Bhante Vimalaramsi

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:19 am

Hi Brizzy,

I have read the post several times and I am still unsure of its reasoning's.


Then to put it as simply as I can:

Ven. Vimalaramsi attributes an especial importance to those modes of anapanassati that involve calming the bodily and mental formation. There is no evidence in the Suttas that they have an especial importance.

Ven. Vimalaramsi takes the Pali phrase translated as "...tranquillizing the bodily formation..." to mean that something tight or tense needs relaxing. This seems a highly improbable interpretation, for there is no evidence that the verb passambhati ever means "to relax".

At the same time I am rather surprised by the framing of the post.


Really? Why are you rather surprised? When the OP is a query as to whether anyone has an issue with a modern teacher whose teachings have generated controversy, you might have good cause for surprise if my contribution had been a post on, say, the history of test match cricket or the life-cycle of the humpback salmon. But what cause for surprise when it's nothing more or less than what the OP was soliciting?

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.


When the concerns are justified no amount of dialogue will clear them up. Reading the venerable's books on the Ānāpānassati Sutta and Mettabhāvanā, as well as his series of posts to DSG some years ago, I am satisfied that the two criticisms I made in my post are justified.

And lest my use of mischief in the earlier post be misunderstood . . .

According to the Oxford Dictionary in phrases like "the mischief lies in..." and "the mischief of it is that..." the word "mischief" means the most vexatious feature of something. Naturally it wasn't my intention to suggest that Ven. Vimalaraṃsī was being mischievous.

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,

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:28 am

Hi 2600htz

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 .


I wrote of Ven. Vimalaraṃsī treating the "tranquillizing bodily and mental formations" modes of ānāpānassati as being of "greater moment" — more consequential — than the the other modes. An example of this can be seen in his book on the Ānāpānassati Sutta. After quoting the lines: "He trains thus: 'I shall breath in tranquilizing the bodily formation'; he trains thus: 'I shall breath out tranquilizing the bodily formation.'" the venerable remarks:

    This simple statement is the most important part of the meditation instructions. It instructs one to notice the tightness, which arises in the head with every arising of a consciousness, and let that tightness go, while on the in-breath and out-breath. Then one feels their mind open up, expand, relax and become tranquil.
    (Vimalaraṃsī's emphasis)

So, the venerable maintains that tranquillizing the bodily formation is the "most important part of the meditation instructions." If this is the "most important part", then it follows that the other parts are less important.

In the introduction to the same book, the venerable states:

    The method described here is taken directly from the Sutta itself and its results can be seen clearly and easily when one practices according to the instructions on the Sutta. The author would like to emphasize that the instructions in this book are not his "own opinion", but is actually the Lord Buddha's own instruction given in a clear and precise way. It can be called the "Undiluted Dhamma", because it comes directly from the Suttas themselves, without a lot of additions or free-lance ideas.
    (My emphasis)

This is in contrast to Buddhaghosa, whom the venerable takes to task for introducing concepts such as access concentration, uggaha-nimitta, paṭibhāga-nimitta, etc., into his exposition of ānāpānassati:

    For example, the Visuddhi Magga talks about having a sign (nimitta in Pali, this can be a light or other visualized mind-made pictures) arise in the mind at certain times when one is practicing jhana meditation (absorption concentration [appana samādhi] or when one gets into access concentration [upacara samādhi] or even in momentary concentration [khanika samādhi]. With each type of 'concentration' a nimitta of some kind arises. When this happens one is practicing a 'concentration' type of meditation practice, which the Bodhisattva rejected as being the way to Nibbāna! However, if one were to check the Suttas, the description of nimittas arising in the mind has never been mentioned. And, if it were very important, it would be mentioned many times. The Lord Buddha never taught concentration techniques, having nimittas (signs) arising, or the chanting of mantras. These are forms of Hindu practices that have sneaked into Buddhism for a few hundred years. Their influences can be seen in the 'concentration practices' and in the Tibetan Buddhist styles of meditation, as well as, in other popular commentaries like the Visuddhi Magga. Thus, the current ways of practicing "concentration" do not conform to the descriptions given in the Suttas.
    One must always honestly and openly investigate what is being said and then check it against the Suttas. It is best that one does this not with just part of the Sutta but the whole Sutta itself, because taking out one or two lines from various sections can cause confusion.

So, given that the venerable is taking his stand on the Suttas, deems it an error to introduce or to rely upon notions not found in the Suttas (preferably found "many times in the Suttas"), and assures his readers that he is not peddling any dodgy "opinions ... additions or free-lance ideas," who can doubt that his admirers will be overjoyed to see his own exposition of bhāvanā evaluated by the very same standards that he applies to that of Buddhaghosa?

Where, then, in the Suttas (preferably "many times in the Suttas") is "tranquillising the bodily formation" stated to be "the most important part" of ānāpānassati? The answer is that nowhere is such a thing stated. Hence my remark that this is just the venerable's opinion. It's "an addition", if you will. It's "a free-lance-idea".

In reply to my my second objection, you say:

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).


As "relaxing" doesn't fall within the semantic range of "passambhati", nor within the scope of the practical explanation of "tranquillizing the bodily formation" given in the Ānāpānakathā of the Paṭisambhidāmagga, I think it's a mistake on the venerable's part to introduce the idea at all, regardless of what other actions he might prescribe to supplement it. Or at least he cannot do so and still claim that his method is "not his "own opinion", but is actually the Lord Buddha's own instruction given in a clear and precise way . . . .the "Undiluted Dhamma", because it comes directly from the Suttas themselves, without a lot of additions or free-lance ideas."

As it is, it is the very first gloss that he offers when explaining "tranquillising the bodily formation." To quote again:

    [Tranquillising the bodily formation] instructs one to notice the tightness, which arises in the head with every arising of a consciousness, and let that tightness go, while on the in-breath and out-breath. Then one feels their mind open up, expand, relax and become tranquil.

By way of contrast, let's take a look at the oldest extant record (and the only canonical description we have) of what it means to tranquillise the bodily formation in ānāpānassati, the Ānāpānakathā of the Paṭisambhidāmagga. The author of this exposition, traditionally given as Sāriputta, begins very sensibly by defining the key term "bodily formation" (which, by the way, I notice Ven. Vimalaraṃsī has neglected to do):

    "'Tranquillising the bodily formation (passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ), I shall breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'tranquillising the bodily formation, I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself."

    "Bodily-formation (kāyasaṅkhāraṃ)": long in-breaths, long out-breaths, short in-breaths, short out-breaths, breathing in experiencing the whole body, breathing out experiencing the whole body — these things are bodily properties; being bound up with the body they are bodily formations.

In other words, "bodily formation" is to be understood as comprising all the modes of breath previously itemized in the first tetrad. Essentially this is a more expansive version of the short definition given by the bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā in the Cullavedalla Sutta (MN. 44):

    "But, lady, what is the bodily formation? ..."
    "In-breathing and out-breathing, friend Visākha, are the bodily formation..."
    "But, lady, why are in-breathing and out-breathing the bodily formation? ..."
    "Friend Visākha, in-breathing and out-breathing are bodily, these are states bound up with the body; that is why in-breathing and out-breathing are the bodily formation." (MN. 44)

Sāriputta then offers a series of glosses on "tranquillizing" (passambhayaṃ):

    He trains himself by tranquillising (passambhento), causing to cease (nirodhento), pacifying (vūpasamento), those bodily formations.

No mention of relaxing any "tight mental fists" in one's head or body or mind or anywhere else. No words that could by any stretch of the imagination have to do with relaxing anything.

The author then makes a distinction between gross and subtle bodily formations, according to whether or not the long breaths, short breaths, etc., are coarse enough to generate bodily motion:

    Such bodily formations whereby there is bending backward, sideways, all ways, forward, shaking, trembling, moving of the body — "'tranquillising the bodily formation, I shall breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'tranquillising the bodily formation, I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself."
    Such bodily formations whereby there is no bending backward, sideways, all ways, forward, shaking, trembling, moving of the body — "'Tranquillising the quiet and subtle bodily formation, I shall breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'tranquillising the quiet and subtle bodily formation, I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself."

In the final part, which I won't quote (you can download Ñāṇamoli's translation from ATI) the author gives the simile of the gong to show how breathing can continue despite the tranquillizing of it, and then relates the tetrad to the three aggregates of training, sati and sampajañña, faculties, powers, factors of awakening, etc.

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.


In the Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta (MN. 139) the Buddha taught that for the sake of non-conflict his disciples ought not to override normal linguistic usage (samaññaṃ nātidhāveyya).

If I'm holding a glass of water and my hand is shaking, the water will be disturbed. If I set the glass down on an immobile, non-vibrating surface, the water will become calm. I will have calmed the water. Or, the water's disturbance will have subsided. Its agitation will have been quelled. But what an eccentric and irregular locution to say: "Dhammanando has relaxed the water" or "Dhammanando has caused the water has relaxed itself" !

Likewise in Pali, as far as I can tell, it would be an "overriding of normal usage" to equate passambhati with any verbs that have to do with loosening or relaxing.

Could you please explain it a little more?


I hope this post will clarify matters.

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,

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:44 am

:goodpost: Thanks Bhante! Sadhu!
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:00 pm

Thank you, Ajahn!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:14 pm

Hi all,

I'll be heading back up to my hermitage tomorrow or the day after. I'll try to post a reply to Sean's post tomorrow, but after that I won't be participating further in the thread (no dial-up connection on the mountain where I live).

All the best to you all for this new year. :smile:

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,

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby chownah » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:52 pm

Dhammanando,
Thanks for posting all of your extended replies. You have made the issue much clearer for me and given me a broader perspective on anapanasati.
Thanks again,
chownah

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:42 pm

Always good to hear from you, Venerable.

:anjali:
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby befriend » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:25 pm

i think what bhante is saying not to put words in anyones mouth. but when he says the most important part of the meditation is the relax step. he means its so important because no one teaches it nowadays. its important because THATS whats missing he doesnt mean its more important than the metta phrase its more important than the smiling. its the important part because its whats lacking in contemporary buddhism. this is my theory on what BV is saying i dont know though.

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby mirco » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:48 pm

befriend wrote:he means its so important because no one teaches it nowadays. its important because THATS whats missing he doesnt mean its more important than the metta phrase its more important than the smiling. its the important part because its whats lacking in contemporary buddhism.

That's how I observed it. He emphasizes the relax step, because it has been fallen into oblivion.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:03 pm

befriend wrote:i think what bhante is saying not to put words in anyones mouth. but when he says the most important part of the meditation is the relax step. he means its so important because no one teaches it nowadays.
The question is: did anyone ever teach the way Vimalaramsi is advocating? The point of Ajahn Dhammanando's msgs is that it is an innovation by Vimalaramsi not solidly grounded in the Pali.

its important because THATS whats missing he doesnt mean its more important than the metta phrase its more important than the smiling. its the important part because its whats lacking in contemporary buddhism. this is my theory on what BV is saying i dont know though.
The "6 Rs" method is something put together by Vimalaramsi based upon his reading of the suttas, and it is what it is -- an interpretation of practice by Vimalaramsi. And has been said before, if you find that Vimalaramsi's method and commentary on the suttas speaks to you, fine, but there is no justification of privileging it over any other methodology that has been put forth.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby mirco » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:11 pm

Dhammanando wrote: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).

Dhamma Greetings Venerable Dhammanado,

as far as I understood, the Venerable Vimalaramsi's teaching is not based on a theory, but on his personal experience², which compared with descriptions in the Suttas he ascertained to be same.

Also, if you liste, read or watch his Dhammatalks, he is not emphasizing the relax step too much. This he stresses only a little in talks for beginners who mostly have been trained in absorbtion concentration method before or have no meditation experience at all. Usually he speaks of the 6Rs without stressing the 3rd step.

Kind regards,
Mirco

² insight and understanding of Dependend Origination
Last edited by mirco on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:30 pm

mirco wrote:
Dhammanando wrote: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).

Dhamma Greetings Venerable Dhammanado,

as far as I understood, the Venerable Vimalaramsi's teaching is not based on a theory, but on his personal experience², which compared with descriptions in the Suttas he ascertained to be same.
Which is to say, his interpretation. And if others come to different conclusions based upon their personal experience and study of the suttas?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:10 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi 2600htz

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 .


I wrote of Ven. Vimalaraṃsī treating the "tranquillizing bodily and mental formations" modes of ānāpānassati as being of "greater moment" — more consequential — than the the other modes. An example of this can be seen in his book on the Ānāpānassati Sutta. After quoting the lines: "He trains thus: 'I shall breath in tranquilizing the bodily formation'; he trains thus: 'I shall breath out tranquilizing the bodily formation.'" the venerable remarks:

    This simple statement is the most important part of the meditation instructions. It instructs one to notice the tightness, which arises in the head with every arising of a consciousness, and let that tightness go, while on the in-breath and out-breath. Then one feels their mind open up, expand, relax and become tranquil.
    (Vimalaraṃsī's emphasis)

So, the venerable maintains that tranquillizing the bodily formation is the "most important part of the meditation instructions." If this is the "most important part", then it follows that the other parts are less important.

In the introduction to the same book, the venerable states:

    The method described here is taken directly from the Sutta itself and its results can be seen clearly and easily when one practices according to the instructions on the Sutta. The author would like to emphasize that the instructions in this book are not his "own opinion", but is actually the Lord Buddha's own instruction given in a clear and precise way. It can be called the "Undiluted Dhamma", because it comes directly from the Suttas themselves, without a lot of additions or free-lance ideas.
    (My emphasis)

This is in contrast to Buddhaghosa, whom the venerable takes to task for introducing concepts such as access concentration, uggaha-nimitta, paṭibhāga-nimitta, etc., into his exposition of ānāpānassati:

    For example, the Visuddhi Magga talks about having a sign (nimitta in Pali, this can be a light or other visualized mind-made pictures) arise in the mind at certain times when one is practicing jhana meditation (absorption concentration [appana samādhi] or when one gets into access concentration [upacara samādhi] or even in momentary concentration [khanika samādhi]. With each type of 'concentration' a nimitta of some kind arises. When this happens one is practicing a 'concentration' type of meditation practice, which the Bodhisattva rejected as being the way to Nibbāna! However, if one were to check the Suttas, the description of nimittas arising in the mind has never been mentioned. And, if it were very important, it would be mentioned many times. The Lord Buddha never taught concentration techniques, having nimittas (signs) arising, or the chanting of mantras. These are forms of Hindu practices that have sneaked into Buddhism for a few hundred years. Their influences can be seen in the 'concentration practices' and in the Tibetan Buddhist styles of meditation, as well as, in other popular commentaries like the Visuddhi Magga. Thus, the current ways of practicing "concentration" do not conform to the descriptions given in the Suttas.
    One must always honestly and openly investigate what is being said and then check it against the Suttas. It is best that one does this not with just part of the Sutta but the whole Sutta itself, because taking out one or two lines from various sections can cause confusion.

So, given that the venerable is taking his stand on the Suttas, deems it an error to introduce or to rely upon notions not found in the Suttas (preferably found "many times in the Suttas"), and assures his readers that he is not peddling any dodgy "opinions ... additions or free-lance ideas," who can doubt that his admirers will be overjoyed to see his own exposition of bhāvanā evaluated by the very same standards that he applies to that of Buddhaghosa?

Where, then, in the Suttas (preferably "many times in the Suttas") is "tranquillising the bodily formation" stated to be "the most important part" of ānāpānassati? The answer is that nowhere is such a thing stated. Hence my remark that this is just the venerable's opinion. It's "an addition", if you will. It's "a free-lance-idea".

In reply to my my second objection, you say:

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).


As "relaxing" doesn't fall within the semantic range of "passambhati", nor within the scope of the practical explanation of "tranquillizing the bodily formation" given in the Ānāpānakathā of the Paṭisambhidāmagga, I think it's a mistake on the venerable's part to introduce the idea at all, regardless of what other actions he might prescribe to supplement it. Or at least he cannot do so and still claim that his method is "not his "own opinion", but is actually the Lord Buddha's own instruction given in a clear and precise way . . . .the "Undiluted Dhamma", because it comes directly from the Suttas themselves, without a lot of additions or free-lance ideas."

As it is, it is the very first gloss that he offers when explaining "tranquillising the bodily formation." To quote again:

    [Tranquillising the bodily formation] instructs one to notice the tightness, which arises in the head with every arising of a consciousness, and let that tightness go, while on the in-breath and out-breath. Then one feels their mind open up, expand, relax and become tranquil.

By way of contrast, let's take a look at the oldest extant record (and the only canonical description we have) of what it means to tranquillise the bodily formation in ānāpānassati, the Ānāpānakathā of the Paṭisambhidāmagga. The author of this exposition, traditionally given as Sāriputta, begins very sensibly by defining the key term "bodily formation" (which, by the way, I notice Ven. Vimalaraṃsī has neglected to do):

    "'Tranquillising the bodily formation (passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ), I shall breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'tranquillising the bodily formation, I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself."

    "Bodily-formation (kāyasaṅkhāraṃ)": long in-breaths, long out-breaths, short in-breaths, short out-breaths, breathing in experiencing the whole body, breathing out experiencing the whole body — these things are bodily properties; being bound up with the body they are bodily formations.

In other words, "bodily formation" is to be understood as comprising all the modes of breath previously itemized in the first tetrad. Essentially this is a more expansive version of the short definition given by the bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā in the Cullavedalla Sutta (MN. 44):

    "But, lady, what is the bodily formation? ..."
    "In-breathing and out-breathing, friend Visākha, are the bodily formation..."
    "But, lady, why are in-breathing and out-breathing the bodily formation? ..."
    "Friend Visākha, in-breathing and out-breathing are bodily, these are states bound up with the body; that is why in-breathing and out-breathing are the bodily formation." (MN. 44)

Sāriputta then offers a series of glosses on "tranquillizing" (passambhayaṃ):

    He trains himself by tranquillising (passambhento), causing to cease (nirodhento), pacifying (vūpasamento), those bodily formations.

No mention of relaxing any "tight mental fists" in one's head or body or mind or anywhere else. No words that could by any stretch of the imagination have to do with relaxing anything.

The author then makes a distinction between gross and subtle bodily formations, according to whether or not the long breaths, short breaths, etc., are coarse enough to generate bodily motion:

    Such bodily formations whereby there is bending backward, sideways, all ways, forward, shaking, trembling, moving of the body — "'tranquillising the bodily formation, I shall breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'tranquillising the bodily formation, I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself."
    Such bodily formations whereby there is no bending backward, sideways, all ways, forward, shaking, trembling, moving of the body — "'Tranquillising the quiet and subtle bodily formation, I shall breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'tranquillising the quiet and subtle bodily formation, I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself."

In the final part, which I won't quote (you can download Ñāṇamoli's translation from ATI) the author gives the simile of the gong to show how breathing can continue despite the tranquillizing of it, and then relates the tetrad to the three aggregates of training, sati and sampajañña, faculties, powers, factors of awakening, etc.

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.


In the Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta (MN. 139) the Buddha taught that for the sake of non-conflict his disciples ought not to override normal linguistic usage (samaññaṃ nātidhāveyya).

If I'm holding a glass of water and my hand is shaking, the water will be disturbed. If I set the glass down on an immobile, non-vibrating surface, the water will become calm. I will have calmed the water. Or, the water's disturbance will have subsided. Its agitation will have been quelled. But what an eccentric and irregular locution to say: "Dhammanando has relaxed the water" or "Dhammanando has caused the water has relaxed itself" !

Likewise in Pali, as far as I can tell, it would be an "overriding of normal usage" to equate passambhati with any verbs that have to do with loosening or relaxing.

Could you please explain it a little more?


I hope this post will clarify matters.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando


Hello Dhammanando:

Thank you, very clear, well putted.

1)As it was mentioned by others, i think "the most important step" has been taken out of context, because when u are implying he meant "we should pay less attention to the other instructions", or that "because this is the most important step, the others are less important" it goes against was he teaches (anapanasati as a set of instructions, a system, that only works when u take it as a whole).

It remainded me of SN 45.2, where the Buddha stated "Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.". But of course this doesnt mean it should be taken as a totalitary riguid sentence, because he is just showing a point, and the real meaning its broader.

2)On the "calming the bodily formation" i have nothing to say, u put it well, in a coherent way, and i dont know nothing about pali. Anyways i would love to hear, if there is, the other side of the coin.

With metta.

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby 2600htz » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:
befriend wrote:i think what bhante is saying not to put words in anyones mouth. but when he says the most important part of the meditation is the relax step. he means its so important because no one teaches it nowadays.
The question is: did anyone ever teach the way Vimalaramsi is advocating? The point of Ajahn Dhammanando's msgs is that it is an innovation by Vimalaramsi not solidly grounded in the Pali.

its important because THATS whats missing he doesnt mean its more important than the metta phrase its more important than the smiling. its the important part because its whats lacking in contemporary buddhism. this is my theory on what BV is saying i dont know though.
The "6 Rs" method is something put together by Vimalaramsi based upon his reading of the suttas, and it is what it is -- an interpretation of practice by Vimalaramsi. And has been said before, if you find that Vimalaramsi's method and commentary on the suttas speaks to you, fine, but there is no justification of privileging it over any other methodology that has been put forth.


Hi Tiltbillings:

Since u are well versed, and u agree with Joseph G. teachings, who also uses the term "calming bodily formation" as "relaxing the body", do you know of any sutta reference where the term could be used in that way?.

With metta.

PD: I still owe u a reply, but haven´t found the time to listen the Joseph G. talk on "vipassana jhanas" that i was going to do..

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:50 am

2600htz wrote: Hi Tiltbillings:

Since u are well versed, and u agree with Joseph G. teachings, who also uses the term "calming bodily formation" as "relaxing the body", do you know of any sutta reference where the term could be used in that way?.
No, but then I have never looked for such.

I still owe u a reply, but haven´t found the time to listen the Joseph G. talk on "vipassana jhanas" that i was going to do..
There is no hurry and sometimes there are just more important things to do.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:10 am

Greetings all,

I am wondering whether Bhante's relaxing the mind as an interpretation of calming the bodily formations, is not in fact an unintentional homage to the Visuddhimagga where we find the instruction:

THen, making sure he is not confused about a single word of what he has learned from the teacher, he should cheer his mind by recollecting the special qualities of the Three Jewels.

kind regards,

Ben
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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby mirco » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:53 pm

Ben wrote:I am wondering whether Bhante's relaxing the mind as an interpretation of calming the bodily formations,

Maybe it's a bit different from that, since he is not talking of "reaxing the mind" but of relaxing tension and tightness in body and mind:

dhammasukha wrote:The gist of this is that Mundane Cessations occur at the point where the meditator RECOGNIZES arising phenomena; RELEASES whatever is arising and RELAXES (tranquilizes) all excess tension and tightness in body and mind. At that moment, between RELAXING and as they are RETURNING mind’s attention over to the object of meditation, there is a point of what has been called Pure Mind, absolutely clear mind or Still-Point. This is only a momentary cessation! It’s real! It can be observed! This is the mundane Nibbāna. To see this brings real confidence to the practitioner concerning the entire Teaching. Zeal arises beyond the normal Faith one usually has because one comes to realize that Nibbāna as a state is real.


Regards, :-)
Last edited by mirco on Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby mirco » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
mirco wrote:as far as I understood, the Venerable Vimalaramsi's teaching is not based on a theory, but on his personal experience, which compared with descriptions in the Suttas he ascertained to be same.

Which is to say, his interpretation. And if others come to different conclusions based upon their personal experience and study of the suttas?

On the other hand, what if others came to the same conclusion?

Regards, :-)
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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:27 am

mirco wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
mirco wrote:as far as I understood, the Venerable Vimalaramsi's teaching is not based on a theory, but on his personal experience, which compared with descriptions in the Suttas he ascertained to be same.

Which is to say, his interpretation. And if others come to different conclusions based upon their personal experience and study of the suttas?

On the other hand, what if others came to the same conclusion?

Regards, :-)
Two camps making somewhat differing claims. Okay, then what?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:45 am

I think that some people experience some mental processes as being a "tension". For these people it can be beneficial in the short term to get them to do things that seems to release this "tension".......but in the long term it is possible that one can train oneself to give rise to this "tension" sort of like a self fulfilling prophecy......if you start thinking in terms of a mental "tension" then you might start accepting the reality of this "tension".....but this "tension" is only a fabrication and there is a danger of developing this fabrication by thinking of mental activity in terms of it rather than abandoning it. One way that I was taught to not develop the fabrication of "tension" was that while tension and stress are to be reduced or eliminated if one anchors it to one place then this anchorage may be good for easing it at that point but it will reduce the ability to reduce or eliminate it elsewhere. I guess the idea is that anchoring tension to one place might help win the battle it will not be beneficial for winning the war.....so if one wants to think in terms of "tension" it is probably best to think of it as being throughout the body-mind continuum as opposed to focused in one place...and of course really our efforts should be to see how it arises.....I guess....don't know for sure....
chownah


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