Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Sacha G » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:54 pm

Hi everyone!
I was wondering whether vipassana is supposed to be purely non-conceptual, as generaly thought. For example, reviewing the 32 parts of the body is part of vipassana (as recollection of the body), but there is no direct perception of those 32 parts, only a thought construct. Another example is examining feelings internally and externally. While the internal feelings are directly perceived, those which are external and belong to other beings are infered.
So...what do you think?
Thanks
Sacha
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby PeterB » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:16 pm

Do the practice.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:32 pm

Sacha G wrote:So...what do you think?


That right thinking is conducive.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:50 pm

In the Visuddhimagga, the 32 parts of the body and the ten types of corpses (asubha) Tranquillity Meditation (Samatha), and so too is mindfulness of respiration (ānāpānassati).

These methods are all included in the Satipatthāna Suttas, and are methods for the Samatha-Vipassanā Yānika — one who practises tranquillity, then insight.

I have no experience of these asubha practices, but I assume that the method is similar to that described for using mindfulness of respiration as the basis for insight, as described by Venerable Ledi Sayādaw in his Manual of Respiration.

That is, one gains either access concentration or absorption using these meditation objects to free the mind from the five hindrances, then contemplates this mental state as arisen dependent on conditions, impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby zavk » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:14 am

Hi Sacha

As you will see in the other thread about the IMS, what the word 'vipassana' entails is contested. By with regards to your question about conceptual or non-conceptual, this is a common question that has been asked about the nature of pañña, which I suppose you could say is what the cultivation of vipassana or insight or clear seeing aims at. There's this bit from Bhikkhu Bodhi's In the Buddha's Words that incisively addresses the misunderstanding surrounding this issue. Hang on, it's too long for me to type it... let me pop it into the scanner and click a few buttons.....

Here you go, from page 302:

Contemporary Buddhist literature commonly conveys two ideas about pañña that have become almost axioms in the popular understanding of Buddhism, The first is that pañña is exclusively nonconceptual and nondiscursive, a type of cognition that defies all the laws of logical thought; the second, that pañña arises spontaneously, through an act of pure intuition as sudden and instantaneous as a brilliant flash of lightning. These two ideas about pañña are closely connected. If pañña defies all the laws of thought, it cannot be approached by any type of conceptual activity but can arise only when the rational, discriminative, conceptual activity of the mind has been stultified. And this stopping of conceptualization, somewhat like the demolition of a building, must be a rapid one, an undermining of thought not previously prepared for by any gradual maturation of understanding. Thus, in the popular understanding of Buddhism, pañña defies rationality and easily slides off into "crazy wisdom," an incomprehensible, mindboggling way of relating to the world that dances at the thin edge between super-rationality and madness.

Such ideas about pañña receive no support at all from the teachings of the Nikayas, which, are consistently sane, lucid, and sober, To take the two points in reverse order: First, far from arising spontaneously, pañña in the Nikayas is emphatically conditioned, arisen from an underlying matrix of causes and conditions. And second, pañña is not bare intuition, but a careful, discriminative understanding that at certain stages involves precise conceptual operations. Pañña is directed to specific domains of understanding. These domains, known in the Pali commentaries as "the soil of wisdom" (paññabhumi), must be thoroughIy investigated and mastered through conceptual understanding before direct, nonconceptual insight can effectively accomplish its work. To master them requires analysis, discrimination, and discernment. One must be able to abstract from the overwhelming mass of facts certain basic patterns fundamental to all experience and use these patterns as templates for close contemplation of one's own experience.


Hope this is relevant.
With metta,
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby legolas » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:34 pm

zavk wrote:Hi Sacha

As you will see in the other thread about the IMS, what the word 'vipassana' entails is contested. By with regards to your question about conceptual or non-conceptual, this is a common question that has been asked about the nature of pañña, which I suppose you could say is what the cultivation of vipassana or insight or clear seeing aims at. There's this bit from Bhikkhu Bodhi's In the Buddha's Words that incisively addresses the misunderstanding surrounding this issue. Hang on, it's too long for me to type it... let me pop it into the scanner and click a few buttons.....

Here you go, from page 302:

Contemporary Buddhist literature commonly conveys two ideas about pañña that have become almost axioms in the popular understanding of Buddhism, The first is that pañña is exclusively nonconceptual and nondiscursive, a type of cognition that defies all the laws of logical thought; the second, that pañña arises spontaneously, through an act of pure intuition as sudden and instantaneous as a brilliant flash of lightning. These two ideas about pañña are closely connected. If pañña defies all the laws of thought, it cannot be approached by any type of conceptual activity but can arise only when the rational, discriminative, conceptual activity of the mind has been stultified. And this stopping of conceptualization, somewhat like the demolition of a building, must be a rapid one, an undermining of thought not previously prepared for by any gradual maturation of understanding. Thus, in the popular understanding of Buddhism, pañña defies rationality and easily slides off into "crazy wisdom," an incomprehensible, mindboggling way of relating to the world that dances at the thin edge between super-rationality and madness.

Such ideas about pañña receive no support at all from the teachings of the Nikayas, which, are consistently sane, lucid, and sober, To take the two points in reverse order: First, far from arising spontaneously, pañña in the Nikayas is emphatically conditioned, arisen from an underlying matrix of causes and conditions. And second, pañña is not bare intuition, but a careful, discriminative understanding that at certain stages involves precise conceptual operations. Pañña is directed to specific domains of understanding. These domains, known in the Pali commentaries as "the soil of wisdom" (paññabhumi), must be thoroughIy investigated and mastered through conceptual understanding before direct, nonconceptual insight can effectively accomplish its work. To master them requires analysis, discrimination, and discernment. One must be able to abstract from the overwhelming mass of facts certain basic patterns fundamental to all experience and use these patterns as templates for close contemplation of one's own experience.


Hope this is relevant.


:twothumbsup:
My understanding is similar. A "mere knowing" can arise but only after vipassana i.e. investigation/meditation/living/questioning etc; bringing one to a stage of seeing or knowing. I believe problems occur when people sit down with a "technique", generate a "non-conceptual mind" :shrug: call it vipassana and expect the mysteries of life to unfold. The idea that a non-conceptual mind or mind of equanimity can be generated at the beginning with no underlying causes is laughable. Your posting has shamed me because I missed or skipped this passage in my copy of Bhikkhu Bodhi's work, so I will have to find it and re-read.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:44 pm

Sacha G wrote:Hi everyone!
I was wondering whether vipassana is supposed to be purely non-conceptual, as generaly thought. For example, reviewing the 32 parts of the body is part of vipassana (as recollection of the body), but there is no direct perception of those 32 parts, only a thought construct. Another example is examining feelings internally and externally. While the internal feelings are directly perceived, those which are external and belong to other beings are infered.
So...what do you think?
Thanks
Sacha


I don't think the 32 parts can be considered a vipassana technique, vipassana techniques are always non-conceptual, that doesn't mean that some insight can't arise from conceptual techniques though.

Which techique involves perceiving the feelings of others? This is the first I've heard.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby legolas » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:55 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Sacha G wrote:Hi everyone!
I was wondering whether vipassana is supposed to be purely non-conceptual, as generaly thought. For example, reviewing the 32 parts of the body is part of vipassana (as recollection of the body), but there is no direct perception of those 32 parts, only a thought construct. Another example is examining feelings internally and externally. While the internal feelings are directly perceived, those which are external and belong to other beings are infered.
So...what do you think?
Thanks
Sacha


I don't think the 32 parts can be considered a vipassana technique, vipassana techniques are always non-conceptual, that doesn't mean that some insight can't arise though from conceptual techniques though.

Which techique involves perceiving the feelings of others? This is the first I've heard.


Its in the suttas. One does not perceive the feelings of others - one infers them, as external. Of the many subjects worthy of investigation, surely the 32 parts are one of the most vipassanic of all. Insight cannot arise in some sort of vacuum of "non conceptual" magically arisen resting place for the mind.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:30 pm

Goofaholix wrote:Which techique involves perceiving the feelings of others? This is the first I've heard.

The relevant section is in the Satipatthāna Sutta

iti ajjhattaṃ vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, bahiddhā vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, ajjhattabahiddhā vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati.

"Thus he lives contemplating feelings in feelings internally, or he lives contemplating feeling in feelings externally, or he lives contemplating feeling in feelings internally and externally.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:21 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:Which techique involves perceiving the feelings of others? This is the first I've heard.

The relevant section is in the Satipatthāna Sutta

iti ajjhattaṃ vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, bahiddhā vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, ajjhattabahiddhā vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati.

"Thus he lives contemplating feelings in feelings internally, or he lives contemplating feeling in feelings externally, or he lives contemplating feeling in feelings internally and externally.


You'll notice that the previous paragraph that this refers to is all about feelings that "I experience", there's nothing about contemplating feelings that others experience.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:32 pm

Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1122&start=0

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby legolas » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:24 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:Which techique involves perceiving the feelings of others? This is the first I've heard.

The relevant section is in the Satipatthāna Sutta

iti ajjhattaṃ vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, bahiddhā vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, ajjhattabahiddhā vā vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati.

"Thus he lives contemplating feelings in feelings internally, or he lives contemplating feeling in feelings externally, or he lives contemplating feeling in feelings internally and externally.


You'll notice that the previous paragraph that this refers to is all about feelings that "I experience", there's nothing about contemplating feelings that others experience.


A related sutta to Rahula talks of body internally and externally which quite clearly refers to ones own body and externally to the world of matter. The Buddha frequently commends people to apply truths that one may investigate and understand about oneself, should then be applied (inferred) to others. An example would be the five recollections, where true insight matures only when applying the truths one understands about oneself to the rest of the world. The whole process is vipassana.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:15 am

legolas wrote:A related sutta to Rahula talks of body internally and externally which quite clearly refers to ones own body and externally to the world of matter. The Buddha frequently commends people to apply truths that one may investigate and understand about oneself, should then be applied (inferred) to others. An example would be the five recollections, where true insight matures only when applying the truths one understands about oneself to the rest of the world. The whole process is vipassana.


Yes, thats the way I understand it, one contemplates the experience of ones own body mind and feelings etc and as a result also begins to realises that we all have a similar experience body mind and feelings etc. I wouldn't call this conceptual but rather intuitive, it's insight at work.

I got the impression the OP was talking about sitting down and imagining on the conceptual level what others may be feeling and then contemplating that, but I may have misunderstood.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:31 pm

I think when we think of the development of panna we must consider this paradigm:

sutamaya panna - wisdom arrived at by reading or listening .. is the first step.
This then leads to ...
cintamaya panna - wisdom arrived at by contemplating what has been listened to or read.
This then leads to
bhavanamaya panna - wisdom arrived at by being mindful and investigating phenomena, (almost as if to see if the previous conclusions were correct..)

I dont think there are short cuts. This is then the work of developing mundane right view and from that point, developing supramundane right view. The eightfold path becomes the noble eightfold path at the point the practitioner decides that samsara is not worthwhile and wants release, and practices with that aim in mind.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:38 pm

Sorry -just realized that I didnt answer the OP. As can be seen from my above post - the answer is vipassana incorporates both conceptual and non-conceptual modes of generating insight. An example of the former would be sammassana nana- ('knowledge by comprehension') where one understands abstractly/in absence of direct experience that in the past as well as the future, near and far, gross or subtle all formations are impermanent, unsatisfactory and non-self. An example of the latter would be nama-rupa paricceda nana ('delineation of mental and material phenomena') where the mental and material contributions to a single act of perception are dissected out through direct experience.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Sacha G » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:42 pm

Hi! Thanks for the replies so far: very interesting.
Yes I think from knowing feelings within oneself, one gets to know of feelings of others.
Now the problem remains the same for what is , to my understanding, purely conceptual, such as knowing the parts of the body. Some say that it's only a preparatory practice, and I think the Visuddhimagga tends to see things that way, but IMHO, I tend to think that seeing deeply, even if only in the aggregate of form, is sufficient for gaining release.
A related question is about the 3 stages of wisdom: listening, pondering, and meditating (or realising): is it somewhere in the suttas, or is from the Abhidhamma? I know that it's the same thing for the northern school sarvastivada, which tends to make it something old.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Sacha G wrote:Hi! Thanks for the replies so far: very interesting.
Yes I think from knowing feelings within oneself, one gets to know of feelings of others.
Now the problem remains the same for what is , to my understanding, purely conceptual, such as knowing the parts of the body. Some say that it's only a preparatory practice, and I think the Visuddhimagga tends to see things that way, but IMHO, I tend to think that seeing deeply, even if only in the aggregate of form, is sufficient for gaining release.
A related question is about the 3 stages of wisdom: listening, pondering, and meditating (or realising): is it somewhere in the suttas, or is from the Abhidhamma? I know that it's the same thing for the northern school sarvastivada, which tends to make it something old.
:anjali:


Dear Sacha

I think you can find abundant supports from suttas and commentaries that the object of vipassana should always be paramatha, i.e what can be directly experienced by the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and the mind (thinking, feeling).
Concepts (such as parts of the body) can not be directly experienced but it's the result of a thinking process that gives them a name. Name is not reality.
When attention is directed on concepts, it can not give rise to vipassana wisdom.
However, sometimes, even if the object is a concept ( example a leaf), but if attention is directed on seeing the leaf, and not the leaf itself, then it is vipassana.
As for the insight it-self, sayadaw U Tejaniya from Burma said : panna is direct understanding, and it understands the Truth (anicca, dukkha, anatta) so it is clearly non conceptual. However, at the same time that insight is occuring, sanna (perception) is working normally and knows the object in a conceptual way.
That means insight has nothing to do with the object but only with the universal characteristics, on the other hand,insight is not devoid of a conceptual perception of the individual characteristic of the object (to know what the object is). This is, of course not applied for the experience of Nibbana.

I hope that helps,

Regards,

D.F.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby legolas » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:53 am

dhamma follower wrote:
Sacha G wrote:Hi! Thanks for the replies so far: very interesting.
Yes I think from knowing feelings within oneself, one gets to know of feelings of others.
Now the problem remains the same for what is , to my understanding, purely conceptual, such as knowing the parts of the body. Some say that it's only a preparatory practice, and I think the Visuddhimagga tends to see things that way, but IMHO, I tend to think that seeing deeply, even if only in the aggregate of form, is sufficient for gaining release.
A related question is about the 3 stages of wisdom: listening, pondering, and meditating (or realising): is it somewhere in the suttas, or is from the Abhidhamma? I know that it's the same thing for the northern school sarvastivada, which tends to make it something old.
:anjali:


Dear Sacha

I think you can find abundant supports from suttas and commentaries that the object of vipassana should always be paramatha, i.e what can be directly experienced by the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and the mind (thinking, feeling).
Concepts (such as parts of the body) can not be directly experienced but it's the result of a thinking process that gives them a name. Name is not reality.
When attention is directed on concepts, it can not give rise to vipassana wisdom.
However, sometimes, even if the object is a concept ( example a leaf), but if attention is directed on seeing the leaf, and not the leaf itself, then it is vipassana.
As for the insight it-self, sayadaw U Tejaniya from Burma said : panna is direct understanding, and it understands the Truth (anicca, dukkha, anatta) so it is clearly non conceptual. However, at the same time that insight is occuring, sanna (perception) is working normally and knows the object in a conceptual way.
That means insight has nothing to do with the object but only with the universal characteristics, on the other hand,insight is not devoid of a conceptual perception of the individual characteristic of the object (to know what the object is). This is, of course not applied for the experience of Nibbana.

I hope that helps,

Regards,

D.F.


Hi

Since this a sutta forum, I think you have perfectly formulated what is NOT in the suttas. Guarding the senses is not vipassana per se and its reference in the suttas cannot be used to justify doctrines that have no relation to the Buddha's Dhamma.
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby dhamma follower » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:28 am

legolas wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:
Sacha G wrote:Hi! Thanks for the replies so far: very interesting.
Yes I think from knowing feelings within oneself, one gets to know of feelings of others.
Now the problem remains the same for what is , to my understanding, purely conceptual, such as knowing the parts of the body. Some say that it's only a preparatory practice, and I think the Visuddhimagga tends to see things that way, but IMHO, I tend to think that seeing deeply, even if only in the aggregate of form, is sufficient for gaining release.
A related question is about the 3 stages of wisdom: listening, pondering, and meditating (or realising): is it somewhere in the suttas, or is from the Abhidhamma? I know that it's the same thing for the northern school sarvastivada, which tends to make it something old.
:anjali:


Dear Sacha

I think you can find abundant supports from suttas and commentaries that the object of vipassana should always be paramatha, i.e what can be directly experienced by the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and the mind (thinking, feeling).
Concepts (such as parts of the body) can not be directly experienced but it's the result of a thinking process that gives them a name. Name is not reality.
When attention is directed on concepts, it can not give rise to vipassana wisdom.
However, sometimes, even if the object is a concept ( example a leaf), but if attention is directed on seeing the leaf, and not the leaf itself, then it is vipassana.
As for the insight it-self, sayadaw U Tejaniya from Burma said : panna is direct understanding, and it understands the Truth (anicca, dukkha, anatta) so it is clearly non conceptual. However, at the same time that insight is occuring, sanna (perception) is working normally and knows the object in a conceptual way.
That means insight has nothing to do with the object but only with the universal characteristics, on the other hand,insight is not devoid of a conceptual perception of the individual characteristic of the object (to know what the object is). This is, of course not applied for the experience of Nibbana.

I hope that helps,

Regards,

D.F.


Hi

Since this a sutta forum, I think you have perfectly formulated what is NOT in the suttas. Guarding the senses is not vipassana per se and its reference in the suttas cannot be used to justify doctrines that have no relation to the Buddha's Dhamma.


Hi,

Could you be more specific about what is in my post that is NOT in the suttas ?

How about these:

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

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

and

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?" — "Painful, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Any kind of feeling whatever...

"Any kind of perception whatever...

"Any kind of determination whatever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were glad, and they approved his words.

Now during this utterance, the hearts of the bhikkhus of the group of five were liberated from taints through clinging no more.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
....
"...'after death a Tathagata exists'...

"...'after death a Tathagata does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist'... does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding."

"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?
"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."
"But, Master Gotama, the monk whose mind is thus released: Where does he reappear?"

"'Reappear,' Vaccha, doesn't apply."

"In that case, Master Gotama, he does not reappear."

"'Does not reappear,' Vaccha, doesn't apply."

"...both does & does not reappear."

"...doesn't apply."

"...neither does nor does not reappear."

"...doesn't apply."

"How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if the monk reappears... does not reappear... both does & does not reappear... neither does nor does not reappear, he says, '...doesn't apply' in each case. At this point, Master Gotama, I am befuddled; at this point, confused. The modicum of clarity coming to me from your earlier conversation is now obscured."

"Of course you're befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you're confused. Deep, Vaccha, is this phenomenon, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. For those with other views, other practices, other satisfactions, other aims, other teachers, it is difficult to know. That being the case, I will now put some questions to you. Answer as you see fit. What do you think, Vaccha: If a fire were burning in front of you, would you know that, 'This fire is burning in front of me'?"

"...yes..."

"And suppose someone were to ask you, Vaccha, 'This fire burning in front of you, dependent on what is it burning?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"...I would reply, 'This fire burning in front of me is burning dependent on grass & timber as its sustenance.'"

"If the fire burning in front of you were to go out, would you know that, 'This fire burning in front of me has gone out'?"

"...yes..."

"And suppose someone were to ask you, 'This fire that has gone out in front of you, in which direction from here has it gone? East? West? North? Or south?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"That doesn't apply, Master Gotama. Any fire burning dependent on a sustenance of grass and timber, being unnourished — from having consumed that sustenance and not being offered any other — is classified simply as 'out' (unbound)."

"Even so, Vaccha, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply.

"Any feeling... Any perception... Any mental fabrication...

"Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of consciousness, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply."

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

The last sutta (Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta) is one that clearly shows how the Buddha distinguished Tathagata (a concept -unreal) from the five aggreates (form, feeling, perception, consciousness...)-reality that can be experienced in its characteristics of anicca (and so dukkha and anatta).



D.F,
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:54 pm

The object of vipassana is non-conceptual, is based on direct experience, with a mind purified with samadhi.

The resultant insight maybe conceptual- it certainly becomes so when we are able to think about it and discuss it subsequently..even more so when it becomes part of supramundane right view.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
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