The causes for wisdom

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Mr Man
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Mon May 06, 2013 7:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:I know full well that vipassana is not a technique, but I also know full that the causes and conditions for vipassana, insight, can be, as the Buddha taught, cultivated.


Through the noble eightfold path?

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 7:48 am

Mr Man wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I know full well that vipassana is not a technique, but I also know full that the causes and conditions for vipassana, insight, can be, as the Buddha taught, cultivated.


Through the noble eightfold path?
Sila, bhavana, and the rest of the Eightfold Path, and that unfolds choice by choice, moment by moment. I do not know how else the Dhamma practice can be meaningfully talked about. A "formal" meditation practice is very much part of this and very central is the choice of simply paying attention. This is pretty much what I have been taught by the various teachers that I have had over the years.
.


++++++++++++++++
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

binocular
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 7:56 am

tiltbillings wrote:I am not so much worried about the "common paralance" understanding of mindfulness. That has been debated in a number of different threads. It is, however, the nasty robertk characterization of "tedious focusing" and what follows that that binocular echos: "I agree that what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focusing on an approximation of the here and now, it is merely concentration." Robertk's OP statement: "But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path." It is an ungrounded assertion and a wholesale dismissal of a path of practice.

TOS: Please refrain from wholesale dismissal of a particular view, approach, or teaching style.


It seems there is a history you have with Robert K that I am not aware of. So I can't comment on that.

Myself, I am refering only to the parts I quoted. Note that I have left out the "without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path" - because I don't know about that.


tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:
I agree that what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focusing on an approximation of the here and now, it is merely concentration.
You have, however, not shown that to be the case, nor has robertk is his attempt at dismissing any sort of meditation practice.


I didn't get the impression that Robert was dismissing all sorts of meditation practice, at least not in the posts I'm referring to. I did get the impression that he doesn't think very highly of mindfulness practice as it is understood in common parlance. On this point, I agree with him.

I am very skeptical about the practices taught by, say, Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn or Thich Nhat Hanh, and by some Western psychologists. My first impression is that they seem to be teaching a sophisticated nihilism. However, and this is important, I recognize that their practices may benefit some people, depending on where on the path those people are.
For example, I recently worked with a book on emotional eating by a Western therapist. Mindfulness is one of the tools taught there. I found the approach tedious and unproductive and was very angry and disappointed with it. But eventually, it occured to me that this kind of approach to mindfulness is probably good for people who are not sure about the standards by which to discern and judge. I assume that for such people, "just being mindful," "just paying attention," "non-judgmentally observing the present moment" does have a positive effect, bringing them some calm and insight.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 8:15 am

binocular wrote:
I didn't get the impression that Robert was dismissing all sorts of meditation practice, at least not in the posts I'm referring to. I did get the impression that he doesn't think very highly of mindfulness practice as it is understood in common parlance. On this point, I agree with him.
Have you read through this whole thread?

I am very skeptical about the practices taught by, say, Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn or Thich Nhat Hanh, and by some Western psychologists. My first impression is that they seem to be teaching a sophisticated nihilism. However, and this is important, I recognize that their practices may benefit some people, depending on where on the path those people are.
For example, I recently worked with a book on emotional eating by a Western therapist.
Fine; however, do they characterize the whole of the various meditation traditions in Theravada or Buddhism in general (since you are including Mahayanists in this list)? Also, I do not care about the secular, therapuetic mindfulness movement. I do not dismiss it it as being without value, but it is not Dhamma per se, and for me it has no relevance to this discussion.

Mindfulness is one of the tools taught there. I found the approach tedious and unproductive and was very angry and disappointed with it. But eventually, it occured to me that this kind of approach to mindfulness is probably good for people who are not sure about the standards by which to discern and judge. I assume that for such people, "just being mindful," "just paying attention," "non-judgmentally observing the present moment" does have a positive effect, bringing them some calm and insight.
Okay, but this has not a thing that I can see to do with Dhamma practice and it has no bearing on the issues at hand in this thread that I can see. I am talking about practice in terms of the Eightfold Path.


Image
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++++++++++++++++
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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Paul Davy
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Paul Davy » Mon May 06, 2013 8:49 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:So not everyone who goes on retreats is practising from a basis of wrong view, then? That's a relief.

I don't know why you're asking me. :shrug:

mikenz66 wrote:Yet we have statements such as:
dhamma follower wrote:... if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?

There's an IF condition at the start of that statement, so if that IF condition is not met in a particular instance, then the remainder of the sentence is null and void.

That being said... despite it being somewhat grammatically ambiguous I actually understood DF's comment as...

IF [one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice"] THEN [how can there be detachment from an idea of self?]

... which is very different to what you're implying through your highlighting, which suggests she is saying that undertaking formal practice necessarily involves belief in self.

It might be best to check with DF what she intended.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'."
(Snp 3.6)

"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:26 am

tiltbillings wrote:Have you read through this whole thread?

I've read some of it, and I'm trying to understand what the core of the conflict seems to be.


I am very skeptical about the practices taught by, say, Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn or Thich Nhat Hanh, and by some Western psychologists. My first impression is that they seem to be teaching a sophisticated nihilism. However, and this is important, I recognize that their practices may benefit some people, depending on where on the path those people are.
For example, I recently worked with a book on emotional eating by a Western therapist.
Fine; however, do they characterize the whole of the various meditation traditions in Theravada or Buddhism in general (since you are including Mahayanists in this list)?

Of course they don't.


Also, I do not care about the secular, therapuetic mindfulness movement. I do not dismiss it it as being without value, but it is not Dhamma per se, and for me it has no relevance to this discussion.

For me, my insight about the potential usefulness of the secular mindfulness movement was very helpful in having understanding, some equanimity for the variety of approaches that people have in regards to the Dhamma.
I used to be a "very pissed off purist," but that insight actually mellowed me a lot, and I appreciate that.


Image

I can't see the picture, I get "You are not authorised to download this attachment."


tiltbillings wrote:robertk: Think of all the suttas that say seeing and color must be directly known, must be seen with wisdom. Yet I have even heard of people closing their eyes thinking this is part of 'doing vipasaana". (I realize this is a very extreme case, possibly no Dhammawheel members would think that, but it does show the confusions that exist about what 'meditation' really is in the Buddhist sense).

going to appeal to old threads here is robertk being plain spoken: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1210#p16923 and this is consistent this thread's OP:

    The Buddha never taught vipassana as a technique, but sadly ,and I think contributing to the decline of the sasana , in recent times there are groups who have co-opted the word to mean some type of focusing on an object/objects. It is quite easy to fool people as if they quote the satipatthana sutta (which includes countless number of objects) then it is assumed the technique is 'vipassana'. However I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.

Quite frankly, I think what we see in this thread clearly vitiates any sort of attempt at mitigation of his anti-meditation stance.


I know of a lady who is convinced she is practicing vipassana. Also, as her end-of-life strategy, she is ready to use a helium bag (supposedly, tying a bag of helium around one's head will ensure a quick and painless death).
Why on earth would someone who really practices vipassana, make such a plan to kill herself??
And then I think - well, maybe she doesn't practice vipassana at all, or she just hasn't come very far but likes to brag with her "vipassana practice" anyway, or some such.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:Robertk is advocating a very particular point of view, which should be fine, except that the Sujin point of view, in the hands of her followers, can be highly critical and dismissive of other points of view. The issue here for me is not that the Sujin teachings are or are not efficacious;

rather, the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.


Sure, I can relate to that.

I don't know what the right way would be to deal with such criticism in public, though. I'm not a teacher or a public figure of any kind, so it's beyond my competence to take a public stance against such criticism.

For my own private purposes, I certainly must take some kind of stance against such criticism of formal practice, as I do place a lot of faith in formal practice - be it a practice of meditation or of some physical skill etc.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:40 am

... if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self? Given the following, we can read this sentence exactly as it is written:

dhamma follower wrote:What I was saying is that the idea of having to do formal practice is motivated by the wrong view of self.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=200#p229398

it is the underlying idea of a self who can make certain dhammas to arise at certain time that motivates a formal practice.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=200#p229401

When one think that volition can indeed conditions dhammas to arise, isn't it a form of self-identification, of I-making?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=840#p243961
.


++++++++++++++++
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:44 am

binocular wrote:I can't see the picture, I get "You are not authorised to download this attachment."
It isa guy shrugging his shoulder as if to say: "Huh?"

I know of a lady who is convinced she is practicing vipassana. Also, as her end-of-life strategy, she is ready to use a helium bag (supposedly, tying a bag of helium around one's head will ensure a quick and painless death).
Why on earth would someone who really practices vipassana, make such a plan to kill herself??
And then I think - well, maybe she doesn't practice vipassana at all, or she just hasn't come very far but likes to brag with her "vipassana practice" anyway, or some such.
And the point of this story is?
.


++++++++++++++++
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

binocular
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:... if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self? Given the following, we can read this sentence exactly as it is written:

dhamma follower wrote:What I was saying is that the idea of having to do formal practice is motivated by the wrong view of self.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=200#p229398

it is the underlying idea of a self who can make certain dhammas to arise at certain time that motivates a formal practice.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=200#p229401

When one think that volition can indeed conditions dhammas to arise, isn't it a form of self-identification, of I-making?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=840#p243961


In line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on not-self as a strategy, I would say that the above quotes are examples of prematurely or unduly dropping the self-view.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
I know of a lady who is convinced she is practicing vipassana. Also, as her end-of-life strategy, she is ready to use a helium bag (supposedly, tying a bag of helium around one's head will ensure a quick and painless death).
Why on earth would someone who really practices vipassana, make such a plan to kill herself??
And then I think - well, maybe she doesn't practice vipassana at all, or she just hasn't come very far but likes to brag with her "vipassana practice" anyway, or some such.
And the point of this story is?

It's an example of what Robert was talking about, as I quoted -

The Buddha never taught vipassana as a technique, but sadly ,and I think contributing to the decline of the sasana , in recent times there are groups who have co-opted the word to mean some type of focusing on an object/objects. It is quite easy to fool people as if they quote the satipatthana sutta (which includes countless number of objects) then it is assumed the technique is 'vipassana'. However I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:49 am

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Robertk is advocating a very particular point of view, which should be fine, except that the Sujin point of view, in the hands of her followers, can be highly critical and dismissive of other points of view. The issue here for me is not that the Sujin teachings are or are not efficacious;

rather, the concern I have is about the uncompromising criticism of formal meditation practice (of whatever style) as not being efficacious.


Sure, I can relate to that.

I don't know what the right way would be to deal with such criticism in public, though. I'm not a teacher or a public figure of any kind, so it's beyond my competence to take a public stance against such criticism.

For my own private purposes, I certainly must take some kind of stance against such criticism of formal practice, as I do place a lot of faith in formal practice - be it a practice of meditation or of some physical skill etc.
It is a can of worms, which robertk has opened up with OP and continues to kick around in this thread. Had there not been the unwarranted criticism of virtually every other meditation tradition, I likely would not have paid much attention, if any, to this thread, but it seems that the Sujin followers cannot talk about the Sujin teachings without criticizing the other meditation traditions, and rather harshly at that.
.


++++++++++++++++
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:50 am

"And as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, but who periodically experiences mental clarity & calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a little puddle in a cow's footprint, and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, & thirsty. The thought would occur to him, 'Here is this little puddle in a cow's footprint. If I tried to drink the water using my hand or cup, I would disturb it, stir it up, & make it unfit to drink. What if I were to get down on all fours and slurp it up like a cow, and then go on my way?' So he would get down on all fours, slurp up the water like a cow, and then go on his way. In the same way, when an individual is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, but periodically experiences mental clarity & calm, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his bodily behavior...the impurity of his verbal behavior, and instead pay attention to the fact that he periodically experiences mental clarity & calm. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

AN 5.162

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:51 am

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:... if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self? Given the following, we can read this sentence exactly as it is written:

dhamma follower wrote:What I was saying is that the idea of having to do formal practice is motivated by the wrong view of self.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=200#p229398

it is the underlying idea of a self who can make certain dhammas to arise at certain time that motivates a formal practice.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=200#p229401

When one think that volition can indeed conditions dhammas to arise, isn't it a form of self-identification, of I-making?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952&start=840#p243961


In line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on not-self as a strategy, I would say that the above quotes are examples of prematurely or unduly dropping the self-view.
Yes, which is not without its problems.
.


++++++++++++++++
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

binocular
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:53 am

tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:In line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on not-self as a strategy, I would say that the above quotes are examples of prematurely or unduly dropping the self-view.
Yes, which is not without its problems.


What do you mean is not without problems - Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on not-self as a strategy, or prematurely / unduly dropping the self-view?

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:53 am

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
I know of a lady who is convinced she is practicing vipassana. Also, as her end-of-life strategy, she is ready to use a helium bag (supposedly, tying a bag of helium around one's head will ensure a quick and painless death).
Why on earth would someone who really practices vipassana, make such a plan to kill herself??
And then I think - well, maybe she doesn't practice vipassana at all, or she just hasn't come very far but likes to brag with her "vipassana practice" anyway, or some such.
And the point of this story is?

It's an example of what Robert was talking about, as I quoted -

The Buddha never taught vipassana as a technique, but sadly ,and I think contributing to the decline of the sasana , in recent times there are groups who have co-opted the word to mean some type of focusing on an object/objects. It is quite easy to fool people as if they quote the satipatthana sutta (which includes countless number of objects) then it is assumed the technique is 'vipassana'. However I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
Any spiritual practice can be twisted so.
.


++++++++++++++++
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:55 am

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:In line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on not-self as a strategy, I would say that the above quotes are examples of prematurely or unduly dropping the self-view.
Yes, which is not without its problems.


What do you mean is not without problems - Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on not-self as a strategy, or prematurely / unduly dropping the self-view?
Assuming a no-self view without real insight. The Madhyamikan Mahayanists have their verision of this they call "emptiness sickness."
.


++++++++++++++++
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

binocular
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 9:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:Any spiritual practice can be twisted so.


Sure. Nevertheless, even some such twisters occasionally do make a good point, and that isn't to be dimissed just because they otherwise say so much nonsense.

:meditate:

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 10:03 am

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Any spiritual practice can be twisted so.


Sure. Nevertheless, even some such twisters occasionally do make a good point, and that isn't to be dimissed just because they otherwise say so much nonsense.

:meditate:
You are confusing me here as to who you are now talking about, but that may be because I really need to go to bed.
.


++++++++++++++++
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: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Mon May 06, 2013 10:13 am

TILT: I know full well that vipassana is not a technique, but I also know full that the causes and conditions for vipassana, insight, can be, as the Buddha taught, cultivated, and the differences between your position and that of those who see meditation practice of value has been drawn out by me and others at great length. But again, despite that significant difference between your mode of practice and the mode of practice that involves directly putting the teachings into practice, I would not say that what you are advocating does not work. Again, the problem is your dismissal of other ways of understanding and putting the Dhamma into practice

I think the fact that we agree that vipassana or satipatthana is not a technique is indicative that we are not so far way .
Earlier on this thread I gave a link to Deeds of Merit by Sujin Boriharnwanaket:




QUOTE

"This is another level of kusala besides the levels of , generosity, and siila, morality

Sujin. : The monks are accustomed to practise continuously, for a long time, four meditation subjects of samatha, in order to have calm of citta and to subdue defilements which can disturb them. Laypeople can also practise these four meditation subjects. The Dhamma and the Vinaya which the monks practise can also be applied by layfollowers in their own situation, as a means of subduing defilements.

W. : What are these four meditation subjects?

Sujin. : Recollection of the excellent qualities of the Buddha, the development of mettaa (loving kindness), perception of repulsiveness and mindfulness of death.

Sujin. : The recitation we do every night before going to sleep is the paying of respect to the Buddha. This is a meritorious action of the level of siila, because it is kusala performed through body and speech. But for kusala citta with calm of the level of samatha it is not sufficient to merely recite words, but it is also necessary to recollect, to ponder over the excellent qualities of the Buddha."



She then explains a little more about Buddhanusati.

I heard on a tape recently someone asking her why she places most stress on satipatthana and anatta. Basically she said that for those who have the accumulations to understand these that this is the rarest teaching.
Thus for one who is intent on samatha , who lives a secluded life then the term formal practice may fit. But I still maintain that for the development of vipassana one is ready to face any object anytime and that preferencing certain postures or activities is actually counterproductive.


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