Noting and labeling practice

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

Noting and labeling practice

Postby bodom » Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:51 pm

I would like to try incorporating noting and labeling into my sitting and walking practice, specifically in the traditon of Mahasi Sayadaw. I am looking for a good introduction on the practice and came across two books by Sayadaw Pandita. One is A State of Mind Called Beautiful and the other is In This Very Life. I was wondering if anyone has read either of these books or any others on the topic and would recommend a book that would serve as a good introduction to the practice and theory. Also a quick question. Is the practice of noting and labeling to be taken up in daily life as well and to what extent? Living in this fast paced world I almost feel as though there would be too great a slowing down in my daily life to allow me to be noting at all times. Many thanks in advance.

: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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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:48 pm

In This Very Life is highly recommended for vipassanā meditators, but the Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw's Practical Insight Meditation is more suitable for the basic instructions.

Unless you are doing a manual labouring or factory job, it is unlikely that you will have much chance to note mindfully in detail. At best you could note and make an effort to be mindful of the present moment in general terms. Many jobs are highly conceptual, and insight meditation is about knowing ultimate realities. We need to slow down all activities and movements to note in detail.

Nevertheless, many daily activities such as dressing, shaving, eating, walking, etc., can be done much more slowly and systematically than non-meditators will generally do them. There is no need to rush if you are a meditator. If a chore needs to be done, then do it attentively and thoroughly.

A Discourse on the Mālukyaputta Sutta is recommended for developing the practice of bare attention — a practice that is very helpful for getting through the day without stress.
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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby bodom » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm

Thank you Bhante.

: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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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby bodom » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:35 pm

I have found it rather difficult to use the noting practice in daily life as i have a fast paced job and a 8 month old at home to take care of. I have given up in frustration and therefore limited my noting practice to my formal meditation and at times when I am able to slow down like showering, eating and when i am home alone. During work hours and at home with my family I have been practicing just bare general awareness of body postures and movements as Bhante suggested. I have found though that it is easier for me to label mental events such as wandering thoughts, thinking, thinking and emotions, anger, anger etc. rather than bodily movements because there is no slow down. From experienced Mahasi practitioners Is this ok? I understand the most prominent object should be noted ie. body postures but this is not practical for my daily life. I have no teacher to practice with and have many questions regarding Mahasi Sayadaws tradition.

: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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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby PeterB » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:06 pm

Would it be practical for you to attend a short course Bodom ?
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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby bodom » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:22 pm

PeterB wrote:Would it be practical for you to attend a short course Bodom ?


There are no Mahasi style practice centers near me and i cant afford to miss work with all our bills. I understand the importance of retreat but its not an option for me now.

: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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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby RayfieldNeel » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:59 pm

I am in a similar place, figuratively speaking. I use the noting technique in my vipassana practice, and when doing simple tasks around the work and home..but when trying to deal with an upset 10-year-old, a wild lab pup, or when debugging Visual Basic code, it gets a little tricky. :tongue:
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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby bodom » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:31 pm

RayfieldNeel wrote:I am in a similar place, figuratively speaking. I use the noting technique in my vipassana practice, and when doing simple tasks around the work and home..but when trying to deal with an upset 10-year-old, a wild lab pup, or when debugging Visual Basic code, it gets a little tricky. :tongue:


It is difficult and frustrating to practice without a teacher, having to rely on books. Makes me wanna give up alot of the time. I ask lots of questions because I want to make sure I am practicing right. I wish there were experienced Mahasi practitioners to answer my questions. Books can only take you so far and I have no access to teachers nor time and money for retreat.

: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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Re: The Practice of Bare Attention

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:51 pm

Before she became a nun, Sister Thanassanti was wandering in the hills when she was attacked by a bear. The bear had her head in his mouth. Faced with such a critical situation the best option is to practise bare attention — that is, to be ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful of realities in the present moment. I suppose that she just froze, and the bear fortunately let go just as she had done.

We need to apply that same sense of urgency to the practice of bare attention.

When you see, just know that you see it; when you hear, just know that you hear it; when you cognise something, just know that you know it. That is, don't divert from the present moment with superfluous discursive thinking. When problems need to be resolved, then discursive thought must be used — but don't plan or worry too much.
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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby bodom » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:14 pm

Thank you Bhante. I guess the problem is that I read Mahasi Sayadaws and Sayadaw U. Panditas works and there is such strict instruction to note EVERYTHING that arises without missing anything and I feel guilty or that im not putting in enough energy into noting due to restrictions of daily life, though I have honestly tried and ended up frustrated.

: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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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby Freawaru » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:53 am

bodom wrote:Thank you Bhante. I guess the problem is that I read Mahasi Sayadaws and Sayadaw U. Panditas works and there is such strict instruction to note EVERYTHING that arises without missing anything and I feel guilty or that im not putting in enough energy into noting due to restrictions of daily life, though I have honestly tried and ended up frustrated.

:anjali:


Hi Bodom,

I think one should note everything that arises, but not everything at the same time at the beginning. I mean, there are four frames of reference in the satipatthana, one does not practice awareness of all four of them at the same time at the beginning. Just pick one frame and only one subject. And use something that comes easily to you, say, when you have a good awareness of your hands practice that. While walking many practice staying aware of the feet (because it is one of the dominating sensory information while walking), but "hands" is more easy during daily tasks, IMO, because we use them so much. For example, where is your hand (or if you can do both) now? On the mouse? In your lap? On the keys? Feel them. When you work, or play with the kids or dogs, when brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, whatever you do, bring your awareness back to your hands without changing what they do. Where are they right now? What do they do right now? Where will they move next second?

At first awareness will stray away from the hands again and again, but when you bring it back to your chosen object again and again it will stay longer and longer after a while until it becomes automatic. You just know where you hands are, what they do and will do next second. It is always present, known, now.
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Re: Noting and labeling practice

Postby Uilium » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:16 pm

Bhante yuttadhammo teaches Mahasi style noting in Sri Lanka but also works with students online. Here's the website and question and answer forum(like this one but only Mahasi style practice)

http://ask.sirimangalo.org/

also Bhante Yuttadhammo has a Youtube channel with close to 600 videos on Mahasi style noting:

http://www.youtube.com/user/yuttadhammo
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