Unorthodox Vipassana

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Sacha G » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:14 pm

Hi
I just wanted to expose the unorthodox way I practice vipassana (not always but for a good part of my practice).
When I'm concentrated enough, I focus my awareness on the pure consciousness which appears "around" and "between" the thoughts (I hope it's clear enough). I would call this, "recognizing" of the pure consciousness.
Then I try to stay on it as much as I can, without paying attention to the thoughts. Like somebody looking at a mirror, and wanting to see the mirror itself, not the reflections.
When I leave the cushion, I try to be aware of my environment as just "phenomena" appearing on the surface of this consciousness, and I try to keep this detached awareness.
What do you think? Can you call this vipassana? Or does it sound more like zen/dzogchen/advaita? :juggling:
Thanx
Sacha
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby bodom » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:33 pm

Ajahn Sumedho speaks on the practice of noticing the "space" between thoughts here:

Noticing Space
http://www.meditationthailand.com/noticingsumedho.htm

:namaste:
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: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Sacha G » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:40 pm

Thank you Bodom
I will look at that.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby PeterB » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:52 pm

It does sound more like Dzogchen....rather than unorthodox Vipassana.
I think Dzogchen is well established in Theravada practice..it just tends not to be called that.
Or at least that was the case until Ajahn Amaro became a formal Dzogchen student.
Now it is known by that name.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:20 pm

Sacha G wrote:Hi
I just wanted to expose the unorthodox way I practice vipassana (not always but for a good part of my practice).
When I'm concentrated enough, I focus my awareness on the pure consciousness which appears "around" and "between" the thoughts (I hope it's clear enough). I would call this, "recognizing" of the pure consciousness.
Then I try to stay on it as much as I can, without paying attention to the thoughts. Like somebody looking at a mirror, and wanting to see the mirror itself, not the reflections.
When I leave the cushion, I try to be aware of my environment as just "phenomena" appearing on the surface of this consciousness, and I try to keep this detached awareness.
What do you think? Can you call this vipassana? Or does it sound more like zen/dzogchen/advaita? :juggling:
Thanx
Sacha


Depends on what you mean by "pure consciousness". If you are imagining it as some kind of energy, or force, or entity seperate from you then no that's not vipassana.

However if you are simply noticing the mind being aware, if you are noticing that objects are arising and passing away withing that awareness and the times when there appear to be no objects the awareness still functioning, and rather putting emphasis on the process of awareness rather than the objects then this is a good basis for vipassana. It is the starting point of how my teacher Sayadaw U Teganiya teaches vipassana and i think fits in well with Ajahn Sumedho's teaching.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:55 pm

:goodpost:

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: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Sacha G » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:23 am

Hi
I found this document of Ajahn Amaro, of the link between Forest tradition teachings and Dzogchen.http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books9/Ajahn_Amaro_Small-Boat_Great-Mountain.pdf
Right in the Pali Canon, the Buddha points directly
to this. In the Udaμna (the collection of “Inspired Utterances”
of the Buddha), he says:
There is that sphere of being where there is no earth,
no water, no fire, nor wind; no experience of infinity
of space, of infinity of consciousness, of no-thingness,
or even of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; here
there is neither this world nor another world, neither
moon nor sun; this sphere of being I call neither a coming
nor a going nor a staying still, neither a dying nor
a reappearance; it has no basis, no evolution, and no
support: it is the end of dukkha. (ud. 8.1)
Rigpa, nondual awareness, is the direct knowing of this. It’s
the quality of mind that knows, while abiding nowhere.

The natural ability to separate mind (or mind-essence, to
use Dzogchen terminology) and mind objects is clearly reflected
in the Pali language. There are actually two different verbs
meaning “to be,” and they correspond to the conventional or
conditioned, and to the unconditioned. The verb “hoti” refers
to that which is conditioned and passes through time. These
are the common activities and the labels of various sense
impressions that we use regularly, and, for the most part,
unconsciously. Everyone agrees, for example, that water is
wet, the body is heavy, there are seven days in the week, and
I am a man.
The second verb, “atthi,” refers to the transcendental qualities
of being-ness. Being-ness, in this case, does not imply a
becoming, the world of time or identity. It reflects the unconditioned,
the unmanifest nature of mind


Sacha
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby PeterB » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:07 am

:goodpost:

Its been there all along. Its just that Theravadin folk are less likely to form themselves into a club within a club...

This is the basis of real Buddhist unity.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby pegembara » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:27 am

Sacha G wrote:Hi
I just wanted to expose the unorthodox way I practice vipassana (not always but for a good part of my practice).
When I'm concentrated enough, I focus my awareness on the pure consciousness which appears "around" and "between" the thoughts (I hope it's clear enough). I would call this, "recognizing" of the pure consciousness.
Then I try to stay on it as much as I can, without paying attention to the thoughts. Like somebody looking at a mirror, and wanting to see the mirror itself, not the reflections.
When I leave the cushion, I try to be aware of my environment as just "phenomena" appearing on the surface of this consciousness, and I try to keep this detached awareness.
What do you think? Can you call this vipassana? Or does it sound more like zen/dzogchen/advaita? :juggling:
Thanx
Sacha


Isn't this seeing practising Buddha's teaching?

"There is the case, Moggallana, where a monk has heard, 'All phenomena are unworthy of attachment.' Having heard that all phenomena are unworthy of attachment, he fully knows all things. Fully knowing all things, he fully comprehends all things. Fully comprehending all things, then whatever feeling he experiences — pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain — he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling. As he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling, he is unsustained by[4] anything in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is unbound right within. He discerns: 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby piotr » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:56 am

Sacha G wrote:Hi
I found this document of Ajahn Amaro, of the link between Forest tradition teachings and Dzogchen.http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books9/Ajahn_Amaro_Small-Boat_Great-Mountain.pdf
in the Pali language. There are actually two different verbs
meaning “to be,” and they correspond to the conventional or
conditioned, and to the unconditioned.


I think this is rather misleading distinction.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Sylvester » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:09 am

piotr wrote:
Sacha G wrote:Hi
I found this document of Ajahn Amaro, of the link between Forest tradition teachings and Dzogchen.http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books9/Ajahn_Amaro_Small-Boat_Great-Mountain.pdf
in the Pali language. There are actually two different verbs
meaning “to be,” and they correspond to the conventional or
conditioned, and to the unconditioned.


I think this is rather misleading distinction.



That's putting it mildly, avuso.

My eyes popped out when I saw this -

The natural ability to separate mind (or mind-essence, to
use Dzogchen terminology) and mind objects is clearly reflected
in the Pali language. There are actually two different verbs
meaning “to be,” and they correspond to the conventional or
conditioned, and to the unconditioned. The verb “hoti” refers
to that which is conditioned and passes through time. These
are the common activities and the labels of various sense
impressions that we use regularly, and, for the most part,
unconsciously. Everyone agrees, for example, that water is
wet, the body is heavy, there are seven days in the week, and
I am a man.
The second verb, “atthi,” refers to the transcendental qualities
of being-ness.
Being-ness, in this case, does not imply a
becoming, the world of time or identity. It reflects the unconditioned,
the unmanifest nature of mind


I suppose the meditator cultivating the satipatthanas would now have to confront the transcendental and unconditioned Hindrances when this occurs to him/her -

And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves?

There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances?

There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)

Kathañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati pañcasu nīvaraṇesu. Kathañca pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati pañcasu nīvaraṇesu?

Idha , bhikkhave, bhikkhu santaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ kāmacchandaṃ ‘atthi me ajjhattaṃ kāmacchando’ti pajānāti, asantaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ kāmacchandaṃ ‘natthi me ajjhattaṃ kāmacchando’ti pajānāti; yathā ca anuppannassa kāmacchandassa uppādo hoti tañca pajānāti, yathā ca uppannassa kāmacchandassa pahānaṃ hoti tañca pajānāti, yathā ca pahīnassa kāmacchandassa āyatiṃ anuppādo hoti tañca pajānāti.


Why, o why, do otherwise good monks make gaffes like this?
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:18 am

Sylvester, piotr,

Would it be possible for you to explain this in simpler terms so I could understand where the problem lies?

:anjali:
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Sylvester » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:36 am

Hi Mike.

I'm still reeling from the shock and dismay, so perhaps piotr could do the honours.

All this gobbledy-gook about "unsupported" or objectless consciousness or "unmanifest" mind (the anidassana vinnana, again!) is simply too much for me.

If the good monk had instead invested in some study of Pali, perhaps he could have avoided this silliness about "atthi" being a nexus for the unconditioned.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:45 am

That's OK Sylvester, we can wait for you to recover... :console:

But am I understanding that you are saying that the passage:

There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.'

Is being or is, or both, the translation of atthi?

So Ajahn Amaro's:
The second verb, “atthi,” refers to the transcendental qualities
of being-ness. Being-ness, in this case, does not imply a
becoming, the world of time or identity. It reflects the unconditioned,
the unmanifest nature of mind...

is problematical because the use of "to be" in the Satipathhana Sutta isn't unconditioned?

:anjali:
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby ground » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:08 am

When there is contact with symbols (words) vedana arises. In the wake of that symbols may be invested with meanings originally not intended by the one who offered the symbols.
It is all about the nature of language.

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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby Sylvester » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:20 am

mikenz66 wrote:That's OK Sylvester, we can wait for you to recover... :console:

But am I understanding that you are saying that the passage:

There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.'

Is being or is, or both, the translation of atthi?

So Ajahn Amaro's:
The second verb, “atthi,” refers to the transcendental qualities
of being-ness. Being-ness, in this case, does not imply a
becoming, the world of time or identity. It reflects the unconditioned,
the unmanifest nature of mind...

is problematical because the use of "to be" in the Satipathhana Sutta isn't unconditioned?

:anjali:
Mike


Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu! You hit the nail on the head.

Ajahn Amaro's takes Nibanna Sutta in Ud 8.1 as follows -

‘‘Atthi, bhikkhave, tadāyatanaṃ, yattha neva pathavī, na āpo, na tejo, na vāyo, na ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ, na viññāṇañcāyatanaṃ, na ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ, na nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ, nāyaṃ loko, na paraloko, na ubho candimasūriyā. Tatrāpāhaṃ, bhikkhave, neva āgatiṃ vadāmi , na gatiṃ, na ṭhitiṃ, na cutiṃ, na upapattiṃ; appatiṭṭhaṃ, appavattaṃ, anārammaṇamevetaṃ. Esevanto dukkhassā’’ti.

There is that sphere of being where there is no earth,
no water, no fire, nor wind; no experience of infinity
of space, of infinity of consciousness, of no-thingness,
or even of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; here
there is neither this world nor another world, neither
moon nor sun; this sphere of being I call neither a coming
nor a going nor a staying still, neither a dying nor
a reappearance; it has no basis, no evolution, and no
support: it is the end of dukkha


It is clear that this udana declares "there is" Nibbana, the "unconditioned".

But Ajahn Amaro is absolutely wrong to equate the use of "atthi" to only the Unconditioned. In fact, the most famous use of "atthi" in respect of the conditioned is to be found in that principle dealing with "conditioned-ness", ie iddapaccayata.

Imasmim sati, idam hoti ...

This being, that is ...


In this formula, "sati" is the locative case for "santo". "Santo" is the present participle for "atthi". You can also see this "santo" inflected as "santam" in the Satipatthana Sutta posted above (santam = there being).

By his interpretation, every nidana and every factor of DO would have to concern itself with asankhata dhammas... :tantrum:

Pls don't get me started on Ven Thanissaro's translation and note to this Udana. :tongue:
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby piotr » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:27 am

Hi,

mikenz66 wrote:Would it be possible for you to explain this in simpler terms so I could understand where the problem lies?


As Sylvester pointed out, in Pāli Canon “atthi” refers also to conditioned things, like, for example, five khandhas:

    “And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon existing (atthi), of which I to say that it exists (atthi)? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling... Perception... Volitional formations... Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.
    “That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon existing, of which I to say that it exists.”

    Puppha-sutta, (SN 22.94) trans. Bhikkhu Bodhi

But I think, that there is slight difference in the meaning of this two verbs. “Bhavati (hoti)” is more like “to become”, “atthi” is just general “to be”.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:30 am

Thanks!

:heart:
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby PeterB » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:30 am

The natural ability to separate mind (or mind-essence, to
use Dzogchen terminology) and mind objects is clearly reflected
in the Pali language. There are actually two different verbs
meaning “to be,” and they correspond to the conventional or
conditioned, and to the unconditioned. The verb “hoti” refers
to that which is conditioned and passes through time. These
are the common activities and the labels of various sense
impressions that we use regularly, and, for the most part,
unconsciously. Everyone agrees, for example, that water is
wet, the body is heavy, there are seven days in the week, and
I am a man.
The second verb, “atthi,” refers to the transcendental qualities
of being-ness.
Being-ness, in this case, does not imply a
becoming, the world of time or identity. It reflects the unconditioned,
the unmanifest nature of mind


I suppose the meditator cultivating the satipatthanas would now have to confront the transcendental and unconditioned Hindrances when this occurs to him/her -

And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves?

There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances?

There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)

Kathañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati pañcasu nīvaraṇesu. Kathañca pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati pañcasu nīvaraṇesu?

Idha , bhikkhave, bhikkhu santaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ kāmacchandaṃ ‘atthi me ajjhattaṃ kāmacchando’ti pajānāti, asantaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ kāmacchandaṃ ‘natthi me ajjhattaṃ kāmacchando’ti pajānāti; yathā ca anuppannassa kāmacchandassa uppādo hoti tañca pajānāti, yathā ca uppannassa kāmacchandassa pahānaṃ hoti tañca pajānāti, yathā ca pahīnassa kāmacchandassa āyatiṃ anuppādo hoti tañca pajānāti.


Why, o why, do otherwise good monks make gaffes like this?[/quote]





Because it is not a gaffe. Ajahn Amaro was appointed at a young age as abbott of one of the Forest Traditions leading western monasteries because of his palpable attainment.
You will find him and a number of other spiritual descendents of Luang Por Chah using Pali in a creative and living way.
This is of course is upsetting to some...and the Forest Tradition we may conclude, is not their way.
But it is not bad scholarship....it is a conscious eschewel of scholarship.
What this illustrates vividly is the fact that the Forest Tradition is rooted in the experiential...not in the Sutta tradition.
As such they feel able to tale liberties with the Pali. They bend it to reflect experience rather than use language to create a model of anticipated experience.
Luang Por Chah said repeatedly " The only book worth reading is the book of the heart ".
This was not a flippant throw away remark, he meant it.
The Forest Tradition have a working knowledge of Pali, as much as it tales to encourage the real work on the cushion.
The results of this non scholastic approach can be see anytime one has contact with the Forest Sangha...
Their wisdom , humour and vitality are inspiring.
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Re: Unorthodox Vipassana

Postby piotr » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:42 am

Hi,

bhante Amaro made unsupported remark about usage and meaning of two words in Pali. That's not being creative, but wrong. I don't think that we question everything what he said or did in his life, but rather, we point out this one mistake. People do make mistakes, whoever they might be.
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