Two types of "Vipassana meditation" taught in MN 19

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Two types of "Vipassana meditation" taught in MN 19

Postby starter » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:56 pm

"But if you look directly at the Pali discourses — the earliest extant sources for our knowledge of the Buddha's teachings — you'll find that although they do use the word samatha to mean tranquillity, and vipassana to mean clear-seeing, they otherwise confirm none of the received wisdom about these terms. Only rarely do they make use of the word vipassana — a sharp contrast to their frequent use of the word jhana. When they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana."

-- Can someone provide the Pali phrase for "go do jhana" in MN 19 (the last paragraph). Which Pali word was used for "jhana"? The Chinese Agama translation of this sentence is actually:

"宴坐思惟" (quietly/comfortably sit and meditate with thinking), which was also frequently used in the other Agama suttas. The modern translation of "宴坐思惟" seems to be "禪" (meditation, which might have lost the original touch of thinking).

In my last post (viewtopic.php?f=33&t=12604&start=20), I classified this type of thinking meditation as kind of "vipassana meditation", but it's not in the sense of pure mindfulness of phenomena. It seems that the Buddha has taught two types of thinking meditation both in MN 19:

1) Right Thinking (distinguish two types of thoughts, let-get unwholesome thoughts and cultivate wholesome thoughts), which is done without jhana (but with some Samadhi since it's done in sitting meditation); though jhana (Samatha meditation) was used to rest the mind when it's tired.

2) Gaining Insight after jhana:
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it had come to be, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.'"

To me the "Vipassana meditation" that the Buddha taught is the application of yoniso manasikara to see things as they really are and to remove defilements, instead of bare attention. The first type of "Vipassana meditation" can be done without deep Samadhi, because it doesn't need high wisdom/insight. The second type can only be done with deep Samadhi, since without it the insight won't arise.

Metta to all!
Last edited by starter on Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Two types of "Vipassana meditation" taught in MN 19

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:13 pm

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Two types of "Vipassana meditation" taught in MN 19

Postby starter » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:27 pm

Hi Cittasanto and other friends,

I found the sentence: "jhāyatha, bhikkhave, mā pamādattha" (MN 19)

Ven. Bodhi translated the word ("jhàyatha") as "meditation" instead of "jhana", which I consider a better translation. As I understand, the meditation taught in the suttas can include many different activities including meditating on/reciting and pondering on the Buddha's teachings, anapanasati for 4 development of mindfulness, Samatha meditation for jhana, "vipassana meditation" as mentioned in the above post, ... The modern understanding of the term meditation might have lost many of its original meanings. It's fortunate that we have both Pali and Chinese versions of the teachings to compare and can still get some picture of the early meanings.

Hence "jhāyatha" includes both "go do jhana" and "go do vipassana", and more ...

Thanks and metta!

PS: Piya Tan also translated "jhàyatha" as "meditation" instead of "jhana".

"Jhāya bhikkhu mā ca pamādo Meditate, bhikshu! Be not heedless!
mā te kāma,guṇe bhamassu cittaṁ Let not your mind stray amongst the cords of sense-pleasures.
mā loha,guḷaṁ gilī pamatto Do not, being heedless, swallow an iron ball.
mā kandi dukkham idan ti ḍayhamāno Do not, while burning, cry out, “This is suffering!”
(Dh 371)

The imperative 2nd person plural verb jhāyatha is more common that its singular form jhāya, in the
same context of exhorting the monks to meditate, as in the stock passage (with minor variations, depending on whom it is addressed to):
Etāni Cunda | bhikkhave rukkha,mūlāni, etāni suññ’āgārāni. Jhāyatha Cunda | bhikkhave
mā pamādattha. Mā pacchā vippaṭisārino ahuvattha. Ayaṁ vo amhākaṁ anusāsanî ti
These are the root of trees Cunda | bhikshus, these are empty houses. Meditate, Cunda! |
bhikshus! Be not heedless! Do not regret later. This is our teaching to you ... 1-piya.pdf

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