Vipassanā

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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one_awakening
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Vipassanā

Post by one_awakening » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:12 am

Can any meditation/mindfulness practice where insight is the goal, be classed as Vipassanā practice?
“You only lose what you cling to”

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Sam Vara
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:10 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:12 am
Can any meditation/mindfulness practice where insight is the goal, be classed as Vipassanā practice?
This is one of those questions where the answer depends who you are talking to. Technically, the Pali word just means "insight", "introspection", or "clear seeing", so yes, any practice that aims at these can be said to be a form of vipassana practice. But some people and traditions have narrowed the term down a bit, such that they only give the label to specific practices which are supposed to be particularly useful in gaining that insight. Hence, they often draw a distinction between Samatha practice (designed to give peace or calmness to the mind) and Vipassana proper, which is usually to do with seeing into the impermanence, non-self, and unsatisfactoriness of experiences.

The wikipedia entry is, I think, quite good on this. Have a look at the bit under "Theravada", and particularly the bit on "Vipassana movement" to see this rather more restricted and specific use of the term.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassan% ... av%C4%81da

Also very helpful is Ajahn Chah's article:
Meditation is like a single stick of wood. Insight (vipassanā) is one end of the stick and serenity (samatha) the other. If we pick it up, does only one end come up or do both? When anyone picks up a stick both ends rise together. Which part then is vipassanā, and which is samatha? Where does one end and the other begin? They are both the mind. As the mind becomes peaceful, initially the peace will arise from the serenity of samatha. We focus and unify the mind in states of meditative peace (samādhi). However, if the peace and stillness of samādhi fades away, suffering arises in its place. Why is that? Because the peace afforded by samatha meditation alone is still based on attachment.
The whole article is well worth reading because it makes a useful distinction between vipassana and other bits of the practice without getting too dogmatic about it.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Unshakeable_Peace1_2.php

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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:53 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:10 am
Hence, they often draw a distinction between Samatha practice (designed to give peace or calmness to the mind) and Vipassana proper, which is usually to do with seeing into the impermanence, non-self, and unsatisfactoriness of experiences.
I think it's worth remembering that while people often talk about samatha and vipassana as methods, they are actually qualities of mind.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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bodom
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by bodom » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:42 pm

Vipassana is not a technique or mindfulness exercise. As Dinsdale noted it is a quality of mind and that quality is a result from practicing the eightfold path:
...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. When they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana." And they never equate the word vipassana with any mindfulness techniques. In the few instances where they do mention vipassana, they almost always pair it with samatha — not as two alternative methods, but as two qualities of mind that a person may "gain" or "be endowed with," and that should be developed together. . One simile, for instance (SN 35.204), compares samatha and vipassana to a swift pair of messengers who enter the citadel of the body via the noble eightfold path and present their accurate report — Unbinding, or nibbana — to the consciousness acting as the citadel's commander. Another passage (AN 10.71) recommends that anyone who wishes to put an end to mental defilement should — in addition to perfecting the principles of moral behavior and cultivating seclusion — be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This last statement is unremarkable in itself, but the same discourse also gives the same advice to anyone who wants to master the jhanas: be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This suggests that, in the eyes of those who assembled the Pali discourses, samatha, jhana, and vipassana were all part of a single path. Samatha and vipassana were used together to master jhana and then — based on jhana — were developed even further to give rise to the end of mental defilement and to bring release from suffering. This is a reading that finds support in other discourses as well.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... etool.html

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Saengnapha
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:11 pm

bodom wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:42 pm
Vipassana is not a technique or mindfulness exercise. As Dinsdale noted it is a quality of mind and that quality is a result from practicing the eightfold path:
...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. When they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana." And they never equate the word vipassana with any mindfulness techniques. In the few instances where they do mention vipassana, they almost always pair it with samatha — not as two alternative methods, but as two qualities of mind that a person may "gain" or "be endowed with," and that should be developed together. . One simile, for instance (SN 35.204), compares samatha and vipassana to a swift pair of messengers who enter the citadel of the body via the noble eightfold path and present their accurate report — Unbinding, or nibbana — to the consciousness acting as the citadel's commander. Another passage (AN 10.71) recommends that anyone who wishes to put an end to mental defilement should — in addition to perfecting the principles of moral behavior and cultivating seclusion — be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This last statement is unremarkable in itself, but the same discourse also gives the same advice to anyone who wants to master the jhanas: be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This suggests that, in the eyes of those who assembled the Pali discourses, samatha, jhana, and vipassana were all part of a single path. Samatha and vipassana were used together to master jhana and then — based on jhana — were developed even further to give rise to the end of mental defilement and to bring release from suffering. This is a reading that finds support in other discourses as well.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... etool.html

:namaste:
:goodpost: Yours and Dinsdale's posts brought this point home to me in an immediate yes in my body.

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