"Keeping the Breath in Mind" Method 1

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

"Keeping the Breath in Mind" Method 1

Postby Invincible_Summer » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:57 am

I recently stumbled across this book, and it intrigued me since I remember Ajaan Lee being the teacher of Ven. Thanissaro's teacher, Ajaan Fuang. So I read through the two meditation methods and had some questions:

1) In Method 1, Ajaan Lee states:
Then bring [the awareness] into The Fourth Base, the middle of the brain. Let it be still for a moment and then bring it back out to the top of the head. Keep moving it back and forth between these two spots, finally letting it settle in the middle of the brain. Keep your awareness broad. Let the refined breath in the brain spread to the lower parts of the body.


Does "spread to the lower parts of the body" mean that the meditator should be spreading awareness into the chest, abdomen, legs, etc? Because later, the instructions state:
When you have this white light as large as the head, bring it down to The Fifth Base, the center of the chest. Once it's firmly settled, let it spread out to fill the chest. Make this breath as white and as bright as possible, and then let both the breath and the light spread throughout the body, out to every pore, until different parts of the body appear on their own as pictures.

Or does this just mean that one should be spreading the sensation of the nimitta through the body, just the same way one did with awareness?


2) Method 1 seems to suggest that keeping awareness in the middle of the brain (Fourth Base) is a prerequisite for nimitta. Is this an accurate reading?

3) I'm wondering if what Ajaan Lee said here:
The body will be light, like fluff. The mind will be rested and refreshed — supple, solitary, and self-contained. There will be an extreme sense of physical pleasure and mental ease.


is analogous to what Ajaan Sona said here:
The sensation or perception of sensation of moving air will change to a static feeling, this is the sign of the mind stilling.
Dwell on this airy, buoyant quality, which should pervade the head. One should experience a cool and airy emptiness of the head. This may extend throughout the body. This is a further "sign" of increasing stillness.
Remain with this airy lightness as an experience to focus upon.
All hindrances should have fallen away and the five jhana factors will be present to a degree that may be weak, medium or strong.


4) Is Ajaan Lee's Method 2 basically a way to attain total body awareness? In other words, when the meditator is to be aware of the breath energies coursing from the base of the neck, down the spine, into the leg, is this basically a way of becoming aware of all those parts without too much segmentation (e.g. "Survey the toes, then the foot, then the calf, then the knee" etc)?


Thanks in advance! I have previously practiced in Ven. Thanissaro's method (and still fall back on it when Mahasi is too much for me) and so to read the teachings which inspire his own is quite interesting!
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Re: "Keeping the Breath in Mind" Method 1

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:59 pm

If I recall correctly, Thanissaro Bhikkhu recommends you start with Method 2.





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Re: "Keeping the Breath in Mind" Method 1

Postby Kasina » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:59 pm

I find method 1 better when I'm getting lax in my practice. It's very powerful.
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go... This is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life..."

Wilbur Mercer in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
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Re: "Keeping the Breath in Mind" Method 1

Postby david.sojourn » Wed May 07, 2014 3:36 pm

The simplest technique is to just:

Watch the breath.

Just watch it.

Nothing special at all.

That's the best technique.
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