IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by cooran » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:56 pm

And a little more:

EXCERPT from A HONED AND HEAVY AX - Samatha and Vipassaná in Harmony ... by Ajahn Chandako

The Original Teachings
Interestingly enough, it seems as if the Buddha never taught a way of Dhamma practice that would correspond with what we know of today as vipassaná meditation. As far as we know there was originally no path of dry insight. In the entire collection of teachings there is hardly a single reference to vipassaná where it is not conjoined with either samatha or jhána. For example:
a) Right view is assisted by five factors in order for it to mature in the liberation of heart by wisdom: virtue, learning, discussion, samatha and vipassaná. MN 43.14
b) For one who has brought the Noble Eightfold Path to fulfillment, 'samatha and vipassaná occur in him yoked evenly together.' MN 149.10
c) Venerable Sariputta´s method of attaining arahantship is described as insight into stages one by one as they occurred (anupada dhamma vipassaná). It sounds like insight only, but the states that he was contemplating were the factors of the first though eight jhánas and the cessation of perception and feeling. MN 111.2,3
d) 'And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Samatha and vipassaná.' SN 43.2
e) The dry-insight practitioners trace their roots to a sutta in the Anguttara Nikaya where Venerable Ananda outlines the four ways one may attain enlightenment. The first is the standard pattern of samatha leading to vipassaná leading to realization (magga phala). The second is vipassaná leading to samatha leading to realization. The third is jhána and vipassaná alternating, which deepens jhána and then leads to realization. The fourth has to do with overestimation of one's meditation experiences and correcting it, resulting in realization. There is no path mentioned of vipassaná leading straight to realization. To the contrary, the message seems to be that different meditators will have different inclinations, but only when samatha and vipassaná settle into a healthy balance will realization occur. A 4.170

Other examples in the Pali Canon which indicate the inseparability of samatha and vipassaná include:
a) The peak of vipassaná, the insight into and realization of Nibbána, is described by the Buddha in many places as:
'This is peaceful. This is sublime. That is, sabbe sańkhára samatha, the samatha-ing of all conditioned phenomena.'
b) For one who has attained the peak of samatha (nirodha samapatti or sańńavedayitanirodha), upon emerging from that state of deep samádhi it is impossible that they do not gain the insight resulting in the third stage of enlightment (anagami).
c) The liberation of mind (ceto-vimutti), which refers to jhána, and liberation by wisdom (pańńa vimutti) are two aspects of one and the same realization of arahantship.
d) ´And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Samádhi with the placing and holding of attention (first jhána) Samádhi without the placing but with holding of attention Samádhi without the placing or holding of attention.' (second jhána) SN 43.3

'And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Emptiness samádhi. '(suńńata samádhi) SN 43.4
Although there is no evidence in the suttas for equating vipassaná with the four focuses of mindfulness (satipatthána), the vipassaná school tends to look to these suttas for inspiration. The Mahasatipatthána sutta however, outlines the jhánas in full detail. The suttas also state that satipatthána should be undertaken after the mind is freed from covetousness and grief for the world (abbijja-domanassa). This term is a synonym for the five hindrances. For the mind to be purified of the five hindrances for long periods of time requires pretty good samádhi. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that the satipatthána suttas were originally simpler and intended to be practices for developing samádhi more than insight.
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... armony.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Taco
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:23 am

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by Taco » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:20 pm

There seems to be good scholarly information regarding the history of vipassana meditation in this book article:

"The Origins of Insight Meditation" by Lance Cousins
http://books.google.com/books?id=_B73f0ZajeQC&pg=PA35" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You might need to reload the page when using the above link and unfortunately you can't see all the pages. :(

User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by zavk » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:21 am

upekkha wrote:By the way, I've heard that this "Sayadaw U Pandita Jr" is a great teacher, he taught a guy I know who was sitting a retreat in Malaysia.

Also, what do you mean by "straight down the line"?
Sayadaw U Pandita Jr has a good sense of humour. He has a Dhamma centre not too far from where I live and still runs the weekly sit, though I haven't seen him in awhile. Perhaps I should attend one of the sits.

''Straight down the line': Based on my impression of Ben both online and offline, he strikes me as someone who knows very clearly his responsibilities as a Dhamma practitioner, as a Vipassana student, as a husband, as a parent, as a member of his community, as a DW moderator, etc... And within the scope of those responsibilities, he does what is required of him to fullfil them, no 'buts' no 'bull': straight down the line.

Hope that makes sense. I'm sure many are like that too. I try to be but I am prone to distraction and procrastination; I tend to take many detours rather than straight down the line. I mention Ben because it relates to the discussion about Goenka's Vipassana. I hope he'd would forgive me for being so presumptuous as to speak about him in his absence. :)
With metta,
zavk

Parth
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by Parth » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:06 am

Dear Chris , Kenshou,

Just to clarify few points, if you read my post what does it say ?
....and teaching Vipassana which is part of the eight fold noble part and is complete in itself.
The noble eightfold part consists of sila, samadhi and panna (wisdom). One has to complete the requirement of all these three parts, its like a three legged stool (to use a similie given by Goenkaji and even if one leg of it breaks the stool will fall). Therefore in no way I am saying that samadhi is not important, it is important but as a tool, as a tool of taking Vipassana forward, thats it, yes if somebody has love for supernormal powers (which on its own do not lead to nibbana) its another matter.

You may also note that each of the eight jhanas and sila were things that were available and practised even before Buddha's birth. Sage Asita-deval who came to see his father on Bodhisattas birth was supposed to be a eighth Jhana realised saint, but as per the tales is supposed to have cried realising that he would have extinguished his life before the bodhisatta became Buddha and he would miss the chance of attaining nibbana.

Buddha himself learned eighth jhana from Alara Kalam but that did not lead to even stream entry forget becoming a Buddha. It was only when he rediscovered Vipassana and practised the same that he attained Nibbana and became Buddha. Even Alara Kalam supposedly never could attain nibbana / learn vipassana because he had died by the time Buddha realised nibbana and had taken birth in Arupa Bramha Loka where practising Vipassana is supposedly not possible and therefore is probably still in samsara.

The point I make is yes samadhi is important but, on its own it will not take you there, infect a lot of places it is stated that for stream entry and sakadagami magga jhana is not needed and, is required only from Anagami magga onwards.

Further Kenshou as per my understanding the four satipatthanas are also essentially one if practised properly.

Concluding I repeat, In no way am I saying that samadhi is not needed or is a competing practise to Vipassana, all that I am saying is that it is needed but, as a tool, a tool for taking Vipassana practise forward with proper concentration.

Hope have clarified, Metta

Parth.

Kenshou
Posts: 1030
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by Kenshou » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:51 am

Parth, I did not say anything at all about samadhi/jhana/etc in my post.

As Upekkha previously said:
Vipassana is not one technique, the Buddha taught many techniques to liberation. There is not just one technique called 'Vipassana'...
And that's all I was commenting on.

Parth
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by Parth » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:51 am

Dear Kenshou,

As per my understanding, Buddha only talked of vipassana (insight) meditation for attaining various maggas and he himself also attained nibbana through the same path and taught that.

Can you indicate any sutta where Buddha taught anything other than Vipassana for liberation. Why I spoke of samadhi for jhana was because techniques such as samatha were taught for that and there are a lot of people who confuse jhanas with maggas. Jhanas do not automatically lead to nibbana, yes they can help significantly but, if and only if one practices Vipassana.

Regards & Metta

Parth

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by cooran » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:44 am

Ajahn Chandako said ‘’it seems as if the Buddha never taught a way of Dhamma practice that would correspond with what we know of today as vipassaná meditation.
As far as we know there was originally no path of dry insight.
In the entire collection of teachings there is hardly a single reference to vipassaná where it is not conjoined with either samatha or jhána.’’
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 48#p108372" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20152
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:50 am

Greetings,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:My advice to people in these confusing times would be to listen to and learn from as many teachers as possible, and do your homework by reading the Suttas.
It's advice I took - thanks as always, bhante.

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)

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:52 am

cooran wrote:Ajahn Chandako said ‘’it seems as if the Buddha never taught a way of Dhamma practice that would correspond with what we know of today as vipassaná meditation.
As far as we know there was originally no path of dry insight.
In the entire collection of teachings there is hardly a single reference to vipassaná where it is not conjoined with either samatha or jhána.’’
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 48#p108372" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Dry insight is pretty much a comnmentarial construct. Vipassana as it is taught in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition is not so dry as the commentaries would have us believe.


And as we have seen repeatedly in this forum, and it gets played out elswhere, what jhana means is not always cut and dry.
>> 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

upekkha
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:41 am

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by upekkha » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:58 am

Dear Parth,

As I said previously, your posts seem to be SN Goenka discourses copy-pasted, again :)

So yeah, maybe Buddha taught 'Vipassana' as a means to liberation, but 'Vipassana' does not mean 'body-scanning technique as taught by SN Goenka'.

If you one day decide to do some reading outside that specific tradition you will find that there are many skillful means for mental development and they can be complementary, rather than mutually-exclusive (as it is seen in the Goenka organizations).

And coming back to the topic of this post - Thats what the IMS centre was and is all about, different practices in traditions coming together, and those who teach and practice there have found it to be very beneficial for their practice.

Parth
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by Parth » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:54 am

Dear Upekkha,

You wrote:
Dear Parth,

As I said previously, your posts seem to be SN Goenka discourses copy-pasted, again

So yeah, maybe Buddha taught 'Vipassana' as a means to liberation, but 'Vipassana' does not mean 'body-scanning technique as taught by SN Goenka'.

If you one day decide to do some reading outside that specific tradition you will find that there are many skillful means for mental development and they can be complementary, rather than mutually-exclusive (as it is seen in the Goenka organizations).

And coming back to the topic of this post - Thats what the IMS centre was and is all about, different practices in traditions coming together, and those who teach and practice there have found it to be very beneficial for their practice.
1. Well nothing in my last post which came in from any discourse, from experience / reading of Suttas yes but not discourses.
2. Well it is NOT a 'maybe', Buddha taught 'Vipassana' as the means to liberation. This should be spelt out clearly so that people who read at large are not misguided. Further, within the Vipassana teachnique as taught by Goenkaji, any serious practioner who puts in enough focus, effort will and can experiance each of the nanas as outlined in the suttas be it Bhanga, Bhaya and so on so forth.
3. I do not doubt that there are several skillful means for mental development - maybe hundreds, but none except Vipassana can lead to liberation, concentration yes, supernormal powers yes, past life regression yes but not liberation. This is because for liberation you have to go inside the depth of so called self and will have to observe the arising and passing away inside this body and the mental structure. Yes some of these techniques maybe complementary to Vipassana, no doubt , jhana development can be condusive if directed properly but, jhana development should not become the aim, which many times it becomes. Further which of them are complementary and which are not is difficult to say.
4. different practices coming together, sounds very nice (something like a confuence of streams) but, the problem is it can lead to the purity of the main technique getting lost, mixing vipassana with certain pranayams one can get a feeling of very pleasent sensations and can feel that things have become very beneficial but actually they get lost, same with reiki/ pranic healing etc. One might feel that he is doing a great service but would sooner or later end up mixing all these techniques - making it a dangerous concoctation.

Plus when you discuss this maybe, you do not realise how important vipassana is & what it can do and therefore, cannot appreciate what can get lost if this technique looses its purity. Thats all.

Metta

Parth

upekkha
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:41 am

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by upekkha » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:03 pm

Parth,

The main point I'm trying to make is: Buddha taught many, many ways to develop 'Vipassana' (insight, clear-seeing, etc) - so Vipassana is not just one technique of body-scanning (as taught by SN Goenka).

User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by zavk » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:06 pm

Hi Parth, and others involved in the foregoing exchange,

It appears to me that Goenkaji's approach to the Dhamma has touched you deeply, Parth. Your commitment to preserving his approach is no doubt sincere and admirable. However, as the others have pointed out with references to various alternative interpretations--all of which can be traced to canonical sources--there is no self-evident way of securing Goenkaji's interpretation as the one, true 'authentic' one. This is NOT to say that it is 'false' or 'wrong'. Nor is this to say that it doesn't work. Nor is this to cast doubt on Goenkaji's character or intentions. As I see it, the others are simply trying to point out that Goenkaji's interpretation is ONE amongst other possible interpretations. To this extent, it is certainly a plausible one which can be backed up by reasonable arguments and evidence that it is in line with the Buddha's teachings and that it works. However, the same can be said of the other approaches.

Because of the benefits you have derived from the practice, it is clear that you wish to preserve the integrity of Goenkaji's approach and prevent any misunderstanding or adulteration of his technique. This is fair enough. Because this is a public forum, it is important that you make things as clear as possible so that others (especially newcomers) reading this would not misunderstand things. But likewise, the others are doing the same. They offer alternative interpretations of the practice maybe because those other approaches have helped them better understand the Dhamma. Perhaps like you, they also wish to minimize misunderstanding in a public forum such as this--it seems to me that they want to make it clear that there are various and equally plausible ways of approaching the Dhamma, to encourage others to investigate the Dhamma for themselves--this is a good thing, isn't it? Ehipassiko?

If you are familiar with the Monty Python skit about the argument clinic.... what I see in the previous few posts is not so much a clarification of an argument but the 'automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.' Where one party has presented reasons for their position, the other party has simply contradicted that position by stating the opposite: 'no it isn't'. This sort of argument, if we can call it that, will only end up in a continuous cycle of birth and rebirth.

This post is not directed at anyone in particular. Regardless of which side you take, you no doubt feel strongly about the need to clarify things and to prevent any misunderstanding. In a public forum like this, it is certainly important that we do so. However, both parties have already clearly stated their position and have provided ample reasons and evidence for their position. It may be the case that some newcomers may read this thread, but perhaps we should give them credit and assume, on good faith, that they have the critical ability to investigate and consider Goenka's interpretation or any other interpretation on their own. The way I see it, newcomers to the Dhamma tend to be drawn to it because they already have a curious and inquiring mind--they tend not to take things for granted and appear willing to investigate for themselves. This was certainly the case for me, and I assume it was and still is the same for you.

So why not trust that those reading this thread (newcomers or otherwise) have the same critical abilities as ourselves to decide for themselves? Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about others. In any event, I choose to assume the best of others (whoever these 'others' may be) rather than assume that they are unthinking, because this decision allows me to cultivate wholesomeness--this is my commitment to Right Effort. On this note, why don't we leave this discussion as it is, lest it inadvertently generates feelings of unwholesomeness in the participants and readers?

I think it is not inappropriate to paraphrase Goenkaji here. Based on what I've heard and read of Goenkaji (in the video discourses and books), when confronted with people who have their own views on things, he would very likely say (with a big warm smile on his face), 'OK, if this is your decision, be happy.' We've seen different positions in the previous posts. How about we leave this as it is and follow Goenkaji's advice, 'Be Happy'?

:anjali: :smile: :group:
With metta,
zavk

Parth
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: IMS,Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw,Ba Khin & Goenka, Kornfield

Post by Parth » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:16 pm

Dear Upekkha, Zavk and other friends,

Zavk, many thanks for your kind posting, I think I need to clarify few things,

1. I agree Buddha used various variants as the starting points depending upon the emotional / psychological status of an individual and at no point did I say that this was not so. The mere point I was making was on mixing say Vipassana with say concentrating on a candle light could turn into an entirely different meditation which people would think is Vipassana. If this happens it would be disastrous. Further, at no point did I say that Vipassana as taught by Goenkaji was and is the only path, yes Vipassana with its variants (say mahasi method, as taught by Sayagi U Ba khin/ Goenkaji) is the only path and each of these variants I think merge at some station say Udaya vyaya nana / bhanga nana and should come under the gambit of satipatthana sutta.
2. My 2nd point was Goenkaji is rigid on discipline not because of his conservative hindu background (which is beyond my capacity to comment) but because he understands the value of jewel he is handling and wants to pass it on in its full purity to each participant across continents and time.
3. My 3rd point was on people wanting to make Dhamma contemporary, with utmost humility and folded hands I request people to not to try and do so, it already is contemporary, the greed, anger, lust we have today is no different from what a person felt thousands of years ago and it erdicates these just as it did centuries ago.

Beyond this, as Zavk suggested, I leave it as how Goenkaji might do it, Metta with a big smile.

Regards
Parth :smile:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests