The Ten Defilements of Insight.

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The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby Individual » Sat May 23, 2009 4:50 am

I saw somebody mention this in another thread, so I googled it and took a look.

They are amusingly ironic, because they could also be listed as virtues of insight.

The Ten Defilements of Insight (vipassanupakkilesa)
1. Illumination (Obhasa). When the yogi sees bright lights he might think he has reached nibbana, and so becomes satisfied with this state, causing tanha to arise. This is wrong view. It is his ego that thinks he has reached nibbana.
2. Knowledge (yana). Some yogis who know dhamma theory well, will think about it all the time, and this will pull then out of the present moment.
3. Rapture (piti). Because the yogi has too much samadhi, he feels rapture, and this is kilesa. When practicing vipassana one cannot have rapture, because realizing the three characteristics does not lead to a joyful feeling.
4. Tranquility (passaddhi). Sometimes a very peaceful state will arise, this is also from too much samadhi. The three characteristics can't be realized with tranquility, and wisdom cannot be developed.
5. Bliss ( sukkha). A feeling of bliss is also too much samadhi. When sukkha occurs, dukkha cannot be seen.
6. Fervour (adhimokkha). This causes the yogi to falsely believe he has seen nibbana, and he will often not even believe his teacher, when told the contrary. This is caused by having too much faith (saddha), too little panna (normally panna and satta should be equal.)
7. Exertion (pakkaha). Too much perseverance or effort can make the yogi tired, his citta (mind) is not clear, and foonge (wandering mind) sets in. Usually, perseverance and concentration should be equal. Too much perseverance leads to foong, and too much concentration will cause the yogi to stop practicing.
8. Excess sati (uppathana). Too much sati can lead to excess samadhi and the yogi will see nimitas(sign that appear before the eyes). Then he will lose rupa and nama as objects--- i.e., he will be out of the present moment, and won't be able to continue.
9. Equanimity (uppekha). Sometimes strong equanimity will arise, and the yogi will falsely believe that he has no kilesa--- it has been eradicated by nibbana; but he still has the kilesa of wrong view(moha), and like(lobha) and dislike(dohsa) have only gone temporarily, In this stage he cannot continue to practice.
10. Delight (nikanti). The yogi becomes happy with all of the vipassana-upakilesa, and is satisfied to remain as he is. And so he cannot continue practice.

It is a good list, but to really make it complete, though, I would add "Insight" as the 11th defilement of Insight. Know what I mean?
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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 23, 2009 5:18 am

The point is that at a certain stage what was positive in getting to that point becomes a hindrance.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... m#visuddhi

Visuddhi: 'purification', purity. The '7 stages of purification' satta-visuddhi form the substructure of Upatissa's Vimutti-Magga The path To Freedom, preserved only in Chinese, as well as of Buddhaghosa's monumental work, visuddhi-magga The path of Purification, based on the former work.

....
During such insight practice, however, may arise the 10 imperfections or defilements of insight vipassanūpakkilesa effulgence of light obhāsa knowledge ñāna rapture pīti tranquillity passaddhi happiness sukha determination adhimokkha energy paggaha awareness upatthāna delight nikanti - See Vis.M XX, 105f. App..

Excepting the last one, 'delight', they are not imperfections or defilements in themselves, but may become a basis for them through the arising of pride or delight or by a wrong conclusion that one of the Noble paths has been attained. He, however, who is watchful and experienced in insight practice, will know that these states of mind do not indicate attainment of the true path, but are only symptoms or concomitants of insight meditation.
...

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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby rowyourboat » Thu May 28, 2009 2:01 pm

important to note that these defilements arent mentioned by the buddha
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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby gavesako » Thu May 28, 2009 3:40 pm

Some of them are alluded to in several Suttas though, see e.g. Upakkilesa Sutta (MN). Also practical experience shows that these (and other) phenomena can also become objects of attachment and get people stuck on the path of meditation.
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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:52 pm

I'm not entirely convinced by them. Although I think these ten are describing real circumstances of delusion, I think they're poorly worded by suggesting such a thing as "excess virtue".

In the Upanisa Sutta, the Buddha suggests that faith, joy, rapture, tranquility, happiness, concentration, and knowledge are all supporting conditions for enlightenment. If, then, any of these things is further supported, its corrollaries are supported too. I don't see a distinction between "concomitants of insight meditation" and attainment; progress in meditation is not attainment of the true path?

When I see that list of ten defilements, they seem designed to support this preconception: "realizing the three characteristics does not lead to a joyful feeling". It does not lead to misery, melancholy, or equanimity either.

The fetters of pride and delight encompass the list of ten well enough, so its creation seems motivated merely by sectarianism. That is, rather than being aimed at subduing a particular problem, they are aimed at explaining how a heretical monk might have such great mental qualities. Simply calling him "proud" would probably not be very persuasive.
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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:14 pm

Hi Individual,

I think this list is great, and thanks for pasting it here. It seems to me that part of this is about balance, and part of it also is about not losing sight of the underlying context of whatever occurs in meditation: anicca, anatta and dukkha. My understanding of the teaching is that even the most refined meditative states have a slight trace of dukkha underneath them, which is why they can lead to rebirth (albeit in very refined states). For some, they can be seductive and potentially counterproductive to the ultimate goal of nibbana. I stand to be corrected in this view.
Individual wrote:I would add "Insight" as the 11th defilement of Insight. Know what I mean?
Actually no, I don't know what you mean. But would you mind elaborating? I think it could be useful.

:thanks:
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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:47 pm

Jechbi wrote:
Individual wrote:I would add "Insight" as the 11th defilement of Insight. Know what I mean?
Actually no, I don't know what you mean. But would you mind elaborating? I think it could be useful.

:thanks:

Any concept of Dhamma, even the idea of "papanca" can itself be a form of papanca, with a particular context and mindset. Understanding insight according to egoistic, proud ideas about insight rather than reality and discernment, is not insight anymore than a parrot talking is language. For there to be true wisdom, the previous two sentences ought to be examined very carefully, not taken at face-value, and that holds true for this sentence as well.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:22 pm

Cool. So then, to add to this list of 10 and keep with the format, it might look like this:

11. Confidence (nikkaṅkha). This causes the yogi to falsely believe he has attained to panna, and he will be satisfied and remain as he is. This is caused by having too little sati (mindfulness) -- i.e., he will be distracted from the anicca and anatta nature of that which arises.

Is that what you mean?

This seems to be related to No 2. (Yana).
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:32 pm

Jechbi wrote:Cool. So then, to add to this list of 10 and keep with the format, it might look like this:

11. Confidence (nikkaṅkha). This causes the yogi to falsely believe he has attained to panna, and he will be satisfied and remain as he is. This is caused by having too little sati (mindfulness) -- i.e., he will be distracted from the anicca and anatta nature of that which arises.

Is that what you mean?

This seems to be related to No 2. (Yana).

Yes. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: The Ten Defilements of Insight.

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:57 pm

Hi Individual,

I don't see much point in talking about these "defilements" outside the context of the Commetarial understanding of the "progress of insight", e.g. in the Visuddhimgga. See http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html
or Chapter 9 (from page 345 - the most relevant part starts on page 350) of A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, which you can read on-line here:
http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html

As RowYourBoat says, this is mostly a Commentary development, though that stages are based on MN 24: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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