Sunday, July 24

Free Association

  1. Believing:: seeing
  2. Invasion:: Earth
  3. Boys:: town
  4. Island:: Earth
  5. Repeatedly:: repeatedly
  6. Normal:: abnormal
  7. Hex:: decimal
  8. Tuxedo:: penguin
  9. Virgin:: airways
  10. Cereal:: breakfast

Thursday, July 21

The Noble Search

Tonight, picking a sutta at random, I re-read MN 26, Ariyapariyesana Sutta, "The Noble Search." Some very inspiring passages therein, and helpful reminders.

"Monks, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Aromas cognizable via the nose — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Tastes cognizable via the tongue — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These are the five strings of sensuality.

"And any priests or contemplatives tied to these five strings of sensuality — infatuated with them, have totally fallen for them, consuming them without seeing their drawbacks or discerning the escape from them — should be known as having met with misfortune, having met with ruin; Mara can do with them as he will. Just as if a wild deer were to lie bound on a heap of snares: it should be known as having met with misfortune, having met with ruin; the hunter can do with it as he will. When the hunter comes, it won't get away as it would like. In the same way, any priests or contemplatives tied to these five strings of sensuality — infatuated with them, have totally fallen for them, consuming them without seeing their drawbacks or discerning the escape from them — should be known as having met with misfortune, having met with ruin; Mara can do with them as he will.

"But any priests or contemplatives not tied to these five strings of sensuality — uninfatuated with them, having not totally fallen for them, consuming them seeing their drawbacks and discerning the escape from them — should be known as not having met with misfortune, not having met with ruin; Mara cannot do with them as he will. Just as if a wild deer were to lie unbound on a heap of snares: it should be known as not having met with misfortune, not having met with ruin; the hunter cannot do with it as he will. When the hunter comes, it will get away as it would like. In the same way, any priests or contemplatives not tied to these five strings of sensuality — uninfatuated with them, having not totally fallen for them, consuming them seeing their drawbacks and discerning the escape from them — should be known as not having met with misfortune, not having met with ruin; Mara cannot do with them as he will.

"Suppose that a wild deer is living in wilderness glen. Carefree it walks, carefree it stands, carefree it sits, carefree it lies down. Why is that? Because it has gone beyond the hunter's range. 5 In the same way, a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. This monk is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One.

And it continues with the rest the jhanas and immaterial spheres. Note is made of the fact that these only blind Mara temporarily, and true freedom is not reached until the cessation of perception & feeling...

"Having crossed over, he is unattached in the world. Carefree he walks, carefree he stands, carefree he sits, carefree he lies down. Why is that? Because he has gone beyond the Evil One's range."

Sunday, July 17

Muttering Unconsciously

I say foo, and you say bar...

  1. Tolerate:: stand
  2. Release:: me
  3. My soul:: free
  4. Sax;:: saxophone
  5. HP:: Lovecraft
  6. Worth:: Value
  7. Rockstar:: INXS
  8. Terrify:: scare
  9. Knock me off my feet:: knock me over with a feather
  10. Taunt:: tease


And that's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, July 16

Do You Love Life?

"I often ask people, 'Do you love life?' People say, 'Yeah, I love
life.' Really? Or just half of life? The nice part? Do you love all
of life? The sick times? The times when you get overworked in the
office? The times when you get old? The time when loved ones
disappear from you? Do you love that part of life as well? Do you
love life when it's about time for you to die? Do you really love
life? Because all of life, starting from birth to death - do you love
it all, or just half of it, and hate the other half?

"Do you really love life? Do you want to be at peace? We can be at
peace with all of life. When we say, 'Life, the door of my heart is
open to you. No matter who you are or what you do, come in. Life, the
door of my heart is open to you. ALL of you. Not just the nice part.
All of you.' Then you find you're at peace with life. Then all of the
problems have ended. Then there is no control. 'Good' and 'bad'
perceived for what they really are: just skillful and unskillful,
just part of the great Cosmos, like night and day, in the 'big
picture', as we see it from above, as it were. We find, 'Yes, thank
you.' Thank you, not for just the good parts; for the other parts as
well.

"That's what tested us. That's what's made us what were are. 'The
door of my heart is open to everything, no matter what.'"

~ Ajahn Brahmavamso, "Loving Kindness (Metta)", transcript of lecture
given 7th February 2003

http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/audio.html

Sunday, July 10

Freely Associating, Yet Again

  1. Do-it-yourself:: Mr. Fix-It
  2. Pickpocket:: thief
  3. Ballet:: boring
  4. Resumé:: job
  5. Phenom:: phenomenon
  6. Love/Hate:: relationship
  7. Unusual:: weird
  8. Intense:: intensity
  9. Interruption:: rude
  10. Not enough:: lack

Tuesday, July 5

Upon the Tip of a Needle

One of the new translations by Andy Olendzki available at ATI is "Upon the Tip of a Needle," a beautiful poem (attributed to Ven. Sariputta) on the fleeting nature of experience.

Life, personhood, pleasure and pain
— This is all that's bound together
In a single mental event
— A moment that quickly takes place.

Even the spirits who endure
For eighty-four thousand aeons
— Even these do not live the same
For any two moments of mind.

What ceases for one who is dead,
Or for one who's still standing here,
Are all just the same aggregates
— Gone, never to connect again.

The states which are vanishing now,
And those which will vanish some day,
Have characteristics no different
Than those which have vanished before.

With no production there's no birth;
With becoming present, one lives.
When grasped with the highest meaning,
The world is dead when the mind stops.

There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

The vanishing of all these states
That have become is not welcome,
Though dissolving phenomena stand
Uncombined from primordial time.

From the unseen, [states] come and go,
Glimpsed only as they're passing by;
Like lightning flashing in the sky
— They arise and then pass away.

Monday, July 4

Thoughts on the Dhamma

This morning I was checking out the "What's New?" page at Access to Insight and found "Thoughts on the Dhamma" by the Mahasi Sayadaw, a collection of extracts from a variety of the venerable Sayadaw's sermons.

Reading these extracts before starting my meditation put me into a very beneficial frame of mind, and it was a pleasure to use the Mahasi method, noting the rise and fall of the abdomen -- a welcome vacation from noting the breath at the nostrils, which is a more subtle object, and therefore requires more effort...

An excerpt, on using despair as wholesome motivation:
Some meditators are disheartened because of their weak concentration at the outset, but as a result, some redouble their effort and attain unusual insights. So the meditator may benefit by his despair at this stage. According to the commentaries, we should welcome the despair that results from non-fulfillment of desire in connection with renunciation, meditation, reflection, and jhana.

Sorrow is wholesome when it arises from frustration over any effort to promote one's spiritual life, such as the effort to join the holy order, the effort to attain insight, and so forth. We should welcome such sorrow for it may spur effort and lead to progress on the Path. It is not, however, to be sought deliberately. The best thing is to have wholesome joy in the search for enlightenment.


And another, on purity of mind:
You have purity of mind when you are mindful. It is a mistake to think that one can attain it only when one enters meditative absorption (jhana). Purity of mind based on jhana is due to the continuous stream of jhanic consciousness. Purity of mind through Vipassana is the purity that emerges at the moment of attaining insight. Both kinds of consciousness are alike in respect to purity of mind and freedom from hindrances.


On nama and rupa arising and passing away:
Take another example. Place a mirror at the roadside. All pedestrians and vehicles will be reflected in the mirror in their true nature. If you watch and note them, you will see them as they really are. In the same way if you watch and note with mindfulness all that appears at the six sense-doors, you will notice the sense-objects (which have no consciousness) arising while the mind (the subject that possesses the consciousness) is taking cognizance of such arising. Then both the object and the subject pass away. Then this process is renewed. The meditator will then come to realize that this is the phenomenon of nama and rupa arising and passing away. Consciousness and corporeality are, after all, not everlasting. They are not permanent. They are suffering. They are unsubstantial.

Sunday, July 3

Unconscious Muttering

Free association:

  1. Statistics:: boring
  2. Grin:: and bear it
  3. Saturn:: 5
  4. Fulfilled:: gratified
  5. Life plan:: none
  6. Cult:: of personality
  7. Lily:: Eli
  8. Stalemate:: Check
  9. Celebration:: Party
  10. Underwear:: Dirty

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