is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

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is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:57 am

all i see around the west is vipassana with a tiny minority of jhana and other such methods. is this the case in theravada countries as well, that vipassana is the most common technique with jhana and other methods taking a back seat? or is it just a western phenomenon?
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:34 am

In Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, you will definitely find a large focus on Jhana. Burmese systems seem to emphasize it less, but it's still there too. Anyone in the Ajahn Chah lineage or generally the Thai Forest Tradition will teach it, and they have wide reach throughout the Buddhist world.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:38 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:In Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, you will definitely find a large focus on Jhana. Burmese systems seem to emphasize it less, but it's still there too. Anyone in the Ajahn Chah lineage or generally the Thai Forest Tradition will teach it, and they have wide reach throughout the Buddhist world.


okay, thanks for the info.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:44 am

No problem. As for teachers, try checking out Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Ajahn Brahm, Bhante Gunaratara, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Pa-Auk Sayadaw (for a Burmese look at Jhanas), and Lee Brasington. All teach Jhana as a core part of practice.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:55 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:No problem. As for teachers, try checking out Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Ajahn Brahm, Bhante Gunaratara, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Pa-Auk Sayadaw (for a Burmese look at Jhanas), and Lee Brasington. All teach Jhana as a core part of practice.


i love brahm, leigh brasington and bhante gunaratara. thanissaro is great as well, i've never read any pa auk sayadaw or buddhadasa bhikkhu, i'll look them up, thanks!
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:08 am

One thing worth remembering is that Vipassana can refer to a tradition from the Burmese lay meditation movement which calls what it does Vipassana, as well as the technique which allot of teachers would point to.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:08 am

Cittasanto wrote:One thing worth remembering is that Vipassana can refer to a tradition from the Burmese lay meditation movement which calls what it does Vipassana, as well as the technique which allot of teachers would point to.


what is the lay method?
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:35 am

alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:One thing worth remembering is that Vipassana can refer to a tradition from the Burmese lay meditation movement which calls what it does Vipassana, as well as the technique which allot of teachers would point to.


what is the lay method?

I am not sure what you are referring to with method.
if you are referring to the movement I mention, it was a when meditation became widely popular among the Laity for reasons others are better equipped to explain.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:53 am

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:all i see around the west is vipassana with a tiny minority of jhana and other such methods. is this the case in theravada countries as well, that vipassana is the most common technique with jhana and other methods taking a back seat? or is it just a western phenomenon?

It's hard to say, and probably pointless to speculate about. The particular teachers that are well-known in the West are a small sample, and there is a certain amount of luck involved in which places Western monks happened to wind up in, and which became well known in the west. There are a vast variety of teachers in Burma and other places...

LonesomeYogurt wrote:In Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, you will definitely find a large focus on Jhana. Burmese systems seem to emphasize it less, but it's still there too. Anyone in the Ajahn Chah lineage or generally the Thai Forest Tradition will teach it, and they have wide reach throughout the Buddhist world.

My experience is that the Ajahn Chah students vary in what they teach. Some, such as Ajahn Brahm, teach a jhana-oriented approach. Others I've met, such as Ajahn Tiradhammo, don't.

alan... wrote: i've never read any pa auk sayadaw

Shaila Catherine's Wisdom Wide and Deep is a detailed account of the Pa Auk Approach (which follows the Visuddhimagga quite closely) that's easier to read than his classic book Knowing and Seeing:
http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/library ... ?aapath=69

Shaila Catherine's interview on the Secular Buddhism site includes some discussion of the issues:
http://secularbuddhism.org/2012/11/03/e ... he-jhanas/
Interestingly, despite the interviewer wanting to steer her into complaining about those who don't teach jhana, she points that she doesn't teach jhana except on retreats, and makes sure that retreat participants don't have too high expectations.

:anjali:
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:56 am

Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:One thing worth remembering is that Vipassana can refer to a tradition from the Burmese lay meditation movement which calls what it does Vipassana, as well as the technique which allot of teachers would point to.


what is the lay method?

I am not sure what you are referring to with method.
if you are referring to the movement I mention, it was a when meditation became widely popular among the Laity for reasons others are better equipped to explain.

Patrick Kearney's introductory retreat talks here give a (probably simplified) discussion of the lay mediation movement in Burma (the most well-known variants being U Ban Kihn/Goenka and Mahasi) that started in the late 19th century:
http://www.dharmasalon.net/Audio/BMIMC% ... BMIMC.html

:anjali:
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby robertk » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:50 am

Vipassana means insight, or literally ' special seeing', and all buddhists aspire to developing wisdom leading to Vipassana.
Thus for sure it is a world wide aspect of Buddhists.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:49 am

The confusion is that, for many, vipassana has become associated with specific techniques e.g. a body sweepimg technique.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:32 am

robertk wrote:Vipassana means insight, or literally ' special seeing', and all buddhists aspire to developing wisdom leading to Vipassana.
Thus for sure it is a world wide aspect of Buddhists.


i realize that. however in the west there is literally a very well known and very specific vipassana movement. try a web search of "vipassana" and you will get many web sites dedicated to teachings that focus on the satipatthana sutta and don't usually go into jhana or other techniques. that's what i'm referencing, i'm not confused about the meaning of the word.

basically this type of practice relies on the four foundations of mindfulness alone and does not typically go into jhana practice. teachers like mahasi sayadaw and others teach this style.

here are some web sites of these things:

my favorite vipassana site: http://www.vipassanadhura.com/jhana.html

another very good one:http://www.vipassana.com/

this is the site of mahasi sayadaw, said by some to have been an arahant. a very wise teacher indeed:http://www.mahasiusa.org/sayadaw.html

it is also known as "insight meditation", and as with vipassana, traditionally, in the pali canon, this is not a separate thing from the rest of the dhamma, but today it's become a thing of it's own more or less.

from wikipedia:

"The Vipassanā movement, also called the Insight Meditation Movement, refers to a number of branches of modern Theravāda Buddhism, especially the Thai Forest Tradition and the "New Burmese Method", which stress insight into the three marks of existence as the main means to attain awakening and reach Nirvana.

It finds its origins in modernist influences[31] on the traditions of Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos and Thailand, and the innovations and popularisations by Theravāda teachers as Mahasi Sayadaw, Ajahn Chah, and Dipa Ma, as well as nonsectarian derivatives from those traditions such as the movement led by S. N. Goenka (with his co-teacher wife Illaichi Devi) who studied with teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin. The Vipassanā Movement includes contemporary American Buddhist teachers such as Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, Gil Fronsdal, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield

In the Vipassanā Movement, the emphasis is on the Satipatthana Sutta and the use of mindfulness to gain insight into the impermanence of the self."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassan%C4%81#Vipassan.C4.81_movement
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:36 am

Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:One thing worth remembering is that Vipassana can refer to a tradition from the Burmese lay meditation movement which calls what it does Vipassana, as well as the technique which allot of teachers would point to.


what is the lay method?

I am not sure what you are referring to with method.
if you are referring to the movement I mention, it was a when meditation became widely popular among the Laity for reasons others are better equipped to explain.


lolz, sorry Cittasanto i have language freeze when talking to you! not sure why. yes that's what i meant: "what is the lay meditation movement?" you got it. thanks.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:all i see around the west is vipassana with a tiny minority of jhana and other such methods. is this the case in theravada countries as well, that vipassana is the most common technique with jhana and other methods taking a back seat? or is it just a western phenomenon?

It's hard to say, and probably pointless to speculate about. The particular teachers that are well-known in the West are a small sample, and there is a certain amount of luck involved in which places Western monks happened to wind up in, and which became well known in the west. There are a vast variety of teachers in Burma and other places...

LonesomeYogurt wrote:In Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, you will definitely find a large focus on Jhana. Burmese systems seem to emphasize it less, but it's still there too. Anyone in the Ajahn Chah lineage or generally the Thai Forest Tradition will teach it, and they have wide reach throughout the Buddhist world.

My experience is that the Ajahn Chah students vary in what they teach. Some, such as Ajahn Brahm, teach a jhana-oriented approach. Others I've met, such as Ajahn Tiradhammo, don't.

alan... wrote: i've never read any pa auk sayadaw

Shaila Catherine's Wisdom Wide and Deep is a detailed account of the Pa Auk Approach (which follows the Visuddhimagga quite closely) that's easier to read than his classic book Knowing and Seeing:
http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/library ... ?aapath=69

Shaila Catherine's interview on the Secular Buddhism site includes some discussion of the issues:
http://secularbuddhism.org/2012/11/03/e ... he-jhanas/
Interestingly, despite the interviewer wanting to steer her into complaining about those who don't teach jhana, she points that she doesn't teach jhana except on retreats, and makes sure that retreat participants don't have too high expectations.

:anjali:
Mike


cool thanks. i'll probably buy that catherine book eventually.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:10 am

Insight Meditation in the United States: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Gil Fronsdal (From Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K. Tanaka, THE FACES OF BUDDHISM IN AMERICA, Chapter 9, Copyright 1998, The Regents of the University of California with the permission of the University of California Press).
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby Mr Man » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:34 am

alan... wrote:i realize that. however in the west there is literally a very well known and very specific vipassana movement.


Possibly that should be "in the USA".

In my opinion the wikipedia article is pretty much nonsense - The Thai Forest Tradition, which in itself is a fairly broad umbrella, is fairly straight forward Theravada monasticism, with a Thai edge.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:39 pm

Mr Man wrote:
alan... wrote:In my opinion the wikipedia article is pretty much nonsense...
What about the Fronsdal article?
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby alan... » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:29 am

Mr Man wrote:
alan... wrote:i realize that. however in the west there is literally a very well known and very specific vipassana movement.


Possibly that should be "in the USA".

In my opinion the wikipedia article is pretty much nonsense - The Thai Forest Tradition, which in itself is a fairly broad umbrella, is fairly straight forward Theravada monasticism, with a Thai edge.


in englandhttp://www.dipa.dhamma.org/

in australiahttp://www.insightmeditationaustralia.org/

so not just in the US.

the article is nonsense? sure why not. the point i was making with it is that the word "vipassana" is frequently used to denote a certain tradition of practice and that i was not simply confused about what the definition is. the article existing at all proves this when combined with all the web sites i posted. that's all i was trying to show as the person didn't seem to know what i was talking about and you said something about there being "confusion" so i was trying to clear it up.
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Re: is vipassana the main stream everywhere or just in the west?

Postby Mr Man » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:12 am

danieLion wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
alan... wrote:In my opinion the wikipedia article is pretty much nonsense...
What about the Fronsdal article?


I hadn't read it but have now had a look; that seems more what I perceive the vippasana movement to be.
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