Right Thinking or Samma Sankappa

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    • #15578

      The second factor of the eightfold path, as i understand it, refers to right thinking or to right motivation or intention. It refers to the moment in the mind that there arises a certain idea, plan, intention, or thought or goalorientedness. For example to hurt somebody or to help somebody.

      In this context there is right thinking or motivation and wrong thinking or intention. Wrong are: 1. sensual thinking, thoughts connected with sensual desire, the plan or idea/thought to enjoy something; 2. ill will; 3. thinking of harming, being motivated by cruelty, with lack of compassion.

      Right thinking or motivation is the opposite. 1. thinking of renunciation, not to enjoy all those nice sense-experiences, let go; 2. non ill-will or good will, 3. thinking of non-cruelty or non-harming.

      As i understand from MN117§10-15 these are called mundane right and wrong thinking or motivation.

      There is also a right thinking or motivation which is nobel. It is described as: ..”The thinking, thought, intention, mental absorption, mental fixity, directing of mind, verbal formation in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is
      taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path (MN117, §14, Bodhi.

      I do not understand, from this description, what this kind of noble right thinking refers to. Can it be decribed?


    • #15585

      It is essential to sort out the two types of “right thinking” or Samma Sankappa. In fact, each of all 8 steps on the Path have two types. These have been discussed, but I will summarize again.

      The problem with most translations is that they do not pinpoint the key issues, but rather translate Pali word by word. Pali is a phonetic language. One has to get the meaning of the overall sentence. So, let us discuss the essence.

      Eightfold path (either one) works step-by-step. Both sets of eightfold paths start with “right vision”. One’s thinking is ALWAYS based on one’s knowledge or more correctly panna (wisdom).

      This is not book knowledge, but knowledge about the wider world of 31 realms.
      It comes in two stages:

      1. First getting rid of the 10 types of micca ditthi involving the laws of kamma, knowing the difference between right and wrong (dasa akusala), etc.
        • When one understands the bad consequences of those 10 types of micca ditthi, one has the ability to CONSCIOUS THINKING (vaci sankhara) WITH THAT MINDSET. Then one’s mind becomes less burdened and one starts feeling the first stages of niramisa sukha.
      2. At that point, one’s mind is capable of grasping the Tilakkhana (anicca,dukkha, anatta), the Three Characteristics of Nature.
      • First one realizes that it is unfruitful AND dangerous to engage in actions, speech, and thoughts (vaci sankhara), that could lead to births in the apayas.

      So, I hope you can see the difference between the “right thinking” at the mundane path and the Transcendental (Lokottara) Noble Path.

      Of course, the details can be found in many posts throughout the website. I have been emphasizing the importance of understanding vaci sankhara; see, “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra“.

      It is important to realize that Samma Sankappa are Vaci Sankhara of the “correct” or “moral” type. They get to deeper stage with the comprehension of Tilakkhana.

      In effect, the two types of “right thinking” are the following:
      – The vaci sankhara involved in the mundane path (understanding the laws of kamma, realizing that rebirth must be valid, etc), which makes it possible for one to get to the second stage.
      – The second stage starts with vaci sankhara BASED ON understanding the unfruitfulness and dangers of EXCESS attachment to sense pleasures that could lead to rebirths in the apayas (which leads to the Sotapanna stage).
      – After that there are more steps leading to higher stages of Nibbana based on deeper understanding of the Tilakkhana.

      Of course, those two steps are then followed by right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness (sati), and right “state of mind” (samadhi). Again, each of those are of two types, as discussed in other posts.

    • #15591


      In terms of formal sessions ” training ” your answer to Sybe07’s implies two types of practice::
      – Vipassana and Satipattana bhavana as per Pure Dhamma, both related to Sybe07’s “directing of mind” mostly …is this right?


    • #15595

      @Embodied: Satipatthana (and Anapana) can be done by anyone at any stage. One just needs to be mindful and stay away from dasa akusala, and also cultivate kusala/punna kamma.

      Vipassana can be done by anyone too, but it will become more effective as one starts comprehending Tilakkhana. In a way, this is also true of Satipatthana (and Anapana), since one will become better at it with an understanding of the “true nature” of this world.

    • #15597

      Oke, in my own words, understanding the laws of kamma, realizing that rebirth must be valid, that there are beings who are reborn spontaniously etc, this is in the sutta’s treated as right view. Like you say, the kind of motivation or thinking that arises on a certain moment in the mind, is based on such views. The second factor (sankappa) arises conditioned by the first (ditthi).

      In the sutta’s right thinking or right motivation is consistently treated as the thought of renunciation, non-ill will and non-cruelty. I agree, those thoughts, or this kind of motivation, are based on right mundane view, such as the above.

      For example, when one does not give in with arising sense desires one probably understands the danger of giving in. Or, when one is aware of the arising of the impulses to hurt somebody and does not give in, one probably understands it is immoral, dangerous and maybe one understand also it is just a habitual tendency, not -self, not who i am.

      So, Lal, nobel right thinking is a kind of motivation inbedded in understanding tilakkhana.


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