Painful and pleasant practice

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    • #15782
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Some times we talk about results, for example, niramisa sukha, and when this can be expacted. I wanted to share this information with you:

      There are also sutta’s which discuss different kind of practices.

      A sutta is AN4.162. It describes 4 kinds of practices (in short):
      -painful with slow direct knowledge and ending of asava
      -painful with quick direct knowledge and ending of asava
      -pleasant with slow direct knowledge and ending of asava
      -pleasant with quick direct knowledge and ending of asava.

      The difference between a painful and pleasant practice relates to the strenght of lobha, dosa and moha. When these are strong, painful practice can be expacted. When these are weak pleasant practice can be expacted.

      The difference between slow and quick progress (ending asavas quickly) relates to the development of the five faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. When these develop slow and are relatively weak, progress will be slow. But when they develop in a prominent way, when they become strong quickly, progress can be quick too, even when practice is painful.

      In AN4.167 is described that Mogallana, one of most respected students of the Buddha, was one of the type with painful practice but quick progress, quick ending of asava.

      In AN4.168 is described that Sariputta, maybe to most respected of all, had a pleasant practice with quick results, quickly ending of the asava’s.

      AN4.166 says this is the superior way because it is not painful but pleasant and is not slow but quick.

      For myself i have concluded that my practice is of the first kind. It is painful and although there seems to be some progress , it is slow. I can only admit that the level of greed and agression and delusion is high, has always been high, i think, certainly from the time of adolescence when also sexual lust became very strong. In many ways i can see my mindset has been and can be like an animal, or even sometimes a hell being or hungry ghost. Ofcourse this is worrying, but at the same time, i can do nothing more than my best.

      Kind regards,
      siebe
      (ps, the numbering refers to Bodhi’s translation of Anguttara Nikāya)

    • #15790
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Maybe the Body Farm can help you cut back on sexual lust. Imagine the most beautiful humans you are attracted to are left out there to rot just like any corpses in the farm. Will they be any different?

      Viewer discretion strongly encouraged.

    • #15792
      Embodied
      Spectator

      Hi Siebe,

      Pure Dhamma or not – meaning any other valuable spiritual path – linear progress happens rarely. I believe in cyclic progress.

      Moreover we live in a time that doesn’t facilitate such progress – on the contrary. I.e. Too much time out there (meaning the opposite of seclusion) intensifies asava – unless one has already evolve to a point that seclusion or not it’s the same…

      Rgds

    • #15793
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I have translated the full “Vitthāra Sutta (AN 4.162)” that Siebe mentioned above.

      You can select the English translation at the Sutta Central site using the top left menu bar. Then you will be able to compare with my translation below:

      Bhikkhus, there are these four modes of practice. Which four? Difficult practice with slow progress, difficult practice with fast progress, easy and pleasant practice with slow progress, & easy and pleasant practice with fast progress.

      And which is difficult practice with slow progress? This is the case where a certain individual is by birth of an intensely sensual nature. He easily experiences distress born of passion. OR, he is by birth of an intensely aggressive nature (quick to get angry). He easily experiences distress born of this aggressive nature. OR he is normally of an intensely ignorant nature (slow witted). He easily experiences distress born of delusion (ignorance). The five faculties of his—the faculty of saddha (faith in Dhamma), the faculty of viriya (effort), the faculty of sati (mindfulness), the faculty of samadhi (to get to tranquility), the faculty of panna (wisdom)—are weak. Because of their weakness, he makes only slow progress on the Path, and takes a longer time to get to Nibbana. This is called difficult practice with slow progress.

      And which is difficult practice with fast progress? This is the case where a certain individual is by birth of an intensely sensual nature. He easily experiences distress born of passion. OR, he is by birth of an intensely aggressive nature (quick to get angry). He easily experiences distress born of this aggressive nature. OR he is normally of an intensely ignorant nature (slow witted). He easily experiences distress born of delusion (ignorance). The five faculties of his—the faculty of saddha (faith in Dhamma), the faculty of viriya (effort), the faculty of sati (mindfulness), the faculty of samadhi (to get to tranquility), the faculty of panna (wisdom)—are strong. Because of their strength, he makes fast progress on the Path, and takes a shorter time to get to Nibbana. This is called difficult practice with fast progress.

      And which is comfortable practice with slow progress? This is the case where a certain individual is by birth of not intensely sensual nature. He does not easily experience distress born of passion. OR, he is by birth of not intensely aggressive nature (quick to get angry). He does not easily experience distress born of this aggressive nature. OR he is normally not of an intensely ignorant nature. He does not easily experience distress born of delusion (ignorance). The five faculties of his—the faculty of saddha (faith in Dhamma), the faculty of viriya (effort), the faculty of sati (mindfulness), the faculty of samadhi (to get to tranquility), the faculty of panna (wisdom)—are weak. Because of their weakness, he makes only slow progress on the Path, and takes a longer time to get to Nibbana. This is called comfortable practice with slow progress.

      “And which is comfortable practice with fast progress? This is the case where a certain individual is by birth of not intensely sensual nature. He does not easily experience distress born of passion. OR, he is by birth of not intensely aggressive nature (quick to get angry). He does not easily experience distress born of this aggressive nature. OR he is normally not of an intensely ignorant nature. He does not easily experience distress born of delusion (ignorance). The five faculties of his—the faculty of saddha (faith in Dhamma), the faculty of viriya (effort), the faculty of sati (mindfulness), the faculty of samadhi (to get to tranquility), the faculty of panna (wisdom)—are strong. Because of their strength, he makes fast progress on the Path, and takes a shorter time to get to Nibbana. This is called comfortable practice with fast progress.

      “These are the four modes of practice.”

      My notes:
      – One is born with a fixed set of five faculties. This basically depends on one’s progress made in previous births, and also the strength of the kusala kamma that led to this human bhava.

      • But one’s response to sense inputs or whether one has an aggressive nature, or whether one is “slow witted” seems to be independent of one’s five faculties.

      Therefore, even for someone with “good” five faculties, may have “sensual, aggressive, and slow witted nature” (case 2 above). And someone with “bad” five faculties, may not have “sensual, aggressive, and slow witted nature” (case 3 above).

      • #15795
        Embodied
        Spectator

        “But one’s response to sense inputs or whether one has an aggressive nature, or whether one is “slow witted” seems to be independent of one’s five faculties.”

        And how it comes that the (re)birth condition doesn’t act upon the 5 faculties ?

        AS far as i understood but perhaps i understood wrongly.

    • #15794
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Thanks for the translation lal. It looks quit similar to Bodhi’s, at least the message.

      When you say that one is born with fixed set of five faculties what do you exactly mean? I have understood that we can develop and cultivate these five faculties and they can become strenghts. In that sense they do not seem to be fixed?

      SN48.12 says, the arahant has completed and fulfilled those five faculties and the other nobel stages in a lesser degree. Most weak are they in a faith follower. They are developed and cultivated SN48.20.

      siebe

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