What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

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jll
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What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby jll » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:57 pm

What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?
It is considered to be very important by some Buddhists.
Yet, there are some who think that there is too much importance given to it.
It is after all written by Buddhaghosa many years after Buddha's death.
What is your personal opinion?

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ihrjordan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby ihrjordan » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:15 pm

It was actually one of the first books I bought about Buddhism, not a good idea seeing as how I understood 0.001% of the material at the time. But now imo it's priceless, It's the be all end all of mediation instruction.
"Ko imaṃ pathaviṃ vicessati, yamalokañca imaṃ sadevakaṃ.
ko dhammapadaṃ sudesitaṃ, kusalo pupphamiva pacessati"

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Zom
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby Zom » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:26 pm

Personally I consider it to be a speculative and theoretical work, not based on real experience.

(don't drug me into debates, I won't participate, thank you -)

:coffee:

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mikenz66
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:39 pm

It's interesting how different people react differently to this work (as different people react differently to modern teachers and scholars I guess...). I suspect it depends a lot on how one first encounters the Dhamma. For me I could see the advice of my teachers in various aspects of the meditation instruction, so, like ihrjordan, I have found parts of it extremely useful. There is a lot of very helpful practical advice on meditation that appears to me summarise the experience of a wide variety of practitioners. So, in that sense, I tend to regard much of it as if it is a collection of dhamma talks by various ancient teachers.

Most criticism of the Visudhimagga that I've seen tends to revolve around subtle doctrinal points (though the article in this thread is an interesting exception: ). The middle section that summarises the Theravada doctrine is rather heavy going and, of course, a number of modern interpreters of the suttas have doctrinal differences with the Abhidhamma and ancient commentaries. However, I've never found such intricate differences in doctrine to be particularly important in actual practice. To me it's just a framework, not an end in itself.

:anjali:
Mike

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Kare
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby Kare » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:41 pm

My view on Visuddhimagga comes very close to what Mike wrote. When first I read it, I read the English translation, and I found it heavy and unclear. But years later, after having got some experience reading Pali, I got hold of the Pali version of the book, and I was surprised to see how clear and beautiful the text in fact is.

I do not mean to criticize the translator. It must have been an extremely difficult book to translate, because of all the rather specialized terminology. But I recommend reading it in Pali.
Mettāya,
Kåre

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ihrjordan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby ihrjordan » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:47 pm

"Ko imaṃ pathaviṃ vicessati, yamalokañca imaṃ sadevakaṃ.
ko dhammapadaṃ sudesitaṃ, kusalo pupphamiva pacessati"

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Mkoll
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:28 pm

There are some helpful practical instructions and doctrinal explanations. But there is a lot more separating of the wheat from the chaff than in the suttas. And there is a lot of chaff.

As Kare mentioned, the English translation is so unwieldy that it is painful to read. I don't blame Ven. Nanamoli as I'm sure he had his work cut out for him.

Maybe I'll give a look at the Pali version when I've learned Pali, but for now, I set the Visudhimagga aside.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

alan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby alan » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:19 pm

Agree, set it aside. Your time will be much better spent with the suttas. Enough to keep you reading for years!

Whatever you do, don't get suckered in to Mathew Flickstein's wretched "Meditator's Atlas", which purports to have something to do with the Visuddhimagga.

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mikenz66
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:25 pm


alan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby alan » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:35 pm

Excellent advise for those unaware of the sun.

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mikenz66
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:41 pm


alan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby alan » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:16 am

Sweeping generalizations? I love them. Especially when the subject is whether or not reading a dense tome is worth the time.
Sure, there may be some useful tidbits, some obscure, some less. But they all qualify as obscure, by that definition.

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Mkoll
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:40 am

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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mikenz66
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:21 am


Virgo
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby Virgo » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:25 am



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ihrjordan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby ihrjordan » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:59 am

"Ko imaṃ pathaviṃ vicessati, yamalokañca imaṃ sadevakaṃ.
ko dhammapadaṃ sudesitaṃ, kusalo pupphamiva pacessati"

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mikenz66
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:38 am


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ihrjordan
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Re: What do you think about the Visuddhimagga?

Postby ihrjordan » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:43 am

No not by any stretch of the imagination
"Ko imaṃ pathaviṃ vicessati, yamalokañca imaṃ sadevakaṃ.
ko dhammapadaṃ sudesitaṃ, kusalo pupphamiva pacessati"


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