Starting insight meditation

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chris mc, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 11:39 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/26/14 11:51 AM

Starting insight meditation

Posts: 56 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
I've been working on my concentration skills, one to two hours per day, it's time to transition to insight meditation. 

My work contract ended and I'm lucky enough to be able to take a year (possibly more) off.  I'm going for stream entry and further.  I'm pretty sure I've been in the dark night since 2001, but didn't know what the problem was until I read MCTB.  (massive thanks to Daniel).

I'm in a noisy area of the city right now, moving to a quieter spot at the end of June.  Doing weekly classes with an ex-monk, and I have a 10-day Goenka retreat in July, then may spend at least three months as a lay follower at a monastery in the BC interior.

I have three books;   MCTB, "the progress of insight" and "practical insight meditation" by Mahasi Sayadaw.  Here we go.


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chris mc, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 11:39 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 11:39 AM

RE: Starting insight meditation

Posts: 56 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
Change of plans for now.

I did a 10 day Goenka retreat, and a 10 day (pretty hardcore) Satipatthana retreat.

I wasn't too impressed with the level of instruction and interaction on the Goenka retreat. 

I had interviews with a Sayadaw from asia on the Satipatthana retreat and was very impressed and pleased with the level of feedback and instruction there.  Made good progress in sitting meditation, and very good progress in walking meditation and during mindfulness while conducting daily activities - especially while eating for some reason. 

Anyways, long story, due to a few conflicts, I'm going to try Vajrayana.  Attended a class with a new group this week, felt like a good fit.
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 12:19 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 12:15 PM

RE: Starting insight meditation

Posts: 1452 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
chris .:
I did a 10 day Goenka retreat, and a 10 day (pretty hardcore) Satipatthana retreat.

I wasn't too impressed with the level of instruction and interaction on the Goenka retreat. 
Nice job...interesting to see the differences....retreat time is pretty useful reguardless of the instruction or lack thereof..
chris .:
Anyways, long story, due to a few conflicts, I'm going to try Vajrayana.  Attended a class with a new group this week, felt like a good fit.
Well that makes me curious...tell us what you think of the Vajrayana....I've never gotten into it and would like to hear about it a bit from someone shopping around but not sold yet.
Thanks,
~D
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Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 12:34 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 12:34 PM

RE: Starting insight meditation

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Hello,

       I had tried to respond previously, but perhaps it did not go through. I have recently begun meeting with Reggie Ray. He's a Vajrayana teacher and his organization is called Dharma Ocean. There are qualified Vajrayana instructors working there who will meet with you online/personally/phone and work with you free of charge.

Bill
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chris mc, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 1:42 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 12:52 PM

RE: Starting insight meditation

Posts: 56 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
Dream Walker:


Well that makes me curious...tell us what you think of the Vajrayana....I've never gotten into it and would like to hear about it a bit from someone shopping around but not sold yet.
Thanks,
~D


I had a negative experience with a satipatthana group that was quite rigid in their traditions.  Another member of the group said he was going back to Vajrayana, and he sold me on trying it out.    (* disclaimer:  I have a loose understanding of terms at this point, I might be mistaken in calling it Vajrayana, at this point what I'm doing could possibly be called Mahayana, Hinayana, or Tibetan Buddhist meditation..  I'll figure it all out eventually.)

The Vajrayana group, so far, seems more down to earth, and focused on actual practice, not as focused on long periods of chanting and worshipping the Buddha.  There is a structured path of study and practice that wasn't there with other groups, there are set courses and course material.  Also, a formal relationship between myself and a teacher when I get to that level, and directed teachings on emptiness etc. 

Overall, though, it's just the vibe.  Satipatthana practice was so austere and had a 2500-yr old feeling.  Just sit there and meditate through the pain.  This vajrayana group is very positive and open, it seems more guided in areas that I was looking for more guidance in.  I wish I could be more specific than that..


William Golden Finch:
Hello,

       I had
tried to respond previously, but perhaps it did not go through. I have
recently begun meeting with Reggie Ray. He's a Vajrayana teacher and his
organization is called Dharma Ocean. There are qualified Vajrayana
instructors working there who will meet with you online/personally/phone
and work with you free of charge.

Bill


Thanks for the reply, Bill.  Did you get where you wanted to get with vipassana practice and then move to Vajrayana/Dzogchen?  Or did you move to Vajrayana because of something you felt was missing from vipassana practice?

I've seen a few Dharma talks by Reggie Ray, and have one of his CD sets. 
https://s3.amazonaws.com/auryn/DOF_Path_Structure_April2014b.pdf  < This document detailing their path is excellent.
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Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 3:18 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/14 3:18 PM

RE: Starting insight meditation

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Hi,

      No problem. O.K, the condensed version: I had a big opening shortly after beginning practice seven years ago. For a few years (3-4) I sat a couple hours of a day on average, a lot of simple breath practices. Somewhere towards the end of that period I began meeting with Vince Horn, and began practicing noting. This really opened things up for me. Certain ways that I had been configuring reality that were not in line with clear seeing, and were causing pain, began to be seen more clearly, and a really incredible period of ease, well being, and calm was ushered in before what is referred to here as "stream entry" happened. After stream entry I practiced very heavily for a while, emptiness became a phenomema that was readily and cleary apparent "in real time" to borrow from Vince Horn, and there came a period shortly after where it felt like something in the way I had been seeing practice and the world slipped out of the body and there was a sense of release and completion. It was not a total completion, but a sense of closure and relief.
     Around here I began to become very interested in emotions and the body, and began to practice somatic awareness with a special emphasis on emotions and the pattern of sensations we conceptualize as a body. I became interested in Reggie's teachings here due to his emphasis on somatic awareness. More than that I was attracted to the passion in his teachings. I don't know how to describe it but his teachings hit upon something very deep for me. Anyways, I went on a two month solitary retreat and everything changed again in a dramatic way such that I did not practice for a year and needed to allow the experience of the retreat to integrate and settle. It was a very strange time. 
       When I did return to practice it was Reggie's teachings that I found most relatable. I also worked with David Loy (a zen teacher) for a while in here and he was very helpful, aside from being just a genuinely nice and intelligent guy. 
       I do think I did move more towards Vajrayana or Tantra due to feeling that it was harder to me to relate to some of the Theravadan communities I had been a part of. That being said, there are a lot of Theravdan teachers with very valuable teachings, but much of it is very preliminary and does not  go very deep.

Bill
      
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chris mc, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/14 2:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/14 2:39 PM

RE: Starting insight meditation

Posts: 56 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
> I became interested in Reggie's teachings here due to his emphasis on somatic awareness. More than that I was attracted to the passion in his teachings.

Thanks again for mentioning Reggie and his site.  I did a lot of reading yesterday, and listened to a few of his podcasts, he's a unique and excellent teacher. 

He articulated something that I strongly agreed with.  He said something along the lines of " ... some institutions are more interested in preserving their forms of Buddhism, than the inner essence..."  The Theravada groups I practiced with were very stuck on their old traditions.  To the point where I felt it prevented me from practicing as well as I could have, and didn't serve any purpose in furthering my progress.

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