ChNN on presence

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Aryjna
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Aryjna » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:32 pm

bhava wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:53 pm
Dear friends, I appreciate your answers. Noting/labeling is I guess one of the traditional methods that helps mind to be anchored in presence. In my experience it is very helpful, as the mind is all the time running in some conceptual thoughts anyway. Also contemplation/samadhi I think has different meaning in the context of Abhidharma and in the context dzogchen as used by CHNN. Similiary certain level of stability of presence/mindfulness seems to be a necessity for samadhi.
Anyway I would be very interested to know, if any of you guys have attained 1st dhyana or at least access (upacara) samadhi and how do you see the relationship between recognition of rigpa and having stability in rigpa in connection with training of the mind in the above mentioned stages of meditative absorbtion. With respect and metta...
http://shop.shangshungfoundation.com/en ... 05614.html
This book has a lot of important related information.

Marc
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Marc » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:12 am

Malcolm wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:24 pm
Rongzom mentions that people who are not immediately launched into realization must a) develop the five factors of the first dhyāna, and b) the way they practice is total mindfulness within the horizon of absolute attention.
Hi Malcolm,
Given the lack of consensus about what qualifies as full / proper development of the five factors of the 1st dhyāna, could you please let us know where you stand ?
Thx
M

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Malcolm
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm

Marc wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:12 am
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:24 pm
Rongzom mentions that people who are not immediately launched into realization must a) develop the five factors of the first dhyāna, and b) the way they practice is total mindfulness within the horizon of absolute attention.
Hi Malcolm,
Given the lack of consensus about what qualifies as full / proper development of the five factors of the 1st dhyāna, could you please let us know where you stand ?
Thx
M
The five factors of the first dhyana are initial attention (vitarka), sometimes also referred to as coarse attention; vicara, sustained attention; sukha, i.e. physical ease; priti, i.e. mental ease, and one-pointedness. These are all described by Vasubandhu, and Rongzom does not differ in the way he uses these terms. He argues that whether one is doing ordinary śamatha or vipaśyāna or mantra practice is not important; what is important is developing the base of the first dhyāna/perfect śamatha using either method within the context of maintaining Dzogchen view.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Marc
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Marc » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:31 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm
The five factors of the first dhyana are initial attention (vitarka), sometimes also referred to as coarse attention; vicara, sustained attention; sukha, i.e. physical ease; priti, i.e. mental ease, and one-pointedness. These are all described by Vasubandhu, and Rongzom does not differ in the way he uses these terms. He argues that whether one is doing ordinary śamatha or vipaśyāna or mantra practice is not important; what is important is developing the base of the first dhyāna/perfect śamatha using either method within the context of maintaining Dzogchen view.
Hi Malcolm,

Thanks for your answer.  But, sorry, my question wasn't really clear.

When I spoke of "lack of consensus", I was referring to the "raging debate" in the Theravada world about dhyana / jhana:
"light / soft / sutta jhana" vs. "hard / deep / visudhimagga jhana" etc...

As per Alan Wallace's interpretation of Asanga, Tsongkhapa & Co. the commentarial tradition in Mahayana is pretty much in line with that of Theravada, i.e. 1st dhyana is said to be really deep & blissful state of absorption that can be unwaveringly and seamlessly sustained for 24 hours etc...

Is that your understanding as well ?

Thanks for your input.
M

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Malcolm
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:41 pm

Marc wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:31 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm
The five factors of the first dhyana are initial attention (vitarka), sometimes also referred to as coarse attention; vicara, sustained attention; sukha, i.e. physical ease; priti, i.e. mental ease, and one-pointedness. These are all described by Vasubandhu, and Rongzom does not differ in the way he uses these terms. He argues that whether one is doing ordinary śamatha or vipaśyāna or mantra practice is not important; what is important is developing the base of the first dhyāna/perfect śamatha using either method within the context of maintaining Dzogchen view.
Hi Malcolm,

Thanks for your answer.  But, sorry, my question wasn't really clear.

When I spoke of "lack of consensus", I was referring to the "raging debate" in the Theravada world about dhyana / jhana:
"light / soft / sutta jhana" vs. "hard / deep / visudhimagga jhana" etc...

As per Alan Wallace's interpretation of Asanga, Tsongkhapa & Co. the commentarial tradition in Mahayana is pretty much in line with that of Theravada, i.e. 1st dhyana is said to be really deep & blissful state of absorption that can be unwaveringly and seamlessly sustained for 24 hours etc...

Is that your understanding as well ?

Thanks for your input.
M

The most salient characteristic of the first dhyana is it can be entered and dropped at will. Since both vitarka and vicara are absent in the second through the fourth, when one attains those, one remains in them for as long as one intends at the outset.

The first dhyana still retains mental activity. I can't really evaluate Wallace's ideas frankly because I was not trained that way.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by MiphamFan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:47 am

Malcolm, I think the problem is that we don't understand what exactly priti, vitarka etc entail. They are just abstract terms we can't really connect with anything. You can rattle off Vasubandhu's definition, but we poor saps don't know what it means beyond the words.

The Theravadins probably study and try to apply these factors much more than Mahayanis, and yet they have so many different interpretations and understandings of the same terms and same texts -- how deep it goes, whether you can hear sounds, etc. Of course, the problem there is partly because a lot, if not all, of the Theravadin meditation lineages are 18th-19th century reconstructions. On the Tibetan side however, which contemporary Tibetan teachers really describe these factors in terms of practice and not just Abhidharma? ChNN never does AFAIK. If the gurus don't really teach us these factors in terms of practice then isn't it basically ending up like the situation in Theravada of us trying to reconstruct what exactly Rongzom meant?

If one has certain nyams by doing some yidam practices, is it priti or is it sukha/bde ba in the tantric three experiences framework or just some random experience? Are priti and sukha the same, different, overlap? Do we need to try to deliberately develop these factors or will they come along naturally if we continue with our practice of yidams/guruyoga/semdzins etc?

Pero posted a while back about how sometimes internet posts make you more confused. No disrespect to you, I found your posts very valuable at times over the years, but at other times, they do seem to make me more confused.

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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by bhava » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:48 pm

... On the Tibetan side however, which contemporary Tibetan teachers really describe these factors in terms of practice and not just Abhidharma?

Because living practice tradition of Abhidharma does not exist in tibetan tradition. There is scholastic tradition and of course some practices are there, as can be seen from example Chogyam Trungpas teachings, but compared to theravada, according to my teacher, there is not a living practice lineage related to Abhidharma.

So vitarka, vichara, priti, sukha, how they are to be understood, applied, developed, is part of the training in theravada, but of course there are interpretations of how they are understood.

As for the attainment of dhyana, most probably its a question of many factors, such as, teacher, environment, determination, karma. My teacher said in their center there were people who tried hard for years and still had no attainment (of dhyana). Others more lucky ones got it after one month..

Anyway it seems to be a different style of practice than what we have in tibetan tradition, yidams, nyams, semdzins etc. View is different and way of practising is different.

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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:32 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:47 am
Malcolm, I think the problem is that we don't understand what exactly priti, vitarka etc entail. They are just abstract terms we can't really connect with anything. You can rattle off Vasubandhu's definition, but we poor saps don't know what it means beyond the words.
Actually, it is not rocket science. Anyone who has done any serious meditation will recollect a time in their practice when they are able to maintain effortless one pointedness on the object, physical ease and mental happiness.
On the Tibetan side however, which contemporary Tibetan teachers really describe these factors in terms of practice and not just Abhidharma?
There is no difference. Abhidharma is a practice manual, not just a bunch of theory and arguments.
ChNN never does AFAIK. If the gurus don't really teach us these factors in terms of practice then isn't it basically ending up like the situation in Theravada of us trying to reconstruct what exactly Rongzom meant?
You have to discover these things for yourself, through your own experience. That means you have to discover the state of śamatha and develop it perfectly. Also, you cannot be passive and just assume that everything you need is going to come out of your guru's mouth. That is like refusing to eat unless your doctor gives you the ok.
If one has certain nyams by doing some yidam practices, is it priti or is it sukha/bde ba in the tantric three experiences framework or just some random experience? Are priti and sukha the same, different, overlap? Do we need to try to deliberately develop these factors or will they come along naturally if we continue with our practice of yidams/guruyoga/semdzins etc?
If you apply the nine stage approach of developing śamatha according to the methodology laid out in the middle Bhavanakrama, then you will indeed have this experience.

Image

Saroruhavajra also describes a nine state śamatha system applied to the Hevajra creation stage and mantra recitation.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:38 pm

bhava wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:48 pm

Anyway it seems to be a different style of practice than what we have in tibetan tradition, yidams, nyams, semdzins etc. View is different and way of practising is different.
The minds of people practicing are not different, and it is for this reason that Rongzom makes this an important point for those people who must use the indirect method of Atiyoga in chapter 6 of his Intro to Mahāyāna systems.

Instead of putting up resistance and arguing with me, go and have this experience for yourself. You will thank me, and incidentally, it is a requirement for SMS eventually.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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aflatun
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by aflatun » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:38 pm
...
Perhaps part of what Marc and MiphamFan were getting at is the nature of the first dhyana as described by "hard jhana" Theravadins and Alan Wallace, (and the visuddhimagga): The five "external" senses cease, one cannot hear sounds, etc and there is no experience of the body whatsoever. It's mind sense only, and neither piti nor sukha are physical. This has been the subject of many heated debates: The Great Jhana Debate

I haven't read the relevant sections of the Kosa yet, but I'm not sure Vasubandhu would agree with this model.

Also what I've read of samatha/shine practice in Vajrayana seems to allow for the free functioning of all six senses (e.g. objectless shamatha, shine without fixation, etc). As you note yourself:
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:02 pm
Boomerang wrote:Wallace for example, in teaching shamatha without a sign, says ignore all thought, feelings, body sense and just focus on the awareness of awareness.
Thus is sūtra style. Very rigid, produces brittle wood, very dry, easy to break.

Tsoknyi R, in teaching the same practice (he calls it shamatha without support- they are both mikpa mepe shine) gives a much more relaxed approach, where all the senses are open and you are not particularly ignoring anything, just not getting involved with it.
This Dzogchen style. Very supple, produces flexible wood, very green, hard to break. In Dzogchen style śamatha you actually engage all six sense objects with your six senses, there is nothing to accept and nothing to reject, nothing to follow, nothing to ignore.
How important is shamatha, and practices before shamatha

So I think what they're asking is, is this "hard jhana" with a concomitant black out at the five senses and lose of body awareness the kind of first dhyana that Rongzom is advocating?
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Malcolm
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:48 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:32 pm

So I think what they're asking is, is this "hard jhana" with a concomitant black out at the five senses and lose of body awareness the kind of first dhyana that Rongzom is advocating?
I think the Dārṣṭāntika (Sautrantika) opinion is the best.

See the Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam, vol. 4 pp. 1229-1236.

So no, there is no blackout of physical sensation until the third dhyāna.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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aflatun
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by aflatun » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:48 pm
aflatun wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:32 pm

So I think what they're asking is, is this "hard jhana" with a concomitant black out at the five senses and lose of body awareness the kind of first dhyana that Rongzom is advocating?
I think the Dārṣṭāntika (Sautrantika) opinion is the best.

See the Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam, vol. 4 pp. 1229-1236.

So no, there is no blackout of physical sensation until the third dhyāna.
Thank you so much for the precise reference :thumbsup:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Malcolm
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:13 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:53 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:48 pm
aflatun wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:32 pm

So I think what they're asking is, is this "hard jhana" with a concomitant black out at the five senses and lose of body awareness the kind of first dhyana that Rongzom is advocating?
I think the Dārṣṭāntika (Sautrantika) opinion is the best.

See the Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam, vol. 4 pp. 1229-1236.

So no, there is no blackout of physical sensation until the third dhyāna.
Thank you so much for the precise reference :thumbsup:
In addition, the commentary on the Lanka states unequivocally that joy and bliss refer respectively to physical and mental bliss, as does the commentary on the Dasabhumika Sūtra, as does the commentary on the Abhidharmasammucaya, and as does Abhayakaragupta's Marmakaumudī. There are other Mahāyāna commentaries, Madhyamaka mainly, that do not make this distinction, or lean more towards the idea that joy is not physical.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by MiphamFan » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:05 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:32 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:47 am
Malcolm, I think the problem is that we don't understand what exactly priti, vitarka etc entail. They are just abstract terms we can't really connect with anything. You can rattle off Vasubandhu's definition, but we poor saps don't know what it means beyond the words.
Actually, it is not rocket science. Anyone who has done any serious meditation will recollect a time in their practice when they are able to maintain effortless one pointedness on the object, physical ease and mental happiness.
I don't think it's that obvious if all the different schools back in Vasubandhu's time, who presumably all had masters of meditation, could not agree on what precisely marks out particular dhyanas (physical vs mental etc). Maybe the Abhidharma was practised back in India, but where are the practice manuals and for that matter, the practice lineages? The Kosa has lots of definitions, but where are the techniques?

In Tibetan Buddhism there is a lot of material on Vajrayana practice techniques, but the material on the dhyanas is nowhere near as detailed and as easily applicable as what is available on Vajrayana techniques. The Visuddhimagga of the Theravadins by contrast is really a practice manual, as detailed as Vajrayana practice manuals in its own right; according to it, only 1 in a million practitioners (in the most optimistic case) can hope to achieve the first dhyana; modern Theravadins who try to follow its instructions cite better rates than that apparently, but who knows whether they really have the practice lineage (i.e. verified by teachers in direct lineage) or if it is just their interpretation? Theravadins themselves, who probably devote much more of their time to the dhyanas than other modern schools, acknowledge that the descriptions of the techniques in the sutras themselves are not as detailed as the Visuddhimagga -- some choose to try to use the Visuddhimagga, others try to interpret the sutras directly.

You mentioned the Bhavanakrama, as far as I see, the actual instruction on shamatha in the BHK is this
The yogis who are interested in actualising calm abiding should initially set their minds closely on the chapters on sutra, the chapters on melody of praise, etc., thinking that all these teachings are leading to suchness, will lead to suchness, and have led to suchness. One way of doing this meditation is to closely set the mind on the aggregates, as an object that includes all phenomena. Another way is to place the mind on the image of a buddha. Arya Samadhiraj Sutra mentions,

With his body gold in colour,
The lord of the universe is extremely beautiful.
One who places his mind on the object.
That bodhisattva is referred to as one in meditative absorption.

In this way place the mind on the object of your choice and, having placed the mind, repeatedly and continuously place the mind. While in meditation, examine the mind and see whether it is properly focused on the object. Also check for dullness and see whether the mind is being distracted to outside objects. If the mind is found dull due to doziness and foggy mind or if it were feared that dullness is approaching, then the mind should attend to an image of a buddha – which is extremely delightful or the concept of light. In this process dullness should be eliminated and the mind should see the object very clearly.

Dullness prevails when the mind cannot see the object very clearly like being blind or in a dark place or like a person with closed eyes. This should be understood (while in meditation), when the mind chases the qualities of outside objects like form, etc. or attends to other phenomena or is distracted to the objects of past experiences or the fear of distraction approaching; then think that all composite phenomena are impermanent and also think about suffering and other things that can help generate renunciation. In this process, distraction should be eliminated and by the rope of mindfulness and alertness, the elephant-like mind should be fastened to the tree of the object. When the mind is found perfectly engaged on the object of meditation, free of dullness and mental excitement, it should be left naturally and exertion relaxed. At that time sitting can be continued as long as one chooses. It should be understood that calm-abiding meditation is actualised when the physical and mental pliancy is enjoyed through prolonged familiarity with the meditation object as it chooses.
From this translation: https://web.archive.org/web/20150506133 ... ion-stage/

OK sure, it's enough to get started and help with some of the faults such as dullness. But it's nowhere near as detailed as the Visuddhimagga, and for that matter nowhere near the countless Vajrayana practice manuals with respect to their practices. "Sitting can be continued as long as one chooses", does that mean that you want to get into a state where you can meditate for weeks and weeks, like Shakyamuni Buddha?

I'm sorry but all of this just leaves me confused as to what exactly the first dhyana entails in a practitioner, beyond just the textbook definition. Maybe there are Tibetan practice lineages of this that survived -- Ivo mentioned that his Sakya teacher did want him to be able to do shamatha for 7 days. But I didn't receive any teachings on those practices and AFAIK for Vajrayana practitioners, one's root guru is the ultimate arbiter in case of doubts. I didn't receive any teachings on dhyanas from a lineage, while I have for other teachings, so I will just continue with the practices I did receive as far as I understand them.

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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:49 am

MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:05 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:32 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:47 am
Malcolm, I think the problem is that we don't understand what exactly priti, vitarka etc entail. They are just abstract terms we can't really connect with anything. You can rattle off Vasubandhu's definition, but we poor saps don't know what it means beyond the words.
Actually, it is not rocket science. Anyone who has done any serious meditation will recollect a time in their practice when they are able to maintain effortless one pointedness on the object, physical ease and mental happiness.
I don't think it's that obvious if all the different schools back in Vasubandhu's time, who presumably all had masters of meditation, could not agree on what precisely marks out particular dhyanas (physical vs mental etc).
Sautrantikas on up generally agreed.

Maybe the Abhidharma was practised back in India, but where are the practice manuals and for that matter, the practice lineages? The Kosa has lots of definitions, but where are the techniques?
The Kośabhaṣyām is a practice manual.
In Tibetan Buddhism there is a lot of material on Vajrayana practice techniques, but the material on the dhyanas is nowhere near as detailed and as easily applicable as what is available on Vajrayana techniques.
There is actually tons of material in Tibetan on these things. It just has not been translated.
The Visuddhimagga of the Theravadins by contrast is really a practice manual, as detailed as Vajrayana practice manuals in its own right; according to it, only 1 in a million practitioners (in the most optimistic case) can hope to achieve the first dhyana;


This is nonsense.

You mentioned the Bhavanakrama, as far as I see, the actual instruction on shamatha in the BHK is this
My bad, it is in the first.

OK sure, it's enough to get started and help with some of the faults such as dullness. But it's nowhere near as detailed as the Visuddhimagga, and for that matter nowhere near the countless Vajrayana practice manuals with respect to their practices. "Sitting can be continued as long as one chooses", does that mean that you want to get into a state where you can meditate for weeks and weeks, like Shakyamuni Buddha?
The First Bhavanakrama has a very detailed explanation of the nine stages of śamatha. This instruction is followed in all four schools.
But I didn't receive any teachings on those practices and AFAIK for Vajrayana practitioners, one's root guru is the ultimate arbiter in case of doubts.
This is a tiresome and repetitive excuse. Thanks goodness ChNN did not just remain passive. When he did not understand something related to practice, he took it to the cushion so he could have his own experience and understanding.
I didn't receive any teachings on dhyanas from a lineage, while I have for other teachings, so I will just continue with the practices I did receive as far as I understand them.
You are free to do as you like, but you, and everyone else, will be a much more solid practitioner if you cultivate the first dhyana. It involves cultivating these five mental factors. You start with mindfulness of breathing, four foundations of mindfulness, and so on. This is no different, really, than reciting a mantra. A mantra is just another way to perfect śamatha.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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aflatun
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by aflatun » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:23 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:13 pm

In addition, the commentary on the Lanka states unequivocally that joy and bliss refer respectively to physical and mental bliss, as does the commentary on the Dasabhumika Sūtra, as does the commentary on the Abhidharmasammucaya, and as does Abhayakaragupta's Marmakaumudī. There are other Mahāyāna commentaries, Madhyamaka mainly, that do not make this distinction, or lean more towards the idea that joy is not physical.
Thank you for the further references, this is great stuff.

I read the relevant passages in the Kosa and you're right, he's quite clear about the physicality of joy (sukha), and the presence of kayavijnana. If I'm understanding him its basically: samadhi-->pleasant wind penetrates the body-->tactile consciousness-->sukhavedana. So sukha is the pleasant feeling that arises form a particular tactile consciousness born of samadhi.

Incidentally I believe this was the position Nyana/Jnana argued in the Great Jhana Debate thread above. Its funny because the objectors Vasubandhu is refuting seem to be taking the same position as commentarial Theravada, and modern "hard" Jhanists...I guess this debate is an old one!
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:51 am

Because I am free from the thinking that distorts experience, The evolution of good and evil ends completely. What are deities, mantras and absorptions meant to do? I am not a wakefulness that comes from practice. My nature is universal presence: How can seeing come through paths and levels?
Jigme Lingpa, Revelations of Ever-present Good, trans McLeod, 2016
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

For posts from this user, see Karma Dondrup Tashi account.

MiphamFan
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by MiphamFan » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:59 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:49 am
But I didn't receive any teachings on those practices and AFAIK for Vajrayana practitioners, one's root guru is the ultimate arbiter in case of doubts.
This is a tiresome and repetitive excuse. Thanks goodness ChNN did not just remain passive. When he did not understand something related to practice, he took it to the cushion so he could have his own experience and understanding.
I didn't receive any teachings on dhyanas from a lineage, while I have for other teachings, so I will just continue with the practices I did receive as far as I understand them.
You are free to do as you like, but you, and everyone else, will be a much more solid practitioner if you cultivate the first dhyana. It involves cultivating these five mental factors. You start with mindfulness of breathing, four foundations of mindfulness, and so on. This is no different, really, than reciting a mantra. A mantra is just another way to perfect śamatha.
I did try to read and research about shamatha, it just made me more and more confused about who's right, and more importantly, what to do.

In the end, I decided that I should just follow ChNN, as far as I can understand his teachings, in terms of my practice. I still read this stuff but I decided that what I understand from ChNN should be definitive for me personally, so as not to be confused. Anyway, you pointed out that mantra practice etc can also be used to develop shamatha. I will just do my best with these practices and see how it goes. I'll keep an eye out for the dhyana factors along the way, but the practices I received are still primary rather than going off and trying to practise Hinayana/common Mahayana.

Anyway, right now, as far as I understand right now: the Sautrantika definition of the dhyanas was pretty much accepted at least in the Mahayana world. Modern Theravadins who also try to go back to the sutras, as the Sautrantikas did in their time, came up with pretty much the same understanding of the dhyanas, such as Geoff in his post here. Geoff quoted some interesting examples from the Pali Canon illustrating the vitarka, vicara etc which I find more illuminating than the Kosa definition. Do you think that his outline there is accurate from a Mahayana PoV?

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Aryjna
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Aryjna » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:59 am

MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:59 am
I did try to read and research about shamatha, it just made me more and more confused about who's right, and more importantly, what to do.

In the end, I decided that I should just follow ChNN, as far as I can understand his teachings, in terms of my practice. I still read this stuff but I decided that what I understand from ChNN should be definitive for me personally, so as not to be confused. Anyway, you pointed out that mantra practice etc can also be used to develop shamatha. I will just do my best with these practices and see how it goes. I'll keep an eye out for the dhyana factors along the way, but the practices I received are still primary rather than going off and trying to practise Hinayana/common Mahayana.
ChNNR also teaches (or at least has taught in the past and it is available in books), how to do it through shamatha with object/without object.

Pero
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Re: ChNN on presence

Post by Pero » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:45 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:49 am
You are free to do as you like, but you, and everyone else, will be a much more solid practitioner if you cultivate the first dhyana. It involves cultivating these five mental factors. You start with mindfulness of breathing, four foundations of mindfulness, and so on. This is no different, really, than reciting a mantra. A mantra is just another way to perfect śamatha.
Funnily I've been thinking about this (or at least related) topic for a while but didn't know quite how to go on asking about it. Still don't but I'll try to start hehe. Basically as far as I can see the Theravada and Mahayana four foundations of mindfulness are practiced quite differently. Do you think they can both be practiced or would they be counterproductive?

The effect/aim of the Theravada mindfulness practice is cessation of passions, wouldn't that be contradictory to Vajrayana/Dzogchen practice?

The Mahayana mindfulness practice, seems more or less in line with Vajrayana/Dzogchen but appears to still find fault with the body.

Is there some text that contextualizes both of these practices within a Vajrayana/Dzogchen context?
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
- Shabkar

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