Sitting posture in Thai tradition

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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Sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:47 pm

Is it ok to use a meditation bench in the Thai Buddhist tradition? From what i have seen sitting on the floor cross legged with right leg on top of left is the standard posture for men and is what is recommended. Do thai's use meditation benches? At my local Wat all the thai's sit on the floor with a thin mat and i have yet to see a bench being used. I have trouble sitting past 40 minutes cross legged on the floor but can sit for much longer on a bench. I think i have circulation problems as my leg falls asleep everytime. Im thinking of using a bench when sitting for long periods and sitting cross legged for shorter periods or should i just get used to sitting cross legged? Thanks!

Last edited by bodom on Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

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Re: sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:08 pm

Just use whatever is best for you, if a bench means you can sit longer then use it. I used to think I must sit a certain way and would force myself even though it was quite uncomfortable but then I started to try a few different positions before finding the right one (burmese position).

Remember it is important what you do with your mind in mediation, not so much the body.

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Re: sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:17 pm


I wouldn't worry about it. Thai people have often spent a lot of time sitting on the ground like that, so they are used to it. Do whatever you need to do to be able to sit. Personally I use some hard cushions. For me, the important thing is stability. A retired (non-Thai) meditator I know laments that he now has to use a bench, due to knee problems, and he finds it less satisfactory than a cushion.

I've heard several Western monks warn that they wrecked their knees sitting for long periods on concrete floors when they went to Thailand, so whatever you do, don't do anything to damage yourself...


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Re: sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:31 am

the monestary I go to in Warwick is in the thai Forest Tradition and they have no problem with the use of cussions or benches there

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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Re: sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:34 am

how do you wreck your knees?
i dont get it... it doesnt seem like sitting cross legged should cause long term damage... idk, i sit like that all the time though, on my lap top, while reading, back when i watched tv...
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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: sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:11 am

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Re: sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby mountain » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:04 pm

Use whatever you need to support yourself and keep the spine properly in line. Pins and needles are usually not related to poor circulation. Most bodily disturbances will eventually yield to continued practice. Many people as well as myself experienced multiple areas of discomfort in the beginning You can let let your developing awareness guide you. But be aware that the subtle tensions do in the long run produce future physical problems if any. Years ago often being the only western person when I was learning it seemed more important to do what the others were doing. Happily things have relaxed a lot.
Now I employ a zafu and zabuton. Perhaps one day a chair.

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Re: Sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby GrahamR » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:33 pm

With metta :bow:

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Re: Sitting posture in Thai tradition

Postby nathan » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:58 am

There are simply physical limits to what makes sense for each individual. If you are sitting like this you can examine the sensation with a focus on the tension in the legs and observe what is involved in producing or easing that tension. It can be instructive as a great deal of discomfort in the body is regardless of the posture. The overall discomfort from prolonged sitting builds up especially where the tension is and so it appears to increase and it will continue to be like this until we see where there is clinging and how the grasping or aversion is expressed physically and this is one kind of discomfort that can be much reduced and even let go of by carefully examining where and how it arises and passes.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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