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Insight and Wisdom

why meditate as an arhat?

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why meditate as an arhat?
Answer
10/28/10 3:04 PM
I read somewhere that Dan Ingram still meditates.. I kind of always assumed one would keep meditating, but what is the point once you're an Arhat? I can see doing concentration to reach jhanas and relax, etc., just for interesting experiences, but why keep doing Insight meditation? More and more fruitions? Do they become boring at some point?

this answer won't affect me one way or another for a while at least. i'm just curious, the kind of curious where even if I know it won't matter, I still want to know.

RE: why meditate as an arhat?
Answer
10/29/10 10:00 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I can think of all sorts of reasons why one might meditate, but here are a few:

1) Meditation does good things to the mind. As causality still reigns, and circumstances can either be peaceful and pleasant or some other way, and peace and pleasure are still of value, and meditation writes good patterns on the mind, there is much to be said for meditation in general.

2) Jhanas are still fun and interesting, as are some of the other more interesting temporary attainments.

3) There is wisdom to be found in meditation, its depths are vast, the transformations it can work are many, and relative insights and other forms of healing can occur in the modes of attention that meditation can create than in many other modes of attention.

4) There are goals worth pursuing unrelated to arahatship that still have value that meditation techniques of various sorts can support.

5) Waxing traditional, the Buddha praised arahats who had attained to wisdom, but even more praised arahats who also had jhana, and even more arahats who had powers, and even more arahats who had other good qualities.

6) There are worse things people can and do do with their time.

D

RE: why meditate as an arhat?
Answer
10/30/10 1:26 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I can think of all sorts of reasons why one might meditate, but here are a few:

1) Meditation does good things to the mind. As causality still reigns, and circumstances can either be peaceful and pleasant or some other way, and peace and pleasure are still of value, and meditation writes good patterns on the mind, there is much to be said for meditation in general.

3) There is wisdom to be found in meditation, its depths are vast, the transformations it can work are many, and relative insights and other forms of healing can occur in the modes of attention that meditation can create than in many other modes of attention.

4) There are goals worth pursuing unrelated to arahatship that still have value that meditation techniques of various sorts can support.

Well said, Daniel. I concur with everything you mentioned, but especially these three.

Paying homage to your reason #1, since anicca is ever with us, meditation and the mental states and conditions it helps to support are necessary for the maintenance of mindfulness, which is always necessary, no matter whether one considers oneself to have attained arahanthood or whatever.

It also becomes a wholesome habit of sorts. It was said in the tradition of old (i.e. during the Buddha's time) that arahants prefer to spend time in calm abiding as it was one of the best uses of their time. Personally, I think a lot of that sort of thinking has to do with your 3rd reason, too.

The insight (not only in areas within the Dhamma but also in those outside of it) which is available to deep contemplation practitioners is endless, if one wishes to consider the possibilities. Just those areas which relate to a person's personal life stream can be more thoroughly examined for additional wisdom and insight. As long as one is alive, the necessity for learning never stops, which continued practice in contemplation helps to support, and with that the need to be able to respond to situations with intelligence, compassion, wisdom or whatever never abates until the final breath.

If one is forced to spend time in the existential realms, there's simply no other wholesome way to be in the process of learning and practicing unbinding.

RE: why meditate as an arhat?
Answer
10/30/10 6:19 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
There are a number of reasons to keep up the practice on and off the cushion after 4th path.

Most important reason is that there is still insight to be discovered.

Some examples are:
- Investigating suffering
- Exploration of Jhanas the traditional 8 plus the the Pure Land Jhanas
- Nirodha Samapatti and investigating the interaction of resolutions and NS
- Concentration, in the Vissidhumagga there are instructions for investigating a range of different kasinas and the use of different colors
- Investigating the Psychic "powers" how concentration and resolution interact. There is a whole range of powers identified in the Vissidhumagga and the use of kasina in exploring these. Concentration + resolution creates the conditions for Psychic experience to occur. By redirecting the unconscious energy which would have been spent on "selfing" and investing it into an intent whether spoken, written, symbolic or ritualistic you create the conditions for the desired outcome.

- very important is the off the cushion practice to investigate experience out in the Market place.
- The ongoing investigation into Compassion and interacting with other people

Check out some of the other enlightenment maps such as the 5 ranks of Tozan or the 10 Ox-herding pictures.

Have a great weekend
Jeff