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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Bare Attention...

Bare Attention...

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Bare Attention...

Postby Beautiful Breath » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:56 am

Hi,

I have been practicing Silent Illumination as taught by Sheng Yen for sometime. I am seeing many parallels in some of the established practices in here.

I suspect that there is an actual and established practice that uses a form of unconditional bare awareness of 'just sitting' in the Theravadin tradition and that Silent Illumination/Shikantaza are not necessarily new developments (in the grand scheme of things).

What are the similarities in your opinion?


BB... :namaste:
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Re: Bare Attention...

Postby Mojo » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:42 pm

I listened to some of Larry Rosenberg's talks on Anapanasati over at Dharmaseed.org and they really reminded me of Sheng Yen's teaching of Silent Illumination. However, in Sheg Yen's teaching, awareness of the breath is imo only implied in that if one is aware of their whole body just sitting, then by default there is also awareness of breathing.

In fact, Larry Rosenberg is featured along with HHDL in giving praise to Sheng Yen's The Method of No-Method on the back cover of my paperback edition of that book.
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Re: Bare Attention...

Postby bodom » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:04 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:Hi,

I have been practicing Silent Illumination as taught by Sheng Yen for sometime. I am seeing many parallels in some of the established practices in here.

I suspect that there is an actual and established practice that uses a form of unconditional bare awareness of 'just sitting' in the Theravadin tradition and that Silent Illumination/Shikantaza are not necessarily new developments (in the grand scheme of things).

What are the similarities in your opinion?


BB... :namaste:


Here is a very short and succinct explanation of how "bare attention" or "choiceless awareness" is understood and practiced in the Theravada tradition or more specifically the Thai Forest Tradition:

CHOICELESS AWARENESS

Meditation can also proceed without a meditation object, in a state of pure contemplation, or 'choiceless awareness'.

After calming the mind by one of the methods described above, consciously put aside the meditation object. Observe the flow of mental images and sensations just as they arise, without engaging in criticism or praise. Notice any aversion and fascination; contemplate any uncertainty, happiness, restlessness or tranquility as it arises. You can return to a meditation object (such as the breath) whenever the sense of clarity diminishes, or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by impressions. When a sense of steadiness returns, you can relinquish the object again.

This practice of 'bare attention' is well-suited for contemplating the mental process. Along with observing the mind's particular 'ingredients', we can turn our attention to the nature of the container. As for the contents of the mind, Buddhist teaching points especially to three simple, fundamental characteristics.

First, there is changeability (anicca) -- the ceaseless beginning and ending all things go through, the constant movement of the content of the mind. This mind-stuff may be pleasant or unpleasant, but it is never at rest.

There is also a persistent, often subtle, sense of dissatisfaction (dukkha). Unpleasant sensations easily evoke that sense, but even a lovely experience creates a tug in the heart when it ends. So at the best of moments there is still an inconclusive quality in what the mind experiences, a somewhat unsatisfied feeling.

As the constant arising and passing of experiences and moods become familiar, it also becomes clear that -- since there is no permanence in them -- none of them really belong to you. And, when this mind-stuff is silent -- revealing a bright spaciousness of mind -- there are no purely personal characteristics to be found! This can be difficult to comprehend, but in reality there is no 'me' and no 'mine' -- the characteristic of 'no-self', or impersonality (anatta).

Investigate fully and notice how these qualities pertain to all things, physical and mental. No matter if your experiences are joyful or barely endurable, this contemplation will lead to a calm and balanced perspective on your life.


http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/insight.htm

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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