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How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions - Dhamma Wheel

How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
starter
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How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:26 pm

Hi friend,

Thanks again for all your dhamma dana which makes this forum really helpful. I'd like to discuss with you today about the answers to the Buddha's questions in AN 4.94 (suggested to the practitioners who haven't gained internal tranquillity of awareness):

'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated?'

1) Perfect one's virtue -- sila, dana, contentment, reverence, gratitude, humility, metta, karuna, mudita, upekkha, reclusion, patience, conviction, persistence, learning, discernment.

2) Restrain one's six senses.

3) Being vigilant [watchfulness; dwell on intent to cleanse the mind of obstructive mental states]

5) Establish mindfulness and clear comprehension: follow Satipathana (the four frames of reference)

6) Overcome the five hindrances

7) Obtain Jhana by practicing right meditation technique:
e.g. Metta meditation + 1st tetrad of Anapanasati with right mindfulness (from a strong focus to a modicum focus to no focus on the meditation object).

Are my answers correct? Hope to get your comments/advice. Metta,

Starter
Last edited by starter on Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:06 pm

Dear Hanzze,

Many thanks for your reminding. Indeed patience is one of the most important virtue to cultivate. I've also added persistence. Metta,

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby Reductor » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:28 pm


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby octathlon » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:19 am

Starter,
Thank you for the questions you have been posting. I am learning a lot from reading them and the answers to them. And thanks to those replying to Starter's questions.

:anjali:

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:33 am

Hello Thereductor,

"If you should compose a list of do and do-nots , don't assume you've gotten everything just right. It is likely that you have not gotten everything right, and assuming that you have will blind you to what you need to notice and understand." -- Very wise advice indeed.

"How should the mind be steadied? Direct it internally
[-- but I suppose not even to the internal activities like analysis/investigation/playing-around of the meditation? ].

How should it be made to settle down? Abandon thoughts of past and anticipation of the future.
[-- abandon also thoughts of the present except vitakka and vicara?]

How should it be unified? Concern for what's 'outside' should be abandoned.
[-- there should probably be more technical tips here, e.g. right meditation method, right amount of focus ...?]

How should it be concentrated?' That which remains, the 'body', should be calmed.
[-- & the mind as well, by apanasati steps 1-12]

Actually I don't think we can really force our mind and body to calm down. We have to cultivate our virtues, mindfulness, wisdom ... (which can remove our various attachments to calm our mind) and do samadhi meditation (to gain energy which can unblock our body energy channels to calm the body). Then we can overcome the hindrances and enter samadhi. We should always remember to seek internally, instead of externally for magic tricks which can get us to jhana. Having said this, I do think right samadhi meditation techniques are important, and would greatly appreciate the input from the dhamma friends.

And frind octathlon: thanks for your appreciation and encouragement. Some other friend also expressed similar gratitude privately, which I hope can make the firends/teachers who have been helping us feel the rewarding of their effort. Metta,

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby Reductor » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:14 am


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:39 pm

Hello Thereductor,

Only after I listened to the story of the "empty-head" monk who got the advice from a 7-year-old arahant ["block five (senses) out of six holes and patiently watch on the last hole (mind)"], I think I really understood what you mean by "Concern for what's 'outside' should be abandoned". OK I reorganized the answers to the Buddha's questions as follows:

• 'How should the mind be steadied? Direct it internally on a steady meditation object (e.g. breathing, Buddho, Metta …) which serves as the internal focal point of the mind.

• How should it be made to settle down? Abandon thoughts of past and future; focus on the present (apply 'vitakka and vicara' to the meditation object)

• How should it be unified? Steadily attend to only one single meditation object (e.g. following only the breath instead of spreading the breath sensation from one spot to the whole body .)"

“Concern for what's 'outside' [outside the single meditation object] should be abandoned – Every time you turn your attention to something, there arises an additional perception concerned with that new object you're attending to. If you have a perception of 'body' as well as the perception of 'outside of body', then what's happening is your attention is switching from 'body' to 'outside', and then back again. Your attention is moving, but you're not yet aware of it.” (Thereductor)

• How should it be concentrated? [Actually I think this question is about how to enter Samadhi instead of just concentration] After the above three steps:
o Calm the “body” (breath) [by apanasati steps 1-4]

o Induce piti and sukha, calm the “feeling” [by apanasati steps 5-8] ?
o Gladden and calm the “mind” [by apanasati steps 9-12] ?

Your very helpful advice has been most appreciated. Metta,

Starter
Last edited by starter on Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:45 am

A few other aspects which might be helpful:

Dont expect results too soon.. be patient - otherwise excess viriya will lead to agitation.

Daily practice once or twice a day is essential. This is the backbone of everything you will develop in meditation.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby manas » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:52 pm

I am no expert, but in my humble experience one's motivation and attitude are crucial, too. When I see the state of Samadhi as some blissful experience that 'I want' to have (almost like a conquest), it eludes me, and in any case I really miss the actual point of it. When I let go of wanting the pleasant, or of wishing to avoid the unpleasant, and just 'do the practice' with a sense of duty (to my human birth, and to others, who will benefit from my mind being cleaner), then to the degree that I have that wholesome attitude about it, to that degree the mind (usually) settles down (assuming that there is no lingering remorse in the mind from unwholesome acts recently committed, etc).

When I say I'm no expert, I mean I've not been to Jhana as I hear it defined, just brief glimpses of peace. Just to set the record straight.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:30 pm

Hi manasikara,

You've made a good point in let-go of the desires in meditation. I've gotten the advice from two well-known meditators to minimize 'intentions', 'wishes' and 'wills' in meditation. I've been pondering about the English translations of Anapanasati:

I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication / mental fabrication...; I will breathe in satisfying/steadying/releasing the mind ...

It seems that we will the results with strong intentions in such meditation. The early Chinese Agama suttas don't have such a will component, but rather "discern and experience ...".

However, mental noting of "calm" does help calming body and mind, so I'm a bit confused now ...

Metta,

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:00 pm

I find calming the body works best when the sutta asks us to do it - when the breath is very 'small' and we can sense all of it easily. Calming the body at this point gives rise to the cessation of the breath ('bodily fabrication'/ kaya sankhara).

Don't get too hung up on the do's and don'ts- that is as long as you are clear that you are trying to develop a calm, concentrated, undistracted mind and if the 'rules' are getting in the way- abandon them. (I will send the booklet when I get home) -not sure what more it can add, after all the most important factor in giving rise to samadhi is time spent in practice , not further reading :)

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby mlswe » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:55 pm


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby legolas » Tue May 10, 2011 11:18 am


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Tue May 10, 2011 10:45 pm

"I've been wondering about the "unskillful mental qualities" mentioned in the following:

"...quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana..."

I thought the "unskillful qualities" are ill will, hatred and malice, the 2nd hindrance."

-- I've just realized that the "unskillful qualities" are more likely the 10 courses of unskillful action: deliberately take life; deliberately take what is not given (in the manner of a thief); sexual misconduct; engage in false speech as a witness, divisive speech, abusive speech, idle chatter (out of season, unfactual, not in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya, words that are not worth treasuring); be covetous (covet the belongings of others); bear ill will (corrupt in the resolves of one's heart); have wrong view [deny the law of karma]. As I understand, we must purify our mind by abandoning these 10 courses of unskillful action (and sensuality as well) before we can reach jhana.

Metta to all,

Starter

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:22 am

Right concentration is dependent on the development of the preceding 7 path factors:
"Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions." —Maha-cattarisaka Sutta

Before we strive for samadhi and jhana, we should first cultivate step by step the following:

Learning the true dhamma/reflective acceptance of the dhamma while having admirable teachers/friends/companions/comrades
→ Right view/understanding [right view of the law of karma to start the mundane path and right view of the 4NT to start the supramundane/Noble path → Faith (saddhā)]
→ Right intention [non-craving, non-greed; non-ill will, non-malice, non-harming, non-hostility; non-ignorance, non-delusion (no wrong views)]
→ Right attention (yoniso manasikara) [distinguish what’s right attention and what’s wrong attention, arouse/develop right attention and avoid/abandon wrong attention; distinguish what’s wholesome/beneficial and what’s unwholesome/unbeneficial (not only to myself but also to others), and do so before/during/after mental/verbal/ bodily conducts. Only yoniso manasikara can lead to the abandonment of defilements / purification of mind and right speech/conduct/livelihood.]
→ Right speech [no deliberate, deceitful false / malicious / harsh / pointless / hurried / untimely / extolling or disparaging ... -- no un-wholesome/un-beneficial speech]
→ Right conduct [mental conduct & bodily conduct: no killing / stealing /sexual misconduct ...]
→ Right livelihood [wholesome, beneficial livelihood; contentment]

After being be of moral habit, live controlled by the control of the Obligations, endowed with right behavior and livelihood, seeing danger in the slightest fault and diligently undertaking the training rules [善护其身]:
→ Right effort
[Sense restraint, keep the mind centered inside (e.g. on the breath), not reacting with craving or aversion to sensory objects, 少欲、 少事、少务; in particular moderation in eating;
Being wakeful -- watching and cleaning the obstructive mental states - 5 hindrances;
Full awareness and clear comprehension (not be absent-minded, careless/heedless; clearly comprehend what to do, why do it, what's the consequence, how to do it, ..., not acting out of ignorance/negligence/habits]. [However, this training represented the factor of right mindfulness in some suttas like MN 27, which might be taught before the Satipatthana sutta and Anapanasati sutta].

After having possessed the three foundations of the noble path:
1) The noble aggregate of virtues: being of moral habit, live controlled by the control of the Obligations, endowed with right behavior and livelihood, seeing danger in the slightest fault and diligently undertaking the training rules,
2) Sense restraint, and being able to Keep the mind centered inside (on the breath) constantly.
3) Full awareness and clear comprehension.
善护其身, 守诸根门, 善系心住; 若比丘身身观念住,念住已系 念住不忘,尔时方便修念觉分:
The practice right mindfulness:
→ Right mindfulness [of body/feeling/mind/the Dhamma (including the 4NT)] -- start with Satipatthana to establish the 4 foundations of mindfulness and then practice Anapanasatti while or after practicing the overcoming of 5 hindrances:
[1) Start with mindfulness of breathing until no detectable in/out breath at the nostrils and finally no bodily fabrication: 繫意鼻頭, 觉知一切身行(入息、出息; experience the bodily fabrications - in and out breathing), 觉知一切身行休息[experience the stilling of bodily fabrications], 系念乃至息灭; 息從心出/入: 若息從心出亦復知從心出。若息從心入亦復知從心入。
2) Then practice mindfulness of feeling until no mental fabrications: while being aware of breathing experience bodily feeling (piti), experience mental feeling (sukha), experience mental fabrication, experience the stilling of mental fabrication;
3) Then practice mindfulness of mind: while being aware of breathing 心觉知 [experience mind states -- see Satipatthana ;心悦 [gladden the mind by e.g. 6 recollections and experience Joy(pāmojja)],心定 [now stay steady and attentive to a single object with one-pointed fixed focus, and experience the composed mind],心解脱觉知 [experience the liberation of mind from the 5 hindrances];
4) Then practice mindfulness of the Dhamma: while being aware of breathing contemplate anicca, dispassion, cessation, and nibbana [观无常,断,无欲,灭.]

修念觉分已,念觉分满足。念觉满足已,于法选择、思量,尔时方便修择法觉分:
→ Investigation, analysis and contemplation of the Dhamma (dhamma-vicaya):
1st Noble truth: 5 clinging aggregates (and 6 sense sets / 4 elements / 5 hindrances);
2nd Noble truth: dependent origination
3rd Noble truth: nibbana
4th Noble truth: 10-fold Noble path / 7 enlightenment factors / 3 characteristics
→ Unshakable faith

修择法觉分已,择法觉分满 足。于法选择、分别、思量已,得精勤方便,尔时方便修习精进觉分 (viriya):
→ Ardency/energetic effort to remove 5 hindrances (viriya) [to strive to practice in accordance with the true teachings (during daily practice), and clearly distinguishing between wholesome/unwholesome mental states to suppress 5 hindrances; to be ardent on keeping the mind on the meditation object (during meditation)]
→ Overcoming of the five hindrances [getting rid of covetousness for the world, dwells with a mind devoid of covetousness, he cleanses the mind of covetousness. Getting rid of the taint of ill-will, he dwells benevolent in mind; compassionate and merciful towards all creatures and beings, he cleanses the mind of ill-will. Getting rid of sloth and torpor, he dwells without sloth or torpor; perceiving the light, fully aware and clearly comprehending he cleanses the mind of sloth and torpor. Getting rid of restlessness and worry, he dwells calmly; the mind inward tranquil, he cleanses the mind of restlessness and worry. Getting rid of doubt, he dwells doubt-crossed; unperplexed as to the states that are skilled, he cleanses his mind of doubt].
When being ardent, mindful and clearly comprehending the meditation object during meditation to have the hindrances suppressed.
→ Six recollections to gain pāmojja and piti.

[However, in some suttas like MN125, overcoming 5 hindrances is practiced before the 4 establishments of mindfulness but after full awareness and clear comprehension].

修精进觉分已,精进觉分满足。方便精进已,则心欢喜,尔时方便修喜觉分 (pāmojja):
→ Joy(pāmojja); 喜 觉分满足。

欢喜已,身、心猗息 [tranquility],尔时方便修猗觉分 (Sukha):
→ Rapture (pīti);
→ Tranquility (passaddhi) → Pleasure (sukha)
修猗觉分已,猗觉分满足。

身心乐已,得三昧 (gain samadhi),尔时修定觉分 (jhanas):
→ Right samādhi [the 4 jhanas]
修定觉分已,定觉分满足。

Metta to all,

Starter
Last edited by starter on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:29 am

hi Starter,
Where did you get that?


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby amtross » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:05 am


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby Zom » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:19 am


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:10 pm


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Re: How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions

Postby starter » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:10 am

From mundane 8-fold path to noble 8-fold path:

Learn the Buddha's teaching while having admirable teachers/friends:
→ Right view of the law of karma to start the mundane 8-fold path → Sense of fear and shame
→ Right intention [striving for non-covetousness, non-ill will, non-harming] → Right attention (striving for yoniso manasikara)
→ Right speech [striving for no deliberate, deceitful, false, malicious, harsh speech and no gossiping]
→ Right conduct [striving for no killing / stealing /sexual misconduct]
→ Right livelihood [striving for wholesome, beneficial livelihood; contentment]
→ Right effort [striving for 1) Sense restraint, in particular moderation in eating; 2) Wakefulness -- watching and cleaning the obstructive mental states - 5 hindrances; 3) Full awareness and clear comprehension]
→ Right mindfulness [the 4 establishments of mindfulness: body/feeling/mind/Dhammas]
→ Right Samādhi [establishment of Samadhi -- suppression of 5 hindrances]
→ Noble right view of the 4 Noble Truths, and enter the Noble 8-fold path:
→ Noble right intention [culmination of non-greed, non-aversion, non-delusion] → Right attention (culmination of yoniso manasikara)
→ Noble right speech [culmination of no un-wholesome/un-beneficial speech]
→ Noble Right conduct [culmination of no killing / stealing /sexual misconduct]
→ Noble right livelihood [culmination of wholesome, beneficial livelihood and contentment]
→ Noble right effort [culmination of sense restraint, wakefulness, full awareness and clear comprehension]
→ Noble right mindfulness [culmination of the 4 mindfulness]
→ Noble right Samādhi [the 4 jhanas]
→ Noble right knowledge for liberation: know/see things as they truly are without delusion and attachments -- the 5 aggregates/6 sense objects are all anicca/dukkha/anatta.
→ Noble right liberation [from Samsara, from five aggregates]: nibbana.

A few practitioners might be able to achieve Noble right view by studying/learning the true Dhamma (the 4 NT) while having admirable teachers/friends, without long practice of the mundane 8-fold path due to their past paramis. Most practitioners probably need to practice the mundane 8-fold path step by step in order to obtain Noble right view to enter the Noble 8-fold path, instead of only studying the teachings.

Metta to all,

Starter


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