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Re: Discussion with Annie & Pt

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  • sarah
    Hi Pt, ... .... S: A.Sujin would start by asking you what samatha is. What does it mean? Of course, the correct answer is calmness, the pasaddhi cetasika
    Message 1 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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      Hi Pt,

      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:

      > It also occurred to me later that I haven't asked a single questions about samatha bhavana like I usually do, so not to disappoint, here's one:
      >
      > Technically speaking, samatha bhavana could arise in moments of cooking for example, with objects of citta being ideas of actual cooking and so unrelated to ideas of cooking for someone (so nothing to do with dana and sila directly)?
      ....
      S: A.Sujin would start by asking you what samatha is. What does it mean?

      Of course, the correct answer is calmness, the pasaddhi cetasika (calm) which arises with all kusala cittas. As Nina suggested, at moments of cooking when ideas of food are the object of the cittas, sati and panna can dart in anytime to be aware and understand the reality appearing. At moments of understanding, calm, samatha, is there already. No need to do anything special or think of a different object.

      So when there is the understanding of realities, there is the growth of samatha too. This is the higher kind of calm, leading to the higher kind of concentration (adhi citta), as only taught by a Buddha and developing with an understanding of realities as anatta.
      ...

      >I'm coming from the assumption that it's not the action (cooking) nor ideas about it (ideas about cooking) that make the citta kusala but the manner in which these ideas are experienced - with wisdom of samatha kind. Are there any problems with the above assumption?
      ...
      S: Again, as Nina said, if you're talking about samatha bhavana, then the object has to be the specific one which conditions calmness when reflected on wisely.

      Instead of trying to think in a particular way, which is bound to be akusala, better to understand the reality appering right now!

      Metta

      Sarah
      =====
    • ptaus1
      Hi Sarah and Nina, Thanks for your replies. I d like to make sense of samatha only, so perhaps we could examine how samatha development would happen outside of
      Message 2 of 27 , Mar 19, 2013
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        Hi Sarah and Nina,

        Thanks for your replies. I'd like to make sense of samatha only, so perhaps we could examine how samatha development would happen outside of sasana when there's no teachings about insight, realities, nor kusala samatha bhavana objects such as attributes of the Buddha, etc. To narrow it down further, I'd like to examine moments of samatha bhavana only, so not sila, nor dana.

        1. Since, we're outside a sasana, the only objects for samatha bhavana remaining are breath, kasinas, none of which are inherently kusala. So, samatha bhavana must rely on understanding of samatha kind rather than the object of citta?

        2. Even in daily life, it must be possible for moments of samatha bhavana to arise *irrespective* of the object of citta (since there are no inherently kusala objects outside a sasana), e.g. ideas about cooking, sounds, thinking, etc. Again, I'm assuming it's the understanding of samatha kind that arises at the time, no matter what the object (idea) of the citta is at the time. And in these brief instances samatha bhavana would develop, which would eventually lead to the actual samatha bhavana with objects such as breath, kasinas, etc?

        Best wishes
        pt
      • sarah
        Hi Pt, ... ... S: Any of the 40 objects except Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha... ... .... S: There is understanding of what calmness is, when the citta is kusala or
        Message 3 of 27 , Mar 20, 2013
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          Hi Pt,

          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:

          > Thanks for your replies. I'd like to make sense of samatha only, so perhaps we could examine how samatha development would happen outside of sasana when there's no teachings about insight, realities, nor kusala samatha bhavana objects such as attributes of the Buddha, etc.
          ...
          S: Any of the 40 objects except Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha...
          ...
          >To narrow it down further, I'd like to examine moments of samatha bhavana only, so not sila, nor dana.
          >
          > 1. Since, we're outside a sasana, the only objects for samatha bhavana remaining are breath, kasinas, none of which are inherently kusala. So, samatha bhavana must rely on understanding of samatha kind rather than the object of citta?
          ....
          S: There is understanding of what calmness is, when the citta is kusala or akusala and how the object conditions calm. As you say, there is nothing inherently kusala about a kasina or breath, so just concentrating on such objects without any understanding is completely useless.
          ...
          >
          > 2. Even in daily life, it must be possible for moments of samatha bhavana to arise *irrespective* of the object of citta (since there are no inherently kusala objects outside a sasana), e.g. ideas about cooking, sounds, thinking, etc.
          ....
          S: Moments of calm, samatha, with any moments of kusala, but such occasional moments of calm cannot be referred to as samatha bhavana.

          For it to be samatha bhavana, it is the repeated experiencing/thinking of a particular object which conditions calm with understanding. This is by conditions and accumulations, not by trying to concentrate on such an object, such as death or breath, in order to develop samatha.
          ...
          >Again, I'm assuming it's the understanding of samatha kind that arises at the time, no matter what the object (idea) of the citta is at the time.
          ...
          S: As above. For it to be samatha bhavana, not just occasional moments of calm arising with kusala cittas in a day, it must be one or more of the specified objects reflected on wisely.

          This is why the understanding is so important. A swimmer will tell you they feel so calm and relaxed in the water or a walker will say the same in the mountains. This is not kusala calm.
          ...
          >And in these brief instances samatha bhavana would develop, which would eventually lead to the actual samatha bhavana with objects such as breath, kasinas, etc?
          ....
          S: No, it must be the right object from the beginning. For example, someone may reflect wisely on death now or metta and this may be a condition for more such wise reflection in future, by habit or tendency. This leads to samatha bhavana, but only without expectation or desire. If there is any wishing or trying to develop it, it will be wrong concentration for sure.

          And why not develop right understanding of the reality appearing now? The calm, samatha, at such times is far superior because it is accompanied by an understanding of the dhammas as anatta. There is detachment from whatever arises.

          Please keep asking any qus!

          Metta

          Sarah
          ====
        • jonoabb
          Hi pt I too very much enjoyed our discussion last week. ... J: Just chipping in with a preliminary comment. As regards possible objects, these are more than
          Message 4 of 27 , Mar 21, 2013
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            Hi pt

            I too very much enjoyed our discussion last week.

            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Sarah and Nina,
            >
            > Thanks for your replies. I'd like to make sense of samatha only, so perhaps we could examine how samatha development would happen outside of sasana when there's no teachings about insight, realities, nor kusala samatha bhavana objects such as attributes of the Buddha, etc. To narrow it down further, I'd like to examine moments of samatha bhavana only, so not sila, nor dana.
            >
            > 1. Since, we're outside a sasana, the only objects for samatha bhavana remaining are breath, kasinas, none of which are inherently kusala. So, samatha bhavana must rely on understanding of samatha kind rather than the object of citta?
            > ===============

            J: Just chipping in with a preliminary comment.

            As regards possible objects, these are more than just breath and the kasinas, and they include [recollections of] dana and sila. See the extract from Vism Ch. III below. (BTW, the objects not known outside the sasana include also foulness of the body, apparently.)

            Hope this helps make things clearer.

            Jon

            The Path of Purification:

            104. 1. Herein, as to enumeration: it was said above, "from among the forty meditation subjects" (§28). Herein, the forty meditation subjects are these:
            ten kasinas (totalities),
            ten kinds of foulness,
            ten recollections,
            four divine abidings,
            four immaterial states,
            one perception,
            one defining.

            105. Herein, the ten kasinas are these: earth kasina, water kasina, fire kasina, air kasina, blue kasina, yellow kasina, red kasina, white kasina, light kasina, and limited-space kasina.

            The ten kinds of foulness are these: the bloated, the livid, the festering, the cutup, the gnawed, the scattered, the hacked and scattered, the bleeding, the worminfested, and a skeleton.

            The ten kinds of recollection are these:
            recollection of the Buddha (the Enlightened One),
            recollection of the Dhamma (the Law),
            recollection of the Sangha (the Community),
            recollection of virtue,
            recollection of generosity,
            recollection of deities,
            recollection (or mindfulness) of death,
            mindfulness occupied with the body,
            mindfulness of breathing, and
            recollection of peace.

            The four divine abidings are these:
            loving-kindness,
            compassion,
            gladness, and
            equanimity.

            The four immaterial states are these:
            the base consisting of boundless space,
            the base consisting of boundless consciousness,
            the base consisting of nothingness, and
            the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception.

            The one perception is the perception of repulsiveness in nutriment.

            The one defining is the defining of the four elements.

            This is how the exposition should be understood "as to enumeration."
          • jonoabb
            Hi again pt, All A quick clarification/correction. ... J: It is the item mindfulness occupied with the body , one of the ten recollections in the list of
            Message 5 of 27 , Mar 21, 2013
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              Hi again pt, All

              A quick clarification/correction.

              --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "jonoabb" <jonabbott@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi pt
              >
              > I too very much enjoyed our discussion last week.
              >
              > (BTW, the objects not known outside the sasana include also foulness of the body, apparently.)
              > ===============

              J: It is the item 'mindfulness occupied with the body', one of the ten recollections in the list of forty kammatthaana, that is being referred to here, not the item 'ten kinds of foulness'. See the following from Ch VIII:

              "42. Now comes the description of the development of mindfulness occupied with the body as a meditation subject, which is never promulgated except after an Enlightened One's arising, and is outside the province of any sectarians."

              Jon

              > The Path of Purification:
              >
              > 104. 1. Herein, as to enumeration: it was said above, "from among the forty meditation subjects" (§28). Herein, the forty meditation subjects are these:
              > ten kasinas (totalities),
              > ten kinds of foulness,
              > ten recollections,
              > four divine abidings,
              > four immaterial states,
              > one perception,
              > one defining.
              >
              > 105. Herein, the ten kasinas are these: earth kasina, water kasina, fire kasina, air kasina, blue kasina, yellow kasina, red kasina, white kasina, light kasina, and limited-space kasina.
              >
              > The ten kinds of foulness are these: the bloated, the livid, the festering, the cutup, the gnawed, the scattered, the hacked and scattered, the bleeding, the worminfested, and a skeleton.
              >
              > The ten kinds of recollection are these:
              > recollection of the Buddha (the Enlightened One),
              > recollection of the Dhamma (the Law),
              > recollection of the Sangha (the Community),
              > recollection of virtue,
              > recollection of generosity,
              > recollection of deities,
              > recollection (or mindfulness) of death,
              > mindfulness occupied with the body,
              > mindfulness of breathing, and
              > recollection of peace.
              >
              > The four divine abidings are these:
              > loving-kindness,
              > compassion,
              > gladness, and
              > equanimity.
              >
              > The four immaterial states are these:
              > the base consisting of boundless space,
              > the base consisting of boundless consciousness,
              > the base consisting of nothingness, and
              > the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception.
              >
              > The one perception is the perception of repulsiveness in nutriment.
              >
              > The one defining is the defining of the four elements.
              >
              > This is how the exposition should be understood "as to enumeration."
              >
            • annieaqua
              Dear Sarah, Jon, pt and group Apologies for my late reply. A had a wonderful afternoon and thank you Sarah and Jon for hosting and delicious banana bread. I
              Message 6 of 27 , Mar 27, 2013
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                Dear Sarah, Jon, pt and group

                Apologies for my late reply. A had a wonderful afternoon and thank you Sarah and Jon for hosting and delicious banana bread. I found the discussion very beneficial especially as I was feeling at the time very caught up in finalising the packing up and ending of a chapter in my life there in Sydney and starting on my se Asia travels.

                As you said Sarah, I am very new to the teachings and also very open to learning and being introduced to it all. Sarah, Jon and pt made me feel very safe to ask questions and I am grateful for the discussing in basic terms of the teachings.

                As I am on my travels now, I must say the ideas discussed regarding realities and seeing visible object, not self, attachment as cause of grief and the seeking pleasant feelings has all been very beneficial. I have reminded myself of these teachings in certain situations especially when feeling challenged and on reflection while sitting on one of the endless bus trips so far.

                I also have been reading Ninas book The Buddhas Path which is a great introduction into the teachings and I am finding this text of great benefit. Sarah also suggested I download some audio recordings and I have been able to listen to listen to some of them on bus rides.

                I did have some questions and thoughts about what i have been reading.

                What is meant by detachment to physical things? for example i feel great attachment to my mothers wedding ring that I was given. Does that mean for example, I must give it away or not care if I loose?

                What does it mean to have no attachment to self? I am on a journey of self discovery and self growth and is this not what life is about? I want to better myself and be the best person i can be. how does one go on in life and better ones self if there is no concept of self? What does life look like and what does it mean? How does one earn money and forge a career? How can I be selfless without self care first?

                I am also very much looking forward to the June meeting in Thailand. A highlight for my trip.

                Thank you again introducing me to these teachings.

                Annie



                --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "jonoabb" <jonabbott@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi pt
                >
                > I too very much enjoyed our discussion last week.
                >
                > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Hi Sarah and Nina,
                > >
                > > Thanks for your replies. I'd like to make sense of samatha only, so perhaps we could examine how samatha development would happen outside of sasana when there's no teachings about insight, realities, nor kusala samatha bhavana objects such as attributes of the Buddha, etc. To narrow it down further, I'd like to examine moments of samatha bhavana only, so not sila, nor dana.
                > >
                > > 1. Since, we're outside a sasana, the only objects for samatha bhavana remaining are breath, kasinas, none of which are inherently kusala. So, samatha bhavana must rely on understanding of samatha kind rather than the object of citta?
                > > ===============
                >
                > J: Just chipping in with a preliminary comment.
                >
                > As regards possible objects, these are more than just breath and the kasinas, and they include [recollections of] dana and sila. See the extract from Vism Ch. III below. (BTW, the objects not known outside the sasana include also foulness of the body, apparently.)
                >
                > Hope this helps make things clearer.
                <....>
              • sarah
                Dear Annie, Great to hear from you and I m so glad you found the discussion so useful. ... .... S: The teachings always come back to now and what seems so
                Message 7 of 27 , Mar 28, 2013
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                  Dear Annie,

                  Great to hear from you and I'm so glad you found the discussion so useful.

                  --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "annieaqua" <annieandbelle@...> wrote:

                  > As I am on my travels now, I must say the ideas discussed regarding realities and seeing visible object, not self, attachment as cause of grief and the seeking pleasant feelings has all been very beneficial. I have reminded myself of these teachings in certain situations especially when feeling challenged and on reflection while sitting on one of the endless bus trips so far.
                  ....
                  S: The teachings always come back to "now" and what seems so challenging or rewarding now will be soon be forgotten. It does help a lot to remember that the realities are the same, whatever the circumstances and that, in the end, the only really worthwhile thing in life is the development of understanding of the present truths.
                  ...
                  >
                  > I also have been reading Ninas book The Buddhas Path which is a great introduction into the teachings and I am finding this text of great benefit. Sarah also suggested I download some audio recordings and I have been able to listen to listen to some of them on bus rides.
                  ....
                  S: Excellent! I think that "The Buddha's Path" is the best introduction to the Teachings, too.
                  I think you read my mind as I had wanted to give you a copy of it, but didn't have a spare one, so am delighted that you've found it.

                  (Nina, I do hope we get this book re-printed soon - I meet so many people I'd like to give copies of it too.)
                  ...
                  >
                  > I did have some questions and thoughts about what i have been reading.
                  >
                  > What is meant by detachment to physical things? for example i feel great attachment to my mothers wedding ring that I was given. Does that mean for example, I must give it away or not care if I loose?
                  ...
                  S: That would be a wrong understanding. One might give away all one's possessions, such as the ring, but that would not be the giving up of attachment.

                  We all have a lot of attachment to what is seen, heard, smelt, tasted and touched all day long. Gradually, through understanding, there is the growth of detachment to these sense objects, but not by trying to have less attachment or by thinking we should not have any.
                  ....
                  >
                  > What does it mean to have no attachment to self?
                  ...
                  S: Again, all day long there is clinging to oneself in one way or another. Gradually, through the understanding that actually there is no self - just different experiences, such as the seeing of visible object and the hearing of sound, there will be less clinging to an idea of a "Me" that is so special and important.

                  We can also learn that it is the clinging to "me" that causes so much distress and that at moments of understanding or caring for the needs of others, there is peace and equanimity instead of clinging and agitation.
                  ....
                  >I am on a journey of self discovery and self growth and is this not what life is about?
                  ...
                  S: And any true discovery will show that there is no core of self, there are just mental and physical phenomena arising and falling away all day long. In other words, the "self discovery and self growth" is a mirage. With more understanding, there will be less seeking and more acceptance with the realities of life which arise now.
                  ...
                  >I want to better myself and be the best person i can be.
                  ...
                  S: This is more "wanting", more clinging to "me" being a certain way, rather than the development of detachment and acceptance of what is!
                  ...
                  >how does one go on in life and better ones self if there is no concept of self?
                  ....
                  S: "One" doesn't do anything or go on or better oneself, because there is no "one" to do anything! Just develop understanding, rather than trying to "better" or "do" anything. This is the way that detachment rather than attachment develops.
                  ....
                  >What does life look like and what does it mean?
                  ...
                  S: Like now - seeing, hearing, likes, dislikes, ups and downs..... just different dhammas (realities), not self, arising and falling away by conditions. Very ordinary!
                  ...
                  > How does one earn money and forge a career?
                  ....
                  S: Just as usual. No obstacle at all. As usual, but with more understanding.
                  ....
                  > How can I be selfless without self care first?
                  ....
                  S: No "you" to be selfless or anything else. At moments of kindness, metta or understanding, there is no clinging to oneself and one's own needs.
                  ....
                  > I am also very much looking forward to the June meeting in Thailand. A highlight for my trip.
                  ...
                  S: We're greatly looking forward to having you and Lan with us too! And we'll have to have a "pink cap" photo together for our swimming friends in Manly!
                  ..
                  > Thank you again introducing me to these teachings.
                  ...
                  S: Thank you for sharing your interest and excellent comments and questions here.

                  Look forward to hearing more when you have a chance. So glad to hear you've been listening to some of the audio too. Do you know which series it is?

                  Metta

                  Sarah

                  p.s. Grey and heavy rain back in Hong Kong and missing all our friends, but still just realities such as seeing, visible object, attachment, aversion and so on.... life goes on....
                  ======
                • jonoabb
                  Hi Annie ... J: The aim of the teaching is the development of awareness and understanding of things that have validity/reality in the ultimate sense (Pali:
                  Message 8 of 27 , Mar 28, 2013
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                    Hi Annie

                    --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "annieaqua" <annieandbelle@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Dear Sarah, Jon, pt and group
                    > ...
                    > A: I did have some questions and thoughts about what i have been reading.
                    >
                    > What is meant by detachment to physical things? for example i feel great attachment to my mothers wedding ring that I was given. Does that mean for example, I must give it away or not care if I loose?
                    > ===============

                    J: The aim of the teaching is the development of awareness and understanding of things that have validity/reality in the ultimate sense (Pali: `dhammas'). This is the path to the gradual eradication of attachment and other unwholesome mental states.

                    However, that goal is a very long-term one. In the meantime, we are all stuck with our accumulated unwholesome tendencies (including, of course, attachment).

                    As you will have observed from your own experience in life, some attachments seem to fall away as our way of thinking changes (e.g., as we pass through different stages of life), while others seem to persist throughout (e.g., certain tastes, pleasant bodily feelings).

                    In either case, though, the underlying accumulated tendency (i.e., to like a given object) remains. There's no way that attachment can be just given up, even if we are convinced we have managed to do so!

                    > ===============
                    > A: What does it mean to have no attachment to self? I am on a journey of self discovery and self growth and is this not what life is about? I want to better myself and be the best person i can be. how does one go on in life and better ones self if there is no concept of self? What does life look like and what does it mean? How does one earn money and forge a career? How can I be selfless without self care first?
                    > ===============

                    J: We all have the accumulated tendency to think in terms of "I", "me" and "mine". As you obviously realise, it would be unrealistic to think that unwholesome attachments and views should be put away first before there can be the development of the wholesome tendencies and views (which have also been accumulated, but to a relatively lesser degree).

                    But there can be a beginning of development at any time, once we have heard/read the right information and our interest has been aroused.

                    The starting point is finding out more about what these "dhammas" are and what is meant by awareness and understanding of them.

                    > ===============
                    > A: I am also very much looking forward to the June meeting in Thailand. A highlight for my trip.
                    >
                    > Thank you again introducing me to these teachings.
                    > ===============

                    J: It's great to see your interest.

                    Jon
                  • jagkrit2012
                    Hi Annie Just input some thought besides well explanation from Sarah and Jon. ... JJ: As you move on, you will find that why this understanding is not only
                    Message 9 of 27 , Mar 28, 2013
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                      Hi Annie

                      Just input some thought besides well explanation from Sarah and Jon.

                      > A: I must say the ideas discussed regarding realities and seeing visible object, not self, attachment as cause of grief and the seeking pleasant feelings has all been very beneficial.

                      JJ: As you move on, you will find that why this understanding is not only very beneficial but is the most important in one's life.
                      ============

                      > What is meant by detachment to physical things? for example i feel great attachment to my mothers wedding ring that I was given. Does that mean for example, I must give it away or not care if I loose?

                      JJ: Detachment does not mean giving away or ignoring because that object attaches to your mind. Unless you understand more about reality of attachment, you will understand more about detachment.
                      ============

                      > A: how does one go on in life and better ones self if there is no concept of self?

                      JJ: One can do good with self but not that perfect good. But for the one who is selfless, what do you think he is capable of when he or she has a chance to do good.
                      ============

                      > A: How can I be selfless without self care first?

                      JJ: You can not be selfless with self care because you are adding up more self. Only right understanding about self can give idea to you that in fact there is no self.

                      It is great that you enjoy learning dhamma.

                      Anumodhana

                      Jagkrit
                    • Nina van Gorkom
                      Dear Sarah, ... N: I think that Alan is mainly interested in having things on line. Is this not the trend nowadays, less and less books? The printing is not
                      Message 10 of 27 , Apr 2 7:37 AM
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                        Dear Sarah,
                        Op 28-mrt-2013, om 8:30 heeft sarah het volgende geschreven:

                        > S: Excellent! I think that "The Buddha's Path" is the best
                        > introduction to the Teachings, too.
                        > I think you read my mind as I had wanted to give you a copy of it,
                        > but didn't have a spare one, so am delighted that you've found it.
                        >
                        > (Nina, I do hope we get this book re-printed soon - I meet so many
                        > people I'd like to give copies of it too.)
                        ------
                        N: I think that Alan is mainly interested in having things on line.
                        Is this not the trend nowadays, less and less books? The printing is
                        not such a problem, but getting it to the people. Before, Alan sent
                        packs, Lodewijk did such a lot: going to the postoffice with lots of
                        packs, and quite an administration. He did an enormous load of work.
                        I could not cope with this.
                        ------
                        Nina.



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • tadaomiyamoto@ymail.com
                        Hi Nina, Anumodaami. It looks like that everything ought to be converted into PDF files. tadao
                        Message 11 of 27 , Apr 2 8:00 AM
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                          Hi Nina,

                          Anumodaami.

                          It looks like that everything ought to be converted into PDF files.

                          tadao

                          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear Sarah,
                          > Op 28-mrt-2013, om 8:30 heeft sarah het volgende geschreven:
                          >
                          > > S: Excellent! I think that "The Buddha's Path" is the best
                          > > introduction to the Teachings, too.
                          > > I think you read my mind as I had wanted to give you a copy of it,
                          > > but didn't have a spare one, so am delighted that you've found it.
                          > >
                          > > (Nina, I do hope we get this book re-printed soon - I meet so many
                          > > people I'd like to give copies of it too.)
                          > ------
                          > N: I think that Alan is mainly interested in having things on line.
                          > Is this not the trend nowadays, less and less books? The printing is
                          > not such a problem, but getting it to the people. Before, Alan sent
                          > packs, Lodewijk did such a lot: going to the postoffice with lots of
                          > packs, and quite an administration. He did an enormous load of work.
                          > I could not cope with this.
                          > ------
                          > Nina.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                        • annieaqua
                          Dear Sarah, Jon & Jagkrit Thank you for your replies regarding my questions. I appreciate the time taken to respond. I will reflect on these answers when I
                          Message 12 of 27 , Apr 4 8:08 PM
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                            Dear Sarah, Jon & Jagkrit

                            Thank you for your replies regarding my questions. I appreciate the time taken to respond. I will reflect on these answers when I have more time on my travels.

                            Best wishes,

                            Annie
                          • sarah
                            Dear Nina, ... ... S: It is the trend, but I think it s also useful (esp. in Bangkok) to have a good introductory text to give people who visit or who are
                            Message 13 of 27 , Apr 7 11:51 PM
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                              Dear Nina,

                              --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:

                              > > S: Excellent! I think that "The Buddha's Path" is the best
                              > > introduction to the Teachings, too.

                              > > (Nina, I do hope we get this book re-printed soon - I meet so many
                              > > people I'd like to give copies of it too.)
                              > ------
                              > N: I think that Alan is mainly interested in having things on line.
                              > Is this not the trend nowadays, less and less books? The printing is
                              > not such a problem, but getting it to the people.
                              ...
                              S: It is the trend, but I think it's also useful (esp. in Bangkok) to have a good introductory text to give people who visit or who are travelling, like Annie and many others. I think this is the best one.

                              No need to send out any packs as Lodewijk used to do (and Jonothan for years in Thailand).
                              They can just keep a supply in Bkk and when any of us visit, we can pick up copies and supplies to hand out (or mail) as we wish. I also prefer just handing them out.

                              Let us know if there are any plans for a re-print of this book as we'd like to make a contribution. I'll also recommend it to Ajahn when we visit.

                              Metta

                              Sarah
                              ======
                            • ptaus1
                              Hi Sarah and Jon, Thanks for your replies and corrections on samatha objects and practice. I still can t quite make sense of one thing, though I m not sure I
                              Message 14 of 27 , Apr 17 6:41 AM
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                                Hi Sarah and Jon,

                                Thanks for your replies and corrections on samatha objects and practice. I still can't quite make sense of one thing, though I'm not sure I can quite form the question - why can't there be an "ordinary daily life moment" of awareness with samatha kind of panna which is unrelated to actual samatha objects?

                                What I mean is a moment of samatha bhavana (so not dana and not sila and not vipassana), which is unconnected to official samatha development objects that Jon mentioned with reference to Vsm. What I mean is perhaps like a moment when something is seen and perceived in daily life, like (a concept of) a cake for example, but there's no attachment to such concept, in other words there's a sort of kusala "calm awareness" of the fact that it's a perception/concept, so with samatha sort of panna (which I guess makes it samatha bhavana), but the object is not a kasina, nor a dhamma (as we're not talking about vipassana here), nor a ... well, it's clear its a perception/concept, but it's not clung to. This is probably not making much sense.

                                Anyway, my point being that this sort of ordinary moments would be a precursor to actual samatha bhavana with an official object for samatha later on. I mean, I assume nobody can jump straight into fullon samatha bhavana with actual official objects until at least some sort of "ordinary" moments of samatha bhavana happened (like my cake thing) and it became clear what is a moment with sati as opposed to a moment without sati (still speaking samatha-related only like outside a sasana)?

                                Best wishes
                                pt
                              • jonoabb
                                Hi pt ... J: In ordinary daily life, there may be kusala with any concept as object and, if there is a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then
                                Message 15 of 27 , Apr 21 4:08 AM
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                                  Hi pt

                                  --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Hi Sarah and Jon,
                                  >
                                  > Thanks for your replies and corrections on samatha objects and practice. I still can't quite make sense of one thing, though I'm not sure I can quite form the question - why can't there be an "ordinary daily life moment" of awareness with samatha kind of panna which is unrelated to actual samatha objects?
                                  >
                                  > What I mean is a moment of samatha bhavana (so not dana and not sila and not vipassana), which is unconnected to official samatha development objects that Jon mentioned with reference to Vsm. What I mean is perhaps like a moment when something is seen and perceived in daily life, like (a concept of) a cake for example, but there's no attachment to such concept, in other words there's a sort of kusala "calm awareness" of the fact that it's a perception/concept, so with samatha sort of panna (which I guess makes it samatha bhavana), but the object is not a kasina, nor a dhamma (as we're not talking about vipassana here), nor a ... well, it's clear its a perception/concept, but it's not clung to. This is probably not making much sense.
                                  > ===============

                                  J: In ordinary daily life, there may be kusala with any concept as object and, if there is a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then that will indeed be samatha.

                                  The significance of the 'official' objects of samatha is that their contemplation can support the development of samatha to a particularly high degree.

                                  If panna arises with, say, a kasina as object it does so not because the object is a kasina, nor because there is concentration with a kasina as object, but because of the way the (notion of) kasina is being contemplated (and obviously the same could not be said of, say, a cake :-))

                                  > ===============
                                  > pt: Anyway, my point being that this sort of ordinary moments would be a precursor to actual samatha bhavana with an official object for samatha later on. I mean, I assume nobody can jump straight into fullon samatha bhavana with actual official objects until at least some sort of "ordinary" moments of samatha bhavana happened (like my cake thing) and it became clear what is a moment with sati as opposed to a moment without sati (still speaking samatha-related only like outside a sasana)?
                                  > ===============

                                  J: To my understanding, the development of samatha as described in Part II of the Vism is the development of samatha at its higher levels, meaning that what is spoken of there is applicable to the person for whom samatha has already become well developed in daily life.

                                  As I have suggested above, that development would be the understanding of kusala, of whatever kind and whenever arising, as kusala.

                                  Hoping this helps answer your question/s.

                                  Jon
                                • ptaus1
                                  Hi Jon, ... Thanks for that. To clarify, there can be kusala samatha bhavana of ordinary daily life moment kind with (concept of) cake as object (so not dana,
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Apr 24 8:04 AM
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                                    Hi Jon,

                                    > J: In ordinary daily life, there may be kusala with any concept as object and, if there is a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then that will indeed be samatha.
                                    >
                                    > The significance of the 'official' objects of samatha is that their contemplation can support the development of samatha to a particularly high degree.
                                    >
                                    > If panna arises with, say, a kasina as object it does so not because the object is a kasina, nor because there is concentration with a kasina as object, but because of the way the (notion of) kasina is being contemplated (and obviously the same could not be said of, say, a cake :-))


                                    Thanks for that. To clarify, there can be kusala samatha bhavana of ordinary daily life moment kind with (concept of) cake as object (so not dana, not sila, not samatha bhavana of high degree, nor vipassana), but there cannot be saamatha bhavana of high degree with (concept of) cake as object. That is what you are saying, right? Thanks.

                                    Best wishes
                                    pt
                                  • jonoabb
                                    Hi pt ... J: I d like to amplify/clarify my earlier remarks when I said: In ordinary daily life, there may be kusala with any concept as object and, if there
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Apr 27 6:26 PM
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                                      Hi pt

                                      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Hi Jon,
                                      >
                                      > > J: In ordinary daily life, there may be kusala with any concept as object and, if there is a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then that will indeed be samatha.
                                      > >
                                      > > The significance of the 'official' objects of samatha is that their contemplation can support the development of samatha to a particularly high degree.
                                      > >
                                      > > If panna arises with, say, a kasina as object it does so not because the object is a kasina, nor because there is concentration with a kasina as object, but because of the way the (notion of) kasina is being contemplated (and obviously the same could not be said of, say, a cake :-))
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > pt: Thanks for that. To clarify, there can be kusala samatha bhavana of ordinary daily life moment kind with (concept of) cake as object (so not dana, not sila, not samatha bhavana of high degree, nor vipassana), but there cannot be saamatha bhavana of high degree with (concept of) cake as object. That is what you are saying, right? Thanks.
                                      > ===============

                                      J: I'd like to amplify/clarify my earlier remarks when I said:
                                      "In ordinary daily life, there may be kusala with any concept as object and, if there is a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then that will indeed be samatha."

                                      That kusala would have to be either dana, sila or vipassana (of an intellectual level).

                                      So for example, if there is dana with concept of cake (among other concepts, such as person) as object, and there is a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then that will be samatha with concept of cake as object.

                                      Or, in the example you gave before, if there is kusala reflection on how the present object of thinking (for example, cake) is concept and not dhamma, that would be understanding of dhammas at an intellectual level; and if there was then a level of understanding of that kusala as kusala, then that will be samatha with concept of cake as object. (Also, I've heard it said that at moment of awareness/insight, all the factors of samatha are also present).

                                      In either case, cake just happens to be the object, so it's an incidental association. There's nothing about cake per se (i.e., excluding, say, cake as earth element) that, properly reflected upon, can support the kusala factor of tranquillity that is characteristic of samatha.

                                      Hoping this is clearer.

                                      Jon
                                    • sarah
                                      Hi Pt, ... ... S: If the citta is kusala, it is calm, there is samatha, but occasional moments of kusala with calm are not samatha bhavana, the development of
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Apr 28 12:37 AM
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                                        Hi Pt,

                                        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:

                                        > ... I still can't quite make sense of one thing, though I'm not sure I can quite form the question - why can't there be an "ordinary daily life moment" of awareness with samatha kind of panna which is unrelated to actual samatha objects?
                                        ...
                                        S: If the citta is kusala, it is calm, there is samatha, but occasional moments of kusala with calm are not samatha bhavana, the development of calm.
                                        ...
                                        >
                                        > What I mean is a moment of samatha bhavana (so not dana and not sila and not vipassana), which is unconnected to official samatha development objects that Jon mentioned with reference to Vsm. What I mean is perhaps like a moment when something is seen and perceived in daily life, like (a concept of) a cake for example, but there's no attachment to such concept, in other words there's a sort of kusala "calm awareness" of the fact that it's a perception/concept,
                                        ....
                                        S: If there's a brief moment of wise thinking without attachment, there is calm, but such occasional moments of kusala are not samatha bhavana.

                                        I'd also like to stress that most of what is taken for "calm awareness" in a day, when it seems there is no attachment to what is experienced, is either rooted in ignorance or attachment. Unless panna develops, there's no way of detecting subtle ignorance and attachment.
                                        ....
                                        >so with samatha sort of panna (which I guess makes it samatha bhavana), but the object is not a kasina, nor a dhamma (as we're not talking about vipassana here), nor a ... well, it's clear its a perception/concept, but it's not clung to. This is probably not making much sense.
                                        ...
                                        How would samatha bhavana develop with the concept of a cake as object, for example?
                                        If there is no understanding of how such an object can condition calm, impossible.
                                        ...
                                        >
                                        > Anyway, my point being that this sort of ordinary moments would be a precursor to actual samatha bhavana with an official object for samatha later on. I mean, I assume nobody can jump straight into fullon samatha bhavana with actual official objects until at least some sort of "ordinary" moments of samatha bhavana happened (like my cake thing) and it became clear what is a moment with sati as opposed to a moment without sati (still speaking samatha-related only like outside a sasana)?
                                        ...
                                        S: What about now? It's clear that at moments of dana or kindness, for example, that the citta is kusala, it's calm. Whilst looking at or thinking about the cake, it may be clear (even at an intellectual level) that only visible object is seen, only concepts are thought about. Kusala cittas with calm. You're interested, however, in thinking about the cake without attachment, with understanding, but of what?

                                        Metta

                                        Sarah
                                        ======
                                      • ptaus1
                                        Hi Jon and Sarah, Thanks for your further clarifications. I understand what you re saying but I m still not managing to get to the bottom of what I m after,
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Apr 29 6:14 AM
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                                          Hi Jon and Sarah,

                                          Thanks for your further clarifications. I understand what you're saying but I'm still not managing to get to the bottom of what I'm after, though all this helped narrow it down I think:

                                          Basically, for those guys outside a sasana, I'm wondering if there is such a citta like the following, or not:

                                          - it's a kusala citta,
                                          - it has panna of weak samatha kind with it (so it is not jhana, nor advanced samatha bhavana)
                                          - it has a concept as object, but it is an ordinary one (e.g. a cake, or music, etc), so not one of the Vsm. samatha bhavana objects.

                                          In addition,
                                          - it is brief - so an ordinary javana cittas of a normal mind-door process, involved in day-to-day interaction with cakes, music, etc.
                                          - it has nothing to do with dana, sila, advanced samatha bhavana, intellectual right understanding, vipassana, etc.

                                          Basically an ordinary citta, but instead of attachment arising in interaction with cakes, music, etc, there's a kusala citta instead that has these same (conceptual) everyday object. Hoping I've managed to explain this more clearly. My thinking is that for those guys outside of a sasana, there must be some sort of kusala that arises in interaction with everyday stuff without it being vipassana nor right intellectual understanding nor advanced samatha bhavana, since it is not accessible to most.

                                          Best wishes
                                          pt
                                        • jonoabb
                                          Hi pt ... J: I cannot think what sort of kusala that could be. Unless perhaps the cake reminds the person of something kusala. Do you have anything in mind?
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Apr 29 8:08 AM
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                                            Hi pt

                                            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Hi Jon and Sarah,
                                            >
                                            > Thanks for your further clarifications. I understand what you're saying but I'm still not managing to get to the bottom of what I'm after, though all this helped narrow it down I think:
                                            >
                                            > Basically, for those guys outside a sasana, I'm wondering if there is such a citta like the following, or not:
                                            > ...
                                            >
                                            > Basically an ordinary citta, but instead of attachment arising in interaction with cakes, music, etc, there's a kusala citta instead that has these same (conceptual) everyday object. Hoping I've managed to explain this more clearly. My thinking is that for those guys outside of a sasana, there must be some sort of kusala that arises in interaction with everyday stuff without it being vipassana nor right intellectual understanding nor advanced samatha bhavana, since it is not accessible to most.
                                            > ===============

                                            J: I cannot think what sort of kusala that could be. Unless perhaps the cake reminds the person of something kusala.

                                            Do you have anything in mind?

                                            In the case of the specified objects, it is the contemplation about the object that can condition calm.

                                            Jon
                                          • ptaus1
                                            Hi Jon, ... I don t know, didn t have anything specific in mind, just seemed logical there should be a citta like that. I mean, sort of a foundation for
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Apr 30 4:50 AM
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                                              Hi Jon,

                                              > > Basically an ordinary citta, but instead of attachment arising in interaction with cakes, music, etc, there's a kusala citta instead that has these same (conceptual) everyday object. Hoping I've managed to explain this more clearly. My thinking is that for those guys outside of a sasana, there must be some sort of kusala that arises in interaction with everyday stuff without it being vipassana nor right intellectual understanding nor advanced samatha bhavana, since it is not accessible to most.
                                              > > ===============
                                              >
                                              > J: I cannot think what sort of kusala that could be. Unless perhaps the cake reminds the person of something kusala.
                                              >
                                              > Do you have anything in mind?
                                              >
                                              > In the case of the specified objects, it is the contemplation about the object that can condition calm.


                                              I don't know, didn't have anything specific in mind, just seemed logical there should be a citta like that. I mean, sort of a foundation for samatha bhavana with specific objects (much) later on.

                                              Perhaps if it's the contemplation about the object that conditions calm as you say, maybe then the cake can be, erm, contemplated in that way... Yeah, that doesn't sound quite right. Anyway, thanks anyway.

                                              Best wishes
                                              pt
                                            • jonoabb
                                              Hi pt ... J: Actually, they are not so much *specific objects (of consciousness)* as *(general) subjects*, if you see what I mean. Take maranasati, for
                                              Message 22 of 27 , May 1, 2013
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                                                Hi pt

                                                --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > Hi Jon,
                                                >
                                                > > J: Do you have anything in mind?
                                                > >
                                                > > In the case of the specified objects, it is the contemplation about the object that can condition calm.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > pt: I don't know, didn't have anything specific in mind, just seemed logical there should be a citta like that. I mean, sort of a foundation for samatha bhavana with specific objects (much) later on.
                                                > ===============

                                                J: Actually, they are not so much *specific objects (of consciousness)* as *(general) subjects*, if you see what I mean.

                                                Take maranasati, for example. It's contemplation about the subject of death (with understanding), and this could occur in any number of circumstances: a discussion, seeing an accident, remembering somebody who has passed away, receive news about one's medical condition, etc. Likewise, the terms (vocabulary, imagery, etc.) in which the subject is contemplated will vary from one person to the next; there is no rule on the form of the thoughts, it's the substance that's significant.

                                                Similar considerations apply to the other objects/subjects.

                                                In the Vism translation the term 'meditation subject' is used. The Pali is 'kamma.t.thaana', and I understand the literal meaning of this is 'field of work'.

                                                > ===============
                                                > pt: Perhaps if it's the contemplation about the object that conditions calm as you say, maybe then the cake can be, erm, contemplated in that way... Yeah, that doesn't sound quite right. Anyway, thanks anyway.
                                                > ===============

                                                J: If we change that and say "It's the contemplation about the *subject matter* that conditions calm", it perhaps gives a better idea (and a different perspective).

                                                Jon
                                              • sarah
                                                Hi Pt, I think the difficulty is when we start thinking of a particular situation and trying to work out what the cittas are or might be instead of
                                                Message 23 of 27 , May 5, 2013
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                                                  Hi Pt,

                                                  I think the difficulty is when we start thinking of a particular situation and trying to work out what the cittas are or might be instead of understanding the present reality now. Aren't we just lost in stories about a past (or future) scenario?

                                                  Having said that:

                                                  --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "ptaus1" <ptaus1@...> wrote:

                                                  > Basically, for those guys outside a sasana, I'm wondering if there is such a citta like the following, or not:
                                                  >
                                                  > - it's a kusala citta,
                                                  > - it has panna of weak samatha kind with it (so it is not jhana, nor advanced samatha bhavana)
                                                  > - it has a concept as object, but it is an ordinary one (e.g. a cake, or music, etc), so not one of the Vsm. samatha bhavana objects.
                                                  >
                                                  > In addition,
                                                  > - it is brief - so an ordinary javana cittas of a normal mind-door process, involved in day-to-day interaction with cakes, music, etc.
                                                  > - it has nothing to do with dana, sila, advanced samatha bhavana, intellectual right understanding, vipassana, etc.
                                                  ....
                                                  If it's kusala and not right understanding of a reality, it must be intellectual right understanding (of a concept), however weak and at whatever level, i.e. not pariyatti which is intellectual right understanding about reality.

                                                  So now, I'm eating an apple - there can be reflections (naturally) about the attachment to the taste, to the apple, reflections about the transitory nature of the attachment and pleasant feelings, the value of restraint, the shortness of life, impermanence (but not of realities) etc..... just brief moments of kusala with samatha that anyone might reflect on without any understanding of dhammas as anatta.

                                                  Again, more precious is just a moment now of understanding the doubt or attachment at this moment as a dhamma, not self.

                                                  When we see A.Sujin in June, I'll see if she has anything to add. I understand your point.

                                                  Metta

                                                  Sarah
                                                  =====
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