How many times a day do you sit?

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: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Mukunda » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:53 pm

Collective wrote:I'm starting to realise and experience this myself. Maybe 2 x 30 minute sits are in order, or 1 x 45 minute sit (which I can't do - not yet anyway).


My recommendation would be to sit twice a day for 30 minutes at a time, and gradually add to that time, but maintain 2 sittings a day if at all possible. Once I got into the habit, it didn't take me long to work my way to 1 hour twice a day. The key is setting the intention and then following through, no matter what. After all, that's how the Buddha achieved enlightenment. He sat down and decided he would not get up until he had achieved his goal.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby IanAnd » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:22 am

Collective wrote:Well I tend to put in 3 20 minute sessions every day give or take one or two. But I am genuinely concerned about what would give me the best benefit, more shorter sits or fewer longer.

It's not so much the time you put in (although longer sits can tend to be more conducive to better quality sessions overall) it's about the quality of the time you do put in and what you get out of it. By that I mean, what you realize from having taken the time to calm your mind down long enough and well enough to "hear yourself think," as well as to develop your ability to remain concentrated on a subject or object. Remember, this is as much about cultivating your mental abilities (concentration and tranquility) as it is about learning to see the truth in the Dhamma.

If you're wanting to wean yourself off three sits a day, try 2 thirty minute sits a day, one in the morning and the other in the late afternoon or evening. You can gradually lengthen the time up to 45 minutes each on your way to one hour apiece. A lot can get accomplished in 30 minute segments. Even more in 45 min. to 1 hour segments.

If your meditation practice (i.e. your diligence toward having a practice) lasts long enough for you to gain any real benefit, you should begin to notice that you come to look forward to these sessions for a variety of reasons, not the least of them being that time spent in contemplation generally helps you to begin seeing the things going on in your life more clearly, not to mention any Dhamma themes you may happen to focus on during that time.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:28 am

Thank you everyone for your advice and support.

Today I'll start 2 x 30 minute sits, I'm not totally confident but I'll give it a go.

Thank you again
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:32 am

All the best with your efforts, Collective!

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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby oceanmen » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:34 pm

trying to keep it up

Daily: 1 X 20-30 min
Weekends: 1 X 30-40 min

metta
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Sobeh » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:52 pm

:offtopic:
:focus:
:offtopic:
:focus:

I'll do this for either one or two hours a day, depending on the wherewithal, morning and/or evening. My preference is for long sits over short ones because it more often results in a somewhat blissful seclusion. To me, ten minutes just feels too much like a New Age self-help calming technique instead of bhavana.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:34 am

Ben wrote:All the best with your efforts, Collective!

Ben

Thank you Ben
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:36 am

Isn't it strange, and very telling, that one of the hardest things for most of us to do (at least initially) is to sit and do nothing.

Thanks for all the feedback :namaste:
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:56 am

I dont know Collective. I have never tried... :smile:
I do practice meditation though and its hard work at times.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:07 pm

PeterB wrote:I dont know Collective. I have never tried... :smile:
I do practice meditation though and its hard work at times.

Good point.

Today I sat for 30 minutes for the first time, and it was a good expereinc and at one point my whole body felt like it was tingling all over, and I was very relaxed. It was a much deeper experience. Has anyone else experienced this tingling sensation? It flooded me, and when it arrived it was not slow, but filled my body rapidly.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby effort » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:30 pm

good, but its not always like it, there are times that you wont feel great, but we have to remeber that improvment comes from continunity.
Just notice that tingling sensation, and remember impermanance.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Kenshou » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:53 pm

Things like that are certainly quite common.

If you continue to cultivate that pleasant sensation, you might get yourself into the first jhana. Really be mindful of the body and relax, allow the pleasantness to seep into every crevice of your awareness, physical and mental. Simply being aware of the good feeling and continuing to relax is enough to spread and increase it. My flaw when I was first doing this was that I could induce very strong pleasure accompanied by mindfulness in patchy areas, what really did it was learning to distribute this throughout the body. (refer to the simile of the bath powder)

A user posted a good succinct method for jhana here: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3771&p=55427#p55427

Or look at the anapanasati sutta.

[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'2 He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'3 He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.'


You've probably already done steps 1-4 naturally in your anapanasati, right? Once a certain level of tranquility has become established then it's possible to establish what they call "rapture"(piti) and "pleasure"(sukha). The "tingly feeling", though that's admittedly a vague term, is something that I find to precede the maturation into a well-developed experience of piti. If you felt nicely relaxed and "deep", I bet you're going in the right direction.

The other half then, is sukha, which in part will develop on it's own as a simple feeling of bodily comfort and mental contentment. You've probably already got this going to some extent. But it can be contrasted to the more "thrilling/delighting" feeling of piti.

I think if you follow your intuition about what is more happy and peaceful for you, you'll get there. There is a particular feeling of mental seclusion and stability that comes when you're really in it that is unmistakable, but also very hard to describe. It also enables a level of mindfulness and focus that's hard to get otherwise. Look at the section in the anapanasati sutta on how the 4 references are developed. In practicing like this they are naturally developed, so it's something worthwhile. It's just that the pleasure of the early jhanas is sort of a carrot on a stick to lead the the mind into it, but by #4 the pleasure is replaced by equanimity and neutrality and only perfect mindfulness remains. Which is a pretty damn useful place to be.

Effort is certainly right, not every session is going to be so pleasant. But you did it once so you can do it again, and if you can do it again you can get better at it.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby effort » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:13 pm

Kenshou wrote:Things like that are certainly quite common.

If you continue to cultivate that pleasant sensation, you might get yourself into the first jhana. Really be mindful of the body and relax, allow the pleasantness to seep into every crevice of your awareness, physical and mental. Simply being aware of the good feeling and continuing to relax is enough to spread and increase it.

I'm interested to know other have a same definition of jhanna?
I never tried to cultivate such a feeling and looked at that as a feeling.
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Kenshou » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:32 pm

My understanding of jhana is largely influenced by Ajahn Dhammadharo and Thanissaro, accompanied by the suttas and correspondence with people on Buddhist forums like this one. It also probably is quite similar to if not the same as Pandita's classification of vipassana jhanas, from what I've read and understood of his texts. I of course don't claim any authority whatsoever.

As for the tingling specifically, weather it is just a heightened awareness of phenomena or something more than that, I find for myself such a feeling is often a harbinger for deeper levels of concentration, something that sometimes happens along the way. The way Collective described is experience (flooding as opposed to random little tinglies) at the time makes me think he was going in a similar direction.

Dhammadharo mentions something like this here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ml#method2

When you reach this point you may find that the breath starts giving rise to various signs (nimitta), such as seeing or feeling hot, cold, or tingling sensations in the head....

Sometimes the breath can send warm, hot, cold, or tingling sensations through the body...


I also realize that I've gone way off topic, sorry!
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Reductor » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:58 pm

effort wrote:
Kenshou wrote:Things like that are certainly quite common.

If you continue to cultivate that pleasant sensation, you might get yourself into the first jhana. Really be mindful of the body and relax, allow the pleasantness to seep into every crevice of your awareness, physical and mental. Simply being aware of the good feeling and continuing to relax is enough to spread and increase it.

I'm interested to know other have a same definition of jhanna?
I never tried to cultivate such a feeling and looked at that as a feeling.


For my part, I hold the same definition of Jhana.

The first four steps establish the mindfulness and suppress the hindrances, the next two steps are a matter of taking note of the mental and physical pleasure (or ease, or satisfaction, or joy, or the many words used) and then helping them grow and become steady... when they become strong enough, the mind settles into the body and feelings to stay for a while, which is absorption. The entering into absorption has a quality that needs to be experienced, and is hard to describe.

From there to the fourth Jhana it is a matter of keeping the mind balanced (equanimity) while letting go of the various elements that exist in the mind and body (ironically, they are the same elements that initially allowed the mind to enter into absorption).
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby effort » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:49 am

this is amazing, i mean i never look to jhanna like this, in this way i think many people have some feeling of rapture during a calm afternoon watching the sunset, so they can keep that like a memory to remember what do they have to look for or cultivate during sitting,am i true?
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:50 am

Hi everyone.
I think its time to get back on topic.
Feel free to carry on the jhana conversation in an existing thread on jhanas in the meditation sub-forum or create one.
kind regards

Ben
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Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Collective » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:29 pm

Just done my second 30 minute sit.

Have to say, although the mental focus is more demanding, the after glow is a lot warmer :)
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby IanAnd » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:38 am

Collective wrote:Just done my second 30 minute sit.

Have to say, although the mental focus is more demanding, the after glow is a lot warmer :)

If that afterglow includes extended moments of mental calm and tranquility, then you are experiencing passaddhi, which just means "calm" or a "profound inner peace." Overall, this is a good sign of the benefits of your efforts. Don't be afraid to answer the "demand" of the mental focus, as this will become easier and easier as you cultivate this mental calm and mindful activity.

The trick then becomes to extend this mental calmness to become a part of your waking consciousness, meaning the time after the sit. With a calm mind comes the development of sati or mindfulness. When you can add equanimity to that mix, then arising phenomena, whatever it might be, won't bother (or upset) you, as you should be able to identify each event for what it truly is rather than reacting to a knee-jerk impression which may be based upon personal prejudice or bias.

Re-read and follow Kenshou's first post above if you'd like to learn how to go deeper into this calm and tranquility in order to help cultivate a deepening of your concentration ability. Once concentration is well developed, you will be ready for insight work, if you should choose to take advantage of it.

Keep up the good work! 8-)
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Re: How many times a day do you sit?

Postby Joseph » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:09 am

2 X 1 hour, mornings and evenings.
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