Directed thought and evaluation in relation to insight? (ajaan lee)

bill rise, modified 5 Months ago.

Directed thought and evaluation in relation to insight? (ajaan lee)

Post: 1 Join Date: 4/21/21 Recent Posts

I was reading ajaan lee's commentary ( on the value of directed thought and evaluation in relation to right concentration and it being conducive to insight arising. I have a question regarding a statement he makes that appears to to be in direct contradiction with this.

He starts off with separating worldly knowledge from dhamma knowledge. In regards to dhamma knowledge he speaks about different levels and the level after cintamaya-panna is called directed thought and evaluation and has to be given another name: bhavanamaya-panna, the discernment that comes with meditation. He then goes on to say: 'When the mind gives rise to directed thought and evaluation, you have both concentration and discernment. Directed thought and singleness of preoccupation (ekaggatarammana) fall under the heading of concentration;evaluation, under the heading of discernment. When you have both concentration and discernment, the mind is still and knowledge can arise'. He repeats this a number of times saying that these are the qualities that give rise to discernment and can help insight to arise.

However a bit further along he makes the following statement: 'The knowledge here isn't ordinary knowledge. It washes away your old knowledge. You don't want the knowledge that comes from ordinary thinking and reasoning: Let go of it. You don't want the knowledge that comes from directed thought and evaluation:Stop. Make the mind quiet. Still. When the mind is still and unhindered, this is the essence of that's meritorious and skillful. When your mind is on this level, it isn't attached to any concepts at all. All the concepts you've known, dealing with the world of the dhamma, however many or few are washed away. Only when they're washed away can new knowledge arise'.

I have highlighted the sentence in particular that prompted my question. He is quite literally, or so it appears, making opposite statements here and seeing how the entire talk is dedicated to making the case for directed thought and evalutation in the context of dhamma knowledge it begs the question how one is to reconcile or interpret these 2 seemingly contradictory statements?

Perhaps he means that directed thought and evaluation is not dhamma knowledge in and of itself but that would be a somewhat odd way to phrase it.

Would appreciate some clarification! 

I've read those parts over and over and I have no idea as well. "You don't want the knowledge that comes from directed thought and evaluation."I feel like it should say ordinary thinking or something, but it doesn't.

If it's any help, apparently you can call Thanissaro to make sense of this:

EDIT: After futher review, while reading  Thanissaro's "With Each and Every Breath", I found this idea:
“As your practice of concentration and discernment develops, you become more sensitive to the stresses and sufferings caused by fabrication even in activities that you used to regard as pleasant. This makes you become more ardent in looking for a way out. And when discernment sees that the way you fabricate stress and suffering in the present moment is unnecessary, you lose your taste for those fabrications and can let them stop. That’s how the mind becomes free.
In the beginning, you gain this freedom step by step, starting from the most blatant levels of fabrication. As the meditation develops, discernment frees you from progressively subtler levels until it can drop the subtlest levels that stand in the way of the unfabricated dimension: the unconditioned dimension that constitutes the ultimate happiness.”

Excerpt From: Thanissaro Bhikkhu. “With Each & Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation.”

He defines earlier that directed and evaluated thought combine to create verbal fabrications. Verbal fabrication is indeed useful, but only up to a point. This idea reminds me of the four jhanas and how vittaka and vicara fall away leading to the 3rd and 4th jhana

​​​​​​​So perhaps Ajahn Lee is suggesting that directed thought and evaluation are stepping stones to Insight/Nibanna which is free from fabrication. Nibanna/ becoming a stream-enterer is also considered supramundane knowledge rather than the mundane knowledge before one reaches Nibanna/or 1st path. Hope this helps.