Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

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Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:46 am

Greetings,

An interesting video from venerable Vimalaramsi on..

How the Visuddhi Magga and the Abhidhamma has influenced the Buddha's Teachings


It goes some way to explaining why some people may legitimately prefer a suttanta method of meditation over that of one based upon post-Buddha teachings. Frankly, I find it refreshing to see a monk have the courage to defend the primacy of the Buddha's teaching, against the traditional backdrop of accumulated post-Buddha perspectives.

:anjali:

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: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby legolas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:02 pm

Am at work at the moment so I dare'nt click on youtube, but will avidly watch it later. I find Bhante Vimalaramsi a breath of fresh air, he spent a huge chunk of his life following a Buddhism laid down by tradition. This is an enormous investment to make with your life. I think it showed a huge amount of courage to actually say to himself - this does not feel quite right and go back to the Suttas for inspiration. I believe it was Bhante Punnaji who first pointed Bhante Vimalaramsi towards concentrating on the suttas.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:59 pm

Hello Retro,

Is this the same man who is mentioned somewhere in a thread here saying he could cure AIDS?

with metta
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:11 pm

Hello all,

I found the post re Bhante Vimalaramsi mentioning curing AIDS – it was by JCsuperstar:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3948#p58241
and the talk is here:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3948#p58258

with metta
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby Adrien » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:49 pm

Actually he didn't sayed that he could cure aids, but that he knew how to heal himself from aids if he happens to get it (which is still a little strange).

However, this is not the subject here. Being wrong/foolish at one time doesn't mean being wrong/foolish all the time. And there is no need to value Bhante Vimalaramsi's credibility here, since he is only talking about things we can easily verify.

So if you disagree whith what he says in this video (which I assume you do), please offer us some counter arguments. Please consider the words, not the speaker, and explain why you disagree whith him. I would be interested in your answer if you had the time and motivation to do it. And I'm not saying this in a challenging way, I would be truely interested in what you have to say :smile:
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:05 pm

Hello adrien,

I don't have any particular feelings one way or the other about the man. I follow the Burmese tradition, in which he was originally trained.

All teachers ought to be subjected to public scrutiny - it is a normal part of assessing whether a teacher is right for you.

with metta
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby Adrien » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:25 pm

"it is a normal part of assessing whether a teacher is right for you."
I agree, but I don't think it was the time nor the place to evaluate Bhante Vimalaramsi. You evaluate a teacher when you're about to engage yourself with his teachings. I think it was not necessary to judge him to discuss what he says in this video.
But this is not very important, thanks anyway.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby octathlon » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:06 pm

Thanks for posting that, Retro!
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:48 pm

Of course, Abhidhamma is mentioned many times in the Sutta Piṭaka, e.g. in the Mahāgosinga Sutta of the Majjhimanikāya.
“Idhāvuso Sāriputta, dve bhikkhū abhidhammakathaṃ kathenti, te aññamaññaṃ pañhaṃ pucchanti, aññamaññassa pañhaṃ puṭṭhā vissajjenti, no ca saṃsādenti, dhammī ca nesaṃ kathā pavattinī hoti. Evarūpena kho, āvuso Sāriputta, bhikkhunā gosiṅgasālavanaṃ sobheyyā”ti.
Summary: Two bhikkhus questioning one another on the Abhidhamma would illuminate the Gosinga Grove.

Some people just like controversy. It is better to steer clear of it, and get on with one's own study and practice.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:11 pm

Greetings bhante,

Of course, Abhidhamma is mentioned many times in the Sutta Piṭaka, e.g. in the Mahāgosinga Sutta of the Majjhimanikāya.

It is commonly accepted that such references in the sutta are actually references to deep/profound matters on the Dhamma, just as there is reference to abhivinaya in the suttas, that correspond to deeper detailed matters on the Vinaya (and not to some Abhivinaya Pitaka).

The fact the authors of the Abhidhamma Pitaka named it as such doesn't make it any more the teaching of the Buddha than if someone went and created a Satipatthana Pitaka and then turned around and said, "Hey, the Buddha uses the word satipatthana in the suttas... surely then the Satipatthana Pitaka is his teaching!". I know some people here find reductio ad absurdum a little distasteful, but I think it's relevant here - particularly given your previously stated thoughts on false Dhammas being attributed to the Buddha.

Some people just like controversy. It is better to steer clear of it

Whilst I agree with this, not all genuine issues need to be inflamed to the level of 'controversy'. They can be assessed dispassionately, with regards to the facts, and without personal attacks. Personally, my interest here is not controversy but to find out what I should study and practice... not wanting to be led away from the Buddha's teaching, and not having all the time in the world to study everything that's ever been written in the name of Buddhism.

and get on with one's own study and practice.

Indeed... but what practice is that? There are many different ways to approach Buddhist practice even within the scope of Theravada. Some of the differences are made clear in venerable Vimalaramsi's Dhamma talk. My determination on what to practice is (the lay equivalent) of what you in fact once taught me in relation to the Four Great References of the Maha-parinibbana Sutta, which give primacy to the Buddha's teaching and the discipline he taught.

If one's "own study and practice" incorporates things inconsistent with the Buddha's teaching, is this of value vis-a-vis the pursuit of enlightenment? Would we unconditionally recommend "get on with one's own study and practice" if someone were say, a member of the New Kadampa Tradition or Pure Land? The teaching (and in turn, the view) underpinning practice is essential, from my perspective. If the meditation instructions in the Visuddhimagga regarding one-pointed concentration are indeed ported over from the vedas as venerable Vimalaramsi suggests, wouldn't that be cause for due caution? As much as I'm tolerant and accepting of followers of the Vedic traditions, I have no wish to (unintentionally) be one of them.

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: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby Adrien » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:30 pm

Anyway, Bhante Vimalaramsi didn't say that abhidhamma is not mentionned in the sutta pitaka (neither he said it is), but that the story of how the abhidhamma was taught is to be found only in commentarial texts.
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:31 pm

Greetings,

Adrien wrote:but that the story of how the abhidhamma was taught is to be found only in commentarial texts.

... and that the story does not accord with the Buddha's own words that he did not teach with a closed fist (i.e. no secretive teachings given only to exclusive groups)

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: Bhante Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:39 pm

Adrien wrote:Actually he didn't sayed that he could cure aids, but that he knew how to heal himself from aids if he happens to get it (which is still a little strange).

However, this is not the subject here. Being wrong/foolish at one time doesn't mean being wrong/foolish all the time. And there is no need to value Bhante Vimalaramsi's credibility here, since he is only talking about things we can easily verify.

So if you disagree whith what he says in this video (which I assume you do), please offer us some counter arguments. Please consider the words, not the speaker, and explain why you disagree whith him. I would be interested in your answer if you had the time and motivation to do it. And I'm not saying this in a challenging way, I would be truely interested in what you have to say :smile:

That Ven Vimalaramsi was thoroughly disillusioned by his experiences in Burma is actually quite relevant because his talks (and I've listened to over 100 of them, since they are mostly based on reading Majjhima Nikaya suttas and commenting on them) are clearly shaped by that.

He does make some interesting points in some of his discourses, but I think that there are much better critiques of the history of the Therevada and the Abhidhamma if that's what one is interested in.

Ven Vimalaramsi (in that talk and elsewhere) makes a lot of statements about history and about Bhuddhaghosa's background (that he was a Brahmin and taught "Brahmin Jhana") that I've never heard confirmed from other sources.

Here's some previous discussions:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5434
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 24&start=0

:anjali:
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby Adrien » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:54 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Adrien wrote:but that the story of how the abhidhamma was taught is to be found only in commentarial texts.

... and that the story does not accord with the Buddha's own words that he did not teach with a closed fist (i.e. no secretive teachings given only to exclusive groups)

Well, that cannot convince everyone since these teachings were not secret, as he repeated them to Sariputta (who himself repeated them to other people).Moreover, he also taught differently in regards to the intelligence of his listener (and if he didn't teach dependant origination to some lay people, this is not because of his closed fist). It is said that devas are much more intelligent that the most of us, and that could explain why he taught abhidhamma to them rather to humans. I think this argument will be considered as valid for people who already are conviced, and as unvalid for people who think abhidhamma was taught by the Buddha... So maybe that point should be put aside, that would let more space to discuss about the other points, which are much more convincing.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:That Ven Vimalaramsi was thoroughly disillusioned by his experiences in Burma is actually quite relevant because his talks (and I've listened to over 100 of them, since they are mostly based on reading Majjhima Nikaya suttas and commenting on them) are clearly shaped by that.

Well, that was not the point I discussed : I was talking about the healing aids thing.

I think it would be much more relevant considering other dhamma talks of his (like when he teach meditation and criticize mahasi's method). However, I won't say this is totally irrelevant, since his past with vipassana meditation can be considered as a motivation to dismiss it, by being partial with informations he provides us on the subject. The following of your message would go in this direction, and I would have no difficulty to believe it.

I really like Bhante Vimalaramsi's teachings, but I recognize that he may think (a little too hard) he has the "ultimate clues" of buddhism... I'm not a fan about this part of his personality. However, I'm trying not to throw out the baby with the bath water : even anagamis can still have self-pride and vanity...
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby legolas » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:05 am

Awesome video. Why get sidetracked about "curing aids"? If you want to take the sutta's and dhamma as a whole, then curing illness with dhamma is nothing new.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.060.than.html
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

An interesting video from venerable Vimalaramsi on..

How the Visuddhi Magga and the Abhidhamma has influenced the Buddha's Teachings


It goes some way to explaining why some people may legitimately prefer a suttanta method of meditation over that of one based upon post-Buddha teachings. Frankly, I find it refreshing to see a monk have the courage to defend the primacy of the Buddha's teaching, against the traditional backdrop of accumulated post-Buddha perspectives.

:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Well, we have had a thread on this guy earlier on. He is no more attractive now than he was then. I'll look elsewhere for my Dhamma teachings.
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:01 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Well, we have had a thread on this guy earlier on. He no more attractive now than he was then. I'll look elsewhere for my Dhamma teraching.

In the video, he actually says something to the effect that he doesn't want you to believe him - he wants you to believe your own experience. I see him as someone pointing in a direction, encouraging self-discovery, rather than giving direct teaching or instruction.

Whatever this person may have said in regards to other issues, I think what he says on the subject at hand is valuable, namely how the Visuddhimagga and Abhidhamma have influenced the Buddha's Teachings (and specifically here in terms of meditation), as they are presented to us today.

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: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby alan » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:37 am

I loved it. Maybe because attempts at understanding Visuddhimagga have always left me more perplexed than enlightened... and maybe because after reading the suttas I don't see the need for adding unnecessarily complex levels of interpretation.
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby legolas » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:40 am

It was Bhante Vimalaramsi who helped me escape the person I had become via "vipassana". Numerous 10 day courses, although initially enticing had turned me into an unthinking, hard-hearted individual who was gradually losing all sense of the joy and wonder of the Dhamma - which is what attracted me to it in the first place. There is more between heaven & earth than bare attention & observing sensations, and Bhante Vimalaramsi is one of the few monks who actually teach what that is. If we want to hang around waiting for the "perfect" monk as a teacher, we might have a long wait. All I know is that Bhante's teachings resonate with the suttas, introduce clear guidelines for practice which find verification in the suttas, and most importantly they work.
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Re: Ven. Vimalaramsi on the Abhidhamma & the Visuddhi Magga

Postby kirk5a » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:31 am

O.K. Well that clears up a lot of things for me. Thanks for posting that video.
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