Vipassana questions

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.
venkatad
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Vipassana questions

Postby venkatad » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:00 am

Hi Dhamma Brothers I practiced vipassana under S.N.Goenka traditon, I took 2 courses, But my practice became weak due to many reasons. I am still trying to get on track but hard.
Anyways here are my questions....
1. How many hrs sleep do we need?? because every morning I found it very hard 2 wake up as I sleep almost at 12 because of work, study etc
2. I feel it is very hard to gain awareness while doing meditation, right now I am doing ana pana followed by vipassana, But my vipassana seems weak. observation of sensations is weak, that I feel. How can I overcome this problem??As of now to attend a course is very hard for me...
pls suggest me...
Mettha

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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: Vipassana questions

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:27 am

venkatad wrote:Hi Dhamma Brothers I practiced vipassana under S.N.Goenka traditon, I took 2 courses, But my practice became weak due to many reasons. I am still trying to get on track but hard.
Anyways here are my questions....
1. How many hrs sleep do we need?? because every morning I found it very hard 2 wake up as I sleep almost at 12 because of work, study etc
2. I feel it is very hard to gain awareness while doing meditation, right now I am doing ana pana followed by vipassana, But my vipassana seems weak. observation of sensations is weak, that I feel. How can I overcome this problem??As of now to attend a course is very hard for me...
pls suggest me...
Mettha

Hi there.First to the subject of sleep.People will find it difficult to agree on this subject.My suggestion is that your body will give you an idea as to how long to sleep for.Many factors come into this.Age,lifestyle etc.
Maybe in your meditation you should not try sitting for too long at the moment.Start off at 15-20 minutes and slowly build your way back up.I am guessing that at the Goenka courses you were doing 1 hour sittings at a time.
Remember that you are not in the same situation as a meditation center and therefore it may not be quite so easy for you at the moment.
I am happy to see that you are still trying.When you sit down to begin meditating,have no expectations.This is clinging and not all sessions are the same.Some days things go well and we find that we have few problems,on other days we can really struggle.If you start your session and it seems to be difficult ,try to stay on your cushion for a while.Don't just give up.
I wish you all the best in your practice.
With metta,
Phra Greg
And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
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zavk
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Re: Vipassana questions

Postby zavk » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:45 am

Hi venkatad

I'm a student of Goenkaji too, although I do not attend courses as regularly as I used to--not because there's anything wrong with it but because my life-practice has developed in a different direction.

Bhante makes a good point about being more flexible with your practice. The conditions outside of the course are quite different. We have day-to-day responsibilities and it may not always be possible to meditate as much as we do on retreat. I understand that Goenkaji advises us to sit for an hour in the morning and in the evening. This is a good ideal to aim for but it is also helpful to understand that this takes time. It can take years for people to develop this routine--and even if one doesn't develop this routine, it doesn't necessarily make one a 'bad' meditator. As Goenkaji says himself, 'Continuity of practice is the secret to success.' So, just do what you can to maintain a continuity of practice. Even if it is 30 min a day or even if you skip a day or two--just 'Start again' and maintain a continuity. It is unhelpful to be upset with oneself as this is just a form of aversion.

Also, there is nothing wrong with doing more anapana. In fact, there's nothing wrong even if you ONLY do anapana. The observation of the breath is a very important and powerful part of Dhamma practice. People tend to forget that the first three days of the course were devoted to anapana.

You mention that your observation of sensations is weak. What do you mean by this? Do you mean that you are not feeling sensations or that some parts of your body appear to be 'blank' when bring your attention to it? If you remember, Goenkaji says that it is NOT about seeking any particular sensations. It doesn't matter if you feel subtle or gross, pleasant or unpleasant sensations. The aim is to move your attention through the body with EQUANIMOUS OBSERVATION. As long as you maintain equanimity, you are practicing in accordance with the Dhamma. Or by 'weak' do you mean to say that you get distracted easily when you bring attention to certain parts of your body? If this is the case, anapana is helpful because it will calm and sharpen your mind. For me, when I'm busy with day-to-day responsibilities I often do only anapana. Like I've said, there's nothing wrong with it.

Regardless of whether you observe the breath or sensations, I'd suggest you avoid projecting expectations onto the practice. Also, you could try to attend a group sit if you cannot attend a full course. Sometimes, meditating with others, even for just an hour every week or fortnight, could help to rejuvenate your practice.

All the best!
With metta,
zavk

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Ben
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Re: Vipassana questions

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:10 am

Greetings Mettha

You have some great responses from both Bhante and Zavk, so I'll just be brief...
Remember Goenkaji's advice and warning regarding 'the game of sensations'. Just observe whatevr is happening for you in the present moment. Craving for one type of sensation and developing aversion towards another type of sensation is not vipassana. Certainly continue to practice with a little more anapana, and as Bhante says - have no expectations.
kind regards

Ben
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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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