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Vipassana recreates infancy? - Dhamma Wheel

Vipassana recreates infancy?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
ricketybridge
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Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby ricketybridge » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:27 am

Hey everyone,

So I just finished reading "Mindfulness in Plain English" and found it very interesting, and I'm looking forward to practicing in that way, but it occurred to me that a couple key aspects of vipassana meditation are directed at undoing fundamental things that I believe are developed in early childhood, namely, separation between self and other and verbalization. I know this is a sort of more theoretical question than one that specifically pertains to me, or anyone else on this board, but it begs the question: if distinguishing between self and other and using words are fundamental obstacles to achieving nibbana, then would it not be advisable to attempt to inhibit a child's development between self and other (however you do that...), and to not teach them language?

I know that sounds like horrific child abuse, but just hypothetically speaking, if someone was somehow raised that way, would they not already have the mindset of an arahant, or at least a stream-entrant? Or, because it would probably be impossible to teach them morality and other related concepts, they wouldn't be even close?

Since I expect the answer will be no, they would not be like a stream-entrant or arahant, it just makes me very curious as to why we must "corrupt" our minds with language and selfhood, only to later attempt to strip them away? This is why I was wondering if it would be more efficient not to develop them in the first place. I guess because we need language and selfhood for practical reasons (e.g. being able to jump out of the way of an oncoming truck), but must be able to willingly put them on hold?

And why, for that matter, is language such a barrier to nibbana? Language isn't inherently filled with dukkha; it's just a tool, isn't it? I guess it's because language stands in the way of "pure experience", but why is "pure experience" necessary for attaining nibbana? If your answer is only "I guess you'll have to find out," since I've already mentioned it, no need to post it yourself.

I don't mean to sound like I'm asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; to me these questions have practical ramifications and will aid my understanding and, I hope, those of others.

Kenshou
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby Kenshou » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:09 am

It's not that language is bad, it's quite useful, to a point. We should recognize it's limitations, and also know when to not get all tangled up in words. Meditation is one of those times, generally.

Also, the uprooting of "selfhood", specifically the concepts of "I/me/mine" doesn't mean a person can't distinguish themselves from another. To put it another way, a person is not a "self" but a process, and it ought to be possible to still understand that this process here (me) is different from that one over there (some guy).

Reductor
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby Reductor » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:22 am

Babies and very young children suffer enormous amounts of craving. That isn't undermined by the seeming lack of duality and absence of language.

Just deny junior his bottle to see what I mean.

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legolas
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby legolas » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:19 am

:smile:

By an extension of the hypothetical argument - if we all had a labotomy, we may all be in a better position to practice certain types of meditation.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:07 am


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legolas
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby legolas » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:38 am

Actually I believe vipassana is an absolute must.

rowyourboat
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:10 am

We are begining to see the limitations of language already, on this thread. :tongue:

The point about language is that it is based on things either existing or not existing.. and even more problematically, our thinking follows our language/concepts. It can be difficult to convey more nuanced ways of existence (see I fell into 'existence' trying to convey that!). In any case that particular limitation is linked to understanding nibbana. Another problem is trying to describe transcendental states, with language used to describe mundane states- again in reference to nibbana, but experientially (the previous one was, conceptually). There is also the problem that even mundane meditative states can't be described accurately because language has been created to talk about non- meditative experiences which are mostly 'out-there'. So we use special terms (eg: samadhi) to denote them. In any case language is a poor substitue to experience because as the saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words' suggest, it is not easy to put all of what you experience in a single moment, in to words.

Importantly the first steps in to the dhamma constitutes of words and thinking- you must be able to understand someone teaching you the dhamma and have the concepts (which are derived from language) to think further about what you just heard (and hopefully understood). This is called the wisdom of hearing (sutamaya panna) followed by the wisdom of contemplating (cintamaya panna). These form an important base for the later meditative practice so that you are fully aware of 1) the reasons why you are practicing 2) how to practice 3) what to expect when you practice in a certain way 4) how you know you have reached the end of your practice .. and so on.

It would be impossible to survive without language- first we must eat, drink, be stable and educated to some degree before we can practice- these serve as a foundation, even though not expressly stated. A more useful endeavour would be to bring up kids with as few defilements as possible- indeed the Buddha says that one of the duties of a parent is to teach children what is right and what is wrong (singalovada sutta).

As for self-hood, yes like all defilements, it is helpful for survival for animals- ie those creatures who are unable to think rationally and logically. This ability to think clearly, without needing defilements/ignorance to drive us to survive, find food and shelter etc, is said to exist to a degree that would make enlightenment possible, after around the age of 7 years. But of course, other animals cannot be mindful and think/plan in a wise manner, so needs to react to the environment, rather that act rationally. Now the problem with that is those more crude drivers of behaviour not only allow beings to exist, but causes them untold suffering in the same single stroke. Craving drives us to eat- but then causes heart attacks and obesity, because it becomes mindless. Similarly for all those impulses which drive us to do immoral acts for instant gratification, but cause so much unnecessary suffering. Equally the self view is helpful to a very basic degree, but exacts a very high price, for it's limited usefulness.

Hope that makes some sense,

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

Freawaru
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby Freawaru » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:48 am


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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:37 am


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bodom
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby bodom » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:39 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:49 am


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Ben
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:06 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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legolas
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby legolas » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:50 pm


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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:08 pm


Cessation
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby Cessation » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:24 pm

I think it might create the innocent appearance as an infancy because a child has no sense of self or ego. But even as adults our minds get defiled by the world with lust, hatred and delusion. Then just like an innocent child we are prone to suffering because we don't have wisdom and understanding. That is the difference between a child and an arahants, the arahantshave completed their tasks, arahants uprooted lust, hatred and delusion, their minds is unshakable and can never be defiled, while a child if not guided correctly will have his mind defiled by blemishes.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:32 pm


ricketybridge
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby ricketybridge » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:35 pm

Thanks everyone, that clarifies things for me a lot.

The only thing that wasn't wholly clarified, from what I could discern, was why language is such a barrier to these transcendent states of mind. I mean, I know when they do CT scans (or whatever) on people meditating, the language center of the brain shuts down, but why is that? To say that it's because those states of mind are inexplicable is a circular argument. Why is it necessary for that part of the brain to shut down to achieve ultimate happiness/satisfaction/reality, etc.? Why isn't it possible to be able to explain that state of mind, at least to the extent that we can describe anything else, even if it would mean having to create new words?

I know, this sort of falls into the category of this question doesn't even deserve to be answered because the answer (whatever it is) doesn't make attaining nibbana any easier; I'm just plain curious.

Thanks. :)
rick

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bodom
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby bodom » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:16 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

Reductor
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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby Reductor » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:25 pm

Every word or phrase carries with it complex assumptions. This set of cmplex assumptions are shared between yourself and those that you comminicate with,which allows you to convey a lot of information quickly. That is useful. Everyone employes the same set of concepts.

But we are seldom aware of all the assumption that are present. Worse is that not all those assumptions prove correct. So by using language in pursuit of the deepest truth you are unwittingly relying on falshood.

How can you find the truth of the forest when you mistake your living room for that forest? You start off sharply limited and preclude the truth from being found.

ricketybridge
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Re: Vipassana recreates infancy?

Postby ricketybridge » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:08 pm



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