Thinking

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:15 am

How can I tell if thoughts are harmful or beneficial?
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Re: Thinking

Postby futerko » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:02 am

Desire, aversion and ego-clinging.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Thinking

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:12 am

Do they lead to cessation, equanimity, unbinding?
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Re: Thinking

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:08 am

In meditation?

I've been led to believe that there are no harmful thoughts in mediation unless you cling to them, I suppose that's true always really. I've had some unpleasant experiences recently (coinciding with life getting harder, and a bit of depression, big surprise) in meditation with bizarre and intrusive thoughts. All the advice i've gotten here, from spiritual friends in real life, and stuff i've read says to just keep going' and sit with whatever it is that's giving you grief. Not easy, but i'm beginning to think it's the right answer.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Thinking

Postby ground » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:41 am

He knows without doubt or hesitation that whatever arises is merely dukkha[8] that what passes away is merely dukkha and such knowledge is his own, not depending on anyone else. This, Kaccaayana, is what constitutes right view.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html


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Re: Thinking

Postby robby » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:41 am

futerko wrote:Desire, aversion and ego-clinging.


Yes. I think perhaps the various mental factors outlined in the abhidharmas can help sort it out in more detail.
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Re: Thinking

Postby robby » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:03 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:In meditation?

I've been led to believe that there are no harmful thoughts in mediation unless you cling to them, I suppose that's true always really. I've had some unpleasant experiences recently (coinciding with life getting harder, and a bit of depression, big surprise) in meditation with bizarre and intrusive thoughts. All the advice i've gotten here, from spiritual friends in real life, and stuff i've read says to just keep going' and sit with whatever it is that's giving you grief. Not easy, but i'm beginning to think it's the right answer.


If I understand correctly. all or most of the traditions recognize that 5 kinds of hindrances or veils arise when we attempt to concentrate. Also, views on access or neighborhood concentration vary, but there is some talk about disturbing experiences occurring once the veils / hindrances are suspended / subdued. I do not know the exact terminology for these, if any. I could look it up, but for now, I gather the discussion about upacara samadhi or access concentration is found in commentaries? Anyway, I think the stranger disturbing experiences of access concentration might be the same as the makyo 魔境 talked about in Zen? I have been told it is best to ignore these and they'll go away.
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:28 pm

futerko wrote:Desire, aversion and ego-clinging.


How can one recognize desire from aversion ?
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:33 pm

catmoon wrote:Do they lead to cessation, equanimity, unbinding?


How can I tell which thoughts lead to cessation, equaminity, and unbinding and those that lead to the other place?
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:38 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:In meditation?

I've been led to believe that there are no harmful thoughts in mediation unless you cling to them, I suppose that's true always really. I've had some unpleasant experiences recently (coinciding with life getting harder, and a bit of depression, big surprise) in meditation with bizarre and intrusive thoughts. All the advice i've gotten here, from spiritual friends in real life, and stuff i've read says to just keep going' and sit with whatever it is that's giving you grief. Not easy, but i'm beginning to think it's the right answer.


How do you know you are experiencing grief and not happyness?
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Re: Thinking

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:31 pm

lowlydog wrote:
catmoon wrote:Do they lead to cessation, equanimity, unbinding?


How can I tell which thoughts lead to cessation, equaminity, and unbinding and those that lead to the other place?



Take a quick look at this it might answer the question. http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Iti_87
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:15 pm

Hi catmoon,

This answers the question on a knowledge level, but how can I recognise when I am having impure(harmful) thoughts on a practical level while meditating or during my day to day activities?
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Re: Thinking

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:40 pm

During meditation you don't have to worry about pure or impure. All thoughts are treated the same. One simply observes that a thought has arisen and returns to the breath. No need to classify.

Off the cushion, you can develop the habit of periodically examining your mental activity. If it concerns getting, keeping, or harming it's a harmful thought, as far as enlightenment goes. However, completely abandoning thoughts like this can damage your income, so a householder has to compromise a bit.
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:16 pm

Hi catmoon

During my day to day activities and meditation thoughts are overwhelming and trick and decieve me, is there anything impartial I could observe that could act as a warning sign of these impure thoughts?

Do impurities have any effect on the breathing process?
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Re: Thinking

Postby futerko » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:37 pm

lowlydog wrote:
futerko wrote:Desire, aversion and ego-clinging.


How can one recognize desire from aversion ?


The issue is less about the thoughts themselves and more about your relationship to them, so the root cause is ignorance, which means for example, the idea that one needs something which would change anything at a fundamental level of the self.
One antidote to this is to keep the awareness in the central channel.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Thinking

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:44 pm

lowlydog wrote:Hi catmoon

During my day to day activities and meditation thoughts are overwhelming and trick and decieve me, is there anything impartial I could observe that could act as a warning sign of these impure thoughts?


All I have to offer is the old Zen trick of checking your mind each time you step through a door. And variations on that idea.

Do impurities have any effect on the breathing process?


Definitely. Anger will tense up the whole body and interfere with free breathing. It changes your posture too.

The best practice I've found for dealing with these problems is simply to visualize the Buddha in each person you see. It's really hard at first, but in time you can get quite good at seeing Buddha qualities shining through in the most unlikely people. If you are surrounded by Buddhas, harmful thoughts are much less of a problem.
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:44 pm

So what your saying is that during my meditation(and day to day activities) a change in my breathing is an indication of impurities in the mind. So a fast and hard breathing could indicate tension and impure mind and a relaxed and slow breath could indicate a calm pure mind.

Also, observing bodily tension is a good way of recognising impure harmful thoughts.

Why do we have to make anger a problem? If we can identify it, can we not just observe it, see its charachteristic of impermanence and watch it arise stay for some time and eventually pass away. Your technique seems to place your attention on others, outside of your body. Would it not be better to observe ones own qualities?

I can defenitly see how imagining a buddha when angry can temporarily distract one from impure thoughts but how does this prevent the thoughts from arising in the future.
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:45 pm

futerko wrote:One antidote to this is to keep the awareness in the central channel.


Could you explain this?
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Re: Thinking

Postby futerko » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:12 pm

lowlydog wrote:
futerko wrote:One antidote to this is to keep the awareness in the central channel.


Could you explain this?


When you do a formal meditation, one of the aims is to centre your thoughts... so you sit and you think about what's for dinner - where is your mind at this point? Someplace off in the future imagining eating, cooking, or ordering out... or you think about a conversation that happened last week or last year, and what you could've said, and how it might have looked... your mind is locating itself elsewhere, chasing ideas about, flitting between them like a butterfly that never settles - it's not grounded anywhere, and always off balance, reaching for things, distracted.
I mean the opposite - many visualisation meditations focus on your heart centre, gradually training the mind to stay physically centred rather than chasing about all over the place.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Thinking

Postby lowlydog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:35 pm

Hi futerko,

Focusing attention on the breath fulfills the same purpose, the old habit pattern of the mind flitting about, we gradually train the mind to stay in this tiny area and remain calm and relaxed.

How does this allow me to recognise a mind full of craving vs. a mind full of aversion?
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