settled mind to one pointedness

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

settled mind to one pointedness

Postby shazan » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:18 pm

Hi all,
I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time now and am able to sit in the "settled mind" state with almost no distractive thoughts (I am still perfecting it right now). THe problem is that mind althought settled naturally in itself, isnt able to onepointedly focus on breath. It wavers here and there in the space of mind. Secondly mind space isnt clear, Its still a little bit clouded. Not exactly thoughts, but there still is some movement in the space of mind, its not still.

So any specfic methods to achieve one-pointed-still mind?
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby Seishin » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:24 pm

No special techniques just practice practice practice. :smile:
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby kirtu » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:43 pm

shazan wrote:Hi all,
THe problem is that mind althought settled naturally in itself, isnt able to onepointedly focus on breath. It wavers here and there in the space of mind.


That's the practice (of breath meditation) - bring it back to the breath, nothing but breath.

Secondly mind space isnt clear, Its still a little bit clouded. Not exactly thoughts, but there still is some movement in the space of mind, its not still.


As Seishin said, practice, practice, practice.

So any specfic methods to achieve one-pointed-still mind?


You have arrived at a focus that is generally more than sufficient for Mahayana practice. Many Tibetan meditation practitioners, for example, do not really go beyond this point in part because generally deeper samadhi is not necessary. In Theravadin jhana practice you can go much deeper and many practitioners do.

Most people's one-pointed mind is wavering but sometimes it is really one-pointed.

One thing to try is short sessions (15 min) with short breaks (3-5 min) if you want to go further with one-pointedness. Really this level is more than sufficient for Mahayana practice, even for Zen practice but if you don't keep it up it can degrade somewhat (the clarity and/or depth of focus that you have described). Going much deeper with one-pointedness is really more a Theravadin sort of practice (although I'm sure there are meditators across Buddhist traditions who do so).

If you are following a Tibetan tradition please read "Cloudless Sky" by the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul (I read it as a Zen practitioner). There's not a lot I remember from Zen Buddhism on this topic aside from some anecdotes of some practitioners (including modern practitioners) who did go deeper; there is quite a lot from the Theravada tradition on this.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby Simon E. » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:47 pm

:good:

Nothing to add... :namaste:
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby Seeker of Wisdom » Fri May 02, 2014 4:32 am

shazan wrote:Hi all,
I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time now and am able to sit in the "settled mind" state with almost no distractive thoughts (I am still perfecting it right now). THe problem is that mind althought settled naturally in itself, isnt able to onepointedly focus on breath. It wavers here and there in the space of mind. Secondly mind space isnt clear, Its still a little bit clouded. Not exactly thoughts, but there still is some movement in the space of mind, its not still.

So any specfic methods to achieve one-pointed-still mind?


Hi. I think I a right behind you in my practice of one pointed meditation. I say behind, meaning that you have made further progress than I have, but I am not that far off.

Anyways, I have some questions about your description of your problems with meditation. You said that you are able to settle your mind in itself, but you are not able to one pointedly focus on the breath, and you see that as a problem. This is my first confusion. When one practices one pointed meditation, I was under the impression that the practitioner either practice focusing on the breath, or focusing on settling mind in natural state. If that were the case, why were you even trying to focus on the breath at all? Should settling mind in its natural state be the focus here? Please correct me if I simply misinterpreted what you said or if I have completely misinterpreted the meditation instruction. If its the latter, then I have been doing my meditation completely wrong :(

Thanks :)
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby Seeker of Wisdom » Fri May 02, 2014 4:42 am

Seeker of Wisdom wrote:
shazan wrote:Hi all,
I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time now and am able to sit in the "settled mind" state with almost no distractive thoughts (I am still perfecting it right now). THe problem is that mind althought settled naturally in itself, isnt able to onepointedly focus on breath. It wavers here and there in the space of mind. Secondly mind space isnt clear, Its still a little bit clouded. Not exactly thoughts, but there still is some movement in the space of mind, its not still.

So any specfic methods to achieve one-pointed-still mind?


Hi. I think I a right behind you in my practice of one pointed meditation. I say behind, meaning that you have made further progress than I have, but I am not that far off.

Anyways, I have some questions about your description of your problems with meditation. You said that you are able to settle your mind in itself, but you are not able to one pointedly focus on the breath, and you see that as a problem. This is my first confusion. When one practices one pointed meditation, I was under the impression that the practitioner either practice focusing on the breath, or focusing on settling mind in natural state. If that were the case, why were you even trying to focus on the breath at all? Should settling mind in its natural state be the focus here? Please correct me if I simply misinterpreted what you said or if I have completely misinterpreted the meditation instruction. If its the latter, then I have been doing my meditation completely wrong :(

My second confusion is regarding "settled mind state with almost no distractive thoughts". I might have misunderstood the whole point of settling mind in natural state, but I thought that the point of such a practice isn't necessarily to empty your mind of all thoughts. In fact, in such a practice you actually want distractive thoughts to arise in your mind, and your job is to maintain non-grasping, and non-distracting. In another word, you are observing those thoughts as if you are a third person, without being absorbed into those thoughts.

Anyways, if you or any advanced meditators can clarify my confusions for me, it will be highly appreciated! I think I am doing my meditation incorrectly. ACtually, I am quite worried about it now.

Thanks :)
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby Gwenn Dana » Fri May 02, 2014 10:16 am

Kirtu´s answer says it all. Arising of defilements can be seen at that level. :good:
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 02, 2014 12:26 pm

shazan wrote:
So any specfic methods to achieve one-pointed-still mind?


When the mind wavers from the breath and you become aware that is has, bring it back to the breath.

:namaste:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby oushi » Fri May 02, 2014 12:37 pm

shazan wrote:Hi all,
I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time now and am able to sit in the "settled mind" state with almost no distractive thoughts (I am still perfecting it right now).

Is your practice based on a particular tradition? If it is, then you will find answers within that tradition. If it isn't, then it must have a goal, which you didn't provide. What do you need one pointendness of mind for?
Say what you think about me here.
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby hop.pala » Fri May 02, 2014 2:33 pm

" one-pointed-still mind"
I think the breathing can be missleading.Or the point on the wall that look.The mind is aware inside-outside,but not aware for yourself.You can not look at the point,because not aware for the breathing,and can not look at the breathing because not aware for the point.
The point on the wall is only for when you to much watching the breathing,then the point:"hello im hier"
When watching too much the breathing,not see the point.
With another word,by meditation two objects (of meditation) will be selected.Why?On one object can be concetrate,but on two can no more.This will you lead ,that you make no more concentration,but make meditation.The mind is the object.
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby daverupa » Fri May 02, 2014 2:37 pm

oushi wrote:
shazan wrote:Hi all,
I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time now and am able to sit in the "settled mind" state with almost no distractive thoughts (I am still perfecting it right now).

Is your practice based on a particular tradition? If it is, then you will find answers within that tradition. If it isn't, then it must have a goal, which you didn't provide. What do you need one pointendness of mind for?


This was the drift of my thinking, as well.

For example, depending on the approach, single-minded focus on the breath may not be the one-pointedness that's supposed to be pursued...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby garudha » Fri May 02, 2014 3:28 pm

shazan wrote:Hi all,
I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time now and am able to sit in the "settled mind" state with almost no distractive thoughts (I am still perfecting it right now). THe problem is that mind althought settled naturally in itself, isnt able to onepointedly focus on breath. It wavers here and there in the space of mind. Secondly mind space isnt clear, Its still a little bit clouded. Not exactly thoughts, but there still is some movement in the space of mind, its not still.

So any specfic methods to achieve one-pointed-still mind?


You already received some good advice but I'd like to offer up two other points.

(1) Consider you may have food still being digested and/or remnants of caffeine, sugar, toxins in your blood stream.
(2) A useful way to approach a session of meditation is to firstly allow yourself to think of anything and then allow that thought dynamic to evolve as it may.
This requires being honest. If you truly allow the mind to think what it wants it can be very refreshing and liberating, like a dream, and there's great benefit in allowing the mind such freedom, imho.
~ "The requested topic does not exist" ~
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby 5heaps » Fri May 16, 2014 12:02 am

Seishin wrote:No special techniques just practice practice practice. :smile:


practice is thoroughly useless youve studied the obstacles and antidotes

hes listed the obstacles hes facing, he should study the antidotes and what to look out for
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby 5heaps » Sun May 18, 2014 10:13 pm

5heaps wrote:
Seishin wrote:No special techniques just practice practice practice. :smile:


practice is thoroughly useless youve studied the obstacles and antidotes

hes listed the obstacles hes facing, he should study the antidotes and what to look out for


*unless youve studied
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby shazan » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:40 am

Seeker of Wisdom wrote:Hi. I think I a right behind you in my practice of one pointed meditation. I say behind, meaning that you have made further progress than I have, but I am not that far off.

Anyways, I have some questions about your description of your problems with meditation. You said that you are able to settle your mind in itself, but you are not able to one pointedly focus on the breath, and you see that as a problem. This is my first confusion. When one practices one pointed meditation, I was under the impression that the practitioner either practice focusing on the breath, or focusing on settling mind in natural state. If that were the case, why were you even trying to focus on the breath at all? Should settling mind in its natural state be the focus here? Please correct me if I simply misinterpreted what you said or if I have completely misinterpreted the meditation instruction. If its the latter, then I have been doing my meditation completely wrong :(

Thanks :)


I have mainly been following Alan Wallace's Attention Revolution, who in turn follows Kamalashila's 9 stage Shamata framework. In this practice, one starts with mindfulness of breath, which once established evolves into settling mind in natural state. I tried hard to keep my awareness at the nostrils but it kept wavering. Then one day I shifted my mind from nostrils to mind itself, and that happened quite easily.

One pointedness is a good skill to develop. It can take you into jhanas (If you are into that). Otherwise it helps in each and every task that you undertake in each and every day of your life. Being able to do your work without being undistracted is a very useful aspect of mind training. IMHOSettled mind and one pointed mind arnt mutually exclusive practices, they work synergistically.
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Re: settled mind to one pointedness

Postby shazan » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:46 am

garudha wrote:(2) A useful way to approach a session of meditation is to firstly allow yourself to think of anything and then allow that thought dynamic to evolve as it may.
This requires being honest. If you truly allow the mind to think what it wants it can be very refreshing and liberating, like a dream, and there's great benefit in allowing the mind such freedom, imho.

This is something new to me. Can you elaborate? In my experience mind keeps on thinking about qualifications, quantifications, probable/hypothetical scenerios, fears, hopes, regrets etc, 90% of times useless stuff. Its good to study it to know how it works, but its never refreshing. Its quite the opposite.
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