Question about A&P

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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

Question about A&P

Posts: 972 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I have a question about A&P ... If someone experiences feelings of intense compassion and forgiveness during insight meditation, are they told to ignore it because it is just A&P?

Thanks in advance
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Question about A&P

Posts: 1555 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
You are never to ignore anything in meditation. That would be the opposite of awareness/mindfulness. It would be aversion/ignorance
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Question about A&P

Posts: 972 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I should have looked this up first.

I am having a hard time understanding this quote below from MCTB2. It seems to be topsy turvy compared to the way I handle things.

I cultivate some of these factors (hold on to them?) by investigating them - but the quote says don't hold on to them investigate them instead.

And a quote to illustrate what investigating involves says they "are only to be noted off, remembering the teacher’s advice as to what is path and not path" - which to me sounds a bit like "ignore them" not investigate them. To me investigating means to observe how they arise, observe how they pass away, observe what facilitates them, observe what inhibits them, learn how to produce them, learn how to stop them, learn how to maintain them.

By investigating them I learn to produce them. By producing them I suffer less because they are pleasant and because they give me the emotional resiliance to allow myself to fully experience unpleasant emotions that leads to letting go of unpleasant emotions. This is why I started meditating - to cope with stress (dukkha = stress). 

Forgiveness and compassion are not on the list. Am I correct in assuming the same adivce is given if those feelings arise as is given for equanimity, happiness, and tranquility?

I am not 100% sure what is meant by "path and not path", but from my point of view it seems to be backwards.

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/4-the-arising-and-passing-away/
The trap is that these are all positive qualities, and in this stage, they may show up with surprising intensity, much to most meditators’ delight. It is understandable that people would not investigate those positive qualities too clearly and instead back off the investigation to bask in them, regardless of how conscious this backing off is. However, lack of investigation can convert positive meditation factors into more golden chains.

The ten corruptions of insight are:

• illumination

• knowledge

• rapturous happiness

• tranquility

• bliss

• resolute confidence

• exertion

• assurance

• equanimity

• attachment

To quote the great meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita’s excellent book, On the Path to Freedom, “As for the practicing yogi, he will at once recognize the above as imperfections of insight not representing dhamma breakthrough and are only to be noted off, remembering the teacher’s advice as to what is path and not path. Being disabled by the ten imperfections, he would not be capable of observing the triple characteristics in their true nature; but once freed from imperfections, he is able to do so.” [For a great, thorough treatment of the ten corruptions of insight, as well as lots more about vipassana, see www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#two (accessed October, 2017).]

In short, we might feel we are a very mighty meditator and that we should try to hold on to these qualities of experience forever; that is, we stop doing insight practices and instead solidify these pleasant qualities as concentration practice objects. Thus, the advice given about deconstructing and investigating the positive factors of the shamatha jhanas, particularly the second one, is also very helpful when trying to stay on the narrow path of the progress of insight, though in truth, and as noted before, basically everyone alternates to some degree from insight territory to concentration territory and back even if they are trying to stay to one side or the other; this is normal.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Question about A&P

Posts: 3929 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
It's a common misconception that pleasant emotions are "good" and troublesome emotions are "bad." In our subjective reality, which is what we work with in the practice we do, all experiences cause either attachment or aversion and all are dukkha.

Make sense?
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Question about A&P

Posts: 972 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
It's a common misconception that pleasant emotions are "good" and troublesome emotions are "bad." In our subjective reality, which is what we work with in the practice we do, all experiences cause either attachment or aversion and all are dukkha.

Make sense?

Yes I agree. But it is troublesome to explain it in every post so when I write "unpleasant emotions" which is usually how I describe dukkha, I mean craving as well as aversion. However, some "pleasant" qualities are not to be feared. In the words of the Buddha...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html
"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.' I thought: 'So why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities?' I thought: 'I am no longer afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities, but that pleasure is not easy to achieve with a body so extremely emaciated. Suppose I were to take some solid food: some rice & porridge.' So I took some solid food: some rice & porridge.
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John W, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Question about A&P

Posts: 408 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
I have a question about A&P ... If someone experiences feelings of intense compassion and forgiveness during insight meditation, are they told to ignore it because it is just A&P?

Thanks in advance
I don't generally associate compassion and forgiveness with A&P, though I suppose you could make the argument that they are, in the sense that "arising and passing" is referring to the impermanence of all things.  But A&P is normally used here in reference to the stages of insight.  Compassion and forgiveness are more of a Metta or morality concept which should be cultivated as much as possible (through both concentration and investigation).

I think the lesson is not to get overly distracted by pleasurable sensations, whether that's Kundalini sensations, happy feelings, or sad feelings, or whatever... many examples throughout MCTB and elsewhere of people getting sidetracked... I think Daniel is just trying to provide some context so people don't mistakenly think of themselves as enlightened when they're not.

Compassion may have some qualities that are similar to "intense feelings" like bliss or sadness.  But it's subtly different.  I would argue that these feelings arise "out of" compassion.  Compassion is an intention and it is an understanding. It is neither concentration nor wisdom, but it requires both. This is why it's considered a separate training. 

https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html#whatcompassionis

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