The role of intention in anapanasati

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

The role of intention in anapanasati

Postby BlackBird » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:49 am

""Monks, what a man wills, what he plans, what he dwells on forms the basis for the continuation of consciousness." - SN 12.38 - Cetana Sutta

I have begun to wonder about the role intention plays in maintaining concentration upon a meditation object, in this case the object is the breath. During the practice I find that if I make the intention to keep my attention fixed upon the breath (during each cycle of ana and pana), that without fail, it remains. If however the intention is not made to maintain awareness on the breath, then awareness may continue for some time before dropping off into proliferation of a thought which has arisen.

So for example:
Intention is made during Out breath X to maintain full awareness of In breath Y, then it does so, and this process continues.
Intention is not made during anapana X then awareness may remain during anapana Y but may then drop off with the arising of a thought during anapana Z.

I would really appreciate your thoughts on how this might relate to initial and sustained attention (as factors which when cultivated lead to Jhana)?

Thank you for your responses, in advance.

metta
Jack :heart:
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: The role of intention in anapanasati

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:57 am

How are you using the word " intention" Jack ?
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Re: The role of intention in anapanasati

Postby BlackBird » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:06 am

In what I had thought was the common usage: Volition.

metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: The role of intention in anapanasati

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:28 am

Your focused attention IS your intention. There is no Jack that is watching Jack watch the breath..
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