A solid foundation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

A solid foundation

Postby Vakkali » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:33 am

Hi everyone!

I've read about so many different types of meditation (bhavana? What IS the Pāḷi word for "meditation"?) within the Theravada tradition. For the most part, the only kind of meditation I practice systematically so far is ānāpānasati, mostly because it seems like the simplest. What I really want is to cultivate whatever the most fundamental meditation technique is first, before even trying for things like jhānas. Does this constitute a distinct kind of meditation separate from vipassanā and samādhi, or is it just a technique that can be used in both?

I'm sorry if this comes off as irritatingly basic...if any of you have the spare time, I would appreciate your guidance so much!

Añjali,
Vakkali
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Re: A solid foundation

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:48 am

anapanasati is good.
Its an incredibly profound technique.

There are essentially two streams of meditative practice.
Samatha and vipassana
Samatha meditation will lead to the development of samadhi to the jhanas.
Vipassana meditation will cultivate insight into the nature of mind and matter.
Within the tradition I practice, one begins with the samatha variant of anapanasati. One stays with it for a short period - long enough to develop some concentration before moving on to a form of vipassana (vedananupassana) meditation. One stays with vipassana until is well established in the practice before returning to samatha meditation to develop the jhanas, and then back again to vipassana to develop path and fruition stages of insight.
If you are happy and comfortable practicing anapanasati - then why not continue with it?
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: A solid foundation

Postby Vakkali » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:55 am

Ben!

Your response had exactly the kind of information I was hoping for! Thank you so much, and thank you for being so attentive to my posts here and elsewhere! I really appreciate your generosity.

Añjali,
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Re: A solid foundation

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:02 am

You are welcome, Vakkali.
"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: A solid foundation

Postby Digity » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:28 pm

I think metta and breath meditation make up for a good foundation. I noticed that if you just practice breath without metta the practice can get cold.
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Re: A solid foundation

Postby bodom » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:35 pm

We sit in meditation to establish peacefulness and cultivate mental energy. We don't do it in order to play around at anything special. Insight meditation is sitting in samādhi itself. At some places they say, ''Now we are going to sit in samādhi, after that we'll do insight meditation.'' Don't divide them like this! Tranquillity is the base which gives rise to wisdom; wisdom is the fruit of tranquillity. To say that now we are going to do calm meditation, later we'll do insight - you can't do that! You can only divide them in speech. Just like a knife, the blade is on one side, the back of the blade on the other. You can't divide them. If you pick up one side you get both sides. Tranquillity gives rise to wisdom like this.


http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Peace_Beyond1.php

:anjali:
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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