Sunlun Sayadaw method

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:32 am

Greetings Zom,
Zom wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:18 am
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.
Likewise, for reasons well documented in the Sutta Pitaka itself (which I won't recall once more here unless this statement is challenged).

But as you said...
You can do whatever you want, meditate how you like. No one says: "Don't ever do such a thing!" ... It is up to you. 8-)
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 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:58 am

Zom wrote:
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-)
We do not, however, know the full extent of what "ancient Buddhists" did or did not do. Much is left unsaid, undescribed. Does the Sunlun method from a practical standpoint egregiously contradict the spirit of the Buddha's teaching in regard practice?

So far we have seen opinions based upon particular readings of the texts suggesting that it does contradict the Buddha's teaching in some way or other, and we have seen statements based upon particular readings of the texts and from doing practice inspired by the Sunlun method that it can be a skillful adjunct to one's practice.

For me I see, from my experience this practice being couched firmly in a Dhamma context and practiced with Dhammic intent, it is a useful Dhamma practice tool.

Unquestionably your concerns are sincerely expressed, to not want the Dhamma to be damaged by bad practice. I can understand that. In turn I have found that the practice does not damage the Dhamma; rather, it has been a skillful tool for deepening my understanding of the Dhamma and living in accordance with the Dhamma. I do not think I am going to agree with you, and likely you are not going agree with me. So it is.
>> 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 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:09 am

Greetings,

Please note, a couple of posts relating to Bhante Vimalaramsi's instruction have been moved to:

Bhante Vimalaramsi and the 6R's?

As one of his 6 R's, Bhante Vimalaramsi advocates for relaxation of the breath, which is in direct contrast to the breathing exercises discussed thus far...

: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 Zom » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:03 pm

We do not, however, know the full extent of what "ancient Buddhists" did or did not do. Much is left unsaid, undescribed.
But we do know what did they do and what did they say. This is important. If this was written down - this is really important. Unsaid, undescribed - is something, obviously, not important.
Does the Sunlun method from a practical standpoint egregiously contradict the spirit of the Buddha's teaching in regard practice?
I said that twice or even thrice already - yes, it contradicts the major canonical and commentarial anapanasati trend of calming the breath.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by aflatun » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:04 pm

Javi wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:18 pm
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.
Me too.

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.
In principle I think this "ultra vigilance" is a good thing. We all want to be inline with what the Buddha taught.

The problem as I see it is when this ultra vigilance is employed by 1) someone who "sees their perspective as the only one, the only proper way and everyone else is wrong" 2) someone who uses a style of delivery that shuts down dialogue, lacks any warmth or sense of conversation between people 3) someone who has an excessive preoccupation with the supposed meanings of words-generally conceived of in the most narrow, gross and literal way; a meaning which can only be divined through tortuous grammatical analysis and text critical methods (I do not deny that such things have their place)-an excessive preoccupation that seems to be blind to the greater context of those words and most importantly, what those words might actually mean in terms of personal experience here and now. The result is a pile of ossified, cold and (ironically) meaningless abstractions.

The number of people on forums who supposedly have figured out what the suttas "really mean," and claim this as their near unique privilege, go about opposing "true buddhism" to what other posters are thinking or grappling with, implicitly or explicitly claiming stream entry left and right, and speak down to others from their supposed high horse... well, its mind boggling.
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.
Yup. Or anything pragmatic for that matter.

PS Have you been wearing an n95? The air has been grotesque down in the bay!
"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 tiltbillings » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:38 pm

aflatun wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:04 pm
Javi wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:18 pm
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.
Me too.

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.
In principle I think this "ultra vigilance" is a good thing. We all want to be inline with what the Buddha taught.

The problem as I see it is when this ultra vigilance is employed by 1) someone who "sees their perspective as the only one, the only proper way and everyone else is wrong" 2) someone who uses a style of delivery that shuts down dialogue, lacks any warmth or sense of conversation between people 3) someone who has an excessive preoccupation with the supposed meanings of words-generally conceived of in the most narrow, gross and literal way; a meaning which can only be divined through tortuous grammatical analysis and text critical methods (I do not deny that such things have their place)-an excessive preoccupation that seems to be blind to the greater context of those words and most importantly, what those words might actually mean in terms of personal experience here and now. The result is a pile of ossified, cold and (ironically) meaningless abstractions.

The number of people on forums who supposedly have figured out what the suttas "really mean," and claim this as their near unique privilege, go about opposing "true buddhism" to what other posters are thinking or grappling with, implicitly or explicitly claiming stream entry left and right, and speak down to others from their supposed high horse... well, its mind boggling.
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.
Yup. Or anything pragmatic for that matter.

PS Have you been wearing an n95? The air has been grotesque down in the bay!
"The result is a pile of ossified, cold and (ironically) meaningless abstractions." The results can be worse than that in that one can assume that the "pile of ossified, cold and (ironically) meaningless abstractions" is insight --"Oh, I have insight, I must be ariya."

Unquestionably the Sunlun method can be seen as extreme, and obviously it is not for everyone. And there are those for whom any kind of meditation is problematic, except maybe some sort of conceptual contemplation. The Sunlun method can be, however, an efficacious practice for those who are willing to put in the effort. 50 years of study and practice -- of engagement with the Dhamma -- have shown me that the Buddha's teachings are remarkably broad, infinitely deep, and flexible. And I am thankful to Jack Kornfield for making the Sunlun method readily known.
>> 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 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:38 pm
"The result is a pile of ossified, cold and (ironically) meaningless abstractions." The results can be worse than that in that one can assume that the "pile of ossified, cold and (ironically) meaningless abstractions" is insight --"Oh, I have insight, I must be ariya."
Yes sir! That is of course where the real tragedy is to be found. And unfortunately its not a rare tragedy.
"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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Sam Vara
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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:10 am

I said last week that I would give this method a bit of a trial, see how I got on with it, and then report back for anyone who was interested. So here goes!

I can't pretend to have delved all that deeply into the method, partly because it is obviously a broad living tradition of which my knowledge is derived from a couple of videos; and partly because I used it as a kind of prelude or supplement to my normal meditation practice. For the past eight or so days I have tried about 15 minutes of the rapid rougher breathing, prior to my normal meditation practice in the mornings. (The normal practice is various stages of the samatha meditation as taught by the Samatha Trust.) Apart from feeling a bit daft when I was doing it at first, and apart from the cat being disturbed by my new rapid breathing, there were no problems with this. During one session it did make me feel a bit light-headed, but I just scaled back and then felt fine.

The main benefit is that I found my concentration on the point where the air enters and leaves the body (i.e. the nostrils) to be nice and steady by the time I started the samatha meditation. My practice tends to go through phases when getting started can either be easy, or be a bit problematic. The latter normally means that I have trouble sustaining the counting and the measured lengths of the breath, with the mind wandering off a bit. With the more rapid breathing used as a prelude, this didn't happen. The first stage of the meditation - counting while breathing a long breath - was always solid from the outset. In addition, the rapid breathing dispelled any mental torpor. I found that the mind was never sluggish, and motivation was good, although occasional distractions were still apparent.

On one occasion, I thought that my mind was sufficiently calm and I moved into the next phase talked about in the video: holding the breath, seeing which sensation in the body that the mind adverts to, and then focussing on that to the exclusion of all else. I found this advice to be a bit alarming (focussing on severe discomfort in some of the old sports injuries for an hour or three until the sensation passes away is not for the faint-hearted!). I only did about 45 minutes, and felt good throughout. In fact, I felt great for the rest of the day. I don't know whether to try this again; it would mean a radical change to my normal practice. But it is simple, seems supported by the canon, and did have a seductive quality about it!

So, in general, I found this to be a positive experience. It might be, of course, that I simply had sharper attention and more motivation because I was trying something different. And other people might find they have very different experiences. I will certainly use the rougher breathing if the body and mind are sluggish. (I would also need to be on my own. If it bothers the cat, then it would also bother people on retreat!) I might take it up as a short preliminary practice on a regular basis, a bit like stretching the legs before starting the "meditation proper". Or I might dive in deeper and go for the vipassana aspect of observing the sensations. If I do that, I'll let you know how I get on. I would like to thank Javi for raising this topic, Tilt for his support, and others for whatever open-mindedness they showed.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Javi » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:41 pm

Nice! Thanks for the report!
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 mikenz66 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:46 pm

Thanks Sam. Nice to hear details about the experience, especially over some time, rather just a one-off trial.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:53 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:10 am
I said last week that I would give this method a bit of a trial, see how I got on with it, and then report back for anyone who was interested. So here goes! . . . I would like to thank Javi for raising this topic, Tilt for his support, and others for whatever open-mindedness they showed.
You are welcome, and thank you for this well written, clearly expressed accounting of your experience, which mirrors much my own experience with experimenting with the Sunlun method.
>> 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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