Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

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Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:33 am

Greetings,

There was a recent thread here about an American who claimed to be an Arahant. Needless to say, lots of discussion ensued. What I took from that discussion though, was that person's clear unambiguous recommendation for Mahasi Sayadaw's Practical Insight Meditation. Given that time is so precious (and just in case the guy did accomplish something special), I decided to read it.

Well, the closest I could find was Mahasi Sayadaw's Satipatthana Vipassana on Access To Insight and it was a fascinating read. In a nutshell, it struck me that this method is all about continuous noting of whatever is most prevalent. My question to all is whether this practice is of benefit if not done 24x7 day-after-day as the text implies. I can adopt this style of practice for my daily commute and walking sessions, but I've still got to work with numerous people and computers throughout the day and just can't maintain it and still be effective at my job.

Comments?

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:01 am

Most of those documents are summaries of talks to retreat attenders, so of course talk about 24/7 attention, and walking for an hour. Obviously not what one can do at home...

Personally, I've found the technique very effective. I have teachers here who trained in Thailand and Burma who give me practical advice, but I've learned a lot from on-line and paper references.

I have put some on-line references in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=341

The books by U Pandida and Bante Sujiva have been particularly helpful.

Metta
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:54 am

You can find Practical Insight Meditation on my website, along with many other valuable publications of the Mahāsī Sayādaw's teachings.

While working on computers and commuicating with people for your work, it is not feasible to be mindful of the realities at all times. You must work in the conceptual world to communicate effectively. However, there are many moments throughout a working day when you can pay attention to realities. When you hear the telephone ring, don't just pick it up immediately as you might normally do. Be mindful of “hearing“ for at two or three rings, then of “intending,” “reaching,” “touching,” and “lifting.” If you are annoyed by the interruption, then note “annoyed.” These few simple habits will relieve a great deal of stress, and enable you to pay full attention to what the caller has to say.

I prefer the Mahāsī method to other methods because the techniques learned on an intensive retreat are more easily adapted to “real” world situations, rather than just being applicable during retreats. Throughout the day, everyone does many routine activities such as washing, shaving, dressing, and eating, which can be done with mindfulness or without mindfulness. If one just slows down a bit, and pays more attention, then one will be establishing mindfulness, which will keep the mind free from gross defilements and gradually lead to insight.

While driving, one must look at the road ahead, and maintain full awareness of the ever-changing traffic situation. However, there will still be many moments when stuck in traffic that one can be mindful of “sitting,” “touching,” “hearing,” ”looking,” “seeing,” and so forth, instead of just allowing the mind to roam wherever it likes. Turn off the radio, and pay more attention to the present moment. Not only will you drive more safely, you will arrive at your destination without being fatigued or stressed.
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:30 am

Excellent advice, bhante... thanks for the timely reminder.

:thumbsup:

Pure satipatthana...

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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby nathan » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:52 am

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. That is what, if anything, makes it religious. I think you will see real changes if you follow this advice people have here. Take at least 20 min. and up to an hour if possible first thing in the morning to religiously do a sitting or walking session where you practice your technique. Then, throughout the day. In the suitable gaps or calm moments. Commit to adverting to your technique while continuing in your activities. Then very near the end of the day do another 20 min. plus of very focused practice on your technique. If you commit strongly to doing this consistently then it works wonders. Any lesser efforts have lesser wonders to offer. That's the way it is with this same as every other kind of real work. But it can be very good work, if you can get it!
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:30 pm

Hi,
I haven't read the book cover to cover but have read some of it, my take is that the actual noting is for formal practice which once we are use to the process we take that into daily life in the form of simply knowing it is there, when listening we know we are listening we don't have to tell ourselves we are listening.
I have never specifically tried the Mahasi method but the method I was initially taught is very similar.
my main issue with the noting method is that I end up noting thinking thinking thinking referring to the noting of what comes up when anything arises.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Jechbi » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:44 pm

Hello AdvaitaJ,

Not much to add to the fine comments already posted here, but here's a link to the article in questions in case anyone wants to read it:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el370.html

The article includes this paragraph:
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:If one proceeds with the practice in the manner indicated, the number of objects will gradually increase in the course of time. At first there will be many omissions because the mind is used to wandering without any restraint whatsoever. However, a yogi should not lose heart on this account. This difficulty is usually encountered in the beginning of practice. After some time, the mind can no longer play truant because it is always found out every time it wanders. It therefore remains fixed on the object to which it is directed.
My understanding is that slowly, this whole process becomes a habit. But things are happening so quickly that unless one has astonishing powers of concentration and mindfulness, you're going to miss most of it. Ven. Sayadaw notes:
... on every occasion of noting, each process arises and passes away at that very moment. But, on the other hand, uninstructed people generally consider that the body and mind remain in a permanent state throughout life, that the same body of childhood has grown up into adulthood, that the same young mind has grown up into maturity, and that both body and mind are one and the same person. In reality, this is not so. Nothing is permanent. Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye.
So I wouldn't worry about trying to catch every single moment. As we progress, we catch more and more of those moments. Meanwhile, we keep on "practicing" and building up that habit. Slow and steady is perfectly ok, I think.

Metta
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:44 pm

Hi Manapa,
Manapa wrote:... my main issue with the noting method is that I end up noting thinking thinking thinking referring to the noting of what comes up when anything arises.

Then I think you may need better instruction. The whole idea of the noting (as I understand it) is to prevent such proliferation. To catch the object at the sense door or mind door and allow focus on the object. If you are becoming focussed on the noting, then it's not noting anymore, it's thinking...
Personally, I found it took me several months before I was really "seeing" the objects, rather than just assuming they were there and noting them anyway. E.g. sitting there doing "rising, falling" and then realising that I was out of synch with the breathing!

This is not a trivial or "beginners" technique. It can quite subtle and powerful when developed. What I find now (after almost three years) is that the noting is an invaluable aid "locking on" to very subtle and dangerous objects, such as the desire to be peaceful... (notes "wanting, wanting...")

Of course, other techniques are subtle and powerful as well, and take a long time to learn properly...

Metta
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:28 pm

There are two factors of jhāna called vitakka and vicāra. Vitakka is initial application, while vicāra is sustained application of the mind to the meditation object.

With Satipatthāna Vipassanā meditation, the object is constantly changing, but these factors are still present. The noting or labelling of the object observed is iniitial application (vitakka). It is an essential factor of concentration, so should not be neglected. However, there comes a point when the second vipassanā jhāna is reached and the noting is then no longer required.

See this chapter on the Vipassanā Jhānas by Sayādaw U Pandita.
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:12 am

mikenz66 wrote:Personally, I've found the technique very effective.
Mike,

That's good enough for me. I'm going to incorporate this in my weekday "work" sessions. :thanks:

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:See this chapter on the Vipassanā Jhānas by Sayādaw U Pandita.
Bhante,

Thanks much! In another of those strange coincidences, the copy of In This Very Life that I ordered last week arrived today. Thanks also for the link to your website. I've saved the page and will read it directly. (I find it easier to read the smaller texts sooner. :D )

:anjali:

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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:24 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Manapa,
Manapa wrote:... my main issue with the noting method is that I end up noting thinking thinking thinking referring to the noting of what comes up when anything arises.

Then I think you may need better instruction. .....................................
Metta
Mike

HI Mike
chopped down the quote there to save space,
the first couple of minuets (say 15 for argument sake) is fine, and I don't necessarily note as Thinking thinking thinking, this was just for ease in the first post, I personally find just observing and being aware without the mental noting in such a manner, but when I do, or have done, I end up noting the observation techneque as thinking, observing, noting etc as that is the most "obvious sensation" if you will, it is almost like I am observing the observation, easy but somewhat poor explanation, this doesn't happen when watching the breath only when I observe the other aspects.
I just find it easier to be attentive to without the words.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:28 am

Hi Manapa,

I wouldn't presume to give you meditation instruction. It does sound like it's not working too well for you. However, my experience is consistent with U Pandita's discusssion in "In this Very Life" (Courtesy of Bhikkhu Pesala).
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... structions
There will be moments when the mind wanders off. You will start to think of something. At this time, watch the mind! Be aware that you are thinking. To clarify this to yourself, note the thought silently with the verbal label “thinking, thinking,” and come back to the rising and falling.

The same practice should be used for objects of awareness that arise at any of what are called the six sense doors: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Despite making an effort to do so, no one can remain perfectly focused on the rising and falling of the abdomen forever. Other objects inevitably arise and become predominant. Thus, the sphere of meditation encompasses all of our experiences: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations in the body, and mental objects such as visions in the imagination or emotions. When any of these objects arise you should focus direct awareness on them, and use a gentle verbal label “spoken” in the mind.

During a sitting meditation, if another object impinges strongly on the awareness so as to draw it away from the rising and falling of the abdomen, this object must be clearly noted. For example, if a loud sound arises during your meditation, consciously direct your attention toward that sound as soon as it arises. Be aware of the sound as a direct experience, and also identify it succinctly with the soft, internal verbal label “hearing, hearing.” When the sound fades and is no longer predominant, come back to the rising and falling. This is the basic principle to follow in sitting meditation.

In making the verbal label, there is no need for complex language. One simple word is best. For the eye, ear, and tongue doors we simply say, “Seeing, seeing... Hearing, hearing... Tasting, tasting.” For sensations in the body we may choose a slightly more descriptive term like warmth, pressure, hardness, or motion. Mental objects appear to present a bewildering diversity, but actually they fall into just a few clear categories such as thinking, imagining, remembering, planning, and visualizing. But remember that in using the labeling technique, your goal is not to gain verbal skills. Labeling technique helps us to perceive clearly the actual qualities of our experience, without getting immersed in the content. It develops mental power and focus. In meditation we seek a deep, clear, precise awareness of the mind and body. This direct awareness shows us the truth about our lives, the actual nature of mental and physical processes.

Of course it's the awareness that is the important thing...

Metta
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:01 pm

I just don't find the Noting method right for me, but this is derailing the OP's thread
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:02 pm

The Mahasi method is probably one of the best and effective methods around..I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Now if you just add jhana to it... :thumbsup:
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:11 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Now if you just add jhana to it... :thumbsup:

It already has jhāna in it — read the earlier post and the linked articles.
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Re: Anybody else read Satipatthana Vipassana by M. Sayadaw?

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:46 pm

Dear Ven Pesala,

Did you mean the vipassana jhana? Sorry, I meant samatha jhana. I didnt see any reference to jhana in the other link you posted unless it is in that site somewhere- I didnt dig deeply enough.

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