Vipassanā

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
yeshedronmay
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Vipassanā

Post by yeshedronmay »

Is there a difference between Theravada Vipassana meditation and Kagyu or Tibetan Vipassana meditation practice ?
Simon E.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

Difficult to answer because there is more than one kind of Vipassana taught within the Theravada.
And there is also more than one approach to Vipashnya taught within the Vajrayana.
They also vary in intended outcome.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

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SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

yeshedronmay wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:13 am Is there a difference between Theravada Vipassana meditation and Kagyu or Tibetan Vipassana meditation practice ?
I won't comment on what you call "Kagyu or Tibetan Vipassana meditation practice" but Theravada vipassana is insight into impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self.
Any other insight, e.g. insight into the emptiness taught in Mahayana is different from that and is approached in a completely different way.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

Not necessarily so. I was taught a Vipassana methodology by a Lama of impeccable lineage that both supported both and distinguished between them
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

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SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

Simon E. wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:34 pm Not necessarily so. I was taught a Vipassana methodology by a Lama of impeccable lineage that both supported both and distinguished between them
:shrug:

I never found that in Mahayana:
Bhikkhu Anālayo in The Dynamics of Theravāda Insight Meditation wrote:
progress through the insight knowledges can be understood to involve the
following:
Knowledge of comprehension, sammasana-ñāṇa, stands for
a basic appreciation of the three characteristics of all conditioned
existence-impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not self- acquired
during the early stages of insight meditation. Based on such
comprehension, a practitioner needs to focus contemplation on
the characteristic of impermanence, which is experienced in terms
of the rise and fall of any contemplated phenomena. This
constitutes the onset of “knowledge of rise and fall”, udayabbayañāṇa.
14 A maturing of the penetrative experience of the
momentary arising and passing away of all aspects of body and
mind eventually culminates in an experience of total “dissolution”,
bhaṅga-ñāṇa. That is, at this stage the disappearance aspect of all
phenomena becomes particularly prominent, everything is
experienced as passing away and dissolving.
At this stage, when the entire meditative experience is
marked with constant dissolution and disintegration, “fear” arises,
bhaya-ñāṇa. By now the very foundation of what is taken to be
‘I’ and ‘mine’, whether this be explicit as a rationalized self-notion
or only implicit as a sub-conscious feeling of identity that lurks at
the background of experience, is seen as unstable, breaking down
and disintegrating at every moment.15 In this way the inherent
“disadvantage” of all phenomena becomes evident, ādīnavañāṇa,
the whole world of experience loses its attraction and an
all pervasive sense of “disenchantment” sets in, nibbidā-ñāṇa.
Such disenchantment then leads to a “wish for deliverance”,
muñcitukamyatā-ñāṇa.
With this level of practice, insight into the true nature of
reality becomes markedly clear with knowledge of “reflection”,
paṭisaṅkhā-ñāṇa, a knowledge similar in type to the knowledge
of “comprehension”, sammasana-ñāṇa, mentioned at the outset,
but differing from the latter in intensity and clarity. Knowledge of
reflection gains its momentum from having passed through the
previous insight experiences, in particular through the
experiences of dissolution, fear and disenchantment. Eventually a
profound sense of “equanimity” in regard to any formation sets in,
saṅkhārupekkhā-ñāṇa, during which the self-less nature of reality
becomes evident with outstanding clarity. Meditation practice
continues effortlessly at this point, the mind is concentrated and
well balanced. Full maturity of the development of insight comes
with knowledge of conformity, anuloma-ñāṇa, which heralds the
break-through to the supramundane experience.
At this point the series of ten insight knowledges reaches its
completion point. The mind momentarily withdraws from all
hitherto known aspects and forms of experiences, with which the
practitioner leaves the stage of being a worldling. Immediately
thereon follows the experience of path and fruition,16 being
equivalent to liberating insight into the four noble truths through
realization of the third truth, i.e. realization of Nirvāṇa. On
emerging from the experience of the supramundane, the mind
naturally looks back on what has just happened and reviews what
has taken place.
Last edited by SteRo on Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Simon E.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

Well that’s the advantage in having a (then) living teacher whose instructions move if necessary, beyond the conventions.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

Simon E. wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:36 pm Well that’s the advantage in having a (then) living teacher whose instructions move if necessary, beyond the conventions.
Maybe when it comes to Theravada insight Theravadins should be the source of reference not a "Lama of impeccable lineage"?
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

yeshedronmay wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:13 am Is there a difference between Theravada Vipassana meditation and Kagyu or Tibetan Vipassana meditation practice ?
A fair enough point. But perhaps a reminder of the OP is timely.

The answer is according to one Tibetan teacher rather more subtle than it is black and white. A POV shared by one of the senior Theravadin teachers at that time by the name of Chao Khun Dhammasudhi who later became known as a Vipassana teacher under the name Dhiravamsa.
He devised teachings together with my Tibetan guru. They presented them together on a number of occasions.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
yeshedronmay
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by yeshedronmay »

I guess more importantly my question is , Do both practice by watching sensations on the skin or whiten the body arise and pass or do Tibetan followers exclusively watch the mind ? As well when one reaches the point of completion or the point when nothing more arises do they do anything differently ? Ask different questions or ? Also as an aside is it normal to hear voices associated with events clearing as well as sensations on the skin ? AND dose the heart have its own voice that one can actually hear like they hear the voice of the mind talking ?
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

I've been taught Tibetan Vipaysana practices that involve observation both of the mind and of bodily sensation, techniques addressing both are very common IME.

From my own limited point of view there is not a huge difference between Theravadin Vipaysana and Tibetan Vipaysana at the level of sutra teachings. Some are identical, things like trying to find the "I" in one's body etc.

Tantric methods of meditation are a different ballgame.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
Simon E.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

There can be subtle differences on where to place attention at certain stages of the process.
But really, hands- on explanations from those qualified is key... :smile:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:16 pm I've been taught Tibetann Vipaysana practices that involve observation both of the mind and of bodily sensation, techniques addressing both are very common IME.

From my own limited point of view there is not a huge difference between Theravadin Vipaysana and Tibetan Vipaysana at the level of sutra teachings. Some are identical, things like trying to find the "I" in one's body etc.

Tantric methods of meditation are a different ballgame.
Vipassana meditation is more or less the same in all traditions of Buddhism, unless I missed something along the way.

Theravadans don't do visualization meditations (not that I am aware of). They also don't teach emptiness alongside vipassana from the get-go as they do in Mahayana traditions. Emptiness for the Theravadans is something you understand gradually with vipassana meditation and more advanced "intellectual" studies, I suppose.

A few months ago, I discussed face-to-face understanding emtpiness through vipassana meditation with a Theravadan Bhikku monk from Sri Lanka. He said that emptiness is understood intuitively and shouldn't be taught intellectually at the beginning. I don't agree, but that is what I gathered he was saying in a nutshell.

:anjali:
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm ... They also don't teach emptiness alongside vipassana from the get-go as they do in Mahayana traditions. Emptiness for the Theravadans is something you understand gradually with vipassana meditation and more advanced "intellectual" studies, I suppose.
When Theravadins speak of "emptiness" they refer to the emptiness of personal self, anatta. They don't understand emptiness as taught in Mahayana. This is the rule and there are exceptions.

Also see the quote above viewtopic.php?p=521794#p521794
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

SteRo wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:44 pm
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm ... They also don't teach emptiness alongside vipassana from the get-go as they do in Mahayana traditions. Emptiness for the Theravadans is something you understand gradually with vipassana meditation and more advanced "intellectual" studies, I suppose.
When Theravadins speak of "emptiness" they refer to the emptiness of personal self, anatta. They don't understand emptiness as taught in Mahayana. This is the rule and there are exceptions.

Also see the quote above viewtopic.php?p=521794#p521794
Hi there!

Emptiness in the simplest of terms is the belief that nothing exists inherently or independently frozen in time (dependent origination). Theravadins also believe this. They must, or they wouldn't be Buddhists.

Now, there may be some subtle differences between the different schools concerning the understanding of emptiness. But the general idea is all the same.

:namaste:
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm
Vipassana meditation is more or less the same in all traditions of Buddhism, unless I missed something along the way.
You definitely missed something along the way. Vipassana focuses on the so-called three marks of existence: anitya, dukkha, and anatman, that is, impermanence, suffering, and the absence of personal identity.

Mahāyāna vipaśyāna by contrast focuses in the two fold emptiness: the absence of identity of persons and phenomena. The latter is not taught in the Śrāvaka canon at all.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

Malcolm wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:54 pm
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm
Vipassana meditation is more or less the same in all traditions of Buddhism, unless I missed something along the way.
You definitely missed something along the way. Vipassana focuses on the so-called three marks of existence: anitya, dukkha, and anatman, that is, impermanence, suffering, and the absence of personal identity.

Mahāyāna vipaśyāna by contrast focuses in the two fold emptiness: the absence of identity of persons and phenomena. The latter is not taught in the Śrāvaka canon at all.
I understand what you're saying , but all paths in vipassana are leading to the same end. The means or methods may be somewhat different, but the end-product is the same. I've already said that Theravadans don't meditate on emptiness in a formal way (certainly not lay person meditators, nor do monks as I've understood). That is not all the case with Mahayana where emptiness is the main focus from the get-go in meditation.

Another thing that I notice in vipassana in different traditions. When I practice Bon Buddhism meditations at times, I see that there is a less emphasis on dhukka, but it's understood more or less in the same way as in Theravadan Buddhism.

I have studied the different traditions over time and have found that they all say the same thing in the end. It's just a question of different styles and different things being emphasized over others. I prefer Mahayana Buddhism; hence my presence on here.


:anjali:
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PeterC
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by PeterC »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm Vipassana meditation is more or less the same in all traditions of Buddhism, unless I missed something along the way.
It's not even the same in all branches of Theraveda. There have been huge disagreements between different Theravedan schools about the approach to and role of this in the past half century. And there is a whole other range of instructions / practices in the Mahayana traditions.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm
SteRo wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:44 pm
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm ... They also don't teach emptiness alongside vipassana from the get-go as they do in Mahayana traditions. Emptiness for the Theravadans is something you understand gradually with vipassana meditation and more advanced "intellectual" studies, I suppose.
When Theravadins speak of "emptiness" they refer to the emptiness of personal self, anatta. They don't understand emptiness as taught in Mahayana. This is the rule and there are exceptions.

Also see the quote above viewtopic.php?p=521794#p521794
Hi there!

Emptiness in the simplest of terms is the belief that nothing exists inherently or independently frozen in time (dependent origination). Theravadins also believe this. They must, or they wouldn't be Buddhists.
No, as a rule Therevadins don't understand that nothing exists inherently. Understanding this or not does not define 'being buddhist'.
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm Now, there may be some subtle differences between the different schools concerning the understanding of emptiness. But the general idea is all the same.
No, the differences are significant,
monkishlife wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:41 am I understand what you're saying , but all paths in vipassana are leading to the same end.
Vipassana in Theravada does not entail the same result as vipassana in Mahayana.
monkishlife wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:41 am The means or methods may be somewhat different, but the end-product is the same.
that's definitely not the case.

monkishlife wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:41 am ... When I practice Bon Buddhism meditations at times, I see that there is a less emphasis on dhukka, but it's understood more or less in the same way as in Theravadan Buddhism.

I have studied the different traditions over time and have found that they all say the same thing in the end.


It's just a question of different styles and different things being emphasized over others.
You should train discernment. You are negating differences where there are differences. To say "everything is the same" is not understanding emptiness as taught in Mahayana. Emptiness as taught in Mahayana does not negate differences because it does not negate the conventional.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by LastLegend »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Hi there!

Emptiness in the simplest of terms is the belief that nothing exists inherently or independently frozen in time (dependent origination). Theravadins also believe this. They must, or they wouldn't be Buddhists.

Now, there may be some subtle differences between the different schools concerning the understanding of emptiness. But the general idea is all the same.

:namaste:
Emptiness is more of a direct experience of Mahaprajnaparamita, or inherent/unborn wisdom, or Buddha Nature? Inherent/unborn wisdom is literally empty but most tricky to be unmistakably absorbed and most tricky to tell others. As taught, Mahaprajnaparamita should function freely without any attachment restriction to be a tool for Bodhisattva work, though in the process of walking Mahaprajnaparamita it is very difficult and tricky to be free of attachment, and cannot freely use Mahaprajnaparamita.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

PeterC wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:20 am
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm Vipassana meditation is more or less the same in all traditions of Buddhism, unless I missed something along the way.
It's not even the same in all branches of Theraveda. There have been huge disagreements between different Theravedan schools about the approach to and role of this in the past half century. And there is a whole other range of instructions / practices in the Mahayana traditions.
Exactly. There should not be a disconnect between the doctrinal basis of a practice and the aims of that practice. But this is the Kali Yuga and there is. The upside is as I indicated above, a pooling of knowledge and a kind of hybrid practice.
Purists will frown, but at least one very well known Lama thought it was a wonderful thing.He did not attempt to square the circle in terms of Mahayana/Theravada doctrine. He said the results were palpable. Similarly from the Theravadin side with Ajahn Amaro and his uncanonical Dzogchen.
There are things afoot out there. Keep an eye on them.
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