Three Steps Insight Meditation

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Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Astus » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:04 pm

In Sakyapa instructions they use three steps for vipasyana (e.g. here):

Step One: Outer Appearances Are One’s Own Mind
Step Two: Mental Objects Are Illusory
Step Three: Illusions Are Devoid of Inherent Nature

Why is there such distinction? If something is not really out there, it is illusory and without a self-nature. Is this meant to be investigating from different angles rather than separate stages?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:18 pm

Astus wrote:In Sakyapa instructions they use three steps for vipasyana (e.g. here):

Step One: Outer Appearances Are One’s Own Mind
Step Two: Mental Objects Are Illusory
Step Three: Illusions Are Devoid of Inherent Nature

Why is there such distinction? If something is not really out there, it is illusory and without a self-nature. Is this meant to be investigating from different angles rather than separate stages?

it seems their meditation is based around their doctinal view.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Jinzang » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:49 pm

It sounds similar to the explanation given in the seven points of mind training. First, one determines that all phenomena are mind. Then one looks at the mind and determines that it cannot be found; it is ungraspable. So everything is but an illusion. But when one looks at this experience of all phenomena as illusion, one sees that it is just another concept. One lets the remedy for the mistaken belief in the substantial nature of phenomena go free and relaxes in non-concept.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:55 am

Jinzang,

The order looks different than in the seven steps mind training. Establishing that all phenomena are mind is similar, but then here it emphasises first the dependent origination (2nd step) and then their emptiness (3rd step). Relaxing into the natural state comes after that with the unification of calming and insight (at least as I understand Sakya Trizin's explanation).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kunle » Mon May 05, 2014 3:45 pm

if this is still of interest and for what it s worth, my understanding:

it is a gradual approach to the view free of all extremes.
and it is important to understand that it is a meditative process, not an intellectual exercice. intellectually one can (quite) quickly establish emptiness, but the meditative process takes time and is best done in a gradual fashion, hence this approach.

1- on the level of ordinary perception, there is clinging to outer appearances, which gives rise to all kinds of afflicted states.
to undermine this one is instructed to question the nature those appearances. the outcome of such analysis is that whatever one engages in is in fact never separate from the mind percieving it. in fact the "objects" we deal with are nothing but mental objects.
this is also in keeping with the mind only or yogacara view based on the famous sutra passage: the three realms are nothing but mind.

2- then, once this approach is integrated we are invited to investigate the nature of this mind. everything that happens on this level, all mental processes (appearing as the duality of perceived and perceiver) arise in dependence on causes and conditions, similar to an illusion.
this corresponds, again, to the yogacara view, in particular to the concept of the other dependent nature (paratantra).

3- then one is lead to contemplate the ultimate nature of the dependent, illusory phenomena called mind.
this is where one is lead to the madhyamaka view free of all extremes.

but again, this is a meditative program, not a logical exercice.

hope it helps
best
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Astus » Mon May 05, 2014 8:06 pm

Kunle,

The third step could be matched with Yogacara's parinispanna, the perfected nature, if one wants to follow their trisvabhava system.

"Through the perception of mind-only
One achieves the non-perception of objects;
Through the non-perception of objects
There is also the non-perception of mind."

(Vasubandhu: Trisvabhava-nirdesa, v 36, tr. Jay L. Garfield)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Wayfarer » Mon May 05, 2014 11:04 pm

Astus wrote: If something is not really out there, it is illusory and without a self-nature.


'Not having self-nature' doesn't mean 'non-existent'. They are 'illusory' in the sense of 'not being what we take them to be'. 'Self-nature' means 'unchanging' or 'independent'. There is nothing that is like that, but it doesn't mean that things are 'non-existent'. 'Unreal' and 'non-existent' (and conversely, 'real' and 'existent') are not synonymous.

Note the expression 'out there'. That is a modern synonym for 'real'. When we consider whether something is real, we ask 'is it "out there"? But that is an essentially naturalistic view: that what is real is what is 'out there'. But the teaching is pointing out that the very sense of 'out there' is also a mental construction (vikalpa). So it is saying, if there is attachment to external realities as things that are truly existent, then you don't have 'right view'.

Then there are various interpretations of the implications of that.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby LastLegend » Mon May 05, 2014 11:20 pm

Interesting discussion.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Astus » Tue May 06, 2014 9:55 am

By not out there I meant not independent of the mind. When something is not independent of the mind it is not an objective reality. As a mental creation it has no more reality than dreams and such. So it could even be said that things that seem to be independent of one's mind are non-existent, and existent only as mental products. Therefore real existence independent of mind is an illusion, a mistake. Since there is nothing left to attach to as reliable and real, there is no subject that could be attached either. So setting up three steps is pedagogical only, although this is no surprise as all teachings are nothing but skilful means.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kirtu » Tue May 06, 2014 10:43 am

Astus wrote:Kunle,

The third step could be matched with Yogacara's parinispanna, the perfected nature, if one wants to follow their trisvabhava system.

"Through the perception of mind-only
One achieves the non-perception of objects;
Through the non-perception of objects
There is also the non-perception of mind."

(Vasubandhu: Trisvabhava-nirdesa, v 36, tr. Jay L. Garfield)


Cittamatra is in fact taught as a prelude to Madhyamaka in Sakya.

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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Astus » Tue May 06, 2014 11:11 am

kirtu wrote:Cittamatra is in fact taught as a prelude to Madhyamaka in Sakya.


Do you mean Cittamatra in its limited sense of "all phenomena are only mind"?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kunle » Tue May 06, 2014 1:57 pm

Wayfarer wrote: So it is saying, if there is attachment to external realities as things that are truly existent, then you don't have 'right view'.


this is incorrect.
the right view, according to Sakya, is definitely not limited to dismantling a belief in an outer reality. neither is it limited to undermining the belief in existence, since this would produce a belief in non-existence, in a mind which is utterly bound by concepts.
the right view is cutting through all tendencies of reification at their root: neither existence, nor non-existence, neither both, nor neither. it is literally ineffable.
the line should be taking literally: "if clinging/grasping/mental fixation etc. arises, it is not the view."
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 06, 2014 2:09 pm

Astus wrote:
kirtu wrote:Cittamatra is in fact taught as a prelude to Madhyamaka in Sakya.


Do you mean Cittamatra in its limited sense of "all phenomena are only mind"?


As in Shantaraskita's Yogacara Madhyamaka.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kunle » Tue May 06, 2014 2:11 pm

Astus wrote:
kirtu wrote:Cittamatra is in fact taught as a prelude to Madhyamaka in Sakya.


Do you mean Cittamatra in its limited sense of "all phenomena are only mind"?


Mipham made a useful distinction:
- cittamatra of the authoritative scriptures: teachings of the Buddha and masters expounding the three natures etc., this is not to be refuted and is complete in itself. in Asanga's Bodhisattvabhumi for instance ultimate reality is termed tattva (suchness), and is certainly not a truly existing consciousness.
vs.
- cittamatra as a tenet: the belief that mind ultimately exists, this is to be refuted

we could also distinguish between cittamatra as the tenet, and yogacara as a highly sophisticated philosophilal system, maybe the most subtle of all buddhist philosophies, because of the problems it addresses and the way they are solved. maybe huifeng is the man to talk to for those interested.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kunle » Tue May 06, 2014 2:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Astus wrote:
kirtu wrote:Cittamatra is in fact taught as a prelude to Madhyamaka in Sakya.


Do you mean Cittamatra in its limited sense of "all phenomena are only mind"?


As in Shantaraskita's Yogacara Madhyamaka.


unfortunately there seems to be no extant Sakya commentary on this text. Rongton is said to have authored one, but it was lost.

apart from Dzongsar, no Sakya shedra teaches this text i believe, so i m not sure how standart sakya this really is.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Astus » Tue May 06, 2014 2:47 pm

Malcolm wrote:As in Shantaraskita's Yogacara Madhyamaka.


Yes, that's what I thought of, thank you.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 06, 2014 3:09 pm

kunle wrote:
unfortunately there seems to be no extant Sakya commentary on this text. Rongton is said to have authored one, but it was lost.

apart from Dzongsar, no Sakya shedra teaches this text i believe, so i m not sure how standart sakya this really is.


@ Kunle: nevertheless, when the view presented in snang gsum and so on — it is clearly stated that first section of meditation on vipaśyāna is in accordance with how ultimate truth is meditated in Yogacara. It is only in the second and third sections on vipaśyāna in snang gsum and so on that freedom from extremes and inexpressibility is meditated.

@ Astus, this way of meditating the view is actually derived from the section on the meditating the inseparability of samsara and nirvana, termed "the three points of practice", i.e. mind, illusion and insubstantiality.

Since the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana as well as the three points of practice should only be discussed with those who have received the Hevajra cause empowerment etc., and the instruction of the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana, I will leave it here.

In other words, if you really want to understand this you should meditate it properly.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kunle » Tue May 06, 2014 4:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:this way of meditating the view is actually derived from the section on the meditating the inseparability of samsara and nirvana, termed "the three points of practice", i.e. mind, illusion and insubstantiality.

Since the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana as well as the three points of practice should only be discussed with those who have received the Hevajra cause empowerment etc., and the instruction of the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana, I will leave it here.

In other words, if you really want to understand this you should meditate it properly.


totally agree with your last statement - it is a practice instruction.

however, could you elaborate on your previous point?
since the entire nangsum is taught and supposedly practised before one receives Hevajra, i don t see why one has to rely on the explanation on the inseparability of samsara and nirvana. not that it would harm, i m just trying to understand why you mean one needs to understand this first. cheers.
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 06, 2014 4:09 pm

kunle wrote:
Malcolm wrote:this way of meditating the view is actually derived from the section on the meditating the inseparability of samsara and nirvana, termed "the three points of practice", i.e. mind, illusion and insubstantiality.

Since the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana as well as the three points of practice should only be discussed with those who have received the Hevajra cause empowerment etc., and the instruction of the view of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana, I will leave it here.

In other words, if you really want to understand this you should meditate it properly.


totally agree with your last statement - it is a practice instruction.

however, could you elaborate on your previous point?
since the entire nangsum is taught and supposedly practised before one receives Hevajra, i don t see why one has to rely on the explanation on the inseparability of samsara and nirvana. not that it would harm, i m just trying to understand why you mean one needs to understand this first. cheers.


The real meditation of these three points in 'khor 'das dbyer med is done on the basis of examples, whereas in snang gsum it is presented on the basis of intellectual analysis. But the format of mind, illusion and insubstantiality is ultimately derived from the Vajra Verses where it says "All phenomena are the appearance of mind itself" and so on.

snang gsum itself is presented on the basis of the outline written for the snang gsum and rgyud gsum which may be found in pod gser ma.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Three Steps Insight Meditation

Postby kunle » Tue May 06, 2014 4:17 pm

thx M
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