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Re: [dsg] Meditation and Satipatthana

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  • christine_forsyth
    Hi Jon and RobEp, Larry, Howard, and All, First of all, Happy Fathers Day to all Aussie and Kiwi Dads - plus Honorary Aussie Dad for the Day Howard, who
    Message 1 of 51 , Aug 31, 2002
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      Hi Jon and RobEp, Larry, Howard, and All,

      First of all, Happy Fathers Day to all Aussie and Kiwi Dads -
      plus 'Honorary Aussie Dad for the Day' Howard, who didn't have such a
      happy time on the US Fathers Day.(though I know your family will have
      made it up to you in the meantime.:)

      I was reading RobEp's reply to Jon, and, to refresh my memory (as you
      two take so long to reply to each other :)) I went to the archive at
      escribe to use the excellent 'view all messages in this thread'
      facility.
      http://www.escribe.com/religion/dhammastudygroup/
      This subject obviously is part of a longer thread, but only shows on
      escribe as having two messages in the thread. This happens with other
      threads on occasion also.
      As some of us don't read all messages or all threads until a later
      date, changing the subject title will be detrimental to us unless
      the 'reply' is attached to the original thread somehow.
      Does anyone know what interferes with compiling threads at escribe
      and what a solution could be?

      I am intensely interested in your discussions about practice. What
      is bhavana and does it mean meditation in the formal sense? If not,
      why does Thanissaro Bhikkhu always translate it that way? I am
      sincerely grateful to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and have no criticism about
      his intentions or scholarship. It is just that I recall the
      frustration I felt when looking on Access to Insight for Suttas
      regarding Abhidhamma, only to find those suttas mentioned in
      articles, books or journals were ones he had not translated into
      English. So, English speakers seem only to have been offered a
      rather 'selective' view of the suttas. His translations of suttas
      have been the main nourishment of a whole generation of computer
      literate Western Buddhists who don't question the absolute accuracy
      of the translations and thus the meanings that he determines. Could
      there be an unrecognised bias? A conductor, following his own
      interests and thereby unconsciously orchestrating the practices of a
      whole Tradition? What do you reckon?

      I never seem to settle on a conclusion about whether formal sitting
      meditation is essential, or just a nice way to fill in a bit of time
      and feel good. Is it the product of lobha, the craving for calm,
      peace and the feeling of a 'self' doing' something, having control?
      and, hence, not likely to lead to insight? I waver back and forth.
      I know this has been discussed before, but (IMHO) the discussion has
      never been as thorough, engaged in with such goodwill and as
      constructive as I see this one progressing between the two of you,
      spread over a number of threads.. I was very interested to read a
      remark you made Jon (not sure where) that your understanding was that
      formal meditation was a fairly modern phenomena ....

      metta,
      Christine

      --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., LBIDD@w... wrote:
      > Hi Rob Ep (&Jon),
      >
      > I very much appreciate your comments but I think I want to take
      > exception to characterizing satipatthana as a discrimination between
      > concept and paramattha dhammas. In doing a quick review of Ven
      > Nyanaponika's "The Heart of Buddhist Meditation" it occurs to me
      that
      > the practice as it is outlined in the sutta makes extensive use of
      > concepts. The contemplation of mind objects seems to be overtly
      > contemplative and therefore necessarily conceptual. The other
      categories
      > of mindfulness seem to have a mix of contemplation and identifying
      > present experience. This identification is tantamount to naming and
      is
      > therefore pannatti. Admittedly concept is not recognized as an
      object.
      >
      > It seems that there is some variation among the various meditation
      > traditions as to what to emphasize. Apparently nothing is set in
      stone.
      > Many traditions focus on the breath in a one pointed manner but I
      think
      > this may be an attempt to mix satipatthana and jhana. There is no
      > mention of 'one pointed focus' in the satipatthana. (Don't know
      about
      > Anapanasati Sutta)
      >
      > What I see in the Satipatthana Sutta is an emphasis on identifying
      > experience in a simple straight forward objective way and
      understanding
      > certain processes. Not an attempt to get to a really real
      experience.
      > Contemplation definitely stands out. So, I may have erred in
      scolding
      > Nina for not meditating. The study and contemplation of abhidhamma
      could
      > encompass samma sati. Although it is extremely unconventional for a
      > Buddhist to have never meditated. I think this is unique to Acharn
      Sujin
      > and her school.
      >
      > Many, if not most, meditation traditions are wary of jhana. This
      makes
      > me a little uneasy. Not sure what to make of it. There *are*
      dangers.
      > The Tibetans are very heavy duty meditators but there is lots of
      > supervision and many levels of training.
      >
      > Sorry for the ramble. I expect Kom would object to what I said about
      > concept and paramattha dhammas, but he is probably too busy to
      respond.
      >
      > Larry
    • LBIDD@webtv.net
      Hi Jon, In response to my statement, I think the commentary points out that there are different ways of understanding satipatthana. , you wrote, I m not sure
      Message 51 of 51 , Oct 27, 2002
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        Hi Jon,

        In response to my statement, "I think the commentary points out that
        there are
        different ways of understanding satipatthana.", you wrote, "I'm not sure
        what part of the commentary you have in mind here – do you have a
        reference?"

        I've kind of lost track of what we were talking about but I probably had
        in mind something like the 4 satipatthana that break down into the 21
        practices plus the 5, or so, ways of understanding "one" (eka) and the,
        at least, 2 ways of understanding "way" (yana).

        I think what I was trying to get you to say is something like this, "I
        would not regard these factors as 'ways of arousing mindfulness', but
        this may be more a difference of terminology than of substance."

        That's close enough for me. Thanks.

        Larry
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