Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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kirk5a
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:54 pm

Question - I have seen it reported a couple places (can't put my finger on where right now sorry) that Ajahn Chah said that if someone in his monastery hadn't entered the stream in 6 months or a year he didn't know what they had been up to the whole time. Does anyone know if Ajahn Chah expressed any further detail on how he regarded stream entry?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Parth
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Parth » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:14 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:31 pm

I think places where ceasing 'nirodha' is mentioned, often found in the 'nibbida' (repulsion), 'viraga' (dispassion) and nirodha combination, refers to just this phenomena of the flame in the process of ceasing or going out. The Buddha comments on what is happening to the observable phenomena as strictly speaking, calling nibbana anything in particular ( including nibbana itself, not to mention pitch black/empty/void etc) is all misleading as to it's true nature. It is best to say what happens to the last bits of the development of the noble eightfold path as it starts ceasing, due to the incredible level of insight into the futility of phenomena at this state (ie- that is why it is ceasing). The third noble truth (nirodha sacca- literally the 'truth of ceasing') can only be experientially understood at this level. There is a sutta in the AN where the forward arising of the paticcasamuppada is called the second noble truth (samudaya sacca- the truth of arising?) and it's 'ceasing' formulation, beginning with 'the ceasing of ignorance leads to the ceasing of fabrications etc..' is called the third noble truth.

If we tie in the commentarial literature along with works of scholarly meditation masters like Ven Matara Nanarama, Ven Mahasi sayadaw a picture emerges that all of these sources are talking of the same thing- pointing in the same direction. So while we delight in arising (insight, wisdom, light etc) to be told that the culmination is actually a cessation is more than a little let down. ...we need to understand the depth of our ignorance in this matter, let go of our previous scholarly accomplishments and accept that we maybe looking at another deepening of the sea-shore of this vast thing called the dhamma. :smile:

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:34 am


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:24 am

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower...

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower...

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer...

So. I am approaching the matter of meditation with the understanding that the inconstant, changeable, alterable nature of the eye (seeing), ear (hearing), nose (smells), tongue (tastes), body (sensations), and mind (thoughts), is observable directly here and now within the basic context of normal sense experience. If that is so, then what need is there for it all to totally stop?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:08 am

On one occasion many elder monks were staying near Varanasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then in the late afternoon Ven. Channa left his seclusion and, taking his key, went from dwelling to dwelling, saying to the elder monks, "May the venerable elders exhort me, may the venerable elders teach me, may the venerable elders give me a Dhamma talk so that I might see the Dhamma."

When this was said, the elder monks said to Ven. Channa, "Form, friend Channa, is inconstant. Feeling is inconstant. Perception is inconstant. Fabrications are inconstant. Consciousness is inconstant. Form is not-self. Feeling is not-self. Perception is not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. All fabrications are inconstant. All phenomena are not-self."

Then the thought occurred to Ven. Channa, "I, too, think that form is inconstant, feeling is inconstant, perception is inconstant, fabrications are inconstant, consciousness is inconstant; form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self; all fabrications are inconstant; all phenomena are not-self. But still my mind does not leap up, grow confident, steadfast, & released[1] in the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, Unbinding. Instead, agitation & clinging arise, and my intellect pulls back, thinking, 'But who, then, is my self?' But this thought doesn't occur to one who sees the Dhamma. So who might teach me the Dhamma so that I might see the Dhamma?"

Then the thought occurred to Ven. Channa, "This Ven. Ananda is staying at Kosambi in Ghosita's Park. He has been praised by the Teacher and is esteemed by his knowledgeable fellows in the holy life. He is capable of teaching me the Dhamma so that I might see the Dhamma, and I have sudden trust in him. Why don't I go to Ven. Ananda?"

So, setting his lodgings in order and carrying his robes & bowl, Ven. Channa went to Kosambi to where Ven. Ananda was staying in Ghosita's Park. On arrival, he exchanged courteous greetings with the Ven. Ananda. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he [told Ven. Ananda what had happened and added], "May Ven. Ananda exhort me, may Ven. Ananda teach me, may Ven. Ananda give me a Dhamma talk so that I might see the Dhamma."

"Even this much makes me feel gratified & satisfied with Ven. Channa, that he opens up & breaks down his stubbornness. So lend ear, friend Channa. You are capable of understanding the Dhamma."

Then a sudden great rapture & joy welled up in Ven. Channa at the thought, "So I am capable of understanding the Dhamma!"

"Face-to-face with the Blessed One have I heard this, friend Channa. Face-to-face with him have I learned the exhortation he gave to the bhikkhu Kaccayanagotta:[2] 'By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by[3] a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, "non-existence" with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, "existence" with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"'By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on "my self." He has no uncertainty or doubt that, when there is arising, only stress is arising; and that when there is passing away, stress is passing away. In this, one's knowledge is independent of others. It is to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'"Everything exists": That is one extreme. "Everything doesn't exist": That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"'Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.'

"That's how it is, friend Ananda, for those who have friends in the holy life like Ven. Ananda — sympathetic, helpful, exhorting, & teaching. Just now, for me, listening to Ven. Ananda's Dhamma-teaching, has the Dhamma been penetrated."

Notes:

For me this sutta clearly suggests that Ven Channa knew that after seeing impermanence of the five aggregates (ie everything) that 'the resolution of all fabrications (sabbe sankara samathaya), which is another name for nibbana, should manifest. Equally Ven Ananda asks him to put his stubbornness aside and be open to the dhamma. If he hadn't done that Ven Channa would not have become a stream entrant.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Parth » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:51 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:16 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Parth » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:53 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:32 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:46 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:03 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:05 am

With Metta

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:14 am

With Metta

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Parth » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:48 am


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby kirk5a » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:49 pm

http://archive.thebuddhadharma.com/issu ... amaro.html
"The concept of cessation is very familiar in the Theravada tradition. Even though it's supposed to be synonymous with nibbana, it's sometimes put forth as some event that we're all seeking, where all experience will vanish and then we'll be fine: "A great god will come from the sky, take away everything and make everybody feel high." I don't want to get obsessed about words, but we suffer a lot or get confused because of misunderstandings like this. When we talk about stopping consciousness, do you think that means "Let's all get unconscious?” It can't be that, can it? The Buddha was not extolling the virtues of unconsciousness. Otherwise thorazine or barbiturates would be the way: "Give me the anesthetic and we're on our way to nibbana." But obviously that's not it. Understanding what is meant by stopping or cessation is thus pretty crucial here."

My question exactly. I was wondering how, if cessation is regarded as simply the cessation of all experience, how it was different from general anesthesia, where just such a cessation takes place. There is no thinking, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. There is no experience whatsoever, not even of pitch black emptiness or of the passing of any time. No suffering of course, that being the point of the procedure. And is of no value beyond allowing an operation to be undergone.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Parth » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:26 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby kirk5a » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:03 pm

Hi Parth

Just to clarify, the first paragraph above is Ajahn Amaro's, from the link at the top. The second paragraph is mine.

As for definition, you did offer this definition

"Nibbana is defined as a cessation becuause in that state suddenly all sensations and six senses stop functioning, the concept of 'I' also is supposed to vanish."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:35 pm


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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:53 pm



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