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Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind? - Dhamma Wheel

Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
starter
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Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind?

Postby starter » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:42 pm

Hello friend,

I'm reading Ven. Thanissaro's Dhamma talk "Cleanliness is Next to Mindfulness" (from Meditation4: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ions4.html) and would like to share with you the following paragraphs about how to do bhavana:

“… the word for meditation is bhavana: It means "to develop." You're developing qualities of mind. ...

All the things you do throughout the day are opportunities to develop mindfulness, alertness, learning how to be meticulous in what you do. There's the saying, "How you do anything is how you do everything." It may not be absolutely true, but it's close. ...

If you're sloppy with things outside, you're going to be sloppy with your meditation. It's a basic principle. You want to learn how to be meticulous, clean, neat, alert in all the things you do. In that way, the activities become not a chore to be disposed of as quickly as possible, or something just getting in the way of your meditation. They become part of the meditation. … Those are the areas where you show the qualities of your mind. ...

But if you make up your mind that whatever chore falls to you, you're going to try to do it skillfully [and approach the chore with the proper respect], then you develop what are called the four bases for success: the desire to do it skillfully; the persistence that sticks with it till you've mastered it; intentness, paying a lot of attention to what you're doing; and analysis, using your powers of discernment to see what's not yet right, trying to figure out how to get around problems, how to solve them. ...

The complete training has to go all around. It has to deal with the way you treat other people, how you handle difficult situations. Your whole life is part of the training, and in the course of the whole-life aspect of the training, you need to learn how to see how you've been sloppy, how you've been stupid, how you've been ignorant, how you've been thoughtless and careless. If you don't see those things, you're not going to learn anything. The experience is chastening instead of pride-inducing. When the training is complete, every aspect of the mind has been trained, so that you're skilled at all kinds of activities, with an attitude nicely balanced between humility and pride. ...

… That's what it means for the mind to be well-trained: trained all-around. You can watch the mind in its activities, so you want to make sure that it's well trained in everything it does. ...

The word bhavana, as I said, is "to develop." You can develop your mind in any situation. … So see every aspect of your life as an opportunity to train the mind."

By the way, I did some editing to the talks to make them easily readable by our busy dhamma friends (I hope Ven. Thanissaro wouldn't mind :thinking: ). If you are interested in learning more about the topics I posted, please read the original talks. I hope other friends will also share their most important daily readings ...

Metta

Starter

"Practicing the Dhamma is not just being good at sitting with your eyes closed. It involves learning how to be skillful in everything you do." {Ajaan Fang}

dhammapal
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Re: Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind?

Postby dhammapal » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:38 am







starter
Posts: 875
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm

Re: Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind?

Postby starter » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:46 pm

Hi Dhammapal,

Thanks for sharing your favorite talk. I've been wondering about the following:
"We tend to think of the stages of jhana as very strong trance states, but actually they’re the mind in a state of genuine normalcy where it’s very perceptive, very clearly perceiving things as they are, as they come as they go, able to see distinctions."

I wonder if such state of normalcy will generate strong bodily energy (which is one of the enlightenment factors) and piti/sukha or not. To my immature understanding, the stages of real jhana can not only refresh/recharge the mind and give it strong concentration, but also generate strong bodily energy (which can unblock our bodily energy channel) and lasting sukha. If not, then such state of normalcy might not really lead to the enlightenment factors of bodily energy and lasting bodily/mental tranquility?

Metta,

Starter

PS: ... The Buddha's image "was of a fortress at the edge of a frontier, and different qualities in the path correspond to different aspects of the fortress. There's discernment, which is like a slippery wall that the enemy can't climb up. Learning is like a range of weapons to fight off the enemy. Mindfulness is like the gatekeeper who remembers who to let in and who not to let in. And jhana, he said, is like stores of food."

Reductor
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Re: Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind?

Postby Reductor » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:25 pm


dhammapal
Posts: 1562
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Meaning of bhavana – How to develop the mind?

Postby dhammapal » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:01 am








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