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Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot? - Dhamma Wheel

Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
starter
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Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby starter » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:13 pm

Hi, friends,

Thanks for your great help. I've been practising anapasati without fixing my attention on any particular spot of the body but rather with the whole body breathing in/out, because the anapasati sutta doesn't seem to indicate we must fix on one spot. As I understand it, we should experience the whole body while breathing in/out. But my understanding is different from Ven. Thanissaro's who fixes on one spot and then spreads the awareness from that spot to the whole body. I thought the mind should probably not be "scattered" like this, but I'm not sure if what I've been doing is the best or not. Your advice would be very appreciated. Metta,

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Reductor
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Re: Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby Reductor » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:53 pm

In the anapanasati there are 16 steps enumerated, but in practice we seldom count them out in our heads (once we understand them and have gain some proficiency with them, that is). Often times we develop two at a time, e.g., 1 and 2 together as we establish ourselves with the breath; 3 and 4 as we settle into the sense of body; 4 and 5 as we reap the result of being collected and relaxed.

What Than seems to be advocating is a method akin to anapanasati, where a desired result is achieved by steps: first, pick a spot and feel it, then second, spread out to the whole body; the final result should be a sense of being full bodied. By using this kind of sequential method we avoid the problem of missing some important detail which we could have used in mastering the 'full bodied' result.

The better question is whether your result differs significantly from that which he describes. If you accept the premise that he is teaching a method for jhana, then you can compare his descriptions with the jhana descriptions in the canon, and you can also compare your experience to the jhana description in the canon. This way you have two other reference points by which to compare your results.

From my own practice I've found that picking a point in the body where the sense of breathing is most pronounced is an important step to establishing the 'full bodied' result which I'm after. The goal for me is not to rigidly fix my attention to a small point, but to establish that initial perception of 'body' -- to turn my gaze steadily within. Once my gaze is steadily turned inward, I can cast it around the experience of body. As I do that, I quickly find that the experience of body is a pretty interesting, and that insterest cuts off the remaining distractions with 'out there'. Then I can calm this 'scattered' process and focus on the single sense of 'full bodiedness'.

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Hanzze
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Re: Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby Hanzze » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:01 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Guy
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Re: Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby Guy » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:28 am

Then there is also the interpretation of Anapanasati where "breathing in aware of the entire body" means "breathing in aware of the entire [breath]"...this is the method I (try to) practice. I am a beginner, but there are more learned and experienced practitioners who practice this way too.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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kirk5a
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Re: Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:35 am

"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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Re: Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby starter » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:08 pm

Hi Kirk,

Good question. I was thinking about it and was going to post that we'd better let our breath to be natural and easy, let our body and mind relax and at ease. To me, a method for concentration meditation probably shouldn't be complicated, and should not involve too many investigations/analyses/playing around. I don't know if it's possible to relax my mind thoroughly that way.

Metta,

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kirk5a
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Re: Better the whole body breathe in/out or fix on one spot?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:15 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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