Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly without?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
fraaJad
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby fraaJad » Mon May 12, 2014 7:51 pm

VinceField wrote: From what I have understood from Bhante's teachings, the more I allow these thoughts to exist without attachment and the more I let them go in my meditations, the less they will arise and the more they will dissolve until they no longer exist. I understand this process as a progressive release of attachment from the hinderance- from these memories and regrets (and whatever else may arise). I was wondering if anyone has any further thoughts or experience with this process.


Hi Vince,

Definitely. It is just restlessness -- don't analyze it too much. Thoughts are just thoughts, and you can 6R those. I know it's hard to let go of thinking -- even thinking about meditation!! :tantrum:
But that is the beauty of the 6Rs. They apply to *everything* that comes up. Thoughts, pain, sleepiness -- just keep 6Ring until your meditation timer goes off. (And even after that. ;))

Just curious, have you considered switching to metta? I'm not personally condoning it, since I've never tried doing the breath. But, Bhante V does recommend metta to most of his students.

:candle:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Mon May 12, 2014 10:53 pm

Vince,

fraaJad wrote:Just curious, have you considered switching to metta? I'm not personally condoning it, since I've never tried doing the breath. But, Bhante V does recommend metta to most of his students.


The seeds of hindrances are sown by lack of applying mindfulness in day-to-day life (easier said than done! takes persistence, I run afoul constantly!), not helped by not sticking to the precepts. (No-one's perfect, Buddha excepted!). We create negative karma, we need to lessen that as much as possible for the benefit of others by creating positive karma.

But you should be kinder to yourself; first 10 mins of metta practice you generate feelings of loving-kindness directed towards yourself before directing it to a chosen spiritual friend. Feelings of unworthiness will hinder you, just as feelings of "I am awesome!" will.

So, I'd second fraaJad's recommendation.

This is also a very powerful phrase to remember: "This is not mine, I am not this, this is not myself".

:anjali:
Last edited by 2pennyworth on Mon May 12, 2014 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Mon May 12, 2014 11:06 pm

I also recommend studying the 'Wheel of Life':

http://www.buddhanet.net/wheel2.htm

:anjali:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Tue May 13, 2014 12:21 am

From my understanding of Bhante's teachings, one method is to concentrate on breathing and relaxing, and another technique is metta/loving-kindness.

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each technique?
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Tue May 13, 2014 12:50 am

VinceField wrote:From my understanding of Bhante's teachings, one method is to concentrate on breathing and relaxing, and another technique is metta/loving-kindness.

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each technique?


Put quite simply, I very much underestimated the power of loving kindness. Think about it, what better way to overcome the unwholesome than genuine loving kindness?Hate will not be overcome by hate, but by love. Eventually leading to dispassion and equanimity as we see these things clearly as impersonal through wisdom.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Tue May 13, 2014 1:08 am

I suppose I feel like creating the feeling of loving kindness is more of a fabrication than an experience of reality, a fabrication that perhaps can interfere with certain natural processes that would otherwise be encountered during mindfulness meditation. This is my initial thought after an intense period of vipassana meditation studies. I have yet to read or hear Bhante's teachings of metta so I will look into this and perhaps gain a better understanding.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Tue May 13, 2014 1:12 am

VinceField wrote:I suppose I feel like creating the feeling of loving kindness is more of a fabrication than an experience of reality, a fabrication that perhaps can interfere with certain natural processes that would otherwise be encountered during mindfulness meditation. This is my initial thought after an intense period of vipassana meditation studies. I have yet to read or hear Bhante's teachings of metta so I will look into this and perhaps gain a better understanding.


That's what I thought too. Just give it a go for a week, pick a spiritual friend (male, non family member, someone you know personally who is alive). And work from the heart.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Tue May 13, 2014 1:51 am

Will do. :bow:

Do you exclusively meditate on loving kindness or do you do breath relaxation too? I'm also curious as to when you switched to metta, what you were doing before metta, and what differences you saw in your development after the switch.

Thanks, your advice is very much appreciated! :thanks:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Tue May 13, 2014 2:26 am

VinceField wrote:Will do. :bow:

Do you exclusively meditate on loving kindness or do you do breath relaxation too? I'm also curious as to when you switched to metta, what you were doing before metta, and what differences you saw in your development after the switch.

Thanks, your advice is very much appreciated! :thanks:


Before I integrated loving kindness meditation into my "arsenal"! I practiced mindfulness of breath, open awareness and noting practice. It's good do do a bit of everything in my opinion, try stuff out, as they all have their different strengths and may be more suitable at different times. Sometimes a fresh angle can provide new insight, stops you from being automatic and complacent. I haven't been doing loving kindness for very long at all, only a few months! But im lucky in that i have a lot of time and secluded peace and quiet to dedicate to practice. I found it to be v effective, especially in terms of lessening the pain experienced with my reoccuring illness. Like I say, I just didn't quite appreciate the power of loving kindness. (Sounds cheesy, but there it is) I'll PM you with more detail later, gotta go now!

:anjali:

EDIT: but its important to really get into one practice for a period and devote time to it. IMO
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby dhammarelax » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:38 pm

2pennyworth wrote:
VinceField wrote:Will do. :bow:

Do you exclusively meditate on loving kindness or do you do breath relaxation too? I'm also curious as to when you switched to metta, what you were doing before metta, and what differences you saw in your development after the switch.

Thanks, your advice is very much appreciated! :thanks:


Before I integrated loving kindness meditation into my "arsenal"! I practiced mindfulness of breath, open awareness and noting practice. It's good do do a bit of everything in my opinion, try stuff out, as they all have their different strengths and may be more suitable at different times. Sometimes a fresh angle can provide new insight, stops you from being automatic and complacent. I haven't been doing loving kindness for very long at all, only a few months! But im lucky in that i have a lot of time and secluded peace and quiet to dedicate to practice. I found it to be v effective, especially in terms of lessening the pain experienced with my reoccuring illness. Like I say, I just didn't quite appreciate the power of loving kindness. (Sounds cheesy, but there it is) I'll PM you with more detail later, gotta go now!

:anjali:

EDIT: but its important to really get into one practice for a period and devote time to it. IMO


Hi 2pennyworth

I have been practicing with Bhante Vimalaramsi Brahmaviharas method for a few months now, the progress I had has been amazing, the very first day I decided to follow exactly his instructions I went through all the jhanas and reached cessation of perception and feeling, then I saw dependent origination, and because of this I recommend you to follow this method, I doubt that doing breathing meditation you can reach it in less than one day so if speed is important to you the Brahmaviharas are the way to go, I dont think that doing more than one practice at the same time is good, meditation is a practice that leads to the "reprogramming" of our reactions to the distractions or hindrances or situations, if you do 2 practices then this reprogramming gets more complicated, you are supposed to meditate all day, which means you have to keep your mediation object in mind all day (not to get absorbed in to it), this is a habit that needs to be developed and having 2 meditation objects seems to make things harder, also dont mix methods, when I first came across Bhantes V. method I didn't followed it exactly and I decided to do "the brahmaviharas at the breath" I got some very interesting results but the hindrance attack that came afterwards was very big and I managed it poorly because I didnt apply the "hindrances are your friends" principle, it seems that the breathing meditation is more appropriate for people that think too much like engineers and such, the rest of us we do fine with the brahmaviharas. I havent read the full 86 000 suttas that are meant to compose the entire canon but from what I heard the budha recommended the breathing mediation about 9 times, while recommending the brahmaviharas a few hundred times.

On a lighter note I wonder where the smilie with the 2 machine guns could be used in a forum like this, smile, keep with your object of meditation, 6r and keep backing away.

Let me know when you see nama-rupa :buddha1:

With metta
dhammarelax

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:17 pm

dhammarelax wrote:I have been practicing with Bhante Vimalaramsi Brahmaviharas method for a few months now, the progress I had has been amazing, the very first day I decided to follow exactly his instructions I went through all the jhanas and reached cessation of perception and feeling, then I saw dependent origination.


Wow, that is quite the claim of attainment! Good for you. :) How long had you been meditating before switching to Vim's method?

I havent read the full 86 000 suttas that are meant to compose the entire canon but from what I heard the budha recommended the breathing mediation about 9 times, while recommending the brahmaviharas a few hundred times.


Recommended them for what? When it comes to developing a meditation practice that leads to liberation, the Buddha made very clear statements about what method to use.

From the Satipatthana Sutta:
The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.


From the Anapanasati Sutta:
"Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, brings the four frames of reference to their culmination. The four frames of reference, when developed & pursued, bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination. The seven factors for awakening, when developed & pursued, bring clear knowing & release to their culmination.


As far as I know, neither of these instructions mention the Brahma Viharas, but rather have mindfulness of breathing as their foundation. According to my understanding of the teachings, the Brahma Viharas do not lead the practitioner past the first four material jhanas.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby dhammarelax » Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:10 pm

VinceField wrote:
dhammarelax wrote:I have been practicing with Bhante Vimalaramsi Brahmaviharas method for a few months now, the progress I had has been amazing, the very first day I decided to follow exactly his instructions I went through all the jhanas and reached cessation of perception and feeling, then I saw dependent origination.


Wow, that is quite the claim of attainment! Good for you. :) How long had you been meditating before switching to Vim's method?

I havent read the full 86 000 suttas that are meant to compose the entire canon but from what I heard the budha recommended the breathing mediation about 9 times, while recommending the brahmaviharas a few hundred times.


Recommended them for what? When it comes to developing a meditation practice that leads to liberation, the Buddha made very clear statements about what method to use.

From the Satipatthana Sutta:
The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.


From the Anapanasati Sutta:
"Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, brings the four frames of reference to their culmination. The four frames of reference, when developed & pursued, bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination. The seven factors for awakening, when developed & pursued, bring clear knowing & release to their culmination.


As far as I know, neither of these instructions mention the Brahma Viharas, but rather have mindfulness of breathing as their foundation. According to my understanding of the teachings, the Brahma Viharas do not lead the practitioner past the first four material jhanas.


Hi VinceField

I had been meditating for about ten years before I used Bhante Vimalramsis method, I don't mean that mindfulness of breathing or the four foundations are not methods that will take you to final liberation if practiced correctly without a doubt they will, what I am saying is that the Buddha recommended the brahamaviharas much more often than he recommended the Anapanasati method.

As I mentioned I dont have the full list but on SN: 46.054 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html) it is explained that the 1rst brahamavihara (loving kindness) leads you to the 4rth jhana in the case on one who has penetrated to no higher release (I tell you, monks, awareness-release through good will has the beautiful as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.) the second brahamavihara (compassion) leads you to the sphere of infinitude of space (I tell you, monks, awareness-release through compassion has the sphere of the infinitude of space as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.) the 3rd brahamavihara (empathetic joy) leads you to infinitude of consciousness (I tell you, monks, awareness-release through empathetic joy has the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.) the 4rth brahavihara leads you to nothingness ( I tell you, monks, awareness-release through equanimity has the sphere of nothingness as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.") so from here is clear that the brahamaviharas go a long way. I can vouch for this on my own practice as well it works exactly like that.

Also on AN 8.63 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html) we have another example of using (not only) the brahamaviras this time for full arahatship. On MN 52.8, 9, 10, 11, (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html) we also have similar information about their reach.

Let me know if you need more material.

With Metta
dhammarelax

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:42 pm

what I am saying is that the Buddha recommended the brahamaviharas much more often than he recommended the Anapanasati method.


I understand. My question is, what did he recommend the BVs for? Perhaps he prescribed different practices for different purposes.

The Buddha clearly explains the path to liberation in the Satipatthana Sutta, and the BVs aren't mentioned. So if the BVs more effectively lead to liberation, why did the Buddha not teach this?

I do believe that many monks and scholars agree that according to the Suttas, the BVs take the person up to the fourth material jhana and no farther.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby dhammarelax » Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:52 pm

Check the suttas I quoted, you will see there what are the brahmaviharas recomended for. Also you can see that the brahmaviharas lead you higher than the 4rth Jhana.

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby badscooter » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:00 pm

dhammarelax wrote:Check the suttas I quoted, you will see there what are the brahmaviharas recomended for. Also you can see that the brahmaviharas lead you higher than the 4rth Jhana.

The BV's won't lead to full liberation.. The buddha stated one can be born in the Devas world from the practice of the BV's..

Let's not forget the buddha taught many different kinds of practice for different people. Be careful of someone that teaches a catch all technique that works for everyone!!! Not even the Buddha taught the same meditation techniques to everybody.

Kind regards
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:57 pm

dhammarelax wrote:Check the suttas I quoted, you will see there what are the brahmaviharas recomended for. Also you can see that the brahmaviharas lead you higher than the 4rth Jhana.


My point in asking that question was that, as BillyMac indicated, not every type of practice or strategy that the Buddha prescribed was for the same ailment or purpose. Hinting that Metta is a superior meditation object because it is referenced more times than breath meditation may be an invalid comparison if those hundreds of Metta references aren't aimed at the same goal as breath meditation, leading a meditator to liberation, which I don't believe they are.

I just read an informative essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on this topic. His stance is basically that it is possible for the BVs to take one to states of higher concentration beyond the fourth Jhana when combined with other factors, but the BVs will not take the person to awakening.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Uncollected/MiscEssays/LimitationsUnlimitedAttitudes.pdf
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby Mkoll » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:02 pm

Billymac29 wrote:The BV's won't lead to full liberation.. The buddha stated one can be born in the Devas world from the practice of the BV's..

That's true. But it's also true that in conjunction with penetrating insight, they can lead to full liberation.

MN 52 wrote:“Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through loving-kindness is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

“Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion…without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through compassion is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

“Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with altruistic joy…without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through altruistic joy is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

“Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with equanimity…without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through equanimity is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

Also, see AN 4.178.
Peace,
James

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:01 am

Suttas such as this show that the BVs are one way of achieving samadhi, along with breath, and many others. Reading suttas like that alongside the Anapanasati sutta suggests that the particular object that one starts with (metta, breath, whatever) is not really the point, the insight into impermanence and so on is the point.

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Mike

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby badscooter » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:Suttas such as this show that the BVs are one way of achieving samadhi, along with breath, and many others. Reading suttas like that alongside the Anapanasati sutta suggests that the particular object that one starts with (metta, breath, whatever) is not really the point, the insight into impermanence and so on is the point.

:anjali:
Mike

I think this is what i was getting at. The buddha taught many meditations. I've read the buddha held the view of mindfulness of breathing (mindfulness of the body) to be the safest and of great benefit. However, not all of the monks practiced it. I think steadying the mind and penetrating into reality is the common theme. but I can't find any "special technique" in the suttas.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:55 pm

Billymac29 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Suttas such as this show that the BVs are one way of achieving samadhi, along with breath, and many others. Reading suttas like that alongside the Anapanasati sutta suggests that the particular object that one starts with (metta, breath, whatever) is not really the point, the insight into impermanence and so on is the point.

:anjali:
Mike

I think this is what i was getting at. The buddha taught many meditations.
I've read the buddha held the view of mindfulness of breathing (mindfulness of the body) to be the safest and of great benefit. However, not all of the monks practiced it. I think steadying the mind and penetrating into reality is the common theme. but I can't find any "special technique" in the suttas.

Breathing meditation seems to be popular among modern teachers, but I'm not sure where in the suttas or commentaries it's said to be "safest", etc. Many (most?) suttas that discuss insight do not mention a particular method to achieve jhana, etc.

:anjali:
Mike


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