On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

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On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby oceanfloor » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:22 am

Hi,

Before any further inquiry, I want to make my self clear about Sayadaw's technique. Please cmiiw:
1. In order to attain Nibbana, one needs to cut off craving.
2. To cut off craving, one develops vipassana - discerning impermanent, non-self, etc, so that any arisen feeling won't cause any attachment which in turn causes craving.

With metta.
:anjali:
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:30 am

Greetings Oceanfloor,

What you have presented is not incorrect, but I feel it's worth "kicking the tyres" to see if it holds up alright and to check that your understanding is right.

In my opinion a better two point summary would be...

- The Buddha taught that the Noble Eightfold Path is the way to nibbana.
- Application of the Mahasi vipassana technique supports the pursuit of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Do not take any technique as a path, in-and-of-itself, independent of the Noble Eightfold Path, as a road to nibbana.

On that proviso, I believe what you have put forward is correct.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby Ben » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:44 am

Greetings Sean,

I suggest that you consult with Bhikkhu Pesala or Mikenz66, members here on DW, on the teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw.
kind regards,

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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:53 am

Hi Oceanfloor,

What you've said is the Buddha's teaching, not specific to any particular approach.

1. This is the third Noble Truth, explained in various places, including the Buddha's first discourse: SN 56.11.
"Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.


2. The second discourse, SN 22.59, explains that nibbana involves discerning the impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self nature of the aggregates (form, feeling, perception, formations, conciousness):
"Any consciousness [or other aggregate] whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"


However, accomplishing this is not straightforward, and as Retro says, involves the Eightfold Path, also explained in the Buddha's first discourse: SN 56.11.
"The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Which, of course, is what any competent Dhamma teacher would teach.

Bhikkhu Pesala is a student of Mahasi Sayadaw, and has a web site here: http://www.aimwell.org/ containing a lot of teachings by Mahasi Sayadaw and his students.

:anjali:
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:57 am

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby oceanfloor » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:36 am

mikenz66 wrote:However, accomplishing this is not straightforward, and as Retro says, involves the Eightfold Path, also explained in the Buddha's first discourse: SN 56.11.
"The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Which, of course, is what any competent Dhamma teacher would teach.

I hope your teacher teaches to accomplish it straightforwardly.
Bhikkhu Pesala is a student of Mahasi Sayadaw, and has a web site here: http://www.aimwell.org/ containing a lot of teachings by Mahasi Sayadaw and his students.

Alright then, since you refer me to Bikkhu Pesala, I'll try to address further related inquiry via pm to him. Thank you.


Much metta,
:anjali:
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:31 am

Hi Oceanfloor,

I'm sure Bhikkhu Pesala would be happy to answer you questions, but from previous conversations I understand that unless they have some very specifically personal question, he would rather people posted questions on the forum. Many people here have a practice that is based on Mahasi Sayadaw's approach. See this thread for a recent example: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=17756

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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:05 am

Start by reading Practical Insight Meditation, then A Discourse on the Mālukyaputta Sutta. When you're ready for more detail, study In This Very Life (see my forum signature), slowly and thoroughly.

Any of the other Books by Mahāsī Sayādaw may be helpful, but it's too much for a beginner to take it all in.

Study and practice should go hand in hand. Chanmyay Sayādaw's Vipassanā Meditation Guidelines is also very helpful practical guidance for meditators.
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby oceanfloor » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:I'm sure Bhikkhu Pesala would be happy to answer you questions, but from previous conversations I understand that unless they have some very specifically personal question, he would rather people posted questions on the forum.

Well, I don't have any personal question, it is all objective. Ok then, I'd post questions on the forum instead, starts from responding to retrofuturist's comment.
retrofuturist wrote:- Application of the Mahasi vipassana technique supports the pursuit of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Are you sure? How about the 8th Path, does Mahasi technique support it?

Metta always,
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:06 am

oceanfloor wrote:Are you sure? How about the 8th Path, does Mahasi technique support it?
You mean Samma Samadhi, Right Concentration?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby oceanfloor » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
oceanfloor wrote:Are you sure? How about the 8th Path, does Mahasi technique support it?
You mean Samma Samadhi, Right Concentration?

Yes, samma-samadhi.

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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:49 am

oceanfloor wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
oceanfloor wrote:Are you sure? How about the 8th Path, does Mahasi technique support it?
You mean Samma Samadhi, Right Concentration?

Yes, samma-samadhi.

:anjali:
The answer to your question, then, is yes.
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.

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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby oceanfloor » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
oceanfloor wrote:Yes, samma-samadhi.

:anjali:
The answer to your question, then, is yes.

Thank you for the answer. Care to explain why? Some specific quote or section from the link mikenz66 gave me, aimwell.org, will be much appreciated. Or maybe you have some other reference.

With metta,
:anjali:
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:06 am

Hi OceanFloor,

Here are some threads that refer to U Panditia's book In This Very Life, which is hosted by Bhikkhu Pesala:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p212748
In part:
mikenz66 wrote:Approaches such as taught by Mahasi involve the development of strong levels of mindfulness and concentration as a basis for insight, which is what I take the point of Jhana to be. Since the concentration that the Mahasi approach involves is comparable to some of the "Sutta Jhana" models taught by some teachers, I don't see any particular disrespect the development of concentration, and, of course U Pandita discusses specifically the importance of the development of the Jhana factors in his "Vipassana Jhana" chapter here.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p211669
mikenz66 wrote:U Pandita defines what he calls vipassana jhana in In This Very Life in this chapter:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... hanas.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
However you have to scroll down to the heading Jhana...

His definition is that the jhānic factors are present, and also some insight:
... [first four jhānic factors] ...
When these first four jhānic factors are present, the mind automatically becomes calm and peaceful, able to concentrate on what is happening without getting scattered or dispersed. This one-pointedness of mind is the fifth jhānic factor, samādhi, or concentration.

It is not sufficient to have all five factors present for one to say one has attained the first vipassanā jhāna. The mind must also come to penetrate into the Dhamma a little bit, enough to see the interrelationship of mind and matter. At this time we say that access to the first vipassanā jhāna has occurred.

A yogi whose mind is composed of these five jhānic factors will experience a new accuracy of mindfulness, a new level of success in sticking with the object. Intense rapture, happiness and comfort in the body may also arise. This could be the occasion for him or her to gloat over the wondrousness of the meditation practice. “Oh wow, I’m getting really precise and accurate. I even feel like I’m floating in the air!” You might recognize this reflection as a moment of attachment.

I think that this description is useful in as much as it points out that "vipassana medition" isn't "thinking about stuff", but is about building up mindfulness and samadhi (since samadhi is essential to to insight), and samadhi requires the jhana factors.

So, as I understand it, these "vipassana" methods, are the development of samadhi and vipassana in tandem, certainly not the separation...

:anjali:
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:37 pm

Hi Mike and everyone,

Is there such a thing as a directory of approved centres which teach retreats in the Mahasi style? I am based in the UK and have located one by just Googling it, and was wondering if anyone had any hints as to the best way of locating one.
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:30 pm

Hi Sam,

I know that there are some centres that advertise specific affiliations, but I have no experience of those. Perhaps someone else can comment.

Many monasteries in Thailand (including the one that our local Wat is a branch of) and elsewhere teach the Mahasi approach. The primary teachers I've had here have spent time in various Burmese and other Mahasi-oriented centres. However, they have no specific affiliation. A number of Western lay teachers (such as Joseph Goldstein, Steve Armstrong, Patrick Kearney, to mention a few whose talks I've listened to on the Internet) have a strong basis in this approach.

I'm ambivalent about "approved" styles. There are some organisations that are very organised in terms of a particular style, such as the Goenka centres. Others, such as the Ajahn Chah group of affiliated monasteries, teach a wide variety of styles that seems to depend on the particular background of the teachers. Personally, I'm more interested in access to competent teachers of the Buddha-Dhamma, than purity in some particular modern approach. However, I would always recommend sticking with a particular approach for quite some time (months at least), not randomly switching.

:anjali:
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Is there such a thing as a directory of approved centres which teach retreats in the Mahasi style? I am based in the UK and have located one by just Googling it, and was wondering if anyone had any hints as to the best way of locating one.

The Burmese monastery in Wembley is an affiliated Mahāsī centre. The Saraniya Centre in Manchester is a branch of Panditarama.

The Satipanya Centre, which you probably found with your Google search is run by Bhikkh Bodhidharma, who trained in Sri Lanka, at the Kanduboda Mahasi centre.

You can also do Mahasi retreats in Gaia House, and probably at Birmingham Dhammatalaka Vihara. I only offer one-day retreats.

The Satipanya Centre may be the best choice for longer retreats. There may be other places too. Buddhanet has a directory of Buddhist centres.
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:07 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Is there such a thing as a directory of approved centres which teach retreats in the Mahasi style? I am based in the UK and have located one by just Googling it, and was wondering if anyone had any hints as to the best way of locating one.

The Burmese monastery in Wembley is an affiliated Mahāsī centre. The Saraniya Centre in Manchester is a branch of Panditarama.

The Satipanya Centre, which you probably found with your Google search is run by Bhikkh Bodhidharma, who trained in Sri Lanka, at the Kanduboda Mahasi centre.

You can also do Mahasi retreats in Gaia House, and probably at Birmingham Dhammatalaka Vihara. I only offer one-day retreats.

The Satipanya Centre may be the best choice for longer retreats. There may be other places too. Buddhanet has a directory of Buddhist centres.


Many thanks, Bhante - much appreciated. The one I found by Googling is the Saraniya centre in Salford (Strangely, I used to live in the same road over 30 years ago, although I have now moved to the South Coast.)
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:14 pm

mikenz66 wrote: There are some organisations that are very organised in terms of a particular style, such as the Goenka centres. Others, such as the Ajahn Chah group of affiliated monasteries, teach a wide variety of styles that seems to depend on the particular background of the teachers. Personally, I'm more interested in access to competent teachers of the Buddha-Dhamma, than purity in some particular modern approach. However, I would always recommend sticking with a particular approach for quite some time (months at least), not randomly switching.

:anjali:
Mike


Hi Mike,

Many thanks. Yes, I'm not looking for a switch in that sense. I attend an "Ajahn Chah affiliated" monastery, and recently one of the monks was giving instruction that seemed very influenced by Mahasi. I thought it might be worth checking out in more detail. I've no wish to "jump ship", though. Living fifteen miles from Ajahn Sucitto helps me realise that I'm onto a good thing, and I've been attending there since the late 1990s.
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Re: On Mahasi Sayadaw's teaching

Postby oceanfloor » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi OceanFloor,

Here are some threads that refer to U Panditia's book In This Very Life, which is hosted by Bhikkhu Pesala:

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=8854&start=20#p212748
In part:
mikenz66 wrote:Approaches such as taught by Mahasi involve the development of strong levels of mindfulness and concentration as a basis for insight, which is what I take the point of Jhana to be. Since the concentration that the Mahasi approach involves is comparable to some of the "Sutta Jhana" models taught by some teachers, I don't see any particular disrespect the development of concentration, and, of course U Pandita discusses specifically the importance of the development of the Jhana factors in his "Vipassana Jhana" chapter here.

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=14476&start=20#p211669
mikenz66 wrote:U Pandita defines what he calls vipassana jhana in In This Very Life in this chapter:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... hanas.html"

From the link to U Pandita's jhanas hosted by Bikkhu Pesala:
Direct, Intuitive Knowledge

The reason why the samatha jhānas can grant tranquility, but do not lead directly to wisdom is that they have concepts as their objects, rather than objects which can be directly experienced without thinking. The vipassanā jhānas lead to wisdom, because they consists of direct, sustained contact with the ultimate realities.

Maybe Bikkhu Pesala cares to explain the suttas support for the quoted text?

metta,
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