Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

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lojong1
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Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby lojong1 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:40 am

Noob is left with a copy of this sutta (in his native language) from a trusted, respected friend who says it's worth practicing...no commentaries, no other sutta, no one to answer questions.
Where do problems arise? Can these be reduced by another translation?

Is there really anything missing that doesn't quickly become obvious with a little dedicated self direction and common sense?

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Goedert
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby Goedert » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:45 am

Dependes friend. Everyone can face different obstacles according to his volition mind.

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mettafuture
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby mettafuture » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:53 pm

This is an interesting and fun question.

In part, it may depend on the reading and comprehension abilities of the reader.

The instructions are all there, but can he/she look at a quote like this and make sense out of it?

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

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IanAnd
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby IanAnd » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:08 pm

The instructions are all there, but can [the reader] look at a quote like this and make sense out of it?

"Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' . . .

Seems to be rather straightforward to me. If people try to make more out of the simple instruction given in the discourse, it becomes like "putting legs on a snake." That is, fabricating something from something that isn't there in the instruction, but is perhaps only implied in the mind of the reader because of imperfect (or conditioned) perception.

When you look at the instruction in light of the simple process it asks one to observe (the length of the in or out breath), you begin to see that what it is asking the practitioner to do is to become aware of the precise goings-on of the breath, that is, to be so mindful of the present moment's activities that one can clearly observe the simplicity of the moment. This is the first step in the process of training the mind to be able to observe even finer and finer (more subtle, if you will) transformations or evidences of phenomena. In other words, if one is able to quiet the mind enough to be able to follow something as simple and present in one's experience as the gross length of the breath, then he will be able to eventually observe other details that aren't as grossly available to the mind's perception, such as the three characteristics of existence (impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and impersonality).
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:45 pm

pretty straightforward sutta.
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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Goofaholix
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:46 pm

It's pretty clear as far as the mechanics of it are concerned.

I'm note sure it will help the reader to know what sort of attitude one should practice with, how it fits into the big picture, and what the purpose of the process is. Also how to deal with hindrances as they come up, or anything else that comes up that isn't listed in the sutta.

For that you need a teacher, or at least an experienced practitioner, to answer questions and clarify.

From my experience you often have to hear the same instructions again and again in different ways before it finally clicks, a 2500 year old presentation isn't one size fits all.
"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

lojong1
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby lojong1 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:05 am

Buddha's praise of the monks' progress and their various practices says something about right attitude and purpose. Noob wouldn't know specifics about 'fetters' and 'bases' and 'powers', but the gist is clear--bad is eliminated while good is developed. According to the sutta, beginners will have lust, hatred, delusion, fetters, taints, burdens, suffering. If Noob does not see even this much in himself, he will not practice no matter how many different ways the instructions are given.
Anapanasati sutta can't replace all the other sutta's combined with life experience to prepare one for anapanasati meditation, but once engaged in anapanasati without additional instructions, who experiences difficulty? So far no one has raised their hand? Maybe Goofaholix...I didn't see.

"How do I deal with hindrances/problems as they arise?" The sutta does not say that problems will arise that need to be dealt with in any special way, so why add this idea? Train this way: I shall breathe in experiencing...

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:26 am

maybe a one sutta is all you need attitude is the problem
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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mikenz66
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Re: Anapanasati Sutta: How useful?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:35 am

lojong1 wrote:,,, once engaged in anapanasati without additional instructions, who experiences difficulty? So far no one has raised their hand? Maybe Goofaholix...I didn't see.

I agree with Goofaholix. Having teachers and/or more detailed instructions most likely saves some wasted time and effort.

Of course it would be difficult for an individual to make any meaningful comparisons. I learned from teachers and I don't use the Anapanasati Sutta approach. (Mahasi-style teachers teach essentially selections from the Satipatthana Sutta.) I didn't really read anything until I'd been practising for months, and had done some short retreats. With that experience the Suttas did make a reasonable amount of sense.

Mike


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