At access concentration, confusion about next step

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.
karunametta
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At access concentration, confusion about next step

Postby karunametta » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:43 am

Hello everybody,

So I have been able to consistently get to access concentration lately doing anapanasati and have some confusion as far as the next step(s) to lead to jhana. My experience is being able to effortlessly follow the breath and then the physical sensation of breath fading away and piti/sukha arise. Ajahn brahm and Leigh brasington both say to leave the breath and focus on piti/sukha (from my understanding of Ajahn brahm's book). However there are other people who say to be aware of the fact that there is no physical breath sensation and just focus on that awareness (Ajahn chah,samadhi talk). "take this. very knowing as the meditation object - in other words the knowledge that there is no breath - and sustain this." I'd like to follow the second method listed, but I'm a little confused on how to only observe this awareness without creating a lot of doubt/confusion. Does anyone have any advice or is it just something you need to experiment with?

Thank you!
:anjali:

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manas
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Re: At access concentration, confusion about next step

Postby manas » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:30 am

Hi karunametta

be prepared for a cacophony of different points of view. Asking the question you asked, you won't get just one straight answer.

Personally I use the suttas to guide me. Physical teachers can be very helpful in clarifying difficult issues in the suttas. But sometimes teachers, despite the best of intentions, can give instructions that simply do not accord with what the pali suttas actually say.

I find the 'Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life' very helpful http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

also (of course) other suttas such as the Mahasatipatthana sutta, Anapanasati sutta, and the Kayagata-sati Sutta, to name a few important ones.

I compare what these suttas say with actual meditation experiences, as well as with each other, The meaning of a sutta is revealed over time, by repeated study and testing in the light of one's own experiences, I have found.

:anjali:

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marc108
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Re: At access concentration, confusion about next step

Postby marc108 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:15 pm

I think trying to take up a teaching as complex as Jhana without having either: 1) a teacher in real life or 2) a comprehensive manual, will be extremely difficult. (and of course one should always study the Suttas and compare the teachings). Trying to use a single teaching from a talk sounds to be like it may be somewhat futile. I personally believe that simply experimenting on ones own, without a teacher, manual, or the Suttas as a guide will be problematic as there are SO many 'wrong turns' that can be made.

as far as real life teacher by, you could tell us where you live and maybe we could help you find someone local. otherside, Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Richard Shankman will both take phone interviews.

as far as meditation manuals go, Bhante Gunaratana and Ajahn Brahm both have manuals comprehensive enough for 'self study':

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Mindfulnes ... in+english
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Jhanas.htm

You may also find these retreat talks useful:
Jhānas (Meditative Absorptions) Retreat for Experienced Students - Bhante G
http://www.dharmaseed.org/retreats/603/

also at:
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/list/category/MP3s/

manas wrote:I compare what these suttas say with actual meitation experiences, as well as with each other, The meaning of a sutta is revealed over time, by repeated study and testing in the light of one's own experiences, I have found.


:goodpost:
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

karunametta
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Re: At access concentration, confusion about next step

Postby karunametta » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:35 pm

Sorry for taking so long to respond.

Thank you guys a ton for the feedback and advice. I really appreciate it.


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