The birth of the noting technique

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

The birth of the noting technique

Postby Billymac29 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:39 pm

Just wondering if any one knows if the noting technique used in the Mahasi tradition was invented by the Mahasi Sayadaw or was it something passed down through lineage? I don't see anything else like it in any other tradition. Mantra meditation seems to be the only other that also uses words in its meditation. Its also hard to find canonical reference to the technique of mental labeling.

Can anybody shed any light on this.

With metta :anjali:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:44 pm

It has been awhile since I listened to this, but it may address your question:

viewtopic.php?f=35&t=8917#p138647
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: The birth of the noting technique

Postby Billymac29 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:06 pm

Thanks Tilt, great audio from Kearney.. He goes into vipassana and Mahasi pretty well, but I don't know if he goes too far into the history of the noting technique.. Which is fine, I was just curious thats all. :smile:
thanks again
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"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:22 pm

Hi Billy,

As far as I can tell, there is really not much "history" to be found.

One could, of course, speculate that passages like the following allow one to trace "noting" back to the Buddha:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nysa.html
Ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out. Breathing in a long breath, he knows, "I am breathing in a long breath"; breathing out a long breath, he knows, "I am breathing out a long breath"; breathing in a short breath, he knows, "I am breathing in a short breath"; breathing out a short breath, he knows, "I am breathing out a short breath."

On the other hand, one could point out that noting is just an effective way of focussing the mind on objects, and, like many other "tricks" that aid focus, has no particular Dhammic significance. It's the focus that is the point, the "knowing", the absence of proliferation and inner commentary. [This is sometimes completely misunderstood with noting dismissed as "commentary", when, in fact, it is quite the opposite.]

:anjali:
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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby Dmytro » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:53 am

Billymac29 wrote:Just wondering if any one knows if the noting technique used in the Mahasi tradition was invented by the Mahasi Sayadaw or was it something passed down through lineage?


You can find some history in the book "Strong Roots", pages 110-111.

"Apparently a number of nineteenth century monks were inspired by the meditation techniques collected from the Pāḷi discourses in one seminal text, Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga. Scholar-practitioners such as the The-Lon Sayadaw and the Ledi Sayadaw are said to have put this textual guidance into practice without personal teachers to guide them in mindfulness practice. The Buddha and the classical commentators who collated his teachings were themselves human practitioners; nonetheless, it remarkable that these modern scholar practitioners were able, solely with guidance meditated through the texts, to found lineages that have led many thousands of twentieth-century practitioners to achieve – according to their own reports – significant levels of liberation from suffering.

The Mingun Jetawun Sayadaw U Nārada (1868-1955) was one monk who became interested in applying his theoretical knowledge from the Pāḷi, but mindfulness practice was apparently so rare in nineteenth century Burma that he had to travel to the wilderness of the Sagaing Hills for guidance. There he found a recluse called the Aletawya Sayadaw, who had practiced with the same The-Lon Sayadaw mentioned above. U Nārada inquired of this reclusive monk how to achieve the goal of the teachings that he had studied so extensively. The Aletawya Sayadaw reportedly asked U Nārada in return why he was looking outside of the Buddha’s teachings, since they so clearly point out the path of mindfulness as the way to achieve awakening.

The satipaṭṭhāna practice taught by the Mingun Jetawun Sayadaw to the Mahāsi Sayadaw and others did not require extensive tranquility preparation previous to insight practice. Some have suggested that this system gained popularity because lay people did not have the time to devote to the scholastic and absorption practices traditionally engaged in by ordained renunciates."

http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/docume ... gRoots.pdf

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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:21 am

And see this discussion from Theravadin's blog about sati and "noting" in suttas.
http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2009/02 ... -not-sati/
2500 years ago the Buddha did not say to his monks: “Whenever you see a form, hear a sound, etc. just ‘take a note‘”. And so he did not say “please label the sense impressions”.

But he used the proper pali word for the same activity based on the prevalent oral culture and so he asked people to use “sati” or “remembering” to “take a (mental) note” to “mentally witness” of what just occured.

Therefore, we could very well render samma sati in the noble eightfold path as “right noting” or “right witnessing” or “right attention”.

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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:34 am

Dmytro wrote: You can find some history in the book "Strong Roots",http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/documents/StrongRoots.pdf
This a large, rather unweildy book, but it is also interesting and gives a good look at Mahasi Sayadaw practice and it is worth the time to read it.
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: The birth of the noting technique

Postby Billymac29 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:54 pm

Much thanks to everyone for your time and replies. I will be looking into the book Dmytro. And Mike gives a nice way of seeing it in the suttas.
with metta :anjali:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby Bostonjoe » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:13 am

Great thinking man, I also prefer his book must be on sale so that we can get detail about important stuff easily and within low cost.
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Re: The birth of the noting technique

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:20 am

Bostonjoe wrote:Great thinking man, I also prefer his book must be on sale so that we can get detail about important stuff easily and within low cost.
The book mentioned above, Strong Roots, is free: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/books/
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
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Posts: 19363
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