Mental Noting

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.
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daverupa
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Re: Mental Noting

Postby daverupa » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:39 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:Do you mean for example "hearing", "smelling" etc?


Basically. It lets any mental activity go into one heap and doesn't provide an easy excuse to proliferate.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:22 pm

daverupa wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:Do you mean for example "hearing", "smelling" etc?


Basically. It lets any mental activity go into one heap and doesn't provide an easy excuse to proliferate.


Yes, I see. Sometimes I just group mental activity into past and future, eg "planning" or "replaying", which seems to cover most of it. ;)

Spiny

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Jack » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:52 pm

Here are the noting labels as developed by Kenneth Folk and based on the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. "You are unenlightened to the extent that you are embedded in your experience. You think that your experience is you. You must dis-embed. Do that by taking each aspect of experience as object (looking at it and recognizing it) in a systematic way. Then, surrender entirely.

1) Objectify body sensations. If you can name them, you aren't embedded there. Notice sensations and note to yourself: "Pressure, tightness, tension, release, coolness, warmth, softness, hardness, tingling, itching, burning, stinging, pulsing, throbbing, seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing." If I am looking at something it is not "I".

2) Objectify feeling-tone. Are sensations pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral? If you can sit there for five minutes and note pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral every few seconds, you are not embedded at that layer of mind.

3) Objectify mind states. Investigation, curiosity, happiness, anxiety, amusement, sadness, joy, anger, frustration, annoyance, irritation, aversion, desire, disgust, fear, worry, calm, embarrassment, shame, self-pity, compassion, love, contentment, dullness, sleepiness, bliss, exhilaration, triumph, self-loathing. Name them and be free of them. These mind states are not "you;" we know this because if there is a "you" it is the one who is looking, not what is being looked at. Below, we will challenge the notion that there is any "you" at all.

4) Objectify thoughts. Categorize them: planning thought, anticipating thought, worrying thought, imaging thought, remembering thought, rehearsing thought, scenario spinning thought, fantasy thought, self-recrimination thought. Come up with your own vocabulary and see your thoughts as though they belong to someone else. The content of your thoughts is not relevant except to the extent that it helps you to label and therefore objectify them."

A suggestion is to start a meditation session by counting your breaths, for example count to 10 3 times. Then switch to noting using the above categories. Note quickly. A note every 2-3 seconds is good. This prevents you from thinking. Just react. If you can’t come up with a word, use a generic term such as sensation or thought or emotion. After a little practice link the categories, for instance, pressure, unpleasant, itch, unpleasant, coolness, pleasant.

jack

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby buddhajunkie » Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:Because it seems to me that some of the discussion here heads in quite a different direction to the point of the noting method (or any "vipassana" method, such as what Goenka teaches), which is to get one focussed continuously on whatever is arising in the present.

What one sees arising is things like "pain", "lifting", "hard". The actual experiences. Those experiences do, of course, have characteristics such as anicca, and can be analysed in terms of various satipatthanas, but if one is sitting there thinking "oh I'm seeing the anicca in my breath", that's just mental proliferation, not actual paying attention to experience.


The thing that gets me is that "actual experiences" are composites of all sorts of stuff. So what, of all those stuff that comprise "actual experience," do we pay attention to?

My interpretation of the 4 foundations is to pay more attention to certain aspects of experience, specifically, body, feelings, mind states and Dhamma.

Is this correct, or would you say that the goal is something more like "bare attention"?

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:28 am

buddhajunkie wrote:The thing that gets me is that "actual experiences" are composites of all sorts of stuff. So what, of all those stuff that comprise "actual experience," do we pay attention to?

I think the advice is to pay attention to as much as you can, as continuously as you can. But that depends a lot on the particular circumstances. Several days into a retreat is very different from a normal day at work...
buddhajunkie wrote: My interpretation of the 4 foundations is to pay more attention to certain aspects of experience, specifically, body, feelings, mind states and Dhamma.

Sure. I tend to start with focussing mainly on body, then feelings, then mind states. But to me the idea is to work through various objects as a way of training oneself to notice them until it becomes very automatic. So I do notice things like in the list you provided above, but my aim is not to be classifying them: "Hmm pain, that's vedana... Umm... sad ... oh, that's a mind state..."
Rather, my aim is to just focus on the most prominent object: "Lifting, moving, lowering, touching, hardness, pain, sad, lifting, wobbling, thinking, ... "
buddhajunkie wrote:Is this correct, or would you say that the goal is something more like "bare attention"?

I'm a bit wary of the term "bare attention" because there seem to be various ways of interpreting it.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:43 am

mikenz66 wrote:I'm a bit wary of the term "bare attention" because there seem to be various ways of interpreting it.
Maybe "bare attention" is worth a careful look, and new thread. That will give me something to do later today.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:23 am

Yes, that would be interesting. I'd better search out my copy of Ven Nyanaponika's HEART OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION...
Actually, here's a scan of the relevant section: http://www.alexox.com/sangha/bareattention.pdf

:anjali:
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Re: Mental Noting

Postby buddhajunkie » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:25 am

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, that would be interesting. I'd better search out my copy of Ven Nyanaponika's HEART OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION...
Actually, here's a scan of the relevant section: http://www.alexox.com/sangha/bareattention.pdf

:anjali:
Mike



Interesting excerpt, thanks.

Do you recommend this book for someone interested in reading in depth about the 4 foundations?

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:43 am

buddhajunkie wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Yes, that would be interesting. I'd better search out my copy of Ven Nyanaponika's HEART OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION...
Actually, here's a scan of the relevant section: http://www.alexox.com/sangha/bareattention.pdf

:anjali:
Mike



Interesting excerpt, thanks.

Do you recommend this book for someone interested in reading in depth about the 4 foundations?


I'd recommend it, yes.

Spiny

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:57 am

meindzai wrote:I have always had trouble with mental noting techniques in Vipassana, so I've generally not used them. I've tried working from the writings of Mahasi Sayadaw but I've found them to be too much for me, as in, too many labels. I always found that I spent more time obsessing about labels, worrying about whether something should be labeled or not, making sure I chose the right one, figuring out how to categorize things, etc.

I think labels should bring attention to sensations and mind objects but I don't think that amount of precision is useful for me. Any recommendations? Or even just tell me what list you use. I'd like to divide it more or less into the four foundations of mindfulness or something similar. What labels do you use for the body, (or sensations), feelings, thoughts, mind objects?

-M


Your problem is exactly what happen to me when I first meditate. Instead of helping, those labeling or counting or noticing the breathing becomes obstacles. There is nothing wrong with the idea actually. It is only our mental disposition, which doesn't suit that technique.

I finally study Dzocghen and Mahamudra, which finally release me from this counting technique. It directly see mind nakedly, without any modification.

Look for this book. "The flight of Garuda" or any other Dzocghen or Mahamudra book. It will help you.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:02 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Your problem is exactly what happen to me when I first meditate. Instead of helping, those labeling or counting or noticing the breathing becomes obstacles. There is nothing wrong with the idea actually. It is only our mental disposition, which doesn't suit that technique.

I finally study Dzocghen and Mahamudra, which finally release me from this counting technique. It directly see mind nakedly, without any modification.

Look for this book. "The flight of Garuda" or any other Dzocghen or Mahamudra book. It will help you.
This is not helpful advice here.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Moth » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:21 pm

I only use three labels: perceiving (or sometimes just seeing), feeling, and thinking. I don't necessarily have to say these words to myself, just recognize the phenomena for what they are as they arise. The idea is to stop at the bare awareness, not to go into the content of things. I.e don't identify your thoughts, just recognize that you are thinking. Eventually you should recognize that seeing is just seeing, thinking is just thinking, and feeling is just feeling. There is no subject nor object nor consciousness in between (quoting Nanananda Thera). There is just that, the bare experience itself, arising and ceasing.

Thus, monks, a Tathàgata does not conceive of a visible thing as apart from sight;
he does not conceive of an unseen; he does not conceive of a
'thing-worth-seeing'; he does not conceive of a seer.

He does not conceive of an audible thing as apart from hearing;
he does not conceive of an unheard; he does not conceive of a
'thing-worth-hearing'; he does not conceive about a hearer.

He does not conceive of a thing to be sensed as apart from
sensation; he does not conceive of an unsensed; he does not
conceive of a 'thing-worth-sensing'; he does not conceive about one
who senses.

He does not conceive of a cognizable thing as apart from
cognition; he does not conceive of an uncognized; he does not
conceive of a 'thing-worth-cognizing'; he does not conceive about
one who cognizes. -Kalakarama Sutta

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of suffering." -Ud 1.10

Insight Meditation as Taught by Nanananda Thera:
http://www.everythingspirals.com/files/ ... hrough.pdf
May you be happy. May you be a peace. May you be free from suffering.
http://www.everythingspirals.com

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Jack » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:38 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:
meindzai wrote:I finally study Dzocghen and Mahamudra, which finally release me from this counting technique. It directly see mind nakedly, without any modification.

Look for this book. "The flight of Garuda" or any other Dzocghen or Mahamudra book. It will help you.

===========
I find vipassana noting and Mahamudra work well together. I think each technique addresses the same problem but comes at it from opposite directions. Usually 1/2 of my meditation session is Mahasi noting and 1/2 mahamudra. For example, yesterday morning I did 30 minutes noting followed by 30 minutes mahamudra. Last night was somewhat unusual: 30 minutes noting, 10 minutes walking, 30 minues mahamudra, 10 minutes walking, 30 minutes metta.

jack

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Soe Win Htut » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:04 pm

meindzai wrote:I have always had trouble with mental noting techniques in Vipassana, so I've generally not used them. I've tried working from the writings of Mahasi Sayadaw but I've found them to be too much for me, as in, too many labels. I always found that I spent more time obsessing about labels, worrying about whether something should be labeled or not, making sure I chose the right one, figuring out how to categorize things, etc.

I think labels should bring attention to sensations and mind objects but I don't think that amount of precision is useful for me. Any recommendations? Or even just tell me what list you use. I'd like to divide it more or less into the four foundations of mindfulness or something similar. What labels do you use for the body, (or sensations), feelings, thoughts, mind objects?

-M

As much as I can understand, mental noting alone is not vipassana. Vipassana is concerning the real nature.
Our mental noting is just created truths (samuti sacca) which are not the original truth or original reality.
Our mental noting such as hotness or coldness, pain or pleasure, likes or dislikes, tightness or looseness are just relative truth (created truth).
If we are working with the created truths, confirming and taking them as original reality, you will not go beyond the noting or labeling.

Created truths are just to be used only, experienced only and known only.
Created truths are not for noting, believing, confirming, centering and thinking as original reality and real importance.

Vipassana (Insight meditation) is just trying to abandon the mind-action of centering, emphasizing, confirming, attaching the created truths as reality and as of real importance.

Created truths are impermanent, temporary, and non-self ,so we cannot take and accept them as real existence and as original reality.

Insight meditation is just not forgetting that created truths such as hotness or coldness, pain or pleasure, likes or dislikes, tightness or looseness etc, are just to be used only, experiencing only and knowing only, and they are not for centering, believing as reality and real importance.

I would like you to download ebooks below and read them for more understanding.

1) http://www.mediafire.com/?ke9757vm2pe99z7 (Who is culprit of all problems? & Insight meditation Guide notes)
2) http://www.mediafire.com/?v3agries457eonj (Escape from misunderstanding)
3) http://www.mediafire.com/?gn7z54lcinhgmon (Right View and Wrong View)
4) http://www.mediafire.com/?s59cpunbig5kxsh (Utilization the truth of "one citta at a time" for real insight)

with metta,
Last edited by Soe Win Htut on Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Awareness(mental noting) alone is not enough for real enlightenment. (Ashin Tejaniya)
Created truths(Sammuti Sacca) are just to be used only, experienced only and known only but .....they are not for noting, believing, confirming, centering and thinking as reality and real importance.
Vipassana (Insight meditation) is just the abandoning the mind-action of centering, grasping, confirming, and attaching the created truths as reality and as of real importance.
To Learn more....
http://www.thabarwa.org, or
http://www.thabarwa.org/guided-insight-mp3-talks/

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:46 pm

Soe Win Htut wrote:. . . As much as I can understand, mental noting alone is not vipassana. Vipassana is concerning the real nature. Our mental noting is just created truths (samuti sacca) which are not the original truth or original reality. . . ,


I think you and the author of the linked books seriously do not understanding the function of "noting." On page 32 of the first linked book it states:
Instead of noting a pain as "pain, pain", try to accept that
it is just the constant impermanence which is constantly
creating to misunderstand as pain.
Instead of noting a thought as a thought which is arising &
passing away", try to accept that it is just the illusory creation
of constant impermanence as if a thought is arising and then
it passes away.
Instead of taking a pain as "just feeling", please try to accept
that it is just the tricks which is being constantly created by the
constant impermanent nature as if it is just a feeling.
Noting is not trying to force insight. Noting is a tool that helps cultivate concentration and awareness/mindfulness, which are the basic mental factors that allow insight to arise from directly seeing things as they are.

Insight into impermanence, un-satisfactoriness, and emptiness of self is not something that comes from "try[ing] to accept that it is just the constant impermanence which is constantly creating to misunderstand as pain." Such "trying" is just another layer of conceptualization.

Actual insight arises in a concentrated, awareful /mindful mind. It is not forced by trying. Noting is a tool that helps cultivate a concentrated, awareful /mindful mind, and as a tool, noting is something that is put aside when concentration and awarefulness/mindfulness have been sufficiently cultivated.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:23 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I think you and the author of the linked books seriously do not understanding the function of "noting." On page 32 of the first linked book it states:
Instead of noting a pain as "pain, pain", try to accept that
it is just the constant impermanence which is constantly
creating to misunderstand as pain....


The charitable conclusion might be that the subtleties of what the Venerable was trying to explain may have been lost in translation...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:17 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I think you and the author of the linked books seriously do not understanding the function of "noting." On page 32 of the first linked book it states:
Instead of noting a pain as "pain, pain", try to accept that
it is just the constant impermanence which is constantly
creating to misunderstand as pain....


The charitable conclusion might be that the subtleties of what the Venerable was trying to explain may have been lost in translation...

:anjali:
Mike
One hopes that is the case.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Soe Win Htut » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:01 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Soe Win Htut wrote:. . . As much as I can understand, mental noting alone is not vipassana. Vipassana is concerning the real nature. Our mental noting is just created truths (samuti sacca) which are not the original truth or original reality. . . ,


I think you and the author of the linked books seriously do not understanding the function of "noting." On page 32 of the first linked book it states:
Instead of noting a pain as "pain, pain", try to accept that
it is just the constant impermanence which is constantly
creating to misunderstand as pain.
Instead of noting a thought as a thought which is arising &
passing away", try to accept that it is just the illusory creation
of constant impermanence as if a thought is arising and then
it passes away.
Instead of taking a pain as "just feeling", please try to accept
that it is just the tricks which is being constantly created by the
constant impermanent nature as if it is just a feeling.
Noting is not trying to force insight. Noting is a tool that helps cultivate concentration and awareness/mindfulness, which are the basic mental factors that allow insight to arise from directly seeing things as they are.

Insight into impermanence, un-satisfactoriness, and emptiness of self is not something that comes from "try[ing] to accept that it is just the constant impermanence which is constantly creating to misunderstand as pain." Such "trying" is just another layer of conceptualization.

Actual insight arises in a concentrated, awareful /mindful mind. It is not forced by trying. Noting is a tool that helps cultivate a concentrated, awareful /mindful mind, and as a tool, noting is something that is put aside when concentration and awarefulness/mindfulness have been sufficiently cultivated.


Dear tiltbillings,

I think you do not read mindfully it and do not know really its meaning.
- It doesn't mean not to note the relative truths__the created truths(Samuti Sacca) such as the pleasure or pain or or hotness or coldness or feeling or whatever your perception can now understand.
- But it means to abandon the mind-action of thinking, emphasizing the created truths such as the pain or pleasure, hotness or coldness as reality and real importance.
- If you are noting the created truth such as pain, hotness as reality , you will never be liberated from the idea of created truths which are just to be used only, and experienced only.

- Dualistic nature such as pain or pleasure,and good or bad and whatever you are labeling is just created truth. Created truths are just to be used only and experienced only but they are not for taking, believing and centering them as original reality.

We can note or mindful the created truths or relative truths , but we must abandon the idea of them as original reality.

Noting is important. But noting with wrong understanding will be less advantages.
The books show the point which is necessary for insight meditation. If we want to practice Samatha meditation, noting alone is Ok.

Some may think trying/ forcing is not necessary,
To the real enlightenment.
We need five kinds of power(Bala) which has to be strong.

They are Saddha, Viriya, Sati, Samadhi and Panna. These five power must be balanced and firm.
Viriya (Trying , effort) is also necessary as a factor for real insight/enlightenment. We can't neglect it.

The books doesn't deny the noting, but noting alone is enough for real enlightenment.
Please be mindful the title of the book carefully, it is the insight meditation guides notes. Not for Samatha meditation guide notes.

Every one and even children can know pain as pain, or hotness as hotness.
Knowing/noting pain as pain, hotness as hotness is just for Sati.
Where is the role of insight or wisdom in it?
How can it alone be called wisdom or insight meditation?
We often says that Vipassana is seeing as it is really.
But Do you think you feeling of hotness or coldness is real and original truth? If you think your feelings are real, pls read the book from page 11-13 again.

kind regards,
Last edited by Soe Win Htut on Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Awareness(mental noting) alone is not enough for real enlightenment. (Ashin Tejaniya)
Created truths(Sammuti Sacca) are just to be used only, experienced only and known only but .....they are not for noting, believing, confirming, centering and thinking as reality and real importance.
Vipassana (Insight meditation) is just the abandoning the mind-action of centering, grasping, confirming, and attaching the created truths as reality and as of real importance.
To Learn more....
http://www.thabarwa.org, or
http://www.thabarwa.org/guided-insight-mp3-talks/

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I'm a bit wary of the term "bare attention" because there seem to be various ways of interpreting it.
Maybe "bare attention" is worth a careful look, and new thread. That will give me something to do later today.



Please do. I'll try to chime in a little with a philological/grammatical analysis of the ubiquitous "iti" clitics used all over the Satipatthana Sutta instructions, which may hopefully throw some light from another angle.

I think the "bare attention" theory has a very sound foundation in the Satipatthana Suttas, even if the standard Pali grammars have not picked this up.

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Re: Mental Noting

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:56 am

Soe Win Htut wrote:Dear tiltbillings,

I think you do not read mindfully it and do not know really its meaning.
I realize English is not your primary language, but the best that I can do is to read what is written as it is written, and that is what I responded to. I appreciate that you have to some degree clarified what you meant, but I would also have to say, you have not at all read with care what I wrote.

We can note or mindful the created truths or relative truths , but we must abandon the idea of them as original reality.
When noting is done, what is noted is certainly not held as some sort of "original reality," and I do not know who would teach that it is.

If we want to practice Samatha meditation, noting alone is Ok.
Again, read what I wrote. Noting is a tool for cultivation of concentration and awareness/mindfulness. It is a tool for developing the mental factors that allow us to see the mind/body process as it is as it rises and falls in interdependent conditionality.

The books doesn't deny the noting, but noting alone is enough for real enlightenment.
No one teaches that noting, in and of itself, is enough for awakening.

Every one and even children can know pain as pain, or hotness as hotness.
Knowing/noting pain as pain, hotness as hotness is just for Sati.
Where is insight or wisdom in it?
How can it alone be called wisdom or insight meditation?
We often says that Vipassana is seeing as it is really.
But Do you think you feeling of hotness or coldness is real and original truth? If you think your feelings are real, pls read the book from page 11-13 again.
You and the author of the books do not really seem to understand at all what you are criticizing, nor did you read what I wrote with any care.

A feeling of hoteness arises and falls dependent upon conditions and causes. "Hoteness" is nothing more than a conventional label for a particular interdependent experience that is characterized by impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and emptiness of self. When done properly noting does not take "hotness" as being anything more than interdependent rising and falling experience. To say otherwise is to not understand the practice.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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