The Mahasi Method & General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

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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rightviewftw
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The Mahasi Method & General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:29 am

As i learned it The Mahasi Method in it's fullest form has one train 6-Step Walking and for Sitting there are like 30 or so points of the body where the meditator is supposed to direct attention for Touching.

This Direction of attention is training Concentration, Resolve and Persistence as i understand it. Does anybody know the official rationalization for the directed effort in this manner?

I am on the fence about this but certain that it is not a necessity and would like more Info. I wonder what made the tradition incorporate all the additional instruction.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:52 am, edited 4 times in total.

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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:37 pm

This is, I think, jumping ahead to some rather complex, optional, possibilities, as has been discussed in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=31105&p=457815#p457815

Mahasi-based teachers are quite diverse, so looking for an "official line" seems pointless to me. Teachers I know teach what works for their students at their paticular stage of development and different teachers will recommend different things to students, depending on what they need at the time. Touch points can be a useful thing to focus on when there are long gaps between breaths (e.g. after a few days of retreat), or as a focus of attention instead of the breath/abdomen, if the meditator does not find the breath a useful object.

As for the general question about instructions that are not in the suttas, well, that's true of instructions from every teacher (unless you can find one who simply reads suttas to their students and refuses to answer any questions :)), and to me is a complete non-issue, since I see the suttas as brief overviews.

Keep in mind that any meditation approach consists of exercises to aid progress towards increased mindfulness and tranquility. The exercises are not the goal, so searching for some sutta or dhammic significance in them is, I think, completely missing the point.

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rightviewftw
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:07 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:37 pm
Touch points can be a useful thing to focus on when there are long gaps between breaths (e.g. after a few days of retreat), or as a focus of attention instead of the breath/abdomen, if the meditator does not find the breath a useful object.
Thanks for input, in regards to the above it seems to me that in the long gaps one can easily just note Sitting or other things like calm or just be aware of the body. I am wondering because i got all significant gains quite early in the training and i actually lean towards dropping the touching points completely, just doing Rising-Falling-Sitting + Other Satipatthanas as they appear. Mahasi Saydaw himself in Progression of Insight says that Higher Paths are more difficult to attain than First Path and i wonder in regards to what it was said and why the seemingly unsupported claim.

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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:35 pm

Yes, of course, noting sitting is another popular option...

As I said, I don't see any particular significance in any of the details of techniques that people teach. The suttas are vague about technique, but much more clear about what the results should be. Some find using "Buddho", counting breaths, or all manner of other additions to be helpful. That's great. As I said, no teacher just reads suttas to their students, they all provide various elaborations...

I like Patrick Kearney's comments that I reproduced here:
viewtopic.php?t=25479
The job of the pracitioner is not to discover the one true technique. It's your job to discover the method that works best for you.
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Mike

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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by Hiheyhello » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:14 am

Admin, please deactivate my account. TIA
Last edited by Hiheyhello on Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rightviewftw
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:30 pm

Hi thanks a lot for your input.
I would like to ask you more about what was official instruction, how you apply/interperet it, if possible where/when you learned it aproximately and what you know of history behind it or other people's experiences with a particular set of instructions. I am curious.
Is there a particular reason you don't want to use touching?
Yea there is. I don't think it is necessary but is useful as an exercise (probably preliminary) to get a sense for the state of mind and to concentrate i strongly suspect that overdoing it has diminishing returns that probably go into the negatives in terms of expected gains.

I was taught the general Satipatthana and the application of Variation of touching points in particular by a Canadian Monk and he learned it in Thailand.

How i understand it the instruction taught to me by that monk in particular one is to drop points(simplify the sequence) if the mind sluggish, sequence is to be executed in order and pursued if nothing esle prominently appears, it is to be done in sequence/order and if lapsed concentration on is to go back to last spot one remembers.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

Hiheyhello
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by Hiheyhello » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:53 pm

Admin, please deactivate my account. TIA
Last edited by Hiheyhello on Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:59 pm

Hiheyhello wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:53 pm
The official basic instructions were the same as the ones found in Mahasi Sayadaws discourses which can be found online (eg: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el370.html).
Additional instructions are given during personal interviews as my teacher sees fit.
I think people asking for "official instructions" as if there is a monolithic Mahasi approach are missing the point. There are thousands of teachers who teach various approaches. Even the more obviously famous ones (U Pandita, etc) vary.

And, since, as Hiheyhello says, any good teacher will vary the instructions to suit the student, the question of "what is the official approach?" really misses the point. Mediation instruction isn't McDonalds, it's a complex a-la-carte process...

I've always been encouraged to experiment, and work out what works for me. Some things work for some, some don't. It's important to realise that people have different needs at different times.

For example, I've seen teachers tell particular students on retreats who had problems with distress and anger to just drop the insight approach, and do metta for a few days to get themselves in the right space. After that, they were fine...

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rightviewftw
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:02 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:59 pm
Hiheyhello wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:53 pm
The official basic instructions were the same as the ones found in Mahasi Sayadaws discourses which can be found online (eg: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el370.html).
Additional instructions are given during personal interviews as my teacher sees fit.
I think people asking for "official instructions" as if there is a monolithic Mahasi approach are missing the point. There are thousands of teachers who teach various approaches. Even the more obviously famous ones (U Pandita, etc) vary.
Hi thank you.
I should have made it clear perhaps that i am interested because i am trying to get a sense for different methods that people teach and see how it compares to my own theories and experiences. I've spent about a thousand of hours training so i want to adjust a bit at this point i think, i would anyway but i do want data to study. Unfortunately there is no organized database of shared experimentation. So i find it most valuable to get any info.
Has a lot to do with my own training, results and aspirations that i don't want to get into but i want to write a serious work on meditation when i am ready and well concentrated.

So i basically meant that variant of instruction that he was taught not interpretation or explaination of "universally agreed upon official mahasi method". I find that what Hihey was taught was very good how it sounds ie and probably close to how i will teach after i experiment more.

i think there is most likely not THAT much variation among people who teach a lot but it would be interesting to get an overview of differences and commonly agreed upon aspects of the practice. For other people to use and to systemize it more for ourselves. In practice there is often not many different ways to do things and not many ways to interperet things. It is complicated but i think it is good data.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

rightviewftw
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:46 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:29 am

This Direction of attention is training Resolve and Persistence as i understand it. Does anybody know the official rationalization for the directed effort in this manner?

I wonder what made the tradition incorporate all the additional instruction.
By this i wanted to see if somebody maybe had a discourse where Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw himself spoke on the matter or maybe Venerable Ledi Sayadaw or any other Sayadaw or anybody who had studied with them.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

rightviewftw
Posts: 2219
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:50 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:30 pm
I would like to ask you more about what was official instruction, how you apply/interperet it
and by this i meant maybe he received a booklet or some other material, or maybe he can recall more in addition to what he already wrote:P

have to take more time writing posts i think.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

Hiheyhello
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Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:10 am

Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by Hiheyhello » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:36 pm

:toilet:
Last edited by Hiheyhello on Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rightviewftw
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Re: Mahasi vs General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:49 am

Hiheyhello wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:36 pm
Thanks helpful post.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

Hiheyhello
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:10 am

Re: The Mahasi Method & General Sutta approach to Training the Four Satipatthanas.

Post by Hiheyhello » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:30 am

My pleasure! 😄

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