Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:31 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And so, what does this have to do with anything in the real world?

It should be quite evident. As Sujato says, "The very fact that such a controversy could possibly arise is a sign how far we have drifted from the Buddha's pragmatic empiricism."
So, you are saying that Burmese vipassana is a result of this drifting away from the Buddha's teaching and really has nothing to offer, and the likes of Ven Nanananda are deluded? Do directly answer that question, which you are avoiding addressing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:40 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Note: not wrong, just out of the frame.
But what does that really mean? You are a big Ven Nanananda fan and he uses and teaches Mahasi Sayadaw type practice. Geoff seem to think that Ven Nanananda has not given up the idea of momentariness (but he states that is not sure) and you have made this comment:

    Meditation instructions however, which are based upon commentarial terminology, are inextricably intertwined with the consequences and implications that underpin that commentarial terminology, which is fine if the commentaries are entirely free of error and/or irrelevance.

If this is the case, then so much for Ven Nanananda's brilliance and insight. It is just all book learning, having nothing to do with a real world meditative confrontation of nama-rupa. Interesting.
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.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:52 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:But what does that really mean?

It means very much what it says.

tiltbillings wrote:Nanananda... uses and teaches Mahasi Sayadaw tuype practice.

Nevermind Mahasi Sayadaw for the time being, I've not seen it demonstrated that Nanananda's meditation instructions are derived from "commentarial terminology".

tiltbillings wrote:If this is the case, then so much for Ven Nanananda's brilliance and insight. It is just all book learning, having nothing to do with a real world meditative confrontation nama-rupa.

Non-sequitur attack on ven. Nanananda, until you can demonstrate that all the following conditions are true:

- Ven. Nanananda teaches commentarial-derived meditation instruction
- The commentaries are not entirely free of error and/or irrelevance
- Ven. Nanananda himself uses only commentarial-derived meditation instruction for bhavana

These distortions of logic you apply to jump to your inferences are...

tiltbillings wrote:Interesting

... as is the way you're trying to rope what I say into your argument with Geoff. I want no part of it, thanks. If that's the only reason you're asking me questions then please stop, as to do so would be disingenuous.

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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Note: not wrong, just out of the frame.
But what does that really mean? You are a big Ven Nanananda fan and he uses and teaches Mahasi Sayadaw tuype practice. Geoff seem to think that Ven Nanananda has not given up the idea of momentariness (but he states that is not sure) and you have made this comment:

    Meditation instructions however, which are based upon commentarial terminology, are inextricably intertwined with the consequences and implications that underpin that commentarial terminology, which is fine if the commentaries are entirely free of error and/or irrelevance.

If this is the case, then so much for Ven Nanananda's brilliance and insight. It is just all book learning, having nothing to do with a real world meditative confrontation nama-rupa. Interesting.


Isnt it the case that Nanananda has worked very hard to undermine and correct some small but pivotal "implications that underpin commentarial terminology"?

I dont think there is any reason to throw out a whole system of well tuned practice techniques based on a few suspect "implications". The Buddha didnt create whole new systems of meditation when converting Brahmans and Shramanas. He utilized what helped and corrected that which did not. The same can be done with these "implications". In my view this is what Nanananda has been doing with utmost skill.


Just a comment not directed at anyone in particular.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:So, you are saying that Burmese vipassana is a result of this drifting away from the Buddha's teaching and really has nothing to offer

I already addressed how the Burmese Vipassanā meditation instruction methods can be meaningfully integrated with the suttas. There isn't much, if anything, in these instructions which are unique or differ significantly from other meditation instructions. However, this present discussion concerns the presentation of insight-knowledges as first elaborated in the Visuddhimagga and interpreted by later commentators and teachers right up to the present.

tiltbillings wrote:and the likes of Ven Nanananda are deluded?

How would I know if he's a sotāpanna or a sakadāgāmi and so on? But relevant to this discussion, I've never heard or read anything by him regarding the Visuddhimagga presentation of the insight knowledges.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:14 pm

Ben wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:This is the progression from right view to no view, where no experience is special.

Sure, Isn't this what all reputable teachers teach?


As far as I know - yes.

If this were really the case then there would be no objections from any quarter about clearing the path of approximately 2000+ years of accumulated debris. Nor would there be threats of incurring negative kamma from merely critiquing the teaching methods or views of any particular teacher or sayādaw.... At any rate, it seems far more advisable to have no dog in the hunt.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Viscid » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:17 pm

Ven. Sujato wrote:This idea seems to derive some of its impressiveness from its air of acrid, pessimistic, reductionist severity, which is often mistaken as a sign of really uncompromising wisdom.


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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:19 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:But what does that really mean?

It means very much what it says.

tiltbillings wrote:Nanananda... uses and teaches Mahasi Sayadaw tuype practice.

Nevermind Mahasi Sayadaw for the time being, I've not seen it demonstrated that Nanananda's meditation instructions are derived from "commentarial terminology".
I have read his meditation essay and book. It reads like the instructions I have gotten from Mahasi Sayadaw trained teachers, and Ven Nanananda's teacher Ven Nanarama is certainly a Mahasi Sayadaw style teacher. Whether or not Ven Nanananda is using commentary terminology or not, he is using a practice supposedly derived from the commentaries and Buddhaghosa and then there are your words, to repeat:

    Meditation instructions however, which are based upon commentarial terminology, are inextricably intertwined with the consequences and implications that underpin that commentarial terminology, which is fine if the commentaries are entirely free of error and/or irrelevance.


tiltbillings wrote:If this is the case, then so much for Ven Nanananda's brilliance and insight. It is just all book learning, having nothing to do with a real world meditative confrontation nama-rupa.

Non-sequitur attack on ven. Nanananda, until you can demonstrate that all the following conditions are true:

- Ven. Nanananda teaches commentarial-derived meditation instruction
- The commentaries are not entirely free of error and/or irrelevance
- Ven. Nanananda himself uses only commentarial-derived meditation instruction for bhavana
First of all, this is not an attack on Ven Nanananda, but if you see what I am saying as an attack on Ven Nanananda, then I am certainly in my rights to see what Ñāṇa is doing is a wholesale attack on Burmese vipassana and Buddhaghosa. What I am doing here is taking a look at the consequences of Ñāṇa's approach.

These distortions of logic you apply to jump to your inferences are...

tiltbillings wrote:Interesting

... as is the way you're trying to rope what I say into your argument with Geoff. I want no part of it, thanks. If that's the only reason you're asking me questions then please stop, as to do so would be disingenuous.

Metta,
Retro. :)
As I said, Ñāṇa's approach here has consequences and rather serious consequences which involve others practice, understanding and saddha in the Dhamma. This is not simply an a bit of philosophical bickering.

The Ven Nanananda question makes a rather interesting point about the nature of the actual meditative practice in question, which is worth looking at and which reflects back upon this whole questionable business of this thread.
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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:23 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:If this were really the case then there would be no objections from any quarter about clearing the path of approximately 2000+ years of accumulated debris. Nor would there be threats of incurring negative kamma from merely critiquing the teaching methods or views of any particular teacher or sayādaw.... At any rate, it seems far more advisable to have no dog in the hunt.
The problem is, I do not see that you are qualified to clear the path. Ven Nanananda, certainly, but I have not seen the balance or wisdom that is required for something like that coming from you in these threads. What I see is, in my opinion, a scorched earth approach which does far more harm than good. My opinion which no one else here has to share.
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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:44 pm

Greetings Tilt,

retrofuturist wrote:...your argument with Geoff. I want no part of it, thanks.

tiltbillings wrote:What I am doing here is taking a look at the consequences of Ñāṇa's approach.

Thank you for your transparency in this regard.

For me, "what I am doing here", is engaging in the topic as defined by Geoff.

Geoff wrote:this present discussion concerns the presentation of insight-knowledges as first elaborated in the Visuddhimagga and interpreted by later commentators and teachers right up to the present.

...and I agree with him that "the presentation of insight-knowledges" is inextricably intertwined with the theory of momentariness, whether one explicitly and knowingly subscribes to a theory of momentariness or not. Ignoring, or being oblivious to the theory of momentariness does not disentangle it and extricate it from the insight-knowledges framework.

If you subscribe to the insight-knowledges framework, you're automatically subscribed to the theory of momentariness... much like if you subscribe to maps, you're automatically subscribed to notions of direction, relativity, distance, terrain etc.

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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:If you subscribe to the insight-knowledges framework, you're automatically subscribed to the theory of momentariness... much like if you subscribe to maps, you're automatically subscribed to notions of direction, relativity, distance, terrain etc.

This is clearly a matter of opinion. It is also possible to see the insight-knowledges framework as a result of practical experience, which is sometimes described using the momentariness framework.

Furthermore, I am unconvinced that either a momentariness, realist, or ontologist framework provides any particular barrier. As Geoff sated above:
Ñāṇa wrote:....
Similarly, if you were to train in mahāmudrā or dzogchen you would receive different instructions that are geared towards framing and labeling experience according to those views.
...
The mind is highly susceptible to the power of suggestion as well as the urge towards confirmation bias and other cognitive biases. This is why insight has to proceed further to deconstruct the saññā embedded in experience itself. This is the progression from right view to no view, where no experience is special.

I.e. any experiential approach to the Dhamma has to eventually let go of the concepts used to practice it, no matter whose theoretical hammering out those concepts come from.

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:50 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:If you subscribe to the insight-knowledges framework, you're automatically subscribed to the theory of momentariness... much like if you subscribe to maps, you're automatically subscribed to notions of direction, relativity, distance, terrain etc.

This is clearly a matter of opinion.

Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:Maturity knowledge occurs only as a single moment of consciousness; it does not recur

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... gress.html

Do you know any teachers who teach the insight-knowledges framework devoid of the theory/view/ditthi of momentariness? The very insight-knowledges themselves are couched in terms of moments.

Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:In reality, single moments of mind arise and pass away continuously, one after another.... These instances of arising, noting and passing away appear like a string of beads. The preceding mind is not the following mind. Each is separate. These characteristics of reality are personally perceptible, and for this purpose one must proceed with the practice of contemplation... Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el370.html

mikenz66 wrote:any experiential approach to the Dhamma has to eventually let go of the concepts used to practice it

My concern with what I've read of the Mahasi framework (please note, this is not an attack - it's a concern that I'm more than happy to have addressed in a calm, reasonable and non-combative manner) is that, as per the quote immediately above, Mahasi Sayadaw presents something that is conceptual/philosophical/ditthi (i.e. theory of momentariness)...

"single moments of mind arise and pass away continuously, one after another"

... but rather than aiming towards the "let[ting] go of the concepts", as you say, it seems intent on attempting to experientially validate and affirm those very concepts as real....

"These characteristics of reality are personally perceptible, and for this purpose one must proceed with the practice of contemplation"

This leads then to the subsequent concern that the purpose of Mahasi Sayadaw's practice of contemplation, and all this talk of reductionism and breaking experiences into the smallest "chunks" possible, is actually about validating the theory of momentariness. Mahasi Sayadaw claims that...

"Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye."

Proving the theory of momentariness (i.e. the instantaneous succession of "does not Exist", "Exist", and "does not Exist" - in spite of the tensions between this notion and suttas like Kaccayanagotta, Phena and Kalakarama) seems to be the very purpose of the bhanga-nana "Knowledge of Dissolution" insight-knowledge, which tradition has it, sets forth an array of knowledges/insights pertaining to fearfulness, misery, disgust etc. for the earnest meditator.

The Buddha advises that we should, "remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications" (SN 55.3), but I don't understand the necessity entwined in the insight-knowledges framework that this must relate to the inconstancy of these allegedly-real, microscopic momentary cittas and kalapas, which the Buddha never once talked about. To me this seems unnecessarily limited and prescriptive, and I do not understand why it cannot or should not relate to "all fabrications", or "all conditioned experience" as per the Buddha's instruction.

Why does it only apply to some microscopic atomic moments not typically observable in daily life? How does some experience only supposedly experienceable and creatable in meditative "lab conditions" encourage the ongoing abandoning, dispassion and cessation in daily life? Even if I could prove to myself, "Yes, there are truly discrete momentary dhammas and they arise and dissolve in an instantaneously serial fashion", so what? To me that's not terrifying, disgusting, horrifying etc. It feels like an end-goal very disconnected from the Buddha's mode of instruction, and the Buddha's own reasons for why we should cultivate dispassion and abandonment.

Rather, it feels to me like an ancient science experiment... one compromised by the hypothesis "begging the question" with respect to the existence of these dissolving kalapas. As I said in my opening post in this topic, if there turn out to be kalapas, I'm more than happy to say "hi" when I see them, but I'm not going to build a "seeing things as they really are" practice on hunting around for something which may or may not be factual, which does not have a compelling case for being true, and which wasn't mentioned by the Buddha. To me, such a pursuit seems very alien, as no dhamma or sankhara is more anicca/anatta/dukkha than the next, so why hunt for these theoretical equivalents of sub-atomic particles, purportedly only visible only with a powerful microscope, when our entire samsaric life is already replete with sankharas, ready and open for investigation?

As you quoted Geoff in your post, "the mind is highly susceptible to the power of suggestion as well as the urge towards confirmation bias and other cognitive biases" and on this basis, I choose to leave these inductive practices, quests and frameworks alone. Therefore, by side-stepping them, the questions posed in the original post are not important to my practice, and I am thankful that this is the case...

(i) Is it really true that mind (nāma) and matter (rūpa) are discrete, momentary things undergoing incessant dissolution?
(ii) Is it really true that matter is comprised of momentary kalāpas which undergo incessant dissolution?
(iii) If so, how do you know this to be true?
(iv) If not, can "insight" into conceptual fictions really be considered insight at all?

I do not share your optimism that the practice can be conducted in a vacuum, independent of the philosophical or ontological assumptions that underpin the methods and goals of that very practice, but I wish you all the best in your continued endeavours to do so.

:meditate:

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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:07 am

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:If you subscribe to the insight-knowledges framework, you're automatically subscribed to the theory of momentariness... much like if you subscribe to maps, you're automatically subscribed to notions of direction, relativity, distance, terrain etc.

This is clearly a matter of opinion. It is also possible to see the insight-knowledges framework as a result of practical experience, which is sometimes described using the momentariness framework.

Furthermore, I am unconvinced that either a momentariness, realist, or ontologist framework provides any particular barrier. As Geoff sated above:
Ñāṇa wrote:....
Similarly, if you were to train in mahāmudrā or dzogchen you would receive different instructions that are geared towards framing and labeling experience according to those views.
...
The mind is highly susceptible to the power of suggestion as well as the urge towards confirmation bias and other cognitive biases. This is why insight has to proceed further to deconstruct the saññā embedded in experience itself. This is the progression from right view to no view, where no experience is special.

I.e. any experiential approach to the Dhamma has to eventually let go of the concepts used to practice it, no matter whose theoretical hammering out those concepts come from.

:anjali:
Mike



The trouble with this view, if I may interject, is that it doesn't leave much to argue over and this is what makes it somewhat unpopular on internet fora.

:computerproblem:

On the other hand, where there is truly some scope for debate, a subtle gentle approach that comes from a combination of learning and wisdom is not usually in abundance, I guess. But it's good that people put effort into these topics and try to tease out the thorny issues even when they don't seem to be on the same page a lot of the time. I'm certainly learning.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is, I do not see that you are qualified to clear the path.

That's fine.

tiltbillings wrote:Ven Nanananda, certainly, but I have not seen the balance or wisdom that is required for something like that coming from you in these threads.

How about Ñāṇavīra?... Or Bodhesako?... Or Ṭhānissaro?... Or Sujato?...

tiltbillings wrote:What I see is, in my opinion, a scorched earth approach which does far more harm than good.

I don't consider your habit of attempting to steamroll over all substantive criticism as being either desirable or acceptable. Maybe you think that this is a way to preserve the status-quo of Theravāda Buddhism. But as far as I'm concerned, this brand of conservatism is ill-conceived. Informed discussion and substantive criticism should never be deemed threatening or harmful.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:33 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The problem is, I do not see that you are qualified to clear the path.

That's fine.

tiltbillings wrote:Ven Nanananda, certainly, but I have not seen the balance or wisdom that is required for something like that coming from you in these threads.

How about Ñāṇavīra?... Or Bodhesako?... Or Ṭhānissaro?... Or Sujato?...
Sujato is an intemperate axe-grinder. Nanavira was given to overblown, dense prose and not always the best reasoning. The other two?

tiltbillings wrote:What I see is, in my opinion, a scorched earth approach which does far more harm than good.

I don't consider your habit of attempting to steamroll over all substantive criticism as being either desirable or acceptable. Maybe you think that this is a way to preserve the status-quo of Theravāda Buddhism. But as far as I'm concerned, this brand of conservatism is ill-conceived. Informed discussion and substantive criticism should never be deemed threatening or harmful.
I suggested that you find a way of approaching this issue that opened doors, found a basis for dialogue, but you simply rejected the idea and continued with this, starting this thread with a starkly black-and-white -- it's-all-bad-throw-it-out -- approach as if you are the arbiter what is the path and what is not, what works and what doesn't, without an apparent concern for the consequences of your actions of your supposed informed and substantive discussion. This, for me, has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo, but it has everything to do with objecting to a ham-handed, divisive, destructive approach that shuts doors. What makes this so highly problematic is that you have this massive amount of book learning which you marshall to to your cause, but there is in that no nuance, no subtly, no recognition of the grey areas that would allow something a bit more skillful while making your point.
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.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Brizzy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:40 am

From a personal perspective I think this is the thread that I have actually learned the most from. Geoff has helped me understand my own misgivings about certain issues and has put into words a lot of stuff that I actually believed to be true but have not been as knowledgeable or as diplomatic in my postings as Geoff is. I generally find my propensity for sarcasm rearing its ugly head this, coupled with my opinions of certain aspects of the BVT's has made me a bit of pariah.

On the subject of sarcasm - would it be true to say that there has now developed an entirely separate school to 'Theravadin' that is 'The Burmese Vipassana Tradidition'?

This is also a serious question since I see the 'View' underlying a lot of the BVT as fundamentally different from the Suttas.

Metta

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:42 am

Brizzy wrote:This is also a serious question since I see the 'View' underlying a lot of the BVT as fundamentally different from the Suttas.
Then start a new thread, asking that as a question.
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.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Do you know any teachers who teach the insight-knowledges framework devoid of the theory/view/ditthi of momentariness? The very insight-knowledges themselves are couched in terms of moments.)

Yes, I know that. That's the framework that is commonly used to explain it, and, as I said, I see it as devised as an approximation to analyse phenomenological experience, and something that would have to be let go of, just as the particular sutta interpretations that you are fond of would have to be let go of (there are obviously various ways to interpret the Kaccayanagotta, Phena and Kalakarama suttas... ).

Regarding mind-moments, I don't see where unbelievably short mind-moments are required for the description to make sense. In fact, Ven Mahasi lapses back into the three-fold sutta-like description here:
Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:3. Knowledge of Comprehension http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progres ... prehension

When this "purification (of insight) by overcoming doubt" has reached maturity, the meditator will discern distinctly the initial, middle, and final phases of any object noticed by him. Then, in the case of various objects noticed, he will discern distinctly that only after each earlier process has ceased, does there arise a subsequent process. For instance, only when the rising movement of the abdomen has come to an end, does there arise the falling movement; only when that has ended, is there again a rising movement. So also in the case of walking: only when the lifting of the foot has come to an end, does there arise the carrying forward of the foot; only when that has been completed, does there follow the placing of the foot on the ground.
...

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Do you know any teachers who teach the insight-knowledges framework devoid of the theory/view/ditthi of momentariness? The very insight-knowledges themselves are couched in terms of moments.

Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:In reality, single moments of mind arise and pass away continuously, one after another.... These instances of arising, noting and passing away appear like a string of beads. The preceding mind is not the following mind. Each is separate. These characteristics of reality are personally perceptible, and for this purpose one must proceed with the practice of contemplation... Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye.
So, is this an expression of what is really happening, or is it just Mahasi Saydaw's imagination? Might there actually be something to what he is describing, or are we to reject it out of hand because we find the philosophical structure built up around the momentary dhamma notion overly clumsy? I think the benefit of the doubt might best be extended lest we miss something of value, lest we characterize insight into the Dhamma as delusional imaginings.

Mahasi Sayadaw claims that...

"Everything comes into existence for a moment and then passes away. Nothing can remain even for the blink of an eye."

Proving the theory of momentariness (i.e. the instantaneous succession of "does not Exist", "Exist", and "does not Exist" - in spite of the tensions between this notion and suttas like Kaccayanagotta, Phena and Kalakarama) seems to be the very purpose of the bhanga-nana "Knowledge of Dissolution" insight-knowledge, which tradition has it, sets forth an array of knowledges/insights pertaining to fearfulness, misery, disgust etc. for the earnest meditator.
Keep in mind that Mahasi Sayadaw did not capitalize "existence." We need to be careful about about context and not conflating a conventional use with "Exist." Dhammas are not self existent things that "Exist." They are things that "exist" due to the various conditing processes present.
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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:12 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:So, is this an expression of what is really happening, or is it just Mahasi Saydaw's imagination? Might there actually be something to what he is describing, or are we to reject it out of hand because we find the philosophical structure built up around the momentary dhamma notion overly clumsy?

Taking "we" as constituting "you", "I" and "others"... I've explained what I've done. I've side-stepped the whole issue by not wading into those waters in the first place. This leaves me with no reason to actively "reject" anything - just reason not to pick it up.

As for what "you" and "others" do with it, that's for you and others to decide, with assistance from... :reading: ...and... :meditate:

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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