Vipassana vs Theravada

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

Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:17 am

Brizzy wrote:If all else fails, blame the Buddha for being a poor teacher (The sutta's are predominantly the Buddha's words or his close disciples).

The Buddha was certainly not a poor teacher. But the meaning of words & phrases have the potential to become lost or obscured over time. You may have thumbed up my post but did you consider my question about sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī (step 3) and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī (step 7 of anapanasati)? Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly? Your guess is probably as good or as poor as mine.

:)
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Brizzy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:41 am

Passavipa wrote:
Brizzy wrote:If all else fails, blame the Buddha for being a poor teacher (The sutta's are predominantly the Buddha's words or his close disciples).

The Buddha was certainly not a poor teacher. But the meaning of words & phrases have the potential to become lost or obscured over time. You may have thumbed up my post but did you consider my question about sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī (step 3) and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī (step 7 of anapanasati)? Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly? Your guess is probably as good or as poor as mine.

:)


Both appear to be quite straightforward instructions. Any uncertainty as to their exact meaning can be cleared up by practice - no other way. As for relating to vipassana, they are part of the process aimed at awakening.

Metta

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:16 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:I prefer to distinguish what are the teachings of the Buddha, as closely as I can discern from the suttas. And as I have none other than the Buddha as Ajahn...

An interesting & suitable case study is the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. Many regarded the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu as a renegade & a heretic. Alternately, some of his disciples assert the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu was a "radical conservative", i.e., a strict adherent to the Pali suttas. But in truth, neither were the case.

The late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu certainly had his differences of opinion with much of the Buddhist world about Dependent Origination. However, he probably only chose his interpretation because he personally regarded it has having more value & utility.

But the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu did not merely accept or reject Buddhist teachings on the basis of a literal conformity with the Pali Suttas. For example, much of his extensive work on Anapanasati is based on the various Commentaries. Or in the print version of his brief translated work on Paticcasamuppada, the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu said he agreed with 90% of what Buddhaghosa wrote in his Vissuddhimagga.

Similarly, the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu devoted an entire chapter of his work Handbook for Mankind to (Burmese) organised systems of vipassana.

It follows such a case study exemplifies using a criteria based on what is advantageous.

:)

Neither the term Study (Gantha - dhura) nor Vipassana - dhura is mentioned in the Tipitaka, both appearing only in later books; but Vipassana - dhura is nevertheless a genuine Buddhist practice, designed for people intent on eliminating suffering. It is based directly on sustained, concentrated introspection.
Last edited by Passavipa on Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Passavipa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:24 am

Brizzy wrote:Both appear to be quite straightforward instructions. Any uncertainty as to their exact meaning can be cleared up by practice - no other way.

Such subjectivity is certainly not convincing. The "practice" of each individual is not necessarily the same.

If both appear to be quite straightfoward then kindly explain them, thank you, so we & others may compare notes :)
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Brizzy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:38 pm

Passavipa wrote:
Brizzy wrote:Both appear to be quite straightforward instructions. Any uncertainty as to their exact meaning can be cleared up by practice - no other way.

Such subjectivity is certainly not convincing. The "practice" of each individual is not necessarily the same.

If both appear to be quite straightfoward then kindly explain them, thank you, so we & others may compare notes :)


No, sorry, I think you might find my explanations too subjective and unconvincing.
You actually negate your own question, if each individual practices differently then there will be subtle differences in our understanding of the instructions. I am not advocating an ultra strict rigidity, it is certainly ok to have various approaches to meditation. Where I despair is when the meditation becomes the 'path' or right view is restructured to fit in with meditative experiences.

Metta

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:33 pm

Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:25 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !
It is not.
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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:19 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !


Let's be careful here. It sounds like some Vipassana meditation groups are just Theravada (like my local group where Vipassana = Theravada) while there are other groups who remove the Buddhism from the meditation method. But this would clearly not be a Buddhist school as they have removed the Buddhism to become a secular group. I assume they do this to draw a wider audience such as business persons and teachers who simply want the mundane benefits of meditation. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, as long as it's open and understood.

It seems to me Goenka clearly falls under the Vipassana = Theravada category, and if anybody wants to criticize Goenka's methods, that is a topic for another thread.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:30 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !
It is not.

Has Mr Goenka, for example, ever stated he is "Theravadin"?

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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !
It is not.

Has Mr Goenka, for example, ever stated he is "Theravadin"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Are you Theravada?

Why would it matter if he has or has not. If you look at his teachings, they come directly out of Theravada orthodoxy.
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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:43 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:Why would it matter if he has or has not.

Only from the perspective that it makes your falsification false.

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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:Why would it matter if he has or has not.

Only from the perspective that it makes your falsification false.

Metta,
Retro. :)
What you are saying makes no sense.
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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:21 am

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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:24 am

Greetings,

So the answer then is yes, easy.

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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:27 am

Richard Cunningham Patterson Jr's duck test:

    Suppose you see a bird walking around in a farm yard. This bird has no label that says 'duck'. But the bird certainly looks like a duck. Also, he goes to the pond and you notice that he swims like a duck. Then he opens his beak and quacks like a duck. Well, by this time you have probably reached the conclusion that the bird is a duck, whether he's wearing a label or not.
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: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Fede » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:58 am

(Which one....The Vipassana duck, or the Theravada duck?)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Brizzy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !
It is not.

Has Mr Goenka, for example, ever stated he is "Theravadin"?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Mr Goenka says you can be a Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Jain or Buddhist and still receive the benefits of 'vipassana meditation'. So no, I don't think Mr Goenka would describe himself as a Theravadin or even a Buddhist. Mr Goenka says that all 'ism's' like Buddhism lead to conflict. :jedi: (He may be right). I am personally intrigued by the notion of a practising Christian, Hindu etc. achieving stream entry without actually renouncing or losing their particular faith. 'Vipassana meditation' is taught by Mr Goenka as a non-sectarian everybody welcome form of meditation, which is fine in itself but I personally do not see it as representative of Theravada or the suttas.

Metta

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Ignorance is an intentional act.
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:21 pm

Greetings Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Interesting thread. Never knew that Vipassana was a practice/school separate from The Theravada. Thanks !
It is not.

Has Mr Goenka, for example, ever stated he is "Theravadin"?

Metta,
Retro. :)

I wonder how important this labeling is?

The following is from an interview published in Tricycle from a few years ago...

TRICYCLE. Do you think in the Buddhist societies today, where violence is being carried out, are they functioning with this
detachment or no?


SN GOENKA: If somebody says they are a Buddhist and that is all they do, then I say you are a devotee of Buddha, you are not
a follower of Buddha. It’s a real difference. You have great devotion towards Buddha, you say, “Lord
Buddha, Lord Buddha, how wonderful!”
But you don’t practice. Whether we keep calling ourselves Christian or Hindu or Muslim, it makes no difference.
A follower of the Buddha follows the teachings: sila, samadhi, prajna. Those people who simply call themselves
Buddhists are not living the life of Buddha. That is why I don’t use the word “Buddhist” or “Buddhism.”
Buddha never taught any isms. In all his words, and the commentaries, which number thousands of pages, the
word “Buddhism” is not there. So this all started much later, when Buddha’s teaching began to settle.
I don’t know when it started, how it started, calling it Buddhism, but the day it happened it devalued the teaching
of Buddha. It was a universal teaching, and that made it sectarian, as if to say that Buddhism is only for
Buddhists, like Hinduism is for Hindus, Islam is for Muslims. Dharma is for all.


Interstingly, what SN Goenka teaches is indistinguishable from what his teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, taught. U Ba Khin described what he taught as Buddhism. As did Saya Thet Gyi and Ledi Sayadaw before him.

I understand why SN Goenka doesn't label himself or what he teaches as "Buddhism" or "Theravada" and I have absolutely no difficulty with it. As far as I am concerned - if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck then its a safe bet that its a duck. Irrespective of how the duck may describe him or herself as. (Apologies to Patterson's duck test).
As I said earlier...
I wonder how important this labeling is?
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:34 pm

Passavipa wrote:....but did you consider my question about sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī (step 3) and cittasaṅkhārapaṭisaṃvedī (step 7 of anapanasati)? Do they relate to vipassana? What do they mean, exactly? Your guess is probably as good or as poor as mine.
:)


It's an interesting question. I've read a number of commentaries on the 4 tetrads, and the general picture seems to be of a progression from samatha to vipassana. But since the 4 tetrads are based on the 4 frames they could all be viewed as vipassana.

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Re: Vipassana vs Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:26 pm

Fede wrote:(Which one....The Vipassana duck, or the Theravada duck?)
They are not different. Why would you think that they are?
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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