Sunlun Sayadaw method

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tiltbillings
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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:34 am
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:23 am
If it is feeble it is no less so than the arguments you and zom have proffered.
Despite your protests, it is indeed much less. Zom and I have provided Sutta, Suttānuloma and Atthakathā. Advocates of the coarse breathing have provided mere Attanomati.
Actually, the suttas and the commentaries do not support your position. As Ven Dhammanando states:

'But no such stipulation {"[The yogi] should not purposely breathe very long or very short breaths."} is found in the Suttas or the Visuddhimagga or in any other Theravadin source. The status of the claim in the Theravada is not that of a "traditional understanding" but merely that of a widely held modern opinion, though not by any means a universally held one.'

That is to say, there is nothing in the Theravada tradition that says no to the practice developed by the Ven Sunlun.
retro wrote:It is clear how the Theravada tradition would judge such a situation based upon the ranking system provided below, but in respecting the intellectual and spiritual autonomy of others, it can be left for the individual to decide which source of reason is more compelling to them personally.
1. Sutta: the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.
2. Suttānuloma: a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.
3. Atthakathā: a commentary.
4. Attanomati: the personal opinions of later generations of teachers.
Interestingly, and in keeping with Theravadin tradition, Ven Sunlun was carefully evaluated and tested by learned Elders, finding that his teachings were very much inline with the suttas. I will take these learned monks learned opinions and assessments of Ven Sunlun over the less learned contrarian positions presented in this thread.
Living Buddhist Masters by Jack Kornfield Unity Press, 1977 page 85 wrote:He next betook himself to the caves nearby and practiced diligently, until in October, 1920, he attained the final stage of freedom, arahatship. His achievement became known among the monks and many came to test him.Though he was a barely literate man, his answers satisfied even the most learned monks. Very often they disagreed with his replies but when his answers were checked against the texts they found many important passages in the scriptures to support his statements. Many learned monks from various parts of the world went to practice mindfulness under him, including the Nyaung Sayadaw, who also became fully enlightened after intense 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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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:37 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:20 am
Actually, the suttas and the commentaries do not support your position.
And on this point we disagree. Your reference to venerable Dhammanando's quote may have applicability to the initial steps of anapanasati, but your attempt to use that as a broad brush dismissal of all the sutta and commentarial points made thus far is totally baseless. For example, does what ven. Dhammanando said refute the need to tranquilize (rather than aggravate) bodily formations? No, it does not.
"Now, lady, what are fabrications?"

"These three fabrications, friend Visakha: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, & mental fabrications."

"But what are bodily fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

"But why are in-&-out breaths bodily fabrications? Why are directed thought & evaluation verbal fabrications? Why are perceptions & feelings mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

...

"But when a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, which things cease first: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, or mental fabrications?"

"When a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, friend Visakha, verbal fabrications cease first, then bodily fabrications, then mental fabrications."
As we see from the sutta, bodily fabrications are tranquilized, prior to mental fabrications being tranquilized. By this logic, the only thing one could do worse than huffing, is to engage in verbal fabrications. This natural Dhammic order of things directly contradicts your earlier assertion that...
tiltbillings wrote:The mind is not "inflamed" during "heavy breathing" period, nor is it "inflamed" after.
tiltbillings wrote:Interestingly, and in keeping with Theravadin tradition, Ven Sunlun was carefully evaluated and tested by learned Elders, finding that his teachings were very much inline with the suttas. I will take these learned monks learned opinions and assessments of Ven Sunlun over the less learned contrarian positions presented in this thread.
By all means, have your faith and reverence in these various claims of enlightenment and such, and the possibility that there may be something more to all of this than mere attanomati. That is your prerogative to regard the matter in such a way. As it stands however, in this topic, it has not been demonstrated, and the scriptural support for it (rather than the alleged absence of direct contradiction) remains totally non-existent.

Until such time as any support or evidence is forthcoming, I will leave you to your attanomati...

:buddha2:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:37 am
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:20 am
Actually, the suttas and the commentaries do not support your position.
And on this point we disagree. Your reference to venerable Dhammanando's quote may have applicability to the initial steps of anapanasati, but your attempt to use that as a broad brush dismissal of all the sutta and commentarial points made thus far is totally baseless. For example, does what ven. Dhammanando said refute the need to tranquilize (rather than aggravate) bodily formations? No, it does not.
"Now, lady, what are fabrications?"

...
Again with the "aggravate," which simply misses the point of the preliminary practice. The Sunlun "heavy breathing" is the hardly whole of the practice, and to characterize this preliminary practice it as "aggravate" is hardly speaking from a place actual knowledge of what is being criticized. It is simply supposition with no real basis, thusly carrying no real weight.
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:Interestingly, and in keeping with Theravadin tradition, Ven Sunlun was carefully evaluated and tested by learned Elders, finding that his teachings were very much inline with the suttas. I will take these learned monks learned opinions and assessments of Ven Sunlun over the less learned contrarian positions presented in this thread.
By all means, have your faith and reverence in these various claims of enlightenment and such, and the possibility that there may be something more to all of this than mere attanomati. That is your prerogative to regard the matter in such a way. As it stands however, in this topic, it has not been demonstrated, and the scriptural support for it (rather than the alleged absence of direct contradiction) remains totally non-existent.

Until such time as any support or evidence is forthcoming, I will leave you to your attanomati...
“mere attanomati” Not just opinion. Having done a practice, doing a practice, inspired by, and with characteristics of, the Sunlun method, I can say with the utmost confidence of personal experience that your “aggravate” is baseless supposition, not grounded in actual meditative experience.

If there were “aggravation” being generated by the mindfulness/concentration cultivated by the preliminary strong breathing practice, one would expect it to carry over into the meditation after the gong sounds and the strong breathing stops. What one finds, rather, is very often a refreshing calm and attentiveness/mindfulness. One not is buzzed from hyperventilation, nor agitated, nor aggravated; rather, there is that clear presence that one experiences when the mind is quiet and mindful and pliable.

In other words, the Buddha’s instructions in MN 118/MN10 are met:

Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.”

From there one can either follow the work of MN 118 or MN 10 or that of any number of other of the Buddha’s instructions.

A couple of comments for others who might be reading this. This is not a magic practice. It is one method among many that have arisen from the Buddha’s teachings, and like all of them, it takes work and it takes time and it takes constancy of practice, particularly if you are working on your own. I would also recommend, if you can, do some Buddhist meditation retreat work, not necessarily Sunlun style to start to get a handle on what concentration and mindfulness feel like and how they work
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:14 am

This is the explanation of "long/short" breathing (1st and 2nd steps of 16) in Visuddhimagga:

He breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths reckoned as an extent. As he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths reckoned as an extent, zeal arises. Through zeal he breathes in a long in-breath more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. Through zeal he breathes out a long out-breath more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. Through zeal he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. As, through zeal, he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths more subtle than before reckoned as an extent, gladness arises.

“‘Zeal arises’: additional zeal, which is profitable and has the characteristic of desire to act, arises due to the satisfaction obtained when the meditation has brought progressive improvement. ‘More subtle than before’: more subtle than before the already-described zeal arose; for the breaths occur more subtly owing to the meditation’s influence in tranquilizing the body’s distress and disturbance. ‘Gladness arises’: fresh happiness arises of the kinds classed as minor, etc., which is the gladness that accompanies the consciousness occupied with the meditation and is due to the fact that the peacefulness of the object increases with the growing subtlety of the breaths and to the fact that the meditation subject keeps to its course.

In other words, the Buddha’s instructions in MN 118/MN10 are met:

“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.”

From there one can either follow the work of MN 118 or MN 10 or that of any number of other of the Buddha’s instructions.
Visuddhimagga (citing more ancient Patisambidamagga) equates this "ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out" with all 16 steps of anapanasati.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:00 pm

Zom wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:14 am

...


Yes, despite all of that it really does not change the fact that the preliminary exercise cultivates concentration and mindfulness that then can be easily applied to MN 118 or MN 10 types of practices. And interesting enough, in rereading these VM passages, one can experience that as the concentration and mindfulness becomes established in the preliminary exercise these passages from the VM can be applied as descriptive of the experiences of the preliminary exercise. So thanks for posting this, it helps as a clarification.
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 pm

"Promoting his favoured style of meditation, he discerns: 'I am promoting my favoured style of meditation'; or denigrating another's favoured style of meditation, he discerns 'I am denigrating another's favoured style of meditation'. Or citing texts in support of his case, he discerns 'I am citing texts in support of my case'; or dismissing texts cited by another, he discerns 'I am dismissing texts cited by another'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how my understanding of the suttas is superior'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how his understanding of the suttas is inferior'. He trains himself 'I will justify the terms and tone of my posts'. He trains himself 'I will object to the terms and tone of another post'. He trains himself 'I will fisk the sutta references of another'...

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:08 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 pm
"Promoting his favoured style of meditation, he discerns: 'I am promoting my favoured style of meditation'; or denigrating another's favoured style of meditation, he discerns 'I am denigrating another's favoured style of meditation'. Or citing texts in support of his case, he discerns 'I am citing texts in support of my case'; or dismissing texts cited by another, he discerns 'I am dismissing texts cited by another'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how my understanding of the suttas is superior'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how his understanding of the suttas is inferior'. He trains himself 'I will justify the terms and tone of my posts'. He trains himself 'I will object to the terms and tone of another post'. He trains himself 'I will fisk the sutta references of another'...
Hilarious.

For clarification, however, I am not promoting the Sunlun method. I am, however, defending it against rather baseless attack, and in doing this, it serves a personal purpose for me in that it helps me clarify my understanding of, and my experiences with, this style of practice, which I have used and still do. An example of what has been helpful for me is the above quote from the VM by zom, which was actually quite helpful in seeing the preliminary practice's function. And if what I am doing is helpful to others, then that is a good thing.

Over the years here I have seen Burmese Vipassana styles of practice criticized variously much along the same lines as the Sunlun practice is being criticized in this thread, as not being in line with the suttas and commentaries. Quite frankly, the Dhamma in broad enough, deep enough and flexible enough to accommodate such variations as the Sunlun method to the Vimalaramsi smile technique. As much as I do not care for Vimalaramsi or Thanissaro in their criticisms of other types of practice, I have not and will not criticize the techniques they teach, given that they do seem to work for some people. If they work for those who apply them, then that is a good thing.

As an aside, what would be an interesting exploration in another thread is a discussion of failures with certain practices that are quite effective for others. From what I have seen it is mostly not a personal failing (the individual is not a failure); rather, it is a poor fit for the individual, or maybe unskilled teaching or both.
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by aflatun » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:41 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 pm
"Promoting his favoured style of meditation, he discerns: 'I am promoting my favoured style of meditation'; or denigrating another's favoured style of meditation, he discerns 'I am denigrating another's favoured style of meditation'. Or citing texts in support of his case, he discerns 'I am citing texts in support of my case'; or dismissing texts cited by another, he discerns 'I am dismissing texts cited by another'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how my understanding of the suttas is superior'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how his understanding of the suttas is inferior'. He trains himself 'I will justify the terms and tone of my posts'. He trains himself 'I will object to the terms and tone of another post'. He trains himself 'I will fisk the sutta references of another'...
:rofl:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:01 pm

This thread seems to have drifted rather far from it's original purpose. Can we return to exploring the practicalities of the technique? I have not tried since briefly following the guided meditation in James Baraz' talk almost two years ago viewtopic.php?t=25644 but Javi's interest in the approach makes me curious to experiment with it a little.

I think this is important:
Javi wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:06 am
I just see it as a useful technique for arousing energy, something which is often neglected by Western Theravada teachers who prefer to talk about relaxing, being very calm and light with our effort. This is nice, but sometimes one needs the opposite approach. ...
Particularly on retreats, arousing energy can be very important to getting over the initial tiredness and sloth and topor. My usual approach is to do a significant amount of walking. I find slow, focused, walking is a great preparation for sitting, and a brisker style is very helpful to prevent sleepiness after meals. I presume the breathing exercises would serve much the same purpose.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:39 pm

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Over the years here I have seen Burmese Vipassana styles of practice criticized variously much along the same lines as the Sunlun practice is being criticized in this thread, as not being in line with the suttas and commentaries.
Yes, and whilst this remains a "General Theravāda Meditation forum" on "A Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda" then you may well reasonably expect that what is spoken about here may be viewed and assessed through a traditional Theravāda lens. If this were a "Burmese Meditation" forum the situation would be different, but it is not.

If you or anyone else believe there is need for a "Modern Techniques" section, which would be roughly analogous to the "Modern Interpretations" section, in which the matter of whether these techniques do or do not comport with Theravāda orthodoxy becomes irrelevant, then by all means raise a suggestion in the Suggestion Box and your requirements can be discussed there. But in doing so, keep in mind that positive experiences such as the following might be forsaken if additional protections from the suttas and commentaries are sought ...
tiltbillings wrote:An example of what has been helpful for me is the above quote from the VM by zom, which was actually quite helpful in seeing the preliminary practice's function
:focus:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:24 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:01 pm

Particularly on retreats, arousing energy can be very important to getting over the initial tiredness and sloth and topor. My usual approach is to do a significant amount of walking. I find slow, focused, walking is a great preparation for sitting, and a brisker style is very helpful to prevent sleepiness after meals. I presume the breathing exercises would serve much the same purpose.
:heart:
Mike
Yes, I find the same type of disinclination to practice can arise at any time. I know what I have been advised to do by my teachers; it has worked for me many times before; and I know how it fits in with the suttas. But on occasion, when getting on to the cushion, the mind just doesn't want to know. Like you, I have found walking to be beneficial, but it's always good to have a few more tools in the toolbox. As I said upthread, I have been trying this one out and will give my thoughts about it once it has had a fair trial.

As the old saying goes, 'An ounce of practice is worth a pound of precept'.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:39 pm
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Over the years here I have seen Burmese Vipassana styles of practice criticized variously much along the same lines as the Sunlun practice is being criticized in this thread, as not being in line with the suttas and commentaries.
Yes, and whilst this remains a "General Theravāda Meditation forum" on "A Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda" then you may well reasonably expect that what is spoken about here may be viewed and assessed through a traditional Theravāda lens. If this were a "Burmese Meditation" forum the situation would be different, but it is not.
What is interesting about this statement is the suggestion that the Burmese Vipassana meditation practice is somehow different from "traditional Theravada," but that really is not the case. What the learned and experienced Burmese Theravadin Elders have given us, and what has been broadly adopted throughout the Theravadin world, is a set of significant expressions of the broad, deep, and flexible nature of the Dhamma held by the Theravada tradition(s). In other words, the Burmese Vipassana traditions are part of "traditional Theravada," especially given that the textual and commentarial aspects of “traditional Theravada” as embodied in the Visuddhi Magga and in the suttas such as MN 10 are all fundamental and basic to the Burmese Vipassana styles.

It is not that there should not be criticism; rather, if there is to be criticism, it should have a bit more depth and substance than complaining that this technique or that technique is not explicitly spelled out in the suttas or the commentaries. I have yet to see here a criticism that is grounded in the actual practice of what is being criticized, so thusly the criticism tends to be rather shallow, offering little to no useful insight. I think we can do better than that.
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:10 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:24 pm

Yes, I find the same type of disinclination to practice can arise at any time. I know what I have been advised to do by my teachers; it has worked for me many times before; and I know how it fits in with the suttas. But on occasion, when getting on to the cushion, the mind just doesn't want to know. Like you, I have found walking to be beneficial, but it's always good to have a few more tools in the toolbox. As I said upthread, I have been trying this one out and will give my thoughts about it once it has had a fair trial.

As the old saying goes, 'An ounce of practice is worth a pound of precept'.
Looking forward to reading your account of your working with the Sunlun method. For me I started experimenting with it a short while after I returned home from a 3-month retreat at IMS. While I still had momentum from the retreat, I was working a long stretch of night shifts, and so sleep and sleepiness becomes an issue. I tried a number of things address this. Meditating standing generally worked well, but rereading Kornfield discussion of his experience with the Sunlun method these two paragraphs stood out:
in LIVING BUDDHIST MASTERS 1977 page 87, Jack Kornfield wrote:Total effort to overcome pain and distraction is the way of Sunlun Sayadaw. The power of the concentrated heavy breathing and the pain that follows is suitable for overcoming many of the hindrances that normally distract a meditator. No matter how sleepy you feel, a session of hard breathing concentrating only on sensations at the nostrils, will wake you right up. The technique is equally valuable for quieting an agitated, distracted mind, for in the face of the enormous effort in hard breathing, most thoughts are blasted away like clouds before a wind.

Sunlun practice clears the mind of sleepiness and distraction, leaving the meditator clear and concentrated. Further mindfulness of pain and changing sensations strengthens the mindful, observing quality of mind. In a short time with this practice one may experience the power of a calm, concentrated mind which, when applied to observing the mind-body process, leads to clear insight, wisdom, and liberation.
This was enough to get me interested in experimenting with the breathing method. After working with it for a while I found it to be efficacious. As I said, I shall be interested in reading your experiences.
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:11 am

Greetings Tilt, all,

tiltbillings wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:28 am
What is interesting about this statement is the suggestion that the Burmese Vipassana meditation practice is somehow different from "traditional Theravada," but that really is not the case
Just for the record... no, that is not "the suggestion".

Despite not being explicitly defined in traditional Pali works, aspects of (for example) the Goenka technique can be traced back to discourses on satipatthana, anicca and anatta. Similarly, the Mahasi method is clearly Abhidhammic in origin.

My comments were very literal, and there was no "suggestion" beyond what was stated... namely, that if you and others wish to discuss modern techniques in an environment where it's inappropriate for them to be challenged in terms of their conformity with Pali scriptures, then let me know and we can try to arrange something that fulfils your requirements. From your comment however, it doesn't appear that there is such a requirement, and that is fine. I'll leave you to it...

That is all.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:11 am
My comments were very literal, and there was no "suggestion" beyond what was stated... namely, that if you and others wish to discuss modern techniques in an environment where it's inappropriate for them to being challenged in terms of conformity with Pali scriptures, then let me know and we can try to arrange something that fulfils your requirements. From your comment however, it doesn't appear that there is such a requirement, and that is fine.
My point is that Burmese Vipassana practices are very much of the “traditional Theravada.” And my point is that I have no problem with someone challenging the Burmese traditions, but if someone, for whatever reason, feels a need to criticize these practices, then I would hope that the challenges would well-grounded in understanding what it is that is being challenged. That more often than not does not seem to be the case.
Similarly, the Mahasi method is clearly Abhidhammic in origin.
Of course the Abhidhamma is very much part of the “traditional Theravada”, but we can also see that the Mahasi method, as Jake Davis in his book STRONG ROOTS shows, can be clearly explicated in terms of the suttas.
>> 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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Javi
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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Javi » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:28 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:39 pm
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Over the years here I have seen Burmese Vipassana styles of practice criticized variously much along the same lines as the Sunlun practice is being criticized in this thread, as not being in line with the suttas and commentaries.
Yes, and whilst this remains a "General Theravāda Meditation forum" on "A Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda" then you may well reasonably expect that what is spoken about here may be viewed and assessed through a traditional Theravāda lens. If this were a "Burmese Meditation" forum the situation would be different, but it is not.
What is interesting about this statement is the suggestion that the Burmese Vipassana meditation practice is somehow different from "traditional Theravada," but that really is not the case. What the learned and experienced Burmese Theravadin Elders have given us, and what has been broadly adopted throughout the Theravadin world, is a set of significant expressions of the broad, deep, and flexible nature of the Dhamma held by the Theravada tradition(s). In other words, the Burmese Vipassana traditions are part of "traditional Theravada," especially given that the textual and commentarial aspects of “traditional Theravada” as embodied in the Visuddhi Magga and in the suttas such as MN 10 are all fundamental and basic to the Burmese Vipassana styles.

It is not that there should not be criticism; rather, if there is to be criticism, it should have a bit more depth and substance than complaining that this technique or that technique is not explicitly spelled out in the suttas or the commentaries. I have yet to see here a criticism that is grounded in the actual practice of what is being criticized, so thusly the criticism tends to be rather shallow, offering little to no useful insight. I think we can do better than that.
Well said. I think that we can trace the issue here to the minimalistic presentations in the suttas and how different personalities seek to practice and adapt themselves to this.

I see the two main approaches as:

1: The minimalistic statements are enough on their own, and one should just do what they say, without adding anything.
2: The minimalistic statements can be expanded, they are minimal because the Buddha understood that everyone is different and thus was quite flexible. Living Buddhist teachers and communities contain valuable expansions on these minimal elements.

I don't see a problem with either of these two perspectives on the meditation instructions in the suttas. However, what I do see as a problem is when someone sees their perspective as the only one, the only proper way and everyone else is wrong. Any expansion that is not in the suttas is thus seen as a corruption. There is an ultra vigilance to expunge anything that is not directly spelled out in the suttas and to put it down as non-Buddhist. And this can be really divisive in sanghas and in all of Western Buddhism, because there are a lot of practices that Buddhists do that can't be traced to the suttas.

This is also a very tiring thing for others, because if one wants to discuss certain meditation techniques, but then one is unable to do so because of the constant claims of "not-buddhist", "not sutta" one is liable to just shut up or go elsewhere.

It crazy because in an actual face to face sangha, everyone is doing things differently and taking things from different traditions. I mean, jeez, I attend an insight group that shares the building with a zen and a non denominational Buddhist group, and all sorts of people come. Imagine if all we did when discussing each other's techniques was having to defend ourselves against claims that our techniques are "not sutta" , "not Buddhist". :rofl:
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:21 pm

Javi wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:18 pm

. . .

Well said. I think that we can trace the issue here to the minimalistic presentations in the suttas and how different personalities seek to practice and adapt themselves to this.

I see the two main approaches as:

1: The minimalistic statements are enough on their own, and one should just do what they say, without adding anything.
2: The minimalistic statements can be expanded, they are minimal because the Buddha understood that everyone is different and thus was quite flexible. Living Buddhist teachers and communities contain valuable expansions on these minimal elements.

I don't see a problem with either of these two perspectives on the meditation instructions in the suttas. However, what I do see as a problem is when someone sees their perspective as the only one, the only proper way and everyone else is wrong. Any expansion that is not in the suttas is thus seen as a corruption. There is an ultra vigilance to expunge anything that is not directly spelled out in the suttas and to put it down as non-Buddhist. And this can be really divisive in sanghas and in all of Western Buddhism, because there are a lot of practices that Buddhists do that can't be traced to the suttas.

This is also a very tiring thing for others, because if one wants to discuss certain meditation techniques, but then one is unable to do so because of the constant claims of "not-buddhist", "not sutta" one is liable to just shut up or go elsewhere.

It crazy because in an actual face to face sangha, everyone is doing things differently and taking things from different traditions. I mean, jeez, I attend an insight group that shares the building with a zen and a non denominational Buddhist group, and all sorts of people come. Imagine if all we did when discussing each other's techniques was having to defend ourselves against claims that our techniques are "not sutta" , "not Buddhist". :rofl:
Thanks, and thanks for the excellent, concise. and to the point analysis.
>> 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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by DooDoot » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:50 am

Javi wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:24 am
That's only one part of the sutta. It also speaks of arousing mindfulness and energy (viriya) - and it doesn't really explain how, this is just as good a method as any other to arouse vigor.
Zom wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:29 pm
These qualities are based entirely on faith (saddha), wisdom (pannya), rightviews (sammaditthi), and an urge to practise (samvega). Breath exercises have nothing to do with viriya or sati. Nowhere, neither in suttas nor in commentaries, you can find even a hint about forcing a breath. So, this is entirely speculative, non-buddhist thing.
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:04 am
I concur.
Every factor of enlightenment in the sutta, including energy (viriya), is dependent on/by means of (nissita) dispassion (viraga) transformed (pariṇāmi) into letting go, giving up, surrender or relaxation (vossagga).
Kathaṃ bhāvitā ca, bhikkhave, satta bojjhaṅgā kathaṃ bahulīkatā vijjāvimuttiṃ paripūrenti? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sati­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodha­nissitaṃ vos­sagga­pari­ṇāmiṃ. Dhamma­vicaya­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti … pe … vīriya­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti … pīti­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti … passad­dhi­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti … samā­dhi­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃsamādhisambojjhaṅga. bhāveti … upekkhā­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodha­nissitaṃ vos­sagga­pari­ṇāmiṃ. Evaṃ bhāvitā kho, bhikkhave, satta bojjhaṅgā evaṃ bahulīkatā vijjāvimuttiṃ paripūrentī”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/pi/mn118
vossagga
masculine
donation; relinquishing; giving up.

relinquishing, relaxation; handing over, donation, gift

vossagga-pariṇāmi, maturity of surrender

https://suttacentral.net/define/vossagga
The hatha yogic or 'fondling (parāmāsin)' methods of this topic, Ajahn Lee or Vissudhimagga can only form part of the first two steps of Anapanasati where the phrase: "He trains himself" is omitted.
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:18 am

This is also a very tiring thing for others, because if one wants to discuss certain meditation techniques, but then one is unable to do so because of the constant claims of "not-buddhist", "not sutta" one is liable to just shut up or go elsewhere.
You can do whatever you want, meditate how you like. No one says: "Don't ever do such a thing!"

But at the same time it's obviously useful to know whether ancient buddhists did this/that or not. At least, for me such information is useful. Maybe you think otherwise and maybe you are mixing zen, tantra, yoga, taoism, hesychasm, etc etc. in your practice. It is up to you. 8-)

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