vipassana craziness

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: vipassana craziness

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:56 pm

Hi Mr Man,
Mr Man wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:As I said, if someone (not just yourself, but some others posting on this thread) are unwilling to explain what they actually advocate doing, I see little basis for discussion, and I find it very difficult to take their criticisms of Goenka or others seriously.


Mike, what were the "criticisms of Goenka" that you find difficult to take seriously?

Note the qualification "are unwilling to explain what they actually advocate doing". So, in Robert's case he rejects that whole idea of choosing to sit or walk, etc... I take that seriously as a possible option.

But if you are not in the Robert/Sujin camp, and do advocate some kind of choosing to sit, walk, watch the breath, etc, I would find it curious to criticise Goenka (or any other teacher I can think of, apart from Kuhn Sujin) for picking a particular way to implement the general instructions in the Satipatthana Sutta. Such implementations range from the very specific (Goenka) to the very general "try this or this, and figure out what works for you" (some of Ajahn Chah students I've had contact with), or the "just watch what happens in daily life" approach. But whether you take Goenka's advice or figure out something more specific for yourself you have to make some choice of time, objects, ordering, etc. [Unless you take the Sujin, or some similar, position.]

I've only done one Goenka retreat, and personally prefer the more free-form Mahasi-based approach that my teachers here usually recommend, but it seems to me that a particular, organised, approach can be very useful for some (and I certainly appreciated the well-organised aspect of it). For those of us who have ready access to individualised advice, it's perhaps not so necessary, but these retreats were developed to be able to accommodate hundreds or thousands of yogis.

:anjali:
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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby Mr Man » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:09 pm

Hi Mike
Well I was puzzled because I couldn't find any criticisms of Goenka in the thread. I certainly have questions - It seems that discussion is taboo though. That doesn't seem to be the case with other teachers/schools or not to the same degree anyway.
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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:19 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi Mike
Well I was puzzled because I couldn't find any criticisms of Goenka in the thread. I certainly have questions though - It seems that discussion is taboo though. That doesn't seem to be the case with other teachers/schools or not to the same degree anyway.
This is not a debate section. If you want to explore criticism of Goenka, use the Open Dhamma section.
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 craziness

Postby Mr Man » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Mr Man wrote:Hi Mike
Well I was puzzled because I couldn't find any criticisms of Goenka in the thread. I certainly have questions though - It seems that discussion is taboo though. That doesn't seem to be the case with other teachers/schools or not to the same degree anyway.
This is not a debate section. If you want to explore criticism of Goenka, use the Open Dhamma section.

???? Why has this discusion only become a problem now? Mike had mentioned there was "criticisms of Goenka" where? I don't want to "explore criticism of Goenka".
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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:45 pm

Mr Man wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Mr Man wrote:Hi Mike
Well I was puzzled because I couldn't find any criticisms of Goenka in the thread. I certainly have questions though - It seems that discussion is taboo though. That doesn't seem to be the case with other teachers/schools or not to the same degree anyway.
This is not a debate section. If you want to explore criticism of Goenka, use the Open Dhamma section.

???? Why has this discusion only become a problem now? Mike had mentioned there was "criticisms of Goenka" where? I don't want to "explore criticism of Goenka".
It is not a problem now. it has been a problem all along. This is not a debate section. If you want to specifically talk about direct criticisms of Goenka, this is not the section. And what Mike was referring to were the comments by Robert, and had those gotten any traction, any discussion from those comments would have been moved to the Open Dhamma section. This is now going off TOS by becoming a meta-discussion. If you want to explore criticism of Goenka specifically, use the Open Dhamma section, please.
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 craziness

Postby Mr Man » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:It is not a problem now. it has been a problem all along. This is not a debate section. If you want to specifically talk about direct criticisms of Goenka, this is not the section. And what Mike was referring to were the comments by Robert, and had those gotten any traction, any discussion from those comments would have been moved to the Open Dhamma section. This is now going off TOS by becoming a meta-discussion. If you want to explore criticism of Goenka specifically, use the Open Dhamma section, please.


Okay, fair enough. Thanks for you further explanation.
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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:00 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:But whether you take Goenka's advice or figure out something more specific for yourself you have to make some choice of time, objects, ordering, etc. [Unless you take the Sujin, or some similar, position.]

I would suggest that you don't have to do the above in any methodological manner. In my case, I know what the frames of reference are, care of the Satipatthana Sutta, and I apply and use them as I see fit at any given moment. It is simply applying the frames of reference "as/when required" without any pre-determined step 1, step 2, primary object, secondary object, plan A, plan B, breath touch-points etc.

Compare it to catching a peak-hour train into the city. Along the way, you maintain general mindfulness, which depending on the circumstances that occur on that journey, may comprise of what station you're up to, whether there's any elderly people who may require a seat, whether there's anyone who needs to get past you, cognizant of anyone who seems distressed, cognizant of what the time is and whether you might need to run to make your connection, cognizant of alternative routes etc.... but there's no systematic "method" to any of this mindfulness. It's just a matter of doing things wisely if/as/when required. Life is generally like that. In life, you can observe life through whatever frame of reference seems most apt at the time. To insist on a pre-established array of "time, objects, ordering, etc." to which such observations must comply to for the purposes of "structure" seems unnecessarily rigid, and not promoted by the Satipatthana Sutta (even if people might like to suggest that it is "consistent" with it, or "based upon" it or somesuch).

(I deliberately use the word "method" here because that's what I mean by "technique", i.e. something structured, repeatable and systematic, whereas it seems "technique" means something more generic to some others - the fact that having done something involves a way in which it was done seems too self-evident to warrant discussion IMO)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:22 pm

Greetings Seahorse,

seahorse wrote:Does anyone know of anywhere I could learn Vipassana on a slightly more flexible schedule or is the only effective way this very intense method?

Yes - from the Satipatthana Sutta.

DN 22: Mahasatipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:46 pm

seahorse wrote:Does anyone know of anywhere I could learn Vipassana on a slightly more flexible schedule or is the only effective way this very intense method?


There are a lot of vary good teachers listed here:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teachers/

Do a bit of rumaging around and very likely you'll find good talks from experienced teachers that will meet your needs.
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 craziness

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:But whether you take Goenka's advice or figure out something more specific for yourself you have to make some choice of time, objects, ordering, etc. [Unless you take the Sujin, or some similar, position.]

I would suggest that you don't have to do the above in any methodological manner. In my case, I know what the frames of reference are, care of the Satipatthana Sutta, and I apply and use them as I see fit at any given moment. It is simply applying the frames of reference "as/when required" without any pre-determined step 1, step 2, primary object, secondary object, plan A, plan B, breath touch-points etc.

OK, I gave that option in the post that you quoted part of:
mikenz66 wrote: Such implementations range from the very specific (Goenka) to the very general "try this or this, and figure out what works for you" (some of Ajahn Chah students I've had contact with), or the "just watch what happens in daily life" approach.

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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:52 am

Mr Man wrote:Hi Mike
Well I was puzzled because I couldn't find any criticisms of Goenka in the thread. I certainly have questions - It seems that discussion is taboo though. That doesn't seem to be the case with other teachers/schools or not to the same degree anyway.

Sorry, I thought this was a "criticism":
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=15291#p220129
Mr Man wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: the Goenka practice is certainly inline with what the Buddha taught.

It is presented within the context of what the Buddha taught but the "technique" and format? The Goenka practice is not main stream Theravada.


I think it's quite valid to ask such questions, but you'd have to explain what is different between what Goenka is teaching and what you would advise otherwise for me to take them seriously.

As I said to Retro, there are a range of ways to structure practice (some not particularly structured), all of which, as far as I can understand, are equally compatible with the Suttas. If you think that certain teachers are teaching approaches incompatible with the suttas you'd have to be specific about the details.

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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:10 am

Greetings Mike,

just watch what happens in daily life

OK... but presented that generically, I doubt you would find Sujin, RobertK etc. disagreeing with it either. But then, they won't call "watch what happens in daily life" a "technique", and neither would I.

It seems much of this comes back to where the line is drawn with regards to what constitutes a "technique". As you said to Mr Man above, there's different levels of structure associated with different approaches.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:15 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

just watch what happens in daily life

OK... but presented that generically, I doubt you would find Sujin, RobertK etc. disagreeing with it either. But then, they won't call "watch what happens in daily life" a "technique", and neither would I.
Except it is a matter of how one does it and in what context which would put "just watch what happens in daily life" into a category of technique.
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 craziness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:36 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:Except it is a matter of how one does it and in what context which would put "just watch what happens in daily life" into a category of technique.

With frames of reference? :shrug:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:40 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:Except it is a matter of how one does it and in what context which would put "just watch what happens in daily life" into a category of technique.

With frames of reference? :shrug:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Now, that is a question for you to answer.
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 craziness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:49 am

Greetings Tilt,

The answer is with the frames of reference.

Question answered. :D

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

The answer is with the frames of reference.

Question answered. :D

Metta,
Retro. :)
And my point is made. Thanks.
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 craziness

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:00 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,
just watch what happens in daily life

OK... but presented that generically, I doubt you would find Sujin, RobertK etc. disagreeing with it either. But then, they won't call "watch what happens in daily life" a "technique", and neither would I.

If I understand them correctly, Robert (and Sujin, etc) would say that if you think you can induce mindfulness by paying attention to phenomena then you have wrong view.

What you describe sounds like quite a common approach on a long retreat. Just pay attention to whatever arises.
retrofuturist wrote:It seems much of this comes back to where the line is drawn with regards to what constitutes a "technique". As you said to Mr Man above, there's different levels of structure associated with different approaches.

Yes, but that structure, lack of structure, or the particular things you are paying attention to, have no particular Dhammic significance, as far as my understanding goes. Such details are not in the suttas, so it seems that they are optional.

:anjali:
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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:12 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:What you describe sounds like quite a common approach on a long retreat. Just pay attention to whatever arises.

Do they teach something like this...? "One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view." (MN 117)

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, but that structure, lack of structure, or the particular things you are paying attention to, have no particular Dhammic significance, as far as my understanding goes. Such details are not in the suttas, so it seems that they are optional.

Agreed.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: vipassana craziness

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:22 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What you describe sounds like quite a common approach on a long retreat. Just pay attention to whatever arises.

Do they teach something like this...? "One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view." (MN 117))


Well, yes, but of course that's what everyone teaches, isn't it? It's a major topic of the path, so it requires quite a bit of elaboration...

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