Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:49 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Seems to, and maybe does, but Kester is correct and you are quite wrong. The "usual interpretation" of the Theravada is the Visuddhimagga.

Prior to the 19th century colonial interest in Pāḷi Buddhism the Visuddimagga was little more than a historic artifact relegated to library shelves -- rarely, if ever used. What was used -- and was a living tradition in SE Asia right up until the Cambodian genocide -- was the practices of the Pāḷi Yogāvacara tradition, which has its own corpus of meditation manuals.
Mileage on that varies, but what would be interesting is to look at those manuals in terms of what they have say about jhana, and then the question is how was jhana defined.

tiltbillings wrote:The earlier texts, little known (if at all) and certainly so compared to the VM, become an important part of the ongoing dialogue. The rhetorical language you are employing probably doesn't help.

Historically the Visuddhimagga occupies a rather marginal place in the history of Indian Buddhism. The Vimuttimagga on the other hand, was twice translated in part into Tibetan and fully translated into Chinese.
IIndian Buddhism? Not the subject here. But if the VM were little known among the "scholastic" Theravadins pre19th cent, then the texts you have been quoting, were not known at all. Looking at the scholastic Buddhism of Ledi Sayadaw and the like, the VM plays am important part.

The sort of exegesis you are doing is even more modern, and reflects a Western outlook.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Indian Buddhism? Not the subject here.

Then what is the subject here?
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:22 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Indian Buddhism? Not the subject here.

Then what is the subject here?
Theravada as opposed to the whole of the Indian Buddhist history.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Indian Buddhism? Not the subject here.

Then what is the subject here?
Theravada as opposed to the whole of the Indian Buddhist history.

The majority of the Pāḷi Canon was constructed in India.
Last edited by Nyana on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:47 am

Sobeh wrote:Which words here are the ones of note in the English? In my opinion, this is the only solid place to begin.

Hi Sobeh,

Here is one investigation of the textual subject matter: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:36 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The majority of the Pāḷi Canon was constructed in India.
I did not know that. Thanks for sharing with me.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:I did not know that. Thanks for sharing with me.

:tongue:

BTW, I quite liked the Śiva avatar (if it was Śiva) that you were sporting the other day.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:56 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I did not know that. Thanks for sharing with me.

:tongue:

BTW, I quite liked the Śiva avatar (if it was Śiva) that you were sporting the other day.
I prefer caninds. In rereading this, "Historically the Visuddhimagga occupies a rather marginal place in the history of Indian Buddhism" you were, it looks like, making a funny. As it it stands, outside of being a non sequitur your statement carries no weight as to the veracity of its contents, so you could not have meant it as a serious argument.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Moth » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:05 am

nvm.
Last edited by Moth on Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Reductor » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:12 am

Moth wrote:As I understand it, Samadhi meditation is a means of practicing concentration, i.e fixating the mind on the breath. I would assume that this means not being carried away by thoughts. In my experience, as my concentration builds I feel as if I am being pulled towards the breath. It takes on my full attention, and I am no longer concerned with mundane thoughts, they seem to fade into the background. Is this approach correct (in reference to scriptures)? Does anyone have any tips for maintaining concentration? Everytime I experience something blissful or unusual I began to analyze it and grasp onto it which then makes the blissful state dissipate. I am also often plague by thoughts like "when should I stop?" "how long have I been doing this?" "what will I do after" etc. Perhaps this is off topic.


Perhaps a new topic? I think you'll get more response, rather than being neglected (or, rather than derail the debate).
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:48 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Prior to the 19th century colonial interest in Pāḷi Buddhism the Visuddimagga was little more than a historic artifact relegated to library shelves -- rarely, if ever used.

Did that little band of English speakers really have that much influence in Burma for example? Perhaps so, but the English translations themselves wouldn't have any relevance to non-English-speakers fluent in Pali (which is a lot of people...).

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:29 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Prior to the 19th century colonial interest in Pāḷi Buddhism the Visuddimagga was little more than a historic artifact relegated to library shelves -- rarely, if ever used.

Did that little band of English speakers really have that much influence in Burma for example? Perhaps so, but the English translations themselves wouldn't have any relevance to non-English-speakers fluent in Pali (which is a lot of people...)
I'd love to see a firm - or even shaky - connexion between the English speakers and Ledi Sayadaw's interest in VM style Theravada.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Ben » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Prior to the 19th century colonial interest in Pāḷi Buddhism the Visuddimagga was little more than a historic artifact relegated to library shelves -- rarely, if ever used.

Did that little band of English speakers really have that much influence in Burma for example? Perhaps so, but the English translations themselves wouldn't have any relevance to non-English-speakers fluent in Pali (which is a lot of people...)
I'd love to see a firm - or even shaky - connexion between the English speakers and Ledi Sayadaw's interest in VM style Theravada.


I remember reading some letters between Rhys Davids and Ledi Sayadaw. If anything, it was the Sayadaw who seemed to influence Rhys Davids and not the other way around.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:54 am

:hug:
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:51 am

Ben wrote:
I remember reading some letters between Rhys Davids and Ledi Sayadaw. If anything, it was the Sayadaw who seemed to influence Rhys Davids and not the other way around.
kind regards

Ben
Thanks, but that hardly qualifies as a basis for claiming a major shift in approach for Ledi Sayadaw in adopting the "sitting on the shelf" Visuddhimagga. So, it is not Ledi Sayadaw, but Ven. San-Kyaung Sayadaw that one is going to have to conntext to the English:

At that time, during the reign of King Min Don Min who ruled from 1853-1878, Mandalay was the royal capital of Burma and the most important center of learning in the country. He studied under several of the leading Sayadaws and learned lay scholars as well. He resided primarily in the Maha-Jotikarama Monastery and studied with Ven. San-Kyaung Sayadaw, a teacher who is famous in Burma for translating the Visuddhimagga Path of Purification into Burmese. . . . By 1911 his reputation both as a scholar and meditation master had grown to such an extent that the British government of India, which also ruled Burma, conferred on him the title of Aggamaha-pandita (foremost great scholar). He was also awarded a Doctorate of Literature from the University of Rangoon. During the years 1913-1917 he had a correspondence with Mrs. Rhys-Davids of the Pali Text Society in London, and translations of several of his discussions on points of Abhidhamma were published in the Journal of the Pali Text Society. http://www.vridhamma.org/Teachers-2.aspx


And given that:
Since the fifteenth century Burma has been the international center of Abhidhamma studies, and therefore we find many commentaries written on it by Burmese scholars both in Pali and in Burmese. Commentaries on the Sangaha in Pali alone number nineteen, of which the following are the most important:

. . .

Abhidhammatthasangaha-Tika, also known as the Porana-Tika, "the Old Commentary." This is a very small tika written in Sri Lanka in the twelfth century by an elder named Acariya Navavimalabuddhi.
Abhidhammatthavibhavini-Tika, or in brief, the Vibhavini, written by Acariya Sumangalasami, pupil of the eminent Sri Lankan elder Sariputta Mahasami, also in the twelfth century. This tika quickly superceded the Old Commentary and is generally considered the most profound and reliable exegetical work on the Sangaha. In Burma this work is known as tika-gyaw, "the Famous Commentary." The author is greatly respected for his erudition and mastery of the Abhidhamma. He relies heavily on older authorities such as the Abhidhamma-Anutika and the Visuddhimagga-Mahatika (also known as the Paramatthamanjusa). Although Ledi Sayadaw (see below) criticized the Vibhavini extensively in his own commentary on the Sangaha, its popularity has not diminished but indeed has even increased, and several Burmese scholars have risen to defend it against Ledi Sayadaw's criticisms.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... himan.html
We are talking about a heavy duty traditional scholarly tradition and there is no reason to assume that Visuddhimagga was not part of it.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Ben » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:23 am

I agree.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:41 am

tiltbillings wrote: We are talking about a heavy duty traditional scholarly tradition and there is no reason to assume that Visuddhimagga was not part of it.

Sure. Nevertheless, I was referring to the re-invigoration and dissemination of the Pāḷi textual tradition beyond the Burmese scholar monks. This happened in the 19th century initially as a reaction to colonial interference, and continued well into the period where the first Europeans were showing interest in the Pāḷi texts. The Pāḷi texts -- including the Vism. -- were actively printed and disseminated throughout parts of SE Asia during this time.

And from a different angle the 19th century Thai Thammayut movement was in part informed by the King's interest in Western style textual criticism. He also re-invigorated interest in the Pāḷi Canon in Thailand which later made its way into Cambodia.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:53 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: We are talking about a heavy duty traditional scholarly tradition and there is no reason to assume that Visuddhimagga was not part of it.

Sure. Nevertheless, I was referring to the re-invigoration and dissemination of the Pāḷi textual tradition beyond the Burmese scholar monks.
So? I am talking about the scholar monks such as Ledi Sayadaw or his teachers. It was not Western style scholarship and we are not talking about Protestant Buddhism of Sri Lanka. You seem to be working awfully hard to try to undercut the VM, when the VM and the Abhidhamma was what characteriozed the elite scholary class of monks well before the West's intrusions.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:So? I am talking about the scholar monks such as Ledi Sayadaw or his teachers.

So? Here's an idea: lighten up Bruce. Last I heard you openly admitted that you weren't much of a fan of the Vism.

tiltbillings wrote:You seem to be working awfully hard to try to undercut the VM....

Not likely.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:15 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:So? I am talking about the scholar monks such as Ledi Sayadaw or his teachers.

So? Here's an idea: lighten up Bruce. Last I heard you openly admitted that you weren't much of a fan of the Vism.
Non sequitur.

Geoff wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:You seem to be working awfully hard to try to undercut the VM....

Not likely.
Looks that way.
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.

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