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35277Re: [dsg] Re: what I heard, Q. no 2.

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  • sarah abbott
    Aug 9, 2004
      Hi Swee Boon,

      I had meant to get back to your comments a little sooner....We were
      discussing the sutta from SN35: 153 (8) Is there a Method? [B.Bodhi

      --- nidive <nidive@...> wrote:

      SA:> > I'd be genuinely interested to know whether you read the following
      > > sutta as stressing anything other than `momentary sati' or direct
      > > momentary understanding of namas and rupas when they appear.
      SB: > We are constantly seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and
      > thinking. Taking that sutta literally, it could not be talking about
      > "momentary sati". It is talking about sustained and continuous sati.
      > An arahant has perfect sati. An arahant's sati is not "momentary". An
      > arahant is mindful at all moments.
      SA: To say that any sati or other mental state (even in an arahant) is not
      momentary, one would have to be ignoring any suttas which stress the speed
      of the mind and the shortness of wholesome states, not to mention ignoring
      the commentaries and the Abhidhamma. The same issue (of lasting
      consciousness) is given in the Katthavatthu.

      Indeed the truth about anicca, dukkha and anatta surely is that every
      conditioned citta, cetasika and rupa begins to fall away as soon as it has
      arisen, is thereby inherently unsatisfactory and cannot be controlled by
      any ‘self’.

      I gave a couple of quotes on the speed of the mind here:
      SB: > How does one train to make sati sustained and continuous? By taking
      > one of the mindfulness immersed in the body practices.
      > When one takes up one of those practices taught by the Buddha, one
      > trains sati to be sustained and continuous. When sati is sustained and
      > continuous, whether one sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches or
      > thinks, if lust is present, he knows that lust is present; if lust is
      > absent, he knows that lust is absent; if hatred is present, he knows
      > that hatred is present; if hatred is absent, he knows that hatred is
      > absent; if delusion is present, he knows that delusion is present; if
      > delusion is absent, he knows that delusion is absent.
      SA: Rather than training sati to be ‘sustained and continuous’, I would
      say that the development of satipatthana is training sati to repeatedly
      arise and be aware of many different realities such as seeing hearing.
      lust, aversion and so on. I think it’s important to understand that sati,
      like all other mental phenomena has to arise and fall with the cittas it
      accompanies and doesn’t last for an instant. Otherwise, it’s bound to be
      an idea of sati that stays or continues, rather than being directly aware
      of different phenomena, one at a time. When there is seeing or hearing
      consciousness, there cannot be sati at these times (not for an arahant
      either), but the characteristics of these namas can be known immediately
      afterwards, when sati and panna arise in the javana process.
      SB: > Seeing thus, one understands with genuine wisdom.
      SA: Right, wisdom understands one reality momentarily and is then gone. of
      course, as wisdom develops, it will arise more frequently and penetrate
      deeper and deeper, but still its nature is to fall away instantly and
      never to last.

      I’d like to continue this discussion if we can. Btw, I liked your post on
      Sariputta. As you wrote:

      ‘Even if we could accumulate as much “wisdom through pondering” as
      Sariputta over many aeons of rebirths, the chance of meeting an arahant
      who could expound the Dhamma exquisitely to each of us personally is
      virtually nil.’

      I also agree that ‘No control and no self doesn’t mean that nothing could
      be done. The Buddha did not teach us to be sitting ducks.’ You then went
      on to say that ‘He did teach us to be sitting meditators though.’ I would
      say that he taught us to be sitting, standing. walking and lying down
      meditators, using meditators here in the sense of those developing bhavana
      (samatha and vipassana) and without any idea of a self doing such

      I’ll be glad to hear your further comments, Swee Boon.



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