The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

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

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby EricJ » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:16 am

Ben wrote:No problem Eric
Something that has been of enormous benefit to me has been the section on the anapana in the Visuddhimagga. The Vism isn't everyone's cup of tea because the language is very formalistic and the amount of detail captured in it is incredibly dense. If you have access to a copy, even if you get one via inter-library loan via your municipal library, I would recommend that you have a read through and just concentrate on those pages which are relevant to the tetrad you are working with.
I would also reiterate my earlier advice, recommending Satipatthana: the direct route to realization. While Analayo's work deals mostly with satipatthana, there is valuable material in it on anapana-sati.
The instructions I utilise when doing anapana, and I practice the samatha variant, is to maintain awareness of the touch of the breath - for longer and longer periods. When you notice awareness has slipped away, gently bring it back.
kind regards

Ben
I would actually love a copy of the Visuddhimagga, but I usually don't have a lot of pocket money and the library in my area doesn't have much in the way of Buddhist studies. Luckily, I will be moving to a much larger city for college where I will have access to a very nice university library, as well as surplus credit from my financial aid award. :woohoo:

I will look in to that other book. I am interested in satipatthana anyway. I've written a nice outline of part of Ven. Thanissaro's "Wings of Awakening" that I read online, which discusses satipatthana. I eventually plan to move on to vipassana practice once I have attained a workable degree of concentration. Is samatha anapanasati considered a part of satipatthana practice? I thought it was, since it involves mindfulness of the body (I also try to stay mindful, ardent, and alert throughout the day, although I still have a ways to go in this realm) Or is satipatthana specifically used to refer to insight practices?

I'm also looking in to some of those organizations that offer free Dhamma books.


Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:45 am

Hi Eric

Go to your local library and ask about an "inter-library loan" (ILL). I would be very surprised if your local library does not offer ILL to their members. An ILL means you can borrow an item from another library (academic or state/national reference library) via your own library. Finding a copy of the Vism in another library should be fairly simple as many state and academic libraries are online and the friendly reference librarian in your local library will probably locate the nearest Vism copy for you anyway. Expect to pay for ILL, but it will be cheaper than the cost of the book and shipping. Check out the Library of Congress' online catalogue. www.loc.gov

Depends who you are getting instruction from, but according to my own tradition, the samatha variant of anapana is a stepping stone to vipassana practice. As one's awareness becomes more and more concentrated it then becomes a tool to observe the changing nature of (whatever the object of attention is in the particular vipassana practice) and in my case its vedana (sensation). The reason I referred you to Ven Analayo's work is that he does, later in his book, look at the similarities, and overlapping of the material within the satipatthana sutta and the anapana sutta.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby EricJ » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:26 am

Friends,

I observed uposatha for the first time, today. I didn't even realize it was an uposatha day until noon. Luckily, I had finished my cereal before noon. I didn't take the eight precepts today (partially due to the fact that uposatha caught me off guard, but moreso to my own internal hindrances and excuse making), but I did delve in to renunciation. I went twelve hours without food (between noon and midnight), which was new to me, because I normally have small amounts of food throughout the day and cook for myself at night. It made me realize how attached to the sensual pleasure of food I really am. Additionally, I went without a few forms of entertainment (radio, music, television), although I did use my computer and read books today. But, most importantly, I really upped my meditation today. I meditated five times in total, a session in the morning, two sessions in the afternoon, and two sessions this evening. I kept feeling a desire to practice and exert effort, a sense of urgency. Two of my meditation sessions were particularly rewarding as far as development of concentration goes. I feel the Dhamma increasing in my life with each passing day. :buddha1:

Today, I learned I have been accepted for a job at a bookstore. I was somewhat reluctant to take it, as I fear it might take away from my practice time. I guess I will just have to be a bit more skilled in now that I actually have to manage my time.

Question: Is it common to feel as if you are falling backwards whenever your breath and concentration is becoming refined in a session?

Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:35 am

EricJ wrote:Question: Is it common to feel as if you are falling backwards whenever your breath and concentration is becoming refined in a session?

I assume you mean (physically) falling backwards rather than feeling like you are going backwards in your practice. So, I'll address that point.
When we begin to practice anapana-sati which is an observation of a natural process, as our minds become more subtle, still and concentrated, we begin to become more sensitized to other phenomena that we were previously oblivious to. Just note it, and continue to maintain awareness of the breath. Its nothing to be alarmed about.
Kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby EricJ » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:12 pm

Hello everyone.

Today, I had my wisdom teeth extracted. Needless to say, I'm going to have some pain for the next few days, and I've been prescribed opiate painkillers. I am going to try to sit a session this evening. Is this advisable? Also, will the effectiveness of my meditation and my ability to concentrate be affected for a long time after I have healed?

Regards,
Eric
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:19 pm

EricJ wrote: I am going to try to sit a session this evening.


If you get drowsy do walking meditation.

: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 Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby EricJ » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:43 pm

bodom wrote:If you get drowsy do walking meditation.

:anjali:
I don't have extensive practice in walking meditation, and I'm not exactly sure about the method.
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:47 pm

EricJ wrote:
bodom wrote:If you get drowsy do walking meditation.

:anjali:
I don't have extensive practice in walking meditation, and I'm not exactly sure about the method.


Instructions for Walking Meditation by Gil Fronsdal,

http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/ ... editation/

: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 Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Sekha » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:16 am

I am in Bodhgaya and the challenge is to spend this full moon night under the bodhi tree.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby cooran » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:34 am

I wish you well Dukkhanirodha!

I'd advise plenty of mosquito repellent, and ear plugs to block out the snoring coming from some of the single sitting tents and the howling/fighting of the scores of dogs! :tongue:

I spent an allnighter there last March - found walking meditation the best practice for me in the wee hours of the morning, on the mid-level Path. But my sitting cushion had been taken over by one of the mangy dogs when I returned. :o

Looking forward to hearing how it went.

with metta
Chris
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:32 am

thereductor wrote:Spiders come through my apartment by the truck load, the main avenue for them is the space between my front door and the ground. I take a towel, roll it up, and jam it in between the door and the ground. That keeps out most of them.


I've learned to live with my spiders. Mostly they seem to like watching TV. Occasionally they appear to be doing an erratic form of walking meditation, but so far they haven't joined me in the shrine room. :lol:

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Sekha » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:58 pm

actually I fell asleep. I was not in very good condition, to be fair. I had had a headache all day. But I'll try it again some time later, certainly towards the end of the winter, when the nights will be warmer again.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby jd84 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:49 am

Hi all,

For the next week I am going to try to sit for 2 hours a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. (Thats 55 mins of vipassana and 5 mins of metta per session). I have been sitting for 45 minutes in the morning and not often getting round to it in the evening!

Would anyone care to join me? :smile:

JD :namaste:
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby jd84 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:31 pm

I had to get up at 5 this morning to fit in an hour before work. That wasn't too much of a challenge, but motivating myself to sit for an hour once I'd got back from work was a different matter - but I'm glad I did it in the end. I feel a lot lighter after just 2 days and also feel like my interactions with others have improved. Smiling more, laughing more.

:anjali:
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby effort » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:48 am

hi!
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Majjhima Patipada » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:11 pm

Meditating every day of the new year.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby d.sullivan » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:04 am

Hey everyone. I'm currently a student, and I have been having a tough time maintaining my meditation practice with my stressful and erratic schedule, and this meditation challenge is exactly what I need! Being a bit ambitious, my immediate inclination is to challenge myself to sit everyday for 45 minutes, but I will try to be more patient with myself and will start with something smaller. I hereby undertake the challenge of meditating for a half hour every day for the next week. Should I succeed, my next challenge will be greater.

I hope you all will hold me too it!
Every blade in the field,
Every leaf in the forest,
Lays down its life in its season,
As beautifully as it was taken up.

Thoreau.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:42 am

All the best with it d.sullivan!
May you succeed in your noble endeavours!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:09 pm

Several years ago, after having given up meditation for several years, I got sick in a way that I knew meditation would help me with getting better. I decided that no matter what happened in my day, I would at least sit down and get in the position for meditation. I got myself a little spiral bound notebook to log the date and length of each meditation, as a mark of triumph ( I was quite sick with the problem I had when I began meditating ). Years later, I have filled up several of those notebooks.

It has been over 5 1/2 years since I missed a day of meditation.

The experts say that one of the most single important factors about a meditation practice is doing however long you sit, consistently. After 5 years I can say that I agree with that. I've gotten benefits that I didn't even know existed when I was meditating in an "on again, off again" manner.

I used a number of "mental tricks" that were quite effective in keeping the practice going. The most useful was only requiring myself to sit down in the position before giving up for the day....and really meaning it in allowing myself to get up right afterwards if I truly didn't want to do it.

The second most effective kind of thinking was reminding myself of all of the times that I stayed up late and went short on sleep for other activities. I would tell myself "well, that is just life" and not worry about it. So, if my day went hard and I lost all of the other opportunities to meditate, I would just meditate before I finally did go to sleep. If I got home at 1am, I would just tell myself that I really got home at 2am and meditate anyway.

I've found myself meditating at some strange times and in some strange places.

It has definately been worth it in more ways than I could ever hope to articulate.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby d.sullivan » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Ben wrote:All the best with it d.sullivan!
May you succeed in your noble endeavours!


Thanks, Ben!

Jhana4 wrote:Several years ago, after having given up meditation for several years, I got sick in a way that I knew meditation would help me with getting better. I decided that no matter what happened in my day, I would at least sit down and get in the position for meditation. I got myself a little spiral bound notebook to log the date and length of each meditation, as a mark of triumph ( I was quite sick with the problem I had when I began meditating ). Years later, I have filled up several of those notebooks.


Great tips, Jhana! Thanks! I thought about keeping a meditation journal of sorts, since I can imagine that being really helpful. I'm hoping that for now this thread will serve that purpose.

Congratulations on the consistency of your practice these past 5 years! I have heard the same expert advise that consistency is most important, and my own experience has shown this to be true. It has also proven to be the most difficult part for me lately, and I greatly appreciate your tips on keeping the momentum going and admire your ability to do that yourself :namaste:

Day 1 of the challenge is complete, by the way. I have been having a lot of body tension lately, and trying to stay mindful of it without trying to fix it has been the most difficult part of my recent practice. Today went better in that regard, however, and I was much more able to simply note the tension without trying to figure out ways to relax or smooth it out. An encouraging first day :thumbsup:

Sully.
Last edited by d.sullivan on Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Every blade in the field,
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Lays down its life in its season,
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