Observation and breath

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Observation and breath

Postby greggorious » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:41 am

I've heard some people say that concentration on breath will naturally lead to insight while I've heard others say that insight has nothing to do with concentration. I was watching a video of Dr Mettanando Bhikkhu who teaches 'Quiet observation' no breath concentration at all, just recognising what arises in the mind. I'm not sure what to do. Just sitting there observing seems easier than just concentrating on breath that's for sure.
"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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Re: Observation and breath

Postby daverupa » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:08 am

greggorious wrote:Just sitting there observing seems easier than just concentrating on breath that's for sure.


This is something of a false dichotomy; I've not been able to interpret anapanasati instructions as either of these...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby greggorious » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:34 am

That doesn't make things any clearer for me Dave lol
"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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Re: Observation and breath

Postby daverupa » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:25 am

Alas!

Well, since you said you don't know what to do, I wonder what is clear here, and what is confusing?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:12 am

greggorious wrote:Just sitting there observing seems easier than just concentrating on breath that's for sure.


Concentration is just observing continuously.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby Mr Man » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:05 am

Hi greggorious
I wonder if that is the same Dr Mettanando Bhikkhu who spent some time at Amaravati in the late 80's? In my experience the mind will still need or want somewhere to rest even if it is just in a sense of "being" and this still takes a certain vigilance. When you are not sure what to do that is "doubt" and you just "know" that. If you practice this way as a formal practice. You still need to create some structure or you may find yourself be dragged around by your mind/ideas. If you gravitate to this kind of practice I would recommend listening to Ajahn Sumedho.
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:21 am

Goofaholix wrote:
greggorious wrote:Just sitting there observing seems easier than just concentrating on breath that's for sure.


Concentration is just observing continuously.


You mean observing a single object?
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby kirk5a » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:35 pm

greggorious wrote:I'm not sure what to do.

Working with a teacher in person, and sincerely doing your best with their method of instruction, would probably help. Other than that, I would suggest finding instructions for formal practice that arouse a definite sense of faith, or confidence. Then apply effort to developing those. Don't get confused by different people giving different instructions and opinions. There is more than one way to meditate.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby reflection » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:48 pm

This is the common misunderstanding of the word concentration. When people hear this, they think it is hard work. Because when we learned to concentrate in school or work, it indeed was hard work. But in meditation, it is not. Actually, when the mind tends towards samadhi, focus on the breath is very easy and natural. It becomes the same as just observing, without requiring effort. Having multiple objects would then be regarded as the harder thing.

But it's not like you have to pick one meditation method and disregard all others. Just try both. You'll learn how different methods can be applied to achieve a peaceful and still mind. Then you'll also learn the distinction between insight meditation and calm meditation is false. You need both together.
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Re: Observation and breath

Postby Kamran » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:25 pm

You can do concentration - you can't do insight. Insight may or may not arise as a result of concentration.
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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