Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

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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archaic
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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...

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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.

:heart:
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

Admin, please deactivate my account. TIA
Last edited by Hiheyhello on Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

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

Admin, please deactivate my account. TIA
Last edited by Hiheyhello on Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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archaic
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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.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

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

:spy:
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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.
"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: 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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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:30 pm

Zom wrote:
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 .)
Is this your personal opinion or is there an actual teaching on jhana length?

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Zom » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:25 pm

Is this your personal opinion or is there an actual teaching on jhana length?
Partly. In the suttas and vinaya passages there is information about very long (from several hours up to days in higher jhanas) and undisturbed sittings by those who are in jhanas. This is, as I think, due to the (canonical) fact of absense of bodily painful feelings and the experience of pleasant bodily feelings. The jhanas are called "pleasant dwelling" and dwelling means something prolonged - not some momentary exaltation as some think.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:55 am

Zom wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:25 pm
Is this your personal opinion or is there an actual teaching on jhana length?
Partly. In the suttas and vinaya passages there is information about very long (from several hours up to days in higher jhanas) and undisturbed sittings by those who are in jhanas. This is, as I think, due to the (canonical) fact of absense of bodily painful feelings and the experience of pleasant bodily feelings. The jhanas are called "pleasant dwelling" and dwelling means something prolonged - not some momentary exaltation as some think.
I think you overstep. There are plenty of suttas that indicate people falling out of jhana, and there is no reason to think that they were previously in that state for many hours.
"Suppose there was a mountain cow — foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains — and she were to think, 'What if I were to go in a direction I have never gone before, to eat grass I have never eaten before, to drink water I have never drunk before!' She would lift her hind hoof without having placed her front hoof firmly and [as a result] would not get to go in a direction she had never gone before, to eat grass she had never eaten before, or to drink water she had never drunk before. And as for the place where she was standing when the thought occurred to her, 'What if I were to go where I have never been before... to drink water I have never drunk before,' she would not return there safely. Why is that? Because she is a foolish, inexperienced mountain cow, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains.

"In the same way, there are cases where a monk — foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with his pasture, unskilled in being quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, and entering & remaining in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation — doesn't stick with that theme, doesn't develop it, pursue it, or establish himself firmly in it. The thought occurs to him, 'What if I, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, were to enter & remain in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.' He is not able... to enter & remain in the second jhana... The thought occurs to him, 'What if I... were to enter & remain in the first jhana... He is not able... to enter & remain in the first jhana. This is called a monk who has slipped & fallen from both sides, like the mountain cow, foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Now on that occasion the Venerable Godhika was dwelling on the Black Rock on the Isigili Slope. Then, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind, but he fell away from that temporary liberation of mind. A second time, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind, but he fell away from that temporary liberation of mind. A third time…A fourth time … A fifth time…A sixth time, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind, but he fell away from that temporary liberation of mind. A seventh time, while the Venerable Godhika was dwelling diligent, ardent, and resolute, he reached temporary liberation of mind.

Then it occurred to the Venerable Godhika: “Six times already I have fallen away from temporary liberation of mind. Let me use the knife.”

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn4.23
“Then if you have nothing for which to reproach yourself in regard to virtue, Assaji, why are you troubled by remorse and regret?”

“Formerly, venerable sir, when I was ill I kept on tranquillizing the bodily formations, but now I do not obtain concentration. As I do not obtain concentration, it occurs to me: ‘Let me not fall away!’”

“Those ascetics and brahmins, Assaji, who regard concentration as the essence and identify concentration with asceticism, failing to obtain concentration, might think, ‘Let us not fall away!’

“What do you think, Assaji, is form permanent or impermanent?”—“Impermanent, venerable sir.”… —“Therefore … Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’

“If he feels a pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘It is impermanent’; he understands: ‘It is not held to’; he understands: ‘It is not delighted in.’ If he feels a painful feeling, he understands: ‘It is impermanent’; he understands: ‘It is not held to’; he understands: ‘It is not delighted in.’ If he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘It is impermanent’; he understands: ‘It is not held to’; he understands: ‘It is not delighted in.’

“If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it detached; if he feels a painful feeling, he feels it detached; if he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it detached.

“When he feels a feeling terminating with the body, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with the body.’ When he feels a feeling terminating with life, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with life.’ He understands: ‘With the breakup of the body, following the exhaustion of life, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become cool right here.’

“Just as, Assaji, an oil lamp burns in dependence on the oil and the wick, and with the exhaustion of the oil and the wick it is extinguished through lack of fuel, so too, Assaji, when a bhikkhu feels a feeling terminating with the body … terminating with life … He understands: ‘With the breakup of the body, following the exhaustion of life, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become cool right here.’”

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.88
"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. Then, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset me was an affliction for me.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
See also: MN 128

It seems to me to be reasonable to think that samadhi could become interrupted after only a short period of time dwelling in it.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

Saengnapha
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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:01 am

Zom wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:25 pm
Is this your personal opinion or is there an actual teaching on jhana length?
Partly. In the suttas and vinaya passages there is information about very long (from several hours up to days in higher jhanas) and undisturbed sittings by those who are in jhanas. This is, as I think, due to the (canonical) fact of absense of bodily painful feelings and the experience of pleasant bodily feelings. The jhanas are called "pleasant dwelling" and dwelling means something prolonged - not some momentary exaltation as some think.
Perhaps you should rethink this idea of yours about 1st jhana and length of time one should be able to stay in it. When you begin to measure things like this, you lose the view of impermanence and personalization. You also encourage 'becoming' and attachment to these states. 1st jhana seems more like whiff of fresh air, not a dwelling place for our notions.

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Re: Are Vipassana Nanas silly?

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:16 am

aflatun wrote:
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
I tried posting this yesterday. Perhaps there is a Buddhist guardian at the gate whose taken offense.

In losing all, the soul has risen (from Self-Annihilation and Charity Lead the Soul...)
by Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

English version by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes
Original Language Italian

In losing all, the soul has risen
To the pinnacle of the measureless;
Because it has renounced all
That is not divine,
It now holds in its grasp
The unimaginable Good
In all its abundance,
A loss and a gain impossible to describe.
To lose and to hold tightly,
To love and take delight in,
To gaze upon and contemplate,
To possess utterly,
To float in that immensity
And to rest therein --
That is the work of unceasing exchange
Of charity and truth.
There is no other action at those heights;
What the questing soul once was it has ceased to be.
Neither heat nor fiery love
Nor suffering has place here.
This is not light as the soul has imagined it.
All it had sought it must now forget,
And pass on to a new world,
Beyond its powers of perception.



Is this not transcendence?

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