Back to basis: breath meditation

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Back to basis: breath meditation

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

I was very happy to find this Sutra where the Buddha discusses the breath meditation with which most folks here are probably familiar, but who perhaps have never seen this Sutra itself. I learned a lot from it that I didn’t know before. It’s not just about following the breath, or counting breaths or whatever to calm the mind (shamatha) It is very short, by the way.

http://buddhasutra.com/files/ananda_sutta2.htm
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Matt J
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Re: Back to basis: breath meditation

Post by Matt J »

Probably because many people read the Anapanasati Sutta instead:

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/MN/MN118.html
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:49 pm I was very happy to find this Sutra where the Buddha discusses the breath meditation with which most folks here are probably familiar, but who perhaps have never seen this Sutra itself. I learned a lot from it that I didn’t know before. It’s not just about following the breath, or counting breaths or whatever to calm the mind (shamatha) It is very short, by the way.

http://buddhasutra.com/files/ananda_sutta2.htm
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Aemilius
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Re: Back to basis: breath meditation

Post by Aemilius »

Mindfulness of breathing exists also in the Mahayana traditions. There are sutras about it in the Chinese canon, somewhere in the Agamas. It is practiced in Zen and Chan buddhism. There are different oral traditions concerning it. In some traditions you count the breaths with a mala (rosary), it works fine too. But better than counting breaths from one to ten (in your mind, not with a mala in this tradition), is counting them down from some large number like one hundred or five hundred, toward one or zero. This has a different psychological effect (than counting up from 1 to 10). It is much better, just try it!
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Back to basis: breath meditation

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Aemilius wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:06 am Mindfulness of breathing exists also in the Mahayana traditions. There are sutras about it in the Chinese canon, somewhere in the Agamas. It is practiced in Zen and Chan buddhism. There are different oral traditions concerning it. In some traditions you count the breaths with a mala (rosary), it works fine too. But better than counting breaths from one to ten (in your mind, not with a mala in this tradition), is counting them down from some large number like one hundred or five hundred, toward one or zero. This has a different psychological effect (than counting up from 1 to 10). It is much better, just try it!
I have found that to be true, because I was taught to count 21 breaths and then start over, and sometimes I would just keep counting upwards in and on. But counting down, arriving at 1 is going to signal the mind to begin again ...unless one automatically inclined to begin negative numbers!
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Back to basis: breath meditation

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

What I found interesting in this sutra is “four qualities... seven qualities... two qualities” because I had never heard of that before, and I would imagine most students who get breathing meditation instructions at Dharma centers or even off the Internet are unaware of this aspect of the teachings on breath meditation.
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Aemilius
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Re: Back to basis: breath meditation

Post by Aemilius »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:25 pm
Aemilius wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:06 am Mindfulness of breathing exists also in the Mahayana traditions. There are sutras about it in the Chinese canon, somewhere in the Agamas. It is practiced in Zen and Chan buddhism. There are different oral traditions concerning it. In some traditions you count the breaths with a mala (rosary), it works fine too. But better than counting breaths from one to ten (in your mind, not with a mala in this tradition), is counting them down from some large number like one hundred or five hundred, toward one or zero. This has a different psychological effect (than counting up from 1 to 10). It is much better, just try it!
I have found that to be true, because I was taught to count 21 breaths and then start over, and sometimes I would just keep counting upwards in and on. But counting down, arriving at 1 is going to signal the mind to begin again ...unless one automatically inclined to begin negative numbers!
Thanks! If you start from 400, 500 or 700 something else is likely to happen.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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