Tagged: constraining sense pleasures
March 27, 2018 at 5:03 pm #14831
““..What are assāda, ādīnava, and nissarana in this world? If one gets attached (paticca) to sukha/sōmanassa that is assāda. That gives rise to dhamma (which are the seeds for future suffering, because these are really “kamma seeds”) with anicca, dukkha, and viparināma nature, and that is called ādīnava. Arising of such dhamma can be stopped by constraining the tendency to indulge in sense pleasures (chandarāgavinayo), and thus getting rid of craving for sense pleasures (chandarāgappahānaṃ)..”.”
The word “constraining” meanings “unnaturally forcing” which seems to be more than just allowing gati/asavas gradually fade with increased comprehension of Dhamma. Although this gradual method works well, I’ve recently found a method that works quicker with “constraining” method, but with a little modification as described below.
While reading *Norman Doidge’s book “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, I applied his “MIRROR” method of curing chronic pain to eliminating cravings (asavas). What I’m realizing is it could be used to eliminate defilements of the mind b/c it allows one to experience niramisa sukha instantaneously.
MIRROR is an acronym for motivation, intention, relentlessness, reliability, opportunity and restoration. The technique is simple, but it’s in the execution that is key. With chronic pain, patients visualized the brain healing a particular section of their brain with the verbal intention of healing their brain with this opportunity of pain. With asavas/gati, I found just stating “I’m healing my mind” every time a craving occurred instantly gave a niramisa sukha experience on par with doing a good deed. Here’s a more detailed explanation:
- Motivation – most people lack motivation towards their cravings and bad habits, expecting some magic pill (i.e., breath meditation, drug) to cure it. With this technique you become active, pinpointing your asavas/gati, when they arise, how it feels, and take charge of the elimination. The beginning is the hardest and the trick is to use each arising of the craving as a motivator, an opportunity to move forward on the Path.
- Intention – the immediate intention is not to get rid of the asava/gati/attachment) — it is to focus the mind, in order to change the mind. Thinking that the immediate reward will be no craving/clinging will make it hard to get there, b/c that reward comes slowly. For example, I work in a natural grocery store that sells some delicious looking chocolate cupcakes (although natural, loaded with sugar and chocolate) that caused my mind to be agitated every time I walked past them. In just one day, by stating in my head “I’m healing my mind” got the niramisa sukha feeling and now when I think of those cupcakes, I don’t crave them or feel bad about not having one when I pass by or think about them.
- Relentlessness – the craving or associated thoughts arising into consciousness is the signal to push back (chandarāgavinayo). Here the challenge is that when the craving/gati arises one may just try to stuff it down and distract oneself, but this doesn’t change the craving, it just lets it settle back to the bottom. Like Lal writes, the benefit of niramisa sukha has to be experienced for the mind to jump on board in the mind purification process.
- Reliability – one needs to think of mind not as an enemy, but as a tool to be restored to it’s normal functioning. The mind constantly seeks a stable state, but the problem here (31 realms) is that it has stabilized on peleema (incessant distress) of grasping pleasures. The mind is trustworthy of consistently performing well, but it just needs to know what normal functioning is.
- Opportunity – means turning each craving/gati episode into a chance to repair the faulty mind thinking. While it’s hard to welcome cravings/bad habit behavior and situations, using it to feel the niramisa sukha is constructive and encouraging knowing one is taking charge to clean up the dirt in one’s mind. Similar to chronic pain, cravings/habits take over our minds via covering (hinderances) which inhibits our ability to access pure mind. Therefore, if we turn the episodes into an opportunity to practice using our minds differently to gain control of the thinking, then the thinking shifts from an act of mind defilement to an experience of “cooling down”.
- Restoration – means that the goal isn’t to mask thinking/cravings/gati, by averting, suppressing or diverting, but to restore normal pure mind function.
This worked quickly with the cupcakes, now I’m testing it on some deeper gati. Would love to hear if anyone else experiences the instantaneous niramisa sukha when testing this out.
*The method and some text has been copied/modified from “The Brain’s Way of Healing” by Norman Doidge, M.D. from Michael Moskowitz, M.D.’s exploration in chronic pain healing.
March 27, 2018 at 9:14 pm #14833
In addition, the book talks about the “virtual body” neuroscientists describe as an “independent” body existence in the brain. This is gandhabba! The brain and corresponding nervous system is just like the power wires that bring energy to your house.
On page 28 they say, “mysteriously –because we don’t yet know the mechanism –it targets only what the patient believes is the focus.” If only these neuroscientists would read a little Buddha Dhamma can you imagine the progress made in healthcare!
This book and it’s success stories are the proof that mind precedes EVERYTHING!
March 27, 2018 at 9:56 pm #14834LalKeymaster
For those who may not have read that post: What are assāda, ādīnava, and nissarana?
– In simple terms, assāda means enjoyment of a sense object, in this case taste of cupcakes.
– Ādīnava means (especially) the long-term bad outcomes of that activity, in this case obesity and health problems in a mundane sense.
– Nissarana is the result. In this case losing craving for cup cakes.
So, the steps that Donna (inflib) described are likely to be involved in the ādīnava stage (trying to get rid of the bad habit). As one slowly gets rid of the bad habit, nissarana stage starts and one starts feeling the niramisa sukha.
Of course, it can be applied to getting rid of worse types of cravings too.
If one can have the determination to persevere and get rid of the habit, that is when the niramisa sukha is optimized. One does not have that burden in the mind anymore.
By the way, scientists are only beginning to discover the power of the human mind.
March 28, 2018 at 4:58 am #14837Johnny_LimParticipant
Do hormonal changes affect consciousness, or the other way round, or both support each other? For example a person sees an attractive opposite sex and the body undergoes certain chemical reaction. Same goes for adrenalin. When a person sees a tiger coming his way, he experiences adrenalin rush. Adrenalin is a chemical substance produced in our body to prepare ourselves for fight-or-flight response when we are under threat. Be it hormonal changes or adrenalin, these bio-chemical substances do affect our consciousness to a certain degree.
March 28, 2018 at 7:48 am #14840LalKeymaster
Johnny said: “Do hormonal changes affect consciousness, or the other way round, or both support each other?”
We can look at it this way: Can the body affect the mind and/or can the mind affect the body? It is both, but the power of the mind is much more dramatic.
The body can affect the mind in the sense if one does not take care of the body, one can get obese and face health problems. That will affect the mind, even for a person who is trying to make progress in the Path. So, we must exercise and eat well to stay healthy. Furthermore, the body (especially the brain) naturally degrades as one gets old, so one must strive on the Path before getting old.
When one makes progress on the Path, one starts realizing the above and will act appropriately. Learning Dhamma and contemplating on deeper concepts will help brain function too. Furthermore, when one attains magga phala, one’s brain will definitely undergo drastic changes. It would be interesting if there is an study on one’s brain (and body) as one go through higher stages of magga phala.
For example, an Arahant’s bones (at least some) will crystalised and become “dhatu”, that will last until the end of this Buddha Sasana. I discussed this briefly and have pictures of dhatu in the post: “Parinibbāna of Waharaka Thēro“. Furthermore, an Arahant is not afraid to die (fear of death is there because one has so many things in the world that one values). So, there will be dramatic changes in the hormonal system.
More information at, “Truine Brain: How the Mind Rewires the Brain via Meditation/Habits“.
March 28, 2018 at 8:20 pm #14842
I’m not sure where I’m on the Path, but I can attest to hormonal changes…actually lack thereof. At the age of 51, I should be experience perimenopause or menopause like the women in my family, but am not. The whole cycle is just coming to an abrupt stop. Instead of hot flashes, vertigo, night sweats, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, etc, I sleep like a baby and can’t even remember the last time I even felt angry. This body is maintaining a healthy physique and haven’t even been sick for over 5 years (no colds, no flu, etc). All of which are far from normal with women at my age and family.
Lately, I noticed that foods I use to really like, just don’t appeal anymore. It’s strange, even today I bought some little blueberry muffins and didn’t even enjoy them. Thank goodness they were on sale, I won’t ever bother with those again. But also, just walking through the store, nothing jumps out as something I want to eat. This is all happening very fast. It’s strange in a calm sort of way.
March 29, 2018 at 12:05 am #14843
Come to think of it, I passed those chocolate cupcakes all day long today and not once did I get agitated about wanting them. Although, I did buy the vegan blueberry muffins, but didn’t even enjoy them. This method of thinking positively about healing the mind is similar to the “Love and Logic” method for parents to raise children. It focuses on positive reinforcement.
I’m looking into this “MIRROR” method to heal tinnitus (ringing/tones in the ears). It’s got all the characteristics of a chronic neuroplastic dysfunction like that of chronic pain, except it’s the hearing sense not the body. If you can shrink the mind/brain channels for pain, why not for hearing?
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