A Fresh Start

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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Collective
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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Collective,

Collective wrote:But my question was will breath meditation bring me to awareness/enlightenment/insight, and more importantly, the question I think I really need to ask is; how will it?

Yes, it can... but you need to distinguish between the samatha (calming) aspects and the vipassana (insight) aspects. Do you presently know the difference?

Metta,
Retro. :)

One brings relaxation the other brings the insight/enlightenment? This is the crux of my problem. I have books, but I'm not sure what they are guiding me to. I want to follow the meditative path of vipassana (I think).

I want to awaken, I know that is attachemnt, but I hope you know what I mean. I want to realise, to have my eyes opened, but it is also extremely important that I relax as well. Will vipassana also help me to relax and find calm, as well as awareness? If so this is the one; vipassana.

If so, I only need to acquire nexcessary reading materials as there isn't a teacher for miles.

Only the Dharmavajra Kadampa Buddhist Centre

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:48 am

Butrfly_Nirvana wrote:I don't know if this will help, but I found a suggested book here, Insight Meditation a Step-by-Step Guide, and it's a home study course/workbook. While I just got it today in the mail, it comes with the workbook (very easy to follow and understand), two meditation CDs (along with a booklet on how best to utilize them), and focus cards to help you with quick references to the lessons. It explains how to use the book in the best way as well. I'm only in the first lesson, and it suggests spending at least one week in each--which gives you the time to really learn and apply everything. I've scanned the whole workbook to get a feel of it, and I am very excited to use it. Maybe it will help you as well. I got it on Amazon.com for just $17 after shipping. I found it used, but never opened. This might be a good option for you....

Hope you find something that helps! I know it can be overwhelming to find your starting point, but after a lot of researching I found this to be my best bet for starting out. I plan on sticking with this course until I have learned and applied it completely. Even if that takes a couple years--I love it so far!

:meditate:

Is this the one: Book

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:03 am

Both Vipassana and Samatha are ways to Enlightement. To some degree its a matter of choice. Buddhism is intensly practical, its about doing it, trying it. If one is anxious and speedy many teachers recommend Samatha, which is not simply a a means of relaxation, but is a complete path in itself. If Samatha is taught at the centre you mention then try it and see if it suits you.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:46 am

I was advised to stay well away from the centre near me as their teachings are controversial: Link

What is the difference in technique between Samatha and Vipassana meditation?

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:53 am

The controversy about that Buddhist group has no relevance outside of some Vajrayana circles. If they have people who can teach basic vipassana or samatha then I would recommend ignoring the other stuff.
If you have toothache then whether a dentist is a Methodist or Roman Catholic need not concern us. You dont have to sign up to the whole shebang in order to learn basic meditation.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:38 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:The controversy about that Buddhist group has no relevance outside of some Vajrayana circles. If they have people who can teach basic vipassana or samatha then I would recommend ignoring the other stuff.
If you have toothache then whether a dentist is a Methodist or Roman Catholic need not concern us. You dont have to sign up to the whole shebang in order to learn basic meditation.

Hi Sanghamitta,
the controversy is about how they practice, and operate! to use a psychotherapy example.
if you needed a psychotherapist whether they use mindfulness or psychoanalasis predominantly may not matter to much (in general terms not for specific treatments,) but if one therapist was suspected of using their position and ability to pray on vulnerable people either sexually or financially, then you wouldn't want to use them.
not that they have been accused of sexual or financial pressuring
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: A Fresh Start

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:13 pm

My understanding Manapa was that this group is controversial because it is said to worship an " evil spirit" which threatens the life of the Dalai Lama. Which frankly sounds delusional on all sides.
I know two people who leaned basic Samatha from the Kadampa, and said that they received a good basic intro. As to the other stuff I dont believe for a moment that Avalokitesvara literally exists or that he/she incarnates as a human being . Or that little children are the literal incarnation of previous lamas, I dont think that the Buddha taught any such thing. So beyond basic teachings I would not recommend ANY Vajrayana group. However many Tibetan centres offer basic Samatha lessons. And if the only practical source of such teaching is a Tibetan group, then so be it. Bees and nectar and all that.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:47 pm

Good news, I had the book all the while.

Mindfulness by Bhante Gunaratana.

Says ion the beginning it focuses on vipassana :)

What do you use as a timer when meditationg? Assuming you use one, and is it a free download?

Thank you

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:10 pm

http://www.audiodharma.org/

has some you can download. they also have online courses and tons of guided meditations.

i'm taking the next course they offer (starting in march)
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

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:11 pm

Thanks jc.

I've found an interesting one, it's for 20 minutes, but it also has a little bell sound every 5 minutes.

Is this recommended, or not?

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:34 pm

Just as an update to my 1st lesson in the workbook:

It explains a lot of what you are asking about. But in the end you just need to pick a book (if, like me, a 'live' teacher isn't available) and set your focus on that one thing. After investing time in it if you seek further knowledge, go to the next book. The thing I've learned so far is that you can not expect to achieve great insight immediately, and that you need to take your time. So it seems that beginners step 1 would be focus on just sitting and breathing. Then move on to the next step. It takes a very long time to reach different levels in your meditation, so be sure that you are accomplishing each step, no matter how small, in its entirety before moving on to something new. To quote the workbook I'm using, Insight Meditation Step-by-Step, "If you are new to practice it's important to realize that simply to sit on that cushion for fifteen minutes is a victory." -Charlotte Joko Beck.

Also, here is link that you can read--I just read it this morning and it was very good.
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/dhammananda/200.htm

Good luck with your practice!

PS: In regards to how does it work, I don't think that is really important to know for the practice, and also, I think the "how" is going to probably vary from person to person b/c we all deal with different struggles within ourselves. So for one person it might have been achieved by realizing and being able to let go of anger towards something someone did, and for another it may be in realizing the universal love they have for animals....so I think the "how" is going to be a very personal and individual thing... Just my thoughts anyways!

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:45 pm

hi Sanghamitta,
There are other reasons, which don't come from the Dalai Lama Supporters, but former members and families. Although it could be said that the peoples temple & others such as the one in Waco were good at bible study (not referring to how they ended, but how they operated and grew.)
There is a member who is infrequent here who is a former member, and I think (edit former NKT) monk, I will try to find their post and PM it to you.

Sanghamitta wrote:My understanding Manapa was that this group is controversial because it is said to worship an " evil spirit" which threatens the life of the Dalai Lama. Which frankly sounds delusional on all sides.
I know two people who leaned basic Samatha from the Kadampa, and said that they received a good basic intro. As to the other stuff I dont believe for a moment that Avalokitesvara literally exists or that he/she incarnates as a human being . Or that little children are the literal incarnation of previous lamas, I dont think that the Buddha taught any such thing. So beyond basic teachings I would not recommend ANY Vajrayana group. However many Tibetan centres offer basic Samatha lessons. And if the only practical source of such teaching is a Tibetan group, then so be it. Bees and nectar and all that.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: A Fresh Start

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:00 pm

Greetings,

I think that detour into Vajrayana politics was sufficient... now let's get...

:focus:

Thank you.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:37 pm

Butrfly_Nirvana wrote:Just as an update to my 1st lesson in the workbook:

It explains a lot of what you are asking about. But in the end you just need to pick a book (if, like me, a 'live' teacher isn't available) and set your focus on that one thing. After investing time in it if you seek further knowledge, go to the next book. The thing I've learned so far is that you can not expect to achieve great insight immediately, and that you need to take your time. So it seems that beginners step 1 would be focus on just sitting and breathing. Then move on to the next step. It takes a very long time to reach different levels in your meditation, so be sure that you are accomplishing each step, no matter how small, in its entirety before moving on to something new. To quote the workbook I'm using, Insight Meditation Step-by-Step, "If you are new to practice it's important to realize that simply to sit on that cushion for fifteen minutes is a victory." -Charlotte Joko Beck.

Also, here is link that you can read--I just read it this morning and it was very good.
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/dhammananda/200.htm

Good luck with your practice!

PS: In regards to how does it work, I don't think that is really important to know for the practice, and also, I think the "how" is going to probably vary from person to person b/c we all deal with different struggles within ourselves. So for one person it might have been achieved by realizing and being able to let go of anger towards something someone did, and for another it may be in realizing the universal love they have for animals....so I think the "how" is going to be a very personal and individual thing... Just my thoughts anyways!

Thank you very much.

Interestngly enough, today I sat for 15 minutes, I usually sit for 10, and it was wonderful. I came away feeling really relaxed. Like everything slowed right down.

I've decided to study the works of Bhante Gunaratana, seeing as I had his 'Mindfulness In Plain English' book (which deals with vipassana all the long!) He seems very knowledgeable

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:34 pm

Greetings Collective,

Collective wrote:I've decided to study the works of Bhante Gunaratana, seeing as I had his 'Mindfulness In Plain English' book (which deals with vipassana all the long!) He seems very knowledgeable

An excellent move, in my opinion.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby zavk » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:40 pm

Hi Collective

You seem to be quite concerned about the idea of achieving insight or wisdom. It is definitely important that insight arise if we are to awaken. But if I may share my understanding of insight/wisdom.

In my experience, insight doesn't arise as a set of clearly formulate thought. Rather, insight manifests through my everyday experience. I find that over time--as I sit regularly, study Dhamma texts, listen to Dhamma talk, cultivate sila, etc--I gradually begin to feel a sense lightness or ease in my daily activities. I find that I no longer lose my patience as easily as before, I find that I no longer stay upset when things go round, I find that I'm relating to people with more friendliness and kindness.

To me, this is the expression of insight/wisdom. There could very well be more profound expressions of insight, but I can't say I've experienced them. But the improvements I've experienced in my life has encouraged me to stick with the practice I have chosen.
With metta,
zavk

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:26 am

Collective wrote:
Butrfly_Nirvana wrote:Just as an update to my 1st lesson in the workbook:

It explains a lot of what you are asking about. But in the end you just need to pick a book (if, like me, a 'live' teacher isn't available) and set your focus on that one thing. After investing time in it if you seek further knowledge, go to the next book. The thing I've learned so far is that you can not expect to achieve great insight immediately, and that you need to take your time. So it seems that beginners step 1 would be focus on just sitting and breathing. Then move on to the next step. It takes a very long time to reach different levels in your meditation, so be sure that you are accomplishing each step, no matter how small, in its entirety before moving on to something new. To quote the workbook I'm using, Insight Meditation Step-by-Step, "If you are new to practice it's important to realize that simply to sit on that cushion for fifteen minutes is a victory." -Charlotte Joko Beck.

Also, here is link that you can read--I just read it this morning and it was very good.
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/dhammananda/200.htm

Good luck with your practice!

PS: In regards to how does it work, I don't think that is really important to know for the practice, and also, I think the "how" is going to probably vary from person to person b/c we all deal with different struggles within ourselves. So for one person it might have been achieved by realizing and being able to let go of anger towards something someone did, and for another it may be in realizing the universal love they have for animals....so I think the "how" is going to be a very personal and individual thing... Just my thoughts anyways!

Thank you very much.

Interestngly enough, today I sat for 15 minutes, I usually sit for 10, and it was wonderful. I came away feeling really relaxed. Like everything slowed right down.

I've decided to study the works of Bhante Gunaratana, seeing as I had his 'Mindfulness In Plain English' book (which deals with vipassana all the long!) He seems very knowledgeable


you might like some of the mp3s here at his site [url]www.bhavanasociety.org
[/url]
or order a cd? i might go there next year for a 10 day retreat, maybe my wife also
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

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:53 am

I've found an interesting timer, it's 20 minutes long but has a little bell sound every 5 minutes.

Is this recommended, or not?

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Re: A Fresh Start

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:08 am

I have a timer on my computer, no bell sound, but if I need to have a set maximum duration then it is useful!

having a tone at a reasonable length may be useful if you are tired help keep you alert.

I have the capability to create tracks of any length if you, or anyone else wants a particular length MP3 for lunch breaks at work or another situation, I have created one for when I go back to work for lunch breaks of 20 mins, with a chime at the beginning and three at the end, so if anyone wants one send me a PM
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: A Fresh Start

Postby Collective » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:28 am

As for using the timer, I'd like to share my experiences with you. It is 20 minutes long, with a small sounding bell every 5 minutes.

Have to say this was fantastic for me. I was worried at first that it may distract my focus, if anything it aided it. Each bell served to remind me of why I was sitting, and it also told me (obviously) how long I had sat for. Not that I clock watch. This wasn't so much in respect of 'great - only 5 minutes left', but it was more a case of helping me mentally adjust and again, refocus for the run in as it were. It was like I subconsciously made an extra effort for the 'run in' to coin a phrase.

In short, I found it helped me focus more, and the minutes shot by. I sat for 15 minutes, and for me that's an achievement. I think I could easily have done 20 minutes too. And that's unthinkable.

Ideally, I think I'll ditch it when I'm comfortable doing 20 minutes. But for now it's great.


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