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Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 3:44 AM
My teacher had some interesting remarks about this article on the insight knowledges: 

http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html
there are a lot of problems with it.  You might call it the losers path. The first mistake that becomes a founding point is that piti is a distraction to insight.  If that's true we should want no part of that kind of vipassana. Clearly the author is confused if well meaning and with many years of bad practice on his part as well as his students. The most important point about all this is that this above method goes against the suttas In places it follows suttas and in other cases disagree.   In no case would I or Bhikhu Buddhadasa (and even the Buddha) want anyone to go through such torture when the development of the skill of joy would mollify its low spots. And to top it all of it is misleading in that the reader is convince this is the whole path when it fact it is only to the level of sotapanna, not the full path and the full fruit. and it is the slow hard path with low skills and slow results.   When you call, we can go over Sutta 24 and 48 as an alternate to this Burmeese slow and hard method.  Since this document is in wide spread circulation it might be wise to do a rebuttal.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Agreements?  Criticisms?



RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 5:49 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Hadn't the dry vs. wet insight horse been beaten to death already?


RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 8:08 AM as a reply to neko.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 8:22 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I thought the dry insight approach was considered (potentially) faster but more difficult, while wet is slow-and-steady with joyousness. Also what does he mean by "low skills".

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 10:17 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Is dry insight even really a thing?  Do people actually practice this, or recomend practicing it?  I always see it come up in oposition to a 'wet' path, and the idea of it seems to provide more of a contrast to a dual shamatha and vipassana approach than really have any merits in and of itself. 

And I don't even know if a fully 'dry' path is possible, it seems like the concentration inherant in vipassana would provide some kind of boost.  Of course piti here seems to be refereing more to pleasure, but even so a dual approach can be so compartmentalized that shamatha provides only an occasional boost to what is otherwise 'dry' insight. 

Is a wet path one in which we explicitly cultivate pleasure, or concentration?  Rescently, talking to some Culadasa folks and hearing about the emphasis on pleasure - frankly this is an aspect I have never heard of till now ha, so maybe I personally was on a dry path, but I did plenty of jhana practice..

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 11:50 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Hadn't the dry vs. wet insight horse been beaten to death already?

From the author:

Amusing to see the words ”wet and dry” do not appear. The normal western wet-dry idea was jhana vs. no jhana or that was true years ago; it is easy to convert wet-dry to joy-no joy, because jhana requires joy to the point of bliss. Where pre jhana insight is both dry and hard work and seems to be what is recommended in the referenced work. At any rate, thinking about beating horses is considered a hindrance, it is recommended to clear the mind of horses and insert joy.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 11:52 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
From the author:

True, and duller still to think of beating horses.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/27/17 11:54 PM as a reply to Adam.
Adam:
I thought the dry insight approach was considered (potentially) faster but more difficult, while wet is slow-and-steady with joyousness. Also what does he mean by "low skills".

From the author:

The Buddha taught anapanasati as a way to fulfill the satipattana and that for the fulfillment for the sambojana and that for the fulfillment of knowledge and deliverance.  In the suttas, there is no wet-dry. That is a modern diversion through the visudimagga. Low skills mean to try to do insight before or without first jhana. The slow hard way is slow to the point of no progress, and hard is why so many quit meditating, and most who start quit with little or no value.Joy is a skill to be developed, happiness is a skill to be developed. No joy, no jhana. No first jhana, no insight. No insight, no progress, and it all gets to be slow hard living.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/28/17 12:03 AM as a reply to Adam.
Adam:
I thought the dry insight approach was considered (potentially) faster but more difficult, while wet is slow-and-steady with joyousness. Also what does he mean by "low skills".
This is an interesting discussion, but in some respects it's ultimately BS. I spent 25 years in "wet path" Dzhogchen practices and cracked it - but when not practicing at all and just a realization of letting go after a deep "Dark Night".

You can delude yourself into thinking that Stream Entry is something YOU do, but who is this "you" that is doing it? Who is separate? Look at that for a while and see where it leads.

Speaking solely from THIS perspective, you can see that when "you" crack it, that there was never someone separate to DO anything or make anything happen.

The perspective shift is important - the technique isn't. There are many paths that lead to the same point.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/28/17 5:41 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I'm a bit confused about the purpose of this rebuttal, since the article is explicitly for advanced students and teachers to understand vipassana practice. It doesn't seem to preclude jhana practice.

The article only mentions piti as being something not to cling to when doing vipassana, is this incorrect? Is the author trying to say that the correct way to practice vipassana is different to the article? Or perhaps the author is trying to say that the article should prescribe some jhana practice alongside vipassana?

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/28/17 7:14 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
From the author:The normal western wet-dry idea was jhana vs. no jhana

If by "normal western" The Author means Buddhaghosa, then yes.

Visuddhimagga, Chapter XXI - INSIGHT LEADING TO EMERGENCE, a.k.a. 12. CONFORMITY:

111. This knowledge of equanimity about formations governs the fact that the meditator keeps apart. It furthermore governs the difference in the [number of the] noble path’s enlightenment factors, path factors, and jhána factors, the mode of progress, and the kind of liberation. For while some elders say that it is the jhána used as the basis for insight [leading to emergence] that governs the difference in the [number of] enlightenment factors, path factors, and jhána factors, and some say that it is the aggregates made the object of insight that govern it, and some say that it is the personal bent that governs it, yet it is only this preliminary insight and insight leading to emergence that should be understood to govern it in their doctrine.

112. To deal with these [three theories] in order: According to governance by insight, the path arisen in a bare-insight (dry-insight) worker, and the path arisen in one who possesses a jhána attainment but who has not made the jhána the basis for insight, and the path made to arise by comprehending unrelated formations after using the first jhána as the basis for insight, are paths of the first jhána only. In each case there are seven enlightenment factors, eight path factors, and five jhána factors. For while their preliminary insight can be accompanied by joy and it can be accompanied by equanimity, when their insight reaches the state of equanimity about formations at the time of emergence it is accompanied by joy.


Funny The Author should call a 5th century Indian "Western". I guess everything is relative: Perhaps they are Chinese?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_West

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/2/17 6:49 PM as a reply to neko.
Neko:
If by "normal western" The Author means Buddhaghosa, then yes. 

[...]

Funny The Author should call a 5th century Indian "Western".

Response from Dhammarato:


If left on the same heap as many other indian works, then yes, but it is the Western attachment to VM (visuddhimagga) that becomes a profound hindrance to progress.  Here it looks like the Br'er rabbit is completely stuck in the tar baby of VM.  Hope fox can find a way to scrape that 5th century crap off before it rots skin or worst mind. (Ref Uncle Remus tails).  
Lust for all things VM is the same as lust for a girl one can't have.  its suffering, Br'er, its suffering.  When one sees dukkha as dukkha, one naturally starts to be free from it. 

*parantheticals added by Noah for clarity

Edited: Added by Dhammarato, for clarity - Br'er rabbit (not fox) & tar baby characters are from American folklore: 
http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/brer_rabbit_meets_a_tar_baby.html

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/30/17 8:22 AM as a reply to Adam.
Adam:
I'm a bit confused about the purpose of this rebuttal, since the article is explicitly for advanced students and teachers to understand vipassana practice. It doesn't seem to preclude jhana practice.

The article only mentions piti as being something not to cling to when doing vipassana, is this incorrect? Is the author trying to say that the correct way to practice vipassana is different to the article? Or perhaps the author is trying to say that the article should prescribe some jhana practice alongside vipassana?

Response from Dhammarato:
  • Or perhaps the author is trying to say that the article should prescribe some jhana practice alongside vipassana?


Perhaps the author is suggesting that Visudi magga and all the works for and about it that have become a set of objects simular to a bone and the western mind is like a dog frantically chewing on the bone so bare of nourishment.

  • the article is explicitly for advanced students

Then perhaps its best to stop chewing this bone; its too hard for soft (mental) teeth. Perhaps its would be better to practice as the Buddha recommended and give Buddhaghosa a miss. 
Better to start with anapana sati step one, understand the in breath as in breath and out breath as out breath. Then when the mind starts to lust for the things Buddhaghosa, have sati, see hindrance a s hindrance (lust for all things Buddhaghosa)  and remember to drop all that and start again.  Be happy that there is no lust for jhana, no lust for Buddhaghosa, no lust for experiences,  just happily watching the breath. 
until the mind is free from hindrances there will be no real progress. 

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/30/17 11:09 AM as a reply to neko.
Too much scowling. One should beat one's horse with an aspect of relaxed alertness.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/30/17 1:08 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Too much scowling. One should beat one's horse with an aspect of relaxed alertness.



RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
8/31/17 11:40 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Apart from the use of the word loser, what he is saying is the truth. Im sure the Buddha would say the same thing. No one whos done time on this path wants to be told this, and they wont appreciate it. Now that this method has quite large numbers practicing it, and numbers who have completed it, i dont really know what can be done. However for the sake of all the people that have not started, i think this should be addressed. So i would ask all the Arahants, heavyweights and the movers and shakers of this modern dharma to analyze the dead horse again.

Those at the top have done a great job of explaining all the experiences and results that are happening as correct. With magical words and detailed high tec dialogue a rock can be made to look like a diamond. So why not see if your diamond can be turned into a rock. What i mean is, instead of showing your paradim as correct use your energy and abilities to show how its not. 


Ive watched how bit by bit consession after consession has been applied to incorporate all that is happening, and its results. When one continues to do this they lose one mind and gain another, so to speak. When one really wants  something they will do this, on and on and on. Bit by bit concession after concession, but understand youve done this because you wanted something and because youve worked so hard this may have made you blind.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/1/17 5:10 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Hi Noah,

Who is your teacher that wrote this?

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/2/17 6:54 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Ben V.:
Hi Noah,

Who is your teacher that wrote this?

Hey Ben - It's Dhammarato.  For more info, including link to YouTube discussions with students: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5840836.  

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/4/17 9:47 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Dhammarato wanted to add this to OP:

"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.' I thought: 'So why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities?' I thought: 'I am no longer afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities, but that pleasure is not easy to achieve...   MN 36   
Buddha directly states: First Jhana is the path to SamBodhi, Enlightenment, or at least to fruit of stream. and full change of linage. Final goal may incorporate jhanas 2-4 .

if there is no pleasure born from seclusion, there will be no evaluation. No evaluation, no awakening. 

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/4/17 9:48 PM as a reply to Noah D.
And also this... 

In the suttas there is no wet-dry. there , is only one path.  It is well covered in MN 118, MN 10, MN 38, MN 117, MN 9 MN 36. That is the path of Anapanasati and the path that starts in dukkhs and ends in dukkha-niroda (end of suffering).
Wet-dry comes much later, its like confusing Bible with Billy Grahm. Its Buddha vs Buddhaghosa. 
Maybe the way to see it is like this. The Buddha taught the wet method, but due to confusion and bad practice habits, the dry path became known. The dry method means to try to do insight with a mind that is not fit for the work. 

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/4/17 9:51 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Is dry insight even really a thing?  Do people actually practice this, or recomend practicing it?  I always see it come up in oposition to a 'wet' path, and the idea of it seems to provide more of a contrast to a dual shamatha and vipassana approach than really have any merits in and of itself. 

And I don't even know if a fully 'dry' path is possible, it seems like the concentration inherant in vipassana would provide some kind of boost.  Of course piti here seems to be refereing more to pleasure, but even so a dual approach can be so compartmentalized that shamatha provides only an occasional boost to what is otherwise 'dry' insight. 

Is a wet path one in which we explicitly cultivate pleasure, or concentration?  Rescently, talking to some Culadasa folks and hearing about the emphasis on pleasure - frankly this is an aspect I have never heard of till now ha, so maybe I personally was on a dry path, but I did plenty of jhana practice..
From the author of OP:
According to the classical definition of Jhana found in MN 119,   No joy=no jhana.  Its ok to call it jhana practice to distinguish it from actual jhana. Also see step 10 of Anapanasati sutta MN 118. 

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/4/17 9:51 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Too much scowling. One should beat one's horse with an aspect of relaxed alertness.
From the author of OP:
The horse is dead from too much beating. Let us sit and enjoy (really enjoy) the rotting horse as we sit close by.  

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/4/17 9:54 PM as a reply to Bigbird.
Responses in line from the author of OP.

Bigbird:
Apart from the use of the word loser, what he is saying is the truth. Im sure the Buddha would say the same thing. No one whos done time on this path wants to be told this

Maybe the horse is not yet dead. Here we find stirrings of life in that old dead horse called western Buddhism. 

but understand youve done this because you wanted something and because youve worked so hard this may have made you blind.

So the western horse is not dead, just blind, or perhaps just wearing blinders that distort view. 

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/5/17 12:04 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
T DC:
Is dry insight even really a thing?  Do people actually practice this, or recomend practicing it?  I always see it come up in oposition to a 'wet' path, and the idea of it seems to provide more of a contrast to a dual shamatha and vipassana approach than really have any merits in and of itself. 

And I don't even know if a fully 'dry' path is possible, it seems like the concentration inherant in vipassana would provide some kind of boost.  Of course piti here seems to be refereing more to pleasure, but even so a dual approach can be so compartmentalized that shamatha provides only an occasional boost to what is otherwise 'dry' insight. 

Is a wet path one in which we explicitly cultivate pleasure, or concentration?  Rescently, talking to some Culadasa folks and hearing about the emphasis on pleasure - frankly this is an aspect I have never heard of till now ha, so maybe I personally was on a dry path, but I did plenty of jhana practice..
From the author of OP:
According to the classical definition of Jhana found in MN 119,   No joy=no jhana.  Its ok to call it jhana practice to distinguish it from actual jhana. Also see step 10 of Anapanasati sutta MN 118. 

I'm not saying there was no joy in Jhana practice, simply that, generally regarding practice as a whole - shamatha and vipassana - , I did not focus on cultivating joy.  By 'Jhana practice' I don't mean a failure to achive the Jhanas, I mean practicing achieving the Jhana states - a skill we progressively cultivate.

RE: Slow Hard Path
Answer
9/28/17 7:43 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Here's a great quote from Dhammarato emphasizing mindfulness of body in daily life.  It illustrates a bit of the style of Buddhadasa (possibly an interesting comparison to the "slow hard path" of OP):

Another tool is the following:  Peg, mark, make note of and strongly note and notice whenever the mental choice is to remove an item (every item) from the hands grasp. Strongly noting the item, the new location (and is it the old location: its place when all is in order), the time of day.  If this is done, one will have to stay mindful of what is in the hand because every thing that has ever been in the had has changed, it leaves the hand.  NOTE this event strongly.  Rank hand item as important (like keys, or a cup) or not important. Trash must be put into the class of important, because its necessary to put trash in the proper place (trash bin).        Slow down this event, make it into a slow motion "ritual", to fully mark the time and event and the item.     Many benefits will come, including not loosing keys and cups and such.   Things will become naturally more organized.  "Every thing has a place and every thing in its place"   Also Note that when an item is grasp by the hand, what feelings were involved that led to the reaching and grasping.