A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

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A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby kiwimark » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:05 pm

Hi...I've been waiting for this essay(the development of insight) to appear on Ven analayo's german web page. I've just found it here:
http://www.fuyan.org.tw/download/FBS_vol6-6.pdf

metta
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby lojong1 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:30 pm

Thanks for the link.

Something I don't understand in the first section:
"According to the standard definition given in the discourses, once-returners are so-called because they return to 'this world', i.e. the sense-realm. Now if all once-returners were proficient in attaining absorption, they would be reborn in a higher heavenly sphere of the form or formless realms, instead of returning to this world. This would render the very concept of a once-returner superfluous, as not a single once-returner would ever return to this world."

Why could they not fall back here after a spell of idle heavenly sphereing?
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:27 pm

lojong1 wrote:Something I don't understand in the first section:
"According to the standard definition given in the discourses, once-returners are so-called because they return to 'this world',


I *think* that a person can only achieve "unbinding" (nibbana) as a human being. Am I correct?

No disrespect meant, the term "once returners" always makes me think of recycling bottles :)
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:42 pm

lojong1 wrote:Thanks for the link.

Something I don't understand in the first section:
"According to the standard definition given in the discourses, once-returners are so-called because they return to 'this world', i.e. the sense-realm. Now if all once-returners were proficient in attaining absorption, they would be reborn in a higher heavenly sphere of the form or formless realms, instead of returning to this world. This would render the very concept of a once-returner superfluous, as not a single once-returner would ever return to this world."

Why could they not fall back here after a spell of idle heavenly sphereing?

If that spell in the heavenly realm is interpreted as the "once return", then it would be the last life.

Jhana4 wrote:I *think* that a person can only achieve "unbinding" (nibbana) as a human being. Am I correct?

I can't think of exact references right now, but I if I recall correctly there are a number of discourses where the Buddha says that so-and-so has been reborn in such-and-such heaven, and will attain final nibbana there.
Jhana4 wrote:No disrespect meant, the term "once returners" always makes me think of recycling bottles :)

Surely there should be more than one recycling for bottles.... :tongue:

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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:48 pm

lojong1 wrote:Thanks for the link.

Something I don't understand in the first section:
"According to the standard definition given in the discourses, once-returners are so-called because they return to 'this world', i.e. the sense-realm. Now if all once-returners were proficient in attaining absorption, they would be reborn in a higher heavenly sphere of the form or formless realms, instead of returning to this world. This would render the very concept of a once-returner superfluous, as not a single once-returner would ever return to this world."

Why could they not fall back here after a spell of idle heavenly sphereing?



According to the Buddha, if an Aryan attains Jhāna (often or just once?), then s/he will be reborn in corresponding Brahma realm and attain Nibbāna from there:

"There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that. Staying there — fixed on that, dwelling there often, not falling away from that — then when he dies he reappears in conjunction with the devas of Brahma's retinue. The devas of Brahma's retinue, monks, have a life-span of an eon. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing.
[Alex: similar with 2-4th Jhāna]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:57 pm

Thanks kiwimark!

I thought the discussion of how Dependent Arising has been viewed on multiple timescales since ancient times was interesting.
The same Vibhaṅga, however, also follows the traditional mode of interpreta-
tion ― which it designates as the approach based on the discourses (suttanta-
bhājanīya), in contrast to the approach based on the Abhidharma (abhidhamma-
bhājanīya) ― according to which 'birth' stands for actual rebirth.

In other words, while the Vibhaṅga clearly testifies to the ancientness of the
idea that the twelve links can be applied to a single mind-moment, it at the same
time presents an interpretation of the link of 'birth' as standing for actual rebirth as
the original intention of the discourses. Notably, the Vibhaṅga sees these two ap-
proaches as complementary viewpoints, not as contradictory positions.


Also the idea that one only needs to see one of the links clearly, not the whole sequence.
From a practical viewpoint, the principle of conditionality itself would be of
central importance, which operates in relation to each of the twelve links ― be
this in the present moment or over three lifetimes. This much can be gathered
from a Pāli discourse, according to which "dependent arising" refers to this princi-
ple of specific conditionality, whereas the twelve links are things that are depen-
dently arisen.
[SN 12.20 at SN II 26,5 explains that "this suchness, this non-falseness, this non-otherwiseness,
this [principle of] specific conditionality ― that, monks, is reckoned to be dependent arising".]


The conclusion is:
A description of the actual technique of gradually scanning the body as such,
however, does not seem to be found in the discourses. In fact, when describing
the experience of dissolution of the body and the mind, the instructions given
during a vipassanā course taught by S.N. Goenka employ terms like kalāpa or
bhavaṅga, which appear to stem from a later period than the early discourses.
The same is true of other modern day vipassanā meditation traditions, whose
techniques as such cannot be found in the early discourses and which draw upon
the fully developed Theravāda system, using terminology that came into use
considerably later.

Nevertheless, such modern practices do seem to present viable modes of im-
plementing the instructions on the development of insight found in the early dis-
courses. In as much as they conform to the basic pattern laid out for the practice
of insight by giving importance to a direct experience of the three characteristics,
they can rightfully lay a claim to being in accordance with the original instruc-
tions. In fact, the generality of the instructions found in the early discourses in a
way leaves it up to practitioners to develop their own more precise methods of
putting those instructions into practice, thereby enabling them to proceed on the
path to awakening in the way best suited to their own particular capacities and
proclivities. In the end, it is precisely this that really counts, namely that one actu-
ally walks the path to awakening.


:anjali:
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:57 pm

Thank you kiwimark for that essay by Ven Analayo. I look forward to reading it!
kind regards

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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby lojong1 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:38 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
lojong1 wrote:Thanks for the link.

Something I don't understand in the first section:
"According to the standard definition given in the discourses, once-returners are so-called because they return to 'this world', i.e. the sense-realm. Now if all once-returners were proficient in attaining absorption, they would be reborn in a higher heavenly sphere of the form or formless realms, instead of returning to this world. This would render the very concept of a once-returner superfluous, as not a single once-returner would ever return to this world."

Why could they not fall back here after a spell of idle heavenly sphereing?

If that spell in the heavenly realm is interpreted as the "once return", then it would be the last life.


But the 'once-return' has already been spelt out in the article as "this-world/sense-realm/kaamaloka", and the heavenly sphere reached by absorption is of the form or formless realm (not kaamaloka). What I'm missing is the piece that allows the conclusion "this would render the very concept of a once-returner superfluous, as not a single once-returner would ever return to this world."

i.e., where is it said that a once returner will return here once, and that he will go nowhere else but here?
Aren't the 5 Pure Abodes of Rupaloka the only places that can't be fallen from?
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:12 am

Hi lojong1,

You may be right. It's a confusing issue that I recall listening to Bhikkhu Bodhi trying to unravel in one of his talks. I take it you didn't find Alex's quote convincing?

I guess it turns on what "this world" means in MN 22: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"In the Dhamma thus well-proclaimed by me — clear, open, evident, stripped of rags — those monks who have abandoned the three fetters, with the attenuation of passion, aversion, & delusion, are all once-returners who, on returning only one more time to this world, will make an ending to stress. This is how the Dhamma well-proclaimed by me is clear, open, evident, stripped of rags.

:anjali:
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:18 am

I read a portion of this essay and found it very interesting. I think I would be interested in exploring the Goenka method further.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby lojong1 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:I take it you didn't find Alex's quote convincing?

No yes that does fit! Thanks fellas.

Alex123 wrote:(often or just once?)

The highest proficiency in each jhana leads to the 4 realms mentioned in your quoted AN 4.123
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby fijiNut » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:12 am

Great article. In his conclusion, he mentions:
... such modern practices do seem to present viable modes of implementing
the instructions on the development of insight found in the early discourses.
In as much as they conform to the basic pattern laid out for the practice
of insight by giving importance to a direct experience of the three characteristics,
they can rightfully lay a claim to being in accordance with the original instructions


:)
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby waxindhamma » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:31 pm

My understanding is that 'once-returners' are born into a very specific relm where they burn off the last of their karma and become fully enlightened.
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Re: A study of the U Ba khin vipassana tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:29 am

Welcome waxindhamma,
waxindhamma wrote:My understanding is that 'once-returners' are born into a very specific relm where they burn off the last of their karma and become fully enlightened.

I think you may be confused between once-returners and non-returners.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
II. The Fine-Material World (rupa-loka)
These are the five Pure Abodes (suddhavasa), which are accessible only to non-returners (anagami) and arahants. Beings who become non-returners in other planes are reborn here, where they attain arahantship.
See: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#jhana4
...
Anagami Non-returner. A person who has abandoned the five lower fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth (see samyojana), and who after death will appear in one of the Brahma worlds called the Pure Abodes, there to attain nibbana, never again to return to this world.

sakadagami [sakadaagaamii]:
Once-returner. A person who has abandoned the first three of the fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth (see samyojana), has weakened the fetters of sensual passion and resistance, and who after death is destined to be reborn in this world only once more.


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