"Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:57 am

rowyourboat wrote:I would like to ask the gentlemen here to consider that jhanas (the absorbed type) can arise from both samatha AND vipassana. Sati leads to samadhi. The presence or absence of panna is the difference. I have yet to meet a dry vipassana master who wasn't able to give rise to jhana. There IS only jhana mentioned in the suttas - without the 'samatha' or 'vipassana' qualification.

With metta

Matheesha
Quite frankly sometimes this obsessive focus on jhana tends to be a distraction. While jhana may be for some something fairly easily achieved, for most lay folks, if it is not out of reach, it is very difficult.

What the Burmese vipassana tradition recognizes is that, at least for the attainment of sotapanna, the level of concentration involved is far more accessible and does not require the preoccupation with all the bits a pieces of "attainment" that seems occupy the jhanika's efforts.

An interesting point, however, is that while there are dangers in the vipassana practice, the dangers of jhana practice, especially on one's own, are far greater and far more insidious.

There IS only jhana mentioned in the suttas
That is not quite so, as has been pointed out by any number of others here at length.
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: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:22 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:There IS only jhana mentioned in the suttas
That is not quite so, as has been pointed out by any number of others here at length.

Except that by cutting RYB's sentence in half, I think you missed the point it was making.

The need for "vipassana jhanas" only arose because the commentarial tradition shifted the sutta jhanas to "samatha jhanas". In other words, it's a counterpoint, a reaction intended to balance an earlier offset.

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: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:There IS only jhana mentioned in the suttas
That is not quite so, as has been pointed out by any number of others here at length.

Except that by cutting RYB's sentence in half, I think you missed the point it was making.

The need for "vipassana jhanas" only arose because the commentarial tradition shifted the sutta jhanas to "samatha jhanas". In other words, it's a counterpoint, a reaction intended to balance an earlier offset.

Metta,
Retro. :)
It does not change anything.
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: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:29 pm

Hello all,

Does the actual moment of insight into, lets say, "Rise and Fall" has to come together with a thought about Rise&Fall? Or is the insight non-verbal, non-conceptual?


With best wishes,

Alex
"dust to dust...."
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:44 pm

Thoughts rise and fall too. How do we view this? Is it with another thought? If so, how and where did this thought rise from? And how did it rise at the exact right moment just so you could use it to label another thought falling? Those are just few things to think about.

This is probably the main reason why we start with body to establish our mindfulness... it's less confusing that way.

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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:49 pm

Hello Beeblebrox,

So what you are saying is that insight into Rise & Fall doesn't have to use thoughts?

Is it the same with any other insight, that concomitant thought is not-needed for actual insight to occur?
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:09 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello Beeblebrox,

So what you are saying is that insight into Rise & Fall doesn't have to use thoughts?

Is it the same with any other insight, that concomitant thought is not-needed for actual insight to occur?
What has been your experience?
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: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:23 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Hello Beeblebrox,

So what you are saying is that insight into Rise & Fall doesn't have to use thoughts?

Is it the same with any other insight, that concomitant thought is not-needed for actual insight to occur?
What has been your experience?



I am not qualified to answer that with all certainty, for my experiences were very limited and I don't want to overestimate my experience.


As I understand what Comenterial Abh says (and perhaps suttas say indirectly) is that "thought about something" occurs always after the event it tries to describe. This also fits the commonsense experience that thought about something always happens just after (even if split second later) than the actual experience.
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:36 pm

Well... I think that thoughts are necessary in the beginning, as long as they're appropriate (vitakka and vicara, initial thought and its application). I'm not sure if there's some confusion in between thoughts and citta. (I've never read abhidhammas.)

I don't really feel comfortable bringing my own experience into it, either. It's not that useful. I think that the best that we can do is just to share notes on what our understanding of the Dhamma is, and then trust each other to reconcile them with whatever our applications might be.

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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:29 pm

retrofuturist wrote:The need for "vipassana jhanas" only arose because the commentarial tradition shifted the sutta jhanas to "samatha jhanas". In other words, it's a counterpoint, a reaction intended to balance an earlier offset.

Yes, the suttanta usage of singleness of mind and jhāna has a wider application and is more inclusive than samatha jhāna.

All the best,

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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:10 pm

Hello Geoff,

Do I understand correctly the argument against samatha jhāna being that one can't have insight in the jhāna itself?

Why not? If Insight does not require concomitant thought, then why someone can't have direct insight while in samatha jhāna, and think about the insight and what it means only after emergence from samatha jhāna?

With metta,
Alex
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:52 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
daverupa wrote:So yes, without sammasati the other links cannot occur, but without sammasamadhi, so too the remaining links cannot occur.
The question is: how much samadhi is actually necessary for the apprehension of "rise and fall"?


One way to view this would be to say ' enough samadhi for the breath to disintegrate into bodily sensations inside the nostrils, and then for those sensation to disintegrate into the elements, which can be seen to rapidly arise and pass away.

'Object' (external world) --> sensation (sense base) --> elements (dhathu).

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:16 am

Alex123 wrote:Do I understand correctly the argument against samatha jhāna being that one can't have insight in the jhāna itself?

Well, the common understanding of commentarial Theravāda is that insight cannot occur within samatha jhāna. But as I've often discovered, the "common understanding" of commentarial Theravāda can be incomplete or misleading, failing to account for the full picture as found in the canonical, para-canonical, and post-canonical sources.

I haven't done a complete survey of all commentarial sources on this subject (it would require reading all of the relevant Aṭṭhakathā & Tīkā texts). But from what I have read it seems that there can be insight within samatha jhāna, but one still has to emerge from that meditative attainment prior to entering supramundane jhāna. This subject deserves further textual research, including a comparison with Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma sources.

Alex123 wrote:Why not? If Insight does not require concomitant thought, then why someone can't have direct insight while in samatha jhāna, and think about the insight and what it means only after emergence from samatha jhāna?

This is accurate and accords with the canonical sources.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:22 am

Ñāṇa wrote:I haven't done a complete survey of all commentarial sources on this subject (it would require reading all of the relevant Aṭṭhakathā & Tīkā texts
And the question is: do you read Pali at that level?
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: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:24 am

rowyourboat wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
daverupa wrote:So yes, without sammasati the other links cannot occur, but without sammasamadhi, so too the remaining links cannot occur.
The question is: how much samadhi is actually necessary for the apprehension of "rise and fall"?


One way to view this would be to say ' enough samadhi for the breath to disintegrate into bodily sensations inside the nostrils, and then for those sensation to disintegrate into the elements, which can be seen to rapidly arise and pass away.

'Object' (external world) --> sensation (sense base) --> elements (dhathu).
That may be one way of doing practice, but there are others.
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: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:I haven't done a complete survey of all commentarial sources on this subject (it would require reading all of the relevant Aṭṭhakathā & Tīkā texts

And the question is: do you read Pali at that level?

I can understand the Aṭṭhakathā level of commentary, but commentarial Theravāda isn't a major focus or concern of mine. The canonical and para-canonical texts are.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby reflection » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:53 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Geoff,

Do I understand correctly the argument against samatha jhāna being that one can't have insight in the jhāna itself?

Why not? If Insight does not require concomitant thought, then why someone can't have direct insight while in samatha jhāna, and think about the insight and what it means only after emergence from samatha jhāna?

With metta,
Alex

The mind can't make decisive movements in absorption, so you can't get an insight within it, that's right. Why not? Because the will is shut down. But that's exactly the 'temporal disappearance' of the aggregate of volition, so to practice jhana is to practice insight into "rise and fall". As I've said before in other threads also, you can't take samadhi and vipassana apart.

The part you quoted can be interpreted in other ways. The 5 aggregates are suffering and impermanent, that's what it also means when the Buddha said they can disappear, they can nibbana. Depending on where we are on the path, we contemplate on this in different ways.

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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:47 am

Tilt is in a fine mood in this thread.
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:54 pm

Hello Reflection,

reflection wrote:The mind can't make decisive movements in absorption, so you can't get an insight within it, that's right. Why not? Because the will is shut down.


Thank you for your helpful post. The follow up question is this: Is "will" required to observe presently arisen Nāmarūpa? Maybe just consciousness, perception, feeling and so on.

Considering that will is often an expression of one kilesas, it can be a hindrance for insight, because one may look at what one wants to look at and avoid looking at what one doesn't want to look.

With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: "Rise and Fall" How to practice it?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:07 pm

reflection wrote:The mind can't make decisive movements in absorption, so you can't get an insight within it, that's right. Why not? Because the will is shut down. But that's exactly the 'temporal disappearance' of the aggregate of volition

No Pāli sutta or treatise accords with your notion that "the will is shut down" in jhāna or that the aggregate of volition has disappeared. Cetanā and numerous other saṅkhāras are all present in each jhāna.

All the best,

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