Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:48 pm
I just read chapter three, the bulk of which was listing several tasks to be done by attention. Even if intention were temporarily suspended, attention would still have work to be done in order to develop the path of practice leading to dukkha nirodha. If you want to convince me, a good way to do so is analyzing those tasks laid out in Ch 3, and showing how bare attention is more valid than some other approach in accomplishing those tasks.Sylvester wrote:I don't think any of the bare awareness teachers actually actually a "choiceless" awareness a la Krishnamurti. The decision to practise bare awareness is an exercise in choice and a sankhāra. The Dependant Origination formula does not require the sankhāra to perdure in order to sustain awareness. The important thing to note is that "attention" is what establishes phassa/contact, but in the nāmarūpa scheme of things, attention is something different from intention - MN 9.
Ven Thanissaro's arguments in Chapter 3 seem both: 1) technically accurate within the framework of his teachings and colloquial use of the english languange, and 2) sharply critical of word choices by other teachers which may give students invalid impressions of the task at hand.
Defenders of "bare attention" seem to repeatedly point out that it is not choiceless or inactive. I have not studied these methods well, but from what I hear at informal talks, I got the impression that it was choiceless and inactive (other than the activity of observing, of course). That is obviously my misunderstanding, but it is rooted in the teachers' use of the catchy phrase "bare attention" which at surface value does seem choiceless or inactive (at least to a casual listener). Maybe vipassana would be well served for finding a new slogan for their, seemingly, not so choiceless or inactive attention?
As I read this chapter, I finally hit where he directly attacks bare attention. Also, as I am more familiar with Zen, I am sensing it is also a critique of the Zen approach. I'm not deeply familiar with their methodologies, but when I went to a zen temple, virtually the only instruction given on meditation was to "just watch", with some tips on how to just watch such as counting the breath.
Question: In DO, under namarupa, there is a factor "attention". What is the pali word used in that location? (Edit - found it: manasikāro)