6 months on

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

6 months on

Postby Collective » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:38 pm

After (probably more than) 6 months of meditation, I've distilled my practice as 'foucs on the breath, observe, non judgmentally any and all sensations that arise - then go back to focusing on the breath'. That about correct?
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Re: 6 months on

Postby IanAnd » Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:01 pm

Collective wrote:After (probably more than) 6 months of meditation, I've distilled my practice as 'focus on the breath, observe, non judgmentally any and all sensations that arise - then go back to focusing on the breath'. That about correct?

Sounds fine as far as it goes.

Have you ever heard of satipatthana practice? It's a little bit more involved than the practice you've described, but when you are ready for it, it's there to help you make further progress.

The Buddha taught and encouraged practice in satipattana to both beginners and experienced practitioners alike. If you are aiming at awakening, this is the logical next step after having developed samatha (tranquility and unification of the mind in absorption, which strengthens concentration ability). Satipatthana was called "the direct path" to awakening. Might want to check into it when you're ready.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: 6 months on

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:17 pm

Collective wrote:After (probably more than) 6 months of meditation, I've distilled my practice as 'foucs on the breath, observe, non judgmentally any and all sensations that arise - then go back to focusing on the breath'. That about correct?


Yup. It's probly time for start clearing out states of mind as well. Watch em as they arise, log them as distractions, don't indulge in them and return to breath.
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Re: 6 months on

Postby Collective » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:05 pm

Satipattana? I have not heard of this

My current (vipassanna?) meditation has in no way been mastered - but I am sure I know what to do and what not to do. If this is reason enough to move on then I'd be interested in learning more
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Re: 6 months on

Postby IanAnd » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:52 am

Collective wrote:Satipattana? I have not heard of this

My current (vipassanna?) meditation has in no way been mastered - but I am sure I know what to do and what not to do. If this is reason enough to move on then I'd be interested in learning more

Satipatthana refers to "the four establishments of mindfulness" within four main areas of observation. This is a practice of insight (vipassana) manifestation which the Buddha broke down into the four main areas of observation of form, feeling, mind, and dhammas (phenomena). In order to practice these, one must have first established mindfulness of the area of observation (such as mindfulness of the body when observing "form") in order to do the contemplation.

What you've described in your first post sounds similar to what Nyanaponika Thera describes in his book on satipatthana The Heart of Buddhist Meditation when he talks about "bare attention." Yet, beyond bare attention lies the beginning of putting it all together, which includes "mindfulness" and "clear comprehesion" (or sati-sampajanna) of the phenomena that one is observing.

Learning how to watch phenomena arise and pass away without the input of biases and prejudices about what one is observing is just the first part of practicing "bare attention." The second part entails being able to observe the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, and anatta, or impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness or "without selfness") within the phenomena that you are observing. Being able to successfully make these observations sets one on the path to awakening.

Once this stage of the practice becomes absorbed and integrated within the mind, satipattana practice with form (or the body), feeling, mind states, and dhammas (phenomena such as the five hindrances, the five aggregates, the six sense spheres, the seven factors of awakening, and the four noble truths) is then the heart of the practice that the Buddha taught would bring on awakening. One other excellent book to look into for this practice (as it is too complex to go into here) is Ven. Analayo's Satipatthana, The Direct Path to Realization. It can be a rather advanced book for many, but at the same time, if taken in small bites, it is rather simple to implement.

For someone new to the practice, it would probably be better to learn this with the help of a meditation guide or teacher who is familiar with this practice so that a graduated practice regimen could be set up and questions could be handled as they arise. If you've got some experience in this kind of meditation already, then, reading the book will help you to refine your practice with many excellent suggestions for integrating these practices within your current practice regimen.

Judging from what information you've provided us already about your experience in these matters, I would suggest looking into the first book mentioned above as it will help you to learn and practice many of the basics involved in the practice of satipatthana such that later on you would be able to move on more seamlessly to the more advanced practices which entail the practice of satipatthana. I would venture to say that should you decide to read it The Heart of Buddhist Meditation will open up many vistas in your practice that you may not be aware of at present. The book functions as a kind of prerequisite to the second book, which is a more in-depth and complex treatment with regard to satipatthana practice.
Last edited by IanAnd on Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: 6 months on

Postby Collective » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:37 am

Thank you very much for your help and insight, I'll certainly check these books out
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