Eyes

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

Eyes

Postby greggorious » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:20 pm

Why is it in Theravada it's more common to close the eyes and in Mayahana it's more common to have the eyes open, or half open?
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
greggorious
 
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Eyes

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:26 pm

The difference btween Theravada and Soto Zen is simply that the latter isn't intent on developing one-pointed concentration but rather an abiding within the present moment. As far as other Mahayana traditions go though I'm not sure. Good luck in your search. :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
 
Posts: 1629
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Eyes

Postby greggorious » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:29 pm

How did you know I was practicing soto zen? :)

I kind of knew the answer to my question within myself but wanted to know what you thought. Saying this I do do Vipassana as well as zazen.
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
greggorious
 
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Eyes

Postby bodom » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:30 pm

greggorious wrote:Why is it in Theravada it's more common to close the eyes and in Mayahana it's more common to have the eyes open, or half open?


I think its a matter of preference for the individual meditator more so than a matter of tradition. I have read of Theravadan teachers who recommend keeping the eyes open in meditation and have read Zen teachers who say there is nothing wrong with sitting with eyes closed. I myself often sit with eyes half open to ward off drowsiness. Its best for each person to find what suits them rather than going by some hard and fast rule.

: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
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4604
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Eyes

Postby greggorious » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:37 pm

Thanks Bodom, I practice Zen but I am influenced by Theravada too. In fact I see more in common with theravada than with other Mayahana school, maybe I'm alone in that?

Most Zennists I know I quite strict with eyes open. When at the zendo I follow tradition, when at home I'll close my eyes cos I find it too distracting with eyes open.
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
greggorious
 
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Eyes

Postby bodom » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:48 pm

greggorious wrote:Thanks Bodom, I practice Zen but I am influenced by Theravada too.


And I am a practicing "Theravadan" with a strong influence from the Zen tradition. :smile: :sage:

In fact I see more in common with theravada than with other Mayahana school..


I as well. When sitting on the cushion I see no difference between my current vipassana practice and my former zazen practice. I am not concerned with the petty doctrinal disputes as I am with the actual practice of Buddhadhamma.

Most Zennists I know I quite strict with eyes open. When at the zendo I follow tradition, when at home I'll close my eyes cos I find it too distracting with eyes open.


Whatever suits you. The important point in meditation is watching the body/mind process rather than the wall/floor in front of you or the backs of the eyelids.

: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
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4604
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Eyes

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:06 pm

Buddhadasa often told his students to meditate with eyes open as well. I prefer closed but I don't think it's all too important really.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Eyes

Postby Kamran » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:28 pm

The only difference between my previous "Zazen" practice, and my current "Vipassasana" practice I see is the huge amount of free resources available in theravada to help me progress :)
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
User avatar
Kamran
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Eyes

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:57 pm

hi greg
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7832&p=123995#p123995
you told us all you practiced soto zen :)

I often find it depends on the sitting not just drowsiness, but how comfortable it is to fully close my eyes, although some teachers say gently close, i.e. not fully closed yet not half open.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Eyes

Postby black hole » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:48 pm

Some people say when you close yours eyes it's like a wall that would be very close: if you throw a ball against the wall it returns immediately and it is difficult to control. It would happen the same with thoughts. Hey, this is an explanation ... I have not found very persuasive by experimenting... :thinking:
Now, if you keep your eyes open and fix a point about 30cm in front of you in space, you will see that:
1. it is not easy
2. it helps to focus significantly
Finally, other explanations are related to channels and energy which would be connected to the eyes. By keeping your eyes open, we allow this energy to mix with the space. You connect the inner space to outer space. it greatly facilitates the overcoming of the feeling of ego.
That said, those who lean in favor of closed eyes have certainly arguments even more convincing.
The most interesting is perhaps the question at a time: why I like to meditate eyes open (or closed) ... And change
Everything is naturally perfect just as it is
User avatar
black hole
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:32 am
Location: Abu Dhabi (UAE)


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests