Anapanasati sutta - practical application

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Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:17 am

I've been considering the practical application of the Anapanasati sutta, and the extracted highlights below seem to indicate a progression from samatha to vipassana.
Am I on the right track, and what other ways are there of applying this sutta in terms of practice?

( samatha )
"I shall breath in and out...tranquilising the mental formations...experiencing the mind...gladdening the mind...concentrating the mind."

( vipassana )
"I shall breath in and out...contemplating impermanence...contemplating fading away...comtemplating cessation...contemplating relinquishment."
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:15 am

Yes, anapanasati can be used to develop both samatha and vipassana. See, for example, Ledi Sayadaw's Manual of Respiration and Ajahn Brahm's Reflections That Are Conducive To Liberation.
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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:07 am

I recently posted some other links here: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4631#p70886 related so a similar question.

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Jack » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:33 pm

I might take each teaching in progression as a meditation intention, i.e., this week I will bring teachings 1 to 3 into each meditation session. Next week I will add 4. And so on, until I cover all 16 teachings in one meditation. Or, I might skip around, i.e., this session I will bring mindfulness of pitti (joy) into my meditation. Next session I might cover awareness of my body.

Buddadasasa Bhikkhu's book, Mindfulness with Breathing, is available on the Internet and is good at applying the Anap. Sutta to meditation sessions.

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Yundi » Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:14 pm

porpoise wrote:I've been considering the practical application of the Anapanasati sutta, and the extracted highlights below seem to indicate a progression from samatha to vipassana.

Porpoise

Both 'experiencing' and 'contemplating' involve some kind of vipassana. 'Tranquillising' is samatha.

Anapanasati has both samatha & vipassana in each tetrad however the predominance of vipassana in each tetrad increases until the fourth tetrad is all vipassana.

The 3rd, 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th steps are of experiencing.

The 4th, 8th, 10th and 11th are directly concerned with tranquillising.

The 12th step is also one of tranquillising or clarifying, where the one-pointedness of concentration is released.

With metta

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby pt1 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:11 am

If you're into Visuddhimagga, section "Mindfullness of breathing" discusses anapanasati in some detail - chapter VIII, paragraphs 145-244. In particular:
VIII,186. The first tetrad is set forth as a meditation subject for a beginner (note 52), but the other three tetrads are [respectively] set forth as the contemplations of feeling, of [the manner] of consciousness, and of mental objects for one who has already attained jhana in this tetrad.

Note 52: "As a meditation subject for a beginner" is said with reference to the serenity (i.e.jhana) meditation subject; but the insight meditation subject applies to the other tetrads too' (Pm.266).


There is also a Treatise on breathing in Patisambhidamagga - in the first division, treatise III (pages 162-208 in the PTS edition).

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:57 am

Thanks for the replies - it looks like I have some reading to do. ;)

P
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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Agent » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:51 pm

Jack wrote:I might take each teaching in progression as a meditation intention, i.e., this week I will bring teachings 1 to 3 into each meditation session. Next week I will add 4. And so on, until I cover all 16 teachings in one meditation. Or, I might skip around, i.e., this session I will bring mindfulness of pitti (joy) into my meditation. Next session I might cover awareness of my body.

Buddadasasa Bhikkhu's book, Mindfulness with Breathing, is available on the Internet and is good at applying the Anap. Sutta to meditation sessions.

jack


Hi Jack,
I am not familiar with working the Anapanasati sutta in that manner. That method does not seem to be discussed in Mindfulness with Breathing either.

From Appendix D of Mindfulness with Breathing:
Always start at the beginning. Each session starts with establishing sati on the breath and then practicing step one. After you are skilled in step one, after you know it completely and can do it with ease, then go on to step two. Practice step two until you are expert in it and have learned everything that you need to know about it. Then you can go to step three. Do not fall into the confusion of a little of step one, then a bit of step two, then some of that, and some of this. We are often impatient with where we are and want to get somewhere else. It would do us well to restrain that urge. Practice the steps one at a time and stick with each one until you are an expert in it.


I don't want to make any judgments of your practice, of course. Maybe this method works for you or you have already thoroughly worked through the steps in the past. Are you intending to do this in a retreat or other secluded setting? I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm having a hard time understanding how to pull off something like this. It seems very fast paced.
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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:44 am

Moggalana wrote:Yes, anapanasati can be used to develop both samatha and vipassana. See, for example, Ledi Sayadaw's Manual of Respiration and Ajahn Brahm's Reflections That Are Conducive To Liberation.


A basic question occurs to me here. We seem to be saying that breathing meditation can be used for both samatha and vipassana, but given that these are different activities then presumably our "relationship" to the breath is going to be different for each activity? Is it like the difference between the 4 foundations of mindfulness, we begin with mindfulness of the ( breath ) body and progress via feelings to the mind? Or is it the difference between initially focussing one-pointedly on the breath and then progressing to a more general "expansive" awareness which includes mental processes? I'm not sure I'm asking the question very clearly but I hope you see what I'm getting at. :smile:

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:52 am

Moggalana wrote:Yes, anapanasati can be used to develop both samatha and vipassana. See, for example, Ledi Sayadaw's Manual of Respiration



I noticed this from the Manual of Respiration, which is a practice I sort of stumbled across myself but find quite useful ( I used the words "arising" on the in-breath and "ceasing" on the out-breath ):

"In the Ānāpānassati Sutta that is here dealt with, in accordance with the text “Contemplating impermanence, etc.,” the method given continues associating the practice of insight with mindfulness of respiration. The meaning is that when out-breaths are exhaled and in-breaths inhaled, they must be done with the additional special endeavour of the mind adverted on their characteristic of impermance and thus try to perceive their impermanence clearly."

It looks like there's a lot of interesting stuff in that Manual, I'll be making further visits. :smile:

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:27 pm

Hi Porpoise,
porpoise wrote:A basic question occurs to me here. We seem to be saying that breathing meditation can be used for both samatha and vipassana, but given that these are different activities then presumably our "relationship" to the breath is going to be different for each activity?

See my comments here: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4631#p70910

Basically, for samatha a more conceptual focus tends to be more effective. For vipassana the focus needs to be on actual sensations.

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Porpoise,
porpoise wrote:A basic question occurs to me here. We seem to be saying that breathing meditation can be used for both samatha and vipassana, but given that these are different activities then presumably our "relationship" to the breath is going to be different for each activity?

See my comments here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4631#p70910

Basically, for samatha a more conceptual focus tends to be more effective. For vipassana the focus needs to be on actual sensations.

Mike


Thanks for that. I'm still not sure I'm getting the difference between samatha and vipassana but will keep reading. :smile:

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:38 am

Jack wrote:.

Buddadasasa Bhikkhu's book, Mindfulness with Breathing, is available on the Internet and is good at applying the Anap. Sutta to meditation sessions.

jack


Thanks, I've just ordered a copy of that. :smile:

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:53 am

[quote="Yundi"]
Both 'experiencing' and 'contemplating' involve some kind of vipassana. 'Tranquillising' is samatha.
[quote]

I think that's a good analysis, but in Anapanasati it appears that the breath is always involved - so how would you say that our "relationship" with the breath varies during these activities of experiencing, contemplating and tranquillising?

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Re: Anapanasati sutta - practical application

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:07 pm

Hi Porpoise

Some would say that the anapansati performed in the way instructed in the sutta is a combination of samatha and vipassana. However maybe it is better to simply call it satipatthana and think of samatha and vipassana as a result -you may go into jhana (samatha) and/or gain insight (vipassana), rather than as technique. Suttas say that when performing satipatthana samatha vipassana grows.

Having said all that there is some merit in saying that the two are distinct methods as well

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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