Breath this... Breath that...

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:31 am

bodom wrote:Hi Steve
I mentally recite "Buddho" "Buddho" "Buddho" all day and night, during each and every activity, be it eating, drinking, working, sitting, standing, walking etc.


That's very impressive - do you manage to keep it going continuously?
I've been using a little mantra "just be mindful" at regular intervals - this seems to work, though there are still quite a lot of "gaps" in my mindfulness. :smile:

Spiny

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mettafuture
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:26 am

While looking for a dhamma talk on how to deal with difficult people, I found this:
http://www.dhammacenter.org/dhamma_talks/2010

I downloaded talk #34 on "avoiding fools, and seeking the wise." At around the 22:19 mark, following a very clear recitation of the precepts, I was surprised by a guided meditation on visualizing the white kasina. :) The instructions are very thorough, and cover a lot of important topics.

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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby bodom » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:55 pm

That's very impressive - do you manage to keep it going continuously? I've been using a little mantra "just be mindful" at regular intervals - this seems to work, though there are still quite a lot of "gaps" in my mindfulness.


If its not continuous then thoughts of greed, hate, delusion, fantasies and daydreams can creep in without my realising it. So yes I try my best to keep the mantra continuous. I do not allow my mind a chance to wander. I do my best not to allow 'gaps' in my practice of mindfulness. This is not to say they don't occur, they do, but with the mantra 'buddho' they are fewer and fewer, and easier to notice when they occur.

At times when im feeling really focused the mantra naturally slows and I can stay in the moment without it.

As Ajahn Fuang says:

"Once the mind stays with the breath, you don't have to repeat buddho in the mind. It's like calling your water buffalo. Once it comes, why keep calling its name?"


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:04 am

bodom wrote:
That's very impressive - do you manage to keep it going continuously? I've been using a little mantra "just be mindful" at regular intervals - this seems to work, though there are still quite a lot of "gaps" in my mindfulness.


If its not continuous then thoughts of greed, hate, delusion, fantasies and daydreams can creep in without my realising it. So yes I try my best to keep the mantra continuous. I do not allow my mind a chance to wander. I do my best not to allow 'gaps' in my practice of mindfulness. This is not to say they don't occur, they do, but with the mantra 'buddho' they are fewer and fewer, and easier to notice when they occur.

At times when im feeling really focused the mantra naturally slows and I can stay in the moment without it.

As Ajahn Fuang says:

"Once the mind stays with the breath, you don't have to repeat buddho in the mind. It's like calling your water buffalo. Once it comes, why keep calling its name?"


:anjali:


I admire your concentration. Are there some activities where you find that using the buddho mantra is difficult or inappropriate, eg reading or having a conversation? I've been trying it out while walking recently, it seems to be helpful.

Spiny

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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Individual » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:53 pm

mettafuture wrote:Almost every meditation teacher and book I've come across presents breath meditation as the end all - be all, the one shoe that fits everyone. If this was the case, why can nearly 39 other meditation objects be found in the Tipitaka?

Perhaps the Buddha gave us such a variety of options because he knew, depending on the individual's personality, some meditation objects would work better than others.

I often hear dhamma teachers saying that they focus their lessons on Anapanasati (breath meditation) because it was the method the Buddha himself used to reach enlightenment, and that it can fulfill all 4 establishments of mindfulness at once. But maybe the breath is too subtle of an object for some people to start with? Maybe it would be better for them if they fulfilled the 4 establishments at a slower pace, using one of the other meditation objects?

Did you know that the earliest lay Buddhist communities probably didn't even do breath meditation? Their primary objects of contemplation were likely the 6 recollections (buddha, dhamma, sangha, morality, generosity, and the devas), with the first recollection on the buddha being the primary object.

If this is the case, why is it that I can barely find a book, a dhamma talk, ect on something OTHER than the breath? :evil:

I basically have 2 questions:
- Do you think dhamma teachers should go into more detail about the other meditation objects for those who may not be ready for breath meditation?
- If I wanted to buy a book, right now, on how to meditate on something other than the breath, which book should I get? Does one, other than the Visuddhimagga, even exist?

The breath does have a specific significance.

When we have an extreme emotional response, the ventricles and arteries of the heart constrict, the bronchioles of the lungs close, and pressure in the paranasal sinuses increases. Slow, deep, relaxed breaths will alleviate the tightness in one's chest, while focusing on the breath as it enters the nostrils will relieve pressure in the paranasal sinuses, both of which alleviate a variety of stressful emotions.

Although there's a lot of things you can meditate on, breathing meditation tends to be the most useful.

I'd probably put a meditation book down if it told me to meditate on my hands and feet or my dantian or third eye.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby bodom » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:04 pm

Are there some activities where you find that using the buddho mantra is difficult or inappropriate, eg reading or having a conversation? I've been trying it out while walking recently, it seems to be helpful.


Hi Spiny

Im glad you have found 'buddho' helpful.

When I need to think ie. balancing the check book, work related activities, writing this post, I drop the mantra and think through whatever it is I need to. Same with conversations and interacting w/ others. As soon as im able, I return to the mantra. Physical activities, especially mechanical ones like working, cleaning the house, doing dishes etc. are conducive to working with the mantra I have found.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:05 am

Individual wrote:
mettafuture wrote:Although there's a lot of things you can meditate on, breathing meditation tends to be the most useful.



There does seem to a calming effect on both mind and body.

Spiny

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mettafuture
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:32 am

Individual wrote:Although there's a lot of things you can meditate on, breathing meditation tends to be the most useful.

For many people, but not for everyone. As a person with respiratory issues, I feel a lot more comfortable with metta, bud-dho (been trying that lately and it works wonderfully), recollecting the qualities of the buddha, noting hindrances, and visualizing the white kasina. My primary object right now is still metta. My second is bud-dho. And I'm currently seeking instruction on how to meditate on the other brahama-viharas, particularly equanimity.

I know it may seem as if I'm complicating practice, but I'm really not. Everything is on a schedule. I recollect the Buddha to start my morning. I casually note hindrances throughout the day to retain self control over my emotions. And at night I do a metta meditation. Or, if I have time, I'll do a longer meditation with bud-dho or a white kasina.

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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:18 am

mettafuture wrote:
Individual wrote:I know it may seem as if I'm complicating practice, but I'm really not.


Personally I think it's fine to adopt a pragmatic approach, and use what works.

Spiny

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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:03 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
mettafuture wrote:
Individual wrote:I know it may seem as if I'm complicating practice, but I'm really not.


Personally I think it's fine to adopt a pragmatic approach, and use what works.

Spiny

:namaste:

I don't see how a lay person in the 20th century could make real progress any other way.

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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:16 pm

Knowing and Seeing by Pa Auk Sayadaw
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/know-see.pdf

"The Visuddhimagga compiled by the Venerable Buddhaghosa is an exposition of the three trainings. It is based on the Pali texts and commentaries, and explains the seven stages of purification, and sixteen insight-knowledges. But how to attain them has been a difficult question for all Buddhists for many generations. For this, we are fortunate to have the Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw. His teaching is the same as, indeed it is in much more detail than, what is described in the Visuddhimagga. Based on the very same sources, the Pali texts, commentaries and the Visuddhimagga, the Sayadaw teaches meditators, step by step, how to attain those stages of purification and insight-knowledges."

Mindfulness of Breathing and 4 Elements Meditation Pa Auk Sayadaw
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/fourelements.pdf

Practicing the Jhanas by Stephen Snyder
http://www.amazon.com/dp/159030733X
This book details breath, jhana, brahma-vihara, and 4 elements meditation.

Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Properties (MN 140)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And section 14 of the Samyutta Nikaya has a lot of suttas on the elements.


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