Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:57 am

The following msg appears in this thread. The last line raises some serious questions: Where does the Theravada tradition say that only the "Anagamis and Arahants can reach Cessation?" Is this a sutta claim or solely a commentarial claim? And what does our claimant mean by cessation? Does that fit with what the tradition states?
      • dhammarelax wrote:
        tiltbillings wrote:
        dhammarelax wrote:
        For many years I practiced following the probably unorthodox Zen teachings of Osho (Baghwan Rajnesh) which consists of, being a non judgmental witness, without looking for any result, having fun with it and being patient, this teaching led me to the 2nd Jhana but I couldn't progress for a long time, then I looked at Thanissaros teachings and progressed a little bit but the ups and downs of the one pointed concentration were tiring and lacked solidity, then I looked at Vimalaramsis teachings went though all the Jhanas and reached the Cessation of Perception and feeling and saw Dependent Origination, after that I can see the permanent positive effects of the fruition in my personality, so what made me commit is the promise of receiving the original teachings and what keeps me here is the effectiveness of the teachings.

        Smile all the time
        dhammarelax
        Looks like you are claiming ariya status for yourself.
        No I am not, I have heard an interpretation that only Anagamis and Arahants can reach Cessation but from my practice I can tell that is not correct.

        Smile all the time
        dhammarelax
[/quote]
>> 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

SarathW
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by SarathW » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:53 am

Hi Tilt I can't answer your question.
I am trying hard to observe the five precepts let alone attaining Nirodha Samapatti. :)
However some information for anyone interest in this topic.


http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 06#p290706" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:07 am

SarathW wrote:Hi Tilt I can't answer your question.
I am trying hard to observe the five precepts let alone attaining Nirodha Samapatti. :)
However some information for anyone interest in this topic.


http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 06#p290706" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for the link.
>> 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

culaavuso
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by culaavuso » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:14 am

[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf]Visuddhimagga XXIII, 18[/url] (p. 735) wrote: 18. Herein, (i) What is the attainment of cessation? It is the non-occurrence of consciousness and its concomitants owing to their progressive cessation.

(ii) Who attains it? (iii) Who do not attain it? No ordinary men, no stream-enterers or once-returners, and no non-returners and Arahants who are bare-insight workers attain it. But both non-returners and those with cankers destroyed (Arahants) who are obtainers of the eight attainments attain it. For it is said: “Understanding that is mastery, owing to possession of two powers, to the tranquilization of three formations, to sixteen kinds of exercise of knowledge, and to nine kinds of exercise of concentration, is knowledge of the attainment of cessation” (Paṭis I 97). And these qualifications are not to be found together in any persons other than non-returners and those whose cankers are destroyed, who are obtainers of the eight attainments. That is why only they and no others attain it.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:17 am

culaavuso wrote:
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf]Visuddhimagga XXIII, 18[/url] (p. 735) wrote: 18. Herein, (i) What is the attainment of cessation? It is the non-occurrence of consciousness and its concomitants owing to their progressive cessation.

(ii) Who attains it? (iii) Who do not attain it? No ordinary men, no stream-enterers or once-returners, and no non-returners and Arahants who are bare-insight workers attain it. But both non-returners and those with cankers destroyed (Arahants) who are obtainers of the eight attainments attain it. For it is said: “Understanding that is mastery, owing to possession of two powers, to the tranquilization of three formations, to sixteen kinds of exercise of knowledge, and to nine kinds of exercise of concentration, is knowledge of the attainment of cessation” (Paṭis I 97). And these qualifications are not to be found together in any persons other than non-returners and those whose cankers are destroyed, who are obtainers of the eight attainments. That is why only they and no others attain it.
Thank you. Now, is there sutta support for this?
>> 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

dhammarelax
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:40 am

culaavuso wrote:
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf]Visuddhimagga XXIII, 18[/url] (p. 735) wrote: 18. Herein, (i) What is the attainment of cessation? It is the non-occurrence of consciousness and its concomitants owing to their progressive cessation.

(ii) Who attains it? (iii) Who do not attain it? No ordinary men, no stream-enterers or once-returners, and no non-returners and Arahants who are bare-insight workers attain it. But both non-returners and those with cankers destroyed (Arahants) who are obtainers of the eight attainments attain it. For it is said: “Understanding that is mastery, owing to possession of two powers, to the tranquilization of three formations, to sixteen kinds of exercise of knowledge, and to nine kinds of exercise of concentration, is knowledge of the attainment of cessation” (Paṭis I 97). And these qualifications are not to be found together in any persons other than non-returners and those whose cankers are destroyed, who are obtainers of the eight attainments. That is why only they and no others attain it.
Hi Culaavuso

I have heard this in a discussion between Bhante Vimalaramsi and another monk, but didn't know where it came from, thanks for the quote.

Smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

randall
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by randall » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:10 pm

The Abhidhammattha Sangaha says:
Herein, the attainment of fruition is common to all, each being able to attain their respective fruition. But the attainment of cessation is accessible only to non-returners and Arahants.
(CMA, Analysis of Attainments, IX)

There's about two pages about the attainments and the emergence of cessation on pages 363-364.

In the Majjhima Nikaya there's Mn 43, Mn 44 but the notes from Bhikkhu Bodhi both revert back to Vis XXIII. Also I think the cessation attainment is something like a 9th jhana according to the Visuddhimagga.

I'm curious to find out if the "cessation" Bhante Vimalaramsi is talking about is the same as the cessation stated above, from my understanding he's really anti-visuddhimagga. Perhaps the cessation he's describing about is the same described by Ajhan Brahm in "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond"?

note: I'm only currently reading Ajhan B's book
Last edited by randall on Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dhammarelax
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:22 pm

[quote="tiltbillings"]The following msg appears in [url=http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 88#p325286] ..And what does our claimant mean by cessation?...

Hi tiltbillings

A precise description or definition is beyond my reach but I can try my best, while experiencing cessation the six internal bases and the six external bases cease, there are no sounds, sights, tangibles, odors flavors nor mind objects, and you cannot perceive the internal bases either, also there are no formations (mental, verbal, bodily) and no craving, so while in this state you cannot say you are in this state, and when you emerge from it there are no memories of anything happening while in this stage, this is different than with the state of perception-non perception where although you cannot say you are in it either when you emerge you can remember what happened in it and there is still some craving, I theorize that what is observed in perception-non perception are visual manifestations of formations but I am not sure of this, I wouldn't characterize cessation as the cessation of consciousnesses because this occurs in the nothingness level.

Smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

dhammarelax
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:34 pm

randall wrote:The Abhidhammattha Sangaha says:
Herein, the attainment of fruition is common to all, each being able to attain their respective fruition. But the attainment of cessation is accessible only to non-returners and Arahants.
(CMA, Analysis of Attainments, IX)

There's about two pages about the attainments and the emergence of cessation on pages 363-364.

In the Majjhima Nikaya there's Mn 43, Mn 44 but the notes both revert back to Vis XXIII.

I'm curious to find out if the "cessation" Bhante V is talking about is the same as the cessation stated above, from my understanding he's really anti-visuddhimagga. Perhaps the cessation he's describing about is the same described by Ajhan Brahm in "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond"?

note: I'm only currently reading Ajhan B's book
Hi randall

Bhante V critizes the commentaries but he also praises them, in http://talks.dhammasukha.org/mn-020-jt1-060219.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; he states: "…and I still use the commentaries occasionally because there’s some real good points in the commentaries, but I always check it against what it says in the suttas now." For example he teaches the practice of "breaking down the barriers" for the Brahamaviharas, that is from the commentaries.

In the same talk (http://talks.dhammasukha.org/mn-020-jt1-060219.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) he states:

"I was in Burma for almost three years. I had the opportunity to go and study with some really, really good scholars. Now, one of the scholars was at the Sixth Buddhist Council, and he was the chief answerer for the Sixth Buddhist Council. He’s called the Mingun Sayadaw. He had memorized over twelve thousand pages from the suttas and commentaries. He took a test. Now, you know how everybody here, they complain because "There’s a
four-hour test I have to take when you’re going to college. Ah, it was a killer!" He took a test ten hours a day for thirty days in a row. He got better than ninety percent correct on everything that he did. I mean this man had an amazing mind. He knew the suttas unbelievably well. So, I went to him and I said "Bhante,where in the suttas does it mention 'access concentration' or 'moment-to-moment concentration'?" And he said, "It’s not in the
suttas. That’s in the commentary." I asked him a lot of... in a lot of different ways basically the same thing about absorption concentration: "Is that really what the Buddha taught?" And he said: "No, it was different because of the tranquilizing." - "Well, why aren’t we teaching that now?" - "Because the commentaries don’t agree with that and we go with the commentaries.""

Smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Aloka
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by Aloka » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:38 pm

dhammarelax wrote: .... this teaching led me to the 2nd Jhana but I couldn't progress for a long time, then I looked at Thanissaros teachings and progressed a little bit but the ups and downs of the one pointed concentration were tiring and lacked solidity, then I looked at Vimalaramsis teachings went though all the Jhanas and reached the Cessation of Perception and feeling and saw Dependent Origination...
I wonder if this might be worth reading when one is tempted to make public claims about one's practice :

Whoever boasts to others, unasked,
of his practices, precepts,
is, say the skilled,
ignoble by nature —
he who speaks of himself
of his own accord.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:

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tsurezuregusa
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by tsurezuregusa » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:52 pm

Hi,
dhammarelax wrote:A precise description or definition is beyond my reach but I can try my best, while experiencing cessation ...
what is described here could as well be just a dip into the bhavanga. Which is not an achievement, but a lack of mindfulness. According to Pa-Auk Sayadaw some Yogis just prior to entering first jhana are prone to fall into bhavanga. Given the fact that Vimalaramsi has set the requirement for entering jhana so low, that might just be what happened here. Of course, that is also the reason why Vimalaramsi does not see access concentration as a real thing. When you lower the threshold for jhana so very low, you get rid of access concentration at the same time. Remember the Vimalaramsi student here who was in 7th jhana while attending a business meeting?

Kind regards,
Florian

randall
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by randall » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:58 pm

thanks dhammarelax,

the word anti may have been too strong of a word. I also really find Bhante's teachings about "relaxing" and "smiling" very helpful with meditation.

:anjali:

culaavuso
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by culaavuso » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:13 pm

dhammarelax wrote: A precise description or definition is beyond my reach but I can try my best, while experiencing cessation the six internal bases and the six external bases cease, there are no sounds, sights, tangibles, odors flavors nor mind objects, and you cannot perceive the internal bases either, also there are no formations (mental, verbal, bodily) and no craving, so while in this state you cannot say you are in this state, and when you emerge from it there are no memories of anything happening while in this stage, this is different than with the state of perception-non perception where although you cannot say you are in it either when you emerge you can remember what happened in it and there is still some craving,
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/jhananumbers.html]Jhana Not by the Numbers[/url] by Ven. Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu wrote: The second state was one I happened to hit one night when my concentration was extremely one-pointed, and so refined that it refused settle on or label even the most fleeting mental objects. I dropped into a state in which I lost all sense of the body, of any internal/external sounds, or of any thoughts or perceptions at all — although there was just enough tiny awareness to let me know, when I emerged, that I hadn't been asleep. I found that I could stay there for many hours, and yet time would pass very quickly. Two hours would seem like two minutes. I could also "program" myself to come out at a particular time.

After hitting this state several nights in a row, I told Ajaan Fuang about it, and his first question was, "Do you like it?" My answer was "No," because I felt a little groggy the first time I came out. "Good," he said. "As long as you don't like it, you're safe. Some people really like it and think it's nibbana or cessation. Actually, it's the state of non-perception (asaññi-bhava). It's not even right concentration, because there's no way you can investigate anything in there to gain any sort of discernment.

dhammarelax
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:21 pm

tsurezuregusa wrote:Hi,
dhammarelax wrote:A precise description or definition is beyond my reach but I can try my best, while experiencing cessation ...
what is described here could as well be just a dip into the bhavanga. Which is not an achievement, but a lack of mindfulness. According to Pa-Auk Sayadaw some Yogis just prior to entering first jhana are prone to fall into bhavanga. Given the fact that Vimalaramsi has set the requirement for entering jhana so low, that might just be what happened here. Of course, that is also the reason why Vimalaramsi does not see access concentration as a real thing. When you lower the threshold for jhana so very low, you get rid of access concentration at the same time. Remember the Vimalaramsi student here who was in 7th jhana while attending a business meeting?

Kind regards,
Florian
Hi Florian

Is this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhavanga" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) the bhavanga you are talking about?
Cessation is a fairly subtle state and can be confused with other even unskilful states of mind, what gives solidity to the interpretation of the phenomenon is what follows it, that is the fruition, and this is why I am absolutely positive about interpreting it correctly.

Smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

culaavuso
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Re: Is the Theravada Tradition wrong?

Post by culaavuso » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:46 pm

dhammarelax wrote: Cessation is a fairly subtle state and can be confused with other even unskilful states of mind, what gives solidity to the interpretation of the phenomenon is what follows it, that is the fruition, and this is why I am absolutely positive about interpreting it correctly.
Which fruition? One of the four ariya phalā?
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf]Visuddhimagga XIII, 49[/url] (p. 741) wrote: How does the emergence from it come about? The emergence comes about in two ways thus: by means of the fruition of non-return in the case of the non-returner, or by means of the fruition of Arahantship in the case of the Arahant.
Last edited by culaavuso on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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