Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:12 pm

Hello everyone,

Background
I am an U Ba Khin / Goenka student of about 2yrs. Done 6 10day retreats in that time and spend 2 - 3hrs a day sitting. I have experimented with Metta practice, a small bit of noting to watch thoughts/mind states and can meditate on the impermanence of body sensations with fair - strong jhana factors depending on where I am in the cycle.

I can feel vibrations in the body constantly. They disappear when I have to walk somewhere or do something complex, but even when walking I can feel this kind of sweet all over sensation as I notice cloth on skin, wind, heat/cold etc.

To the best of knowledge I have not attained path.

Problem
Despite the above I find it hard to maintain mindfulness between sits. It's easy when I go for a walk, and as I type this I can be mindful of the vibrations, but the minute I have to do something it is lost and it can sometimes be 10's of minutes or even hours before I realise I have not been paying attention.

I am wondering what other U Ba Khin / Goenka students do to work with these sensations in daily life and if you have any advice that may help me progress toward stream entry.
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:13 pm

U Ba Khin has some excellent advice in his talk: The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma in Meditative Practice
Concentrate on your daily sittings and you will find that mindfulness during mundane activities will occur naturally. Don't try and force it - just let it happen naturally.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby SamKR » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:13 pm

Mettajhana wrote:
I am wondering what other U Ba Khin / Goenka students do to work with these sensations in daily life and if you have any advice that may help me progress toward stream entry.


I think you are doing good, and perhaps more experienced meditators can give you suggestions.
I try to follow these guidelines: http://www.dhamma.org/en/os/osguide.htm
See the heading "Outside of Meditation Periods".
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby SamKR » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:18 pm

Ben wrote:U Ba Khin has some excellent advice in his talk: The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma in Meditative Practice

:thumbsup: I just read it again, and there's the answer to Mettajhana's concern.
Ben wrote:Don't try and force it - just let it happen naturally.
Ben

+1
That's my experience too, I used to unknowingly force observation which would cause some stress which in turn can make me less mindful and less concentrated.
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Kamran » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:08 am

I am not a Goenka student, but so far have found whole body awareness as taught by Thanissaro Bikhu to be most effective for daily mindfulness. Its not hard to keep the window of awareness large enough to fit your whole body. When the window of your awareness starts to shrink up you can use body scans to open up your body awareness again. For instance, I can type, walk, talk to people while being aware of my whole body, but using noting, breath and other objects did not work as well for me while I am at work. Thanks.
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.
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:29 am

Ben wrote:U Ba Khin has some excellent advice in his talk: The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma in Meditative Practice
Concentrate on your daily sittings and you will find that mindfulness during mundane activities will occur naturally. Don't try and force it - just let it happen naturally.
kind regards,

Ben


Thanks Ben. I have heard that talk a few times now. They play a recording of U Ba Khin giving it on the last day at my centre. Is it this paragraph you are referring to specifically?

For progress in Vipassana Meditation, a student must keep knowing Anicca as continuously as possible. The Buddha's advice to monks is that they should try to maintain the awareness of Anicca, Dukkha or Anatta in all postures, whether sitting, standing, walking or lying down. Continuous awareness of Anicca and so of Dukkha and Anatta, is the secret of success. The last words of the Buddha just before He breathed His last and passed away into Maha-parinibbana were: "Decay (or Anicca) is inherent in all component things. Work out your own salvation with diligence." This is in fact the essence of all His teachings during the forty-five years of His ministry. If you will keep up the awareness of the Anicca that is inherent in all component things, you are sure to reach the goal in the course of time.
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:31 am

Kamran wrote:I am not a Goenka student, but so far have found whole body awareness as taught by Thanissaro Bikhu to be most effective for daily mindfulness. Its not hard to keep the window of awareness large enough to fit your whole body. When the window of your awareness starts to shrink up you can use body scans to open up your body awareness again. For instance, I can type, walk, talk to people while being aware of my whole body, but using noting, breath and other objects did not work as well for me while I am at work. Thanks.


Hi Kamran. Do you have a link to these teachings please? I can certainly do the whole body thing, in fact it is pretty naturally to me, but alas I lose it when I have to do something more complex :)
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:33 am

SamKR wrote:
Mettajhana wrote:
I am wondering what other U Ba Khin / Goenka students do to work with these sensations in daily life and if you have any advice that may help me progress toward stream entry.


I think you are doing good, and perhaps more experienced meditators can give you suggestions.
I try to follow these guidelines: http://www.dhamma.org/en/os/osguide.htm
See the heading "Outside of Meditation Periods".


Thanks Sam. Doesn't that seem like an awfully brief treatment of the topic to you though? I'd have thought more would have been given on this subject..
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:05 pm

Hi MJ,
Mettajhana wrote:
Ben wrote:U Ba Khin has some excellent advice in his talk: The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma in Meditative Practice
Concentrate on your daily sittings and you will find that mindfulness during mundane activities will occur naturally. Don't try and force it - just let it happen naturally.
kind regards,

Ben


Thanks Ben. I have heard that talk a few times now. They play a recording of U Ba Khin giving it on the last day at my centre. Is it this paragraph you are referring to specifically?

For progress in Vipassana Meditation, a student must keep knowing Anicca as continuously as possible. The Buddha's advice to monks is that they should try to maintain the awareness of Anicca, Dukkha or Anatta in all postures, whether sitting, standing, walking or lying down. Continuous awareness of Anicca and so of Dukkha and Anatta, is the secret of success. The last words of the Buddha just before He breathed His last and passed away into Maha-parinibbana were: "Decay (or Anicca) is inherent in all component things. Work out your own salvation with diligence." This is in fact the essence of all His teachings during the forty-five years of His ministry. If you will keep up the awareness of the Anicca that is inherent in all component things, you are sure to reach the goal in the course of time.


That advice is excellent for when one is on retreat/course.
What I was referring to is here:

The experience of Anicca, when properly developed, strikes at the root of ones physical and mental ills and removes gradually whatever is bad in him, i.e., the causes of such physical and mental ills. This experience is not reserved for men who have renounced the world for the homeless life. It is for the householder as well. In spite of drawbacks which make a householder restless in these days, a competent teacher or guide can help a student to get the experience of Anicca activated in a comparatively short time. Once he has got it activated, all that is necessary is for him to try and preserve it; but he must make it a point, as soon as time or opportunity presents itself for further progress, to work for the stage of Bhangañana — the third level of knowledge in Vipassana. If he reaches this level, there will be little or no problem because he should then be able to experience Anicca without much ado and almost automatically. In this case Anicca will become his base, to which all his physical and mental activities return as soon as the domestic needs of daily life for such activities are over. However, there is likely to be some difficulty for one who has not reached the stage of Bhanga. It will be just like a tug-of-war for him between Anicca within, and physical and mental activities outside. So it would be wise for him to follow the motto of work while you work, play while you play. There is no need for him to be activating the experience of Anicca all the time. It should suffice if this could be confined to a regular period, or periods, set apart in the day or night for the purpose. During this time, at least, an attempt must be made to keep the attention focused inside the body, with awareness devoted exclusively to Anicca; that is to say, his awareness of Anicca should go on from moment to moment so continuously as not to allow for the interpolation of any discursive or distracting thoughts which are definitely detrimental to progress.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:13 pm

Right. Im with you Ben!

The bit you've bolded is specific to someone who has not reached Bhanga though..
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:34 pm

Mettajhana wrote:Right. Im with you Ben!

The bit you've bolded is specific to someone who has not reached Bhanga though..


In which case you need to have a chat with your area teacher as the meditation instructions change following the experience of bhanga-nana.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:20 pm

I guess that's part of the problem. At my centre the teacher will not really talk about anything much. It is not a Goenka centre. I have been post-bhanga for near on 2yrs now.

Can you tell me / point me in the direction of what Goenka teaches at this stage? I am due to do a Goenka course in March, but that's a long way off!

thanks!
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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:30 pm

Mettajhana wrote:I guess that's part of the problem. At my centre the teacher will not really talk about anything much. It is not a Goenka centre. I have been post-bhanga for near on 2yrs now.

Can you tell me / point me in the direction of what Goenka teaches at this stage? I am due to do a Goenka course in March, but that's a long way off!

thanks!



As you know, within this tradition instruction is not given outside of the context of a course.
You need to attend a 30-day course where those instructions are given. If you do not meet the pre-requisites for a thirty-day course then I recommend that you maintain your practice as per the instructions you have been given. And until then, develop equanimity towards everything you experience and abandon any craving you have for particular meditative attainments.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Continuity of Satipatthana Practice in Daily Life

Postby Mettajhana » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:02 pm

Thanks Ben.

I often feel the unnecessary secrecy and closed attitude of the U Ba Khin tradition does neither itself, nor it's students any favours.
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