Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Differentiating between necessary and unnecessary

FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

I had a reflective conversation with myself today after listening to a bit of H.H. the Dalai Lama's "How to See Yourself As You Really Are" on my morning walk. I want to see if it holds up so I'm submitting it to the group for help with examination and assistance.

Q: If all existence dependently arises from causes and conditions, and the definition of necessary is that which is unavoidably determined by causes and conditions, when is there ever a thing which is not necessary?

A:That which arises through misconception of things existing inherently in and of themselves is not necessary. Ignorance is not necessary. Delusion is not necessary, attachment is not necessary, the hindrances are not necessary. The identification of one thing apart from other things is not necessary.

Q: How then does one become continuously aware of these unnecessary elements in all aspects?

A: One becomes continuously aware of these unnecessary elements through practice. Specifically practice of sustained concentration and practice of deepening insight into the nature of things. The deeper one's insight into the nature of all things and the greater one's sustained concentration, the more readily one can see that which is necessary and that which is not necessary.

Q: How then does one practice sustained concentration and deepening of insight?

A: Practice of sustained mindfulness of an object such as breathing builds sustained concentration. Practice of sustained concentration and investigation on a specific object deepens one's insight into the nature of that specific object.

I should mention this dialogue comes from my own self still ignorantly trying to determine what I should be doing other than what I am currently doing and being unable to yet see beyond this obstacle.

Thank you in advance for any insights and discussions.

lobsterJeffreyJeroenShoshin1

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    outstanding @FleaMarket
    Good questions and insightful answers we can all learn from.

    Keep up the good work 💗

    FleaMarket
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    The thought on my mind was that sitting meditation on the breath you also can have lots of non-concentrated moments as part of it. Second thought was how does periods of concentration affect our "hurky" "jurky" world where I don't feel sustained concentration, but rather the sudden (non seated rather "life" moments) feeling of my responses being pressed or squeezed out of me?

    FleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited June 5

    One thing you are looking at is mind… all the elements that are unnecessary are in the mind, they are conjectures, figments of thought, misunderstanding. What you are trying to arrive at is a correct understanding of truth, which can be defined as “that which is”. A very worthy effort, to remove the things which are delusion, and to keep the things which are true.

    In a way, when looking at the truth as “that which is”, everything that is, is necessary, and everything that is not, is unnecessary. It is tempting to consign the contents of all human minds to the “is not” column.

    FleaMarket
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    The aspect that seems cloudy to me is the aspect of necessary/unnecessary.

    I guess I'm just seeing some good investigation but the idea of what exactly necessary means isn't being questioned.

    Looking more closely again. Initially you define necessary as something produced from causes and conditions. Then I think when you talk about the defilements you're using a different definition, my understanding is that the defilements are a product of causes and conditions as well. Its more like you're defining not necessary there as something not needed.

    IDK, maybe that's nitpicky regarding the heart of your dialogue?

    FleaMarket
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    The aspect that seems cloudy to me is the aspect of necessary/unnecessary.
    I guess I'm just seeing some good investigation but the idea of what exactly necessary means isn't being questioned.

    I was pondering something I've seen mentioned a few times on various forums "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" or some variation of the sort. I keep finding myself caught up on "What is necessary?" and aimed to clear that confusion. I'm not sure I did fully clear it up but I seem to have used those terms to improve my understanding of the concept of dependent origination and the misconception of inherent existence. It's true, I did just take the googled definition of necessary and did not probe further.

    Initially you define necessary as something produced from causes and conditions. Then I think when you talk about the defilements you're using a different definition, my understanding is that the defilements are a product of causes and conditions as well. Its more like you're defining not necessary there as something not needed.

    I believe the difference may be in the avoidable nature of the defilements. They may arise from causes and conditions but these are avoidable causes and conditions of the misconception things exist inherently in and of themselves. Not the unavoidable causes and conditions of dependent origination. It might have been a bit redundant to mention them since they appear to be covered within that which arises from the misconception of inherent existence.

    IDK, maybe that's nitpicky regarding the heart of your dialogue?

    It's possible the terms necessary and unnecessary do not fit best, but it is what triggered the thought process. Please be nitpicky. It forces me to re-examine, which helps solidify understanding or identify mistakes. Mistaken or loose understanding serves little benefit.

    person
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    @Jeffrey It's my understanding the more one practices sustained concentration such as in sitting meditation, the longer one can sustain the concentration with the eventual goal to be continuously concentrated. This will allow one to be concentrated when out in life. So when one encounters these squeezed responses, there will be a concentration that allows one to see themselves in that moment and provide clarity and space where maybe before there was constriction or automatic response.

    I am finding however there is a great deal of difference in practicing concentration on a zafu vs practicing concentration in the hurky jurky world. It is much more challenging with all the stuff going on around, as I discovered this weekend. Maybe as I improve concentration on the cushion, I will gain a foothold which helps out in the world where the difficulty increases.

  • NugaiNugai Ireland New

    Something struck me upon reading this part: "Ignorance is not necessary. Delusion is not necessary, attachment is not necessary, the hindrances are not necessary. The identification of one thing apart from other things is not necessary."

    I am just wondering if by "not necessary" do you mean should not be in existence at all in the first place? Or do you mean they should be eliminated through practice?

    FleaMarket
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran
    edited June 6

    Good question @Nugai. I'm unsure of their necessity in existence though I am sure that practice aides in their reduction and eventual cessation. A thought occurs to me, are we only aware of existence due to such things in the first place?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Dear friends of new improved 'concentrated Buddha' (now with added dharma),

    There I was in a continual and eternal and relaxing ignorance … when I realised 'ignorance is bliss'. Or…
    'Samsara is Nirvana'

    Which came first the chicken or the egg? And how does an egg get to the 'far shore' of the for sure road?

    Answers to the usual address for a chance to win our open prise drawer … o:)

    FleaMarket
  • NugaiNugai Ireland New

    @FleaMarket said:
    Good question @Nugai. I'm unsure of their necessity in existence though I am sure that practice aides in their reduction and eventual cessation. A thought occurs to me, are we only aware of existence due to such things in the first place?

    Well this is what I was thinking. Thich Nhat Hanh often has this saying, "No mud, no lotus". In other words in order to know joy, we must have suffering. In order to be compassionate with must know pain. If delusion and attachment didn't exist, there would be no mud, therefore no lotus. Just my current thinking!

    FleaMarketlobster
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    @lobster said:
    And how does an egg get to the 'far shore' of the for sure road?

    I'm probably coming back as a duck again so I'll kick some of mine off the embankment and see what happens. Can ducks meditate? If so does that make them sitting ducks? Maybe just a silly duck.

    Shoshin1lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Strangely enough, much that is unnecessary is necessary. In other words do not be so fanatical and rigid that you break your lotus and sink in the quackers mud …

    FleaMarketJeroen
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    Following multiple recipes on how to steam a lotus is bound to get messy when it comes to the cooking. Fortunate this kitchen is full of chefs with endless patience!

    Nugai
Sign In or Register to comment.