Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:28 pm

kirk5a wrote:
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.


I'll address them.

As a locution (speech act or utterance, or in Buddhist terms, a verbal fabrication), The Reverend Mahāsi Sayadaw quote implies a contradiction (and borders on the tautological). Language requires not only grammatical, syntactical, and semantical logic but also intellectual effort. So the fact that he could even utter the sentence not only shows his dependence on logic and intellect, but it also shows that at least the part of the dhamma he's talking about is not beyond logic and intellect. Otherwise, he couldn't have produced the sentence in a way any one else interested in the dhamma could understand. Furthermore, Reverend Mahāsi Sayadaw is known for his great intellect. He was a a questioner and final editor at the Sixth Buddhist Council and wrote a "book" called Thoughts on the Dharma. How could he have thoughts on the dharma without using logic and intellect?

Now, take your opening sentence. It demonstrates you're not thinking critically but rigidly because you're phrase "the way" implies you think the Buddha taught that there's only ONE way to purify the mind. He didn't.

Furthermore, where in the sutta pitaka do we find the Buddha himself taking the position that the dhamma is beyond logic and intellect? To the contrary, we find him engaging others intellectually and logically all the time.

Finally, while the Reverend Pesala citation has some value, it's still off the mark. Critical thinking does not call for constant doubting and speculating. It calls for the same thing the Buddha called for: honesty about reality. And nothing in critical thinking contradicts a stilling of the mind. The result of critical thinking, especially as expressed in terms of REBT, CBT, MBCT and DBT, is a calmer mind. Improving thinking implies a steady mind.
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:30 pm

Dan74 wrote: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.
If you can't let go of a concept, you're not thinking critically.
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:26 am

danieLion wrote:I'll address them.

As a locution (speech act or utterance, or in Buddhist terms, a verbal fabrication), The Reverend Mahāsi Sayadaw quote implies a contradiction (and borders on the tautological). Language requires not only grammatical, syntactical, and semantical logic but also intellectual effort. So the fact that he could even utter the sentence not only shows his dependence on logic and intellect, but it also shows that at least the part of the dhamma he's talking about is not beyond logic and intellect. Otherwise, he couldn't have produced the sentence in a way any one else interested in the dhamma could understand. Furthermore, Reverend Mahāsi Sayadaw is known for his great intellect. He was a a questioner and final editor at the Sixth Buddhist Council and wrote a "book" called Thoughts on the Dharma. How could he have thoughts on the dharma without using logic and intellect?

Now, take your opening sentence. It demonstrates you're not thinking critically but rigidly because you're phrase "the way" implies you think the Buddha taught that there's only ONE way to purify the mind. He didn't.

Furthermore, where in the sutta pitaka do we find the Buddha himself taking the position that the dhamma is beyond logic and intellect? To the contrary, we find him engaging others intellectually and logically all the time.

Finally, while the Reverend Pesala citation has some value, it's still off the mark. Critical thinking does not call for constant doubting and speculating. It calls for the same thing the Buddha called for: honesty about reality. And nothing in critical thinking contradicts a stilling of the mind. The result of critical thinking, especially as expressed in terms of REBT, CBT, MBCT and DBT, is a calmer mind. Improving thinking implies a steady mind.

Do you consider that post a product of critical thinking? I think it's a terrible showing. Very cheap, shallow, unjustified reasoning, blatantly insufficiently researched.
"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 ground » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:46 am

Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?


"Critical thinking" is an idea.
"Active Vipassana" is an idea.

What causes one to say "Idea 1 is idea 2"? Ideas are the cause of everything that is said.

If you have idea 1 you do not have idea 2 and vv. Idea 1 never can be idea 2 but both are the same in that they are ideas. :sage:
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:57 am

ground wrote:
Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?


"Critical thinking" is an idea.
"Active Vipassana" is an idea.

What causes one to say "Idea 1 is idea 2"? Ideas are the cause of everything that is said.

If you have idea 1 you do not have idea 2 and vv. Idea 1 never can be idea 2 but both are the same in that they are ideas. :sage:

In your view, do ideas ever refer to actualities which are not themselves ideas? You resolve every topic down to the level of "ideas."
"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 danieLion » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:16 am

kirk5a wrote:
danieLion wrote:I'll address them.

As a locution (speech act or utterance, or in Buddhist terms, a verbal fabrication), The Reverend Mahāsi Sayadaw quote implies a contradiction (and borders on the tautological). Language requires not only grammatical, syntactical, and semantical logic but also intellectual effort. So the fact that he could even utter the sentence not only shows his dependence on logic and intellect, but it also shows that at least the part of the dhamma he's talking about is not beyond logic and intellect. Otherwise, he couldn't have produced the sentence in a way any one else interested in the dhamma could understand. Furthermore, Reverend Mahāsi Sayadaw is known for his great intellect. He was a a questioner and final editor at the Sixth Buddhist Council and wrote a "book" called Thoughts on the Dharma. How could he have thoughts on the dharma without using logic and intellect?

Now, take your opening sentence. It demonstrates you're not thinking critically but rigidly because you're phrase "the way" implies you think the Buddha taught that there's only ONE way to purify the mind. He didn't.

Furthermore, where in the sutta pitaka do we find the Buddha himself taking the position that the dhamma is beyond logic and intellect? To the contrary, we find him engaging others intellectually and logically all the time.

Finally, while the Reverend Pesala citation has some value, it's still off the mark. Critical thinking does not call for constant doubting and speculating. It calls for the same thing the Buddha called for: honesty about reality. And nothing in critical thinking contradicts a stilling of the mind. The result of critical thinking, especially as expressed in terms of REBT, CBT, MBCT and DBT, is a calmer mind. Improving thinking implies a steady mind.

Do you consider that post a product of critical thinking? I think it's a terrible showing. Very cheap, shallow, unjustified reasoning, blatantly insufficiently researched.

There's no need to go ad hominem on me (which I believe is a violation of TOS #1 and 2a). If you have specific criticisms, I'll entertain them. What exactly makes it "cheap"? What precisely makes it "shallow"? In what specific ways do you find my reasoning "unjustified"? In what ways, exactly, do you find it "insufficiently researched"? Otherwise, if you insist on resorting to name-calling and personal attack, any further free exchange of ideas will be severly inhibited if not impossible.
Last edited by danieLion on Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby ground » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:16 am

kirk5a wrote:
ground wrote:
Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?


"Critical thinking" is an idea.
"Active Vipassana" is an idea.

What causes one to say "Idea 1 is idea 2"? Ideas are the cause of everything that is said.

If you have idea 1 you do not have idea 2 and vv. Idea 1 never can be idea 2 but both are the same in that they are ideas. :sage:

In your view, do ideas ever refer to actualities which are not themselves ideas?

It is irrelevant what anybody's view is as to whether "ideas ever refer to actualities". Why? Because every view is just ideas, "actuality" is just another idea etc ...

kirk5a wrote:You resolve every topic down to the level of "ideas."

Because all that can be affirmed are ideas. You can have ideas or not. You can believe them to refer to whatever you like ... still they are just ideas and the so is the belief.

Sense of self can never accept this because it seeks support in the idea that ideas are more than just that. :sage:
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:26 am

kirk5a wrote:
ground wrote:
Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?


"Critical thinking" is an idea.
"Active Vipassana" is an idea.

What causes one to say "Idea 1 is idea 2"? Ideas are the cause of everything that is said.

If you have idea 1 you do not have idea 2 and vv. Idea 1 never can be idea 2 but both are the same in that they are ideas. :sage:

In your view, do ideas ever refer to actualities which are not themselves ideas? You resolve every topic down to the level of "ideas."

This is old news. See the history of the debate about the validity of the distinctions between objective/subjective, appearance/reality and facts/values. Specifically, look into the copy theory of ideas (a la Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and Nietzsche's attack on Kant and Plato), and more recently Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam's work.
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:10 am

danieLion wrote:There's no need to go ad hominem on me (which I believe is a violation of TOS #1 and 2a). If you have specific criticisms, I'll entertain them. What exactly makes it "cheap"? What precisely makes it "shallow"? In what specific ways do you find my reasoning "unjustified"? In what ways, exactly, do you find it "insufficiently researched"? Otherwise, if you insist on resorting to name-calling and personal attack, any further free exchange of ideas will be severly inhibited if not impossible.

It was not "ad hominem" because it was not directed "to the person" it was directed to the reasoning. Which as I stated was

1) cheap
As in, a cheap shot, not giving due consideration to the point another is actually making, re-characterizing it as a straw man, easily knocked over.
If we give a respectful reading to the point Ven. Mahāsi was making it is clear that he is not saying anything that, as you said, "implies a contradiction (and borders on the tautological)." He does not say that there is no value or place for the intellect in any way whatsoever. That would be absurd. He is clearly and plainly stating that the intellect is not what reaches the stages of insight, a.k.a. "vipassana" which is the topic of this thread.

2) shallow
Meaning, presenting no depth of understanding regarding the topic. Which again, involves vipassana. Although you present a strawman characterization of Ven. Mahāsi's comments, you provide no explanation of just how it is the practice of vipassana does proceed, and in what ways, exactly, it does or does not involve intellectual activity, nor provide any detail on how it is that whatever activity there might be could be equated with the definition of "critical thinking" that we have so far.

3) unjustified
Merely based upon my usage of the phrase "the way" you concluded that my thinking is "rigid." First of all, if you're going to come to an inferential conclusion about the contents of someone else's mind it should have a much more solid basis than the mere usage of two words, a common expression - "the way." Making conclusions about the content of another's mind, unless you have the psychic power to see into it directly (I believe in such a thing but do not posses it myself) is a generally inadvisable practice owing to the various possibilities for the internal mental conditions behind whatever they said. You did not ask me for any clarification on just how flexible, inflexible, narrow, or wide my view of the practice might be before you launched into a characterization of my thinking about it.

Secondly, the Buddha himself used the expression "the way," as in the following:
"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Should we conclude that the Buddha lacked "critical thinking" and had "rigid thinking" because of that statement? I think not.

4) blatantly insufficiently researched
Failure to examine how the Buddha spoke of "the way", as above.
Failure to notice the reference for the location in the sutta pitaka which you demanded in support of Ven. Mahāsi's statement, was given in that statement itself. It even has quotation marks.
Venerable Mahāsi Sayadaw wrote:When the Buddha was first considering whether or not to teach, he thought, “This truth that I have realised is very profound. Though it is sublime and conducive to inner peace, it is hard to understand. Since it is subtle and not accessible to mere intellect and logic, it can be realised only by the wise.”

You took no time to investigate what the Buddha said at that time (again, a lack of respectful consideration to the detail of what someone is saying.) Which, is recorded in SN 6.1 Ayacana Sutta: The Request
This Dhamma that I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, not within the sphere of reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise.

Is Ven. Mahāsi's direct quotation of that very sutta passage accurate? Yes it is. Did you fail to notice it and look up the reference for yourself before you questioned whether such a statement could be found in the sutta pitaka? Yes you did.
"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 danieLion » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:20 am

Thank you for your well articulated and detailed response. I sincerely appreciate it. I especially value that you clarified you were not judging me as a persons but judging my behavior.

Now, for some clarifications of my own.
kirk5a wrote:
It was not "ad hominem" because it was not directed "to the person" it was directed to the reasoning. Which as I stated was

1) cheap
As in, a cheap shot, not giving due consideration to the point another is actually making, re-characterizing it as a straw man, easily knocked over.
If we give a respectful reading to the point Ven. Mahāsi was making it is clear that he is not saying anything that, as you said, "implies a contradiction (and borders on the tautological)." He does not say that there is no value or place for the intellect in any way whatsoever. That would be absurd. He is clearly and plainly stating that the intellect is not what reaches the stages of insight, a.k.a. "vipassana" which is the topic of this thread.

I apologize for not making it clear that I don't think Mahāsi's point is a straw man.

kirk5a wrote:2) shallow
Meaning, presenting no depth of understanding regarding the topic. Which again, involves vipassana. Although you present a strawman characterization of Ven. Mahāsi's comments, you provide no explanation of just how it is the practice of vipassana does proceed, and in what ways, exactly, it does or does not involve intellectual activity, nor provide any detail on how it is that whatever activity there might be could be equated with the definition of "critical thinking" that we have so far.

Again, I apologize for not being more explicit about my intentions. I have not engaged in the vipassana aspect of this thread not because I don't understand it but because I find Cittasanto's coverage of it to be sufficient and wished to avoid being redundant. I feel he and I are basically of one accord on that.

kirk5a wrote:3) unjustified
Merely based upon my usage of the phrase "the way" you concluded that my thinking is "rigid." First of all, if you're going to come to an inferential conclusion about the contents of someone else's mind it should have a much more solid basis than the mere usage of two words, a common expression - "the way." Making conclusions about the content of another's mind, unless you have the psychic power to see into it directly (I believe in such a thing but do not posses it myself) is a generally inadvisable practice owing to the various possibilities for the internal mental conditions behind whatever they said. You did not ask me for any clarification on just how flexible, inflexible, narrow, or wide my view of the practice might be before you launched into a characterization of my thinking about it.

Secondly, the Buddha himself used the expression "the way," as in the following:
"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Should we conclude that the Buddha lacked "critical thinking" and had "rigid thinking" because of that statement? I think not.

You're right. In terms of David D. Burns' ten cognitive distortions, I committed the Mind Reading form of the error of Jumping To Conclusions:
You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don't bother to check this out.
(IMHO, identifying and reducing cognitive distortions, or irrational beliefs as Albert Ellis calles them, is a way of using critical thinking as a tool for active vipassana, or at least a form of dhamma practice.). And in terms of my misinterpetation of your use of the phrase "the way" I committed the cogntive distortion of
Mislabeling, an extreme form of overgeneralization.... When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him....


kirk5a wrote:4) blatantly insufficiently researched
Failure to examine how the Buddha spoke of "the way", as above.
Failure to notice the reference for the location in the sutta pitaka which you demanded in support of Ven. Mahāsi's statement, was given in that statement itself. It even has quotation marks.
Venerable Mahāsi Sayadaw wrote:When the Buddha was first considering whether or not to teach, he thought, “This truth that I have realised is very profound. Though it is sublime and conducive to inner peace, it is hard to understand. Since it is subtle and not accessible to mere intellect and logic, it can be realised only by the wise.”

You took no time to investigate what the Buddha said at that time (again, a lack of respectful consideration to the detail of what someone is saying.) Which, is recorded in SN 6.1 Ayacana Sutta: The Request
This Dhamma that I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, not within the sphere of reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise.

Is Ven. Mahāsi's direct quotation of that very sutta passage accurate? Yes it is. Did you fail to notice it and look up the reference for yourself before you questioned whether such a statement could be found in the sutta pitaka? Yes you did.

While you're right that I did not take the time today to locate a sutta support for the Mahāsi citation, I'm no stranger to the sutta pitaka and familiar with your reference. It would have been preferable if I'd identified it myself instead of switching the responsiblity to you. I apologize. I was curious to see what you came up with, but there's no way you could've known that and I treated you unfairly by playing games. Again, I apologize.

Finally, while I agree with the Buddha that the dhamma is beyond the scope of reason descriptively, I do not think he excluded skillful use of logic and intellect while one is fabricating The Path, as the Buddha himself did along the way and instructed others to do after he attained nibbana. And I agree that the Noble Eightfold Path is the way. However, as we see in the suttas, how this is practically done can be very different from individual to individual.
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:00 am

danieLion wrote:Thank you for your well articulated and detailed response. I sincerely appreciate it. I especially value that you clarified you were not judging me as a persons but judging my behavior.

Now, for some clarifications of my own.
...

Ok, thank you for that. Shows your good character to acknowledge that post could have stood some reworking, in light of the principles we're exploring here. No problem. And thanks for bringing up some more detail about those principles, e.g. David D. Burns' ten cognitive distortions.
"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 polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:01 am

Essentially, critical thinking is important on the noble eightfold path but is not the whole of the path nor the majority of it and the goal is not intellectual understanding but liberation through non-clinging. However, the path cannot be completed, or even properly embarked upon, without the use of one's critical faculties. Critical thinking is a tool, just like sati and samadhi are tools.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby danieLion » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:44 am

kirk5a wrote:
danieLion wrote:Thank you for your well articulated and detailed response. I sincerely appreciate it. I especially value that you clarified you were not judging me as a persons but judging my behavior.

Now, for some clarifications of my own.
...

Ok, thank you for that. Shows your good character to acknowledge that post could have stood some reworking, in light of the principles we're exploring here. No problem. And thanks for bringing up some more detail about those principles, e.g. David D. Burns' ten cognitive distortions.

Your'e welcome. I can see you have a good character too. David D. Burns (along with Albet Ellis) has assisted me greatly to supplement my practice, but I do not have a conviction that this is universal. I am enthusiastic about it's potential to help other Buddhists, but am hoping to use this thread to figure out the limitations of such hope. Additionaly, I'm very aware of the fact that I would have a hard time defending a thesis that equates vipassana (active or regular) with crticial thinking per se or it's cognitive-behavioral-therapeutic and rational-emotive-behavioral-therapeutic expressions. I believe there is overlap, but, again, am using these discussions to test just how much, if any, overlap there is.
:anjali:
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:12 am

kirk5a wrote:
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."
One tool among many, critical thinking may have benefit here particularly when dealing with views, motivations....

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.

Although Venerable dealt with Vipasana here, he only gave a quick look and I did not see this part you quote relevant in my response other than to point out that the OP had been edited for clarity. but this quote can also be seen as describing the type I am suggesting.
Critical thinking is not about doubt but seeing flaws and/or perfections in views ... something already mentioned within the thread.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:20 am

Dan74 wrote: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.

this does skip the usefulness of the tools critical thinking has for introspection.
you have repeted this thought several times now, yet, I have failed to get across that the tools turned inwardly may have a use. I am sorry but please forget how people commonly use critical thinking and focus on the introspective use.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:21 am

I do not have time to go through the posts on page 5 yet so will do so later.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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 Mr Man » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:10 am

Cittasanto wrote:
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"



I don't see vipassana as a "technique" but more as a function. The difference being that a technique is something that can be improved upon or refined (like critical thinking) where vipassana is what it is.
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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:48 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Although Venerable dealt with Vipasana here, he only gave a quick look and I did not see this part you quote relevant in my response other than to point out that the OP had been edited for clarity. but this quote can also be seen as describing the type I am suggesting.
Critical thinking is not about doubt but seeing flaws and/or perfections in views ... something already mentioned within the thread.

What about papañca, as I raised in my first post, and about which Ven. Pesala agreed? Why have you not addressed that point which I raised on page 1? Is it inconvenient for your view? Did you do some research on papañca before you replied to me? All you did was ask a question in response (what if it resulted in dispassion; being unfettered;...?) and didn't provide any explanation of how critcial thinking avoids papañca at all.

It's easy to say "it's not about doubting or speculation." But how does critical thinking escape the grip of papañca (mental proliferation/objectification)? As in the following:
"Dependent on intellect & ideas, intellect-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future ideas cognizable via the intellect.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"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 dhamma follower » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:57 pm

Dear all,


I don't know what is critical thinking as described in that video. However, thinking is part of the 8 Noble fold Path, as samma sankapa. Sankapa is another word which refers to the mental factor vitaka. Vitaka is present in almost all kamavacara cittas (cittas of the sense-sphere) except for the 5 pairs of sense-consciousness. This suggests that thinking, according to the Dhamma is something quite different from what we presume. Also, if we consider that vitaka is present in lokutara cittas which experience Nibbana, but not in the 2nd jhanna cittas upward, it also can gives some hints about the role of "thinking" for the development of vipassana panna, as opposed to the development of samatha. I will quote here Nina Van Gorkom:

Vitakka, applied thinking or initial thinking, and vicara, sustained thinking or sustained application, are two cetasikas among the "particulars" (1 See also Dhammasangani 7 and 8.) , We believe that we know what thinking is, We think of what we have seen, heard, smelt, tasted or experienced through the bodysense, or we think of ideas and concepts. We build up long stories of what we experienced and we cling to thinking. In order to know the realities of vitakka and vicara we should not be misled by the conventional term 'thinking". Through the study of the Abhidhamma and the commentaries we can acquire a more precise knowledge of realities .

The Visuddhimagga ( IV,88) defines vitakka as follows:

... Herein, applied thinking (vitakkama) is applied thought (vitakka); hitting upon, is what is meant. It has the characteristic of directing the mind onto an object (mounting the mind on its object). Its function is to strike at and thresh- for the mediator (2 The Visuddhimagga deals with vitakka in the section on samatha. The meditator is someone who cultivates samatha.) is said, in virtue of it, to have the object touched and struck at by applied thought. It is manifested as the leading of the mind onto an object...
The Atthasalini (Book I, Part IV, Chapter I, 114) gives a similar definition. This commentary uses a simile of someone who wants to "ascend" the king's palace and depends on a relative or friend dear to the king to achieve this. In the same way the citta which is accompanied by vitakka depends on the latter in order to "ascend" to the object, to be directed to the object. Vitakka leads the citta to the object so that citta can cognize it.


Another thing is, vitaka can be either wholesome or unwholesome, depending on the other mental factors which accompany that citta.

Further on in the sutta we read about three kinds of kusala vitakka which are the opposites of the three kinds of akusala vitakka. They are :
the thought of renunciation (nekkhamma)
the thought of non-malevolence (avyapada)
the thought of non-harming (avihimsa)
The bodhisatta realized that these lead neither to self-hurt, nor to the hurt of others, nor to the hurt of both, but that they are for "growth in intuitive wisdom", that they are "not associated with distress", "conducive to nibbana ". We read about kusala vitakka:
....Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much on the thought of renunciation he ejects the thought of sense-pleasures: if he makes much of the thought of renunciation, his mind inclines to the thought of renunciation. Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much on the thought of non-malevolence he ejects the thought of malevolence... Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much on the thought of non-harming, he ejects the thought of harming; if he makes much of the thought of non-harming his mind inclines to the thought of non-harming...

One may wonder whether nekkhamma, renunciation, is the same as retirement from worldly life and whether it therefore pertains in particular to monks. Although a monk's life should be a life of contentment with little, he may not be cultivating nekkhamma. Whoever has not eradicated attachment to sense objects has stiff conditions for "thought of sense-pleasures", no matter whether he is a monk or a layman, When a monk receives delicious almsfood, is attachment not likely to arise?
There are many degrees of nekkhamma and not only monks should cultivate it, but laypeople as well. Actually, all kusala dhamma are nekkhamma (1 Vibhanga, Book of Analysis, 3, Analysis of the Elements, 182.)


http://www.vipassana.info/cetasikas10.html

So we can see that the kind of thinking which is a factor of the Path is the thinking which is wholesome, and as it arises with right view, it is accompanied by understanding. If the critical thinking being discussed has to do with wholesome thinking with understanding, then it can be considered part of the vipassana bhavana, although it is not vipassana nana it-self, as it has been said in Robertk's posts. If it has to do with mundane matters, or accompanied by wisdom, than I don't think it is.

Brgds,

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Re: Is Critical Thinking Active Vipassana?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:52 pm

I wonder about the intention behind the mental effort of critical thinking. Isn't that intention an important aspect of ascertaining the usefulness of the tool? Critical thinking can be bent to speculative philosophy or debate just as much as it can be bent to food production, or social governance, or parsing bhavana modalities.

In general it functions as a corrective for superstitions, logical fallacies, unexamined premises, and other lazy heuristics. This corrective is a wide-ranging benefit, and given our cultural and temporal remove from the days of the early Sangha it's quite useful when exploring these issues with the intention of better understanding the Dhamma and its context.

I think it's a heady game, however, and somewhat at a remove from the embodied practice we are enjoined to engage in. It isn't an unwholesome obstacle, but continual thinking is exhausting...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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