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134406Re: [dsg] Q. Jataka commentaries? Part 4

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  • jonoabb
    Dec 20, 2013

      Hi Rob E

      ---In dhammastudygroup@{{emailDomain}}, <epsteinrob@...> wrote:

      Hi Jon.

      RE: How does hearing the Dhamma properly explained lead to calm [samatha]? as well as understanding?

      J:  All kusala is accompanied by the mental factor of passadhi (calm, tranquility).  Specifically, contemplation of the Dhamma can of course be kusala even though there is not the direct understanding of a presently arising dhamma at that moment (for example, reflecting on the teaching regarding kamma, or conditions).

      RE4: Just curious, as we normally talk about all these things occurring naturally due to conditions.  Now, if I were to turn aside and start contemplating kamma or conditions, ...


      Jon4: Pausing here, I see a point of difference. Any idea of *turning aside and starting to contemplate* involves an idea of practising and does not fall within what I understand by *occurring naturally due to conditions*.

      An example (just to give an idea) of contemplation occurring naturally due to conditions would be contemplation that occurs while we are doing something else, without deliberately turning our mind to the subject. Or the contemplation that occurs as we are trying to formulate an answer to a message, especially where that results in our gaining a better understanding of the subject matter.

      RE4: ... and let's say I did have a basic proper sort of rundown of how those things worked in a general way, and it just so happened that there was no clinging or desire for control at that moment, would that then be a moment of pariyatti...?


      Jon4: As you'll have noted from the current thread between Sarah and Phil, pariyatti involves the arising of panna mental factor with a citta that has as its object a concept of a presently arising dhamma.

      Jon: Keep in mind that calm is a momentary mental factor rather than the conventional idea of a pervading state of mind.

      RE4: Sure, and, as I always seem to emphasize, those momentary occurrences lead to accumulations that create conditions for further arisings; and that in the higher levels of mastery, those factors -- as I read -- often occur in prolonged spates of many many moments which do allow the advanced person to enjoy those kusala states for long periods of time without interruption.  Even though that can't be controlled or wished into existence, the Buddha does reference his ability to voluntarily call on those factors "at will."  In such a case, it must be that conditions are such that it has led to this level of having such abilities as a "power" as it is called, and I would appreciate your comments on how such a "power" can be called upon "at will" and still be based on momentary conditions.

      Jon4: As you've just explained, it is simply that the mental factor in question has been developed to a very high degree, so high that the mere thought of its arising is sufficient for such arising to occur.

      It is not truly 'at will', however, because there are limits to its arising (e.g., it cannot arise if the time for cuti citta has come).

      RE4: I think that part of the point of the path, though it is far in the future for most of us, is that one can reach a state at some point in which kusala is experienced most of the time instead of akusala, and that one can access the kusala factors "at will."  I would appreciate a better understanding of how such occurs at that stage of development.

      Jon4: Nothing essentially changes; simply certain mental factors have become extremely highly developed. What particular aspect were you curious about?


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