Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Brizzy
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by Brizzy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:40 am

From a personal perspective I think this is the thread that I have actually learned the most from. Geoff has helped me understand my own misgivings about certain issues and has put into words a lot of stuff that I actually believed to be true but have not been as knowledgeable or as diplomatic in my postings as Geoff is. I generally find my propensity for sarcasm rearing its ugly head this, coupled with my opinions of certain aspects of the BVT's has made me a bit of pariah.

On the subject of sarcasm - would it be true to say that there has now developed an entirely separate school to 'Theravadin' that is 'The Burmese Vipassana Tradidition'?

This is also a serious question since I see the 'View' underlying a lot of the BVT as fundamentally different from the Suttas.

Metta

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:42 am

Brizzy wrote: This is also a serious question since I see the 'View' underlying a lot of the BVT as fundamentally different from the Suttas.
Then start a new thread, asking that as a question.
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:52 am

retrofuturist wrote: Do you know any teachers who teach the insight-knowledges framework devoid of the theory/view/ditthi of momentariness? The very insight-knowledges themselves are couched in terms of moments.)
Yes, I know that. That's the framework that is commonly used to explain it, and, as I said, I see it as devised as an approximation to analyse phenomenological experience, and something that would have to be let go of, just as the particular sutta interpretations that you are fond of would have to be let go of (there are obviously various ways to interpret the Kaccayanagotta, Phena and Kalakarama suttas... ).

Regarding mind-moments, I don't see where unbelievably short mind-moments are required for the description to make sense. In fact, Ven Mahasi lapses back into the three-fold sutta-like description here:
Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:3. Knowledge of Comprehension http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progres ... prehension" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

When this "purification (of insight) by overcoming doubt" has reached maturity, the meditator will discern distinctly the initial, middle, and final phases of any object noticed by him. Then, in the case of various objects noticed, he will discern distinctly that only after each earlier process has ceased, does there arise a subsequent process. For instance, only when the rising movement of the abdomen has come to an end, does there arise the falling movement; only when that has ended, is there again a rising movement. So also in the case of walking: only when the lifting of the foot has come to an end, does there arise the carrying forward of the foot; only when that has been completed, does there follow the placing of the foot on the ground.
...
:anjali:
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:03 am

retrofuturist wrote: Do you know any teachers who teach the insight-knowledges framework devoid of the theory/view/ditthi of momentariness? The very insight-knowledges themselves are couched in terms of moments.
Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:In reality, single moments of mind arise and pass away continuously, one after another.... These instances of arising, noting and passing away appear like a string of beads. The preceding mind is not the following mind. Each is separate. These characteristics of reality are personally perceptible, and for this purpose one must proceed with the practice of contemplation... Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye.
So, is this an expression of what is really happening, or is it just Mahasi Saydaw's imagination? Might there actually be something to what he is describing, or are we to reject it out of hand because we find the philosophical structure built up around the momentary dhamma notion overly clumsy? I think the benefit of the doubt might best be extended lest we miss something of value, lest we characterize insight into the Dhamma as delusional imaginings.
Mahasi Sayadaw claims that...
"Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye."

Proving the theory of momentariness (i.e. the instantaneous succession of "does not Exist", "Exist", and "does not Exist" - in spite of the tensions between this notion and suttas like Kaccayanagotta, Phena and Kalakarama) seems to be the very purpose of the bhanga-nana "Knowledge of Dissolution" insight-knowledge, which tradition has it, sets forth an array of knowledges/insights pertaining to fearfulness, misery, disgust etc. for the earnest meditator.
Keep in mind that Mahasi Sayadaw did not capitalize "existence." We need to be careful about about context and not conflating a conventional use with "Exist." Dhammas are not self existent things that "Exist." They are things that "exist" due to the various conditing processes present.
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:12 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:So, is this an expression of what is really happening, or is it just Mahasi Saydaw's imagination? Might there actually be something to what he is describing, or are we to reject it out of hand because we find the philosophical structure built up around the momentary dhamma notion overly clumsy?
Taking "we" as constituting "you", "I" and "others"... I've explained what I've done. I've side-stepped the whole issue by not wading into those waters in the first place. This leaves me with no reason to actively "reject" anything - just reason not to pick it up.

As for what "you" and "others" do with it, that's for you and others to decide, with assistance from... :reading: ...and... :meditate:

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)

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:So, is this an expression of what is really happening, or is it just Mahasi Saydaw's imagination? Might there actually be something to what he is describing, or are we to reject it out of hand because we find the philosophical structure built up around the momentary dhamma notion overly clumsy?
Taking "we" as constituting "you", "I" and "others"... I've explained what I've done. I've side-stepped the whole issue by not wading into those waters in the first place.
{{{sigh}}} Oh, well. But you already have seriously waded into those waters, up to your armpits. I think you have seriously missed my point. I am asking if there might be a possibility of something of value actually might be going on despite the seemingly problematic (for some) language used? It is a reasonable question that may open rather than shuts off possibilties for discussion.
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:23 am

Prasadachitta wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Note: not wrong, just out of the frame.
But what does that really mean? You are a big Ven Nanananda fan and he uses and teaches Mahasi Sayadaw tuype practice. Geoff seem to think that Ven Nanananda has not given up the idea of momentariness (but he states that is not sure) and you have made this comment:
  • Meditation instructions however, which are based upon commentarial terminology, are inextricably intertwined with the consequences and implications that underpin that commentarial terminology, which is fine if the commentaries are entirely free of error and/or irrelevance.
If this is the case, then so much for Ven Nanananda's brilliance and insight. It is just all book learning, having nothing to do with a real world meditative confrontation nama-rupa. Interesting.
Isnt it the case that Nanananda has worked very hard to undermine and correct some small but pivotal "implications that underpin commentarial terminology"?
Yes, and I think in a balanced manner
I dont think there is any reason to throw out a whole system of well tuned practice techniques based on a few suspect "implications". The Buddha didnt create whole new systems of meditation when converting Brahmans and Shramanas. He utilized what helped and corrected that which did not. The same can be done with these "implications". In my view this is what Nanananda has been doing with utmost skill.


Just a comment not directed at anyone in particular.
Prasadachitta
And they are appreciated.
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:24 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:But you already have sertiously waded into those waters, up to your armpits.
No, I haven't. I've never based my bhavana-practice around commentarial notions not found in the suttas.
tiltbillings wrote:I think you have seriously missed my point. I am asking if there might be a possibility of something of value actually might be going on despite the seemingly problematic (for some) language used?
It's not my concern, for the reason stated above. I've never based my bhavana-practice around commentarial notions not found in the suttas. Mahavihara meditation is no more relevant to me personally than Mahayana meditation. I understand that for you and others it may well be, so as I said, your investigations are better directed to others to whom it is relevant.
tiltbillings wrote:It is a reasonable question that may open rather than shuts off possibilties for discussion.
By all means, I encourage it, but it's not my discussion to have. I think I have done all that's necessary to demonstrate in a non-derisive manner that these questions posed by Geoff at the start of the topic are not for me to resolve, and do not need to be resolved or addressed at all if one's sticks to Buddhavacana as the gold standard.

:popcorn:

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)

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:But you already have sertiously waded into those waters, up to your armpits.
No, I haven't. I've never based my bhavana-practice around commentarial notions not found in the suttas.
I am talking about your involvement in this discussion.
tiltbillings wrote:I think you have seriously missed my point. I am asking if there might be a possibility of something of value actually might be going on despite the seemingly problematic (for some) language used?
It's not my concern, for the reason stated above. I've never based my bhavana-practice around commentarial notions not found in the suttas. Mahavihara meditation is no more relevant to me personally than Mahayana meditation. I understand that for you and others it may well be, so as I said, your investigations are better directed to others to whom it is relevant.
If it is not relevant to you, then why are you in this thread, posting quotes from Mahasi Sayadaw, if you are not willing to discuss what it is you are posting, then why post; discussion would seem to be the purpose of posting.
tiltbillings wrote:It is a reasonable question that may open rather than shuts off possibilities for discussion.
By all means, I encourage it, but it's not my discussion to have. I think I have done all that's necessary to demonstrate in a non-derisive manner that these questions posed by Geoff at the start of the topic are not for me to resolve.
If you are not willing to discuss what you have posted, it really doesn't help. What is the point, because really does not add anything to what has been said? And I or others cannot get any clarification on what you have said. No dialogue, just statements.
Image
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:12 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:If it is not relevant to you, then why are you in this thread, posting quotes from Mahasi Sayadaw, if you are not willing to discuss what it is you are posting, then why post; discussion would seem to be the purpose of posting.
Whilst nowadays it's becoming easier to find well-considered interpretation and discussion of the Buddha's doctrine that isn't filtered through the prism of the Mahavihara school of thought, there is still a long way to go in this area with respect to bhavana. In investigating bhavana in the Buddha's tradition, I have incidentally encountered much on the subject of bhavana which is presented within, or filtered through, that Mahavihara prism. Whilst I don't personally take it on board or apply it in practice, I do still read it as some things may be discussed which do not address bhavana through that prism. In doing so I have acquired quite an array of questions, curiosities, thoughts etc. in relation to it. Some of it relates to what has been called above, the "Burmese Vipassana Tradition".

My involvement in this topic is attributable to the fact I enjoy reading Geoff's well-considered interpretation and analysis of matters that pertain to bhavana, and with you volunteering as the protagonist to vigilantly defend and represent BVT & Mahavihara, it creates an vibrant dynamic which is interesting to follow, and which teases out some interesting insights in relation to bhavana and the implicit views that underpin various bhavana techniques in the Theravada tradition. Even just in the last page or two, Dan74 and Brizzy have commented that they've found it educational, and I have too. Therefore, I've put my thoughts, observations, concerns etc. in relation to Mahavihara momentariness into the public forum, in a non-derisive manner and I invite participants in the discussion to use them as tools or props in their respective presentations as they see fit. Who knows... some of those questions I had whilst reading those Dhamma texts may yet be answered. But for me personally, it doesn't matter so much, as I haven't invested my life into either the BVT or the Mahavihara, so as I said to Mike, they're not my questions to answer.

In the meantime...

:popcorn:

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)

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:07 am

retrofuturist wrote: with you volunteering as the protagonist to vigilantly defend and represent BVT & Mahavihara,
And they need to be defended against the sort of black-and-white thinking geoff has given us. It is too bad Ven Dhammanando is not here to do justice to the subject, but you have also seriously missed what I have been trying to do in terms getting at the Dhamma in all of this. I was not asking questions of you concerning your Mahasi Sayadaw quotes to be annoying.

Also, it is very saddening to see the thoughtless devaluation of our Dhamma brothers and sisters in the name of Informed discussion and substantive criticism. As I have said, this has been a waste of time, but I have tried.
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:37 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I was not asking questions of you concerning your Mahasi Sayadaw quotes to be annoying.
I didn't say you were. I just wanted to be equally as transparent about my terms of engagement as you were with me a page or two back here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p164564" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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)

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I was not asking questions of you concerning your Mahasi Sayadaw quotes to be annoying.
I didn't say you were. I just wanted to be equally as transparent about my terms of engagement as you were with me a page or two back here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p164564" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
Transparent and strange.

I've had enough of this thread. It is a bit too unwholesome. Better things to do.
>> 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

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by Nyana » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:02 am

tiltbillings wrote:And they need to be defended against the sort of black-and-white thinking geoff has given us.
Your recent attempts to mis-characterize what I've said as "highly corrosive attacks" and so on are an example of black-and-white thinking.
tiltbillings wrote:Also, it is very saddening to see the thoughtless devaluation of our Dhamma brothers and sisters in the name of Informed discussion and substantive criticism. As I have said, this has been a waste of time, but I have tried.
Let's see....

tiltbillings: "[Some] with good reason as any, consider the Sujin take on things, especially vipassana meditation, equally out there as Ingram's approach." Source.

tiltbillings: "Nanavira was given to overblown, dense prose and not always the best reasoning." Source.

tiltbillings: "Essentially Wallace is tarring the whole of the Western contingent of vipassana teachers with this sort of accusation as makes in his cheesy interview." Source.

And on and on it goes....

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:18 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And they need to be defended against the sort of black-and-white thinking geoff has given us.
Your recent attempts to mis-characterize what I've said as "highly corrosive attacks" and so on are an example of black-and-white thinking.
tiltbillings wrote:Also, it is very saddening to see the thoughtless devaluation of our Dhamma brothers and sisters in the name of Informed discussion and substantive criticism. As I have said, this has been a waste of time, but I have tried.
Let's see....

tiltbillings: "[Some] with good reason as any, consider the Sujin take on things, especially vipassana meditation, equally out there as Ingram's approach." Source.

tiltbillings: "Nanavira was given to overblown, dense prose and not always the best reasoning." Source.

tiltbillings: "Essentially Wallace is tarring the whole of the Western contingent of vipassana teachers with this sort of accusation as makes in his cheesy interview." Source.

And on and on it goes....
Heavens to besty, you certainly had to dig around for some of that stuff (and you missed some of my better ones), and I certainly appreciate you putting the link along with the quotes so that the context is available. You do, however, by your own actions here make my point about this thread. In its inception onwards, not the most wholesome effort here.

Since this is my last posting in it, which gives you the last word (all very Shantideva of me), I'll refer you my signature, and as Trungpa was wont to say on occasions such as this: Good luck to you, sir.
>> 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

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