Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:45 am

You wanted names. So there we have it.

I've said what I had to say. And I stand behind what I've said. Kearney's words were used, but not misrepresented.

I have no time for Sylvester.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Freawaru » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:03 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:Could you please give a summary of their two different interpretations.

Here is a summary of some of what I have been saying: Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha:

    1. The First Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with initial application, sustained application, joy, happiness, and one-pointedness,
    2. The Second Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with sustained application, joy, happiness, and one-pointedness,
    3. The Third Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with joy, happiness, and one-pointedness,
    4. The Fourth Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with happiness and one-pointedness,
    5. The Fifth Jhāna Sotāpatti Path-consciousness together with equanimity and one-pointedness.

    These are the five types of Sotāpatti Path-consciousness.

    So are the Sakadāgāmī Path-consciousness, Anāgāmī Path-consciousness, and Arahatta Path-consciousness, making exactly twenty classes of consciousness. Similarly there are twenty classes of Fruit-consciousness. Thus there are forty types of supra mundane consciousness.

All the best,

Geoff


Thank you, Geoff. I will try to work myself through that :smile:

I would like to add that I have experienced what I would describe exactly as Kearney describes Stages 12 to 15, including those before. This is another reason I feel sure that it is not stream-entry. Instead, I believe, experiences like this, and one can have them again and again, result from the incomplete memory of experiencing the formless realms. When concentration increases, in my experience, one does not move nicely step by step, aware from beginning to end, through the formless realms. First there are flashes of the formless realms, usually not remembered at all or in the incomplete fashion Kearney describes:

In practice, what happens is that the meditator is practicing, every aspect of his meditation is subtle, clear and bright, and then suddenly there is a sense of falling-into (knowledge of insight leading to emergence) and then the lights go out. There is a momentary sense of nothingness, and then the lights come on. If the meditator checks the watch, he realises some time has passed - depending on the strength of his concentration, this could be anything from a few minutes to a few days and he has "awoken" suddenly into a situation in which the practice is continuing, but the experience is much less subtle than before.
http://www.buddhanet.net/knowledg.htm


Only when concentration increases again uppekha arises in the formless realms so that one becomes aware of what happens while it happens. For even when experienced first time the formless realms give an impression of familiarity, a "been there done that". There never is surprise.

I think this switch from pure mindfulness to concentration practice can already be identified here:

Now the dominant factors in the meditator’s mind are awareness and equanimity - as in the fourth jhana. All forms of pain either disappear or are minimised. There is little or no sense of mental disturbance. The meditation carries on by itself, with little or no conscious effort on the meditator’s part. He finds he can sit and walk for long periods of time, and needs little sleep. The attention rests naturally on a few experiences, staying on the same experience for long periods of time.


When vipassana practice enters a stage of sati and uppekha being as strong as in the fourth jhana there happens a separation between the active mind of the personality and the observing aspect (uppekha). The observing aspect is completely void of such things as pain or mental disturbances, while pain and disturbances still arise in the usual fashion within the limited space of the personality. To me the stage described here sounds more like access concentration with a few changing objects. There is a lot of suppression happening.

I think Kearney's experiences and descriptions and practice is right within Theravada, but it is not what he claims it is. The practice is correct, but the identification and label of the experiences I do not agree with.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Sylvester » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:38 am

For me, I could not find any way of reading Kearney as having equated his "lights out" experience as being maggaphalla nana.

In the OP, only small little bit of Kearney's essay was posted, ie -

Ñāṇa wrote:In The Development of Insight Patrick Kearney states:

In practice, what happens is that the meditator is practicing, every aspect of his meditation is subtle, clear and bright, and then suddenly there is a sense of falling-into (knowledge of insight leading to emergence) and then the lights go out. There is a momentary sense of nothingness, and then the lights come on. If the meditator checks the watch, he realises some time has passed - depending on the strength of his concentration, this could be anything from a few minutes to a few days and he has "awoken" suddenly into a situation in which the practice is continuing, but the experience is much less subtle than before. The meditator is now in the knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya-nana).

What happened? Has he fallen asleep? No, because of the suddenness and clarity of the beginning and end of the experience of unconsciousness, and because there has been absolutely no physical movement. What the meditator has experienced is the total cessation of the mind-body process. He did not "know" this while it was happening., because there was no sense of a mind to know it. [Emphasis added.]


Quite a spectacular opening to find a soft target, but the context reveals otherwise, if one bothers to read the more complete essay -

Stages 12 to 15
The knowledge of insight leading to the emergence (vitthanagamini-vipassana-nana) is the slide into the trap-door. It lasts only a few moments, during which time one of the three universal characteristics becomes dominant in the meditator’s mind. This characteristic is the "door" through which he enters nibbana. The universal characteristic which predominates during knowledge of insight leading to emergence will condition the meditator’s understanding of the dominant characteristic of nibbana.

The next two stages, knowledge of adaptation (anuloma-nana) and knowledge of connection (gotrabhu-nana) are momentary in the extreme. They may just be theoretical constructs to explain the sudden manifestation of the next stage, knowledge of path and result (maggaphala-nana). In practice, what happens is that the meditator is practicing, every aspect of his meditation is subtle, clear and bright, and then suddenly there is a sense of falling-into (knowledge of insight leading to emergence) and then the lights go out. There is a momentary sense of nothingness, and then the lights come on. If the meditator checks the watch, he realises some time has passed - depending on the strength of his concentration, this could be anything from a few minutes to a few days and he has "awoken" suddenly into a situation in which the practice is continuing, but the experience is much less subtle than before. The meditator is now in the knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya-nana).

16) Knowledge of review - paccavekkhana-nana

What happened? Has he fallen asleep? No, because of the suddenness and clarity of the beginning and end of the experience of unconsciousness, and because there has been absolutely no physical movement. What the meditator has experienced is the total cessation of the mind-body process. He did not "know" this while it was happening., because there was no sense of a mind to know it. All he "knows" about the experience is his reflection on what has just happened. This reflection is the final nana, the knowledge of review (paccavekkhana-nana).


To me, it is as clear as day that Kearney presents the black-out as occurring after the maggaphalla nana. He took pains to emphasise the different temporal durations of the 2 experiences, where maggaphalla nana was described as being experienced as momentary, while the blackout's duration was simply not known, until later.

Given Kearney's other writings on Dhamma Salon, where he shows himself a fan of Ven Thanissaro's readings of satipattthana and jhana, I would find it odd that he would be so schizophrenic as to claim a "citta natthi" event is a magga/phalla nana.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Sylvester » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:47 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Unfortunately there is at least one member here who wants to read into the suttavinaya this idea of nibbāna -- the not-fabricated (asaṅkhata) -- as being a blackout-nothingness or a state of unconsciousness.


How odd. I guess Ayya Dhammadina must have been wrong in suggesting that nirodha sammapatti (aka Nibbana Without Sequel) is where there is absolutely no perception and feelings, states which are always sahagata with consciousness.

"When a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, friend Visakha, verbal fabrications cease first, then bodily fabrications, then mental fabrications."
MN 44
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:51 am

Sylvester wrote:
and then suddenly there is a sense of falling-into (knowledge of insight leading to emergence) and then the lights go out. There is a momentary sense of nothingness

To me, it is as clear as day that Kearney presents the black-out as occurring after the maggaphalla nana.

As I said, if you would take the time to check the source materials, the knowledge of insight leading to emergence occurs before the path and fruition knowledge. The "lights out" part is his version of path and fruition knowledge. He further qualifies this lights out as "unconsciousness" and "the total cessation of the mind-body process. He did not 'know' this while it was happening, because there was no sense of a mind to know it. All he 'knows' about the experience is his reflection on what has just happened."

This is a description of falling into the bhavaṅga, which he mistakes for nibbāna. There is no perception nor concomitant jhāna factors of supramundane cognition in a state described as "the total cessation of the mind-body process" wherein "he did not know this while it was happening."
Last edited by Nyana on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby cooran » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:57 am

Hello Geoff,

Could you make a Summary Statement as Tiltbillings requested? I'm sure it would be of interest to all.

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Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:58 am

Sylvester wrote:How odd. I guess Ayya Dhammadina must have been wrong in suggesting that nirodha sammapatti (aka Nibbana Without Sequel) is where there is absolutely no perception and feelings, states which are always sahagata with consciousness.

Visuddhimagga Chapter 23:

    Herein, (i) What is the attainment of cessation? It is the non-occurrence of consciousness (citta) and its concomitants (cetasikā) owing to their progressive cessation.

    (ii) Who attains it? (iii) Who do not attain it? No ordinary men, no stream-enterers or once-returners, and no non-returners and Arahants who are bare-insight workers attain it. But both non-returners and those with cankers destroyed (Arahants) who are obtainers of the eight attainments attain it.

The attainment of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) is the same as the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling (saññāvedayitanirodhasamāpatti). It is only non-returners and arahants who can attain the eight attainments (the four jhānas plus the four formless attainments) who can properly engage in the cessation attainment. Other arahants cannot. Thus, it cannot be equated with nibbāna as the not-fabricated (asaṅkhata). Moreover, this chapter then goes on to explicitly state that the attainment of cessation is neither supramundane (lokuttara) nor not-fabricated (asaṅkhata).

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:00 am

cooran wrote:Could you make a Summary Statement as Tiltbillings requested?

I just did: here.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:12 am

THanks Geoff for identifying your summary argument. Anything additional to summary arguments will be removed.

Matheesha,

Any last words you would like to add before the thread is closed?
kind regards

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:51 am

Hi Ben,

Yes, to summarize my take on all of this:

1) Nibbana is unconditioned or uncaused. (sutta support+). To say that the noble eightfold path is the cause leading to nibbana is wrong. The final result of the process of practicing the noble eightfold path (fourth noble truth), is the third noble truth ie paticcanirodha, with the concomitant kusala factors like jhana,piti etc.

2) The noble eightfold path is conditioned, fabricated (sutta support+), as it is concerned with aggregates arising and passing away- even jhana factors are composed of fabrications (sankhara). Therefore it is impermanent, and unsatisfactory in the ultimate sense. So will any of its ‘results’ that is experienced in the here and now. So to say that nibbana is a ‘result’ (very specific meaning to suggest ‘caused’) of the noble eightfold path is mistaken. When what is ‘caused’ ceases, the uncaused is what is left behind.

3) Nibbana is supramundane, it cannot arise, as some quotes from the Visuddhimagga seems to suggest (not clear if this is a erroneous translations, won’t be the first time..)…or pass away (sutta support+). It is simply what is left behind when arising and passing away ceases. Nibbana also exists in its own right (sutta support+). It is not merely the absence of the three poisons. The ‘unconditioned exists, which is why an escape from the conditioned can be discerned’. To deny this existence is to promulgate a doctrine radically different from that of the Buddha.

4) The passing away of the three poisons (greed, hatred and delusion) partially leads to cessation of some suffering, but this practice is not complete. For the complete eradication of the three poisons (asesa-viraganirodha) leads to unravelling of this illusion of the aggregates, leading to paticcanirodha. Anyone who experiences cessation of consciousness, cessation of contact, cessation of nama rupa, cessation of six sense bases, cessation of becoming/existence will experience what has been erroneously named a ‘black out’’asanna states’ etc. The latter are all mundane states. A person with a mundane practice hasn’t seen the ultimate (aggregates arising and passing away). A person who hasn’t seen the ultimate, certainly hasn’t experienced the supramundane (asankhata) –aggregates ceasing and the resultant nibbana ‘dhathu’. They will interpret this experience merely in mundane terms, which is what has happened by those practitioners. Even sotapannas will confuse nibbana (sutta support+)- arahanths definitely won’t (sutta support+). For anyone in between, it can go either way.

5) Taking the alternate view that the noble eightfold path is the (direct) cause of nibbana means that nibbana is caused (direct counter to suttas), to say that it is composed of jhana factor means it is fabricated/sankhata (direct counter to suttas). IF nibbana is caused and fabricated, then it is impermanent, as it would be composed of the 5 aggregates, which in turn would mean that nibbana is unsatisfactory (dukkha) (direct counter to the suttas).

6) It is possible to find material from the commentaries to support any view, including possibly viewing nibbana as some heavenly realm. Commentaries contain opposing views, so people are free to pick and choose whatever to support their view. Suttas do not have this feature.. Commentaries are also simply wrong ..sometimes. For example the idea that there can be 5 rupa jhana, and concomitant ‘supramundane jhana consciousness’ is mistaken, because it can be experientially proven that there are only 4 rupa jhana (sutta support +). That in itself should be proof enough the monk who wrote the 20 types of path consciousness had no experience of what he was writing about and that it was merely an analytical scholarly exercise. Those with an analytical scholarly bent often flock together, with no regard to the Truth.

Finally, yes I did say (a truth) that I teach the dhamma, in response to the question ‘are there any dhamma teachers/meditation instructors here?’ by Rick on a particular thread.

I find nothing wrong in stating something which is factually correct. How this is perceived is beyond my responsibility. Personally, I do not expect any special treatment, nor does it mean (for me) that my statements should be held in any special regard. If what I say is not consistant with the dhamma-vinaya as stated by the Buddha, in the sutta-vinaya pitaka(and leaving out those dodgy stanzas at the end of some suttas..), I am happy to be proven wrong and learn something new in the process. It may help me put an end to suffering.

Ok, that is all from me,

With metta

Matheesha
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:22 am

Kearney on Cessation

A footnote to this discussion:

Patrick Kearney ran a study session in 2010 on the constructed (saṅkhata) and the unconstructed (asaṅkhata) in the Buddha's teaching. The notes for the course are still available here: http://www.dharmasalon.net/Writings/Pai ... nting.html but the audio is no longer on the site.

The talks, and the notes, are presented as a discussion, based on his reading and experience, and are clearly not intended as a definitive last word on all the various difficult issues. However, in this talk:
Session 5: Dependent arising
The framework for the Buddha’s understanding of experience is dependent arising (paṭiccasamuppāda). Whatever arises (in experience), does so because of events other than itself, and ceases because of events other than itself. We are examining arising and cessation, but here with particular emphasis on cessation. We can see cessation in two different aspects. The first is normal, everyday cessation — events cease, to be replaced by other events. This is the flowing along which is saṃsāra. The other is cessation of the constructed itself. This is the entry into nirvāṇa, and it is this aspect of cessation that we need to understand.

Patrick is quite clear in the talks:
    1. There is perception in the path state...
    2. It is certainly possible to confuse various blanking-out samadhi states with nibbana, and this is discussed in some detail.

The notes referred to above discusses this very briefly. Page 28:
Does that mean that a person in such a state has disappeared? Or died? No, it means
proliferation has ceased and calmed. There is still contact — experience — but contact that
does not serve as a ground for a concept or description of anything, including itself. This is
a contact that is unconstructed, and therefore unconstruct-ing. A contact that has not
landed anywhere, is not located anywhere, and so is entirely free.

And on Page 31:
Non-indicative awareness refers to a awareness that is not located anywhere, that
is not defined by any thing. It is untraceable. It may be found in a samādhi that does not
construct anything out of experience, but simply registers what is happening without
either clinging or rejection. Pure presence, with nothing added.


There is considerably more detail in the talks and I suggest that any members with an interest in Patrick's views on these issues are should contact him for a copy of the talks.

Note that I did not attend the above discussion and have not attended any of Partick's retreats.

:anjali:
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