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Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian - Dhamma Wheel

Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
dhamma_newb
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Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby dhamma_newb » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:56 pm

I find it interesting that in Masahi style Vipassana meditation the primary object is on the abdomen area which in Chinese is where the lower is located. Does anyone know the history of this technique? Where there other Buddhist meditation teachers besides Mahasi Sayadaw who taught students to focus on the abdomen as an anchor during Vipassana? Any info would be greatly appreciated. :anjali:

Don
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I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
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mikenz66
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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:47 pm

I understood that Mahasi Sayadaw just experimented with his students and found that particular object was most effective. However, there are some knowledgeable people here who might be able to give a better history.

Specifically focussing where that link describes the lower dantian (also described as the hara in Zen practice ) is not the area I see most strongly when following abdominal sensations/motion (which is up near the diaphragm), though of course there may be connections. The various ancient ways of working with the body can certainly work, and can be effective in arousing energy, relaxing, etc, and it may be that using abdominal motion as the primary object has the useful side effect of arousing more energy than working with the breath in the nasal region. However, I would be careful to not confuse those possible side effects with the point of the Mahasi, or other Buddhist, techniques, which is the arousing of insight.

:anjali:
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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:31 pm


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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:20 pm


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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby Fede » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:22 pm

It's worth mentioning that the Passive Martial Arts (Tai Chi, Qi Gung, zham Zhong) all focus on the energy (Qi) which accumulates in the DanTien, and focus on its manifesting in all channels which transport Qi around the body.
I teach Qi Gong, and there is a particularly powerful standing Meditative visualisation I lead my students through....i always but always warn them that this is an extremely powerful exercise, and that at any first sign of light-headedness or unsteadiness, they should sit down, and even, if they feel like it, lie down quietly, and breathe deeply.....
This standing meditation focuses on distributing the Qi from the DanTien to important pivotal points in the body, and back....

in the past, i have had one lady faint,one gentleman begin to weep, and a third gentleman perspired so profusely, he was utterly soaked by the end of the session.
And I do mean, drenched.

The lady who fainted was absolutely stunned by the effect (she bore no ill-will whatsoever) and was flabbergasted that such a simple exercise could produce such a movement of energy.
The gentleman who began to weep declared that the exercise must have brought up some extremely profound and hitherto buried emotions, and was glad of the experience..... but chose to share nothing more, quite understandably. I know he was pretty overwhelmed by it all, too.....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

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Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:35 pm

The technique was taught by Theelon Sayādaw, a renowned meditation master during the reign of King Mindon (i.e. about 1850 A.D ). The Mingun Jetavan Sayādaw was his disciple, and the teacher of Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw (Source: , Sayādaw U Jatila) (ed.)

The method of body contemplation (Kāyānupassanā Satipaṭṭhāna) analysing the four elements (dhātumanisakāra), was taught by the Buddha in the Satipatṭṭhāna Sutta. Though the abdominal movements are related to the breathing, contemplating the air element (vāyodhātu) is not mindfulness of respiration, but analysis of the four elements. The abdominal movements are a convenient place to find the element of motion, as it is always present. Other objects are equally important to the practice of mindfulness meditation, but one must start somewhere so the abdominal movements are taken as one of several primary objects — sitting and touching being others.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

dhamma_newb
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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby dhamma_newb » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:18 am

Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge. :anjali:

Thanks for the link tilt! I downloaded Patrick Kearney's talks and I'm really enjoying them. His first Dhamma talk about the Buddha as a shaman and other details of his life prior to his Enlightenment is very interesting! :thumbsup: The way he teaches the history and practice of Mahasi's methods are clear and easy to understand. Excellent talk.
The watched mind brings happiness.
Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
Walt Whitman

danieLion
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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:26 am

Last edited by danieLion on Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

danieLion
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Re: Mahasi, the abdomen, and the lower dantian

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:30 am



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