Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

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Alex123
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by Alex123 »

Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:52 pm
Sarīra means the literal concrete and material body.
Sure. But why isn't kaya part of satipatthana called sarira then?
Why kayagatasati isn't sariragatasati?

Why take us for such a spin?

The suttas use both sarīra & kāya. Sarīra always means the physical body, whilst kāya is more context specific.
And the context is... Satipatthana.

Between two interpretations
1) One that is direct, clear, what it says, and context specific.
vs
2) Very indirect.

I prefer the 1st one.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by Ceisiwr »

Alex123 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:56 pm
I go with the suttas first.
As does everyone, but it helps if you actually understand the things which you are critiquing. Its like when some people on here try to critique Venerable Nāgārjuna, without really understanding what he is arguing.

Anapanasati is mostly 4 satipatthanas. The breath, by itself, plays a much smaller role. First 2 steps out of 16 directly deal with it. 3rd step deals with it through the medium of the body (how else?). So at most, breathing is 3 out of 16 steps. The other 13 steps you focus on other 3 satipatthanas with each in/out breath.
That the breath is said to be a body in the sutta highlights that it is the breath we are aware of, breathing in and out. Focusing on "sensations" whilst breathing would be mindfulness of feelings (and perceptions), rather than body. In ānāpānasati, the vedanā you are aware of is spiritual rather than carnal. That is to say, that of the mind rather than physical contact.
And that certain body is breathing in and breathing out.
Apart from the breath, when breathing in and out there is coolness or hotness, movement, tightness, dukkha, neutrality or sukha and so on. All of those are elemental, or perceptions and feelings. That is focusing on the elements or nāma, rather than a "body amongst the bodies" or "an aspect of the body" in relation to breathing.
“For one detached from perception, there exist no ties,
for one by wisdom freed, no delusions are there,
but those who have grasped perceptions and views,
they wander the world stirring up strife.”


Māgaṇḍiyasutta
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by Ceisiwr »

Alex123 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:59 pm
Sure. But why isn't kaya part of satipatthana called sarira then?
Why kayagatasati isn't sariragatasati?

Why take us for such a spin?
I have no idea. I can guess. Possibly it's because in the context of Satipaṭṭhāna it is talking about different aspects of the body, or "groups", and so kāya is more appropriate than the more solid and singular "sarīra".

The suttas use both sarīra & kāya. Sarīra always means the physical body, whilst kāya is more context specific.


And the context is... Satipatthana.

Between two interpretations
1) One that is direct, clear, what it says, and context specific.
vs
2) Very indirect.

I prefer the 1st one.
I don't think you understand what I'm saying, or you are arguing with an imaginary opponent. I've not said that kāya in Satipaṭṭhāna doesn't refer to the body. It does. It refers to different aspects of the physical body. Elements, foulness etc.
“For one detached from perception, there exist no ties,
for one by wisdom freed, no delusions are there,
but those who have grasped perceptions and views,
they wander the world stirring up strife.”


Māgaṇḍiyasutta
BrokenBones
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:15 pm
BrokenBones wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 10:44 pm A related issue are the jhana similes. We have people equating 'from head to toe' as somehow relating to the body of mind instead of the actual body... unreal.
... They have physical effects, and these are still experienced in access concentration, but are not experienced in absorption proper. From the sub-commentary to the Sāmaññaphalasutta (the section dealing with the Jhāna similes).

Then why is the Buddha still talking about 'head to toe' in the fourth jhana? And the physical body is used to describe the first, second and third jhana... I think one need only use the common sense one was born with and not indulge oneself in blind faith to tradition... the Buddha warned against this very thing.

Btw this is not the Pali section... copy & pasting large swathes of it is a bit unnecessary.
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Alex123
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by Alex123 »

Ceisiwr wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:18 am That the breath is said to be a body in the sutta highlights that it is the breath we are aware of, breathing in and out. Focusing on "sensations" whilst breathing would be mindfulness of feelings (and perceptions), rather than body. In ānāpānasati, the vedanā you are aware of is spiritual rather than carnal. That is to say, that of the mind rather than physical contact.
You focus on the bodily "sensations" and all the other satipatthana-s. You also focus on relaxing your physical body because if it is tense, the breathing and mental states can be tense. I don't know about you, but if I am not mindful of the body I tend to tense up (especially the muscles around the neck).

I think it is wrong to be oblivious to how your physical body is doing. I got this pointer from Ven. Vimalaramsi,

I don't see why one can't focus on the entire breath (call it "body of breath" or whatever), the body (to relax any tightness and tension), and all nama factors that arise. Why not?


Thank you.
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Alex123
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by Alex123 »

BrokenBones wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:42 am Then why is the Buddha still talking about 'head to toe' in the fourth jhana? And the physical body is used to describe the first, second and third jhana... I think one need only use the common sense one was born with and not indulge oneself in blind faith to tradition... the Buddha warned against this very thing.
Exactly. If the mind was used instead, there would be different, non-physical similes, especially considering the context of mindfulness of the body and various bodily/biological subjects of meditation. IMHO. I don't believe that the Buddha couldn't come up with less physical similes.


BTW, I am not against going into super deep absorption states after which one immediately does "insight" aspect of the practice. It just looks like super deep states are called base of infinite space and higher.
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Tennok
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by Tennok »

Alex123 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm I think it is wrong to be oblivious to how your physical body is doing. I got this pointer from Ven. Vimalaramsi,

I don't see why one can't focus on the entire breath (call it "body of breath" or whatever), the body (to relax any tightness and tension), and all nama factors that arise. Why not?
It's a gradual thing, Alex. And this whole "being oblivious" thing is a strawman. Even A. Brahm recommends to examine and realax the psychical body at the beginning of the meditation...for starters. And applying the clarity of jhana, to discern body and mind's condition - later.

In my experience, during long breath meditations, attention switches toward piti, sukha and nimitta, it's a natural process. Thats what ekkagata means, you just can't reach it while sticking to body&senses stimulus, it's ever changing, numerous sensations. The senses eventually shut down, or rather drop off. It's letting go. And it's in line with ultimate aim of the Dhamma, liberation from senses, craving and Dukkha.

I don't deny merits of body contemplation, btw. But I remember, what Bhante Brahmali wrote on this subject. It was somethin like "Nice, so you can be aware of all the subtle bodily sensations. Great job! Now imagine, how fruitful it would be, if you bring this awarness to the mind, pure mind".

By implying that "body of breath" is just a psychical body nad we always need to stick to senses and flesh, one ignores parts of Dhamma. Like the part, when Buddha meditated for hours and didn't hear the thunder hiting next to him. ( DN 16)
One time, Pukkusa, I was staying near Ātumā in a threshing barn. And on that occasion, when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air) not far from the threshing barn, two farmers—brothers—were killed, along with four oxen.

“Then a large crowd of people came out of Ātumā to where the two farmers—brothers—were killed, along with the four oxen. And on that occasion I, having come out of the threshing barn, was doing walking meditation in front of the door to the threshing barn. A certain man from the great crowd of people approached me and, on arrival, having bowed down to me, stood to one side. As he was standing there, I said to him, ‘Why, friend, has this great crowd of people gathered?’

“‘Just now, lord—when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air)—two farmers—brothers—were killed, along with four oxen. That’s why this great crowd of people has gathered. But you, lord: Where were you?’

“‘I was right here, friend.’

“‘But did you see anything?’

“‘No, friend, I didn’t.”

“‘But did you hear the sound?’

“‘No, friend, I didn’t.’

“‘But were you asleep?’

“‘No, friend, I wasn’t asleep.’

“‘But were you conscious?’

“‘Yes, friend.’

“‘Then, lord, being conscious & awake when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air), you neither saw anything nor heard a sound.’

“‘Yes, friend.’

“Then the thought occurred to that man, ‘How amazing! How astounding: the peaceful abiding by which those gone forth abide—in that, when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air), he would neither see them nor hear a sound!’ Having proclaimed immense conviction in me, he circumambulated me and then left.”

So it seems Budda used to drop off body and senses, and that's what was called his "peaceful abiding". Seemd like his every day thing, nothing special.

Good posting, Ceisiwr, btw. I like to read your stuff. Keep on rockin:smile:
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frank k
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by frank k »

Not a straw man argument at all.
The attainment where the Buddha can't hear sounds is an arupa attainment, not the four jhanas.
The reason this is a serious problem, is because people who can and/or are doing four jhānas quality of samādhi correctly,
are being told by heretics that they're NOT doing jhānas, whereby they become confounded, and stuck chasing formless attainments when they've already got the tools to make great progress spiritually.
Not everyone can attain formless, whereas almost anyone can do a low quality first jhāna for a few seconds.
This is why the Buddha made a distinction between ceto vimutti and pañña vimutti.
ceto vimutti are referring to arahants who CAN attain formless attainments,
while pañña vimutti are the arahants who can not do formless, but attained full awakening via four jhānas (which are based on rūpa kāya, the physical body).

Tennok wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 5:12 am
Alex123 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm I think it is wrong to be oblivious to how your physical body is doing. I got this pointer from Ven. Vimalaramsi,

I don't see why one can't focus on the entire breath (call it "body of breath" or whatever), the body (to relax any tightness and tension), and all nama factors that arise. Why not?
It's a gradual thing, Alex. And this whole "being oblivious" thing is a strawman. Even A. Brahm recommends to examine and realax the psychical body at the beginning of the meditation...for starters. And applying the clarity of jhana, to discern body and mind's condition - later.

In my experience, during long breath meditations, attention switches toward piti, sukha and nimitta, it's a natural process. Thats what ekkagata means, you just can't reach it while sticking to body&senses stimulus, it's ever changing, numerous sensations. The senses eventually shut down, or rather drop off. It's letting go. And it's in line with ultimate aim of the Dhamma, liberation from senses, craving and Dukkha.

I don't deny merits of body contemplation, btw. But I remember, what Bhante Brahmali wrote on this subject. It was somethin like "Nice, so you can be aware of all the subtle bodily sensations. Great job! Now imagine, how fruitful it would be, if you bring this awarness to the mind, pure mind".

By implying that "body of breath" is just a psychical body nad we always need to stick to senses and flesh, one ignores parts of Dhamma. Like the part, when Buddha meditated for hours and didn't hear the thunder hiting next to him. ( DN 16)
One time, Pukkusa, I was staying near Ātumā in a threshing barn. And on that occasion, when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air) not far from the threshing barn, two farmers—brothers—were killed, along with four oxen.

“Then a large crowd of people came out of Ātumā to where the two farmers—brothers—were killed, along with the four oxen. And on that occasion I, having come out of the threshing barn, was doing walking meditation in front of the door to the threshing barn. A certain man from the great crowd of people approached me and, on arrival, having bowed down to me, stood to one side. As he was standing there, I said to him, ‘Why, friend, has this great crowd of people gathered?’

“‘Just now, lord—when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air)—two farmers—brothers—were killed, along with four oxen. That’s why this great crowd of people has gathered. But you, lord: Where were you?’

“‘I was right here, friend.’

“‘But did you see anything?’

“‘No, friend, I didn’t.”

“‘But did you hear the sound?’

“‘No, friend, I didn’t.’

“‘But were you asleep?’

“‘No, friend, I wasn’t asleep.’

“‘But were you conscious?’

“‘Yes, friend.’

“‘Then, lord, being conscious & awake when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air), you neither saw anything nor heard a sound.’

“‘Yes, friend.’

“Then the thought occurred to that man, ‘How amazing! How astounding: the peaceful abiding by which those gone forth abide—in that, when the rain-deva was raining, the rain-deva was pouring, lightning-streaks were shooting out, and a thunderbolt split (the air), he would neither see them nor hear a sound!’ Having proclaimed immense conviction in me, he circumambulated me and then left.”

So it seems Budda used to drop off body and senses, and that's what was called his "peaceful abiding". Seemd like his every day thing, nothing special.

Good posting, Ceisiwr, btw. I like to read your stuff. Keep on rockin:smile:
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suspence772
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Re: Using common sense and reasoning to conclude step 3 of breath meditation is talking about the physical body

Post by suspence772 »

I just found the below perusing the Visuddhimagga where Buddhaghosa provides commentaries on the four tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta. He says the following about step 3 (Vism VIII.171 273; page 267 of the linked book):
171. (iii) He trains thus: “I shall breathe in … I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body”: he trains thus: “I shall breathe in making known, making plain, the beginning, middle and end (see note 48) of the entire in-breath body. I shall breathe out making known, making plain, the beginning, middle and end of the entire outbreath body,” thus he trains. Making them known, making them plain, in this way he both breathes in and breathes out with consciousness associated with knowledge. That is why it is said, “He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in … shall breathe out …’”

172. To one bhikkhu the beginning of the in-breath body or the out-breath body, distributed in particles, [that is to say, regarded as successive arisings (see note 45)] is plain, but not the middle or the end; he is only able to discern the beginning and has difficulty with the middle and the end. To another the middle is plain, not the beginning or the end; he is only able to discern the middle and has difficulty with the beginning and the end. To another the end is plain, not the beginning or the middle; he is only able to discern the end [274] and has difficulty with the beginning and the middle. To yet another all stages are plain; he is able to discern them all and has no difficulty with any of them. Pointing out that one should be like the last-mentioned bhikkhu, he said: “He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in … shall breathe out experiencing the whole body.’”

173. Herein, he trains: he strives, he endeavours in this way. Or else the restraint here in one such as this is training in the higher virtue, his consciousness is training in the higher consciousness, and his understanding is training in the higher understanding (see Paþis I 184). So he trains in, repeats, develops, repeatedly practices, these three kinds of training, on that object, by means of that mindfulness, by means of that attention. This is how the meaning should be regarded here.

174. Herein, in the first part of the system (nos. i and ii) (see note 49) he should only breathe in and breathe out and not do anything else at all, and it is only afterwards that he should apply himself to the arousing of knowledge, and so on. Consequently the present tense is used here in the text, “He knows: ‘I breathe in’ … he knows: ‘I breathe out.’” But the future tense in the passage beginning “I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body” should be understood as used in order to show that the aspect of arousing knowledge, etc., has to be undertaken from then on.

Notes:
45. “‘Regarded as particles’: as a number of groups (kalápa)” (Vism-mhþ 259). This conception of the occurrence of breaths is based on the theory of motion as “successive arisings in adjacent locations” (desantaruppatti); see note 54 below. For “groups” see XX.2f.

48. The beginning, middle and end are described in §197, and the way they should be treated is given in §199–201. What is meant is that the meditator should know what they are and be aware of them without his mindfulness leaving the tip of the nose to follow after the breaths inside the body or outside it, speculating on what becomes of them.

49. “‘In the first part of the system’: in the first part of the system of development; in the first two bases, is what is intended. Of course, arousing of knowledge must be admitted to take place here too because of the presence of awareness of the length and shortness of the breaths as they actually are (as they actually become); and it is not hard to do that, for it is merely the taking account of them as they occur. That is why it is put in the present tense here. But what follows is as hard as for a man to walk on a razor’s edge; which is why the future tense is used for the subsequent stages in order to indicate the need for exceptional prior effort” (Vism-mhþ 263).
I know we're all beating dead horses at this point, but does it really how you interpret step 3? There are plenty of practitioners who have progressed along their paths interpreting it either way.

EDIT: corrected Buddhaghosa's name
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