Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

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tiltbillings
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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:54 pm

Aloka wrote:Wallace's view here appears to accord with the Great Forty sutta, as follows:
There is no question that the distortion he trots out is a problem, though I have not read any teacher who would teach so nor have I ever heard any teacher state or imply bare attention without a Dhamma and ethical context. They may be out there, but I suspect they are not the majority or even near it. But again, the problem in the interview is that by implication all modern vipassana teachers are suspect given that he does not balance out his comments by pointing to teachers who he feels got it right, which would have been a very easy - and the proper - thing to do, given the nature of the criticism. Add to his characerization of the unnamed many, who he finds distorting the Dhamma, the sniper thing, we have a fairly ugly document, either the result of not mindfully thinking things through or, it is exactly what he thinks and means to do.
>> 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 tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:00 pm

Jack wrote:
Vipassana, insight: literally, "clear seeing," to see clearly, distinctly, directly into the true nature of things, into aniccam-dukkham-anatta. Vipassana is popularly used for mental development practiced for the sake of true insight. In such cases, the physical posture, theory, and method of such practices must not be confused with true realization of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self. Vipassana cannot be taught.
Ven Buddhadasa's use of vipassana in the above quote (also quoted by Retro) is correct. Vipassana refers to the insights that come about via watching the rise and fall of the mind/body process with a concentrated and mindfull mind.
>> 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 tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:02 pm

Aloka wrote: The Pali sources appear to agree with Alan Wallace and disagree with the notion of sati as 'bare awareness'.

The Pali agrees with Alan that mindfulness may be used to sustain bare attention but nowhere do traditional Buddhist sources equate mindfulness with such attention.
And do you think such teachers as Mahasi Sayadaw or U Pandita are not in line with what the Pali sources teach?
>> 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

Yundi

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by Yundi » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:There is no question that the distortion he trots out is a problem, though I have not read any teacher who would teach so nor have I ever heard any teacher state or imply bare attention without a Dhamma and ethical context.
In the Sedaka Sutta, the Buddha makes the distinction between choosing to direct awareness to the internal body or to have the bare awareness of a naked woman.

Mindfulness implies 'choice'. One chooses the object of meditation over the bare awareness of whatever comes into the sphere of consciousness.

The Buddhist tradition holds mindfulness as 'the gatekeeper', where mindfulness keeps unwholesome dhammas out and allows wholesome dhammas in.

Mindfulness is not the bare or choiceless awareness of whatever comes into the sphere of awareness.

Mindfulness keeps awareness 'bare'. It keeps awareness free from distracting thoughts, it keeps awareness free from covetous & grief, it keeps awareness free from clinging, it works to overcome the five hindrances plus it keeps awareness directed at the object of meditation.

Mindfulness may keep awareness 'bare' but mindfulness is not awareness itself. It is recollection. It is remembering. It is keeping & bearing in mind, as the Lord Buddha taught.
The Blessed One said, "Suppose, monks, that a large crowd of people comes thronging together, saying, 'The beauty queen! The beauty queen!' And suppose that the beauty queen is highly accomplished at singing & dancing, so that an even greater crowd comes thronging, saying, 'The beauty queen is singing! The beauty queen is dancing!' Then a man comes along, desiring life & shrinking from death, desiring pleasure & abhorring pain. They say to him, 'Now look here, mister. You must take this bowl filled to the brim with oil and carry it on your head in between the great crowd & the beauty queen. A man with a raised sword will follow right behind you and wherever you spill even a drop of oil, right there will he cut off your head.' Now what do you think, monks: Will that man, not paying attention to the bowl of oil, let himself get distracted outside?"

"No, lord."

"I have given you this parable to convey a meaning. The meaning is this: The bowl filled to the brim with oil stands for mindfulness immersed in the body. Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will develop mindfulness immersed in the body. We will pursue it, hand it the reins and take it as a basis, give it a grounding, steady it, consolidate it, and undertake it well.' That is how you should train yourselves."
With metta

:smile:
Last edited by Yundi on Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:56 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Yundi

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by Yundi » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:43 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And do you think such teachers as Mahasi Sayadaw or U Pandita are not in line with what the Pali sources teach?
Any teacher that defines sati is awareness in the sense of being cognizant or consciousness of an object is out of line with the Pali sources.

The Pali term for cognition is vinanna and the various terms that imply clear, direct &/or sustained seeing such as anupassana (contemplation) & vipassana (seeing clearly) have similar meanings.

The term 'bare awareness' has the same meaning, that is, the pure cognition of an object without judgment.

The English term 'awareness' can also mean 'vigilance' or 'heedfulness', meaning having an underlying understanding or wisdom.

The term 'bare awareness' does not imply 'reflective recollective heedfulness'. Instead, it implies 'clear seeing'.

So yes, teachers who use the term 'bare awareness' for mindfulness are out of line with the Pali sources.

The Buddha used the term 'anupassana' when referring to observing an object without judgements, that is, kayanupassana, vedanupassana, cittanupassana & dhammanupassa.

Mindfulness is not contemplating the four objects of satipatthana per se. Mindfulness is keeping the four objects of satipatthana in mind as the chosen objects of contemplation (at the expense of contemplating other objects, such as naked dancing women).

With metta

:smile:
Main Entry: aware
Pronunciation: \ə-ˈwer\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English iwar, from Old English gewær, from ge- (associative prefix) + wær wary — more at co-, wary
Date: before 12th century

1 archaic : watchful, wary
2 : having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge

— aware·ness noun
synonyms aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something.

aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences <aware of changes in climate>.

cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources <not fully cognizant of the facts>.

conscious implies that one is focusing one's attention on something or is even preoccupied by it <conscious that my heart was pounding>.

sensible implies direct or intuitive perceiving especially of intangibles or of emotional states or qualities <sensible of a teacher's influence>.

alive adds to sensible the implication of acute sensitivity to something <alive to the thrill of danger>. awake implies that one has become alive to something and is on the alert <a country always awake to the threat of invasion>.

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:31 pm

Yundi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And do you think such teachers as Mahasi Sayadaw or U Pandita are not in line with what the Pali sources teach?
Any teacher that defines sati is awareness in the sense of being cognizant or consciousness of an object is out of line with the Pali sources.
That does not answer the question. Also, is Ven Analayo, in his brilliant study of satipatthana out of line in his book, SATIPATTHANA, when he refers to the "bare attention" aspect of sati (p. 60)? And one of the points being that sati is inclusive of a number of functions that are not necessarily captured by a bare dictionary rendering, but must be looked at in the context of how the word is used. Out of line, is he? Out of line as are Mahasi Saydaw and U Pandita in their teachings? Bare attention is not necessarily translated by sati.
>> 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

Yundi

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by Yundi » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:17 am

I already offered the view that mindfulness is that mental function that keeps awareness 'bare'.

Awareness or consciousness is something naturally 'bare' or pure unless it is obscured by defilement.

(I trust you have read the Buddha's teaching on luminous mind in the Anguttara Ones.)

The skill of mindfulness is bringing to bear the object of meditation.

Instead of awareness bearing in mind naked dancing women, it has the skill to bear in mind the meditation object.

Thus the Buddha advised right mindfulness is awareness or contemplation of the four satipatthana rather than the four Spice Girls.

With metta

:smile:
Last edited by Yundi on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:20 am

Yundi wrote:I already offered the view that mindfulness is that mental function that keeps awareness 'bare'.

Awareness or consciousness is something naturally 'bare' or pure until it is obscured by defilement.

(I trust you have read the Buddha's teaching on luminous mind in the Anguttara Ones.)

With metta
Okay.
>> 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

Brizzy

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by Brizzy » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Yundi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And do you think such teachers as Mahasi Sayadaw or U Pandita are not in line with what the Pali sources teach?
Any teacher that defines sati is awareness in the sense of being cognizant or consciousness of an object is out of line with the Pali sources.
That does not answer the question. Also, is Ven Analayo, in his brilliant study of satipatthana out of line in his book, SATIPATTHANA, when he refers to the "bare attention" aspect of sati (p. 60)? And one of the points being that sati is inclusive of a number of functions that are not necessarily captured by a bare dictionary rendering, but must be looked at in the context of how the word is used. Out of line, is he? Out of line are are Mahasi Saydaw and U Pandita in their teachings? Bare attention is not necessarily translated by sati.
Is it so outrageous to question certain teachings put forward by teachers, which seem to not quite be in line with the suttas. This in no way would cast any aspersions on those monks or there vinaya, but at some stage people have to decide whether they are taking refuge in a teacher (naughty naughty) or the Buddha (suttas/vinaya).

:smile:
Last edited by Brizzy on Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:46 am

Brizzy wrote:
Is it so outrage to question certain teachings put forward by teachers, which seem to not quite be in line with the suttas.
Who would I listen to? You? Or a monk of long standing, deep practice and study who can read the suttas in the original language?

Who determines what is line with the suttas? I have seen pretty wacky interpretations of the suttas out there, even on DhammaWheel. I have seen nothing out line with the suttas in the teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw or U Pandita.
>> 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

Brizzy

Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by Brizzy » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:25 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote:
Is it so outrage to question certain teachings put forward by teachers, which seem to not quite be in line with the suttas.
Who would I listen to? You? Or a monk of long standing, deep practice and study who can read the suttas in the original language?

Who determine what is line with the suttas? I have seen pretty wacky interpretations of the suttas out there, even on DhammaWheel. I have seen out line with the suttas in the teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw or U Pandita.
I would read and contemplate the suttas, then I would listen/read as many Dhamma teachers as you can. Then I would decide with my own discernment what was in line and what was'nt.

The Dalai Lama is probably the most well known and respected Buddhist in the world, but if what he teaches is the Buddha's Dhamma then I'm a monkeys uncle.

People are so ready to take refuge in other people, its scary.

I am an ardent fan of Thanissaro Bhikkhu, but I do not take refuge in him. If I found some of his teachings did not follow the suttas I would not get my knickers in a twist, but I would use my discernment and leave those to one side.

It seems it is an offense to actually use ones own wisdom in understanding the Buddha's teachings. Even the Buddha said he could not give people release, how more so with any other teacher. If someone is to reach final release it is through other peoples "good friendship" and there own wisdom.

BTW Being able to read the suttas in the original pali does not make one a better teacher (or worse).

:smile:

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:16 am

Brizzy wrote:
BTW Being able to read the suttas in the original pali does not make one a better teacher (or worse).
But then one who reads Pali would know one does not take refuge. This whole business of "taking" refuge in monks is a non sequitur. That is not what this thread is about.
Your nephew:
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>> 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 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:19 am

Tilt,
Was that an example of your new found sense of humor?
I must be missing something.
To whom were you referring?

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Re: Alan Wallace on Modern Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:22 am

alan wrote: To whom were you referring?
See Brizzy's msg immediately above mine, second para.
>> 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 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:35 am

Ok then. That was kind of funny. Glad to see you back in a good mood!

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