Author Topic: Short history on the confusion in Buddhism  (Read 195 times)

TheJourney

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Short history on the confusion in Buddhism
« on: July 01, 2017, 12:17:50 AM »
Buddha began his meditation practice applying what existed at the time Veda  (Hindu) meditation practice. He did the concentration breathing meditation ( known as anapanasati at Goenka retreat ) and attained the 8 jhanas but found out that the purity of mind was fleeting as soon as he came out of the meditation.

Then, he remembered how he meditated as a child and easily attained jhana. He decided to meditate like that again and became enlightened. His breathing meditation is described in the anapanasati sutra, which makes NO REFERENCE to rising and falling of stomach or noticing air at the nostril. Simply, be mindful of breathing and breath in a way that it relaxes and calms your body and mind. Be aware of your field of awareness. This method contains introspection awareness, so it is samatha and vipassana in tandem.

There is no meditation method used by Buddha for his enlightenment that is samatha first, vipassana second or vipassana first, samatha second or vipassana only.

1000 years later, Buddhaghosa, who didn't have knowledge of Buddha's meditation practice, wrote commentaries called Visuddhimagga or Path of Purification, heavily relied on my Theraveda teachers. He inserted the vary meditation practice that Buddha abandoned and called it anapanasati. He inserted samatha  and vipassana as separate meditation practices.

Visuddhimagga emphasizes strenuous meditation practice and pain tolerance. The jhanas have 8 levels.

Buddha emphasizes relaxed meditation  practice and middle effort. The jhanas have 4 levels.

Even when you are talking about jhanas, you have to say absorption (Visuddhimagga) jhana or sutta (Buddha) jhana.

Unfortunately, the commentary not only did not elaborate Buddha's teaching but distorting it making meditation strenuous and difficult.

Goenka and Mahasi retreats are all based on Visuddhimagga. They are not the original teaching of Buddha.

You can follow either track. My personal direct experience is that Buddha's meditation practice is far superior. It releases hindrance while absorption method suppresses hindrance such that they are released when you are not meditating.  Buddha's path reaches jhana so much easier. Relaxing is letting go of hindrance. One can reach enlightenment faster.

I hope this clarifies a lot of confusion surrounding Theraveda Buddhism. You don't have to believe in me. You can research on your own. You can ask yourself do you get he aches and tightness of heads which many have complained about the anapanasati taught at Theraveda school of Buddhism.

Buddha's teaching is neither Theraveda, Zen, Tibetan. It simply is the original sutta established by the first council.

Nicky

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Re: Short history on the confusion in Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2017, 12:03:12 PM »
Buddha began his meditation practice applying what existed at the time Veda  (Hindu) meditation practice. He did the concentration breathing meditation ( known as anapanasati at Goenka retreat ) and attained the 8 jhanas but found out that the purity of mind was fleeting as soon as he came out of the meditation.

There is no evidence for this.

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Then, he remembered how he meditated as a child and easily attained jhana. He decided to meditate like that again and became enlightened.

There is really no relationship between jhana & the Buddha's enlightenment. Therefore, when the Buddha remembered how he attained jhana as a child, it was probably about 'how' he attained jhana rather than jhana itself.

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His breathing meditation is described in the anapanasati sutra, which makes NO REFERENCE to rising and falling of stomach or noticing air at the nostril. Simply, be mindful of breathing and breath in a way that it relaxes and calms your body and mind. Be aware of your field of awareness. This method contains introspection awareness, so it is samatha and vipassana in tandem.

The sutta does not state to "be mindful of breathing". It states the meditator 'observes' ('anupassi') the breathing by using mindfulness ('sati') to abandon covetousness & distress.

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There is no meditation method used by Buddha for his enlightenment that is samatha first, vipassana second or vipassana first, samatha second or vipassana only.

This is not true. The Anapanasati Sutta uses the word 'calming' in the 4th and 8th step, which means 'calming' is a predominant quality at the beginning stages (even though there is also vipassana at the beginning stages). The later stages are 100% vipassana.

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1000 years later, Buddhaghosa, who didn't have knowledge of Buddha's meditation practice, wrote commentaries called Visuddhimagga or Path of Purification, heavily relied on my Theraveda teachers. He inserted the vary meditation practice that Buddha abandoned and called it anapanasati. He inserted samatha  and vipassana as separate meditation practices.

Sure. Buddhists have been criticising Buddhaghosa for a long time. This is not anything new.

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Visuddhimagga emphasizes strenuous meditation practice and pain tolerance. The jhanas have 8 levels. Buddha emphasizes relaxed meditation  practice and middle effort. The jhanas have 4 levels.

Buddha also refers to 8 jhanas. The word the Buddha used for the method to attain jhana is 'letting go' ('vossagga') rather than 'relaxation'. Refer to SN 48.10 and the last paragraphs of the Anapanasati Sutta, often translated as "relinquishment'.

For example, if the idea exists that "I am relaxing", this is not complete 'letting go' or 'relinquishment'.

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Goenka and Mahasi retreats are all based on Visuddhimagga. They are not the original teaching of Buddha.

Really? Please quote specific teachings to prove this.

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You can follow either track. My personal direct experience is that Buddha's meditation practice is far superior. It releases hindrance while absorption method suppresses hindrance such that they are released when you are not meditating.  Buddha's path reaches jhana so much easier. Relaxing is letting go of hindrance. One can reach enlightenment faster.

Absorption (jhana) develop from 'letting go' does not suppress hindrances. In fact, using suppression probably cannot reach true jhana.

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I hope this clarifies a lot of confusion surrounding Theraveda Buddhism. You don't have to believe in me. You can research on your own. You can ask yourself do you get he aches and tightness of heads which many have complained about the anapanasati taught at Theraveda school of Buddhism.

OK... thanks for clarifying that (even though I worked this out about 30 years ago after about six weeks of meditation).

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Buddha's teaching is neither Theraveda, Zen, Tibetan. It simply is the original sutta established by the first council.

Indeed. It is Buddha's teaching of letting go (vossagga) rather than Vimalaramsi's teaching about 'relaxtion'. Well spoken.

 :)