Is perceiving impermanence Vipassana?

Is this a mention of Vipassana practice?:

“He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence. ’
He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating fading away’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating fading away.’
He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating cessation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating cessation.’
He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating relinquishment’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating relinquishment. ’ MN 118

with metta

Matheesha

It is only one aspect of Vipassana of:

  • Remembering
  • Knowing
  • Developing.
    I understand Vipassana as Samma Sati. So it is about Satipatthana.

Indeed, yes. Vipassana is defined as the investigation into conditionality, which includes impermanence. This emerges in the final stage of meditation, as the meditator, their mind cleansed by samadhi, sees deeply into the nature of the mind.

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[quote=“Mat, post:1, topic:4777”]

“He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence. He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating fading away’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating fading away.’

Is this a mention of Vipassana practice?[/quote]

Yes. Contemplating impermanence including unsatisfactoriness, not-self, etc, the result of which will be fading away (viraga), as explained at the end of SN 22.59.

Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion his mind is liberated.

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Notice how these sikkhati steps you quoted specifically are found at the conclusion of the anapanasati instruction.

This is very consistent with the proximate causation mechanism presented in the SN12.23.

“I say, bhikkhus, that the knowledge of destruction in regard to destruction has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for the knowledge of destruction? It should be said: liberation.

“I say, bhikkhus, that liberation too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for liberation? It should be said: dispassion.

“I say, bhikkhus, that dispassion too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for dispassion? It should be said: revulsion.

“I say, bhikkhus, that revulsion too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for revulsion? It should be said: the knowledge and vision of things as they really are.

“I say, bhikkhus, that the knowledge and vision of things as they really are too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for the knowledge and vision of things as they really are? It should be said: concentration.

“I say, bhikkhus, that concentration too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for concentration? It should be said: happiness.

(…)

The way I make sense of it is that as the practice gains consistency, it becomes more likely that all the proximate causes required for the happines :arrow_right: samadhi :arrow_right: insight threshold to be reached and eventually surpassed.

It is important as well that one keeps in mind that what one’s training here is about experiencing, witnessing these things - not to cause or eventuate them. All in all, AN10.2 and AN11.2 tells us above all the process is impersonal, natural and does not require intention to occur.

It is similar to what happens when cooking rice. You need to make sure to have a source of heat, a pot, rice and water in front of you (and in the right set up!). Then you need to sit and watch, witness / experience, the cooking process until the rice is cooked. Then, only then you can taste cooked rice, and say all the nice things you can say about it! :rice:

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I think some progress in vipassana is possible (the western ‘bare awareness’ movement sees impermanence) before developing a deep and stable samadhi. In my experience they need to develop samadhi or jhana before the can develop further though.

With metta

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Yes. This seems the end result of the Noble Eightfold Path:

“And what, bhikkhus, are the things to be developed by direct knowledge? Serenity and insight. These are the things to be developed by direct knowledge.
…“And how is it, bhikkhus, that when a bhikkhu develops and cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path, he fully understands by direct knowledge those things that are to be fully understood by direct knowledge … … he develops by direct knowledge those things that are to be developed by direct knowledge? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right view … right concentration, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu develops and cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path so that he fully understands by direct knowledge those things that are to be fully understood by direct knowledge … he develops by direct knowledge those things that are to be developed by direct knowledge.” SN 45.159

With metta

Matheesha

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Yes, perceiving impermanence alone is not sufficient to complete Vipassana,
Even, run-off the mill person understand impermanence.

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At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, I say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and does not see. For one who knows what, for one who sees what, does the destruction of the taints come about? ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional formations … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away’: it is for one who knows thus, for one who sees thus, that the destruction of the taints comes about.

So I take this means Vipassana on the five aggregates must be practiced - past where Right concentration is reached, side by side with Samatha practice.

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Yes. Impermanence can be understood in terms of the entire universe, the level of life spans etc and at the microscopic aggregate level. Without seeing it and Dukkha and Anatta at the Aggregate level there won’t be any enlightenment.

With metta

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I have rarely seen a meditator naturally inclining to vipassana, after Samantha practice. Far more common is for them to be 1) not progress at Samatha, due to hindrances 2) 1 in 5-10 might go into jhana. The reason the mind doesn’t naturally progress into vipassana maybe they haven’t done the preliminary right contemplation (yoniso-manasikara) like those done by Dhammanusarins and Saddhanusarins in the Okkantasamyutta. The Yonisomanasikara would create the Right view for the ensuing Noble Eightfold path.

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I reckon the real issue for most of us lies much earlier in the process, contentment and joy are key. And it stems from having the right framework to understand and appreciate one’s own situation and progress in the cultivation of the path.

Key EBTs to help one’s practice in that sense are SN 12.23, AN10.2, AN11.2 and MN117.

These suggest some bridges can only be crossed when one gets to them, and the EBTs focused in the big picture of the path are clear to indicate the bridges of joy, rapture, tranquility, happiness and stillness precede the bridge of liberating insight.

Up until that point one’s analytical mind is useful to the extent of development of investigation in regards to the the arising and sustaining of qualities on which stillness depends upon. There is a reason for which the seven awakening factors do not include insight but instead a specific sort of investigation as one of the two first/preliminary steps (together with presence/mindfulness).

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The Satipatthana, according to the 4th tetrad of the Anapanasati sutta should contain some Vipassana in it, (in the Dhammanupassana portion). Also the same sutta says that Anapanasati which fulfills the Four foundations of mindfulness also fulfills samatha and Vipassana. This confirms that Vipassana has to be included in it.

The inclusion of the Five hindrances (under Dhammanupassana) applies to Samatha as well as Vipassana. It will not be possible to have insight when the hindrances are obscuring awareness.

Ven Premasiri a Sri Lankan forest meditation monk once told me that the way Samatha and Vipassana has been taught is wrong and that Vipassana also gives rise to jhana (i.e. that there was no ‘Samatha jhana’ or ‘Vipassana jhana’ but ‘generic’ jhana as the Buddha mentioned and that Samatha and Vipassana both give rise to jhana, eventually). Ven Premasiri and Ven Dhammajiva, karmasthana achariya at Nissaranawana both more or less overtly told me they developed jhana from Vipassana as later developments. This only makes sense if Right Mindfulness is meant to give rise to Right Concentration and there aren’t two Samatha yana and Vipassana yana.

I think the Satipatthana sutta would need to have the section on the aggregates arising and passing away and the six sense bases arising and passing away, in the Dhammanupassana.

With metta

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Agree.
However, they are not the same kind.
For example, Vipassana meditator does not lose his Jhan when he comes out of it.

My impression is the sikkhati steps are found starting from the very beginning, i.e., from step 3:

‘sabba­kā­yapaṭi­saṃ­vedī assasissāmī’ti sikkhati

Regards :seedling:

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