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length of nanas ?

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water drop, modified 6 Years ago.

length of nanas ?

Posts: 91 Join Date: 1/16/15 Recent Posts
the teacher said i went throw 1-16 nanas in each retreat i went to -
also without retreat and talking to him on the phone from time to time
he would tell me im advancing between nanas 1-16

so i am a bit confused - is the 16 nanas something you pass many small times - or big steps which last a long time and are profund and if you pass 1-16 one time you become a stream entere (which im sure im not)   ?  
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Howdy,
Nanas are not measured in either length, breadth, depth or time.  They are the labels we give to "felt" experiences we have as we move through the levels of body/mind.

I don't know whether its you teacher communicating poorly or you not understanding him but its the wrong focus IMO.

Moving throught the nanas can be a slow process or a quick one. Moving from a normal waking untrained state to your current cutting edge meditative nana state is a personal aspect of your experience which depends on your focus, concentration, goals etc.  Some trained meidtators can blitz through the states in minutes, if not seconds to get a fruition and some take hours of sitting.
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water drop, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 91 Join Date: 1/16/15 Recent Posts
Im officaly confused i guess

So all who say that when they move throw all 16 they are stream enteres that i read in DhO are wrong  ?

But you do say theres a cutting edge ? and that all expirences during the time im there will be like the "cutting edge" ? and to pass a cutting edge i need to push thorw it - to have a certin amount of medtiation "time" (advancment) to go throw it ?

by the way what do you think about 5 minute meditating in a month - does it help gain insight in some way - or is it wasteful ?
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Water Drop,

The sixteen insight "ñanas" (aka: knowledges, recogntions) is a schema written by the monastic Mahasi Sayadaw and is based on the seven stages of seven stages of mental purification (satta-visuddhi), which come up in "Ratha-vinita Sutta: Relay Chariots" (MN 24)(trans. Thanissaro, (c) 1999, used below, available at accesstoinsight.com).


The sutta, if we take the sutta to be an accurate historical record of its events, recounts the monastic Sariputta (S) interviewing the monastic Punna Mataniputta (PM) because the monastic Punna Mataniputta is well regarded by the Buddha. So Sariputta asks:
S: "My friend, is the holy life lived under the Blessed One?"

PM: "Yes, my friend."


Sariputta ask Punna Mataniputta if one lives under the buddha about these seven points:
1- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of virtue? (PM: No.)
2- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of concentration? (PM: No.)
3- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of view? (PM: No.)
4- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of overcoming perplexity? (PM: No.)
5- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of knowledge and vision of what is and what is not the path? (PM: No.)
6- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of knowledge and vision of the way? (PM: No.)
7- Is living under the buddha for the sake of the purity of knowledge and vision? (PM: No.)


So Sariputta askes, what is then the point of living under the Buddha: Punna Mataniputta replies:
"The holy life is lived under the Blessed One, my friend, for the sake of total Unbinding through lack of clinging."[3] 
(Footnote "3" regards upandana and its renderings)


Which leads Sariputta to finer questions: 
1- Is purity in terms of virtue total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)
2- Is purity in terms of concentration total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)
3- Is purity in terms of view total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)
4- Is purity in terms of overcoming perplexity total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)
5- Is purity in terms of knowledge and vision of what is and what is not the path total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)
6- Is purity in terms of knowledge and vision of the way total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)
7- Is purity in terms of knowledge and vision total Unbinding through lack of clinging? (PM: No.)

Then Sariputta asks a catch-all, (paraphasing):
Is total Unbinding through lack of clinging something apart from these? 

Punna Mataniputta:
No, my friend.

Then Sariputta asks (paraphasing):
So if those seven attributes are not total Unbinding through lack of clinging and neither is total Unbinding through lack of clinging separate from these seven attributes, then what should we understand about total Unbinding through lack of clinging (which we now know is the reported purpose of living under the buddha) in terms of these seven attributes-- the purity of which are not total Unbinding through lack of clinging nor are not separate from it?

So Punna Mataniputta says that if their teacher had defined the total unbinding through lack of clinging through the purity of something, like the purity of virtue, concentration, views, knowledge and vision, etcetera.. then the teacher would have resolved that in fact total Unbinding through lack of clinging through clinging.

So in my words, the last paragraph above means, if total Unbinding through lack clinging depends on purity of concentration, then there is in fact clinging: a dependency is a clinging.  And if total Unbinding is separate from these attributes (ethical discipline, view, concentration, knowledge and vision, etc) then that total Unbinding (the sutta says), paraphrasing, is pretty much a result of anything goes for anyone.

And here comes the analogy of the seven relay chariots: chariots used by a person to travel some distance to some place quickly. One chariot gets the person some distance, where they can pick up a refreshed (horse drawn) chariot to travel quickly the next distance, where they can pick up a refreshed chariot and so on, step-wise until arrival.

Therefore, ethical discipline is the fast means to concentration, which is the fast means to adopting the view to study this particular study, which is the fast means for getting through confusion, which is the fast means for understanding what is and what is not the path of total Unbinding through lack of clinging, which is the fast means for knowledge and vision of the way of the total Unbinding without clinging, which is the fast means for recognizing knowledge and vision, which is simple the knowledge and vision of total Unbinding through lack of clinging.

And all of that sutta is said to be the basis ("framework") for the Progress of Insight with 16 ñanas (knowledges, aka: recognitions). So Mahasi Sayasaw has provided more "chariots" along the way:

http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#toc:
Knowledge to distinguish mental and physical states (namarupa pariccheda nana).
Knowledge of the cause-and-effect relationship between mental and physical states (paccaya pariggaha nana).
Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory and nonself (sammasana nana).
Knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya nana).
Knowledge of the dissolution of formations (bhanga nana).
Knowledge of the fearful nature of mental and physical states (bhaya nana).
Knowledge of mental and physical states as unsatisfactory (adinava nana).
Knowledge of disenchantment (nibbida nana).
Knowledge of the desire to abandon the worldly state (muncitukamayata nana).
Knowledge which investigates the path to deliverance and instills a decision to practice further (patisankha nana).
Knowledge which regards mental and physical states with equanimity (sankharupekha nana).
Knowledge which conforms to the Four Noble Truths (anuloma nana).
Knowledge of deliverance from the worldly condition (gotrabhu nana).
Knowledge by which defilements are abandoned and are overcome by destruction (magga nana).
Knowledge which realizes the fruit of the path and has nibbana as object (phala nana).

And here is what the monastic Nyanaponika Thera wrote in 1965 about Mahasi Saydaw's framework (I've added spacing it what was written as one paragraph):

"
As stated in the treatise itself (p.5), it is not the author's purpose to give a detailed introduction to the practice for the use of beginners. The foremost concern in this work is with a stage where, after diligent preliminary practice, the insight knowledges have begun to emerge, leading up to the highest crest of spiritual achievement, arahantship.

Handwritten or typed copies of the Burmese or Pali version were given only to those who, with some measure of success, had concluded a strict course of practice at the meditation center.

For the use of meditators from foreign countries, only a few cyclostyled sheets in English, briefly describing the phases of insight knowledge, were issued instead of the treatise itself. This was done to enable the meditator to identify his personal experience with one or other of the stages described, so that he might direct his further progress accordingly, without being diverted or misled by any secondary phenomena that may have appeared during his practice.
"


So you wrote, Water Drop:
Im officaly confused i guess 

So all who say that when they move throw all 16 they are stream enteres that i read in DhO are wrong  ?

People are just using a system that may help them. In particular, a number of people seem to come to buddhist meditation systems because they are not feeling great (or they want something superlative that they think they can find in some system), when they may be feeling awful and Mahasi Sayadaw's framework helps a practitioner recognize such awful mental stages and work with them as "chariots" which themselves pass on to another "chariot".

And not everyone uses this ñana system. Some people thrive in shikantaza (just sitting), prayer and devotion, actualism, etc. Buddhist practice around the world seems to be unified by the idea that the founder has a means to end "dukkha" (disatisfactoriness/degrees of mental suffering perceived in conditions and identifying things as they are and leaving ten unanswerable questions in the Thervadan model.)
by the way what do you think about 5 minute meditating in a month - does it help gain insight in some way - or is it wasteful ?

Excellent. No comparison to anyone else. Increase or reduce as much as you can do in a welcoming way. Sometimes we naturally welcome intense training, sometime we welcome just sitting on the couch breathing. No comparison. You train and you learn from your training. If one day you want to run a marathon or sit longer or retreat, okay, apply to that. If one day you want to sit for 1 minutes, okay, you apply yourself to that. If one day you think, "Nothing works!" you ask, "Well, how did I actually test all these things?"

Best wishes =0]
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water drop, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 91 Join Date: 1/16/15 Recent Posts
Hi katy - thanks for the long nice reply (you can PM if you want)- i read it im sure i missed some things - i will reread it a 1-2 times again
and the links as well

But for now cause im still confused a bit

The teacher was monastic - he told me about the 16 steps after i finished the retreat and said i went throw them - was he wrong ? than
another teacher at the next retreat told me at each day exactly which nana i went throw the previous day - where they wrong  ?

it is true that at one point i really wanted the retreat to end and thought to myself the only way to overcome this is to be in the present moment - so that did seem like the DN and the overcoming of it

And as always - i am very grateful for any extra information - especially on this topic - so anything to add is more than welcome  - extra information but also clearafiction and personal views on this subject and anything helpful would be appriciated greatly
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
water drop:
Hi katy - thanks for the long nice reply (you can PM if you want)- i read it im sure i missed some things - i will reread it a 1-2 times again and the
links as well

But for now cause im still confused a bit

The teacher was monastic - he told me about the 16 steps after i finished the retreat and said i went throw them - was he wrong ? than another teacher at a different retreat told me at the next day exactly which nana i went throw - where they wrong  ?

it is true that at one point i really wanted the retreat to end and thought to myself the only way to overcome this is to be in the present moment - so that did seem like the DN and the overcoming of it

And as always - i am very grateful for any extra information - especially on this topic - so anything to add is more than welcome

Hi Water Drop,

Would it be useful for you to trust what your retreat teachers said?

Would it be not useful for you to trust what your retreat teachers said?

Do you have to decide if they were wrong or right?

Even if I knew all of you well, I would be still in no position to say, "You're wrong or right." 

The premise of the buddhist study is four-fold: there is dukkha, there are causes of dukkha, there's a cessation to dukkha and there's a step-wise study to cause the cessation of dukkha.

And that one can see for themselves (ehi passiko) about this dhamma and the practice, that the dhamma is timless and always accessible to a person with or without a teacher (and so on. The link points to six attributes of dhamma in the Theravdan system).

Therefore, in its ability to see for oneself, at every step a person studying sincerely and carefully (improving through practice and natural "failings") in this area can see for themselves: Is there dukkha still?


Retreatemoticon
Yup, it is so normal to have "exit fever" during retreat or any hard, sustained effort. So resting is great. If i see people sleeping for the first half of retreat: no problem. I did that, too. There's something kind of hard and exhausting, overwhelming at the outside, like cleaning the Fridge contents left by a hoarder.


A value of just sitting with mind: we can see thoughts arise and pass all the time, including, "Get me outta here!"

Whereas if I'm at home and as soon as the urge to do something else arise I may gratify that urge and then I may think, "Oh, that activity is boring after x-minutes." But in actuallity, the mind may be creating and discarding urges all the time, and to me, it is doing this.

So in observing the mind during just sitting, one may see, "Oh, this mind gives rise to ideas, feelings, recollections all the time and these mental phenomena come and go whether or I not I act on them, whether or not I elaborate on them or not. Oh, over time these thoughts are seen actually arising, actually ceasing. Oh, over time, these mental phenomena are less provocative, less likely to cause impulsive action. Oh, overtime when these mental phenomena are less provocative, I feel calm, steady (but first I may feel like crud because I want to act, but know the gratification is unreliable and short-term... so now what do I do to feel those old good feelings?). And overtime and practice, when my mind feels calm I can see what's actually happening in me and around me without so much affective distortion and I know how I am making affective distortion and I know that I cannot know some things, and so on.


About teachers, it's up to you. Keep in mind they can be like "chariots", too. Maybe they help you get some distance (some understanding, even understanding of who not to listen to for a few years-- teachers go through their training, too. Sometimes teachers are going through years of the knowledge of anger or greed... and you may not wish to be a student of theirs in that time.)

The basic guidlines for who can teach the dhamma are given for the Thervadan system in AN 5.159:
1- one who speaks step by step
2- one who speaks of cause-and-effect (dependent origination)
3- one who speaks with a mind of compassion
4- one who teaches not for the purpose of material gain
5- one who teaches not in disparaging (promoting) self or disparaging others.


So good luck. This is a community of practioners who share their pratice experiences. So welcome and thanks for sharing your experience : )
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water drop, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 91 Join Date: 1/16/15 Recent Posts
Ok further info

My main teacher is great his a monk and the other lay teachers are also great - as i spend time with the monk im sure his sila is perfect and so it seems all other teachers do - he has helped me in many ways - even doing my chores cleaning the dishes i should have washed in the retreat - and did it for several days - without me asking him to  i would not fall of my seat if i knew they were arahants - but as i understood being an arahant dosnt mean always your a perfect teacher

 my teacher is a bit cryptic  - he only gives information and guides - and i dont feel nice asking him direct hard questions - he dosnt talk much on the nanas - but he did tell me about them at the end of the retreat

And i did talk to another monk from a different theravda tradition which also seem to have some excellent silla and he told me i should have a regular practice and that i should meditate at least 30 minutes 2 times each day so this got me confused about sitting time - he said the practice should be constant and without breaks - so that makes me wonder whats the use of a 5 minute meditation which isnt "close" to other meditations (5 minutes in a month and no daily practice)  - also reading here that you need practice to reach and pass your "cutting edge" - so if i keep doing 5 minute meditations i would never pass the cutting edge which is a waste of time and effort 

plus the way i practice is the mahasi way and each time i talk to my teacher after 14 hours of meditation he gives me different touching points which i understand  corelate to the nana im in 
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
And i did talk to another monk from a different theravda tradition which also seem to have some excellent silla and he told me i should have a regular practice and that i should meditate at least 30 minutes 2 times each day so this got me confused about sitting time - he said the practice should be constant and without breaks - so that makes me wonder whats the use of a 5 minute meditation which isnt "close" to other meditations (5 minutes in a month and no daily practice)  - also reading here that you need practice to reach and pass your "cutting edge" - so if i keep doing 5 minute meditations i would never pass the cutting edge which is a waste of time and effort 

Think of one skill you know well, even if it's tying your shoes.

Now imagine someone approaches you and says, "I want to learn to tie my shoes, too. Teach me."

And you show them how to tie their shoes and you watch them practice.

They are about to leave the shoe-tying retreat and they ask you,
"How often do I need to practice this shoe-tying to have it be a useful skill? Will 30 seconds once a month be okay?"

You can tell them, "Well, you'll sure learn things about shoe tying if you practice if for 30 seconds once a month-- like, you'll learn how hard it is to sustain and build a skill with so little frequency of practice. On the other hand, if you're not ready to welcome for yourself more than 30 seconds of practice each month and if you're angry or otherwise averse to the training when it is more than 30 seconds a month, then spending more than 30 seconds per month may just train your mind in anger and aversion."

So if you can welcome for yourself without hostility and negativity a daily practice of sits and if you can put in sincere attention at a regular time, then you'll get to see empirically how diverse the mind is each day at that period of time. You will be effectively taking the mind to a "gym" for some regular training. Some days one feels like an olympian, some days one feels like a lump of embodied fatigue.

And if you are turned off by a negative meditative practice, it's okay: then you may find other systems that you prefer for a while or for your life, or you may take time off until your interest in meditation and the buddhist assertion of a path to the cessation of dukkha arises in you again. 
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
so if i keep doing 5 minute meditations i would never pass the cutting edge which is a waste of time and effort 

Another point (and this is distinct from the above idea around practice, the time in, practice routine, and being ready to welcome the practice training versus being averse to it): It is very hard to know another person's "previous supporting conditions" (the precursor aggregates to one's life, the prior lives, if you will, the kamma). In Theravadan circles, I think it's said that only a buddha could know this about another person.

So for all we know you may have a superbly "dry-insight mind" as a result of previous supporting conditions-- perhaps all day long you have insight into dependent origination and resultant skilful means. If this were the case, perhaps five minutes may be all you need, by your own estimation. (and indeed with jhana training jhana can arise in one inhalation for some people, it's said).

But your teacher gives reasonable advice, I think, in not knowing any previous supporting conditions, which may give rise to you now, and having seen you actually practice and your conduct on retreat.

It sounds like you trust your teachers and they have solid ethical discipline and I feel those traits are fortunate and apart of good training conditions.
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water drop, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 91 Join Date: 1/16/15 Recent Posts
I must admit im still confused

I know i will advance without knowing about nanas but i hear about them all the time also by my teachers so it does have some meaning - especailly on this forum and all the DhO movment which talks openly about cutting edge and DN

you also talked about chariots - 

maybe instead of doing 5 minute meditations once in a while maybe its best to just read dhamma - or do metta meditation alone and other stuff    and keep vipassana meditation to a time where i can do it without a break ?  why waste my time learinging that tying a shoe is hard (a fact i already know i know how hard to be mindful is)  maybe its best doing other stuff instead of vipassana - and keep it for later

maybe even instead of this 5 minutes (or 30 minutes once in a week and no daily mindfulness for example)  i will learn another language or how to play an insturmnet - would be less time wastefull  and when i will have enough time to be able to pass throw the "cutting edge" than i will return to insight meditation
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi,

Out of curiosity, why did you start going to see your teachers to start the practice they teach? 
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
HI Water Drop,

I just saw your edit:
clearafiction and personal views on this subject and anything helpful would be appriciated greatly

Well, to me it's a hard study that takes time, and there are phases that people can go through.
What moves one along in testing practice is to keep asking "Is there dukkha in this?" and "is there reliable cessation of dukkha in this?"
Because the buddhist schools are teaching about the cessation of dukkha.

Sometimes people go through disassociative stages, a natural response to being trapped and horrified at conditions: mentally disassociate. However, that is not a reliable cessation of dukkha. So if one digs in again... 

...this is also why compassion is part of the deemed realization of buddist study. That one would see things as they are (aka: "Wisdom") and naturally realize over time that there are also sane mental states to cultivate in life: friendliness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.

______
edit x4, guh, so sorry!
lama carrot top, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 6/12/12 Recent Posts
Hello Water Drop,

You seem to have edited your initial post, which described your retreat experience - any reason for this? 
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water drop, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: length of nanas ?

Posts: 91 Join Date: 1/16/15 Recent Posts
I dont remember i always edit my post - i first write a fast response and than i try to make it clearer and more to the point with the edits - so it was probobly just to much

i started to meditate to help with my procrastination probelm -  but its still there and im not sure it improved much - i pratice now for more reasons - like finding the truth - being a nicer person ect ect  i went to see my teachers to improve my practice

 

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