Vipassana is mindfulness?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:21 am

5heaps wrote:i was arguing that although concentration on noting can induce many insights, this concentration and these insights must ultimately culminate in a grand insight which fully cuts ignorance. this final and full insight, then, is the only instance of ultimate truth. the rest were just conventional
I'm not convinced of the usefulness of this distinction you're making between conventional and ultimate truth. Isn't there just truth? Isn't there just insight? Isn't it just about seeing the way things really are?

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Sanghamitta » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:46 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
5heaps wrote:i was arguing that although concentration on noting can induce many insights, this concentration and these insights must ultimately culminate in a grand insight which fully cuts ignorance. this final and full insight, then, is the only instance of ultimate truth. the rest were just conventional
I'm not convinced of the usefulness of this distinction you're making between conventional and ultimate truth. Isn't there just truth? Isn't there just insight? Isn't it just about seeing the way things really are?

Spiny
Certainly that is the Theravada view Spiny O Norman. But I suspect that 5heaps considers the Theravadin view to be an incomplete version of the Mahayana view. And it is well known that an incomplete view of the Mahayana stands in want of completion... :tongue: Lucky arent we ?
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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Jack » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:42 am

Mike,

I don't see how your quotes have any thing to do with the distinction between mindfulness meditation and vipassana/insight meditation. Can you explain further?

jack
mikenz66 wrote:
Jack wrote:It is my understanding that the suttas don't make a distinction between mindfulness meditation and vipassana/insight meditation. Teachers define the difference, if any, their own way.
But those teachers go back to the Commentaries, and to Suttas like the following:

AN 4.94 Samadhi Sutta: Concentration (Tranquillity and Insight)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"As for the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, he should approach an individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated? How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way. Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.
AN 4.170 Yuganaddha Sutta: In Tandem
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
On one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Friends!"

"Yes, friend," the monks responded.

Ven. Ananda said: "Friends, whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four?

"There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity. As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. As he develops tranquillity in tandem with insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control. There comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, and becomes unified & concentrated. In him the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of these four paths."
Mike

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:01 am

Hi Jack,

Hmm, sorry, I misread your post and I thought you were talking about developing concentration and developing insight. The quotes were about concentration and insight. If I were to revisit your question, I'd say that mindfulness is a factor for both concentration (one of the jhana factors) and insight.

Mike

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by 5heaps » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:44 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:that ultimate refers to deepest objects?
But is the "ultimate" truer than the conventional?
theyre both true in the sense that they both exist. thats why theres two truths.
but conventional truths dont exist in the way that they seem to, therefore theyre deceptive. and only the deceived take the deceptive to be true.
The Theravada does not necessarily teach "partless particles."
what else is it that you think it teaches?
that coarser build ups of partless particles are conventional?
According to whom?
to everyone i think. coarser build ups dont exist the way they seem. theyre deceptive and the deceived fall for them, subtly conceiving them as being unchanging, monolithic, etc.
Spiny O'Norman wrote:Isn't there just truth? Isn't there just insight? Isn't it just about seeing the way things really are?
only ultimate truth has the power to disrupt samsara. there is always the constant and utter danger of mistaking subtler relative truths as being the ultimate just because theyre subtler than coarser ones. for example there are people who think simple shamata is nirvana. but shamata is just a relative truth, its a conglomeration of mind ultimates.
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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:04 pm

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:that ultimate refers to deepest objects?
But is the "ultimate" truer than the conventional?
theyre both true in the sense that they both exist. thats why theres two truths.
but conventional truths dont exist in the way that they seem to, therefore theyre deceptive. and only the deceived take the deceptive to be true.
I don't think you are using "conventional truth" the way Buddhists do.
5heaps wrote:]
I wrote:The Theravada does not necessarily teach "partless particles."
what else is it that you think it teaches?
Let me quote something I posted earlier in a different thread:
tiltbillings wrote:It is important to understand that Buddhism (here meaning Theravada) is not doing science. It is not commenting on the nature of the “external” world. It is dealing with what is experienced. A “fundamental particle” of experience is hardly an unchanging, unconditioned thing. It is a way of talking about the flow of experience that our senses can give us which we can call this or that.

Ven Nyanamoli in a footnote in his PATH OF PURIFICATION, pages 317-8, states: "In the Pitakas the word sabhaava seems to appear only once...," it appears several times in Milindapanha, and it is used quite a bit in the PoP and it commentaries. He states it often roughly corresponds to dhaatu, element and to lakkhana, characteristic. An interesting passage from the PoP reads:

"On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved. And they occur without mastery [being exercisable over them] since they exist in dependence on conditions and in between the past and the future." Page 551 XV 15.

Piatigorsky (In his study of the Pitaka Abhidhamma texts, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 182) puts it: “From the point of view of consciousness, it can be said that, when consciousness is conscious of one’s mind, thought, or consciousness directed to their objects, then it is ‘being conscious of’ that may be named ‘a state of consciousness’ or a dharma.”

Piatigorsky (THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 146) explains: “the meaning of each abhidhammic term [dhamma] consists (or is the sum) of all its positional meanings and of all positional meanings of its connotations.”

Nyanaponika quotes a sub-commentary to an Abhidhamma text: "There is no other thing than the quality borne by it." (na ca dhaariyamma-sabhaavaa an~n~o dhammo naama atthi). Abhidhamma Studies, page 40. Which is to say: We simpy cannot say that 'a dharma is... (a predicate follows)', because a dharma, in fact, 'is' no thing, yet [it is] a term denoting (not being) a certain relation or type of relation to thought, consciousness or mind. That is, dharma is not a concept in the accepted terminological sense of the latter, but a purely relational notion. -- Piatigorsky, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, page 181.

Nyanaponika ABHIDHAMMA STUDIES, page 41 BPS; page 42 Wisdom wrote:By arranging the mental factors in relational groups a subordinate synthetical element has been introduced into the mainly analytical Dhammasangani. By so doing, the danger inherent in purely analytical methods is avoided. This danger consists in erroneously taking for genuine separate entities the “parts” resulting from analysis, instead of restricting their use to sound practical method with the purpose of classifying and dissolving composite events wrongly conceived as unities. Up to the present time it has been a regular occurrence in the history of physics, metaphysics, and psychology that when the “whole” has been successfully dissolved by analysis, the resultant “parts” themselves come in turn to be regarded as little “wholes.”

Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa, THE DHAMMA THEORY, page 9 http://www.zeh-verlag.de/download/dhammatheory.pdf wrote:In the Pali tradition it is only for the sake of definition and description that each dhamma is postulated as if it were a separate entity; but in reality it is by no means a solitary phenomenon having an existence of its own. . . . If this Abhidhammic view of existence, as seen from its doctrine of dhammas, cannot be interpreted as a radical pluralism, neither can it be interpreted as an out-and-out monism. For what are called dhammas -- the component factors of the universe, both within us and outside us -- are not fractions of an absolute unity but a multiplicity of co-ordinate factors. They are not reducible to, nor do they emerge from, a single reality, the fundamental postulate of monistic metaphysics. If they are to be interpreted as phenomena, this should be done with the proviso that they are phenomena with no corresponding noumena, no hidden underlying ground. For they are not manifestations of some mysterious metaphysical substratum, but processes taking place due to the interplay of a multitude of conditions.

Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizes the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote: "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."

A.K. Warder, in INDIAN BUDDHISM, page 323, discussing the Pali Abhidhamma commentarial literature wrote: "The most significant new idea in the commentaries is the definition of a 'principle' or element (dharma): dharmas are what have (or 'hold', 'maintain', dhr. is the nearest equivalent in the language to the English 'have') their own own-nature (svabhaava). It is added that they naturally have this through conditions."


Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
>> 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: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by 5heaps » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:37 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:theyre both true in the sense that they both exist. thats why theres two truths.
but conventional truths dont exist in the way that they seem to, therefore theyre deceptive. and only the deceived take the deceptive to be true.
I don't think you are using "conventional truth" the way Buddhists do.
what makes you say that? then what is your usage of conventional truth?
Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
right. i described the relational flow of experience. ultimately there are indivisible moments of mind, whereas conventionally there are conglomerations of these ultimates, which obstruct the apprehension of the deepest truth. do you have some other explanation of the relational flow of experience?

also although buddhism isnt doing science, yogis have a thorough understanding of the external world to suit their purposes. thats why they can change the earth element in water and walk on it, and why theories about atoms (ultimates) started in india.
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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:33 pm

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:theyre both true in the sense that they both exist. thats why theres two truths.
but conventional truths dont exist in the way that they seem to, therefore theyre deceptive. and only the deceived take the deceptive to be true.
I don't think you are using "conventional truth" the way Buddhists do.
what makes you say that? then what is your usage of conventional truth?
Is ultimate truth "more real" than conventional truth?
Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
right. i described the relational flow of experience. ultimately there are indivisible moments of mind, whereas conventionally there are conglomerations of these ultimates, which obstruct the apprehension of the deepest truth. do you have some other explanation of the relational flow of experience?
Huh? You really did not read what was written. Ultimately there are not indivisible mind moments.
>> 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: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Jack » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:34 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Jack,

Hmm, sorry, I misread your post and I thought you were talking about developing concentration and developing insight. The quotes were about concentration and insight. If I were to revisit your question, I'd say that mindfulness is a factor for both concentration (one of the jhana factors) and insight.

Mike
==========
I have a slightly different understanding. Mindfulness as defined by the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness does not lead to the jhanas. However, mindfulness of the 4 Foundations could lead to the jhanas.
Mindfulness as defined as paying attention to is one of the jhana factors.

We could get into a lot of hairsplitting on this as well as practically any time the jhanas are mentioned. Something I'm not interested in. I think I am aware of the directions this hairsplitting could take. Be well.

jack

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:35 pm

Hi Jack,

Yes, sorry to drag jhana, etc into it. That wasn't my intention. All I was pointing out is that I don't think that it is accurate say that mindfulness is insight. As I understand it, it's one of the factors for the arising of insight. I think that's an important distinction.

In fact, it could be argued that sati is also not something one can practise in the sense of turning it on. One practises paying attention, which, with luck, leads to the arising of sati itself.

See this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1151#p14424" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Ytrog » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:47 pm

From what
tiltbillings wrote:5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
5heaps wrote:
theyre both true in the sense that they both exist. thats why theres two truths.
but conventional truths dont exist in the way that they seem to, therefore theyre deceptive. and only the deceived take the deceptive to be true.
I don't think you are using "conventional truth" the way Buddhists do.

what makes you say that? then what is your usage of conventional truth?
Is ultimate truth "more real" than conventional truth?
From what I understand he means with 'conventional' truth a delusion which some perceive to be true (and in reality is false) as opposed to the 'ultimate' truth, which in Buddhist terms would just be called the truth.
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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Shonin » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:59 pm

Any preference or apparent superiority of ultimate truth over conventional truth must be a conventional distinction.

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:41 pm

Ytrog wrote:
From what I understand he means with 'conventional' truth a delusion which some perceive to be true (and in reality is false) as opposed to the 'ultimate' truth, which in Buddhist terms would just be called the truth.
What 5heaps means is not at all clear.
>> 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: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:23 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Jack,

Yes, sorry to drag jhana, etc into it. That wasn't my intention. All I was pointing out is that I don't think that it is accurate say that mindfulness is insight. As I understand it, it's one of the factors for the arising of insight. I think that's an important distinction.

In fact, it could be argued that sati is also not something one can practise in the sense of turning it on. One practises paying attention, which, with luck, leads to the arising of sati itself.

See this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1151#p14424" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike
That makes sense. Paying attention is the basis for sati which can be the basis for vipassana ( insight ). But is there a fundamental difference between these processes on and off the cushion?

Spiny

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Re: Vipassana is mindfulness?

Post by Ben » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:31 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Jack,

Yes, sorry to drag jhana, etc into it. That wasn't my intention. All I was pointing out is that I don't think that it is accurate say that mindfulness is insight. As I understand it, it's one of the factors for the arising of insight. I think that's an important distinction.

In fact, it could be argued that sati is also not something one can practise in the sense of turning it on. One practises paying attention, which, with luck, leads to the arising of sati itself.

See this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1151#p14424" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike
That makes sense. Paying attention is the basis for sati which can be the basis for vipassana ( insight ). But is there a fundamental difference between these processes on and off the cushion?

Spiny
No difference with vipassana on or off the cushion and that is because one's awareness in vipassana is moving with a changing object. Samatha is a bit more difficult to practice in the course of daily life as the practice, from my perspective, is about developing awareness of a discrete obect to the exclusion of other distracting influences. But sati is an essential component of both samatha and vipassana.
kind regards

Ben
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