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
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:19 am

Supplemental: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p217527" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 am

1) By my reading of the suttas (to date) sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness. Both are strongly represented in the discourses. Thanissaro seems to have a selection bias and seems to be committing a suppressed correlative fallacy.

2) Even if "non-reactivity" is not sati by Thanissaro's standards/biases/fallacies, non-reactivity is taught by the Buddha in a variety of other teachings.

3) "Non-reactivity" need not be mutually exclusive with memory/recollection or present moment awareness.

4) Thanissaro appears to have quite and ax to grind but I can only speculate as to why (and if they're valid reasons).

twelph
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by twelph » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:49 am

danieLion wrote:sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness.
The memory/recollection portion of sati includes remembering the eightfold path, which includes concentration. Concentration on the appropriate objects creates present moment awareness.

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:47 am

twelph wrote:
danieLion wrote:sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness.
The memory/recollection portion of sati includes remembering the eightfold path, which includes concentration. Concentration on the appropriate objects creates present moment awareness.
By this logic, right-samahdi is subsumed in right-sati, rendering the path factor classificatory system nonsensical or at least too self-relfexive to be pragmatic. Futhermore, it implies that sati always refers to the path factor.

Dinsdale
Posts: 5917
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:32 am

danieLion wrote:
twelph wrote:
danieLion wrote:sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness.
The memory/recollection portion of sati includes remembering the eightfold path, which includes concentration. Concentration on the appropriate objects creates present moment awareness.
By this logic, right-samahdi is subsumed in right-sati, rendering the path factor classificatory system nonsensical or at least too self-relfexive to be pragmatic. Futhermore, it implies that sati always refers to the path factor.
Yes, and in any case right-samadhi is usually defined in terms of the jhanic absorptions, ie sitting meditation.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1553
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:19 pm

twelph wrote:The memory/recollection portion of sati includes remembering the eightfold path, which includes concentration. Concentration on the appropriate objects creates present moment awareness.
I would say that 'sati', as remembrance, is a key to developing concentration (samadhi):

"At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the Tathagata, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the Tathagata. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

For example, it is on retreats, where one keeps constantly in mind the basis of concentration, that the progress in samadhi is likely.

In everyday life, one can benefit more from regular recollection of the basis of concentration, just for a couple of minutes, than from keeping it in mind only once a day.

twelph
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by twelph » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:58 pm

danieLion wrote:
twelph wrote:
danieLion wrote:sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness.
The memory/recollection portion of sati includes remembering the eightfold path, which includes concentration. Concentration on the appropriate objects creates present moment awareness.
By this logic, right-samahdi is subsumed in right-sati, rendering the path factor classificatory system nonsensical or at least too self-relfexive to be pragmatic. Futhermore, it implies that sati always refers to the path factor.

A common interpretation of Sati is to remember the teachings of the Buddha. Sati pointing towards things like concentration and other teachings of the Buddha does not make it confusing to me. At an even more basic level it would just mean to remember to practice. The way I see it, without using sati to remember to practice, things like samadhi would not be possible. This might be the reason why sati is given such a high level of importance in the suttas.

Also, why does there seem to be so many words meaning some form of "awareness"? Sampajañña and vijjā seem to be much more commonly used for this purpose than sati.

Edit: Thanks Dmytro, much more elegantly explained.

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:03 am

Take dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for example. If we apply the perspective of (the book) Right Mindfulness to Marsha Linehan's (DBT originator) perspective on mindfulness, then we would have to say that she's teaching equanimity but calling it mindfulness. That's what's starting to bug me about Reverend Thanissaro's approach. It's nit-picky. He wants sati narrowly defined (within the parmameters of his selction biases and supressed correlation maneuvers). Fair enough. But the bummer (for Theravadin Buddhists and the mentally ill) is that what DBT teaches almost exactly matches what Rev. T teaches elsewhere in terms of skillfulness/unskillfulness, karma and equanimity. Furthermore, although not made explicit, the role of memory, recollection, etc... is crucial to success with DBT (not to mention REBT and CBT).

Granted, Linehan's knowledge about Buddhism is largely if not entirely informed by Thich Nhat Hanh. But again, about the worst Rev. T could justifiably accuse either of them of is not conforming to his view of what the Buddhist lexicon should be. Why didn't he just write them personally and say, "Hey, could you guys get your terminology straight?" or something like that. That would've been a much more skillful way to grind his ax. Maybe he did try to reach out to them--but I doubt it.

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1553
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:46 pm

Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Granted, Linehan's knowledge about Buddhism is largely if not entirely informed by Thich Nhat Hanh. But again, about the worst Rev. T could justifiably accuse either of them of is not conforming to his view of what the Buddhist lexicon should be. Why didn't he just write them personally and say, "Hey, could you guys get your terminology straight?" or something like that. That would've been a much more skillful way to grind his ax. Maybe he did try to reach out to them--but I doubt it.
Did Ven. Thanissaro accuse anyone in his book? He just gives the anonymous examples and offers a perspective solidly grounded on the words of the Buddha.
In this he follows the "Four Great References" of the Mahaparinibbana sutta.

If you have grounds to consider that 'sati' has a wider meaning, and can substantiate it with Pali glosses, I would be very interested to hear your arguments.

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Buckwheat » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:45 pm

danieLion wrote:1) By my reading of the suttas (to date) sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness. Both are strongly represented in the discourses. Thanissaro seems to have a selection bias and seems to be committing a suppressed correlative fallacy.
Hi danieLion,
You are making many interesting points. I would appreciate if you can point to a passage or two in which the Buddha uses the word sati in association with non-reactivity.
Thanks,
Scott
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:09 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Granted, Linehan's knowledge about Buddhism is largely if not entirely informed by Thich Nhat Hanh. But again, about the worst Rev. T could justifiably accuse either of them of is not conforming to his view of what the Buddhist lexicon should be. Why didn't he just write them personally and say, "Hey, could you guys get your terminology straight?" or something like that. That would've been a much more skillful way to grind his ax. Maybe he did try to reach out to them--but I doubt it.
Did Ven. Thanissaro accuse anyone in his book? He just gives the anonymous examples and offers a perspective solidly grounded on the words of the Buddha.
In this he follows the "Four Great References" of the Mahaparinibbana sutta.

If you have grounds to consider that 'sati' has a wider meaning, and can substantiate it with Pali glosses, I would be very interested to hear your arguments.
As Tilt said here http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 00#p215840" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
tiltbillings wrote:
Sekha wrote: But there is a great difference in English between remembrance and awareness/mindfulness. If one is to hold on tenaciously to the former, the problem is that it may induce confusion for practitioners. Remembrance is directed to the present perception of a 'past object' (instructions for example), whereas awareness is directed to phenomena happening in the present moment.
And, as you correctly indicate, this points to the problem of taking a purely lexical approach to understanding Pali terms, as is taken by the OP. Meaning is determined by usage and quite clearly sati -- as it is used in text the suttas and as been shown here repeatedly -- means more than mere "remembrance." But, alas, this will continues to be a matter of contention, it seems.
Plus, you never really answered Tilt's, Sylvester's and Sekha's challenges grounded in Nyanaponika's, Analayo's and Gethin's scholarship in (that same) Sati Thread that the Satipatthana Sutta is restricted to the lexical confines you adhere to. And since this is not a Pali forum, the statements don't need to be substantiated by Pali glosses.
Are you sure you're not reifying the sutta pitaka (or maybe even Pali itself)?
Last edited by danieLion on Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:12 am

Buckwheat wrote:
danieLion wrote:1) By my reading of the suttas (to date) sati has two functions: memory/recollection and present moment awareness. Both are strongly represented in the discourses. Thanissaro seems to have a selection bias and seems to be committing a suppressed correlative fallacy.
Hi danieLion,
You are making many interesting points. I would appreciate if you can point to a passage or two in which the Buddha uses the word sati in association with non-reactivity.
Thanks,
Scott
Where did I claim sati is asssociated with non-reactivity?

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:34 am

Dmytro wrote:Did Ven. Thanissaro accuse anyone in his book?
Yes. Just because he didn't attach any names to the accusations doesn't mean they're not accusations.

At first, I thought Rev. T left names out because he doesn't want to personally offend anyone. But now I think he did it because he's not interested in a dialogue or discourse. I'm guessing this is because he'd have to admit he's making a mountain out of a mole hill all for the sake of his love for lexical meticulousness.

He's specifically attacking: Mahayana, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Kabat-Zin, Ajahn Sumedho, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Marsha Linehan, Tara Brach, Nyanaponika, Analayo, etc.... Why conceal it?

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1553
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by Dmytro » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:48 pm

Hi Daniel,

I don't see any sense in continuing the discussion with you.
Maybe we'll talk some other day and I would be able to share the beauty of Buddha's teaching in his own Pali words.

Best wishes, Dmytro

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: New Book on Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Post by danieLion » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:20 am

Dmytro wrote:Maybe we'll talk some other day and I would be able to share the beauty of Buddha's teaching in his own Pali words.
Did the Buddha even know Pali?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 29 guests