Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Ben
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Ben » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:31 am

Hi Bhante,
Nanadhaja wrote:Hi Ben.I'm guessing that there are more similarities than there are differences in the 2 methods being discussed.
Same goal.
Yes. I actually think, apart from some details regarding the primary object of meditation, the two are very similar. I think the similarity comes from the shared heritage of Ledi Sayadaw being either a principal teacher (Goenka "tradition") or major influence (Mahasi Sayadaw).
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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rowyourboat
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by rowyourboat » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:17 am

The chosen method to develop 'vipassana' does matter quite a lot. The Ledi sayadaw and Mahasi sayadaw lineages are quite distinct - over several generations. It is well known that even within the same monastary two meditation instructors can vary quite distinctly. Being in the same country doesn't guarantee anything.

Vipassana develops in a certain way as outlined by the visuddhis (different insight knowledge occurr within the visuddhis, including bhanga nana). There is no other way for it to develop. If it does not develop along these lines, then for all purposes what it does is purify the mind, ie - it is samatha.

With metta

Matheesha
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Ben
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Ben » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:33 am

Hi Matheesha,
rowyourboat wrote:The chosen method to develop 'vipassana' does matter quite a lot.
No doubt.
rowyourboat wrote:The Ledi sayadaw and Mahasi sayadaw lineages are quite distinct - over several generations. It is well known that even within the same monastary two meditation instructors can vary quite distinctly.
I maintain what I said earlier.
rowyourboat wrote: Being in the same country doesn't guarantee anything.
Where did I say that I did?
rowyourboat wrote:Vipassana develops in a certain way as outlined by the visuddhis (different insight knowledge occurr within the visuddhis, including bhanga nana). There is no other way for it to develop. If it does not develop along these lines, then for all purposes what it does is purify the mind, ie - it is samatha.
Could you kindly expand upon this?
Thanks
with metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

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rowyourboat
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by rowyourboat » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:41 pm

Hi Ben

I will attempt to explain this in a bit more detail. But you really need to download that booklet from my link, as the Venrable does a much better job than I can. Hope your internet speed is back up again. It is valuable reading IMO.

The path to magga-phala ie the first glimpse of nibbana can be viewed as a series of purifications of the mind. That is each preceeding purifcation of the mind opens the door to subsequent ones. This happens in a sequential manner. Starting with Sila, leading to samadhi, then leading to panna.

Now the sequential development of panna is most commonly mentioned in the suttas as anicca, nibbida, viraga, nirodha etc. However there is another much more detailed description of the development of panna via the visuddhis or purifications of the mind. This is particularly relevant for dhamma teachers, those who give instructions (kamatahan) for vipassana meditators, and also to some degree those practitioners who have apparently completed a cycle of vipassana and reached stream entry. The latter can decide for themselves whether they understand the descriptions of the developmental process described well by the likes of Mahasi sayadaw and Ven Matara Nanarama. This allows a certain degree of verification of the process that they have undergone. The meditation instructors have a much greater responsibility in understanding this process at depth and develop sets of questions, and observations of the yogi to determine where they are in the process of unfolding panna/nanas and to acquire the skills required to guide them safely in vipassana.

It takes a certain degree of intelligence to slice through ignorance/avijja (which is what vipassana does) and to bring the process to a completion. It takes even a greater degree of intelligence to determine where another is in this process of unfolding and to guide them. The commentaries are the major literary source of information on the subject, but the more real life evidence is when the nanas start manifesting in yogis who do the practice masterfully. It becomes clearly visible that the descriptions of this unfolding is real and correct.

I have already described the sila-visuddhi and citta-visuddhi (morality and 'concentration') aspects of it.

The next visuddhi is ditti-visuddhi 'purifcation of view'. The major ignorance that is irradiated is the idea that we exist in a 'solid' environment ('gana sanna'). This gets fractured into the understanding that the environment that we live in is created by millions of snap shots from the sense bases, happening so fast as to create a reality. The next step of that is coming to understand that while there is a contribution from the environment (rupa arising) to what we experience a major portion of it is created within our heads (nama arising). This is known as 'nama-rupa paricceda nana'- the nana (dont know why I have become averse to using the term 'insight') of delineating mental and material components of perception. Using the mindful the yogi begins to see this separated out in his act of noting/observing. This requires a great deal of purified samadhi to slow down this process. The Buddha mentions that where there is samadhi there is panna. This is a clear example of that.

I will write more. We can discuss these as we go along if you like.

with metta

Matheesha
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Karuna
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Ben
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Ben » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:18 pm

Thanks Matheesha
I'm now at my work location where I[ll be for the next 48 hours and I'll download the booklet today.
So far, I haven't seen anything in what you have written that is in conflict with anything SN Goenka teaches. Perhaps there is something in the booklet.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Ben » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:30 pm

rowyourboat wrote: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/bm7insight.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Venerable Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera!
I remember reading his Seven contemplations of Insight some years ago.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:21 pm

rowyourboat wrote:I will attempt to explain this in a bit more detail. But you really need to download that booklet from my link, as the Venrable does a much better job than I can. Hope your internet speed is back up again. It is valuable reading IMO.. . . .
Just curious about this msg and discussion which brought to mind an interesting msg I had fogotten but that at the time raised some questions: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 467#p73467 Two things seem to be implicit in these msgs. One is that there seems, in both exchanges, to be something of a criticism of the Goenka technique and both this and the linked msg, in particular, raises the question of how do you know if the people you claim became sotapanna? There seems to be a suggestion that recognotion of a sotapanna requires being at least a sotapanna - Aithníonn cíaróg cíaróg eile, One beetle recognizes another beetle. Or can one teach beyond the level of one's experience?
>> 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 - Insight Knowledge

Post by Phra Chuntawongso » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:29 am

tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:I will attempt to explain this in a bit more detail. But you really need to download that booklet from my link, as the Venrable does a much better job than I can. Hope your internet speed is back up again. It is valuable reading IMO.. . . .
Just curious about this msg and discussion which brought to mind an interesting msg I had fogotten but that at the time raised some questions: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 467#p73467 Two things seem to be implicit in these msgs. One is that there seems, in both exchanges, to be something of a criticism of the Goenka technique and both this and the linked msg, in particular, raises the question of how do you know if the people you claim became sotapanna? There seems to be a suggestion that recognotion of a sotapanna requires being at least a sotapanna - Aithníonn cíaróg cíaróg eile, One beetle recognizes another beetle. Or can one teach beyond the level of one's experience?
Hi Tilt.For what its worth,all of my teachers have said that one CANNOT teach beyond the level of ones experience.
I am sure that there are those who may have a different opinion on this,but the way I see it,is if someone teaching meditation has not realized certain stages on the path then they may easily mistake what a meditator is explaining for something else.
With metta
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by louhi » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:35 am

.
Last edited by louhi on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by rowyourboat » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:47 am

Hi Tilt,

Your concerns are understandable.

However it might be worthwhile noting that I have no criticisms against any other internationally known method of vipassana. My objection is with those teachers who are likely to confuse those who know less about this complex subject of insight knowledges. I have no problems with those who teach 'buddhist meditations' because that does not cause 'psuedo-gold' issues.

You dont have to take my word for this. You are welcome to disregard it.

You might also want to consider this:

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

I cannot say that this applies to me, nor can I say that it doesn't. Because I cant prove either stance to your satisfaction. So let that be.

However you might want to consider what this means for your practice if it is by some chance true. Goenka is keen to have his students commit to his method and you are going to be stuck in it for a long long time without much opportunity for learning about new methods which might be helpful for you to progress into stream entry. I'm not saying that the Goenka method wont be able to bring this about, but that it is extremely inefficient in my experience at doing that. Considering its world wide reach, that leaves me concerned. Those people who have enough causes for them to become stream entrants in this lifetime may well loose that opportunity.

I don't prescribe to that 'all methods lead to the same goal' type of thinking because that is just a lack of understanding of a particularly complex subject of how a person is propelled through the insight knowledges and of how certain ways of holding mindfulness sends the practitioner down a samatha path and another, down the vipassana path.

In any case it is best to read the likes of Mahasi Sayadaw and Ven Matara Nanarama and the numerous suttas and commentaries they draw upon in their research into the matter. They dont differ even a hundredth on their views on a matter. They may not comment on their views of the Goenka method, clearly.

I feel Goenka is doing some kind of service introducing meditation to the masses but it is limited. I have just read the manual of vipassana by Ledi sayadaw here : http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/The_ ... di_Sayadaw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There is no mention of the body scan, nor is there any evidence of having progressed through the vipassana knowledges except of nama-rupa paricceda nana as far as I can see. I am saying this as someone who has been teaching this. It is possible to determine what level of insight a person has by how/what they come and report back about their practice. All I see in this work is scholarship and a bit of practice to a basic level, I'm sorry to say. Comapare that with Mahasi Sayadaw of the same country:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... gress.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and I see a clear world of difference. The latter is just devoted entire to the practice and the practical unfolding of the vipassana nanas in graphic detail, combining that with just he right amount of indepth scholarship. If I were to hedge my bets I would feel safer not committing to anything in terms of long term practice. Goenka in my opinion is introductory practice. The next step is via the Visuddhi camp, whoever they might be. Mahasi sayadaw and Pa uk are probably safe bets in my opinion.

Good luck,

with metta

Matheesha (RYB)
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Karuna
Mudita
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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Ben » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:31 am

rowyourboat wrote:Goenka in my opinion is introductory practice.
Well, that's an interesting comment.

A couple of quotes to ponder...

From Day 3 of the ten-day course:
SN Goenka wrote:May all of you be successful in taking the first steps on the path of liberation
From Day 4 of the ten-day course:
SN Goenka wrote:You have taken a first step on the path to liberation...

...You have started taking dips in the Ganges of Dhamma within,
From Day 9 of the ten-day course:
SN Goenka wrote:You have taken a first step towards eradicating your defilements
From Day 11 discourse:
SN Goenka wrote:In ten days one can get only a rough outline of the technique; one cannot expect to become perfect in it so quickly. But even this brief experience should not be undervalued: you have taken the first step, a very important step, although the journey is long—indeed, it is a lifetime job...

...A seed of Dhamma has been sown
In part of the instructions of a ten-day course, Goenkaji says "this is the kindergarten of Dhamma". And as can be seen from above, SN Goenka doesn't claim that what he teaches, in a ten-day course, is anything but an unequivocal introduction. That point would have been clear to you had you ever done a ten-day course.

Matheesha, we have known each other a number of years both here and formerly at E-Sangha. During that time, I have noted your simmering aversion to SN Goenka and yet your criticisms of his, or more correctly U Ba Khin's, method is based on ignorance. Its not a very strong position in which to criticise another teacher and it only highlights your own inadequacies.

BTW, Ledi Sayadaw's Vipassana Dipani - it isn't exactly a meditation manual.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Sanghamitta » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:47 am

There is a major problem in this debate with you rowyourboat. The fact is that you hold a very clear view of the teachings of Goenka which is not a positive view. However temperament or sensibility or your interpretation of Right speech holds you back from making a clear statement of your view. You are therefore reduced to joining any or most threads on Vipassana and adding your observation which never quite say what I think you clearly want to say.
Which is your prerogative within the T.O.S of the forum.
However there are a number of very experienced practitioners on the forum who do not share your view of Goenka. In fact they have after mature reflection taken quite he opposite view.
I think you might want to consider whether your frequent interventions on this topic are likely to be fruitful. Or whether they might be counterproductive.
I suggest that you might further want to consider the advantages in seeing that this forum is pluralistic in terms of schools and methods..and that this unlikely to change.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by rowyourboat » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:09 am

Hi Sanghamitta

I am stating my objections as clearly as I can. As you say I am entitled to it. I am not always thinking of how to voice my opinion of Goenka all the time as I do have other things to do. So please do not paint me as a 'serial simmerer'. :tongue:

Ben, yes we have known each other for sometime. It still allows me to have a different opinion from you I hope. You a valuable member in all these groups. I do not air my views out of malice, but out of concern. I hope I can share my understanding so that all of us here can have a decent discussion and I am open to being corrected as well.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by Sanghamitta » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:11 am

Do you discuss Rowboat..or do you appear much of the time when any mention is made of Goenka, fire a salvo and then disappear off into the brush ?
Sometimes raising points which you are then asked to expand on...which you do days later, sort of, having in the meantime fired salvos on other threads.
Personally I long ago stopped taking your anti Goenka stance seriously, having initially reflected on the points that you were raising.. and I suspect that I am not alone....

People who are interested in the Goenka approach are either reaping its benefits, or they are deciding for themselves whether to investigate further.

Maybe you could print a formal warning like on cigarette packets, which you post at regular intervals and leave folk to decide for themselves.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Vipassana - Insight Knowledge

Post by rowyourboat » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:02 pm

Hi Sangamitta

Your name sake, a few hundred earlier, brought the sapling of the original Bodhi tree to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans have benefitted from having this symbol in their country. However when there are weak branches I believe they are sacrificed for the strength of what is left behind- the main trunk.

It is unfortunate that you have seen my posts only replying to Goenka threads. I suggest you sample some of my 367 posts on this site, only a handful of which have been anything to do with Goenka. I am not mad, not a stalker, not some cyber criminal. I have valid objections against this method and I am just airing my views. I hope the moderators are able to understand that I am none of the above. I value their impartiality knowing fully well that they are sometimes full time Goenka students.

Incidentally I answer other threads earlier on my mobile because I dont have to go to much detail in those answers- so you might see me answering earlier on some threads. This thread, I answer from home after work. Sorry, if it threw you.

with metta

RYB (Matheesha)
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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