What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

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thang
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What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by thang » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:47 pm

Are there any incompatibilities with suttas or common sense ?
Have you met wise people there who practice and praise the method for a long time ?
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."

paul
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by paul » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:47 pm

The Pa Auk method is based on the Visuddhimagga, as is the entire Burmese tradition, so it has unquestionable foundations. The only departure is that Pa Auk puts the emphasis on jhana, whereas the preceding Burmese tradition was vipassana oriented. This is a swing of the pendulum according to the popularism of the times and is seen with Thanissaro Bikkhu and Ajahn Brahm who also prioritize jhana. Pa Auk forest monastery is the simplest place for a practitioner to establish the basics. If a practitioner wants to establish a foundation in the vipassana tradition, it is a harder task that must be carried out individually, there is no course set out and is more difficult to understand, involving the nine insight knowledges, and only momentary concentration is required. Mitrigala would be a base from which such an individual course could be pursued.
http://www.vipassana.com/resources/box/ ... -vf10p.pdf

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:57 pm

Here's some view; the subsequent posts are also worth reading, imo.
in this thread ----> viewtopic.php?f=43&t=26795&start=15
cjmacie wrote:
Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:31 pm
Re-reading this thread, here's another, individual perspective.

My experience was working towards jhana (with Shaila Catherine, personal student of the Pa Auk Sayadaw), for several 7-10 day retreats. I wouldn't call it frustrating, though many do, but "no banana" – couldn't get it. On a subsequent retreat, with Ven. U. Jagara (who'd also worked with the Pa Auk for a couple of decades) assisting Shaila, his instructions greatly helped. At one point he led a guided meditation, which did it for me. In brief (he used lots of repetition, over about ½ hour), focusing on breath (at nostrils/upper lip), getting closer up to it (the object, as it gradually became nimitta), slowly, again and again, more and more deeply, closer and closer, as it seems to get larger and larger,… then, when very close, seemingly very large, as he put it "suddenly the mind falls into the nimitta; the nimitta swallows the mind." The sense is the nimitta is surrounding the mind, like a sphere.

This was not the multi-hour-long solid absorption that the Pa Auk Sayadaw emphasizes, but there's no doubt it was the real McCoy – an unmistakable qualitative shift that stilled all mental motion; not total oblivion to sensory stimuli (as more likely in 4th jhana) – sounds, light, etc are still there, but just "somewhere out there", and as if bouncing off; the mind doesn't follow them, doesn't react. Consulting with U. Jagara, he readily confirmed that this was really it. He also mentioned that once known, repeated reliably, there grows a sense, a memory of "how it feels", which one can eventually recall next time, and, often, very quickly re-invoke it.

Another factor, relative to my own progress, was to gradually realize, trying again and again (all those retreats), the negative effect of all the distractions of meditating in a room full of 20-30 people, with the creaking sounds (some in chairs), others breathing or coughing, some coming and going,… Tried instead sitting in the bedroom, or off in a remote "meditation" cottage on the premises – i.e. alone. Much better. Also recalling the standard sutta instructions: go off to abandoned hut, roots of a tree, charnal ground, etc. – i.e. SECLUSION. The standard Insight-Meditation retreat format is, IMO, often something of a hindrance.

After the breakthrough it turned-out to be relatively easy to reproduce, and away from retreat. At first it took some effort (though not of the straining sort), and only after a minimum of 40-50 minutes. With continued practice – just like, say, playing the piano, or riding a bicycle – it became like a trained habit. Now, except at times of notably unsteady energy, it's accessible in as little as 10-20 minutes.

Subsequently, along lines that Thanissaro teaches, the mind naturally combines it with vipassana. During absorption, something happens, often some 6-door stimulus (coming not from external sensation, but from the mind itself) arises; the mind moves slightly out of fixation, and looks closely at what came up – often seeing it in a totally new way. Then the mind can easily drop back into absorption. U. Jagara also taught that – that even when, say, shifting physical position, one is still close enough to easily drop back in.

Also, subsequently attending week-end retreats at a Mahasi-style monastery nearby (TMC, San Jose Calif.) I found that jhanic absorption could similarly be integrated with Mahasi-style khanika samadhi. I had initially talked to the instructor (Thuzana Sayadaw), and he did not disapprove of the use of appana-samadhi (jhana). My recent study of some of Mahasi's deeper writings also finds that Mahasi himself in no way discourages jhana practice; he even states that this is a primary practice, and that the khanika vipassana samadhi practice that the Mahasi-technique is better known for, is just an alternative for some who find it easier than appana-samadhi. Jhana-samadhi isn't absolutely necessary (though some degree of samadhi is necessary), but can greatly enhance vipassana.

A major factor remains that all this is individually conditioned. The process I've described above will be different for each individual. I do believe that if one's able to practice under close guidance, over some time, of someone like the Pa Auk Sayadaw, or U. Jagara, it becomes much easier for almost anyone to relatively quickly gain the still of jhana. At least the initial ability – the beginning of a long road along which the skill strengthens in ways that can't be anticipated. (I can't yet at all claim, for instance, full mastery of the "5 masterys" of jhana, as in the Visuddhimagga.)
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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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budo
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by budo » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:23 pm

There aren't many centers that provide free samatha retreats, let alone jhanas, as most are in the vipassana movement. The Thai Forest tradition don't really do retreats either, you basically have to befriend a monk for them to teach you, and many thai forest monks have not attained anything.

So the Pau Auk centers are a valuable resource, even though they may not be fully aligned with the suttas, it's probably the best free jhana resource you'll be able to access in our time.

Leigh Brasington also has a review of his Pau Auk retreats on his website.

Be wary of the many expensive pragmatic Buddhism retreats, many of them are scams.

Even Ayya Khema's monestaries in Germany are disgustingly over priced, while she learned the jhanas for free. Unfortunantly I couldn't get a hold of the monestary that taught her jhanas, and her teachers are no longer alive.

Sadly, true and original Buddhism is becoming rarer and rarer and slowly disappearing, like the Buddha said it would.

So take advantage of the Pau Auk resources while you still can (even though it's not original Buddhism exactly, it's the best you're going to get at this time).

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:43 pm

Here are a few more ideas...
7, 10, 10, 40 days
4, 9.5 months,
one year, 12 years, 14 years etc.
(a friend of mine said the 14-year one authored an abhidamma book, which my friend described as "a real good one; very easy to understand")

https://meditationmag.com/buddhism/pa-auk-tawya-
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO SPEND A WEEK AT PA-AUK TAWYA FOREST MONASTERY IN MYANMAR ((nimitta))
James Fable
But it was on my final afternoon that I had my most rewarding meditation session of the week.
https://medium.com/@keithkat/my-10-days ... e6daf6b780
My 10-days Meditation Retreat Experience at Pa-Auk Tawya Forest Monastery (Pyin Oo Lwin)
People could sit there for hours, and a master could even sit still for days at a time.
.....
I realised how different this style of Buddhism (Theravada) was from the ones we practice back in Malaysia (mostly Mahayana). The learning curve is very steep for me (not that I have a lot of prior knowledge in Malaysia’s Buddhism before).
Someone with Buddhism background, or is interested in Buddhism, could certainly benefit a lot from this retreat.

http://www.mevout.com/pa-auk-monastery/
My experience lasts 10 days: Pa-Auk Monastery
Anyway, it was worth it and I would do it again. It was a great experience!!
https://www.updevelopment.org/pa-auk-tawya/
Gabriel Rocheleau
40-DAY MEDITATION RETREAT AT PA-AUK TAWYA, BURMA
FIFTH WEEK – IS CONSCIOUSNESS ME?

https://m.facebook.com/notes/ei-kay-kha ... 035603789/
how i got brainwashed by buddha monks (by Fletcher on Mar 14, 2014)

Unfortunately the original link is defunct.

Fortunately, Above is a facebook link re-published by someone.
concentration meditation or samadhi is much more funky than it sounds on paper. i bet you didnʼt know that if you maintain focus on one object like the breath for an extended period of time, without any serious interrupting thoughts, first you start to see all sorts of crazy lights, then the inside of your head lights up like a stadium floodlight and you start to have all sorts of weird and wonderful experiences which eventually stabilise into a very bright light of concentration. the stock standard buddhist teacherʼs response when reporting these unusual (to say the least!) experiences is … “please ignore. continue to focus on the breath.” i canʼt tell you how many times i was told that in the course of my retreat.

what iʼm going to say now might offend some purists, so if thatʼs you please skip to the next paragraph. much of concentration training is fairly mundane, staring with your mind at the nostril area while thoughts wander where they will. but iʼm not going to lie to you, as you progress it gets very similar to altered states of consciousness that i know from being a recreational drug user in my past. thereʼs the pleasant high and “what was i doing again?” of weed, accompanied by daydreaming and occasional nodding off; moments of tripping balls that i could only describe as pure acid flashbacks; rushing-your-tits-off on ecstasy, including that weird stiff jaw-muscle experience (its called “rapture” in the scriptures and gets stronger the better your concentration gets and then subsides past a certain point of development); the physical bliss, contentment and satisfaction of opium; and some moments that have the extreme mental intensity of dmt, although accompanied by a delicious peace at the same time. most yogis tend to experience these states of mind to one degree or another and some others that are way beyond anything i have experienced before. good to know they are accessible quite naturally. what you will never experience on drugs is the deep peace and contentment that comes with meditation practice. its not uncommon for people to get completely stuck in concentration training and never move on from there because the mental and physical pleasure is so intense. they are known as “jhana junkies” in the trade and its a common reason why concentration meditation practice is discouraged unless the yogi has a sound foundation of moral behaviour and a good teacher to guide them past the more obvious pitfalls. its always important to remember that any meditation experiences you get from concentration are just temporary in nature and not permanent attainments. so if you think youʼve “seen the light”… fantastic, but know that its just a passing phase.
http://www.leighb.com/jhana_fr2.htm
Nine and Half Months at the Forest Refuge
Bingo, I was gone. There was ONLY the nimitta. No body. No sounds. No thoughts. No passage of time. Nuthin' but the nimitta. I came out of it about 45 minutes later (guessing from the clock and when I had started). The state was nothing like any jhana I'd ever experienced! The was no materiality. No vedana. No perception. No sankhara other than the nimitta. Only consciousness of the nimitta.
https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/article ... faculties/
Long Retreats, Selfie Sticks, and the Five Faculties
Interview
Winnie Nazarko
IJ: Is retreat the right place to engage in that kind of trial and error—trying things out to see what helps and what doesn’t?

WN: That’s really how you make the practice your own. Once your practice is well established and you have a basic clarity about the instructions, I think that awareness intuitively starts to turn toward the arising experience itself and make those adjustments in approach, whether major or minor.

https://integraleuropeanconference.com/ ... y-myanmar/
12 years in monastery, 1 year in cave, now at IEC: Sayalay Anuttara
Eighth Jhana: This is a state of indescribable peace. There is little realization of the experience, yet the practitioner is not entirely unaware of what is happening, either. Enlightenment however, is still some distance away.


https://www.sayalaysusila.net/sayalay-susila/biodata/

Sayalay Susīlā
Sayalay ordained as a Theravada Buddhist nun in the Burmese tradition at the age of 28, in Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre, Penang, Malaysia. Six months after her ordination in 1991, she went to Panditarama Monastery in Myanmar, where she practiced intensively for nearly three years under the guidance of the famous meditation master Venerable U Pandita Sayadaw.

In 1994, wishing to cultivate concentration meditation, Sayalay moved to Pa Auk Forest Monastery in Myanmar. She placed herself under the guidance of the renowned monk Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw, and remained in the forest for 14 years. In addition to an assiduous program of meditation, she also learned the Abhidhamma, ancient discourses, and the Pāli language from Pa-Auk Sayadaw. Meanwhile, she became his English-to-Chinese interpreter in Myanmar and abroad.

https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/263/
Sayadaw U Jagara
Born in Canada, Ven. U Jagara was introduced to Buddhist practice in the early 1970’s by Robert Hover, and ordained as a monk under the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma in 1979. He spent 15 years in Sri Lanka combining meditation with the study of Buddhist texts and periodically traveled to India where he practiced in intense retreats with S. N. Goenka. For several years he conducted retreats in India, America, Europe and Asia in the S.N. Goenka tradition. Since 1995 U Jagara has trained under the guidance of Pa Auk Sayadaw, the Burmese master renowned for his faithful adherence to the Visuddhimagga as both a practical guide to jhana and a detailed exposition of direct analytical approaches to vipassana. U Jagara assists Pa Auk Sayadaw in the teaching.
website by an enthusiast
https://www.settiwessels.com

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🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐
  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Aloka
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by Aloka » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:08 pm

budo wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:23 pm
The Thai Forest tradition don't really do retreats either, you basically have to befriend a monk for them to teach you, and many thai forest monks have not attained anything.
This definately isn't the case with the Thai Forest tradition monasteries in the UK. The abbot of Amaravati Monastery leads 10 day (and sometimes longer) retreats, as do experienced monks and nuns. There's also a lay association there which organises retreats.

https://www.amaravati.org/retreat-centre/



:anjali:

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Manopubbangama
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by Manopubbangama » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:19 pm

Aloka wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:08 pm
budo wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:23 pm
The Thai Forest tradition don't really do retreats either, you basically have to befriend a monk for them to teach you, and many thai forest monks have not attained anything.
This definately isn't the case with the Thai Forest tradition monasteries in the UK. The abbot of Amaravati Monastery leads 10 day (and sometimes longer) retreats, as do experienced monks and nuns. There's also a lay association there which organises retreats.

https://www.amaravati.org/retreat-centre/



:anjali:
Thanks for the link, Buttercup!

I'll check it out. :meditate:

thang
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by thang » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:25 am

How they defend Nimitta developing when questioners ask that it is not mentioned in the suttas?
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."

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Zom
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by Zom » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:01 pm

What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?
Procrustean bed.

8-)

frank k
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by frank k » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:57 am

Zom wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:01 pm
What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?
Procrustean bed.

8-)
Well said. The method works, but it is definitely not EBT compliant, counter to what Pa Auk Sayadaw claims, and it adds complexity and tension to the practice that are counterproductive.

I'll write a post on my blog today to describe where Pa Auk and Vism. diverges from EBT (early buddhist text), but you can read these two posts to get the main gist. (Ajahn brahm teaches essentially the same method, but without abhidhamma theory underlying)


⛔ABRJ (Ajahn Brahm Re-definition of Jhāna) compare...
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... hana.html
Simile of jhāna 🌄 mountain: ✅☸EBT jhāna, ⛔ABRJ, ...
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... abrj.html
http://www.audtip.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Audio Sutta Recordings

frank k
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by frank k » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:58 pm

Pa Auk Sayadaw, ✅☸EBT jhāna, ⛔ABRJ, ⛔VRJ
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... -vrj.html
excerpt:
Pa Auk: One reason there is disagreement about jhāna and samadhi is because people do not understand the Pāli texts well. According to our Theravāda tradition, jhāna practice is explained clearly in the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purification. People should trace back to the original suttas, the original commentaries and subcommentaries, and then to the Visuddhimagga, and only then will they understand the meanings.
...
Guess what Sayadaw?
We did go back to the suttas and compare what it says about jhana to what Vism. says, and it contradicts it in several important aspects.
...
http://www.audtip.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Audio Sutta Recordings

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Dhammanando
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:55 pm

frank k wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:57 am
The method works, but it is definitely not EBT compliant,
"Works" in what sense?
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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budo
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by budo » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:48 pm

I agree with Frank regarding tension. Placing attention right on the nose area is stressful for me and creates tension in the head.

If I instead follow Anapanasati's first tetrad instructions by being sensitive to the whole breath body (nose to abdomen), then my breath will naturally calm down by itself and within 10 minutes the breath will be so short that it will be one pointed in the nose region without requiring any effort unlike the Pau Auk Method.

From there the breath and body relax further leading to a pleasant abiding which allows me to sit for hours and naturally slip into jhana effortlessly.

frank k
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by frank k » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:06 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:55 pm
frank k wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:57 am
The method works, but it is definitely not EBT compliant,
"Works" in what sense?
Bhante,
What I mean about Ajahn Brahm , Pa Auk Sayadaw, and VRJ (vism. redefinition of jhana) "working",
is that it is a samadhi/samatha training system that develops samadhi and samatha.
With their method of apanana for example,
1. if you stay with attention on the breath near the nostril area,
2. wait for visual light nimitta to appear,
3. when the nimitta becomes stable,
drop the physical breath and switch to the nimitta,
4. *(f1) (and if you're pacified/relaxed enough via passaddhi-sambojjhanga and your energy channel blockages have melted sufficiently)
5. when you enter jhana with this method, people usually have a perception of diving into the nimitta, or the nimitta rushes toward them and swallows them up. Just a matter of perspective.
6. the amount of euphoric orgasmic full body bliss varies with individuals, depending on their age, health, and to what capacity and level their jhana battery is charged. (*f2)

This samatha training method works, and it can fit into EBT 7sb (awakening factor) samadhi just fine. The problem is, Vism. and Ajahn Brahm hijack many important key EBT terms and methods like 16 APS, V&V (thinking & evaluation), and turn what is a rich versatile meditation system into a narrow, restricted one.

(*f1) They don't tell you or explain this important part, and many people never progress from nimitta into jhana because they're not relaxed enough, or have too much chronic accumulated knots and tension in the body/mind that require years to dissolve. And most people don't have the patience for that, nor the good fortune to have a knowledgeable teacher to explain the principle to them clearly.

(*f2) this point is not clearly explained by the EBT, or Vism., one has to figure this out through experience.
http://www.audtip.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Audio Sutta Recordings

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budo
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Re: What are your ideas about Pa Auk method ?

Post by budo » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:15 pm

frank k wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:06 pm
Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:55 pm
frank k wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:57 am
The method works, but it is definitely not EBT compliant,
6. the amount of euphoric orgasmic full body bliss varies with individuals, depending on their age, health, and to what capacity and level their jhana battery is charged. (*f2)

(*f2) this point is not clearly explained by the EBT, or Vism., one has to figure this out through experience.
Can you elaborate more on this please, thank you!

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