Body v. Mind

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.
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Spiny O'Norman
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Body v. Mind

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:10 am

Looking at vipassana practice in the context of the four frames of reference, my approach to vipassana tends to focus on mind and mind-objects - but I get the impression that many people focus on body and sensations?

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Spiny

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:17 am

Greetings Spiny,

My thoughts are that they all fall under the banner of satipatthana, so one approach is neither right nor wrong.

That said, we had an interesting discussion about the sequencing of satipatthana steps and whether there was any logical or sequential aspect to the way they're sequenced in the Satipatthana Sutta but I can't see to find it at the moment.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:19 am

Bodily sensations are the starting point for many who practice Vipassana. But all of the kandhas arise together in accordance with kamma vipaka and are not separate.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:38 am

Sanghamitta wrote:Bodily sensations are the starting point for many who practice Vipassana.


I'm sure you're right, but do you know why this is? It seems to me that mental objects are more immediately accessible?

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:44 am

Well there you go. It seems to me that bodily sensations more readily accessible. I think that the Buddha allowed for both those possibilities. He was teaching a wide cross section of people with different needs and temperaments.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:12 am

Greetings Spiny,

Here we go, I found it...

Satipatthana sequencing
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=484

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Ben » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:23 am

Sanghamitta wrote:Well there you go. It seems to me that bodily sensations more readily accessible.

That's right Valerie. Their changing nature isn't so rapid as mental contents and their salient characteristics of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral are more easily observed as objective phenomena. Also, according to the Burmese insight traditions, the forward order of paticcasamuppada (dependent origination) can be interrupted between vedana (sensation) and tanha (craving).
It should also be pointed out that while a lot of people, particularly in my own tradition, start with vedananupassana (observation of sensation), as one progresses, one also engages in the other satipatthanas. Having trained in vedananupassana for many years I can say that it has been excellent training for the other satipatthanas.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
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but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Hoo » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:02 pm

Ben wrote: ...the forward order of paticcasamuppada (dependent origination) can be interrupted between vedana (sensation) and tanha (craving).
It should also be pointed out that while a lot of people, particularly in my own tradition, start with vedananupassana (observation of sensation), as one progresses, one also engages in the other satipatthanas. Having trained in vedananupassana for many years I can say that it has been excellent training for the other satipatthanas...


Thank you Ben for including the English with the Pali. :) That makes the post readable for me. I have no knowledge of Pali. I won't derail the post with my views on learning another language in order to understand and practice effectively. Suffice to say that I just don't read posts that include a lot of untranslated Pali. Maybe I'll put that in a different post someday. :)

Hoo

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Ben » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:11 pm

No problem Hoo!
Do you know about this dictionary: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/ ??
I find its an invaluable resource.
In future I'll try to be mindful and provide english translations of pali words I use.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:12 pm

I can understand that to some degree Hoo. However as it frequently takes half a page of English to accurately translate a single term in Pali, many of us find it easier to learn a little Pali, the basic terms and concepts at least.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:48 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Spiny,

Here we go, I found it...

Satipatthana sequencing
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=484

Metta,
Retro. :)



Fascinating thread. I think I might be a "nervous introvert", in which case mental objects would make sense. :smile:

Spiny

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:56 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:

Fascinating thread. I couldn't decide whether I was "languid" or not though. :smile:

Spiny
Languid:
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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

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:59 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Well there you go. It seems to me that bodily sensations more readily accessible. I think that the Buddha allowed for both those possibilities. He was teaching a wide cross section of people with different needs and temperaments.


Good point. While I do sometimes focus on just one of the four frames, I am mostly not exclusive and will notice whatever arises - so I'm aware of all the 4 frames in varying degrees. Maybe it's that there is more going on with mental objects so for me they seem easier to work with.

Spiny

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Hoo » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:15 pm

Ben wrote:... http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/ ?? ...
I find its an invaluable resource...


Thanks Ben :) I didn't have that link and it looks less cumbersome than the one I was using. I'll post my take on learning another language in another post. EDIT: I see there's been lots already posted on that topic so I think I'll let it be :) It's just my view anyway, and no one needs more views, IMHO.

Hoo
Last edited by Hoo on Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:25 pm

Come on Tilt.This could be laying down :zzz: meditation.Poor misunderstood bear.
And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
And meaning

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:40 pm

Nanadhaja wrote:Come on Tilt.This could be laying down :zzz: meditation.Poor misunderstood bear.
It is one of my favorite positions for meditation.
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

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Viscid » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:20 pm

The nervous think forcefully and clearly. The languid are sluggish, inert, and weak, unclear, discursive, and often mixed-up in thought.


With a description like that, who the heck wants to admit to being languid?

I've got my languid days and I've got my 'nervous' days, perhaps I should be shifting my contemplation object accordingly?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:26 pm

Viscid wrote:
The nervous think forcefully and clearly. The languid are sluggish, inert, and weak, unclear, discursive, and often mixed-up in thought.


With a description like that,
it is time to take a nap.The language of some of the translations is interesting.
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

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby SamKR » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:48 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:Looking at vipassana practice in the context of the four frames of reference, my approach to vipassana tends to focus on mind and mind-objects - but I get the impression that many people focus on body and sensations?

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Spiny


I used to practice observation of sensations, and later tried to change to observing mind/mind-objects. But I returned to sensations, as I found observation of sensations was more powerful (in the sense that understanding of anicca and anatta is easier). Furthermore, we need not completely stop observing mind/mind-objects while doing vipassana of vedananupassana (observing sensations). Goenka ji teaches that immidiately after observing mind and mental content we should switch to observation of sensations associated with the mental state of that moment.
Moreover, observation of sensations necessarily includes observation of mind (as sensation is part of mental process). Isn't it?
Last edited by SamKR on Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Body v. Mind

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:00 am

Hi Sam,

SamKR wrote:
I used to practice observation of sensations, and later tried to change to observing mind/mind-objects. But I returned to sensations, as I found observation of sensations was more powerful (in the sense that understanding of anicca and anatta is easier). Furthermore, we need not completely stop observing mind/mind-objects while doing vipassana of vedananupassana (observing sensations). Goenka ji teaches that soon after observing mind and mental content we should switch to observation of sensations associated with the mental state of that moment.


Indeed. For me, especially during retreat, when sati is good and stable and I'm observing sensation the mind begins to also begin to do those other satipatthanas.

SamKR wrote:Moreover, observation of sensations necessarily includes observation of mind. Isn't it?

I think so. According to Goenkaji, mental objects are accompanied with sensation. I remember him saying that all but four (arupa-jhana) cittas are accompanied by sensation.
This seems to be supported by my reading of Bodhi's edition of A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com


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