A question about how to meditate

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

A question about how to meditate

Postby Bouzutje » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:39 am

I have been practising meditation for a while now and I have a question about variations. I almost always read and hear about sitting and walking meditation, however I seem to prefer laying on my back while meditating. Is this a bad way to meditate? Should I just 'force' myself into changing my position for meditation?
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:59 am

Bouzutje wrote:I have been practising meditation for a while now and I have a question about variations. I almost always read and hear about sitting and walking meditation, however I seem to prefer laying on my back while meditating. Is this a bad way to meditate? Should I just 'force' myself into changing my position for meditation?


In general laying on your back and meditating in a Buddhist context should only be done if you are suffering from a painful back condition and as a temporary thing.

However if you are just beginning to meditate then it's fine. The problem is that you cannot really concentrate deeply in that position and it's too easy to fall asleep. One positive aspect could be that your mind probably won't be encouraged to wander too much in that position so that's one positive aspect.

If you can, have you tried walking or simple sitting meditation?

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby LastLegend » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:34 am

I know nothing about meditation. I just pay attention to my mind and how it reacts to the environment.
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby Tara » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:28 am

LastLegend wrote:I know nothing about meditation. I just pay attention to my mind and how it reacts to the environment.

:offtopic:

The OP is specifically about how to meditate.

:focus:

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Maybe you collect a lot of important writings,
Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

**********************************************************
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby LastLegend » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:58 am

I just pay attention to my mind and how it reacts to the environment.


That is meditation.

Now get off my ass.
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:07 am

Bouzutje wrote:I have been practising meditation for a while now and I have a question about variations. I almost always read and hear about sitting and walking meditation, however I seem to prefer laying on my back while meditating. Is this a bad way to meditate? Should I just 'force' myself into changing my position for meditation?


I'm with Kirtu on one thing: meditating supine has a strong tendency to turn into sleep. If that is not a problem for you, well then it's no problem is it? I saw a Zen teacher the other day who was saying that the most important thing is a straight spine. Bodhipaksa is also very big on getting the spine stacked up like bricks, relaxed and stable. Whoever wrote the Blue Cliff Record spoke about the need for alertness in meditation, going so far as to say the mind should be as intensely focussed as the mind of a man clinging to a cliff, hanging from a small tree root.

There are tons of ways and opinions about ways. Get three masters together on it and you'll have five opinions. Try both for a while, then you can make your own comparision.

May it go well.
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby Tara » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:03 am

LastLegend wrote:
I just pay attention to my mind and how it reacts to the environment.


That is meditation.

Now get off my ass.


Hmm OK, stating one know's nothing about meditation is.......? Image er ... Image ... a cryptic message. Yikes, stupid me. Image, ass being got off immediately.
LastLegend wrote:I know nothing about meditation. I just pay attention to my mind and how it reacts to the environment.


Regards,
Tara

**********************************************************
Maybe you collect a lot of important writings,
Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

**********************************************************
from Longchenpa's 30 Pieces of Sincere Advice

Mors certa — hora incerta
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby Bouzutje » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:57 pm

I often tried to meditate while sitting, but I noticed that I notice my position too much haha. I keep on checking if my back is straight, and I have to keep some kind of balance. It kinda put me off the meditation. But, when im on my back I don't have to worry about my position anymore, everything is relaxed. Maybe I'm just lazy hahaha, I even have to lay down when I meditate.

But thanks for your advice! I don't think that I fall asleep, but I will try the many different positions to meditate. Can anyone tell me the basic principles of walking meditation? My teacher said something about thinking at every step ''I am home'', '' I have arrived'' . I imagine this is just one of the many ways to meditate.

Thanks for all your answers already :smile:
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Re: A question about how to meditate

Postby Paul » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:42 pm

Bouzutje wrote:I often tried to meditate while sitting, but I noticed that I notice my position too much haha. I keep on checking if my back is straight, and I have to keep some kind of balance. It kinda put me off the meditation. But, when im on my back I don't have to worry about my position anymore, everything is relaxed. Maybe I'm just lazy hahaha, I even have to lay down when I meditate.

But thanks for your advice! I don't think that I fall asleep, but I will try the many different positions to meditate. Can anyone tell me the basic principles of walking meditation? My teacher said something about thinking at every step ''I am home'', '' I have arrived'' . I imagine this is just one of the many ways to meditate.

Thanks for all your answers already :smile:


Very basically, you 1) walk and 2) pay attention when doing so. There's a very detailed explanation here:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl137.html

Let us now talk specifically about the practice of walking meditation. If you are a complete beginner, the teacher may instruct you to be mindful of only one thing during walking meditation: to be mindful of the act of stepping while you make a note silently in the mind, "stepping, stepping, stepping," or "left, right, left, right." You may walk at a slower speed than normal during this practice.

After a few hours, or after a day or two of meditation, you may be instructed to be mindful of two occurrences: (i) stepping, and (ii) putting down the foot, while making the mental note "stepping, putting down." You will try to be mindful of two stages in the step: "stepping, putting down; stepping, putting down." Later, you may be instructed to be mindful of three stages: (i) lifting the foot; (ii) moving or pushing the foot forward; and (iii) putting the foot down. Still later, you would be instructed to be mindful of four stages in each step: (i) lifting the foot; (ii) moving it forward; (iii) putting it down; and (iv) touching or pressing the foot on the ground. You would be instructed to be completely mindful and to make a mental note of these four stages of the foot's movement: "lifting, moving forward, putting down, pressing the ground."

At first yogis may find it difficult to slow down, but as they are instructed to pay close attention to all of the movements involved, and as they actually pay closer and closer attention, they will automatically slow down. They do not have to slow down deliberately, but as they pay closer attention, slowing down comes to them automatically. When driving on the freeway, one may be driving at sixty or seventy or even eighty miles per hour. Driving at that speed, one will not be able to read some of the signs on the road. If one wants to read those signs, it is necessary to slow down. Nobody has to say, "Slow down!" but the driver will automatically slow down in order to see the signs. In the same way, if yogis want to pay closer attention to the movements of lifting, moving forward, putting down, and pressing the ground, they will automatically slow down. Only when they slow down can they be truly mindful and fully aware of these movements.


As yogis continue to practice walking meditation, they will come to realize that, with every movement, there is also the noting mind, the awareness of the movement. There is the lifting movement and also the mind that is aware of that lifting. In the next moment, there is the moving forward movement and also the mind that is aware of the movement. Moreover, yogis will realize that both the movement and the awareness arise and disappear in that moment. In the next moment, there is the putting down movement and so also the awareness of the movement, and both arise and disappear in that moment of putting the foot down on the ground. The same process occurs with the pressing of the foot: there is the pressing and the awareness of pressing. In this way, yogis understand that along with the movement of the foot, there are also the moments of awareness. The moments of awareness are called, in Pali, nama, mind, and the movement of the foot is called rupa, matter. So yogis will perceive mind and matter rising and disappearing at every moment. At one moment there is the lifting of the foot and the awareness of the lifting, and at the next moment there is the movement forward and the awareness of that movement, and so on. These can be understood as a pair, mind and matter, which arise and disappear at every moment. Thus yogis advance to the perception of the pairwise occurrence of mind and matter at every moment of observation, that is, if they pay close attention.

Another thing that yogis will discover is the role of intention in effecting each movement. They will realize that they lift their foot because they want to, move the foot forward because they want to, put it down because they want to, press the foot against the ground because they want to. That is, they realize that an intention precedes every movement. After the intention to lift, lifting occurs. They come to understand the conditionality of all of these occurrences — these movements never occur by themselves, without conditions. These movements are not created by any deity or any authority, and these movements never happen without a cause. There is a cause or condition for every movement, and that condition is the intention preceding each movement. This is another discovery yogis make when they pay close attention.

When yogis understand the conditionality of all movements, and that these movements are not created by any authority or any god, then they will understand that they are created by intention. They will understand that intention is the condition for the movement to occur. Thus the relationship of conditioning and conditioned, of cause and effect, is understood. On the basis of this understanding, yogis can remove doubt about nama and rupa by understanding that nama and rupa do not arise without conditions. With the clear understanding of the conditionality of things, and with the transcendence of doubt about nama and rupa, a yogi is said to reach the stage of a "lesser sotapanna. "
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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