Vipassana

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:29 am

Hi

Are the vipassana techniques, taught through the Mahasi & Goenka centres, relatively new inventions based on commentarial works?
Is vipassana in the Nikayas, portrayed as more of a reflective and contemplative exercise coupled with jhana, where sati is a faculty that is developed (satipatthana) rather than a technique?
I ask, since some people seem to say that the whole path & wisdom that the Buddha offered can be summed up in one simple technique. If that were the case the Buddha could have just given this simple technique and forgot about the several thousand discourses he taught.
I have always thought (not always :( ) that there was a touch of the jains/niganthas in the modern day vipassana techniques. The emphasis on what amounts to deliberately induced pain is reminiscent of ascetic practices of old, as if somehow you can burn up old kamma, through pain, (like the draining of a battery/quite ridiculous!). That is why I ask if these techniques are relatively new.

Metta :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:58 pm

Hi Brizzy

The answer is yes and no. 'Yes', because they aren't specifically mentioned in that form in the suttas (even though each would claim sutta evidence); 'No' because what method is NOT included in the satipatthana (ie- most methods are)? There is a deeper issue- we might as well be trying to judge the engine of a car by looking at what colour the exterior is. It may well work for you or it may not. Try one, try all- if one doesnt work for you try another method. Where one does not completely fullfil, the other might provide the missing pieces of the path.

Don't forget that there is an element of renunciation in the Noble Eightfold Path- so a little bit of pain might actually go a long way. But we are just commenting on the colour here ultimately. Lets not forget that living is painful.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:45 pm

Hi Brizzy,
Brizzy wrote:Are the vipassana techniques, taught through the Mahasi & Goenka centres, relatively new inventions based on commentarial works?

As RYB says, yes and no. And it depends what you mean by "relatively new". The Mahasi school will point to the Visuddhimagga (e.g. see Mahasi Sayadaw's summary of the Progress of Insight http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html) and the Satipatthana commentary http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/soma/wayof.html as authoritative.

Regardings "method", Patrick Kearney gives a nice introduction to the Mahasi Method in his retreat talks. E.g. see here: http://dharmasalon.net/Audio/Audio.php:
02 (AM) Introducing Mahāsī method
17/11/09 10:21
Today we introduce the method of meditation we are practising during this retreat. Yesterday morning we just brought a sense of open curiosity to the examination of mind/body experience. This morning we are applying system to this investigation, stimulating what the Buddha calls yoniso manasikāra, “appropriate attention.” We do this through the meditation method created by Mahāsī Sayādaw of Burma (1904-1982), which is structured by his division of experience into primary and secondary object, along with the fundamental activities of noting, naming and noticing.

As Patrick points out, in the case of one-on-one teacher-student relationships the teacher can just discuss Dhamma the student and give appropriate suggestions from time to time (as in the Suttas or as discussed in the Visuddhimagga). However, if you want to instruct large numbers of people in retreats organised conveniently for lay people, like the Mahasi, Goenka, and some other organisations, then you need standardised instructions. And with standardised instructions, the student progress tends to be reasonably standardised and predictable, and thus reasonably easy for a teacher to manage with short meetings with each student.

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Vipassana

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:05 pm

Greetings Brizzy,

Brizzy wrote:I have always thought (not always :( ) that there was a touch of the jains/niganthas in the modern day vipassana techniques. The emphasis on what amounts to deliberately induced pain is reminiscent of ascetic practices of old, as if somehow you can burn up old kamma, through pain, (like the draining of a battery/quite ridiculous!). That is why I ask if these techniques are relatively new.


The others above have answered your questions well... I just wanted to touch on this specific point.

What you say here is right... but only if the pain is causing suffering and if it is wrongly believed that one is "burning up old kamma" in the process.

What such moments do provide though, is a very poignant opportunity to observe the impermanent nature of physical sensations and the mental effects arising from one's reactions to them... and this can be easier to do when the sensations are stronger and more clearly defined, compared to when they are weak or neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Vipassana

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:27 pm

Brizzy wrote:Are the vipassana techniques, taught through the Mahasi & Goenka centres, relatively new inventions based on commentarial works?


-- The Ancient Roots of the U Ba Khin Vipassanā Meditation by Bhikkhu Anālayo: http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebmed105.htm. See also: Satipatthana: the direct path to realization by Bhikkhu Analayo, Windhorse Publications.

Brizzy wrote:I ask, since some people seem to say that the whole path & wisdom that the Buddha offered can be summed up in one simple technique.

I think it is a mistake to reduce it to one technique. It ignores the complexity and profundity of the Dhamma.

Brizzy wrote:The emphasis on what amounts to deliberately induced pain is reminiscent of ascetic practices of old, as if somehow you can burn up old kamma, through pain, (like the draining of a battery/quite ridiculous!). That is why I ask if these techniques are relatively new.

The emphasis is not deliberately induced pain. The emphasis is to develop continuos equanimous awareness to whatever phenomena arises. The dhamma or vedana emphasised in the "introductory" courses is because it is relatively easy to grasp, especially for newcomers. All vedana, whether they be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral are utilised to develop distinct awareness of its anicca characteristic. Pain is a common experience among new students, it is the development of equanimity with regard to whatever is experienced is what is emphasized. It is not the teachings of my teacher, SN Goenka, that the act of meditation "burns up" kamma. While it might be the view of some of his exhuberent students, it is a misguided view.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16047
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Vipassana

Postby Freawaru » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:45 am

Hi Brizzy,

Brizzy wrote:Is vipassana in the Nikayas, portrayed as more of a reflective and contemplative exercise coupled with jhana, where sati is a faculty that is developed (satipatthana) rather than a technique?


Actually, vipassana is a state, an experience, not a technique or exercise. There are many techniques and exercises that lead to the experience of that state, thus the diversity, and those techniques and exercises work differently for different practitioners. But the final, pre-Liberation state called vipassana is always the same. So when you want to compare techniques and exercises you have to compare the processes that develop the faculties that lead to vipassana (such as sati) for different persons.

The Buddha taught different exercises to different people depending on their state of development at the time he taught it to them. Exercises such as the satipatthana sutta were given to practitioners who already had some hatha yoga background for they were required to keep sampajanna during the different kinds of breath (long breath, short breath) and know the full-body awareness (it is really useless to practice according to the satipatthana sutta if one does not know how to do this). The same is true for the practice of kayanupassana (contemplation of the body) for example, it requires that one can already sense and discern one's physical body processes such as inner organs, muscles, blood and so on - again an exercise for yogis with serious hatha yoga background (and yes, hatha yoga teaches the first four jhanas, too). Not to mention the requirements for the other foundations of sati.

The Buddha taught at a time and culture when ascetism, yoga and so on were known exercises and techniques and the states and developments, realisations were known, too. He based his teachings on that. But most practitioners today don't have such a background (especially in the "West") and teachers need techniques to develop their students to similar or identical states of development as those students at the time of the Buddha. So, if you are one of those persons who can already sense and discern their inner organs you can use the mentioned suttas as they were written, but all the other practitioners need some previous techniques and exercises first.
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:21 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Brizzy,

Brizzy wrote:Is vipassana in the Nikayas, portrayed as more of a reflective and contemplative exercise coupled with jhana, where sati is a faculty that is developed (satipatthana) rather than a technique?


Actually, vipassana is a state, an experience, not a technique or exercise. There are many techniques and exercises that lead to the experience of that state, thus the diversity, and those techniques and exercises work differently for different practitioners. But the final, pre-Liberation state called vipassana is always the same. So when you want to compare techniques and exercises you have to compare the processes that develop the faculties that lead to vipassana (such as sati) for different persons.

The Buddha taught different exercises to different people depending on their state of development at the time he taught it to them. Exercises such as the satipatthana sutta were given to practitioners who already had some hatha yoga background for they were required to keep sampajanna during the different kinds of breath (long breath, short breath) and know the full-body awareness (it is really useless to practice according to the satipatthana sutta if one does not know how to do this). The same is true for the practice of kayanupassana (contemplation of the body) for example, it requires that one can already sense and discern one's physical body processes such as inner organs, muscles, blood and so on - again an exercise for yogis with serious hatha yoga background (and yes, hatha yoga teaches the first four jhanas, too). Not to mention the requirements for the other foundations of sati.

The Buddha taught at a time and culture when ascetism, yoga and so on were known exercises and techniques and the states and developments, realisations were known, too. He based his teachings on that. But most practitioners today don't have such a background (especially in the "West") and teachers need techniques to develop their students to similar or identical states of development as those students at the time of the Buddha. So, if you are one of those persons who can already sense and discern their inner organs you can use the mentioned suttas as they were written, but all the other practitioners need some previous techniques and exercises first.


Hi Freawaru

Do you think that you might be taking to much for granted? I have never come across the Buddha mentioning hatha yoga or any specific exercise other than walking. As far as I am aware the four jhanas "As taught by the Buddha" are not to be found with yoga teachers or anyone else outside the Buddhas dispensation. The jhanas of Hindu origin are without discernment. The jhanas of the Buddhas dispensation are the culmination of satipatthana. The eightfold path IS a progressive path with right view as first, leading eventually to mindfulness culminating into the jhanas.

Brizzy :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:32 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Brizzy

The answer is yes and no. 'Yes', because they aren't specifically mentioned in that form in the suttas (even though each would claim sutta evidence); 'No' because what method is NOT included in the satipatthana (ie- most methods are)? There is a deeper issue- we might as well be trying to judge the engine of a car by looking at what colour the exterior is. It may well work for you or it may not. Try one, try all- if one doesnt work for you try another method. Where one does not completely fullfil, the other might provide the missing pieces of the path.

Don't forget that there is an element of renunciation in the Noble Eightfold Path- so a little bit of pain might actually go a long way. But we are just commenting on the colour here ultimately. Lets not forget that living is painful.


Hi RWB

I think your analogy could be changed to something like this :- The Buddha gave instructions and teachings to build an aeroplane and what we are now offered in the guise of Dhamma is a motor car. That is not to say the motor car is totally useless or doesnt do some really cool things - the bottom line is, its not what was originally taught.
As far as pain is concerned, I have experienced pain whilst in samadhi and it is a true learning experience, however the self induced pain of the vipassana retreats are to much like self harm for my liking.
I dont think there are any "methods" in the satipatthana, there are just different recollections and different ways of viewing things.

Brizzy :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:42 pm

Ben wrote:
Brizzy wrote:Are the vipassana techniques, taught through the Mahasi & Goenka centres, relatively new inventions based on commentarial works?


-- The Ancient Roots of the U Ba Khin Vipassanā Meditation by Bhikkhu Anālayo: http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebmed105.htm. See also: Satipatthana: the direct path to realization by Bhikkhu Analayo, Windhorse Publications.

Brizzy wrote:I ask, since some people seem to say that the whole path & wisdom that the Buddha offered can be summed up in one simple technique.

I think it is a mistake to reduce it to one technique. It ignores the complexity and profundity of the Dhamma.

Brizzy wrote:The emphasis on what amounts to deliberately induced pain is reminiscent of ascetic practices of old, as if somehow you can burn up old kamma, through pain, (like the draining of a battery/quite ridiculous!). That is why I ask if these techniques are relatively new.

The emphasis is not deliberately induced pain. The emphasis is to develop continuos equanimous awareness to whatever phenomena arises. The dhamma or vedana emphasised in the "introductory" courses is because it is relatively easy to grasp, especially for newcomers. All vedana, whether they be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral are utilised to develop distinct awareness of its anicca characteristic. Pain is a common experience among new students, it is the development of equanimity with regard to whatever is experienced is what is emphasized. It is not the teachings of my teacher, SN Goenka, that the act of meditation "burns up" kamma. While it might be the view of some of his exhuberent students, it is a misguided view.
kind regards

Ben


Hi Ben

After reading your link regarding the "ancient" roots of the practice I must say I do not find it totally convincing. I view the modern vipassana techniques as a 19/20th century invention.
After sitting many Goenka retreats I can honestly state that he says repeatedly that we are "burning away our old sankharas" and compares it to the draining of a battery. These are jain/nigantha/hindu/ascetic ideas and are not to be found in the suttas.

Brizzy :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:55 pm

The 10-day Goenka retreats are "introductory" courses. If you have done many of them, as I have done, you will hear Mr Goenka a number of times describe his course as "the kindergarten of Dhamma". When he says that defilements and sankharas are eradicated and uses some similes to describe that point, its a long way from saying that "kamma is burned away".
Venerable Analayo is actually a highly respected and independent scholar monk. Despite you being "not convinced", I tend to think that his works should be carefully considered.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16047
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Vipassana

Postby Monkey Mind » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:00 pm

When one reads a discourse from the Buddha, there is usually a mention of the place and who the audience was. Usually a person asks a question of the Buddha, or the Buddha provides a teaching to a group of assembled monastics or laity. The context that is missing from the discourses: what was the audience doing before the discourse? What did they do after the discourse? If I understand the vipassana proponents correctly, they are suggesting that audience (the fourfold Sangha) sat in meditation. A lot of meditation. Maybe the instructions are absent from the discourses because the activity was so common-day it did not make sense to document them. I visit a lot of coffee shops, but I have never received instructions about what I am supposed to do in a coffee shop.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
User avatar
Monkey Mind
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:31 am

Monkey Mind wrote:When one reads a discourse from the Buddha, there is usually a mention of the place and who the audience was. Usually a person asks a question of the Buddha, or the Buddha provides a teaching to a group of assembled monastics or laity. The context that is missing from the discourses: what was the audience doing before the discourse? What did they do after the discourse? If I understand the vipassana proponents correctly, they are suggesting that audience (the fourfold Sangha) sat in meditation. A lot of meditation. Maybe the instructions are absent from the discourses because the activity was so common-day it did not make sense to document them. I visit a lot of coffee shops, but I have never received instructions about what I am supposed to do in a coffee shop.


Hi Monkey Mind

Are you suggesting the Buddha did not teach the complete path? Most/All instances of stream entry are not in a meditative setting. A meditative setting is not required for jhana or path to arise. The most important aspect is that the Buddha requires people to "listen" to the Dhamma.

Brizzy :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Freawaru » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:53 am

Hi Brizzi,

Brizzy wrote:Do you think that you might be taking to much for granted?


Often. But not in this case :tongue:

I have never come across the Buddha mentioning hatha yoga or any specific exercise other than walking.


Long breath, short breath, staying aware of breath: pranayama

satipatthana sutta wrote:"Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrication and to breathe out calming bodily fabrication. Just as a skilled turner or his apprentice, when making a long turn, discerns that he is making a long turn, or when making a short turn discerns that he is making a short turn; in the same way the monk, when breathing in long, discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short... He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrication, and to breathe out calming bodily fabrication.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


This is well known yoga training.

satipatthana sutta wrote:"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.


This gives the training a different direction. During hatha yoga states like this the awareness (sampajanna) is present, one discerns directly, now, in the present. But hatha yoga teaches to do something with this skill, just like the teachers of the Buddha taught how to develop into higher and higher jhanas. The Buddha instead gave it a different direction, namely to pay attention to the awareness itself, to practice this awareness to reduce the clinging.

As far as I am aware the four jhanas "As taught by the Buddha" are not to be found with yoga teachers or anyone else outside the Buddhas dispensation. The jhanas of Hindu origin are without discernment.


Discernment arises with awareness (sampajanna). It is present during jhana (and there is really no difference between Buddhist jhana and Hindu jhana, just look who taught the Buddha jhana in the first place: they were no Buddhists) as it arises from concentration on the right objects such as the sphere of nothingness. In all jhanic states one can practice discernment or choose to just enjoy the ride.

Brizzi, this is really the most important aspect of the Buddha's teaching: to discern between the experience itself (such as jhana or not jhana) and the awareness (sampajanna) that discerns it. If someone does not know this difference all the suttas are interpreted in the wrong context.

The jhanas of the Buddhas dispensation are the culmination of satipatthana.


Sure. Increasing concentration leads to jhana. Even in tandem with awareness. But the jhanas are still the jhanas, one can discern them, one knows the experience. The difference is the identification, the Buddha's teachers taught to be absorbed (lucidly) in the jhanas (say, the nothingness or "neither perception or non perception"), but for them the pleasant feeling of jhana entered and remained (because that is what they wanted). They identified with the jhanic state. The Buddha choose to pay attention to the awareness and observation rather than the experience itself, thus Liberating Himself from the experience and the identification with the state.

The point is to practice discernment during jhana one has to first experience jhana. Makes no sense otherwise.

The eightfold path IS a progressive path with right view as first, leading eventually to mindfulness culminating into the jhanas.


Yes, but one cannot have right view when the eye is shut. So one has to first open the eye, see and discern. Seeing and discerning lead to right view, that leads to memory (sati) to keep the eye open, that leads to concentration, that leads to jhana. Those suttas starting with right view imply that the practitioner has already opened the eye and sees.

I have often read people wanting to start with right view, but they don't know what right view is because their eye is closed. Right view is not something one can imagine by reading some suttas. One is not taming one's mind by this. The suttas compare the mind to an elephant (or a horse sometimes), and that one needs to tame it.

Quite excellent are well trained & completely tamed
Elephants and full-blooded horses, yet far better is
the one, who have tamed himself ....

Not by Taming elephants can one reach the beyond.
Only by Taming own mind can one reach the beyond.
http://what-buddha-said.net/Canon/Sutta ... htm#hapter XXIII The Elephant - Nagga


Taming one's mind is not too dissimilar to training an elephant. This is why the Buddha used the metaphor. To practice taming, controling one's mind and body (such as in hatha yoga) is the fundamental practice of the Dhamma vinaya. Taming leads to right view because the eye opens.
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:07 pm

Ben wrote:The 10-day Goenka retreats are "introductory" courses. If you have done many of them, as I have done, you will hear Mr Goenka a number of times describe his course as "the kindergarten of Dhamma". When he says that defilements and sankharas are eradicated and uses some similes to describe that point, its a long way from saying that "kamma is burned away".
Venerable Analayo is actually a highly respected and independent scholar monk. Despite you being "not convinced", I tend to think that his works should be carefully considered.


Hi Ben

I think the link you provided discussing the Dhyānasamādhi Sūtra, is indeed interesting. The name says it all. These are instructions (similar to those currently being taught by Thanissaro Bhikhu) for jhana. They are reminiscent of the similes used by the Buddha to show how jhana is developed. It seems these instructions have become "altered" over time, and we now have a new technique called vipassana meditation. These new techniques give definite results, however are they the results that it says on the label. Jhana-Samadhi.

Brizzy :smile:

BTW - Eradicating sankharas through arising sensations, this is not the Buddhas teaching.
Last edited by Brizzy on Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:10 pm

Well, it wouldnt be the first scriptural meditation source that was applicable to both jhana and vipassana: anapanasati sutta is a case in point.
regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16047
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:55 pm

Ben wrote:Well, it wouldnt be the first scriptural meditation source that was applicable to both jhana and vipassana: anapanasati sutta is a case in point.
regards

Ben


Hi Ben

My point is that a "vipassana meditation technique" as such was never taught by the Buddha. Jhana was. Anapanasati is recollection of the breath, which done properly culminates in jhana/samadhi, there is no switch which can be pressed to say that "now I will do anapanasati, the vipassana way". There is wrong meditation (meditation that does not lead to jhana) and there is Right meditation (meditation that leads to jhana).

Brizzy :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:14 pm

I suggest you read Ven Analayo's book.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16047
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:21 pm

Ben wrote:I suggest you read Ven Analayo's book.


I suggest you read the four Nikayas.
I just did a bit of research on the Dhyānasamādhi Sūtra. It appears to be a mahayana sutra written maybe a 1000 years after the Buddha. Only Mahayana dare put the suffix "sutra" in a title that was not from the Buddhas time. ( not to say I didnt find it interesting). However it seems strange that people are referring to Mahayana texts to try and estabish a lineage and antiquity to modern day Theravadin vipassana techniques.

Brizzy :smile:

BTW - Do you believe that eradicating sankharas is the Buddhas message, and if so where can this be found in the suttas?
Last edited by Brizzy on Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Brizzy » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:37 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Brizzi,

Brizzy wrote:Do you think that you might be taking to much for granted?


Often. But not in this case :tongue:

I have never come across the Buddha mentioning hatha yoga or any specific exercise other than walking.


Long breath, short breath, staying aware of breath: pranayama

satipatthana sutta wrote:"Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrication and to breathe out calming bodily fabrication. Just as a skilled turner or his apprentice, when making a long turn, discerns that he is making a long turn, or when making a short turn discerns that he is making a short turn; in the same way the monk, when breathing in long, discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short... He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrication, and to breathe out calming bodily fabrication.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


This is well known yoga training.

satipatthana sutta wrote:"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.


This gives the training a different direction. During hatha yoga states like this the awareness (sampajanna) is present, one discerns directly, now, in the present. But hatha yoga teaches to do something with this skill, just like the teachers of the Buddha taught how to develop into higher and higher jhanas. The Buddha instead gave it a different direction, namely to pay attention to the awareness itself, to practice this awareness to reduce the clinging.

As far as I am aware the four jhanas "As taught by the Buddha" are not to be found with yoga teachers or anyone else outside the Buddhas dispensation. The jhanas of Hindu origin are without discernment.


Discernment arises with awareness (sampajanna). It is present during jhana (and there is really no difference between Buddhist jhana and Hindu jhana, just look who taught the Buddha jhana in the first place: they were no Buddhists) as it arises from concentration on the right objects such as the sphere of nothingness. In all jhanic states one can practice discernment or choose to just enjoy the ride.

Brizzi, this is really the most important aspect of the Buddha's teaching: to discern between the experience itself (such as jhana or not jhana) and the awareness (sampajanna) that discerns it. If someone does not know this difference all the suttas are interpreted in the wrong context.

The jhanas of the Buddhas dispensation are the culmination of satipatthana.


Sure. Increasing concentration leads to jhana. Even in tandem with awareness. But the jhanas are still the jhanas, one can discern them, one knows the experience. The difference is the identification, the Buddha's teachers taught to be absorbed (lucidly) in the jhanas (say, the nothingness or "neither perception or non perception"), but for them the pleasant feeling of jhana entered and remained (because that is what they wanted). They identified with the jhanic state. The Buddha choose to pay attention to the awareness and observation rather than the experience itself, thus Liberating Himself from the experience and the identification with the state.

The point is to practice discernment during jhana one has to first experience jhana. Makes no sense otherwise.

The eightfold path IS a progressive path with right view as first, leading eventually to mindfulness culminating into the jhanas.


Yes, but one cannot have right view when the eye is shut. So one has to first open the eye, see and discern. Seeing and discerning lead to right view, that leads to memory (sati) to keep the eye open, that leads to concentration, that leads to jhana. Those suttas starting with right view imply that the practitioner has already opened the eye and sees.

I have often read people wanting to start with right view, but they don't know what right view is because their eye is closed. Right view is not something one can imagine by reading some suttas. One is not taming one's mind by this. The suttas compare the mind to an elephant (or a horse sometimes), and that one needs to tame it.

Quite excellent are well trained & completely tamed
Elephants and full-blooded horses, yet far better is
the one, who have tamed himself ....

Not by Taming elephants can one reach the beyond.
Only by Taming own mind can one reach the beyond.
http://what-buddha-said.net/Canon/Sutta ... htm#hapter XXIII The Elephant - Nagga


Taming one's mind is not too dissimilar to training an elephant. This is why the Buddha used the metaphor. To practice taming, controling one's mind and body (such as in hatha yoga) is the fundamental practice of the Dhamma vinaya. Taming leads to right view because the eye opens.


Hi Freawaru

Do you know what Right View is as defined by the Buddha? :tongue:
The Buddha says the requisite for right view is listening to the Dhamma.
Hatha yoga is a religion infatuated with the body. A healthy body maybe but not a healthy mind( if you go along with its religious teachings).
Nobody taught the Buddha the four jhanas that the Buddha went on to teach. There is a world of difference between the Hindu & Buddhist jhanas. Every jhana outside the Buddhas dispensation is wrong concentration. Right view leads onto Right thought etc. leading to right recollection leading to right jhana. Any other eightfold path is by its nature is wrong - wrong view leading to wrong thought etc. leading to wrong jhana.
Seeing and discerning as you put it cannot lead to right view. Right view has to be in place First.

Brizzy :smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Vipassana

Postby Monkey Mind » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:15 pm

Brizzy wrote:
Hi Monkey Mind

Are you suggesting the Buddha did not teach the complete path? Most/All instances of stream entry are not in a meditative setting. A meditative setting is not required for jhana or path to arise. The most important aspect is that the Buddha requires people to "listen" to the Dhamma.

Brizzy :smile:

No, that is not what I am saying. Path is complete and thoroughly expounded. Others have already referenced the Satipatthana Sutta, Anapanasati Sutta, and others. If I understand the OP correctly, we are wondering how we derive specific vipassana techniques from those suttas. My comment was to illustrate that the suttas are focused on the content of what Buddha taught in discourse. I am hypothesizing that there might have been a lot of "material" that was so common-day that it was not recorded, based on the assumption that it would continue to be common day. I can read a dozen books about the martial art Aikido, but the knowledge I learn will be radically different than if I attend a dozen Aikido classes.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
User avatar
Monkey Mind
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Next

Return to Insight Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests