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Visuddhimagga: the good and the bad

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Visuddhimagga: the good and the bad
Answer
6/4/19 7:11 PM
I just got a copy of the Visuddhimagga as a gift and am excited about starting to read it. 

I'm aware that is not the type of book to be read from start to finish, so I want to ask the ones who have read it: What are the best parts of it? What are the bad (incorrect?) parts of it? 

Thank you in advance!

RE: Visuddhimagga: the good and the bad
Answer
6/5/19 12:47 AM as a reply to Cláudio Cruz.
Good on you! It’s amazing to read what folks knew about over 2k years ago (while the Visuddhimagga was compiled around 1,500 years ago, it is believed to be largely based on the Vimuttimagga written around 1st C BCE). 

I’d say read it through from cover to cover, because although the meditation instructions are only certain select chapters, I think you’ll get something out of reading about things like ascetic practices and what makes a monastery conducive to practice, for example. They’re timeless bits of insight and advice. Otherwise if your time is limited, go straight to the sections on Concentration and then later Insight. A heads-up is that this was not written with 21st C internet addicts in mind, haha, so it tends to be slow and painfully droll in parts. Your dedication to getting through it will be rewarded!

All the best!

RE: Visuddhimagga: the good and the bad
Answer
6/6/19 6:02 AM as a reply to Cláudio Cruz.
Questions of good/correct vs bad/incorrect are largely a matter of culture, point of view, lineage, relationship to words like "authentic", relationship to the concept of "oldest", and the like.

There is a ton of helpful information in that monster of a book.

Even if some of it is not to your liking, doesn't fit with your cultural, traditional, or intellectual aesthetics, or whatever, still, by reading it, you will understand aspects of some of the core debates within the Theravada and many debates outside of the Theravada and even those between the various Theravada strains and the rest of the spiritual world that those who haven't never will, and, in this, you will distinguish yourself and be able to raise the level of discoure on that book and its concepts, which is generally abysmal.

Teachers, such as many often discussed on this forum, routinely demonstrate by their characterization of the messages of the Visuddhimagga that, if they did read it once, it was so long ago that they no longer remember what it actually said.

If you find that you are able to actually read the whole thing carefully and finish it, you will have demonstrated a level of discipline rarely found today, a level of discipline that is the kind often needed to get to the level where you experience what that book is talking about.

If you read that book and also learn to practice well, then you will doubly benefit.

Good luck!

RE: Visuddhimagga: the good and the bad
Answer
6/6/19 4:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank you both for the encouragement! 
I will definitely read the whole book.

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