The next study topic is the causal sequence in the noble eightfold path:
“This is the noble eightfold path, friend Visakha: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”
“Is the noble eightfold path fabricated or unfabricated?”
“The noble eightfold path is fabricated.”
“And are the three aggregates [of virtue, concentration, & discernment] included under the noble eightfold path, lady, or is the noble eightfold path included under the three aggregates?”
“The three aggregates are not included under the noble eightfold path, friend Visakha, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates. Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment.”—MN 44
I must now look closer at the sense spheres. From subjective rupa elements via the 5 passive spheres and the corresponding feeling tones prior to mental object in the active sphere and the cascading emotional effect that follows.
My interest is in dysfunctional spheres and their effect on following the path and whether there is a mechanism within the path to ‘correct’ corrupted information from subject to mental object. Everything beyond this,( the sixth link in dependent origination?), is untrustworthy.
The path requires an act of will to exercise its corrective function on input. Mindfulness utilizes memory to draw on right view to direct or not to direct attention. When developed this results in the practice of sense restraint.
"And how does a monk guard the doors to his sense faculties? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with the eye, does not grasp at any theme or variations by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. He practices with restraint. He guards the faculty of the eye. He achieves restraint with regard to the faculty of the eye.
"On hearing a sound with the ear…
"On smelling an aroma with the nose…
"On tasting a flavor with the tongue…
"On feeling a tactile sensation with the body…
“On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he does not grasp at any theme or variations by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. He practices with restraint. He guards the faculty of the intellect. He achieves restraint with regard to the faculty of the intellect. This is how a monk guards the doors to his sense faculties.” Anguttara Nikaya 4.37
This highly likely to hold much of the solution. I will need time to read through and take in Anguttara Nikaya 4.37
What if one’s memory is damaged or corrupted, how does one ‘retrain’ this memory. If memory is dysfunctional, the mental formation of an object is also corrupt.
I found repetitive focus of attention on objects and activities a way of rebuilding memory.
Is there a skillful way, an order maybe, to rebuild the ‘scaffolding’ of the mind. It’s the Nobel Eightfold Path in my view. But there are specific elements, in a specific order, on the path that will be the key.
This is a really interesting discussion, thank you so much for taking the time to share the wisdom of the Buddha.
I had to take a moment thinking about this, I was thinking about how many people could be helped with a mindful journey along the Path. People thought to be ‘excluded’. I became full of a heart felt feeling. By the act of doing and following a thread of an idea and by the act of practicing it a seed may be starting to germinate.
On a personal level I am beginning to grow.
The act of doing is the practice itself. The cultivation.
Hopefully there may be a flourishing one day.
In my later life I’ve become acutely aware of my limitations and delusion about my mental capacities. The older I get, I’ve come to the realization that I’m not nearly a smart as I thought I was. But then I forget and think I’m smart until I walk in the weeds again. Like yesterday. I dug up and moved a sprinkler line, congratulating myself on how skillful I am. Until I realized that I forgot to test it before I filled in the trench with dirt. Perhaps a fool doesn’t know he’s a fool.
I was knocked in the head unconscious three times before I turned 12 years old. I wonder what that did to me. I was a heavy marijuana smoker from 12 years old until my early 20’s, the crucial time of frontal lobe development. That had to do some damage.
I love the dhamma. I have 100% confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. As I’ve inched my way down the path, I have great confidence in my path and then I collide with my shortcomings. I know I’m a lay person falling way short, but I’m not giving up. I can’t give up because the Dhamma resonates with me as the truth, the only way for me. Am I excluded from the path? My intention is to move towards awakening even if it’s beyond my reach. I am so grateful to the Buddha and I can’t walk away from his gift. I imagine that the Buddha would encourage me, even if I am a fool or a brain damaged idiot.
Is this self judgment or doubt, you are mindful enough to ‘see’ shortcomings. I would see it as discernment, ‘ah there are shortcomings, I am aware of them’. If this question was posed on this forum there would be a multitude of responses with a suitable sutta to refer to.
I write like I know what I’m talking about but in reality I know nothing. I am aware of this.
My brain injury mantra was ‘keep fighting, never give up.’ If you can make one step turn into two you can make a million steps. Resilient attitudes.
These testimonies illustrate how knowledge of suffering is the element unlocking progress on the path. The four noble truths are accompanied by duties appropriate to each, and the requirement of the first noble truth is that suffering must be known. (Samyutta Nikaya 56.11)
Knowledge of suffering is a breakthrough:
“Monks, if anyone were to say, ‘Without having broken through to the noble truth of stress as it actually is present, […] I will bring about the right ending of stress,’ that would be an impossibility. […] Just as if someone were to say, ‘Without having built the lower story of a gabled building, I will put up the upper story,’ that would be an impossibility;…” —SN 56.44
Below is a resource that may be of value to you in understanding the framework of meditation. Even just the first few minutes of this audio recording will be of value in grounding any application of Mindfulness training. It is an excellent resource for a summary of the way the Path works.
I only found this when looking at another resource given here.
Note that this teaching was given in 1981 It makes me contemplate that In our unrelenting fever for new things, it is easy to overlook some absolute treasures… lol same goes for general development of Buddhism (and the modern mindfulness movements), the EBT’s are the gold,. The quest for ever new, somehow thinking that just because it is new it is better, has the capacity to lead people down the wrong track. Just because it is newer, doesn’t mean that it is an improvement.
There is also this upcomming series of workshops that will be live streamed. This will cover each of the factors of the Noble 8 fold path in detail. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions This may be even more useful as it will also focus on practice and practical application.
Hi Sabbamitta. I have come across the ‘blind and deaf’ details. Page 225 of Analayo’s Satipatthana, The direct path to awakening. It’s not exactly as I’ve stated but deals with sense restrain. I may have embellished it somewhat in my untrained mind initially, but it’s interesting all the same.