Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:18 pm

Hi starter,

All that is fine to state but would tend to agree with Matheesha.

Regards

Parth
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:58 pm

starter wrote:Hm, I happened to read the following which is relevant to this thread and would like to share with the friends:

"When I returned to practice in Ajahn Chah’s community following more than a year of silent Mahasi retreat, I recounted all of these experiences—dissolving my body into light, profound insights into emptiness, hours of vast stillness and freedom. Ajahn Chah understood and appreciated them from his own deep wisdom. Then he smiled and said, “Well, something else to let go of.”

-- Jack Kornfield "Enlightenments" (in this article he compares the different views / experiences of enlightenment in different traditions -- Mahasi Sayadaw vs. Ajahn Chah)

http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/Enlightenments.html

Metta to all,

Starter


Hi Starter,

Yes, Ajhan Chah, did not say 'pitch black emptines, bah, what nonsense!' - instead he gives the instructions to take the next step- to subdue the ego, to let go of the self and attainments belonging to that self.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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& Upekkha
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:12 pm

rowyourboat wrote:We know that nibbana is an unconditioned (asankhata) state. We also know that states like samadhi and sati (and vinnana) are conditioned states. Therefore to characterise nibbana using conditioned states like these is not appropriate.

Nibbāna isn't a "state."

All the best,

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:23 pm

Nana / Geoff wrote :

Nibbāna isn't a "state."


whatever you say to define it, you would be wrong / could be disputed easily.

Metta

Parth
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Kenshou » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:06 pm

So Parth, do you know anything about the goal of Buddhist practice? If so, in light of what you have said, how did you ever get it? And if you don't, why are you a Buddhist?

You don't have to answer these questions, it's rhetorical, but hopefully you see my point.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:11 pm

Dear Kenshou,

Point taken but, point remains u cant define it :smile:

Metta

Parth
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:23 pm

parth wrote:Nana / Geoff wrote :

Nibbāna isn't a "state."


whatever you say to define it, you would be wrong / could be disputed easily.

Metta

Parth
Nibbana is the desrtuction of greed, hatred and delusion. Is that wrong?
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: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Kenshou » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:24 pm

The point may remain, but it remains badly thought out.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:34 pm

parth wrote:whatever you say to define it, you would be wrong

Nonsense. Nibbāna is explicitly and clearly defined in the canon as the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion. SN 38.1 Nibbānapañhā Sutta:

    “‘Nibbāna, nibbāna,’ friend Sāriputta, it is said. What now is nibbāna?”

    “The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this, friend, is called nibbāna.”

And the nibbāna component with fuel remaining (saupādisesa nibbānadhātu) is defined in exactly the same terms in Itivuttaka 2.44 Nibbānadhātu Sutta:

    And what is the nibbāna component with fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose outflows have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, ended the fetter of existence, and is liberated through right gnosis. His five sense faculties still remain and, owing to their being intact, he is cognizant of the agreeable and the disagreeable, and experiences pleasure and pain. His elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion is termed the nibbāna component with fuel remaining.

Nothing whatsoever to do with a "state" or "pitch-black emptiness."

All the best,

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Kori » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:51 am

I think that what parth meant is that Nibbana is simply indescribable even when one has attained it. You can describe in words how to get there, but describing in words the actual phenomena is futile. Therefore, "The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion" are words describing how one attains it, but not actual Nibbana itself.
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Dhammapada, Ch. 1, Verse 2.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:45 am

Kori wrote:I think that what parth meant is that Nibbana is simply indescribable even when one has attained it. You can describe in words how to get there, but describing in words the actual phenomena is futile. Therefore, "The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion" are words describing how one attains it, but not actual Nibbana itself.

The way to get there is the noble eightfold path, which is to be developed. The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion is the fruition of the path, which is to be realized. "Nibbāna" is a figurative term relating to this elimination using the metaphor of fire and fuel. Both the path and the fruition are sufficiently defined and explained in the canonical teachings. Thus, in the context of the realization of nibbāna there's really no need for appeals to ineffability.

All the best,

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:33 pm

Kori said :
I think that what parth meant is that Nibbana is simply indescribable even when one has attained it. You can describe in words how to get there, but describing in words the actual phenomena is futile. Therefore, "The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion" are words describing how one attains it, but not actual Nibbana itself.


Exactly, something which is beyond the six senses cannot be defined by anything within the realm of six senses, it is a futile exercise. The description will always be incomplete / disputed etc. etc. It is simply useless. It is something like what ancient teachers in India used to say "neti- neti" not this, not this or like the "gunge keri sarkara" ie.a dumb person trying to define taste of sweet he just tasted- cant be done.

Now for nana as above "nibbana" is a figurative term - is it so ? The point is not who is right who is wrong but, the exercise itself is futile - cant be done. Lets not waste time on that.

:anjali:

Metta

Parth
Last edited by Sambodhi in Oz on Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:52 pm

C'mon Geoff, do you really think that I thought nibbana was a state? If so your assessment of my understanding is mistaken. We both know the unconditioned can't be defined, except by perhaps (and quite usefully so) by what conditioned states are absent - namely suffering! - and that is why I am a Buddhist.

With metta

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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Kenshou » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:18 pm

parth wrote:neti neti etc.


You know, that is not a Buddhist doctrine. I think it would be a confusing mistake to let other tradition's concepts muddle up the dhamma.

the exercise itself is futile - cant be done


Maybe if you're a follower of Advaita Vedanta, but in Buddhism we have ways of talking about this, as Geoff has pointed out.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:27 pm

Dear Kenshou,

Actually Buddhism was propogated by everybody other than Buddha himself. He just taught Dhamma which is universal, a universal remidy for a universal suffering. Please give me just one quote from entire Tipitika where where Buddhism / 'bauddha' as a word is mentioned. You will not find even one mention. And as per Buddha's own words from aeons perhaps India has been a country of Buddha's / Pacceka buddha's and those words keep filtering down. You practise Vipassana and suddenly find that words of various mystics have a very differnt meaning.

I for one am just a follower of Vipassana , along with Buddha's / other wise people's words; wherever that takes me. Rest does not matter.

Your / others futile effort in trying to define Nibbana will and cannot take you even an inch closer to defining it literally / figuratively / any other 'ly'. The point I make is "the unconditioned can't be defined". Better to invest time in the practise and work on.

Metta

Parth
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:00 pm

rowyourboat wrote:the unconditioned can't be defined


parth wrote:the unconditioned can't be defined


It's the reification of "The Unconditioned" which leads to these appeals of ineffability. But this has been discussed previously at length.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Kenshou » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:52 pm

parth wrote:Actually Buddhism was propogated by everybody other than Buddha himself...

Missing the point and/or a red herring.

The point I make is "the unconditioned can't be defined".
You seem to want to ignore all of the various definitions from the canon that have been pointed out already. There are plenty of descriptions to be found if you actually look, both in positive and negative terms, which while not perfect are much more helpful than this useless "neti neti" crud you want to drag into it. The dhamma does not need the help of "various mystics".

This is becoming a bit of a tail-chaser, guess I should stop.
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:39 am

Kenshou wrote :

There are plenty of descriptions to be found if you actually look, both in positive and negative terms, which while not perfect


Exactly my point, the description in words will never be perfect/ fully correct and the path is that of truth, absolute truth and here u end up relegating / defining the most perfect thing (again probably wrong) incorrectly. So why do this.

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Parth
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Nyana » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:59 am

parth wrote:Exactly my point, the description in words will never be perfect/ fully correct and the path is that of truth, absolute truth and here u end up relegating / defining the most perfect thing (again probably wrong) incorrectly. So why do this.

The suttas define and describe the goal in sufficient terms. The difficulty in this discussion relates to whether one accepts what the canon states about the fruition of the path, or alternatively, accepts much later commentarial interpretations of the "path-moment" and "fruition-moment" as re-interpreted by a few 20th century Burmese monks. Without sufficient common ground for discussion there isn't much possibility of meaningful dialogue.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Pitch-black emptiness and Mahasi Sayadaw technique

Postby Kenshou » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:32 am

parth wrote:defining the most perfect thing (again probably wrong) incorrectly. So why do this.
I disagree that such definitions would necessarily be incorrect. That is your view, not mine.

It's true that no phenomena of experience can be perfectly captured in language, due to the limitations of language. But we don't need perfection in order to communicate usefully. The descriptions offered in the suttas are useful, and I think that your approach is not.
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