anatta and right effort

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#900

ne of the questions that came up today on Zoom was how to reconcile the classical Abhidhammic viewpoint of the world, with the idea that we should be trying to practice the eightfold path. Also, when can we say we are actually on the path.

Firstly some quotes laying out the ancient Theravada view:
Visuddhimagga XIX19
“There is no doer of a deed, or one who reaps the result. Phenomena alone flow on, no other view than this right.
XVIII24
“This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person

XVII31
“The mental and material (nama rupa) are really here
But here is no human being to be found, for it is void and merely fashioned like a doll.
And from a recent Source,
Thein Nyun in the forward to Dhatukatha (book of the Abhidhamma) of Pali Text Society, the “Discourse on Elements,”
But because the functions of the energies give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form the ideas arise of
(1) the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and
(2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion. And this leads to the subsequent ideas (3) “I can perform”
and (4) “I can feel”, ……..
Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence. But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions”
So we see the classical Theravada view of anatta is uncompromising.
Yet Abhidhammikas also claim that right effort is an essential element of the path.
In this thread I will attempt this reconciliation.

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Re: Right effort and anatta
Post by robertk » Wed May 20, 2020 5:14 pm

Here is a useful sutta quote about the path: Bodhi translation p.1503
2122 (9) Forerunner
“Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and precursor
of the sunrise, so right view is the forerunner and precursor
of wholesome qualities. For one of right view, right intention
originates. For one of right intention, right speech originates.
For one of right speech, right action originates. For one of right
action, right livelihood originates. F o r one of right livelihood,
right effort originates. For one of right effort, right mindfulness
originates. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration [237]
originates. For one of right concentration, right knowledge originates.
For one of right knowledge, right, liberation originates.”
. Anguttara Nikaya 10:121

So these factors depend on right view – and hence any right effort must arise in conjunction with right view, wisdom, panna.

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Re: Right effort and anatta
Post by robertk » Wed May 20, 2020 5:26 pm

Samyutta nikaya
Nidā̄nasaṃyutta Connected Discourses on
Causation
38 (8) Volition (1)
At Sāvatthı̄. “Bhikkhus, what one intends, and what one plans, and whatever one
has a tendency towards: this becomes a basis for the maintenance of
consciousness. When there is a basis there is a support for the establishing of
consciousness. When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there
is the production of future renewed existence. When there is the production of
future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation,
pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass
of suffering.
And the Commentary:
note 112 Spk:
Here, the phrase one intends (ceteti) includes all wholesome and
unwholesome volition of the three planes; one plans (pakappeti), the mental
fabrications of craving and views (taṇhādiṭṭhikappā) in the eight cittas
accompanied by greed [Spk-pṭ: the fabrications of views occur only in the four
cittas associated with views]; and whatever one has a tendency towards (anuseti)
implies the underlying tendencies (anusaya) under the headings of conascence
and decisive-support conditions for the twelve (unwholesome) volitions. (On the
twelve unwholesome cittas, see CMA 1:4-7.)
This becomes a basis (ārammaṇam etaṃ hoti): These various states such as
volition become a condition; for here the word ārammaṇa is intended as
condition (paccaya; that is, here ārammaṇa does not signify an object of
consciousness, the usual meaning in the Abhidhamma). For the maintenance of
consciousness (viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā): for the purpose of maintaining the kammic
consciousness. When there is this condition, there is a support for the
establishing of consciousness (patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa hoti), i.e., for the establishing
of that kammic consciousness [Spk-pṭ: it has a capacity to yield fruit in one’s
mental continuum]. When that (kammic) consciousness is established and has
come to growth (tasmiṃ patiṭṭhite viññāṇe … virūḷhe): when, having impelled
kamma, it has grown, produced roots, through its ability to precipitate rebirth,
there is the production of future renewed existence, i.e., production consisting in
renewed existence.
this is describing the Paticcasamuppada, the three rounds that are happening now..

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Re: Right effort and anatta
Post by robertk » Wed May 20, 2020 5:39 pm

The path is explained here (the very advanced stages) :
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.245/en/sujato
45. The Simile of the Parrot Tree
245. Kiṃsukopamasutta
1.1Then one mendicant went up to another mendicant and asked,
Atha kho aññataro bhikkhu yenaññataro bhikkhu tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā taṃ bhikkhuṃ etadavoca:
1.2“Reverend, at what point is a mendicant’s vision well purified?”
“kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti?

1.3“When a mendicant truly understands the origin and ending of the six sense fields, at that point their vision is well purified.”
“Yato kho, āvuso, bhikkhu channaṃ phassāyatanānaṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ettāvatā kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti.

2.1Not content with that answer, that mendicant went up to a series of other mendicants and received the following answers:
Atha kho so bhikkhu asantuṭṭho tassa bhikkhussa pañhaveyyākaraṇena, yenaññataro bhikkhu tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā taṃ bhikkhuṃ etadavoca:
2.2
“kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti?

2.3“When a mendicant truly understands the origin and ending of the five grasping aggregates, at that point their vision is well purified.”
“Yato kho, āvuso, bhikkhu pañcannaṃ upādānakkhandhānaṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ettāvatā kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti.

3.1
Atha kho so bhikkhu asantuṭṭho tassa bhikkhussa pañhaveyyākaraṇena, yenaññataro bhikkhu tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā taṃ bhikkhuṃ etadavoca:
3.2
“kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti?

3.3“When a mendicant truly understands the origin and ending of the four primary elements, at that point their vision is well purified.”
“Yato kho, āvuso, bhikkhu catunnaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ettāvatā kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti.

4.1
Atha kho so bhikkhu asantuṭṭho tassa bhikkhussa pañhaveyyākaraṇena, yenaññataro bhikkhu tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā taṃ bhikkhuṃ etadavoca:
4.2
“kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti?

4.3“When a mendicant truly understands that everything that has a beginning has an end, at that point their vision is well purified.”
“Yato kho, āvuso, bhikkhu yaṃ kiñci samudayadhammaṃ, sabbaṃ taṃ nirodhadhammanti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ettāvatā kho, āvuso, bhikkhuno dassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ hotī”ti.
In all of this effort, viriya, energy was present but without wrongview.
Also a useful quote from Nina van Gorkom:
Some people separate pariyatti from pa.tipatti which they see as something that is not part of their normal daily life, as something particular they have to be engaged in. They forget that when they study the theory, pariyatti, they should study with the aim to understand the reality that appears at this moment. One should study in order to understand that any reality of this moment is dhamma, be it seeing or hearing, but one never knew before that it was dhamma. Thus, people should study with the aim to correctly understand that naama dhamma at this moment is the reality that experiences, the element that experiences. Naama dhamma is not theory, but there is naama dhamma while we are seeing now. One may have heard and understood that seeing at this moment is naama dhamma, because it is a reality that experiences something, but the expression “the reality that experiences” is most difficult to understand and to penetrate. When one sees, there is something that is appearing through the eyes, but the reality of naama that sees does not appear. Only when its characteristic appears, it can be known as an element or a kind of dhamma that is real.
When people have understood this, they know that what is appearing through the eyes at this moment could not appear if there would not be naama dhamma that has arisen and sees that object. One can gradually understand that seeing at this moment is dhamma. Therefore, when one studies the Dhamma one studies with the purpose to have right understanding of the characteristics of realities that are the truth of each moment in daily life. This can be a condition for sati to arise and to be aware and in this way one will gradually understand that when one sees at this moment, it is a reality, an element that experiences, or when one hears, that it is an element experiencing sound.
People who listened at the time when the Sammaasambuddha had not yet finally passed away, could understand immediately the characteristics of naama and ruupa. The reason was that they had developed understanding, that they had listened and considered what they had learnt to a great extent. When we read the life stories of those people we see that, before they could realize the four noble truths at the moment of enlightenment, they had to study and listen a great deal during many lives, so that they could become bahussuta. A person who is bahussuta (bahu is much, and suta is heard) is someone who has listened and studied a great deal in order to understand realities. As Khun Nipat has said, at that time there were no books.
Therefore, people listened with understanding and they did not think of textbooks or different subjects written down in books. They heard about realities that were appearing, they could investigate and understand them immediately. Their study was based on listening and considering, they knew that what they heard concerned the reality appearing at that very moment.
When the Buddha asked whether seeing was permanent or impermanent, they answered, “impermanent”. They did not memorize this from a textbook, but seeing was performing the function of seeing, and the pa~n~naa they had developed was the condition for understanding the truth of the reality at that moment.

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Re: Right effort and anatta
Post by robertk » Wed May 20, 2020 5:47 pm

Now I am looking at the computer, but what is really there?.
The commentary says (p121 Fruits of recluseship), talking about looking ahead or looking aside, “t
he eye is a support condition : forms are an object condition; adverting is a proximity, contiguity, decisive support, absence, and disapperance condition; light is a decisive support condition; feeling etc are conascence conditions. Thus looking ahead and looking aside are discerned in the assemblage of these conditions. Therein, who is it that looks ahead? Who looks aside?”
Realities are arising at the six doors all the time. We can begin to see that a moment at one door is different from a moment at another. There has to be study, investigation of these dhammas, but in the right way – and that is not easy, it is conditioned, it needs accumulations and study.
The thing is, though, is that effort and intention can be akusala, wrong effort.

Understanding of arising and ceasing is an advanced stage of vipassana that comes after the first stage where the difference between nama and rupa are clearly seen. Everyone can more or less see that cittas change and that rupas change. If we make it our life study we will see this change incessantly.
Nonetheless this can still be a wrong path.
Vipassana nanas If they arise, there must be no idea at all of anyone making it happen. In fact it happens in a flash – it cannot be controlled. The mind door is revealed and the difference between nama and rupas is clearly seen. Then later stages directly understand the arise and fall.

Going back to the beginning of the path. It depends on Right view – which is developed by reading, listening and considering the Dhamma. And there is no self, there are only momentary elements. If we remember this we can see that sometimes there is right understanding, sometimes something else.
The more we have a basis in the texts and learn to see them reflected , even a little bit, in daily life, the more opportunity there is for right understanding to grow. And with it viriya – energy, effort.

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  • #901

    y Sam Vara » Thu May 21, 2020 3:29 am

    Many thanks for these, Robert, and for the Zoom conversations which preceded them.

    I’ll deal with the posts in time order, and comment on them in that order.

    1) The first post of this sequence points out that there are no doers of deeds, and that the characteristics of action are imaginary. That would appear to be fairly uncontroversial among many Buddhists, although for many it is exceptionally hard to grasp as a reality. Of course, a lot depends on how we see anatta. It could be seen as a mere denial that there is any permanent (or maybe separate) entity in what we take to be “us”, or indeed in our entire universe of experience. That would be easily graspable as an idea, but would not be incompatible with effort, deeds, and actions being initiated by persons who were nevertheless conditioned. Their actions would be no less real than their ideas or their feelings. But I think you are saying something more profound than this – that there is no “us” at all. But even in this case, is there anything that can be meaningfully be said to exist? Could one not conceive of effort as a phenomenon: one of those which “flows on”, despite there being no ontologically distinct thing to which it “belongs”?

    2) Right View is undoubtedly important. But others have stressed the voluntarism inherent in some presentations of it by the Buddha and his disciples. Ajahn Thanissaro is a good example:
    Right view is normally explained in terms of the four noble truths. In this discourse, Ven. Sariputta expands the discussion in several directions.

    He begins by focusing on two concepts that underlie the structure of the four noble truths: the dichotomy of skillful and unskillful action, and the concept of nutriment.

    Focusing on the dichotomy of skillful and unskillful action draws attention to a general principle of cause and effect — the fact that actions give results — and to the particular role of action in determining one’s experience of pleasure and pain: Unskillful actions lead to pain, skillful actions to pleasure.
    Is there anything specific about a particular formulation of Right View which makes it inimical to the type of things normally taken to be Right Effort? I mean, if we steer clear of the idea that there is some sort of self or soul or permanent thingie that is making the effort – just as we can avoid the trap of thinking that there is some sort of permanent thingie having the experiences, or understanding, or feeling – then what bit of Right View are we interested in as ruling out effort?

    There is also the issue of not needing to sort out Right View in its entirety before we can determine Right Effort. Sometimes, we seem to need the effort first in order to sort the view out:
    One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one’s right effort…
    (MN 117)

    3) The third post raises the issue of the results of volition. According to the sutta, intention, plans, and voluntaristic tendencies become the basis for the maintenance of consciousness. This is doubly interesting in this context. First, because it appears to undermine the idea expressed in (1) that intention is somehow unreal. Here, it is treated as real – it has real consequences for our consciousness. Second, because it might support the (fairly common) view that there might be some beneficial states of consciousness. Metta, for example, or greater degrees of calm, or clearer discernment. (This might be covered in the commentary you provide there, but it’s a bit too tough for me at the moment… :embarassed: )

    4) Likewise the next one is a bit beyond me…

    5) The final one raises again the issue that some of us have talked about via Zoom. I can understand wanting to have clear theoretical understanding of the texts before committing to using effort. We want to make sure we are going in the right direction. But in everyday life, we make an effort, we do things, we bring about situations. If I make an effort to calm my mind because I think it is beneficial for me, how is that more “risky” in Dhammic terms than buying an ice-cream or choosing what to wear, or how to earn a living?

    Enough dumb questions from me; I’ll leave it there!

    :anjali:
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    Re: Right effort and anatta
    Post by robertk » Thu May 21, 2020 11:57 am

    Sam Vara wrote: ↑Thu May 21, 2020 3:29 am
    Many thanks for these, Robert, and for the Zoom conversations which preceded them.

    I’ll deal with the posts in time order, and comment on them in that order.

    1) The first post of this sequence points out that there are no doers of deeds, and that the characteristics of action are imaginary. That would appear to be fairly uncontroversial among many Buddhists, although for many it is exceptionally hard to grasp as a reality. Of course, a lot depends on how we see anatta. It could be seen as a mere denial that there is any permanent (or maybe separate) entity in what we take to be “us”, or indeed in our entire universe of experience. That would be easily graspable as an idea, but would not be incompatible with effort, deeds, and actions being initiated by persons who were nevertheless conditioned. Their actions would be no less real than their ideas or their feelings. But I think you are saying something more profound than this – that there is no “us” at all. But even in this case, is there anything that can be meaningfully be said to exist? Could one not conceive of effort as a phenomenon: one of those which “flows on”, despite there being no ontologically distinct thing to which it “belongs”?

    Dear Sam Vara,
    thanks for the homework :tongue: Seriously a great opportunity for me to think about all this.
    Sam Vara: The first post of this sequence points out that there are no doers of deeds, and that the characteristics of action are imaginary
    here you are referring to this
    because the functions of the energies give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form the ideas arise of
    (1) the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and
    (2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion. And this leads to the subsequent ideas (3) “I can perform”
    and (4) “I can feel”, ……..
    Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have brought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence. But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such function
    s”
    The self who performs actions is imaginary. And also the idea that actions persist beyond a moment is imaginary.
    However there is energy, there is intention, there is vedana, feeling. All of these elements are very real and the texts define and elucidate them so that they can be understood directly .
    The average man sees life entirely through a conceptual veil hinging around the illusion of self.
    To repeat what I wrote on another thread:
    it is all a magic show as I understand the texts.
    From the Samantapasadika (note 194 of Bodhi Connected discourses):
    Consciousness is like a magical illusion (māyā) in the sense that it is
    insubstantial and cannot be grasped. Consciousness is even more transient and
    fleeting than a magical illusion. For it gives the impression that a person comes
    and goes, stands and sits, with the same mind, but the mind is different in each of
    these activities. Consciousness deceives the multitude like a magical illusion.
    Sam vara: is there anything that can be meaningfully be said to exist? Could one not conceive of effort as a phenomenon: one of those which “flows on”, despite there being no ontologically distinct thing to which it “belongs”?
    As I said elements, including effort (although we need to define effort carefully) are real phenomena, but they are momentary, brought about by various conditions(which are listed precisely) and ceasing instantly. There is indeed a flow but it is comprised of moments, each moment falling away but assisting to condition the next.

    So in the ancient Buddhist view life is just a flow of ceaseless, conditioned arisings and falling away of mentality and materiality. We cling to self, to children,to wife, to wealth, to health: but this is because we don’t really see the actual nature of life.
    Anguttara Nikaya 328 (13 ) (bodhi translation)
    “Bhikkhus, just as even a trifling amount of feces is foul smelling,
    so too I do not praise even a trifling amount of existence,
    even for a mere finger snap.”

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    Re: Right effort and anatta
    Post by robertk » Thu May 21, 2020 12:24 pm

    sam Vara: Is there anything specific about a particular formulation of Right View which makes it inimical to the type of things normally taken to be Right Effort? I mean, if we steer clear of the idea that there is some sort of self or soul or permanent thingie that is making the effort – just as we can avoid the trap of thinking that there is some sort of permanent thingie having the experiences, or understanding, or feeling – then what bit of Right View are we interested in as ruling out effort?

    There is also the issue of not needing to sort out Right View in its entirety before we can determine Right Effort. Sometimes, we seem to need the effort first in order to sort the view out:
    One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one’s right effort…
    (MN 117)
    I am not saying that effort is not needed. In fact Right effort is indispensable.

    Wise men before the Buddha could attain even mundane jhanas – and they still had the belief in self.
    So self view doesn’t necessarily hinder kusala deeds. One can give, be virtuous and develop samatha – all even without having heard the Buddha. Think of Christians – who are respected worldwide for all their service to the poor.
    And this can all be done believing totally “I am giving, I am keeping sila, I am developing samatha”.

    It is only when we are talking about striving towards the summum bonum of what the Buddha taught that right view at its pinnacle is indispensable. So it takes massive amounts of effort, viriya to develop right view – and indeed as your sutta quote suggests, this is where effort should focus. Yet this type of effort is profound, it comes with detachment (alobha) and wisdom.
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak … .than.html
    “I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place.”[1]
    “But how, dear sir, did you cross over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place?”

    “When I pushed forward, I was whirled about. When I stayed in place, I sank. And so I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place

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    Re: Right effort and anatta
    Post by robertk » Thu May 21, 2020 1:25 pm

    sam vara: 3) The third post raises the issue of the results of volition. According to the sutta, intention, plans, and voluntaristic tendencies become the basis for the maintenance of consciousness. This is doubly interesting in this context. First, because it appears to undermine the idea expressed in (1) that intention is somehow unreal. Here, it is treated as real – it has real consequences for our consciousness. Second, because it might support the (fairly common) view that there might be some beneficial states of consciousness. Metta, for example, or greater degrees of calm, or clearer discernment. (This might be covered in the commentary you provide there, but it’s a bit too tough for me at the moment… :embarassed: )
    Causation
    38 (8) Volition (1)
    At Sāvatthı̄. “Bhikkhus, what one intends, and what one plans, and whatever one
    has a tendency towards: this becomes a basis for the maintenance of
    consciousness. When there is a basis there is a support for the establishing of
    consciousness. When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there
    is the production of future renewed existence. When there is the production of
    future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation,
    pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass
    of suffering.
    Volition , cetana, is real sure. But the point of this sutta is that it is a support for “the origin of this whole mass
    of suffering”. So even wholesome actions are part of the process fueling paticcasamupada, samsara. What more to be said of unwholesome.

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    Re: Right effort and anatta
    Post by robertk » Thu May 21, 2020 2:47 pm

    mod note .one post moved here:
    https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=37219

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    Re: Right effort and anatta
    Post by robertk » Thu May 21, 2020 3:09 pm

    sam vara:2) Right View is undoubtedly important. But others have stressed the voluntarism inherent in some presentations of it by the Buddha and his disciples. Ajahn Thanissaro is a good example:
    Right view is normally explained in terms of the four noble truths. In this discourse, Ven. Sariputta expands the discussion in several directions.

    He begins by focusing on two concepts that underlie the structure of the four noble truths: the dichotomy of skillful and unskillful action, and the concept of nutriment.

    Focusing on the dichotomy of skillful and unskillful action draws attention to a general principle of cause and effect — the fact that actions give results — and to the particular role of action in determining one’s experience of pleasure and pain: Unskillful actions lead to pain, skillful actions to pleasure.
    Is there anything specific about a particular formulation of Right View which makes it inimical to the type of things normally taken to be Right Effort? I mean, if we steer clear of the idea that there is some sort of self or soul or permanent thingie that is making the effort – just as we can avoid the trap of thinking that there is some sort of permanent thingie having the experiences, or understanding, or feeling – then what bit of Right View are we interested in as ruling out effort?
    As I have said effort , viriya, is indispensable. What can happen though, is that we take wrong effort for right effort..Right effort of the path arises with right view.

    So elements like Effort and Concentration are easy to have, the reason being that they arise with both kusala and akusala (wholesome and unwholesome mind states):
    here is the description of (viriya)Effort in the Abhidhamma:
    We read from the Dhammasangani (376):
    Katamam tasmim samaye viriyindriyam hoti? “What at that time is the faculty of effort/energy/endeavor?” “That which is mental endeavor (viriyarhambo), riddance of lethargy, exerting harder and harder, endeavoring higher and higher, striving, painstaking zeal, utmost exertion, steadfastness, resoluteness, unfaltering endeavor, having sustained desire (chanda) to strive, not relinquishing the task, discharging the task well, effort (viriya) as the faculty of effort, power of effort, WRONG effort — this at that time is the faculty of endeavor.”
    .
    Sounded nice until that last phrase . That is what wrong effort is
    It repeats that same passage for right effort..

    Essentially all types of kusala actions can be done with right view. But many of these can also be done without.
    The Abhidhamma classifies cittas in different ways to help understanding. A child might pay respect to a monk because his parent encourages him. The cittas are wholesome but probably without any wisdom there.
    The parent, if he has understanding of the teaching , will also pay respect because he sees the monk as representative of the sangha. The cittas then are more likely to be associated with wisdom.

    To your point about
    what bit of Right View are we interested in as ruling out effort?
    Even when we are doing nothing in the conventional sense the khandhas are arising and ceasing; they are showing their nature, ready to be understood.
    So situation is not a determining factor in whether insight can arise. Monks were liberated while listening to the Buddha, while being eaten by tigers, while eating their meal. They became arahat after cutting their throats.

    It was because insight arose to see the elements as they really are. No technique for this, it was by the gradual accumulation of wisdom. And there was viriya present too – along with concentration and right thought and the other factors.
    Sam Vara: second, because it might support the (fairly common) view that there might be some beneficial states of consciousness. Metta, for example, or greater degrees of calm, or clearer discernment. (This might be covered in the commentary you provide there, but it’s a bit too tough for me at the moment… :embarassed: )
    . Metta is one of the parami, it is can also be developed as an object of samatha.

    However, we have to be clear here. If we have the idea that “well I know insight is good. So I will do something to try to make it happen”> Like get calm first so I can slow everything down and ponder at leisure the annicca-ness, then one is making problems that obscure that path and might even make life more troublesome.

    Thus the avid Buddhist, believing he has to be in some special calm state for insight to arise, arranges his life in such a way. And this is setting one up to become disturbed if anything interrupts it.

    If one can learn to be interested in the present moment then nothing is really inimical to the arising of insight, it all becomes grain that is added to feed the growing insight. And that type of calm – if it comes with any insight is rather unshakeable.

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    User avatarrobertk
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    Re: Right effort and anatta
    Post by robertk » Thu May 21, 2020 4:49 pm

    sam vara: 5) The final one raises again the issue that some of us have talked about via Zoom. I can understand wanting to have clear theoretical understanding of the texts before committing to using effort. We want to make sure we are going in the right direction. But in everyday life, we make an effort, we do things, we bring about situations. If I make an effort to calm my mind because I think it is beneficial for me, how is that more “risky” in Dhammic terms than buying an ice-cream or choosing what to wear, or how to earn a living?
    It is risky because there is turning away from the present moment. Deep down one believes that there can’t be real understanding of the nature of uncalm mind or seeing or hearing or thinking. One is striving sure, but is ignoring these common realities rather than learning to see them as they are…

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