Of course, now you are trying to be funny. So, far you have blown a lot of smoke here. You were asked directly to give us an idea of what you understood "bare attention" to be and you just side-stepped it. If you want a dialogue, it helps to answer the questions put to you, rather than avoiding the question and countering with other questions.alan wrote:Actually I was giving you a way out.
alan wrote:Take on the idea, tilt, not who said it. It's a diversion to ask who said what in this context. I could say A, B and C said it. Then you'd just tell me that you have no respect for A, B and C.
Anger? Hardly.alan wrote:Oh, tilt.
Why the anger?
Don't apologize. Just answer questions put to you.I apologize if I said anything in the past that upset you.
I ask a question; you refuse to answer. When asked about your claim that there are teachers who are doing what Wallace claims (which is one major complaint I have about Wallece's interview), you dodge the question. Don't play this game of trying to turn it back onto me.We were supposed to be discussing the article. But you've turned it into a prosecution, and it does not reflect well on you. Thought I'd give you a chance to cool down, but you keep charging! Why?
tiltbillings wrote:d.sullivan wrote:tiltbillings wrote:
Here is Wallace's broadside against vipassana practice: http://www.tricycle.com/a-mindful-balance
I am not impressed.
In another thread, Tiltbillings wrote this, and I wanted to respond to it without taking the thread off topic, so I'm starting a new thread.
I don't necessarily agree with Wallace, but I'm curious exactly what Tiltbillings finds unimpressive about Wallace's critique, and what everyone thinks of the article he posted.
Reading the article, I'm not sure it contains a "broadside against vipassana practice," only a critique of modern mindfulness practice, which Wallace posits is actually not the same as traditional Therevadin vipassana.
Who are these naughty "modern vipassana teachers" Wallace is talking about?
Damdifino what his intentions were, but it is a choice of wording that is a problem, which is less than skillful. And it sure looks like he was attacking modern vipassana teachings, and who would that be?d.sullivan wrote:To be clear, I don't necessarily agree with the distinction Wallace made between modern Theravadin teachers and traditional ones, I was merely pointing out that he made this distinction, and that he was not intending to attack the Theravadin tradition in general.
If he is referring to K & G, then he is remarkably stupid and ignorant. I have done 3 three month retreats with these guys, and Wallace's characterization of the modern Vipassana teachers simply do not fit their style and content of teaching.The fact that Wallace leaves these teachers unnamed is certainly problematic for this article. I'm reluctant to put words in Wallace's mouth, but I would guess that he is referring to teachers like Kornfield and Goldstein.
I suspect it has to do more with sectarianism, but then who knows. There is a tendency to want to define things - vipassana and samatha - in one's own school's terms.In the article, Wallace asserts that a problem with this "bare attention" form of vippassana is that it is lacking in terms of not including Right Intention, View and Effort. Given that even teachers such as Kornfield and Goldstein do not neglect these aspects of the path, either Wallace is not referring to them, or his critique is invalid. I wonder if it is the latter.
This whole samatha/vipassana divide is a bit misleading in actual practice. We are stuck with it coming out of the Visuddhimagga and commentaries, and traditionalists such as Ledi Sayadaw or Mahasi Sayadaw were not going to challenge it. Mahasi Sayadaw understood that one does not need full blown Visuddhimagga described absorption to cultivate direct insight into the three marks, and U Pandita recognized that the levels of concentration cultivated via the Mahasi Sayadaw method are significantly profound, thus the vipassana jhanas, which look like what others call the sutta jhanas.The part of the article that I find most interesting is Wallace's claim that modern Buddhism in general seems to be lacking in the samatha department. From my limited knowledge, this distinction between western and eastern teachers seems to hold true; Jack Kornfield, for instance, seems to emphasize samatha/jhana practice very little, while eastern Theravadin teachers value such practices more. Am I wrong in perceiving this distinction, and what do you think of Wallace's critique of western Buddhism as lacking in the concentration aspect of the Path?
tiltbillings wrote:alan wrote:Many meditation teachers preach the idea that to pay attention is enough. "Watch what arises and don't judge it" seems to be the dominant ethos. Scores of books echo this.
If 'mindfulness" has become a one-word path, then "bare-attention" is it's aim. I'm waiting for a cogent explanation of the value of this path.
So, name names. Who are these people?
Oh, I don't mean to say that he isn't attacking modern vipassana teachings. He clearly is. In your original post, you referred to Wallace's critique as a against Theravadin teachings in general, and for the sake of clarity, I wanted to point out that I think his attack was more leveled at modern, western Theravadin teachings, as opposed to Theravadin teachings in general.tiltbillings wrote:Damdifino what his intentions were, but it is a choice of wording that is a problem, which is less than skillful. And it sure looks like he was attacking modern vipassana teachings, and who would that be?
tiltbillings wrote:If he is referring to K & G, then he is remarkably stupid and ignorant. I have done 3 three month retreats with these guys, and Wallace's characterization of the modern Vipassana teachers simply do not fit their style and content of teaching.
tiltbillings wrote: Mahasi Sayadaw understood that one does not need full blown Visuddhimagga described absorption to cultivate direct insight into the three marks, and U Pandita recognized that the levels of concentration cultivated via the Mahasi Sayadaw method are significantly profound, thus the vipassana jhanas, which look like what others call the sutta jhanas.
tiltbillings wrote:Kornfield, whom I admire greatly, may down play concentration some and he may put practice in more psychological terms, but he does not neglect the ethical and Dhamma basics of the practice.
I think Alan Wallace may have in mind Jon Kabat-Zinn, who has divorced vipassana from its Buddhist context and does say things like, "Watch what arises and don't judge it" (See, e.g., his book Wherever You Go, There You Are for words to this effect). JKZ is primarily interested in vipassana as a means of managing pain and reducing stress. As far as I recall, I don't think that he has said much about liberation or precepts, if anything. I am relying on memory, however.
So, name names. Who are these people?
Sobeh wrote:"So bare attention doesn’t by any means capture the complete significance of vipassana, but represents only the initial phase in the meditative development of right mindfulness." (emphasis added)
Turns out we simply need to determine if this rubric applies to one vipassana teacher or another, or we have to deny the rubric as being either subtly or critically flawed.
PeterB wrote:If you are correct Sukhmanveti in your indentification of the kind of modern teacher that Wallace is aiming his piece at then frankly he is attempting to evaluate an important Buddhist development without the necessary means of measurement. He might as well criticise Vipassana as taught by Osho's "Neo-Sanyassins ",
It exposes a danger in any Rime type of attempt to establish a neuralised Pan-Buddhism. To whit, that depth will be sacrificed in the cause of breadth.
And that the resulting melange will be a shade of khaki.
Buddhism is not a collection of spiritual or therapeutic techniques. Buddhism is an ocean. If we want we are free to paddle on the edge of the shore, trying a technique here or a therapy there, occasionally getting our feet wet, but staying safely within our limitations. Or we can take the advice of Døgen Zenji, who said: "Arouse the mind that seeks the way, and plunge into the ocean of Buddhism." Ultimately the future of Buddhism in the West will be decided by those who take the plunge, because the paddlers will always draw back and, rather than adapt Buddhism to its new home, will develop new forms of Buddhised psychotherapy. For ultimately we must choose whom we will follow. We can follow Buddha or we can follow Freud; we cannot do both, because they are just not travelling in the same direction.
What, then, is the role of bare attention?
[Wallace:] The cultivation of bare attention is valuable in many ways, and there’s a rapidly growing body of research on its benefits for both psychological and physiological disorders. But it’s incorrect to equate that with mindfulness, and an even greater error to think that’s all there is to vipassana. If that were the case, all the Buddha’s teachings on ethics, samadhi (highly focused attention), and wisdom would be irrelevant. All too often, people who assume that bare attention is all there is to meditation reject the rest of Buddhism as clap-trap and mumbo-jumbo. The essential teachings are dismissed rather than one’s own preconceptions.
Do the differing definitions of mindfulness have any practical bearing? Or is this just a semantic issue?
[Wallace:] It’s far more than a semantic issue. In common usage the English term mindfulness simply means to be aware, or heedful. Sati has a much richer connotation, so those wishing to practice Buddhist meditation are well advised to gain as clear an understanding of this and other related terms as they can, based on the most authoritative sources they can find. Otherwise, Buddhist meditation quickly devolves into a vague kind of “be here now” mentality, in which the extraordinary depth and richness of Buddhist meditative traditions are lost.
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