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Body scan details - Dhamma Wheel

Body scan details

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
buddhajunkie
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:15 pm

Body scan details

Postby buddhajunkie » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:26 pm

Hi guys, lately I've been emphasizing the Body in my practice and have found that to be tremendously useful. I've recently come across Goenka's body scan technique (from his 11-day talks I found online). I've never been on retreat, and typically meditate for 30-45 mins a day at sporadic times.

Some questions,

1. Do you think Goenka's body scan technique would add value to short meditation sessions, such as 45 minutes, for a person who has never been on retreat? When I say "add value" I mean to take into account that if I am body scanning then I necessarily sacrifice the time I could be doing general mindfulness of body (where I pay attention to the most salient bodily sensation).

2. When you scan, what sequence do you use? I'm at a loss when I go from shoulders to arms to hands, because when I reach my hands, I suddenly have to "jump" to chest. Or do you scan both your upper arms and upper chest simultaneously?

3. Is this mindfulness of breath AND body scan? Or do I drop the breath and focus entirely on the body scan? I tried the body scan for the first time last night using both methods. When I focused entirely on body scan I found my mind wandering very easily. The other method I used was counting the breath and using the breath count to tell me when to move the location of my scan.

4. Do you go straight into body scan, or do you do some preliminary anapana, or something else, to get you warmed up? If so, what and how long?

thanks

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Ben
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Body scan details

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:18 pm

Greetings buddhajunkie

My advice to you is to actually do a ten-day course. The instructions are given gradually and step-by-step and you learn in a very supportive environment where you can learn the method and develop some depth of practice. This particular method and the instructions of SN Goenka are only ever given in a retreat environment and this is something that SN Goenka is adamant about.
Until you can attend a ten-day course under the guidance of SN Goenka and his assistant teachers, I suggest you do something else where you are going to have close contact with a teacher who can support you in your practice.
All the best,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

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mikenz66
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Location: New Zealand

Re: Body scan details

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:47 pm


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Monkey Mind
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Body scan details

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:22 am

I agree with both comments above. More than just method or technique, there were several aspects of environment at the Goenka retreat that were essential to the learning process.

I also endorse the Malcolm Huxter link. These are an excellent alternative until you are ready to attend a formal retreat, whether Goenka or another tradition.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

chownah
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Body scan details

Postby chownah » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:36 am

I agree that getting help in person from an expert is the way to go but in the mean time I urge you to continue your practice.....even if you are not doing anyone's method expecpt your own you will benefit....just about the only thing that you could do that would be seriously wrong is to think that you have discovered something and then to cling strongly to that view....doing this can make you rigidly attached to some wrong view...It is my opinion that when the right view comes along you will not rigidly attach to it since one of the characteristics of right view is not having rigid attachement to it....whatever you experience stay open to it being something you discover along the way toward better things...
chownah

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tiltbillings
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Re: Body scan details

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:51 am


SamKR
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Re: Body scan details

Postby SamKR » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:56 am


buddhajunkie
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:15 pm

Re: Body scan details

Postby buddhajunkie » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:43 pm

Thanks everyone for the input.

Yeah, Goenka's body scan seems to require a very refined mindfulness. I won't be able to do a 10-day retreat for the next year, so in the meanwhile I'll just experiment with more coarse body exercises.


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