The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mkoll » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:45 pm

phil wrote:I had a reason to groan re this this evening. Listening to a popular teacher's talk on MN 10, when he got to the section on internal and external awareness of feelings and mind, he noted that there were many explanations about the meaning of this but didn't mention them at all and instead just jumped into a very appealing, easily applicable explanation in terms of inferring the feelings and mind states of others, all of it very emotionally sensible in terms of dealing with people, then when he got to the internal and external and he chose venerable Analayo's explanation, and during all this at no point did he make a reference to what else the ancient commentaries say. And this is always the case as everyone turns to venerable Analayo's book as though it were an authoritative commentary rather then a book written by a modern monk whose understanding has developed in line with a soecific modern tradition of meditation. (Forgive me if I am wrong about that but I recall from reading the book that there were many references to the Mahasi Sayadaw style. Which is fair enough for a book eritten for devotees of that, but not for a book which is now taken to be an authoritative commentary.) Does it matter that modern listeners are being led to rely on neo-commentaries while ignoring the classical commentaries? Again we are responsible for our own understanding so moaning about what's happening to other people's understanding is silly. But I too am silly so I have to do it on occasion.


Phil

TBH, I don't know the difference between Ven. Analayo's interpretation and the ancient commentarial interpretation of internal/external awareness of feelings/mind.

Can you briefly explain the difference?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:19 pm

phil wrote:... And this is always the case as everyone turns to venerable Analayo's book as though it were an authoritative commentary rather then a book written by a modern monk whose understanding has developed in line with a soecific modern tradition of meditation. (Forgive me if I am wrong about that but I recall from reading the book that there were many references to the Mahasi Sayadaw style. ...

Actually, from listening to his talks, e.g. http://audiodharma.org/teacher/208/ and http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/439/ I get the impression that (at least at that time) Ven Analayo had not practiced either Mahasi or Goenka approaches, though he has written articles about them. In one of the talks, I think the "Dynamics of Insight Meditation" talk here:
http://audiodharma.org/teacher/208/ he asks the audience to explain their experiences with the various approaches. And he states, either in that talk or one of the others, that his approach is metta and a quite analytical elements practice.

I do agree that it is strange to simply ignore the Satipatthana Commentary, which is readily available online: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html
Of course, one could read it and choose to disagree with some parts of it, but it seems quite illogical to assume, without investigation, that modern commentators have a better understanding of the Dhamma than the ancient commentators and practitioners did.

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:50 pm

Mkoll wrote:TBH, I don't know the difference between Ven. Analayo's interpretation and the ancient commentarial interpretation of internal/external awareness of feelings/mind.

Can you briefly explain the difference?
If you do not have Ven Analayo's SATIPATTHANA: The Direct Path to Realization. It is well worth the time spent carefully reading through it. He is an excellent scholar. His discussion of internal/external runs from page 94 through 102.

Joseph Goldstein's discussion of internal/external in the refrain of the Satipatthana Sutta is here in this talk: http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_p ... 6/293.html It is an excellent talk in practical terms of practice, well worth the time spent with it. His take on internal/external is in line with the commentarial explanation.

And here, in the OP to this thread, is an answer to your question: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 012#p14012 And the thread as a whole maybe of interest.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:01 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And here, in the OP to this thread, is an answer to your question: viewtopic.php?f=44&t=1122&p14012#p14012 And the thread as a whole maybe of interest.

That seems to suggest that Ven Analayo's interpretation is in line with the commentary, so I'm now curious about Phil's post here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=1120#p309454

:anjali:
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:16 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And here, in the OP to this thread, is an answer to your question: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 012#p14012 And the thread as a whole maybe of interest.

That seems to suggest that Ven Analayo's interpretation is in line with the commentary, so I'm now curious about Phil's post here:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p309454

:anjali:
Mike
Haven't a clue as to what Phil's reasoning for his assertion could be. Ven Analayo in the second to last paragraph (page 102) in his extended discussion of internal/external states:

        In summary, although alternative ways of understanding internal satipatthana have their practical value, to understand "internal" as referring to oneself and "external" as referring to others offers a practicable form of contemplation which can moreover claim support from the discourses, the Abhidhamma, and the commentaries.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby phil » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:06 pm

Mkoll wrote:
phil wrote:I had a reason to groan re this this evening. Listening to a popular teacher's talk on MN 10, when he got to the section on internal and external awareness of feelings and mind, he noted that there were many explanations about the meaning of this but didn't mention them at all and instead just jumped into a very appealing, easily applicable explanation in terms of inferring the feelings and mind states of others, all of it very emotionally sensible in terms of dealing with people, then when he got to the internal and external and he chose venerable Analayo's explanation, and during all this at no point did he make a reference to what else the ancient commentaries say. And this is always the case as everyone turns to venerable Analayo's book as though it were an authoritative commentary rather then a book written by a modern monk whose understanding has developed in line with a soecific modern tradition of meditation. (Forgive me if I am wrong about that but I recall from reading the book that there were many references to the Mahasi Sayadaw style. Which is fair enough for a book eritten for devotees of that, but not for a book which is now taken to be an authoritative commentary.) Does it matter that modern listeners are being led to rely on neo-commentaries while ignoring the classical commentaries? Again we are responsible for our own understanding so moaning about what's happening to other people's understanding is silly. But I too am silly so I have to do it on occasion.


Phil

TBH, I don't know the difference between Ven. Analayo's interpretation and the ancient commentarial interpretation of internal/external awareness of feelings/mind.

Can you briefly explain the difference?


To be perfectly honest I can't without going to get the commentary which is not here now or his book which is stored away somewhere. It's quite possible that his explanation is in line with the predominant exolanation of the commentary. But I remember that there are different explanations which the speaker I was listening to (joseoh Goldstein) referred to in passing without explaining in the least before saying he was going to go with Ven Analayo's. Again in this one case fair enough and maybe it's the best explanation. But the thing that kind of amazes me is that so far in approximately 13 hours of talks on the sutta that I have listened to he hasn't made a single reference to the classical commentary which would require a subtler, less easily applicable explanation of satipatthana. Now and somebody pointed out earlier in this thread if I expect to find that I am listening in the wrong place since he is speaking to retreatsnts who are practicing a certain kind of insight meditation. But these talks have been published as a book and seeing the respect he receives now they will stand along Ven Anakayo's as important kind of authoratative interpretations of the Satipatthana sutta and the subtleties will be lost. Does it matter? Obviously since I have listen to 13 hours of these talks I am enjoying them and benefiting from them probably at the cost of accurate understanding of how subtle Satipatthana is but the practices pointed at are very beneficial for living life in the wholesome way and that is good enough for me now. But I always keep in mind when listening that it is a rather facile, overly pragmatic presentation. It is always easy to look at the Buddha's teachings and say they are pragmatic and there certainly is a huge pragmatic element but it seems to me that it has been stripped down these days to sheer pragmatism seeking effective methods for change now at the expense of some very subtle depths that might interfere with a pragmatic step by step method of applying it effectively to get results in the precious I -took -time -off- for -this -and -I- -had -better -get -some -results retreat. Anyways enough said, just my opinion. As usual sorry for any typos, on the run.

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:06 am

Analayo's recent work on the Dawn of the Abhidhamma might be pertinent here.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:23 am

Greetings,

daverupa wrote:Analayo's recent work on the Dawn of the Abhidhamma might be pertinent here.

Looks like a very good piece of work - and if one does not have the time, nor inclination to read the entire thing, the conclusion stands alone as a worthwhile read.

The conclusion concludes as follows...

...born out of what originally was a commentary on the Dharma,
Abhidharma has gone “further”, abhi-, than the Dharma, something that
is evident in the employment of new terminology and ideas. Arisen
from the wish to clarify the teachings of the recently deceased Buddha,
what is characteristic of the Abhidharma is a conception of wisdom that
aims at a complete coverage by surveying all the constituents of a single
moment in their interrelation, instead of merely monitoring a process of
disenchantment, dispassion, and seeing as it really is.

... which reads like something of a "missing the forest for the trees" assessment with regards to the canonical Abhidhamma enterprise, nevermind that of the subsequent commentaries that leveraged it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mkoll » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:the conclusion stands alone as a worthwhile read.

I agree. It's just a few pages.

:reading:
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James
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:46 am

phil wrote:
Mkoll wrote:. . .
TBH, I don't know the difference between Ven. Analayo's interpretation and the ancient commentarial interpretation of internal/external awareness of feelings/mind.

Can you briefly explain the difference?


To be perfectly honest I can't without going to get the commentary which is not here now or his book which is stored away somewhere.
As I pointed above, this neatly sums up Ven Analayo's discussion on pages 94-102:
        The first way of interpreting follows the Abhidhammic and commentarial literature, which interprets 'internally/externally' to encompass phenomenon arising in oneself and others. So, when one contemplates body/feelings/mind/dhammas, one contemplates them in oneself and in others. We of course cannot read the minds of others. But reading the Abhidhammic and commentarial literature, Ven. Analayo suggests that we can direct mindfulness towards the outer manifestations of others (facial expressions, posture, movements, etc) so as to practice satipatthana 'externally'.

        The second way of interpretating is suggested by some contemporary teachers who interpret 'internally/externally' to refer to what is inside of the body and what is on the outside of the body--i.e. the surface of the skin. I won't reproduce Ven. Analayo's arguments in detail here. But he more or less argues that while such interpretations are not entirely unfounded and have their practical benefits, they have their limits (e.g. it becomes hard to maintain such a distinction when one begins to contemplate the dhammas). viewtopic.php?f=44&t=1122&p14012#p14012
And as I said Ven Analayo in the second to last paragraph (in his 8 page discussion of the subject) of the subject of internal/external states:

        In summary, although alternative ways of understanding internal satipatthana have their practical value, to understand "internal" as referring to oneself and "external" as referring to others offers a practicable form of contemplation which can moreover claim support from the discourses, the Abhidhamma, and the commentaries.


phil wrote:It's quite possible that his explanation is in line with the predominant exolanation[sic] of the commentary.
As the immediately above quote shows, it would seem so.

But I remember that there are different explanations which the speaker I was listening to (joseoh Goldstein) referred to in passing without explaining in the least before saying he was going to go with Ven Analayo's.
It certainly would help to link to the the offending talk. In the talk I linked above http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_p ... 6/293.html , 2005-03-24 Satipatthana Sutta - part 14 [of 46] - The Refrain, Goldstein states this:
    "The first line of the refrain” – these are the words of the Buddha --, “In this way in regards to feelings (and again it repeated “in regards to the mind”) one abide contemplating feelings, contemplating the mind, internally; one contemplates them externally; one contemplates them both internally and externally.” That is the first line of the refrain. There are many interpretations about what this actually means, what does internal mean, what does external mean. The interpretation that is commonly suggested and one that is applicable to all the four foundations of mindfulness is the one I’d like to discuss tonight. And that is internal refers to one’s own experience. External refers to the experiences of others.
In other words, he gives a discussion of internal/external that is grounded solidly in the suttas and the commentary to the Satipatthana Sutta, and it is grounded in the direct experiential contexts of practice.

In this talk Satipatthana Sutta - part 3 - Concentration And Contemplation there is a detailed discussion but there is no mention Ven Analayo. And there is no mention of Ven Analayo in the “part 14” talk above in the way you suggested.

But I remember that there are different explanations which the speaker I was listening to (joseoh Goldstein) referred to in passing without explaining in the least before saying he was going to go with Ven Analayo's.
I do not think you remembered this very well at all.

Again in this one case fair enough and maybe it's the best explanation.
Goldstein was classically trained, and he also is giving an a discussion that is informed by his personal experience as a meditator and with what he has learned from some 40 years of teaching and working with traditional teachers. You want a detailed discussion of the modern variation of internal/external, that need can be met by Ven Analayo’s book.

But the thing that kind of amazes me is that so far in approximately 13 hours of talks on the sutta that I have listened to he hasn't made a single reference to the classical commentary which would require a subtler, less easily applicable explanation of satipatthana.
It is well over 46 hours of talks, and to say that he has not made a single reference commentarial reference is interesting, given that Joseph was classically trained, takes the commentaries seriously, but is not slavish to them. With the question of internal/external in the Satipatthana Sutta’s refrain, his discussion is straight out of the commentary, and this nothing to do with Ven Analayo. It is straight out of the suttas and the commentary and looked at in terms of actual practice. I have heard Joseph say much the same in the late 70’s early 80’s at the three 3 month retreats I attended with him. Goldstein, on the basis of his own experience is able to bring the Satipatthana Sutta to life. It is not dry regurgitive exposition; rather, it is Dhamma that is vital and experienced, and I would daresay there is far more depth in his talks than you seem to be grasping.

facile
The only thing facile here is this msg of yours to which I am responding.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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