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Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy - Dhamma Wheel

Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Sekha
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Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Sekha » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:52 am

Some people try to sit for meditation without proper preparation and give up because they don't manage concentrate.

Most of them are not aware that they are trying to jump to step #7 out of 8 without undertaking 1 to 6. It's mathematical. Those who do manage to practice abide by them, knowingly or not.

They are described by the Buddha:

http://www.suttapitaka.net/formulae.html#anupubba

in the suttas: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html

One thing should be very clear: it is not possible to practice serious meditation without giving up all sexual activity. The practice of samadhi or samatha or anapanassati will eradicate raga (craving) from the deeper levels of the mind, but only if one has mentally given up intentions regarding sexual activities. Otherwise, he will keep being obsessed by sensual thoughts every time the pleasantness due to concentration will start to arise, and he will not be able to concentrate. One has to experience all the "pleasantness" all the way to its natural cessation equanimously, understanding on the way that this "pleasantness" is actually like a burning fire or, as the Buddha says, a terrible itch (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html).

The proof in the suttas here:
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh155-p.html#S11

"tranquillity" stands for samatha
"lust" stands for raga

the proof: “dve me, bhikkhave, dhammā vijjābhāgiyā. katame dve? samatho ca vipassanā ca. samatho, bhikkhave, bhāvito kamattha manubhoti? cittaṃ bhāvīyati. cittaṃ bhāvitaṃ kamatthamanubhoti? yo rāgo so pahīyati.

All the best for your practice!

Metta & Mudita
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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bodom
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby bodom » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:58 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Sekha
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Sekha » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:47 pm

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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Viscid
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:28 pm

I've seen people say that Jhana is not possible without complete chastity, but I am rather certain sexually active meditators who have attained Jhana exist. Why can't one let go of sexual thoughts in the same manner one lets go of any other type of thoughts or sensations which arise?

What I imagine prevents people from gaining jhana while being unchaste is that they feel a sense of guilt and shame at the carniality of their desires and see themselves as impure.. a guilt and shame which is completely unnecessary, imo.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

Jhana4
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:36 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Kenshou » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:43 pm

Yeah I'm kind of unconvinced that sexual activity is something much "worse" in this context than say, a nice piece of cake or what have you.

Not that practicing restraint from these things wouldn't be beneficial to meditation practice, however, and at a certain point necessary.

befriend
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby befriend » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:14 pm

its probably impossible to attain nibbana if you are still sexual. doesnt mean you cant make progress in bhavana if you are sexual. ive made progress in my bhavana and im not celibate.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Sekha
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Sekha » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:45 am

I am not here to argue.

it is possible to make spiritual progress without giving up sexuality, but not to practice really seriously.

Check for yourselves the advice given by the Buddha in the following case:
We are lay people enjoying sensuality; living crowded with spouses & children; using Kasi fabrics & sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, & creams; handling gold & silver. May the Blessed One teach the Dhamma for those like us, for our happiness & well-being in this life, for our happiness & well-being in lives to come.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

There is no question of meditation.

This thread was about gathering the right conditions for meditation practice. A derivative of the word "sex" has been used, and the whole conversation has become focused on this topic only.

:focus:
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

fijiNut
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby fijiNut » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:30 am

Great topic, Dukkhanirodha.

From the same link you provided for the Ganakamoggallana Sutta,
the Buddha did talk about the gradual training of morality, sense-control, moderation in eating, vigilance, mindfulness and clear consciousness before arriving at the overcoming of five hindrances and jhana.

Two points,
1) The Buddha emphasized on gradual training. Lets not forget the earlier pre-requisites of the training (morality, sense-control, moderation in eating, vigilance, mindfulness).

2) Obstruction to deep meditation is sensual desire (of which, sexual desire is a subset). Lets not forget the other 4.55 other hindrances!

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Sekha
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Sekha » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:04 pm

Fijinut, thanx for alimenting the conversation.

My experience is that sexual desire accounts for a very large percentage of sense desire (more than 45 as you suggested). If you compare, the pleasures of other sense organs are much easier to give up. I have no difficulty to give up listening to music although I used to do it all day long. But if I have even one sexual relation, it keeps bothering me for months. Fondness of perfumes is also usually easy to give up. Just to show that the pleasures of the different sense organs do not all impact the mind with the same depth.

The Buddha gave also different other sets of requisite conditions for practicing seriously:

AN 6.77:
Cha, bhikkhave, dhamme appahāya abhabbo uttarimanussadhammaṃ alamariyañāṇadassanavisesaṃ sacchikātuṃ. Katame cha? Muṭṭhassaccaṃ, asampajaññaṃ, indriyesu aguttadvārataṃ, bhojane amattaññutaṃ, kuhanaṃ, lapanaṃ.

Bhikkhus, without dispelling six things it is not possible to realize some noble distinction above human. What six? Forgetfulness, unawareness, uncontrolled mental faculties, not knowing the right amount to eat, deceitfulness and talking deceptively.


AN6.117:
Cha, bhikkhave, dhamme appahāya abhabbo kāye kāyānupassī viharituṃ. Katame cha? Kammārāmataṃ, bhassārāmataṃ, niddārāmataṃ, saṅgaṇikārāmataṃ, indriyesu aguttadvārataṃ, bhojane amattaññutaṃ.

Bhikkhus, without dispelling six things it is not possible to abide reflecting the body in the body. What six? Fondness for activity, fondness for talk, fondness for sleep, fondnes for company, non-control in the mental faculties and not knowing the right amount to eat.


AN8.79:
Aṭṭhime, bhikkhave, dhammā sekhassa bhikkhuno parihānāya saṃvattanti. Katame aṭṭha? Kammārāmatā, bhassārāmatā, niddārāmatā, saṅgaṇikārāmatā, indriyesu aguttadvāratā, bhojane amattaññutā, saṃsaggārāmatā, papañcārāmatā.

Bhikkhus, these eight things conduce to the decrease of the trainee bhikkhu. What eight? Fondness for, activity, talk, sleep and company. Lack of control of the mental faculties. Not knowing the right amount to partake food. Fondness of company and fondness of papañca (definition of papañca here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html).

Note that indriyesu guttadvāratā and bhojane mattaññutā are defined in the Anupubba Paṭipadā (The Gradual Path): http://www.suttapitaka.net/formulae/bhojan.html and http://www.suttapitaka.net/formulae/samvara.html
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Sekha » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:12 pm

And here also the Buddha gives sense restraint as a sine qua non condition for successfull practice:

AN6.50:
Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, rukkho sākhāpalāsavipanno. Tassa papaṭikāpi na pāripūriṃ gacchati, tacopi na pāripūriṃ gacchati, pheggupi na pāripūriṃ gacchati, sāropi na pāripūriṃ gacchati. Evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave, indriyasaṃvare asati indriyasaṃvaravipannassa hatūpanisaṃ hoti sīlaṃ; sīle asati sīlavipannassa hatūpaniso hoti sammāsamādhi; sammāsamādhimhi asati sammāsamādhivipannassa hatūpanisaṃ hoti yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṃ; yathābhūtañāṇadassane asati yathābhūtañāṇadassanavipannassa hatūpaniso hoti nibbidāvirāgo; nibbidāvirāge asati nibbidāvirāgavipannassa hatūpanisaṃ hoti vimuttiñāṇadassanaṃ.

Bhikkhus, like a tree devoid of branches and foliage does not grow its shoots completely. Does not grow its bark completely, does not grow its sapwood completely, does not grow the heartwood completely. In the same manner bhikkhus without control of the mental faculties, gone wrong in the mental faculties, virtues are destroyed. Without virtues, gone wrong in virtues, right concentration is destroyed. Without right concentration, gone wrong in right concentration, seeing things as they really are, is destroyed. Without seeing things as they really are, gone wrong in seeing things as they really are, knowledge and vision of seeing things as they really are is destroyed. Without knowledge and vision of seeing things as they really are, gone wrong in knowledge and vision of seeing things as they really are, turning away and disenchantment is destroyed. Without turning away and disenchantment, gone wrong in turning away and disenchantment, knowledge and vision of release is destroyed.

(...)

Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, rukkho sākhāpalāsasampanno. Tassa papaṭikāpi pāripūriṃ gacchati, tacopi pāripūriṃ gacchati, pheggupi pāripūriṃ gacchati, sāropi pāripūriṃ gacchati. Evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave, indriyasaṃvare sati indriyasaṃvarasampannassa upanisasampannaṃ hoti sīlaṃ; sīle sati sīlasampannassa upanisasampanno hoti sammāsamādhi; sammāsamādhimhi sati sammāsamādhisampannassa upanisasampannaṃ hoti yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṃ; yathābhūtañāṇadassane sati yathābhūtañāṇadassanasampannassa upanisasampanno hoti nibbidāvirāgo; nibbidāvirāge sati nibbidāvirāgasampannassa upanisasampannaṃ hoti vimuttiñāṇadassanaṃ.

Bhikkhus, like a tree endowed with of branches and foliage grows its shoots completely. Grows its bark completely, grows its sapwood completely, grows the heartwood completely. In the same manner bhikkhus endowed with control of the mental faculties, endowed with control of the mental faculties, there are virtues Endowed with virtues, there is right concentration. Endowed with right concentration, there is seeing things as they really are. Endowed with seeing things as they really are, there is knowledge and vision of seeing things as they really are. Endowed with knowledge and vision of seeing things as they really are, there is turning away and disenchantment. Endowed with turning away and disenchantment, there is knowledge and vision of release.

Metta & Mudita
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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bodom
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby bodom » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:45 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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daverupa
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby daverupa » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:55 pm


Karma
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Karma » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:53 pm

I think I'll look for the middle way

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manas
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby manas » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:39 pm

Darn it, I've had to delete my post. I started worrying that it might have looked like I was advocating (moderate) sexual indulgence (for householders). I was not. Sense restraint is good. (We need to know the right way to go about it, however - simple repression is not the best way to go). I was just warning against perfectionism in the sense that if one 'slips up' from time to time, one should not then think, 'oh darn it I'm a failure, now I won't be able to meditate properly...' etc. Don't assume that, or you might close the door on something. Pah, I'm not saying anything anymore. I hope more eloquent and experienced persons could elaborate. I have to go for now...

metta

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:02 pm


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Sekha
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby Sekha » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:43 pm

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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manas
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby manas » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:07 am

(edited out)

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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bodom
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby bodom » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:18 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

chownah
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Re: Difficulties with your meditation practice? Cause and remedy

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:35 am



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