Whats the difference

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Whats the difference

Postby beautiful breath » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:50 am

Hi All,

What is the difference between the Theravadin practices of Vipassana and mindfulness of 'mind' and those in the Mahamudra tradition? Upon first impressions there is little differences apart maybe from cultural ones.

Thanks,

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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Astus » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:17 am

Can you describe in brief what you understand as "mindfulness of mind" in vipassana?
"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: Whats the difference

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:23 am

The reason for practicing Vipassana in any tradition is to come to a direct experiential understanding of dharmata. The basis of Vipassana in Mahamudra is the introduction to the nature of mind given to us by our teacher. Therevadins use the 4 noble truths to establish over time that there is no self and come to experience dharmata that way. Mahamudra students get dharmata pointed out directly and just rest with that.
There isn't really any difference in the realization between Therevadins and Mahamudra practitioners, because both experience dharmata directly.
In the end, for both Theravadins and Mahamudra students, the view of how reality really is (gained experientially) becomes the meditation to the extent that there is no effort needed to maintain the meditation. Non-meditation is the result.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:32 am

In my opinion there is a big difference.

I am talking about sutra Mahamudra, not tantric Mahamudra.

The difference is in the direct introduction of the nature of mind, which is originally pure, unstainable, and unfindable.

Theravada doesnt share this teaching. They do not have the teaching of Buddha Nature and they have the mindset that this mind is originally deluded, so let's clean it.

Because of that, in their practise, they restraint this and that as if there is something really dirty and sinful.

While in Mahamudra, nothing is sinful because the nature of everything is empty of any inherent thing, whether sinful or holly.

The path for Theravada is then become very long. Generally speaking. The vipassana in Theravada is normally done after you master the samadhi. This practice alone is not an easy task.

There are teachers in Theravada who proposed naked meditation technique. However, without the backup of direct introduction, it will be really though to do it. Even someone who has direct introduction still find difficulty in doing naked meditation, not to mention someone who is not introduced.

However, from the result point of view, I don't see a different.

One time I read the biography of Ajahn chah. He never studied heart Sutta. So he just listen it for the first time. After his disciple finished reading it, Ajahn chah said " no emptiness either .... No bodhisatta". He then asked, where did the sutra come from? It is reputed to have been spoken by the Buddha. Ajahn chah replied "No Buddha".

Then he said," this is talking about deep wisdom beyond all conventions. How could we teach without them? We have to have names for things, isn't that so?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby lama tsewang » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:32 am

there really isnt much difference between theravadin vipassana and sutra mahamudra.
it all depends on wqhat yuou mean by difference. there are many different ways of teaching insight meditation , among theravadin teachers. the prevous contributor said something very strange, he said that the theravadins think of defilements as real things that need to be purified, and that therefore their path is slower.
i dont understand this. the point of insight meditation is to develop insight into the illusoriness of defilements.
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:34 am

Theravadra Vipassana (Laktong in Tibetan) is a stage in (Sutra) Mahamudra practice on the path towards the realisation of Mahamudra. Mahamudra is not a type of analytical meditation. True Mahamudra is beyond observer(practitioner), observed(mind) and observation(mindfulness).

Darwid Halim wrote:They do not have the teaching of Buddha Nature and they have the mindset that this mind is originally deluded, so let's clean it.
Yes, well this is only partially true. Actually in Sutra Mahamudra purification is a necessary component of the practice irregardless of the presence of ones enlightened nature.
Gampopa says:
We need to practice both accumulation and purification. It is important to gather the accumulations and purify the obscurations.

Darwid Halim wrote:Because of that, in their practise, they restraint this and that as if there is something really dirty and sinful.
This is not a practice which is specific to Theravadra, it exists in Sutra Mahamudra too.
Again Gampopa says:
There is a verse taught by the Buddha that appears at the conclusion of the water torma offering:
"Perform no bad actions,
perfect the practice of good actions,
and tame your own mind:
That is the teaching of the Buddha.

In addition to avoiding all bad actions, we must practice accumulating good actions and tame our minds.
and he says:
Relatively, while there are still thoughts of self and others, all good and bad actions will be real, so you must be extremely careful when it comes to good and bad actions. All good actions you perform from now on will ripen as good results in a future life. All the bad actions you perfrom from now on will ripen as bad results, as suffering in the lower existences. There is no result without a cause and buddhahood cannot come from wrong or inferior causes.

This statement is just plain wrong:
Darwid Halim wrote:...The vipassana in Theravada is normally done after you master the samadhi.

Lama (in which lineage/tradition are you a Lama? I searched your profile and there was no information there.)Tsewang said:
Lama Tsewang wrote:the prevous contributor said something very strange.
I would say that Darwid Halim said things that are more than strange, they are just plain wrong.
:namaste:
PS All the abovementioned Gampopa quotes are from the Buddhist Institute of Tibetan Classics book Mahamudra and Related Instructions from a series of lectures by Gampopa called "A String of Pearls".
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:25 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:This statement is just plain wrong:
Darwid Halim wrote:...The vipassana in Theravada is normally done after you master the samadhi.



Actually, it is not necessary wrong, depending on what context DH is using when he wrote "normally done". If he is referring to the traditional method of bhavana in Theravada (esp Vissudhimagga style), then yes, vipassana is to be commenced after having some success and stability in samatha. This is also the case in most Tibetan Buddhism curriculum on vipasyana. Of course, we know that a lot of the more modern Theravadan movements teach vipassana first. This can be very successful too, for example, in Dipa Ma's case where she mastered vipassana before proceeding to practice samatha and thereby (allegedly) attained several abhijnas.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:06 pm

Yes, you and Darwid are right on this point, I skipped the "normally" bit. Sorry! :emb:

But is stability in Shamatha necessarily entry into jhana or samadhis?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Yes, you and Darwid are right on this point, I skipped the "normally" bit. Sorry! :emb:

But is stability in Shamatha necessarily entry into jhana or samadhis?
:namaste:


For jhana/dhyana, definitely, since the four form absorptions are rather clearly described. For samadhi, it depends on one's definition of that. Sravakayana and early Mahayana's description of samadhi is of the same depth as jhana/dhyana, or deriving from jhana/dhyana (such as the three gates of deliverance and the famous vajropamasamadhi), whereas in middle to later Mahayana, samadhi is characterized differently. This is when we start to see the dichotomy between dhyana and samadhi - the latter being lauded as better due to it's (alleged) greater emphasis on the wisdom aspect.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:34 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:But is stability in Shamatha necessarily entry into jhana or samadhis?

From experience, I would say that stable śamatha provides the means to access jhāna.
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:49 am

pueraeternus wrote:For jhana/dhyana, definitely, since the four form absorptions are rather clearly described. For samadhi, it depends on one's definition of that.
Yes, that was what I was thinking too. I imagine, as Dharma Goat points out too, that one could have a degree of stability in shamatha/shine without having entered into the jhana. I also imagine that, after achieveing a degree of stability, one can begin analytical meditation and then one could enter jhana/dhyana/samadhi from vipassana/lhaktong without having achieved it in shamatha/shine practice.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:26 am

There can be other interpretations, but the different levels of absorption (dhyana) simply describe a more and more calm mind. For instance, on the first level we still have thoughts and pondering about things. The fourth level is what a stable, calm, pristine, limpid mind is without thoughts or feelings of elation.
"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: Whats the difference

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:09 am

So, at the level of defintions (terminology), what is the difference between jhana(Pali)/dhyana(Sanskrit) and samadhi(Sanskrit) then?

Thanks!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:59 am

As mentioned before by pueraeternus, samadhi originally meant meditation and usually of the samatha type, mostly synonymous with dhyana. The meaning of samadhi was gradually changed in Mahayana to encompass different sorts of realisations, like in the Samadhiraja Sutra which is relevant in Mahamudra. At the same time, the meaning of dhyana was also gradually modified into different sorts of deep absorptions to the level that it was taught to be avoided in Mahayana. As with many terms in Buddhism, they eventually become the victims of over-conceptualisation.
"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: Whats the difference

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I imagine, as Dharma Goat points out too, that one could have a degree of stability in shamatha/shine without having entered into the jhana.


True. In the schema taught in Tibetan Buddhism, to enter the 1st dhyana, one needs to attain full mastery of all nine levels of shamatha. So when we talk about some "degree of stability", I am assuming we are referring to some of the stages in shamatha, but not full mastery.

gregkavarnos wrote:I also imagine that, after achieveing a degree of stability, one can begin analytical meditation and then one could enter jhana/dhyana/samadhi from vipassana/lhaktong without having achieved it in shamatha/shine practice.


Yes. As taught in the earliest canonical sutras, there are 3 ways in bhavana: shamatha>vipasyana, vipasyana>shamatha or conjoined shamatha-vipasyana.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:35 pm

Astus wrote:At the same time, the meaning of dhyana was also gradually modified into different sorts of deep absorptions to the level that it was taught to be avoided in Mahayana.


Very true. The earlier forms of Mahayana all extolled the importance of cultivating the dhyanas, but in the late phases, we see them relegated to 2nd rate practices. At most, they are taught that only the 1st dhyana is necessary for success in vipasyana.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby monktastic » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:51 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Yes, you and Darwid are right on this point, I skipped the "normally" bit. Sorry! :emb:

But is stability in Shamatha necessarily entry into jhana or samadhis?
:namaste:


Alan Wallace goes into great detail about this, btw. His whole thing is that entry into the first dhyana is the goal of stability in shamatha, and is a fairly strict prerequisite for vipashyana practices.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Whats the difference

Postby viniketa » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:22 pm

pueraeternus wrote:The earlier forms of Mahayana all extolled the importance of cultivating the dhyanas, but in the late phases, we see them relegated to 2nd rate practices. At most, they are taught that only the 1st dhyana is necessary for success in vipasyana.


This does seem to be the case. Not sure how or why dhyana got "demoted", as the distinctions between levels was pretty close to the "eight consciousnesses". Hum, maybe I just answered my own question... :thinking:

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Re: Whats the difference

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:32 pm

viniketa wrote:This does seem to be the case. Not sure how or why dhyana got "demoted", as the distinctions between levels was pretty close to the "eight consciousnesses". Hum, maybe I just answered my own question... :thinking:


I think the reason is that the dhyanas were first elevated to a very high position and accordingly their definitions changed. Even today there are a variety of teachers with different views regarding what the dhyanas actually stand for (especially among Theravada masters). Since it became so removed from actual practice, it was for the better that later teachers simply dismissed them as unnecessary or even misguided.
"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: Whats the difference

Postby monktastic » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:02 pm

Astus wrote:
viniketa wrote:This does seem to be the case. Not sure how or why dhyana got "demoted", as the distinctions between levels was pretty close to the "eight consciousnesses". Hum, maybe I just answered my own question... :thinking:


I think the reason is that the dhyanas were first elevated to a very high position and accordingly their definitions changed. Even today there are a variety of teachers with different views regarding what the dhyanas actually stand for (especially among Theravada masters). Since it became so removed from actual practice, it was for the better that later teachers simply dismissed them as unnecessary or even misguided.


This is where I like Alan Wallace's approach. He's a very thorough scholar (and practitioner), and shows good evidence that even Tibetan masters such as Tsongkhapa and Dudjom Lingpa agree with the Visuddhimagga, in that the first dhyana is a very specific and rarefied state. His claim is that very few in the modern world attain it.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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