Clearly triumphalism exists
Call it what you like, I'm just pointing out the obvious and I may have gotten carried away with it as I actually hold a lot of respect for this technique, it gave me results and I appreciate it, but nonetheless whats true is true.
Carried away? Pretty much. A bit more context for the quote
, which gives us a different take than the harsh one you are trying to portray:
We observe the breath, or rather the sensations caused by breathing, in order to bring a moment-to-moment concentration. This calms the heart-mind because it is a neutral object. There are various places where people feel the sensations of breathing more acutely—at the nostrils or upper lip, at the rising and falling of the chest, and in the abdomen. All of these places are valid in terms of vipassana meditation. The Mahasi, however, favoured the abdomen as a place of observation.
Observing the abdomen is related to slow walking. Just as we observe and experience the foot rising and falling, so we experience the abdomen rising and falling. This means that for the better part of the day, a meditator is aware of the characteristic of transience in a very obvious way. Transience or impermanence (anicca) is one of the ways in which the Buddha asks us to investigate ourselves. Is there anything we experience which is permanent? Two other avenues of investigation are unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) and not-self (anatta). Insights into these Three Characteristics of Existence lead to liberation from all suffering.
The Mahasi did not teach the method of placing one’s attention on the breath at the nostrils because by this means there is a tendency, by way of concentration, to lose contact with the body. That is why observing the breath at the nostrils is a popular and effective way of achieving those higher states of concentration known as the Absorptions (jhana). When concentration becomes locked into one-pointedness on a single object, the effect is to suppress everything else, and this stops the process of purifying the heart, our emotional life. This is not to say that concentration practice cannot go hand in hand with vipassana. Indeed, it is well supported in the discourses. Rather, the Mahasi espoused the direct path of vipassana only (ekayano maggo) as it is taught in the Discourse on How to Establish Mindfulness (satipatthanasutta MN 10). Nor does this mean that observing the breath at the nostrils is not a valid technique in vipassana meditation. Indeed, although the Mahasi preferred the abdomen as a place of primary observation, he did not ban anyone from observing sensations at the nostrils.
What is italicized is, of course, the problematic issue, and it is a matter of debate among the various factions advocating jhāna. Even among sutta only-ists
what constitutes jhāna is debated. And the heavy duty style commentarial/Visuddhimagga jhāna does, indeed, suppress certain mental factors, which can be seen as a basis for wrong views that can arise from jhāna, as the suttas point out.
Simply, what Mahasi Sayadaw was trying to do is open the practice up in a way that it would become accessible the laity using principles that are found within the Theravada.
And who said this? It is a rather hamhanded mischaracterization of the Burmese traditions.
Ven. Sujato. "hamhanded"? How so?
The McDonalds business neatly makes my point.
Numerous other teachers have said the same thing, for example Thanissaro, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Lee, Bhikkhu Bohdi. Need I say more?
Exacty the same thing? Need you say more? Yes. Prove it. As for Thanissaro, you can look here
, but let us see the words of these others supporting your opinion. As for Ven Bodhi, I served him at a 3 month vipassana retreat he attended at IMS in 1981. I seriously doubt that he will be as ugly about the Mahasi practice as Sujato and you.
if you look directly at the Pali discourses — the earliest extant sources for our knowledge of the Buddha's teachings — you'll find that although they do use the word samatha to mean tranquillity, and vipassana to mean clear-seeing, they otherwise confirm none of the received wisdom about these terms. Only rarely do they make use of the word vipassana — a sharp contrast to their frequent use of the word jhana.
they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana."
Let us not forget, however, context is everything in what a word means and how it used. “Go do jhāna” can simply mean, go meditate. It does not always mean a specific highly concentrated state of mind.
Again, the vipassana vs jhāna business has to be understood in its context, where jhāna was understood as being an intense form of one-pointedness. Also, we need to keep in mind that the Mahasi Sayadaw practice cultivates a considerable level of meditative concentration. It was a teacher who was directly trained by Mahasi Sayadaw that taught me jhāna practice during a 3 month retreat in the 80's. For an experienced vipassana practitioner jhāna is not terribly difficult.
Just because you can't find the time to practice Jhana doesn't mean "We need a more stream lined approach", it means you need to change your life around so you Do find the time.
Oh? Change your life around. That might be easy enough when your 19, but in the real world “changing your life around” not really that easy for everyone.
So, it is okay that we control our breathing and it okay that we don't control our breathing, and it is okay that we try to develop jhana first, and it okay that we develop both insight and concentration together as the Burmese methods teach.
If this is the case, then why are you arguing against the Burmese methods? You have just blownup your own argument here.
Mahasi doesn't develop concentration and insight together? Well at least not to the extant necessary to be rid of lust.
Says you? You know that from actual experience? And your experience is unquestionably applicable to everyone else who might practice Mahasi practice?
One still bound by sensual desire will be reborn in the sensual realms (kamaloka), while one who attains jhana will be reborn in the Brahma realm. There is no "Access Realm" Sums it up quite nicely.
Sums it up nicely? Not at all, for it totally misses the positive kamma/merit that results from the practice and the insight. And who cares about being born in a brahma realm? The Buddha placed far more value on human birth. Being born in a brahma realm was considered by the Buddha to be of much less value.
tilt wrote:Now it is just sadness at the conclusions drawn from too little actual information. You tell me what was being done for the last 2500 years concerning MN 118. Controlling the breathing, letting it move naturally, etc, etc?
Can't say I follow you. I can't remember once saying "All the information I gathered was from one sutta and I came to these conclusion based on reading this sutta" And yeh give or take 2500 years Anapanasati has been around. Is there really any debating that?
All right, let us try this again. How did people practice MN 118 2500 years ago? You don’t know, but you don’t seem to understand that MN 118 is going to looked at by various teacher who will, based upon their various experience, put MN 118 into practice as they see fit and teach it so. And we seen examples of that happening now. You claim: ’there isn't a need to develop techniques ‘based on the suttas" when it specifically and concisely tells you how to meditate in those same suttas’
does not carry any weight that you have shown. Developing techniques is what teachers do, and is what someone who reads MN118 ends up doing as they try to figure what it all means. Also, I noticed you did not answer my questions to you about MN118:
- And since you are quoting MN 118, do we conceptually think this: He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' ? Or not. And how does one breathe in and out being “sensitive to rapture? "Sensitive to rapture" is what exactly? Or He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' Do that mean we need to be thinking about anicca as we breathe in and out?
- Thee: "Please refer to my above post, there isn't a need for interpretations when it's spelt out for you in the suttas, or do you consider the commentaries to be authoritative?" Me: "So, you know what is what? Tell us what the internal/external means in the Satipatthana Sutta."
I would really like to see your ability here to handle these questions.
tilt wrote:More research might not be a bad idea.
It would be a very good idea, and particularly not trying to justify your own biases.
tilt wrote:What the Burmese traditions have done is open up the possibility of a serious meditative practice for the masses that does lead to insight.
They've streamlined insight. As Sujato said : "If you go to Mcdonalds, you're gonna get Mcdonalds."
Sujato being hamhanded. This is an ugly characterization, showing no real understanding or nuance.
With that being said it might keep you alive but it sure isn't healthy and it leads you to say words like "Nubbie" apparently.
The “Nubbie” business was a misplace posting. See here
Btw you don't think lay people during the time of the Buddha had busy lives? You never heard of them stream lining insight meditation did you? Go ahead I'll wait...
Of course there is the Bahiya Sutta, but there is also the Satipatthāna Sutta, which the naughty commentary says was widely practiced among Kuru people, and interestingly there is no direct mention of jhāna practice in the Satipatthāna Sutta. It is not a matter of streamlining the practice. It is a matter of working with what is already clearly there, which is what the Burmese teachers have neatly done.
tilt wrote:You point is poorly taken. The Mahayana/Vajrayana traditions you are referring to here don’t make a distinction between vipassana and samatha, because they don’t they do not talk about these things, period
I can't tell if your on my side or no?
tilt wrote:they don’t they do not talk about these things, period
That's exactly the point, they don't make distinctions of this nature. They practice meditation rather than prioritizing and stream lining just a fraction of the practice. Just as the Buddha and his eminent disciples practiced Jhana. They didn't practice "Insight Jhana" with "Access Concentration"
Do you know what the vipassana jhānas are about? Apparently not. For someone who supposedly has practiced Mahasi practice, you seem to have very little actual understanding it.
The point is that the details are left up to interpretation. I don't believe there is much to debate here.
You're quite right, my point is I don't see how you come to the conclusion of watching the stomach or the whole body posture thing in Goenka from any of the suttas, unless of course you're not following the suttas and you're rather looking to the commentaries as authoritative, even though the Buddha clearly said his dhamma was complete. It's one thing to use a mantra as a means of getting acquainted with the breath, it's a whole other thing entirely when you try to cram the whole of the Buddhas teaching into mindfulness. If that's not a prime example of post-modernization than I don't know what is.
Can one see/experience rising and falling of one’s experiences in watching the breathing by paying attention to the breathing at the diaphragm? Also, if the details are open to interpretation, you really have not much of a point to make at all.