Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

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Digity
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Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by Digity » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:06 am

I started to read "Manual for Insight" by Mahasi Sayadaw, but I see that it bases a lot of stuff on the commentaries. I've mostly ignored the commentaries up to this point and just studied the "original" teachings. That's why I'm hesitant to finish the book, because I'm not sure if I can trust stuff that's in the commentaries or not. Am I wrong about this though? Is everything in it backed by the Pali Canon?

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mikenz66
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:31 am

In general (not just for this aporiach) I wouldn't particularly recommend such a long and complex text unless you already really like the particular approach and want to deepen your understanding.

If you've not had any personal instruction in that approach I'd say working through one of Patrick Kearney's series of retreat talks could be much more helpful to get started:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=341#p6695

See also viewtopic.php?t=25479


Mike

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retrofuturist
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:13 am

Greetings,
mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:31 am
In general (not just for this aporiach) I wouldn't particularly recommend such a long and complex text unless you already really like the particular approach and want to deepen your understanding.
I agree. There's lots available to read... no need to spend time reading something you have significant reservations about.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

paul
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by paul » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:20 am

Meditation manuals are not meant to be read from cover to cover, they are for reference when a problem arises. They can only be digested in small amounts when, through a problem, the practitioner's mind is focussed on a particular subject. In that way I have, over a period of time, got to know the Visuddhimagga.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:02 am

Digity wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:06 am
Should I read "Manual for Insight"?
You can start reading it, but I can guarantee you won't get to the end of it!

Digity
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by Digity » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:59 am

I took the book out from the library but now plan to buy it. I'm at Chapter 4 and plan to read the whole thing. I'm finding it fascinating and it's confirming and also explaining a lot of different understandings I had of the teachings.

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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by Digity » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:01 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:02 am
Digity wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:06 am
Should I read "Manual for Insight"?
You can start reading it, but I can guarantee you won't get to the end of it!
Why do you say that? I think it's a fascinating read for a Buddhist meditator.

alan
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by alan » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:20 am

No, you should not.
Too difficult to understand for a beginner, and even if you are not, there is no use reading the commentaries. Much better to spend your time on the original teachings.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:42 am

Digity wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:01 am
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:02 am
Digity wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:06 am
Should I read "Manual for Insight"?
You can start reading it, but I can guarantee you won't get to the end of it!
Why do you say that? I think it's a fascinating read for a Buddhist meditator.
Same as what the others said. But if you're finding it valuable, then excellent! You have a better attention-span than me!

Digity
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by Digity » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:07 am

alan wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:20 am
No, you should not.
Too difficult to understand for a beginner, and even if you are not, there is no use reading the commentaries. Much better to spend your time on the original teachings.
Are you implying that the commentaries are incorrect?

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:41 pm

Digity wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:07 am
Are you implying that the commentaries are incorrect?
The commentaries are just that, comments on Buddhism made by normal monks. Normal fallible, opinionated guys. Some of them are WILDLY incorrect. In one memorable commentary, the author comes to the conclusion that the Buddha intended the opposite to what a vinaya rule actually said! Total opposite. Sorry it was too long ago for me to remember which rule, and many of the commentaries aren't online.

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aflatun
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by aflatun » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:04 pm

I’ve always enjoyed reading Ven. Mahasi, even though I’m neither partial to commentarial Theravada nor someone who practices bhavana in his particular “style”
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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mikenz66
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:26 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:41 pm
Digity wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:07 am
Are you implying that the commentaries are incorrect?
The commentaries are just that, comments on Buddhism made by normal monks. Normal fallible, opinionated guys. ...
As are the writings and teachings of modern teachers, of course!

There is a richness of interpretation and advice available in ancient and modern commentaries. I have found some of the advice in the commentaries incredibly practical and helpful. In other cases it appears aritfical and complicated. Same goes for the advice of present-day teachers! Sometimes the usefulness, or not, is not so much to do with the teacher, but to the background, understanding, and requirements I had at the time. There are some well-known modern teachers whose talks literally put me to sleep, though they seem to be very helpful to many others...

:heart:
Mike

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:33 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:26 pm
There is a richness of interpretation and advice available in ancient and modern commentaries. I have found some of the advice in the commentaries incredibly practical and helpful.
Yes, I've found some commentaries very useful, especially when trying to understand some obscure metaphor in a sutta, or understand some custom the Buddha was talking about, which hasn't been a custom for two millenia.

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Re: Should I read "Manual for Insight"?

Post by alan » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:47 pm

Digity: Yes, I am. And also a complete waste of time.

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