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Re: About practices/teachings

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  • Jonothan Abbott
    Mike, In answer to a question from Theresa about the similarities between the Mahasi method and the teachings of Khun Sujin, you said- ... techniques . ...
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 8, 2000
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      Mike,

      In answer to a question from Theresa about the similarities between
      the Mahasi method and the teachings of Khun Sujin, you said-

      > The similarities are many. However, they are different
      "techniques".
      > Yet they are both grounded in scripture and arrive at the very same
      > place: Insight into reality.

      Yes, scriptural integrity is most important. Otherwise, as you
      acknowledge, they could not led to the same place.

      And this prompted me to revisit Mahasi's classic work The
      Progress of Insight (Visuddhinana-katha), after an absence of many
      years, to evaluate his approach against the scriptures. (Note for
      others: a copy of this work can be accessed at
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/bps/misc/progress.html or via a
      link on Mike's website at
      http://www.geocities.com/ganges_sangha/index.htm .)

      To be frank, I ran into difficulties at the very beginning. The
      introductory section headed "The Method of Insight in Brief" gives an
      overview and summary of what follows. One of the paragraphs of that
      section, a copy of which I have put at the end of this message, seems
      to suggest the following ideas or practice as part of that approach,
      none of which to my knowledge has scriptural support-

      a) That the "process of touch", "sitting" and "touching" are
      realities which awareness may have as its object

      b) That "noticing something as "X" or "Y"" forms part of the practice
      as taught

      c) That noticing the abdomen as "rising", "falling" etc has anything
      to do with the development of awareness/insight.

      And there are a number of assumptions implicit in the passage which I
      also question as having no scriptural support-

      d) That awareness may be developed by directing one's attention to
      a particular object of which one wishes to be aware

      f) That some particular objects are more suitable as an object of
      awareness for a "beginner" than others.

      g) That a person wishing to develop the path should undertake a
      "meditation" practice of some sort

      My own understanding is that there is no support for these passages
      and assumptions, but I don't mind being proved wrong
      (oroff-target).

      (For Theresa, I am not seeking to highlight differences, only to
      apply the same test as I think should be applied to any proclaimed
      interpretation of the teachings. After all, if the
      understanding/practice is not exactly as taught by the Buddha, the
      experience/result cannot be the same, no matter how similar it may
      appear to the practitioner who undertakes it.)

      Jonothan

      Extract from The Progress of Insight section "The Method of Insight
      in Brief"-

      Insight must, in fact, be developed by noticing, according to their
      specific and general characteristics, the bodily and mental processes
      that become evident at the six sense doors. At the beginning,
      however, it is difficult to follow and to notice clearly all bodily
      and mental processes that incessantly appear at the six sense doors.
      Therefore the meditator who is a beginner should first notice the
      perfectly distinct process of touch, perceived through the door of
      bodily sensitivity; because the Visuddhimagga says that in insight
      meditation one should take up what is distinct. When sitting, there
      occurs the bodily process of touch by way of the sitting posture and
      through touch sensitivity in the body. These processes of tactile
      sensitivity should be noticed as "Sitting _ touching _," and so
      forth,
      in due succession. Further, at the seated meditator's abdomen, the
      tactile process of bodily motion (that is, the wind, or vibratory,
      element) which has breathing as its condition, is perceptible
      continuously as the rise (expansion) and fall (contraction) of the
      abdomen. That too should be noticed as "rising, falling,
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