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Using other sounds to meditate - Dhamma Wheel

Using other sounds to meditate

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

Postby withoutcolour » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:58 pm

My fiance and I attempted to meditate together in order to get me to practice more often, and he had an interesting question...
He asked, Do we focus only on our breath and bodies? Or can we focus on other things?
He said that the sound of the fan in our room was what he focused on, and it actually quieted his thoughts.
So I wasn't really sure how to answer him because I myself usually focus on my breath and my body, and it never occurred to me to focus on outside elements that would otherwise distract me.
What do you guys think? Fan-meditating?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ
sabbe sattā sukhita hontu

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Cittasanto
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:19 pm

Hi WO
There are a host of things we can use as an object of our meditation, I think it is generally agreed that the breath is best for a beginner though.

Try reading the body section in the Mahasatipatthana sutta there are several versions around I have attached one which doesn't skip over the repeated parts, and try to read the Anapanasati sutta, which is all about the breath meditation.

the idea is to look inwardly first then expand outwards, so although there is nothing wrong with focusing on a fan as such he may find it better to start with the breath and work from there.

Hope this helps
:anjali:
Attachments
Satipatthana.pdf
(425.44 KiB) Downloaded 52 times


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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withoutcolour
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby withoutcolour » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:24 pm

Manapa,

Thank you so much for your prompt reply.
He has some pretty intense A.D.D., so I told him "whatever works for you." I'm going to try to ease him from the fan to his breath. He is a beginner but claims to use the sounds of the fan to clear his mind (which I didn't even know until today!) and I've been meditating for about 10 years.

I'm going to read that sutta and hopefully our practice improves :)

-wc
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ
sabbe sattā sukhita hontu

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Ben
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:32 pm

Hi Withoutcolour

I have to agree with Manapa. The breath is an excellent object. Not only is it natural and readily available, the breath is both intimately connected with the body and the mind. Note how our breath changes with changes in our mental state. When we get angry, our breath becomes short, fast and sharp, when relaxed - slow and smooth, etc.
As your partner suffers from ADD, I recommend that he uses the samatha variant of anapana-sati which is to remain continuously mindful of the touch of the breath (around the nostrils and below the upper lip) for longer and longer periods. This will help to develop calm (samatha) and concentration (samadhi).
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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withoutcolour
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby withoutcolour » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:37 pm

Thanks Ben.
I'll let him know, we will have to practice tomorrow or later this evening together with the fan off, heh.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ
sabbe sattā sukhita hontu

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Kare
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby Kare » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:22 am

A small, but interesting excercize:

Listen to the sound (whatever it is). Keep your eyes closed. The sound is "out there", you are "in here". Now, try to determine the exact borderline between the sound and yourself.
Mettāya,
Kåre

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:25 am

hey we have the same signature! mine is in thai though...

i have a vipassana kit
and the first thing it has you focus on is sounds, any sound external, internal, just letting them be etc. so he's not doing anything too radical. also in the mahayana tradition kwan yin was enlightened though listening.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

suanck
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby suanck » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:38 am

When I meditate on the breath, occasionally I can also "hear" the sound of air flow through the cavities of the nose, inflow and outflow. If one focuses on that subtle noise, it could become the subject of meditation.

Suan.

Freawaru
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:34 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:11 am

If you are doing vipassana or insight meditation then sound should be part of your meditation just as much as the breath or anything else. However what you should be aware of is not so much the fan, nor the sound the fan is making, what you should be aware of is that hearing is happening, always observe what's happening at your sense doors don't give importance to what's happening out there.

However I notice you use the word "focus" a lot, focus isn't really an appropriate word for insight meditation. Perhaps you are trying to do a concentration technique then it doesn't really matter what you use to "focus" on as long as it becomes one pointed.

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appicchato
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:12 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:56 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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withoutcolour
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Re: Using other sounds to meditate

Postby withoutcolour » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:24 pm

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ
sabbe sattā sukhita hontu


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