No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Mojo
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Mojo » Thu May 02, 2013 12:28 am

fivebells wrote:The way I do it (Thanissaro's way, basically), piti and sukkha and pretty critical. Try "breathing" through various parts of your body, and rest attention on a part where the associated sensations are comfortable and pleasant. See his book With Each and Every Breath for more details.

Is Thanissaro on the sutta or commentary side of the jhanas?

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fivebells
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by fivebells » Thu May 02, 2013 12:49 am

Not familiar with the distinction, so I may be misunderstanding, but where he believes them to contradict, he sides with the suttas.

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Mojo
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Mojo » Thu May 02, 2013 3:21 am

fivebells wrote:Not familiar with the distinction, so I may be misunderstanding, but where he believes them to contradict, he sides with the suttas.
My understanding is that the commentaries teach deep states of absorption where vipassana would not be possible. I believe sutta jhana would be more akin to access concentration?

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Thu May 02, 2013 3:53 am

Mojo wrote:My understanding is that the commentaries teach deep states of absorption where vipassana would not be possible. I believe sutta jhana would be more akin to access concentration?
No, sutta Jhanas and access concentration are not the same. All five Jhana factors are present in Sutta Jhanas.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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tiltbillings
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu May 02, 2013 4:40 am

Mojo wrote:
fivebells wrote:Not familiar with the distinction, so I may be misunderstanding, but where he believes them to contradict, he sides with the suttas.
My understanding is that the commentaries teach deep states of absorption where vipassana would not be possible. I believe sutta jhana would be more akin to access concentration?
Listen to this: http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/305/

Also, I would not get too worried about all these distinctions at this point. Simply sit, watch your breath, don't try to gain anything.
>> 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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daverupa
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by daverupa » Thu May 02, 2013 10:33 am

Indeed, unremitting satipatthana is a better goal to set than jhana, when first beginning samadhi.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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reflection
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by reflection » Thu May 02, 2013 10:38 am

Just to point out the distinction "sutta" vs "commentary" is deceiving. Of course those who practice the latter kind also think the suttas describe them and that the Buddha taught them. Just in case you didn't know. And then still there is not a clear distinction to be made.

But I agree with tilt that it's better to forget about these things. Perhaps not only at this point, but for a long time.

:anjali:

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Mojo
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Mojo » Thu May 02, 2013 11:07 am

daverupa wrote:Indeed, unremitting satipatthana is a better goal to set than jhana, when first beginning samadhi.
Jhana is NOT my goal. I do want to avoid the deep absorption ones as I believe them to be a hinderance. I'm not asking about piti and sukkha because I want to experience them for the sake of the experience but because I see them as my gateway into going further down formal Anapanasati practice that culminates with vipassana.

Mojo

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daverupa
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by daverupa » Thu May 02, 2013 11:17 am

Mojo wrote:I see them as my gateway into going further down formal Anapanasati practice that culminates with vipassana.
Samatha and vipassana are paired qualities which interact with satipatthana, per SN 35.204.

Anapanasati fulfills satipatthana and culminates in jhana. Vipassana and samatha are developed in tandem prior to that. I think there's some sort of misunderstanding somewhere.

:heart:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Zakattack » Thu May 02, 2013 11:39 am

Mojo wrote:I'm not asking about piti and sukkha because I want to experience them for the sake of the experience but because I see them as my gateway into going further down formal Anapanasati practice that culminates with vipassana.
Every tetrad (satipatthana) of Anapanasati includes vipassana. The 1st tetrad includes vipassana of in breathing & out breathing. The 2nd tetrad includes vipassana of piti & sukkha. The 3rd tetrad includes vipassana of underlying mental states (revealed after piti & sukkha have calmed). The 4th tetrad is full scale vipassana, where impermanence itself is predominant. Piti & sukkha are not obstacles to vipassana but, instead, objects of vipassana.

I would suggest to make the 1st sign post vipassana of the in breathing & out breathing, which necessitates learning to establish a concentration that has sufficient release, malleability & clarity so the impermanence of in breathing & out breathing can be discerned. Quality takes precedence over quantity. An old Sufi saying is: "Stop aiming to shoot those long distance skyward arrows. Instead, let the arrow drop".

:)
In the first steps of this practice, those concerned with the kaya (body), we study the breath in a special way. We note every kind of breath that occurs and study what each is like. Long breaths, short breaths, calm breaths, violent breaths, fast breaths, and slow breaths: we must know them all. Of all the different kinds of breath which arise, know what nature each one has, know its characteristics, and know its functions.

Observe what influence the different breaths have upon the flesh-body. The breath has a great influence on the rest of the physical body and this influence needs to be seen clearly. Observe both sides of the relationship until it is obvious that they are interconnected and inseparable. See that the breath-body conditions and concocts the flesh-body.

We must learn how to observe in more detail, that is, to observe the reaction or influence of the different kinds of breathing. What reactions do they cause, how do they influence our awareness? For example, when the breathing is long, how does it influence our awareness. What reactions does the short breathing cause? What are the influences of coarse and fine breathing, comfortable and uncomfortable breathing? We observe the different types of breath and their different influences until we can distinguish clearly how the long and short breaths, coarse and fine breaths, and comfortable uncomfortable breaths differ . We must know the variations in the reactions to and influences of these various properties of the breath, of these qualities that influence our awareness, our sensitivi­ty, our mind. (52)

Along with the above observations, we need to watch the effect or flavor of the different kinds of breath. The flavors that arise are kinds of feelings, such as, happiness, non-happiness, dukkha, annoyance, and contentment. Observe and experience the flavors or effects caused, especially, by the long breath and short breath, by the coarse breath and fine breath, and by the easy breath and uneasy breath. Find out how it is they have different flavors. For instance, we will see that the long breath gives a greater sense of peace and well being, it has a happier taste than the short breath. Different kinds of breath bring different kinds of happiness. We learn to analyze and distinguish the different flavors that come with the different kinds of breath that we have scrutinized. (53)

Finally, we will discover the various causes that make the breath either long or short. We gradually will find this out for and by ourselves. What causes the breathing to be long? What kind of mood makes the breath long? What kind of mood makes it short? Thus, we come to know the causes and conditions that make the breath long or short.

The body which is the causal conditioner is given the name kaya-sankhara (body conditioner) to distinguish it from the other, the one effected by the conditioning, the “conditioned body." Work on this fact in the mind, seeing it as if it were physically tangible. See the one group condition and nurture the other. See them arise together, fall together, coarsen together, become fine together, grow comfortable together, and become uncomfortable together. Realize how intimately they are connected.

This is what is meant by "seeing all bodies," Watch both bodies together and see them condition each other. This is valuable for seeing truth more extensively, for realizing anatta, even. In seeing this interrelationship, we see that what occurs is merely a natural process of conditioning. There is no atta, no self, no soul, no such thing at all involved. Such understanding can have the highest benefit, although it may be somewhat beyond the specific object of this step. For now, however, we only need to understand this fact of conditioning enough to be able to regulate the flesh-body, to calm it by regulating the breath-body.

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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu May 02, 2013 12:32 pm

Zakattack wrote:Every tetrad (satipatthana) of Anapanasati includes vipassana.... The 4th tetrad is full scale vipassana, where impermanence itself is predominant.
The text of the 4th tetrad is clearly describing vipassana ( anicca ), but could you say which text lines in the first 3 tetrads are explicitly describing vipassana? Phrases like "sensitive to feeling" and "experiencing the mind" seem more like sati than vipassana.
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu May 02, 2013 12:43 pm

daverupa wrote:Samatha and vipassana are paired qualities which interact with satipatthana, per SN 35.204.
An interesting sutta, but I'm not sure I understand the relationship being described here between samatha and vipassana ( the swift pair of messengers ), mindfulness ( the gatekeeper ) and consciousness ( the commander ) - see the extract below. It sounds as if consciousness is primary, with mindfulness relegated to the role of giving directions.

"A swift pair of messengers, coming from the east, would say to the gatekeeper, 'Where, my good man, is the commander of this fortress?' He would say, 'There he is, sirs, sitting in the central square.' The swift pair of messengers, delivering their accurate report to the commander of the fortress, would then go back by the route by which they had come.
The message is this:
The fortress stands for this body... The gatekeeper stands for mindfulness. The swift pair of messengers stands for tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassana). The commander of the fortress stands for consciousness."
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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daverupa
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by daverupa » Thu May 02, 2013 1:13 pm

porpoise wrote:
daverupa wrote:Samatha and vipassana are paired qualities which interact with satipatthana, per SN 35.204.
An interesting sutta, but I'm not sure I understand the relationship being described here between samatha and vipassana ( the swift pair of messengers ), mindfulness ( the gatekeeper ) and consciousness ( the commander ) - see the extract below. It sounds as if consciousness is primary, with mindfulness relegated to the role of giving directions.

"A swift pair of messengers, coming from the east, would say to the gatekeeper, 'Where, my good man, is the commander of this fortress?' He would say, 'There he is, sirs, sitting in the central square.' The swift pair of messengers, delivering their accurate report to the commander of the fortress, would then go back by the route by which they had come.
The message is this:
The fortress stands for this body... The gatekeeper stands for mindfulness. The swift pair of messengers stands for tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassana). The commander of the fortress stands for consciousness."
They facilitate clear knowing, the accurate report.

The important point is to recognize that they develop within satipatthana practice. You had said that anapanasati culminates in vipassana, but in fact anapanasati fulfills satipatthana - both samatha and vipassana ought already to have begun development prior.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Zakattack
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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Zakattack » Fri May 03, 2013 12:14 am

porpoise wrote:The text of the 4th tetrad is clearly describing vipassana ( anicca ), but could you say which text lines in the first 3 tetrads are explicitly describing vipassana? Phrases like "sensitive to feeling" and "experiencing the mind" seem more like sati than vipassana.
Hi Purpoise. My understanding is each tetrad reflects the predominant meditation object. In the 1st tetrad, breathing is predominant. As breathing tranquilises & loses predominance, feelings of piti & sukkha become predominant (2nd tetrad). As feelings tranquilise & loses predominance, underlying mental states become predominant (3rd tetrad). As underlying mental states dissolve & clarify, although breathing, feelings & mind remain, they are so tranquilised or 'minimised', that impermanence itself becomes predominant (4th tetrad). As breathing/body, feelings & mental states are by nature impermanent, it is natural to experience their impermanence in each tetrad. Any clear seeing of impermanence is vipassana. For practicality, I would suggest to view Anapanasati as: 1st tetrad: 75% samatha 25% vipassana; 2nd tetrad: 50% samatha 50% vipassana; 3rd tetrad 25% samatha 75% vipassana; 4th tetrad 100% vipassana. As for the Pali, the same word 'paṭisaṃvedī' (experiencing; sensitive to) is used in the 1st, 2nd & 3th tetrads. The suffix 'vedī', possibly has the nuance 'to feel'. The 4th tetrad uses ānupassī (in aniccānupassī), which means 'to see'. This does not preclude 'seeing impermanence' occurring in the early tetrads. Also, it supports my view about the progression & tranquilisation of successive objects. Thus the coaser objects are 'felt', due to their coarseness, rather than 'seen'. If we read the long quote I posted in my previous post, we may sense how there is a lot of 'feeling' involved in experiencing the different kinds of breathing & their respective effects (rather than just mere 'seeing'). This is why these coarser objects tranquilise. The dukkha or disturbing formations within them, which are felt, subsequently tranquilise. With metta

:smile:

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Re: No Piti, No Sukkha, No Vipassana?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri May 03, 2013 8:30 am

daverupa wrote: The important point is to recognize that they develop within satipatthana practice. You had said that anapanasati culminates in vipassana, but in fact anapanasati fulfills satipatthana - both samatha and vipassana ought already to have begun development prior.
I think there are different ways of looking at this Dave. Yes, the 4 tetrads of anapanasati fulfill satipatthana, but that doesn't mean they are the same thing or describing the same method. I agree that the 4 tetrads of anapanasati are based on a foundation of satipatthana, but for me the language of the 4 tetrads still looks descriptive of a progression from samatha to vipassana.
IMO some interpretations of the 4 tetrads are basically just describing satipatthana practice, which seems to me missing the point.
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