tiltbillings wrote:Out of curiosity, why are you asking this?
Specific to the question.... avoiding self perception of a "sweeper" through seeing the characteristics of it.
More generally... seeing the volitional nature of manasikara, and again, its characteristics.
Fair enough. That's a standard approach, though I'd be cautious of "trying" too hard to "avoid self perception". My impression is that such insight arises from careful attention to the mental and physical phenomena.
Yesterday, I explained to you how a meditator can observe twelve parts of a step, including intention before every action as mentioned in the Commentary to the Pali text. But it depends on you how many of the actions you should note. You should watch some objects as comfortably as you feel. If you have to exert or endeavour your utmost to be aware of any number of objects uncomfortably, you should not do that. If you do that you feel tense on your neck or your back, and sometimes you feel a headache. Sometimes you feel dizzy because you have to strain too much to be aware of each part of the step. So it depends on you; you yourself know. Normally for a meditator it should be adequate to note four or five objects of a step comfortably without strains with your relaxation: intending, lifting, moving, dropping, or touching. If you are able to observe these four or five objects precisely and very attentively then you can attain a deep concentration on the movement of the foot.
To be aware of these four or five objects very precisely and attentively you have to slow down your stepping. Unless your step is slow you cannot catch each individual part of the step very well. It's indispensable for you to slow down your step so that you can note all these four or five objects very precisely and attentively. Now when you are able to note all these four objects very well, your concentration gradually becomes better and better. You can note intention very concentratedly. Then the lifting movement you can note with diligent mindfulness. Then the pushing movement and putting movement and touching sensation you can know very well without looking here and there. In this way when you practice walking meditation for about three or four days you can attain a deep concentration.
When I conducted a meditation retreat in England at the Manjusri Tibetan Monastery, the Manjusri Institute in northern England near the border of Scotland, one of the meditators had put much effort into his practise both sitting as well as walking, and awareness of the activities too. So after about four days meditation he came to me and asked a question. ''Venerable Sir, my meditation is getting worse and worse,' he said. 'Now what happen to your meditation?' I asked him. Then he said, 'When I am walking one day, Venerable Sir, then gradually I am not aware of myself. The foot itself had lifted, and it itself pushed forward, and then dropped down by itself. There's no I or no me, no self, no myself. Sometimes though I control my foot, the foot doesn't stay with the ground. It lifted by itself. Sometimes it pushed forward very long. I couldn't control it. Then sometimes it's getting down by itself. So my meditation is getting worse and worse. What should I do?' Then eventually he said, 'I think I have gone mad.' Such an experience was very amazing.
This is a benefit of walking meditation. First of all he said, 'I don't know myself. I'm not aware of myself. I don't know my body, my leg.' That means the realisation of the movement of the foot. The movement of the foot has destroyed the idea of an 'I' or a 'you', a 'self' or a 'soul', a 'person' or 'being'. Here what he was realising was the impersonal nature of our bodily process called Anatta. No soul, non-ego, non-self nature of our bodily phenomena.
When he said, 'The foot is automatically lifted up by itself. It's automatically pushed forward by itself', that means there's no person or no being, no self who lifted the foot, who pushed it forward, who dropped it down. It's the realisation of the impermanent nature of physical processes or physical phenomena: Anatta. Before he didn't realise the physical process of the rising-falling movement and the other parts of the body in sitting, he realised the processes of rising, lifting movement, pushing movement, the falling movement of the phenomena as it really is. So he has destroyed the false idea of an I or a you, a person or a being, a self or a soul - Anatta.
It was very interesting. Not only this yogi but also many yogis in Burma experienced it in this way. And sometimes before you experience this stage of insight knowledge you feel you are walking on waves of the sea. Or you are standing on a boat which was floating on the waves of the sea. Sometimes you may feel you are walking on a heap of cotton. Sometimes you feel you are walking in the air. That is also one of the insight knowledge which penetrates into the true nature of material process, material phenomena.