keep the breath or let it go?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

keep the breath or let it go?

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:07 am

so if you meditate using anapanasati to access concentration and see the nimitta do you drop the breath and make the nimitta your new object of meditation? or keep the breath?

further, should you do a different combination such as once you see the nimitta you drop the breath and focus on a pleasant sensation only, ignoring both the nimitta and the breath, or focus on the pleasant sensation but keep the breath? or focus on all three, just two or what?
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby theY » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:47 am

Hi alan.

Keep your feeling on your breath at your tip of nose. Another things are information, aren't concentrical things.

You keep your eyes on the road, when you are driver. But you also know about your phone ring, songs, or another else.
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:52 pm

From my understanding of Leigh Brasington's teachings on (sutta) jhanas, you focus on the pleasant sensation and it will create a feedback loop effect until you can feel rapture and pleasure. Then you try to spread these sensations throughout the body. But you can focus on the pleasant sensation with the help of the breath. Just as in the anapanasati sutta it says that you breathe in sensitive to the entire body, you can use the trick of breathing in sensitive to the pleasant sensation, breathing out sensitive to the pleasant sensation in order to not lose the breath. It becomes like the bass, or drums in a rock music in the sense that it's not the main theme of concentration, but it marks the rithm and qualities of the meditation.

I hope I'm not butchering Leigh Brasigton's teachings.
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby marc108 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:15 pm

alan... wrote:so if you meditate using anapanasati to access concentration and see the nimitta do you drop the breath and make the nimitta your new object of meditation? or keep the breath?

further, should you do a different combination such as once you see the nimitta you drop the breath and focus on a pleasant sensation only, ignoring both the nimitta and the breath, or focus on the pleasant sensation but keep the breath? or focus on all three, just two or what?


depends who you ask and what type of jhana youre looking to achieve. if you're going to practice with visual nimitta Ajahn Brahm has the most clear instructions imo... Ajahn Brahm would have you ignore the nimitta until it comes back so intensely its impossible to ignore, not take it up immediately once it appears:

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Jhanas.htm

stay with the breath until it gives way to pure piti-sukkha:

But when one is on the stage of the beautiful breath, when it feels so delightful and effortless to be mindful of the breath for long periods of time, then as the mind grows in stillness, the perception of the breath grows more subtle. Soon one is not aware of an in breath, or of a beginning or middle or end of a breath. One is simply aware of a seemingly unchanging perception of breath, a single experience that hardly alters from moment to moment. What is happening is that some of the external features of breath, such as in and out, beginning and end, have been transcended, All one sees is the heart of the breath experience, beyond these labels.
[...]
Because of the extreme simplicity of the meditation object, the breath, stillness and pitisukha can grow even stronger.
When in the stage of the beautiful breath, the breath disappears, only the beauty remains. One is aware not of nothingness, but of beauty, the pitisukha without any perception of breath.


ignore the nimitta until you cant any more:

It is more uncertain what to do when a nimitta appears at the stage of the beautiful breath, when the breath has yet to be calmed to disappearance. Again, the nimitta appears intrusive, It interferes with the main task of sustaining one's awareness on the beautiful breath. If one deliberately turns away from the breath and on to the nimitta, it usually doesn't remain long. The mind is not refined enough yet to hold a subtle nimitta; One needs to practice on the breath more. So the best thing to do is to ignore the nimitta and let all one's attention train on the beautiful breath.

Often having followed this advice, the nimitta comes back, stronger and brighter. Ignore it again. When it returns a third time, even more powerful and radiant, go back to the breath. Practicing this way, eventually a hugely powerful and brilliant nimitta will break into your awareness. You can go with that one. Actually, it is almost impossible to ignore. That one usually takes you into Jhana.

The best nimitta of all, that which is the most suitable for Jhanas, begins as being similar to the full moon at midnight in a sky free of clouds. It rises unhurried when the beautiful breath softly disappears. It takes three or four seconds to establish its presence and settle down, remaining still and very beautiful before the mind's eye. As it remains without effort it grows brighter, more luminous. Soon it appears brighter than the sun at midday, radiating bliss. It becomes, by far, the most beautiful thing one has ever seen. Its beauty and power will often feel more than one can bear.


when a suitable nimitta comes up, amplify it:

one can shine up the dirty nimitta in the meditation itself This is achieved by focusing the attention on the center of the nimitta. Most areas of the nimitta may appear dull, but the very center of the nimitta is always the brightest and purest part. It is the soft center of an otherwise stiff and unworkable nimitta. As one focuses on the center, it expands like a balloon to produce a second nimitta, purer and brighter. One looks into the very center of this second nimitta, the spot where it is the brightest of all and that balloons up into a third nimitta even purer, even brighter. Gazing into the center effectively shines up the nimitta. One continues in this way until the nimitta is beautifully brilliant.


then stay with it till you enter absorbtion:

So when the nimitta is stable and bright, just be patient. Don't move. One is building up the Jhana factors of pitisukha and one, pointedness. When they are built to sufficient power, they will unfold into Jhana by themselves.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:13 am

Members, please be mindful of the TOS:
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby alan... » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:48 am

marc108 wrote:
alan... wrote:so if you meditate using anapanasati to access concentration and see the nimitta do you drop the breath and make the nimitta your new object of meditation? or keep the breath?

further, should you do a different combination such as once you see the nimitta you drop the breath and focus on a pleasant sensation only, ignoring both the nimitta and the breath, or focus on the pleasant sensation but keep the breath? or focus on all three, just two or what?


depends who you ask and what type of jhana youre looking to achieve. if you're going to practice with visual nimitta Ajahn Brahm has the most clear instructions imo... Ajahn Brahm would have you ignore the nimitta until it comes back so intensely its impossible to ignore, not take it up immediately once it appears:

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Jhanas.htm

stay with the breath until it gives way to pure piti-sukkha:

But when one is on the stage of the beautiful breath, when it feels so delightful and effortless to be mindful of the breath for long periods of time, then as the mind grows in stillness, the perception of the breath grows more subtle. Soon one is not aware of an in breath, or of a beginning or middle or end of a breath. One is simply aware of a seemingly unchanging perception of breath, a single experience that hardly alters from moment to moment. What is happening is that some of the external features of breath, such as in and out, beginning and end, have been transcended, All one sees is the heart of the breath experience, beyond these labels.
[...]
Because of the extreme simplicity of the meditation object, the breath, stillness and pitisukha can grow even stronger.
When in the stage of the beautiful breath, the breath disappears, only the beauty remains. One is aware not of nothingness, but of beauty, the pitisukha without any perception of breath.


ignore the nimitta until you cant any more:

It is more uncertain what to do when a nimitta appears at the stage of the beautiful breath, when the breath has yet to be calmed to disappearance. Again, the nimitta appears intrusive, It interferes with the main task of sustaining one's awareness on the beautiful breath. If one deliberately turns away from the breath and on to the nimitta, it usually doesn't remain long. The mind is not refined enough yet to hold a subtle nimitta; One needs to practice on the breath more. So the best thing to do is to ignore the nimitta and let all one's attention train on the beautiful breath.

Often having followed this advice, the nimitta comes back, stronger and brighter. Ignore it again. When it returns a third time, even more powerful and radiant, go back to the breath. Practicing this way, eventually a hugely powerful and brilliant nimitta will break into your awareness. You can go with that one. Actually, it is almost impossible to ignore. That one usually takes you into Jhana.

The best nimitta of all, that which is the most suitable for Jhanas, begins as being similar to the full moon at midnight in a sky free of clouds. It rises unhurried when the beautiful breath softly disappears. It takes three or four seconds to establish its presence and settle down, remaining still and very beautiful before the mind's eye. As it remains without effort it grows brighter, more luminous. Soon it appears brighter than the sun at midday, radiating bliss. It becomes, by far, the most beautiful thing one has ever seen. Its beauty and power will often feel more than one can bear.


when a suitable nimitta comes up, amplify it:

one can shine up the dirty nimitta in the meditation itself This is achieved by focusing the attention on the center of the nimitta. Most areas of the nimitta may appear dull, but the very center of the nimitta is always the brightest and purest part. It is the soft center of an otherwise stiff and unworkable nimitta. As one focuses on the center, it expands like a balloon to produce a second nimitta, purer and brighter. One looks into the very center of this second nimitta, the spot where it is the brightest of all and that balloons up into a third nimitta even purer, even brighter. Gazing into the center effectively shines up the nimitta. One continues in this way until the nimitta is beautifully brilliant.


then stay with it till you enter absorbtion:

So when the nimitta is stable and bright, just be patient. Don't move. One is building up the Jhana factors of pitisukha and one, pointedness. When they are built to sufficient power, they will unfold into Jhana by themselves.

thanks i had this wonderful book until i let someone borrow it and they never returned it. it's been two years! :tantrum:
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby marc108 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:05 am

alan... wrote:thanks i had this wonderful book until i let someone borrow it and they never returned it. it's been two years! :tantrum:


theres this one too :)

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajah ... ers1-5.pdf
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: keep the breath or let it go?

Postby alan... » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:08 am

marc108 wrote:
alan... wrote:thanks i had this wonderful book until i let someone borrow it and they never returned it. it's been two years! :tantrum:


theres this one too :)

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajah ... ers1-5.pdf


whoa hey thanks marc!!!

the only thing with brahm is for some reason i get most of his method to work but not so much the utter bliss part. i get to where there are nearly no thoughts, i see the nimitta, it sharpens and sharpens, i feel at peace and quite good to be certain but not so much bliss. however when i do the leigh brasington thing where i make a pleasant sensation my mindfulness object after reaching access i frequently go into states of extreme blissfulness but they are less one pointed than when i do brahm style. not sure what i'm doing wrong!

also when the breath goes away it feels like i stop breathing. this doesn't scare me at all, but then when i breathe again i notice and it is back. i'm kind of confused but reading this book again should help, as it was i was going on the memory of having read it two years ago!
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