Bhante Vimalaramsi

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:29 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Tilt,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question with great links and by pin-pointing your problem with Bhante V. I, too, find it troubling but do like the technique. You mentioned you were familiar with other teachers who employ a similar "smile and relax" method and, if you happen to remember them and don't mind sharing their names I'd appreciate it.
The "smile and relax" I first heard it talked about by Joseph Goldstein during a 3 month reteat in the 70's. He said he got it from Munindra-ji.


Hello Tiltbillings:

"smile and relax" are general statements, probably every person on earth is using this instructions in some way or another, that doesnt mean they are doing the same thing that this or another buddhist meditator.

So my guess is that Joseph Goldstein and Munindra-ji are doing different meditations that B.Vimalaramsi if we go to the details. Anyways i would love to know they are doing simmilar things.

With metta.
2600htz
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby befriend » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:32 pm

bhante V teaches to say the metta phrase, then relax the tension in the mind caused by craving, this makes the mind bright and alert and happy then smile again and then send metta to your spiritual friend again.
befriend
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:14 am

2600htz wrote:"smile and relax" are general statements, probably every person on earth is using this instructions in some way or another, that doesnt mean they are doing the same thing that this or another buddhist meditator.

So my guess is that Joseph Goldstein and Munindra-ji are doing different meditations that B.Vimalaramsi if we go to the details. Anyways i would love to know they are doing simmilar things.

With metta.
What Joseph G. talked about was recognizing the tension that one might be carrying, or that might arise as a result of a particular mind state or object of awareness. Sometimes it is easy to get into a state of grimness or tension while sitting in meditation. He talked about making a deliberate effort to physically and mentally relax, to let the face and body go soft, which makes it easier to let the mind relax and to let go, and part of all this is to put a small smile on one’s face, which has a rather interesting effect of lightening up one’s affect.

Whereas Joseph G. talked about this as an as needed practice, Vimalaramsi incorporated, as an integral aspect, something like this into the method he devised, which is really naught more than a variation of the Burmese methods. As I have said, if Vimalaramsi’s method speaks to you, then use it. I am not criticizing the actual meditation method he has devised and is teaching.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19386
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
2600htz wrote:"smile and relax" are general statements, probably every person on earth is using this instructions in some way or another, that doesnt mean they are doing the same thing that this or another buddhist meditator.

So my guess is that Joseph Goldstein and Munindra-ji are doing different meditations that B.Vimalaramsi if we go to the details. Anyways i would love to know they are doing simmilar things.

With metta.
What Joseph G. talked about was recognizing the tension that one might be carrying, or that might arise as a result of a particular mind state or object of awareness. Sometimes it is easy to get into a state of grimness or tension while sitting in meditation. He talked about making a deliberate effort to physically and mentally relax, to let the face and body go soft, which makes it easier to let the mind relax and to let go, and part of all this is to put a small smile on one’s face, which has a rather interesting effect of lightening up one’s affect.

Whereas Joseph G. talked about this as an as needed practice, Vimalaramsi incorporated, as an integral aspect, something like this into the method he devised, which is really naught more than a variation of the Burmese methods. As I have said, if Vimalaramsi’s method speaks to you, then use it. I am not criticizing the actual meditation method he has devised and is teaching.


Hello Tiltbillings:

I just listen to a Joseph Goldstein dhamma talk on "mindfulness of breathing instructions" and found it very good:).
Even while i train under B.Vimalaramsi instructions, im not an advanced student, so mainly i just want to see the differences between teachers techniques, nothing else :).
I repeat, im not interested in saying wich teacher is better or worst.

The little differences i notice:

-Joseph G. uses the suttas, B.Vimaralmsi also does. But Joseph G. takes an open approach on the controvertial parts of the sutta, while B.Vimaralmsi sticks with one choice.
While reading (MN-118). 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body." Goldstein explains to the students they can experiment with taking this instruction as "being sensitive to the physicall body, or the breath body" and the student can choose the one who fits him the most. Vimalaramsi explains that this means "the breath body, not the physicall body" (even while he does a meditation where u have complete awareness of the physicall body). Same with the step of 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' Goldstein says the student can choose to calm the physicall body, or to calm the breath. While Vimalaramsi says this always means to calm the body and mind tightness,specially in the head. Goldstein also recommends to calm body and mind, but he states that the student might feel more inclined sometimes to calm the breath.

So the differences in that matter are subtle, yet they seems to be there and hipotetically they could lead to different results sometimes.

-Distractions/hindrances. Joseph G. seems to take a "noting and coming back to the object" approach (?). While Vimalaramsi is against noting, and he uses the "6rs": recognice a distraction (just knowing u are not in the object anymore without the need to do a "noting" of what pulled you), release attention to thoughts and the distraction, relax tightness in body and mind, resmile, return to the object, repeat process. Here he states that without doing this relax before coming back, you bring back craving to the object. The smile is used as a secondary object theme (as stated in MN-20 The Relaxation of Thoughts).

(?)About this matter im not really sure if thats Joseph G. posture, because i only listen to that dhamma talk and how the deal with distractions was mention breafly. I think he also said that the student should go with the predominant experience of the moment, so if pain is coming, the student should note this and be with it for a while. While Vimalaramsi is against that, he always saids to never stick with a distraction.

-Concentration/ collectedness. B. Vimalaramsi is against "focusing" or any form of one pointed concentration. He doesnt use nimmita, or access concentration, neighborhood concentration, etc.
Its also never refered in terms of "the mind settling in the object" as the cause of concentration. For Vimalaramsi, concentration/collectedness is refered always in terms of the letting go of a distraction. When a person lets go of an attachment, the mind stops being pulled away so naturally becomes very still in what its doing without the need of any focusing. So thats the singleness of mind he talks about (as a factor of jhana).

This is one of the main differences i found between Vimalaramsi and the few other teachers i know. Sadly i couldn´t find a Joseph Goldstein talk where he refers to this matters, but maybe here is a difference.

-Insight. For Vimalaramsi, what the student must practice always is "to see how mind goes from being in the object, to being pulled away and being in a distraction". Thats his main meditation instruction. So the student by repeating over and over again the process of being in the object and getting pulled away begins to learn that first there was a feeling,later the craving,later the clinging, and so on, until finally he sees the process in a clear way and he is able to let go of craving. So what Vimalaramsi teaches as insight is to see dependent origination (or usually part of it, starting by the feeling or contact link, but i guess this depends on the level of the student and in wich jhana he is on). He states that this happends from the first jhana to the cessation of perception and feeling. So the student sees D.O in all of the jhanas.

I also dont know whats Joseph Goldstein posture regarding insight. But i guess is mainly to see the 3 marks of existence in different ways right?. This could be another difference...

-Jhana. Vimalaramsi defines jhanas as levels of understanding. And he teaches from the first jhana to cessation of perception. Iv heard that Vipassana teachers usually don´t practice jhana?. Im not sure about this, correct me him him wrong. Or they use concentration and jhana until the concentration is strong and then switch to insight?. If thats the case there might be another difference, because Vimalaramsi states that he teaches Samatha/Vipassana meditation joked, where samatha and vipassana happend in the same time.

Well thats all i can think about it for the moment,
Also, i might be talking way over my head so any correction on statement will be appreaciated.

With metta.

PD: Tiltbillings, why do you call it variations of the Burmese method?, What is the Burmese method?. From what i heard, Goldstein and Vimalaramsi they both used nothing more than the suttas as their base for instructions, would that be the Suttas method? haha. :namaste: . I repeat, im way over my head, i dont know much about buddhism traditions. And sorry if i made grammar mistakes because this is not my native language.
2600htz
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:16 am

=” 2600htz”]I just listen to a Joseph Goldstein dhamma talk on "mindfulness of breathing instructions" and found it very good:).
Even while i train under B.Vimalaramsi instructions, im not an advanced student, so mainly i just want to see the differences between teachers techniques, nothing else .
I repeat, im not interested in saying wich teacher is better or worst.
Thank you for your considered reply. The issue here for me concerning Vimalaramsi does not have to do with his meditation instructions, but it is interesting to look at what Joseph G. has to say in light of what Vimalaramsi has said.

But Joseph G. takes an open approach on the controvertial parts of the sutta, while B.Vimaralmsi sticks with one choice.
While Joseph G. has been trained in formal Mahasi Sayadaw type practice, he also recognizes that techniques are not sacred. While it is important when using a technique to be impeccably disciplined with its use, there is also a recognition that they are not set in stone and that it may be quite useful to experiment with them. As one’s practice matures, as one gains insight, what worked at one time may not be as effective for deeper practice or for the place one may find oneself.

These sorts of techniques that Joseph G., Vimalaramsi and others teaches are not what the Buddha taught, but they are ways of putting into practice what the Buddha taught.

So the differences in that matter are subtle, yet they seems to be there and hipotetically they could lead to different results sometimes.
Different results? Maybe, but it should be a matter of leading to insight into the dependent arising and falling nature of all that we are, seeing the anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature of what we imagine ourselves to be, all leading to letting go.

-Distractions/hindrances. Joseph G. seems to take a "noting and coming back to the object" approach (?). While Vimalaramsi is against noting, and he uses the "6rs": recognice a distraction (just knowing u are not in the object anymore without the need to do a "noting" of what pulled you), release attention to thoughts and the distraction, relax tightness in body and mind, resmile, return to the object, repeat process. Here he states that without doing this relax before coming back, you bring back craving to the object. The smile is used as a secondary object theme (as stated in MN-20 The Relaxation of Thoughts).
A rose by any other name . . . . Vimalaramsi’s technique is a bit more busy than what Joseph G. is advocating, but noting when done correctly is a very effective technique for cultivating concentration, mindfulness, and for letting go of “distractions.”

-Insight. For Vimalaramsi, what the student must practice always is "to see how mind goes from being in the object, to being pulled away and being in a distraction". Thats his main meditation instruction. So the student by repeating over and over again the process of being in the object and getting pulled away begins to learn that first there was a feeling,later the craving,later the clinging, and so on, until finally he sees the process in a clear way and he is able to let go of craving.
As you are describing this, there seems to be a lot of conceptual thought going on here. If one simply pays attention with a concentrated, mindful mind, one sees that without having to look for it.

Tiltbillings, why do you call it variations of the Burmese method?, What is the Burmese method?. From what i heard, Goldstein and Vimalaramsi they both used nothing more than the suttas as their base for instructions, would that be the Suttas method?
What is the Burmese method? In the case of Joseph Goldstein, I would say the Mahasi Sayadaw method, but he is certainly not slavish to it.

You might find this thread of interest:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8655&start=0
It is an argumentative thread, but if you can overlook that, you might find it interesting in regards to your question. Now, it is not easy to have one’s teacher criticized, and you may not want to read that thread, which is fine, and if you do read it you certainly can, not without justification, dismiss what I have to say in it as coming from an opinionated blowhard.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19386
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:These sorts of techniques that Joseph G., Vimalaramsi and others teaches are not what the Buddha taught, but they are ways of putting into practice what the Buddha taught.

This is a key point. Any elaboration of how to use the suttas in practice is, clearly, "not literally what the Buddha taught" and that applies to every teacher. One certainly doesn't find the "smile" and "6Rs" instructions in the Suttas, for example. However, such elaborations are not contradictory to the suttas, and they seem to be helpful to many practitioners.

Buddhism is a living tradition and we benefit from the experience and interpretation of those (ancient and modern) who have practised well. As the Buddha recommended:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"As for the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, he should approach an individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated? How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced:
...


:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10271
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:18 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
=” 2600htz”]I just listen to a Joseph Goldstein dhamma talk on "mindfulness of breathing instructions" and found it very good:).
Even while i train under B.Vimalaramsi instructions, im not an advanced student, so mainly i just want to see the differences between teachers techniques, nothing else .
I repeat, im not interested in saying wich teacher is better or worst.
Thank you for your considered reply. The issue here for me concerning Vimalaramsi does not have to do with his meditation instructions, but it is interesting to look at what Joseph G. has to say in light of what Vimalaramsi has said.

Thank you for the answer! , oh my god im really bad using this multi quoting thing but i will try :) .

But Joseph G. takes an open approach on the controvertial parts of the sutta, while B.Vimaralmsi sticks with one choice.
While Joseph G. has been trained in formal Mahasi Sayadaw type practice, he also recognizes that techniques are not sacred. While it is important when using a technique to be impeccably disciplined with its use, there is also a recognition that they are not set in stone and that it may be quite useful to experiment with them. As one’s practice matures, as one gains insight, what worked at one time may not be as effective for deeper practice or for the place one may find oneself.

These sorts of techniques that Joseph G., Vimalaramsi and others teaches are not what the Buddha taught, but they are ways of putting into practice what the Buddha taught.

Good point.

So the differences in that matter are subtle, yet they seems to be there and hipotetically they could lead to different results sometimes.
Different results? Maybe, but it should be a matter of leading to insight into the dependent arising and falling nature of all that we are, seeing the anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature of what we imagine ourselves to be, all leading to letting go.

-Distractions/hindrances. Joseph G. seems to take a "noting and coming back to the object" approach (?). While Vimalaramsi is against noting, and he uses the "6rs": recognice a distraction (just knowing u are not in the object anymore without the need to do a "noting" of what pulled you), release attention to thoughts and the distraction, relax tightness in body and mind, resmile, return to the object, repeat process. Here he states that without doing this relax before coming back, you bring back craving to the object. The smile is used as a secondary object theme (as stated in MN-20 The Relaxation of Thoughts).
A rose by any other name . . . . Vimalaramsi’s technique is a bit more busy than what Joseph G. is advocating, but noting when done correctly is a very effective technique for cultivating concentration, mindfulness, and for letting go of “distractions.”

Here i disagree. If what Joseph G. does is "noting and coming back" i would say that its very different to the "6rs" that B. Vimalaramsi does, so i wont call it "a rose by any other name".
Its like saying that there is no difference between just coming back and noting and coming back. I repeat, i only care about differences,im not into effectiveness.

-Insight. For Vimalaramsi, what the student must practice always is "to see how mind goes from being in the object, to being pulled away and being in a distraction". Thats his main meditation instruction. So the student by repeating over and over again the process of being in the object and getting pulled away begins to learn that first there was a feeling,later the craving,later the clinging, and so on, until finally he sees the process in a clear way and he is able to let go of craving.
As you are describing this, there seems to be a lot of conceptual thought going on here. If one simply pays attention with a concentrated, mindful mind, one sees that without having to look for it.

B. Vimalaramsi explain that this seeing isn´t done in a conceptual way. Its made as you say by attention and repetition, in a "mechanical" way, and the doing of the "6rs".
The instruction its putted in that way to show where is the real practice.


Tiltbillings, why do you call it variations of the Burmese method?, What is the Burmese method?. From what i heard, Goldstein and Vimalaramsi they both used nothing more than the suttas as their base for instructions, would that be the Suttas method?
What is the Burmese method? In the case of Joseph Goldstein, I would say the Mahasi Sayadaw method, but he is certainly not slavish to it.

ohh ok

You might find this thread of interest:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 55&start=0
It is an argumentative thread, but if you can overlook that, you might find it interesting in regards to your question. Now, it is not easy to have one’s teacher criticized, and you may not want to read that thread, which is fine, and if you do read it you certainly can, not without justification, dismiss what I have to say in it as coming from an opinionated blowhard.


Thank you, i read it. The main discussion was that Vimalaramsi´s method is no different that Burmese vipassana/Mahasi Sayadaw variations. But for the moment i don´t see it that way because of the things we had talk about (specially the difference between "noting and coming back" and the "6rs"). I dont see you as an opinionated blowhard because we are talking about completely objective differences, not talking about preferences or personal ideas :).

Anyways im still not sure in a good way what are the simmilarities and differences in other matters, because i don´t understand in a good way the Burmese vipassana/Mahasi Sayadaw/Joseph G. method.


-Do they use momentary concentration or any simmilar kind of concentration? what is concentration for them?
-In the refered topic u did say: "The point is that the more one pointed concentration the more likely the concentration is to suppress the hindrances, which is, of course, not eradicating them via insight.". Do u agree with this supressing or not?
-Do they go throw the jhanas? what type of jhanas?
-They don´t think vipassana can happen with the practice of Brahma-Viharas?
-They switch from samatha to vipassana? they are strictly vipassana? they joke samatha and vipassana?
-How does insight exacly comes to be?
-They also always see D.O or is D.O just one of many different insight?

Well, it seems i did extend too much so it might be a lot of trouble to answer, so do it as you please, in a short or long way :)

With metta.


:namaste:
2600htz
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:38 am

2600htz wrote: . . . .
Thanks. It will be a day or two before I'll have the time to give your msg the time it requires.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19386
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:41 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Hi All,

I have heard some criticisms of late of Bhante Vimalaramsi and would be interested in hearing why some people have an issue or issues with him.


    passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ assasissāmī’ ti sikkhati; ‘passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ passasissāmī’ ti sikkhati.
    [...]
    passambhayaṃ cittasaṅkhāraṃ assasissāmī’ ti sikkhati; ‘passambhayaṃ cittasaṅkhāraṃ passasissāmī’ ti sikkhati.


    He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.’
    [...]
    He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation.’


These two lines —the final parts of the first and second tetrads of the Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN. 118)— are what Ven. Vimalaraṃsī cites as "proof texts" in support of his notion that the sine qua non of Buddhist bhāvanā is the willed relaxing of a supposed "tight mental fist" in one's head. As far as I know, it is on these passages alone that his theory is based. (If he has at any time cited others, then I welcome correction).

My first "issue" with Ven. Vimalaraṃsī is his claim that the above two modes of ānāpānassati are in some manner, or for some reason, of much greater moment than all the others. This is merely the venerable's personal opinion, for in the Suttas the Buddha doesn't single out any of the sixteen modes as meriting greater attention than the others.


Moving on to a more serious problem, it seems to me that the above passages simply cannot sustain the interpretation that the venerable imposes upon them. When citing these passages he is wont to present his case rather tersely, but when the reasoning is unpacked, it seems to go something like this:

1. The Buddha instructs the yogāvacara to tranquillize the bodily formation while breathing in and out.
2. To tranquillize means to relax.
3. That which is in need of relaxing must be something tense, tight or strained.
4. This tense, tight or strained thing may be tropologized as a "tight mental fist".
5. This mental fist is composed of attachment, aversion and self-view.
6. Willed relaxation of this "fist" brings about the letting go of attachment, etc.
7. Repeatedly doing so leads to the purification of the mind and attainment of the noble paths and fruits.

I'm not sure if I've got the latter stages of his thinking exactly right (it's ages since I last read him), but for present purposes it doesn't really matter, because the mischief lies in points 2 and 3.

In English usage the primary sense of the verb "to tranquillize" is to calm someone/something that is agitated or disturbed. The word has also a secondary sense —largely occurring in medical contexts— where it means to relax that which is tight or strained. A person suffering from stress and tension, for example, may take a tranquillizer.

Now Vimalaraṃsī's argument requires one to assume that the secondary sense of the English verb "to tranquillize" is the primary sense of the Pali verb "passambhati", (or if not that, then it is at least the sense that the Buddha had in mind when he taught the Ānāpānassati Sutta).

And what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that the venerable ought not to have assumed anything of the kind. Rather than making the linguistically naïve assumption of there being a perfect symmetry between the semantic range of "passambhati" and that of "tranquillize", he ought to have investigated how "passambhati" and related words (passaddha, passaddhi, passambhayaṃ, etc.) are used in the Suttas. Had he done so, he would have discovered that all the Pali words that occur in binary opposition to passambhati have to do with agitation or disturbance or turbulence. Passambhati and its derivatives NEVER occur in opposition to any of the Pali words denoting tightness or tenseness.

This is not of course to say that the method devised by Ven. Vimalaraṃsī may not be an effective practice, but merely that it is not nearly so well-grounded in the Suttas as he imagines it to be.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:00 am

Sadhu Bhante! I really appreciate your detailed analysis and will certainly be reading it more than once.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
 
Posts: 1629
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:16 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Sadhu Bhante! I really appreciate your detailed analysis and will certainly be reading it more than once.


Yes certainly worth re reading for a number of reasons Thank-you!
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby amtross » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:28 am

Dhammanando wrote: ...
Had he done so, he would have discovered that all the Pali words that occur in binary opposition to passambhati have to do with agitation or disturbance or turbulence. Passambhati and its derivatives NEVER occur in opposition to any of the Pali words denoting tightness or tenseness. ...



Bhante, I was under the impression that disturbance/agitation/turbulence in the mind would result from (depend on?) clinging to some sort of craving in the mind (i.e. aversion or desire). At least that's how it seems to me. Do you have a different understanding? I ask because I was also under the impression that craving was usually experienced as a tightness in the mind but your statement seems to indicate that disturbance and tightness in the mind are not intrinsically related. I would be very interested in your thoughts on these points in case I am misunderstanding some very fundamental aspects of the practice.

Thanks,
sean
User avatar
amtross
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:39 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby chownah » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:49 am

Dhammanando,
So do you suggest the term "calming bodily formations" rather than "tranquilising bodily formations"?
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2665
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:54 am

2600htz wrote:Anyways im still not sure in a good way what are the simmilarities and differences in other matters, because i don´t understand in a good way the Burmese vipassana/Mahasi Sayadaw/Joseph G. method.
Listening to Joseph G.’s talks is a good place to start.


-Do they use momentary concentration or any simmilar kind of concentration? what is concentration for them?
I would be somewhat careful in taking Vimalaramsi’s characterization of these things as being how they are understood and practiced by vipassana practitioners.

While generally meditative concentration hold steady on one object or object set, momentary concentration refers to concentrated attention given to whatever arises in awareness at “this moment.” The practice of noting helps to cultivate both the awareness and concentration of what arises as it arises. The level of concentration can be very significant while the objects of awareness are the rise and fall of the seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted, and cognized.

-In the refered topic u did say: "The point is that the more one pointed concentration the more likely the concentration is to suppress the hindrances, which is, of course, not eradicating them via insight.". Do u agree with this supressing or not?
It all depends upon the type of practice being done, but:
    Herein, monks, when sense-desire is present, a monk knows, "There is sense-desire in me," or when sense-desire is not present, he knows, "There is no sense-desire in me." He knows how the arising of the non-arisen sense-desire comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen sense-desire comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sense-desire comes to be. -- MN 10

The more clearly one sees (with no need to conceptualize about) the rise and fall of sense-desire, the more clearly one sees its nature, and in seeing its nature of sense-desire, the less likely one is going to get lost in it.

-Do they go throw the jhanas? what type of jhanas?
Jhana is a confusing concept. Here are a couple of threads that might help see things from something of a different point of view:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9016&p=140097p140097#p140097

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10264&p=166339#p166339

These two talks here are worth listening to:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/?search ... =-rec_date

-They don´t think vipassana can happen with the practice of Brahma-Viharas?
Insight happens where it happens.

-They switch from samatha to vipassana? they are strictly vipassana? they joke samatha and vipassana?
I think you mean yoke, not joke, and I think the two above talks may address that.

-How does insight exacly comes to be?
It is a matter of directly seeing, clearly comprehending, what is seen (and the rest), not filtering the seen through conceptual expectations, wants, needs and imaginings.
-They also always see D.O or is D.O just one of many different insight?
Which is an interesting question. Do you see the Dhamma? Or is this a way of talking about things after the fact of insight?

Well, it seems i did extend too much so it might be a lot of trouble to answer, so do it as you please, in a short or long way :)

With metta.[/b]

:namaste:
No trouble to answer at all, though I am sorry for being a bit late with getting back to you.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19386
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:45 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Hi All,

I have heard some criticisms of late of Bhante Vimalaramsi and would be interested in hearing why some people have an issue or issues with him.


    passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ assasissāmī’ ti sikkhati; ‘passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ passasissāmī’ ti sikkhati.
    [...]
    passambhayaṃ cittasaṅkhāraṃ assasissāmī’ ti sikkhati; ‘passambhayaṃ cittasaṅkhāraṃ passasissāmī’ ti sikkhati.


    He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.’
    [...]
    He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation.’


These two lines —the final parts of the first and second tetrads of the Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN. 118)— are what Ven. Vimalaraṃsī cites as "proof texts" in support of his notion that the sine qua non of Buddhist bhāvanā is the willed relaxing of a supposed "tight mental fist" in one's head. As far as I know, it is on these passages alone that his theory is based. (If he has at any time cited others, then I welcome correction).

My first "issue" with Ven. Vimalaraṃsī is his claim that the above two modes of ānāpānassati are in some manner, or for some reason, of much greater moment than all the others. This is merely the venerable's personal opinion, for in the Suttas the Buddha doesn't single out any of the sixteen modes as meriting greater attention than the others.


Moving on to a more serious problem, it seems to me that the above passages simply cannot sustain the interpretation that the venerable imposes upon them. When citing these passages he is wont to present his case rather tersely, but when the reasoning is unpacked, it seems to go something like this:

1. The Buddha instructs the yogāvacara to tranquillize the bodily formation while breathing in and out.
2. To tranquillize means to relax.
3. That which is in need of relaxing must be something tense, tight or strained.
4. This tense, tight or strained thing may be tropologized as a "tight mental fist".
5. This mental fist is composed of attachment, aversion and self-view.
6. Willed relaxation of this "fist" brings about the letting go of attachment, etc.
7. Repeatedly doing so leads to the purification of the mind and attainment of the noble paths and fruits.

I'm not sure if I've got the latter stages of his thinking exactly right (it's ages since I last read him), but for present purposes it doesn't really matter, because the mischief lies in points 2 and 3.

In English usage the primary sense of the verb "to tranquillize" is to calm someone/something that is agitated or disturbed. The word has also a secondary sense —largely occurring in medical contexts— where it means to relax that which is tight or strained. A person suffering from stress and tension, for example, may take a tranquillizer.

Now Vimalaraṃsī's argument requires one to assume that the secondary sense of the English verb "to tranquillize" is the primary sense of the Pali verb "passambhati", (or if not that, then it is at least the sense that the Buddha had in mind when he taught the Ānāpānassati Sutta).

And what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that the venerable ought not to have assumed anything of the kind. Rather than making the linguistically naïve assumption of there being a perfect symmetry between the semantic range of "passambhati" and that of "tranquillize", he ought to have investigated how "passambhati" and related words (passaddha, passaddhi, passambhayaṃ, etc.) are used in the Suttas. Had he done so, he would have discovered that all the Pali words that occur in binary opposition to passambhati have to do with agitation or disturbance or turbulence. Passambhati and its derivatives NEVER occur in opposition to any of the Pali words denoting tightness or tenseness.

This is not of course to say that the method devised by Ven. Vimalaraṃsī may not be an effective practice, but merely that it is not nearly so well-grounded in the Suttas as he imagines it to be.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando


Hello Dhammanando:

Thanks for the reply!,

1) I never heard in V. Vimalaramsi instructions that the person should pay less attention to the rest of the "sixteen modes" of the anapanasati .
On the contrary, i heard many times that it was a complete set of instructions, a flow, not to be taken as single threats.
But, he did say two things:

-"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.'

Meaning the person just needs to discern, without the need to focus, causing extra attention on the matter.

-He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'
[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"The person trains something", meaning its an efford, something that takes a little more than just a passive stand.


2) While many times V. Vimalamrasi uses the word "relax" in the sense of "relaxing that which is tight or strained" (in the head, but not just in head, also in any other part of the body),
he also use the word in the sense of "calming something that is agitated or disturbed" (specially when talking about calming mental states or restlessness-agitation in the body).

Anyways, since what is agitated or disturbed can be relaxed, and what is tight or strained can be taken as agitation, im lost in what would be the practical difference between
those two. Could you please explain it a little more?.


With metta.
2600htz
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
2600htz wrote:Anyways im still not sure in a good way what are the simmilarities and differences in other matters, because i don´t understand in a good way the Burmese vipassana/Mahasi Sayadaw/Joseph G. method.
Listening to Joseph G.’s talks is a good place to start.


-Do they use momentary concentration or any simmilar kind of concentration? what is concentration for them?
I would be somewhat careful in taking Vimalaramsi’s characterization of these things as being how they are understood and practiced by vipassana practitioners.

While generally meditative concentration hold steady on one object or object set, momentary concentration refers to concentrated attention given to whatever arises in awareness at “this moment.” The practice of noting helps to cultivate both the awareness and concentration of what arises as it arises. The level of concentration can be very significant while the objects of awareness are the rise and fall of the seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted, and cognized.

-In the refered topic u did say: "The point is that the more one pointed concentration the more likely the concentration is to suppress the hindrances, which is, of course, not eradicating them via insight.". Do u agree with this supressing or not?
It all depends upon the type of practice being done, but:
    Herein, monks, when sense-desire is present, a monk knows, "There is sense-desire in me," or when sense-desire is not present, he knows, "There is no sense-desire in me." He knows how the arising of the non-arisen sense-desire comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen sense-desire comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sense-desire comes to be. -- MN 10

The more clearly one sees (with no need to conceptualize about) the rise and fall of sense-desire, the more clearly one sees its nature, and in seeing its nature of sense-desire, the less likely one is going to get lost in it.

-Do they go throw the jhanas? what type of jhanas?
Jhana is a confusing concept. Here are a couple of threads that might help see things from something of a different point of view:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 97#p140097

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 39#p166339

These two talks here are worth listening to:

http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/?search ... =-rec_date

-They don´t think vipassana can happen with the practice of Brahma-Viharas?
Insight happens where it happens.

-They switch from samatha to vipassana? they are strictly vipassana? they joke samatha and vipassana?
I think you mean yoke, not joke, and I think the two above talks may address that.

-How does insight exacly comes to be?
It is a matter of directly seeing, clearly comprehending, what is seen (and the rest), not filtering the seen through conceptual expectations, wants, needs and imaginings.
-They also always see D.O or is D.O just one of many different insight?
Which is an interesting question. Do you see the Dhamma? Or is this a way of talking about things after the fact of insight?

Well, it seems i did extend too much so it might be a lot of trouble to answer, so do it as you please, in a short or long way :)

With metta.[/b]

:namaste:
No trouble to answer at all, though I am sorry for being a bit late with getting back to you.


Hello:

Thanks Tiltbillings, i will listen to one of the dhamma talks u linked and then answer.

With metta.
2600htz
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:31 am

Manapa wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Sadhu Bhante! I really appreciate your detailed analysis and will certainly be reading it more than once.


Yes certainly worth re reading for a number of reasons Thank-you!


I have read the post several times and I am still unsure of its reasoning's. At the same time I am rather surprised by the framing of the post.
Perhaps if Bhante wanted to make a truer evaluation of Bhante V, then a personal dialogue between the two could help clear up any concerns he has about any mischief.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.
Brizzy
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:58 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:00 am

Brizzy wrote:
I have read the post several times and I am still unsure of its reasoning's. At the same time I am rather surprised by the framing of the post.
Perhaps if Bhante wanted to make a truer evaluation of Bhante V, then a personal dialogue between the two could help clear up any concerns he has about any mischief.

Metta

:smile:

if that is the only thing you got from it :(
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:19 am

Manapa wrote:
Brizzy wrote:
I have read the post several times and I am still unsure of its reasoning's. At the same time I am rather surprised by the framing of the post.
Perhaps if Bhante wanted to make a truer evaluation of Bhante V, then a personal dialogue between the two could help clear up any concerns he has about any mischief.

Metta

:smile:

if that is the only thing you got from it :(


Indeed.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.
Brizzy
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:58 am

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:16 am

Hi Chownah,

So do you suggest the term "calming bodily formations" rather than "tranquilising bodily formations"?


"Calming", "tranquillising", "pacifying" — I think they're all about equally fine. My grumble was about Ven. Vimalaraṃsī's "relaxing". It's his habit to insert this in brackets after "tranquillising".

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

PreviousNext

Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests