Thank you for your response, but again, you did not directly, or even indirectly, address the question of the triumphalism that seemed quite evident in the linked talk. But you did give an exposition of the Sujin method, which is of interest.
dhamma follower wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A question arises with consideration of the Nina Van Gorkom interview quoted above and the Sujin talk linked above by Virgo. Does the Sujin methodology inherently entail the triumphalist dismissal of other models of practice, mainly the meditative models. I am assuming that one could put into practice the Sujin method of Abhidhamma practice without such wholesale dismissals of meditation practice, but when we listen to the talk with Sujin herself and her students, it certainly seems that the triumphalist dismissal of mediation is part of the package. It would be of interest if the Sujin method practitioners here addressed this issue.
I will offer here my opinion about this.
Ajhan Sujin doesn't teach any method of her own. She shares her understanding of the Dhamma that is left by the Buddha in the Tipitaka.
If this were true that she "doesn't teach any method of her own," and what she is teaching is exactly and only what the Buddha taught, then what it is that she is teaching is the only True Dhamma and everyone else is not teaching the True Dhamma. It is not a credible position. Hers is an interpretation of what she thinks the Dhamma is. It may work for her students, but that does not mean that other interpretations by other teachers cannot and do not work quite well for others. "[H]er understanding," which is to say, her interpretation, her method, which is one of many in the Theravada world.
Her reading into the texts has shown that, there are two kinds of development mentioned in the Tipitaka: samatha bhavana and vipassana bhavana. The second one is only available during a Buddha' sasana. Until here, I think no disagreement.
The thing is, DF, highly educated and highly experienced opinions are going to vary, and obviously do.
Nowadays, many people consider the act of doing meditation to be bhavana, but AS doesn't share that view. In her understanding, each kind of bhavana has its own conditions. Vipassana bhavana or the development of wisdom to see things as they are has the conditions as it has been shown in this thread (hearing the right Dhamma and wise considering). These conditions, mentioned both in the suttas and commentaries, have nothing to do with the act of sitting or doing anything in particular.
Interestingly enough one has to choose to listen to the "right Dhamma." What I see with the Sujin followers is a great deal more than just listening. You actually have to make the decision and the concerted effort, by choice, to learn a remarkable amount of stuff that you in turn try to apply to the stuff arising and falling in your life. It strikes me as a very active, albeit, intellectual practice of choice, of actively doing, of actively trying to cultivate "panna cetasika."
It is the panna cetasika which arises as a result of understanding what has been heard about realities now, that is accumulated again and again until it can condition the arising of panna at the level of direct understanding.
This the story you are telling yourself about the method you use, but the reality is that it is far more than just "hearing." You have to learn the Abhidhamma categories that are necessary for seeing the true nature of the "realities." If you do not know -- have not learned by your active choice -- the categories, you cannot recognize the "realities" the categories represent as they present themselves to you.
One may wonder how intellectual understanding can condition direct understanding. We read in the Atthasalini
... Mindfulness has "not floating away" as its characteristic, unforgetfulness as its function, guarding, or the state of facing the object, as its manifestation, firm remembrance (sanna) or application in mindfulness as regards the body, etc., as proximate cause. It should be regarded as a door-past from being firmly established in the object, and as a door-keeper from guarding the door of the senses.
The definition of mindfulness in the Visuddhimagga (XIV, 141) is similar to this definition.
"ntellectual understanding." Your words, and there is no reason to limit this description of mindfulness to just that.
That is more than just mere "hearing"; rather, what you are describing is a choice to have actively learned what you are "remembering" and to have actively applied what you learned to what you are observing,
On the proximate cause for the arising of sati: thira sanna, which means, strong remembrance of right view about realities.
You talk about it in those terms, and maybe it is so, but from what I have seen in this thread, heard in the linked talk and read on line, I am not convinced.
Note also that AS explains sati of satipatthana as being accompanied by understanding. So when talking about sati of satipatthana, we talk about direct understanding of realities, not of concepts.
Sitting posture, or walking slowly, which you just got done in a msg above calling such practice lobha. And that seems to come directly from Sujin.
As for the first kind of bhavana, samatha bhavana, AS doesn't reject the sitting posture, neither the regular practice of this form.
In having listened to Sujin, I see nothing in what she said, or in what Nina Van G said, or in what has been said here by the Sujins followers, that shows an actual understanding what goes on with sitting practice.
However, she does also stress a lot on the understanding of necessary conditions for its development, as well as the understanding of the meditation object (kamathana).
What does that actually mean and how does one do that? You cannot do it doing sitting/walking meditation?
Since the underlying meaning of samatha is kusala and calm, the one who is to undertake that bhavana must have very deep understanding of what is kusala, and what is not, and of how the meditation object can condition calmness to arise.
In sitting practice, what do you think is actually going on?
It is certainly not just a matter of focusing on the object, because that can be done with ignorance and clinging too. So understanding is also a very strong factor of samatha bhavana. This is clearly in accord with what is said in the Visudhimagga that you quoted.
One does not need, as the commentaries clearly state, the Abhidhamma in order to successfully practice the Dhamma.
Nonetheless, AS doesn't encourage so much samatha bhavana for the following reasons:
- It is much a rarer chance to come accross the Buddha's Teaching on realities.
And so those folks who think they have experienced jhana, they are mistaken? What is it, then, that they have experienced?
- To be able to develop samatha to such degree as jhanna is not ordinary task for today's people's accumulations.