Mkoll wrote:I do contemplate the doctrinal aspects of the Dhamma in formal seated meditation. When sitting in a quiet place with closed eyes, I find the mind naturally becomes more clear and thus whatever the mind is applied to becomes more clear. I find that reflecting on the Dhamma gives me a deeper understanding when I'm meditating than when I reflect in an ordinary waking state. An added benefit is that this understanding usually makes the mind more calm which then makes following the breath or cultivating metta easier or more enjoyable. And then maybe I'll get an urge to ponder something while following the breath and go back to contemplation, then back to the breath, etc.
And in terms of the four foundations, the Buddha said that if one practices with unyielding energy, one can become a non-returner or arahant in 7 days-7 years.
Zom wrote:And in terms of the four foundations, the Buddha said that if one practices with unyielding energy, one can become a non-returner or arahant in 7 days-7 years.
To become non-returner you need to master jhanas (MN 64). And satipatthana with many preliminary exercises (MN 107) eventually leads to jhana. Good thing to keep in mind that these preliminary things may take all your lifetime to practise, and without them satipatthana won't get enough power to lead you to a jhana, even in you practise it lets say for 70, not 7 years -)
no mike wrote:A particular thing that has me confused is whether there are structured exercises specifically for a "satipatthana seated meditation."
daverupa wrote:no mike wrote:A particular thing that has me confused is whether there are structured exercises specifically for a "satipatthana seated meditation."
Anapanasati. Otherwise, any number of other methods for satipatthana can be employed, whether sitting or standing or walking around, or lying prone.
I'm not sure what you mean by "essence", however. For body, for example, you just tune in to the proprioception of having a body to the extent necessary to be mindful of its posture, say. You can use a phrase if this helps, but it can also be nonverbal when you're aware of 'sitting' or 'standing'. It's just a body there.
Something is pleasant? It's just a feeling there, temporary, etc.
Try considering satipatthana as a lifestyle you're internalizing, rather than a practice you're adding to your life. You might find that it goes against the grain, where most of the time one's life is going along with the sensual grain...
Question: When you teach about the value of contemplation, are you speaking of sitting and thinking over particular themes - the thirty-two parts of the body, for instance ?
Answer: That is not necessary when the mind is truly still. When tranquillity is properly established the right object of investigation becomes obvious. When contemplation is ’True’, there is no discrimination into ’right’ and ’wrong’. ’good’ and ’bad’ ; there is nothing even like that. You don’t sit there thinking, ’Oh, this is like that and that is like this’ etc. That is a coarse form of contemplation. Meditative contemplation is not merely a matter of thinking — rather it’s what we call ’contemplation in silence’. Whilst going about our daily routine we mindfully consider the real nature of existence through comparisons. This is a coarse kind of investigation but it leads to the real thing.
Question: When you talk about contemplating the body and mind, though, do we actually use thinking ? Can thinking produce true insight ? Is this vipassana ?
Answer: In the beginning we need to work using thinking, even though later on we go beyond it. When we are doing true contemplation all dualistic thinking has ceased ; although we need to consider dualistically to get started. Eventually all thinking and pondering comes to an end.
Question: You say that there must be sufficient tranquillity (samadhi) to contemplate. Just how tranquil do you mean ?
Answer: Tranquil enough for there to be presence of mind.
Answer: Do you mean staying with the here-and-now, not thinking about the past and future ?
Answer: Thinking about the past and future is all right if you understand what these things really are, but you must not get caught up in them. Treat them the same as you would anything else — don’t get caught up. When you see thinking as just thinking, then that’s wisdom. Don’t believe in any of it ! Recognize that all of it is just something that has arisen and will cease. Simply see everything just as it is — it is what it is — the mind is the mind — it’s not anything or anybody in itself. Happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering — it is just what it is. When you see this you will be beyond doubt.
Question: I still don’t understand. Is true contemplating the same as thinking ?
Answer: We use thinking as a tool, but the knowing that arises because of its use is above and beyond the process of thinking ; it leads to our not being fooled by our thinking any more. You recognize that all thinking is merely the movement of the mind, and also that knowing is not born and doesn’t die. What do you think all this movement called ’mind’ comes out of ? What we talk about as the mind — all the activity — is just the conventional mind. It’s not the real mind at all. What is real just IS, it’s not arising and it’s not passing away.
Trying to understand these things just by talking about them, though, won’t work. We need to really consider impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and impersonality ( anicca, dukkha, anatta) ; that is, we need to use thinking to contemplate the nature of conventional reality. What comes out of this work is wisdom — and emptiness. Even though there may still be thinking, it’s empty — you are not affected by it.