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Re: [dsg] Awareness (was, ADL ch. 13 (1))

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  • Jonothan Abbott
    Goggy ... Yes, thanks. Good to be talking to you again. ... Yes, these are the cetasikas (mental factors) that arise with the kusala citta, so it is in fact
    Message 1 of 22 , Jul 1, 2002
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      Goggy

      --- goglerr <goglerr@...> wrote:
      > Hi Jon, it's been a while since we communicate 'face-to-face'. I glad
      > to her from u. Hope that everything is fine over there.

      Yes, thanks. Good to be talking to you again.

      > Jon: I appreciate the appeal of the 'not fast enough' school of
      > thought, but I fear it can easily lead one away from the importance
      > of awareness of present-moment realities, to an idea that things need
      > to be slowed down before there can be any appreciable level of
      > understanding. As I say, I don't think such ideas are supported by
      > the texts.
      >
      > G: Not only the awareness has to be penetrative and sharp on the fast
      > changing realities, but also has to be light
      > (kayalahuta/cittalahuta), malleable (kayamuduta/cittamuduta), wieldy
      > (kaya/cittakammannata) and proficient (kaya/cittapagunnata).

      Yes, these are the cetasikas (mental factors) that arise with the kusala
      citta, so it is in fact the citta (i.e., not the awareness) that is light,
      malleable and proficient. These indeed are the characteristics that
      distinguish kusala citta from akusala citta.

      > Other words, the awareness has to be swift to be concurrent the fast
      > arising objects of nama and rupa. The object of nama or rupa are very
      > momenterial. They change very fast and rapid. Their promeniency are
      > changing too. Let say, an oject from the touch door. If we are
      > mindful of it, we can observe that they are changing. But not all the
      > time the touch point is prominent , it changes too, then the
      > awereness has to go to another nama rupa object with has become more
      > prominent, so that the awareness has to be continuous and concurrent
      > with an object of nama or rupa. Within the mind too, the awareness
      > has to be sharp, penetrative and agile, so that it can be concurrent
      > with different cittas that are arising and passing away.

      I think you are saying that because the citta and its object changes very
      rapidly, awareness cannot keep up with it. (This perhaps forms the basis
      of the attraction to the 'slowing down' approach.)

      As I see it, there is no need for awareness to 'keep up with' the changing
      object. We agree that the goal is awareness of different realities, each
      to be known as it is. To my understanding, though, this does not mean
      awareness of all realities all the time, nor does it mean awareness of but
      a single moment of a dhamma (these would be things that only the likes of
      a Buddha could accomplish). Nor does it mean necessarily awareness of
      different dhammas successively.

      If there are moments of awareness of a single dhamma, then it doesn't
      matter whether these are in isolation or are part of other moments of
      awareness.

      > Hope my little clarification on 'not fast enough' will help.
      > Goglerr

      As I've said above, we are not trying to 'catch' an individual moments of
      citta or its object, so the speed of change is not a problem.

      Jon

      > p.s: I have faith in 'slowing down'!

      PS Can dhammas be 'slowed down'?


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    • upasaka@aol.com
      Hi, Jon - In a message dated 7/1/02 3:27:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ========================== I think you are addressing something important and
      Message 2 of 22 , Jul 1, 2002
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        Hi, Jon -

        In a message dated 7/1/02 3:27:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        jonoabb@... writes:


        >
        > I think you are saying that because the citta and its object changes very
        > rapidly, awareness cannot keep up with it. (This perhaps forms the basis
        > of the attraction to the 'slowing down' approach.)
        >
        > As I see it, there is no need for awareness to 'keep up with' the changing
        > object. We agree that the goal is awareness of different realities, each
        > to be known as it is. To my understanding, though, this does not mean
        > awareness of all realities all the time, nor does it mean awareness of but
        > a single moment of a dhamma (these would be things that only the likes of
        > a Buddha could accomplish). Nor does it mean necessarily awareness of
        > different dhammas successively.
        >
        > If there are moments of awareness of a single dhamma, then it doesn't
        > matter whether these are in isolation or are part of other moments of
        > awareness.
        >
        > > Hope my little clarification on 'not fast enough' will help.
        > > Goglerr
        >
        > As I've said above, we are not trying to 'catch' an individual moments of
        > citta or its object, so the speed of change is not a problem.
        >
        >
        ==========================
        I think you are addressing something important and interesting here.
        It is also a subject which, to my mind, calls for clarification.
        First of all - yes, I think it is that "keeping up" aspect which
        motivates the attempt to "slow down", a matter which I *partially* question
        (and which is an issue separate from that of formal vs informal meditation.).
        The main thing, however, which I would like to see clarified, however, is the
        meaning of 'awareness' in what I have quoted by you above. It doesn't seem
        that it could mean vi~n~nana/citta, for that is available all the time. Can
        it mean sati? That strikes me as more probable. I would suppose that in an
        early "training phase", doing things more slowly could aid in the building of
        sati, but I also think that once a certain level of sati is in place, it is
        that, itself, which subjectively "slows things down" and leads to yet further
        sati. I'd be interested in hearing yours and others comments on this.

        With metta,
        Howard

        /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
        in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
        phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • LBIDD@webtv.net
        Hi Ranil, you are correct. Phassa arises with every citta. So every citta is a miniature version of paticcasamuppada. On the other hand, maybe we could say
        Message 3 of 22 , Jul 1, 2002
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          Hi Ranil, you are correct. Phassa arises with every citta. So every
          citta is a miniature version of paticcasamuppada. On the other hand,
          maybe we could say sense consciousness in 5 door process is first
          'contact' with a rupa, so to speak. I think these patterns of evolution
          are evident on different levels of organization, but maybe not. It's all
          pretty confusing to me. Headache!
        • goglerr
          Hi Jon, ... changes very rapidly, awareness cannot keep up with it. (This perhaps forms the basis of the attraction to the slowing down approach.) G: I
          Message 4 of 22 , Jul 2, 2002
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            Hi Jon,

            > In a message dated 7/1/02 3:27:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
            > jonoabb@y... writes:
            >
            > > I think you are saying that because the citta and its object
            changes very rapidly, awareness cannot keep up with it. (This
            perhaps forms the basis of the attraction to the 'slowing down'
            approach.)

            G: I didn't mean the 'slowing down' approach from this aspect. I was
            only refering to bodily movement (of course, on certain time!)

            > > As I see it, there is no need for awareness to 'keep up with' the
            changing object. We agree that the goal is awareness of different
            realities, each to be known as it is. To my understanding, though,
            this does not mean awareness of all realities all the time, nor does
            it mean awareness of but a single moment of a dhamma (these would be
            things that only the likes of a Buddha could accomplish). Nor does
            it mean necessarily awareness of different dhammas successively.

            > > If there are moments of awareness of a single dhamma, then it
            doesn't matter whether these are in isolation or are part of other
            moments of awareness.
            _________________________________________________________
            G: Of course in our daily life, we cannot have sati to be the all the
            time. As u said , and I agree, that there are isolated moments of
            sati. And I personally too, try to mindful throughout day, and as I
            experience isolated moments and I find that it's wonderful and have
            much benefit. Didn't the Buddha said that sati is helpful everywhere?

            I see it that we are looking at different aspect and different
            emphasis. On my sharing, I was focusing on 'formal meditation' - as
            in 'formal sitting and walking'. I do them to whenever I have the
            time, and I find that a succesion, a continouity of sati, for a
            period of time, more profound and clearer dhamma are presented. I not
            trying to compare with biasness but a matter of explanation and
            understanding. They are from my personal experience that I share.
            _________________________________________________________
            > > As I've said above, we are not trying to 'catch' an individual
            moments of citta or its object, so the speed of change is not a
            problem.
            > >

            G
          • Jonothan Abbott
            Goggy ... Thanks for this clarification, and my apologies if I misunderstood you. ... Thanks for your sharing. I didn t mean to be critical of any aspect of
            Message 5 of 22 , Jul 3, 2002
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              Goggy

              --- goglerr <goglerr@...> wrote:
              > Hi Jon,
              >
              > > In a message dated 7/1/02 3:27:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
              > > jonoabb@y... writes:
              > >
              > > > I think you are saying that because the citta and its object
              > changes very rapidly, awareness cannot keep up with it. (This
              > perhaps forms the basis of the attraction to the 'slowing down'
              > approach.)
              >
              > G: I didn't mean the 'slowing down' approach from this aspect. I was
              > only refering to bodily movement (of course, on certain time!)

              Thanks for this clarification, and my apologies if I misunderstood you.

              > > > As I see it, there is no need for awareness to 'keep up with' the
              > changing object. We agree that the goal is awareness of different
              > realities, each to be known as it is. To my understanding, though,
              > this does not mean awareness of all realities all the time, nor does
              > it mean awareness of but a single moment of a dhamma (these would be
              > things that only the likes of a Buddha could accomplish). Nor does
              > it mean necessarily awareness of different dhammas successively.
              >
              > > > If there are moments of awareness of a single dhamma, then it
              > doesn't matter whether these are in isolation or are part of other
              > moments of awareness.
              > _________________________________________________________
              > G: Of course in our daily life, we cannot have sati to be the all the
              > time. As u said , and I agree, that there are isolated moments of
              > sati. And I personally too, try to mindful throughout day, and as I
              > experience isolated moments and I find that it's wonderful and have
              > much benefit. Didn't the Buddha said that sati is helpful everywhere?
              >
              > I see it that we are looking at different aspect and different
              > emphasis. On my sharing, I was focusing on 'formal meditation' - as
              > in 'formal sitting and walking'. I do them to whenever I have the
              > time, and I find that a succesion, a continouity of sati, for a
              > period of time, more profound and clearer dhamma are presented. I not
              > trying to compare with biasness but a matter of explanation and
              > understanding. They are from my personal experience that I share.

              Thanks for your sharing. I didn't mean to be critical of any aspect of
              your practice. I was simply trying to raise for general discussion some
              considerations about awareness and understanding, such as what awareness
              is, how it functions, how it manifests. I think this is useful, indeed
              necessary, in order to help clarify our ideas about the practice, some of
              which we may not have vocalised before (I quite often find this the case
              myself).

              I have no particular interest in anyone else's practice. What I'm
              interested in is discussing and analysing the texts to find out more about
              the true meaning of the words spoken by the Buddha, what might be called
              'the theory of practice', so that one's practice has a proper theoretical
              basis.

              Please feel free to share some more with us anytime.

              Jon


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            • Jonothan Abbott
              Howard ... Hi, Jon - ... very ... basis ... changing ... each ... but ... of ... of ... ========================== Howard: I think you are addressing something
              Message 6 of 22 , Jul 5, 2002
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                Howard

                --- upasaka@... wrote: >
                Hi, Jon -
                >
                > I think you are saying that because the citta and its object changes
                very
                > rapidly, awareness cannot keep up with it. (This perhaps forms the
                basis
                > of the attraction to the 'slowing down' approach.)
                >
                > As I see it, there is no need for awareness to 'keep up with' the
                changing
                > object. We agree that the goal is awareness of different realities,
                each
                > to be known as it is. To my understanding, though, this does not mean
                > awareness of all realities all the time, nor does it mean awareness of
                but
                > a single moment of a dhamma (these would be things that only the likes
                of
                > a Buddha could accomplish). Nor does it mean necessarily awareness of
                > different dhammas successively.
                >
                > If there are moments of awareness of a single dhamma, then it doesn't
                > matter whether these are in isolation or are part of other moments of
                > awareness.
                >
                > > Hope my little clarification on 'not fast enough' will help.
                > > Goglerr
                >
                > As I've said above, we are not trying to 'catch' an individual moments
                of
                > citta or its object, so the speed of change is not a problem.
                >
                >
                ==========================
                Howard:
                I think you are addressing something important and interesting
                here.
                It is also a subject which, to my mind, calls for clarification.
                First of all - yes, I think it is that "keeping up" aspect which
                motivates the attempt to "slow down", a matter which I *partially*
                question
                (and which is an issue separate from that of formal vs informal
                meditation.).
                The main thing, however, which I would like to see clarified, however, is
                the
                meaning of 'awareness' in what I have quoted by you above. It doesn't seem

                that it could mean vi~n~nana/citta, for that is available all the time.
                Can
                it mean sati? That strikes me as more probable. I would suppose that in an

                early "training phase", doing things more slowly could aid in the building
                of
                sati, but I also think that once a certain level of sati is in place, it
                is
                that, itself, which subjectively "slows things down" and leads to yet
                further
                sati. I'd be interested in hearing yours and others comments on this.
                ===============================

                Jon:
                Yes, I very much agree that this is an important area (and an interesting
                one, too). Thanks for raising it. I hope I can contribute something
                useful, and that others will come in.

                1. The meaning of 'awareness'
                'Awareness' and 'mindfulness' are terms used for the Pali 'sati', as in
                'satipatthana'. This term is found in both the suttas and the abhidhamma.
                In the abhidhamma, sati is identified as one of the cetasikas (mental
                factors), so it arises together with, and experiences the same object as,
                a citta (moment of consciousness).
                When we talk about having awareness/being aware, we refer in fact to
                *consciousness that is accompanied by the mental factor of awareness*
                (just as when we talk about being angry we refer to consciousness
                accompanied by the mental factor of dosa).

                2. Whether advanced sati can result in a subjective slowing down of
                things.
                From my reading of texts such as the Satipatthana Sutta, it seems that
                highly developed awareness, when accompanied by understanding, results in
                dhammas being perceived more clearly and that seems to include, for want
                of a better way of putting it, perceiving more dhammas and perceiving them
                more according to their true nature (not self etc). The sense I get is
                'in greater detail', or 'in a magnified form' rather than 'in a
                slowed-down form', but it probably amounts to much the same thing.

                3. Whether doing things more slowly can be an aid to awareness in the
                beginning.
                While this has a certain superficial appeal, it lacks any support from the
                texts. As I said in an earlier post, the assumption here is that the
                'problem' is that things are happening too fast, or are too intermingled,
                to be 'caught' by awareness, whereas in reality the problem is quite
                simply that the awareness accumulated to date is not sufficiently well
                developed.
                As to specifically in what sense it departs from the development of
                awareness as found in the texts, I would say as follows. The purpose of
                slowing down is to enable one's attention to be focussed more strongly on
                a particular dhamma or on dhammas generally. However, the texts do not
                draw any distinction between one dhamma and another, as far as the
                descriptions of 'things to be known as they are' are concerned. I refer
                here to the 5 khandhas, 'the all', the 4 satipatthanas, etc. No one
                dhamma is said to be more in need of being known than another.
                It seems to me that whenever we 'focus on a dhamma', we are actually
                focussing on something that we *take for* a dhamma but is not in fact so,
                since without awareness dhammas are not and cannot be directly experienced
                and so do not appear to us as they are. This is why, in my view, any
                attempted focussing or directed attention on an object is bound to fail.
                The danger in all this is that there can be 'results' from this kind of
                practice that appear to match things described in the texts, and this is
                readily taken as confirmation of the correctness of the practice.

                Well, that's how I see it. I hope this offers something of interest. I'd
                like to hear what others have to say, too.

                Jon


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