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Practices as preliminary to meditation - Dhamma Wheel

Practices as preliminary to meditation

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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Bodharma
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Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Bodharma » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:30 pm

I am new to Theravada Buddhism, but I have practiced and studied other forms such as Zen and Tibetan Buddhist meditation. I am attracted to Theravadin Buddhism because of the simplicity and the focus on what Buddha taught. I have read a bit online about vipassana, believe this type of meditation would be most beneficial to me in dealing with chronic pain and illness. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative colitis! and fibromyalgia.

My question is : Are there any preliminary or dedication before and after practices of Theravadin Buddhist meditation?

I plan read Jack kornfield's book, "Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation."

Can anyone recommend a good book for me as someone who has meditation experience, but is new to Vipassana?

Thank you so much for this online community. Due to my illnesses, I will not be able to go to any Temple or attend retreat and meditation classes. This will be my Sangha.

Sincerely, John R.

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mikenz66
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:20 pm

Hi Bodharma,

Traditional preliminaries are discussed by Mahasi Sayadaw here:
http://aimwell.org/practical.html#PreparatoryStage

There are other useful resources on that site, including:
http://aimwell.org/vipassana.html
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/

And this site is also a great resource: http://buddhanet.net/insight.htm

:anjali:
Mike

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Bodharma
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Bodharma » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:58 pm

Thanks so much for the useful links :anjali:

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Anagarika
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Anagarika » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:21 pm

John, as you point out in your original posting, there can be a simplicity to Theravada practice that you may find very appealing. Like an onion, there are many, many layers and one can explore deeply in Theravada texts and traditions, but for many people, including people with issues of pain and physical limitations, simple breath meditation in the form the Buddha taught can be very useful. You needn't worry about perfect posture, and you need not be sitting on a cushion. Even a chair works just fine. Using the breath as your focus and your anchor, you can work to calm and steady the mind, and then contemporaneously work on the vipassana/insight side of the coin. Some of this teacher's talks have been helpful for new adherents to Theravada as well as longtime practitioners: http://youtu.be/nCUQdIbfWwQ There are of course books by Vens. Thanissaro, Gunaratana, and others on the developing the skillsets for breath meditation and the cultivation of right mindfulness and insight. You'll also find a wealth of knowledge from the experienced lay and ordained contributors here on this forum.

Reductor
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Reductor » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:35 pm

Hi Bodharma,

Welcome to DW.

The preliminary practices depend on the person. I practice something called Buddhanussati, or Recollection of the Buddha. You can find a lot about it from the , Chp VII.

A simpler discussion of it can be found

Personally, I just light some candles around my Buddha statue and then look at it a bit. I imagine what the Buddha might have looked like, then consider that he was free of mental turmoil of every kind, unlike me, and had attained such a state by considering ever more closely the nature of his own mind and body. I smile a bit, and three times recite: Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma-sambuddhassa

"Homage to him, the blessed one, the accomplished one, the rightly awakened one."

But really, whatever practices help you onto a wholesome line of thought will be good. Maybe consider adding to your routine?

Anyway, I wish you good fortune in life and in your practice.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:46 pm


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daverupa
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:47 pm

You may also gain by reading in connection with such training.

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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Sekha » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:22 pm

IMO, the best preliminary practice to meditation is sense restraint, and it is to be practiced around the clock. If there is no sense restraint, no preliminary practice will be effective.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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Bodharma
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Bodharma » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:29 am

Thank you so much everyone has been so kind. I downloaded some of the pdf's from the links to my Ipad. As far as keeping the precepts, I take some narcotic pain meds. When you take drugs as prescribed by a Dr. And you really need them to move about and function, is that considered an intoxicant? Honestly I do not feel impaired. I just get some relief of the pain, usually 20 %, and that is the difference between me moving around and staying in bed all the time. This illness kicks my butt at times physically and emotionally. I have noticed I can deal much better now that I am meditating again. It has helped me stay present with the pain and not become anxious.

:anjali: John

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mikenz66
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:00 am


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Aloka
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Aloka » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:24 am


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Maitri
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby Maitri » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:25 pm

"Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom." Dhammapada: Pupphavagga


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greenjuice
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby greenjuice » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:56 am

Maybe I am wrong, but in my understanding, the five precepts are only the very beginning of Buddhist practice, they even don't cover avoidance of all the 10 unwholesome conducts (which lead to bad rebirth).

I mention this because it seems that a fair number of people practice meditation while practicing only the five precepts.

In theory one could indulge in sexual activity all day every day if restrained by only the five precepts, he could talk harshly or babble idly all he wants, he could gorge on food, indulge in music and other entertainment all the time, and in general give himself to enjoyment of all sense-pleasures as much as he can and still not break the precepts he has taken.

Of course, people don't go into such extremes, but they do indulge in such practices that are, at least I think, unfavorable to meditation.

Shouldn't a person take the eight precepts when meditating?

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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:08 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

SarathW
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:17 am

Hi Greenjuice
Please do not underestimate the importance of observing five precepts.
I am not sure whether anyone can progress in Vipassana meditation without observing Five Precepts.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SarathW
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Re: Practices as preliminary to meditation

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:35 am

Please read the attached in regard to pain management as per Buddhist doctrine:

The Blessed One said, “When touched with a feeling of pain, the
uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his
breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental. Just as if
they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, were to shoot him
with another one, so that he would feel the pains of two arrows. In the same
way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill
person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So
he feels two pains, physical & mental.

“Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with
a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast
or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if
they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him
with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same
way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the
noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or
become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.

Page 113
http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings ... 130716.pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”


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