Author Topic: Practicing the Eightfold Path  (Read 3584 times)

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2019, 03:07:07 am »
I found this quote if it helps:

"(4) "And what is the development of concentration that... leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.

"These are the four developments of concentration."

— AN 4.41"

at https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.041.than.html
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline stevie

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2019, 03:28:34 am »
it is as you say: there is only one path. So even if "ordinary Buddhist layperson" are practicing the Eightfold Path with effluents they are actually practicing the Eightfold Path which is ultimately without effluents.

Thank you. However, I do not recall ever mentioning the above. Are you sure an Eightfold Path with effluents even exists?  :curtain:

Dear VisuddhiRaptor,

from the perspective of the world there is only the Eightfold Path with effluents. As I have already mentioned above this is because the Buddha could only teach the Eightfold Path with effluents to the world.

Saying that this Eightfold Path with effluents is ultimately without effluents is like saying that the reflection of a face in a mirror is ultimately not a face but a reflection of a face. So 'ultimately' here is applied according to the convention known in the world.

As a consequence worldly practice of the Eightfold Path with effluents cannot be said to be 'wrong' practice which is why right view with effluents - the forerunner -  is still called right view and is not called 'wrong' view.
This is like saying 'I see my face in the mirror' cannot be said to be a wrong view although ultimately I do not see my face in the mirror when looking into the mirror but I do only see a reflection of it.

Wanting to have a look at my face there is no way other than to look into a surface that reflects, like e.g. a mirror.
In the same way wanting to practice the Eightfold Path there is no way other than to practice the Eightfold Path with effluents. Only in the course of  practicing the Eightfold Path with effluents the Eightfold Path may be revealed to be ultimately without effluents which is an attainment of the practitioner but cannot be discerned by someone else and cannot be taught. To the world a  practitioner practicing the Eightfold Path without effluents still appears as if practicing the Eightfold Path as known to the world, i.e. with effluents.

 :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stevie

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2019, 01:33:06 am »
I found this quote if it helps:

"(4) "And what is the development of concentration that... leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.

"These are the four developments of concentration."

— AN 4.41"

at https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.041.than.html

Dear stillpointdancer,

thanks for bringing that up.
However since your quote only refers to a part of that sutta it may be misleading to think that the four concentrations commonly known as 'the four jhanas' may be the methods to achieve the ending of effluents. But that is not the case as a study of the complete sutta will show.

What actually is elaborated on in this sutta are four developments of concentration, NOT the four concentrations as such which are commonly known as 'the four jhanas'.

What does this mean here?

This means that the 1st kind of development which leads to the jhanas does NOT lead to the ending of the effluents.

And it means that the 2nd kind of development which leads to a 'brightened mind' does NOT lead to the ending of the effluents.

And it means that the 3rd kind of development which leads to 'mindfulness & alertness' does NOT lead to the ending of the effluents.

It means that only the 4th kind of development which is an analytical meditation on the dependent origination and cessation of the clinging aggregates that entails concentration, is the kind of development of concentration that leads to the ending of the effluents.

 :anjali:
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 01:38:19 am by stevie »
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2019, 03:01:26 am »
Hi Stevie. Yes, I was just pointing out a reference to effluents to show that they are a 'thing' in the eightfold path. I don't really find these things useful myself, but they are of passing interest when I find some word used in a context I hadn't heard before.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline stevie

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2019, 08:51:48 pm »
Dear stillpointdancer,

from a practice point of view it actually isn't useful to bother about effluents because as I have tried to express above there is no way other than practicing the path with effluents and effluents will fade away naturally once the path of meditation is attained ... which usually takes eons.

On the contrary a beginner coming across MN 117 might erroneously think that right view without effluents is something better or superior than right view with effluents and wrongly conclude that collecting merit and the resolve to become liberated from samsara would be inferior because it reads 'There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions [of becoming]' and because only right view without effluents is called 'noble'. That then would actually be wrong view and make any progress on the path impossible!
Why?
Because right view with effluents is the forerunner of right resolve with effluents which is:
Quote
Resolve for renunciation, resolve for freedom from ill will, resolve for harmlessness. This is the right resolve with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.
Who would dare saying that such a right resolve with effluents would be wrong resolve?

And right view with effluents is the forerunner of right speech with effluents which is:
Quote
Abstaining from lying, from divisive tale-bearing, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter. This is the right speech with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions
Who would dare saying that such a right speech with effluents would be wrong speech?

And right view with effluents is the forerunner of right action with effluents which is:
Quote
Abstaining from killing, from taking what is not given, & from illicit sex.[3] This is the right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.
Who would dare saying that such a right action with effluents would be wrong action?

And right view with effluents is the forerunner of right livelihood with effluents which is:
Quote
There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.
Who would dare saying that such a right livelihood with effluents would be wrong livelihood?

etc

Therefore one should embrace the Eightfold path with effluents and collect merit based on the resolve to become liberated from samsara.

 :dharma: :anjali:
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 08:54:32 pm by stevie »
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Online Chaz

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2019, 01:54:54 pm »
I've been giving the recent discussion, centering on effluents, some thought.

You encounter people, Buddhists, who fell that there is importance in following the N8FP simply because it says so - like was some sort of commandment to live by.  That's fine, but it occurs to me, that there is an element of self involved in such practice, an element that may serve to stymie, real progrees on the Path.  That's not to say there is something bad in such practice.  No doubt there is merit in such practice, widom to be gained, but true practice is from emptiness, with no taint of self.

So I would call such practice to be with effluents with self being the main effluent.

Offline stevie

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2019, 02:48:36 am »
Dear Chaz,

I think that once one has gained certainty about Buddha Dharma there may arise an attitude to follow the Eightfold Path 'because it says so'. So it may be - but not necessarily is - a mark of cessation of doubt which actually is an attainment.

As to the effluent of self I must admit that I doubt that practice is feasible without the slightest sentiment of self.
In Prajnaparamita sutras it is said that the ideal Bodhisattva acts without there being a sentiment of actor, acting and object acted upon but I think that this ideal actually equates Bodhisattva and Buddha and thus it actually is setting the goal. So in the Prajnaparamita sutras the two kinds of self are covered: self of persons and phenomena. But from my perspective it is important that the Pali suttas and the Prajnaparamita sutras belong to different turnings of the wheel and I would assume that according to the Pali suttas there is nothing more to do once the personal self has been overcome.

Nevertheless what is puzzling me is the term 'transcendent' in the context of 'noble' because it of course makes me think of prajnaparamita -  but I think that thought is misleading here.

I think that this sutta simply posits that hoping for merits and attainments or fearing not to get those is what characterizes a worldly attitude and an attitude which is free from such hope and fear is called 'noble' and 'transcendent', i.e. not belonging to the world. So the noble Eightfold Path is one that has become one's nature without expecting, hoping for or speculating about own benefit. I think that although such an attitude may conventionally be called 'selfless' it is not necessarily without the slightest sentiment of self because otherwise the practice of  the Eightfold Path would have already been completed.

 :anjali:

།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stevie

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Re: Practicing the Eightfold Path
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2019, 11:00:07 pm »
I've been thinking/meditating about this post and referring to the last sentence maybe the following expression is more appropriate:
One is practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, i.e. the path that is not 'siding with merit', and not 'resulting in acquisitions', the path that is 'without effluents, transcendent' when one has at least entered the path of seeing and at least the artificial afflictive obscurations have been abandoned.

As a further correcting comment to the last sentence I would like to add:
I think that there is no necessity to assume the absence of 'the slightest sentiment of self' because that sentiment 'only' has to be 'purified' (metaphor!) of afflictive obscurations.

 :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

 


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