Do you do this with a teacher/group or from written or audio instructions?abhinav1 wrote: ↑Sat Jan 27, 2024 6:44 am Hello All
I practise Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw. I am reading the suttas and there are consistent references of the four absorptions many times in the discourses ( for e.g. MN 52) - I am unable to reconcile vipassana with the absorptions. Are the four absorptions a natural unfolding of my vipassana practice or it is some other practice at all.
Please guide. Thanks.
Some simple general observations:
As others have said, Mahasi's approach is not geared towards jhana (absorption) but the various grounding objects that are used (motion of the feet, motion of the abdomen, touch, etc) do lead to quite deep samadhi, but usually of a "momentary" sort, rather and an "absorbed" sort. Absorption will usually require attention to a single object, i.e. returning to the breath (or some other object) when distractions arise, whereas a key feature of Mahasi approach is to investigate whatever arises and understand it in terms of the Satipatthana Sutta and other texts.
Developing absorption usually takes some time. It's not that Mahasi and other teachers are against jhana. However, they will tend to say that it will take some time, so if you don't have a few months to devote to practice, they are giving you an approach which may be more suitable. I would also say that teachers I've worked with tend to be quite flexible, and make suggestions based on the progress of the particular student.
Since mindfulness is one of the factors of jhana, as well as insight, developing mindfulness is always a good thing. The "gradual training" sequence in the suttas has a sequence of development of sila, mindfulness, jhana, then liberation. However, other suttas speak of different sequences. There is no one-size-fits-all in Dhamma practice.