shine/shamatha techniques

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 14, 2013 1:17 am

I have seen a ton of different techniques for shamatha in Tibetan Buddhism, I was wondering if/how they differ i the sense of what they achieve, and the benefits of one object over another etc..

I know about forceful shamatha, natural shamatha etc..but I wonder, what is the difference between for example, meditating on an 'A', or focusing on breath, ithan one being visual and one being "inner" Is the choice of object of focus for the most part arbitrary, or are there specific usages and considerations involved? Is it just what works?
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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Jnana » Tue May 14, 2013 2:56 am


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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 14, 2013 3:51 am

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Jnana » Tue May 14, 2013 4:31 am

Last edited by Jnana on Tue May 14, 2013 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 14, 2013 4:40 am

Thanks alot Jnana, sounds like I should be headed for Moonbeams of Mahamudra.
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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby randomseb » Tue May 14, 2013 5:14 am

My mahamudra teacher is having me do shamata by just stare at a small object a few feet in front of me, and to focus on my diaphragm breathing, concentrating my attention on both at the same time.

In the Surangama Sutra the Buddha talks about how if you "purify" one sensory stream, you "purify" them all.. this to me seems to be the actual goal of this kind of practice, but that's just my theorizing!

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby kirtu » Tue May 14, 2013 5:27 am

Meditating on A (Tibetan A or even the Ah sound) is Dzogchen preliminary shamatha. It is like meditating on a Buddha statue except more powerful. However I have no text I can point to to back me up.

Basic shamatha - breath meditation
Shravaka/Mahayana - Buddha statue
Tantric shamatha - deity yoga
Dzogchen shamatha - A

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Jnana » Tue May 14, 2013 5:40 am


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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby randomseb » Tue May 14, 2013 6:37 pm


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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Grigoris » Tue May 14, 2013 6:45 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 14, 2013 7:20 pm

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Stewart » Tue May 14, 2013 7:26 pm

There are a couple of good books by Tsoknyi Rinpoche which clarify this...'Ground, Path and Frution' is the best one IMO.
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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Jnana » Tue May 14, 2013 8:24 pm


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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 14, 2013 9:02 pm

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Jnana » Tue May 14, 2013 9:15 pm


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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 14, 2013 9:19 pm

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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby Jnana » Tue May 14, 2013 9:33 pm


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Re: shine/shamatha techniques

Postby In the bone yard » Thu May 23, 2013 11:02 pm

"I get that stuff, but is the object always kind of secondary to the practice, or are there practices where the object itself serves some kind of function, outside of tantra? I'm just wondering if there is any concrete reason historically that some chose a Tibetan A, some taught certain visualizations as objects etc. I know in the case of winds and channels specific stuff it is obvious. Has Tibetan style Shamatha always been more a loose collection of techniques, or is there something more standardized I may not be aware of?"

External objects come first, then the natural progression is an internal object like the breath. It depends how fortunate you are (low, middling, or high intellect) where it's best for you to start.
The goal is to combine Vipassana practice with Shamatha practice. You can't engage in Vipassana practice (awareness) if you require an external object for meditation.

So when engaging on an internal object of meditation there is only a small amount of attention on it, the rest is Vipassana. So basically if you're using the breath as an object then the breath should be in your background, maybe 20% of your attention. Otherwise one will start to control one's breathing. The goal of Shamatha practice is Vipassana practice but there's not one without the other.

It's easy to get hung up on terms and what other schools do but it doesn't matter.
Once you find the meaning engage the practice.
Follow the school you most relate with and don't get distracted.


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