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.

Re: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:28 am

Myotai wrote:So would you say that the pleasant feelings often accompanying practices are inherently a trap, to be ignored (unless pursuing Jhana)?


I think that pleasant feeling (piti and sukha are mentioned) are to be observed in order to catch sight of the process of citta-sankhara in order to calm that process; this calming of processes, this making it an object to let go, leads to jhana, and is basically the point of anapanasati. You can do brahmaviharas and guard the sense gates and be mindful and abide with satipatthana and call all of it meditation, but so far none of it requires a seated position, though they can be pursued in that way. But seated meditation is scrubbing the hindrances in order to open the way to jhana - it is a specific goal of seated meditation, and encouragement to practice jhana were the last words of the Buddha.

My understanding of traditions like Chan actively encourage this state as its an indication that we're 'just sitting' free from agitation from external stimuli ('dropping off body and mind')...what do you think?


I did Zen for a while out of Kanzeon Zen Center back in the 1990s. The instruction I initially received was to sit and gently stare, basically, and clear the mind and watch the breath. There was no doctrine to speak of at first, but the learning process was instead primarily an unfolding within discussions with the teacher(s) there, with some people carrying around favorite Sutras or other works.

But the ultimate lack of engagement was a dead-end, for me, as merely observing the stream of thoughts meant there was no right effort. Bare attention, by contrast, is only similar in that whatever occurs is something to be aware of & not something to repress and not notice, but beyond this initial establishing of mindfulness there then follows a slew of tasks one is enjoined to undertake, primarily dealing with the hindrances. The Zen I was taught said nothing about this.
    "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: Bare Attention Concerns

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:41 pm

Myotai wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Myotai wrote:
My understanding of traditions like Chan actively encourage this state as its an indication that we're 'just sitting' free from agitation from external stimuli ('dropping off body and mind')...what do you think?
And just to add, that is not "bare attention."



So what would 'Bare Attention' be in the Theravadin conext?
Dave's directly above addresses some of your question as does this: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=18658#p264315
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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