DAWN wrote:If you will be totaly concentrated on immobility of your body, immobility of your spine, you will be able to penetrate Jhanas most rapidly if you will concentrate on some phenomena (mental of physical).
Because in sentences concentrate on body or concentrate on mental formations the key word is concentrate.
Concentration is the key, objects is the door.
But why body is best door for Samatha?
Because body door is like a door made in wood, solid, stable you can take it and open it.
But mental door is like a doot made in water, liquid, in perpetual mouvement. There is a risk to be distructed by it, but even if you not distructed by it, you ant catch it, is liquid, you must freez it (like your body), make this water like solid ice, or give some rhythm (like a breath), this rhythm will make the door more stable, and then you can cath it and open it.
BUT also, if you practicing Samatha and Vipassana an the same moment, you can, by using wisdom, go trought this water door without openning, go beyound dirrectly.
I dont know if it's Theravada method or not. But i know that Ajahn Mun teach about the importance of body investigation in "Heart Released"
If it's heretical please delete it.
You are right about concentration on body, and that it will eventually lead to Jhanas with consistent practice. However, concentration requires "effort" (and even energy to mentally focus), where as the practice I was referring to was about just sitting on Lotus posture and trying to naturally relax and not follow any thoughts whatsoever. When we practice Shamatha we focus on an object (like breath), and to bring stability to our focus we have consistently put mental effort, which eventually leads to the body becoming tired.
In "Void meditation" (I think this is what it is called), however, there is no expending of effort, mental or physical, and no grasping of any concept.
Will this be of any benefit in Theravada?
himalayanspirit wrote:Like most non-Buddhists who get introduced to Buddhism through Zen, my knowledge of Theravada is rudimentary. I am familiar with terms like Shamatha and Vipassana (at least I feel I am) and would like to know if meditation practices of Zen tradition have any correlation with Shamatha and Vippassana.
My main interest is in the Zen practice of sitting in Lotus posture. Ideally, the practitioner would only require to just sit and relax and try to maintain the posture - instead of actively putting effort to concentrate the mind or analytically observe various phenomena. My question is, what would this Zen meditation practice lead to, according to Theravada perspective? Will it lead to Jhanas? Or will it lead to insight? In other words, is this Zen meditation a form of Shamatha (since there is nothing that we actually do than just sit) or Satipatthana (mindfulness) according to Theravada perspective?
And from Theravada perspective, what benefits will I gain if I consistently practice this method of "bare sitting"?
Zen "bare awareness" meditation is not really samatha or vipassana to Theravada practioners - that isn't to say that it is worthless, but just that it doesn't necessarily fit into our two general categories.
In my experience, it's hard for bare sitting to lead to Jhana because Jhana takes a very high degree of concentration on an object like the breath or a kasina or whatever, and I don't think Shikantaza allows for that kind of directed focus. In the same way, I don't think it is vipassana either because it does not observe with insight. If anything, it's a middle way between the two.
I know many people who practice Zazen and I think it's a very helpful and enriching practice, but in terms of relation to Theravada, it's not really designed to fit our categories.
Are you interested in learning more about Theravada meditation?
I am definitely interested in Theravada because, ironically, I find the Theravadins to be far more compassionate compared to the Mahayanists even though it is the latter who give special emphasis to it! I am sure there are common grounds between traditions and that practically the relationship between them was much more harmonious than can be inferred from written material against each other.
I had visited the Kanheri Buddhist caves (which is in a National forest reserve near Mumbai) three times in my life and it was a wonderful experience to look at the dwelling place where monks practiced their meditation to perfection. In fact, it was pretty scary to see how monks could live there and sit on some cabins within these caves in complete darkness to practice Buddhism. I found the caves of all sects - Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana - carved adjacent to each other. So, indeed, the monks of various sects practiced along with each other in harmony.