I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/24/15 11:34 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Eelco ten Have 3/24/15 1:28 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/24/15 3:43 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 3/24/15 4:38 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Bill F. 3/24/15 5:04 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/24/15 8:48 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Bill F. 3/24/15 9:17 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/24/15 9:40 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Bill F. 3/24/15 10:22 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Eric B 3/25/15 9:36 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) . Jake . 3/25/15 9:46 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Bill F. 3/25/15 4:56 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Andreas 3/25/15 5:24 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Bill F. 3/25/15 5:32 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Pål 3/25/15 1:02 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Pål 3/25/15 7:13 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) . Jake . 3/25/15 9:37 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Jake 3/25/15 9:49 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) . Jake . 3/25/15 12:50 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/25/15 11:35 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Bill F. 3/25/15 7:52 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/25/15 11:37 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Pål 3/25/15 1:52 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/25/15 2:09 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) C P M 3/25/15 2:33 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/25/15 2:50 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Pål 3/25/15 3:43 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Jake 3/25/15 5:03 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/25/15 6:15 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) C P M 3/25/15 8:19 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/26/15 1:53 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Stuie Charles Law 3/26/15 10:39 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/26/15 5:52 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/26/15 7:11 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/27/15 5:10 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) CJMacie 3/27/15 7:18 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) . Jake . 3/27/15 8:12 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Nikolai . 3/27/15 8:28 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) CJMacie 3/30/15 8:15 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Not Tao 3/30/15 11:01 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) Andreas 3/30/15 8:27 AM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) C P M 3/25/15 3:50 PM
RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.) PP 3/25/15 12:26 PM
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 11:34 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 11:34 AM

I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Hey guys,

I've been reading about the Tibetian practice of ngondro, and I really like the idea behind it. (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C3%B6ndro)  They call them preliminary practices, but they're also seen as a way to reach full enlightenment.  Essentially the practice is to do 100,000 prostrations to purify pride, 100,000 mandala offerings to purify attachment, cultivation of bodhichitta to purify aversion, and guru yoga to purify delusion.

For my own practice, I'm going to draw a picture I like every day and destroy it for mandala offering, I'm going to practice metta for people I don't like to cultivate bodhichitta, and I'm going to try prostrations for pride (I might recite something with this like "I am not important or special. I am not better than anyone." Or imagine specific people to bow to.)

So, getting back to the title of the thread, as my first prostration, I'd like to say that I was wrong about noting practice. I have been trying it a bit, and it works exactly like what I used to call my "letting go" or acceptance practice. I have no idea if it causes the dark night or not, and the things I've said about it were somewhat ignorant. I never come on here intending to vent strong opinions, but that often seems to happen unexpectedly. Hopefully by purifying my pride a bit, I'll be able to avoid talking myself into corners in the future. I know for sure that my pride has prevented me from using noting in the past, and that's probably held me back.

Time to go draw now. emoticon
thumbnail
Eelco ten Have, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 1:28 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 1:23 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 81 Join Date: 7/20/13 Recent Posts
Consider all phenomena to be dreams.
Be grateful to everyone.
Don’t be swayed by outer circumstances.
Don’t brood over the faults of others.
Explore the nature of unborn awareness.
At all times simply rely on a joyful mind.
Don’t expect a standing ovation.

With Love
Eelco
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 3:43 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 3:43 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Note the feeling of 'being wrong'. 
thumbnail
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 4:38 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 4:38 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
Essentially the practice is to do [...] 100,000 mandala offerings to purify attachment [...]

For my own practice, I'm going to draw a picture I like every day and destroy it for mandala offering [...]

Not sure if that is a symbolic number, but if it isn't, do you actually plan on following through with the 100,000 mandala offerings? Just asking because if you only do one a day, it'll take you 273 years to finish, so if you want to be enlightened in this life, you'll have to step it up a bit...
thumbnail
Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 5:04 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 5:04 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
In some lineages it is 1,000,000. But I don't think Not Tao is planning on doing a traditional ngondro.
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 8:48 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 8:48 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
From what I've read, the number is more symbolic, like how the chinese say, "the ten thousand ________," to mean infinity.  I think the idea is to face something impossible and develop equanimity.  It takes months to make a mandala, so it would probably take even longer than 273 years doing traditional ngondro.
thumbnail
Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 9:17 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 9:11 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Nah, my own teacher did a ngondro, as did my other teacher in the Vajrayana sangha I belong to. It is literal and not symbolic. You really count. It takes years, though generally 4-5 it seems like for lay practitioners who are committed to daily practice. They've both said it was immensely useful. It's funny because I was speaking with my teacher about his experience with it last week, and I was remarking how it just wan't appealing to me at all, though Ive not had any experience with it, and it might be one of those things that sounds not useful but actually is, or so I've heard from all who've done it. The purpose is devotion. It is symbolic in the sense that you are prostrating to imaginary beings, but it is literal in the sense that it is letting go of ego and devoting oneself instead to one's own potential to awaken deeply in this human life, i.e thos imaginary beings represent aspects of ourselves. It is not about thinking oneself as less than, better than, but it is devotional to oneself in a sense. All tantra is devotional, but mostly that devotion is aimed towards the body. In ngondro it is aimed towards our capacity for enlightenement.
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 9:40 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 9:40 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
You could certainly count prostrations, but probably not mandala offerings. If you did 273 prostrations a day it would only take a year to reach 100,000. I they were doing a million in 5 years that would be 400 per day. It'd basically be like exercise at that point, haha.
thumbnail
Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 10:22 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/24/15 10:22 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
I'm not sure what mandala offerings are so I'll take your word for it, but the prostrations are counted if one formally undertakes the practice. 400 a day does seem a lot, but it is also the most practice intensive sangha I've come across (Reggie Ray still practices 3.5 hours a day).Perhaps the 1,000,000 is part of a larger series and my recall is not precise so the 4-5 years reflects one portion of the ngondro. Don't know. I don't think you're interested in Vajrayana but if you are the Aro T'ger lineage or Dharma Ocean lineage may have something to offer. Dharma Ocean has meditation instructors for free and they do the ngondro but it is further along in their path structure following bodywork, insight focus meditation, and mahayana bodhicitta practices.
Pål, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 1:02 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 1:02 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 778 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
Interesting. So these things (ngongdro and noting) are more effective than the buddha dhamma? Maybe I should try it more. (Noting: "aversion" since you've turned to the dark side of the force ;) ) these days I mostly note the hindrances and things distracting me from the breath, kind of as taught by Pema Chödrön and maybe the satipatthana sutta if I get it right. 
Pål, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 7:13 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 7:13 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 778 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
What does pretending the universe is a sensual paradise have to do with buddha dhamma? Sensuality is described as a hindrance in the suttas pretty often. 
thumbnail
Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 7:52 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 7:52 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Tibetan Buddhism and its methods are like taking Hindu ideas, multiplying them and mix them with more devotion and ritualism, bash more down to earth Hinayana and call theirselves the supreme strand of Buddhism, even despite whole novelty of Buddha teachings was removal or even denial of those same Hindu ideas that are core of Tibetan religion. They took Anatta and made it into something that resemble Atman and expect no one will notice absurdity of that. Well, most do not see anything wrong with it because Hindu gods are blue (cyan) and have multiple hands and Tibetan statues of Buddha are golden and have multiple hands. Completely different thing! 

Funny, but what is your source for Tibetan buddhism being all these things? Some of it is in line with things I have heard at times, but have seen the same with certain Theravda teachers, and was not sure if that was unique to those teachers or embedded within the lineage.

As far as bashing down to earth Hinayana, maybe some, but this would be an incorrect understanding. In Vajrayana lineages Hinayana is used to describe part of path focused on removing ourselves from suffering, mahayana used to describe that part of path focused on compassion and freeing others from suffering, and vajrayana the practices after that, which may give the idea of superiority, and whose to say it was not set up to denigrate? I don't really know.
thumbnail
Eric B, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:36 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:35 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 187 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Those are the actual numbers.  In the Karma Kagyu tradition, you do 111,111 of each (100,000 +10%, then 10% of the 10%, etc), but you count them off on a 108 bead mala, but only count 100 repetitions for each 108, so the total is 111,111x108/100=120,000.  So that's 120,000 prostrations (full ones where you end up face-down flat on the floor), 120,000 Vajrasattva mantras, 120,000 mandala offerings and 120,000 of however you count off the guru yoga mantras. any repititions done before receiving the reading transmission don't count.
thumbnail
Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:37 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:37 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Pål:
What does pretending the universe is a sensual paradise have to do with buddha dhamma? Sensuality is described as a hindrance in the suttas pretty often. 



I have a great idea: don't worry about it.
thumbnail
Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:46 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:46 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
I've seen people doing mandala offerings and it's symbolic involving rice, mudras, visualizations and a prayer that repeat. Each iteration doesn't take super long, it looks to me like you are doing dozens or hundreds in one sitting depending on the length of the session.


http://www.palyul.org/eng_about_mandala.htm
thumbnail
Jake, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:49 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 9:49 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Dont worry about it?! Terrible advice. I don't see that in the suttas.

thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:37 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:33 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
You guys bring up some points I was actually going to post about.  What noting seems to be doing for me, specifically, is simply creating something to "do" in order to let go.  When I was just "letting go" before, it was sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly HOW to let go of an object, and when I note it, it's a bit like shifting focus from the object to the awareness of the object. I don't note everything or try to do it quickly, I just use do a few notes whenever I feel stuck on something.

I still think viewing the concept of anatta as "no self" is flawed, because that doesn't seem to match my experience. The transition from clinging to not-clinging is more like relenquishing control than removing myself or separating myself. Maybe that doesn't sound like a distinction, but it seems important to me. I am still that thing, but there is no need to DO anything about it. The Buddha often points to formations as the main culprit of dukkha. Formations arise from clinging. So if I stop holding on to an object, I no longer feel any need to control it or create new "volitions" in relation to it, and this means I can just rest within the awareness of the object. Noting seems to point to that awareness of the object, as opposed to the connection to the object I normally identify with.

Now, I can't say WHAT I am that is clinging to objects, but that doesn't mean I am nothing. The key, at least in my own efforts, is "what is stressful?" not "how does experience work?" Though, if a fruition happens when you let go of the awareness behind things as well, doesn't that just prove you are the awareness? When it goes away, you are gone. When it comes back, there you are again.

As for ngondro, I don't agree with the guru yoga part, so much. That may be because I don't really understand what it is. However, I think there are multiple areas of development, and so called "vipassana" only addresses one aspect - the viewpoint. If there is no tranquility, there is no end of suffering, just a perceptual change. Tranquility is the result of a correct view, and correct view is the result of tranquility. I just don't see how it's possible a person could have afflictive emotions once they've truely stabilized this understanding (that nothing needs to be controlled). The various experiences I've had in the past that I was calling PCEs all came from the realization that I didn't have to do anything anymore. I could just let everything happen. This was true in both a perceptual sense - I didn't need to try to do anything with my feelings - and a mundane sense - nothing could bother me in any way. These experiences were happening when I was letting go of everything equally. The result was just complete effortlessness. So I'm hoping these ngondro type practices will help with the mundane aspect of practice.

P.s. @Pawel: Just because I was wrong doesn't mean you are right. emoticon
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:35 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:35 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Pawel and pal,

Stop  stinking up this thread with your own dogma and smelly locked in thought loops to derail the conversation others are having about practices they may find beneficial. Take it elsewhere.

Nick (mod)
thumbnail
PP, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 12:26 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 12:25 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 376 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
Regarding the 100,000 prostrations, besides the devotional / letting go thing, I thought that there's probably an implied energy practice too. So, just googling "prostrations & kundalini" I found this:

There also seem to be a number of physical, energetic, or otherwise less clear effects. For one I've heard that prostrations raise kundalini and open the sacrum. I've had the experience of more significantly more vivid visual clarity. They seem to work certain muscles very hard such as in the center of the hands & feet, which are the locations of important energy receiving & sending centers/chakras. Often they seem to close up my body energetically significantly which seems would be the opposite of the desired result. Sometimes it seems this is purification of negative chi/karma and preparation for deeper/more complete opening... 

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?519-Purpose-of-prostrations

thumbnail
Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 12:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 12:50 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
@ Jake WM lol ;)

@ Pablo

Yeah, someone who used to post here quite a bit (can't remember his name right now) made comments many times to the effect that prostrations are effectively a form of chi gung. I think he has extensive personal experience with ngondro fwiw. I've done prostrations, but not consistently. During a period when I did them every morning for a few months (108 reps) I found it to have many wonderful benefits. Of course there is a visualization and recitation that goes with it, so it activates and coordinates body speech and mind as most vajrayana practices are supposed to do, so I found it to have holistic effects on my body, energy system and mind. Actually you know what... gonna start that up again. Good stuff! And lord knows I have more than enough pride to purify lol
Pål, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 1:52 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 1:47 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 778 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
@Nikolai: Ok. If it is related then I want to clearify that my question to Pawel was not rethorical.

@Not Tao:
If noting (as in note note note everything that is experienced) is a practice of letting go (which makes some sense) then how come so few people attain Jhanas through that kind of practice? Again, a serious question...

(btw @ Jake WM
it actually happens to be in the suttas. Check out the samadhi section of the indriya-vibhanga sutta is you want it confirmed emoticon )
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 2:09 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 2:09 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Actually, Pal, I'm not sure.  It seems to lead me to jhana.  Maybe I'm still doing something differently, though - or maybe I'm defining jhana differently. I am still placing attention on body awareness while noting, so maybe that's part of it.
C P M, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 2:33 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 2:32 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 218 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
Actually, Pal, I'm not sure.  It seems to lead me to jhana.  Maybe I'm still doing something differently, though - or maybe I'm defining jhana differently. I am still placing attention on body awareness while noting, so maybe that's part of it.

I don't note very often, but the same thing has happened to me too, it leads me to Jhana.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 2:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 2:47 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
It is pretty clear that noting (preceded by noticing) can lead one through the progress of insight. Particular nanas seem to correspond to one of each of the first 4 jhanas due to the bodily pleasantness associated with them. This is my own experience and that of many others here and past.

One can direct attention to solidify such (certain nana) pleasantness into the mental postures/formations/fabrications that are the material jhanas. I got up to the 11th nana consistenantly due to noting. It was here that the field of experience became more wide, calm, panoramic, all inclusive of body and mind , equanimous to it all and very very very 4th jhana-like. When I inclined to solidify these qualities by exclusively paying attention to them, the 4th jhana became immediately established. When I inclined to the cessation of these qualities of experience, a cessation would result. 

If you think about it, the noting technique directs thought. It also sustains thought in a particular direction. It leads to letting go, which leads to pleasantness in the body arising as well as the establishing and developing of equanimity towards the entire field of experience. Sounds like a sure receipe for jhana as I see it. 

Nick's 2 cents
Pål, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 3:43 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 3:43 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 778 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
This makes sense. Have I misunderstod it when I think the majority of noters don't reach Jhana before late nanas or even first path? If that's true, what are those people doing wrong? 
C P M, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 3:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 3:50 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 218 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
It is pretty clear that noting (preceded by noticing) can lead one through the progress of insight. Particular nanas seem to correspond to one of each of the first 4 jhanas due to the bodily pleasantness associated with them. This is my own experience and that of many others here and past.

One can direct attention to solidify such (certain nana) pleasantness into the mental postures/formations/fabrications that are the material jhanas. I got up to the 11th nana consistenantly due to noting. It was here that the field of experience became more wide, calm, panoramic, all inclusive of body and mind , equanimous to it all and very very very 4th jhana-like. When I inclined to solidify these qualities by exclusively paying attention to them, the 4th jhana became immediately established. When I inclined to the cessation of these qualities of experience, a cessation would result. 

If you think about it, the noting technique directs thought. It also sustains thought in a particular direction. It leads to letting go, which leads to pleasantness in the body arising as well as the establishing and developing of equanimity towards the entire field of experience. Sounds like a sure receipe for jhana as I see it. 

Nick's 2 cents

Thanks, that makes sense.  Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing diagrams, and reading discussions about how the maps overlap.  But I still had a blind spot to actually relating that to my own experience.
thumbnail
Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 4:56 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 4:56 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Thanks Eric. Did you do this practice yourself? I know if I continue within Dharma Ocean sangha it's part of the journey, but it just feels so lifeless to me currently. I may just need to educate myself further.
thumbnail
Jake, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 5:03 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 5:02 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 135 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Pål:
Have I misunderstod it when I think the majority of noters don't reach Jhana before late nanas or even first path?

I think you are correct here, or people just dont realize they are in jhana. I cycle up and down the insight path but don't pay much attention to jhana, I just note and move on.

Pål:
If that's true, what are those people doing wrong? 

I don't think it is their primary goal to reach jhana. From what I have seen, people use the noting method to attain path not jhana.
Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 5:24 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 5:24 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 216 Join Date: 11/4/14 Recent Posts
In Secrets of the Vajra world Reggie Ray writes that different schools have different versions of the ngöndro. How they are done etc is also up to the guru. He only describes what the practices usually entails though. But they are a prerequirement for getting instructions regarding vajrayana.
thumbnail
Bill F, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 5:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 5:32 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Yes, I know with Reggie the ngondro precedes what is called the sadhana, which I know even less about than the ngondro.
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 6:15 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 6:15 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Pal, I think we share confusion here.  I still don't understand how the nanas with names like "fear" and "disgust" can relate to jhana.  I've never run into fear or disgust while meditating, and I usually use meditation to help ease these things when they appear in daily life.  A lot of my aversion to the noting method was because of how it was linked to the concept of a dark night and inescapable cycles of misery as described by Daniel.
C P M, modified 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 8:19 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/25/15 8:00 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 218 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
Within Nikolai's response he has a link to his blog that has additional information.  I'm not sure if it has all the information you are looking for, but he does mention:

Each of the nanas that corresponds to a jhana exhibits certain degrees of pleasantness in the mind and body and are thus stable enough for the mind to go deep and stabilize in that pleasantness. The other nanas are unstable as they exhibit more unpleasant phenomena and thus do not correspond to any jhanas.

Edit: And I have run into fear while doing my regular Anapanasati meditation.  But I'm only peripherally interested in how my meditation experiences line up on the maps.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 1:53 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 1:53 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
Pal, I think we share confusion here.  I still don't understand how the nanas with names like "fear" and "disgust" can relate to jhana.  I've never run into fear or disgust while meditating, and I usually use meditation to help ease these things when they appear in daily life.  A lot of my aversion to the noting method was because of how it was linked to the concept of a dark night and inescapable cycles of misery as described by Daniel.


The more "unpleasant" nanas don't correspond to jhana due to not being able to stablise in any pleasantness. Read the following link for a better idea of the jhanas matching up with certain nanas.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/html/jhanas.html
Stuie Charles Law, modified 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 10:39 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 10:25 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 94 Join Date: 3/19/15 Recent Posts
Gosh Nikolai, you've done it again, reached inside my head and gone about rearranging the furniture.

There seems to be so much fertiliser flying about on this forum of late.

Those suffering from "analysis paralyse" with no practice of their own to speak of but so bloody mindedly determined to dip their oar into every one elses attempts at advancement.

The newly crowned, dispensing wisdom to all that would come to their table.

Wannabe Gurus, reinventing the wheel then rushing hither and yon, distributing directions to all and sundry on where exactly this "new found wisdom" may be gained, in the hope of ...... gaining acolytes?

And those, repeatedly, dishing out peals of other peoples wisdom.

Yourself, Jane Laurel Carrington and katy steger are like becons in the night.  Guiding me as i trawl back and forth, back and forth, pulling in enough to keep me going and the occasional bonus to hopefully get me through the lean times.

And with this thread it's been the final understanding of where, precisely, the Vipassana Jhanas fit in the overall scheme of things and as they pertain to my inconsequential journey.

Thank you so very, very much.  It's been a missing part of my jigsaw and once again you've made me pull back and see the full picture.

I must immediately re read, for the umpteenth time Sayadaw U Panditas In This Very Life.  It takes so long for knowledge to sink into this 63 year old poor abused brain.
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 5:52 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 5:52 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
So, if someone was skilled in jhana up to equanimity and the formless realms, would you say they have already mastered the nanas in between? If so, then falling into the negative nanas seems like unskillful practice...
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 7:11 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 7:11 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
I think the Buddha said some will have it easier or harder  than others. Without the lube of Jhana, it will grind a little. Jumping up to 4th Jhana to then incline to cessation/stilling of formations is the same as grinding up to 11th nana to do the same in my experience. Different strokes and all.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 5:10 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/26/15 10:40 PM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
So, if someone was skilled in jhana up to equanimity and the formless realms, would you say they have already mastered the nanas in between? If so, then falling into the negative nanas seems like unskillful practice...

Consider perhaps all the nanas 1 to 10 are Knowledges not simply "phenomenological experiences". These knowledges are all aimed at simply arriving at the 11th nana, equanimity towards formations. All of them are pointed in that direction. Having some degree of knowledge of the phenomenona of mind and body arising and passing, that conditions more arising and passing, leads one to be apprehensive towards clinging to phenomena. First 6 Knowledges right there.

This apprehension (bhaya) leads to really seeing the danger (adinava) in clinging (the 7th adinava nana is often translated as misery nana but I have also seen it translated as danger). Thus there is a turning away from such phenomena with the inclination to escape it somehow. Depending on how developed the faculties are, this whole process of reaching an equanimity towards formations may take some re-observing to convince one how dangerous it all is. This is the case until there truly is a complete stilling of all formations due to an established and matured equanimity. 7th to the 11th nana and beyond right there.

A number of people here may give great importance to the "way" the dukkha nanas are experienced as opposed to the knowledge that acts as a step towards equanimity towards formations. Different strokes for different folks. This is my current subject to change take:
  • Consider that dukkha has been summed up by the Buddha as struggling/wandering/moving AND stopping/standing still.
  • Consider that generally our default mode is struggling/wandering/moving. I think it is easy to understand that struggling/wandering/moving is a source of dukkha for us. 
  • Consider that all jhanas and formless attainments are examples of stopping/standing still.  
  • Consider that without the understanding and seeing that EVEN stopping/standing still is dukkha, one will simply cling to stopping/standing still as a rest from the struggling/wandering/moving.
  • ***See sutta references below concerning what is dukkha.

From as high as the 8th jhana, one can develop apprehension/wariness towards the stopping/standing still. This can then lead one to see that it too is simply dangerous to cling to as even though highly refined and peaceful, it is just refined becoming.  A source of dukkha all the same. Thus the dogma that developing 1st jhana or 4th jhana or the formless attainments or states of no-conciousness will lead to rebirth the corresponding deva realms. Just more becoming. Still within the realm of samsara.

Since more rebirth is not the Buddha's desired practice result, knowledge of the danger of endless future rebirths,  there is a turning away from the standing still as some "thing" more to cling to, leading to inclining the mind to escape it. If mature enough, equanimity will become established towards all formations presenting i.e. all the current jhana factors compounded. And then the cessation of the stopping/standing still can occur.  They are knowledges that can be cultivated at any time. Easier in the jhanas of course. These knowledges are not just relegated as "phenomenoligical experiences", but KNOWLEDGES to be cultivated to get to where formations lose their hold.

A lot of people here seem to work straight off the bat more so with the struggling/wandering/moving until eventually it all settles somewhat (11th nana). Others may develop the art of 'standing still' first and foremost and find that there is less struggling/wandering/moving to deal with on the path.

The former is unskillful? Well, maybe they have little choice in the matter? Or if they did have a choice, they don't know they can choose another 'route'?

As a monk sitting in a cave with not much struggling/wandering/moving to deal with, the latter path takes root easy. Those not in caves but on an internet forum sitting on a couch somewhere, with countless responsibilites awaiting them, probably have more struggling/wandering/moving to deal with. More grinding to deal with. If there is the possibility of lubing up with jhana, it is probably going to be a less grinding trip. If one can jump right to the knowledge of equanimity of all formations, the subtlest of formations included in the mix, then all the other knowledges do not seem so neccessary. Though I'm not sure how one gets there without dealing with the previous steps. Maybe one was born conditioned to do that? 

I can't remember the sutta reference but the Buddha describes people of paths that are easy as opposed to hard and viceversa depending on their past actions. That is the way I see it with the masses of the DhO population struggling/wandering/moving here and there in a "dark night'. Karma is a bitch, but right now we have a choice, maybe.....or maybe we don't. Causes and effects, effects, causes. 

My current subject to change 2 cents

Edited multiple times due to habit and getting carried away.

Sutta References


Staying at Savatthi... [the Blessed One said,] "What one intends, what one arranges, and what one obsesses about:[1] This is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing [or: an establishing] of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"If one doesn't intend and doesn't arrange, but one still obsesses [about something], this is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"But when one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no landing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress." Cetana Sutta


"I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place." Ogha-tarana sutta
thumbnail
CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 7:18 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 7:09 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
re: Nikolai . (3/27/15 1:28 AM as a reply to Not Tao.)

"Consider that dukkha has been summed up by the Buddha as struggling/wandering/moving AND
stopping/standing still…"

Nice analysis...

"…And then the cessation of the stopping/standing still may occur. Both avenues are manifestations of dukkha, gross and sublte, that may show their cessation via the 1st to 11th knowledges taking root. Not just relegated as "phenomenoligical experiences", but KNOWLEDGES." (red emphasis added)

Consider an alternative formulation distinguishing between "phenomenal experiences", or simply "phenomena" appearing, and the knowledges as properly phenomenological, meta-knowledge of the nature of the phenomena.

For instance, in MN 111 Anupada Sutta, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the 1st, 2nd,… jhana / the base of immeasurable space, consciousness,… all of which have component "states" (dhammas used here in the Abdhidhamma sense). These are experiential phenomena.

Then when Sariputta "defined" (vavatthitā) these [sub-] states, one by one, for himself, "knew" (viditā) how they arose, were present, disappeared, and "understood" (pajānāti) them so… – this was beyond just experiencing the phenomena, this was phenomenology, analysis that establishes knowledge of the nature of the phenomena.

(That's using Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation. Thanissaro Bhikkhu uses "… he ferreted them out (vavatthitā)
one after another. Known (viditā) to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned (pajānāti) …")
thumbnail
Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 8:12 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 8:12 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Yes, although I agree strongly with the meaning of what Nik writes, for the sake of clarity and honoring the meaning of these terms in our own Western tradition from whence they come i think it would be good to clarify that 'phenomena' are not necessarily understood 'phenomenologically' by default (at all) and that the insight knowledges are pretty much by definition phenomenological insights, not mere phenomena, but insights into the how of phenomenas conditioned arising and passing.

The phenomenal/phenomenological distinction is meant to encapsulate the understanding that we ordinarily have no clue about the 'how' of phenomena or the significance of this 'how'. Phenomenology is an experiential discipline that is meant to produce a transformed understanding of that 'how'.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 8:28 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/27/15 8:28 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for that distinction jake. 

Nick
thumbnail
CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 3/30/15 8:15 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/30/15 7:44 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
re: . Jake . (3/27/15 8:12 AM as a reply to Chris J Macie.)

1) "Yes, although I agree strongly with the meaning of what Nik writes…"

Likewise on my part, as indicated by reference to his "dukkha"analysis. The use of the term 'phenomenology' caught my eye because it could have been more precise, in line with the remarkable level of overall accuracy throughout that post. Unfortunately, the term is very commonly used where 'phenomenal' would be more appropriate, in a loose sense as phenomenal description with little understanding of the analytical dimension, as influenced by the way psychologists use the term. Without pursuing it further here (there was formerly some discussion in the thread "What is phenomenology (as used here)" c.f. http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5570015), my point is simply that proper understanding offers opportunities for deepening modernist appreciation of the nature of G. Buddha's approach, as explored by authors such as Alexander Piatigorsky, Dan Lusthaus, and particularly Evan Thompson. Again, not pushing this as it appears to go against the grain of most peoples' interests in DhO (though I believe it does fall with in the scope of the mission-statement guidelines).

2) Back to Nikolai's post – the "dukkha" analysis, and especially this statement I found most interesting:
"Others may develop the art of 'standing still' first and foremost and find that there is less struggling/wandering/moving to deal with on the path."
Because it happens to fit my earlier, formative practice, which, under the influence of teachers trained inthe Burmese PaAuk Sayadaw lineage (hard-core Visudhimagga), focused first (after acknowledging sila / virtue) on cultivation of the jhanas. As a result, the "struggling" aspect has since then not been so prominent. (Not that there's wasn't a long enough struggle in the quest for experiencing the (hard) jhanas…) The samadhi practice seems to lead naturally into enhancing more "moving" practice (active insight practices), and seems to provide a sort of refuge, of stability with which to face the more potentially disturbing realizations. And this does appear to fit the way G. Buddha is said to have spoken about the utility of the jhanas throughout the suttas.

Come to think of it, a peculiarity of the MCTB approach is that it's closely modeled on Part 3 ("Understanding") of the Visudhimagga, which occupies about 360 pages (in Nanamoli's translation, 1997 reprint), of which actually only about 160 pages deal with the 16 stages of insight. Whereas Part 2 ("Concentration") is given close to 400 pages. It would seem the Mahasi lineage chooses to shift and concentrate, so to speak, emphasis on those 160 pages, while thePaAuk lineage chooses to follow more the overall proportions of the Visudhimagga.

3) Another place, the concluding citation, in Nikolai's post was striking :
""I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place." Ogha-tarana sutta"
And that's because the other mainstay of my formative pariyatti and meditative practices has been Thanissaro Bhikkhu's (Than-Geof) talks (recorded and live) and writings. His way (Thai Forest lineage) is quite distinct from the Burmese (shared by both Mahasi and PaAuk) – in fact, I once asked him about my reading Abhidhamma and the Visudhimagga, which he replied to by saying forget it, study the suttas. But concentration (jhanas) is central (though certainly as partner, not substitute for panna / insight) in his understanding of practice.

In fact, that quotation (red, above) reminded me vividly of an episode in one of Than-Geof's day-longwork shops where, I believe, he described his own 1st path experience (sotapatti). (A complete transcription of his description was given earlier in the thread "Nibbana with some kind of "knowing"", c.f. http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5617007#_19_message_5618802.)
The gist of it was that pursuing ever deepening concentration (actually it might have been close to what's called vipassana jhanas), he would be repeatedly looking for remaining stress (his term for dukkha), and then finding a way to defuse it, hence move to a deeper level of concentration. Eventually, he said (without mentioning how long it took), it gets so subtle there's a point where the " question comes up -- there's stress if I stay here, but there's going to be stress if I move. And this is where is gets kind of paradoxical, because you neither stay nor move. There's no intention either way. Because you realize whichever way you intend, there's going to be stress. And it's in that moment of non-intention that things open up. And it's very impressive – it's not one of these things you say "Gee, I had stream-entry and I didn't know it… I mean it's earth-shattering."

Perhaps partly due to my understanding from a background also in cultivating concentration, that was one of the most inspirational moments I've ever witnessed in a dharma-talk.
Andreas, modified 7 Years ago at 3/30/15 8:27 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/30/15 8:27 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 216 Join Date: 11/4/14 Recent Posts
. Jake .:
Yes, although I agree strongly with the meaning of what Nik writes, for the sake of clarity and honoring the meaning of these terms in our own Western tradition from whence they come i think it would be good to clarify that 'phenomena' are not necessarily understood 'phenomenologically' by default (at all) and that the insight knowledges are pretty much by definition phenomenological insights, not mere phenomena, but insights into the how of phenomenas conditioned arising and passing.

The phenomenal/phenomenological distinction is meant to encapsulate the understanding that we ordinarily have no clue about the 'how' of phenomena or the significance of this 'how'. Phenomenology is an experiential discipline that is meant to produce a transformed understanding of that 'how'.

Think we need to use more non-kantian noumenons in our discussions also, not just phenomenons.
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 3/30/15 11:01 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/30/15 11:01 AM

RE: I was wrong. (Also, ngondro.)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Something I always used to come back to as a reminder for practice during the day was "awareness and acceptance."  I think awareness stood for finding stability, like a background vantage point, and acceptance stood for developing no need to stay still, allowing things to change.  I would go back and forth on which one was more important, and it was always very obvious when they'd gone out of sync.  If I was trying to accept things without the background stability, I'd become mired in stressful states with no idea how to escape.  Then, when I'd finally start concentrating again, I'd swing the other way and have to deal with a lot of grasping.

So, anyway, I can see a lot of my own practice in what you guys are writing, here.  I would say developing stillness first might make more sense, since a person with no insight at all is already dealing with a grasping mind.  If you show that grasping mind how to grasp skillfully, it can take a bit of control over itself and feel a little less need to grasp, which would lead to insight and balance things out.

Breadcrumb