mahasi sayadaw

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby marc108 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:09 am

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote:
i am trying to redouble my efforts in sattipatthana by refreshing my practical knowledge with these books and i would like some guidance and i have a lot of questions.
You might want to start listening to this series of talks, which are not a matter of theoretical knowledge; rather, they reflect a practical, experiential knowledge based upon years of practice and teaching.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/?s ... tipatthana



:goodpost:

This is IMO the best Satipatthana commentary in existance, especially since he is so deeply practiced. I think this was the basis for his CD series on Satipatthana.
"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: mahasi sayadaw

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:37 am

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:in the commentaries it says one should contemplate the arising and falling of the body by way of it's dissolution and other things. mahasi says one should see it's literal rise and fall as in the abdomen rising and falling in breathing, the feet rising and falling when walking, and so on.

I think you're mixing up two quite separate things. Following the rising and falling of the abdomen (or motion of the feet, etc) is intended to build up enough mindfulness and concentration to discern the arising and dissolution of phenomena:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pro ... issolution
Noticing the bodily and mental processes as they arise, he sees them part by part, link by link, piece by piece, fraction by fraction: "Just now it arises, just now it dissolves." When that knowledge of arising and passing away becomes mature, keen and strong, it will arise easily and proceed uninterruptedly as if borne onward of itself; also the bodily and mental processes will be easily discernible.

:anjali:
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:46 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:in the commentaries it says one should contemplate the arising and falling of the body by way of it's dissolution and other things. mahasi says one should see it's literal rise and fall as in the abdomen rising and falling in breathing, the feet rising and falling when walking, and so on.

I think you're mixing up two quite separate things. Following the rising and falling of the abdomen (or motion of the feet, etc) is intended to build up enough mindfulness and concentration to discern the arising and dissolution of phenomena:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pro ... issolution
Noticing the bodily and mental processes as they arise, he sees them part by part, link by link, piece by piece, fraction by fraction: "Just now it arises, just now it dissolves." When that knowledge of arising and passing away becomes mature, keen and strong, it will arise easily and proceed uninterruptedly as if borne onward of itself; also the bodily and mental processes will be easily discernible.

:anjali:
Mike

I was under the impression that the commentaries were defining what they thought was THE definition of the suttas, so if they say its about the disolution of the body and not about the rising of the abdomen then thats what it is and the mahasi method would be incorrect according to them. Or am i missing something? If this is the case is there room in the commentaries for the mahasi method? Surely there is in the suttas themselves. I practice mahasi style and find his teachimgs in line with the suttas so this is not a criticism or anything, just study on the interconnectedness of the traditions.
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:51 pm

Edit
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
"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: mahasi sayadaw

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And as has been pointed out more than once in various discussions of jhana, the "sutta jhanas" looks to be pretty much identical with the vipasssana jhanas, a way of looking at things that has come out of the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition.

Sweet. Good too know
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:19 pm

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:in the commentaries it says one should contemplate the arising and falling of the body by way of it's dissolution and other things. mahasi says one should see it's literal rise and fall as in the abdomen rising and falling in breathing, the feet rising and falling when walking, and so on.

I think you're mixing up two quite separate things. Following the rising and falling of the abdomen (or motion of the feet, etc) is intended to build up enough mindfulness and concentration to discern the arising and dissolution of phenomena:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pro ... issolution
Noticing the bodily and mental processes as they arise, he sees them part by part, link by link, piece by piece, fraction by fraction: "Just now it arises, just now it dissolves." When that knowledge of arising and passing away becomes mature, keen and strong, it will arise easily and proceed uninterruptedly as if borne onward of itself; also the bodily and mental processes will be easily discernible.

:anjali:
Mike

I was under the impression that the commentaries were defining what they thought was THE definition of the suttas, so if they say its about the disolution of the body and not about the rising of the abdomen then thats what it is and the mahasi method would be incorrect according to them. Or am i missing something? If this is the case is there room in the commentaries for the mahasi method? Surely there is in the suttas themselves. I practice mahasi style and find his teachimgs in line with the suttas so this is not a criticism or anything, just study on the interconnectedness of the traditions.

I guess I wasn't clear enough.

It seems to me that you are confusing the use of "rise and fall" with regard to the abdomen with "rise and fall of phenomena". The suggested practice is to focus on the motion of the abdomen when sitting, or the motion of the feet when walking (primary objects in the terminology of the insructions), but pay attention to other objects that catch your attention (secondary objects). This happens to be expressed as "rising and falling of the abdomen", but the words "rising" and "falling" have no particular significance. "Motion of the abdomen" is just as adequate a way of putting it.

The rising and falling that you refer to in the Commentaries is the rising and falling is explained in suttas such as these:
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"'The six classes of feeling should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling.
...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"It's in dependence on a pair that consciousness comes into play. And how does consciousness come into play in dependence on a pair? In dependence on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The eye is inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Forms are inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Thus this pair is both wavering & fluctuating — inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise.
...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, these three are fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated. Which three? Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible, alteration (literally, other-ness) while staying is discernible.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Here, Ananda, a monk abides contemplating body as body — ardent, fully aware, mindful — leading away the unhappiness that comes from wanting the things of the world. And for one who is abiding contemplating body as body, a bodily object arises, or bodily distress, or mental sluggishness, that scatters his mind outward.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html

Paying attention to the primary and secondary objects builds the mindfulness and concentration to be able to start to discern how phenomena arise and cease...

:anjali:
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby alan... » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:00 pm

mikenz66 wrote:...
Paying attention to the primary and secondary objects builds the mindfulness and concentration to be able to start to discern how phenomena arise and cease...

:anjali:
Mike



mahasi says that when sitting and breathing we contemplate rise and fall of the abdomen, this is "arising and vanishing" (rising/falling) according to his definition of the "insight/refrain" section below each exercise, in this case it is the anapanasati section of satipatthana. that is, as far as i can tell.

the commentary says this about the same section:

Vayadhammanupassi va kayasmim viharati = "Or he lives contemplating dissolution-things in the body." In whatever way, the air does not proceed when the bellows' skin is taken off, the bellows' spout is broken, and the appropriate exertion is absent, even in that same way, when the body breaks up, the nasal aperture is destroyed, and the mind has ceased to function, the respiration-body does not go on. Thus through the ending of the coarse body, the nasal aperture and the mind there comes to be the ending of the respirations [kayadi-nirodha assasapassasa-nirodho]. The person who sees in this way, is he who lives contemplating dissolution-things in the body.
*

so it seems they are defining the watching of the arising and vanishing as literal rise and fall of the body itself instead of just the abdomen. again, the mahasi method makes a lot more sense, i'm just curious about the differences or if perhaps i'm unaware of something.

another question, if my primary object is rising and falling of the abdomen (i do it simply as breathing) is it okay if i just am mindful of it all day long and then note other satipatthanas as they arise? or do i have to think "rising, falling" all day long as well?





*"The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary", by Soma Thera. Access to Insight, 8 May 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html . Retrieved on 17 April 2013.
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:21 pm

Observing the rise and fall of the abdomen, or the lifting and dropping of the feet in walking. is simply the instruction to observe the movements. What one is doing is contemplating the element of motion (vāyodhātu), which is found in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta under the section called "Dhātumanasikāra" or paying attention the the four elements.

To the beginner, the abdominal movements, and the movements of the feet, will seem to be one continuous motion. Arising and vanishing is not seen clearly until the stage of Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away (udayabbhayañāṇa) is reached. The arising and especially the vanishing will become clear at the stage of Knowledge of Dissolution.

When this insight knowledge is gained, the movements of the limbs or the abdomen no longer seem to be one continuous motion, but are broken into many instantaneous moments of arising and vanishing. The material qualities that begin the lifting movement of the foot have vanished even before the stage of moving the foot forwards.

When observing a fan that is spinning quickly, the individual blades are not observable, but when the fan is switched off and slows down, the individual blades can be seen. Or if a strobe light is used, the blades can be seen even while the fan is turning at full speed. The concentrated attention of the ardent meditator is like the strobe light that can illuminate the object being observed from moment to moment.

One should not try to imagine or expect anything to occur, but one should patiently develop concentration until one can sustain attention on the meditation objects long enough for insight to arise naturally.
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:35 pm

alan... wrote:another question, if my primary object is rising and falling of the abdomen (i do it simply as breathing) is it okay if i just am mindful of it all day long and then note other satipatthanas as they arise? or do i have to think "rising, falling" all day long as well?

Even though you may try as hard as you can to note the rising and falling movements of the abdomen throughout the entire day, you won't be able to even for five minutes or one minute continuously. Inevitably, other objects will intrude into your field of awareness. Its advisable to note also "Sitting" and "Touching," between the rising and falling movements or the mind will easily drift when there are gaps in the movement. One may note as, “Rising, Sitting, Falling, Touching,” to keep the mind busy with mindfulness of the body. We call these the primary objects.

If you hear a sound, or think of something, these secondary objects must be noted too. When they have ceased or fade into the background, one can resume noting the primary objects. Do the same if unpleasant feelings should arise: "Itching, stiff, painful, burning, throbbing, pins and needles, numbness." Note them until they disappear, or fade, then return to noting the primary objects.

See Practical Insight Meditation for the basic and progressive instructions.
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby alan... » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:41 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
alan... wrote:another question, if my primary object is rising and falling of the abdomen (i do it simply as breathing) is it okay if i just am mindful of it all day long and then note other satipatthanas as they arise? or do i have to think "rising, falling" all day long as well?

Even though you may try as hard as you can to note the rising and falling movements of the abdomen throughout the entire day, you won't be able to even for five minutes or one minute continuously. Inevitably, other objects will intrude into your field of awareness. Its advisable to note also "Sitting" and "Touching," between the rising and falling movements or the mind will easily drift when there are gaps in the movement. One may note as, “Rising, Sitting, Falling, Touching,” to keep the mind busy with mindfulness of the body. We call these the primary objects.

If you hear a sound, or think of something, these secondary objects must be noted too. When they have ceased or fade into the background, one can resume noting the primary objects. Do the same if unpleasant feelings should arise: "Itching, stiff, painful, burning, throbbing, pins and needles, numbness." Note them until they disappear, or fade, then return to noting the primary objects.

See Practical Insight Meditation for the basic and progressive instructions.
do i need to mentally say "rising/falling" off the cushion in daily life Or can i just be aware of it?
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:42 pm

If you're not sitting, then the abdominal movements won't be your primary object. If you are meditating full-time, and not working or just relaxing at home, then your primary object will be either walking meditation (lifting, moving, dropping), or the movements of the limbs while doing daily activities such as washing, cleaning teeth, eating, washing dishes, etc.

Please read Practical Insight Meditation, where all of the basic exercises are explained in full.
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby alan... » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:25 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If you're not sitting, then the abdominal movements won't be your primary object. If you are meditating full-time, and not working or just relaxing at home, then your primary object will be either walking meditation (lifting, moving, dropping), or the movements of the limbs while doing daily activities such as washing, cleaning teeth, eating, washing dishes, etc.

Please read Practical Insight Meditation, where all of the basic exercises are explained in full.

I thought you were supposed to pick one thing to be your primary object?
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby alan... » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:38 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Please read Practical Insight Meditation, where all of the basic exercises are explained in full.

Im going too read it this week thanks.
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Re: mahasi sayadaw

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:02 am

Discussions of other possible approaches and criticisms of the approach being asked about have been split off to here:
my meditation, tips and critiques please!
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=16920&p=241320#p241320

:anjali:
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