New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:09 am

It would be highly inaccurate to describe any of the teachers that have been mentioned in this thread as teaching their students no more than "just watch what comes up".

There are quotes in chapter 4, which I think present cartoon versions of teachings:

Joseph Goldstein:
“Mindfulness is the quality of mind that notices what is present, without
judgment, without interference.”

Leaving out the next sentence in the book:
http://dhammanovice.tumblr.com/post/319 ... at-notices
It is like a mirror that clearly reflects what comes before it. Munindraji summed up this quality with one simple expression: knowing things as they are."

And presumably much that is in the rest of the book...

Bhante Gunaratana:
“Mindfulness is mirror-thought. It reflects only what is presently happening
and in exactly the way it is happening. There are no biases...

However, Bhante G observes later in the chapter:
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe13.html
(a) Mindfulness reminds you of what you are supposed to be doing . In meditation, you put your attention on one item. When your mind wanders from this focus, it is Mindfulness that reminds you that your mind is wandering and what you are supposed to be doing. It is Mindfulness that brings your mind back to the object of meditation.

This is difficult for me to reconcile with Thanissaro Bhikkhu statement that these other teachers are claiming that:
... the Buddha, in defining the faculty of mindfulness in SN 48:10,
didn’t actually define it as memory; he defined it as the mental state that allows
memory to happen. In other words, attention lies in the background of the
definition without actually being mentioned in it.

There are certainly some differences between the interpretations of Ven Thanissaro, Bhante G, and Joseph Goldstein. However, when their instructions are taken as a totality the differences seem to me to be often a case of where exactly they choose to classify things amongst right thought, effort, mindfulness, concentration, wisdom, etc.

I've found Ven Thanissaro's expositions of Dhamma very useful and thoughtful. But I'm afraid I find the critiques rather shallow, so I generally ignore them. I much prefer the approach of teachers who simply say: "This is how I see it ..." and leave the listeners to do comparisons or ask questions for clarification.

:anjali:
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:41 am

mikenz66 wrote:It would be highly inaccurate to describe any of the teachers that have been mentioned in this thread as teaching their students no more than "just watch what comes up".

There are quotes in chapter 4, which I think present cartoon versions of teachings:
Thank you for tying these quote to actual authors and books so that we can see the fuller context. "Cartoon version" is to grossly understate what Ven Thanissaro has done. It is dishonest.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Goob » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:04 am

I think the danger with this book is that people will focus too much on what they perceive to be Than Geoff's attack on individual teachers just because we are able to trace exactly who said it in what publication with ease, maybe because many of us have a background in university academia where this sort of personal attacking back and forh is common, I dunno. I think that's why he doesn't quote their names, because it doesn't matter if he doesn't contextualize these statements perfectly, they are representative quotes of a mindfulness syncretism that has grown very big as a movement in the last few years, and to me not necessarily a treatise on the individual teachers' teachings.

Looking at my mum's fridge yesterday there was a clipping on so-called mindfulness from a so-called expert that says exactly the kinds of things about bare awareness that he's arguing against in the book, so to say that it's not a common position is also not true.

But if we're gonna keep discussing the indivdual teachers' differences or similarities, instead of saying that Than Geoff's dishonest and merely setting up a straw man, please supply some quotes where this is shown. I don't feel that was done at all in the earlier posts.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:31 am

richard_rca wrote:I think the danger with this book is that people will focus too much on what they perceive to be Than Geoff's attack on individual teachers just because we are able to trace exactly who said it in what publication with ease, maybe because many of us have a background in university academia where this sort of personal attacking back and forh is common, I dunno. I think that's why he doesn't quote their names, because it doesn't matter if he doesn't contextualize these statements perfectly, they are representative quotes of a mindfulness syncretism that has grown very big as a movement in the last few years, and to me not necessarily a treatise on the individual teachers' teachings.
You can try to spin it however you might, the quotes are out of context, both in terms of the immediate context of the quote and the broader context of the teacher who is being quoted. Obviously, then, the quote really does not represent some sort of general notions. This is at best problematic in that he is painting with a very broad brush, obscuring much of what is valuable and good in the process.

Looking at my mum's fridge yesterday there was a clipping on so-called mindfulness from a so-called expert that says exactly the kinds of things about bare awareness that he's arguing against in the book, so to say that it's not a common position is also not true.
You mum's frig is hardly a good source for determining whether or not the Dhammas being grossly and across the board misrepresented by vipassana teachers.

But if we're gonna keep discussing the indivdual teachers' differences or similarities, instead of saying that Than Geoff's dishonest and merely setting up a straw man, please supply some quotes where this is shown. I don't feel that was done at all in the earlier posts.
The only straw man here is the one Ven T has set up with unattributed, out of context quotes, which is shameful. We can look at these things in more detail, if you wish. I am guessing that you are a student of Ven Thanissaro and it is probably very discomforting to hear such criticisms of him, but keep in mind I have been a student of Joseph Goldstein and it grossly unfair for his work to be used in the way it has been, and for him, even if unnamed, to be characterized in the way he has by this book. I think we can do better.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby danieLion » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:53 am

deleted by author,
see: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=13538#p201420
Last edited by danieLion on Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:57 am

Hi Richard,
richard_rca wrote:I think the danger with this book is that people will focus too much on what they perceive to be Than Geoff's attack on individual teachers just because we are able to trace exactly who said it in what publication with ease, maybe because many of us have a background in university academia where this sort of personal attacking back and forh is common, I dunno. I think that's why he doesn't quote their names, because it doesn't matter if he doesn't contextualize these statements perfectly, they are representative quotes of a mindfulness syncretism that has grown very big as a movement in the last few years, and to me not necessarily a treatise on the individual teachers' teachings.

Well, you were the one who started off saying that his statements would be controversial. In my opinion they are actually rather uncontroversial, and quite similar to what many teachers teach, including the ones he appears to be criticising.
richard_rca wrote:Looking at my mum's fridge yesterday there was a clipping on so-called mindfulness from a so-called expert that says exactly the kinds of things about bare awareness that he's arguing against in the book, so to say that it's not a common position is also not true.

I'm not saying that there are not people out there who oversimplify things, but the people I mentioned above clearly don't, if you bother to read a selection of their writing, or listen to a selection of their talks.
richard_rca wrote:But if we're gonna keep discussing the indivdual teachers' differences or similarities, instead of saying that Than Geoff's dishonest and merely setting up a straw man, please supply some quotes where this is shown. I don't feel that was done at all in the earlier posts.

I gave a clear example where Bhante G's soundbite was criticised, and showed that if you read some more of the chapter, which I gave a selection from, and a link to, I think that the impression is rather different.

I'm really not interested in criticising Ven Thanissaro's Dhamma teachings, since I think that he has provided some wonderful guidance. But so have thousands of other teachers. Let's not fall into more of these silly "so and so isn't teaching according to the Buddha" conversations that seem to plague on-line forums.

:anjali:
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Goob » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:00 am

Tiltbillings: You don't have to guess, I said in one of the first posts that I like the way Than Geoff frames his teachings and that I might go and visit there someday. Having said that I'd also like to state that I have no interest in defending any teacher's view just because I would consider myself to be learning from the person. It's a difficult thing to question the identity you've built up around being the student of somebody, but I think it's healthy and necessary to be aware of it and I think scrutiny and constant reevaluation is important in any teacher/student relationship.

Interesting that you would be so quick to make that accusation by the way.

Are you dissing my mum's fridge? Just kidding.. Sure it's a fridge, but however ridiculous you make it sound by phrasing it like that the fact remains that there has been an explosion of mindfulness discourses that are bound to trickle down into a broader public's awareness and influence the way it's practiced. And why are magazine clippings on a middle-aged persons fridge not an interesting way to probe that development? We are not just talking about established scholar monks who publish in academia but the way that the concept of mindfulness has entered broader society and how much of it is ill-informed.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby robertk » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:08 am

Well I disagree with a number of things Thanissaro says, in the book and out. But I think , like richard, that expecting him to give prolonged details of every point he criticizes isnt fair. Actually if he wanted to point to my personal ideas , learnt from study and teachers,about Dhamma he was doing a reasonable job. For example i do think that satipatthana is about knowing what is arising now, without trying to change it." Understanding is all", is the way I think.

Thanissaro is all about a different path, and at least he is clear about that.
Good on him for saying so.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:09 am

danieLion wrote:Hi Tilt,
So you think he's targeting Goldstein specifically?

The problem with accusing Rev. T of going scarecrow is that it means he's either be deceptive or he's being stupid. His moral character speaks to the impossibility of the the former and his intellectual capabilities to the impossibility of the latter. He's neither immoral enough to do it on purpose nor ignorant enough to do it by accident.

Best,
Daniel
He is not doing academics; he is doing religious apologetics, but there's no reason why that cannot be held to a particular level of accountability that is not unreasonable. Is he targeting Goldstein? Damdifino, but he is using Goldstein out of context, that I can see, and it looks to me to be distorting what Goldstein is saying. Oooops. To me this devalues Ven T's work, which unfortunately does not serve Ven T well.

Are you dissing my mum's fridge? Just kidding.. Sure it's a fridge, but however ridiculous you make it sound by phrasing it like that the fact remains that there has been an explosion of mindfulness discourses that are bound to trickle down into a broader public's awareness and influence the way it's practiced, and why are magazine clippings on a middle-aged persons fridge not an interesting way to proble that development? We are not just talking about established scholar monks who publish in academia but the way that the concept of mindfulness has entered broader society through and how much of it is ill-informed.
The problem I see with what Ven T said, though I may have missed something, is that there is no nuance. Goldstein is probably the most experienced and learned lay Western vipassana teacher alive. I would be loathe to clump him in with he fluffy-bunny teachers who are guilty of the distortions Ven T rails against, but it looks like Ven T has done just that by using Golstein's work, out of context, to make his point.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:12 am

robertk wrote:Well I disagree with a huge number of things Thanissaro says, in the book and out. But I think , like richard, that expecting him to give prolonged details of every point he critizes isnt fair.
You quote someone's work, you should at least give credit by citing who wrote it, in what book, etc. That is not asking too much.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby robertk » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:16 am

I would have preferred citations too. But he probably doesn't want to name names so as to try not to upset people.
I guess he failed on that point. :smile:
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:22 am

robertk wrote:I would have preferred citations too. But he probably doesn't want to name names so as to try not to upset people.
I guess he failed on that point. :smile:
Kinda. He could have done a number of things differently without compromising his point of view and without being overly critical of the vipassana movement. A bit of nuance would have been nice as well as appropriate.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:24 am

The interesting thing is that this is not an either/or situation. Or it shouldn't be, but that is kinda of how Ven T is making it.
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:24 am

Here is a place to start in a discussion of bare attention:

    Bhikkhu Bodhi Page15
    BB 4: No problem to try to tie up this “loose end.” First, I used the phrase “the mind’s
    activity of attending to the object, the awareness of the object” as an attempt to make
    sense of the word ‘upaṭṭhāna,’ which is used in works like the Paṭisambhidāmagga and
    the commentaries to draw out the significance of sati. It wasn’t a direct “gloss” on sati
    itself.

    As a wholesome mental factor, sati is consistently explained in the same way as in the
    quotation from Vism XIV 141 (with the forms saranti, sarati, saraṇa, simply cognates of
    sati). So I don’t have any new definition of sati to offer. But I hope that I can explain how
    sati, as “bare attention,” can function as a wholesome mental factor. When I use the
    word ”awareness” or “attention” to render upaṭṭhāna, as representing sati in this role
    (which is just my hypothesis), this awareness is quite different from ordinary
    consciousness (viññāṇa), and this attention is different from manasikāra, the mental
    factor that performs the function of adverting to an object or selecting features of the
    objective field for closer focus. Sati, as bare attention, is never completely bare. When
    practiced in the full context of the noble eightfold path (even the path-practice of a
    worldling) it is, or should be, embraced by other factors of the path, most notably by right
    view, right motivation, and right effort (factors 1, 2, and 6); it is already supported by the
    three morality factors (3, 4, 5). As Ven. Nyanaponika first used the expression, sati is
    “bare” in that it is shorn of our usual emotional reactions, evaluations, judgments,
    conceptual overlays, etc., and is intended to lay bare the experienced object as clearly as
    possible.

    We should remember that sati, in the context of satipaṭṭhāna practice, is always practiced
    as part of an’anupassanā,’ and this word helps to bring out the role of sati. We usually
    translate ‘anupassanā’ as “contemplation,” thus ‘kāyānupassanā’ as “contemplation of
    the body,” but this might be somewhat misleading. It might be more accurate, and more
    literal, to translate it as “observation.” The word is made up of a prefix ‘anu’ which
    suggests repetition, and ’passanā’, which means “seeing, viewing.” So sati is part of a
    process that involves a close, repetitive observation of the object.

    page 16
    Several factors enter into anupassanā. According to the “satipaṭṭhāna refrain,” these are
    energy (ātāpī, “ardent”), clear comprehension (sampajāno), and mindfulness (satimā).
    Energy contributes the strength to fulfill the practice, but it is mindfulness that brings the
    object into the field of observation, and in many exercises (though not all) it does so
    simply through the act of attending to the object over and over, as simply as possible, and
    of attending to each object that presents itself on the successive occasions of experience.
    Mindfulness, as bare attention, is thus a key element in the process of adopting an
    “observational stance” towards one’s own experience.

    Mindfulness, as bare attention, however, isn’t just floating loosely in a void. In a
    meditative situation it will be anchored in a primary object, such as in-breathing and outbreathing,
    or the rise and fall of the abdomen. But whenever some other phenomenon
    arises and floats into the field of awareness, the meditator is advised to simply note it,
    without reacting to it, and then to bring the mind back to the primary object. If any
    reactions take place, such as enjoying the distracting object or feeling irritated by it, one
    should note the enjoyment or irritation, and again return to the primary object.
    Thus, if you have trouble seeing mindfulness–as bare attention–as a wholesome mental
    factor because it isn’t remembering one’s wholesome qualities or attending to
    bodhipakkhiya dhammas, the same problem could be posed in terms of mindfulness of
    breathing. A skeptic might say: “Yeah, I can see loving-kindness meditation, or
    compassion meditation, as a wholesome state, but mindfulness of breathing, why, you’re
    doing nothing but following your breath in and out. What could be especially
    ‘wholesome’ about that?”

    In the practice of bare attention, as used in the ”dry insight” system of vipassanā,
    mindfulness is used to note whatever is occurring on successive occasions of
    experience. As this is practiced continuously, over extended periods of time, the
    mindfulness builds up momentum. By means of this momentum, it is able to bring the
    “field of experience” into increasingly finer focus, until one can tune into the precise
    factors constituting any occasion of experience and distinguish them according to their
    place among the five aggregates. In this way, mindfulness paves the way for the
    discriminative understanding of the “constituted nature” of experience, allowing paññā to
    move in and discern the threads that make up the complex experiential occasion.
    Then because one is attending to the unfolding of experience sequentially across
    occasions of experience, the characteristic comes into sharp focus. One can see how each
    event occurs and vanishes, followed by the next event, which occurs and vanishes,
    followed by the next event, which occurs and vanishes. As concentration grows stronger,
    this ability to focus upon the arising and passing of events becomes more refined, so that
    it seems one is perceiving the arising and passing of cognitive events in terms of
    nanoseconds. Again, this uncovers, even more starkly, the characteristic of
    impermanence, and from there one can move on to the characteristics of dukkha and
    anatta.

    page 17
    Of course, one who gains the jhānas, and then uses the concentration of the jhāna to focus
    on the procession of experience, has even more powerful resources for gaining direct
    perception of the radical truth of impermanence. But even this must begin with some
    degree of “bare attention” to immediate experience.

    ...

    “Sati, as bare attention, is never completely bare. When practiced in the full context of
    the noble eightfold path (even the path-practice of a worldling) it is, or should be,
    embraced by other factors of the path, most notably by right view, right motivation, and
    right effort (factors 1, 2, and 6); it is already supported by the three morality factors (3, 4,
    5).”

    You were worried that I had missed out on right thought, and further on in your letter you
    expressed concern about the need for proper motivation; but the factor often translated as
    right thought, sammā saṅkappa, is what I have here translated “right motivation” (it is
    elsewhere translated “right intention”). I’m not sure how the Tibetan translations render
    the second path factor, but the Pāli term suggests the purposive, motivational element in
    thought, rather than the cognitive, which is covered by right view. In my understanding,
    without right view or right intention, one could be practicing “bare mindfulness,” and yet
    that “bare mindfulness” is unlikely to develop into sammā sati, right
    mindfulness. Similarly, one could be practicing mindfulness of breathing, or
    contemplation of bodily sensations, or loving-kindness meditation, or perhaps even
    reflective meditation on the Four Noble Truths and dependent origination as applicable to
    this present life alone (no trespassing into unverifiable past and future lives), and these
    practices, while being “wholesome,” would still be deficient as Dharma practices.

    http://shamatha.org/sites/default/files ... ndence.pdf
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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby piotr » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:32 am

Hi,

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:Well I disagree with a huge number of things Thanissaro says, in the book and out. But I think , like richard, that expecting him to give prolonged details of every point he critizes isnt fair.
You quote someone's work, you should at least give credit by citing who wrote it, in what book, etc. That is not asking too much.


Guys, read the book. An Introduction at least...
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Nyana » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:35 am

BuddhaSoup wrote:
robertk wrote:The actual Katthavathu makes the point that sound can't be heard in jhana. Buddhaghosa elaborates in the commentray to it.

Do we consider the Katthavathu to be Buddhavacana? It seems to me not, and I'm far from being a competent student or scholar on these points. It would seem that Ajahn Geoff's approach is consistent with what Buddha taught, with the Abhidhamma Katthavathu perspective coming much later in time and after divisions in the Sangha existed as to interpretation.

There have been and continue to be monastics and scholars -- both ancient and modern -- who don't consider the Kathāvatthu to be canonical. As for the former, in the beginning of the Atthasālinī, Buddhaghosa attempts to argue at length for why the Kathāvatthu should be included in the Tipiṭaka, even though there were others who thought that it should not (whom he refers to as "Vitaṇḍavādī," which may be a pejorative name referring to the monks of the Abhayagirivihāra).

And in recent times, there have been a number of scholars who have suggested, based on internal linguistic, thematic, and structural evidence, that the Kathāvatthu is a composite text that was expanded over a considerable length of time, and therefore the text as we now have it can't be attributed to Moggaliputtatissa in the third century BCE.
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Anagarika » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:34 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote:
robertk wrote:The actual Katthavathu makes the point that sound can't be heard in jhana. Buddhaghosa elaborates in the commentray to it.

Do we consider the Katthavathu to be Buddhavacana? It seems to me not, and I'm far from being a competent student or scholar on these points. It would seem that Ajahn Geoff's approach is consistent with what Buddha taught, with the Abhidhamma Katthavathu perspective coming much later in time and after divisions in the Sangha existed as to interpretation.

There have been and continue to be monastics and scholars -- both ancient and modern -- who don't consider the Kathāvatthu to be canonical. As for the former, in the beginning of the Atthasālinī, Buddhaghosa attempts to argue at length for why the Kathāvatthu should be included in the Tipiṭaka, even though there were others who thought that it should not (whom he refers to as "Vitaṇḍavādī," which may be a pejorative name referring to the monks of the Abhayagirivihāra).

And in recent times, there have been a number of scholars who have suggested, based on internal linguistic, thematic, and structural evidence, that the Kathāvatthu is a composite text that was expanded over a considerable length of time, and therefore the text as we now have it can't be attributed to Moggaliputtatissa in the third century BCE.


:goodpost:
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:57 pm

No disrespect to Venerable T. but if I want a book on mindfulness and satipatthana practice I will stick with Analayos masterpiece thank you very much.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:55 pm

richard_rca wrote:I think the danger with this book is that people will focus too much on what they perceive to be Than Geoff's attack on individual teachers just because we are able to trace exactly who said it in what publication with ease, maybe because many of us have a background in university academia where this sort of personal attacking back and forh is common, I dunno. I think that's why he doesn't quote their names, because it doesn't matter if he doesn't contextualize these statements perfectly, they are representative quotes of a mindfulness syncretism that has grown very big as a movement in the last few years, and to me not necessarily a treatise on the individual teachers' teachings.

Looking at my mum's fridge yesterday there was a clipping on so-called mindfulness from a so-called expert that says exactly the kinds of things about bare awareness that he's arguing against in the book, so to say that it's not a common position is also not true.

But if we're gonna keep discussing the indivdual teachers' differences or similarities, instead of saying that Than Geoff's dishonest and merely setting up a straw man, please supply some quotes where this is shown. I don't feel that was done at all in the earlier posts.


Vipassanā has morphed into a pop-cultural syncretism going further back than just a few years. But leaving that and my own disagreements over Ṭhānissaro’s representation of Dhamma aside. ...

As far as teaching meditation goes, and under the heading of ‘mindfulness’ or ‘vipassanā’ in particular, one is confronted by the refrigerator-magnet aphorisms carried in the questions on practice from those students sitting in front of you, context notwithstanding. Perhaps Ṭhānissaro is presenting a homogenized response to this, but considering his reputation for presenting a foundational approach, based in the suttas – why not raise the bar with that and leave the polemics out of it?

In my own Q&A with students it is a delicate task indeed to either provide a foundational context to some pop-cultural statement on mindfulness practice, or simply redirect it so as to avoid offending the student’s sensitivity to another teacher.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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

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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby cittaanurakkho » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:07 pm

piotr wrote:Hi,

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:Well I disagree with a huge number of things Thanissaro says, in the book and out. But I think , like richard, that expecting him to give prolonged details of every point he critizes isnt fair.
You quote someone's work, you should at least give credit by citing who wrote it, in what book, etc. That is not asking too much.


Guys, read the book. An Introduction at least...


From the book's intro on the issue of quotation (p.11):
To give an accurate presentation of the common modern view, I quoted
passages from the writings of those who endorse it, particularly in Chapter Four
and Appendix Three. However, I have not identified the authors of these
quotations, for two reasons. First is that monks are instructed not to disparage
others when teaching the Dhamma (AN 5:159). In practice, this means not
identifying, in a public talk or public writings, the names of people who one feels
are misinterpreting what the Dhamma has to say. Second, my aim in quoting
these passages is to focus not on individuals but on the general features and
underlying misconceptions of the common view. I realize that leaving one’s
sources unnamed is not in line with modern practices, but I can state honestly
that I have tried to find passages that give the clearest and most responsible
expression of the common view so as to highlight its salient features. I hope that
you, the reader, will understand why I have handled these quotations in this
way.


On his non-using of Abhidhamma (P.10):
I have touched only rarely on the Abhidhamma Pi˛aka, and on the vast
commentarial literature that has grown up around the topic of mindfulness both
in the Visuddhimagga (Path of Purity) and in the commentaries and sub-
commentaries on the relevant sections of the Canon. The discourses appear to
predate the Abhidhamma by a century or two, and the commentaries by many
centuries more. Both the Abhidhamma and the commentaries use an
interpretative framework that differs markedly from the discourses’. So I
thought it would be best to look directly at what the discourses have to say on
this topic, with a minimum of filtering through later lenses. Anyone interested in
studying how the Abhidhamma and commentaries later developed the teachings
on mindfulness in the discourses is welcome to take the discussion here as a base
line for comparison.
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