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Breath this... Breath that... - Dhamma Wheel

Breath this... Breath that...

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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mettafuture
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Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:41 am

Almost every meditation teacher and book I've come across presents breath meditation as the end all - be all, the one shoe that fits everyone. If this was the case, why can nearly 39 other meditation objects be found in the Tipitaka?

Perhaps the Buddha gave us such a variety of options because he knew, depending on the individual's personality, some meditation objects would work better than others.

I often hear dhamma teachers saying that they focus their lessons on Anapanasati (breath meditation) because it was the method the Buddha himself used to reach enlightenment, and that it can fulfill all 4 establishments of mindfulness at once. But maybe the breath is too subtle of an object for some people to start with? Maybe it would be better for them if they fulfilled the 4 establishments at a slower pace, using one of the other meditation objects?

Did you know that the earliest lay Buddhist communities probably didn't even do breath meditation? Their primary objects of contemplation were likely the 6 recollections (buddha, dhamma, sangha, morality, generosity, and the devas), with the first recollection on the buddha being the primary object.

If this is the case, why is it that I can barely find a book, a dhamma talk, ect on something OTHER than the breath? :evil:

I basically have 2 questions:
- Do you think dhamma teachers should go into more detail about the other meditation objects for those who may not be ready for breath meditation?
- If I wanted to buy a book, right now, on how to meditate on something other than the breath, which book should I get? Does one, other than the Visuddhimagga, even exist?

nameless
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby nameless » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:21 am

Breath meditation is very simple, it's unlikely that one would be "not ready" for breath meditation, and if so, what would make the others "easier"? The others involve some sort of visualization or meditation on abstract concepts. See

Anyway if you must have something different, metta (loving-kindness) meditation is pretty common. You might also want to look at the satipatthana which provides instructions meditating on body, feelings, consciousness or mental objects, though they are often linked back with the breath and is a bit hard to understand.

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mettafuture
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:35 am


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legolas
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:59 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:19 am

Obviously you haven't heard of the two most popular vipassana techniques in the west, the Mahasi technique, and the body sweeping technique taught by Goenka.

Both use the breath somewhat, but in both cases the breath isn't the main thing.

Anapanasati is the best entry level technique I think, so if you are attending a retreats with a lot of beginners you're likely to get Anapanasati instructions. It's easy to do but difficult to master so if you are feeling a lot of restlessness and boredom as a result of the technique then it's working, best to face up to the restlessness and boredom before thinking about changing technique.

I can recommend http://sayadawutejaniya.org/ for a technique that doesn't use the breath.

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legolas
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:25 am


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mettafuture
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:50 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:54 am


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mettafuture
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:15 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:41 am


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mettafuture
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mettafuture » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:53 am


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legolas
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:59 am

Ahem :thinking: Back to subject...........I would still love to hear of a book that deals with the six recollections in an upbeat fashion. It is really important that we can arouse enthusiasm in our meditation object/subject.

Kenshou
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Kenshou » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:15 am

Anapanasati is a good basic meditation and though it may not fit every foot it seems to fit many. So they teach it a lot. There's nothing stopping you from doing something else, though, go for it.

I'd think that any of the satipatthana would be a fine stand-alone technique. Whatever works.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:17 am


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legolas
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby legolas » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:48 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:31 am


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bodom
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby bodom » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:27 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Goedert
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Goedert » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:16 am


chownah
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:29 pm


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Vepacitta
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Re: Breath this... Breath that...

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:41 pm

Because there's enough 'smart-ass-ism' on this board as it is Chownah.

Metta - as to your question - there are other forms of mediations - the kasina meditations - one uses the kasina object - usually a large circle of colour - blue - green - red - etc. These are used for jhana mediation - although - the breath is also considered the way to enter into Jhana as well. I'd have to ask around to see about detailed instructions for jhana mediation and kasina objects - although doubtless you could do some googling.

Sorry to hear about your respiratory issues and hope you feel better.

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura


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