take it literally or...

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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dhammastudier
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take it literally or...

Postby dhammastudier » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:49 pm

ok so in the anipanisatta sutta the buddha says that the meditator is mindful that he breathes in/out short, long, etc. i've been meditating for years and years and have always wondered if he meant to think in words "i'm breathing in long, i'm breathing out short, etc." or just to be focused and present, paying close attention to the breath so you know you breath in short as opposed to being totally oblivious to your breathing in which case you don't know what's going on with your breath, but not literally thinking "i breath in short". see what i'm saying?

how do you guys do it? i've always payed attention and brought it back when my mind wanders. the attention is wordless and the thoughts that wander are words, sounds, and images. what goes on in my head is similar to what happens when you are working on something and the tv distracts you. you look at it and then remember your work and look back at the task at hand. obviously this question leaks into the practice of daily mindfulness in everything else in your life.

any thoughts and/or explanations of what goes on in your head are welcome.

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Goofaholix
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:01 pm

You can deliberately use long breaths for a while if you want if you need to help the mind calm down.

Otherwise you just let the breathing happen naturally.

If you are doing a mahasi style noting technique then it might be approprate to label the breath as long or short. Otherwise just noticing whether it's relatively long or short is enough and you don't need to make a big thing out of the longness or shortness, it's just one aspect that you might notice.

Some teachers do encourage a progression of longness and shortness though, See Anapanasati by Buddhadasa Bhikku, or some of Ajahn Brahms explanations.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Ben
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:05 pm

Hi zac
So long as you have anchored your attention firmly on the breath, all you need to do with regards those instructions is to be aware is that the breath is long or short. You don't need to verbalize those words.
kind regards

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
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but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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dhammastudier
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby dhammastudier » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:08 pm

Ben wrote:Hi zac
So long as you have anchored your attention firmly on the breath, all you need to do with regards those instructions is to be aware is that the breath is long or short. You don't need to verbalize those words.
kind regards

Ben


thanx ben! that's exactly what i wanted to know, short simple and too the point:)

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dhammastudier
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby dhammastudier » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:11 pm

Goofaholix wrote:You can deliberately use long breaths for a while if you want if you need to help the mind calm down.

Otherwise you just let the breathing happen naturally.

If you are doing a mahasi style noting technique then it might be approprate to label the breath as long or short. Otherwise just noticing whether it's relatively long or short is enough and you don't need to make a big thing out of the longness or shortness, it's just one aspect that you might notice.

Some teachers do encourage a progression of longness and shortness though, See Anapanasati by Buddhadasa Bhikku, or some of Ajahn Brahms explanations.


thanx, but not what i meant:)

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Re: take it literally or...

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:46 pm

By the way, as for the rest of the Anapanasati sutta, here's a sutta which gives some clarification an expansion on some of the vaguer sections, especially the last group of 4. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html Might be good to keep in mind.

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dhammastudier
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:40 am

Kenshou wrote:By the way, as for the rest of the Anapanasati sutta, here's a sutta which gives some clarification an expansion on some of the vaguer sections, especially the last group of 4. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html Might be good to keep in mind.


thanx much, i'll check that out.

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Wind
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby Wind » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:45 am

According to the translation, it says he "knows" he is breathing long.. so it is not actually saying in his mind I'm breathing long. Being exactly aware of how you are breathing, planting your entire focus on the breathing...

That's how i understand it.

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dhammastudier
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Re: take it literally or...

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:28 am

Wind wrote:According to the translation, it says he "knows" he is breathing long.. so it is not actually saying in his mind I'm breathing long. Being exactly aware of how you are breathing, planting your entire focus on the breathing...

That's how i understand it.


cool, that's what i thought but always wondered...


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