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  #721  
Old 25-02-2020, 05:00 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
I agree but let's even go with your way.

As it is now.. then what?




See what happens next.


I interpret 'then what' as implying that you are aware of what is and then you have to do something, but in fact, you have to stop doing stuff to be aware of what is. It's not a mystery or a special knowledge or only accessible only to the advanced. Just try notice what 'this' is like, and notice how you stopped to take a look.
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  #722  
Old 25-02-2020, 01:09 PM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gem
See what happens next.


I interpret 'then what' as implying that you are aware of what is and then you have to do something, but in fact, you have to stop doing stuff to be aware of what is. It's not a mystery or a special knowledge or only accessible only to the advanced. Just try notice what 'this' is like, and notice how you stopped to take a look.

In Buddhism that next step is called applying skillful means.

It's what Buddhism is all about.
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  #723  
Old 25-02-2020, 01:25 PM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
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This is a little long but very good.

Quote:
The four supreme efforts are, in the first place, the avoiding of unwholesome, unskillful thought processes. If we look at them as unskillful, we can accept the fact of learning a new skill more easily. Avoiding means we do not let certain thoughts arise, neither reactions to moods, nor to outside triggers. If we find ourselves habitually reacting in the same way to the same kind of situation, we may be forced to avoid such situations, so that we can finally gain the insight which needs to be culled from it. While we are reacting to a situation or mood, we can't assess it dispassionately, because our reactions overpowers the mind.

Avoiding, in a Dhamma sense, means to avoid the unskillful thought; in a practical sense we may have to avoid whatever arouses such mind states in us. That, however, must not go to the length of running away as the slightest provocation, which is a well known, yet unsuccessful method of getting out of unpleasant reactions. Habitually running away from situations, which create unwholesome reactions in us, will not bring about a peaceful mind. Only if there is one particular trigger, which arouses unskillful responses in us over and over again, we may have to move away from it without blaming anyone. We just realize that we have not yet been able to master ourselves under certain circumstances. Just as we don't blame the unpleasant feeling anywhere in the body, but realize that we haven't mastered our non-reaction to dukkha yet, and therefore must change our posture.

It amounts to exactly the same thing. One is a physical move, the other is a mental one. All it means is that we haven't quite mastered a particular situation yet. It brings us to the realization that there is still more to be learned about ourselves. Blaming anything in our outside of ourselves is useless, it only aggravates the situation and adds more unwholesome thinking to it.

In order to avoid unskillful reactions in the mind, we have to be attentive and know the way our mind works before we verbalize. We can learn about that in meditation. Awareness is the prime mover in meditation. It isn't viable or useful to have calm and peaceful mind states without being completely aware of how we attained them, remained in them and came out of them. Having learned this through our meditative practice, enables us to realize how our mind works in daily life, before it says anything, such as possibly: "I can't stand this situation" or "I hate this person." When that happens, an unwholesome state has already been established.

Before the mind is allowed to fall into this trap, a dense and unpleasant feeling can be noticed, which acts as a warning that an unwholesome mind state is approaching, which can be dropped before it has even established itself. It is much easier to let go before the negativity has taken hold but it is harder to recognize. When we notice that a mind state is approaching which does not seem to be accompanied by peace and happiness, we can be sure it will be unwholesome. The more we train ourselves to be mindful of our mind states, the more we realize the unhappiness we cause ourselves and others through unskillful thinking.

When we have not been able to avoid an unwholesome mind, we have to practice to overcome it. Because of the difficulty of becoming aware in time to avoid negativities, we have to be very clear on how to overcome them. Dropping a thought is an action and not a passive reaction, yet it is difficult to do, because the mind needs something to grasp. In meditation we need a subject, such as the breath or the feelings/sensations to hold onto, before the mind can become calm and peaceful. When we want to overcome unskillful mind states, it is easier to substitute with wholesome thinking, than just trying to let go of unwholesomeness.

If we entertain the negative mind states for any length of time, they become more and more at home. As they make themselves comfortable, we are more and more inclined to believe them and finally come out with thoughts such as "I always hate people who don't agree with me" or "I always get nervous about thunder." These statements are designed to show one's own unchanging character, giving our ego an extra boost. The only reason these states might have become ingrained in our character is that having entertained negativities for so long, one can no longer imagine to be without them. Yet these are nothing but unskillful mind states, which can and need to be changed. The quicker we substitute, the better it is for our own peace of mind.

If we have dislike or rejection concerning a person, we may remember something good about that person and be able to substitute the negative thought with something concretely positive. Everyone is endowed with both qualities, good and evil, and if we pick on the negative, then we will constantly be confronted with that aspect, rather than the opposite. With some people this will be more difficult that with others. They are our tests, so to say. Nobody gets away in this life without such tests. Life is an adult education class with frequent examinations, which are being thrown at us at any time. We are not told in advance, what is in store for us, so we should be prepared all the time.

As we learn the skill of substitution and do it successfully once, we gain confidence in our own ability. There is no reason when why we cannot repeat this whenever needed. The relief we feel is all the incentive we need for practice.

When we are confronted with situations which we find difficult to handle, we can remember that we are faced with a learning experience. Overcoming unwholesome mind states needs mind power, which we develop through our meditation practice. If we are not yet able to keep our attention in meditation where we want it to be, we will not be able yet to change our mind when we want to do so. The more skill we develop in meditation, the easier it will be for us to either "avoid" or "overcome." By the same token, as we practice substitution in daily living, we assist our meditation. When we realize that our mind is not a solid entity which has to react in certain ways, but is a movable, changeable phenomenon, which can be clear and illuminated, then we will more and more try to protect it from unwholesomeness. It is often a revelation to a new meditator to find out that the mind is not a fixed and believable reactor, but can be influenced and changed at will.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/...renow.html#ch2
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  #724  
Old 25-02-2020, 01:43 PM
jonesboy jonesboy is offline
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A skill can be learned. We have all learned many skills in this life. This is the sort of ability well worth cultivating, more important than proficiencies. This is not a character trait we either possess or lack. Everybody's mind is capable of developing the wholesome and letting go of the unwholesome. But that also doesn't mean that we find everything wonderful and beautiful from now on. That too is not realistic. That which can be practiced is, that although there is unwholesomeness within and without, dislike is not an effective reaction to bring peace and happiness. The pinnacle of all emotional states is equanimity, even-mindedness, which is developed through our meditation practice and based on insight. It is our tool in daily living to develop and maintain wholesome mind states.

It is neither useful to suppress nor to pretend by thinking "I ought to be" or "I should be." Only awareness of what is happening in our mind and learning the skill of changing our mind is called for. Eventually our mind will be a finely tuned instrument, the only one in the whole of the universe that can liberate us from all dukkha. All of us have that instrument and the guidelines of the Buddha teach us the skill to use this instrument to the best advantage; not to believe its moods and reactions to outer stimuli, but to watch and protect it and realize its potential for complete liberation.

If we want a good tool, we need to look after it in the best possible manner. This means not letting any dirt particles accumulate, but to clean it up as quickly as possible. The same criterion applies to our mind. This is probably the hardest skill to learn, which is the reason so few people do it. but a meditator is on the right path towards just that, by realizing that the mind cannot be believed implicitly, being much too fanciful and fleeting.

The four supreme efforts are called "supreme," not only because they are supremely difficult, but also supremely beneficial. A serious meditator wants to transcend the human realm while still in human form and these efforts are our challenge. They are so well explained by the Buddha that we can clearly see the difficulties we are faced with and the reasons why we are still roaming about in Samsara. But we don't have to continue that unendingly. Knowing the path and the way to tread upon it, we have the opportunity to become free of all fetters.
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  #725  
Old 26-02-2020, 02:29 AM
Gem Gem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
In Buddhism that next step is called applying skillful means.

It's what Buddhism is all about.




Cool. But you have to understand thet saying 'skillful means' is entirely vacuous unless you elaborate on what that term means in practice, and training in a formal setting involves noticing things about yourself that one was previously unaware of. For example, on the first day of a retreat the novice will notice how they react to all the feelings because they are required to sit for long periods and experience significant discomfort. With that discomfort, they are made aware of all the adverse reactivity they generate toward it. Hence they can't sit still and keep moving around to alleviate painful sensations. In that day's discourse the teacher will talk about discomfort and the mind reacting adversely, so the novices became fully aware that this what they're doing.

On the second day they are more self-aware, aware so their reactivity can't go by as if it's normal anymore. The novice is far more conscious and endeavours to keep a balanced, non-reactive mind - 'just watching' as the sensations come and go - but they also become more disturbed and want to quit the thing and go home. That night the teacher talks about the doubt and fear and the impulse to give up and run away so the novice realises that sort of negativity has been been pervading their lives whenever things get uncomfortable and difficult. Thus these avoidance tendencies start to come into view. There is also the fact that the novice can't pay attention for even a minute. They observe the breath, 30 seconds later they're off with the fairies and they don't notice they've drifted off for minutes at a time. So they start to realise just how distracted they are in their day to day lives, going from thought to thought randomly like a mad-person, along with all the reactivity disturbing them, and they get a sense just how wild their mind actually is.

On the third day, being somewhat humbled by the truth of how messy and what an emotional wreck they are, they settle in and start to work more seriously. They find they don't have to react to their discomforts; they can sit still and just let the feeling be there 'as it is'. The aversion toward their feelings wanes along with their desire for 'something special'... and with the waning of aversion and desire, they get a bit of a taste of equanimity - which is the ability of ardent awareness free from aversion and craving. Of course the teacher knows this will be happening so he talks about it that evening so the novices get the intellectual understanding by seeing themselves in it.

When the teacher talks about these things, the novice is like, farout, he is talking about me. This is exactly what is going on with me. The adepts understand because they have been through it, and they are still going through it, but on a more subtle level.

By the fourth day things quieten down in the halls. The novices in back stop squirming around and getting up and down, and start sitting still for the duration of the period, so determination is introduced "I shall not move. No matter what I shall sit perfectly still until the bell", and that's a good skill: determination. Also, what was physically not possible for the novice only 2 days ago is now possible, so the novice sees the progress and feels more confident being better established in mindfulness.

From there, with the ability of equanimity regardless of the feelings that come and go, one can now go deeper and work at a subtler level of feeling and subtler reactive tendencies so that even quite slight disturbances are noticed. Maybe after 5,6,7 days the novice starts to experience the emotional depths and instead of keeping level minded with hard physical feelings that same principle of quiet observations is applied to the emotional trauma rising like storms, and passing away. The novice realises that in the past, these trauma would rise slightly in conscious awareness but they would react adversly to it and find a desirable distraction from it. Always avoiding the adverse and chasing thr desire. It is around this point that one realises how the dynamic between craving and aversion has been such a hinderance to them resolving life issues, and indeed, the means by which they created them in the first place.

By that time a person knows a lot more about themselves than they did just a few days prior, and they really have calmed themselves through the conscious recognition of 'what they do'; all the unskillful things I mentioned here; and how these generate so much misery for them in their day to day lives.

Now that the novice has ceased to react significantly, and they are able to endure so much more that were before, the purification begins to accelerate up to their particular individual limitations, There will be point at which they can't take any more and they will be overcome by reactivity at that point, and they then know where they are in terms of their ability for equanimity and continue to work on increasing the strength and capacity to remain completely unperturbed regardless of what experiences arise for them.

Suddenly they are working on something which itself is not an experience, and is worked on entirely regardless of what experience happens to arise, and understanding 'what they are doing' they are able to work with complete self-determination, become seriously ardent, and learn that this is not just meditation periods, but a continuous 'way of being' without any lapse. The mind now stays 'here with this' for long periods, and the periods of distraction are short - and not much can get by that novice unawares anymore.

Now that a novice has settled the mind and the purification is taking effect, they can include metta practice in their daily routine and attend group-metta with the rest of the sangha.

From there, one can continue to practice and work at more subtle levels, and this is OK because they were trained properly and understand what it is to meditate, and have developed the skillful mind required to traverse what's to come, come what may, whatever that may be.
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  #726  
Old 26-02-2020, 03:01 AM
JustBe JustBe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
A skill can be learned. We have all learned many skills in this life. This is the sort of ability well worth cultivating, more important than proficiencies. This is not a character trait we either possess or lack. Everybody's mind is capable of developing the wholesome and letting go of the unwholesome. But that also doesn't mean that we find everything wonderful and beautiful from now on. That too is not realistic. That which can be practiced is, that although there is unwholesomeness within and without, dislike is not an effective reaction to bring peace and happiness. The pinnacle of all emotional states is equanimity, even-mindedness, which is developed through our meditation practice and based on insight. It is our tool in daily living to develop and maintain wholesome mind states.

It is neither useful to suppress nor to pretend by thinking "I ought to be" or "I should be." Only awareness of what is happening in our mind and learning the skill of changing our mind is called for. Eventually our mind will be a finely tuned instrument, the only one in the whole of the universe that can liberate us from all dukkha. All of us have that instrument and the guidelines of the Buddha teach us the skill to use this instrument to the best advantage; not to believe its moods and reactions to outer stimuli, but to watch and protect it and realize its potential for complete liberation.

If we want a good tool, we need to look after it in the best possible manner. This means not letting any dirt particles accumulate, but to clean it up as quickly as possible. The same criterion applies to our mind. This is probably the hardest skill to learn, which is the reason so few people do it. but a meditator is on the right path towards just that, by realizing that the mind cannot be believed implicitly, being much too fanciful and fleeting.

The four supreme efforts are called "supreme," not only because they are supremely difficult, but also supremely beneficial. A serious meditator wants to transcend the human realm while still in human form and these efforts are our challenge. They are so well explained by the Buddha that we can clearly see the difficulties we are faced with and the reasons why we are still roaming about in Samsara. But we don't have to continue that unendingly. Knowing the path and the way to tread upon it, we have the opportunity to become free of all fetters.

Iím curious is this your writing or someone elseís?
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  #727  
Old 26-02-2020, 05:11 AM
Phaelyn Phaelyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBe
Iím curious is this your writing or someone elseís?

He cut and pasted it from here: Starting at the 18th paragraph down.

https://www.vipassana.com/meditation...me_efforts.php
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  #728  
Old 26-02-2020, 05:58 AM
Phaelyn Phaelyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
Everybody's mind is capable of developing the wholesome and letting go of the unwholesome.

Only awareness of what is happening in our mind and learning the skill of changing our mind is called for.

Wouldn't it be easier to just transcend the mind? Ignore it. Become liberated from it? Then what we are when not distracted or attentive to mind blooms. It doesn't matter what is happening in the mind if my attention is not being drawn to it.

Being in conflict with the mind is mind, imagined created content. The minds role in our lives is solved not through a skill, but through more self awareness, insights, understanding.

I have understanding, I have awareness, I have perception, I have experience. I have knowledge. I have choice among the given and present. Where is mind in this? In one sense, I am mind, as the word mind could include everything I just stated. But then habitual conditioned reactive thought can also be "mind" to a person identified and fixated on it. There are not two selves, but the one self can be looking here or there for reality. In the habitual conditioned thought, or looking elsewhere.
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  #729  
Old 26-02-2020, 06:13 AM
Phaelyn Phaelyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesboy
I agree but let's even go with your way.

As it is now.. then what?

It's easier to experience that when alone than when we are interacting with others. So I would say the, "then what" would be to stay in that perception at all times in all conditions. Like when at work when the idea comes, "this is so boring" or "I wish I was somewhere else" or when talking with someone and they put you down in someway. I know you have posted you believe these states never leave, but in my experience they do so i would add that in as well. Trying to maintain these higher awareness states as one does "forget" in my experience and goes back into thinking, identified with thoughts mode.
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