Been practicing the Tranqil Wisdom Insight Meditation for many years now and Ven Vimalaramsi has indeed opened a door to much deeper insights than seemed possible before for me.
I always find it interesting the way communication works today. It seems like the lusteners don't don't think they have any responsibility when a teacher is giving a whole talk. Many like to hang all the responsibility onto the speaker when they don't know him, haven't ever been around him, haven't even tried the practice purely yet. BUT are totally ready to 'throw the baby out with the bath water!' Sad mistake! Especially in this case because in person he doesn't put down anybody. But, I can't stop anyone from hearing that themselves first before sifting out the tremendous value of clear Dhamma he is giving
What I have appreciated so very much are several aspects of training with him. First, since he speaks English as his native language I can really ask any questions I want any time and always have clear complete answers and no beating around the bush! That's priceless. I usually get challenged to find the answer I need and given a few clues.
Second, he doesn't collect followers and "personally" does not claim any 'disciples' like a guru would. I appreciate that too. He is not really "the teacher" in his setup. He is The head guide training others on the fine points of his successful teaching and how it is working.
We can always ask questions and he will always encourage us, just like the Buddha did to his own monks, NOT to ever believe him, but, to SEE FOR OURSELVES and only then believe anything useful. That comes straight out of the texts. He teaches us to practice to reach a level spoken about in the texts called "Knowledge and Vision of How things actually are" (check the Upanissa sutta found on page 553 of the single volume Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi . It's called "Proximate Cause" in his book). And this is the teaching called Transcendental Dependent Origination.
I truly respect that as a monk, he never shares his own level of accomplishment. It wouldn't help ME to know that. What is more important is his ability to evaluate where I am with only 5 simple questions in a very short interview and by my answers tell me my next best step guiding advice to kept me perfectly on track. In eye to eye retreat, we do that every day. In an Online retreat I can work with a guide day to day using the same questions.
To straighten a few things out I read here, there were 8 kinds of monks in the Buddhas training camps, not 4!
This very point proves that an attainment and its fruition did not happen simultaneously. Sotspanas. Sotapanas w fruition. Sakadigamis. Sakadigamis w fruition . Anagamis. Anagamis plus. And Arahat. And Arahat w fruition
Consequently the experience of Nibbana CAN occur 8 times to reach the level of Arahat w fruition. THE VERY FINAL ONE IS THE SUPER-mundane Nibbana . So, yes, there is such a thing as mundane and supermundane Nibbana.
DUSCUSSING YOUR PRACTICE
It is only in modern times that we do not talk to each other about our practice-- we can only imagine how this started but that is irrelevant. Within the original teaching structure that the Buddha, and Venerables Sariputta, and Moggallana set up the suttas tell us that camps Sotapanas did talk with other sotapanas about what they were experiencing as they continued on towards fruition! And the same thing went on. concerning the other levels too. The monks usually only spent time speaking about there practices comparing notes one night each week together through the night. SEE MN128.15
I understand now that The mismanagement of the hindrances is the primary cause for suffering in some meditation sometimes leading to becoming caught in a place called "'the dark night of the soul' which I have heard about.
But there is no need for this kind of suffering if one has a clear understanding of HOW a hindrance operates. Hindrances need nutriment/food. And that food turns out to be our "personal attention". Remove the food and the hindrance fades away. ( verify here:
MN-22.5. "...have I not stated in many ways how obstructive things are obstruction, and how they are able to obstruct you if you ENGAGE/indulge in them?...
Also go to MN-128 to find 11 kinds of distractions the Bodhisatta experienced during his practicing and HIS SOLUTION which was "....I abandoned it..."
No fight. No pressure. No struggle. Why? Cause once you know how a hindrance works and know the cause you can let go. Next:
The Truth about Vimalaramsi view of Vissudhimaggs