Thread: The Honeyball Discourse

  1. #1
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    The Honeyball Discourse

    This Sutta (MN18) is mainly about mental proliferation which is one of the most important targets to subdue in Zen meditation and in meditation in general.

    I have read the sutta from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation and from Thanissaro Bhikkhu old translation. From both it is important to note that quarrels and disputes come from a blemished and undisciplined mind; this kind of mind elaborates around feelings and perceptions. This elaboration is called papañca. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, in his Introductory analysis of the sutta tells us that there is no clear definition of the term but a skilled meditator knows well what papañca is. It simply consists -not getting into a profuse elaboration- in the endless fabrication that mind produces when it meets something like an object, an idea, an odour, a surface, a noise or flavour.

    It is not only about quarrels and disputes but in general all the happenings in our daily life. It is important to note that mental proliferation besets us as long as something is found there in the mind. The Buddha teaches that if nothing is found there
    'to delight in, welcome and hold to, this is the end of the underlying tendndency to aversion, the underlying tendency to views, of the underlying tendency to doubt, of the underlying tendency to conceit, of the underlying tendency to desire of being, of the underlying tendency to ignorance...' and the end of restoring to rods and weapons...'
    But who is that that 'founds there'? It's perception; when one perceives one thinks about and this thinking about becomes immediately mental proliferation and with this fabrications one
    'delights in, welcome and holds to...'
    This can be understood when we have in mind the causal chain of contact, feeling, perception and fabrication that applies to the eye, its object and the consciousness that becomes with its contact, the nose, the tongue, the body and finally the mind.

    So, we can tell that an unblemished mind is the one which has cooled the senses and then, as the Buddha teaches in his discourse
    'there is no eye, no form and no eye consciousness, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of contact. When there is no manifestation of contact it is impossible to point out the manifestation of feeling. When there is no manifestation of feeling it is impossible to point out the manifestation of perception. When there is no manifestation or perception it is impossible to point out the manifestation of thinking. When there is no manifestation of thinking it is impossible to point out the manifestation of besetment of perception and notions born of mental proliferation'.
    Any thoughts about the Sutta? Are we aware of mental proliferation during your day to day life? Do we proliferate endlessly about life, God, rebirth, past and future, etc...?

    Last edited by Esho; 24 Aug 21 at 12:15.

  2. #2
    Forums Member Traveller's Avatar
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    Not all sutras apply to all people or styles of meditation, sometimes Shakyamuni's discourses contradict themselves as they were for specific groups of his students. Personally if my thoughts are scattered and all over the place that's ok, at least as long as I am mindful of the fact and not caught up in. Hence for me Dogen's "Think not thinking" means it's ok to be thinking in meditation as long as one is not dragged from pillar to post on the turning wheel of one's mind but in the still point that sees that it is "like this", suchness.

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    Not all sutras apply to all people or styles of meditation, sometimes Shakyamuni's discourses contradict themselves as they were for specific groups of his students. Personally if my thoughts are scattered and all over the place that's ok, at least as long as I am mindful of the fact and not caught up in. Hence for me Dogen's "Think not thinking" means it's ok to be thinking in meditation as long as one is not dragged from pillar to post on the turning wheel of one's mind but in the still point that sees that it is "like this", suchness.
    Good. Then I recommend you this thread Traveller.

  4. #4
    I found a summary of MN18 at a website called Suttas.com.


    Summary:

    Dandapāni,a sakyan, met the Buddha and questioned him: "What does the recluse assert, what does he proclaim?". The Buddha explained that his teachings are such that they avoid all strife and make a man dwell above all pleasures of sense, etc. Dandapāni shook his head and walked on, without comment.

    Later in the evening the Buddha told the monks briefly how to get rid of all obsessions, so that all evil and wrong states of mind are quelled and pass away entirely. After the Buddha’s departure the monks seek Mahā Kaccāna and ask him to expound in detail what the Buddha has told them.

    Venerable Kaccāna explained that where there is eye and visible form, visual consciousness arises, this begets contact, contact conditions feeling, what a man feels he perceives, what he perceives he reasons about, and this leads to obsession. It is the same with the other senses like hearing, smell taste, touch and thoughts. The monks report this explanation to the Buddha, who approves of it and praises Kaccāna's insight.

    Venerable Ananda praises the discourse, comparing it to the delicious savor like a honeyball and thus Buddha suggested that the sutta should be remembered by that name The honey ball (Madhupindika).


    http://www.suttas.com/mn-18-madhupin...honeyball.html



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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Thanks Aloka!

    From the quote I want to highlight '...what he perceives he reasons about, and this leads to obsession.'

  6. #6
    Forums Member Traveller's Avatar
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    Esho, curiously enough a short time after you posted this my mind began to go completely silent again which hadn't happened to me for a long time due to a degenaration in my mental health (on a new medication now, it hasn't stopped the parkinsonism but that begins to cease when I meditate) often within a few breaths of starting miindful breathing. The thoughts come sometimes cease for a while and then come again and then cease. I find it interesting that it ocurred after what you posted. :).

  7. #7
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Hi Traveller!

    I practice Zazen. Thoughts appear and disappear; they come from nowhere and go to nowhere; after some time of practice thoughts become slower leading to big gaps between them... gaps of silence and stillness... of peace of mind.

    I think it is good what has been happening with you in your anapanasati practice...

    take care


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