Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

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Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:36 pm

The following msg criticizes some of what discussed in the PDF article attached to this link:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=15084
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: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby ignobleone » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:47 pm

Unfortunately the article doesn't mention each Teacher's actual instructions pertaining to jhana. It makes me want to investigate every mentioned teacher except the last two of them:
1) Leigh Brasington - because I've found his teaching is not in accordance with the Buddha's instruction. (I have addressed this in other thread)
2) Shaila Catherine (never heard this name before) - because she mixes Buddhism with Vedic teaching.

Ayya Khema - I wonder how come her student (Leigh B) teaches that way. It makes her teaching interesting to be investigated.
Pa Auk Sayadaw - Personally I agree with Vimalaramsi who says Burmese meditation style is not authentic (I've suspected the same thing) and what he says about Visuddhimagga is true. These make it interesting to find out the actual Sayadaw's instructions pertaining to jhanas.
Ajahn Brahmavamso - Long ago I watched his interview video on youtube. In the video he said Ajahn Chah once called him 'stupid monk'. The reason may sound ridiculous but for me it makes his instructions quite worth further investigation.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu - I found in a thread someone said Thanissaro has been known with the history of his translations tend to follow his inclination. I think that's true. I've found a weird translation example (a very important issue, I'd bring it up in other thread.) His term, 'self-reliance', makes his instruction needs further investigation. Nevertheless, he is right in relating dissociation with meditation in Visuddhimagga, which he calls it wrong-concentration. Remember that Buddhaghosa came from Vedic background. And vedic meditation is that of wrong-concentration, which Vimalaramsi calls it as 'hypnosis'.
Bhante Vimalaramsi - Mainly uses Anapanasati Sutta and Satipathana sutta. So, where does his idea about jhana come from, it worth further investigation as well.
Bhante Gunaratana - I don't think he is a western convert, since he should have been a Buddhist before he came to the US.

Anyway, western convert or not western convert, everyone should investigate his/her teacher. The important simple guideline is to find out whether the teacher's instruction leads to cessation/dispassion/disenchantment. If the instruction doesn't lead to cessation/dispassion/disenchantment, then there's no reason to follow the teacher.
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Re: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:14 pm

ignobleone wrote:Remember that Buddhaghosa came from Vedic background. And vedic meditation is that of wrong-concentration, which Vimalaramsi calls it as 'hypnosis'.
Vimalaramsi's analysis and critique of Buddhaghosa is at best flawed, as we can see where it is discussed at length in this thread. viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7375&hilit=Buddhaghosa#p116920
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: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby marc108 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:25 pm

ignobleone wrote:1) Leigh Brasington - because I've found his teaching is not in accordance with the Buddha's instruction. (I have addressed this in other thread)
2) Shaila Catherine (never heard this name before) - because she mixes Buddhism with Vedic teaching.


I'd be interested to read your critique of Mr Brasingtons technique. I've listened to quite a bit of Ms Catherines teaching and never heard it mixed with Vedic teaching. Her teachings are primarily Sutta & Vsm based, re: Pa Auk.


These make it interesting to find out the actual Sayadaw's instructions pertaining to jhanas.


His instructions for entering Jhana are nimitta based entry to absorption RE: VSM. In Richard Shankmans book 'Samadhi', in the back section, there is an interview with him where he gives instructions. Also Shaila Catherine's books are based on Pa Auk's system, so you can get a more comprehensive look there.

Ajahn Brahmavamso - Long ago I watched his interview video on youtube. In the video he said Ajahn Chah once called him 'stupid monk'. The reason may sound ridiculous but for me it makes his instructions quite worth further investigation.


Ven. Brahm's basic instructions:
http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/upl ... ndbook.pdf
Ven. Brahm's comprehensive Jhana manual.
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Jhanas.htm


Bhante Gunaratana - I don't think he is a western convert, since he should have been a Buddhist before he came to the US.


Bhante G became a monk in Sri Lanka when he was like 11 i think.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:11 am

Hi Marc,
marc108 wrote:I'd be interested to read your critique of Mr Brasingtons technique. I've listened to quite a bit of Ms Catherines teaching and never heard it mixed with Vedic teaching. Her teachings are primarily Sutta & Vsm based, re: Pa Auk.

I think that ignobleone subscribes to the theory that Venerable Buddhaghossa (and others) were Brahmins, and inserted vedic teachings into the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga.

As you say, Shaila Catherine has practised and studied intensively with Pa Auk Sayadaw. The book Wisdom Wide and Deep contains detailed explanations of Pa Auk Sayadaw's teachings, with copious references to Suttas and Commentaries.

:anjali:
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Re: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby ignobleone » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:02 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I think that ignobleone subscribes to the theory that Venerable Buddhaghossa (and others) were Brahmins,

Who are the others?

mikenz66 wrote:and inserted vedic teachings into the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga.

Why don't you provide the otherwise proof?

One thing for sure you should be aware of, Vimalaramsi is not alone. You have to disagree with Thanissaro as well, not to mention some other monks (regardless western or eastern) and lay Buddhists.
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Re: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:38 pm

ignobleone wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I think that ignobleone subscribes to the theory that Venerable Buddhaghossa (and others) were Brahmins,

Who are the others?

Other ancient practitioners and commentators, presumably. I've no idea, since it's not my theory.
ignobleone wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:and inserted vedic teachings into the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga.

Why don't you provide the otherwise proof?
ignobleone wrote:The burden of proof is not on me.

One thing for sure you should be aware of, Vimalaramsi is not alone. You have to disagree with Thanissaro as well, not to mention some other monks (regardless western or eastern) and lay Buddhists.

I don't see a problem with different teachers and practitioners (after carefully analysing the available texts and current teachings, and compared them against experience) having somewhat different interpretations. I do have a problem when they insist that they (or a small group) have the only possible interpretation.

:anjali:
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Re: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby Billymac29 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:12 am

ignobleone wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I think that ignobleone subscribes to the theory that Venerable Buddhaghossa (and others) were Brahmins,

Who are the others?

mikenz66 wrote:and inserted vedic teachings into the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga.

Why don't you provide the otherwise proof?

One thing for sure you should be aware of, Vimalaramsi is not alone. You have to disagree with Thanissaro as well, not to mention some other monks (regardless western or eastern) and lay Buddhists.

The proof is on those who proclaim the vedic theory, not the nonvedic one... All vedic stories about budhaghosa are mere speculation... Those that try to use it as fact show their ignorance.
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:19 am

Billymac29 wrote:The proof is on those who proclaim the vedic theory, not the nonvedic one... All vedic stories about budhaghosa are mere speculation... Those that try to use it as fact show their ignorance.
The only real purpose of this Vedic business is to try to dismiss Buddhaghosa without really doing the hard work of actually arguing against what he has said. It is a lazy and disreputable approach.
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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