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Re: Discussion with Annie & Pt

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  • 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 1 of 27 , Apr 21, 2013
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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 2 of 27 , Apr 24, 2013
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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 3 of 27 , Apr 27, 2013
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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 4 of 27 , Apr 28, 2013
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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 5 of 27 , Apr 29, 2013
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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 6 of 27 , Apr 29, 2013
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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 7 of 27 , Apr 30, 2013
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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 8 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 9 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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