Matticus wrote:So I need some help understanding this meditation, there are SO many sources on this subject and each source seems to have it's own variation. This is what I've gleamed, and please correct me if I'm wrong. One is supposed to begin counting their breaths from 1-10, focusing on their nose in the sense that you're just aware that there is breath entering and leaving. Actually concentrating on the tip of the nose causes hi blood pressure from what I've read. The counting should be abandoned when one has become aware of the pause in between the "In and out" breath. The meditator should be aware of how long, and how short each pause is until the pause becomes longer and longer as thoughts naturally die down. Eventually this breath work will result in the natural cessation of the in and out breathing, and then the state of Xi, or "Hsi" will arrive. Any thoughts or input?
While you've used the Pali term for the title of the thread, your explanation strongly suggests a non-Pali tradition. If you are interested in Chinese Mahayana, then the first thing I would point you too is Tiantai Zhiyi's Smaller Text on Calm and Insight. A great edition "The Essentials of Buddhist Meditation" can be found here
, it's also available through Amazon. This is a really standard classic of east Asian Buddhist meditation.
Though, if by "xi / hsi" you mean 息, it doesn't refer to "natural cessation of ... breathing", but rather a very fine state of breathing. This is the fourth of the four types of breath that are found in the above text. And, focusing on the nostrils (point of air contact) is just one of many possible locations, and the lower site of the "dantian" is more recommended for most.