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what I heard

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  • nina van gorkom
    Dear friends, I listened to a discussion in Huahin with Khun Butsawong from Cambodia about sense-door and mind-door. I asked a Q. about thinking. I thought
    Message 1 of 57 , Aug 6, 2004
      Dear friends,

      I listened to a discussion in Huahin with Khun Butsawong from Cambodia about
      sense-door and mind-door. I asked a Q. about thinking. I thought that when
      we are thinking we know what the mind-door is, but this is not so. A. Sujin
      explained that it is still "us" thinking. How deeply rooted is the belief in
      a self, we do not even notice it that there is an idea of self who thinks
      when we are thinking. The devlopment of understanding is necessary in order
      to know the extent of our clinging to the idea of self. The discussion was
      like this:
      <Now there is seeing and then thinking about what we see but the mind-door
      does not appear. A sense object is experienced through a sense-door, and
      after that process of cittas is over, there are bhavanga-cittas
      (life-continuum) and then the rupa is experienced through the mind-door.
      After that there are other mind-door processes of cittas that define the
      object and remember the meaning. But we know all this only on the level of
      pariyatti, theoretical understanding. It seems that seeing lasts for a while
      and it is as if the mind-door process is hidden by the sense-door process.
      When the first stage of insight arises, nama and rupa are very clearly
      distinguished through the mind-door in mind-door processes of cittas. Then
      it is as if the sense-door process is hidden by the mind-door process,
      because the rupa is experienced very shortly through the sense-door and then
      the characteristic of that rupa is known by pañña through the mind-door. So
      long as this stage of insight does not arise the idea of self cannot be
      eradicated, there is still us.
      When this stage arises one knows: this is insight knowledge and there is no
      doubt and no need to think about it.
      At this moment we do not know the truth of what appears, there is ignorance,
      avijjaa. We may not realize that there are two levels of pañña: pañña of the
      level of listening and considering and pañña arising with sati that is
      directly aware of realities. When there is ignorance we do not know that
      there is ignorance.
      A person may notice that he has a lot of tanha, desire, and he may wonder:
      why am I like this, having so much akusala. However, we should not think:
      when will there not be this kind of akusala, or when will kusala develop? Or
      when will satipatthana arise more often?
      If we think in this way it shows that we do not know ourselves in accordance
      with the truth. We want to be better than we truly are. There are not enough
      conditions accumulated for a great deal of sati but we keep on thinking:
      when, o when will sati arise. The person who develops satipatthana is very
      truthful and he knows that all kinds of akusala still arise. When there is
      doubt about realities, it is like that. When there are no conditions for the
      arising of sati, it is like that. If we say: there is very little sati
      today, we hope to be better than we really are. We should not take an
      interest in the fact whether we know a great deal or only a little.>
    • sarah abbott
      Hi Swee Boon, I had meant to get back to your comments a little sooner....We were discussing the sutta from SN35: 153 (8) Is there a Method? [B.Bodhi transl]
      Message 57 of 57 , Aug 9, 2004
        Hi Swee Boon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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