Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:40 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Tilt

In all your posts in this thread I haven't seen one that discusses Ian's (or others' by the way) exposition with substance. You argue with form and no substance is added. Why not quote the suttas to invalidate Ian's experience?
Because what I am talking about here is a "form" issue. As for Ian's experience, how am I supposed to know what he has experienced? I don't know and it is really not the issue, but when someone comes along (who is not the Buddha) and states "I have all this experience, I am going to tell you now (teach) what is what about jhana" and in the process comment somewhat negatively on others teachers and interpreations that is not without is problems - serious problems.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:07 pm

legolas wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is good that you are happy in your practice, but having actually read the suttas and worked with a number of teachers, I find vipassana is a perfectly legitimate way of practice, and it a practice that has lessened my suffering, allowing me to deal with life as it is more effectively, which is a joy in itself.

My only gripe about the jhana-wallahs is that there is a tendency among them to be awfully strident in their advocacy of their point of view over all others. I wonder why that is.
I was actually enjoying your post and then you go and ruin it with "jhana-wallahs". surely this would refer to the Buddha who dwelt in Jhana whenever possible. If I am to curtail my swipes at vipassana-wallahs it has to be reciprocated. As far as being "strident in their advocacy" it is just our natural exuberance of wanting to share.
I do not see here vipassana students pushing vipassana with the stridency as some jhana practitioners. You - all by yourself - have exemplified the problem with your unfounded pokes at vipassana as if the practices of vipassana and jhana were at irreconcilable odds with each other and that one must win over the other. And then, of course, there are the internecine battles within the jhana practitioners camps. This debate about jhanas on the internet is a new phenomenon of about the last 5 or so years, maybe a few more. If you want to call vipassana practitioners vipassana-wallahs, particularly if they are stridently pushing it at the expense of other practices, you'll get no argument from me.

Definition of WALLAH:
a person who is associated with a particular work or who performs a specific duty or service —usually used in combination <the book wallah was an itinerant peddler — George Orwell> ]
Jhana-wallah: someone who peddles the idea of jhana. But rather than peddle jhana, discuss it and be allowing of those who do not buy into it in the way you are advocating it. They are not heterodox anti-Buddhists.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:11 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
legolas wrote:I was actually enjoying your post and then you go and ruin it with "jhana-wallahs". surely this would refer to the Buddha who dwelt in Jhana whenever possible.
No worries Legolas, after being called a "jhana-wallah" by Tilt I was forcibly silenced for somehow taking this thread, which was supposed to be about jhana, off topic.
Naughty me. I forced you to act badly. Well, I don't think so, unless you are a milquetoast.
Good to see that Tilt deems fit to designate everyone's practice marginal but his own.
Goodness. Please quote what I said that warrants this comment.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Sobeh » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:15 pm

Is it a roughly accurate generalization to say that Vipassana folk are generally accepting of the Commentaries and Abhidhamma, while Jhana folk are generally not?

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by legolas » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:23 pm

Sobeh wrote:Is it a roughly accurate generalization to say that Vipassana folk are generally accepting of the Commentaries and Abhidhamma, while Jhana folk are generally not?
I think that is a fair comment that applies to me. I have no problem with Commentaries and Abhidhamma if they fit snugly to the Suttas. I think it also could be said in a very general way and only based on my own experience that Jhana folk are more accepting of the Suttas.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:23 pm

Sobeh wrote:Is it a roughly accurate generalization to say that Vipassana folk are generally accepting of the Commentaries and Abhidhamma, while Jhana folk are generally not?
It depends upon which jhana folk we are talking about. You have jhana folk who rely on the commentaries and the Visuddhimagga and you have the jhana folk who rely solely on the suttas, but of course, among these different camps, it is not that starkly black and white as to what texts are relied upon. And, of course, these different camps give us very different interpretations of what jhana is.

And among the vipassana crowd, there is a strong contingent who focus primarily on the suttas; there are those who rely solely on the teachings of their teacher. It can vary.
>> 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:26 pm

legolas wrote: I think it also could be said in a very general way and only based on my own experience that Jhana folk [as compared with vipassana folk] are more accepting of the Suttas.
The implication of this, if the bracketed material is an accurate reflection of what is implied in the quote, is unfortunate and wrong, in my experience, and from what I have seen here on DW.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Ben » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:17 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
legolas wrote: I think it also could be said in a very general way and only based on my own experience that Jhana folk [as compared with vipassana folk] are more accepting of the Suttas.
The implication of this, if the bracketed material is an accurate reflection of what is implied in the quote, is unfortunate and wrong, in my experience, and from what I have seen here on DW.
Its not the first. Legolas' earlier statement that vipassana traditions are somehow "anti" jhana reflects his own bias and assumptions rather than reality.
There are a few negative ninnies out there who seem to thrive on being glum and closed to changes in their own views.
I suspect he is aiming this innuendo at present company,which if that is the case, is patently wrong.
The idea of what constitutes a "body" in the "ambulance tradition" would be laughable if it was not so serious.
However, legolas' distate isn't limited to 'vipassana traditions',but to other jhana teachers who teach something different to what he believes is the One True Path.
If people really want to get a grasp on the Dhamma then with an open mind and an inquisitive nature, not being tied to tradition or a teacher...
Nothing I have seen from legolas demonstrates an open mind nor an inquisitive nature,lest I am mistaking ad hominem remarks, innuendo and blatently incorrect assumptions as not being evidence of such.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Naughty me. I forced you to act badly. Well, I don't think so, unless you are a milquetoast.
Now I acted badly? I don't think so.
tiltbillings wrote:
Good to see that Tilt deems fit to designate everyone's practice marginal but his own.
Goodness. Please quote what I said that warrants this comment.
This: "And for me jhana practice, while interesting, was more of a distraction. Certainly not an absolute necessity for practice or awakening, unless one is talking about something such as the vipassana jhanas, but then we are still within the framework of vipassana."

There is really no longer any need to debate what is taught as the gradual path of training in the suttas. It's much like the climate change issue though, the global warming deniers continue presenting the illusion of a debate when in point of fact that debate is long over.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:39 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I do not see here vipassana students pushing vipassana with the stridency as some jhana practitioners.
Vipassanā as a meditation method has come to be considered by many as the defacto dominant form of meditation in modern Theravāda, thought to be sanctioned with all the authority that a "vāda" can muster. One only need to look at the countless number of books that have been published which declare vipassanā as the one and only true form of Buddhist meditation. Ven. Thanissaro summarizes this state of affairs accurately as follows:
  • Almost any book on early Buddhist meditation will tell you that the Buddha taught two types of meditation: samatha and vipassana. Samatha, which means tranquillity, is said to be a method fostering strong states of mental absorption, called jhana. Vipassana — literally "clear-seeing," but more often translated as insight meditation — is said to be a method using a modicum of tranquillity to foster moment-to-moment mindfulness of the inconstancy of events as they are directly experienced in the present. This mindfulness creates a sense of dispassion toward all events, thus leading the mind to release from suffering. These two methods are quite separate, we're told, and of the two, vipassana is the distinctive Buddhist contribution to meditative science. Other systems of practice pre-dating the Buddha also taught samatha, but the Buddha was the first to discover and teach vipassana. Although some Buddhist meditators may practice samatha meditation before turning to vipassana, samatha practice is not really necessary for the pursuit of Awakening. As a meditative tool, the vipassana method is sufficient for attaining the goal. Or so we're told.

    But if you look directly at the Pali discourses — the earliest extant sources for our knowledge of the Buddha's teachings — you'll find that although they do use the word samatha to mean tranquillity, and vipassana to mean clear-seeing, they otherwise confirm none of the received wisdom about these terms. Only rarely do they make use of the word vipassana — a sharp contrast to their frequent use of the word jhana. When they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana." And they never equate the word vipassana with any mindfulness techniques. In the few instances where they do mention vipassana, they almost always pair it with samatha — not as two alternative methods, but as two qualities of mind that a person may "gain" or "be endowed with," and that should be developed together.
And so with this modern state of affairs as it is, anyone who wants to talk about what is actually taught as the path of gradual training in the canon is going to have to face unquestioned assumptions about what sati, vipassanā, and jhāna mean in the canon and beyond.
tiltbillings wrote:And then, of course, there are the internecine battles within the jhana practitioners camps.
Oh please. One only need to survey the literature from Burma to see that there was plenty of debate over this vipassanā issue during the course of the past 100 years. And in the recent past I seem to recall some quite lengthy threads positioning one Burmese vipassanā camp against one Thai vipassanā camp.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:44 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Naughty me. I forced you to act badly. Well, I don't think so, unless you are a milquetoast.
Now I acted badly? I don't think so.
By your own admission, you are the one who took this thread off on an Visuddhimagga tangent. No one forced you to act in any way, unless you are a milquetoast.
geoff wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Good to see that Tilt deems fit to designate everyone's practice marginal but his own.
Goodness. Please quote what I said that warrants this comment.
This: "And for me jhana practice, while interesting, was more of a distraction. Certainly not an absolute necessity for practice or awakening, unless one is talking about something such as the vipassana jhanas, but then we are still within the framework of vipassana."
This not marginalizing anyone. It is merely describing my practice in response to our elfin friend's comments:
tiltbillings wrote:
legolas wrote:
I respect your concern and am always willing to accept that there are certain elements within the traditions you mentioned as being very beneficial and valid. However I have actually been there and done that, it just did'nt cut the mustard for me personally and I felt that there was something missing.
And for me jhana practice, while interesting, was more of a distraction. Certainly not an absolute necessity for practice or awakening, unless one is talking about something such as the vipassana jhanas, but then we are still within the framework of vipassana.

There is really no longer any need to debate what is taught as the gradual path of training in the suttas. It's much like the climate change issue though, the global warming deniers continue presenting the illusion of a debate when in point of fact that debate is long over.
I would find you claim a bit more believable if you actually engaged those who carefully object various points you raise.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:48 pm

tiltbillings wrote:By your own admuission, you are the one who took this thread off on an Visuddhimagga tangent.
No -- you're the one who told me I had somehow taken this thread off topic.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:56 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I do not see here vipassana students pushing vipassana with the stridency as some jhana practitioners.
Vipassanā as a meditation method has come to be considered by many as the defacto dominant form of meditation in modern Theravāda, thought to be sanctioned with all the authority that a "vāda" can muster. One only need to look at the countless number of books that have been published which declare vipassanā as the one and only true form of Buddhist meditation.
Actually, I would say a very large number of active participants here om DW are not coming from a vipassana tradition. But one does not see these folk badgered by the vipassana folks, if at all, in the way we see some jhana folk insisting that theirs is the way to go.
Geoff wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And then, of course, there are the internecine battles within the jhana practitioners camps.
Oh please. One only need to survey the literature from Burma to see that there was plenty of debate over this vipassanā issue during the course of the past 100 years. And in the recent past I seem to recall some quite lengthy threads positioning one Burmese vipassanā camp against one Thai vipassanā camp.
The debates over the Mahasi Saydaw tradition have been talked about here. And such squabbling among the vipassana people happens, but it is not an ongoing featrure that we get with the jhana-wallahs these days, which will likely abate in time.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:00 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:There is really no longer any need to debate what is taught as the gradual path of training in the suttas. It's much like the climate change issue though, the global warming deniers continue presenting the illusion of a debate when in point of fact that debate is long over.
I would find you claim a bit more believable if you actually engaged those who carefully object various points you raise.
I don't really care what you or anyone else believes Tilt. Believe whatever you want. It isn't my concern, nor should it be. As I tried to outline on another thread, we can remove all the potentially loaded terms (although they need not be considered loaded at all) and recognize that there are basically three approaches to mental development in the context of meditation:
  • (i) attention training where one absorbs into a single object and thereby stills all mental factors to the point where, as Ajahn Brahmavamso explains, “Consciousness is so focused on the one thing that the faculty of comprehension is suspended … there is no comprehension of what is going on.”

    (ii) attention training where one attends to a single object and thereby calms and unifies all mental factors to the point where, as Leigh Brasington explains, “It is possible to examine the experience because the state is so stable and self sustaining on its own.”

    (iii) attention training where one attends to whatever occurs in the present moment (either with the aid of a support object such as abdominal movement, or choiceless awareness without the aid of a support object).
Obviously, everyone is free to practice whichever approach they deem helpful. It should really be more about skillfully developing one's own practice than about dividing into cliques like a bunch of adolescents. But human beings have a great penchant for dividing into cliques. Hence all the Buddhist "vādas" and "yānas" which have emerged over the past 2400 years.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:08 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:There is really no longer any need to debate what is taught as the gradual path of training in the suttas. It's much like the climate change issue though, the global warming deniers continue presenting the illusion of a debate when in point of fact that debate is long over.
I would find you claim a bit more believable if you actually engaged those who carefully object various points you raise.
I don't really care what you or anyone else believes Tilt.
I figured that out just recently.
  • (i) attention training where one absorbs into a single object and thereby stills all mental factors to the point where, as Ajahn Brahmavamso explains, “Consciousness is so focused on the one thing that the faculty of comprehension is suspended … there is no comprehension of what is going on.”

    (ii) attention training where one attends to a single object and thereby calms and unifies all mental factors to the point where, as Leigh Brasington explains, “It is possible to examine the experience because the state is so stable and self sustaining on its own.”

    (iii) attention training where one attends to whatever occurs in the present moment (either with the aid of a support object such as abdominal movement, or choiceless awareness without the aid of a support object).
Which is a decent outline.
Obviously, everyone is free to practice whichever approach they deem helpful. It should really be more about skillfully developing one's own practice than about dividing into cliques like a bunch of adolescents. But human beings have a great penchant for dividing into cliques. Hence all the Buddhist "vādas" and "yānas" which have emerged over the past 2400 years.
And despite this, you do not come across as dispassionate towards points of view with which you disagree, as we have seen all too graphically illustrated in this thread.
>> 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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