What state is this?

What state is this?

Postby Jesse » Wed May 29, 2013 1:10 am

As someone who has largely had no help or instruction outside of books etc, I am curious about this specific state in meditation. I can only attempt to describe it, hopefully someone can recognize what I'm taking about.

The best way I can describe it is, that thoughts as seen entirely for the story they are, not just thought's but also impulses, like the impulse to get up from meditation, being thirsty/hungry,or even boredom. After continuing to let these things pass by without engaging them, generally the mind becomes entirely silent, and peaceful.

Also I am curious which form of meditation brings this state about. I may be incorrect posting it under zen, thanks.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby Wayfarer » Wed May 29, 2013 1:19 am

I would suggest that this is the type of meditation known as 'bare awareness' which is one of the main aspects of vipassana (or vipashyana). It is 'seeing things as they are', being mindful of sensations, perceptions, and so forth, without attempting to push them away or pursue them. I think it would be safe to say that is a very wholesome state.

Others might have a different perspective.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby Jesse » Wed May 29, 2013 1:28 am

jeeprs wrote:I would suggest that this is the type of meditation known as 'bare awareness' which is one of the main aspects of vipassana (or vipashyana). It is 'seeing things as they are', being mindful of sensations, perceptions, and so forth, without attempting to push them away or pursue them. I think it would be safe to say that is a very wholesome state.

Others might have a different perspective.


Thanks, I appreciate it. I am also curious how this state differs from zazen?
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Re: What state is this?

Postby Wayfarer » Wed May 29, 2013 2:17 am

How to compare? I think all such efforts are speculative. If you go to a Zen forum they will take great pains to differentiate Zazen from vipassana (and vice versa.) There are differences, but I personally wouldn't get too caught up in the minutae. The kind of 'bare awareness' you are mentioning would be very much part of any school of Buddhist meditation in my view. Staying with it is the main thing.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby desertman001 » Wed May 29, 2013 5:45 am

Jesse, I get a similar experience from Zazen. As long as there is still something to let go of, like any appreciation of the peacefulness, the meditation feels like it's on track. After that it may become Shikan Taza.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby oushi » Wed May 29, 2013 6:26 am

I agree with jeeprs.
When it comes to Zazen, it is a state of mind, not a state in mind. This way, it can be very peaceful or very dynamic. Also, making nest out of quietude is something Hakuin warned about.
Silent mind itself can be useful, as it is basis for insight, but it shouldn't be regarded as special on its own.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed May 29, 2013 6:32 am

Jesse wrote:As someone who has largely had no help or instruction outside of books etc, I am curious about this specific state in meditation. I can only attempt to describe it, hopefully someone can recognize what I'm taking about.

The best way I can describe it is, that thoughts as seen entirely for the story they are, not just thought's but also impulses, like the impulse to get up from meditation, being thirsty/hungry,or even boredom. After continuing to let these things pass by without engaging them, generally the mind becomes entirely silent, and peaceful.

Also I am curious which form of meditation brings this state about. I may be incorrect posting it under zen, thanks.



To me it sounds like shamatha...either using a focus like breath etc. or no focus at all. The only difference in my experience of Zazen is that I went to a Soto place where there was no talking or instruction..just sitting, which seems to lead to having nothing as an object. learning Shamatha breath is taught. If you choose one of the things to look at, thoughts, impulses, maybe even looking at the examiner and it's relationship to those things, analytical work..then it's closer to vipassana.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby Astus » Wed May 29, 2013 9:38 am

It is good not to get caught up in things, that's what non-clinging is about, and it requires mindfulness. Correct mindfulness in Zen is sometimes called the sword that kills and gives life, because you know when to let go and when to get hold of something. It is wisdom, discerning good and bad. While sitting on the cushion it's OK to let everything come and go, when you get up there are things to take care of, people to talk to, etc. So if you are mindful on the cushion you can bring that to all activities. Therefore, if you want to check your practice, see how you act in different circumstances, how thoughts and emotions sway you or if you are the captain of the ship.

When sitting in meditation you should check if there is any clinging to whatever state you think you are in. If you see how feelings and thoughts come up, do you imagine yourself to be the witness observing all this? Do you have thoughts about what you observe occurring and passing? Is there a gap between subject and object? If there is a gap, if you are the witness and you judge or consider occurrences, that is the beginning of watching the mind. If there aren't really any thoughts about phenomena but you are the watcher, that is still holding on to an imaginary self. If there is no position that you rely on and doing meditation is nothing special at all, and there is awareness, it is indeed proper Zen practice.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby lobster » Wed May 29, 2013 9:57 am

Jesse wrote:generally the mind becomes entirely silent

:woohoo:
:jumping:
:oops:

Great advisement from people. Reside in the peace but don't think of it as any more than a piece of the inaction (so to speak) :meditate:

:popcorn:
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Re: What state is this?

Postby MalaBeads » Wed May 29, 2013 4:33 pm

Astus wrote:It is good not to get caught up in things, that's what non-clinging is about, and it requires mindfulness. Correct mindfulness in Zen is sometimes called the sword that kills and gives life, because you know when to let go and when to get hold of something. It is wisdom, discerning good and bad. While sitting on the cushion it's OK to let everything come and go, when you get up there are things to take care of, people to talk to, etc. So if you are mindful on the cushion you can bring that to all activities. Therefore, if you want to check your practice, see how you act in different circumstances, how thoughts and emotions sway you or if you are the captain of the ship.

When sitting in meditation you should check if there is any clinging to whatever state you think you are in. If you see how feelings and thoughts come up, do you imagine yourself to be the witness observing all this? Do you have thoughts about what you observe occurring and passing? Is there a gap between subject and object? If there is a gap, if you are the witness and you judge or consider occurrences, that is the beginning of watching the mind. If there aren't really any thoughts about phenomena but you are the watcher, that is still holding on to an imaginary self. If there is no position that you rely on and doing meditation is nothing special at all, and there is awareness, it is indeed proper Zen practice.


Nice Astus.

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Re: What state is this?

Postby Jesse » Wed May 29, 2013 8:22 pm

lobster wrote:
Jesse wrote:generally the mind becomes entirely silent

Great advisement from people.


Yes agreed. :smile:

Astus wrote:It is good not to get caught up in things, that's what non-clinging is about, and it requires mindfulness. Correct mindfulness in Zen is sometimes called the sword that kills and gives life, because you know when to let go and when to get hold of something. It is wisdom, discerning good and bad. While sitting on the cushion it's OK to let everything come and go, when you get up there are things to take care of, people to talk to, etc. So if you are mindful on the cushion you can bring that to all activities. Therefore, if you want to check your practice, see how you act in different circumstances, how thoughts and emotions sway you or if you are the captain of the ship.

When sitting in meditation you should check if there is any clinging to whatever state you think you are in. If you see how feelings and thoughts come up, do you imagine yourself to be the witness observing all this? Do you have thoughts about what you observe occurring and passing? Is there a gap between subject and object? If there is a gap, if you are the witness and you judge or consider occurrences, that is the beginning of watching the mind. If there aren't really any thoughts about phenomena but you are the watcher, that is still holding on to an imaginary self. If there is no position that you rely on and doing meditation is nothing special at all, and there is awareness, it is indeed proper Zen practice.


Thanks for this astus.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu May 30, 2013 8:45 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:To me it sounds like shamatha... either using a focus like breath etc. or no focus at all.

It does indeed sound like shamatha, which arises spontaneously from the correct practice of any of the various shamatha techniques.
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Re: What state is this?

Postby mandala » Thu May 30, 2013 12:31 pm

Jesse wrote:As someone who has largely had no help or instruction outside of books etc, I am curious about this specific state in meditation. I can only attempt to describe it, hopefully someone can recognize what I'm taking about.

The best way I can describe it is, that thoughts as seen entirely for the story they are, not just thought's but also impulses, like the impulse to get up from meditation, being thirsty/hungry,or even boredom. After continuing to let these things pass by without engaging them, generally the mind becomes entirely silent, and peaceful.

Also I am curious which form of meditation brings this state about. I may be incorrect posting it under zen, thanks.


Yea, Shamatha - also known as Calm or Tranquil Abiding meditation - is common across all schools of Buddhism (as far as i know), as well as other spiritual traditions.
Becoming mindful of, but not distracted by, your thoughts and your body/surroundings is part of this and does lead to a quietening of the mind.

Perhaps this might be helpful: http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/calm-abiding

:smile:
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