The different objects of walking meditation

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

The different objects of walking meditation

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:24 am

Hello Everybody,

I hope you're all doing well and progressing in your practice. I was wondering what object you use when doing walking meditation and I was hoping that by informally surveying my fellow dhamma practitioners on here I could get some idea of what's most prevalent and why people chose the specific object to focus on that they did.

Also, I was just curious in general how each of you practice walking meditation and how it's influenced your practice and helped you along the path.

I imagine most people focus on the movement of the feet and then break it down into the lifting, forward, and landing movements of the foot but I know there are plenty of other ways to do walking meditation out there. Right now, I try to pay attention to my walking and my in and out breathing at the same time but I was thinking about switching to just one object instead.

Do any of you focus on contemplations of anicca, dukkha, anatta when doing walking meditation or cultivate the brahma viharas? I've wondered for a while now what people in the Buddha's time focused on during walking meditation because there are no instructions on the matter in the suttas except to be aware of walking and a sutta where the Buddha says that one should develop the 6 recollections in all four postures. Another thing I find interesting about the idea of walking meditation being a possibly more discursive or active contemplation practice in general is that it would have quite an affinity with the common western notion of pacing back and forth when in deep thought.

Anyways, feel free to share any thoughts whatsoever that you have on the practice of walking meditation.

Just a note: I've read quite a few articles on walking meditation so I'm really just interested in your personal thoughts and perspectives. Chances are decently high that if you post a link to an article about walking meditation that I've read it at some point, although if you feel compelled to do so by all means go right ahead.

Metta

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:35 am

polarbuddha101 wrote: . . .
It depends upon what you want to do.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote: . . .
It depends upon what you want to do.


Well, I suppose I personally have two main aims when I meditate. One is to develop samadhi and the other is to reflect on and contemplate the dhamma.

I suppose another question for the thread is: what do you try to do when you do walking meditation?
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:57 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote: . . .
It depends upon what you want to do.


Well, I suppose I personally have two main aims when I meditate. One is to develop samadhi and the other is to reflect on and contemplate the dhamma.
Two different, but also can be interrelated things.

I suppose another question for the thread is: what do you try to do when you do walking meditation?
Pay attention.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:
I suppose another question for the thread is: what do you try to do when you do walking meditation?
Pay attention.


To just the walking or to the totality of your experience?
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby purple planet » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:05 am

I will tell you how it goes by for me - even though im new and im not really sure myself if i got it right and my practice has gone bad and i stopped meditating totally (will get back very soon )

i do the labeling part - lifting - forwarding - lowering - placing and whenever there is a thought i stop and note it three times and continue - an important part is to label also standing 3 times and also turning

and after some time my teacher also told me to note " intending to walk " which i say but i dont feel nothing not even a tiny bit but im saying it

so it goes like : lifting.... forwarding .... lowering .... thought .... notice i am thinking and noting stoping stoping stoping - thinking -thinking -thinking -standing- standing standing intending intending intending lifting.... forwarding .... lowering stoping stoping stoping standing standing standing turning turning turning standing standing standing intending intending intending lifting.... forwarding .... lowering

An important part is that you dont stop if the thought is in the background only if it disturbs the noting the same thing goes to itching hearing ect ... you stop only when you notice it that way you develope concentration

I have yet to feel any relaxed feeling in the walking like i get from sitting - what i do notice is when i sit i dont have thoughts much just a "blank" time when im not aware and in the walking i have so many thougts that its 90% of the time flash backs dreams planing and other thoughts

- something nice is i think that it might help to notice when things are in the background - for instance i felt my breathing while walking but it was in the background i didnt switch to it and continued with the walking - i also think i once noted thought or two in the background and kept the walking labeling - i think the annoying part of stoping is what helps you differentiate between the background and when something becomes the main objective

at the begging i got it wrong and just tryed to note everything and never stopped - and when i told my teacher he said it only helped me get more restless than calm

what i do is the mahashi method (vipasana) with the ajahn tong teachings
Last edited by purple planet on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Please send merit to my old dog named Mika - thanks in advance
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:24 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
I suppose another question for the thread is: what do you try to do when you do walking meditation?
Pay attention.


To just the walking or to the totality of your experience?
One can get rather baroque if not down right rococo in one's practice of walking practice. Keeping it simple and easy, it is the lifting, moving, and placing of each foot, generally at a very slow pace, but that can vary depending being tired, or restless. I do not use noting as such (or very sparingly with distractions or radom thoughts or sensations), so it is just awareness of the movement of the feet as the primary object. One can become very concentrated, very clear doing this sort of practice, then letting the attention go to the rise and fall what comes into the field of attention. No thinking about it, no contemplation, just doing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:One can get rather baroque if not down right rococo in one's practice of walking practice. Keeping it simple and easy, it is the lifting, moving, and placing of each foot, generally at a very slow pace, but that can vary depending being tired, or restless. I do not use noting as such (or very sparingly with distractions or radom thoughts or sensations), so it is just awareness of the movement of the feet as the primary object. One can become very concentrated, very clear doing this sort of practice, then letting the attention go to the rise and fall what comes into the field of attention. No thinking about it, no contemplation, just doing.

Question: When being aware of the movement of the foot, do you focus your awareness on both feet all the time, or switch focus to the foot that is touching down as each one moves?
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.
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:58 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:One can get rather baroque if not down right rococo in one's practice of walking practice. Keeping it simple and easy, it is the lifting, moving, and placing of each foot, generally at a very slow pace, but that can vary depending being tired, or restless. I do not use noting as such (or very sparingly with distractions or radom thoughts or sensations), so it is just awareness of the movement of the feet as the primary object. One can become very concentrated, very clear doing this sort of practice, then letting the attention go to the rise and fall what comes into the field of attention. No thinking about it, no contemplation, just doing.

Question: When being aware of the movement of the foot, do you focus your awareness on both feet all the time, or switch focus to the foot that is touching down as each one moves?
Switch focus from the foot that is touching down.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby manas » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:00 am

Hi polar

I walk naturally, not slower than an easy relaxed pace I would do in 'normal' life. What I'm aiming at, is to not make it any different in any way, but rather, to bring awareness in to what is already there. My object is more the entire body and it's movements, although if I feel so inclined I also go in to the feet.

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Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby Digity » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:46 pm

I do walking meditation with the intent of developing concentration. I try to just focus on the walking motion and don't focus on the breath. I've had one sessions where I really settled in and became very calm and concentrated. So yes, there seems to be evidence that you can achieve calmness and concentration through this practice. I usually don't do the noting, except maybe for when I turn. Mostly, I just focus on the walking. I have had insights come up during my walking meditation too, but I didn't go in with that intent and it was more spontaneous.

Also, I've started using walking meditation in my daily life. For instance, the walk from the bus stop to my work is about 10 minutes, so I use that time to practice walking meditation. Sometimes I'm just walking down the street and I'll start doing it. That's the nice thing about it, it's easily accessible and it can help you settle your mind down.
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:28 pm

SN 35.120 wrote:"And how, friend, is one given to watchfulness? In this a monk walks up and down by day and then sits, thus cleansing his mind from obstructive states... That, friend, is how one is given to watchfulness.


Part of it is awareness of posture, a certain proprioceptive awareness, but addressing the hindrances is a key component of it as well, so it is important to sustain satipatthana. Arising & passing away, internal & external, etc.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby convivium » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:55 pm

buuuuu-dho.... buuuuuu-dho.....
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:20 pm

daverupa wrote:
SN 35.120 wrote:"And how, friend, is one given to watchfulness? In this a monk walks up and down by day and then sits, thus cleansing his mind from obstructive states... That, friend, is how one is given to watchfulness.


Part of it is awareness of posture, a certain proprioceptive awareness, but addressing the hindrances is a key component of it as well, so it is important to sustain satipatthana. Arising & passing away, internal & external, etc.


How do you personally do that, i.e. address the hindrances, arising and passing away, internal and external? Also, do you consider internal and external to be referring to the internal and external six sense media or to yourself and other people?
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby jackson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:57 pm

Hi polarbuddha101,
Normally when doing walking meditation I use buddho, alternating each syllable with every step and focusing on the feeling in the feet, but another technique I've found useful is practicing extended amounts of metta meditation doing walking meditation. For this I normally use 9 or 10 categories of beings to direct metta towards, and actually coordinate the metta reflections with the length of the path. For example, I start out with "May I be free of danger" as I'm walking, get to the end of the path then stop and turn and begin walking again, "May I be free of sorrow", get to end of path, stop, turn, begin walking, "May I be free of pain", get to end of path, stop, turn, begin walking, "May I be at ease". I repeat this for about four minutes then move on to the next reflection, teachers, then parents, then relatives who I'm close to, then friends, neutral beings, beings who have done me harm, then all beings.
Usually I spend around 40 minutes at it, and I find this practice very useful because normally I get very restless practicing even five minutes of metta sitting down, but coupled with the walking it holds my interest fairly easily. Anyway, it's a little unconventional but I thought it was worth sharing.
Best wishes, :anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby befriend » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:46 pm

for the buddho practice, do you simply repeat buddho slowly, or do you coincide it with the walking? how is it practiced?
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby jackson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:30 pm

befriend wrote:for the buddho practice, do you simply repeat buddho slowly, or do you coincide it with the walking? how is it practiced?

Hi Befriend,
Personally I emphasize each syllable as each foot hits the ground. So when the left foot hits I say Bu then in silence be aware of the right foot lifting, moving forward, then when it touches the ground say "dho". It's a great way to cut through the chatter, and it's easy to follow even walking at a regular pace. As someone who spends way too much time in thought I've found it beneficial to practice it continuously throughout the day, but it can be hard to remember to practice it at all times. Anyway, I hope that helps and wish you all the best.
:anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby befriend » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:54 pm

that sounds great. thanks, i also like the bud on the in breath and dho on the outbreath while focusing on the breathing. the word buddho has a pleasantness to it that makes it easier for my mind to stay on the breath. metta, befriend
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Re: The different objects of walking meditation

Postby jackson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:11 pm

befriend wrote:that sounds great. thanks, i also like the bud on the in breath and dho on the outbreath while focusing on the breathing. the word buddho has a pleasantness to it that makes it easier for my mind to stay on the breath. metta, befriend

Hi befriend,
I agree, buddho's awesome! As a bit of an aside, something I've been playing with lately is if I find myself striving to get somewhere in meditation I change it to "Let - Be, Let - Be". I find this helps create a nice sense of contentment and eases any tension. Metta to you too!
:anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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