Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby nomorecurries » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:22 pm

Hi

I may be going to Wat Ram Poeng in Thailand that uses the Mahasi technique or something similar (focuses on abdomen and then uses "sitting" and "touching" (a number of spots on the body) between the in out breath and the in breath).

I really want to go to Wat Ram Poeng, set up looks good and looks quite intense. However, I am much much happier focusing the breathing on the nostrils (is natural for me and is a tool to stay present in day to day life). I have seen in a couple of places on the internet that the original Mahasi meditation centres do allow people to focus on the breath at the nostrils if they so desire / insist.

Does anyone have any experience of Mahasi and focusing on the nostrils and if so how do you do the "sitting" "touching" as there is no time / much less time between out breath and in breath when focusing at the nostrils (rather than the abdomen)?

Any thoughts much appreciated

Cheers

Robin
nomorecurries
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: England

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:49 pm

I've never come in contact with a Mahasi teacher who forbid it - but your best option is to email them or ask directly. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

EDIT: Totally misunderstood that question. I would recommend trying to do the abdomen noting while you're there, simply because I really do think that it is more conducive to a mindfulness approach. If you're trying to do Mahasi Vipasanna then noting at the nose can sometimes derail into pure samatha.
Last edited by LonesomeYogurt on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:50 pm

If you want to go there and practise the Mahasi method, try to follow the instructions given to focus on the abdominal movements. If your mind wanders to the nostrils, as it will due to force of habit, just acknowledge the touch of the breath, then resume noting the abdominal movements.

Follow the basic instruction — “Be mindful of each and every mental and physical phenomenon that arises throughout the entire day, without missing anything.”

Have you done full time intensive practice before?
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 2060
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:03 pm

I think Bhikkhu Pesala makes a good point. Try it, and see how it works. If I go on a retreat with a teacher who teaches differently from what is "normal" for me I try to follow the instructions. And I usually learn something. My main teachers have been Mahasi-style, but I found going on a Goenka retreat a few years ago very helpful.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10563
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby nomorecurries » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:36 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If you want to go there and practise the Mahasi method, try to follow the instructions given to focus on the abdominal movements. If your mind wanders to the nostrils, as it will due to force of habit, just acknowledge the touch of the breath, then resume noting the abdominal movements.

Follow the basic instruction — “Be mindful of each and every mental and physical phenomenon that arises throughout the entire day, without missing anything.”

Have you done full time intensive practice before?


Thanks a lot (all). I have done 3 Goenka courses and one 10 day Mahasi style (but that was 10 years ago and I remember the abdomen approach being difficult then). What I really like about the nostril approach is you can use it in day to day life walking around which helps keep you present (it is much more difficult to feel abdomen when moving around)
nomorecurries
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: England

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:46 am

nomorecurries wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Thanks a lot (all). I have done 3 Goenka courses and one 10 day Mahasi style (but that was 10 years ago and I remember the abdomen approach being difficult then). What I really like about the nostril approach is you can use it in day to day life walking around which helps keep you present (it is much more difficult to feel abdomen when moving around)

I think that's part of the problem though - Mahasi isn't really that focused on the breath during walking meditation or day to day life. When walking, you should note "walking, walking" or even "rising, moving, stepping." Perhaps getting a secondary meditation object (the abdomen) could help broaden your mindfulness horizons, so to speak.

As someone who mainly does breath meditation at the nose as well, I can definitely sympathize with what you're saying, but I really do think the Mahasi mindfulness all the time approach works better with abdomen watching.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:29 am

nomorecurries wrote:What I really like about the nostril approach is you can use it in day to day life walking around which helps keep you present (it is much more difficult to feel abdomen when moving around)

You're not supposed to be aware of the abdominal movements when moving around. You're supposed to be aware of the movements of the limbs when moving around, specifically the movements of the feet. Contemplation of the abdominal movements and the movements of the limbs is paying attention to the element of motion (vāyo dhātu), which is the section in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta called attention to the lements (dhātumānasikāra). It is not mindfulness of breathing.

Noting the abdominal movements is just one of many objects of awareness. It is called the primary object, but that applies only to sitting meditation. If other objects intrude, such as wandering thoughts, pain, sounds, etc., they become the object of contemplation at that moment. After noting the secondary objects until they disappear, one can resume noting the abdominal movements. After some days of practice, noting will become semi-automatic through repeated and diligent practice.

The mental noting is nothing but initial application (vitakka), which pushes the mind towards the current object to be contemplated. In the Satipaṭṭhāna method, the meditation object is constantly changing throughout the day. All four foundation of mindfulness must be embraced: the body or physical phenomena, the feelings (both physical and mental feelings), consciousness (seeing, hearing, etc.), and mental states (sensual desire, ill-will, sloth, restelessness, doubt, joy, energy, concentration, etc.)

If you have time, read at least some of "In this Very Life," (the link in my signature) before you go (it may be too much to try to take it all in within a short period). Read at least Practical Insight Meditation.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 2060
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby nomorecurries » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:51 pm

Just to say many thanks all for your kind replies to my questions. Much appreciated :)

Robin
nomorecurries
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:21 pm
Location: England

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby bodom » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:18 pm

Check out the writings of Ven. U Silananda, specifically his book The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. He is a student of Mahasi Sayadaw who teaches Mahasi method but with attention placed on the nostrils during meditation.

: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
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4637
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Experience of Mahasi method but focusing on nostrils?

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:40 am

I found focusing on which nostril is actually in use very useful, as they change every some hours. Needs a lot of effort to see the arising and fading away. Most are even not aware of this permanent change.

So which nostril are you using (is in use) right now?
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests