Objectionless meditation and inner silence

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Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Ville N » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:13 pm

Dear friends in the Dhamma,

here's a question for you. Today after doing my daily ashtanga yoga practice, about 2 hours long, I was relaxing in the corpse pose as is part of the ending sequence. Just completely relaxed, not doing anything physically or mentally...after about 10 minutes or so, I sharpened my awareness just a bit to detach the mind from its usual thought-riding antics. Like many times before, the end result was a mind that became distinctly silent. No thoughts, just soothing silence...and after a while, my alarm went off, got a text message etc.

Now this is not the first time I've experienced this, so it got me wondering: is there any merit in such a meditation method that has no particular object? Is it possible to go further than the silence, or is that it? I mean all I do is just let go first, and then sharpen the awareness just a bit...

And yes, I'd appreciate advice coming from personal meditation experience, since I've already read more than enough books :D

Ville
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:32 pm

It is possible to take "no particular object" as the object and to take the "inner silence," as the sound of meditation. Rather than seeking more or newer ways in which to think about these things, I would simply keep investigating.
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Ville N » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:57 pm

Yeah, my thoughts as well...that's what I plan on doing regardless.
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:38 am

If there is a deep letting go, there is a possibility of a lot of bliss and then attachment to the very pleasurable bliss states.

Because many fetters lie dormant in such a state it is easy to confuse it with a realization and then cling to it. That's why objectless meditation can be a danger - it may not lead to insight but instead cultivate a subtle ego-clinging around such states.

Or so I've been taught.
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:34 am

Ville N wrote:Dear friends in the Dhamma,

here's a question for you. Today after doing my daily ashtanga yoga practice, about 2 hours long, I was relaxing in the corpse pose as is part of the ending sequence. Just completely relaxed, not doing anything physically or mentally...after about 10 minutes or so, I sharpened my awareness just a bit to detach the mind from its usual thought-riding antics. Like many times before, the end result was a mind that became distinctly silent. No thoughts, just soothing silence...and after a while, my alarm went off, got a text message etc.

Now this is not the first time I've experienced this, so it got me wondering: is there any merit in such a meditation method that has no particular object? Is it possible to go further than the silence, or is that it? I mean all I do is just let go first, and then sharpen the awareness just a bit...

And yes, I'd appreciate advice coming from personal meditation experience, since I've already read more than enough books :D

Ville


My method is to watch the mind (the silence) with a spirit of inquiry and to let go of whatever comes up. I got this from doing chan huatou practice. Inquiry into this silence is a method that crosses traditions tho. There was a famous hindu sage who used this method as his main practice and teaching method. (Whose name at the moment escapes me) Dont rest in the silence, keep inquiring, ie, "who is this" "what is this" just a gentle looking and inquiring, enough so that dullness and stagnation dont occur, but not so much that you get wound up about it. If you want to use this as a regular meditation method you should probably consult a teacher, i would recommend a chan teacher, but consider the source :)

EDIT: The sage whose name escaped me was Ramana Maharshi, thank you google :)
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:53 am

Objectionless!...

... sustained.
"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: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:00 am

Goofaholix wrote:Objectionless!...

... sustained.


I didnt even catch that, thats hilarious :jumping:
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Virgo » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:30 am

People like to read what they would like to into things, but if you take a look at the Suttas I don't think the Buddha would recommend this type of meditation. For example, he never praised it once, like he praised anapanasati and listed its benefits, etc. Also, it doesn't seem like an object that you can consistently focus on, because it is born of relaxation after yoga. This does not agree with the Buddha's exhortation to constantly keeping the object in mind, etc. It is more like the meditation of an uninstructed Brahmin with stretches his body and chants the mantras of the Vedas (om, etc.).

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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:59 am

Virgo wrote:People like to read what they would like to into things, but if you take a look at the Suttas I don't think the Buddha would recommend this type of meditation. For example, he never praised it once, like he praised anapanasati and listed its benefits, etc. Also, it doesn't seem like an object that you can consistently focus on, because it is born of relaxation after yoga. This does not agree with the Buddha's exhortation to constantly keeping the object in mind, etc. It is more like the meditation of an uninstructed Brahmin with stretches his body and chants the mantras of the Vedas (om, etc.).

Kevin


Actually this is an object that you can keep pretty consistently in focus with some practice. If you want a sutta based recommendation for it, look at the greater and lesser sunnata suttas. Its always there, just more noticable when one is relaxed.
Theme-Less Concentration
"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of the dimension of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — attends to the singleness based on the theme-less concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its theme-less concentration of awareness.

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of nothingness are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the dimension of nothingness. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. There is only this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


From the Cula-sunnata sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Virgo » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:09 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Virgo wrote:People like to read what they would like to into things, but if you take a look at the Suttas I don't think the Buddha would recommend this type of meditation. For example, he never praised it once, like he praised anapanasati and listed its benefits, etc. Also, it doesn't seem like an object that you can consistently focus on, because it is born of relaxation after yoga. This does not agree with the Buddha's exhortation to constantly keeping the object in mind, etc. It is more like the meditation of an uninstructed Brahmin with stretches his body and chants the mantras of the Vedas (om, etc.).

Kevin


Actually this is an object that you can keep pretty consistently in focus with some practice. If you want a sutta based recommendation for it, look at the greater and lesser sunnata suttas. Its always there, just more noticable when one is relaxed.
Theme-Less Concentration
"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of the dimension of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — attends to the singleness based on the theme-less concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its theme-less concentration of awareness.

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of nothingness are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the dimension of nothingness. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. There is only this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


From the Cula-sunnata sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

That's called meditation on the phala citta, the sole resort of noble ones who are jhana labhis. After steadying the mind in jhana, one experiences nibbana phala moments again and again.

Kevin

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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:16 am

Virgo wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:
Virgo wrote:People like to read what they would like to into things, but if you take a look at the Suttas I don't think the Buddha would recommend this type of meditation. For example, he never praised it once, like he praised anapanasati and listed its benefits, etc. Also, it doesn't seem like an object that you can consistently focus on, because it is born of relaxation after yoga. This does not agree with the Buddha's exhortation to constantly keeping the object in mind, etc. It is more like the meditation of an uninstructed Brahmin with stretches his body and chants the mantras of the Vedas (om, etc.).

Kevin


Actually this is an object that you can keep pretty consistently in focus with some practice. If you want a sutta based recommendation for it, look at the greater and lesser sunnata suttas. Its always there, just more noticable when one is relaxed.
Theme-Less Concentration
"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of the dimension of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — attends to the singleness based on the theme-less concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its theme-less concentration of awareness.

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of nothingness are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the dimension of nothingness. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. There is only this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


From the Cula-sunnata sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

That's called meditation on the phala citta, the sole resort of noble ones who are jhana labhis.



It must not be the sole resort of jhana masters, i am aquainted with this silence and the accompanying sense of awareness and i am no jhana master. If you read the literature of spiritual inquiry across traditions, many others have a familiarity with it as well.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:26 pm

I agree with Kevin on this one. Having no object, a the meditator is unlikely to develop samadhi or insight. The Buddha clearly states not to be 'adrift in the bliss'- this is what objectless meditation amounts to...

Animitta ('signless') samadhi is a very specific samadhi practised in higher stages of the path- it is considered one of the doors to full enlightenment- the others being appanihitha and sunnata 'doors'. These are not beginner practices, as a beginners mind simply would be incapable of achieving these rarefied states.

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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:57 pm

Is there any merit? Well, do you find less stress in such a meditation? Is the stilling of thinking less stressful than the habit of compulsive thinking? Does it help reduce stress outside of formal meditation?

Is it possible to go further? Go? Where? That's a very "here and now" type of meditation. Deeper maybe? More stability of that peace perhaps. Which allows for the possibility using that stillness for clearly seeing, investigating the actuality of the body/mind with more precision and clarity.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby Kenshou » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:30 pm

It's good to know how to turn off the proliferating mind, and getting better at that will probably do nothing but help you when practicing other meditation techniques. But I don't think there's anything particularly special about it in of itself.

Though I do a similar thing sometimes, when I sit down to meditate but before I really "begin", to let the mental dust settle so that I can get down to it with a little more oomph.
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:42 am

Gee i miss tilt and ben in threads like this :) I know ben is away, but where is tilt?
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:44 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Gee i miss tilt and ben in threads like this :) I know ben is away, but where is tilt?
I have not been reading this thread. Should I?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby ground » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:47 am

There is no "objectless meditation" in a real sense at all.
It is just called "objectless" since there is no deliberate focus on a specific object. Even if you initially decide not to focus /concentrate on anything this - "not focusing on" or "not concentrating on" or "not grasping" anything - then becomes your focus and thus this state is your object you are actually "concentrating on/in". It is nothing but concentrative meditation but here "concentration" refers to "concentrate" mind in this state.
If this concentration remains "static" you may attain blissfull jhanic states. If subtle discernment does not cease in this state then what actually results is concentration conjoined with vipassana.


Kind regards
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Gee i miss tilt and ben in threads like this :) I know ben is away, but where is tilt?
I have not been reading this thread. Should I?


idk i just kind of missed your presence :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:50 am

TMingyur wrote:If this concentration remains "static" you may attain blissfull jhanic states. If subtle discernment does not cease in this state then what actually results is concentration conjoined with vipassana.


Kind regards


Yeah i think thats why traditions that use this as a method pretty much all recommend it being done with a spirit of inquiry to stave off stagnation.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Objectionless meditation and inner silence

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:51 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Gee i miss tilt and ben in threads like this :) I know ben is away, but where is tilt?
I have not been reading this thread. Should I?


idk i just kind of missed your presence :)
That so sweet. Smooches to if you are female and a manly handshake otherwise. I'll take a look.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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