Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

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

Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby EricJ » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:12 am

I was reading "The Mystery of the Breath Nimitta" whenever I came across this quoted passage from the Patisambhidamagga:

""...the bhikkhu sits, having established mindfulness at
the nose tip or on the upper lip, without giving
attention to the in-breaths and out-breaths as they
approach and recede
...the body and cognizance in one who
is energetic [ in this endeavour ] becomes wieldy...his
applied thoughts are stilled...[ and ] his underlying
tendencies come to be done away with..."

In my anapanasati practice, I have followed the in-and-out of my breath as it enters and leaves my nose. Am I doing something incorrectly or failing to understand what that quote means?
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:20 am

Greetings Eric,

I suspect it means that you don't follow the breath on its trajectory throughout the body, but rather pay attention solely to what's happening and being experienced at that precise location, which is of course a product of the breath, but is not the breath itself.

Happy to be proven wrong of course, if someone has a more definitive answer.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:46 am

Following the breath deeper into the body would progressively lead to a myriad of sensations lower and lower in the body's energy system which are taught to be distractions.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:54 am

Hi Retro, etc,

Yes, the instructions for building concentration in the Commentaries and Visuddhimagga are definitely to focus on sensations in one place, not follow the breath in and out of the body. And that's how most modern teachers I am aware of teach using the breath as a concentration practise (i.e. with the long-term aim of Jhana).

Of course, following the breath in and out might conceivably be useful for other purposes (that I can't think of offhand...). I feel that there is a lot of confusion about instructions to do with meditation objects related to the breath (touch of air on the nostrils, general feeling of breathing in an out, motion of the abdomen, etc, etc). Those different instructions can sound contradictory. And they often are because they are using the objects for different purposes.

Mike
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby Kare » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:42 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Eric,

I suspect it means that you don't follow the breath on its trajectory throughout the body, but rather pay attention solely to what's happening and being experienced at that precise location, which is of course a product of the breath, but is not the breath itself.

Happy to be proven wrong of course, if someone has a more definitive answer.

Metta,
Retro. :)


My understanding of this quote is the same as yours (so either we are both right or we are both wrong ...)
Mettāya,
Kåre
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby catmoon » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:20 am

pink_trike wrote:Following the breath deeper into the body would progressively lead to a myriad of sensations lower and lower in the body's energy system which are taught to be distractions.


That would depend on who is doing the teaching!
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:19 am

catmoon wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Following the breath deeper into the body would progressively lead to a myriad of sensations lower and lower in the body's energy system which are taught to be distractions.


That would depend on who is doing the teaching!

Yes. ;)

I had my Theravada hat on when I said that...
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:14 am

We need to get you some hat smilies, Mr. Trike!

In the meantime you'll have to settle for these.

:sage: :spy: :twisted:

You can apportion them as you see fit.

:lol:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby Collective » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:14 pm

I'm...confused :thinking:
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Re: Don't focus on inhalation/exhalation?

Postby puthujjana » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:38 pm

I would suggest reading through the commentary to the anapanasati sutta:

http://bps.lk/bp_library/bp502s/bp502_part2.html

I benefited much from reading it.

:anjali:
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- Ajahn Chah
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