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I SUGGEST & REQUEST THAT YOU READ DN 10 (LINKED) BEFORE READING AND/OR ANSWERING THIS POST.

After contemplating DN 10, several questions have arisen in me pertaining to the clarification of the sutta and the meditation practice. They are the following:

  1. When Venerable Ānanda talks about guarding the sense doors and not getting "caught up in the features and details" of sensual experience (the quote below), how does that translate into a meditation practice (in other words, what would one specifically do to do that in meditation)?

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“And how, student, does a mendicant guard the sense doors? When a mendicant sees a sight with their eyes, they don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of sight were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of desire and aversion would become overwhelming. For this reason, they practice restraint, protecting the faculty of sight, and achieving its restraint. When they hear a sound with their ears … When they smell an odor with their nose … When they taste a flavor with their tongue … When they feel a touch with their body … When they know a thought with their mind, they don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of mind were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of desire and aversion would become overwhelming. For this reason, they practice restraint, protecting the faculty of mind, and achieving its restraint. When they have this noble sense restraint, they experience an unsullied bliss inside themselves. That’s how a mendicant guards the sense doors."

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(DN 10)

  1. When reading the Satipatthana Sutta, I understand it says to "focus" or "discern" specific phrases and teachings and so too here in a way when Venerable Ānanda talks about having mindfulness and situational awareness (the quote below), but how does that translate into a meditation practice (in other words, what would one specifically do to do that in meditation)?

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"And how does a mendicant have mindfulness and situational awareness? It’s when a mendicant acts with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent. That’s how a mendicant has mindfulness and situational awareness."

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(DN 10)

  1. Would guarding the sense doors and being mindful and situationally aware lead to the hindrances being given up as well as entering the jhanas per DN 10?

  2. When Venerable Ānanda speaks in DN 10 about extending and projecting the mind toward knowledge and vision, the creation of a mind-made body, psychic power, clairaudience, comprehending the minds of others, recollection of past lives, knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings, and knowledge of the ending of defilements, are these supposed to be standard experiences and potential powers that one should only be aware of in meditation when Venerable Ānanda says to extend and project the mind towards them, or is one supposed to do something other than only being aware of them?

  3. Would the "spectrum of immersion" per DN 10 refer to the meditative methods to achieve samatha (tranquility), would the "spectrum of wisdom" per DN 10 refer to the meditative methods to achieve vipassana (wisdom), and in that, does DN 10 express that both methods are suppose to be used in partnership to attain freedom from suffering (for reference of samatha and vipassana: AN 2.30)?

PLEASE REFERENCE THE TIPITAKA OR SOURCES STRICTLY USING THE TIPITAKA IN YOUR ANSWERS.

-Apannaka

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  • it would be helpful if you gave your own answers to those questions, so people have an idea how you think about it and we could confirm you got the right answer, don't got it, or have an idea of how we can help fill in gaps.
    – frankk
    Sep 3 at 20:22
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When Venerable Ānanda talks about guarding the sense doors and not getting "caught up in the features and details" of sensual experience (the quote below), how does that translate into a meditation practice (in other words, what would one specifically do to do that in meditation)?

There is an additional explaination

This is Nanda’s guarding of the doors of his senses: If he should look to the east, he looks focusing his entire awareness, (thinking,) ‘As I am looking thus to the east, greed & distress, evil unskillful qualities, will not flow out.’ That’s how he is alert there. If he should look to the west… the north… the south… above… below… to the intermediate directions, he looks focusing his entire awareness, (thinking,) ‘As I am looking thus to the intermediate directions, greed & distress, evil unskillful qualities, will not flow out.’ That’s how he is alert there. This is Nanda’s guarding of the doors of his senses.

When reading the Satipatthana Sutta, I understand it says to "focus" or "discern" specific phrases and teachings and so too here in a way when Venerable Ānanda talks about having mindfulness and situational awareness (the quote below), but how does that translate into a meditation practice (in other words, what would one specifically do to do that in meditation)?

In course of the training sometimes one would think about, take note & discern different aspects & elements of the training.

In example if one dwells with senses guarded and is assailed by sloth & torpor, one would take note and contemplate the sloth & torpor based on what has been heard & done concerning release and direct the mind to the development of some factors of enlightenment.

In the course of this process one will have established mindfulness on the body, the dhamma, the hindrances and the factors of enlightenment.

Would guarding the sense doors and being mindful and situationally aware lead to the hindrances being given up as well as entering the jhanas per DN 10?

Not necessarily. There are three main pillars for the attainment of extinguishment in a qualified or definitive sense, namely, moderation in eating, the guarding of the senses and a devotion to wakefulness.

Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities, a bhikkhu is practicing the unmistaken way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints. What three? Here, a bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties, observes moderation in eating, and is intent on wakefulness.

Guarding of the senses is like taking a reactive dog away from other dogs to retrain it in a calm environment and basically using foresight to avoid perceptions that are likely to challenge one's impulse control.

The stilling & prevention of unarisen bad states is something other that avoidance of triggering stimuli. And they are connected because removing the triggering sense impression is a necessary step in the process of rehabilitation.

Eg, In regards to the opposite sex, one ought practise not-seeing, if one has to see then not-talking and if one has to talk then one has to be very mindful.

However the prevention & removal of arisen hindrances is more like knowing how to calm the dog down after it got excited at the dogpark and how to train him so that he doesn't get excited next time you go to the park.

Eg, when sloth is present one generally ought to somehow overcome it by directing the mind to a countering theme or activity as to develope factors of enlightenment that can rouse a sluggish mind.

"At such times, monks, as the mind is sluggish, that is the wrong time to cultivate the enlightenment-factor[1] of tranquillity, the enlightenment-factor of concentration, the enlightenment-factor of equanimity. What is the reason? A sluggish mind is hard to arouse by these factors. "But, monks, when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to cultivate the enlightenment-factor of investigation-of-states, the enlightenment-factor of energy, the enlightenment-factor of rapture.[2] What is the reason? A sluggish mind is easy to arouse by these factors.

When Venerable Ānanda speaks in DN 10 about extending and projecting the mind toward knowledge and vision, the creation of a mind-made body, psychic power, clairaudience, comprehending the minds of others, recollection of past lives, knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings, and knowledge of the ending of defilements, are these supposed to be standard experiences and potential powers that one should only be aware of in meditation when Venerable Ānanda says to extend and project the mind towards them, or is one supposed to do something other than only being aware of them?

As i understand it, these are actual magical powers and not something one should envision oneself doing much. Some people have an inclination to their development and when they have sufficient power of concentration & judgement they will be able to access those abilities naturally.

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