Vipassanā Technique Revisited

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Vipassanā Technique Revisited

Post by Ceisiwr »

retrofuturist wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 12:52 am Greetings Craig,

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

An excellent analysis, and a veritable joy to read.

:anjali:

You are evidently putting your "ridiculous amount of free time" to profitable use!

Thank you for sharing.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Why thank you. Yes. Its been rather productive for me tbh. When not doing uni work i spend all of my day split between meditating or studying the Dhamma and related materials. Apart from Merleau-Ponty I've also started reading "Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India" which is interesting. Its worth a read:

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... khorst.pdf

Metta

:)
“In the same way, great king, when a bhikkhu sees that these five hindrances are unabandoned within himself, he regards that as a debt, as a sickness, as confinement in prison, as slavery, as a desert road.

“But when he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, he regards that as freedom from debt, as good health, as release from prison, as freedom from slavery, as a place of safety.”


Sāmaññaphalasutta
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Sam Vara
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by Sam Vara »

Just a brief juxtapositioning of two passages relating to kamma which I find gratifyingly sensible:
retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 4:58 am The modern conception of karma however, extends well beyond the Buddha’s discourses and into the realms of metaphysics, speculation and retribution. What the Buddha was interested in however, was encouraging people to act in a wholesome way, and to experience the positive benefits that come from positive actions. The fruit of such actions are not arrived at mystically via the equilibrium of cosmic set of weigh-scales but directly and internally within the mind itself as a result of the moral quality or tenor from which the action was undertaken. If we do a good deed, with a heart of kindness, we feel good outcomes as a result. If we spend our time ruminating on our hatred towards someone, with a closed heart then we will experience bad outcomes as a result. Mindfulness of the basic causality behind karma provides insights which encourage us to cultivate wise, generous and open-hearted behaviours. Conversely, if we are mindful of the sufferings associated with a closed heart, or a mind conflicted due to internal struggles, then we will be increasingly motivated to weed out such negative traits from our personality.

We see here that the mental quality underpinning the volitional activity determines the mental results from undertaking such activity. As such, it is important to be aware of the operation of volition, and the deliberate action which it spawns.
and
It may come as a surprise to some that karma is not some universal law of metaphysics along the lines of, “for every moral action there is an equal and opposite moral reaction”—in fact that’s how I understood it before I became a monk and studied the texts; but although that’s what karma may be in New Age or maybe Hinduism, in Buddhism karma is a mental state.

What karma is, basically, is the momentum of our mind. It’s the driving force behind our mental actions which pushes us forwards through life; consequently “volition” isn’t as good of a rendering as something like “urge,” or maybe Schopenhauer’s “will.” Another translation of the term that I have seen, and which I really like, is “habit energy.” If we do something without full consciousness, which is pretty much always, then it affects our mental habits. If we cultivate peaceful, healthy actions, then our mind naturally becomes habitually more peaceful and healthy. If we ignorantly, recklessly cultivate agitated, violent, unhealthy actions, then our habits of mind reflect that also. And of course when our mind is calm and lucid we are happier, or rather less unhappy, than when we’re agitated and not thinking clearly. In other words, the cultivation of subtle, “high-vibration” mental states results in less suffering than does the cultivation of crude, bestial semiconsciousness.
The latter one is from Paññobhāsa (David Reynolds).
http://politicallyincorrectdharma.blogs ... dhism.html

I trust that given what Retro has previously said about focusing on arguments and ideas rather than personalities, he won't mind too much about "reappearing in the company of Neo-Nazis". The whole article is worth reading, not least for its implicit claim that if we speak or act with good intent then ruffled feathers are the problem of those affected; and the fact that the elimination of the cosmic scales of justice undercuts the arguments of zealots who think there are kammic grounds requiring veganism for monks.

I don't want to wander too far off topic here, but this is an important point to make about volition, especially as a basis for clear seeing.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
Sam Vara wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 8:20 am I trust that given what Retro has previously said about focusing on arguments and ideas rather than personalities, he won't mind too much about "reappearing in the company of Neo-Nazis".
So long as no one is reviled, but that then relates to your next point...
Sam Vara wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 8:20 am The whole article is worth reading, not least for its implicit claim that if we speak or act with good intent then ruffled feathers are the problem of those affected
Indeed, which is why that Dhammic truth is embedded in this site's Terms Of Service. Also there are suttas that describe the process of papanca creation... worth understanding in this context.
Sam Vara wrote: Tue May 19, 2020 8:20 am ; and the fact that the elimination of the cosmic scales of justice undercuts the arguments of zealots who think there are kammic grounds requiring veganism for monks.

I don't want to wander too far off topic here, but this is an important point to make about volition, especially as a basis for clear seeing.
All good. Volition is well and truly on topic.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
sentinel
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by sentinel »

retrofuturist wrote: Mon May 18, 2020 9:05 am
- We apply the apparatus of "nama" to what forms we are conscious of (with consciousness as condition, name-&-form arises)
- We are conscious of what has been named, or more precisely nama-ed (with nama-rupa as condition, consciousness arises)
-
Hi retro , i wonder if namarupa were to be understood as name-form , how should it relate to six sense base ? Ie ignorance , formations , consciousness , name-form , six sense base , contact ...
Where the sutta state that namarupa were described as Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention and four great elements & its dependents elements .

Thanks
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skandha
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by skandha »

retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 6:23 am Greetings Volo,
Volo wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 6:05 am I'm not very familiar with Goenka's technique, therefore I can rely only on what you have quoted. And I don't see in the above quote the word "feeling". He is taking about "sensations" (i.e. bodily experiences), feelings (at least in Abhidhamma and very often in the suttas) is mental aggregate.
(Keeping in mind that I wrote all of the above in English as much as possible to make it understandable to anyone without much knowledge of Pali or Buddhism)

My understanding of the Goenka technique in its primary sense is that it's about sensations, but that the logic behind the choice of sensations as the object of meditation is that they serve as connection or interface to all things, including feelings, and how one might feel about, or react to the sensations... but I'm sure someone more well versed with the rationale behind the Goenka technique can clarify. I believe once upon a time Ben posted a copy of a paper on this subject published by the Vipassana Research Institute, but I wouldn't know where to find it now.
The paper that you mentioned is probably this, https://www.vridhamma.org/research/Why- ... -is-Vedana.

The article cleared up my confusion about whether vedana is physical or mental. Vedana is normally that of the mind in Theravada but why does Goenka keep emphasising that sensations (vedana) have to be at the level of the body? In this article Goenka actually states that Vedana is a cetasika (mental concomitant). Vedana can arise at any of the six sense base. It's just that the practice in the Goenka/U Ba Khin tradition focuses on the vedana that arises on the sense of touch and thus why Goenka always emphasises that the practice is on the level of the body.
retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 6:23 am
Volo wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 6:05 am What does it have to do with Jains? Jains (at least from buddhist suttas) did self-mortification, i.e. they created on purpose an unpleasant bodily sensations thinking that this sensation has something to do with their past kamma. I don't see where Goenka suggests to do anything like that.

What he says is that (I'm rephrasing the way I understand him) every consciousness produces some materiality (this is also according to Abhidhamma, or to be more precise "every consciousness, which depends on the heart base), which we experience as bodily sensations or as changes in the breath pattern. If mind is unwholesome, the sensation/breath would be unpleasant. If we react to it with greed, hatred or delusion, we create new unwholesome kamma. Whereas if we simply stay with it (i.e. not trying to create this unpleasant sensation), we exhaust bad mind tendency, which caused it to arise (note that in your quote Goenka doesn't use word "kamma").
And as you know, this talk of "every consciousness produces some materiality" is not in the suttas, so you may need to excuse my lack of interest in it.

Regarding "Jains (at least from buddhist suttas) did self-mortification, i.e. they created on purpose an unpleasant bodily sensations thinking that this sensation has something to do with their past kamma. I don't see where Goenka suggests to do anything like that."... this is not an uncommon position amongst Burmese Vipassana Practitioners. Apparently it is better for their practice to discern a strong unpleasant sensation than a weaker neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant one, and some will self-mortify (though I doubt they would call it that) in order to give rise to such unpleasantness.

Again, consult your nearest BVT practitioner if you want a second opinion on their practices as my purpose with this writing is not to explain their techniques, but to explore the limits of technique itself.

Metta,
Paul. :)
I have come across a question put to Goenka whether it is better to work with painful sensations and he answered that we already have enough painful sensations why emphasise it. The correct practice is to observe the impermanence in any sensation that arises with equanimity, giving no preference to whether they are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. I know that in the Goenka circles there is mention of purification when unpleasant sensations arise but the purification is the purification from the habitual tendency to react by craving, being averse to the sensations, so any sensation can be a trigger for purification, whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
Form is like a lump of foam, Feeling like a water bubble; Perception is like a mirage, Volitions like a plantain trunk, and consciousness like an illusion
- SN 22.95
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mikenz66
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 4:59 am By undertaking this investigation for ourselves and by learning how objects come to be, it may now be clearer to us why it is not enough simply to watch objects as they rise and pass away. ...
Sure, that's the key, and it's what most of the teachers I've paid attention to teach, so I'm surprised that you think you're explaining something special. I've pointed this out many times, for example in the context of Bhikkhu Nanananda's teachings, which are loosely based on the Mahasi approach.

I suspect that in assembling your critique you have paid too much attention to introductory instructions, and not enough to what is actually taught on retreats and in personal interactions. [That's a common problem with such surveys, especially ones by famous monastics....] Of course, it really doesn't matter. The key is the insights into how phenomena arise, not the particular approach that one takes to getting to that.

In any case, it really doesn't matter, since I (and various teachers) have no disagreement with your conclusions.

:heart:
Mike
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Alex123
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by Alex123 »

retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 4:54 am Attention in Vipassana
...
The common feature of both techniques noted here is that they each involve constant, deliberate and mindful attention of a volitionally chosen object.
And there is nothing wrong with that. If one is going to be attentive to something, it is better if the object is kusala rather than akusala.

I think that some people might say something similar to: "when you deliberately practice, you do so with desire... And you can't awaken due to desire"

Here is a good excerpt on this:
"If that's so, Master Ananda, then it's an endless path, and not one with an end, for it's impossible that one could abandon desire by means of desire."

"In that case, brahman, let me question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit. What do you think: Didn't you first have desire, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular desire allayed?"

"Yes, sir."

"Didn't you first have persistence, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular persistence allayed?"

"Yes, sir."

"Didn't you first have the intent, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular intent allayed?"

"Yes, sir."

"Didn't you first have [an act of] discrimination, thinking, 'I'll go to the park,' and then when you reached the park, wasn't that particular act of discrimination allayed?"

"Yes, sir."

"So it is with an arahant whose mental effluents are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis. Whatever desire he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular desire is allayed. Whatever persistence he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular persistence is allayed. Whatever intent he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular intent is allayed. Whatever discrimination he first had for the attainment of arahantship, on attaining arahantship that particular discrimination is allayed. So what do you think, brahman? Is this an endless path, or one with an end?"
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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Alex123
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by Alex123 »

retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 4:56 am “we see because we look.
Can we see without (actively) looking? Yes...

By extension, can you say that "we hear because we listen?"
If we hear only because we listen, then what how can sound wake one up from sleep? One isn't paying attention to listening when one is sleeping!


Very interesting thread! Thanks!
:namaste:
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Re: Vipassanā Techniques Revisited

Post by Spiny Norman »

Alex123 wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 11:09 am
retrofuturist wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 4:56 am “we see because we look.
Can we see without (actively) looking? Yes...

By extension, can you say that "we hear because we listen?"
If we hear only because we listen, then what how can sound wake one up from sleep? One isn't paying attention to listening when one is sleeping!


Very interesting thread! Thanks!
:namaste:
Personally I think it's all about attention.
For example at the moment my TV is on, but I'm not paying attention to it, so I'm not really seeing/hearing it.

Being woken from sleep by a loud noise is interesting, it suggests that consciousness is in "standby mode" or something.
Buddha save me from new-agers!
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