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Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries - Dhamma Wheel

Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Jhana4
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Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:21 am



About the video:


Venerable Vimalaramsi practiced meditation for many years before he began studying the Pali Canon. He discovered that the instructions for meditation differed between the suttas ( Buddhist Discourses ) and the commentaries ( ancient commentaries by scholar monks about the discourses ) and that most meditation teachers used the instructions from the commentaries. According to Venerable Vimalaramsi the instructions from the commentaries leave some important steps out. In this video Venerable Vimalaramsi explains how to meditate using the instructions from the suttas and he explains how to get the extra value from these missing steps.

His views about using the suttas for meditation instructions are discussed at length in his book which is available as a free PDF:

I haven't read the book, but I watched the video and found it intriguing. I haven't decided what to make of his views yet.

Has anyone tried out "his" method of meditation yet for a significant amount of time?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:37 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:27 am

Greetings Jhana4,

Thanks for sharing!

:meditate:

A very sensible teaching IMO. My experience suggests to me that he's right.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby legolas » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:05 am


Jhana4
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:34 am

I'm the original poster. Before posting I ran a search on this monk to see if someone already beat me to posting this video. I found an older thread where his views about other things were discussed. I'm aware that people have problems with his views and I don't want to usurp that thread. As far as this thread goes I'm interested in "his" technique for meditation. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has given his technique a good try about the value of "his" method.

The idea of using anapanasati as described in the suttas has always been interesting to me. Personally, I've found those directions to be too vague. I'm always wondering what to do next or what to do about a certain situation.

- Does one wait until one seems well established in one step before moving onto another?
Example: do you make sure you are aware of each in and out breath solidly, before you begin trying to notice the length or do you go back and forth?

- Does one merely observe the effects of focusing on the breath or do they try to make the effects happen?
Example: does "Breathing in he trains himself to calm the body" does that mean that focusing on the breath brings relaxation or that while focusing on the breath the meditator consciously tries to induce relaxation, say for example thinking "relax"?

- How does one handle distractions according to those directions or is there how? Is it up to the meditator to read the other suttas and figure that out for himself?

I'm guessing the sutta instructions were left deliberately vague for good reasons and that is why the commentaries came into existence.

I'm interested in the value of this particular mediation technique from people who had personal experience with it and opinions about how to interpret the directions in the suttas.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:03 pm


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reflection
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby reflection » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:32 pm

Hi jhana4 :hello:

Well, you could just try it out. You don't need to do a practice for years to see whether it works or not. The goal of Buddhism is peace/joy/happiness, so it's quite obvious that that should also be the goal in meditation. I agree on his comments on noting practice. Noting things is not the way to a peaceful mind. A peaceful mind is silent and focused. So if Vimalaramsi has done 20 years of noting practice I can understand he is very thrilled about having found out that meditation can be very happy.. :D Smiling and relaxing are a way to this happiness, yes. I don't follow this man's teachings but I always have done these things (He seems to think he is the only one teaching about relaxing and smiling, but this is not true), so I could say I imply a part of his teachings in my meditation. And it certainly works.

However, meditation is not about "doing this", "going there" etc. So at a certain point deliberately relaxing is only going to cause distractions because the best relaxation comes from doing nothing at all and just being focused on the breath and stopping the doing, wandering mind. Also on what he says about focusing on the body, what he says about jhana and other things I don't agree. Also his interpretation of the sutta might be a bit strange. Anyway.. you can pick out some wise things from almost every teacher.

This is my experience. I'd say get your own and see if you like it.

Also I must say I have not watched the entire video.

Lotsa Metta,
Reflection

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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:04 pm


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:51 pm


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:18 pm


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:33 am


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:18 am

Greetings Geoff,

Out of interest, what do you make of Venerable Vimalaramsi's understanding of jhana?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:07 am


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tiltbillings
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:46 am


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby reflection » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:50 am


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tiltbillings
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:54 am


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby Nyana » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:09 pm


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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:51 pm

Thanks Mike & Geoff.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

2600htz
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby 2600htz » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:25 pm

Hello:

I dont know many teachers, but i found this one and his meditation instructions sound coherent.
Thats why i would love to know the opinion of someone who doesnt agree with his technique...
just his technique, not what he talks about history or any other subject.

What to you think specially on this two definitions that he uses, and in your opinion, why this isnt coherent ?:

1)Mindfulness- (Sati) "The act of remembering to recognize and release any distraction that pulls mind’s attention away from the object of meditation ALL THE TIME; remembering to observe the movements of mind’s attention moment-to-moment ALL THE TIME."

2)calming the bodily formation: "relaxing tension of body and breath".

Much Metta.

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mikenz66
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Re: Video: Meditation: Suttas vs Commentaries

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:47 pm

Hi 2600htz,

Yes, that's a key part of Ven Vimalaramsi's instructions:
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/study.htm

As I though I said earlier in the thread, I think his instructions are good. His discussion of dealing with the hindrances seems very effective (though, as I have said, not particularly different from others). I listened to a number of his talks a few years ago and found them beneficial. Some would use a different definition for sati, but as a practical instruction, what he says seems fine to me. The (Mahasi) instructions I use are also to pay attention to those things all the time (or as much as possible...).

Where different teachers might have slight disagreements is in the "release" instructions, though my teachers do sometimes recommend some active relaxation of something that is particularly troublesome.

:anjali:
Mike


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