Author Topic: The Sixteen Stages of Insight  (Read 8823 times)

soma

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The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« on: April 27, 2010, 03:52:00 PM »
The Sixteen Stages of Insight could be of great value to some who feel they are stuck in their practice or just want to gain a greater understanding of what they are actually doing when meditating.

convivium

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 03:50:14 AM »
i'm really thinking about running off to nepal or burma and doing long courses within the mahasi tradition. i don't like blind acceptance and dogma with regard to commentaries that is so common in burmese traditions; the information of which is not always in the suttas. i know this is the case with goenka, and pa auk. i imagine mahasi sayadaw as well. i'd at least like to learn the method for 60 days. has anyone done a mahasi retreat?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 03:53:15 AM by convivium »

Morning Dew

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2010, 08:26:53 AM »
could be of great value to some who feel they are stuck in their practice or just want to gain a greater understanding of what they are actually doing when meditating.

For this I use the  teachings of J. Krishnamurti
Thanks for the link  :)

Remain relaxed
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 08:48:11 AM by Morning Dew »

Masauwu

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2011, 01:04:14 PM »
Two more links with the stages of insight as explained by other authors: Mahasi Sayadaw; Daniel Ingram

I came about the quote below recently and if i understand it correctly, it seems that the stages of insight are not written in stone and can differ according to one`s practice method. If that`s the case, then maps of progress not tailored to one`s specific practice and/or without a teacher`s supervision can be more confusing than helpful; like having a map but no frame of reference for determining the cardinal points. I will post the complete message in case someone will find it helpful; you can also read it directly from the (source) if the quote font is too small.

Quote
Questions:

1. Do the insight knowledges always happen in that order? I suspect not *always*, but maybe they tend to, or they may happen in that general order.

2. The insight knowledges involve some pretty uncomfortable and downright horrible phases (e.g. bhanga, terror, misery, disgust). On the other hand, Mahamudra has been described as the path of bliss... So my question is, who in their right mind would choose to do the insight knowledges and spend considerable time in abject misery rather than taking a blissful path?

--

1. Whether or not the Insight Knowledges occur in the same order depends very much upon the method of practice.
They occur in the order given in the Vissudhimagga and in Mahasi's Progress of Insight if a) one is practicing "vipassana (Insight) before samatha (tranquility)" (cf. the Yuganaddha Sutta, AN 4.170), and if b) one is using a method that is designed to make Insight into anicca (impermanence) the first to arise while Insight into anatta (emptiness of Self) is left to the very end.
[For those who might be puzzled about the Samatha that follows what they may have thought of as a "pure" Vipassana practice, please note that the Knowledge of Equanimity Towards Formations is Samatha.]

With regard to a):
If one practices "samatha before vipassana", then the Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away and the Knowledge and Vision of Path and Not-Path will come before the Purification of View and Overcoming Doubt rather than after it. But the View and Overcoming Doubt must obviously still precede the Insight Knowledges themselves.
And if one practices "samatha together with vipassana", then even more variability in the order is possible.

With regard to b):
Knowledge of Dissolution followed by the Dukkha Knowledges is an order that is quite specific to a practice geared towards anicca as the first Insight. Knowledge of Dissolution is the entry into actual Insight with Insight into anicca being the first, and Insight into dukkha being the second. Practices oriented towards a different "entry" into Insight will, of course, not follow this order at all.

2. Insight into Dukkha is a miserable experience if a) one launches into Insight without the "lubricating moisture", i.e. piti (joy), passadhi (tranquility), and upekha (equanimity) of Samatha; and if b) Insights into anicca, sunyatta, and dukkha precede insight into anatta. Deepening Insight into impermanence by someone who still has a strong intuitive sense of being a real, separate Self can be a terrifyingly miserable experience. A "Self" in a world of impermanent and empty "things" to which that Self tries to cling is the very definition of dukkha.

With regard to a):
A mind imbued with piti, passadhi, and equanimity can navigate this voyage of discovery with far more... well..., joy, tranquility and equanimity to mitigate the fear misery and disgust of confronting the reality of the way things are.

And with regard to b):
Of course, to the degree to which the emptiness of Self has been both intellectually realized and intuitively assimilated, to that degree one is effectively immunized against the experience of dukkha during the process of further deepening of Insight into the nature of dukkha.

So to restate your question, "Who in their right mind would follow a method that broaches Insight without first cultivating Samatha, or plunge into the Knowledge of Dissolution and Insight into Impermanence without first properly addressing the issue of emptiness with regard to the perceived Self?"

Here are a few answers that come immediately to mind:
With regard to why someone would not first cultivate Samatha;
- Someone might be unaware that there is any other approach.
- Someone might have been taught that Samatha practices are useless or difficult or dangerous or are to be avoided for some other reason or combination of reasons. eg. "Concentration practices are a waste of time. The only real Buddhist meditation is Vipassana."
- Someone might have been unsuccessful in Samatha practice due to lack of proper instruction, and so has abandoned it in frustration.
- Someone might have practiced Samatha incorrectly in a way that has led to dullness, and so has abandoned the practice as fruitless.

With regard to why someone would pursue Insight into anicca before anatta;
- Anyone who is resistant to and cannot accept the idea that what the Buddha meant by anatta is that there really is not, never has been, and never will be a separate Self other than these conditioned, impermanent, suffering aggregates. This is part of what makes anatta so much more inaccessible than anicca. There are countless Buddhists, Western and Eastern alike, who think, "Buddha just meant that the Self was not in the aggregates, not that there is no Self at all." They feel like they are a Self, and they fully expect to have the mystery of the doctrine of anatta solved and their "True" Self revealed through the practice. You know the one they are thinking of: the Self who has lived countless previous lives, the one that accumulates merit and kamma, the one that is going to be reborn in the future. These are the closet "eternalists".
- Anyone who craves non-existence, who embraces the Dhamma as the path to an ultimate end to the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth, but who can only conceive of liberation in terms of oblivion. The rebirth they wish to escape is, of course, that of a Self that for them does exist, although admittedly in a mysteriously relative and mind-dependent way, but a Self that is all too painfully and undeniably real none-the-less. Since this Self exists in some mysteriously mind-dependent way, it is the mind that must put an end to it. Insights into impermanence and suffering are seen as the path by which the Self will be destroyed and become a No-Self that will not be reborn. These are the closet "anihilationists".
- Anyone who is aware that Insight into anicca is in fact much more readily attained than Insight into anatta. This is quite true and is perhaps the best of all possible reasons for seeking Insight into Impermanence.

You mentioned Mahamudra. First, the actual practice of Mahamudra meditation as such is not to be taken up until one has already achieved Shamata. If one enters into a traditional program of training in Mahamudra by a qualified teacher, the first thing to be introduced is the "ordinary" practice, which is Shamata, the mastery of which precedes the "uncommon" practice, which is Mahamudra per se. If you refer to any of the classic texts on Mahamudra that have been translated into English, you will see that almost half of any given volume is devoted to Shamata practice. Second, Mahamudra is meditation on the emptiness of mind, and mind is the primary locus of our attachment to the false view of separate Self-hood. Therefore, Insight into anatman, the emptiness of Self, is an integral part of the process from the first.
I will provide a caveat for those who might be drawn to Mahamudra. There are some teachers of Mahamudra, many of them Tibetan, who are quite willing to fill a "market demand" by impatient Westerners who want instruction in "Mahamudra" but don't want to bother with the preliminary training in Shamata. The practice becomes a sort of pseudo-Zen where one just "empties the mind" and tries to do nothing at all in a silent non-meditation. I have serious doubts that anything of value can be accomplished through this kind of practice.
If you are seriously interested in Mahamudra, get a book like "Mahamudra: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation" by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal. Familiarize yourself with its contents, and then go shopping for a qualified teacher who teaches according to the traditional system beginning with the meditation on Tranquility and Insight.

In the spirit of service,
culadasa
(source)
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 03:40:52 AM »
Quote
Deepening Insight into impermanence by someone who still has a strong intuitive sense of being a real, separate Self can be a terrifyingly miserable experience. A "Self" in a world of impermanent and empty "things" to which that Self tries to cling is the very definition of dukkha.
Wow, that is quite a line.
getting it done

Masauwu

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2011, 07:20:20 AM »
Indeed, it seems that most of the Dark Night stories come from the direct "Vipassana meditation" approach that is the most popular in the West, which is a valid path of course. But i think that a Western mind would benefit greatly from establishing the calm of Shamatha first, because we have quite a neurotic mindscape induced by our education and everyday life.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Stefan

  • The Marvellous Omannobazong!!!
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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2011, 08:27:19 AM »

guys!! .... so many many words again ... in certain situations they can help, sure.

but then, without experience they just add to confusion. so all your links and quotes may as well just add to the ego stroking that is already done by the ego itself .... sometimes it is neccesary to tell the ego: "NO, you don't need to know what's going on, you don't need to be in charge all the time."

Who is afraid? Ego is. So just watch the fear of the inexpressible with utmost equanimity, and when it is too much, then get up and "chop some wood" so to get down to earth again.

If you were dying right now, would you open a book on the multiple aspects of dying?  ;)

Metta, Stefan

PS.: I don't want to tell you that those scripures are of no use ... they may be very wise.
But I tell you all that most of those scriptures are of no use FOR YOU, RIGHT NOW.
If the T-rex comes, you'll run or look him in the eye (depends on your stage) ... you don't open a book on dinosaurs.

anicca

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2011, 08:36:23 AM »


If the T-rex comes, you'll run or look him in the eye (depends on your stage) ... you don't open a book on dinosaurs.



No book need because we had already watched the movie too.

That's a good idea right there- "Enlightenment; The Movie". It's seven years long, costs you everything you have got, and the last seven days worth of film are of a guy sitting on his arse!
getting it done

Stefan

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 08:40:35 AM »
Indeed, it seems that most of the Dark Night stories come from the direct "Vipassana meditation" approach that is the most popular in the West, which is a valid path of course. But i think that a Western mind would benefit greatly from establishing the calm of Shamatha first, because we have quite a neurotic mindscape induced by our education and everyday life.

I think you are wrong ... the current dark nights on this forum where experienced by two "shamatics".
I think it is this civilised mind that causes so much dark night. Not the different approaches that try to deal with the civilised mind. Shamatha is of golden value for some, while for others it doesn't seem to work. Not shamatha or "goenkism" or younameit is to blame, but the indoctrinated mind of the civilised people in general.

Metta, Stefan

PS.: Why do you say "western mind"? Do you think that there's no dark night for asian meditators?
I believe "civilised mind" is a more appropriate expression.

PPS.:


No book need because we had already watched the movie too.


 :D :D :D
anicca

Masauwu

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 08:47:53 AM »
Quote
I don't want to tell you that those scripures are of no use ... they may be very wise.
But I tell you all that most of those scriptures are of no use FOR YOU, RIGHT NOW.
If the T-rex comes, you'll run or look him in the eye (depends on your stage) ... you don't open a book on dinosaurs.
Stefan, i was just looking into something that answered one of my (secondary) questions, and i thought i would post the idea in a relevant thread so that someone else looking for the same answer doesn`t have to dig as far as i did. I made a habit out of it, it doesn`t mean that i`m obsessively researching all these subjects in depth as a main practice. When i encounter problems i look for solutions; if i don`t know something, i ask; if i see a T.Rex, i stop moving; if the T.Rex sees me, i climb a big tree.

We are seemingly at different extremes on this subject of scholarly research, which would put neither of us in the middle path. ;D

Quote
I think you are wrong ... the current dark nights on this forum where experienced by two "shamatics".
I think it is this civilised mind that causes so much dark night. Not the different approaches that try to deal with the civilised mind. Shamatha is of golden value for some, while for others it doesn't seem to work. Not shamatha or "goenkism" or younameit is to blame, but the indoctrinated mind of the civilised people in general.
I meant Dark Night stories in general, not here. They are almost non-existant on our forum. It is indeed the "civilised" mind that i meant to express by saying Western education and lifestyle. Not sure why you seem defensive, i said Vipassana approach not just Goenka. I agree the civilised mind is to blame, but if we do agree that it can cause problems then it would make sense to use the calm - before - insight approach.

I do appreciate what you are trying to do with some of your posts, reminding us the answer is not in books and pondering over ideas. But too much of a good thing doesn`t always help. :)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 09:02:13 AM by Masauwu »
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Morning Dew

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 09:13:42 AM »
Masauwu my friend you are doing well and one can clearly see that in your journaling thread. Keep it up.

Stefan you are becoming very pushy lately "the know it all TMO" could benifit himself and others by calming down a bit dont you think?

Your views are your views. No reason to judge other peoples views all the freaking time. Know your place.

If you continue replying in this manner I and others might start simply ignoring your posts. Ok?!
Keep it down at judging and simply place your view without you likeing the word or not likeing the word someone else had written down. You are nitpicking lately alot!

You might benefit from Shamatha dude.

Friendly
D

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2011, 10:03:35 AM »
I think there are 17 stages of insight.

17; Learning to be Nice on Internet Forums.

Is anyone really annoyed here? I hope not. My new friend EquaniMouse cares not what TMO, Dusko, Masauwu says, but I had to ask him twice if I should say anything and he said "As long as you are not upset, go for it, otherwise let it be"

they are just words, wise friends of mine often say "Watch your own self, how it reacts" I personally deleted three replys after Masauwu's post as I saw myself squirming at some of the other things in the post, but to what use? Maybe it is true, maybe not. Maybe everything we are saying is for someone elses benefit that is reading this out there in Cyberspace.

love to all. :-*
getting it done

Stefan

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2011, 12:53:51 PM »

No reason to judge other peoples views


I am not judging anyone here.
When people go on  throwing around with huge amounts of literature to read, I simply pose my opinion which is based on my experiences. I like to read on this stuff as well, otherwise I wouldn't be on a forum. But I notice that it is quite a habit here to go like this: "oh you have a problem? read this, read that, and maybe read another." well, go on reading, no problem, no judgement. but please don't judge my opinion either. If this opinion gets in your way, then indeed you should ignore it.
If you explicitely wish, I am going to refrain from posting in your practice thread from now on.
But you might consider it is you feeling judged ...

ah btw ... check my signature ... it is not so new, and still counts for every single post of mine.



Not sure why you seem defensive


Do I seem so? Sorry, I just was putting examples. I didn't feel attacked, so I didn't defend.
I enjoy your practice thread a lot, and I am sure that you are making great progress.
And this is no judgement either.


But anyway guys, if TMO posts are unnerving for you then please tell me.
thanx Che for doing so, and thanks Masauwu for doing it friendly.

Shanti, The Marvellous Omannobazong!!!

Metta, Stefan

anicca

Masauwu

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2011, 01:04:42 PM »
If it would be unnerving for me then that would be my doing, taking a neutral happening and making it something else in my mind. That might happen from time to time without my intention, but we are all adults here and we know better than to take to heart other people`s projections as a direct response to ourselves. :) And sorry for translating the "goenkism" thing into being defensive, that was a mistake as i realized later.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 01:10:16 PM by Masauwu »
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Stefan

  • The Marvellous Omannobazong!!!
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  • love is the key
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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2011, 01:35:58 PM »


And sorry for translating the "goenkism" thing into being defensive, that was a mistake as i realized later.


 ;) I call myself Goenkling and you a Shamatic because that is shorter than "I am a meditator who was initialised in the way Goenka teaches his approach to Vipassana and you are a meditator who does this sort of meditation generally referred to as Shamatha" ... but you are right, it can be understood wrong.

And you are right, repeating my opinion is maybe a little stupid ...  ;) ... well, it is a TMO thing. Sorry for that.

Metta, Stefan
anicca

Morning Dew

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2011, 02:07:09 PM »
Quote
But I notice that it is quite a habit here to go like this: "oh you have a problem? read this, read that, and maybe read another."

So if we stop reading this or that we still read your post dont we?

Anyway as you said it before; these are just words! Are they just?
There are skilful words and unskilful. Right Words and Wrong Words as Buddha puts in in his Right Eightfold Path no?

Any way once you cool down and re-read what you wrote so many times daily for the last month or so and then re-read what i wrote in a not so eloquent manner but honestly and with some joking in my voice too (coffeine) you can step on the ball called TMO and contemplate a bit before kicking it back into the game :)

No hard feelings mate and i hope to see some music be done in that thread called 4 Noble Truths ;)
No rush here.

Friendly Che

Stefan

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2011, 02:32:37 PM »


Anyway as you said it before; these are just words!


this quote I use for discussions were two people mean the same thing but name it differently. this quote I never used for scriptures. I am happy they exist. I read some from time to time. but they are not a remedy for every situation but lead to intellectualising all so often.

@ TMO: this role has been a joke from the beginning. AND it is a remedy for myself. signed with TMO actually means "signed by Stefan at least half aware of his flaws", one of the flaws being repeating my opinions too often. (Still they are misunderstood ...) ... so, you will have to deal with TMO, wether I call myself TMO, Stefan or banana lassi. At least, until you tell me to stop.

I don't need to cool down, I wasn't upset.
I need to be less preacher, and truly thanx for the reminder.

Metta, Stefan

As for the music ... where are those bass lines!!
anicca

Morning Dew

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Re: The Sixteen Stages of Insight
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2011, 03:09:51 PM »
Quote
As for the music ... where are those bass lines!!

The I also wonder :)

 

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