Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:20 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:Of course grasping conceptuality is a cause of suffering however if you can't differentiate between conceptuality and the processes of conciousness and perception first how can you let go of that grasping?

I don't understand this question. Conceptuality is associated with "being conscious of" and perception in the context of "being conscious of".

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Only in your understanding, as I explained before in Buddhism Conceptuality, conciousness, and perception are three separate khandhas, my question is how can one let go of grasping the former if one can't even see the distinction?


There is no khandha called "conceptuality".

Your questions still does not make any sense to me. The discussion was about conceptuality. Now you are introducing other (gross) concepts and thus you are veiling the original subject.
The original subject was the understanding of conceptuality. There is no necessary context of "grasping". The subject was - and for me still is - conceptuality and nothing else.


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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:32 pm

It appears to me as if you are reifying buddhist terminology and thus are driven to compare and think "is conceptuality the same as this or is it that?" But these terms all have their applicability depending on context and the perspective from which you are looking at experience.
So in terms of active "synthesis" and "construction" and "adding" the application of the term "conceptuality" is appropriate.


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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:33 pm

TMingyur wrote:There is no khandha called "conceptuality".

Your questions still does not make any sense to me. The discussion was about conceptuality. Now you are introducing other (gross) concepts and thus you are veiling the original subject.
The original subject was the understanding of conceptuality. There is no necessary context of "grasping". The subject was - and for me still is - conceptuality and nothing else.


No, you veiled the original subject when you defined conceptuality as "discerning", so my reply was to point out that discerning was equivilent to the khanda Sanna and you appeared to be trying to lump Vinnana, Sanna, and Sankhara all under the term Conceptuality.

If was also you who introduced the topic of grasping.

You are correct there is no khandha called "conceptuality" because the Pali canon wasn't written in english, however the defintion of sankhara provided here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandha "all types of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, prejudices, compulsions, and decisions triggered by an object" looks pretty close to the dictionary definition of the word Concept that I've already supplied. Based on those two definitions one can safely say that Vipassana techniques, while they may at times use conceptual thought as training wheels, are not conceptual in nature.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:37 pm

TMingyur wrote:It appears to me as if you are reifying buddhist terminology and thus are driven to compare and think "is conceptuality the same as this or is it that?" But these terms all have their applicability depending on context and the perspective from which you are looking at experience.
So in terms of active "synthesis" and "construction" and "adding" the application of the term "conceptuality" is appropriate.


Hardly reification if one can observe the process of vinnana, sanna, and sankhara in operation. Yes "synthesis" and "construction" and "adding" all belong under the label conceptuality, but discernment and perception do not, vipassana gives importance to the latter.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:39 pm

Goofaholix wrote:No, you veiled the original subject when you defined conceptuality as "discerning",

No. This was not a definition but an instance of conceptuality.

Goofaholix wrote:If was also you who introduced the topic of grasping.

This was when I tried to explain why conceptuality seems to be misunderstood: Because it is confused with "grasping".

Goofaholix wrote:Based on those two definitions one can safely say that Vipassana techniques, while they may at times use conceptual thought as training wheels, are not conceptual in nature.

Well there are different views about this.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:52 pm

TMingyur wrote:No. This was not a definition but an instance of conceptuality.


Yes, that's what I meant.

TMingyur wrote:This was when I tried to explain why conceptuality seems to be misunderstood: Because it is confused with "grasping".


Yes that was when you introduced it.

TMingyur wrote:Well there are different views about this.


Indeed, and until we can agree on the meaning of the words we use then we won't be able to discuss it.

See your definition of the word conceptuality seems to be all mental activity, if the OP also subscribed to that definition then it would make the question "Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?" a dumb question.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:05 am

Goofaholix wrote:See your definition of the word conceptuality seems to be all mental activity, if the OP also subscribed to that definition then it would make the question "Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?" a dumb question.

To be more precise I consider it to be "all mental activity that is 'adding', 'constructing' or 'synthesizing'." This definition shall leave it open whether there can be mental activity that is empty of that. One could also say "conceptuality is all mental activity that diverts from 'suchness'".
From my perspective it is not a dumb question but a question that may be based on misunderstanding about the inevitability of conceptuality in the context of the "process" or "meditative path" leading to insight. And it is a question that may lack precision. It may lack precision because some understand "Vipassana" to be the insight as such and some understand "Vipassana" to be the "process" or "meditative path" leading to insight. My view is that the latter is certainly and inevitably conceptual.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:21 am

TMingyur wrote:To be more precise I consider it to be "all mental activity that is 'adding', 'constructing' or 'synthesizing'." This definition shall leave it open whether there can be mental activity that is empty of that. One could also say "conceptuality is all mental activity that diverts from 'suchness'".
From my perspective it is not a dumb question but a question that may be based on misunderstanding about the inevitability of conceptuality in the context of the "process" or "meditative path" leading to insight. And it is a question that may lack precision. It may lack precision because some understand "Vipassana" to be the insight as such and some understand "Vipassana" to be the "process" or "meditative path" leading to insight. My view is that the latter is certainly and inevitably conceptual.


Which brings us back to the question I asked a couple of times in different ways but hasn't yet been answered... a sensation is noticed and a reaction to that sensation has been noticed, where is the mental activity of 'adding', 'constructing' or 'synthesizing'?
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:27 am

Goofaholix wrote:Which brings us back to the question I asked a couple of times in different ways but hasn't yet been answered... a sensation is noticed and a reaction to that sensation has been noticed, where is the mental activity of 'adding', 'constructing' or 'synthesizing'?


This depends on the implication intended by your words "a sensation is noticed". If "a sensation is noticed" shall mean that what is called "a sensation" is thereby differentiated from what is not called "sensation" (i.e. "a sensation" is "discerned"), then your words "a sensation is noticed" refer to an instance of conceptuality.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:35 am

TMingyur wrote:This depends on the implication intended by your words "a sensation is noticed". If "a sensation is noticed" shall mean that what "a sensation" is thereby differentiated from what is not called "sensation", then your words "a sensation is noticed" refer to an instance of conceptuality.
There can be the noticing of the sensation followed by the "labeling" of the noticing.
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: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:36 am

TMingyur wrote:This depends on the implication intended by your words "a sensation is noticed". If "a sensation is noticed" shall mean that what "a sensation" is thereby differentiated from what is not called "sensation" (i.e. "a sensation" is "discerned"), then your words "a sensation is noticed" refer to an instance of conceptuality.


No, I didn't say any differentiation or comparison between sensation or non-sensation took place, just sensation is noticed. So by your reply I take it then that if your definition of conceptuality includes sanna/perception/discerning/noticing then I can only assume all mental activity included.

If not what mental activity would you not include under the heading conceptuality?
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:40 am

TMingyur wrote:There can be the noticing of the sensation followed by the "labeling" of the noticing.


Yes and that labelling is something that definately would come under the definition of conceptuality, however the labelling is optional and in my understanding a temporary aid in vipassana techniques.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:45 am

Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:This depends on the implication intended by your words "a sensation is noticed". If "a sensation is noticed" shall mean that what "a sensation" is thereby differentiated from what is not called "sensation" (i.e. "a sensation" is "discerned"), then your words "a sensation is noticed" refer to an instance of conceptuality.


No, I didn't say any differentiation or comparison between sensation or non-sensation took place, just sensation is noticed. So by your reply I take it then that if your definition of conceptuality includes sanna/perception/discerning/noticing then I can only assume all mental activity included.

If not what mental activity would you not include under the heading conceptuality?


Discerning is not actively "comparing" it is "singling out of a phenomenon" from an overall context of "experience" that is undifferentiated. And that "singling out" necessarily is based on concpetuality, since there is involved an (at least subliminal) mnemonic activity ("re-"cognition).

Although I do no share your conclusion as to "all mental activity" because it is ungrounded I am not in a position to name a non-conceptual mental activity without delving into speculation which I do not want to.

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:46 am

Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:This depends on the implication intended by your words "a sensation is noticed". If "a sensation is noticed" shall mean that what "a sensation" is thereby differentiated from what is not called "sensation" (i.e. "a sensation" is "discerned"), then your words "a sensation is noticed" refer to an instance of conceptuality.


No, I didn't say any differentiation or comparison between sensation or non-sensation took place, just sensation is noticed. So by your reply I take it then that if your definition of conceptuality includes sanna/perception/discerning/noticing then I can only assume all mental activity included.

If not what mental activity would you not include under the heading conceptuality?
Saññā can be seen without conceptualizing about it.
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: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:46 am

Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:There can be the noticing of the sensation followed by the "labeling" of the noticing.


Yes and that labelling is something that definately would come under the definition of conceptuality, however the labelling is optional and in my understanding a temporary aid in vipassana techniques.
Yes.
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: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:48 am

Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:There can be the noticing of the sensation followed by the "labeling" of the noticing.


Yes and that labelling is something that definately would come under the definition of conceptuality, however the labelling is optional and in my understanding a temporary aid in vipassana techniques.


Wrongly quoted. This is not my statement although I agree but "labeling" I consider to be gross conceptuality whereas "noticing" is subtle conceptuality

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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:55 am

TMingyur wrote:Discerning is not actively "comparing" it is "singling out of a phenomenon" from an overall context of "experience" that is undifferentiated. And that "singling out" necessarily is based on concpetuality, since there is involved an (at least subliminal) mnemonic activity ("re-"cognition).

Although I do no share your conclusion as to "all mental activity" because it is ungrounded I am not in a position to name a non-conceptual mental activity without delving into speculation which I do not want to.


Ok since we've pretty much established that to you the english word conceptuality pretty much applies to all mental activity

Do you have an english word that specifically covers the type of mental activity listed below that would differentiate it from from the more raw or more natural activities of the mind like conciousness or perception or insight?
all types of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, prejudices, compulsions, and decisions triggered by an object a principle or idea, something conceived in the mind, notion, an abstract or generic idea generalized from particular instances.

Either way to answer the OP, yes Vipassana does involve mental activity
Last edited by Goofaholix on Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:Saññā can be seen without conceptualizing about it.


Absolutely.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:00 am

TMingyur wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:There can be the noticing of the sensation followed by the "labeling" of the noticing.


Yes and that labelling is something that definately would come under the definition of conceptuality, however the labelling is optional and in my understanding a temporary aid in vipassana techniques.


Wrongly quoted.


I screwed up the quote tags, sorry about that.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana: conceptual or non-conceptual?

Postby ground » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:04 am

Goofaholix wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Discerning is not actively "comparing" it is "singling out of a phenomenon" from an overall context of "experience" that is undifferentiated. And that "singling out" necessarily is based on concpetuality, since there is involved an (at least subliminal) mnemonic activity ("re-"cognition).

Although I do no share your conclusion as to "all mental activity" because it is ungrounded I am not in a position to name a non-conceptual mental activity without delving into speculation which I do not want to.


Ok since we've pretty much established that to you the english word conceptuality pretty much applies to all mental activity


"Ok since we've pretty much established that" actually means that this is your conclusion which is ungrounded from my perspective.

Goofaholix wrote:Do you have an english word that specifically covers the type of mental activity listed below ...

No.


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