Bare awareness and the factors of awakening?

The important consideration in bare-awareness is that it needs to be unbroken for as long as it takes to gain momentum.

Attending in this way while sitting - without reaction - the stream of associated thoughts and, random thoughts, :star2:-ts slowing down, they lose momentum.

The gaps become wider between thoughts. The intervals of silence last longer. When silence is all that’s left the attention lands there. The quality of silence deepens into a fresh and ever-new beauty.

With an open-ended patience - simply attending to thoughts - they are no longer absorbed into as before. There’s no getting lost in thought.

It’s like fully-conscious daydreaming minus the dreaming - as odd as that may sound.

It becomes clear that nobody is thinking the thoughts, they are automatic, a conditioned process of associations or random happenings - there is no ‘thinker’.

This is clear and undisguised. A great relief!

There’s no vested-interest in there content, there’s no identification with thought or, anything else - in bare awareness.

Nobody is thinking the thoughts - it’s just a conditioned process - they lose momentum break-up and dissappear.

Then, silence then, the beautiful arises and, dissappears, without interference or identification-with. Even the seeing of this passing parade is not identified with.

Neither ‘here’ (subjectivity) nor ‘yonder’ (anywhere else) or ‘between the two’ (nondualistic) - no subject/object dualism. No formations of self and other!

If, there is, reaction-free attention there is no self-oriented satisfaction or disatisfaction because nothing is taken personally. Literally, nothing at all - including the seeing/witnessing.

The ease of being that arises with the cessation of ‘papancha’ (discursive thinking) in meditation and, daily life, facilitates the arising of energy - an awakening factor.

This gives rise to a sense of well-being - happiness and joy. This gives rise to contentment and serenity, this facilitates deep natural stillness and this, is an indispensable requirement for awakening and… so it goes

None of the above - natural unfolding - has anything to do with a deliberate exercise. It just happens when there is clarity and peace - including the Sila. Sila is also a result of seeing clearly.

It’s a consequence of completely letting-go and seeing what happens - without interference. A complete relaxation in saddha - another awakening factor.

Anapanasati is not the only pathway leading into samadhi and, beyond.

“For there is suffering, but none who suffers; Doing exists although there is no doer; Extinction is but no extinguished person; Although there is a path, there is no goer.” - Visudhimagga

Understanding the ‘nuts and bolts’ of all this is ‘investigation’ - directly seeing all this. Samadhi is a consequence. There’s awareness with Sila and, tranquility is present, confidence/faith and, energy is present. Joy and happiness is in the mix. That’s the whole kit and caboodle - is it not?

And standing, moving and lying down.


Yes, unbroken and continuous! Periods of rest are also transformed. When resting there are zero-thoughts. The body does not move about. After closing the eyes, at some point, there’s a complete absence, a sphere of nothingness, no dreaming. The body has not changed position when the period of rest ends. There is no sluggishness after rest. No sense of self returns after several days of bare awareness. After rest the notion: here I am again, does not arise. The bare awareness out of resting-mode is immediately present and is continuous in all postures and activities. Day in, day out and, so it goes… Many new insights and unprecedented happenings take place as the process gains momentum.

Anapanasati should eventually lead to continuous awareness of impermanence of each breath. This is the start of insight proper.

Vital Conditions

At Sāvatthī. “Mendicants, I say that the ending of defilements is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know or see. For one who knows and sees what? ‘Such is form, such is the origin of form, such is the ending of form. Such is feeling … Such is perception … Such are choices … Such is consciousness, such is the origin of consciousness, such is the ending of consciousness.’ The ending of the defilements is for one who knows and sees this.

I say that this knowledge of ending has a vital condition, it doesn’t lack a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Freedom.’ I say that freedom has a vital condition, it doesn’t lack a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Dispassion.’ I say that dispassion has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Disillusionment.’ I say that disillusionment has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Truly knowing and seeing.’ I say that truly knowing and seeing has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Immersion.’ I say that immersion has a vital condition.

And what is it? You should say: ‘Bliss.’ I say that bliss has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Tranquility.’ I say that tranquility has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Rapture.’ I say that rapture has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Joy.’ I say that joy has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Faith.’ I say that faith has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Suffering’. SuttaCentral

Impermanence leads to seeing dukkha, leads to dispassion and so on…

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Insight proper - this is an interesting expression. If this approach to practice has served you well then that’s good news. The only question that comes to mind is about the quality of insight. We both know the teachings about jhanas and, the period directly after jhanas. When we have met the Dhamma, we have some apprehension of right view, we have good Sila etc. that period after immersion can be a great opportunity to see deeply into the Dhamma. That is the context where things get really interesting. These are opportunities for deep-seeing of the way it is - insight proper.

As can be seen from the quote above EBTs view is that insight (wisdom practice) occurs after the arising of jhana or enlightenment factors. The three practices of sila, samadhi and panna (wisdom) occur as one forming a basis for the other and the Buddha says there’s no wisdom without samadhi. This is the predominant mode that is described in the EBTs, however there is vipassana first followed by samatha and samatha and vipassana conjoined, along with living without ‘distortions of the dhamma’ but then that also requires periods of calm. SuttaCentral. I think these descriptions are in order from the best to the least effective and least likely to give rise to attainments. It is worthwhile looking at adding vipassana practice if someone is already able to do jhana or if after many years jhana isn’t achieved as insight might help with becoming dispassionate so helpful to jhana. Five hindrances are a common problem to both.

I’m interested in the fourth path as it might be a way forward to the layity who spend little time on retreat and most of their time at work.

"For those who are misled to conceive of all this as ‘just Samatha practice’ without regard
to Insight (Vipassana), please know that this is neither Vipassana nor Samatha. It is called’
Bhavana “the method taught by the Lord Buddha…” - Ajahn Brahm

Dear Mitta, in order to avoid the repetition of discussion we already had - recently - more than once, please consider making a careful reading of the basic method (see below).

Perhaps, take some notes with regard to the text ‘as a whole’ and point out where in ‘the stages of letting go’ you find something problematic.

If, you could also identify teachings in this booklet that seem to be incommensurate with what I have shared above, this may be a way of moving forward. Yours, L

Let’s disregard the Buddha’s words as Ajhan is a higher authority? His method seems like a combination of jhana and the fourth path I mentioned above in the four paths to nibbana, but I might be mistaken.

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This was not said or implied! I know that Ajahn Brahm is a gifted Pali scholar with a sharp mind.

He is also a gifted contemporary teacher who helps vast numbers of people to begin a process of inquiry that is informed by the historical Buddha’s Dhamma.

It’s obvious, that everything he teaches is grounded in his journey of discovery and, he qualifies everything he teaches in the light of his own EBT research.

I have simply drawn attention to some indiscrepancies between what you have said and, what A.B. teaches - in previous discussion.

I have suggested a possible way forward so we don’t risk turning this into ground-hog day. :blush:

If there are differences in a modern teacher’s teachings and the words of the Buddha in the EBTs… what do we do then?

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Trees grow towards the sun and, we ask questions. It’s in our nature and, so it goes…

The Buddha insisted that we interrogate teachers and teachings - what they say and, do! See if they talk the talk and, walk the walk?

He taught us to do the same, when it comes to his Dhamma teachings. Don’t let teachers get away with anything. Leave no stone unturned - make them work for a living.

We have to be equally diligent when it comes to our own findings. Endless investigation, it’s great fun!

We should never accept anything on face value, out of respect for a teacher, because it’s repeated in an honoured tradition, even, if it sounds reasonable, it’s logically consistent, it ain’t neskaserily so!

We need to be sceptical, we need to question everything.

I don’t believe my-self - either. The sense of self is insubstantial, it’s ephemeral. It’s not reliable, it’s another delusion - watch it come and go.

A single word of the ‘truth that liberates’ has never been spoken or, written.

I am not what I take myself to be and, I am not who I think I am. If, this isn’t as clear as a bell then, keep moving.

There’s a great abyss between our concepts - the notions we entertain - and, the truth which liberates. Take the leap!

We need to be like research scientists with rigorous standards and, cross checking procedures.

Scientists don’t get to any final truth - either. But, they do keep their thinking-caps on! It’s an ongoing journey of discovery.

We are like babies learning to walk. We instinctually seek freedom and understanding.

It’s worth it!

If you read this sutta it says taking the anicca perception of the breath should be performed after attaining to jhana:

They practice breathing out immersing the mind in samādhi. They practice breathing in freeing the mind. They practice breathing out freeing the mind (attaining to jhana).

They practice breathing in observing impermanence. They practice breathing out observing impermanence. MN118.

This sounds fine - in principle. The problem with the discrepancy-issue tends to complicate things. The discrepancy or incommensurablility also includes the nature of samma-samadhi.

With regard to your previous description of jhanic-absorption- in another thread - there is no-correlation between what you described and what we find in the basic method.

This is not a judgement of what you shared. It’s just pointing out an obvious fact. A careful reading of ‘the basic method’ will make this clear. This is why, I thought of using this booklet as a basis for further discussion.

If, the attention is directed towards the breath in the wake of what you call: immersion. To practice what you call: vipassana, we need to be ‘clear’ about that which preceded the interest in the breath awareness practice.

Whatever it is you are doing - or not doing - I hope it serves you well. However, we may not have grounds for going much further because I am reasonably certain that we are not talking about the same process.

There are to many important details that don’t seem to add up. We appear to be comparing apples and oranges. They have something in common but, an apple is not the same as an orange.

I’ve read Ajhan Brahm’s Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond but not the Basic Method which you showed us a couple of days ago. I think it is the same jhanic absorption. I may not write very descriptively and that’s why it might sound different. But as Ajhan said to me in London, insight is impossible without jhana (at least hard…). There are some of his talks to monks (not his public talks) on YouTube in which he talks a lot about insight.

I did not get this impression - not even close. The ‘comment’ I have in mind was not light on detail. It was a clear point-by-point description. A matter of fact first-hand account of meditation experiences. The details are important and - thank goodness - they were very clear.

It’s no secret that there are a variety of so-called jhana-teachings and practices in circulation. Surely, you know this? The account you gave of samadhi was commensurate in some ways with some of the jhana teachings in circulation.

As we know, the Visudhimagga also includes jhana-teachings. It would be pointless to paper-over the differences IMO.