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Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:11 pm
by mikenz66
Thanks Robert,

You have set an admirable example. Since you have been very clear about what your approach is, I always read your comments with interest. :reading:

:anjali:
Mike

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:33 pm
by retrofuturist
Greetings Mike,
retrofuturist wrote:If you accept samma sati as a technique then i accept the necessity of a technique.
mikenz66 wrote:Well, that brings up a good point. How is samma sati to be cultivated?
To quote Robert from the aforementioned linked topic "Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta."

Note, that as Robert represents it, "wisdom related to anatta" is actually a cause or support for sati. Any "techniques" I've encountered tend to reverse that causality, and present "wisdom related to anatta" as an effect or consequence of the "technique", which for all intents and purposes is represented as a proxy for sati (or sometimes the entire N8P).

Personally, I don't see support for that reversal of cause and effect in the pre-commentarial scriptures - yet on the subject of contemporary vipassana it seems to be taken as a given - which can be somewhat alienating. That's not a criticism of "techniques" ~ just a questioning of the assumed contemporary position that mental cultivation necessarily depends upon them. As I understand them, "techniques" seem to be a methodological set of activities undertaken in the quest for this "wisdom related to anatta", whereas I see samma sati as the present mindful application of existing wisdom pertaining to anatta/dukkha/anicca etc. which, yes... can be learned from the Buddha from the suttas. It's a case of experiencing according to that tilakkhana reality... and simply experiencing life according to that reality doesn't seem to require any "technique" (or any intentional form of 'doing' for that matter) over and above samma sati. Have all 8 path components "samma" and the specifics of the activities being undertaken don't matter one bit.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:01 pm
by tiltbillings
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,
retrofuturist wrote:If you accept samma sati as a technique then i accept the necessity of a technique.
mikenz66 wrote:Well, that brings up a good point. How is samma sati to be cultivated?
To quote Robert from the aforementioned linked topic "Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta."
Which, of course, raises the question of how does this happen?
Note, that as Robert represents it, "wisdom related to anatta" is actually a cause or support for sati.
And this is sutta based?
Any "techniques" I've encountered tend to reverse that causality, and present "wisdom related to anatta" as an effect or consequence of the "technique", which for all intents and purposes is represented as a proxy for sati (or sometimes the entire N8P).
The technique is not going to give one insight into anatta, but the technique will help set up the conditions for insight to arise.
Personally, I don't see support for that reversal of cause and effect in the pre-commentarial scriptures - yet on the subject of contemporary vipassana it seems to be taken as a given - which can be somewhat alienating.
I do not see that to be the case at all.
That's not a criticism of "techniques" ~ just a questioning of the assumed contemporary position that mental cultivation necessarily depends upon them. As I understand them, "techniques" seem to be a methodological set of activities undertaken in the quest for this "wisdom related to anatta", whereas I see samma sati as the present mindful application of existing wisdom pertaining to anatta/dukkha/anicca etc. which, yes... can be learned from the Buddha from the suttas. It's a case of experiencing according to that tilakkhana reality... and simply experiencing life according to that reality doesn't seem to require any "technique" (or any intentional form of 'doing' for that matter) over and above samma sati. Have all 8 path components "samma" and the specifics of the activities being undertaken don't matter one bit.
You are simply describing a different technique.

And what exactly is "samma sati" according to your point of view? How is it put into practice?


What does "application of existing wisdom" actually look like in actual practice?

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:13 pm
by retrofuturist
Greetings Tilt,
retrofuturist wrote:To quote Robert from the aforementioned linked topic "Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta."
tiltbillings wrote:Which, of course, raises the question of how does this happen?
With Right View as the forerunner.
retrofuturist wrote:Note, that as Robert represents it, "wisdom related to anatta" is actually a cause or support for sati.
tiltbillings wrote:And this is sutta based?
Yes, and once again Right View is the forerunner.
MN 117 wrote:"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.
tiltbillings wrote:And what exactly is "samma sati" according to your point of view? How is it put into practice?
DN 22 wrote:"And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness.
tiltbillings wrote:What does "application of existing wisdom" actually look like in actual practice?
As per DN 22 quote above... and this from MN 117, "One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness".

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:16 pm
by tiltbillings
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
retrofuturist wrote:To quote Robert from the aforementioned linked topic "Sati of satipatthana always arises with sampajanna, wisdom, and specifically wisdom related to anatta."
tiltbillings wrote:Which, of course, raises the question of how does this happen?
With Right View as the forerunner.
retrofuturist wrote:Note, that as Robert represents it, "wisdom related to anatta" is actually a cause or support for sati.
tiltbillings wrote:And this is sutta based?
Yes, and once again Right View is the forerunner.
MN 117 wrote:"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.
tiltbillings wrote:And what exactly is "samma sati" according to your point of view? How is it put into practice?
DN 22 wrote:"And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness.
tiltbillings wrote:What does "application of existing wisdom" actually look like in actual practice?
As per DN 22 quote above.

Metta,
Retro. :)
What you say makes my point: it is a matter of interpretation and then it becomes a matter of how that interpretation is put into practice via whatever technique one devises.

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:22 pm
by retrofuturist
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:What you say makes my point: it is a matter of interpretation and then it becomes a matter of how that interpretation is put into practice via whatever technique one devises.
If you see the necessity to devise a technique beyond what is said, then that is what you see. It is not for me to say that you should see otherwise.

Just be cognizant that there's quite possibly four people so far in this topic (MrMan, daverupa, robertk, myself - I'll allow them to correct me if I'm misrepresenting them) who do not seem to see such a necessity.... therefore, whilst you're as entitled to your "point" as the next person, just be aware that it's not (and need not be) ubiquitously accepted as fact.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:34 pm
by tiltbillings
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:What you say makes my point: it is a matter of interpretation and then it becomes a matter of how that interpretation is put into practice via whatever technique one devises.
If you see the necessity to devise a technique beyond what is said, then that is what you see. It is not for me to say that you should see otherwise.
It is not a matter of my devising a technique beyond what is said, it is simply looking at what you have said, and looking at the interpretation and technique you have presented.
therefore, whilst you're as entitled to your "point" as the next person, just be aware that it's not (and need not be) ubiquitously accepted as fact.
Well, yes, of course. That is the point I have made. It is a matter of how one interprets the texts at hand, what one thinks they are saying and based upon that how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary.

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:03 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:It is a matter of how one interprets the texts at hand, what one thinks they are saying and based upon that how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary.
In that case.....
Mr Man wrote:Tilt, do you think the Buddha taught the "technique"?
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha taught no technique, which is why there are various differing techniques developed to put the Buddha's teachings into practice.
...what is it about Goenka, Mahasi etc.'s teachings that makes them "techniques" as opposed to what the Buddha taught, which you say is not a technique? Where do you (non-arbitrarily) draw the line?

What is it that is missing (deficient?) in the Buddha's guidance that requires it to be necessarily converted into a vipassana "technique" by someone?...... and how is what vipassana teachers as Goenka, Mahasi etc. say any less subject to your "how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary" criteria than what the Buddha said?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:25 am
by Ben
Hi Paul,
retrofuturist wrote:What is it that is missing (deficient?) in the Buddha's guidance that requires it to be necessarily converted into a vipassana "technique" by someone?...... and how is what vipassana teachers as Goenka, Mahasi etc. say any less subject to your "how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary" criteria than what the Buddha said?
There isn't anything deficient in what the Buddha taught.
What is apparent is that there is not a lot of specifics with regard to meditation practice. For example - there is material in MN10 regarding vedana as meditation object (amongst others), and the nature of vedana and what can be observed from them, but there is little on how one observes.
As I have mentioned before, technique is just skillful means or in Ledi Sayadaw's words "exercise" to help one cultivate particular mental qualities and habits. Whether the fine detail is derived from a living tradition that has practiced the same thing continuously for hundreds or thousands of years, analysis of the commentarial sources or is found in the writings of later teachers or inferred directly from the suttas themselves - its unimportant. The important things are: - is it in keeping with what the Buddha taught?, and 2. Does it give results?
kind regards,

Ben

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:17 am
by tiltbillings
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:It is a matter of how one interprets the texts at hand, what one thinks they are saying and based upon that how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary.
In that case.....
Mr Man wrote:Tilt, do you think the Buddha taught the "technique"?
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha taught no technique, which is why there are various differing techniques developed to put the Buddha's teachings into practice.
...what is it about Goenka, Mahasi etc.'s teachings that makes them "techniques" as opposed to what the Buddha taught, which you say is not a technique? Where do you (non-arbitrarily) draw the line?
The point is that the development of a "technique" is based upon how one understands what it is that the Buddha taught and how that might be put into practice.
What is it that is missing (deficient?) in the Buddha's guidance that requires it to be necessarily converted into a vipassana "technique" by someone?......
I don't think there is anything deficient in the Buddha's teachings, nor do I think it what he taught must be necessarily converted into a "vipassana technique," which is not something I have said at all.
and how is what vipassana teachers as Goenka, Mahasi etc. say any less subject to your "how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary" criteria than what the Buddha said?
That is the whole point: it is not "any less subject" to '"how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary" criteria than what the Buddha said.' What the Buddha said is always going to be interpreted by those who engage it. It is simply the nature of the beast. Are you arguing that there is only one objective truly true invariant understanding of what the Buddha taught?

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:55 am
by mikenz66
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:It is a matter of how one interprets the texts at hand, what one thinks they are saying and based upon that how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary.
In that case.....
Mr Man wrote:Tilt, do you think the Buddha taught the "technique"?
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha taught no technique, which is why there are various differing techniques developed to put the Buddha's teachings into practice.
...what is it about Goenka, Mahasi etc.'s teachings that makes them "techniques" as opposed to what the Buddha taught, which you say is not a technique? Where do you (non-arbitrarily) draw the line?

What is it that is missing (deficient?) in the Buddha's guidance that requires it to be necessarily converted into a vipassana "technique" by someone?...... and how is what vipassana teachers as Goenka, Mahasi etc. say any less subject to your "how one opts to try to put that into practice. And all that is going to vary" criteria than what the Buddha said?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Hi Retro,

As I said, Robert is quite clear on what he advocates. Which is that any sort of sitting or walking meditation with the idea of building mindfulness is wrong view, and so on (no need to elaborate on the thread he linked to). This gives a clear basis for interesting and useful discussion, even if we don't actually agree.

As I said, if someone (not just yourself, but some others posting on this thread) are unwilling to explain what they actually advocate doing, I see little basis for discussion, and I find it very difficult to take their criticisms of Goenka or others seriously.

:anjali:
Mike

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:03 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings Ben, Tilt, all,
Ben wrote:What is apparent is that there is not a lot of specifics with regard to meditation practice.
That is a noteworthy observation from which any number of differing conclusions could be drawn... guided as I am by the Simsapa Sutta, my conclusion is more likely to lean towards the inconsequentiality of them.
Ben wrote:For example - there is material in MN10 regarding vedana as meditation object (amongst others), and the nature of vedana and what can be observed from them, but there is little on how one observes.
Not to be cheeky, but unless someone born handicapped, all people are born experiencing the six consciousnesses, and don't need specific instruction on how to observe these things - they are present, that is what makes them vinnana. However, for clear seeing of any experienceable dhamma (and the Satipatthana Sutta is comprehensive in that it provides at least one possible frame of reference for every experienceable dhamma), we need only perceive them as they truly are (i.e. how the Buddha explained them to be), not perceiving them otherwise... and in doing so, avoid appropriating anything in that loka, as per the instruction in the oft-repeated Satipatthana Sutta refrain. Such perception doesn't even require a given "meditation object" - merely a frame of reference amenable to accurate perception of whatever is loka. I appreciate that's quite a radical position for a Theravada orthodoxy that stresses satipatthana-vipassana as the means of cultivating insight knowledges, but I think it holds its own.
Ben wrote:As I have mentioned before, technique is just skillful means or in Ledi Sayadaw's words "exercise" to help one cultivate particular mental qualities and habits. Whether the fine detail is derived from a living tradition that has practiced the same thing continuously for hundreds or thousands of years, analysis of the commentarial sources or is found in the writings of later teachers or inferred directly from the suttas themselves - its unimportant. The important things are: - is it in keeping with what the Buddha taught?, and 2. Does it give results?
Agreed - each person can reflect on that for themselves, though as Robert said in the other topic, "to find which is right, one has to learn what wisdom really is, and what the real conditions for such wisdom are."
tiltbillings wrote:What the Buddha said is always going to be interpreted by those who engage it.
Yes ~ there are even interpretations of the interpretations of the interpretations. My preference is to minimise the interpretations, rather than argue...
tiltbillings wrote:...that there is only one objective truly true invariant understanding of what the Buddha taught
Yet, the Dhamma is the truth and there is none higher. There are many ways in which that truth may be expressed, and various skilful means of varying efficacies by which it might be known.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:10 am
by tiltbillings
retrofuturist wrote:]
Not to be cheeky, but unless someone born handicapped, all people are born experiencing the six consciousnesses, and don't need specific instruction on how to observe these things. However, for clear seeing of any experienceable dhamma (and the Satipatthana Sutta is comprehensive in that it provides at least one possible frame of reference for every experienceable dhamma), we need only perceive them as they truly are (i.e. how the Buddha explained them to be), not perceiving them otherwise... and in doing so, avoid appropriating anything in that loka, as per the instruction in the oft-repeated Satipatthana Sutta refrain. Such perception doesn't even require a given "meditation object" - merely a frame of reference amenable to accurate perception of whatever is loka. I appreciate that's quite a radical position for a Theravada orthodoxy that stresses satipatthana-vipassana as the means of cultivating insight knowledges, but I think it holds its own.
The problem with what you saying is here is that you really are leaving a great deal left unsaid, so it really does not tell us anything of substance as how this "radical position" manifests as a practice.

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:14 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:As I said, if someone (not just yourself, but some others posting on this thread) are unwilling to explain what they actually advocate doing, I see little basis for discussion
I would suggest that Robert, myself, daverupa and possibly others have in fact done this now and in the past. See the paragraph above starting with "Not to be cheeky..." and you'll see one from me.

Yet, if it is assumed that (to quote Robert) "some technique is one of the conditions", there is bound to be confusion when technique is not discussed, let alone acknowledged.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: vipassana craziness

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:17 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:The problem with what you saying is here is that you really are leaving a great deal left unsaid, so it really does not tell us anything of substance as how this "radical position" manifests as a practice.
You just do it as you live, I don't know what else you want.

It doesn't require any specific "doing"... you just perceive according to Right View, instead of perceiving according to Wrong View.

Metta,
Retro. :)