A different sort of meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
JWR
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A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:14 am

I'll briefly describe a rather different sort of meditation, with the goal of discovering whether Theravadins ever practice anything similar; or if it's even compatible with Theravada.

Some of the best mediaeval Samurais had a preternatural ability to sense danger before any of their five senses could alert them. Even to the point where others thought they had mind-reading magical abilities. But in reality, it was the opposite. It was a primal ability, which most animals have, but which most humans have become blunted to. Here's a type of meditation that cultivates it. Twenty minutes a day (or less), if done consistently, can lead to amazing situational awareness.

1. Be in a completely familiar place (for me, it's the master bathroom); keep your eyes open and feel free to look around.

2. Completely still all thoughts, as you would in other types of meditation (i.e. block out what happened at the office today, your weekend plans, etc...).

3. Focus only on the sights and sounds around you. Since you're in a very mundane, totally familiar place, this will be initially very annoying. Is the towel hung totally straight, or is it a bit tilted to the left? Memorize it. How much of the toilet paper roll remains? Is the bar of soap halfway finished, almost new, or what? As for sounds, what do you hear? If the window is open, there's plenty to hear, from car engines to birds.

4. The above subjects (only that which is immediately in your view and hearing) are the only things you can think about. Like I said, it's really annoying for a while.

5. If you continue this way for at least ten minutes, you'll be living solely in the moment, in your direct environment. This is much more akin to how dogs and cats 'think' than to how gods think.

6. Your sense of hearing and sight will soon dramatically increase. For example, the voices coming from the house across the park. Instead of just voices, you begin to identify specifics: "A woman, probably in her 40s." "An older man." "And a boy, probably in his mid teens." Same with other sounds. Instead of just generally hearing a car drive by it becomes specific: "A diesel Hindustan Ambassador, probably about ten years old." And etc...

7. After having done this for a week or so, take it outside with you the next time you walk down a city street. Don't walk around with a billion thoughts and worries swarming through your head. And don't use your iPod. Instead, focus only on who/what you see, hear and smell immediately around you; in the exact moment.

This leads to a heightened sense of awareness. People can learn to sense danger before it comes, and act accordingly; or to sense safety. After a while, you might even begin to feel the intentions of those you're with, whether good or bad. (But if you're naturally paranoid it won't work, because you'll always assume the bad). And, if you take this sort of mindfulness with you into a karate or Muay Thai match, remaining totally relaxed yet highly alert, you gain a huge edge over your opponent. If you're in the military, it might enable you to save your own life and the lives of your squad.

(Dogs have this ability naturally, since their minds aren't swarming with a zillion ideas and worries. They're constantly living in the moment, which enables them to constantly feel their environment.)

Since it was the Samurai who perfected this art, it's most likely more related to Zen. Do Theravada monks ever do anything similar?
"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen

David2
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby David2 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:45 am

In the Satipatthāna sutta there are four foundations of mindfulness:

1. Body
2. Feelings
3. Mind
4. Mind objects

I think the meditation you described would be an example for the 4th foundation, mind objects, right?

JWR
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:56 am

Perhaps, but I don't know exactly what is meant by "mind objects." (I'm still more of an outsider looking in. My knowledge of Theravada is less than rudimentary.)
"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen

chownah
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby chownah » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:50 pm


befriend
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby befriend » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:13 pm

the siddhi of reading the minds of others was taught by buddha and is a common teaching in buddhism. animals can sense when there is a storm coming and my dog knows when someone he loves is about to leave, and he knows when hes going to the vet etc...
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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David N. Snyder
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:44 pm

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Kim OHara
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:23 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:41 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

JWR
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:32 am

"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen

chownah
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby chownah » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:22 am

JWR,
For me a story about something that happened over 300 years ago about a single brief experience is not enough for me to develop a belief in anything.

I guess we have different views on this sort of thing but since it seems that people in this thread want to discuss meditation and not the detection of danger perhaps we should not continue our discussion. If you want you could start a new topic for the purpose of discussing the sensing of danger I guess.....
chownah

JWR
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:55 pm

"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen

JWR
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Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:43 am

Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:10 pm

"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen

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Goofaholix
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:56 pm

Other than the "Completely still all thoughts" which seems very optimistic, and the motivation for the practice which seems to have little connection with Buddhism, it's pretty similar to most mindfulness practices.

JWR
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:27 am

"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen

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beeblebrox
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:08 pm

In Western there's something called Muscular Christianity... they trace their roots back to Paul the Apostle, who frequently used athletic metaphors to describe the challenges of a Christian life. They founded YMCA centers.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:32 pm

Recently, in another thread, bodom found a Sutta reference which I think sounds an awful lot like the Zen concept of 'in the zone' in sports competitions, having such an intense concentration, thinking you must make the shot, score, bulls-eye, etc. or die.



Perhaps the Theravada precursor to the Zen concept.
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kirk5a
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby kirk5a » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:14 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Goofaholix
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:27 pm


Buckwheat
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:48 pm

Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

JWR
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Re: A different sort of meditation

Postby JWR » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:11 am

"You're a poor farmer, mind of mine!
You've let the precious field of human life sit fallow too long.
If only you had planted right, a golden crop would be yours by now!"

-Ramprasad Sen


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