Mahasi in the Zendo

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Myotai
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Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Myotai »

Hi everyone,

I am member of a Zen Sangha, but struggle with Dogen - but that’s a whole new thread. As such I don't feel comfortable with Shikantaza under the umbrella of Dogens 'Practice and Enlightenment are one'. Consequently I am thinking of trying the Mahasi method - I have heard good things!

I am booked into an intensive three day Sesshin (all day meditation practice with scheduled breaks for walking meditation and eating).

Do you have any advice for a Mahasi beginner?

Thanks... _/|\_
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Mkoll
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Mkoll »

I don't, but I'm sure Venerable Pesala can help as he's an expert on this. In the meantime, you can check out his website:

http://www.aimwell.org/index.html
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Myotai
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Myotai »

Mkoll wrote:I don't, but I'm sure Venerable Pesala can help as he's an expert on this. In the meantime, you can check out his website:

http://www.aimwell.org/index.html
Thanks........It is a great site - I am going in there later today :)
Phena
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Phena »

Hi Myotia, I can recommend Patrick Kearney's talks here who has practiced in the Mahasi tradition for around 30 years. Patrick is a Zen practitioner also. I did a retreat with him back in 2012 and found him a very engaging and helpful teacher.

The first couple of talks in each of the retreats listed are a good introduction to Mahasi, but if you get time before the retreat, perhaps have a listen to one set of them.
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Mr Man
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Mr Man »

You might find something interesting here -

http://www.satipanya.org.uk/teacher/bhante-bodhidhamma/
R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw »

Venerable Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu has a how to meditate series on youtube,
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... B03E12F5A1
there is also alot of categorized videos on
http://video.sirimangalo.org/
pyluyten
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by pyluyten »

Myotai wrote: As such I don't feel comfortable with Shikantaza under the umbrella of Dogens 'Practice and Enlightenment are one'.

Hi,

yes it is a whole thread, but would you mind precise if the discomfort is rather practice or theory ?
Obviously i do not intend to cause any worry. You do not have to reply.

I dare ask the question because, despite radically different theorical backgrounds, after all "just sit" (i mean, shikantaza) is not that much different to me than other practices. I would say posture is much more stressed in zazen; and walking is done in the middle of seance which i did not see elsewhere but is not surprising neither.
But i only practiced two or three times in a Dojo so i might totally miss stuff. I'm far to know everything this is why i ask.
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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by mikenz66 »

This thread may be of interest in making some comparisons between the Mahasi approach and Shikantaza.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p210963

:anjali:
Mike
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Myotai
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Myotai »

pyluyten wrote:
Myotai wrote: As such I don't feel comfortable with Shikantaza under the umbrella of Dogens 'Practice and Enlightenment are one'.

Hi,

yes it is a whole thread, but would you mind precise if the discomfort is rather practice or theory ?
Obviously i do not intend to cause any worry. You do not have to reply.

I dare ask the question because, despite radically different theorical backgrounds, after all "just sit" (i mean, shikantaza) is not that much different to me than other practices. I would say posture is much more stressed in zazen; and walking is done in the middle of seance which i did not see elsewhere but is not surprising neither.
But i only practiced two or three times in a Dojo so i might totally miss stuff. I'm far to know everything this is why i ask.
Ah...if it were only a practice question. I'm OK with the practice of just sitting, its the idea that as a result I am embodying elightenment that I find hard to swallow.
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Myotai
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Myotai »

mikenz66 wrote:This thread may be of interest in making some comparisons between the Mahasi approach and Shikantaza.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p210963

:anjali:
Mike
Thanks Mike...
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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by mikenz66 »

Myotai wrote: Ah...if it were only a practice question. I'm OK with the practice of just sitting, its the idea that as a result I am embodying elightenment that I find hard to swallow.
Have you talked it over with teachers and fellow students? I must admit that I sometimes find teachers who have had some Zen background use terminology that I find puzzling. Often if I talk through it it turns out to be just a matter of language: "embodying enlightenment", "finding your true self", and so on...

:anjali:
Mike
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Myotai
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Myotai »

I have tried to clarify it - but to be honest I am finding a lot of pseudo Memes around that particular concept...

Lots of 'How can Enlightenment be outside of sitting..." and "...there is no difference between sitting on the couch and sitting on the cushion..."

Lost on me I am afraid and I am a hardened old school Prasangika reader, so concepts are not hard for me :rofl:

Me, I tend to respond with; "...well I certainly don't feel like I am on the same par as Shantideva, Nargajuna et al when I am sat on my cushion..."

:shrug:

apologies re the emoticons...they seemed fitting!
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aflatun
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by aflatun »

I'm way out of my depth here, but just a thought...What about thinking of it more in terms of how Master Sheng Yen presents Silent Illumination? I'm guessing you're well versed in his tradition as its related to yours so I feel somewhat imbecilic even making this recommendation, but as he's more permissive of "steps" being involved in what is supposed to be in principle sudden and without a technique, perhaps more faithful and explanatory of your experience?

Theoretically it raises a funny question though, if you were to "switch" to "silent illumination" as taught by Sheng Yen would you actually be doing anything different? :shrug:

Similarly with regard to Mahasi, the initial practice would be different, but after a short while you might find yourself doing the same practice you're already doing? Meaning if you are proficient at "just sitting" that, IMO, is already quite advanced along the trajectory of insight meditation as taught by Mahasi (my own reading of it, obviously!)...i.e. you might find noting and having a deliberate focus on the abdomen superfluous or even hindering after a short while and end up in familiar terrain
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16
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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by mikenz66 »

aflatun wrote: Similarly with regard to Mahasi, the initial practice would be different, but after a short while you might find yourself doing the same practice you're already doing? Meaning if you are proficient at "just sitting" that, IMO, is already quite advanced along the trajectory of insight meditation as taught by Mahasi (my own reading of it, obviously!)...i.e. you might find noting and having a deliberate focus on the abdomen superfluous or even hindering after a short while and end up in familiar terrain
Yes, that's how I see it, too. The aim is to be aware of whatever phenomena arise, but it's easier to get to that by having an intial grounding ("primary") object, and so on.

:anjali:
Mike
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Myotai
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Re: Mahasi in the Zendo

Post by Myotai »

Massively helpful guys...Thanks so much!!
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