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Does drowsiness as a defilement only refer to a psychological state of mind? I know that emotions manifest also as physical phenomena, but how do I distinguish between physical exhaustion and psychological defilement?

If I am done with my job or school I'm feeling sometimes exhausted. How do I know if I have this defilement in me? Now of course if I ate a lot then it's clearly a defilement.

Just for convenience I was thinking that the next time I'm feeling physically exhausted I am going to meditate even if just for 5-10 minutes to give myself the chance to have a sense of achievement and well.. maybe the sleepiness disappeared by then.

Any thoughts or sutta references? (I am aware that the Buddha advised to combat drowsiness and if everything fails one can take a nap)

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Sloth & torpor is one of five hindances to concentration therefore it appears to imply being a psychological hindrance, particularly when some (partial) samadhi & tranquility has been developed.

For example, SN 46.55 refers to sloth & torpor as mental sluggishness & heaviness:

Again, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart (mind) possessed and overwhelmed by sloth-and-torpor... then he cannot know or see... Imagine a bowl of water covered over with slimy moss and water-plants. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was...

AN 7.58 refers to some methods to overcome sloth & torpor and, given lying down is the final method, it would appear most methods pertain to mental sloth.

  • I have sent you a question via mail. – Val Apr 3 '18 at 13:46
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Does drowsiness as a defilement only refer to a psychological state of mind? I know that emotions manifest also as physical phenomena, but how do I distinguish between physical exhaustion and psychological defilement?

Drowsiness depends both on the psychological state and physical state. There is nothing purely psychological or purely physical. Both psychological and physical changes can occur simultaneously depending upon the choices you make regarding your mind and/or body.

If I am done with my job or school I'm feeling sometimes exhausted. How do I know if I have this defilement in me? Now of course if I ate a lot then it's clearly a defilement.

Yes. It is a defilement. It is the lack of energy which is causing you to exhaust quickly.

Any thoughts or sutta references? Yes. Buddha understood this problem and came up with a great solution. Please go through what I discovered here.

Furthermore, a mendicant has wandered for alms, and they got to fill up on as much food as they like, coarse or fine. They think: ‘I’ve wandered for alms, and I got to fill up on as much food as I like, coarse or fine. My body is heavy, unfit for work, like I’ve just eaten a load of beans. I’d better have a lie down.’ They lie down, and don’t rouse energy for achieving the unachieved, attaining the unattained, and realizing the unrealized. This is the sixth ground for laziness.

Next he says

Furthermore, a mendicant has wandered for alms, and they got to fill up on as much food as they like, coarse or fine. They think: ‘I’ve wandered for alms, and I got to fill up on as much food as I like, coarse or fine. My body is strong and fit for work. I’d better preemptively rouse up energy …’ … This is the sixth ground for arousing energy.

The point is to think positively. Think in what ways now is advantageous for rousing up energy to fulfill the urgent goal of focusing on Buddha , Dhamma and Sangha. The sutta I have quoted covers 8 grounds for arousing energy I am sure you will find the one suitable for you.

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The mind looks for ways to save effort, that is why the mind archives actions into automatic habits.

It doesn't matter how physically exhausted we are, we can always apply cyclic effort or the effort that comes from a good habit. Mindfulness Meditation is a good habit that makes many more good habits and lessens many bad habits.

One can do worldly work and meditate at the same time.

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