Cessation of dukkha

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:05 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:08 am
i have never heard anyone clearly explain to me what the purpose of single-pointed meditation is; ...
I think many traditions agree that concentrative meditation is done for two purposes: 1. calm or calm and pleasurable ablding and 2. as a basis for insight or analytical meditation.
As to 1 it serves to affirm the benefits of ethical conduct and to show how stupid it is to chase after inferior worldly pleasures and thus to foster renunciation.
As to 2 the absence of the hindrances is stabilized to provide the basis for clear understanding. It is just that the different traditions seem to require different depths of concentration. E.g. while the Theravada generally says that 4th jhana is necessary, the Gelugpa say that the access concentration taught by Tsongkhapa in his Lamrim is sufficient.
Also see here

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 380
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:12 am

SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:05 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:08 am
i have never heard anyone clearly explain to me what the purpose of single-pointed meditation is; ...
I think many traditions agree that concentrative meditation is done for two purposes: 1. calm or calm and pleasurable ablding and 2. as a basis for insight or analytical meditation.
As to 1 it serves to affirm the benefits of ethical conduct and to show how stupid it is to chase after inferior worldly pleasures and thus to foster renunciation.
As to 2 the absence of the hindrances is stabilized to provide the basis for clear understanding. It is just that the different traditions seem to require different depths of concentration. E.g. while the Theravada generally says that 4th jhana is necessary, the Gelugpa say that the access concentration taught by Tsongkhapa in his Lamrim is sufficient.
Also see here
thanks for this, ST: very helpful.
i have the Dalai Lama's book on Stages of Meditation and he states that single-pointed is also essential to Insight Meditation (as you point out) and the practice of the Six Perfections.

but i note that nowhere does he make reference to Cessation. perhaps i am off track.

User avatar
Supramundane
Posts: 380
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 am
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Supramundane » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:20 am

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:22 am
It might be worth observing that this whole discussion is happening within a framework which is sutrayana , or even Theravada.

The Vajrayana consideration of such issues takes its very departure from other sources.
Simon! i have been pursuing this question and i apologize for dismissing your comment above; in fact, i now realize that you were totally correct.

i found this book:
On Being Mindless: Buddhist Meditation And The Mind-Body
Problem
By Paul J. Griffiths

[Mod note: links to copyrighted material removed, please abide by copyright law and the ToS]

which deals with cessation and it is clearly a Theravada concept, meaning that although Mahayana and Theravada both deal with the concept, the way i was employing it, as you rightly pointed out, is a Theravada approach.

This text is hard-going; i believe it is a Phd thesis. i have only skimmed it, but it appears to pertain to Theravada accounts of bringing about a cessation of conceptual thought and even of reaction to stimuli by cultivating the jhanas (!).

it is fascinating ---- but has nothing to do with single-pointed meditation.
thanks again for your post.

Simon E.
Posts: 7652
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:22 am

You’re welcome.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:10 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:12 am
i have the Dalai Lama's book on Stages of Meditation and he states that single-pointed is also essential to Insight Meditation (as you point out) and the practice of the Six Perfections.

but i note that nowhere does he make reference to Cessation. perhaps i am off track.
Yes it is because single-pointed meditation is bound to an object that it can't entail cessation.

Actually the process is as follows: single-pointed meditation -> basis for insight into emptiness -> realization of emptiness -> cessation as 'the signless'.

There are other kinds of cessations like cessation as cessation of lower rebirths or as cessation of the possibility of severance of virtuous roots, i.e. no more ethical downfall.

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:30 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:20 am
....
which deals with cessation and it is clearly a Theravada concept, meaning that although Mahayana and Theravada both deal with the concept, the way i was employing it, as you rightly pointed out, is a Theravada approach.

This text is hard-going; i believe it is a Phd thesis. i have only skimmed it, but it appears to pertain to Theravada accounts of bringing about a cessation of conceptual thought and even of reaction to stimuli by cultivating the jhanas (!).

it is fascinating ---- but has nothing to do with single-pointed meditation.
Up to the 4th jhana there is no diference between single-pointed meditation and the jhanas. Only when it comes to the arupa/formless jhanas the term 'single-pointed' becomes inappropriate and it would be more appropriate to speak of 'absorption' or 'immersion' because one does not focus on an object but is absorbed in the object as in e.g. loving kindness meditation. Therefore 'theme' instead of 'object' would avoid misunderstandings in the context of formless jhanas.
But just to be explicit, the jhanas up to cessation are practiced in Mahayana Prajnaparamita, too. Actually on the Path of Meditation they become essential for completely abandoning innate ignorance. But this takes place on the Path to the Knower of all Aspects and that makes the difference with regards to the sravaka practice.

User avatar
Lazy Lubber
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:43 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Lazy Lubber » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:34 am

SteRo wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:55 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
Is stopping consciousness really possible?
In the signless consciousness ceases.
Consciousness does not stop when there is awakening. All that stops is ignorance conditioning an ignorant consciousness. Dependent origination is about the arising of ignorance.

User avatar
Lazy Lubber
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:43 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Lazy Lubber » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:41 am

SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:58 am
Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:06 am
but isn't the purpose of single-pointed concentration to achieve pure awareness? to experience consciousness itself by negating or 'disregarding' fabrications?
I don't know what teaching this is from. Consciousness is an aggregate and thus is impermanent and dukkha, contaminated from the outset.
Correct. The purpose of single-pointed concentration to achieve pure awareness. At least in the Hinayana tradition, there is pure consciousness:
Wisdom and consciousness— these things are cojoined, not separate.

MN 43
Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind.

AN 1.49-52
If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocting, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.

SN 22.53
Sariputta, even if you have to carry me about on a bed, still there will be no change in the lucidity of the Tathagata's wisdom

MN 12
However, ultimately, this consciousness can cease, at times. Thus, it is impermanent. :smile:

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:44 pm

Lazy Lubber wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:34 am
SteRo wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:55 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:04 am
Is stopping consciousness really possible?
In the signless consciousness ceases.
Consciousness does not stop when there is awakening. All that stops is ignorance conditioning an ignorant consciousness. Dependent origination is about the arising of ignorance.
There are different views about consciousness in the context of this or that 'awakening' since there are different views as to what 'awakening' means. Since I use 'awakening' only for sravaka nirvana I would agree that "Consciousness does not stop when there is awakening". I use 'enlightenment' for the goal of the bodhisattva path only and I would not agree that "consciousness does not stop when there is enlightenment". But as said there are different views and different schools so it is not of importance if one follows different interpretations about consciousness. After all there is no consciousness apart from ignorance.

Lazy Lubber wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:41 am
SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:58 am
Supramundane wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:06 am
but isn't the purpose of single-pointed concentration to achieve pure awareness? to experience consciousness itself by negating or 'disregarding' fabrications?
I don't know what teaching this is from. Consciousness is an aggregate and thus is impermanent and dukkha, contaminated from the outset.
Correct.
Actually I would have to revise that because saying "Consciousness is an aggregate and thus is impermanent and dukkha, contaminated from the outset" is sravaka view. Actually consciousness cannot be affirmed from the outset so there is no basis for saying 'consciousness is this' or 'consciousness is that'.

Lazy Lubber wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:41 am
The purpose of single-pointed concentration to achieve pure awareness.
I would not agree with that because even in the Pali suttas the Buddha taught that pure awareness is the prerequisite for right oncentration but not the outcome. But actually awareness is no different from consciousness and cannot be affirmed from the outset. There is no awareness, pure or impure, apart from ignorance. The bodhisattva should not course in formations.

User avatar
Lazy Lubber
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:43 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Lazy Lubber » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:14 pm

SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:44 pm
Actually I would have to revise that because saying "Consciousness is an aggregate and thus is impermanent and dukkha, contaminated from the outset" is sravaka view.
The word "dukkha" in the above context does not mean "contaminated". It means "cannot bring lasting happiness" due to impermanence. The consciousness of a Buddha is not "contaminated" yet it cannot bring or be relied on for lasting happiness.
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:44 pm
Actually consciousness cannot be affirmed from the outset so there is no basis for saying 'consciousness is this' or 'consciousness is that'.
Consciousness is an element therefore it is a natural phenomena. If there was no consciousness, you could not write & read on this forum. The Hinaya suttas say:
'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness.'

MN 43

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:55 pm

Lazy Lubber wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:14 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:44 pm
Actually I would have to revise that because saying "Consciousness is an aggregate and thus is impermanent and dukkha, contaminated from the outset" is sravaka view.
The word "dukkha" in the above context does not mean "contaminated". It means "cannot bring lasting happiness" due to impermanence. The consciousness of a Buddha is not "contaminated" yet it cannot bring or be relied on for lasting happiness.
There is no happiness apart from ignorance.
Lazy Lubber wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:14 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:44 pm
Actually consciousness cannot be affirmed from the outset so there is no basis for saying 'consciousness is this' or 'consciousness is that'.
Consciousness is an element therefore it is a natural phenomena. If there was no consciousness, you could not write & read on this forum. The Hinaya suttas say:
'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness.'
MN 43
There is no writing & reading on this forum apart from ignorance. Same applies to consciousness as the basis for writing & reading on this forum.

User avatar
Lazy Lubber
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:43 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Lazy Lubber » Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:18 am

SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:55 pm
There is no happiness apart from ignorance.
Dhammapada 203 & 204: Nibbana the highest happiness: nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ :smile:

muni
Posts: 4908
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by muni » Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:16 am

There is no happiness apart from ignorance.
That is true since there remains subject-object-interaction (grasping). However why should we then go through practices, which can be very hard due to own karmic effects collected during lives before? Samsara looks often much better, drinking my coffee with a piece of cake, watching a movie on tv instead of practices for realizing the one I create between my ears...

Happiness because of/due to; is ignorance. However practising for the happiness/Joy of all is opening mind-heart, is releasing or at least softening the suffering by self-centredness. And that self centredness is blocking lasting peace, or contentment which could be called no holding.
The presence of space makes it possible for the whole universe to be set out within it, and yet this does not alter or condition space in any way. Although rainbows appear in the sky, they do not make any difference to the sky; it is simply that the sky makes the appearance of rainbows possible.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:51 am

Lazy Lubber wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:18 am
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:55 pm
There is no happiness apart from ignorance.
Dhammapada 203 & 204: Nibbana the highest happiness: nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ :smile:
This is teaching for the world. The world thinks in categories of happiness and suffering. Therefore the goal of the path is 'sold' as highest happiness. But can there be a happiness when delusive self is extinguished? The world knows happiness in the context of self. This is the conventional notion of 'happiness'.

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:04 pm

muni wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:16 am
There is no happiness apart from ignorance.
... However why should we then go through practices, which can be very hard due to own karmic effects collected during lives before? Samsara looks often much better, drinking my coffee with a piece of cake, watching a movie on tv instead of practices for realizing the one I create between my ears...
Why is the one christian and the other atheist? Why the other criminal, materialist ... The answer of Dharma is karma, right?
muni wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:16 am
Happiness because of/due to; is ignorance. However practising for the happiness/Joy of all is opening mind-heart, is releasing or at least softening the suffering by self-centredness. And that self centredness is blocking lasting peace, or contentment which could be called no holding.
The Buddha taught right concentration so that renunciates can experience a happiness not known before independent of worldly pleasures. But the Buddha also taught that all meditation experiences are mentally fashioned and subject to cessation.
Whoever practices for happiness must know that there may be moments of happiness due to practice but that this happiness is impermanent. But don't you worry about that because liberation is "better" than happiness.

muni
Posts: 4908
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by muni » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:16 pm

The Buddha taught right concentration so that renunciates can experience a happiness not known before independent of worldly pleasures. But the Buddha also taught that all meditation experiences are mentally fashioned and subject to cessation.
Whoever practices for happiness must know that there may be moments of happiness due to practice but that this happiness is impermanent. But don't you worry about that because liberation is "better" than happiness.
Yes yes! Liberation of wanting happiness and not wanting suffering.
Whoever practices for happiness
Not so, this looks selfish aim.
There is no writing & reading on this forum apart from ignorance. Same applies to consciousness as the basis for writing & reading on this forum.
There are so many scripts-books filling the walls in many monasteries and libraries, all full of 'ignorance'. But so needful and so precious. Actually is there ignorance? Just called so?

In order to be free of dream, there is the need of same dreamlike phenomenal ( words-forms-methods...) nature in order to be able to recognize in the dream. Generosity ( like paramita) with that is compassionate deed.

The practitioner-practice and practising are not three.
And therefore not a Buddhist self what practises Buddhist practice.

If we all could directly see that, expecting all to do so, even not able, then what? I think there is certainly a difference in rejecting the liberating medicines and pointing to see their nature, their impermanence, just like all phenomena.
The presence of space makes it possible for the whole universe to be set out within it, and yet this does not alter or condition space in any way. Although rainbows appear in the sky, they do not make any difference to the sky; it is simply that the sky makes the appearance of rainbows possible.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:40 pm

muni wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:16 pm
There is no writing & reading on this forum apart from ignorance. Same applies to consciousness as the basis for writing & reading on this forum.
There are so many scripts-books filling the walls in many monasteries and libraries, all full of 'ignorance'. But so needful and so precious. Actually is there ignorance? Just called so?

In order to be free of dream, there is the need of same dreamlike phenomenal ( words-forms-methods...) nature in order to be able to recognize in the dream. Generosity ( like paramita) with that is compassionate deed.

The practitioner-practice and practising are not three.
And therefore not a Buddhist self what practises Buddhist practice.

If we all could directly see that, expecting all to do so, even not able, then what? I think there is certainly a difference in rejecting the liberating medicines and pointing to see their nature, their impermanence, just like all phenomena.
'Ignorance' can have different connotations My understanding of it is that it is empty of personal self. So what is ignorant? :shrug: I'd prefer to say 'Life is ignorant' understanding 'life' as being empty of personal self, too.
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition ... comes birth.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

So self comes in rather late with 'birth' in this DO sequence. Everything else before is empty of personal self.

We see that ignorance is productive because fabrications arise from it. And it can be disruptive since in this sequence which starts on the basis of ignorance we also have 'craving' and 'clinging/sustenance'.
If the disruptive aspect ceases there is still the productive aspect of ignorance since life goes on and life is ignorant.

This view may sound life-hostile but it isn't meant that way. It just cautions one to not take anything that happens in life at face value since it is the product of ignorance inherent in life which is empty of personal self.

Whoever wants to experience life's productive ignorance first has to enter the signless.

Simon E.
Posts: 7652
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:51 pm

Do what? :lol:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

muni
Posts: 4908
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by muni » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:48 pm

life is ignorant.
Ok.
Sentient beings = life?

Signlessness yes, one of the liberating doors, you are right.
The great variety of teachings, written, spoken and all methods are all enlightened activities given for us, by compassion for all sentient beings to point nature, which is not fabricated.
Uncompounded and spontaneously present,
Unrealised through external conditions,
Endowed with knowledge, love and power
Is the buddhahood possessing the two benefits.
I will read your mentioned text.
Do what?
:smile:
The presence of space makes it possible for the whole universe to be set out within it, and yet this does not alter or condition space in any way. Although rainbows appear in the sky, they do not make any difference to the sky; it is simply that the sky makes the appearance of rainbows possible.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

SteRo
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:29 pm

Re: Cessation of dukkha

Post by SteRo » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:17 am

muni wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:48 pm
Sentient beings = life?
Above I said that life is empty of personal self. Usually the spheres of experience are called 'aggregates'.

Locked

Return to “Meditation”