Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
danieLion
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:44 pm

Dan74 wrote:As for Vipassana,it seems to me that there are some aspects to it that are completely different to critical thinking that one may learn academically.

Again, another misconception. You won't find much critical thinking among American academics. They are generally not intersted in iterative based science. I acquired my crtical thinking skills independently and only supplemented them with academics studies. This made it pretty rough going for me.

There were exceptions. My epistemology professor was an excellent critical thinker and although he was very harsh on his students (I was not an exception; he called me Clever Dan), you could learn to how think better and better from if you swallowed your pride long enough to absorb what he was saying.

Another exception was my Learning and History of Systems of Psychology professor (he wrote a letter of recommendation for me when I applied to grad school). He held dual Ph.Ds in Psychology and Philosophy, the latter of which he earned in Europe (He was a Polish Jew and survivor of the Nazi Extermination camp, Chełmno [a.k.a., Kulmhof]. Most of his family were murdered there. He escaped, came to America, joined the Army, and was utilized during it's liberation because of his inside knoweldge.). He was a strong critic of the American General Education system. He said my "learning style" was better suited to the European university.

I also lucked out in grad school because the director of my graduate program believed strongly in critical thinking (which has made it rough going for him too; his Ph.D is in Philosophy and he was also the Chair of the Philosophy department during my first year).

Our education system is not desinged to teach us to think better but to make us employable, tax paying contributors to the Twin Towers of The Economy & The Government.

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:58 pm

danieLion wrote:
Dan74 wrote:As for Vipassana,it seems to me that there are some aspects to it that are completely different to critical thinking that one may learn academically.

Again, another misconception. You won't find much critical thinking among American academics. . . .
But then you make the point with your "exceptions." Dan's comment is to the point.
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

danieLion
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Dan74 wrote:As for Vipassana,it seems to me that there are some aspects to it that are completely different to critical thinking that one may learn academically.

Again, another misconception. You won't find much critical thinking among American academics. . . .
But then you make the point with your "exceptions." Dan's comment is to the point.

Well, it was either narrate all the non-exceptions, which would take several hours of writing, or delineate the exceptions, which they truly were, and so not worthy of a quotational "exceptions."

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:25 am

beeblebrox wrote:
danieLion wrote:Socrates is one of my favorite philosophers, Plato one of my least favorite.


Socrates is known mostly through Plato, isn't that right?

Is that Socratic irony?

:anjali:

No, just ordinary irony. I am not accusing Plato of always being a poor redactor of Socrates. It is a problem, though. It takes diligence, but the more you read, the more you get an idea of when Plato is talking through Socrates and when he's narrating for him. We can also check the Platonic account against Aristotle's, Xenephon's and Aristophnes'. It's similar to the minor problem of corrupted texts in the suttas and checking them against the Agamas.

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:52 am

twelph wrote:There has been much work including other people's master thesis who happen to think differently on the subject of Plato and religion. I understand that you have strong opinions on the matter, but major connections are still there.
I never said the connections weren't there. I'm merely questioning their value. Out of all the philosophers who I'd look to for valuable insights into religion, especially Buddhism, Plato would be on the bottom of my list.

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:03 am

danieLion wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
danieLion wrote:Socrates is one of my favorite philosophers, Plato one of my least favorite.


Socrates is known mostly through Plato, isn't that right?

Is that Socratic irony?

:anjali:

No, just ordinary irony.


It still would be cool, though, if Plato always pretended to be a bad philosopher, and Socrates seemed to shine through that... that would've taken the Socratic irony to its ultimate level. It would be a student doing the teacher a justice. :jawdrop:

:anjali:

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:36 am

beeblebrox wrote:It still would be cool, though, if Plato always pretended to be a bad philosopher, and Socrates seemed to shine through that... that would've taken the Socratic irony to its ultimate level. It would be a student doing the teacher a justice. :jawdrop:
IMHO, the Socratic Method or Socratic Midwifery, are genuine Socrates. This link, Socrates, is a decent summary of "The Socratic Problem." The last part is particularly pertinent to my contention that Platonism is bad news for religion and especially Buddhism.

3. The Difference Between Socrates and the Platonists

Aristotle comments that Socrates, unlike Plato and his followers, did not make universals exist apart from the particular manifestations of the universals: "But Socrates did not make the universals or the definitions exist apart: they, however, gave them separate existence, and this was the kind of thing they called Ideas" (see also Metaphysics 1079b; 1086b). What this means will be considered later. Suffice it to say that for Socrates the notion that essences, definitions or what Plato calls Ideas have no separate existence.

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:02 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Thinking is generally conditioned by wrong views and perversions (Cf. AN 4.49). Sense restraint is important with regard to mental objects just as it is with regard to other sensory objects.


1) As a form of critical thinking, REBT and CBT techniques are similar to mental objects sense restraint.

2) In the Sutta you cite, we find this:
When those with discernment listen, they regain their senses, seeing the inconstant as inconstant, the stressful as stressful, what's not-self as not-self, the unattractive as unattractive. Undertaking right view, they transcend all stress & suffering.

I don't see this as terribly incompatible with anything I've said.

3) The Buddha's theory of the senses seems outdated to me. Why did he stop at six when we also have other senses like: balance and acceleration, temperature, kinesthetic sense, pain, time, pulmonary stretch receptors (boy do I feel those right now), peripheral chemoreceptors, the chemoreceptor trigger zone (vomitting sensations), circulatory chemoreceptors, cutaneous receptors (blushing), stretch receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, esophogeal receptors, the gag reflex, urinary and rectal receptors, and stretch sensors that sense dilation of various blood vessels?

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Nyana » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:36 am

danieLion wrote:1) As a form of critical thinking, REBT and CBT techniques are similar to mental objects sense restraint.

That's good.

danieLion wrote:2) In the Sutta you cite, we find this:
When those with discernment listen, they regain their senses, seeing the inconstant as inconstant, the stressful as stressful, what's not-self as not-self, the unattractive as unattractive. Undertaking right view, they transcend all stress & suffering.

I don't see this as terribly incompatible with anything I've said.

I wasn't implying that it was.

danieLion wrote:3) The Buddha's theory of the senses seems outdated to me. Why did he stop at six when we also have other senses like: balance and acceleration, temperature, kinesthetic sense, pain, time, pulmonary stretch receptors (boy do I feel those right now), peripheral chemoreceptors, the chemoreceptor trigger zone (vomitting sensations), circulatory chemoreceptors, cutaneous receptors (blushing), stretch receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, esophogeal receptors, the gag reflex, urinary and rectal receptors, and stretch sensors that sense dilation of various blood vessels?

How many of these are directly relevant to realizing the four noble truths? And at any rate, there are other faculties found in the suttas and collected together in the Abhidhamma & commentaries.

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:03 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
danieLion wrote:2) In the Sutta you cite, we find this:
When those with discernment listen, they regain their senses, seeing the inconstant as inconstant, the stressful as stressful, what's not-self as not-self, the unattractive as unattractive. Undertaking right view, they transcend all stress & suffering.

I don't see this as terribly incompatible with anything I've said.

I wasn't implying that it was.

Sorry. I jumped the gun there.

danieLion wrote:3) The Buddha's theory of the senses seems outdated to me. Why did he stop at six when we also have other senses like: balance and acceleration, temperature, kinesthetic sense, pain, time, pulmonary stretch receptors (boy do I feel those right now), peripheral chemoreceptors, the chemoreceptor trigger zone (vomitting sensations), circulatory chemoreceptors, cutaneous receptors (blushing), stretch receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, esophogeal receptors, the gag reflex, urinary and rectal receptors, and stretch sensors that sense dilation of various blood vessels?

Ñāṇa wrote:How many of these are directly relevant to realizing the four noble truths? And at any rate, there are other faculties found in the suttas and collected together in the Abhidhamma & commentaries.

I don't know how many if any of them are directly relevent to realizing the four noble truths? I was hoping you (or someone else might) might have some ideas. Your point about the faculties, Abhidhamma, and commentaries is persuasive, though, as a lot of "the other senses" are "covered" there, and I didn't include the four elements which also "cover" them.

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:07 am

kirk5a wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
kirk5a wrote:If the analysis doesn't result in stilling, it's papañca.

and what if it resulted in dispassion; being unfettered; shedding; to modesty; to contentment; to seclusion; to aroused persistence; to being unburdensome?

I don't see any reason to suppose that "the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it" results in all that.

so you do not see a benefit to looking at your own views, and correcting them?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:16 am

Dan74 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
Dan74 wrote:I understand critical thinking to mean an objective logical examination of a matter at hand. Objective usually implies 'from the outside', impartial. Logical implies using facts and inferences in accordance with a set of rules that describe permissible deductions, etc

Vipassana, I understand to be, becoming aware, discerning clearly, particularly vis-a-vis mental patterns that have up until now remained obscure. A necessary foundation is lack of clinging/investment in what is discerned. This corresponds to impartiality in critical thinking. Another necessary condition is clarity and a subtle sensitivity, which are cultivated through practice. The inquiry in vipassana is typically of an inner sort, where all matter of personal clinging may render the matter completely obscure. Many people adept at critical thinking fail miserably in inner inquiry, so I think they are quite different.

Does the failings of a telescope to see bacteria mean the same tools (lenses...) can not be used in a different way?


I don't know how far you want to stretch this analogy... The telescope is obviously not the right tool for the micro-world and the lenses it contains cannot be adapted for that purpose either. You need different lenses, though they are still lenses.

As for Vipassana,it seems to me that there are some aspects to it that are completely different to critical thinking that one may learn academically. I'd say that practice and mental cultivation develop some different aspects of the mind than a well-hone critical thinker would have.

well a telescope and microscope (both made of lenses a case...) are essentially the same thing looking in different directions. how they work are essentially the same, yet the components are manipulated in slightly different ways for use with different purposes. the difference for critical thinking is where it is directed, not outwardly, but inwardly to our own views, actions... yet in either case it is our own bias, delusion... which can muck things up.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:40 am

Cittasanto wrote:so you do not see a benefit to looking at your own views, and correcting them?

I thought your question was about developing the path. If it's about the relative benefits of examining one's views about stuff, sure, some benefit. But in all likelihood, it's not wisdom.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:06 am

Cittasanto wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Does the failings of a telescope to see bacteria mean the same tools (lenses...) can not be used in a different way?


I don't know how far you want to stretch this analogy... The telescope is obviously not the right tool for the micro-world and the lenses it contains cannot be adapted for that purpose either. You need different lenses, though they are still lenses.

As for Vipassana,it seems to me that there are some aspects to it that are completely different to critical thinking that one may learn academically. I'd say that practice and mental cultivation develop some different aspects of the mind than a well-hone critical thinker would have.

well a telescope and microscope (both made of lenses a case...) are essentially the same thing looking in different directions. how they work are essentially the same, yet the components are manipulated in slightly different ways for use with different purposes. the difference for critical thinking is where it is directed, not outwardly, but inwardly to our own views, actions... yet in either case it is our own bias, delusion... which can muck things up.


Well, again, I don't think it is just about the direction that critical thinking is applied to.

Like it has been said, to generalise, vipassana arises when obscurations are removed and the mind is sufficiently sensitive and perceptive and understanding through critical thinking arises through correct analysis. The process is quite different.

I see plenty of critical thinking in this and that other thread of Daniel's, but very little to do with vipassana. I think these threads are the best example of the difference.
_/|\_

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Mr Man » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:29 am

Maybe we need to clarify what is understood by "vipassana"?

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:24 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:so you do not see a benefit to looking at your own views, and correcting them?

I thought your question was about developing the path. If it's about the relative benefits of examining one's views about stuff, sure, some benefit. But in all likelihood, it's not wisdom.

well one responce to you is hardly covering the whole!
but is it wise or not to purify ones mind?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:26 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
Dan74 wrote:I don't know how far you want to stretch this analogy... The telescope is obviously not the right tool for the micro-world and the lenses it contains cannot be adapted for that purpose either. You need different lenses, though they are still lenses.

As for Vipassana,it seems to me that there are some aspects to it that are completely different to critical thinking that one may learn academically. I'd say that practice and mental cultivation develop some different aspects of the mind than a well-hone critical thinker would have.

well a telescope and microscope (both made of lenses a case...) are essentially the same thing looking in different directions. how they work are essentially the same, yet the components are manipulated in slightly different ways for use with different purposes. the difference for critical thinking is where it is directed, not outwardly, but inwardly to our own views, actions... yet in either case it is our own bias, delusion... which can muck things up.


Well, again, I don't think it is just about the direction that critical thinking is applied to.

Like it has been said, to generalise, vipassana arises when obscurations are removed and the mind is sufficiently sensitive and perceptive and understanding through critical thinking arises through correct analysis. The process is quite different.

I see plenty of critical thinking in this and that other thread of Daniel's, but very little to do with vipassana. I think these threads are the best example of the difference.

and I will point to the "active" aspect mentioned.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:31 pm

Mr Man wrote:Maybe we need to clarify what is understood by "vipassana"?

I would say in a general manner used today "a techneque which promotes the arising of Pañña" or "the setting down of delusion"
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:36 pm

Cittasanto wrote:but is it wise or not to purify ones mind?

Of course, but that is begging the question of whether "critical thinking" as defined by that video is the way to the "purification of the mind" as described by the Buddha, or whether it qualifies as some sort of "active Vipassana." In my opinion, it isn't, and I agree with Ven. Pesala and Ven. Mahāsi Sayadaw on why it isn't. Namely:
Ven. Pesala wrote:In my opinion insight meditation requires the mind to be still — not dull and uncritical, but not constantly doubting and speculating either.

Ven. Mahāsi Sayadaw wrote:the Dhamma is described as something beyond logic and intellect.

I don't see that you've addressed those points so far.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:10 pm

I guess it takes most of us quite some time to realize what meditation is about and what are the mental conditions for vipassana. Many people I know, colleagues, who are both academics and excellent critical thinkers, are inept at introspection and would not be able to be still and open, to let go of their concepts and frameworks which are the bread and butter of critical thinking and analysis.

There is a reason why in some schools they warn against thought - we are much too attached to it.
_/|\_


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