Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

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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tiltbillings
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Re: Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:41 pm

IanAnd wrote:
Moggalana wrote:from leighb.com:
However, the Visuddhimagga states . . . .
Thanks. I knew I should have memorized the VM. The whole idea of the vipassana jhanas points to a recognition that VM description of jhanas does not tell the whole story.


And I basically disagree with the idea that "...that the Jhanas as discussed in the Visuddhimagga are of a much deeper level of concentration than those described in the suttas." This is nothing more than a qualified opinion at best,
What is interesting about that is the various understandings of jhana expressed by various people who have done serious jhana practice: http://www.leighb.com/jhanantp.htm . Opinions are quite varied.

Once you're there, you are there. Period. From there, it is just a matter of increasing one's ability at discernment for the realization of phenomena that makes the difference between an uninstructed worldling and an arahant.
Which is another experienced based opinion added to the mix. From my experience, my opinion is more inline with Ven U Pandita’s teachings. It works.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

Kenshou
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Re: Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

Postby Kenshou » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:00 pm

Samadhi = samadhi = samadhi. Once you're there, you are there. Period. From there, it is just a matter of increasing one's ability at discernment for the realization of phenomena that makes the difference between an uninstructed worldling and an arahant.


Well put, it's important to remember what the whole purpose of samadhi is in the first place. Which can be easy to overlook sometimes, *cough* :thinking:

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tiltbillings
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Re: Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:09 pm

Kenshou wrote:
Samadhi = samadhi = samadhi. Once you're there, you are there. Period. From there, it is just a matter of increasing one's ability at discernment for the realization of phenomena that makes the difference between an uninstructed worldling and an arahant.


Well put, it's important to remember what the whole purpose of samadhi is in the first place. Which can be easy to overlook sometimes, *cough*
Samadhi = samadhi = samadhi. Yes and no. It depends upon what is meant by this this "equation."
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

Freawaru
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Re: Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

Postby Freawaru » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:17 pm

Moggalana wrote:
Freawaru wrote:
DorjePhurba wrote: I think the main thing that has confused me is the tradition of the Vissudimagga. I just don't see that as something that conforms with the suttas. It seems that is the main reason why people do
not practice jhana more. People are told its basically out of reach for them, which seems to be untrue.


Can't be from the Visuddhimagga. If I recall correctly it states a probability of one in a hundred or one in a thousand for jhana and elements. That is pretty high chance if you ask me. I mean, it isn't as if most of the billions of humans currently on this planet are even interested in it. Thus, when one feels an interest in this kind of meditation the chance that this is due to kammic traits from a past life (from one in that jhana was already successfully achieved) are rather high.


from leighb.com:
However, the Visuddhimagga states in section XII.8 that of those who undertake the meditation path, only one in 1,000,000 (at best) can reach absorption (1). We don't have to take this figure literally to begin to understand that the Jhanas as discussed in the Visuddhimagga are of a much deeper level of concentration than those described in the suttas. Basically, the Visuddhimagga Jhanas seem to be much more developed and systematized than those of the suttas.

(1)"[T]he kasina preliminary work is difficult for a beginner and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. The arousing of the sign is difficult for one who has done the preliminary work and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To extend the sign when it has arisen and to reach absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it." Vsm. XII.8
Thus only 1 in 100 x 100 x 100 = 1,000,000 can reach absorption (Jhana) - using the most optimistic figures.




Ah, okay, my memory failed me. But it DOES state this number for "a beginner, who has no past-life experience either" (looked it up this time before posting).

Well, let's face it: we are freaks - and not just in this life... :toilet:

DorjePhurba
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Re: Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

Postby DorjePhurba » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:49 pm

TIlt, I think my question would be where in the suttas is there a distinction between samatha jhana and vipassana jhana. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea of vipassana jhana fairly new? What need is there for the idea of vipassana jhana if those who have done what the suttas say have achieved a jhanic state that allows for insight meditation? It seems the suttas say that jhana allows for vipassana unless you go to the formless jhanas. I just don't see why the idea of vipassana jhanas are necessary unless you accept the idea taken from the VM that jhana is a state where insight meditation can't be done. I appreciate your input and I'm enjoying this discussion very much.

With metta,
Chris

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IanAnd
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Re: Shamatha or Vipassana? That is the question

Postby IanAnd » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Kenshou wrote:
Samadhi = samadhi = samadhi. Once you're there, you are there. Period. From there, it is just a matter of increasing one's ability at discernment for the realization of phenomena that makes the difference between an uninstructed worldling and an arahant.


Well put, it's important to remember what the whole purpose of samadhi is in the first place. Which can be easy to overlook sometimes, *cough*

Samadhi = samadhi = samadhi. Yes and no. It depends upon what is meant by this this "equation."

I was going to put "samadhi is samadhi is samadhi," no matter how you look at it; but in the end chose to use equal signs. What does it mean? If one person says they've experienced samadhi and another person says the same, no matter how many people experience it, it all equals the same experience, whether they are discerning of what is happening or not. And discernment comes with maturity in the practice (which basically means the clearing of the mind of mental formations — or fabrications as Thanissaro Thera is fond of saying — so that one is able to see things as they are; or, to use Pali terminology, through the development of sampajanna or clear comprehension/clear seeing).
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV


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