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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

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

Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby zazang » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:17 pm

Greetings

I find that the methodical scanning of body for sensations from head to toe appears to me a bit too long a process.
Are there real statistics of people who became Arahant with this technique ?
What is even more difficult for me to understand is waiting until a sensation arises in a body part. Sometimes the brain may fool us
into believing that a sensation arose just by thinking that the sensation should arise ?
Do you think that the Buddha would have been doing the same ?
Can we not take the approach of going through each part of the body and if nothing arose then move to the next part but not wait for a sensation.
Or maybe simply note whatever prominent arises.

Also , how does one realize that the aggregate of perception is also impermanent using this technique ?

Metta
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:23 pm

I was taught something rather different to what you describe Zazang. I was taught to scan the body and note what is arising. Not to wait for something to arise . The noting will over time involve more and more subtle arisings. But if nothing notable arises ...move on.
Do you have a teacher ?
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby zazang » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:29 pm

Thank you PeterB. I have heard this kind of noting practice in Goenka's audio discourse
and then decided to try it.
Very soon I'll be taking a 10 day retreat in Goenka's style and thats why I asked these questions.

Also , any idea how perceptions ( vinanna aggregate ) will appear impermanent with this technique since we
are only noting sensations !

Metta
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:36 pm

Over time Zazang we note with greater and greater clarity the arising and passing of sensations , this begins a process of "joining up the dots" as we see the truth of anicca within ourselves for ourselves.
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:11 pm

zazang wrote:Thank you PeterB. I have heard this kind of noting practice in Goenka's audio discourse
and then decided to try it.
Very soon I'll be taking a 10 day retreat in Goenka's style and thats why I asked these questions.

Also , any idea how perceptions ( vinanna aggregate ) will appear impermanent with this technique since we
are only noting sensations !


I'd give it at least a 10 day trial in an intensive retreat situation before you decide whether it works or not, whether you like it or not.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:25 pm

I'm with Goofaholix. Give the technique a chance in a 10 day retreat.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:21 pm

Hi zazang

zazang wrote:Thank you PeterB. I have heard this kind of noting practice in Goenka's audio discourse
and then decided to try it.
Very soon I'll be taking a 10 day retreat in Goenka's style and thats why I asked these questions.

Also , any idea how perceptions ( vinanna aggregate ) will appear impermanent with this technique since we
are only noting sensations !

Metta
zazang


I think part of the problem is that you haven't been doing this in a retreat environment and you haven't had 3.5 days of continuous anapana as a precursor to vedananupassana (observation of sensation). The anapana not only concentrates your mind, but makes your mind subtle enough to perceive sensations you have been previously unaware of. During the retreat you will hear gradual instructions each day, and part of those instructions you will be told that at different times you will experience gross (painful) sensation, subtle (pleasuralbe) sensation, and areas of blankness where you cannot discern a sensation. The point of the exercise is not to feel subtle pleasant sensation but to develop objective awareness and equanimity towards whatever you experience. Goenkaji will say over and over again from Day 4 onwards - it doesn't matter what you experience, the only thing that really matters is the awareness and equanimity towards your experiences.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:25 am

Even if you choose to do a different technique later on the sensitivity to the sensations in the body that you develop with this technique can be valuable when you do other techniques.

The same could be said for noting practice, Goenka doesn't teach a lot about mindfulness so having a grounding in noting practice can help you if you later do body sweeping.

This is assuming that you don't try to mish mash the techniques up, which is not what I'm talking about.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby zazang » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:56 am

wow thanks so much for the replies..I will give the 10 day retreat a fair try !

Metta
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:27 am

Good for you. :thumbsup:
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:04 am

zazang wrote:wow thanks so much for the replies..I will give the 10 day retreat a fair try !

Metta
zazang

if you really are interested in learning about meditation, and practicing meditation then it wont be a waste of your time, even if the method doesn't work for you. meditation is a trial and error type of practice. experiment until you find what works.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:08 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
zazang wrote:wow thanks so much for the replies..I will give the 10 day retreat a fair try !

Metta
zazang

if you really are interested in learning about meditation, and practicing meditation then it wont be a waste of your time, even if the method doesn't work for you. meditation is a trial and error type of practice. experiment until you find what works.

What a negative response. Clearly he is really interested. And you have no way of anticipating that it wont "work" for him,.
How about some mudita and joy in his attempt to actualise the Dhamma, instead of just blethering on in cyber world recycling his own views ? :smile:
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:25 am

i don't think my post is negative in any way....
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:42 am

Well re-read it.
You first posit a doubt about whether he is REALLY interested..this man unlike many who profess an interest in Dhamma is devoting ten days of his life to an demanding regime. he is getting off his butt and actually doing something other than stating views and splitting semantic hairs..
You then use the expression "waste of time" which is much stronger than the qualification that you hedge the phrase about with..and outweighs the "wont".
Your actual position leaks far more than you realise.

For goodness sake we should be cheering a real attempt involving leaving behind the familiar and comforting and attempting to actually DO Buddhadhamma. Not telling people that if they fail they can always try something else.
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:00 am

:thinking: i think you're reading the negativity into it... :shrug:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:16 pm

Gentlemen,
Let's return to topic.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby zazang » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:33 pm

Hey metta to all..I did not mind anything :)

I am finding that the more we attach weight to events in our life ( like "oh he told me this@!"..."Let me correct him by replying appropriately ")
, the more sankharas we deposit..and I cannot tell how much it is helping me by simply remembering the truth that these deposited sankharas
are the real problem in our way to enlightenment( no wonder the Buddha said "Sabbe Sankhar nirodha" if I'm not wrong )..once we remember the
danger inherent in depositing any sankhara, we start ignoring most events and this aids in being peaceful. Likewise , even if an old sankhara pops up , I decide not to attach any weight to it simply by remembering the truth that how dangerous these sankharas are if we feed them by getting affected by them.

Is this a right practice according to Dhamma ?

Metta
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:47 pm

Hi zazang,

zazang wrote:Is this a right practice according to Dhamma ?


Yes, sort of. From this practitioner's point of view, one remains aware and equanimous with respect to the phenomenology of sankharas. Sankharas can be difficult to observe directly but we can observe their component parts. Since the thread began with your enquiry regarding the Goenka-style method, one component of sankhara is vedana: sensation. Despite your difficulties, vedana remains quite an accessible subject with which one can develop vipassana (special wisdom) with regards to the nature of reality. Your difficulties should disappear once you learn the technique in a retreat environment and after 3.5 days of samatha practice using your breath as an object.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:32 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:if you really are interested in learning about meditation, and practicing meditation then it wont be a waste of your time, even if the method doesn't work for you. meditation is a trial and error type of practice. experiment until you find what works.

:goodpost: Thank you for reminding me of this. I find it inspiring.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Methodical scanning vs Noting what arises

Postby zazang » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:44 pm

Thank you Ben..Thats very encouraing !
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