A 'Basic' Question

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:42 pm

Forgive me if this is in the wrong forum.

I have meditated for the last 18 months, possibly more toward the two year mark. I've read a few books, and lately, my time on the cushion has increased to 45 minutes every morning. I've read about vipassana nurturing real 'insight' and I've read about other various benefits. But I realised I didn't really understand how paying attention to the present reality works. How, the whole vipassana meditation way of things can help me out. I know about Dukkah, Annata and Annica (forgive my spelling), and although I do not dwell on their meaning (which I think is a big mistake of mine. I.e. I don't really ponder what it is they are telling me), I do understand 'basically' what they teach. I think I have to go beyond the superficial 'Nothing lasts', 'Nothing grants eternal happiness', and 'Nothing can be owned or controlled', and really think deeply about them.

Two of the main reasons for my studying/practising vipassana is to [a] Relax and more importantly [b] to rid my terror of dying (that there is a long story cut short).

So it is my hope that studying/practising vipassana will eventually clear out my negative thinking and set me free from the burden of worrying about dying. Death does not worry me, but dying, letting go, 'the loss of control' (even though I was taught we never really had any control), all that terrifies me. If I get a chest pain, or a head pain, or whatever, I try to observe it intently, to almost drown myself in it. So much so that I get lost in it to such an extent that I really have no time to ponder its possible meaning, of what it may entail.

So Vipassana, real insight, is this going to help me overcome not just my terror of dying, but of all terrors?

Thank you :namaste:
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby bodom » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:43 pm

So Vipassana, real insight, is this going to help me overcome not just my terror of dying, but of all terrors?


You might find this helpful.

Speaking about death, Goenkaji said that death is a taboo because of fear about death. He explained how a Vipassana meditator eradicates fear by exploring the reality within and dies fearlessly. He said that there were numerous examples of Vipassana meditators who die in a fully conscious and peaceful state of mind. When one experiences anicca within, the attachment to the physical and mental structure starts decreasing and so does the fear of death. A practitioner of Vipassana knows from his own direct experience that one dies and is born every moment. Later in Zurich while answering a question about birthday, he said smilingly that when you learn the truth about mind and matter, you would say "Happy birth moment to you!" instead of "Happy birthday to you!".


http://www.vridhamma.org/Goenkaji-at-Wo ... Davos.aspx

: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: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:51 pm

I think that is very real Collective. I remember a time when i was in my twenties where my fear of dying became so acute that i could hardly bear to see graves...I dont look forward to it even now, but it has lost its terror. In part that is due to being older, but it is also a result of Vipassana practice...when the reality of anicca hits home personally it is both frightening initially and liberating.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:55 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:I think that is very real Collective. I remember a time when i was in my twenties where my fear of dying became so acute that i could hardly bear to see graves...I dont look forward to it even now, but it has lost its terror. In part that is due to being older, but it is also a result of Vipassana practice...when the reality of anicca hits home personally it is both frightening initially and liberating.

I was meditating a few months ago when I got a glimpse of this 'Annica' concept. For a split second, the reality that everything changees, that nothing lasts, really hit me. It was allof a sudden so clear. But it slipped away almost as quickly. And yes, it was a good liberating feeling. So I hope that proves I'm on the right track
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:57 pm

bodom wrote:
So Vipassana, real insight, is this going to help me overcome not just my terror of dying, but of all terrors?


You might find this helpful.

Speaking about death, Goenkaji said that death is a taboo because of fear about death. He explained how a Vipassana meditator eradicates fear by exploring the reality within and dies fearlessly. He said that there were numerous examples of Vipassana meditators who die in a fully conscious and peaceful state of mind. When one experiences anicca within, the attachment to the physical and mental structure starts decreasing and so does the fear of death. A practitioner of Vipassana knows from his own direct experience that one dies and is born every moment. Later in Zurich while answering a question about birthday, he said smilingly that when you learn the truth about mind and matter, you would say "Happy birth moment to you!" instead of "Happy birthday to you!".


http://www.vridhamma.org/Goenkaji-at-Wo ... Davos.aspx

:anjali:

That's good and hopeful news

Thank you :namaste:
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:55 pm

On another angle, metta meditation helps me with the fear of death. The Buddha said that one who practices metta dies unconfused. When I practice metta, I feel that if I would die that day, there wouldn't be a problem.

I hope this is not too off topic.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:14 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:On another angle, metta meditation helps me with the fear of death. The Buddha said that one who practices metta dies unconfused. When I practice metta, I feel that if I would die that day, there wouldn't be a problem.

I hope this is not too off topic.

It isn't off topic at all, it helps.

Thank you
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Kenshou » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:08 am

Collective wrote:I was meditating a few months ago when I got a glimpse of this 'Annica' concept. For a split second, the reality that everything changees, that nothing lasts, really hit me. It was allof a sudden so clear. But it slipped away almost as quickly. And yes, it was a good liberating feeling. So I hope that proves I'm on the right track


Those moments are great, too bad they're usually so slippery. The funny thing is that this fact is right under our noses constantly, you know?
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:59 pm

Kenshou wrote:
Collective wrote:I was meditating a few months ago when I got a glimpse of this 'Annica' concept. For a split second, the reality that everything changees, that nothing lasts, really hit me. It was allof a sudden so clear. But it slipped away almost as quickly. And yes, it was a good liberating feeling. So I hope that proves I'm on the right track


Those moments are great, too bad they're usually so slippery. The funny thing is that this fact is right under our noses constantly, you know?

Exactly, it's just there. We just need to learn how to engage with it.

It's all goodness
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:35 am

One morning I practice vipassana, the next I practice samatha, and so on.

Is this wise?

Thank you
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:26 pm

Hi Collective

Does your method of vipassana make it easy for you to see the impermanence of all mental and material phenomena that arises?

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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& Upekkha
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Collective » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:18 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Collective

Does your method of vipassana make it easy for you to see the impermanence of all mental and material phenomena that arises?

With metta

Matheesha

I'm not fully aware of it through out the whole day no. But I think that's more to do with me not being mindful. What I mean is, when I meditate vipassana on the cushion, I am aware, but then I fail more often than not to retain that awareness away from the cushion.
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby budo » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:23 am

Collective wrote:One morning I practice vipassana, the next I practice samatha, and so on.

Is this wise?

Thank you


I've been reading your posts for a while and was wondering how can one practice Samatha and Vipassana separately?

According to the book Mindfulness in Plain English, Vipassana "insight, and Samatha "Concentration" and "Tranquility", happen together, and it is the balance of Concentration that makes Insight possible, otherwise the mind would wonder. What I'm trying to say is, by practicing Vipassana you are also practicing Samatha.

From chapter 14 of the book: http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/min ... ish_16.php
Vipassana meditation is something of a mental balancing act. You are going to be cultivating two separate qualities of the mind - mindfulness and concentration. Ideally these two work together as a team. They pull in tandem, so to speak. Therefore it is important to cultivate them side-by-side and in a balanced manner. If one of the factors is strengthened at the expense of the other, the balance of the mind is lost and meditation impossible.


It is not possible to only practice Samatha, because you have to be mindful of your breath, and it's not possible to only practice Vipassana, because without concentration/focus you are not fully aware of the object you're trying to gain insight/mindfulness from.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Budo
“An effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.” - George Orwell
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Kenshou » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:52 am

The difference is just in which aspect is emphasized, I think.
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:08 am

Collective wrote: What I mean is, when I meditate vipassana on the cushion, I am aware, but then I fail more often than not to retain that awareness away from the cushion.


I think a lot of people will be familiar with that difficulty. But it does get easier with practice.

Spiny
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby nameless » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:30 pm

I'm not an expert, just speaking from my own experience.

In vipassana, you note each event as it arises. For me, at some point I realized that fear for example, doesn't arises directly from the stimulus. So say that I'm afraid of dogs, the process at first seems to be see dog -> fear. But through meditation and observing in more detail what arises, it becomes something like see dog -> remember bad experience with dog -> anticipate bad experience will be repeated -> fear. And while it seems that remembering for example, happens automatically as well, it is in fact an active process which requires some "doing" on my part. So I guess for your situation, meditation might help you discover what lies between the stimulus and the fear, which might in turn reveal a better way to respond to it.
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby salty-J » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:54 am

I think it would be great to get rid of the fear of death! I'll try it tonight! Most nights I lay in bed, relaxing until I start gasping for breath (I need to the sleep apnea people but still...), acutely aware of my body's twitching as my conciousness gets hazy, until I am struck with this intense falling/spinning sensation, which causes me to sit up gasping for air, feeling the inevitability of death as clearly as the plastic on the keyboard and the tingling sensation in my right cheek...I'd like to get past that! :tongue: Metta meditation is supposed to prevent nightmares, and I have found on nights when say the metta meditation I got out of Mindfulness in Plain English, I haven't had the death-panic. :clap:
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:09 pm

salty-J wrote:I think it would be great to get rid of the fear of death!


It certainly would be! I think in a way the fear can become more intense as we reflect on impermanence and invevitability of death. Though like everything else the fear passes, and so it can be dealt with.

Spiny
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:50 pm

Hi Collective

Maybe you need to not 'drop' the mindfulness when you stop meditating but carry doing it after you 'finish' your (sitting) meditation as well..

with metta

M
With Metta

Karuna
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& Upekkha
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Re: A 'Basic' Question

Postby salty-J » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:52 am

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Collective

Maybe you need to not 'drop' the mindfulness when you stop meditating but carry doing it after you 'finish' your (sitting) meditation as well..

with metta

M

If only there were an easy way to pull that one off! :(
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