Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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kirk5a
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by kirk5a » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:47 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
kirk5a wrote: The cessation of perception and feeling is specifically described as "and yet he would be percipient" (sañña).
No it isn't.

All the best,

Geoff
What is this then? It is said to be an attainment of concentration... but it is not that of the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception?

"Friend Sariputta, could a monk have an attainment of concentration such that he would neither be percipient of earth with regard to earth, nor of water with regard to water, nor of fire... wind... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception... this world... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet he would still be percipient?"

"Yes, friend Ananda, he could..."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Nyana
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:59 pm

kirk5a wrote:What is this then? It is said to be an attainment of concentration... but it is not that of the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception?
No. It can be classified as either a path attainment or fruition attainment samādhi, both of which include the presence of perception and concomitant jhāna factors.

The cessation of perception and feeling, on the other hand, isn't classifiable as mind (citta), mental factors (cetasikā), form (rūpa), or nibbāna. This is why it isn't included in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī's enumeration of dhammas, nor in the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha's enumeration of 89 and 121 types of consciousness and concomitant mental factors, which includes all types of worldly and supramundane cognition.

All the best,

Geoff

Freawaru
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Freawaru » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:39 pm

Sylvester wrote:
I think Matheesha hit the nail on the head with this -
Sleep is a state of unconsciousness. Yet we are cogincient of when we had been sleeping, after the fact. We know that we had 8 hours of sleep and that this says something about how we will function the rest of the day. We can give it a name, talk about it and even say 'I went to sleep'. Yet, all there was, was a moment of unconsciousness. The person who has never slept will wonder why and how unconsciousness takes such an important place in a mans life that he spends 8 hours or so in it. It has a lot to say about what went on before and after it.
I disagree. I, for one, are conscious during most of my sleep - or maybe "aware" would be the correct term, depending on the definitions. I KNOW that I sleep or dream WHILE it happens. Not just afterwards. In the NOW - just as during wake.

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8104" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am quite positive that it is also possible to be aware during deep sleep in this fashion. So I am very sceptical about attainments that are supposed to happen without one knowing them while they happen. It disagrees with the whole idea of vipassana.

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kirk5a
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by kirk5a » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:31 pm

Ñāṇa wrote: No. It can be classified as either a path attainment or fruition attainment samādhi, both of which include the presence of perception and concomitant jhāna factors.

The cessation of perception and feeling, on the other hand, isn't classifiable as mind (citta), mental factors (cetasikā), form (rūpa), or nibbāna. This is why it isn't included in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī's enumeration of dhammas, nor in the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha's enumeration of 89 and 121 types of consciousness and concomitant mental factors, which includes all types of worldly and supramundane cognition.
Ok - I guess I misinterpreted based on Ven. Thanissaro's footnote there to see AN 9.36, which does mention the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception.

If it is either a path attainment or fruition attainment samādhi, then still, it seems important to notice that it says "and yet he would still be percipient" - (saññī). In other words, conscious, as opposed to the state of asaññī - unconscious. Right?

How do we know the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception is available only to non-returners and arahants?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:23 pm

kirk5a wrote:If it is either a path attainment or fruition attainment samādhi, then still, it seems important to notice that it says "and yet he would still be percipient" - (saññī). In other words, conscious, as opposed to the state of asaññī - unconscious. Right?
Yes. Very important. The common thread running throughout the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka and Theravāda commentaries is that the goal, the destination, liberation is to be known and perceived. It is known and perceived by a conscious, fully aware mind accompanied by skillful affective qualities such as joy and pleasure, or equanimity.
kirk5a wrote:How do we know the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception is available only to non-returners and arahants?
It's stated in Visuddhimagga Chapter 23:
  • Herein, (i) What is the attainment of cessation? It is the non-occurrence of consciousness (citta) and its concomitants (cetasikā) 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.
The attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) is the same as the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (saññāvedayitanirodhasamāpatti). It is only non-returners and arahants who can attain the eight attainments (the four jhānas plus the four formless attainments) who can properly engage in the cessation attainment. This chapter also differentiates between the fruition attainments of the noble paths (phalasamāpatti) and the cessation attainment (nirodhasamāpatti). It then goes on to say that the attainment of cessation is neither supramundane (lokuttara) nor not-fabricated (asaṅkhata).

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by nathan » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:27 pm

So is it safe now to speak about experiencing the four jhana, the four formless realms and nirodha samapatti without being accused of claiming to be an ariya? In my experience nirodha samapatti is not at all like unconsciousness, it is not describable in any way at all (except that it is free of the dukkha and anicca of even the sort found in the jhanas and formless realm concentrations) but it is definitely not at all like unconsciousness. Is it safe to say this openly, now that NS allegedly has nothing to do with attaining any of the paths, or is it still not acceptable to speak of because of what the Vism. says?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:51 pm

nathan wrote:So is it safe now to speak about experiencing the four jhana, the four formless realms and nirodha samapatti without being accused of claiming to be an ariya?
No. The attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (saññāvedayitanirodhasamāpatti) is only attainable by non-returners and arahants, who are definitely ariyas. The non-ariya version is called a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti).
nathan wrote:In my experience nirodha samapatti is not at all like unconsciousness, it is not describable in any way at all (except that it is free of the dukkha and anicca of even the sort found in the jhanas and formless realm concentrations) but it is definitely not at all like unconsciousness.
Well, only you can decide how best to label and describe your experience.
nathan wrote:is it still not acceptable to speak of because of what the Vism. says?
Probably better to err on the side of caution.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Sylvester » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:28 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Try as I might, I cannot find any grammatical or ungrammatical fashion of reading his statement to mean that the "black-out" = maggaphala-nana.
All you are displaying is a misunderstanding of the sequential stage model of the vipassanāñāṇas as presented in the Visuddhimagga, and in Mahāsi Sayādaw's Visuddhiñāṇakathā and Kearney's text. In recent threads you have displayed similar misunderstandings of Ñāṇananda's teachings and Ñāṇavīra's teachings. I don't know if this is intentional or not, but it can't seriously be considered to accurately reflect the intended meaning of what Kearney is saying.

Kearney lists and describes each of the first 14 ñāṇas in sequential order, then, according to you, when he gets to stage 15, the maggaphalañāṇa, he mysteriously decides to not describe this stage, but to describe a completely unrelated experience instead.

Sorry, but your interpretation can't be taken seriously. If it's intentional, then it's just another attempt to muddy the waters.

All the best,

Geoff
No misunderstanding here Geoff. What is apparent in your reading is your very patent blind spot. Kearney did describe that maggaphalla nana, and that description was quite clearly distinguished from the black out.

I cannot help but articulate what I'm sure many in this Forum have noticed about your tactics.

For example, you accuse Ajahn Brahm of presenting non-sutta descriptions of the Jhanas, and conveniently dismiss him as being uncanonical. Off you merrily go with your Jhana according to the Pali Nikayas thread, and your contributions to the Bhante G thread.

When your Pali grammar and interpretations of the suttas are criticised (remember your hoti-honti faux pas equation to "as they occurred"? remember your subsequent anupada/as they occurred as an adjective, instead of an adverb faux pas? remember your "unestablished consciousness" which you most recently disavowed and denied ever advocating? etc etc etc), you take shelter with your interpretation of the Abhidhamma's Dhammasangani. After years of harassing the folks at DSG with your criticisms of the Abhidhamma, you decide to switch tactics and run to the Abhidhamma, when your interpretations of the Nikayas are shown to be hollow. Never mind that, you are allowed to change your mind upon reflection. But, your insistence on interpreting the locative absolute in the Dhammasangani to import concommittance only, led to all sorts of absurd results, such vipassana and dhammavicaya in jhanas without vitakka-vicara.

And now, you have come full circle, hiding behind the Commentarial interpretation of the Dhammasangani to launch a meaningless attack on Kearney. Meaningless because -

1. it seems to have been based on a simple, yet terrible misunderstanding of what Kearney wrote;
2. you are unfit to be the arbiter as to what yardstick by which the Mahasi method is to be assessed. You demonstrate your unfitness by first attacking Kearney based on your interpretation of the Dhammasangani, but then running to the Commentaries when confronted again with your ignorance of the locative absolute dimensions of the Dhs. Don't take this as an ad hominem tu quoque - the point I want to make is that there is nothing in Logic to dictate that the Mahasi school signed up for a lifetime of Commentarial-only scrutiny, just because of their claim to adhere to the Commentaries. Even the Kheminda-Soma camp in the 1966 Debates did not flash this fallacy at their Mahasi counterparts.

Geoff, the way you seem to flit so casually between suttas, and Abhidhamma and then the Commentaries, as and when it serves your need, despite the inconsistencies, seems to suggest you are either -

1. driven by a very unprincipled agenda to attack whomever you find disagreeable, by whatever means necessary; or
2. you are desperately trying to get noticed.

If it is #2, then you have my attention, but for the wrong reasons.

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:04 am

Sylvester wrote:you decide to switch tactics and run to the Abhidhamma, when your interpretations of the Nikayas are shown to be hollow.
Nice rant. Anyhoo, firstly, I generally only criticize what are extreme and completely unfounded views being bandied about in this current, quite unfortunate wild west climate of contemporary Buddhism. I have always studied the Abhidhamma and consider it a very important reference to help understand the suttas. Secondly, I never went looking for you and have never felt compelled to follow you around DW. In my opinion, your views are extreme, and this extremism is quite contrary to the dhamma, without any basis in the teachings whatsoever, and quite ridiculous.
Sylvester wrote:You demonstrate your unfitness by first attacking Kearney based on your interpretation of the Dhammasangani
What I don't want this discussion to degenerate into is yet another round of your completely irrelevant and pointless interpretations of the Abhidhamma. Take out all of the mental factors of supramundane cognition except perception and the concomitant jhāna factors and the point is the same.
Sylvester wrote:the point I want to make is that there is nothing in Logic to dictate that the Mahasi school signed up for a lifetime of Commentarial-only scrutiny, just because of their claim to adhere to the Commentaries.
When discussing the stage model of 16 vipassanā gnoses there is no other authority than the commentaries. If it isn't supported by the Visuddhimagga -- which is the authoritative source of the presentation that they're claiming to follow -- then it's just another example of wild west dhamma. In his paper Still Crazy after all these Years: Why Meditation isn’t Psychotherapy, Kearney himself says that the bar should be raised:
  • Let’s not try to fool ourselves or anyone else that we are practising the teachings of the Buddha when we follow any of these ersatz forms of Buddhism. Let’s be clear whose teachings we are putting our faith in.
As I've already said, I agree with this call to diligent inquiry. And I think that this investigation should extend to the ideas which Kearney himself attributes to the Buddha. And upon investigation, I don't see how anyone who diligently and openly scrutinizes Kearney's notion of the noble path, as quoted in the OP of this thread, can in any way shape or form place Keraney's ideas of this very important aspect of Buddhist soteriology, in the lap of the Buddha or the redactors of the Pāḷi canon. There is simply no trace of what he is telling us in the canonical Pāḷi dhamma or the Visuddhimagga, which, again, is the source of the stage model 16 vipassanā gnoses.

If Kearney was trying to describe the path and fruition stages -- which he most certainly was -- then he utterly failed. Why? Because there is no mention of any of the indicators of a supramundane path and fruition cognition in his description. Zero. None. This is a pretty glaring omission regarding the climax stage of the entire presentation written by someone who has "trained extensively in the Mahāsī approach to insight meditation." On the contrary, there is every indication in his description that he had fallen into the bhavaṅga and then mistaken this non-percipient state for nibbāna.

Kearney then uses this misguided nihilistic experience to inform his nihilistic view and then accuse teachers like Kornfield of misrepresenting Buddhism. Sorry, but this type of nihilistic extremism is just another example of wild west dhamma.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:20 am

Sylvester wrote:After years of harassing the folks at DSG with your criticisms of the Abhidhamma
Nonsense. I only ever posted there a handful of times and haven't been there in years. As for the rest of your assertions, they're also without merit but are completely off topic.

:focus:

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by robertk » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:44 am

Just a note to thank Nana for his patient presentation of an important issue in this thread.

While Sylvester may have a point that Nana has recently moved towards a closer agreeement with the Theravada Commentaries- and is this thread pretty much exact agreement- unlike Sylvester I find this a cause for optimism , considering that we rarely see this positive (IMHO) move in contemporary buddhist circles.

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:36 am

robertk wrote:Just a note to thank Nana for his patient presentation of an important issue in this thread.

While Sylvester may have a point that Nana has recently moved towards a closer agreeement with the Theravada Commentaries- and is this thread pretty much exact agreement- unlike Sylvester I find this a cause for optimism , considering that we rarely see this positive (IMHO) move in contemporary buddhist circles.
I don't think you understand, at all, what Sylvester has said here concerning this issue.
>> 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: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:I don't think you understand, at all, what Sylvester has said here concerning this issue.
I learned quite some time ago that if you're going to discuss a text, a Buddhist school, or a tenet system, that you do so within the framework of that text, Buddhist school, or tenet system. It's utterly ridiculous to suggest that Kearney's text be exempt from critical analysis according to the authoritative source of the 16 insight gnoses presented in the Visuddhimagga.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by Nyana » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:11 am

robertk wrote:Just a note to thank Nana for his patient presentation of an important issue in this thread.
Thanks Robert. I knew this thread would be somewhat contentious. I've remained silent on this issue for some time. It is an important one, and should be aired.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:34 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I don't think you understand, at all, what Sylvester has said here concerning this issue.
I learned quite some time ago that if you're going to discuss a text, a Buddhist school, or a tenet system, that you do so within the framework of that text, Buddhist school, or tenet system. It's utterly ridiculous to suggest that Kearney's text be exempt from critical analysis according to the authoritative source of the 16 insight gnoses presented in the Visuddhimagga.

All the best,

Geoff
My point is made, Robert neither understood Sylvester's point or your point of reference.
>> 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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