what is vipassana?


Jon wrote:

“On the issue of “practice”, what I’ve said is that the development of
insight is not a matter to doing specified things as a form of practice.
It’s a matter of having a better understanding of the way things are,
gained from reflecting on how what one has heard and understood relates
to the present moment.”

>On the other hand, did you write it with the backing of Theravada Pali
texts? If so, could you produce the Pali texts that support your
Sarah: Pls use anything of relevance and ignore anything you don’t find
of relevance related to the meaning of vipassanaa, the factors leading
to enlightenmentand vipassanaa in Abhidhamma texts as quoted before by

1) (as given before by Nina)> PTS Dictionary has a full article on
pa~n~naa. Here are some of the meanings given in the first line:
intelligence, com- prising all the higher faculties of cognition,
“intellect as conversant with general truths” (Dial. ii.68), reason,
wisdom, insight, knowledge, recognition.
For vipassanaa: Vipassanโ (f.) [fr. vi+passati; BSk. vipassanaa, e.g.
Divy 44, 95, 264 etc.] inward vision, insight, intuition, introspection.

2) When a person realizes with wisdom (vipassanaa)
that all sa”nkhaara [conditioned things] are impermanent;
then he would tire of dukkha.
This is the path of purity. (Dh.277)

311. <Both the terms “anupassanaa” and “vipassanaa” in their turn are
merely the synonyms of the term “pa๑๑aa”.

Please view the following Pali quote from Section 357, Vibha~nga, the
second Abhidhamma Pi.taka text. This quote defines the term “Anupassii”
simple asking “What is anupassanaa (katamaa anupassanaa)?”

“Vibha~nge pana anupassiiti tattha “katamaa anupassanaa?
Yaa pa๑๑aa pajaananaa vicayo pavicayo dhammavicayo
sallakkha.naa upalakkha.naa paccupalakkha.naa
pa.n.diccam kosallam nepu๑๑am vebhabyaa cintaa upaparikkhaa
bhuurii medhaa pari.naayikaa VIPASSANAA sampaja๑๑am
patodo pa๑๑aa pa๑๑indriyam pa๑๑aabalam pa๑๑aasattham
paasaado pa๑๑aa-aaloko pa๑๑aa-obhaaso pa๑๑aapajjoto pa๑๑aa
amoho dhammavicayo sammaadi.t.thi, ayam vuccati

Did you see the term “vipassanaa” in capital letters? Please also check
other synonyms such as Sammaadi.t.thi (the Right View) as the last one.< **** >Sarah: Translation given in PTS Book of Analysis:

“357. `Contemplating [anupassiiti]’ means: Therein what is
[anupassanaa]? that which is wisdom [pa๑๑aa], understanding
:[see par 525]: absence of dullness, truth investigation, right view.
This is called contemplation. Of this contemplation he is possessed,
possessed, attained, well attained, endowed, well endowed, furnished.
Therefore this is called `contemplating’.”

>Suan: The following is Pali passage from Section 525, Vibha~nga.

525. “Sampajaano”ti tattha katamam sampaja๑๑am? Yaa
pa๑๑aa pajaananaa vicayo pavicayo dhammavicayo
sallakkha.naa upalakkha.naa paccupalakkha.naa pa.n.diccam kosallam
nepu๑๑am vebhabyaa cintaa upaparikkhaa bhuuriimedhaa pari.naayikaa
vipassanaa sampaja๑๑am patodo pa๑๑aa pa๑๑indriyam
pa๑๑aasattham pa๑๑aapaasaado pa๑๑aa-aaloko pa๑๑aa-obhaaso
pa๑๑aapajjoto pa๑๑aaratanam amoho dhammavicayo
idam vuccati “sampaja๑๑am”.
Iti imaaya ca satiyaa iminaa ca sampaja๑๑ena upeto hoti …pe…
samannaagato. Evam bhikkhu sato sampajaano abhikkamati,
sato sampajaano pa.tikkamati, sato sampajaano aaloketi, sato
sampajaano viloketi, sato sampajaano sami๑jeti, sato sampajaano
pasaareti, sato sampajaanakaarii hoti, sa~nghaa.tipattaciivaradhaara.ne
sato sampajaanakaarii hoti, asite piite khaayite saayite sato
sampajaanakaarii hoti, uccaarapassaavakamme sato
sampajaanakaarii hoti, gate .thite nisinne sutte jaagarite bhaasite
tu.nhiibhaave sampajaanakaarii hoti.< ***** >Sarah: Translation from `Book of Analysis’:
“525: `Aware'[Sampajaano] means: Therein what is awareness
that which is wisdom [pa๑๑aa], understanding, investigation,
truth investigation, discernment, discrimination, differentiation,
erudition, proficiency, subtlety, analysis, consideration, breadth,
sagacity, guidance, insight, awareness, goad, wisdom, controlling
of wisdom, power of wisdom, sword of wisdom, tower of wisdom, light of
wisdom, lustre of wisdom, splendour of wisdom, jewel of wisdom, absence
dullness, truth investigation, right view.
This is called awareness. Thus of this mindfulness and this awareness he
is possessed, :see para 357: furnished. Thus a bhikkhu mindful and aware
approaches; mindful and aware he departs; mindful and aware he looks
ahead; mindful and aware he looks around; mindful and aware he bends;
mindful and aware he stretches; mindful he acts with awareness; in
bearing the outer robe, the alms-bowl and the under robe, mindful he
with awareness; in eating, in drinking, in chewing, in tasting, mindful
acts with awareness; in walking, in standing, in sitting, in sleeping,
waking, in talking, in being silent, he acts with awareness.”
> The following list is also the synonyms of pa๑๑aa in Section 16,
> Cittuppaada Ka.n.dam, Dhammasa~nga.nii (the First Book of
> Abhidhamma).
> 16. Katamam tasmim samaye pa๑๑indriyam hoti? Yaa
> tasmim samaye pa๑๑aa pajaananaa vicayo pavicayo dhammavicayo
> sallakkha.naa upalakkha.naa paccupalakkha.naa
> pa.n.diccam kosallam nepu๑๑am vebhabyaa cintaa
> upaparikkhaa bhuurii medhaa pari.naayikaa vipassanaa
> sampaja๑๑am patodo pa๑๑aa pa๑๑indriyam pa๑๑aabalam
> pa๑๑aasattham pa๑๑aapaasaado pa๑๑aa-aaloko pa๑๑aa-obhaaso
> pa๑๑aapajjoto pa๑๑aaratanam amoho dhammavicayo
> idam tasmim samaye pa๑๑indriyam hoti.
> Although the list does not contain “Anupassanaa” as in the list in
> Vibha~nga, it does contain the terms of Satipa.t.thaana Suttam,
> namely, pajaananaa (from pajaanaati), and sampaja๑๑am.
> You could perhaps check the PTS translation of Dhammasanga.nii at
> Section 16, Cittuppaada Ka.n.dam. See what happens in terms of
> adequacy and clarity!

Yes, this is given in full – OK very briefly, it’s a transl by Mrs
Davids (your favourite, Suan;-)).

“The insight which there is on that occasion is understanding,
research, searching the Doctrine, discernment, discrimination,
differentiation, erudition, proficiency, subtlety, criticism,
analysis, breadth, sagacity, a `guide’, intuition, intelligence,
a `goad’;
wisdom as faculty, wisdom as power, wisdom as a sword, wisdom as a
[in the sense of sth lofty], wisdom as light, wisdom as glory, wisdom as
splendour, wisdom as a precious stone; the absence of dullness,
the Truth, right views – this is the wisdom that there then is.”



Dear Han,
Yes, I understand what you mean by control.
Op 24-jul-2009, om 11:57 heeft han tun het volgende geschreven:

> Nevertheless, It is my duty to do meritorious deeds to the best of
> my ability. It is my duty to guard the faculties, and so on. I do
> not care about the results. I do not care whether I will achieve
> anything or nothing in this life.
N: We agree on what our duties are, no problem. What about the
different cittas arising because of their own conditions? I read in
the Atthasaalini (Cittupaada, Analysis of Terms): By samaya is shown
the concurrence of conditions, the mutual contribution towards the
production of a common result. The Expositor explains with regard to
samaya as condition:

In the same passage: It shows the extreme shortness of the time in
the occurrence of kusala citta and it points out . It stresses that advice has been given that we
should have strenuousness and earnestness in pa.tivedha, realization
of the truth, since this is very difficult:

No contradiction. We remember that there are cittas accompanied by
cetasikas arising because of conditions.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Hi Phil (and Nina),

Excuse my interrupting:

Ph: > I was bemused by the following passage in Nina’s book,
“The Conditionality of Life.” : “Knowledge of the Dhamma may be a natural
decisive support condition for conceit or for wrong view, Someone may have
studied the Dhamma but he may not consider nama and rupa appearing in daily life
and have wrong understanding of the practice of vipassanaa. Or someone may have
confidence in a teacher who practices in the wrong way and thus he may follow
the wrong practice.”

This seems to me to be saying that “considering nama and rupa in daily life”
is by some means naturally wholesome.

As you say, it seems to you to be saying that. It isn’t saying that at all. It
only seems to you to be saying that.

Ph: > I know from my personal experience that it is not possible for me to be
told to consider nama and rupa in daily life without trying in a way that is

We encourage each other to study the Abhidhamma, which is about the realities
that are arising now. There is no suggestion of control over whether we do or
don’t study. And there is no suggestion of control over whether our study will
be kusala or akusala. It’s just something we do.

Ph: > Am I the only one who has experienced it in this way? In any case, I have
known countless moments of trying to epxerience nama and rupa in daily life.

Experiences of nama and rupa are happening all the time. The notion of “trying”
to experience them makes no sense.

The notion of trying to experience them with right understanding makes even less
sense. It is a contradiction in terms.

Ph: > You can say that knowing that thinking, thinking, thinking is itself
knowing nama and rupa in daily life, and I won’t be able to argue with that, but
my impression is that students of A.S have conceit about the way they follow and
fail to see that there is just as much wrong view in their desire to consider
nama and rupa in daily life as there is in the meditators desire to observe a
designated meditation subject….

Aren’t you just projecting your own wrong-understanding onto others?

Ph: > I am just posting this as a kind of protest. THe book is great, but the
editorializing implied in the above was a bit unfortunate, I think. I encourage
students of A.S to ask themselves if there isn’t a lot of subtle akusala
involved in your desire to observe nama and rupa in daily life. I honestly don’t
see how that can be done without self at the center of it, subtly.

One more time, just for the record: it is not about trying. It is just
understanding that there are only dhammas – no self.

Ken H

From dsg December 22 by kenh

Contemporary Buddhist literature commonly conveys two ideas about pañña that have become almost axioms in the popular understanding of Buddhism, The first is that pañña is exclusively nonconceptual and nondiscursive, a type of cognition that defies all the laws of logical thought; the second, that pañña arises spontaneously, through an act of pure intuition as sudden and instantaneous as a brilliant flash of lightning. These two ideas about pañña are closely connected. If pañña defies all the laws of thought, it cannot be approached by any type of conceptual activity but can arise only when the rational, discriminative, conceptual activity of the mind has been stultified. And this stopping of conceptualization, somewhat like the demolition of a building, must be a rapid one, an undermining of thought not previously prepared for by any gradual maturation of understanding. Thus, in the popular understanding of Buddhism, pañña defies rationality and easily slides off into “crazy wisdom,” an incomprehensible, mindboggling way of relating to the world that dances at the thin edge between super-rationality and madness.

Such ideas about pañña receive no support at all from the teachings of the Nikayas, which, are consistently sane, lucid, and sober, To take the two points in reverse order: First, far from arising spontaneously, pañña in the Nikayas is emphatically conditioned, arisen from an underlying matrix of causes and conditions. And second, pañña is not bare intuition, but a careful, discriminative understanding that at certain stages involves precise conceptual operations. Pañña is directed to specific domains of understanding. These domains, known in the Pali commentaries as “the soil of wisdom” (paññabhumi), must be thoroughIy investigated and mastered through conceptual understanding before direct, nonconceptual insight can effectively accomplish its work. To master them requires analysis, discrimination, and discernment. One must be able to abstract from the overwhelming mass of facts certain basic patterns fundamental to all experience and use these patterns as templates for close contemplation of one’s own experience.

Dear friends,

Kh Sujin: (from Cambodia 2):

One will really understand that everything is dhamma when sati is
aware of the characteristics of realities as they appear one at a
time, so that paññå can develop and realities appear as just dhammas,
not self. Paññå should be developed continuously so that it is
understood that everything is dhamma and there is no doubt about the
characteristics of naama and ruupa, no matter through which doorway
realities appear, through the sense-doors or through the mind-door.
When we are seeing and satipa.t.thåna does not arise, there is no way
of knowing that seeing is an element or reality that experiences
something; this characteristic is real, and it does not have shape or
form. We should consider the reality that is the element which
experiences something: there is no ruupa that is blended or mixed
with it. Then it will be clear that the characteristic of the element
that experiences is penetrated through the mind-door. Such a moment
is different from the moments that everything seems to appear
together, such as visible object that seems to appear together with
seeing. Paññå of the level of satipa.t.thåna that investigates the
characteristics of realities should develop to the degree of
pa.tivedha, the realization of the truth, when realities appear as
they are through the mind-door. If paññå has not been developed to
that degree it is impossible to penetrate the characteristics of

Soun: Just a moment ago we spoke about thinking, which is of the
level of pariyatti. Would you please explain the difference between
pa.tipatti and pa.tivedha?

Sujin: I just explained about dosa that everyone knows, but people
think that it is self who is angry. However, when sati arises the
characteristic of dosa appears and they will begin to gradually
understand that that characteristic is just a reality, a dhamma. We
should consider whether the idea of self who is angry is different
from knowing that it is just a reality with that characteristic. We
believe that it is self who is angry, but we should know that it is a
reality with its own characteristic. We should thoroughly know
everything that appears now, be it colour, sound or thinking.
Satipa.t.thåna should be aware of all realities so that it can be
understood that everything is truly dhamma. The study of the Dhamma
should be in conformity with the paññå that is to be developed stage
by stage. The first stage is knowing that everything is dhamma, and
this is the stage of pariyatti. The stage of pa.tipatti, practice, is
satipa.t.thåna which knows the true characteristics of the realities
that are appearing and which begins to realize that they are just
dhammas. There is a considerable difference between the idea of self
who is angry and the understanding that that characteristic is only a
kind of dhamma. Everything that appears through the sense-doors and
the mind-door are different kinds of dhamma. When sati arises, it is
known through which doorway the
reality sati is aware of appears.


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