Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?classic

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Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?classic

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 9:31 am

I would like to look at this post of Mikes from the causes for wisdom thread. I think he is asking for specifics so this thread can look at any points on this matter.
(and keep more general posts related to the causes for wisdom on that thread)
I don't find Robert's posts unpleasant, and I did have a nice afternoon tea with Robert and some of his friends in Bangkok. And I have no problem with them presenting their opinions. However, my impression of their criticisms of other teachers is like Tilt's: that they inaccurate and often evasive. Rather than pointing out something specific that someone is teaching or doing wrong, the discussion (as in this thread) tends to focus on assumptions about what "meditators" do.

I have given examples of what other teachers say, which I find to be consistent with the statements from the Buddha that anything that arises does so from causes and conditions. I was hoping that by giving such references we we might be able to discuss in detail where exactly particular teachers and Dhamma practitioners are, or are not, making serious errors. This is clearly an important question, but to answer it requires engagement with the specifics
.

Note: I would prefer that this stays in the Classical Theravada forum. If anyone would like to present arguments that don't fit here they are very welcome to start a different thread with a simila heading in another forum.
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Re: Vipassana: formal practice or technique or daily life?

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 9:38 am

One of the things that is crucial to know is that, according to classical Theravada the way of vipassana and the way of samatha are different.
Howewer the wise one who is skiled in samattha, may if endowed with mastery of jhana, may even learn to see jhana factors directly as anatta , dukkha and anicca.

It should also be noted that this jhanalabhi is said to be uncommon or even no longer viable. So most of my posts will be discussing the sukkha vipassaka , dry insight worker, who does not attain mundan jhana.
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Re: Vipassana: formal practice or technique or daily life?

Postby Ben » Mon May 06, 2013 9:47 am

robertk wrote:One of the things that is crucial to know is that, according to classical Theravada the way of vipassana and the way of samatha are different.
Howewer the wise one who is skiled in samattha, may if endowed with mastery of jhana, may even learn to see jhana factors directly as anatta , dukkha and anicca.

It should also be noted that this jhanalabhi is said to be uncommon or even no longer viable. So most of my posts will be discussing the sukkha vipassaka , dry insight worker, who does not attain mundan jhana.


Dear Robert,
Please remember to cite when making an assertion such as above, as per the guidelines for the Classical Theravada forum.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Vipassana: formal practice or technique or daily life?

Postby Ben » Mon May 06, 2013 10:12 am

The Abhidhamma and Classical Theravada sub-forums are specialized venues for the discussion of the Abhidhamma and the classical Mahavihara understanding of the Dhamma. Within these forums the Pali Tipitaka and its commentaries are for discussion purposes treated as authoritative. These forums are for the benefit of those members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of these texts and are not for the challenging of the Abhidhamma and/or Theravada commentarial literature.

Posts should also include support from a reference or a citation (Tipitaka, commentarial, or from a later work from an author representative of the Classical point-of-view).

Posts that contain personal opinions and conjecture, points of view arrived at from meditative experiences, conversations with devas, blind faith in the supreme veracity of one's own teacher's point of view etc. are all regarded as off-topic, and as such, will be subject to moderator review and/or removal.
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Re: Vipassana: formal practice or technique or daily life?

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 10:17 am

Now to come back to my opening posts
First I would like to look at the two ways: samatha and vipassana
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/99247
, Sarah quotes from Atthasalini, 'Fourfold
Jhana', PTS transl.

Sarah: > Now here's the paragraph on the two kinds of jhana with the
Pali below.
(Quoted by Scott before):

"Jhaana is twofold: that which (views or) examines closely the object
and that which examines closely the characteristic marks
[aaramma.nupanijjhaana~n ca lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m]. Of these
two, 'object-scrutinising' jhaana examines closely those devices [for
self-hypnosis]* as mental objects. Insight, the Path and Fruition are
called 'characteristics-examining jhaana.' Of these three, insight is
so called from its examining closely the characteristics of
impermanence, etc. Because the work to be done by insight is
accomplished through the Path, the Path is so called. And because
Fruition examines closely the Truth of cessation, and possesses the
characteristic of truth, it also is called 'characteristic-examining
jhaana.'

"Of these two kinds of jhaana, the 'object-examining' mode is
here intended. Hence, from its examining the object and extinguishing
the opposing Hindrances, jhaana is to be thus understood."

Pali:

"Duvidha.m jhaana.m aaramma.nupanijjhaana~n ca lakkha.nupanijjhaana~n
ca.
Tattha a.t.thasamaapatti-pa.thaviikasi.naadiaaramma.nam upanijjhaayatii
ti
aaramman.nupanijjhaanan ti sa"nkha"gataa vipassanaa. Maggaphalaani pana
lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m naama.

Tattha vipassanaa aniccadilakkha.nassa upanijjhaayanato
lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m , vipassanaaya katakiccassa magge ijjhanato maggo
lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m phala.m pana nirodha-sacca.m. Tattha lakkha.nam
upanijjhaayatii ti lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m.

Tesu imasmi.m atthe aaramma.nupanijjhaanam adhippeta.m. Kasmaa?
Aaramma.nupanijjhaanato pacaniikajjhaapanato vaa jhaanan ti veditabba.m"
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Re: Vipassana: formal practice or technique or daily life?

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 10:26 am

Regarding the sukkha vipassaka , the dry insight worker:
The Netti-pakarana (587):

"Tattha Bhagava tikkhindriyassa samatham upadassati, majjhindriyassa Bhagava samathavipassanam upadissati, mudindriyassa Bhagava vipassanam upadassati. Herein the Blessed one teaches samatha to one of keen faculties; The blessed one teaches samatha and insight to one of medium faculties and the blessed one teaches insight [alone] to one of blunt faculties.


Again in the Netti (746)it says that the Buddha teaches insight [alone] to one who is guidable (neyya) and teaches in detail to neyya. At this time (acording to the texts) there are only padaparama and neyya. Padaparama cannot attain in this life, although they can in future lives.. We - so the Theravada commentaries say- are either padaparama or neyya and we need many details. Only the very wise ones with great accumulations could master jhana and use it as the base for insight. Nevertheless all types of kusala - of which samatha is one of the highest- should be developed as all kusala assists insight.
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Re: Vipassana: formal practice or technique or daily life?

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 1:27 pm

related to my earlier post about contemplation as a prime cause.
contemplation can be at the level of pondering the teachings, but it can go deeper.
terms like bhavana and jhaya are related.

Sometimes the word bhavana is used to refer to either samatha or the development of vipassana (which is actually satipatthana).

When the texts talk about meditation, jhaya, it is useful to know that there are two types.

The Dhammapada 371 :"
Meditate, o bhikkhu and be not heedless
."

The atthakatha(Commentary) says "o bhikkhus meditate by the two kinds of meditative absorptions" And the tika notes that this is twofold in "the sense of meditative absorption that arises depending on an object and meditative absorption that arises dependent on characteristics"
The tika later explains this by saying that the first is (p506 note 6 of carter and palihawadana) "the eight attainments (jhanas) to be obtained by training the mind in concentrating on one of the thirty eight objects such as kasina [or metta, or Buddha or Dhamma or breath etc] and the second means 'insight wisdom, path and fruit'..to be obtained by reflecting on the three characteristics'"
it is this latter way, which is the way of vipassana that i want to explore in this thread.

Now when it says 'reflecting' this includes direct insight into the actual characteristics and conditions of the present moment(patipatti) right up to the vipassana nanas and magga and phala(pativedha). The Dhammapada pradipaya (see p457 of carter) says "to consider the coming into being of rupa on account of ignorance, craving, kammaand nutrition, and also to see the mere characteristics of its instantaneous coming into being, without looking for causative aspect; thus one should consider the rise of rupa in five ways. Likewise to consider the rise of
the other 4 khandas in the same way...Thus the rise of the pancakkhanda (five aggregates )is seen in 25 ways. To see that the rise of the khandas is stopped by abolishing the causes:ignorance, craving, kamma and nutrition..in this way the cessation of the agregates should be seen
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 06, 2013 11:28 pm

robertk wrote:The atthakatha(Commentary) says "o bhikkhus meditate by the two kinds of meditative absorptions" And the tika notes that this is twofold in "the sense of meditative absorption that arises depending on an object and meditative absorption that arises dependent on characteristics"
The tika later explains this by saying that the first is (p506 note 6 of carter and palihawadana) "the eight attainments (jhanas) to be obtained by training the mind in concentrating on one of the thirty eight objects such as kasina [or metta, or Buddha or Dhamma or breath etc] and the second means 'insight wisdom, path and fruit'..to be obtained by reflecting on the three characteristics'"
it is this latter way, which is the way of vipassana that i want to explore in this thread.


The Visuddhimagga indicates that the arising of insight wisdom requires the jhana factors to be developed enough for either jhana itself or for access concentration (upacarasamadhi).

Visuddhimagga: CHAPTER XVIII PURIFICATION OF VIEW (Diþþhi-visuddhi-niddesa)
1. [587] Now it was said earlier (XIV.32) that he “should first fortify his knowledge
by learning and questioning about those things that are the ‘soil’ after he has
perfected the two purifications—purification of virtue and purification of
consciousness—that are the ‘roots.’” Now of those, purification of virtue is the quite,
purified fourfold virtue beginning with Pátimokkha restraint; and that has already
been dealt with in detail in the Description of Virtue; (Chs. I and II) and the purification
of consciousness, namely the eight attainments together with access concentration
,
has also been dealt with in detail in all its aspects in the Description of Concentration,
(Chs. III to XIII) stated under the heading of “consciousness” [in the introductory
verse]. So those two purifications should be understood in detail as given there.


And Visuddhimagga, Chapter I paragraph 6:
6. In some instances this path of purification is taught by insight alone, [3] according
as it is said:
    “Formations are all impermanent:
    When he sees thus with understanding
    And turns away from what is ill,
    That is the path to purity” (Dhp 277).
[3] “The words ‘insight alone’ are meant to exclude not virtue, etc., but serenity (i.e.
jhána), which is the opposite number in the pair, serenity and insight. This is for
emphasis. But the word ‘alone’ actually excludes only that concentration with distinction
[of jhána]; for concentration is classed as both access and absorption (see IV.32). Taking this stanza as the teaching for one whose vehicle is insight does not imply that there is no concentration; for no insight comes about without momentary concentration. And again, insight should be understood as the three contemplations of impermanence,
pain, and not-self; not contemplation of impermanence alone” (Vism-mhþ 9–10).


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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 06, 2013 11:30 pm

Greetings,

In Visuddhimagga, to what extent are "insight wisdom" (vipassana-nana) and "vipassana" regarded as synonymous?

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: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 06, 2013 11:52 pm

Hi Retro,

I think that "insight wisdom" is a common way of describing the vipassana nanas described in the Visuddimagga and other commentaries. The Visuddhimagga passages I quoted speak of "purification of view", which comes after purification of virtue, and purification of conciousness, the latter defined as access concentration or jhana.

In footnote 7 of Chapter 1 Ven Nanamoli notes:
Samatha—”serenity” is a synonym for absorption concentration, and “insight”
(vipassaná) a synonym for understanding. Samatha is sometimes rendered by
“tranquillity” (reserved here for passaddhi) or “calm” or “quiet.”



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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby robertk » Tue May 07, 2013 3:38 am

The Visuddhimagga indicates that the arising of insight wisdom requires the jhana factors to be developed enough for either jhana itself or for access concentration (upacarasamadhi).

actually the visiddhimagga does not say that.
The section on concentration in the VIs. details all the objects for samatha and also gives the attainments from access up to the 8th jhana. These are all mundane and available to wise men outside the sasana (except for specialized objects such as the Buddha).
For the one who attains mastery of the jhanas he can enter at leave at will, in an instant. Sariputta for example had mastery of jhana after he attained sotapanna stage: later while he was fanning the Buddha he was listening while the Buddha gave a talk to another rmonk. During this time Sariputta was entering and leaving jhana many many times. He attained Arahatship as a jhanalabhi, with all the discrimnations. He was not a mere sukkhavipassaka arahat.

In the next section about wisdom, in the VIs. it explains the way of insight for both the one who has mastered jhana and the one who is a dry insight worker.
For the dry insight worker only khanika Samadhi is required. Khanki Samadhi- momentary concentration - can be either kusala or akusala. The Samadhi - ekaggata cetasika- can be weak to strong. At the brief moments of vipassana nana it is strong because it is focusses so clearly, as the difference between mind door and sense door is revealed. And at the moment of penetrating Nibbana it is very strong indeed, and is even given the name 'jhana' because of its strength.
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby robertk » Tue May 07, 2013 5:47 am

.
In the Atthasalini -I use The expositor PTS (translator : maung tin).
P58. Triplets in the Matika



"'leading to accumulation' are those states which go about severally arranging births and deaths in a round of of destiny like a bricklayer who arranges bricks, layer by layer in a wall."

"..leading to accumulation are those causes which by being accomplished go to, or lead a man, in whom they arise, to that round of rebirth"



It then defines these causes as "moral or immoral states". i.e akusala AND kusala. It notes that the way leading to dispersion is the Ariyan path (eightfactored path). There is then several chapters (total of 140 pages) that gives much details about the various types of kusala (wholesome consciousness). The last two chapters in this section explain all the different types of "MUNDANE" Jhanas. Thus even mundane jhana is considered as building the wall

The start of the next chapter is interesting: this is where it discusses the eight-fold path. The Discourse on LOKUTTARA (transcendental).




"He cultivates the Jhana means that he evolves, produces the ecstatic jhana of one momentary flash of consciousness. because it goes forth from the world, from the round of rebirths, this is jhana called going out...This is not like that which is known as 'leading to accumulation' which heaps up and increases rebirths by the moral(kusala) consciousness of the three planes[includes kusala such as giving as well as all levels of "mundane" jhana]"
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby robertk » Tue May 07, 2013 5:48 am

I read this in something Nina Van Gorkom wrote:
the Atthasaalini (Cittupaada, Analysis of Terms): By samaya is shown
the concurrence of conditions, the mutual contribution towards the
production of a common result. The Expositor explains with regard to
samaya as condition: <By this word showing thus the condition, the
conceit of one who believes that states unconditionally follow one’s
own will is subdued.>

In the same passage: It shows the extreme shortness of the time in
the occurrence of kusala citta and it points out <the extreme rarity
of such moments>. It stresses that advice has been given that we
should have strenuousness and earnestness in pa.tivedha, realization
of the truth, since this is very difficult: <
as difficult for the
mind as stringing pearls in the dark by a lightning-flash, because of
its extremely short duration.>
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby Ben » Tue May 07, 2013 5:57 am

robertk wrote:I read this in something Nina Van Gorkom wrote:
the Atthasaalini (Cittupaada, Analysis of Terms): By samaya is shown
the concurrence of conditions, the mutual contribution towards the
production of a common result. The Expositor explains with regard to
samaya as condition: <By this word showing thus the condition, the
conceit of one who believes that states unconditionally follow one’s
own will is subdued.>

In the same passage: It shows the extreme shortness of the time in
the occurrence of kusala citta and it points out <the extreme rarity
of such moments>. It stresses that advice has been given that we
should have strenuousness and earnestness in pa.tivedha, realization
of the truth, since this is very difficult: <
as difficult for the
mind as stringing pearls in the dark by a lightning-flash, because of
its extremely short duration.>


Please differentiate what is quoted from the atthasalini, what is analysis/interpretation by Van Gorkom or what is presented is a mere rememberance or paraphrasing of what is written by Van Gorkom.
Thank you,

Ben
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby robertk » Tue May 07, 2013 9:56 am

Robert:I read this in something Nina Van Gorkom wrote:



NINA: the Atthasaalini (Cittupaada, Analysis of Terms): By samaya is shown
the concurrence of conditions, the mutual contribution towards the
production of a common result. The Expositor explains with regard to
samaya as condition:

ATTHASALINI (BUDDHAGHOSA} <By this word showing thus the condition, the
conceit of one who believes that states unconditionally follow one’s
own will is subdued.>

NINAIn the same passage: It shows the extreme shortness of the time in
the occurrence of kusala citta and it points out


ATTHASALINI (BUDDHAGHOSA} <the extreme rarity
of such moments>.

NINA It stresses that advice has been given that we
should have strenuousness and earnestness in pa.tivedha, realization
of the truth, since this is very difficult:
<

ATTHASANLINI (buddhaghosa} as difficult for the
mind as stringing pearls in the dark by a lightning-flash, because of
its extremely short duration.>


I will withdraw from this thread for now.
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby kirk5a » Tue May 07, 2013 1:47 pm

I've been waiting to see something that bears on the question: formal practice or technique or daily life? My understanding is that Mahavihara was a monastery. How did they practice?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 07, 2013 5:36 pm

kirk5a wrote:I've been waiting to see something that bears on the question: formal practice or technique or daily life? My understanding is that Mahavihara was a monastery. How did they practice?
The handbook of practice commissioned by the Mahavihara is the Visuddhimagga. That would for the monks by 500 CE represent the ideal way of practice. The practice for the laity would be more devotional. The laity doing the sort of heavy duty practice that we see now is a relavity new phenomena, though it is not unheard of in the commentaries. The Vimuttimagga is an older practice handbook that could be looked at.

The Pali The Yogavacara's manual represents a little less orthodox more magical way of practice that one might find around the edges.
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: Vipassana:formal practice or technique or daily life?cla

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 07, 2013 7:21 pm

robertk wrote:For the dry insight worker only khanika Samadhi is required. Khanki Samadhi- momentary concentration -


The quote I gave above seems to imply that momentary concentration is the same as access concentration:
“The words ‘insight alone’ are meant to exclude not virtue, etc., but serenity (i.e.
jhána), which is the opposite number in the pair, serenity and insight. This is for
emphasis. But the word ‘alone’ actually excludes only that concentration with distinction
[of jhána]; for concentration is classed as both access and absorption (see IV.32). Taking this stanza as the teaching for one whose vehicle is insight does not imply that there is no concentration; for no insight comes about without momentary concentration. And again, insight should be understood as the three contemplations of impermanence,pain, and not-self; not contemplation of impermanence alone” (Vism-mhþ 9–10).

This was a topic of dispute in the 1960s. The question being whether the Burmese teacher-scholars such as Mahasi Sayadaw had misunderstood the ancient commentaries:
Satipaṭṭhāna Vipassanā: Criticisms and Replies
http://static.sirimangalo.org/mahasi/Sa ... eplies.htm

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