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Dhamma for Disciples of Goenkaji's Vipassana


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#1 Wolfgang

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 08:29 PM


Hello to Everyone,

I am new to this discussion forum - and I would like to say it right at the beginning: Although I consider many different approaches to the Dhamma of the Buddha most valuable - I am not particularly a devotee of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The main reason is: I have been practicing Anapana in a forest-monastery of Myanmar, and there so many recite Abhidhamma already as small children without having had an opportunity to give the Suttas any closer look.

For me the Sutta is the very foundation to become able to proceed to any 'higher' Dhamma. As Ven. Sariputta in the Sutta. - But I have not been able to observe any advantage with those who give Abhidhamma the primacy - to others who 'only' follow the Suttas. However, that does not have to mean anything to any other - than for me to get my foundation stronger.

Having that said, I still tend more to be a Pannanusari - than a Saddhanusari. - The main tradition I practiced Vipassana is Goenkaji's. Myself being one who is mainly helped by investigation, I of course compared the Vipassana instructions and experiences there, with the words of the Buddha - where I took refuge. This brought me to have more differentiated questions and opinions - than those Goenkaji answers and teaches.

And as a result of this - because I practiced there for a decade and by that seem to have become an representative of it - I became prohibited to meditate any further with this organization - except if I would surrender my opinions and confess complete faith in many of Goenkaji's understandings. Which I simply cannot.

Instead I wrote a website where I recount what happened and for which of my opinions I was excluded. My intent with this website is to create a place where disciples of Goenka can express their opinions without fears of repression, in that way to increase mutual understanding - and to direct readers to the understanding of Suttas - the base of any Vipassana practice. This could help settle such issues of differing opinions in a more foresighted way - and to the very best of all members of Goenkaji's organization.

Now for 2 of my opinions I could not give more Pali references because I couldn't find the places anymore - and therefore want to ask for them here:

1. Sati is certainly the crucial in the practice of Satipatthana. However, in our organization Sati with Sampajanna is simplified to 'Awareness of body sensations with the understanding of its impermanence.' The problem starts, because all other methods in support of such Sati are devaluated, by saying: 'They are only for Meditators of lesser capabilities and could not lead to liberation.'

- Now, I do not think it wholesome to cut the meditation instructions of the Buddha into such fragments - our's is for liberation and all other's for lesser ends - and not to understand them as a whole given to meet every possible personality or situation. As it is done in the Suttas and the noble 8-fold path.

As an example, I give Meghiya Sutta, and as a 2nd - for which I do not find the Sutta again - and therefore want to ask for it here:
There is a Sutta in which the conversation is, if I remember it right, with a Deva. Where it is said, that Sati alone would not be enough to get rid of ill-will completely, but only with additional Metta this would be possible. - Where is this Sutta?

2. My second point where I could not give more Pali reverences will probably bring me disagreement on this forum. Therefore I ask you to understand, that I do not want my opinions to be seen in any other way than my private, and never above of any other. However, I give such examples to make readers to question prejudices.

My point is that in the Parinibbana Sutta, the Buddha gave authority very clearly to the Dhamma in the Sutta and Vinaya compared to any writing or saying after his Parinibbana. To point this out - I give examples like Ven. Buddhaghosa, who - only in my own humble opinion - devaluated his whole, detailed chapter of Samadhi in the Vissudhimagga by writing: 'Only 1 out of 1 to 10 millions who try Jhanas would reach 1st Jhana.'

- The second example is a Sutta where Visakha gives a precise average dying-rate for Savatthi - and I compare it to the commentaries, where in contradiction unbelievable numbers of inhabitants are given (i.e. 30 Millions). - Again I could not find the place where in the commentaries such is said, and am asking for this place in the commentaries.

I hope I made it clear enough that I consider it urgent for students of Goenka to inquire and to discuss the Dhamma of the Buddha.
And not to badmouth Goenkaji's Vipassana-organization with others, who never had any experience with it.
- And maybe I could become pointed out mistakes in my opinions - for which I would be very grateful.
Here my webside: http://de.geocities....mojja/vipassana

Respectfully,

Wolfgang


#2 RobertK

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 11:26 PM

Dear Wolfgang
Welcome to the forum! Your website is very thoughful. You have several important questions in this letter which each deserve their own thread.
1.I suggest this current thread be used to discuss the Goenka method and your experineces with them.
2. This thread http://www.abhidhamm...&st=0 to discuss the difficulty of jhana.
3. http://www.abhidhamm...p?showtopic=108 to discuss the authority of Dhamma and Vinaya.

In the meantime when you say
QUOTE
My point is that in the Parinibbana Sutta, the Buddha gave authority very clearly to the Dhamma in the Sutta and Vinaya compared to any writing or saying after his Parinibbana. To point this out - I give examples like Ven. Buddhaghosa, who - only in my own humble opinion - devaluated his whole, detailed chapter of Samadhi in the Vissudhimagga by writing: 'Only 1 out of 1 to 10 millions who try Jhanas would reach 1st Jhana.


The Theravada Commentary says '"But in the list [of four things] beginning with sutta, sutta means
the
three baskets [Suttanta, Vinaya, Abhidhamma]
which the three Councils recited. We can discuss more about this on the other thread.

Have a look at the thread on Jhana, where we can contniue to discuss. For now it should be noted that Buddhghosa says only one in a hundred or a thousand can attain upacara samdhi and then again only one in a hundred or a thousand can atain first jhana.
QUOTE
Visuddhimagga (XII, 8) "One in a hundred or thousand can do it."


It is certainly difficult attaining jhana according to the Theravada Commentaries. Are they wrong? Well read the various different claims about jhana that different teachers make: they all seem different from each other, and perhaps different again from what the ancient Theravada tradition says....This might indicate some of them are mistaking some concentration state for jhana. Of course any monk who suggest they have experienced jhana is breaking the vinaya..And keeping the vinaya strictly is a requisite for higher attainments.

One question I have for this thread is, you write on your website:
Goenkaji's actual method is effective like dynamite - doing a good job for Sotāpannā

What makes you think it is leading to members becoming sotapanna?



Robert

#3 RobertK

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 11:31 AM

QUOTE
.

The second example is a Sutta where Visakha gives a precise average dying-rate for Savatthi - and I compare it to the commentaries, where in contradiction unbelievable numbers of inhabitants are given (i.e. 30 Millions). - Again I could not find the place where in the commentaries such is said, and am asking for this place in the commentaries

Dear Wolfgang
http://www.sacred-te...e36/sbe3608.htm
QUOTE
The Questions of King Milinda

BOOK VI.
THE DHUTANGAS
2. Now Milinda the king went up to the place where Nâgasena was, and bowed down before him, and took his seat on one side. And when so seated, he said to Nâgasena: 'Venerable Nâgasena, is there any layman living at home, enjoying the pleasures of sense, occupying a dwelling encumbered with wife and children, enjoying the use of sandal wood from Benares, and of garlands, perfumes, and ointments, accepting gold and silver, with an embroidered head-dress on, set with diamonds and pearls and gold-is there any such who has seen face to face the calm, the supreme good, Nirvâna

'Not one hundred only, O king, nor two nor
p. 245
three nor five nor six hundred, not a thousand only, nor a hundred thousand, nor ten millions, nor ten thousand millions, not even only a billion laymen (have seen Nirvâna)--not to speak of twenty or thirty or a hundred or a thousand who have attained to clear understanding (of the four Truths) 1. By
p. 246
what kind of exposition shall I lay before you evidence showing that I know this 1?'
Do you yourself tell me 2.'
3. 'Then, O king, I will explain it. All those passages in the ninefold word of the Buddha that deal with holiness of life, [349] and attainment of the path, and the divisions of the excellent habit of living under vows, shall be brought to bear in this connection 3. Just, O king, as water which has rained down upon a country district, with both low-lying and high places, level land and undulations, dry ground and wet, will-all of it-flow off thence and meet together in the ocean of great waters; so will all those passages meet together, and be brought into connection, here. And a manifestation of reasons out of my experience and knowledge shall be also brought to bear. Thus will this matter be thoroughly analysed, its beauty will be brought out 4, it will be exhausted 5, brought home
p. 247
to rest 1. It will be, O king, as when an able writing-master, on exhibiting, by request, his skill in writing, will supplement the written signs by an explanation of reasons out of his experience and knowledge, and thus that writing of his becomes finished, perfect, without defect. So will I also bring to bear a manifestation of reasons out of my experience and knowledge; and thus shall this matter be thoroughly analysed, its beauty shall be brought out, it shall be exhausted, set at rest 2.
4. 'In the city of Sâvatthi, O king, about fifty millions of the disciples of the Blessed One, devout men and devout women, were walking in the paths, and out of those three hundred and fifty-seven thousand 3 were established in the fruit of the third path. And all of them were laity, not members of the Order. And there too, at the foot of the Gandamba tree, when the double miracle took place 4, two hundred millions of living beings 5 penetrated to an understanding (of the four Truths). And again on the delivery of the Râhulovâda 6 discourse, and of the Mahâ Mangala 7 discourse, and of the Samakitta 8 exposition, and of thep. 248

[paragraph continues] Parâbhava 1 discourse, and of the Purâbheda 2 discourse, and of the Kalaha-vivâda discourse, and of the Kűla-vyűha 1 discourse, and of the Mahâ-vyűha 1 discourse, and of the Tuwataka 1 discourse, and of the Sâriputta 1 discourse, an innumerable number of celestial beings penetrated to knowledge (of the four Truths). In the city of Râgagaha three hundred and fifty thousand devout laymen and devout laywomen, disciples of the Blessed One, were walking in the Paths. And there again at the taming of Dhanapâla the great elephant 3 nine hundred million living beings, and again at the meeting at the Pâsânika Ketiya on the occasion of the Pârâyana discourse 4 one hundred and forty million living beings, and again at the Indasâla cave eight hundred millions of gods, and again at Benares [350] in the deer park Isipatana at the first preaching of the Dhamma 5 one hundred and eighty million Brahmâ gods and innumerable others, and again in the heaven of the Thirty-Three at the preaching of the Abhidhamma on the Pandu Kambala Rock 6 eight hundred millions of the gods, and on the descent from the world of the gods at the gate of the city of Sankassa 6, at the miracle of the manifestation to the world 7,p. 249

three hundred millions of believing men and deities penetrated to a knowledge (of the four Truths). And again at Kapila-vatthu among the Sakyas, at the preaching of the Buddhavamsa 1 in the Nigrodha Arâma, and again at the preaching of the Mahâ Samaya Suttanta 2, gods in numbers that cannot be counted penetrated to a knowledge of the Dhamma. And again at the assemblies on the occasions of Sumana the garland maker 3, and of Garahadinna, and of Ânanda the rich man, and of Gambuka the naked ascetic 4, and of Mandűka the god, and of Matta-kundali the god, and of Sulasâ the courtesan 1, and of Sirimâ the courtesan, and of the weaver's daughter, and of Subhaddâ, and of the spectacle of the cremation of the Brahman of Sâketa, and of the Sűnâparantas, and of the problem put by Sakka 6, and of the Tirokudda Sutta 7, and of the Ratana Sutta 8--at each of these eighty-four thousand penetrated to a knowledge of the Dhamma. So long, O king, as the Blessed One remained in the world, so long wheresoever in the three great divisions
p. 250
(of India) 1 or in the sixteen principal countries (in them) 2 he stayed, there, as a usual thing, two, three, four, or five hundred, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand, both gods and men, saw face to face the calm, the supreme good, Nirvâna. And all of those who were gods, O king, were laymen. They had not entered the Order. So these and many other billions of gods, O king,--even while they were yet laymen, living at home, enjoying the pleasures of sense,--saw face to face (realised in themselves) the condition of Peace, the Supreme Good, Nirvâna 3.'

Robert

#4 RobertK

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 05:38 AM

This is an old letter that Nina vana gorkom wrote to Susan Elbaum Jootla. It is not related to Goenka students as Susan is a student of Mother sayama, who I read has split with Goenka. But the letter has some nice Dhamma so you might be interested in it.

Part1 Dear Susan June 1988
Thank you very much for your kind letter. I prepared a package of books and some Dhamma letters I wrote to different people and am sending these by separate post.
You are no strangers to me since I read Susan's book Investigation for Insight[/. I took up the book again in order to get to know more, before I answer your questions,I do not know where to begin. Maybe I tell you first about what I have been doing.

We were with a group of Dhamma friends several times in India. Our friend in Dhamma, khun sujin, a Thai lady was always with us. We vsisted the holy places and talked about Dhamma. About visible object, sound, odor, flavor, tangible object, about seeing, hearing, tasting and teh experiences of tangible object, about thinking. About all realities in daily life. About the defielments which which arise on account of the objects, much more often than one would think. We talked about sense door and mind-door, about teh difference between nama and rupa, which has to be known not in theroy but through direct experience. But you realise it should be known through direct experience as I get from your book. you also know that Dhamma vicaya, investigation of Dhamma, is very necessary. That we need to listen again and again, consider again and again. Then it sinks in, it is never lost but accumulated. And thus slowly slowly conditions are being built up for the arising of the eightfold path, one day. But we do not know when. As you write in the begiining of your book

Insight is often conceived as a mqagical experience suddenly just happening and instantly making all things clear. But, by and large, insight develops slowly and gradually through the careful process of observation, investigation and anaylsis of phenomena that lies behind their apparent, conventional truth is distinctly and indubitably perceived.


We always talk alot about conventional truth , samuttio sacca, and absolute truth, paramattha sacca. As soon as there has been seeing we are absorbed in shape and form, stories about what ws seen. But also thinking about conventioanl truth, and attachment are realities which have to be known. Otherwise no hope that they can ever be eradicated. Khun sujin says that she is not our teacher, she is our good friend in Dhamma. She would not say follow me. She wants us to check ourselves whther what she explains is according to the triuth. Not the person , the teacher is important, it is Dhamma that counts.

We may think we know nama and rupa already , through direct understanding, we believe that there is no thinking. then when we listen againa we find out that maybe there was some wuick thinking in between, not yet developed panna whcih directly understands. Tanha is most tricky, it takes many forms we may not notice it all, it misleads us all teh time. It seems to me the development must go like this: we think we hve realized something, and then we learen no, it is not like that, it is not what we imagined. The warning in the Visuddhimagga about Imperfections of Insight impresses me very much *vis XX105 Even someone who realises the stages of tender insight (taruna vipassana)whcih are relaisation through direct experience the difference between nama and rupa, realising the conditions for their arising, and 'comprehension by groups', which begins to attend to rise and fall , someonehwo has realised all that can stilll be lured by clinging. I asked Khun sujin what do to. She said go on being aware of nama asnd rupa., then all can be found out. It seems very reasonably to me that no one shoudl flee from tanha or supress it, but realize it as a kind of nama. How otehrwise would we know that it is there and playing tricks with us

#5 RobertK

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:03 AM

Letter to Susan Jootla part II
I find it very logical that we should consider what has to be known first; we cannot jump to the realisation of the arising and falling away of nama and rupa so long as we are not sure when seeing appears to the sati and when visible object, when hearing, when sound, when the tangible objects such as heat, cold, hardness or softness, and when the nama which experiences these rupas. Indeed, it is difficult to discern precisely nama and rupa. It is all in a confusing mass, but it is good to know what we do not know. Sati which arises with kusala citta can only have one object: either a nama or rupa. If we are not sure, what falls away at which moment? A "whole" of namas and rupas? From your book, from what I read, I think you know that so long as we think of a whole body, or a conglomeration of nama and rupa together, there is no right view, but wrong view of self.

Khun Sujin explained that when there is the first vipassana nana, discerning nama and rupa, it arises in amind door process. It is clear that this is so. Processess of citta go so fast, there is seeing there is hearing, but in-between there are mind door processes. Because seeing experiences vsisble object, and after the eye-door process is over, there is is a mind-door process of cittas which experience the rupa which is visble object. Thus must be before there can be hearing which experiences sound, and then is experienced in a mind-door process. There are also mind-door processes of cittas which experience the concept of shape and form, or the meaning of sound, lots of stories about it.

We cannot catch processes of cittas, we cannot catch mind-door processes, but when it is time for direct understanding to arise, the difference between sense-door and mind-door is known, no more doubt.
Rupa can be experienced through sense-door and through mind-door and nama can be experienced through the mind -door. The first vipassana nana which clearly knows the difference between nama and rupa has to arise in a mind-door process, there have to be several of these processes since eitehr nama or rupa is the object of insight. Thus, when one one learns about such details, one learns what one does not know yet. Very useful.

I have heard it said that the stages of vipassana whcih are tender insight are just intellectual knowledge. This could not be because how can one realise the arising and falling away of nama and rupa if there is not clear, direct understanding by insight, thus, no doubt about nama and rupa. I think this idea may be the reason that in some books the stages of tender insight are not often sopken about. That is why the many books deal at once with the three characteristics of reality: impermanence, dukkha and anatta. However, I think one should start at the beginiing, different characteristics of nama and rupa have o be known as they appear (visesa lakkhana).
Nina Van Gorkom

#6 Wolfgang

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:02 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 4 2006, 01:31 PM) View Post

Dear Wolfgang

Robert



Dear Robert,

thanks for so many replys. The one question you ask in the end of your first reply: > Goenkaji's method effective like dynamite - doing a good job for Sotapanna <, has to be read within the context of my whole text.

I certainly did not want to say - that all who benefit from this practice would equally progress from Sotapanna to Sakadagamin. - But such would be implied, if the benefit of this method is claimed to be the diminishing of craving and aversion; and without any effort made to become sufficiently grounded in 'right view' first.

Nevertheless, the whole way the courses are run create a very conducive atmosphere for any kind of meditation - and the actual method is very effective to get to know one's conditioning - to become gradually freed. Especially if there has been a certain degree of right view to begin with.

From my site - to relate such a degree to any holiness would not be conducive to anything. I also wanted to express that these courses would benefit many more, if the emphasis would be right from the beginning on 'right view', and not only after in the advanced courses. Seems I criticized here too subtle, but my statement came across so gross.

Many thanks for pointing that out. - And that it is the Milinha Panha - which only at the last council advanced to become considered canonical - were such astrological numbers contrary to the Suttas are given.

Regards...



#7 RobertK

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:16 PM

QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Jun 5 2006, 11:02 PM) View Post

Dear Robert,

thanks for so many replys. The one question you ask in the end of your first reply: > Goenkaji's method effective like dynamite - doing a good job for Sotapanna <, has to be read within the context of my whole text.



From my site - to relate such a degree to any holiness would not be conducive to anything. I also wanted to express that these courses would benefit many more, if the emphasis would be right from the beginning on 'right view', and not only after in the advanced courses. Seems I criticized here too subtle, but my statement came across so gross.

Many thanks for pointing that out. - And that it is the Milinha Panha - which only at the last council advanced to become considered canonical - were such astrological numbers contrary to the Suttas are given.

Regards...

Dear Wolfgang
thanks for explaining, (it is still rather subtle for me) but I much agree that the emphasis should be on right view. I may comment more on this.
Nina's letter to Susan is very long, so still many parts to come, I am a slow typist, and reading an old cyclostyled copy with fading letters. You are most welcome to comment on them, Nina is a member of this forum too, and very considerate and easy to speak to.

Did you note in the Milinda panha that most of the laypeople were said to be devas (gods) . Millions of these invisible beings came to listen to the Buddha and got various stages of insight and enlightenment, you see also in the suttas where they come to speak and listen to him.
And also there is a reason why so many average laypeople got stages in that time- they had very good accumulations to be born to listen to the Buddha, we are later ones...
Robert

#8 sukin

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:14 PM

QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Jun 5 2006, 09:02 PM) View Post

Dear Robert,

thanks for so many replys. The one question you ask in the end of your first reply: > Goenkaji's method effective like dynamite - doing a good job for Sotapanna <, has to be read within the context of my whole text.

Regards...


Dear Wolfgang,

Like you and Robert, I consider Right View to be of prime importance. I think it should always be within sight no matter which aspect of the Teachings we happen to be presently studying. I have a mind to start a thread dealing with just this, from the standpoint of the three levels, namely, pariyatti, patipatti and pativedha, but perhaps later when I have more time.

I respond to this thread because I too have had a little experience with Goenka’s method. This was about 6 years ago when within a span of four months; I attended two of his 10 day retreats. And it was 3 months or so after this and one month after being introduced to Abhidhamma, that I gave up the idea of ‘formal practice’ let alone attending another retreat anywhere.

My reason was not any experience that I had during the retreats. And there was nothing about it that attracted me; however I did talk myself into believing that perhaps all I needed was to continue with the practice and do at least one retreat every year. I realized later, that there was absolutely no Right Understanding in the kind of thinking. In fact, there was so much Wrong View involved, both from the side of the prescribed practice and my own ambition in relation to it.

I realize on the other hand, that others might have had experiences which they never had before and these could easily be interpreted to match any descriptions as reported in the Texts. But this is just what wrong view does, thinking that it is right.

So indeed, one should stress Right View from the very beginning. One should know for example, what it is that is the object of sati at the level of Bhavana. From here one will begin to appreciate the distinction between concept and reality. And we can then to some extent see, that practices such as those taught by Goenka in which one is asked to *note* sensations in different parts of the body, and this too, ideally in a systematic head-to-toe and backwards way, is nothing but just more “thinking”. It impresses upon the uninstructed mind that this is some form of “sati” and that progress is being made, but is it?

The objects of mind at those times are “concepts” of ‘sensation’, ‘body’ and ‘experience’. All so opposed to what the correct practice of satipatthana is supposed to bring. Instead of developing ‘anatta sanna’, one is encouraging ‘atta sanna’. Instead of learning to recognize ‘wrong view’, ‘self view’ is made to increase.

When I was still so much under the sway of Wrong Understanding about the practice, it seemed not too out of reach the stage of Stream Entry. But once I began to study the Abhidhamma, which is to come to know my accumulations better, my perspective changed. And though my ambition dropped and expectations limit itself to nothing more that a greater confidence in the One Way of the Dhamma for this lifetime, this new understanding has brought with it a greater sense of freedom. Which I guess is due to falling less and less prey to the trappings of Wrong View. Many of which, for example, ‘formal meditation’ and ‘retreats’, were in fact a cover of self-deception.
Indeed Dukkha is the nature of things, and Lobha is its cause……

This response is already too long, so I’ll end here with a suggestion that the path begins with ‘Pariyatti’, which is Right View at the level of understanding Dhamma intellectually. The stress being on ‘understanding’, and not acquiring of knowledge. The measure of this understanding is that it points to the same realities which are then known by the subsequent levels of Patipatti which is Satipatthana, and Pativedha or realization.

With this in mind, I’d like to point out that there are those who often refer to those parts of the Suttas, in which there is mention about ‘doings’ such as, going to roots of trees, radiating Metta, attaining Jhanas etc. Also the Satipatthana Sutta is easily seen as a set of ‘things to do’. After all conventional activities can be imitated and one of the favorite tricks of Mara is, “You’re doing it right”. In other words, it appears to me, that theirs is basically an attempt at justification for one’s ‘own practice’ than at ‘understanding’ what the Buddha really taught.

Instead of paying attention to such descriptions of what must have been natural for monks and other disciples of the Buddha at the time to be doing, given their level of accumulated panna, an attempt should be made at understanding the nature of dhammas involved in those practices and try to determine if the ‘cause’, which is our own limited panna, matches the ‘result’, which is what those folks achieved. And also perhaps we should pay more attention to those Suttas which describe the conditioned nature of realties, particularly that dhammas are anatta and beyond control……

Hope this gives you some food for thought, Wolfgang. I look forward to your response and any more discussions on this topic.

Metta,
Sukin.




#9 Guest_Scott Duncan_*

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:32 AM

QUOTE(sukin @ Jun 6 2006, 10:14 AM) View Post

When I was still so much under the sway of Wrong Understanding about the practice, it seemed not too out of reach the stage of Stream Entry. But once I began to study the Abhidhamma, which is to come to know my accumulations better, my perspective changed. And though my ambition dropped and expectations limit itself to nothing more that a greater confidence in the One Way of the Dhamma for this lifetime, this new understanding has brought with it a greater sense of freedom. Which I guess is due to falling less and less prey to the trappings of Wrong View. Many of which, for example, ‘formal meditation’ and ‘retreats’, were in fact a cover of self-deception.

Dear Sukin,

May I come in with a question? I was interested in this portion of your response to Wolfgang. Would you be willing to say more regarding the process whereby the study of the Abhidhamma allowed you a more complete understanding of the set of accumulations you call your own?

Sincerely,

Scott.

#10 Wolfgang

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:41 PM


Dear Sukin,

thanks for your long reply. Though I had to read it a few times trying to understand where you really want to get at. Sorry, I probably still do not. So I am just answering to how I misunderstood you (maybe).

You realized that there was 'wrong view' and ambition, 'tanha', on your side. On side of the prescribed practice - I leave that aside because practice itself without a practitioner cannot have 'wrong view' (and the prescribers mind we both cannot read I guess).

Therefore, if I understood your situation right, then you really saw the visible Dhamma by knowing: This is a defiled mind, or if not. - You knew it through your experience of that particular mind at that moment. I just do not understand why this should not have been a beginning in Sati?

Why you stopped practicing? - Was it too depressing? Why you didn't stay with this kind of depression to become more intimate with it? Is this not what pativedha is all about? Please correct me if my understanding seems too naive to you. However, for me the only alternative would be: To deny? - I mean to say: Just call it in whatever complicated way: Dukkha - on an intellectual level for not to have to feel it anymore?

For me it's quite difficult to grasp from where you are talking: I am always glad if anicca, dukkha and anatta are clear on my mind. - And you didn't let go of practice because of ideas and 'concepts' of how far and how difficult it could become? ('still sooo much wrong view and tanha')

Certainly I may ridicule myself here, but I quitted a 2 years retreat in a monastery - because it went too fast (relatively) for me. On one side all, I mean all kilesas and in their worst expression - on the other side a frightening (for the kilesas) readiness to say 'good bye' - causing such a fierce fight, guess it would still have gone on for years (that's what I mean with 'relatively'). I intentionally took side with my 'wrong views' and good old 'tanha' - decided to give kind of hospice assistance, and let them die with more peace.

For me the path is clear-cut eight fold. Even if one starts with its highest limb: 'Samma-samadhi' - one cannot avoid becoming confronted with its first: 'Samma-ditthi' (as it happened to us). With each of the following limbs, 'Right-view' again becomes more pronounced.

You differentiate between concept and reality. And you know to which khandha concept and 'thinking' belongs to. You further seem to know that all khandhas are ultimately: anicca - dukkha - anatta. - Don't see a problem here. What should the practice of Satipatthana bring beside right view? Why you say it wouldn't, if persisted long enough?

The Satipatthana Sutta talks from 7 days to 7 years; therefore to blame the 10-day courses for only producing short moments of Sati - it's just in the nature of it being limited to 10-days. While monks train continuously for years - you already became discouraged after 20 days!

You say at the time of the Buddha it worked faster? I see nothing-good coming out of comparing yourself with Ven. Sariputta. Even Mahamoggalana were 7 days with uninterrupted Sati. For such continuous Sati to become possible one usually has to do a lot of 10-day courses.

The Buddha advised even his liberated Arahats never to stop practicing - to encourage all others not to give up. I know, since the 20th century we have machines and everything, which is not a fast-fix, is no more good enough. I just don't agree with such a consumer mentality. Certainly, when it comes to practicing the Dhamma.

I feel sad that after recognizing 'wrong view' - which really was 'right view' (at that time) - you became paralyzed and would not take any further step with any other limb, like effort, intention, etc.

For the possible case - please better do not tell me which concepts of the commentaries or Abhidhamma put you off practicing the noble-eightfold path - because that would only make me angry! (meanwhile while Scott is just asking for this point I will just ignore it if you would answer it in such a way) Better, tell me your personal reasons.

On my side - I am sure - it was plain tanha and avijja that I am not ready to let go yet. Are you sure, you are not simply justifying? Being impatient with yourself?

Please correct me if I understood you wrong.

-continued-



#11 Wolfgang

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:47 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 5 2006, 04:16 PM) View Post


And also there is a reason why so many average laypeople got stages in that time- they had very good accumulations to be born to listen to the Buddha, we are later ones...
Robert



Dear Sukin, Robert and Scott,

something to be clear about accumulations:


[quote]

Kutthi Sutta, The Leper, Ud V.3:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Rajagaha at the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary. Now at that time in Rajagaha there was a leper named Suppabuddha, a poor, miserable wretch of a person. And at that time the Blessed One was sitting surrounded by a large assembly, teaching the Dhamma. Suppabuddha the leper saw the large gathering of people from afar and thought to himself, "Without a doubt, someone must be distributing staple or non-staple food over there. Why don't I go over to that large group of people, and maybe I'll get some staple or non-staple food." So he went over to the large group of people. Then he saw the Blessed One sitting surrounded by a large assembly, teaching the Dhamma. On seeing this, he realized, "There's no one distributing staple or non-staple food over here. That's Gotama the contemplative, sitting surrounded by a large assembly, teaching the Dhamma. Why don't I listen to the Dhamma?" So he sat to one side right there, [thinking,] "I, too, will listen to the Dhamma."

Then the Blessed One, having encompassed the awareness of the entire assembly with his awareness, asked himself, "Now who here is capable of understanding the Dhamma?" He saw Suppabuddha the leper sitting in the assembly, and on seeing him the thought occurred to him, "This person here is capable of understanding the Dhamma." So, aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensual passions, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."

Having seen the Dhamma, reached the Dhamma, known the Dhamma, gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over & beyond doubt, having had no more perplexity, having gained fearlessness & independence from others with regard to the Teacher's message, he rose up from his seat and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if the Blessed One were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or were to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."

Then Suppabuddha the leper, having been instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged by the Blessed One's Dhamma talk, delighting & approving of the Blessed One's words, got up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One, circumambulated him — keeping him to his right — and left. Not long after his departure he was attacked & killed by a cow with a young calf.

Then a large number of monks approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to the Blessed One, "Lord, the leper named Suppabuddha, whom the Blessed One instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged with a Dhamma talk, has died. What is his destination? What is his future state?"

"Monks, Suppabuddha the leper was wise. He practiced the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma and did not pester me with issues related to the Dhamma. With the destruction of the first three fetters, he is a stream-winner, not subject to states of deprivation, headed for self-awakening for sure."

When this was said, one of the monks said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what was the cause, what was the reason, why Suppabuddha the leper was such a poor, miserable wretch of a person?"

"Once, monks, in this very Rajagaha, Suppabuddha the leper was the son of a rich money-lender. While being escorted to a pleasure park, he saw Tagarasikhi the Private Buddha going for alms in the city. On seeing him, he thought, 'Who is this leper prowling about?' Spitting and disrespectfully turning his left side to Tagarasikhi the Private Buddha, he left. As a result of that deed he boiled in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, many hundreds of thousands of years. And then as a result of that deed he became a poor, miserable wretch of a person in this very Rajagaha. But on encountering the Dhamma & Discipline made known by the Tathagata, he acquired conviction, virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment. Having acquired conviction, virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment on encountering the Dhamma & Discipline made known by the Tathagata, now — on the break-up of the body, after death — he has reappeared in a good destination, the heavenly world, in company with the devas of the heaven of the Thirty-three. There he outshines the other devas both in beauty & in glory."

[quote]


For me: To believe in 'one's' accumulations could just become very misleading. - For sure nobody would want me to spit at the next Buddha for becoming a Sotapanna.

Just joking: But at that large gathering of people with Suppabuddha - I probably talked about the urgency of practice, Sukin about the importance of ditthi, Goenka about Sampajanna, Robert about Parami. - Only Suppabuddha just listened - certainly he knew Dukkha already very intimate. You are right - millennias later we are still 'doing' - and don't listen.

To become more serious again: To understand rebirth one has to understand Dependent Origination, if we understood it we would not have to have faith in accumulations anymore.

As long as I am still in the process of trying to understand Paticca-samupada - I pragmatically prefer maranusati to a contemporary idea of rebirth and merit. (for the same reason I lay aside any ideas of holiness too, because they imply contemporary rebirth too)

Food for thought. Oh yes, I will still take a long time to digest. Hope you help me by clarifying.

Oops…, just now I realized it possible you did not have your right view about your wrong view by practicing Vipassana - but by the study of Abhidhamma. - For me it was the Vipassana-courses coming together with the understanding in the Sutta.

-continued-


#12 Wolfgang

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 03:57 PM


Dear Sukin, here an other advise from the Sutta:


Muluposatha Sutta, AN III.70:


Therefore, if you still think these retreats, where one keeps the eight-factored Uposatha for 10-days, are not

worth anything, you might just miss heaven ;-)
(as allways - I could be totally wrong)

The very best,

Wolfgang


#13 RobertK

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 12:36 PM

Dear Susan Part111 Nina vana gorkom

After this rather long introduction I could now come to your remarks about insight which you ask me for my comments. This is a topic which often comes up in correspondence with different people. Since I sent my my letters also to others who are interested I will quote from your letter:
QUOTE

Susan Elbaum Jootla
We have been practising mindfulness of feelings, in the tradtion of U Ba Khin of Rangoon. The technique of meditation whcih we practise enable one to feel the changing kalapas of the body (groups of rupa). With this direct understanding and experience of anicca it is also possible for a meditator to appreciate with greater and greater conviction the dukkha and anatta nature of existence. I suppose that one could start mindfulness by observing any of the five khandhas and, as the mind becomes more concentrated, one would feel anicca in the body apart from merely intellectual understanding that the body is utterly impermanent. With sufficient concentartion this would have to happen becuase that is what the nature of the body, of kaya, is. But if one did not feel the anicca processes happening in mind and body, I wonder if it would be possible to remove kilesas from the anusaya level. Would you like to comemnt on this?
Mindfulness, sati, must ultimately lead to total detachment from teh five khandhas and from the world. If it does not not do this then it is not showing the four noble truths.


I would like first to consider kalapas more. In how far can they be experienced. The practice has to be in accordance with the Abhidhamma which is the Buddhas's teaching. Just this summer I discussed with Khun Sujin, while we were walking in the park in Vienna, kalapas. I said that I consider it a little miracle that visibel object or color , arises together with the inseparable rupas of solidity, fluidity, temperature and motion, and with odour falvour and nutritive essence in one group, kalapa, of the eight inseparable rupas, and when seeing arises, it takes as object just colour, only that one tiny rupa out of teh group of eight. The conditions are right for seeing when color impinges on eyesense, also a rupa which arises in a group of rupas. Seeing cannot experience the other rupas in the group, it can only epxerience color. It is the same with hearing and sound. Sound arises in a group pf rupas, but hearing can only experience one rupa of that group: sound, when it impinges on the earsense. It is all according to conditions, and knowing this helps us to cling less to self who can control seeing or hearing.
What can be experienced by body-conciousness through the body-sense? Solidity, appearing as hardness or softness, temperature, appearing as heat or cold, and motion appeaing as oscillation or pressure. These are characteristics of rupa which can appear, but only one at a time. Not a whoe group could be experienced at the same time, because each citta experiences only one object at atime. Heat may appear, but then not hardness appears at the same time, even though it is in the group togther with the heat.

#14 RobertK

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:13 PM

QUOTE
When this was said, one of the monks said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what was the cause, what was the reason, why Suppabuddha the leper was such a poor, miserable wretch of a person?"

"Once, monks, in this very Rajagaha, Suppabuddha the leper was the son of a rich money-lender. While being escorted to a pleasure park, he saw Tagarasikhi the Private Buddha going for alms in the city. On seeing him, he thought, 'Who is this leper prowling about?' Spitting and disrespectfully turning his left side to Tagarasikhi the Private Buddha, he left. As a result of that deed he boiled in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, many hundreds of thousands of years. And then as a result of that deed he became a poor, miserable wretch of a person in this very Rajagaha


Dear Sukin, Robert and Scott,

something to be clear about accumulations:
For me: To believe in 'one's' accumulations could just become very misleading. - For sure nobody would want me to spit at the next Buddha for becoming a Sotapanna.


Dear Wolfgang
As I read it the sutta doesn't say that Suppabuddha met this Buddha or had the wisdom to insight dhammas by spitting at a previous Buddha. The spitting caused him to be a poor leper.
Robert

#15 Wolfgang

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:03 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Jun 8 2006, 05:13 PM) View Post

Spitting and disrespectfully turning his left side to Tagarasikhi the Private Buddha, he left. As a result of that deed he boiled in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, many hundreds of thousands of years. And then as a result of that deed he became a poor, miserable wretch of a person in this very Rajagaha. But on encountering the Dhamma & Discipline made known by the Tathagata, he acquired conviction, virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment.

As I read it the sutta doesn't say that Suppabuddha met this Buddha or had the wisdom to insight dhmmas by siptting at a previous Buddha. The spitting caused him to be a poor leper.
Robert


Dear Robert,

yes - the spitting caused him to suffer for many hundreds of thousands of years: - And exactly this suffering caused by his disrepect, in my eyes, made it so easy for him to penetrate the 4 noble truths.
All I wanted to say with this is: Paramies - accumulations - supposedly necessary; is only one possible way of looking at it.

Wolfgang

#16 RobertK

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 02:27 PM

Dear Susan Part 1V Nina vana gorkom
Thus it is amazing that body-consciousness (kayavinnana) just experiences one tiny rupa out of a whole group. Body-consciousness is only vipakacitta, result of kamma, and it cannot stay. After that, when it would be teh right time for sati, there could be kusala citta accompanied by sati and right undersatnding, and panna could take as object either teh nama, the experience of heat, or teh rupa which is heat. They have just fallen away but they can be object of sati. We do not have to think of kalapas, how could we try to follow them. Then there is still a picture of "kalapas of my body" or of teh whole body, object of clinging. There are just characteristics apperaing one at a time, and there can be understanding of them when they appear, no need to think. When heat appears, or hardness appears, these are charatceristics which can be known. No need to think of falling away or of impermanence. First the diffference between sense-door and mind-door should be known. Is that not enough? When time comes panna will know arising and falling away. I would like to quote what you write so well about anatta, beyond control. Because are we not inclined to forget that sati and panna are beyond control? I quote p 16.
QUOTE
Susan Elbaum Jootla
We foolishly insist on calling the body and mind "mine" and we assume that they belong to "me". But the very idea of possesion means that the owner has control of his property; so "I" should be able to keep my body and mind as I want them to be, naturally healthy and happy... We have come to the conclusion that that there is no "I" who controls this nama-rupa; mind and body are in now way fit to be called "mine". "the arising of the five khandhas do not yield to teh wsihes of anyone" (Ledi Sayadaw). Phenomena which are dependent upon specific causes whcih operate strictly according to theri nature from moment to moment cannot be subject to control by any being and, as we explore it thoroughly, we come to understand how this five khandha phenomena whcih we wrongly tend to consider "I" is just such a conditioned and dependent process. And suffering(or pleasure for that matter) come about becuase of certain conditions, chief among them being tanha. There is no "being" who controls what ultimately happens to these five khandhas.

Thus the arising of sati and panna does not yield to the wishes of anyone. Phenomena, also sati and panna, whcih are dependent on specific causes which operate strictly according to their nature from moment to moment cannot be subject to control by any being. There may be a wish to control when one tries to follow groups of rupa, is there not a certain effort to hold onto them, trying to concentrate on them? Instead of just just being aware of whatever reality appears, be it rupa, be it name, be it kusala, be it akusala? Awareness is anatta, it can arise when there are conditions.In daily life. It has to be in daily life, how else can we come to know our defilements? It is necessasry to know these too, otehr wise we take them for my clinging, my conceit. There is so much deeprooted idea of self, a latent tendency, anusaya, so hard to uproot. Even when we do not expressively think "it is mine", still, the wrongview has not being eradicated. We are still confused and cling to beings. Is it already so that "we can reduce ourselves into one moment of experiencing an object", as Khun Sujin says? Just a moment of seeing now, a moment of hearing now? Is there clinging to what was seen, to an idea of person?
You mention the factor concentartion. This cetasika arises withe ach citta, ekaggata cetasika, thus also with lobha. How can we distinigush concentration with maybe subtle lobha from kusala concentartion? A very delicate matter. Clinging plays us tricks all the time. When there kusala citta with right undersatnding it is accompanied by wholesome ekagata cetasika, but if we try to have more of it, is that not clinging? The answer is no need to strive for concentration, tring to hold onto phenomena in concentarting on them. It is right understanding which matters. In the same way, no need to try to have many moments of sati, it is right understanding whcih matters.

#17 sukin

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 04:41 AM

QUOTE(Scott Duncan @ Jun 7 2006, 06:32 PM) View Post

Dear Sukin,

May I come in with a question? I was interested in this portion of your response to Wolfgang. Would you be willing to say more regarding the process whereby the study of the Abhidhamma allowed you a more complete understanding of the set of accumulations you call your own?

Sincerely,

Scott.


Dear Scott and Wolfgang,

Surely not any significant level of understanding, let alone complete. Only ‘beginning’ level, but one which I believe is rightly directed.
As I think you will agree, every other way of studying one’s mind is based on ‘self-view’. Depending on the perspective taken in terms of ‘persons’ and ‘situation’, there are so many diverse explanations about one’s day to day and moment to moment experiences. And whatever clicks depends on any of the accumulated wrong view being conditioned to arise. Often it is a matter of replacing one set of explanations with another, and so long as conditions for questioning this doesn’t arise, we are happy to go along with the new explanation and following the particular script indefinitely.

Ultimately however, it is citta, cetasikas and rupa performing their particular functions, in part creating this illusion of self and the world out there. These ultimate realities have particular and general characteristics and are conditioned in complex ways. I think therefore, that any view of one’s experiences which is in line with this understanding of the way things are, will be more or less ‘correct’. And this is the way of the Buddhadhamma. Of course it is all ‘intellectual’ at this point and unless we prefer to kid ourselves, we will admit that it is the best that can be had and will remain so for a long time to come.

In this respect, the Abhidhamma seems to be the most useful in bringing us to such an understanding.

And btw, in referring to ‘my’ accumulations, I am not talking about coming to a conclusion that “this is who I am”, or that “this is my temperament” or that “these are my preferences” etc. It is beginning to see different dhammas unhindered by any desire for results and self-identification. Though this may involve little or no satipatthana, nevertheless when informed by reading, listening and considering, one begins to notice more subtle forms of various dhammas. And what used to be taken for granted or even considered kusala, is slowly seen for what it is, of course with intellectual understanding only. This itself is quite powerful in its effect. After all to “know” correctly is also a development of kusala.

More importantly, in terms of treading the Path at this stage, we begin to correctly understand and distinguish ‘intellectual understanding’ from ‘satipatthana’ and put them in their proper place. And not foolishly dismiss the former and come to have a wrong understanding of the latter. There is then a better estimation of one’s limits which then causes one to not overreach, and this is most beneficial. After all, it is better to know one’s strength and move slowly but surely, than to be driven by eagerness for direct experience and end up going the wrong way.

Of course nothing static about any of this, and to speak of accumulations is not to be speaking from a pre-conceived position. Though admittedly, I do that all the time. :-(

Hope this helps Scott, I’ve been appreciating all your discussions in the other group. :-)

Metta,
Sukin.


#18 sukin

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 04:45 AM

QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Jun 7 2006, 10:41 PM) View Post

Dear Sukin,

thanks for your long reply. Though I had to read it a few times trying to understand where you really want to get at. Sorry, I probably still do not. So I am just answering to how I misunderstood you (maybe).

You realized that there was 'wrong view' and ambition, 'tanha', on your side. On side of the prescribed practice - I leave that aside because practice itself without a practitioner cannot have 'wrong view' (and the prescribers mind we both cannot read I guess).



Dear Wolfgang,

Yes, wrong view is a nama which arises and falls away in an instant. And any Teachings originate from many such arising and fallings. Some happen to be right and some wrong. The Buddha did not have any wrong view, therefore whatever he taught was always right. Same is true for any ariyan disciples. This however cannot be said of you and me or of Goenka, Buddhadasa, Mahasi or Acharn Chah, I think.

I wasn’t sad or discouraged with regard to my practice of Goenka’s method. In fact at the time I was so eager about it that I even took one of my employees with me for the first retreat, all salary paid. And after that I announced to the rest that I was willing to do the same with any one of them in the future.

You said:

QUOTE
On my side - I am sure - it was plain tanha and avijja that I am not ready to let go yet. Are you sure, you are not simply justifying? Being impatient with yourself?


I am glad you asked this, and yes such a thought did at one time cross my mind. But no it isn’t the case, but allow me to explain more.

I believe that the practice of Samatha Bhavana starts with the understanding that sees the value of kusala and the harmfulness of akusala and which then grows in sensitivity to knowing the danger in sense impressions. The development of this at some stage would therefore require the avoidance of sense contact. And so there is good reason to prefer places of physical seclusion, like ‘going to roots of trees alone in the forest’ etc. Especially when jhana is aimed at which requires a good level of concentration, one can’t risk any interference.

Jhana however, has ‘concept’ as object upon which the attention must be maintained. The development of vipassana on the other hand is quite different and the objects of its development are characteristics of ultimate realities, and these are fleeting.

Jhana development starts with seeing harm in lobha and dosa and develops from there. Vipassana sees danger in ignorance and does not therefore require any prior step by step development of kusala states as is needed in samatha. What it does need is to have heard the Dhamma of the Buddha, and so it can start regardless of any present tendency to akusala. However this would be at the pariyatti level, and would never be straight to patipatti.

Of course, other kusala support this level of panna, and though it is a fact that without having developed these other forms of kusala, especially the Paramis, panna *can’t* develop on its own. However, this relationship is not a direct one, unlike in the case of Samatha development.

So Wolfgang, my objection arose when I began to understand and appreciate the fact that ‘conditioned realities’ are the same here as it is in a cinema hall or a meditation retreat. I began to realize that ideas about a better time and place originated from our ignorance and lack of confidence about this fact. We seek to eradicate ignorance, yet with ignorance we project the idea of ‘formal practice’ and ‘retreats’. Actually it is not just ignorance, as students of dhamma, we have all in one way or the other heard about this. The real problem is Wrong View and wrong interpretation of the Teachings. With the same kind of influence, we also believe the wrong reasoning put forward by others, Goenka, Buddhadasa and so on.

You wonder why I do not consider the kind of ‘observation’ as taught by meditation teachers everywhere to be Sati.

Sati arises with each kusala citta, be it at the level of Dana, Sila or Bhavana. With regard to the last, there is Samatha and there is Vipassana. The former has ‘concept’ as object, “beings” in the case of Brahmaviharas, and kasina and other concepts in case of the others.

So now we are left with determining what constitutes vipassana development. Satipatthana which is practice or Patipatti has a characteristic of an ultimate reality as object. Prior to this stage it is Pariyatti, and this has concept of just these and / or about the various conditions at play between them.

It may be a hard fact to swallow, but it seems that there is no room for the kind of ‘sati’ encouraged by so called meditation teachers, to be considered kusala at all, let alone the development of vipassana. To be frank, I consider what is taught these days in the name of vipassana in centers everywhere, to be in fact the spreading of wrong view and increase of any attachment towards this

Sati can arise anywhere at anytime. It requires some confidence for this, and it seems that only wrong view can make us believe otherwise. If lobha, dosa and moha can arise at anytime by conditions beyond control, why not sati and panna? This error in reasoning that one needs better physical conditions is due to thinking in terms of ‘self’ and ‘situation’.

Also such ideas as even you mentioned, like the need to have ‘constant sati’ is a result of wrong intellectual understanding of the way things are. The development of sati does not require such idealized situation or is it even possible. This is probably one reason why people persist with practices in meditation retreats and want to repeat them. One is asked to maintain attention on this ‘concept of self’ for an extended period and it seems quite within reach for anyone to do it, and therefore the very idea is so attractive. But that’s one of the illusions of result which is so misleading.

When the Buddha talked about maintaining a level of practice for 7 days or 7 years at the end of which enlightenment is possible, he was not talking about the kind of practice Goenka and others refer to. The four foundations of mindfulness is reference to paramattha dhammas, namely, rupa, vedana, dhammas and citta. And this does not seem to be the object of those who scan for sensations from head to toe or those who think about feet touching and lifting off the ground.

Again this is long, so I’ll end here. Hope there has been more food for thought.

With metta,

Sukin.

Ps: I don’t come to the website very often and when I do, I usually print out the posts and take my own sweet time to respond. So please be patient with any expected response from me.

#19 Guest_Scott Duncan_*

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:05 PM

QUOTE(sukin @ Jun 9 2006, 10:41 PM) View Post

And btw, in referring to ‘my’ accumulations, I am not talking about coming to a conclusion that “this is who I am”, or that “this is my temperament” or that “these are my preferences” etc. It is beginning to see different dhammas unhindered by any desire for results and self-identification. Though this may involve little or no satipatthana, nevertheless when informed by reading, listening and considering, one begins to notice more subtle forms of various dhammas. And what used to be taken for granted or even considered kusala, is slowly seen for what it is, of course with intellectual understanding only. This itself is quite powerful in its effect. After all to “know” correctly is also a development of kusala.

More importantly, in terms of treading the Path at this stage, we begin to correctly understand and distinguish ‘intellectual understanding’ from ‘satipatthana’ and put them in their proper place. And not foolishly dismiss the former and come to have a wrong understanding of the latter. There is then a better estimation of one’s limits which then causes one to not overreach, and this is most beneficial. After all, it is better to know one’s strength and move slowly but surely, than to be driven by eagerness for direct experience and end up going the wrong way.

Of course nothing static about any of this, and to speak of accumulations is not to be speaking from a pre-conceived position. Though admittedly, I do that all the time.

Dear Sukin,

Thank you, yours is a clear and clarifying response. I am able to begin to appreciate that whatever dhammas present themselves for observation are straight-forward indicators of accumulation, and of course this is the case since the accumulation is inherent in the arising. This is not to suggest any wonky metaphysics, I just mean that one can simply trust that what is accumulated can arise given the appropriate conditions. What arises is what arises. One can know it as such. I'd guess, though, that there is a point past which there can be too much thinking about this, clinging to some desire for a typology that is "mine."

Sincerely,

Scott.

#20 RobertK

RobertK

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:50 PM

Dear Susan Part V Nina van gorkom

As you write in your book, investigation of phenomena is most important. Considering the Dhamma, there can be some mindfulness now and then , in daily life. It has to be natural, we cannot control anything. There are conditions already present, we are in the position, as you also write, that we can still read the scriptures. No idea of starting with sati, starting with this or that khandha as object of mindfulness, that is again trying to control. Khun Sujin has such a direct way of pointing all these things out. One understands better: this is not the way, this is wrong. Is that not important? What attracts me to the Dhamma is that it is about very ordinary phenomena of daily life. One does not have to do anything special.
Alan Weller wrote "I very much like your article on the way to study Dhamma. While I was reading about different contacts there was a loud sound and immediately I hads an unpleasant feeling and then the thinking about the car horn. But no clear comprehension yet. It was a very good reminder for me that the whole of the teachings are for one very short moment of studying a characteristic of reality which appears.

Reducing oneself into one moment of experienincing an object. This must lead to detachment from the self. You asked about the latent tendencies, and you speak about detachment from the khandhas and the world, from everything. I think you already know that latent tendencies are eradicated at different stages of enlightenemnt by the magga-citta. Only the sotappan has eradicated wrongview and doubt about realities. It is the arahant who eradicates all clingig to the khandhas, to any object. What matters now is knowing our kilesas as conditioned elements, not self, in being aware of them when they arise. We do not start with detachemnt from all objects. We read about people sitting in meditation and suppressing the hindrances, but how could they then realize them as they are? This is the aim of samadhi: subduing kilesas, but not vipassana. Don't you want to know teh different akusala cittas which arise? Our undelying motives which are not so beautiful, even when we believe we perform kusala? I want to know the truth about myself. No use to flee, or to hide anything. I do not want to be tricked. Total detachemnt: too far, too high for me now.