Vipassanā

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Simon E. wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:01 am
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.
There's a book I've been meaning to read for a while on this topic of theravada and dzogchen. It's a conversation between Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Ajahn Amaro, called "Small Boat, Great Mountain."

https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/ ... untain.pdf
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

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SilenceMonkey wrote: Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:16 pmThere's a book I've been meaning to read for a while on this topic of theravada and dzogchen. It's a conversation between Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Ajahn Amaro, called "Small Boat, Great Mountain."

https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/ ... untain.pdf
Thank you so much!

I believe strongly in non-duality, so I cannot be a Theravada Buddhist for that very reason.

Peace and enlightenment.
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

monkishlife wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:24 pm I believe strongly in non-duality, so I cannot be a Theravada Buddhist for that very reason.
You can't be a Dzogchen practitioner either then.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:53 pm
monkishlife wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:24 pm I believe strongly in non-duality, so I cannot be a Theravada Buddhist for that very reason.
You can't be a Dzogchen practitioner either then.
Lol! :anjali:
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

Please explain yourselves - don't play an insider game for an ego boost. LOL. Help me out!

I am trying to learn. :namaste:
Last edited by monkishlife on Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Caoimhghín
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Re: Vipassanā

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I took it as "Dzogchen is anti-sectarian," but could be wrong.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

Caoimhghín wrote: Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:02 am I took it as "Dzogchen is anti-sectarian," but could be wrong.
I know that non-duality is not fully accepted in Theravada Buddhism. I also know that non-duality is one of the core teachings in Mahayana Buddhism. I believe in non-duality. I had this discussion on a Theravada forum. Every one was quite respectful, even though I disagreed. Some Theravada Buddhists were unsure, but the hardcore members were not fans of non-duality. I do know that some Theravada monks leave for gray area on this matter.

At any rate, I want my friends to help me out. I am trying to learn. I identify as a Mahayana Buddhist, who has had yogi Advaita Vedanta tendancies. LOL.

Peace and enlightenment :namaste:
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Astus
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Astus »

yeshedronmay wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:13 amIs there a difference between Theravada Vipassana meditation and Kagyu or Tibetan Vipassana meditation practice ?
Vipassana is not a single method but a term for any technique that has the aim of gaining insight. In order to be able make a comparison, one would need to be specific about what it is exactly one means. Generally speaking, Theravada and Vajrayana are very far from each other in terms of historical development, so relying simply on terminology used by them can be easily misleading. For instance, there was mention of how 'emptiness of dharmas' is a Mahayana teaching, which is true, but at the same time, it is meant as a rejection of the Vaibhashika interpretation of dharmas, not the Theravada one where dharmas are viewed differently.

Here are two examples you may look into:
Practical Insight Meditation by Mahasi Sayadaw
Directly Experience the Nature of Mind by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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PeterC
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by PeterC »

monkishlife wrote: Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:13 am
Caoimhghín wrote: Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:02 am I took it as "Dzogchen is anti-sectarian," but could be wrong.
I know that non-duality is not fully accepted in Theravada Buddhism. I also know that non-duality is one of the core teachings in Mahayana Buddhism. I believe in non-duality. I had this discussion on a Theravada forum. Every one was quite respectful, even though I disagreed. Some Theravada Buddhists were unsure, but the hardcore members were not fans of non-duality. I do know that some Theravada monks leave for gray area on this matter.

At any rate, I want my friends to help me out. I am trying to learn. I identify as a Mahayana Buddhist, who has had yogi Advaita Vedanta tendancies. LOL.

Peace and enlightenment :namaste:
You're going to have to be a bit more specific about what you mean by "non-duality" for us to help, I think. But if you have Advaita Vedanta tendencies, then a good point to start would be understanding specifically where that doctrines differ from the Buddhadharma (in any of its forms).
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

PeterC wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:08 amYou're going to have to be a bit more specific about what you mean by "non-duality" for us to help, I think. But if you have Advaita Vedanta tendencies, then a good point to start would be understanding specifically where that doctrines differ from the Buddhadharma (in any of its forms).
Thank you so much!

It is super complex for sure.

In Therevada, non-duality is seen as not so important; in fact, Bikkhu Bodhi says that Theravada Buddhism is neither dualistic or non-dualistic.

I think that there being no good or bad is ultimate reality is Mahayana concept. I do not think that Theravada Buddhists accept said notion.I have no idea what Advaita Vedanta would say on this matter.

I can google and do research, of course. But these matters are a difficult to understand. From what I read thusfar, I have non-dualistic tendencies. That said, that is a very generic statement.

:anjali:
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:05 pm In Therevada, non-duality is seen as not so important; in fact, Bikkhu Bodhi says that Theravada Buddhism is neither dualistic or non-dualistic.
This is the position of all Buddhist schools. There cannot be one without many and vice versa.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SilenceMonkey »

I'm sorry for my laugh, I didn't mean to create some insider dynamic! It was an outburst of devotion to the logic Malcolm used. Sometimes the truth is really funny!
Malcolm wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:53 pm
monkishlife wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:24 pm I believe strongly in non-duality, so I cannot be a Theravada Buddhist for that very reason.
You can't be a Dzogchen practitioner either then.
I think maybe what malcolm meant is that if you have a belief in the first place, this is already the essence of duality. Preferring one over another.

All buddhist schools claim to be the middle way, free of extremes. In tibetan buddhism, it's common to study the tenet systems to compare their underlying assertions. From the tibetan point of view, Theravada holds one of the two "lower" tenet systems which believe in material reality as an ultimate truth. ie. The material world can be broken down into atoms, but at some point these "atoms" can no longer be broken down. Therefore, these are seen to be what constitute reality. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong!) The higher tenet schools (cittamatra/yogacara and madhyamaka) do not believe in a truly existing external reality, but say it is shunyata (so-called emptiness). Each of the higher tenet systems shows how lower tenet systems are dualistic (ie. holding to extremes, aka extreme views).

Madhyamaka would say that Advaita Vedanta's noduality is actually a dualistic view.
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Astus
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Re: Vipassanā

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SilenceMonkey wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:51 amFrom the tibetan point of view, Theravada holds one of the two "lower" tenet systems which believe in material reality as an ultimate truth. ie. The material world can be broken down into atoms, but at some point these "atoms" can no longer be broken down. Therefore, these are seen to be what constitute reality.
The shravaka systems in Tibetan Buddhism are what they take to be the views of Vaibhashika and Sautrantika based mainly on the Abhidharmakosha-bhashyam. Theravada is a separate school, not known/considered in Tibetan doxography, that also disagreed with some doctrines of the Sarvastivadins. As for the Theravada view of material dharmas, the smallest unit according to post-canonical teachings are called kalāpa, they are considered composite, and used in some vipassana meditations: 'To know that our very body is tiny kalapas all in a state of change is to know the true nature of change or decay.' (The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma in Meditative Practice).
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:47 amAs for the Theravada view of material dharmas, the smallest unit according to post-canonical teachings are called kalāpa, they are considered composite,
Not that different than paramanus, actually.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Astus
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Re: Vipassanā

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:07 pmNot that different than paramanus, actually.
The atomist ideas of Sarvastivada, Sautrantika, and Theravada are analysed by Karunadasa in chapter 15 of The Theravada Abhidhamma and chapter 8 of The Buddhist Analysis of Matter. From the former book:

'For the Sarvāstivāda, the atom is the smallest unit of a single unitary material dharma, so small that it has no spatial dimensions. For the Theravāda, the atom is an aggregate of a number of unitary material dhammas. This is why it is described not only as “atom” (paramāṇu) but also as “cluster of material dhammas” (rūpa-kalāpa). It thus corresponds not to the atom of the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma but to what it calls the “octuple aggregate.” The Theravāda term that corresponds to the “atom” of the Sarvāstivāda is kalāpaṅga — that is, the constituent of a kalāpa.
...
The Pāli commentators observe that although it is possible, for the sake of defining the individuating characteristics (lakkhaṇa), to speak of color, taste, smell, and so on as separate dhammas, yet positionally they are not separable from one another. Color, taste, and so on, so runs the argument, cannot be dissected and separated like particles of sand. The color of the mango, for instance, cannot be separated from its hardness (earth element) or from its taste. This situation is equally true of the constituents of a rūpa-kalāpa as well. Hence there is no necessity, other than logical, to postulate the constituent (kalāpaṅga) as the smallest of all (sabba-pariyantima).'


But I think a more interesting part is that kalapas are meant to be experienced during vipassana practice.

'You observe this structure that initially appears to be so solid, the entire physical structure at the level of sensation. Observing, observing you will reach the stage when you experience that the entire physical structure is nothing but subatomic particles: throughout the body, nothing but kalapas (subatomic particles). And even these tiniest subatomic particles are not solid. They are mere vibration, just wavelets.'
(Buddha's Path is to Experience Reality)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:21 am
'You observe this structure that initially appears to be so solid, the entire physical structure at the level of sensation. Observing, observing you will reach the stage when you experience that the entire physical structure is nothing but subatomic particles: throughout the body, nothing but kalapas (subatomic particles). And even these tiniest subatomic particles are not solid. They are mere vibration, just wavelets.'
(Buddha's Path is to Experience Reality)
Someone has been reading too much physics.
"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 »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:51 amI think maybe what malcolm meant is that if you have a belief in the first place, this is already the essence of duality. Preferring one over another.

All buddhist schools claim to be the middle way, free of extremes. In tibetan buddhism, it's common to study the tenet systems to compare their underlying assertions. From the tibetan point of view, Theravada holds one of the two "lower" tenet systems which believe in material reality as an ultimate truth. ie. The material world can be broken down into atoms, but at some point these "atoms" can no longer be broken down. Therefore, these are seen to be what constitute reality. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong!) The higher tenet schools (cittamatra/yogacara and madhyamaka) do not believe in a truly existing external reality, but say it is shunyata (so-called emptiness). Each of the higher tenet systems shows how lower tenet systems are dualistic (ie. holding to extremes, aka extreme views).

Madhyamaka would say that Advaita Vedanta's noduality is actually a dualistic view.
Sorry, friend: I misread you. I wasn't too annoyed. I'm paranoid after being on these forums. I think that people are just out to pick fights and play mind games with others. LOL. Seriously, viciousness between people is rife. It makes me cynical. It seems that treating each other with respect is out the door.

I like your answer you gave. It was very informative, even I don't understand everything.

Some Theravadans sometimes get annoyed if you talk about emptiness too much. I know that from first-hand experience. They prefer to go on about dependent origination. Their understanding overall is different than in the Mahayana schools.

What Mahayana schools are cittamatra, yogacara, madhyamaka? I never heard these terms in Zen/Chan/Seon schools.

Your last statement is very interesting: Advaita Vedanta sees the external world as ultimately real, whereas Madhaymaka does not. This is good stuff here.
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SilenceMonkey »

monkishlife wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:05 am
Your last statement is very interesting: Advaita Vedanta sees the external world as ultimately real, whereas Madhaymaka does not. This is good stuff here.
I'm not sure advaita vedanta would see the external world as ultimately real... That is, if the external world we are talking about is "prakriti". I'm under the impression that advaita vedanta would say that all is illusion (maya) except for Brahman, which is the universe itself. And also that we are merely manifestations of this universe, acting as instruments of its will... but we are caught in the ignorance that we are individuals and separate from the universe and all living things. Something like that... And that the universe principle of brahman is the non-dual reality. (Perhaps someone would correct me on these things... I'm not 100% clear.)

What madhyamaka would say about this... I don't have a response in me at the moment. But as nonduality is one of the central themes of conversations, I'm sure you would find a lot using the search. I seem to remember that Dzongsar Khyentse had very good teachings on this in his teachings on Vimalakirti Sutra, which are on youtube... But my memory is hazy as to specifics!
monkishlife wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:05 am
What Mahayana schools are cittamatra, yogacara, madhyamaka? I never heard these terms in Zen/Chan/Seon schools.
Well, zen for one. Chan is based on primarily yogacara (aka. cittamatra), madhyamaka and tathagathagharba, which tend to they see as separate philosophical traditions, Chan being what they are really pointing to. Haven't you ever heard chan or zen talking about the Lankavatara Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, Prajnaparamita Sutra or Diamond Sutra? Xuanzang was essentially the father of yogacara in china. Xuanzang's school was called faxiang, and the chinese madhyamaka school was called san-lun.

This page was mentioned on another thread, which may be of interest:
http://www.thezensite.com/MainPages/nagarjuna.html
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monkishlife
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by monkishlife »

Thank you so much, SilenceMonkey.

This is very confusing stuff for sure.

You're right about Advaita Vedanta: they would consider everything to be an illusion but Brahman, the eternal essence.

Madhyamaka is just the notion that everything is empty of inherent existence (even emptiness is empty). Everything depends on something else for it to exist (non-duality). Yogacara, on the other hand, is about everything being a construct of the mind, or something like that. I think both schools of thought are intertwined in Mahayana Buddhism. Wow- Yogacara is highly complicated after doing some research. It's above my head at this stage.

What I cannot seem to understand is how dependent origination is Theravada is different than general Buddhist concept emptiness? I suppose I will google and do more research. You don't need to bother with answering me on this.


Thank you again, dear friend. You have been kind and helpful.

:anjali:
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SilenceMonkey »

monkishlife wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:34 am Wow- Yogacara is highly complicated after doing some research. It's above my head at this stage.
I felt this way too when I first started looking into yogacara... But it was because I stumbled upon materials written by western academics who, with their big words and elaborate phrasing, made it all seem much more complicated than it is. :zzz:

I think yogacara is the term used in E. Asian buddhism and academia, while cittamatra tends to be used in Tibetan traditions. I think zen teachers ("yogacara") and kagyu or nyingma teachers ("cittamatra") would be easier to understand. Scholars (eg. geluk tradition, academia) tend to go into more depth, but don't always have the sensitivity for language that would make the ideas digestible.

Personally, I got my first inkling of yogacara through chan practice.
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