Reply To: Vipassana Meditation After Sotapanna Stage


P.S. It may be better to read #5 first. That gives the main idea.

1. I read through the discussion on this thread. I made two long comments on April 20, 2022, at 7:51 pm (Comment 1) and April 23, 2022, at 6:35 am (Comment 2). It is a good idea to read those again, Yash.

2. Also, read “Craving for Pornography – How to Reduce the Tendency

3. As we have discussed repeatedly on this website, the way to remove future suffering (Nibbāna) has three critical steps. It may be hard to believe, but the first two steps are about getting rid of the wrong views! 

(i) Cultivate the mundane path and remove the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi. It would be impossible to cleanse a mind without getting rid of the first layer of wrong views. Any doubts about the rebirth process will be eliminated at this step.

(ii) The second layer of wrong views is the mindset that future suffering can be eliminated by seeking births in Deva or Brahma realms. The uniqueness of Buddha’s teachings is the following. Suffering is present at various levels in all the realms of this world, and until escaping (or transcending) this world, it will not be possible to stop the worst suffering in the apāyās in the future. Those wrong views (mainly sakkāya diṭṭhi) are removed at the Sotapanna stage with lokuttara Sammā diṭṭhi (comprehension of Four Noble Truths/Paṭicca Samuppāda/Tilakkhana. This is only a change of mindset, but it requires a dedicated effort.

(iii) Even though our wring views about this world are removed by the Sotapanna stage, our perceptions (sanna) about sensual pleasures available in this world will still be there. The third layer is to follow the vision (Noble Path) gained by cultivating the correct versions of Ānāpānasati (same as Satipaṭṭhāna) and to remove those wrong perceptions. That leads to Arahathood via the Sakadagami and Anagami stages. Read through the new post carefully: “Mahārāhulovāda Sutta and Ānāpānasati.”

4. The point of all the above is that getting rid of cravings for sensual pleasures (especially sex) is not easy.
Again, to emphasize, the Buddha taught Ānāpānasati/Satipaṭṭhāna to those at or above the Sotapanna stage.
– If it was easy, why would the Buddha go to such lengths?

5. Don’t think that kama raga (including cravings for sex-related activities) can be overcome by just reading posts or listening to discourses.
– It requires a determined effort.
– The key is to avoid engaging in activities that feed the craving! Let us consider the specific example of watching porn (pornography).
– There is a specific “kamma vinnana” (an expectation) that keeps asking to be fed. What does that vinnana need? Its food is activities that would satisfy its need: “(abhi)sankhara paccaya (kamma)vinnana.” Those abhisankhara are watching more porn”! Any related activities like watching TV/movies/videos with similar visuals will also feed that vinnana.
– Staying away from those activities is the ONLY way to reduce that tendency. Consider the following analogy: In the old days, people captured wild elephants and trained them for work. Before starting the training, they needed to be tamed. As long as that elephant was energetic, it would not obey any commands. It needed to be weakened by depriving its food intake. However, they had to be persistent in not giving food for days to make the elephant weak enough to obey them. If they did not feed it for two days in a row and let it eat all it wanted for even an hour, the elephant would regain its strength. The trick was not to feed until the elephant was so weak that it could not stand up.
– The same principle applies here. One may abstain from watching porn for many days, but even one session of watching porn can get one back to square one.
– What I described above holds for ANY habit. If you really want to break a habit, you HAVE TO abstain from related activities, not just intermittently but persistently. In the Ānāpānasati language, this is the “dīghaṁ vā passasanto ‘dīghaṁ passasāmī’ti pajānāti” step. Those “deeply embedded” gati require a lengthy and concerted effort! See “How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View

6. Making a new GOOD habit works the same way, but the other around. You would engage in related activities as often as possible.
– That is “Dīghaṁ vā assasanto ‘dīghaṁ assasāmī’ti pajānāti
– If one wants to cultivate good habits that will last a long time, one needs to engage in activities for long durations!

7. Of course, the process can be guaranteed to work only if one has comprehended the fruitlessness/dangers of remaining in the rebirth process. At the end of the “Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta (DN 22)” the Buddha promised that one would attain at least the Anagami stage in two weeks if one practiced it incessantly; at a slower pace, one would attain Anagami stage at least in seven years. But, of course, that holds only if one is at least a Sotapanna Anugami.
– Otherwise, one would want to focus more on learning Dhamma and attaining the Sotapanna stage. Of course, even then, one MUST cut down on activities like watching porn or excessive sensual activities. Instead of porn, others may crave delicious foods, watch movies, play video games, etc. All these activities are not conducive to learning Dhamma and getting to the Sotapanna stage.