[Buddha-l] Loving your object of study

L.S. Cousins selwyn at ntlworld.com
Mon Dec 3 13:00:09 MST 2007


One general point. These two discourses are careful not to make any 
criticism of the first four activities.

Some points of detail.

>The passage lays out a progression of development -- when one can properly
>be said to "dwell in dhamma," rather than still being in training, or
>getting stuck along the way. The basic underlying model is the threefold
>Hearing, Thinking, Meditating (or cultivating: bhaavanaa), stretched into
>five to fit the stylistic requirement of this section of the Anguttara.

Well maybe. But how do you establish that this threefold division is earlier ?

>  Five types of monks are described:
>The first monk has memorized the entire canon, knows it by heart
>(pariyaapu.naati -- which implies mastery by memorization). Big deal.
>Memorizing the multiplication tables is useful, and necessary perhaps, but
>it doesn't put a person on the moon. That requires more than memorization.
>Memorization is the necessary FIRST Step.
>The second monk has not only memorized everything, he trains others to
>memorize it, and does so accurately, without distortion. Also useful, but
>that's all he can do and be (so far). He serves as a conduit, but is not
>himself "dwelling" in the dhamma he is teaching.

It doesn't say that he trains others to memorize it. It says that he 
teaches it to others in detail. In other words, he knows it well 
enough that he can elaborate and explain at length.

>The third monk can recite everything, and spends all his time reciting. This
>is devotional masturbation, like purchasing an expensive auto just to admire
>its chrome, but never driving it.

This puts a slant on it that is quite different to the original. That 
refers to recitation at length, but the only criticism is to say that 
this is not 'dwelling in dhamma'. I would understand extensive 
recitation to be itself a kind of meditation.

>The fourth monk is actually doing beginners meditation (this is the one
>posted with the message -- the poor "intellectualist" slob whose
>inadequacies are supposedly being exposed). Problem is, he is not an
>intellectualist, but a successful meditator in the Pali:

I would like to believe this, but I don't see it there. Or, at any 
rate, not as strongly as you are indicating.

>cetasa anuvitakketi anuvicareti manasanupekkhati
>The prefix anu- is an intensive (cf. Skt abhi-) and means "to accord with",
>to go along with, conform to... The other terms should be familiar: vitakka
>(vitarka), vicaara, manasaa, and upekkha (upek.sa). Without getting into a
>long discourse on what these terms refer to (there is a huge heap of
>conflicting literature on that subject), vitarka and vicara are present in
>the initial jhana of the ruupa-dhaatu; in the second vitarka falls away but
>vicara remains.

A slip here. As you know, Dan, vicaara remains only in a state 
between first and second jhaana, not in the standard second jhaana.

>  The conclusion of the rupa-jhanas results in upek.sa --
>equanimity of mind. That is, he brings his mental attention and focus to
>bear, with mental equanimity -- on the teachings he has memorized and
>mastered. Vitarka and vicara can also imply a discursive aspect to his
>mental activity. Hence, e.g., the PTS Dict. gives the following for
>Anuvicara [anu + vicara, cf. anuvicareti] meditation, reflexion, thought Dhs
>85 (= vicara).
>So it can also mean to ponder, think about, keep in mind, etc.

The prefix anu- must indicate repeated action here. I suspect it is 
used precisely to indicate that this is not the vitakka and vicaara 
of the jhaanas. But perhaps an analogy with the meditative process is 
intended. But this does not seem to be the case of a 'successful 
meditator'. It might, however, mean that careful intellectual study 
of the teachings creates some of the tools that can be used 
subsequently for jhaana meditation.

>The fifth monk, the one who "dwells in dhamma" is the one who has
>accomplished what the others haven't accomplished yet. He is the one who
>doesn't spend his day "mastering" the dhamma -- since he has already
>mastered it. What makes him different from the others?

The fifth case seems to be someone who learns dhamma and also 
practices samatha. I take the mention of learning dhamma to be 
illustrative i.e. it refers to the first case but also implies the 
same for the next three. So the point is that all these activities 
are good, but they should be accompanied by the practice of samatha 
as well.

[section omitted]

>Uttari~ncassa pa~n~naya attha.m nappajanati
>I.e., pa~n~naa (prajna), knowledge, insight, is what is lacking. And the
>fifth monk this time is the one who exercises inner knowledge. The positive
>refrain describing this monk is: Uttarincassa pannaya attha.m pajanati.
>He learns (memorizes), teaches, etc., until he embodies prajna, until he
>thinks for himself. Does this mean that this is a parallel way to retiring
>to meditate? An ancillary practice? Discuss amongst yourselves.

As you doubtless realize, the problem here is how to take uttari~n.

There seem two choices:

a) as an adverb 'in addition':
but he does not in addition understand the meaning by his wisdom.
b) as an adjective describing 'meaning':
but he does not understand the higher meaning by his wisdom

In either case, wisdom here is clearly some more advanced kind of 
understanding. We can say that this goes beyond the ordinary 
discursive intellect. Or, we can say that this is some kind of 
superior development of intellect. There does not seem much 
difference between the two positions in practice.


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