BuddhaSoup wrote:Clever, but he really offers no real argument that what Ven Mahasi Sayadaw is doing to trying to cater to the masses for his own aggrandizement, as in implied by this paragraph.
I tried to be careful not to infer that Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw, or any of the noble Sayadaws, were included in this reference. I was referencing what I believe Prof. Sharf referenced, that being the 8th century CE dilutions with current mindfulness approaches...this would not include, at least as I was communicating, the noble Burmese traditions and its Sayadaws.
Of course, Prof Sharf did talk about Mahasi Sayadaw. If you read the criticisms that he is referencing: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p220875 you'll find that they revolve around technical issues to do with Commentarial interpretations of access concentration, and so on. And this is what Prof Sharf seems to me to be saying: Buddhist Modernists have abandoned the Theravada tradition.
His criticisms would therefore apply also to Ven Thanissaro and the other various Thai Forest strands, who actually make an issue out of abandoning the Commentaries... Therefore, I couldn't figure out where this idea came from:
BuddhaSoup wrote:I feel that what Prof. Sharf is stating echoes what Ven. Thanissaro teaches, which is that the practices that evolved through the commentarial tradition (and found a home in the Burmese vipassana tradition) do not fully reflect what the Canon prescribes.
I'm not sure we listened to the same talk!
BuddhaSoup wrote:It may or may not be true that the Burmese "dry" vipassana approach involved allowing meditators to bypass samatha/vipassana in tandem (Canon jhana),
The access concentration discussed in the Visuddhimagga, which is the minimum required for "dry" insight, appears to be of that level. And clearly the Burmese methods seek to develop samatha an vipassana in tandem, in much the same way as Ven Thanissaro instructs (as I've already pointed out).
BuddhaSoup wrote:and to get at the vipassana side more directly. I have no opinion on this, and wouldn't venture one, as I have not had the good fortune to train in Burma or with, for example, Joseph Goldstein. I make no suggestion that the Sayadaws or JG teach vipassana as a means to cater to self aggrandizement, and while having never met JG, I have read enough about him to believe he's a rare example of a selfless and dedicated teacher in the west. A recent Tricycle article that mentioned JG helping a disabled man meditate (even inviting the man to his home) after his Zen teachers disowned him because he couldn't sit upright without pain, spoke volumes about JG's compassion and selflessness.
Well, I have not met JG, or Ven T, or been to Burma, or had teachers that most here would have heard of. I'm sure if I had met Ven T I'd also be enthusiastic about him, as others here (including me) are enthusiastic about the teachers who have helped them. But when enthusiasm runs over into statements to the effect that "my teacher is the one who has the real Dhamma", I tend to become highly skeptical.