steady mindfulness

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steady mindfulness

Postby effort » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:18 pm

which conditions give you steady mindfulness in sitting?

does it happen even when they are present your mind start to wandering and become hard to control?

factors of steady mindfulness? 8 fold path? ok, but how do you try or try not to do in your daily life and sitting to prevent mind become agitated?
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:00 pm

Greetings Effort,

effort wrote:factors of steady mindfulness? 8 fold path? ok, but how do you try or try not to do in your daily life and sitting to prevent mind become agitated?

Generally speaking, I find that adherence to the five precepts and the cultivation of wholesome deeds help to remove the five hindrances.

Such has been my experience, but here is a selection of text extracts on the hindrances and their conquest.

The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest (Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries)
Compiled and translated by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el026.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:09 am

effort wrote:which conditions give you steady mindfulness in sitting?
ok, but how do you try or try not to do in your daily life and sitting to prevent mind become agitated?

knowing the breath all the time. from the point when I wake up until I finally go to sleep. While I'm sitting, standing, walking or lying. when I know the breath the mind is not agitated.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:52 am

Hi effort

In your "2 questions" thread: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4006 I gave you a link to a booklet called The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest. Read that.

Also keep in mind that as you begin your practice - mindfulness isn't going to be steady. But just keep going and you'll get there.
kind regards

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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Effort,

effort wrote:factors of steady mindfulness? 8 fold path? ok, but how do you try or try not to do in your daily life and sitting to prevent mind become agitated?

Generally speaking, I find that adherence to the five precepts and the cultivation of wholesome deeds help to remove the five hindrances.

Such has been my experience, but here is a selection of text extracts on the hindrances and their conquest.

The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest (Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries)
Compiled and translated by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el026.html

Metta,
Retro. :)

I think this cant be emphasised enough.
To attempt to sit without a knowledge of the hindrances to that practice is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it.
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby Freawaru » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:07 pm

effort wrote:which conditions give you steady mindfulness in sitting?

does it happen even when they are present your mind start to wandering and become hard to control?

factors of steady mindfulness? 8 fold path? ok, but how do you try or try not to do in your daily life and sitting to prevent mind become agitated?


Hi Effort,

agitation does not hinder mindfulness. When the mind wanders and becomes hard to control it is possible to stay mindful of it nevertheless.

I used a technique similar to the one described in the link provided by Ven. Gavesako here: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3982 (post 6)

During meditation, or simply whilst sitting quietly, one can close one’s eyes to block out outer distractions. Instead of attaching to or rejecting thoughts and emotions, one can learn to simply observe them as objects in space. Again, Ajahn Sumedho:

“We can see that mentally there are thoughts, emotions – the mental conditions – that arise and cease. Usually we are dazzled, repelled or just bound by the thoughts and emotions; we go from one thing to another – trying to get rid of them or reacting, controlling and manipulating them. So we never have any perspective in our lives, we just become obsessed with repression and indulgence; we are caught in those two extremes.”
(Ajahn Sumedho, in the talk ‘Noticing Space’.)

Ajahn Sumedho has also taught that this mental spaciousness can be cultivated deliberately using a simple thought like “I am”. Before thinking “I am” we can notice the space in the mind, empty for something to occur in. Then the word “I” appears, followed by another gap. This space precedes the word “am”, which itself ends in more space. With this practice, we can see that the thought “I am” is an object in spacious awareness, being born, existing, and then dying back into space. Even emotions that can accompany a thought like “I am” exist in the same space that exists before, during, and after they have arisen. In this way, we can develop a calm dispassion towards our thoughts, seeing them as ephemeral objects in space, coming and going. Over time, they will lose their power to entice us into identifying with them and creating suffering around them as a result.

Seeing thoughts and emotions as things in awareness, rather than as my thoughts and my emotions gives us what Ajahn Sumedho refers to above as perspective.
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby effort » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:15 pm

i never thought its because of torpor ben, but as i look i see how incredibly fast it becomes dominate. thanks for the link.
so if there wont be any hindrances the mind will become concentrated? i mean most of the times when we sit, we are not angry or have sensual desire or doubt . and the mind doesn't get concentrated maybe get some level of calmness, what is the reason? there is some unnoticed hindrances?
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby effort » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:16 pm

Freawaru, i always have problem with the empty mind , mind is not empty that some thoughts appears and disappears, thoughts appears and disappears but there is always something present, i dont the name but maybe i can say it is perception aggregate or consciousness aggregate that cause knowing we are alive.
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:16 pm

Hi effort

I transcribed the following for a friend and I thought you might also find it useful.

The commentators derive the Pali word jhana from a root meaning “to contemplate” and again from another root meaning “to burn up”. Thus the jhanas are so called because they closely contemplate the object and because they burn up the adverse states opposed to concentration.[ i] These adverse states are the five hindrances (nivarana), of sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt. The jhanas are attained by the method of meditation called the development of calm or serenity (samathabhavana). This type of meditation involves the strengthening of the faculty of concentration (Samadhi). By fixing the mind upon a single selected object, all mental distraction is eliminated. The hindrances are suppressed and the mind becomes fully absorbed in its object. The development of calm will be dealt with in detail later. (see IX s2-21)
The object of jhana-consciousness is a mental image called the counterpart sign (patibhaganimitta). This sign is considered a conceptual object (pannatti), but generally arises on the basis of a visible form, and hence these jhanas pertain to the fine-material sphere. The meditator aspiring to jhana may...

First Jhana wholesome consciousness: Each jhana is defined by way of a selection of mental concomitants called its jhana factors (jhananga). From among the many mental factors contained in each jhana consciousness, it is these that distinguish the specific jhana from the other jhanas and bring about the process of absorption. The first jhana contains five factors, as enumerated in the text. To attain the first jhana, these five factors must all be present in a balanced way, closely contemplating the object and “burning up” the five hindrances that obstruct absorption.

Initial application (vitakka): In the Suttas, the word vitakka is often used in the loose sense of thought, but in the Abhidhamma it is used in a precise technical sense to mean the mental factor that mounts or directs the mind onto the object.[ii] Just as a king’s favourite might conduct a villager to the palace, even so vitakka directs the mind onto the object. In the practice of attaining jhana, vitakka has the special task of inhibiting the hindrance of sloth and torpor (thinamiddha).

Sustained application (vicara): The word vicara usually means examination. But here it signifies the sustained application f the mind on the object. Whereas vitakka is the directing of the mind and its concomitants towards the object, vicara is the continued exercise of the mind on the object. The Commentaris offer various similies to highlight the difference between these two jhana factors. Vitakka is like a bird’s spreading out its wings to fly, vicara is like the bird’s gliding through the air with outstretched wings. Vitakka is like a bee’s diving towards a flower, vicara is like the bee’s buzzing above the flower. Vitakka is like the hand that holds a tarnished metal dish, vicara is like the hand that wipes the dish[iii] . Vicara in the jhanas serves to temporarily inhibit the hindrance of doubt (vicikiccha).

Zest (piti): Piti, derived from the verb pinayati meaning “to refresh”, may be explained as delight or pleasurable interest in the object. The term is often translated as rapture, a rendering which fits its role as a jhana factor but may not be wide enough to cover all its nuances[iv] . The commentators distinguished five grades of piti that arise when developing concentration: minor zest, momentary zest, showering zest, uplifting zest, and pervading zest. Minor zest is able to raise the hairs on the body. Momentary zest is like flashes of lightening. Showering zest beaks over the body again and again like waves on the sea shore. Uplifting zest can cause the body to levitate. And pervading zest pervades the whole body as an inundation fills a cavern. The latter is identified as the piti present in jhana[v]. As a factor of jhana, piti inhibits the hindrance of ill will (vyapada).

Happiness (sukkha): This jhana factor is a pleasant mental feeling. It is identical with somanassa, joy, and not with the sukkha of pleasant bodily feeling that accompanies wholesome-resultant body-consciousness. This sukha, also rendered as bliss, is born of detachment from sensual pleasures; it is therefore explained as niramisasukha, unworldly or spiritual happiness. It counters the hindrance of restlessness and worry (uddhaccajukucca).
Though piti and sukha are closely connected, they are distinguished in that piti is conative factor belonging to the aggregate of mental formations (sankharakkhandha). Piti is compared to the delight a weary traveller would experience when coming across an oasis, sukkha to his pleasure after bathing and drinking[vi].

One-pointedness (ekaggata): the Pali term means literally a one (eka) pointed (agga) state (ta). This mental factor is the primary component of all five jhanas and the essence of concentration (Samadhi). One-pointendness temporarily inhibits sensual desire, a necessary condition for any meditative attainment. Ekagatta exercises the function of closely contemplating the object, the salient characteristic of jhana, but it cannot perform this function alone. It requires the joint action of the other four jhana factors each performing its own special function: vitakka applying the associated states on the object, vicara sustaining them there, piti bringing delight in the object, and sukha experiencing happiness in the jhana.
--p. 58: compendium of consciousness in A comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma.

Notes:

i Aramman’upanijjhanato paccanikajjhapanato jhanam Vism. IV, 119
ii So hi arammane cittam aropeti Asl. 114
iii Vism IV, 89-90
iv In The Path of Purification, his translation of the Visuddhimagga, Bhikkhu Nanamoli has translated it as happiness. The rendering is often used for sukha, the next factor, and thus may lead to a confusion of the two.
v Vism IV, 94-100
vi For a detailed elaboration of this simile, see Asl. 117-18; Expos., pp. 155-56

-- Compendium of Consciousness in Bhikkhu Bodhi's A comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma


My apologies for the lack of formatting and absence of diacritics.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby Freawaru » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:13 pm

effort wrote:Freawaru, i always have problem with the empty mind , mind is not empty that some thoughts appears and disappears, thoughts appears and disappears but there is always something present, i dont the name but maybe i can say it is perception aggregate or consciousness aggregate that cause knowing we are alive.


Hi Effort,

the way I understand it "spacious awareness" is not identical to "empty mind". When you look at the quote I gave:

Before thinking “I am” we can notice the space in the mind, empty for something to occur in. Then the word “I” appears, followed by another gap. This space precedes the word “am”, which itself ends in more space.


This kind of "space" is there regardless of the mind being empty or filled, calm, or agitated, or emotional, or whatever. The trick is to switch one's focus on it rather than on the content of it.

Personally, I find it easier to use music than a thought like "I am" to identify that space. Do you like music? If yes, you can use it in the same way as the "I am" "mantra" described by Ajahn Sumedho. Music is, IMO, easier because one does not need to generate something oneself, just focus on reception of the sounds. Choose a music you like, in fact it is useful to let a certain degree of love (for that piece of music) enter your mind, does wonders for the concentration. Use headphones and the repeat option. And then just focus on the sound, on really enjoying that piece of music, try to catch every sound beginning with the most prominent. Sing/imagine it in yourself. Then sing it in yourself a moment before it happens, expect it. Then sing it after hearing the sound, like an echo. And then try to stop the inner singing, just let the sounds enter your mind as if you would hear the music first time, without expectation and without echo. When you can do this you have it, the spacious awareness. You can observe directly every sound's beginning, middle and end.

It works the same for all other senses, even mind. A thought's beginning, middle and end is no different than a sound's - just a bit more difficult to observe because we are usually more identified with our thoughts than with music. All dhamma are just like a masterpiece of music....
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby effort » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:11 pm

thank you ben, so by the definition with observing body and mind as an object of meditation it wont lead to jhana.

i still sit with open eyes, with close eyes i fall into state like dreaming ( like before you fall asleep ), and you usually wont get deep with open eyes.

Freawaru, i get what you say, i will try it when i observe thoughts during sitting.
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:06 am

Hi effort
On another thread you mentioned you were familiar with SN Goenka's method. If so, I recommend that you practice anapana as you were taught (samatha variant of anapana-sati), and it will lead to jhana. As for falling into a dream-like state when you meditate with closed eyes, I think it could be an artefact of the hindrance of sloth and torpor.
metta

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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby effort » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:36 pm

just one 10 day course ben, but knowing the method.

i can not observe breath, as soon as i observe it, i change it and all my body system act insane. i always regret the time when i was 20 and i didn't know about buddhism and start to meditate based on books, after a while i faced amazing problem: there is always watching breath in every situation, it stick to me and i did what ever i could to stop that!! heh, most of the times people dont know how great is their current situation! lol
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby Freawaru » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:36 am

Thank you, Ben, for the quote. :smile:
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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:52 pm

The only time I've had absolute steady mindfulness was in retreat settings.

But I think the following helps in lay life settings:
1) accepting the major disadvantages of the thinking mind
2) discovering the multiple advantages of the mindful mind
3) strong intention to be mindful -preceded by a strong intention to achieve nibbana (is- seeing the link between the two) and refreshing this intention for nibbana each time mindfulness is lost and regained. (seeing clearly the drawbacks of samsara)
4) strong intention to maintain mindfulness once established

It is has got to be one of the most, if not the most important thing in your life.

mindfulness once established will start taking on a life of its own. but there has got to be strong reasons for that to happen.
With Metta

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Re: steady mindfulness

Postby effort » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:12 pm

nice advise rowyourboat, thanks.
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