A question for those more expert than I

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
dhamma_learner
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A question for those more expert than I

Postby dhamma_learner » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:04 am

Hello all,

This question is particularly directed to those of you who are wiser and more experienced in meditation than I. Recently I have made some (what I believe to be) improvement in my meditation practice, particularly in my concentration ability. What has been happening lately is that, after my concentration focuses and deepens (and my attention ceases to "stick" to the past or future, at least to a degree far less than usual), I will begin to feel a great warmth, tingling, or buzzing feeling in my body (usually beginning somewhere in my chest or torso). While maintaining concentration, I am able to control this feeling, intensifying it, spreading it around, or stopping it completely. If I choose to intensify it and spread it throughout my entire body, it can produce some very pleasurable feelings. Sometimes the pleasure/feeling can be very mild and subtle, or very intense and coarse, but I notice that I can control this to some degree. If I lose concentration, it will end immediately. After it ends and I come out of meditation, I notice that the effects -- a calm, clear, and focused mind, a lack of many negative feelings, and ease of concentration -- will last for a while, perhaps for a few hours.

Since it is difficult to describe a lot of these experiences to a great degree of accuracy, it may be difficult to convey exactly what is happening here. I hope that I have not placed too much attention on mere distractions, and too little attention on what is important. I ask, should I continue to develop this high level of concentration and dwell in the pleasurable feelings, refining them? The feelings seem to serve as a 'shield' to things like pain, ill-will, and drowsiness, so it can be useful. I feel as though the deepness of concentration, the coarseness and intensity of the feelings of pleasure, and the length/duration at which they last could all be improved to a considerable degree. How do I know if these feelings are simply distractions?

With metta,

dhamma_learner

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tiltbillings
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:25 am

What is your purpose in doing meditation?

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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby dhamma_learner » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:29 am


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Dmytro
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:48 am



pegembara
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby pegembara » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:23 am

So to summarize the method for entering the first jhana: You sit in a nice comfortable upright position, and generate access concentration by putting and maintaining your attention on a single meditation object. When access concentration arises, then you shift your attention from the breath (or whatever your method is) to a pleasant sensation, preferably a pleasant physical sensation. You put your attention on that sensation, and maintain your attention on that sensation, and do nothing else.

http://www.leighb.com/jhana3.htm
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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daverupa
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:08 pm


pegembara
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby pegembara » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:27 pm

Last edited by pegembara on Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Ben
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:30 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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kirk5a
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby kirk5a » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:57 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

dhamma_learner
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby dhamma_learner » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:57 pm

Thank you all for your responses. I too think it is too early to declare it to be jhana. Bhante Gunaratana describes very strong, pleasurable sensations that may arise in a certain part of the body (it usually starts in my hands and arms for me) during access concentration. By placing the entirety of our concentration on these sensations, we can use it as a "bridge" to enter jhana. But these sensations are not jhana. In particular, these sensations can cause my breath or heart rate to increase (the feelings are similar to excitement). This kind of pleasure is different from the subtle joy and happiness found in jhana, I believe. However, because they can be a focus of concentration, I will continue to investigate them in my meditations.

with metta,

dhamma_learner

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Zenainder
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby Zenainder » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:54 am

My blog:

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Ben
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Re: A question for those more expert than I

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:32 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..


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