Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:22 pm

I've so far been unsuccessful in effectively integrating the 4 tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta into my daily practice, and I'd appreciate any advice or experience you can offer. Trying to work through the 4 tetrads in say 40 minutes doesn't seem to be practical.
Thanks in anticipation.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby reflection » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:49 pm

I see the anapanasati sutta as a description rather than a prescription. Just focus on the breath and the stadia will naturally develop. Setting a scedule and 'working through' it is only going to disrupt the meditation.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:06 pm

reflection wrote:I see the anapanasati sutta as a description rather than a prescription. Just focus on the breath and the stadia will naturally develop. Setting a scedule and 'working through' it is only going to disrupt the meditation.


Thanks. In practice that feels like what I've ended up doing, ie basically doing mindfulness of breathing and being open to what arises.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:00 pm

Anapanasati is said to fulfill satipatthana; so, it is important to find a satipatthana regimen that one can sustain away from the meditation seat.

To this end, I find the instructions on awareness (sampajanna) to be the most useful application for day-to-day life. I incorporate the four satipatthana categories to frame my experience, noting how experience functions with respect to the body, feeling & perception, citta, and ultimately culminating by striving to note anicca throughout, and toss it all back. I tend to incorporate the brahmaviharas as well, as a foundation for interactions with people - whether or not we actually speak.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby bodom » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:01 pm

From Buddhadassa:

If some people feel that sixteen steps are to much, that is alright. It is possible to condense the sixteen down to two steps. One - train the mind to be adequately and properly concentrated. Two - with that samadhi skip over to contemplate aniccam, dukkham and anatta right away. Just these two steps, if they are performed with every inhalation and exhalation, can be considered Anapanasati, also. If you do not like the complete 16 Steps Practice, or think that it is too theoretical, or too much to study, or too detailed, then take just these two steps. Concentrate the citta by contemplating the breath. When you feel that there is sufficient samadhi, go examine everything which you know and experience so that you realize how they are impermanent, how they are unsatisfactory, and how they are not-self, not-soul. Just this much is enough to get the desired results, namely - letting go! release! no attaching!


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby bodom » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:06 pm

Upasika Kee Nanayon:

Here I'd like to condense the steps of breath meditation to show how all four of the tetrads mentioned in the texts can be practiced at once. In other words, is it possible to focus on the body, feelings, the mind, and the Dhamma all in one sitting? This is an important question for all of us. You could, if you wanted to, precisely follow all the steps in the texts so as to develop strong powers of mental absorption, but it takes a lot of time. It's not appropriate for those of us who are old and have only a little time left.

What we need is a way of gathering our awareness at the breath long enough to make the mind firm, and then go straight to examining how all formations are inconstant, stressful, and not-self, so that we can see the truth of all formations with each in-and-out breath. If you can keep at this continually..your mindfulness will become firm and snug enough for you to give rise to the discernment that will enable you to gain clear knowledge and vision.
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Dmytro » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:20 pm

Hi Porpoise,

porpoise wrote:I've so far been unsuccessful in effectively integrating the 4 tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta into my daily practice, and I'd appreciate any advice or experience you can offer. Trying to work through the 4 tetrads in say 40 minutes doesn't seem to be practical.


I would recommend the approach of Acharns Lee Dhammadharo and Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... thmed.html

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/inmind.html

Good luck!
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:19 am

We need to know what are the end results of contemplating these 4 tetrad. Then our daily life experience becomes the witness that support the end of the contemplation. In this case, you will be able to integrating all these 4 tetrad.

For example: Let's take this body.

Now, let's say we have lived for 50 years. It is for 50 years we have always this notion and feeling: This is a body, and this is my body.

If your contemplation running very well, at the end of your vipassana, you will have a very distinct feeling of reality that: This is just labeled as a body, and it is impossible I can have a body. Afterwards, in your daily life, whatever movement you make within your body, it becomes a living fact that enhance your intuitive even further that actually it is really impossible you can have a body.

There is an indication, when you can integrate this. In your daily life you will feel extremely light.

You may argue for example: It is not possible we don't have body. I can move my hand, my legs, my head, etc. So, this is my body.

Please note here:
When we say we don't have body, it doesn't mean the hand, leg,etc, disappear. THat is not the meaning of you don't have body.

We are like a person who have this notion that the tree over there is my body. We carry this tree for 50 years, and we always think that the tree is also my body. We have this feeling, even a dream that tree also appear as a part of this body. But, at the time you realize that the tree is not your body, at that moment you have a sense of great release. By knowing the fact that the tree is not your body, doesn't change the fact the physical tree is still there. But, it indeed change your view about this life.

If before when you still regard that tree is your body, any damage to that tree, automatically give you a huge suffering. But, when you realize that tree is not your body, any damage to that tree, you will be ok. Whatever thing happen it is really not a big deal. You always in a great release feeling.

Now, when you see this body, the biggest problem is we have this strong intuitive, this is body. This is something we never question.

Yes, there is a fact that there are these limbs. But, why we make these limbs as mine and as body? This is like a question why I make the tree over there as mine and as my body?

Even let say we know later that this body is not a body, it doesn't mean you are free from the intuitive that I don’t have this body.

If you see a baby, the baby doesn't have this in his head. He doesn't have : "This is my body". He doesnt have that thought, that running in his mind telling a story "this is my body". He doesn't have that thought. But although he doesn't have that, he indeed has this NONCONCEPTUAL notion (intuitive) - I have this body. He has this Unlabel intuitive running in his mind - I have that.

Baby doesn’t have the story: This is body. As an adult, we have that story or that thought. But, although we can eliminate that thought saying this is body, it doesn’t mean you are really free from having this intuitive that you really don’t have this body.

The most important thing we need to get rid of is actually this feeling (intuition) that I have a body.

In reality, It is impossible we can have a body.

If you see sand on the beach, you can form the sand into the sand castle, you can make it with human shape, a ball, etc. There are so many shapes.

But you ask yourself:
What is the specific shape of the sand?

It doesn’t have and it can’t have it.

If sand has a specific shape - let's say like a ball, we will not be able to make it like a sand castle, like human shape, etc. If we see the particle of sand, it looks like a ball, but because naturally it doesn't have a specific shape, it can reshape it to a square, triangle, etc.

If sand has a specific shape - for example like a ball, no matter how hard to try to reshape it, you will fail.

Not only sand, everything in this universe, none of them has a specific shape. None.

If you see this body, this body also doesn't have and cannot have a specific shape. If you have a specific shape, you cannot have a snake shape when you are reborn in animal realm. You will not have a crocodile shape.

If you can have a specific body, when you are born in the formless realm, your body will follow you.

Your body will never ever change.

Because we never have a specific body, that is why these small arm can grow. This belly can get bigger.
If you have a specific body, your specific body will constrain all these movement, all these growths, all the decays. The specific body will constrain all of them.


All daily life movements are actually the real and best fact that show you, you actually do not have a body. Even you want to dream to have a body, these limbs, these blood can never ever become your body.

Why we can’t have a body? It is because you don't have and cannot have a specific body.

If you can’t show your specific body, why you still think you have a body?

You really do not have a body. Not even now, with the presence of these limbs and blood.

If your daily experience can show you this fact, you have integrated it to your life. Day by day, daily life experience will just enhance and confirm you this reality.

Your belly can grow bigger is the fact that shows you don't have a body.
Your arm can grow is the fact that shows you don't have a body.

No specific body is the fact that show you, you can't have a body.

Reality has shown us this. This is the sign that reality show us. Why we are still blind with all these signs?
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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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:42 am

bodom wrote:From Buddhadassa:

If some people feel that sixteen steps are to much, that is alright. It is possible to condense the sixteen down to two steps. One - train the mind to be adequately and properly concentrated. Two - with that samadhi skip over to contemplate aniccam, dukkham and anatta right away. Just these two steps, if they are performed with every inhalation and exhalation, can be considered Anapanasati, also. If you do not like the complete 16 Steps Practice, or think that it is too theoretical, or too much to study, or too detailed, then take just these two steps. Concentrate the citta by contemplating the breath. When you feel that there is sufficient samadhi, go examine everything which you know and experience so that you realize how they are impermanent, how they are unsatisfactory, and how they are not-self, not-soul. Just this much is enough to get the desired results, namely - letting go! release! no attaching!


:anjali:


When he says "examine everything" in terms of the 3 characteristics, what does he mean? Does he mean "bare attention" observation of mind and body processes, or does he mean contemplation involving thought?
And the same question in response to the earlier quote you provided from Upasika Kee Nanayon. :smile:
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:39 pm

daverupa wrote:To this end, I find the instructions on awareness (sampajanna) to be the most useful application for day-to-day life. I incorporate the four satipatthana categories to frame my experience, noting how experience functions with respect to the body, feeling & perception, citta, and ultimately culminating by striving to note anicca throughout, and toss it all back.


Yes, I can see the importance of relating mindfulness off the cushion to ones meditation practice. What's your approach to noting anicca?
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:44 pm

..what does he mean? Does he mean "bare attention" observation of mind and body processes, or does he mean contemplation involving thought?


Sure you can use thought if it helps. Find what suits you. Here is an example from Ajahn Chah:

With panna there will be an understanding of sense objects. For instance, during the meditation sense objects are experienced which give rise to feelings and moods. You may start to think of a friend, but then panna should immediately counter with ‘It doesn’t matter,’ ‘Stop’ or ‘Forget it’. Or if there are thoughts about where you will go tomorrow, then the response should be ‘I’m not interested, I don’t want to concern myself with such things’. Maybe you start thinking about other people, then you should think ‘No, I don’t want to get involved,’ ‘Just let go’ or ‘It’s all uncertain and never a sure thing.’ This is how you should deal with things in meditation, recognizing them as ‘not sure, not sure’, and maintaining this kind of awareness.
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:21 pm

porpoise wrote:What's your approach to noting anicca?


I find it as appropriated experiences, not as objects. It isn't that it's important to note that a car is impermanent; I cannot always experience 'my-car', nor can I always experience 'my-car-full-of-gas', nor 'happy-with-my-car', nor 'my-car-is-running-well', nor 'my-car-seat-is-cozy' - which can be a bummer (dukkha) but it really isn't to do with the car...

Some saddha, some inference, and the experience (via anapanasati, et al) of calming the breath, calming differentiation and preference, calming the very experience of experiencing.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:01 am

bodom wrote:
..what does he mean? Does he mean "bare attention" observation of mind and body processes, or does he mean contemplation involving thought?


Sure you can use thought if it helps. Find what suits you. Here is an example from Ajahn Chah:

With panna there will be an understanding of sense objects. For instance, during the meditation sense objects are experienced which give rise to feelings and moods. You may start to think of a friend, but then panna should immediately counter with ‘It doesn’t matter,’ ‘Stop’ or ‘Forget it’. Or if there are thoughts about where you will go tomorrow, then the response should be ‘I’m not interested, I don’t want to concern myself with such things’. Maybe you start thinking about other people, then you should think ‘No, I don’t want to get involved,’ ‘Just let go’ or ‘It’s all uncertain and never a sure thing.’ This is how you should deal with things in meditation, recognizing them as ‘not sure, not sure’, and maintaining this kind of awareness.


I'm not sure, this seems more to do with dealing with distracting thoughts as a hindrance. My question is really about how insight arises, it seems to me to be more about feeling than thinking.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Nyana » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:08 am

porpoise wrote:My question is really about how insight arises, it seems to me to be more about feeling than thinking.

Both feeling and thinking have their place. The former is a frame of reference for stationing and developing mindfulness, which will eventually lead to insights. But more specifically, insight arises through the direct observation of phenomena (including feeling), that is, primarily through direct, non-conceptual perception.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:10 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
porpoise wrote:My question is really about how insight arises, it seems to me to be more about feeling than thinking.

Both feeling and thinking have their place. The former is a frame of reference for stationing and developing mindfulness, which will eventually lead to insights. But more specifically, insight arises through the direct observation of phenomena (including feeling), that is, primarily through direct, non-conceptual perception.


Yes, "non-conceptual" is a better way of describing it.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:14 am

daverupa wrote:Anapanasati is said to fulfill satipatthana;


I had another read of the Anapanasati Sutta, and I realised I don't really understand what this means.
Any thoughts?
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby manas » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:34 pm

porpoise wrote:I've so far been unsuccessful in effectively integrating the 4 tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta into my daily practice, and I'd appreciate any advice or experience you can offer. Trying to work through the 4 tetrads in say 40 minutes doesn't seem to be practical.
Thanks in anticipation.


Hi porpoise,

why do you feel the need to go through all 4 tetrads all in one sitting? I have not heard anywhere that we *must* do this, if we are still early in training. The training as a whole is gradual. Maybe mastery of anapanasati is similarly a gradual process? Here are all four tetrads:

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'



Looking at this, I don't think you are expected to go through every single one of these in a single session if you are still in the early stages of training (as I am also). When we have mastered it, then maybe things will be different. But ime, there is much benefit just in developing the first tetrad, until one has sufficient skill in it. To be honest, the first tetrad has been my primary working-ground for quite a while.

Just my own opinion & limited experience here, though. Do seek out experienced & qualified guidance from one who has mastered anapanasati.

:anjali:
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby marc108 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:57 am

porpoise wrote:
daverupa wrote:Anapanasati is said to fulfill satipatthana;


I had another read of the Anapanasati Sutta, and I realised I don't really understand what this means.
Any thoughts?


it means that all four frames of reference can be practiced using mindfulness of breathing
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:33 pm

marc108 wrote:
porpoise wrote:
daverupa wrote:Anapanasati is said to fulfill satipatthana;


I had another read of the Anapanasati Sutta, and I realised I don't really understand what this means.
Any thoughts?


it means that all four frames of reference can be practiced using mindfulness of breathing


Yes, but as I read the 4 tetrads, some attention remains with the breath throughout the practice, so full attention cannot be given to any of the four frames.
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Re: Integrating the 4 tetrads into daily practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:36 pm

manas wrote:Hi porpoise,
why do you feel the need to go through all 4 tetrads all in one sitting? I have not heard anywhere that we *must* do this, if we are still early in training. The training as a whole is gradual. Maybe mastery of anapanasati is similarly a gradual process? Here are all four tetrads:


Good question. From reading commentaries and talking to practitioners my impression is that the 4 tetrads describe a natural progression and are not intended to be done piece-meal. Or to put it another way, each tetrad depends on the previous one.
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