then, by definition, the meditative process will be seen as 'short-circuited' if craving, aversion and clinging are noticed.

I suspect that what many people take for non-reactiveness is a subtle form of suppression. It begins by being induced (i.e., willed) when first undertaken, probably because it is seen as being a useful or even necessary step to awareness and understanding. Thus, even though with constant practice over the years it becomes more intuitive and ingrained, the fact that it was built on clinging and wrong view in the first place means it remains essentially the same in nature (for obvious reasons, though, the practitioner does not see this).

You imply, I think, that non-reactiveness tends to go together with an absence of, or a reduced intensity of, a sense of self. I would question whether this is so. There can still be a strong (though not readily apparent to its `owner') idea of `self who is not reacting'. As you point out in your next segment (below), a sense of 'self' is an integral part of us as we now are (and the same could also be said for craving, aversion and clinging). Is that sense of self likely to be increased or reduced by undertaking a program of practice that appears to bring the `right' results immediately?

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

JON:

In any event, it is I think important to bear in mind that the 5 hindrances do not include the wrong view that is the 'sense of self' (your post above). The significance of this should be evident. It measn that the suppression of the hindrances (something that constitutes such a significant aspect of some people's idea of the development of the path)can have no impact as regards the defilement of wrong view -- yet wrong view is one of the defilements to be eradicated at the first level of enlightenment.

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

Howard:

Well, until stream-entry there is the view of "self", and until full enlightenment there is the sense of "self". If the absence of these were a requirement for progress on the path, then one would already have to be at stream-entry to even begin; that is, in order to get to S we'd already have to *be* at S - an impossibility.
--------------------------------------------------

We are in agreement here, Howard ;-)). But as I understand it, the view of self is by no means present all the time. As just one example, it does not arise with the vipaka moments that are seeing, hearing etc., nor with kusala moments (although it may of course arise immediately following such moments). Even at moments of akusala, there may or may not be an idea of self. (Some people equate conceptualising about people and things with a sense of self, but conceptualising need not involve any sense of self.)

The fact that we still have a (strong) latent tendency to a view of self (or indeed to any other form of kilesa) is not an insurmountable obstacle to the arising of beginning awareness.

The point in my earlier post was just this. One of the first kilesa to be eradicated, ie., to be directly and fully known as it really is, is this wrong view of self. The argument that kilesas need to be suppressed in order for awareness or understanding to be developed seems to ignore the fact that the wrong view of self is not suppressed when the hindrances are, and yet it is among the first of the kilesas to be known as they really are.

Jon

#2 Wolfgang

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 07:24 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 14 2006, 08:44 AM) View Post

The point in my earlier post was just this. One of the first kilesa to be eradicated, ie., to be directly and fully known as it really is, is this wrong view of self. The argument that kilesas need to be suppressed in order for awareness or understanding to be developed seems to ignore the fact that the wrong view of self is not suppressed when the hindrances are, and yet it is among the first of the kilesas to be known as they really are.

Jon


Hello Everyone,

I am really bad in the following point: Whenever extreme standpoints are taken - I feel compelled to give the opposite extreme standpoind.

That's quite easy, if one thinks that the Buddha gave his instructions to so many opposite personalities. Like in the following examples in which the Buddha actually advised to apply suppression:


Majjhima Nikaya 20 as a last mean to overcome distracting thoughts:

QUOTE
'If evil, unskillful thoughts - connected with desire, aversion or delusion - still arise in the monk while he is attending to the relaxing of thought-fabrication with regard to those thoughts, then - with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth - he should beat down, constrain, and crush his mind with his awareness.
As - with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth - he is beating down, constraining, and crushing his mind with his awareness, those evil, unskillful thoughts are abandoned and subside.
With their abandoning, he steadies his mind right within, settles it, unifies it, and concentrates it.

- Just as a strong man, seizing a weaker man by the head or the throat or the shoulders, would beat him down, constrain, and crush him;
in the same way, if evil, unskillful thoughts - connected with desire, aversion or delusion - still arise in the monk while he is attending to the relaxing of thought-fabrication with regard to those thoughts, then - with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth - he should beat down, constrain, and crush his mind with his awareness.
As - with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth - he is beating down, constraining, and crushing his mind with his awareness, those evil, unskillful thoughts are abandoned and subside. With their abandoning, he steadies his mind right within, settles it, unifies it, and concentrates it.'



Or in Anguttara Nikaya III. 100, 1 -10:

.
QUOTE
.. a monk devoted to the training in the higher mind: there are in him gross impurities, namely, bad conduct of body, speech and mind. Such conduct an earnest, capable monk abandons, dispels, eliminates and abolishes. ...

... When he has abandoned these, there sill remain thoughts about higher mental states experienced in meditation.
That concentration is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquility, nor has it achieved mental unification;
it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements.

But there comes a time when his mind becomes inwardly steadied, composed, unified and concentrated.
That concentration is then calm and refined; it has attained to full tranquility and achieved mental unification;
it is not maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements.


Nevertheless, I must admit that suppression doesn't work for me at all. Probably because I suppressed so much before I came to Dhamma. blink.gif

Kind regards,

Wolfgang

#3 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:16 AM

Dear Wolfgang,
Thanks for all your posts which bring up so many difficult and important points. Nina van gorkom translated the Commentary by Buddhaghosa to the sutta and gave some of her own comments.
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QUOTE
Vitakka-Santhana Sutta; Majjhima Nikaya No. 20
The Removal of Distracting Thoughts

Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's Pleasance. The Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying, "Bhikkhus," and they replied to him saying, "Reverend Sir". The Blessed One spoke as follows: "Five things should be reflected on from time to time, by the bhikkhu who is intent on the higher consciousness. What five?..." >


****

Co: The kusala citta arising with the ten bases of wholesomeness is not higher citta, adhicitta. The citta with the eight attainments that is based on vipassana is higher than that, it is the higher citta.

N: the eight attainments in jhana. Here jhana is based on vipassana. Only then the citta is pure, higher citta, because one does not take jhana for self. We have to remember throughout this sutta that the bikkhu who lives his bhikkhu life to the full is developing vipassana with whatever he is doing and his goal is arahatship. The Bhikkhu has left his household life and all the sense pleasures involved with it. His lifestyle is as far removed from the laylife as is heaven from earth. When he abandons akusala thoughts, he is aware of nama and rupa, there is no view of self who is doing this. The Buddha speaks here about the bhikkhu who is going to attain arahatship. Then pa˝˝a can have perfect control over his thoughts, there will not be any opportunity for akusala thoughts. When we read this sutta we have to keep this in mind. We read in the Co. that the Bhikkhu returns from his alsmround and sits down in order to develop the Observances of a Recluse (samana dhammas) at the foot of a tree or at another quiet place. Sitting in the lotus posiiton he cultivates the basic meditation subjects, and be endowed all the time with the higher thought.

Sutta text:

QUOTE
When evil unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate, and delusion arise in a bhikkhu through reflection on an adventitious object, he should, (in order to get rid of that), reflect on a different object (nimitta) which is connected with skill. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; the disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).


Commentary:

A different object: the word nimitta is used, meaning cause. The Co. explains the field or area and the objects of unwholesome thoughts. The eight types of citta rooted in attachment, are the area of thinking with chandha (attachment). The two types of citta rooted in aversion are the area of thinking with aversion. The twelve types of akusala cittas are the area of thinking with ignorance. The cittas that are accompanied by doubt and restlessness are specifically the area of people who have thoughts of doubt and restlessness. Living beings or formations (sa.nkhaara, conditioned dhammas, here, things that are not alive) all of them, are the objects of thinking. When the bhikkhu does not direct his attention to the objects he likes and dislikes, such (unwholesome) thoughts about living beings and formations do not arise.

****
Nina.

#4 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:17 AM

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The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 2.

The Co explains, when unwholesome thinking is accompanied by attachment, the different object (nimitta) he should pay attention to is foulness, asubha. And when there is attachment to things, such as robes, he should reflect on the impermanence of things. When thinking with aversion arises towards living beings he should develop metta, loving kindness. When thinking with aversion arises towards things he should pay attention to elements. When thinking with delusion arises the bhikkhu should depend on five dhammas. The Co. then gives further explanations. First the Co explains about foulness. When someone finds a hand or a leg of someone else beautiful he should develop the idea of the foulness of the body. To what is he attached?

To hairs of the head, hairs of the body, to urine (the last mentioned of the thirtytwo parts of the body)? The Co mentions that the body has threehundred bones (see Vis. VIII, 101), bound by nine hundred sinews. What is unclean goes out by nine doors and ninetynine thousand pores, and it has a stench like a corpse. It is ugly and foul. When he develops the meditation on the thirtytwo parts of the body he will not find anything excellent in the body.

In this way he can abandon lust that arises for living beings. If attachment to things such as bowl or robe arises, he should consider the fact that they have no owner and that they are not lasting, just as is stated in the explanation of Satipatthňna.

N: Things such as bowl or robes are mere rupa dhammas that arise and fall away, they are impermanent and do not belong to anyone. The bhikkhu has to develop satipatthana all the time. The Co states that when he has anger towards living beings he should develop metta, as he can learn from the suttas, such as the Discourse on the Parable of the Saw (M.N. I, no 21). In that way he can abandon anger, and then metta is an object different from the object of aversion. When he has aversion towards things, when he knocks a table, a thorn, a sharp and pointed leaf, then he should consider the elements in this way: with whom are you angry? With the element of earth, of water etc.? Then he will abandon anger.

N: By the development of vipassana he realizes that there are nama elements and rupa elements. What appears through touch is only hardness, temperature or motion.

****
Nina.

#5 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:18 AM

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The Removal of distracting Thoughts, no 3.

When the Bhikkhu has thoughts of delusion he should depend on five dhammas:
1. He should be together with a teacher,
2. he should study the Dhamma,
3. he should ask questions on the Dhamma,
4. he should listen to the Dhamma at a suitable time,
5. he should inquire into cause and effect.

As to the first point, the Co. states that when he is together with a teacher he respects, the teacher can punish him with a task, such as making him dip up water to fill even a hundred pots.

N: He has respect for the teacher and thus, he will do this with kusala citta. The bhikkhu should do all such tasks with mindfulness of nama and rupa. If he performs this task with aversion he will have more delusion. The teacher gives him this punishment in order to help him to have less delusion. The Co states as to the second point that the teacher will punish him when he does not study the Dhamma at the proper time, when he does not recite the texts well, or does not recite them at all. As to the third point, he should go to another bhikkhu he respects and he should asks questions concerning the meaning of the Dhamma. In this way his doubts will be allayed and he can abandon delusion. He should listen to the Dhamma at the appropriate time with respect and thus the meaning of what he hears will become clear to him. Thus he can abandon ignorance of the Dhamma. He should inquire as to the right cause that can bring the appropriate result. In this way he can abandon ignorance of the Dhamma. When the bhikkhu develops one of the thirtyeight subjects of meditation he can abandon wrong thoughts in the five ways that have been explained: the meditation on foulness, attention to impermanence, metta, attention to the elements and the five things to be observed when he is deluded. These things are diametrically opposed to the defilements and very effective. Sutta text:

QUOTE
Like an experienced carpenter or carpenter's apprentice, striking hard at, pushing out, and getting rid of a coarse peg with a fine one, should the bhikkhu in order to get rid of the adventitious object, reflect on a different object which is connected with skill. Then the evil unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).


****

Co: The wholesome thoughts such as foulness, can be compared to the fine peg that removes the coarse peg, which are the unwholesome thoughts.

****
Nina.

#6 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:18 AM

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The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 4.
Sutta text:

QUOTE
If the evil unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu, who in order to get rid of an adventitious object reflects on a different object which is connected with skill, he should ponder on the disadvantages of unskillful thoughts thus: Truly these thoughts of mine are unskillful, blameworthy, and productive of misery. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation). Like a well-dressed young man or woman who feels horrified, humiliated and disgusted because of the carcass of a snake, dog, or human that is hung round his or her neck, should the bhikkhu in whom unskillful thoughts continue to arise in spite of his reflection on the object which is connected with skill, ponder on the disadvantages of unskillful thoughts thus: Truly, these thoughts of mine are unskillful, blameworthy, and productive of misery. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).


****
The Co. explains that he by the strength of pa˝˝aa should consider that such akusala dhammas are dangerous, that they produce suffering as result and that they should be abandoned.

N: It is strong pa˝˝aa that realizes the disadvantage of akusala and the benefit of kusala. This can condition kusala cittas with pa˝˝aa to further develop.

The Co states that if he does not have strong pa˝˝aa that considers the danger of akusala he should visit his teacher, preceptor or a friend, a fellow monk whom he respects. Or he should ring the bell so that the bhikkhus will have a meeting and he can speak about those problems. A wise bhikkhu will tell him that he should see the danger of such unwholesome thoughts and abandon them.

N: If the bhikkhu is humble and not too conceited to ask advice, he can ring the bell and ask for support from the Sangha. We see here the importance of good and noble friendship the Buddha emphasizes time and again. When someone has a good friend he can trust and ask for advice, he can feel safe and secure when he has problems. A wise bhikkhu whom he respects can encourage him to persevere with the development of vipassana and all kinds of kusala. Unwholesome thoughts are anattaa, they arise when there are conditions. But the right conditions can be developed to overcome them. Pa˝˝aa that has become strong by vipassana sees more and more the disadvantage of akusala and the benefit of kusala.

****
Nina.

#7 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:19 AM

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The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 11

Sutta:
QUOTE
If evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu in spite of his reflection on the removal of a source of unskillful thoughts, he should with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate, restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

Like a strong man holding a weaker man by the head or shoulders and restraining, subduing and beating him down, should the bhikkhu in whom evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in spite of his reflection on the source of unskillful thoughts, restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind, with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate. Then unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).>


*****

The Commentary elaborates on the simile of the strong man who takes a weaker man by his shoulders and head and presses his throat tightly so that he becomes frightened and eventually dies. Evenso is the bhikkhu like a wrestler who opposes his unwholesome thoughts. He can abandon them by applying great effort. The Commentary then refers to a text about the Bodhisatta╣s supreme effort before he attained Buddhahood. When he sat down under the Bodhi-tree he said: <Verily, let the skin, veins and bones dry up.> He would not leave his seat until he had reached Buddhahood.

N: We read in the Middle Length Sayings, no 36, the Greater Discourse to Saccaka, that the Buddha spoke about his ascetical practices before he became the Sammasambuddha. He said to Aggivessana: Suppose now that I, with my teeth clenched, with my tongue pressed agains the palate, by mind should subdue, restrain and dominate my mind? He said that while he was doing so sweat poured from his armpits. The Commentary to the Greater Discourse to Saccaka, (partly rendered by Ven. Bodhi) gives the reasons for the Bodhisatta╣s austerities before his enlightenment: to show his own exertion to the world, because the quality of invincible energy gave him joy. And also out of compassion for later generations, by inspiring them to strive with the same determination that he applied to attain Buddhahood.

N: The clenching of the teeth shows the Bodhisatta╣s supreme effort, but this was accompanied by pa˝˝aa of a high degree. The bhikkhu referred to in the Sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts who has to abandon his unwholesome thoughts is on the way to arahatship. This cannot be attained without right effort which has to be accompanied by pa˝˝aa. As we read in this sutta, quoted above, he should restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. If someone just clenches his teeth with despair or fear because he does not want to have unwholesome thoughts, it is not the right effort that must be accompanied by pa˝˝aa.

*****
Nina.

#8 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:20 AM

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The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 12

Sutta:
QUOTE
When, indeed, bhikkhus, evil unskillful thoughts due to reflection on an adventitious object are eliminated, when they disappear, and the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated just within (his subject of meditation), through his reflection on an object connected with skill, through his pondering on the disadvantages of unskillful thoughts, his endeavoring to be without attentiveness and reflection as regards those thoughts or through his restraining, subduing, and beating down of the evil mind by the good mind with clenched teeth and tongue pressing on the palate, that bhikkhu is called a master of the paths along which thoughts travel.


****

The Co gives a simile of a teacher who teaches a Prince who had come from a territory that was far away. He taught him the arts by way of five kinds of weapons and how he should use these. He told the Prince that he should return in order to rule over his royal property. If robbers would appear while he was on his way he should use bow and arrow and travel on. If these would break or get lost he should use a spear, if that should break or get lost he should use a sword, and so on. [N:Using five kinds of weapons]. The Prince did as was told him and after his return he ruled over the royal property. It is the same in the case of the bhikkhu. The Buddha told him to be diligent with regard to the higher consciousness (adhicitta) in order to attain arahtship.

N: The citta with the eight attainments in jhaana that is based on vipassana is the higher consciousness, adhicitta. Thus this refers to a bhikkhu who has developed samatha and vipassanaa. Then a short summary is given of the preceding exhortations in five sections.

I: The Co explains that the Buddha told the monk to attend to another object (nimitta) if he has unwholesome thoughts.

N: In the case of attachment he should attend to foulness, in the case of dosa to metta or to the elements, in case of moha he should study Dhamma, listen, and inquire as to cause and effect. But all this should be done with vipassanaa, not without it.

Co: And if he has abandoned those unwholesome thoughts he can develop vipassanaa further and attain arahatship.

II: If this does not help, he should realize their danger.

N: As was said before, he should realize their danger by the strength of pa˝˝aa. He could ring a bell and ask for advice from wise members of the Sangha. Good friendship is stressed.

Co: III: If this does not help, he should not pay attention to these thoughts.

N: He should with kusala citta pay attention to other objects, such as reviewing the requisites, thinking of the Buddha╣s excellent qualities, performing his daily tasks and manual labour with mindfulness and right understanding.

Co: IV: If this does not help he should destroy the roots of those thoughts.

N: He should realize the conditions of those thoughts. He should directly understand conditions.

V: Co: If this did not help he should suppress them.

N: As we have seen, it is said that he should subdue akusala citta with kusala citta. The clenched teeth we read about are as it were a bodily expression to the supreme effort and determination necessary for the attainment of arahatship, just as the Bodhisatta applied supreme effort to attain Buddhahood. This effort should be accompanied by strong pa˝˝aa.

These five ways are like the five weapons the teacher gave to his pupil. If one weapon was broken or lost he could use the other kind of weapon depending on the occasion that presented itself.

The Co adds: When he has developed vipassanaa he shall attain arahatship. As we see, the development of vipassanaa is stressed all the time, no matter in what way one abandons unwholesome thoughts.

*****
Nina.

#9 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:20 AM

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The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 13.

Sutta:
QUOTE
..that bhikkhu is called a master of the paths along which thoughts travel. The thought he wants to think, that, he thinks; the thought he does not want to think, that, he does not think. He has cut down craving, removed the fetter, rightly mastered pride, and made an end of suffering." The Blessed One said this, and the bhikkhus glad at heart, approved of his words.


*****

The Commentary states that he has become most skillful as to the course of his thoughts and that the Buddha herewith wanted to show the characteristic of such skill. Formerly this bhikkhu did not have the thoughts he wished to have, and those he did not wish to have arose. But since he had become skilled it is different: what he wants to think of, he thinks of, and what he does not want to think of he does not think of. He has eradicated conceit. The Co. refers to the Discourse on all the Cankers (M.N. no 2).

N: The arahat has eradicated conceit and all other defilements. The arahat has no more conditions for akusala cittas. Instead of kusala cittas he has kiriyacittas (inoperative cittas) accompanied by sobhana cetasikas (beautiful mental factors). When we are thinking, the javanacittas in a process are kusala cittas or akusala cittas, but more often akusala cittas. Even when we have wholesome thoughts, there are likely to be many akusala cittas arising shortly after the kusala cittas. We tend to take akusala and kusala for self. The arahat has no conditions to be infatuated or distracted by akusala cittas. He is not troubled by restlessness, worry or doubt. However, he had to go a long way and needed patience and perseverance to fully develop pa˝˝aa. The bhikkhu in this sutta had to use all available means and finally he had to have heroic fortitude to attain arahatship. In each Sutta satipatthana is implied, because through satipatthana, the development of vipassana, the truth of anatta can be realized.The teaching of anatta is exclusively the Buddha╣s teaching. That is why the Commentary emphasizes the development of vipassana time and again. The goal is the eradication of all defilements, but the wrong view of self has to be eradicated first. We are thinking with lobha, attachment, dosa, aversion and moha, ignorance, because these unwholesome roots have not been eradicated. The Buddha explained several ways of abandoning unwholesome thinking by wholesome thinking. However, we should realize that there is no self who can be master of his thoughts. We can learn this by the development of understanding of naama and ruupa, by the development of insight. If we develop conditions for kusala without satipatthana we still have the wrong view of my akusala and my kusala. We may think of the akusala citta that has fallen away and worry about it. But, how can that which falls away immediately be self or mine? As was taught in the story about the frightened rabbit, the Bodhisatta who was the King of the Lions said to the rabbit not to be afraid, and to find out the real cause of his fear. Even so the bhikkhu had to go to the root of his defilements. When we learn that akusala is a conditioned naama devoid of self, it can be faced with insight, we should not be afraid of it. Even though we are full of defilements there is a way to reach the goal. It is pa˝˝aa that sees the disadvantage and danger of all akusala, wrong view included, and the benefit of kusala.

This Sutta and Commentary can encourage all of us in our long journey towards the end of the cycle of birth and death. The good counsels the Buddha gave with great kindness and compassion to the monk can be applied by all those who develop the eightfold Path, each in his own situation. We can gain confidence that the development of insight eventually leads to the end of defilements. But we have to begin at this moment.

*****

(The end)

Nina.

#10 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:22 AM

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Just as a man finding no reason for walking fast, walks slowly; finding no reason for walking slowly, stands; finding no reason for sitting down, lies down, and thus getting rid of a posture rather uncalm resorts to a restful posture, just so SHOULD the bhikkhu in whom evil, unskillful thoughts arise, in spite of his endeavor to be without attention and reflection regarding them, reflect on the removal of the (thought) source of those unskillful thoughts. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

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

****

Commentary:

Someone who walks fast may think of what use this is and he will then walk more slowly. The Commentary uses a simile. When a thought occurs to the bhikkhu this is like walking fast. When he considers the occurring of such a thought it is like his walking more slowly. When he has investigated the occurring of such a thought he uses it as the subject of his meditation.

N: He can be aware of his unwholesome thoughts and see them as only conditioned elements. Then they are his subject of meditation. When there is awareness and understanding of akusala as naama, the citta at that moment is kusala citta and it is accompanied by calm. The Co. compares the bhikkhu╣s development of vipassana and his attainment of arahatship to the sitting posture of that person. The bhikkhu who spent the whole day with the fruition-attainment (phala samaapatti), experiencing nibbaana, is compared to the person who was lying down.

N: Those who have developed jhaana and vipassanaa and attained enlightenment can, after the lokuttara cittas have fallen away experience nibbaana again with fruition-consciousness(lokuttara vipaakacitta). We see that the postures of body, walking, standing, sitting and laying down, symbolize different stages of development of pa˝˝a even to the degree of arahatship.

Co: It is explained that the movement of the thoughts becomes calmer for the bhikkhu who realizes what the cause and condition is and then these thoughts can be abandoned.

N: They are abandoned through vipassana. The abandonment of akusala is true calm.

*****
Nina.

#11 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:24 AM

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"If evil, unskillful thoughts Ś connected with desire, aversion or delusion Ś still arise in the monk while he is attending to the relaxing of thought-fabrication with regard to those thoughts, then Ś with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth Ś he should beat down, constrain, and crush his mind with his awareness." MN 20] That is, when all satipatthana and vipassana fail completely, use the brute-force technique !
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I would like to add the Co I translated from Thai. (You may have this beautiful text): The Commentary elaborates on the simile of the strong man who takes a weaker man by his shoulders and head and presses his throat tightly so that he becomes frightened and eventually dies. Evenso is the bhikkhu like a wrestler who opposes his unwholesome thoughts. He can abandon them by applying great effort. The Commentary then refers to a text about the Bodhisatta╣s supreme effort before he attained Buddhahood. When he sat down under the Bodhi-tree he said: Verily, let the skin, veins and bones dry up. He would not leave his seat until he had reached Buddhahood.

N: We read in the Middle Length Sayings, no 36, the Greater Discourse to Saccaka, that the Buddha spoke about his ascetical practices before he became the Sammasambuddha. He said to Aggivessana: Suppose now that I, with my teeth clenched, with my tongue pressed agains the palate, by mind should subdue, restrain and dominate my mind? He said that while he was doing so sweat poured from his armpits. The Commentary to the Greater Discourse to Saccaka, (partly rendered by Ven. Bodhi) gives the reasons for the Bodhisatta╣s austerities before his enlightenment: to show his own exertion to the world, because the quality of invincible energy gave him joy. And also out of compassion for later generations, by inspiring them to strive with the same determination that he applied to attain Buddhahood.

N: The clenching of the teeth shows the Bodhisatta╣s supreme effort, but this was accompanied by pa˝˝aa of a high degree. The bhikkhu referred to in the Sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts who has to abandon his unwholesome thoughts is on the way to arahatship. This cannot be attained without right effort which has to be accompanied by pa˝˝aa. As we read in this sutta, quoted above, he should restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. If someone just clenches his teeth with dispair or fear because he does not want to have unwholesome thoughts, it is not the right effort that must be accompanied by pa˝˝aa.

So it has to be emphasized: always with right understanding. The Buddha had great compassion and considered people's different accumulations, he knew what was right for this or that person. You speak of different tools, the Co speaks about different weapons: The Co gives a simile of a teacher who teaches a Prince who had come from a territory that was far away. He taught him the arts by way of five kinds of weapons and how he should use these. He told the Prince that he should return in order to rule over his royal property. If robbers would appear while he was on his way he should use bow and arrow and travel on. If these would break or get lost he should use a spear, if that should break or get lost he should use a sword, and so on. [N:Using five kinds of weapons]. The Prince did as was told him and after his return he ruled over the royal property. It is the same in the case of the bhikkhu. The Buddha told him to be diligent with regard to the higher consciousness (adhicitta) in order to attain arahatship.

N: The citta with the eight attainments in jhaana that is based on vipassana is the higher consciousness, adhicitta. Thus this refers to a bhikkhu who has developed samatha and vipassanaa.

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I posted the whole Co before, and if you like I can give you more parts.

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Tep: Did the monks who wanted to leave the order to become husbands :-) :-) bypassed the Lord's asubha advice to develop ONLY insight through aniccanupassana, or did they use BOTH asubha contemplation and aniccanupassana?

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N: No problem, the one does not exclude the other. Seeing a girl passing to old age reminds of the impermanence of rupa appearing now, right here and now. This reminder is forceful, because the aging body is not exactly beautiful.

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Tep: Then why did both the Buddha and Ven. Ananda recommended asubha sanna , and nekkhamma, to bhikkhus as an effective tool to extinguish kamaraga?

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N: Again we have to remember: with vipassana. The bhikkhu who does not develop vipassana is not worthy to be called a recluse, a sutta states. The whole of the Vinaya has to go together with vipassana, never separated from it. If we remember this we understand the meaning of all those rules.

Nina.

#12 RobertK

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 12:25 AM

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N: I thought more on teeth clenching. It is said that kusala citta has to replace akusala citta.

N: As we read in this sutta, quoted above, he should restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. If someone just clenches his teeth with dispair or fear because he does not want to have unwholesome thoughts, it is not the right effort that must be accompanied by pa˝˝aa. We can check this ourselves by clenching the teeth and putting the tongue agains the palate. What appears? What types of cittas? It is the citta that matters. It may be akusala citta with attachment to the idea of wanting to be a good person, or kusala cittas with awareness. If we have listened to the Dhamma and have some understanding of nama and rupa, we may notice hardness or pressure. These are rupas appearing through the bodysense. Their characteristics may be realized without thinking and then we can learn that there are not may teeth, my palate, no self who presses the teeth.

The clenched teeth we read about in the sutta are as it were a bodily expression to the supreme effort and determination necessary for the attainment of arahatship, just as the Bodhisatta applied supreme effort to attain Buddhahood. This effort should be accompanied by strong pa˝˝aa.

I give more examples from the Co. to show that it is the citta that is important, not the outward action. It is said that the bhikkhu should take an empty notebook from his shoulderbag and write words of praise about the excellent qualities of the Buddha.

N: When the bhikkhu is discouraged about his unwholesome thoughts he can be inspired when he thinks of the excellent qualities of the Buddha. These thoughts will cause him to be full of enthusiasm and they will strengthen his confidence and dedication to the Master.

Iti pi so Bhagavaa, araha.m, sammaasambuddho, vijjaa cara.nasampanno

The Blessed one is such, worthy, fully enlightened; endowed with knowledge and virtue.

The Buddha had accumulated the perfections for countless aeons, with the utmost endurance and patience so that he could attain Buddhahood. The bhikkhu who writes words of praise can be reminded that he also should have endurance to develop understanding and all the perfections so that he can attain arahatship. While he is writing words of praise he can feel gratefulness and the greatest respect for the Teacher and then he will have wholesome thoughts instead of thoughts with desire, aversion and ignorance. If he has doubt about the Dhamma, about the Path leading to the realization of nibbaana, this can be abandoned. He is reminded not to delay the development of understanding of nama and rupa, even while he is writing.

The Commentary explains that if he still cannot abandon unwholesome thoughts, he can take out things such as matches from his shoulderbag and can think of another object, considering: this is a match that is above, and this is one that is underneath. Or else, if this does not help, he can take out a small box from his bag and consider: this is a needle bag , this is a small knife, and this a nailcutter. Or else, if this does not help he can mend his robe that is torn in order to pay attention to another subject. If he by performing those kusala kammas can abandon unwholesome thoughts, he can continue his meditation subject.

N: If the bhikkhu would merely think of the contents of his shoulderbag without kusala citta, it would be of no avail. His shoulderbag and the things in it he has for his daily use can remind him of his life of fewness of wishes. He owns nothing, all the things that were given to him for his daily use actually belong to the Sangha. When he was ordained as a monk he renounced his worldly life of sense pleasures. To become a bhikkhu is like a new birth as is said elsewhere in a Commentary. It is the monk╣s siila to review with mindfulness all the things he uses. His goal is following the Master╣s instruction, to lead the life of the bhikkhu in all its purity and to eradicate defilements. Whatever work the monk is doing, such as sweeping his dwelling, washing and dying his robes and mending them, he should develop understanding of nama and rupa.

(next time more suttas).

Nina.