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Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed? - Dhamma Wheel

Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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EricJ
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Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby EricJ » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:33 am

I am mostly asking this opinion with regard to the "samatha variant" of anapanasati. The title is fairly self-explanatory. I've tried both myself. I find that allowing it to happen spontaneously leads to a greater refinement of the breath/concentration and a more concrete sense of the "unity of breath and body," but the spontaneous expansions of awareness (from breath at nose, to entire body, to mental state and body) don't always happen.

So, I'd love to hear everyone's opinions on which method of awareness expansion is more common and more beneficial to samatha practice. I'd also like any general advice you lords and ladies might throw my way. :D


Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

Moggalana
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby Moggalana » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:11 am

Greetings Eric,

I'm trying to do as little as possible. I just watch the experience of breathing with mindfulness and let the process unfold on its own. I don't focus on any specific point like the tip of the nose, the abdomen or the wholy body. In my opinion, knowing what the breath is doing right now (breathing in or breathing out or pausing in between) is all that needs to be done in order to let the process unfold.

However, I don't have much experience with jhana, so I'm not entirely sure if the transition from access concentration to absorption happens on its own or if it requires effort or intention. Speaking from my limited experience, I would be inclined to say that it also happens on its own. Others might be able to shed more light on that matter.
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

Reductor
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby Reductor » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:11 pm


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IanAnd
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby IanAnd » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:33 pm

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

Moggalana
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby Moggalana » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:32 pm

Thank you Ian and thereductor :) Your comments are always helpful :namaste:
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

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IanAnd
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby IanAnd » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:07 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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EricJ
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby EricJ » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:21 am

Thanks thereductor and IanAnd. I peruse the meditation forum quite a bit, and, as a relatively new Buddhist who currently focuses on the development of samatha qualities and jhana, I have gained a great deal of help from the posts you two contribute in topics related to the subtleties of this practice.

Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3

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legolas
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby legolas » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:25 am

As well as the excellent suggestions already posted, I personally find that a gentle reminder to oneself now & again that it is just a body breathing and the breath is also a body. It fits in with a thread going on elsewhere, regarding internal & external, wether its a mountain range or your own body breathing its all only elements. I find that this can help build a calm & dispassionate regard to the body & breathing process.
Dont forget the Buddhas similes for jhana, these give a real direction to how the jhana spreads and settles (sometimes with a gentle nudge).

lojong1
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Re: Anapanasati Tetrad: Spontaneous or consciously willed?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:16 am



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