Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

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mikenz66
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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:13 pm

2600htz wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:05 pm
Any practice that causes: hallucinations, shaking and tremble, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, etc. doesn´t agree with the suttas and probably wasn´t taught by the Buddha.
Well, of course, those are listed under "imperfections" or "corruptions of insight" in the texts...

The development of mindfulness and concentration can have all kinds of side-effects. Uplifting ones (bright light, feeling of floating) and more disconcerting ones (shaking, and so on). Many of these are not really specific to Buddhist practice...

Some of these are hinted at in the suttas. Mostly positive ones, for example, here: viewtopic.php?t=15578
There are also suttas that talk about arising of fear, and so on, and what to do about it.

Any practice that aims to make significant changes to one's mind, and one's life, is likely to have side-effects. Some good, some not so good. I think it would be naive to go into these practices thinking that progress will always be easy and pleasant.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by 2600htz » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:31 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:13 pm
2600htz wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:05 pm
Any practice that causes: hallucinations, shaking and tremble, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, etc. doesn´t agree with the suttas and probably wasn´t taught by the Buddha.
Well, of course, those are listed under "imperfections" or "corruptions of insight" in the texts...

The development of mindfulness and concentration can have all kinds of side-effects. Uplifting ones (bright light, feeling of floating) and more disconcerting ones (shaking, and so on). Many of these are not really specific to Buddhist practice...

Some of these are hinted at in the suttas. Mostly positive ones, for example, here: viewtopic.php?t=15578
There are also suttas that talk about arising of fear, and so on, and what to do about it.

Any practice that aims to make significant changes to one's mind, and one's life, is likely to have side-effects. Some good, some not so good. I think it would be naive to go into these practices thinking that progress will always be easy and pleasant.

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Mike
Hello:

To my understanding the upakkilesas/imperfections/defilements that are mentioned in the suttas are talking about hindrances, or mental imperfections. I don´t know any sutta where they are described as physical problems, with the exception of when the Buddha was a Bodhisattva and practice austerities (wrong effort).

Regards.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by _anicca_ » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:44 am

One of my teachers said, "It's better to not even know about them."

Sankhara-upekkha nana is samadhi (in other terms) and the basis for insight, whether or not you follow the nanas model.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

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http://vipassanameditation.asia

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:20 am

2600htz wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:31 am
To my understanding the upakkilesas/imperfections/defilements that are mentioned in the suttas are talking about hindrances, or mental imperfections. I don´t know any sutta where they are described as physical problems, with the exception of when the Buddha was a Bodhisattva and practice austerities (wrong effort).
Perhaps this is a false dichotomy (physical/mind)? As I understand it piti (rapture) can manifest with various physical factors. Furthermore, we don't need to read suttas to know that anger can manifest physically, fear can lead to physical trembling, and so on. In fact, trembling is mentioned quite often in suttas with reference to fear.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Hiheyhello » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:16 am

Hi, the nanas are not "silly." They are a description of what you can expect if your insight practice progresses. The guide in question is written for someone who is a regular practitioner without a teacher. It is not recommended for those who do have a teacher since any meditation experiences you have should be discussed with them. Since you are practicing the body scan technique on retreats (I assume Goenka), you should not worry about this guide as you do have access to meditation instructors at those retreats. As far as I know, this guide is mostly used for practitioners of the Mahasi and Thai Forest traditions and will likely not be covered in other practices.

Most people will not experience every phenomenon from each phase on the list. It is meant as a guidepost so the meditator doesn't get freaked out or discouraged if weird stuff starts happening in the course of practice. As for the vomiting and diarrhea, I have never seen that as a part of the nana descriptions. It is possible for a meditator to become physically ill as they progress through the nanas. Like pain, itching, euphoria, or any other pleasant or unpleasant sensations, it does pass. It doesn't mean that meditator will throw up or diarrhea on themselves. One would hope they would head to the restroom like any adult would if they're feeling ill.

With Metta

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:05 am

yes, the whole Vipassana Movement aside from maybe Webu Sayadaw & others predating Goenka is silly :)
susukhaṃ vata nibbānaṃ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṃ;
asokaṃ virajaṃ khemaṃ,
yattha dukkhaṃ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ panītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:19 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:05 am
yes, the whole Vipassana Movement aside from maybe Webu Sayadaw & others predating Goenka is silly :)
Well, the nanas predate those people by at least 1500 years, probably longer, so it seems premature to be dismissing them as invalid...

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:19 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:05 am
yes, the whole Vipassana Movement aside from maybe Webu Sayadaw & others predating Goenka is silly :)
Well, the nanas predate those people by at least 1500 years, probably longer, so it seems premature to be dismissing them as invalid...

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Mike
oh lmao
susukhaṃ vata nibbānaṃ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṃ;
asokaṃ virajaṃ khemaṃ,
yattha dukkhaṃ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ panītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by LG2V » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:02 pm

archaic wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:23 pm
SarathW wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:13 pm
Oddly enough, some of the potential side-effects of meditation are even diarrhea and vomiting... :shock:
I can relate to the vomiting. We do many disgusting things without realising it.
Eating certain food, sex etc. could be disgusting and feel like vomiting when you really contemplate on them.
While I do understand what you are saying, during any of the meditation retreats I have been on, I cannot imagine someone just starting to vomit or defecate themselves. This sounds preposterous.
I think that those are the most extreme cases. To be fair, people have vomited and defecated themselves over less. Say, a quick scare, for example.
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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:39 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:21 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:19 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:05 am
yes, the whole Vipassana Movement aside from maybe Webu Sayadaw & others predating Goenka is silly :)
Well, the nanas predate those people by at least 1500 years, probably longer, so it seems premature to be dismissing them as invalid...

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Mike
oh lmao
Suit yourself. There are many approaches to the Dhamma in general, and meditation in particular, that have been useful to many people for many centuries. As I said, the insight knowledges were documented well over 1500 years ago, and were presumably assembled from the experiences of awakened individuals.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by archaic » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:22 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:39 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:21 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:19 pm

Well, the nanas predate those people by at least 1500 years, probably longer, so it seems premature to be dismissing them as invalid...

:heart:
Mike
oh lmao
Suit yourself. There are many approaches to the Dhamma in general, and meditation in particular, that have been useful to many people for many centuries. As I said, the insight knowledges were documented well over 1500 years ago, and were presumably assembled from the experiences of awakened individuals.

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Mike
A totally non-judgemental question (not meant to provoke or be disrespectful):

If the Buddha went to great length to describe the jhanas in many discourses and suttas, why did these nanas not get described, assuming they were so important?

They seem very contrived to me, like the mindset was "well we should break this into stages" like boyscouts have badges or like martial artists have belts... They are not describing *natural* breaks or delineations, they are simply breaking things down for the purposes of breaking things down, and thus are completely artificial.

You may not agree, and I respect your opinion, but do you at least see what I mean?
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Hiheyhello » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:15 pm

Pretty strongly dismissive language for a series of posts that is supposed to be "non-provocative." Lol. The Goenka teachings will not cover nanas so you don't need to worry about them. If you don't like them, that's fine. Different strokes...Just don't look at them or use them as your guidepost. No need to denounce them on a public forum.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Hiheyhello » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:41 pm

Also, clarifying a series of strongly worded derisive posts with "no offense meant" doesn't make them any less derisive or offensive. As long as you feel that whatever you are practicing is helping you stamp out craving, greed, anger, and delusion, keep at it. Ride that horse. No need to publicly denounce core components of other practices which may be helping their respective followers achieve the same goals.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by archaic » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:04 am

Hiheyhello wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:41 pm
Also, clarifying a series of strongly worded derisive posts with "no offense meant" doesn't make them any less derisive or offensive. As long as you feel that whatever you are practicing is helping you stamp out craving, greed, anger, and delusion, keep at it. Ride that horse. No need to publicly denounce core components of other practices which may be helping their respective followers achieve the same goals.
Apologies if you or others were offended by my language. I guess I am relentlessly sceptical of prescribed dogma. It comes from the hope that others don't get bogged down with unnecessary contrivances. Why? Some things which are traditional seem to get the silk glove treatment, as if their traditional status means they don't get questioned, and thusly they get unjustly perpetuated ad infinitum...

Honestly, I was just trying to forward specifically why I don't understand their logic. Clearly I should have been less descriptive, or more precise in my language that the nanas ***seem*** like this to me from my own perception. I mean to impart scepticism not judgementalism.

And to be clear, if someone has a compelling reason as to why they are a concrete, pragmatic, or carefully constructed theory, I would definitely show my respect for those perspectives.

Regardless, thanks for letting me know, I'll be more careful when posting discriminative thoughts about the beliefs of others.

My intent was not to agitate or wound.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:26 am

archaic wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:22 pm
A totally non-judgemental question (not meant to provoke or be disrespectful):

If the Buddha went to great length to describe the jhanas in many discourses and suttas, why did these nanas not get described, assuming they were so important?

They seem very contrived to me, like the mindset was "well we should break this into stages" like boyscouts have badges or like martial artists have belts... They are not describing *natural* breaks or delineations, they are simply breaking things down for the purposes of breaking things down, and thus are completely artificial.

You may not agree, and I respect your opinion, but do you at least see what I mean?
If you take time to read the practical instructions in the Vissudhimagga, you'll see that there are often alternatives: "one person experiences this, another that..." Of course if you read a short summary, it will seem artificial. I don't think any such lists should be taken too linearly.

There is, obviously, plenty in the instructions of modern teachers such as Ajahns Thanissaro, Maha Bua, Chah etc that is not explicitly in the Suttas, but it would be strange to dismiss the advice of experienced teachers. Likewise, one should use one's judgement about which elaborations are helpful, and which are not, whether the advice is from ancient or modern texts.

The basic outline of the progress of insight are readily apparent in suttas that talk about the progressions including nibbida (disenchantment/disgust), equanimity, and so on.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Hiheyhello » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:57 am

The nanas are described in the Abhiddhama which is one of the three baskets of the Theravada canon. They're not random, are not an "attempt to mirror the Visuddhimagga's stepwise descriptions of the jhanas," and do have a basis in the teachings. (Please do not digress into the legitimacy of the Abhidhamma as an authentic teaching of the Buddha as that is an entirely different discussion and series of posts).

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf#page83

The guide with the possible side effects is based on meditators experiences of the nanas and was created later by experienced meditation teachers to help train other meditation teachers and assist those who do not have a teacher.

Vipassana is not a samatha meditation and, as such, is not preoccupied exclusively with jhana but with calming the mind enough to see the nature of reality. In the same way that the 9 samatha jhanas progressively build upon one another, the vipassana nanas also do so.

What concrete proof can be provided of jhana? Jhanic attainments are also described in the texts in an arguably vague and ambiguous way (likely due to their subtle nature). Are the descriptions (stages) of jhana thus arbitrary and artificial?

Ultimately, that is for each practitioner to determine for themselves based on their own experience.

Either way, you will probably not touch upon the nanas with the body scan method so no need to worry about it too much or overanalyze it to death.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by aflatun » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:13 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:39 pm
There are many approaches to the Dhamma in general, and meditation in particular, that have been useful to many people for many centuries. As I said, the insight knowledges were documented well over 1500 years ago, and were presumably assembled from the experiences of awakened individuals.
Well said Mike. I just wanted to add, I'm starting to find remarkable similarity and cohesion among the various outlines of insight found across many pre modern Buddhist traditions, which for me bolsters the fact that these folks were onto something. Part of what I was trying to point to in the other thread about the seeming universality of momentariness, despite the shifts in its significance.

Risking a lynch mob: While there are certainly critical differences, I also feel there are strong parallels with non Buddhist maps of insight as well (e.g. Plotinus, Ibn Al Arabi, St. Teresa, even modern day Bernadette Roberts) There's something very human and natural about the whole thing, for me anyway...

See for example:

The stages of Christian mysticism and Buddhist purification
Last edited by aflatun on Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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."

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MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by pyluyten » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:23 am

Teachers do not agree on what is first jhana, so they will not agree on seven steps which were systematised hundred s of years after Buddha's death.

Chan is wiser here : the path is not a game where you win levels one after the other. There is a path but no objective measure. Trying to measure, at best, will condition your mind to live certain experiences, instead of remaining open to reality (auto suggestion).

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by SunWuKong » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:33 am

Blah blah blah it parallels serotonin poisoning, could be dopamine poisoning. These are the primary neurotransmitters involved although there’s others. All these levels are regulated in the region we call the “third eye” - so where it says don’t do this at home, don’t do it at home. Good to know somebody is paying attention to all these side effects, tho
Thanks

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Zom » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:45 am

Teachers do not agree on what is first jhana, so they will not agree on seven steps which were systematised hundred s of years after Buddha's death.

Chan is wiser here : the path is not a game where you win levels one after the other. There is a path but no objective measure. Trying to measure, at best, will condition your mind to live certain experiences
There are certain things about jhanas written in the suttas - that is, the absense of certain kinds of feelings. In the first jhana there is no painful bodily feeling - at all. It just totally ends there. So if you are really in the first jhana, there sohuld be no problem for you to sit many hours without a smallest discomfort. If you think you are so cool and advanced that you reach it, but only for a small period of time, there should be no problem to master it so to sit as long as you can. So from anyone who claims or hints that he's got jhana I expect him to sit for 8-10 hours in a row (at least) without any problem. If he can't do that - sorry, this is not jhana and never been .)

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