Moderator: Mahavihara moderator
... citta is fundamentally an activity or process of cognizing or knowing an object. It is not an agent or instrument possessing actual being in itself apart from the activity of cognizing. The definitions in terms of agent and instrument are proposed to refute the wrong view of those who hold that a permanent self or ego is the agent and instrument of cognition.
In the case of citta ... its manifestation -- the way it appears in the meditator's experience -- is as a continuity of processes ...
mikenz66 wrote:. And Nina's books are certainly useful expositions of Abhidhamma,
2) Insight-oriented practices merely reinforce the conceit of self.
Jechbi wrote:It seems to me that admirers of Nina van Gorkom take a much harder line than she herself does. The admirers I've encountered tend to focus on two messages:
1) You can't force insight to happen; and
2) Insight-oriented practices merely reinforce the conceit of self.
These are useful cautions, in my opinion. But they are not sufficient reasons to completely toss out the insight practices, which is what some of these admirers seem to propose.
btw, if you look at Pages 27-29 of the Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, you see that right out of the starting gate these concerns are addressed:... citta is fundamentally an activity or process of cognizing or knowing an object. It is not an agent or instrument possessing actual being in itself apart from the activity of cognizing. The definitions in terms of agent and instrument are proposed to refute the wrong view of those who hold that a permanent self or ego is the agent and instrument of cognition.
andIn the case of citta ... its manifestation -- the way it appears in the meditator's experience -- is as a continuity of processes ...
When you write about the development of vipassana, you don’t speak about concentration methods or sitting practice.
Vipassana, insight, is actually panna (wisdom) which has been developed to clearly understand realities as they are, as non-self. It is not some special practice, it is not sitting or breathing. If one wishes to induce calm by sitting one still wants to get something. There is subtle clinging which can pass unnoticed. The aim of vipassana is to have less ignorance of realities, including our defilements, even subtle ones. Therefore it can and should be developed in daily life; any object can be an object for mindfulness and understanding.
tiltbillings wrote:mikenz66 wrote:. And Nina's books are certainly useful expositions of Abhidhamma,
Are they expositions of the actual Pitaka texts or later works?
tiltbillings wrote:2) Insight-oriented practices merely reinforce the conceit of self.
Anything can be used to reinforce the self, but if this is directed the Mahasi Sayadaw practice, it is off base.
B. Could you give an example of wrong practice of vipassana?
A. There is wrong practice if, for example, one thinks that in the beginning, one should be aware only of certain kinds of nama and rupa, instead of being aware of whatever kind of nama or rupa appears. There is wrong practice if one thinks that there should not be mindfulness of the characteristics of lobha, dosa and moha when they appear. Then one selects the nama and rupa one wants to be aware of and the wrong view of self cannot be eradicated. Another example of wrong practice is thinking that vipassana can only be developed when sitting. In that way one sets rules for the practice, one thinks that one can control awareness. Thus one cannot see that mindfulness too is anatta (not self).
jcsuperstar said: in one of her books ive read she seems to take a swipe a the mahasi method
jcsuperstar wrote:in one of her books ive read she seems to take a swipe a the mahasi method, something to the effect of directing attention at the abdomen isn't mindfulness of breathing or something like that.
It is extremely difficult to be mindful of breath in the right way
so that there can be true calm, freedom from lobha, dosa and
moha. It may happen that one takes for breath what is not breath,
the rúpa conditioned by citta. Some people follow the movement
of the abdomen and they erroneously take this for mindfulness of
breath. If one has no accumulations for mindfulness of breath,
one should not force oneself to take up this subject. There are
many other subjects of meditation which can condition calm.
U Pandita wrote:It has been said that by noting the rising and falling of the abdomen, meditators are distancing themselves from the teachings of the Buddha. The answer to this is a firm and definite “no.” Quite apart from the success that meditators have achieved by noting rising-falling, there is much solid evidence in the Buddhist scriptures, such as Salāyatana Vagga Samyutta, to show that the method is very much a part of the Buddha’s teachings regarding mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of the elements (dhātu), and mindfulness of the five aggregates (khandhas).
Question: I heard of people who concentrate on the movement
of the abdomen. They say that sometimes there is awareness of
the arising and falling of rúpa and sometimes there is awareness
of the knowing of the arising and falling of rúpa. Is this the right
way of developing awareness?
Nina: What we call abdomen is in reality many different kinds
of rúpa. Sati can be aware of only one characteristic of rúpa at a
time. For example, through the bodysense we can experience the
characteristics of hardness, softness, heat, cold, motion and pressure,
but we can experience only one of these characteristics at a
We cling to breath since our life depends on it. Breathing stops when our life comes to an end. When this subject is developed in the right way, it has to be known when there is clinging to breath or to calm; it has to be known when there is akusala citta and when kusala citta. Otherwise it is impossible to develop calm with this subject. It is difficult to know the characteristic of breath, one may easily take for breath what is not breath. Following the movement of the abdomen is not mindfulness of breathing. Some people do breathing exercises for the sake of relaxation. While one concentrates on one’s breathing, one cannot think of one’s worries at the same time and then one feels more relaxed. This is not mindfulness of breathing, which has as its aim the temporary release from clinging. Mindfulness of breathing is extremely difficult and if one develops it in the wrong way, there is wrong concentration, there is no development of wholesomeness. For the development of this subject one has to lead a secluded life and many conditions have to be fulfilled.
Question: So, seeing things as they are is the practice of vipassana, insight. Most people think that it is a complicated form of meditation which can be learnt only in a meditation centre. That is the reason why most people will not even try it. But from our conversation it appears that vipassana is seeing the things of our daily life as they are. Do you find that one has to have much theoretical knowledge before one starts the practice of vipassana?
Nina: The word meditation frightens many people; they think that it must be very complicated. But in reality one does not have to do anything special. If one wants to develop vipassana one needs some theoretical knowledge. One does not have to know about all physical elements and mental elements in detail, but one should know that the body is made up of physical elements and that these are different from mental elements. There are many different physical elements and these elements are continually changing. One should know that there are many different mental elements: one citta arises and falls away, then the next citta arises and falls away. Cittas arise and fall away successively, one at a time. Seeing is one citta, hearing is another citta, thinking is again another citta, they are all different cittas.
Developing vipassana does not mean that one has to be aware of all those different elements at each moment; that would not be possible. Nor does one have to do anything special; one can perform all the activities of ones daily life. One gradually begins to understand that there are only physical phenomena and mental phenomena and one begins to be aware of these phenomena quite naturally, without having to force oneself, because they are there all the time.
When we understand that these phenomena can be known as they are only through direct awareness of them, awareness will arise by itself little by little. We will experience that awareness will arise when there are the right conditions. It does not matter if there is not a great deal of awareness in the beginning. It is important to understand that awareness is not self either, but a mental phenomenon which arises when there are the right conditions. We cannot force awareness to arise.
In understanding more about physical phenomena and mental phenomena, and in being aware of them in daily life, wisdom will develop. Thus there will be more wholesomeness and less unwholesomeness.
sanghamitta wrote:A crtical view of taking the rise and fall of the abdomen as the object has a long pedigree for people of a certain age. The late Christmas Humphries activly campainged against it, without imo having the full picture concerning the practise. I think Nina Van Gorkom may be of a generation to have been influenced by this.
Ven. Dhammanando wrote:Here's a dialogue between a Sujinist and an advocate of formal meditation that might help to clarify the Sujinists' position.
Ven. Dhammadharo wrote:... there will be listening in the right way as much as conditions will allow. There will be studying of Dhamma in the right way as much as conditions will allow, no more. It is not self. Hearing now is not self. Studying is not self. Right attention is not self. So, if we think that we can study and we can listen we are misleading ourselves. We can be aware while studying and listening, in order to learn that such moments are not self.
Jechbi wrote:I don't find anything in that Q&A that necessarily conflicts with sitting practice as it actually occurs, at least for some. As it states in the "Comprehensive Manual of Abdhidhamma," this all manifests in the meditator's experience as "a continuity of processes." Each moment presents with different kamma, and it's not all going to be the same for every "sitting meditator" all the time. This is a highly specialized criticism, imho.
Bhikkhu Dhammadharo wrote:If you try to concentrate on your feet going around no awareness of anything. It is just a self who is trying to direct awareness, an idea of what you think awareness is, to some place or other of the body, because we want to know this, we want to know that. It is not natural. It is not getting rid of attachment, it is increasing it.
...it is not proper for you to assert that, "Whatever a person experiences — pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain — all is caused by what was done in the past.
mikenz66 wrote:This bit summarises most of the arguments I see from Khun Sujin's followers:Bhikkhu Dhammadharo wrote:If you try to concentrate on your feet going around no awareness of anything. It is just a self who is trying to direct awareness, an idea of what you think awareness is, to some place or other of the body, because we want to know this, we want to know that. It is not natural. It is not getting rid of attachment, it is increasing it.
Chris wrote:Bhikkhu Dhammadaro has been dead for many years, and, of course cannot expand on or defend his snipped remarks.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests