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The body and the breath - Dhamma Wheel

The body and the breath

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

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Coyote
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The body and the breath

Postby Coyote » Thu May 10, 2012 6:39 pm

I have been listening to a Dhamma talk by Thanissaro Bhukkhu on the Anapanasati Sutta (http://www.audiodharma.org/series/16/talk/1843/) and he talks about a "subtle" breath energy that is not taken in with the in-and-out breath and is taken in through the pores of the skin/though the whole body, and also a field of energy around the body, seeming to make reference to a non-physical/material element to the body, similar to an "astral body" - at least, this is my impression. Does anybody know if the abidhamma or commentaries, or even the Buddha himself talk about a non-physical field of energy? Sounds more like a Chinese or Tao idea to me. Also, maybe I have got the wrong end of the stick and he is talking about something else entirely, or this might be an idea unique to him. Is it possible that what he means by breath energy is the air element in the body, and that is what we are tuning into when we "breathe with the whole body"? I'd have to ask him to be sure, but I just wondered if anyone knowledgeable in abidhamma knew anything...

Coyote
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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rowboat
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby rowboat » Thu May 10, 2012 7:34 pm

Thanks for the link, Coyote. This sounds very interesting. I look forward to listening to this talk this evening. I don't know of any sutta or commentary that talks of subtle breath or fields of energy, but I have definitely experienced long periods where I was not breathing at all. It comes about when concentration is very stable and almost rock-like (but with no deadened or stagnant effect).
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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mikenz66
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:42 pm

I haven't listened to those particular talks for a while, but I think what Ven Thanissaro is pointing to in, general terms, is developing a heightened awareness of all aspects of breathing, so that one notices all the subtle (in the small, not esoteric sense) things that are happening in the body.

If one builds up mindfulness and concentration pays careful attention to breathing, walking, etc, one sees that there is the rapid arising and passing away of all kinds of sensations, feelings, thoughts, etc, etc. Various teachers use different entry points to this observation, so the Goenka approach is to scan the body, the Mahasi approach to focus on a primary object (breath, movement of feet, etc), but be aware of other objects arising. The latter is somewhat similar to the general idea of Ven Thanissaro's instructions.

:anjali:
Mike

danieLion
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby danieLion » Thu May 10, 2012 9:57 pm


danieLion
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby danieLion » Thu May 10, 2012 9:59 pm


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Re: The body and the breath

Postby danieLion » Thu May 10, 2012 10:10 pm


danieLion
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby danieLion » Thu May 10, 2012 10:45 pm


Coyote
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby Coyote » Fri May 11, 2012 10:45 am

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

danieLion
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby danieLion » Sat May 12, 2012 1:17 am

Coyote,
I'll try my best to answer your important questions and respond to your well put points as soon as possible. I'm currently in a lot of pain and can't do much on the computer, but I'll get to it eventually. Just keep an eye on it.
thanks

Coyote
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby Coyote » Sat May 12, 2012 1:17 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

danieLion
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby danieLion » Thu May 17, 2012 7:09 pm

Coyote,
Let's back up a little.
Remember, "breath energy" is just a conceptual linguistic convention. It too is fabricated. Also remember, as Thanissaro constantly points out, to go with what's useful, and not to go with what's not useful. If you find it useful to conceptualize the breath in terms of the air element, do so. If not, experiment with something else. And also remember--again, as Thanissaro constantly points out--to use your ingenuity and imagination. Improvise. Thanissaro, like and by the example of the Buddha, is not postulating metaphysical realities but pragmatic aids to awakening experience.

The map is not the territory. The meal is not the menu. The model is not the muddle.

:heart:

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Dmytro
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby Dmytro » Fri May 18, 2012 6:30 am



Coyote
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby Coyote » Fri May 18, 2012 7:24 pm

Sorry for the late reply, I have been quite busy with exams recently.
Just to say thanks to both of you.

Metta,
Coyote
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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Kamran
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby Kamran » Sat May 19, 2012 6:04 am

It is physical.

He is speaking of the physical sensation, which seems like energy, that you feel when your awareness is on a body part or the entire body.

I also did not understand initially and had to imagine/visualize but became sensitive to the "breath energy" after a little while.

For example, move your awareness slowly from the back of your head, over your shoulders, and down your arms out to your fingers and you can feel a distinct energy sensation moving along with your awareness. You may need to just imagine this at first, but will become sensitive to it after a while.

Be aware of your fingers and they will start to tingle. Scan body part by body part like this for a while, and then with each in breath you feel a "breathing in" energy sensation through your whole body, through your skin, and a "breathing out" sensation through your legs, arms, etc. You focus on this and your breath at the same time.

While focusing on the breath and holding your awareness on the whole body at the same time blissful states frequently arise.

You may also feel that the mind is going to wander, in which case you should start to move your awareness/breath energy around the body again. This at least keeps your mind absorbed in the body, even if its not still, and prevents it from going into the past and the future.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Namu Butsu
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby Namu Butsu » Mon May 21, 2012 1:25 am

Hello,

A lot of times when I put my attention to breathing and feeling my body I end up feeling what feels like energy or aliveness in parts of my body (Mainly i can feel it in my hands and feet) other times with breathing I can feel it in my belly. Is this feeling the body?
"It was only when I went to China in 1954-55 that I actually studied Marxist ideology and learned the history of the Chinese revolution. Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member."-Dalai Lama (Time Magazine 1999)
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html (Meat eating and vegetarianism)

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DarwidHalim
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Re: The body and the breath

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon May 21, 2012 4:59 am

This body is actually just another aspect of energy. Mountain is also just another aspect of energy.

This is proven in science.

If we see something, but we just see it as material, then we don't see it completely.

A mountain is not 50% material + 50% energy.
A mountain is 100% energy, which can be in seen from the perspective as a material or an energy.

Everything is the play of energy.

Breathing is energy. This meat is energy. All material is energy.

Deluded people like us will see thing as material alone.

One school of Buddhism actually teach the practitioners to see everything as the play of energy. By doing this, it easily cut through the boundary of this and that as an entity. Not only that, once this view is mature, you can change this body easily from one form to another form during lifetime.

Interestingly as well, Buddha actually talk about this inner energy in Pali. Just briefly, something like introductory. Not in great details.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!


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