Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

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d.sullivan
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Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by d.sullivan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:30 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Here is Wallace's broadside against vipassana practice: http://www.tricycle.com/a-mindful-balance" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am not impressed.
In another thread, Tiltbillings wrote this, and I wanted to respond to it without taking the thread off topic, so I'm starting a new thread.

I don't necessarily agree with Wallace, but I'm curious exactly what Tiltbillings finds unimpressive about Wallace's critique, and what everyone thinks of the article he posted.

Reading the article, I'm not sure it contains a "broadside against vipassana practice," only a critique of modern mindfulness practice, which Wallace posits is actually not the same as traditional Therevadin vipassana.
Every blade in the field,
Every leaf in the forest,
Lays down its life in its season,
As beautifully as it was taken up.

Thoreau.

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Sobeh
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by Sobeh » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:46 am

He doesn't even say the word jhana, and yet still he understands that vipassana and samatha are--only together--sammasamadhi. Beyond this he seems to be critiquing the "be here now" sorts of meditations that I see in Zen and New Age seminars everywhere.

There are all sorts of little points I'd quibble with him on, but overall I do not get an impression of a specific vipassana attack.

alan
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:31 am

Thanks d.sullivan. Thought that article made many important points. If it is a broadside against Vipassana centers then let it be read by all.
I especially liked his critique of "bare attention" as the end-all of meditation.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:49 am

alan wrote: I especially liked his critique of "bare attention" as the end-all of meditation.
What did you like about it?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:59 am

Bare attention in and of itself strikes me as dry and kind of pointless. People with psychological problems might benefit, I suppose. I like the way the author emphasizes effort and attitude.

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:03 am

Sati as the opposite of forgetfulness is also good.

Sometimes I think we should just drop "mindfulness" as a word. It just carries too many other implications to be of much value. It's become a one-word tradition.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:06 am

alan wrote:Bare attention in and of itself strikes me as dry and kind of pointless. People with psychological problems might benefit, I suppose. I like the way the author emphasizes effort and attitude.
And what is, in your opinion, "bare attention?" Have you ever practiced it?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:12 am

At a retreat, and as taught by Vipassana books.

Just sitting there paying bare attention seemed liked being charged with the task of picking up little pebbles for the point of making small piles of pebbles.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:17 am

alan wrote:At a retreat, and as taught by Vipassana books.

Just sitting there paying bare attention seemed liked being charged with the task of picking up little pebbles for the point of making small piles of pebbles.
Again, what is bare attention?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:28 am

Good question. Maybe my inability to get how "bare awareness" has any value led to to abandon that type of practice. I'd refer you to paragraph 4 in the article we are discussing.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:35 am

d.sullivan wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Here is Wallace's broadside against vipassana practice: http://www.tricycle.com/a-mindful-balance" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am not impressed.
In another thread, Tiltbillings wrote this, and I wanted to respond to it without taking the thread off topic, so I'm starting a new thread.

I don't necessarily agree with Wallace, but I'm curious exactly what Tiltbillings finds unimpressive about Wallace's critique, and what everyone thinks of the article he posted.

Reading the article, I'm not sure it contains a "broadside against vipassana practice," only a critique of modern mindfulness practice, which Wallace posits is actually not the same as traditional Therevadin vipassana.
Who are these naughty "modern vipassana teachers" Wallace is talking about?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:37 am

alan wrote:Good question. Maybe my inability to get how "bare awareness" has any value led to to abandon that type of practice. I'd refer you to paragraph 4 in the article we are discussing.
This?:
What are some of the pitfalls of viewing meditation simply as a process of bare attention? When mindfulness is equated with bare attention, it can easily lead to the misconception that the cultivation of mindfulness has nothing to do with ethics or with the cultivation of wholesome states of mind and the attenuation of unwholesome states. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Pali Abhidhamma, where mindfulness is listed as a wholesome mental factor, it is not depicted as bare attention, but as a mental factor that clearly distinguishes wholesome from unwholesome mental states and behavior. And it is used to support wholesome states and counteract unwholesome states.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
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Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:49 am

Yep, that would be it.
Fire away!
Tell us why it is wrong.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:52 am

alan wrote:Yep, that would be it.
Fire away!
Tell us why it is wrong.
Who are these people who teach this naughty stuff?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan
Posts: 3094
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:07 am

Many meditation teachers preach the idea that to pay attention is enough. "Watch what arises and don't judge it" seems to be the dominant ethos. Scores of books echo this.
If 'mindfulness" has become a one-word path, then "bare-attention" is it's aim. I'm waiting for a cogent explanation of the value of this path.

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