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Understanding the knower - Dhamma Wheel

Understanding the knower

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
phil
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Understanding the knower

Postby phil » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:49 am

Hi all

This is a topic that has probably been discussed many times here, but...

If there is a strong clear sense of a knower in meditation, can we be sure that wisdom will be able to take it apart before it locks in as a kind of atta-chment? (my pun.)
Before coming to Dhamma I was interested in Bhagavad Gita amoung other spiritual stuff and I sense there is a lurking desire to believe in the atman. Has anyone else dealt with this issue, I guess it's very common and perhaps even inevitable in some form or another...
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Goofaholix
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:24 am

I think it's pretty normal for meditators to identify with the knower as a self.

Physical people might identify with the body, intellectuals with the thinking mind, but Buddhist meditators because they question those assumptions and give importance to the process of knowing in meditation end up identifing with that.

I think it's just part of the process, you wean off one attachment by attaching to something else, and so on. If you keep questioning those assumptions and attachments eventually you'll wean yourself off all of them.

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Ben
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:08 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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e: [email protected]..

alan
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby alan » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:35 am

Everyone feels the sense of a knower. You can't be sure that wisdom will take it apart--that is why there is a path.
Clarifying your question would be good for you.

phil
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby phil » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:19 am

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Ben
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:20 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Viscid
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby Viscid » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:35 am

So what IS 'The Knower?'
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Ben
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Location: kanamaluka

Re: Understanding the knower

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:44 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

pegembara
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby pegembara » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:30 am

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:42 am

Of course there is a knower. There has to be a knower for there to be a world. The world and all its objects people and perceptions are just as real as the knower.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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daverupa
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:59 am


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Viscid
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby Viscid » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:23 pm

Isn't saying that there is "No Knower" the same as taking the 'no-self' side on the 'no-self vs non-self' argument?

The Buddha doesn't explicitly state there is no 'Knower,' but that identifiying with something as a self is not useful in ending one's suffering.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

rowyourboat
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:05 am

"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

There is no knower per se, as can be seen from the above, in an ultimate sense, there is however a process of knowing/or there is knowing.

The 'knower' belongs to atta-ditti (self view) category. It is a false projection based on the five aggregates, which do exist in a truer form (comparatively).

At best we could say there is consciousness and then there is name and form, to denote subject and object.

When we experientially sense a knower it is merely (usually) some arisen name (mental) elements we mistakenly identify as a knower.

When we see something and then when we turn to see 'the knower' there is a error being made. We assume 1) that someone is seeing therefore we try to find something to tag as 'the knower'. 2) we assume that dhammas/elements do not pass away immediately (ie that there is continuity), and is therefore meaningful to look for a knower, after the act of knowing has passed away.

Anything that we identify as 'the knower' if we sit long enough with it, fades away. This would be one way of overcoming the ignorance of the (continuous) 'knower' who is resident within. The other is to keep noting that knowing arises based on (for example) the eye, visual object giving rise to eye consciousness. There is no resident consciousness which 'picks up' these images. Consciousness itself is causally arisen. When the cause doesn't exist consciousness fades away. From this it can be seen that what is at work here is a biological process of perception. Nothing more. If something more seems required, then I would suggest the ignorance of sukkha is at work.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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effort
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby effort » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:37 am

during my sitting, i did always sit with this knower and cultivating that sense, currently i just change my way to just 'being', its soon for me to compare them, the reason i change my way is because i found always keeping knower up is tiring and that wont look right.

Joseph Goldstein says ask yourself "who knows?"

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acinteyyo
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:30 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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acinteyyo
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:36 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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kirk5a
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby kirk5a » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:49 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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acinteyyo
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:20 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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kirk5a
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby kirk5a » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:35 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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acinteyyo
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Re: Understanding the knower

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:38 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.


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