How do YOU meditate?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
befriend
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by befriend »

I do brahma viharas with the myself, my family, my friends, unknown people, difficult people and all beings. That takes like 25 minutes. I use phrases may I be happy may I be free from suffering my I not be departed from the good fortune I have recieved and I am the owner of my kamma then do the same for the other beings. When I do mindfulness I usually sit in a chair for 30-40 minutes and start with relaxing tension by sending my breath to those spots or just getting comfortable, I do what Bikkhu analayo suggests and get a felt sense of my body or just feel my body as opposed to watching it like a hawk. Then I incorporate feel the breathing happening while still feeling the rest of the body the longer I do this the more relaxed I get and the clearer my mindfulness or awareness gets at the end of the session I like to let go Of the homebase and just make an intention to experience sounds or whatever object comes to me the body is still noticable but when I hear a car driving by or a thought comes up I notice it's arising peaking fading away and absence. Sometimes to ground me in the body I use the refrain "there is a body" or "I am sitting". Also good posture is a huge importance for mindfulness.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
pitithefool
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by pitithefool »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:07 am
I doubt Bhikkhu Analayo would depart from the hard jhana view of Ajahn Brahm and Sujato. Also, both of his teachers, formerly Buddhadasa and later Bodhi, would have the hard jhana view. Really, light jhana appears to be a recent concoction of internet bloggers and Leigh Brasington.
Check it, here's some breath meditation insctructions from Analayo I found, that seem to mirror Thanissaro's quite nicely.

https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/wp-cont ... iption.pdf

In other words, jhana was hard jhana for the monks.
I don't doubt that, it's more of the "soft jhana is wrong" attitude that I'm kindof questioning here.

Bhikkhu Analayo's analysis of MN 128 is wrong. MN 128 is not about jhana. It is about Anuruddha's development of the Divine Eye.


It would be such a huge diverstion to go into this, but I prefer to read it as "signs of concentration preceding absorption". Fight me lol. I did find a pretty good discussion of the subject on suttacentral though and it seems Ajahns Brahmali and Sujato also choose to read it that way. Not like it really matters because if either "side" of the soft vs hard debate wanted to take this sutta, it would probably be the hard side.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/we ... -forms/263

Anyway, you are wearing me out, particularly since i have work to also do (multitasking).

I might ask you to proof read my new booklet about "rebirth" when i finish it, hopefully by next week. :smile:
I need to stay off of this forum lol I'm spending way too much time here

[I agree. But the breath is to be calmed, per step 4 of anapanasti. 'Breath' is the kaya sankhara, as defined in MN 44. If the breath is manipulated too much , it won't calm deeply.

If we breath deeply & deliberately, we will feel good & get a little high.

But the rapture of jhana is "rupa jhana", which probably means the physical body has been calmed & purified (of stored mental sankharas) to such a deep degree that the nervous system of the body starts to bliss out. This i imagine is the source of bliss of rupa jhana.

If you manipulate too much, there will be a suppression that prevents those stored sankharas from escaping or dissolving.

[/quote]

YES. It's definitely not the same thing. Breathing deeply in the beginning is good because it makes you more sensitive to the flow of energy and this serves as the basis or "seed" of pitisukha. They are very different though. A nice breath can get the mind calmed down enough to start to perceive piti-sukha but grasping at it is like trying to catch eels. It's precisely by relaxing and letting it go that it begins to develop into strong piti-sukha.

And again, this is the point I'm trying to make and Thanissaro does make this point. Grasping or trying to hard will only ruin your concentration. Itt's like a finely tuned musical instrument. Too tight and the string will break. Too loose and they will make no sound. When it's just right though, music can happen.

Its physical phenomena per strict definition but i personally would not get so strict about it because mind & breath is so interdependent, which is why "kaya" (imo) refers to all of them.
I like to follow SN 54.13(3) where the Buddha says "I call this a certain kind of body" in reference to Anapana. Again It allows for different interpretations but I think the practical end point no matter the interpretation will be similar enough for the differences to not really matter all that much. That sutta central post I linked above has a great section where one of them basically said "you know after sitting down and meditating, sometimes the suttas really are as simple as they look".
My opinion, as expressed, is it will have limited results. It can be used to reach a certain level of concentration, mental purity & calm but there comes a time, once the mind is in control, that the samadhi is developed by lettting go.
I still think Thanissaro's method works great. Again, grasping at the breath energies will knock you right out of concentration but allowing them can develop into full blown piti-sukha and I think his instructions in WEaEB cover that very well.
Ajahn Fuang
I think so, and I'm also beginning to think making the distinction makes it easier to teach for some. I myself still prefer the canonical "simpler is better" mode of thought because it seems to be well suited to oral and face-to-face instructor-student learning. The distinctions made between access and absorption VSM and Commentary style have a great way of giving the theoretical and mechanical underpinning of the process but the complexity lends itself to looking at times like it contradicts the suttas, which can be very confusing for someone trying to learn to meditate.

I'm done for a while. This is taking a lot of time and I have a huge amount of school work I need to be doing. :anjali:
pitithefool
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by pitithefool »

befriend wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:54 pm I do brahma viharas with the myself, my family, my friends, unknown people, difficult people and all beings. That takes like 25 minutes. I use phrases may I be happy may I be free from suffering my I not be departed from the good fortune I have recieved and I am the owner of my kamma then do the same for the other beings. When I do mindfulness I usually sit in a chair for 30-40 minutes and start with relaxing tension by sending my breath to those spots or just getting comfortable, I do what Bikkhu analayo suggests and get a felt sense of my body or just feel my body as opposed to watching it like a hawk. Then I incorporate feel the breathing happening while still feeling the rest of the body the longer I do this the more relaxed I get and the clearer my mindfulness or awareness gets at the end of the session I like to let go Of the homebase and just make an intention to experience sounds or whatever object comes to me the body is still noticable but when I hear a car driving by or a thought comes up I notice it's arising peaking fading away and absence. Sometimes to ground me in the body I use the refrain "there is a body" or "I am sitting". Also good posture is a huge importance for mindfulness.
Thank you for the response. This sounds very similar to how I was taught to do Brahmavihara meditation and it also sounds like a great way to practice satipatthana at the same time.
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DooDoot
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by DooDoot »

pitithefool wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:45 pm It would be such a huge diverstion to go into this, but I prefer to read it as "signs of concentration preceding absorption". Fight me lol.
No need to fight you because the above is dead wrong. What is dead is dead thus cannot be fought. :smile:

To repeat, MN 128 is specific to Anuruddha who became the master of the Divine Eye.
Do you see Anuruddha walking meditation together with several mendicants?”
Passatha no tumhe, bhikkhave, anuruddhaṃ sambahulehi bhikkhūhi saddhiṃ caṅkamantan”ti?

“Yes, sir.”
“Evaṃ, bhante”.

“All of those mendicants have clairvoyance.
“Sabbe kho ete, bhikkhave, bhikkhū dibbacakkhukā.

https://suttacentral.net/sn14.15/en/sujato
I must go now for my morning walk, which is 21 minutes late.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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DooDoot
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by DooDoot »

pitithefool wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:45 pm I did find a pretty good discussion of the subject on suttacentral though and it seems Ajahns Brahmali and Sujato also choose to read it that way. Not like it really matters because if either "side" of the soft vs hard debate wanted to take this sutta, it would probably be the hard side.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/we ... -forms/263
They are all clutching at straws, desperately looking for a spurious reference in sutta for jhana nimitta. Jhana nimitta appears related to the "glue" of ekaggata thus the Buddha didn't mention it because he mentioned ekaggata. I understand it is hard to for you to accept DD is right and the famous mass-market "it" gurus Analayo, Brahmali, Sujato, etc, are wrong. Post 30 was intelligent; which basically concluded the matter with reference to AN 8.64:
AN 8.64 wrote:‘What if I were to perceive light and see visions; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion?

‘sace kho ahaṃ obhāsañceva sañjāneyyaṃ, rūpāni ca passeyyaṃ, tāhi ca devatāhi saddhiṃ santiṭṭheyyaṃ sallapeyyaṃ sākacchaṃ samāpajjeyyaṃ;

Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’
evaṃ me idaṃ ñāṇadassanaṃ parisuddhataraṃ assā’ti.

So after some time … I perceived light and saw visions. And I associated with those deities, conversed, and engaged in discussion.

So kho ahaṃ, bhikkhave, aparena samayena appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto obhāsañceva sañjānāmi, rūpāni ca passāmi, tāhi ca devatāhi saddhiṃ santiṭṭhāmi sallapāmi sākacchaṃ samāpajjāmi;

https://suttacentral.net/an8.64/en/sujato#4.2

Thanissaro :strawman: Bodhi :strawman: Analayo :strawman: Sujato :strawman: Brahmali :strawman: FrankK :strawman: :jedi:
:woohoo:

AN 8.64 shows with zero doubt that MN 128 is about Anuruddha's development of the Divine Eye.
MN 95 wrote:Suppose there were a file of blind men each in touch with the next: the first one does not see, the middle one does not see, and the last one does not see. So too, Bhāradvāja, in regard to their statement the brahmins seem to be like a file of blind men: the first one does not see, the middle one does not see, and the last one does not see. What do you think, Bhāradvāja, that being so, does not the faith of the brahmins turn out to be groundless?
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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pitithefool
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by pitithefool »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:45 pm
‘sace kho ahaṃ obhāsañceva sañjāneyyaṃ, rūpāni ca passeyyaṃ, tāhi ca devatāhi saddhiṃ santiṭṭheyyaṃ sallapeyyaṃ sākacchaṃ samāpajjeyyaṃ;

Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’
evaṃ me idaṃ ñāṇadassanaṃ parisuddhataraṃ assā’ti.

So after some time … I perceived light and saw visions. And I associated with those deities, conversed, and engaged in discussion.

So kho ahaṃ, bhikkhave, aparena samayena appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto obhāsañceva sañjānāmi, rūpāni ca passāmi, tāhi ca devatāhi saddhiṃ santiṭṭhāmi sallapāmi sākacchaṃ samāpajjāmi;
That's compelling enough evidence. What about other references to "lights or other uncanny phenomena" while mediating, not related to the Divine eye? Is there good canonical support for the nimitta?
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DooDoot
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by DooDoot »

pitithefool wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:00 am That's compelling enough evidence.
I am beginning to like you. :heart: :bow: Good to see a person not tenaciously clinging to views when presented with sound evidence. :thumbsup:
pitithefool wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:00 amIs there good canonical support for the nimitta?
There does not appear to be any sutta support; which is why the nimitta sect desperately grasp at MN 128. Note: I personally have no doubts about the jhana nimitta plus i can imagine why the buddha did not teach it because people often misconstrue the nimitta. For example, Ajahn Buddhadasa and Ajahn teach about partially formed nimittas (called "acquired sign" it seems) from the Visuddhimagga but i personally do not believe in them as a valid nimitta. In only believe in the final jhana fruition nimitta (called "counterpart sign" it seems) as the only relevant nimitta; which happens automatically, unrelated to any mental intention.

The following used to stir up the meditative lusts among the Western hippies in Buddhadasa's monastery ;) :
Buddhadasa wrote:Now, the breath refines and calms further when we create :roll: a mental image (nimitta) at the guarding point. This mental image is only imaginary, it is not real. It is created by the citta, it is mind­-made. You can close the eyes and "see" it, you can open the eyes and you still "see" it. It is like a hallucination that the mind creates by itself to calm the breath. To do so, the mind must be subtle. The breath, everything, must be refined in order to raise a mental image. The breath must become finer and calmer until the image is created.

The mental image can be any kind of shape or form depending on what is appropriate for the body of each person. Some people might create a sphere - red, white, green, or any color. It could be a candle flame, for instance, or a puff of cotton, or a wisp of smoke. It can look like the sun, or the moon, or a star. Even the im­age of a spider's web :roll: glimmering in the sunlight is within the abilities­ of the mind's creative powers. The kind of image depends on the one who creates it. The mind merely inclines in a certain way and the image arises by itself. It is a purely mental phenomenon that has no physical reality. The third trick is complete when we are able to create a mental image at the guarding point.

http://dhammatalks.net/Books3/Bhikkhu_B ... athing.htm
Ajahn Brahm gives good advice below about what appear to be premature nimittas (although i personally don't agree with every word about the later nimittas): :ugeek:
Brahmavamso wrote:Sometimes, a “light” can appear in the mind at a very early stage of
meditation. However, for all except accomplished meditators, one will
find that such “brazen intruders” are highly unstable. If one focuses
one’s attention on them, one will not get anywhere. It is not the right
time for nimitta. It is better to regard them as distractions and go back
to the main task of the early stage.

Ignore the Nimitta at First. It is more uncertain what to do when a
nimitta appears at the stage of the beautiful breath, when the breath has
yet to be calmed to disappearance. Again, the nimitta appears intrusive,
It interferes with the main task of sustaining one’s awareness on the
beautiful breath. If one deliberately turns away from the breath and on
to the nimitta, it usually doesn’t remain long. The mind is not refined
enough yet to hold a subtle nimitta. One needs to practice on the breath
more. So the best thing to do is to ignore the nimitta and let all one’s
attention train on the beautiful breath.

Often having followed this advice, the nimitta comes back, stronger and
brighter. Ignore it again. When It returns a third time, even more
powerfully and radiant, go back to the breath. Practicing this way,
eventually a hugely powerful and brilliant nimitta will break into your
awareness. You can go with that one. Actually, it is almost impossible
to ignore. That one usually takes you into jhana.

The above can be compared to a visitor knocking on your door. It could
be an unimportant salesman so you ignore them and go on with your
business. Often that’s the end of the matter. Sometimes, though, they
knock again, louder and longer. You ignore them a second time and
continue with your task. They bang ever louder, ever more vigorously.
This proves that it must be your best friend,

http://dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_Brahm_The_Jhanas.pdf
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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mjaviem
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by mjaviem »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:07 am... my new booklet about "rebirth"...
That's interesting. And even more interesting would be your book for beginners on how to meditate, when to start, why meditate, when not meditate and why not, what to develop prior to meditation, and advice like this.
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
pitithefool
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by pitithefool »

DooDoot wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:11 am
I am beginning to like you. :heart: :bow: Good to see a person not tenaciously clinging to views when presented with sound evidence. :thumbsup:
Thank you and likewise :anjali:

In only believe in the final jhana fruition nimitta (called "counterpart sign" it seems) as the only relevant nimitta; which happens automatically, unrelated to any mental intention.
Now this "nimitta" seems to be described in terms of visual phenomenon, but I understand this to only be true for some people. I myself may see visual phenomena but the absence of a "classic" visual nimitta observation is what led me away from Ajahn Brahm's methodology in the first place. Like I said, Thanissaro's method seems to be in line with the canon and produces reliable results but terms like "nimitta" don't really fit in with it in my opinion.
Ajahn Brahm gives good advice below about what appear to be premature nimittas (although i personally don't agree with every word about the later nimittas): :ugeek:

The above can be compared to a visitor knocking on your door. It could
be an unimportant salesman so you ignore them and go on with your
business. Often that’s the end of the matter. Sometimes, though, they
knock again, louder and longer. You ignore them a second time and
continue with your task. They bang ever louder, ever more vigorously.
This proves that it must be your best friend,

http://dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_Brahm_The_Jhanas.pdf[/i]
[/quote]

I've meditated for hours like this and not seen anything, whereas 30 minutes using Thanissaro's technique and my awareness will completely be saturaded with piti-sukha. You see why I like Thanissaro's method?
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DooDoot
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by DooDoot »

pitithefool wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:00 am 30 minutes using Thanissaro's technique
for the real nimitta (that is not "visual"; not seen with the eyes), it might require 30 weeks rather than 30 minutes

personally, i would never teach nimittas and now, merely after our exchange now, sense why the buddha never taught them. people imagine too much about them.

everytime i read the paragraph of Buddhadasa on nimitta, i laugh

regards :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Mkoll
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by Mkoll »

pitithefool wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:59 pm I'm pretty new here, so I wanted to ask how you guys meditate and what seems to give the best results? I like to use the technique described in With Each and Every Breath by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, but I know there are a plethora of others. What works for you to get your mind settled and concentrated?
The breath is my main object. I use other themes as well such as the brahmaviharas and the body contemplations. I've had the most success with the breath and metta.

If you're new at it, my advice is to treat its development similarly to the development of other complex skills. There is a lot of trial and error. Mistakes and learning from them. 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Figuring out what works for you. Studying, theorizing and talking take you to the starting line and can help you course correct and catalyze. But you only get anywhere by doing and practicing.

The below excerpt is from "Acariya Maha Boowa in London" with "A" being his answers to questioners. I bolded some of his advice below that I wish I had known when I started meditating.
Q10 W3: In doing samādhi practice by walking caṅkama, how should we go about doing it correctly?

A: Tan Acharn Mun suggested that there are three factors which should be adhered to:

1) Walk from east to west, or walk at an angle to the east-west line (so that the sun does not get in your eyes).

2) Once you set the citta to do the work of meditation, then watch the citta to make sure that it does only that work, and so prevent it from getting distracted and going elsewhere. You must look on that work as being the object of your attention (ārammaṇa). For example, one method is to take the raising and lowering of your feet as the object. In that case, you must do just this method, because this is the work that you have set the citta to do. If you prefer another method, fix your attention on the corresponding object of that method.

3) When contemplating Dhamma, you should continue until you reach the end of that aspect of Dhamma that you are contemplating, making sure to have mindfulness associated with it in every bodily action and position.

The various methods of practising Dhamma do not in fact conflict with each other. But the person who practises is likely to be prejudiced and see his own method as being right while other people’s methods have no value. So disagreements arise when one person claims: “It is better to do it my way”. Another person taking up that method may find it unsuitable to him because it is wrong and unsatisfactory for his temperament. When you take up and practise a method that other people have practised with successful results, it can happen that you gain no good results for yourself. Therefore, the practice of Dhamma depends upon individual characteristics (upanissaya), for one person will prefer this method and another will prefer that method.

Q11 M2: If we have used one method for a long time and later on someone comes and recommends another method, should we continue using our old method or not?

A: If you have gained skill at using any given method, and if you are satisfied that you have gained the result of a calm and peaceful heart, you should go on using that method. The Dhamma object (ārammaṇa dhamma) used in meditation may eventually change as the citta becomes more aware of itself. But to begin with, you must give the heart a basis to hold on to so that the citta becomes calm. Later on you may change the method you use, but the method that initially gave you good results is important, so you should hold on to it as the basis of your practice. You must not vacillate back and forth, listening readily and believing easily when someone says that this or that method is better, and following what they say even though you get no satisfactory results.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by mikenz66 »

That's great advice...

:heart:
Mike
pitithefool
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Re: How do YOU meditate?

Post by pitithefool »

Mkoll wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:55 am
The various methods of practising Dhamma do not in fact conflict with each other. But the person who practises is likely to be prejudiced and see his own method as being right while other people’s methods have no value. So disagreements arise when one person claims: “It is better to do it my way”. Another person taking up that method may find it unsuitable to him because it is wrong and unsatisfactory for his temperament. When you take up and practise a method that other people have practised with successful results, it can happen that you gain no good results for yourself. Therefore, the practice of Dhamma depends upon individual characteristics (upanissaya), for one person will prefer this method and another will prefer that method.

A: If you have gained skill at using any given method, and if you are satisfied that you have gained the result of a calm and peaceful heart, you should go on using that method. The Dhamma object (ārammaṇa dhamma) used in meditation may eventually change as the citta becomes more aware of itself. But to begin with, you must give the heart a basis to hold on to so that the citta becomes calm. Later on you may change the method you use, but the method that initially gave you good results is important, so you should hold on to it as the basis of your practice. You must not vacillate back and forth, listening readily and believing easily when someone says that this or that method is better, and following what they say even though you get no satisfactory results.
Thank you so much for this :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
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