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ingram and culadasa tmi

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ingram and culadasa tmi
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1/19/18 1:08 AM
i know daniel ingram also recommended tmi
i have read about 2/3rds of both books and i am still somewhat confused about where to place it all.

basically daniel ingrams model looks like this: there is (morality practice), concentration meditation Practice and insight meditation practice.

concentration is basically needed for insight meditation but only to a min. degree of "acess concentration". he also goes on saying they are completely different practices (with similar meditation objects). 

in concentration practices you focus on one object completely. you FORCE yourself to stay on it, you SHUT everything else OUT. the whole background etc until you reach acess concentration and are Absorbed with the object. after that you can enter the jhanas or you start insight practice. 



so culadasas method is shamatha (which counts as concentration practice?) seems to contradict that model. unless im getting something wrong here. 

culadasa explicitly says you should NOT shut out your background.. to train extrospective awareness (stage 3). and i do not see the clear distinction between concentration and insight. it seems it needs concentration and mindfulness for both practices. 

d. ingram seems to suggest you enter jhanas or insight after acess concentration. 
culadasa suggest insight practice should be done after reaching the end of his shamatha practice. 

is tmi just more gradual in learning access concentration as the method of daniel ingram suggested? do they actually mean the same. 

im confused pls help. 

RE: ingram and culadasa tmi
Answer
1/19/18 8:20 AM as a reply to Julian.
In all Buddhist traditions that I know of, access concentration means freedom from the hindrances with access to the jhanas.  However, the description of that experience will vary greatly.

Also, I don't think MCTB truly advises "forcing" your mind to do anything.  Instead, it emphasises diligent repetition, which is also what TMI emphasizes.  I think the differing tone of the authors could lead to this impression though.

It is true that Culadasa focuses on both central attention & peripheral awareness for his samatha, whereas Daniels is moreso on central attention only.  That is because TMI is focused on blending vipassana with samatha, whereas the bulk of MCTB is about samatha -> then vipassana.  However, Daniel does include a section at the end where he describes going up the POI via the jhanic side of things, which is essentially what TMI is designed to do.  By going through 3rd Jhana instead of nanas 5-10, one can supposedly bypass the so called "dark night" .  Hope that helps 

RE: ingram and culadasa tmi
Answer
2/17/18 2:18 PM as a reply to Julian.
Welcome to DHO!

I'm not sure Ingram would say you have to force anything "out" of your experience, more that you are just determined to keep orienting your attention towards the chosen object, not by "blocking other things out" but just by reorienting towards the object. 

Once you have access concentration if you switch to insight practices you won't be blocking anything out either, quite the opposite

There are different ways of choosing to develop oneself in meditation training. The two pathways laid out in TMI and MCTB are slightly different, and in just about every school of Dharma you will find smaller or bigger variations, there is no single method that everyone would agree on. The disagreements get so big as to produce entire different schools of Buddhism (known as the three great turnings, the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana). So you have to start out developing down whichever one feels more interesting or approriate to you (or find a teacher who can teach one or another and work with them).

And yes shamatha basically means concentration practice.

Also you are correct that in TMI there isn't such a clear distinction between concentration and insight. You could say in his method you develop both more or less simultaneously. You will be developing insight doing TMI, its not something you will have to wait until reaching his final stage before developing. What he means by that is just that the final stage is a great platform from which to do much deeper serious insight work. But any mindfulness is insight practice.

Hope that helps let us know

RE: ingram and culadasa tmi
Answer
2/19/18 5:27 AM as a reply to Julian.
TMI is good stuff. I really appreciate Culadasa's meticulous approach. It is true that he is cultivating a mix of concentration and insight, but so do all insight practices, as you can't do insight practices if you can't concentrate.

There is concentration where you do try to just cultivate positive factors of mind and to focus exclusively on one object without investigating the Three Characteristics of the sensation that make it up: this would be "pure samatha" practice.

There is insight practice where you investigate whatever arises moment after moment without any focus or agenda for what attention does so long as it notices the Three Characteristics of whatever arises.

Then there are most meditation practices, those that have some focus, such as the breath, which means they have a bit of the samatha perspective, but they also encourage noticing other sensations as they arise and to notice things come and go, which are vipassana elements, and so we find that most practices have a mix of elements.

Still, to do even "pure vipassana", in which one's sole concern is the Three Chracteristics of sensations without any other agenda, it still requires what is called "momentary concentration", that ability to notice the arising and vanishing of sensation after sensation after sensation without interruption, and that sort of concentration will often cause the arising of jhanic factors and exclude things like being lost in thought.

Still, to do even "pure samatha" in which one's sole concern is to keep the mind on a object and to cultivate positive jhanic factors, past a certain point any real keeping the mind on an object honestly will result in noticing the true nature of the sensations that make up that object, as they do come and go.

Imagine a plane, one axis of which is concentration and one axis of which is insight. It is nearly impossible to stay entirely to one side of the plane and not venture out into the middle where concentration and insight are blended to some degree, though some techniques and traditions definitely attempt to have more of one emphasis or the other, while some try to do both well simultaneously.

Any of that help?

Daniel