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Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?

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Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 4:07 AM
Mindfulness
Examination
Energy
Rapture
Relaxation
Concentration
Equanimity

How, if at all, have you come to see the enlightenment factors as defilements, dropping a veil over the mind and clouding judgment. I hesitate to include mindfulness as harbouring the potential for a defilement but I'm open to anyone that can approach it with such honesty.

When I use the word 'defilement' it means anything that allows the perpetual states of woefulness to endlessly cycle, thus remaining stuck in the mundane human mind with its repetitious limited views.

Thoughts?? 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 4:23 AM as a reply to Bardo.
I'm thinking that mindfulness is a relative thing. It is always with regard to something, and that often (always?) means that other stuff falls into the background. I think it can easily happen that one subconsciously avoids being mindful of something, while being mindful or something else aids in covering it up. I'm pretty sure that happens to me. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 9:04 AM as a reply to Bardo.
The key is to keep them balanced.

Energy <--> Relaxation
Examination <--> concentration 
Raputure <--> equanimity 

If any of them get out of balance, they become a hinderance or they allow a classical hinderance. Too much energy/effort is the common pitfall around here.

If mindfulness is strong enough, they just auto-balance.

I try to redirect mindfulness to these if I find my mind mappy on cushion. It is much more practical. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 1:06 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason Massie:
The key is to keep them balanced.

Energy <--> Relaxation
Examination <--> concentration 
Raputure <--> equanimity 

If any of them get out of balance, they become a hinderance or they allow a classical hinderance. Too much energy/effort is the common pitfall around here.

If mindfulness is strong enough, they just auto-balance.

I try to redirect mindfulness to these if I find my mind mappy on cushion. It is much more practical. 

Right. I see. These makes sense of something that has been confusing me. Mindfulness is the cornerstone - it has always been my fallback but I've recently been entering some confusion about it (those damn kleshas again).

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 1:20 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I'm thinking that mindfulness is a relative thing. It is always with regard to something, and that often (always?) means that other stuff falls into the background. I think it can easily happen that one subconsciously avoids being mindful of something, while being mindful or something else aids in covering it up. I'm pretty sure that happens to me. 

Yes, this is my experience. Mindfulness on bodily phenomena can only seem to happen one event at a time so there can be numerous events but only one moment of mindfulness on any one event. This can give me the impression that there are some things I'm not 'dealing with', but I've come to see this as a destructive unconscious message that needs the same degree of non-judgmental mindfulness - just another event that aids the stream of consciousness.

Seems to be a never-ending roundabout! Fractal details in every place! One thing I have been noticing, my intuition is becoming very stern with me. If my mind wanders, it says, "stay here! Stay right here!", meaning stay in the body, in the moment, guarding the senses. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 1:45 PM as a reply to Bardo.
One mistake I used to make a lot (and still do apparently lol) is to see the various factors as being "things I need to have". As an example the factors of the A&P are often described with the label "The Ten Corruptions of Insight", and yet I still often chase after them in that territory lol. As mentioned above when they're in balance it's fine, but when unbalanced it's destabilizing. Basically the factors themselves aren't an issue, but striving/grasping or pride which often develops regarding them is.

From The Progress of Insight:
There arises further a subtle attachment of a calm nature that
enjoys the insight graced with the "brilliant light" and the other
qualities here described. The meditator, however, is not able to discern
it as a corruption but believes it to be just the very bliss of
meditation. So meditators speak in praise of it thus: "Only now do I
find full delight in meditation!"
Having felt such rapture and happiness accompanied by the "brilliant
light" and enjoying the very act of perfect noticing, which is ably
functioning with ease and rapidity, the meditator now believes: "Surely I
must have attained to the supramundane path and fruition!
Now I have finished the task of meditation." This is mistaking what is
not the path for the path, and it is a corruption of insight which
usually takes place in the manner just described. But even if the
meditator does not take the "brilliant light" and the other corruptions
as an indication of the path and fruition, still he feels delight in
them. This is likewise a corruption of insight. Therefore, the knowledge
consisting in noticing, even if quick in its functioning, is called
"the early stage of (or 'weak') knowledge of arising and passing away,"
if it is beset and corrupted by those corruptions.

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 2:17 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
One mistake I used to make a lot (and still do apparently lol) is to see the various factors as being "things I need to have".

Yes, I go through those phases sometimes. "Where are they?", I ask myself. "They must be here somewhere!". It's usually an unconscious process though. They usually show up when everything is balanced as you say and this comes directly from maintenance of mindfulness. Recently I'm being attacked by confusion around things. Fortunately, I'm not confused when needing to do practical everyday things - although, there was that time I stood at the toilet holding my manhood thinking "right, what's next!" but I figured it out after assessing the situation and so proceeded to empty my bladder.

I've been enjoying your practice logs by the way. ;-)

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/15/19 2:37 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:

I've been enjoying your practice logs by the way. ;-)

Thanks, sometimes it feels like the logs are (hopefully) constructive and useful, and sometimes they're more like the demotivational poster that says "Mistakes - It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others". emoticon

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 9:38 AM as a reply to Bardo.
I'm not sure I understand the OP, but I'll give it a go.

I understand the 7 factors as a teaching, and I understand teachings as things that aren't strictly true/false but have utility in predictable contexts.  My guess is that something about your practice has changed such that emphasizing the factors was serving you previously and now isn't.  

I think the basic are always just sitting and 6 doors 3Cs, repeat as necessary.

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 2:11 PM as a reply to Ben Sulsky.
Ben Sulsky:
I'm not sure I understand the OP, but I'll give it a go.

I think the basic are always just sitting and 6 doors 3Cs, repeat as necessary.

As an example, I recently experienced joy. It was so powerful that joyful tears were streaming down my face. I was in London at the time commuting through the subways and on buses. I was so intoxicated by the joy that I lost my mindfulness. I became attached and the joy became suffering for me but, having never experienced such joy before, I learned to manage its presence through mindfulness. There were many interesting looks from people during that phase of things but all I could do was smile at them and wipe away my joyous tears.

I concur with your thoughts about returning to just sitting, six senses and 3C's.

EDIT: Once stabilized I had looked at the bramha viharas as a way to channel that joy, in particular: mudita - sympathetic joy. This is still ongoing but interesting nevertheless. Incidentally, I've probably subdued my own original query with this reflection and strengthened the mindfulness aspect as being pivotal in giving the remaining enlightenment factors an equilibrium. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 2:09 PM as a reply to Bardo.
A couple of months ago I was thrown out of the best equanimity ever because I was too excited and happy about a letter. Sounds weird, but it was like a shock to the entire uhm... system...? if there is one... The contractions were so very apparent in comparison to the equanimity preceeding them. I almost felt like I had been poisoned. And yet I was really happy. But the happiness was temporary and followed by cravings and suffering. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 2:12 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:

Recently I'm being attacked by confusion around things. Fortunately, I'm not confused when needing to do practical everyday things - although, there was that time I stood at the toilet holding my manhood thinking "right, what's next!" but I figured it out after assessing the situation and so proceeded to empty my bladder.



That sounds like a normal Tuesday with ADHD. emoticon

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 2:18 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I'm thinking that mindfulness is a relative thing. It is always with regard to something, and that often (always?) means that other stuff falls into the background. I think it can easily happen that one subconsciously avoids being mindful of something, while being mindful or something else aids in covering it up. I'm pretty sure that happens to me. 

Yes, this is my experience. Mindfulness on bodily phenomena can only seem to happen one event at a time so there can be numerous events but only one moment of mindfulness on any one event. This can give me the impression that there are some things I'm not 'dealing with', but I've come to see this as a destructive unconscious message that needs the same degree of non-judgmental mindfulness - just another event that aids the stream of consciousness.

Seems to be a never-ending roundabout! Fractal details in every place! One thing I have been noticing, my intuition is becoming very stern with me. If my mind wanders, it says, "stay here! Stay right here!", meaning stay in the body, in the moment, guarding the senses. 

I think there are times when these messages are the avoidance, and other times when thinking that they are just destructive is the avoidance. I guess skillful means include some intuition for which is which. I don't think we can control the process anyway. Sometimes we just need to go through the detours and the roundabouts before the opening manifests. Thus, non-judgmental mindfulness and compassion are probably our best options regardless. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 2:19 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
A couple of months ago I was thrown out of the best equanimity ever because I was too excited and happy about a letter. Sounds weird, but it was like a shock to the entire uhm... system...? if there is one... The contractions were so very apparent in comparison to the equanimity preceeding them. I almost felt like I had been poisoned. And yet I was really happy. But the happiness was temporary and followed by cravings and suffering. 

Yes, exactly. And I think this is how some of those factors can become defilements when mindfulness is lost. I hit a hard place and it was uncomfortable - like being poisoned as you say - but it was what I needed to learn some lesson about the piercing nature of mindfulness. It can cut through a lot of this stuff. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 2:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester”:

I don't think we can control the process anyway.

You've hit mark with this!. I'm having glimpses of this. It's like watching city life pass by in the same way as the flow of blood in the veins. Everything just happens and it knows how to happen. No interfering is needed.  

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 5:33 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
Linda ”Polly Ester”:

I don't think we can control the process anyway.

You've hit mark with this!. I'm having glimpses of this. It's like watching city life pass by in the same way as the flow of blood in the veins. Everything just happens and it knows how to happen. No interfering is needed.  

I think if you read my latest post in my practice log, you will relate to it a lot. 

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/16/19 6:26 PM as a reply to Bardo.
So, just to chip in. 

I enjoyed Lars on the corruptions of insight, as weirdly enough I reread the quoted text just this morning.  Mahasi Sayadaw identifies a brilliant light, strong mindfulness, powerful noticing, faith, rapture, tranquillity, happiness, energy, equanimity and attachment as ten potential corruptions of insight at the A&P. Not exactly the same list as the seven factors of liberation, but close enough. The reason they are corruptions of insight is that they can be mistaken for Path, when they are not Path. So actually all of these things are good and in fact necessary, until you think they are Path. Then they are corruptions. This seems more likely to apply before stream entry, as afterwards you know what a Path moment really feels like. Daniel has discussed this problem once or twice ... emoticon

However, Bardo Cruiser's question was subtly different, being about defilements that prevent a liberated state. This still crops up after stream entry, in relation to the fetters. That is, attachment to positive mental states prevents complete liberation, and can be detected in lust for material forms (e.g. rupa jhana), lust for immaterial forms (e.g. arupa jhana), and pride/ego. Getting rid of these defilements seems to be a very difficult lesson to learn. If you do get that suprising insight moment, then dive into it, wallow around, see how far you can push it. Squeeze the honey out of it.

In fact, why not look inside and ask yourself this question (but don't reply here).  What could possibly be wrong with bliss and rapture?

Malcolm

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/17/19 12:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I think if you read my latest post in my practice log, you will relate to it a lot. 

Hi. Yes, I did venture over there. In fact, I'm a frequent reader of your logs as I find them sparky, dynamic and spirited. (Sufi whirling! Marvellous! - mindfulness during projectile vomiting! Dedicated! emoticon

RE: Enlightenment Factors as Defilements?
Answer
12/17/19 5:28 PM as a reply to Bardo.
That was a very nice compliment, together with a description of someone fairly excentric, haha. I can live with that. emoticon