Is breath an action (Kamma)?

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

Is breath an action (Kamma)?

Postby SarathW » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:14 pm

Is breath an action (Kamma)?

- Where does breath fit in five aggregate? (Form, Feeling etc)
- If it is an action is it momentary or continuous?
- While I am breathing when I want to do something else where does it stop? (at the beginning, middle, end or in between)
- Are we breathing when we do other actions?
- Is breathing a thought process?
:thinking:
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Re: Is breath an action (Kamma)?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:43 pm

SarathW wrote:Is breath an action (Kamma)?
- Where does breath fit in five aggregate? (Form, Feeling etc)


MN 44: Culavedalla Sutta wrote:In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications.


AN 4.235: Ariyamagga Sutta wrote:And what is kamma that is bright with bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a non-injurious bodily fabrication ...


SarathW wrote:- If it is an action is it momentary or continuous?


In breaths and out breaths are described in the suttas as taking an "interval", which seems to imply it isn't just something that happens in a single moment.

AN 6.19: Maranassati Sutta wrote:O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, that I might attend to the Blessed One's instructions. I would have accomplished a great deal.


SarathW wrote:- Are we breathing when we do other actions?


To Light a Fire with Ven. Webu Sayadaw wrote:S: So, there is no one here who doesn't know how to breathe. Can you say sometimes, "Sorry, I am very busy now. I don't have time to breathe"?
D: No, sir.


Watch What You're Doing by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Buddha said discernment involves comprehending the process of fabrication, the process of action that's going on in the mind all the time. And all the basic building blocks of action are right here. There's the physical fabrication that leads to action — in other words, the breath. Without the breath you couldn't do any other physical actions at all.


SarathW wrote:- Is breathing a thought process?


A "thought process" seems to refer to mental and verbal fabrications rather than a bodily fabrication.

MN 44: Culavedalla Sutta wrote:Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications.
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Re: Is breath an action (Kamma)?

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:56 am

culaavuso wrote:
SarathW wrote:Is breath an action (Kamma)?
- Where does breath fit in five aggregate? (Form, Feeling etc)


MN 44: Culavedalla Sutta wrote:In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications.


AN 4.235: Ariyamagga Sutta wrote:And what is kamma that is bright with bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a non-injurious bodily fabrication ...



How can the breath be injurious or non-injurious? Can it be something like smoking marijuana?
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Re: Is breath an action (Kamma)?

Postby culaavuso » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:58 am

barcsimalsi wrote:How can the breath be injurious or non-injurious? Can it be something like smoking marijuana?


Most breathing does not cause injury. It seems rather rare for breathing to cause injury, though it could happen in cases such as taking a rapid deep breath with a freshly broken rib or hyperventilating when trapped in an area with limited air supply or deeply inhaling noxious fumes.
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Re: Is breath an action (Kamma)?

Postby SarathW » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:05 am

You can blow an insect to water so as to drown it.
Or you can blow some one to suffocate.
Bad kissing!

:shrug:
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Re: Is breath an action (Kamma)?

Postby binocular » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:12 am

barcsimalsi wrote:How can the breath be injurious or non-injurious? Can it be something like smoking marijuana?

I think it depends on how one breathes and with what intention.

culaavuso wrote:Most breathing does not cause injury. It seems rather rare for breathing to cause injury, though it could happen in cases such as taking a rapid deep breath with a freshly broken rib or hyperventilating when trapped in an area with limited air supply or deeply inhaling noxious fumes.

Breathing can be injurious not just in the cases you mention.
It's easily enough possible to get oneself upset simply by the way one breathes (such as by staccato shallow breaths). It is possible to cultivate passion and lust simply from the way one breathes (such as by breathing deeply and quickly, and holding on a bit before the outbreath).

Then there is the case where a person's heart takes up the pace of an external sound/noise. If one goes to a rave party, one's heart may pick up the pace of that music. With it, the breathing pace can change too.
Then there are people who tend to pick up the breathing pace of whoever they happen to be with. For example, I tend to pick up the breathing pace of my cat. She breathes at a pace about one and a half time faster than I normally would, and following her makes me dizzy, tense, and irritated. It takes me conscious effort to attend to my breath when in the presence of my purring cat, or I feel uncomfortable (so much for "snuggling comfortably").

(Although the exact breathing modes for the arising of these mental states may vary from person to person.)
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