Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:09 am

A new thread has been started with an off topic posting to this thread.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10583
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Samvega » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:10 pm

Okay, I'm back. I'm truly sorry about the lapsed time. I have been a little overwhelmed this year at work. I'm going to to try for about 1 chapter every 2 weeks. I'd also like to see if there are any volunteers to pick up and lead with some chapters.

Chapter 2: The "Definition" Part of the Satipatthana Sutta

The chapter is essentially about the definition of Samma Sati (Right MIndfulness)

2.1 Contemplation

The definition part of the satipatthana sutta repeatedly makes use of the word anupassati. It's generally translated as "contemplation". As in "He abides contemplating feelings, diligent, clearly knowing...". Anupassati is derived from passati "to see" with a the prefix "anu" for emphasis. It literally means "To closely observe".

One of the most historically puzzling things about the satipatthana sutta has been why, in the definition part, does the sutta repeat itself in regards to the instruction for what is to be contemplated. What does the sutta mean when it gives the instruction to abide "contemplating the body in the body"?

Analayo believes that the first instance of "body" in the sentence signifies the specific body being contemplated. That is, either your own or somebody elses. The second instance of "body" in the sentence is in regards to a specific aspect of the body, such as the breath, or posture, or constitution. There is evidence to support this use of the word "body" because in one sutta the Buddha speaks of the process of breathing as "a body among bodies".

He extention of the phrase reads "in regard to your own body or the bodies of others, direct awareness to its impermanent nature evident in different aspects of the body, such as the process of breathing..."

2.2 The significance of being diligent (Atapi)

There are 4 qualities that are required for satipatthana: Diligence, Clearly Knowing, Midfulness, and Freedom from desires and discontent

Analayo uses this section to discuss the idea that perhaps can put worth too much effort on the path and that it is important ro walk a middle path between self-mortification and laziness. He notes that the proper reading of Atapi is something along the lines of " balances but sustained application of energy", and that it is an essential quality to satipatthana.

2.3 Clearly Knowing (Sampajana)

In order to devine its meaning, Analayo uses a series of examples from the sutta's where the word sampajana is used. He comes to the conclusing that in all cases it simple seems to mean "the ability to sully grasp or comprehend what is taking place."

Analayo notes that sampajana aids in the cultivation of wisdom, but does not necessitate it. For instance, it is possible to "clearly know" that you are lying to someone, but not be doing so wisely. It's unclear at this point whether Sampajana is REQUIRED to wisdom (panna) to arise.

2.4 Mindfulness and Clear Knowledge

In the sutta's, Sampajana is usually accommpanied with sati (mindfuless) and combined into one word: satisampajanna: mindfulness and clear knowledge.

It seems that these two qualities work in tandem to bring about wisdom. That is "clear knowledge has the task of processing the input gathered by mindful observation". These two things, mindfulness and clear knowledge seem very similar and nuanced. Is it possible to be mindful without clearly knowing? What would that look like? Sati is explored more in the next chapter and will perhaps provide us with an answer.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Gena1480 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:24 pm

Dmytro
sati is recollection
recollection of 32 parts of the body
recollection of 3 types of feeling
recollection of ill mind, sense desire mind.
recollection of mental constructions.
recollection is like finding what you have been searching for.
directing the mind or direct attention, is part of right concentration.
the function of sati is recollection or finding what has been lost.
if 4 foundation of sati is developed
the mind will not get lost, thus it won't be in delusion.
metta

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:56 am

Gena1480 wrote:Dmytro
sati is recollection
recollection of 32 parts of the body
recollection of 3 types of feeling
recollection of ill mind, sense desire mind.
recollection of mental constructions.
recollection is like finding what you have been searching for.
directing the mind or direct attention, is part of right concentration.
the function of sati is recollection or finding what has been lost.
if 4 foundation of sati is developed
the mind will not get lost, thus it won't be in delusion.
metta
Please stay on topic.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby manas » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:35 am

Hi samvega, all,

I was reading through some material on 'access to insight' and came across this, which is of relevance to the discussion here:

Mindfulness & Alertness

"Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all. And how is a monk mindful? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk is mindful.

"And how is a monk alert? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all."

— SN 47.35
(from this page, about 2/3 of the way down though: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... l#Heading3

I can see that while sati and sampajanna work in tandem, that yet again - going by this definiton - they have slightly different functions. (I will leave the analysis to others who can better frame it in words, at present I can see a difference, but I hesitate to attempt to clearly define it as yet, I need to think about it for a while.)
Last edited by manas on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:53 pm

What Does Mindfulness Really Mean? A Canonical Perspective - Bodhi (2011)

The purpose of this paper is to determine the meaning and function of mindfulness meditation using as the source of inquiry the Pāli Canon, the oldest complete collection of Buddhist texts to survive intact. Mindfulness is the chief factor in the practice of satipaṭṭhāna, the best known system of Buddhist meditation. In descriptions of satipaṭṭhāna two terms constantly recur: mindfulness (sati) and clear comprehension (sampajañña). An understanding of these terms based on the canonical texts is important not only from a philological angle but because such understanding has major bearings on the actual practice of meditation. The word sati originally meant ‘memory,’ but the Buddha ascribed to this old term a new meaning determined by the aims of his teaching. This meaning, the author holds, might best be characterized as ‘lucid awareness.’ He questions the common explanation of mindfulness as ‘bare attention,’ pointing out problems that lurk behind both words in this expression. He also briefly discusses the role of clear comprehension (sampajañña) and shows that it serves as a bridge between the observational function of mindfulness and the development of insight. Finally, he takes up the question whether mindfulness can legitimately be extracted from its traditional context and employed for secular purposes. He maintains that such non-traditional applications of mindfulness are acceptable and even admirable on the ground that they help alleviate human suffering, but he also cautions against a reductionist understanding of mindfulness and urges that investigators respect the religious tradition in which it is rooted.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:35 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:What Does Mindfulness Really Mean? A Canonical Perspective - Bodhi (2011). . .
[/quote]Thanks. It is a good addition to the thread.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Chapter 3:Sati (Part One)

Postby Samvega » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:33 pm

Before starting, I'd just like to note the the person posting as Sam Vega is not me.

Chapter 3: Sati Part One

3.1 The Early Buddhist Approach to Knowledge

Ancient India recognized three sources of knowledge: oral tradition, logical reasoning, and direct intuition (gained through meditation). The Buddha placed his philosophical emphasis into the third category. Although not completely discounting the other two modes, they are considered unreliable and subordinate to direct intuition.

Unfortunately it is and even in the Buddha's time was often the case that direct personal experience might illuminate only part of the picture. This can lead one to incorrectly conclude that their personal experience is the only truth. In other words, "this is what I experienced in meditation, so if other people don't experience this they must be doing it wrong." (See the elephant and blind men parable)

This is why oral tradition and logical reasoning must not be cast aside entirely. The oral tradition of meditation instruction, as well as the sutta, help to guide our minds to seeing the ful picture.

3.2 Sati

Sati is related to the pali word "sarati", which means "too remember". Sati has a strong connotation with recollection, but IS NOT ITSELF RECOLLECTION. Sati is not memory but is instead a faculty that "facilitates and enables memory". If sati is present, then memory will be able to function well. In the footnotes, Analayo quotes Nanamoli: " keen attentiveness to the present forms the basis for an accurate memory of the past ... midnfulness and memory ... the keenness of one naturally leads to the clarity of the other".

In the context of satipattana, Sati loses it's connotation with recollection. It fuctions simply as awareness of the present moment. Commentaries support this interpretation by assigning Sati with the characteristic quality of "presence".

3.3 The Role and Position of Sati

To ascertain the role of Sati in practice, Analayo looks at Sati in the context of the faculties and powers, the noble eighfold path, and the awakening factors. In the faculties and powers, as well as in the noble eightfold path, Sati is sandwhiched between energy (effort) and concentration. According to Analayo, this mirrors a natural progression in the devolopment of sati, as beginning meditation require significant energy to counter distraction at first. Sati compliments/supports effort and concentration.

In contrast Sati appears formost at the top of the list of awakening factors. Sati constitutes the foundation of the those factors that bring about realization. According to the anapanasati sutta, the factors arise sequentially, and are consequent of the presence of sati.

One very interesting note is the fact that the sutta's use the word sati in the definition of "right sati". This means that "sati" in general, is not the same as "right sati". Indeed, contrary the orthodox Theravada position, Analayo concludes with the sarvastivadins that sati is not in and of itself a wholesome mental factor. There is a such this as "wrong sati" which is not supported by diligence (atapi) and clear knowledge (sampajana). To be right sati, it must be supported by atapi and samajana, and must be complemented with a mind free from discontent and directed properly at either body, feelings, mind, or dhammas.

3.4 Sati Imagery

To be continued...

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:02 am

Before starting, I'd just like to note the the person posting as Sam Vega is not me.


Apologies, Samvega. I didn't know that a similar name had already been "taken". I will wait to see if I get any responses to my current postings, and then I will change my name on this site.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:18 pm

Sam Vega wrote:
Before starting, I'd just like to note the the person posting as Sam Vega is not me.


Apologies, Samvega. I didn't know that a similar name had already been "taken". I will wait to see if I get any responses to my current postings, and then I will change my name on this site.

Such things can happen. Don't worry ;)

Is it too late to join this course? I didn't see this thread until now. I don't have the book yet, but that shouldn't be too hard to fix. :reading:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:27 pm

It's never too late to join a discussion...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:15 pm

Ah :)
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Samvega » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:37 pm

3.4 Sati Imagery

The meaning and significance of sati can further be teased out of the discourses through a survey of the various imagery used in similies to describe it:
  1. The simile of the cowheard relaxing and watching over his cows from a distance. Connotes a calm and detached quality to sati.
  2. The simile comparing satipathana to climbing an elevated platform or tower. Also connoting a quality of aloofness or univolved detatchment.
  3. The simile comparing satipathana to the gradual taming of a wild elephant. Connotes a gradual quality to the benefits of sati.
  4. The simile comparing sati to the probe of a surgeon. This connotes a quality of information gathering in preparation for some beneficial future action.
  5. The simile comparing sati to the ploughshare of a farm also connotes a quality of preparation.
  6. The similie of the parts of the elephant, which relates sati to the elephants neck, which is supported the elephants head, which represents wisdom.
  7. The similie comparing sati to the spoke of a chariot. The chariot reresents the bodily activities of an arahant, all supported by the single spoke: sati. This seems to imply that ALL of the activities of an arahant have sati at their root.
  8. The similie of keeping the streams in check, in which sati keep the streams of the world in check so that wisdom can cut them off. This similie has a special role in vipassana.
  9. The similie comparing sati to a careful charioteer. The connotes a special monitoring and steering quality to sati in relation to other mental factors.
  10. The similie comparing mindfuless of the body to carrying a bowl full of oil on one's head. Analayo notes that this illustrates a quality of balancing. I'm a little perplexed by it but in his footnotes he say he will go into more detail on this similie later in the book.
  11. The similie comparing sati to the gatekeeper of a town. This similie occurs twice. In one instance the role of the gatekeeper is to detail the shortest route to the king for the delivery of an important message. In the other his defensive role is to discriminate between the genuine citizens of the town and harmful non-citzens. Both relate sati to having a clear overview of the situation. The second seems particularly relevant to meditation and guarding the sense doors, just like the simile of keeping the streams in check.
  12. Several similies relate Sati to "knowing the proper pasture". I found the most striking to be the simile of the monkey avoiding dangerous areas w/ hunters. Sati is the ability of the monkey to avoid those areas.
  13. The final way Sati is characterized is as a stabilizing function. This is typified by the simile comapring sati to a post to which 6 wild animals (the senses) are chained. The post keeps the animals from getting out of control and on their own.
In summary, the similies convey sati as a detached guardian of the sense doors. It is assigned a distinct role having to do with awareness of, and guidance of what goes in and out the sense doors.

3.5 Characteristics and Functions of Sati

Sati must be differentiated from right effort. Sati never actually intervenes with any thought processes. It serves only the role of a detached and aloof observer. The purpose of sati is to make things conscious, not to elminate them. It's detached quality allows for an objective assessment of the situation, without the interference of the ego. It avoids the extremes of suppression and reaction, and instead mandates that one stand back and look at ones own shortcomings. Oftentimes this in itself is enough to eliminate unwholesome tendencies.

Sati's potential lies in it's ability to illuminate our automatic and habitual responses to certain stimuli. We "de-automize" ourself and are suddenly aware of our own habits, tendencies, and projections. Our mind has a habit of ampifying or distorting information is recieve in some way, and sati restrains it by becoming aware of its own tendency to do so.

This reminds me of the socratic premise that nobody knowingly errs. If people only know and could see clearly the damaging effects of their habits and actions, they would automatically cease them.

"Sati entails an alert but receptive equanimus observation."

3.6 Sati and Concentration

Sati is necessary for jhana to occur. In the third and fourth jhanas it becomes particularly prominent. There are several suttas that testify to the important of satipatthana in Jhana.

Analayo singles out the Dantabhumi Sutta as an example. This sutta described the use contemplation of body, feelings, mind and dhammas with the purpose that one should avoid "having any thoughts". This seems to differ from satipatthana in that diligence and clear knowledge are conspicuously absent. It is thus an "intermediate" step between insight and calm that the sutta is describing here. The object and observational quality of the practice persists.

Another sutta that Analayo singles out is the Culavedalla Sutta. This sutta actually speaks of satipatthana as the "cause" of concentration.

At this point Analayo breaks away from emphasizing the relationship betwene sati and samadhi to emphasize that they are in fact fundamentaly two different modes of practice. He says that concentration corresponds to an enhancement of the selective function of the mind, while sati is an enhancement to the recollective function. Concentration restricts the breadth of attention and sati expands it. In the footnotes Analayo actually references some neuroscience to back up the claim that these two modes of mental functioning correspond to two completely separate cortical control mechanisms in the brain.

The Buddha himself makes the point of their difference in S V 156 when he recommends a remedy for sluggishness in meditation being the switching of modes from satipatthana into samatha. More specifically, the Buddha reccommends switching from an undirected to a directed form of meditation. Thus they two modes are different but as a whole support each other.

The reason that Jhana alone is not sufficient by itself for liberating insight is because by its nature of restrictive focus, it inhibits the passive observational qualities of broad awareness needed to become aware of those qualities of experience that lead to insight. This shouldn't be contrued to say that Jhana is detrimental, however, because the abundance of evidence indicates that in fact the opposite is true.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby cooran » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:19 am

Hello all,

This might be of assistance if not already mentioned:

The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
[………………………………………………….]
In Theravada Buddhist circles during the past few decades a debate has repeatedly erupted over the question whether or not jhāna is necessary to attain the "paths and fruits," that is, the four graded stages of enlightenment. The debate has been sparked off by the rise to prominence of the various systems of insight meditation that have become popular both in Asia and the West, especially among lay Buddhists. Those who advocate such systems of meditation contend that the paths and fruits can be attained by developing insight (vipassanā) without a foundation of jhāna. This method is called the vehicle of bare insight (suddha-vipassanā), and those who practise in this mode are known as "dry insighters" (sukkha-vipassaka) because their practice of insight has not been "moistened" by prior attainment of the jhānas. Apparently, this system finds support from the Visuddhimagga and the Pāli Commentaries, though it is not given a very prominent place in the commentarial treatment of the path, which usually follows the canonical model in placing the jhānas before the development of insight.[2]
To help answer the question whether the jhānas are necessary for the attainment of the stages of awakening, we might narrow the question down by asking whether they are needed to reach the first stage of awakening, known as stream-entry (sotāpatti).
[............continues...............................................]
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha267.htm

with metta
Chris
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Samvega » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:30 pm

There is a short passage in the chapter where Analayo mentions and seemingly dismisses these issues. I left it out because it wasn't all that informative and because I knew it would likely stir the pot that it seems has already been stirred. Analayo's next chapter is also exclusively on the topic of concentration, so it may be discussed in greater detail there.

From the short paragraph on the topic starting on the bottom of page 64 and culminating at the end of the chapter (for those with the book), here is how I interpret Analayo's position. He is unequivocal that sati and samadhi are two distinct mental qualities. Otherwise, why even differentiate between them? As such, it only makes sense to me that there would be two distinct modes of meditation to best reinforce those qualities respectively, that is insight meditation and concentration meditation.

Furthermore, it's clear in the sutta's that these two mental qualities reinforce each other and both are important aspects of bhavana.

Analayo also theorizes at one point that the origins of the dry insight approach may stem from a mistranslation of one word in the commentaries. This mistranslation ascribed sati with a quality of "plunging into" it's object, which certainly a characteristic of concentration. Analayo does not say that the dry insight approach doesn't work anywhere, but does mention that the beginning stages of practice using this approach can require a considerable amount of effort on the part of the meditator because of the low degree of concentration that has been developed.

It also seems clear (to me) that just by virtue of Analayo's mention in his footnotes (footnote 78) that the standard description of the jhanas include sati and sampajanna (clear knowing), he is not advocating the a type of "tree stump jhana" where one becomes so absorbed that one is completely cut off and might as well just be a tree stump. He makes quite the point to advocate the contrary.

This doesn't mean that the primary characteristic of concentration isn't still a calming and narrowing of focus. To me it does not seem as incompatible with insight meditation as those advocates of dry insight seem to thing. It seems that sati plays the role of finding those qualities that lead to insight, while concentration plays the role of investigating and zooming in on them once they are found. Without concentration it would be impossible for the mind to stay put long enough to investigate them.

We will see what the next chapter has to add to this conversation.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Brizzy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:50 pm

Samvega wrote:
.....From the short paragraph on the topic starting on the bottom of page 64 and culminating at the end of the chapter (for those with the book), here is how I interpret Analayo's position. He is unequivocal that sati and samadhi are two distinct mental qualities. Otherwise, why even differentiate between them? As such, it only makes sense to me that there would be two distinct modes of meditation to best reinforce those qualities respectively, that is insight meditation and concentration meditation.
...............


I don't quite follow the logic that because they are two distinct mental qualities, that it must necessitate two distinct modes of meditation.When I run, I am not just exercising my legs. Anyway, I personally wouldn't know how to achieve samadhi without sati. The best way to 'reinforce' sati is with samadhi and the best way to 'reinforce' samadhi is with sati - they are to be developed within one practice.

Metta

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:10 pm

Samvega wrote:Analayo also theorizes at one point that the origins of the dry insight approach may stem from a mistranslation of one word in the commentaries. This mistranslation ascribed sati with a quality of "plunging into" it's object, which certainly a characteristic of concentration. Analayo does not say that the dry insight approach doesn't work anywhere, but does mention that the beginning stages of practice using this approach can require a considerable amount of effort on the part of the meditator because of the low degree of concentration that has been developed.
The interesting thing is that the supposed dry insight practice is not really dry at all, particularly in light of it in terms of the vipassana jhanas, which is to say that the practice vipassana practice is more in line with the suttas rather than the commentary notion of jhana practice.


Analayo . . . does mention that the beginning stages of practice using this approach can require a considerable amount of effort on the part of the meditator because of the low degree of concentration that has been developed.Having done both, I would say the "dry" method takes less effort than trying to cultivate jhana alone (even a supposed "sutta" level jhana). With the vipassana style of practice, both concentration and mindfulness are cultivated at the same time, and in terms of ongoing practice, especially in retreat settings the level of of each can quickly become quite profound. Also, when done properly, vipassana practice can prevent one from getting stuck in concentration, jhana, a problem that can bring one's practice to a dead-end.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:19 pm

Off-topic discussion has been moved to this thread:
Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Please keep the discussion on this thread focused on the study of Ven Analayo's book.


:anjali:
Mike


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