Leigh Brasington and retreats

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Heaviside
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Heaviside » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:09 am

Jhana4,

Yes, that is a much more polite and, on the basis of listening to most of Brasington's talks and reading a bit of his writing, probably more accurate interpretation. But I think you must admit that there are many hucksters and mountebanks out there.

Tiltbillings,

Thanks for posting the link to the Vimalaramsi thread. I'm sorry I missed it. I did a search a few months ago on Vimalaramsi but came up empty handed. I thought his history of Buddaghosa was interesting, but I am hardly qualifed to jusge its accuracy. I do have a more fundamental question, though. Vimalaramsi frequently claims to bypass the "commentaries," preferring to consult the suttas for authentication. But, in the process, he is injecting his own interpretation. And the Tipitika was written down some four or five centuries after the Buddha's death. So what is the "real" authority? I don't think the arguments of Pali scholars help a lot given the provenance of the Tipitika itself.

It seems to me that even the word of the Buddha is not the final touchstone, but how well X works for me. That said, it is interesting to know what has worked for others. And, as I mentioned to Jhana4, claims are one thing and delivery of the goods is quite another.
Do the best you can with what you have to work with.

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mikenz66
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:31 am

Hi Heaviside,
Heaviside wrote: I do have a more fundamental question, though. Vimalaramsi frequently claims to bypass the "commentaries," preferring to consult the suttas for authentication. But, in the process, he is injecting his own interpretation.

Obviously, as you observe, any conclusions drawn from the suttas, by either the ancient commentators, or modern scholars or teachers will involve some interpretation (and hence some disagreements). I think that Ven Vimalaramsi's interpretations were discussed in some detail in the threads that Tiltbillings linked to.

Since the current thread is about Leigh Brasington's retreats, If you want to discuss Ven Vimalaramsi's interpretations it would be better to do that on one of those threads. Or feel free to start a new thread if you think that none of them are suitable.

:anjali:
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Sylvester » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:20 am

Heaviside wrote: And the Tipitika was written down some four or five centuries after the Buddha's death. So what is the "real" authority? I don't think the arguments of Pali scholars help a lot given the provenance of the Tipitika itself.



Hi

Re your question on provenance, I can think of 3 fairly reliable dating methods that work with texts rather than manuscripts or inscriptions.

For one, practically all of the sources in the early Buddhist schools regard the 2nd Council as having taken place about either 100 years or 110 years AB. Only the Mahasanghika source does not give the timeframe. On this basis, those suttas and sutras which can find parallels in the Mahasanghika canon can be assured of an early date. Post-schism, the schools were no longer of speaking terms and it's unlikely that the Mahasanghikas kept up with Nikaya and Agama developments. Those shared suttas/sutras can therefore be said to have closed no later than 100 years AB.

Secondly, we can use the dating of the various Abhidharma material as an indication of when the suttas/sutras more or less "closed". There are exceptions to this , of course, but as a general rule of thumb, we can certainly see that the large bulk of the suttas pre-date the Abhidharma. And there are fairly good estimates of the dates of the various Abhidharmas.

Lastly, when you consider how geographically distant schools share so much parallel material, a very reasonable explanation must be that the parallels attest to an early shared heritage before the schools migrated from the common centre. If you link the dispersion to Asoka, then you again have an event that could not have happened more than 230 years AB (depending on which chronology you use).

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cooran
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby cooran » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:32 am

Hello Heaviside,

This post from a previous thread may be of interest:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7562&p=120448&hilit=Bhanakas#p120448

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:Since the current thread is about Leigh Brasington's retreats, If you want to discuss Ven Vimalaramsi's interpretations it would be better to do that on one of those threads. Or feel free to start a new thread if you think that none of them are suitable.


:twothumbsup:
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:45 am

FWIW, a friend of mine from my vihara, who is friends with Brasington and who has trained with him told me he has submitted a book to Wisdom Publications. It is currently being reviewed for publication.

I know, I know, at this point that is only a little better than a rumor and it could take a while before we actually see the book.

Exciting still .....
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Namkha » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:20 pm

I heartily recommend Leigh Brasington. He is a gifted teacher, very clear and sure. He is also just an extremely decent, kind person. I sat a two week retreat with him and I'm trying to figure out the next time that I will be able to sit with him. I tend to be someone who likes poetry and mystery in my dhamma, and that is not Leigh, but I found something very liberating in his presentation of dharma, concentration and jhana as natural processes. "Do this and that happens." Not mysterious, just how it is. I think he is able to teach to any level of practitioner but I think most of his retreats are limited to practitioners who have sat several week or longer retreats.

Metta,
Namkha

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Namkha
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Namkha » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:23 pm

Jhana 4, your friend is correct. At the retreat I sat this summer, Leigh mentioned the book several times. It is scheduled to come out at the end of 2014 from Wisdom. Leigh described it as a "Brain Dump" of everything that he knows about the Jhanas. He did caution that in his opinion it is difficult to learn the jhanas from a book but he wanted to get this knowledge out there anyway.


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