Natural-born Meditators?

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

Natural-born Meditators?

Postby Viscid » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:06 am

Do you think there are people who are simply better at meditation than others, even with comparable meditative experience? It seems that some are capable of achieving more in their meditation while others, even though they've dedicated their lives to meditation, have rather benign meditative experiences. It seems a little taboo to suggest that there is an uneven playing field of natural meditative ability, but from watching and listening to a wide variety of meditators, this seems to be the case. If so, what are the makings of a good meditator?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:22 am

well if you believe in literal rebirth than some may have been practicing over several lives
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: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby 5heaps » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:28 am

what does it mean to be better? if it means being able to succeed at it more quickly then yes

one of my main teachers says that if youve been receiving a proper buddhist education for a couple of years andyet you still dont have shamata then your renunciation is really lousy. but then that always makes me wonder about how rare it is for a buddhist to have a proper buddhist education
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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:20 am

Viscid wrote:Do you think there are people who are simply better at meditation than others, even with comparable meditative experience? It seems that some are capable of achieving more in their meditation while others, even though they've dedicated their lives to meditation, have rather benign meditative experiences. It seems a little taboo to suggest that there is an uneven playing field of natural meditative ability, but from watching and listening to a wide variety of meditators, this seems to be the case. If so, what are the makings of a good meditator?


It depends on what you think the purpose of meditation is. If you think meditation is about altered states and intense experiences then yes I think some people find that easier than others.

I think meditation is about developing wisdom, and it could well be that those that continue on without any intense experiences worth mentioning are the ones that are developing the most wisdom.
"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: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:58 am

jcsuperstar wrote:well if you believe in literal rebirth...


Bit of a shame this has become a safety qualifier for making any kind of statement about past lives in a discussion forum about Buddhism.

Alas alas, back to the cushion.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby pilgrim » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:24 am

BlackBird wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:well if you believe in literal rebirth...


Bit of a shame this has become a safety qualifier for making any kind of statement about past lives in a discussion forum about Buddhism.

Alas alas, back to the cushion.


Yes, not every Buddhist takes the Buddha's advice to heart;-
"'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I.' For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, the Teacher's message is healing & nourishing. ~ Kitagiri sutta
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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:31 am

BlackBird wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:well if you believe in literal rebirth...


Bit of a shame this has become a safety qualifier for making any kind of statement about past lives in a discussion forum about Buddhism.

Alas alas, back to the cushion.

just doing what i can to not start any arguments with those who don't believe. :anjali:
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: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:32 pm

In training people the single most important discriminator I see is intelligence (as it has an impact on all other faculties). The next is willingness to listen to instructions (the 'suvaca' quality). Others are levels of effort/determination which overcome all kinds of problems which they otherwise might have. Dhamma knowledge seems of little significance.

But I do notice that some people seem to start with faculties of faith, effort, mindfulness,consentration and insight which are far greater than others. Their development is quicker- that's just the way it is. I believe it is because they have quite possibly practised in previous lives. Some people have told me that certain meditations feel familiar to them even though they are doing them for the first time.

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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby ground » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:46 am

Viscid wrote:Do you think there are people who are simply better at meditation than others, even with comparable meditative experience?

Each and every capacity arises from the collections of "merits" in the "fields" of method and wisdom. There is nothing that does not have corresponding causes and conditions.

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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby 2600htz » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:51 pm

the quality i like its being hungry for improvemnt accompanied by intense research
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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:50 pm

On a more mundane level, what kind of job do they have? Is it boring, dull and repetitive leading to mindlessness or is their work mentally intense, involving and demanding concentration.

Is a person disciplined? Do they finish what they start and approach challenges with intent or are they happy-go-lucky que-sera-sera types?

Are they motivated? Do they know deep down that they're closer to "their end" than they are to their beginning?

Etc, etc. So...I would expect a retired air-traffic controller who had been in the military to be a much better "natural born meditator" than a mid-twenties college drop-out who works on an assembly line and still lives happily with his/her parents.

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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby Guy » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:31 pm

AdvaitaJ wrote: So...I would expect a retired air-traffic controller who had been in the military to be a much better "natural born meditator" than a mid-twenties college drop-out who works on an assembly line and still lives happily with his/her parents.


Oooh...so that's why my meditation is no good. :rofl:
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1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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Re: Natural-born Meditators?

Postby Agmanellium » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:26 pm

All qualities and skills of people have some basis in the physical world. Any meditator is doing so with a physical neural base that is in part genetically determined. The phenotype or actual manifestation of form is the brain they actually end up with through interaction of genes and environment. This is true of all forms in biology. It should not be shocking that an individual would possess the neural hardware that would more easily allow the physical basis of meditation to take place than acknowledging that Michael Jordan had an innate physical form that made him "better" at basketball.
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