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Anapana meditation in Vipassana - Dhamma Wheel

Anapana meditation in Vipassana

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
stevenpaul
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Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby stevenpaul » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:36 pm

Hi everyone,

I notice that some teachers and authors recommend taking the breath as an object of meditation in the practice of Vipassana. At the same time, the same teachers will talk about how mindfulness of breath is great for building concentration. Next we hear how concentration power alone is insufficient for attaining deep insight into impermanence, selflessness, and suffering. We may be able to concentrate brilliantly, but no amount of concentration will ever foster enlightenment by itself. However, applying our well-developed concentration to the practice of Vipassana is a great recipe for success in Buddhist meditation. What I fail to understand is how the same practice--mindfulness of breath--can lead to two vastly different results. How can mindfulness of breath promote useful but limited concentration power (as a samadhi practice), and at the same time foster enlightenment (as a Vipassana practice).

The technique as I have heard it described is usually to focus on the square centimeter or so where the breath moves in and out of the nose, and feel the sensation of breath as it moves in and out of the nose. That routine is recommended for Samadhi practice (concentration building) and Vipassana as well, by many teachers (e.g Bhante Gunaratana and many others). It seems like these teachers are recommending the same technique for both Samadhi and Vipassana, yet state emphatically that Samadhi and Vipassana are two very different practices with different outcomes. What am I missing? I understand that some teachers (Shinzen Young, S. N. Goenka, etc.) use other objects of focus for Vipassana, but many do indeed list breath meditation as an object of focus for both Vipassana and Samadhi. Where then does the distinction lie between these practices?

I look forward to your wisdom,

Steven

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reflection
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby reflection » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:55 pm


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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:38 pm

You shouldn't seperate them, they can be cultivated seperately, but a certain amount of both would still be pressent.

Samatha provides the fuel and Vipassana the tools to break through, like at a demolition site, you can have a crane with the big ball attached, if it has fuel but no equiptment attached it can not do the job, but if it has the tools but no fuel it still can not do the job, it needs both.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby santa100 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:39 pm

Serenity (samatha) and Insight (vipassana) are very much related. Take the analogy of a burning candle. An unsteady or shaky candle is never be able to produce the same amount of brightness as compared to when it's is perfectly still..

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mikenz66
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:22 pm


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amtross
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby amtross » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:24 pm

The difference I've been able to generalize from most teachers has to do with the way you deal with the wandering mind. Vipassana techniques gererally involve noting or labelling or sometimes even staying with the new mind object. Samatha techniques generally pay less attention to secondary objects and focus more on getting the mind back to and keeping it on the primary object (the breath in this case).

May you be well,
sean

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:08 pm

It's a matter of emphasis, samatha emphasises staying with a primary object and vipassana emphasises working with whatever arises otr changing objects and may or may not have a primary object to fall back on.

Doesn't really matter whether that primary object is the breath at the nostrils, breath at the abdomen, or something else.

Both develop hand in hand and you can't have one without the other but you should be clear about which you are emphasising whenever you sit.

I don't think there is any point in emphasising samatha beyond the minimum needed to keep the mind reasonably stable for vipassana, unless of course you wish to develop jhana and are in a position to realistically achieve that.

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:19 pm

Just to make a note for you, and something which is not emphasised enough
The last set of four "stages" are part of the Dhamma tetrad of the satipatthana section of the Anapanasati sutta, and in contrast to the satipatthana sutta they are clearly more Vipassana than the dhamma section of the Satipatthana Sutta, which has these throughout btw.

This would be Concentration developing/leading onto Wisdom.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:51 pm


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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:56 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:13 am


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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:24 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:12 am

Well, as I've said, I don't actually think anyone really teaches them as completely separate "paths". Certainly not the so-called "vipassana" approaches I'm familiar with (Goenka, Mahasi, various Ajahn Chah students...). However, there is ample evidence in the suttas that they can be developed with more emphasis on one or the other at any given time, which is what is taught.

See:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Samadhi Sutta: Concentration (Tranquillity and Insight)

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby pegembara » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:48 am

"And how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination?

"[1] On whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, discerns, 'I am breathing out long'; or breathing in short, discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, discerns, 'I am breathing out short'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&... out sensitive to the entire body'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming bodily fabrication': On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"[2] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to rapture'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to pleasure'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to mental fabrication'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming mental fabrication': On that occasion the monk remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — careful attention to in-&-out breaths — is classed as a feeling among feelings,[6] which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"[3] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to the mind'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out satisfying the mind'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out steadying the mind'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out releasing the mind': On that occasion the monk remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I don't say that there is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing in one of lapsed mindfulness and no alertness, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"[4] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on inconstancy'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on dispassion'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on cessation'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on relinquishment': On that occasion the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He who sees with discernment the abandoning of greed & distress is one who watches carefully with equanimity, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

stevenpaul
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby stevenpaul » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:14 pm

Thank you all for the great thread. I have much more to go on now. I'm reasonably convinced by the posts of Mike66, Amtross, and Goofaholix that Anapana could be used to cultivate samadhi when we focus away from distractions and also used for sati when we temporarily focus on distractions before returning to the breath. The difference between Anapanasati and Anapanasamadhi (if I might coin such a term), therefore, relates to our position on distractions. If we bring ourselves back to the breath, rigorously focusing away from any and all distractions, we are cultivating samadhi. On the other hand, if we allow attention to be pulled towards distractions as they arise, equanimously observing them, noting or labeling if we choose to, & then return to the breath, we are cultivating sati.

Thanks again,

Steven

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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:23 pm


rowyourboat
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Vipassana happens when we focus on the impermanence of the object of observation. Samatha, when we simply focus on the object.
vipassana happens when we a continually aware of one of the the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) of the object, rather than its color, quality, shape, texture etc.
Vipassana happens when we have 'clear comprehension' (sampajanna-of arising and passing away) along with mindfulness. If it is mindfulness alone, then it is samatha.

So any object can be used as a vipassana or samatha object.

Both samatha and vipassana are like two wheels of the noble eightfold path, it has been said in the suttas.

See also this sutta about the need for both samatha and vipassana:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Noah
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby Noah » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:25 am

This thread is great, I have embraced meditation practice after a long time of being a Buddhist and just reading suttas, dhamma texts and moral practice. I have decided to follow the Anapanasati Sutta to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness (frames of reference). I thought I might share here some great resources-

The suttas :P
6 part Anapanasati Retreat talks by: Viveka available free at FreeBuddhistAudio.com
The Wings to Awakening by: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanks again for this thread- you guys rock! :)
Evil is caused by and is the cause of future suffering, abandon at all costs! Cultivate virtuous qualities and live the happy life! Just as all wise human endeavors, from Physics to Philosophy, approach the Dhamma; be fearless in your reverence for it- The time for the True Law is yet to dawn in the west!! :D

stevenpaul
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby stevenpaul » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:49 am


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reflection
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Postby reflection » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:31 pm



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