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Re: [dsg] Merely Pondering

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  • upasaka@aol.com
    Hi, Nina - In a message dated 8/1/04 4:02:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time, nilo@euronet.nl ... Howard: Indeed! I certainly do not dispute that studying the Buddha
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 1, 2004
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      Hi, Nina -

      In a message dated 8/1/04 4:02:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time, nilo@...
      writes:

      > Hi Howard,
      > right, this is exactly what A. Sujin said: listening means also practice.
      ---------------------------------------
      Howard:
      Indeed! I certainly do not dispute that studying the Buddha word is
      part of practice, in fact an essential part - just not all of it.
      ----------------------------------------

      > You said to Rob about awareness of hardness:
      > <Then we are all pratitioners, Robert! Who is not aware of hardness?>
      > N: Respectfully butting in. No, this is not the point. It is mindfulness and
      > understanding of hardness as only an element that does not know anything.
      >
      --------------------------------------------
      Howard:
      Nina, I never suspected that hardness knew anything. :-)
      -------------------------------------------
      It>
      > is really difficult to know hardness as rupa, we are so used to take it for
      > my hand, for mine, for a thing belonging to me.
      --------------------------------------------
      Howard:
      I don't think of hardness as something belonging to me, not even
      conventionally speaking.
      ---------------------------------------------
      It takes much considering>
      > and awareness in daily life (it has to arise naturally in daily life) over
      > and over again, before we understand a little more hardness as it is. And
      > not only hardness, we should not select any objects. Detachment is necessary
      > right from the beginning. Detachment from an idea of how I think awareness
      > should be, there should not be preference to time, place, certain objects,
      > despising others.
      > So, I would say that listening is already a beginning practice, there is
      > awareness on the level of listening and considering what appears through the
      > six doors.
      ----------------------------------------------
      Howard:
      I would also say that it is a beginning practice, and without it there
      will be no beginning to practice, except to some extent by "dumb luck".
      ---------------------------------------------
      We know all this does not concern mere book knowledge.
      ---------------------------------------------
      Howard:
      It is conceptual knowledge, whether it comes from a book or somewhere
      else. That, of course, doesn't stop it from being essentially important.
      -------------------------------------------

      > Nina.
      > P.S. Herman will be happy to see that we are all butting in, I learnt that
      > from Mike. (O, where is he?)
      >
      =====================
      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]
    • rjkjp1
      ... the ... a pseudo-dhamma . Now ... All the quotes you have provided still, in my opinion, present a view ... and pondering ... =========== dear howard, You
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 1, 2004
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        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@a... wrote:
        > Hi, Robert -
        >
        > As I see it, restricting practice to hearing and pondering
        the
        > teachings constitutes a replacement of the Buddhadhamma by
        a "pseudo-dhamma". Now
        > merely studying and pondering is not something bad. <snip>
        All the quotes you have provided still, in my opinion, present a
        view
        > of Dhamma practice as consisting only of studying the teachings
        and pondering
        > them,
        ===========
        dear howard,
        You wrote that "I see that
        position as a
        > substitute for the full Buddhadhamma, which also included strong
        efforts at
        > maintaining ongoing mindfulness, guarding the senses, avoiding
        evil and doing
        > good, cultivating the mind through samatha and vipassana bhavana,
        and so on and"""

        So I gave some examples of Khun Sujin recommending effort and such
        good actions as generosity. Now why is being generous not "avoiding
        evil, doing good", why is it psuedo-dhamma?
        Or she is often speaking about maranasati - meditation on death. Is
        it that you don't believe she actually practices this meditation,
        she simply speaks about it?
        RobertK
      • rjkjp1
        ... the ... a pseudo-dhamma . ,snip I do not believe that is what the Buddha taught. ... fortunate ... directly from ... and they ... Dear Howard, Do you have
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 1, 2004
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          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@a... wrote:
          > Hi, Robert -
          >
          > As I see it, restricting practice to hearing and pondering
          the
          > teachings constitutes a replacement of the Buddhadhamma by
          a "pseudo-dhamma".
          ,snip>I do not believe that is what the Buddha taught.
          > The Savakas were called "hearers," because they were the
          fortunate
          > ones who had the magnificent opportunity to hear words of Dhamma
          directly from
          > the Buddha, and not because all they did was listen. They listened
          and they
          > acted.
          > ==========
          Dear Howard,
          Do you have to act to understand?
          The buddha in many hundred suttas talks about the salayatana (six
          sense bases)EG. Bodhi p1186 "bhikkus without directly knowing and
          fully understanding the eye..ear...nose...one is incapable of
          destroying suffering..." Book IV samyutta nikaya.
          What act is needed to understand eye and seeing and visible object?
          These elements are occuring right now and I am certain they can be
          understood - with direct insight- right where I am. I don't have to
          go to another place or do something to make seeing arise.
          But I think you disagree - this is what you would call pseudo-dhamma.
          What actions do you think must be done to directly know seeing?
          RobertK
        • nina van gorkom
          Hi Howard, I just make a choice of the items, there are so many meanwhile. ... N: I good point for considering, I suggested Sarah brings it up in Bgk.
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 4, 2004
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            Hi Howard,
            I just make a choice of the items, there are so many meanwhile.
            op 02-08-2004 01:27 schreef upasaka@... op upasaka@...:

            > It>
            >> is really difficult to know hardness as rupa, we are so used to take it for
            >> my hand, for mine, for a thing belonging to me.
            > --------------------------------------------
            > Howard:
            > I don't think of hardness as something belonging to me, not even
            > conventionally speaking.
            N: I good point for considering, I suggested Sarah brings it up in Bgk.
            Theoretically we know and understand that there is no self, but the
            practice?
            There is an underlying idea of self, the latent tendency of wrong view that
            is only eradicated by the sotapanna.
            I try another angle. The hardness of the hand seems to be something that
            lasts for a while. We fail to see the arising and falling away of just the
            rupa that is hardness. The characteristic of impermanence is closely
            connected with the characteristic of anatta. What is impermanent is not
            self. I shall quote from my Perseverance in Dhamma:
            <...before someone can realize the arising and falling away of realities,
            thus, impermanence, paññå has to directly understand which nåma or which
            rúpa has arisen and appears and then falls away. In countless suttas the
            Buddha explained about all the objects experienced one at a time through the
            six doors. He explained about seeing, visible object, hearing, sound,
            feeling, and thinking which arise all the time. These dhammas have each
            their own characteristic. First the specific characteristics of nåma and
            rúpa have to be realized before they can be known as impermanent, dukkha and
            anattå.
            Seeing, visible object, cold, hearing, these are all dhammas that each have
            their own characteristic. When we feel cold there are nåma and rúpa, but we
            do not distinguish nåma from rúpa; we have an idea, a concept of ourselves
            feeling cold. In reality cold impinges only on one point of the body at a
            time, but we join different moments of experiences together into a whole and
            then we have the impression of feeling cold all over the body. When we are
            aware of one nåma or rúpa at a time, without thinking, without trying to
            focus on specific realities, understanding will develop. When the first
            stage of tender insight, which is only a beginning stage, arises, paññå
            directly penetrates the characteristic of nåma as nåma and of rúpa as rúpa,
            without having to name them nåma and rúpa.
            Nåma has to be known as nåma, an element that experiences an object, and
            rúpa has to be known as rúpa, an element that does not know anything. They
            appear one at a time through the six doorways. Intellectual understanding of
            nåma and rúpa should be correct, and in this way it can be the foundation
            for direct understanding. Because of our ignorance of realities we believe
            that we can see and hear at the same time, feel hardness of the table and
            see a table at the same time. Through the study of the Abhidhamma we learn
            that each citta experiences only one object at a time. Seeing experiences
            only colour, hearing experiences only sound. Hearing does not experience
            words nor does it know the meaning of words, those are cittas different from
            hearing. Evenso, the citta with sati and paññå only experiences one object
            at a time. Any reality that appears, be it seeing, colour, attachment or
            aversion, can be the object of sati and paññå. We are bound to take thinking
            for direct awareness. First we have intellectual understanding of realities,
            but when there are the right conditions there can be direct awareness
            without thinking. Then we shall know the characteristic of sati that is
            directly aware.>
            (to be continued).
            Nina.

            And this I heard on MP3: <When sound appears, there is also the element that
            experiences. Meanwhile, all the rupas of the body arise and fall awa but
            they are not known. But we have the wrong remembrance of self, atta sañña.>
            We still have the perversion of wrong remembrance of a whole body, of self,
            of mine. All these rupas of the body seem to be lasting, but they arise and
            fall away very fast. We can verify for ourselves to what extent there still
            is wrong view of permanence and self. I find that I confuse the six doors,
            confuse feeling cetasika with rupa.

            H: But recollection of the Dhamma at appropriate times, something most
            certainly wonderful and beneficial, amounts to fallout from listening,
            understanding, and pondering. But it does not constitute practice. What is
            still
            required are actions pursuant to that recalled knowledge. Are listening and
            considering the only volitional actions the Buddha recommended? Are they the
            *main*
            practices he recommended? Does one develop sila merely as fallout from
            hearing
            about it and thinking about it? Does one develop samadhi merely as fallout
            from
            hearing and thinking about it? Are intellectual knowledge and its pondering
            the only sources of wisdom? I don't believe that the Buddha taught what
            amounts
            to positive answers to these questions. I don't believe that the Dhamma is a
            "one-trick pony".

            N: As I wrote to Herman, the actual practice is when samma-sati and
            samma-ditthi arise, they do the actual practice, not we. They can arise when
            there has been enough listening and considering. Take the guarding of the
            six doors. Sati and pañña perform these functions, and they do so
            irrespective of time and place, when confronted with other people or in
            situations of daily life. That is where we can practise right speech, not
            when we are on our own. I think once we have understood this, the Q about
            how and when is there practice becomes irrelevant. The akusala cittas are
            conditioned by the latent tendencies and it is all unforeseeable when they
            arise. But by guarding the doorways now, just now, by awareness of one
            object appearing through one of these doors, we actually prepare the ground
            for right sila. Sila includes all kusala through body, speech and mind. I
            do not see sila as rules that are imposed, nor as merely restraining, but
            rather as a change from akusala to kusala by pañña. Also samatha and
            vipassana are practice. Samatha includes also the recollections mentioned
            before that are suitable for all occasions. Recollection of the teachings,
            such as are explained in the Abhidhamma.
            H: ...(snipped)
            I wholeheartedly approve of and endorse "listening with the purpose of
            considering, understanding and applying what one heard in the circumstances
            of daily life." The question is what constitutes applying the knowledge
            gained
            through listening and considering. The Buddha included the "how to" as part
            of
            his teaching. But if we do not carry that out, then we are not following his
            Dhamma.
            N: I tried to explain above, and I agree, these are crucial points. It is
            not easy to explain these things, I find. If it is not clear, I try other
            angles. I also realize that each time I speak about the first stage of
            insight and rupas it is a delicate subject for you, knowing what you think
            about the experience of rupas. But visible object appears, it is different
            from sound and we can be aware of them. Visible object is not seeing.
            Why did the Buddha with so much insistence speak in the suttas about the six
            doorways, the objects experienced through them, the cittas that experience
            them? I think he wanted to say: be aware of each object seperately, as it
            appears, so that there is heedfulness. Do not delay being aware of what
            appears through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense and
            the mind-door. Be aware now so that the six doors are guarded. This is the
            practice.
            Nina.
          • sarah abbott
            Dear Howard (& Nina), ... ..... S: What about when we touch the keyboard or a glass. Don t we think it s me or self touching the hardness or that the
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 16, 2004
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              Dear Howard (& Nina),

              --- nina van gorkom <nilo@...> wrote:
              > > Howard:
              > > I don't think of hardness as something belonging to me, not even
              > > conventionally speaking.
              > N: I good point for considering, I suggested Sarah brings it up in Bgk.
              > Theoretically we know and understand that there is no self, but the
              > practice?
              .....
              S: What about when we touch the keyboard or a glass. Don't we think it's
              'me' or 'self' touching the hardness or that the hardness is outside of
              me? Also, don't we take this hardness for being something -- a keyboard or
              a glass? Don't we take the experience or the objects such as the glass or
              keyboard for being mine? Self view is very crafty and as we know, it comes
              in many guises.
              ....
              N: > Seeing, visible object, cold, hearing, these are all dhammas that
              each
              > have
              > their own characteristic. When we feel cold there are nåma and rúpa, but
              > we
              > do not distinguish nåma from rúpa; we have an idea, a concept of
              > ourselves
              > feeling cold.
              ...
              S: Just the point, I think.

              K.Sujin talks about how we should know what kind of self-view it is
              arising at different moments.

              From Nyantiloka’s dict:
              http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/s_t/sakkaaya_ditthi.htm

              “sakkáya-ditthi

              'personality-belief', is the first of the 10 fetters (samyojana).
              It is entirely abandoned only on reaching the path of Stream-winning
              (sotápatti-magga; s. ariya-puggala).

              There are 20 kinds of personality-belief, which are obtained by applying 4
              types of that belief to each of the 5 groups of existence (khandha):

              * (1-5) the belief to be identical with corporeality, feeling, perception,
              mental formations or consciousness;
              * (6-10) to be contained in them;
              * (11-15) to be independent of them;
              * (16-20) to be the owner of them (M.44; S.XXII.1).”
              ******
              Metta,

              Sarah
              ======







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            • upasaka@aol.com
              Hi, Sarah (and Nina) - In a message dated 8/16/04 5:55:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... =========================== When I touch the keyboard or glass, if I
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 16, 2004
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                Hi, Sarah (and Nina) -

                In a message dated 8/16/04 5:55:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                sarahprocterabbott@... writes:

                > --- nina van gorkom <nilo@...> wrote:
                > >>Howard:
                > >>I don't think of hardness as something belonging to me, not even
                > >>conventionally speaking.
                > >N: I good point for considering, I suggested Sarah brings it up in Bgk.
                > >Theoretically we know and understand that there is no self, but the
                > >practice?
                > .....
                > S: What about when we touch the keyboard or a glass. Don't we think it's
                > 'me' or 'self' touching the hardness or that the hardness is outside of
                > me? Also, don't we take this hardness for being something -- a keyboard or
                > a glass? Don't we take the experience or the objects such as the glass or
                > keyboard for being mine? Self view is very crafty and as we know, it comes
                > in many guises.
                >
                ===========================
                When "I touch the keyboard or glass," if I am in the confused mode of
                I-making, which, of course, is usually the case, it will seem that "I" am
                experiencing hardness, and not just that "there is hardness". And it is also the
                case that to me, while the hardness is a relatively impersonal phenomenon,
                neither "me" nor "mine," still I am also aware that it seems to occur as part of a
                mindstream that I call "mine". Thus the experience is almost always polluted
                by I-making. The pollution in the case of paramattha dhammas lies primarily at
                the subjective pole - it seeming that "I" observe the hardness, and that
                hardness, though itself impersonal, appears as part of "my" stream of experience.
                However, I do not seem to be "touching hardness". The really strong
                entry of *objective* reification comes in for me not with paramattha dhammas,
                but with conventionaI objects. I seem to be touching not hardness, but the
                conventional object we call keyboard or glass. The hardness in itself does not
                appear to me as an external thing that "I" encounter, but merely what is currently
                present within "my" mindstream. The reifying that comes in, as I experience
                it, is twofold: A subjective "observer" (which is expressed as "me" and
                "mine"), and which is a vague, unidentified actor/observer (and, BTW, the notion of a
                "citta" as observer, as I see it, plays right into this
                subjective-reification error), and an objective "observed," with this latter being a full blown
                conventional object such as keyboard or glass.
                But, yes, "me" and "mine" are almost always distorting our experience.

                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]
              • nina van gorkom
                Hi Howard, this is well observed! We have learnt about
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 16, 2004
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                  Hi Howard,
                  < the notion of a "citta" as observer, as I see it, plays right into this
                  subjective-reification error>
                  this is well observed! We have learnt about citta, an ultimate reality, but
                  so long as we have not really, really experienced citta as nama, here it is:
                  the observer citta. It is O.K. so long as we realize this. Then we know the
                  task that is ahead!
                  Nina.
                  op 16-08-2004 14:42 schreef upasaka@... op upasaka@...:

                  > The reifying that comes in, as I experience
                  > it, is twofold: A subjective "observer" (which is expressed as "me" and
                  > "mine"), and which is a vague, unidentified actor/observer (and, BTW, the
                  > notion of a
                  > "citta" as observer, as I see it, plays right into this
                  > subjective-reification error), and an objective "observed," with this latter
                  > being a full blown
                  > conventional object such as keyboard or glass.
                  > But, yes, "me" and "mine" are almost always distorting our experience.
                • sarah abbott
                  Dear Nina & Howard, ... ..... S: You added a lot more helpful detail and I also added a few comments, followed by Howard’s helpful reflections:
                  Message 8 of 12 , Sep 9, 2004
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                    Dear Nina & Howard,

                    --- nina van gorkom <nilo@...> wrote:
                    > > It>
                    > >> is really difficult to know hardness as rupa, we are so used to take
                    > it for
                    > >> my hand, for mine, for a thing belonging to me.
                    .....
                    > > --------------------------------------------
                    > > Howard:
                    > > I don't think of hardness as something belonging to me, not even
                    > > conventionally speaking.
                    .....
                    > N: I good point for considering, I suggested Sarah brings it up in Bgk.
                    > Theoretically we know and understand that there is no self, but the
                    > practice?
                    > There is an underlying idea of self, the latent tendency of wrong view
                    > that
                    > is only eradicated by the sotapanna.
                    .....
                    S: You added a lot more helpful detail and I also added a few comments,
                    followed by Howard’s helpful reflections:
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/message/35126
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/message/35448
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/message/35453

                    Anyway, I raised it (as a brief qu) as you suggested with K.Sujin and I’ll
                    add her further comments.
                    .....
                    Sujin: >Even for one who studies [the Dhamma], does one have to think at
                    the moment of touching whether or not there is a self? The Dhamma is not
                    for telling the others what is happening, but whenever cetasikas arise,
                    many of them at a moment, can we tell how many are there or what is there
                    or what is the characteristic of each? Or, [can we only tell when] one
                    appears so there can be the understanding or misunderstanding of that
                    reality? So if wrong view does not arise, can we say ‘Oh, it’s wrong
                    view?’. We can never say like that.

                    >Even children who don’t have any idea about self and non-self can tell
                    what is experienced -- whether it’s hard or soft. So it depends at that
                    moment what cetasikas arise, whether there is no wrong view or there is
                    wrong view. [S:and this can only be known if the characteristic of wrong
                    view appears and awareness is aware of it].

                    >There may not be any wrong view or idea of self. For example, when there
                    is atta-sa~n~naa, there is not necessarily any wrong view of self. It is a
                    vipallasa (perversion) of sa~n~naa, but not necessaily ditthi vipallasa
                    (perversion of view).<
                    *****
                    S: In other words, there may be a distortion of perception in some regard
                    as there is with every unwholesome citta arising, but not necessarily
                    wrong view.

                    Metta,

                    Sarah

                    p.s Howard, from Dispeller (transl of Sammohavinodani, PTS),
                    Classification of the Truths, 432:

                    “...And the Truth of Suffering is like a disease, the Truth of Origin is
                    like the cause of the disease, the Tuth of Cessation is like the cure of
                    the disease and the Truth of the path is like the medicine.”

                    Thank your for your further comments and reflections on namas and rupas in
                    our thread with Agrios. Others are discussing this further with you, so
                    I’ll take a back-seat this time;-).

                    Nina, looking forward to the rest of your other series and especially the
                    teeth! Apologies for jumping in a little soon.
                    =======






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                  • upasaka@aol.com
                    Hi, Sarah - In a message dated 9/9/04 4:17:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ========================== Ahh! Thank you!! With metta, Howard /Thus is how ye
                    Message 9 of 12 , Sep 9, 2004
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                      Hi, Sarah -

                      In a message dated 9/9/04 4:17:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                      sarahprocterabbott@... writes:

                      > p.s Howard, from Dispeller (transl of Sammohavinodani, PTS),
                      > Classification of the Truths, 432:
                      >
                      > “...And the Truth of Suffering is like a disease, the Truth of Origin is
                      > like the cause of the disease, the Tuth of Cessation is like the cure of
                      > the disease and the Truth of the path is like the medicine.”
                      >
                      ==========================
                      Ahh! Thank you!!

                      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]
                    • nina van gorkom
                      Dear Sarah, op 09-09-2004 10:16 schreef sarah abbott op sarahprocterabbott@yahoo.co.uk ... N: I still find it difficult to understand what atta-sa~n~naa is.
                      Message 10 of 12 , Sep 9, 2004
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                        Dear Sarah,
                        op 09-09-2004 10:16 schreef sarah abbott op sarahprocterabbott@...

                        >> There may not be any wrong view or idea of self. For example, when there
                        > is atta-sa~n~naa, there is not necessarily any wrong view of self. It is a
                        > vipallasa (perversion) of sa~n~naa, but not necessaily ditthi vipallasa
                        > (perversion of view).<
                        > *****
                        > S: In other words, there may be a distortion of perception in some regard
                        > as there is with every unwholesome citta arising, but not necessarily
                        > wrong view.

                        N: I still find it difficult to understand what atta-sa~n~naa is. What kind
                        of atta? Perhaps just with clinging, and not necessarily wrong view? It is
                        opposed to anattaa-sañña, and when hearing these in one context I just
                        wonder. Good for India?
                        In B. Dict. it says: the sotapanna eradicates the perversion of sañña, citta
                        and ditthi that the impersonal is a personality. What do you think?
                        Nina.
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