Author Topic: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?  (Read 6330 times)

Matthew

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Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?

:)

Self explanatory really
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Ben

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 12:26:24 PM »
Hi TIB

It depends...
The issue is that Vipassana is not so much a particular type of meditation but rather a spectrum of meditational activities.  Buddhist meditation can be divided roughly into two groups; samatha/shamatha (calm/tranquility) and vipassana/vipashnya (insight/wisdom).
Even within a particular tradition, say Theravada, there is going to be a range of techniques that come under the heading of vipassana.  The style of Mahasi Sayadaw uses anapana-sati (observation of respiration) as a form of vipassana by observing the rise and fall of the abdomen.  The U Ba Khin/Goenka method uses vedananupassana (observation of sensation), while other teachers will use cittanupassana (observation of mental states).
The other issue with vipassana is that traditionally, it is taught within the context of a residential retreat.  One of the reasons for this is that the meditator requires some time to develop samadhi (concentration) before entering vipassana, and then having entered vipassana, requires some time to develop sensitivity and to become familiar with the technique.
Another very good reason that there aren't a lot of manuals out there is that it is always much better to learn the technique within an environment that includes a lot of close supervision by a teacher or guide.  It is very easy to misinterpret an instruction or an experience.  That is where a teacher comes in very handy.

Quote
B. As regards the first condition, association with the righteous person, is this essential? Would it not be possible to find the right path by oneself?
A. Only Buddhas have accumulated such wisdom that they can find the Path by themselves, without the help of a teacher. Other people, however, need the teachings of a Buddha in order to find the right path, because ignorance has been accumulated for an endlessly long time. We need association with the right person, the good friend in Dhamma, who can point out to us the right path, because our defilements prevent us from finding the right path. Our friend in Dhamma can encourage us to develop mindfulness of nama and rupa.

-- Nina Van Gorkom, Abhidhamma in daily life

So I guess this concept of relying on a teacher, at least in the initial stage, is part and parcel of many of the Buddhist traditions.

Within my own tradition (SN Goenka), there isn't any material an aspirant can download to work out the technique for themselves.  If you go to the website (http://www.dhamma.org), there is certainly some good introductory material which will help you to develop confidence to attend a ten-day course.  Likewise, if you also go to the IMC (U Ba Khin) site (http://www.ubakhin.com) you can download some great discourses but there's nothing really there for you to use as a manual for vipassana.  However, one particular discourse that I think is quite brilliant, is The essentials of Buddhadhamma in meditative practice: http://www.ubakhin.com/ubakhin/ESSENTIA.html  which I also have on cassette.  It is an inspiring discourse by Sayagi U Ba Khin and sincere practitioners from other traditions and practices within Buddhism should also find it uplifting.

As an aid to introduce the topic of vipassana (rather than as a meditation manual) within the U Ba Khin/SN Goenka tradition I recommend:

The Art of Living, by William Hart
A Manual of Vipassana Meditation, by U Ko Lay (contemporary and close associate of U Ba Khin)  Despite the title, its not really a meditation manual!
These are both available via http://www.pariyatti.org or http://www.dhammabooks.com
Kind regards

Ben
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 12:39:20 PM by Ben »

Paul

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2007, 01:24:28 PM »
I agree with all that you say about needing guidance Ben, although under certain circumstances it can be very difficult to attend 10-day retreats.  This was my case, so instead I started by doing an online course at Vipassana.com.  This was a great help and allowed me to get started and be in touch with a qualified meditation master via email when I had questions.  For anyone who might be following this topic who can't attend a 10-day retreat I'd fully recommend this as a way of getting started.  There is also this online course by Ven. Chanmyay Sayadaw that I found interesting: http://www.buddhanet.net/imol/vipcours.htm.  As for books, I would fully recommend A Gradual Awakening by Steven Levine.

Ben

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 01:28:53 PM »
Certainly Paul,
For some people it may not be possible to attend a residential retreat due to their particular situation.  I am glad you were able to find something to assist you to commence your practice.
Kind regards

Ben

Juan

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2007, 07:14:24 PM »
I read a beautifull and very clear book by Ramiro Calle, it's called: The Teachings of Vipassana Meditation. I use it as a reference and as inspiration. Ramiro Calle is a spaniard who has done a lot of investigation on this subject and his direct and clear view is very enriching. I hope you find.


Flipasso

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2007, 09:37:31 PM »
I know of a good book that explains you very well how to practice.

Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana a.k.a. Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/mindfulness_in_plain_english.pdf

Also an article on how meditation works by Shinzen Young, it is very good explanation of meditation both Samatha and Vipassana, I can't remember if it explained anything about Metta Bhavana
http://here-and-now.org/VSI/Articles/TheoryMed/theoryHow.htm

BTW: According to the book Siddharta, which is a novel, the Buddha had his share of teachers. This is not the actual truth but since the Buddha was human,a very special human, we can assume that he had a few teachers before he found the way.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2007, 11:00:15 PM »
Ben, Juan, Flipasso,

Many thanks - some great information and recommendations.

Would you be kind enough to add your book and text recommendations in the relevant Resources sections also please. In that section each book, text or resource can be placed on it's own topic with title and author as the topic subject. If anyone else wants to recommend/review the text they can add to the same thread.

Flipasso - as that book is available online as a .pdf I would place it in the text resources section.

I really like the article by Shinzen Young .. it's just what I was looking for ... my idea is to pin it to the top of this board so people completely new to meditation have a good reference point the minute they walk through the door here.

It would be very sad to me if people looking for an introduction to Dhamma and meditation found this site and could not quickly find a place to start.

I will be writing for permission to copy it for that purpose. I know, Ben, that in an ideal world people would all find enlightened teachers on their doorstep ready to "pass on the force". I just don't think we live in that world and my aim was to find a good and as non-sectarian introduction to Buddhist meditation as possible. Unless someone comes up with a better piece I think that one is spot on.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 11:43:47 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Juan

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2007, 12:05:00 AM »
HI!

http://www.forestdhammabooks.com

There are a lot of inspiring books on this website, and free, just as dhamma should be. there is also a collection of talks given by Ven. Ajaan Panya in mp3. I downloaded them and put them in my iPod, so they make great companion for mexico city's traffic jams.  :P


Paul

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Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2007, 09:43:17 AM »
Hi Ben and thanks!  Its great to be in touch with you again!  We didn't hear from you for a while, I seem to remember you saying that you were going on a long retreat?  I've still some work to do to convince my wife of the value of going to a retreat, but she's slowly coming round to the idea now she sees the benefits that meditation is having on me and therefore our family life :)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Does anyone know a good written text on the net introducing vipassana?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2007, 10:38:21 AM »
I've still some work to do to convince my wife of the value of going to a retreat, but she's slowly coming round to the idea now she sees the benefits that meditation is having on me and therefore our family life :)


Paul

That would make an interesting topic all of it's own - the changes others see  in you after becoming a practitioner.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~