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Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable - Dhamma Wheel

Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
starter
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Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby starter » Mon May 16, 2011 4:00 pm

Hi, I've just learned from MN 122 how to attend to internal emptiness, external emptiness and the imperturbable during formal meditation and during daily life:

"But there is this (mental) dwelling discovered by the Tathagata where, not attending to any themes, he enters & remains in internal emptiness...

"So, Ananda, if a monk should wish, 'May I enter & remain in internal emptiness,' then he should get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated. And how does the monk get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. That is how a monk gets the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated.

"He attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind does not take pleasure, [does not] find satisfaction [sukha?], [does not] grow steady, or [does not] indulge in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

"He attends to external emptiness ...

"He attends to internal & external emptiness...

"He attends to the imperturbable. While he is attending to the imperturbable, his mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in the imperturbable. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to the imperturbable, my mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in the imperturbable.' In this way he is alert there.

"When that is the case, he should get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated in his first theme of concentration.

"He then attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

"He attends to external emptiness...

"He attends to internal & external emptiness...

"He attends to the imperturbable. While he is attending to the imperturbable, his mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in the imperturbable. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to the imperturbable, my mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in the imperturbable.' In this way he is alert there.

"If, while the monk is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to walking back & forth [or standing, lying down, speaking, thinking …], he walks back & forth [thinking,] 'While I am walking thus, no covetousness or sadness, no evil, unskillful qualities [which are unbeneficial for liberation] will take possession of me.' In this way he is alert there."

1) Internal emptiness: the "themeless concentration of awareness" [empty of proliferations/fabrications].

When realizing that even this refined level of concentration is fabricated, conditioned, inconstant, and subject to cessation, one gains total release from all defilements and the disturbances [dukkha] they cause. This is the level of emptiness that is "superior and unsurpassed," and is apparently what the Buddha is referring to in this sutta when he says that by "not attending to any themes, he enters & remains in internal emptiness."

2) External emptiness: emptiness of "self" or what's belonging to a "self", and emptiness awareness-release.

SN 35.85 describes emptiness as the lack of "self" or what's belonging to a "self" in the internal and external sense media. Whatever sense of "self" that may surround these objects is not inherent in them, and is instead simply the result of one's acquired notion or own penchant for "I-making" and "my-making." Seeing the artificiality/fabrication of "I-making" and "my-making" in this way helps lead to a sense of disenchantment with these "makings," thus helping to abandon any clinging associated with them. Thus emptiness in this sense relates directly to the third of the three characteristics: not-self. As SN 12.15 points out, when one no longer latches onto any idea of "my self" and no longer perceives phenomena in terms of self, one sees all phenomena, internal or external, simply as examples of stress arising and passing away. To practice meditation from this perspective — seeing each state of concentration as an example of stress arising and passing away — is to develop emptiness as a meditative dwelling.

Emptiness awareness-release, is an application of emptiness in its second. MN 43 describes this state of concentration as follows: "There is the case where a monk — having gone into the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or into an empty dwelling — considers this: 'This is empty of self or of anything pertaining to self.'"

3) the imperturbable ["mind/awareness"]: since I surely haven't reached stage, I contemplate nibbana instead.

[www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.122.than.html, with my adaptations and notes].

Your comments and advice will be appreciated. Metta to all,

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rowyourboat
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby rowyourboat » Mon May 16, 2011 10:16 pm

Being mindful, contemplate the arising of vision, while it is happening. Contemplate the arising of sound, the arising of sensation etc at all six sense doors. See their passing away, moment by moment. You will be one with the perception of impermanence.

Being mindful, developing samadhi during your sitting meditation, being virtuous and generous, at other times, develop mindfulness of arising and passing away. Seeing constant dissolution of the aggregates (you may not need to experience them separately, as long as you understand what is going on when you see, hear etc) you will come to see that they are unsatisfactory. Seeing arising and passing away must be done in a continuous and prolonged way (hours, days, weeks). It is then that these truths start appearing, otherwise it just looks like negative spin on reality, which it is not. You will see that the hearing etc takes care of itself. There is no need for a 'doer'. With time the yogi understands not-self. This mindfulness of arising and passing away (satipatthana - origination and ending of phenomena) then leads to understanding that the three characteristics apply to all near, far, gross, subtle etc then with even further development there arises disenchantment (nibbida), dispassion. Then cessation follows. See the anatta-lakkhana sutta. This then leads to attainment (vimutti) where nibbana is glimpsed, like a ' man seeing forms by the light of a thunder strike'. This is when all that arises and passes away, ceases to do that. It is the ending of all suffering. There is no more doubt that the noble eightfold path is capable of delivering what it promises.

The glimpse of nibbana cannot be intentionally gained. The only thing we CAN do is to keep on seeing the drawbacks (aadinava) of arisen phenomena ie- it's impermanence and unsatisfactory nature. Then the aggregates will start fading from the mind, and nibbana will be seen when the mind reaches it's full potential. The samadhi generated at this point (aanantarika samadhi-see Ratana sutta) is immense, and it is that which allows the mind to transcend the Kama, rupa and arupa world along with all the other attendant mental faculties helping it. This is the noble eightfold path at it's full development, present in those mental states.

Now the Buddha seems to talk of various types of nibbana: 'nibbana-here-and-now, 'attains nibbana personally', nibbana with fuel remaining etc. The nibbana I mention is none other than the unfabricated unborn variety. A normal human being cannot find their way to it, as they never have experienced it at any point in their lives. The only way to get there is to become established in the perception of impermanence of arisen phenomena. There is no other way..

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

starter
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby starter » Tue May 17, 2011 6:55 pm

Hm ... I'm wondering if attending to internal emptiness will generate piti and sukha or not. It seems to me that the arupa (formless) samadhi like the sphere of nothingness and the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception which the Buddha mastered didn't generate piti and sukha (as I understand). Piti and sukha are necessary to tranquilize the body and mind. So it's probably better to master the jhana(s) before attending the internal emptiness, as suggested in the sutta.

Thanks and metta,

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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby buddhis8 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:41 am

The art of being empty without being empty. At first you reference this:

"He attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind does not take pleasure, [does not] find satisfaction [sukha?], [does not] grow steady, or [does not] indulge in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

and then:

"He then attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

So is MN 122 suggesting we:- take or not take pleasure?, find satisfaction or not find satisfaction?, grow steady, or indulge or not indulge in internal emptiness?.'

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:24 am

ok i dont get it. Emptiness is lack of distinct separate self. Internal and external are reference points of self. Emptiness cant be emptiness if there are two of it, with conditional opposed qualities. Can it? What is meant by emptiness as its refferred to in the above?

Come to think of it emptiness cant be emptiness if there is one of it. Because thats implying somthing other.
“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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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby daverupa » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:51 pm


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m0rl0ck
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:06 am

“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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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:54 am

"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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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby alan » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:31 am

You're getting ahead of yourself, morlock. Take a look at your assumptions.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:26 am

“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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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:13 pm

Its entirely provisional. Ultimately there is no external or internal. There is that which is arising, we react to that which is arising in general terms in two ways. By attraction or by aversion. When our reaction is attraction we have the urge to internalise and own , to incorporate , to make internal. When our reaction is aversion we attempt to keep that which is arising external to us.
In reality it is all a series of arisings. When that view becomes established then we rest in that.

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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:19 am


Nyana
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby Nyana » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:29 am


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m0rl0ck
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:53 am

“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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m0rl0ck
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:59 am

“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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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby Nyana » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:17 am


chownah
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:14 pm


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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:17 am

To say whether a definition of internal v/s external is adequate or inadequate would require us to first ask "adequate for what?" To me the adequacy of language is judged by its conveying of meaning. The way I see it the Buddha understands how meaning works in the mind of those with whom he communicates. Through the Suttas that means us. In order to communicate how to explore the fleeting interdependence of all phenomena thoroughly without leaving anything within the sphere of awareness unexamined, it is adequate to say internal and external.

Metta

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

thunderinthesky
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby thunderinthesky » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:29 pm

Internal reality vs. external reality: you may notice that for a human being, there is no reality beyond the content of the mind. External materiality remains "conceptual" when it is not directly perceivable by sense contact. All external objects only become real to a person when they are "sensed" by either the ear, eye, nose, tongue, skin or mind. We are robbed of really knowing how external reality truly appears—if there is such a thing. We only know how it appears to our mind, dependent upon our 5 senses. Specifically, the 5 sense bases in the mind. Therefore, "external reality" isn't available as a universal experience: only as a "rendition" (of the senses). You may even come to experience—while emerging from great concentration samadhi—that even each "base" of the senses can arise separately from the "observer." If there is a "true" appearance of external reality, we can only agree to it's appearance. The "image" is not the true object. And that perception keeps changing, not only dependent on our proximity and vantage point, but also on its timing. That image is always arising and receding. What we see as externally existant, is an appearance tarnished by memory, valuation, and conception: bound up with aversion, desire and "fog." Even worse, our memory is never "not the object we saw,"—instead it is a rendition of a rendition. Beyond that, advanced yogi's achieving "supramundane vipasana path knowledge" testify that external objects looks like clouds of sub-atomic particles arising and passing away very quickly—including their own bodies and the bodies of others. Cool subject. :candle: Google "The Workings of Kamma"—Pa Auk Sayadaw.

sublime
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Re: Internal emptiness, external emptiness & the imperturbable

Postby sublime » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:11 am

I don't agree with that footnote. The imperturbable is nirvana.


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