Mindfulness of Breathing

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

Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:25 pm

"Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, brings the four frames of reference to their culmination. The four frames of reference, when developed & pursued, bring the seven factors for Awakening to their culmination. The seven factors for Awakening, when developed & pursued, bring clear knowing & release to their culmination.

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

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. [3] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. [4] He trains himself to breathe in calming the bodily processes, and to breathe out calming the bodily processes.

"[5] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to rapture, and to breathe out sensitive to rapture. [6] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to pleasure, and to breathe out sensitive to pleasure. [7] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to mental processes, and to breathe out sensitive to mental processes. [8] He trains himself to breathe in calming mental processes, and to breathe out calming mental processes.

"[9] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the mind, and to breathe out sensitive to the mind. [10] He trains himself to breathe in satisfying the mind, and to breathe out satisfying the mind. [11] He trains himself to breathe in steadying the mind, and to breathe out steadying the mind. [12] He trains himself to breathe in releasing the mind, and to breathe out releasing the mind.

"[13] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on inconstancy, and to breathe out focusing on inconstancy. [14] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading], and to breathe out focusing on dispassion. [15] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on cessation, and to breathe out focusing on cessation. [16] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on relinquishment, and to breathe out focusing on relinquishment."



I need some help with this friends

In reguards to rapture, does it mean you have to experience rapture, or does it just mean be sensitive to it if it arises?

Also im not sure how to take these lines


"[13] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on inconstancy, and to breathe out focusing on inconstancy. [14] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading], and to breathe out focusing on dispassion. [15] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on cessation, and to breathe out focusing on cessation. [16] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on relinquishment, and to breathe out focusing on relinquishment."

and

He trains himself to breathe in releasing the mind, and to breathe out releasing the mind.


Also does this teaching include the four frames of reference, or is all this done and then one moves onto the four frames or is mindfulness of breath one of the four frames of reference?


Metta
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“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:50 pm

Greetings Craig,

clw_uk wrote:In reguards to rapture, does it mean you have to experience rapture, or does it just mean be sensitive to it if it arises?


That would be my reading of the text.

Also does this teaching include the four frames of reference, or is all this done and then one moves onto the four frames or is mindfulness of breath one of the four frames of reference?

More specifically perhaps, sections 13-16 are vipassana.

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: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:41 am

Hi Craig

I think if you get yourself a copy of the Vissudhimagga it will be of great benefit to you.
Your main questions are answered in paragraphs 234-237 in Vissudhimagga VIII, which which is part of Buddhagossa's commentary on Anapanasati.
Briefly, the tetrad you have quoted, as Retro indicated, deals with the development of insight.
My apologies I don't have the time to quote it to you here.
Kind regards

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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:12 pm

Thanks for the tips guys



Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:43 pm

It may be of benefit for you to read the few Satipatthana posts in this section. and possibly looking at the Anapanasati section of the Satipatthana Sutta.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby thecap » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:31 am

clw_uk wrote:In regards to rapture, does it mean you have to experience rapture, or does it just mean be sensitive to it if it arises?

No have to. Just be sensitive:
He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to rapture, and to breathe out sensitive to rapture.

For example: With pure mind and body, investigative of states, concentrated, you think some joyful thoughts (lol) -> rapture arises -> rapture diminishes -> relexation arises etc.

"[13] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on inconstancy, and to breathe out focusing on inconstancy. [14] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading], and to breathe out focusing on dispassion. [15] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on cessation, and to breathe out focusing on cessation. [16] He trains himself to breathe in focusing on relinquishment, and to breathe out focusing on relinquishment."


:buddha1:

He trains himself to breathe in releasing the mind, and to breathe out releasing the mind.

Hey ho, let go!

Also does this teaching include the four frames of reference, or is all this done and then one moves onto the four frames or is mindfulness of breath one of the four frames of reference?

The breath is a tool, don't get attached to it. You are mindful rather with it than of it, as a dear friend would say. And of what? Of anything that arises in body, feelings, mind and mental objects. Like in an open awareness, imagine the breath as the revolving door, and the sensations, emotions and thoughts passing by peacefully. And also this examplary picture passing by. Always mindful, you breathe in; mindful you breathe out.
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby clw_uk » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:37 pm

He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body



Does this mean being mindful of bodily actions caused by breath, so for example the abdomen rising and falling?


Whenever i focus on bodily sensations my mind always goes into mindfulness of the feelings that arise and not the body itself, how are you sensitive to just the body and not the feelings that come from them?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:55 am

clw_uk wrote:
He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body



Does this mean being mindful of bodily actions caused by breath, so for example the abdomen rising and falling??

Different modern teachers have different interpretations, some of which agree with the Commentaries and some which don't. You can read the Commentary here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html
Sabbakayapatisamvedi Assasissami... passasissamiti sikkhati... = "Experiencing the whole body I shall breathe in... breathe out, thinking thus, he trains himself." He trains himself with the following idea: I shall breathe in making known, making clear, to myself the beginning, middle, and end of the whole body of breathings in; I shall breathe out making known, making clear, to myself the beginning, middle and end of the whole body of breathings out. And he breathes in and breathes out with consciousness associated with knowledge making known, making clear, to himself the breaths."

"To one bhikkhu, indeed, in the tenuous diffused body of in- breathing or body of out-breathing only the beginning becomes clear; not the middle or the end. He is able to lay hold of only the beginning. In the middle and at the end he is troubled. To another the middle becomes clear and not the beginning or the end. To a third only the end becomes clear; the beginning and the middle do not become clear and he is able only to lay hold of the breath at the end. He is troubled at the beginning and at the middle. To a fourth even all the three stages become clear and he is able to lay hold of all; he is troubled nowhere. For pointing out that this subject of meditation should be developed after the manner of the fourth one, the Master said: Experiencing... He trains himself."

"Since in the earlier way of the practice of this meditation there was nothing else to be done but just breathing in and breathing out, it is said: He thinking, I breathe in... understands... and since thereafter there should be endeavor for bringing about knowledge and so forth, it is said, Experiencing the whole body I shall breathe in."

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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby zavk » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:41 am

clw_uk wrote:Whenever i focus on bodily sensations my mind always goes into mindfulness of the feelings that arise and not the body itself, how are you sensitive to just the body and not the feelings that come from them?


Hi Craig,

I wouldn't worry too much about this. As I understand it, this is the beauty of the practice. As you are probably aware, vedana connotes both bodily sensations and affective feelings. And even though the Satipatthana Sutta separates mindfulness of body and feelings, it is entirely possible for one to lead in to the other, and back. The thread on 'Satipatthana Sequencing' is worth a read. I posted some useful ideas by Ven. Analayo.

I like how Ben described it in one of our conversations (I'm sure he won't mind me quoting him): He likens watching phenomenal moment-to-moment experience to an 'aurora borealis shifting and wafting through nama and rupa'.

Image

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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:59 am

Try focusing on the breath at the chest (some translations indicate this) and expand the area of attention but keeping to mind the breath after you have settled and your attention is strong.
sounds hard, doesn't it.

M
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby nathan » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:54 pm

The Anapanasati Sutta
--A Practical Guide to Midfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation
by Ven. U Vimalaramsi
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/clubs/buddhi ... /main.html
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby fijiNut » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:48 pm

clw_uk,
Mindfulness of Breathing is a unique meditation technique in that it fulfills all the pre-requisites for enligthenment, if we carry out the 16 steps.
I have found Ajahn Brahms interpretation of the technique much more intimate and less scholarly, and easier to understand on a subjective, personal, intuitive level as opposed to Ven. Vimalaramsi and Ajahn Buddhadasa's meditation guides.
There is another thread here on his ebooks:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=199

"Sensitive to rapture" - in my limited understanding is that one actually feels it, as one drops each of the 5 senses one by one (leaving the mind sense), this is particularly blissful, as the mind lets go of the world of the senses.

You should have "calmed the breath" beforehand (naturally, without gripping or force; this is not pranayama!) the rough texture of the breath at the point of contact should have changed to a smoother texture kind of like rubbing denim on your upper lip to rubbing silk on your upper lip, eventually, it gets very fine that perception of in-breath and out-breath, long and short breath, will.... disappear!
Be sensitive to pleasant feelings at this point, relax, if the pleasant feelings don't come, don't worry, it will come, at this point, the purity of your mind and sila is important, if it doesn't, try to cultivate wholesome mind states through the day.
Or you haven't sufficiently cultivated the first 4 steps. So you have to let the steps gradually unfold, we can't rush it, strong buildings are built on solid foundations, if we rush through the first 4 steps, it is like building a house of cards.

Most importantly, go on retreat, consult your teacher in real life to learn the technique,; everything will happen naturally, you can't force it, if your mind states aren't good to start off with in the beginning of the sit, learn to do chanting, metta, and the 10 anusatis (reflections), double up on your efforts to protect your sila and wholesome mind states throughout the day.

All the best.

kind regards,
fijiNut
Last edited by fijiNut on Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mindfulness of Breathing

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:51 pm

Greetings


Thank you all for your advice, its been most helpful



Metta
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