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#1 RobertK

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 03:13 AM

In dhammastudygroup@y...,

Jonothan Abbott

<jonoabb@y...> wrote:

Rob Ep

Thanks for the sporting invitation to come back with an equal and opposite reaction. But actually, I just want to make some general observations about samatha bhavana (so can I take a rain check on the strong reply?).

Samatha bhavana is the development of the tranquillity that is associated with kusala citta accompanied by panna. 'Tranquillity' here is a specific cetasika (passadhi). Concentration comes into the picture because at the higher levels of samatha, as the panna becomes more developed, the particular kammathana (meditation subject) remains the object of the consciousness for longer and longer periods.

The sequence of this is important. As I understand it, the concentration of the mind on a single object for successive moments is something that follows naturally from the development of kusala and its associated tranquillity. Thus: Kusala (with panna) --> tranquillity --> concentration.

It seems to be the generally held view nowadays, and the sense I get from your post (below), that the development of samatha *begins by concentrating on a selected object* (e.g. the breath) until the mind settles down and eventually 'true calm' arises, at which stage it becomes kusala and in due course (somehow) kusala with panna. This suggests to me an entirely different sequence to the one I have outlined above, a sequence that looks like this:

Concentration --> tranquillity --> kusala (--> kusala with panna).

As I have mentioned before, concentration itself is not intrinsically wholesome or unwholesome. It's true that concentration is mentioned in the suttas in the context of high mental attainments including insight, but these references must be understood as being the concentration that *results from the development of samatha/tranquillity* and, in some contexts, from the development of insight itself. So concentration (which is a necessary ingredient of non-wholesome skills also) cannot itself condition any form of kusala.

As you will have gathered by now, I happen to think that samatha bhavana is a pretty much misunderstood subject. It's not that I am not interested in it -- I am, but as with vipassana I believe it has to be properly understood first.

There seems to be a particularly prevalent idea of samatha as something that if practised or further developed will allow us to have more direct knowledge of realities. If you think about it for a moment, this view works against acceptance of the idea that such direct knowledge, or the groundwork for it, can be nurtured at this very moment.

Jon

#2 Prince of Lanka

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 04:58 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 17 2006, 09:13 PM) View Post

In dhammastudygroup@y...,

Jonothan Abbott

<jonoabb@y...> wrote:

Rob Ep

Thanks for the sporting invitation to come back with an equal and opposite reaction. But actually, I just want to make some general observations about samatha bhavana (so can I take a rain check on the strong reply?).

Samatha bhavana is the development of the tranquillity that is associated with kusala citta accompanied by panna. 'Tranquillity' here is a specific cetasika (passadhi). Concentration comes into the picture because at the higher levels of samatha, as the panna becomes more developed, the particular kammathana (meditation subject) remains the object of the consciousness for longer and longer periods.

The sequence of this is important. As I understand it, the concentration of the mind on a single object for successive moments is something that follows naturally from the development of kusala and its associated tranquillity. Thus: Kusala (with panna) --> tranquillity --> concentration.

It seems to be the generally held view nowadays, and the sense I get from your post (below), that the development of samatha *begins by concentrating on a selected object* (e.g. the breath) until the mind settles down and eventually 'true calm' arises, at which stage it becomes kusala and in due course (somehow) kusala with panna. This suggests to me an entirely different sequence to the one I have outlined above, a sequence that looks like this:

Concentration --> tranquillity --> kusala (--> kusala with panna).

As I have mentioned before, concentration itself is not intrinsically wholesome or unwholesome. It's true that concentration is mentioned in the suttas in the context of high mental attainments including insight, but these references must be understood as being the concentration that *results from the development of samatha/tranquillity* and, in some contexts, from the development of insight itself. So concentration (which is a necessary ingredient of non-wholesome skills also) cannot itself condition any form of kusala.

As you will have gathered by now, I happen to think that samatha bhavana is a pretty much misunderstood subject. It's not that I am not interested in it -- I am, but as with vipassana I believe it has to be properly understood first.

There seems to be a particularly prevalent idea of samatha as something that if practised or further developed will allow us to have more direct knowledge of realities. If you think about it for a moment, this view works against acceptance of the idea that such direct knowledge, or the groundwork for it, can be nurtured at this very moment.

Jon


#3 Prince of Lanka

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 05:35 PM

Hi there

I am Rjah Pathmaganth.I have read your explanation on the samatha Bhavana.Well my question is with all these high intellectual knowledge man has to deal with the simple reality of life.I mean the births and deaths and fight for the survival.I have observed the Birds and other species.They dont have any of these super human knowledge but they function within the reality of their environment.Then it becomes the fight for the survival from predaters.Specially the birds are usually defenceless to the point of safety.At the riverbanks of the city of Ottawa the sea gulls dominate the environment and they repeatedly prey and eat up the eggs of the loons, ducks, and other birds and they also kills the chicks frequently.The chicks and eggs become more vulnerable due to the fact the man is destroying the bush and the natural habitat of the birds where there is a natural protection for the birds.Then again the City of Ottawa dont care about this at all.Because the humans are destroyers of the Nature, because the humans are only interested by making wealth in their manipulated ways of false scientific studies and falsehood proof to brainwash the common man.And the development of the human concrete junles keep on growing until we make ourown environment as desert.When the natural environment is destroyed only scavengers like sea gulls and pigeons can survive in the human polluted environment.Then the humans meets their own perils of drugs,prostitution, transmitting diseases, unnatural ways of making sex and you name it.I wondered what is the use of all these knowledge taught by Buddha and Buddhism the humans who are not changing.So what is the use of all these knowledge when the humans cannot follw the simple way of live taught by the birds?I dont think we are really superior to the bird kingdom.We are so inferior and we are being controlled by our own greeds jelous and hate.I find it ridiculous the way the humans try to manipulate the reality ofthe damge they are doing to mother earth and then fighting with each other, cold blooded murder and so on.Look at the war?Do we need all these weapons to survive?This evil nature of domination and power cracyness ofman has crated the new born retaliation of terrorism.Who else we have to blame?Birds? Animals?Other species on Earth?None of them>IT is we the humans arethe number one enemy ofthe mother earth.The meaning of harmony has dissappeared from the earth long time ago.Now it is the time for the mother earth to overhaul the entire process.It is happenning right this moment.Hey humans can you all open your eyes?This is my simple concern.What is the use ofall these knowledge when we cannot even follow the simple way oflife of these lovely innocent birds?

#4 Prince of Lanka

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 11:35 PM

biggrin.gif

Dear Wolf Gang

I read your answer for my article below.Unfortunately I was not able to contact you because I dont have your contact e mail.I have forgotten my password so I could not post.Now my e mail is isthree111@hotmail.com.I invite you to send me a private e mail so that we can communicate with each other.After all our writing and understanding and our intellectual knowledge will come to an end as soon as we pass away from this human existence.No human has come back in his original format and said " I am so ans so and I have done all these things in the past.Even Lord Buddha has taught the path of going away and not coming back.Re incarnation may be true but what is the use of the past birth knowledge with the present.No human is ready to listen and learn from the past.Any way wolf Gang I thought I lost you for ever.Please communicate with me because we have some unfinished business to complete.once again my e mail : isthree111@hotmail.com.my contact number 613-421-5219.

Prince of Lanka

QUOTE(Prince of Lanka @ Jun 18 2006, 11:35 AM) View Post

Hi there

I am Rjah Pathmaganth.I have read your explanation on the samatha Bhavana.Well my question is with all these high intellectual knowledge man has to deal with the simple reality of life.I mean the births and deaths and fight for the survival.I have observed the Birds and other species.They dont have any of these super human knowledge but they function within the reality of their environment.Then it becomes the fight for the survival from predaters.Specially the birds are usually defenceless to the point of safety.At the riverbanks of the city of Ottawa the sea gulls dominate the environment and they repeatedly prey and eat up the eggs of the loons, ducks, and other birds and they also kills the chicks frequently.The chicks and eggs become more vulnerable due to the fact the man is destroying the bush and the natural habitat of the birds where there is a natural protection for the birds.Then again the City of Ottawa dont care about this at all.Because the humans are destroyers of the Nature, because the humans are only interested by making wealth in their manipulated ways of false scientific studies and falsehood proof to brainwash the common man.And the development of the human concrete junles keep on growing until we make ourown environment as desert.When the natural environment is destroyed only scavengers like sea gulls and pigeons can survive in the human polluted environment.Then the humans meets their own perils of drugs,prostitution, transmitting diseases, unnatural ways of making sex and you name it.I wondered what is the use of all these knowledge taught by Buddha and Buddhism the humans who are not changing.So what is the use of all these knowledge when the humans cannot follw the simple way of live taught by the birds?I dont think we are really superior to the bird kingdom.We are so inferior and we are being controlled by our own greeds jelous and hate.I find it ridiculous the way the humans try to manipulate the reality ofthe damge they are doing to mother earth and then fighting with each other, cold blooded murder and so on.Look at the war?Do we need all these weapons to survive?This evil nature of domination and power cracyness ofman has crated the new born retaliation of terrorism.Who else we have to blame?Birds? Animals?Other species on Earth?None of them>IT is we the humans arethe number one enemy ofthe mother earth.The meaning of harmony has dissappeared from the earth long time ago.Now it is the time for the mother earth to overhaul the entire process.It is happenning right this moment.Hey humans can you all open your eyes?This is my simple concern.What is the use ofall these knowledge when we cannot even follow the simple way oflife of these lovely innocent birds?


#5 Prince of Lanka

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 11:42 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 17 2006, 09:13 PM) View Post

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

Rob Ep

Thanks for the sporting invitation to come back with an equal and opposite reaction. But actually, I just want to make some general observations about samatha bhavana (so can I take a rain check on the strong reply?).

Samatha bhavana is the development of the tranquillity that is associated with kusala citta accompanied by panna. 'Tranquillity' here is a specific cetasika (passadhi). Concentration comes into the picture because at the higher levels of samatha, as the panna becomes more developed, the particular kammathana (meditation subject) remains the object of the consciousness for longer and longer periods.

The sequence of this is important. As I understand it, the concentration of the mind on a single object for successive moments is something that follows naturally from the development of kusala and its associated tranquillity. Thus: Kusala (with panna) --> tranquillity --> concentration.

It seems to be the generally held view nowadays, and the sense I get from your post (below), that the development of samatha *begins by concentrating on a selected object* (e.g. the breath) until the mind settles down and eventually 'true calm' arises, at which stage it becomes kusala and in due course (somehow) kusala with panna. This suggests to me an entirely different sequence to the one I have outlined above, a sequence that looks like this:

Concentration --> tranquillity --> kusala (--> kusala with panna).

As I have mentioned before, concentration itself is not intrinsically wholesome or unwholesome. It's true that concentration is mentioned in the suttas in the context of high mental attainments including insight, but these references must be understood as being the concentration that *results from the development of samatha/tranquillity* and, in some contexts, from the development of insight itself. So concentration (which is a necessary ingredient of non-wholesome skills also) cannot itself condition any form of kusala.

As you will have gathered by now, I happen to think that samatha bhavana is a pretty much misunderstood subject. It's not that I am not interested in it -- I am, but as with vipassana I believe it has to be properly understood first.

There seems to be a particularly prevalent idea of samatha as something that if practised or further developed will allow us to have more direct knowledge of realities. If you think about it for a moment, this view works against acceptance of the idea that such direct knowledge, or the groundwork for it, can be nurtured at this very moment.

Jon



#6 Wolfgang

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 08:19 PM

QUOTE
biggrin.gif

Dear Wolfgang

I read your answer for my article. Unfortunately I was not able to contact you because I dont have your contact e mail .I have forgotten my password so I could not post. I invite you to send me a private e mail so that we can communicate with each other. After all our writing and understanding and our intellectual knowledge will come to an end as soon as we pass away from this human existence. No human has come back in his original format and said "I am so ans so and I have done all these things in the past. Even Lord Buddha has taught the path of going away and not coming back. Re incarnation may be true but what is the use of the past birth knowledge with the present. No human is ready to listen and learn from the past. Any way wolf Gang I thought I lost you for ever. Please communicate with me because we have some unfinished business to complete.

Prince of Lanka


Dear Prince and All,

sorry for deleting my former post. To me it seemed, you did not want to respond.
Now I post it again for us to continue this discussion:
(but better delete your address, otherwise you will be flooded with spam)


QUOTE
And the development of the human concrete jungles keep on growing until we make our own environment a desert.


I really understand your anguish and anger at the stupidity of man inventing technical and intellectual superstructures to avoid the obvious.

For me this all too obvious creation/avoidance of immense suffering for all beings - not only leaving no natural resources for our very own kids (child murder?) - also as a whole human-race suicide, in the name of progress - let me with only one choice.

In my youth, rather, still as a child, I decided to live as responsible as it would be possible under such circumstances. It was almost an endless task.

- I did not want animals full of anguish being slaughtered at the nearby butcher - so I started to stop eating meat with ten.
- I did not want to be driven by family-live duties, without the slightest gap to reconsider, so I stayed away from irresponsible love.
- I did not want to support toxic waste with my livelihood as construction carpenter, which - as I had to find out, produces 50 percent of it all. So I build houses only out of natural materials. And grew my veggies myself.
- I did not want to kill someone out of carelessness while driving drunk. So I stopped alcohol.
- I did not want to waste the same amount of oxygen by driving only a 100 km with a private car - as one human needs for breathing one whole life long. So I sold mine and promised myself never to own one ever again.
- I did not want to support any armed action, so I lived for the most of my life below an income-limit, where I would not have to pay taxes.
- I did not want to become dogmatic; therefore, I ate a piece of meat and drunk a glass of wine once a year. However, out of plain disgust at one point I dropped that.
- Because through the years I found more and more things I did not want to do - I tried as much as possible to refrain from judging those who still could not see the same and thought I went mad.
- I tryed to convince - not with words - but deeds.

I could only keep such an ideal life up by living together with equal minded fellows. And that is where it failed - for our all too human shortcomings.

Therefore, off I went - straight in the jungle to the clothless pygmies. In one way that was like paradise: A life with absolutely no wastes, hunting every few days and collecting roots and fruits 1-2 hours a day. The rest of the day just care and fun.

But then again: If this innocent people came in contact with black-African society, slowly but surely they left their paradise for cloth, alcohol and money - and settled in the worst of slums in exchange.

After this final disappointment, I did not want to hunt for less then the culprit, the conditioning for all this self-destruction deep in all of us. By some detours, I finally arrived at last - sitting with myself. - Coming closer to our actual subject - I was sitting a Vipassana-course:

There I met what I had denied myself most of my life, but still being unconsciously driven by it all the time:
Plain anger, needs, and an I-making with only one blind aim: To get rid of pain and stay happy - again and again - PAIN !!!

All my early attempts to live life as 'good' as it could be - now I really could see it not different to the worst of humans lifes - for example of a mass-murderer - in that it was driven by sheer pain. Only for a multitude of different conditions, one it would turn holy - and another to a murderer!

QUOTE
So what is the use of all this knowledge when the humans cannot follow the simple way of live taught by the birds?


Pain would make one try, with a sophisticated intellectual superstructure, to understand these various conditions, as Jon in this thread did - another, like you, could not help himself better than to lament.

Believe me or not, also birds would leave their simple ways if they had similar conditions as humans only had since a hundred years with fossil fuels. Just as an example, there is a kind of chimpanzee that really does not care about your idealization of animal life and rapes its own breed.

QUOTE
What is the use of all these knowledge when we cannot even follow the simple way of life of these lovely innocent birds?


For me there are now only two options left (innocence is none): Pretty useless would be to suicide to avoid all the harm an average insatiable western life brings today. - The better of the two: To become done with these root conditionings! A living with only the cloths on one's skin and a bowl to collect today's food. Just as a bird with only two wings wherever it goes.

However, I agree with you - that all this immense knowledge makes absolutely no sense (beside maybe giving a cosy protection from the immensity of it) - if it does not lead to such a harmless life - in its long run.

I can only promise you - I have seen such guys really living lifes like birds. It is really rare - but the only option out! Moreover, samatha, well practiced, takes away such destructive ways of handling pain, as this bottomless addiction to the waste of all natural resources does. At least I think that is what the discussion here also is about. ;-)

Prince, all of this leaves me with one big question: Do you really think lamenting would make you even a tiny jota more harmless? What alternatives have you found? Only answer me if you feel comfortable to.


Wishing you much ease,

Wolfgang


PS.: At last some good news!

QUOTE
Now it is the time for the mother earth to overhaul the entire process. It is happening right this moment. Hey humans can you all open your eyes?


My dear, mother earth is so old and it has already overhauled the entire process a couple of times in its vast life.
Most humans rather close their eyes to avoid the pain it certainly brings. Although I really emphasis with my brothers and sisters in closing down in various ways for their very protection. I am actually more rejoicing with our mother - and how such a situation can be so demanding response. The gateways to heaven are not only wide open for those willing to see the pain, there is even a path beyond.


Now guess, how it is for me?

Either: Concentration --> tranquillity --> kusala (--> kusala with panna).
Or: Kusala (with panna) --> tranquillity --> concentration.

I am only so glad reality is not so onesided linear, so pigeon-holed, so solid, as our thinking and grammar makes us believe!