Bare Attention Concerns

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

Postby Myotai » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:06 pm

Hello everyone

I practice a form of Bare Attention not unlike my understanding of the Silent Illumination tradition of Zen. I have a concern though, I seem to get to a point of real calm but I am concerned as to whether this is a positive feeling or not. I endeavour not to become attached to it but it does have a feeling of the mind resting and not moving. Its really difficult to describe but I know the Zennies talk about "Resting in the cave of Ghosts" as a metaphor for a state of mental numbness that can be misinterpreted as a form of absorbtion.

How can we differentiate between positive mental calm and mental numbness?

Metta :anjali:

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IanAnd
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby IanAnd » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:00 pm

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:16 pm


Samma
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Samma » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:22 am

Does this seem familar? Thanissaro, each and every breath:
"Delusion concentrationwe have already discussed in Part Two. It comes about when the breath gets so comfortable that your focus drifts from the breath to the sense of comfort itself, your mindfulness begins to blur, and your sense of the body and your surroundings gets lost in a pleasant haze. When you emerge, you find it hard to identify where exactly you were focused."

Interesting how vitaka (directed thought) is seen as antidote for dullness of mind (thina). But by its very nature choiceless awareness lays aside directed thought eh? If you are doing a zen practice, ask the zen guys?

As IanAnd says there should still be some sense of mindfulness and clear comprehension. Try and play around with the energy in mediation. As the Tibetans put it, not too much mental excitement nor mental sinking. Keep the balance and clarity.

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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby pegembara » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:21 am

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Myotai
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Myotai » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:04 pm


Samma
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Samma » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:39 am


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Myotai
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Myotai » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:03 pm


skandha
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby skandha » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:09 pm

Bare attention is certainly one of the skills to be developed according to the Satipatthana Sutta. I regard the following verse as an example in the training in bare attention.

"Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself."

However there are also many skills mentioned in the Satipatthana, bare attention is only one of them. Some of these skills include being ardent, clearly comprehending as mentioned in other posts. So Satipatthana does not just stop at the point of bare awareness, it continues the training of mindfulness and seeing of the full breath of the arising and passing away of phenomena. At some point in the arising and passing away, there will be the aggregate of perception or recognition (sanna) arising and that may include some form of conceptual thinking.

Although there are also states where the mind become so quiet that out of the five aggregates, only the conciousness seem evident where the conciousness is reflecting on itself and no other external object. Perhaps this is another way of refering to bare awareness.

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suriyopama
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby suriyopama » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:51 am


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Myotai
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Myotai » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:38 am

Thanks suriyopama!

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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:18 pm


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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:27 pm


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Spiny Norman
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:53 pm

We usually translate ‘anupassanā’ as “contemplation,” thus ‘kāyānupassanā’ as “contemplation of
the body,” but this might be somewhat misleading. It might be more accurate, and more
literal, to translate it as “observation.” The word is made up of a prefix ‘anu’ which
suggests repetition, and ’passanā’, which means “seeing, viewing.” So sati is part of a
process that involves a close, repetitive observation of the object.


I like Bhikkhu Bodhi's use of the word "observation", which I think gives a good feel for the actual experience. Sometimes I describe it as "paying attention."
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:16 pm


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Myotai
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Myotai » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:05 am

Just listening to Thanissaro's talk entitled 'Delusion Concentration' and I think he has hit the nail right on the head for me regarding my OP.

He states that when we get to a point when following the breath when we drop it after sensing some pleasure (for me its a physical sense of not being aware of the body anymore)....instead of staying with the breath I have been telling myself that this feeling is somehow legitimate and to be valued rather than seeing it as a sense object like any other; and returning to the breath.

Obvious to some maybe, but wasn't to me!

:anjali:

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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:56 pm


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Myotai
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Myotai » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:25 am


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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:19 am


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Myotai
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Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby Myotai » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:23 am



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