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Vipassana

Discussion of Theravada Buddhism in the light of Zen.

Vipassana

Postby Greggorious on Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:12 pm

Do you think it could affect my Zen practice if I incorporated Vipassana into my life. Zazen is my primary practice although I've been to a insight (Vipassana) centre before and I really like it. I have no interest in Therevada Buddhsim, though I like a bit of Vipassana now and again.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Beatzen on Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:54 am

I think the real thing to think about is why you think vipassana is distinct. A theravadin would say that the division of vipassana from shamatha is post-canonical, as I have heard it said.

I used to think that practicing vipassana would make me comprehend dharma more intimately.

My teacher was telling us about her experience at her mother's side as she died. She said she had never been present for a death, so there was great anticipation as her mother's breath faded (is this it? Is this the last one?)

I asked her, in relation to the dharma discussion, how to reconcile the act of taking note of the characteristics of the process (impermanence) and seeing a more big-picture of the process as a movement unified (which is more of the perspective I get when I practice zazen as I do)

She said that it was a good question, and that she didn't know. Something about relative and absolute meeting like two arrows in mid air.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby sunyavadi on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:19 am

'Vipassana' does not 'belong' to any particular school. That is a Pali term; the Sanskrit equivalent is 'vipasyana'. In either language it means 'insight'. Traditionally there were two basic 'wings' in meditation, samatha - tranquility or quiesence, and vipassana, or insight. This is the same in all schools, traditions, and sects, as I understand it.

As it happens, 'vipassana' is associated particularly with S N Goenka who does a splendid job teaching it via his world-wide teaching movement, and also with the Thai and Burmese tradition, who put emphasis on this aspect of meditation. I personally have sat a Goenka retreat, and it is quite an arduous discipline, and worth doing. On the other hand, the philosophy behind it is strictly Theravadin. There is an emphasis on sticking within their guideliness, and not deviating from it. It has become a form of orthodoxy. If you asked Goenka-ji whether it would be OK if you incorporated some Zen elements into the practice he teaches, he would say 'most certainly not'. He insists that if you are to be a 'vipassana yogi' in his school, then you don't mix his teaching with any other schools, sects, or approaches whatever. Actually this is part of the condition of sitting in his retreats, not that it is policed or enforced.

Outwardly there is a lot in common with vipassana and Zen, but the philosophy is quite different, although both are hard paths and difficult to master. That is my view of it. Although, as 'vipasanna' is insight, it is central to Zen from the outset, although I have not heard the term used in the Zen lexicon.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Chrisd on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:22 am

How does vipassana meditation differ from zazen?
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Re: Vipassana

Postby sunyavadi on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:26 am

The last retreat I did was at a Theravada monastery, and one of the monks, originally from Thailand, had spent time in a Zen monastery, but returned to the Thai tradition. He remarked that the discipline at the Zen monastery was a lot tougher, and that the monks would be hit with sticks if they looked sleepy.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Greggorious on Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:53 pm

Also in Zen you meditate with eyes open, and theravada eyes closed. This is another aspect I find difficult. I know in Zen, relaxation or having higher concious visions is actually anti Zen, though still sometimes it's quite nice. I feel that closing my eyes helps me through the day more. I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and eyes closed meditation helps me get to a calm abiding places, traditional Zazen doesn't help with that.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby bubuyaya on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:31 pm

Greggorious wrote:Zazen is my primary practice although I've been to a insight (Vipassana) centre before and I really like it.
I have no interest in Therevada Buddhsim, though I like a bit of Vipassana now and again.


Let's think,
What is zen?
What is zen's goal?

When people can't do Vipassana they can't do zen.
Simply say, Vipassana is nothing else but the frankness to you and yourlife.
Frankly you to be you is Zen.

Therefore Vipassana is for Zen.
When Vipa-practicing Therevadians don't do Zen, they don't enlighten.
When any kind of sitting zen practicing people are not frank to themself, they also can't enlighten.

Frank people, who see everything to be themself is doing Vipa-Zen,
which is the right Zazen, as Tichk Nat Han is showing.

:)
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Larry on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:55 am

bubuyaya wrote:Vipa-Zen


Have you got that copyrighted? :lol2:
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Re: Vipassana

Postby another_being on Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:52 pm

:)

I love Bubuyaya's frank discussions.
When any kind of sitting zen practicing people are not frank to themself, they also can't enlighten.

Frank people, who see everything to be themself is doing Vipa-Zen,
which is the right Zazen, as Tichk Nat Han is showing.


:Namaste:
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Re: Vipassana

Postby bubuyaya on Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:29 am

Larry wrote:
bubuyaya wrote:Vipa-Zen


Have you got that copyrighted?


Oh, original.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:44 am

Greggorious wrote:Do you think it could affect my Zen practice if I incorporated Vipassana into my life. Zazen is my primary practice although I've been to a insight (Vipassana) centre before and I really like it. I have no interest in Therevada Buddhsim, though I like a bit of Vipassana now and again.

I'm curious how you define "vipassana" and how you see it as different from zen or zazen?

I have talked with "vipassana" students who never heard of "samatha" and was flabergasted that there are apparently "vipassana" teachers in the USA that claim to teach "vipassana" without teaching their students "samatha." It is most curious from a general Buddha Dharma perspective.

sunyavadi wrote:Outwardly there is a lot in common with vipassana and Zen, but the philosophy is quite different, although both are hard paths and difficult to master. That is my view of it. Although, as 'vipasanna' is insight, it is central to Zen from the outset, although I have not heard the term used in the Zen lexicon.


In Mahayana Zen, samadhi and prajna are the preferred terms over the somewhat equivilent terms of samatha and vipassana. Similar to the teaching that a split between samatha and vipassana is "post canonical," it is taught by the Sixth Ancestor Zen Master Huineng that samadhi and prajna are simultaneiously realized and it is not the case as some people taught that one leads to the other or one is separate from the other.

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Greggorious on Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:49 am

For those of you who are far more experienced than me in the practice of Zazen, have you found that you have gained insight and/or clarity from your practice, or do you feel that you've just been staring at a wall for years and that's been it?
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Mojo Jojo on Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:45 am

Greggorious wrote:For those of you who are far more experienced than me in the practice of Zazen, have you found that you have gained insight and/or clarity from your practice, or do you feel that you've just been staring at a wall for years and that's been it?


I can't answer because I'm not experienced in shikantaza, but I think the whole point to shikantata is to gain insight into the impermanence - something arises in your mind ... and it fades - something else arises ... and it fades. You eventually realize that there's no reason to grasp or avert anything as it all fades away anyways and to grasp or avert is to cause suffering. And then you realize that you've come to the same conclusions as Siddhartha 2500 years ago and thus are enlighgened because you realized the buddha nature that you always had but couldn't comprehend.

That's some major insight.

The way I see Theravadin Vipassana is that you specifically look at whatever arises and eventually gain insight to its root cause. For example, one evening I was doing some Samatha-Vipassana with my eyes closed and my bedroom doors closed for privacy and noticed that my roomate started talking on the phone and it seemed sooooo loud against the calm that I had gained from the samatha and I just couldnt keep my concentration and started getting angry at my roomate for talking on the phone while I was meditating. Afterall, they surely heard me ring my bell.

Anyways, I decided to examine this anger and gained the insight that it stemmed from my selfish belief that my roomate shouldn't be able to talk on the phone in the living room while I was meditating. I also noticed my grasping for quietude or aversion to the noise.

Anyways, thats as much insight as I got because I still couldn't concentrate and got off the cushion and made myself some dinner. But anyways, I think that's the gist of it. You might also come to realize some level of impermanence of phenomenon.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Mojo Jojo on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:04 am

I'd like to toss in that once I started looking more into Zen, I decided that I prefered keeping my eyes open for several reasons. I feel less bothered my outside stimulus - such as noise from outside, voices, my dog that decided to lay in front of me and start snoring. I don't have issues with getting sleepy like I do with my eyes open. And I'm less likely to daydream. When my mind ends up wandering anyways, my face and thus the rest of my body stays relaxed (if my eyes are shut, I might notice that my face has become strained and that I start straining my body forward.

I've also come to like following my breath from my belly instead of at the tip of my nose. I think that also helps me keep from straining - especially with my eyes closed.

Being that I'm pretty much following TNH right now, I'm looking at how he presents meditation and it seems pretty much Samatha-Vipassana, but from what I've read, he recommends eyes open and to follow the breath body, which I think I read in one of his books, is to follow the breath at the body, which for me at least, is to pay attention to the rise and fall of my belly/chest.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:33 am

Greggorious wrote:For those of you who are far more experienced than me in the practice of Zazen, have you found that you have gained insight and/or clarity from your practice, or do you feel that you've just been staring at a wall for years and that's been it?

Staring at a wall of the zendo or cave is not what Bodhidharma mean by "wall gazing". The "observation of walls" was about the walls discriminated by the mind that act as separators between the opposites. Observing the walls or wall gazing dissolves the walls between inside and outside, self and other, etc., and seeing through the walls is the clarity that comes.

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Vipassana

Postby thewhitesquirel on Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:55 pm

In practical terms, Shikantaza is more concerned with posture and form than Vipassana. Besides that, I honestly don't see any difference besides terminology and "theory." Although in practical terms they don't differ much, how you're taught these forms of meditation (or how you're lead to interpret the arising and passing away of these phenomena) can alter your perception of this basic activity and eventually the activity itself.

I've been practicing Vipassana lately and it definitely helps when you're feeling "stuck" or fixated.

As for whether or not it could affect your Zen practice, I don't know. If it helps with your G.A.D., I would probably put it under the rubric of helping with your G.A.D. Those pleasant feelings that arise, as I interpret them in a Theravada light, are simply the natural state of mind (before all the crap gets in the way). Of course, if you're prone to clinging or fixation, I'd say they're just feelings. Otherwise, you might get caught up in avoiding/clinging by trying to re-produce pleasant feelings and actively avoiding unpleasant ones.
What is nearness if it fails to come about despite the reduction of the longest intervals? What is nearness if it is even repelled by the restless abolition of distances? What is nearness if remoteness also remains absent? -Martin Heidegger
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Re: Vipassana

Postby [james] on Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:28 pm

Greggorious wrote:Do you think it could affect my Zen practice if I incorporated Vipassana into my life. Zazen is my primary practice although I've been to a insight (Vipassana) centre before and I really like it. I have no interest in Therevada Buddhsim, though I like a bit of Vipassana now and again.


Wat VorachanyawasBangkok.JPG

How can I post an image? Thanks
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Re: Vipassana

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:05 pm

James,

(It seems to be a school for Thai massage, right on the water, in a building near a pier. I found some interesting images of people involved in the body-work).

--Joe

[james] wrote:Wat VorachanyawasBangkok.JPG

How can I post an image? Thanks
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Re: Vipassana

Postby [james] on Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:48 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:James,

(It seems to be a school for Thai massage, right on the water, in a building near a pier. I found some interesting images of people involved in the body-work).

--Joe

[james] wrote:Wat VorachanyawasBangkok.JPG

How can I post an image? Thanks


Yes, right by the Chao Phrya River. A fascinating urban temple.

Can anyone say how I might post a photo image here? Thanks again.
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Re: Vipassana

Postby organizational on Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:13 pm

I only know how to take a photo
don't know how to post
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