Samatha v. vipassana?

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:38 am

Another thing, IMHE, the momentary flux of feelings described (If my understanding of it is accurate) is an experience of impermanence, but not yet a vipassana insight, as it has not revealed yet the true nature of the knowing mind. With direct experience of rise and fall of the knowing mind together with the object (the only point where paramatha starts to manifest), understanding of reality has a radical swicht, and the impact on meditator's mind is much stronger and it goes on increasing if practice continues.

That means, either samatha or vipassana as method CAN lead or can NOT lead to vipassana as result. When we use vipassana as method, our object is supposed to be paramatha but in reality, unless one has very sharp facuties, at first the mind can only be aware of pannatti. May be the actual difference between the two methods is in the intention of focusing: one is one object only, and the other multiple objects. And it is very probable that a meditator intends to do samatha but because of inclinations, the mind stays aware of many objects, and another meditator, intending to do vipassana, but because of inclinations, the mind is slipping into absorption.

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:54 pm

dhamma follower wrote:According to the above ,vipassana happens only when mindfulness is sharp enough to catch the beginning of the cognition process , or putting it another way,vipassana is the result of direct experience of ultimate reality .


Could you say a bit more about what you mean by "catching the beginning of the cognition process"?
Thanks.

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby pt1 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:20 am

Thanks for your patience Geoff.
Ñāṇa wrote:
pt1 wrote:1. how fast would you say it happens that a direct experience is replaced by a memory of it? In my experience it's very, very fast. Quarter of a second, tenth of a second, can't tell, but it's very fast.
2. when you focus on pitisukha - does it matter to you whether you focus on direct experience or on a memory of it?
3. Is there a difference between samatha and sammasamadhi in that regard? E.g. for samatha, focusing on both direct experience and memory are okay, while for sammasamadhi only direct experience is a valid object of focus?

When the mind has developed to the point of being fully present and silent there is no impediment of lapsing into memory -- but this doesn't mean that one has seen through all possible reference points.

I'm having trouble understanding this:
- what is "fully present and silent" in relation to direct experience and its being seamlessly and quickly replaced by a memory of the same experience?
- what is "impediment of lapsing into memory" - would it be like turning off the memory replacement bit?
- what are "reference points" - maybe different sorts of direct experience?

As I understand the cognitive process, the problem is not in the fact that direct experience is very quickly replaced by a memory of it, but that there is usually no awareness of the direct experience nor its replacement by memory, and, that lack of awareness (ignorance basically) is what makes room for craving and clinging to arise related to the memory. So memory is not the problem, but ignorance (lack of awareness) is.

Ñāṇa wrote:
pt1 wrote:Of course, I'm not saying it is necessarily so, or that proliferation is a bad thing, just wondering what's your reasoning behind it. Thanks.

To approach this by way of experience: taste it yourself and see. Afterward you can superimpose whatever conceptual filters that you wish.

That's the thing though, I believe I come across that experience regularly, but I usually dismiss it as conceptual proliferation because it seems like an impediment to both samatha (due to the flux), as well as vipassana - because imo it is not related to direct experience of pitisukha, but to the fluctuating memory of it. This is because imo, focusing on something can only be accomplished in the realm of memory. I.e. only when direct experience is not payed attention (so there's no awareness of it either), only then can there be extended focus on something (like a memory of pitisukha), because direct experience (one of the six consciousness) is no doubt happening all the time, so it seems the only way to "ignore" it arising presently would be to focus on a memory of something.

This would in essence mean that the flux of pitisukha is equivalent to focusing on the conceptual proliferation, rather than being aware of direct experience of pitisukha and it's inevitable transformation into a memory, etc, as per how I understand the cognitive process. Hence I'm interested to know how come you think that the flux is in fact proper vipassana, rather than simply a conceptual (memory) thing.

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:13 pm

porpoise wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:According to the above ,vipassana happens only when mindfulness is sharp enough to catch the beginning of the cognition process , or putting it another way,vipassana is the result of direct experience of ultimate reality .


Could you say a bit more about what you mean by "catching the beginning of the cognition process"?
Thanks.

P


That means being mindful of the moment when sense-consciousness arises with the object. For ex, in case of hearing,it's when hearing consciousness arises with a sound.

When you don't pay attention, you don't even know that hearing is happening. When you pay a little more attention, you hear the "sound" - the sound seems to come from an outside location. It has a meaning. You might like or dislike the sound, or even eventually physically and verbally react to it...This is delusion at work. When attention is more refined, the sound seems to happen in your ears - you don't really pay attention to its pleasant or unpleasant effect anymore . When attention is even more refined, there's no more location but only hearing is happening, the sound becomes the background and the hearer is gone - that means you still know what sound is, but it is irrelevant, you are struck with the absence of a hearer. This is wisdom in place. When attention is even more more refined, the hearing arises and pass away in a split second....This is where anicca-dukkha-anatta is directly experienced and understood with clarity. No grasping is possible with what constantly arising and passing away, detachment goes on increasing and mindfulness becomes sharper and sharper as a result.....

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:42 am

pt1 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:When the mind has developed to the point of being fully present and silent there is no impediment of lapsing into memory -- but this doesn't mean that one has seen through all possible reference points.

I'm having trouble understanding this:
- what is "fully present and silent" in relation to direct experience and its being seamlessly and quickly replaced by a memory of the same experience?

As I understand the cognitive process, the problem is not in the fact that direct experience is very quickly replaced by a memory of it, but that there is usually no awareness of the direct experience nor its replacement by memory, and, that lack of awareness (ignorance basically) is what makes room for craving and clinging to arise related to the memory. So memory is not the problem, but ignorance (lack of awareness) is.

Hi pt1,

It's not my intention to try to interpret your experience or tell you what you're experiencing. We each have to continually refine our attention and apperception by seeing through and letting go of even subtle interpretations of our experience which may no longer be relevant as the mind becomes increasingly present and silent.

pt1 wrote:- what are "reference points" - maybe different sorts of direct experience?

A reference point is an object support (ārammaṇa). Part of the development of vipassanā is to penetrate through and let go of the increasingly subtle reference points which keep us stuck in unsatisfactoriness (dukkha). The "momentary flux of pītisukha" is just another reference point.

pt1 wrote:This is because imo, focusing on something can only be accomplished in the realm of memory. I.e. only when direct experience is not payed attention (so there's no awareness of it either), only then can there be extended focus on something (like a memory of pitisukha), because direct experience (one of the six consciousness) is no doubt happening all the time, so it seems the only way to "ignore" it arising presently would be to focus on a memory of something.

I would suggest that there are no "things," merely processes.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:53 am

Just to clarify, what are the main methods which can lead to vipassana?

As I see, basically we can either reflect on the 3 characteristics, or we can observe them in the body and mind. Am I on the right track?

P
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:44 pm

porpoise wrote:Just to clarify, what are the main methods which can lead to vipassana?

As I see, basically we can either reflect on the 3 characteristics, or we can observe them in the body and mind. Am I on the right track?

P


There are so many methods to start with....depending on one's inclinations. Anything that cultivates the wholesome qualities of the mind (faith, effort, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom) will do.
However, IMO, eventually all will get down to continuous observation of body and mind processes, if vipassana is to happen.
Reflection can be a help for the practice but it's in no way equal direct observation. Also I'd suggest not to consider the 3 characteristics as the goal, as that would be a hindrance. Just be aware of what is going on. When awareness becomes continuous then gains momentum , and the defilements are absent, the nature of reality is revealed. Any wanting, expectation, or preconceived idea only hinder....
And don't count time !

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:35 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
pt1 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:When the mind has developed to the point of being fully present and silent there is no impediment of lapsing into memory -- but this doesn't mean that one has seen through all possible reference points.

I'm having trouble understanding this:
- what is "fully present and silent" in relation to direct experience and its being seamlessly and quickly replaced by a memory of the same experience?

As I understand the cognitive process, the problem is not in the fact that direct experience is very quickly replaced by a memory of it, but that there is usually no awareness of the direct experience nor its replacement by memory, and, that lack of awareness (ignorance basically) is what makes room for craving and clinging to arise related to the memory. So memory is not the problem, but ignorance (lack of awareness) is.

Hi pt1,

It's not my intention to try to interpret your experience or tell you what you're experiencing. We each have to continually refine our attention and apperception by seeing through and letting go of even subtle interpretations of our experience which may no longer be relevant as the mind becomes increasingly present and silent.



I share with pt1 what he said about memory. It's a crucial point.

It seems to me that there's no interpretation when it comes to direct experience of reality or paramatha. What is most characteristic of insight, is that at the same time with the experience, there's clear, striking understanding of anicca, dukkha, anatta. And this kind of understanding is always devoid of doubt. May be one doesn't know how to categorize or name the experience, but it doesn't matter, the understanding and subsequent effect (detachment) it has on the mind does, and that's enough.

Apart from that, I agree, it's necessary for all of us to continually refine our mindfulness, watch out for subtler and subtler defilements then let momentum takes place....
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:54 pm

dhamma follower wrote:I share with pt1 what he said about memory. It's a crucial point.

Hi dhamma follower,

If you think so and consider it to be a useful representation of your own experiential cognitive processes, then it's helpful to that extent. But this doesn't mean that it isn't an interpretation.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby yuttadhammo » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:42 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:It is telling that meditation threads always get the most debate - it should tell us that we are struggling in our meditation, which I think is okay and a part of the practice. It is surely even better, though, if we can overcome the need to confirm our point of view and get back to the struggle

Hi Ven. Yuttadhammo,

I'd suggest that it's telling of the confusion created by the Visuddhimagga's convoluted treatment of the issue.

It's surely better, instead of attempting to confirm any particular point of view, to clarify sammāsamādhi so that there is no need for any unnecessary "struggle."

Best wishes,

Geoff


Eh, sorry, I take my time to reply :) I've read through most of the Visuddhimagga, and I don't see what is so convoluted about it... it reads very much like a good instruction manual. I've found it quite useful, myself, in this regard. I guess you have not, which is really not a problem for me...

Do you really think that if all we were trying to do in this thread is "clarify sammāsamādhi", that it wouldn't have been closed some time ago? I'm sorry, I confess, I'm not following the discussion, so maybe this post is considered trolling... in my defence, my only cetana is to inspire less talk, more practice. Maybe even that is too much :)

Sneaking off again,

yd
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:47 pm

yuttadhammo said: I've read through most of the Visuddhimagga, and I don't see what is so convoluted about it... it reads very much like a good instruction manual.


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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:28 am

yuttadhammo wrote:In my defence, my only cetana is to inspire less talk, more practice.

Ven. Yuttadhammo,

That's an admirable intention. And if you find the Visuddhimagga helpful then that's all to the good.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:20 pm

dhamma follower wrote:
porpoise wrote:Just to clarify, what are the main methods which can lead to vipassana?

As I see, basically we can either reflect on the 3 characteristics, or we can observe them in the body and mind. Am I on the right track?

P


However, IMO, eventually all will get down to continuous observation of body and mind processes, if vipassana is to happen.


So would you say that mindfulness is the basis for insight?

P
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:32 am

porpoise wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:
porpoise wrote:Just to clarify, what are the main methods which can lead to vipassana?

As I see, basically we can either reflect on the 3 characteristics, or we can observe them in the body and mind. Am I on the right track?

P


However, IMO, eventually all will get down to continuous observation of body and mind processes, if vipassana is to happen.


So would you say that mindfulness is the basis for insight?

P


In satipatthana sutta, the Buddha talked about atapi, sati and sampajana. Sati is mindfulness, atapi is the effort to keep this mindfulness continuous and free from defilements, sampajana is clear comprehension, i.e to know clearly the totality of the experience under the light of right view.

The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference. Which four?

"There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

These are the basis for insight.

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:46 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:I share with pt1 what he said about memory. It's a crucial point.

Hi dhamma follower,

If you think so and consider it to be a useful representation of your own experiential cognitive processes, then it's helpful to that extent. But this doesn't mean that it isn't an interpretation.

All the best,

Geoff


So, what you think happens between the direct experience of something and our perception of it ?
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:13 am

dhamma follower wrote:So, what you think happens between the direct experience of something and our perception of it ?

Hi dhamma follower,

As long as there is contact, feeling and apperception arise together with consciousness. One can refine apperception and eventually discern the empty, mirage-like nature of apperception and thereby realize dispassion towards empirical cognition and liberation from the entire game of empirical cognition; but until one has done so all experiences are filtered through apperception and there is no possibility of "direct experience" unmediated by apperception.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:03 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:So, what you think happens between the direct experience of something and our perception of it ?

Hi dhamma follower,

As long as there is contact, feeling and apperception arise together with consciousness. One can refine apperception and eventually discern the empty, mirage-like nature of apperception and thereby realize dispassion towards empirical cognition and liberation from the entire game of empirical cognition; but until one has done so all experiences are filtered through apperception and there is no possibility of "direct experience" unmediated by apperception.

All the best,

Geoff


Dear Geoff

Your explanation resonates with me.

Do you think this viraga towards consciousness, contact, feeling and apperception arise because-

(i) we actually see the vipallasas at work, or
(ii) that meditation provides the basis on which we can infer that vipallasas are at work and it is this inferential knowledge that cools off the raga?

Secondly, do you think that this viraga "approach" works only in the transition from Non-Return to Arahanta, or would it operate also at the transition from worldliness to Stream Entry?

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:46 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:So, what you think happens between the direct experience of something and our perception of it ?

Hi dhamma follower,

As long as there is contact, feeling and apperception arise together with consciousness. One can refine apperception and eventually discern the empty, mirage-like nature of apperception and thereby realize dispassion towards empirical cognition and liberation from the entire game of empirical cognition; but until one has done so all experiences are filtered through apperception and there is no possibility of "direct experience" unmediated by apperception.

All the best,

Geoff


Dear Geoff,

From the above, I understand you mean:

when consciousness arises with an object
1.either wisdom is present then the object is experienced directly as it is
2. or ignorance is present then there's no direct experience of it.
3. in case of (2), now we have the perception of the object but clouded by ignorance.

Is that right ?

Now, let's examine what "clouded by ignorance" exactly means :

That means at the first citta (of the contact), ignorance is present, right ? If the citta is accompanied by ignorance, can there be awareness of the object ?
The answer can only be no, because if there was awareness, then that would mean the object is directly known.
If the object is not directly known, how do we still get the perception of that object? It can only be thanks to memory carried on from the first citta to the following cittas.
Because the first citta is clouded by ignorance, the nature of depedently co- arising and impermanent of both the object and the knowing mind is not understood, hence grasping happens. So the object is known, but not its nature
If the first citta is accompanied by wisdom (or is known), then memory is still carried on about the object, but its nature is now clearly understood, and no grasping can occur. The object is known, with its full nature.

Don't you agree ?

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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:11 am

Sylvester wrote:Do you think this viraga towards consciousness, contact, feeling and apperception arise because-

(i) we actually see the vipallasas at work, or
(ii) that meditation provides the basis on which we can infer that vipallasas are at work and it is this inferential knowledge that cools off the raga?

Hi Sylvester,

I would suggest that first we begin to ascertain right view and thereby learn to differentiate the perversions from non-perversions. Then we can begin to catch the perversions when they are present and abandon them with discernment, i.e. give rise to the non-perversions of apperception.

Sylvester wrote:Secondly, do you think that this viraga "approach" works only in the transition from Non-Return to Arahanta, or would it operate also at the transition from worldliness to Stream Entry?

No doubt essential at the higher stages; probably not necessary for stream entry. Of course, even as worldlings we can recognize the futility and hollowness of craving, grasping, and becoming from time to time, but without highly developed mindfulness and full awareness it is fleeting and usually the result of buyers remorse.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:21 am

dhamma follower wrote:That means at the first citta (of the contact), ignorance is present, right ? If the citta is accompanied by ignorance, can there be awareness of the object ? The answer can only be no, because if there was awareness, then that would mean the object is directly known.

Hi DF,

There can certainly be consciousness of the object, as well as feeling and apperception. Even though that apperception is rooted in ignorance, there is still consciousness of an object, which is recognized/identified by apperception.

All the best,

Geoff
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