Where to focus

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.
greggorious
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Where to focus

Postby greggorious » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:28 pm

When one is focussing on the breath for meditation is it best to focus on the abdomen to make sure you're breathing correctly?
As someone who suffers from anxiety I notice I breath a lot from my chest, and the breaths are often shallow.
I know it's often said one should not try and manipulate the breath during meditation, and just let it rise and fall naturally, but I feel that I am actively taking deeper breaths from the abdomen in order to feel slightly more relaxed.
"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

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Where to focus

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:41 pm

I would really recommend focusing at the nostrils for Samatha meditation, but there's no reason you can't start with focusing on your abdomen until the breath slows.
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.

greggorious
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Re: Where to focus

Postby greggorious » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:59 pm

Ok thanks. By the way I've noticed some people put their favourite quotes at the bottom of their messages. How do you do that?
"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

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Cittasanto
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Re: Where to focus

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:08 pm

greggorious wrote:When one is focussing on the breath for meditation is it best to focus on the abdomen to make sure you're breathing correctly?
As someone who suffers from anxiety I notice I breath a lot from my chest, and the breaths are often shallow.
I know it's often said one should not try and manipulate the breath during meditation, and just let it rise and fall naturally, but I feel that I am actively taking deeper breaths from the abdomen in order to feel slightly more relaxed.

nothing wrong with that if it promotes a sense of ease!
Thanissaro Bhikkhu actually encourages this as does his teachers teacher Ajahn Lee. also the Samatha group apparently teach controlled breathing initially.
the Body does need training to relax at times, particularly when there has been a learnt behaviour. Behavioural therapy is rooted in this sort of approach i.e. you do it, and the mind follows. you need to balance the mind and body so they are doing the appropriate thing together.
There is no correct place to pay attention to, everywhere is correct for different people at different times.
you may want to look at each place you can sense the breath before settling on one, but if one place is more conductive or needs more attention focus there.
Although after a time you may want to focus elsewhere to allow the body to do it on its own.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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."

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Cittasanto
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Re: Where to focus

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:09 pm

greggorious wrote:Ok thanks. By the way I've noticed some people put their favourite quotes at the bottom of their messages. How do you do that?

go to the user controll panel ->profile -> edit signature.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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."

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mikenz66
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Re: Where to focus

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:29 pm

Hi greggarious,

This question depends a lot on your experience and what method you are practising. I'd recommend reading/listening to the instructions of a reputable teacher and stick to that. Randomly mixing instructions is likely to be confusing if you are not well-established in one technique.

As LY says:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:I would really recommend focusing at the nostrils for Samatha meditation, but there's no reason you can't start with focusing on your abdomen until the breath slows.

There definitely can be differences depending on where/how you focus. The abdomen tends to give a "softer" concentration. [This is useful if you want to investigate various body/mind phenomena, but is less useful to for deep concentration.] Furthermore, acording to teachers such as Ajahn Brahm (Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond http://ebookbrowse.com/ajahn-brahm-mindfulness-bliss-and-beyond-chapters1-5-pdf-d84597124) and Commentary-based teachers such as Pa Auk Sayadaw, for deep (Jhana level) concentration you'll eventually be letting go of particular physical sensations for the concept of the breathing and the nostrils (or in AB's case " knowledge that breathing is happening" is a more useful object.
Ajahn Brahm wrote: If you locate the breath at the tip of your nose then it becomes “nose awareness,” not
breath awareness, and if you locate it at your abdomen then it becomes
“abdomen awareness.” Just ask yourself right now: “Am I breathing in
or breathing out? How do I know?” There! The experience that tells
you what the breath is doing, that is what you focus on. Let go of the
concern about where this experience is located. Just focus on the expe-
rience itself.


:anjali:
Mike

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gavesako
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Re: Where to focus

Postby gavesako » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:37 pm

This might be useful:

Ajahn Sudhiro - Qualities of Right Samadhi
http://youtu.be/qnIiqT21dTw


Ajahn Sudhiro - Four Satipatthana
http://youtu.be/DB8qsNNbW-c


Ajahn Sudhiro - Body Scanning Meditation and Ekaggata
http://youtu.be/1NsIPq4zbjI


(Sound is quite low, use headphones to listen.)
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts


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