Abhidhamma and Insight

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:56 pm

I am finishing Bhikkhu Bodhi's Anthology, In the Buddha's Words. I am wondering if this should be my next book:

Bhikkhu Bodhi's A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings)

This could be the next book for my daily Dhamma reading; plus, since "Vipassana Meditation" is highlighted within the title, I am expecting some substantial "insight" and technical stuff-I-can-use for building up or modifying my daily practice.

Any feedback?

My other option would be to just continue with each of the discourses published by Wisdom, as my daily study.

~~ Thank you ~~

:)
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:16 pm

It depends what you want. It's rather heavy going. It gives a concise overview of the Abhidhamma and it's later interpretation by the Pali Commentators, so is an extremely useful reference. I'm puzzled by the (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings) line at Amazon. There's no practical advice on meditation, though there is a summary of Jhana, progress of insight, etc.

You can see an earlier version here: http://www.palikanon.com/english/sangaha/sangaha.htm and there is a PDF of this as well:
http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... 9294,d.dGI

Bhikkhu Bodhi updated the explanation and his version is well worth having. However, if you want a practical meditation book, you might want to look at this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=341

:anjali:
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:00 pm

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:I'm puzzled by the (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings) line at Amazon. There's no practical advice on meditation

... nor is there the Buddha's teachings either. It's a very confusing line indeed!

Agree wholeheartedly with Mike's suggestion of looking somewhere else if you're "expecting some substantial "insight" and technical stuff-I-can-use for building up or modifying my daily practice."

Any feedback? My other option would be to just continue with each of the discourses published by Wisdom, as my daily study.

My feedback is that this sounds good! If you've got the time and effort to read more things, maybe just read more of the same? I'm not the only one who would suggest this...

One day a monk came to Ven. Gnanananda and asked him for advice for his vipassana or insight meditation. He asked whether Ven. Gnanananda had some kind of special technique or system which he could recommend (similar to the Burmese Vipassana). Ven. Gnanananda agreed very positively, took the visiting monk with him to his hut and opened the door. In the back of the hut was a copy of the Suttapitaka. He pointed to it and said: “This is my teacher who knows all about Vipassana. Everything you need you can find in there. In particular the Samyutta Nikaya (the grouped discourses) has a lot of great advice on insight meditation. All you need is right there.” – the monk was disappointed, so the story goes and left. It is actually very impressive (though a novel idea if you have been practicing with some kind of Burmese Vipassana which I guess many of you have) that someone would take the Suttas themselves literally as blue print for insight meditation. To understand how this works let me give you an idea: Say you learn the Anatta Lakkhana Sutta by heart (or close to its meaning) and then in your mind repeatedly go over it (in that sutta the Buddha talks about the non-self characteristic of all sense impressions as a tool to attain complete liberation and freedom of the mind). While doing so your mind enters a deeply concentrated state. Now, still investigating according to the direct advice of the Buddha you practice vipassana. Et voila. I think if you boil it down to one idea, it is that “yoniso manasikara” in this sense is understood to mean “careful or radical investigation” rather than “direct attention” (which would be more the commentarial reading anyway).

Source: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11967

:reading:

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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:46 am

Haha; I read the Amazon line as a second title, now I understand why it seemed odd that Vipassana was in it. It wasn't.

I agree with the feedback, and thank you for clarifying :)

I do find it helpful to memorize things and contemplate on them, but at this point it has only been key words, lists, and concepts. I'm ready to try a passage.

I'll continue with the discourses, thanks for the suggestions!

:reading:
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby robertk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:53 am

mikenz66 wrote:I I'm puzzled by the (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings) line at Amazon. There's no practical advice on meditation, though there is a summary of Jhana, progress of insight, etc.

:
Mike

Abhidhamma and vipassana are identical.

http://www.abhidhamma.org/sitagu%20sayadaw.htm
Vipassana is a method of wisdom that searches for truth and peace in diverse ways by observing, inquiring into, and penetrating the nature, the essence, the set order, the absence of being, the selflessness and the ultimately reality of mind and matter. For example, one method of Vipassana accomplishes this goal through ten kinds of knowledge whereby one comes to understand the nature of matter as producing effects in mutual dependence on matter; and similarly, the nature of mind as producing effects in mutual dependence on mind. Another method which achieves the same end; that is, the seeking out and penetration of reality, relies on an ascent through the seven purifications. In both instances, Vipassana and Abhidhamma are identical.

Since Vipassana meditation takes the Abhidhamma as its sole object of contemplation, Vipassana and Abhidhamma cannot be separated. And while it may not be said that one can practice Vipassana only after one has mastered the Abhidhamma, Vipassana meditation and the study of Abhidhamma remain one and the same thing. Because mind, mental factors and matter are forever bound up with this fathom-long body, the study and learning of this subject, and the concentrated observation of the nature of mind, mental factors and matter are tasks which cannot be distinguished.

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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:10 am

no mike wrote:.

I'll continue with the discourses, thanks for the suggestions!
You do not need the Abhidhamma to do the practice. Find a good translation of the Satipatthana Sutta and memorize it. It is a good tool to work with, encompassing essentially the whole of the Dhamma. Joseph Goldstein's book, MINDFULNESS: A Practical guide to Awakening, it is an excellent extended discussion of the Satipatthana Sutta from a stand point of actual practice by a highly practiced and trained long time teacher.
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:21 pm

robertk wrote:Abhidhamma and vipassana are identical.


Interesting, thank you :)
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:36 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
no mike wrote:.

I'll continue with the discourses, thanks for the suggestions!
You do not need the Abhidhamma to do the practice. Find a good translation of the Satipatthana Sutta and memorize it. It is a good tool to work with, encompassing essentially the whole of the Dhamma. Joseph Goldstein's book, MINDFULNESS: A Practical guide to Awakening, it is an excellent extended discussion of the Satipatthana Sutta from a stand point of actual practice by a highly practiced and trained long time teacher.


I will add this to the discourse readings. Appreciative of multiple lives so I can get through all this material.

As I have seen this come up periodically, I will also take on memorizing a sutta to my daily routine.

Thanks!
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby Mkoll » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:01 am

Another idea is that along with your sutta study you begin to learn Pali. That's what I'm doing and even my very elementary knowledge of it has deepened my understanding of the Dhamma.
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:52 pm

Mkoll wrote:Another idea is that along with your sutta study you begin to learn Pali. That's what I'm doing and even my very elementary knowledge of it has deepened my understanding of the Dhamma.


Good idea, thank you. I subscribed to a Pali-word-a-day via email, and I am now noting Pali terms mindfully. I will start compiling the terms on a noted pad, especially those which come up frequently in Dhamma text.
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby gavesako » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:28 pm

The problem is when people promote a particular method of interpretation or analysis (which is what "abhidhamma" seems to mean in the Suttas) over and above the regular Dhamma teachings of the Buddha, which can lead to a distortion:

It's like monks who study the Abhidhamma. They say that when you study the Abhidhamma you don't have to cling to anything, don't have to fixate on anything. It's nice and easy. You don't have to observe the precepts. You just focus right on the mind. That's what monks who study the Abhidhamma say.

"As for women, what's the matter with getting near them? Women are just like our mothers. We ourselves were born right out of that spot." That's bragging too much. They ordained just yesterday and yet they refuse to be careful around women. That's not the real Abhidhamma. That's not what the Abhidhamma says.

But they say that the Abhidhamma is on a level higher than the human level. "When you're that high, it doesn't matter whether you're near someone or not. There's no near, no far. There's nothing to be afraid of. Women are people just like us. Just pretend that they're men. That way you can get near them, touch them, feel them. Just pretend that they're men."

But is that the sort of thing you can pretend? It's a double-edged blade. If we were talking genuine Abhidhamma, there wouldn't be a problem. But this Abhidhamma is fake.


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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:38 am

gavesako wrote:The problem is when people promote a particular method of interpretation or analysis (which is what "abhidhamma" seems to mean in the Suttas) over and above the regular Dhamma teachings of the Buddha, which can lead to a distortion:

It's like monks who study the Abhidhamma. They say that when you study the Abhidhamma you don't have to cling to anything, don't have to fixate on anything. It's nice and easy. You don't have to observe the precepts. You just focus right on the mind. That's what monks who study the Abhidhamma say.

"As for women, what's the matter with getting near them? Women are just like our mothers. We ourselves were born right out of that spot." That's bragging too much. They ordained just yesterday and yet they refuse to be careful around women. That's not the real Abhidhamma. That's not what the Abhidhamma says.

But they say that the Abhidhamma is on a level higher than the human level. "When you're that high, it doesn't matter whether you're near someone or not. There's no near, no far. There's nothing to be afraid of. Women are people just like us. Just pretend that they're men. That way you can get near them, touch them, feel them. Just pretend that they're men."

But is that the sort of thing you can pretend? It's a double-edged blade. If we were talking genuine Abhidhamma, there wouldn't be a problem. But this Abhidhamma is fake.


In the Shape of a Circle
by Venerable Ajahn Chah
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ircle.html


Over and above the regular Dhamma teachings.

Thank you!
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Re: Abhidhamma and Insight

Postby no mike » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You do not need the Abhidhamma to do the practice. Find a good translation of the Satipatthana Sutta and memorize it. It is a good tool to work with, encompassing essentially the whole of the Dhamma. Joseph Goldstein's book, MINDFULNESS: A Practical guide to Awakening, it is an excellent extended discussion of the Satipatthana Sutta from a stand point of actual practice by a highly practiced and trained long time teacher.


I have started to memorize the Satipatthana Sutta, I am also reading the Goldstein book (I ordered this along with the Middle Length Discourses). I also enjoy revisiting Bhikkhu Bodhi's Anthology.

I am seeing the Satipatthana Sutta as the "table of contents" and the "condensed version of the Dhamma" all in one, like a plant with fruit, holding it's own seeds.

Thank you.
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