Vipassana vs Theravada

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
daverupa
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by daverupa » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:As far as "facts" are concerned, probably not, but..
I'd like to know whether you agree on the veracity of the statements in the post, but the scare quotes around the word "facts" leaves things unclear. So as far as facts are concerned: what wasn't factual?

(I didn't read any contempt, so that - and the rest of the objection which hangs on it - is a subjective assessment on your part which I'm not interested in.)
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

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mikenz66
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:35 pm

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As far as "facts" are concerned, probably not, but..
I'd like to know whether you agree on the veracity of the statements in the post, but the scare quotes around the word "facts" leaves things unclear. So as far as facts are concerned: what wasn't factual?

(I didn't read any contempt, so that - and the rest of the objection which hangs on it - is a subjective assessment on your part which I'm not interested in.)
My main objection to these discussions is that I read the insight stages as a report on the experience of practitioners, not as "tenet systems", or "philosophy".

In my view there are a number of ways of implementing the dhamma, all quite consistent with the suttas, which are, after all, rather vague on details. Hence the numerous expositions by various teachers of the anapanasati sutta, for example.

:coffee:
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Ben
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Ben » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:23 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
Ben wrote:I am beginning to wonder whether your use of the use of the term "tenet system" is to cast negative aspersions on something you don't like.


I prefer to distinguish what are the teachings of the Buddha, as closely as I can discern from the suttas. If discussing the doctrines of Burmese Vipassanā as tenets bothers you, I suggest that you simply read this as dīpanī or kathā as these would apply in yours or other Vipassanā schools. Also, I realize that there can be some degree of emotional investment in ones 'school' or 'tradition'. And as I have none other than the Buddha as Ajahn, I apologize if my discussing these matters has upset you 'and others'.
I am not emotionally invested in anything and I am sorry to disappoint you but I am upset with nothing that you have said. However, what does concern me is the misrepresentation of a number of Burmese traditions by you. This need to run-down "Burmese Vipassana" speaks volumes about the lack of knowledge, the lack of spiritual maturity and conceitedness of those who feel qualified to to do so.
Ben wrote:Since you have used the term several times in this thread I would appreciate it if you could tell us what this tenet system is. Especially since it has never been defined nor discussed in any literature that I have ever come across.
As given above, and there are other examples from the U Ba Khin and Ledi Sayādaw literature. I must admit that I am a little surprised that you haven't read these, but many are content to just ad-hoc from retreats.
I have read everything Ledi Sayadaw has written that is available in English. I have also read everything written by Sayagyi U Ba Khin. I have not read anything resembling a tenet system.
Ben wrote:Please feel free to provide textual support.
This has been given as relevant.
Yes, and what you have given is, as Mike has said, a list of reported experiences. A tenet isystem it does not make. Furthermore, its origins is in the Vism - a document authored by the Mahavihara and used extensively throughout the Theravadin world and not just in Burma.
What you have not given us is any published material by a respected modern or ancient scholar that describes the teachers and traditions of Burma as having a 'tenet system'. Your use of the term "tenet system" as I have said elsewhere, as well as other negative expressions "regurgitated" actually reflects on your lack of objectivity and your own investment in your prosecution of something you do not like.

Ben
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:59 pm

The Progress of Insight (Visuddhi Ñāṇa Kathā), Original English publication translated by Nyanaponika Thera with the Original Pāḷi text.

The original publication of The Progress of Insight (Visuddhi Ñāṇa Kathā) seems nowhere to be found on the internet, so I am offering a scan of this here. I think this will be helpful for Vipassanā practitioners (and critics), as this also contains Mahāsi Sayādaw’s original pāḷi version of the document.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Passavipa » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:11 pm

The term 'vipassana' is rarely found in the discourses. What exactly, in terms of detailed explanation, do the suttas impart about vipassana? Not very much, in reality, if not close to nothing.

It follows teachers over the years have done their best to explain vipassana. The dhammas listed above, such as bhaṅga-ñāṇa, bhayatupaṭṭhāna-ñāṇa, ādīnava-ñāṇa, nibbidā-ñāṇa, etc, are certainly not alien to the sutta discourses . The terms ādīnava (danger) and nibbidā (revulsion) are used abundantly in the sutta discourses. Bhayatupaṭṭhāna is found at least at the very end of MN 130, which states: "Clinging they look upon with fear".

Anāpānasati may indicate one contemplative effort but the discourse offers little explanation. Is the term vipassana found in the Anāpānasati sutta? Or consider, the terms sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī as found in Anāpānasati. Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly?

The opinions on these subjects are numerous because the suttas often do not provide detailed explanations. :)
Last edited by Passavipa on Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:40 am, edited 4 times in total.

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mikenz66
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:50 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:The Progress of Insight (Visuddhi Ñāṇa Kathā), Original English publication translated by Nyanaponika Thera with the Original Pāḷi text.

The original publication of The Progress of Insight (Visuddhi Ñāṇa Kathā) seems nowhere to be found on the internet, so I am offering a scan of this here. I think this will be helpful for Vipassanā practitioners (and critics), as this also contains Mahāsi Sayādaw’s original pāḷi version of the document.
Thanks for pointing out the interesting addition of the Pali version.

The English is available here (I don't think Bhikkhu Pesala has changed it):
http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This treatise was first written in the Burmese language and later, in 1950, a Pāli version of it was composed by the author. As the treatise deals chiefly with the advanced stages of the practice, it was originally not intended for publication. Handwritten or typed copies of the Burmese or Pali version were given only to those who, with some measure of success, had concluded a strict course of practice at the meditation centre. For the use of meditators from foreign countries, only a few cyclostyled sheets in English, briefly describing the phases of insight knowledge, were issued instead of the treatise itself. This was done to enable the meditator to identify his personal experience with one or other of the stages described, so that he might direct his further progress accordingly, without being diverted or misled by any secondary phenomena that may have appeared during his practice.

In 1954 the Venerable Author agreed to a printed edition of the Pāli version in Burmese script, and after this first publication he also permitted, at the translator's request, the issue of an English version. He had the great kindness to go carefully through the draft translation and the Notes, with the linguistic help of an experienced Burmese lay meditator, U Pe Thin, who for many years had ably served as an interpreter for meditators from foreign countries. The translator's gratitude is due to both his Venerable Meditation Master, the author, and to U Pe Thin.

Nyanaponika Thera
Forest Hermitage
Kandy, Ceylon,
On the Full-moon Day of June (Poson) 1965.

:anjali:
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by ancientbuddhism » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:42 am

mikenz66 wrote: Thanks for pointing out the interesting addition of the Pali version.

The English is available here (I don't think Bhikkhu Pesala has changed it):
Pesala may have access to a better copy than I could scan. As you can tell, mine is a bit weathered.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:09 am

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As far as "facts" are concerned, probably not, but..
I'd like to know whether you agree on the veracity of the statements in the post, but the scare quotes around the word "facts" leaves things unclear. So as far as facts are concerned: what wasn't factual?

(I didn't read any contempt, so that - and the rest of the objection which hangs on it - is a subjective assessment on your part which I'm not interested in.)
Facts or "facts" does not matter in the point I am making. My objection pivots on the certainly negatively connotating, if not contempuous, "regurgitated," which rather neatly colors what was said. My objection still stands.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:53 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:The confusion is when there is a conflation between the context of vipassanā in the nikāyas and later Burmese Vipassanā. Vipassanā still means clear-seeing, intense-seeing or ‘insight’ if you like....
To add, vipassanā certainly means clear-seeing. But 'clear seeing' into what? What things or realities are clearly seen? Do the objects of clear seeing differ between the nikāyas and later Burmese Vipassanā?

:shrug:

Does the Anapanasati Sutta list the insight about Knowledge of Misery/Danger (ādīnava-ñāṇa) found in MN 148? If not, if these various insights or ñāṇa are not listed systematically, is it possible one may over-estimate their practise?
If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback (ādīnavañca) & escape from that feeling, then one's ignorance-obsession doesn't get obsessed. That a person — through abandoning passion-obsession with regard to a feeling of pleasure, through abolishing resistance-obsession with regard to a feeling of pain, through uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, through abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing is possible.

MN 148
Last edited by Passavipa on Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:12 am, edited 5 times in total.

Brizzy
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Brizzy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:58 am

Passavipa wrote:The term 'vipassana' is rarely found in the discourses. What exactly, in terms of detailed explanation, do the suttas impart about vipassana? Not very much, in reality, if not close to nothing.

A rose by any other name. I wouldn't get to hung up over the modern day use of 'vipassana meditation'

It follows teachers over the years have done their best to explain vipassana. The dhammas listed above, such as bhaṅga-ñāṇa, bhayatupaṭṭhāna-ñāṇa, ādīnava-ñāṇa, nibbidā-ñāṇa, etc, are certainly not alien to the sutta discourses . The terms ādīnava (danger) and nibbidā (revulsion) are used abundantly in the sutta discourses. Bhayatupaṭṭhāna is found at least at the very end of MN 130, which states: "Clinging they look upon with fear".

Anāpānasati may indicate one contemplative effort but the discourse offers little explanation. Is the term vipassana found in the Anāpānasati sutta? Or consider, the terms sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī as found in Anāpānasati. Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly?

The opinions on these subjects are numerous because the suttas often do not provide detailed explanations. :)
If all else fails, blame the Buddha for being a poor teacher (The sutta's are predominantly the Buddha's words or his close disciples).

The Buddha has taught a straightforward path to awakening, trouble is the wood has been obscured by to many trees. Interpretations of such things as 'what is discerning things as they really are' or 'what is right concentration' have done nothing but generate confusion, blur the sutta's teachings and gradually superimpose a 'tenet' system onto the Buddha's teachings.

Metta

:smile:

BTW Good first post. :twothumbsup:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

Passavipa
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:17 am

Brizzy wrote:If all else fails, blame the Buddha for being a poor teacher (The sutta's are predominantly the Buddha's words or his close disciples).
The Buddha was certainly not a poor teacher. But the meaning of words & phrases have the potential to become lost or obscured over time. You may have thumbed up my post but did you consider my question about sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī (step 3) and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī (step 7 of anapanasati)? Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly? Your guess is probably as good or as poor as mine.

:)

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Brizzy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:41 am

Passavipa wrote:
Brizzy wrote:If all else fails, blame the Buddha for being a poor teacher (The sutta's are predominantly the Buddha's words or his close disciples).
The Buddha was certainly not a poor teacher. But the meaning of words & phrases have the potential to become lost or obscured over time. You may have thumbed up my post but did you consider my question about sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī (step 3) and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī (step 7 of anapanasati)? Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly? Your guess is probably as good or as poor as mine.

:)
Both appear to be quite straightforward instructions. Any uncertainty as to their exact meaning can be cleared up by practice - no other way. As for relating to vipassana, they are part of the process aimed at awakening.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:16 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:I prefer to distinguish what are the teachings of the Buddha, as closely as I can discern from the suttas. And as I have none other than the Buddha as Ajahn...
An interesting & suitable case study is the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. Many regarded the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu as a renegade & a heretic. Alternately, some of his disciples assert the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was a "radical conservative", i.e., a strict adherent to the Pali suttas. But in truth, neither were the case.

The late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu certainly had his differences of opinion with much of the Buddhist world about Dependent Origination. However, he probably only chose his interpretation because he personally regarded it has having more value & utility.

But the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did not merely accept or reject Buddhist teachings on the basis of a literal conformity with the Pali Suttas. For example, much of his extensive work on Anapanasati is based on the various Commentaries. Or in the print version of his brief translated work on Paticcasamuppada, the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu said he agreed with 90% of what Buddhaghosa wrote in his Vissuddhimagga.

Similarly, the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu devoted an entire chapter of his work Handbook for Mankind to (Burmese) organised systems of vipassana.

It follows such a case study exemplifies using a criteria based on what is advantageous.

:)
Neither the term Study (Gantha - dhura) nor Vipassana - dhura is mentioned in the Tipitaka, both appearing only in later books; but Vipassana - dhura is nevertheless a genuine Buddhist practice, designed for people intent on eliminating suffering. It is based directly on sustained, concentrated introspection.
Last edited by Passavipa on Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Passavipa
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:24 am

Brizzy wrote:Both appear to be quite straightforward instructions. Any uncertainty as to their exact meaning can be cleared up by practice - no other way.
Such subjectivity is certainly not convincing. The "practice" of each individual is not necessarily the same.

If both appear to be quite straightfoward then kindly explain them, thank you, so we & others may compare notes :)

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Post by Brizzy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:38 pm

Passavipa wrote:
Brizzy wrote:Both appear to be quite straightforward instructions. Any uncertainty as to their exact meaning can be cleared up by practice - no other way.
Such subjectivity is certainly not convincing. The "practice" of each individual is not necessarily the same.

If both appear to be quite straightfoward then kindly explain them, thank you, so we & others may compare notes :)
No, sorry, I think you might find my explanations too subjective and unconvincing.
You actually negate your own question, if each individual practices differently then there will be subtle differences in our understanding of the instructions. I am not advocating an ultra strict rigidity, it is certainly ok to have various approaches to meditation. Where I despair is when the meditation becomes the 'path' or right view is restructured to fit in with meditative experiences.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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