Vipassana vs Theravada

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:48 am

pilgrim wrote: Vajrayana also teaches Vipashyana, but it does not appear as important as their tantric meditations.


I think you could say that tantric practice is a tool for developing vipashyana.

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby hermitwin » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:55 am

I believe the Theravada view is that samadhi leads ultimately to 4 stages of enlightenment. This is in the sutta.
Under the Burmese Mahasi Sayadaw and Ledi sayadaw, the emphasis
is that vipassana is more important than samadhi.
Why the obssession with vipassana, I dont understand.
Ajahn chah said ' samadhi and vipassana are like the 2 sides of your hand,
you cant really separate them'
Ayya Khema said' vipassana is not a meditation method, it is the result of meditation. I repeat, vipassana is not a meditation method, it is the result of meditation. '
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:10 am

hermitwin wrote:I believe the Theravada view is that samadhi leads ultimately to 4 stages of enlightenment. This is in the sutta.
Under the Burmese Mahasi Sayadaw and Ledi sayadaw, the emphasis
is that vipassana is more important than samadhi.
Why the obssession with vipassana, I dont understand.
Ajahn chah said ' samadhi and vipassana are like the 2 sides of your hand,
you cant really separate them'
Ayya Khema said' vipassana is not a meditation method, it is the result of meditation. I repeat, vipassana is not a meditation method, it is the result of meditation. '
Do you actually know anything about the Mahasi Sayadaw method of practice?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby hermitwin » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:42 am

Yes, it is the 1st place I learned meditation.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:45 am

hermitwin wrote:Yes, it is the 1st place I learned meditation.
Okay, but what is the source of your above comment?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:11 am

Greetings,

hermitwin wrote:Under the Burmese Mahasi Sayadaw and Ledi sayadaw, the emphasis is that vipassana is more important than samadhi.

Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:It is also necessary to practice samadhi or concentration. Samadhi is the fixed or tranquil state of mind. The ordinary or undisciplined mind is in the habit of wandering to other places. It cannot be kept under control, but follows any idea, thought or imagination, etc. In order to prevent this wandering, the mind should be made to attend repeatedly to a selected object of concentration. On gaining practice, the mind gradually abandons its distractions and remains fixed on the object to which it is directed. This is samadhi.
There are two kinds of concentration: mundane concentration (lokiya-samadhi) and supramundane concentration (lokuttara-samadhi). Of these two, the former consists in the mundane absorptions, such as the four rupa-jhanas — the absorptions pertaining to the world of form — and the four arupa-jhanas — the absorptions pertaining to the formless world. These can be attained by the practice of tranquillity meditation (samatha-bhavana) with such methods as mindfulness of breathing, loving-kindness (metta), kasina meditation, etc.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el370.html

Ledi Sayadaw wrote:The antithesis of concentration (samadhi) is distraction (vikkhepa) of mind (i.e., wandering thoughts and idle fancies). It is the inability to concentrate, to control the mind and keep its attention fixed on one object. It is the arising of thoughts on objects other than the object of concentration. It is the unquiet and restless state of mind when applying itself to the work of meditation. Ordinary concentration cannot dispel the unwholesome state of distraction. Only developed concentration (bhavana-samadhi) can do it.

Source: http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh171-p.html

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:32 am

Thanks Retro!
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:47 am

hermitwin wrote:I believe the Theravada view is that samadhi leads ultimately to 4 stages of enlightenment. This is in the sutta.
Under the Burmese Mahasi Sayadaw and Ledi sayadaw, the emphasis
is that vipassana is more important than samadhi.
Not at all. Mindfulness and concentration are both equally required, but I think it is imprtant to understand the context of the Mahasi Sayadaw practice. It was developed as a way of practice that could be taught to groups of laity, people who are not professional contemplatives. This footnote from some unknown book helps put into context the emphasis of practice:

    Cf. Mahasi 1990:PP.17and 21:"the actual method of practice in vipassanii meditation is
    to ... observe ... the successive occurrences of seeing, hearing, and so on, at the six
    sense doors. However, it will not be possible for a beginner to follow these on all successive
    incidents as they occur, because his mindfulness, concentration and knowledge
    are still very weak. ... A simpler and easier form of the exercise for a beginner is
    this: With every breath there occurs in the abdomen a rising-falling movement. Abeginner
    should start with the exercise of noting this movement." Mahasi 1992: P.7S:
    "we used to instruct the yogi whose powers of concentration have strengthened to
    extend this method ofmeditation to noting all that happens at his six sense doors." Ba
    Khin 1985=P.94: "in fact one can develop the understanding of anicca through any of
    the six organs of sense. In practice, however, we have found that ... the feeling by
    contact of touch ... is more tangible than other types of feeling and therefore a beginner
    in Vipassanii meditation can come to the understanding of anicca more easily
    through bodily feelings .... This is the main reason we have chosen the body feelings
    as a medium for the quick understanding of anicca. It is open to anyone to try other
    means, but my suggestion is that one should have oneself well established in the
    understanding of anicca through bodily feelings before an attempt is made through
    other types of feeling."

The point here is a practice for the laity that can be taught in groups that helps cultivate insight early on in the practice as mindfulness and concentration are increasingly cultivated.

The other thing that needs to be understood is that jhana is not emphasized in this practice in the early stages is because jhana, as they understood it was in terms as it was taught in the Visuddhimagga. Take a careful look at this msg: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9016&p=140097

The reality is, however, that the level of concentration cultivated by Mahasi Sayadaw type vipassana practice looks, according some people, a lot like jhana described in the suttas.

You might find it of interest and of value to listen to these two talks by these two vipassana teachers:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/?search ... =-rec_date
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:You might find it of interest and of value to listen to these two talks by these two vipassana teachers:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/?search ... =-rec_date

Those are extremely good talks, which I re-listened to yesterday and today as a result of some conversations I've had recently had with Dhamma friends about places where one's practice can easily get stuck.
[I mentioned some of my "stuckness" experiences in this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11240].

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby dhamma_newb » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:33 am

Thanks tilt! I really appreciate the great links and resources you provide in the forums. :anjali:
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:56 am

dhamma_newb wrote:Thanks tilt! I really appreciate the great links and resources you provide in the forums. :anjali:
Thank you.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:21 pm

pilgrim wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:... perhaps their bodhisattva vows result in an emphasis on the development of paramis rather than insight which leads to liberation. Just my speculation.

One of the six Mahayana paramitas is wisdom, which requires insight. The six are dana (generosity), sila (ethics), kshanti (patience), virya (effort), dhyana (concentration), prajna (wisdom). I'm not very familiar with Tibetan, but the Rinpoches seem pretty wise.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The reality is, however, that the level of concentration cultivated by Mahasi Sayadaw type vipassana practice looks, according some people, a lot like jhana described in the suttas.


I've listened to dhamma talks by about half a dozen Burmese Sayadaws of the Mahasi tradition and they all went something like this "Vipassana meditation is like this, Samatha meditation like that, we are practising Vipassana meditation not Samatha meditation".

Maybe the talks were very introductory and/or had to be dumbed down because of having to work through an interpreter, but it did seem like the same dhamma talk each time.

Maybe this is what is informing people's view.

In my opinion Mahasi technique is really a Samatha technique on changing objects. Ultimately whether that leads to insight (vipassana) is dependant on the attitude with which it is practised.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:13 pm

There are some interesting comments from Chanmyay Sayadaw here:
http://buddhanet.net/vmed_1.htm

The whole page is worth reading, but this is perhaps the most relevant part:
So Vipassana meditation is of two types: The first, Vipassana meditation, insight meditation is preceded by Samatha meditation. The second is the pure Vipassana meditation or insight meditation not preceded by Samatha meditation. The first type of Vipassana meditation or Insight Meditation is practised by those who have ample time to devote to their meditation. They have to spend maybe three or four months on Samatha meditation. And when they are satisfied with their attainment of jhana concentration they proceed with Vipassana meditation.

Pure Vipassana meditation is practised by those who haven't enough time to devote to their meditation like yourselves, because you do not have three or four months or six months or a year for your meditation. So you can spend about ten days on your meditation. For such meditators pure Vipassana meditation is suitable. That's why we have to conduct a ten days Vipassana meditation retreat. Actually ten days meditation is not enough. The period is too short a time for a meditator to succeed in any noticeable experience in his meditation. But there are some who have some experience in Vipassana meditation who when their meditation experience becomes major can attain the higher stages of insight knowledge of the body-mind processes of their true nature. Although you can spend just ten days on your meditation, if you strive to attain the deep concentration with a strenuous effort without much interval or break in the course of your meditation for the whole day, then you are able to have some new experience of meditation. So the point is to practise intensively and strenuously as much as you can.

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:14 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The reality is, however, that the level of concentration cultivated by Mahasi Sayadaw type vipassana practice looks, according some people, a lot like jhana described in the suttas.


I've listened to dhamma talks by about half a dozen Burmese Sayadaws of the Mahasi tradition and they all went something like this "Vipassana meditation is like this, Samatha meditation like that, we are practising Vipassana meditation not Samatha meditation".
As I said, you have to understand the context, which is when they talk about jhana type concentration they are talking about it in terms of the Visuddhimagga, and as I said, take a look at this msg: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9016&p=140097

Maybe this is what is informing people's view.
Most likely.

In my opinion Mahasi technique is really a Samatha technique on changing objects. Ultimately whether that leads to insight (vipassana) is dependant on the attitude with which it is practised.
The Mahasi Sayadaw method is, in fact, both.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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