"Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

"Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
In this thread

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21392148#_19_message_21387100

Sam posted this link to a web page by Kenneth Folk:

https://eudoxos.github.io/cfitness/html/index.html

On the web page Kenneth describes something that happened while he was on retreat in Asia.
Once, I brought this up to U Vivekananda after a frosty encounter with U Pandita. The German monk said. “Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it.”

U Pandita was a highly enlightened teacher.

If you can't tolerate argument and it makes you "frosty", then I think it is obvious that you are attached to self. 

How can you be highly enlightened and still attached to self?

This tends to support my belief that measuring enlightenment based on experineces in meditation is not really the correct way to do it. People are getting accredited with being advanced when they might be advanced in meditation states but not advanced in enlightenment.


Is there another way to explain it?


Thanks
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Yes, there is another way to explain it. The three trainings (morality, concentration, and insight) are all separate, and you can be advanced in one but not others.

The Sayadaw here was advanced in insight but perhaps not in morality. Possibly the culture he grew up in was more authority-based than reason- and debate-based, or maybe something about his upbringing led him to dislike being questioned (karma! Cause and effect!)

I think of enlightenment as being like any other skill. Like bowling. We're not surprised when a great bowler is an alcoholic abusive asshole - why should we be surprised when a great meditator is one?

You can be very "attached to self" in the psychological sense of maintaining a certain self-image, and still see no-self of all phenomena in the meditation sense. They are two completely different things.

Enlightenment is just a perceptual change. It changes things so you no longer experience sensations dualistically. But you still keep your personality, quirks, and neuroses.

For a lot more on this, see Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram. It talks a lot about this.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
J C:
Yes, there is another way to explain it. The three trainings (morality, concentration, and insight) are all separate, and you can be advanced in one but not others.

The Sayadaw here was advanced in insight but perhaps not in morality. Possibly the culture he grew up in was more authority-based than reason- and debate-based, or maybe something about his upbringing led him to dislike being questioned (karma! Cause and effect!)

I think of enlightenment as being like any other skill. Like bowling. We're not surprised when a great bowler is an alcoholic abusive asshole - why should we be surprised when a great meditator is one?

You can be very "attached to self" in the psychological sense of maintaining a certain self-image, and still see no-self of all phenomena in the meditation sense. They are two completely different things.

Enlightenment is just a perceptual change. It changes things so you no longer experience sensations dualistically. But you still keep your personality, quirks, and neuroses.

For a lot more on this, see Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram. It talks a lot about this.

Isn't enlightenment supposed to end suffering, at least by the advanced stages? If you get frosty because you can't tolerate argument it is because of the emotional pain.

Why would anyone want enlightenment if it doesn't reduce emotional pain?

Just to have a different kind of perspective on reality?


Thanks
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
It does reduce emotional pain, but it doesn't eliminate it entirely.

There are many reasons someone could react poorly to being challenged. Maybe he thought Ken was being disrespectful and so it would be appropriate to be harsh with him. Maybe it was a teaching technique. Maybe it was just a habit. No one is perfect, not even fully enlightened people.
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Jim Smith, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
J CIt does reduce emotional pain, but it doesn't eliminate it entirely.

There are many reasons someone could react poorly to being challenged. Maybe he thought Ken was being disrespectful and so it would be appropriate to be harsh with him. Maybe it was a teaching technique. Maybe it was just a habit. No one is perfect, not even fully enlightened people.

There is at least one qualified expert who thinks traditional end point of Therevada practice is not what Buddha was talking about, and that they are off track. And he bases this belief on the fact that there is an way to end suffering and it is not the stages of insight.

https://www.dhammasukha.org/ven-bhante-vimalaramsi.html
(UPDATE: The site has been updated but the quote can be found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20190630055409/https://www.dhammasukha.org/ven-bhante-vimalaramsi.html)

Bhante Vimalaramsi is an American monk who was ordained in Northern Thailand in 1986 at the age of 40. He left the USA to seek awakening through meditation in the early 80's and decided to let go of all of his material possessions. Before this starting in 1974 he engaged in Vipassana courses in California and even lived and worked at a meditation center in San Jose, California to 1977.

Bhante Vimalaramsi has studied with many famous teachers in Asia. Among them are Venerable U Pandita, U Lakkhana, U Silananda, U Janaka, U Dhammananda, U Dhammapia and he met Mahasi Sayadaw. He further studied with The Mingun Sayadaw, who had memorized the entire Tripitaka and Sayadaw U Thatilla. Other teachers he spent longer periods of time with were the late Most Ven K Sri Dhammananda, Venerable Punnaji, Ajahn Yanitra, Ajahn Buddhadasa, Ajahn Cha Lee, and Ajahn Santititho.

Bhante practiced Vipassana very intensely his first 20 years under an American teacher and in Burma, under U Pandita and U Janaka. Finally around 1990 he was told that he had achieved the endpoint of the practice, as it was taught by the Sayadaws, and now he should go teach. He didn't feel comfortable that he had really found the end of suffering. He felt he did not have the true personality change that awakening should bring, even after going through the 16 levels of Insight or knowledges, as outlined by Mahasi Sayadaw in Progress of Insight.

Changing Direction
From 1991 to 2000 he dedicated himself to "direct experience through study of the suttas and meditation practice". At first he stayed with K. Sri Dhammananda in Malaysia and taught Metta meditation. Then he had a real change in direction with his meeting of a Sri Lankan senior monk, Bhante Punnaji, also in Malaysia. His advice was to ‘study the suttas directly and to let go of relying on commentaries like the Visuddhi Magga'. Specifically he said, ‘Read only the suttas, then practice'. This was very significant because the commentaries were influencing how he was seeing the entirety of the Dhamma, at the time. It was suggested to put them aside while he studied the suttas as a standalone system. Nanavira in the early sixties, suggested this and then Stephen Batchelor also talked about just using only the suttas in his book "A Buddhist Atheist".

When Bhante began to do this, he discovered first hand, the interwoven nature of the Teachings. In each sutta he found the elements of the 4 Noble Truths, the 8-Fold Path, and the impersonal process of Dependent Origination. Dependent Origination or Paticcasamupada is the core of the Buddha's teachings. He realized that the word sutta literally meant "thread" and that the threads together, created a finely woven cloth, whereas, one single thread does not equal a cloth! Through his own objective first hand experience, the 8-Fold Path began to come alive. When he realized the secret of the teachings was on his doorstep he took the Majjhima Nikaya to a cave in Thailand and spent 3 months, living with a cobra as company, reading and then practicing just what the suttas said. In very little time, he said, he had gone deeper in his meditation, than ever before. What started as two weeks to study suttas turned into three months of deep practice. Out of this was born TWIM or Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation completely based on the suttas in the Majjhima Nikaya. He found the Jhanas had an entirely different explanation and experience. Nibbana was possible!


The quote "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it." seems to me to add credibility to what Bhante V. is saying.
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
I don't understand. How does that give any credibility to that guru you keep quoting?

Can you explain what his view is?
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
J C:
I don't understand. How does that give any credibility to that guru you keep quoting?

Can you explain what his view is?

Bhante V is saying the stages of insight did not produce the emotional changes he expected based on what Buddha described (the end of suffering). The quote shows another supposedly advanced teacher who followed the stages of insight demonstrating he has probably not been changed much emotionally either
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 3193 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Well, very simply, I reserve the right to return fire in kind and approximate degree, and much of what I have responded to with that sort of point-by-point rhetorical force typically matched in some way the approximate length and force of the original within 50% or so.

Further, if you wish to argue in long-form critical pieces with me and attempt to tear down my work, I would highly recommend doing your homework, as much of what I have responded to was laughably easy to tear down, as their rhetoric not only was typically of surprisingly poor quality, they typically don't bother to even fully read and parse things like MCTB2, which was already built to respond to much of the criticism mentioned.

Speaking of rhetoric: learn something about it beyond just the level of an internet troll on steroids. Rhetoric in the grand old sense is clearly something of a lost skill, including in those who have thought it would be easy to step into the ring with one who obsesses about this sort of thing, as I do.

I do actually enjoy something in the sport of these long-form exchanges, in the spirit of rhetorical MMA, and do appreciate those few who really are able to hold up to a few hits and return some good ones in the process, and then we both get to learn something and grow, and even come to respect each other.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Well, very simply, I reserve the right to return fire in kind and approximate degree, and much of what I have responded to with that sort of point-by-point rhetorical force typically matched in some way the approximate length and force of the original within 50% or so.

Further, if you wish to argue in long-form critical pieces with me and attempt to tear down my work, I would highly recommend doing your homework, as much of what I have responded to was laughably easy to tear down, as their rhetoric not only was typically of surprisingly poor quality, they typically don't bother to even fully read and parse things like MCTB2, which was already built to respond to much of the criticism mentioned.

Speaking of rhetoric: learn something about it beyond just the level of an internet troll on steroids. Rhetoric in the grand old sense is clearly something of a lost skill, including in those who have thought it would be easy to step into the ring with one who obsesses about this sort of thing, as I do.

I do actually enjoy something in the sport of these long-form exchanges, in the spirit of rhetorical MMA, and do appreciate those few who really are able to hold up to a few hits and return some good ones in the process, and then we both get to learn something and grow, and even come to respect each other.
I think someone who uses rhetoric frankly and openly and with great gusto and appreciation for the thrusts and parries of a good opponent, is David Bentley Hart, writing in the Christian tradition. His The Beauty of the Infinite  ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002FL3M84/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i8  )
is a good place to start, if you have any interest on post-modern philosophy (he is savagely unfair to Levinas, I will say, and misses the point entirely there, so it may be that the more deeply i have read the deconstructionists he deconstructs, the less admiring of him i will be). He has also taken on modern day atheism, materialism, logical positivism, etc., also with a wonderfully lucid glee and a vocabularly bigger than the galaxy. He is one of the few people with whom i regularly have to resort to the dictionary when I 'm reading him, except that it turns out a lot of the extremely complex words he uses are probably neologisms, the sly fucker. But he does dredge his share out of the dim depths of any number of outdated vocabularies and sub-traditions, and he uses them with such style and delight in his own delight in language and le bon mot that you just feel like laughing along.

The fact is, were it not for the heated genre of apologetics and dharma combat, we'd have missed out on a lot of great writing through the ages. Augustine was a fucking saved by grace not effort pit bull; Luther, an anti-semitic anti-papal pit bull. The list could easily be multiplied. That you are so scrupulous in your scholarship and fundamentally decent even while slicing someone's flabby arguments into beef strips and frying them up with your free hand, speaks well for you, i think. It is, as you say, a high form of human entertainment, and all the more fun for the players who are all in.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Hibiscus Kid:
Don't argue with Daniel either, or else he will write a 24,000 word response with academic rigor. emoticon

That said, Jim, how do you expect a perfectly awake person to behave?

I don't have a definition of enlightenment.  I am trying to understand how other people define it so I can figure out if I want to follow their practices to get it.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

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Jim Smith:

I don't have a definition of enlightenment.  I am trying to understand how other people define it so I can figure out if I want to follow their practices to get it.

In the traditions I have worked in, enlightenment is insight into Prajna or, rephraseddirect insight into the nature of reality. This is an experiental understanding of non-duality and is permanent, IMHO. This insight is NOT a conceptual construct that makes logical sense.

This insight is transformative, but doesn't make you a saint. The "self" you were still continues to some degree or another. Morality is altered, but that doesn't mean that there is undending patience, or other traits you might consider positive. Ideally there is intensive compassion/morality training BEFORE such an insight occurs.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Nick's thread helped crystallize my thoughts on the subject of this thread...

One problem I have with meditation teachers is that I've never met one, or seen one on youtube, who demonstrated that they had anything I wanted. They make extravagnat claims, but so many of them seemed pompus, or too serious and stern, like their exalted status has gone to their heads (ie egotistical) and one even seemed to be depressed. Why would I trust someone like that to invest years of my life following them to help me become free from identity view? 

But Nick has a huge smile in his avatar photo. 

If I found a meditation teacher who smiled like that, I would want to know if he was really happy most of the time. And if he was, I would want to know how he got that way. I would try following his recommendations for practice. On the other hand, if I did what Kenneth did, sold everything and moved to Asia and wound up in monastery where the head teacher was a "mean old man", I would get out of there as fast as I could. 


https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16039323#_19_message_16065952
"The purpose of his teachings was to help people find true happiness."



https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16039323#_19_message_16065960
"Nibbana is described as the highest happiness, the supreme state of bliss.
...
Once Saariputta was asked what happiness there can be when there is no feeling/sensation.[12] He explained that the absence of feeling/sensation itself is happiness."
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Nick O, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 317 Join Date: 11/5/17 Recent Posts
If I found a meditation teacher who smiled like that, I would want to know if he was really happy most of the time. And if he was, I would want to know how he got that way. I would try following his recommendations for practice. On the other hand, if I did what Kenneth did, sold everything and moved to Asia and wound up in monastery where the head teacher was a "mean old man", I would get out of there as fast as I could. 

Hey Jim,

You may want to check out Dhammarato if you haven't. He's had a quite an influence on my life and practice (and those of many others). Big smiles all around!

Nick
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Nick O:
If I found a meditation teacher who smiled like that, I would want to know if he was really happy most of the time. And if he was, I would want to know how he got that way. I would try following his recommendations for practice. On the other hand, if I did what Kenneth did, sold everything and moved to Asia and wound up in monastery where the head teacher was a "mean old man", I would get out of there as fast as I could. 

Hey Jim,

You may want to check out Dhammarato if you haven't. He's had a quite an influence on my life and practice (and those of many others). Big smiles all around!

Nick

Nick,

Is a web site or video that gives instructions for 1) sitting meditation and 2) mindfuilness in daily life?

Thanks
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I've been poking around the internet and I found a link back to this forum - there was a thread on this here:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5840836
Noah:
I can delete this thread if you guys think its an inappropriate advertisement, but two people have PM'd me asking for more info/contact info on the teacher I've been writing about, so I assume that means there are more lurkers who are too shy to do so.  I feel bad holding out on this since he's not charging any money and he's been really helpful for me.  

Here is his blog: https://dhammaratoblog.wordpress.com/

And here's his e-mail, which he posts openly on his blog, and gave me permission to post on here: dhammarato@yahoo.com

Also, my friend Paul has been putting up some youtube discussions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjxg5GJFsRqnS-YLTzyrjLQ

Okay, so there it is, if you're interested in learning more, people can hit him up directly. Shameless advertising over.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Nick O:
If I found a meditation teacher who smiled like that, I would want to know if he was really happy most of the time. And if he was, I would want to know how he got that way. I would try following his recommendations for practice. On the other hand, if I did what Kenneth did, sold everything and moved to Asia and wound up in monastery where the head teacher was a "mean old man", I would get out of there as fast as I could. 

Hey Jim,

You may want to check out Dhammarato if you haven't. He's had a quite an influence on my life and practice (and those of many others). Big smiles all around!

Nick

I found this introductory playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnR6VmcWzgdcLSCDnKfEwA7O0lZEoBCzy

I started reading the first video (I read the transcript as the video plays) and I think Dammarato is a genius ... because he is saying a lot of things very similar to what I believe - that practice should be pleasant so that you will do it and not need a lot of will power, not to concentrate too hard, breathe in a pleasant way. Gladdening the mind is part of anapanasati. That practice is about the origin and cessation of suffering. That wanting is suffering and wanting enlightenment is not motivation it is suffering.

One thing I learned is that he says nibbana is not a special state. You experience nibbana when you sit down and relax for a moment.

The video mentions Nibbana for Everyone by Bhikkhu Buddhadasa.

https://www.dhammatalks.net/Articles/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_NIBBANA_FOR_EVERYONE.htm
Natural Nibbana can happen simply because the defilements arise and end naturally because they are just another kind of concocted nature. Every time the defilements don't appear, Nibbana becomes apparent to the mind. This kind of Nibbana nourishes the lives of living things so they survive and don't go crazy. At least, it lets us sleep at night. Nibbana isn't any kind of special city anywhere. It is in the mind that is now void of besieging defilements.

My mantra for the day will be "every moment can be a pleasant and relaxing moment". Letting the words remind me to use the skill of gladdening the mind and breathing in a relaxing way that I developed through anapanasati.
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Nick O, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 317 Join Date: 11/5/17 Recent Posts
Jim,

I knew you would appreciate and find benefit his teachings judging by your post history and general outlook. When I first started meeting with him I was discussing the path of insight cycling and how meditation was not always joyful depending on where on the path one might find oneself. He said something that will forever stick with me: "Joy is not a byproduct. It is a skill to be developed." Gladdening the mind / the cultivation of joy are big theme's of his and he is very critical of Mahasi and other "rigid" practices, not to mention dealing with maps or attainments.

He does one on one sessions via Skype which are always a good time! His email is listed on the youtube videos.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 3997 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
 ... I think Dammarato is a genius...

This is called "confirmation bias"  emoticon
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
J C:
Yes, there is another way to explain it. The three trainings (morality, concentration, and insight) are all separate, and you can be advanced in one but not others.

The Sayadaw here was advanced in insight but perhaps not in morality. Possibly the culture he grew up in was more authority-based than reason- and debate-based, or maybe something about his upbringing led him to dislike being questioned (karma! Cause and effect!)

I think of enlightenment as being like any other skill. Like bowling. We're not surprised when a great bowler is an alcoholic abusive asshole - why should we be surprised when a great meditator is one?

You can be very "attached to self" in the psychological sense of maintaining a certain self-image, and still see no-self of all phenomena in the meditation sense. They are two completely different things.

Enlightenment is just a perceptual change. It changes things so you no longer experience sensations dualistically. But you still keep your personality, quirks, and neuroses.

For a lot more on this, see Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram. It talks a lot about this.


aloha jc,

    Enlightenment is not a skill, and is not like bowling. It can't be learned or taught, and can only be "practiced" in the sense of ritual reenactment. Not a perceptual change. You are not enlightened if you are attached to a self.

   The buddha was enlightened. People who are enlightened are buddhas. They may get "frosty" and may not tolerate argument. They do and say whatever will be most effective in transmitting mind, whch transmission is never by means of words.

   Show me your ignorance and I will liberate you from it.


terry

    


THE WAN LING RECORD OF THE ZEN MASTER HUANG PO (TUAN CHI)

A collection of dialogues, sermons and anecdotes recorded by P'ei Hsiu during his tenure of the prefecture of Wan Ling


1 . Once I put this question to the Master. How many of the four or five hundred persons gathered here on this mountain have fully understood Your Reverence's teaching?

The Master answered: Their number cannot be known.
Why? Because my Way is through Mind-awakening. How can it be conveyed in words? Speech only produces some effect when it falls on the uninstrucled ears of children.




4. Q: If Mind and the Buddha are intrinsically one, should we continue to practise the six paramilis and the other orthodox means of gaining Enlightenment?

A: Enlightenment springs from Mind, regardless of your practice of the six paramitas and the rest. All such practices are merely expedients for handling concrete matters when dealing with the problems of daily life. Even Enlightenment, the Absolute, Reality, Sudden Attainment, the Dharmakaya and all the others down to the Ten Stages of Progress, the Four Rewards of virtuous and wise living and the State of Holiness and Wisdom are - every one of them - mere concepts for helping us through samsara; they have nothing to do with the real Buddha-Mind. Since Mind is the Buddha, the ideal way of attainment is to cultivate that Buddha-Mind. Only avoid conceptual thoughts, which lead to becoming and cessation, to the afflictions of the sentient world and all the rest; then you will have no need of methods of Enlightenment and such-like. Therefore it is written:

All the Buddha's teachings just had this single object -
To carry us beyond the stage of thought.
Now, if I accomplish cessation of my thinking,
What use to me the Dharmas Buddha taught?


From Gautama Buddha down through the whole line of patriarchs to Bodhidharma, none preached aught besides the One Mind, otherwise known as the Sole Vehicle of Liberation. Hence, though you search throughout the whole universe, you will never find another vehicle. Nowhere has this teaching leaves or branches; its one quality is eternal truth. Hence it is a teaching hard to accept. When Bodhidharma came to China and reached the Kingdoms of Liang and Wei, only the Venerable Master Ko gained a silent insight into our own Mind; as soon as it was explained to him, he understood that Mind is the Buddha, and that individual mind and body are nothing. This teaching is called the Great Way. The very nature of the Great Way is voidness of opposition. Bodhidharma firmly believed in being ONE WITH THE REAL 'SUBSTANCE' OF THE UNIVERSE IN THIS LIFE! Mind and that 'substance' do not differ one jot - that 'substance' is Mind. They cannot possibly be separated. It was for this revelation that he earned the title of Patriarch of our sect, and therefore is it written:
'The moment of realizing the unity of Mind and the "substance" which constitutes reality may truly be said to baffle description.'
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 931 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Pure gold terry. Or should I say ... unblemished silver (as I seem to recall that is your craft)  emoticon. Just to amplify the bits that spoke to me the most, at the moment..
 

"You are not enlightened if you are attached to a self."


"Once I put this question to the Master. How many of the four or five hundred persons gathered here on this mountain have fully understood Your Reverence's teaching? 
The Master answered: Their number cannot be known. Why? Because my Way is through Mind-awakening. How can it be conveyed in words"


"Enlightenment springs from Mind, regardless of your practice of the six paramitas and the rest. All such practices are merely expedients for handling concrete matters when dealing with the problems of daily life. Even Enlightenment, the Absolute, Reality, Sudden Attainment, the Dharmakaya and all the others down to the Ten Stages of Progress, the Four Rewards of virtuous and wise living and the State of Holiness and Wisdom are - every one of them - mere concepts for helping us through samsara; they have nothing to do with the real Buddha-Mind. Since Mind is the Buddha, the ideal way of attainment is to cultivate that Buddha-Mind. Only avoid conceptual thoughts, which lead to becoming and cessation, to the afflictions of the sentient world and all the rest; then you will have no need of methods of Enlightenment and such-like. Therefore it is written:


All the Buddha's teachings just had this single object -
To carry us beyond the stage of thought.
Now, if I accomplish cessation of my thinking,
What use to me the Dharmas Buddha taught?"


To avoid confusing anybody, I would maybe add that perceptual changes do seem to be a necessary part of the journey, but they are not the destination. Still I remain amazed by the obsession with sailing up and down in the best possible buddhist boat, instead of just crossing over to the other shore. 

The path is not the destination.
The map is not the territory. 
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 

emoticon  
Malcolm


emoticon
emoticonemoticonemoticon
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Not two, not one:
Pure gold terry. Or should I say ... unblemished silver (as I seem to recall that is your craft)  emoticon



untarnished...

t


"It is not that there is no practice leading to realization, only that they cannot be defiled."
~nanyue
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 931 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
terry:
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.


Ah, quoting the great Yogi Berra actually.  He produced many koans.  
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
terry:
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.


Okay, Terry, you know I love you and will put up with any amount your antics, but when you start dissing YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you fucking one-up a quote by YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you act like you can top the wisdom of YOGI FUCKING BERRA, i have to say: not on MY watch, you [expletives of extraordinarily graphic nature deleted, per DhO forum rules. Censor has requested time off to recover from the trauma.]

love, tim
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
terry:
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.


Okay, Terry, you know I love you and will put up with any amount your antics, but when you start dissing YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you fucking one-up a quote by YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you act like you can top the wisdom of YOGI FUCKING BERRA, i have to say: not on MY watch, you [expletives of extraordinarily graphic nature deleted, per DhO forum rules. Censor has requested time off to recover from the trauma.]

love, tim

   Yogi didn't always say what he said.

   As a native new yorker, I was a diehard dodger fan who died and went to heaven in 1955. (bronx cheer)

t
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
terry:
Tim Farrington:
terry:
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.


Okay, Terry, you know I love you and will put up with any amount your antics, but when you start dissing YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you fucking one-up a quote by YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you act like you can top the wisdom of YOGI FUCKING BERRA, i have to say: not on MY watch, you [expletives of extraordinarily graphic nature deleted, per DhO forum rules. Censor has requested time off to recover from the trauma.]

love, tim

   Yogi didn't always say what he said.

   As a native new yorker, I was a diehard dodger fan who died and went to heaven in 1955. (bronx cheer)

t
Terry, you're not that old, you bluffer. (Ebbetts Field raspberry)



to bring this back to practice: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

love, tim
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
terry:
Tim Farrington:
terry:
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.


Okay, Terry, you know I love you and will put up with any amount your antics, but when you start dissing YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you fucking one-up a quote by YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you act like you can top the wisdom of YOGI FUCKING BERRA, i have to say: not on MY watch, you [expletives of extraordinarily graphic nature deleted, per DhO forum rules. Censor has requested time off to recover from the trauma.]

love, tim

   Yogi didn't always say what he said.

   As a native new yorker, I was a diehard dodger fan who died and went to heaven in 1955. (bronx cheer)

t
Terry, you're not that old, you bluffer. (Ebbetts Field raspberry)



to bring this back to practice: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

love, tim


How can you get a hit and think at the same time?

~yogi berra
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Tim Farrington:
terry:
Tim Farrington:
terry:
Not two, not one:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 




   Paraphrasing the matrix:


Do not try to take the fork in the road, that's impossible; only try to realize the truth.

What is the truth?

There is no fork.


Okay, Terry, you know I love you and will put up with any amount your antics, but when you start dissing YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you fucking one-up a quote by YOGI FUCKING BERRA, when you act like you can top the wisdom of YOGI FUCKING BERRA, i have to say: not on MY watch, you [expletives of extraordinarily graphic nature deleted, per DhO forum rules. Censor has requested time off to recover from the trauma.]

love, tim

   Yogi didn't always say what he said.

   As a native new yorker, I was a diehard dodger fan who died and went to heaven in 1955. (bronx cheer)

t
Terry, you're not that old, you bluffer. (Ebbetts Field raspberry)
love, tim


am too



"great talents ripen late"
~lao tsu
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
are not.
John, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 47 Join Date: 7/11/14 Recent Posts
J C:
Yes, there is another way to explain it. The three trainings (morality, concentration, and insight) are all separate, and you can be advanced in one but not others.

The Sayadaw here was advanced in insight but perhaps not in morality. Possibly the culture he grew up in was more authority-based than reason- and debate-based, or maybe something about his upbringing led him to dislike being questioned (karma! Cause and effect!)

I think of enlightenment as being like any other skill. Like bowling. We're not surprised when a great bowler is an alcoholic abusive asshole - why should we be surprised when a great meditator is one?

You can be very "attached to self" in the psychological sense of maintaining a certain self-image, and still see no-self of all phenomena in the meditation sense. They are two completely different things.

Enlightenment is just a perceptual change. It changes things so you no longer experience sensations dualistically. But you still keep your personality, quirks, and neuroses.

For a lot more on this, see Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram. It talks a lot about this.
Absolutely wrong. If you maintain your neuroses, personality and quirks then why on earth would anyone meditate. Seems an excercise in futilitu. I had catastrophic Seasonal Affective Disorder all my life and it has disappeared and am not even enlightened yet.

I think a lot of "enlightened" folks would rather make enlightenment contain suffering and anxiety then just admit they aren't enlightened.
Tim Farrington, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
John:
J C:
Yes, there is another way to explain it. The three trainings (morality, concentration, and insight) are all separate, and you can be advanced in one but not others.

The Sayadaw here was advanced in insight but perhaps not in morality. Possibly the culture he grew up in was more authority-based than reason- and debate-based, or maybe something about his upbringing led him to dislike being questioned (karma! Cause and effect!)

I think of enlightenment as being like any other skill. Like bowling. We're not surprised when a great bowler is an alcoholic abusive asshole - why should we be surprised when a great meditator is one?

You can be very "attached to self" in the psychological sense of maintaining a certain self-image, and still see no-self of all phenomena in the meditation sense. They are two completely different things.

Enlightenment is just a perceptual change. It changes things so you no longer experience sensations dualistically. But you still keep your personality, quirks, and neuroses.

For a lot more on this, see Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram. It talks a lot about this.
Absolutely wrong. If you maintain your neuroses, personality and quirks then why on earth would anyone meditate. Seems an excercise in futilitu. I had catastrophic Seasonal Affective Disorder all my life and it has disappeared and am not even enlightened yet.

I think a lot of "enlightened" folks would rather make enlightenment contain suffering and anxiety then just admit they aren't enlightened.

John, I've had a thread of interest going way back that I call "The Enlightened Assholes Study Project," ever since I was sitting around with some very advanced practioners in an ashram in the eighties, listening to them talk about the guru beating some people up and wondering what to make of that. I think it's simple realism to acknowledge that such people, purprotedly "enlightened" people who in any other context would be seen as obnoxious, abusive, and even criminal, are fairly common. JC is right that Daniel Ingram's list of the mistaken conceptions of what "enlightenment" is, is very helpful here, and it gives a lot of food for thought. And I agree with him that it is important to understand that high degree spiritual assholes exist, as a matter of course.

I can understand your deep gut response that it does seem to bring the whole meditation thing into question, as not being an asshole would seem to be fairly high on the list of side effects one would be inclined to hope for, setting out on the spiritual path. I think almost everyone will go through the experience of encountering a highly respected teacher or practitioner who in some ways is also, more or less undeniably, after all due rationalizations, an asshole as well. The best of these will have people around them who occasionally manage to tell them when they're being an asshole, the very best of them are occasionally even able to hear that, and the even better are able to say, well, shit, sorry, and stop. and even laugh about it. but these are rare birds.

I think one thing that emerges for me, after the obvious "well, maybe all this meditation shit really IS an exercise in futility," is taking the enlightenment shit way less seriously, and taking the meditation practice even more seriously, given the daunting amount of human work involved to simply not be an asshole. The advice from Jesus in the Gospels seems relevant here: we can see the mote in our asshole neighbor's eye, but we find it easy to look past the giant fucking beam blocking our own asshole vision. Again, this view calls us back to the mat, back to morality 101, back to ever new humility and patience and acceptance. 

but yeah, those fucking enlightened assholes with those motes in their eyes, surrounded by people explaining how the motes are a good thing, piss me off, lol. I've got my work cut out for me too, I guess.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 5769 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
John:

I think a lot of "enlightened" folks would rather make enlightenment contain suffering and anxiety then just admit they aren't enlightened.


That’s probably true to some extent, but I suspect it’s also all too common for people to be in denial about issues that they have repressed, with or without ideas of being enlightened. If someone is convinced for instance that every single reactional pattern is seen through at a specific point of the path, and at the same time is convinced about having reached that point, then we have a devious trap.

”Absolutely wrong” sounds to me like a very strong view. It is often a good idea to investigate those, for instance with regard to clinging.
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 3997 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
John, do you know the old saying, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride?" It's like that. The path is lots of work but it's not magic. We remain human beings throughout. Awakening is but one slice of the human development pie.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 5769 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I'm so glad to see that you're still around, Chris. emoticon It would be empty here without you, and not in the good way. 
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Siavash, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1354 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
Yeah.

I was missing Chris's presence all these days.
Now that I saw his comment, the feeling was: An old friend stopped talking with you, and there was a gap, now suddenly they've started talking, and there is that moment of connection, but you know that things are not the same as it was before! emoticon
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terry, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
John:
J C:
Yes, there is another way to explain it. The three trainings (morality, concentration, and insight) are all separate, and you can be advanced in one but not others.

The Sayadaw here was advanced in insight but perhaps not in morality. Possibly the culture he grew up in was more authority-based than reason- and debate-based, or maybe something about his upbringing led him to dislike being questioned (karma! Cause and effect!)

I think of enlightenment as being like any other skill. Like bowling. We're not surprised when a great bowler is an alcoholic abusive asshole - why should we be surprised when a great meditator is one?

You can be very "attached to self" in the psychological sense of maintaining a certain self-image, and still see no-self of all phenomena in the meditation sense. They are two completely different things.

Enlightenment is just a perceptual change. It changes things so you no longer experience sensations dualistically. But you still keep your personality, quirks, and neuroses.

For a lot more on this, see Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram. It talks a lot about this.
Absolutely wrong. If you maintain your neuroses, personality and quirks then why on earth would anyone meditate. Seems an excercise in futilitu. I had catastrophic Seasonal Affective Disorder all my life and it has disappeared and am not even enlightened yet.

I think a lot of "enlightened" folks would rather make enlightenment contain suffering and anxiety then just admit they aren't enlightened.


aloha john,


   However you might define "enlightened," one does not change one's habitual tendencies instantly upon a change in consciousness. One sees them in a different light, so to speak.

   All tendencies have two sides. Stubborness and determintion. Self-reliance and willfulness. Short and sweet. 

   Certainly enlightenment contains anxiety and suffering, though I'd rather admit I wasn't enlightened, and frequently do.



terry



from "the questions of king milinda"

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf


22. The Perfect Speech of the Buddha

“Sàriputta the chief disciple said,
‘The Tathàgata is perfect
in speech, there is no fault of speech in the Tathàgata
concerning which he should have to take care that no one else
should know it.’ So why did the Buddha use harsh and
abusive words to Sudinna the Kalanda and call him a
stupid fellow?”

“That was not out of rudeness, O king, but merely to
show him the foolish and contemptible nature of his
conduct in a way that would do him no harm. If any man in
this birth does not attain to perception of the Four Noble
Truths, his life has been in vain. The Blessed One used
words of truth, they were no exaggeration. He admonished
others only to destroy the disease of unwholesomeness. His
words, even when stern, softened men’s pride and made
them humble. They were full of compassion and aimed at
benefit as the words of a father to his children."
John, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 47 Join Date: 7/11/14 Recent Posts
terry:

aloha john,


   However you might define "enlightened," one does not change one's habitual tendencies instantly upon a change in consciousness. One sees them in a different light, so to speak.

   All tendencies have two sides. Stubborness and determintion. Self-reliance and willfulness. Short and sweet. 

   Certainly enlightenment contains anxiety and suffering, though I'd rather admit I wasn't enlightened, and frequently do.



terry



from "the questions of king milinda"

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf


22. The Perfect Speech of the Buddha

“Sàriputta the chief disciple said,
‘The Tathàgata is perfect
in speech, there is no fault of speech in the Tathàgata
concerning which he should have to take care that no one else
should know it.’ So why did the Buddha use harsh and
abusive words to Sudinna the Kalanda and call him a
stupid fellow?”

“That was not out of rudeness, O king, but merely to
show him the foolish and contemptible nature of his
conduct in a way that would do him no harm. If any man in
this birth does not attain to perception of the Four Noble
Truths, his life has been in vain. The Blessed One used
words of truth, they were no exaggeration. He admonished
others only to destroy the disease of unwholesomeness. His
words, even when stern, softened men’s pride and made
them humble. They were full of compassion and aimed at
benefit as the words of a father to his children."

If suffering and anxiety continue post enlightenment we'd have to agree more or less than this path is a useless endevour. I don't think the Buddha agreed that suffering and anxiety continues post enlightenment and I think that one can be very happy and admonish someone. 

As per what happens after enlightenment I've the found the quote "an awake heart is an empty sky that pours light/bliss" to be pretty correct and even then I do have serious questions if they were fully enlightened as well. 
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terry, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
John:
terry:

aloha john,


   However you might define "enlightened," one does not change one's habitual tendencies instantly upon a change in consciousness. One sees them in a different light, so to speak.

   All tendencies have two sides. Stubborness and determintion. Self-reliance and willfulness. Short and sweet. 

   Certainly enlightenment contains anxiety and suffering, though I'd rather admit I wasn't enlightened, and frequently do.



terry



from "the questions of king milinda"

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf


22. The Perfect Speech of the Buddha

“Sàriputta the chief disciple said,
‘The Tathàgata is perfect
in speech, there is no fault of speech in the Tathàgata
concerning which he should have to take care that no one else
should know it.’ So why did the Buddha use harsh and
abusive words to Sudinna the Kalanda and call him a
stupid fellow?”

“That was not out of rudeness, O king, but merely to
show him the foolish and contemptible nature of his
conduct in a way that would do him no harm. If any man in
this birth does not attain to perception of the Four Noble
Truths, his life has been in vain. The Blessed One used
words of truth, they were no exaggeration. He admonished
others only to destroy the disease of unwholesomeness. His
words, even when stern, softened men’s pride and made
them humble. They were full of compassion and aimed at
benefit as the words of a father to his children."

If suffering and anxiety continue post enlightenment we'd have to agree more or less than this path is a useless endevour. I don't think the Buddha agreed that suffering and anxiety continues post enlightenment and I think that one can be very happy and admonish someone. 

As per what happens after enlightenment I've the found the quote "an awake heart is an empty sky that pours light/bliss" to be pretty correct and even then I do have serious questions if they were fully enlightened as well. 


   I agree that the path has no use. The fully enlightened know this. Whether you are happy or not is a judgment, and really, who cares? It is what it is.

   The path is user free. No one is on the path to suffer. Extinction and liberation are the same.

  
   You were on this path before your parents were born, you'll be on it after your great great grandchildren are dead.


   Meditate with an awake heart and be an empty sky. 


terry



from 101 zen stories, reps:


56. The True Path

Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen
master Ikkyu visited him. "Shall I lead you on?"
Ikkyu asked. Ninakawa replied: "I came here alone and I go
alone. What help could you be to me?"
Ikkyu answered: "If you think you really come
and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on
which there is no coming and no going."
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so
clearly that Ninakawa smiled and passed away.
Nathan Bell, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 33 Join Date: 9/27/19 Recent Posts
To me, enlightenment is all about realizing the case of mistaken identity. Realizing there's no YOU in there is the name of the game. If you can fully comprehend the three characteristics in all phenomenon, you've got it, at least as far as insight goes. Unless I'm horribly mistaken, an Arahant is a being that has "got it" in the insight training to the fullest degree (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). Behavioral changes are a different training entirely, being morality training. Good practitioners work on their morality of course, but being an "enlightened being" ain't gonna do just a whole lot on it's own in the realm of behavior and personality. The idea that enlightened beings are some perfect archetype of peace and love at all times and don't experience negative emotions and never ever exhibit bad behavior is such a massive trap that no matter how many people fall into it (and a LOT of people fall in) that it could never possibly be filled up. It actually appears to me that a significant portion of the work we do as meditators is dispel these fantasies in our own minds, but who knows, I could be completely delusional and it turns out TRUE enlightenment is something only one in a billion actually manages, and the rest of us are chumps that fell for the sales pitch.
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Wow, this thread has everything I like. Jim, V. Vimalaramsi, my spiritual friend V. Vivekananda, etc.

Here's a hypothesis I had about how enlightened people might seem excessively stern. Suppose a person is enlightened and they have an incomprehensibly large ocean of compassion for you and wholesome desire for your well-being. They truly want you to get up with them where they are. Let's say they feel that their pre-enlightenment period was zero and their enlightenment profit was infinity.

They assess your trajectory and see that you are going a slightly wrong way. They may think that the absolute kindest thing in the world they can do for you is to give you whatever kind of BAP! you need to be going more like the correct direction. That's all that matters. And once you gain enlightenment, you'll agree with them and thank them. They're trying to be the best possible friend to you and do what's best for you rather than what you might prefer at the moment.

Imagine a drill instructor. He screams in the faces of his recruits, he makes them think he's a maniac. He terrifies them. He makes them run until they think they're going to die. They think he's a sadist. Is he? No. If the men ever go through combat, later they reflect and know that the drill instructor's intent was to make them strong enough to get through the conflict and actually come home, back to loved ones. It was kindness in a form that was incomprehensible to them at the time.

I've heard the same about other kinds of instructors, like math instructors. One teacher told me it was absurd for students to rate their teachers because they would only know which teachers were good decades later.

I think people like U Pandita knew well that what we might call the western mind does not tend to react so well to pure authoritarianism, but I'm not sure that knowledge of that is enough to allow you to overcome it. He might have just seen it as another barrier. I think he probably could have been more skillful, but how far can we really transcend decades of cultural programming in our countries of origin?
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Here is another reason I think a highly enlightened person would not get "frosty" because he can't tolerate anyone arguing with him...

This article (quoted below) says that that through meditation on forgiveness you can achieve a state where "nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you". It says this can be achieved in twenty one years of Zen meditation or in much less time with biofeedback from brainwave monitoring equipment. 

What they say in the article aligns with my own experiences meditating. When I work with emotions, allowing myself to feel them fully which results in letting go of them, it produces feelings of forgiveness. I don't claim to be near perfecting this but I have experienced progress that makes me believe much more progress is possible.

https://blog.mindvalley.com/studying-brain-with-meditation/
The Surprising Thing I Learned From Studying My Brain With Meditation Technology For 7 Days
...
Well the scientists who developed this technology studied the brainwaves of many remarkable people. Billionaires, intuits, creatives, monks and mystics.

What they found was that when you meditate using these methods, your brain takes on the same patterns as someone who has spent 21 to 40 YEARS in Zen meditation.
...
The equipment we were hooked up to would beep different sounds based on the brainwaves we were producing. And during our sessions, we were told to increase our alpha wave production.
...
But what was most surprising was the method we were learning to increase our alpha waves.

It was just ONE thing. And we spent 7 full days focusing on it.

Forgiveness.
...

Dave Asprey says that when you start forgiving, you become “unf*ckwithable”.

He sent this to me in a text message after the training.

When you're truly at peace
and in touch with yourself
nothing anyone says or does bothers you
and no negativity can touch you



 
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Well, U Pandita had forgiveness covered - if you read on, Kenneth saw the error of his ways and U Pandita forgave him!

That sounds like marketing copy - I'm skeptical that a machine could give you the equivalent of decades of meditation in a week.

As far as "nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you" - that's an ideal that is not possible for a human being, and the attempt to emulate it leads to repression and shadow sides.

Besides, how do you know U Pandita was bothered by it? Maybe he just thought being "frosty" was the appropriate response. Maybe Kenneth was actually being rude and disrespectful. We only have one side of the story.

Even if nothing bothered you, that doesn't necessarily mean you'd always react in a super nice loving way. Maybe sometimes it's appropriate to throw tables around and smite fig trees like Jesus, or chop off students' fingers or hit them with sticks like Zen monks.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
J C:
Well, U Pandita had forgiveness covered - if you read on, Kenneth saw the error of his ways and U Pandita forgave him!

That sounds like marketing copy - I'm skeptical that a machine could give you the equivalent of decades of meditation in a week.

As far as "nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you" - that's an ideal that is not possible for a human being, and the attempt to emulate it leads to repression and shadow sides.

Besides, how do you know U Pandita was bothered by it? Maybe he just thought being "frosty" was the appropriate response. Maybe Kenneth was actually being rude and disrespectful. We only have one side of the story.

Even if nothing bothered you, that doesn't necessarily mean you'd always react in a super nice loving way. Maybe sometimes it's appropriate to throw tables around and smite fig trees like Jesus, or chop off students' fingers or hit them with sticks like Zen monks.


I think the quote: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it." is self evident.

But I could be biased because I also read this in the same web page: 

"My teacher there was the famous and cantankerous Sayadaw U Pandita, "

and this:

"Sayadaw U Pandita was living proof that this was not so; he displayed the whole range of emotion. Although he could at times be loving, kind, and supportive, more often he appeared angry, irritated, cutting and sarcastic. In short, he was a mean old man."
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
I haven't read the whole book yet, so I'm not sure if the author reflects on those incidents any further, but I did read the context around the quote, and I'm inclined to think I got it right, that U Pandita was just trying to get the desired effect in his student.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Brian:
I haven't read the whole book yet, so I'm not sure if the author reflects on those incidents any further, but I did read the context around the quote, and I'm inclined to think I got it right, that U Pandita was just trying to get the desired effect in his student.


Enough people replied explaining that advanced stages of enlightenment don't make you a nice person or end suffering that I think the point stands on it's own without requiring U Pandita as evidnece.

No one here is arguing enlightenment cures you of unpleasant emotions. My point is that there are other forms of Buddhism that probably do a better job of easing suffering than the stages of insight. The examples I gave are Bhante V. and Zen.

I am not trying to denigrate the stages of insight or the enlightenment they produce. But I think it is useful for people to know that if you are practicing Buddhism because you want to reduce suffering, there might be better forms of practice to accomplish that.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 602 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:

Enough people replied explaining that advanced stages of enlightenment don't make you a nice person or end suffering that I think the point stands on it's own without requiring U Pandita as evidnece.

No one here is arguing enlightenment cures you of unpleasant emotions. My point is that there are other forms of Buddhism that probably do a better job of easing suffering than the stages of insight. The examples I gave are Bhante V. and Zen.

I am not trying to denigrate the stages of insight or the enlightenment they produce. But I think it is useful for people to know that if you are practicing Buddhism because you want to reduce suffering, there might be better forms of practice to accomplish that.

Jim,

It really needs to be experienced to be understood. YES emotions, and the what appears as an "unpleasant" person continue, but the experience of it being "I" or "mine" goes away. The "self" that would suffer is what goes away. Thus, no "I" that is suffering. It doesn't make any logical sense until it is an insight. In my experience, this is a universal insight amongst a number of teachers with insight that I have managed to have this discussion with.

Enlightenment does what it says on the label... just not in the way you think it is going to, or that makes conceptual sense.

I'll add that I heard Ken McLeod, who I greatly admire, recently suggest that dukkha not be translated as "suffering", but instead as "struggle". Speaking for myself, this makes a LOT more sense. 
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Sterling,

I don't dispute what you are saying.

But my concern is that if a practice won't prevent someone from becoming a mean old man then I am not interested in it. There might be other people who feel the same way so I am posting here about it.

Part of the reason I want to "end suffering" is because when I am suffering, (angry etc) it affects other people too. My interest in meditation is partly easing my own discomfort, but it is also partly spiritual development - developing my personality to reflect my spiritual values such as compassion, goodwill, forgiveness, tolerance, equanimity etc.

My spiritual beliefs do not include the belief that enlightenment is necessary to end reincarnation and is also the end of all spiritual devleopment.

The way I am practicing is doing what I want it to do, if it's not Buddhism that's okay with me.
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
Sterling,

I don't dispute what you are saying.

But my concern is that if a practice won't prevent someone from becoming a mean old man then I am not interested in it. There might be other people who feel the same way so I am posting here about it.

Part of the reason I want to "end suffering" is because when I am suffering, (angry etc) it affects other people too. My interest in meditation is partly easing my own discomfort, but it is also partly spiritual development - developing my personality to reflect my spiritual values such as compassion, goodwill, forgiveness, tolerance, equanimity etc.

My spiritual beliefs do not include the belief that enlightenment is necessary to end reincarnation and is also the end of all spiritual devleopment.

The way I am practicing is doing what I want it to do, if it's not Buddhism that's okay with me.

test
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 5769 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
But my concern is that if a practice won't prevent someone from becoming a mean old man then I am not interested in it. There might be other people who feel the same way so I am posting here about it.

Part of the reason I want to "end suffering" is because when I am suffering, (angry etc) it affects other people too. My interest in meditation is partly easing my own discomfort, but it is also partly spiritual development - developing my personality to reflect my spiritual values such as compassion, goodwill, forgiveness, tolerance, equanimity etc.


I'll say halleluja to that anytime!

I do agree that awakening takes away the identifying with the suffering, though - to some extent; I think most realized people would not be able to just not identify with being tortured, for instance.
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Steph S, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I do agree that awakening takes away the identifying with the suffering, though - to some extent; I think most realized people would not be able to just not identify with being tortured, for instance.
I agree with this.

And I also like what Stirling said above about framing suffering as "struggling" because that lines up with how I have experienced "suffering". It's a constant struggle to get away from or get more of something. For me personally, what has reduced dramatically over the course of my path is the tendency to either wallow, disengage, avoid, or throw a mental fit about unpleasant things that I experience. Things are still felt to be unpleasant, but it's nowhere near as big of a deal and I can generally hang with it.
Jake Frankfurt Middenhall, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 94 Join Date: 9/12/18 Recent Posts
So many interesting perspectives in this thread. Thanks!
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Oh, I think I finally see what you're getting at, that we should look at the masters of a practice to see where it seems to lead. I totally agree. I want whatever practice I do to be sort of a technology that helps me be more like how I envision an ideal person, or at least helps me maximize my potential to be like that. For me, that includes generosity, never being angry, infinite patience, fearlessness, compassion, all that good saintly stuff.

For this reason, although I was riveted by e.g., Maha Bua's story, I don't really want to practice the way he did, because no matter what happened to him, he was still scolding people and angrily yelling when he got old.

The Mahasi tradition simply can't be discounted. It seems to get results. I get the sense that it may have been particularly good for getting results in Burma, where a lot of people have been raised to believe that they simply must do their utmost to obey the instructions of monks. It seems clear that if you can make yourself do that practice, you can get some kind of valuable breakthrough.

But at the same time, it seems clear to me that the Buddha-to-be was not noting each and every arising mental object under the rose apple tree. Noting each arising object seems to be an innovation that happened much much later. I think the Buddha said more or less "I remember what happened to me under the rose apple tree. I thought, could that be the way? Then I thought, yes, that's the way."

When I take V. Vimalaramsi's advice, the process seems to unfold automatically. Once you get the idea that you relax and reduce your mind's tendency to crave, you are on the way. Unpleasant memory? Relax and reduce the mind's tendency to bug you about that. Pleasant feeling? Relax, don't tighten up in an attempt to keep it from leaving. When you relax, you feel relief. Doing this over and over retrains an extremely fundamental reflex that tightens in reponse to stuff liked or disliked by the mind. Instead of liking and disliking causing tightening, you are training it to hang loose and ultimately not react at all to liked or disliked. Surely, surely, surely, this is the ultimate Buddha brainwave.

My practice is not just making everything not seem like mine but leaving me to still be a jerk to everyone. I'm like, saturating my existence with wholesome feelings every day. The mere thought of meditating, and my breaths start taking themselves and my head starts filling with a feeling of ease and well-being that makes me smile. This is better than I used to be.
Jake Frankfurt Middenhall, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 94 Join Date: 9/12/18 Recent Posts
A very interesting discussion indeed. One of the questions i pondered is:
If we claim it is impossible to be free from afflictions, i doesn´t make more sense to say "Arhats never existed", instead of claming you are an Arhat? Of course the latter is way more useful for the purpose of "revolution".

Claiming Arhats are not really free from desire also goes in line with that polemic figure, often satanized, called "Mahadeva" (Who was considered the founder of one of the earliest schools: "The Mahasamghikas". His points were:
1) An Arhat can be seduced by another.
2)An Arhat can be subject to ignorance
3) An Arhat may have doubt.
4)An Arhat may be instructed by another person
5) Uwknow what he meant in this one.

This can be consider as another historic proof for Arhats never really be free from afflictions.
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 931 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Jake Frankfurt Middenhall:

"Arhats never existed", 

Yes, this is exactly right.  But not in the way you think.  emoticon

Malcolm

emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon
Martin, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Stirling Campbell:

I'll add that I heard Ken McLeod, who I greatly admire, recently suggest that dukkha not be translated as "suffering", but instead as "struggle". Speaking for myself, this makes a LOT more sense. 


Wow, I like that a lot! Leigh Brasington rather playfully suggested that dukkha should be translated as "bummer," because it covered more situations than "suffering": birth is a bummer, sickness is a bummer, loosing your sunglasses is a bummer, and so on. I thought that, in many cases, it would in fact be an improvment on "suffering." But "struggle" passes Brasington's test (birth is a struggle, sickness is a struggle, loosing your sunglasses is a struggle) and it also gets to the felt sense of the more subtle manifestations of dukkha. Very nice, indeed. 
John, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 47 Join Date: 7/11/14 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
Brian:
I haven't read the whole book yet, so I'm not sure if the author reflects on those incidents any further, but I did read the context around the quote, and I'm inclined to think I got it right, that U Pandita was just trying to get the desired effect in his student.


Enough people replied explaining that advanced stages of enlightenment don't make you a nice person or end suffering that I think the point stands on it's own without requiring U Pandita as evidnece.

No one here is arguing enlightenment cures you of unpleasant emotions. My point is that there are other forms of Buddhism that probably do a better job of easing suffering than the stages of insight. The examples I gave are Bhante V. and Zen.

I am not trying to denigrate the stages of insight or the enlightenment they produce. But I think it is useful for people to know that if you are practicing Buddhism because you want to reduce suffering, there might be better forms of practice to accomplish that.

I am arguing that enlightenment cures you of fundamental suffering and makes you genuinely happy. Why on earth wouldn't it? xD
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 5769 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I can recommend reading the criticism of different models of enlightenment in MCTB2. That's good stuff. 
genaro, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

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my favourite section, could not agree more.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I can recommend reading the criticism of different models of enlightenment in MCTB2. That's good stuff. 



aloha linda,

    Enlightenment, at root, is an improvement in the light by which we see, perceive, comprehend, intuit reality as one pearl and cope with it. To reify it, make it a prize, a goal, a dharma or thing, is to miss. It is the sword of discrimination that cannot cut itself, the inner sun whose light reveals truth and whose warmth kindles kindness and compassion.

   There is a quantum leap in consciousness, a copernican revolution which occurs with the sudden realization that one's ego is not the center of the universe, that all of life-and-its-environment is central and sacred. In the koran, abraham worshipped the stars, the moon, the sun, until he realized that all of these set, and he said, "I love not gods that set." There is no god but god.

   Buddhist psychology is the same as freud. The life urge, eros, is desire, libido. The death urge, thanatos, freud also called "the nirvana principle." Life is in love with death. And, "Eternity is in love with the productions of time" (blake). At every moment we balance the urge to build up and the urge to tear down: life in constant renewal. Renewal is the nature of life, and to stop changing is to die.

   Every moment sums up the whole of time and evolution, everything intertwined and mutually dependent; we can't comprehend the moment, let alone take time to remember and project. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

terry




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzQuE1pR1w
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 5769 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
terry:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I can recommend reading the criticism of different models of enlightenment in MCTB2. That's good stuff. 



aloha linda,

    Enlightenment, at root, is an improvement in the light by which we see, perceive, comprehend, intuit reality as one pearl and cope with it. To reify it, make it a prize, a goal, a dharma or thing, is to miss. It is the sword of discrimination that cannot cut itself, the inner sun whose light reveals truth and whose warmth kindles kindness and compassion.

   There is a quantum leap in consciousness, a copernican revolution which occurs with the sudden realization that one's ego is not the center of the universe, that all of life-and-its-environment is central and sacred. In the koran, abraham worshipped the stars, the moon, the sun, until he realized that all of these set, and he said, "I love not gods that set." There is no god but god.

   Buddhist psychology is the same as freud. The life urge, eros, is desire, libido. The death urge, thanatos, freud also called "the nirvana principle." Life is in love with death. And, "Eternity is in love with the productions of time" (blake). At every moment we balance the urge to build up and the urge to tear down: life in constant renewal. Renewal is the nature of life, and to stop changing is to die.

   Every moment sums up the whole of time and evolution, everything intertwined and mutually dependent; we can't comprehend the moment, let alone take time to remember and project. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

terry




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzQuE1pR1w

Aloha right back at ya,

That's beautifully put. Was I suppused to see that as somehow in conflict with my recommendation to read that chapter? Because if so, I'd be interested in an elaboration on why, based on your own reading of the chapter. 
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terry, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
terry:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I can recommend reading the criticism of different models of enlightenment in MCTB2. That's good stuff. 



aloha linda,

    Enlightenment, at root, is an improvement in the light by which we see, perceive, comprehend, intuit reality as one pearl and cope with it. To reify it, make it a prize, a goal, a dharma or thing, is to miss. It is the sword of discrimination that cannot cut itself, the inner sun whose light reveals truth and whose warmth kindles kindness and compassion.

   There is a quantum leap in consciousness, a copernican revolution which occurs with the sudden realization that one's ego is not the center of the universe, that all of life-and-its-environment is central and sacred. In the koran, abraham worshipped the stars, the moon, the sun, until he realized that all of these set, and he said, "I love not gods that set." There is no god but god.

   Buddhist psychology is the same as freud. The life urge, eros, is desire, libido. The death urge, thanatos, freud also called "the nirvana principle." Life is in love with death. And, "Eternity is in love with the productions of time" (blake). At every moment we balance the urge to build up and the urge to tear down: life in constant renewal. Renewal is the nature of life, and to stop changing is to die.

   Every moment sums up the whole of time and evolution, everything intertwined and mutually dependent; we can't comprehend the moment, let alone take time to remember and project. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

terry




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzQuE1pR1w

Aloha right back at ya,

That's beautifully put. Was I suppused to see that as somehow in conflict with my recommendation to read that chapter? Because if so, I'd be interested in an elaboration on why, based on your own reading of the chapter. 


    Nah.

    Just another puddle of whatever...

t
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
In this thread

...
Once, I brought this up to U Vivekananda after a frosty encounter with U Pandita. The German monk said. “Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it.”

...
People have pointed out how you can be enlightened but still be emotional. I am not disputing that.

But I have thought of another seeming inconsistency:

Equanimity is one of the most basic traits that the path is supposed to produce. It is part of the stages of insight where it is developed before stream-entry. ( I point this out because some people say the sutras are old and we don't really know what they mean, we are better off following modern day teachers. Whether you follow the sutras or a modern teacher equanimity is basic.)

If someone gets frosty when they are argued with, if they cannot "tolerate" people arguing with them, it seems obvious to me that they do not have equanimity.

If someone who has attained the highest level of awakening can lack equanimity, it seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere in the teachings.

I am not trying to offend anyone. I am a Buddhist, I took the five precepts, I find great benefit from the meditation and mindfulness practices, I consider certain sutras great sources of wisdom, but I think it is okay to be critical where it is deserved - for the benefit of beginners who are entitled to an honest explanation of what Buddhism is and the practices do.

How can development of equinimity be such a fundamental part of Buddhist development, yet an arahant can lack it?
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Well, you and I are familiar with how V. Vimalaramsi would see it. After 20-someodd years of noting, he was told he was at the end of the path, that he'd done it. But he didn't think he'd undergone the personality changes that he should have. And he was dissatisfied with that, which seems like proof that he hadn't actually done it. That's why he went back to the suttas, ended up leaving Theravada, etc.

I hope it doesn't seem like I'm tooting a horn for V. Vimalaramsi all the time. It's just that, with regard to Mahasi noting, some things have never added up for me. For one, it seems clear it's not what the Buddha did. For another, the Buddha said that when he was enlightened, he knew what had happened to him. But at the end of the Mahasi noting line, you perform a self evaluation according to what you hear on tapes? There's a famous thread here called "Not one Mahasi practitioner has achieved irreversible freedom".

Obviously, I don't know what's going on. I'm still a beginner. Noting clearly has value. But it also seems clear that masters of noting often don't display all of the characteristics expected of enlightened people.
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Ben V., modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 362 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
I've read B. Vimalaramsi's method. I find that very often as I read through his descriptions of the 8 Aware Jhanas, he's re-inventing the wheel. It pretty much describes what in Mahasi circles we would call vipassana jhanas, with B.V.'s descriptions of the immaterial aware jhanas being pretty much refined aspects of the 4th vipassana jhana. His description of the cessation moment is the same as in Mahasi.

The only difference I see is his emphasis on relaxation. One of my teachers in the past, B. Khippapanno, was a Mahasi lineage teacher and he emphasized relaxing the body like B.V. does. So it does exist in that lineage too and it may depend with on the teacher one meditates with. 

I adopted the relax method of B.V. and incorporated it in my noting. 

I don't quite understand why B.V. puts so much emphasis on criticizing the Mahasi approach or making such a sharp separation between his approach and those of others. 

As for transformation of character, well, Dipa Ma meditated exclusively in the Mahasi lineage...
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
There's huge overlap. Relaxation is a big difference. If you say that someone teaches Mahasi + relaxation, I totally believe you, but I don't think a suggestion to relax can be found in _Practical Insight Meditation_. If there is one, and I missed it, I still don't think it could be the same suggestion to relax so as to decrease craving and not be distracted.

The suggestion to smile is different, too.

There's another major difference: object. The object is a wholesome feeling. I spent two months at Panditarama Lumbini (which I love, and really admire my spiritual friend V. Vivekananda) but during that time I don't think it was ever suggested that I bring up metta. I told Sayadaw that the reason I had started taking meditation seriously and come to do a long retreat was that I was having powerful ecstatic experiences, and I was not encouraged to pursue it at all. This could be really reasonable. I think Sayadaw was worried that I would develop a feeling of self-importance or being special. I don't think they ever mentioned the way that the brahmaviharas seem to progress.

Another big difference that occurs to me is that Mahasi practitioners seem to take it for granted that there definitely will be a difficult period of mental and physical discomfort that could last years. This is not to be found in _The Path to Nibbana_, and so far, not in my experience. For me, it's the opposite -- the experiences I previously called "powerful ecstatic experiences", well, I had no idea. I used to compare them to drug experiences, like with MDMA, but I no longer have anything to compare them to. I often wonder if it would look as if I was having a two-hour seizure if I was on an EEG or whatever.

I think I can hit the major points V. Vimalaramsi would mention as to why he criticizes the Mahasi method. 1.) He did it for twenty years and didn't get the expected results, then did a different method and did get the expected results. 2.) The Buddha said that the solution to his problem was the beginning of the path he had experienced as a child under the rose apple tree. The experience under the tree seemed to be jhana from relaxing and being free from craving, not noting. 3.) When in doubt, or when there is conflict in ancient texts, prefer the older sources. The older sources (in his opinion) emphasize relaxation (tranquilizing the bodily formation). This is the reason he apparently had to part ways with Theravada (Theravadan emphasis of the Visuddhimagga)

In my own experience, my meditation was revolutionized when I started to take V. Vimalaramsi's advice, even though I wasn't fond of him as a person, nor inclined to like his advice. I just started doing it as if it was a medical treatment that I had to undergo, and I was converted. It works. The experiences are unbelievable. Between relaxing away craving and looking at wholesome feelings (initially metta), two things I did not do for the first several years of my practice, my practice was revolutionized.

Now, maybe those experiences are fun for me, but don't lead to liberation. Could be. I would just find it odd if somebody was encouraging a method that leads to some previously not-suspected-to-be-possible results but was lying or mistaken about what lies beyond those results.

I don't intend to criticize the Mahasi method. When people I admire as much as V. Vivekananda tell me it's good stuff, I put enormous stock in that. But I also have a hunch that it may be possible to categorize people according to what method suits them. I seem to have a very slow brain. I find noting to be confusing and laborious, and despite putting my heart into it for two months, I didn't see results that encouraged me to keep going with it. But I was spontaneously going into jhana even before I was a dedicated meditator. Perhaps it would have been good if this had been detected and I had been funneled into a practice more like the one I'm doing now.

Edit: I take from what you said that Dipa Ma was very saintly. I'll go learn some stuff about her.
Martin, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
That is very interesting to me, Brian. Is there something by V. Vimalaramsi that you would suggestion starting with.
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Hi, Martin. Glad to have piqued your interest. There's a very good book written by a long-time lay student of V. Vimalaramsi. It's called _The Path to Nibbana_. I don't think it's a perfect book, but it is very good in that it does a great job of describing the core practice. All that is needed is some provisionary belief that it could work, enough to see that it actually does work.

https://library.dhammasukha.org/uploads/1/2/8/6/12865490/the_path_to_nibbana__d_johnson_f18.pdf

T
he key idea is, when you are distracted from contemplation of whatever wholesome feeling is there at the moment, the distraction is due to craving, and craving manifests as physical tension. So relax. Feel the relief from having let go of the craving. Smile. Go back to the object.

Just this has changed my life.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
emoticon
Brian

There's a very good book written by a long-time lay student of V. Vimalaramsi. It's called _The Path to Nibbana_. I don't think it's a perfect book,
just out of pure, idle, dharma-pissing-away curiosity: do you know of a perfect book? asking honestly, no snark.

love, tim
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
No. The reason I say it like that is just mental habit from talking to people. I know that some people will hit a chapter about Brahmaloka realms or whatever, and just not be able to get past it and get whatever good stuff can be gotten from the book. A chapter like that can just really derail them and give them massive doubts.

I, having already meditated enough to experience weird stuff like my skull evaporating and such, am not fazed by a small amount of religious stuff in a book that's mostly about how to practice. I can roll over it because I already know there's good stuff. People who have never had such experiences, it may make them want to throw the book out.
Martin, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Brian:
Hi, Martin. Glad to have piqued your interest. There's a very good book written by a long-time lay student of V. Vimalaramsi. It's called _The Path to Nibbana_. I don't think it's a perfect book, but it is very good in that it does a great job of describing the core practice. All that is needed is some provisionary belief that it could work, enough to see that it actually does work.

https://library.dhammasukha.org/uploads/1/2/8/6/12865490/the_path_to_nibbana__d_johnson_f18.pdf

T
he key idea is, when you are distracted from contemplation of whatever wholesome feeling is there at the moment, the distraction is due to craving, and craving manifests as physical tension. So relax. Feel the relief from having let go of the craving. Smile. Go back to the object.

Just this has changed my life.


Many thanks!
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Ben V., modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 362 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
To be fair, the Mahasi teacher I mentioned above had also practiced under the Swee oo Min approach. Swee Oo Min was a top disciple of Mahasi but developed a somewhat different approach when he branched out. He focused a lot on relaxing the body. Swee Oo Min centers even became known as a "hospital" for people coming from Mahasi retreats and being overly tense. They came to Swee Oo Min and learned to relax during meditation.

One thing that went through my mind as I read The Path to Nibbana book is that people who have no vipassana background such as noting, if they do the Vimalaramsi approach, may end up in samatha jhanas, or jhana with little vipassana in it. I may be wrong. But one thing I'm sure, B. Vimalaramsi had years of noting practice when he switched approach. I am sure that when he entered those jhanas, vipassana was automatically there because of the development he had noting for 20 years. His noting practice must have helped him without him realizing it.

I'll give a comparison from what a psychotherapy supervisor once told me when I was in training. He told me the founders of various schools of therapy (be it Gestalt, cognitive, psychodynamic schools, etc) may not know why their therapy is successful. They may think the method they invented is what helps their clients, when in fact it may be things about the therapist's personality that helps, to which the therapist is not aware of.

So the reason why Vimalaramsi's approach works for him, or for some of his student, may include factors that B. V. is unaware of. He may think that it works because of x, y and z, when in fact there are other, unconscious factors, like a, b, and c, that actually helps. The noting practice he did may be part of what helped him, and all he needed to go further was to add relaxation and positive mind states like metta. After success, he may think, "oh, the right way is relaxing into positive states", perhaps without realizing all the noting he did also helped.

Just my humble hypothesis.
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Pepe, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 407 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
+ 1 to everything Ben V. said. 

Brian: Bhante Vimalaramsi only attained Stream Entry in Mahasi style (not 4th Path) and then developed his own branch. I read that from his books before, and it's also stated in The Path to Nibbana, page 61-62. There's also a big mistake in page 37: after climbing the 8 Jhanas, a skilled meditator who already attained Stream Entry may reach 'Nirodha' (=Cessation/Fruition), but only those with 3rd Path or up may reach 'Nirodha Samapatti'. 

Below, some explanations written by Daniel Ingram.

Daniel M. Ingram:
A clarification about Nirodha Samapatti: The word "nirodha" simply means "cessation". It is used with the qualifier "samapatti" to mean "The Cessation of Perception and Feeling", a very unusual accomplishment only available to very small subset of advanced meditators, those way out past Stream Entry with full access to formless realms who are at least anagamis and who can figure out how to translate those two impressive attainments into the even more impressive attainment of nirodha samapatti. The term "nirodha" is sometimes used to refer to fruitions, which are discussed in the Abhidhamma, and here is simply means "cessation". So, if there is ambiguity, it is typical to clarify what one means, but, in the discussion of stream enterers, as they are incapable of attaining to "nirodha samapatti", by convention we generally presume that "cessation" simply means "fruition" in stream enterers' cases. Link to thread 

For Nirodha Samapatti, it is actually by far the easiest of the various experiences to identify clearly, standing out strongly from all of the rest of them as it does:

Meditator: only anagamis and arahats with mastery of the formless realms and the ability to ride a strange line between samatha and vipassana with a high degree of balanced, tranquil, easy control can even think about attempting this, so it is already a strangely small crew. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of people that I personally know that I actually believe have attained to this. If you are not an anagami or arahat with strong technical mastery of jhana and insight, you haven't attained this, so you can remove it from your differential diagnosis. In fact, if you are asking the questions you are, it is pretty much guaranteed that you haven't attained this. The chances of most meditators attained this in their lifetime are so small that it is very rarely something to seriously consider as what might have occurred.

Setup: You rise with very light, easy effort up through the jhanas to the 8th jhana while mixing in about 30% insight. You come out, and, having resolved gently to attain to NS either when you started the rise before the 1st jhana or resolving now, you chill and do nothing. NS either happens within a minute or two or it doesn't, and most of the time it doesn't.

Entrance: Thoughts, body and consciousness itself vanish rapidly in an analogue fashion over less than a second. It is a total, dramatic power failure. This is easily distinguished from the Three Doors, as it involves none of these: rapid impermanence, something falling towards you, something falling away from you, or any other Door variant.

Thing itself: No experience, time, or anything at all. To a person watching, they appear still on their cusion or laying down or whatever posture they are in and will be hard to get to come out of it by external stimuli.

Exit: Exactly like the entrance but in reverse order, like consciousness and experience powering up again in a rapid analogue fashion. This is distinct from the restart after Fruition.

After-effects: The afterglow is heavy and powerful beyond reason and oddly long-lasting, typically lingering for 5-24+ hours, like one had taken some perfect drug that was at once highly chill but also produced a great deal of stable alertness. I think of this as what people are attempting when they mix uppers and downers, but the NS afterglow is perfect version vs what people typically get when they do that, which is at once muddled and edgy, whereas the NS afterglow feels, well, sublime, divine, incredibly right. No other attainment has an afterglow this good. It takes the top prize with no close competitors.

Fruition is also easy to identify in theory, but harder in practice, as there are lots of possible mimics, and it doesn't  have the extreme marks.

Meditator: One who has at least attained to Equanimity, Conformity, Change of Lineage, and Path insight stages the first time or is at least a Stream Enterer in Review. It doesn't occur to non-noble ones. So, the entrance criteria are vastly lower than NS.

Setup: One rises through the stages of insight to Equanimity and attained to Confromity Knowledge. So, one requires much less meditative skill and technical competence than for NS.

Entrance: Through one of the Three Doors, as describe in MCTB2. These are all quite different from the entrance to NS, which is analogue and doesn't involve the rapid presentation of the Three Characteristics in the same way as the Three Doors do.

Thing itself: Again, like NS, there is no time, space, consciousness, etc. To a person viewing them, they typically have their eyelids blink and then come out of it clear and seemingly normal if it last a very short time, or, if it lasts longer, they would view them as a still mediator on their cushion without obvious response to the outside world. So, externally, during Fruition that has duration to it or NS, the meditator will appear largely the same, though their breathing may be much slower in NS.

Exit: The mind restarts very rapidly clear and clean, fresh, bright, present, satisfied, like it has been reset and refreshed.

After-effects: This bright, clear, refreshed feeling typically lasts seconds to minutes and then fades rapidly, the major exception being the first time a path, particularly stream entry, is attained, after which the after-effects can be more dramatic and longer-lasting, but are nothing like the NS afterglow, which stands out as its own thing.

dDx (medical abbreviation for "differential diagnosis", meaning things that could mimic Fruition): a momentary blip into a formless experience, any state shift between one state or stage and another, the A&P, Dissolution, and some others. It is very, very common for people to think they have attained to a Fruition when, in fact, they have not. Probably 98% of people I talk with who are trying to determine if they have them don't at all meet the criteria, IMNHO. It is true that plenty of people are relatively poor phenomenologists, making sorting this out difficult, but it is still worth attempting.

Link to the thread
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Sorry, I'm not seeing what you're referring to on page 61-62. Maybe our page numbers differ? Could you say more clearly why you think V. Vimalaramsi only attained stream entry using the Mahasi method?
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Pepe, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 407 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
It's page 61-62 as printed or 71-72 if browsing the PDF:

"He did many three-months retreats and, finally, a two-year retreat. It had taken all those retreats and experiences before he was told by his teacher that he had achieved the final result ... He had taken it to the limit and experienced all sixteen knowledges and now had decided to move on to something else".

Could you say more clearly why you think V. Vimalaramsi only attained stream entry using the Mahasi method?
I'm not 'thinking', just quoting what I read in his book "Life is Meditation" or in Doug Kraft's "Buddha's Map". Had he spent 25 years in Burma, David Johnson wouldn't be quoting that Bhante V did "many" three-months retreats and  a two-year retreat. In Pragmatic Dharma circle a few accomplished meditators have said that it took them 5-7 years to reach 4th Path. So, Vimalaramsi would have needed at least 12-20 consecutive three-months retreats plus the long one. That's not 'many' but 'quite a few'. 

Nevertheless, that's only some facts of the past, and the real thing is if his method works or not. Given a vipassana-jhana framework, there are only three doors to reach Stream Entry. And so Dukkha/Metta is a valid way to get there. 

 
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
This is an important point, and I feel like you're being impatient or curt for some reason I don't understand.

I read the exact passage you quoted myself, and did not think it meant that V. Vimalaramsi had only attained stream entry using the Mahasi method. What do you take "achieved the final result" to mean? I have "Life is Meditation", and so far I can't find what you're referring to. I just got "Buddha's Map", thank you for that suggestion, but I don't see it yet by searching for a few things. Sorry if I'm being dense. It was gratifying to my confirmation bias to hear that Doug Kraft likes V. Vimalaramsi's method. ;)

It's unclear to me how many years total he spent in Burma, but one biography says that he practiced vipassana intensively for 20 years. It seems clear that he did multiple multiyear every-waking-moment retreats.
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Pepe, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 407 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Forgive my language if that sounds harsh. My English skills are not that good, and I'm a bit off lately as my mother passed away last weekend and my cell-phone crashed, so I was unable to communicate with loved ones until yesterday. 

What I read from that passage is that "he achieved the final result ... he had taken it to the limit and experienced all 16 ñanas", and that's Stream Entry, not 4th Path. Not that I'm saying that Vimalaramsi hasn't later achieved 4 Path or whatever he claims to have achieved. Just pointed out the time frame. Besides, had he achieved centerlessness, agencylessness, boundarylessness, directness, naturalness and automatic self-realization of all sensate phenomena, then it seems a little bit strange that he had to go through a Metta practice in order to relax tensions in the meninges. It's not far off to think that Vimalaramsi had achieved a path or two and then switched to other practices and/or developed his own stuff to wade through third and fourth path. In fact, this is the standard pattern that accomplished meditators in Pragmatic Dharma (PDh) circles said to have went through in order to reach 4th Path. The bottom line is, if you want to achieve what Vimalaramsi achieved, then it's not unwise to stick to Mahasi/PDh tools for the first one or two paths (as IMO they have a wider palette of techniques) and then later deepen in Vimalaramsi's Metta method.
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Ah, I'm very sorry for your loss, and the extra anxiety of not being able to communicate. Thank you very much for your thorough answer.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Brian:
Ah, I'm very sorry for your loss, and the extra anxiety of not being able to communicate. Thank you very much for your thorough answer.

Thanks for this, i had missed Pepe's grief.

love, tim
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Pepe, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 407 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thanks Brian and Tim for your kind words. She was caring mother. Loved by different generations of people to whom she selflessly turned to help. It was just sad that she didn't have the burial she deserved, due to current restrictions. Funny that parents die when you start having kids and so being able to fully appreciate their deeds by being on their shoes. 
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Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 931 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Condolences Pepe.  She sounds like a wonderful person.
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Pepe, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 407 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Thank you Not2Not1, yes she was. 


Sorry Jim Smith for derailing the thread. Please continue
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Pepe:
Forgive my language if that sounds harsh. My English skills are not that good, and I'm a bit off lately as my mother passed away last weekend and my cell-phone crashed, so I was unable to communicate with loved ones until yesterday. 

What I read from that passage is that "he achieved the final result ... he had taken it to the limit and experienced all 16 ñanas", and that's Stream Entry, not 4th Path. Not that I'm saying that Vimalaramsi hasn't later achieved 4 Path or whatever he claims to have achieved. Just pointed out the time frame. Besides, had he achieved centerlessness, agencylessness, boundarylessness, directness, naturalness and automatic self-realization of all sensate phenomena, then it seems a little bit strange that he had to go through a Metta practice in order to relax tensions in the meninges. It's not far off to think that Vimalaramsi had achieved a path or two and then switched to other practices and/or developed his own stuff to wade through third and fourth path. In fact, this is the standard pattern that accomplished meditators in Pragmatic Dharma (PDh) circles said to have went through in order to reach 4th Path. The bottom line is, if you want to achieve what Vimalaramsi achieved, then it's not unwise to stick to Mahasi/PDh tools for the first one or two paths (as IMO they have a wider palette of techniques) and then later deepen in Vimalaramsi's Metta method.

Oh, Pepe, I'm so sorry to learn of your terribl loss and your week in the dukha bardos. My heart goes out to you. I hope your own heart was and is at peace with your mother's; it is such a blessing, isn't it?, to know that she knew she was loved. Grief is the ultimate human experience of love: the real transience, dukha, and unselfed nature of human love itself burned into our heart, until in the ashes only Love remains.

In my tradition we pray: Eternal peace grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine nupon her. Amen.

love, tim
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Yes, it certainly could be. We can hardly ever know why anything is working. And I don't see how it could be possible that his noting practice was not a factor for V. Vimalaramsi. On the other hand, the school seems to have several years of leading students into seeing dependent origination via cessation. On the third hand, they have a small reputation for over-assessing students. But it seems balanced out by testimonials from students.
Nicolas Cruz, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Post: 1 Join Date: 10/3/19 Recent Posts
I think this extract from "Saints and Psychopaths" is relevant to your question:

My teacher, Sayadaw U Pandita, once said, “Because of habit patterns, it is possible for an Arahant to be obnoxious. However, the difference with Arahants is that, if it is pointed out to them that they are being obnoxious, they are capable of reflecting on situations and changing their behavior.” I am certainly glad he said that, because U Pandita can be quite obnoxious sometimes. His only interest seems to be that people get enlightened, and he does not seem to care if people like him. There are a number of things he will do, especially in private interviews, that are calculated to irritate people if they are not being mindful. He once confided to students of his, who were teachers, that he frequently pretends to totally ignore a student during their interview by reading a book, or doing something else. He said that this was a pretense, and he really is watching them very carefully. Sometimes he is quite sarcastic or brutal in his comments about reports on practice that people give him. At his 1984 IMS retreat, 25% of the class of teachers and advanced students dropped out of the three-month-course because his teaching was too difficult for them.

- Bill Hamilton, Saints & Psychopaths
Jake Frankfurt Middenhall, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 94 Join Date: 9/12/18 Recent Posts
However, the difference with Arahants is that, if it is pointed out to them that they are being obnoxious, they are capable of reflecting on situations and changing their behavior.”

I can do that too, and I aint Arhat.
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Tom Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 123 Join Date: 2/17/10 Recent Posts
This tends to support my belief that measuring enlightenment based on experineces in meditation is not really the correct way to do it. People are getting accredited with being advanced when they might be advanced in meditation states but not advanced in enlightenment.


Vivekananda said the only measure of spiritual progress is change in behavior.  Rama Krishna may have originally said this but I am not sure.

I'm don't know if this is true or not, but I have thought about it alot and think there is probably a lot of truth in it.  OTOH, two people sitting sitll in a meditation retreat may have exactly the same behavior, but very different spiritual progress.  I guess you have to look more long term.  

I  think I'm a kinder more generous person than I was 40 years ago, before I started serious meditation, but maybe I would have become a kinder more generous person anyway.  No way to know.
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Nick O, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 317 Join Date: 11/5/17 Recent Posts
Tom Smith:
I  think I'm a kinder more generous person than I was 40 years ago, before I started serious meditation, but maybe I would have become a kinder more generous person anyway.  No way to know.

Exactly. Besides a very few "aha!" moments, it's nearly impossible to discern what is progress by way of contemplative practice versus lived experience (general "maturity"). The more experience that comes with each, the less they seem to be any different.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 3997 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
... it's nearly impossible to discern what is progress by way of contemplative practice versus lived experience (general "maturity")

I would distinguish the two (insight versus maturity) by saying that insights due to practicing meditation are a causal factor in gaining maturity, common sense, compassion, and so on. They are, however, different. For example, it's the investigation and revelatory results of insight practice that can lead to knowing how the mind works, and knowing how the mind works can then lead to basic sanity. These things are causally related in a probabilistic sense, but not determinate. One does not always lead to the other. That requires some work.


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Jim Smith, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 983 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
From another thread:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21940187#_19_message_9570391

Lucas:

First time poster here, I've been following the forum for a while, so I'd like to thank the community and Daniel for this space. I was a monk in the Thai Forest Tradition, and recently, for several reasons, I disrrobed.

I do not want to go into too many details or name names, but after spending over a year as a monk in Thailand and then Malaysia, I began to seriously doubt the possibility of adapting Theravada monasticism in the west. When I speak of adapting monasticism to the west, I am not only talking about establishing monasteries with Thai or Sinhalese financiers, but creating communities that harmonize dhamma / Vinaya with typically western values: democracy, gender equality, pragmatism, rationalism.

Among others, these are some characteristics of monasticism which, in my view, make it incompatible with Western values:

Inability to discuss experience in immediate, phenomenological, terms.
Everything is filtered under ideological lens. I know, this is common in all sorts of discussions, but in the case of monks the map is internalized with a hierarchical structure to which they identify, in this way, any meditative experience contrary to the model (not to mention a criticism) is seen as a personal attack, a transgression of territory. And I'm not talking about discussions about what is jhanna, how are the stages of progression of insight or something like that, just that if a lay person or junior monk describes experiences not shared by a senior monk, the tendency is that you will not really be heard and will probably be labeled in a pejorative way (after all, non-circumscribed experience is conceptually dangerous, causes anxiety).

Lack of openness to information feedbacks
. The hierarchical model by itself is not a bad thing and, I believe, necessary in a monastic organization (I can, and would like, to be extremely wrong at this point). After all, the presumption that people with more experience in the monastic life are in a better position to give advice and make decisions for the community seems to me to be a valid generalization. Also, at the end of the day, it is extremely complicated and tiring to submit absolutely everything to public forum.
However, in monastic circles, this hierarchy, in terms of information flow, is extremely unilateral. In other words, those who observe and make decisions are up, observing and ordering those who are down.
The biggest problem, from what I have been able to experience, is that many of these Ajahns are never directly questioned, and when they do, react extremely badly to it. After spending years, decades, with people literally kneeling and washing their feet, they unlearn to listen. They are extremely compassionate and humble as long as everything and everyone are in its proper place, but as soon as things go out of the order expected ... it is common to see them react with much less composure and social ability than a normal person. In fact, this was something that shocked me: how common is it for experienced monks not to have the least social skills, a lot of them: cannot deal with difficult situations or people; see small actions as offenses; and have years of grudge against each other.
I do not even want to start writing about the most futile motives for which I have ever seen monks discussing, it is enough to say that things that can pass by unnoticed in the lay life are causes for irreversible personal offenses that cause years of rancor for some monastics.
It seems to me that the lack of more immediate concrete concerns leads many monks to extremes of neurotic behavior and futile concerns.

Structural closure for material and political reasons that are never admitted
: I refer to cases where monastic traditions cannot adapt to egalitarian values ​​(be it gender, monks and lay persons, etc.) because the culture of their supporters is opposed to this. A striking example is the Ajahn Cha tradition and the ordination of bikkhunis. They act as if there really was an argument to be made, but the truth is they just cannot do it. In Thailand, ordaining a woman is a crime, and they simply refuse to admit that the fact that they depend on a military dictatorship to keep their religious stauts informs their decision on the matter.

Having said that, I must also say that if this tradition did not exist I would not have had the opportunity to learn to meditate and would not have gone through some of the most important and pleasurable experiences of my life. My intention is not to criticize everything about Theravada monasticism, but to think of ways of reconciling that tradition with the values ​​of the West.
I am curious about other people's point of view, or just stories about contact with monks and monasteries.
 



Key quotes:

"I know, this is common in all sorts of discussions, but in the case of monks the map is internalized with a hierarchical structure to which they identify, in this way, any meditative experience contrary to the model (not to mention a criticism) is seen as a personal attack, a transgression of territory. "
and

"The biggest problem, from what I have been able to experience, is that many of these Ajahns are never directly questioned, and when they do, react extremely badly to it."
and

"They are extremely compassionate and humble as long as everything and everyone are in its proper place, but as soon as things go out of the order expected ... it is common to see them react with much less composure and social ability than a normal person. In fact, this was something that shocked me: how common is it for experienced monks not to have the least social skills, a lot of them: cannot deal with difficult situations or people; see small actions as offenses; and have years of grudge against each other. "


https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21940187#_19_message_21940187
This tradition is not eliminating attachments and aversions, it is not freeing them from identity view, ill will, or conceit.

They have changed the definition of awakening from it's original meaning in the Pali Canon to something different that is measured only by attainments in meditation and subjective experieces, rather than, as Bhante Vimalaramsi said (see below), "the true personality change that awakening should bring".
Tommy Toys, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 26 Join Date: 11/30/20 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
If you can't tolerate argument and it makes you "frosty", then I think it is obvious that you are attached to self. 

How can you be highly enlightened and still attached to self?

This tends to support my belief that measuring enlightenment based on experineces in meditation is not really the correct way to do it. People are getting accredited with being advanced when they might be advanced in meditation states but not advanced in enlightenment.

Wonderful dicussion here. Back to Op's orig question ... want to bring a few more related perspective, w/o knowing if Sayadaw is actually "suffering":

- Over-confidence bias of adv. practioners very common. Jeff Martin's <Finders> book (claimed thousands of interviews with ppl across traditions who reached spirtual well being) has extensive discussion on this downside of adv. location practioners - they are so certain of what they see as ultimate reality that they outright reject the possibility of alternatives.  (See below for excerpt).

- The "scientific method" (hypothesis-driven, evidence-based, peer-reviews/discussions etc.) are highly internalized by westeners/urban/educated, that it could be shocking when someone behave otherwise - and we might (mis-)attribute that for ego-preserving or holding to "self".
On a grander scheme, in most period of history, still v common in rural areas in Asia, that people consult the elders on all matters in life - often against their own evidence-based observations/logic. 

- The "will to change" and neuro-plasticity.Then there's age - your neuroplasticity just drops significantly (which is more than obvious with our parents/elder relatives). I don't quite think meditation beats that basic physiology - new information input just becomes harder.

In Sayadaw's case - I wouldn't be surprised at all that if interviewed, he would consider his own teaching highly effective through such scolding or performance of rage. And he has perhaps little feedback loop. Pretty sure he doesn't conduct annual 360 degree leadership surveys ;)


Perhaps - from this, there's a good case to be made for practicioners to not live in an echo chamber (that trad. monastary tends to be if you're in power), butout in the real world where you're just constantly getting humbled by all kinds of craziness of reality.

Excerpt from <Finders> Chapter 23: I"m the real finder, And you are not.
All Finders seem to have unique aspects to how they experience Fundamental Wellbeing. These variations, merged with their certainty, can lead them to assume that their personal experience of it is the only “proper,” “correct,” or “true” one. They often have a deep sense that what they are experiencing is the “Truth” (with a capital ‘T’) and other experiences are false, or at least less true. This can make it difficult for Finders to consider views that run contrary to their personal experience. When they interact with Finders who have another type of Fundamental Wellbeing experience, they are likely to consider them as “not quite there” or harbor doubts as to if they are even on the continuum. As time passes, this certainty can increase and lead to a form of dogmatism. This is especially true among those who have only experienced one location on the continuum.

It is easy to spot the effects of this in the marketplace of religious and spiritual ideas. Leaders and teachers often tout the superiority, or even exclusive perfection, of their form of Fundamental Wellbeing. Even within the same tradition, accomplished Finders can be found sniping at each other’s authenticity.

This showed up early in the research, when Finders would be asked to contrast their experience with data from others in the study. When the information differed, it was common for Finders to suggest that the project was having difficulty understanding what was, and was not, a valid example of Fundamental Wellbeing.

Those with an in-depth knowledge of at least one religious or spiritual system often backed up their view with stories and dogma from their tradition. For example, when one well-known Buddhist teacher was asked about a person who was in Location 4, the teacher argued that the person was ‘stuck’ in a certain Jhana (a highly specific state of, usually temporary, consciousness) and was not experiencing Fundamental Wellbeing. At the time, this teacher was a well-known ‘Jhana
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 3997 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Being human.

Self-awareness: the most difficult thing for all of us. Turning the light around and shining it on ourselves. This is true for everyone, Sayadaws, Zen Masters, saints, sinners, peasants, royalty.

Being human.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 1718 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Tommy Toys:
Jim Smith:
If you can't tolerate argument and it makes you "frosty", then I think it is obvious that you are attached to self. 

How can you be highly enlightened and still attached to self?

This tends to support my belief that measuring enlightenment based on experineces in meditation is not really the correct way to do it. People are getting accredited with being advanced when they might be advanced in meditation states but not advanced in enlightenment.

- The "will to change" and neuro-plasticity.Then there's age - your neuroplasticity just drops significantly (which is more than obvious with our parents/elder relatives). I don't quite think meditation beats that basic physiology - new information input just becomes harder.




aloha tommy toys,

   Unless you have studies and evidence to support your ageist canard, I have to call bullshit.

   I wouldn't want to be your older relative, you whippersnapper.

terry
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 5769 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Maybe enlightenment is always a relative thing? Or rather, maybe approaching it as a relative thing is helpful? I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to always explore the possibility of missing something in every specific situation. There are so many layers of both subtle traps and not so subtle traps, and thinking that we are done with the traps at some point might just be one of the biggest traps, at least if it makes us assume things about each other or about ourselves when there is still stuff to explore.

Maybe there are examples of people who do get rid of all the traps, at the time of their death perhaps. I'm not saying that's impossible. I hope it's possible. I think I actually do believe it, and I have made a vow based on it, but I really don't know. And maybe it's fair to set the bar for enlightenment there. That's fine with me. But does anyone claim to be enlightened according to that definition? It sounds to me like only what is referred to in Tibetan Buddhism as rainbow body meets those criteria, and as far as I understand, nobody is said to have that and still remain in a human body or any individual body. 

So those who are still alive in their human bodies aren't enlightened, according to that definition. Maybe enlightenment manifests through them in some respects in some situations, and we can learn something from that, and maybe it's a big oops to project enlightenment onto any living person and to stop reflecting critically about their limitations as well as our own limitations. Maybe enlightenment has nothing to do with any individual. 

Just a few thoughts. 

Regardless of how we use terminology, I think it's good to keep exploring and not get caught up in assumptions. 
ahtrahddis, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: "Never argue with Sayadaw. He simply can’t tolerate it."

Posts: 27 Join Date: 1/5/19 Recent Posts
For some strange reason, this thread is up, although without any new content and reading the first post, it immediately reminded me of an excerpt by a Kenneth Folk text:

Question: Is describing what occurs experientially at 4th path/arahatship as “realizing what is already the case” the most accurate and helpful description we have?

Answer: No, but neither is it the description I use for 4th Path. This is why I think it's so important to distinguish between Awaking/Realization and arahatship.When I talk about noticing what is always already the case, I'm talking about Realization, not arahatship. It's possible to be Awakened without being an arahat, and vice-versa.
Four possibilities:
  1. Awakened but not an Arahat. (Pretty common, but the access to Awakeness may be sporadic.)
  2. Arahat but not Awakened. (Have you ever interviewed with a Mahasi Master?)
  3. Both Awake and an Arahat. (This is the ideal. Tibetan Buddhism seems to target this explicitly.)
  4. Neither Awakened nor an Arahat. (Most people who have ever lived, so don't scoff.)


Kenneth Folk does not equate awakening with arahantship and he seems to believe that Mahasi Masters are unawakened, whatever that means. I assume that part of his take on possibility number 2 was influenced by his experience with U Pandita.

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