Smiling in meditation

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Smiling in meditation

Postby salaatti » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:57 pm

Hey everyone :smile: Bhante Vimalaramsi says in his article "The Bare-Bones Instructions to
Mindfulness of Breathing", that we should be smiling gently in meditation. But is this common teaching in theravada meditation. For me, it just sometimes feels a little tedious to do so. Especially if I feel sad or very frustated, my fake smiling just seems a way to supress those feelings. I would be grateful if anyone knows what the Buddha said about this.

thanks!
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:15 pm

Greetings salaatti,

For what it's worth, I've read a lot of the Buddha's meditation instructions in the Sutta Pitaka and not once have found any instruction to smile gently in meditation. I don't even recall seeing it in any of the ancient commentaries.

Perhaps this is just a little addition to practice that Venerable Vimalaramsi found beneficial and wished to share with others for their consideration.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Fede » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:48 pm

My Qi Gong "Master" in France, used to lead a standing meditation, which we found both relaxing, yet invigorating at the same time, and would suggest expressing an inward smile....
In martial arts, you focus attention on the hara (Japanese) or Dan Tien (Chinese) - the lower abdomen, which houses and nurtures Qi/Chi.
there, your bodily Chi is nourished and generated....
so he would invite us to focus on this area, and express inward serenity in the form of a visualised internal smile.....

Whilst I do not think the Buddha ever mentioned this, his face always seems to bear a serene hint of a content and 'knowing' smile.....

I don't know if this helps you.
it helped me.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:51 pm

Greetings Fede,

That was nice, but it's probably best to make abundantly clear (given the forum that we're in) that what you said bears no relevance to the Theravada tradition.

As for the Buddha statues, it would be interesting to know if there was any scriptural basis upon which such rupas were designed.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:41 am

salaatti wrote:Hey everyone :smile: Bhante Vimalaramsi says in his article "The Bare-Bones Instructions to
Mindfulness of Breathing", that we should be smiling gently in meditation. But is this common teaching in theravada meditation. For me, it just sometimes feels a little tedious to do so. Especially if I feel sad or very frustated, my fake smiling just seems a way to supress those feelings. I would be grateful if anyone knows what the Buddha said about this.

thanks!


his instruction to smile is a bare bones behavioural therapy, it is not found in any suttas I know of.
there is some scary research on the effects of falsly smiling from japan, and it is used in brain washing techneques
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Fede,

That was nice, but it's probably best to make abundantly clear (given the forum that we're in) that what you said bears no relevance to the Theravada tradition.

As for the Buddha statues, it would be interesting to know if there was any scriptural basis upon which such rupas were designed.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,
correct me if I am wrong but werent the original rupas greak?? plus the art work of the day and place may of played a role in how they look as geometry is a big part of modern artwork (in the traditional religious means) so may of came from that??

this is just a guess but I saw a program on indian art work which explained it all really well but that was allong time ago!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Fede » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:32 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Fede,

That was nice, but it's probably best to make abundantly clear (given the forum that we're in) that what you said bears no relevance to the Theravada tradition.

As for the Buddha statues, it would be interesting to know if there was any scriptural basis upon which such rupas were designed.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)

Absolutely correct, and I am very happy and willing to make that clear.
I did mention the Martial arts aspect and the Chi/Qi factor... so i was assuming that would have been sufficient,.... however, I thank you for clarifying that, quite rightly....

I too, Manapa learnt that much statuary had its origins in Greek culture.... I read it in Wikipedia... which is notorious for its tenuous information.... there again, Stefan did pretty good there!
The Greeks were pretty good at statues.....
However, as everyone knows, we actually have no idea at all what the Buddha looked like. We can hypothesise, wonder, guess and illustrate entirely fantastically.... but as for an accurate depiction - that's out of the question.

I'd like to think he had the occasional twitch of the corner of his mouth, though.... ;)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:35 am

Greetings Fede,

Fede wrote:However, as everyone knows, we actually have no idea at all what the Buddha looked like. We can hypothesise, wonder, guess and illustrate entirely fantastically.... but as for an accurate depiction - that's out of the question.


This paragraph reminded me of this old topic...

32 Marks of a Great Man
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1270

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Fede » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:30 am

Oh well done, yes, thanks for bringing that one forward again! :clap:

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:41 am

I'd like to think he looked much like this, but then that is my Western bias.
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This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby imagemarie » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:39 am

Head%20of%20Buddha%20Thailand.jpg
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I go for a more generous mouth.. :smile:
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:28 am

Hi Fede,
Fede wrote:I too, Manapa learnt that much statuary had its origins in Greek culture.... I read it in Wikipedia... which is notorious for its tenuous information.... there again, Stefan did pretty good there!
The Greeks were pretty good at statues.....
However, as everyone knows, we actually have no idea at all what the Buddha looked like. We can hypothesise, wonder, guess and illustrate entirely fantastically.... but as for an accurate depiction - that's out of the question.

I'd like to think he had the occasional twitch of the corner of his mouth, though.... ;)

I don't know where I learnt it but it wasn't wiki! I think it may of been one of my friends who was doing a BA in Buddhist studdies?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby salaatti » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:16 pm

Thank you very much guys :thanks:

He has also said:

"He (the Buddha) never mentioned nostril, or body in any way outside of relaxing. Most times when you have instructions on meditation, they tell you to put your attention on one particular place in your body. But the Buddha, if he thought that was important, he would have said it very specifically. If you put your attention on one particular place in your body, you have the tendency to really focus very hard at that one place. But the Buddha did say you understand when you breathe in long and when you breathe out long, or short. So it’s just knowing the breath, not focusing on the breath, but seeing the breath clearly."

Is this correct? He has said many times that Buddha never thaught nostrils or abdomen to be focused on.
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:43 pm

salaatti wrote:Thank you very much guys :thanks:

He has also said. . .


Who is "he?"
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby salaatti » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:12 pm

Oh, "he" means Bhante Vimalaramsi :smile: I found his "manual" to meditation very helpful (generally speaking) so I'd like to know.
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:26 pm

salaatti wrote:Hey everyone :smile: Bhante Vimalaramsi says in his article "The Bare-Bones Instructions to
Mindfulness of Breathing", that we should be smiling gently in meditation. But is this common teaching in theravada meditation. For me, it just sometimes feels a little tedious to do so. Especially if I feel sad or very frustated, my fake smiling just seems a way to supress those feelings. I would be grateful if anyone knows what the Buddha said about this.

thanks!


If he means we should be gently smiling as a result of experiencing Sukha as a Jhana factor, implying that concentration should be developed in our meditation, I would agree with that.

Otherwise I don't see any point in moving your face muscles in any disposition while meditating.
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby appicchato » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:53 pm

Rui Sousa wrote:...I don't see any point in moving your face muscles in any disposition while meditating.


I find consciously smiling a small smile to be a great tool, both while meditating and in many other situations, as a reminder that 'it's all good'...it manages to lighten many a load and has the ability (for me anyway) to put one's self in a good (better) 'space'...I highly recommend acquiring the habit... :smile:
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:51 am

there is a difference between smiling and smiling for the sake of smiling, Vimalaramsi says this is the forgotten step in meditation which is a big thing to say considdering it is not found in any of the suttas!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby appicchato » Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:12 am

I'm not referring to Vimalaramsi, nor any suttas, nor for the sake of anything...it's a 'tool' that I've found to be beneficial to 'lighten the load' and conducive to putting one's self in a 'good' (better) space...whenever one feels the need...and, on a whim, decided to share this 'tool'...period...
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Re: Smiling in meditation

Postby Hoja » Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:20 am

Obviously is not Theravada, but Thich Nhat Hanh instructs to do sitting meditation with a gently smile.
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