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Meditating vs Thinking - Dhamma Wheel

Meditating vs Thinking

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Digger
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Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Digger » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:16 am

Your opinions please - when a college student is trying to penetrate and deeply understand, for example calculus or physics, they may spend time reading, studying, etc. A student may have to battle their wandering mind and at some point keep focus and by thinking begin to just grasp, then grasp more and more until they understand, then more and more until they get closer and closer to fully understanding.

What is the difference between a student studying then grasping calculus or physics and a student studying then grasping the Four Noble Truths or other key Buddhist concepts? Can someone who is not skilled at meditating but is skilled at keeping focus on a subject, thinking through and truly understanding get to the same place as a skilled meditator?

Or would you say that type of thinking is meditating?
He is different. He thinks.

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Vepacitta
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Vepacitta » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:04 am

That type of 'ordinary concentration' can certainly be of great help when pondering the suttas - yes. That being said, however, there are certain things which you can't realise simply by hammering them out with reason. The Buddha says this over and over again in the suttas. And as you start looking into things using reason - which is a perfectly fine way to start - you'll come to realise the limitations of logic for yourself.

So - yes - that kind of deep concentration one uses when studying (or revising as some folks say) is useful and should be put to use. But in order to realise the more ineffable teachings - anatta, dependent origination, cessation - those come from non-discursive concentration - and meditative concentration (which doesn't necessarily mean the absorptions - as in the jhanas or the immaterial states - although they're fine things to aim at) is necessary for those types of experiential realisations or awakenings. Then, one will also be able to 'see' things in daily life - they'll pop out at you - seemingly sudden realisations - due to the 'background work' that has been done in meditation and in sutta study.

In my opinion - you need both types of concentration - they go hand in hand.

Just my two groats,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

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Goofaholix
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:21 am


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ground
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby ground » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:46 am


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IanAnd
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby IanAnd » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:48 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

5heaps
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby 5heaps » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:18 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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legolas
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:13 pm


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Dan74
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:59 am

Like others have already said, thinking is a part of the mind's function. My understanding is that there is a quality that is deeper than thinking, an awareness that can "see" a thought arise and pass. It is very fast and we don't usually notice it because we are so enamoured with thoughts. That's what makes it so sharp that it can cut through a big tangle of thought and result in an insight (vipassana). To learn to recognize this sharp awareness one needs to first learn to navigate this inner landscape and of course clear out the garbage!

This awareness is also luminous and vibrant (shamatha) and this can be recognized when thoughts (cravings) are let gone off (even temporarily).

Of course some people's minds are naturally very clear and sharp (very very rare!). And it doesn't take very much for them to do this. For the rest of us it can take lifetimes, which is OK too.
_/|\_

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Goedert
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby Goedert » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:20 pm


nathan
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby nathan » Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:40 pm

But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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legolas
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:18 am


5heaps
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby 5heaps » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:38 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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legolas
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:49 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:41 am


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legolas
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:21 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:51 am

Hi Legolas,

Perhaps that's possible, but I've not come across any teachers who advocate relying on reflections to gain the insight necessary for stream entry.

Mike

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legolas
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:16 pm


gsteinb
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby gsteinb » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:30 pm

Bhante Punnaji clearly teaches thinking as a meditation. I can't speak to whether he would consider it possible to gain stream entry that way though.

http://www.protobuddhism.com/Meditationguide.pdf

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legolas
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby legolas » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:49 am


gsteinb
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Re: Meditating vs Thinking

Postby gsteinb » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:11 am

He's a highly recommended, albeit somewhat iconoclastic teacher. I'm deeply sorry I lost touch with him. I guess he's living back in Sri Lanka now.


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