Vipassanā

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

Post by monkishlife »

I know that concept of emptiness is the same between Theravadins and Mahayanas . You are free to disagree - and you do.
That is A-okay.

Everything I come across and have gathered from teachers is that the teaching is the same. However, how emptiness is approached and taught between the traditions can be quite different.

:namaste:
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

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.
Nope, Theravada Vipassana only leads the cessation of afflictions (even they will admit this) and arhatship. Mahāyāna Vipaśyāna leads to omniscience and full buddhahood, so there is a major difference.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

monkishlife wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:26 pm I know that concept of emptiness is the same between Theravadins and Mahayanas . You are free to disagree - and you do.
No, there is no śrāvaka school that teaches emptiness free from all extremes. Thus, there is a very big difference.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:49 pm
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.
Nope, Theravada Vipassana only leads the cessation of afflictions (even they will admit this) and arhatship. Mahāyāna Vipaśyāna leads to omniscience and full buddhahood, so there is a major difference.
Malcolm wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:49 pm
monkishlife wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:26 pm I know that concept of emptiness is the same between Theravadins and Mahayanas . You are free to disagree - and you do.
No, there is no śrāvaka school that teaches emptiness free from all extremes. Thus, there is a very big difference.
:thumbsup:

Malcolm's statements are appropriate.
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Caoimhghín
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Caoimhghín »

monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm Theravadans don't do visualization meditations (not that I am aware of).
They might not often anymore (barring esoteric Theravāda traditions of varying pedigrees) but IIRC either in Venerable Buddhaghoṣa's Visuddhimagga or in the commentarial tradition built upon it, there is a story of a certain monk meditating with the tejokasiṇa (a visualization of a mental object of the fire element) and almost accidentally burning his wat down with an inadvertent psychically-induced manifestation of said fire -- pyrokinesis, if you will.

So there is a long tradition of visualization in Theravāda. Whether it is practiced anymore or not is another question.
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)
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

monkishlife wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:26 pm Everything I come across and have gathered from teachers is that the teaching is the same. However, how emptiness is approached and taught between the traditions can be quite different.
Actually if you have not attained the capacity to discern sravaka teachings and Mahayana teachings then you won't be able to practice the Mahayana.
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Caoimhghín
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Caoimhghín »

Śrāvaka cultivation is not a prerequisite for bodhisatvayāna any more than the vehicle of the pratyekabuddhas is a prerequisite to śrāvakayāna.

And I'll say I'm fully aware that these are "words" and am rather unrepentant about the fact of that, and I'll further say that which I have now said before you tell me to stop relying on "words" and "concepts" and to stop being "discursive." So we can fast-forward past that part of the conversation.
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)
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:03 pm Śrāvaka cultivation is not a prerequisite for bodhisatvayāna any more than the vehicle of the pratyekabuddhas is a prerequisite to śrāvakayāna.
Maybe
Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:03 pm And I'll say I'm fully aware that these are "words" and am rather unrepentant about the fact of that, and I'll further say that which I have now said before you tell me to stop relying on "words" and "concepts" and to stop being "discursive." So we can fast-forward past that part of the conversation.
:shrug:
Malcolm
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Malcolm »

Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:03 pm Śrāvaka cultivation is not a prerequisite for bodhisatvayāna any more than the vehicle of the pratyekabuddhas is a prerequisite to śrāvakayāna.

And I'll say I'm fully aware that these are "words" and am rather unrepentant about the fact of that, and I'll further say that which I have now said before you tell me to stop relying on "words" and "concepts" and to stop being "discursive." So we can fast-forward past that part of the conversation.
Correct.

And jeez Keevin, stop using those pesky words!
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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PeterC
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by PeterC »

Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:46 pm
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm Theravadans don't do visualization meditations (not that I am aware of).
They might not often anymore (barring esoteric Theravāda traditions of varying pedigrees) but IIRC either in Venerable Buddhaghoṣa's Visuddhimagga or in the commentarial tradition built upon it, there is a story of a certain monk meditating with the tejokasiṇa (a visualization of a mental object of the fire element) and almost accidentally burning his wat down with an inadvertent psychically-induced manifestation of said fire -- pyrokinesis, if you will.

So there is a long tradition of visualization in Theravāda. Whether it is practiced anymore or not is another question.
You can still find wats in Thailand where the kasinas and rest of the the traditional forty objects of the kammatthana are practiced. I doubt you will find many Theravedan temples outside Southeast Asia doing that, though.
Simon E.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

PeterC wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:48 am
Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:46 pm
monkishlife wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:49 pm Theravadans don't do visualization meditations (not that I am aware of).
They might not often anymore (barring esoteric Theravāda traditions of varying pedigrees) but IIRC either in Venerable Buddhaghoṣa's Visuddhimagga or in the commentarial tradition built upon it, there is a story of a certain monk meditating with the tejokasiṇa (a visualization of a mental object of the fire element) and almost accidentally burning his wat down with an inadvertent psychically-induced manifestation of said fire -- pyrokinesis, if you will.

So there is a long tradition of visualization in Theravāda. Whether it is practiced anymore or not is another question.
You can still find wats in Thailand where the kasinas and rest of the the traditional forty objects of the kammatthana are practiced. I doubt you will find many Theravedan temples outside Southeast Asia doing that, though.
Actually Peter that practice is both used and taught at Amaravati the main Ajahn Chah centre in the U.K. As are other visualisation practices. There are those in the Theravadin world, and those in the Vajrayana world who for good or ill are ignoring the doctrinal boundaries in terms of actual practice. Where this will lead is anyone’s guess. It looks like a good thing to me. It was certainly predicted by CTR who thought that the west would prove a melting pot for the Dharmas.
“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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Caoimhghín
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Caoimhghín »

Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:46 pm IIRC either in Venerable Buddhaghoṣa's Visuddhimagga or in the commentarial tradition built upon it, there is a story of a certain monk meditating with the tejokasiṇa (a visualization of a mental object of the fire element) and almost accidentally burning his wat down with an inadvertent psychically-induced manifestation of said fire -- pyrokinesis, if you will.
Like in most cases in life, I'm only slightly right and quite wrong.

It seems to be hagiography of this Venerable: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luang_Pu_Sodh_Candasaro

Not in a medieval text at all.

His association with Wat Phra Dhammakāya is highly troubling. I didn't know he and Phra Mongkol Thep Muni were the same person.

I don't think he almost burned down a wat with psychic powers. The New Religious Movement he made up is far too frivolous.
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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PeterC
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by PeterC »

Simon E. wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:06 am
PeterC wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:48 am
Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:46 pm
They might not often anymore (barring esoteric Theravāda traditions of varying pedigrees) but IIRC either in Venerable Buddhaghoṣa's Visuddhimagga or in the commentarial tradition built upon it, there is a story of a certain monk meditating with the tejokasiṇa (a visualization of a mental object of the fire element) and almost accidentally burning his wat down with an inadvertent psychically-induced manifestation of said fire -- pyrokinesis, if you will.

So there is a long tradition of visualization in Theravāda. Whether it is practiced anymore or not is another question.
You can still find wats in Thailand where the kasinas and rest of the the traditional forty objects of the kammatthana are practiced. I doubt you will find many Theravedan temples outside Southeast Asia doing that, though.
Actually Peter that practice is both used and taught at Amaravati the main Ajahn Chah centre in the U.K. As are other visualisation practices. There are those in the Theravadin world, and those in the Vajrayana world who for good or ill are ignoring the doctrinal boundaries in terms of actual practice. Where this will lead is anyone’s guess. It looks like a good thing to me. It was certainly predicted by CTR who thought that the west would prove a melting pot for the Dharmas.
The Kasinas are very traditional theravedan practices. No doctrinal boundaries being crossed there. What is taught in many places as theravedan meditation practices is often much narrower than the forty objects
Simon E.
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Simon E. »

You may well be correct in that the Ajahn Chah people are going for inspiration back to a time before modern Theravadin fundamentalism. This has of course brought fire down on their heads from some sections of the western Thervadin community who think they are selling out and going Mahayana. :smile:
Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that there are not real differences between Suttas and Sutras clearly there are.
I am suggesting that there is an overlap in upaya kaushalya which is clearer now in this era where all traditions stand face to face.
“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 »

I still don't understand what any of you are trying to say about emptiness. :thinking:

I've been listening to Yuttadhammo Bikkhu too much perhaps. :rolling:

My only teacher now in person is Soto Zen and the practice is very much akin to vipassana (although I do Theravadin style). She is all I have in my area. It's all zazen and walking meditation + basic dharma talk.

I used to listen to Brad Warner ...but got lost somewhere in the Dogen philosophy (and lack of compassion).
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LastLegend
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by LastLegend »

monkishlife wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:56 am I still don't understand what any of you are trying to say about emptiness. :thinking:
Emptiness in Theravada is only emptiness of self. It’s not absolute emptiness of no self no dharma of Mahayana. No Dharma as Nirvana to abide in ...for the path of Bodhisattva.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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PeterC
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by PeterC »

monkishlife wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:56 am I still don't understand what any of you are trying to say about emptiness. :thinking:
It is not an easy topic by any means. Most of us, if asked to talk about it for more than thirty seconds, will start to explain things incorrectly. But it is very important to understand it at some level, whichever system you practice
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

monkishlife wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:56 am I still don't understand what any of you are trying to say about emptiness. :thinking:
if you are practicing Soto why do you care about emptiness and vipassana at all? If you do "Theravadin style" then it is not Soto. The issue seems to be that you are mixing up things.
I'd suggest that it might be appropriate to find the approach/teaching that 'suits' oneself and then stick to it and refrain from comparing different approaches.
If you try to mix different teachings then there might arise the issue that you cannot find support when difficulties arise on your path.
SteRo
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by SteRo »

monkishlife wrote: Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:56 am I still don't understand what any of you are trying to say about emptiness. :thinking:
It is not important what is said about but it is important to practice it.
Nagarjuna wrote:'Empty', 'non-empty', 'both' or 'neither' - these should not be declared.
It is expressed only for the sake of communication.
[XXII.11]

Authentic Soto might be a way of practicing it ... ?

Another way of practicing it can be found in the sutta by means of concentrative meditation approach:
"Ananda, whatever contemplatives and brahmans who in the past entered & remained in an emptiness that was pure, superior, & unsurpassed, they all entered & remained in this very same emptiness that is pure, superior, & unsurpassed. Whatever contemplatives and brahmans who in the future will enter & remain in an emptiness that will be pure, superior, & unsurpassed, they all will enter & remain in this very same emptiness that is pure, superior, & unsurpassed. Whatever contemplatives and brahmans who at present enter & remain in an emptiness that is pure, superior, & unsurpassed, they all enter & remain in this very same emptiness that is pure, superior, & unsurpassed.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

which the Buddha applied as basis of his "internal emptiness" in post-meditation phase:
"But there is this (mental) dwelling discovered by the Tathagata where, not attending to any themes, he enters & remains in internal emptiness. If, while he is dwelling there by means of this dwelling, he is visited by monks, nuns, lay men, lay women, kings, royal ministers, sectarians & their disciples, then — with his mind bent on seclusion, tending toward seclusion, inclined toward seclusion, aiming at seclusion, relishing renunciation, having destroyed those qualities that are the basis for mental fermentation — he converses with them only as much as is necessary for them to take their leave.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

This "internal emptiness" might be the one practiced by the Bodhisattva in Prajnaparamita sutra where it reads:
...
Subhuti: A Bodhisattva, who courses in perfect wisdom, does not insist on form, etc.[feeling, perception/discrimination, formations, consciousness], does not perceive it, is not intent on it. He does not course in form, etc., nor in the sign of form, etc., nor in the conviction that "form, etc., is permanent, etc." ...
although the Bodhisattva might arrive at it by means other than concentrative meditation.


So it is important to find the practice approach that corresponds with one's lineage. Otherwise one might get stuck in mere thought fabrications and the thirst for 'understanding', i.e. discursiveness will never be quenched.
Fortyeightvows
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Re: Vipassanā

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:36 am
Caoimhghín wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:46 pm IIRC either in Venerable Buddhaghoṣa's Visuddhimagga or in the commentarial tradition built upon it, there is a story of a certain monk meditating with the tejokasiṇa (a visualization of a mental object of the fire element) and almost accidentally burning his wat down with an inadvertent psychically-induced manifestation of said fire -- pyrokinesis, if you will.
Like in most cases in life, I'm only slightly right and quite wrong.
It seems to be hagiography of this Venerable: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luang_Pu_Sodh_Candasaro
Not in a medieval text at all.
His association with Wat Phra Dhammakāya is highly troubling. I didn't know he and Phra Mongkol Thep Muni were the same person.
I don't think he almost burned down a wat with psychic powers. The New Religious Movement he made up is far too frivolous.
I think alot of what he teaches come from Yogāvacara's manual, right?

Anyways, I’ll share a story that I know for a fact is true.
I have a good friend of mine who was on the run from the police for a while. Before he left, his girlfriend gave him an amulet of LP Sodh Candasaro. The police looked for him in a lot of places for some months. He finally turned himself, but the whole time he was hiding he had that amulet and they never found him.
Stories like that make a movement popular. And I know this one is a true story.
(of course, I’m just a guy on the internet so take it for what its worth)
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