did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
MMK23
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by MMK23 » Thu May 07, 2009 6:17 am

robertk wrote:Vipassana is the culmination of profound insight into the nature of phenomena- it can only be known by the very wise, is subtle and even the moments of genuine satipatthan that preceed vipassana can only be experienced during a Buddha sasana.

To reply to the opening post.
The Buddha never taught vipassana as a technique, but sadly ,and I think contributing to the decline of the sasana , in recent times there are groups who have co-opted the word to mean some type of focusing on an object/objects. It is quite easy to fool people as if they quote the satipatthana sutta (which includes countless number of objects) then it is assumed the technique is 'vipassana'. However I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.

.
At the risk of making myself a pariah so soon after joining this forum... I tend to agree with this comment. In fact the more I read the Suttas and the Visuddhimagga, the less I am able to defend the modern samatha/vipassana false dichotomy. I do not read "two types" of meditation in the Buddhadhamma, and the only way that I can read two types of meditation is to rely on the interpretations of people who do believe in two types of meditation. But then, I also believe that meditation is for those who have already put great effort into cultivating sila so I don't expect to make friends with these opinions :lol:

Interestingly, Johannes Bronkhorst's "The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India" is an interesting (if highly speculative) foray into the meditative teachings of early Buddhism. Bronkhorsts posits a theory (just a theory!) that the original meditative teachings of the Buddha were the 9 stages (8 jhanas + attainment) which I actually find to be eminently plausible with regard to my reading of "one" meditation.

As for modern vipassana methods I think that anything that is characterised as the highway to enlightenment has to prove its record as some stage or another. As I understand it the modern vipassana methods have been very popular in Asia and the West for approaching something like a century. So I ask the statisticians: have we had a massive increase in the rate of enlightenment? Or is the case that we have to, as the Buddha entreated us, abandon avarice and egoism and simply do the hard work necessary to curtail future births.

With unlimited love,

MMK23

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Jechbi
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by Jechbi » Thu May 07, 2009 2:45 pm

Mindful of the Classical Theravada forum guidelines, which state:
Posts should also include support from a reference or a citation (Tipitaka, commentarial, or from a later work from an author representative of the Classical point-of-view).
I would like to add that this comment ...
robertk wrote:The Buddha never taught vipassana as a technique, but sadly ,and I think contributing to the decline of the sasana , in recent times there are groups who have co-opted the word to mean some type of focusing on an object/objects. It is quite easy to fool people as if they quote the satipatthana sutta (which includes countless number of objects) then it is assumed the technique is 'vipassana'. However I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
... is in some respects inaccurate, and at the very least it represents an incomplete presentation of what is meant by the term "vipassana."

Here are some citations that I hope are on-topic in this forum:

More than one meaning for 'Vipassana'
From that link:
Followers of the popular Vipassana movement often cite the Satipatthana Sutta as the essence of the Buddha's teachings; some even claim that the instructions it contains are the only ones necessary for achieving liberating insight. Theravada Buddhism, by contrast, embraces the thousands of discourses of the Pali canon, each highlighting a different aspect of the Buddha's teachings. In Theravada each discourse supports, depends upon, reflects, and informs all the others; even a discourse as important as the Satipatthana Sutta is seen as but a single thread in the Buddha's complex tapestry of teachings.

Although many students do find all they want in Vipassana, some have a nagging sense that something fundamental is missing. This reaction is hardly surprising, as the Satipatthana discourse itself was delivered to a group of relatively advanced students who were already quite experienced and well established in the path of Dhamma practice.
Also please read:
One tool among many
Satipatthana Vipassana

Here are some links to further discussion of a nature that might be off-topic in this particular forum:
Over at the E
Here on this board
and here

In reality, there is a great deal of inaccurate information being presented by some who feel strongly that the practices commonly referred to as "Vipassana Meditation" are a corruption of Classical Theravada. Let's try to see things as they really are.

Metta
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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tiltbillings
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu May 07, 2009 4:46 pm

Robert: Thus satipatthana is profound and not easily comprehended, it cannot arise at will, and can only occur (momentarily) to those with sufficient right view.
Sounds like one of those Tibetan Madhyamakins. Intellectual right view, or right view that comes from direct experience?

Who are these naughty perverters of the Buddha's teachings, those vipassana teachers?
>> 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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piotr
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by piotr » Thu May 07, 2009 6:26 pm

Hi,
jcsuperstar wrote:vipasanna is very popular, but is it a method taught by the buddha? is there a sutta where the buddha teaches vipasanna the way he teaches anapanasati or is this a modern method?
Take a look at this brilliant post: http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/03 ... llakkheti/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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robertk
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by robertk » Fri May 08, 2009 3:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Robert: Thus satipatthana is profound and not easily comprehended, it cannot arise at will, and can only occur (momentarily) to those with sufficient right view.
Sounds like one of those Tibetan Madhyamakins. Intellectual right view, or right view that comes from direct experience?

Who are these naughty perverters of the Buddha's teachings, those vipassana teachers?
Without right view at the level of pariyatti - correct theroretical understanding- there can be no direct experience.

You are asking me to list specific vipassana teachers? Could I ask why ?

Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 3:52 am

Greetings,
robertk wrote:Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.
Even two years after attending my one and only Goenka course, I can still remember the sound of him repeatedly reminding us, "anicca, anicca, anicca".

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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tiltbillings
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri May 08, 2009 4:00 am

Robert: Without right view at the level of pariyatti - correct theroretical understanding- there can be no direct experience.
That does not say much about the efficacy of the practice.
You are asking me to list specific vipassana teachers? Could I ask why ?
You speak of unnamed vipassana teachers in a general way and you speak about them in a negative way, which has the effect of tarring them all with your aspersions. If you mean specific vipassana teachers, you should say so.
Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.
In a sense, present-moment awareness practice is a simple technique, but I suspect there is far more to what he teaches than just that, though I am no Goenka expert. Others here can speak more directly to that. Any other naughty vipassana teachers we should know about?
>> 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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Jechbi
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by Jechbi » Fri May 08, 2009 4:01 am

Hello Robert,

As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.

Earlier in this thread, you made this statement:
robertk wrote:I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
There are several problems with this statement. One is that it ignores the fact tha the term "vipassana" is used to mean more than just one thing. You are correct that "doing" vipassana is not a correct notion if one is using the term "vipassana" in the way that you are using it. However, when one uses the term "vipassana" in the context of what is commonly referred to as "Vipassana Meditation," then it may be correct to discuss whether one is "doing" the technique or not. I hope this response is on-topic in this forum.

Another problem with your statement is that your contention that "little can be done to help" individuals who do this technique because "the attachment runs to deep usually" appears to me to be a cynical disregard for the core teachings of the Buddha that individuals are not beyond hope of making better kamma and practicing the 8fold path, even if they have not perfected sublime right view. Indeed, until we have attained to the fruit of arahantship, we will not have perfect sublime right view. I believe this viewpoint is supported in many teachings, such as for example throughout the Sammaditthi Sutta, and I'm sure you will be more adept than I am in finding more.

Another problem is that you presume to see into the hearts and minds of Vipassana meditators, and to know their kamma. I hope it goes without saying that such a claim contradicts any classical teaching.
robertk wrote:Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.
Goenka is using this phrase "simple mental technique" in the context of using the term "vipassana" as it is used when talking about "Vipassana Meditation." Goenka is not describing Vipassana in its classical sense as "a simple mental technique," as you erroneously contend.

I believe the burden is on you, Robert, to show in the teachings where it is prohibited to use the term "Vipassana" in any other way than that which you wish it to be used, namely, as a noun synonymous with true insight.

I have done my best to keep this post on-topic within the framework of this particular forum, and at the same time address some of your comments. My apologies if this post falls short in that regard.

Metta
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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tiltbillings
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri May 08, 2009 4:10 am

As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.
Will probably need to separate this sub-discussion out, putting it into its own thread in the "free-for-all" section.
>> 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: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 4:43 am

Greetings,
robertk wrote:I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
I wonder if this isn't akin to the conversation going on elsewhere about rebirth, and whether someone needs to give caveats about anatta everytime they mention rebirth in order not to be falling into the fallacy of wrong view regarding the self.

Is anyone "doing vipassana" anymore than they're being "reborn in hell"?

Is this simply a case of stated versus unstated assumptions?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 4:48 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:
As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.
Will probably need to separate this sub-discussion out, putting it into its own thread in the "free-for-all" section.
In the meantime, I'm going to move this to the Meditation Forum.

Jcsuperstar ~ let us know if you object to this and would like it moved back. What is your preference? Are you specifically and exclusively interested in the Classical Mahavihara perspective, as embodied within the commentarial tradition?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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tiltbillings
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri May 08, 2009 4:55 am

Good move.
>> 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: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by pink_trike » Fri May 08, 2009 4:55 am

robertk wrote:
I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
I'm curious...what is your opinion of the many teachers who offer this practice? Are they also attached too deeply? Should we dismiss their training, qualifications, ,and assessment of current conditions that leads them to make a decision to offer this practice in these times, to modern minds? Does a narrow interpretation of "Vipassana" cancel out the skillful means of countless teachers?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri May 08, 2009 5:20 am

While I obviously disagree with Robert (otherwise I wouldn't keep doing Mahasi-style meditation with my teachers) I do think he makes a cruial point that it is very easy for meditation to become oriented towards a self and involve a lot of desire and clinging.

I had some thoughts on this issue here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1151" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Post by zavk » Fri May 08, 2009 5:32 am

Mike's post reminded me off this essay by Christopher Titmuss, 'Has Vipassana Reached the End of the Road?', which I stumbled across a while ago. I think it connects with some of the themes raised in this thread and also in Mike's own thread.

I'd be interested to hear what fellow 'vipassana' meditators have to say.

Moderators: Do you think this is worth a thread on its own? It kinda straddles both this one and Mike's.
With metta,
zavk

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