RobertK

RobertK

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  • #1115

    n dhamma-list@y…, robertkirkpatrick@r… wrote:
    — Dear David,
    Thanks. Comments below :

    I have also seen people (on other lists) be ego oriented about
    study of Abhidhamma (I study Abhidhamma). So I have been afraid to
    look
    at it (More ego) therefore avoidance.
    __________
    Right. Well the fact is some people do get conceited about their
    knowledge of Abhidhamma.
    The thing is we are full of conceit and it doesn’t so much get
    bigger by studying a hard subject such as Abhidhamma – rather the
    innate conceit takes Abhidhamma as an object.
    It is not right for one who studies correctly to keep on with their
    conceited ways, though. If so they are not sincere, they are just
    having book learning and they are almost insulting the Dhamma with
    such behaviour.
    _______

    For whatever reason forest tradition has always attracted me. Tan
    Achaan
    Chah was once asked if he had his students study Abhidhamma. He
    said, “of
    course.” Then he was asked, “what books on Abhidhamma do you
    recomended
    to start with?” “Only here,” as he pointed to his heart.
    ___________
    With due respect to Acharn Cha – and perhaps it was just an off-hand
    comment that has been seized on by some of his students, I don’t know-
    I think this is not a wise thing to say.
    We have been ‘looking into our own “heart” since beginningless time.
    It is only by learning the Buddha’s Dhamma – which goes utterly
    against the flow of deeply held ‘commonsense’ ideas that profound
    insight develops.
    In the Intro. to the Vibhanga(Abhidhamma pitaka) (Pali text society)
    Iggelden writes
    “It is all very well to say ‘I know what needs to be done to break
    the continuity of rebirth and death’. In fact very few people know of
    even the most elementary reasons for the continuity of process, let
    alone of breaking it. It is the detailed description, analysis and
    reasons given for this cyclic process that the scriptures spend so
    much care in putting before us.
    It is all very well to say ‘What do I want to know all these
    definitions of terms for, it only clutters the mind?’The question is,
    though, how many people when they seriously ask themselves as to the
    extent and range of some such apparently simple terms as greed,
    hatred and ignorance, can know their full and proper implications and
    manifestations within their own thoughts and actions..This the
    scriptures are at pains to make clear to even the dullest
    reader..”Endquote. He goes on in a similar vein for pages.

    The Dhamma is above all for practising; but if practice is not
    informed by correct theory one is likely to follow paths that come to
    deadends. One might not even know one has been following the wrong
    way. One might even think they have now fathomed the matter and
    take ‘wrong release’ for the real thing.
    I wrote most of this for other readers, David, as I know you see the
    advantage of study already.
    best wishes
    robert
    — End forwarded message —

  • #1068

    The Expositor (Atthasalini). B Commentary On The Dhammasangani The First Book Of The Abhidhamma Pitaka. Translated by Pe Maung Tin. pp. 35-38,

    Thus as rehearsed at the Council, the Abhidhamma is a Pitaka by Pitaka-classification, Khuddaka-Nikaya by Nikaya-classification, [28] Veyyakarana by Part-classification and constitutes two or three thousand units of text by the classification of textual units. One of those bhikkhus who studied the Abhidhamma once sat in the midst of bhikkhus who knew all the five Nikayas, and quoting the text (sutta) from the Abhidhamma taught the Doctrine thus:

    [Preacher] ‘The aggregate of matter is unmoral; of the four (mental) aggregates some are moral, some immoral, and some unmoral. Ten sense-organs are unmoral; the (remaining) two sense-organs may be moral, immoral, or unmoral. Sixteen elements are unmoral; the (remaining) two elements may be moral, immoral, or unmoral. The Fact of the Origination of ill is immoral; the Fact of the Path is moral; the Fact of Cessation is unmoral; the Fact of ill may be moral, immoral, or unmoral. Ten controlling powers are unmoral; the controlling power of grief is immoral; the controlling power of (intellect which prompts and inspires us)—“I shall come to know the unknown”—is moral; four controlling powers may be moral or unmoral; six controlling powers may be moral, immoral or unmoral.’

    A bhikkhu, seated there, asked,

    ‘Preacher, you quote a long text as though you were going to encircle Mount Sineru; what text is it?’

    [Preacher] ‘Abhidhamma text, brother.’

    [Bhikkhu] ‘Why do you quote the Abhidhamma text ? Does it not behove you to quote other texts spoken by the Buddha?’

    (Preacher) ‘ Brother, by whom was the Abhidhamma taught?’

    [Bhikkhu] ‘Not by the Buddha.’

    (Preacher) ‘But did you, brother, study the Vinaya-Pitaka ?’

    [Bhikkhu] ‘No, brother, I did not.’

    (Preacher) ‘Methinks, because you have not studied the Vinaya-Pitaka, you say so in ignorance.’

    [Bhikkhu] ‘I have, indeed, brother, studied some Vinaya.’

    (Preacher) ‘Then that has been badly acquired. You must have been seated at one end of the assembly and dozing. A person who leaves the world under such teachers as yourself to give the Refuge-formula, or a person who receives the full ordination under a chapter of such teachers as yourself, who have badly studied the Vinaya, does amiss. And why ? Because of this badly “studying some Vinaya.” For it has been said by the Buddha:1 “ If without any intention of reviling the Vinaya one were to instigate another, saying, Pray study the Suttas or Gath as or Abhidhamma first and afterwards you will learn the Vinaya—-there is no offence in him.” (Again, in the Bhikkhuni Vibhanga:2 “A bhikkhuni is guilty of a minor offence) if she questions on the Abhidhamma or Vinaya after getting permission (to question) on the Suttanta, or on the Suttanta or Vinaya after getting permission (to question) on the Abhidhamma, or on the Suttanta or Abhidhamma after getting permission (to question) on the Vinaya.” But you do not know even that much.” 3

    With so much refutation was the heretic put down. The Mahdgosinga Sutta is even a stronger authority (to show that the Abhidhamma is the Buddha’s word). For therein when Sariputta, the Generalissimo of the Law, approached the Teacher to inform him of the reciprocal questions and answers that took place between Mahamoggallana and himself, and told how the former had answered, (the Master said) [29] ‘Brother Sariputta, in the religion the talk of two bhikkhus on the Abhidhamma, each asking and answering the other without faltering, is in accord with the Dhamma. Now such a bhikkhu, brother Sariputta, might enhance the beauty of the Gosinga Sala Forest.’4 The Teacher, far from saying that bhikkhus, who knew Abhidhamma, were outside his religion, lifted his drum-like neck and filling (with breath) his mouth, fraught as the full-moon with blessings, emitted his godlike voice congratulating Moggallana thus: ‘Well done, well done, Sariputta ! One should answer rightly as Moggallana has done; Moggallana is indeed a preacher of the Dhamma.’ And tradition has it that those bhikkhus only who know Abhidhamma are true preachers of the Dhamma; the rest, though they speak on the Dhamma, are not preachers thereof. And why? They, in speaking on the Dhamma, confuse the different kinds of Kamma and of its results, the distinction between mind and matter, and the different kinds of states. The students of Abhidhamma do not thus get confused; hence a bhikkhu who knows Abhidhamma, whether he preaches the Dhamma or not, will be able to answer questions whenever asked. He alone, therefore, is a true preacher of the Dhamma.

  • #911

    ORIGINAL PAPERMeditation Maps, Attainment Claims,and the Adversities of MindfulnessBhikkhu Anālayo1#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020AbstractA case study of the descriptions of the progress of Buddhist insight meditation provided by Daniel Ingram shows how aforceful form of mindfulness combined with high-speed mental noting can result in the construction of meditativeexperiences to accord with expectations created by maps of the progress of insight, culminating in claims to havingreached levels of awakening. The potential impact of personal bias evident in this way reveals challenges faced by thoseresearching meditative practices and cautions against overvaluing subjective reports by yogis. In particular, potentiallyadverse effects of mindfulness practices in the health care setting need to be placed into proper perspective, as thecontention that even those who do not engage in deep and intensive insight meditation can suffer from repercussionspotentially resulting from undergoing the insight knowledges is not accurate. Progress in research on mindfulnessrequires the sobriety of evaluating meditative experiences within their context, be it psychological, doctrinal, cultural,or social, in order to arrive at balanced assessments that avoid the two extremes of uncritical enthusiasm and exaggeratedapprehensions.Keywords Adversitiesofmindfulness.Arahant.Awakening.DanielIngram.Insightknowledges.Meditationmaps.vipassanāA point of convergence between early Buddhist thoughtand contemporary psychology is a recognition of theconstructed nature of experience. In order to counterthe mind’s ingrained tendency to make experience con-form to subjective biases and expectations, from theviewpoint of early Buddhist thought, the cultivation of“ bare awareness” can offer substantial support (Anālayo2019b). This requires in particular a non-interfering typeof mindfulness.Mindfulness as such can collaborate with a range ofdifferent m ental factors and qualities. For this reason, itcan also be employed in ways that rather lead to a con-struction of experience. This possibility can be c onve-niently illustrated with the help of a case study of theprogress of insight meditation described in Ingram (2008/2018).Historical BackgroundBefore embarking on the actual case study, a brief look at fourdevelopments in the Theravāda tradition is required to set thehistorical background. The first of these four has its begin-nings already during the period of the formation of the canon-ical Abhidharma collection and thus at a time not too farremoved from early Buddhism. The development in questionconcerns a redefinition of mindfulness in the Theravāda tradi-tion, involving a shift from a more openly receptive type ofqu ality, described in the early disco urses, to the idea thatmindfulness is much rather a quality that plunges into its ob-jects (Anālayo2019a). This notion can invest the cultivationof mindfulness in some strands of Theravāda insight medita-tion with confrontational and at times even quite forcefulnuances.Another relevant development emerged subsequent to theclosure of the canonical Abhidharma collections. This is thetheory of momentariness, according to which anything willdisappear as soon as it has arisen (von Rospatt1995). Thisidea, held by a range of Buddhist traditions, acquired particu-lar prominence in Theravāda conceptualizations of insightmeditation. The spread of such insight meditation originated* Bhikkhu Anālayo1Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, 149

    Lockwood Road, Barre, MA,USA

    ideology among Burmese lay people in order to counter the disintegrating influence of the British colonial rule and its Christian missionaries (Braun 2013). The period subsequent to the closure of the canonical Abhidharma also saw the full evolution of the scheme of insight knowledges, presenting a map of a meditator’s progress in liberating insight. This map basically builds on a progression through insight into the three characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not self, already found in the early discourses (Anālayo 2012). The scheme of insight knowledges gives particular prominence to the disappearance and dissolution of phenomena. Telling in this respect is the designation of fear and dread as one of these insight knowledges (Anālayo 2019c). Unsettling and even terrifying experiences can thereby easily come to be viewed as necessary ordeals to be endured in order to progress to awakening. A notion of comparatively more recent origin concerns the so-called vipassanā-jhānas, “insight absorptions,” which refer to stages of insight meditation. The basic idea behind this usage appears to have had its origin in the last century in a polemic move by Mahāsi Sayādaw, a chief proponent of insight meditation. This usage seems to have been intended to counter criticism of the Mahāsi tradition’s approach to insight meditation for not according importance to the cultivation of concentrative absorption (Anālayo 2020). The success of this polemic move appears to have triggered a widespread redefinition of the very notion of absorption in a such way that the term can be applied to states of relatively shallow concentration. These four developments are to some degree interrelated. It seems fair to assume that understanding mindfulness as a plunging into the objects of the mind naturally relates to an interest in more precise maps of the progress of insight, rather than emphasizing that practitioners should just watch a natural unfolding. The theory of momentariness would have led to an emphasis on the disappearance of phenomena and its result in arousing fear in the scheme of insight knowledges. The idea of the insight absorptions in turn would have supported a tendency to consider this scheme as an exhaustive account of the meditative cultivation required for progress to awakening. The combined result of these four developments needs to be kept in mind as the background against which the case study unfolds. The First Insight Knowledge The description of insight meditation by Ingram (2008/2018), the case taken up for study in this article, gives considerable room to the scheme of the insight knowledges as an exhaustive account of progress to awakening. For the Theravāda tradition in general, the authoritative exposition of the insight knowledges can be found in Buddhaghosa’s fifth-century manual of meditation theory, the Visuddhimagga. The first of the insight knowledges concerns the “knowledge of delimitating mind and matter” (nāmarūpaparicchedañāṇa; literally “knowledge of name and form”), whose central purpose is to prepare the ground for the growth of insight by dismantling any notion of a substantial self or soul. Achieving this purpose requires first of all clearly discerning mental from physical aspects of subjective experience, and then apprehending their conditional interrelationship with the second of the insight knowledges. The Visuddhimagga illustrates the effect of the first insight knowledge of delimitating mind and matter with the example of understanding that a drum is different from the sound it produces: It is just like sound that occurs in dependence on a drum being hit with a stick, the drum is one and the sound is another, the drum and the sound are not mixed together. In the same way, materiality is one and mentality is another, mentality and materiality are not mixed together. (Vism 595: yathā ca daṇḍābhihataṃ bheriṃ nissāya sadde pavattamāne aññā bherī añño saddo, bherisaddā asamissā … evam eva … aññaṃ rūpaṃ aññaṃ nāmaṃ, nāmarūpā asamissā). Ingram (2008/2018, p. 198) considered this insight knowledge to be “a pleasant, clear, and unitive-feeling state.” Due to going through this first insight knowledge, “we may feel more alive and connected to the world. For some it may hit with unusual force, filling them with a great sense of unity or universal consciousness.” Yet, the insight knowledge of delimitating mind and matter in the way described in the Visuddhimagga is about deconstructing the sense of compactness rather than establishing it. Another simile in the same work illustrates this insight knowledge with the example of cutting through something with a knife and thereby splitting it apart (Vism 593). It concerns a splitting up of experience in order to establish a clearcut body-mind duality, by way of setting apart its mental and physical dimensions. This is the opposite of experiencing a great sense of unity. The reversal in meaning evident in this way between the presentations by Daniel Ingram and the understanding of this particular insight knowledge in normative Theravāda meditation theory might have occurred due to the influence of the notion of insight absorptions. In fact, Ingram (p. 198) identified this insight knowledge with the first insight absorption, which he believes to be very close in nature to absorption attainment of the tranquility type. Overall, the scheme

    nsight absorptions plays a considerable role in his presenta-tion, evident from the following statement:The vipassana jhana [insight absorption] model can re-ally help people line up experiences across objects, tra-ditions, and practitioners, as they get to the commonground of spiritual terrain in a more fundamental waythan the ñanas [insight knowledges] may allow (p. 284).Overall, his presentation appears to rely more on the insightabsorptions than on the traditional account of the insightknowledges. Evidently unaware of the polemic origin of thenotion of insight absorptions, Ingram (p. 147) attributed theirdetailed exposition to U Paṇḍita Sayādaw, a teacher in thetradition established by Mahāsi Sayādaw.According to Ingram (p. 279), the basic ide a of insight ab-sorptions is already evident in the early discourses. His proposalrelies in particul ar on a popular mis interpre tation o f theAnupada-sutta (MN 1 1 1). Briefly stated, the discourse describescontemplating the emerging, persisting, and disappearing ofmental factors characteristic of an absorption. The popular inter-pretation holds that this reflects insight meditation, in the sense ofcontemplating the impermanent nature of mental factors whilebeing immersed in a state of absorption. Yet, because being in anabsorption requires the stable establishment of these factors, it isnot possible for these to emerg e or disappear while the absorptionpersists. Hence, contemplation of the emergence or disappear -ance of these factors can only take place either just before enter -ing absorption or else immediately afterward (Anālayo2017b).This was already clarified long ago by Vetter (1988, p. 69), whopointed out that “it is certainly not possible to observe … thedisappearance of these qualities in any of these states [i.e., theabsorptions], because they are constituted by these qualities.”Other Insight KnowledgesThe knowledge of rise and fall (udayabbayañāṇa), another ofthe insight knowledges, involves a penetrative insight intoimpermanence. A central function of this insight is the arous-ing of dispassion. Example s for this patte rn can be foundalready among the early discourses:Monastics, cultivating and making much of the percep-tion of impermanence removes all sensual lust.(SN 22.102: aniccasaññā, bhikkhave, bhāvitābahulīkatā sabbaṃ kāmarāgaṃ pariyādiyati).Cultivating and making much of the perception of im-permanence enables removing all sensual craving.(SĀ 270:無常想修習, 多修習, 能斷一切欲愛).According to Ingram (2008/2018, p. 208), however,hypersexual ways of looking at the world and people arecommon in this territory. It is the stage most prone tocreating vipassana romances … heightened libido andincreases in sexual ability may be noticed during thisstage. Affairs with other meditators, teachers, and othertypes of people become more likely … strong sensual orsexual dreams are also common at this stage.In this way, according to Daniel Ingram’s description, thisinsight knowledge can even “increase the temptation to in-dulge in all manner of hedonistic delights, particularly sub-stances and sex … craving chocolate, wanting to go out andparty, etc.” Yet, from a normative Theravāda perspective, thethrust of this insight knowledge is rather toward dispassionand disenchantment as a logical consequence of seeing withinsight that everything is just made up of changing processes.The Visuddhimagga explains that progress from rise andfall to the next insight knowledge of dissolution(bhaṅgañāṇa) takes place when a meditator’s “knowledgeproceeds, having become keen,” such that “formations quick-ly become apparent” to the practitioner (Vism 640: ñāṇaṃtikkhaṃ hutvā vattati, saṅkhārā lahuṃ upaṭṭhahanti). Thisimplies a stage of undistracted meditation. According toIngram (2008/2018, p. 221), however, “ahallmarkofdissolu-tion is that it is suddenly hard to avoid getting lost in thoughtand fantasy when meditating.” This is clearly not what thisstage of insight stands for in Theravāda meditation theory.Witnessing the dissolution of formations then leads over tothe insight knowledge of fear (bhayañāṇa), described in thefollowing way by Buddhaghosa:At this stage, what is called the knowledge of the ap-pearance of fear arises to one who sees: “formations ofthe past have disappeared, those of the present aredisappearing, and formations to come into being in thefuture will disappear in the same way.”(Vism 645: tassa atītā saṅkhārā niruddhā,paccuppannā nirujjhanti, anā gatenibbattan akasa ṅ khārā pi evam eva nirujjhissantī tipassato etasmiṃṭhāne bhayatupaṭṭhānañāṇam nāmauppajjati).According to Ingram (2008/2018, p . 22 2), this i ns ightknowledge can take the following form: “Ihadafriendthathit this stage on a retreat in Asia at a center that was not veryaccommodating of his vegetarianism. He began to imaginethat he would suddenly die of starvation and so left the retreat.That is a very classic Fear stage behavior.” Yet, such appre-hensions do not require the previous development of insig

    food supplies inadequate to what are perceived to be one’s personal needs. The peak of the progress in insight comes with knowledge of equanimity toward formations (saṅkhārupekkhāñāṇa). According to the Visuddhimagga, The insight of this clansman who has now arrived at equanimity toward formations in this way has reached the peak and leads to emergence. (Vism 661: evaṃ adhigatasaṅkhārupekkhassa pana i m a ss a ku l a pu t ta s s a v ip a s sa n ā s i k hā p p a t t ā vuṭṭhānagāminī hoti). The whole development of insight reaches a culmination in this knowledge, which can lead over to the breakthrough to awakening, here referred to as “emergence.” Yet, according to Ingram (2008/2018, p. 245), “high equanimity can happen in many unexpected situations, such as … just doing ordinary things like watching TV.” This suggestion continues a tendency to conflate deep meditative insight with daily life situations, already evident in the instances surveyed above. In relation to the first three insight knowledges, for example, Ingram (p. 198) suggested that “the first three stages in particular commonly arise during daily life, as plenty of activities in daily life cultivate factors such as precise attention and concentration that are sufficient to generate these insights.” Such conflation shows the degree to which the proposed ideas differ from the traditional understanding of the insight knowledges, which are products of deep meditation in intensive retreat conditions, not something that happens when watching TV. The Dark Night The tendency to extract the insight knowledges from their original setting in Theravāda insight meditation is also evident in the assertion by Ingram (p. 195) that “St. John of the Cross’ Dark Night of the Soul does a good job of dealing with the most difficult of the insight stages.” In other words, the description offered by the famous Carmelite mystic is seen as corresponding to the progress of insight in Theravāda meditation. Perusal of St. John’s writing shows that he uses the expression “dark night” to designate a purgatory-like period imposed by God on a Christian contemplative, felt subjectively by the latter as a complete disruption of the inner connection established with God previously. The onset of this type of dark night can manifest in the loss of all the inspiration or joy earlier experienced when engaging in spiritual practices like prayer. All of these have suddenly become insipid and appear meaningless. St. John described the predicament of those who undergo the dark night as follows (Dark Night I.8.3): Not only do they not find satisfaction and pleasure in the spiritual things and good exercises in which they used to find their delight and pleasures, but instead of that and to the contrary, they find the said things distasteful and bitter. Because, as said earlier, God already feels that they have now grown up a bit; he weans them from his sweet chest and puts them down from his arms, in order to strengthen them so that they leave the swaddling cloth, and teaches them to walk on their own feet. (Silverio de Santa Teresa 1931, p. 375: no sólo no hallan jugo y gusto en las cosas espirituales y buenos ejercicios en que solían ellos hallar sus deleites y gustos, más en lugar de esto hallan por el contrario sinsabor y amargura en las dichas cosas; porque, como he dicho, sintiéndolas ya Dios aquí algo crecidillos, para que se fortalezcan y salgan de mantillas los desarrima del dulce pecho, y abajándolos de sus brazos, los veza a andar por sus pies; the translation is based on following a suggestion by the editor to understand veza here as conveying the sense enseña). The idea of walking on one’s own feet does not intend to convey that the Christian contemplative should now become active. In fact, St. John emphasized that there is no agency at all on the side of the soul in the dark night (Dark Night II.8.1): God is the one who here goes about passively doing work in the soul, wherefore [the soul] cannot do anything. (Silverio de Santa Teresa 1931, p. 419: Dios es el que anda aquí haciendo pasivamente la obra en el alma; por eso ella no puede nada). This is the case to such an extent that a soul undergoing the dark night is bereft of understanding, memory, and will power, thereby left with only faith to rely on (Dark Night II.4.1): In poverty and abandonment, separated from all the understandings of my soul, that is, in the darkness of my intellect, the distress of my will, and the affliction and anguish as regards my memory, I was left in the darkness of pure faith. (Silverio de Santa Teresa 1931, p. 405: en pobreza, desamparo y desarrimo de todas las aprensiones de mi alma, esto es, en oscuridad de mi entendimien

    prieto de mi voluntad, en aflicción y angustia acera de la memoria, dejándome a oscuras en pura fe). This is different from progress through the insight knowledges, which do not accord a role to God and require intellect, will, and memory rather than being based on faith only. Already the onset of such progress requires deconstructing the notion of a permanent soul, whose non-existence is confirmed with the arrival at stream entry. This prevents simply equating the path of contemplation taught by St. John with the scheme of insight knowledges taught by Buddhaghosa. A comparison of the contemplative paths described by St. John and Buddhaghosa does indeed reveal at times substantial differences (Feldmeier 2006). Needless to say, similarities are of course also evident, in particular in relation to morality and also in regard to the cultivation of concentration (Harris 2018). This much equally holds for the closely related works of St. Teresa of Ávila (Cousins 1995; Millet 2019). But the cultivation of insight in the way described in Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga is substantially different from the path descriptions offered by Carmelite mystics. In fact, even the promotion by Meadow et al. (1994/2007) of Theravāda insight meditation as appropriate for Christian practitioners wishing to follow the path of St. John of the Cross, an idea involving an overstating of similarities and a disregarding of differences, does not go so far as to suggest that the insight knowledges are inherently part of St. John’s path. Such a position is too divergent from his actual writings to be seriously upheld. St. John’s Dark Night is not only a misfit for the traditional scheme of insight knowledges but also for Daniel Ingram’s version of the progress of insight, as a state of being hypersexed has no place at all in St. John’s writing. Yet, Ingram (2008/2018, p. 211) considered St. John to be of such central relevance to his purposes that he employed the term “dark night” for the more challenging insight knowledges as “what is called the ‘Knowledges of Suffering’ or ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ (to use St. John of the Cross’s terminology, which has such a nice ring to it).” The reference to using St. John’s terminology is of further interest, as the expression “dark night of the soul” does not occur at all in any of his works. It is only after his death that, in the process of editing his writings, chapter headings and brief chapter summaries were introduced. In the context of this editorial undertaking, the header for the first chapter of the second book of the Dark Night received the title “dark night of the spirit” (la noche oscura del espíritu). This expression would have provided the starting point for the popular usage of the term “dark night of the soul,” the absence of which in the actual writings of St. John naturally strikes anyone who actually reads his works. This in itself rather minor point shows that Daniel Ingram’s assertions about St. John are not based on an actual acquaintance with the latter’s writings. In other words, Daniel Ingram here seems to be quite ready to make confident assertions that on inspection turn out to be spurious. Stream Entry Another dimension of the same tendency to make bold claims that do not hold up on closer scrutiny emerges with Daniel Ingram’s contention to have himself reached all the levels of awakening recognized in early Buddhist and Theravāda doctrine. In line with his tendency to conflate deep meditative experiences with daily life, Ingram (p. 444) presented the following account of his own experience of the insight knowledge of rise and fall when, as a child and being asleep, he had the following dream: Far down the road appeared a cloud of grey dust, and suddenly emerging from that dust cloud was a huge black horse ridden by a huge witch dressed in black. She pulled out a wand and pointed it at us, and a blinding bolt of white light flew from the wand and my entire world exploded into fragments flying around the room where I had been sleeping. In this way, a child’s nightmare becomes an insight knowledge and thereby fulfills the necessary preparatory function for the eventual attainment of stream entry, the first of the four levels of awakening. Other insight knowledges receive a similar treatment. The second knowledge of discerning causality (paccayapariggahañāṇa), for example, supposedly arose when having jerky steps while hiking as a boy scout, and the insight knowledge of comprehension (sammasanañāṇa) manifested with tense shoulders due to the strain of the long hike. The correlations established in this way provide another opportunity for unwarranted generalizations, in this case by way of being related to the experience of soldiers during long marches. This generalization then leads to the odd query of “how much of PTSD-related [post-traumatic stress disorder] disability and suicides are in some ways related to Dark Night territory.” With progress through the insight knowledges already accounted for through childhood experiences, Ingram (p. 472) then offered the following account of his stream entry: There was this little, vivid, fantasy-like daydream that showed up as I just sat there doing basically nothing. In it, I was imagining that there was this gerbil on a gerbil wheel, and that this gerbil was both a meditator trying to get somewhere and yet also God, and yet God was watching the gerbil that was God. Suddenly, the gerbil-God and the Big God who just happened t

    hat seemed to be subject looked at each other, they recognized in this instant they were the same thing, or that their awareness was the same, and in that moment the “observing” side collapsed totally into the eyes of the little God-gerbil (specifically, the no-self door, which you probably already guessed), everything vanished, everything reappeared, and then the aftershocks following stream entry started coming. Once again, a dream comes to be viewed as a deep meditative attainment. The repercussions of this attainment then took the following form: “the most barking crazy I ever felt during my whole practice history was during the three or so hours … after my first Fruition [i.e. experience of stream entry], though luckily from the outset I just looked pissed off” (p. 273). Not only that, but “after stream entry I was a totally arrogant and possibly insufferable brat for a few months” (p. 277). In this way, “for the next few weeks, I, the great stream enterer, managed to alienate almost every individual who had the misfortune to speak with me for any length of time” (p. 475). The meditation teacher referred to by Daniel Ingram repeatedly in his book, apparently considered by him to be the central authority for his approach to insight meditation, refused to accept his claim to have reached the first level of awakening, as he “believed that I was completely delusional” (p. 478). Awakening and Freedom from Defilements Undeterred by the lack of recognition by this and also by other teachers, Daniel Ingram kept viewing himself as progressing further and further along the path to full awakening. In relation to reaching the third level of awakening, with which according to the traditional account one becomes a non-returner (anāgāmin), a problem manifested: “the theory says that anagamis feel no lust, but I certainly felt lust … that anagamis are unable to become angry, but I could” (p. 490). Faced with this problem, Daniel Ingram went in search of teachings that could better accommodate his subjective beliefs: “I started reading more books, poring through them to get a sense of ‘where I was’” (p. 490). Eventually: Vajrayana teachings … had the profound effect of largely liberating me from the ideals related to eliminating the negative emotions … my ideals based on the Theravada had been largely shattered by that point, as their traditional models simply did not line up well enough with my experience anymore to make any sense to me (p. 495). Daniel Ingram is of course perfectly free to adopt Vajrayāna teachings. But such teachings are the result of a historical development during which the aim of practice shifted from the goal of becoming an arahant to the aspiration to become a Buddha. Therefore, these teaching cannot be used to authenticate Theravāda stages of awakening. Yet, Daniel Ingram titled his book “mastering the core teachings of the Buddha” and introduced himself on its cover as “the arahant Daniel M. Ingram.” The eradication of defilements is the core teaching of the Buddha, and the Pāli term “arahant” designates those who have accomplished such eradication. This is the case to such an extent that the discourses identify Nirvana and the arahant with complete freedom from defilements: “Friend Sāriputta, one speaks of ‘Nirvana,’ ‘Nirvana.’ Friend, now what is Nirvana?” [Sāriputta replied]: “Friend, the eradication of lust, the eradication of anger, and the eradication of delusion: this is called Nirvana.” (SN 38.1: nibbānaṃ, nibbānan ti, āvuso sāriputta, vuccati. katamaṃ nu kho, āvuso, nibbānan ti? yo kho, āvuso, rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo, idaṃ vuccati nibbānan ti). “Regarding Nirvana, what is Nirvana?” Sāriputta said: “Nirvana is the complete eradication of sensual lust, the complete eradication of anger, the complete eradication of delusion, and the complete eradication of all vexations: this is called Nirvana. (SĀ 490: 謂涅槃者, 云何為涅槃? 舍利弗言: 涅槃者, 貪欲 永盡, 瞋恚永盡, 愚癡永盡, 一切諸煩惱永盡, 是名涅槃). This leads on to the related question about what makes one an arahant, which receives precisely the same answer, in that it is the complete extinction of lust, hate, and delusion that makes one an arahant. Friend, the eradication of lust, the eradication of anger, and the eradication of delusion: this is called the state of being an arahant. (SN 38.2: yo kho, āvuso, rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo, idaṃ vuccati arahattan ti; whereas the Pāli collection has this as a subsequent discourse, in the Chinese collection the same material is organized as a single discourse). Sensual lust having been removed without remainder, anger and delusion having been removed without remainder: this is called being an arahant. (SĀ 490: 貪欲已斷無餘, 瞋恚, 愚癡已斷無餘, 是名阿羅漢). Rather than considering that his assessment of his own progress could be mistaken, Ingram (2008/2018, p. 332) arrived at the following assessment of Theravāda (and early Buddhist) doctrin

    ts maps of enlightenment still contain a hefty helping of scary market-driven propaganda and so much garbage that is life-denying, dangerously out of touch with what happens, and an impediment to practice for millions of people. That the enlightened lineage holders of the modern Theravada and their ex-monk and ex-nun Western counterparts do not have the guts to stand up and say, “We are deeply sorry that for 2,500 years, many of our predecessors perpetuated this craziness to put food in their bowls and fool ignorant peasants so that they might be supported in their other useful work, and we vow to do better!” is a crying shame. In this way, the cognitive dissonance of evidence contrary to his belief in his own superior status triggers derogatory comments and deprecating insinuations. The impact of a complete reliance on his own subjective beliefs, to the extent of assuming that those who disagree must just be dishonest, is similarly evident in other statements: The traditional Theravada models contain numerous statements that are simply wrong about what an awakened being cannot do or will do. My favorite examples of this include statements that arahants cannot break the precepts (including killing, lying, stealing, having sex, doing drugs, or drinking), cannot become sexually aroused … Needless to say, all are simply absurd lies (p. 356). There are those who are “technically” awakened, who nonetheless can appear exceedingly ordinary, seem to be of distinctly questionable character, disposition, and moral virtue, or seem sometimes downright debauched, nasty, and insufferable (p. 358). When some old monk with pudendal nerve damage (from extensive sitting), low testosterone, neuropathy from diabetes due to a rice-heavy diet with little exercise, and pudendal vascular disease finally cannot get an erection anymore, does that mean that all awakened men cannot get erections (p. 377)? The early discourses are quite explicit about the inability of male and female arahants to engage in sexual intercourse, due to the degree of mental purity reached and not related to any physical disability. It would hardly have made sense for the Buddha to found a monastic order if celibacy was not considered a central aspect of the path to the final goal, let alone of having reached that goal. The inability of arahants to engage in sex is quite explicitly stated in the following passages: A monastic who is an arahant, with influxes eradicated, is incapable of engaging in sexual intercourse. (DN 29: abhabbo khīṇāsavo bhikkhu methunaṃ dhammaṃ paṭisevituṃ). A monastic who is an arahant, with influxes eradicated, is incapable … of not being celibate and engaging in sexual intercourse. (DiSimone 2020, p. 212: abh(av)yo ’rhadbhikṣuḥ kṣīṇāsravaḥ … abrahmacaryaṃ maithunaṃ dharmaṃ pratisevituṃ). A monastic who has eradicated the influxes and is an arahant … does not engage in sexual intercourse. (DĀ 17: 比丘漏盡阿羅漢 … 不婬). The apparent impact of cognitive dissonance also seems to have led Ingram (2008/2018, p. 413) to envision his own position as a justified revision of harmful ideas: Models of realization that involve high ideals of human perfection have caused so much dejection, despair, and misguided efforts throughout the ages that I have no qualms about doing my best to try to smash them to pieces on the sharp rocks of reality. Yet, the true rocks of reality are rather to be found in awareness of the presence of defilements in one’s own mind. Such awareness can serve to demolish unfounded claims to having become an arahant. It is the decoupling of the final goal from freedom from defilements that is harmful, as this can indeed cause much dejection and despair, something fairly evident whenever this has happened. For someone who has evidently not reached a level of awakening himself to disbelieve the possibility of reaching awakening is in itself not surprising. A simile from the discourses illustrates such confusion with the example of congenitally blind persons who claim that there cannot be any colors as they have never seen any (DN 23, DĀ 7, MĀ 71, T 45; Anālayo 2017a, p. 306). But to go to the extreme of vituperation against the very notion of awakening as involving a purification of the mind is rather remarkable. Construction of Meditative Experience The insight meditation practice leading to the claims surveyed above consists basically of noting sensations, which according to Ingram (2008/2018, p. 45) “should be as consistent and continuous as possible, perhaps one to five times per second

    high-speed noting is based on the conception of mindfulness as plunging into its objects, mentioned at the outset of this article. Ingram (p. 48) illustrated the nature of such mindfulness with the example of shooting aliens in a video game. The impact of the tendency to construct meditative experience becomes evident in the report that he “spent hundreds of hours of practice time over a few years doing what I call slamshifting ñanas and jhanas” (p. 481), in the sense that he would train himself to call up at will any of the experiences considered by him to be insight knowledges or insight absorptions. Ingram (p. 483) proclaimed that to do so “shows rare meditative competence,” in fact, “those who can do this are the true supertasters of the meditation world.” Particularly telling is his conclusion that “one of the remarkable things about this sort of training is realizing that any mind state or perceptual mode we find ourselves in is rapidly modifiable to something else by the mere inclination to do so.” This helps explain in what way his meditation practice would have resulted in the mistaken claims surveyed above. Fast noting can easily proceed from noting what has just appeared, to what is just appearing, to what is just about to appear, to what one expects to be just about to appear. From this point onward, the act of noting can actually serve to create experience, even without the practitioner consciously noting that (pun intended). Combined with an aggressive type of mindfulness that is comparable with shooting aliens, such practice can turn into a construction of meditative experiences rather than being an insightful observation of what happens naturally. Due to the mind being so busy noting in quick succession, the construction of meditative experience to conform to supposed insight knowledges and even levels of awakening will not be noticed. Having trained oneself to create these experiences during formal meditation, the same easily continues during daily life. This explains the idea that the insight knowledges can be experienced in any situation, even when watching tv. In this way, Daniel Ingram appears to have been misled by the idea of insight absorptions into creating for himself an inaccurate map of the insight knowledges, which in turn has served as a script for his meditation practice. He seems to have successfully trained himself in enacting the stages of his own model in practice, learning to cycle through the series until reaching a “drop out” experience of some kind, which is then conceptualized as either being a re-experience of a level of awakening already attained or else the realization of the next level. The degree of inner dissociation that can result from employing the noting technique confirms the subjective impression of having reached deep realization. At the same time, due to the constructed and ultimately fictitious nature of the resultant meditation experiences, genuine and lasting transformation does not take place. As the roots of defilement are left intact in the mind, the conceit of having reached deep realizations leads to dismissing the truly liberating dimensions of Buddhist insight meditation. The meditative experiences constructed with the help of a self-made map serve as sufficient grounds to discard the entire insight tradition from early to contemporary Buddhism as fundamentally mistaken in their affirmation that defilements can be eradicated, to the extent of representing himself as one who smashes dishonest and harmful claims on the rocks of reality. Meditation Maps Central in this trajectory is an excessive concern with meditation maps. Ingram (p. 272) described the key characteristics of his own practice in this way: “I poured massive amounts of energy into practice … and care incredibly much about the maps.” In the case of his supposed stream entry, such incredible caring appears to have been largely responsible for the negative repercussions he experienced. According to his own account, the teacher Christopher Titmuss recommended he let things settle, but “instead of listening to Christopher, I listened to the map-side of the available advice … I powered myself deep into some amazing territory, and then trouble visited” (p. 473). Eventually, however, “I had the good fortune to get an interview with Joseph Goldstein. He said very little but did give me the excellent advice, ‘Nail down what you’ve got.’ Within a few weeks of relaxing and letting things settle” he was able to get on with his life (p. 476). Judging from the descriptions given, both Joseph Goldstein and Christopher Titmuss apparently wanted to help Daniel Ingram to cool down. His initial unwillingness to do so is in line with what he admits to be a recurrent pattern of resistance to teachers’ advice, when “map fixation prevented me from being able to hear or heed their wise words” (p. 491). Although his own descriptions give the impression that the difficulties he experienced were of his own making, in line with a tendency already evident in some of the material surveyed above, he blamed others: “despite my continued contact with senior meditation teachers, no one was willing to lay out the practical information that I needed desperately and which I present here” (p. 475). “Was I bitter? You bet I was. Am I still? Yeah, probably” (p. 476). In other words, from his viewpoint, the problem is not his excessive concern with maps. Instead, the problem is that he had not been given sufficiently detailed maps. Hence, he set out to provide as detailed a map as possible for others, ignoring the fact that providing such a map can easily lead others into the same trap into which he had maneuvered himself. The solution is not found in maps, but in seeing through the tendency to mistake mapsThe construction of meditative experience in accordance with maps is also evident in his report of how he attained the four absorptions and four immaterial attainments: I wanted to see what the jhanas [absorptions] were like. During one sit I resolved to have the jhanas present themselves, and sure enough, one after the other, all eight jhanas presented, easily, nearly effortlessly, each shifting after a few minutes to the next one (p. 473). The early discourses present absorption attainment as something requiring a high level of meditative expertise, to the extent that the Buddha himself underwent a sustained meditative struggle in order to master just the first absorption (Anālayo 2017b, 2019d, 2020). Clearly, the above description cannot be referring to genuine absorption attainment of the type described in the early discourses. In line with a tendency to generalize his subjective beliefs, Ingram (2008/2018, p. 194) came to see his maps as enshrining universal truths: “the maps are describing basic human development. These stages are not Buddhist, but universal.” In the case of the insight knowledge of delimitating mind and matter, for example, according to his assessment, “it is this early insight that provides the benefits of some of the shallow-end-of-the-pool techniques, such as MindfulnessBased Stress Reduction (MBSR)” (p. 198). Moreover, the insight knowledge of rise and fall “can happen off-retreat in daily life, spontaneously, without warning, in people who don’t think of themselves as meditators, and even in dreams and to young children” (p. 203). The reference to dreams and children apparently serves to authenticate his own personal childhood experiences. Ingram (p. 209) further asserted: I have many friends, family members, and acquaintances who ran into these stages without formal training and in daily life. I know others who ran into them when doing hallucinogens … others had them happen during yoga or tai chi practice. These assertions lack a grounding in reality and appear to be simply the result of the author being misled by his own obsession with maps into constructing fictitious meditative attainments and then needing to find ways to authenticate them. Daniel Ingram is of course free to call any experience he has by whatever name he wishes, be this an insight knowledge or a level of awakening. The point is only that the conclusions he presents pertain entirely to the realm of his own imagination; they have no value outside of it. The main problem here is that his rather strong claims are unfortunately taken seriously by some scholars and practitioners. Universalist Claims Based on his reasoning surveyed above, Ingram (p. 218) made the following assertions: I rarely pull out the physician card in this meditation business, but I am pulling it now and throwing it down hard on the table. As a physician and trained scientist, I know as undeniable fact that the cycles of insight are an innate part of human development, occur on a broad scale, and cause profound physiological and psychological effects in significant numbers of people. This assessment relates to the following: I dream that one day chiropractors, physiatrists, physicians, mid-level practitioners, and physical, occupational, and massage therapists will all be taught these stages in school so that they can recognize them and help people cultivate some of the internal techniques that can help (p. 201). I imagine that one day there will be training on the maps and basic generic, non-sectarian attentional, contemplative, and meditative development in elementary school, just as we learn about biology and math, such that it would be just another ordinary, accepted, standard part of human educational curricula. Then, everyone would know these stages for the ordinary, natural, human thing they are (p. 217). In line with a propensity to blame others, already evident in passages surveyed above, are the following statements: I must say that not telling practitioners about this territory from the beginning to give them a heads-up as to what might happen is so extremely irresponsible and negligent that I just want to spit and scream at those who perpetuate this warped culture of secrecy (p. 296). It seems only fair to have the same standards that we apply with such pronounced zeal and fervent litigation to drug companies and doctors also apply to meditation teachers and dharma books … in the spirit of professionalism, I call on others who promote the dharma to immediately adopt a similarly high standard of open disclosure (p. 297). The insight knowledges are described in considerable detail in the chief manual of Theravāda meditation already mentioned above, the Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa (translated by Ñāṇamoli 1991), and are similarly covered in a substantially later compendium, the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (translated by Bodhi 1993). They are explained in expositio
    ight at the outset of research into Buddhist meditation, attention was drawn to the insight knowledges by Kornfield (1979), followed by discussions by in Brown and Engler (1980) and Epstein and Lieff (1981). Instead of a culture of secrecy, information on the insight knowledges and their repercussions has been made available. The only new element is Daniel Ingram’s misinterpretation of the insight knowledges, leading to a detailed map that stands good chances to do more harm than good. In fact, the idea that these stages are secret lore does not concord particularly well with Daniel Ingram’s own claim that they are universal human experiences that anyone can have in daily life without even having meditated. If that had indeed been the case, it would hardly have been possible to keep them secret until now. Adversities of Mindfulness Although a good acquaintance with Buddhist doctrine would prevent a reader from taking Daniel Ingram’s description seriously, the same does not necessarily hold for those trained in psychology. Given his “pulling out the physician card” as a way of presenting his credentials as a physician, it is perhaps not surprising that his claims have been taken up by other scholars in the field. For example, Tart (2010, p. 30) approvi n g l y r e p r o d u c e d I n g r a m ’s “ m o d e l o f B u d d h i s t Enlightenment” as if this was based on a reliable and sound analysis. Simpson (2017, p. 59) reported that “Ingram cites examples of ‘people with decades of practice’ who ‘went out of their way to cause other people suffering quite intentionally’,” thereby endorsing, at least implicitly, Daniel Ingram’s dismissal of the ethical transformation that takes place with genuine practice. Barford (2018) in turn offered the following assessment: The negative effects of meditation are becoming more widely acknowledged within the meditation community. Daniel Ingram, a medical doctor and meditation teacher, was asked what in particular he thought meditation teachers were doing wrong. His reply was that they needed to warn novice meditators about the risks, provide more support and make these difficulties more widely known: “I wish it was taught in medical school and counsellors received training in this,” he said. Similar notions, although without explicit reference to Daniel Ingram, can be seen when Grabovac (2015, p. 590) reasoned that “some MBI participants may practice in a manner that is very close to traditional vipassana practice,” and when Compson (2018, p. 1366) proposed that “the process of meditative insight occurs whether one is practicing in a Buddhist framework or not.” Such assessments, although understandable in view of the precedent set by Daniel Ingram, are mistaken. A Christian mystic on the way to union with God, an insight meditator on the path to stream entry, and an MBSR student aiming at stress reduction and improved life quality should not be indiscriminately mixed up with each other. The Dark Night described by St. John is relevant to a Christian mystic and not to the cultivation of insight or a course in MBSR. The insight knowledges described by Buddhaghosa are relevant to a vipassanā meditator and not to a Christian mystic or a practitioner of MBSR, as neither involve the challenges that can arise in the Theravāda path of insight aimed at stream entry. In spite of some overlap, these three are doing distinct practices with different outcomes. For this reason, it is misleading if effects that might occur during deep insight meditation retreats are conflated with potential repercussions of daily life practice of MBSR and similar programs. The findings presented here are not meant to discourage research on adversities of meditation practices (which can easily result from the construction of detailed but mistaken maps and consequent reliance on these as a script for meditation practice). In general terms, as rightly pointed out by Lutkajtis (2018, p. 210), “the view of meditation as a panacea and a relaxation technique may also lead to the underreporting of adverse effects by meditators whose experiences do not match the perceived ideal outcomes.” To complement this presentation, however, it also needs to be noted that the impact of the type of agenda evident in the writings of Daniel Ingram could have a similar effect in the opposite direction, in the sense that promoting the view that meditation is inherently dangerous and even simple mindfulness practices are fraught with severe risks. Such ideas could lead to encouraging an overreporting of adverse effects by practitioners. In the end, all this points to the need to base assessments, be these positive or negative, on sound academic research rather than on unsubstantiated claims. The alleged dangers of mindfulness have been taken up quickly and willingly, showing a sensitivity in the field to potential draw backs. 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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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    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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  • #864

    word document

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  • #860

    In his commentary, Buddhaghosa eventually increases the life of the sāsana to 5,000 years. During the first 1,000 years, he says, there will be arahants with the four analytical knowledges. The next 1,000 years there will be “bare insight” arahants. The next 1,000 years there will be anāgāmin (non-returners). The next 1,000 years there will be sakadāgāmin (once returners) and the next 1,000 years there will be sotāpanna (stream enterers). Adding these figures together, we find that the paṭivedha (realization or penetration of the Dhamma) will last for 5,000 years.

    And the Puggala-Pannatti:
    1. What sort of person is quick in acquiring (Ugghàtitannu)?
    The person who comprehends the doctrine at the time of its pronouncement is said to be quick in acquiring.
    2. What sort of person learns by exposition (Vipancitannu)?
    The person to whom comprehension of the doctrine comes when the meaning of what is briefly uttered is analysed in detail.
    3. What sort of person is one who may be led (Neyya)?
    The person to whom comprehension of the doctrine comes by recitation, questioning, and earnest attention and by serving, cultivating and waiting upon lovely friends is one who may be led.
    4. What sort of person is one with whom the word is the chief thing (Padaparama)?
    The person to whom comprehension of doctrine would not come in this life, however much he may hear and say and bear in mind or recite, is said to be one with whom the word is the chief thing.

  • #859

    ore on why mastery of jhana is not required for developing the path.
    In the Commentary to the Susima sutta by Buddhaghosa it says
    Saratthappakasini (Atthakatha) :
    Why is this said? For the purpose
    of showing the arising of
    knowledge thus even without concentration.
    This is meant: “Susima, the path and fruit are not the issue of
    concentration (samadhinissanda), nor the advantage brought about by
    concentration (samadhi-anisamsa), nor the outcome of concentration
    (samadhinipphatti). They are the issue of insight (vipassana), the
    advantage brought about by insight, the outcome of insight.Therefore, whether you understand or not, first comes knowledge of
    the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbana.
    Spk-pt (tika): ‘Even without concentration’ (vina pi samadhim): even
    without
    previously established (concentration) that has acquired the
    characteristic of serenity (samatha-lakkhanappattam); this is said
    referring to one who takes the vehicle of insight
    (vipassanayanika)…”

  • #858

    we need to remember that the distinction between mundane and lokuttara jhana.
    Even the sukkavipassaka ( dry insight worker) has , for a moment) the lokuttara jhana.

    . There is always some degree of concentration.
    In the Atthasalini -I use The expositor PTS (translator : maung tin).
    P58. Triplets in the Matika
    “‘leading to accumulation’ are those states which go about severally arranging births and deaths in a round of of destiny like a bricklayer who arranges bricks, layer by layer in a wall.”

    “..leading to accumulation are those causes which by being accomplished go to, or lead a man, in whom they arise, to that round of rebirth

    It then defines these causes as “moral or immoral states”. i.e akusala AND kusala. It notes that the way leading to dispersion is the Ariyan path (eightfactored path). There is then several chapters (total of 140 pages) that gives much details about the various types of kusala (wholesome consciousness). The last two chapters in this section explain all the different types of “MUNDANE” Jhanas.

    The start of the next chapter is interesting: this is where it discusses the eight-fold path. The Discourse on LOKUTTARA (transcendental).


    He cultivates the Jhana means that he evolves, produces the ecstatic jhana of one momentary flash of consciousness. because it goes forth from the world, from the round of rebirths, this is jhana called going out…This is not like that which is known as ‘leading to accumulation’ which heaps up and increases rebirths by the moral(kusala) consciousness of the three planes
    [includes kusala such as giving as well as all levels of “mundane” jhana]”

  • #857

    Nina van gorkom translated part of a commentary:
    the commentary to Aane~njasappaaya sutta (MN 106) it is said:
    Uparipannasa-Atthakatha 4.67

    Samaapatti.m taava pada.t.thaana.m katvaa vipassana.m va.d.dhetvaa

    When he has made the attainment of jhana the proximate cause of
    insight and increased vipassana,

    arahatta.m ga.nhanto bhikkhu naava.m vaa u.lumpaadiini vaa nissaaya

    and he attains arahatship, the bhikkhu who is as it were depending
    on a boat or a raft

    mahogha.m taritvaa paara.m gacchanto viya na kilamati.

    crosses the great flood and reaches the other side, is not tired.
    ==========================

    The above is the path of the great ones of the past who attained
    arahatship using mundane jhana as basis. These are the highest type
    of arahant. Below is the path of the Sukkhavipassaka- the very
    lowest type of arahant.

    [
    QUOTE
    i]Sukkhavipassako pana paki.n.nakasa’nkhaare sammasitvaa arahatta.m
    ga.nhanto[/i]

    But the person with dry insight who has thoroughly known the
    particular conditioned dhamma and attains arahatship,

    baahubalena sota.m chinditvaa paara.m gacchanto viya kilamati.

    after he has as it were cut the stream with much force and reaches
    the other side, is tired.
    ___
    Bhikkhu Bodhi gives some other notes from the commentary of this
    sutta (M.106):

    In the sutta Ananda asks the Buddha, “a bhikkhu is practising
    thus: ‘If it were not it would be mine; it will not be and it will
    not be mine. What exists, what has come to be, that I am
    abandonding. Thus he attains equanimity. Venerable sir , does such a
    one attain Nibbana?.”……The note by bodhi (1021)from Majjima
    attahakatha, “Anandas question is intended to elicit from the Buddha
    an account of the practice of the dry-insight meditator
    (sukkhavipassaka) who attains arahatship without depending on a
    jhanic attainment.”

    Sutta “This is deathless, namely the liberation of mind through not
    clinging” note 1023 Majjhima atthakatha says that the arahstship of
    the dry- insight meditator (sukkhavipassaka) is intended.””
    ++++++++
    Robert

  • #856

    The Netti-pakarana (587):

    Tattha Bhagava tikkhindriyassa samatham upadassati, majjhindriyassa Bhagava samathavipassanam upadissati, mudindriyassa Bhagava vipassanam upadassati. Herein the Blessed one teaches samatha to one of keen faculties; The blessed one teaches samatha and insight to one of medium faculties and the blessed one teaches insight [alone] to one of blunt facultie

    s.

    Again in the Netti (746)it says that the Buddha teaches insight [alone] to one who is guidable (neyya) and teaches in detail to neyya. At this time (acording to the texts) there are only padaparama and neyya. Padaparama cannot attain in this life, although they can in future lives.. We – so the Theravada commentaries say- are either padaparama or neyya .

    Only the very wise ones with great accumulations could master jhana and use it as the base for insight: these tyoes no longer exist. Just consider the rather hilarious ideas we read about of people who think they have attained jhana( let alone mastery) .

  • #853

    here is the well known sutta about Susima – who was a sukkhavipassaka arahat , which doesn’t need to be repeated here.
    Another is
    Cakkhupala Thera 1.95:

    https://tipitaka.fandom.com/wiki/Thera_1.95:_Cakkhupala
    Adapted from the Archaic Translation by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.
    Commentary (Atthakatha) By Acariya Dhammapala
    Note: ‘C’ in Pali text is pronounced as ‘ch’ as in ‘China’.

    t
    95. Cakkhupāla
    He was reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī, as the son of a landed proprietor named Mahā-Suvaññā, and received the name of Pāla.[1] He was also called Pāla major, because his younger brother was called Pāla minor. And the parents bound the sons in domestic bonds. But the Lord(Buddha) came to the Jeta Grove, and there Pāla major heard him, and leaving his brother to manage the property entered the Monk’s order. After five years as novice initiate, he went with sixty bhikkhus(monks) to perfect his studies. And they chose a woodland spot near a border village, where the villagers were lay-followers, and he, living in a leaf-hut, practised the duties of a recluse monk.

    He was attacked by ophthalmia, and a doctor prescribed for him. But he did not follow the advice, and the disease grew worse. ‘Better,’ he thought, ‘is the allaying of the moral torments (kilesā) than that of eye-disease.’ Thus he neglected the latter and worked at his insight, so that eyes and torments perished at the same time. And he became a ‘dry-visioned’ arahant(enlightened).

    Now the village patrons asked the bhikkhus(monks) what had become of the Thera, and, hearing of his blindness, they [89] ministered to his wants full of guilt. Then those bhikkhus(monks) having also won arahantship(enlightenment), they proposed that they should return to Sāvatthito salute the Master; but the Thera said: ‘I am weak and blind, and the journey is not without risk. I should hinder you. Do you go first and salute for me the Lord(Buddha) and the great Theras, and tell Pāla minor of my state that he may send a servant to me.’ At length they consented to go, after taking leave of their patrons and providing him with a lodging. And they carried out his words, and Pāla minor sent his nephew Pālika. And the bhikkhus(monks) initiated Pālika into monkhood, because the road was not safe for a solitary layman. He went and announced himself to the Thera, and set out with him. Midway, near a village in the forest, a woodcutter’s wife was singing. And the novice was charmed by the sound, and, telling his uncle to wait, went and enjoyed with her. The Thera thought: ‘Now I heard a woman singing, and my novice stays long. Is he not evilly employed?’ The youth returned, saying: ‘Let us go, sir.’ And the Thera said: ‘What! have you been vile?’ The novice at length confessed, and the Thera said: ‘One so evil shall hold no staff for me. Get you hence!’ ‘But the way is perilous, and you are blind. How will you go?’ ‘Fool! even if I lie down and die, yet will I get on, but not with such as you.’ Then he uttered this verse:

    [95] Andhohaɱ hatanettosmi kantāraddhānapakkanto,||
    Sayamāno’pi gacchissaɱ na sahāyena pāpenā’ ti.|| ||

    [95] All blind am I and perished are mine eyes
    And through the jungle’s wilderness I move about.
    Even then I’ll go, and were it lying down,
    But not with child of evil as my mate.

    Then the other, conscious of his evil action, weeping with outstretched arms, plunged into the forest. But the efficacy of the Thera’s virtue made Sakka’s(King of gods, also called Indra) throne hot, and the god, in the shape of a man journeying to Sāvatthi, took his staff and brought him that evening to Sāvatthi to the Jeta Grove. And Pāla minor ministered to him all his days.

    [1] The full name means Eye-guardian, the father’s Great-golden. The story is given in somewhat ampler detail and slightly varied diction in the Dhammapada Commentary on the opening verses of that anthology. Pronounced Chakkhu-.

    [2] See Compendium, p. 75.

    1.10-5 [95] Commentary on the stanza of Cakkhupālatthera
    The stanza starting with Andho’haṃ hatanetto’smi constitutues that of the thera Cakkhupāla. What is the origin? He also, having done devoted deeds of service toward former Buddhas, doing meritorious deeds in this and that existence, was reborn in a family home, at the time of the Blessed One Suddhattha. On having attained the age of intelligence, when the Blessed One had entered parinibbāna, he reverentially offered (pūjesi) to the shrine, after having collected the (asure) flower of flax (umā) when the shrine festival (maha) was being held. On account of that act of merit, he was reborn in the divine world, and having done meritorious deeds, now and then, he wandered about his rounds of repeated rebirths, and was reborn as the son of an estate owner (kuṭumbika) named Mahāsuvanna, in Sāvatthi, when this Buddha arose. They gave him the name Pāla. At the time when he could run about his mother gained another son. His mother and father made his name as Cūḷapāla and they called (vohariṃsu) the other (itaraṃ) as Mahāpāla. Later on, when they had come of age (their parants) bound them down with the tie of household life (gharavandhana). On that occasion the Master resided at the Jetavana (monastery) in Sāvatthi. There, Mahāpāla went to the monastery in the company of the devotees who were on their way to Jetavana, listened to the truth (dhamma) in the presence of the Master, aptly gained pious faith, shifted the responsibility (bhāra) of his estate (kuṭumba) over to his younger (kaniṭṭha) brother even, himself became a monk, gained the full ordination of the Order (upasampadā) lived for five years in the presence of his teachers and preceptors (upajjhā), and when he had spent the lent, he went through the ceremony of candid apology (pavāretvā), collected his mental exercise (kammaṭṭhāna), obrained to the extent of sixty associate bhikkhus(monks), was in search of a residential place congenial to (anukūla) the development of deep meditation (bhāvanā), together with them and living in a leaf-hut (pannassālā) in the forest region, which the devotees dwelling in the village had caused to be built and offered, depending on (nissāya) a certain border-village (paccantagāma), and performed the duties of a monk (samanadhamma). To him, there had arisen an eye-ailment. A physician prepared (sampādetvā) and offered it to him. He did not comform (paṭipajji) to the prescription (vidhāna) as told (vutta) by the physician (vejja). On that account his disease became worse (vaḍḍhi). He became increasingly indifferent (ajjhupekkhitvā) ot his eye-illness saying to himself: “To me, better is (varaṃ) but the mastery (vūpasamana) of the disease of depravity than the allayment of the ailment of my eyes and came to be intent on (yuttapayutto) but the development of spiritual insight (vipassanā). When he was indulging in (ussukkāpenta) in the development of deep meditation (bhāvanā), his eyes as well as his depravity vecame destroyed (bhijjiṃsu) simultaneously (apubbaṃ acarimaṃ). He became an Arahant of ‘dry-visioned’ class (sukkhavipassaka). Hence, has it been said in the Apadāna.–

    “When the world-revered, the worthy

    recipient of sacred sacrifice, the

    Blessed One Suddhattha entered

    nibbāna, there was held a great

    shrine-festival.

    When the festival was being celebrated,

    for the great sage Siddhattha, I collected

    the (azure) flowers of flax (umā) and

    specially offered (abhiropayiṃ) them to

    the shrine.

    Ninetyfour aeons (kappa) ago, from now,

    it was that I specially offered the flowers;

    I do not remember any evil existence; this

    is the fruitful result of the reverential

    offering made to the shrine.

    In the ninth aeon (kappa) previous to

    this (ito), there arose eithtyfive

    sovereigns, very strong world-kings,

    with the name of Somadeva.

    My depravity had been burnt; …

    Buddha’s instruction had been carried

    out.
    ——

    During the three
    months of the rainy season, Ven. Cakkhupāla decided to use only three postures: walking,
    standing, and sitting postures. After one month his eyes begin to
    deteriorate..
    The commentary of the Dhammapada describes the moment of
    his attainment of arahantship in the following words:
    At the end of the middle watch, his eyes and his defilements were broken simultaneously.
    After having become a dry-insight arahant, he entered and sat down in the chamber.
    Dhp-a I 12,16-18: Athassa majjhimayāme atikkante apubbaṃ acarimam akkhīni c’eva kilesā ca pabhijjiṃsu. So
    sukkhavipassako arahā hutvā gabbhaṃ pavisitvā nisīdi.

    The
    commentary to the Theragathā,

    “For me, the cessation of the defilement disease is better than the cessation of the eye
    disease,” [thinking thus,] he devoted himself to insight meditation, neglecting his eye
    disease. When he indulged in mental development, his eyes and defilements were broken
    simultaneously. He became a dry-insight arahant.
    Th-a I 207,9-13: So ‘akkhi-roga-vūpasamanato kilesa-roga-vūpasamanameva mayhaṃ varan’ ti akkhi-rogaṃ
    ajjhūpekkhitvā vipassanāyaṃ yeva yutta-ppayutto ahosi. Tassa bhāvanaṃ ussukkāpentassa apubbaṃ acarimaṃ akkhīni
    c’ eva kilesā ca bhijjiṃsu. So sukkha-vipassako arahā ahosi.

  • #852

    While it is pretty much universally accepted that sotapanna’s and sakadagami can be dry-insight workers, some recent scholars have cast doubt on Anagami and arahat – based on the fact that Anagami are said to be complete in concentration.
    (see Wen p.181).
    This can be explained as below.

    Anguttara nikaya 4:136 and 4:137 list 4 types
    1. complete in neither sīla nor samādhi nor paññā;
    2. complete in sīla, but not in the remaining two trainings;
    3. complete in the first two trainings,
    but not in paññā;
    4. complete in all the three trainings.

    Manorathapūraṇī has it that
    1. the first [kind of person] is a worldly person;
    2.the second is a dry insight
    practitioner who is either a stream-enter or a once-returner;
    3.the third is a non-returner. Since
    he obtains jhāna which lasts a moment and serves as the cause of
    rebirth [into the fine material sphere], he, even as a dry insight practitioner, is also complete
    with concentration.
    4. The fourth is an arahant. Since he has abandoned all the adversaries to
    virtue etc., he is indeed perfect in every aspect.

    Mp III 132,13-22: Chaṭṭhe paṭhamo lokiyamahājano; dutiyo sukkhavipassako sotâpanno ca sakadāgāmī ca; tatiyo
    anāgāmī, so hi yasmā taṃ khaṇikam pi uppattinibbattakaṃ jhānaṃ paṭilabhati yeva, tasmā sukkhavipassako pi
    samādhismiṃ paripūrakārī yeva; catuttho khīṇâsavo yeva, so hi sabbesaṃ sīlâdi-paccanīkānaṃ pahīnattā sabbattha
    paripūrakārī nāma. Sattame pi chaṭṭhe vuttanayen’ eva puggalaparicchedo veditabbo.

  • #851

    an interesting passage here:

    Cullaniddesaṭṭhakathā about the methods that lead to the enlightenment of
    (paccekabodhisatto) as dry-insight practitioner
    Here, I am going to show the way to describe in brief the insight of the Individual Buddha.
    An Individual-Buddha-To-Be who intends to comprehend matter and mentality, having
    entered and emerged from any jhāna of the eight attainments, form-sphere or formless,
    determines the jhānic factors such as “initial application” and its associated phenomena such
    as “contact” in terms of their characteristic, function, manifestation and proximate cause,
    and defines that all these are mentality in the sense that they bend towards the object. After
    that, searching for its condition he understands that it arises depending on the “heart-base”.
    Further, having seen the [four] essentials that are condition of the [heart-]base and the
    derived matter, he finds out that all these are matter because they are molested. Again, he
    defines matter and mentality in brief: “mentality is of the characteristic of bending; matter is
    of the characteristic of being molested”. This is said of one with the serenity vehicle. Further,
    a dry-insight practitioner defines the [four] essentials and derived matters by means of the
    “analysis of the four elements” and understands that all these are matter because they are
    molested. After that, non-material phenomena, which arise depending on the eye and so on,
    present themselves to one who defines the matter in this way. After that, having taken all
    these non-material phenomena together under the characteristic of bending, he understands
    this to be mentality. He defines in two ways: “This is matter, this is mentality.” Having
    defined thus, he sees “Except for matter and mentality, there exists no other being, person,
    god or brahma.

    Nidd2-a Cullaniddesaṭṭhakathā (= Saddhammapajjotikā) 102,6-26: Tattha nāmarūpapariggahaṃ kātukāmo pacceka-bodhisatto rūpārūpa-aṭṭha-samāpattīsu yaṃ kiñci
    jhānaṃ samāpajjitvā vuṭṭhāya vitakkādīni jhānaṅgāni ca taṃ-sampayutte ca phassādayo dhamme lakkhaṇa-rasa-paccupaṭṭhāna-padaṭṭhānavasena paricchinditvā sabbam p’etaṃ ārammaṇābhimukhaṃ namanato
    namanatthena nāman ti vavatthāpeti: tato tassa paccayaṃ pariyesanto: ‘hadayavatthuṃ nissāya vattatī’ ti passati.
    Puna vatthussa paccayabhūtāni ca upādārūpāni ca passitvā idaṃ sabbaṃ ‘ruppanato rūpan’ ti pariggaṇhāti. Puna
    tadubhayaṃ ‘namanalakkhaṇaṃ nāmaṃ, ruppanalakkhaṇaṃ rūpan’ ti evaṃ saṅkhepato nāmarūpaṃ vavatthapeti.
    Samathayānikavasen’ etaṃ vuttaṃ. Vipassanāyāniko pana catudhātuvavatthānamukkhena bhūtupādāya-rūpāni
    paricchinditvā ‘sabbam p’ etaṃ ruppanato rūpan’ ti passati. Tato evaṃ paricchinnarūpassa cakkhādīni nissāya
    pavattamānā arūpadhammā āpātham āgacchanti; tato sabbe pi te arūpadhamme namanalakkhaṇena ekato katvā ‘idaṃ
    nāma’ ti passati, so ‘idaṃ nāmaṃ, idaṃ rūpan’ti dvedhā vavatthapeti; evaṃ vavatthapetvā ‘nāmarūpato uddhaṃ añño
    satto vā puggalo vā devo vā brahmā vā natthī’ ti passati.

    Does this indicate that the ‘dry-insight practitioner’ has the 4 elements as his preliminary object or is it showing that first the matter is defined and later mentality?

  • #850

    What satipatthana is suitable for the dry insight worker?

    And for a serenity-vehicle practitioner who is slow-witted, the first satipaṭṭhāna is the path
    to purification because the sign is obtainable with little trouble; and for the quick-witted the
    second satipaṭṭhāna is the path to purification because of his not becoming steadied on a
    coarse object.
    Also for an insight-vehicle practitioner who is slow-witted, the third
    satipaṭṭhāna, which is not greatly divided up as to the object, is the path to purification; and
    for the quick-witted the fourth satipaṭṭhāna, which is greatly divided up as to the object, is
    the path to purification.
    Ps Papañcasūdanī (MN-a) I 239,19-24: Samathayānikassa ca mandassa akicchena adhigantabbanimittaṃ paṭhamaṃ satipaṭṭhānaṃ
    visuddhimaggo, tikkhassa oḷārikârammaṇe asaṇṭhahanato dutiyaṃ. Vipassanāyānikassa pi mandassa
    nâtippabhedagatârammaṇaṃ tatiyaṃ, tikkhassa atippabhedagatârammaṇaṃ catutthaṃ. (= Sv III 754,13-18; Vibh-a
    215,13-18) Cf. Ñāṇamoli, 1987, p. 271–272.

    However the sub-commentary says:

    But, the mind of insight-vehicle practitioner rejoices in subtle phenomena, therefore,
    contemplation of mind and contemplation of the dhammas are respectively said to be the
    path to purification of insight-vehicle practitioner who is slow-witted and who is
    quick-witted.
    Ps-pṭ Papañcasūdanī-purāṇaṭīkā (= Dutiyā Līnatthapakāsinī) I 339CS: Vipassanāyānikassa p

    ana sukhume citte dhammesu ca cittaṃ pakkhandatīti
    cittadhammānupassanānaṃ mandatikkhapaññā- vipassanāyānikānaṃ visuddhimaggatā vuttā.
    It should be noted that the subcommentary of the Manorathapūraṇī suggests:

    The dry-insight practitioner, as a rule, adheres to meditation through the analysis of the four
    elements. Therefore, the commentator mentions “the bhikkhu who practises the meditation
    of elements as a dry-insight practitioner”

    Mp-ṭ Manorathapūraṇī-ṭīkā II 37 CS: Sukkhavipassako yebhuyyena catudhātuvavatthānamukhena kammaṭṭhānā- bhinivesī hotī ’ti āha
    sukkhavipassakassa dhātukammaṭṭhānikabhikkhunoti.

  • #849

    It should be noted that khanikasamadhi mentioned in the texts must arise in conjunction with right view.

    In the Visuddhimagga,

    “In some instances this path of purification is taught exactly by insight alone”
    The tika explains:
    The term “exactly by insight alone” rejects serenity by the emphasis [of “eva”] because
    serenity, not morality etc., is the counterpart of insight. By the word “only” (matta) which
    conveys the sense of distinction, it rejects distinctive concentration, which consists of access
    and absorption. Being an instruction for an insight-vehicle practitioner it does not reject
    simple concentration, for no insight comes about without momentary concentration
    V
    ism-mhṭ I 11CS: Vipassanāmattavasenevāti avadhāraṇena samathaṃ nivatteti. So hi tassā paṭiyogī, na sīlādi.
    Matta-saddena ca visesanivatti-atthena savisesaṃ samādhiṃ nivatteti. So upacārappanābhedo vipassanāyānikassa
    desanāti katvā na samādhimattaṃ. Na hi khaṇikasamādhiṃ vinā vipassanā sambhavati.

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