New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
danieLion
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:59 am

It would be ideal to know what they (Joe G. and Rev. T) think of each other.

danieLion
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Which is to say that sati is not simply remembering.
That's right. It's remembering in relationship to the other seven path factors.
The interesting issue is: what does "remembering' mean? What does "remembering" mean in terms of the practice?
What I'm trying (and probably failing) to get at is that we don't want to think about the sati/remembering connection because it de-"mystifies" or at least diminishes our romantic idealizations and imaginations of sati as more than remembering. But while we might lament the deglamorization of sati seeing this necessary connection entails, it highlights the crucial and pivotal importance of remembering to practice--which our hopes in and opinions and beliefs about sati distract us from. Try doing without all the functions and purposes remembering serves in your practice and you'll very quickly see just how much of it involves simply remembering. You'll also notice that doings like this are a very different activity than "bare awareness" doings like meditating on "whatever-comes-up."

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tiltbillings
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:44 am

danieLion wrote: Try doing without all the functions and purposes remembering serves in your practice and you'll very quickly see just how much of it involves simply remembering. You'll also notice that doings like this are a very different activity than "bare awareness" doings like meditating on "whatever-comes-up."
Are you one of those who is advocating a strawman notion of "bare attention" and vipassana practice?
>> 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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Dmytro
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:24 am

What Ven Bodhi said:

  • We should remember that sati, in the context of satipaṭṭhāna practice, is always practiced
    as part of an’anupassanā,’ and this word helps to bring out the role of sati. We usually
    translate ‘anupassanā’ as “contemplation,” thus ‘kāyānupassanā’ as “contemplation of
    the body,” but this might be somewhat misleading. It might be more accurate, and more
    literal, to translate it as “observation.” The word is made up of a prefix ‘anu’ which
    suggests repetition, and ’passanā’, which means “seeing, viewing.” So sati is part of a
    process that involves a close, repetitive observation of the object.
sati, in the context of satipaṭṭhāna practice, is always practiced as part of an’anupassanā,’ I think that is reasonable, in the context of how the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is structured.
Drawing implications from only one sutta, and disregarding all others, is the major source of this misunderstanding.

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tiltbillings
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:23 pm

Dmytro wrote:
What Ven Bodhi said:

  • We should remember that sati, in the context of satipaṭṭhāna practice, is always practiced
    as part of an’anupassanā,’ and this word helps to bring out the role of sati. We usually
    translate ‘anupassanā’ as “contemplation,” thus ‘kāyānupassanā’ as “contemplation of
    the body,” but this might be somewhat misleading. It might be more accurate, and more
    literal, to translate it as “observation.” The word is made up of a prefix ‘anu’ which
    suggests repetition, and ’passanā’, which means “seeing, viewing.” So sati is part of a
    process that involves a close, repetitive observation of the object.
sati, in the context of satipaṭṭhāna practice, is always practiced as part of an’anupassanā,’ I think that is reasonable, in the context of how the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is structured.
Drawing implications from only one sutta, and disregarding all others, is the major source of this misunderstanding.
Maybe, but not that you have shown. I'll go with the far more learned Ven Bodhi on 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

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Dmytro
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:16 am

As a side note - it's interesting to note the character of the arguments.

"Such-and-such interpreter and commentator, with his vast store of knowledge, couldn't have erred. (And he knew much more than any of you.)"

The same type of arguments were applied in the evolution of Buddhism in the East.
Seems like the first wave Western interpreters and commentators are assigned the role similar to Ven. Buddhaghosa's.
And now the sub-commentaries appear.

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badscooter
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by badscooter » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:13 am

Dmytro wrote:As a side note - it's interesting to note the character of the arguments.

"Such-and-such interpreter and commentator, with his vast store of knowledge, couldn't have erred. (And he knew much more than any of you)"
I haven't seen that quote on this thread. Though I can guess who it was meant for. Not a very intellectual response in my opinion.

To error is human. I think we can all agree. But when it comes to knowledge I think the venerables have a bit more then lay people chatting on this thread. Nothing wrong with showing respect to their teachings. I have Ven Bodhi's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya next to my bed, and I'm quite grateful.

May all be well
:)
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by twelph » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:22 am

Dmytro wrote:As a side note - it's interesting to note the character of the arguments.

"Such-and-such interpreter and commentator, with his vast store of knowledge, couldn't have erred. (And he knew much more than any of you.)"

The same type of arguments were applied in the evolution of Buddhism in the East.
Seems like the first wave Western interpreters and commentators are assigned the role similar to Ven. Buddhaghosa's.
And now the sub-commentaries appear.
It seems as if the more authority given to each subsequent interpretation, the more the practice deviates from the Buddha's original message. Also, when you mix ideas from other Buddhist traditions, new age philosophies, and then add modern psychology to the mix things become even more distorted. A useful way of validating these interpretations would be to refer back (often if possible) to what the Buddha actually said in his discourses. I don't see this happening as often as I would like.

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tiltbillings
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:02 am

twelph wrote:
Dmytro wrote:As a side note - it's interesting to note the character of the arguments.

"Such-and-such interpreter and commentator, with his vast store of knowledge, couldn't have erred. (And he knew much more than any of you.)"
Of course, such and such interpretor and commentator might be quite wrong, but simply stating he or she is wrong without actually doing the work of dismantling his or her argument does not raise the quality of the argumentation, either.
>> 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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Dmytro
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:Of course, such and such interpretor and commentator might be quite wrong, but simply stating he or she is wrong without actually doing the work of dismantling his or her argument does not raise the quality of the argumentation, either.
Sure. The "Four Great References" from the Mahaparinibbana sutta are an excellent guide here.

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tiltbillings
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:58 am

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Of course, such and such interpretor and commentator might be quite wrong, but simply stating he or she is wrong without actually doing the work of dismantling his or her argument does not raise the quality of the argumentation, either.
Sure. The "Four Great References" from the Mahaparinibbana sutta are an excellent guide here.
Not that you have shown.
>> 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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Dmytro
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Not that you have shown.
Not that you have seen : )

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tiltbillings
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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:38 pm

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Not that you have shown.
Not that you have seen : )
One cannot see what is not shown.
>> 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: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Buckwheat » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:13 pm

Forgive me, as I am only halfway through the book, but I'm going to try to get caught up on this thread.
tiltbillings wrote:Maybe, but he does not quote Goldstein, so it becomes hard to take what he says seriously as criticism of Goldstein, or any one else. It reads as a bit of a straw man argument. If one is going to argue against a postion, then put that position out there as accurately and fully as possible, then one should do one's best to beat it up, if it needs beating up. I do not see that as what has happened in this book.
This "bare attention" approach, no matter if there is a techer teaching it, seems to be getting picked up by students. It definitely seems to be "out there" in the Buddhist lexicon, so shouldn't it be fair to criticize the approach? Even if the actual good teachers have a context and more depth than a stripped down "bare attention", a lot of students seem to miss that. Maybe Ajaan Geoff should be seen as criticising, not the various teachers' understanding of the dhamma, but their methods for teaching the dhamma, whose "bare attention" approach may be dangerous to the casual student who's take away lesson may be to sit on the couch in "bare attention" doing whatever activities they please.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by twelph » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:56 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Forgive me, as I am only halfway through the book, but I'm going to try to get caught up on this thread.
tiltbillings wrote:Maybe, but he does not quote Goldstein, so it becomes hard to take what he says seriously as criticism of Goldstein, or any one else. It reads as a bit of a straw man argument. If one is going to argue against a postion, then put that position out there as accurately and fully as possible, then one should do one's best to beat it up, if it needs beating up. I do not see that as what has happened in this book.
This "bare attention" approach, no matter if there is a techer teaching it, seems to be getting picked up by students. It definitely seems to be "out there" in the Buddhist lexicon, so shouldn't it be fair to criticize the approach? Even if the actual good teachers have a context and more depth than a stripped down "bare attention", a lot of students seem to miss that. Maybe Ajaan Geoff should be seen as criticising, not the various teachers' understanding of the dhamma, but their methods for teaching the dhamma, whose "bare attention" approach may be dangerous to the casual student who's take away lesson may be to sit on the couch in "bare attention" doing whatever activities they please.
Excluding the controversies, what do you think about the book so far?

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